January 25, 2016
City: Miami, FL
Venue: American Airlines Arena
Commentary: Michael Cole, JBL, Byron Saxton
French Commentary: Philippe Chereau, Christophe Aguis
Ring Announcer: Lilian Garcia
Recap of the Royal Rumble match with Triple H winning.
Vince and Stephanie McMahon make their way to the ring. Vince tells everyone to shut up. Stephanie says the WWE Universe doesn’t ever listen. Vince describes breaking Roman Reigns. Vince confesses the misery and misfortune of others.
Stephanie tells everyone that their hopes are pipe dreams. She is also very proud of Triple H and describes his attributes before announcing him. Triple H heads to the ring wearing the World Heavyweight Title. He says that Reigns needs to learn his place. He explains that his disrespect towards Vince was what pushed him to take control of the situation. He says that WWE is his religion and the ring is his church.
He goes on to acknowledge that he doesn’t need to be champ, but he wants to be champ. And he’ll remain champ until everyone learns some respect. Because he says so.
Stephanie says that they will be evaluating everyone tonight on RAW and will be setting up the main event of Fastlane. The winner of the match at Fastlane will be facing Triple H at Wrestlemania.
** Triple H’s promo was really good. He’s injecting some much-needed sincerity, emotion, and realism to the story surrounding the World Heavyweight Title. I can’t say I’m happy with him holding the title, but he pretty much directly addressed that in-character which is really smart.
I also can’t say that I want to see Reigns get into the main event at Wrestlemania, but I can at least appreciate the long-term nature of the story. Whether they intended to or not, they’ve been building this story for a long time. I usually complain about so many last-minute feuds created in the few weeks before Wrestlemania, but this is clearly not like that so I have to give them credit for it. **
Dolph Ziggler vs Kevin Owens
(referee: Charles Robinson)
Result: Kevin Owens wins via pinfall after a pop-up powerbomb
Time: 5:14 (1 break)
Good match. Owens was hurting bad from his night at the Rumble and it affected the match. Ziggler started immediately with a superkick and it really felt like he was going to beat him. Ziggler had an advantage for a good portion of the match, but Owens hung in there and managed to use the ring, barricade, and his own toughness to hang in the match.
There was an interesting segment in the corner where both men tried to use it to their advantage but neither really got exactly what they wanted. I was hoping for a slightly different outcome, but the way it turned out was pretty satisfying and helped put the winner over a lot. The match was very well done.
Jojo approaches Reigns and tells him what Vince said earlier. Reigns says Vince is ridiculous.
The Social Outcasts are in the ring and address the WWE Universe. Slater points out that Flo Rida is in the front row. He tells Flo to sit down and not to make him mad. Adam Rose says when Red Dragon gets mad he spits fire. Bo Dallas tells Flo Rida he should get in the ring to face the super friends.
Flo Rida gets into the ring and Slater challenges him to a rap battle. Well, he has Bo Dallas (Bo Rida) challenge him. Bo raps. Sort of. The Outcasts go nuts. Flo Rida gets on the mic and raps. Sort of. He introduces the Dudley Boyz in rhyme.
** Honestly, I’d say it was a draw at best. Bo was more entertaining and felt more natural. Flo Rida kind of stammered a little. Also, I think this was the perfect opportunity to introduce Damien Sandow as Sizzle (as seen on Austin Creed’s Youtube gaming channel Up Up Down Down as well as at least one episode of Main Event). He could be the unofficial fifth member of the Social Outcasts. Damien got a really good reaction in the Rumble pre-show match. They need to put him on TV. **
Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas w/ Adam Rose, Heath Slater vs The Dudley Boyz w/ Flo Rida
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Result: D-Von pins Curtis Axel after a 3D
Time: 4:31 (started in progress)
Pretty good match. It was fun. One of my favorite parts was where Curtis Axel and the rest of the Outcasts went out for a victory lap. It got stopped short because Flo Rida got in the way, but when Axel got back in the ring it actually didn’t lead to the Dudley Boyz taking control. I thought that was pretty funny.
Flo Rida and Slater also got into it a little which was expected. Flo Rida was okay, but like he was on the mic, he seemed a little hesitant. That’s natural, but that also means Slater deserves a particular commendation for selling it like he did. All in all, an entertaining match.
Renee Young welcomes AJ Styles to RAW. AJ says he turned the WWE Universe upside down. Jericho then interrupts. He says AJ has a huge opportunity to make an impression and welcomes him to the big leagues.
** This is kind of a dream match for me. Super excited. **
Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
(referee: Mike Chioda)
Result: AJ Styles wins via pinfall with a rollup
Time: 10:22 (1 break)
Really good match. There was a short segment fairly early where you could see them talking to each other and it felt like they were trying to figure something out, but other than that this was a solid match. Which is expected from these two. It doesn’t top AJ’s match with Nakamura from Wrestle Kingdom (not that it should), but it’s a very good start to AJ’s career in WWE.
There were some good counters, chains, and near falls. I really liked how it ended too. Not on a big move, but on a counter and a clean, satisfying finish. The match showed a little of what AJ has and showed that he can entertain the crowd, but it also held enough back that he has somewhere to grow. He didn’t show nearly everything he’s got in his arsenal. Really well done.
After the match, AJ holds out his hand. Jericho shakes it, but he also pulls AJ in close and stares him down.
Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Result: Sasha Banks wins via DQ when Charlotte enters the ring and attacks
This was a pretty good match. It was more of a storyline builder than anything else, but Becky and Sasha made it entertaining until the end. Becky was obviously upset and wrestled like it. She still feels like the underdog though, even in this match. She still wrestles that way, which is fine. It works for her character.
Sasha looks good. I’m glad she’s getting her shot finally. I think I would have liked to have seen her come to the ring with the rest of Team BAD, but I understand and appreciate that they want to build her up to be a strong force on her own. Also, they would have had a harder time with the ending if Naomi and Tamina were out there. The ending doesn’t make the match very re-watchable, but it makes sense for the story.
Charlotte throws Sasha out of the ring and suplexes Becky. Sasha comes back in and attacks Charlotte, but Charlotte gets the upper-hand.
Goldust looks for R-Truth in the locker room. He’s looking for a new partner. R-Truth says he’s married.
** Very funny segment. Goldust is always great, and the looks on Truth’s face are pretty priceless. This should continue. Maybe forever. Also, it’s good to see another random team that worked on the minor shows getting a chance to have some air time on the main shows. **
Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper, Erik Rowan, Braun Strowman vs Kane
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Bray Wyatt wins via pinfall after Sister Abigail
Time: 3:42 (1 break)
Pretty good match. It felt like a pretty standard Wyatt match, which isn’t really a bad thing. Bray held his own and the rest of the Family caused distractions when necessary. Not terribly fast-paced or exciting, and it seemed like the match could have gone a little longer, but it was solid.
Rich Brennan knocks on a limo and The Miz exits the vehicle. The Miz has returned to RAW after three weeks. Suddenly, a truck screeches to a halt in the background and The Rock steps out. Miz is angry. Rock tells him to park his truck. The Rock runs into Rick Ross in the back.
Rock then says “hi” to the Big Show and talks about re-watching the Rumble where they both went over at the end. Big Show says he actually won that Rumble. Rock agrees. He tells the Rock it’s crazy because Show’s life would have been so different if he had officially won that match. The director of The Mummy actually decided who to cast by watching that match. Big Show breaks a laptop in sadness. Because that’s what Big Show does. He breaks things.
Rock talks with Lana about the time she surprised him in his hotel room where they got drunk and did some “special exercises.” Rusev walks up behind Rock and stares at Lana. He’s not happy.
Rock walks towards the stage and keeps talking. He sees Pat Patterson. Rock keeps talking at the “Gorilla Position.” Finally The Rock has come back… home.
Rock enters the ring and asks if everyone is ready. He doesn’t know who Byron Saxton is. Rock looks around and decides to go off script. He goes and greets some WWE cosplayers as Undertaker, Hogan, The Rock, and Macho Man. Rock gets back in the ring and starts to do his spiel when the New Day interrupts him.
New Day comes out and tells The Rock who Saxton is. They also tell them who all they’ve beaten, including The Rock’s family, The Usos. They wonder where Rock’s gold is and point out that they all have some. They also point out that Rock moved away from Miami once he became famous and had money.
Rock says “penis” on TV. A “llama penis” chant starts. He then calls New Day “chocolate cornholes.” He says that the Incredible Hulk and Urkel had a baby: Big E. New Day is getting upset. Woods drops his mic and drop the “did I do that” line.
Rock then invites New Day into the ring. New Day has a champion’s huddle. New Day says Miami doesn’t deserve to see it “get real.” They turn to leave. Rock goes to plan B: family. The Usos come out and run New Day into the ring one by one. Xavier Woods gets the worst of it, taking a double superkick and a People’s Elbow.
** There’s not really a whole lot to say about these two segments. Highly entertaining. As much as Rock is a Wrestlemania-only guy, I can’t help but like it every time he shows up. On top of that though, as good as New Day always is, they seemed even better in this segment. Really, really good. I think they upped their game a bit being in there with The Rock. Very good stuff and this will definitely be a segment to remember. **
Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs Natalya & Paige
(referee: Jason Ayers)
Result: Paige pins Brie Bella after Ram-Paige
Not a bad match. Pretty short and nothing too memorable, but there was nothing wrong with it. Fairly standard stuff.
B.A. Star with the Boys and Girls club.
Miz is already in the ring. He’s tired of constantly being disrespected and interrupted. Kalisto’s music plays, interrupting him.
The Miz vs Kalisto (US Champ)
(referee: Rod Zapata)
Result: Kalisto wins via pinfall after Salida Del Sol
Time: 6:30 (1 break)
Quite a good match. The Miz was fighting angry and attacked Kalisto from behind as the bell rang to start the match. That set the tone for the whole match. The match was pretty fast-paced and had a number of good counters and reversals. The finish was actually a clever counter as well. This match surprised me a little with how much I liked it.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose (IC Champ) vs Sheamus & Rusev w/ King Barrett, Alberto Del Rio
(referee: Charles Robinson)
Result: Reigns pins Sheamus after a spear
Time: 10:58 (1 break)
Good match. It went about like you’d expect. Ambrose was in it most of the time for his team. He had some offense and controlled the match for a while, but his injuries from the Rumble led to him being isolated by some good teamwork from Rusev and Sheamus. The League used some dirty tricks and distractions, but Ambrose eventually got the tag to Reigns who kind of took over despite the efforts of the entire League. There was a tiny breakdown at the end that led to the finish. It was a solid match, if somewhat unsurprising.
Ambrose and Reigns look for payback from the Rumble and start prepping the announce tables. Reigns powerbombs Rusev from the French table through the English table.
Stephanie comes out to the stage and announces that the main event at Fastlane will be a triple threat: Ambrose vs Reigns vs Lesnar. Reigns and Ambrose look conflicted.
This was quite a good show, a nice way to follow up after the Rumble, and a good way to set the road to Wrestlemania off in a pretty good direction. Triple H’s promo was good despite my dissatisfaction with the overall story. The Social Outcasts were funny. The Rock and New Day had a great exchange. AJ Styles and Jericho had a very good match. All the wresting was actually pretty good to very good. Golden Truth might be a thing. And the main event at Fastlane should be entertaining. Good show.
Match of the Night
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
I liked the Kalisto/Miz match too, but I have to give the slight edge to Styles and Jericho. It was a combination of the excitement of seeing those two guys in the ring together, and the match was entertaining, delivering what I wanted without giving too much away for AJ.