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RAW Recap & Review – “Welcome to Philadelphia”

December 14, 2015
Aired Live

City: Philadelphia, PA
Venue: Wells Fargo Center

Commentary: Michael Cole, JBL, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Lilian Garcia


The show starts with a recap of the main event from TLC where the League of Nations stopped Reigns from winning the title and Triple H got attacked.

Ring Area
Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring insists that without her money and education, she would be just like everyone else. She asks everyone to imagine how she feels after Reigns brutally attacked her husband. She also says everyone expects her to be vindictive, so that’s how she’ll be. Reigns comes to the ring.

Today is Reigns’ daughter’s birthday, and he doesn’t feel bad about attacking Triple H. Stephanie asks him to say something sharp. Reigns asks to be fired. Stephanie calls him a failure and a disgrace. Reigns basically says, “no I’m not, you are. And so is your family.” ** Reigns is very good at child-like comebacks. **

Stephanie slaps him. A bunch. She forgets something as she starts to walk away. It’s another slap. She also says Vince is on his way to the area.

** Reigns is not a good talker. That’s all I really have to say. He’s only as good as his opponent in any given feud, and that’s if the other person carries the weight of the story. **


Match 1
Dolph Ziggler vs Dean Ambrose (IC Champ)
(referee: Darrick Moore)

The two start off with a bit of a feeling-out period. Ziggler seems to have a little bit of an advantage until Ambrose hits a scoop slam. Ambrose goes for an STF, but it doesn’t look like it’s locked in and Zigger powers out.

Ambrose looks like he’s in control, but Ziggler starts to fight back. Ambrose clotheslines Ziggler over the ropes to the floor and follows up with a dive through the ropes. Back in the ring, Ziggler lands a sunset flip that leads to a series of near falls, then Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds. Ziggler escapes.


Ambrose comes off the top rope and get hit with a dropkick from Ziggler. 2 count for Ziggler. Ziggler hits a Famouser but Ambrose kicks out. Ziggler is a little frustrated. Ziggler goes for a superkick but takes a sit-out slam from Ambrose. 2 count for Ambrose.

Ambrose goes up top and hits a missile dropkick followed by a running bulldog. 2 count. Ziggler ducks a clothesline and applies a sleeper hold. Ambrose gets out but takes a superkick. Ambrose bounces off the ropes and hits a big clothesline. While both men are down, Kevin Owens hits the ring. He tosses Ziggler out of the ring and attacks Ambrose.

Result: Ziggler wins via DQ when Owens interferes
Time: 8:58 (1 break)

** A good match with a DQ ending that makes sense. Hopefully this leads to Ziggler being a viable part of the IC title picture. **


Ring Area
Owens powerbombs Ambrose. Ziggler attacks but Owens fights him off and powerbombs Ziggler on top of Ambrose!

Jojo doesn’t know how upset Kevon Owens is. No one does.

Bubba Ray and his team talk about getting back up and shedding blood in Philly.

Stephanie waits for Vince.


Match 2
R-Truth vs Bo Dallas
(referee: Jason Ayers)

Bo Dallas knocks Truth down with a shoulder block and does a celebratory lap around the ring. We then cut away to the back where Vince McMahon arrives.

Truth and Dallas look nervous. Truth dances and hits a hip toss. After another minute or so Vince’s music plays and he struts to the ring.

Result: The match ends in a no contest when Vince McMahon ends it
Time: 3:16

** Not really a match, just a bit for Vince to interrupt. **


Ring Area
Vince orders everyone out of his ring. Vince compares himself to God and takes a seat at ringside. He wants Reigns to sweat. We quietly head to a break.


Ring Area
Vince is still sitting, doing nothing. He’s completely stopped the show. He then gets back in the ring and calls out Reigns. ** Wow, he made him “sweat” for a whole five minutes. It would have been more effective if Reigns hadn’t actually asked to be fired, and if Vince had just shown up and stayed in the back, talked to some of Reigns’ friends, and done virtually anything else besides sit down through a commercial break. **

Vince tells Reigns not to smile. He also tells him to get down on his knees and apologize. Vince says he can beat an apology out of Reigns and takes his jacket off. Sheamus interrupts and wants to beat an apology out of Reigns himself. He says he can beat him anytime and offers to put up his title. Vince teases a title match but says no.

Reigns asks, “why not,” calls Vince old, and talks about his prune-like testicles. And just like that, Vince sets up a title match for tonight. If Reigns doesn’t win he’s fired. He then kicks Reigns in the balls.

** This was pretty dumb ad indicative of Reigns’ abilities on the mic. He said next to nothing, and when he did talk it was very unoriginal. He’s now compared both Sheamus’ and Vince’s balls to food.

Vince caved immediately (which I guess you can argue fits his character when he’s challenged) and Sheamus has absolutely no reason put his title up. None. He knows he can’t beat Reigns because he hasn’t been able to do it on his own yet. Sure, he has the League, but this isn’t like TLC. I mean, what’s the point? Because Sheamus is an idiot? **


Match 3
Jack Swagger & Ryback vs Alberto Del Rio (US Champ) & Rusev w/ Lana
(referee: Ryan Tran)

Rusev and Ryback fight power with power. Ryback gets a stalling suplex on Rusev. Swagger and Ryback trade tags, then Del Rio tags in and takes over until Ryback reverses a vertical suplex into one of his own. Ryback is distracted by Rusev and takes an enzuigiri from Del Rio. Del Rio and Rusev have Ryback in trouble.

Swagger eventually tags in overpowers Rusev. He puts the Patriot Lock on Rusev buck takes a back-stabber. Ryback tries to help, but two kicks to the head put Swagger down.

Result: Rusev pins Swagger after a sidekick
Time: 6:31

** An okay match. Nothing spectacular, but nothing wrong with it. **


“The Rosebush”
Adam Rose says Becky Lynch is upset with Charlotte’s recent tactics. He also says Tommy Dreamer’s skin is as thin as his hair.

** I’d like to see Dreamer versus Rose. Otherwise, these are just cheap shots for no real purpose. **


Match 4
Tyler Breeze w/ Summer Rae vs Neville
(The Miz at ringside; referee: Darrick Moore)

Before the bell, The Miz comes out and sits at ringside. Apparently he will be “directing” this match for Neville.

Neville and Breeze trade holds with Neville getting an advantage. Miz calls for a suplex. Neville whips Breeze into the corner. Breeze starts a bit of a comeback with somestrikes in the corner. Miz continues to yell through a megaphone.

Neville tosses Breeze out of a corner and lands some strikes, but Breeze hangs him up on the ropes. Neville kicks Breeze and hits the Red Arrow.

Result: Neville wins via pinfall with Red Arrow
Time: 4:56

** Another okay match. It was pretty grounded and consisted mostly of strikes, and Miz was kind of distracting. This was a very story-centric match. All buildup for the Neville/Miz thing. **


Miz says Neville would be great in Star Wars Episode 8. He also needs Neville’s help. He wants to audition for James Bond, but needs to work on the accent.

The Wyatt Family is the way.


Match 5
Extreme Rules Match
Dudley Boyz & Tommy Dreamer & Rhyno vs Wyatt Family
(referee: Rod Zapata)

Everyone pairs off and starts throwing punches. Tommy goes after the weapons first, and Team ECW use them to get all of the Wyatts down. Bubba slams Rowan in the ring and the Dudleys hit What’s Up on him. Tables are called for, but Harper boots both Dudleys to stop it. Harper goes to the top but Tommy hits him with a kendo stick. That gives Bubba time to get him up for a superplex, but both of them are powerbombed onto a chair by Rowan.


The Wyatts are in control, but Tommy kicks a trash can into Harper’s face in the tree of woe. Bubba sends Bray into the crowd. Strowman gets sent over the announce table. Bubba and Bray trade punches, and on the stage Tommy uses a Dreamer Driver to send Harper from the stage through two tables.

Bubba and Bray continue to fight in the crowd, but Strowman attacks from behind. Dreamer whips Strowman with a kendo stick, but he gets caught and driver through the barricade which collapses.

Harper and Rowan beat down Bubba Ray with weapons. Rowan hits Rhyno with a chair. From inside the ring, Harper stands on Bubba’s hand on the apron and hits hit with a kendo stick. Harper slams the stick onto the mat, but it bounces over the top rope and out to the floor where Bubba catches it. He quickly slides into the ring and whips Harper with it.

Harper fights off the Dudleys and sets up a table in the ring. He sets up a powerbomb on D-Von, but winds up taking a 3D through the table! Bray breaks up the count and hits Sister Abigail on D-Von on the floor. Rowan kicks Bubba out of the ring. Rhyno hits a belly-to-belly on Rowan but misses the gore. Bray hits Sister Abigail on Rhyno.

Rowan sets up another table and puts Rhyno on it. He goes up top and hits a diving splash onto Rhyno through the table.

Result: Rowan pins Rhyno after a splash through a table
Time: 12:39 (1 break)

** This was a fun match. A little meh to start with all of the random stuff going on, but as it went on it got better. **


Ring Area
New Day doesn’t feel like partying. They have something important to say. They invite out the Usos and tell them that they earned New Day’s respect. They extend the olive branch of truce. They’re serious.

New Day then invites the Lucha Dragons to the ring. Kofi tells them that they his son’s favorite tag team. Kalisto points out that Woods threw his trombone at him. Woods owns up to it and apologizes.

New Day says all of them in the match took the tag team division to the next level. They hold out their hands in respect. Jimmy is the first to shake their hands, then the rest follow.

After the Usos and Dragons start to head to the back, New Day gets excited about being champs. They swivel and dance in the ring. The Dragons and Usos come back and attack.

** The Usos and Lucha Dragons are sore losers. Be the bigger guys, guys. **


Match 6
Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs Becky Lynch & Charlotte (Diva’s Champ) w/ Ric Flair
(Team BAD at ringside [in the crowd with tickets]; referee: Dan Engler)

Brie Bella takes control early by pulling Charlotte off the second rope, causing her to hit her upper back on the turnbuckle on the way down. Brie hits Charlotte with some Bryan kicks. Charlotte tags out and Becky quickly takes control of Alicia. She goes for a cover which Brie breaks up. Charlotte spears Brie. Ric Flair trips Alicia. Becky didn’t see it, and she goes for the Disarm-Her.

Result: Becky makes Alicia submit to the Disarm-Her
Time: 3:24

** The match did what it needed to do, further the “Becky doesn’t like cheaters” story. Other than that it was pretty basic, but not bad, stuff. **


Titus O’Neil tries to help Darren Young with his Christmas shopping. It’s an ad for WWEshop.com.

Clips from the Title match between Sheamus and Reigns at TLC.


Match 7
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match (if Reigns loses he’s fired)
Sheamus (WWE WH Champ) vs Roman Reigns
(Vince McMahon at ringside; referee: John Cone)

Reigns starts strong with clotheslines and a boot. Sheamus manages to toss Reigns out to the floor and hits a steamroller when Reigns gets back into the ring. They both go outside and Sheamus sends Reigns into the ring post and onto the announce table.


Sheamus has control with a rear chinlock after the break. Reigns gets out with a belly-to-back suplex. Reigns builds momentum, but gets pushed over the top rope. Reigns trips Sheamus as he goes to follow, then he hits a drive-by kick. Back in the ring, Reigns runs into Sheamus’ feet in the corner.

Sheamus goes up top, but Reigns counters with a second-rope Samoan drop. 2 count for Reigns. Sheamus hits a knee lift and an Irish Curse for a 2 count. Reigns lifts Sheamus into a powerbomb. Reigns goes for the Superman punch but takes a powerbomb. 2 for Sheamus.

Sheamus puts Reigns in a side-cloverleaf type hold. Reigns gets to the ropes. Reigns hits a Superman punch and covers Sheamus, but Vince pulls the ref out of the ring as he’s making the count. ** like, when has the Superman punch finished someone in a big match anyway?**

Vince has a talk with the ref. Sheamus hits White Noise, but Reigns kicks out at 2. Vince talks with the ref again. Rusev and Del Rio run out to attacks while the ref is distracted. Rusev gets a Superman, then so does Sheamus. Then so does Vince. Brogue Kick to Reigns, kick out a 2. Sheamus sets up for another Brogue Kick, but he runs into a spear by Reigns.

Result: Reigns wins via pinfall after a spear and becomes the new WWE WH Champ
Time: 13:41 (1 break)

** So many of Reigns’ moves are situational (the drive-by, the lifting powerbomb, etc), so I would rather see him pull those off occasionally rather than every single match. It would make them more special and his matches would feel less like he was just hitting the required content and going through the motions. He’s not terrible, but the way he goes through matches isn’t terribly exciting to me. The match wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It felt like Reigns was supposed to win from the start, especially since I can’t recall Sheamus beating Reigns cleanly at all recently. **


Show Impressions
An okay show. The title thing just didn’t seem like a good idea. Not just because I’m not that thrilled with Reigns as champ, but because they way he got the title match made both Vince and Sheamus look really dumb. Vince could have just fired Reigns outright, or tortured him with some ridiculous match, but he agreed to a title match for no good reason and had no plan to make sure Reigns lost or got punished. Unless he doesn’t watch the product, he should know that Reigns hasn’t lost to Sheamus cleanly.

And Sheamus had no plan either. Rusev and Del Rio came out at one point (maybe that was their plan with Vince, to have Vince mess with the ref to distract him), but that was already after at least one close call where Sheamus could have lost. Either changing the way the match played out to have Sheamus more dominant, or better yet, having the League come out earlier would have made this whole thing a lot more believable. Or at least make them not look like a bunch of dunderheads.

And Reigns’ mic work was his usual, which is to say not great. He just stood there in the opening segment. That’s it. I mean, I get it, he’s the cool, calm, quiet type of good guy, but he did nothing except insult Vince’s testicles (childishly) and he got everything he wanted. They rewarded him for attacking Triple H. That’s absolutely what Vince and Sheamus did.

If they’re going to make this work, I think they should have Triple H come back pissed and going on a rampage. He should be as mad at Vince and Sheamus as he is at Reigns. He should use his power to punish Sheamus, and he should really get into it with Vince. That could be interesting because it would put Stephanie in the middle. She has to see that Vince was dumb, so she would agree with Triple H, but she would kind of have to side with Vince because he’s her dad, and I guess he’s her boss too. I’m not exactly sure how everything is structured at this point.

Of course, that would probably get people to cheer Triple H, but they want to anyway. And Reigns needs a good opponent who can carry the story, so an angry, rampaging Triple H would be great. Well, maybe not great, but the best decision given what they’ve set up so far.

The rest of the show was fine. I like the IC title picture, I’m surprised that the Wyatts keep completely dominating the ECW guys, and I’m kind of disappointed that the Jack Swagger stuff seems to be an afterthought that is already becoming forgotten.

Match of the Night
Team ECW vs The Wyatt Family (Extreme Rules Match)
This was fun, and any time you bring in real ECW nostalgia I’ll cut the match some slack. These guys all put on a good show, and the match was entertaining.



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