WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Verizon Center in Little Rock, AR on 1/16/17!
The former US Champ, Roman Reigns, starts off Martin Luther King Jr. day stating that despite the fact that he lost in a handicapped match to the new champion, Chris Jericho, and the Universal Champion, Kevin Owens, last week, there’s no sour grapes. When he was was the Shield, they played the numbers game all the time. He says he will beat KO at the Rumble in a one on one match with Jericho in a shark cage, because he always beats KO. He is quickly interrupted by the advocate for the Beast, Paul Heyman. Heyman says that he’s out there to speak about the calm before the storm. Paul says at the rumble, Lesnar will “eat, sleep, eliminate, repeat”. Reigns says that’s funny, because he must be eating or sleeping, because he isn’t out there with Paul. Kevin Owens is out and he finds it funny that Wrestlemania plans are being spoken about, because he is the Universal Champ and Chris is the US Champ. Chris Jericho says team Chris and Kevin have a date with destiny as it relates to ‘Mania. He says that simple match explains that it’ll be “best friends” competing for the Universal title. All the “stupid idiots” watching and at home, better watch “it”. KO then says no matter what happened, he’ll still remain champion, questioning Jericho’s match. Here comes Seth Rollins and his ears were burning with all the ‘Mania talk. He says it needs to have Seth Freakin’ Rollins. He plans to win the rumble himself. He issues a stern warning only to be interrupted by Braun Strowman. Strowman walks to the ring with purpose, only for us to hear the music of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar who comes out to a massive reaction from the Little Rock crowd. The storm descends, but we get a shocking attack on Strowman by Sami Zayn. Strowman is ousted after attacks from Zayn, Rollins and Reigns. Lesnar eats Reigns with a german and then Zayn eats one himself. Strowman makes for the ring, but opts not to enter. Reigns is back and he clears out Owens and Jericho only to eat an F-5 as the Beast stands tall with his music playing as they hype the tag title match between Cesaro and Sheamus and The Club and a match between Enzo and Big Cass against Rusev and Jinder Mahal scheduled for tonight as they head to the first break.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass defeat Jinder Mahal and Rusev via pinfall after Bada-Boom Shaka Laka on Mahal by Amore. Pre-match goodness by Enzo and Cass and a hard fought match which saw Enzo get a small measure of revenge for all the punishment he’s been taking at the hands of the heels, by securing the pinfall at the end of the tag team contest. Good opening bout to set the standard for the evening’s RAW.
We see “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher headed to the ring to join the announce team for commentary for the Cruiserweight match to follow the break.
Ariya Daivari defeats Lince Dorado via submission with a modified cobra clutch. Austin Aries is on commentary as is Jack, hyping the forthcoming “I Forfeit” match, and Jack said he is out scouting his opponent in a scientific manner. Dorado and Daivari gave it their all in front of a crowd who is enjoying the action and adding the missing element to the Cruiserweight bouts. Dorado hits a beautiful springboard stunner midway through the match, but ultimately, Daivari comes away with victory with the modified Cobra Clutch. He looks to Gallagher and tells him to heed the victory and they’ll have their bout tomorrow night on 205 Live.
Up next, we’ll apparently have footage of an attack that took place earlier in the day. Nia Jax apparently put in work on “The Boss” Sasha Banks as she was getting her knee reevaluated.
We come to footage of the Undertaker’s appearance last week and clips from Tyler Bate winning the first ever WWE UK Championship after a big victory at the debut tournament that took place over the weekend. We then see the footage of Nia’s attack on Sasha. The attack actually took place in a ring where Sasha was being evaluated and she delivered a very emphatic statement. Michael Cole brings up the question about the extent of Sasha’s injury and the further damage on the knee. We then hear Cesaro’s music and we head to the ring for a tag title bout!
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeat Sheamus and Cesaro via DQ after Sheamus unintentionally struck a referee. They teased the title change to the Club, which actually had the crowd on their feet. The former Bullet Club staples were “robbed” of the title change after they hit the Magic Killer on Cesaro to secure the belts, but it was only after Sheamus struck the ref and it negated the title change. This was a quality match between the two teams and we’ll surely see the rematch at the Royal Rumble or perhaps beforehand. All four men involved were up to the challenge and they had the crowd on their side. A second official made the count, but as mentioned earlier, we had the back and forth and the decision of the primary official held weight and that was all she wrote on this one.
They highlighted the RAW opening after the tag title contest and we find out later that we’ll hear from the women’s champion, Charlotte, about how she’s managed to stay undefeated on PPV. The main event is announced as a six man tag and it’ll be Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho/Braun Strowman against Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns/Sami Zayn.
After the main event announcement, there is a beautiful video package in honor of the legendary Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka who passed over the weekend. They show great moments from his career and we hear from his daughter, Tamina Snuka. We see the infamous splash off the top of the cage onto Don Muraco. What a moment. A tremendous dedication to the fallen great.
Another hype package for Emmalina. Still waiting and finding it to be a head scratcher because she’s such an immense talent. We pan to a backstage segment where Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are listening to Sami Zayn in full-on strategy mode on how they are going to win the six man later tonight. Seth says that while he appreciates Sami, they’ve been there before. He puts his hand in for a team cheer and he is left on his own as we head to the ring for Cruiserweight action between Tony Nese and the Cruiserweight Champion, Baltimore’s own, “The Outlandish” Rich Swann!
We never actually get to the contest as Neville rushes the ring to attack Rich Swann, but Swann is up to the challenge and he’s game to fight back. Nese tries to intercede and Neville says “Are you kidding me?” and he properly disposes of Nese. Neville takes care of Swann and I must admit, the newfound aggression of heel Neville is very entertaining. Swann is the perfect face in this equation and I’m looking forward to that contest at the Rumble. We’ll get to see The New Day up next and they’ll address entering the Royal Rumble individually and how they’ll get along with the power of positivity.
The New Day speak at length about the Rumble and talk about how all three of them are going to win and headline ‘Mania before they are interrupted by Titus O’Neil. Michael Cole talks about how he just won’t go away. Titus says he isn’t out there for any “booty business”. He says he doesn’t want to be in The New Day, he wants to replace The New Day instead. He says since they have three spots in the Rumble, why don’t they give up one of their spots? He tells them to get into a huddle and Kofi says if he knew about calling a huddle, he’d still be playing football. Woods says that if they beat Titus, he has to stop texting and showing up unannounced. He calls Woods “thick ’ems” and he tries to start a “Titus Rocks” chant. Titus will compete against Big E. and it’s up next.
Big E. defeats Titus O’Neil via pinfall with the Big Ending. Cut and dry. Titus Brand stock continues to fall as he suffers another debilitating loss to members of the New Day, losing to Woods and Big E. in subsequent weeks. We get a Royal Rumble promo featuring “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan after the match and we’ll have Charlotte up next after the break to talk about her PPV success rate.
Charlotte is out and talks about her success on PPV not being a result of her being genetically superior, but because she studied her opponents and she understands how to defeat them. She says you can’t be average and says that Bayley is the best example of being just that. Charlotte calls her a “fan”, as best stated by ther father of Triple H. She shows pics of Bayley with Cena, RVD and Bret Hart. She shows Bayley’s notes about becoming a superstar, she quotes some of Bayley’s poetry. Charlotte says while Bayley was dreaming, she was winning state championships and being the best. She mocks a fan who is reading the letter aloud. Charlotte shows a letter that she wrote to a high school teacher Mr. Lang. I remember the clip and they show it again from where Bayley reads the very same poem and she got emotional. Charlotte cuts the clip short and mocks Bayley’s tears. Charlotte legitimately has on the world’s coolest outfit tonight, for the record. Charlotte reads the poem to a massive “We Want Bayley” chant. Charlotte says she hopes Bayley got an “F” on the poem because it’s a pile of empty dreams. She calls Bayley a worker who wrestled in high school gyms and armories while she was headlining shows. Bayley finally makes her presence known, but Charlotte quickly takes her leave as Bayley grabs a mic and asks Charlotte what she’s doing? Charlotte asks if she’s ashamed of being an “average fan”. Bayley asks if that’s her big strategy, trying to embarrass her. Bayley says she isn’t ashamed of her passion for the fed and for her hard work. Bayley says she wasn’t fortunate enough to have a father who could get her in the door with one phone call, but her own father supported her and took her to WWE live events with money he didn’t have. Bayley told her dad that one day she’d be that star and Charlotte mocks her. Bayley hits her with a few corny poems about beating Charlotte for the title. She gets some jeers from the poetry lovers in the crowd, but she’s having fun with it and truthfully, so is the crowd. Saxton says Charlotte just got served and Graves tells him to shut up, which might have been the moment of the night. Bayley plays to the crowd as her music plays and they once again show clips from earlier before a backstage promo with the heels in tonight’s main-eventing talking about decimation this evening. Braun Strowman says he’ll take care of everyone himself before they head to a break.
Cedric Alexander’s breakup with Alicia Fox from last week’s 205 Live was shown earlier and how he told her to get with Noam Dar. He’s competing tonight against THE Brian Kendrick and at least Cedric will have the chance to be Cedric and get away from that bad storyline. Foxxy and Dar will work as a pair because of the heel heat they’ll generate. But for now, to the ring!
Cedric Alexander defeats Brian Kendrick via pinfall with the Lumbar Check. Alicia Fox ran down to the ring and pushed the rope towards Cedric for a rope break before Kendrick told her to “beat it Toots”, which cracked me up. Dar watched on from the back and Kendrick got back into the ring looking for the Captain’s hook before getting KILLED with a Lumbar Check. Kendrick sold that like a dead man, seriously, go find that clip, crowd loved it, I did too. Alicia waited in the ring for a kiss and Cedric walked right past her and towards the back as they show the Nia Jax attack on Sasha Banks once again from earlier in the evening.
In an absolutely spectacular moment following the break, we find out the first induction into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame, it’s none other than the legendary KURT ANGLE! The crowd absolutely bananas with a “You Suck” chant for the Olympic Gold Medalist. The story broke earlier in the day and Michael Cole talked about how much he loved calling Kurt’s matches and he’s excited to be “coming home”. They promote the HOF ceremony and who knows, maybe we’ll see Kurt in the Rumble match or perhaps competing at the Granddaddy of them all? What a moment! The music of Kevin Owens hits and he and Jericho are heading to the ring for the main event, it’s up next!
They promote the new XxX movie with Vin Diesel using The New Day, which will be in theatres Friday, as they continue with the main event intros. We also find out that Kurt Angle will be on Sportscenter Wednesday with the Coach to talk about his HOF induction! Good stuff!
Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho/Braun Strowman defeat Sami Zayn/Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins via pinfall after a Strowman powerslam on Zayn. This was a great match and the crowd was into it. Outside of Rollins nearly killing himself on a suicide dive onto Jericho, he looked great with his offense, Roman and the main event heels got in their signature spots, but they teased some near falls with Zayn before he ultimately feel victim to the big slam from Strowman. After the match, Strowman took Zayn to the top of the ramp to powerslam him through the announce table, but Rollins leveled him with a chair and Roman speared him out of his boots. Owens and Jericho enter the fray however and Jericho eats a pedigree on the ramp from Rollins before KO levels everyone with a steel chair. He then hits a beautiful powerbomb on Reigns through the announce table to end the show and put the screws into a fine RAW, the first in a while!