WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on 1/9/17!
Raw Commisioner, Stephanie McMahon, is sitting down with Raw General Manager, Mick Foley, talking about his performance review for the past year and they hype the Undertaker’s appearance on Raw tonight. Seth Rollins walks into the segment and announces himself for the Royal Rumble match. Braun Strowman then makes his presence known and says he wants Goldberg or Roman Reigns “or else”. Foley says Goldberg isn’t even in the building. Seth has a solution to the problem and he and Strowman mix it up and Steph threatens to fire everyone. We then get confirmation of the Undertaker on Raw tonight, where he’ll be as will “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels to promote his new film. We hear the music of the US Champ, Roman Reigns, who will start the show by defending his title in a handicap match against the Universal Champion, Kevin Owens, and Chris Jericho.
The US Title match stops as quickly as it starts. Jericho and Owens are joined by Braun Strowman in an absolute decimation of Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins runs down to even the odds and he mixes it up with Strowman. Steph is out and she says she won’t have her US Title match marred with a DQ ending and thus, she’ll give Roman Reigns time to heal up and that’ll take place later tonight. After a break, she books Rollins vs. Strowman, so we’ll have that instead.
Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins is ruled a Double Countout. Smart call despite the crowd hating that as it protects two top stars heading into the Rumble. A great back and forth contest where Rollins was not made to look weak, hitting many of his signature spots. Strowman nailed many power moves and the turning point in the match came when Seth missed a top rope splash onto Strowman on the outside and the ensuing brawl led to the countout. Braun was looking to end Seth after the match, but Seth drove the monstrous Strowman away with a steel chair. They hype the appearance of Shawn Michaels and promote his new Christian film “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” via a commercial for it. They head to a break after the trailer.
Drew Brees, the great Saints QB, was shown with his sons, at ringside after the break. They highlights the events of last week which led to Bayley becoming the number one contender to the women’s title and both she and “The Boss” Sasha Banks, are backstage and they are chatting about the victory and if Bayley wins the belt, a future competitive interaction between the two. Charlotte, the women’s champion, walks into the segment applauding and she says that performance that Banks gave was better than Emma Stone’s work in “La La Land”. Charlotte says that she has never lost on Pay Per View and why in the world anyone could possibly think Bayley will change that? Nia Jax walks up and it leads to Bayley being handled with an assault by the champ. Nia pushes Charlotte to end the segment and they head back to ringside where “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” Austin Aries, has joined the commentary team for Cruiserweight action.
Jack Gallagher defeats Drew Gulak via pinfall with a corner dropkick. Entertaining stuff from Gallagher as per usual, including a hilarious spot where Gulak was trapped with a leglock and he ended up falling flat on his face. After the match, Gallagher says he’d like to bury the hatchet with Ariya Daivari and he extends an olive branch for a “parlay” on 205 Live tomorrow. If Daivari doesn’t agree, he’ll be forced to engage him in “fisticuffs”. They show HBK backstage with TJ Perkins, learning how to dab, Shawn will be in the ring after the break!
We’re back with Mick Foley walking the halls looking for the Undertaker. Steph approaches him and says his entire performance review hinges on the Undertaker showing up tonight.
We hear the familiar music of the legendary Shawn Michaels and he heads down the ramp and to the ring to a massive and well deserved pop. Michaels makes a joke about having to catch his breath, he then hypes the Rumble and that it’s in his hometown of San Antonio. He talks about his victories in the Rumble match and the championships that followed. He talks about Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and how they’ll factor into the Rumble match. The quintessential “one more match” chant starts up and it’s deafening. He plugs his film that opens on January 20th and he is then interrupted by Rusev and Lana. They are joined by Jinder Mahal. Rusev says the flick would be better if Lana was is in. Shawn tells Rusev that the film is done and Rusev says Shawn can do like “that bad movie Star Wars” and they can CGI Lana in. Shawn says they can CGI in hairy monsters like Rusev and the crowd chants “Sweet Chin Music”. Rusev says he doesn’t do that anymore. Funny stuff. Rusev then refers to himself as “The Bulgarian George Clooney”. Why is this man not WWE champion again? Rusev says Lana should be in the film because if not, everyone will forget about it, just like Shawn’s career. Enzo Amore and Big Cass are out, the crowd going nuts when their music hits. Enzo is still in the wheelchair, apparently having injured his leg this past week. Enzo and Cass put HBK over and then Shawn says the others are “haters”, just like the kids say. Enzo says Lana is a talented actress because she wakes up next to Rusev everyday and pretends like she isn’t repulsed. They then liken Rusev, Lana and Jinder to several films including “The Pianist”. A fine film starring Adrien Brody, which netted him an Oscar, and they make a word play with it. The situation escalates and leads to Cass challenging Rusev to singles action. Rusev accepts, but he says Cass will compete against Jinder Mahal instead!
Big Cass defeats Jinder Mahal via pinfall with the Empire Elbow. Cass controlled the majority of the match, but as expected, HBK tuned up the band, nailing Jinder with Sweet Chin Music, which led to an East River Crossing by Big Cass and then the elbow for the W. HBK celebrates with Enzo and Cass to the delight of the crowd.
They highlight the attack on Roman earlier as the heels picked the bones of the US Champ before the intervention of “The Architect” Seth Rollins. They promote the title match later in the evening.
Neville defeats Lince Dorado via submission with a crossface variant. Great action highlighted by Dorado hitting some high flying aerial maneuvers including a springboard stunner and a topei suicida. Neville took charge with an assault of his own which led to the submission victory with the crossface submission variant which almost could be a modified Rings of Saturn as well. After the match, the Cruiserweight Champion, “The Outlandish” Rich Swann came to the defense of the Cruiserweights after Neville’s assaults in recent weeks by attacking Neville and sending him into retreat mode.
After the match, we have a video pacakge highlighting the incredible 2010 return of the “Rated R Superstar” Edge. That was an incredible comeback, similar to that of 2008, where John Cena came back months ahead of an injury. They get thoughts from Edge before they head to a break.
Stephanie McMahon is taking notes in her office before she orders a jabronie to remove a potted plant before Bayley and Sasha barge into the office and they demand a tag team match against Charlotte and Nia Jax next week. Steph tells Sasha to take the bass out of her voice and then she chastises Bayley calling her “Steph”. She books the tag team match, but it will be tonight and not next week, despite the women licking their wounds after the attack earlier. We head back to the ring where the good brother, Karl Anderson, is on commentary for singles action between Luke Gallows and Sheamus. Cesaro joins Karl on commentary with the Raw announce team as the bell sounds.
Sheamus defeats Luke Gallows via pinfall with the Brogue Kick. Cesaro and Anderson were quite good on commentary, trying to one up each other. The two big men employed power offenses in the ring and after Anderson attacked Cesaro at the announce table, it looks like Gallows might win it with a flapjack maneuver, but Cesaro took charge on the ramp, and the second distraction led to Gallows eating a Brogue Kick and Sheamus walked away with the victory.
The clock is running out on Mick Foley, we find out whether or not the Undertaker is on Raw, and that’s apparently next. We come back to a backstage segment where Roman Reigns proclaims that he’ll successfully defend his title tonight as it’s always been “one vs. all”. We head back to the ring to Mick Foley talking about his historic career and interactions over the years with the Undertaker. He calls for the Undertaker and “one more encounter” here and now. The lights go out and the crowd goes nuts, but instead, we hear the music of Stephanie McMahon. Steph apologizes on behalf of Raw for Mick’s inability to produce the Undertaker. She decides to give his performance review publically. She says the crowd reaction is a direct result of Mick Foley. She talks about his successes, such as Cesaro and Sheamus, the women’s hell in a cell match. She even talks about Jericho being in a shark cage at the Rumble. She talks about one step forward, two steps back such as the rise of Braun Strowman, nearly losing the Cruiserweights, and getting beat by Smackdown in the ratings. She says she trusted Mick, but now she is left with a question about whether Foley belongs in charge. The gong hits and the lights go out. The Deadman appears and he takes the long stroll to the ring, letting the crowd enjoy the lengthy entrance. Taker takes a live mic and says that he’s back and that he will be entering the Rumble match! Huge news as it looks like we might enjoy a John Cena/Taker title match at the granddaddy of them all! Taker says he answers to no one and he goes where he wants, when he wants. He says that nobody controls the Undertaker. He gets in Steph’s face and says “no one”. He says he has returned to the city where he suffered his most devastating loss and where the streak ended at the hands of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. But the road continus to the rumble and he’s dug twenty nine holes for twenty nine souls. He says if anyone stands in his way, they will “rest in peace”. The gong hits again and the Phenom leaves the ring to a grand ovation. What a moment and Raw needed it!
“The International Treasures” Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens talk about taking the US title and making it theirs tonight after they beat Roman Reigns. They also talk about Goldberg interrupting the Kevin Owens show last week. Jericho is wearing the awesome boat anchor scarf. They head to the ring for the women’s tag match after the backstage promo.
Nia Jax and Charlotte defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks via pinfall following a leg drop by Jax on Bayley. As expected, the injuries were exploited and this was quite the showcase for the dominant Jax who had her way with the faces. The match went for a few minutes, but the outcome wasn’t any grand surprise and Jax ended it with the big legdrop. Charlotte rubs it in, holding the title belt in Bayley’s face post match before the cameras pan backstage where Noam Dar is waiting for a slap from Alicia Fox. She instead pulls him in for a deep and passionate kiss, but just as you thought she was about to join the heel, she says “Yeah Cedric Was Right, you can’t handle a real woman.” He is left dumbfounded as the camera pans to the ring where the former world tag team champions are headed. They highlights the events of last week where Titus O’Neil tried to join The New Day.
We are introduced to “Booty Juice”, which makes sure your throat stays loose as Titus O’Neil gets a chance to redeem himself from the infamous NXT failure where he stumbled over the keg. He pulls a Desean Jackson and fumbles the keg before he crosses the goal line. They show a replay and Corey Graves says it’s horrible for the Titus brand. He was making good time too. Titus pushes Kofi Kingston and Kofi ask “whoooo” wants to see Kofi put the whoopin’ on Titus and that match is next.
Kofi Kingston defeats Titus O’Neil via pinfall after Trouble In Paradise. Titus actual had a strong showing against the athletically gifted veteran. They had a good back and forth match for the time allowed and Titus actually tossed Kofi over the top and onto his New Day brethren. Titus however eventually found himself distracted at the wrong time and it led to a Trouble In Paradise and the victory for Kofi. The main event is up next and a graphic is shown for the US Title Handicap match where Roman Reigns defends against Jeri-KO!
The assault began even before the match officially was underway. Reigns fought back with resilience, actually trying to lock Chris Jericho in a sharkcage atop the ramp, but KO broke up the attempt and threw Reigns into it. The beatdown continued and the bell offically rang, rules in effect where Jericho and KO have to tag in and out. Jericho kept Reigns grounded with a headlock, but Reigns fought out of it.
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens defeats Roman Reigns via pinfall in a handicap match after Jericho pinned Reigns following a Codebreaker to win the US Title! A brilliant end to the show and while Roman fought valiantly, he succumbed to the numbers game in the end as KO tied him up in the ropes and Jericho hit a Codebreaker. KO then hit the apron bomb on him and the two men dragged the lifeless form of Reigns into the ring for another Codebreaker and the end of the line for the US Title reign of Roman. The only thing that worries me is that this could lead to Reigns winning the Universal Title and defending against someone at ‘Mania in a match that won’t turn heads, but we’ll see how that plays out. KO and Jericho battling each other is something that will surely play out in short order. Either way, a great end to the show with the veteran Jericho “drinking it in maaaaaan” as it relates to a championship victory! He did “it”.