This week, Monday Night Raw hails from the home of hardcore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Will we see tables get involved in the triple threat? What about the Dudleys returning to cost Gallows and Anderson in their triple threat match for the Tag Team Championships against the New Day and Sheasaro? If New Day retain, they’ll tie Demolition‘s record for the longest reign ever! If not, they’ll probably lose the belt at RoadBlock (not RoadBlock: End of The Line, because that’s ridiculous).
Monday Night Raw Review: Tag Team Turmoil
The New Day vs. Gallows and Anderson vs. Sheasaro
The show opened with a tag team triple threat for the WWE Tag Team Championships. The New Day came out, doing their spiel, and as the segment went on, it got stranger. Xavier Woods dedicated the match to his grandmother, Kofi Kingston called himself handsome, and Big E said he was the thick, meaty third leg. Yeah… Yeah.
Big E and Kingston were the legal men, and despite being a triple threat, it was another of those weird matches where only two teams could be in the ring at a time. These kinds of matches always make my head hurt. There’s a certain suspension of disbelief required to love this wacky sport, and that goes out the window in matches like this.
Trying to give play-by-play in a match with this many men would be absolute madness, but ultimately, it was a solid match. Cesaro absolutely stole the show, but Kofi was able to sneak in and hit Trouble in Paradise to steal the win. I still don’t know whether he was the legal man or not, but these things always get lost in the shuffle. The only bad thing is that the match ended 20 minutes into the show. It was fine, but nowhere near as good as it should have been.
Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s
Idea- Furious Stephanie McMahon sees that Kofi wasn’t the legal man, and she restarts the match, which the New Day lose (Hopefully to Club)
— Ryan (@RyanSmithLWOS) December 13, 2016
Braun Strowman vs. Curtis Axel
Remember when Curtis Axel was a Paul Heyman Guy? Me neither.
As should be expected, Braun Strowman absolutely destroyed Curtis Axel. Byron Saxton came to the ring, and nervously attempted to interview Strowman. Saxton asked Strowman how he felt about Sami Zayn tweeting that he demanded a match with the former Wyatt, and Braun said that all of his tiny opponents looked the same looking down at them, and that Mick Foley was defending him.
Segment/Match Quality- 5/10 Woo’s
Ariya Daivari vs. Lince Dorado
Ariya Daivari might be the first non-champion in WWE’s CruiserWeight division to have a character. It’s not a fantastic character yet, but at least he has a character. Ariya was beating up Lince Dorado when Jack Gallagher appeared and hilariously announced his intention to interfere with the match. The two brawled for a moment before Daivari retreated.
What a gentleman.
Segment/Match Quality- 9/10 Woo’s
The Rollins Report
Seth Rollins made his way to the ring, bringing back my favorite segment of 2016, the Rollins Report. However, unlike last time, where he hilariously edited an interview with Roman Reigns together, it was an actual talk show.
Rollins was calling out Triple H again this week, and yet again, he was desperately trying to explain this nonsense angle. Rollins wants Triple H, but in order to get to him, he has to wrestle Kevin Owens, but in order to get to Kevin Owens, he has to get past Chris Jericho.
Yeah. Poor Rollins.
The WWE Universal Champion‘s music hit and he came out with a stool, parking at the top of the ramp. Owens declared that he had no interest in participating in the show, but that he had an announcement to make. That announcement being that the New Day would have yet another tag team title match, this time against Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.
Jericho, legendary ears burning, came out to confront Kevin Owens. Jericho had no interest in teaming with Owens and Rollins kept throwing fire on the flames. He called the two “Bon Jovi and Meatloaf”, which is categorically better than Sparklecrotch.
Jericho went to put Seth Rollins on the list, but he stopped short. instead of putting Rollins on the list of Jericho, he said he’d put the Architect on the disabled list. Jericho made his way to the ring, with Owens in pursuit. The two best friends began beating up on Rollins, and it looked like Jericho was going to make good on his promise when Reigns came to his rescue.
I love seeing Reigns and Rollins together. Give us a tag team match already. That’s all I want in the whole world.
That, and a Kenny Omega signing,
The former Shieldmates fought JeriKO off, and Jericho was about to take a Pedigree when Kevin Owens saved him.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s
T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
The former WWE CruiserWeight Champions, T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick faced off before their triple threat match with current champion, Rich Swann at RoadBlock this Sunday. The two faced off like a couple of old friends that have wrestled a thousand times… which they have. The two put on a pretty good match, but even the hardcore Philadelphia crowd seemed to get pretty bored halfway through.
Kendrick eventually won with a move I regrettably associate with Eva Marie, and I’m pretty excited for their match this weekend.
Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s
Backstage Segment w/Mick Foley, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns
Usually, I don’t include backstage segments, but this one was special because IT MUST BE CHRISTMAS, WWE ANSWERED MY LETTER. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were added to the Tag Team championship match later tonight!
Now… Where’s Kenny Omega?
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s
Bayley vs. Alicia Fox
This is still happening? Why? Why is this still happening? We haven’t even seen Cedric Alexander on Raw near either of these women. Is the women’s division on Raw really so thin that Bayley‘s match options are Alicia Fox or Nia Jax?
Fox got some offense in, but like every Bayley match, she came back and got the win. Fox and Bayley are talented, but this feud is stupid.
Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s
Lana and Rusev
Lana opened the segment, and with respect to my girlfriend, I’ll leave it at that. She welcomed her husband, Rusev to the ring, to tell the true story of what happened with Enzo Amore last week. Rusev teased the crowd, asking if they wanted to see what he and Lana do behind closed doors. Somewhere Edge and Lita cringed.
Of course, when the clip started, it was a recap of last week, when Rusev murdered Enzo. Rusev began running down the crowd, and bragging about how they crushed Enzo. Of course, out came Big Cass, looking furious.
Awkwardly, the music kept playing while Cass struggled through a promo. Thanks a lot, Kevin Dunn. Cass stumbled through the promo, at one point saying that Rusev caught Enzo with his pants down, but his pants were on… even though he clearly wasn’t wearing pants.
The two brawled for a bit, and as everyone already knows, the two will meet this Sunday at RoadBlock. Boy, oh boy does Cass need Enzo.
Segment/Match Quality- 4/10 Woo’s
Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal
Sami Zayn requested to be traded after Mick Foley refused yet again to let him wrestle Braun Strowman. Foley said he’d try to get a trade from SmackDown Live, and Zayn wrestled ROCK STAR Jinder Mahal.
Despite being starstruck, Zayn beat Mahal with a Helluva Kick, and Michael Cole made sure we knew that it could be the last time we see it happen on Monday Night Raw. Foley, looking fantastic, by the way, made his way to the ring, looking stern.
Foley announced that Zayn would be traded to SmackDown, assuming he signed the paperwork. Zayn said what he really wanted was a match with Braun Strowman, and if he couldn’t have that, he’d go to brand blue.
Foley teased Zayn, saying that Daniel Bryan decided Eva Marie was worth as much as he was. Sami Zayn said he was worth a thousand Eva Marie’s. And ya know what, he’s completely right. Zayn cut an exceptional promo, saying he wanted Braun Strowman. The two out-yelled each other until Foley gave Zayn the match at RoadBlock.
Foley revealed that there was no trade, and he wanted to make sure Zayn really wanted it. Zayn proved himself to Foley, and that the match had a ten minute time limit. Cut to Spider-Man vs. BoneSaw, please.
Everyone’s bummed that Zayn won’t be on SmackDown Live, but this is a blessing. This is part of the bigger picture, and Sami Zayn will be Universal Champion some day. If you really think underutilized talent is treated better on SmackDown, just ask Tyler Breeze or Apollo Crews, who have taken a backseat to Rhyno and James Ellsworth.
Segment/Match Quality- 9/10 Woo’s
The Shield (couldn’t help myself) vs. JeriKO vs. The New Day
Just realized… if Reigns and Rollins win, the Samoan Superman could be WWE Universal, United States, and Tag Team Champion… Playing with my heartstrings here, WWE.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in the same corner is a sight for sore eyes. This time, it was Xavier Woods teaming up with Big E, and just like the first round, this match was a mess. There was one really awesome moment where all six men were involved in a super-plex and bodies crashed all over the ring.
The match went crazy when Rollins pushed Owens on top of Jericho going for a pin and the two began fighting. Jericho shoved Owens before Rollins cleaned house. Rollins hit Jericho with the Pedigree before Big E pulled him out of the ring and Woods got the win.
Owens and Jericho bickered, highlighted by K.O. saying to Jericho, “You haven’t been doing this long enough to do this”. Meanwhile, Reigns set up in the corner, and as Jericho left the ring, Owens ate a spear. Reigns picked up the Universal Championship and ended the show holding both belts.
Segment/Match Quality- 10/10 Woo’s
Best Segment/Match of the Night- Shield vs. New Day vs. JeriKO
This match was so much fun. There were a couple of really convincing false finishes, and nobody knew who was going to win. The ending of the match was absolutely fast-paced, and everything is set up well for RoadBlock. All three teams looked fantastic together, and I honestly didn’t know who was going to win at 11 o’clock. You can’t ask for more than that.
Worst Segment/Match of the Night- Bayley vs. Alicia
This feud is stupid, and it’s not being executed well. Alicia likes Cedric, which we haven’t seen on Raw. Bayley was nice to Cedric, which we haven’t seen on Raw. Alicia and Bayley fight, Bayley wins, rinse, repeat. Either let Alicia win one, get Cedric involved, or drop this awful feud, WWE.
Show Quality- 6/10 Woo’s
Not a bad show, but it felt discombobulated at points. It felt like a tale of two shows, and we saw the same talents far too often. As great as Rollins, the New Day, and JeriKo are, we don’t need nineteen segments featuring them. On a three hour show, only five segments were without these men, and three of those included the Sami Zayn story.