It’s the last Raw of the year! It’s been a pretty up and down year to say the least, but hopefully 2016 brings us some awesomeness i.e. some NXT call ups.
I missed last week’s Raw, but given that it was the Slammy Awards Raw, all I really missed was three hours of video clips, no shows and a half decent cage match from what I hear. This week we had the hyped return of John Cena and another appearance from Vince McMahon on the slow build to the Royal Rumble.
Vince McMahon returns to open Raw: Botch
Dear lord this was a bad segment. The crowd was sort of into it for a while since Vince showing up these days is kind of a rarity. But this segment was just bad. Vince and Roman went back and forth too long and they lost the crowd, who began chanting loudly for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. I rolled my eyes when Roman shoved Vince and Stephanie brought the police out. We’ve seen the old babyface arrest angle a billion times before. Then they swerved us by having Vince getting arrested. The thing is, Roman didn’t do a single thing to get Vince arrested. It was just a stupid scheme that blew up in Vince’s face and it ultimately led absolutely nowhere. It’s not as if Roman did anything to get Vince arrested. The crappy writing handled that. So Roman didn’t really get over from it and it just felt like a big waste of time in my eyes.
Kevin Owens vs. Neville: Botch
I was priming myself for an awesome match, but then it was over in a few seconds. I’m sure that the idea behind this was so that Neville can say he pinned Owens clean in a few seconds, but his win was immediately trivialized by the beating Owens gave him. And I don’t like the idea of Owens losing, even if it is brushed off as a random fluke (which doesn’t help Neville). But I do like Owens as the enraged madman that won’t accept a loss, no matter what. The guy should be the top heel on the show right now, not Sheamus and his job squad.
Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks: Hit
It dragged a bit longer than it needed to, but this was a very solid match. I do question why Becky is losing so much though. She seems to lose more than she wins, which is odd since it seems like they’re building her to be Charlotte’s next challenger. It wasn’t as good as their Takeover match earlier this year, but you could tell that they were both trying hard in front of a crowd that was strangely not interested.
Kalisto vs. Kofi Kingston: Hit
This was a really good match. Kalisto is crazy fun to watch and he and Kofi work so well together. It’s just a damn shame for the faces that The New Day are so great as a stable, there’s no other tag team on the main roster right now that can hold a candle to them in terms of pure entertainment and so the fans will always be behind the heels.
Big E vs. Sin Cara: Hit
I’m beyond being annoyed by the blatant 50/50 booking. I’m just enjoying the matches now. That kamikaze roll from the second rope was pretty awesome and Sin Cara did a decent job of working despite injuring himself during the match. Fun and painless stuff.
Big Show knocks out the midcard: Botch
It seems like every year, Big Show enters the Royal Rumble and we get the usual hype train of “how can anyone ever possibly eliminate the Big Show?” Then the Big Show gets eliminated, nobody cares and the next year they pretend Big Show’s never been thrown out of a ring before and act like Big Show’s some un-eliminatable force again. It’s a silly endless loop that’s beginning to insult the audience’s intelligence. As long as this Rumble doesn’t end with Big Show and Kane wandering around the ring, throwing out all the fan favourites again with big stupid grins on their faces, then it’ll at least be a slight improvement from this year’s Rumble.
Big Show vs. Ryback: Botch
So you just have Big Show lay out a bunch of guys and hype himself up as a big deal for the Royal Rumble, then 5 minutes later he loses a match by count out. Strong. I’ll tell you who I would like to see them actually build up – Ryback. The guy has been putting a lot of effort into his matches lately. He’s not the best out there, but he’s obviously trying hard, and I get scared every time he goes to the top rope. But hey, if you build this guy up for the next 3-4 weeks, people might actually care when he enters the Rumble. Big Show though? No one will care when he comes out.
The League of Nations vs. Dean Ambrose & The Usos: Botch
I agree with the audience, this was boring. Every over long six-man tag match we’ve ever seen. It was super long, and no one’s invested in The League of Midcarders. These sorts of matches just kill the crowd because there are no stakes and the wins/losses don’t matter. I did like Owens’ post-match beatdown on Ambrose though. Why didn’t Roman Reigns come out to help though?
US Title Main Event: Hit
If you ignore the predictable and eye rolling finish, this was a damn solid main event. It had a lot of hype for it since it was Cena’s return, and I really liked Cena’s back and forth with Del Rio. It was also the most entertaining Del Rio has been since he returned. He was able to cut a good heel promo without having to talk about “Mexamerica” or some other bad storyline. The crowd was into the match throughout the duration. As much as Cena might get boo’d by half the crowd, he still gets the strongest reaction of anyone on the roster right now.
Final Segment: Hit
Ultimately, Vince’s “arrest” storyline was completely pointless. It really went nowhere and was just a waste of time in an attempt to keep viewers hanging around to see if it did go somewhere. After a brawl between Roman Reigns and The League of Nations, Vince came out and announced a world title match between Reigns and Sheamus next week, with Vince as the special guest referee. The prospect of Sheamus vs. Reigns again doesn’t excite me, but Vince being in the mix will make it interesting, and I’m glad to see them finally giving us a reason to tune in next week. Half the time you don’t even know what the main event of Raw is going to be until about five minutes before hand. This is the second straight week where the main event is booked and hyped in advance. I’d love to see more of this logical booking please. It’s not that hard, and even if it’s not something that exciting, it’s something fans will have on their minds between Raws.