Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 1/11/16: One Versus All (McMahon Style)
Posted by Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
One Versus All (McMahon Style)
– In case you’d been living under a rock, the opening video reminded us how WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns found himself in the latest bind, now having to defend his Title against 29 others in the Royal Rumble match after outsmarting the McMahon clan when he retained his Title by beating Sheamus with Vince as Special Guest Referee on the previous Raw.
– The opening in-ring segment with The Locker Room, The Wyatt Family, Reigns and Vince/Steph McMahon was an alright start to the show, mainly revolving around Vince/Steph gloating that they finally found the scenario that’d make Reigns suffer on a big stage like the Royal Rumble. They seemed to “butter up” various talents like Dolph Ziggler (who looked disinterested) and Kevin Owens, saying it could be their moment to grab the brass ring, but it didn’t amount to much. The Wyatt Family came out to make their presence known, but didn’t factor into things. If it’s encouraging, we did see Damien Sandow on stage with his classic blue robe. At least Reigns didn’t look totally dumb when he questioned what’d happen if he won the match and retained, which was expectedly met with mild McMahon laughter. The segment’s finishing touch gave the McMahons slight momentum when they announced Reigns would compete in a “One Versus All” main event match where he’d fight an undetermined number of talent before immediately hyping that WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose would be in action next against Sheamus, who attacked him from behind. We’ll assume the opening segment of Raw will forever feature Reigns and a McMahon ensemble.
– The Sheamus-Ambrose match was seemingly met with mild reaction from the crowd, though the opening segment didn’t do much favors. Sheamus looked ruthless with how he threw Ambrose into the barricades, while Ambrose valiantly fought back. It was all for naught though when we saw both men get counted out, the second consecutive match to do so dating back to the last SmackDown, a match that also featured Ambrose. Sheamus got busted open pretty bad upon hitting the ring post and smartly rolled away from the cameras, overshadowed by Owens’ attack on Ambrose, needing six officials to hold him back from going further. Owens was an angry man and this furthered his feud with Ambrose about as good as possible.
– Ambrose’s backstage promo built off the previous segment well, saying that a few injuries didn’t stop his pulse and as long as his heart was still beating, it was bad news for Owens. Well, golly.
– It made sense for Paul Heyman to try to get his client a guaranteed WrestleMania Championship match against the Royal Rumble winner, ironically switching around what happened last year. The backstage segment with Heyman and the McMahons was okay for what it was, all things considering. It fit Heyman’s character to mask his agenda by first complimenting Vince before going into negotiation mode to Vince’s disapproval. It was odd that they actually acknowledged the cameras in the room as wanting to move the convo behind closed doors, but it wasn’t exactly done in a clear way. Could’ve had them walk into a nearby office with the door getting closed on the cameraman. They at least did that on TNA recently.
– They had awkward history of Titus O’Neil crashing Stardust’s “Star Room” with him trying to “liven up” the cosmic warlord, or something stupid like that. Not sure what it’s all about, but they keep having the two interact in segments and matches, this show being no different. The match was anticlimactic given the circumstances. At least O’Neil got the win, but we don’t see how this benefitted him. Stardust getting the post-match attack probably means this damn pointless feud will continue.
– You especially know it’s Royal Rumble time when Chris Jericho makes his return. This is more like his 2012 comeback, only with the “Y2J’s Greatest Hits Compilation” instead of “Silent Man.” Given how he reinvents himself, we hope the next gimmick installment leaves us speechless and isn’t solely for the nostalgia. On that note, the closest touch to his former “self-righteous man” character was his suit he wore in this segment, but it was still Y2J all the way. The “Rooty Tooty Booty” thing was still going and we got a Highlight Reel segment with Jericho and the WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day going back and forth about it. At the least, Jericho seemed pumped at the idea to become a seven-time Champion by winning the Rumble. The Usos coming out had them shine in their own way and we had figured it’d go the way of a six-man tag, but that didn’t happen. More on that below.
– The Usos-Kofi Kingston/Big E match was Jericho’s idea with him in The Usos’ corner while Woods was with his unicorn crew. Interesting that they’re keeping Jericho out of the ring thus far, though he had presence in the whole match. His interactions with Woods (scaring him away, playing his trombone in his ear, breaking said trombone, etc.) were entertaining and carried the brunt of the match not covered by the Usos’ swaying athletics. Another newsworthy event out of this match was the Usos getting the win by pinning the current Champ to pencil themselves in as potential contenders.
– The Steph-Heyman backstage segment gave us the idea that cameras were now apparently okay in the meeting now. There was clear tension as always and that was covered well, with Steph/Vince not budging on their refusal to grant Heyman’s client the main event spot at WrestleMania, instead making him compete in the Royal Rumble match. Liked Steph’s line mentioning she owned Lesnar’s contract and had final say.
– We’re happy to see Sting will finally have his own WWE Hall Of Fame ring, but we’re surprised it didn’t come last year, since his appearance was guaranteed. He’ll always have his influence on the wrestling business and it’s nice to see that his legacy will be further cemented.
– The in-ring segment featuring The Wyatt Family, The Social Outcasts and Ryback was slightly confusing on an ideological level. So, The Wyatts came out for their trademark dark arena promo before getting interrupted by the Social Outcasts, who slightly hyped the Rumble match as “every man for himself,” but they wanted a fight because on this night, they were family. It turned into an apparent eight-man tag that barely went three minutes before Ryback came out and attacked The Wyatts for revenge, as both he and the Outcasts cleared the heels from the ring. So, are The Social Outcasts faces now?
– We won’t argue against the idea of Kalisto getting mic time, as his personality and athleticism mirror that of one Rey Mysterio, but this promo was pretty generic, even by the lowest standards. At least there was a point, as he praised John Cena welcoming all races and opponents while he was United States Champion, criticizing current Champion Alberto Del Rio for doing the opposite. Sure, you want to get the fans behind you, but you need to say more than “I’ll give it my all.”
– Organic awesomeness of 2016 WWE moment #1: Kalisto wins the US Title. This was set up brilliantly with Del Rio’s pre-match promo where he took credit for “Juan Cena” and his sidelining rotator cuff injury, which was the original storyline anyway. Kalisto and Del Rio have gotten into a groove in the ring together and now tell a good enough story that almost anybody can get into their matches. Kalisto again had an excellent performance and seemed like he’d have a few good near-falls with Del Rio set to retain, but they actually threw a curveball by having Kalisto get the upset. It’s a credibility booster and we’re happy they struck while the iron was hot. Just imagine if Kalisto never broke out that Sailda del Sol off the ladder at TLC.
– WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and Ric Flair get better and better as a duo. The Divas division’s finally revolving around the cocky heel Champ instead of pointless triplet alliances in endless warfare and everybody’s benefitting. Simpler is more effective. The backstage promo was par for the course, with Charlotte calling herself a role model and dismissing Lynch as someone who’d never be as good as her. Heel logic makes you call yourself the victim and it worked here.
– It wasn’t long before Lynch got her chance to throw her weight around as the hungry challenger, since she practically stormed the ring before Charlotte could fight Brie Bella in the ring. Flair was in all-heel mode, teasing hand slaps and refusing to let the Champion fight because of “her conditions” and blamed it on Lynch. Great way to get heat, while Lynch practically did all but curse her out for cowardice. The only things we might’ve nitpicked with this was that their SmackDown Championship match where Flair again cost Lynch the Title wasn’t mentioned to this point by anybody, even on commentary. Why treat SmackDown as a show nobody watches? Also, this was the second straight “match” interrupted by someone coming out to attack one of the participants before it could start.
– Lynch had her shining moment in a fiery backstage promo where she finally “found herself” and needed not to rely on friends anymore, getting herself over as a “fighting loner” and her words jumped out at us and you believed she wanted to make Charlotte tap out yet again. Has Triple H taken over some Creative control here? This is too good to be Vince.
– What was most frustrating about the “One Versus All” main event match was that it was never actually treated as a match and was rather an angle where Reigns fought Owens for some time while the “competition” aka other heels like New Day, Stardust, The Ascension and The League Of Nations cheered Owens on. It’s easy to break rules for a match that never had any to begin with and we figured the McMahons would “sic’ em” sooner of later. Getting past that crap was worth it when we saw Lesnar come out to give proper welcomes to Suplex City, saving Reigns last for an F5 special. We liked the little things like Reigns again smiling like during their WrestleMania encounter when he took on the relentless assault and even the bigger message that Lesnar would be in the Rumble, finally giving us some idea of another person in the match besides Reigns who could win it. We’re slightly more intrigued in the match than previous. We’ll give it that.
- Sheamus and Dean Ambrose to a double countout
- Titus O’Neil def. Stardust via pinfall
- The Usos (w/Chris Jericho) def. Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) via pinfall
- Eight-Man Tag – The Wyatt Family and The Social Outcasts to a no-contest
- WWE United States Championship – Kalisto def. Alberto Del Rio (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 28-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Posted on January 18, 2016, in WWE and tagged Alberto Del Rio, Alicia Fox, Becky Lynch, Big E, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, JBL, Jojo, Kalisto, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Michael Cole, Paul Heyman, Renee Young, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns, Royal Rumble, Ryback, Sheamus, Stardust, Stephanie McMahon, Sting, The Ascension, The League Of Nations, The New Day, The Social Outcasts, The Usos, The Wyatt Family, Titus O'Neil, Vince McMahon, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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