Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 12/5/16: Tussle In Texas
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.
Tussle In Texas
– The opening video recapped last week, where the main highlight was WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns’ clean victory over WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens to earn a Universal Title shot at Roadblock: End Of The Line on Dec. 18. Also in that drama was the rift between Owens and his “best friend” Chris Jericho, as Owens denounced Jericho. We also were reminded that Seth Rollins threw Jericho around the arena parking lot to get his own revenge. Side note – the voiceover narrator sounded like a robot. Do we need to make Raw any more sleep-inducing?
– The opening Rollins-Owens in-ring segment was a fine exchange, as Rollins continued to find his way as a babyface out for revenge against Triple H, whom he called out to start it off. Rollins acknowledged his past mistakes and how they had consequences and tied it to The Shield. He also set out a game plan to get to Trips, which would start with eliminating Jericho from the equation so he could take the Universal Title in due time. Owens’ deal was that he made it sound like him and Jericho “made up” and addressed that his loss to Reigns was because of the parking lot attack on Jericho. The biggest news to come out of this was Owens’ “gifts for Jericho,” which included a shot at the US Title against Reigns later on, a chance for revenge against Rollins at Roadblock: EOTL and the announcement of Rollins’ next opponent, The Big Show. Oh god. Not him again. The only thing we didn’t like was how Owens casually mentioned his opponent for tonight was Sami Zayn, his longtime rival whom he had a “last match” with. In case you wondered, Show came out with a large grin, so he was in babyface mode. You can never keep track these days.
– The Rollins-Show match was more of an angle, as Show did some “I’m tall and mighty” spots as he chopped his chest loudly, caught him on a suicide dive attempt and dropped him onto the barricade. Rollins hit multiple top rope knee strikes and Show was knocked off his feet on the third. The one element we liked was Owens’ role as a ringside cheerleader for Show, who didn’t look appreciative. In the end, it caused Show to chokeslam Owens as he motioned to Rollins to “have at him.” Yup, Show left the ring and smiled as he was counted out. Rollins followed this with a pedigree on the Champ. Owens could afford to lose momentum in this way and Rollins benefits, but Show was essentially a giant prop. It was also annoying how the broadcast team spoke for Rollins’ actions upon the endless instant replays.
– The “Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher hype video was good, as the Raw audience learned of his classy ways and he described his in-ring style and wrestling in general to a chess game. We got the sense that he was a throwback soul with pizazz to get over. His “story” was that he looked to bounce back from his Cruiserweight Classic loss and wanted to stand out. We were relieved that they took the best thing from 205 Live’s premiere. Gallagher’s a breath of fresh air if you’re tired of the high-spot aerobics from the usual suspects.
– The Gallagher-Ariya Daivari match was a 205 rematch, which made us disappointed. It’s hard to tell a different story when you have the same players. We respected their intention to get Gallagher over more. He did a backwards handstand for early applause. The broadcast team reminded us that we “weren’t supposed to take Daivari lightly either,” because. The heel put in a few offensive maneuvers with the ropes as a barrier for an advantage, but that was undone with Gallagher’s signature headbutt/running corner dropkick combo to get the win. The Raw commentary team killed this, as we got more out of these two at 205 Live. Give us something different or a new opponent. Daivari’s post-match attack was a nice attempt to score heat, but made Gallagher look like an idiot in that he actually thought that Daivari would show sportsmanship. He’s a bad guy. Wink, wink.
– The Titus O’Neil backstage segment with his pink fliers had us scared. This can’t be good for O’Neil in any way fathomable.
– The Owens/General Manager Mick Foley/Jericho backstage segment advanced some stories and set the episode further. Owens tried to get out of his match with the excuse of the pedigree/chokeslam combo being too much. It didn’t work. The latter portion involved Owens as he tried to get Jericho back in his good graces as he told him what he did for him. Jericho wasn’t impressed. Uh-oh. Poor Owens.
– The Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Rusev/Lana backstage segment was… well… where to begin? Maybe if we explain it, it’ll make sense. Likely won’t happen. So in hindsight, Enzo overheard an argument between Rusev/Lana and interjected himself. This was also the first time we heard anything bad between the two since that awful love rectangle angle with Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae. The “shock value” came from the sight that Lana dropped her wedding ring on purpose for Enzo to swoop in and try to swoon her. It’s like a horror movie where the main character makes a boneheaded decision and you shout out at the screen, “Don’t go in there! It’s a trap!” Well – don’t go in there, Enzo. It’s a trap.
– The second Lana-Enzo backstage segment moved things further as she invited him to a hotel room to “teach her husband a lesson” because he “didn’t appreciate her.” Of course, Enzo danced in anticipation of sexy time. Sigh.
– The Zayn-Owens match started as expected, with Zayn on an aggressive front. They traded planchas. We also received some storyline background that Foley gave Zayn this match in response to a request to face Braun Strowman. Zayn’s tornado DDT onto the apron looked cool. He followed that up with his signature tornado DDT on the floor through the turnbuckle. Owens countered a Zayn superplex attempt into his own spiraled superplex. Excellent sequence as Zayn hit a half-and-half suplex, exploder suplex into the corner and a Blue Thunder Bomb all for a near-fall. Zayn hit an exploder into the barricade. We slowly bought into the idea that Zayn could rack up a win over Owens to drag his program with Strowman into the main event picture and possibly make the Universal Title main event a fatal four-way. Before we got crazy, Owens pulled off the Pop-Up Powerbomb to scrap away victoriously. We liked the way that went down because Owens upped his in-ring credibility with the win and Zayn fought so valiantly, he didn’t lose momentum.
– The Jericho-Reigns backstage segment lightly hyped their match later. Reigns was in comedy mode as he told Jericho there was car paint on his forehead and then implied that he was doing Owens’ dirty work again.
– WWE Raw Women’s Champion Sasha Banks’ backstage promo was certainly newsworthy, as we learned that she challenged Charlotte to a 30-minute Iron Man match at Roadblock: EOTL, as she referenced Charlotte’s “Iron sharpens iron” tweet. Also liked how she addressed that she disliked Charlotte as a person, but as a competitor, she brought out the best in her and they made history repeatedly together. The fact that she barely had a voice also helped sell that last week nearly took everything out of her.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann-TJ Perkins match seemed to follow the story that the Cruiserweight Division’s two biggest names were about to battle. They also backed Swann up some as they reiterated his background story of “wrestling saved his life after he lost his parents” as they aired a hype video that chronicled his defeat of Brian Kendrick on 205 Live. The two mainly exchanged some sleek chain wrestling and “dabs.” The crowd was boldly behind Swann from bell to bell, which we guess was the goal. We saw some potential in Perkins as a brash heel down the road, as he actually got some early heat on his showoff dab to Swann after their first chain wrestling exchange. A well-wrestled effort on both ends that portrayed Perkins as an even competitor, but since Swann would defend the next night in a rematch against Kendrick, it was unlikely that Perkins would win. We still see a triple-threat at Roadblock: EOTL for some reason, so don’t count anything out. The finish was cool, as Perkins came down from the ropes and got hit with Swann’s heel kick finisher.
– The Bayley-Alicia Fox match was a mixed bag. Bayley flaunted new “Bayley Bears” merchandise, which we guess was supposed to make her more endearing to children. Commentator Byron Saxton’s enthusiastic endorsement of this didn’t help. The match’s basis stemmed from “major issues” in a pre-show segment where Fox was jealous that Bayley gave Cedric Alexander (her crush) a bear. Of course, they sold her anger, as Fox came out gleaming and whipping a shirt around, stripper-style. Luckily, that changed when the bell rang, when she aggressively pursued Bayley. Yup, apparently, Fox was now the crazy ex-girlfriend of a guy she hasn’t even dated yet. Fox and Bayley were on the low end of the Raw women’s totem pole, so we appreciated the effort to tell a story with them, but it was weak. Not much of this translated in-ring, as Bayley put her down easily with a Bayley-To-Belly. Alexander wasn’t even featured on the show, nor was the pre-show segment shown. Sigh. Raw logic.
– The Rusev-Cass backstage segment appeared to set up a match for later as Cass faked sympathy that Rusev couldn’t find his wife. That warranted a match in Rusev’s mind of course.
– The Emmalina hype video was chock full of screenshots of social media chatter, but alas, it was nothing more than “soon to premiere.” Again.
– The “Tussle In Texas” match between O’Neil and Mark Henry was flubbed by the commentators when the graphic was shown before the commercial break. We guess Vince McMahon told them to get super excited about it. That worked out well. You would’ve thought this was the second coming of The Rock-Stone Cold Steve Austin. Guess this was just an average card match between “two gladiators”? Why didn’t they previously hype up this matchup? Anyways, the match consisted of O’Neil insulting the University Of Texas, which won him a World’s Strongest Slam and easy loss. All in all, a fancy squash. What are they doing with O’Neil these days? They should team Henry and Show as The Smiling Giants. Also, because he’s such a great guy, the camera focused in as Henry posed with a disabled veteran in the crowd. Or something like that.
– The Enzo-Ric Flair backstage segment was good because we got to see the legend in the flesh. Its undermining nature made us groan, since we saw Flair give his limousine ride in endorsement of Enzo’s journey to his hotel room escapade. Little did he know that it was with a married woman. We guess Flair would endorse that kind of thing too given his reputation, but we’re supposed to support Enzo here? He looked like a major buffoon.
– The Owens/Jericho backstage segment furthered their tensions, as Jericho shot down Owens’ attempt to come out with him to “prevent injustice” for Jericho’s Title shot. Jericho emphasized that he was out for himself and warned Owens to stay away from him.
– The WWE United States Championship match between Champion Reigns and Jericho was a good effort on both ends. Jericho was in all-business mode as he looked to get the “one belt that eluded him,” as the commentary team repeatedly said. There was some decent battling, as Jericho had Reigns scouted well when he countered a Superman Punch attempt with a dropkick and followed up with a top rope cross body to the outside. Lots of high-impact stuff towards the end, as we saw Jericho kick out of a Superman Punch and sit-down powerbomb. The biggest tease came when Owens came out and kicked Reigns in the head from ringside after he got out of the Walls Of Jericho. After the near-fall, Jericho argued with Owens on the apron, as it wasn’t a “master plan.” Jericho shoved Owens, as the Champ walked away insulted. Reigns missed a first Spear attempt, but scored on the second to retain. So, the “Best Friends” angle was strengthened and Reigns kept his Title, which oddly makes the Roadblock: EOTL main event more intriguing with the “Champion Vs. Champion” angle.
– The Cass-Rusev match was a “bait and switch” in lieu of a backstage angle where we saw that Rusev was nowhere to be found when his music hit. Cass called Enzo from ringside, as we were shown on camera that Enzo ignored the “Unknown Caller” as he stood outside the hotel room. Couldn’t Cass simply watch on the big screen? Wasn’t it also creepy that a cameraman would follow Enzo to a hotel room escapade to have sex with a married woman behind her husband’s back? Do we have no boundaries, people? The rest of the segment saw Enzo come into the room as Lana purposely tried to seduce him and get him undressed. The thing was, that Enzo felt regretful and repeatedly tried to get out of the room. It’s like we waited for Rusev to come out of nowhere to attack. We ended up with a heel attack angle to draw heat on Rusev and sympathy for Enzo. The attack itself was brutal, as Enzo was thrown through a table, had a lamp broken and a vase with roses shattered over his head too. That sadly reminded us of Mitch The Plant, but the attempt was there. What would’ve made this work though was if Enzo was enthusiastically into the affair idea and didn’t show any regret until Rusev came out with his attack. All in all, this angle/storyline defies logic at every turn. How on Earth is Enzo a redeemable person?
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s match between Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson and Cesaro/Sheamus with Champions The New Day at ringside seemed logical to find ND new contenders as they neared Demolition’s 488-day reign. All it did was announce to the world “Hey, we have no formidable tag teams left” since both of these teams lost in the last two weeks to ND, albeit in questionable fashion. ND is in a weird position where they’ve been cheating heels, yet they pander to the crowd. Bad things also happened the last time ND ate pizza at ringside. Since Gallows/Anderson lost a Tag Title shot the week before and they spent a whole segment to reinforce the Cesaro/Sheamus partnership through barroom brawl bonding, there was only one route to go. Some decent action as Sheamus did his 10-count beats to the chest and Cesaro flew around some with uppercuts at his disposal. The finish was done in a way that could give ND more heat, since they attacked both teams when Cesaro/Sheamus shoved Gallows/Anderson directly into them. Cool spot post-match where Kofi Kingston was caught in mid-air on a suicide dive attempt and thrown into Xavier Woods/Big E. Of course, that set up a triple threat scenario for next week.
– The final in-ring “Public Apology” segment with Flair, Charlotte and Banks aimed for the purpose for another tease of a “change of heart” for Charlotte only to unveil another cowardly heel attack. On that front, it succeeded, but they didn’t have much to work with to get the fans to fall for Charlotte’s “I’m nice” trickery. They put a lot of focus throughout the night on Charlotte’s unceremonious betrayal of her father back in May before she brought him out and they hugged. Next, she slapped him cold across the face as he was knocked back into the corner turnbuckle. As we expected, Banks came down to make a save to no avail, as she was the victim of an unabashed assault while Flair watched. Charlotte soaked up all the heat as she laid Banks out. Some people criticized it for the “needless involvement” of Flair, but we didn’t mind it. After all, they’ve done everything possible with Banks-Charlotte. What would’ve actually been great was a storyline swerve father-daughter heel reunion, but they opted to keep Charlotte solo. Hopefully, Flair can recover his reputation on television besides being the “Guy Who Will Just Cry.”
- Seth Rollins def. The Big Show via countout
- “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher def. Ariya Daivari via pinfall
- Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn via pinfall
- Rich Swann def. TJ Perkins via pinfall
- Bayley def. Alicia Fox via pinfall
- “Tussle In Texas” – Mark Henry def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall
- WWE United States Championship – Roman Reigns (Champion) def. Chris Jericho via pinfall to retain
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Cesaro/Sheamus and Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson to a no-contest
Posted on February 18, 2017, in WWE and tagged Alicia Fox, Ariya Daivari, Bayley, Big Cass, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charis Jericho, Charlotte, Corey Graves, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Jack Gallagher, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Lana, Luke Gallows, Mark Henry, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Raw, Ric Flair, Rich Swann, Roadblock: End Of The Line, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, The Big Show, The New Day, Titus O'Neil, TJ Perkins. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.