Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 12/12/16: Making History
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.
– The opening WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Triple-Threat match between Champions Big E/Kofi Kingston, Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson and Cesaro/Sheamus was a welcome change, especially with the energetic Philadelphia crowd. They dug The New Day and there was a different feel since at midnight, they’d tie Demolition’s 478-day reign. An obstacle was made for them – the two biggest threats to their Titles. They cut a pre-match promo that got the crowd on their side, especially when Xavier Woods dedicated the night to his apparent late Grandma, which began a “Grandma” chant. That transitioned to the actual match. Gallows/Anderson were easy to root against and Cesaro/Sheamus had the unique dynamic with the “Boo/Yay” difference. We also saw a celebration room prepped backstage, complete with a Booty-O’s punch bowl, because why not? Plenty of heavy action that highlighted everyone and great near-falls as it developed. Gallows/Anderson almost won on a Boot Of Doom, but Cesaro literally dove onto the pin at the last second to stop it. Cesaro hit an offensive tear, got a pop for the Big Swing and had the sharpshooter applied. The finish was a well-done way to have ND “steal” the pin, but in a way that wasn’t cheap and spread disappointment on Cesaro/Sheamus at not getting the job done. Kingston hit Trouble In Paradise on Sheamus, while Cesaro was held down by Big E from stopping the pin. Good energy in that opener and we took a glance at the celebration room, which had Bob Backlund and Darren Young in there, along with extras.
– The ND celebration backstage segment was well-done in retrospect. General Manager Mick Foley and Commissioner Stephanie McMahon were there, along with others like Bayley and The Golden Truth. Steph proposed a toast to the Champs, when Woods popped a champagne bottle and accidentally drenched her in it. She stood for a minute in shock before rage took over and she knocked over the Booty-O’s bowl. The arena strangely went silent, so we guess it worked, but it would’ve went better had Woods purposely drenched her, rather than sell it like it was an accident. Since this was the same team that resorted to heel tactics lately, it wouldn’t had been crazy.
– The Steph/WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens backstage segment gave us a glimpse of what to expect later, as he asked to run an idea by her since he believed ND needed to be taught a lesson “because of their actions.”
– The Braun Strowman-Curtis Axel match had prior hype based off Sami Zayn’s relentless pursuance of a match with Strowman but with no management approval, to the point where he threatened Foley over Twitter. This was to basically show that Strowman was still unstoppable and perhaps to lightly compare the same “lumberjack” looks of Axel and Zayn. Besides for that one Minnesota episode, Axel has been in the dirt and that didn’t change. Strowman’s post-match promo was good, as he expressed that Zayn was an “annoyance” and that Foley protected him because he couldn’t last two minutes.
– The Foley/Zayn backstage segment immediately followed, as Zayn reacted emotionally to Strowman’s comments and again asked for the match to a “No” response. Zayn made a valid point when he asked what Foley would’ve been if he hadn’t “been saved,” when Foley conveyed that Zayn wasn’t on Strowman’s level. Things picked up when Zayn teased a move to SmackDown Live, as Foley said he’d give SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan a call about a trade. Oh snap. That also got a pop from the live crowd.
– The Ariya Daivari-Lince Dorado match looked to be a way to put Daivari’s leg-attacking ways over, as he needed an easy win. They could always spare Dorado one night of glory. Things rolled along, until “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher (who Daivari targeted last week) came out and announced his intentions to interfere (like a true gentleman) and called his rival a “scoundrel.” Eventually, the two brawled on the ramp and the Referee assumedly threw the match out. Gallagher hit his signature headbutt and cleared Daivari from the ring. That actually came across cool and the crowd was into it. Gallagher has a different flavor from the usual Cruiserweight Division suspects and we’re eager to see what the followup is on 205 Live the next night.
– The Seth Rollins/Owens/Chris Jericho/WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns “Rollins Report” in-ring segment was entertaining, but repetitive in a sense. Rollins played to the crowd and made jokes that actually stuck, while he announced his personal gauntlet to get to Triple H that started with Jericho. They also had Rollins taunt Owens that he no longer had Jericho as a friend. Owens announced that Steph gave Jeri-KO a Tag Team Title shot, which set up Jericho’s portion to question Owens’ intentions. The “best friends” argued, as Rollins attempted to drive the wedge further, which backfired once again when Owens sweet-talked Jericho into the idea that they could “break history.” Rollins should stop that, gosh. Anyways, when the best friends reunited, they decided that a Rollins beatdown was a good idea, so that’s what happened. With the way the episode unfolded with ND causing themselves another obstacle and Jeri-KO back on the same page, they had all the momentum. Oh, there was also that part where Reigns came down to “make the save.” Unlike past times, Philly wasn’t kind to Reigns here. They actually were silent during the last sequence that saw Owens save Jericho from a Pedigree.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann/Brian Kendrick/TJ Perkins backstage segment had interest headed in based off how last week’s 205 ended when Perkins accidentally superkicked Swann to end the show. We thought maybe they’d play up on possible tension between Swann/Perkins, but they opted to have the babyfaces mentally gang up on Kendrick. The dialogue went flat because of that and never recovered. We figured a Triple-Threat at Roadblock: End Of The Line was the goal, so that’s what it ultimately set up. It set up the next match too, at least.
– The Perkins-Kendrick match had obvious Roadblock: EOTL hype, but was mediocre compared to what they’ve done in the past. Lots of tight moves, but no emotions behind them and we saw no reason to get invested. Seemed the crowd thought the same. Anyways, Kendrick cleanly won with the Sliced Bread Number Two for a change.
– The Foley/Rollins/Reigns backstage segment was predictable, but in a good way. Foley was impressed with what he saw earlier and informed the duo that he inserted them into the Tag Team Title main event to make it another Triple-Threat.
– The hype video for the WWE Raw Women’s Champion Sasha Banks-Charlotte 30-minute Iron Man match for Roadblock: EOTL was fantastic. We learned that it was really “The End Of The Line” because there’d be no contractual rematch clause and that this would “end the war.” The package’s key was that it solely focused on the competition aspect, which was what the feud strengthened itself over. They also played up their history, as Banks/Charlotte stole some shows, traded the Title, main evented a Pay-Per-View with a Hell In A Cell match and a Raw with a Falls Count Anywhere match. The background song was also a big addition. Cool idea to just take both ladies’ words and put them against each other. It was an easy story to write and one best told in the ring, so the package played to that perfectly.
– The Bayley-Alicia Fox match was a storyline advance of their little feud, where we saw a segment where Bayley found that Fox ripped up a Bayley Bear, called her win last week a “complete fluke” and challenged her again, only this time, she’d dedicate it to her man Cedric Alexander. Besides for that one show, we haven’t seen Alexander/Fox together, so it’s hard to buy this. Plus, why does Fox act so crazy on Raw? Are we supposed to like or dislike her? The match had okay action, but the two never meshed like they needed to. Fox’s offense mainly consisted of a modified scissors kick before Bayley took her energy and used it for a Bayley-To-Belly to get the pin.
– The Rusev/Lana/Big Cass in-ring segment followed last week’s hotel attack on Enzo Amore. We always figured the plan was to have Rusev-Cass as a Roadblock: EOTL bout and what better way to get there than to have Rusev beat up Cass’ best friend? The hard thing to buy about it is that Rusev was in the right here for defending his wife. There was a lame angle where Rusev/Lana promised to air what happened “behind closed doors,” which could be edgy for a “PG show,” but never came close in actuality and it wasn’t even a fun heel thing. Rusev/Lana just spoke mercilessly until Cass interrupted and promised to get revenge. Cass’ promo was strange, only made the crowd groan when he mentioned there was no Enzo and they kept his music playing in the background, which didn’t succeed in the end. They opted to have Rusev get the upper hand of their physical exchange, as he shoved Cass headfirst into a ring post and scurried away. At least this will be a somewhat interesting matchup for the Roadblock: EOTL pre-show, but their work’s cut out for them.
– The Owens/Jericho backstage segment hyped the main event, as some light tension was foreshadowed when Owens had his eye on the future, but Jericho told him to focus on the Tag Titles for the time being. Oh, you guys just wait.
– Another Emmalina hype video aired, where she was shown in provocative poses and described as “glamorous,” amongst other attractive synonyms. Glamorous, will she prevail until she’s voluptuous?
– The Zayn-Jinder Mahal match was teased as Zayn’s last possible Raw appearance, as we saw the bout dedicated to Zayn’s signature moves and comeback spirit. The commentary team spoke of the possible SD trade and what Zayn’s mindset could be. This was the most relevant he felt all year. The Helluva Kick ended it, which led its way to the Zayn/Foley post-match promo segment that was strong to ultimately lead to a Zayn/Strowman Roadblock: EOTL bout where the goal was to see if Zayn could last 10 minutes. The tease for Foley to trade Zayn to SD for Eva Marie was the perfect fuel to light Zayn’s fired-up promo, probably his best in months. It was almost CM Punk-esque in delivery. It was revealed as a trick by Foley to see how Zayn would respond, which prompted the match. It would’ve been cool to see how Zayn would fare on SD, but this Strowman story keeps unfolding, so we won’t complain about where it goes. Zayn’s in a position where he goes against the big man, but doesn’t have to outright lose and can still win in his own way.
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Triple-Threat main event between Champions Big E/Xavier Woods, Jeri-KO and Reigns/Rollins was a spectacular way to keep the spotlight on the Tag Champs and if they could make history, with the odds highly stacked. Commentary did a good job as they mentioned that Woods partook in the match to differ from the opener, which showed some logic. Woods/Rollins solidly exchanged chain wrestling, but the crowd sat on their hands in the opening minutes. It was scary to see the Raw burnout continue, but who could blame them? It wasn’t until the Tower Of Doom that they woke up and luckily, the talent upped the pace to get them hot towards the end. Woods particularly impressed with his performance, as he hit a cool springboard elbow across the ring on Reigns for a near-fall. The Pop-Up Codebreaker on Woods before Rollins pushed Owens on top of Jericho to break the pin was the match’s best part and had everyone on their feet. That set up the finish as we saw Jeri-KO argue once again, which gave Rollins a chance to Pedigree Jericho. Rollins was pulled out of the ring and couldn’t pin Jericho, as Woods draped his arm to get the pin. An electric last few minutes. The post-match angle with the Jeri-KO implosion and Reigns’ spear on Owens was so-so. Made sense, but the crowd booed Reigns, so it probably didn’t excite them enough for Roadblock: EOTL, despite the visual of Reigns holding both belts over Owens to close it out.
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championships – Triple-Threat – Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) (Champions) def. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson and Cesaro/Sheamus via pinfall to retain
- Braun Strowman def. Curtis Axel via pinfall
- Lince Dorado and Ariya Daivari to a no-contest
- Brian Kendrick def. TJ Perkins via pinfall
- Bayley def. Alicia Fox via pinfall
- Sami Zayn def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championships – Triple-Threat – Big E/Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) (Champions) def. Jeri-KO and Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins via pinfall to retain
Posted on February 23, 2017, in WWE and tagged Alicia Fox, Ariya Daivari, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Bob Backlund, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Curtis Axel, Darren Young, Emmalina, Jack Gallagher, Jinder Mahal, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Lince Dorado, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Rich Swann, Roadblock: End Of The Line, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Golden Truth, The New Day, TJ Perkins, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.