Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 12/19/16: … Or Else

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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.






(Aired 12/19/16)

… Or Else

– The WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho/General Manager Mick Foley opening in-ring segment mostly succeeded in setting up the night’s main event and even the Royal Rumble Universal Title match with a worthy twist, albeit one recently seen at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. This was just the Jeri-KO duo back in good graces, then we got some Jericho “List” comedy as he put Santa Claus on the list. The “Hug Of Jericho” bit was also funny. Foley served as the “holiday comedy authority guy” as he donned a ridiculous Christmas sweater and informed the heels of his Rumble plans, where Owens would defend against WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns again and this time, to prevent interference, Jericho would be suspended in the air in a shark cage. The fanny pack bit was chucklesome, as they put Jericho in the cage and actually suspended him above, with the idea that Foley “left the keys behind.” Some tough moments on the mic as Foley did the cheap pop, but named the wrong town. Jeri-KO get props for rescuing him and received good heel heat at the same time. If it wasn’t for the fact that they already announced the tag team main event where Jeri-KO would face Reigns/Rollins, we would’ve been interested to see Jericho hang above the ring for the whole show.

– The Jeri-KO backstage segment where Jericho oversold the cage’s effects was funny. He almost sounded like SpongeBob Sqaurepants when he was out of water. “Air is not good, Patrick! Air is not good!” is what played in our heads.

– The Rusev-Cass match was a Roadblock: End Of The Line rematch that we hoped to be the payoff to this lousy feud, but those dashed upon the finish. We got barely a minute of action, because Cass got too rowdy in the corner and was disqualified. Guess it made sense for the giant to be enraged, but Rusev now had two non-pinfall wins over Cass. Is that something to flaunt these days?

– The Sasha Banks-Nia Jax in-ring segment was great, mostly. Banks sold her injuries as she carried a crutch and a brace on her left leg. Evidently, this was easy pickings for the heel to take advantage of. This was some light heel heat, as she kicked out the crutch from underneath Banks and then tossed her across the ring. Before that, Banks might’ve had her best promo yet as she showed how humbled she was to lose to WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte and called her out, but got Jax instead. Jax-Banks could be a fun feud if they go all out for it.

Things went so well the last time Raw unveiled a new red Championship, we guess they wanted to repeat history with the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships and make them red. Foley congratulated Champions Cesaro/Sheamus with the new hardware in his office and it was met with crickets and some boos. Why not just keep the copper ones? Foley was then asked by a backstage hand to attend to an angry Braun Strowman backstage, who randomly tossed people around in a rage to get Sami Zayn, who defeated him the night before by lasting 10 minutes. It seemed odd for Foley to say he let Zayn leave the building early, since wouldn’t Zayn want to confront him again? Did we get the entire truth, or was Foley simply buttering Strowman up to ease his anger? Either way, when Strowman threatens “Or else” to happen, things become entertaining.

– The Cedric Alexander-Noam Dar match with Austin Aries on commentary continued the Dar-Alexander-Fox storyline where Dar attempted to interfere with the new item as he professed his love for Fox, or to come off as the creepy guy in all of it. Well, having Fox and Alexander on-screen together on Raw outside of backstage segments was a start. The match was baseless action that concluded when Alexander pinned Dar with the Lumbar Check. A far cry from their 205 match which received more time. Dar’s post-match promo succeeded the “creeper” vibe, but wasn’t all that memorable. We expect things to pick up again for 205.

– The New Day/Shining Stars/Cesaro/Sheamus/Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson in-ring segment was another “Let’s gather all of the teams, have them announce why they’re the best and then lead into another pointless multi-man match!” moment. If anything, ND’s promo was most memorable with Big E’s quip towards Charlotte’s tendency to lose Titles as quick as she gets them. A brief botch with the Cesaro/Sheamus entrance when Cesaro struggled to get his suit off. The “nerd” bit by Gallows/Anderson made them look more eye-rolling than tough guys. We suppose the brochure bit where Cesaro ripped them up to start the melee made sense, but we felt the match coming a mile away. When have we ever seen all these teams come out and talk and a match not follow immediately?

– The Eight-Man Tag between Gallows/Anderson/SS and Big E/Kofi Kingston/Cesaro/Sheamus was filler, but fast-paced towards the end and gave us some decent near-falls. A brief scuffle when Sheamus tagged himself in to Big E’s dismay, but besides that, it was smooth sails for the babyfaces as they got the win when Cesaro made Epico tap out to the sharpshooter after the big swing. At least Cesaro/Sheamus are able to shine now.

– The Enzo/Cass backstage segment revealed that Enzo was summoned to sensitivity training for the incident on Nov. 21 when he openly exposed himself to his coworkers. At least we commend the logical consequence of doing such things, but we had a bad feeling about this one again.

– The John Cena hype video reminded us of his timeless legacy and that he’d return to SmackDown Live next week. Color us hooked.

– The Neville/WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann/Brian Kendrick/TJ Perkins in-ring segment was good followup to Neville’s Roadblock: EOTL heel turn and the angry man cut a promo on his actions. Even better – he addressed the cheers that came from his beatdown on the good friends and used that to get more heat when he denounced the crowd’s admiration. This was finally a chance to see a side of Neville that we’d died for since his NXT days. We were baffled that Swann would come out with a smile upon everything being humiliated and all. They mentioned that Neville took him under this wing in Japan and was shown no respect in return as a “personal angle” but we wish they had explained more than that. Kendrick’s portion fit things since it made sense for him to befriend Neville as he stands opposed to Perkins/Swann. The two-on-one beatdown on Swann was good and then they beat down Perkins when he tried to make the save. Needless to say, a heel Neville is what the Cruiserweight Division needs to get noticed. Evidently, they announced a tag team match with the four to take place on the next night’s 205 Live. Win win.

– The Coleen McCarthy/Coach Bob Backlund/Jinder Mahal/Bo Dallas/Darren Young/Enzo first sensitivity training backstage segment obviously tried to replicate the great 2012 Dr. Shelby anger management segments, but fell short. Still some laughs to offer as we saw the immediate similarities between McCarthy and Shelby. The bit here was that she thought Enzo was gay, to which he announced he “was into chicks.” Mahal glared at Enzo when he spelled his name as “SAWFT.” There was also a moment where Enzo literally “took a seat.” Yup.

– The Titus O’Neil-Sin Cara match followed that and we almost wanted to die because this reminded us of third hour hell, but things looked up once Strowman’s music hit and this would become an “Or Else” moment. He laid both men outside the ring and took Sin Cara up the ramp and against Foley’s protests, tossed him off the stage and into a Christmas tree and a gift box below. Did Strowman just destroy Christmas? Yes he did and it was freaking awesome.

– The Jeri-KO backstage segment saw Jericho continue to push his paranoia of heights and he mistakenly called it “arachnophobia.” Owens corrected him and promised he’d beat Reigns quickly at RR to ensure Jericho didn’t have to hang for long. The best part came when they did the “It” pose simultaneously, as Owens tried to get Jericho focused on the main event. Jericho’s “sexy pinata” line was also funny here.

– The Charlotte/Bayley in-ring segment was good for what it was, all things considered. A change of heart for Charlotte wasn’t in the plans and she talked herself up as the “Queen Of Pay-Per-Views” which makes sense when you’re 15-0. Charlotte petted her ego as she claimed she would’ve dominated any era and insulted past stars like Trish Stratus and The Fabulous Moolah. Bayley was there to claim she was the next obstacle for Charlotte and reminded her she was 2-0 against her. More importantly, she brought up the Survivor Series beatdown. Charlotte got personal when she called Bayley the “fourth horsewomen” as a means to say she wasn’t as talented as the others. This basically set up was what was next to come, which surprised us considering that Charlotte wrestled the night before in such a grueling encounter. Bayley’s challenge was accepted.

– The Bayley-Charlotte match began slow, as it felt like they tried to strike magic twice, but luckily, they gained energy towards the end. Still some clunky parts we can’t ignore. Bayley needs to drop that “around the world” schtick, because it actually hurts Bayley in the ring to look that idiotic. Once Charlotte used the turnbuckles to get some momentum back, we saw a glimpse of what the two could do together. Charlotte got a near-fall on her moonsault and Bayley got one on a roll-up. Eventually, Bayley became 3-0 when she pinned Charlotte on a school boy. We liked how Commentator Corey Graves mentioned that Charlotte’s left shoulder was technically off the mat before the Referee counted three. Little controversy can go a long way and we know the Queen will likely bring that up next week.

– The Dallas/Backlund/Young/Enzo/McCarthy/Mahal second sensitivity training backstage segment was lamer “role reversal” comedy presented to make more Mahal/Enzo tension. We guess they were successful, but meh. Jinder rhymes with Tinder, so there’s that to learn.

– Another Emmalina hype video aired for her pending 2034 debut. At least we got a tweet presented onscreen where she questioned the “Four Horsewomen” and their legacy over her own. Looks like we have heel Emma on the rise again. Yay.

– The Dallas/Backlund/Young/McCarthy/Mahal/Enzo/Rusev/Lana third sensitivity training backstage segment saw the participants receive their diplomas. Lame, until we got to Enzo’s attempt to pick McCarthy up as a booty call, before Rusev/Lana/Mahal stormed the scene. Rusev threw Enzo around the room, Lana slapped him and Enzo was put through the catering table. Guess this sets up a tag team scenario. Ugh. Another note – Enzo should’ve just kept his eyes closed after going through the table. Would’ve been a better sell than to keep them wide open and then flutter them.

– The Rollins/Reigns-Jeri-KO main event was what we expected – Owens trolling, boos for Reigns and a moment where the faces stopped the heels from an escape. Rollins hit a cool neckbreaker/DDT combo on Jeri-KO and hit a suicide dive to take them both out afterwards. Some intensity towards the end as Reigns hit the Superman Punch on both opponents, before Strowman interfered as he attacked Reigns. Will that create a Reigns-Strowman feud after RR? Either way, this was good use of Strowman, as Jeri-KO avoided him, yet fed the faces to him to end the show. Reigns actually decently sold the running powerslam believe it or not. Can every Raw be an “or else” night?






Quick Results

  • Rusev (w/Lana) def. Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) via DQ
  • Cedric Alexander (w/Alicia Fox) def. Noam Dar via pinfall 
  • Eight-Man Tag – Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)/Cesaro/Sheamus def. The Shining Stars/Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson via pinfall 
  • Titus O’Neil and Sin Cara to a no-contest 
  • Bayley def. Charlotte via pinfall 
  • Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins def. Jeri-KO via DQ

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-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, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on March 5, 2017, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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