Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 12/26/16: Multitasking Mayhem
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 video pleasantly recapped recent storylines – Braun Strowman will toss everyone around (particularly Sin Cara into Christmas Trees) in pursuit of Sami Zayn, who “defeated” him at Roadblock: End Of The Line. Strowman entered himself into the main event picture to target WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, much to the delight of WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.
– The Commissioner Stephanie McMahon/Reigns/Rollins opening in-ring segment was par for the course in terms of followup. Sure, Chicago was ready to troll Steph with “CM Punk” chants, but she knew exactly how to shut them down as she made a “2:15” joke and mentioned him by name. That transitioned into holiday chatter between Steph and Rollins, as he used the Christmas theme to insinuate that her husband had no balls to defend himself. It made sense for him to want to get his hands on Strowman, so we saw him asking for the match coming. Reigns followed suit and they briefly disagreed on who should get first dibs. Steph played the crowd brilliantly as she hyped a possible Shield reunion (which got one of the night’s biggest pops), only to put those rumors to rest. In the end, Rollins received Strowman and Reigns found out he’d defend his belt against someone she chose. With no time left to settle, she immediately introduced the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match.
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match between Big E/Xavier Woods and Champions Sheamus/Cesaro followed the tempo of their past matches – high drama, action and good near-falls. Chicago was certainly into it and they took a good approach to change things up. How did they do that? The challengers came out of the gates blazing per se, as the Champs didn’t garner any momentum until about three minutes in. It appeared The New Day did their homework. The key to what made it work was that Sheamus/Cesaro worked together to answer everything ND threw at them. They did the “Legal Man” finish again as Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Woods as he tried to hit the Honor Roll on Cesaro, whom he perceived to still be the legal man. Now that ND have lost their belts and the rematch, it “opens the floor” to the other teams, but that scares us.
– The John Cena return hype video aired again, with an orchestral version of his theme music. We saw it last week many times and they drilled it in our brains once more. Tomorrow’s SmackDown Live should be fun.
– The Jeri-KO/Strowman backstage segment was entertaining, since the gist of it was that they tried to direct his anger towards Reigns/Rollins and away from them. They made up insults and blamed it on Rollins, which was basically a way to insult him and get away with it. Luckily, Strowman saw through it and called them “crap,” but he walked away and there was no physicality.
– The Bayley/Golden Truth/Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson backstage segment was a mix of good and bad, dependent upon where you look. We had a genuinely touching moment when Bayley gave Goldust a Bayley Bear decked in black-and-yellow polka dot attire, reminiscent of his late father, Dusty Rhodes. It also gave Bayley the chance to get over that Dusty was a huge influence for her. Unfortunately, they undid all of that when Gallows/Anderson stormed the scene after Bayley walked away and had Anderson behead the bear. Unnecessary heat. That’s not “CM Punk spilling Paul Bearer’s ashes on Undertaker” cool, but rather an odd way to spit on a man’s grave essentially.
– The Nia Jax-Scarlet match reintroduced her old squashes, with the basis of reinforcing her feud with Sasha Banks, who she attacked last week. They had Scarlet claim Banks was a huge inspiration and even had her wear her shirt, surely a tactic that would only anger Jax. Was Banks really that big of an inspiration where they could get away with this kind of thing? That’s a stretch, but it allowed Jax to do her thing and send another message to Banks that she’s not to be messed around with. Compared to the past crap we’ve seen, we’ll take it.
– The Steph/WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte/Jeri-KO backstage segment in Steph’s office set the night further. It fit Jeri-KO to turn to Steph to try to fix things and not quite get what they want, but still do. We got our comedy moment when Jericho complained about the idea of being “200 feet above the ring” in a shark cage at Royal Rumble, as it was clear the cage wouldn’t be suspended that high. He also played up his arachnophobia. It was obvious that their plan was to fit Jericho into the match with Reigns for his Title, but Steph decided upon Owens instead. Yup. We’re apparently getting the Roadblock: EOTL main event for free on TV eight days later.
– The Bayley/Charlotte in-ring segment was good for what it was, as Bayley played up that she was #1 contender to the Women’s Title after she defeated Charlotte last week and was now 3-0 over her. Charlotte’s portion of things came out to disprove Bayley’s win as she showed footage that her right shoulder was off the mat when the Referee counted three and we learned that with a settlement that involved her lawyer, the win was expunged. We weren’t sure why Charlotte was so open to giving her a second chance, but once Dana Brooke came out as a Special Guest Referee, it fit their profile.
– The Bayley-Charlotte match with Special Guest Referee Brooke fit the mold of another underdog moment, plus Bayley was Charlotte’s only real threat right now, so why not have her win again? They flirted with the idea of controversy when Bayley incapacitated Brooke with a Bayley-To-Belly, which brought in another official. If Charlotte lost, she could always argue that Brooke was the appointed official and it said so in legal writing. That set forth the finish, where Brooke got back up after she dragged the Referee out of the ring before he could count to three and that began a chase. Charlotte caught Bayley off-guard and scooped her up in a pin where she used the ropes to ensure victory. The heels get one over on Bayley, which we guess should happen. We know Bayley will inevitably get the Title shot, so it’s all in how it goes down.
– The Strowman/Steph backstage segment added hype to next week’s Raw. When she witnessed him going after more staff, she gave him Zayn in a Last Man Standing match as he asked, with the catch that he destroy Rollins in the main event. Of course. On top of Goldberg’s return and the Last Man Standing, Raw looked pretty decent next week. Why don’t they hype a week out more often?
– The Neville-TJ Perkins match with Austin Aries on commentary continued to push Neville’s newfound heel persona. It appeared the crowd was briefly into it with split chants before they quieted down immensely. Not the most fluent of bouts, since it looked like TJP botched his Spider-Man ropes spot. What was more competitive than anything ended when Neville pulled on the tights to get the win as he rolled around Perkins before he could deliver the Kneebar submission. Neville’s post-match promo was well-delivered, but a poor heat attempt by insulting America with a hint of “backstage legitimacy” that his old self didn’t “fit the mold for television.” We get what they were going for, but it deserved the subsequent “What?” treatment. That said, we were happy since he appeared to challenge WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann the next night on 205 Live.
– The Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Jinder Mahal/Rusev/Lana in-ring segment was their way to have Enzo/Cass one-up the heels for their “sensitivity training attack” last week. Enzo did look entertaining in a wheelchair, though his promo rambled some. It helped that they showed a photo of his purple bruised backside (probably the table spot’s result), as it helped sell the injury some. Cass actually had one of his better promos as he left the jokes behind and called out Rusev man-to-man. We weren’t shocked to see the heel trio and there was some brief heat when Mahal slapped Enzo in the chair, but then Enzo/Cass laid upon their plan. They hit a Boom Shackalacka Boom on Mahal in the chair and then tripped him on the apron. Cass kicked Rusev out of the ring. To sum it up, Enzo pretended to be more injured than he actually was to sucker the heels in, but at the same time, he staggered around, so he was still injured to an extent.
– The Shining Stars-Bo Dallas/Darren Young match stemmed from a pre-show segment where SS insulted Backlund’s age. Fortunately before the third hour wear-and-tear effect could take place, Strowman was there to save the day and annihilate everyone. It should be noted that he took Dallas out with a Christmas tree. Young was thrown into Backlund and then he took three men out with steel steps. Since we had no reason to invest in this match to begin with, this wasn’t met with anything other than hot applause from the crowd, who actually thanked him. We agree. Can Strowman come out more during the third hour and save us from those dead matches?
– The Strowman-Rollins match was good, as we didn’t expect much of a finish anyway. Strowman had domination moments and Rollins mustered some offense, before Strowman laid him out on the floor. We loved that Zayn came out to attack Strowman (as he should) and it was direct hype for next week. Having the two chase each other in the crowd opened the door for Jericho to hit two Codebreakers on Rollins, with the goal to keep him from coming out during the main event. Smart stuff.
– The Jeri-KO backstage segment provided main event hype as Owens trolled the interviewer lady and played up the fact the duo could have two Titles now. They basked in the glory that Reigns was all alone. Is he ever really “all alone” these days?
– Emmalina’s hype video again brought up her return (one of these centuries now) but we were relieved that we actually got a voiceover promo that promised it’d be worth the long wait. You ain’t kidding.
– The Gallows/Anderson-GT match saw GT’s televised rap entrance return as there was a slight emotional backstory given what happened earlier. Goldust even got the hot tag treatment, but that meant little in the finish. Anderson pulled the tights to “steal” the win. Wish that was more domination. Eh. At least they tried to get heat on those toy bear-decapitating, tight-pulling nincompoops.
– The Ariya Daivari-Swann match with Aries on commentary had an angle if Swann would accept Neville’s challenge. As if that wouldn’t happen. Pretty plain action as Daivari missed his Magic Carpetless Ride and set the stage up for Swann’s double stomp/kick combo to get the win. Swann’s post-match promo was cheesy (why’d he call Neville a “sourpuss”?) but he accepted the match. The best part came when Neville ambushed him from behind, threw him into the apron and followed with the Red Arrow. That’s how you get proper heat. Still wish Neville had a less crowd-pleasing finisher with this new persona.
– The Daivari-“The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher backstage segment was great thanks to Gallagher storming the set and challenged him to a duel. He then slapped him across the face with a glove as he compared himself to Aaron Burr. How can you not like this guy? Yup, 205 Live will also have a duel.
– The WWE United States Championship main event between Owens and Champion Reigns was a lesser version of their Roadblock: EOTL match, but still pretty good. You had to know Chicago would heavily favor Owens and that was the tale the whole match. There were a few nice teases, particularly where Jericho distracted Reigns from ringside and almost got him pinned. They traded near-falls on a Superman Punch and Codebreaker, before Rollins came out to attack Jericho with a Pedigree. After Owens superkicked him, he walked into a Spear to lose the match. Surprise, surprise. The faces had the last laugh as Rollins Pedigreed Owens and Jericho got Speared. Seen it before, but we guess it advances the Rumble program.
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championship – Cesaro/Sheamus (Champions) def. Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods (w/Big E) via pinfall to retain
- Nia Jax def. Scarlet via pinfall
- Dane Brooke As Special Guest Referee – Charlotte def. Bayley via pinfall
- Neville def. TJ Perkins via pinfall
- The Shining Stars and Bo Dallas/Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) to a no-contest
- Braun Strowman def. Seth Rollins via DQ
- Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson def. The Golden Truth via pinfall
- Rich Swann def. Ariya Daivari via pinfall
- WWE United States Championship – Roman Reigns (Champion) def. Kevin Owens via pinfall to retain
Posted on March 13, 2017, in WWE and tagged Ariya Daivari, Austin Aries, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Bo Dallas, Bob Backlund, Braun Strowman, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Darren Young, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Jack Gallagher, Jeri-KO, Jinder Mahal, John Cena, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Neville, Nia Jax, Roman Reigns, Royal Rumble, Rusev, Scarlet, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Golden Truth, The Shining Stars, TJ Perkins, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.