Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 1/9/17: Saved By The Gong

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 1/9/17)

Saved By The Gong 

– The Commissioner Stephanie McMahon/General Manager Mick Foley/Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman backstage segment was packed with enough tension to start things off interestingly. Apparently, Jan. 9 is official Raw GM Performance Review day, as Steph spoke about Foley’s (who sported a circa 2000 haircut) promise to bring The Undertaker. Rollins’ portion was newsworthy in a special Rollins way as he informed them he was now in the Royal Rumble match. That was followed up by Strowman, who demanded either Goldberg or WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns for the double spear. Rollins being Rollins made him go right at Strowman, to Steph’s disapproval. In classic Steph fashion, she told Foley to get things under control and summon the ultra lord of darkness to the red brand. Or else. Pretty to the point stuff.

– The 2-On-1 Handicap match for the WWE United States Championship between Champion Reigns and WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho was an attention-grabber, but maybe for the wrong reasons based off the stipulation. Never seen a belt defended by a Champion against two challengers in a Handicap match, but it was stated that whomever scored the winning pinfall would be the Champion. Come to think of it, how did Jeri-KO get this shot? The action barely began before Strowman interrupted. We do like this “I can do whatever I want” badass vibe Strowman gives off. Reigns left the ring and went right for him, only to get shoved back into the ring where the heels waited. A 3-On-1 attack ensued as we waited for Rollins’ music to hit and sure enough, it did. He took control back in Rob Van Dam-esque fashion with a Van Daminator to Strowman and then used the chair on Jeri-KO. Reigns/Rollins went chair-crazy on Strowman to clear him from the ring. Sadly, all our minds thought of was Rollins’ infamous heel turn. Was anybody betting a chair shot to Reigns’ back here? Hope you didn’t. Anyways, the chaos cooled as Steph refused to accept this fate and claimed they’d try this again later. She also booked Rollins to face Strowman right there. We guess that’s fine.

– The Strowman-Rollins match began with Strowman’s upper hand advantage with vicious strikes as he grounded Rollins, a smart game plan. A slow, methodical pace was what it was all about until Rollins used the ring to gather momentum his way. He hit some shoulder blocks and kicks to Strowman’s mid-section before he got planted. Strowman drove Rollins off the apron with a shoulder bump. That didn’t deter Rollins, who came back in speedy fashion, culminating with a kick to Strowman’s face for a whopping one-count. Rollins followed with his flying knee strike before Strowman caught him in the corner. Rollins’ blockbuster attempt was also thwarted. In his biggest rally, Rollins knocked Strowman off the top rope and landed a frog splash for a fun two-count. Strowman’s emphatic kickouts make him look more beastly. Rollins countered with a running knee to the face on the apron, which held the giant wobbly. Rollins stood on the ring post and jumped off, only to miss and hit the barricade. Strowman then drove him into the same barricade again. As he dragged Rollins by the arm on the floor, the Ref pulled a Tye Dillinger and counted a perfect 10, which meant a double countout. It was for the best, since Strowman shouldn’t lose convincingly anytime soon and you don’t want to derail Rollins’ upward momentum. It was what a match between the two would look like, just without the desired result maybe for some fans. Post-match, Strowman grabbed a chair, but Rollins got a hold of it. We guess we’ll pretend that Rollins didn’t swing the chair into the ropes for it to ricochet into his face. Rollins informed Strowman’s time would soon come. Oh, what a blast that’ll be.

– The Bayley/Sasha Banks/WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte/Nia Jax backstage segment assumedly set up a faces-heels tag team match. Attention was paid to the friendship between Bayley/Banks, whom looked to face it out at a bigger stage, hint hint. Bayley had the honor of pinning Jax with a Bayley-To-Belly off the second rope last week and had a chance to take Charlotte’s belt at the Rumble. Charlotte’s portion was good as she called Banks out on “acting” like she cared about Bayley and tooted her “never been beaten at a Pay-Ver-View” status. The argument didn’t last, as Jax tripped Banks a la her attack a few weeks back. In that moment, Charlotte tripped Bayley and threw her into an equipment box. Our favorite part of this was Jax physically cornering Charlotte with a shove against the wall, which told us she was out on her own and not Charlotte’s thoughtless lackey, like Dana Brooke was positioned to be.

– The “Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher-Drew Gulak match with Austin Aries on commentary carried off light hype for the Gallagher-Ariya Daivari feud, which revolved around perceived gentleman behavior. They showed Daivari getting the last laugh on last week’s 205 Live after Gallagher previously humiliated him with an umbrella in their “Duel.” The fact that Gulak was Gallagher’s opponent and that a suit-clad Tony Nese was nowhere to be found meant that Gulak was makeshift enhancement talent here. Gulak did work in a few signature spots, like his body slam into the ropes and a flying forearm. In line with his gimmick, Gallagher sported a hot air ballon-esque design on his trunks. Gulak tied Gallagher up in a submission with his knee before Gallagher powered out. Gallagher followed with his signature corner headstand. Uppercuts, a head butt and running dropkick later and Gallagher was the victor. Post-match, Gallagher was asked about Daivari and referred to an offer for a parley, an opportunity for two men in combat to sit down and come to terms on agreement. Sadly, Gallagher was met with the “What?” treatment from the crowd. Maybe his words were lost on them. Can’t blame them. Not the most exciting thing to do.

– The Foley/Steph backstage segment pushed her pressure on Foley “to produce Taker” for the crowd, as his performance review hinged on it. Apparently he also had one hour left to do so. Summon that magic, man.

– The Shawn Michaels/Rusev/Lana/Jinder Mahal/Enzo Amore/Big Cass in-ring segment started with “The Heartbreak Kid,” whose presence got a jolt out of the crowd. He hyped up the Rumble match itself and milked up the competitors thus far. Had to know that “one more match” chant would break out. Isn’t he technically forced to retirement because of Taker? After that point, the enthusiasm went downhill as Michaels promoted his latest movie, “The Resurrection Of Gavin Stone.” The crowd knew it too and booed, but luckily, Michaels knew how to deal with that. The foreign trio emerged, as Rusev argued that Lana should be included in the movie to draw a buzz. The “Bulgarian George Clooney” line did make us laugh. Should’ve known this would lead to Enzo/Cass coming out after Rusev’s insult, which was fine, since it never hurts to get a rub from HBK. Michaels called the heels “haters” in less cool fashion and Enzo called Lana an actress in that she pretended not to be repulsed by her husband every morning. Zing. They did this semi-edgy movie title schtick that was meh. Basically, they teased a Cass-Rusev match only for Rusev to sub in Mahal at the last second. Michaels claimed he’d stay at ringside during the match and he invited Enzo/Cass to perform crotch chops.

– The Cass-Mahal match felt the energy drain right out. The two just never got going the way we wanted and there was little to rave about other than Michaels’ predictable Sweet Chin Music on Rusev. Cass botched the East River Crossing, which we guess why he followed with the Empire Elbow to pin Mahal. Blah.

– The Emmalina hype video aired as it did  in weeks before. We’ve been so good and it’ll be worth the wait. Premiering one of these decades.

– The Neville-Lince Dorado match with Aries on commentary was presumably more fuel for Neville’s hard push in chase of the Cruiserweight Championship. Dorado began on offense with a springboard stunner (eat your heart out, John Cena) and a suicide dive. That was all he mustered as Neville took control thereafter and locked in the Rings Of Saturn with added extension to get the submission win. Aries’ comments that defended Neville’s actions were interesting. The post-match angle saw WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann came out to stop a further attack, as he upstaged the self-proclaimed “King Of The Cruiserweights” with an offensive fury that clearly caught him off-guard. We assume this will set up a future battle. To take things further, they hyped Swann-Nese for the next night’s 205 Live. That’ll be a Swann victory for sure.

– The Rumble hype went on as they showcased Edge’s 2010 victory with exclusive sit-down comments from the man himself. He called it the last thing he hadn’t done in his career and with it, he accomplished all he set out to do. Sadly, he’d be retired by the end of that year’s Mania. Light and vague in execution, but fine in theory. We miss Edge.

– The Steph/Bayley/Banks backstage segment set up the tag match (as we knew) and gave us some nice tension between Steph and Banks, a long time coming. That was set up mainly because Banks/Bayley came in demanding Jax/Charlotte and Steph didn’t take well to that. Especially loved how Steph emphasized the word “Office” in Banks’ face to cement the case she was the true boss. Steph booked the match to happen later on in the show instead of next week.

– The Luke Gallows-Sheamus match with Karl Anderson/Cesaro on commentary was an obvious ploy to advance the feud between current Champs and renegade challengers. Yup, this felt like the filler it was. If anything, we got to hear more from Anderson than usual, who came off well on the mic. He spoke up the big contracts they were signed to and how they were three-time IWGP Tag Team Champions and legends in Japan. Of course that was met with Commentator Michael Cole’s “What have you done in WWE though?” remark, which is always a way to tear down what outside stars can brag about. Cesaro mainly bickered with Anderson the whole time about how he/Sheamus were better. Frankly, the New Japan Pro-Wrestling reference was the most interesting thing about the actual match thus far. Sheamus landed a knee in the bridge of Gallows’ noise and a dropkick to the back of his neck. Anderson boasted about his “hot Asian wife” again before Sheamus slammed Gallows for a two-count. Sheamus attempted to go for the Brogue Kick before he was distracted when Anderson chucked a water bottle at Cesaro on the opposite end of the booth and ran across the way to jump on him. Once Cesaro fought with him and got the Big Swing teased, that was enough for Sheamus to take advantage and hit the Brogue Kick with Gallows distracted for the win. More even-steven stuff. Meh.

– Reigns’ backstage promo hyped his redo against Jeri-KO, as he mentioned he was obligated to defend the belt no matter how many opponents he had. Undoubtedly, that was met with “What?” chants.

– The Foley/Steph/Undertaker in-ring segment was teased as a public firing for Foley when it appeared Taker wouldn’t come. Steph accredited Foley for SheaSaro, the first Women’s Hell In A Cell and Jericho in a shark cage. She also blamed him for putting the Cruiserweight Division on the line, creating Strowman by way of “emotions” for Sami Zayn and that SmackDown Live beat them in the ratings the last week of 2016. Foley began to apologize before he was literally saved by the gong. Taker’s spooky entrance killed off about six more minutes before he made the big announcement that he’d be in the Rumble. We loved the backstage shot of Strowman watching in eager joy. He said a lot of Taker things about continuing his journey in the city where his streak demised and “dug 29 holes for 29 souls.” Groovy. Probably the biggest pop all night ling, especially with the “Yes!” chant that broke out before Taker spoke.

– The Jeri-KO backstage promo was their classic heel trolling as they feigned sarcasm at Taker’s announcement. Owens was still angry that Goldberg/Reigns interrupted his talk show and promised “we’d” take the US Title. Jericho peppered up their sentiments as he called themselves “international treasures” that could be the face of America.

– The Bayley/Banks-Charlotte/Jax match had Banks’ knee status questioned headed in. Banks/Bayley briefly disagreed about who’d start before it was Banks, whom was a target for Charlotte with the knee. Jax tossed Bayley soon after like a rag doll as she imposed her will. Commentary spoke up about the Charlotte-Bayley Rumble match and hyped Bayley as the ultimate underdog with Charlotte as the Champ who looked to give her a reality check. Jax showcased her power and blasted Banks off the apron. She hit the Leg Drop on Bayley to pin her, after she caught her off-guard when she didn’t realize that she was legal instead of Charlotte. Some may criticize Bayley on the direct losing side, but that actually should be happening. Tear Bayley down so that when she comes back up, it’s received even better.

– The Noam Dar/Alicia Fox backstage segment advanced the “Creepy Dar pursues Fox” storyline but in a way that scratched our head. The gist of it here was that Fox appeared as Dar looked at himself in the mirror and surprised him with a passionate kiss. She used that as the chance to tell him that Cedric Alexander (her boyfriend) was right that Dar couldn’t handle a real woman. Yup, kiss the creepy guy who has previously made advances towards you. They booked Dar-Alexander for the next night’s 205 Live. Will this be the payoff?

– The New Day/Titus O’Neil in-ring segment was simply dreadful. This was third hour hell at its worst. Don’t see what the point is in continuing this “O’Neil wants to be a ND member” storyline. ND implied that O’Neil wouldn’t let it go and in kooky fashion, they recalled a 2010 NXT segment where O’Neil tumbled to the floor with a keg. ND may had been the only ones laughing watching back the footage. Gosh, we even forgot O’Neil was a part of that season. We try to forget anything associated with that NXT after season one. ND had a “redemption” plan where they gave O’Neil the chance to redo the keg run, with the keg filled with “booty juice.” Big E/Xavier Woods flubbed the “booty juice” tagline to add to the horror show. O’Neil made it to the finish line with .6 seconds left, but dropped it before he crossed. A replay confirmed that to be true and that’s when O’Neil got physical with Kofi Kingston. Apparently this meant they’d wrestle now. Good god. Why?

– The O’Neil-Kingston match continued the stretch of third hour hell. O’Neil flung Kingston onto the mat as he showed off his power. Commentary spoke about how this rage must had been over his anger with ND not accepting him. Yup, that has to be it. Sigh. They teased the similar finish like last week. Kingston was thrown over the ropes, but Woods caught him. Kingston lured O’Neil back into the ring and hit Trouble In Paradise to finally end it. The punchline continues. Laugh at Titus. Laugh right now.

– The 2-On-1 Handicap match for the WWE United States Championship between Champion Reigns and Jeri-KO came right after the news that Brock Lesnar was hyped for next week. Nice. Anyways, they included filler brawling before the bell, as Reigns tried to lock Jericho in the shark cage on stage prematurely. Owens saved him and Reigns ended up whipped into the cage, as it fell off the stage. Things began as Jericho soon had Reigns in a rest hold. He must have seen what Owens does. Reigns kicked out of the Lionsault and caught Jericho with a Superman Punch when he came down from a Pop-Up Powerbomb attempt. Owens stopped Reigns from getting the pin and kicked him when he attempted the Drive By. Reigns eventually hit it as he avoided the apron powerbomb. Jericho was hit with a Superman Punch and began to bleed a little. Owens held Reigns from behind as Jericho delivered a Codebreaker. To make matters worse, Owens finally hit the apron powerbomb, which turned the tide. Jeri-KO tossed him back inside the ring and a Codebreaker later, Jericho got the three count to finally win the one belt that eluded him his whole career. A high-impact match for sure with some twist and turns, though it feels like a rerun sometimes, despite the Title change. Eager to see what it does for the Jeri-KO friendship and if Reigns gets his rematch right away.






Quick Results

  • Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins to a double countout
  • “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher def. Drew Gulak via pinfall
  • Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore, Shawn Michaels) def. Jinder Mahal (w/Rusev, Lana) via pinfall
  • Neville def. Lince Dorado via submission 
  • Sheamus def. Luke Gallows via pinfall 
  • Nia Jax/Charlotte def. Bayley/Sasha Banks via pinfall 
  • Kofi Kingston (w/Big E, Xavier Woods) def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall 
  • WWE United States Championship – 2-On-1 Handicap Match – Whoever Scores The Winning Pinfall Will Be Champion – Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho def. Roman Reigns (Champion) via pinfall; Jericho scored winning pinfall and becomes new Champion 

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 May 3, 2017, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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