Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 1/16/17: There’s A Rumble Brewing

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 1/16/17)

There’s A Rumble Brewing 

– One week removed from Roman Reigns’ loss of the WWE United States Championship to Chris Jericho, we figured the opening video would highlight all of that. Not on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, no no. Instead, we got the traditional classy soundbite of King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech with some spiffy production as always. Dear lord WWE, don’t transition that into a Reigns promo. Just don’t.

– The Reigns/WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens/Jericho/Braun Strowman/Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar/Seth Rollins/Sami Zayn opening in-ring segment was chaotic to say the least, but that made sense when your primary goal’s to push a 30-Man Royal Rumble. That was perfectly acceptable here. Now, for the little things. Reigns came out to an alarming hail of shrieks and boos that sounded odd put together. Of course, the lovely shark cage was present on the stage to signify the Royal Rumble rematch between Owens-Reigns where Jericho would be suspended above the air in said cage. Production had a hard search to find one shocked gentleman when they replayed the footage of how Jericho “stole” the US Title. Somebody give them a cookie. Reigns and a microphone’s always a good mix. Ugh. He compared Jeri-KO’s actions to The Shield when they beat up everyone, because everything has to be compared to The Shield. The “What?” treatment already kicked in a minute to the promo. Reigns claimed nobody could beat him one-on-one, but didn’t Sheamus do that in 2015? We’ll sip on that chamomile. He bragged about being the WrestleMania main event, which came off heelish. Always has to be one “grey area” line. Oh yes, Heyman automatically makes everything better. Lesnar was supposed to apparently be here. Also loved Heyman’s creative cage metaphors. We mistook the “Goldberg” chants for “Walrus.” Can you blame us? Heyman noted that Goldberg wasn’t there to get some nice heel heat. He stressed how Lesnar would “Eat, Sleep, Eliminate, Repeat” to win the Rumble. Reigns noted Heyman was alone, which was a great time for Owens to come out with his trusty Canadian compadre. Knew those pops were coming. They even combined their belt names, hilarious. Owens didn’t seem happy at Jericho’s idea of a “Best Friend Vs. Best Friend” Mania match. Classic catchphrase Jericho. “Mania Math not checking out.” Ha ha ha. Oh, here’s Rollins in a new gray shirt. Kind of bland, but okay. He got a nice pop luckily. He should look to get back to the Mania main event, makes sense. We almost forgot Heyman was still there. Here comes Strowman and his demanding music. Reigns and Strowman briefly faced off. Sweet. Lesnar rushed down for the first time since Survivor Series for the biggest pop yet. Zayn choked Strowman from behind and thus began a brawl as the faces cleared Strowman from the ring. Lesnar suplexed anybody close until it was him alone with Zayn. This wouldn’t end well. He got his own suplex too. How sweet. Wait, here’s the Lesnar-Strowman face-off the world may not be ready for. Strowman backed down for great heat and that set up a Superman Punch for Lesnar. Reigns got an F5 in response as the crowd was the loudest yet. A chaotic start as it succeeded in building the Rumble as everyone except Owens/Reigns would be in the match.

– The Rusev/Jinder Mahal-Enzo Amore/Big Cass match was supposed to have a personal edge, but it was more eh than anything else. Zo-Cass’ pre-match routine was over, but not as much as it used to be. Oh, Enzo can walk now. It’s not like he was stuck to the wheelchair before. What’s this feud even about? Cass beat Mahal last week if that added anything. To his credit, Enzo’s a great seller. Stereotypical bear hug spot to build to the hot tag. Enzo landed a nice tornado DDT. Rusev broke the pin on the Empire Elbow to extend the bout. Mahal took a stiff big boot and that led to the “Bada Boom Shackalacka” to get the win. “Little revenge and redemption”? For what exactly? Enzo insulted Lana and got beat up at sensitivity training/lured into a hotel room ambush. There’s so much wrong with this, but we’ll stop thinking about it.

– The Ariya Daivari-Lince Dorado match with “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher/Austin Aries on commentary was obvious hype for the Gallagher/Daivari “I Forfeit” match to happen on the next night’s 205 Live. Basically a glorified “I Quit” match with proper English. After seeing WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate, Gallagher looks like his mellow sibling. Aries was a riot on commentary as usual – “Do they have to spell it?” and we didn’t expect much competition here. Dorado can do much more, he deserves a better position than this. Daivari was apparently more aggressive. The plus here was the back-and-forth vocal exchanges between Aries and Gallagher. In the end, The Cobra Clutch made Dorado tap out as we figured. After the bell, Daivari pointed at Gallagher, who pointed his umbrella in return. They did just enough here.

– Thank god they were smart enough to recap the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament in all its wrestling glory. The highlights were smooth enough to charm the casuals and please the diehards. Somehow, they transitioned that into the footage of the Sasha Banks injury angle when she was attacked by Nia Jax during her evaluation earlier in the day. We respected the unique way they presented that, even if it was funny how Tony Nese randomly chilled by the ring.

– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match between Champions Cesaro/Sheamus and Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson was hyped several times to this point. Despite that, it didn’t feel like the Titles were in serious jeopardy. Oh great, they also announced Sheamus/Cesaro as Rumble contenders, or in other words, confirmed eliminations. They kept saying “Divide And Conquer” when they referred to Gallows/Anderson, which was annoying as hell. At least the “Boo/Yay” routine was still there for Cesaro/Sheamus to take our mind off it. Good thing they mentioned that Anderson beat Cesaro a few weeks back because we certainly forgot. Commentary did put Galllows/Anderson over a lot and it showed. The crowd reacted throughout the match with some ooh’s and ahh’s, but early on, it felt like it was all over the place. Sheamus took a nice bump off the apron from a Gallows kick. Cesaro hit a “Swiss One Nine” (get it?) for a cool moment, even though it was ridiculous that a springboard uppercut was a false finish here. That seriously got a “This Is Awesome” chant? Is this crowd okay? However oddly enough, the longer the bout went, the more we believed Gallows/Anderson could potentially shock the world here. Sheamus accidentally hit the Referee, which led to a Magic Killer on Cesaro, but with no one to count it. Another Referee came down to make the three count, as it was thought we had new Champs. Not to be, as the original Referee disqualified Sheamus for the kick, which meant the belts would remain around Sheamus/Cesaro. A grand old “Dusty Finish”? Gosh. That set the heels up for another Magic Killer. We assume we’ll just get a rematch at the Rumble.

– Given recent events that surrounded the late “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka’s name in the news for all the wrong reasons, we were surprised WWE actually went all out to produce a lengthy tribute package that showcased his career. They spoke about his most famous moment when he jumped off the cage and worked in his influence on his daughter, Tamina Snuka. Will this lead to her somehow coming back? Doubt it.

– We got another Emmalina hype video, as the makeover was “nearly complete.” Perhaps next decade.

– The Zayn/Rollins/Reigns backstage segment had Zayn sound like a madman as he had a plan to take down “Strowman The Bungalow” with smoke screens and Reigns on cleanup. His overt enthusiasm made that the joke here, as Reigns/Rollins noted he was “crazier than Dean Ambrose.” Because Shield? Ha ha.

– The Tony Nese-WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann match with Aries on commentary never got going because Neville crashed the party. We loved the way this went down, especially that they broke away from a video package to show it all. Swann fought back and yelled before Nese blindsided him. The interaction between Neville and Nese was also interesting, as Neville pushed Nese away a few times for getting in his way before he tossed him out of the ring altogether. Is a face turn set down the road for Nese? Neville kicked Swann in the head to lay him out. More of this.

– Neville’s backstage promo followed up the attack, but wasn’t anything we didn’t hear already. He was back to his anti-America schtick. Good intensity though.

– The New Day/Titus O’Neil in-ring segment was more torture, though to a lesser extent. The angle headed in was that ND would enter the Rumble as individuals, you know, because that’s what happens when you enter the Rumble being a tag team. We hoped for more than this and instead, we got another promo run-in from O’Neil, who wanted one of their spots in exchange to leave them alone. Can he leave us alone too? Kofi Kingston did provide a nice zing regarding O’Neil’s football career. O’Neil did his own horrendous cheer and apparently it was decided that Big E would take him on.

– The O’Neil-Big E match for Big E’s Rumble spot continued on with the silly angle and storyline attempt. Big E spanked O’Neil. Dear god, why? They also had commentary embrace the name “Thickums,” which was… ugh. We were on the verge of sleep here. They gave O’Neil a worthy near-fall before he clapped and spanked on his own. What’s this now? The Big Splash/Big Ending ended Titus’ Rumble hopes and the Titus Brand will continue to suffer. Stick to name brand stuff, guys.

– There was more cool Rumble hype as they showed “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan talking about winning the first Rumble back in 1988. Hey, we reviewed that once. Check it out.

– The WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte/Bayley in-ring segment was hyped headed in as Charlotte speaking about her “winning strategy” on Pay-Per-View as she was 12-0. Based off that, we assumed it’d be a “troll promo.” Charlotte would rock this, right? Well, not quite. Instead, she made light of Bayley’s “super fan” gimmick and showed all her childhood photos with WWE legends and made fun of her poetry. How was that heelish? Charlotte had all the time to do this research? Things livened up once Charlotte made fun of a four-eyed fan. She has the charisma to pull something like this off, but it still felt as if it was missing something. She began to read one of the poems, which did spark a “We want Bayley” chant. She eventually came out and criticized Charlotte’s tactics and noted that her father used to buy her tickets to WWE shows even when he didn’t have the money. Wait, how did he buy tickets with no money? We see what they tried to do here though. It was also here where we noticed that TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eddie Edwards and Bayley have similar promo styles. Bayley read a new poem that was supposed to upset Charlotte, but it was meh. There’s just not enough here going on to make us care about this feud. The Sasha-Charlotte feud had personality and an aching for legitimate competition. This feud’s mostly about fathers, poems and winning streaks.

– The Strowman/Jeri-KO backstage segment was entertaining as always thanks to Strowman’s straightforward badass persona. It was obvious that Jeri-KO would lean on Strowman to do all the heavy lifting while the beast proclaimed he was his own man. Charismatic stuff.

– The Brian Kendrick-Cedric Alexander match with Aries on commentary was a whopping third Cruiserweight contest, simply unheard of. Funny that Aries brought that exact point up with another witty one-liner how “Raw was 33% better because it was his third time out there.” Anyways, this was the follow-up to Alexander’s breakup with Alicia Fox. Alexander’s knee landed on Kendrick’s head on a springboard slingshot moonsault, as they showed Noam Dar watching backstage. It was Elbow City on both ends to say the least. Alexander was about to tap out to the Captain’s Hook when Fox came down to assist him. She looked concerned, which set up a chance for Kendrick to intervene with a kick at the distraction. Fox argued that she “loved everybody.” Huh? She cheered for Alexander as he connected with the Lumbar Check for the three. At least he won this time. Post-match, Alexander teased a hug for Fox and instead swerved her. Nice.

– Jax’s backstage promo addressed her constant attacks because she saw Banks as a “wannabe tough girl.” Her “I broke The Boss” line also came over strong. We’re actually getting to like this feud.

– Fox’s backstage promo spoke about what happened out there, as she saw things as a “disagreement” with Alexander and didn’t want to talk about it. She stressed it again in that ridiculous over-the-top voice. Is she supposed to be the new AJ Lee or something?

– In probably the only time the crowd will chant “You Suck!” as they played the music of a newly inducted WWE Hall Of Famer, Kurt Angle must have been feeling good. Great decision though. It only works for him.

– Goldberg was hyped for next week, the go-home show for the Rumble. That’s about right.

– The Six-Man Tag main event between Jeri-KO/Strowman and Zayn/Reigns/Rollins began with so many entrances and another camera cutaway to that darned shark cage. As we figured, Zayn went right for Strowman and thus began another brawl. There was enough action to keep us in it without any real consistency. Rollins performed a suicide dive that took him through Jericho and into the barricade too, while Zayn took out Owens with a tope plancha. Zayn nearly pinned Strowman with a high cross body after Rollins took out Jeri-KO with the same to the outside. The crowd completely bought into it, which made it work. It wasn’t to be though, as Strowman recovered enough to land the running powerslam to get the pin on Zayn. Nice bout. Post-match, Strowman dragged Zayn by the announce table before Reigns speared him on the ramp. Guess we’re getting a double powerbomb spot? Nope, thanks to Jeri-KO. It was cool that the commentary trio cleared the desk by this point so the viewer could take it in for themselves. There was a lot of gasps, so it was fine. Rollins pedigreed Jericho before he took a chair to the back from Owens. Reigns met the same fate and Owens powerbombed him through the table to end the show. Vintage KO. Good ending.






Quick Results 

  • Enzo Amore/Big Cass def. Jinder Mahal/Rusev (w/Lana) via pinfall 
  • Ariya Daivari def. Lince Dorado via submission 
  • WWE Raw Tag team Championships – Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson def. Cesaro/Sheamus (Champions) via DQ; Cesaro/Sheamus retain 
  • If Titus O’Neil Wins, He Gets Big E’s Royal Rumble Spot – Big E (w/Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston) def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall 
  • Cedric Alexander def. Brian Kendrick via pinfall 
  • Six-Man Tag – Braun Strowman/Jeri-KO def. Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins/Sami Zayn via pinfall 

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 June 10, 2017, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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