Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 1/23/17: All The Possibilities

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 1/23/17)

All The Possibilities 

– The opening video recapped Jeri-KO’s run at the “Top Of The World,” as WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho uncrowned Roman Reigns before WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens powerbombed Reigns through the announce table the week after. It was renowned “The Chris And Kevin Show.” Hmm.

– The Reigns/Owens/Jericho in-ring segment was more Royal Rumble hype for the WWE Universal Championship match where Jericho will be suspended above the ring in a shark cage. Reigns was greeted with a strong lines of boos because Cleveland rocks. They had the cage in the ring as a dramatic prop as this was more of a back-and-forth between Reigns and the heel duo. Jeri-KO were more over, but all this felt repetitive, like we’ve seen it before. The only new thing that emerged from this was the announcement that Jericho would defend his belt against Reigns later, mainly because Owens accepted the challenge on Jericho’s behalf. It was clear that Jericho wanted no part of things.

– The Cesaro-Luke Gallows match was a way to progress the feud between WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus/Cesaro against Karl Anderson/Gallows. Last week, the Champs retained with the “Dusty Finish” when Sheamus accidentally kicked the Referee and it went down as a disqualification, only after Gallows/Anderson scored a pin. Lots of shenanigans meant that the two would battle for the belts on the Rumble Kick-Off with two Referees in charge this time. Now, that makes sense. As for the match here, we were eager to see how it goes, since Cesaro’s athletic offense was a good mix for Gallow’s big build. As usual, they had commentary build up Gallows/Anderson’s success in Japan (they even said “New Japan,” gasps ahoy) and how they were IWGP Tag Team Champions. Sheamus chased Anderson away from ringside during the break. That probably means he’ll come back out later on. Cesaro landed a nice brainbuster and tornado DDT. With the Referee distracted, Sheamus laid out Gallows from outside. Anderson came back and dropkicked Sheamus into the apron. Cesaro had Gallows in the Sharpshooter and he tapped, but no witness. Gallows used the moment to escape and hit his finisher for the pin. Good momentum for the heel challengers as it made sense to use the cheap finish to sell the Rumble match with the two officials. Gallows rocked a cut under his left eye, so that was kind of edgy.

– The General Manager Mick Foley/Commissioner Stephanie McMahon/Sami Zayn backstage segment was all about Rumble hype and set up a match later in the show that grabbed our attention. Foley had Steph on the phone about the main event when Zayn asked about the Rumble. Foley was about to give him a spot when Steph told Zayn he’d need to earn his way in if he could beat Seth Rollins. Classic Steph. She ended things by telling Foley something he needed to tell Rollins, but didn’t agree with. What could that possibly be?

– The Exclusive Sit-Down Segment with Commentator Corey Graves and Bayley did a superb job of further establishing Bayley’s “fan persona” gimmick and how much of a chance she stood when she’d challenge WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte at RR. She was amazed at being on the main roster and put over how her fandom was what got her into the company. We had an emotional factor as she mentioned that her family would be in attendance on Sunday and she was “just her.” The great line here was when she mentioned how she’d get nervous behind the curtain, but outside, she’d greet kids and make their days. This was the right direction for her character easily. We needed that background. She felt as if she could beat Charlotte and mentioned her two victories in the past. “I’m walking in with tassels and high-fives, but I’m walking out as Champion.” Golden. Of course, that was offset by the fact that Charlotte was 15-0 in Pay-Per-View Title defenses, but that makes the underdog story even stronger on Bayley’s case.

– The Rollins/Foley backstage segment was a followup on that previous segment, as we learned that if Zayn beat Rollins, he’d get Rollins’ spot. Of course, Rollins was angry, but claimed he was only motivated to win even more to make it to WrestleMania and “throw it back in Steph’s face.” Makes sense.

– The Rollins-Zayn match for a Rumble spot already sounded good, but now with the stipulation stakes, this should just be good wrestling. They smartly brought up their past Rumble histories, as Zayn was a surprise entrant last year while Rollins missed it entirely due to injury. They even brought up how they were former roommates and fought before. Guess somebody watched Age Of The Fall against Kevin Steen/El Generico. Rollins hit a suicide dive into the break and had momentum until he was hit with the Blue Thunder Bomb for a two. That almost never wins the match, wish they’d stop selling it as a finisher. A Michinoku Driver on Rollins was another two. The two jumped over each other to set up a transition to a blockbuster. Rollins hit a wallop of a kick for a two. Damn. Falcon Arrow for two. These were an intense last few minutes as Rollins was dumped to the outside as Zayn avoided two pedigree attempts and missed the Helluva Kick. There was a loud “This is awesome” chant and justifiably so. Zayn went to the top, but was caught with a Rollins kick. They teased a top rope pedigree, but Zayn countered with a sunset flip powerbomb for a near-fall. He attempted a Helluva Kick on the apron, but got pedigreed there instead. Triple H’s music hit at that point, which was an obvious distraction. Funny, because we probably would’ve guessed it from the moment they announced the bout. That’s a good thing obviously. Zayn rolled up Rollins for three. Awesome. Great match and logical way to extend the Rollins-Triple H quarrels.

– More Rumble hype as we got some brief comments from Shawn Michaels on his 1995 victory, that all came because he kept one foot off the floor. It probably also helped that he came in at number one and lasted all the way through. The little things.

– The Rollins/Foley backstage segment was a reasonable follow-up, as Rollins should’ve been irate at being left out of the Rumble. Foley pleaded ignorance, but Rollins was raged.

– The Six-Man Tag between Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese/Drew Gulak and Mustafa Ali/TJ Perkins/Gentleman Jack Gallagher with Austin Aries on commentary showed an Ali hype video that updated the Raw crowd on his face turn. Him/Perkins should play well off each other. What confused us was that the point of the whole “I Forfeit” match was to end things with Daivari/Gallagher and less than a week later, they’re on opposing sides of a match again. This is the Cruiserweight Division though, so why question logic? Not much action besides your usual flips and flops. The faces kicked the heels out of the ring in succession, which set up Ali’s Inverted 450 splash on Gulak to draw the win. That was about right.

– The Eight-Man Tag between Kofi Kingston/Big E/Enzo Amore/Big Cass and Rusev/Titus O’Neil/Jinder Mahal/Braun Strowman was a whole lot of Rumble filler hype, with the exception of showing off Strowman. They had this follow a talking segment with the running gag of New Day getting interrupted and O’Neil’s Titus Brand in general. As far as the Rumble, everyone involved would compete. Xavier Woods dropped the “Cash Me Outside” line to stay trendy. Good surprise to have Strowman revealed as the last guy. Plenty of versatile action where everyone got to hit their spots. Kingston landed a plancha. Strowman bopped Mahal as he tagged in to face against Enzo. That along got a pop before Strowman took him down with a clothesline. He fought back, but that didn’t last long. Strowman got the pin with the running powerslam. We did peep that “LeBraun” sign. Big Show’s return was set up well as he was also hyped to appear in the Rumble and who wouldn’t want to see a Show-Strowman standoff? You had to be delusional to not see Strowman walking away coming,

– The WWE United States Championship match between Champion Jericho and Reigns had the shark cage suspended above, because why wouldn’t they do it again? Reigns took Jericho on an edgy ringside tour, while Owens joined commentary after the break. Thank god, some entertainment we can get behind. Jericho dropkicked Reigns upon his spear attempt. Owens’ one-liners were in full supply – “Break his code, Chris!” was hilarious stuff. Reigns laid out Jericho with the Superman Punch, before Owens came down to end the bout by disqualification. Easy to see that coming. The cage came down as the heels tried to lock Reigns in, but that backfired. It was Owens stuck inside this time, as it began to hang again. Funny that Jericho held on to the bottom, though only to be a sitting duck for a Superman Punch. Granted, the visual was cool, but it seemed that the fans wanted to see Jericho hang with the cage fully suspended. The big announcement came at the end when it was revealed that the RR match would also be No Disqualification.

– The Exclusive Sit-Down Interview with Graves and Charlotte gave the heel’s perspective from what we heard from Bayley before. Given how great Charlotte is in this setting, it was easy to watch. Especially liked that she pushed the family aspect of dominating the Royal Rumble and using her father’s legacy as an example. She wanted to surpass it as well. She stuck to the purpose of making Bayley look like a super fan in comparison to her athletic self. She was a brash Champion and why wouldn’t somebody 15-0 in PPV Title defenses not brag about that?

– The Nia Jax-Ray Lyn match was shown after highlights of Jax’s savage attack on Sasha Banks at a training session. The match lasted mere seconds, over with a bronco buster off the top rope once they uttered that Lyn didn’t want to be known by her full name or something of that sort. Post-match was when it got interesting, as we got a confident Jax promo that called Banks’ career “deceased,” and Banks came out on one crutch to go after the monster. Jax stood tall even after the crutch strikes, but Banks got the advantage when she hit the double knees off the apron. The exchange was good enough to whet our appetites for what was announced to be a Kickoff show match. Bold stuff.

– Another Emmalina hype video aired. Basically a running joke at this point.

– The WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann-Noam Dar match put the focus on both Swann’s more serious side and the new relationship between scorned ex-girlfriend Alicia Fox and her new man Dar. That was despite the fact that Fox slapped Dar last time they were one screen together, but that’s whatevs. Dar put Fox in front of him to block a Swann suicide dive. Swann kicked Dar in the face right after. Eventually, the Wicked Kick brought Swann the win and that was that. Anticlimactic. Post-match was all about the Neville-Swann hype train. Swann called Neville to come down, which spawned a confrontation. Neville tried to get away, but got hit with a suicide dive from the Champ. That of course, hyped a Cedric Alexander-Neville 205 Live match.

– The Alexander/Dar/Fox backstage segment was more of their crazy angle. They had Alexander speak of his chances to stand out against the fierce Neville, while they showed Fox come off as another stereotypical “crazy chick.” Fox’s overdramatic nature really made this one hard not to laugh at, but maybe that was the goal all along? Dar was pushed to the floor by Alexander for revenge for last week, as Fox sold it like he had a heart attack or something. Meh.

– The Goldberg/Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman/Undertaker in-ring segment delivered with the big names and final Rumble hype on the Raw side. Sadly, what began with big Goldberg stuff ended when he bled from the forehead for some reason and flubbed his lines. Imagine if his return went like that? Heyman’s bit sold the Rumble’s “unpredictability” with matchups, set up as a way to introduce Lesnar. Their face-to-face was only enhanced with Undertaker’s gong, as the crowd popped big time. The lights went off and came back on with him standing next to the two. The blue light then took over the shot as they stood there to end the show. Sort of awkward since we wonder how that actually ended, but cool nonetheless.






Quick Results

  • Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) def. Cesaro (w/Sheamus) via pinfall 
  • Winner Receives A Royal Rumble Spot – Sami Zayn def. Seth Rollins via pinfall 
  • Six-Man Tag – TJ Perkins/Gentleman Jack Gallagher/Mustafa Ali def. Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari via pinfall 
  • Eight-Man Tag – Rusev (w/Lana)/Titus O’Neil/Jinder Mahal/Braun Strowman def. Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods)/Enzo Amore/Big Cass via pinfall 
  • WWE United States Championship – Roman Reigns def. Chris Jericho (w/Kevin Owens) via DQ; Jericho retains 
  • Nia Jax def. Ray Lyn via pinfall 
  • Rich Swann def. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox) 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 29, 2017, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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