WWE Raw returned last night (Dec. 5, 2016) from Austin, TX as they built up to their Roadblock: End of the Line pay-per-view (PPV).
You can find all the results at ReverendKain’s marvelous live blog here.
Gifts for Jericho
Kevin Owens wants to make amends with Chris Jericho after telling him to shut up last week and then telling him off. Surely it’s because he understands the true power of friendship and not because he lost the first match he had without Jericho by his side. To make things right, he got Jericho three gifts because that’s what friends do.
He got a Chris a US title match against Reigns last night, he got him a match against Seth at Roadblock to get revenge for the vehicular assault last week, and he got Seth Rollins a match against a returning Big Show to help soften Rollins up for Jericho’s eventual match with him.
Unfortunately, KO isn’t as good at giving gifts as Chris is at giving the Gift of Jericho. Despite his trying to get Y2J back on his side, Jericho was still pissed about the way Kevin treated him last week. And while we’ll have to wait for Roadblock to see how the Rollins/Y2J gift turns out, if it’s anything like the other two gift, Jericho may want to consider re-gifting.
Big Show returned (his Mania match with Shaq isn’t that far off). This match was the classic psychology of the smaller guy trying to get the giant down. After Seth got tossed around a bunch, it finally took a series of spring board knees to the head to get the big man down.
All the while, Kevin Owens was on the outside hilariously ordering Big Show around during the match. Of course, it got to the point where the big man had had enough of Owens’ BS, choke slammed him from the ring apron into the ring, and then left, losing by count out. This allowed Rollins to Pedigree the champion. That gift is akin to just getting socks.
The other gift of the night, the US title match, also didn’t go as planned. When it looked like Jericho was getting control of things, Kevin Owens ran down to try to help. (There was a sweet superkick to a downed Reigns on the ropes into a Code Breaker that brought up a great nearfall.) But Jericho explicitly told KO earlier not to come down for the match. They argued on the apron, which was enough of a distraction for Jericho to eat a Reigns spear as KO walked out. And JeriKO continues to tatter.
Kevin Owens is a delightful POS, trying to win back Jericho after realizing that he needs him to win. His gifts made sense within the story and allowed a Big Show/Rollins match not to be as random as it seems.
However, Jericho isn’t nearly as fun as the serious, slighted friend than as the man who loves putting people on Lists. Hopefully this is building to that epic moment where Jericho finally tells Kevin "You just made this list!"
Dear Old Dad
Charlotte closed the show by admitting she was wrong to disown her father six months ago. It hurt her to see him raise Sasha Banks’ arm last week when Banks won the title. It pained her that he may think Sasha is the better of them. So she called him down to apologize. She goes to hug her father. And then...
Charlotte berated her father for raising the arm of Sasha over his own daughter. And how dare Sasha dedicate her victory to her father.
Soon Sasha Banks ran down to take it to Charlotte, but ended up getting a beating for her trouble. These two will settle their differences in a 30 minute Iron Man at Roadblock.
Six months ago, when Charlotte originally disowned her father, it was in a segment that was too long and a bit awkward as Charlotte let the crowd take too much control. This segment nailed it, which is a credit to how quickly the Queen progresses in WWE. (They also booked it so that she wouldn’t have to try to draw it out.) She’s becoming an excellent heel and the disgust in her voice when she called her father a "son of a bitch" for betraying her was superb.
However, why Sasha is insistent on helping Ric Flair is still beyond me. I’m like Mugatu in Zoolander in that I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. This is Ric Flair, the same man who cost Sasha the belt at WrestleMania. He was a complete and total bastard when she was feuding with Charlotte the first time around. This is the man who forcefully kissed Becky Lynch to save his daughter the title. How is she not remembering any of this?
I get that Charlotte is terrible. But Ric was terrible too and he doesn’t deserve Sasha’s help. Banks has plenty to take issue with regarding Charlotte. Her dirty old man doesn’t need to be one of them.
Nonetheless, the Iron Man match should be really good. As long as it’s the close to the feud, I’m fine with another go. Their matches seem to improve as they go along. We’ll see at the PPV if Sasha is putting her trust in the wrong Dirtiest Player in the Game. (She is.)
Finally coming for Triple H
All of a sudden, three months after Triple H cost him the title, Seth Rollins decided he wants to fight the Game. You know it’s serious when you think about it for three months and are like "Sure, I’ll call him out."
The Architect isn’t dumb. He knows the King of Kings isn’t going to just walk out and fight him. He has to draw him out. (Or he could have just hung out with Alexa Bliss post title win last night knowing Triple H can’t resist that mark photo.)
To draw out the Cerebral Assassin, he has to take the title from Kevin Owens, The Man of a Thousand Nickname’s new chosen one. But to get to Owens, he needs to first neutralize Chris Jericho. If this were a video game, Triple H would be the big boss at the end and Owens and Jericho would be the mini-bosses on the levels before getting to the final boss.
It makes sense and gives Seth a mission and a path to have to follow through, which is a good way of going about the build. Though it’s telling when the brand’s main champion is a mini-boss in the situation.
Some guys have that friend who will talk mad shit about their game but when push comes to shove, they’re really full of it. And that’s good. Because you don’t want to be friends with the guy who actually goes through with the crap they talk about. That guy is disgusting. But sometimes you’ll put up with the guy who pretends he’s the shit because he can be fun to be around.
That’s Enzo Amore. He’s a sleazy mofo but when push comes to shove, he’s at least got a bit of a conscience.
Tonight, Rusev and Lana had a backstage fight where Rusev was berating his wife, and Enzo, despite Big Cass’ sage advice, decided to stick his nose into it. Lana ended up tossing her wedding ring at Rusev, who stormed off, and then gave Enzo her hotel number to join her later.
Of course, being a big talker (and a sleazy dude) he decides to take her up on the offer (again, despite Cass’ wisdom). He leaves to go try to hook up with a married woman who just had a fight with her husband. Meanwhile, Rusev, looking for Lana, finds Cass, has words with him, and they set up a match for later.
When Amore’s Uber doesn’t show, Ric Flair rolls up in a limo and new school sleaze meets old school sleaze as women everywhere shuddered for an unknown reason. Ric Flair then allows Enzo to use his limo to get to his booty call. Because yuck.
Meanwhile, Big Cass makes his way to the ring for his match with the Bulgarian Brute but when Rusev’s music plays, RuRu doesn’t show. Then a light bulb goes off above Cass’ head as he realizes that his boy has been set up.
And set up Zo was. As he made his way to Lana’s hotel room, Enzo’s conscience finally caught up to him. He tried to leave before Lana even opened the door, realizing far too late this was a bad idea, but it was too late. Then, as Lana seduced him, Enzo repeatedly said "This isn’t right. I need to leave." But he’s also a weak man. Otherwise, he would have just left. But instead, when she asked him to take off his pants he came back with "OK, but just for a minute." (Admittedly, that made me laugh.)
Of course, he was eventually mauled by Rusev while wearing just his underwear. That’s what you get for making bad decisions, Zo.
Out of all the ways this story could have gone, this was the best they could do. Lana ended up being a schemer alongside Rusev and not the berated wife it started with. She seduced a weak man she knew would take the bait. And while Enzo made terrible decisions throughout, he ended up at least trying to do the right thing in the end.
This’ll all set up a Big Cass/Rusev match that I’m really looking forward to. But all of this Lana/Enzo stuff isn’t the reason I’m looking forward to it. It’s just a match with two hosses and that’s all I need.
But this is WWE and these stories are inevitable. Some will like it. Some will hate it. At least this one ended up being less #problematic than I feared when it started.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens had a match tonight that Kevin Owens ended up winning. This technically wasn’t random as Cole told us that Sami wanted a match with Strowman but Foley instead gave him KO, who interrupted their conversation. (This may have been on the Raw pre-show, but if you just watched Raw, you’d have to just take Cole’s word. We can all assume Mick Foley had an intense, passionate cry during this meeting.)
Sami Zayn and KO have great chemistry and their match reminded us of that tonight. However, this is a feud that was built as a big deal months back. To see it as an unannounced Raw match that does nothing to advance Zayn’s actual story with Strowman is a bit disappointing. In essence Zayn’s story was stagnant this week.
The Extraordinary Gentleman
Coming out of the Cruiserweight Classic last summer, my favorite part of it was Jack Gallagher. He turned me into a super fan by the end of his first match. He did the same for the 205 Live crowd last week when he got time to show off his unique offense.
Unfortunately on Raw tonight, when he faced Ariya Daivari, he didn’t get a chance to display his move set to pull in the crowd. He had a few flashes of offense and you could hear the crowd start to stir when he did. But then Daivari was back on the attack and and the crowd fell off.
In his time in WWE, given the CWC and last week’s 205 Live, this Raw was the most eyes that have been on Jack. This should have been the night he got to show off his offense to really get the crowd into him. Then when Daivari cheap shots him after the match, it would have had a bit more meaning.
It is good that they are trying to build some faces and heels in the division, even if it’s something as simple as a post match attack because the heel lost two in a row to the face.
And the rest:
The Club vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows faced off against Sheamus & Cesaro where the winner would face the New Day next week. That would be the last time to try to be able to prevent New Day breaking Demolitions record. New Day was at ringside and the match ended with all three teams brawling. It’ll be a triple threat match next week. Tonight was just the vehicle to get us there.
TJ Perkins vs. Rich Swann
TJ Perkins and Rich Swann had the other match in the cruiserweight division, a match that the crowd couldn’t be bothered to care about. Swann won and will defend his title against Brian Kendrick on 205 Live in a rematch from last week. As for Perkins, the crowd doesn’t seem to care about him. A heel turn may be in order because I can see plenty of people wanting to boo him.
Bayley vs. Alicia Fox
Bayley defeated Alicia Fox in a match that was set up because Bayley gave a toy to Cedric Alexander (on the Raw pre-show) and Alicia Fox got jealous. At least they’re using Alicia Fox more.
Tussle in Texas
Titus O’Neil wanted to fight Mark Henry because Henry was disrespecting his brand... I think. It’s something like that. Or not. It doesn’t matter.
It was a squash match where Mark Henry got a quick win and then got to celebrate with the home town crowd who really enjoyed seeing him.
This was a mediocre show overall. While there wasn’t a ton of bad (though I understand if you put the Enzo stuff in that category), there wasn’t much really worth tuning in for. Charlotte doubling down on hating her father was one of the things worth tuning in for as the Queen continues to improve as a heel.
The Kevin Owens/Jericho stuff continues along, and Reigns’ match with Jericho was fun. But Owens’ title match with Roman Reigns was barely even addressed on this show. It was all about KO/Jericho. These December shows are the lull before Mania season and when the title match that’s set to happen in less than two weeks is barely represented on the show, you know that lull is strong.
A good third of this show was completely forgettable.
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