WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 21, 2015) from Minneapolis, Minnesota with a special edition of the show: The annual Slammy Awards! Really, it was a momentum killing evening considering what The Slammys are -- more like Shammys AMIRITE -- but next week should be better.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Now that WWE has its own Network, there really is no excuse to bog down an entire episode of Raw with The Slammy Awards. Make it a special at a house show, or its own stand alone special late in the year, or literally anything other than destroying an entire episode of Raw to hand out awards to a bunch of people who aren't showing up to accept them anyway.
Despite how much people act like they don't care about the Slammys, our traffic indicates otherwise and I'm sure WWE has internal metrics that do the same. Killing last week's momentum doesn't make a lot of sense.
That said, they did some good things with Roman Reigns on this show, and he may have been the only one who came out of this three hours looking any better than he did coming in. The biggest takeaway?
He's getting over on Stephanie McMahon.
That's noteworthy because no one is allowed to go over on Stephanie McMahon, ever (this show ended with her beating the ever loving shit out of poor Tom Phillips for a reason). She went out and screamed her voice away playing into this new Reigns character, a defiant babyface for the people who finally accepted him. The smiling is a bit grating if you're looking for the silent badass but this show brought him across more like a super chill stoner guy who can turn it on and destroy everyone in the building.
My man had his tongue out with a hang loose on one hand and the WWE title in the other, and the crowd was loving it. That he did this after turning his back on a shrieking Stephanie as an act of defiance makes it pop. It works.
The most important aspect of all this is he's no selling Stephanie's bullshit, and her uncontrollable rage at being shown up is the perfect response to it. As long as he does that and looks cool doing it, fans will stay with him.
The rest of this show was all about reestablishing The League of Nations as a formidable heel faction to oppose Reigns. They got there by having Alberto Del Rio beat Jack Swagger (with a post-match beatdown) and Rusev beat Neville (with a post-match beatdown). This led to a backstage beatdown of The Usos to set up a Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose main event steel cage match.
It was here that Reigns again established himself as the babyface champion fans can stay behind. He finally ran in to assist his buddy but didn't completely overrun the match and take all the credit for himself. He evened the playing field, pulled some ninja shit throwing a chair into the ring and having it open as it landed, and cheered Ambrose on to victory. THEN he hit a follow up spear to close the show to a big pop.
After booking him into the ground for months and months and months, WWE has done nothing but get it right for two weeks running.
Just a lil' bit
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler: They set this up by having Owens trash talk Ziggler after he gave out an award Owens thought he should win. They had a solid 12-minute match but you've seen it before and there was very little in the way of advancement for Owens and Ambrose.
The Wyatt Family vs. ECW Originals & Kane: This was short and dumb but kind of fun but mostly just short and dumb. I do like how it really doesn't matter who The Dudley Boyz bring back, whether it be Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno, and now Kane, they just keep getting beat by The Wyatt Family.
The Usos vs. The New Day: This was one of the better New Day matches I can remember but The Usos, for as bland and uninteresting as they are outside the ring, are usually fun once inside it. I really wish WWE would have gone the full way with Big E spoiling Star Wars. The heat for such a thing would reach levels we just don't see anymore, and I would have loved laughing at the "it was the wrong kind of heat" crowd while Big E was getting jumped by some crazed fan who hasn't hit a theater yet.
Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella: Becky got a good match out of Brie here, all by her lonesome, so let's recognize her for that. Meanwhile, the slow burn with Charlotte continues, not in the form of cheating to help her win but a bit more subtle in trying to steal her glory while celebrating. Props to Becky for not allowing Charlotte to raise her arm because she was still selling it.
The Slammy Awards
It should be noted right away that this was all done by fan vote and the results are legitimate, as far as we know.
Breakout Star of the Year: Neville won because... uh... he has a cool flippy finisher? I'm not sure how to justify this, as WWE has devoted so little time to him that it's a surprise anyone even remembered he was around. Still, it led to some great heel work from Kevin Owens and a fun hockey fight with Dolph Ziggler.
LOL Moment of the Year: Santino Marella returned and I'm not sure even seven people cared. He had turned heel by the time he was done because he tried to steal R-Truth's award. Truth winning, by the way, was maybe the best decision in Slammy Awards history.
OMG Shocking Moment of the Year: Paul Heyman presented and actually put over Kalisto, who won for his Salida Del Sol at TLC. The best part of all this, really, was Kalisto wearing a suit and his mask, and the revelation on Twitter that Kevin Owens was in the ring taking a nap on the turnbuckle while Kalisto was giving his acceptance speech.
Superstar of the Year: In a bit of a surprise, but it probably shouldn't have been, Seth Rollins won. The real surprise was that he showed up to accept the award, crutches and all. The crowd gave him a big babyface reaction but he played the same heel role he was in before he left. I've seen arguments they should have saved his return for later but he's still a solid six months from returning, plus there were already too many award winners who weren't going to be there to accept their awards.
Hero in All of Us: John Cena grants a lot of Wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so he won the award here. Special shout out to Titus O'Neil, Natalya, Big Show, and Roman Reigns for being good people too, though.
Surprise Return of the Year: Bo Dallas dressed as Santa (he's real, you just gotta BOLIEVE and all that) to present this and Sting won for his reveal as Rollins' statue on Raw. He wasn't there to accept and everyone hated all of this.
Diva of the Year: R-Truth was back out and that was basically a dead giveaway they were doing the Steve Harvey botch spot from the Miss Universe pagaent. Good on WWE for actually being timely with a reference for once, but this one fell into their lap with it happening so close to The Slammy Awards. It was all basically wasted as an angle, though, when Paige was swerved and got pissed but Nikki Bella, a heel, told her to stay and completely broke kayfabe to give one of her inspiring speeches she loves so much. I didn't hate this, because it was a nice speech and all, but it was really strange considering the angle they had just run and Nikki being a heel.
This is Awesome Moment of the Year: The Rock and Ronda Rousey rightfully won for their moment at WrestleMania 31 but neither were going to show up for this small time nonsense and The Miz was left to ham it up. It was dumb.
Match of the Year: Somehow, the least deserving match of any on the list won with Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker from Hell in a Cell taking the honors. That match was fine, don't get me wrong, but it was absolutely not better than literally any other match up for consideration and I'm not sure it was even in the top 10 in WWE this year. It is, perhaps, proof that WWE fans voting here run casual and the really big stars of the past are still shining brightest. That has to change, and soon.
They really need to get The Slammy Awards away from Raw.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?