WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Mar. 7, 2016) from Chicago, Illinois, and it was all about getting us good and ready for both the Roadblock event this coming Saturday night and the WrestleMania 32 pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza early next month. OLE!
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Well, this happened.
Look, we realize there are problems within the McMahon family and we know Shane wants control from Vince and the old man doesn't want to give it to him so he's forcing him to take on a Deadman and that's all well and good. But that was established last week. We needed a new wrinkle this week.
We did not get one.
Instead, we got Vince breaking a family photo of the two, some bickering, and a super lame attempt at throwing Shane out of the building with hopelessly outclassed security guards.
The problem, of course, is that the performer in question must make the security guards look hopelessly outmatched and while Shane O'Mac was over as hell in Chicago and the fans didn't seem to mind all that much once the punches started flying, my god they were some awful punches.
Like, the worst punches you'll ever see.
Worse, it appeared he was attempting some Muay Thai and knowing Undertaker's background and MMA interests, there's a very real fear they're going to attempt to book a match that looks like a really shitty version of what you might see in the UFC, except everyone is old and there's zero potential for an exciting finish.
This segment was fun, but it did more to kill interest in what the actual match will look like than anything else.
Destined to do this forever
Kevin Owens and Neville could have a great match in their sleep, of that much I'm certain. And while I would absolutely be on board with an extended program featuring the two going at it time and again, we know that's not what this was all about.
No, this was all about reigniting a feud that, let's be real, could main event a future WrestleMania.
Sami Zayn is back on the main roster, and it looks like he's here for good this time. That's good too, considering there is no electricity like the electricity that shoots through the building when they get to doing their best Don Frye-Yoshihiro Takayama impression.
What makes it glorious is what you see at the 4:14 mark of the above video, when Owens, holding his hurting neck, looks up at Zayn with the greatest anger you'll ever see. He HATES Sami Zayn. He hates him SO much he can hardly stand it, like his day was going just fine and then that damn Sami Zayn had to show up AGAIN, had to meddle in his affairs AGAIN, had to fight with him AGAIN. He's the Intercontinental champion and has a beautiful wife and kids and life is generally pretty good but THAT DAMN SAMI ZAYN JUST WON'T GO AWAY, HE RUINS EVERYTHING.
Sami is the hero in this story too, and that makes Owens hate him even more. But he's our hero and we can't wait to watch his triumph and because KO is such a wonderful performer, we can't wait to watch his furious anger after it happens.
OLE OWENS OLE!
God dad you always do this
Just go ahead and watch that video right there to see a shortened version of what was, without question, the very best New Day match in history. This was a beautifully laid out match that played to every performer's strengths while teasing out false finishes while also putting over every single wrestler in the ring.
The finishing sequence is so well executed, this should be in the running for one of the best matches of the year under the WWE umbrella by the end of 2016.
It was also a fine piece of business.
No, I'm not any more a fan of EVEN MORE AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho matches than you are but let's admit what happened here: Despite the fact that we could be reasonably certain this is the route they would take, the match itself was such that you badly wanted Y2AJ -- no matter how stupid that name is, with equally stupid merchandise to go with it -- to win the tag team titles, if only to set up another match at a much bigger show.
That's part of why it worked when Jericho turned. Just a minute before you wanted him to be a champion alongside Styles. Now, to hell with him. Now, we want this lame ass dad who ruins all our cool stuff beaten, and we want it on the big stage.
No roll ups, no schmoz finish, no nonsense -- just Styles beating down Jericho and proving once and for all he's the better man. Hopefully he shoves one of those stupid ass shirts in Jericho's mouth too.
So, to that end, they got me. It's not what I would have preferred, but this was done really well.
All the best to all the rest
Dean bleeping Ambrose: He was really good on this show, holding up just fine opposite Triple H in their continued verbal war. "The Game," it should be noted, is still using all his tricks to get over with the smark audience, including a subtle jab at the stupidity of the "Roadblock" name for the event this weekend. When he hit Dirty Deeds on Triple H and held the title to close the show, there was a certain feeling there, for sure. But, as noted by many who were there live, fans were walking out on the Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt main event. I'm not so sure it's his fault, considering his booking over the past year -- not even mentioning Bray -- but that's a real problem. Even if they wanted to change plans, this was Chicago, of all places, walking out early to beat the traffic on an Ambrose vs. Wyatt match. There's no positive way to spin that.
Job Ziggler: Social media angles are lame enough as it is but they quite literally ran a story on this show that had Ziggler bringing up a storyline, Stephanie McMahon more or less admitting it didn't mean anything, and then having him get beat by a group of losers (the League of Nations). Just lame all the way around.
Lana Mode: Summer Rae scored a distraction win over Brie Bella, and it was bad, and then Lana came out wearing the denim look, and it was bad, and then she gave Brie and X-Factor, and that wasn't that bad, I guess. I still don't know why these two are fighting, though. Maybe start with that.
Team BAE def. Team BAD: They gave more time to the Brie-Lana story than this. The match was too short to be any good and the post-match angle felt like they were just going through the motions of a Charlotte beatdown and bail out. Why are Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch still teaming up? What's the point?
Kalisto def. Tyler Breeze: You watched it and immediately forgot about it right after.
Ryback def. Curtis Axel: The Social Outcasts are no longer "dumb fun," they're just dumb and annoying as all get out. I think I'm supposed to like them, though, or at least I was here because Ryback is a bad guy now, but that didn't work and ultimately it's hard to care about any of this. Later, Ryback inserted himself into the US title picture and the idea of Kalisto vs. Ryback is actually hilarious.
They had two hours of material that was good-to-great. The problem, of course, is they had three hours of television to fill and everything else was bad-to-awful.