WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 30, 2017) from the Quicken Loans Arena in Laredo, Texas featuring the fallout from the dual brand Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) which went down last night in San Antonio.
Advertised for tonight: Stephanie McMahon confronting Seth Rollins about his invasion of NXT TakeOver, Brock Lesnar possibly addressing his latest humilation at the hands of Goldberg, and more!
Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the Raw live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)
WWE RAW RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR JAN. 23
The Poet and the Painter casting shadows on the water as the sun plays on the infantry returning from the sea. The do-er and the thinker: no allowance for the other as the failing light illuminates the mercenary's creed. The home fire burning: the kettle almost boiling but the master of the house is far away. The horses stamping, their warm breath clouding in the sharp and frosty morning of the day. But me, I'm just here to liveblog a pro wrestling show, folks.
Show opens with a shot of the WrestleMania sign as commentary welcomes us to the show.
Enter Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho alongside him as always. We get a still picture recap of the Universal Championship match from last night, and they stand in the ring a moment before KO starts. He reminds us of his name and the title he holds, before doing the same for his pal Chris.
Last night, Kev says, almost everyone thought he had no chance of walking out as champion, but he's been proving people wrong his entire career. And last night, he proved so many people wrong, that if he were to list them, it'd be longer than the List of Jericho.
But he's most proud that last night he proved Raw General Manager Mick Foley wrong. That was the best feeling, because of how Foley has been stacking the deck against him. Last night he didn't fail, and he beat Roman Reigns because he's the best, the guy, the one.
KO's man enough to admit that he had some help, though, and he wants to take the opportunity to thank the man that helped him, Chris Jericho. Last night, he knew that getting that cage was the worst experience in his life, but he made it through as champion because of Y2J's support and friendship.
But enough about him, he wants to talk about Jericho's history-making performance in the Royal Rumble match. Last night he proved that he's the greatest Royal Rumble competitor of all time. Jericho doesn't want to brag, but he will-- four hours, fifty-six minutes, and twelve seconds. Almost five full hours, the cumulative time he's spent in the Rumble, and it's a record.
He says he valiantly faced twenty-nine other entrants and lasted sixty-one minutes, making him the Sixty-One Minute Man, and he bids everyone in the arena tweet about it. And the only reason he didn't WIN the Rumble was the vertigo he suffered from the shark ca--
It's Braun Strowman! Kev says it's funny he came out because he wanted to thank him too! But Braun doesn't want his thanks. He just came out to say he did what he did for two reasons. One, he just hates Roman Reigns, and two, he wants the title shot Kevin Owens promised him.
KO has no idea what he's talking about and tells him he's not getting a shot, which amuses the terrifying man. Strowman has proof, however! They roll a clip from last month where KO did, indeed, offer him a shot. Owens sputters, but Braun insists. He's getting a title shot, and he's getting it tonight, or he'll break Owens in half right now!
Enter Mick Foley, in a green plaid suit holy hell. Before tempers flare and things get out of hand, they need to listen to him. He doesn't appreciate what Braun did, but seeing the footage, he understands it. And Owens DID promise Strowman a title shot. Jericho claims it was CGI and Owens begs off on account of his body being broken and battered.
Foley appreciates what he did and that he went through hell, but it might be a round trip, because he's facing Braun Strowman with the title on the line tonight, right here in Laredo, Texas!
Commentary promises Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn right after the break.
Back from commercial, Jericho is waiting for Sami to enter.
Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn
Circling, collar and elbow, Jericho grabs a side headlock, Zayn counters to a wristlock, Chris reverses to one of his own, Sami tries to roll through but he ends up grounded. Second try, he reverses, armwringer of his own, arm drags on arm drags into a kneeling armbar.
Chris backs him in the corner, chops, to the next corner, Sami gets a boot and throws chops of his own, takes him down to the next for more. Whip across, Jericho bails and takes a walk outside, where Zayn dropkicks him through the bottom rope and follows.
Jericho thrown back inside, he uses referee Chad Patton as a shield to set up a triangle dropkick that knocks Sami down to the apron. Baseball slide ducked, Zayn hits a lariat in return, Jericho whips him to the barricade... ASAI MOONSAULT OFF THE BARRICADE! And on that note, we head to break.
Back from commercial and Jericho has a reverse chinlock locked in, Sami fights out, throwing hands, but the veteran catches him with an enzuigiri for two. Boots in the corner, whip across but Zayn comes hard out of the corner with a lariat. Right hands to Jericho's forehead, whipped in the corner, he gets the back elbow up.
Chris with slaps and chops, he heads up top... AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER! Y2J with a cocky pin, Zayn easily reverses to a victory roll and nearly wins it. Jericho passed to the apron, heads up top and dives right into the Blue Thunder Driver for two! Lying in wait for the Helluva Kick but Chris bails outside, so he goes for the through-the-ropes tornado DDT but Jericho runs from that as well.
Back in the ring, looking for the Walls of Jericho, Sami escapes, step up tornado DDT, charges in, Y2J dodges, schoolboy transition, the Walls of Jericho are locked in! Zayn fighting it, fighting it, wavering but not breaking and he gets the ropes! Jericho celebrates like he won before putting boots to Sami in the corner.
Corner exploder suplex connects, Sami heads over, he's feeling it...
Sami Zayn wins by pinfall with the Helluva Kick!
Commentary puts our title match over and we head to break.
Back from commercial and we get some still shots from the Rumble before we go backstage where Sheamus and Cesaro are bickering.
Sheamus accuses Cesaro of trying to swing him and Cesaro accuses him of trying to eliminate him from the Rumble, when Bayley comes up! They have a big trios match later against Charlotte Flair and the Club and they need to get on the same page, so she suggests a group hug.
Cesaro's all about it but Sheamus is reluctant. Charlotte and the Club roll up to make fun of them. Karl Anderson says they've found the Royal Rumble Loser Support Group and Charlotte has a line about the champs beating the chumps. Luke Gallows calls them nerds, to boot.
Michael Cole tosses us to a video package about Seth Rollins and HHH at this time. We're reminded of our promised Stephanie McMahon/Seth Rollins face to face later.
Cut backstage where Steph is on the phone until KO rolls up. He's upset about his title match tonight and says he's been doing everything he can to live up to her and HHH's expectations, but he has to be honest with her, he's hurt. Braun is the strongest guy around, twice his size, and so on.
Steph says it's completely unfair and after she takes care of Seth, she'll talk to Mick and see about cancelling the match. Off to break we go.
Back from commercial with Tony Nese making an entrance.
Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese
Roll under, arm drag, armbar, Ali in control early but Nese uses his strength to try and counter. Ali springboards out of a test of strength, flying headscissors, kip-up, Nese breaks for the ropes. Knee lift, back elbow charge, snapmare into a cover, clearly not enough.
Crossface strike, whip across, Ali takes it hard back-first, manages to counter a German suplex attempt into a pin but gets turned inside out by a lariat after. Mustafa thrown to the apron, shoulder block, flip over, his turn to knock Tony down with a lariat, whip in the corner, evasion, kick to the face.
Roll into a neckbreaker nearly ends it, Nese shoves him into the ropes but Ali catches him with a spinning heel kick. Mustafa looking for the imploding 450 splash but Nese tries to cut him off. A second try and Tony chop blocks him clean off the turnbuckles!
Sets him up in the corner...
Tony Nese wins by pinfall with a running knee strike in the corner.
Austin Aries interviews Nese at the top of the ramp and asks him what he says to his critics who doubt his charisma. Tony is silent and Aries continues, asking him about how despite his washboard abs, talking to him is as interesting as talking to a washboard.
That gets a response, Nese says he doesn't have to answer his critics.
The Rollins/McMahon face-to-face is up next, after the break.
Back from commercial with some hype for next year's Royal Rumble in Philadelphia.
In the arena, Seth Rollins makes his entrance. He says he may have been banned last night, but he's here tonight and he's live. (Weird, I thought he was a hologram.) He knows Steph wants to scold him for his bad behavior, but even billion dollar princesses don't always get what they want, so suck it up, Buttercup, and get out here.
Stephanie McMahon enters. She says Rollins isn't going to rattle her cage with childish insults and HHH isn't here tonight. He apologizes but he doesn't care about her, he just wants to know when she's gonna let HHH off his leash. She says he's right about one thing, HHH is afraid.
HHH is afraid that his dark side will come out and he'll totally destroy what he once thought was his greatest creation. And the truth is, she asked him to stay away. If she believes that, he calls her delusional, but she walks him through things. He became a traitor to them and when was the last time he saw championship gold?
And who missed WrestleMania last year? Who was banned from the Royal Rumble last night? She says he should call HHH out, but rather beg his forgiveness and apologize to him, to her, to the fans, the whole deal. He asks for confirmation and she changes her mind about the fans but she wants her apology.
Seth says she's the boss, so sure, he's sorry. He's sorry he exposed her husband as the gutless snake he really is, that his whole legacy's about to go up in smoke if he keeps dodging Seth. He went to Hunter's own house and called him out, and what did he do? He called security.
That guy in the suit is not HHH, Seth says, but rather a scared dude. And he's scared because Seth is the greatest threat to his legacy that he's ever seen. He knows it, these people know it, and judging by the way Steph has always looked at him, she knows it too.
Steph replies that she looks at Seth with nothing but disgust, and that he doesn't measure up to HHH. He's a king, and Seth is an architect. But not just any architect, but the architect of his own demise. Seth says she doesn't get it, he's got nothing left to lose. And if going to NXT was bad, what happens when he goes to WWE headquarters and invades a board meeting?
What's Vince gonna think about that? Or better yet, what if he shows up at their house and one of their kids opens the door? This doesn't end until he gets his hands on HHH and he slays the king, he says. Steph says she lied, HHH is on his way right now. He's coming, and he's coming for Seth!
Commentary recaps our opening segment and promises the trios match as up next after the break.
Back from commercial in time for entrances.
Bayley, Cesaro, & Sheamus vs. Charlotte Flair & the Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
Bayely and Charlotte to start, but Flair immediately backs off and tags Anderson in. Cesaro in, bit of light grappling, Cesaro lays an uppercut in and sends Karl to the turnbuckle. Tag to Gallows, he eats a few uppercuts, Cesaro fires up, whip across reversed, Cesaro gets the boot up but Charlotte intervenes and Luke knocks the Swiss Superman to the floor with a roundhouse kick to send us to break.
Back from commercial and Anderson scoops Cesaro up for a slam and follows it with a knee drop that gets two. Reverse chinlock applied, Cesaro to his feet, pops Machine Gun away but eats an elbow. Slugging it out in the corner, desperate for the tag but Karl catches him and drops him with the spinning spinebuster for two.
Gallows tags in, tries to block Cesaro but Sheamus tags in and plasters him with lariats and a shoulder thrust in the corner. Whip across, spinning wheel kick in the corner, diving lariat... not enough! Big Hoot to the apron, Sheamus clutches him for the Beats of the Bodhran and connects with nine of them when Charlotte comes at him from behind!
Bayley comes in but referee Shawn Bennett is distracted and Gallows takes advantage. Sheamus comes back at him, assisted White Noise but Anderson breaks it up! Clothesline takes Karl out, Cesaro looking for the swing but Sex Ferguson slips out and tags Charlotte in.
Bayley uses Cesaro as a springboard for a diving lariat, Cesaro comes off the top with a crossbody to the outside! Charlotte goes for the Figure Eight, Bayley kicks her off...
Bayley, Cesaro, & Sheamus win by pinfall with a Bayley-to-Belly on Charlotte Flair.
Backstage, Stephanie confronts Mick Foley and asks him if he had a brain fart. He understands she's the commissioner and he respects that, but he wants her to respect him as GM and let him do that job. Last week, her husband's music played and he was nowhere to be found.
She blames the production team and Mick tells her he may look stupid right now, but asks that she not treat him as stupid, because he is not. She gives him her word that HHH is here tonight, and he asks her to let him keep his word and let Owens defend his title against Braun Strowman. It should be a great match as long as nobody plays HHH's music and he doesn't show.
Commentary promises us the Coronation of King Neville, after the break.
Back from commercial and Neville makes his entrance.
He gets on the mic and says last night we witnessed the coronation of the true King of the Cruiserweights. This title is his crown and he will not be denied. He says 205 Live belongs to the king. He did more than just win a championship last night, he proved each and every one of us sniveling little peasants wrong.
He says we never believed in him, supported, or cared about him, but now he's the undisputed King of the Cruiserweights.
Enter Rich Swann. He says he's not here to fight, and as much as it pains him he's not champion anymore, as much as he wants to throw fists right now, he'll wait on his rematch. He's here because he couldn't sit in the back and listen to Neville's garbage for one more second.
Rich says the people aren't out to get him, that the fight is all in his head. He may not like him, but he has to admit that every time Neville steps in the ring he's one of the very best. Last night at the Royal Rumble he proved that and he has to respect him.
Swann offers a hand, Neville sets the title down and asks when he's gonna get it. You do not simply offer your hand to your king, you bend a knee and you bow. Rich shakes his head sadly and leaves, which leads Neville to tell him you don't turn you back on your king...
BUT SWANN IS READY FOR HIM! Neville puts a flurry together in response but Swann is on him with mounted punches, a roundhouse kick sends him out of the ring and Swann launches himself with a suicide dive that sends Neville scrambling up the ramp!
Commentary promises us a tag team tornado match between Enzo & Cass on one hand and Rusev & Jinder Mahal on the other, and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get a still picture recap of Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks.
We go backstage with Sasha Banks where a medic is checking her knee. Bayley rolls up and asks what's up, to which Sasha responds that she's getting ready for her match against Nia. Bayley tries to tell her she should wait until her knee is healed, but unlike some people, the Boss says she doesn't like coming up short.
Up next, a still picture recap of the Royal Rumble match proper.
In the locker room, Kevin Owens is waiting and Jericho comes up to tell him his match with Braun Strowman is still on. Chris tries to reassure him by reminding him that no matter what, they'll still be United States Champion. Owens is apoplectic and freaking out about the threat of Braun Strowman.
KO tries to get Jericho to agree to help but Y2J says he's beat up and Owens wasn't out there when he lost to Sami and... Kev cuts him off and asks if he still wants to wrestle at WrestleMania and says he needs Chris to have his back. Jericho says he'll have his back and agrees to help him beat Strowman.
The Man Event is next, after the break.
Back from commercial in time for entrances, Chris Jericho parks himself at the commentary desk.
Braun attacks Jericho pre-emptively, kicking him into the pit near the announce desk! He clears the table... CHOKESLAM THROUGH THE TABLE!
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (c) (WWE Universal Championship)
Owens immediately bails the second the bell rings! Braun follows him, back in the ring Kev manages to throw some hands, Braun shoves him to the mat. Owens with a dropkick that sends Strowman to the floor but Braun comes in and runs him over. Clubbing blow to the back, hammer whip, corner avalanche, KO is hurting.
Another corner avalanche and Kev finds himself outside, where Strowman charges around to hammer him into the barricade! Back in the ring, Owens fires desperate hands but ends up clubbed to the mat with a single sledgehammer fist. KO outside again, but he ducks the charge this time and Braun eats ringpost!
Barricade cannonball, Owens rolls back in to take the count-out but Braun ain't down yet. Back in, somersault leg drop, running senton, KO heads up top... FROG SPLASH! NO GOOD! Superkick connects, heading back up but Strowman is on his feet already and catches Owens off the turnbuckles for the running powerslam!
Braun can't quite get over for the pin and Roman Reigns comes down! He stares Braun down from the apron and heads in... Superman Punch!
Braun Strowman wins by disqualification.
Roman clotheslines Strowman out of the ring and heads out after him... Superman Punch off the steps! He sizes Braun up... spear off the steps! A spear to Owens in the ring to boot!
Owens writhes in pain as Braun heads around the ring, but the monster has other matters on his mind now.
Commentary recaps the Steph/Seth segment, and a black SUV rolls up. Commentary thinks HHH is inside, but Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman actually step out and we head to break.
Back from commercial, Brock makes his entrance.
Paul Heyman introduces himself and says they have to face a disturbing truth. Every all-time great has one opponent that has his number, the one argument that says "yeah, but". Andre the Giant was undefeated for 15 years (wildly inaccurate!), but then he wrestled Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 3. Ronda Rousey, the Undertaker, John Cena, Kurt Angle, and so on.
Every time he goes to his kids and he says "Daddy advocates for Brock Lesnar", they say "Yeah, but Goldberg beat him." He walks down the street, same thing happens. He despises "yeah, but", saying it's the worst thing you can say to a being that lives for their accomplishments.
And so Paul issues a challenge for one final match, Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania. He says that any reading of the biblical story of Goldberg and Lesnar will tell you that the odds are in Goldberg's favor, but to that, Brock says "yeah, but..."
Commentary promises HHH confronting Seth Rollins for later and we go to break.
Back from commercial, a common seahorse makes her entrance.
Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
Banks with dropkicks right out the gates, going for a crossbody, Nia catches her but Sasha escapes. Charge ducked on the corner and Jax ends up outside. The Boss with a kick, charges in for a baseball slide but Nia blocks and grabs a full nelson, swinging her bum knee-first into the steel ringpost!
Nia chucks her back in the ring and Sasha's writhing in pain as referee Shawn Bennett checks on her. Jax goes for her legs and Sasha struggles but a kick takes her leg out of her leg. Nia steps over like a reverse Boston Crab and sits down! Reverse half-crab!
Nia Jax wins by stoppage with a reverse half-crab.
She wrenches back on Sasha's face with a rear chinlock on top of it but the referee forces a break. Nia goes back to it and Bayley runs down for the save! Jax breaks and walks off as Bayley and Bennett check on Sasha.
Commentary promises the tornado tag after the break.
Back from commercial and Bayley and a medic are helping Sasha to the back.
Lana does her deal to introduce Rusev, calling Laredo a "small, pathetic village".
Enzo & Cass come out, they do the thing. They make fun of Jinder's veins and Rusev's protective facemask before talking about tornados in honor of the stipulation. Cass calls Lana a wicked witch and says he's seen her melt before. They call them SAWFT as is obligatory and we're off to the races.
Enzo & Big Cass vs. Jinder Mahal & Rusev (Tornado Tag Team Match)
Brawling to start, Cass on Rusev, Jinder on Enzo. Cass throws Rusev outside and they fight, Enzo soon gets Mahal out as well. Rusev goes face-first into the barricade a few times as Jinder throws a straight right at Amore's head and drops him. Two on one on Cass but Enzo comes over and we go to break.
Back from commercial and Jinder and Rusev are hammering Cass together in the corner as Enzo languishes in agony on the outside. Cass manages to dump Rusev and Enzo comes off the top at Mahal! He throws a tope on both men but they catch him and drop him face-first on the barricade.
Cass fighting valiantly but he gets double-teamed and they throw him into the ringpost and then the barricade. A second toss into the barricade follows and they turn their attention to Enzo, throwing him in the ring. Mahal clobbers him and Rusev gets in his face yelling.
Jinder puts boots to Cass on the outside for good measure, Rusev with a scoop slam on Enzo, Jinder adds a knee drop. Rusev raking at Amore's eyes now, and Mahal takes a turn ripping at his beard. Jinder goes back to Cass but the big man wakes up and heads in the ring to fend both men off with punches.
Off the ropes, a shoulder block levels Rusev, and one for Jinder. They end up in the corner and he throws Stinger splashes at them. Rusev ducks a lariat but walks into a body slam and then the Empire Elbow, but Jinder breaks the pin up! Mahal holds Cass down as Rusev punches away at his face, and then they switch.
Jinder off the ropes but Enzo yanks him out of the ring and passes him face-first into the steel steps! Rusev comes over and Amore snaps him over the top rope. Big boot connects, Enzo goes up top...
Enzo & Big Cass win by pinfall with the assisted splash from Enzo on Rusev.
A limousine rolls up and HHH gets out of it.
Commentary shills for the WWE 24 on WrestleMania last year, which will be on the Network immediately after Raw, and we head to break.
Back from commercial and commentary recaps the Paul Heyman promo, promising a reply from Goldberg next week.
HHH makes his entrance and talks about how he picked Seth from the beginning. He was first NXT Champion, leader of the Shield, and then Hunter made him an offer to be the best. Seth bought in and he bought in in a big way, and standing by his side, Rollins became the man, the face of the company.
He says Seth would get everything he wanted out of the business and more, and all he had to do was hold up his end of the bargain. But he couldn't do it, and as soon as the pressure mounted, he collapsed, his leg gave way and he stood here with tears streaming down his face (Hunter sobbing violent mock tears) and he handed everything back to him on a silver platter and spit in his face!
He hobbled up that ramp into obscurity and thought he'd come back later like the world didn't turn without him, only the world did turn. And seven months later, when Rollins stood alone, he was an abject failure. And did he take any responsibility for that failure? No, that failure was blamed on ol' Mr. Hs.
But he doesn't feel like he owes Rollins an apology, no he wants one himself. He gave Rollins the world and he spit in his face. He asks the crowd if they have any idea how hard it is for him to not come to his ring when Seth calls him out? He doesn't come out here because his wife asked him not to, because it's best for business that he doesn't.
He's trying, whether anybody believes it, so hard to not be that guy anymore, the man that ends careers, crushes dreams, and injures people without giving a crap what anybody thinks. So every day he puts on this suit and ties this stupid tie and goes to his office and tries to put it behind him and be a creator.
And then a guy like Seth Rollins decides he wants to come to NXT, where he's trying to create the next Seth Rollins... but he's done trying. He takes the jacket and the tie off and unbuttons his shirt, before continuing, adding that Rollins doesn't have to worry about coming to his house, because he's standing right here, right now. (Van Halen's kicking ass in America?)
He tells Rollins to get his ass to the ring and meet his destroyer.
Rollins obligingly comes out, and takes his shirt off... BUT SAMOA JOE BLINDSIDES HIM! JOE THROWS HIM IN THE STEPS! INTO THE BARRICADE! INTO THE APRON! INTO THE BARRICADE AGAIN!
Seth is crawling for HHH but Joe drags him up and tells him he belongs to him now, throwing him in the ring! HHH walks away up the ramp and Seth tries to fight, throwing a knee, but he takes an enzuigiri and a trio of sentons in return! Rollins drags himself up Joe's frame but Joe ducks him... COQUINA CLUTCH! BODYSCISSORS ARE ON! SETH ROLLINS IS OUT!
Joe stands above Seth's unconscious body, sweat dripping off his face, and that's the show, folks.