Written by Mark Henely
The final Raw of 2015 started with Mr. McMahon calling out Roman Reigns for Superman Punching him two weeks ago. I’m not a Roman Reigns fan, but it is always exciting to see Vince McMahon and I was pumped to see what would happen next. Both men ended up being pretty great in this segment. Roman Reigns often struggles with likeability, but he came off genuinely cool in this segment by saying very little and nailing the few things he did say.
Vince McMahon cut a really unique heel promo where he claimed that he forced Roman’s father and uncle, the Wild Samoans, to wrestle to wrestle too frequently and now they are used up and run down. It was super dark stuff. All this lead to Roman pushing the boss and Vince responding by feigning an injury.
The chief of police came out and refused to arrest Roman Reigns and generated himself some massive pops from the crowd. No one gets one over on the chief of police. Vince dropped his hurt act and grabbed the chief by the collar. The Chief arrested Vince and got himself an absolutely atomic pop from the crowd. The chief of police is now the hottest babyface in the WWE. The people love this man! Someone get this man a title shot!
The first match of the night was Neville vs. Kevin Owens. Neville beat Owens for the Slammy Award for “Breakout Star” last week and Owens didn’t like it, so they had this match to see who is actually better. The match was a 60 second match where each man almost did their finishing move before Neville got the quick roll up. Even though this match was short, these two men really showed how good they are in the ring. The match was very graceful and smooth.
Knee jerk reaction, I didn’t like seeing Owens lose so quickly, but there are a lot of storyline opportunities that can come from this quick loss. As long as Owens doesn’t develop a pattern of losing quickly, this loss won’t be too damaging for Owens. Neville also needed a big win badly if fans were going to take him seriously. Owens got to get his heat back by destroying Neville afterwards. Dean Ambrose came out afterwards to save Neville, adding another interesting wrinkle to an already interesting storyline.
After that, WWE played a video from The Rock’s Instagram. The Rock will be at Wrestlemania!
The next match of the night was Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks. Beforehand, Lynch cut a promo about how Charlotte is being mean to her, but she is happy because she is in her hometown of Brooklyn. Sasha came out, put on her Boston hat, and really let the fans know who to cheer and who to boo. These two women are strong performers, but the match really dragged. There were a lot of weak looking rest holds and the crowd lost patience with it. Every moment of Raw prior to that match was paced very quickly and these two needed to slow the pace down a little if they were going to have as long a match as they had, but they slowed it a little too much.The last few moments of the match were awesome though. The two reversed a few pinfalls and finishers before Sasha got the quick roll up.
WWE followed up that match with an update on Vince’s arrest by showing a picture of his absolutely ridiculous mugshot.
The next match of the night was Kofi Kingston vs. Kalisto. The New Day is the most entertaining act in the WWE and Kalisto is an amazing wrestler, so I expected great things. Prior to the match, the New Day delivered a hilarious promo where they complained about not winning every Slammy award. The highlights of the promo were when Kofi threatened to beat up the audience’s kids and Big E ROLFed IRL.
The match itself was really great. Kofi and Kalisto are incredibly athletic and the match was fast paced and very exciting. Kalisto got the surprise win, but the New Day wouldn’t let it lie. Xavier Woods called out Sin Cara for not being a good role model. I think it is hilarious to call out a silent wrestler as a hypocrite. Woods volunteered Big E for a match against Sin Cara and the match was on.
Big E vs. Sin Cara was great because the New Day was at their most ridiculous. The first thing the audience saw in the match when the show returned from commercial was Big E literally spanking Sin Cara. The whole match was trombone playing and screaming. Big E got the win after some massive interference to end a very fun match.
The next segment of the night was Miz TV’s year in review. It started out with the Miz sitting in the middle of the ring, wearing a scarf that is twice as long as the Miz’s own body. Ryback interrupted him by telling the Miz that he looks stupid. There isn’t a wrestler out there that looks stupider than Ryback does on the regular, so I suppose he knows what he is talking about. Ryback then got into the ring and burped into the mic on accident.
Then, a series of random wrestlers came out and cut weird promos. The best was Zach Ryder. He came out and cut a classic Ryder-promo. I missed that guy. The full list of interrupters were Ryback, Goldust, Ryder, R-Truth, Heath Slater, and Big Show. The entire thing devolved into a brawl when Slater hilariously told Big Show that no one cares what he has to say. Big Show laid everyone out went to cut a promo, but was distracted by the Brooklyn crowd begging him to retire. Big Show laughed at them and entered Royal Rumble match. He told them he was going to join the match in the number 1 spot, but the announcers clarified that he didn’t mean it. He will be in the Rumble, but not at number one.
After the commercial break, viewers joined Big Show and Ryback in a match already underway. This match up was not interesting and Big Show ended it mercifully by just leaving on his own.
After that, Dean Ambrose and the Usos took on the League of Nations (Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett). I was not interested in this match at all. There is just no intrigue to the League of Nations now that Sheamus lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. All of these guys can work and they try hard, but there is nothing here for fans to get into. The League of Nations wins and no one cares. The most exciting part of the whole thing was when Kevin Owens showed up after the match to put Dean Ambrose through the announce table.
The main event of the night was John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio. This was Cena’s first match back after losing the US Championship to Del Rio back Night of Champions. Cena won Coca Cola’s “Hero in All of Us” Slammy award last week, so now his title card says “The Hero in All of Us John Cena”. I think this is really funny for reasons I can’t explain.
Before the match, John Cena gives a smart promo where he explains not only why Alberto Del Rio should be booed, but why another run as US Champion for John Cena would be exciting. Del Rio doesn’t defend his title every week, but John Cena would. I can get behind that.
Cena goaded Del Rio into a title match and I was pumped! These two have really good chemistry during promos. Then, WWE announced that Lemmy from Motorhead died played a haphazard tribute to Lemmy video that was mostly stills of Motorhead playing at Wresltemania. I like Lemmy as much as the next guy, but that was a real momentum killer.
The beginning of the match itself is dominated by Del Rio. The match was very slow, but heated up once Cena started getting some offense in. The match ended in DQ after Sheamus and Rusev broke up John Cena’s pin on Del Rio.
After the match, Roman Reigns saved Cena by beating up the League of Nations. Vince McMahon, fresh out of jail, came out again to announce that Roman would put his title on the line against Sheamus next week on Raw with special guest referee Vince McMahon. This match sounds awesome and I am looking forward to it.
Like any three hour Raw, this show dragged a little, but there was some good stuff in this show. The New Day was awesome as usual and Roman Reigns was surprisingly good. The return of John Cena was handled masterfully and there is reason to be excited about WWE again. I don’t know how long this excitement will last, but after that show, the future looks a little brighter.