By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from THE Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The fallout from Roadblock served as the central theme of the show as rivalries came to an end while others were just beginning as 2016 comes to a close. Did WWE hit the reset button before Christmas or will wait until January 2nd to sound the alarm? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.
· The Hug of Jericho is such a beautiful thing. *sniff*
· Santa Claus just made the List of Jericho. How blasphemous!
· Mick Foley just had a hometown pop fail by accidentally saying that he was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania instead of Columbus, Ohio.
· Mick Foley announced that Kevin Owens would have a WWE Universal Championship rematch against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble while Chris Jericho is suspended high above the ring in a shark cage.
· Jericho claimed that he was afraid of heights and that the craftsmanship of the shark cage was horrible because it was made in Ohio.
· Foley assured him that the cage was sturdy and safe as Jericho stepped inside the cage to test it out.
· Jericho was trapped in the cage as Foley searched frantically for the key. After rummaging through his fanny pack, Foley told Jericho that he misplaced the key.
· Foley noted that Jericho was perfectly safe unless he gave the signal to raise the cage. He motioned for the cage to go up as Jericho screamed at the top of his lungs. The segment came to an end when he told the backstage crew to free Jericho during the commercial break.
· This was a humorous way start to the show, but it was a little too cutesy for my taste despite the parties involved. In any event, the fans got a kick out of Jericho and Owens’ antics while Foley had to work twice as hard to win the crowd over after his cheap pop faux pas.
· The main event will be Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. It should be a good match.
· Big Cass got disqualified when he attacked Rusev in the corner and ignored the referee’s order to stop before the count of five. The action was pretty nondescript until the abrupt ending.
· Sasha Banks came out to congratulate Charlotte on her win last night, but Nia Jax ruined the feel-good moment. Jax called Banks a weak little girl who didn’t live up to her Boss moniker. Things turned ugly when Jax kicked the crutch from Banks’ arm which caused her to fall down.
· Jax tossed Banks knee-first into the ring ropes and threatened to whack her with the crutch. She dropped the crutch and left the ring as Banks tended to her injured knee.
· It appears that a Banks-Jax feud is on the horizon. This is going to be a struggle for both ladies because their promos can be rough around the edges at times which could prevent people from caring about the buildup on an emotional level.
· Also, Jax is still green in the ring. Banks has her work cut out for her. Can she carry someone who is less-seasoned to a good match? Bayley and Asuka managed to do it. We shall see if The Boss can get the job as well.
· Cesaro and Sheamus were presented with brand new Raw Tag Team Title Belts. The belt is red, but the plate is silver like the belts on SmackDown Live. Oh joy. The belts look nice, though.
· Cedric Alexander defeated Noam Dar with the Lumbar Check, but Dar had the last word when he said that all he wanted for Christmas was Alicia Fox. Dar is such a perv. That’s a compliment because he’s playing his role well. The match was fine while it lasted.
· Big E had a great line when he said that Charlotte would break her father’s 16-time World Heavyweight Championship record in a month. It was low-key but funny as hell. And probably true which is scary as hell.
· The New Day, Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Gallows and Anderson and The Shining Stars was good. It was the best match on the show so far as Kofi Kingston was the babyface in peril throughout. Kingston eventually made the hot tag to Big E who dropped Anderson with a series of Belly-to-Belly Suplexes. Sheamus made the blind tag when Big E was about to deliver the big splash onto Anderson. Epico tagged himself in the match and immediately got drilled with Sheamus’ Ten Beats of the Bodhran.
· The Celtic Warrior made the hot tag to Cesaro and almost got a near fall which led to a parade of finishes down the stretch.
· Sheamus nailed Primo with a Brogue Kick followed by Gallows taking Sheamus out with a big boot only for Big E to clothesline Gallows out of the ring which led to Anderson nailing Big E with a running knee only for Cesaro to cap things with a with a standing European uppercut to Anderson.
· Cesaro delivered the Big Swing to Epico before locking him the Sharpshooter for the win.
· I am not a big fan of Sheamus being a glory hog after winning the Raw Tag Team Championship. Cesaro and Sheamus solidified their partnership during a bar room brawl a few weeks ago. There is no need for the Odd Couple shtick to rear its ugly head again.
· I love heel Neville. He desperately needed this change in attitude.
· Rich Swann came out to confront Neville only for The Brian Kendrick to stick his nose in their business. Kendrick claimed that he wanted Neville in the Cruiserweight Division since day one. Swann got the jump on both men but quickly got double teamed until TJ Perkins made his way to the ring. Perkins was met with a stiff kick from Neville while Kendrick finished him off with Slice Bread #2.
· Neville’s heel turn has breathed new life into the Cruiserweight Division as he brings instant credibility as a pissed off wrestler who has a score to settle with Swann. Hopefully, this gives the division a clear sense of direction when it comes to blending the individual storylines with the action taking place in the ring. By doing so, the fans will care about the performers on an emotional level.
· For the first time ever, I am glad to see Braun Strowman as he just spared the audience from seeing Sin Cara vs. Titus O’Neil. Thank you, kind sir.
· Strowman tossed Sin Cara into the Christmas tree and presents off the main stage. He proceeded to destroy another tree before heading backstage. It appears that Strowman is full of jeer this holiday season. Bah Humbug!
· Charlotte generated instant heel heat when she stated that Clemson was going to beat Ohio State in the College Football Playoffs on New Year’s Eve. She’s a smart cookie.
· Bayley is next in line for Charlotte’s Raw Women’s Championship. After all, The Hugger Extraordinaire is 2-0 against The Queen. Charlotte said that Bayley was the fourth Horsewoman for a reason because she, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch left her behind in NXT because she couldn’t measure up to them.
· Bayley refuted Charlotte’s claim and challenged her to a match. Charlotte accepted as their bout got underway after the commercial break.
· Bayley extends her streak to 3-0 when she pinned Charlotte with a backslide. However, the ending was controversial as Charlotte’s shoulder was up before the count of three. Despite the visual evidence, the referee’s decision is final.
· The match was solid, but the crowd was dead in spots. Bayley and Charlotte work well together, but they are holding back the big stuff until they face off at a major PPV with the Women’s Title at stake.
· Bayley needs to retire The Slip N’ Slide. It’s a cute move, but it could get very annoying if she does it too many times. That was the case tonight as Bayley barely got a reaction when she performed the spot on Charlotte’s back. Outside of that, the match clicked for the most part.
· Sensitivity Training with Enzo Amore < Anger Management Class with Kane and Daniel Bryan. It’s basic mathematics.
· Enzo Amore was laid out by Rusev thanks to an assist from Jinder Mahal and Lana. Enzo can’t catch a break, but he brought this on himself when he tried to sleep with a married woman. Plus, it appears that Mahal and Rusev have joined forces. That’s an odd duo, but it gives Mahal something to do. Here’s hoping that he makes the best of this opportunity.
· Braun Strowman made his presence known during the main event when he attacked Roman Reigns which led to an automatic disqualification.
· Strowman laid out Seth Rollins with a running power slam as Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens ran for the hills. Before making their big escape, they tossed Reigns back in the ring for Strowman to destroy. The big man delivered a wicked running power slam to Reigns as Owens and Jericho praised Strowman for a job well done. The show ended with Strowman standing tall while Reigns and Rollins were taking a nap in the ring.
· Prior to the outside interference, the match featuring Reigns and Rollins vs. Owens and Jericho was solid. It started off slow because Reigns was the babyface in peril for most of the match. Things picked up when Rollins got the hot tag. He ran wild as the crowd came to life down the stretch. The Strowman Factor was a nice surprise which shook things up for a change. Plus, the fans didn’t cheer when he took out Reigns. That’s a positive because the reaction could have gone either way considering how some fans have a blind hatred towards Reigns.
· Strowman basking in the main event spotlight seems to be a one night deal until Sami Zayn comes back next week after Foley gave him the night off. I don’t think the world is ready to see Strowman vs. Reigns yet.
· However, this is a sneak preview of what Strowman will do during the Royal Rumble match next month. Expect chaos until Goldberg and Lesnar hit the ring.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was middling at best. The first hour of the show was light in terms of in-ring action and heavy on slapstick comedy.
· The eight man tag was the best match on the show with nothing really coming close. This was not the best follow-up to Roadblock: End of the Line. The PPV was booked and promoted as a throwaway show and tonight’s broadcast didn’t inspire yuletide cheer outside of a few key segments.
· The creative team deserves a little praise for announcing the Owens vs. Reigns Universal Championship rematch at the Royal Rumble next month. Michael Cole made a good point when he stated that Jericho would be suspended high above the ring in a shark cage inside the Alamo Dome. Jericho’s antics might overshadow the match because he is bound to do something crazy. Plus, the crowd is probably going to boo Reigns out of the building because it’s been the in thing to do since 2015. This must be Reigns’ least favorite PPV in terms of being unanimously hated by the audience.
· WWE is in holiday mode, but they can’t sleep their way through next Monday’s show as Raw emanates from Chicago. That crowd is rabid and anything less than a solid show might cause them to hijack the proceedings. It will not be a pretty sight. Let’s hope that the final Raw of 2016 is a good one. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!