Monday, December 12, 2016

The Raw Exposé: The Triple Threat Double Play En Route to Day 478 Edition (12-12-2016)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the go-home show for Roadblock and it might be the End of the Line for a certain tag team. The New Day are on the cusp of breaking Demolition’s record for being the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history. In order to achieve this amazing feat, they would have to defeat the teams of Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and Cesaro & Sheamus in a Triple Threat Match. Did the trio have a happy ending filled with unicorn horns and Booty-Os or did they drown their sorrows in their trademark cereal instead? The answer to this question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.

·        The New Day made history as they broke Demolition’s record and are now the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all time. The trio successfully defended their Raw Tag Team Titles as they defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and Cesaro & Sheamus in a Triple Threat Match.

·        Cesaro was outstanding down the stretch as he hit anything that moved inside and outside the ring. Corey Graves did great job naming Cesaro’s version of Rey Mysterio’s 619 the Swiss One Nine as he laid out Anderson with the move followed by dropping Big E with a Seated Senton followed by nailing Kingston with a running uppercut against the barricade only for Gallows to get stomped on at ringside for good measure. It was an amazing sequence that popped the crowd something fierce.

·        Cesaro delivered the Big Swing to Anderson before putting him the Sharp Shooter. Big E. tried to break things up, but Cesaro caught him in the nick to time. The Swiss Superman tagged in Sheamus to finish Anderson off with a Brogue Kick. Before Sheamus could score the winning pinfall, Kofi Kingston nailed him with the Trouble in Paradise. Cesaro tried to save his partner, but Big E. held his legs which prevented him from getting back in the ring to break up the pin. And with that, The New Day are the longest reigning Tag Team Champs in WWE History.

·        Despite The New Day’s cheating ways, it was a good match that showcased all three teams in a meaningful way. The fans were pulling for Cesaro and would’ve been thrilled if he and Sheamus won the Tag Team Titles. Their time will come soon enough, but this was The New Day’s night to shine. Quasi-heel tactics aside, of course…

·        Stephanie McMahon was not pleased when Xavier Woods accidentally sprayed her with champagne. She tossed Big E’s extra-large bowl of Booty-Os into the air before storming off. Let’s just say that The New Day’s Celebration came to a screeching halt. Literally.

·        Thanks for coming, Curtis Axel. He was quickly destroyed by Braun Strowman.

·        It appears that my dream scenario is about to come true as Mick Foley is granting Sami Zayn’s request for a trade from Raw to SmackDown Live after Foley refused to book Zayn in a match against Strowman. Foley admitted that he didn’t believe that Zayn could beat Strowman and Zayn didn’t want to work for a boss that didn’t have faith in him as a wrestler.

·        It was a conversation that struck the right chords in terms of passion without Foley going overboard in order to get his point across. His reasoning made sense, but it wasn’t enough to placate Zayn. If this is the end of their business relationship, at least it was an amicable split.

·        Jack Gallagher is such a gentleman that he informed Ariya Daivari that he was purposefully interfering in his match against Lince Dorado. After Daivari’s ungentlemanly actions last week, Gallagher had no choice but to defend himself against the cowardly scoundrel. Both men traded punches which led to Gallagher nailing Daivari with a head butt followed by a drop kick through the ropes.

·        The match was thrown out as Dorado exited stage left. The bout was nothing special, but the fans enjoyed Gallagher’s gentlemanly antics.

·        The Rollins Report featured a major announcement from Kevin Owens as Stephanie McMahon booked him and Chris Jericho in a match against The New Day for the Tag Team Titles later tonight. This was in retaliation for the champagne incident earlier.

·        Jericho was not pleased that Owens put this match together because they are still on the outs. Rollins tried to stir the pot, but Jericho vowed to put him on the Disabled List as he and Owens made their way to the ring.

·        They proceeded to attack Rollins until Roman Reigns made the save. Rollins was about to drop Jericho with another Pedigree, but Owens pulled him out of the ring.

·        It appears that Jericho and Owens are on the same page, but they haven’t buried the hatchet yet. Perhaps they will work out their problems during their Tag Team Championship match against The New Day.

·        As for Rollins, he is a horrible talk show host. He let Owens and Jericho hijack his segment. He’s a fifth-rate Jerry Springer at worst and a 10th-rate Maury Povich at best. His material was weak outside of his line comparing Owens and Jericho to Bon Jovi and Meatloaf. When the guests outshine the host, that’s rarely a good thing. I think it’s time pull the plug on The Rollins Report.

·        The Brian Kendrick defeated TJ Perkins with Slice Bread #2 as he built momentum heading into his Triple Threat Match against Perkins and Rich Swann for the Cruiserweight Championship at Roadblock this Sunday. The match between Kendrick and TJP was fine, but it lacked heat and it appeared that both men were going through the motions which caused fans to chant random things down the stretch.

·        Mick Foley raised the stakes by making New Day’s second Tag Team Title defense another Triple Threat affair by adding Rollins and Reigns to the mix. The Road to 478 just got harder for the two-time Tag Team Champs.

·        The Sasha Banks-Charlotte video package chronicling their feud leading up to their 30-Minute Iron Man Match for the Raw Women’s Championship was very good. Adding in Halestorm’s “I am The Fire” was a nice touch as well. WWE decided to omit Charlotte winning the title at SummerSlam which ruined the timeline a bit, but the montage was still effective as Corey Graves emphasized there is no rematch clause in the contract for this match. Therefore, Sasha Banks and Charlotte will have their FINAL championship bout at Roadblock. Their series of matches have been strong for the most part, but it’s time to put this rivalry to bed until 2019 at the earliest.

·        Alicia Fox was still mad at Bayley for giving Cedric Alexander a Bayley Bear last week and challenged her to another match. Fox was the aggressor throughout the bout, but Bayley dropped her with the Bayley-to-Belly for the win. I think it’s time for Fox to channel her energies elsewhere.

·        Rusev and Lana teased showing a video of what they do behind closed doors, but they showed a recap of Enzo Amore getting his ass kicked by Rusev. Rusev and Lana chided the fans for believing they would see the newlyweds sharing an intimate moment between the hotel sheets.

·        Big Cass came out and fought Rusev on Enzo’s behalf. Both men had a back and forth brawl which became a one-sided situation when Rusev slammed Cass into the barricade and ring post before heading to the back with Lana.

·        The segment was okay as Rusev and Lana got heat for bashing Enzo. However, Big Cass didn’t have the strongest material to work with during his promo. If he doesn’t have Enzo to play off of during a back and forth exchange, Cass struggles when he has to fly solo. Big Cass and Rusev will go one-on-one during the Roadblock Kickoff Show on Sunday.

·        Emmalina’s debut has been postponed. I guess she’s still going through her evolution from Emma to Emmalina…

·        Sami Zayn nailed Jinder Mahal with the Helluva Kick to pick up the win in a short, but decent match. Mahal got in a surprising amount of offense before eating the pin. The outcome was never in doubt, though.

·        Mick Foley pulled off a nice power play by making Sami Zayn think that he was traded to SmackDown Live in exchange for Eva Marie. That was cold on so many levels as fans were chanting for James Ellsworth. Zayn was beyond pissed that Foley thought so little of him. Foley asked Zayn what he wanted and Zayn screamed that he wanted Strowman.

·        Foley was impressed with Zayn’s passion and his ability to tap into his dark side. He granted Zayn’s request and booked him in a match against Strowman at Roadblock with a 10-minute time limit. If Zayn survives, there is hope for him yet. If he doesn’t, The Miz will mail him a Participation Award for trying his best to slay the Abominable Strowman.  

·        This was a very good segment that had me hooked from start to finish. Zayn was excellent and Foley did a nice job conveying his point without screaming at the top of his lungs for a change. I consider that a major breakthrough for our resident Santa Claus.

·        The New Day officially made WWE history as they are now the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all-time as Xavier Woods pinned Chris Jericho for the win. Seth Rollins set things in motion by nailing Jericho with a Pedigree only for Big E to pull Rollins out of the ring before he could make the pin. 

·        This was another good Triple Threat Match that was filled with high drama as The New Day was on the brink of losing their Tag Team Titles. Big E was out of commission for a large chunk of the match which allowed the other two teams to take advantage of the situation. The match featured a great Tower of Doom spot followed by near falls that had the crowd on their feet during the closing minutes of the bout.

·        It appeared that Jericho and Owens were about to win the Tag Titles when Jericho nailed Woods with the Codebreaker. Owens tried to stop Rollins from breaking up the pin only for Rollins to push Owens into Jericho to break up the count. Owens and Jericho traded words which allowed Rollins to capitalize, but it wasn’t enough to win the gold as Big E played into the aforementioned finish.

·        After the match was over, Owens and Jericho continued to argue in the ring. Owens tried to plead his case, but Jericho didn’t want to hear his side of the story. Instead, Y2J told his former best friend to turn around as Reigns nailed him with a Spear. Raw went off the air with Reigns holding the United States and Universal Championship belts as he stood over Owens.

·        The bromance between Owens and Jericho is still on shaky ground. Will they hug it out before Christmas or is their friendship doomed for good?

·        Rollins has a chance to beat Jericho in order to get his hands on Owens which will lead to an eventual showdown with Triple H. Can Rollins overcome his own Roadblock by getting from Point A to Point B to Point C?

·        Reigns is in title contention once again. However, it appears that he’s nothing more than a placeholder for the Owens’ true challenger heading into WrestleMania season. Their Universal Championship title match should be very good, but don’t expect to see a title change on Sunday.

·        The New Day made history and will presumably drop the Tag Team Titles to Cesaro and Sheamus in the very near future. Perhaps WWE will give them the weekend off to celebrate their historic feat. After competing in two grueling Triple Threat Matches, they deserve a break. Plus, they need to have a blowout celebration before dropping the belts. I think a unicorn piñata being smashed by the trio is in order. It would be festive and poignant.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was decent at best. The show was bookended by two Triple Threat Matches for the Raw Tag Team Championship. Both bouts were very good which gave the Tag Titles some much-needed shine. It was a history-making night for The New Day and I’m glad WWE drove that message home throughout the broadcast.

·        The rest of the in-ring action was middling at best. There didn’t seem to be a lot of heat behind the matches which dragged the show down at times.

·        WWE did an okay job hyping the Roadblock PPV, but the company didn’t portray it as a must-see event outside of the 30-Minute Iron Match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte for the Raw Women’s Championship. It will be interesting to see if Sasha can successfully defend her title on PPV. Will Ric Flair play a role in the outcome after what happened last week despite WWE not making a big fuss about it on tonight’s show? We shall see how it all plays out.

·        Roadblock might be a sleeper show that gets good word of mouth during the course of next week. Considering that this is the final major PPV of the year, that’s not a good sign in terms of excitement and anticipation. Here’s hoping that WWE has a game plan to end 2016 on a much higher note. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!

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