After a surprisingly good TLC on Sunday, the WWE had to keep what little momentum they had gotten with Monday’s RAW. Grasping for ratings, they brought out all the stops: Vince McMahon, a title match, a crazy ECW rematch, and the beginning of what looks to be a new era for their golden boy Roman Reigns.
Stephanie McMahon opened the show, absolutely on game and fully entrenched in her heel persona. Calling Reigns out, she confronted him in the middle of the ring. Reigns was unrepentant, wishing his own daughter a happy birthday. Stephanie was not amused, slapping Reigns seven times before informing him that though Triple H asked her not to fire him, Vince McMahon himself was on the way.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose
The new Intercontinental Champion entered to a massive pop from the crowd for his first match as champion and took early control of the match before Ziggler recovered with a dropkick. Ambrose wouldn’t stay down for long, locking Ziggler in a painful submission hold before moving the fight outside the ring, then back inside for a missed elbow drop. Ziggler looked to make a comeback, but Ambrose was still going strong, ending up in a stalemate. Ambrose tried another move off the top rope, but Ziggler caught him with a dropkick and Famouser. That wasn’t enough, once again, and Ambrose caught Ziggler with a missile dropkick. AFter, however, Ziggler got Ambrose with a Superkick as Ambrose retaliated with a clothesline.
Then, a furious Kevin Owens emerged, tossing Ziggler out of the ring before hitting Ambrose with the Pop-up Powerbomb…twice. He then proceeded to Pop-Up Powerbomb Ziggler ONTO Ambrose. Ouch.
This is how they should have built up this feud from the start, but eh, better late than never!
Owens declared his war against Ambrose wasn’t near over backstage, and the ECW Originals vowed to settle the score against the Wyatts in the city where it all began.
I’m happy about the continuation and deepening of this rivalry. Expect plenty of brilliant mic work and tension in the leadup to the Royal Rumble.
R-Truth vs. Bo Dallas
After a fun entrance and a victory lap by Dallas, the match was interrupted to show Vince McMahon’s arrival at the arena. The match continued for about thirty more seconds before Vince entered, rudely kicking the two out of “his” ring.
“Let the bastard sweat!”
Vince sat comfortably at ringside, saying he was going to let Reigns sweat a bit more, before calling Reigns out to the ring. Reigns entered, stone-faced. McMahon demanded an apology from Reigns on his hands and knees.
Vince prepared to beat on Reigns, but Sheamus entered, saying he wanted to take Reigns down himself. After some prodding and gloating from Reigns, Vince gave him a championship match for not only the title, but his job, before kicking him low and leaving.
Ryback and Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio and Rusev
In a double rematch, the two League of Nations heels entered to their own music (which was cool, I’ll admit it), and Ryback took early control with an impressive show of strength. But upon being tagged in, Del Rio took command, and even a tag-in by Swagger couldn’t bring them down as they took the win.
Tyler Breeze vs. Neville
The Miz interrupted before this match could even begin, apparently interested in being the director of the match, “coaching” Neville throughout the match, though he clearly didn’t need the help, taking early control of Prince Pretty early on.
Breeze, however, made a comeback, but Neville didn’t stay down for long, hitting Breeze with the Red Arrow for the win.
Backstage, Neville shut the Miz down, showing the fierce independence that got him so over on NXT. Hope he continues to rebuild himself after months of pathetic booking.
ECW Originals vs. The Wyatt Family (Extreme rules match)
In an instantly fast-paced bout, the toys were brought out right away. Since basically everything was happening at once, I’ll just give you the basics: Team ECW took early control and basically kept it until Luke Harper started a massive comeback. Erick Rowan drove Rhyno through a table for the win.
My recap can’t do this justice. It was insane and wild the whole time, with jaw-dropping spots and plenty of action for both sides. I was thrilled to see Erick Rowan get the pinfall. Maybe now we can see the Wyatts as the unstoppable force they were always meant to be.
New Day did what they do best: partied hard. Bringing their opponents from Sunday night into the ring, they basically put them over in what seemed to be a sincere truce before reverting back to their normal, wildly vain selves, earning a beating from the other two teams.
Looks like this triple-feud is continuing. Can’t say I mind too much. It’s great seeing the Lucha Dragons getting the push they deserve.
Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella and Alicia Fox
Brie took early control, using her husband’s kicks because why not against Charlotte. Becky and Alicia tagged in, and Ric Flair tripped up Fox to allow Lynch to lock in the Dis-arm-her for the victory. Team BAD was at ringside.
This match was ridiculously short. We better get some payoff soon.
Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Sheamus entered with confidence, Mr. McMahon at ringside cheering him on and heckling Roman Reigns as he entered.
It was the Celtic Warrior who took the early advantage and retained it through a commercial break with punishing blows very befitting to his character. Reigns gained control back with a Samoan Drop from the second rope and a powerbomb in the ring, but Sheamus stayed alive to get a near-fall with a powerbomb of his own.
Sheamus locked in the Clover-Leaf, but Reigns crawled to the ropes to force it out. Reigns capitalized on this momentum, hitting Sheamus with a Superman Punch for the three-count, but Vince kept the match going. The funny business continued as the League of Nations attacked Reigns, who had been pushed out of the ring.
But Reigns would not be stopped, hitting everyone, including Vince, with a Superman Punch, and kicked out of a cover from a Brogue Kick before hitting a Spear for the victory.
I’ve been hard on Reigns for a long time, especially after the booking disaster that was the Royal Rumble. But WWE seems to be turning a corner in booking him, and he’s improving with each match he has. I’m a Shield girl through and through, so seeing him and Ambrose with the gold is definitely gratifying. Looking forward to Rollins returning and seeing those three tear the house down.
For the first time in a long time, RAW felt like it mattered. Something important was at stake. Feuds intensified. Storylines developed. This is what people tune in for. Hopefully, Creative realizes this breaking of the mold is how they can propel their company into a better year than this one.