RAW Ramblings – January 18th 2016.
Nationwide Arena: Columbus, OH.
What a pathetic excuse for a go-home show we got this week. There were embarrassing production gaffs, the most dead crowd this side of a TNA taping in Bethlehem, PA, perplexing and down right moronic booking decisions, plus, you could make an argument that they did a better job of promoting the new season of Total Divas than the Royal Rumble on Sunday.
Main story of the show was them teasing forever Brock Lesnar’s appearance on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel and when they finally delivered Brock was laid out by Roman Reigns AND the Wyatt Family. Imagine such a thing! Opening segment saw Reigns call out Lesnar but Jericho showed up instead and did all of his usual catchphrases that the crowd didn’t really react to. League of Nations came out and they all had horrible lines about being in the Rumble, expect for Rusev, who claimed everyday on the streets of Bulgaria was like fighting in the Rumble. For reasons that nobody bothered to explain, Jericho booked Reigns vs. Rusev with himself as the guest referee. Match was fine; Jericho ended up throwing out all of the other League of Nations chumps. Finish saw Reigns win with the spear at 13:50. Backstage, Stephanie chewed out Jericho for hijacking the show. Apparently it took her 30 minutes to realise because she didn’t do anything about it while Jericho was actually out there. There was a funny line where Steph told Jericho “It’s not 1999 anymore,” which funnily enough is what she should be telling the Creative team. Finally, after the crowd had been put into a coma, we got the Highlight Reel in the main event segment. Paul Heyman came out and just went through the motions in delivering a promo about Lesnar winning the Rumble. WWE some how managed to put Paul Heyman & Chris Jericho together with microphones and still nobody cared whatsoever. Lesnar eventually showed up to a lukewarm reaction, like I said the crowd was positively narcoleptic all night. Reigns immediately speared Brock like a geek then the League of Nations stormed the ring and jumped Reigns. Brock came back and tossed them around briefly, but Reigns took Lesnar out with another spear. The Wyatts appeared and they attacked Reigns; Luke Harper gave Lesnar a big boot then, hilariously, Rowan put Brock down with horrible spin kick. Bray finished Lesnar off with Sister Abigail and declared that the Rumble was his. – This was something else. I have no problem with them having heels laying out Brock to get some heat, lord knows they need some strong heels, but watching the Wyatts, who have been feuding with the Dudelys & Tommy Dreamer, stand tall over Lesnar just felt so phony. If they bothered to put a little thought into their booking, they could have started to build the Wyatts, and Bray in particular, as strong heels for a few weeks and then shot this angle so people might actually have bought what WWE was trying to sell them. Instead, the crowd just sat there in deafly silence, probably wondering why they spent $60 on tickets to see this abysmal product. Of course, there will now be a bunch of speculation about a Brock Lesnar/Bray Wyatt match at WrestleMania, which again would be laughably underwhelming. The booking pattern of Bray Wyatt seems to be, heat him up for WrestleMania season so he can lose a match to a guy nobody could possibly believe he could beat anyway, and just treat him like a mid-card heel for the rest of the year and have him beat a few geek babyfaces. At least they tried, I suppose, but still, wasting laying out Brock Lesnar on the Wyatt Family just felt like a giant exercise in futility.
We got an early contender for worst segment of 2016, as Vince & Stephanie McMahon drew names out of the old tumbler to see who would be #1 in the Royal Rumble. They blathered on and shilled the Rumble for a while then it was time for the drawing of the names. Steph spun the tumbler and Vince picked out a ball, however he couldn’t open it and just picked out another instead. “Roman Reigns” was the name inside the ball. Vince drew another ball just to prove this was legit and again he couldn’t open the ball, so he picked a different one and it too said “Roman Reigns.” Vince did this a third time and again he looked like Mr Burns trying to crush a paper cup as he struggled to open the ball he selected. He gave up and selected another ball, which once again had Reigns’ name in it. Stephanie realised the segment was dying and made a joke about how, “at least there’s no phone like McMahon’s Millions.” It was brutal television. I also don’t get why the Authority would openly boast about the fact that the tumbler was rigged. It didn’t draw any heat; it was just stupid.
The only other notable things on the show were Dean Ambrose & Kalisto losing to Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio in 13:25 when Sheamus pinned Kalisto, and some build to the Charlotte/Becky Lynch Diva’s title match. So, Kalisto, who lost the US title after ONE DAY, was pinned here because the WWE are idiots and then they announced that he would get a rematch for the US title against Del Rio at the Rumble. What the hell happened to pro wrestling? Becky Lynch beat Tamina with her Disarmer in 4:15 of a wretched match. Ric Flair & Charlotte were sat at ringside and afterwards, Becky cut a solid fiery promo on Charlotte and challenged her to a title match. Charlotte refused at first, but Becky insulted Ric and he jumped up and went all Ric Flair then accepted the match on Charlotte’s behalf. – It really should tell you how terrible this show was if these two segments are considered part of the highlights.
Further Nonsense: Natalya w/Paige beat Brie Bella w/Alicia Fox in 1:20 with the Sharpshooter. I have no idea who was the babyface or who was the heel, nor do I know why Natalya is suddenly friends with Paige, who only a couple of months ago attacked her in the locker room. The hyped Total Divas also. The Wyatt Family Classic (Bray, Harper & Rowan) beat the Dudley Boyz & Ryback in 5:45. Match was nothing; Harper pinned Bubba with his discuss lariat. – This is how they got these men ready to take out Brock Lesnar. Laughable! Big Show KO’d Heath Slater in 0:55 then KO’d the rest of the Social Outcasts. I guess Show is a face again. The New Day held a funeral for Xavier’s trombone, “Francesca”. They cried, it was goofy. Big E pinned Jey Uso in a boring 10 minute match with his move. Why the one half of the babyface team challenging for the Tag titles lost a singles match to one half of the heel champions is inexplicable to me. This is not how wrestling is booked, everyone! Titus O’Neil, R-Truth, Mark Henry & Neville beat Stardust, Tyler Breeze & The Ascension in a complete waste of time match in 6:20 when Neville pinned poor Tyler with the Red Arrow. – Breeze is officially finished. That was the show, it was no good at all. You’ll probably be better off watching the season premier of Total Divas.