SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Monday’s Raw picked up where Survivor Series left off with new WWE World Hvt. champion Sheamus, who cashed in MITB to win the title from Roman Reigns.
WWE Raw TV Report
November 23, 2015 – Episode #1,174
Live in Nashville, Tenn.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with video highlights and still-photos from the end of Survivor Series. Roman Reigns beat Dean Ambrose to win the vacant WWE World Title. But … Triple H came out to congratulate Reigns, only to take a spear, which led to Sheamus cashing in MITB and pinning Reigns to win the WWE World Title. Very dramatic music for Sheamus’s cash-in.
Live in the arena, Triple H’s music played to kick things off. Out came Hunter and a returning Stephanie McMahon proudly looking around the arena. Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton told the story of Reigns reaching the top of the mountain last night, only to be Brogue-Kicked off the top of the mountain.
Stephanie gloated about Roman Reigns letting opportunity slip right through his hands. Why? Hunter said two weeks ago he offered Reigns an opportunity that virtually guaranteed he would leave Survivor Series as WWE champion. All Reigns had to do was shake his hand and thank the company that had faith in him. But, Reigns told him to shove it.
Stephanie said Reigns even had a second chance when Hunter came into the ring to offer his congratulations. Hunter said he wasn’t upset when Reigns turned him down the first time. No, no, no, he was proud of Reigns going through the tournament all by himself to become WWE World champion. So, he offered his hand and opportunity again. Instead, Reigns “cheap-shot me,” Hunter said, drawing cheers. He said that cheap-shot is why Reigns is no longer WWE World Hvt. champion. Some boos.
Hunter told the crowd to understand this life lesson on your life being defined by opportunities seized and missed. Here is one man who seized an opportunity – “the Celtic Warrior, Sheamus!” Hunter exclaimed in his Triple H Voice.
Sheamus walked out to the ring with the WWE Title belt around his waist. Boos for Sheamus. “Oh, what a moment!” Sheamus gloated. Sheamus thanked the quiet crowd for their love. He then thanked Hunter for the top-class introduction. “You look stupid,” chant from the crowd. Sheamus laughed it off, saying nothing can ruin his moment right now.
Sheamus reinforced the point that Reigns made it to the top of the mountain last night, but he Brogue-Kicked him right off the top. Sheamus said the Roman Empire lasted 500 years, but this Roman Empire lasted five minutes and 15 seconds. Sheamus then mocked Reigns for looking sad afterwards.
Sheamus said he has just one question for the entire audience. After holding up the title belt, Sheamus gloated, “Who looks stupid now?! Haha!” Hunter said Sheamus doesn’t look stupid. No, the WWE World Hvt. champion. Sheamus hugged Hunter and Stephanie.
And, cue up The Shield’s theme music to bring out Roman Reigns through the crowd. The first shot was Reigns smiling, apparently not that upset by the events. Reigns came down to ringside looking more determined as Hunter, Steph, and Sheamus sneered at him from inside the ring.
As Reigns entered the ring, Sheamus said here’s someone who looks stupid. Reigns walked up to Sheamus nodding his head like Sheamus can’t back up what he’s talking about. Reigns told Nashville that he wants his re-match … tonight. The crowd popped for a potential WWE Title match. Then, “Yes!” chants for the second night in a row.
Steph mocked the chants, then stepped in to ask Reigns how it feels like to want. He said Reigns’s chance to make demands was lost last night when he speared Hunter. So, what she wants is for Reigns to back up and get out of her ring. Reigns looked like he smelled something foul. He asked “H” if he’s standing behind Stephanie because he’s scared of him. Steph stepped away, so Hunter and Reigns came face-to-face. Long stare down. WrestleMania preview?
Hunter said something off-mic as he raised the mic, then Reigns came closer to Hunter’s face. Hunter told Reigns that he speared him last night, sure. How’d that work out? Hunter told Reigns he has nothing to show for it. As for Reigns’s re-match, Hunter said he will get his re-match when he says so. And it won’t be tonight, Hunter growled.
[Q2] Hunter and Stephanie backed away, then Rusev suddenly returned and blind-sided Reigns with a kick to the head. Hunter and Steph left the ring as Sheamus lined up Reigns for a Brogue Kick to the face. Rusev, who now resides in Nashville, talked trash to Reigns before leaving the ring with Sheamus. It looks like they have a future tag main event of Sheamus & Rusev vs. Reigns & Dean Ambrose (not pictured).
As Reigns recovered in the ring, Hunter, Steph, Sheamus, and Rusev stood together on the stage for Hunter to offer one last dig toward Reigns. He told Reigns that he will get his re-match in three weeks at the TLC PPV in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.
Steph chimed in. She said the closest Reigns will come to the WWE Title tonight is Sheamus standing in the corner of Reigns’s opponent tonight, Rusev.
[ Reax: It looks like they’re going the Daniel Bryan route of beating down Reigns mentally and physically for weeks trying to build sympathy for an eventual WWE Title victory. Reigns was not asked to have a memorable night-after-the-PPV promo, but the heels did enough heavy lifting to put Reigns in a better position than he had been. Can they get the majority of the audience behind him like Bryan, though? More work needed. Reigns eventually has to deliver on his own. ]
Announcers: Cole and Co. shifted gears to The Undertaker’s 25-year celebration last night at Survivor Series. Taker & Kane dismantled the Wyatt Family yet again.
Up Next: Dudleys vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper in tag action.
[Commercial Break at 8:20]
In-ring: The Dudleys were introduced to the ring back from break. Their theme was quickly interrupted by the Wyatts. As they made their way to the ring, WWE cut to an inset promo from Bray Wyatt. Bray said the Brothers of Destruction survived last night, and now the Dudleys will pay for their sins.
1 — BRAY WYATT & LUKE HARPER (w/Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan) vs. THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON)
Bubba and Harper battled early on. Bubba got the best of Harper, so Harper rolled to the outside to regroup with his leader. Bray tried to get Harper re-focused as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:27]
[Q3] Back from break, the Wyatts were in control working over Devon. The announcers talked about Harper needing to prove himself after losing the tag match to Taker & Kane last night. Bray eventually missed a running splash to Devon, giving Devon an opening to tag in Bubba Ray. Luke also tagged in.
Bubba back-dropped Luke to the mat before running him over with a clothesline. Jab. Another one. Uranage in the middle of the ring. Bubba told Bray to come get some, but Bray distracted Bubba by pointing to Erick Rowan. Bubba then turned around to take a discus clothesline from Harper. Luke covered Bubba for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Rowan entered the ring to give Devon a slam. Strowman then stood over Bubba and scooped him up for his bearhug, sans the awkward ragdolling. “Rooooooaaaaaa!” he growled. Bray wanted a piece of the action, too. Devon found himself taking Sister Abigail, then the Wyatts stood over the Dudleys.
WINNERS: Bray & Harper 7:50. Well, the Dudleys came to WWE to help others. Now they’ve been commissioned to help the Wyatts not be losers.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped the new WWE video game after a trailer aired coming back from break. Cole transitioned to a lengthy video package highlighting The Undertaker’s 25 years, with soundbytes from Triple H, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and JBL from the WWE Network special last week.
Back in the arena, Team B.A.D.’s music played to bring out Sasha Banks, Naomi, and Tamina Snuka. Sasha is in singles action. Cole said she’s facing Becky Lynch next.
[Commercial Break at 8:43]
[Q4] Back live, Becky Lynch was in the ring to face Sasha.
2 — BECKY LYNCH vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Naomi and Tamina)
This was a cold match at the start since the focus of the Divas division has been on Charlotte vs. Paige the last few weeks. The match started with Becky out-wrestling Sasha, who then sold annoyance in the corner. Sasha then dominated Becky as Naomi gloated at ringside.
Becky made a comeback with a t-bone suplex, then slapped on the Dis-Arm Her submission. Sasha survived, then Tamina distracted the ref. This allowed Naomi to pull Sasha to the ropes for a rope break. Becky complained to the ref, then Sasha rolled up Becky from behind with a handful of tights for the pin and the win. Afterward, Becky sold frustration in the ring while Sasha and Co. celebrated and mocked Becky. Where was Becky’s buddy, Charlotte, by the way?
WINNER: Sasha at 4:07.
On commentary, Cole talked about Sasha perhaps being in-line for a Divas Title shot following her victory. Suddenly, Paige interrupted Cole’s post-match commentary from somewhere backstage. Paige accused Charlotte of being a cheater. Cole interrupted that he has no idea what Paige is talking about. Paige yelled at Cole for interrupting her. See, Charlotte cheated.
Paige went to the footage from Survivor Series. It showed Charlotte’s right elbow kind of near the ropes on the figure-eight leglock as Paige tapped out, the idea being Charlotte’s elbow “broke the plane of the ropes” to where she was illegally in control of a submission. Or something. Real big stretch. Paige yelled at Charlotte being a nobody. She said Charlotte is just like her dad – a dirty player. Paige said Charlotte is an embarrassment, just like her daddy. On commentary, Cole took the bait and said Paige has a point. That made it even worse.
Up Next: New Day has a Tag Title Open Challenge and country music ho-down. The announcers hammed it up, sounding silly heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
New Day Jamboree
Back in the arena, New Day was introduced to the ring. They rode toy horses down to the ring. Big E. was dressed in a red hat and bandana as JBL went back to his childhood watching Roy Rogers.
In the ring, Kofi Kingston celebrated the official one-year anniversary of the New Day. Xavier Woods said they’re turning one. Big E. celebrated, too, then Kofi said this is serious. Because they’re being forced to celebrate their anniversary in the capital of … Kofi couldn’t finish. Big E. couldn’t either. Xavier said they are in the capital of … country music?! The crowd cheered. New Day pretended to throw up.
[Q5 — second hour] Kofi said they are all about the power of positivity, but when it comes to country music, it sucks. Loud boos. Kofi sang a tune about losing his girlfriend. Xavier played a sad note on his trombone. Big E. sang about his truck breaking down. Another note from X. Big E. shouted that he can’t stand another song about tractors. They calmed down Big, then Kofi brought it back to center that the power of positivity is your friend.
Xavier said they would like to demonstrate what country music should sound like. “Mommas, don’t let your children grow up to be … booty!” Big E. shouted that he doesn’t want to hear anymore of that. Kofi said this is himself, not his character, saying country music sucks. Xavier then threw out a Tag Title Open Challenge. Suddenly, Lucha Dragons’s music played.
On the stage, Kalisto spoke that New Day doesn’t rock. More like “New … Day Runs.” That didn’t catch on, then Kalisto said they are serious about taking the Open Challenge. Kalisto sounded quite nervous on the mic. Sin Cara offered a mock “Happy Anniversary” in Spanish and English before the duo hit the ring. They argued off-mic as the crowd sat quietly waiting for something to happen. New Day started to leave, but The Usos’s music played.
Jey and Jimmy Uso shouted, “Whoa!” over and over again as they walked down to ringside. Xavier said The Usos do not deserve a Tag Title shot. Kofi said they are not ready for a title match. Jey Uso said they are more than ready. Sin Cara spoke from the ring that they were out here first, but the more the better. He offered to reduce their chances of winning by calling for a triple threat match.
Big E. shouted “enough!” He said they have ruined their jamboree. New Day said that since both teams made it about them, then no one gets a Tag Title shot. Xavier said the Open Challenge has officially been cancelled. Xavier took a punch in the mouth from un Uso, then a brawl broke out. The Usos and Dragons cleared Big E. and Kofi from the ring, then Xavier took a beating in the ring. The Usos’s music played to wrap the painfully-long segment.
Still to come tonight: Reigns vs. Rusev. Also, Charlotte vs. Paige in a Divas Title re-match.
[Commercial Break at 9:09]
Exterior Shot: Country music in Nashville near the arena.
Backstage: Renee Young brought in Divas champion Charlotte to address Paige’s claims of being a cheater. Charlotte said she respects Paige as a competitor, but it’s typical of Paige to moan, cry, and politic. She said she does not mind facing her tonight. Woo!
[Q6] In-ring: Mark Henry randomly resurfaced for the next match. Neville was out next as his … tag partner or opponent? It will be opponent tonight. According to Cole, Henry respects Neville.
3 — MARK HENRY vs. NEVILLE
Henry smiled at the start of the match. Neville landed a kick to the thigh, wiping away Henry’s smile. Henry headbutted Neville down to the corner. He then played nice, telling Neville to get up. “C’mon, kid,” Henry said. Neville took advantage of Henry’s generosity by trying to kick him again, so Henry angrily tossed Neville across the ring. Neville landed on the outside, then Henry kind of sold sadness with himself for roughing up the kid.
Henry took his eye off the ball when Neville returned to the ring. Neville knocked down Henry, then climbed to the top as WWE randomly cut to The Miz watching backstage. Neville then hit the Red Arrow and covered Henry, who kicked out at three, but Neville was given the pinfall. The announcers tried to sell this as a huge upset. Apparently just because Henry is much larger than Neville since Henry hasn’t done anything on TV in months.
Post-match, Neville celebrated on the outside. Henry then stopped Neville in his tracks. Henry extended his hand and Neville shook. “I respect you,” Henry told Neville.
WINNER: Neville at 2:24. So random. All of it.
Somewhere: Stardust talked to himself about Cesaro. And now his brother has returned. Suddenly, Titus O’Neil walked into the shot. He made a wrong turn somewhere. Titus admired Cody’s set-up with the planets and stars in his room. Titus saw a Florida Gator head in the galaxy, which Stardust did not appreciate it. Titus dog-barked in Cody’s ear, then ran off.
So …… that was to set up a six-man tag match up next – Stardust & The Ascension vs. Goldust & the Prime Time Players.
They’re just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks at this point.
[Commercial Break at 9:24]
Back from break, Stardust was introduced to the ring for the six-man tag match. The Ascension joined him on the stage before the trio marched down to the ring. Goldust then returned to Raw TV for the first time in months after making a surprise return at Survivor Series. The Prime Time Players were out next to join Goldust.
4 — STARDUST & THE ASCENSION (KONNOR & VIKTOR) vs. GOLDUST & THE PRIME TIME PLAYERS (TITUS O’NEIL & DARREN YOUNG) — six-man tag match
Viktor, who was eliminated 30 seconds into the Survivor Series match on the pre-show, demanded to start the match against Goldust. Goldust was unable to take care of Viktor in 30 seconds tonight. Instead, the faces toyed with Viktor, roughing him up in their corner of the ring. Viktor back-elbowed D-Young, though, to tag in Stardust. The heels then used a numbers advantage to cut off Young and isolate him.
Young eventually tagged in Titus, who cleaned house. Goldust clotheslined his brother out of the ring, then Young suplexed Viktor. Titus followed with Clash of the Titus to Konnor, scoring the pin for the win. And, Viktor finally avoids being the Ascension member to get pinned. After the match, Goldust danced with the Players.
WINNERS: Goldust & PTPers at 6:25. Is this going anywhere? Just a match? Just something for everyone to do? Isn’t that what Superstars and Main Event are for?
Up Next: Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter have a State of the Union Address.
[Commercial Break at 9:36]
Del Rio & Zeb Address
Back from break, Alberto Del Rio’s music played to bring out Alberto and Zeb Colter on his scooter. JBL noted that Del Rio pinned John Cena for the U.S. Title around his waist. Del Rio and Zeb stopped in front of the announce table for their speech.
Zeb said that just because Alberto did not win the WWE World Title last night does not mean Mex-America is unsuccessful. Zeb said it’s part of a young country going through ups and downs. He said they left the invitation open to everyone to leave a sinking country like America and join their country. Instead, Americans went to social media to moan and complain.
Alberto spoke in Spanish as Zeb nodded along with full understanding. Zeb translated that they tried to teach the audience values, but they rejected them. So, Zeb said, they are hereby terminating their offer. Alberto said the borders of Mex-America are closed. Zeb continued that he doesn’t see a lot of brave people out here tonight.
[Q8] Suddenly, Jack Swagger’s music interrupted. Swagger walked out on-stage and said he cannot believe what he is hearing. He said Zeb used to put his hand over his heart and stand for something. Xenophobia? Swagger said he looked up to Zeb. Now he’s turned his back on the country and these people. Swagger tried to make it personal, but Del Rio yelled at him. “You don’t talk to him like that, you stupid American!” Del Rio shouted.
Swagger said he has vowed to protect this country against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. And if Del Rio doesn’t like what he has to say, then do something about it. Swagger marched down to the ring as Alberto held out the U.S. Title belt. Swagger, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, entered the ring and went face-to-face with Alberto. But, Del Rio backed out of the ring to boos, not wanting to fight tonight.
Swagger wasn’t done. He called after Zeb to listen as he and the crowd declare, “We The People!” On the stage, Zeb muttered to himself as he scooted away, not wanting to hear it.
Still to come: Reigns vs. Rusev.
Up Next: Charlotte vs. Paige for the Divas Title. Cole said Paige has “earned a re-match.” With a shoddy video review? Another lame moment from the lead announcer being produced to go along with the heel’s position weaseling into another title shot.
[Commercial Break at 9:48]
In-ring: Paige was introduced to the ring as Cole said Paige had “conclusive evidence” from last night to get a title re-match. More like “inconclusive,” so the play should stand as called. Divas champion Charlotte was out next to defend the title.
5 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE vs. PAIGE — Divas Title match
Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions before the opening bell sounded. Snug lock-up with the two Divas going at it. Charlotte eventually took control, so Paige turned into a cowardly heel backing away from the fight. Charlotte got too aggressive, though, and Paige cut her off.
[Q9 — third hour] The match continued with Paige working over Charlotte after taking her off her feet. Charlotte came out fighting from the corner with a forearm, but Paige cut her off again. Paige stretched Charlotte with a half-crab in the middle of the ring, but Charlotte remained in the game. Charlotte broke free, then smashed Paige in the mouth heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:05]
Back from break, Paige elbowed Charlotte in the gut to cut her off again. Both Divas sold on the mat at the 13:00 mark of their match. Charlotte went for a sleeper, but Paige hit the ropes for a break. Both Divas sold exhaustion, then Charlotte tackled Paige through the ropes to the outside. As the ref neared a ten-count, Paige chucked Charlotte into the barricade. She was unable to make it back into the ring, which wouldn’t have given her a title win anyways, and both Divas were counted out.
Post-match, Paige angrily tossed Charlotte into the announce table, then cleared the table. Paige put Charlotte on top of the table and applied the PTO until referees pulled her away. Paige caught her breath as she eventually walked away from ringside. Meanwhile, Charlotte recovered on the announce table as Cole read some prepared words in the background.
WINNER: Double count-out at 14:57; Charlotte retained the Divas Title. Better execution than last night. They slowed the pace to go 15 minutes, but seemed to run out of steam at the end, though. Apparently the feud must continue with the double count-out result and post-match activity.
Earlier Tonight: Triple H rejected Roman Reigns’s request for a WWE Title re-match tonight. Rusev then kicked Reigns in the head to set up tonight’s main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:13. A local spot aired for AutoRama: Houston featuring Daniel Bryan this weekend.]
[Q10] Smackdown plug: Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio on Thanksgiving Smackdown.
Of course, with Raw in Nashville, Heath Slater returned to Raw TV tonight. Slater was in the ring with a guitar and micstand. Slater said there’s way too much country going around here, which is why the one-man band decided to bring some rock ‘n roll to Nashville. Slater said he’s not talking about Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, or Dierks Bentley. And definitely not Johnny Cash. “Easy,” JBL said on commentary.
Slater told the silent crowd to sit down and be quiet while he clears his singing pipes. Slater did some noises, then lowered his shades to sing a tune. Before he could hit the guitar, Ryback’s music played. Ryback marched into the ring, then Slater pulled a Double J slamming the faux guitar over Ryback, who no-sold. Ryback turned around and glared at Slater before bodyslamming him. Ryback nailed the Meathook clothesline, then finished off Slater with Shell-Shock to get in all of his finishers tonight.
Up Next: Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are now mixed up with Dolph Ziggler and Tyler Breeze. WWE quickly announced Ambrose & Ziggler vs. Owens & Breeze in tag action heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:24]
Back from break, Cole warned fans in Pittsburgh that Raw is coming to Consol Energy Center next Monday. Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose’s music played out with all of the participants already in the ring. Very quick intro to a very hurried tag match.
6 — IC champion KEVIN OWENS & TYLER BREEZE (w/Summer Rae) vs. DEAN AMBROSE & DOLPH ZIGGLER
The first minute built to Ambrose and Owens tagging in, drawing one of the biggest reactions of the night. And, first significant reaction since the first hour of the show. Owens ducked out of the ring, though, so Ziggler and Breeze squared off again. Owens and Ziggler then battled as Owens talked trash about Ziggler being nothing. Ziggler answered with a dropkick.
[Q11] Ziggler tagged in Ambrose, so Owens quickly bailed by tagging in Breeze. Ambrose lit up Breeze, then clotheslined him out of the ring to the floor. Ambrose followed with a suicide dive to the outside. Ambrose chucked Breeze back into the ring, then hit a swinging neckbreaker. “What are you doing?!” Owens yelled at Breeze.
Ambrose nailed the Rebound Lariat while WWE was on a replay split-screen. They stayed on the sponsored split-screen as the ending was unfolding. Back to full screen, Ambrose hit Breeze with Dirty Deeds for the pin and the win. Owens hung back ringside, choosing not to interrupt the pinfall when he had a chance.
WINNERS: Ambrose & Ziggler at 5:26. It looks like Owens vs. Ambrose for the U.S. Title is up next.
[Commercial Break at 10:33]
Back from break, Cole fed to a random video from earlier today of JBL ordering food. JBL was arguing with El Torito about whether to order Tex or Mex food. Mark Henry entered the shot and thought about it. Henry entered a dream sequence picturing Torito as JBL and a new Carl’s Jr. product having both Tex and Mex in a burger.
Back to Cole and Co. They fed to a video replay of how Survivor Series ended with Sheamus as new WWE World champion.
TLC hype: Sheamus vs. Reigns in a TLC match for the WWE World Title.
In-ring: Rusev’s music played to bring out Rusev for the main event. Sheamus’s music then played to hardly any reaction to bring out the new WWE World champion. Cole announced Sheamus for SportsCenter tomorrow night. Cole hyped Rusev against Reigns next.
[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:44]
Back from break, The Shield theme was playing. Roman Reigns emerged on-stage and strolled down to ringside after slapping hands with fans. Reigns waved Sheamus out of the ring, then squared off with Rusev.
7 — ROMAN REIGNS vs. RUSEV (w/Sheamus)
Basic exchange early on. Reigns eventually landed a knock-down clothesline that sent Rusev rolling out of the ring to the floor. Reigns followed to the outside and whipped Rusev into the barricade. Reigns glared toward Sheamus, who laughed in his face heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:53]
Back from break, Reigns appeared to be asleep on the mat. In context, Rusev had Reigns in a sleeperhold that Reigns was selling. Reigns broke free, but Rusev knocked Reigns out of the ring to the floor. On the outside, Sheamus got up from his chair to smash Reigns, then return to his chair before the ref saw anything.
[Q13 — over-run] Reigns started to make a comeback, but Sheamus yanked Reigns’s foot from the outside. Sheamus smiled, thinking he got away with it again, but referee John Cone tossed the Champ from ringside. Reigns finally made a comeback before putting Rusev in the corner for ten consecutive clotheslines. But, Rusev smashed Reigns with a heel kick bouncing off the ropes.
Rusev decided to climb to the top turnbuckle, where Reigns smashed him with an uppercut. Reigns tried a superplex, but Rusev pushed him down. Rusev then came off the top with an ill-advised diving headbutt to Reigns for a two count. Rusev said it’s time to crush. He went for The Accolade, but Reigns blocked the application. Reigns stood up and nailed the Superman Punch, but Rusev kicked out.
Both men sold on the mat for a while as Reigns tried to gather himself. Reigns finally came to his feet and teased the big spear, but Rusev rolled out of the ring. Reigns tried to follow up, but Rusev answered him with a big sidekick. Rusev then whipped Reigns into the barricade. The announce table, too.
Rusev tossed Reigns back into the ring, but he was too slow following up, allowing Reigns to catch him with knee strikes into a Superman Punch. Rusev took a flat-back bump off the ring apron to the floor below. The ref started a ten count, but Reigns left the ring to kick Rusev in the head. Suddenly, King Barrett showed up ringside to smash Reigns in the face for a DQ.
Post-match, Barrett tossed Reigns into the ring, then grabbed a chair. Barrett lost the chair, though, when Reigns intercepted. Rusev tried to steal back the chair, but Reigns took it and destroyed Rusev with chair shots to the back. Sheamus ran down to the ring, but he was met by chair shots from Reigns. Cole said this is all legal at TLC in three weeks.
WINNER: Reigns via DQ at 18:48. Rusev came in ice cold after being turned into just another guy before he was injured and missed a few months. WWE was not only trying to rehab Rusev in one night, but give Reigns a strong opponent to go through as they rebuild his journey to the WWE Title. Without that foundation to build on, it was a mixed result.
Reigns’s music played as the show began to wrap up. Sheamus recovered on the outside as Reigns caught his breath in the ring. WWE went to back-and-forth shots of Reigns and Sheamus as Cole declared that Reigns stood tall tonight. Cole wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving to close Raw 11 minutes past the top of the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: So much bad/filler/lame comedy on this show that made a lot of viewers wonder why they were watching. The show peaked in the opening segment and they didn’t have enough to sustain the rest of the two-and-a-half hours. That seems like it will be the story the rest of the year heading into holiday season. Plus, decisions like throwing out two of the hottest acts, Ambrose and Owens, in a random-draw tag match with no advanced build-up shows they are not focused right now.
LIVECAST ALERT: We’re talking your calls on the Raw post-game show at 11:30 p.m. EST at PWTorchLivecast.com breaking down tonight’s show.
Alert: Follow PWTorch staffer’s live, real-time tweets during Raw at Twitter.com/PWTorch/torch-staff.
Reax: We welcome your 0-10 score & comments on this show for a “Raw Reax” feature. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop: Do you shop on Amazon? Support PWTorch by using our ID when shopping. Just click THIS LINK and whatever you buy costs the same, but it gives back to PWTorch!