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THERE IS A NEW WWE CHAMPION. The night after the TLC PPV, WWE booked Roman Reigns to win the WWE World Title from Sheamus on a show that included the return of Vince McMahon.
WWE Raw TV Report
December 14, 2015 – Episode #1,177
Live in Philadelphia, Pa.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
On the Raw Pre-Show, WWE announced new IC champion Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler and a TLC re-match of The Wyatts vs. Team ECW.
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with a video package highlighting the main event of last night’s TLC PPV, specifically Sheamus’s League of Nations helping him retain the WWE Title over Roman Reigns in the TLC match. The video turned ominous when Reigns snapped on Sheamus, then Triple H while Stephanie McMahon pleaded with Reigns. They included audio from JBL of Reigns’s career “going down the tubes,” and audio of Stephanie vowing to make Reigns pay.
In the arena, Michael Cole introduced the show before Lilian Garcia introduced Stephanie McMahon to the ring. Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton talked about Reigns reaching his breaking point in WWE, but perhaps going too far.
In the ring, Steph introduced herself as one of the principal WWE owners, drawing boos. She said successful women in business are still viewed as ruthless and cold-hearted, but she’s just like everyone else as a wife and mom. And, she had to explain to their children why Triple H was spitting up blood after Roman Reigns attacked him.
But, Steph said if you want her to be cold-hearted and ruthless, then she will be. Steph growled that Reigns has left her with no other choice than to — The Shield’s music interrupted. Out came Reigns through the crowd as Cole wondered if this will be the last time that Reigns appears on WWE TV after attacking Hunter.
Reigns entered the ring and glared toward Stephanie, who glared back. Long glare down. Reigns then spoke. He said he’s a father, too, and today is his daughter’s birthday. That being said, he doesn’t feel bad at all about whipping Steph’s husband’s ass. Steph said Roman has a lot of nerve wishing his girl a Happy Birthday, then saying that. She told Reigns to have something sharp to say because she’s ready.
Reigns said he’s a little tight on time, so just fire him if she’s going to do that. Steph said Reigns is nothing more than a coward and a loser. And then blaming everyone else but himself and then taking it out on her husband, who had nothing to do with Reigns’s loss. She called him a failure and a disgrace.
Reigns backed away, then said she’s a disgrace, not him. He said her husband is a disgrace, too. No, actually, her whole family is a disgrace. Steph sneered as the crowd went into “Yes!” chants. Steph then reached back and slapped Reigns, who smiled. So, she slapped him again. Reigns smiled again. So, she slapped him several more times. Reigns shook it off, then Steph said she has one more thing to say. Another slap. Reigns lost his smirk as his face reddened up.
Stephanie started to leave the ring, but stopped. She said she wants to fire him, but Hunter asked her not to. But, she does know someone who is coming to the arena. And that is the Chairman, Vince McMahon. Steph’s music played as she left the ring while Reigns checked his jaw.
Up Next: New IC champion Dean Ambrose is on Raw.
[Commercial Break at 8:12]
[Q2] Back from break, Dolph Ziggler was introduced to the ring for the opening match. New IC champion Dean Ambrose was out next to a big reaction. Ambrose did some Shinsuke Nakamura poses and mannerisms on the way to the ring before posing with the IC Title belt once inside the ring.
1 — IC champion DEAN AMBROSE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER — non-title match
As Ambrose and Ziggler felt each other out in the ring, Cole talked about the situation being so serious with Roman Reigns that McMahon is returning to Raw for the first time in over one year. The conversation moved to Ambrose not being corporate-friendly, safe, and sanitized for the audience’s protection. Ambrose then clotheslined Ziggler over the top rope to the floor and nailed a suicide dive.
Back in the ring, Ambrose and Ziggler traded pinfall attempts before Ambrose teased Dirty Deeds. Ziggler scrambled away to the corner to escape, though. They had a babyface stalemate to applause as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:23]
Back from break, Ambrose climbed to the top turnbuckle and tried a flying splash, but Ziggler intercepted with a mid-air dropkick for a two count. Ziggler followed with the Fameasser for a two count, frustrating Ziggler. Ziggler then tried a top-rope move, but Ambrose blocked and hit a two-foot pump kick to the chest. Ambrose followed with a running bulldog for a two count.
[Q3] Ambrose picked up Ziggler looking for a lariat, but Ziggler ducked and slapped on a sleeperhold. Ambrose broke free, though, and nailed a rebound lariat after bouncing off the ropes from a kick strike.
With both men down, former IC champion Kevin Owens emerged from the back to a lot of crowd noise. Owens walked down to ringside, then entered the ring and tossed Ziggler out of the ring, prompting the ref to throw out the match. Owens then attacked Ambrose and nailed a pop-up powerbomb.
WINNER: Match Thrown Out at 12:20.
Post-match, Owens left the ring to grab the IC Title belt and hold it over Ambrose. Owens wasn’t done, though, as he nailed another powerbomb. Ziggler suddenly ran back into the ring to shrieks, but Owens knocked him down, too. Owens scooped up Ziggler and powerbombed him on top of Ambrose, drawing a mixed reaction. Owens then left the ring, satisfied with taking out two babyfaces on one night.
Announcers: Cole and Co. transitioned to Vince McMahon talk. Cole said that McMahon is on his way to Raw after what happened earlier tonight when Roman Reigns called Stephanie, Hunter, and the whole McMahon Family a disgrace.
Back to Cole and Co., where Cole’s audio was not working to reinforce the message about McMahon returning to Raw. JBL finished the message before JBL and Byron Saxton transitioned to discussing the Tag Title ladder match last night at TLC. New Day, who are still the Tag Champs, will be on Raw later tonight.
[Commercial Break at 8:36]
Moments Ago: Kevin Owens attacked new IC champion Dean Ambrose.
Backstage: Jo-Jo tried to talk to Kevin Owens about losing the Intercontinental Title at TLC. He said she doesn’t know what he’s feeling right now. But, was he justified in attacking Dean Ambrose? Owens said he doesn’t have to justify himself to her or anyone. All she needs to worry about is what she just saw is only the beginning. Owens said if you think Ambrose is a lunatic, you haven’t seen anything. “I won’t stop until I drive him absolutely insane,” he said, “and take back MY Intercontinental Title.”
[ Reax: Nicely done setting the stage for the next phase of the Owens-Ambrose feud that should bolster the middle of the show going forward. ]
Somewhere in an alley: Bubba Ray talked to Devon, Tommy Dreamer, and Rhyno about things not exactly going as planned last night, but they will fight the Wyatts again tonight. ECW video clips flashed on the screen as each wrestler talked about spilling a lot of blood in Philadelphia and taking this city back to the extreme. Raw cut to break with the extremists posing like old times.
[Commercial Break at 8:43]
[Q4] Backstage: Stephanie McMahon was shown checking her phone, apparently waiting for Vince McMahon to arrive at the building. Steph continued pacing while flexing her injured hand after slapping around Reigns.
In-ring: R-Truth was introduced to the ring for the next match. Truth rapped for Philly, then Bo Dallas was introduced as his opponent.
2 — BO DALLAS vs. R-TRUTH
Dallas landed a move, then left the ring and paraded around ringside. Suddenly, a black limo pulled up backstage. WWE cut away from the action to reveal Mr. McMahon stepping out of the limo looking very grandfatherly. Steph wanted to take care of this together, but Vince told Stephanie to take care of her husband while he takes care of Reigns. He stomped off as backstage workers scurried away from his path.
Back in the arena, Truth and Dallas sold fear seeing their boss arrive at the building. Back to basic action. About a minute later, Vince McMahon’s music played. McMahon stomped down to ringside as Dallas and Truth stood around in the ring. McMahon asked for the match to be stopped. “Get the hell out of my ring,” he shouted. No bell sounded, but we’ll call it…
WINNER: No Contest/Decision/Conclusion at 3:25.
McMahon gave a speech that someone backstage is sweating profusely right now wondering what it will be like standing in the presence of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. He said this man might as well be standing in the presence of God Almighty. McMahon then left the ring and sat in an office chair next to the announce table. McMahon said he’s going to make Roman Reigns sweat a little more. Raw faded to break with McMahon leaning back in the chair and the crowd waiting for something to happen.
[Commercial Break at 8:54]
McMahon & Reigns Have a Chat
Back from break, McMahon was still sitting in his chair. He then got up to yell at a ringside person to “let the bastard sweat.” Apparently he wanted to play Reigns’s music or something. McMahon then got up from his chair and entered the ring, struggling to make it through the ropes.
McMahon shouted for Reigns to come on out here and take his medicine. McMahon looked toward the backstage area, which seemed odd since Reigns always makes his entrance through the crowd. Reigns eventually came down the ramp, with eyes locked on McMahon.
McMahon said he can tell that Reigns is intimidated because he has a certain presence about him. Reigns just brushed him off, not sold on the tough talk. Reigns continued to smirk as McMahon talked about his son-in-law suffering back in Connecticut. “Apologize,” McMahon growled. Reigns shook his head no. McMahon told him to get down on his hands and knees to apologize. Reigns frowned. Another head-shake.
[Q5 — second hour] McMahon said there was a time when he would beat an apology out of someone like Reigns, which drew a laugh from Reigns. McMahon said he could do it right now. Reigns wasn’t sold on the idea. McMahon then dropped the mic and removed his jacket, embarrassing himself as Reigns laughed.
Suddenly, Sheamus’s music played to bring out the WWE World Hvt. champion. Sheamus told McMahon that he wants the pleasure of beating an apology out of Reigns himself. He said no man on this planet should disrespect McMahon or the McMahon Family. So, on behalf of his Irish coat of arms, (pause for a “You Look Stupid” chant), please allow him to challenge Reigns tonight. To what?
Sheamus told Reigns to wipe the smirk off his face because he’s beaten him over and over. He said he can beat Reigns anytime, anyplace, whenever he wants. He said he’s so confident that he can beat him that they should put the WWE World Title on the line.
Back in the ring, McMahon thought it over, pretending to put on his promoter’s cap. He asked the crowd, which of course cheered. He said the audience falls for that one every time because there’s no chance he’s making that match happen. Reigns then yanked the mic away from McMahon. “Why not old man?” Reigns asked. He said McMahon used to have grapefruits, but he’s 70-years-old and time is passing him by.
“You sonofabitch,” McMahon replied. “You’ve got your match… On one condition. If you don’t become WWE World Hvt. champion tonight, you’re fired!” Reigns got serious processing the high stakes. McMahon teased going for a handshake, but kicked Reigns in the groin instead. Oooooof from Reigns. McMahon then left the ring as Reigns checked his boys. On the stage, McMahon shook hands with Sheamus, telling him to break Reigns tonight.
THE NEWS: WWE Title match of Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns with Reigns’s career on the line in the main event.
Still to come: The Wyatts vs. Team ECW in an eight-man Extreme Rules match.
[Commercial Break at 9:08]
Back from break, generic music was playing representing the League of Nations. A tag match was up next.
3 — RYBACK & JACK SWAGGER vs. U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO & RUSEV (w/Lana)
Back-and-forth between Ryback and Del Rio early on. Ryback wanted the Meathook Clothesline, but Rusev distracted Ryback, who then took a kick to the face from Del Rio.
[Q6] The heels ganged up on Ryback as Cole talked about Del Rio disassociating from Zeb Colter. Ryback continued to take a beating until answering with a belly-to-belly suplex. Ryback got the tag to Swagger, who ran over Rusev with clotheslines. Swagger called for the Swagger Bomb, but Rusev got his feet up. So, Swagger transitioned to the Patriotlock, but Del Rio grabbed him from behind for the Backstabber. Ryback tried to help out, but he inadvertently distracted the ref, allowing Del Rio and Rusev to double-team Swagger. Rusev pinned Swagger for the win.
WINNERS: Rusev & Del Rio at 6:31. More reinforcement of WWE babyfaces being dumb or not good teammates. Really, the heels are the best teammates right now. It’s tough being a fan favorite in WWE’s Creative environment where WWE over-compensates for how weak the heels are by making the faces look worse.
Still to come: Sheamus vs. Reigns for the WWE Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:20]
Adam Rose bit: Back from break, WWE ran the Adam Rose gossip segment. Rose, standing in front of a green screen, talked about Charlotte being corrupted by Ric Flair. No worries, though, as Charlotte still has more titles to win and lose, more marriages and divorces, and more fortunes to make and lose. He then mocked Tommy Dreamer.
Back in the ring, Tyler Breeze was hanging out with Summer Rae. Neville was introduced as his opponent. Cole used the ring intros to hype NXT. The Miz suddenly interrupted, asking for quiet on the set. Miz sat down in a director’s chair at ringside and asked for action. On cue, the bell sounded, reinforcing the in-ring action as a put-on.
4 — NEVILLE vs. TYLER BREEZE (w/Summer Rae)
Neville, annoyed with Miz, reluctantly locked up with Breeze. Neville controlled the action, then Miz stood up and tried to tell Neville how to wrestle and which moves to execute. Miz was at a loss for what else to offer as Neville settled for a chinlock. Breeze eventually escaped the chinlock and stomped away at Neville in the corner.
[Q7] Breeze settled for a chinlock as Miz played McMahon screaming through the headset telling Neville to let the audience in and emote. This brought over Miz’s former movie co-star, Summer Rae, to complain about Miz interrupting the match. Neville made a comeback on Breeze, then Miz then stood up and yelled “cut, cut, cut.” Neville ignored him, superkicked Breeze, and hit Red Arrow from the top rope for the pin and the win. JBL credited Miz for Neville winning, while Cole noted that Neville did this on his own.
WINNER: Neville at 4:56. Miz was doing his best to be a heel, but in context of a show with a non-finish and the promoter canceling another match, the idea of Miz telling Neville “how to perform” did not help the audience’s reception to the wrestling action.
Still to come: Still WWE tag champs New Day.
[Commercial Break at 9:33]
Backstage: Miz and Neville argued about Miz being able to help Neville’s career. Miz said he can get Neville in Star Wars Episode 8. He said he can market Neville’s big ears and he can make him a star just like he did for Daniel Bryan. Okay, really, here’s the deal. Miz said he needs Neville’s accent because Hollywood is looking for a new James Bond. Miz asked Neville for a real accent. Neville shook him off, telling him never to pull that stunt again. He said he’ll shove a light saber where the sun doesn’t shine. Miz removed his glasses, but was more interested in trying to copy the accent.
Suddenly, the Wyatts theme played. In a smoky room, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman talked about being the angels of darkness. Bray Wyatt then spoke about burying the ECW guys in the same city that they were born. “Run!” he warned.
Back in the arena, the Dudleys’s theme song played to bring out Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley. Rhino and Tommy Dreamer followed them from behind. The ECW group soaked up the atmosphere wrestling again together in Philadelphia as WWE showed weapons down at ringside. Cole called them “toys” of course. The ECW guys stood together in the ring as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:42]
[Q8] Back from break, the Wyatt theme interrupted. The Wyatts slowly walked down to ringside in the darkness before pacing the ringside area once the lights came up. The Wyatts eventually hit the ring and the fight was on.
5 — THE WYATTS (BRAY WYATT & LUKE HARPER & ERICK ROWAN & BRAUN STROWMAN) vs. ECW (BUBBA RAY & DEVON & TOMMY DREAMER & RHYNO) — Eight-Man Extreme Rules match
After some early fighting and ECW name-dropping from JBL, weapons were introduced into the proceedings. The Wyatts put a beating on the ECW guys as the director tried to keep up with the action. The Dudleys eventually hit a What’s Up headbutt on Rowan in the ring. But, Harper cut off the Dudleys when they went looking for tables. Harper then climbed to the top rope, but Dreamer smacked him with a Kendo Stick. Strowman ended Dreamer, though. After a Tower of Doom spot, there were bodies everywhere as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:52]
Back from break, weapons and bodies were everywhere. Cole told viewers not to adjust their sets; it’s not 1997. (Well, except for the ratings.) Rhyno suddenly woke up and exploded on the Wyatts. Dreamer then dropkicked a trashcan into Harper’s face in the corner. Bubba then dumped Bray over the guardrail into the audience. Braun suddenly got a head of steam and dove like an idiot across the announce table, not even close whichever ECW’er he was going for.
On the other side of the arena, up on the stage, Dreamer wanted to put Harper through some furniture from the stage. Dreamer balanced Harper on his shoulders, then put him through two tables side-by-side on the floor.
On the other side of the arena, Strowman caught up with Bubba and beat him down until Dreamer made his way across the arena to blast Strowman with kendo stick shots. But, Strowman suddenly lifted up Dreamer and slammed him through the gimmicked barricade near the timekeeper’s area. Dreamer sold intense back pain as Strowman remained motionless on the floor.
[Q9 — third hour] Bubba came over to join the party, bouncing Bray Wyatt’s head off the announce table. Bubba lifted up the announce table lid and slammed it over Bray’s body. But, Harper and Rowan made the save. Wait, didn’t Harper just go through two tables from considerable height on the other side of the arena?
Harper and Bubba suddenly scrapped in the ring. Devon joined the fight, but Harper fought off two-on-one odds and kicked down both Dudleys. Harper then set up a table in the middle of the ring. He wanted a powerbomb, but Devon blocked, pushed Harper off the ropes, Harper conveniently hopped into the air, and he took a 3D through the table. Devon had the pin, but Wyatt yanked him out of the ring and dropped Devon with Sister Abigail.
Back in the ring, Rowan knocked down Bubba with a big boot before Rhyno entered the ring looking for a big Gore, but Rowan blocked. Wyatt then dropped Rhyno with Sister Abigail. Wyatt opted not to make the cover. Instead, Rowan set up a table and put Rhyno on the table. Rowan came off the top with a big splash on Rhyno through the table, scoring the pin for the win. Instead of reinforcing the heels as a serious threat, JBL evaluated the performance, saying this match is why ECW had a rabid following. WWE cut to various shots of the ECW guys selling the effects of the fight while the Wyatts posed victoriously in the ring.
WINNERS: Wyatts at 15:30. And Rowan has totally redeemed himself after being the only Wyatt eliminated in the same match last night at TLC.
After the Wyatt theme “interrupted” the broadcast, WWE cut to the announcers, who took viewers out of the moment reacting as if they just watched a play and it was time for intermission. Cole then transitioned to Reigns vs. McMahon business from earlier in the show.
Tonight: Sheamus vs. Reigns for the WWE World Title.
Up Next: WWE tag champs New Day.
[Commercial Break at 10:08]
Next Monday: The Slammys Raw presented by Coca-Cola.
New Day Evaluates the Tag Division
Back in the arena, Big E.’s voice welcomed out WWE tag champs New Day. New Day bounced out on-stage in matching red and white striped tracksuits. Kofi Kingston had a bit of a limp selling the ladder match last night, which was a bit jarring seeing someone sell.
In the ring, Xavier Woods solemnly said they do not feel like partying tonight. Kofi said they met the power of gravity last night in the ladder match. New Day narrated some still-shots of the big spots from the match, highlighting New Day, Lucha Dragons, and the Usos. But, there was Kofi standing tall on top of a ladder holding the Tag Titles in victory.
Kofi said he woke up this morning feeling like he got hit by a mack truck. He said his back is messed up, his hip is jacked up, and his bumps & bruises have bumps & bruises. Big E. said they talked after the match and decided to bring everyone out to have a chat. So, Big E. asked for the Usos to come out. “It’s all love, baby,” Big E. said.
[Q10] The Usos came out as Byron Saxton said he smells a trap. Jimmy and Jey Usos slowly walked out reluctant to trust New Day. Kofi said they did enough fighting last night and they’re not even dressed to wrestle. Xavier Woods, who cost the other teams the Tag Titles by interfering, said the Usos earned their respect. He said they want to bury the hatchet and have a truce.
Jey Uso asked if they’re serious right now. Big E. said actually this is the right time to bring out the Lucha Dragons. “Come on, Luchas.” Out came Kalisto and Sin Cara, who did a windmill to sell a shoulder injury. Saxton took the bait, changing his mind thinking New Day was sincere now.
The Luchas joined the Usos in the ring as Kofi addressed them. He said the way Sin Cara sacrificed his body multiple times last night was amazing. And there’s Kalisto. He said he has no idea how Kalisto is standing on his own two feet right now after the Salida del Sol. He over-talked Kalisto as one of the toughest stars in the history of this industry.
Kalisto said that’s a really nice speech, but what about Xavier Woods throwing his trombone at his back when he was climbing the ladder? Sin Cara said that wasn’t in their little highlight package. Xavier said he can’t go back in time, but he would like to apologize for acting in the heat of the moment. “I am sorry,” Xavier said. Uso wasn’t buying this.
Xavier continued to talk seriously that the reason why they brought them out here to commend all three teams for taking the tag division to the next level. He said that match was not for them. But, for the audience. Xavier said with that new respect, they want to extend this. Xavier, Big E., and Kofi extended their hands. Jimmy Uso said he might have hit his head a little too hard last night. He shook hands. All of them shook hands.
Lucha Dragons left the ring, then the Usos left the ring. New Day remained in the ring. Xavier said they were completely sincere with everything they just said … but tonight is all about New Day. Xavier gloated about still being WWE tag champs. Big E. shouted for their music, setting off a dance celebration while the Usos and Luchas shook their heads with it being the same old New Day.
Suddenly, the Usos and Luchas hit the ring to attack New Day. The crowd somewhat booed as the babyfaces took apart New Day. Usos hit a Superfly Splash on Big E. to clear the tag champs from the ring. Usos’s music played for them to stand tall as New Day recovered on the floor.
[ Reax: So many mixed messages and signals to the audience, reflecting the wishy-washy nature of the product right now. Evaluating the match and talking about “elevating the division” and pandering to the audience was so eye-rolling. It was like a Hulk Hogan TNA promo segment from a few years ago. ]
Backstage: Becky Lynch was much more happier being around Charlotte than last night at TLC. They were stopped by Ric Flair to Whoo it up heading to the ring for the next match.
Up Next: Charlotte & Becky (with Ric Flair) vs. Team Bella.
[Commercial Break at 10:25]
Smackdown plug: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler in singles action.
[Q11] Back in the arena, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox were already in the ring. Meanwhile, Team B.A.D. members Sasha Banks, Naomi, and Tamina were standing at the corner of the guardrail holding tickets for make-shift front row corner seats.
Charlotte’s music then brought out the Divas champion, Becky Lynch, and Ric Flair. WWE recapped events at TLC where Flair helped Charlotte beat Paige to retain the Divas Title. They acted like there was supposed to be sympathy on Paige for the manner in which she lost, just a few weeks removed from playing the “dead brother card” on Charlotte, who has now had a “change in attitude” that is concerning Becky.
6 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE & BECKY LYNCH (w/Ric Flair) vs. BRIE BELLA & ALICIA FOX
They put Charlotte in the underdog role trying to fight back against the much smaller Brie, who had her in a mathold. A half rallying clap led to Charlotte breaking free and tagging in Becky.
Alicia also tagged in and Flair tripped Fox from outside the ring. Apparently Becky did not see the outside interference, but saw A. Fox down on the mat, so she slapped on Dis-Arm Her. Fox submitted, giving Becky the win, not realizing that Flair’s heel tactics helped her win. After the match, Becky celebrated with Flair and Charlotte while Bella and Fox tried to figure out what happened down at ringside.
WINNERS: Becky & Charlotte at 3:28. This could be Chapter 1 of Becky trying to be convinced that Flair’s tactics work, but Becky refusing to play along, then actually proving herself right that she can win and Charlotte can be successful without the tactics, but WWE does not have the track record of following through on something like this to its completion.
Still to come: WWE Title match.
[Commercial Break at 10:36]
Tribute to the Troops plug: The special airs next Wednesday on USA Network.
After an exterior shot of Philadelphia and the Wells Fargo Center, WWE cut to …
Backstage: The Prime Time Players were at the WWE Shop station. Darren Young begged Titus O’Neil for help to finish his Christmas shopping. Titus said all of the Cyber Monday sales are back. D-Young “dabbed” at every line from Titus, so Titus told him to stop dabbing and start buying. Titus then held up a replica title belt to close the sales pitch.
Ringside: Cole and Co. recapped the McMahon Family taking liberties with Roman Reigns tonight. Cole then went back to TLC last night to show how it all started.
Backstage: Mr. McMahon was shown talking to Sheamus, Rusev, and Alberto Del Rio, presumably discussing strategy for the WWE Title match and how to humiliate Reigns before firing him. No sign of League of Nations member King Barrett for the second straight night.
[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:45]
Back in the arena, Mr. McMahon was down at ringside to watch the WWE Title match. McMahon stood up and applauded as Sheamus made his way to the ring to defend the WWE Title. Lots of love for Sheamus. Way over-the-top. After a pause, The Shield’s music played to bring out Roman Reigns for the third time tonight. Reigns was back atop the arena to walk through a subdued crowd. As Reigns made his way down to the ring, Cole plugged Reigns appearing on ESPNews SportsCenter with Jonathan Coachman tomorrow night. JBL tried to cover for that giving away the result by yelling about Reigns doing sideline reporting for ESPN, not being interviewed after this match.
7 — WWE World Hvt. champion SHEAMUS vs. ROMAN REIGNS — WWE World Title match — Reigns is fired if he does not win the title
Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions before the opening bell sounded. Reigns opened with hard corner clotheslines and then a big boot to the face. They got tangled up near the ropes and Reigns found himself on the outside. Reigns sold injured ribs, but struck Sheamus with a right hand to the face. Sheamus answered by posting Reigns before suplexing him across the announce table. With Reigns in jeopardy of being counted out, Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:55]
Back from break, WWE zoomed in on Reigns with a goofy facial expression while locked in a reverse chinlock. WWE cut to Vince McMahon watching ringside as Reigns tried to make a comeback. Reigns nailed a back drop to escape as Raw hit the top of the hour.
[Q13 — over-run] Sheamus and Reigns battled as Cole and Co. hyped this as the biggest match of Reigns’s career, apparently the career-on-the-line stipulation topping a title match vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. The battle then moved to the top turnbuckle, where Reigns landed a Super Samoan Drop for a close two count. That got McMahon out of his chair selling concern over the nearfall.
Reigns took a kneelift, then Sheamus rolled up Reigns for a close two count. McMahon smiled at how close Sheamus was to pinning Reigns. McMahon then got frustrated with Sheamus’s inability to put away Reigns after a second nearfall. Sheamus reset, then stalked Reigns to deliver White Noise, but Reigns countered into a lift-up powerbomb. Reigns covered, but Sheamus kicked out as McMahon winced.
Reset at 11:15 with Reigns collecting himself and catching his breath. He tried a running Superman Punch, but Sheamus intercepted with a bodyslam as Cole said that’s it for Reigns. But, Reigns kicked out. Sheamus, sporting a bloody nostril, put a boot in Reigns’s gut, then another. He then tried the Texas Cloverleaf, but Reigns blocked. So, Sheamus went for a modified Cloverleaf. Reigns refused to tap out, though, and he reached the bottom rope for a break.
Reset at 13:00. Sheamus slowly lifted up Reigns, who headbutted him across the ring. A right hand strike. But, Sheamus dropped Reigns across the top rope, only to take a Superman Punch. Reigns, his forehead covered in blood, had the pin, but McMahon pulled the ref out of the ring to stop the count.
As Reigns recovered in the ring, McMahon told the ref to stay seated in his chair. He then sent the ref back into the ring when Sheamus hit White Noise, but Reigns kicked out of a pin. McMahon then conferenced with the referee. Meanwhile, Sheamus randomly rolled Reigns out of the ring, then Del Rio and Rusev ran down to ringside to attack Reigns. But, Reigns fought back with Superman Punches. And a dramatic one for McMahon, who took a bump on the ring apron, then sold being knocked out sprawled out on the ring apron. But, Reigns turned around to take a Brogue Kick to the face. Sheamus covered, looking like the match was over, but Reigns kicked out just before three. Super Reigns on display now.
Sheamus recovered and wanted the Brogue Kick again, but Reigns charged Sheamus to deliver a big spear in the middle of the ring. Reigns fell on top of Sheamus and covered him for the pin and the win. Lilian announced Reigns as the new WWE World Hvt. champion.
WINNER: Reigns at 16:55 to capture the WWE World Title. They couldn’t help themselves giving away the result before the match by plugging Reigns on SportsCenter tomorrow night. But, as for the story, they set up Reigns now playing a copy of Stone Cold fighting against the McMahon authority figures holding their title. At the end of the day, it’s the same Reigns who bombed in the show-closing promo one week ago on Raw. Apparently the McMahons are the elixir? Time will tell if this is sustainable after cashing in the Hunter chip at TLC and McMahon chip tonight on Raw.
Post-match, Cole and the announcers talked about Reigns finally conquering the odds. Cole excitedly talked about this being the Era of Roman Reigns, while also noting this is the same arena where Reigns won the Royal Rumble earlier this year. It was apparent that WWE wanted to pat themselves on the back for how creative they are and how powerful the McMahon characters are as heels flashing back to when Reigns was booed out of the building when he won the Rumble and was now being cheered by the same hard-to-please Philly fans 11 months later. Raw closed with a final shot of Reigns standing tall in the ring with the WWE Title belt as Raw signed off 10 minutes past the top of the hour.
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