WWE wrapped up 2015 with Raw from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. with John Cena’s return from a three-month hiatus, Vince McMahon returning, and more.
WWE Raw TV Report
December 28, 2015 – Episode #1,179
Live in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- John Cena’s in-ring return to face Alberto Del Rio for the U.S. Title
- The return of Mr. McMahon
- Kevin Owens vs. Neville
- IC champion Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. League of Nations (Sheamus & Rusev & King Barrett) in a six-man tag match.
The final Raw of 2015 opened with full pyro and fireworks inside the Barclay Center. Michael Cole said they’re sold out tonight. Byron Saxton plugged the return of John Cena to face Alberto Del Rio for the U.S. Title, and Cole said it’s the main event.
After a pause, Mr. McMahon’s music played to bring out McMahon to kick off the show. With Lilian Garcia on the shelf losing her voice, Tony Chimel handled the ring introduction.
In the ring, McMahon said he’s here to settle a score with Roman Reigns. He said he would have done it last week, but he had to have dental surgery after taking a Superman Punch. So, he demanded the presence of Roman Reigns. “Get out here!” he growled. “Don’t make me go find you…” and The Shield’s music played to bring out the WWE champion atop the arena. Reigns made his way down to ringside, but not before a replay of events last Monday when Stephanie McMahon confronted Reigns. Then, at the end of the show, Stephanie slapped the crap out of Tom Phillips out of frustration.
Back in the ring, Reigns had joined McMahon for a chat. McMahon warned Reigns that when Triple H recovers, he will look to extract revenge on Reigns. The crowd picked up a “We Can’t Hear You” chant. Reigns joked with McMahon, who said that’s right he’s in Brooklyn, where nothing goes right. He then took exception to Reigns disrespecting his daughter.
McMahon then took exception with Reigns kicking him out of his ring two weeks ago. “You don’t get it. This is my ring. I own this ring,” McMahon said. “I own that WWE World Hvt. Championship belt.” He said belt?! “Pretty soon, Roman, you’re going to realize I own you.” Reigns said that’s the problem with rich snobs like you. McMahon shot back that he’s not a rich snob, but a freakin’ billion.
McMahon asked Reigns how long he thinks he’s going to be WWE World champion. They were interrupted by a “Daniel Bryan” chant. “Shut up!” McMahon yelled at the crowd. McMahon sold annoyance, then Reigns told McMahon that he stirred them up. Then, a “C-M Punk” chant. McMahon tried to find something to tell Reigns to talk over the chant, saying he’s going to shut him up.
McMahon then went to Reigns’s family. He told Reigns that he’s just one generation away from a bone through his nose. McMahon then gloated about running through Afa and enjoying every second of it. Then, Reigns’s dad, Sika, was a whole ‘nother story. “I used Sika up and I lined my pockets with Sika’s money,” McMahon told him with a smile. Reigns had enough and pushed down McMahon, who kind of fell down to the mat and yelled about his neck. This was awkward.
Stephanie McMahon’s music then played to ceremoniously bring out Steph yelling about Reigns being a menace. She was joined by two official-looking guys in suits and some police officers. Steph called Reigns a neanderthal who should be arrested. The two guys in suits said they’re not going to arrest Reigns and they might arrest her instead if she doesn’t calm down.
McMahon suddenly came back to life and said his daughter is not going to jail. McMahon said he knows they think they’re badasses, but he’s Vince McMahon. The lead guy told them both to relax or they’ll both go to jail. McMahon then put his hands on the lead guy, drawing in the police officers to back up the lead guy. McMahon suddenly realized his mistake and was apprehended. Steph cried that his father is crazy and just lost his temper. Cuffs were produced, one of the cops over-acted, and McMahon was arrested as Reigns laughed to himself. “No, you can’t do this!” Steph cried.
[Q2] McMahon was eventually hauled out of the ring and dragged down the ringside area by the announce table. McMahon was taken through the ringside area through the crowd past the paying customers. McMahon eventually disappeared through a tunnel and WWE cut back to Reigns holding up the WWE Title belt.
[ Reax: There were some humorous lines and exchanges, but that was over-acted at a laughable level. It almost seemed intentionally ridiculous, like they were parodying themselves to fit Tina Fey’s quote to the N.Y. Times about wrestling being campy. ]
[Commercial Break at 8:18]
Back from break, WWE replayed what happened “moments ago” when Mr. McMahon was arrested. During the commercial, McMahon was dragged into a police car and shoved inside. Steph yelled about police brutality for the way in which McMahon was shoved into the police car. The siren wailed and the car sped off. “Dad! Dad! Daaaaaaaaad!” Steph shouted.
Back live, the crowd was chanting for Kevin Owens as the announcers discussed McMahon being arrested. Oh look, there’s Kevin Owens in the ring. After a pause, Neville’s music played to bring out Owens’s opponent.
1 — KEVIN OWENS vs. NEVILLE
Before the match started, WWE went to a video package on why Neville won the 2015 Slammy for Break-out Star of the year, which incensed Owens. As soon as the bell sounded, Owens charged Neville to attack him. Owens wanted the pop-up powerbomb, but Neville reversed into a quick pin for the win in 21 seconds.
Post-match, Owens yelled at the ref, then attacked Neville, blind-siding him with a vicious attack. Owens blasted Neville out of the ring and posted him until refs spilled out to try to restrain Owens. “Somebody get this madman out of here!” Cole yelled. Owens was hauled away from ringside heading to break.
WINNER: Neville at 0:21.
[Commercial Break at 8:27. During the break, a local spot for WWE’s house show in Houston in two weeks advertised Cena vs. Del Rio for the U.S. Title and Brock Lesnar vs. Sheamus.]
[Q3] Back from break, Neville was being helped away from ringside after being assaulted by Kevin Owens. Suddenly, Owens ran down to ringside and smashed Neville with an inside-out clothesline. Owens looked down at the damage, then picked up Neville and chucked him into the ring steps. Cole said Owens has lost it after losing the IC Title, losing the Slammys, and not winning the IC Title on Smackdown.
Suddenly, Dean Ambrose’s music played. Ambrose stormed down to ringside to pick a fight with Owens, who threw down Neville and charged Ambrose. But, Ambrose got the best of Neville. Owens made a comeback, then Ambrose smashed him with the rebound lariat. Owens had enough and bailed from ringside, running into the crowd to heat backstage as fans pointed and laughed at him. Ambrose’s music played as he stood tall in the ring while Owens continued to walk through the crowd.
Announcers: As things calmed down, Cole, Saxton, and JBL reset by re-focusing on John Cena. WWE flashed clips of Cena on the “Today” show earlier in the day, which drew boos from the live crowd. Saxton hyped Cena vs. Del Rio later tonight.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Back from break, Cole introduced a video package on “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson announcing that he will be part of WrestleMania 32 in April 2016.
Backstage: Jo-Jo talked to Becky Lynch about facing Sasha Banks tonight without Charlotte’s back-up. (Split crew house show tonight.) Becky talked about moving to New York with no money and making a name for herself. She said she didn’t come to WWE to blend in, but to stand out.
In-ring: Team B.A.D. came out for singles action. On the ramp, Sasha Banks said Becky likes New York City, but she’s from Boston. Sasha pulled out a Patriots cap, then Naomi ran down Brooklyn for being a dump. They went over-the-top trying to make Sasha the heel in Brooklyn after the NXT Takeover special a few months ago. Becky was then introduced as Sasha’s opponent heading to break.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:44]
2 — BECKY LYNCH vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Naomi and Tamina)
The bell sounded back from break and Cole did a dramatic introduction to promote this as a big-deal match. The top women’s wrestlers felt each other out, setting the tone for a lengthy match. No consistent control either way, then Becky knocked Sasha out of the ring. Team B.A.D. tried to help up Sasha, but Becky flew off the top down to the floor, wiping out all three baddies. Raw cut to break with all four women down on the floor selling the effects.
[Commercial Break at 8:52]
Back from break, Sasha was in control of the match in the ring. Sasha continued to punish Becky as they crossed the 10:00 mark and hit the top of the hour.
[Q5 — second hour] Becky made her comeback, then knocked Sasha out of the ring, wiping out Team B.A.D. again. Sasha beat a ten-count back into the ring, then Becky went for the win, but Naomi hopped on the ring apron to distract Becky. Sasha nearly capitalized for the win, but Becky countered into Dis-Arm her. But, Sasha reversed the hold, rolled up Becky with a handful of trunks, and scored a three count. Becky sold frustration taking another loss while Team B.A.D. celebrated at ringside. Of course, the announcers did not draw attention to Sasha cheating to win, eliminating the effect.
WINNER: Sasha at 15:40. Because of the split crew tonight, the match got more time than it normally would have on Raw TV. And, “boring” chants around the time of Becky’s comeback were a reminder that it’s a different audience than an NXT Takeover special. It’s also that thing of Becky and Sasha delivering an NXT-style & length women’s match, but it was served at “McDonalds” instead of at the cool, hipster restaurant, complete with disinvested announcers.
Announcers: Cole and Co. reset by going back to the storyline of Mr. McMahon being “arrested.” Cole said that McMahon has been booked. WWE played TMZ releasing a fake mug shot released by “the local precinct,” which showed McMahon growling for the camera. Cole then went to Renee Young.
On location, Renee was standing in front of a group of people pretending to be looking for a camera shot of McMahon at the “police station.” Renee said Vince and Stephanie have called on long-time “high-powered attorney” Jerry McDevitt to help get McMahon out of jail.
Back in the arena, New Day’s music played. The tag champs danced and clapped down to the ring, then Xavier Woods worked the trombone heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:08]
Smackdown plug: Smackdown is competing against the College Football Playoffs semi-finals with a … well, generic ad for New Year’s Eve.
In the ring, New Day did their solo conversation about how many things have happened in this building. Kofi Kingston, Big E., and Xavier Woods then ran down The Usos for winning Tag Team of the Year, Kalisto for the OMG award, and the fans for not giving them any awards. Notably, the mentions of the Usos and Lucha Dragons produced indifference from the live audience.
The Luchas hit the ring and WWE replayed Kalisto’s Salida del Sol from the top of the ladder at the TLC PPV, which won the OMG Moment of the Year. Kalisto held up his Slammy award to taunt New Day, then singles action began.
3 — WWE tag champion KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E. and Xavier Woods) vs. KALISTO (w/Sin Cara)
As the match started, Cole plugged the Royal Rumble in four weeks from Orlando. Cole tied it in with Kofi’s annual Rumble Moment avoiding elimination. Kalisto flew around Kofi early on, frustrating the tag champion. “Kofi, c’mon!” Xavier shouted from ringside. Kofi then caught Kalisto in the ropes and slammed him to the mat. Xavier started working the trombone, drawing a reprimand from Big E. that it was not time.
Kalisto came back with a corkscrew cross-body splash off the ropes, then snapped off a huracanrana. Kalisto had the pin, but Xavier distracted the ref. So, Kalisto bounced Xavier off the ropes into Big E.’s arms. Sin Cara then flew off the ring steps to take out both Big E. and Xavier. Back in the ring, Kofi tried to capture Kalisto from behind, but Kalisto saw him coming and scored a three count for the win.
WINNER: Kalisto at 2:46.
Post-match, Xavier took the mic and complained about Sin Cara cheating when kids look up to him, over-emphasizing Sin Cara taking him out ringside and playing a great heel overlooking New Day’s cheating ways to keep the Tag Titles. Xavier followed it up by challenging Cara to a match right now, because payback is a …….. Big E. “You’re facing Big E.!” Xavier shouted before ducking out of the ring. They cut to break before the match started.
[Commercial Break at 9:19]
4 — WWE tag champion BIG E. (w/Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. SIN CARA (w/Kalisto)
The match was joined in progress with Big E. in control and his compadres yelling at the announcers to talk up Big E.’s power and stuff. Big E. then smashed Cara to the floor, where Xavier greeted Cara with trombone playing. Suddenly, the ringside medic checked on Cara while a “We Want Cena / No, We Don’t” chant broke out.
The medic cleared Sin Cara to continue wrestling, then Big E. dragged Cara back into the ring and taunted Cara about the condition of his left shoulder. Big E. went for an abdominal stretch as Xavier worked the trombone, then released the hold to do some more taunting.
Big E. charged Cara, who side-stepped the tag champ, sending Big E. crashing into the ringpost. Sin Cara followed with a cross-body splash, then favored his left shoulder as he landed a turnaround splash for a two count. Sin Cara continued to wrestle with one good arm, then he suddenly caught Big E. on the top turnbuckle to deliver a one-armed slam. Kofi and Xavier sensed an embarrassing decision coming if Big E. lost to a one-arm man, so they ran interference. Kalisto tried to neutralize them, but Big E. blindsided Cara with the Big Ending for the pin and the win.
Post-match, WWE replayed the shoulder injury and finish, then New Day celebrated on the ring entrance. Meanwhile, the ringside medic checked on Sin Cara.
WINNER: Big E. at 5:58 of what was shown. That was a quick 50/50 exchange.
Up Next: Miz TV with a year-in-review.
[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:30]
Back from break, WWE hyped John Cena on the cover of the next Muscle & Fitness magazine. Of course, with the Tapout gear on-display to capture WWE’s promotional sponsorship.
In the ring, Miz was dressed like a goof. No furniture for his bit. He started his year-in-review by going back to January 1. Suddenly, Ryback’s music interrupted. Ryback told Miz that he looks stupid and he’s had his fill of Miz TV despite his appetite. Ryback burped as he entered the ring, then said 2016 is going to be the Year of the Big Guy.
Suddenly, Goldust’s music played. Goldust emerged on-stage with mic in-hand and half-sang about this being the season of awards. So, is this the year that Miz wins a SAG award? Nope. How about an Oscar? Or, is this the year that Miz wins some Golden Globes?
How about Zack Ryder joining the post-Christmas party? Ryder said that Brooklyn is New Zack City and 2016 will finally be the year of Zack Ryder. “Woo, woo, woo, you know it!” Ryder said in Miz’s face. Miz said as he was saying, on January 2, he tried yoga. R-Truth’s music interrupted, then faded out, then played again.
In the ring, Truth asked the crowd what’s up. He said what’s up is they need to remember that every star on the roster is eligible to be Superstar of the Year. So, when you cast your vote, don’t forget to vote for The Truth. Miz shot Truth a sideways look, then noted the Slammys were last week. Truth didn’t get the message and eventually walked backward to ask Miz what he’s talking about. Miz reminded Truth that he won an award last week, remember? “Oh yeah, I won!” Truth exclaimed. “My bad,” Truth said. He said he needs to get a daily planner. Speaking of which, on January 3 …
Suddenly, a remix of Heath Slater’s music played. Cole dejectedly talked about his WWE website interview with Slater last week as Slater marched down to the ring. Slater said if anyone has a lot to say, it’s him, baby.
Before he could speak, Big Show’s music played. Show had eyes for Miz, apparently after Miz talked about Show’s gas to TMZ. Slater decided to do the talking, saying no one cares about what Big Show has to say. So, Show KO Punched Slater. Show then chucked Ryder out of the ring. Truth stopped Show, though, and punched himself in the face to take a bump. Show liked that, but decided that Truth needed a chokeslam anyways.
Show and Ryback were left alone in the ring for a scrap. “Feed Me More” chant from the crowd, then the fight was on mid-ring. Ryback tried to “eliminate” Show over the top rope with a clothesline, but Show reversed and tossed Ryback to the floor.
Show, as the last man standing, asked for the mic. “Please retire” chants before he could speak. Show laughed and egged it on. C’mon, what are you chanting? “Please retire?” The crowd thanked Show for the invitation and chanted, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Show said he’ll think about it. No, actually, Show entered himself in the Royal Rumble. Show said he’ll be Entry #1, win the Rumble, main-event WrestleMania, win the WWE Title, and shove the title right up all of your — “Nah, you’re not getting me in trouble.” Show threw down the mic and left, slapping a sign out of a fan’s hands on the way to the back.
Still to come: Del Rio vs. Cena for the U.S. Title.
NXT plug: This Wednesday’s show is “Best of NXT 2015” Part 1.
[Q8] [Commercial Break at 9:45]
Back from break, Big Show was suddenly back in the ring. Why? Apparently Ryback challenged Show to a match during the break.
5 — BIG SHOW vs. RYBACK
As the match started, the announcers debated whether Big Show is the first official entrant in the Rumble or the #1 entry of 30. It seemed like there was some conversation from backstage with the announcers trying to sort out what they’re trying to present about Show’s announcement.
As for the match, Show dominated as the crowd taunted him. Ryback answered with a dropkick from the second rope, then wanted the Meathook Clothesline, but Show stopped, dropped, and rolled out of the ring to the floor. Show shook his head that he was done, angering Ryback. The ref reached ten and Ryback won yet another match via count-out when someone walked away from fighting him.
WINNER: Ryback via count-out at 2:58. Another round of 50/50 with Show “eliminating” Ryback in the scrap and losing via count-out in an official match.
Up Next: Ambrose & Usos vs. League of Nations in a six-man tag match.
[Commercial Break at 9:53]
Back from break, Dean Ambrose’s music played to bring out the IC champion about an hour-and-a-half removed from scrapping with Kevin Owens. The Usos, who won the 2015 Slammys for Tag Team of the Year, were out next to team with Ambrose. Cole then plugged Titus O’Neil appearing on ESPN SportsCenter with Jonathan Coachman tomorrow night on ESPNews.
After a review of League of Nations taking out The Usos backstage last week on Raw, the generic villainous music played to bring out Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett. On the stage, Sheamus walked and talked about the audience being shameful for cheering Mr. McMahon being arrested. Sheamus said McMahon has provided hours of countless entertainment and he is a national treasure. So, in honor of Mr. McMahon, The League will lay down an epic beat down on Ambrose and The Usos. That was flat. The League walked around the ring, stalling for time, then the bell sounded.
[Q9 — third hour]
6 — IC champion DEAN AMBROSE & THE USOS vs. THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS (SHEAMUS & KING BARRETT & RUSEV) — six-man tag match
No Lana with Rusev, and will the supposedly injured Barrett wrestle in this match? Sheamus started things for his team and got knocked to the outside early on. Sheamus sold a foot injury on the floor, then Jimmy and Jey combined to splash Sheamus. Rusev, reduced to a lame third wheel in this faction, also took a double-team from The Usos, bringing in Ambrose.
Ambrose dropkicked Rusev out of the ring, then The League regrouped on the floor. They stalled for a while on the outside, acting as if Raw was on commercial. But, the match continued live. So, Ambrose dragged Sheamus back into the ring and stomped away on him before tagging in an Uso.
The faces continued to control the action, working on Rusev until Rusev blocked a corner charge by hip-tossing Jimmy Uso into the corner turnbuckle. Uso sold intense leg pain, then Rusev began working over Uso’s leg. And Raw suddenly cut to break mid-action.
[Commercial Break at 10:05]
Back from break, Rusev was still working on Jimmy Uso and his injured leg. No sign of Barrett tagging in or getting physically involved. Sheamus tagged back in, prompting a “This is boring” chant from the crowd. JBL made the save, saying it’s the audience trying to get under Sheamus’s skin. On cue, Sheamus lost control and tags were made.
Ambrose battled Rusev, gave a toe-tap to Barrett, and JBL dropped an inside reference as Ambrose delivered a bulldog like a “young Dustin Runnels” (already pictured tonight playing the role of Goldust). Ambrose then nailed Rusev with a flying elbow for a two count. Ambrose fired up and stalked Rusev looking for Dirty Deeds, but Barrett teased entering the ring, creating a distraction. That allowed Rusev to blindside Ambrose. And, the match must continue after another break.
[Commercial Break at 10:12]
[Q10] Back from commercial, the match did not end during the break. Instead, a wave was ongoing. The heels tried to own it by celebrating themselves, then lost focus, allowing Jey Uso to tag in. Uso delivered a Rikishi corner butt splash to Sheamus, then Rusev attacked Jey’s injured shoulder. But, Ambrose clotheslined Rusev out of the ring. Back to Sheamus, who stalked Uso for the Brogue Kick, but Jey ducked and superkicked Sheamus.
Jey went to the top rope looking for a Superfly Splash, but Barrett provided a distraction, allowing Sheamus to recover and put his knees in Uso’s gut. Sheamus followed with the Brogue Kick to pin Uso for the win. Afterward, Barrett entered the ring to celebrate with Rusev and Sheamus and do their own version of the wave.
WINNERS: Sheamus & Rusev at 16:53. Bland virtual handicap match with Barrett unable to tag in due to his reported injury situation.
Post-match, WWE focused on Ambrose selling frustration over the loss. Suddenly, Kevin Owens hopped the guardrail and smashed Ambrose from behind. Owens chucked Ambrose into the ring steps, then cleared the announce table. Owens smashed Ambrose into the guardrail to buy some more time, then he placed the ring steps next to the announce table.
Cole warned JBL to get out of the way, then Owens scooped up Ambrose and powerbombed him through the table. Owens had a Bubba Ray Dudley euphoric look on his face, then looked down at Ambrose, who sold unconsciousness after taking the powerbomb. Owens then left to the back as medics and refs checked on Ambrose. Silence at ringside as Ambrose continued to be evaluated. Ambrose suddenly began writhing and selling an injury to his nervous system. Ambrose sold losing feeling in his body, then he was helped to his feet and dragged away from ringside. Cole said it’s been one of those nights, folks.
[ Reax: Ambrose-Owens continues to be the weekly highlight of Raw. ]
Up Next: John Cena returns to Raw for the first time in three months to face Alberto Del Rio for the U.S. Title.
Down at the police station: Renee Young was standing by for an update on Mr. McMahon. They teased McMahon walking out as fake photographers looked for a picture.
[Commercial Break at 10:24]
Back from break, WWE noted The Rock’s announcement that he will be part of WrestleMania 32. WWE flashed through headlines of the sports outlets they care about covering them.
[Q11] Announce Position: Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were table-less to discuss events of the night. Cole, wearing bright blue socks, recapped Mr. McMahon being arrested after his set-up to have Roman Reigns arrested back-fired.
After a review of McMahon being arrested and Stephanie claiming police brutality, plus an unnecessary replay of Steph shouted “Yes!” over and over, they cut back to Cole unnecessarily reviewing McMahon’s mug shot.
Back at the police station, Renee Young was shown delivering an update. Renee tried to jump ahead of the “gathered media” for a word as Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon marched down some steps, growled, and hopped into a get-away vehicle. The announcers wondered where McMahon is going after making bail.
Back in the arena, John Cena’s music played. Cena, dressed in green and orange gear, stormed the ring after noting to the on-camera cameraman that he’s back. Cole noted that Cena is guest-hosting the “Today” show again tomorrow morning. Cole then plugged the first Raw of 2016 next Monday in San Antonio, Texas, which Cole said Cena will also be part of.
After Cena’s music wrapped, Cena took the mic and welcomed back the “sweet sounds” of Raw. He said right about now he would be doing the U.S. Title Open Challenge, but the problem is Alberto Del Rio has the U.S. Title. Cena said the League of Nations seems to care about every country except for the one they are standing in right now.
Cena noted that Del Rio has not defended the U.S. Title on Raw. He said it was fun when he was champ. I mean, kids were excited and adults were … not-so-excited. Cena said there were some bad vibes, like the guy over there with his name crossed out on a sign. Cena said no matter whether you like me or hate me, he worked hard to bust his butt every night. He said the audience deserves a championship match and championship effort, but… Alberto Del Rio will not put the title on the line tonight. He said it’s a disgrace, and he’s sorry for that.
Del Rio’s music interrupted to bring out the U.S. champion and his back-up of Sheamus, Barrett, and Rusev. Del Rio said what he considers disrespectful is intelligence because he is The Champ. He said this place and these people do not deserve to have a U.S. Title match.
From the ring, Cena simply said, “You’re an idiot.” He said every single seat tonight is filled. He asked Del Rio if he can hear the noise. Cena tried to talk Del Rio into putting the title on the line by playing to his emotions. This is the place and this is the time for a title match, he said, but he gets it that Del Rio is going to be embarrassed in this ring.
Del Rio smiled and said he has no reason to be afraid of Cena because the last time they were in the ring together, he kicked Cena’s head in, he took his title, and sent him home. Yeah, what have you done since then? Nothing. Cena said Del Rio has been hiding behind the goon squad, so are you going to hide behind the League of Nations, or are you going to be a punk b—-?
Del Rio smiled and said he knows what “Juan Cena” is trying to do. But, he’s a real fighter, unlike Cena. Del Rio said he’s not going to put this title on the line. Cena said it’s okay, he gets it. He knows what’s going to happen with the League of Nations ganging up on him since Del Rio lost his manhood. Cena tossed his shirt into the crowd, but apparently it was thrown back into the ring off-camera. Cena asked for the mic again.
Cena got the crowd back, shouting that this is Brooklyn, where the people are tougher than Del Rio. Cena shouted this is the home of Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, dawg. Del Rio replied that Cena is a dirty dog and he’s The Man. Del Rio said he’s going to send Cena home for good, and do it by himself. You want a title match? The crowd cheered. “You got it! Let’s fight.” Cena clapped it up after finally getting his wish. Raw cut to break before the match started.
[ Reax: Nice, intense promo exchange going in one big circle from title match to no title match to title match to re-excite the crowd. Del Rio held his own in the handicap match with Cena, who bent the PG rules to try to get a reaction, which was refreshing for Del Rio when everyone remembers Cena castrating Del Rio on the mic at the height of Del Rio’s car gimmick run a few years ago. ]
[Commercial Break at 10:41]
[Q12] Back from break, WWE completely changed the tone of the show. Cole was shown on-camera to announce that Lemmy of Motorhead died earlier today. WWE then ran a tribute video to Lemmy, which was more than can be said for a lot of wrestlers who have died.
7 — U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JOHN CENA — United States Title match
Once the bell sounded, Cole said “this match was not billed as a championship match,” but Cena talked Del Rio into it. That was laughable since (a) it was billed as a title match for a week and (b) Cena opened his promo by saying this was supposed to be a title match. JBL then played up the idea of Cena being rusty and star-struck being away from WWE for a few months. On cue, Del Rio took control and rocked Cena with repeated blows to the head. Cena finally got an opening to knock Del Rio out of the ring and get a breather as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:52]
Back from break, Cena ran over Del Rio with clotheslines, but missed a flying shoulder tackle, allowing Del Rio to re-take control of the match. Del Rio quickly lost back control, setting up Cena for his sit-out slam and Five Knuckle Shuffle drop. Cena wanted the AA, but Del Rio slipped out and hit the backstabber. But, Del Rio walked right into the STF. Del Rio kicked free, then caught Cena with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two count.
Del Rio paused to consider his next move as Cena sold an upper body injury. Del Rio wanted the cross arm-breaker, but Cena blocked. Cena kicked Del Rio in the head, then hit a Tornado DDT for a close two count. Another reset at 10:30, then Cena wanted the AA, but Del Rio rolled through into the cross arm-breaker submission. Cena fought the hold, then rolled his body over and lifted Del Rio into the air for a powerbomb toss to break free.
[Q13 — over-run] Both men sold on the mat as they hit the top of the hour. Cena got up first and put Del Rio in the air for the AA, but Del Rio kick-thrusted right into Referee Rudy Charles, who flew to the outside. Cena then put Del Rio in the STF and Del Rio tapped out, but the ref was still down.
Suddenly, the League of Nations hit the ringside area to surround Cena. Rusev kicked Cena in the face, then put Del Rio on top of Cena. Sheamus tossed Rudy back into the ring, but Cena kicked out of a pin for the big house show spot and reaction. The League kept trying to take out Cena, but Sheamus accidentally took out Rusev with a Brogue Kick. But, Del Rio hit Cena with the backstabber and followed with a standing kick to the face. Rudy counted another pin, but Cena kicked out again.
Reset. Del Rio wanted the cross arm-breaker again, but Cena ducked and nailed the AA. Cena went for the cover, but Sheamus and Rusev attacked Cena, causing a DQ to keep the belt on Del Rio.
WINNER: Cena via DQ at 13:56; Del Rio retained the U.S. Title. Good TV main event before the expected non-finish.
As the bell sounded for the match to be over, Sheamus and Rusev continued to beat down Cena. Rusev then held up Cena for the Brogue Kick, and this time Sheamus connected. Sheamus stomped Cena out of the ring, but The Usos’s music played. They hobbled down to the ring, but took a beating from The League. When everything seemed hopeless, there was Roman Reigns running down the ramp to spear Rusev and Superman-Punch Del Rio.
Reigns then climbed back into the ring with eyes on Sheamus, who had a chair in-hand now. Reigns didn’t seem to mind, as he Superman-Punched Sheamus as soon as he entered the ring. Reigns took the chair and smashed Sheamus out of the ring with the chair.
Suddenly, Mr. McMahon’s music played to book-end the show. McMahon walked out on-stage pointing his finger at Reigns. McMahon said he’s going to sue the City of New York and he would sue each and every fan here tonight if he could.
And, there’s big Roman Reigns. He said that next week on Raw, Reigns will defend the WWE World Title against Sheamus, which drew groans. Oh, and there’s one more thing. There will be a guest referee, and his name is Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Reigns shook his head. “Happy New Year,” he growled. “Happy New Year! Haha!”
McMahon shouted “Happy New Year” over and over like the crazy old man that Stephanie described him as earlier in the show. Raw suddenly and anti-climatically just ended at seven minutes past the top of the hour with McMahon shouting “Happy New Year” at people in the crowd. And, everything was restored to its original form with McMahon back in power as if nothing happened with the arrest angle.
[ Overall Thoughts: Some goofy, campy, eye-rolling, counter-productive stuff on Raw, but also some really good on this show like Owens-Ambrose and the Cena-Del Rio promo exchange before the main event. Raw is just too long at three hours, especially with a split crew, but they had enough on here to make it watchable. ]
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