SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Brock Lesnar is back on Raw to counter the College Football National Title game, plus more hype for the Royal Rumble, which suddenly got more interesting with the WWE Title now on the line…
WWE Raw TV Report
January 11, 2016 – Episode #1,181
Live in New Orleans, La.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Brock Lesnar’s return
- Roman Reigns vs. kind of everyone
- IC champion Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus
- U.S. Title match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
- Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with WWE tag champions New Day
Raw opened with a shot of the depleted roster assembled on-stage. Mr. McMahon’s music then played to bring out McMahon and Stephanie McMahon walking past The Dudleys and U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio.
Vince and Steph were in a jovial mood dancing to Vince’s theme music on the way to the ring. After a word from Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton down at ringside, Vince & Steph greeted the audience from inside the ring. Vince then pointed to the stage, where he said the next WWE World champion is standing! “But, which one?” Steph asked. Steph gave the wrestlers their instructions to throw Roman Reigns over the top rope in the Royal Rumble match.
McMahon mumbled something about Reigns, then told everyone on the stage that it’s every man for himself. Someone like Dolph Ziggler. McMahon said Dolph has reached for the brass ring for ten long years. Or, Kevin Owens. It could be your time. It could be … McMahon paused to sell indigestion. Or, it could be a … a … New Day. Cue up the dancing and shaking from the tag champions. Vince and Steph then walked over each other trying to do a one-liner in unison.
The Wyatts had enough and interrupted. Bray Wyatt spoke from on top of the announce table that it’s like he’s always said – anyone but Roman Reigns. From the dark ring, McMahon said that’s absolutely right. Or, someone he hasn’t seen on the stage yet – Brock Lesnar.
Suddenly, The Shield’s music played to bring out Roman Reigns. Reigns emerged atop the arena holding up the WWE Title belt in the air. JBL said Reigns has better odds of winning the $1.3 billion super lottery than winning the Rumble against 29 other opponents. Reigns entered the ring to stand opposite Vince and Stephanie. Steph mocked the crowd for not getting their chants together in unison (ahem) as Reigns glared at them.
Vince wanted to know why he’s out here. Reigns said he just has one question – what happens if he wins the Rumble? Steph broke out laughing. She called him delusional. Vince said it is a possibility, though. So, why not give Roman the chance to prove that he could win the Rumble? He called it the “One vs. All” match featuring Reigns against an undisclosed number of people on the stage. Vince said it’s going to be a long night. Steph said he could even end up facing his “brother,” Dean Ambrose.
Well, Vince said, Dean is actually in the first match. Suddenly, Sheamus blasted Dean from behind. Vince said that first match is with Sheamus! Sheamus’s music then awkwardly played as Raw cut to break.
[ Reax: Gosh, this is crowd-killing material. Audiences are just sitting on their hands for these weekly self-indulgent, awkward promo segments without a strong babyface voice to counter them. ]
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:14]
1 — IC champion DEAN AMBROSE vs. SHEAMUS — non-title match
The match was joined in progress back from the break. Sheamus picked up where he left off from the pre-match attack by working over the champ. Ambrose tried to fight back by doing Sheamus’s move – the ten forearms to the chest. That upset Sheamus, who chucked Dean into the guardrail and yelled at him for trying to embarrass him. Sheamus then bodyslammed Ambrose across the announce table.
Back in the ring, Sheamus put Ambrose in a mat submission, but Dean got back to his feet. Sheamus then tried a desperation Brogue Kick, but Dean ducked and Sheamus spilled to the floor. Dean regrouped and nailed a suicide dive on the floor. Both men sold on the outside heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:23]
Back from break, Sheamus was controlling Ambrose in the ring. Sheamus put Ambrose in a modified Texas Cloverleaf looking to get a submission, but Ambrose reached the bottom rope for a break. Sheamus tried to follow with a fireman’s carry move, but Ambrose slipped out into a roll-up for a two count. Ambrose followed with a snap DDT for a closer two count. He then nailed the rebound lariat, but Sheamus fell out of the ring upon impact.
[Q3] On the floor, Sheamus recovered and blasted Dean into the barricade as the ref applied a ten count. Sheamus drove Dean into the ring steps at seven. Sheamus wanted to post Dean at eight, but Dean reversed and posted Sheamus. Dean could have slipped back into the ring at nine, but opted to continue beating up Sheamus as the ref hit 10 for another double count-out on Dean’s record.
Post-match, Ambrose smashed Sheamus into the announce table. He then cleared the table and wanted to end Sheamus, but Kevin Owens came through the crowd to attack Ambrose from behind. Owens roughed up Dean and ripped off his shirt as referees spilled out trying to get some separation. Owens was finally ushered away from ringside to the stage as Dean continued to sell at ringside.
WINNER: Double count-out at 14:10. The start, well, the middle of a good match. WWE is in the non-finish business with Ambrose right now, so the result was not surprising. Meanwhile, Ambrose vs. Owens continues to be the best thing going on WWE TV right now.
Notably, Sheamus was cut open pretty heavily, which was not shown on-camera. The announcers focused on the storyline injuries to Ambrose, who continued to sell down at ringside.
— Benjamin Tucker (@BTuckerTorch) January 12, 2016
Still to come: Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with New Day. Plus, according to a second graphic, Roman Reigns faces Vince McMahon. Well, okay, Reigns faces some guys on the roster way in the background presented by McMahon in “One vs. All.”
[Commercial Break at 8:36]
New Orleans: WWE showed Bourbon Street after noting that WrestleMania 30 was here two years ago. Not on Bourbon Street, which would have been interesting, but in New Orleans.
Moments Ago: Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens tore each other up after Ambrose fought Sheamus.
Backstage: Renee Young was standing by outside of the trainer’s room, where Ambrose was brought in for an evaluation. Suddenly, Dean stomped out as trainers called for him to get back in here. Dean said the trainers think he’s got a few bumps & bruisers or screws loose, but that feel pulse. He’s still alive and that means bad news for Kevin Owens.
Backstage: Vince and Stephanie continued to dance down the hallway. They stopped when they saw Paul Heyman, who “congratulated” them on the One vs. All concept tonight. He also heard them invoke the name of his client, Brock Lesnar. Steph pitched Heyman on Brock competing in the Royal Rumble match. Heyman said his client, Lesnar, is a prizefighter and he wants to fight for the biggest prize of them all on the grandest stage of them all, Vince’s baby, WrestleMania. Vince got annoyed telling him not to change his plans, okay. Heyman said it’s box office – the winner of the Rumble goes into WrestleMania to defend against his client, Brock Lesnar. Vince: “I don’t like it.” Steph stepped in between them before this acrimonious relationship got ugly having an impromptu booking meeting. She said perhaps they take this conversation behind closed doors. You know, because there’s people out here listening. (And a few million watching on TV, of course.) Paul reluctantly walked toward their office door.
In-ring: Stardust, with David Bowie-inspired facepaint, was introduced to the ring for the next match. They’re going around the horn with Titus O’Neil next.
[Commercial Break at 8:43] […Q4]
[Q4…] Back from break, Titus O’Neil was introduced to face Stardust. WWE cut to ringside for a look at New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees at ringside with his family. Cole noted Brees was instrumental in getting WrestleMania to New Orleans two years ago.
2 — TITUS O’NEIL vs. STARDUST
Titus played with Stardust early on, dominating the much-smaller Cody Rhodes. Titus smiled after overpowering Stardust with a swinging slam. But, Cody cut him off at the knees and began attacking Titus’s mid-section. Cody landed a dropkick for a one count. He then tried to wake himself up and shake off the taunting “Cody, Cody” chants. Stardust lost focus and airballed a top-rope attack before walking into Clash of Titus. O’Neil scored the pin and the win.
Post-match, Titus did his routine celebrating with ringside fans after the big win. Suddenly, Stardust attacked Titus from behind. Stardust blasted O’Neil into the barricade and sold inner turmoil before walking away from ringside. Stardust’s actions were rewarded by his music playing, like Kevin Owens, as Raw cut away from ringside.
WINNER: O’Neil at 3:23. They finally did something different besides sticking with the same match result and just moving on.
Up Next: Highlight Reel with New Day.
NXT plug: Finn Balor, the NXT champion. What new heights will Balor reach in 2016? This Wednesday, he’s on NXT.
[Commercial Break at 8:53]
A few minutes before the top of the hour, Chris Jericho’s music played to bring out Jericho for the Highlight Reel. Jericho emerged on-stage wearing his light-up jacket, a tie over no shirt, and jeans. Jericho walked to the ring as WWE recapped Jericho entering himself in the Royal Rumble last week on Raw.
[Q5 — second hour] In the ring, Jericho welcomed everyone to Raw is Jericho. Jericho took a look at his Jeritron monitor to go over his timeline re-tweeting positive comments about himself and his return. The reaction was muted. Is he subtly playing a self-consumed heel?
Jericho said he has returned to WWE to save WWE, which means winning the Royal Rumble match and becoming WWE World Hvt. champion once again. Suddenly, Big E.’s voice interrupted. Big E. led out WWE tag champs New Day, who walked and talked down to the ring. Xavier Woods took exception to Jericho not introducing his guests. He said they have decided to save Jericho from himself.
Big E. said they’ve had enough of Jericho talking that hot garbage talking out his backside. Jericho cut him off. Are they still mad that he called them “rooty, tooty booty” last week? New Day shouted him down for not showing respect, then noted they are WWE tag champions. And they are the rightful Slammy award winners. (Paging Usos, The.) New Day ran down Jericho’s shameful return, jacket, hair, and … suddenly The Usos’s theme music interrupted.
Jimmy & Jey Uso marched down to the ring holding the Slammy awards. They challenged New Day to prove that they are the better tag team. New Day said this is not possible since there are three of them and two of them. Jericho called them dumbasses, prompting New Day to shout back that it’s a family show. Jericho said his math is three of them are opposite three of them. The crowd woke up, thinking Jericho was going to wrestle. But, Jericho said he does not have his wrestling gear, so he thinks it should be the Usos against two New Day members with him in Usos’s corner. The match was set and Raw cut to break.
[ Reax: Another exceptionally long, crowd-killing Raw promo segment. ]
Post-Raw: Stone Cold Podcast with Ric Flair on WWE Network.
[Commercial Break at 9:08]
3 — THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) (w/Chris Jericho) vs. WWE tag champions NEW DAY (KOFI KINGSTON & BIG E. w/Xavier Woods) — non-title match
The match was joined in progress with Cole talking about The Usos getting in the Tag Title picture if they win this match. In the middle of the match, Jey Uso stopped to dance and dap, drawing the ire of Big E., who waited for Jimmy to tag in and smash him with a back elbow to the face. That allowed the tag champs to work over Jimmy, who came back with a flying elbow off the ropes.
[Q6] Jericho tried to get the crowd into the match as Uso warmed up for a corner butt splash. Uso lost control and went flying over the top rope to the floor. Xavier started to celebrate with his trombone, which brought over Jericho. Jericho frightened Xavier, who ran up the ramp to the stage. Xavier talked trash from a distance as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:17]
Back from break, The Usos were controlling an Uso while Xavier yelled at the announcers about how many YouTube subscribers his gaming channel has. New Day continued to wear down Jimmy as Xavier worked the trombone. Meanwhile, Jericho watched down at ringside patiently waiting for a comeback. Uso finally reached his corner for a tag, but Big E. pulled Jey off the ring apron before Jericho could neutralize him.
Chaos broke out ringside as Sign Guy contemplated getting involved from the front row. Back in the ring, Kofi covered Jimmy for a two count. Kofi hit the Boom Drop, then Xavier worked the trombone again. Suddenly, Uso hit a spin kick to the face, which allowed him to finally tag in Jey.
Jey cleaned house and uppercut Big E. before dropkicking him out of the ring. Uso then low-bridged Kofi out of the ring. He followed with a big splash to both men on the floor. Back in the ring, the ref lost focus of the match as New Day tried to run their numbers advantage, but Jericho had possession of Xavier’s trombone. Jericho snapped the trombone in half, distracting New Day. Xavier cried as he clutched his broken instrument while a match was still going on. Uso eventually rolled up Kofi from behind for a three count.
WINNERS: Usos at 15:22. A 10-minute match stretched out to 15 long minutes with so many stops and pauses to get in a lot of extracurricular activity. And, oh by the way, set up The Usos with a future Tag Title shot.
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped Roman Reigns’s Royal Rumble situation tonight and at the PPV. Cole said one person who will not be in the Rumble will be John Cena. WWE showed photos of Cena undergoing shoulder surgery last week. Cole said he will be out “a number of months.”
Cole continued that Cena was on the Smackdown USA Network debut last Thursday, though. On that show, Kalisto beat U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio with Cena in Kalisto’s corner. Tonight, Kalisto gets a title shot.
[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:29]
Authority Office: Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman were standing by after Vince McMahon left the ring. Apparently Vince could not handle Paul anymore, so Steph was left to talk to Heyman. Steph called him a broken record wanting Brock Lesnar to face the Royal Rumble match at WrestleMania instead of be in the Rumble title match. Heyman got close to Steph’s ear, telling her she understands the difficult position she’s in with her father, Vince, and husband, Triple H. Heyman told Steph to tell them “no.” Steph replied that her father owns Brock’s contract. So, he will be in the Rumble. Heyman took his medicine and said he’ll do this for her. Steph told Heyman to never get that close to her again before Paul walked off.
NEWS: So … Brock Lesnar’s officially in the Rumble?
In the ring, JBL was standing by to introduce Sting as the first 2016 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. A dramatic video package played showcasing Sting’s transformation from The Man Called Sting to Crow Sting. Lots of soundbytes from Jim Ross. Then, talking head soundbytes from Triple H, John Cena, Robert Flores from ESPN, Ric Flair, actor Kevin Hart, Seth Rollins, and Ron Simmons.
Back live, the crowd applauded as Sting’s WWE music played. WWE then flashed news articles from the mainstream outlets they want covering them writing about Sting’s HOF induction. They showed a social media post from LeBron James on Sting’s induction, too.
Suddenly, the Wyatt theme interrupted to darken the arena and bring out Bray Wyatt, presumably followed by his henchmen Braun Strowman, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. As the Wyatts made their slow entrance, Cole announced a Tables Match on this Thursday’s Smackdown – The Dudleys vs. The Wyatts. But, first, the Wyatts are in action next.
[Commercial Break at 9:41]
Back from break, the Wyatts’s theme finished out, then random new music played. It was the Social Outcasts group led by Heath Slater. He was joined by Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, and Bo Dallas in matching t-shirts. After Slater, Rose, and Axel offered nothing lines, Bo talked opposite his real-life brother Bray about being the Four Musketeers. Slater summed it up that they’re here for a fight. The crowd was unmoved.
4 — THE WYATTS (BRAY WYATT & BRAUN STROWMAN & ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER) vs. SOCIAL OUTCASTS (HEATH SLATER & BO DALLAS & CURTIS AXEL & ADAM ROSE) — eight-man tag match
The Wyatts dominated, then Bray tagged in and yelled at Bo, who was standing on the ring apron. Suddenly, Ryback’s theme music played. Ryback stormed the ring to attack the Wyatts for attacking him last week. No bell here. The Social Outcasts tried to get involved in the fight and ended up standing with Ryback in the ring as the Wyatts recovered on the floor.
WINNERS: ??? around 1:25; presumably Wyatts via DQ.
Last Week on Smackdown: John Cena confronted Alberto Del Rio, who ended up losing a non-title match to Kalisto.
Backstage: Renee Young welcomed in Kalisto to discuss his U.S. Title shot tonight. Kalisto said the U.S. Title means the world to him because it represents opportunity for anyone, especially Latinos. He said John Cena gave everyone a chance with the Open Challenge, and Eddie Guerrero fought with pride, but Del Rio runs from a fight. He said that tonight he’s going to give it his all. Renee said it’s next.
[Commercial Break at 9:51]
Tonight: Raw is in New Orleans, where WrestleMania was held two years ago.
In-ring: Alberto Del Rio’s music played to bring out the U.S. champion. Del Rio made his ring entrance as Cole plugged tickets on-sale for next Monday’s Raw in Columbus, Ohio. Once in the ring, Del Rio took the mic from Lilian Garcia and asked the people if they want to see John Cena. Well, Juanita is not going to be here tonight because of him. He said he vowed to get rid of Cena, and he is a man of his word. And, it gets better, folks. He said Cena is not going to WrestleMania. “I broke him!” he declared.
Del Rio said that tonight he is going to break someone else. Kalisto. He said Kalisto reminds him of an annoying mosquito whose life is meaningless. And, he knows how to get rid of mosquitoes by squashing them. On cue, Kalisto was introduced to the ring to face Del Rio right at the top of the hour. Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions before the opening bell sounded.
[Q9 — third hour]
5 — U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. KALISTO — United States Title match
As soon as the bell sounded, Del Rio attacked Kalisto and smashed him out of the ring to the floor. Del Rio blasted him back into the ring and went to the top for a double axehandle smash. As the college football title game hit halftime, Cole hit the reset and WWE went to a wideshot of the arena. Cole said the “entire locker room” will be ringside for Roman Reigns’s special challenge match tonight.
Kalisto suddenly fired back against Del Rio, knocking him out of the ring to the floor. Kalisto went for a suicide dive, but Del Rio sidestepped and flung Kalisto hard into the guardrail. Raw cut to break with Kalisto selling pain on the floor.
[Commercial Break at 10:06]
Back from break, Kalisto was on the top rope looking to attack Del Rio. He stood there for a long time waiting for Del Rio to get up, then missed a top-rope attack when Del Rio sidestepped. Del Rio went back on the attack with a snap suplex as Cole incorporated Smackdown viewership by saying a lot of people watched Del Rio lose to Kalisto on Thursday night.
Del Rio went for a top-rope move, but Kalisto cut him off and nailed a huracanrana. Both men sold on the mat as Referee Chioda applied a ten count. They both came back to their feet before Kalisto nailed a corkscrew into a swinging DDT for a close two count. Del Rio, wincing and breathing hard, came back with a backbreaker to slow the pace.
Del Rio wanted the standing superkick, but Kalisto ducked and kicked Del Rio in the face for a two count. Kalisto then went to the top, but Del Rio crotched him. Del Rio followed with an overhead facebuster, which actually sent Kalisto reeling across the ring and under the ropes to get a breather.
Reset at 13:30. Del Rio suddenly flung Kalisto stomach-first across the top rope. The announcers talked about Kalisto putting up a good fight, but not being in Del Rio’s league, which gave away the result. Del Rio put him in the corner and wanted his new top-rope double foot stomp finisher, but Kalisto ducked. Del Rio sold injuring his knee and Kalisto capitalized with a cover for a close two count.
[Q10] Kalisto wanted to follow up with Salida del Sol, but Del Rio pushed away and kicked Kalisto in the gut. Del Rio tried to follow with a German Suplex, but Kalisto gripped Del Rio, ducked underneath, and rolled through to score a sudden three count for the win. New champ. The crowd rejoiced, Del Rio shouted to himself that he could not believe it, and Kalisto received the title belt on the outside. Cole and Co. celebrated the win for Kalisto before WWE replayed the events leading to Kalisto’s big win.
WINNER: Kalisto at 15:14 to capture the U.S. Title. The crowd did not buy Kalisto as a viable threat early on, but seemed to invest as the match went on. Nice to see WWE go for something new and different with Kalisto holding a singles title. Of course, the concern is WWE will have him start losing non-title every week now, but this was good. (***)
Announcers: Cole and Co. transitioned to the Divas Title situation involving Charlotte (and Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch.
Backstage: JoJo brought in Divas champion Charlotte and Ric Flair for an interview about Charlotte’s attack on Becky Lynch last week on Raw after Becky beat her. Charlotte asked why she is the bad guy in this situation when she is dominant and strong. She said she will do anything to be champion, and Paige taught her that there is no room for sentiment in this business. Charlotte said Becky is no one and she is really the villain. “I am the victim,” Charlotte said to herself. Flair said that’s his girl.
[Commercial Break at 10:20]
Back from break, Brie Bella’s music played to bring out Brie Bella and Alicia Fox for singles action. Divas champion Charlotte was out next for this heel vs. heel match-up. Apparently Brie is the default face opposite Charlotte. As Charlotte and Ric Flair walked to the ring, Cole plugged Flair’s Stone Cold Podcast interview on WWE Network after Raw.
6 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. BRIE BELLA (w/Alicia Fox)
Before the match even started, Becky Lynch stormed the ring to attack Charlotte. Becky punched away at Charlotte as referee Charles Robinson called for help to break this up. Becky was eventually pulled out of the ring after shouting about taking Charlotte’s title. Flair then took the mic and said Charlotte is in no condition to wrestle tonight. (Charlotte embellished injuries as Flair spoke.) All because of that Becky Lynch. Flair held open the ropes for Charlotte to slip out of the ring, then Flair demanded his sports coat back. Flair yelled at “fat boy” on the front row that he’s not going to do anything about it. Charlotte was then helped out of the ring as Brie stood by in the ring not buying Charlotte’s injuries.
WINNER: No Match.
Backstage: Paul Heyman mouthed “I’m sorry” to Brock Lesnar a few times. Cole said Lesnar has to compete in the Royal Rumble, which he thought he would bypass on the way to WrestleMania. Lesnar turned and walked off with a scowl on his face.
[Q11] [Commercial Break at 9:29]
Moments Ago: Becky Lynch attacked Charlotte.
Backstage: JoJo tried to catch up to Becky about her emotions getting the best of her. Becky yelled about Charlotte breaking the one thing they agreed on – they would never sacrifice their careers for their friendship. Now, she’s all alone. Becky, fired up, said she is the woman who made Charlotte tap out last week on Smackdown and she will do it again.
Announcers: Cole and Co. reset by reviewing the WWE Title situation at the Royal Rumble PPV. Specifically, Brock Lesnar trying to advance past the Rumble to WrestleMania in the WWE Title match.
In-ring: The Shield’s music played to bring out Roman Reigns through the crowd for the second time tonight. He faces the roster – or what’s left of it – up next.
[Commercial Break at 10:38]
Smackdown plug: Dean Ambrose & Neville vs. Sheamus & Kevin Owens to go with a Tables match between the Dudleys and The Wyatts. Plus, a U.S. Title re-match of Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio.
Back in the arena, Roman Reigns was standing by in the ring. Mr. McMahon’s music played to bring out Vince and Stephanie dancing on the stage. Vince pointed into the ring and did some hand motions before bringing out some heels. Specifically Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio, plus Kevin Owens. The Wyatts, New Day, The Ascension, Tyler Breeze, and Stardust also came out. No sign of Rusev to join Sheamus & Del Rio of the (are they still a thing?) League of Nations. Vince and Stephanie led the heels down to ringside, then sent them all to the ring. Kevin Owens stepped to the front of the line wanting a piece of Reigns as Cole talked about not knowing how this is going to work.
Down at ringside, McMahon took the mic and said this is One vs. All. Stephanie said Reigns will have to face each and every man until he can no longer move. As the arena sat quietly, Vince picked Kevin Owens to start the match. He sent the other heels out of the ring so it’s “fair and square” for Reigns.
6 — WWE World Hvt. champion ROMAN REIGNS vs. THE ROSTER — non-title match
6a — ROMAN REIGNS vs. KEVIN OWENS
Reigns and Owens teased locking up before Owens ducked out of the ring to regroup. The announcers said it’s a chance for one of these stars to really impress Mr. McMahon tonight. Owens then returned to the ring and beat up Reigns in the corner. Xavier Woods was without his broken trombone, or he might have broken into song. Owens eventually knocked Reigns out of the ring and Reigns sold on the floor heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:50]
Back from break, Reigns was in the ring trying to fight back against Owens. But, Owens chucked Reigns out of the ring to the floor. On the outside, Owens chucked Reigns into the barricade before rolling him back into the ring to score a two count. WWE then cut to a look at the heels standing by ringside mad about events tonight and ready to get a piece of Reigns after Owens.
Reigns just kept selling and Owens kept wearing down Reigns as the heels made some noise down at ringside. Reigns tried a corner charge, but Owens moved and Reigns crashed into the ringpost. Owens followed with a cannonball splash for a two count. And, the match just kept going.
[Q13 — over-run] Reigns finally showed some fight, landing a right hand, then going into his customary clothesline routine. Reigns finally showed some life and yelled down at the McMahons. Reigns big-booted Owens, then Reigns got a smile on his face. Reigns wanted the Superman Punch on Owens, but The Ascension suddenly got on the ring apron. Double Superman, then a Samoan Drop to Cody. Tyler Breeze suddenly got in there and Reigns almost tried to pin him. Then he turned it into a one-hand powerbomb. Poor Tyler then took a spear from Reigns.
So, McMahon decided to send the entire roster into the ring. New Day and Sheamus led the attack on Reigns. The crowd chanted for Brock Lesnar, then Del Rio superkicked Reigns. Sheamus wanted the Brogue Kick, and he got it. Meanwhile, the Wyatts hung back in the background watching.
Suddenly, Brock Lesnar’s music played. Out came Lesnar making his first arena appearance three-plus-hours into the show. Lesnar marched down to the ring and the heels thought he was on their side. But, Lesnar ran over New Day and took Big E. to Suplex City. Kevin Owens also took a suplex. Sheamus and Lesnar picked up their battle from Houston on Friday night. And, Lesnar shook off a series of blows to knock down Sheamus.
Lesnar was the last man standing in the ring, while Reigns sold in the corner. Lesnar glared down at the McMahons, then stood over Reigns. Lesnar dragged Reigns to the center of the ring and stood over him while Paul Heyman stood down at ringside. Lesnar contemplated action on Reigns, then lifted him into the air to deliver an F5 to Reigns. Lesnar bounced up and down, then his music played. Cole said Lesnar is making it clear that he’s coming to the Royal Rumble to win the WWE Title.
Lesnar left the ring and glared back toward Reigns, who did his WrestleMania smirk to sell the effects of Lesnar’s attack. Reigns eventually winced and kept selling as WWE went to back-and-forth shots of Lesnar and Reigns. Cole signed off seven minutes past the top of the hour.
WINNER: ??? at ???. McMahon basically ended the never-ending match at 17:00 when he sent the heels into the ring to attack Reigns. It was never clear the match structure or how it would end, so this was just Reigns selling for what felt like an eternity three hours into the show. It seemed like Reigns took a step back tonight with the presenation. They eventually got to a Reigns-Lesnar central issue for the Rumble and presumably WrestleMania, but it was so over-complicated involving the McMahon characters. Where were babyfaces to get involved? After all, they were not banned from ringside, and they were encouraged to get involved in the Rumble during the opening segment. It points to the general babyface roster lacking gumption through the systematic destruction of the babyfaces.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: This was not a good show. Roster deficiencies, matches without logical set-ups or conclusions, and never-ending talking segments took out the crowd from Segment 1. Ambrose-Owens and Kalisto’s title win were the highlights until Lesnar went Suplex City in the over-run.
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