SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE follows up on the Fast Lane PPV with an award ceremony kicking off the show, plus the start of Triple H vs. Roman Reigns hype for WrestleMania…
WWE Raw TV Report
February 22, 2016 – Episode #1,187
Live in Detroit, Mich.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Vince McMahon, Sr. Award starting Raw
- Triple H vs. Roman Reigns WM32 hype
- Follow-up on Brock Lesnar attacking Dean Ambrose in the parking lot before Raw
- The Wyatts vs. Kane & Big Show & Ryback six-man tag re-match from Raw
Raw opened with a video package documenting events Sunday night at Fast Lane when Roman Reigns beat Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar to become #1 contender to the WWE Title, setting up Reigns vs. Triple H for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.
Live in the arena, full pyro shot off and Michael Cole welcomed everyone to Joe Louis Arena for the kick-off to the Road to WrestleMania. After a look at the Vince McMahon, Sr. award in the ring, Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were shown at ringside to discuss the official WM32 main event of Hunter vs. Reigns.
Cole then relayed “breaking news” from earlier tonight of Brock Lesnar attacking Dean Ambrose in the parking lot before Raw. After a look at the video from earlier today, they showed Ambrose being loaded in an ambulance to be taken to a “nearby medical facility.” Cole said they hope to get an update soon. He added that Lesnar and Paul Heyman will be on Raw later tonight.
Vince McMahon, Sr. “Legacy of Excellence” Trophy Presentation
Vince McMahon’s music then played to bring out Mr. McMahon on-stage. McMahon played to the crowd before strutting down into the ring for the award presentation honoring his father. JBL called it the most prestigious award ever given in WWE history.
McMahon entered the ring and strutted around, saying tonight is a night that people will never, ever forget. He said tonight they present the first-ever Vincent J. McMahon Award. Vince said that for over 100 years, his family has been “presenting sports entertainment,” going back to his grandfather in 1914. McMahon said his father promoted in the Northeast and was inducted into the MSG Hall of Fame in 1984. So, what they’re talking about tonight is legacy.
McMahon said his dad had a cunning business mind, but was very kind. He said his dad had a warm heart and generous, so the person they honor tonight has those same qualities. He said it is his honor to present the award to … Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie walked out on-stage acting shocked by how kind her dad was for doing this.
Stephanie embraced Vince in the ring and sold with tears. Vince said no one in the world deserves this award as much as her. He said Steph was born into this business and exemplifies his dad’s attributes. The crowd booed as Stephanie continued to sell tears. Stephanie fake-cried over the boos, then pulled out a giant notebook. You know, just in case she won the award and had a speech ready.
Steph acknowledged her partner in life, Triple H, who is getting ready to defend the WWE Title against Roman Reigns (boos) at WrestleMania. Steph started to speak, but suddenly Shane McMahon’s music played. The crowd exploded, Steph and Vince sold shock, and Shane emerged on-stage returning to WWE TV for the first time in a long time.
Shane bounced out on-stage as Vince remained shocked in the ring. Shane did the Shane Shuffle in the ring as Steph looked at her brother like, “Why are you ruining this for me?” Shane took the mic as the crowd continued to roar for Shane’s arrival. “Holy s—” chant from the crowd as Shane soaked up the moment returning to WWE TV. The crowd followed with a “This is Awesome” chant.
Shane finally spoke, his voice sounding much deeper. Shane thanked Detroit for that reaction, then said Vince just had to do this. He said this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for him, so he had to come back. Shane told Steph that this award is not for her, as she doesn’t deserve it.
[Q2] Vince quietly talked to Shane about needing to talk backstage. Shane said Vince had his chance weeks ago. But, like Vince always told him, they do things out in front of the arena in front of the people. Steph interrupted, saying they’re acting like she’s not even here. Shane said she hasn’t earned this. Steph said what would he know since he hasn’t even been here the last six, seven years. Meanwhile, she’s been running a business with Triple H.
Shane then got close to Vince. “She doesn’t know, does she?” Shane asked Vince. Oohs. Shane said that Steph and Hunter have been running this company into the ground. (The crowd popped.) Shane looked at the stock, TV ratings, and talent injuries falling under her authority. Steph replied they have a packed house in Detroit, and Shane is a quitter.
Shane asked Vince if he’s going to tell her or not. Vince whispered this is not the place. Shane told Steph a story about Vince messing up big-time years ago, and he was there to make the save. Shane said he and Vince cut a little deal. In that deal, Shane was able to take some time off and make some business, but he never lost his place in line. Steph said she knows everything about WWE business. Shane said that’s not true. He said he let Steph climb this high.
Vince was asked to address this. Steph re-directed to WrestleMania hype, noting she might get Shane a ticket to WM32 if he decides to show up. Vince asked Steph to give them some time to discuss. Steph did not want to hear it. “Is this true?!” she demanded to know. Vince said there is some truth to it. “It’s all true,” Shane said. Shane said at the time, it was “best for business.” He then held open the ropes for Steph to leave. “I will never forgive you for this,” Steph said in Shane’s face.
The crowd serenaded Steph with the “na na good-bye” chant as she left the ring. Steph kept walking as Vince turned back to Shane to ask what his price is. He’ll write a check. Whatever. Shane said this is not about money. He said he left a lot of money on the table to get out from underneath Vince. And, he wakes up every morning knowing he has freedom.
Shane said this is about legacy – Vince’s grandfather and dad. Shane said he and Marissa created a legacy at home with grandchildren making it fifth generation. He said he wants this business to continue on. But, the way it’s heading is not good. So, what is it? Shane said he wants control of Raw. Vince smirked. The crowd popped with a “Yes!” chant. Vince laughed, saying that’s a good one. Vince said the way Raw goes, the whole company goes. Vince asked Shane if he realizes he would be controlling the entire company if he controls Raw.
Vince said Shane can’t just step in and pick up right where he left off. Shane said he is here to make sure there is generational legacy. Vince figured it out – Shane wanted to embarrass him and Stephanie. Vince yelled at the crowd, saying the audience has no idea what they’re asking for. Vince calmed down and said he’ll make Shane a deal. He said he’ll give him what he wants. What’s the catch? Vince said Shane has to have one match on one night. If he wins, he gets what he wants. But, if he doesn’t win, then he gets what he wants, which is a lockbox that Shane cannot hold over his head anymore.
So, Shane, what do you say? (28 minutes into Raw now.) Shane said it out loud – it’s one match on one night. The crowd answered with a “You Still Got It” chant. Shane said this won’t be his first deal with the devil, so Vince has a deal. Vince then cussed in Shane’s face, which was bleeped out. Shane said he remembers those beatings, but all those did was make him stronger. Shane said the match is on. But, before you leave, Vince said he’s going to name a place and opponent almost as big as Shane’s ego. He said the place and the time is WrestleMania. And his opponent will be The Undertaker. Vince laughed as Shane tried to keep his cool. Vince added that it will be inside Hell in a Cell. Vince laughed to himself and left the ring as Shane remained standing in the ring keeping his cool. Raw went to break after a 30-minute intro.
[ Reax: So much to unpack from this worked shoot hitting real close to home for all parties involved. WWE is obviously desperate to make WM32 feel special, so they’re creating a big angle for Taker’s WrestleMania match by introducing Shane into the mix. It also means no Taker vs. John Cena match. ]
[Q3] [Commercial Break at 8:31]
In-ring: Neville was introduced to the ring back from break, trying to introduce some athleticism on the show after the long talking segment. Lucha Dragons joined Neville for six-man tag action. WWE tag champions New Day were out next as the opposition.
1 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON & XAVIER WOODS) vs. NEVILLE & LUCHA DRAGONS (U.S. champion KALISTO y SIN CARA) — six-man tag match
New Day got cleared to the outside in the opening seconds, then Raw cut to break 35 seconds into the match.
[Commercial Break at 8:39]
Back from break, the face trio was diminished by New Day’s antics after the heels took control of the match during the break. New Day continued to control Neville heading to another commercial.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:46]
Back from break, New Day was still working over Neville. Sin Cara finally got a tag and went high-flying on the tag champs. Chaos broke out with wrestlers going in and out of the ring. Big E. suddenly tried a flying attack, but Neville side-stepped him, sending Big E. crashing to the floor. Kofi eventually nailed Trouble in Paradise on Sin Cara, then pinned him for the win.
WINNERS: New Day at 15:26. Poor Kalisto went from a great title defense last night against Alberto Del Rio to being an after-thought in this six-man chaos.
Backstage: Roman Reigns was shown standing in the hallway. The crowd booed. Reigns was checking for updates on Dean Ambrose on his phone. Jo-Jo asked Reigns about Dean’s status. He said he’s not sure yet after talking to the hospital. Jo-Jo then asked Reigns about facing Triple H at WrestleMania (boos live). Reigns said this is the big match he’s been waiting for. He said it’s going to come down to his fist and his heart. Reigns said he likes his odds.
Video Replay: Brock Lesnar attacked Ambrose earlier tonight. Lesnar is up next.
[Commercial Break at 8:56]
[Q5 — second hour]
Announcers: Cole and Co. reset the show, noting that Shane McMahon is going to face The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania.
Brock Lesnar Segment
Brock Lesnar’s music played live in the arena to bring out Lesnar and Paul Heyman with some things to address. Lesnar and Heyman entered the ring and stared at the WM32 sign hanging in the arena.
Heyman spoke that his name is Paul Heyman and this is the Main Event of the evening. And, yes, he understands that Lesnar is not even in his wrestling gear. He said any segment that involves his client is the main event. Because his client is Brrrrrock Lesssnar.
Heyman went back to last night’s Fast Lane main event, where Lesnar took both Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to Suplex City. He said Reigns was seconds away from tapping out to the kimura lock, but along came little Dean Ambrose. (The crowd cheered for his name.) Heyman looked to the ceiling unable to believe what happened. He said Dean took his client out of the main event of WrestleMania. “This pissed off” Brock, he noted. And then Dean took himself out of the main event of WrestleMania by not paying attention to what he just did.
Heyman said earlier today Brock Lesnar got his revenge by taking out Dean from WrestleMania all together. He then introduced the footage from earlier today of Brock taking out Dean in the parking lot before Raw. Back in the arena, Brock enjoyed watching that on the big screen.
Heyman said there is no shield (Shield?) that can protect Dean Ambrose from Brock Lesnar. He said Brock is The Main Event of WrestleMania, not Triple H, not Roman Reigns. But, that Dean Ambrose. He’s a little skater who is going to get run over by a Mack Truck. Heyman broke his handheld mic with the illustration.
Heyman got another mic, then said Brock is without a WrestleMania opponent. He told anyone in the back to go ask Dean Ambrose what it’s like to encounter his client, so tread carefully if you want to face Brock Lesnar. Heyman said his client will have no mercy on the person who decides to face him. Cole spoke that Heyman is pretty blunt.
Suddenly, there was the sound of horns blaring and sirens wailing. An ambulance conveniently pulled up in the parking garage at that very moment. The ambulance burst through the garage as Lesnar sold annoyance watching in the ring. The siren kept wailing, then the ambulance was shown driving down to ringside in the production area. It was Dean Ambrose driving the ambulance.
Ambrose emerged from the ambulance still wearing his neckbrace. Ambrose stumbled out of the ambulance to “Ambrose, Ambrose” chants as the announcers talked about Dean being nuts. Ambrose crawled down to the ring. Brock decided Dean wasn’t going to make it to the ring before the end of the show, so Lesnar left the ring to confront Ambrose. Brock stood over Dean, who continued to sell on the floor. Brock then stepped right on Dean’s face and kept walking to the back with Heyman following close behind.
Suddenly, Dean spoke from the floor down at ringside. “Brock!” he shouted. “Kiss my ass.” He said he’s indestructible and Brock is going to find that out the hard way. Dean said he wants Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. He wants it No Holds Barred in a Street Fight. JBL said he’s crazy.
Brock walked down to ringside to confront Dean and hoist him into the air. Brock delivered an F5 right on the floor, knocking out Dean. The crowd picked up a “One More Time” chant. Dean came to life as Heyman leaned in next to Dean. “My client accepts your challenge,” Heyman told Dean. Brock and Heyman left as Dean smirked from the floor.
[ Reax: They made Dean look somewhat pathetic before the big save challenging Brock to a fight at WrestleMania. ]
[Q6] [Commercial Break at 9:15]
Video: WWE celebrates Black History Month by honoring Halle Berry (who starred in WWE Studios’s “The Call” movie).
In-ring: The Usos were introduced to the ring for the next match. The crowd was surprisingly hot for The Usos, who haven’t done much recently other than getting turned on by The Dudleys. Down at ringside were The Ascension as the opposition. Before the match, Cole went to a replay of the Dudleys attacking The Usos two weeks ago.
Before the bell sounded, the Dudleys’s music played to bring out Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley with mics in-hand. Bubba spoke from the stage, welcoming them back to the ring. Bubba said it wasn’t personal, just a reminder that The Dudleys are not one-trick ponies. He said they are not a nostalgia act, but the most decorated tag team in WWE history. Bubba said they will never bring out the tables again. Devon spoke next that The Usos’s father, Rikishi, should have taught them something about respect instead of buying thongs. Suddenly, The Ascension attacked The Usos from behind.
2 — THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. THE ASCENSION (KONNOR & VIKTOR)
The referee checked to see if the Usos could start the match, then called for the bell when he was satisfied with their condition. Ascension got the upperhand, then the Usos came back with a top-rope Superfly Splash on Viktor for the win.
Afterward, the Usos glared toward The Dudleys, who started walking down to ringside. The Usos told them to get in the ring, but Bubba & Devon decided to back away from ringside and head to the back.
WINNERS: Usos at 1:59. Are they going with The Usos vs. Dudleys at Mania? Seems more like a secondary story to be part of a multi-team deal for the Tag Titles.
Still to come: The Wyatts vs. Kane, Ryback, and Big Show in a six-man tag re-match from last night’s PPV.
[Commercial Break at 9:25]
Chris Jericho Promo
Back from break, Chris Jericho’s music played with the full countdown clock. Jericho emerged on-stage dressed to wrestle. Down at ringside, WWE showed Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh hyping up the crowd.
[Q7] Jericho entered the ring with a smile on his face despite losing his series to A.J. Styles last night. Jericho welcomed everyone to Raw is Jericho. Jericho said for years he heard about this tremendous competitor known as A.J. Styles. He said all he heard was he is phenomenal. Then, Styles showed up the Royal Rumble, and he didn’t like him. Jericho said it made him angry that Styles called himself that. He said they had three matches and Styles beat him last night.
Jericho said he’s had 24 hours to reflect on what happened. He said he said things like he didn’t respect or like Styles, and he would like to add a few more things to A.J. Styles’s face. After a pause, Styles’s music played to bring out Styles on-stage with his full ring intro. Styles marched down to the ring also dressed to wrestle. Styles smiled down at ringside, selling he’s leery of what Jericho is up to.
Styles entered the ring to an “A-J-Styles” chant, which was answered by a “Y2J” chant, creating a loud dueling chant. Jericho said the crowd seems to like them together in the same ring. Jericho noted if he beat him last night, it could have ended Styles’s WWE career before it began. But, Styles beat him. Jericho said he admits it.
Jericho said he has one more thing he wants to say to Styles. “Congratulations,” Jericho told him. Jericho said Styles proved something to everyone, including the Jericholics, that Styles belongs here in WWE. He said Styles has what it takes to become WWE champion. More importantly, Styles proved he’s not good, not great, but phenomenal. They shook hands.
Suddenly, the Social Outcasts’s music played. The foursome came out on-stage mock applauding Jericho and Styles. Heath Slater spoke that they are so sorry for interrupting right before they were going to hug. Bo Dallas said his heart is so warmed. Slater said he was actually being sarcastic. “Yeah, me too,” Dallas said. Curtis Axel said this is garbage, then mock shook hands with Adam Rose.
Axel said they can see right through Jericho, who is only playing nice because A.J. made him tap out last night. And, A.J., you’re going to shake the hand of Jericho after all of the things he did and said. “Where I come from!” Slater said. “We call people like you a coward.” Rose asked them if they’re buddies, friends? Rose said no one is buying Y2-AJ.
The Outcasts entered the ring and said they are not a team, but they are a team. “And you two need to get out of ring,” Slater told them. “Now.” Styles and Jericho talked it over, then Jericho noted of all the dumb things they said, there was something interesting. Maybe they should be a team. The crowd liked it. Jericho said they are officially going to start with you four stooges in “Detroit Rock City.” Jericho’s music played as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:40]
3 — A.J. STYLES & CHRIS JERICHO vs. SOCIAL OUTCASTS (HEATH SLATER & CURTIS AXEL w/Bo Dallas and Adam Rose)
The match was joined in progress with Jericho dominating the heels. Styles tagged in and the heels used their numbers advantage to cut off Styles. Jericho eventually tagged back in opposite Axel. Jericho landed a double axe handle smash to Axel, then dropkicked Slater off the ring apron. Jericho followed with a running bulldog to Axel.
[Q8] Jericho tried a Lionsault, but Axel moved out of the way. Axel walked into the Walls of Jericho, though. Slater wanted to get involved, but Styles came out of nowhere with a springboard flying forearm smash. Styles then splashed all three heels on the floor, wowing the crowd. Back in the ring, Axel was forced to tap out to Jericho. Styles and Jericho celebrated before WWE quickly cut away.
WINNERS: Jericho & Styles at 3:54. The match seemed beneath Styles and Jericho right after their series, but if they needed to get a solid TV win to build momentum for WrestleMania Season, the Outcasts were acceptable foil.
Earlier Tonight: Vince McMahon gave Stephanie McMahon the Vince, Sr. award, but Shane McMahon suddenly interrupted. WWE condensed the lengthy opening segment to what Shane really wants. “I want control of Monday Night Raw.” So, Vince booked Shane against The Undertaker at WrestleMania… in Hell in a Cell.
Authority’s Office: Stephanie McMahon and Triple H were standing by. Hunter told Steph to let it go what happened. She talked about her brother (ugh) ruining everything for her. Hunter replied that his brother has always been a failure, so don’t bother with him. Hunter said this night will end with them as the focal point. So, do you want to tell Roman Reigns, or should I? Steph said she will.
[Commercial Break at 9:50]
Backstage: Roman Reigns was still on his phone. Stephanie McMahon walked up to Reigns to note that he has a match tonight. Steph said he will be facing Sheamus tonight. And, don’t forget about the League of Nations with Sheamus. Reigns grimaced, then Steph walked off.
Locker Room: R-Truth was listening to some music when Goldust walked in. Goldust said he’s sorry for costing Truth his match last night. Goldust had a giant cake with him as a make-up. Truth said he’s supposed to forget about Goldust messing up because of a cake? Goldust said it’s the Golden Truth. Truth said he doesn’t want his apologies, cake, and — shh. Goldust said he gets it that he doesn’t want him to be his tag partner. Goldust said he can predict Truth’s moves before he does them. So, you’re psychic? Truth asked Goldust if he sees this coming. Truth smashed the cake in Goldust’s face, then walked off.
In-ring: The Wyatts’s interruption played to bring out the Wyatt Family for the re-match against Team Big Show. Cole paused to welcome Snickers to the WWE family as the presenting sponsor of WrestleMania. Haven’t they been a sponsor for years? Anyways, the Wyatts entered the ring, then Big Show’s music played. Show tried to fire up the crowd on the way to the ring. Ryback was out next, then pyro shot off to bring out Kane.
[Q9 — third hour] Before the match started, Cole read a plug for the Smackdown taping tomorrow in Indianapolis. That probably confused some TV viewers since Smackdown airs on Thursdays. Raw cut to break one minute into the top of the hour before the opening bell.
4 — BIG SHOW & KANE & RYBACK vs. THE WYATTS (BRAY WYATT & ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER w/Braun Strowman) — six-man tag match
The bell sounded back from break with Bray Wyatt identified as replacing Braun Strowman after the henchmen failed to win this match-up last night. The face trio controlled the match early on. Ryback tagged in and got “Goldberg” chants as he worked on Harper. Kane tagged in and lost control when Harper nailed him with a dropkick.
Tag back to Ryback, who landed offense on Rowan. Ryback suddenly nailed a running high knee in the corner, then again. It sounded like the Goldberg chant turned into “Gillberg” for Ryback, who smiled, then dropped Rowan with a spinebuster. Ryback left the ring and ran over Rowan with a big clothesline on the floor. Ryback stood tall as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:09]
Back from break, the heels had control of the match working on Ryback. Big Show finally got a tag and cleaned house. Big moves from the big men in the match, then Braun got involved from the outside taking out Show behind the ref’s back. Bray Wyatt blasted Big Show on the floor, then dragged him back into the ring.
[Q10] Tag to Harper, who found himself in a slap battle with Big Show. Show then grabbed Harper around the throat for a chokeslam, but Harper blocked by swinging onto Show’s back for a sleeper. Show fought the hold, then escaped with a side suplex. Kane tagged in and slowly fought Harper as the crowd lost interest. Suddenly, Ryback headed to the back, distracting Kane. Wyatt tagged in and hit Kane with Sister Abigail for the win. The announcers tried to figure out why Ryback deserted his team.
WINNERS: Wyatts at 12:27. This really didn’t do anything for the Wyatts, who lose momentum by the show. Losing at Fast Lane = winning because Ryback randomly walked out on his team.
Still to come: Roman Reigns in jeopardy opposite Sheamus.
[Commercial Break at 10:18]
WM32 Countdown: WrestleMania is 41 days away.
Backstage: Rich Brennan caught up to Ryback to ask him why he walked out on his tag partners. Ryback said he won the tag match last night and he’s tired of being in tag matches. (How come he gets to walk out, but the audience has to watch the same match?) He said his issue isn’t with Kane or Show. He said he needs to be singles and take the brass ring. Back live, the crowd was unmoved.
In-ring: Sasha Banks was introduced to the ring for the next match. Naomi was introduced with Tamina Snuka as the opposition.
5 — SASHA BANKS vs. NAOMI (w/Tamina)
Naomi dominated early on as WWE continues to present Sasha in an underdog/semi-babyface role. Tamina then yanked Sasha off the ring apron behind the ref’s back to put Sasha in trouble heading to a break.
[Commercial Break at 10:27]
[Q11] Back live, Sasha walked right into a forearm smash from Naomi. Tamina got involved again on the outside, so Becky Lynch showed up and smashed Tamina into the ground. Naomi took exception, then turned around to take a blow from Sasha. She quickly followed with the Bank Statement for a quick submission.
WINNER: Sasha via submission at 6:45.
Post-match: Sasha and Becky stood tall in the ring, then Divas champion Charlotte came out dressed like the Bellas. Charlotte, joined by Ric Flair, did the Social Outcasts’s bit mocking the budding friendship between Sasha and Becky. She said The Authority has informed her that Sasha and Becky will fight to decide who faces her for the Divas Title at WrestleMania. Charlotte said the next few weeks are going to be fun for her watching how this unfolds. Charlotte’s music played and Ric woooed for his daughter.
Locker Room: Sheamus was shown preparing to face Roman Reigns tonight. A group of men suddenly attacked him with brotherly grunts and slaps. It was Rusev, King Barrett, and Alberto Del Rio pumping up Sheamus for the main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:36]
Back from break, Cole and Co. were shown on-camera to re-recap the opening segment – Shane McMahon returning, Shane confronting Stephanie and Vince, and Vince booking Shane against The Undertaker at WM32.
Graphic: Shane McMahon opposite The Undertaker at WM32.
Authority’s Office: Stephanie sat down with Vince. She said Shane must have something big holding over his head, and she refuses to work for Shane McMahon. Vince said the odds of Shane beating Taker are astronomical, much less in Hell in a Cell. Vince said he twisted Shane all around and created another main event of Shane vs. Taker. Vince said this whole thing runs on calculated risks. Steph nodded, but not completely convinced.
Announcers: Cole announced to the TV audience that The Godfather will be inducted into the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame. WWE ran a brief video trying to “PG” Godfather’s WWE run. The graphic showed Sting and Godfather as the first two inductees announced. JBL announced that he is re-uniting with Ron Simmons to induct Godfather at the HOF.
[Q12] In-ring: Roman Reigns was introduced through the crowd for the main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:46]
Smackdown plug: WWE World Hvt. champion Triple H is advertised for Smackdown to address Roman Reigns.
Back in the arena, Reigns was standing by for the main event. The generic League of Nations theme played to bring out Sheamus with his colleagues.
6 — ROMAN REIGNS vs. SHEAMUS (w/Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, and King Barrett)
Reigns started in control as the crowd settled in. Sheamus cut off Reigns to pound away on him. Reigns made a comeback to audible boos. The crowd started a light dueling chant that did not pick up steam and faded out. Meanwhile, the announcers tried to sell Reigns with the line about “whether you like Reigns or not, you can’t underestimate his fight.” Reigns found himself on the floor, where Sheamus used the numbers advantage to knock down Reigns heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:55]
Back from break, both men were down in the ring and the crowd was entertaining themselves chanting for JBL. Not a good sign. Another dueling chant broke out, this one a little louder than before the break. Reigns then hit the Superman Punch to boos. He followed by knocking Sheamus to the floor as Raw hit the top of the hour.
[Q13 — over-run] Reigns made it back into the ring at the top of the hour, then Triple H’s music played. Out walked the WWE World Hvt. champion in Leather Jacket Boss mode. Apparently it’s 1997 again. Hunter removed his jacket and started walking down to the ring dressed for a fight. Reigns took the bait and left the ring to go after Hunter. Reigns landed consecutive blows to boos, then Hunter answered with right hands that drew a mixed reaction. Reigns slammed Hunter into the barricade to boos, then Hunter blasted him to a mixed response. Apparently the match was thrown out? No bell and no DQ called by the referee.
WINNER: ??? around 11:00.
Reigns suddenly clotheslined Hunter over the ringside barricade into the timekeeper’s area. Reigns lost focus and walked right into a bell shot from Hunter. Hunter stood over Reigns, then slammed him into the announce table as a “Triple H” chant broke out. Hunter slammed Reigns head-first into the table over and over and over, drawing “Yes!” chants. Hunter caught his breath as Reigns came up bleeding from the nose. Reigns’s entire face was a mess. Hunter opened him up with right hands, drawing more blood. WWE is really desperate dropping their blood policy for this angle.
Referees eventually came out to pull Hunter away as Cole went super-desperation mode saying Hunter just “assassinated” Reigns. Hunter eventually came back to Reigns and cleared the ring steps. He stalked Reigns, then Pedigreed him on the ring steps to loud cheers. Hunter mocked Reigns’s cocked fist pose before crotch-chopping. Hunter grabbed the WWE Title belt and held it up to cheers. Meanwhile, refs checked on Reigns, whose face was turned to mush. Blood was everywhere as Raw ended six minutes past the top of the hour with the crowd cheering Hunter after he dismantled the undesired babyface #1 contender.
REAX: McMahon is backed into a corner and in super-desperation mode based on how the beginning and end played out. At the end, WWE had Reigns take a huge beating hoping to set up sympathy and eventually cheers as a six-week story unfolds, but when Reigns makes the big comeback – either verbally or physically – will the audience be on his side? It will be a tough sell in the upcoming Raw TV cities.
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