WWE Monday Night Raw Recap/Review - 12/07/2015
Match #1: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos vs. League of Nations vs. The Wyatt Family vs. Team Extreme (Rhyno, Dreamer and Dudley Boyz) in a Fatal Four Way Team Elimination Match
- Raw starts with League of Nations in the ring. Sheamus cuts a promo on Roman Reigns and his boys Dean, Jimmy and Jey Uso which is interrupted by The Wyatt Family. The League of Nations and The Wyatt Family tease getting into a brawl, when out comes The Dudley Boyz and Dreamer. They announce that "The Man Beast" Rhyno, another ECW original, is joining there team as the 4th member of Team Extreme. As Team Extreme is about to enter the ring, Roman Reigns music hits and he comes down with his boys and this match is made. The Wyatt Family is eliminated first when Tommy Dreamer gets the pin on Eric Rowan with a DDT which Michael Cole called the Dreamer Driver for some reason, Dreamer Driver was originally Tommy Dreamer's version of the Death Valley Driver. Team Extreme is eliminated next when Sheamus takes out Bubba Dudley with a Brogue Kick for the pinfall and we are left with 2 teams. Roman Reigns picks up the win for his team in this match when he pins WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
- This match was close to 15 minutes in total and it was a good paced, action packed match to start off the show. Although it was a great match to open the show, I did not like the ending of the match. League of Nations should've won this match, they are being booked too weak so early in their time as being a stable. League of Nations can hold their own as a stable and they have potential, but they need to be booked to dominate and shouldn't be losing week after week because they all know how to gain heat from the crowd. If WWE books League of Nations stronger so its not easy to get a win against them, they get so much heat anyways that the crowd is going to want to see them lose which may potentially be beneficial in getting their opponent over as a top babyface.
- Dean Ambrose and The Usos all have their own thing going on right now outside of this League of Nations feud, with the Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles respectively. This is good because it seems like they were just in this match to have Roman's back because they are boys, rather than them being a stable. I would have Dean lose his title match at TLC, only to turn heel out of frustration and feud with Roman Reigns. Dean is a great heel and I think a properly executed heel turn is all he needs to get closer to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Roman didn't need this win, and I actually like Roman Reigns and truly want him to succeed. He just beat League of Nations in a 4 on 1 Handicap Match on Smackdown and he defeats them again on Raw by pinning the champion. This is why he is not over in the major cities, Roman needs to be able to lose regularly for people to emotionally invest and him and want to see him win and get over naturally with the fans. Otherwise, its predictable and gets stale to watch the same guy go over again and again.
- I was expecting a Spike Dudley return even though its a total mismatch, so compared to that Rhyno is not a bad call as the fourth member of team extreme as he is an original member of ECW and he stood alongside the Dudley Boyz in 2001 as a part of The Alliance. I've been watching Rhyno down in NXT working with younger talents going at their pace. I liked him fifteen years ago and I still like him now. Team Extreme has many years of wrestling experience which is something The Wyatt Family can really take advantage and learn from. They are all known to be good wrestling teachers in the ring, Bubba and D-Von actually have their own wrestling school in Texas. The Wyatts should learn all they can from the Dudleyz, especially for a talent like Braun Strowman who seems a little green and is fairly protected in his in-ring time. Therefore, I would like to see Team Extreme somehow pull off the win at TLC with their experience factor, to continue this feud and ultimately do the job to The Wyatt Family just in time for both teams to go their separate ways for Wrestlemania season.
- Match Rating: 7/10
Match #2: Kevin Owens defeats Dolph Ziggler by pinfall
- IC Champion Kevin Owens is in action up next as he defeats The Showoff Dolph Ziggler in a good match by pinfall with a pop up powerbomb. This match was close to 15 minutes and it was good, but I feel like both wrestlers had some key moves which they did not perform, perhaps saving it for a future feud. I'm sure these two can out-do this one when given the opportunity. Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae were at ringside together to distract Ziggler. Dolph Ziggler got the ladder match last year at TLC when he defended his IC Championship (at the time) against Luke Harper. I think Ziggler should get the ladder match once again this year at TLC against Tyler Breeze. I mentioned before how both wrestle such a similar style and how they were both trained by Lance Storm. These two have so much potential in a ladder match, I hope WWE gives them the time and place to perform it because they could really steal the show.
- Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose is a great feud for the Intercontinental Championship right now, as it would probably be a great feud under any circumstance. Owens and Ambrose can easily become the hottest feud on the roster right now. The IC Title should be the workhorse's title, it should be the title to go through when reaching for the brass ring. In my opinion, the perfect IC title feud is a feud between two competitors where you can realistically see either one as WWE Champion within one or two years. Both Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose are also just so raw like brawlers, which can build some real emotion from everyone as they battle for a championship. With the roster right now, if everyone steps up and performs their A-game every PPV I think Kevin Owens can be WWE Champion within a year, as well as the top heel in the company. With so many talented wrestlers on the roster, I think a few stars may be born next year with Kevin Owens being on top of that list. I think Dean Ambrose is also a future WWE Champion, but I think Ambrose is much better off as a heel rather than a face (even though he is a great face) and I think that's exactly what his career needs for him to win the belt for the first time.
- Match Rating: 7/10
Match #3: Sasha Banks and Naomi defeat Brie Bella and Alicia Fox
- Tag team divas action is on display with Team BAD taking on Team Bella. Naomi gets the pinfall over Brie Bella with Rear View in a decent match which was close to 5 minutes bell to bell. Team Bella have been missing significant TV time lately since Nicki Bella has been gone. If anyone from Team Bella were to win the Divas Championship it would be Nicki, I don't see Alicia Fox or Brie Bella winning it anytime soon. Although Alicia Fox is underrated and she is a good wrestler, she performed a smooth tilt-a-whirl backbreaker tonight and she has a great northern lights suplex pin in her arsenal.
- I am glad Naomi got the pin tonight, but if anyone from Team BAD gets a shot at the Divas Championship it has to be Sasha. She has been red hot with the crowd lately, and she has performed in the absolute best diva matches there have been this year. That being said Team BAD is still strong, they have stayed on the same page and they continue to win with unity.
- Match Rating: 5/10
Match #4: Lucha Dragons defeat New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) by pinfall
- After another extremely hilarious promo, New Day is in tag action against Lucha Dragons while The Usos are watching on commentary less than a week away from their Triple Threat Tag Team Ladder Match at TLC. Sin Cara got the pin by a roll up on Kofi Kingston as Kofi was distracted from The Usos stomping on Xavier Woods outside the ring.
- Lucha Dragons won this match in under 5 minutes. New Day has been the hottest thing on WWE TV and The Usos are red hot over as babyfaces because of their authenticity. Its pretty obvious that Lucha Dragons are not winning the tag team ladder match at TLC on Sunday, and this is why WWE booked Lucha Dragons to get the win. They think that fans will believe Lucha Dragons have more of a chance to win on Sunday because they beat the tag champs tonight. In my opinion Lucha Dragons didn't need to get the win tonight. New Day is already on fire and even though the loss doesn't hurt them, why not just continue to book the Tag Team Champions with some consistency? I would have had New Day go over tonight because this tag team ladder match at TLC is going to be awesome regardless, and we all know that only New Day and The Usos have a chance to win the ladder match so New Day should have just continued to dominate the tag division tonight.
- Match Rating - n/a if under 5 minutes
Match #5: Ryback vs. Rusev ends in a double count-out
- The Bulgarian Brute Rusev has a rematch with Ryback, who he purposely lost to last Monday by count-out. Ryback was running after Rusev outside the ring as Lana stepped in Ryback's way and faked an ankle injury, as she was wearing heels, and blamed the Big Guy for it. This was just a trap as Rusev took advantage on a vulnerable Ryback who was concerned, checking on Lana's ankle, especially because this is the second week in a row now that she's gotten "hurt". Rusev locks in the Accolade on Ryback outside the ring, knocking out The Big Guy, getting both wrestlers counted out for tonight as this feud is not over.
- This match was about 7 minutes in length, it was a really good paced match considering these two athletes have a combined weight of almost 600 pounds. Ryback hit another missile dropkick this week, he connected better with it last week but that's fine because it will improve with practice. Ryback actually had more high flying offense when he runs and jumps over the top rope at Rusev. This is great because this shows me that Ryback is making a conscious effort to keep improving, he's going beyond expectations and doing more than what's required as he's taking bumps on a regular basis that a 285 pounder does not have to take.
- I am really high on Rusev, he has great instincts in the ring and he's shown tremendous improvement, as he was a little green earlier when debuted on the main roster almost 2 years ago now. He knows who his character is supposed to be and he just simply gets it and plays his role to perfection, always sparking a loud reaction from the fans. With so many unfortunate situations with injuries as of late, looking at the roster now Rusev is another wrestler who I think can become a star. When the time is right, I believe Rusev will be WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
- I think Rusev gets the win at the PPV, because right now is a critical time for the roster and this can be an opportunity for Rusev to really step up as one of the top heels in the company as a part of League of Nations. I've never been big on the Chairs Match stipulation, but in this case I would've given it to Rusev and Ryback because they are two powerhouse wrestlers who I think can incorporate steel chairs into their match better than Swagger and Del Rio.
Match Rating - 6/10
Match #6: Jack Swagger defeats Stardust by submission.
- Jack Swagger makes Stardust tap out to the ankle lock in under 3 minutes, which I think is a terrible creative decision. Stardust aka Cody Rhodes is a great talent. He doesn't need to be booked for squash matches, especially to put over a wrestler who is just a placeholder for a feud right now and who's career has absolutely no direction at the moment. There's no way that Jack Swagger is winning the US Championship on Sunday, he is simply going to put Del Rio over while John Cena films his new show on FOX. Jack Swagger is a veteran in the ring and believe it or not he is a former WWE World Champion. He also did great work tonight when he was yelling at Zeb Colter asking him why he sold out. Although there's no direction in his long-term career and his current momentum is temporary which is why I wouldn't book him to squash a talent like Stardust. It really does not make anyone actually believe that Jack Swagger has a chance of winning on Sunday. Since Swagger has such an established career, I think it could be wise to use him down in NXT and have him work with some of the younger talents so they can be even more prepared and know what to expect when stepping up to the main roster.
- So Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger get the Chairs match stipulation for the US title this Sunday at TLC. I'm not really sold on this match at all, just because it is very predictable and ever since John Cena left the US title went down from 100 to 0 real quick. Obviously there are better things to do with the US title, off the top of my head Dolph Ziggler vs. Breeze or Ryback vs. Rusev would both be better matches for the US title in my opinion. Also it looks like Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter may be going their own ways, which I think is a good idea because these two are somewhat of a mismatch. Alberto Del Rio is a great talent in a the ring and he displays a menacing personality, strong enough to hold his own and cut his own promos.
- Match Rating - n/a if under 5 minutes
Match #7: Braun Strowman defeats Tommy Dreamer by submission
- In the final match of the night, Braun Strowman beat Tommy Dreamer in under 3 minutes when he reversed Dreamer's DDT into his Standing Triangle Choke. Dreamer didn't tap, but the referee called for the bell seconds after Strowman locked in the submission. I guess we're supposed to assume that Dreamer was out cold, even though that was evidently not even the case.
- Braun Strowman still seems green, and he was protected in this match as it consisted of very limited in-ring work. The former strongman may just be the strongest wrestler on the roster at the moment, based on strength alone, as he has won several strongman competitions. However, his in-ring capabilities are far from the best. Strowman hit one body slam, but other than that his offense consisted of shoulder tackles, throws and a brawler type beat down. He will get better in time and I think the best part of this feud for Strowman would be to get some experience from in-ring veterans. He has a great, unique physique and WWE found the perfect spot for him in The Wyatt Family.
- Match Rating - n/a if under 5 minutes