WWE Monday Night Raw Review - 12/14/2015
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler defeats IC Champion Dean Ambrose by disqualification
- The new Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose is scheduled to start off the action tonight as he goes one on one with The Showoff Dolph Ziggler just less than 24 hours of winning the gold against Kevin Owens at TLC. The roster is unfortunately really thin right now due to injuries and prior commitments, and that makes Dolph Ziggler a key player on the roster at the moment. Ziggler is very resilient and he can always step up the competition, that is why he is a former 2-time WWE World Champion and a former 4-time WWE Intercontinental Champion.
- Dean Ambrose makes a great Intercontinental Champion, just as Kevin Owens, and to have these guys fighting for this belt definitely ensures the IC title is headed in the right direction. When you add Dolph Ziggler to the mix, this makes for a great feud and they have the potential to make some of the greatest triple threat matches since Kurt Angle, Rock and Undertaker.
- Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose have a great match with some back and forth action which lasts close to 10 minutes. The crowd was really into it and both wrestlers had several near falls. They didn't get to finish it though, as Kevin Owens interrupts the match and completely destroys both of them. Owens puts his hands on Ziggler first, therefore Ziggler picks up the win.
- I really like what WWE is doing with the IC title right now, it is arguably the most interesting feud in the company at the moment. The IC Title feud is for the guys who are reaching for the brass ring and who are fighting to be on display, one day representing the company as the WWE Champion. With the roster being so thin, I think that Ziggler, Ambrose and Owens are the three right guys to fight for the IC title because they are all workhorses and know how to steal the show. I think over the next few years these three are likely to be fighting for the WWE Championship, as well as talents like Cesaro, Bray and Rusev. If I were WWE I would definitely pull the trigger on this Triple Treat Intercontinental Title Match
Match Rating: 7.5/10
Match #2: Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth ends in a no contest as Vince McMahon arrives to call out Roman Reigns
- R-Truth is scheduled to go one on one with Bo Dallas, but less than 3 minutes into their match the boss arrives, calls off the match and tells everyone to get the hell out of his ring. Vince McMahon makes his TV return on his flagship show to call out Roman Reigns, the last time Vince was on Raw was one year ago. Vince wants Roman to apologize for the beating he gave Triple H but obviously that's not what Reigns is about to do. Vince McMahon and Roman Reigns go back and forth on the mic. Ultimately, the decision is made to give Reigns a WWE Title match against Sheamus tonight and Vince McMahon goes vintage on us when he lets Reigns know that if he loses tonight he's fired. The best part of the segment follows, as a sincere-looking Vince McMahon reaches to shake Roman's hand, but kicks Roman with dirty low blow.
- Its always great to see Vince, on-screen he's arguably the most villainous heel in professional wrestling history. It always feels extra important when Vince comes back, especially because he returns very infrequently now. Just hearing Vince's music and watching his infamous walk to the ring is enough to spark emotion in most fans. Vince proves that he is still one of the greatest heels, he's still got it and that helps the crowd lean a lot more into Roman Reign's favor. There are some huge stakes in the main event, either Reigns wins the title or he is "fired", tonight's Raw really has a really big fight feel to it.
Match Rating - n/a if under 5 minutes
Match #3: Alberto Del Rio and Rusev defeat Ryback and Jack Swagger by pinfall
- Although it may seem like lazy booking when reading this match on paper, it was still a decent tag team match with good offense on both sides. The match was just under 7 minutes in length, it ends when Del Rio connects with a superkick on Swagger and Rusev follows up with a superkick of his own on Swagger to pick up the pinfall victory. It only makes sense for Swagger to take the pin because he will likely be back on Superstars or Main Event in no time. WWE should really do something better with the US title and stop wasting time with Swagger if we all know that he's not getting anywhere close to the belt. The US Title is the most irrelevant title on TV at the moment. Its a shame because John Cena put in a lot of work this year with that belt, defending it against talents like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. They need to book the US Champion Alberto Del Rio with some real competition and stop feeding him R-Truth and Jack Swagger.
- League of Nations picked up the win which was the right creative decision as they are the only team in this match who's actually a team. King Barrett wasn't on Raw and its been rumored that he's been added to the injured list. I don't believe in rumors but Barrett does have a history of injury issues.
- I am glad that Rusev got the pin, I think Rusev underrated and he's one of the top heels on the roster right now. WWE just threw Ryback and Swagger together for a tag team match and the chemistry wasn't there because they are not a tag team. If I were WWE I wouldn't have booked this tag team match. Instead, I would've booked Ryback to face US Champion Alberto Del Rio so he can have some real competition. Ryback can be a very believable number one contender for the US Championship. With Rusev's recent history with Ryback, it would only be fitting for him to get involved and help Del Rio get the win which continues Ryback's feud with League of Nations.
Match Rating - 6/10
Match #4: Neville defeats Tyler Breeze by pinfall
- The Miz comes out and watches this match ringside on his director's chair. The Miz clearly wants to take Neville in as his protégé because of his potential and make him a star, as he claims he did for Daniel Bryan. I am glad that WWE found something for Neville and I think this can work out great, I just hope it is executed properly. Neville is definitely a star with a bright future and if he can learn a thing or two about cutting a promo from The Miz, this can end up being really beneficial in the long run. I think Neville would make a great US Champion, and it could be great if Miz helps him get there.
- This is ironic because WWE was thinking about calling up Tyler Breeze to the main roster last year and pairing him up with The Miz, but those plans were nixed. One loss to Neville isn't too bad, but I hope WWE has plans and knows what they are doing with Breeze because I would hate to see him get lost in the shuffle. Breeze and Neville are both talents who can step up for the IC or US Title at any given time.
Match #5: The Wyatt Family defeats The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer & Rhyno by pinfall in an Extreme Rules Match
- This match was an absolutely great, classic hardcore match that took me back to the late 90s, without the blood of course. This match was close to 15 minutes in total including the commercial break and it was filled with action from all 8 men in all sides of the arena. There weren't any dull moments at all in this match, there was a lot going on and several well executed high spots as well. This was one of the best Extreme Rules matches that have ever been on a Monday Night Raw, due to spots like The Dreamer Driver on Luke Harper off the ramp through 2 tables which kind of resembled an attitude adjustment. Also, Braun Strowman's spot where he drove Tommy Dreamer through the barricade was sick, and Dreamer did justice for Strowman by selling it like a boss. In all the matches we have seen Strowman in these past several months, this very well done spot has been the highlight of his career so far for me. Eric Rowan got the pinfall on Rhyno with a big splash off the top rope through a table, which was the second table that Rhyno went through tonight. Bray took Rhyno out with a Sister Abigail earlier and gave Rowan the orders
Match Rating - 8/10
Match #6: Becky Lynch and Charlotte defeat Brie Bella and Alicia Fox by submission
- In the only divas match of the night, we have some tag team action as Becky and Charlotte face off with Brie and Foxy. Becky gets the win in just over 3 minutes, when Ric Flair grabs Alicia Fox's leg and trips her which gives Becky the opportunity to lock in the Disarmer. The win was dirty, which I'm sure Charlotte is okay with, but Becky had her back turned when Foxy got tripped up by The Nature Boy.
- Having Ric Flair around, supporting his daughter Charlotte truly feels like a breath of fresh air in the divas division. Especially because he's teaching Charlotte the ropes and all of the dirty moves he has up his sleeve which he's performed countless times. WWE is kind of booking Charlotte in the middle of a babyface and heel at the moment, she isn't a full fledged heel but she is willing to bend the rules to win matches just like she did at TLC when using the exposed turnbuckle to retain her title. I think it would be great to turn Charlotte heel and it might suit her at the moment, it seems like WWE is headed in this direction and it just might be a matter of when she turns. Becky Lynch on the other hand, is a full out babyface and it seems like she was oblivious to the fact that her win tonight wasn't clean. This could prove to be great booking for the future because this information can really separate Charlotte and Becky, when Becky finds out that Ric helped her tonight the controversy can boil up and Becky can go on her own.
- WWE is really taking their time with Sasha, and it seems like nobody wants to wait any longer for her to get a title shot. Raw usually has two divas matches, and for the night they only choose to book one divas match its interesting that neither Paige or Sasha Banks were booked to compete. It does seem like WWE is grooming Sasha Banks to ultimately acquire a top spot in the division, so if their plan is to separate Charlotte and Becky in the near future then tonight may as well have been the first step.
Match #7 (Main Event): Roman Reigns defeats Sheamus by pinfall to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion
- The main event of the evening is a total shocker as Roman Reigns defeats Sheamus to become the NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion! This match was close to 14 minutes in length and had some outside interference with Rusev, Del Rio and the boss Vince McMahon, all of which got their lights knocked out with a Superman Punch. Believe it or not, Roman Reigns is already a 2 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
- Roman Reigns got busted open near the end of the match. I believe it was a stiff headbutt to Sheamus that cut him, but regardless I think it made for a great visual. Even though I doubt it was planned this is a very fitting moment for blood, especially because its a babyface who is right about to win the big one. I think the blood added a lot of dramatic effect and actually helped Roman receive the well accepted response from the Philadelphia crowd, who actually booed him out of the Royal Rumble last year. Its ironic how everything comes full circle, but one thing is for sure and that is Reigns has gained a lot more respect over the course of this year.
- The best thing about this match is that the title change was very unpredictable, which is not the easiest thing for WWE to book especially now with information being so easily accessible to everyone. When wrestling is unpredictable, it triggers a stronger emotion from the crowd and that emotion is what makes us connect as fans.
- I am not the biggest Roman Reigns fan, although I do want him to do well and be successful (just as I would want everybody to do well). That being said, Roman Reigns has improved a lot this year but I feel like he has a lot more to learn and he's well on his way. I believe that Roman will continue to improve because he's putting in the hard work and I can see that. I think that Roman goes into Wrestlemania with the title, which triggers thoughts about the Royale Rumble winner. WWE might just have Lesnar win the Rumble and have Roman vs. Brock again because their match was interrupted last year. I also believe Roman will also have a one on one match with Triple H in the near future because of the beatdown he delivered to The Game at TLC. With so many unfortunate injuries on the roster, WWE has to make decisions on the spot and giving Reigns the strap tonight wasn't a bad call because of the way it was executed. I just hope Seth Rollins and Cesaro both go straight for the title right away as soon as they are healthy to compete, and that way we will have a really solid WWE Title Division.