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Going In Raw: The Rock Takes Miami

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Last night’s Raw (Jan.25 2016) was the follow-up to Sunday’s Royal Rumble and the first on the road to WrestleMania. Naturally, the company would look to shake off the recent ratings slump and get on the good foot for 2016.

McMahon Opening

Vince and Stephanie opened the show by stunting on the crowd and crowing about how they pulled a fast one at the Rumble. They’re great actors, acting like they don’t have access to the same sites that told us Triple H was probably going to win the title. Steph then gave a heartwarming introduction for her hubby and World Heavyweight Champ that made every other man in the arena feel inadequate. Trips made his way to ring to a decent pop from the Miami crowd. He went in on Roman Reigns saying he took his belt because he was disrespectful. He went on to call Vince McMahon God and the WWE his religion. The Authority went on to say they would put together the main event for Fastlane by the end of Raw. The winner of that match goes on to face HHH at WrestleMania 32 for the title. It would be up to the roster to make the McMahons take notice and consider them for the opportunity at Fastlane. Stephanie promised an action-packed show but would she be able to deliver?

Hey look! It’s Flo-Rida!

Ziggler vs Owens

Is it me, or does Kevin Owens have a metric ton of beef with the WWE roster. As an Owens fan, it’s great because you get to see more of his promos and in-ring stuff. Fans were worried that he’d go to the wayside after the Cena feud. But he and WWE have found a way to keep him high in the midcard by having him mouth off to each and everybody. How many people did he come to serious beefed out blows with at the Royal Rumble Sunday? Now, could he pass one of those rivals over to Dolph Ziggler. Zigman has been the victim of some bad fortune due to injury and flubbed up feuds (thanks a lot Rusev, Lana and Tyler Breeze). He’s the company’s top salesman (he takes some pretty mean bumps) and he keeps getting the short end of the stick. Well, the short end came in the form of a Pop-up Powerbomb. The match was pretty competitive and very entertaining. Owens sold injuries from the Last Man Standing match and the Royal Rumble itself. Dolph let Kevin ragdoll him for a bit, coming back in short bursts of offense. But it would be useless in the end. Poor Dolph. Some day you’ll get a win.

Social Outcasts vs The Dudley Boyz

Uh-oh, Heath Slater. Don’t go messing with Flo-Rida again…oh boy. I gotta admit, Bo got bars. Flo-Rida came weak. I think he really wants to go to developmental and become a wrestler. But he could use more help with his promos. Something something something DUDLEYVILLE. Bubba Ray and D-Von boogied down the aisle. A commercial break later.

AJ Styles/Jericho Promo

Renee attempted to interview AJ Styles about his Royal Rumble debut, when Jericho stumbled into the room and stepped on the kid’s line like some drunken uncle who seemed to have misplaced his pants. What’s with Y2J these days? Is he usually drunk or just unkempt? Damn rockstars.

Oh damn. Nikki Bella has to have neck surgery? That’s the thing that took out Stone Cold, Kurt Angle, Edge and so on and so forth. Hope she’s alright.

Seriously, bro. Jericho’s eyes are glossy as hell. Maybe he’s just feeling the affects of the Rumble. Honestly, I haven’t seen AJ Styles in a while. He looks a lot more svelte. It looks like he’s competing at his natural weight and body type. Oddly, the match seemed to favor Jericho as the pace increased. Styles took some pretty good looking bumps. They even took the midair, cross body collision that you can set your watch to in a face vs. face matches. They exchanged a little chain wrestling with lots of two-counts. Oh look, a Northern Lights Suplex. I haven’t seen that since Owen Hart was “The Rocket”. AJ missed a Six-Star Frog Splash but still got the knees up in time to reverse a Lion-sault and went for a Styles Clash. Jericho reversed into a roll-up, which AJ reversed into a pin for the win. After the match, Jericho sold the butthurt of losing to a rookie and not wanting to shake hands. Finally he gave in, but not without pulling Styles in closer for the tried and true “watch it kid” staredown. I think he whispered something like, “I put you over. You better do better than Fandango!” He said it quickly.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

Sasha Banks makes me happy. Does Becky come out to the ring to Dragonforce? Lot of double peddle drumming. Anyway, Becky and Sasha started out pretty high, so it was evident that match wouldn’t be very long. Becky went for the Disarmer, Sasha reversed and landed the backstabber. But before she could lock in the Bank Statement they were attacked by Charlotte. Charlotte should be passing out powerbombs to these short bainches. She could be their version of Sid Vicious. Instead she wants to do submissions. That’s just silly.

Goldust and Truth comedy hour

Goldy tells R. Truth he is looking for a new partner. How did I know R. Truth was going to look at Goldust and say something to the affect of “I ain’t with that gay stuff, man.”? I was heckling it, but he basically said that.

A recap of the Wyatt family’s showing in the Royal Rumble. They showed how they all reentered the Rumble and ganged up on Brock Lesnar to eliminate him. Time out. My question is; if there are no disqualifications, why didn’t the Wyatts just toss everybody out until Bray won the title? What were they gonna do? Call the cops? Call a priest? Sometimes yall forget to make sense. Okay, time in.

Bray Wyatt vs Kane

The bass on that “Broken Out in Love” must beat on those house speakers. Once Kane got in the ring, Bray took control early. They went back and forth for a bit before Kane threw Bray in the corner twice and landed a sidewalk slam. The action spilled outside for a second. Eric Rowan caused a distraction that left the door open for Bray to stick Kane in the mat with a Sister Abigail. After the match Strauman yoked Kane up in a Deebo choke out before Rowan and Harper double chokeslammed the corpse.

Rocky Returns!

After they teased the limo all show, they tried to disappoint us with the Miz, but had Dwayne Johnson cut him off. The Rock launched into one of the funniest segments I’ve seen on a WWE broadcast in quite some time. Big Show, Rick Ross, Lana and Rusev all made guest appearances. He got to Gorilla Position and I fully expected him to say, “LIVE FROM NEW YORK!” He soaked up some more crowd appreciation before addressing his countrymen of Miami. Then he made some WrestleMania sales, heckled the crowd a little bit. Then, the sky opened up and the Unicorns of the New Day descended to the ring to give us what we wanted. The Rock stood there patiently and let New Day get all their stuff in. He rebutted with some sophomoric penis humor and challenged them all to a fight. When the Day boys decided the Miami crowd didn’t deserve it and left, the Usos came out and ambushed them. Rocky hit about a third of his arsenal on the tag champs and signed off with his catch phrase.

Natalya and Paige vs Brie Bella and Alicia Fox

It’s like a cocktail party nightmare. All four combatants wore pretty much the same outfit to the match. Alicia looked like if she had a decent audition, she could play Storm. Paige put an end to this one quickly and hit the Ram-Paige on Brie. Ballgame. The other side of the DIVAS division is so weird. You’re either in the hunt for the title or your match is a bathroom break. They gotta figure out a way to make these matches matter. As much as I find them all attractive, I don’t want them to go back to wrestling in gravy. And do they all need to wear extentions? Just once, I want to see a Diva with a nice bob, or a pixie cut. Variety is the spice of life, Vince.

Miz vs Kalisto

The Miz met us back in the ring to lament about how he is tired of being interrupted. He was then immediately interrupted by the United States Champion Kalisto. Miz took control of the match as the bigger, more methodical heel while Kalisto kept hitting spots to stay in it. Miz went for the Skull-crushing finale but the champ reversed it into a Salida del Sol for the win. Usually I can’t stand small luchadors, but so long as he keeps working with midsized guys who can believably sell for him, Kalisto will have good matches. Also, it’s about time we give the Miz credit for being not only a serviceable hand in the ring, but a real team player. The company probably has no bigger plans for him going forward, but he keeps plugging away.

Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus and Rusev

Dean Ambrose: Ey yo, Roman. Ain’t them the fools that rushed you at the Royal Rumble?
Roman Reigns: Yeah that’s them.
Dean: I got the burner, son.
Roman: Nah. They gone feel these hands. BOMB FIRST!
Coming back from commercial Sheamus had Roman in a chinlock. Reigns made the hot tag to Ambrose who ran around like Latrell Sprewell before the League of Nations numbers caught up to him. After about another five minutes in the wrong corner, Ambrose made the hot tag to Reigns. It looked like the League regained control as Sheamus landed a Brogue Kick on Roman. But Ambrose broke up the pin. A couple seconds later Reigns hits the Spear and pins Sheamus. The Brothers in Arms decided to get some payback on Rusev by seeing how hard they would have to hit a table with a Bulgarian Brute to make explode. Turns out, use an assisted powerbomb and that sucker will shatter.

Stephanie McMahon’s music hit and she admitted the crippling of a fellow human being impressed her. So she made the Earth-shattering announcement that at Fastlane, Reigns, Ambrose and The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar (you know, the guy who hadn’t competed last night and has unresolved issues with the Wyatt family) will do battle in a triple threat match. We almost made it through a Raw where we don’t have a bunch of questions about something they themselves set up.

Overall, it was a good show. There was a lot more action than the Raw shows we’ve been used to seeing. The matches were exciting and the comedic segments were, you know, funny. If this is the way the HHH reign is going to run, by all means, keep the title on this guy. How ironic is it that he wins the title and we see him way less than we did when he was only the COO? Is it only a matter of time before he’s back to spewing water and chopping crotch on every WWE program? Only time will tell.