It’s the last Raw of the year. What an up and down year it’s been for WWE. A lot of great matches and some fun moments, but the booking has been disappointing in some regards. As I do every year around this time, I posted the 2015 WWE Johnny Awards covering everything about the company. It’s my favorite column of the year to write. It’s also the longest! Please check it out if you haven’t done so yet. I’d love to hear (or read) your thoughts on it.
Regarding this week’s show, half of the roster was at a live event in Allentown, PA on Monday night, so if you’re wondering why certain people aren’t on the show that’s why.
Live from Brooklyn, New York this is the Raw Deal for episode #1179. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
The Raw intro video played. It doesn’t play every week. Normally we get a video package or somebody’s already in the ring for a promo. I think it’s good to play the intro video at the start of every show like they used to, but they get away from it. There’s some pyro as well. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn is sold out. Main event is a match we knew about before: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio.
The WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon walked down to the ring. The ring announcer is Tony Chimel because Lilian Garcia lost her voice according to her on Twitter. Don’t worry kids, voices can come back. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.
Vince McMahon Promo Opens The Show
McMahon said that he was there to settle a score and said last week he had dental surgery. Sure he did. He called out Roman Reigns. “I said get out here! Don’t make me have to come out there and get you!” Reigns entered via the crowd like usual. Replays aired from last week. Poor Tom Phillips getting beat up by Stephanie McMahon.
The WWE Champion Roman Reigns was in the ring with McMahon. McMahon said that Reigns “practically incapacitated Triple H” even though three days after the attack, he was in the ring at NXT Takeover London looking fine. This company can’t even write their own injury angles right at this point. McMahon said Triple H would get revenge. Fans told Vince to speak up, Reigns told him to speak up and called him “old man” like a few weeks ago. Vince was mad that Roman disrespected Stephanie last week. Vince was upset that Roman kicked him out of the ring and told Roman that he owns the WWE Title – he said he even owns Roman.
Roman said this is the problem with rich snobs like him. Vince: “I’m not a rich snob – I’m a freaking billionaire there’s a big difference!” Vince is great! The crowd cheered. Roman told Vince that he doesn’t own the WWE Title or him. Fans chanted “yes” when Vince asked if the people think they own this. Fans were chanting “Daniel Bryan” as they were in the ring talking. Vince yelled at them: “Shut up!” Roman wondered what Vince was going to do. Fans chanted “CM Punk” at them. The guys just carried on with Vince telling Roman to shut up.
Vince spoke about how he put Roman’s dad Sika and uncle Afa through hell while noting he enjoyed every second of it. He bragged about making money off it. Vince said Afa was the brains of the operation. He mentioned that he used Sika up while adding that he paid Sika “peanuts” which is another way of saying he didn’t pay him well. Roman shoved Vince on his backside. Vince complained about his neck. He called for some help. Here comes Stephanie McMahon.
Stephanie walked out there with some suits as well as police officers. She told the officers to arrest Roman. She called Roman a neanderthal that should be arrested. A cop in the suit said they were there to do security and that’s it. Stephanie called Vince a 70 year old “geriatric” asking the cops to arrest him. The cop said she had to step back or she’s going to jail instead of him. Vince got fired up and the cop told Vince to calm down. Vince said “you’re pissing me off” and then Vince grabbed the suit of the cop. Fans cheered because they knew what that meant. The cop told the officers to arrest McMahon.
The cop arrested Vince for putting his hands on him and Vince was taken away by the cops. Stephanie was upset about it, but they took Vince away. One of the cops is a wrestler named Drew Gulak. The show went to break.
Analysis: This was poor. The acting was bad. Stephanie was way over the top immediately and Vince was when he acted with the cop. I know they are trying to make him “Stone Cold” Roman Reigns, but this was a sorry excuse of getting Roman over. It reminded me of all the arrest angles they used to do in the Attitude Era as a way to get heat. They did it a couple of times last year. I just don’t think fans buy it that well anymore. I liked the face to face bit with Roman and Vince staring at eachother because that was intense. The rest of it was poor. I’m also guessing that Vince probably wasn’t happy that fans were chanting “CM Punk” during this. The Daniel Bryan chant isn’t bad – they miss him as do I.
They showed a replay of what happened during the break with Vince getting put in the police car. Stephanie yelled about suing the cops and yelled “dad” repeatedly in an over the top way.
Analysis: This was bad acting by Stephanie again. She’s good most of the time. Not on this night.
Kevin Owens vs. Neville
The story is that Owens is mad that Neville won the Breakout Star of the Year Slammy last week. Neville got in a kick to the head. Owens was down, but then when Neville was on the top rope, Owens knocked him down. Owens went for the Popup Powerbomb, Neville flipped out of it, rolled him up, sat on top and got the pinfall win in 21 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Neville
Analysis: That was a surprise! Damn. That was a sweet counter by Neville. A surprise type of finish that we don’t see very often.
After the loss, Owens attacked Neville from behind. Owens tossed him into the barricade at ringside a few times followed by a move where he sent Neville groin first into the ring post. The refs tried to pull Owens off, but he kept going after Neville with punches. The refs got Owens out of there as the show went to break.
Analysis: Good post match attack. Owens is a pure heel that is all about winning matches, so it makes sense that he would be mad about the loss. It also makes him easy to hate since he’s a poor loser.
Neville was shown getting helped to the back. A replay showed the win for Neville.
Owens came back out and nailed Neville with a huge clothesline. Neville sold it great with a flip bump outside the ring. Owens tossed Neville into the barricade.
Dean Ambrose came out to attack Owens. They brawled around the ringside area with Ambrose tossing Owens into the barricade. Owens came back by throwing Ambrose into the post. Ambrose nailed his clothesline to knock down Owens. Owens left through the crowd to avoid another attack.
Analysis: Good angle that puts over KO as a badass when he has the advantage, but he’s really a coward when things get difficult. That’s how you’re supposed to book a heel.
The announcers hyped up John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for later.
They showed the announcement that The Rock made on Instagram on Monday about how he’s going to be at WrestleMania 32. He’s not announced for a match and the expectation is it’ll just be an appearance, but perhaps that will change. I think it’s smart to advertise him this far out. He’s a difference maker for sure. If he’s in a match I’d expect it against Triple H or Brock Lesnar.
Becky Lynch was interviewed by Jojo. It was noted that Charlotte wouldn’t be there. The real reason she isn’t there is because there was a live event in Allentown, PA on Monday. Lynch just talked about how far she has come to get there. Pretty basic promo.
The great Sasha Banks made her entrance with Naomi and Tamina. She sucked up to the Brooklyn crowd. Then she got heat by noting that clearly Becky hasn’t been in Sasha’s hometown of Boston. Banks put on a New England Patriots hat, which led to boos from the crowd. Banks seemed to appreciate the guy at ringside in Banks gear with a giant Banks head.
Analysis: Since Banks gets cheered, it was a way to get her some heel heat going into the match.
Becky Lynch made her entrance as the show went to break.
Sasha Banks (w/Naomi & Tamina) vs. Becky Lynch
The match began as they returned from break. There were some “NXT” chants from the crowd since these two were great in NXT with several awesome matches together. There was a slow feeling out process early on as Lynch took her down with a leg whip. Banks was able to get a rollup for two and then whipped her down by the hair. Lynch applied a leg submission move. Naomi distracted the ref, so Tamina pulled Banks to the ropes. Lynch nailed a dropkick to knock down Naomi outside the ring. Then she sent Banks out of the ring. Lynch went to the top rope and nailed a cross body block to knock down all three girls. Good spot leading to the commercial.
Back from break, Lynch was in control with an arm drag. Lynch nailed a dropkick to knock down Banks. They battled on the ropes, which led to Banks tripping her up and Banks nailed her awesome double knee to the back spot off the top rope. Banks continued to dominate by keeping Lynch grounded with a submission move. Another knee to the spine submission move by Banks led to some small “boring” chants from the crowd. The pace is slow, so that’s probably why they are chanting it. Banks with two leg drops. Lynch got a rollup for two. Clotheslines by Lynch and a running kick to the face. Banks fought out of a suplex and sent Lynch face first into the ropes. Banks went for a dive, Lynch moved and Banks took out her buddies Naomi and Tamina on the floor. Back in the ring, Banks did a Backstabber followed by a move where she pulled back on Lynch’s arms. Banks nailed a slap to the face, but Lynch came back with a suplex that sent Banks’ legs into the ropes. Tamina distracted the ref, Naomi got in a kick to the head and Banks applied the Banks Statement. Lynch rolled out, applied the Disarmer, the crowd cheered for that and Banks turned into a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with a tights grab for the win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sasha Banks
Analysis: *** A good match by two women who know eachother very well and have had several memorable matches together. That’s one of the longest women’s matches you’ll see on TV. Plus, they were given the spot at the top of hour two. The crowd wasn’t into it as much as a NXT crowd because those are more hardcore fans. They still seemed to like the match aside from the small boring chant. The finish was well done although it’s a bit repetitive with the numbers game winning every time. It’s not like it was a clean win, though. In terms of the result, I thought Lynch might win as a way to set her up for a title shot against Charlotte, who could then turn fully heel against Lynch. Maybe they will do a triple threat match for the Divas Title at the Royal Rumble.
They released a mug shot of Vince McMahon after he was arrested. Quality facial expressions there, boss.
They went to Renee Young at the police precinct with some fake reporters standing by. She’ll be back later.
Later on Raw it’s Dean Ambrose and The Usos against Sheamus, Rusev and King Barrett.
The New Day made their entrance as the show went to break. Big E was doing snow angels in the ring while Kofi Kingston jumped over him.
The New Day did a promo with Xavier Woods noting they won the Tag Team Titles in this building (at SummerSlam) and Kingston noted that this is where their trombone made its debut. Big E mentioned how much they like to sing songs. Woods named his trombone “Francesca” by the way. Woods reminded us that the fans didn’t vote them for Tag Team of the Year and when the fans booed, Woods pointed out that the fans were booing themselves. Brilliant. They said that nobody gets a song. Then they did their “New Day Rocks” finish.
A replay aired of Kalisto’s OMG Moment of the Year Slammy winner from TLC. What an awesome spot.
Kalisto (w/Sin Cara) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Big E & Xavier Woods)
Nice dropkick by Kalisto early on followed by an arm drag off the ropes. Good to see that Kingston is fine after tweaking his knee a bit in a match on Smackdown last week. Kingston missed an attack off the ropes, Kalisto nailed a headscissors takedown and then a spinning corkscrew cross body block off the ropes. The snap hurricanrana by Kalisto didn’t lead to a fall because Woods distracted him. Sin Cara took out both Woods and Big E. Kalisto nailed a hurricanrana on Kingston for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kalisto
Analysis: * A quick match where the numbers game didn’t help the heels win a match for a change, so that’s nice that it was different from the norm. I like that Kalisto actually won with a good move instead of a rollup.
Post match, Woods complained about Sin Cara cheating so that Kalisto could win. He teased as if he was going to challenge Sin Cara to a match, but instead he said that payback is a Biiiiiiig E…so it’s Sin Cara vs. Big E after a break.
Sin Cara (w/Kalisto) vs. Big E (w/Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
Big E hit a back body drop on Sin Cara early on with Kingston and Woods yelling at the commentators about how they should talk about that. JBL noted in comedic way that Big E’s strong from Iowa. Sin Cara with an arm drag followed by a drop kick. Sin Cara was on the apron, Big E was on the floor and Sin Cara landed hard. He was pointing at his left shoulder. It looked like he was legit hurt. Replays showed that he hit hard on that left shoulder. Big E sent Sin Cara kidney first into the apron. The ref called for the doctor to check on Sin Cara. Back in the ring, Big E nailed a running body attack. More replays were shown of Sin Cara landing hard on his shoulder. Big E missed a running attack in the corner after Sin Cara moved. Sin Cara nailed a flip dive off the top to knock Big E down. Sin Cara nailed a moonsault off the middle rope to take down Big E. He was favoring his left arm during the match. They did a spot where Sin Cara had Big E on his shoulders while on the turnbuckle and he hit a rolling senton to put Big E down. Woods and Kingston were kicked by Sin Cara after the heels knocked down Kalisto. Big E capitalized on that with the Big Ending for the win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big E
Analysis: *1/2 They did the best they could after the injury to Sin Cara. It’s tough to finish a match when a guy suffers a legit injury like that, but they were able to get through it without ending it early. The news on Sin Cara’s injury is a dislocated shoulder. He could miss some time with an injury like that. Hopefully he doesn’t need surgery from it. I know that the original Sin Cara was a bust, but this Sin Cara (formerly Hunico) is a solid wrestler. As for the storyline, they exchanged wins between the teams on this show and that’s really it.
Miz TV is up after the break.
PLUG TIME: I joined the writing team of The Comeback and Awful Announcing recently. My debut piece on Awful Announcing is a ranking of WWE’s current group of announcers with a ranking of their play by play and color commentators. I also have some thoughts on the new voice of Smackdown Mauro Ranallo as well as Renee Young, Kyle Edwards and some of the others on the WWE team. Please check it out!
John Cena’s on the cover of Muscle & Fitness. Good for him.
Miz TV Segment
The Miz was wearing some ridiculously long wool scarf along with a toque. He said this was a year in review and was about to go through the year by mentioning what happened on January 1. He was interrupted by Ryback.
Ryback told The Miz that he looked stupid. He said that the WWE Universe doesn’t care about the past – they care about the future. Ryback even burped on the microphone, but he said excuse me. He added that 2016 will be the year of the Big Guy. Anybody know a bookie that takes bet against that happening? Thanks.
Goldust showed up. He mentioned it was awards season and wondered if Miz wins a SAG Award (no), an Oscar Award…or is this the year that Miz wins some Golden Globes. Then he did his bite taunt at Miz.
Zack Ryder showed up and received the best pop of the three. Ryder said that Brooklyn is “New Zack City.” He said 2016 is finally going to be the year of Zack Ryder. He said his catchphrase in the face of Miz.
Analysis: Good luck to Ryder with that. I like the guy, but I have my doubts.
R-Truth was next. Goldust was even dancing to his song. Truth said that every superstar on the roster is eligible to be Superstar of the Year and he told people to vote for the Truth. Miz reminded him that the Slammys were last week. Miz reminded Truth that he won a Slammy. Truth said he remembers now. “My bad.” He said he needs a daily planner.
Heath Slater was the next man up. He said if there’s anybody that has a lot to say it’s him…Heath Slater baby! He was cut off by Big Show’s music.
Big Show slowly made his way down to the ring. Cole noted that he is big. He’s been on TV for 20 years. We know. Slater told Show that nobody cares what he has to say, so Show knocked him out with a KO Punch. Show tossed Ryder out of the ring and a shoulder tackle to Goldust. Truth just fell down after acting like he got knocked out. Show picked him up and gave him a Chokeslam. Miz just left the ring. Ryback was the last man in the ring. Show grabbed him by the throat and tossed him over the top to the floor.
Analysis: That’s how you get rid of the comedy characters, I guess. Ryback’s not a comedy character, but the others are.
Show grabbed the microphone. Fans were chanting “please retire” at him. Show said he was entering the Royal Rumble as entrant number one. He said he’s going to win the Rumble, go onto WrestleMania, win the WWE Championship and shove it up your…he stopped by noting he’s not going to get into trouble.
Analysis: At least the fans were nice in chanting “please” before retire. It’s that time of year where WWE has to build up Show as a huge Rumble threat. He didn’t say he wants to be the #1 entrant in the Rumble. He just said that he’s the first guy to claim a spot in the match.
Big Show vs. Ryback
Ryback challenged Show during the break. The announcers were confused by what Show said with JBL saying it’s not smart for Show to be number one in the Rumble. Saxton noted that Show is just the first person in the match, not the number one entry. JBL corrected himself. Show dominated early on by whipping Ryback chest first into the turnbuckle and then he stepped on him. Ryback slowed him down with a boot and then a dropkick off the middle ropes. Show rolled out of the way and walked out on the match. It ended by countout after three minutes.
Winner by countout: Ryback
Analysis: 1/2* A boring, bad match with a terrible ending. I hate the “heel walks away” finish. That’s an example of lazy booking. The worst thing about it is that we’ll probably get another match from these two soon and it will be just as bad, if not worse. This show needs action and fresh storylines. Not this.
Six man tag after the break.
It was noted that hip hop star Fabolous turned his son’s bed into a WWE ring and they showed a pick of the boy. I’m sure if Jerry Lawler was there he’d say that Fabolous is his favorite rapper.
After Dean Ambrose and The Usos made their entrance, the League of Nations did a promo. Sheamus talked about how Mr. McMahon has given us hours of entertainment and put smiles on our faces. He said Mr. McMahon is a national treasure. He said the League of Nations will lay down the greatest beatdown on The Usos and Ambrose tonight.
Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. Sheamus, Rusev & King Barrett
It’s noticeable that there’s no Lana with Rusev for this match although that’s happened a few times in the last month when he’s been with the group. Sheamus started for the heels and Jimmy knocked him out of the ring with a clothesline. Double dropkick by the Usos sent Sheamus into the barricade. Double atomic drop by the Usos on Rusev and then a missile dropkick by Ambrose. Ambrose went after Sheamus outside the ring and then he brought him into the ring. Jey nailed Sheamus with some chops. Sheamus kicked him down. After Jimmy Uso tagged in, Rusev nailed a hip toss on him that sent Jimmy’s leg into the turnbuckle. Jimmy was selling the leg as if he was in serious pain as they went to break.
The heels were working on Jimmy with some quick tags by Rusev and Sheamus. Fans were chanting “this is boring” as Sheamus unloaded on Jimmy with punches. JBL said that the fans were trying to get under Sheamus’ skin with the chant. Ambrose made the hot tag against Rusev. Ambrose took him down with forearms, a corner splash and a bulldog. A clothesline by Ambrose sent Rusev to the floor. Ambrose nailed a suicide dive to take out Rusev. Jey took out Sheamus with a dive over the top. Ambrose with a neckbreaker on Rusev. Flying elbow off the top by Ambrose for two. Barrett distracted Ambrose, so Rusev nailed Ambrose with a superkick.
Back from break, the heels were still in control as they went after Ambrose. Fans were doing the wave. Jey Uso received the hot tag and went after Sheamus with the running butt attack in the corner. Rusev broke up a pin and tossed Jey into the post. Ambrose sent Rusev out of the ring with a clothesline. Jey caught Sheamus with a superkick. Barrett distracted Jey, which allowed Sheamus time to get his knees up. That stunned Jey, so Sheamus capitalized with a Brogue Kick on Jey leading to the pinfall win. It went 17 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus, Rusev & King Barrett
Analysis: **3/4 It was a long match that was pretty average. Just because it gets a lot of time doesn’t mean it’s automatically great. The pace of it was so slow for much of the match and the crowd lost interest fairly early. The announcers can put over the League of Nations all they want, but the fans aren’t buying them as stars. Barrett didn’t even tag in or take a bump. That’s happened a few weeks for him since he’s dealing with some neck injury that could cause him to miss significant time, but it’s not known yet what the severity of it is.
After the match, Owens showed up out of nowhere to attack Ambrose. He tossed Ambrose into the steps at ringside. Owens cleared off the announce table. He put the steps by the table and gave Ambrose a Powerbomb through the announce table. Big reaction from the crowd. Owens just stared at the fallen Ambrose and then he left.
Analysis: I love this side of Owens. It’s exactly what they need to do in order to make him one of the best heels in the company. I’m all for more matches between Ambrose and Owens because they’ve had some good battles in the last month or so. Losing the IC Title could have been the best thing for Owens if it leads to him getting booked as a true top heel.
Ambrose was getting looked at by doctors and referees with him doing a major sell job. He was doing the quivering body type of selling. Yeah that’s right, I even describe types of selling. Hogan used to sell like that when a fat guy like Earthquake jumped on him. After about a minute or two, Ambrose was helped to the back.
They say that Cena vs. Del Rio is up next.
The Rock will be at WrestleMania. They showed images of websites reporting the news. They think Inquisitr is a good site? Geez. That’s bad.
There were replays of the Vince McMahon arrest from earlier. Stephanie’s acting was so bad in this. Once again, normally I praise her. This was just so cheesy.
Back to the police precinct, Renee said more media was there. Stephanie was there with Vince and his lawyer. Vince didn’t say anything as he was ushered into a car with Stephanie and his lawyer.
Analysis: What a riveting television segment that was. Now that’s sarcasm!
There’s a familiar song as John Cena makes his return after being gone for the last two months. Fans greeted him with “John Cena sucks” singing for his entrance. Good reaction for him.
Cena looked happy to be back. He said that right about now we’d have ourselves a US Open Challenge, but the US Champion is Alberto Del Rio. He sucked up the crowd by saying the League of Nations cares about countries other than the one they are in right now…USA. Cena noted that Del Rio hasn’t defended the US Title on Raw. He said every single week on Raw a championship match – that’s not true, but it was almost every week. Cena pointed out a guy in the crowd with Cena’s name on it where his name was crossed out. He said that even with the cheers and boos, we know that every single Monday he busted his butt to give us what we deserve. He noted that tonight Del Rio will not put the US Title on the line. Cena said that it’s a disgrace to the US Title and to the fans. He apologized for it.
Analysis: Good return promo by Cena even though he made no mention of why he was gone for two months. He was filming a reality show for Fox. It was also a chance for his body to heal up, so it’s good for him heading into the new year. In my Johnny Awards column I went with Seth Rollins as Wrestler of the Year, but it was damn close with Cena. I’m not a Cena hater at all. Read the column because I thought I explained it well.
The US Champion Del Rio made his entrance. He had his League of Nations buddies with him. Del Rio said “The Champ is Here!” Del Rio said it was smart because he gets to pick when he defends his title. Del Rio claimed that these people didn’t deserve a US Title match. Cena called him an idiot. He noted that every seat is filled while putting over the noise in Brooklyn, which led to the crowd cheering. Cena said if there’s ever a place for a championship match it’s right here, right now. Del Rio noted that last time they were in the ring, he took the title from him and he sent him home.
Cena asked for a title match right here, right now on the last Raw of 2015. Cena: “Or are you just gonna be a punk bitch?” Yes kids he said bitch. Del Rio once again said it’s not going to be for this title. Cena told Del Rio that he’s got no heart or pride that gained a championship, but lost his manhood. Cena tossed his shirt in the crowd and somebody threw it back although it wasn’t shown. Cena sucked up to the crowd while putting over Notorious B.I.G. and said this is Jay Z’s house.
Del Rio said he’s more man than Cena will ever be. Del Rio said he’ll send Cena home for good. Then he said Cena gets his title match. The crowd cheered.
Analysis: Really good speech from Cena there even though he went the “cheap pop” route several times by mentioning the city. Just another reminder that he can be one of the best talkers in the business when he gets the chance. It’s nice to see a face outsmart a heel for a change.
The announcers mentioned the death of Lemmy Kilmister of the rock group Motorhead. He was 70 years old. It was noted that he sang theme songs for Triple H and Evolution. They showed pictures of him. They showed tweets from Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Jericho and Triple H.
Analysis: I’m not a huge Motorhead fan, but no denying that his songs for Triple H and Evolution are among the best songs in WWE history.
United States Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena
Del Rio stunned Cena early on with some kicks to knock him down. Del Rio was by himself in the match because his League of Nations buddies went to the back. After a couple of minutes, Del Rio missed a diving attack with Cena by the ropes. Del Rio went crashing to the floor, so it’s time for a commercial.
Del Rio nailed an enziguiri kick as they returned from the break. Del Rio went for an attack off the top, but Cena countered him with a dropkick. Cena with the shoulder tackles and the spinning suplex. Cena nailed the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop as JBL dropped his “Big Match John” name for Cena. Del Rio fought out of the AA with a Backstabber. Cena came back with the STF. Del Rio came back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Cena nailed a Tornado DDT for a two count. That was a great nearfall. Cena went for the AA, but Del Rio countered it into a Cross Armbreaker. That was a sweet counter by Del Rio. Cena powered out with a slam that sent Del Rio down. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but the referee was inadvertently taken out and went to the floor. Cena applied the STF and Del Rio was tapping out. With no ref around, the match continued.
Cena was mad about there being no ref. Rusev snuck up behind him while Sheamus was on the floor. Rusev nailed Cena with a kick to the face. Rusev put Del Rio on top. Sheamus rolled the ref back in the ring, he counted him down and Cena kicked out at two. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, but Cena move and Sheamus hit Rusev. Cena hit the AA on Sheamus. Del Rio with the Backstabber on Cena. Del Rio nailed the kick to the head that won him the US Title. Slow count by the ref gets only two. Del Rio went for the Cross Armbreaker, Cena slipped out and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Cena covered for a two count, but it was broken up by Sheamus and Rusev. The ref rang the bell for the disqualification finish after 14 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: John Cena
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good television main event to end the last Raw of the year. That was one of the better singles matches Del Rio has had since coming back to WWE in October. They have great chemistry after wrestling eachother so many times over the past four years. Even with Del Rio missing a year in WWE, they still know how to put together an entertaining match. Plenty of great nearfalls towards the end too. The disqualification finish doesn’t bother me. It’s what I expected. Sometimes a finish like that is perfectly fine because it’s about telling the story. Having Cena win the US Title in the first match back would have been dumb. They can build up to a future match this way.
The heels worked on Cena. Sheamus nailed a Brogue Kick on Cena to knock him out. No Barrett involved in this. The Usos went down to the ring, but Sheamus and Rusev beat them up pretty easily. They weren’t much of a factor.
Roman Reigns ran down to the ring and nailed a huge Spear on Rusev outside the ring. That looked impressive. It also looked pretty painful for Rusev as well. Damn! Superman Punch by Reigns for Del Rio too. Sheamus had a chair, but Reigns took him out with a Superman Punch and nailed him with a chair to the back.
Analysis: The problem with the announcers talking about how great the League of Nations are is that every time they look to get some momentum, Reigns destroys them easily. It happens far too often.
Vince McMahon’s music hit as the Chairman was back with a microphone. Vince said he’s going to sue the city of New York and if he could he’d sue each and everyone in the building.
Vince told Roman that next week on Raw he defends the WWE Championship against Sheamus. There’s a guest referee and his name is Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Vince ended the show by saying “Happy New Year” repeatedly.
Analysis: That’s a pretty big match to main event the first Raw of the year. I don’t expect Sheamus to win the gold, but it’s a solid way to start off 2016. Plus, there are questions surrounding it with Vince as ref, so it won’t be an easy win for Reigns. At least that’s what we’re supposed to think.
I assume the ending of Raw next week sees Reigns beat Sheamus somehow and then Triple H comes back to lay out Reigns to end the night. Maybe Triple H in the jean attire instead of the suit to show that he’s focused. It’ll be something like that.
Three Stars of the Show
1. John Cena
2. Alberto Del Rio
3. (tie) Sasha Banks
3. (tie) Kevin Owens – A short match, but I really liked his attacks on Neville and Ambrose.
4 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 9, 4, 4.5, 4
2015 Average: 5.76
2015 High: 9 (May 4 & December 14)
2015 Low: 3.5 (September 28)
I’m giving it a 4 out of 10.
The December 14 show was a rare great show that has been surrounded by crap for over a month now. Please get better, WWE.
A poor show to end the year. There just weren’t that many exciting moments. Predictable things happened as well.
I’m exhausted after writing about this show. It dragged on so much. I don’t have much more to add after writing the awards on Monday too. Let’s just call it a year.
Now I’m going to have nightmares of Stephanie McMahon yelling “dad” repeatedly.
That’s it for this week and this year. Happy New Year, my friends.
PLUG TIME: We launched the brand new, weekly TJRWrestling Podcast recently. My good friend Rey is co-hosting with me. Go check out and bookmark our Podbean page where we will upload new episodes every Wednesday morning. For iTunes you can click here or do a search for “TJRWrestling” (all one word) or “John Canton” and it should come up. All of our new episodes as well as previous episodes go up on our Podbean page so make sure you check that out on a regular basis.
Thanks for reading. Go St. Louis Rams. Go Toronto Raptors.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org