WWE Raw: The TLC Go-Home
December 8, 2015 9:28 AM - Season 24, Episode 13 - Subscribe

The downward spiral of Raw continues with a white-hot start -- fatal four-way four-man-team elimination match featuring the League of Nations vs. the Wyatt Family vs. the ECW Originals (Dudleys and Dreamer and RHYNO) vs. the Family (which is apparently what they're calling Reigns and Ambrose and the Usos despite the Wyatt Family being a thing already) -- that goes all right, but then nothing much else good happens other than the New Day and Sasha Banks but we knew that already.

And so we roll into another PPV, the most unnecessarily gimmicky of the entire calendar.

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns for the World Heavyweight Championship, TLC Match: We know this won't be Roman's ascension, but there is some possibility of entertaining ultraviolence at least.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship: No stipulations for what should be a good match, but Owens has no particular program in place and Ambrose is mostly just backing up Reigns at this point.

The New Day vs. the Usos vs. the Lu! Cha! Dragons for the Tag Team Championship, Ladder Match: With five certified high-flyers in a ladder match, this one could be fun. The New Day are killing it, but it looks like the tag straps are as far as they're going to go for the foreseeable future with an Authority- (and authority-)approved heel stable ruling the main event.

Charlotte vs. Paige for the Divas *sigh* Championship: Charlotte is teasing a heel turn, which means that three of the four best workers in the women's ranks might be heels coming out of this year. Will Becky Lynch be the face of the division, or is the last Horsewoman getting the call?

The ECW Originals vs. the Wyatt Family, Tables Elimination Match: See, this is what they could have done at Survivor Series, but whatever. Rhyno was looking pretty good in NXT, and Dreamer seems to know that he's on his last run and might as well go out hot, but Bray and his boys are clearly ginning up for something better.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the U.S. Championship, Chairs Match: Hey, remember when these guys were feuding over the various world titles? No, neither does anyone else. It could be worse. It could be a stairs match.

They've almost got to add something else, or just run interminably long video recaps all night.
posted by Etrigan (40 comments total)
Raw was just wearying last night. Even after the opener, which went well enough but was spread over three commercial breaks, I could barely be arsed to care about anything. With a little luck, they'll really shake things up at the Rumble (or even on Raw itself).
posted by Etrigan at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2015

Remember how excited we were about talking about wrestling? Back when Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were around? Can you imagine making a FPP about something in RAW now? So boring and depressing and trying too hard. Anyway thanks for keeping the flame alive Etrigan. I commend you for trying. All I can muster is a blah (not for your excellent post, but for the most unexcellent show).
posted by goneill at 11:15 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, honestly, there is a ton of talent on the roster right now, but I think it's time for me to tap out for a little while. Everything that's happening is awful. The shows aren't entertaining. The matches are generally good-quality, but they don't mean anything, and they're the same week after week after week.

I want to see just about everybody on the roster doing good stuff, but it's just not happening. Sheamus and Reigns are badass damage-dealers (and -takers). Let them slug it out, let the promos be brief and brutal. Don't spend half an hour dithering over nothing.

The tag division could be great; so many real teams doing real team stuff. But there's no gravity. Nothing matters. The only team showing any personality is New Day. Give them something to play off. It's getting old.

The women. So much talent. Sasha's ring psychology is off the hook. And yet all we get is bitchy catfight angles. It hurts to watch.

Owens, Ambrose, Neville, Rusev ... for fuck's sake, let them do something meaningful. Fight for something that matters. Maybe -- and I know this sounds crazy -- but maybe since Ambrose is aligned with Reigns and Del Rio is aligned with Sheamus, maybe they should fight. Maybe Del Rio can kick Ambrose in the fucking head and look tough for a change. Maybe Ambrose can almost squeak out a victory but get cheated out of the title.

Anyway, I cancelled my Network subscription, and it runs out next week. I'll probably fast-forward through TLC and watch Monday's episode of Breaking Ground, but I think I'm out until Wrestlemania.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:10 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, honestly, if I had as good an excuse as goneill's, I probably wouldn't bother renewing my Network subscription right now. NXT is making yeoman's effort to retain my interest, but that's pretty much it besides anticipation of the Rumble, which is generally my favorite event of the year. If they fuck that up, I may well be out too.
posted by Etrigan at 7:24 AM on December 10, 2015

We're dropping like flies!

So, yeah, I totally forgot there'd even be a new thread, such is my interest in TLC. So my Raw and NXT comments for this week are in the previous thread. That's what I get for being in the habit of using Recent Activity instead of FanFare proper to access wrestling talk.
posted by brianrobot at 8:10 AM on December 10, 2015

Rumble, which is generally my favorite event of the year

Oh, yeah, I'll probably watch the Rumble, if only because it's a good opportunity for stupid gambling and subsequent reluctant rooting for like, Fandango or Jim Duggan because you drew their number.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2015

Alleged ten-minute ovation for Jordan and Gable in Blackpool. CALL THEM UP ALREADY.
posted by Etrigan at 5:33 PM on December 13, 2015

Noooooooo don't call up Jordan & Gable until they've been allowed to rule everything in NXT for a year.

Lynch vs Banks on the pre-show got off to a rocky start with a godawful Team B.A.D. pre-match promo that seemed like a gag that had been pitched to New Day but smartly rejected. It was like someone said, "Instead of getting a hometown wrestler over as a heel by having her shit on her hometown, why don't we have her do an endless, excruciating comedy routine? They'll have to hate her after that!" Then the actual match got underway, and it was the second-best fight of the entire event. Lynch and Banks are just incredible together; their match at TakeOver is still my vote for Match Of The Year (yes, even over the two Bayley/Banks contests) and this was awesome as well. Banks bringing down the knees on Lynch's fucking spine was brutal. They actually went to a commercial while Banks was rolling over Lynch to go for a pin--are you fucking kidding me? They ended with a distraction finish, but at least this time it was the ref being distracted, so I'll allow it.

The tag title ladder match also got off to a rocky start, albeit this time in the ring, with the Usos taking too long with a few of their spots, leaving the other teams looking like goobers as they stood around holding up ladders and waiting for the Usos to crash into them. But once they got rolling, the match morphed into a jawdropping spectacle that was easily the highlight of the night. Kalisto was just off-the-charts; that salida del sol over the top and through the ladder was ASTONISHING. I just sat there with my hands over my mouth and my eyes bugging out of my head for a good thirty seconds. Xavier Woods on commentary was fantastic, especially his calling the match like it was part of the WWE video game ("They're recharging their stamina!") and getting over his YouTube show while still being invested in the match and making it sound important. JBL sounded genuinely enthusiastic, yelling that the match had stolen the show (it did, no contest) and saying, "Follow that!"

What followed was Rusev vs Ryback. Yep. While reading tweets during the pre-match, Cole accidentally said "The Ryback," which was one of a handful of Daniel Bryan references during the course of the night; I'd love it if it turned out to be a weird form of foreshadowing. The crowd response to the match might best be described as "tepid"; they came alive for FEED ME MORE but it felt like a Pavlovian response rather than any kind of investment in the action. It was dull and way, way too long.

Roman, Roman, Roman. "I'm willing to break every one of my knuckles on Sheamus's head. I'm willing to break every rung of that ladder on Sheamus's head." How are you going to climb a rungless ladder? And if you do somehow get up there, how are you going to grab the title with a broken hand?

At least the finish of Swagger vs Del Rio looked cool. They tried to make the match interesting by swatting each other with chairs as hard as they could, but for the most part all their efforts got them was a CM Punk chant. A CM Punk chant in December 2015. That's what kind of a show this is.

Team ECW vs The Wyatt Family was the worst WWE match I've sat through since the IC title match at Elimination Chamber. Holy Christ, what a disaster. They'll be able to devote an entire Botchamania to that piece of shit. I knew things weren't going to go well when Bray came out wearing that damn horned hoodie again. The announcers put over the combined 85 years of experience on Team ECW--what happened to it? Where did it go? What the fuck was that shit where Bubba Ray went to hit Strowman with a trash can and then just stopped and casually held it in front of his face for a while waiting for Strowman to punch through it, then STOPPING AND CASUALLY HOLDING IT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE AGAIN because Strowman didn't quite get all of it with his first punch? Strowman accidentally put his boot through a table and everyone panicked and said it didn't count -- never mind that we've seen Inferno Matches that ended when someone's boot got set on fire -- and then fucking D-Von BROKE A TABLE HE WAS ON WHILE ROLLING OFF OF IT, AND THAT DIDN'T COUNT EITHER. The crowd started chanting WE WANT TABLES after several through-table eliminations because they just wanted this trainwreck to be over. Why bother having Tommy Dreamer bust out the cheese grater if he can't actually use it? How the fuck is burying Strowman under a bunch of tables "great strategy," JBL, if they now can't put him through one which is the whole stupid point? Then, to cap it all off, the finish was about building anticipation of setting a table on fire, except then they didn't actually set it on fire. The announcers were all "You can check out ECW on the network to see more of what these guys did," but who the hell would want to after that? I spent the entire match waiting for someone to screw up and call Team ECW "Team Extreme" and Cole finally did it during the post-match.

Given that everything post-opening-match had been a dud, Ambrose vs Owens needed to go above and beyond to get me back... and they didn't. What they did was have the same kind of match they'd have had on Raw. It didn't feel even the slightest bit special. And why the fuck would you book two great brawlers like Ambrose and Owens against each other on TLC, the weaponsiest PPV in WWE, and have them fight under NORMAL RULES? Owens botched the key rope-grab spot because at this point everyone was botching, and while one could make the argument that he did get the shoulder off the mat before three (because he did, to reach for the rope), it still was a blatantly obvious fuck-up that sadly felt right at home on the show. (Meanwhile, Sin Cara somehow didn't botch anything.) In losing the title, Owens now has cause to be PISSED OFF, which could be fun to watch. I would have said "will be fun to watch," but WWE's off the rails right now and I don't expect them to handle even a simple storyline like that properly. The announcers were all ballistic about Ambrose winning because he's insaaaaane. "What will he do next?!" I dunno, probably babble some nonsense and throw food at somebody, then have a match where he unpredictably does the same five moves he always does. Man, remember when Ambrose was in The Shield and he was exciting?

The Stone Cold Podcast is coming! And it's... pre-recorded. Amazing how much that kills my interest in it. "Check out these interviews we probably softened with editing!"

Paige vs Charlotte was the second-best match on the PPV and the third-best of the night. Lawler on Paige: "Everybody's talking about her!" Yeah, because no one can figure out what the hell's going on with her storyline. She didn't get a solid face-turn here, and indeed kept acting like a jackass, whereas the entire match was all about establishing Charlotte as a full-on cheat-to-win heel, so there was no one here to root for. Or, as the announcers put it, "no clear cut favorite; both of them have done things in the past week to alienate some people." Hopefully Paige's loss here will put her on the road to an actual face turn. I genuinely loved the notion the announcers were putting forth about Ric Flair trying to live vicariously through his daughter, which gave Charlotte an actual interesting storyline to play with. At one point she busted out the Flair Flop in response to a kick in the head and the camera nearly missed it entirely. At least in this match, the botches were just on the part of the technical crew and not the athletes. Charlotte planting Paige right on her head was NASTY. This storyline's still turbulent as all hell, but at least this match showed some sense that it might actually lead somewhere, instead of continuing to just flail about in desperation. Someone sitting near the back had a big BAYLEY SUCKS sign because he wanted the world to know he was awful.

Just when the show was starting to get some momentum, it was time to kill it with a long Kay Jewelers commercial, because WHY? On the plus side, the bride-to-be at least did a YES YES YES chant in response to the proposal. Again, I want this to be foreshadowing!

Reigns vs Sheamus was exactly the match I expected, with one big difference -- Sheamus didn't come out with the League Of Nations. Instead, they did that stupid WWE thing where, in a No DQ match, the heel who leads a faction fights a whole match and NEARLY LOSES SEVERAL TIMES, but only after several of those near-losses do his allies come out to prevent a loss. Where were they the first dozen times, if that was their plan? It doesn't make a lick of sense, and yet so many matches like this follow that pattern. (Speaking of where were they, where was Wade Barrett?) Unlike the tag match, this had precious little in the way of cool, intricate spots; everything was "I throw an object at you" or "I throw you into an object." If you did a shot every time Reigns threw a Superman punch, you'd have been unconscious by the match's midpoint. The crowd obliged with more CM Punk chants, some Daniel Bryan yessing (foreshadowing!), and NXT chants. That WE WANT CENA CENA SUCKS thing they did right at the top of the match was particularly harsh. At one point, Sheamus got put through a ladder, which broke, and you could clearly see the ladder was made of wood that had been painted silver. In the end, Reigns was once again Tommy Dreamer.

That post-match, though. Reigns completely snapping and wailing on the League Of Nation with chairs was actually interesting, because it was not the way we'd expect stand-up-guy Roman Reigns to behave, with even Lawler and Cole begging him to stop. And the beatdown on Triple H totally won the crowd over (to the extent that they even did several THANK YOU ROMAN chants) because after all this time someone FINALLY laid him out. You knew that announce table wasn't going to break when Roman powerbombed HHH onto it, but that just set up his impressive flying elbow spot. The furious Roman, leaving wreckage and a howling Stephanie behind him, making his way up the ramp, turning around and muttering "It's not gonna change anything" almost under his breath before walking out was kind of amazing. For a fleeting instant, WWE turned into a goddamn film noir. I am in favor of Cynical Fatalistic Roman Reigns Who Keeps Fighting Even Though He Can't Win and want more of that. Not the smirking tater tots guy.

That said, the show as a whole was so shitty I'm probably not tuning into Raw Monday. I've got a TakeOver to look forward to. If you didn't watch the show and somehow made it all the way to the end of this comment, you have some idea of how long the show felt.
posted by brianrobot at 11:33 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been thinking for a while now that there just isn't anything left to do in a TLC/ladder match that ain't been done before, but Jesus Christ, that salida del sol...
posted by Etrigan at 7:19 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

@jermsplan livetweets his reactions to brianrobot's TLC wrapup:

Woah, Lynch v Banks sounds cool. I should have watched the free preshow even though I cancelled the Network

Shit, that tag match sounds good, I knew it would be. Man, I wish I'd seen that salida del sol. Regretting cancelling the network now.

Ugh, why was that even a match?

Ugh, why was THAT even a match?

God, the Wyatts could not have gone worse with all the promise they have.

A RAW match on a PPV? Now I remember why I cancelled.

Yay woman! Boo writers' complete lack of willingness to make page a face.

Yeah, didn't need to see that. Post match Roman cracks? Interesting. A month of good RAWs could have me sign up again to see the Rumble at least.

Thanks for this thread, all, you make me feel like I'm not alone and am making a good decision. Talk with your wallet? What if my wallet convinces Vince he needs to bring back Cena? Would that even be bad at this point? SO CONFUSED.
posted by jermsplan at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2015

GIF of the Salida Del Sol in question.

Damn right I'm capitalizing it.
posted by Etrigan at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2015

good lord
posted by jermsplan at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2015

It says a lot about WWE right now that, as good as Raw was (seriously, except for LoN/Swaggerback and Breeze/Neville, it was the best in a looong time), I'm still fairly certain that the next two or three are going to suck.
posted by Etrigan at 7:22 AM on December 15, 2015

I didn't watch Raw Monday, but after hearing good things about it from a couple of places (including here), I decided to give it a shot. And I'm glad I did, because it was definitely a massive improvement.

"Take away the money and the education and I'm just like you." One of Stephanie's better slams kicked off the show, which happily had Roman continuing in Cynical Worldweary Fighter mode. "Fire me, please!" It was his daughter's birthday, and some people in the Philly crowd booed that. Apart from that, though, they were a very uncharacteristic crowd for Philly, largely cheering and booing along face/heel lines (Owens got booed out of the building!) and chanting the same things every other arena does. Roman's daughter is Jojo, by the way. I knew she was short, but man, I did not realize she was a child. Roman just standing there and absorbing a zillion slaps from Steph was a pretty great visual (and if you liked it, you'd get to see it in full twice more before the night was over). By the time she was done, I was wanting to see Roman pull on an overcoat and a fedora and stalk off into the rainy night, voiceover-narrating his troubles.

"It's been over a year since Vince McMahon appeared on Monday Night Raw. That's how serious the situation has become." Cole was of course talking about the ratings. Ziggler vs Ambrose was on a par with their tournament match, and Ambrose was really ratcheting up the wild eccentric demeanor. But the story here was the destruction of the match by a shellshocked, slackjawed, dead-eyed Kevin Owens. No smiles, no taunts, not even any rage, just a hollow shell. Fucking fantastic, and not quite the more conventional "angry Owens" direction I thought they'd take it after TLC.

Cole looked SUPER-BITTER about his headset mic dying in the middle of his on-camera commentary during the first of the Steph Slap recaps. Speaking of botches, we went to Team ECW. "Last night didn't exactly go as planned." That promo was unlike anything I've ever seen on WWE TV, with the wrestlers spouting straight-to-camera in classic ECW style as '90s ECW footage was intercut with it, live. It was really cool! I loved that Rhyno was caged up.

R-Truth got to perform his entire theme song! There was a great crowd shot of a bunch of people enthusiastically shouting along with R-Truth while one angry dude right in the center of the screen stood there glowering, arms folded, sending a death glare to the ring. I liked that Truth and Dallas got distracted by Vince's arrival being broadcast on the TitanTron instead of continuing the match like nothing had happened as most wrestlers do, but of course that was just a setup for Vince actually coming out and ending the match.

The crowd was fully into the Vince/Roman segment, even going so far as to chant NO when Vince demanded Roman apologize. Sheamus's "You think I look stupid? You paid to see me tonight, what does that make you?" shut down the crowd so fast and hard that I couldn't help but applaud it. The whole segment was all about channeling the Attitude Era. Vince kept swearing, Roman made a comment about Vince's grapefruits that tread dangerously close to tater tots territory (the only thing that kept them at the border was the fact that he only said it once, and was generally still in Cynical Fighter mode rather than Jovial Asshole mode, his smirks being filled with disdain instead of Cena-esque self-amusement), and Vince kicked Roman in the junk. There was a "no chance in hell" and a "youuu're fiiiired." The crowd played along, dusting off an ancient "asshole" chant. It was fun, but the segment was definitely looking to the past instead of the future... which meant things took an interesting turn when Roman actually glommed onto that fact and got inside Vince's head, getting him to lose his cool and book Roman in a World title match by calling him old and saying time was passing him by. The only way it would have been better would have been if he'd said Vince was out of touch with what people want.

Rusev & Del Rio vs Swagger & Ryback combined the two weakest programs in the company and got them out of the way in one short match, so I appreciated that. Cole actually rebelled against WWE hyperbole for a moment, responding to Byron talking about Rusev looking "stronger than we've ever seen him" by pointing out that actually Rusev was undefeated his entire first year.

I've heard The Rosebush was a nigh-unwatchable segment, but I've never seen one before this show and... it was fine? Maybe the others were terrible, but I actually liked Rose's delivery, especially the way he said the line, "Tommy Dreamer, seen here guzzling a bottle of chocolate..." I believe what I'd heard was that the previous Rosebushes leaned heavily on lame gay panic humor, but there was none of that here, thankfully. "The dirt is always in bloom" is a pretty great nonsense line.

Breeze vs Neville just kind of happened in the background while Miz went about directing the match, which would have gotten over better if they'd mic'd his megaphone for the crowd. On the other hand, that meant we could more clearly hear the one loud dude right behind Miz, who sounded REALLY ANGRY as he bellowed things at him like "You suck at life!" At one point Saxton went silent for an awkwardly protracted period of time, prompting Cole to needle him with, "You ran out of wisdom, I guess." Post-match, Miz (in a surprisingly amusing promo), told Neville, "I can make you a star, just like I made Daniel Bryan a star." FORESHADOWING.

Bray. The horned hoodie. Goddammit. Cole slipped and called Team ECW "Team Extreme" again, conjuring up images of Bubba Ray Dudley hitting Whisper In The Wind. Early on, JBL started name-checking a bunch of ECW's biggest names, like Sabu, Francine and the BWO. Yep. JBL, of all people, name-dropped the BWO. Blue Meanie must've had an interesting reaction to that. Clearly everyone involved in the match knew they'd tanked hard on TLC and were out to make up for it, and this was everything that match should've been, a frenetic, chaotic whirl of nonstop destruction. Tommy Dreamer Death Valley Driving Luke Harper off the stage through two tables was FANTASTIC, and Harper angrily throwing a kendo stick (I guess I should say "Singapore cane") down to the mat, only for it to bounce up out of the ring and right into Bubba Ray's hands, was a great little moment. Erick Rowan got the pinfall! Erick Rowan! It probably wasn't his birthday, but it felt like it should've been.

The New Day segment was fun, naturally. Speaking of New Day, Brie Bella doing her loser sign during the Divas tag looked a lot like she was throwing up a unicorn horn. I was sad they didn't cut to Team B.A.D. in the first row looking offended. Virtually every move Brie busted out during the match was a trademark Daniel Bryan move. FORESHADOWING. The match was super-brief but the fact that Flair cheated to help Lynch win without her being aware of it was a nifty bit of story advancement, and was nicely unrushed (there was no segment later where Becky realized what had happened, or anything of that sort). And get this, the top Divas storyline is now one that does not involve jealousy, boyfriend-stealing or petty cattiness, but is instead about honor and personal ethics. The Divas Revolution quietly, sneakily took a major step in the right direction.

Reigns vs Sheamus was far better than their TLC match, with Roman actually fighting like his career was on the line, and it made all the difference in the world. Even the Superman punches were held in check until the requisite League Of Nations involvement. Vince taking a bump was something of a surprise, as was Roman's win. I'm glad he won, though, primarily because I didn't want to sit through yet another storyline where someone gets fired even though we all know he's going to come back. The Roman win was made better by the heavy, heavy emphasis everyone placed on the dark clouds forming overhead; the man couldn't even get a victory without seeming doomed. I'd kind of love it if next week Stephanie straight-up stripped him of the title and put it up for grabs in a fatal four-way that Roman's not allowed to enter, because I want more Roman Noir.
posted by brianrobot at 11:49 PM on December 15, 2015

I'd kind of love it if next week Stephanie straight-up stripped him of the title and put it up for grabs in a fatal four-way that Roman's not allowed to enter, because I want more Roman Noir.

I'm envisioning a year-long plotline where Roman wins the belt, shenanigans immediately happen, he loses, wash, repeat -- sort of the inverse of all those times that Mr. McMahon piled the challenges on top of Stone Cold. Imagine if next week he has a handicap match against Sheamus and Del Rio. Maybe he wins that one (the heels start arguing over who gets the belt), so the next week he has a handicap match against Sheamus and Del Rio and Rusev, and this time they beat him. So at the Rumble, he regains the belt, but then the night after...

Just over and over, "Okay, fine, one on one you're unbeatable, but fuck you, we're going to take that belt any way we can."
posted by Etrigan at 6:33 AM on December 16, 2015

Good lord, NXT TakeOver: London was tremendous. With only five matches, it was lean and mean, with no filler. The raucous crowd had learned a few bad lessons from Full Sail, but more often than not their rowdiness was in response to what was happening in the ring storywise rather than rowdiness for its own sake or at the expense of the performers. And honestly, the fact that that many varied chants and songs were coming at that volume from an arena that size was impressive in and of itself. Usually you only get responses like that from more intimate venues.

Triple H appearing in the ring to kick off the show and explaining that he had to make it there to London even though he'd had the hell beat out of him on Sunday threw me for a loop, because it simply hadn't occurred to me that he'd need to explain it at all. It was a weird moment where I was like, "Oh, right, he's actually supposed to be the same character he is on the main roster!" I'd basically separated WWE HHH and NXT HHH into two distinct entities in my mind, like Superman in Superman III, and I didn't even realize I'd done that until that moment.

Interestingly, after being used extensively in NXT lately, the word "Divas" was dropped from the show entirely. Asuka vs Emma was even announced as "a Women's Division match scheduled for one fall." The mirrored sunglasses Emma added to her look were a nice touch. There was a sequence where Emma and Asuka were trading hammerlocks and they made hammerlocks exciting. The whole match was just crazy fun, with Emma rightly providing the first serious opposition Asuka'd faced in NXT. The booking played the crowd like a fiddle when it started running through a goddamn catalog of every cheap heel victory you could name, from ref bumps to distractions to foreign objects, so the actual clean win came as a great surprise (and one that even traded nicely on Asuka's last jobber match). Just terrific stuff all around.

Dash & Dawson vs Enzo & Cass was just straight-up awesome. The pre-match video package may have been the best one WWE's done since Bayley vs Sasha I, and the actual match more than lived up to its hype. There were several moments in the show that got loud "OHHHH!"s out of me (as well as the audience), and to my surprise, most of those were for booking decisions instead of cool moves; the one in this match was for Dawson yanking Enzo out of the ring to stop a pin, a Classic Heel Move (one used as recently as this past Monday's Raw) that was just so perfectly timed and executed here.

Crews vs Corbin was the weakest match on the show, but only by default because it was still really good. Corbin's really been upping his brawling game, but given how wooden his promos can still be, he was also showing a lot more character than he usually does. Corbin mugging Crews and then shouting "You should have stayed in Ring Of Honor!" was a surprising little acknowledgment of the competition. His hair looked thinner than ever, to the point that it was kind of distracting.

Nia Jax's backstage promo was another great "OHHHH!" moment as she suddenly reacted to something happening off-camera, that something being an ASUKA DEATH SMILE. The sci-fi villain outfit Jax sported for the Women's title match was totally great. I loved that when the ref showed her the title belt before the start of the match, she just reacted with a casual "That's mine, yep." The actual match was easily the best Jax match we've seen so far, and yet another great performance from the ever-versatile Bayley. Like most of the other matches on the show, this was a master class in how to manipulate a crowd by teasing finishes. There was never a sense of, say, Cole casually saying "pinfall, kickout at two" in the middle of JBL making a point; instead, almost every moment of the match felt like it could be the last one. It was just wonderfully tense.

Finn the Ripper! During the buildup to TakeOver, it never occurred to me once that the shadowy Jack we saw prowling the alleys in the promos would actually play a part in the show. I was cheering so hard for that Demon entrance. The design on Balor's back was my single favorite NXT Demon Balor image, bar none. Oh, yeah, the match was excellent, too.

For a show with a pretty meager buildup, NXT knocked it out of the park. I was surprised that Sami Zayn didn't show up, instead just getting a RETURNS NEXT WEEK video package, but then it turned out that actually he did show up.
posted by brianrobot at 1:09 AM on December 17, 2015

Interestingly, after being used extensively in NXT lately, the word "Divas" was dropped from the show entirely.

I think that they've only used it in reference to women who have been on the main roster (and sometimes used it women in their immediate vicinity), but I could be wrong.

The booking played the crowd like a fiddle when it started running through a goddamn catalog of every cheap heel victory you could name, from ref bumps to distractions to foreign objects, so the actual clean win came as a great surprise (and one that even traded nicely on Asuka's last jobber match).

This match should be shown to every booker for the rest of time with the title "HOW NOT TO OVERBOOK".

Dash & Dawson vs Enzo & Cass was just straight-up awesome.

Agreed. I would only have one adjustment -- the Mechanics should have gone after Cass's knee right out of the gate, and he should have sold it but then visibly stopped selling it, just to freak them out that he was back at 100 percent but better.

Crews vs Corbin was the weakest match on the show, but only by default because it was still really good.

Did... did I just like a Baron Corbin match? A Baron Corbin victory, no less? And because of Corbin's personality?

The actual match was easily the best Jax match we've seen so far, and yet another great performance from the ever-versatile Bayley.

I didn't like the guillotine choke -- it didn't look like she really had the thing locked in well, just because of the sheer size differential. But I loved the whole end sequence, from the first choke to the end. And Jax crumpling slowly to the mat around Bayley was great.

During the buildup to TakeOver, it never occurred to me once that the shadowy Jack we saw prowling the alleys in the promos would actually play a part in the show.

I had the exact same reaction: "IT WAS NEVER THE RIPPER HOLY SHIT YES!" And I've rapidly gotten tired of the Demon-as-Balor's-aggressive-side hype, too. This one sold me.

For a show with a pretty meager buildup, NXT knocked it out of the park

And they did it with nothing that the main roster doesn't have. This was literally a PPV (or even the latter two hours of a PPV) that WWE could put on every month, period. NXT had five PPVs and a weekly show this year, so it's an average of 10 hours of product between PPVs -- and the main roster has three or four RAWs between PPVs, so it's basically the same amount of build-up TV time.
posted by Etrigan at 7:35 AM on December 17, 2015

Oh, one other thing about that tag title match -- Dash & Dawson using the slingshot suplex and play-by-play calling it "shades of Tully Blanchard"!
posted by Etrigan at 7:49 AM on December 17, 2015

Corbin mugging Crews and then shouting "You should have stayed in Ring Of Honor!" was a surprising little acknowledgment of the competition.

From With Spandex's recap, something I hadn't even realized:
The key moment of the match is Baron Corbin leaning over the ropes and yelling “YOU SHOULDA STAYED IN RING OF HONOR!!” Apollo Crews wasn’t in Ring of Honor. I like to believe that Corbin just indiscriminately hates guys he’s heard are indie wrestling standouts, and “Ring of Honor” is the only non-WWE promotion he’s heard of and he assumes it’s all the same. Baron Corbin is the sh*t.
posted by Etrigan at 10:39 AM on December 17, 2015

It's all about the booking at this point, isn't it? I honestly know nothing about NXT's booking, as in, is it the same guys booking RAW, just with different directions from on high about style? Or a completely different team? I would not say that NXT has more talented wrestlers than the main roster, but they sure tell more interesting stories in the ring lately.

Five long matches with zero gimmicks or stipulations, four singles matches and one two-team tag match, a total of two valets all night. Compared to TLC, it's crazy. Whoever keeps saying that the main roster has too much talent and they should quit trying to feature everyone on every show is totally right. I can't even imagine a main roster show that featured a total of 14 Superstars.
posted by jermsplan at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2015

I honestly know nothing about NXT's booking, as in, is it the same guys booking RAW, just with different directions from on high about style? Or a completely different team?

Everything I've heard is that it's a totally different team and style -- Dusty ran the NXT book with 3-5 other people (possibly other trainers, e.g., William Regal, Sara Del Rey?) and Triple H having final say and tinkering but not doing show-to-show stuff, while there's upwards of 20 working Raw/Smackdown/PPVs/Main Event/Superstars, all of which runs through Vince before anything goes on TV.
posted by Etrigan at 12:27 PM on December 18, 2015

as good as Raw was (seriously, except for LoN/Swaggerback and Breeze/Neville, it was the best in a looong time), I'm still fairly certain that the next two or three are going to suck.

I was hoping you'd be wrong. Then it turned out this week was The Slammies. "Welcome to the most prestigious award show on television." Well, there it was, the writing peaked early. Roman barged in on Steph's intro and told her he hadn't seen Triple H "since I laid him out at TLC," which meant he didn't watch TakeOver.

The nominees for Breakout Star Of The Year were Owens, Neville, Charlotte, Breeze and Strowman. Sasha Banks was robbed. As it turned out, so was Owens, as Neville won. I mean, I love Neville, but... Neville won? Owens interrupted his acceptance speech because how else was this segment going to go, and Neville showed the fire that earned him the award by saying "Whatever, Kevin" and walking off. Seriously? Jesus Christ, WWE. Then Owens and award presenter Ziggler got in a brawl because that's the story WWE actually wanted to tell. God forbid the WWE actually do a little on-the-fly booking and try to tailor what's happening to the outcomes of the awards. Vote all you want; it doesn't make a difference.

Up next was Bray Wyatt vs The Demon Kane because FUCK Demon Kane's still around? Then Team ECW got involved because the Wyatt/ECW story came to a perfect ending last week, so it's time to start epiloguing it to death.

The LOL Moment Of The Year was presented by Santino Marella because FUCK Santino's still around? WWE decided to show how out of it they are by actually nominating the Miz erectile dysfunction commercial that everyone spent the rest of 2015 trying to forget ever happened. Then Foley Claus showed up with Noellf to ramble on about nothing for a few minutes. Wonder if they'll make an extra Day 26 for WhatCulture's Advent Calendar of Cringeworthy Christmas Wrestling. Kalisto's salida del sol over one ladder and through another won OMG Shocking Moment Of The Year and was the only nominee that was a shocking wrestling move and not a shocking storyline beat.

Owens vs Ziggler was just Owens vs Ziggler again. I was too burned out on Slammy nonsense to get into it. The shellshocked Owens of last week was gone, replaced with the less novel choice of surly and pissed off Owens. They actually replayed the events that led to the match during the match. At least the announcers went all in on pushing the whole "he's angry because he's a prizefighter and now that he lost his title it means less money for his family" angle.

Superstar Of The Year Seth Rollins intriguingly bounced back and forth between cutting a heel promo and a face one during his acceptance speech. Cena robbed Titus of the Hero In All Of Us Award, and Del Rio wrestled Swagger NEVER MIND FAST FORWARD. Surprise Return Of The Year was announced by Santa Claus, who was not Mick Foley again but Bo Dallas. Bo somehow failed to say "Bo, bo, bo!" There clearly weren't very many surprising returns this year, as Demon Kane was one of the nominees, and the winner, Sting, had his return announced weeks in advance with numerous vignettes. Dudley Boyz and Alberto Del Rio must've split the vote.

The New Day were irate that they lost Tag Team Of The Year to the Usos. They didn't seem to be irate that Tag Team Of The Year didn't even merit being presented on TV. A section of the crowd jumped up and started dancing around while yell-singing "Heyyyyyy we want some New Day" because apparently Full Sail spreads like a virus. The match was the averagest of average TV matches, with the Usos pulling an "upset." Look, everyone knows New Day's not gonna win unless the titles are on the line.

Diva Of The Year was presented by R-Truth for some reason. He announced Paige as the winner "by mistake" (BWAMP-bwamp) and revealed the real winner to be Nikki Bella, meaning that The Divas Revolution is now well and truly dead. Nikki did a full-on "this is for all the women in WWE, in NXT, in production" face promo and celebrated with Paige, who was also in full-on face mode. It was weird.

Neville vs Rusev. The Breakout Star Of The Year got beat up for a while, hit a backflip, then got beat up some more until he tapped out to the Accolade. Makes sense. There were more awards, then it was time for "Heyyyy we want some Becky!" Brie Bella, still in heel mode despite Nikki's speech because she is her own person goddammit, spent the entire match working Becky's arm, including holding an armlock for a seeming eternity, which meant that Becky was then able to apply the disarmer on Brie with no problem.

One of the Match Of The Year candidates was Sting vs Triple H. I just can't.

After beating up the Usos backstage for some reason, The League Of Nations came out en masse for Sheamus vs Ambrose in a steel cage. I'm never going to buy a Dean Ambrose t-shirt; they probably start to fall apart two seconds after you put them on. Thanks to the camera angle, Roman's spear on Del Rio was pretty hilarious. The best moment of the match was an accident, as Roman threw a steel chair over the cage into the ring and it landed perfectly open, ready to sit in. The finish of the match, and I wish I was kidding, was Sheamus not realizing that if you're climbing down the outside of a cage with your opponent right alongside you and you headbutt him, he'll fall off and win the match.

Three hours of placeholders. Fucking Slammies.
posted by brianrobot at 12:42 AM on December 22, 2015

God forbid the WWE actually do a little on-the-fly booking

What you did there; I see it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on December 22, 2015

It's amazing how WWE (that is, Vince McMahon) can acknowledge their shitty tone-deaf racist history while simultaneously engaging in more shitty tone-deaf racism.
posted by Etrigan at 5:42 AM on December 29, 2015

NBD, just Kevin Owens straight-up murdering Dean Ambrose.
posted by Etrigan at 7:50 PM on January 1, 2016

No details, but the idea that Reigns will defend the title in the Royal Rumble match has piqued my interest.

Presumably it's a straight-up "winner of the Rumble gets the belt" style, but there's an opportunity for interesting chicanery if they announce it as a Scramble type setup -- what if Bray Wyatt throws Reigns over the top rope and then eliminates himself?

(My personal favorite overbooking option would be "title only changes hands on pinfall or submission," so you see guys actually protecting Reigns from getting chucked over the top rope so they can still win the title. That way you could do a couple of title switches and even keep it on Roman if a pin is ruled to not be an elimination from the Rumble itself, and then have an actual Rumble winner who gets the shot at WM.)
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 AM on January 5, 2016

The Rumble is my favorite event of the year. Even when it's dull at least it's not yet-another-six-man-tag or reheated Raw match. Adding in the title stipulation -- even when it seems like it's a way to take the title off of Reigns without having him take a pinfall -- is a great way to make it a little more interesting. Even if it's a straight-up winner-takes-the-title match, you put a couple of wildcards into the final four -- HHH, Lesnar, maybe Jericho -- and you can at least keep guessing.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:31 AM on January 5, 2016

Vince's legs don't look like they work so well anymore, but my god does he keep to his upper body workouts. At his age, I guarantee whatever his diet/supplement/workout regiment is would give me a heart attack.

I sort of hope the title changes hands at the Rumble in some way other than by winning the Rumble itself. That way, someone can take the belt off Roman mid-Rumble, then someone else can win the Rumble, setting up our Wrestlemania main event and giving the Roman vs McMahon family feud room to grow until it's HHH vs Roman at WM.
posted by jermsplan at 8:25 AM on January 6, 2016

At his age, I guarantee whatever his diet/supplement/workout regiment is would give me a heart attack.

Is Vince exempt from WWE's Wellness Policy? Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is less ripped than him. I have an eerie feeling that when Vince dies his body will turn out to be incorruptible.

Raw was, well, yeah. "If I lose this, I don't have a job anymore." Roman doesn't understand how title matches work. This is troubling. Considering that he thinks being in a tournament means he has to beat every other person entered into it, and that the way to win a ladder match is to first break every rung with his opponent's face, I can only conclude that Roman Reigns doesn't actually know what he's doing. At all. And yet he succeeds. His character is the Homer Simpson of wrestling.

Neville came to the ring carrying his Slammy, because oh dear. I'd really like to see an Academy Award winner do that. Just bring their Oscar with them when they go places. Kevin Owens, who'd gone from shock to fury in recent weeks, apparently made it all the way to acceptance because he was back to normal. Sure, he attacked Neville post-match, but he always attacks people post-match. The match was pretty good, at least in terms of letting Neville do a bit more than he usually gets to, but the whole thing was hobbled by the WWE Storyline Injury, i.e. Neville had his ribs taped up to sell the Brutal Attack From Last Week, but moved like nothing was wrong with him at all -- doing flips and leaps and friggin' sentons without showing any ill effects -- until Owens hit him in the midsection and suddenly he was in DIRE PERIL. Because wounds only hurt when someone else aggravates them. On the upside, that spot where Owens spiked Neville right on his head looked CRAZY, and I liked Owens having the wherewithal to irritatedly shove Dean Ambrose out of his face after being put through the announce table and laid out.

Titus vs Stardust was the kind of match that makes you jump right past it to Charlotte vs Becky Lynch. Far and away the best thing on the show, both in terms of storyline plotting and in-ring action, this made me realize that we've somehow gotten to the point where the Divas material is the only part of the show that feels confident and assured and like it knows exactly what it's doing and where it's going. It's like Raw entered a mirror opposite universe the second Charlotte turned heel. It was great to see her wrestling like NXT Heel Charlotte again, because that's where she's at her best. Even greater was the fact that the crowd (which sounded like it was primarily made up of children) was fully into the match. Hell, they even booed Ric Flair's interference! Loudly! Of course, they also "woo"ed on cue, but that conditioning is impossible to break at this point.

Ryback came out to face The Big Show and even he sounded bored with it. He let out his "wake up, it's feeding time" catchphrase like a SIGH. The Wyatt interruption was good in that it ended the match quick and bad in that the Wyatt Family are just a bunch of purposeless, boring big man wrestlers now. I WANT MY APOCALYPSE DEATH CULT BACK. Strowman and Show faced off and JBL actually yelled, "This is what we wanna see!" NO IT IS NOT. The fast forward button that I'd been pressing into overtime continued getting a workout with Del Rio & Rusev vs The Usos. Do not care.

"Look at the strength here of Heath Slater!" was something someone ACTUALLY SAID FOR REAL during Raw. The crowd seemed deeply confused by the fact that the leader of the New J.O.B. Squad not only hung in there with Dolph but beat him. I really liked the completely un-unified promo they cut post-match. Cole sighed and said "Hashtag Social Outcasts." The hashtag should really be part of the actual group name. JBL referred to Shawn Michaels as "H-B-Shizzle" because apparently he desperately wants someone to relieve him of his commentary duties.

FUCK YEAH BIG E HAD A GONG. The Jericho interruption was just weird. You can't really do the "I'm here to save the show!" angle as a face; it doesn't work. Even weirder, he did it from the context of viewership's down, live attendance is down, etc., which makes me worry that WWE actually thinks the way to get viewers back is to bring back more and more old performers. And Jericho barely even registers as a surprise at this point. He comes back every six months or so, right? He really, really gave off the vibe that he didn't want to be there cutting that promo. And understandably so, because that promo was awful. At one point he called New Day "Green Day" and it seemed like a legit slip that Jericho didn't even realize he'd made.

Roman vs Sheamus was Roman vs Sheamus again, and Vince as crooked ref didn't bring enough novelty to make it worth it. Why do crooked refs in WWE insist on stopping their count when the guy they're trying to screw over kicks out? Just fucking count to three and end the match if you want to take the title away from somebody! It worked in Montreal! Hell, just strip Roman of the title for assaulting the owner of the company! I'm not 100% sold on the "Roman defends his title in the Rumble" stipulation, but only because it makes me think Roman's going to win the Rumble again. He's already got the record for most opponents eliminated in that match. I like some of the ideas floated for it upthread; my own would be for surprise entrant Brock Lesnar to come in at 30, lay waste to everybody and win the title, with the last two people eliminated (Reigns and surprise entrant Daniel Bryan) having a Fastlane match to determine who faces Brock at Mania.
posted by brianrobot at 12:33 AM on January 7, 2016

The greatest tag team in the world is now known as American Alpha.
posted by Etrigan at 5:15 PM on January 8, 2016

Did anyone else love Smackdown? Because I loved Smackdown. The play by play guy was calling moves during the match instead of talking about an entirely unrelated storyline or some straight to DVD movie or reality tv show. I don't know why that's so important to me, but it is. Immediately enjoyed the show more because of it.
posted by jermsplan at 9:40 PM on January 9, 2016

Agreed. We can only hope that Ranallo's style lets Cole take a similar tack, rather than McMahon forcing Ranallo to get an earbud and parrot the ad lines.
posted by Etrigan at 10:00 PM on January 9, 2016

Kalisto wins first main-roster title in basically the only exciting moment of the penultimate pre-RR Raw.

(Okay, and Becky Lynch went ham on Charlotte, but we'll see where that goes.)

((Brock Lesnar annihilating everyone in the world is his rest state, so that doesn't count either.))
posted by Etrigan at 8:04 AM on January 12, 2016

We're two Smackdown's and one RAW away from the Royal Rumble PPV, and we have a single announced match? Good lord. I mean, I guess we'll get Ambrose v Owens and del Rio v Calisto...maybe Usos v New Day? And Charlotte v Lynch? I mean, nothing wrong with that card, other than it's essentially the same card we've had for two weeks straight at this point. And with recent title changes happening on RAW to make it relevant again, you really have to wonder what the difference is between a PPV and a Monday Night RAW anymore.
posted by jermsplan at 1:32 PM on January 12, 2016

I had a choice between catching up with Smackdown or catching up with Raw and I guess I should have read the comments here first because, man, did I make the wrong choice.

So, Raw. Where Vince and Steph announce a One vs All match that pits Roman against the entire roster, tease forcing Ambrose to fight his brother, and then have Roman fight a fraction of the roster while Ambrose has a different match entirely. *resigned sigh*

That utterly bizarre spot where Ambrose threw Sheamus head-first into the ring post, unprotected, multiple times until Sheamus finally split wide open, was about the least WWE thing I've seen from the show in a while. What purpose did it serve? All it did was make Sheamus look like he was in far more desperate need of medical attention than Ambrose post-Owens-beatdown. Why wasn't Renee giving us updates on his condition?

Stardust's Aladdin Sane makeup (points for dodging the obvious Ziggy Stardust cosplay?) made him look like he was doing an impression of busted-open Sheamus. Like the Ambrose match, it was pure fast-forward fodder. The face won only to be mugged post-match for the second time in a row, and less than an hour into a three-hour show full-on tedium had set in.

"Rooty tooty booties!" "I'll ignore that, Byron!" While the crowd ended up chanting it, having basically been forced to, I kind of loved them for sitting on their hands the first time Jericho said it, loudly and slowly as a clear applause cue. Jericho in a promo war against the New Day should be the greatest thing, but it is just not working. Maybe part of it is that Jericho, who we're supposed to be rooting for, is just acting so goddamn smug about everything. We're supposed to cheer but it feels like he's setting himself up for a comeuppance instead. It's just weird and wrong and non-Euclidian. He should be all fired up and energetic, and instead he's just sleepwalking his way to an easy paycheck. It's awful. The New Day were funny, at least, and just when they were starting to do what they said they'd do and save the segment, the Usos came out to make sure that didn't happen. It was three against two, but Jericho was there to even things up! By... making it two against two with one guy each on the outside playing cheerleader? The match was flat; if there's one problem I have with New Day, it's that their matches are very cookie-cutter and formulaic, at least when a title's not on the line. On the upside, you had Jericho yelling things like "Yeah! Come on... uh, Uso!", and the horn blast in Xavier's face was pretty great. The crowd booed the destruction of the trombone, as well they should have. Xavier's apocalyptic freakout was amusing, especially in light of the fact that this wasn't even the first time someone's broken his trombone.

Sting's being inducted in the Hall of Fame and if they keep following his current character's trajectory, he'll spend his whole speech praising Triple H. The Dudleys and Wyatts are going to have a tables match on Smackdown, which means I have no interest in Smackdown.

Hashtag Social Outcasts were faces, which was actually a bit of a surprise. The best thing about that segment was probably the simple fact that Ryback didn't murder them for kicks post-match like so many wrongheaded WWE faces would have.

Kalisto and Del Rio had a decent, solid match, which on this show meant it was easily the match of the night. Kalisto winning the title's an interesting move, one that must have Sin Cara bitterly muttering to himself from his hospital bed. (If nothing else, this possibly opens the door to a heel Sin Cara, which isn't without potential.) I'm a bit surprised that they're already having the rematch on Smackdown. I'll be ticked if they pull a title switch there; the idea of Kalisto, who'd praised Cena's Open Challenge in his pre-match promo, instituting one for himself is too good to set aside for another Del Rio run.

As if Becky Lynch wasn't over enough, she stopped a Brie Bella match from happening. Lynch/Charlotte remains far and away the most compelling thing on WWE TV right now, and Becky's awesome backstage promo had a vitality to it that you just don't see on Raw much anymore; it was like one of those improvised backstage WWE.com exclusives somehow snuck its way onto the show proper. When you think about where she was a mere few months ago, kind of lingering around in the background and occasionally doing loopy space cadet promos, it's kind of incredible to think how far WWE's come with the presentation of her character. (Hell, the mere mention of "Team Bella" for Brie felt like a time warp.) Of course, where Becky was then is where Sasha Banks is now, so here's hoping WWE will have her shit figured out by WrestleMania.

Holy shit. We could have Divas Women's Champion Becky Lynch defending against Sasha Banks at WrestleMania. It could happen. It could happen.

Hey, surprise cameo appearance by Tyler Breeze during One vs All, where the All turned out to just be the heel section of the locker room because GOD FORBID WE DO ANYTHING INTERESTING with this storyline. "Roman Reigns will NEVER GIVE UP!" shouted Michael Cole, who was clearly suffering from Cena withdrawal. Meanwhile, everyone was all, "A One vs All match! Vince just came up with it! Never been done!" even though the rules we were told were just those of a standard gauntlet match. As a result, the kickoff of Owens vs Reigns never really got cooking, because he was first and the whole premise of the match was that Reigns would beat him and then have to fight the next guy. Then things got REALLY off, as Owens managed to hang in there for two segments and then didn't even lose, as Vince just got frustrated and had everybody charge the ring to mug Reigns and end the match in a no-contest. The upside was that Owens looked tough as hell -- a rarity in WWE heels -- but the downside was that the entire premise of the match never even came into play!

Lesnar emerging from his lair to casually wipe out everybody was great, of course. But the best thing about it is that Lesnar, in like two minutes, COMPLETELY OUTPERFORMED Roman Reigns at the One vs All concept. Roman spent two segments trying to beat one guy, Lesnar destroyed half the locker room in a fraction of one.

Good lord. I mean, I guess we'll get Ambrose v Owens and del Rio v Calisto...maybe Usos v New Day? And Charlotte v Lynch?

• Ambrose vs Owens for the IC title, no DQ
• Charlotte vs Lynch for the Divas title, Ric Flair banned from ringside
• The New Day vs The Usos & Chris Jericho
• Kalisto's Open Challenge for the US title, answered by AJ Styles
• The Royal Rumble

posted by brianrobot at 11:28 PM on January 12, 2016

I'm hoping they're moving del Rio out of the US Title picture as fast as possible so that by the end of the Rumble he's solidly in the WWE Championship picture somehow. That's why I wish the title would move via pinfall or eliminating Roman, as opposed to winning the Rumble, because they give themselves so many more options if they can have 1 guy emerge champ, 1 guy emerge with the Mania main event shot, and Roman emerge with his rematch clause.

Brianrobot, I would order your PPV. Even if the US Title match is a bit of a dream. At least keep it realistic and have Joe or Finn answer the challenge
posted by jermsplan at 12:37 PM on January 13, 2016

Oh snap.
posted by Etrigan at 6:28 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

So spot on it hurts. WM is Vince's baby, and I'm not sure at his age he has the guts to go this direction, but this WM has the potential to be a serious springboard of the next decade of WWE Superstars. Sadly, they've booked the biggest stadium in the world and instead we'll probably see the worst wrestled most nostalgic WM ever as they beg and pay every Legend they can to appear to fill seats. But can you imagine if WWE would embrace the necessity of elevating some young talent to fill out the card? Multiple women's singles matches? There are still 3 months and 2 PPVs to build to it, if they have the will.
posted by jermsplan at 11:11 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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