Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - March 14th, 2016

Instead of a promo, Raw begins with action this week in the form of a Tag Team Championship Match.

1) The New Day (c) vs. Rusev & Alberto Del Rio - WWE Tag Team Title Match
Sheamus & Barrett couldn't get the job done at Road Block on Friday, so Rusev & Del Rio want their chance to bring gold back to the League of Nations squad. It's another high impact match here with Big E & Xavier representing New Day. E & Rusev slug it out early before Xavier gets tagged in and gets beaten down. New Day are pretty much working at babyfaces at this point so we didn't get their signature heat segment that I love so much. The trumpet did sound, however, and it ruled. They build up to the hot tag for Big E who collides with Rusev once again. The Russian brute is met with three consecutive belly to belly suplexes which turns out to be the start of a great final few minutes of big moves and close falls. Sick spot with Del Rio blocking Big E's apron spear and hitting a variation of the double stomp to the chest with Big E hanging over the second rope. Kofi takes out Sheamus & Barrett when they try to interfere which allows Xavier to roll up Rusev for the win.

Match rating - ***1/4

Immediately after the match, Rusev jumps on Xavier. I mean, IMMEDIATELY. It was amazing, Rusev is so good, he made this feel like a real scrap as the rest of League of Nations trickled in. The premise of their group may be silly, but they all hit hard as hell so this beatdown on New Day was pretty fantastic. It was basically the official sign of a New Day face turn and League of Nations picked up a bunch of heat. I really enjoyed this.

Dean Ambrose hits the ring around 30 minutes into the show. This leads to a confrontation with Brock Lesnar at a spot on the show which you wouldn't expect. I totally forgot these two are scheduled for a No Holds Barred Street Fight at Mania. Heyman says Lesnar isn't fighting tonight despite Ambrose agging him on. Heyman leaves after speaking his part, but Brock stays behind and HE STARTS MARCHING TO THE RING! Ambrose reveals a crow bar fromup under his jacket which slows Brock down momentarily as Heyman runs back down to ringside. Lesnar circles the ring, teases entering as Ambrose charges him with the crow bar. Eventually, Lesnar finally leaves and heads to the back.

2) Ryback vs. Sin Cara (w/ Kalisto)

Sin Cara is in all black, looking badass. Ryback is unfortunately a heel now so I didn't really get into this. They've changed his character way too much despite him being good at what he does. I don't like serious, mean heel Ryback. It's too generic. Any way, this is basically a prolonged squash. Ryback hits two shell shocks while staring at Kalisto before pinning Sin Cara. The Big Guy cuts a promo about little guys afterwards. Meh. It's building to a match between he & Kalisto for the US Title which will be fun on it's own, but the build up will be atrocious.

Match rating - *1/2

Stephanie McMahon comes out to introduce Triple H. Unexpectedly, Dolph Ziggler rolls out to deliver a passion filled promo about being held down by the system and how he will never quit despite all the corruption that The Authority throws at him. Ziggler wants a match at Mania so Steph makes him a match for tonight and if he wins, he can pick any match at he wants at Mania. That match is against.. TRIPLE H. YES.

3) Sami Zayn vs. The Miz
Big Kev is on commentary for Sami's first Raw match since his summer bout with John Cena. On Smackdown, Owens left Miz alone in a tag match against Zayn & Neville so Miz jumps him when he starts taunting Zayn later in the match. But before that, Zayn gets a lot of his signature stuff, most of it in fact. Then the interference stuff happens, Owens distracts Miz for the attack which allows Zayn to get the win. Pretty uniquely booked stuff so Owens technically HELPED Zayn win.

Match rating - **1/2

4) Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs. Naomi & Tamina
Truthfully didn't pay much attention to this. Charlotte is on guest commentary and distracts Brie allowing Naomi & Tamina to get the win.

Match rating - *3/4

5) The Usos vs. Bo Dallas & Heath Slater
Basically just a superkick party on the Social Outcasts. Not anything more to say or see here, a few minutes of fun.

Match rating - **

6) Triple H vs. Dolph Ziggler
This comes on at the top of the third hour. It feels special since it's HHH's first Raw match in years and as he comes to the ring, I get pretty hyped. They do your basic run of the mill exchange in the opening minutes. Hip tosses, running the ropes, etc. H hits the jumping knee and begins to gain control. He takes Zigman to the outside and slams him into the barricades which begins his control segment. Ziggler starts firing back, counters out of the pedigree into a pinning combination for a two count. The final few minutes is your vintage Ziggler comeback stuff with big moves being hit for extremely close falls. Even closer than normal, with H barely kicking out before three on several occassions. In the end, Triple H finally hits the pedigree and picks up the victory. Good match, not PPV quality, but still worth a look.

Match rating - ***1/4

Roman Reigns makes his big return after the match. It's a mixed reaction as you'd expect, but it's a huge reaction. He and Triple H have an awesome brawl all around ringside and into the backstage area. H ends up bleeding from the back/side of the head. Reigns shoves refs down and continues the beat down. Reigns hits him across the back with a television screen before The Usos & Mark Henry back him off. Pretty great stuff.

7) Chris Jericho vs. Neville
You've probably already heard about what happened here, unfortunately. Neville gets injured so they have to call an audible and the ref calls for the bell when Jericho put his hands on him. I have never been a massive fan of Y2J's heel work, but he did awesome here, especially with alot of this being impromptu. Awesome promo before and after the match from Jericho. AJ Styles comes out post-match and takes Jericho out with the springboard superman punch.

The final 10 minutes of the show is dedicated to The Undertaker/McMahon family confrontation. Vince & Taker have an uneasy exchange of words before Shane comes out and starts laying in the verbal attack to Taker. Shane says Taker is Vince's bitch which leads to it breaking down. Taker goes for the chokeslam, Shane escapes and throws a few shots, then Vince pushes him back into Taker and he gets nailed with the chokeslam.

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