10 Thoughts On… Monday Night Raw 12.14.2015 (Vince McMahon and Roman Reigns Face-off, Charlotte/Becky vs. Brie Bella/Alicia Fox)

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1) Stephanie McMahon Confronts Roman Reigns: Stephanie called Roman Reigns a disgrace after he entered the ring. Roman called Stephanie, Triple H and the entire McMahon family disgraces. Stephanie slapped him a few times and then basically said “My father will here about this” in a very Draco Malfoy way, which essentially made it seem as the Stephanie, while formidable, was going to let her father do the dirty work beyond a few cheap slaps. Roman didn’t seem to care and his cool indifference helped the fans cheering for him keep faith. Funny how in this arena almost a year ago Reigns was booed to no end and there were mini-riots everywhere from fans. This time, the cheered him.

2) Intercontinental Championship Match, Dean Ambrose (c) v. Dolph Ziggler: The match itself was a great show of the talent and chemistry between Ziggler and Ambrose. Both had near falls and did their level best to beat each other while appropriately selling & giving their best moves. The match ended, not with a pin but with Kevin Owens storming the ring. He disposed of Ziggler before attacking Ambrose. Ziggler tried to make the save but was beaten down too. Seeing the more dangerous version of Owens return gives me a little bit of hope that a good feud is on the horizon. With Ziggler in the ring and Tyler Breeze no where to be seen I wonder (read: hope) that they’ve dropped the Ziggler/Tyler Breeze angle. While I don’t want to see Ziggler jobbing I want real feuds so give me Owens & Ambrose and Ziggler & Breeze with *gasp!* a stroyline and feud I can get behind. Hopefully this segment leads to the former competitors doing well in the coming months.

3) R-Truth v. Bo Dallas: Both of these stars are overlooked and while wrestling each other they were interrupted by Vince McMahon who dismissed them. If I’m being totally honest I was more focused on decorating my Christmas Tree during this segment until I heard McMahon enter the ring.

4) Vince McMahon and Roman Reigns Face-off: Roman kept his momentum going, calling out McMahon for being old, out of touch and afraid of risks. Sheamus came out and talked trash, bragging that he was so confident that he could beat Roman he’d put the title on the line. Vince taunted the fans saying that wouldn’t happen but then, with a well-aimed jab at Vince’s manly parts (ahem prunes) the match was set. Roman Reigns v. Sheamus for the title as the main event for Raw. Vince did his part well here but the old fear and loathing he used to carry is all but gone, except when he said “You son of a bitch” with that gravelly, mean voice we all know. Still, despite decent work from both men in this segment, Vince wasn’t intimidating. His low-blow to Roman Reigns was cheapened further by the fact that Vince isn’t the ever-present threat that he used to be week in and week out. Still, a good segment and a good set-up for the main event.

5) Ryback & Jack Swagger v. Alberto Del Rio & Rusev: The only good thing I can say about this match, besides doing an okay job of letting the rivals battle each other, was having Rusev & Del Rio pick up the win. The League of Nations is supposed to be a threat to the entire locker room. If they lose they aren’t a threat so their win, even after an “eh, okay” kind of match gives the illusion that they are powerful and important. Hopefully these feuds (Swagger & Del Rio, Ryback & Rusev) can move forward without the constant, “let’s have them all be a tag team” style of match making. My hopes on that aren’t high though.

6) Neville v. Tyler Breeze: This could have a been a great match as both men are capable of good work. Instead it was all about The Miz at ringside “coaching” Neville and Breeze was basically put into jobber status. As I said before, if his feud with Ziggler is done they need to give him a new focus and a good feud to work with. Breeze, as we can see from his time in NXT, is good at his job. He shouldn’t be an afterthought, whether you like his gimmick or not. We learned the truth about Miz’s slight obsession with Neville as he needs to be taught a true, authentic British accent in hopes of being the next James Bond in Hollywood. Neville appropriately rolled his eyes. This could’ve been better, instead I’m sure a lot of people weren’t that interested in the match/segment.

7) Extreme Rules Match, The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer & Rhyno v. The Wyatt Family: It’s Philly, after all and ECW is the gone but never forgotten king of wrestling in that area. The crowd was solidly behind the ECW originals and the match was well done. A lot of ECW chants, a lot of this is awesome chants and a lot of moments where each person did a good job of shining, brawling and bringing the old ECW chaos back to the screen. The Wyatt family picked up a win and, whether that means the rivalry is over or if it will be dragged out remains to be seen. WWE has a hard time knowing when to stop things. I just hope that, if this is the end of this rivalry, all those involved don’t suffer a stalemate in their careers as WWE tries to figure what to do with them next.

8) The New Day Promo: It could’ve been a nice moment, reminiscent of when the Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian all shook hands after the first ever TLC match. We had the sign of respect, closely followed by New Day being, not funny heels but absolute dicks. Sure it’s not that serious, sure it’s the gimmick they have but to go from what could have been a good show of sportsmanship to “nah nah na nah nah” was just annoying. The Usos and the Lucha Dragons retaliated, attacking the New Day for their petty bragging. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a heel push or face turn moment for the New Day as some people might see sympathy in their being attacked by their counterparts but still…this segment wasn’t pulled off well for anyone or any angle.

9) Charlotte & Becky Lynch (with Ric Flair) v. Brie Bella & Alicia Fox: I love Ric Flair, I do. However, for him to constantly steal the spotlight from his daughter is just bad booking. I get that they are trying to set up some sort of angle in which Becky will fully confront Charlotte about her tactics to win but seriously, Flair was who more people were watching as his cheating ways took center stage again. Even with team B.A.D. at ringside the fans weren’t pleased with anything they saw in the ring as chants of “We want Sasha” echoed. If Flair hadn’t been there the match could’ve been okay, especially if there was some dissension between Charlotte and Becky. Instead all eyes were on a retired wrestler and not the Divas.

10) WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match, Sheamus (c) v. Roman Reigns: Did we time travel for this segment? A cheating Vince McMahon who pulls the referee out of the ring, a good back and forth match with injuries (hello Roman being busted open), and fan support where it is meant to be made me feel we were watching something from about ten years ago. Sure, as I said, Vince isn’t as intimidating as he once was but the lengths he went to in order to keep Roman from winning, and then paying for it with a Superman Punch felt very much like the days when Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned Vince McMahon and would get the victory anyway. Fans, myself included were anxious to see the winner and it should be noted and Sheamus and Reigns did a great job of selling for each other and working together to give a great main event match. A great show of what WWE can do when things are done correctly it was nice to see some of the old ways coming back into play. We’ll have to see what happens next but, for the first time in a while I wasn’t completely disappointed by the end of Raw.

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