By Jacky Chen
Note: I will not be featuring Cruiserweights on my Raw and Smackdown Live posts. WWE 205 Live and anything else that has to do with the cruiserweights will go on a separate post.
Monday Night Raw 1/9/17; Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
The show starts off with a shot of backstage. Stephanie McMahon announces that she will be giving GM Mick Foley his job evaluation for 2016. She is interrupted by Seth Rollins who announces that he will be entering the Royal Rumble. Rollins, in turn, is interrupted by Braun Strowman who demands Roman Reigns and Goldberg. Rollins and Strowman faced off and begins to fight before being broken up by security.
A United States Championship match between Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens (that is not a typo, it was a 2-1 handicap match between Reigns and the team of Jericho and Owens). However, before the match began, Strowman marched out and, together with Jericho and Owens, proceeded to beat up Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins came out with a steel chair and made the save. Stephanie McMahon then announced that the US championship match was to be postponed and that the next match would be Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman.
Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman puts Rollins onto the top rope and runs towards him. Rollins counters with a kick to the head. Rollins leaped off and tried for a cross-body but Strowman lifted him back onto the top rope. He hit him with a big right hand and climbed to the second rope. Rollins slipped onto the apron and hit him with a high kick. Rollins knocks Strowman off and hit a cross-body on a downed Strowman. He goes for the cover but Strowman kicks out at two.
Strowman is outside of the ring and Rollins runs and kicks his head from the apron. Strowman is stunned and is near the barricade. Rollins climbs to the top rope and attempts a suicide dive but Strowman ducks out. Rollins hits the barricade hard and Strowman throws him across. The referee counts both of them out.
Result: Draw (Double Count-Out)
After the match, Rollins is down in the ring, trying to climb up. Strowman gets a steel chair and tries to get into the ring. Rollins kicks the chair and Strowman falls back out. He attempts to climb back in but Rollins scares him off with the chair.
After the Rollins vs. Strowman match, there was a Cruiserweight match between Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak.
Shawn Michaels returned to cut a promo for the Royal Rumble. He said that he will not be returning but he promoted his new movie “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” that was to come out January 20. He is interrupted by Rusev, Lana, and Jinder Mahal. Rusev demands that Lana is put into the movie because she is a great actress. They are, in turn, interrupted by Enzo and Cass. Enzo says that Rusev is absolutely right about Lana being a great actress because she has to wake up with him every day (dang, shots fired). Big Cass then says that he will beat Rusev up again. Rusev sets up a match between Big Cass and Jinder Mahal.
Big Cass (with Enzo Amore and Shawn Michaels) vs. Jinder Mahal (with Rusev and Lana)
Big Cass knees Mahal in the gut and starts mauling him in the corner. Cass whips Mahal into another corner and leapt at him, but Mahal slipped away. Big Cass shoulder tackled Mahal, knocking him down. Jinder used the ropes as a protector and the ref pulled Cass away. Jinder kicked him in the gut and punched him down. He went for the pin for a one-count.
Jinder Mahal has Big Cass in the Sleeper’s Hold but Cass starts climbing up. Mahal sweeps Cass down and starts stomping on him. He ran at Big Cass but was hit with a big boot. Cass splashes Jinder into the corner and tosses him across the ring. Cass hit another splash and ran at the ropes but was distracted by Rusev, who smacked the apron. Jinder Mahal took advantage and Rusev was hit with a Sweet Chin Music by HBK. Mahal, being distracted, was countered and hit with an East River Crossing (botch-a-mania) and an Empire Elbow to give Big Cass the win.
Result: Big Cass defeats Jinder Mahal by pinfall (Empire Elbow-Elbow drop)
Next was a Cruiserweight match between Neville (yup, he’s a cruiserweight now) and Lince Dorado.
Sheamus (with Cesaro) vs. Luke Gallows (with Karl Anderson)
Sheamus Irish Whips Gallows to the ropes. Gallows bounces back and kicks Sheamus in the head. He runs back to the rope and attempts a move but is picked up by Sheamus. Sheamus hits a rolling senton and then rebounds off the ropes to knee Gallows in the chest. Gallows rolls out of the ring and Sheamus runs to grab him but is clotheslined down. They start going at each other back and forth and Sheamus throws Gallows back into the ring. Sheamus climbs to the top rope but is kicked out of the ring by Gallows.
Sheamus was setting up for the Brogue Kick but was distracted by Karl Anderson. Anderson had attacked Cesaro. With the distraction, Gallows lifted Sheamus up and dropped Sheamus. Gallows went for the pin but Sheamus kicked out at two. Meanwhile, outside the ring, Cesaro tries to Cesaro Spin Anderson. The distraction causes Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick on Gallows and win the match.
Result: Sheamus defeats Luke Gallows by pinfall (Brogue Kick-Bicycle Kick)
Mick Foley is out talking about the Undertaker before being interrupted by Stephanie McMahon. She said that Foley has failed to produce the Undertaker but is interrupted by Undertaker’s music. The Undertaker has returned! He announces that he will be the 2017 Royal Rumble and that he will win and return to the main event of Wrestlemania. He looks Stephanie in the eye and says that nobody will stop him and he does what he wants.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Nia Jax and Charlotte
Sasha Banks is driven into the corner by Charlotte but counters by driving Charlotte there herself. She lays Charlotte across the ropes and is about to stomp on her but Charlotte escapes, causing pain to Sasha’s injured knee.
Charlotte tags in Nia Jax who drops Bayley onto the top turnbuckle. She splashes Bayley and tosses her across the ring. Nia tags in Charlotte, who chops Bayley.
Charlotte suplexes Bayley and picks her up again but is countered. As Bayley is going after Charlotte, Charlotte tags in Nia Jax, unbeknownst to Bayley. Bayley went for a roll-up but was clotheslined by Nia. Nia went for a leg drop and finishes off Bayley.
Result: Charlotte and Nia Jax defeats Sasha Banks and Bayley (Nia Jax pins Bayley after leg drop)
The New Day comes out and invites Titus O’Neil to try out, once again, for the New Day. They say he needs to do the Keg Carry Challenge and shows a clip from Titus’ NXT days where he fell after picking up the keg. They say the keg is filled with Booty Juice (it makes sure your load is loose). Titus does the challenge with 0.6 seconds left to spare but the referee says it doesn’t count, as Titus dropped the keg before crossing the finish line. Titus gets mad and shoves Kofi Kingston, who announces a match between the two.
Kofi Kingston (with the New Day) vs. Titus O’Neil
Titus is manhandling Kofi Kingston but Kofi counters with a series of kicks and a big dropkick. Kofi tries to fight back but is crucifix power slammed by Titus.
Titus tries to throw Kofi onto his shoulder but Kofi slips under him and tries a roll-up. Titus doesn’t let Kofi get him and headbutts him. He lifts Kofi onto the top rope but Kofi kicked him and went for a crossbody. He is caught and Titus knees him in the side. He drops him and picks him up again. Xavier Woods tries to distract Titus by playing on his trombone, leading to Titus tossing Kofi over. Kofi is caught by Big E and Xavier and runs away with Titus giving chase. As they climb into the ring, Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise to win.
Result: Kofi Kingston defeats Titus O’Neil by pinfall (Trouble in Paradise-jumping corkscrew roundhouse kick)
Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens in a 2 on 1 handicap match for the United States Championship
Before the match had even started, Roman attempted to lock Chris Jericho inside a shark cage. He is stopped by Kevin Owens, who proceed to beat down Reigns with Jericho.
Reigns run towards Owens and is hit with a forearm. Owens tries to tackle Reigns but is hit with a Big Boot and knocked out of the ring. Reigns went for a Superman punch on Chris Jericho but runs into a right hand from Kevin Owens. Chris Jericho hit a Lionsault for a two count.
Reigns is outside the ring and is about to climb back in. Jericho was going for a springboard kick onto Reigns but was Superman Punched. Reigns falls off the apron and is about to climb back in but is prevented from Kevin Owens grabbing his feet. Jericho hits the Codebreaker onto Reigns from in between the ropes and pins him to win his first United States Championship.
Result: Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens defeats Roman Reigns by pinfall (Chris Jericho pins Roman Reigns after a Codebreaker-running double knee face breaker)
After this win, Chris Jericho is not only the new United States Champion but also a Grand Slam Champion under the new format. He was already a Grand Slam Champion under the old format, becoming the only person to win every single title eligible (WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, World Tag Team Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship, Intercontinental Championship, European Championship, and Hardcore Championship). Yep, he won every single one at one point in his career. As stated above, Jericho, with this win, is also a Grand Slam under the new format (WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and United States Championship). Jericho is one of four people (as well as Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, and Big Show) to win under both formats. Congrats Y2J.
Match Ratings: 90/100
Storyline Ratings: 85/100 +5 for title change
Performance Ratings: 75/100 (Cass botched a bad one)
Overall Raw Rating: 90/100
And that will conclude my Raw play-by-play this week. Be sure to read my Smackdown Live post and Cruiserweight post.