Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Monday Night Raw
Date: December 21, 2015
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton
It’s the Slammy Awards! Tonight is all about picking the best of the year, or at least whoever the fans pick as the best of the year. The big award is of course Superstar of the Year which is likely going to Roman Reigns again. The other major story though is fallout from last week’s World Title change, which likely means Stephanie going after Reigns. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of Reigns beating Sheamus and infuriating the McMahons last week.
Here’s a very happy Stephanie to open things up. She thinks we’re confused by her mood but it’s very simple: McMahons are fighters and tonight is all about a celebration. Cue Roman Reigns who says everyone is in a good mood tonight. Stephanie is really not happy that he’s here but Reigns says he doesn’t sweat anyone, including the League of Nations, any of the McMahons or HHH himself.
That’s too much for Stephanie as she starts shrieking at him to get out of her ring and does her usual whining about her family and her legacy and all that jazz. Reigns doesn’t really care and turns his back on her, eventually leaving very slowly. This makes Stephanie demand that he come back here but Reigns just keeps going. Stephanie says that means consequences so she makes the Usos vs. the New day in a handicap match and Ambrose vs. Sheamus inside a cage. Reigns keeps going up the steps and posing with the title.
It’s time for the first award with Dolph Ziggler (in a tuxedo) presenting Breakout Star of the Year. Here are the nominees:
After a break, the winner is…..Neville. Neville says he’s excited about this and completely surprised until Kevin Owens comes out to interrupt. Owens says that’s his award and gets in a fight with Ziggler until……cue the Wyatts for a completely unrelated match.
Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
Bray gets punched into the corner to start but a Harper distraction lets him come back with a big running clothesline. The Wyatts go after Kane so he heads outside after him, drawing a quick DQ at 54 seconds.
Kane gets beaten down post match until the Dudley Boyz and Tommy Dreamer come out for the save because this is still a feud.
Kane/Dudley Boyz/Tommy Dreamer vs. Wyatt Family
This is joined in progress with Dreamer in trouble and the announcers comparing Kane to Chewbacca. Dreamer quickly fights up and makes the tag to Kane for a kick to Harper’s face. It’s off to Bubba for some house cleaning but everything breaks down a few seconds later. There’s What’s Up to Harper, which JBL says is like a sofa. 3D to Rowan but Strowman takes Bubba and D-Von down with a double clothesline. The discus lariat puts D-Von out for the pin at 2:43 shown.
Here’s the returning (for one night only I believe) Santino Marella to present the LOL Laugh Out Loudest Moment of the Year. The nominees are:
Edge and Christian vs. New Day in a trombone vs. kazoo battle
The Bushwhackers’ Hall of Fame induction speech
Miz’s “commercial” for erectile dysfunction
The Authority dances with New Day
R-Truth thinks he’s in the Money in the Bank ladder match
After a break, the winner is R-Truth. Well that’s one out of two at least. Santino tries to accept the award for himself but Truth comes out and starts a light brawl for the trophy.
We get a quick visit from Old Saint Mick (with elf Noelle). He wishes us all Happy Holidays and says he’s very sorry for giving Xavier Woods that trombone last year.
Here’s Paul Heyman to present the OMG Moment of the Year Award. After saying that Brock Lesnar should win all the awards save for LOL and Diva of the Year, here are the nominees:
Seth Rollins cashes in Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania
Brock Lesnar the night after Wrestlemania
Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol through the ladder at Tables Ladders and Chairs
Wyatt Family kidnaps Undertaker at Hell in a Cell
Sheamus cashes in Money in the Bank at Survivor Series
After a break, Kalisto wins. Really? It was good but biggest shock of the year? Not really. Kalisto is here in a suit and without much to say as an acceptance speech.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
Ziggler goes right at him to start and tries the sleeper so Owens drops back with all his weight for the break. A big elbow sends Ziggler to the floor and Owens shouts that HE is the breakout star. Well to be fair he’s right. We hit the chinlock on Dolph and we actually show the brawl from earlier tonight which set this up. Well at least it’s during a hold but dude, it was less than an hour ago.
Back up and Ziggler grabs a rollup for two, only to have his head taken off by a clothesline. After another chinlock, Dolph grabs the running DDT and we take a break. We come back with Owens getting two off a superplex but eating a superkick to put him outside. A quick Fameasser gets two for Dolph (in case you thought Owens was doing it) but Owens comes right back with the Pop Up Powerbomb for the pin at 11:08.
Rating: C. Well at least Owens won. Unfortunately we’re still stuck in the same circle of chasing our own tail with the midcard because they had something interesting with Owens and then reverted him back to the same character just a week later. I’m sure it just wasn’t getting over because of some social media score determining that people didn’t care enough or whatever, because that’s what seems to run WWE these days.
Here’s Stephanie (of course) to present Superstar of the Year with every member of the roster as a nominee. We get a quick video of everyone on the roster before the nominees are listed as:
New Day (all three members)
Post break the winner is……Seth Rollins, who actually limps out on crutches. The fans thank him but he says this was obvious the whole time. Seth does his usual recap of his year and says that his success went away just as quickly as it came. That title is coming back to him in the new year because he will retake what he never lost.
John Cena returns next week to face Alberto Del Rio.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
I KNEW IT WOULD BE SWAGGER!!! As soon as I saw Del Rio in the ring I knew it would be Swagger. It had to be Swagger because he’s Del Rio’s personal jobber and that’s the only idea WWE has for Swagger. Non-title of course. Del Rio kicks him to the floor and hits a quick baseball slide as we take a break. Back with Del Rio getting two off a DDT but Jack ducks the low superkick and grabs a quick belly to belly. The Vader Bomb gets two and Jack loads up a superplex, only to slip and get caught with the top rope double stomp for the pin at 7:07. Not enough seen to rate but this was the same stuff we’ve seen from them every time.
The League beats Jack down post match.
Here’s Mark Henry to present the new Hero in All of Us Award, which seems to be for best charity work. The nominees are:
After a break, the winner is John Cena. He’s not here tonight but Henry says that Cena and all the other nominees do this out of the goodness of their hearts rather than for awards. Henry accepts the award on Cena’s behalf.
There were some other awards given out before the show went on the air, including:
Rivalry of the Year – Lesnar vs. Undertaker
WWE Network Original Show of the Year – Steve Austin Show
Double Cross of the Year – Damien Mizdow
Extreme Moment of the Year – Reigns attacks HHH
Here’s Santa Claus (as played by Bo Dallas) to introduce the Surprise Return of the Year. He’s the REAL Santa and not the fat old man at the mall. Here are the nominees:
Alberto Del Rio
Post break the winner is Sting, who also isn’t here tonight either.
New Day vs. Usos
Non-title handicap match. Before the match, New Day blames the fans for spoiling the Tag Team of the Year award. Therefore, they’re going to SPOIL STAR WARS! Kofi cuts Big E. off because he hasn’t seen it yet. Woods: “YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET?????” Dancing solves the problem and we’re ready to go.
Jimmy and Kofi get things going with the twins starting in on the arm. Kofi works on Jey’s arm as well, only to get kicked into the corner. Big E. and Xavier break up the Rikishi attack and all three have to move before the Usos can dive on them. Back with Jey being dragged into the corner for the Unicorn Stampede with Woods dropping to the floor for some musical accompaniment.
Big E. slaps on the abdominal stretch for a bit and gets two off the Warrior splash. Jey fights up and makes the hot tag to Jimmy for some good house cleaning. The Samoan drop gets two on Woods and New Day heads outside, only to have Big E. break up the double dive. Not that it matters as Jimmy rolls Woods up for the pin at 10:59.
Rating: C-. For every few steps this company takes forward, we get something like this. You make this a handicap match so the Usos can lose, but oh no because you need to keep them looking strong for later so let’s put them over the champions here because we have no other way to actually get them over. Like giving them an award or something. This is the kind of stuff that drives me the craziest and it just keeps happening over and over. Also there was no mention of the Stephanie/Reigns story from earlier.
Here’s R-Truth to present Diva of the Year. The nominees are:
Back with…..Paige winning. Well that’s quite the surprise. Oh wait it’s actually a Steve Harvey joke because Truth read it wrong. Therefore, Nikki Bella wins. See, in WWE, just saying something exists means that it’s funny. Nikki comes out and has Paige stand there next to her as she dedicates this to every woman in the company. So she’s a face again.
Rusev vs. Neville
The League is here and Miz is on commentary. Rusev stomps him down in the corner to start and we hit an early chinlock as Miz says Neville could go even further with the right management. Neville fights up and kicks Rusev to the post, only to be sent into the post. A belly to belly sends Neville crashing down and we take a break.
Back with Neville moonsaulting to the floor as JBL gets in his weekly “THERE’S YOUR SPORTSCENTER HIGHLIGHT” line. Neville loads up the Red Arrow with Rusev across the ring. That goes as well as you would think as he dives into the jumping superkick, setting up the Accolade to give Rusev the win at 7:38.
Rating: D+. So they’ll protect the Usos but not Neville, who won an award earlier tonight on the show? Another nothing match here as Neville is still a jobber but at least Rusev got a win for a change. He’s still a mess after Lana came back so it’s cool to see him acting like his old self for at least one night.
The League beats Neville down as well.
Miz is presenting the THIS IS AWESOME Award. After complaining about not being nominated, he introduces the nominees as:
Brock Lesnar destroying J and J’s car
Randy Orton’s RKO to Rollins at Wrestlemania
Stephanie McMahon starting the Divas Revolution
The Shield reuniting to beat down Orton
Rock and Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania
After we come back, Stephanie FINALLY gets her award as Rock and Ronda Rousey wins. Miz accepts on Rock’s behalf and plugs Santa’s Little Helper.
Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella
Rematch from Smackdown because it’s a meaningless show. Brie takes over to start and puts on a quickly broken chinlock, only to knee Becky down. The YES Kicks get two and we hit a seated abdominal stretch. Well stretch is a relative term as Brie isn’t pulling back or anything but she’s trying. We hit another armbar as this has been all Brie so far. Becky makes her comeback with clotheslines but THIS IS A BRIE BELLA MATCH so she cuts her down with a dropkick, only to get rolled up into the Disarm-Her for the tap at 5:14.
Rating: D+. As I think we’ve learned by now, Brie really isn’t that good. They had an idea here with the arm but Brie really couldn’t carry this to anything beyond the run of the mill Divas match. She still has no idea if she’s a face or a heel and it makes for some really awkward matches.
Ric Flair introduces the nominees for Match of the Year:
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins – Royal Rumble
Sting vs. HHH – Wrestlemania
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens – Elimination Chamber
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio – Raw – October 26
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar – Hell in a Cell
The final award of the night goes to Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar and for the fourth time tonight, the big name isn’t here to accept. Heyman comes out instead and says Brock doesn’t come out and accept awards. Brock wants a fight but no one in the back is man enough to face Brock Lesnar. One phenom this year stood up and took a beating but there is only one conqueror.
The cage is lowered.
In the back, the League attacks the Usos with Rusev and Del Rio putting on their submissions. Both of them get Brogue Kicks as well.
Ambrose defends tomorrow night against Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler. Why should Ziggler get a shot when Owens pinned him earlier tonight?
Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose
Non-title. Sheamus Brogue Kicks Dean before he can get inside and since referees have no authority in WWE, the match starts anyway. We get the ten forearms to the chest as the fans chant SHEAMUS IS BORING. Sheamus actually acknowledges them and waves the chants on, only to get backdropped into the cage wall. Dean goes for the climb but Sheamus is right up after him for White Noise off the top for two.
Now it’s Sheamus going up but getting crotched down, only to be met by the League as he tries to escape. That’s fine with Dean as he dives down onto Sheamus with the elbow for a VERY close two. Del Rio slams the door on Dean’s head though, drawing out Reigns to take out the League with a chair. Thanks for coming BEFORE they cost your buddy the match Roman.
The League runs off and Sheamus climbs up, only to have Reigns waiting on him with a chair. Roman throws it to Dean and Sheamus is caught. Dirty Deeds onto the chair doesn’t even get a cover as Dean climbs, allowing Sheamus to catch him on top. They slug it out on top of the cage and slowly come down with Dean getting headbutted off for the win at 10:45.
Rating: C. This was fine with Ambrose and Reigns surviving one more time. They’ve done a great job of setting those two up as unbreakable brothers, meaning that the eventual split is going to be even better. Sheamus losing here is fine enough because no one buys him as a real threat to win the title again and his rematch is likely coming on the first Raw of the year instead of at the Rumble or on any other big stage.
Tom Phillips asks Stephanie for her reaction so she beats him down with slaps. Tom sells them like death to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. I’m a big sucker for the Slammy Awards but this didn’t do it for me. The big stars not being there to accept really crippled things and most of the award picks were fine, meaning there wasn’t much to get annoyed about. Cena being back next week will help and there are places they can go from here, but the show as a whole was really nothing great. That puts it WAY ahead of recent weeks though so it’s definitely not horrible, but still nothing I’m going to remember by the new year.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!