The New Day kick off Raw with a mention of Naomi’s birthday, because they look out for their girls, and they say there’s a party going on, a festival, a jubilee. Big E has a towel off with a Steeler’s towel, which is a good way to incite a riot later. So they’ve come out to talk about Sheamus and do a little Dragonball Z style fusion while they’re at it. Seems like they’ve jumped ship from their fallen captain pretty quickly. C’mon guys, where’s the loyalty at?
Sheamus comes out in his suit and tie, all giddy and over-excited because he’s the champ, and he loves it, but Pittsburgh aren’t really into that. He thanks The Authority, too, and says Steph and Trips taught him the best lesson in life…. did someone tell him where babies came from? Sheamus says he’d like to thank the man who gave him the opportunity of a lifetime – Roman. The crowd start the Roman chants early, and New Day say they missed Roman’s championship reign, because they’re the best tongue in cheek actors in the company, and Sheamus says the championship looks so much better on him. Sheamus tries to out-jiggle Big E and has… surprising rhythm for a white boy. He also says he likes Roman on his knees, but then, who doesn’t? He even manages to rip the piss out of Stone Cold, so let’s just say I might be starting to like Sheamus and his sheer glee at being champion. He’s just so happy! Nothing better than a giddy Irishman ignoring the fact that he’s mostly being booed.
Aaand Roman comes out of nowhere with a superman punch and picks up the title like it’s his or something. The crowd starts off cheering, but then the boos start, especially as Roman walks off with the title, beaming smugly from the ramp as he holds it out to the camera, like Dean bet him a couple of grand that he wouldn’t do it, and he’s just put paid to all the rumours that he’s the kid who picks ‘truth’ every time when playing ‘truth or dare’.
Backstage, Roman, Dean and the Usos are hanging out and enjoying the title, when Steph and Hunter show up to take the title back. Roman refuses to give it to Trips, handing it instead to Steph, who says ‘arse’ in a way which makes me forget how to breathe. Trips says Sheamus doesn’t want to wait, so the title match will be tonight, but that Roman has to win in under 5 minutes and 15 seconds – the length of Roman’s short-lived title reign.
Dolph vs Tyler next, Dolph straight in, pinning Tyler straight off a couple of times, running his wrestling clinic and teaching the young blood a few things. Tyler knocks him flat, and Dolph does a couple of nice leaps and slides to keep out of the way before Tyler catches him with a superkick. With Dolph in the corner, Tyler pulls him around a bit, slamming his head into the turnbuckles, then dragging him aside for a leg drop and a short-lived pin or two. The chants ride ‘Tyler’s gorgeous’ and Summer’s encouraging those on the side, Tyler using Dolph’s hair a little bit to get him down as much as he can. Tyler catches a superkick from Dolph, swinging him down, but he’s back up and ready for Tyler to slam him into the ring post by the shoulder, sending him out of the ring and onto the floor.
When we come back, the two are grappling on the mat, and Breeze walks into an elbow from Dolph, then two lariats and a slam into the mat. He gets Tyler down, before going down with an elbow drop. Dolph’s holding his shoulder as he walks away, ramping up for the superkick and Tyler nearly gets him down through catching it. Once more, Dolph goes for a spot and Tyler counters him, rolling him up for a two and a half count, which frustrates him. He gets Dolph in the corner, and just goes for him, feet and fists, but Dolph dodges enough to get free. He only gets a couple of seconds before he’s bounced into the top turnbuckles and then Breeze brings him down for a two count, but they’re playing up the injury levels again. Now we’re off the ‘bad knee’, we’ve got a focus on a ‘bad shoulder’ so Tyler can take advantage of the joints.
Again, Tyler catches a super kick, goes for the unprettier, and then they’re rolling each other up for two each time, over and over, before Ziggler takes Tyler off the ropes for a two count, gets rolled up again, but once they break apart, Dolph hits a superkick that sends Breeze down flat, and so Dolph gets the three count, and the win, leaving Breeze in the middle of the ring, with Summer next to him, both putting prettily over their loss.
We’re informed our next segment is Miz TV, where the triumphant return of Rusev is only bolstered by the return of the lovely Lana! Now we know about their engagement, I guess we’re allowed to see the two of them being a little more romantic, which is a relief, as it was pretty weird and awful to see WWE playing up the abusive spouse angle when we knew the two of them were involved outside of kayfabe. Pretty uncool storyline, even by WWE standards.
So Miz and Rusev are in the ring for the start of the wonder that is Miz TV and terribly underappreciated Miz is looking lovely, as usual. Rusev gets a mixture of boos and indifference, before the USA chants. Miz says not to listen to the crowd, because no one in WWE creative has been doing that for years. The chants begin ‘We want Lana’ and Rusev says, well, everyone wants Lana, but she’s his. The smile he gets is adorable, to be honest. He says none of universe wanted to look after him, but Lana stood by him while he was out, and how he’ll do anything for her. The pop for Lana is pretty awesome, and Rusev’s smile is so real it hurts, in fact, both of them look so happy and it looks so real that it makes my heart ache. Miz says he can’t believe his eyes, and calls them ‘crazy kids’ because Miz is from the 1950’s. My newly married heart can’t take it.
Miz makes the mistake of mentioning Summer, and pauses, changing tack to say that he wants to know how they got together. They fight hard, but they love even harder. Lana says she never ‘went all the way’ with Dolph, and Miz’s face says ‘you turned that down? I’ve never turned down Ziggler’, and the crowd replies with ‘yes she did’. Rusev also says he didn’t have the sex with Summer Rae, which the crowd disagree with as well, because they’re awful, and Lana calls Rusev her Bulgarian sunshine. They say ‘I love you’ in Bulgarian and Russian, then have the hottest and heaviest kiss allowed on PG television before… Ryback’s music hits? Did Rusev have an affair with Ryback, too?
Ryback says they’ve seen enough, that Ziggler totally did get his dick wet, and that this isn’t an episode of Teen Wolf. Full disclosure: sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Also, Ryback ships Scallison and will never stop, it doesn’t matter that Allison’s dead.
What is this, a 6th grade playground? Why are we discussing what went into a woman’s vagina? Do we have to do this right now? Isn’t this a wrestling show, not a 1950’s sitcom full of nudge nudge, wink wink? Do we really have to talk about how far people went in their kayfabe acts?
Apparently the match between Rusev and Ryback wasn’t important enough for us to wait until the break was over, because we come back and they’ve already started. Rusev has control in the corner, but then commentary tells us Ryback is ‘drilling’ Rusev. Okay. Apparently we are just talking about dicks tonight. Ryback gets a dropkick that takes Rusev to the outside, where Ryback follows him, pushing Rusev into the barricades, and then into the steps – which hit Lana in the leg – and the flag is also knocked over. Rusev rights the flag, and goes to check on Lana instead of finishing the match. Hang on… was this match just a set up for, essentially, how Lana is awesome? Did two men just have a match so we can see Lana struggling in pain, and develop her character and how much Rusev loves her? IS THIS A STORY WHERE THE MEN ARE HERE ONLY BECAUSE A WOMAN NEEDS STORYLINE??? Well, no, but we can imagine. It’s the closest we’re going to get.
The thirsty birds are back, screaming at Hunter as he tweets about how Max Landis got his character dead on. Dean ambles in, and Hunter says he’d wanted to see him and that he wants to congratulate him about being the number one contender for the IC title. Apparently, if ‘Dean’s pal’ Roman has to win, or he loses not only his own match at TLC, but also Dean’s. Trips is playing dirty pool here, putting pressure on the dream team, trying to weasel in between the cracks in any way he can. Shore up, boys, Daddy Trips is trying a new version of Hansel and Gretel, where the kids fight each other to see who gets to come home and who gets left in the forest.
We come back from the break to the Dudley Boyz in a ring full of black-shrouded tables, like we’re holding a funeral for all the tables they’ve demolished in their careers. Bubba Rae recaps what the Wyatts have managed to beat them, and how good the Wyatts are, and why everyone knows their names. This drones on and I zone out for a bit, because it’s 2am here, but they say they’ve got the tables, and they call for the Wyatts to show up. I so want Strowman to just amble out and say ‘Sorry, Bray says we can’t come out to play tonight’, but of course, Bray’s there, and says if you let the devil in your backyard, he might decide to stay. The rest of the family stand around, being useless, and D-Von and Bubba have called in TOMMY DREAMER? Uh, what? Is this the indies? Is Dean going to come out with a fork? What IS this?
There’s an out and out brawl, Strowman objecting to getting his fingers caught with a kendo stick from Dreamer, and Bray demanding that they fight like men, which apparently means not using weapons? Pittsburgh have decided this is awesome, and my friend who is new to wrestling and watching alongside me is utterly baffled as to why ECW has just broken out in the ring.
When we get back into it, all the tables and fun kit have been moved out, and we’re in a six man tag between the Wyatts and the Dudley/Dreamer trifecta. Dreamer gets tagged in to deal with Harper, and this is pretty much New Kids vs Old Men, which is pretty disappointing knowing how that should really go down. Bray’s standing about having a look but not getting involved, because that’s his role these days, and we see a lot of it from his viewpoint, rather than close up. Bubba sends Harper for a great back body drop and a clothesline, getting him down for the cover, Rowan breaking it up and getting in there as it becomes a brawl again, and the bell gets called just as Bubba takes a huge kick from Harper. Rowan drops D-Von, and Strowman bear hugs Dreamer. Mocking the Dudleys, Bray gets Harper and Rowan to hand a table to Strowman, but as he’s setting it up, Bubba gets up and leaps between the ropes, taking Bray down through the table mysteriously behind him, and the boys all leap to the defence of their fallen father. Harper is slamming the announce table to try and get commentary to shut up – I know, guys, there should be a mute button like there is in the game – until Rowan pulls him back and pats him on the back a little to make him feel better. So very tired of watching the Wyatts get the heel kicked out of them by people barely out of retirement. At least when it was Shield vs Wyatts, it was all young blood and it worked. This is just… weird.
Speaking of weird, Goldust vs Del Rio. So, the shimmering creature of face paint and bodysuits vs the king of ‘creative like it when the crowd chant USA’ land? I’m really not into this. Also, commentary say Colter ‘used to be with’ Swagger, making Swagger sound like a betrayed lover. Colter tells us he doesn’t know about social media or Anne Hathaway’s baby bump, because he’s nearly dead. Del Rio say Goldie is out of date, and Goldie goes straight in with the punches, because why the hell not? The bell rings and Del Rio starts with the kicks and the slaps, slamming Goldie into the turnbuckles and taking him down in a DDT for a pin. He puts him in a chin lock but once up, Goldie gets a good clothesline and a beautiful punch to the face, then comes in with a powerslam to the cover for two.
Spinebuster from Goldie to Del Rio, sending him down, but the pin is only for two. Goldie gets caught up in the ropes, with a kick from Del Rio, then Del Rio hits the double stomp and gets the pin for three. No, I wish I was kidding, it really was over that quickly. It’s a shame, because while they have no heat between them, watching them move was pretty dynamic and speedy, and fun to call. Del Rio pulls Goldie into a crossed leg arm breaker, and then out runs Swagger to head for Del Rio, he goes straight out of the ring and, oh look, there are the USA chants that get Vince off, or something.
Charlotte and Becky are having a cuddle backstage, and Becky says she wants a match against Charlotte, and says that even though Paige mentioned something to her, this has nothing to do with it. Charlotte says okay, but only if daddy can walk her in like she’s getting married. They link little fingers, and then Ric Flair shows and up and he and Charlotte just ‘woo’ at each other like that’s the only way they can communicate. Every time we take a step forward with the women, WWE, we take a dozen back.
Lucha Dragons vs Usos, with New Day on commentary. Big E does better commentary than anyone else, and I’m honestly just baffled, because I can’t call the match when we keep seeing the New Day instead. Big E is apparently Michael Cole’s daddy, and Cole doesn’t respect his mama. I’m utterly baffled. Just… watch the match. Seriously. When we go back to looking at the match, the Lucha Dragons take out the Usos, and then the New Day go to interfere, so there’s no number one contender for the tag team titles, and they won’t put their titles up against anyone at TLC. Which is all this match was really about.
Steph is talking to the Luchas and Usos, and she says they can have themselves a triple treat match IF Roman beats Sheamus, because if not, the Usos won’t be allowed into that match at TLC. Wow, Steph does not like it when someone else spears her husband, does she? She’s the only one allowed to get Trips flat on his back.
Team BAD come out, Brie and Alicia already in the ring, but this is a Sasha vs Brie match. Sasha forces Brie back into the corner first, and then Brie has Sasha on the ropes, Sasha using hands in the hair to get the momentum back. Brie takes down Sasha in a fireman’s carry takedown, into the armbar, and then Brie gets out of it a little, only to be taken straight down. Sasha takes Brie’s hairband, mocks a Brie Mode chant, and Alicia takes offense, Tamina and Naomi taking her down outside the ring. Brie sends Sasha into the turnbuckles face first, but it’s not long before Brie is down, and Alicia gets taken out of the ring as Sasha sends Brie into the turnbuckles. Sasha is applying pressure here, and Tamina and Naomi look like they have a plan, but Sasha has Brie in a submission hold as her girls just look on, Brie refusing to tap out, just holding on. She manages to get to her feet, but not for a long, a clothesline from Sasha taking her back down for a pin, but there’s a kick out at two. Sasha takes her back into a hold, and then into the corner, putting her on the top rope. Brie kicks her twice and comes off with a huge missile dropkicks, then the Bryan kicks, getting the ‘yes’ chants from the crowd, taking Sasha down, and even sparing time for Naomi and Tamina. Brie’s mistake is falling for that, because Sasha gets her with a backstabber and takes her into the bank statement, where she has to tap out. Team Bad have a little dance together, Sasha checking on her girls and having a wiggle, while Brie lies in the middle of the ring, small and alone.
Roman is warming up, Dean and the Usos with him. Roman says that they’re not to let the Authority worry them, because he’s do it easy, Dean adding loyally that Roman will take Sheamus out in three.
Roman’s music hits, and he wanders down through the crowd again. Hope he’s got a watch, because his timing has got to be on the button tonight. Seems like he has a little trouble getting over the barrier, which is mildly adorable, and then he roars for the crowd. Sheamus comes out in a Sheamus 5:15 t-shirt, and I honestly thought this was going to be out main event, how have we got another hour of this? What the hell?
Roman looks nervous as the bell rings, and he runs straight for Sheamus, rolling him up. My stream dies, then I get back to a high knee from Sheamus at around 3:55, with Sheamus getting the chin lock in, forcing him to stare at the clock as he trash talks at him. He drops it, then goes back into it, Roman clawing his way out to punch Sheamus in the face, flinging him around and taking him down from the ropes with a huge punch. Sheamus goes out of the ring and Roman drills him into the floor, taking him down with a Samoan drop down for two, Sheamus left rolling on the floor as Roman cocks his fist for the superman punch.
Sheamus rolls out of the ring, and when Roman joins him, Sheamus throws him over the announce table, and he doesn’t seem to be getting up. He eventually crawls out from around Cole’s fee, and he gets Sheamus with a huge punch, pulling a groggy Sheamus back into the ring, dead weight, he can’t move him (no matter how easily he can usually move a supposedly protesting body). He finally gets him in, and goes to pin him from the opposite corner. But Rusev grabs him by the legs, pulling him out of the ring, so the bell rings, and Barret and Del Rio pull Sheamus out of harm’s way. Sheamus puts an arm around Lillian Garcia, who absolutely does not look like she wants that.
Sheamus introduces the euroboys as the League of Nations – Barrett, Del Rio, and Rusev. Sorry, Sheamus, you’re still the euroboys, and we’ll boo you no matter what. There’s a big international cuddle going on outside the ring, as Roman stands inside, furious – and he’s joined by Dean and the Usos, his family. They don’t need a fancy name, they’re just ‘Roman’s family’, but he sends them out of the ring, wanting just Sheamus to come into the ring on his own. When he tries, Roman takes him with a right hand, and Del Rio hands the title to his friend to end the segment.
Paige is on commentary for Charlotte (plus Daddy Flair) and Becky, with Paige calling Ric ‘like a bad rash, he never goes away’ and ‘we get it, she’s your daughter’. Agreed, Paige, absolutely agreed. Paige is clearly jamming to Becky’s music, because Paige says she enjoys it. So this is supposed to be a friendly match up, and Paige told Becky to open her eyes and see the real Charlotte. Paige says she won’t listen to Byron – I love the disrespect she gives to the men, it’s spectacular. A pinkie swear before the match starts, and the girls grapple, Becky getting Charlotte down first, pulling on her arm and rolling her around. Team BAD have popcorn and seem to be enjoying themselves watching.
The girls in the ring are grinning at each other as they go at it, and Charlotte seems to be taking it pretty easy on Becky. The girls trade pins for a little while before Becky gets up and throws Becky around a few times, and gives her some of those famous Flair chops. Becky brings it back, with a foot to Charlotte’s chest, using the ropes. Charlotte gets a pin, but not for long enough, then Becky gets some deep arm drags and a nice submission hold before Charlotte moves and lands awkwardly, sending Becky into the turnbuckles. She looks like she’s landed badly and hurt her ankle. Becky moves forwards concerned, moved back by the ref, and Becky takes a second to try to talk to Ric, so say something, when Charlotte does a kip up and tackles her from behind, taking the win while Becky is distracted.
Becky is left in the middle of the ring, alone, as Charlotte walks out with her dad, basically shrugging like she’d do anything to win. As much as I’m bored of creative making the women bitches for no apparent reason, they need to shatter the teams, and at least PCB coming apart makes the sisterhood between Team BAD look good, and the Bellas are all over the place whilst Nikki’s out, too. These women came up from NXT and got pushed into the team framework, so this is the first time we’re going to get a chance to see Becky come into her own, and I – for one – am looking forward to it.
Becky catches up with Charlotte backstage, and we can tell that the same person (probably a man) writes all the dialogue for the divas, because they all say ‘sweetheart’ and ‘bigger picture’ and ‘tough love’ every two minutes.
Adam Rose has a lovely little promo, about how Lana wears the pants in the relationship of her and Rusev, how Summer loves Tyler, Tyler loves himself, and Dolph might love both of them because he doesn’t care whose bed he’s sharing. I could love this. I could love this so much more if it created a rivalry with Miz for taking over the Miz TV spot.
Stardust is talking about Christmas, and Titus puts antlers on his head, gets huffy when Stardust hisses at him, and oh god this was too cute, I can’t. I just can’t. Stardust hisses again and has a present box thrown at him. Too cute.
Eight man tag next, Euroboys vs. Roman’s Boys. Wonder whether Barrett’s upset that Sheamus names Rusev as his right hand man, because seriously, Barrett’s been out there looking after him for ages. Seems a mite ungrateful. Just as they’re about to get started, out come the New Day to join Sheamus and his boys, making this a seven on four match against Roman’s boys. Because Steph really, really doesn’t like anyone else making her husband lie down. He’s her bitch, not anyone else’s.
Dean and Kofi start off, and Dean goes in with a flurry of jabs and chops, flinging Kofi around, easily, tagging in Jey Uso for a moment before Roman’s in to take Kofi down with a huge elbow, but a kick out from Kofi at two. Jimmy Uso in now, Xavier tagged in the other side for a few good hits before Jimmy takes him down and tags in Dean, who kicks Xavier practically insensate, then the Usos taking over, and Roman last. Xavier thrown out and commentary mistake him for Kofi, because they’re blind or dead. The rest of the New Day drag their fallen comrade away as he tumbles out of the ring, Rusev helping out as well.
When we get back, Jey is in with Del Rio, being dragged around and viciously kicked. There’s a cover for two, and keeping hold of Jey by the newly healed shoulder. He gets back into the centre of the ring, Jimmy tagged in to deal with Xavier tagged in on the other side, Jimmy landing badly when he lands coming of the top rope, Xavier covering for two. Rusev tagged in and that leg is being worked mercilessly with slams and kicks. Del Rio is tagged in to swing Jimmy with that injured leg, throwing him over the ropes. Dean was trying to get involved, but got sent back to his corner. Del Rio leaps off the top rope to land on Jimmy, and in comes Sheamus to drag Jimmy around, pulling him back over the rope for heavy blows to the chest, asking him where his cousin is. Roman breaks in to pull them apart, but moves back when he gets told by the official. Jimmy and Kofi are matched up, Kofi coming off the top rope to a right hand from Jimmy (called as Jey by commentary because again, blind or dead) and then it’s all Jimmy, taking out Kofi. Distracting the ref in the Euroboys corner, then Big E takes out Jimmy with a big hand, and he’s outside the ring, clutching his knee, both Roman and Dean beside him.
Back from the break, we go straight into action, with Jey in the corner, Jimmy being walked out by two refs. Jey is at the mercy of the Euroboys corner, being dragged around by Kofi, Dean trying to will him on by moving to the other corner to cheer him up to his feet, However, when he is released, he goes for a big knee to Kofi, taking him down, and then they’re both flat out. Both get to their corners, and Roman’s tagged in against Xavier. After throwing Xavier around, Roman has the anger to take out the whole Euroboys side, taking them off the apron, and goes for Sheamus, refusing to chase him around the ring and going for a drive by on Kofi and Xavier. Del Rio gets involved, flinging Roman into the steps and then the barricade, and he’s hurting now, letting out a wheezing cough.
Rusev takes him time with Roman, and then once he’s sufficiently worn down, Sheamus tags in for a big knee and a cover, kick out at two. Roman’s caught in their corner, Big E making the tag, belly to belly suplex and Roman kicking out at two. Apparently everyone’s enjoying taking their turn with Roman – well, we all dream of that. Big E gets the abdominal stretch on Roman, and the only person left in his corner is Dean, Jey crumpled against the barricades in pain. Big E tags in Del Rio after landing him flat, and Del Rio goes for a chokehold, the big dog almost out of it, Jey curled up on the floor. Del Rio lands a backstabber, and Roman manages to kick out at two and a half, just about. Del Rio goes for a move off the ropes, and Roman dodges, crawling to Dean as the New Day try to get Del Rio back in the ring. Sheamus tagged in against Dean, who throws a running bulldog into Sheamus, then off to top rope, interrupted by Sheamus, and a punch from Sheamus, a huge rebound lariat from Dean to take Sheamus down, and an elbow drop from the top rope onto the New Day outside the ring. Sheamus joins them, and Ambrose is back over the ropes, taking him out.
Sheamus takes a big elbow from Dean, down for the count, Rusev breaking it up, Jey in and Roman too, bodies scattered everywhere. Eventually, the two legal men are back in, and Sheamus gets a huge brogue to Dean, and takes him down for three. After the match is called, Rusev is taking a few boots to Dean, and Roman leaps in to defend his brother, taking out the New Day, but numbers are against them, and so Dean and Roman are left crumpled in the ring. We see that all the gold is on the heel side now – the Diva’s title is silver, for a start, and Charlotte just proved she’s not all sunshine, either – so perhaps that’s the only way Trips can sleep, curled up on the titles like some sort of dragon, with Steph sleeping on his chest. We end Raw with Sheamus on the shoulders of his Euroboys, shoulder to shoulder with the New Day – a sight we might have to just get used to.