WWE Monday Night Raw results and observations (12/19/16): The Shark Cage of Jericho
After an uneventful night at Roadblock: End of the Line, Raw attempted to bounce back Monday night in Columbus, Ohio.
Unfortunately, it didn't bounce very far.
While a few mildly interesting things took place during the show, for the most part, this week's episode of Raw was one fans could afford to miss. (Don't skip the rest of this blog though!)
That is unless you like seeing multiple rivalries begin WWE's special interrupting-someone's-promo method. If you're a fan of that you probably loved this show because we saw it happen so much.
Before I dive into my analysis of the program, here are the full match results from the Schottenstein Center:
- Rusev def. Big Cass via disqualification
- Cedric Alexander def. Noam Dar
- The New Day, Sheamus & Cesaro def. Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows & The Shining Stars
- Sin Cara vs. Titus O'Neil ended in a no contest
- Bayley def. Charlotte
- Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins def. Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho via disqualification
Braun Strowman on a rampage
One of the running themes throughout this episode was Strowman raging after "losing" to Sami Zayn at Roadblock.
Strowman began his rampage in the locker room and then took his rage out on Sin Cara and O'Neil in the ring.
He then showed up again during the main event and took out Reigns and Rollins while Jericho and Owens kept their distance.
I know Strowman has his detractors, but you can't fault him for being put in the position that he is in. That is on WWE.
To his credit, I believe Strowman is doing the best he can and came across as a real monster, which should not be all that hard to do since he resembles a bear.
I also don't mind Strowman being thrown into the main-event mix. It makes him an even bigger threat for the Royal Rumble and may get Zayn in the main-event picture by association, which is where he belongs anyway.
Owens vs. Reigns again at Royal Rumble
Speaking of main events, Raw's main event of sorts for the Royal Rumble has already been set, as Owens will once again defend his Universal championship against Reigns.
The difference between this match and their match back at Roadblock is that Jericho will (should) not be able to interfere, as he will be locked inside of a shark cage that will be suspended high above the ring a la something out of the National Wrestling Alliance or NXT Takeover: Toronto, which was just a little more than a month ago.
There is no word on when (or if) Reigns will (ever) defend his United States title again.
Jericho being locked inside of a cage makes sense for the storyline and should be entertaining if we can hear what he is saying while he is suspended in the air.
I thought him being locked in the cage and raised in the air Monday night was pretty funny, but I thought WWE missed out on the hilarious opportunity to have Jericho hanging up there for a good portion of the show.
I thought that could have made for some comedic moments.
New directions for women's division
Raw's women's division is finally going in some new directions after the focus was solely placed on Charlotte and Sasha Banks for months.
It looks as though there will be two feuds moving forward: Bayley challenging Charlotte for the Raw Women's championship and Banks going up against the dominant Nia Jax.
Let's start with Banks, as she appeared on Raw sporting a brace on her left knee and a crutch. She went to the ring and said that she was not feeling very boss-like after losing to Charlotte at Roadblock.
She then asked Charlotte to join her in the ring, but Jax came out instead.
Jax said that she didn't care much for Banks before she kicked the crutch out of her hand and attacked her. Jax then teased hitting Banks with the crutch before tossing it down and leaving.
I thought Jax not hitting Banks with the crutch was a huge missed opportunity for her. I understand if someone like Jax was trying to prove that she doesn't need weapons to destroy her foes, but using the weapon would have piled on some more heat that she could have definitely used.
Attacking a vulnerable Banks was a heel move, but using the crutch when she doesn't have to would have made her more dastardly. That's the mark of a great heel.
Great heels don't do dastardly acts because they have to. They do them because they simply want to and I think WWE should have had Jax take that road Monday.
Instead, it looked like Jax showed a slither of mercy.
As for Charlotte and Bayley, they faced each other in a lengthy match Monday night that saw Bayley technically beat Charlotte for the third time since she has been on the main roster.
However, her win didn't come without some controversy, as video replay revealed that one of Charlotte's shoulders was not on the mat.
Bayley's win should land her a future title shot and that is all fine and dandy, but I have grown so tired of WWE's method of determining No. 1 contenders.
Why couldn't Bayley defeat, I don't know, someone else besides the champion to become No. 1 contender? Why is it that you essentially have to defeat the champion twice to become champion? That defies logic, but not so in WWE's universe.
I probably wouldn't have a problem if it happened once every blue moon (or red moon since this is Raw, but that's Ember Moon's gimmick), but it happens far too often across every division.
It just happened with Rich Swann, who tapped out to TJ Perkins two weeks after winning the Cruiserweight championship just to make Perkins look like a threat. Perkins is a former champion I'm pretty sure he's a threat. I don't think it helps the champions look like, you know, champions.
Evil Neville is very interesting
Speaking of threats, Neville has done a very good job of playing a heel that is a threat to the entire cruiserweight division the last couple of nights.
His promo Monday was very good and the new role as the tough guy of the cruiserweight division fits him well. After all, he looks massive standing next to the likes of Perkins and Swann.
My only request is that WWE gets Neville some more sinister theme music. It's still a little too happy for my taste. When The Usos turned heel a couple months back, their music changed to match their new brash attitude. Hopefully, the same can happen for Neville at some point.
Enzo Amore attended sensitivity training
When Amore was served a letter requesting him to go to sensitivity training, I had high hopes.
I fondly remember Daniel Bryan and Kane going through anger management back in 2012.
Since Amore is a funny guy, I expected something at least close to that level. Unfortunately, what we got Monday night was nowhere near.
It wasn't that the people involved did a bad job. Unfortunately, they were forced to act out some dreadfully unfunny dialogue. It amazes me how unfunny WWE can be when it tries. Unintentional can sometimes be the best kind, especially on a live program.
It's not like the Bryan and Kane skits were from 15 or 20 years ago. Those sketches took place four years ago and Raw wasn't
All of this ended with Rusev and Jinder Mahal attacking Amore. Yes, Mahal was involved in this as well. He was forced to go to sensitivity training, too. I guess he learned nothing from it.
New Raw Tag Team titles
Sheamus and Cesaro got some new tag team title belts Monday and they're look exactly like the others, but silver. And since they are the Raw Tag Team titles, they have a red strap as well, which goes along with Smackdown Live's having blue straps.
I've never been a fan of the current design of WWE's tag team titles so I wouldn't have liked these no matter what color the title or the strap was, but at least they upgraded from bronze to silver.