We've finally made it, folks.
We have finally made it to the finish line of 2015 for Monday Night Raw. What a year it was, huh? I'm genuinely surprised I actually made it all the way through.
That's because it has been quite the roller coaster for WWE's flagship program filled with peaks and lots and lots of valleys.
Judging by the viewership numbers, some of you did not make it here with me, as you either opted to watch football or completely gave up on watching the product all together.
In a way, the final episode of Raw for the year was a microcosm of how the year went overall. There were some points I were genuinely excited for, other points that left me wondering why I even watch every week and others I was simply content with — I didn't feel anything one way or another.
After weighing all of the positives and negatives from this particular this week's edition, I saw it as a slight net gain for WWE, but only slightly. That's because WWE still has a quite a bit of work to do in order to effectively kick off 2016 with a bang and build anticipation for the Royal Rumble.
Before I delve into the show in great detail, here the full match results from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.:
- Neville def. Kevin Owens
- Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch
- Kalisto def. Kofi Kingston
- Big E def. Sin Cara
- Ryback def. Big Show via count-out
- Sheamus, Rusev & King Barrett def. Dean Ambrose & The Usos
- WWE United States championship - John Cena def. Alberto Del Rio via disqualification
Vince McMahon was arrested again
For someone that is the chairman of a publicly traded company, Vince McMahon sure has been arrested a whole lot of times … all of which occurring on national television no less.
Vince McMahon's latest run-in with the law came after an odd opening segment with Stephanie McMahon and Roman Reigns.
Vince McMahon opened the program by calling out Reigns. The two then exchanged a lot of words before Vince McMahon managed to anger Reigns to the point of shoving him to the mat.
Apparently, that was Vince McMahon's intentions as he feigned a neck injury, which spurred Stephanie McMahon to come out with a couple of detectives a handful of independent wrestlers dressed as New York City police officers.
The McMahons demanded that Reigns be arrested, but did so a little too aggressively by the detective's standards. Eventually, the detectives had enough and decided to arrest Vince McMahon instead of Reigns and hauled him off to jail.
What purpose this segment served I have no idea. It didn't help Reigns any. He just stood there and let the McMahon's yell at the police.
The only thin it did for me was yearn for more Vince McMahon as an on-screen character, as he was hysterical during this segment. The other thing it did for me was let my imagination run wild as to the backstory of the main detective here.
I wondered how many of his partners had been shot in the line of duty. I wondered how many women divorced him because he was too dedicated to his job of being a hardboiled New York City detective. He was probably going to be paired with a rookie detective next week. He's also retiring soon, which means he won't live to see his last day on the job.
None of this had anything to do with making Reigns more of a star than he already was. Even the aftermath had nothing to do with Reigns. It was all about Vince McMahon. WWE showed faux mug shots of him and had Renee Young with a cameraman at the precinct to ask him questions upon his release. He didn't answer any questions.
McMahon got back to the arena just in time to announce that Reigns was going to defend his WWE World Heavyweight championship against Sheamus next week and that he was going to be the special guest referee.
Vince McMahon had a lot of time to think sitting in that jail cell. Usually, people read a lot of books, convert to a different religion, pick up a craft. Nope, not Vince McMahon, he makes himself the referee in the first big match of 2016.
The face that runs the place returned
That's right! The man that every male over the age of 12 loves to hate, John Cena, made his return to WWE television Monday night in Brooklyn after taking some time off to film a reality show.
I know this may upset those that love to hate Cena, but I missed the face that runs the place. I've said it before and I'll say it again, people won't realize the value of Cena until he's gone for good.
I think some may have realized his value Monday and he wasn't even gone two months.
A prime example of his value came when a harsh Brooklyn crowd began to buzz at the familiar sound of his theme music.
Whether the fans were cheering or booing, they were saying something. And there were a lot of fans booing when he first came out. Cena recognized this and pandered in the only way he knew how: mention the Notorious B.I.G and turn on the thuganomics like it was 2004 all over again.
By the end of the night, the fans were cheering Cena. It didn't hurt that his match with Alberto Del Rio, which turned into a United States title match, was very good.
Kevin Owens destroys Neville, Dean Ambrose
It seems as though WWE has finally figured out how to effectively use Kevin Owens, as the last two weeks have been nothing short of brilliant for him creatively.
Even though he lost in quick, surprising fashion to Neville, Owens quickly erased that memory from people's heads by masterfully destroying him after the match. Kudos must go to Neville for taking a tremendous beating.
Eventually, Dean Ambrose thwarted Owens' attempt to power bomb Neville on the ring apron. Owens, being a good heel, ran away before there was too much harm done.
But that wasn't the last we saw of him, as he attacked Ambrose from behind later in the night and power bombed him through the announce table. After doing the dastardly deed, Owens had a look on his face as if he was thoroughly enjoying what he was doing. It almost looked therapeutic for him, which is tremendous.
I would hate for WWE to try to make Owens seem remorseful for losing his cool like it did with Randy Orton back in 2009. Owens is not a nice person and knows it just as much as you do. There is no remorse.
This is the Kevin Owens that has the potential of being a main-event level heel in WWE that would draw people in. More of this please, WWE.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch was good, but not great
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch had a good match on Monday Night Raw.
That's all it was.
Yeah, it was good, but unfortunately, since it won't matter by next week, it prevents it from being any better than it was. That's because the fans live in Brooklyn and all of the fans watching at home knew it didn't matter, thus rendering a lot of what Banks and Lynch did during the contest meaningless.
If there was some type of build, some type of stakes built in, if there was some weight to the matter, the match may have been better than what it was. Instead, it's just another good Raw match, among the dozens and dozens we've seen all year.
There's nothing wrong with having a good match. The problem is that fans know that both Banks and Lynch are capable of having better matches, but only if you give them a story to work with beforehand.
WWE gave Banks and Lynch a lot of time, especially by divas standards, I guess in an attempt to say, "See, we gave them a chance to get over." But in reality, WWE didn't give them a chance to get over because they had nothing to work with besides time.
So Banks and Lynch got a chance to have a 15-minute athletic exhibition. However, what's really going to get them over is a 15-minute wrestling match with a story that means something.
Sin Cara looked legit hurt
Kudos must go to Sin Cara, who worked his way through a match with Big E while legitimately hurting his shoulder early in the contest.
Yeah, Sin Cara has made his share of appearances on Botchamania in the past — and that's both the original and current versions — but for one night at least he earned my respect for gutting it out in front of a live audience with a much bigger opponent.
Miz TV segment was a complete waste
Do you want evidence that WWE spends most of Monday Night Raw simply trying to fill time? Look no further than the Miz TV segment from this past Monday.
Instead of just having a quick announcement stating that Big Show was going to be the very first entrant in the 2016 Royal Rumble and that he was going to be enter the match No. 1, WWE sent out The Miz, Zack Ryder, Ryback, Heath Slater and the ever-forgetful R-Truth to take part in the segment.
It was a colossal waste of time. The only positive things I took away from this was The Miz's enormous scarf, which resembled the quilt that was on Roseanne's couch, and Ryback burping into a live microphone before getting into the ring.
He showed some courtesy by saying, "Excuse me." It was probably the best thing Ryback has ever done on the microphone.