WWE Monday Night RAW Location: Miami, FL Date: January 25, 2016
Daddy’s home, and daddy has the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Daddy — who is Triple H in this analogy — also still has to deal with Roman Reigns, but The Game still makes the rules as to who gets to challenge him for the supreme prize at WrestleMania. And the rule of the day was that The Authority would be performing their own evaluation of the locker room that will lead to a handpicked WWE Fastlane main event. The winner of that match, and only the winner of that match, will get to battle The King of Kings at The Show of Shows. Game on.
Want to impress The Authority? Beating up on Dolph Ziggler is a good way to do it. So give Kevin Owens an early lead in the horse race for the Fastlane main event after a come-from-behind victory over The Showoff that kicked off Raw in earnest. A come-from-way-behind victory, if we’re being honest: Owens was a step slower than usual after pulling double-duty at the Royal Rumble, and even “Chinlock City” wasn’t enough to contain a surging Ziggler. A sleeper hold, a Famouser and a superkick all left KO seeing stars, but shoving Ziggler off the top turnbuckle gave the banged-up Owens just enough breathing room to hit the Pop-up Powerbomb for the win.
The Dudley Boyz defeated Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
Raw is in Florida, which means Flo Rida is back. And that means Heath Slater is out for revenge. And despite an impressive showing from “Bo Rida” in a rap battle, Slater and his Social Outcasts found themselves on the losing end of a confrontation with Flo Rida when he summoned The Dudley Boyz to beat the hashtag out of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.
Bo and Axel, to their credit, did not go down without a fight. They even got a “Bo Train” rolling after a strong opening. But the Dudleys spun them right round (right round) when D-Von tagged in against The Ax Man, and after Flo helped dispatch an interfering Slater, a 3D to Axel finished them off. On the bright side, “Bo Rida” will definitely be trending for a long, long time.
In case you missed it, AJ Styles debuted in the Royal Rumble Match, and it was awesome. Now, The Phenomenal One has his first WWE victory under his belt, and a snarkier-than-usual Chris Jericho, who battled the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, is left scratching his head after his second shortcoming in as many nights.
Styles and Y2J nearly broke the Internet and each other in the match. Jericho turned back the clock with ping-ponging dropkicks and leaps, and Styles gave as good as he got, raining pain from above on The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla. A textbook Walls of Jericho seemed to seal it, but Styles powered out, and even though he missed the Styles Clash, a rollup was good enough to get the job done.
The Beast has been slain, and The Devil’s Favorite Demon followed shortly thereafter. Looking to make a statement of his own as The Authority determines Fastlane’s combatants, Bray Wyatt made it his business to eliminate Kane, and with the help of his Family, he did just that. Relying on the interference of Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, Wyatt snuffed out The Big Red Machine with Sister Abigail and marshaled a three-on-one assault of the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Call it New Day Rocked: The mystery Superstar said to be returning to Raw turned out to be the jabroni-beatin’, pie-eatin’, trailblazin’, eyebrow-raisin’ People’s Champ The Rock, and boy, did he have some words for The Miz, Big Show, Lana and especially The New Day. The latter caught Rock’s attention when they interrupted his grand homecoming to hit The People’s Champion with the power of positivity. That led to a challenge from The Great One, which The New Day politely declined. So The Usos arrived as reinforcements to feed Big E into a Rock Bottom and Xavier Woods into the People’s Elbow.
Nikki Bella is set to undergo a high-stakes neck surgery, so the rest of The Fearless One’s squad set out to “win one for the Gipper.” It didn’t quite go that way, though, as Team Bella lieutenants Brie Bella and Alicia Fox fell short against Natalya and Paige, despite some impressive teamwork that saw Foxy break up the PTO that had Brie dead to rights. A discus clothesline from Natalya dispatched The Foxy One moments later, and Paige dug into the well to plant Brie with the Ram-Paige. Ding ding ding.
WWE United States champion Kalisto defeated The Miz to retain the title
He did it, and he did it again: Kalisto is your new United States Champion. And his second reign with Old Glory got off to a far better start than his first, with a victory over The Miz on Raw. Miz was stewing after his embarrassment at the hands of The Rock, but despite The Awesome One’s best efforts to take Kalisto to Mizney World (including a desecration of Kalisto’s mask), The King of Flight would not be denied. A rope-assisted Salida del Sol counter of the Skull-Crushing Finale sealed the deal, and the new champion marched on.
Triple H really does like to play games. First he teams Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose — the deposed WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Royal Rumble Match runner-up, for those keeping score — up against League of Nations stalwarts Sheamus and Rusev in Raw’s main event. And he counts on fatigue and the numbers game to keep the ex-Shield warriors at bay.
Both those factors aside (King Barrett and Alberto Del Rio pulled no shortage of shenanigans), Reigns and Ambrose got the win via Spear to Sheamus and double-powerbombed Rusev through the commentary table. Most impressive. Their reward? They’ll face each other in the Fastlane main event … and Brock Lesnar. Let’s play.