The Big Takeaway:
Slammies were given out. Only major news item on the show was John Cena is returning next week. The show was focused on getting the League of Nations over as a heel group.
Stephanie McMahon started the show smiling. She said McMahons don't wallow in their self-pity, so she won't let Roman Reigns get her down tonight. Reigns showed up smiling because he was the new champion. He suspected that McMahon had something up her sleeve, but he doesn't sweat any of the McMahons or HHH. Roman said he hasn't seen HHH since he laid him out at TLC, but he told her to tell HHH he wasn't hard to find, he was the one wearing the gold.
Stephanie ordered him to get out of her ring. Reigns just laughed at her. Stephanie shrieked as Reigns kept laughing and the fans chanted "no.' Reigns said the fans didn't want him to leave. Roman asked the fans if they wanted to see her get really mad, and he turned his back to her. Stephanie screamed at him to get back in the ring, saying "How dare you turn your back to me!" They love taking lines from "Gladiator."
Reigns kept smiling and walked back up through the crowd. Fans were cheering as he made his way up the crowd as Stephanie ordered him to get back in the ring. Roman ignored repeated threats. Stephanie got so mad that she ordered Reigns' cousins, the Usos, to wrestle the New Day. Reigns no sold that. Then she ordered Dean Ambrose to wrestle Sheamus in a steel cage.
Dolph Ziggler came out for the first Slammy Award for the "Breakout Star of the Year." The nominees were Kevin Owens, Neville, Charlotte, Tyler Breeze and Braun Strowman.
The winner was Neville. His acceptance speech was interrupted by Owens, who said he should have won. Owens got cheered. He ordered Neville to take a walk. Neville complied. What the hell kind of booking was that? They should have handed Neville a shovel so he can bury himself. Owens turned his ire to Ziggler, claiming that the only way Ziggler could win a Slammy was if they awarded "Has-Been of the Year." That led to a pull-apart brawl with Ziggler fighting in his tuxedo.
Kane defeated Bray Wyatt by DQ (:53)
They spilled over to the floor where Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Strowman jumped Kane for the DQ. The Dudley Boyz and Tommy Dreamer ran out for the save, starting up yet another eight man between these teams.
The Wyatt Family defeated Kane, Tommy Dreamer and the Dudley Boyz (2:47)
Harper pinned Devon Dudley with a lariat. The Dudley Boyz gave Harper Wazzup, but Strowman clothesline do both Dudleys. Kane clotheslined Strowman over the top rope before the finish.
Santino Marella came out for the "LOL Moment of the Year." Crowd was happy to see Marella. Nominees were the New Day and it's showdown with Edge and Christian; the Bushwackers being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame; the Miz world premiere of his erectile dysfunction commercial where he turned out the Miz was the one who got over; R-Trtuh cutting a promo for the Money in the Bank match he wasn't even competing in; and the New Day dancing with Stephanie, while HHH reluctantly joined in.
R-Truth was the winner. Santino accepted the award for R-Truth because he's never won a Slammy before, which the audience kind of groaned at. R-Truth came out and demanded the award. Santino took off running with the Slammy and R-Truth chased him.
Santa Claus cut a promo wishing everyone a Merry Chirstmas. Of course, it was Mick Foley. His daughter Noelle and son Dewey were dressed as elves.
Paul Heyman came out to present a Slammy. He said aside from LOL and Diva of the Year, every Slammy should go to Brock Lesnar. The award was the "OMG Shocking Moment of the Year." Nominees were Seth Rollins cashing in the briefcase at WrestleMania; Lesnar giving Michael Cole and a random cameraman F-5s the night after WrestleMania; Kalisto delivering Solina del Sol on Jimmy Uso at TLC off the top of a ladder onto another ladder; Sheamus cashing in the briefcase and pinning Reigns at Survivor Series, ending Reigns 1st world title reign after 5:15; and the Wyatt Family jumping the Undertaker at the end of their Hell in a Cell match.
Kalisto was the winner. He came out wearing a mask in a three-piece suit, which reminded me of Mil Mascaras in the dying days of World Class Wrestling. Crowd didn't really react to him. Weird to see Kalisto and Heyman out there together. There was a photo tweeted of Owens waiting in the ring taking a nap against a turnbuckle as Kalisto did the promo.
Kevin Owens defeated Dolph Ziggler (12:05)
More good stuff from Ziggler. Owens won with the Pop-Up Power Bomb after Ziggler tried to give him a Zig Zag. Ziggler had just hit a Famouser for a two count. Ziggler has really upped his game over the last six months. Nothing new regarding an Ambrose-Owens program tonight, so it remains to be seen if that's a program that fell through the cracks or if it's on a one week sabbatical.
Stephanie came out to present the Superstar of the Year Slammy. Everyone on the roster was nominated. Reigns, Sheamus, John Cena, Owens, Ambrose, Wyatt, The New Day, Lesnar, the Undertaker, Kane, Rollins, and Sting were highlighted in an excellent video package.
Stephanie announced Rollins as the winner. Rollins came out on crutches to a good babyface reaction, and the announcers put him over like he was a face. There was even a "Thank you, Seth" chant. Rollins wasn't shilling a bit, going full arrogant saying there was no other option for Superstar of the Year. He brought up his performance at the Royal Rumble in the three-way against Cena and Lesnar, winning the championship at WrestleMania, etc. As quickly as the success came, one wrong landing made it all disappear.
Rollins turned serious and said in 2016, he would redesign Seth Rollins, he would rebuild himself and he will reclaim a championship he never lost.
Alberto Del Rio (C) defeated Jack Swagger in a nontitle match (7:07)
Alberto Del Rio won with the Double Stomp on the Tree of Woe. Afterwards, Sheamus gave Jack Swagger the Brogue Kick.
Mark Hery came out to present the "Hero in All of Us" Award. This was an award presented to various wrestlers who help out with charity. Nominees were: Natalya for her work with the Special Olympics and the USO; Reigns for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Dosomething.org campaign; the Big Show for the U.S. Armed Forces and the Special Olympics; Titus O'Neal for his commitment to help the homeless; Cena for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Cena was the winner to wide cheers. Fans weren't as happy when it was announced he wasn't there. Henry accepted the award for Cena and appeared a little choked up, perhaps knowing this was the last time he would be at a Slammy presentation as an active wrestler.
They announced non televised Slammy Winners, including Lesnar vs. Undertaker as Rivalry of the Year; the Stone Cold Podcast as Best WWE Network Show; Damien Mizdow winning Double Cross of the Year (knocking off Del Rio in an upset); and Reigns leveling HHH as Extreme Moment of the Year.
Supposedly, Santa Claus came out to present the award for Surprise Return of the Year. It was Bo Dallas under the outfit. Nominees were the Dudleys, Chris Jericho, Del Rio (with Zeb Coulter not mentioned or even shown), Kane (?), and Sting.
The winner was Sting, who was also absent. Crowd wasn't happy about that one either.
New Day were out and unhappy that they didn't get the Slammy for Tag Team of the Year. As revenge, Big E. Was going to ruin the ending to the latest Star Wars movie, but Kofi Kingston didn't want that because his son hadn't seen the film yet. The Usos came out with new music.
The Usos defeated the New Day in a 2-on-3 handicap match (10:57)
Jey Uso pinned Xaiver Woods after reversing an Rolling Reverse Cradle. Pretty good match but the fans were getting worn out by this point. Fans chanted for Bayley. How about we keep that one quiet before she's called up to the main roster and buried faster than you can say "Miss Universe is Miss Colombia?"
R-Truth, who retrieved his Slammy from Santino, came out to present the Diva of the Year. Nominees were: Nikki Bella, Naomi, Paige, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte.
Paige was announced as the winner. Paige and R-Truth embraced. It appeared R-Truth tried to put his handprint on her ass because she had to push him off. Paige acted like a heel. Did she tun again since TLC? Of course, this was the Steve Harvey spot that you knew was coming. R-Truth said he had made a mistake and Paige was the runner-up. The winner was announced as Nikki Bella. Nikki came out and asked Paige to stick around. Nikki did a total babyface speech, dedicated the award to everyone. She and Paige embraced.
Rusev defeated Neville via submission (8:02)
Rusev got almost all the offense and got the submission win with the Accoldate. Neville attempted the Red Arrow but Rusev moved, Neville jumped off right into a thrust kick by Rusev. Post match, Sheamus gave Neville another Brogue Kick.
Miz, who was on commentary for the Neville match, presented the Slammy for the This is Awesome Moment of the Year: Nominees were Lesnar destroying J&J Security's car; Randy Orton's RKO of Rollins at WrestleMania; Stephanie McMahon starting the Divas Revolution; Ronda Rousey showing up at WrestleMania and the Shield reforming to power bomb Orton through an announcers table.
The Rock and Rousey at WrestleMania. No one reacted because they knew Rock nor Rousey wasn't within 1,000 miles of the place.
Becky Lynch defeated Brie Bella via submission (5:11)
Becky Lynch won with Disarm-her after blocking Brie Bella's La Magistral cradle. Charlotte was at ringside but didn't interfere. Crowd has faded out.
Ric Flair came out to award the Slammy for Match of the Year. Nominees were Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins at Royal Rumble: HHH vs. Sting at WrestleMania; Owens vs. Cena at the Elimination Chamber; Reings vs. Ziggler vs. Owens vs. Delp Rio in a Fatal Four Way #1 Contenders Match on Raw from November and Lesnar vs. Undertaker at Hell in a Cell. Why Cesaro vs. Cena in July wasn't nominated is beyond me.
The winner was Undetaker vs. Lesnar. Lesnar's music played, but of course he didn't come out. Heyman did and got booed. Quite funny to see Flair and Heyman shake hands since Flair fired Heyman from WCW in 1990 over a promo Heyman gave where he went against Flair's orders and basically put himself over. Fans chanted for Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar has no desire to accept awards, he wants to show up for a fight. He said while the fans want Lesnar, no one in the locker room is man enough to want Lesnar. Heyman said the Undertaker stood toe-to-toe with Lesnar in a Hell in a Cell, and he paid tribute to Undertaker. Heyman tried to rally the fans with a babyface interview, but they wanted stars at this point.
The League of Nations jumped the Usos in the back. Rusev put Jimmy in the Accolade while Del Rio but Jey in the cross armbreaker. Sheamus gave them both Brogue kicks and said "2 down, one to go."
Dean Ambrose (C) defeated Sheamus in a cage match (10:45)
Ambrose won by climbing over the cage when he and Sheamus had climbed over and slugged it out. After Sheamus hit a head butt, Ambrose fell to the floor. Once Sheamus hit the floor, Reigns hit him with a spear. Both men made several attempts to climb over the cage. Sheamus gave Ambrose White Noise off the top rope for a two count. Not even that spot could get the crowd buzzing. They fought again on the top rope where Sheamus crouched himself. Ambrose tried to climb over, but Rusev and Del Rio stopped him. So Ambrose jumped off the top of the cage with a hooking clothesline for a good near fall. Ambrose tried to get out of the cage, but Del Rio slammed the cage door into his face. Amazing to see something that drew millions in Dallas in the 80s used as a transition spot here. Reigns ran out of the crowd and gave Del Rio a spear, and hit Rusev with a Superman Punch. Sheamus tried to climb out, but Reigns met him at the top, had a staredown with him and threw a chair into the ring. Ambrose used the chair for several shots across the back, then hit Dirty Deeds. There was a very audible "Sheamus is boring" chant. Stephanie watched from the back. As Ambrose climbed in the ring, Sheamus gave him a Brogue Kick. Rusev and Del Rio put the boots to Ambrose before the match even started.
Show ran out of steam about 90 minutes in. The good news was Reigns got a good reaction the week after winning the strap.
Post-Show Notes from Eric Thibault:
WWE returns on Friday March 4th for a Road To Wrestlemania house show. The presale password is WWEPRE.
Kids loved chanting New Day Rocks before the show. Definitely not as full as last Raw in August featuring Undertaker and Lesnar. 3/4 of upper level curtained off.
Pre-Show dark match: Lucha Dragons vs. The Acension. They went straight to big moves, Acension double teamed Kalisto for the heat one minute in. Hot tag to Sin Cara two minutes in. Kalisto and Sin Cara hit topes, then the Salida del sol and the Swanton for the victory in 3:30.
Roman Reigns was cheered loudly during the opening video package.
Nikki and Paige were really over. The League of Nations received little to no reaction during entrances, its matches or post match angles.
Becky Lynch had a really cool, smoke filled entrance during the commercial break.
This was the second time on RAW in Minneapolis in the last couple years that they teased Lesnar but didn't deliver.
Fans chanted "This is boring" during the cage match but flipped after Ambrose dove off the cage. Ambrose and Roman celebrated on the ramp after the match. No post match angle or match.