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WWE Raw live results: The final episode of 2016

The Big Takeaway --

The final Raw of 2016 heavily pushed Braun Strowman. It was the most promising sign yet that they're getting him over as a monster heel because he got the strongest reaction to date from the Chicago crowd. His way of doing run-ins in the midst of tedious matches have led to fans taking him more seriously. Next week, Strowman faces Sami Zayn in a falls count anywhere match. In the final Raw match of 2016, Roman Reigns successfully defended the U.S. Championship with a win over Kevin Owens. Neville was another strong heel figure on tonight's show, earning a match against Rich Swann on tomorrow's 205 Live. He later jumped Swann during a post-match interview. 

Show Recap -- 

Stephanie McMahon came out. Crowd started chanting C.M. Punk and Stephanie shot back that if the crowd kept chanting for another 2:15, they would last one second longer than Punk did. She mentioned Mick Foley had the night off after a busy Christmas. Seth Rollins interrupted her and the two bantered about their Christmas. He asked her if she gave HHH his manhood back. Stephanie said when he goes low, she goes high. She said HHH is the COO of the company. Rollins said HHH also used to be one of the baddest dudes out there, he's called him out for weeks, but his wife has time in a suit and tie, or sitting beside a fireplace with the kids. He said HHH will be remembered as the biggest coward of all time and asked if Stephanie wants him to be remembered that way. 

Happy New Year to everyone! 

Stephanie said HHH is more of a champion than Rollins will ever be. Rollins said he knew HHH wasn't here tonight, but he came to Chicago for a fight and wanted to wrestle Strowman after what happened last week. Reigns walked out. Byron Saxton deemed Strowman's attack on Reigns and Rollins "a rage parade." Stephanie assumed that Reigns also wanted Strowman. The instant Reigns started talking, he got booed. Reigns said he wanted to fight, but Rollins said he asked for Strowman first. The two jabbered while the crowd chanted for Punk some more. 

Reigns and Rollins started talking about how they should jump Strowman backstage the way they did back in the old days in the Shield. Stephanie got pumped up listening to them and held out her fist like she wanted to become the third member of the Shield, but Reigns and Rollins looked at her like she was crazy. Stephanie said SmackDown was also in Chicago tomorrow night and teased reuniting the Shield for one night only since Dean Ambrose was in town. After riling up the crowd, Stephanie pulled the rug out from under that idea and instead granted Rollins' wish to face Strowman tonight. She also ordered Reigns to defend the U.S. Championship against an opponent of her choosing. She also announced a tag team championship rematch that would start immediately with Cesaro & Sheamus vs. the New Day. 

Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus defeated the New Day to retain the championship (10:11) 

The New Day lineup was Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. Cesaro and Sheamus continue the odd couple dynamic where Cesaro works as a babyface while Sheamus gets the advantage with heel tactics. In this case, he grabbed Woods' hair and pulled him over the top rope. Sheamus did the Irish Curse on Woods and held him over his knee while Cesaro came off the top rope for the old Demolition finisher. In looked like Cesaro's subsequent kneedrop caught Sheamus more than it did Woods. After Woods hit a cool tornado DDT, Kingston got the hot tag and hit a slowly executed SOS on Sheamus for a two count. Woods jumped 3/4 of the way across the ring for the Randy Savage elbow, which forced a Cesaro save. Cesaro made a blind tag and used a 7-rep Giant Swing on Woods. Kingston ran in and tried Trouble in Paradise, but Cesaro caught him, dropped him, then regained position to press slam Kingston onto Big E. outside the ring. Sheamus made a blind tag while Woods went for the Honor Roll, but Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for the pin. 

There was a Royal Rumble package building up Brock Lesnar and Goldberg, who will return to Raw next week. 

Strowman was backstage. Various faceless backstage personnel stumbled away in fear by his presence. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens met him trying to kiss up to him. Owens put him over for beating up Reigns and Rollins last week. Jericho said he wouldn't want to be on the List of Strowman "Squash 'em Down, man!" Owens said he'll beat Reigns at the Royal Rumble, and after that Strowman will be next in line for the Universal Championship. Strowman told Owens to be careful what he wishes for. Jericho claimed earlier today Rollins and Reigns said they would cut Strowman down like a "Pig Nut Hickory Tree." He also claimed they didn't think Strowman was that big. Owens said they thought Strowman should take up crossfit. Jericho claimed Rollins said Strowman didn't beat Sami Zayn because he was a stupid idiot. 

Goldust and R-Truth talked backstage. Goldust said Bill Murray was the greatest Scrooge. Truth said he forgot Mr. McGoo. Bayley walked up with a belated Christmas present for Goldust. Truth wanted a present, but Goldust said he was on the naughty list. Bayley gave Truth a hug. She gave Goldust a Bayley Bear with polka dots around it in remembrance of his father Dusty Rhodes. Goldust looked truly touched. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows walked in and called them nerds. Anderson grabbed the bear and tore its head off and the two walked off laughing. Goldust looked incensed. 

They showed a tweet from Sasha Banks saying a receipt is coming for Nia Jax. 

Nia Jax defeated Scarlett (1:03) 

Charly Caruso did a pre-match interview with Scarlett, saying she wish Banks could be here for her Raw debut. She called Banks her role model. Jax laid waste to her. It should be noted Scarlett is from Chicago. Jax pinned her with a Samoan Drop. Jax told Scarlett to choose a better role model next time, then gave her a legdrop that caught her across the mouth.  

Charlotte and Stephanie finished a meeting backstage which ended with the two shaking hands. Owens and Jericho walked in to complain about Foley forcing Owens to defend the Universal Championship against Reigns with Jericho suspended above the ring in a shark cage. Jericho said he would be hanging up 100 feet in the air like a sexy pinata. Owens corrected him and said it was 200 feet. Owens asked if she was going to keep allowing Foley to play favorites. Jericho brought up Stephanie's vow to make Reigns defend the U.S Championship. Stephanie said if there was one thing she couldn't stand, it was an authority figure who abused power. So Reigns would defend the U.S. Championship tonight against Owens. Jericho tried to keep a happy face, but looked let down as Owens told him they would both be U.S. Champion after tonight, in addition to the Universal champion. 

Bayley came out for another interview segment. She said Christmas came early for her last week when she defeated Charlotte to become the new number one contender for the Raw Women's Championship. She has dreamt about holding the women's championship since she was a kid. Charlotte came out and said Bayley likes to pretend to be a WWE Superstar. Charlotte claimed Bayley didn't beat her last week, and replayed last week's match where Charlotte had her left shoulder up at the time of the three count. Charlotte said if there's one thing that Ric Flair taught her over the years, it's always have a good lawyer on your side. So Charlotte's lawyer met with Stephanie last night, and they reached a settlement which expunged Bayley's victory over her last week. 

Charlotte called Bayley average while she was born with a silver spoon in her month. She knows how the system work and she makes it work for her. She brought up how the two came up together in NXT. Whenever Bayley talked about winning the women's championship in NXT, she was secretly laughing inside the entire town. Charlotte said he would give Bayley a second chance at her childhood dream, an opportunity to beat her tonight. Bayley got ready to wrestle, but Charlotte added in the settlement she was guaranteed a referee who would call it down the line. Dana Brooke came out in a referee shirt. 

Raw Women's Champion Charlotte defeated Bayley in a non-title match with Dana Brooke as special referee (3:41) 

Whole match was an angle. Brooke favored Charlotte early. Bayley gave Brooke a Bayley-to-Belly Suplex. Brooke stayed on the floor for a few minutes while a new referee came down. Bayley had Charlotte pinned after another Bayley-to-Belly, but Brooke pulled the new referee out of the ring. Charlotte pinned Brooke after a schoolgirl cradle where she held her feet on the ropes, plus Brooke gave a fast count. 

Backstage, Strowman choked a stagehand while Stephanie walked up. Stephanie wanted to know what he was doing. He said the stagehand wouldn't tell him where Zayn was and he wanted Zayn tonight. Stephanie said Zayn wasn't in the building. Strowman said he wanted to take Zayn apart next week in a Last Man Standing match to finish him off for good. Stephanie said she would grant him that match, but wanted him to be extra aggressive when he faces Rollins tonight. 

Neville defeated T.J. Perkins (4:55) 

Neville is doing heel things like refusing to shake hands before the match, which is standard for cruiserweight matches in WWE. T.J. Perkins hit the detonation kick and tried the kneebar, but Neville grabbed the leg and pinned Perkins with a cradle while holding the tights. Austin Aries was on color and got some chants, which he noted on the air. 

Caruso did a post-match interview saying it was funny when you leave a trial of bodies in your wake, people want to talk to you. He said Americans only want to talk about him when they insult his accent, or think his personality is too bland for TV or his face isn't appropriate for Raw. He said it was Americans' ignorance and arrogance that kept them from appreciating him. He said tomorrow, Americans will have no choice but to appreciate him because he's the true King of the Cruiserweights. 

Enzo Amore and Big Cass came out. They aired photos of Amore in the medics room following the beating at the hands of Rusev and Mahal from last week. He had a giant, purple bruise on his butt cheeks the size of record album, extending to his upper thigh.  

Enzo was in a wheelchair and said sensitivity training wasn't his speed, he was already certified where he got his degree from Certified G University. He said Rusev and his "ride along partner" Mahal had no backbone. He said Mama Amore raised a rolling stone. He said Rusev and Mahal won't find him solo again because his solo cup has runneth over. He basically said Cass would be by his side at all times from now on. Cass challenged Rusev, saying Rusev couldn't beat him up in a room one-on-one. He said if Rusev had a problem with Enzo, Rusev had a problem with Cass and told him to come out. 

Rusev and Lana walked out, followed by Mahal, who is now wearing a turban. Mahal slapped Enzo, who got out of the wheelchair and tripped him. Cass blasted Rusev with a clothesline over the top rope. Amore, still limping heavily, threw Amore onto Mahal. Amore sold it big like he was still injured. Cass gave Rusev a big boot out of the ring. 

They showed HHH's Twitter account officially announcing the crowning of the first United Kingdom champion in a tournament on January 14th and 15th in England on the WWE Network. 

The Shining Stars vs. Bo Dallas & Darren Young ended in a no contest (1:02) 

There was a Facebook angle to set up this match where the Shining Stars tried to sell Bob Backlund a time share to Puerto Rico because it was a good place to retire. Strowman came out to destroy everyone. He got a good reaction. Or it could have been the fans weren't interested in seeing the match because they chanted "Thank you, Strowman" after the carnage ended. Strowman carried a Christmas tree to the ring and clotheslined Bo Dallas with it. Primo did a tope right into a Strowman clothesline. Then Epico gave Strowman a chair shot to the back, which he didn't sell, then clotheslined him. He threw Darren Young into Backlund, then threw the ring steps onto Dallas, Primo and Epico. He did his giant roar to a noticeable pop. Fans started chanting "Strowman" in the same vein as "Goldberg." 

Braun Strowman defeated Seth Rollins by DQ (3:29)

Rollins bumped like a madman for Strowman, taking throws and body slams. Rollins got a good pop for his comeback, finally knocking down Strowman after a springboard knee to the face, two boots to the face and a blockbuster. Rollins went for the pedigree, but Strowman backdropped him over the top rope. Strowman went out of the ring, but Zayn ran out of the crowd for a DQ. He rammed Strowman into the post twice, when he only sold momentarily. Strowman chased Zayn through the crowd, knocking a fan into his seat in the process.

As Rollins was down, Jericho came out and gave him three codebreakers, despite an assortment of referees trying to hold him back. 

Owens watched on from backstage when Caruso asked him about his preparations for Rollins tonight. Owens blew off the question and said he would beat Reigns tonight now that Jericho has taken out Rollins. Jericho and Owens embraced backstage and said they would own Reigns, and also own the U.S. Championship tonight.

On this week's Emmalina vignette, Emmalina's voice was heard. She said everyone had waited patiently, but when she finally reemerges, she'll make it worth everyone's wait. 

Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows defeated the Golden Truth (3:42)

Anderson pinned Goldust with a schoolboy cradle while holding the trunks. It came after Goldust gave Anderson a bulldog, then clotheslined Gallows out of the ring. 

WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann defeated Ariya Daivari in a non-title match (1:24) 

Swann scored the win with the Spin Kick. Post-match, Swann did an interview with Caruso where he called Neville a "sour puss" and accepted his challenge for a cruiserweight title shot for 205 Live tomorrow night. Neville came out to jump 

Caruso asked Daivari what were the factors that led to his loss to Swann. He said the only factor was Jack Gallagher potentially showing up and called him a scoundrel. Jack Gallagher showed up in a tuxedo and allowed Daivari to retract that statement. Daivari called him a scoundrel again. Gallagher said Daivari has impugned his character and said they must settle this in a traditional manner. He challenged Daivari to a duel. Daivari asked if Gallagher was Alexander Hamilton. Gallagher said no, if he had American history correct, he was more like Aaron Burr, then took a rubber glove and slapped him. Even Corey Graves couldn't hide is amusement over Gallagher's antics. Gallagher and Daivari are set for 205 Live tomorrow, as well. 

U.S. Champion Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens to retain the championship (16:19) 

About three minutes in, Jericho ran out to distract Reigns, leading to an Owens superkick. Match had the most heat on the show and it was the best on the show, as well. Owens used a cannonball while mocking Reigns pose for a spear. Reigns hit a superman's punch for a two count. Finish came when Rollins ran out to attack Jericho. Owens was distracted and Reigns hit a spear for the pin. Post-match, Rollins helped Reigns up off the mat, though the two didn't necessarily shake hands. They are showing more unity. Rollins gave Owens a pedigree while Reigns hit Jericho with a spear outside the ring.