NEW ORLEANS - At the end of last week’s Raw, Mr. McMahon set the table. Now, he’s begun inviting guests to the meal. With Roman Reigns’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line in the Royal Rumble Match, the WWE roster was assembled for a call to action. The Chairman himself served as hype man to rile them into a frenzy against The Big Dog — most notably, he floated Brock Lesnar as a potential Rumble Match entrant to usurp The Big Dog as champion. And as a preamble to his one-versus-all test later this month, Reigns was placed into a literal “One vs. All Match” for later in the night, while his “brother” Dean Ambrose was teed up for Sheamus in a one-on-one match.
There is a case to be made that Sheamus kinda-probably-sorta should have won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship last week once Roman Reigns punched out the ref. Which, all things considered, would explain The Celtic Warrior’s desire to not beat Dean Ambrose so much as beat him up in a non-title match on Raw.
Beginning with the pre-match cheap shot and continuing through the bodyslam on the announce table, Sheamus picked The Lunatic Fringe apart with reckless, bone-crunching abandon. Being made of sturdier stuff than most, Ambrose gave as good as he got — he even managed to bust the Irishman open. But the match still ended in a double count-out that Kevin Owens took as his cue to beat the Intercontinental Champion down once again.
No supervillain worth his salt ever let a little loss get in his way. So it’s no surprise that Stardust took another whack at Titus O’Neil, despite losing a heartbreaker to the former WWE Tag Team Champion just last week. WWE’s resident space oddity — replete with “Aladdin Sane” face paint — fell to earth once again in his effort, however, when O’Neil rallied from Stardust’s vicious overture and rode a Clash of the Titus to glory. His celebration was short-lived, though, as The Prince of Dark Matter ambushed The Big Deal after the bell to rain on his proverbial parade. Round 3, anybody?
Is The New Day truly rooty tooty booty? Debatable. But they had a rotten night by any measure. It started with a second evisceration by Chris Jericho on “The Highlight Reel” and culminated with a loss to The Usos, who had a street-clothes-wearing Y2J in their corner to serve as their equalizer against New Day’s ringside threat of Xavier Woods.
Jimmy & Jey were in the frazzled New Day’s heads early on, so Woods made it a point to antagonize The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla at ringside — so much that Y2J broke his precious trombone in two. With Woods out of commission and Kofi Kingston vulnerable, The Usos sprang with a rollup and that was that.
Every dog has its day, even The Social Outcasts. The newly formed cadre of misfits — Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose and Curtis Axel — showed they had more trends than brains when they stepped to The Wyatt Family, of all people. They even ended up getting the better of the four monsters when Ryback came looking for payback against Bray Wyatt’s crew for last week’s attack. Who cares if The Big Guy's intrusion handed the Outcasts a disqualification loss? Standing tall against the Wyatts is a win by any measure, baby.
John Cena may not be able to reclaim his U.S. Championship anytime soon, but another Superstar wasted no time in stepping up to take the Cenation leader’s place. Less than a week after knocking off Alberto Del Rio, Kalisto did it again, this time to unseat The Pride of Mexico as U.S. Champion, handing the lucha sensation his first singles title in his WWE career.
And what a road he had to climb to get there. Del Rio, high off sending Cena to the shelf, picked The King of Flight apart with sadistic abandon in the early goings. When Kalisto began to catch fire, Del Rio still managed to evade his soaring suicide dives and crossbodies. It seemed to be enough — until it wasn’t. A series of kicks to the jaw knocked Del Rio off balance and The Essence of Excellence never truly gained ground again, ultimately ceding the contest, and his title, to a rollup out of nowhere. And just like that, un nuevo campéon.
Is a title worth more than a friendship? Charlotte apparently decided it was when she beat up and screwed over Becky Lynch during a pair of contests last week, and The Lass Kicker opted to dish out some lass kicking in response to her BFF’s betrayal. Maiden Ireland didn’t even wait for Charlotte to lock up against Brie Bella before she repaid her beating from last week’s Raw. Becky swarmed the champion before the match even started, causing Ric Flair to call the match off entirely. Flair may have saved his daughter from a loss, but with Becky’s promise to take Charlotte’s title — and her arm — he may not be able to save her for much longer.
It’s been on the T-shirt for some time now, and Roman Reigns put his money where his merch was by surviving the Mr. McMahon-coined “One vs. All” main event of Raw ... with some help. Set to run the gauntlet against the entire WWE roster until he dropped, The Big Dog only got a chance to face off with Kevin Owens before “All” swarmed the ring to attack the “One” — a response to what had been an impending victory by the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Enter The Beast Incarnate: Brock Lesnar, conspicuous by his absence all night, chose that moment to return and annihilate the interlopers (Sheamus, to be fair, got a few licks in before going to Suplex City) and F-5 what was left of Reigns. Lesnar wants the title. Lesnar’s in the Rumble. And if he has to go through Reigns to get it? That’s just hunky dory for him.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus ended by a double count out (14:10)
- Titus O'Neil defeated Stardust (3:23)
- The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) (w/ Chris Jericho) defeated Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods) (15:22)
- The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Braun Stowman & Erick Rowan) defeated Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) by DQ (1:25)
- Kalisto defeated Alberto Del Rio (c) to win the WWE United States Championship (15:14)
- Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Brie Bella (w/ Alicia Fox) No Contest
- Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, The Wyatt Family (Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper), The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods), Tyler Breeze, Stardust, & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) in a One Versus All Match ended in a No Contest (17:00)
Other on-screen talent