Week of 12/26/2016 - 1/1/2017 (Monday - Wednesday)

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: December 26, 2016
    Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
    Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

    It's the city that keeps giving even after the holidays. We're closing out the Monday Night Raw year in Chicago and unfortunately that doesn't mean the Slammy Awards. With just under five weeks to go until the Royal Rumble, the big story is Braun Strowman invading the main event. That could result in some very interesting reactions from the Chicago crowd. Let's get to it.

    The opening video looks at Strowman's destruction last week.

    Opening sequence.

    Here's Stephanie McMahon to open things up. She wishes us all happy holidays and says Mick Foley is off tonight due to his extreme work schedule as of late (possibly due to hip surgery). The fans cut her off with a CM Punk chant and she actually acknowledges it by saying if the fans could last two minutes and fifteen seconds, they would last a minute longer than Punk.

    Cue Seth Rollins to say he wants HHH tonight but Stephanie says she isn't her husband's keeper. Rollins begs HHH to come down but says he'll settle for Strowman. This brings out Roman Reigns to say he wants Strowman too. Since both guys are wanting to fight Strowman, Reigns thinks they should go back there and drag him out here for a Shield style beating.

    Stephanie is really fired up by the idea and even suggests that Dean Ambrose could be here. She's just kidding though because the Chicago fans are that easily manipulated. Instead, tonight we'll have Seth vs. Strowman and Reigns vs. an opponent of Stephanie's choosing.

    Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Cesaro/Sheamus

    New Day is challenging with Big E. on the floor. Cesaro gets beaten down in a hurry with double middle rope elbows and a legdrop for two each. Woods is thrown out to the floor and comes up grabbing his knee as we take a break. Back with Woods diving through the ropes into a tornado DDT to plant Cesaro on the floor.

    The hot tag brings Kofi in for the flip dive and a slightly botched counter into the SOS for two on Sheamus. Everything breaks down and Woods' top rope elbow gets two on Sheamus with Cesaro making the save. The Swing goes on but Big E. gets on the apron for a distraction. That earns Kofi a gorilla press down onto the big man and a blind tag sets up the Brogue Kick to retain the titles at 10:11.

    Video on Brock Lesnar. Goldberg is back next week.

    Strowman runs into Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, who seem to have been looking for him. Owens thinks that Strowman is up next for the title after Reigns is dispatched so Strowman should focus on the Seth and Roman. Apparently Rollins and Reigns have been talking smack about Strowman and said his punches are like being hit with a pillow. Strowman doesn't buy the rumors and seems to want to demolish the two of them.

    Golden Truth is in the back talking about Scrooge when Bayley comes up to give Goldust a Bayley Bear dressed like Dusty Rhodes. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows come in and RIP THE BEAR'S HEAD OFF.

    Nia Jax vs. Scarlet

    Scarlet is a jobber wearing a Sasha shirt so the destruction is over in 53 seconds off a Samoan drop.

    Nia tells Scarlet to choose a better role model and drops the big leg.

    Charlotte shakes Stephanie's hand when Owens and Jericho come in to lodge an official complaint. Jericho doesn't being spiders or being in shark cages. Is Foley going to put the spiders in the cage? It might give Jericho acne-arachna-phobia! They want to be face Reigns for the US Title tonight as punishment for Foley. Stephanie says she hates bosses who use their authority to advance some personal agenda (HAHA STEPHANIE IS SO IRONIC AND FUNNY!) so she gives Owens the title shot. Jericho doesn't seem pleased but goes along with it.

    Here's Bayley for a chat. She's so happy to be in Chicago because she's the new #1 contender. This brings out Charlotte to show us the clip from last week where her shoulder was up at two. Since there was a problem, Stephanie has agreed to expunge the match from the record books. However, since Charlotte is feeling charitable, she'll let Bayley have another chance to win right now. Oh and there's going to be a guest referee: Dana Brooke.

    Charlotte vs. Bayley

    Dana won't let Bayley go into the corner so Charlotte starts in with the chops. Bayley takes over and gets dragged off so Dana gets suplexed. Another referee runs in as Charlotte takes over in the corner with more chops. Bayley shrugs it off and grabs the Bayley to Belly but Dana pulls the referee out. Back in and Charlotte grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes, allowing Dana to count the pin at 3:39.

    Stephanie yells at Braun, who wants Sami Zayn in a last man standing match next week. The boss agrees, as long as Seth gets the same beating Sami will get.

    We look back at Neville's speech from last week, which is one of my favorite moments in a long time. He's nailing the heel character at the moment and I'm hoping he annihilates Swann to take the title.

    TJ Perkins vs. Neville

    Austin Aries replaces Saxton on commentary. Neville won't shake hands (as he shouldn't) so Perkins knees Neville in the chest for two early on. A spinning kick sends Neville outside and a high crossbody gets two back inside. An AUSTIN ARIES chant starts up as Neville kicks TJ in the head to send him to the floor. Back in and we hit the chinlock for a bit before a double chickenwing into double knees to the chest gives TJ two. The Detonation Kick looks to set up the kneebar but Neville reverses into a rollup and grabs the tights for the pin at 4:58.

    Neville yells about people making fun of his accent and face not being appropriate for Monday Night Raw. It's American ignorance and arrogance that prevents them from appreciating him. Tomorrow night, Neville wants Rich Swann.

    We look back at Enzo Amore getting destroyed by Jinder Mahal and Rusev at sensitivity training.

    Here are Enzo and Cass with the former in a wheelchair (and of course it's leopard skin). Enzo says the sensitivity class isn't for him because he's already gotten a degree in being a certified G (which means you can teach that). We get a long rant from Enzo about how his cup runeth over and he's spilled his Haterade. Since he's done that, the big man is hitting cleanup. Cass calls out Rusev but gets someone a bonus with Jinder Mahal. Enzo pops out of the chair and pulls Mahal off the apron, leaving Cass to clear the ring. The injured Enzo is thrown into Mahal and Cass stands very tall.

    Shining Stars vs. Bo Dallas/Darren Young

    This is over an incident on Facebook Live earlier today. And never mind as it's Strowman time....and he's got a Christmas tree. The beatdown is on and it's officially a no contest at 1:04 (though it should be a DQ as he hit Dallas first).

    Strowman destroys everyone, including Bob Backlund (though just by proxy).

    Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman

    Strowman throws him into the corner to start but Seth gets in a suicide dive on the floor. Back in and the enziguri and springboard knee to the head stagger the monster. A second knee has him even more wobbled but he pulls Seth out of the air on the third attempt. Seth actually drops him with a Blockbuster but the Pedigree is countered with a backdrop over the top. Braun runs him over again....and here's Sami through the crowd to jump Strowman for the DQ at 3:34.

    Post match Braun chases Sami to the back, leaving Rollins to take the Codebreaker from an invading Jericho.

    Owens praises his best friend for getting rid of Rollins, leaving it one on one tonight.

    Emmalina says the wait will be worth it but she's still premiering soon.

    Golden Truth vs. Anderson and Gallows

    Goldust takes Anderson down in the corner to start but Gallows comes in to start the beating. Truth fights up and brings Goldust back in as everything breaks down. We actually get some fire from Goldust, who throws Anderson into the barricade. They head inside though and it's Karl getting in a rollup for the pin at 3:34.

    Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari

    Non-title. Daivari takes him down to start but misses the early frog splash attempt. That means a double stomp to the back and the spinning kick to Daivari's head for the pin at 1:22.

    Post match Swann agrees to face Neville, who jumps the champ from behind.

    Daivari calls Jack Gallagher a scoundrel so of course Gallagher is next to him. Jack challenges Daivari to a duel, SLAPS HIM WITH A GLOVE, and corrects Daviari's American history by saying this makes Gallagher more like Aaron Burr.

    Video on Lesnar vs. Goldberg from Survivor Series. I still don't know why I would want to see them fight a third time.

    US Title: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns

    Reigns is defending. Owens hides in the corner to start and gets knocked to the floor with a right hand. Back in and Owens starts to slowly hammer away but Reigns clotheslines him down. Cue Jericho for a distraction so Owens can score with a DDT. The backsplash gets two and we take an early break.

    Back with Owens getting two off the Cannonball and we hit the chinlock. Owens: “ASK HIM!” Reigns fights up and gets in the apron kick, only to get caught with a Backstabber for two. It's too early for the Pop Up Powerbomb though so Reigns grabs the sitout powerbomb for two.

    The Superman Punch misses but the second attempt connects for two on Owens. Jericho offers a distraction though and Owens gets in a Codebreaker for two. This brings out Rollins to Pedigree Jericho on the floor but Owens superkicks Seth down. Back in and the spear ends Owens at 16:21.

    Post match Owens gets Pedigreed and Jericho gets speared to end the show.

    Cesaro/Sheamus b. New Day – Brogue Kick to Kingston
    Nia Jax b. Scarlet – Samoan drop
    Charlotte b. Bayley – Rollup with feet on the ropes
    Neville b. TJ Perkins – Rollup with a handful of tights
    Shining Stars vs. Bo Dallas/Darren Young went to a no contest when Braun Strowman interfered
    Braun Strowman b. Seth Rollins via DQ when Sami Zayn interfered
    Anderson and Gallows b. Golden Truth – Rollup to Goldust
    Rich Swann b. Ariya Daivari – Kick to the head
    Roman Reigns b. Kevin Owens – Spear


    Date: December 27, 2016
    Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
    Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga

    As usual, Smackdown has a stacked show with three title matches to close out the year, putting it a bit ahead of the World Champion losing to the midcard champion in a combination rematch/preview of the upcoming title match. On top of that, some guy named Cena is back tonight and probably opening the show. Let's get to it.

    Here's Cena to get things going and the booing is so loud that Cena says he can't even understand what they're chanting. Fans: “CM Punk!” Cena: “CENA SUCKS???” After getting the fans to argue with themselves about which Chicago baseball team is better, Cena talks about all the titles on the line tonight. The fans are WAY behind AJ for the main event and Cena says he's right there with them as a Styles fan.

    With all the title matches tonight, what exactly is Cena doing here? The fans chant for Undertaker but Cena says that's why he's here: he's heard a lot of people trying to set up his career for him, including saying he's got one foot out the door and is on his way to Hollywood. The truth is he's still here and he's got a lot left to do. This is the MY TIME IS NOW Era and his name is John Cena.

    Miz comes out of his own dressing room and says he'll only answer questions asked by Renee Young.

    Tag Team Titles: Wyatt Family vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno vs. Usos vs. American Alpha

    Elimination Rules with the Wyatts defending. Gable suplexes Rhyno to start with Jey tagging himself in to grab the cover. The Wyatts head to the floor and it's off to Slater to clean house. A top rope forearm has Jey staggered and a running neckbreaker gets two. Slater goes up top but slips off, leaving Jey to hit a quick superkick for the elimination at 4:17.

    That was a pretty bad looking botch but really Slater just slipped off instead of diving into the superkick. It happens to everyone though and it was hardly the worst thing I've ever seen. Back with Harper and Orton on the apron for the first time and Gable coming in off the hot tag, meaning stereo belly to belly suplexes send the Usos flying. Gable rolls Jimmy up for the pin and an elimination at 10:12, leaving us with two teams.

    The Usos decks Alpha before leaving to give the Wyatts an even bigger advantage. Orton takes over on Jordan with a hard whip into the corner and the snap powerslam for two. A dropkick allows the hot tag to Gable, who German suplexes Harper for a near fall of his own. Back with Harper holding Gable in a headlock because Heaven forbid Alpha gets to show off. Orton takes Chad outside and throws him into the barricade and gets two off the slingshot suplex.

    A Harper side slam gets two but the hot tag brings in Jordan to clean house. The shoulders in the corner and the rapid fire suplexes have the Wyatts in trouble with Harper and Orton colliding in the corner. Jason adds another shoulder and it's Grand Amplitude to Orton for the pin and the titles at 23:21.

    Bray breaks up a fight between Harper and Orton after the match.

    We recap the end of last week's show with Corbin being added to the main event.

    Dolph Ziggler is ready for the triple threat because it's finally his time.

    James Ellsworth is all banged up but Carmella cuts off the interview to say she finds him attractive.

    Women's Title: Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss

    Becky is challenging in her rematch and goes for the leg early on. We get a nice pinfall reversal sequence with both getting some near falls, capped off with Becky grabbing a cross armbreaker. The champ takes her down though and steps on Becky's back before hammering away with some forearms. More forearms and a posting on the floor have Becky reeling as we take a break.

    Back with Becky getting in some uppercuts and clotheslines to take over before blocking a DDT. In shades of Pentagon Dark from Lucha Underground, Becky snaps the arm back and sends Bliss shoulder first into the post. A top rope dropkick knocks Bliss silly and here's La Luchadora (Becky's disguise from last week), allowing Bliss to get a rollup for two.

    Luchadora takes the turnbuckle pad off but Twisted Bliss only gets two. The Disarm-Her doesn't work either as Bliss gets her foot in the ropes. Bliss' elbow appears to be COMPLETELY DISLOCATED but Luchadora slams Becky's head into the post. Alexa pops the arm back into socket and grabs a DDT to retain at 14:00.

    We look at Renee slapping Miz last week.

    Miz allows Renee to ask him some questions but tells security to leave. They do, but Dean Ambrose replaces one of them. We get the beating that should have happened last week until Dean beats up a guard and says all clear.

    We look at Carmella saying Natalya attacked Nikki Bella.

    We get the standard “I'm Nikki Bella and I'm AMAZING because I keep fighting against everything handed to me” speech. She'll say something to Natalya's face.

    Corbin says the pressure is on the little guys in the match with him.

    Smackdown World Title: Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles

    Styles is defending. Baron cleans a lot of house to start with some hard right hands to knock both smaller guys out to the floor. We take an early break and come back with Corbin shrugging off a fireman's carry attempt and blasting both guys with clotheslines. Styles has to break up End of Days on Ziggler but Baron gets in a hard clothesline on Dolph instead.

    We take a break with Baron in full control and come back with Ziggler and Styles double teaming Corbin and clotheslining him outside in a smart move. They're not done yet though and take him outside, only to have Corbin shrug them off and load up the announcers' table. That earns him a Phenomenal Forearm from the steps and a superkick onto the table.

    Styles and Ziggler dive off the barricade to take Corbin out for good but all three are down. Ziggler Rock Bottoms AJ onto the apron and gets two off the jumping DDT back inside. The Styles Clash is broken up and Ziggler superkicks AJ out of the air to block the Phenomenal Forearm. One heck of a superkick gets two on AJ with Corbin almost getting back in to pull the referee away.

    Deep Six gets two on Ziggler with AJ making a diving save. AJ's strike rush is broken up and it's the End of Days for AJ with Ziggler adding a Zig Zag on Corbin for a really close two. Another End of Days plants Ziggler but the Phenomenal Forearm knocks Corbin to the floor, allowing AJ to pin Ziggler to retain at 23:16.

    Cena comes out to offer Styles a handshake and Styles finally gives him one.

    Neville tells us to watch 205 Live to end the show.

    American Alpha b. Usos, Heath Slater/Rhyno and Wyatt Family – Grand Amplitude to Orton
    Alexa Bliss b. Becky Lynch – DDT
    AJ Styles b. Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler – End of Days to Ziggler


    Date: December 28, 2016
    Location: Edion Arena, Osaka, Japan
    Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips

    It's a special week in NXT as we're closing out the year with a house show taped over in Japan earlier this month. The main event is Shinsuke Nakamura challenging Samoa Joe for the title in a match we saw a few weeks back. This is also a two hour show, meaning the matches won't have to be as clipped. Let's get to it.

    We open with a quick video on Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Opening sequence.

    Oney Lorcan vs. Andrade Cien Almas

    Almas wears a mask during his entrance and has no interest in a pre-match handshake. We hear about Almas defeating Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Title a few years back which is almost unthinkable given their statuses in NXT. Almas' headlock doesn't go anywhere so he does the lay on the ropes spot before getting caught in a Lorcan headlock. We talk about the crowd being more silent than usual as as Almas takes him down into a chinlock.

    Back up and Lorcan hits a running corner clothesline before popping in a few shots to the face. Something like a standing backflip into a reverse DDT (I believe Tetsuya Naito uses the same) gets two on Lorcan but he comes right back with an inverted exploder. Almas sends him into the corner again with the running double knees getting two despite a foot on the ropes. The hammerlock DDT is broken up and Lorcan takes him to the top for a German superplex (with Almas flipping over in the air) and the pin at 10:06.

    Aliyah/Liv Morgan vs. Peyton Royce/Billie Kay

    Billie gives Liv a quick fireman's carry to start as Corey goes into his usual anti-New Jersey rant. Morgan grabs a sunset flip and rolls Kay around the ring for a few two counts but both of them seem a bit dizzy. Aliyah comes in and gets caught in the wrong corner for some very long legged choking.

    The Australians work on Aliyah's back and keep pulling her away from the hot tag. We hit the chinlock for a bit as the beating continues. Liv gets knocked off the apron, which Graves refers to as an insurance policy. Aliyah finally flips out of a double suplex and brings Morgan back in to clean house with a bulldog. An STO gets two on Billie but a blind tag allows Peyton to send Liv face first into Billie's knee for the pin at 8:29.

    Tag Team Titles: DIY vs. Akira Tozawa/Tajiri

    DIY is defending and this time we get the handshake. Gargano and Tozawa start things off and this time the fans are a bit more into it. The fans seem split as both guys miss big kicks and bring in their respective partners. Tajiri sprays some mist as Graves questions his fandom with DIY in the ring.

    The feeling out process continues with the mist having fallen on Tajiri's back. Ciampa wins a battle of the shoulder blocks but a headlock into a headscissor sequence takes us back to a stalemate. They're almost completely even in the first five minutes. Ciampa starts in on Tozawa's arm but gets taken down for some Tajiri kicks to put the champions in trouble for the first time.

    Back from a break with Ciampa telling Tozawa to kick him harder. They take turns sticking their chests out for chops until Tozawa hits him behind the ear to take over. A gutbuster puts Ciampa down but he breaks up a tag to Tajiri as the formula changes a bit. Tozawa kicks him before bringing Tajiri back in for the REAL kicks to the chest. Everything breaks down and Tozawa hits some suicide dives to put the champs in trouble. It doesn't last long though as Gargano hits the spear through the ropes for a close two.

    The Tarantula sets up a missed Buzzsaw Kick before it's back to Tozawa for a forearm slugout. Ciampa comes back in for the rolling German suplexes, only to get caught in a snap German suplex from Tozawa. That's enough for Ciampa who kicks the heck out of Tozawa and hits Project Ciampa for two with Tajiri breaking it up. A blind tag brings Gargano back in for the running knee/superkick combination for the pin on Tozawa at 21:04.

    DIY bows to the challengers post match.

    Women's Title: Nia Jax vs. Asuka

    Asuka is defending and we're in her hometown. Jax shrugs off the strikes to start and headbutts the champ into the corner. That earns her an Octopus Hold followed by a guillotine with the announcers bringing up Jax's issues with that hold. Asuka gets thrown into the corner and we take an early break.

    Back with Jax tossing Asuka around even more with a release slam getting two. A sidewalk slam gets the same and another comeback is cut off in a hurry, quieting the crowd all over again. Nia drops her with a clothesline as the announcers talk about how bringing the NXT Women's Title to Raw would be a huge deal for Jax's career.

    As odd as it sounds, they're absolutely right as the title is probably more valuable than the Smackdown Women's Title and just a few steps behind the Raw counterpart. Some kicks set up a kneebar on Nia but she stands up for the easy break. A hip attack knocks Nia off the apron but Asuka is easily thrown into the apron to put her in trouble again.

    The big leg sends Asuka outside again and the announcers aren't sure if Nia is familiar enough with the rules. I get what they're going for but she knows that you have to get a pin in the ring. She's not Kamala guys. Back in and Asuka unloads on her with the strike, followed by a cross armbreaker. Asuka jumps on Nia's back for a sleeper but gets countered into a hard powerbomb for two. Back up and Asuka actually gets her up for a German suplex, followed by one heck of a kick to the jaw to retain the title at 18:52.

    We're in Melbourne next week and hopefully it's not another two hour show.

    NXT Title: Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

    Nakamura is challenging. They trade some kicks to the legs to start and Nakamura does his arm waving bit to mess with Joe's head. That's enough for Joe to take a breather on the floor and we take a break. Back with Joe taking it outside and chopping Nakamura to his knees. The corner enziguri drops Nakamura again and it's time to go after the knees. A spinwheel kick to the leg sets up a leglock and Nakamura is in trouble.

    Joe grabs a kneebar for a bit until Nakamura makes the ropes, setting up a big kick to the champ's head. The running knee to the ribs in the corner gets two, followed by Joe's big boot getting the same. We take another break and come back with Joe holding the STF, which is transitioned into the Crossface. Nakamura finally gets to the ropes but can't hook a cross armbreaker. He can however get a triangle choke, sending Joe's legs into the rope for a break of his own.

    It's too early for Kinshasa though as Joe powerslams him out of the air for two. Joe can't hook the Muscle Buster so he switches to the Koquina Clutch, only to settle for a hard German suplex instead. An enziguri sends Nakamura outside but he gets out of the Rock Bottom onto the steps that put him out of action for so long earlier this year. The running knee to the back of the neck drops Joe but he's too big for Nakamura to hold up in a fireman's carry. That's fine with Nakamura as he hits the middle rope knee, followed by Kinshasa for the pin and the title at 26:28.

    A lot of posing ends the show.

    Oney Lorcan b. Andrade Cien Almas – German superplex
    Billie Kay/Peyton Royce b. Liv Morgan/Aliyah – Bulldog onto Kay's knee
    DIY b. Akira Tozawa/Tajiri – Running knee/superkick combination
    Asuka b. Nia Jax – Kick to the head
    Shinsuke Nakamura b. Samoa Joe – Kinshasa

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