By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Mr. McMahon Called Out Roman Reigns
Was it just me or did the early part of this encounter come off as awkward? We all know Reigns is a part of the legendary Anao'i Family, but the shots Vince took at his father and grandfather went over the heads of most viewers because they don't know them as well. The crowd was too busy chanting for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, anyway, so it wasn't as if it mattered. I'm glad Reigns isn't backing down from The Authority, but it would help if he was more aggressive instead of smarmy. The rest of the segment, however, was very well done. It's about time the McMahons got their comeuppance and Vince getting arrested was a hell of a hook for the rest of the show.
Neville def. Kevin Owens
It was bad enough they didn't bother to give Owens any mic time much less an entrance, but to have him lose to Neville in a matter of 15 seconds was absolutely asinine. No, I'm not complaining simply because Owens lost, but in 15 seconds? To Neville? Come on, that's like the kiss of death. And it doesn't make a difference if Neville is the Breakout Star of the Year. It's been evident for months WWE has no plans to push him, but if they do, I'll eat my words. Until then, what a waste this was. He got some of his heat back with the attack afterward, but there's no chance he'll be in a marquee match at WrestleMania if he's losing that quickly. Fans will start to take him less and less seriously if this continues.
Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch
I was ready to make the comparison between Bayley vs. Banks in Brooklyn back in August and this match lasting only a few minutes as is usually the case with women's matches on Raw, but they surprised by giving them the time they deserved. I'm not sure what to blame the lousy crowd reaction on, but putting that aside, this was a very good match from the ladies with shades of their epic encounter from NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable. I figured Lynch would win to build her up as a Divas Championship contender, but since Banks scored the victory, hopefully we're getting a Triple Threat title match at the Royal Rumble.
Kalisto def. WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston
I liked how New Day pointed out that they won the WWE Tag Team Championship in that same building at SummerSlam (I was there!). And just like the night after SummerSlam in Brooklyn, they faced The Lucha Dragons, just this time in singles action. Kalisto and Kingston worked a fun little match in the time they were allotted and it was nice to see Kalisto score the win. I suspect that based off his recent surge in popularity, WWE will be pushing him more on his own going forward.
WWE Tag Team Champion Big E def. Sin Cara
Xavier Woods did a great job of teasing a match between himself (then Big E) and Cara going into the commercial break. The match wasn't as enjoyable as Kalisto vs. Kingston nor was it much of note, but I had to laugh at Cara getting injured early on. Not because he got hurt, but because that damn mask is cursed. It appeared to a planned spot since the contest continued. Big E evening the score was logical, but I'm wondering why the Dragons are still going after the twin titles despite losing at TLC and on SuperSmackDown.
Ryback, Goldust, Zack Ryder, R-Truth, Heath Slater and Big Show Crashed 'Miz TV'
This was a total trainwreck of a segment, but for whatever reason, I loved every second of it... up until Big Show's return. I've known it's been coming for a while now, but I still dreaded the day. Hey, you can't go wrong with Slater and Ryder getting some rare TV time, especially in Brooklyn! Show announcing himself as a participant in the Royal Rumble and saying he would win it all made me shudder. If you were wondering why this segment was filled with so many enhancement talents, it's because WWE was running a house show the same night elsewhere.
Ryback def. Big Show by Count-out
They might have been better off ending the segment where they did before the commercial and simply moving on, but as noted, WWE was low on talent, so I probably should have seen this coming. It was pointless beyond belief and the sole purpose it served was to kill time. The crowd couldn't have cared less about it, but if nothing else, it didn't overstay its welcome. That's about the only positive thing I can say about the bout.
League of Nations def. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose and The Usos
The "This is boring" chant early on pretty much set the stage for the rest of the matchup. Yes, they chanted that as well during the women's match, but at least they didn't do the wave. I didn't think the match was that bad at all, but it didn't pique my interest any and I'm apathetic toward the League of Nations at the moment and seems like the crowd was to. In fact, the post-match attack from Owens on Ambrose was better than the match itself! On a side note, does Sheamus not care about getting his championship rematch?
John Cena def. United States Champion Alberto Del Rio by Disqualification
You know, I've never been a big fan of the chemistry (or lack thereof) Del Rio and Cena have. They had some great matches back in 2011 and a few more in 2012, but beyond that, I grew tired of their matches. The early goings of this matchup were boring, but I give them credit for picking up the pace down the stretch and getting the crowd engaged for the first time all night. The title being on the line definitely helped and the nearfalls in the final few minutes were suspenseful. The disqualification finish could be seen coming from a mile away, and quite honestly, I'm pulling for Cena to regain the belt sooner rather than later. Del Rio has done nothing for me as champion and at least we know the U.S. Open might return if Cena regains the gold. Reigns wiping out the League of Nations didn't do anything for the stable, but McMahon coming back and announcing a WWE title match for next week closed the night out on a high note.
With the returns of Cena and McMahon advertised in advance, I fully expected a hotter show than what we got. Even the always-electric Brooklyn crowd seemed drained halfway through. The main event and women's matches were highlights, but everything else felt like filler with half the roster gone at another event. I'm hoping they can start the new year strong with a stacked first show of 2016, and I have the feeling they will with McMahon appearing again and Reigns defending his WWE title. These next few weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble will be interesting to say the least. Happy New Year, folks!