But wait, you probably thought upon reading that headline: Surely “The Kevin Owens Show” already exists. There’s a T-shirt and everything. While “The Kevin Owens Show” did indeed exist as an abstract concept, Raw General Manager Mick Foley took it to the realm of the literal by officially bestowing a talk show upon the WWE Universal Champion. It was a peace offering of sorts to Jeri-KO, who are still pretty steamed that Roman Reigns will challenge Owens at the Royal Rumble while Chris Jericho is suspended in a shark cage like a "sexy piñata."
Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, fuming herself over SmackDown LIVE’s ratings win last week, took things one step further. In a bid to establish Team Red, not Blue, as the “Land of Opportunity,” Stephanie announced a United States Title Match between Reigns and Jericho, where Reigns would lose his title if he were to be disqualified or counted out. And following an argument over whether Owens or Seth Rollins should be banned from ringside for that bout, the Raw power team also sanctioned a match between the two, the loser of which would indeed be barred from the title match.
That said: Lest you think Foley was entirely in a giving mood to Owens, he did add one major caveat to the debut of “The Kevin Owens Show”: The first guest would be Goldberg.
It’s official: The latter half of Jeri-KO has been knocked out of Raw’s United States Title clash. In a bout that could have potentially ensured Chris Jericho a 2-on-1 advantage over Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens’ brash temper got the better of him and it’s Seth Rollins who will have a free pass to ringside when his former brother goes to battle. Rollins was sitting pretty in the driver’s seat, taking the fight to the timekeeper’s area when he found himself on the verge of a double count-out. The Architect sprinted back to the ring to break the count, only Owens was lying in wait with ring bell in hand. The Prizefighter’s subsequent attack of Rollins’ ribs with said bell cost him the match, but given that Rollins was too banged-up to Pedigree KO after the match, The Architect’s assistance of Reigns may well not amount to much.
However hard (and memorably) as they tried, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson could never wrest the Raw Tag Team Titles from The New Day. But maybe, just maybe, they could have better luck with Cesaro & Sheamus, if Anderson’s victory over The King of Swing on tonight’s Raw is any indication.
First, give credit where it is due: Realizing he was never going to outmuscle a man who is not unreasonably nicknamed The Swiss Superman, Anderson instead relied upon his speed, sticking and moving on offense while trusting that he could grind out some of The King of Swing’s more powerful maneuvers. Sheamus, who initially told Cesaro he’d keep his distance at commentary, stormed to ringside when Gallows attempted to interfere. But The Suntan Biker Man tripped Cesaro off the top rope right before the Irishman struck and Anderson followed up with an airborne neckbreaker to the stunned powerhouse. As New Years go, the good brothers’ is looking too sweet thus far.
Anybody who was hoping Sami Zayn could repeat his Roadblock: End of the Line miracle and survive a major stipulation against Braun Strowman was likely brought down to earth Monday night. The Underdog from the Underground fell to his monstrous foe in a Last Man Standing Match that has loomed large over Zayn’s head for seven days.
As always, Zayn’s heart was stronger than his body; the beloved Superstar gave everything he had in an unwinnable situation, bashing Strowman with Kendo sticks, pipes, a chair and a running crossbody off the stage and through a table. It even seemed, more often than not, like he might manage to pull off the upset and keep Strowman down for the count of 10. But once The Gift of Destruction put the pedal to the metal and let loose with two Running Powerslams to the arena floor, Zayn was simply outmatched. The Monster Among Men didn’t even stop after the 10-count was called, pummeling Zayn off a stretcher when medical personnel were called to ringside. By the time Strowman finally departed, there was nothing to do but sigh in relief that the punishment — and Zayn’s willingness to take it — was over.
It’s a New Year, yes it is, but The New Day isn’t looking to switch up the formula that made them record-setting Tag Team Champions anytime soon. They’re certainly not looking for any new members, which is why Titus O’Neil’s offer to join ya boys was met both with laughs from the audience and fisticuffs from Xavier Woods, who took on The Big Deal after O’Neil labeled Woods’ as New Day’s “weakest link.” Though, if we’re being honest, that was some quality twerking. The joke, in this case, was on O’Neil, as Woods roared back from an early deficit and reversed his backbreaker into a sunset flip. So O’Neil is denied, and, with all three members of New Day having declared for the Royal Rumble Match, 2017 could be a very positive year indeed.
Even when faced with the thirsty savagery of would-be homewrecker Noam Dar, Cedric Alexander and Alicia Fox are still going strong kicking off 2017. But the fan-favorite couple faced a little bit of a hiccup in the ring on Raw, perhaps not coincidentally after Dar made yet another advance toward Alicia in the backstage area. While Alexander and Drew Gulak locked up in the ring, Gulak’s partner Tony Nese attempted to distract Alexander, leading to Alicia coming to her man’s defense, hauling The Premier Athlete off the apron. Gulak rolled a distracted Alexander up for the win and celebrated screaming up the ramp. So after the second consecutive involvement of Alicia, Alexander potentially heads back to the drawing board. And Dar, who’s still looking to snatch Miss Fox for himself, waits patiently to make his move.
For the second time, Chris Jericho came after Roman Reigns’ United States Championship. And for the second time, Reigns retained. That being said, Jericho came pretty darn close, thanks in no small part to exploiting Reigns’ lack of a champion’s advantage. When going blow-for-blow with The Big Dog left Jericho at an impasse, he pulled “an Eddie” and framed Reigns for attacking him with the U.S. Title in an attempt to get the champion disqualified. (Conspicuous by his absence was Seth Rollins, who didn’t take advantage of his earlier victory and post up at ringside.)
The official didn’t quite buy Jericho’s subterfuge. But it was enough to give The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla a brief second wind that, perhaps, carried a little too much momentum with it. When Reigns dodged Jericho’s charge into the corner, the nine-time Intercontinental Champion went face-first into the turnbuckle, then staggered unwittingly into a match-ending Spear.
It appears that at least one Superstar isn’t ready to supplant himself before “The King of the Cruiserweights” just yet. Despite Neville’s insistence that he is royalty among the 205 Live roster, TJ Perkins made a solid case for himself as a potential usurper by defeateding The Brian Kendrick on Raw. Kendrick, who’s had Perkins’ number more or less since stripping him of the WWE Cruiserweight Title, dug into his usual reserves of veteran savvy, but Perkins was ready for his former mentor this time around. So when Kendrick found himself in position for Sliced Bread No. 2, Perkins quickly flipped an airborne Kendrick onto his shoulders for a detonation kick and transitioned seamlessly into the Kneebar to notch the submission.
2017, it seems, is not short on irony. After pretending to be wheelchair-bound on the last Raw of the previous year, Enzo Amore started off this year with a certified and bonafide leg injury, leaving Big Cass to go it alone against Rusev & Jinder Mahal. And while you may be unable to teach Big Cass’ 7-foot height, Don Parmesan was outclassed in the numbers game by The Bulgarian Brute and especially Mahal, who distracted Cass first by slapping Enzo around, and then a second time by climbing up on the apron right as Cass moved to finish off a reeling Rusev. The Super Athlete took advantage of his partner’s interference by blasting Cass with a thrust kick to the jaw, and it was 1-2-3 from there.
Bayley had her supposed No. 1 contendership to Charlotte Flair’s Raw Women’s Title snatched away from her by the stroke of a lawyer’s pen, but The Huggable One is back in the race, having overcome a terrifying obstacle — Nia Jax — to punch her ticket to the Royal Rumble and a dance with The Queen.
She did so despite the vocal skepticism of Stephanie McMahon, who openly questioned whether Bayley was championship material. Suffice it to say, Stephanie may just have her answer. With Charlotte watching from commentary, Bayley entered the bout with Jax at a tremendous physical disadvantage but everything in the world to prove. She also had an unlikely ace in the hole: Sasha Banks, who made her appearance right as Nia prepared to administer a top-rope leg drop. Bayley took advantage of the distraction to administer a titanic Bayley-to-Belly off the top rope. Next up: a rumble with royalty.
It may have been called “The Kevin Owens Show,” but thanks to an escalating series of events, Kevin Owens was quickly forced out of the spotlight. First, Chris Jericho took the opportunity to announce his own entrance into the Royal Rumble Match, potentially setting the best friends on a collision course for WrestleMania. Owens wasn’t wild about that.
Then, Goldberg showed up and went nose-to-nose with Owens, who was even less wild about that. Then, Paul Heyman showed up to trumpet Brock Lesnar’s supposedly inevitable Royal Rumble Match win. Goldberg, who defeated Lesnar in 1:26 at Survivor Series, was unimpressed at best. Then, Roman Reigns showed up and went nose-to-nose with Goldberg. This brought out Braun Strowman, who announced (via a mic stolen from a cowering Heyman) his own participation in the Rumble Match and was promptly cut down with a double Spear from Goldberg and Reigns. Jeri-KO, meanwhile, made themselves scarce. As any talk show host knows, just because your name’s on the sign doesn’t mean you need to be struck along with the set.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens by disqualification
- Karl Anderson (w/ Luke Gallows) defeated Cesaro (w/ Sheamus) (11:00)
- Braun Strowman defeated Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing Match (15:30)
- Xavier Woods (w/ Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeated Titus O'Neil (5:00)
- Drew Gulak defeated Cedric Alexander (w/ Alicia Fox) (2:00)
- Roman Reigns (c) defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE United States Championship (14:00)
- T.J. Perkins defeated The Brian Kendrick by submission (3:00)
- Rusev & Jinder Mahal (w/ Lana) defeated Big Cass (w/ Enzo Amore) (2:00)
- Bayley defeated Nia Jax to be the #1 Contender for the WWE Raw Women's Championship (3:00)
Other on-screen talent