It’s a new year, yes it is.
Here at What Not Films we love January because it’s the first step on the Road to WrestleMania.
A lot happened on the first Raw of 2016.
Some of it was good. Some of it was bad. Far too much of it was ugly.
Kevin Owens beat Neville
It was a fun first match in San Antonio, Texas, as Kevin Owens gained revenge over Neville following his shock defeat last Monday. With his ribs taped as a result of the post-match beating he suffered last week, The Man That Gravity Forgot fought valiantly in an energetic, fast-paced contest, eventually losing via pinfall following a pop-up powerbomb.
Whilst the match itself was entertaining, it was the post-match violence between Owens and Dean Ambrose that leaves us wanting more. The Lunatic Fringe will defend his Intercontinental Championship against the former NXT Champion on SmackDown later this week. The animosity between the two isn’t what it could be (we still aren’t sure what they don’t like about each other) but the big showdown should be something special – even without clear personal motivations, the intensity of this feud is excellent and could easily go on for weeks yet.
Becky Lynch beat Charlotte
The Lass Kicker was too much of an afterthought since the so-called Divas Revolution began last summer. But Monday night was her night, as she faced her long-time ally, Charlotte, in a non-title match. The popular Irishwoman finally found the spotlight when she held the tights of the reigning Divas Champion to earn a shock pinfall victory.
It was a high-quality bout, starting as a tit-for-tat contest and moving subtly into an aggressive battle. To her credit, The Nature Girl is a gifted performer and a natural heel; her post-match beatdown of Lynch was a strong development of her ruthless character. This programme could easily go on a lot longer, so it was an interesting but not-unwelcome announcement later that the two would meet again in a championship match on this week’s SmackDown. Our only hope is the NXT alumni are given sufficient time to show us what they can really do.
The League of Nations beat The Usos
We aren’t sure where this match was supposed to fit into current WWE storylines but, to be honest, we’re not sure we care. It was a strong contender for Match of the Night – strong, hard-hitting action made all four men look strong as Alberto Del Rio and Rusev left with their hands held high. It was also a nice touch for the finish to come with an unexpected top rope stomp by Del Rio, instead of a telegraphed signature move or some sort of cheap heel tactics.
Del Rio should probably be engaging with John Cena for the United States Championship. The Usos should probably still be in the hunt for the Tag Team Championship. But this was a very good wrestling match and, as wrestling fans, we take every one of those we can.