29 Holes for 29 Souls – A Raw Recap for 1/9/17

Tonight’s Raw comes to us from New Orleans Louisiana, the home of Wrestlemania XXX and now Wrestlemania 34.

Stiff Competition

Tonight’s Raw faced off against Clemson Vs. Alabama in a Championship game.  Raw typically goes one of two ways when facing what’s sure to be a ratings juggernaut: 1) Completely phone it in as there’s always next week.  2) Try to stack the deck and compete.

With appearances from HBK and the Undertaker and matches between Kofi Kingston and Titus and an appearance by HBK*, they managed to do both.

*Yes, I’m aware that I mentioned HBK twice.

Heartbreak Kids

HBK was there to promote some movie he was in…or take some dabbing lessons from TJ Perkins.  I’m not sure which.

Despite his masterful work overselling in his match with Hogan, he did a terrible job selling the movie.  There’s no way I’m going to see it.  The crowd chants “One More Match” when he mentions that the rumble is in San Antonio, his home town, but it seems like he unintentionally stumbled into a trap.  It’s a trap he should have known better to avoid.

Rusev, Jinder, and Lana came out to try to make it somewhat entertaining but were saddled with some terrible dialog from creative themselves.  And finally, Enzo and Cass came out to torment Rusev and Jinder.  I love the weird Rascal scooter thing but, it didn’t really help save the segment either.

Cass challenges Rusev.  Rusev accepts by the proxy of Jinder.  Looks like we have ourselves a match.  HBK, to no one’s surprise,  announces he’s sticking around, basically promising that someone’s getting Sweet Chin Music, the only hope of saving the segment.

And sure enough, after Rusev tries to distract Cass from ringside, Shawn tunes up the band and hits the Bulgarian Brute distracting Jinder and allowing Cass to get the upper hand for the pin.

On a side note, Rusev is on the receiving end of a lot of legends signature moves.  It was only a couple of months ago that he took a Jackhammer, tonight the Sweet Chin Music.  And back at Wrestlemania, he at least took a Stunner (and an actual punch from Stone Cold when he tore his rotator cuff).  It’s possible he took the SCM then too.  I don’t remember.  Either way, it’s got to be super cool for him that he’s working with all these legends that he grew up watching.

That’s really the only good thing from that segment.  But HBK told me that if I didn’t like that match, he had two words for me:

Digging 29 Holes

This whole episode is structured around Mick Foley’s performance review.  It seems like his job is all hinging on him being able to call in The Undertaker, someone with an affinity for the blue brand, to show up on Raw.  Undertaker is the magical ratings cure that will somehow beat Alabama and Clemson.  The Deadman can do a lot of surprising things, but I doubt he could do that.

Right when all seems lost and Stephanie is berating Mick, we hear that fateful gong.  The Undertaker is here.

He tells everyone he’s back like he didn’t just say that on SmackDown two months ago.  It left me and a lot of other people very confused.  I know he’s undrafted but it really sounded like he was going to hang out on SmackDown.

He’s digging 29 holes for 29 souls because he’s entering the Royal Rumble.  Braun Strowman watches from the back and doesn’t appear to be too happy.  Does this mean we’re setting up for a Braun Strowman Vs. The Undertaker match for Wrestlemania?  Or perhaps he’ll win the Rumble and face AJ Styles (or Cena) at the show of shows.  I’m excited to find out.

This was a much better appearance than Shawn’s.  Sorry HBK.

Sasha Reminds Us She’s Got Fire

I really don’t think this match, Sasha and Bayley Vs. Charlotte and Nia, is really significant enough to put in the main section.  However, I saw something in Sasha tonight that I haven’t seen in quite some time.  There’s some real fire there.  Perhaps she wasn’t saddled with another “Let’s Make History” segment with Charlotte.  It was just her hatred of Charlotte.  A hatred that’s threatening to interfere with Bayley’s shot at the Women’s Championship.

On top of that, it’s clear that if Bayley wins that that resurrects the true Legit Boss.  That’s an exciting prospect.  That would leave a problem though.  Bayley would virtually be the only true face in a sea of heels.  It might become a little difficult to write stories and definitely too difficult to have more than one story at the same time.

Chris Jericho is your New US Champion (Plus Kevin Owens)

I’m not going to waste too much time on this one as you’ve seen these guys go at it 8,000,000,000 times.  We had a handicap match for the US Championship with Chris Jericho ultimately getting the pinfall on Reigns after a Codebreaker, an apron Powerbomb, and another Codebreaker for good measure.  It’s the first US Championship win in Chris Jericho’s career.  Drink it in, MAAAAAANNNNN!

Although I think, because it’s a handicap match, that it’s also Kevin Owens’ first US Championship win?  I guess we’ll find out.

Everything Else

  • Kofi defeats Titus because…I really don’t know.  I’m assuming this means that we will get Big E vs Titus next week.
  • Noam Dar is kissed by Alicia Fox. I’ll be honest. I haven’t been paying attention to this storyline.  I’m confused.  And apparently Cedric and Noam haven’t even had a singles match yet?
  • Jack Gallagher defeats Drew Gulak in a short match.  Drew unleashed a pretty brutal rebound bomb off the ropes with Jack landing on his neck. Looked nasty. Can’t tell if it was botched or perfectly executed and just looked terrible.  Afterwards Jack challenges Daivari to a Parlay?  He explains it but I didn’t really understand. I guess that’s another reason to tune into 205 Live.
  • Neville defeats Lince Dorado with the Rings of Freakin’ Saturn!  It was a great match up until that point too. I just wasn’t expecting that submission. Afterwards, Neville reapplied the hold bringing out Rich Swann to defend Lince.  Swann was in no mood for fun. He was out for Neville’s blood.  This has been good. I’ve enjoyed it.
  • Sheamus defeats Luke Gallows with a Brogue Kick.  A fine match but it’s just exactly what you’d expect.