The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods had a big night on Monday Night Raw by becoming the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history. They won two huge matches, tying the record of Demolition with a 478-day title reign. Following the end of Raw, they had earned the record.
Raw started out with a match, which was a refreshing change because we are so used to seeing a 15-minute promo in that spot.
The sow began with the advertised Tag Title match from last week with the New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston defending the titles against Sheamus and Cesaro, in addition to Gallows and Anderson. Triple threat tag matches are pretty rare, yet on this night we got two of them.
The match was a lot of fun with Cesaro having a big moment as he hit moves on everybody around the ringside leading to a cross body block that was almost good enough for the win. They set up the finish really well with Cesaro trapping Anderson in the Sharpshooter, then Big E broke it up. Sheamus got the tag and hit Anderson with a Brogue Kick. It looked like they were going to win, but Kingston tagged himself in and hit Sheamus with the Trouble in Paradise kick for the cover. It was a big win for the champs.
After the win, there was a big celebration in a room with champagne bottles and, of course, some Booty O’s cereal as well. Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley were in there. Woods ended up spraying champagne on Stephanie, who was so mad that she knocked the Booty O’s cereal out of Big E’s hand.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) December 13, 2016
Shortly after that, it was announced that Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho would face New Day for the Tag Team Titles, per orders from Stephanie. Then we saw Foley go up to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to tell them they would be added to the match as well.
The main event saw New Day’s Xavier Woods and Big E defending the Raw Tag Team Titles against Owens and Jericho, as well as Reigns and Rollins. Kingston sat this one out because Woods wasn’t in the first match.
I thought this match was better than the first one in terms of building up to a memorable finish. There were so many cool moments with near-falls coming from all six guys. I honestly thought that New Day could lose the titles, even though I wanted them to break the record.
It was another smart finish to the match, as it looked like Xavier Woods was going to lose after a deadly Codebreaker from Chris Jericho. However, Seth Rollins broke up the pin by shoving Kevin Owens into Jericho in one of the most creative saves I’ve ever seen. That led to Jericho and Owens to bicker about what happened. Rollins nailed Jericho with a Pedigree. Big E pulled Rollins out of the ring, while Woods put his arm on top to cover Jericho and give New Day the history-making win. It was one of the better tag matches of the year.
— Kofi Kingston (@TrueKofi) December 13, 2016
To some wrestling fans, records like this one don’t really matter. Who cares about how many days a wrestler or a team holds a title, right? I think it’s important because of how it can work in a storyline. If, for example, New Day lost one of their two matches on Raw, then the guy that took the pin could have been blamed by the other two guys and there would be issues in the team after that. Since they retained the gold, there is no blame story for them, but whoever eventually beats them will be elevated as champions since they beat the longest-reigning champs ever.
There is a reason that WWE had them break the record too. Demolition is not in the WWE Hall of Fame, even though they should be. Part of the reason for that is because Axe and Smash are a part of a lawsuit against WWE with 53 wrestlers wanting more money from the company. Do you think WWE wants to put over two guys who are suing them as the longest-reigning tag champs ever? Nope. That’s why New Day broke the record, but also because it establishes them as one of the best teams ever.
What’s next for The New Day? We don’t know because as of this moment, they are off the Roadblock card for this Sunday. That could change, but for now, they are not wrestling on Sunday. I would imagine that they will lose the titles by January’s Royal Rumble event, if not sooner than that.
Congrats to Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. They have been a great tag team with awesome chemistry in and out of ring. They also proved on this week’s Raw that they can have outstanding matches as well.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Here’s how the rest of the card on this week’s Raw played out:
The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston defeated Cesaro & Sheamus and Gallows & Anderson to retain the Tag Team Titles
I covered this earlier. It was refreshing to have a really good match at the start of Raw instead of the usual 15-minute promo.
Braun Strowman defeated Curtis Axel
It was an easy win for Strowman in less than two minutes. Axel barely got any offense in. Post-match, Strowman yelled about how a guy like Sami Zayn couldn’t last more than two minutes with him.
Ariya Daivari defeated Lince Dorado by disqualification
Weird booking for this cruiserweight match. About two minutes into it, Jack Gallagher showed up, said he would interfere and did just that to give Daivari the win. It was payback for Daivari attacking him last week on Raw. It felt like a waste of time.
Brian Kendrick defeated T.J. Perkins
We have seen this match several times in the last few months. Kendrick got the win with the Sliced Bread #2, which is a finisher he’s been using for over a decade. Both guys are set to face Rich Swann for the Cruiserweight Title at Roadblock. I think that’s going to be a win for Swann because he just won the title a few weeks back.
Bayley defeated Alicia Fox
Poor Bayley. I say it every week now, because the booking of her character has been so bad. She won at Survivor Series, got beat up by Charlotte after the match and did nothing about it. Now she’s facing Alicia Fox in back-to-back weeks because Fox destroyed some “Bayley Bear” merchandise item. Anyway, this was an easy win for Bayley in less than three minutes, just like last week. No crowd reaction except for Bayley’s entrance.
Sami Zayn defeated Jinder Mahal
Easy win for Zayn, as expected. He’s part of a bigger story that I’ll address later in this review.
The New Day’s Xavier Woods & Big E defeated Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho and Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns to retain the Tag Team Titles
I covered this earlier. Great match. One of the best tag team matches on Raw this year for sure.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Sami Zayn Wants To Prove Himself
The ongoing issues between Sami Zayn and Raw General Manager Mick Foley continued. There was a backstage segment where Zayn said he wanted to face Braun Strowman. Foley said no again and suggested that maybe he will trade Zayn to Smackdown.
After Zayn’s easy win over Jinder Mahal, Foley went to the ring. But first, a commercial. I hated that commercial break, but that’s WWE and their love of commercial breaks at the worst times.
When the show came back, Foley and Zayn showed a lot of emotion in another promo exchange where Zayn said he wanted to face Strowman. Foley told him he didn’t really want Zayn to face Strowman because Strowman is going to hurt him. Zayn was relentless about it, so Foley went back to the trade route while saying that they found an “equal talent” to trade him for, and it was Eva Marie.
That fired up Zayn, who said he’s worth way more than Eva Marie (a joke heel woman who’s sometimes on Smackdown) and he got right in Foley’s face about it. That led to Foley saying that’s the exact kind of emotion he wanted to see, so he’s going to give Zayn the match against Strowman at Roadblock with a 10-minute time limit. Foley also revealed there was no trade proposal. He just did it to motivate Zayn. That’s clever at least.
I like that there’s finally a storyline for Zayn after four months of this brand extension where the below-average creative team had nothing for him. He’s such a good talent with main event potential. This could be the kind of storyline that gets him to that next level where he’s possibly in a big match at WrestleMania. I’m not sure if he’s going to beat Strowman, but if he lasts the 10 minutes, then at least he accomplishes something and hopefully wins over the crowd. After that, they can give him some quality wins as he moves up the ladder because he deserves it as much as anybody.
I think WWE has to look at guys like Zayn and Cesaro and do everything they can to get them to become main event performers in 2017. Both of them deserve it.
2. No Charlotte Or Sasha Banks But They Did Get a Video Package
I was surprised that Charlotte and Sasha Banks weren’t on Raw this week. There was a video package showing highlights of some of their past title changes, but not all of them. The announcers talked about it like their Roadblock match will be the end of the rivalry. Do fans really believe that? I’m not sure. It does feel like the right time to end things, though. With Miz vs. Ziggler on Smackdown, they announced the same sort of stipulation at TLC and they moved on from it. I feel like they can move on from this feud because Bayley is waiting in the wings. That likely means a win for Charlotte on Sunday.
3. Emmalina “Premiere” Didn’t Happen
— WWE (@WWE) December 13, 2016
Last week in this space, I wrote about how Emma was supposed to return as Emmalina for her “premiere” as a new character. They hyped it up last week. Even earlier on Monday, they posted something about it on Facebook. Then Raw took place, and WWE just showed images of her and announcer Corey Graves said that she’ll debut when she’s ready.
In other words, the WWE creative team is so inept at their job that they are unable to follow through on a “debut” of a returning wrestler who came back from a major back surgery so that she can be back in the ring. She’s been healthy for months now. How bad are the people on WWE’s creative team that they are unable to follow through on something they came up with last week? It’s lame.
Looking Ahead To Roadblock: End of the Line
The next Raw brand pay-per-view is called “Roadblock: End of the Line.” It takes place on Dec. 18 in Pittsburgh. Here are the announced matches:
- WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns
- Raw Women’s Championship 30 Minute Ironman Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
- Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
- Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman (10-Minute Time Limit)
- Cruiserweight Championship: Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick vs. T.J. Perkins
- Rusev vs. Big Cass (Kickoff Match)
There will likely be a Tag Title match as well, but nothing has been announced yet.
The show was about New Day breaking the record for longest-reigning tag team champs in WWE history. Both matches were given a lot of time, with the main event going over 20 minutes as well. I’m glad that it happened and look forward to what’s next in WWE’s tag division. I enjoyed this week’s Raw thanks to the two New Day matches and some solid storyline progression for some of the mid-card storylines.
I’ll be back later in the week with a full preview of Roadblock.