This Week in WWE – Raw (12/12/2016)

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This week on Raw (12/12/2016), The New Day defends the Raw Tag Team Titles twice in one night while Sami Zayn finally gets his wish!

The New Day

It’s been a long time that The New Day has held the Raw Tag Team Championship. They’ve held those titles since SummerSlam 2015 which is like an eternity in WWE years. The New Day wasn’t always a popular team and originally debuted in 2014 under a gospel gimmick with little fanfare. It was only after they started being themselves that they would get the support of the fans. They’ve arguably been the most popular part of WWE programming in the last year.

Last night on Raw, The New Day broke Demolition’s record of 478 days to become the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions of all-time. The history is a bit tricky because the lineage of these titles is the lineage of the 2002 version of the WWE Tag Titles and not the original World Tag Team Titles. Regardless, The New Day are the longest reigning Tag Team Champions, period.

Kofi, Xavier, and Big E certainly didn’t have an easy ride to get that record. They would go on to defeat Gallows and Anderson as well as Cesaro and Sheamus to defend their titles for the first time of the night. The night was thought to be over until they accidentally sprayed Stephanie McMahon with champagne in their celebration and they were booked to face Jericho and Owens as well as Reigns and Rollins in another Triple Threat Tag Team Championship Match. They surprisingly came out on top in that one too.

As much as it really is time for a change with these titles, it was a cool thing to see a long-standing record broken in much the same way it was seeing CM Punk hold the WWE Championship for 434 days. We don’t see these types of reigns often because, as fans, we expect constant action and title changes. It’s likely that these titles will change hands shortly simply because of the record finally being broken. This could happen as soon as Roadblock: End of the Line. It’s about time.

Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn ended up being traded to SmackDown for a Superstar of equal value on Raw. That Superstar ended up being Eva Marie. Oh, and that trade never actually existed. Mick Foley just said it did to light a fire under Sami. It worked. Sami said that he was, “worth 100 Eva Maries”. Ouch. Mick said he wanted Sami to tap into that evil place that he would need to go to to defeat Braun Strowman and he did. Zayn faces Strowman with a 10-minute time limit at Roadblock on Sunday.

As odd as this storyline has been, Zayn has brought himself back to the spotlight with his intensity and drive throughout this storyline. He could have fallen by the wayside and never have been heard of again, but he took this and made it his own. I’m a little bit leery about how his match will go on Sunday. I’m not exactly sure he’ll be the one to hand Braun a loss, but stranger things have happened. I certainly hope he shows some fire and actually puts up more of a fight than he was allowed to the first time. He’s called, “The Underdog From the Underground” for a reason.

Lana

We’ve been seeing a lot of Lana lately, she’s been on Raw quite a bit and has really started to own every moment that she’s been given. This week, she teased that we would see what she and Rusev are up to behind closed doors. The translation to that was the beating Rusev gave Enzo last week. Big Cass came out and the two brawled before Rusev and Lana made their way to the back.

The thing I’m most impressed with about Lana is the way she can get heat so easily from the fans with misdirections or the way she says things. She’s a lot more confident at this stage of her career and she’s starting to really outshine Rusev to the point where he’s the sideshow compared to her. She’s also been getting some ring time in NXT lately, so we could theoretically see her start to be a force in the Raw Women’s Division before long. I can definitely see that being the end-game.

Bayley

While two of the Four Horsewomen continue their feud over the Raw Women’s Championship, another continues to pile up victories. Bayley has been incredibly impressive lately and no one is talking about it. Now, I know, she’s facing undercard talent, but she’s still grabbing wins every week on Raw. I really think that it’s only a matter of time before Bayley enters the Women’s Title picture. I expect Charlotte to win the Iron Man Match Sunday and go on to feud with Bayley OR Sasha to win, turn heel, and feud with her former friend. There’s money in that second option.

Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho

It looks like we can pretty much put the friendship of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho to rest after the latest episode of Raw. These two unsuccessfully challenged for the Raw Tag Team Titles and Owens ended up inadvertently being pushed onto Jericho to break up a pin after a Pop-up Codebreaker. They then argued which allowed The New Day to get the win. After the match, Jericho argued with Owens and then had him turn around into a Spear from Reigns.

I can’t see Jericho and Owens having any type of a team going forward after the events of the past few weeks. I’d really like to see Jericho have one last title run going into Wrestlemania. I know that’s a long shot, but there isn’t anyone who’s more qualified at the moment outside of Reigns and Rollins. I’m happy if this is indeed the end for these two, I think they went as far as they needed to at this point.

Quick Notes

The Cruiserweight Division has been a nice breath of fresh air for the Raw brand with quick storylines that are easy to digest for the viewer. Jack Gallagher doesn’t like the type of person Ariya Daivari is, everyone hates Brian Kendrick. It’s bite-sized story-telling for 10 minutes of a 3 hour show and it’s working very well for what it is. It’s very reminiscent of what WCW did with their Cruiserweights back in the day.

Emmalina is back to premiering soon. I guess they weren’t ready for her to debut this week after all.

Am I the only one who wants The Shield to just reunite already? I would much rather see Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose as part of that group than apart. I think they’ve just been shoved down our throats so much that it just seems like such a welcome change at this point. This is coming from a fan of all three guys, too!

Conclusion

This show was all about The New Day and rightfully so. That was a huge record to break. I know they can break records whenever they want, but it’s still special and doesn’t happen every day. I was disappointed that neither Charlotte nor Sasha Banks appeared on the last show before Roadblock. I guess they felt that those two had a good enough segment last week for people to remember. I did enjoy the video package that featured “I Am The Fire” by one of my favourite bands, Halestorm, though.

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