WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Jan. 25

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 26, 2016

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Jan. 25

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Rock dominated Monday's WWE Raw, bringing electricity to a show that fizzled often. His back-and-forth with The New Day will undoubtedly be the talk of the night, for better or worse.

    The Brahma Bull can still clearly improvise like no one else. He's a massive star with out-of-this-world charisma. But his contribution to Raw was both a missed opportunity and a segment that turned oddly cruel at times.

    Flaws emerging even in triumphant moments was a theme that ran throughout the night.

    A lack of logic hurt the show's climactic announcement, and Raw's best match stumbled here and there. And WWE got the result right with Bray Wyatt's latest clash but got there in unimpressive fashion.

    After Monday's Raw, fans now know who will headline Fastlane. They know progress in the women's division is stalling. Looking at what else Raw revealed, the following is a recap and report card of the post-Royal Rumble Raw.


The Authority Celebrates Triple H's Championship WIn

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    Vince and Stephanie McMahon kicked off the show by gloating about Roman Reigns' loss at the Royal Rumble. Vince mocked the fans. Stephanie followed suit, saying that thinking anyone other than Triple H would win was just a pipe dream.

    Triple H strutted in with his new title in hand.

    The Game broke down why Reigns' arrogance is his downfall. He barked about Roman Reigns disrespecting him.

    Stephanie announced the Fastlane main event would decide who challenged her husband for the world title. By the end of Raw, The Authority would select the wrestlers who will compete in that No. 1 contender's bout at Fastlane.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Roman Reigns is broken. We broke him in half."—Vince.

    "This is, until my dying breath, is my religion, my law and my church."—Triple H.






    Just like it did during the Daniel Bryan-The Authority angle, WWE is using its authority figures to toy with the crowd. Mocking fans who dislike the booking is clearly an effective way to rile them up, even if it's getting to be a tired story at this point.

    Triple H nailed his part in this segment. He seemed to believe his rant wholeheartedly, something that will strengthen the story as it goes on.

    It would have been smart to further play up how Triple H was finally forced to take matters into his own hands after watching Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Sheamus play his right-hand man for the past few years.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens

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    Dolph Ziggler played the bullet train that crashed into a wall.

    The babyface had Kevin Owens reeling early. Owens soon took control, though, after slamming The Showoff into the ring post. Owens pounded Ziggler, managing to thwart each of his rallies.

    A pop-up powerbomb ended the battle.



    Owens wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Owens plays with a tablet near the announce desk mid-match.

    "You got to be impressed with this prizefighter who is one step closer to the ultimate prize."—Byron Saxton.






    It was a high-octane bout that could have gone three times as long. Ziggler and Owens work extremely well together. This wasn't about their rivalry, though, but rather was a means to create some momentum for the heel.

    He needs more wins like this one if WWE has a marquee match in mind for him at WrestleMania.

    Owens coming to the ring with his arm bandaged was a nice detail. It helped to sell the violent nature of the Last Man Standing match he competed in at the Royal Rumble, as well as the fact he did double duty last night.

The Social Outcasts (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) vs. The Dudley Boyz

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    Heath Slater interrupted his promo to taunt Flo Rida. His fellow Social Outcasts goaded the rapper into coming into the ring.

    Bo Dallas, calling himself "Bo Rida," challenged Flo Rida to a rap battle. After losing that contest, he and his teammates had to face The Dudley Boyz. 

    Slater tried to interfere once the match began, but Flo Rida tossed him into the ring to take some punishment from The Dudley Boyz. 

    Curtis Axel fared better in the ring than Dallas did on the mic, but not for long. He failed to get up from the Dudley Death Drop.



    The Dudley Boyz win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Sit there, and don't make me mad."—Slater to Flo Rida.

    "I'd be upset, too, if I was born in this awful state."—Dallas.

    Dallas leads a group victory lap around the ring.






    Axel and company looking to be having fun. While still treated like doormats, they seem freed by this angle, which has allowed them to get as wild and out there as they want to be.

    They have been entertaining so far, a lower-quality version of New Day so far.

    Just having them take loss after loss, though, isn't wise. Having them string together some upsets is the better story. It gives them a chance to see if folks will get behind them, to present them as plucky threats to the tag team division.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

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    AJ Styles and Chris Jericho fought to a stalemate early on. Jericho gained control and took to mocking the newcomer as he hammered him.

    The fast-paced match saw the two men trade dropkicks, slip out of each other's holds and launch themselves at each other. Styles suffered through the Walls of Jericho for an unimaginable amount of time. The Phenomenal One then won a battle of counters to roll up Jericho to win his Raw debut.

    Styles shook Jericho's hand after the match. 



    Styles wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Welcome to the big leagues, kid."—Jericho to Styles.

    Jericho dropkicked Styles off the ring apron.

    Styles hits a sky-high springboard flying forearm.

    "What a great addition to the WWE: AJ Styles."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.






    While a lack of crispness made it clear these two haven't wrestled each other before, Styles made a roaring statement here.

    He put on a fun, engaging bout that felt significant. The crowd was fully behind him, and he and Jericho created a great energy in the ring.

    So far, WWE has treated Styles like the noteworthy roster addition that he is. After a lengthy run in the Royal Rumble, he earned a win over a future Hall of Famer in one of the night's longest bouts. The more booking we see like this, the more of a chance we see Styles get a high-profile spot at WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

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    Becky Lynch pounced on a cocky Sasha Banks as soon as the bell rang.

    The Boss, though, punished Lynch with a violent attack. Banks controlled the action, both outwrestling and outfighting her foe. She seemed to have Lynch beat with the Bank Statement.

    Charlotte ran in, attacking Lynch first and then flooring Banks.



    Match ends in a no-contest.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Banks reverses a cross armbreaker into a pin that nearly nets her the victory.






    The idea to insert Banks into the Divas title picture is great. So is having Banks go it solo, apparently no longer rolling with Team B.A.D. Why can't the company just let the women have more time to tell their stories, though?

    The Bo Dallas-Flo Rida rap battle lasted longer than this match.

    This would have been a great time to showcase both Lynch and Banks, to play up how a win would launch the winner into title contention and plant seeds that show Banks is turning babyface. Instead, WWE hurried things along.

    Here's hoping the narrative gets some space to breathe on SmackDown.

Kane vs. Bray Wyatt

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    Bray Wyatt struggled with Kane, who battered him with strikes. It took some distraction from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to turns things around.

    And they did, in an instant. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail to get the three-count.

    The Wyatt Family took some post-bell shots before towering over Kane.



    Wyatt wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Fans chant, "Randy Savage!" in response to a fan dressed as the Hall of Famer.






    This didn't feel like a big win in the least. Wyatt didn't look dominant, and it's hard to buy Kane as a real obstacle anymore.

    The action dragged despite it being such a short bout. It's odd The Wyatt Family didn't attack more after the match. They converged on Kane, only to stare him down.

    Getting Wyatt victories to build up toward whatever WWE has planned for him at WrestleMania is good, but he will need higher-rung foes with whom he has better chemistry to make the most of them.

The Rock Returns

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    WWE teased that The Miz was the rumored big returning star. The Rock soon appeared, pushing the heel aside before he visited folks backstage.

    The Rock hung with Rick Ross, Big Show and Lana. He made Big Show cry and left Lana red-faced talking about their apparent tryst.

    Once in the ring, The Rock talked up his WrestleMania appearance. He joked around with fans dressed as Superstars before The New Day interrupted.

    Kofi Kingston mocked The Brahma Bull for not being a champion anymore. He and his teammates bantered with The Rock until The Usos ran in and attacked.

    The Rock helped his cousins take out Xavier Woods.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You're doing your little thing. You look like a flying nun."—The Rock to The Miz.

    The Rock refers to Byron Saxton as "that other black guy that I don't know."

    "He say he did it for the people, but he did it for the paycheck."—Woods in his best Rikishi voice.

    The Rock refers to The New Day's unicorn horns as "llama penises."






    This was ultra fun at its high points but ultimately an empty-calories segment.

    The Rock's charisma and banter game made this seem not nearly as long as it ran. The all-time great reminded us of the massive gap in charisma between him and everyone currently on the roster.

    The New Day held its own in the verbal clash, but it disappointingly ended in the champs just getting run over. WWE could have presented them as goofs while still having them create a sense of danger. The trio has long stopped being heels, opting instead for being just the most fun guys in the company.

    The Rock's shot at Lana, referring to sleeping with her, was in poor taste and useless on top of that; he would have been plenty entertaining without it. That moment only served to further drive Lana's character into the ground.

    Remember when she was a vicious, powerful, charismatic woman? That memory is fading. More and more, WWE is just making her the resident slut instead.

Natalya and Paige vs. Alicia Fox and Brie Bella

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Alicia Fox and Brie Bella double-teamed Natalya early. Paige fared better than her partner. She finished off Brie with the Ram-Paige.

    Fox then carried off Brie in her arms as the babyfaces celebrated.



    Paige and Natalya win. 


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Fox superkicks Paige to break up the PTO.






    WWE is back to its pre-Divas Revolution booking.

    A pair of tag teams with no storyline to work with collided in a match that was over before anything could really happen. This is the kind of hollow bout that inspired fans to demand change last year.

    And there has still been no explanation as to why Paige and Natalya are allies. 

The Miz vs. Kalisto

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    The Miz dominated Kalisto at first, bashing him with hard strikes and slowing down the match by keeping the action on the mat.

    The U.S. champ, though, fired back with bursts of high-voltage offense. He landed his finisher to counter The Miz's and score the win. 



    Kalisto wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Kalisto escapes a Five-Knuckle Shuffle with a springboard Salida Del Sol.






    Some bursts of high-flying action saved this from being a waste of time. Kalisto, though, clearly isn't the type of wrestler who can thrive against just anybody. He had minimal chemistry with The Miz.

    The bigger issue with the champ remains his lack of defining character traits other than his underdog status. The more WWE can add to Kalisto's character, the more fans will invest in his battles. 

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Rusev and Sheamus

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    JP Yim/Getty Images

    Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns used frequent tags to take control of the match early. The Lunatic Fringe skittered around the ring, looking unstoppable until The League of Nations ambushed him.

    The heels then isolated and battered Ambrose.

    The Lunatic Fringe took a wealth of punishment before finally tagging in Reigns. The Big Dog then cleaned house. Even with distractions around him courtesy of Alberto Del Rio and King Barrett, Reigns knocked over Sheamus to get the win.

    Reigns and Ambrose then powerbombed through the announce table.

    Stephanie McMahon then announced Ambrose, Reigns and Brock Lesnar would meet in the main event of Fastlane.



    Ambrose and Reigns win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ambrose hits a flying elbow drop on both Sheamus and Rusev.

    Ambrose prevents the three-count after Sheamus hit Reigns with a Brogue Kick.

    "Reigns and Ambrose making a statement."—Michael Cole.






    Ambrose's energy was the highlight of an otherwise average tag team match. This didn't feel like a main event, and the lack of heat from The League of Nations is a big reason for that.

    As for McMahon's decision, it's unclear why The Authority would go to so much trouble to screw Reigns out of his title, only to offer him this favorable route back to contention. The faction should have made his climb back to a rematch a steeper one.

    The Intercontinental Championship gets lost in the shuffle with this booking, too.

    Action-wise, the Fastlane bout looks great. Those three men will put on a show, regardless of whether the pre-match logic holds weight.