Kurt Angle's WWE Return Wasted, Brock Lesnar Returns to Raw - WWE Raw, Jan. 16, 2017 Review

Sheamus and Cesaro lose the tag team championships, and then get them back again. Brock Lesnar returns for the first time since his shocking Survivor Series defeat from Goldberg. And, was there anything else...I feel like I'm missing something. Oh yeah, and Kurt Angle was announced for the 2017 Hall of Fame. Watch Oli Davis' review of the 16th January 2017 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, or read the article further below...

Wrestler After Wrestler
Roman Reigns didn't really seem to mind about losing his US title to Chris Jericho in this opening promo, which pretty much sums up his entire run with the belt. Paul Heyman came out to interrupt Reigns by hyping Brock Lesnar's Royal Rumble performance: Eat, Sleep, Eliminate, Repeat. Or, in this opening segment's case: Eat, Sleep, A Wrestler's Entrance Music Interrupts the Guy Talking In The Ring, Repeat.

Following Heyman, we had Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn all interrupt each other and come down to the ring. To be honest, I kind of phased out during all the entrances. Val Venis could've come down to the ring for all I know. But the end result was a pretty cool way of teasing the Royal Rumble match: A bunch of guys all out for themselves.

Raw's product has been terrible for months now, but I've got to hand it to them, because they've set up so many different potential guys, I genuinely have no idea who's winning the Rumble. The only problem is... I'm not 100% sure they do either.

Enzo Amore & Big Cass beat Rusev & Jinder Mahal - 3/10
Enzo's leg is now healed as both him and Big Cass beat the Bulgarian George Clooney and the Indian Sam Worthington. From my very limited understanding of Catholic beliefs, I'm pretty sure this feud is actually purgatory.

Ariya Daivari beat Lince Dorado - 1/10
Austin Aries is excellent on commentary, but he was topped in this match by The Gentleman Jack Gallagher who said the word 'wrestler'! He called Lince Dorado a 'great wrestler'. So he's probably getting jobbed out in his next match.

Nia Jax injured Sasha Banks knee
Facebook footage was played from earlier in the day where Nia Jax attacked Sasha Banks during The Boss' knee injury assessment. They should've had all the emojis and thumbs up on the bottom of the screen like an actual Facebook Live video.

Galanderson beat Sheamaro - 6/10
After trading singles wins over the last two weeks, Galanderson and Sheamaro managed to trade tag team championships in just one match. Galanderson were briefly declared the new champions after a second referee counted their victory, but the original ref, accidentally knocked out by Sheamus, overturned this to a no DQ, meaning no championships changed hands. It was a fun match, but that sort of finish is meant to cheat the babyfaces out of a title victory. Not give the heels sympathy heat.

Rich Swann vs Tony Nese
Aries started off this segment by saying he's the best thing about the Cruiserweight matches on Raw. Usually he'd be correct, but then out came Nev-Heel to beat up Swann, so the match never got started.

Big E beat Titus O'Neil
Titus O'Neil and the New Day had an in-ring promo segment. Again. For the third week in a row. The New Day are most definitely entertaining, but they've been part of more horrendous segments on Raw than anyone else since the brand split. Their act doesn't seem to allow their opponents to look strong during their promos together.

Charlotte's Winning Strategy
Although Charlotte went on a bit, I thought this was an effective promo building the jock-like bullying of Bayley storyline. Especially when Charlotte made fun of Bayley's sweet essay on how all she wanted was to be a 'pro wrestler' - yep, that's twice the forbidden word had been used in one night - when she was a kid, the crowd were booing the heel and cheering for the face. Unfortunately, after a serious start, Bayley then did a few minutes of really bad comedy poems.

Cedric Alexander Beat Brian Kendrick - 5/10
I can't entirely explain why, but I'm enjoying the Noam Dar/Cedric Alexander/Alicia FUCKS love triangle. Alexander beat Brian Kendrick despite Fox being distracting at ringside.

Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho - 6/10
The six-man tag main event was fun with some good spots from Zayn and Rollins, and Kevin Owens looked great at the end after power-bombing Roman through the announcer's table, and delivering a wicked chair shot to Seth. It really made me want to see a Reigns vs Owens match. But there real main event happened shortly before.

Kurt Angle Hall of Fame 2017
Kurt Angle was announced as the first inductee into this year's Hall of Fame. Which is undoubtedly awesome. As anyone watching WrestleTalk for any length of time will know, Kurt is my favourite ever wrestler. I'm very happy. But not happy enough to be completely uncritical.
This huge announcement wasn't teased on the previous week's show. It wasn't set-up at the start of the night. All it got promotional-wise was a tease before an adbreak.
The Royal Rumble match is in two weeks' time. WWE squandered a huge surprise entrant for an almost throwaway announcement. I've got my own theories as to why that might be - watch the WrestleTalk News to find that out - but yeah, it's a strange thought to think Kurt Angle might wrestle in WWE before Emmalina.

Overall
So that was this week's Raw in about four minutes. Here's the usual ratings recap, from top to bottom - In Awe, Cor, AVERAWGE, Poor and Bore.

This week's Raw is Poor.

But WWE are bringing back Kurt Angle! And Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon were nowhere to be seen on the show - the first time since the brand split, according to Reddit.

Yes, that was great. And I enjoyed the Rumble teases and the Galanderson/Sheamaro tag match, too. But watching Smackdown and New Japan and the UK Championship tournament over the last fortnight have reminded me why I love wrestling. They've reminded me what standards should be. And a three hour Raw show, with a lot of filler, a squandered Kurt Angle announcement, and the same matches being done over and over again - Cesaro, Sheamus, Gallows, Anderson, New Day, Titus O'Neil, Enzo, Cass...it's lazy. And although it was much, much better than the two shows of 2017 so far, don't let that trick you into thinking it was anything other than below average. Because to give this show an AvRAWge would mean that's the acceptable quality of Raw every week. And it isn't.

But what did you all think? Let me know in the comments down below.