Monday Night Raw
Date: December 10, 2018
Location: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
We’re at the go home show for TLC and the question now becomes how bad can things actually get. Tonight is likely going to be focused on the final push towards the bigger matches, even if there isn’t any interest in those bigger matches. In other words, expect another Baron Corbin night as he has to hammer in his power before possibly losing it on Sunday. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Seth Rollins to get things going. He isn’t happy with Dean Ambrose and tonight it’s time to spit some truth. Rollins is tired of hearing Baron Corbin (you and me both brother) talking about things so Corbin can get out here right now. Corbin says his door is always open to a superstar of Rollins’ caliber but Rollins tells him to cut it. Since Rollins has been dealing with Dean Ambrose, he hasn’t had the chance to tell Corbin how much he sucks as General Manager.
Rollins talks about everything Corbin has done wrong, including ruining a team like the Revival in whatever a Lucha House Party Rules match is. If Corbin keeps firing people, is it just going to be him, Lashley and McIntyre out here? Rollins: “That’ll send ratings up.” Or maybe they can have more urination segments. Then there’s BROCK LESNAR, who is never around and hasn’t wrestled on Raw since 2002. Right now, morale and TV ratings are at an all time low and it’s all because of Corbin’s job as boss.
Corbin says he doesn’t care about any of this because he’s in charge. If Rollins isn’t careful, it’s going to get worse for him. Rollins: “I don’t think it can get much worse around here pal.” Corbin talks about becoming permanent GM of Raw on Sunday after Rollins loses his Intercontinental Title. Then it’s time for Rollins’ life to become a nightmare.
Rollins tells him to start doing it tonight so the challenge is on. Actually, if Corbin wants to have a TLC match so badly, let’s do that tonight. Corbin says no so Rollins calls him a coward over and over. That’s eventually enough to get Corbin to agree to the match and it’s going to be for the Intercontinental Title.
I’m of two minds about this. On one hand, it’s a good sign that WWE is acknowledging how much people have been rejecting the show. The problem though is that this isn’t making things better. Having a TLC match is going to be cool, but not if Corbin is involved as he’s a big part of the problem. It’s one thing to admit that something is wrong, but until you do something to fix it long term, the problem is still there.
Post break Rollins says he wants to be a leader and has to take a stand. If he won’t, he doesn’t deserve the title.
Tag Team Titles: Drake Maverick/AOP vs. Chad Gable/Bobby Roode
Maverick and the AOP are defending in a handicap match. Fallout from last week when Roode lost a match he had to win to earn a title shot. Gable has his own robe and is now in regular gear. Akam takes Gable down to start and hands it off to Rezar for a knee to the ribs. Everything breaks down for a few seconds and AOP are knocked to the floor, leaving Maverick to be hiptossed inside. That’s followed by a heck of a toss over the top and we take a break.
Back with Gable in trouble again as even Maverick can get in some shots to the ribs. Maverick runs back over to Akam for a tag but Gable sends him into the corner and makes the hot tag to Roode. House is cleaned for a few moments until everything breaks down. The Super Collider takes Roode down but Gable reverses his into a hurricanrana. The sitout powerbomb/neckbreaker combination plants Gable but Maverick wants the pin on Roode. As expected, he takes a little too long posing and gets rolled up to give Roode the pin and the titles at 8:24.
Rating: C-. This feels like part of the course correction that the show seems to be on. Either that or it’s another example of giving the fans a thrill for the sake of making them ignore how bad some of the other things are. Either way, it’s a nice moment and thankfully erases some of the mess from the whole robe situation.
We look back at Dolph Ziggler defeating Drew McIntyre last week, followed by Drew attacking Finn Balor for interfering.
Post break, Roode and Gable are proud of their win and say there hasn’t been much hope as of late. They knew if they put the work in it would be worth it and now they feel GLORIOUS.
Here’s Natalya to talk about what Ruby Riott is putting her through. Natalya has gone through so much just to get to WWE, including a little thing called the Montreal Screwjob. We’ll ignore how stupid that is and move on to Natalya dedicating her match on Sunday to Jim Neidhart. You know, the guy who worked for the company after the Montreal Screwjob. She’s going to use everything she has to put Riott through a table on Sunday.
This brings out the Riott Squad, with Morgan and Logan bringing out a table with a sheet on it. Ruby talks about Natalya feeling sorry for herself all the time and how she needs to get a good therapist already. Since Ruby won’t be invited to the Hart Family Christmas, she has a gift for Natalya. That would be the table with a picture of Jim Neidhart on it, so he and Natalya can be closer than ever. As usual, Natalya can’t talk and Ruby is a great promo.
Dolph Ziggler says he brought Drew McIntyre in from obscurity. Tonight, he’s not the good guy or the bad guy. He’s Dolph Ziggler and he’s taking McIntyre out.
Here’s McIntyre for a chat before his match. No one stays undefeated forever, including Andre the Giant or the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The loss has made him even more dangerous and Finn Balor can explain that to you. Tonight, he’s kicking Ziggler’s head off.
Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler goes right after him to start but has to fight out of the corner as Drew slugs him down. A belly to belly suplex sends Ziggler flying and we take a break. Back with McIntyre hitting Super White Noise with Ziggler almost falling out for a nasty looking landing. They head outside with Ziggler posting McIntyre for a close nine but Ziggler collapses trying a superkick back inside. McIntyre talks a lot of trash so Ziggler snaps off the Zig Zag for two. They both take a good bit of time to get up and it’s Ziggler trying another superkick, only to get caught with a quick Claymore for the pin at 8:19.
Rating: D+. Nothing much to this one and I really, really hope that Balor isn’t going to be replaced by Ziggler on Sunday. I don’t get how he could possible be the third biggest face on the show, mainly because he’s not a face but rather a heel who was beaten down by another heel. At least McIntyre won though.
Post match McIntyre destroys Ziggler some more but referees break up a powerbomb on the floor. Instead, McIntyre kicks Ziggler’s head into the LED ring skirt.
We look back at Corbin forcing Heath Slater to face Rhyno and end his career as a result.
Bayley vs. Alicia Fox
Sasha Banks, Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers are all here. Apparently since Finn Balor is hurt, Apollo Crews is taking his place in Mixed Match Challenge. That thing is cursed man. They fight over a lockup to start with Fox actually driving her into the corner. That’s more success than I would have bet on for her. A takedown sets up the early chinlock until Bayley fights up, only to get caught with a sunset flip out of the corner.
That’s countered into an elbow drop, followed by a belly to back suplex to drop Fox. A Stunner over the middle rope means it’s time to adjust the ponytail. The Singh Brothers offer a distraction so Fox can kick her in the face, drawing out Crews to deal with the Brothers. Banks gets involved as well, leaving Bayley to hit the Bayley to Belly for the pin at 3:47.
Rating: D. Bad stuff here, but that’s to be the case when you have five people getting into a fight on the floor. I’m completely ready for Mixed Match Challenge to be over and at this rate, the entire roster will have been involved in the thing in one way or another. However, how in the world are they supposed to fill in the spots left over from the lack of Mixed Match Challenge preview matches?
Dean Ambrose talks about how that was the real Seth Rollins earlier tonight: he was insane, off the hinges and going without a plan. Rollins isn’t an architect, but if he’s still Intercontinental Champion after tonight, Dean is taking the title on Sunday. As for Roman Reigns, who apparently doesn’t know what’s going on between Dean and Seth, who cares? Dean is asked to talk about a video of Roman’s farewell speech on the same night Rollins and Ambrose won the Tag Team Titles and the ensuing fallout. This goes on for several minutes and Dean has no reaction.
Here’s Elias for a song. Before he gets to that though, Elias talks about Lashley having an interview earlier today where he said all the San Diego sports teams should move to a cool town like Los Angeles. Elias on the other hand would rather perform downtown in San Diego than in front of a bunch of LA trash. He’s not happy with himself for hitting a child like Lio Rush in the back with his guitar last week but tonight he’ll beat him in a match. As for the song, it’s mainly about how much Lashley sucks. Therefore, here are Lashley and Rush to interrupt.
Elias vs Lio Rush
Heath Slater makes his refereeing debut. Rush gets gorilla pressed to start and Elias tosses him around with a heck of a hiptoss. A whip into the corner sends Rush through the ropes (that’s a new one) but Lashley gets in a cheap shot, allowing Rush to start his flipping around back inside. A sitout Last Ride crushes Rush so Lashley comes in….not for the DQ for some reason. Lashley stares Slater down and a spinebuster plants Elias. Rush brings in the guitar so Lashley can break it over Elias’ back and Slater counts the pin at 4:13.
Rating: D. Much more of an angle than a match, as you had to expect. Slater as the intimidated referee could be interesting and it’s not like we’ve seen that story in recent memory. There isn’t much else for him to do in the ring at the moment so mix things up a bit and see if we can get people to care more. What can it hurt?
A disgusted Slater leaves.
We recap the opening segment.
We recap the Tag Team Title change.
We recap Ruby Riott revealing the Jim Neidhart table.
We recap Drew McIntyre injuring Dolph Ziggler.
Corbin comes in to tell Slater he did a good job. Slater is ready to go home but Corbin says he has another match to referee tonight.
Here’s Alexa Bliss to moderate a Q&A session with Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax. Before Rousey comes out, Jax says she’s going to become Raw Women’s Champion at Rousey’s expense. Nia is a 6’ 300lb Samoan woman and the anti-Rousey. Her secret is the right hand which broke Becky Lynch’s face with one punch. On Sunday, she’s going to hit Rousey over and over until Rousey taps out. She’s also a strategist, so she plans on avoiding the judo and hitting Rousey in the face. Cue Rousey to chase both of them off because she wants a fight. Ember Moon runs out to even things up.
Tamina vs. Ember Moon
Ember throws her outside to start and we pause for a Nia vs. Tamina staredown. Back in and Tamina gets in a hard shot for two. A whip into the corner sets up a chinlock for longer than it needs to go on. Ember fights up and starts in with the kicks but gets caught in a powerslam. Some knees to the face put Tamina down and with Rousey throwing Nia over the barricade, the Eclipse finishes Tamina at 5:10.
Rating: D-. Good. Now fire Tamina, tell her to never disgrace us with her presence again, and keep her away from anything involving television. I don’t remember the last time I saw anyone who can suck the life out of a show like her and what could have been an entertaining Moon match was a barren wasteland of joy because Tamina is that bad.
Baron Corbin doesn’t like being accused of abusing his power. Then on Sunday, he’s going to win by forfeit because Strowman is too hurt to compete. Charly Caruso asks him about rumors that Strowman is going to show up but Corbin laughs them off.
TLC rundown, with Elias vs. Lashley now a ladder match.
Lars Sullivan video.
Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin is challenging in a TLC match with Slater as referee. Rollins stomps him down in the corner and knees his way out of a suplex. They head outside with Rollins grabbing a chair but getting punched in the face for his efforts. Corbin orders Slater to get him a ladder but the delay lets Rollins hit a spring clothesline and we take a break. Back with Corbin cracking a chair over Rollins’ back and whipping him into the barricade to make things even worse. Rollins gets in a dropkick and tries for a ladder but Corbin suplexes him into said ladder in the corner.
Corbin hits the slide under the ropes clothesline and stops to hit the Strowman pose. A backdrop sends Rollins to the floor but he springboards in to catch Corbin on the ladder and hammer him down. Corbin is fine enough to knock him outside and we take another break. Back again with Corbin hitting a Deep Six and some big right hands to the head. Corbin tries another slide but walks into an enziguri.
That means it’s time for the big beating with a chair as Cole recaps the opening segment again. Back to back suicide dives connect but the third sees Corbin throw him through a table. Corbin can’t climb fast enough though as Rollins chairs him down. One of the chair shots hits Slater and knocks him off the apron, though Rollins doesn’t seem to mind as he hits a huge splash off the top through Corbin through a table.
Back in and Rollins goes up but Slater shoves the ladder over, sending him arm first into a table in the corner, which doesn’t break. Corbin climbs up and…..gets powerbombed through the table as Rollins won’t stay down. With Slater down, a Stomp is enough for Rollins to climb up and retain the title at 24:30.
Rating: C+. It’s hard to screw up a TLC match and there was some drama at the end, even though the Slater turn (I think?) didn’t mean much. The problem here is even more Corbin, which is the last thing this show needed. Rollins winning to give us a hero we can believe in helps, but my goodness did we need a twenty five minute Corbin match to wrap things up?
Overall Rating: D. Much like the opening promo, I’m not sure what entirely to think here. First of all, there were some better parts this time around. The main event was good if you ignore everything going on before it and the Tag Team Title change was a nice little surprise that offered something to cheer for.
The problem though continues to be Corbin, who is all over the show and not interesting enough to warrant more than about five minutes a week. This week he opened the show, closed the show (with nearly half an hour in the main event) and appeared in multiple backstage segments. That’s too much for almost anyone not named The Rock or Steve Austin and Corbin, like almost any other wrestler ever, is nowhere near those two. Most of this show was about “will Corbin keep his power” but he’s killed off so much interest in the show that I don’t care what happens to him or the show itself.
Rollins trying to be the hero is a good thing, but like he said, with no World Champion to chase, what’s the point? If Strowman wins on Sunday, it’s probably six weeks until Lesnar defends the thing again and I’d be rather surprised if Strowman gets the title. If Corbin wins on Sunday, nothing changes around here and we wait for a new challenger to get a shot. Either way, it’s a lot of sitting around waiting, which isn’t helping the show’s problems. I need a reason to watch and Baron Corbin getting 25 minutes after being the anchor that drags this show down isn’t it, no matter how many things Rollins jumps off.
Bobby Roode/Chad Gable b. AOP/Drake Maverick – Rollup to Roode
Drew McIntyre b. Dolph Ziggler – Claymore
Bayley b. Alicia Fox – Bayley to Belly
Lio Rush b. Elias – Guitar to the back
Ember Moon b. Tamina
Seth Rollins b. Baron Corbin – Rollins pulled down the title
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