Monday Night Raw – December 17, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 17, 2018
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves

It’s the night after TLC and really, nothing that happened last night is likely to matter. Tonight is ALL about Vince McMahon shaking that up and you can imagine the amount of talking that’s going to receive after the announcement is made. There’s a good chance that it’s going to be something like a Draft or the Superstar Shakeup, which isn’t likely to solve that many problems. Let’s get to it.

We waste no time with Vince coming out to open things up. He knows everyone is wondering what is going on with Monday Night Raw and tonight we’re going to find out. One of the reasons that Raw has been on the air for 25 years is they change with the times and despite one man’s brilliance and creativity, he can’t do it by himself anymore. He can do it without the fans…..and here’s Stephanie McMahon.

Before anything can be said though, here’s HHH, with Cole pointing out that he put NXT together. We’re still not done yet though as here’s Shane to complete the wrestling side of the family. The fans cheer for Shane but Stephanie gets to talk (of course), saying they haven’t been doing a good job of running their shows. They’ve let middle management run the company so tonight, they’re off to a fresh start. HHH: “The days of absentee management are over.” Starting tonight, they’re taking back Raw and Smackdown and it’s time for a lot of fresh things, such as faces, stars and matchups.

As of now, the fans are the authority. Vince says that as long as we give you more of what you want and less of what you don’t, WWE will always be then, now and forever. They seem to be done but here’s Baron Corbin, who is booed out of the building. Corbin says those were some great words, but the word that wasn’t mentioned was “fair”. What happened to him last night wasn’t fair, and that’s why we need to have a conversation.

Back from a break with Corbin in the ring with the bosses and the fans booing him even more. HHH: “If you keep doing that, it’s hard for him to speak.” You get the idea I’m sure. Corbin keeps getting booed even more, but he eventually gets to say that it’s not his fault the wrestlers aren’t responding to his motivational tactics.

Last night wasn’t fair because Braun Strowman wasn’t supposed to be there so he wasn’t prepared. HHH gets to the point and says Corbin wants his job back. Corbin says that’s exactly right but it’s a quadruple negative. Actually hang on, because Vince thinks they might all be wrong. Corbin can have a match right now and if he wins, he gets to be permanent GM. All he has to do is beat this man.

Baron Corbin vs. Kurt Angle

Heath Slater is guest referee and sweet goodness we’re lucky that Angle completely forgave Stephanie for ruining his life and job oh…..just a few months ago with no repercussions? Angle punches him down and we take an early break. Back with HHH saying that this is actually a handicap match.

Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable/Bobby Roode/Kurt Angle

So it was just a practice run when they did this last night? Corbin tries to go after all of them to start and it goes as well as you would expect. An attempted escape doesn’t work and Slater fixes a turnbuckle while the beating is on. Cue Shane again to say that this is No DQ. Slater joins in and everyone grabs a chair to destroy Corbin even more. Everyone hits their finisher and Angle gets the pin at 9:05.

Rating: D. Well, it was slightly different than last night as there was no Finn Balor to get involved here, nor was there Strowman to stand on Corbin’s chest for the pin. This was the first half hour of the show being dedicated to the bosses and Corbin, and that’s been the biggest problem on Raw in recent weeks. This did nothing we didn’t see last night and after sitting through a four hour pay per view, that’s not a good start. There was no reason for this not to be a squash either, as Corbin should have been slaughtered in about thirty seconds, not the better part of ten minutes doing the same thing they did last night.

Post match the fans want tables so one gets brought in, with Corbin taking an Angle Slam through one.

Video on John Cena receiving the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award from Sports Illustrated.

Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler

This match is so fresh that we haven’t even seen it in the last month! This is fallout from Ziggler interfering in last night’s Balor vs. Drew McIntyre match. Balor dropkicks him to the floor and we take an early break. Back with Balor hitting a basement dropkick but holding his hamstring. During the break, Ziggler hit a dropkick of his own to keep the score even. Ziggler gets two off a rollup and a reverse DDT is good for the same.

Balor hits the enziguri in the corner but Ziggler breaks up the Coup de Grace and sends him into the post. The Zig Zag gets two and here’s Drew McIntyre, with Ziggler diving onto him for some right hands. Balor flip dives onto McIntyre but gets caught with the Fameasser for two. Balor starts his comeback but McIntyre comes in to jump him for the DQ at 9:35.

Rating: D+. This didn’t have time to go anywhere with the break and the interference, but the inclusion of Ziggler sucked the life out of almost anything they could do. Since there’s no World Champion on Raw at the moment, McIntyre is stuck slumming it with these two, because….I can’t even bring myself to get into that rant again. Just set up the triple threat for the last Raw of the year already and let McIntyre crush them both. He won’t, but that’s where this should be going.

Post match McIntyre lays Ziggler out too.

Here’s Dean Ambrose, with the gas masked guards at his side. Corey: “There had to be some sort of big celebration in the Ambrose house last night.” Renee: “Of course there was but do you think I’m going to tell you about it?” Ambrose said you all should be bowing down to him because he did what he promised to do last night. Not too long ago Seth Rollins had two titles and now he has none. Dean isn’t done though and he’s going to destroy Rollins once and for all.

As for now though, Seth can come out here right now and tell Dean that he’s right to his face. There’s no Seth, so Dean makes a non-title open challenge for Rollins instead. There’s still no Seth, so let’s have an Open Challenge for the Intercontinental Title for anyone not named Seth Rollins.

Intercontinental Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Tyler Breeze

Ambrose is defending of course and this is indeed something different, after only an hour of waiting on anything fresh to happen. A running clothesline puts Dean on the floor and we take an early break. Back with Dean in control and stomping at the ribs before slapping on a chinlock. An enziguri (becoming way too popular around here) gives Breeze two and Dean misses a charge into the post to give Breeze another near fall. There’s the Beauty Shot and a high crossbody for two more. The Unprettier is broken up though and Dean hits Dirty Deeds for the pin at 7:45.

Rating: D+. It had a nice bit in the middle where Breeze got in some offense but this was another boring match and just a quick stop on the road to another Rollins vs. Ambrose match, which completely fits the “fresh” description on the show. After last night, I never need to see them fight again but you know we’re getting it several more times. Lucky us indeed.

Post match Ambrose calls Rollins out again and here he is, as one of the people in the gas masks. Now that might not make a lot of sense given what Dean offered him before the match, but I guess Rollins would rather get in a few shots than a match.

Shane is talking about fresh matches when Drake Maverick and the AOP come in. They want their rematch but Shane is tired of the required rematch clause (halle-freaking-lujah), especially since Baron Corbin set all this up in the first place. Instead, tonight the AOP can be in a four way match with the Lucha House Party, the Revival and the B Team for a future title shot.

A graphic shows us that Heavy Machinery, Lars Sullivan, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans and EC3 are coming to the main roster.

Back from a break and all of the upcoming talents get videos.

Here are Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush, with the former sitting down hold a guitar. They talk about how sick Lashley is of songs, though hitting Elias with a guitar last night felt great. Therefore, here are some poses. Elias sneaks in with a guitar shot to Lashley’s back but he runs off as Lashley no sells the thing. This is another feud that needs to go far, far away.

Sami Zayn is coming back. No date given but SWEET.

AOP vs. Lucha House Party vs. B Team vs. Revival

One fall to a finish but the big story here: LUCHA HOUSE RULES ARE DONE! Dawson slaps Kalisto in the mask to start and even stops to mock the Lucha Dance. Kalisto DDTs both of the Revival but the AOP comes in to throw people around as we take a break. Back with Wilder holding Dorado in a Gory Stretch but stopping to dance again.

Dorado gets out and hits the Golden Rewind but Dallas tags himself in. Kalisto hits the springboard corkscrew crossbody to take Dallas down and it’s back to Dawson. Dallas runs him over and hits the hanging swinging neckbreaker for two with Wilder making the save. The AOP gets sent outside by Dawson and Dallas and it’s a Shatter Machine to finish Dallas at 10:12.

Rating: C. I’m perfectly fine with the new challengers and PLEASE tell me they get the titles at some point. They’ve been around for a year and a half now and barely gotten around the title picture, despite being one of the best teams WWE has had in years. This is long overdue, especially when the current champions are a thrown together team.

Rollins talks about last night being a disaster and everything falling apart. He heard everything the fans said last night and it’s time to set things right. That starts with getting rid of Dean Ambrose….and here’s Corbin to interrupt. Corbin blames Rollins for everything going wrong for him and mocks him for losing the title. Rollins puts him down with a right hand.

We look back at the opening segment.

Here’s Ronda Rousey for a chat. She talks about beating Nia Jax like she promised to do last night. Then there was what she did in the main event, when she shoved over a ladder, costing both Becky Lynch and Charlotte the title. She isn’t here to justify her action, but rather writing the next chapters in their stories. After giving the definition of a champ, Rousey lays out an open challenge for a title shot right now.

We cut to the gorilla position where the women are arguing over having their music played. Egads none of these women, or for that matter anyone, is this stupid. Stephanie comes in to say come with her. In the arena, Stephanie announces a gauntlet match for the title shot right now.

Gauntlet Match

The winner gets the title shot next week and there are eight entrants total. Alicia Fox and Bayley start things off with Fox getting two off a forearm and slapping on a chinlock. Bayley gets two of her own off a belly to back suplex and we take a break. Back with Bayley getting two off a sunset flip until Fox chops her down. Bayley tweaks her knee off a flip and gets kicked in the head, only to grab a crucifix to get rid of Fox at 7:57.

Dana Brooke is in third with an enziguri and a handspring elbow, followed by the bodyscissors. A chop block stays on the knee and Bayley can’t even be whipped across the ring. Ever the genius, Brooke grabs a chinlock instead of, maybe, the bad knee? Bayley fights up and hits a quick Bayley to Belly for the elimination at 10:38.

Back from another break (and a Kevin Owens return vignette, again with no date specified) with Mickie James charging into Bayley’s boot in the corner but grabbing a neckbreaker for two. The top rope Thesz press gives Mickie two and a sunset flip gives Bayley the same. Bayley snaps off a belly to back suplex but Mickie kicks her to the floor. Back in and Bayley’s knee gives out again but she’s fine enough to hit a middle rope crossbody. The top rope elbow gets two with James having to grab the rope for the break.

The Bayley to Belly is broken up so Bayley puts her on the apron instead. A kick to the knee slows Bayley down and the MickDT gets rid of Bayley at 24:16. Ember Moon is in fifth and Mickie kicks her down in a hurry. A quick comeback is cut off by Mickie tripping her face first onto the apron as we take another break. Back with Ember hitting a faceplant and firing off some kicks. A flapjack gives Mickie two but the top rope Thesz press is countered into a Codebreaker followed by the Eclipse to get rid of Mickie at 28:57.

Natalya is in sixth and Ember wastes no time in rolling her up for two. A cravate keeps Natalya in trouble until Ember misses a dive off the top and an exchange of rollups goes to Natalya, who gets a pin at 31:02. Ruby Riott is in seventh and we take another break. Back again with Ruby holding a choke until Natalya slams her down, followed by a double clothesline. A cravate keeps Ruby in trouble until Natalya fights up with a collection of suplexes. Ruby misses a middle rope backsplash and gets rolled up for the pin at 41:35.

Sasha Banks is in last with Corey accusing her of politicking her way to the final spot. Banks misses the Meteora but gets two off a DDT. We take another break and come back again with Natalya getting two off a basement dropkick. The discus lariat is good for the same and the Sharpshooter goes on. The big slow crawl to the ropes doesn’t quite work so Banks rolls Natalya into the corner for the break.

A half crab has Natalya in trouble before Banks realizes the obvious and switches over to the Bank Statement. That’s rolled through and Natalya gets a release German suplex to drop Banks on the back of her head. Banks gets two off the Meteora but runs into an Alleyoop to drop her on her face. The Sharpshooter goes on again and Banks taps at 52:59.

Rating: C-. We sat through all that to set up NATALYA for the big title shot? Good grief they’re really overestimating how much people care about her and this friendship with Rousey. I know it’s just a one off title match, but I don’t think they could have picked a less interesting opponent outside of Nia Jax and Tamina. I’m not looking forward to this one, but big points for setting up a title match by having someone win a match like this.

Post match Rousey comes in for the handshake and there’s no violence.

Next week: Rousey vs. Natalya, Balor vs. McIntyre vs. Ziggler, Elias vs. Lashley in a street fight, Rollins vs. Corbin, and Paul Heyman celebrates the holidays.

Natalya poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. I’m not sure on this one but we’ll get the important thing out of the way first: stuff happened here. After weeks of the big story being Baron Corbin, they only spent a half hour on him and that’s a big change of pace. There were some storyline advancements here and some fresh blood coming here will do the show some good.

At the same time though, look at how many stories are continuing from last week. We still have the Balor/Ziggler/McIntyre stuff, Rollins vs. Ambrose, Elias vs. Lashley and Corbin doing anything. While it’s nice to have some fresh stuff being brought in, it doesn’t do much good when the majority of the show is the same stuff that was boring in the first place.

Then there’s the big one: the promise of more McMahons. While I’ll take it over a Draft or another Superstar Shakeup which just rearranges the deck chairs (which aren’t on the Titanic), it doesn’t say much when the whole thing is all about the same bosses we’ve had before. I know they promised the lack of middle management and I’ll be nice and say that holds up until March until they change their minds and do the same stuff all over again. It isn’t exactly inspiring stuff, but that’s never stopped them before. I’m not exactly optimistic here, but at least these bosses are more interesting than Corbin so they’re doing something good.

Results

Bobby Roode/Chad Gable/Kurt Angle/Apollo Crews b. Baron Corbin – Angle Slam

Finn Balor b. Dolph Ziggler via DQ when Drew McIntyre interfered

Dean Ambrose b. Tyler Breeze – Dirty Deeds

Revival b. Lucha House Party, AOP and the B Team – Shatter Machine to Dallas

Natalya won a gauntlet match last eliminating Sasha Banks

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

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