Monday Night Raw
Date: December 24, 2018
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves
We’re taped here, because thankfully USA decided the show didn’t need to be live on a night that was going to have a grand total of fourteen people watching. The big match tonight is Ronda Rousey defending the Women’s Title vs. Natalya and we’ll also be seeing the followup to the McMahon’s taking over last week. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is Twas The Raw Before Christmas, set to the poem with a look at what we’ll be seeing tonight. This was released on the YouTube page a few days ago and it was awesome.
Here’s Elias, in a Santa hat, to open things up. After saying what WWE stands for, he has a new holiday classic for us. The song is about how annoying kids can be around this time of year but when things get tough, just ask what Elias would do. When it’s bad though, just remember that you could be Bobby Lashley, and he sucks.
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Miracle on 34th Street Fight so there are weapons around the ring, including Christmas trees. Lashley fires off shoulders in the corner to start until they head outside with Elias hitting him with a Christmas tree. Elias knocks him down again and we take a break. Back with Lio Rush helping put Elias in trouble and Lashley loads up a present. They come back in with Lashley throwing him in an overhead belly to belly and pouring out….Legos. Well that’s different. Not unique as I saw it done earlier this year, but different indeed.
Lashley loads up a superplex that wouldn’t put Rollins on the Legos whatsoever so Rollins shoves him onto them instead. A blast from a fire extinguisher blinds Lashley and he knocks Rush off the apron through a table. Another shot to the ribs with the fire extinguisher sets up the old Al Snow bowling ball to the crotch spot. Elias hits him with a cello for the pin at 12:36.
Rating: C-. It’s a tradition and I can’t get mad about it, but am I supposed to believe that the feud is over now? I don’t see why I should, as the ladder match should have ended things but this kept going anyway. The brawling was fine, but it’s not like this means anything more than the previous matches. It’s nice for Elias to win though, even if almost no one is going to see it.
We look back at the big announcement from last week.
Heath Slater wants his best friend back on Raw.
Tag Team Titles: Revival vs. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable
Roode and Gable are defending. Wilder knocks Gable down to start so Gable comes in with a monkey flip to Dawson. The armbar goes on and something like a flying headscissors takes Dawson down again. A blind tag brings in Dawson to take Gable down though and we take a break. Back with Gable still in trouble as the Revival keeps taking turns. Gable finally knocks Dawson down and it’s back to Roode to clean house.
Everything breaks down with Roode catching a kick to the ribs and flipping (!) Wilder onto Dawson for two. Gable comes back in for a rollup on Dawson, who gets the same off the same. They bridge up into a backslide but Dawson tags out just in time. An uppercut into a German suplex into a flipping (!) rollup cover gives Wilder two as Roode saves. Roode and Wilder fight to the floor and it’s a suplex reversed into a small package to pin Dawson (not legal) at 10:45.
Rating: C. As much as I want to see the Revival win, this was at least an entertaining match. Roode and Gable are a good team and proof that you can get something together if you actually do something with the people you have sitting around. The ending suggests a rematch and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s still not the ending I want.
The B Team tries to sell Apollo Crews a shirt in the form of the 12 Days of Christmas but he politely declines.
Lucha House Party works on a Christmas list but starts chanting again.
Curt Hawkins wants a new Hoverboard, a pet giraffe, dress socks, or A FREAKING WIN.
No Way Jose thinks Santa should get a gift this year. Like polar bear repellent. Or a conga line at the North Pole.
Video on the upcoming NXT callups.
Dolph Ziggler isn’t sure if he’s on the naughty or nice list but he wants a few things for Christmas. Like the Best in the World trophy, a standup special on Netflix, or respect when he beats Drew McIntyre and Finn Balor.
Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler
Before the match, Drew talks about not being worried because he’s a mountain lion. If the other two get in his way, he’s not worried to kick their heads off. After he gets done with this, he’s moving on to the Royal Rumble so he can main event Wrestlemania (becoming the first entrant).
Drew cleans house to start and knocks both of them into the corner, only to charge into a shot to the face both times. McIntyre gets sent outside and both guys join him, where Drew sends them into various hard objects as we take a break. Back with Balor caught in an armbar and then suplexing Ziggler into an armbar of his own. The big headbutt sends Ziggler back to the floor but Balor knocks Drew down.
The Coup de Grace misses though and Balor rolls through, right into a Zig Zag for two. Balor knocks Ziggler outside again and tries another Coup de Grace, only to get crotched by Ziggler. A superkick drops McIntyre for two with Balor finally hitting the Coup de Grace for the save. McIntyre gets dropkicked to the floor, leaving Balor to hit the Coup de Grace to put Ziggler away at 11:39.
Rating: C-. I’m completely done with seeing these three fight and while it’s better that McIntyre didn’t take the fall, he shouldn’t be toiling with these people. He should be going after the World Title, but since that doesn’t exist and we CAN’T switch people from one show to another save or at designated times, this is as good as he gets. At least Balor got the pin, which is the second best option.
Post match McIntyre yells at Ziggler for ruining things and gets Zig Zagged. So yes, it’s still going and we’ll be seeing them fight again.
Video on Tribute to the Troops.
The B Team still hasn’t finished the song and starts over.
And now, a visit from Mr. McMahon-A-Claus, featuring gifts for the fans. Like John Cena back on Monday Night Raw and Smackdown, Women’s Tag Team Titles (no dates given), and a steel cage match next week between Ziggler and McIntyre. That’s enough though as the suit is too hot. Vince: “You guys ever see the movie Bad Santa?” Vince smiles to the production assistants in a scene that felt like it normally wouldn’t make TV.
Mickie James/Dana Brooke/Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks/Ember Moon/Bayley
Mickie and Ember start things off with Mickie knocking her down for an early two. Ember nips up into a headscissors but Fox tags herself in, only to get superkicked to the apron. A suicide dive sends Ember into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Ember still in trouble as Mickie kicks her in the ribs. Ember finally knocks Dana away and brings in Bayley to almost no reaction. Banks comes back in for the Meteora on James, followed by Ember Eclipsing Fox to the floor. A blind tag brings in Bayley with the Backstabber sending Mickie into the Bayley to Belly for the pin at 8:31.
Rating: D. I know this is an ice cold show by definition but it’s not a good sign when a match like this had no heat whatsoever. Maybe it’s the fans just being done after having so much content, but maybe it’s because these women have been fighting in various combinations for what feels like years now. But nah, we can’t give them anything else to do of course.
Post match the Riott Squad comes in to take out the winners.
We look back at Seth Rollins blaming Baron Corbin for all of Raw’s problems and their argument last week to set up tonight’s main event.
Here’s Paul Heyman to celebrate the holidays, which means talking about Braun Strowman. Heyman has seen Strowman’s personnel files, which includes asking Santa Claus for a replica title as a child. Now he’s an adult though and wants the real thing at the expense of Brock Lesnar. That’s not happening because even Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer couldn’t find him a path to the title.
This brings out Strowman, with his arm in a bandage instead of a sling, and Heyman is panicked. Strowman puts reindeer antlers and a red nose on Heyman, calling him the red nosed advocate. He’ll be fine for the Royal Rumble and Heyman is going to get these hands. Short and sweet from Strowman here.
We look back at Natalya winning the gauntlet match last week.
Natalya expects nothing but the best from Ronda and knows Ronda expects the same.
Alexa Bliss wants Bayley to get some personality, Sasha some humility, Natalya….well she’s a lost cause, and Ronda some good makeup. No mention of Bliss being in charge here.
Tyler Breeze wants Fandango back fast and some Ariana Grande tickets. When told he can only have one thing, he picks the tickets.
Women’s Title: Natalya vs. Ronda Rousey
Rousey is defending. Natalya spins out of an early wristlock attempt but Rousey takes her to the mat without much effort. An early side triangle choke attempt doesn’t quite work as Natalya slips out to grab a waistlock. That’s reversed into a bodyscissors for a bit until Ronda sends her outside in a heap. Ronda looks concerned about her friend as we take a break.
Back with Rousey in trouble and Natalya making things worth with a bodyscissors of her own. The chinlock doesn’t last long and gives Natalya two, with the kickout seeming to just annoy her. An abdominal stretch, with Natalya picking up a leg, makes things even worse for Rousey. Since that’s a hard position to hold, Natalya goes with a dropkick for two. A delayed suplex gets the same and Rousey looks shaken in the corner.
It’s a clothesline to get Rousey out of trouble and she unloads in the corner. A running knee gives Rousey two but Natalya is right back with a Sharpshooter attempt. That’s reversed into Piper’s Pit but Rousey takes too long, allowing Natalya to get the Sharpshooter. With Natalya trying to bring it back to the middle though, Rousey reverses into an armbar for the tap at 15:43, nearly letting go so fast that Natalya hadn’t tapped yet.
Rating: C+. Match of the night so far, but I didn’t quite buy Natalya as having a real change of winning. Maybe it’s her inability to be good with the emotional side of things or the fact that her push has focused on the memory of Jim Neidhart, but this wasn’t exactly thrilling. Rousey did a good job with showing that she didn’t want to hurt her friend, which could help set up an eventual rematch.
Dean Ambrose says that he’s getting what he deserves this year as the Intercontinental Champion.
Fighting With My Family trailer.
Jinder Mahal vs. Heath Slater
Good thing they did that whole Slater is a referee thing for….a week? Slater knocks him down to start and grabs the chinlock but here’s Santa Claus for a distraction. Slater gets two, but it’s the Singh Brothers coming in for the DQ at 1:52.
Post match Santa gets in the ring and cleans house, including a Gore to Mahal because it’s Rhyno.
The B Team, looking exhausted from their singing, still can’t remember the end of the song but they fall asleep in the back.
We look back at Mr. McMahon-A-Claus’ announcements earlier.
Same video on the six NXT people coming up.
Seth Rollins is ready to finish Baron Corbin.
Apollo Crews wants a tank so he can moonsault over it.
The Ascension wants to punish people. Viktor: “Are we doing Secret Santa this year?” Konnor explains why that’s a stupid idea in an unfunny moment.
Kurt Angle, who needs to shave, is happy enough to not have Corbin be General Manager of Raw.
Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin
The week after the McMahons promise everything is what the fans want, Baron is main eventing the show. Seth unloads on him in the corner to start and knocks Corbin outside for the suicide dive. Back in and it’s way too early for the Stomp so Corbin bails, earning another dive. Corbin finally sends him outside and into the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Corbin hammering down on Rollins’ back and hitting the chinlock that you were all waiting to see. Rollins fights up and gets in a Blockbuster, followed by the Sling Blade. A Falcon Arrow gets two but the Stomp is countered into Deep Six. Rollins goes up top but the springboard clothesline is countered with a chokebreaker. That’s about it for Corbin’s offense though as Rollins kicks him in the ribs and hits the Stomp for the pin at 12:36.
Rating: C. And that’s completely it for Corbin, who will fade back into the midcard where he belongs and never darken the main event scene again right? That’s the logical path to take, so I’m sure it’s exactly what’s going to happen. The wrestling was fine but you could tell that everyone was spent and there isn’t much of a way around that. It was fine, but not exactly energized after the first few minutes.
Overall Rating: C-. That’s on a sliding scale here as there’s no reason to expect much from this show and the roster was already spent after a long show to start the evening. It’s far from bad but it’s nothing is going to matter by next week. They basically presented a show because they had to and that’s all they could do given all of the circumstances. It wasn’t great but for what it was, this was fine.
Elias b. Bobby Lashley – Cello to the back
Chad Gable/Bobby Roode b. Revival – Small package to Dawson
Finn Balor b. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler – Coup de Grace to Ziggler
Bayley/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon b. Mickie James/Dana Brooke/Alicia Fox – Bayley to Belly to James
Ronda Rousey b. Natalya – Armbar
Heath Slater b. Jinder Mahal via DQ when the Singh Brothers interfered
Seth Rollins b. Baron Corbin – The Stomp
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