Monday Night Raw
Date: December 16, 2019
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Samoa Joe, Vic Joseph
We’re done with pay per view for the year and it’s time to get started on the Road To The Road To Wrestlemania. That being said, odds are we aren’t going to really head in that direction until after the new year, as tends to be the case. I’m not sure how much to expect from this week, but maybe we could see some hints of what is coming. Let’s get to it.
The opening recap looks at Seth Rollins denying being in league with the AOP and then announcing that of course he is. Kevin Owens doesn’t seem happy.
Here’s Rollins to open things up and he wastes no time in bringing out the AOP. Rollins talks about how this has been his year because he’s beaten Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title twice. That made people think he was the future but then the mood changed, with people questioning his leadership.
Being a leader is about making decisions for the sake of progress and he’ll make decisions some people don’t like. Rollins is a leader and visionary who will lead this brand and this business into the next decade. He will drag you into 2020 and if you resist, the AOP will enforce his will. That brings him to tonight, and he has a score to settle, whether people like it or not.
The announcers talk about how dangerous AOP can be.
Viking Raiders vs. OC
Non-title rematch they went to a double countout last night. Hold on though as the OC needs to talk about how dominant the Vikings are. That being said, only one team has beaten the Vikings and that would be the OC. Erik knees Anderson into the corner to start and it’s off to Ivar, who gets slammed down onto Anderson for a bonus.
Some forearms from Ivar set up Erik’s delayed vertical suplex into an armbar. That goes nowhere so it’s off to Gallows, who is knocked to the floor in a hurry. The suicide dive is blocked and Gallows hits a fall away slam into the barricade. Back from a break with Erik still in trouble as Gallows hammers away in the corner.
A big boot sets up the chinlock, followed by Anderson’s boot to the face for two. Erik gets up and shrugs Anderson away for the hot tag to Ivar so the pace can pick up. The Bronco Buster in the corner connects but a charge into another corner misses, allowing the belly to back neckbreaker to hit for two.
Ivar’s double handspring elbow takes both of them down and the Vikings hit stereo suicide dives as we take another break. Back with Ivar coming in off the second hot tag as everything breaks down. Ivar gets driven into Gallows in the corner for two and Erik adds a spinebuster to Anderson. In what can only be a bad idea, Ivar goes up but misses a moonsault (which would have barely made contact in the first place), allowing Anderson to kick Erik off the apron. The Magic Killer finishes Ivar at 19:26.
Rating: C+. Well it was better than last night due to the clean finish, but at the same time it was a clean pinfall over the Vikings. If you’re setting up for the eventual showdown with the AOP (as you should be), the Vikings should be unbeatable. There’s nothing wrong with pushing the OC, but it’s not exactly helping the Raiders at the moment. At least cheat to win here somehow.
When asked what is in his cage, Erick Rowan offers the following response: mind your own business.
AJ Styles is ready to destroy Randy Orton on his own tonight. Anderson and Gallows are down with that.
Erick Rowan vs. Dante Leon
Leon goes straight for the cage but is smart enough to dive underneath the ring to get there. He trips though and the beating is on in a hurry. The Iron Claw finishes Leon at 1:55.
Andrade is ready for tonight’s gauntlet match for a shot at the US Title. He doesn’t like being asked about Humberto Carrillo being in the same match. Zelina Vega yells at Charly Caruso for bringing it up and says the win was bad for Carrillo because they’re ready for him.
Liv Morgan, in a bathtub, narrates about having to destroy herself so the real her can emerge.
Here are Bobby Lashley and Lana for their celebration. Lana explains what happened last night when Lashley beat Rusev in the tables match. After swooning over how beautiful Lashley is and telling the fans that they’re the ones who suck, Lana pulls out a ring….so Lashley can propose. That’s a no though, because Lashley doesn’t like being told what to do….except her, so he proposes. Lana is so happy that it went like they rehearsed and she says yes a lot.
We look back at the opening segment.
Here’s R-Truth to talk about how inspiring John Cena’s open challenges were when he was a kid. Now he wants to become the United States’ (yes with the apostrophe) 24/7 Champion. Then he can take it all the way to Wrestlemania. R-Truth: “WHERE’S THE SIGN???”
Non-title, for the #1 contendership to the US Title, no number of entrants is given but it’s R-Truth in at #1 and Akira Tozawa in at #2. Truth shouts a lot to start and then misses a charge into the post. Tozawa hits a running Cannonball off the apron and a missile dropkick gets two back inside. Instead it’s a quick rollup to get rid of Truth at 2:11, meaning the Mob comes out to chase Truth off.
Ricochet is in at #3 and we come back from a break with Tozawa jumping over him in the corner. Ricochet starts snapping off the flips though, setting up an anklescissors into a dropkick to the floor. Tozawa is right back with Trouble in Paradise to the floor, setting up the suicide headbutt. Back in and Ricochet grabs a rollup for two, followed by an over the back backbreaker.
With that broken up, Ricochet slips out of a Black Widow and kicks Tozawa in the head. Another kick misses though and Tozawa deadlift German suplexes him for two. Ricochet is right back with the springboard clothesline for two but the running shooting star press hits knees. Tozawa has to roll out of the top rope backsplash though and it’s a superkick into the Recoil to give Ricochet the pin at 13:00.
Matt Hardy is in at #4 and we take another break. Back with Matt hammering away in the corner and sending Ricochet into all three buckles in a row. A suplex gets two more and we hit the cravate to keep Ricochet down. Matt gets two off a Razor’s Edge powerbomb but Ricochet is back with a dropkick. A kick to the head in the corner has Matt down but the springboard clothesline is countered into a heck of a Side Effect for two. Matt’s moonsault misses and Ricochet hits the running shooting star press for his own near fall. A quick Twist of Fate attempt is countered into a rollup and Matt is done at 23:40.
After a look at the replay to make sure it was a pin (I’m not sure what was in doubt), Humberto Carrillo is in at #5 as we take another break. Back again with Carrillo dropkicking him down for two and scoring with an enziguri for a bonus. The high angle armdrag sends Ricochet outside and there’s the big spinning flip dive. Back in and we hit the armbar, followed by a kick to the arm to cut off the comeback. An armdrag sets up another armbar as Lawler says Carrillo is the embodiment of a babyface.
Ricochet fights up again and gets two off a sunset flip, followed by a Landslide for the same. Zelina Vega comes out to watch them both needing a breather as we take a break. Back with Ricochet hitting the springboard clothesline into another running shooting star press for another two. Vega looks impressed and seems to be scouting both of them. Ricochet hits a running crossbody to send them both outside for the big crash.
They dive back in at nine and Ricochet catches him with a palm strike on top. A heck of a top rope superplex plants Carrillo for another near fall and he barely gets the shoulder up. Back up again and they slug it out until Ricochet grabs a northern lights suplex into a regular suplex for two. Ricochet goes up but has to flip out of the super reverse hurricanrana. Carrillo is right back up with a running Canadian Destroyer into the moonsault for the pin at 46:40.
Andrade is in at #6 and jumps Carrillo from behind as Vega is looking very pleased. Back to back running knees in the corner connect but Andrade throws him outside instead of covering. The floor mats are peeled back (you don’t see that one very often) and Andrade sends him into the barricade. The hammerlock DDT onto the concrete ends Carrillo so here’s Rey Mysterio to chase Andrade away. I’m not sure if the match is done or not but we’ll say it’s over at 49:00.
Rating: B-. This was long, but my goodness the Carrillo vs. Ricochet part was some good stuff and carried a lot of what we got. As a whole it wasn’t all that great with the stuff at the beginning (though Tozawa got to look great) and the ending was annoying, but when a good chuck of the match is awesome, it’s more than enough to call it a big positive.
Post break Carrillo is taken out on a stretcher but here are Rollins and the AOP, with the steel pipe, to beat down Mysterio. Rollins says he was just giving Rey his pipe back and that Rey owes him one. They go to leave but Rollins comes back with a Stomp.
Post break, Rollins didn’t think Rey would be able to answer the challenge. What challenge? The challenge for the United States Title that Rollins lays out for next week that is.
Randy Orton promises to remind AJ of who he is so AJ will never forget.
Asuka vs. Deonna Purrazzo
I wouldn’t have bet on this one. Purrazzo kicks Asuka to the floor before the bell and we take a break before things are officially going. Asuka returns the kick as we come back but Purrazzo pulls her down into an armbar. That’s broken up so Asuka tries her own cross armbreaker. With that not working it’s switched into a kneebar and then a modified STF. Purrazzo gets out of that as well and hits a quick Downward Spiral for two. Asuka unloads with strikes though and pulls her into the Asuka Lock for the tap at 4:13.
Rating: C. I can appreciated the idea of bringing in someone new and it’s not like losing to Asuka is that big of a shock. Purrazzo can go in the ring and getting to hang with Asuka in an exchange of submissions shows that they know how to use her. The division could use some fresh blood so maybe Purrazzo can be something.
We get a sitdown interview with Becky Lynch, who isn’t happy with her loss last night. She didn’t like being put in a tag match but above all else, she doesn’t like her record against Asuka. Becky looks at the camera, saying she needs to face Asuka. That could be interesting.
Mysterio says he’ll defend the title against Andrade at any time, but he isn’t happy with what Andrade did to Carrillo. Then there’s Rollins, who showed why no one respected him tonight. Next week, the title match is on.
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
Orton wastes no time and the early RKO attempt sends AJ bailing to the floor. Back in and Orton starts in on the leg but AJ hits him in the face for a breather. The springboard is cut off but the hanging DDT is countered into the Calf Crushes. Orton makes the long crawl, only to get dragged back into the middle to slap the hold on again. This time Orton makes the rope, though he certainly looked to be tapping when he was missing. Orton bails to the floor but AJ chop blocks the leg out again as we take a break.
Back with AJ still on the knee and kicking Orton down in the corner. Orton drops him onto the buckle though and gets himself a breather. The powerslam plants AJ and the backbreaker out of the corner does the same but Orton hurts the knee even more. Orton’s superplex attempt is broken up and there’s another chop block to take the knee out again.
AJ scores with a Lionsault for two and we’re into an overrun. Orton breaks up another springboard forearm and hits the hanging DDT but the RKO is countered into the Calf Crusher. That’s broken up as well so AJ tries the Phenomenal Forearm, only to dive into the RKO for the pin at 16:32.
Rating: C+. These two work well together and I liked the slower pace for a change. It’s ok to mix things up a bit and while their feud over the last few weeks hasn’t exactly been thrilling, this felt like a fresh match and something that they had put some effort into. Nice main event, with the leg stuff being a focal point to hold things together.
Post match the OC runs in to beat down Orton but the Viking Raiders come out for the save. The OC gets the better of it and it’s a Magic Killer to Erik to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This was a rather different kind of show and I’m not sure how well it worked. The wrestling was mostly good but almost everything else wasn’t so strong. The Rollins/AOP stuff isn’t clicking yet and the Lashley/Lana stuff has completely worn out its welcome. Then there’s the ending to the gauntlet match, which felt like some big joke after spending the better part of an hour on one match. Granted it was good action, but pulling the rug out from under your feet to set up Rollins vs. Mysterio for next week isn’t a smart move. Overall, not a terrible show, but it would have been MUCH better at two hours, as usual.
OC b. Viking Raiders – Magic Killer to Ivar
Erick Rowan b. Dante Leon – Iron Claw
A Gauntlet match went to a no contest
Asuka b. Deonna Purrazzo – Asuka Lock
Randy Orton b. AJ Styles – RKO
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