The SmarK Rant for WWE Monday Night RAW – 12.16.19
Live from Des Moines, IA
Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler & Samoa Joe
Back with another look at the Hulu version of the show this week.
Last week: Seth Rollins cuts a bitter promo on Kevin Owens and joins up with the AOP. Makes sense because Seth is the Twitter Author of Pain. And then the match didn’t happen at the PPV. I suppose not advertising anything does have the advantage of not having to deliver anything.
Seth Rollins joins us to start, along with his new buddies, and you better believe he’s bitter at the fans for booing him after beating Brock Lesnar TWICE, although he’s still no Bret Hart. At least that’s better than “I don’t owe you people an explanation”. You know, it doesn’t really say much for their ability to build either babyfaces or stars in general when they put Seth over Brock Lesnar, twice, and people turn on him a month later. So basically that negates any rub Brock might have had left to give. Also to note, Brock Lesnar is now the WWE champion, on the same show as Seth, and does Seth even say “I beat the current champion twice, I haven’t forgotten about that belt!” No, of course not, because Brock doesn’t exist unless he’s currently involved in a feud. Anyway, Seth declares himself to be a leader and a visionary and he’s dragging us along with him kicking and screaming whether we like it or not. Sounds like a WWE show all right. Also, Seth is sorry for what he has to do tonight.
The Viking Raiders v. The Good Brothers
Although the PPV match was a title match that went to a double countout, the rematch is apparently non-title. Thankfully without any planted “fans” eating KFC at ringside this time. I’m wondering if all the grease from the disgusting chicken bucket caused all the botched spots in the main event on Sunday? You can lubricate your engine with that stuff, at least the Canadian version. Maybe it’s better in the US, but at least up here Popeyes is clearly the superior chicken. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside! Plus Cajun spices make everything better and the chicken sandwiches are amazing. That’s some good chicken. Anyway, the Vikings double-team Hot Karl and Erik slams Ivar onto him for two. Erik comes in with a delayed suplex on Hot Karl for two, but it’s over to Gallows and Erik forearms him out to the floor. He tries a dive, but Luke slams him into the railing as RAW ROLLS ON. Back with Ivar making a comeback as we apparently miss the heat during the commercial, but the OC cuts him off and hits a double-team fireman’s carry into a big boot for two. Hot tag Erik and they double-team Gallows in the corner, as Erik slams Ivar’s ass into Luke’s face for two. Gallows escapes and Karl comes in with uppercuts on Erik, but he walks into a spinebuster. Ivar goes up with a moonsault, although Luke’s face paint rubbed off on his for an unfortunate visual. Gallows shoves him off the top, however, and the Magic Killer finishes at 11:43. “New champions!” declares Joe before Vic corrects him, since it was never really addressed beforehand. Yay, the champions job to set up another title match, my favorite. Match was good. **3/4
Meanwhile, The OC celebrate and AJ prepares to end Randy Orton’s career tonight. And then Zelina cuts a bitchy promo on Charly about Humberto Carillo. I have no idea how they got Andrade so white hot in NXT and then just killed him off on the main roster like that. They’ve been DESPERATE for a top level Latino star for a decade, and then they got handed one and blew it completely.
Meanwhile, Liv Morgan does some self-reflection in the bathtub. Sure, push another generic blonde woman, that’ll help.
Bobby Lashley joins us and they’re celebrating last night’s win over Rusev as this feud apparently is going to drag on. They already missed the peak and then blew the first match, it’s time to move on already. Anyway, this week’s shocking twist in the story is that Lana gives her hot boyfriend Bobby a ring and asks him to ask her to marry him. So he does. And Lana is delighted that he did it just like he rehearsed, at which point the announcers beat the joke into the ground so we make sure that we get it. SEE, SHE TOLD HIM TO PROPOSE! IT’S HILARIOUS! GET IT?
R-Truth v. Akira Tozawa
So this is a gauntlet match with the winner getting the coveted championship opportunity at the US title. Of course, not for the World title, because that would require acknowledging that there’s a WWE champion. Or they could, I dunno, build a feud around the US title at some point instead? Rey already just won the title by winning a clusterfuck multi-man thing two weeks ago. Truth misses a dive and Tozawa hits his own, then goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Truth misses the ax kick and Tozawa rolls him up for the pin at 2:12. And then all the 24/7 geeks run in and Truth retreats through the crowd. *
Akira Tozawa v. Ricochet
Ric dropkicks him to the floor, but Tozawa catches him with a spinkick and hits a tope suicida. Back in, he goes up and tries the missile dropkick, but Ricochet dropkicks him and gets a wacky submission backbreaker into a samoan drop for two. Tozawa spins into an Octopus but Ric escapes with an enzuigiri and they do a nice series of suplex dodges before Tozawa gets the deadlift german for two. Ricochet with the springboard clothesline into a standing shooting star, but Tozawa cradles him for two. Tozawa goes up and misses the senton, and Ric superkicks him into the Recoil for the pin at 6:02. Good little match, as Tozawa is a top level enhancement guy. **1/2
Ricochet v. Matt Hardy
Carrying on after the break, as Matt Hardy is apparently now out of retirement and back to 90s Matt Hardy again with his original music, instead of Broken Matt. Having not paid that much attention lately, was this something that anyone addressed? Or did he just show up and everyone just accepted that he was out of retirement and back to his old gimmick? Actually, I’m pretty sure I know the answer already, never mind. Matt gets a neck vice and cuts off a top rope comeback with a crucifix powerbomb for two. Matt charges and Ric counters with a dropkick out of the corner, but Matt hits the Side Effect for two. Matt goes up and misses the moonsault, and Ricochet hits a standing shooting star for two. Matt with the Twist of Fate and Ricochet rolls him up for the pin at 5:02, and everyone awkwardly stands around without a bell trying to figure out if that was the finish. Apparently it was. OK then. This was fine, I guess. **
Ricochet v. Humberto Carrillo
Back after the break with Ricochet getting a quick rollup for two, but Carrillo tosses him and follows with a dive. Back in, Carrillo works the arm as Ricochet tries to build momentum by creating separation, but Carrillo blocks a handspring attempt with a kick for two. Carrillo continues working the arm as Lawler goes OFF THE SCRIPT by discussing how Carrillo is a classic “babyface”. OH MY GOD, HE’S BREAKING KAYFABE! Ricochet fights back with a sunset flip and a fireman’s carry slam for two. This brings out Zelina Vega and we take a break. Back with a superplex and Ricochet gets two as Zelina has disappeared. They fight to the top and Carrillo gets the reverse rana, but Ric lands on his feet. Carrillo gets a springboard kick and goes up again with the moonsault, which finishes at 11:21. I just don’t get it with Carrillo. He’s a good worker but he’s a black hole of charisma. ***
Humberto Carrillo v. Andrade
Zelina fakes out Carrillo, allowing Andrade to attack from behind and hit him with the double knees in the corner. They head to the floor and Andrade sends him into the railing and follows with the double arm DDT onto the concrete, and that’s apparently a Sportz Entertainment Finish at 2:00. So there’s no winner of the gauntlet match, I guess. Are we sure Vince Russo isn’t back on the WWE booking team again? Because that’s a fucking stupid way to end things after making me sit through 30 minutes of it.
Rey Mysterio comes out to assist Carrillo after the break, but Seth Rollins and the AOP attack him so that Seth can return his steel pipe from last week. And then Seth challenges Rey to a US title match next week, thus negating the ENTIRE POINT of the goddamn gauntlet match. This show has ZERO focus right now. They’re not even trying to pretend that it’s not just a bunch of shit thrown out to fill time.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch sits down with Charly, and she’s not afraid of Asuka even after losing last night. When was the last time she even defended that title? Did she have any title defenses after Hell in a Cell? Sounds like she’s ducking people from over here. Sounds like another World champion with the initials “BL” to me.
AJ Styles v. Randy Orton
Orton attacks in the corner and tries a quick RKO, but AJ bails to escape. Orton drops him on the apron, which I have heard is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and goes to work on the leg back in the ring. AJ tries a springboard and Orton reverses to a draping DDT attempt, which AJ turns into the calf crusher. They fight over that and Orton makes the ropes to escape as we take a break. Back with Orton in control and building momentum with a superplex attempt, but AJ escapes and necks him on the top rope. Back to the leg, and AJ follows with a quebrada for two. Orton comes back with the draping DDT, but AJ blocks the RKO and rolls into the calf crusher. Orton creates some separation and then counters the Phenomenal Forearm with the RKO at 13:55. Wait, so we got heel win after heel win at the PPV, but THIS midcard feud gets the clean babyface win in the first match? Usual paint by numbers Orton match here. **1/2 This brings out the Good Brothers for the beatdown, but the Vikings make the save before also getting beat down to end the show on a down note.
The promotion in a nutshell right now: The tease for the show was “Fallout from TLC”, and then they proceeded to basically ignore the PPV completely and there was no fallout from it and all the main matches had nothing to do with the show. And then we got a gauntlet match where the winner gets a US title match, which had no winner, and Seth Rollins just got a title match because reasons. Gonna be a LONG build to Royal Rumble I bet.