Monday Night Raw – December 23, 2019

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 23, 2019
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Samoa Joe, Vic Joseph

We’re taped this week and that’s quite the good idea as there is no need to have the talent working so close to Christmas. That being said, one of the big ideas over the last two weeks has been to make Seth Rollins into a bigger heel, despite the show taking place in his home state. Tonight he gets a US Title shot because even though he beat Brock Lesnar twice this year and now has the AOP behind him, Brock doesn’t exist until we get closer to the Royal Rumble. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Kevin Owens to get things going. We see a video on Seth Rollins and the AOP joining forces to attack various people. Owens is ready to say something but Mojo Rawley cuts him off. Mojo wants an explanation for Owens Stunning him but Owens wants to start their No DQ match right now. That’s fine with Mojo.

Mojo Rawley vs. Kevin Owens

Owens runs him over to start and throws in a bunch of chairs. Back in and Mojo manages a fireman’s carry faceplant onto said chairs for two. The chairs are set up next to each other and Mojo actually slams him onto them for two more. Since being slammed onto opened chairs doesn’t really hurt, Owens hits a superkick into the Swanton for two of his own. A table is brought in and it’s a Stunner into the Pop Up Powerbomb through the table to finish Rawley at 6:30.

Rating: D+. I’m not sure what to think about this one. They were smart to keep it short because no one was going to buy Mojo as a threat to Owens, but it wasn’t interesting in the first place and the match was just an annoyance for Owens. The No DQ part was just a detail and a way to increase the violence, but it never got interesting or really close to it.

Post match, Owens calls out Rollins and the AOP for a fight. Post break here are Rollins and AOP with Rollins saying a lot of things without having a microphone. He offers a handshake but Owens superkicks him down. That means a beatdown from the AOP though and Rollins is back up for the Stomp. This sends Samoa Joe into a rant about how those aren’t men because they’re just thugs. Someone needs to strike first so you can tell one story.

Over the weekend, R-Truth was in New York City. After being told about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Akira Tozawa rolled him up to win the 24/7 Title. That’s his reward for all of the great performances over the last few weeks?

Cedric Alexander vs. Bobby Lashley

Lashley starts throwing him around to start but Cedric manages to roll away. The spinning back elbow rocks Lashley and a headscissors into a dropkick puts him on the floor. A moonsault off the apron drops Lashley again but hold on because Lana says whoa a lot. She gets in the ring and asks Cedric who he thinks he is. How dare he attack Lashley a week before they’re getting married? The invites are going out and Lashley needs to look great, so let’s have a classic Greco-Roman match.

Back from a break with the match continuing as usual, including Alexander kicking Lashley in the face from the apron. The fans chant for Rusev as the springboard Downward Spiral is broken up. A hard clothesline turns Alexander inside out and a neckbreaker gets two. Lashley hits a rather high in the air Downward Spiral for two more but Alexander gets in a dropkick.

The springboard clothesline connects and there’s the suicide dive for a bonus. The big running flip dive makes it even worse and the Neuralizer connects for two. Lashley is right back with the spinning Big Ending but the spear is cut off with a dropkick to the knee. Another springboard misses though and it’s the spinebuster into the spear to finish Alexander at 13:22.

Rating: C. This was your match that was extended to stretch the show out. The Lana/Lashley stuff is as painful television as you can find and I’m almost scared to see how bad the wedding is going to be next week. I would say at least it’s getting closer to a conclusion but there is no reason to believe that any such ending is coming. The match was back and forth but it ran long and the Lana announcement in the middle could have come before or after.

Rollins doesn’t get what Owens is trying to do.

Tozawa (in a 2K19 jacket because even WWE wrestlers don’t want to support the new game) runs into R-Truth again and they bump into someone, causing him to drop his food. The chase continues.

Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre

They trade slaps to start and McIntyre pounds him down in the corner. Ryder sends him outside for a dropkick through the ropes, only to get blasted with a clothesline. Back in and the overhead belly to belly sends Ryder flying and the Claymore finishes Ryder at 2:09. That’s how it should have gone.

Post match Drew beats up Ryder and Curt Hawkins. McIntyre even handles their congratulations to him before saying 2020 is his year.

Here’s Becky Lynch for a chat. She’s a little more serious this time and talks about how things go better when she takes things into her own hands. This company has been trying to protect her but she needs to face Asuka next. Asuka is the only woman that Becky can’t beat so it’s time to collect on one last debt. Cue the Kabuki Warriors to say they are the champions. Asuka calls herself Asuka Two Belts and Becky shouts back in Japanese. The match doesn’t seem to be confirmed yet.

Aleister Black vs. Deonn Rusman

Black vs. Murphy II is set for next week. Leg sweep, jumping knee, Black Mass at 38 seconds.

Buddy Murphy vs. Joeasa

Jumping knee and Murphy’s Law (complete with Buddy pulling him up ala Black for Black Mass) finish Joeasa at 33 seconds.

Post match Black comes back in to hit Black Mass.

Rey Mysterio is ready for Seth Rollins tonight. It’s the first time they’ve ever met, but it’s going to be Rey vs. Seth/AOP. Rey is ready for the AOP to see Seth take the 619 and for him to leave still US Champion.

Tony Nese vs. Ricochet

Nese starts dodging with the flips so Ricochet shows off his own flips. A necksnap across the top rope sets up a bodyscissors to slow Ricochet down some more. Back up and Ricochet kicks him in the face but a springboard is broken up. Not that it matters as the superkick into the Recoil puts Nese away at 2:33. It was energetic while it lasted.

Akira Tozawa hides behind a Christmas tree but then runs away as soon as R-Truth shows up.

Charlotte vs. Chelsea Green

This is Green’s main roster debut and she does the Tessa Blanchard look over the shoulder pose in the ring. They lock up to start with Charlotte going after the arm to start, only to get taken down for a basement dropkick. The chinlock goes on for a bit but Charlotte fights up with the chops. A big boot drops Green and the Figure Eight is good for the tap at 4:06.

Rating: C-. Green looked good and intense but there was only so much you’re going to do with Charlotte. I can’t imagine this is anything more than just a one off match and that’s fine for something like this. They have to fill in the time with something so doing it this way is as good as anything else.

Santa Claus punches Tozawa and wins the title. He runs off so Truth and Tozawa are going to work together to get the title back.

Liv Morgan talks about being young, impressionable and anything but typical.

Randy Orton/Viking Raiders vs. OC

Fallout from last week’s main event. Ivar shoves Anderson into the corner to start and it’s off to Erik for a slam of his own. An Ivar knee gets two on Anderson and Erik slams Ivar onto him for two. Gallows comes in for a change of pace and kicks Erik in the head to put him on the floor. AJ gets in a cheap shot and it’s Erik in trouble for a change. The jumping knee gives AJ two and it’s Anderson grabbing the chinlock.

This one doesn’t last long though as Anderson goes with the spinebuster for two instead. Erik gets in a forearm to AJ though and the hot tag brings in Orton. Gallows doesn’t waste time in backdropping him to the floor though and Orton’s already banged up knee is hurt again. The big staredown on the floor takes us to a break and we come back with Gallows working on the knee some more.

Orton fights up and brings Erik back in for the tag so house can be cleaned. Ivar is in rather quickly for a side slam and basement crossbody. Erik drives Ivar into Anderson in the corner and the Viking Experience gets two with Gallows making a save. Orton comes back in off a blind tag as AJ sends the Vikings outside. The RKO is broken up so Anderson takes one instead. Gallows goes after the knee though and it’s the Phenomenal Forearm to put Orton away at 14:01.

Rating: C. This was a bit boring but it tied into last week and gives us a reason to see both matches again. I could go for more AJ vs. Orton as their match last week wasn’t too bad but the Vikings vs. the OC isn’t exactly thrilling. As long as the AOP is walking around, it’s hard to buy anyone else as a major threat to the titles. At least we had something to fill in some time here though, which was part of the point.

A sleigh race breaks out in New York before Santa runs away on foot again.

Erick Rowan has a present for the camera in his cage.

The Street Profits don’t know why they haven’t gotten their wedding invitations. They could go for the bachelor party though. On top of that, they aren’t sure what’s in Rowan’s cage.

Erick Rowan vs. ???

The jobber offers a candy cane before going after the cage. Rowan takes part of the covering off of the apron and drops him face first onto the exposed….canvas. A crossbody sets up the Iron Claw which sets up the Iron Claw for the pin at 2:21. Same as always.

Rowan gives the candy cane to whatever is in the cage.

R-Truth gets the title back so here’s Tozawa….but the referee is sick of this and goes home. They agree to a truce and to go find the Big Apple.

Here’s Rusev for a chat. Yeah he lost at TLC and he’s upset about it. He’s not upset about Lana and Lashley getting married though because it’s the greatest day of his life. Marrying Lana is the greatest punishment he can give Lashley and the wedding is on RUSEV DAY.

Rusev vs. No Way Jose

The Machka kick gives Rusev the pin at 36 seconds.

Post match Rusev busts out a Spinarooni and leaves with the Conga Line. Rusev even gets some kisses, sending him into more dancing.

Seth Rollins is going to win the US Title and establish dominance.

US Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins

Mysterio is defending and Rollins has the AOP. Side note: Rollins no longer has BEASTSLAYER on his Titantron (not sure how long it has been gone but it was there the night after Survivor Series). Good, as that had nothing to do with what he is doing at the moment and involved one feud that hasn’t been active since August. Rollins starts fast but Rey slips out of a suplex attempt. A discus forearm knocks Rey silly so he’s right back with a headscissors.

The 619 misses though and Rey is sent shoulder first into the post. He’s also thrown hard to the floor as we take a break. Back with Rey fighting out of an armbar and sending Rollins outside. That means a sliding sunset bomb into the barricade, setting up the springboard seated senton. A tornado DDT gives Rey two but Rollins scores with the buckle bomb and a low superkick for his own two. The Stomp misses though and Rey hits the 619, only to have the AOP interfere for the DQ at 9:53.

Rating: C+. This was the kind of action that you would expect from these two but the ending saves the big match for another date. It might be an annoying way to end the show but that was the right way to go here. Mysterio can fight Rollins another day, perhaps when he has some more backup. I could go for more and that’s what they were trying to get the fans to want.

Post match the beatdown is on and they go to the announcers’ table. Joe stays in his seat though and doesn’t like being told to move. If he gets up, it isn’t going to be to move. Joe gets up so Rollins gets in his face, meaning the jacket comes off. Rollins walks away but tells the AOP to finish him. The beatdown is on and Joe gets taken out as Rollins Stomps Rey. The AOP puts Joe through the table to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. I could go for more of these squash heavy shows. You can only get so far with the long matches as a lot of fans are going to get sick of the matches that feel like they’re going on forever. If nothing else, how many people are going to stick around because “oh well it’ll be something different in a minute”? It’s a change of pace and that’s what Raw has been needing for a long time. We also get some fresh blood on the show and maybe something can click. Not a great show, but the format made it feel a lot faster and that’s a good thing.

Results

Kevin Owens b. Mojo Rawley – Pop Up Powerbomb through a table

Bobby Lashley b. Cedric Alexander – Spear

Drew McIntyre b. Zack Ryder – Claymore

Aleister Black b. Deonn Rusman – Black Mass

Buddy Murphy b. Joeasa – Murphy’s Law

Ricochet b. Tony Nese – Recoil

Charlotte b. Chelsea Green – Figure Eight

OC b. Viking Raiders/Randy Orton – Phenomenal Forearm to Orton

Erick Rowan b. ??? – Iron Claw

Rusev b. No Way Jose – Machka Kick

Rey Mysterio b. Seth Rollins via DQ when AOP interfered

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

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