Monday Night Raw
Date: December 14, 2020
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
It’s the go home show for TLC and that means it is time to really hammer things home for Sunday. In other words, there is a good chance that this show is not going to be all that great or eventful, but commentary will tell us how important Sunday is going to be. Granted it won’t be, but that’s traditional for the December show. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Sheamus accidentally Brogue Kicking Drew McIntyre in the face. Everything wound up being fine though, as it tends to be when someone kicks someone else in the face.
We open with the Dirt Sheet, featuring a Christmas theme and Miz reading The Nightmare Before TLC. The story involves AJ Styles (here), Omos (introduced by AJ but Miz says he isn’t that important and turns the lights out on him) and Drew McIntyre (as played by John Morrison ala Braveheart). They act out Sunday’s match, starting with a chair shot (Morrison: “OW ME BACK!”) and then stabbing Drew with the sword.
Then Miz will cash in the briefcase, which doesn’t sit well with AJ. Styles: “That is not in the book that I gave you!”. The argument is on until Sheamus, who faces AJ tonight, comes out to interrupt. AJ tries to back up and throws a Christmas tree at him. Sheamus sends him outside and we’re ready to go. The book treatment was better, but man alive Miz and Morrison are dragging these things down.
Sheamus vs. AJ Styles
Sheamus takes him into the corner and hammers away so AJ needs a breather on the floor. Back in and AJ scores with some kicks to the head to slow Sheamus down a bit. Sheamus is fine enough to hit a knee to the face, only to have AJ start kicking at the leg. That just earns AJ another shot to the face and a toss suplex.
It works so well that Sheamus does it again but AJ knocks him outside. Sheamus catches the dive on his shoulders but Omos intercepts a powerbomb attempt. The staredown is on and we take a break. Back with AJ working away on the leg and kicking away in the corner, only to get caught in the Irish Curse.
Sheamus sends him flying and gets two off a knee to the face. AJ grabs a quick Calf Crusher to send Sheamus bailing to the ropes and a quick White Noise gives Sheamus two. With nothing else working, Sheamus loads up a super White Noise but AJ slips out and goes for the knee again, setting up the rollup pin at 15:52.
Rating: B. They beat each other up for a long time here with the knee work playing into the ending. I’m not sure what else you can ask for out of a match like this, which shows you what throwing a Christmas tree can do. Sheamus doesn’t lose anything by losing to AJ and AJ gets a nice win. Not bad for one match.
Post match AJ talks trash so Sheamus grabs him, only for Omos to pull him into the ropes to tie him up. AJ unloads with chair shots to the legs and ribs to leave Sheamus mostly out of it.
The Hurt Business harasses a member of the production crew who is eating a Bronut and wearing a Riddle hat. He just found the hat and offers them a bronut, which earns him some milk over his head. With the crew member gone, the team promises to destroy the New Day and Riddle.
Riddle comes up to New Day and Jeff Hardy and since everyone misses Big E., he should be Bro E. against the Hurt Business later. New Day seems to agree.
Jeff Hardy/New Day vs. Hurt Business
Riddle and MVP are here too. Lashley runs over Woods to start but Woods kicks him in the ribs and brings Kofi in. That earns Kofi a gorilla press toss, though Alexander tagging himself in doesn’t sit well with Lashley. It’s off to Hardy, who sends Alexander into the corner. That earns him a kick to the ribs though and Shelton comes in to slug away.
Hardy knocks Shelton off the apron though and the rest of the Hurt Business follows, meaning it’s time for a trombone concert to send us to a break. Back with Kofi jumping over Shelton in the corner and hitting a clothesline. The Boom Drop connects but Lashley breaks up Trouble in Paradise. Alexander slams Kofi head first into the mat and Shelton bends Kofi’s back around the ropes.
Lashley elbows him down in the corner and the stomping continues. Kofi finally fights up and rolls over for the hot tag to Jeff to pick up the pace. Alexander takes Jeff down and talks a lot of trash, only to get caught in a Russian legsweep. Everything breaks down and Woods dives onto Lashley on the floor, only to get pulled out of the air. Lashley throws Woods around and head back inside where the Hurt Lock finishes Hardy at 15:53.
Rating: C+. Another long match here with both teams getting to look good. The Hurt Business is turning into one of the better teams in a good while on Raw and I could go for seeing a lot more of them in the future. It’s also nice to not have the makeshift team beat the established one, making this a rather fine use of a good chunk of the show.
We look back at least week with Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler and Asuka/Lana firing each other up. Lana is still scared of Nia because of course.
Asuka says that even though Lana is scared of Nia, she can go out there and fight anyway. Lana agrees, which Asuka says makes her brave.
Lana vs. Nia Jax
Nia shoves her down to start and then takes it into the corner for a splash. Lana manages a hurricanrana and kicks Nia down, only to get headbutted on top. The super Samoan drop is escaped though and Lana pulls Nia down into a cradle for the fluke pin at 1:45.
Post match Shayna Baszler jumps Asuka in the back as Nia beats Lana up. Shayna comes out and snaps Lana’s arm before stomping on the leg. Lana’s boot is taken off so Shayna can work on the leg even more, including Nia hitting a legdrop onto the leg. Asuka finally comes in for the save as the Lana sympathy is cranked up even more. Still not exactly working, but this was more of a classic formula as Lana actually did SOMETHING for once. Granted the fact that it was her first singles match win in two and a half years (and second ever), maybe they’re slowly starting to figure it out.
Here’s Elias, who introduces Jaxson Ryker as his new associate. Ryker understands the universal truth, which is that WWE stands for WALK WITH ELIAS. Ryker talks about how Elias’ music has changed him for the better and now he is going to change WWE. Elias starts playing but here’s R-Truth to interrupt. He apologizes for interrupting Elias’ performance last week on Main Event because he isn’t an interrupter. The song starts again but here’s the menagerie of numskulls to chase Truth. Ryker takes them out for a change, allowing Truth to leave.
Miz and John Morrison talk strategy to take the WWE Title but here’s Keith Lee with a coin. Miz calls heads before the toss or even knowing the stakes, but Lee says they both win, meaning pain is coming.
Keith Lee vs. Miz/John Morrison
Miz gets knocked to the floor to start so Morrison slaps Lee in the face, which goes as well as you would expect. Some double teaming has Lee in some trouble though and a knee to the face puts him down. That earns Morrison a toss into the air for a crash to the mat. The Pounce (or at least Lee getting close to him) sends Morrison flying over the top and we take a break.
Back with Miz hitting the short DDT into Morrison’s standing shooting star press for two. Miz is sent crashing to the floor, where he trips Lee down to break up a suplex on Morrison. Back in and Lee suplexes both of them at once but Morrison slips out of the Spirit Bomb. Miz gets in a shot from behind so Morrison can hit the Flying Chuck, setting up the double pin on Lee at 10:01.
Rating: D+. Well it’s a good thing that we make sure to keep Mr. Money in the Bank and his comedy partner strong by having Lee lose again. We’re firmly to the point now where Lee is in a free fall and that’s a scary thought to imagine. Miz and Morrison have been one of the weakest things on the show for months now and here they get to pin Lee. All to set up what is likely going to be a failed cash in several weeks if not months from now. How generous of them.
We look back at Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt from last week, with Bray turning into the Fiend to end the show.
Here’s Bray Wyatt for a road trip, complete with the puppets on the other side of the barricade. Bray is glad to be here but he needs to apologize to Randy Orton for everything that has been happening in recent weeks. Things have gotten out of hand and the Fiend has a mind of his own. After Orton takes Him on this Sunday, Bray isn’t sure what is going to be left of Randy.
It won’t be any fun and games because all that is left is sadness. Yowie Wowie that’s alright! There won’t be any fun and games on Sunday, so Bray has prepared some jokes for tonight and they are going to be HYSTERICAL. What’s the best way to measure a viper? In inches, because they don’t have any feet. What do snakes use to clean their car windows? Windshield vipers! That one knocks Bray to his knees but here’s Orton on the screen to interrupt.
Orton talks about how the Fiend changed him last week, just like Bray changed into the Fiend. For the first time in a long time, Orton was outmaneuvered by Him, so tonight, Bray should come see him. Tonight, they can play a game of hide and seek. Bray loves the idea and accepts so Orton says come find him. The puppets approve as Bray says let the games begin. More on this later.
Mace vs. Ricochet
Mustafa Ali is on commentary. Mace sends him into the corner for a running elbow, followed by the elbows to the face. We hit the chinlock but Ricochet fights up and kicks Mace down. The running shooting star press gets two (second time we’ve seen that move in two matches) but Ricochet has to fight off the rest of Retribution. A chokebomb gives Mace two and a fireman’s carry spun around into a slam (kind of like an Air Raid Crash but without trapping the leg) for the pin on Ricochet at 2:55.
Post match Ali says this isn’t over with Ricochet until it’s over.
Bray Wyatt goes to find Orton and asks if Riddle has seen him. Riddle: “Hey bro.” Bray: “Actually it’s Bray.” Riddle has a new idea: Bro Nouns (he has a Venn diagram), which would be great for an episode of Firefly Fun House. Bray leaves but Ramblin Rabbit pops up. Riddle dubs him Bro Baby Yoda and has him sign a carrot for his rabbit named Skipper. This was one of the more bizarre things I’ve ever seen.
Dana Brooke vs. Shayna Baszler
Nia is here with Shayna. During the entrances, we’re told that Lana is out of TLC due to the attack earlier. Asuka will still get a title shot, but with a mystery partner. Shayna kicks her into the corner to start but Brook avoids the arm stomp. Dana goes up top, where Nia shoves her down for the DQ at 1:23.
Post match Mandy Rose runs in for the save with a kendo stick. Asuka runs in to help with the fight and the good women stand tall.
R-Truth talks to Huskus the Pig when Bray comes up to say Huskus shouldn’t talk to strangers. Truth thinks Bray is Huskus’ father, so Bray says HIDE AND SEEK and runs off. Truth: “What a beautiful family.”
Post break Bray goes looking for Randy but finds an empty, shaking rocking chair. Bray has a seat and Orton pops up behind him for the beatdown. Orton sends him into various things and then locks Bray inside a wooden case. He whips out a well placed can of gasoline and pours it on said crate, which is then set on fire. The Fiend pops up and Mandible Claws Orton. This ends the most obvious surprise in recent memory, but Orton’s face helped a lot.
Back from a break and we look back at what we just saw.
Riddle vs. MVP
MVP forearms away to start but misses the running boot in the corner. Riddle hits the Final Flash and the Floating Bro is good for the pin at 48 seconds.
Bobby Lashley runs out for the beatdown but Riddle escapes with the bronuts. I’d like to point out that Randy Orton tried to LIGHT BRAY WYATT ON FIRE a few minutes ago and now it’s Riddle talking about how he’s having a sugary treat.
It’s time for the Championship Ascension Ceremony so here are AJ Styles and Drew McIntyre with Tom Phillips in the ring. AJ says Drew doesn’t need to address him, but rather the title, because he won’t be having it around his waist again. This is going to be their first ever singles match so maybe AJ needs to find out a little more about McIntyre. AJ can’t believe that it took Drew nineteen years to get here but AJ is ready to use every table, ladder and chair to get the title back.
Drew calls that an impressive speech and says he has always wanted to face AJ. This Sunday, the match is TLC and no, he has never been in one before. Drew says he thought his goal was to win the WWE Title but the loss and second win changed everything for him. It is so much harder to stay champion and he was the man who lead WWE through uncharted waters. He’s a frickin diamond and he’s ready for AJ on Sunday. Every man dies but not every man truly lives, so on Sunday he’s willing to do whatever it takes to remain champion.
The title is raised up but AJ says he isn’t the only person Drew is facing on Sunday. Cue Miz and Morrison to jump Drew, who fights them all off and throws a ladder to the floor. Omos throws in the steps for a distraction though and AJ chop blocks Drew down (nice move after setting it up earlier tonight against Sheamus). The Phenomenal Forearm connects and AJ adds some ladder shots. AJ tells Omos to throw in some more stuff so we get a table and another ladder. Various other shots let AJ climb the ladder to pull down the title…and we cut off with Tom in the middle of his big close.
Overall Rating: C. The first hour of this was rather good but then it started to go downhill in a hurry. The biggest problem with this show is TLC is mostly set already, leaving little for this show to cover. There were some good matches, but seeing Miz and Morrison beat Lee and Lana being pulled from the match that they have spent three and a half months building (though it wouldn’t shock me to see her wrestle anyway) was a bit deflating. The show wasn’t awful, but it’s one you can almost completely skip (Sheamus vs. AJ was good), which isn’t the best way to set up a pay per view.
AJ Styles b. Sheamus – Rollup
Hurt Business b. Jeff Hardy/New Day – Hurt Lock to Hardy
Lana b. Nia Jax – Cradle
John Morrison/Miz b. Keith Lee – Double pin
Mace b. Ricochet – Fireman’s carry spun into a slam
Dana Brooke b. Shayna Baszler via DQ when Nia Jax interfered
Riddle b. MVP – Floating Bro
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