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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Dec. 19, 2016): RAWR

WWE hit Columbus, Ohio for Monday Night Raw this week, and it was all about establishing a new direction for the women’s division, continuing the main event storyline, and getting us ready for Braun Strowman as a top player.

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It felt like it took forever for Braun Strowman to make the jump from squashing little geeks like James Ellsworth -- who made a career out of that beating -- but he's got the rocket strapped to his back now and there's no slowing it down. After a quick jaunt through the mid-card, it looks like he's in the main event picture, or at least close to it.

This man, this monster among men, this big package of beef that he ain't afraid to swing around and hurt people with, straight up ran through and destroyed everyone he could find, from Titus O'Neil to Sin Cara to a Christmas tree to Roman Reigns to Seth Rollins. He did this because he wants Sami Zayn again to prove he can throw him away like the cheap garbage he sees him as but he made clear in the process he belongs on the headlining scene.

If you aren't excited for the prospect of a Roman Reigns vs. BrongMan LogJam match, I don't know what your pro wrestling fandom is all about but you can get it right out of my face. BeefMan McMeatSlam is what this business (-ah) is all about, folks.

All the best to all the rest

Hanging cages: The less said about the opening segment with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens attempting to banter with a confused Mick Foley the better. The idea of Jericho not being able to interfere in the Owens vs. Reigns match at Royal Rumble is fine but why is it Reigns getting another shot? What about Seth Rollins? And why is it that Rollins is okay with all this and teaming with Reigns later like everything is fine there? And why is Reigns okay with this still?!? Whatever.

BIG CASH: I quite like the idea of booking Big Cass to straight up snap and lay waste to Rusev, wrestling match be damned. Enzo & Cass are punchlines, good for a pop and a fun promo but not much else. Or at least that's been the case until now. They needed something like this to establish that, yes, Cass will murder your face when the time calls for it. I like the call. Enzo in sensitivity training throughout the rest of the show kind of undercut the argument here but hey, they like what he can do as a pro wrestling actor in this setting and that's the most I can say about it without getting into how problematic some of his stuff can be.

Not like most girls: If we wondered who the babyface was in the Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks program, the latter made it clear when she came out and put her opponent over while hoping for the chance to do it face-to-face. Instead, she was greeted by the monster that is Nia Jax, who threw around the already injured Banks. This is the perfect direction for both of them, as Sasha tries to build herself back up on the comeback trail and Jax gets over as the nasty bully taking advantage.

Turmoil in tags: Despite the fact that we have new champions in the tag team division -- and shiny new titles to go with them -- it sure feels like we're right back at square one with a big clustermuck of contenders who aren't really contenders. That they're just throwing them all together for matches underscores not the lack of depth but the reality that they never bothered to build up new contenders before switching the titles. It's time to do that. How? We'll just have to give them a chance to figure it out.

Cruiserweight turmoil: It's more or less the same situation in the cruiserweight division as it is in the tag team division, just without the amazing heel turn from an underutilized star like Neville. It's still early and time will tell but I'll be damned if Neville screaming his head off and making clear he's totally down to put anyone at 205 in their place doesn't look like the perfect fit for him. Neville the Destroyer is worth the time every time.

Top gal: It worked out quite well that Nia Jax took Sasha Banks even further out of the picture, paving the way for Bayley to show up to crash Charlotte's victory celebration with a gentle reminder that she's got two wins on the champion and deserves to be next in line. She was treading water for a minute there but her time may have come, even if they booked the "beat the champ to maybe get a shot at the champ" match to get us somewhere they already should have been going, and also gave it a hint of controversy with Charlotte maybe having her shoulders up.

Final thought: This show gave us some new programs, even if there was some filler stuff that didn't do much good otherwise.

Grade: B-

Your turn.

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