WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Dec. 31, 2018) from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view scheduled for next month in Phoenix.
Advertised for tonight: Dolph Ziggler takes on Drew McIntyre in a steel cage match, and more!
Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the Raw live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)
Note: You can read spoilers for this show here.
WWE RAW RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR DEC. 31
You said you’ll dream, you wanna be. You still can’t bring yourself to try. You want to die and you want more of these things still left unsaid. All these people you once heard, while they watch you, they’re hunting you. Go on kid, don’t let them stop you. The door’s still locked but I’m here listening, while I liveblog this here pro wrestling show.
The show opens with the steel cage being lowered for our opening contest!
Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre (Steel Cage Match)
Ziggler hot out the gates, blindsiding McIntyre and trying to climb but Drew gets under him with a powerbomb clutch. Dolph fights away and starts climbing again only to get yanked down and chopped to the mat! Vertical suplex follows, slugging it out, McIntyre remaining in control and setting Ziggler up top for another vicious chop! Jawing at him, Dolph gets a right hand, a boot, diving in and he hits the big DDT for separation!
Slugging it out, Dolph off the ropes, strike rush, low superkick but Drew cuts him off with a headbutt! McIntyre climbing, Ziggler cuts him off and grabs his leg. Shot to the hamstring, to the thigh, holding the ankle and dragging him to the top rope. Trading hands, Dolph smashes his face into the steel cage over and over only for Drew to kick his knee out and crotch him!
Turnabout is fair play, both men collapse to the mat and we go to break.
Back from commercial and McIntyre is in control, jawing at Ziggler and demanding he get up and fight! We see Finn Balor watching backstage as Dolph rises and fires off right hands. DDT countered but the Fameasser connects... NOPE! Drew sets him up but Ziggler counters the inverted Alabama Slam into a victory roll for two! Smashing McIntyre into the steel cage, superkick, fall into the cover... STILL NO!
Crawling to the ropes, both men slow to their feet, Dolph is at the cage door but Drew cuts him off and drags him back in! Headbutt connects, Ziggler back to the door, he’s halfway through when McIntyre rushes over and drags him back in... Dolph slams the door in Drew’s face! Fameasser hits for a second time but gets the same result and we go to break.
Back from commercial and Ziggler’s almost out over the top but McIntyre cuts him off! Right hands, clubbing away, front chancery and into a superplex! Bidding he rise, waiting for Dolph to get to his knees before telling him he meant nothing to him and throwing him head-first into the steel! Jawing further, front chancery sets up a release suplex into the cage wall!
Telling Dolph he refuses to let it be over, yelling at him to fight and he obliges... ZIG ZAG ALMOST DOES IT THEN AND THERE! Fired up, charging in... DREW HITS THE CLAYMORE! A sadistic grin plays across the Scottish giant’s face and he begins slow clapping while referee Darrick Moore checks on Ziggler. Fired up, waiting...
Drew McIntyre wins by pinfall with a second Claymore.
Drew stalks at ringside as a defiant Dolph crawls to the door and screams at him, so McIntyre goes and gets a chair and returns to the cage! Mounted forearms, Moore yelling to back him off, he leans the chair to trap Ziggler’s head between it and the steel cage... DROPKICK TO THE CHAIR!
McIntyre gets on the mic and tells Dolph he’s nothing but pathetic, dead weight, and he doesn’t even deserve Drew’s scraps. So now that that chapter is finally closed, he can focus on what really matters, and prove that McIntyre is king of the WWE by winning the Royal Rumble and finally fulfill his destiny by winning the Universal Championship!
He goes to leave before turning back around and returning to the cage as Ziggler hauls himself to his feet... ONE MORE CLAYMORE!
Backstage we see a limousine pull up and Shane McMahon gets out, shuffling, followed by Triple H to send us to break.
Back from commercial and Finn Balor gets a promo where he says his resolution is to become Universal Champion. Ember Moon says she’s winning the Royal Rumble, and the Ascension are mixed, with Viktor wanting to bring Fashion Files back and Konnor wanting the tag titles, and Lucha House Party say 2019 is their year like proper indie lads.
In the arena, Seth Rollins makes his entrance.
He says he’s not much for resolutions and WWE runs so fast that every day is a fresh start. So he’s not waiting, he wants his rematch against Dean Ambrose RIGHT NOW!
(Behold the king.)
(The king of kings!)
(On your knees, dog.)
Triple H reminds Seth that under the new regime there’s no more automatic anything, so his rematch that he thought he was getting isn’t happening. He’s not even sure Rollins deserves a rematch, and he takes no pleasure in that because he’s one of his biggest supporters. Seth tries to call bullshit but Hunter says he made him believe in him, and the moment he stopped believing, Rollins kicked his ass at WrestleMania until he believed in him again!
Where’s that guy, who took what he wanted? Because all he sees is a shell of a man asking for stuff. Seth says he’s not asking, and he’s been carrying Raw on his back for the last year! While Brock Lesnar was up in Saskatchewan, he was here every week churning out classics with the entire roster, and you think he’s asking?! Rollins is glad he’s not handing things out anymore because he likes earning his opportunities.
He asks if Triple wants the soulless bastard back and he confirms that he wants it and he wants it tonight, for Seth to burn it all down starting with Bobby Lashley tonight! Rollins says he’ll take everything Lashley has to give and then everything Dean does, too, and after that he’ll take anyone who gets in his way, up to and including Brock Lesnar and Hunter’s entire family!
Enter Shane McMahon, here to play peacemaker and announce that there will be a #1 contender’s battle royal for the WWE Intercontinental Championship... right now!
Or, well, after the break, as Finn Balor makes his entrance.
Back from commercial and No Way Jose makes his entrance, followed by Baron Corbin to complete our battle royal participants.
WWE Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender’s Battle Royal
All-out chaos to start, tag teams working together, Corbin trying to dump Balor, Jose with an airplane spin on Viktor! Apollo Crews picks him up... PRESS DROP THE FLOOR! SAME FOR VIKTOR! B-Team fail to eliminate Crews, he ducks Konnor and hits a big dropkick as Dean Ambrose looks on from backstage. Titus O’Neil trying to dump Zack Ryder, Lucha House Party together on Curt Hawkins.
B-Team at work on Finn, frenzy of overhead elbows fends them off but Baron is right there to torment his old opponent. Hawkins and Ryder explode, Mojo Rawley looking beardy as Titus chops the hell out of Kalisto and puts him on the apron only to have LHP dump him to the floor to send us to break!
Back from commercial, Balor’s in it with the Lucha House Party and eliminates Metalik when he goes to walk the ropes! The other two luchadors over the ropes and he boots Kalisto to the floor before dumping Lince Dorado after him! Corbin in, Balor passes him into the ropes, corner body avalanches from the Lone Wolf but Finn sidesteps and he takes the post hard!
Apollo running hot, trying to dump the B-Team and Curtis Axel puts him on the apron... back body drop eliminates the B Boys! Superkick takes Konnor out, he dumps Mojo and Crews is on fire with lariats! Military press on Breeze eliminates him and Baron chokeslams Apollo! Sling Blade from Finn, shotgun dropkick, duck a lariat, inverted headlock elbow drop on Hawkins! Double leg double stomp on Ryder but Baron dumps Balor right after!
Zack with a missile dropkick, flying forearm, repeated forearms in the corner set it up... BROSKI BOOT COUNTERED WITH A BACK BODY DROP TO ELIMINATE HIM! Hawkins out after and Apollo’s trying to dump the Lone Wolf but gets passed to the apron himself! Up top, nobody home, caught into the choke but he lands on his feet! Corbin out and back in, he runs into an enzuigiri, a second...
Apollo Crews wins, last eliminating Baron Corbin with two enzuigiris to become #1 contender to the WWE Intercontinental Champion.
Crews is interviewed in the ring about his title match later tonight.
He says this is exactly what he’s been asking for all year, and he can’t think of any better way to spend the last day of 2018 than becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.
Backstage, Natalya is interviewed.
She says 2018 was a whirlwind of a year for her, losing her dad but also full of great things like training with Ronda Rousey and pushing her to her limit last week. She can’t wait to do it again, at WrestleMania, and that’s why she’s entering the Royal Rumble.
Nia Jax rolls up to ask what if something derails her plans, and Tamina hits the blindside attack! They beat Nattie down under road agents Jamie Noble and five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce break it up to send us to break.
Back from commercial, we get a recap of what we just saw, because Raw is three hours long. (Three hours long.)
In the ring, Baron Corbin is complaining that he should have won the battle royal because nobody deserves a fresh start more than he has, what with how the crowd has mistreated him and all. He says he deserves a reward, and a guitar arpeggio rings out.
Pan to the stage, where Elias is seated and ready to play us a song. He does a few bars of Auld Lang Syne before launching into his usual intro to the consternation of the Lone Wolf. He tells Baron his time is up and it’s time for New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Elias, and he doesn’t invite losers to his party so Corbin’s gotta go.
He says he’s been on the phone with his buddy Kid Rock, and they both agree that Baron running his mouth ain’t no way to spend New Year’s and Detroit is on the rise. He says he’s got a song to sing and does the usual spiel before launching into it. Of course it’s about how Baron ruined Raw and needs to go away so the Drifter can save our Monday nights.
Corbin advances to attack and Elias meets him! We’ve got a brawl in the ramp, Baron throwing the Drifter into the barricade a few times and dumping him into the crowd! Following after, Elias cuts him off but finds himself thrown into some chairs! Clubbing away, the Drifter blasts him with a charging forearm before ramming a road case into sandwich him against barricade!
Windmill punches send Corbin crawling away but Elias is on him and dumps him back to ringside, whereupon he runs off.
Commentary confirms that Ronda Rousey will be tagging with Natalya against Tamina and Nia Jax later, and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get more resolutions-- Drake Maverick and AOP want to become more brutal and barbaric and get the tag titles back, the Riott Squad don’t want to change at all, just break the rest of the women’s division, Zack Ryder wants to have more matches on Raw... and collect all the new WWE action figures, and No Way Jose just wants to live in the moment and brings his party squad in to celebrate.
Boss and Hug Connection (Bayley & Sasha Banks) & Ember Moon vs. Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, & Sarah Logan)
Bayley and Morgan to start, Lou Thesz Press into mounted punches from the Hugger but Liv gets out and fires back with strikes of her own! Tag to Logan, Bayley fights them off with a crossbody and tags Banks in. Meteora gets a nearfall, passing Sarah into the corner, putting boots to her, choking her but Logan fights out of a wristlock with a forearm and whips the Boss hard into the corner.
Sasha smashes her face into the turnbuckles, tag to Bayley, elbow for two! Front chancery, wristlock, tag to Moon and Sarah runs off to tag Riott in. Ember with a series of pinning predicaments, off the ropes, arm drag, dropkick, only two! Drawing her up, side headlock, shot off, O’Connor roll but Morgan got a blind tag and cuts Moon off! Boots in the corner, referee Rod Zapata admonishing her and she tags Logan in.
Putting boots to Ember, tag to Ruby, more of the same as they cycle quick tags but the Boss & Hug Connection swoop in and take the match to the floor as it breaks down and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Riott in control but Bayley sidesteps her. Ruby reasserts with a hip toss only to eat a series of upkicks and tag out to Morgan. Arm drag into an armbar, tag to Moon and a cradle gets two. Tag to Banks, schoolboy pin comes up empty, hard whip to the corner but Liv gets an elbow up. Boot caught, Sasha sets her up for the rope-hung knee drop but Logan makes the save!
Morgan gets two off a double stomp, tag to Riott and she grabs a kneeling full nelson, wrenching it in. Escape, off the ropes, crucifix pin comes up empty! Dragging the Boss in the corner, tag to Logan, assisted senton for another nearfall but a big stomp misses. Mat slam in the corner, Sarah hits that stiff running knee for a nearfall before Junkyard Dogging Banks into the corner and tagging Morgan in!
Forearm, nearfall, trying the cover again and again and Liv loses her mind screaming in frustration before grabbing a reverse chinlock. Backslide from the Boss, wicked kick, lands on her feet off a back suplex but a freshly-tagged Logan pops her up into a headbutt! Double-team into a cover, Moon with the save and a huge crossbody to the floor!
Jackknife pin from Banks, no good, off the ropes, tilt-a-whirl denied, tag to the Hugger, lungblower connects, Bayley off the top...
Boss and Hug Connection & Ember Moon win by pinfall with a diving elbow drop from Bayley on Sarah Logan.
Commentary hypes up Rollins vs. Lashley as being next and sends us to break.
Back from commercial, commentary tosses us to a video package recapping Braun Strowman’s 2018.
Bobby Lashley makes his entrance with Lio Rush in tow and Seth Rollins already in the ring.
Lio hypes his man up as a fighter who fights and says Rollins is going to find that out first-hand. Once Bob is done dominating him, he’ll show him his favorite pose, the butt, and Detroit will have to kiss it.
Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins charging in with a dropkick, right hands, clubbing away and forcing referee Shawn Bennett to back him off. Lashley with a waistlock takedown before smashing Seth’s face into the turnbuckles and punching him in the head repeatedly. Off the ropes, shoulder thrust, seated senton to the back, back suplex but Rollins lands on his feet and explodes with right hands!
Off the ropes, duck a lariat, enzuigiri and he blasts Lashley to the floor and follows with a crossbody! Back in, Lio running interference such that Bob catches a springboard lariat into the reverse STO... NOPE! Overhead elbows follow, the trapezius claw after and Rollins fights to his feet and hits a jawbreaker. Off the ropes, Lashley clobbers him with a lariat before dumping him to the floor!
Rush capitalizes with headscissors takeover and we go to break!
Back from commercial and Lashley’s in control with a keylock. He lets go to just smash Rollins’ arm into the mat and poses, but Seth fights back with chops. Whip, Flair Flip, cover gets two and Bob pastes him with disdainful slaps to follow it. Seated senton, Rollins fired up and defiant as Lashley grabs a front chancery. Delayed vertical suplex lift, Seth out with a knee and he gets in the corner.
Boot up on the charge, chops to follow, off the ropes, duck a lariat, hit the Sling Blade and clothesline Bob to the floor! Line him up, off the ropes... suicide dive puts Lashley into the barricade! A second dive lands just as true! Back inside, springboard shoulder block connects and Seth tunes up the band! Kick to the midsection, off the ropes, Lio runs interference and Bob is able to chokeslam the Architect for two!
Gutwrench into the Canadian backbreaker rack, Seth out, schoolboy sets up Avada Kedavra and Rollins heads up top only for Rush to again run interference! Chasing Lio, the young man ducks and dodges and hops up on the barricade only to finally get run over with a lariat on the floor and get Snake Eyes’d into the barricade! Bob from behind, Bennett counting, Rollins has a chair and whacks Lashley with it...
Bobby Lashley wins by disqualification.
Seth fired up, he wails on Bob with the steel chair! Back inside, shot to the gut, across the back repeatedly, Rush springboards in... AND GETS PLUCKED OUT OF MID-AIR WITH A CHAIR TO THE GUT! Hammering Lio and Bob with the chair alternately, bending it across their flesh! Lashley rolls away, Rush is alone... BLACKOUT SPIKES HIM ON HIS DOME!
We see Natalya and Ronda Rousey backstage getting ready.
Commentary hypes up Apollo Crews’ title match and we go to break.
Back from commercial, commentary hypes up John Cena’s return to Raw next week before tossing to the video packages covering the six NXT superstars coming to the main roster soon.
Beauty and the Man-Beast (Heath Slater & Rhyno) vs. Jinder Mahal & the Singh Brothers (Samir & Sunil Singh) (Handicap Match)
Slater and Mahal to start, Heath driving Jinder into the corner and breaking at referee Darrick Moore’s behest. Right hands, off the ropes with a kick, but interference from a Singh lets Mahal deck him with a lariat! Ram into the corner, shoulder thrusts, quick tags from the Singhs as they put boots to Slater and double suplex him for two!
Elbows drops, a bit of dancing, off the ropes and Heath decks Sunil with a leg lariat! Tags made, Rhyno runs Samir over and clears the apron! Sunil in, the Man-Beast stacks ‘em up... BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX ON BOTH SINGHS! Tag from Jinder, he runs into a back elbow, whip across for the spinning spinebuster! Rhyno calling for it, Singhs running interference but Slater comes off the apron on one of them!
Mahal with a superkick, cobra clutch applied...
Jinder Mahal & the Singh Brothers win by pinfall with Khallas from Mahal on Rhyno.
We go backstage with Dean Ambrose.
He says everybody’s talking about this fresh start, but he doesn’t need any kind of fresh start, unlike Seth Rollins. He says Seth doesn’t look well and he feels sorry for him, but as the moral compass of WWE he has to fulfill his promise to burn everything Rollins holds dear down. As for tonight, Apollo Crews isn’t getting his feel-good moment, and Dean’s going to turn his fresh start into a rotten end.
On that note, we go to break on the promise of the match.
Back from commercial we get more resolutions-- Bobby Roode and Chad Gable want to shut the Revival up next week by retaining their titles, the Revival want to win the titles and bring credibility back to tag wrestling, Bayley wants to become women’s tag champs with her pal Sasha.
Apollo Crews vs. Dean Ambrose (c) (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Crews in hot with a dropkick, punches in the corner, referee Dan Engler warning him off. Whip reversed, up and over, handspring, leapfrog and a big uppercut! Ambrose with a boot to the midsection, whip, sunset flip from the challenger, schoolboy, both come up empty but he clotheslines Dean to the floor and hits a moonsault off the apron!
Back inside, Ambrose rolls clean across and we go to break.
Back from commercial and Dean is kicking Crews on the mat. Draw him up, lariat gets two and the champion shifts to a rear chinlock for a beat before applying a Japanese stranglehold with a knee to the back. Kick to the midsection, suplex lift, Apollo lands on his feet and dumps Ambrose to the floor. Back in, small package... SO CLOSE! Duck a lariat, off the ropes, double lariat and both men are down and out!
Enzuigiri, Crews picking up steam, off the ropes with a boot to the head, leaping lariat and he’s fired up! Scoop into a Samoan drop, still only two! Back suplex lift, Ambrose slips out, pass into the corner but Apollo clocks him with an elbow and hits a diving crossbody for a nearfall, standing shooting star press... STILL JUST TWO! Crews still fired up but he charges into a boot.
Belly-to-belly suplex keeps it even, Stinger splash, military press but Dean rakes his eyes and slips out, kick to the gut, Dirty Deeds reversed to an enzuigiri, he gets the Blue Thunder Driver... AMBROSE GETS A HAND ON THE ROPES! Champion to the floor, Apollo off the ropes... TOPE CON GIRO! Off the top, frog splash... NO WATER IN THE POOL! Dean thinks fast, Dirty Deeds, slow to cover...
Dean Ambrose wins by pinfall with Dirty Deeds to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Backstage, Alexa Bliss cuts a promo, saying Raw has seen a lot of changes and she’ll miss running the women’s division.
In the short time she was in charge, she made history like she always does, and next week she’ll make history again as she hosts her own talk show, A Moment of Bliss. Being the first woman in WWE history to host her own talk show isn’t enough, because her guest will be Ronda Rousey! She says she knows how much Ronda worships Roddy Piper, but she wants her to dress appropriately for the occasion seeing as she’ll be in the presence of a goddess, not slummming it in some pit.
Commentary hypes up our main event and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get a video package hyping Brock Lesnar’s return to Raw next week.
Natalya & Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax & Tamina
All-out brawling before the bell but Nia and Tamina run off to regroup as referee Shawn Bennett struggles to retain order!
Bell rings, Rousey and Snuka to start, Ronda with a hip toss and just routing her, demanding a tag! Jax in, Rousey takes her down, rolling around, looking for the armbar, no dice and Nia manages to biel her out of the corner! Body avalanche follows, scoop and a slam, somersault senton but nobody’s home! Reaching, tags made, Natalya in hot with a dropkick, snap suplex, another one, and the cover gets two!
Shove in the corner, shoulder thrusts, putting boots to Snuka and Nattie proceeds to clear the apron. Scoop and a slam, again just two, pick the legs, step through but Tamina gets the ropes and blocks the Sharpshooter with a little help from Jax. Baseball slide, tag to Rousey, the champion comes off the top with a diving crossbody that sends us to break!
Back from commercial, Tamina and Nia run Neidhart over! Jax legal, firing off a headbutt, choking her over the bottom rope before passing her into the corner and tagging Snuka in. Putting boots to Nattie, quick tag back to Nia but Natalya fires back with right hands! Jax with a slam, throwing Nattie into the ringpost, yanking her out of the corner and covering her for two before locking a cobra clutch on her!
Neidhart to her feet, counter with a Stunner but Nia rams her into the corner and tags Tamina in. Snapmare into a reverse chinlock, out with back elbows, duck the fireman’s carry, off the ropes and both women go for crossbodies at the same time! Tags made, Ronda hammering Nia with punches in the corner! Judo throw, step-up knee to the face, another throw, cover gets two!
Raw Women’s Champion fired up, pop-up elbow strike... STILL NO! Calling for the armbar, waiting for Jax to rise but Nia catches her into a military press drop... NOT ENOUGH! Jockeying for position in the corner, Ronda wants a powerbomb but Tamina tags in and nails her with a superkick... NOPE! Off the ropes, falling headbutt comes up empty, Rousey has the armbar but Snuka’s got her hands clasped and Nia breaks it up with a leg drop!
Nattie in, discus lariat tags Jax out and a superkick from Tamina runs Neidhart off, cover made... ONLY A NEARFALL! Snuka heads up top, Superfly Splash... THE FEET ARE UP AND RONDA’S GOT THE ARMBAR! IT’S OVER!
Natalya & Ronda Rousey win by submission with the cross armbar from Rousey on Tamina.
Commentary hypes next week’s show up while Neidhart and Rousey celebrate their victory.
That’s the show, folks.