If you were wondering what WWE was selling with Raw this week, it was pretty darn simple: Watch next week.
That Bobby Lashley/Lana trainwreck? Next week they’re getting married!
Becky Lynch and Asuka have decided on a match...but when will it happen? Tune in next week to find out!
That Buddy Murphy vs. Aleister Black feud? They’re going to square off again. Can you guess when? On top of all of that, the Street Profits had one of their customary backstage segments to set the scene and hype up next week’s show.
And that’s all fine, really. It’s December 23. I get it — we get it. But I think it’s important to qualify everything that was on this show by saying that for the most part, not much happened. Hell, the 24/7 Championship probably got the most actual storyline development with Santa winning the damn thing and Akira Tozawa and R-Truth becoming friends by the end of the night.
So I say all of that to say...this wasn’t must-see viewing by any stretch of the imagination. But if you just wanted a wrestling show and harbored no real expectations, this show was fine.
The one big development: Samoa Joe is back
I said last week that I quite liked Joe’s call to the locker room to step in to stop this AOP stuff, and it’s now clear why he was going there: He’s in this fight.
Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio was our main event, and it went to a disqualification because of course it did. Christmas Eve Eve and all that - not the show that matters.
(That’s next week!)
The AOP and Rollins were beating the hell out of Mysterio after taking out Owens earlier in the night, and moved Mysterio up to the commentary table where Joe was busy condemning the group’s actions. And when they told the commentary team to move, Joe refused.
“If I get up, it ain’t to move,” Joe snapped at them. “If I get up, it’s your asses.”
Well...not quite, Joe. It’s still 3-on-1, after all. Rollins made a big show of apologizing to Joe before turning to the AOP and siccing them on the Samoan. Joe got put through a table for daring to stand against them.
Joe/KO/Mysterio vs. Rollins/AOP sounds awesome. Bet it happens...hmm, possibly next week?
The Man challenges The Empress
I love the idea of this story. Lynch feels like she’s got something to prove because Asuka’s the only one who’s ever beaten her in this persona. That is a great motivation for a fight.
...I just wish it had been a story that Lynch was telling over months, you know? Where she wins and wins, but feels less triumphant by the day. Where the woman who’s defeated her was off doing incredible things this entire time. It’s a shame and would have made this story so much more fun, but it’s not really worth complaining about now. Perhaps try to do that sort of thing in the future, WWE?
With all that aside, Lynch had a good promo where she said that she’s taking matters into her own hands. She’s realized that the company is making tons off of her and protecting her from the fights that jeopardize her ability to rake in money. That annoys her, so she called out Asuka to make a rematch.
Aaaand Asuka agreed! Cool! That’s all we got on this episode, but it’s enough for a holiday episode. I hope they really ramp this up to feel special as we close in on the Royal Rumble.
The OC def. Randy Orton, the Viking Raiders - Hey, some story development! The gist of this one is that Styles got the pinfall victory over Orton. Seems like a decent enough retaliation after Orton cost Styles the U.S. Championship.
Akira Tozawa, Santa Claus, and R-Truth win the 24/7 Championship - Tozawa was running from Truth when Saint Nick decked him to win the title. He ran from the duo for nearly the entire show until Truth finally got him to win the title back. The highlight was Santa vowing that they’re getting coal for Christmas and Truth saying he didn’t want Michael Cole.
Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy win squashes, stare each other down - Quite liked the back to back squashes with each man watching the other. Black is such an easy guy for others to play off of, which allows Buddy to ham it up a bit with the arrogance. His pin taunt to Black was dope.
Wasn’t a huuuge fan of their staredown, though. Was never going to get the reaction it needed on the back of a 6-hr show or whatever these poor souls were asked to suffer through, and it sort of deflated the tension.
Bobby Lashley def. Cedric Alexander - Lana was super annoying and Lashley won. They also made sure to say that their marriage is happening next week like 50 times in 5 minutes. Pretty damn impressive.
Drew McIntyre def. Zack Ryder - McIntyre’s big and beefy and talked about being big and beefy after beating up Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Alrighty, Drew.
Ricochet def. Tony Nese - Fun little contest, but there was no real angle to this. Just a solid win for Ricochet.
Charlotte Flair def. Chelsea Green - Green was making her Raw debut and had a little video package to introduce her. With that said, I don’t really think this match did her any favors. The “oh hey she can hang!” sell from commentary is just not that impactful, in my opinion. They say that for basically everyone in every match, don’t they?
Erick Rowan def. Local Talent - No real development here. The jobber offering Rowan and his...cage candy canes was amusing, though.
This show was fine. It didn’t try to be anything special, and thankfully WWE made that clear right away.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, Cageside! I appreciate each of you that read my reactionary drivel each week. I also appreciate each of you who make this a respectful community where we can all talk about our wrestling hobby together.