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Raw recap & reactions (Dec. 18, 2023): The pity party

R-Truth’s miracle, Miz’s wish, and the new tag champs get gifts on this edition of Monday Night Raw.

It’s the Holidaze

I enjoyed this segment between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre. I don’t have much to say about it (yet) but it worked incredibly well. There’s this interesting they’re doing with Drew where he says things that faces say. He talked about his family, sacrifice, and the time he wondered whether all that time away from home meant anything. He related it back to Seth since Becky more than likely finds herself in that same situation and asking the same questions.

Who can’t feel for anyone going through that?

Well, Seth can’t. Every time it looks like they flirt with Drew turning over a new leaf, Seth reminds the world that he’s full of it. While Drew probably believes every word he utters, but like Seth pointed out, the actions don’t line up. Drew blames everyone else for his failures but Drew. Even taking Drew’s Becky comparison to its logical conclusion, Becky never blames anyone else for coming up short. And if anything, Drew mentioning his wife probably set off a reaction within Seth that made him take pity on his future opponent.

And with those words, Drew showed his true colors. Just like he did with Sami Zayn, Drew illustrated that the truth gets under his skin. It’s not the most complicated story but it intrigues me.


Christmas Rappin’

Double Clothesline.

That’s the moment the Undisputed Tag champs match between Judgment Day and the Creed Bros. went from a solid affair to something dope.

But let’s rewind a bit. This all started with the Judgment Day in slight disarray. No more than usual but still worth noting. JD McDonagh, who really looks lame tying his bandana like he’s Tupac, lost a fun Miracle on 34th Street opener to R-Truth. That started everything on the wrong foot while making the Judgment Day foundational cracks more pronounced.

Mami made it clear that when one of them loses, it reflects terribly on everyone. With that in mind, she not only accompanied Finn Balor & Damian Priest to the ring, but accepted Ivy Nile’s challenge. And she’s putting her championship on the line. These are hubristic moves but indicative.

The tag match started with the Creeds controlling everything like Janet. Rhea barking orders during the match that turned into complaints was hysterical. They really underlined that despite the warnings, Finn & Damian came ill-prepared for Julius & Brutus.

This not only made sense but it showed the Bros. Creed’s tandem skills. They’re getting a bit more time than their matches in NXT, so they’re showing off more moves.

Eventually, the champs regained their composure and evened the odds a bit.

Then the Double Clothesline happened and all hell broke loose.

At this point, the match served several masters: We got a moment where the Creeds planted Finn with the Brutus Bomb/Electric Chair combo and surely had the W in hand. Damian interrupted the count and the match continued.

Rhea bothered Ivy and ate a face full of mat in the process. That gave Ivy a little juice before their match in two weeks. Rhea understands now that Ivy is legit and won’t back down just because.

The other thing is that despite Judgment Day’s petty squabbling, Damian & Finn still work incredibly well together. When the chips were down, and they almost hit rock bottom, their quality teamwork only increased.

The Creed boys got another hope spot where they almost got the job done. But Finn broke up the count. That eventually turned into Damian getting the W for his team if only barely.

Like I said, dope match that got better the longer it went. It showcased the Creeds, put them in a huge spot, and moved along some stories if only from a minor standpoint.

How Sean Price Stole Christmas

They got me. Not only did I root for Miz during this Intercontinental championship match with GUNTHER, but a part of me thought he might do the impossible. While that didn’t happen, he did put on an incredible match with the Ring General.

It started with Miz pulling out the stops and doing moves no one, least of all GUNTHER, saw coming. And it built from there, with GUNTHER eventually waking up for a war.

It was perfect. I don’t know what else to say and I think my words might do it a disservice.

Watch it now.

Yes, GUNTHER won, but Miz got several moments where he had the match. He hit a Skull Crushing Finale off the top rope and if not for a little discombobulation on his part and GUNTHER eventually rolling out the ring, we have a new champion. But alas.

We got some IMPERIUM intrigue afterward, with GUNTHER telling his boys that he’s taking off for a few weeks (well-deserved). While he’s away, he wants to see them impress him. Yeah, good luck on that one.

Getting into the IMPERIUM drama, I keep wondering about the endgame. Are they headed for a breakup? If so, this is incredibly prolonged. If not, then what’s the point? We need a resolution!

Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa Claus

Well, yeah, about that impressing him thing. Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser attacked Kofi Claus while the man in the red outfit dealt out holiday cheer. Jey Uso had his former rival’s back and, yeah, you know how this went.

Fun match that went rather quickly but served its purpose. Jey maintained his solo momentum while Ludwig looks worse in GUNTHERs eyes.

Player’s Ball

Since I don’t often get predictions correct, I’m gloating here: I called this last week. I doubled down in our Slack, so now I’m poking out my chest a bit. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance are your new women’s tag team champs and I’m ecstatic.

And on the real? WWE set this up pretty well. The match came with ebbs and flows but Kayden & Katana looked strong in victory. They kept up with Piper Niven and dominated Chelsea Green. They also showed their tag team chemistry while Piper & Niven fumbled a bit. The now former champs hit one big tandem move on Kayden, but their opponents outsmarted them at one junction that changed the match. Kayden pinned Chelsea but kept one eye open for Piper. Chelsea’s partner went airborne, Kayden moved, and Piper crashed down on WWE’s resident Karen.

Speaking of her, she’s the main reason I believe she and Piper don’t need these belts. Chelsea’s highly entertaining and that transfers to Piper. They’re great complaining about what they don’t have and what doesn't go their way. What’s more annoying and entertaining than a complaining loser?

Chelsea rightly took the pinfall courtesy of the Afterparty, and the new champs celebrated.

Hopefully this momentum behind the women’s tag division continues.

A few things I didn’t get, Cody Rhodes and Shinsuke Nakamura specifically. And there’s a reason for that. Shinsuke reading The American Nightmare Before Christmas exemplified the night: It took Christmas traditions and made them sinister but also meaningful. The shows during the holidays can feel inconsequential for obvious reasons, but segments like that, plus the other meaningful matches, made Raw feel important. We got two pull a part brawls (Shinsuke/Cody and Nia Jax/Becky), Kofi dressed as Santa, a title change, and fine wrestling.

That’s the recipe for fun television.

What say you, Cagesiders?

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