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Raw recap & reactions (Dec. 4, 2023): No excuses, no remorse

Raw kicks off December with a fun show that muddles its ending.

Ether

Jey Uso dedicated his first World Heavyweight Championship match to his uncle Umaga. The former WWE wrestler died 14 years ago at an age where death shouldn’t be a thing.

When Michael Cole told us that, I predicted Jimmy Uso interfering. Blocking your little brother from attaining his dream so soon after stopping him from winning another championship? And doing it on the night your uncle died? That’s cartoon supervillain foul.

However, that didn’t happen. While I liked the match we got, I’m not feeling the ending. While it makes sense in totality, the execution left me cold.

Seth Rollins and Jey kept it respectful before and during the match. They truly made this a battle between two guys who want that championship more than anything else. While I never thought about Jey winning since CM Punk waits in the wings for Seth (still can't believe that’s a sentence), they did an incredible job putting the champ in jeopardy. That not only showed how much Jey wanted the championship but Seth’s dedication to keeping it. With stakes this high and a story centered around oneupmanship, the match usually hinges on one person making a mistake. For a while during the third act, that looked like Seth.

Jey speared Seth multiple times, including one coming right out a Buckle Bomb. He also hit him with two Uso splashes, and a super kick. Jey unloaded everything and never put Seth down. From a meta standpoint, Seth’s performance rebutted Punk’s comments about no one in that locker room truly laying claim to “best in the world” status. He needed a match on Raw where he took tons of punishment and kept coming. He also needed a moment where he caught his challenger slipping and got the victory because he had the ball last.

But I don’t know if he needed that against Jey. Especially when the aforementioned Jimmy waits in the wings. Or Drew McIntyre, who, as you’ll read later, is on a vengeance warpath. They took column B but only after the match. Drew attacked Jey and got his hands on Seth only because Seth had Jey’s back. I say do that during the match. Let Drew interfere, protect Jey, and put an even bigger battery in his back for Drew. It also doesn’t make sense that Drew just let the match continue without ruining it for the guy he blames for all his misery.

Would Drew really sit back and watch Jey win the championship he covets in a match he believes Jey doesn’t even deserve? I find that dubious at best and inconsistent at worst. It’s that thing that happens in movies or television shows because the script says it happened rather than remaining true to the characters. On the flip side, Drew tossing Jey in his rearview so quickly never sat right with me, so this scratches that nagging itch.

This weird decision capped a fun night. Not the most meaningful night, but definitely a fun one. But even with fun, I want some character consistency.


B-Sides

Nightmares Ain’t As Bad

Anyone familiar with Hercules knows about the labors. And by Hercules, I mean the actual story, not the Disney movie. As a side, Disney’s Hercules is my favorite Disney flick of all-time! But I digress. Hercules toiled as part of his punishment for an unmentionable heinous act. Through those trials, he gained forgiveness and became legend.

I figured part of this thing with Sami Zayn & Drew McIntyre focused on Sami’s labors; all part of his path back to the main event and fighting for a championship at WrestleMania. Yeah, I was completely wrong.

Drew and Sami put on an incredible 30-minute bout that turned on Sami’s knee injury. A tweak turned into a liability. And that’s when it hit me that this is Drew’s story, not Sami’s. Last week, Drew talked about the moment he hesitated against Seth because he showed him mercy. He saw Seth’s back and thought about the champ’s daughter. Drew took the L and said he lost all compassion after that point because it cost him a championship. When put in a similar situation with Sami, a man who also openly speaks about his family, Drew took not even a little pity. Even when the ref pushed him off and warned him, the Scottish Psychopath (remember that?!) kept coming. That resulted in a Claymore and a victory for the man who wants revenge on every single person he believes wronged him recently.

Beautiful. The match itself, yes, but WWE showing instead of telling. Drew said he’s a different cat now. What better way to show that edge than against someone he says he respects? Last week, they even agreed they share more in common than meets the eye. But Sami, who simply tried helping Drew, got the short end of the stick. Drew later took that stick and beat Sami with it, metaphorically.

The video says it all but that’s malice and ill intention. I love it. I want more of it.

Drew jumped an already hurting Sami and further injured his knee. One, to further the point I made above, and two, well, you saw the clip. Drew McIntyre is turning into WWE’s Dominic Toretto.

Look Over Your Shoulder

Several weeks ago, I pontificated that beefing with IMPERIUM might get DIY over. Audiences truly despise Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci, plus their own internal drama bodes well for any team opposing them.

It took a while but it looks like all that might come to fruition.

The two teams met in a two out of three falls match that became intense once the game tied. IMPERIUM took the first fall through old school cheating (tights in hand) while DIY got the seance pin thanks to a schoolboy pin. Very old school and very traditional, much like the team themselves.

The third fall is where everything broke down because everyone went for broke. But the story is who took the L here: Ludwig. Giovanni wished him luck on explaining this one to GUNTHER as their story continues. I do wonder about the endgame: Are they breaking up? Is GUNTHER kicking someone out? Will someone stage a revolt against the Ring General?

The crowd really got into this match with good reason. DIY got over strongly here and showed the stuff that made them NXT royalty.

One More Chance

The Tegan Nox & Nattie team-up confuses me. I understand putting Tegan with Nattie because it boosts her profile and puts her with a very seasoned hand. But their team purpose on television seems like an entity created for putting other people over while protecting Tegan. And maybe it’s that simple and I’m just overthinking. That said, I like Kayden Carter & Katana Chance a lot more as a team and as personalities. They’re a better “team” for obvious reasons and present a bigger challenge to the tag champs.

Speaking of titleholders, shoutout to Chelsea Green for killing it again on commentary. While not as memorable as her first time, she still kept me thoroughly entertained with her banter and side conversations with Piper Niven.

Katana & Kayden against these two one day makes me smile.

Freak Out

Julius Creed is a freak of nature. I’m still speechless. I mean, I really can’t find the words on this one. The Creed Bros. defeated Dirty Dom & JD McDonagh but that feels like the least important thing I saw in that ring.

Oh and R-Truth continued his Judgment Day antics, showing up ringside this time with “championship” in hand and rocking a Judgment Day shirt.

I want to say more about the match, the work all four men did, and how dope the Creeds looked. But Julius is a freak and he did something previously thought impossible. More importantly, they’re really setting the stage for a Creed Bros. title victory. Last week, Finn Balor told Damian Priest they better watch out for Julius & Brutus. Damian brushed it off. This week, Dom & JD echoed those sentiments. Damian took their words more seriously but with Damian distracted with Drew, Judgment Day leadership, and his purple briefcase, a title change seems inevitable.

The Magic Number

Becky Lynch and Nia Jax is happening. And you know what? I’m cool with that. Nia keeps handling her business and putting on fun matches while remaining a pretty compelling character. She handled Shayna Baszler, not easily mind you, but still. And I really dug the styles clash here. Shayna worked body parts and tried neutralizing Nia’s power. I say tried because that’s easier said than done. Nia, for her part, played the power game and Shayna never really got going. Which served as a nice little revenge against the woman who put Nia out of commission with a broken arm? Remember that?! Shayna tried breaking that same arm but Nia blocked it with ease and swatted Shayna away with ease. That was actually my favorite moment of the match simply because it juxtaposed the past with the present.

Becky’s arrival up top continued the story that started before the match. Nia approached Becky and the latter reminded the former she owes her a receipt. Props to finally getting to Nia and Becky after all these years. Plus, it makes complete sense that despite everything that happened after Nia busted Becky’s nose and essentially made her The Man, that Becky never forgot and held that grudge for years.


Like I said, a fun show with nothing major. Everything pretty much held serve from last week as the company starts 2023’s last month. There’s nothing wrong with holding serve with solid wrestling, one great match, and some silliness in between.

And Happy Ether Day/Jay-Z’s birthday to all who celebrate! Nas dropped a Jay-Z diss track on the man’s birthday. No matter how old I get, that remains cold blooded.

What say you, cagesiders?

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