by Amanda Why
It may be Christmas day, but if WWE doesn’t get the week off, neither do we. Surprisingly full looking show from the preview. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will apparently be seeking revenge on Samoa Joe for his part in Dean Ambrose injury (If you missed it, Dean Ambrose had surgery to repair a 50% tear to his triceps ligament last week). Braun Strowman and Kane will be in action. And John Cena is paying a visit.
I’m Amanda, and I’ll be your guide for this, possibly unnecessarily festive, edition of RAW.
The Opening Segment
It was definitely Christmas on RAW, trees and presents all over the stage. John Cena started things off, by giving his shirt and hat to a child in the crowd. The crowd responded with a Merry Christmas chant.
Cena talked about WWE being his home and his family and thanked everyone for the good times and bad. He was quickly interrupted by Elias. Elias informed us that WWE stands for walk with Elias, and asked who wants to walk with him. Cena said he will.
Elias said he was always being interrupted, so he thought he’d interrupt for a change. Whatever Elias tried to say, the crowd chanted for CM Punk – well, it is Chicago. Cena and Elias addressed it, Elias by saying that was one person who wouldn’t interrupt him, and Cena by telling him the crowd just love their own. Eventually, he started singing, trashing Chicago of course, but Cena stopped him after one verse.
John Cena told Elias the Chicago crowd were wonderful, and Elias was always being a jerk. He said he’d never thought of it that way, maybe Cena was right, and started singing a happy song to the tune of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Cena started singing, at Elias’ invitation. Elias knocked him out and said Christmas is overrated, and so is Chicago. Cena stirred as Elias went to leave the ring, so he came back and continued the beatdown. When he was sure Cena was down, Elias challenged him to a match and demanded a ref.
John Cena vs Elias
Being in the UK, I missed some of this match due to ad breaks, the fans watching on USA Network got the first-hour ad-free. It was a long match, so it’s fine.
Unsurprisingly, Elias started strong. It took Cena a good few minutes to get his faculties back. He inevitably did though, and the match from then wasn’t bad. There are some high profile names making Elias look good recently. WWE has got big plans for someone who spends long periods of a match dominating John Cena (and Roman Reigns recently).
Elias had the best of it, for most of the match. For a lot of it, the action in the ring was rivalled by the viciousness of Booker T and Corey Graves bickering on commentary. There was no way Cena was losing, to Elias, on RAW, at Christmas though.
John Cena won, off the AA, after the very briefest of comebacks.
The Other Stuff
– Big promo package for Samoa Joe. Always interesting to see those, gives you an idea of who’s got big things happening.
– Kurt Angle told Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan they had to team together and beat The Bar if they want a shot at Samoa Joe. They argued until Angle said it was a tag title match. Angle then gave Roman Reigns a match against Samoa Joe and made it a US title match.
– Brian Kendrick, with Jack Gallagher, had an in-ring interview before Kendrick’s match against Hideo Itami. He said he wanted to find out if Itami belonged there. The match happened, mostly during the ad break. Itami won with a GTS. Guess he belongs there.
– They played a nice video package for the Women’s Royal Rumble match. More details about how the match will be set up would be nice, please.
– The Miztourage sang a Miz themed ‘Mizmas’ carol at Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James. It was… it happened, that’s enough.
– Absolution vs Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley – A lot of the, nice long, match was Sasha Banks selling for Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose, with a good chunk of Bayley and Paige, and a bit of a brawl. Banks made Deville look great. Commentary needs to talk about Mandy Rose’s looks less. Paige pinned Bayley from the RamPaige.
– They made Renee Young interview Samoa Joe about injuring Dean Ambrose. Joe said he had no remorse, and made a crack about Ambrose being able to spend the holidays with those he loves, then said he was systematically destroying the Shield. Ambrose last week, Reigns next, and he will get to become champ in the process. Well played, with awkwardness levels off the scale.
– Rhyno has a plan to ‘toughen up Heath Slater’ after Kurt Angle said they had to change. Tonight’s part of the plan was Heath Slater vs Kane. Slater alternated between being murdered and trying to escape until Kane got bored. There was a brief few moments of fight back from Slater, but it didn’t last, and he got choke-slammed and pinned. Kane and Rhyno had a post-match set, which ended with Rhyno also taking a choke-slam.
– Curt Hawkins came out and laid down an open challenge to see if he could end his 146 matches losing streak as a Christmas miracle. He got Finn Balor. He now has a 147 match losing streak.
– Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel also sang a Mizmas carol at Goldust and gave him Santa’s Little Helper on DVD. Goldust gave it to Titus O’Neil, O’Neil threw it when Goldust breathed at him.
– Bray Wyatt cut another promo for his feud with Matt Hardy. Then he came to the ring and was immediately attacked from behind by Woken Matt. Wyatt got away, as far as the stage, and Matt Hardy grabbed a microphone and laughed manically for a minute or so.
– Sheamus and Cesaro bought each other presents. Sheamus bought Cesaro a Dean Ambrose action figure, with a missing arm, Cesaro got Sheamus a Seth Rollin one, and a Jason Jordan one. A fun way for them to do some trash talk, exactly what you’d expect from Christmas RAW.
– Miracle on 34th Street-fight – Enzo Amore, Ariya Daivari, and Drew Gulak, vs Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and Akira Tozawa. Decent cruiserweight street-fight match with festively themed toys. Cedric Alexander pinned Daivari after a Lumbar Check.
– Enzo Amore will defend his title against Cedric Alexander on RAW next week.
– Nia Jax and Enzo Amore had another flirting session. They almost kissed under the mistletoe, but Alexa Bliss saved her/us and took Jax off to talk about the Rumble match.
– Renee Young looked a lot happier interviewing Roman Reigns. Reigns said tonight was all about Ambrose, and showing Samoa Joe that if you hurt one of Reigns’ brothers, he will hurt you.
– Seth Rollins backstage segment with Jason Jordan. Rollins said he was only teaming with Jordan as a favour to Kurt, and to allow him to get at The Bar. Jordan arrogantly suggested he’s not just an adequate replacement for Ambrose, he’s an upgrade. Rollins, quite correctly, looked like he wanted to knock him out.
– Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel sang again, in the ring this time. Then got beaten up by Braun Strowman. Angle had promised them a Secret Santa match, and Strowman was their present.
– Alexa Bliss’ in-ring address. She said she was giving the WWE universe the gift of a goddess. 2017 has been her year, she started as SmackDown champ, and finishes as RAW champ. But her moment of the year was the rumble match announcement, which she gave herself all the credit for. She said she’ll be watching to see who wins and will become her opponent. Asuka came to the ring and said, ‘I’m entering the women’s Royal Rumble match, and I will win because nobody is ready for Asuka’. She smiled at the terrified looking Alexa Bliss, then kicked her in the face and laid her out.
– Brock Lesnar will appear on RAW next week
Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe – US Championship match
Roman Reigns was the early aggressor, and his crowd reactions now are fascinating. The ‘let’s go Roman/Roman sucks’ chants are regular now.
Enjoyable match. Roman Reigns managed to get to the rope while in the coquina clutch. Samoa Joe suicide dive appeared to injure Reigns’ elbow. It was a back and forth big lads battle.
Reigns got Joe in the corner and stomped on him. The ref pulled him away once, but Reigns went back in, when he shoved the ref for trying to pull him away again, he was disqualified.
Post-match Reigns carried on beating Samoa Joe, first with the Superman punch, then the ringposts, then the steps. It was eventually broken up by officials. Reigns said before the match he was out to hurt Samoa Joe for hurting his ‘brother’. Add to that Joe choking Reigns out last month, and him costing Ambrose and Rollins the tag titles, It’s perfectly in keeping with the storyline and Reigns’ attitudes regarding loyalty and honour. Social media will say otherwise.
The Bar vs Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan
Rollins was not a happy chap, with the injury to his partner, and his dislike for the stand-in, he’s not having a good time. They quickly got on the same page though. I wish Booker T and Corey Graves would from time to time, they bickered throughout the match again.
Not a bad match. Rollins got bounced all over the place. He has built a great chemistry with Sheamus and Cesaro, and the addition of Jordan didn’t disrupt things too much, it just felt weird.
In the end, Jason Jordan pinned Cesaro. Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins are the new RAW tag team champions. Commentary kept saying how pleased Ambrose would be for his friend, I’m not so sure that’s where they’re going with it. Jason Jordan is now the first person to have won the NXT, SmackDown, and RAW tag team titles.
So, that was Christmas RAW. The festive stuff was contained in a few segments, and the show delivered on matches. The build up to Royal Rumble is in full swing. The title change is clearly part of a bigger storyline because it makes no sense at the moment. But, overall, not a bad show at all.