Welcome to the Christmas Eve RAW review. The episode was pre-recorded last week and it looks like a busy one. The RAW Women’s Championship and Tag Team Championships are being defended, Ronda Rousey faces Natalya, Roode and Gable take on The Revival. Paul Heyman is popping in for a festive visit. Seth Rollins is fighting Baron Corbin. Finn Balor, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre have a triple-threat match. And Elias and Bobby Lashley meet in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight. It’s Christmas, there is food to be eaten and celebrating to be done. Let’s keep this brief.
I’m Amanda, and this is the festive RAW review.
Elias def. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable def. The Revival
Finn Balor def. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre
Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Ember Moon def. Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Alicia Fox
Ronda Rousey def. Natalya
Heath Slater def. Jinder Mahal
Seth Rollins def. Baron Corbin
The Best Bits – You know what, through the magic of the festive season, let’s call all things equal just for this week.
» Elias opened the show. As a special Christmas treat, he got to sing a whole verse and chorus of his Christmas edition of Bobby Lashley Sucks before Lashley and Lio Rush came out for the Elias vs Bobby Lashley – Miracle on 34th Street Fight. I’m sure you don’t need much explanation of the match. They hit each other with Christmas trees and presents, festive food and various accessories. Rush saved Lashley from a beating with a candy cane coloured kendo stick by grabbing it from Elias’ hands. Someone has been watching indie weapons matches because Lego was involved. Lashley tried to suplex Elias off the turnbuckle onto a pile of it, but Elias punched him until he fell onto it instead. Elias used a fire extinguisher, contents then canister. Lio Rush went through a table of food. Elias rolled a bowling ball into Lashley’s balls then got the pin after hitting Lashley with a cello. Post-match, Elias filled Lio Rush’s mouth with food then emptied a bowl of eggnog over his head.
» Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs The Revival – RAW Tag Team Championship match – This match was a festive treat, but if I’m honest it made me wish they’d never split American Alpha up. Gable would have won with a bridging suplex if Scott Dawson hadn’t broken the pin. Bobby Roode broke a pin on Gable up after a nice transition sequence from The Revival. Chad Gable pinned Scott Dawson for the win, but Dash Wilder was the legal man. Good result, no objection to seeing that again (just not a thousand times).
» Drew McIntyre vs Dolph Ziggler vs Finn Balor – Drew McIntyre has declared his intention to win the Royal Rumble. Great match, everything you’d expect from these three, they kicked merry hell out of each other. Balor used a Coup de Grace to break up Ziggler’s pin on Drew McIntyre then tipped McIntyre out of the ring and landed a dropkick and a Coup de Grace on Dolph Ziggler for the win. After the match McIntyre got back into the ring to tell Ziggler he screwed everything up, he’s pathetic, and there’s not enough room on RAW for both of them. Ziggler responded with a ZigZag.
» Vince McMahon-taclaus brought us presents. John Cena will be returning and will still be floating between RAW and SmackDown. We’re getting women’s tag team championships next year (what a way to announce it). And next week Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre have a steel cage match.
» Sasha Banks, Bayley and Ember Moon vs Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Alicia Fox – What’s more festive than a six-woman tag match. It’s not the most ‘new era’ of matches, but it’s the Christmas Eve edition, so we’ll cut them some slack. It was extremely entertaining. Bayley, Banks, and Moon won after Mickie James took the backstabber into Bayley to Belly combo from Banks and Bayley. The Riott Squad attacked Banks, Bayley, and Moon after the match and cleared them from the ring.
» Paul Heyman sang a version of Silent Night informing us that Brock Lesnar will beat Braun Strowman. We also learned that Heyman is a much better orator than singer. After the singing, Heyman said much the same thing, but with a lot more words. Strowman came to the ring to join him and Heyman had the good grace to look nervous. Strowman stuck a red nose and antlers on Heyman and called him Paul Heyman the red nosed advocate. He told Heyman to tell Lesnar he’ll be healed by Royal Rumble and Lesnar will ‘Get These Hands’.
» Ronda Rousey (C) vs Natalya – RAW Women’s Championship match – We all like to believe in Christmas miracles, but believing in the possibility of Ronda Rousey losing the title on a pre-recorded RAW with no fanfare and a half-empty arena, is a step too far. It wasn’t even the main event.
Natalya said in a pre-match interview that she expects nothing but the best from Rousey, and vice versa, but she helped train Rousey, and no one knows her better. 2018 has been a rough year for Natalya but she’s focused and wants to bring home the title for Christmas.
The match was interesting and well told. They train together, they know each other’s movesets, and it was all very tactical.
Rousey looked concerned when she kicked Natalya through the ropes, in fairness it looked like a nasty fall, but Natalya not only got up, she took control. The longer Natalya had the control, the more it looked like Rousey didn’t want to get fired up and hurt her. It wasn’t until Natalya bent close and said something to her we didn’t get to hear, that it all changed.
Rousey took control easily, but she was still holding back and Natalya took it back. When Natalya tried to put Rousey in the Sharpshooter, Rousey kicked her away and delivered Piper’s Pit. She hesitated before applying the armbar and Natalya took full advantage and locked in the Sharpshooter. Rousey barely got out of it, but she rolled through and got the armbar on. Natalya tapped.
After the match, Rousey checked on Natalya and they hugged it out.
» Heath Slater vs Jinder Mahal – Heath Slater is back on the active roster. Santa turned up in the crowd during the match and distracted Jinder Mahal. Slater would have got the pin, but he got the win anyway because the Singh Brothers broke up the pin and caused a disqualification. Mahal and the Singh Brothers started to beat Slater down and Santa got in the ring to help him out. When Santa delivered a Gore to Jinder Mahal, he revealed himself to be Rhyno.
» Dean Ambrose appeared remotely for a little promo to wish Seth Rollins ‘what he deserves’ in his match with Baron Corbin, and to point out what a lousy Christmas Rollins would have if he loses.
» Seth Rollins’ pre-match interview he said he’s focused on Corbin and not Dean Ambrose. Ambrose can try to take everything from him, but he can’t take his reputation or his heart. Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin was great. Rollins has had an incredible year. Commentary kept calling attention to Rollins’ attitude change, and there was a more aggressive and ruthless edge to him. Rollins nearly got the Stomp, but Corbin moved and delivered a Deep Six which earned him two-count. A chokeslam backbreaker also earned Corbin a two-count, after which he had a tantrum at the ref. Seth Rollins managed to hit the Stomp on his next attempt to secure the win.
» The B-Team were shown through the show wandering around singing and getting steadily more exhausted until they collapsed in a heap in a corridor. RAW also showed superstars’ Christmas wishes throughout RAW. Curt Hawkins wants to win a match, Dolph Ziggler wants Shane McMahon to hand him the Best in the World trophy, Tyler Breeze wants Fandango to get better – although he’d prefer Ariana Grande tickets, Apollo Crews wants a tank to flip and then moonsault over… you get the picture. Alexa Bliss took the opportunity to make mean comments about several of her colleagues.
So, we finally got confirmation of the Women’s Tag Team Championships, delivered in the middle of a short list with zero attention drawn to it. A little anti-climactic, but I’m sure they’ll hype the historic nature of it nearer the time. Overall this was a decent episode of RAW, good matches, no over-long promos, and it finished early.
Have a wonderful Christmas or just a fabulous week if you don’t do Christmas, and we’ll see you next week for the review of the New Year’s Eve episode.