Welcome to the Happy Holidays edition of RAW. WWE kept the preview for tonight’s show brief. Seth Rollins challenges Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship, and The OC face The Viking Raiders and Randy Orton. It’s already Christmas Eve here in the UK, so let’s follow WWE’s example and keep this short and sweet.
I’m Amanda and this the RAW review.
Kevin Owens def. Mojo Rawley
Bobby Lashley def. Cedric Alexander
Drew McIntyre def. Zack Ryder
Aleister Black def Deonn Rusman
Buddy Murphy def. Joeasa
Ricochet def. Tony Nese
Charlotte Flair def. Chelsea Green
The OC def. Randy Orton & The Viking Raiders
Erick Rowan def. Travis Horn
Rey Mysterio def. Seth Rollins (DQ)
♦ Kevin Owens opened the show. After a recap of his issues with Seth Rollins and AOP, Owens asked us to bear with him because he has a lot to say. He was immediately interrupted by Mojo Rawley.
Rawley wanted an explanation for Owens’ behaviour to him, but when it became clear he wasn’t going to get it he started talking about Owens needing a reality check and asked Owens if he knew what his problem is.
Owens said he has several, but if Rawley is smart he can help analyse his biggest one before their no DQ match. Instead, Rawley started talking trash, so they got on with the match.
Kevin Owens vs Mojo Rawley – No Disqualification match – was a good way for Owens to let off some steam, to start with. Owens was eager to get the chairs and tables out, but it was he who got a chair across the back and Rawley kicked the table out of the ring. He was happy with the chairs though and used one to keep Owens down while he set a few up and, after a struggle, put him through them. When Owens took back control of the match, he brought the table back in, then powerbombed Mojo Rawley through it and pinned him.
After the match, Kevin Owens said Mojo had him in a fighting mood so he called Seth Rollins and AOP out to beat him up in the middle of the ring instead of jumping him backstage – so at least someone gets to enjoy it – and refused to leave the ring until they did.
Owens had to wait until after the ads, but they came down. Rollins got in the ring alone to explain, without a mic, that the issue between them was over (I think) and tried to shake Owens’ hand. Kevin Owens superkicked him in the face and failed to get to a chair before AOP got to him and started the beatdown. He kept trying to fight back but took the inevitable Stomp. Samoa Joe gave out some warnings about how dangerous AOP are.
♦ R-Truth and his 24/7 Championship was sent out and about in New York. He got pinned by Akira Tozawa in the first segment and subsequent segments, sprinkled through the show, showed R-Truth chasing him around with a ref and various ‘comedy moments’. They knocked food out of someone’s hand. Tozawa hid in a stack of Christmas trees. Tozawa got pinned by Santa and they both chased him. They ended up in separate horse-drawn carriages for a while, then went back to running. They finally caught up, and R-Truth pinned Santa for the title. Tozawa and Truth started arguing and the ref kicked off. He said he’d chased them around the city and it was too cold for this so he was going home. With no ref, R-Truth and Tozawa called a truce and wandered off together.
What R-Truth has done to make that title interesting is massively underappreciated.
♦ Bobby Lashley vs Cedric Alexander was basically an excuse for commentary to talk about Lashley and Lana’s ‘Wedding’ on next week’s show. Lana got in the ring to berate Alexander for potentially bruising Lashley before their ‘big day’ and suggested a Greco-Roman match instead. That didn’t happen and the match was long. It would have been more entertaining if the camera didn’t spend as much time on Lana as it did on the ring. Lashley eventually won with a spear, but it could easily have gone either way.
♦ Charly Caruso asked Seth Rollins what he was trying to achieve with his constant acts of brutality. He said he was trying to extend an olive branch to Owens and Owens kicked him in the face, so she should ask Kevin Owens why he keeps picking fights with them.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs Zack Ryder was short and almost all McIntyre. It finished with a Claymore Kick then McIntyre added a post-match Futureshock DDT for good measure and a Claymore for Curt Hawkins as well. Once Ryder and Hawkins were down, McIntyre rambled about 2020 being his year.
♦ Becky Lynch appeared to say she does better when she takes things into her own hands, so that’s what she’s going to do. She’s become the face of the company and they’re trying to protect her, but she doesn’t give a damn what the company wants. She wants Asuka as her next opponent and she’s not taking no for an answer. She’ll go to deep dark places in herself just to remind herself who she is. And in case Asuka has forgotten herself, she’s the one woman who has beaten The Man fair and square. She called Asuka out for an answer.
Asuka and Kairi Sane came to the stage. It came with a lot of mocking, most of it in Japanese, but ‘Asuka Two Belts’ was clear enough. Lynch said if putting the title on the line was what it takes, Asuka could name the time and place, then she said something in Japanese to Asuka to close the segment.
♦ Aleister Black vs Deonn Rusman happened. I don’t know why Black needed a local competitor to squash. Maybe it was a Christmas present from Vince McMahon. It was all over very quickly and he met his opponent for next week on the ramp.
Buddy Murphy vs Joeasa happened as well. It was even quicker. I guess that was the point.
Black went back to the ring after Murphy’s match and offered him a handshake. Murphy shoved it away and barged past him. Aleister Black kicked him in the head and sat cross-legged next to him.
♦ Rey Mysterio told Charly Caruso that he’s been looking forward to facing Seth Rollins for the first time for a very long time. He believes Rollins is one of the best on RAW, but the match will always have an asterisk next to it because it will be Rey Mysterio versus Seth Rollins and AOP. They’re running around like WWE is their playground but they made a mistake not finishing him off last week. As long as he can get back up he’ll make AOP watch as he sets Seth Rollins up for a 619 and walks out still US champ.
♦ Tony Nese vs Ricochet was a fun match, but much too short. Given chance to develop, it could have been a great match. Ricochet won with a Recoil.
♦ Charlotte Flair vs Chelsea Green was a nice surprise. She’s Deonna Purrazzo’s tag partner on the NXT live circuit, so it was nice they both got the chance (Purrazzo faced Asuka on last weeks show). Short but good match. Green got enough in to look good, then got caught with a big boot and tapped out in the Figure Eight.
♦ In the second part of Liv Morgan’s big reveal, she talked about giving people your power when you look to them for affirmation. She was young and impressionable and so typical. But it’s up to her to decide who she is and she’s anything but typical.
♦ Randy Orton & The Viking Raiders vs The OC rounded out hour two. It was a good match, but there’s not much to say about it. Randy Orton’s heavily strapped knee got reinjured at one point going into the break. The Viking Raiders looked to have everything under control towards the end, but it all fell apart very quickly and AJ Styles pinned Randy Orton off a Phenomenal Forearm. Orton was holding his knee after the match and looked to be in a lot of pain.
♦ Erick Rowan is still talking to whatever is in the cage.
♦ Street Profits had a backstage round up. They talked about Lana and Lashley and speculated over Rowan’s cage. Oh, and they want the smoke.
♦ Erick Rowan vs Travis Horn was yet another local competitor match. This one offered Rowan a candy cane in exchange for his life and backed slowly out of the ring. Then he tried to put more candy canes near the carrier and got destroyed. Rowan gave whatever is in the carrier a candy cane.
♦ Rusev came to the ring to talk about his mixed emotions. He’s upset about being screwed over at TLC, but he’s going to do something about it. However, he’s not upset about Lana and Lashley because that’s the biggest punishment he can think of giving to Lashley.
Rusev vs No Way Jose followed and it was short and sweet. No Way Jose tried to get Rusev to dance and took a Matchka Kick. Rusev had a little dance after he got the pin though and got kisses from a couple of the conga line.
♦ Pre-match, Seth Rollins told Charly Caruso that he’s going to beat Rey Mysterio and win the United States Championship, then they are going to establish dominance. He took AOP with him to the ring. Rey Mysterio (C) vs Seth Rollins – United States Championship match – main evented the show. As a first time ever, this should have been a dream match. It was great, but AOP on the outside did make it feel less like a true one on one. They didn’t get involved until the final moments, so we got 10 minutes of a good match. But they stepped in when it looked like Rollins was done. Mysterio went to the top after delivering a 619 and was pushed to the floor by AOP and beaten up.
They dragged Rey Mysterio up to the stage and cleared off the announce desk, but Samoa Joe refused to move. Rollins backed AOP off and smoothed things over with Joe, then gave the instruction ‘Finish him’ as he walked away. Rey Mysterio took a Stomp on the stage and Samoa Joe was put through the announce desk to close the show.
There’s not much to say about a holiday episode. It is what it is and nothing much of note happened. There are a few alterations to the normal wrestling schedules over the holiday season. Our very own Steph Franchomme put together a guide which you can see here.