Welcome to The Raw Reaction, where I offer up my take on this week’s taped show from Des Moines. You can check out John’s full in-depth review at this link.
The Raw opening and pyro starts us off this week. Kevin Owens is out to kick things off, recapping what’s been going on between him, Seth Rollins and AOP. Mojo Rawley comes out for his No-DQ match with Owens and cuts a brief promo. The match gets going with Owens starting off fast but Mojo gains the upper hand. Mojo starts dominating Owens for whatever reason and still couldn’t get over. Anyway, Owens regains control of the match and finishes him off with a Pop-up Powerbomb through a table.
After the match, Owens calls out Rollins and AOP, who eventually come out after the break for the three on one beatdown. After they leave Owens laying in the ring, Samoa Joe cuts a promo on commentary about the new thugs in town.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without some R-Truth 24/7 hijinks in New York City. Akira Tozawa rolls up Truth for the 24/7 title win. Tozawa takes off and Truth chases him with the ref Tozawa brought with him. More to come later on this.
Bobby Lashley is out next with Lana for his match against Cedric Alexander. Alexander starts off quick against Lashley when Lana hops into the ring to cut a promo about her wedding next week to help the editing crew insert the commercial break. Back from break and Alexander is still going full bore at Lashley. We get a surprisingly competitive match between the two before Lashley is finally able to overpower Alexander.
Rollins does a quick victim promo before we head back to NYC for a Truth/Tozawa chase update.
Zack Ryder is out next with Curt Hawkins to get mauled by Drew McIntyre. Hawkins tries to help out after the match but doesn’t fair any better. Drew gives us a quick promo about 2020 being the year of Drew and I sure hope so. Maybe we can even get the 3MB triple threat for the WWE Title, too? Maybe that’s a little too much.
Quick promo for Smackdown in Detroit on Friday with The Miz, Daniel Bryan, and King Corbin triple threat to determine the challenger for The Fiend at the Royal Rumble. Let’s pencil in Bryan for the W.
Promo time with Becky Lynch in the ring talking about how she is the face of the company (agree) and that the company has been protecting their investment (no, poor creative). The time has come to collect on one more debt, Asuka. The Kabuki Warriors come out on cue and Asuka wants to be Asuka Two-Belts. Becky said fine if that’s what it takes. Becky closes out with some Japanese to Asuka and we’ll see the redemption match at The Royal Rumble.
Back from break and Aleister Black makes his entrance to lay waste to some jobber in less time than his entrance took. Black’s opponent for next week, Buddy Murphy, comes out and lays out his jobber in less moves before Black comes back to the ring to offer Murphy a handshake for next week. Murphy blows Black off before trying to come back at Black, who puts Murphy down with a Black Mass kick.
A video package to remind us about why the US Title match will be taking place tonight and Rey is interviewed quickly by Charly Caruso. Rey said they should have finished what they started before leaving.
Ricochet and Tony Nese square off next in a quick match with Ricochet winning, to pick up some momentum after the amazing performance in the gauntlet match last week.
Needing to kill some time, we get another Truth/Tozawa chase update.
Charlotte Flair is up next. Since we’ve run out of women jobbers, Chelsea Green is brought up from NXT to fulfill the role. A quick video package runs about who Chelsea is plays before the match starts. Green looked good in the bout, but Charlotte picks up the submission victory with the Figure Eight.
Back in NYC, Truth and Tozawa run into Santa Claus, because of course. When Santa sends Truth off to his sleigh for a present, Santa turns heel on Tozawa and smacks him with the bag of presents to capture the 24/7 title. Yes, that actually happened. Santa runs off as Truth returns. Truth and Tozawa then give chase with the ref still in tow.
Another Liv Morgan return video plays before the six-man tag match between Randy Orton and the Viking Raiders vs. The OC. We get another really good match from the two teams again and the Restore the OC to Relevancy continues as Styles picks up the win for his team by pinning Orton. I’m not quite sure why we all of a sudden decided to make The OC relevant again because we all know that AOP will be taking the tag titles off The Viking Raiders.
More NYC hijinks highlighted with a horse-drawn buggy chase down a street. The buggies were going to slow, so everyone continues the chase on foot. How much more time do we have to kill?
Street Profits cut a quick promo about the wedding next week, which has been heavily pushed throughout the show. I am not looking forward to it at all.
Erick Rowan is up next to abuse another jobber, who has candy canes in the back of his trunks. Rowan gives whatever is in the cage one of the jobber’s candy canes.
Back in NYC, Santa is tired from running and collapses on the ground. Truth covers him and regains the 24/7 title. Tozawa is back in Truth’s face and Referee John Cone said that was enough from both of them. He was cold and tired, so he was going home and left. Tozawa looked around and there was not another ref around so they called a truce for the night and went off to look for the big apple after wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Thank God that’s over.
Back in the arena, Rusev comes out for his match but cuts a promo first about how happy he is for Lashley and Lana next week. I guess we can remove him from the short list to crash the wedding next week. No Way Jose comes out with the conga line as Rusev’s opponent. Rusev makes short work of Jose and parties with the conga line outside.
Main event time starts with a quick interview between Rollins and Charly before he heads to the ring with AOP. Rey is out and the US Title match starts. The match was really good. The sliding sunset flip bomb into the barricade by Rey on Rollins was pretty unique. The match ends predictably on a DQ when AOP jumps Rey.
In the show-closing segment, AOP drags Rey up the ramp to the announce desk and Samoa Joe refuses to leave, wanting to fight AOP with Rollins holding them back. Joe turns face and the AOP attacks, eventually putting Joe though the announce desk to close out RAW.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows:
The US Title match was really good. They came up with some creative spots in the match.
Samoa Joe’s face turn had a nice build all night. It’s just a matter of time until Teddy Long books the six-man tag match. Holla holla playa!
I know the 24/7 title is a comedy title, but this was just a little too much tonight. Did we really need Santa as champ?
That’s all I’ve got this week. Merry Christmas everyone!