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WWE Raw Reaction for Dec. 30 by Kelly Dishnow

Welcome to The Raw Reaction where I offer up my thoughts on this week’s show in Hartford. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report at this link.

We start off with the opening video and pyro before Kevin Owens hits the ring. Owens offers up a couple of video packages on the recent happenings with Seth Rollins and AOP on various members of the roster. Owens eventually calls the trio out and they come out right on cue. Owens charges up the ramp and the fight is on. AOP toss Owens back into the ring with Rollins joining in. Samoa Joe’s music hits and he’s in his ring gear ready to fight, charging down to the ring. Joe takes down AOP before locking Rollins in the Coquina Clutch. AOP attacks Joe to save Rollins, only to eat a chair from Owens. The World’s Slowest Security finally arrives to try to break up the fight. Owens wipes everyone out on the floor with a somersault dive as we go to break.

When we return from break, Joe and Owens are back in the locker room talking when Charly Caruso popped in asking Joe why the face turn? Joe said Rollins forced him to do it. Owens was happy to have Joe in his corner and that’s when the security guys showed up to kick them out of the arena.

Back to the arena for our first of the night between Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy. Black’s entrance is awesome, by the way. This would be a rematch from their excellent bout at TLC. The match delivered yet again was another excellent outing. This was a great hard-hitting bout. Black is a fantastic striker and Murphy, who is no slouch as a striker, sold well. The match itself was given plenty of time and had some old school psychology in it. It was believable enough for either guy to pick up the win. In the end, Black put Murphy down with two Black Mass kicks. It was a fun match to watch.

Backstage, Rollins and AOP were kicked out of the building by security and Rowan was creeping on Lana as she got ready for the wedding later on tonight. NXT promo before the break.

Back from break and Rowan destroys some poor dude named Kip. We cut back to Lana getting dressed for the wedding and another break.

Charlotte Flair graces us with her presence next to announce, shock shock, that she is the first person declaring their participation in the 2020 Royal Rumble. She did leave out the part where she would be losing. Sorry Charlotte, there are far better choices this year than you. After a long, drawn-out overproduced promo, Charlotte issues an open challenge for right now and Natalya accepts.

The match itself was pretty good, given their past history in the ring. The 24/7 Champion R-Truth and the TV Time Seekers run a couple of laps around the ring before Truth escapes through the crowd. I guess Baby Jesus was busy tonight and couldn’t face Truth for the title. Was it Baby Jesus or Chinstrap Jesus? Anyway, after Eric Young bumps for Charlotte at the break, Natalya and Charlotte continue battling before Charlotte picks up the submission victory.

Backstage, Charly interviews Becky Lynch who issues a challenge to Asuka at the Royal Rumble for the Raw Woman’s Championship, which would be accepted a little later in the night. Lynch promises to beat Asuka if it kills her. Meanwhile, Bobby Lashley is shown getting dressed for the wedding, throwing us into another break.

Back from break, a quick video package on the new Liv Morgan plays before the OC comes out for Promo Time. The OC brags about beating the unbeatable Viking Raiders twice The Street Profits come out. A quick back and forth between the two teams sets up a tag match. AJ gets kicked out quickly and Ford falls into the face in peril mode. Ford popped off a standing dropkick to Gallows’ face with such an incredible height that Kazuchika Okada would have been impressed. Ford hits some serious hang time on another dropkick before the hot tag to Dawkins. Dawkins battles back and hits Sky High on Anderson before Ford gets some real serious high time on the frog splash for the win. After the match, Ford gives us his best Ultimate Warrior impression with the rope shake.

Lana is shown checking out some flowers backstage and the Street Profits cut a quick promo backstage. Before Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins come out to get mauled by Drew McIntyre. Drew does a quick promo about the handicap match odds (2 on 1) before the mauling.

Randy Orton is out next after the break to discuss the knee injury. He will be out for a while but will do everything he can to RKO somebody at WrestleMania. AJ Styles comes out to complain he has to wait until Maina for his match with Orton. AJ tries to goad Orton into fighting him right now before saying he’ll wait until Maina. Orton then drops AJ with an RKO to reveal his knee was perfectly fine.

The new US Champion Andrade is out next with Zelina Vega to wail on some jobber. Vega pulls the ringside mat back for Andrade to plant the guy with before Ricochet comes out wanting to fight. That match starts after the break and it is as good as it could have been. Ricochet did the back body drop bump onto the exposed concrete before battling back to lose after Andrade tagged in his tag partner Vega to help put away Ricochet. The Vega interference spot for Andrade to win is getting tired and extremely played out. After the break, Andrade cuts a quick promo with Sarah Schreiber about next week’s title match with Rey Mysterio.

Main event time with the wedding of Bobby Lashley and Lana. The minister read from a script and the planted crowd Rusev Day signs appeared on camera as a Rusev Day chant breaks out. There’s a human-sized cake in the ring, I wonder what that could mean? Poor acting and script stumbling take over until the minister finally asks if anyone objects. Some guy in a suit comes out to object as he was Lana’s first husband and she’ll leave him like she did him and Rusev. Lashley dropped the guy with a spinebuster. Minister asks again if there are any objections and a lady comes out claiming to be Lashley’s first wife. Lana slapped the lady off the apron. USA Network granted an overrun for this? Minister asks again for objections and Liv Morgan, of all people, appears claiming the love of her life is in the ring. Lashley denies it’s him and Liv said it was Lana. A catfight ensues and Liv is pulled away by referees and producers. Lana gets up and pulls her dress back down (keep it classy ladies) and, as the minister is ready to pronounce them husband and wife, Rusev finally emerges from the cake and attacks Lashley. Liv returns to toss Lana into the cake in the ring to finally end Raw.

 

The Highs:

There was solid in-ring action this week. Black/Murphy was simply awesome.

Montez Ford was getting some ridiculous hang time tonight. Two dropkicks and that frog splash was unreal.

The Lows:

Charlotte Flair hit a really bad spear on Natalya and they bungled the kickout. I’m not sure what happened there.

For supposedly being a professional actress, Lana had some really god awful acting tonight.

I don’t know what to make of the wedding. It was a WWE wedding, so we knew it was going to end badly for someone but it really took a bit too long to get to the point. The YouTube video of the wedding did huge overnight numbers. I am interested to see the direction that they take Liv in. There are two ways they could go with her and both have positive looking outcomes. Rusev and Liv saved the segment as it was starting to drag on.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Happy New Year and see you in 2020!