By Diesel @Diesel_vftr
This week I would like to wish everybody a happy holidays. I hope whatever holiday you celebrate was fun and filled with family and friends. Now let’s get down to the business of recapping Monday Night Raw from last week. Long story short it was a dull show, that desperately needed Roman Reigns and only had 3 things of note. First thing, last week Raw GM Kurt Angle made an announcement that at the Royal Rumble there’ll be a Triple Threat Match for the Universal Championship, with the competitors being Brock Lesner, Braun Stroman and Kane. Next, Dean Ambrose suffered an arm injury and will miss significant time. Last, Stephanie McMahon announced that this year there will be a Women’s Royal Rumble Match. There are many questions for this edition of Monday Night Raw and we demand answers. Questions such as, what will John Cena’s role be on his return to Raw for the first time in months? Will there be an Intercontinental Title defense by Roman Reigns. How will the addition of the Women’s Royal Rumble Match affect the landscape of the Women’s Division? Who is the next team to challenge the Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championship? Will Santa make an appearance on this week’s show? By now you should know the drill. However for first time readers, if keep reading ahead you will find the answers to the questions you’re dying to have answered. So with that, enjoy the final Raw Review of 2017.
Raw begins live on Christmas day in Chicago, IL. John Cena makes his return to open Raw. Before he begins his promo John Cena literally gives his shirt and hat to a kid in the crowd. After the generosity of Cena the fans chat Merry Christmas. Cena talks about how happy he is to be on Raw on Christmas, when you hear the strum of a guitar. Elias walks down to meet Cena in the ring. Elias says he’s been interrupted for weeks, so he decided to interrupt Cena. Which makes the crowd interrupt with a thunderous CM Punk chant. Elias says he’s performing no matter what the crowd chants. The lights drop and the spotlight hits Elias for his Christmas performance. While trashing the city of Chicago Cena interrupts Elias and sticks up for the city. Cena says Elias is a jerk and Elias agreed. He wanted a second chance to sing his song but a nicer version. While singing Elias ask Cena to sing a long only to sucker punch Cena. Elias says he doesn’t play for Cena and challenges him to a match.
John Cena vs Elias
Immediately Elias picks the bones of an already injured Cena. Elias is physical and tosses Cena all over the ring. Cena buys some time with a desperation clothesline. Cena just can’t seem to do anything to gain the control. To this point of the match Elias has completely dominated this match. Elias is hitting all the big moves in his repertoire but can’t put Cena away. This match is too one sided and there’s no crowd reaction. A this is boring chant breaks out and this reviewer couldn’t agree more. After a counter Cena his the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the AA for the win.
Winner John Cena
The promo started off good with the crowd behind Cena. Even when Elias came out the crowd was rowdy with their CM Punk chants. I liked that, it was nice the crowd was behind Cena as the face and Elias as the heel. I was excited for this match based on Elias’ match a couple weeks back with Roman Reigns. However the match was a total disappointment and a waste of 20 minutes. Elias literally beat the bloody hell out of Cena and had half a dozen near falls. One AA in a spot that didn’t make sense and Cena wins. This Turned into B.S. and I didn’t like it.
Backstage Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan both as Kurt Angle for a match with Samoa Joe again. Kurt tells them he has different plans and Rollins and Jordan will team up to take on the Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championship later on. Roman Reigns then walks up and Angle informs him that he is defending his I.C. Belt against Samoa Joe later in the show.
Hideo Itami vs Brian Kendrick
Kendrick starts the match in control of Itami. Once Itami takes control he delivers strike after strike. Itami hits the Go To Sleep for the victory.
Winner Hideo Itami
This was a short match and the outcome was for the best. My only question is was Brian Kendrick the person who needed to job to Itami? Maybe this leads to a Gallagher turn on Kendrick in the future because he’s only talk and can’t back it up.
Absolution vs Sasha Banks and Bayley and Mickie James
Mandy Rose of Absolution is stuck in her opponents corner and early and takes a beating. Sonya Deville gets the tag and her fate starts out the same as her partner. Deville catches Sasha with a wicked clothesline on the outside. After the clothesline the momentum changes into Absolution’s favor. Paige hits Bayley with a Rampage and Absolution wins.
This match was a rematch from last week because it ended in a double DQ. I didn’t want to see this match again and it never did anything to make me interested.
Samoa Joe is interviewed backstage saying he has no remorse for hurting Dean Ambrose. He also tells Roman Reigns that later tonight Joe will put him to sleep and become the new I.C. Champion.
Kane vs Heath Slater
Kane dominate bell to bell in a short squash match. Kane wins with a chokeslam. After the match Rhyno checks on slater when Kane comes back to the ring. Rhyno would put up a fight but ended up chokeslammed too.
This match was fine only because Heath Slater was on my TV again. I didn’t care for the match but am interested to see where the Slater and Rhyno story goes from here.
Curt Hawkins vs Finn Balor
Pre match Hawkins says it’s time for his 0-144 losing streak is ending tonight. Hawkins made an open challenge and Balor answered. Balor is very festive in his red trunks and is still very over. Balor disposes of Hawkins pretty quick and wins with the Coup De Gras.
Winner Finn Balor
Is Finn being punished? Why are they using him in this way? I just don’t understand, it was only a couple months ago Balor won an epic match against AJ Styles. This has been my biggest gripe for weeks and it’s getting really annoying.
Bray Wyatt cuts another onscreen promo. His message is that Matt Hardy’s Woken Army is no match for his Fireflies. Bray comes down to the ring. When Bray blows out the flame of his lantern, Matt Hardy was waiting in the darkness. Hardy chases Bray away and just laughs is his weird way.
Miracle on 34th Street Fight
Let’s be honest here this a Cruiserweight 6-man tag Street Fight with tags. I’m sorry but I have to play the role of the Grinch here, I hate these gimmick holiday matches. They mean nothing and rarely progress the story. This is the part of my review where I beg to make Raw 2 hours again. All of these filler matches water down the product and I tune out. So I will report the winner but that is all this match deserves.
Winners Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Akiria Tazowa
Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe for the I.C. Championship
Reigns comes flying out of the blocks. Joe quickly takes over and stuns Roman with some strong shots. Roman doesn’t take long before he regains the momentum. This is the first match tonight that is back and forth and it’s a welcome change. Joe is in control coming from the break. Still back and forth and Roman takes control with Superman Punch. Joe comes back and locks in the clutch. After a long time in the hold Roman gets the rope break. Joe begins to target Roman’s left elbow. Roman fights back and kicks Joe in the corner until the ref DQ’s him
Winner Samoa Joe
This match had a lot of back and forth which I personally liked. I understand the DQ finish because this feud is far from over. I think this match was just a little taste of what’s to come in the future. If that’s the case I’m excited.
Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel vs Braun Stroman
Stroman treats both men like rag dolls and wins this match easily
Winner Braun Stroman
This was a squash and that’s all that needs to said.
Alexa Bliss cuts an in ring promo and says she’s the reason for the Women’s Royal Rumble. Asuka interrupts Alexa and makes her way down to the ring. Asuka announces she’s entering the Rumble and she will win. Asuka then kicks Alexa and drops her.
The Bar vs Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan for the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Bar starts off hot beating up Jordan. After a blind tag by Rollins we go to the break with Rollins cleaning house. Back from the break and Sheamus is in control of Rollins. Rollins is taking a beating and the Bar take out Jordan too. Rollins goes to make a tag and Jordan is nowhere to be found. Finally Jordan gets back on the apron and Rollins makes the tag. Jordan flies around the ring and takes both men out. The Bar using better team work takes over again. The Bar both fight Rollins on the outside. Cesaro goes back in the ring and Jordan hits Neck Breaker and picks up the win and we have new Tag Champs.
Winner Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan
This episode of Raw has just been a series of interruptions. It’s also the same story as last week, with the Rumble still over a month a way, the storylines are moving at a snail’s pace. The wrestling on the show has been below average in my opinion. Besides the Tag Titles changing hands there was nothing of note in this show. With putting all of this in perspective I can deliver my final grade.
Final Grade C
If you have any comments or you just want to chat about Raw. Or any wrestling at all, you can find me on Twitter @Diesel_vftr. You can listen to my podcast View From the Top Rope on Itunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Podknife. In association with @kayfabeToday