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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (1/9/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad VS Becky Lynch w/ Charlotte Flair & Naomi; Becky wins.
  • The Ascension VS The Bludgeon Brothers; Bludgeon Brothers win.
  • WWE United States Championship Tournament: Zack Ryder VS Mojo Rawley; Rawley wins and advances to face Bobby Roode in the semifinals.
  • Breezango VS Rusev Day; Breezango wins.
  • 3-on-2 Handicap Match: AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn; Styles, Orton & Nakamura win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Last week’s SmackDown had a crowded main event.

Kevin Owens, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were all ringside while Sami Zayn had a match with AJ Styles. The tension was high the entire time, and it ended up favoring Sami Zayn! Both he and Kevin have a win over AJ Styles now, and Styles furiously said “Why don’t you just make it a handicap match!” Daniel Bryan took that comment seriously, and has made the Royal Rumble world championship match exactly that: a Handicap Match! What is the SmackDown General Manager planning with this 2-on-1 match for the title?

 

Renee Young conducts an in-ring interview!

Her guest: the Phenomenal One himself!

AJ Styles heads to the ring and sits down with Renee. She brings up the “controversial” decision for Styles to defend his title against both Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. Does Styles think that is fair? Styles says that “every time I step foot in this ring, I take pride in what I do it in.” Styles admits he is human and makes mistakes, and would not have said what he said, had he known Bryan was going to use them against him. He knows he is in a Handicap Match and is likely to lose his title, but he is also likely to beat the crap out of Sami & Kevin at the same time! Styles will hit them so hard and fast, they won’t know what hit them. Of course, Kevin & Sami are professionals, they can tag in and out to stay fresh against him. Then, what is Styles’ actual answer? Is this fair or not? Birmingham chants for Styles, and Styles answers this is not fair, but neither is life. Sami & Kevin have non-title victories, but that doesn’t mean they should have title matches together. One and then the other, sure, Styles will do that. But it is not fair of SmackDown to put him in a Handicap match. Is Bryan playing favorites? Fans believe “YES! YES!” Styles just doesn’t understand what Bryan is thinking. What about Shane playing favorites? Styles isn’t going to get political and point fingers. He already has to worry about Kevin & Sami, so “truth of the matter is”, he can’t allow “those two idiots” to take the title from him. Styles vows to win, and then thank the High Heavens when he does, because he made it clear that SmackDown is– Kevin & Sami appear!

“Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the WWE Champion, AJ Styles, ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles.” Or perhaps Sami & Kevin should call him the “Regretful AJ Styles.” Or, the “Remorseful AJ Styles.” Better yet, “The AJ Styles who put his foot in his mouth.” Yep. Kevin says it will take a miracle for Styles to beat them 2-on-1. And Heaven doesn’t give out miracles to people like Styles. He has no chance of walking out with the title. Yep! At the Royal Rumble, at the end of the night, Kevin & Sami will be the first-ever WWE CO-Champions. YEP! Sami & Kevin will take “The House that AJ Styles Built” into the Kevin & Sami Show! YEP! They will do what they want! “YEP! YEP!”

Birmingham counters with “NO! NO!” until Shane McMahon appears!

Shane agrees with Styles, this can’t be fair. And he is puzzled why Bryan made the match in the first place, and is baffled as to why the “YEP Clowns” another opportunity to become champions. “But be that as it may,” Shane will back the decision that it happens at the Royal Rumble, for now. As for the subject of handicap matches, how about having one tonight? Birmingham likes the sound of that! Kevin & Sami will take on… Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton and AJ Styles! The Best Friends are going to get a taste of what they’ll put Styles through, can they survive the Phenomenal One, The King of Strong Style and the Viper?

Shane encounters Daniel Bryan backstage.

The GM hears the Commissioner is “puzzled.” One hell of a main event tonight, though. They shake hands, and leave it at that.

The tension is growing stronger every day, when will things finally break apart?

 

Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad VS Becky Lynch w/ Charlotte Flair & Naomi!

The leader of the Squad steps up to the first woman they went after upon their arrival. Can the Lass Kicker get revenge this close to the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble? It might help that she has the Queen of Flair and Lady Glow ringside to keep eyes on Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan at ringside.

The bell rings and the two tie up right away. Becky throws Ruby by her arm, then by a waistlock. She brings Ruby up into a waistlock but Ruby gets to ropes for the break. The ref counts, Becky backs off by 4 but yanks Ruby right out to the center of the ring. Becky runs but Sarah swipes at her, that distraction doesn’t work, she elbows Ruby back then throws her out. She dares the entire Squad to try something while we go picture in picture.

The Riott Squad helps Ruby refocus while Becky dares her to return. The referee counts, Becky forces the issue by jumping from the apron to clothesline Ruby down! Becky gives out high-fives then puts Ruby in the ring. Ruby goes to elbow her but misses, then her kick is countered into a dragon screw. Ruby gets up and Becky throws her with arm-drag after arm-drag, then knocks her down with a forearm smash. Cover, TWO, but Becky keeps focus. She drags Ruby up while Charlotte and Naomi watch. Becky tries for an armbar but Ruby powers her to a corner. Ruby runs in again but misses, yet blocks Becky’s jump kick to hang Becky up on the ropes. Becky takes mudhole stomps from Ruby. Ruby walks off her frustration then kicks Becky while she’s down. Ruby drags Becky into a snapmare and loops one arm around, and puts on a seated Abdominal Stretch. The Squad likes what they see, Ruby drives in fists as she stretches Becky’s ribs. Becky endures, fans rally, and the Lass Kicker gets up to give back those body shots. She whips Ruby, Ruby goes up and over, Deadly Nightshade! Ruby then rams Becky into the post, then stretches Becky back against the ropes to give more body shots. Ruby then puts Becky in a rear bearhug to work on those ribs even more. Fans rally while we go single picture again.

Becky feeds off the energy from the fans as she works against the squeeze. Ruby rolls her over for a cover, TWO, Becky throws elbows. Ruby returns those elbows while keeping up the squeeze. ANother roll, TWO, and Becky pops out of the bodyscissors. Ruby quickly wraps those back on, using her arms for leverage. Becky fights back while fans rally again, Becky makes it a cover and TWO! Becky is free again, and back elbows Ruby away. Ruby runs in but mises, jump kick! Becky unloads body shots, Ruby throws her down by her hair. Cover, TWO, the Squad is a bit frsutrated. Ruby rams knees into Becky’s ribs, the Squad likes that better. Ruby stands Becky up for another Abdominal Stretch, but fans rally again. Becky pries her way out, and hip-tosses Ruby! Ruby gets up, Becky small package surprises, TWO! Becky throws fiery forearms, and an uppercut! Another uppercut, then a back kick, Becky gives Ruby a single-leg suplex! The Lass Kicker isn’t done there, she gives Ruby the Becksploder! Ruby dodges the boot to kick those ribs, and kick them again while Becky’s down. She brings Becky up, but the arm-wrench is countered into the Disarm-Her!

The Squad is kept from interfering, Ruby taps! Becky wins! Can this momentum carry her all the way to the end of the Women’s Royal Rumble?

 

The Ascension VS The Bludgeon Brothers!

Konnor & Viktor have been trying to help their “friends”, The Fashion Police, close the Case of 2B but it hasn’t been going too well. So in return, Breezango got their “friends” a match against said 2B, Harper & Rowan!

The bell rings, The Ascension rush the Bludgeon Brothers! For the first time, someone takes the fight to them! Harper shoves Viktor away to boot him straight down, then SUPERKICK to Konnor. Tag to Rowan, the Bludgeon Brothers go after Viktor. Rowan is whipped corner to corner to squash Viktor from behind, then the Full Nelson lift into the Sit-out powerbomb!

The Bludgeon Brothers win fast! They let Konnor check on Viktor, only to pounce and give him the Bludgeon Bomb! Strong, fast and merciless, can anyone hope to stop Harper & Rowan from pummeling the entire SmackDown Tag Team Division?

 

Bobby Roode comes to ringside.

The GLORIOUS One wants to join commentary for the WWE United States Championship Tournament!

He has already made it to the semifinals after defeating The Lone Wolf, now he awaits the winner of the final opening round match.

WWE United States Championship Tournament: Zack Ryder VS Mojo Rawley!

They were once the Hype Bros, but their losses and frustration broke them apart. #MojoRising won their match at the Clash of Champions Kickoff Show, can Long Island Iced Z tie things up with a chance at gold on the line?

The bell rings, they tie up, Mojo powers Ryder to a corner. Ryder rockets out with a dropkick, cover, ONE and Mojo bails out of the ring. He gets back in and carriers Ryder to the corner to then ram in shoulders. Ryder gets knees up then hps up, but Mojo throws him off! Mojo throws forearms down on Ryder then covers, TWO. He keeps on Ryder with a jaw clamp to then ram Ryder back into buckles again and again before throwing him down. Mojo stalks Ryder, then wrenches the neck. “Where’s your killer instinct, Zack?!” Ryder stands up and fights back but Mojo grounds him with a knee to the stomach. Mojo toys with Ryder, dragging him up and going for a suplex, which Ryder counters with a neckbreaker! Fans cheer on Ryder, Mojo runs in but into a back elbow. Ryder gives a forearm, Mojo shoves him away, Ryder responds with a kick. Mojo ends up in a corner, Ryder gives him a forearm smash. Ryder knocks MOjo down, goes to the adjacent corner and “WOO WOO WOO!” But Mojo bails out before the boot comes in. Ryder still gets Mojo with a wrecking ball boot anyway! Mojo goes down, Ryder goes out to put him back in the ring. Cover, TWO! Ryder won’t let up, he chops MOjo to a corner. Ryder climbs up but Mojo carries him for an Atomic Drop, then rams Ryder right into the post.

Mojo drags Ryder out, Hype Arm to the back of the head. Three point stance, BIG Hype Arm! Mojo wins again, and moves on in the tournament!

Roode steps into the ring with Mojo now, and the two stare down. Mojo grins, as does Roode. Is Roode ready to #GetHype with the rising Rawley?

 

Jinder Mahal speaks.

The Modern Day Maharaja says he defined the year 2017 as “YOUR WWE Champion.” No one thought it was possible nor did they think he was deserving, but he did. And now he sets his eyes on the United States Championship. Mahal hopes Xavier Woods knows how to play Taps on a trombone, because his championship dreams are already over. He declares The New Day is a fad, but the Maharaja is forever! Will Mahal make it to the finals of the tournament at the Royal Rumble?

 

Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable head to the ring.

They challenged The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships last week, but lost track of which twin was legal. For this reason, Gable & Benjamin are not tag team champions tonight. “Do any of you know what it takes to be a winner?” Hours of training, neglecting family and friends, does anyone in Alabama know what that takes? Anyone? Anyone? “To hold a championship high and show the world that it’s possible, if you’re willing to make the sacrifice?” Benjamin won’t let the state of Alabama get a big head just because Alabama University did. All these people did was sit on a couch and stuff their faces. On the other hand, Benjamin’s college of Georgia was robbed because of bad referees! The same goes for Benjamin & Gable last week. They beat the Usos in the ring, and set the tag titles free from the Uso Penitentiary. They were so excited, celebrating up the ring–fans chant “ROLL TIDE!”–and then another referee appears. That referee was not part of their match, so why did he show up? To overturn their victory and give the titles back to the Usos, then restart the match. But why? Jealousy! That ref was jealous, because he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a winner. That man was a thief who stole their dream! A rat snitch committed a crime, so Gable & Benjamin demand justice! #FreetheTagTitles! Gable & Benjamin didn’t lose to the Usos, they lost to instant replay. They demand that referee come out here and set things right! Instead, SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan appears!

Birmingham greets him with cheers and chants. Bryan tells Benjamin & Gable that while he understands the feeling of thinking you’ve won after working so hard only for it to be taken away, he doesn’t care for them going after management. Management? No no, they’re after the officials. Well, officials represent management, and there aer some “cold hard rules” that everyone needs to understand: Referee decisions are final. Exactly! One referee declared them the winners and new champions! Yes, but you didn’t. You pinned the wrong Uso, the other referee had to correct him, and the first realized his mistake. Oh really? Boohoo. What is this, Doctor Phil!? Benjamin thinks Gable should look Bryan in the eye and tell him how he feels. Bryan is just taking things out on them because of Shane. No, how do you feel? Gable feels he already beat the Usos. And that they’re already the tag team champions! No, how do you feel? That he’s done everything he has to do! Do they have to win twice in one night?! That’s a great idea! At the Royal Rumble, it will be The Usos VS Gable & Benjamin for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, Best 2 out of 3 Falls! Bryan gives Gable & Benjamin what they want, mostly, can they capitalize on it?

 

Randy Orton meets AJ Styles backstage.

Are they talking strategy or is The Viper just going to RKO Kevin & Sami into regret? Works for Orton. But, Orton wants Styles to trust him that they’re on the same side tonight. But also trust that after Orton wins the Royal Rumble, he’ll come after whoever has the title at Wrestlemania. Shinsuke Nakamura appears to say “Not so fast.” The King of Strong Style gives a Too Sweet to the title belt.

“Good talk.” Can these three really get along later tonight?

 

Breezango VS Rusev Day!

Aiden English sings an announcement. He and the Bulgarian Brute are officially entering the “Rusev Rumble match~”, and will win on RUSEV DAY~! Maybe they will, but can they defeat the Fashion Police tonight?

The bell rings, the Drama King starts against the Lord of Dance. English puts on a headlock, Fandango powers out but English runs him over with a shoulder. he keeps moving while fans chant “Rusev Day!” but Fandango gives him a hip toss. Fandango hangs English up on the ropes, tags in Breeze, and the two double kick English out. Rusev regroups with his partner while we go picture in picture.

English is frustrated but Rusev calms him down before they return to the ring. Fans want him to tag in, English fires up and tags Rusev! Rusev kicks Breeze and stomps him down. He looms over Prince Pretty before bringing him up, Breeze revives to hit an enziguri! Rusev puts Breeze on the apron, Breeze fights him and English off, but Rusev still blasts him tot he announce table. Fandango checks on his partner while Rusev Day gloats. Tag to English, English bumps Breeze off the apron before putting him back in the ring. Cover, TWO, so English drives a knee into Breeze’s back before dropping one on his front. Cover, TWO, English puts on a chinlock. We return to single picture while fans duel.

Breeze gets to his feet, fights back against English, but English mule kicks out a leg. English climbs up to the top, takes aim and… No, Breeze dodges the swanton. English runs over, Breeze puts him on the apron, but English slingshots back over and rolls. He goes for a lariat, misses, hot tag to Fandango! Fandango chops away on English, then whips him corner to corner for the big back body drop! Fandango keeps chopping, then throws hands, another whip but English kicks him away. Rusev tags in, English takes the dropkick but Rusev rallies on Fandango. Two big roundhouse kicks and Rusev fires up. He runs in and squashes Fandango with a shoulder, running spinning heel kick runs Fandanog over! The fans chant “Rusev Day!” as Rusev fires up.

He throws Breeze out, Fandango runs but is caught, Breeze dropkicks for the cover, TWO! Roundhouse rocks Breeze, Fandango rolls up, Fashion Police win! Breezango foils Rusev Day for today, what will happen to the Rusev Rumble?

 

Daniel Bryan is visited by Shane McMahon.

Bryan speaks the praises of the SmackDown Tag Team Division, as well as all of SmackDown, including Shane. Shane thanks him, but wants to be honest. They’re not on the same page. Bryan is becoming rather irrational. Think of the two PPV matches he’s made already. A Handicap Match for the WWE Championship, with two guys who shouldn’t be anywhere close to the title! Then, they’re going to be Co-Champions? The SmackDown Tag Team Championships in a 2 out of 3 falls match? Is Bryan doing alright? What does Shane mean? Bryan’s just coming off as a little unstable. Same back to Shane, given his gene pool. Shane himself has made rash decisions, it’s just who he is. Then they will agree to disagree.

 

3-on-2 Handicap Match: AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn!

The WWE Champion will have two opponents at the Royal Rumble, but tonight he gets to give the Prizefighter & Guardian Angel three opponents. Can the Phenomenal One work well with The Viper & The Rockstar to make Sami & Kevin regret starting the #YEPMovement?

The bell rings, Kevin goes right at Orton but Orton punches him to a corner. Orton gives him more right hands then whips him corner to corner, but Kevin counters with a boot. Kevin swings but misses, and just narrowly avoids an RKO! Kevin goes out of the ring to vent his frustration but then runs across Nakamura. Nakamura doesn’t do anything, Orton attacks Kevin from behind. Orton bumps Kevin off barriers a couple times, then puts him back in the ring. Kevin is right on Orton with stomps and punches. Sami tags in, then mugs Orton in the corner. Sami whips Orton, Orton counters by throwing Sami by his head. Orton stomps away on Sami, then drags him up to tag Nakamura. Nakamura drives knees into Sami’s ribs, then drops a knee. Sami ducks one kick but takes the other, then Nakamura adds on kicks to Sami’s chest. Sami blocks one but takes the enziguri, and then Good Vibrations in a corner. Nakamura keeps on Sami, then tags in Styles. Styles suplexes Sami but Sami blocks and powers him to the corner. Kevin tags in and unloads, but Styles slips out of the scoop. Kevin trips Styles in the waistlock, but then Styles reaches up to headscissors Kevin. Styles unleashes the Phenomal Blitz right into the sliding forearm! Styles kip-up then puts Kevin in position, but Sami saves him from the Clash. The best friends regroup and decide to walk. The referee counts, but Shane McMahon comes out to tell everyone this isn’t happening this way. Now this match is a No Count Out Handicap Match! And as such, Styles leads the charge to knock down Kevin & Sami! They brawl on the outside while we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and Sami has control of Styles in a chinlock. Fans rally for Styles, he gets to his feet but Sami grounds him again. Styles still tries, reaching for his corner while fighting back, but Sami drags him away with a headlock takeover. Tag to Kevin, Kevin gives body shots and elbows to Styles. Kevin rains rights while he trash talks, saying “It’s OUR show! It’s OUR title!”

He reels Styles into a lariat, covers, TWO, back to the chinlock. Fans continue to rally for Styles, Styles gets up again. He gives body shots but Kevin clubs him down. Kevin runs, into the Ushigoroshi! The fans are really fired up while Styles and Keivn crawl, hot tags to Orton and Sami! The VIper rallies on the Underdog, spinning powerslam! Sami crawls to the apron but Orton drags him out through the ropes, for the draping DDT!

Orton hears the voices in his head as he stalks Sami. Kevin returns, with a chair! Disqualification ends the match but Kevin is just getting started. He jabs each opponent with the chair, and then he and Sami start to leave. However, Shane returns again. He doesn’t approve of this finish, either, it’s now ANYTHING GOES!

As such, Styles uses the steel chair on Sami & Kevin! SMACK to Kevin’s back!

Styles pursues Kevin to the side of the stage, and around the back. They’re out of the match for now, Sami finds himself alone with The Rockstar & The Viper… They go into the ring, then out, then to the timekeeper’s area but Sami gets caught! Orton & Sami drag him back in and throw him into a post. They even coordinate to use the steel steps! Orton takes aim at Sami, BONG on his head! They’re not done yet, they both throw Sami over the announce desk! Orton clears it off and drags Sami back up, for a back suplex right onto the table! Sami writhes in pain but the torture is far from over. Orton feeds Sami to Nakamura’s KINSHASA! The fans are rabid, Orton drags Sami up, for an RKO!! The cover, Orton, Styles & Nakamura win! Things didn’t go their way when they didn’t have numbers, can Kevin & Sami turn the tide at the Royal Rumble?

 

My Thoughts:

Just like Raw last night, this was a great episode of SmackDown tonight. The Women’s Division still seems a bit copy-and-paste with how the Riott Squad loses a match just like Absolution did. I feel it would’ve benefited the division as a whole if there was separation between the two emerging factions, but I also understand Becky’s solo return should’ve been with a win. Maybe it should’ve been Sarah Logan or Liv Morgan who lost tonight, instead, so that their leader and therefore their stable looks weaker than Absolution. Bludgeon Brothers win again but it feels like there’s nothing to come from this. Unless, we get a triple threat tag where the “friends” really do have to unite to defeat Harper & Rowan and then become actual friends. That could explain why Breezango won over the red-hot Rusev Day. I honestly didn’t think Mojo was going to sweep Ryder 2-0 but that’s fine, it’ll give reason for a real good match between Mojo and Roode to solidify Mojo’s place in the upper mid-card.

I do enjoy the parallel of defending the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at the Royal Rumble, and in a vacuum, Best 2 outta 3 does follow the story of Usos VS Benjamin & Gable. However, I am wary of how the decision is being framed as Bryan growing unstable. Now, I do think it was good of Bryan to make it as if he’s showing Shane how Shane has been, but it still feels like WWE wants to make Bryan out to be the biased Heel management figure despite how fans still love love LOVE him. Styles is being rather reasonable about being caught up in this, but it works since he is still Face. Orton and Nakamura take advantage of being dragged back into this by reminding Styles that the Rumble match is still happening. Nakamura winning the Rumble can still make him a legitimate threat to the world title, it’s kinda the whole point of the Rumble match in my opinion. Shane of course adds onto his side of the unbiased management story with the constant restarts and changes to rules, and the benefactors are the Faces to keep them all strong this close to the PPV.

My Score: 8/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report & Results! (12/17/18)

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WWE Raw Cover image

It’s the Raw after TLC, and The Chairman makes a return! What will Vince Kennedy McMahon have in store to “shake things up again?”

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle; changed to…
  • 4v1 Handicap Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; changed to…
  • 4v1 Handicap No Disqualifications Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; Angle, Crews, Roode & Gable win, and Baron Corbin is NOT Raw GM.
  • Finn Balor VS Dolph Ziggler; Finn wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: Dean Ambrose VS Tyler Breeze; Ambrose wins and retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Fatal 4 Way: The Authors of Pain VS The Revival VS The B-Team VS Lucha House Party; The Revival wins and will face Roode & Gable for the Raw Tag Team Championships.
  • Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Ronda Rousey VS ???; changed to…
  • 8 Woman Gauntlet Match: Natalya wins and is the #1 contender to Ronda Rousey’s Raw Women’s Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

Mr. McMahon is here!

The Chairman, Vincent Kenny McMahon, is on the Raw after TLC! And he knows we want to know what’s going on with Raw. Tonight, we find out. Raw has been on the air for over 25 years, an extraordinary feat. And that’s because the show changes with the time. “Despite one man’s brilliance, despite one man’s creativity, despite one man’s vision,” Vince can’t do this alone. Vince can do it without the fans, though. Fans boo, but then Stephanie McMahon appears! The Commissioner, and daughter of Vince, heads to the ring and gives her father a big hug. Fans boo but Vince asks they be nice. And then, Triple H appears! The Game, the COO, joins wife and father-in-law in the ring, and even gives Vince a hug.

Fans are excited to see these three in the ring, but there’s more! Shane McMahon is here! The SmackDown Commissioner joins father, sister and brother-in-law in the ring, and now we have all the power players of WWE at the same time! Stephanie says they’re all out here because they’ve all realized, “we haven’t been doing a good job lately.” They’ve all realized that there’s need for a change, and this will be a fresh start. These four will be “taking back Monday Night Raw”, and even SmackDown. These four know they are the ones ensuring the best possible experience for their fans and empowering their superstars. They will finally give fans what they want. “Something new, something fresh.” There will be new faces, new matches, and now the fans are the Authority! WWE will always be #ThenNowandForever.

But wait, here comes Baron Corbin! The Constable lost his job at TLC when he lost his TLC Match to Braun Strowman, but he seems to think he has another chance. “No one is more excited for a fresh start than me.” Fans rain down the boos and jeers, to which Stephanie makes sure Corbin understands. Corbin knows they’re all upset, but he’s so very excited to have the entire McMahon family in charge of Raw. However, those promises were amazing, but there’s something they didn’t mention. “Fair”. Last night’s TLC Match was not fair, so let’s talk this out. What will Corbin have to say? Find out after the break!

Raw returns and Corbin joins the McMahons and HHH. Fans still boo as he defends the Sacramento crowd does not reflect the WWE Universe as a whole. HHH tells the fans if they keep booing, Corbin can’t finish speaking. Corbin needs to explain himself. HHH asks the fans please stop for a moment. Stephanie wants fans to speak up, Vince is harder of hearing. But the fans eventually calm down, but Corbin riles them up again. Shane actually encourages the booing. Corbin ties to defend that he does his best. Vince tells Corbin he can be louder with his microphone. Fans chant “You Suck!” but Corbin does not take the blame. He says superstars aren’t living up to the challenge. Strowman was not supposed to be at TLC, Corbin was not prepared, and Corbin was not prepared for being outnumbered. If fans think that is fair– They do!

HHH tells Corbin that “as predictable as you are”, Corbin is here to say it’s a “travesty of justice” and hopes they all reconsider Corbin as GM. Is that it? Yes! And Corbin is thankful they’re all here to sort this out. Corbin would’ve won if not for Finn Balor, Kurt Angle and the rest. Are they letting that travesty stand? Or will they overturn the decision? Fans boo but Corbin says “Think of what we can accomplish with you guys backing me.” The McMahon Family huddles up, and then it comes down to a vote. Shane and HHH go with “No”, Stephanie says “No Chance in Hell.” Vince thinks of a way. They huddle up again and perhaps Corbin does deserve a chance. Fans don’t agree, but Corbin is willing to take that chance. Then Corbin will get that chance.

If Corbin wins a match tonight, right now, he’ll be permanent Raw GM! Just beat this man. KURT ANGLE! The previous Raw GM and Olympic Gold Medalist returns to action himself, and gets a chance to shut Corbin up once and for all! Will Corbin fail to make good on this second chance? Or will he find a way to revive his tyranny?

Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle!

Stephanie “remembers” the special guest referee for this match. It’s Heath Slater! The One Ref Band gets to be part of this payback! Slater rings the bell and we begin!

Corbin swings but Angle counter punches! Angle bumps Corbin off buckles to then stomp and punch away! Slater lets Angle continue and whip Corbin corner to corner. Corbin reverses but misses, Angle throws him with a German Suplex! Corbin bails out of the ring while we go to break.

Raw returns and Corbin has Angle down. Corbin eggs Angle on while fans rally up. But then HHH returns to say he “forgot” something else. This is a Handicap Match.

4v1 Handicap Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!

The rising star AND the Raw Tag Team Champions appear to reinforce Angle! Corbin finds himself flanked by the people he wronged, and now they’re getting further payback! Roode, Gable & Apollo rain down hands and stomps, then feed Corbin to Angle. Angle drags Corbin up for another German Suplex! And another! And the hat trick! Angle tags in Gable, and Gable drags Corbin up for his own German Suplex! Gable tags Roode, and the tag champs coordinate to double whip. Roode whips Gable to whip Roode in for a clothesline! Tag to Apollo for a big enziguri! Corbin bails out again but he can’t get away from Apollo and the champs! They drag him back to ringside, tossing him over barriers!

Gable puts Corbin in and Angle returns. The four of them surround Corbin, but look to Slater. Slater literally looks the other way as they stomp Corbin out! But now Shane O’Mac appears, and says he was so pumped to be in Sacramento, he “forgot” this is No Disqualifications!

4v1 Handicap No Disqualifications Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!

Now the foursome don’t have to worry about Slater’s disapproval. In fact, Slater gets in on the action! Slater stomps Corbin while the others get chairs! Angle, Gable, Roode & Apollo repeat last night’s humiliation with new chair shots! They jab, they SMACK, repeat! Fans love seeing Corbin getting what he deserves! But “We Want Tables!” Gable climbs while Roode brings Corbin up, GLORIOUS Combination! Apollo climbs for the frog splash! They bring Corbin up and feed him to Angle’s Olympic Slam! Cover, Angle’s team wins!

Winner: Team Angle, Kurt Angle pinning; Corbin is NOT Raw GM

Finally, the dictatorship of Constable Corbin ends! The Lone Wolf really was all alone against his “disgruntled employees”, and now he is out of power! Who will take his place in this new Raw?

But the punishment isn’t over! Apollo, Gable & Roode set a table up in the ring, and everyone but Corbin is grinning. They haul Corbin up again, for an Olympic Slam through the table!! Now the celebration begins!

 

John Cena wins the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

The Face that Runs the Place is honored to receive this award, but he wouldn’t win this award without being a friend and philanthropist to so many.

 

Finn Balor VS Dolph Ziggler!

The Extraordinary Man helped The Show-Off to stick it to the Scottish Psychopath. And Ziggler would return the favor, mostly to stick it to Drew McIntyre. However, neither man is thankful for the other’s help, and look to show what they can do on their own. Who will gain some major momentum as we approach the New Year?

The bell rings and the two circle. Fans are already fired up as they tie up. Finn and Ziggler go around and Ziggler puts Finn on the ropes. Ziggler backs off but gives a shove. They tie up again and Ziggler gets a headlock. Finn goes to power out but Ziggler holds on. Ziggler grinds and gets the takedown. Finn moves around to make it a cover, TWO! Ziggler keeps on Finn with the headlock, but fans rally. Finn gets up and powers out now, then things speed up. Finn arm-drags Ziggler around and into an armlock. Ziggler quickly headscissors but Finn quickly pops out, and fans cheer this close match-up. Finn kicks low, snapmares and kicks Ziggler, then brings him up again. Finn whips and dropkicks Ziggler down! Ziggler bails out while fans cheer Finn. Finn soaks it in as we go to break.

Raw returns and Ziggler whips Finn. Finn reverses but Ziggler sunset flips. Finn rolls through to dropkick! Both men are down as Finn clutches his leg. Finn gets up and to a corner, and boots Ziggler on the way in. Ziggler keeps after Finn but Finn counter punches and chops him! Finn whips but Ziggler reverses, only for Finn to run him over with forearms! Finn fires up and gets a takedown to a double stomp! Fans fire up as Finn aims at Ziggler. Finn runs out but the Slingblade is rolled up! TWO, and Ziggler uppercuts Finn. Ziggler taunts Finn, but misses the Famouser, to get the elbow drop DDT! Cover, TWO! Finn keeps moving as he aims at Ziggler again. Finn runs at Ziggler, and hits the Slingblade! He takes aim again, but the shotgun dropkick goes into the Satellite DDT! Cover, TWO!

Both men are down but fans rally up. Ziggler sits up but Finn gets to a corner. Ziggler runs but the ZigZag is denied. Finn goes to the apron and swing kicks Ziggler down! Finn climbs but Ziggler trips him up! Ziggler throws Finn into the post! ZIGZAG!! Cover, TWO!! Ziggler is shocked and sore, but he gets up in a corner. He takes aim, but here comes McIntyre! Ziggler kicks McIntyre, then leaps out! McIntyre catches Ziggler but they still brawl it out! McIntyre shoves Ziggler but Finn FLIES! Ziggler clobbers Finn! Ziggler puts Finn in, FAMOUSER! Cover, TWO!! Finn lives and the match continues! Fans rally for Finn while he and Ziggler stir. Ziggler stands first, tunes it up, but gets another Slingblade! Finn aims again, but McIntyre attacks!

Winner: Finn Balor, by disqualification

The Scottish Terminator targets both thorns in his side as he throws Finn out and gives Ziggler the Glasgow Kiss headbutt! McIntyre rains rights down on Ziggler, then yanks him right up for a Claymore! McIntyre aims at Finn, Claymore! Fans boo and jeer McIntyre as he seethes all the way to the stage. Will McIntyre eliminate Ziggler and Finn on the road to the Royal Rumble?

 

Dean Ambrose heads to the ring!

The Lunatic has his siren and his gas-mask wearing henchmen accompany him and his newly won WWE Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose picks up a mic while fans boo and jeer. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Fans should show more respect! But they boo. “You disgusting little people” should be bowing to Ambrose, because he made his prediction come true. Rollins spun out of control, dropped the ball in the fourth quarter and choked. Rollins failed himself and failed the fans. Ambrose doesn’t need respect, because he has the belt. And it wasn’t too long ago that Rollins had two belts, now he has none. But Ambrose is just getting started. When Ambrose is done, Rollins will truly have nothing!

Ambrose promises to take Rollins’ career, take Rollins reputation and drag it through the mud! But there’s another option. “The Moral Compass” has an obligation. Rollins can come out here and be a man of character and integrity to admit Ambrose was right! Rollins, tell everyone that Ambrose was right! Fans boo while Ambrose waits. They chant “Burn It Down!” but Rollins doesn’t appear. Ambrose waits but has a new idea. “How about an open challenge?” But not for the title, Rollins doesn’t deserve it. But maybe Rollins wants to take out his anger. Ambrose dares Rollins to appear, but he doesn’t. This proves Rollins is no hero, he’s “a selfish little whiner who always has to get his way.” Rollins lost and is too ashamed to show his face.

So Ambrose moves on to a third idea: Ambrose will stay a page from the playbook and actually give an Open Challenge for the title, to anyone not named Seth Rollins. And out comes… Tyler Breeze!

WWE Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: Dean Ambrose VS Tyler Breeze!

Prince Pretty wants his shot and this is his chance! Can Breeze make that Intercontinental Championship gorgeous? Or will Ambrose make an example out of him?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Ambrose goes after Breeze but Breeze is ready! Breeze throws hands, whips but Ambrose reverses. Breeze hits big forearms then stomps away in a corner! He backs off at 4 and dropkicks Ambrose! Breeze clotheslines Ambrose out! Prince Pretty is fired up while we go to break!

Raw returns and Ambrose stomps Breeze out. Ambrose laces up the legs and puts Breeze in a modified Queen Angelito stretch. Breeze endures and crawls for ropes. Ambrose grabs that arm to stomp it! Breeze crawls but Ambrose is on him with a whip. Ambrose elbows Breeze down, covers, TWO! Ambrose keeps on Breeze with a chinlock. Fans rally up as Breeze endures. Breeze fights his way up but Ambrose wrangles him down hard! Ambrose keeps Breeze grounded, but fans rally for Breeze. Breeze gets up but Ambrose knees low. Ambrose clubs and scoops Breeze, but Breeze slips out to enziguri! Ambrose is dazed, and Breeze gets up to huricanrana! To a cover, TWO! Breeze enziguris from a corner, then sends Ambrose into post! Cover, TWO!

Breeze hits the Beauty Shot heel kick! But Ambrose gets up again so Breeze climbs up. Breeze leaps, big crossbody! Cover, TWO! SUPER MODEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Ambrose survives Breeze’s best, but he is dazed. Breeze gets up and stalks Ambrose. Breeze brings him around but the Unprettier is denied. Dirty Deeds! Cover, Ambrose wins!

Winner: Dean Ambrose, by pinfall; still WWE Intercontinental Champion

The Lunatic says that is the performance of a champion with character! Rollins didn’t show because Rollins– “BURN IT DOWN!” But where is Rollins?! He’s one of the gas-mask men!! Rollins SUPERKICKS Ambrose down! And then throws fast hands from all sides! The other henchmen hurry in but Rollins fights them off. Ambrose runs away with the belt while Rollins tosses the henchmen away, and SUPERKICKS another! Rollins tells Ambrose to bring the fight, but Ambrose continues his retreat. Will Ambrose back up his words and be brave enough to face The Kingslayer?

 

Backstage interview with Shane McMahon.

The McMahons promise a fresh start, but what does that mean? Fresh faces and new opportunities! There will be tough decisions to make, but here comes Drake Maverick. These two finally meet, and Maverick introduces the “rightful” Raw Tag Team Champions, Akam & Rezar. Maverick says those titles were stolen from them. But now that the McMahon Family is here, they’ll make this right. Authors of Pain get their title rematches tonight. Now, now, hold on. The mandatory rematch clause Maverick is citing is “antiquated”, Corbin handed AoP those titles in the first place. Let’s create an opportunity. But they’re the former champions! Shane suggests AoP take on The B-Team, The Revival and… Lucha House Party! Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender’s match! Shane wishes them luck, but the AoP are just upset. Will they make the best of this huge opportunity?

 

WWE takes a look at the new faces coming to the main roster!

Monsters, Beasts, Vipers, Giants. None of them compare to the Leviathan! Lars Sullivan is a dominate Freak and promises to destroy the roster.

The Lady of NXT, the Model Soldier, Lacey Evans is armed with a Woman’s Right to hit hard and class it up.

#SteaksAndWeights fuel Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic in tag team wrestling! They have a “damn good time” in the ring, and they’re COMIIIIN’!

The Loony Lass loves to play! SAnitY’s Twisted Sister finally joins her chaotic crew, who wants to play?

The Top One Percent prepares for #VictoryAfterVictory on the main roster! Will he find brand new success as he jumps from #NX3 to TV?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: The Almighty Bobby Lashley.”

Lashley and Lio Rush are in the ring, parodying Elias’ usual greeting and performance. These two will give the fans something they’ve never seen before. It turns out Elias isn’t the only gifted guitarist. The greatest music Elias ever heard was a guitar smashing into his back at the hands of Bobby Lashley! And be honest, no one here wants to hear another of Elias’ boring songs. They’re all here to witness a “true work of art.” And that is exactly what Lashley will give you. But before that, please silence phones, hold applause, and shut your mouths!

Lashley gets up with the mangled guitar, and starts posing. The double biceps, the side chest. Comparing Lashley to Elias is like comparing the Golden State Warriors to the Sacramento Kings. But of course, there’s always the “favorite pose”, the double glutes! Lio and Lashley laugh it up, but “Ladies and gentlemen, Elias.” The Drifter SMACKS Lashley with a guitar! Lashley gets back up but Elias gets away. There won’t be an encore tonight, but when will these two create another smash hit together?

 

Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Fatal 4 Way: The Authors of Pain VS The Revival VS The B-Team VS Lucha House Party!

Drake Maverick knows Akam & Rezar feel robbed over the feud they had with Roode & Gable, but considering they got those titles through unfair means to begin with, they have no automatic right to a rematch. Can they rip their way through Dash & Dawson, Axel & Dallas, and the luchadores of 205 Live? Or will one of those other teams step up to the GLORIOUS challenge instead?

The teams sort out and we start with Curt Axel and Lince Dorado. They circle but Axel stays back when Lince handsprings. “Lucha! Lucha!” starts, as do the matracas. But “B-Team! B-Team! GO GO GO!” counters. The chants duel but Axel swings into a dropkick! Lince tags Kalisto and they combine for an alley-oop dropkick! Scott Dawson tags in and now The Revival revive their feud with LHP. Dawson slaps Kalisto, Kalisto fires off forearms! They brawl, and Dawson rocks Kalisto with a right. Dawson wrenches the arm and kicks Kalisto to the ropes. Dawson chops Kalisto on the ropes, but keeps his distance from AoP. He bumps Kalisto off buckles and gives European Uppercuts. Dawson mocks the lucha chant, then suplexes Kalisto. He drops an elbow, then tags Dash Wilder.

The Revival go after Kalisto together but they get a double DDT! Kalisto tags Lince, and hist the elevated splash! Lince hits the planking splash, covers, TWO! Dash scrambles and Akam tags in. Lince goes after Akam but Akam shoves him away. Lince dropkicks but Akam tags Rezar, for a pop-up and tackle into a corner! AoP mug Lince while we go to break.

Raw returns as Dash has Lince in a Gory Special! Lince endures as fans chant, but Dash reaches back to go after the mask. Dash mocks the lucha chant, but Lince pops out to arm-drag Dash! Axel tags in, Dash gets an enziguri! Axel goes after Lince but Lince handsprings to the Golden Rewind! Both Lince and Axel are down and fans rally up. Chants duel while Axel crawls. Hot tags to Bo Dallas and Kalisto! Kalisto springboards and crossbodies! Kalisto kicks and whips, Bo reverses but Kalisto springboards for a corkscrew crossbody! Fans fire up with the Lucha Dragon as he tackles Bo in a corner. Axel returns but gets the tornado DDT! Kalisto kicks Bo then whips, but Bo reverses. Dawson tags in and goes after Kalisto to throw him out. Dawson slaps Bo but Bo fires off hands!

Bo boots and clotheslines Dawson, then brings him up for the draping neckbreaker! Cover, but Dash breaks it up! Dash takes his time leaving, but Kalisto comes in to tilt-o-whirl DDT Dash down! Axel swings but gets a kick! Kalisto dodges Rezar, Bo and Dawson clothesline him out! But then Akam grabs them both, only to get haymakers. Akam shoves them back but is sent out. Lucha House Party are LAUNCHED onto both AoP! Bo and Dawson are alone, Dawson rolls Bo up but Bo rolls him back! Cover, TWO! Small package, TWO! Dawson scoops but gets another cradle, TWO! Bo shoves Dawson but Dash tags in. SHATTER MACHINE! Cover, The Revival win!!

Winners: The Revival, Dash Wilder pinning; new Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders

#SayYeah! Now that Dash & Dawson got a fair shake, they can get another shot at those tag titles! Will they be #ReadyWillingAndGLORIOUS against Roode & Gable?

 

Backstage interview with Seth Rollins!

The Architect got back at Ambrose just a bit earlier, but he still feels rough from last night’s “disaster.” Personally, professionally, it was all wrong. He let Ambrose get in his head and take that title, and Rollins heard the crowd. Rollins takes the blame for all of that, and vows to move forward. This isn’t about his in-ring performance or titles, this is his life! “This is everything that I’ve dedicated everything to!” It’s going off the rails, but Rollins will right the ship by ending Ambrose.

But Baron Corbin comes over, and tells Rollins that everyone thought he was doing great until Rollins had to speak up. Rollins goaded Corbin into a match, Rollins is why Strowman won, and Rollins is why the McMahons are back in charge. Ambrose was right. And Corbin would take Rollins title, if Ambrose hadn’t already done that. Rollins hits Corbin! The Lone Wolf gets further comeuppance, but when will the Lunatic get his?

 

Ronda Rousey is here!

And the Baddest Woman on the Planet is still Raw Women’s Champion after a physical match with Nia Jax! Ronda denied the #FaceBreaker her victory, but she didn’t stop there. She got her payback on The Queen, Charlotte Flair, and The Man, Becky Lynch, by throwing them off their ladder in the SmackDown Women’s Championship TLC Match! The Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka, has the throne now, but what does that mean for both shows now?

Ronda smiles as fans duel. She says “I told Nia Jax she could kiss that right hand she’s so proud of good-bye. I told Charlotte Flair I was going to write the next chapter of our story. And I told Becky Lynch I am the last woman on Earth she should provoke.” Ronda didn’t come out here to justify her actions, but to define what a real champion is. “A real champion is so much more than just a title someone puts in front of your name or an object you can hold”. It’s so much more than the winner of a match. A real champion represents the limit of human potential, physically, mentally and morally. A real champion is the best the human race has to offer, and steps up to the challenge. That is why Ronda is here tonight!

Fans still duel as Ronda suggests a new tradition. Every Raw after a PPV, the champion shows up no matter what to defend their title! Ronda wants a fight, this is her open challenge, so who wants a shot!?

Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Ronda Rousey VS ???

There’s a traffic jam at gorilla position! So many women want their shot at Ronda, the production team can’t figure out what song to play! Stephanie McMahon leads them out in front of the fans, microphone in hand. Stephanie lets Ronda know that everyone wants their shot. And they’re deserving, but there won’t be any favorites anymore. These women will all earn their shot, in a Gauntlet Match! And that’s right now! And we start with Alicia Fox, against Bayley!

8 Woman Gauntlet Match!

Who will be the last woman left to challenge Ronda for her title?!

Bayley circles with Alicia and tie up. Bayley rolls Alicia, ONE. Alicia backs off to circle with Bayley again. They tie up and Bayley gets an arm wrench. She brings Alicia down and then Mahistrols, TWO! Alicia scrambles to ropes for safety, and fans boo as she takes her time getting up. Alicia kicks low, still holding the ropes, then throws forearms. She throws Bayley down by her hair, covers, ONE. Alicia keeps on Bayley in a corner for buckle bumps, then stomps her in another corner. She backs off to snapmare Bayley to a cover. ONE, but Alicia wraps on a chinlock. Fans rally up and Bayley feeds off the energy. Alicia clubs Bayley but misses the scissor kick to get a saido suplex! Cover, TWO! Alicia runs away again and we go to break.

Raw returns as Alicia stomps Bayley. Alicia kicks Bayley down and around at the ropes. Bayley gets to a corner, Alicia throws forearms. Alicia taunts Bayley to whip her corner to corner. Bayley slips to the apron and shoulders in. She slides under to sunset flip, TWO! Alicia clobbers Bayley quick! Alicia chokes Bayley on the ropes but backs off at 4. She pulls on Bayley’s ponytail, then throws more forearms. Bayley kicks and kicks, then throws forearms. Alicia kicks low but fans rally for Bayley. Alicia whips Bayley hard into buckles! Cover, TWO! Alicia keeps her cool, but then she starts slapping Bayley around in the corner. Bayley pushes Alicia away then flapjacks her on the buckles! Bayley whips but Alicia reverses, but Bayley goes up and over. But Bayley’s ankle gives out, and Alicia boots her down! Cover, but Bayley reverses it, Bayley ELIMINATES Alicia!!

Dana Brooke comes out now, and hurries to capitalize. She goes after Bayley with an enziguri! Dana handsprings corner to corner for the elbow! Cover, TWO! Dana tries again, TWO! Dana rains rights down because she wants this chance. She puts Bayley in a body scissor squeeze and trash talks, but Bayley fights out. Bayley makes it a cover, TWO! Dana chop blocks the bad leg! The ref checks on Bayley, but she won’t quit. Dana bumps Bayley off buckles and stomps a mudhole. Dana whips but Bayley can’t even run on the leg. Cover, TWO! Dana keeps on Bayley with a chinlock but fans rally. Bayley endures the thrashing, and fights her way up. Dana throws her back down by her hair, then covers. TWO, Dana tries again, TWO!

Dana grows frustrated but she keeps on Bayley in a corner. She stomps in another mudhole, then backs off at 4. Dana taunts Bayley, but gets a Bayley2Belly! Cover, Bayley ELIMINATES Dana! The Huggable One continues in this Gauntlet while we go to break!

Raw returns and Bayley’s third opponent is Mickie James. Mickie has Bayley in a chinlock but Bayley fights her way up. Bayley fights back but Mickie knees low. Mickie whips Bayley to a corner, but runs into a boot! Bayley runs out but into a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Mickie is frustrated that a beat up Bayley is still going. Ronda watches backstage as Mickie toys with Bayley. Mickie drags Bayley up to choke her on the ropes. She stops at 4, but runs, only to miss and get ropes! Bayley covers, TWO! Mickie brings Bayley up and kicks, but then runs and misses, Bayley rolls her up! TWO, and Mickie flapjacks Bayley! Mickie kips up and heads up top. Bayley stands, Mickie hits the flying seated senton! Cover, TWO and Bayley sunset flips, TWO! Mickie high stacks, TWO, roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Bayley still lives!

Mickie grows frustrated, but aim to finish this. Bayley slowly stands, but denies the Mick-DDT to a saido suplex! Fans fire up with Bayley, but Mickie kicks her out of the ring. Mickie builds speed, to slide, but Bayley spins her around for a big knee! Bayley grits her teeth as she heads back up. Bayley has a bad footing on the ropes but she still elbows Mickie. She leaps for a crossbody, but can’t keep the cover! Mickie gets to a corner, Bayley runs in for a big knee! Bayley tosses Mickie out to climb back up. Bayley leaps, Macho Elbow! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Mickie survives and Bayley grows frustrated. Bayley gets up and goes after Mickie but gets body shots. Mickie steps in for a hotshot! Bayley fires herself up, but Mickie grabs hair! Bayley powers Mickie back, but Mickie elbows Bayley.

Mickie goes for the Mickanrana but is put on the apron. Mickie hits back and bumps Bayley off buckles! The Mick-DDT hits! Cover, Mickie ELIMINATES Bayley! But there’s no rest for the wicked, Ember Moon heads in! Mickie dropkicks Ember right as she slides into the ring! Mickie stomps away but backs off at 4. Ember gets up but Mickie kicks her to a corner. Mickie grinds her boot in but stops at 4. Ember gasps for air but Mickie is on her with a slap. Ember and Mickie kick each other, Mickie whips but Ember flips through the hip toss to arm-drag! Mickie runs into a leg sweep, Ember misses the dropkick! Mickie covers, TWO! Ember blocks a kick but gets a kick. Mickie runs, but she misses. Ember runs, springboard crossbody! Cover, TWO!

Mickie slides out, because she wants a time-out. But Ember doesn’t give her one. ember runs and slides out, but Mickie kicks her on the return. Mickie wants a draping DDT but Ember fights her off. Mickie slides out and wants a bomb! Ember holds on for dear life and fights Mickie off, but Mickie trips her up! Ember hits apron while we go to break.

Raw returns and Ember slams Mickie! Both women are down but stirring. Mickie throws a forearm but Ember throws one back. Ember throws more forearms, then ducks to swing. Mickie dodges but Ember dodges and mule kicks, Ember enziguris! High stack cover, TWO! Ronda still watches backstage as Mickie gets to a corner. Ember runs in but misses, and Mickie rolls her up. She uses ropes but gets caught! The referee reprimands Mickie, but Mickie still flapjacks Ember! Mickie kips up again, then heads up top. Mickie leaps, but into a code breaker!! Ember hurries up top now, for the ECLIPSE! Cover, Ember ELIMINATES Mickie! But here comes The Queen of Harts! Natalya hits the ring but Ember rolls her up, TWO!

Natty gets Ember down, but the Sharpshooter is denied. Ember ducks the discus to SUPERKICK Natty! Cover, TWO! Ember drags Natty up into a chinlock but Natty endures. Natty works her way up and fights out, but Ember kicks her back. Ember brings Natty up to trap an arm in the standing chinlock. Natty endures the modified stretch, even as Ember clubs her on the back. Natty fights out and fireman’s carry, but Ember fights out. Ember throws forearms, then whips, but Natty reverses. Natty runs into a boot, and Ember hops up. Ember brings Natty over, tornado snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Ember clubs Natty again, then heads up top. Natty stands and gets clear of the Eclipse, to discus clothesline Ember! Cover, TWO!! The War Goddess survives and the Queen of Harts is frustrated.

Natty goes for legs but Ember fights her off. Cradle, TWO! Natty rolls Ember up, Natty ELIMINATES Ember!! Natty shocks Sacramento, but The Riott Squad heads out together. Will it be a rematch of TLC to determine a #1 Contender? We’ll find out after the break.

Raw returns and Ruby has Natty in a chinlock. Natty endures and pries her way out of the chinlock, but Ruby puts on body scissors. Liv and Sarah smirk as Ruby squeezes Natty. Natty turns around to club Ruby, so Ruby slaps Natty! Ruby wraps Natty in a guillotine now, but Natty still endures. Natty powers up and powers Ruby off with a scoop slam! Fans fire up as Natty and Ruby double clothesline! Both Ruby and Natty are down but the Squad coach Ruby up. Ruby gets up first and kicks Natty in the ribs! Ruby drags Natty up to throw her down, then brings Natty up to bump her off buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Natty but stops at 3. Natty rolls her up! TWO, and Ruby clobbers Natty again. Cover, TWO!

Ruby grows frustrated, but puts Natty in a cravat. Natty endures and fights her way back up. Natty arm-drags Ruby off, but gets a knee to the chin! Ruby throws Natty down, covers, TWO! Ruby keeps her cool, and toys with Natty, but Natty slaps her! Natty gets up but Ruby rolls her, TWO! Natty boots Ruby down, then catches her breath. She scoops Ruby but Ruby sunset flips, TWO! Natty dropkicks Ruby down! Ruby and Natty are slow to get up but Natty rallies with ax handles and lariats. Natty kicks low, then fires the fans up with a snap suplex! And another! Natty slaps Ruby then whips her to a corner. Discus meets STO! Ruby positions Natty in the drop zone then climbs up. The Squad cheer on the back senton, but it misses! Roll up, Natty ELIMINATES Ruby!

But it’s Boss Time! Sasha Banks goes at Natty, and rallies the moment she hits the ring! She blocks a kick to give a knee, then turns Natty sideways in the corner. Stock Drop knees! Cover, TWO! Natty survives but The Boss keeps her focus. Sasha puts up the four and says she wants that belt, but Natty powers her to a corner! Natty rams her shoulder in but then misses. Sasha goes up, but Natty gets under to roll her up! TWO! Sasha runs, sunset flip DDT! Cover, TWO!! Natty still lives and this match continues, after one more break!

Raw returns and both women are down. A 10 count begins, and Sasha sits up at 6. She stands at 7 and Natty follows. Natty blocks the kick to trip Sasha up, then she walks all over her to dropkick! Cover, TWO! Natty fires up the fans as she brings Sasha around. She wants the Sharpshooter but is denied with a roll up, TWO! Sasha backslides, TWO! Sasha knees Natty but Natty discus clotheslines! Cover, TWO!! Natty grows frustrated, but she wants that Sharpshooter. And she gets it! Sasha endures as Natty drags her from ropes! Fans fire up and duel as Sasha crawls. Sasha reaches but Natty drags her away again! Natty sits down deep but Sasha gets a second gas, to roll Natty into buckles! Both women are down and the ref checks on them.

Fans rally up as both women are okay to continue. Natty goes for the legs but Sasha rolls through to a Half Crab! Natty endures, crawls and reaches! Sasha shifts to the Rings of Saturn, to a cover, TWO! Bank Statement crossface!! Natty endures as Sasha pulls back hard! Natty powers Sasha around, but Sasha holds on. Fireman’s carry, but Sasha slips off. Natty throws Sasha with a German Suplex! Fans rally and duel while both women stir. Sasha gets to a corner, but Natty stands up. Natty runs in, but into a boot! Sasha elbows Natty away, then hops up. She leaps, Meteora! Cover, TWO!! Natty lives and Sasha can’t believe it! Sasha and Natty slowly stand, and Sasha wants the backstabber. Natty bucks her off, but walks into a takedown!

Sasha wants the crossface but Natty arm-drags her off. Sasha runs and rolls again, but into an inverted bomb! Natty gets the legs, Sharpshooter is on! Sasha endures as she’s far away, and TAPS! Natty wins the Gauntlet!!

Winner: Natalya, by submission; will face Ronda Rousey for the title next week

The Queen of Harts just won herself the best Christmas present ever! Natty shows Sasha respect, but here comes Ronda to congratulate her friend. Natty and Ronda celebrate this accomplishment together, but now friends must become opponents. Ronda offers a handshake, and Natty accepts it. Will friends stay friends after their title match?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Well this wasn’t what I expected from a post-PPV Raw. And sadly it wasn’t worth the hype. Vince and the McMahon family promised change and finally giving fans what we want, but this first night doesn’t quite give that impression. The only change might’ve been that there were way more commercials than I can remember being on a Raw. Did WWE need to pay some bills or something? This would’ve been a better Raw just on the virtue of keeping the flow going with less ads and more action. It’s not like having more of those commercials changed how Raw actually ran, either. The opening was a talk segment to give us this supposed “change”, and Vince’s time on his own show to shine. The only reason it wasn’t a consecutive 20 minutes is because a commercial happened 5 minutes in.

Now, I did appreciate that the McMahons were the Faces in this scenario, and gave Corbin further comeuppance. It was proper karma with the running gag of “remembering” things. However, another “change” seems to be we won’t get Angle back as GM or even someone new, like a rumored WOKEN Hardy. But perhaps if that means HHH is technically in charge, there’s a sliver of hope he’ll get this thing running as it should. In fact, Finn VS Ziggler was a really great match, but I am a bit disappointed McIntyre interfered. We’ve already been told there will be a Triple Threat for this story on the Christmas Eve edition, so that sounds like a good time. And for those who don’t already know, the Christmas Eve Raw will be recorded TONIGHT and put on tape delay. I don’t know if the live audience is lucky or being tortured…

There are also these “new faces” to address. The NXT Call-Ups have been announced in advance, but honestly I hope most of them go to SmackDown. We’ll have to wait and see how the “fresh start” affects SmackDown, but I’d imagine SmackDown will still be just as good as it was before. Therefore, they’d be able to use Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery and EC3 much better than Raw. In fact, we were all worried about what Faces could face the Heel Daniel Bryan, maybe The Top One Percent can be that Face.

It seems Tyler Breeze is Mr. Open Challenge, with having gone back to NXT long enough to challenge Ricochet then returning to Raw to answer Ambrose’s Open Challenge. Rollins being in disguise as a gas-mask man was a standard twist, but still fitting of the story. If only Rollins interfered during the match to cost Ambrose the title. But perhaps that in itself proves Ambrose right: Rollins won’t go after Ambrose unless he can get the title back. Rollins VS Corbin will be the Christmas Eve match, and perhaps Ambrose attacks him back to keep pace. I wonder if their title rematch would be at Royal Rumble to keep them out of the Royal Rumble match… Perhaps that’s for the best if Rollins isn’t going to win to then challenge for the Universal Championship.

A Fatal 4 Way tag to determine contenders was good, and the match itself was alright. I’m sure many fans are happy that The Revival are finally back in the title scene, and I for one am glad the Raw Tag Division didn’t have to worry about pee jokes and lucha rule inaccuracies. Revival VS Gable & Roode should be a good one, if they’re allowed to go NXT level with HHH behind the wheel. Fans would be even more amazed if The Revival finally won. At the same time, we’re getting some Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn “returning soon” hype, I wonder if they finally aim for tag titles on top of singles. It’d make a lot of sense to me, at least, as Kevin would get his Grand Slam with the help of his best friend.

It seems the Raw Women’s Division has finally turned the corner to match up to SmackDown’s. Ronda wanted a match already, and the Gauntlet was a great surprise. I am genuinely surprised but pleased that Natalya is facing Ronda “next week” rather than Sasha Banks. There is story to be had with Ronda VS Raw’s NXT Horsewomen, but everyone was expecting Ronda VS Natty to have happened at some point, so this seems like a good a time as any. Ronda VS Natty, tired as they both might be, will still be a solid match, and I just hope that there’s no interference. At least not until the title match gets to a really hot point. The Riott Squad or the Samoan Dynasty might be expected given Raw stories, but I’m thinking it should be Charlotte and Becky for payback from TLC to move that story forward.

My Score: 7.7/10

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The Chairshot Match Of The Year Final Match Pool

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How did the last week of voting pan out for Second Chance and November? Only one way to find out. Take a look at our 12 MOTY matches and let’s see where Andrew’s 5 votes are going.






Last week was our final vote to round out the 12 matches in the Match of the Year pool.  Since we love Top 5s here, the idea will be for everyone to whittle the 12, down to their 5 favorite, and then we get our final 5 to vote on.

Let’s see what matches we have in our MOTY Pool:

  • January – NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas(c)
  • February – New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
  • March – NJPW Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
  • April – NXT Takeover NOLA NXT Championship: Andrade Almas(c) vs Aleister Black
  • May – WWE Backlash Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs The Miz
  • June – NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs Kenny Omega
  • July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
  • September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis(c)
  • October – Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte
  • November – NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship Match: Velveteen Dream vs Tommaso Ciampa (c)
  • December/Second Chance – Impact Wrestling Redemption World Championship Triple Threat: Fenix vs Austin Aries (c) vs Pentagon Jr

Now as you can see, the overall list has some decent balance. Five from New Japan and WWE, along with 2 outlier matches. So it’s not heavily tipped one way or the other.

For the rest of this article I’ll just list out my 5 picks from this list, and then we can get to everyone’s votes.

 

5. NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

This makes my Top 5 from our MOTY pool because this was just a good combination of all things wrestling. Solid wrestling, homages, callbacks, high suspense moments, big crowd reactions…just everything. Sure it might not have been a work rate master piece, but there’s more to wrestling than work rate.

 

4. NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega

This was almost a given since it already won Tokyo Sports Best Bout, which marks the fifth year in a row Okada was involved in the Best Bout, and the first time since Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa that the same pairing won back to back. Though it wasn’t the best of their four matches in my opinion, you can’t overlook the storyline ramifications.

We saw this match finish off the ascent of Kenny Omega, as well as, send Kazuchika Okada into some goofy balloon loving spiral. Love or hate the Elite, this story had a lot of attention and was told pretty damn well.

 

3. All In NWA Championship: Cody vs Nick Aldis (c)

In a similar vein to the Okada/Omega match, this had a lot of story significance. Cody challenging for all of the World Championships he could was one, him trying to be the first second generation wrestler to capture the NWA Championship was another and of course, the emotions tied with Dusty was the one most of us cared about.

As I said when I reviewed All In, this match was a love letter to his father. Yes it was a very old school southern style match. Obvious blade jobs, a goofy possible knock out for the DDP pop, Brandi putting herself in the way of a move to protect her husband, this was all love. It was a match I think most old school fans would enjoy, and unless you really need flips or work rate, this match evoked some emotion out of most watchers.

This is wrestling.

 

2. NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas (c)

An early contender that still holds up nicely. This was the first match since Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura to really just blow me away. They both turned it up, the double knees into the post looked brutal and the whole thing was a great culmination of Andrade’s character.

It was after this match, most of us were sold that he figured it out and would be huge. Now we just have to hope Vince sees it too.

 

1. G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

It’s not often we get a match where one of the competitors considers the other one God. Ibushi and Tanahashi have immense respect for each other, and they also have an undeniable chemistry. Ibushi gets a lot labels as a “flippy shit” wrestler, but he sells wonderfully and knows how to tell a story in the ring.

On top of Ibushi’s athletic prowess and overall wrestling ability, we couple that with Tanahashi’s masterful pacing and his own artistic way of building a match…this was just poetry in motion. It definitely helps this is my personal number 1 match all year, so of course I was ecstatic that it made The Chairshot MOTY pool. Beautiful match.

 

Thoughts:

If you didn’t partake much in the match votes leading up to this pool, now’s you’re chance to make your voice heard. Vote for your Top 5, and then we can have the final vote starting next week, for our second Chairshot MOTY. Our first ever vote went to, NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada (c).

Will New Japan end up winning this year also?






What are your Top 5 out of these 12? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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