Money in the Bank is the unofficial, fifth largest PPV in the WWE Big 4. We’re guaranteed at least two somewhat entertaining spectacles of matches, so the insurance of having at least two decent matches is nice.
Will this underwhelm like many of the 2018 PPVs have, or will we finally get some good payoffs coupled with solid matches? Let’s find out.
Bludgeon Brothers vs Gallows & Anderson
Starts off with Gallows unleashing a flurry of strikes, then Harper gets hung up in the ropes as the action spills outside.Bludgeon brothers slowly get the advantage dropping Gallows onto the ramp and Anderson across the apron, as they roll back in the ring, and head to commercial.
Coming back from the break the Bludgeon Brothers are still in control, working Karl Anderson over. Gallows is still down on the outside and Anderson keeps trying to mount a comeback, but is immediately stopped by either member of the Bludgeons in the ring. An Irish Whip into the corner goes awry for the Bludgeons. Anderson catches Harper with a Spinebuster and finally Gallows gets to the apron for the hot tag. A few nice kicks and a Pumphandle Slam on Harper give the Good Brothers a distinct advantage for the first time all match.
Harper connects with a Big Boot as Rowen distracts them, Gallows and Anderson gofor Magic Killer, Rowen breaks it up, and they hit their assisted Powerbomb finisher. Bludgeon Brothers retain in a fairly, by the numbers and uninspired match.
Winner: Bludgeon Brothers via Tandem Powerbomb
Big Cass vs Daniel Bryan
D-Bry pushes Cass into the corner and tries to bring him down with strikes, but Cass throws him off. The beginning is very much Bryan trying to chop down the tree.But he gets caught going over the turnbuckle and thrown into the barricade.
Bryan slowly gets back in the ring, but Cass maintains most of the control. Big Boots, hip attacks, splashes in the corner. But Daniel catches him with a Drop Toehold into the middle turnbuckle and keeps trying to chop down Cass with Round Kicks and Dragon Screw Leg Whips. Since Daniel has the control, he’s showing more aggression and repeatedly throws Cass’ injured left leg into the ring post. Bryan sells out for a big dive, driving Cass into the barricade, but on the way back in, Cass starts to put some offense together.
Avalanche Fall Away Slam from Cass for a 2 count. Cass follows up with a Torture Rack, into a big slam for another near fall. Then Cass misses a Big Boot, getting hung up in the ropes. Chop Block from Daniel, and then he goes for his Yes Kicks. Bryan lands the Buzzsaw Kick, goes for a running kick, but gets caught with a Pop-Up Big Boot, for yet another 2 count. Torture Rack number two from Cass, but Bryan lands on his feet, hits that signature Running Knee and gets caught in the Heel Hook. Cass tries to get to the ropes, but taps.
Meh, this match was what you expected it to be. Nothing special, but not totally awful.
Winner: Daniel Bryan via Heel Hook
Rating: ** 1/4
Sami Zayn vs Bobby Lashley
Zayn plays keep away for a while, Lashley chases him but Sami takes a few short cuts to get the early advantage on the outside.
Sami attempted to get a count out victory twice, but Bobby isn’t even close to being beat enough. Sami keeps laying in right hands, until Lashley catches the fist and hits a big Running Lariat. Zayn goes for a Crossbody, but Lashley catches him into a Fallaway Slam. Then we get multiple spots in the corner with Lashley hitting some running shoulder blocks and lariats. Huge Spinebuster off the ropes, into the Stalling Vertical Suplex, but Bobby doesn’t go for a cover.
Lashley goes for a Backbreaker variation, another Vertical Suplex, still no cover. Finally after doing it again, Backbreaker into Suplex, he picks up the pinfall victory.
This match was worthless.
Winner: Bobby Lashley via Stalling Vertical Suplex
Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs Elias
Starts off slow with Rollins hitting a Hammerlock Takedown, and they do the whole slow ‘working hold’ way to build the match. Elias gets out of it and lands a few strikes, Rollins eventually catches him with a Dropkick, causing Elias to powder out, but Seth goes for the Plancha to the outside.
Heading back into the ring, Rollins hits a Springboard Lariat and keeps working Elias over, little by little. Elias catches Rollins with a big Lariat on the apron, then rams his head into the apron and works over the neck. Snap DDT, and a 2 count for Elias. Elias sinks in a Cobra Clutch, slowly wearing down Rollins, and cleverly staying on the neck area. A little more back and forth once Seth breaks out, then hits a Suicide Dive. Second rope Blockbuster from Rollins for the near fall. Rollins’ knee buckles mid leap frog, and Elias hits a kneestrike for only 2. Electric Chair attempt from Elias, as Seth slips out but sells the knee, as Elias rolls him up for 2 again.
Seth hits a combination of strikes, slowly building momentum, Elias tries to counter it, but Seth manages to hit his Thrust Kick as Elias is recovering from a rollup .Frog Splash attempt from Seth, but only hits Elias’ knees and then a counter cradle into a 2 count. Elias goes to the top rope, most likely for his Macho Man Elbow, but Seth cuts him off. Superplex into Falcon Arrow from Seth for a very close 2 count.
Blackout attempt, Elias moves, catches Rollins’ Suicide Dive attempt, rams him into the barricade, post and stairs. Finally hitting the Macho Man Elbow, for a near fall. Seth is basically dead weight, laying him on the top turnbuckle, but Rollins goes for Sunset Power Bomb, Elias goes for Drift Away, an exchange of rollups, Rollins gets the cradle with a handful of tights.
So Elias pushed Rollins to the point of cheating. Should be an interesting story device.
Winner: Seth Rollins via Cradle
Rating: *** 3/4
Women’s Money in the Bank Match
Hoo-Hoo-Hulla-Baloo! People get dumped left and right, Becky kicks a ladder into Charlotte’s face, but gets caught by Ember Moon before the ladder gets in the ring. Ember than rams Natty into the steps.
Sasha stops a Drop Toehold into the ladder, but Ember hits a nice Springboard Crossbody, sending Sasha crashing into the ladder. Ember keeps a lot of early momentum until Lana hits an X Factor on Ember, into the corner of the ladder. Natty comes in, nearly gets the ladder dropped on her, takes out Lana, drops Naomi on the ladder, split first and dropkicks her out of the ring. Charlotte comes in, hits an Exploder Suplex on Natalya and goes for the ladder, but Becky shows up to stop her.
Tug of War with the ladder, Naomi jumps off the ladder onto Natty, then kicks the ladder into both Becky and Charlotte. Bliss tries to pull the ladder out, but Naomi hits a Plancha to get rid of Bliss, and then a Blockbuster from the apron to the floor, as the action pauses.
Naomi dropkicks the ladder into Becky Lynch, as Ember and her then square off. Naomi goes to try and Monkey Flip Ember into the ladder, but Ember flips out, and then Hip Tosses Naomi into the ladder. Sasha enters, stacks Ember and Lana on top of a ladder propped in the corner and hits double knees, on the stacked up opponents. Charlotte cuts off Sasha before she can climb the ladder. After a brief trash talk spot, they both try to run up the same side of the ladder, goofy spot, which turns into them knocking each other off, then Charlotte hits a Neckbreaker on Sasha for the advantage.
Sasha counters a Razor’s Edge by landing on the ladder, Natty pulls off Charlotte, Becky shakes Sasha down as she falls into Natty, Bliss pulls down Becky, Banks pulls off Bliss, as they then both slowly climb. Becky takes Alexa off, and the strikes on the ladder start. Lana sets up a taller ladder as Bliss keeps attacking Lynch. Six women on two ladders, let’s see how this ends. Natty Slingshot Powerbomb on Sasha into the ladder and knock the ladder over. Charlotte Powerbombs Ember into a Ladder leaning in the corner. Charlotte takes out Lana, and then goes after Bliss, but Bliss hits a Code Red on Charlotte.
Bliss and Lana are the only two up right now. Bliss is the best wrestler standing at the moment, go figure. Lana kicks the taste out of Alexa’s mouth and then locks in the Accolade. Naomi springboards onto the ladder, Naomi has the briefcase, but can’t take it down, as Becky Lynch takes Naomi down.
Becky has a shot, but Charlotte sprints up the ladder. Small stare down, and then Bliss topples the ladder. Charlotte takes out Alexa with a spear, Sasha hits a Backstabber on Charlotte, Naomi rams Sasha’s head into the ladder, Lana pulls Naomi off face first. Natty Electric Chair Drops Lana, Ember Superkicks Natty off, Charlotte Spears Ember into the ladder. Becky Becks-sploders Charlotte and readjusts the ladder.
Becky had it, but Alexa tips the ladder and Becky goes crashing. Little Miss Bliss, is Ms. Money in the Bank. The match was a little clunky, but still quite entertaining.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Rating: *** 3/4
Roman Reigns vs Jinder Mahal
Roman blocks Mahal’s first punch and starts man handling Jinder. A Back Elbow, bouncing his face off each turnbuckle and a big Samoan Drop. Roman misses the Driveby and Sunil Singh gets up out of his wheelchair to slam Roman into the post. Jinder takes control and rolls Roman back into the ring. Knees and forearms, Jinder gets a 2 count. The obnoxious crowd chants started immediately, and they aren’t taking away from the match, just continuing to prove ‘smart’ crowds, as mostly brain dead.
A few more near falls, and then we get Jinder dropping repeated knees and choking Roman with his shin. Front Facelock, as Roman slowly struggles through it, back to his feet, just to get dropped back down. Jinder yells at the crowd and then misses a knee drop. Roman gets his feet up and starts his comeback. Huge Uppercut from Roman, as he goes for his corner lariat spot while the crowd does the Wave. Jinder catches Roman with a Running Knee Lift, for 2.
Jinder goes for the Khallas, Roman counters and tries a Samoan Drop, Jinder slips out but gets caught by a Big Boot for another near fall. Superman Punch, countered by Jinder into his Double Knees Gutbuster, for 2. Khallas number two, snapmare counter from Roman as he hits a desperation Superman Punch. OOOHH AHHH, Spear attempt, and Jinder kicks him straight in the face and throws him into the ring post shoulder first.
Roman on the apron, as they both start throwing hands. Roman catches him with a knee to the chest, then a Guillotine Leg Drop, into a successful Driveby. Sunil Singh tries to interfere again, but Roman braces himself and then Superman Punches Sunil and Jinder. Instead of playing Fling the Singh like Randy Orton does, he Speared Sunil, Jinder almost picks up the win with the Small Package. Reigns ducks under a Lariat and hits a Spear, for the pinfall.
Not a bad match at all, if you mute the audio.
Winner: Roman Reigns via Spear
Rating: *** 1/4
SmackDown women’s Championship: Carmella (c) vs Asuka
Moonwalking and trash talking, as she barely avoids two Spinning Backfists from Asuka, and goes to the ropes for sanctuary. Carmella slaps Asuka, more trash talk and Asuka hits multiple Hip Attacks followed by Draping Headkicks and a Hip Attack that sends Carmella reeling.
Sliding Kick from the apron as Carmella tries to run away with the title. Asuka tries to stay on her, but Carmella grabs Asuka’s arm and pulls her face first into the ring post. Rolls her in for a 2 count, and then rubs her face in the mat. Carmella lays on Asuka with a Double Chicken Wing variation, as Asuka turns it into a pin, Backfist attempt, Carmella dodges, hits two quick Thrust Kicks for a near fall. Then Carmella goes back to a submission attempt, some Front Chancery kind of move, to wear down the Empress. Asuka fights back up to a vertical base, but Mella drives the knee into Asuka stomach.
Asuka misses a dropkick, catches Carmella’s foot and goes for a quick Kneebar, but Mella gets to the ropes. A few slaps from Carmella, pisses off Asuka and she lays in a bunch of strikes, kicks and hip attacks for 2. The anger gets the best of Asuka as Carmella baits her towards the ropes and Asuka flies to the outside. As she tries to get back up, Carmella kicks her and she lands hard on the outside. Mella with the Suicide Dive, rolls Asuka back in for 3 2 counts in a row.
Asuka finally hits a couple Spinning Backfists, a big kick in the face and then someone stands on the apron in Asuka’s mask and outfit. James Ellsworth unmasks himself, and Carmella hits a Superkick for the pinfall.
The surprised, Ellsworth reveal/interference last too long, but it was a fun swerve and a better match in general that most probably expected.
Winner: Carmella via Superkick
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Styles takes an early advantage, landing a nice crisp Dropkick for the first attempted 10 count. Nakamura stays on the receiving end of a lot of offense, including a very quick Phenomenal Forearm to the outside. Nakamura has already been down 4 times, triggering the referee to start a count.
Finally, Shinsuke drives Styles into the barricade and snaps off a suplex for his first advantage. Nakamura drapes Styles across the apron and hits a Running Knee and then jumps off the stairs as he lands a Curbstomp style maneuver before rolling AJ back into the ring. Nakamura big brother’s Styles a bit, kicking him in the head, followed by numerous Round Kicks to the chest and abdomen. Keeping Styles in the corner, he chokes him with his foot, than finally goes for the Vibration Kick, but Styles fights through. Nakamura lands a Feint Kick when AJ starts getting something going, but gets up by 5. Shinsuke drapes AJ across the turnbuckle, and Nakamura drives his knee into the mid section. AJ tries to walk away from Shinsuke, as they trade punches and then Nakamura wedges Styles’ face into the steps and gives him the Vibration Kick.
Going from that spot, Nakamura throws AJ into over the barricade and they start brawling in the crowd. AJ finally gets in a few kicks of his own, sends Nakamura back over the barricade. AJ jumps on the barricade, and Shinsuke kicks the legs out from under him, but AJ is back up by 7.
Styles continues to be on the receiving end of the small insulting taps to the head. Reverse Powerslam attempt, countered by an Enzuigiri. Dropkick mid air from AJ, sending both men down, to get up by 7. Phenomenal Blitz catches Nakamura, and then Styles does that Wheelbarrow Faceplant move for a count of 6. Shinsuke goes for the low blow, Styles dodged, Shinsuke caught his foot and then lands the Reverse Powerslam. Knishasa attempt number one, gets met by a forearm from Styles. Both men down, but Nakamura is up by 7, Styles lands an Ushigoroshi. Count gets up to 8, as Styles goes for another Phenomenal Forearm, but an Enzuigiri sends AJ falling to the outside.
We may see our first announce table spot. Nakamura cleans on off, drops Styles onto it and then clears the top off of all of them. Runs across all announce tables and lands the Kinshasa. Styles rolls off the table at 9, so Nakamura drives his face into the ring post. Shinsuke goes to get out a table before the crowd chants for it, for a change. Shinsuke kicks Styles in the knee and Styles goes face first into the table legs before it’s correctly set up. Table is set up, AJ is propped on the top turnbuckle, Styles slips through and tries to Powerbomb him, Nakamura fights out, table gets knocked over and Shinsuke drops AJ on the edge of the table.
He then leans the table in the corner, and throws AJ styles through it. Table breaks clean and Styles lays there, but manages to get up by 9 to Nakamura’s astonishment. Knee lift, Axe Kick, but Nakamura misses the Draping Knee and his knee goes into the exposed turnbuckle.
Styles works on Shinsuke’s injured knee, and they both slowly get back up. Styles keeps stomping on Nakamura’s knee, but eventually stops so the ref can count. Shinsuke gets up by 6, and goes for the Calf Crusher. Nakamura visibly taps out,but that doesn’t matter in this type of match.
Shinsuke gets back at 8, as AJ keeps methodically kicking at the left leg. So the tables turned, as Shinsuke was the methodical predator early, but now AJ is just trying to cripple Nakamura. Even going to get a chair and ramming it into the knee,then multiple Chairshots. The pleading of Nakamura goes unanswered, but it was all bait for a perfectly placed Low Blow, Styles is up by 9. Shinsuke with a desperation Kinsasha on a damaged knee, but back up at 9 again. Styles refuses to stay down.
Nakamura goes for Landslide on the table, Styles pushes him off and hits a Phenomenal Forearm, followed by a Styles Clash from the stairs to the floor, Nakamura is up at 9. “Come on” from Nakamura, and Styles just kicks him in the balls. Goes back into the ring, and lands a Phenomenal Forearm through the table.
Match had a few hiccups, but told a good story, had callbacks from the entire feud,both men looked very resilient. Styles wanted it, just a little bit more.
Winner: AJ Styles via Phenomenal Forearm
Rating: **** 1/2
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax (c) vs Ronda Rousey
Jax immediately drives Ronda into the corner, and then tosses her from corner to corner. Ronda tries to fight back with strikes, but a big headbutt from Jax, slows down Ronda’s offense. Corner Splash, into a Samoan Drop attempt but Rousey counters with a Kimura, into a Triangle Armbar as Nia tries to power out of it. One Armed Sitout Powerbomb breaks the Triangle Armbar. Ronda tries to get up, but falls through the ropes to the outside. Jax throws her into the barricade, rolls her back in, but Ronda kicks out at 2. Rousey tries to fight back, but Jax ignores a few strikes and lands a Gorilla Press, for 2.
Given a couple seconds, Ronda goes for a desperation Guillotine, then a Sunset Flip, but Jax just ragdolls Ronda into the mat. Bear Hug from Nia, slowly seems to be wearing out Ronda. A few forearm shots break the hold, but a Samoan Drop from off the ropes leads to a near fall.
Nia goes for the Leg Drop, and misses big. Nia misses a move into the corner, and then Ronda sinks in the Armbar over the rope, Ronda breaks by 5. Ronda tries to figure out what to do, so she goes to the top rope for a Crossbody and a 2 count. Combination punches, big knee strike into a Judo Throw for 2. Ronda tries the Armbar, but Nia rolls her up for 2. Rousey hits another big side slam, and slowly pries Nia’s arms apart, but Bliss hits her with the briefcase.
Alexa takes out both women, but seems more focused on beating down Ronda, instead of cashing in on Nia.
Winner: Ronda Rousey via DQ
Rating: ** 3/4
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax (c) vs Alexa Bliss
Money in the Bank cash in, Bliss DDT and goes after the injured arm. Hits Twisted Bliss, for the pinfall.
Winner: Alexa Bliss via Twisted Bliss
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Kofi is revealed as the New Day member, but everyone tries to gang up on Braun. He powers through, they all go to the outside, and then each man starts beating him with ladders and burying him. Miz tries to take advantage of the distraction to sneak the briefcase, but Joe stops him. Joe and Miz play tug of war, Miz loses, Joe gets a Trouble in Paradise from Kofi, as we see Owens and Balor enter and start mixing it up.
Owens hits Balor with a ladder and then leans it in between the ropes. Owens goes to drive Balor into the ladder, Balor counters, they go to the outside, but Owens keeps the advantage and Superkicks Balor onto the announce table. Kevin looks to climb outside, but Rusev goes for the briefcase and distracts Owens. Rusev sends Owens into the ladder via Fall Away Slam. Samoa Joe comes in and takes out Rusev, but Kofi takes out Joe for the time being, and tries to set up the ladder. Miz stops Kofi, Kofi dispatches him and then Stage Dives onto the others. The group catches him, but Balor comes over the top with a Tope con Hilo and then goes to the pile of ladders on Strowman. Now is the time when Braun starts working through people.
Flying Forearm from Joe, Superkick from Owens, Machka Kick from Rusev and Braun falls down momentarily. Rusev stays on Braun, as Owens tries to set up a big spot with putting Braun through a table. Braun fights back, but Joe has him in the Coquina Clutch, Owens Superkicks Braun, and then goes to the big ladder as Rusev
and Joe hold down Braun.
Strowman fight out and Owens is trapped on the ladder. Braun catches him and then tosses him through the table from the top of the ladder. Strowman then makes his way through Joe and Rusev. Trips while taking out Kofi. Braun goes through a ladder that Balor and Roode had, Miz pees his pants and gets tossed out.
Joe uses another ladder to slow down Braun, so now Joe gets a shot to climb the ladder as Balor Shotgun Dropkicks Braun over the barricade. Samoa Joe dispatches of Finn and Bobby Roode, but Rusev gets Joe out of the ring. Rusev then runs over Roode and Kofi, and does a stacked Accolade on Kofi and Bobby Roode. Miz tries to sneak a Skull Crushing Finale, but it gets turned into a three person Accolade. Samoa Joe appears with a Coquina Clutch to stop the Accolade. Miz stops Joe from climbing, but Kofi stops him as he has his hands on the briefcase. Bobby Roode puts an end to Miz and Kofi playing at the top of the ladder. Balor with a Slingbalde on Roode. Balor sends Kofi and Miz to the outside, as he and Roode keep fighting inside.
Balor climbs a ladder from the outside, and hits the Coup de Grace from the outside in, on Bobby Roode. But Braun is back to ruin Finn’s day. Miz keeps trying to sneak up the ladder, but Braun keeps eating everyone. Kofi jumps on Strowman’s back as he climbs up, so Balor, Kofi and Braun fight at the top. Braun knocks down Balor, flips Kofi off of his back and grabs the briefcase. Like many Strowman matches, it was a lot of, everyone gangs up on him, but he still wins anyway. Nothing super surprising, but the match was okay. More just a bunch of spots instead of any real storytelling though.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Rating: *** 1/4
Fairly solid wrestling from most of the matches. Ronda again proved she’s a natural in her match, as well as, AJ versus Shinsuke finally putting toether a match at the
level people expected. A surprising cash in, sending the fans home happy with the men’s ladder match, at least the perception ends up being a happy one.
Since people will bring it up, Takeover wasn’t hands down better than Money in the Bank, I feel like they were about even. An average Takeover and an average main roster event that ended with a fan favorite going over, will make it hard tocompletely hate on the show.
All in all, good weekend from WWE.
Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report & Results! (12/17/18)
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?”
- 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?
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
The Chairshot Match Of The Year Final Match Pool
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.
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?