Lucha Underground, Season 4, Episode 3: “Rest In Pieces”
Pentagon is STILL Lucha Underground Champion, even after facing The Monster, Matanza Cueto. Who will step up to the throne of the Collector of Bones? Meanwhile, it will be a first time ever, Three Way to the Grave Casket Match! Jeremiah Crane wants to bury both Mil Muertes and Fenix alive, for the love of Catrina!
Gifs to come courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Put Up or Shut-Up Challenge: Jack Evans VS ???; XO Lishus wins.
- Three Way to the Grave: Fenix VS Mil Muertes w/ Catrina VS Jeremiah Crane; Muertes wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Worldwide Underground meets in the locker room.
Ricky Mundo explains his trip to the Island of the Dolls. Dario Cueto told him about it, and it’s real! It’s amazing! It seems more creepier than anything to Jack Evans and PJ Black. But Ricky shrugs it off as he introduces “Rosa”. Rosa’s shy around new people. He pulls her string and she says “hola.” She’s a lot friendly than she looks.
Johnny Mundo and Taya walk in and thank the others for coming to the meeting. Rosa creeps them out as much as she does PJ and Jack. But Rosa aside, Johnny says the Reptile Tribe has declared war on the WWU. And Johnny is happy to give them a war. The WWU struck back last week, and tonight, Jack gets to give the second. Call out a snake and take them to Slam Town! Jack hates snakes… But he’s the Dragonslayer. But Dragons aren’t snakes, they’re fire-breathing monsters and honorable. Snakes are just gross. The WWU argues but Jack dismisses himself. Jake’s fear of snakes aside, has anyone seen Angelico? Johnny owes him a beating. The others leave Ricky and Rosa alone. She says not to worry, his secret is safe with her.
Put Up or Shut-Up Challenge: Jack Evans VS ???
The Dragonslayer and big mouth of the WWU puts out an open challenge like Johnny Mundo wanted, but no Reptile Tribe member answers. Jack’s fine with that, and he instead gets the flamboyantly confident new LU talent, “XO Lishus”! Fans are strongly behind XO, which is amplified by how they hate Jack. Especially after Jack snags the mic to introduce himself as “The Man, The Myth, the Legend”, Evans from the Heavens! The bell rings and we begin.
They circle, speed up and XO handsprings over to then slide under. XO hops up, rolls back and headscissors Jack. Jack runs back but XO dodges to then headscissor Jack again! XO wheelbarrows and arm-drags while doing the splits. XO runs in at Jack with a handspring SLAP! Jack doesn’t like that, but XO goes Matrix to dodge the clothesline. Jack runs over to standing moonsault XO down! XO kicks back from the floor, then gets to ropes. Jack runs over but is dumped out. XO runs, and FLIES! A powerful crossbody, and XO celebrates with twerking. XO puts Jack back in, then does a twerking standing moonsault. Jack rolls out of the way but XO handsprings back to come in. Jack trips XO into the ropes, to then rake his fingers into XO’s face!
Fans boo and jeer but Jack tells them all to shut up. Jack drags XO over and into the Rings of Saturn. XO endures while fans rally. Jack wrenches the arm, and wonders what fans are clapping for. Fans rally anyway, and Jack whips XO corner to corner. Jack runs in with his own handspring, to eye rake! He backs off at 4, but fans boo and jeer. Jack grinds his boot into XO, then brings XO up over for muay thai knees. Fans cheer XO on and XO revesres the whip. Jack cartwheels and arm-wrings XO into a modified triangle! XO endures, and Jack shouts for him to “put up or shut up”. Fans rally again, and XO stomps on Jack. Jack shoves XO away, then runs in at XO in the corner.
XO hops up to boot and roll off the back. XO dropkicks then back elbows, then adds a jawbreaker! He then uses Jack as a step stool for a leg drop! Cover, TWO, and XO’s inexperience shows with forgetting to hook legs. Fans rally for the young star, and he whips Jack corner to corner. Jack goes up and over to then wheel kick XO down! Jack hits a standing corkscrew moonsault, cover, TWO! XO now shows his heart! Jack grows annoyed, but he doesn’t lose his confidence. He climbs up, but XO handsprings to headscissor Jack down! XO climbs now, and hits a splitting leg drop! Cover, TWO! XO grows a bit flustered, another sign of inexperience. Fans rally for him though as he climbs back up. Jack intercepts with a boot! Jack climbs up, but XO fights back, SUPER facebuster! Cover, XO wins!
Winner: XO Lishus, by pinfall
XO may be new, but he put up and shut up Jack! Given some time, will this fabulous new star find his way to the top of the Temple?
Pentagon Dark is here!
The Lucha Underground Champion reviews that in Aztec Warfare, against 19 other great luchadors who all wanted his title, all failed to take it. Cueto’s Monster even tried, but he failed! And anyone else who wants this title, be prepared to fail, too. Because all his challengers will be broken, because Pentagon has #CeroMiedo!
But wait, the Machine Called Cage attacks with a discus lariat! Cage throws furious right hands, and then lifts up the belt. Cage, who lost his Gauntlet of the Gods to Mil Muertes, and who wasn’t even one of the 19 challengers in Aztec Warfare, makes it clear he wants his shot, by using the belt to SMACK Pentagon in the head. He leaves Pentagon down in the ring, but then thinks of something more: a table! The Terminator drums sound as he sets the table up at ringside. Cage drags Pentagon onto the apron, and into bomb position, to BOMB him through the table!
“Meet the luchador you can’t break. Because I’m not a man, I’m a Machine! And your next Lucha Underground Champion!” The Swolverine wants to break the Breaker of Bones, but will he regret challenging him with such aggression?
Fenix prepares for the main event.
Melissa Santos is with him backstage just moments from this life-or-death match. She can’t lose him. But he vows she won’t. He won the last Grave Consequences match he was in, remember? But last time, it was just one opponent. Tonight he has two, and they’re deadly. But don’t worry, he’s the Man of 1000 Lives. And they all belong to Melissa. She gives him a kiss for luck. Will it be the last kiss between her and the Bird of War?
Three Way to the Grave: Fenix VS Mil Muertes w/ Catrina VS Jeremiah Crane!
The Man of 1000 Lives, the Man of 1000 Deaths, and the Lucha Death Machine who loves pain. All three men battle for survival, but also for the destruction of the other two! Who will survive to grab glory, and power, in their hands?
As Catrina leads Mil Muertes down, she surely knows that both victory and the return of her own mortality are so close, she can taste it. Will she taste life again? Or will she just taste more defeat? Likewise, the twisted Crane does this for love, as he wants Catrina back. Will he be made whole through the demise of his opponents? Or will his body be broken along with his heart?
Lucha Underground returns from break and this first-ever match begins. Fenix, Crane and Muertes all stare down. Crane gives a thumbs down, but he gets SPEARED down by the Reaper’s Trident! Fenix kicks Muertes while Crane rolls away. Fenix throws a forearm, then runs, but Muertes whips him to a corner. Muertes runs in as Fenix slips out to the apron. Fenix kicks Muertes away, then hops up to springboard back. Muertes gets clear but runs into a SUPERKICK. Fenix comes back for a leaping DDT! Crane stands up and Fenix handsprings, but into a half-nelson DDT! Crane sits up and rallies the fans. He runs in at Muertes for the shining wizard, then goes side-to-side for the boot wash. Fenix runs in for a running boot!
Fenix climbs up, springboards but Crane dodges. Crane throws Fenix to the apron, mule kicks him, then drags him back in with a hip toss. Fans rally while Fenix gets out. Crane runs, and DIVES! The low-pe almost doesn’t hit, but it gets Fenix right in the waist. Crane fires up and drags Fenix up to throw him. Fenix hops up and mule kicks back, to then SUPER moonsault! Both men land roughly, but fans rally. Muertes climbs up?! And he falls onto them both! The Believers are fired up while all three men are down. Muertes gets up and uses the flower arrangement to hit Crane in the face. He then drags Crane up and around to bump him off a casket lid over and over and over. Fenix flounders while Muertes BOMBS Crane against the coffin.
Muertes drags Crane up while fans chant “Otra! Otra!” So he goes to bomb Crane at the announce desk. Crane resists and hits back, then boots Muertes into a seat. Catrina grows concerned as Crane gets a full lap around the ring. Crane makes the final turn, but Muertes SPEARS him again! The Trident almost splits Crane in half! Fans are shocked, but are still loving this, too. Muertes goes under the ring to pull out a table. He sets it up at a corner, and fans move aside. Muertes drags Crane up but Fenix climbs to walk the rails. Fans give him space, to fly and huricanrana Muertes down! Fenix turns around, and Crane SMACKS him with an entire bouquet of roses! Crane drags Muertes up, but Muertes powers him back in a choke, to then CHOKE SLAM Crane on the casket!
Muertes goes back to his table, and to Fenix. Fans chant “Animo! Animo!” for Fenix, but Muertes brings him around. Crane hits Muertes, but it barely affects him. Muertes grabs Crane and brings him in, but both Crane and Fenix fight off the Flatliner. So Muertes just grabs them both around the throat. They break free again, SUPERKICK and boot combo. Fenix SUPERKICKS Crane, then huricanranas Muertes near the table. Crane uses Fenix as a step stool to knock Muertes into the table. It doesn’t break, so Crane BOMBS Muertes through that table! Fans lose their minds again, but Fenix goes right after Crane. Fans know “This is Awesome” as they brawl and go up the stairs. Crane and Fenix reach the top, and go around behind the fans. Crane prepares something, and gives Fenix a piledriver on the concrete! But the doors open, and Muertes appears behind him!
Muertes drags Crane in and rams the doors into him from both sides. Muertes rocks Crane down with a right, then drags him back up. Fans are on Muertes’ side, but Fenix is climbing up again. Meurtes has Crane in a fireman’s carry, but Crane fights for dear life as Muertes tries to toss him down to the ground! Crane gets down and rakes Muertes’ eyes, but Fenix FLIES IN!! He wipes them out with that insane crossbody! The Believers are riled up but Catrina is worried. Fenix stands first, and brings Muertes up. Muertes hits him first, then hits him more. They go back to the stairs, and Fenix tumbles down every step. Crane is sent down after Fenix, and Muertes takes his time lumbering down to join them.
Muertes has the Believers on his side as he drags a new table out. He places it off to the side, and fans rally up. Muertes puts another table up in the ring, but Fenix revives. Muertes goes for Crane first and goes into the ring. He drags Crane up and over to a corner. Muertes hoists Crane up, and adjusts the table. He climbs up but Fenix joins in for a kinder surprise kick! Muertes is hung up, and Fenix pushes him down. Fenix goes after Crane with rights and chops, then climbs up to join him. Muertes rests by the other table he prepared, and Fenix hops up, but Crane denies the steiner with a shove, and Fenix crashes down on Muertes through that table!
Fenix gets back up quick, and sees Crane resting on this other table. Crane trips Fenix up hard, and positions the table again. Crane climbs up, rakes the eyes, and then hits a PILEDRIVER through the table! Fans lose their minds all over again, but Crane gives a thumbs up to Catrina. Crane opens a casket, and rolls the limp Fenix around. This much Catrina likes, because she hates Fenix with a burning desire. Melissa panics because she loves Fenix with a burning desire. Fenix is in the casket, but that’s just part one. Crane goes to close it, but running in with hair fire red with rage, it’s IVELISSE! And with poetic justice, she uses a ball peen hammer on Crane’s leg!! That’s in return for what Crane did to her last season!
Crane shouts and screams in pain, but Ivelisse shouts she wasn’t going to forget what he did. Crane grabs at her, so she smacks that arm, too! She smacks him a third time, and with such force that the hammer head comes off! So she just uses the handle to hold him still for knee strikes. Crane is draped over the ropes, but Ivelisse wants him to get back up. He does, and he flips her the bird. Bad move, because she takes that finger and breaks it! The Baddest Bitch is back in the Temple, and she’s busted Crane open! And with no mercy, she hits him again! Now Crane is in the casket, and she closes it on him! Crane is ELIMINATED! The pallbearers come and take him away, leaving it at Muertes and Fenix. The fans go nuts for Ivelisse while we go to break.
Lucha Underground returns once more, and Muertes moves the wreckage of wood tables out of his way. Fenix also returns to the ring, leaning against a corner. Muertes runs in, but into a SUPERKICK! Fenix side steps then back kicks Muertes, then rolls Muertes out, only to run into a stiff spinning powerslam! Muertes rains rights down, and rakes at the mask! This is a common thing for Muertes to do against Fenix, because if you hate someone, you definitely don’t respect them. Melissa protests, but there’s nothing the rules can do against that. Muertes then goes to untie a buckle pad. Fenix revives, and waistlocks Muertes. Meurtes elbows out, but runs into a boot. Both men stagger, and Melissa gets the fans going again.
Fenix runs at Muertes but is alley-oop’d overhead. Fenix stops himself from hitting that exposed buckle, but is ran right over! A close call, but Muertes is going to ensure Fenix hits that exposed hook, with a catapult swing! Fenix’s face goes right into steel, and he bleeds profusely. Muertes makes it worse by raking his fingers in, and even biting at the wound! Fenix is limp on the apron but Muertes just punches away even more. Melissa shouts for Fenix to get up, but Muertes works to undo more of that turnbuckle’s axle. Melissa finds herself surrounded by the Man and First Lady of Death, but Fenix revives. Fenix and Muertes brawl, then shift to a chop fight. Shot after shot but Muertes gets an edge with that killer right. Muertes stares into the eyes of Catrina, they both know what comes next.
Muertes drags a casket around while Melissa and the ref check on Fenix. That casket is put into the ring, another familiar sight of any Grave Consequences match. Fans chant “Animo!” and “Let’s Go Fenix!” Muertes has the casket up in a corner. He opens it up, and whips Fenix corner to corner at it. Fenix stops himself just inches away, Muertes runs in, but Fenix dodges him. Muertes stops himself short, but Fenix kicks him into it! But not all the way, that lid won’t close like that. Fenix stands Muertes up, to dropkick him back in! Now Muertes is all the way inside, and that’s part one! Fenix goes to close but Muertes holds it open! Melissa and Catrina shout for their men, but it’s Muertes who pushes Fenix away!
Muertes stalks Fenix but Fenix runs and doges. Fenix kicks back, then runs back, but is thrown overhead onto the casket! Fans lose their minds one more time, but then duel between the two. Muertes positions the casket on the mat, and then lifts Fenix. Fenix resists as Muertes tries to pick him up. Fenix fights back, but Muertes grabs him around the throat. But Fenix gets free to then chop and chop away! Fenix runs, handsprings, but Muertes slam dunks Fenix down! Muertes drags Fenix back up even as fans chant “Animo!” Muertes runs, but Fenix rolls, for Fenix Injection!! Both men are down, but stirring. Melissa and Catrina are both worried, but fans know “This is Awesome!”
Fenix fires off forearms and a heel kick! He gets to a corner, hops up, and flies, but into a CHOKE SLAM on the casket! The lid is dented, that casket might not even open. Muertes doesn’t care, he lifts Fenix up again, only for Fenix to headscissor him out of the ring! Fenix gets up, hops up, and as Muertes returns, missile dropkick! Fans fire up and it gives Fenix life. Fenix climbs again, jumps, but into a FLATLINER! Melissa can barely watch as Muertes looms over Fenix. He drags Fenix up again, then drags him out. The third casket is still viable, and Muertes opens it. He drags Fenix over like a sack of potatoes, and plops him down inside. Muertes closes the lid, and wins!
Winner: Mil Muertes
The pallbearers return, and Melissa reluctantly makes the announcement. The Man of 1000 Deaths is victorious, and Catrina is almost euphoric over this defeat of the Immortal Firebird. Has Muertes earned himself his own Lucha Underground Championship opportunity? Has Catrina gotten the life force she needs?
In an undisclosed location…
The Monster, Matanza, is chained up again. “My boy”, Antonio says from above, “I know it’s not much, but it’s better than the cell you’ve been locked in.” Matanza must be upset over failing his father, but Antonio admits he failed Matanza. When Antonio offered up Matanza as the vessel to the Aztec Gods, he asked they let Matanza retain a little of his humanity. The gods granted that wish, which is why he has the key. The key holds his mortal soul. Dario took both key and Matanza from Antonio, planning to exploit the Monster. Dario kept the key close because he cared for his brother, just as Antonio cared for his son.
But that’s what got Dario killed and what weakened Matanza. Antonio does not tolerate weakness. He knows what he must do. Matanza will always be his son, but he was meant to be so much more. He tosses the key to Matanza?! Because he wants Matanza to kill what’s left of his own humanity by breaking that key! Become a true God! Do it! Matanza does, and the chains no longer hold him. “Good-bye, my boy.” What has Antonio done?! What will Matanza do to the world!?
A really solid episode for only two matches on the card. Clearly there’s something bigger and much more sinister planned for Ricky Mandel Mundo and “Rosa”. And for saying they’re going to call out the Reptiles and keep this fight going, I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get a hint at it in the backstage area. But good for Jack to be fodder to a debuting wrestler, his ego calls for him to be the kind of guy to do that. Lucha Underground has always been a touch more progressive, and XO Lishus looks to pick up the mantle for Pimpinela, assuming Pimpi doesn’t return. Pentagon Dark has a good promo, but that attack from Cage was really good. Cage hasn’t had many chances at the top title for being a long-standing staple of the show, this will be a great feud.
The Three Way to the Grave, for being the first, is already the best of its kind, and just the best of all the Grave Consequences matches LU has put on. It also did an amazing job of integrating multiple stories, as Ivelisse makes a shocking return at the best possible moment. She screws Crane over for revenge, but surely he’ll come back somehow to get back at her. Lucha Underground is also progressive in this regard of co-ed matches, so expect at least one of those to be their blow-off. And Muertes goes over for many logical reasons: he’s already lost his fair share of Grave Consequences, it’s time for him to win one; Muertes needs wins overall to keep himself a credible threat to everyone; and it pushes Catrina’s story forward. I’m not really sure what she’ll do once she’s mortal again, but that’ll be for next week.
My Score: 8.7/10
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?