It’s the Christmas episode of Raw tonight, which means there will be a lot of “nice-ness,” right? Nope! It’s still WWE, so the usual feuds shall go on. What is the status of Daniel Bryan following The Wyatt Family’s assault on him from Smackdown? Also, Erik Rowan and Luke Harper picked up a big win over Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood, so could this lead to a Tag-Team Title bout shortly with Goldust and Cody?
John Cena continues to take umbrage of WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton’s antics, so how will the former “Dr. Of Thuganomics” retaliate to last week’s beating?
The Shield seem to be back on the same page, but Roman Reigns is starting to make a stand for himself as evident by his stand-off with I.C. Champ Big E. Are these two on a collision course (cliche, yes I know!) for the Royal Rumble, or sooner? And what would United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have to say?
Of course, finally, since it is the Christmas show, the obligatory Santa appearance should happen. Last week they were plugging “Evil/Bad Santa” Damien Sandow VS. “Good Santa” Mark Henry. Let’s hope this one’s short and sweet! (as much as I like both guys, not in a dumb gimmick match like this.)
For all mentioned above and more guaranteed to go down tonight, read on!
Monday Night Raw Report for December 23rd, 2013 – “Naughty or Nice? Merry Christmas!”
Introduction Segment: Video Promo & Welcoming
A plug for the “Santa VS. Santa” match airs, with “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry and “The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow reading a WWE-ized version of “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” We are welcomed by Michael Cole and John “Bradshaw” Layfield to Austin, Texas.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
The Authority kick off, making their way to the ring. Triple H, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, and Kane spread the Christmas cheer. They suck up to the fans, and wish us a “very Merry Christmas.” The C.O.O. and Steph run down the card, which includes the “Good Santa VS. Bad Santa;” The Wyatt Family taking on Daniel Bryan and Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood, Goldust and Cody Rhodes; and C.M. Punk, Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston, and John Cena facing The Shield.
Just as they were about to exit, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton interjects and enters the ring. He also wishes us a “Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.” Orton thanks Stephanie and Triple H for the “faith” they had in him for beating John Cena at T.L.C. “The Viper” goes even so far as to give a Christmas gift to The Authority – himself!
Randy presumes he gets the night off and group-hugs Triple H and McMahon-Helmsley. Kane ends with “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” He signals for his pyro to explodes out of the corner posts and Champion Orton walks to the back.
Up next, it will be a 12-Diva “Jingle Bells” Tag-Team Match, featuring most of the Divas on the roster.
Match #1: 12-Diva “Jingle Bells” Tag-Team – The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie), The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi), Natalya, and Eva Marie VS. Vickie Guerrero, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Aksana, and Tamina Snuka
(Note: Divas Champion A.J. Lee is on commentary). Tamina and Nikki start out, with Nikki spinning Tamina around with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Kaitlyn comes in and clotheslines Eva, who slams Summer in turn. Summer and Eva both tag out, and Naomi and Alicia square off. Naomi jumps on Fox with a hurricanrana, then double-suplexes and double-teams Aksana, then Cameron comes in and does the same. The entire cast of Total Divas take out the other Divas, and Natalya gets the victory with The Sharpshooter!
Winners via Submission: The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie), The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi), Natalya, and Eva Marie
Match #2: Single – Curtis Axel VS. Sin Cara
A lock up begins, with Axel all over Cara. He is taken down with an armdrag and twisting headscissors, but is rammed into the post on the outside. Curtis holds him down in a grounding waistlock , then clubs away on his back. Cara counters with a boot-to-the-face and Oklahoma roll-up for two! Axel continues to wear Sin down by rubbing his face into the mat and clutching him around the stomach.
Cara flips out of a waistlock backwards, then dives over the ropes with a swanton! He rolls Curtis back in and springboards with a crossbody for a near-fall! He hits another headscissors, then puts him down with a springboard back elbow. Cara is feeling the fans’ momentum, but gets taken down with a clothesline to the back-of-the-head. 1 – 2 – Cara kicks out! He counters a clothesline with a semi-T-Bone suplex, then soars off the top rope with the senton splash for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Sin Cara
Segment #2: Recap Promo
Video footage from Smackdown of the 2-on-1 match with The Shield and John Cena/C.M. Punk, as well as Damien Sandow as “Bad Santa” from last week’s Raw.
Segment #3: Return Promo
A man who has been away from the WWE for over 3 and 1/2 years is coming back … “The Animal” Batista! He returns on the January 20th Raw. (I’m intrigued!)
Segment #4: Video Promo
“Bad News” Wade Barrett is shown standing outside a building and shaking the bells to get money for “charity.”
Segment #5: Recap Promo
The history of the feud between The Wyatt Family and Daniel Bryan is recalled.
Tag-Team Champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes, then Daniel Bryan make their entrance prior to the break.
Match #3: 6-Man Tag-Team – Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Goldust) and Daniel Bryan VS. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erik Rowan, and Luke Harper) (Non-Title)
Cody and Erik star out, with Rowan headbutting Rhodes. He tries a scoop-slam, but Rhodes slips out and tags in his brother. Goldust is shoved back into the corner, but slaps and kicks his way out. He switches with Bryan, who viciously kicks away at Rowan, but is pushed to the mat. He holds him against The Wyatt’s end, and tags Harper.
Goldust is slugged away at in the other corner, but also slugs back, then uniquely uses his leg to get Cody to tag him. Rhodes works over Harper a bit and then slaps hands with Bryan. Harper misses a big boot in the corner, allowing Daniel to turn him upside down and kick away. He finishes with a running low-dropkick, then taunts Bray to come on in. Bray taunts back.
Rowan and Cody are back in, with Erik in control. He drops a big elbow on a bloody-nosed Rhodes, who then gets elbowed in the corner. Harper is in and holds Rhodes in a grounding headlock, then headbutts him. Cody dekes out Harper and gives him a jumping clothesline to drop Luke. He tags in his brother, who is all over Harper. Goldust atomic-drops Luke, then delivers a 10-punch in the corner. He flips Harper over with a hurricanrana out of the corner, but Luke comes back with a huge boot-to-the-face.
Bray is finally tagged in and enjoys the prey that is Goldust to methodically work over. He splashes Goldust in the corner, hangs upside down, then stomps away. Harper is back in and clubs Goldust from behind. He misses an elbow, but cuts off Goldust from getting the tag. Rowan in again, splashing Goldust for two! Erik clutches Goldust by the head with the claw and hurls him across the ring. Goldust comes back again, with a sunset-flip powerbomb on Harper!
Both Bryan and Rowan are back in, and Daniel immediately takes Wyatt off the apron with a running front-dropkick. He does the same to Erik twice in the corner, and dropkicks Rowan’s knee. Daniel kicks away hard at Erik, then ascends the turnbuckle for the diving headbutt! Bray comes in and Bryan sweeps up and pounds away. Wyatt escapes to the outside and Bryan gives chase, but is met with a big boot by Rowan! Bray yells “how does it feel?” on the outside.
Harper is back in control over Daniel, slingshotting him throat-first into the bottom rope. Bray is back in and mocks Bryan in the corner, but Daniel tries to come back with punches of his own. Wyatt quickly puts him back down then switches with Luke, who slingshots himself over onto Bryan for a two-count. Rowan back in and scoop-slams Bryan. He is spun-around though with a Tornado DDT by Daniel, who then gets the hot-tag to Cody.
The Tag-Team Champ almost gets this one with a corner sunset-flip, then puts Rowan off the apron. He climbs the turnbuckle and launches off with a moonsault, but Wyatt stops. Bryan dives onto Bray outside with a suicide dive, but is hurled into the corner wall by Rowan, who then is planted with a somersault splash by Goldust! In the ring, Harper blind-tags Wyatt, who delivers Sister Abigail to finish this one!
Winners via Pinfall: The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erik Rowan)
Post-match, The Wyatt Family decimate Bryan. Wyatt stands over Bryan, proclaiming “I could’ve given you the world.” The screen goes black for a few seconds, then The Family are standing and sitting in the aisle way, mesmerized by their work.
Segment #6: Video Promo
Another “Bad News” Barrett sighting pleading for pledges.
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Rene Young is in the ring with Xavier Woods, R-Truth, The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron), 3.M.B. (Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre), Santino Marella, and The Great Khali. This is a Christmas-Carol singing contest. Honestly, other than Xavier Woods’ genuinely nice singing voice, this was extremely pointless and a waste of time. Of course, they all engage in a brawl after Khali and Santino (wrongly so, in this writer’s opinion!) are declared the winners.
Up next, thankfully, is Dolph Ziggler going at it with Fandango!
Match #4: “Christmas Present On A Pole” – Fandango (with Summer Rae) VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler
(Note: Justin Roberts reveals that the present on said pole is an Intercontinental Championship match next week with Big E. Langston). Ziggler catches Fandango as he tried to climb the pole right away. They both fight back and forth on the candy-cane-decorated obstacle, then Dolph ducks a clothesline and nails a beautiful dropkick!
He tries to ascend the pole again, but is yanked down by Fandango. They slug it out evenly and battle to get up the pole. Ziggler drops Fandango with the Fameasser and is on the top rope, but is pushed to the floor! Fandango ends up on the mats below too, and is the first to start to get back in. They both are on the top turnbuckle, and Fandango kicks Dolph in the head to hang him over the post. Fandango uses Dolph to climb, but is crotched on the top rope, allowing Ziggler to get higher.
Fandango cuts him off and rams his head into the pole, sending him to the floor! Fandango grabs the present and will face Langston for the I.C. Title December 30th!
Winner via Climbing The Pole/Retrieving The Present – Fandango (with Summer Rae)
Match #5: Tag-Team – The Prime Time Players (“The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil and “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young) VS. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Titus and an Uso start out, with Titus shoving the Uso to the mat with a shoulder block. The Uso is caught off the ropes and slammed down with a flapjack, then Titus tags in Darren. He clamps on a side headlock, but is thrown into the corner. Uso comes back with an armdrag. He switches with his brother, who also takes down Young with an armdrag.
The Usos double-team Darren and work him over with armdrags and armlocks. Young catches an Uso with a Northern Lights suplex for two, and then clotheslines and elbows him. The other Uso comes in and Samoan Drops Young, then butt-splashes him in the corner. Titus breaks up the subsequent cover, but is hurled over the ropes. The Usos use the Superfly Splash to earn this one!
Winners via Pinfall: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Up next, it is the “long-awaited” “Good Santa VS. Bad Santa.”
Match #6: Single – “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry (Good Santa) VS. “The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow (Bad Santa)
Henry clubs Sandow down right away, then lifts off the present in the ring. Underneath, it is a toilet, which Henry shoves Sandow’s face into the bowl of. On the outside, Damien tries the fire extinguisher present, but it doesn’t work. Henry shows him how it’s done, but is whacked with a candy-cane kendo stick. Damien destroys the Christmas set on the stage, but is put down again quickly by Mark.
As Henry slides in the ring, Sandow stomps away, but still can’t use the extinguisher properly. Henry sprays him again and plants Sandow with the World’s Strongest Slam to save Christmas!
Winner via Pinfall: “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry (Good Santa)
Post-match, Henry opens a few more presents, including a cup cake tray and eats one, then shoves the rest in Sandow’s face.
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
C.M. Punk rages on how The Shield is trying to ruin Christmas, but Santa has given him a great couple of gifts – his tag-team partners, Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston and John Cena. They all talk about what they will do to The Shield.
Match #7: Tag-Team – The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro) (with Zeb Colter) VS. Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego) (with El Torito)
Cesaro and a Matadores begin, with the Matadores flying all around until he gets caught in the big-swing by Antonio! On the outside, the Matadores switch, then both take out Cesaro with a double headscissors/armdrag. The Real Americans end up losing after a high-crossbody cover by the Matadores!
Winners via Pinfall: Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego) (with El Torito)
Kofi Kingston makes his way to the ring.
Match #8: Single – Kofi Kingston VS. Ryback.
Elbow/collar tie-up by both. Ryback hits a shoulder block on Kingston, but is taken aback with a dropkick and subsequent splash in the corner. Kofi hits another dropkick to send Ryback form the apron to the floor, then launches with a swanton over the ropes! He gets back in but is clotheslined back to the outside by Ryback.
He slams his head against the apron, then is whipped hard into the turnbuckle. Ryback stomps away and bearhugs Kofi. He then suplexes Kingston down for two, and jumps off the rope but is met by Kofi’s feet! Kingston slingshot-dropkicks Ryback for two, then knees him square in the face three times. Kofi hits the Boom Drop leg drop, and springboard crossbodys Ryback for a near fall!
Kofi is caught in a powerbomb position and dropped into the corner. Ryback runs over him with the Meathook clothesline, and then finishes him off with the Shellshock Marching Samoan Drop!
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Segment #9: Arena Promo
Bad News Barrett is back in the University of Austin and announces that he has raised “thousands and thousands of dollars.” The money, however, goes to himself because he wasn’t associated with any charity, so it will go home with him.
Segment #10: Backstage Promo
The Shield talk about C.M. Punk and John Cena’s new-found friendship. They can’t figure it out, and Rollins concludes “the two of you walk down this alley plenty of times. You know what lurks in these shadows. I don’t know why you’re trying to play this game. The outcome is the same every single time: the two of you lying on the ground, gasping for air.” Reigns says “the one with the target on his back is Big E. Langston.” He threatens that “you’re swimming in the deep end with the sharks…” “Believe that and believe in The Shield.”
Match #9: 6-Man Tag-Team – C.M. Punk, Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston, and John Cena VS. The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) (Non-Title)
Cena and Ambrose start out with Cena giving Ambrose a side headlock, and then shoulder-blocks him. Rollins is tagged in and punches away, but Cena punches back. He ducks a clothesline then flies with a shoulder tackle (thanks, Cole!) and plants him with the spin-out powerbomb. Rollins moves as Cena goes for the 5-Knuckle Shuffle fist drop (thanks, Cole, again!), then switches with Roman Reigns. They shove each other, and Reigns catches Cena off the ropes with a big Samoan drop. Reigns works over Cena in The Shield’s corner.
Rollins is now in and slugs away at John in the corner. He elbows Cena out of the corner, then brings him down with a blockbuster neckbreaker off the second rope! Ambrose is back in and drops an elbow then headbutts and punches Cena. He grabs Cena off the ropes in a sleeper, wearing him down. Cena struggles but manages to tag in Punk, who flies all around The Shield, including giving Ambrose a suicide dive on the outside.
He turns Dean around with a swinging neckbreaker, then hits the running knee and clothesline. He signals for the elbow off the top, but is taken to the outside quickly. The U.S. Champ suplexes Punk on the mat, then goes back to work after breaking the 10-count.
Rollins whips Punk hard into the turnbuckle again, then mudhole stomps him in the corner. The “Second City Saint” reverses another Irish Whip, but cannot get the hot-tag as Ambrose comes in and quickly clamps on a front facelock. Punk is worked over in The Shield’s corner, and Reigns smirks as he is dominating. Punk fires back, but is grabbed in a bearhug to wear Punk down. Reigns turns the bearhug into a belly-to-belly suplex, then Seth locks Punk in a leg scissors.
C.M. ducks a clothesline and backdrops Rollins. He attempts another tag, but Dean cuts off Cena to the floor. He asses the situation, but as he picks up Punk, is caught off guard with a smacking kick-to-the-head. Reigns is in but misses a corner splash, allowing Punk to finally get the hot-tag to I.C. Champ Langston. He bowls over everyone, belly-to-belly suplexing Seth Rollins, and double-splashing him and Rollins.
Big E. goes for the Big Ending on Ambrose, but Rollins kicks him in the back-of-the-head! Ambrose covers, 1 – 2 – Cena breaks it up. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment on Rollins, but is speared big-time by Reigns! Punk flies off the top with a clothesline onto Reigns, then dumps Rollins to the outside. Big E. plants Ambrose with the Big Ending, but is assaulted by Rollins Reigns to cause a dq.
Winners via Disqualification: C.M. Punk, Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston, and John Cena
Post-match, The Shield goes for the Triple-Powerbomb on Langston, but Cena pulls Reigns fro the ring. He and Punk nail the Attitude Adjustment and G.T.S. on Rollins and Ambrose, respectively. Langston, Punk, and Cena celebrate in the ring as The Shield collect themselves.
Michael Cole closes the show, telling us to “have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. God Bless and we’ll see you all next week at Raw New Year’s, live from Richmond!”
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was just a fun, face-filled episode to fit the happiness of Christmas. Nothing too extravagant happened to further storylines, but there was some decent wrestling and good points. Unfortunately, there were also some really low points too, and as usual that comes with “themed” shows. Onto the usual analysis:
Excellence: The Authority only being in one segment – glad they did not get overdone/overboard this week. Matches – Cara/Axel, Wyatts/Bryan/Brotherhood, Divas, Usos/Prime Time Players & Shield/Cena/Langston/Punk. Great wrestling involved in those bouts. The Wyatts can do no wrong again, with both in-ring skills and psychology/emotions/expressions.
Xavier woods – this dude is seriously talented. He can really sing well and apparently is going for a PH.D. outside of wrestling! I’m really starting to like/be entertained by him. Promo by The Shield to set up the 6-Man – their usual harsh tones to exemplify how they can/will dominate their opponent continued well tonight. Lastly, very interested to see the return of Batista, and where “The Animal” will fit in!
Bogus: Ziggler/Fandango, “Santa VS. Santa,” Kingston/Ryback, Los Matadores/Real Americans – didn’t enjoy those matches, and Ziggler/Fandango & Kingston Ryback seemed “off” at times. Henry/Sandow just seemed like a waste of two incredible talents to be put in a stupid gimmick match. This has also hurt Henry’s return, as he’s pegged back into a comedy figure.
The Christmas-Carolling – except for Xavier Woods, the rest was horrible! Enough said! WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton – even though he gave himself the night off, it would’ve been better for him to run out at the end and attack Punk, Cena, and Langston. This would’ve provided just a little more continuity and realism to a “throw-away” show.
All in all, for Raw being a “one-off, everybody is happy in the end” show, it was pretty okay. Next week’s the New Year’s edition, which I fear will be more of the same. Can’t wait for two weeks down the line, when the real stories will return and build to the Royal Rumble.
Until seven nights from now, as always Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans! Merry Christmas and God Bless to you and your family!