Spoilers follow for the December 22nd episode of Raw.
Christmas episodes in WWE always seem to upset the IWC, which means I’m totally okay with them. Yeah, sure, they’re often silly and meaningless, but it’s that time of year, and that’s why we’ve got several weeks to build to the next PPV.
Hulk Hogan opens Raw, brother. He’s “Ho Ho Hogan,” brother. He makes the fans chant that, brother. He’s going to give everyone presents, brother. He tells us about tonight’s “big” matches, like Big Show vs. Roman Reigns, brother. Or Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose in a “Miracle on 34th Street,” brother. John Cena comes out after that. I briefly hoped that we’d get to see Cena and Hogan fight, but then remembered that’ll never happen, brother. Cena sings a couple of lines from “Let it Go,” from Frozen, which is as embarrassing and irrelevant as you’d expect. Eventually, Cena says he wants a match against Seth Rollins tonight, since Brock Lesnar ruined the one last week. Brother.
Cue Seth Rollins, followed by J&J Security, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury, brother. Rollins says things that don’t matter, and that The Authority should be here, not Hogan, brother. Eventually, they go back and forth, Cena welcomes him down to the ring, and Hogan interjects, brother, and tells us that we’re doing Rollins/Cena in our opening match tonight, brother.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (with J&J Security)
Noble and Mercury get a bit of distraction in early on, but then Rollins and Cena get to go at it like we know they can. Cena does a rare dropkick, although Rollins dominates early on. Cena finally starts to get momentum, but Noble/Mercury stop him. They continue to interfere, because while they exist, we’re not going to get a clean Cena/Rollins match, apparently.
That doesn’t mean we don’t get a good match, but it just won’t be clean while Noble/Mercury are at ringside. Rollins and Cena put on a good match in spite of the two stooges. A bunch of near-falls, a couple of high-risk moves — it’s fun. Cena locks in an STF, but it gets interrupted by Noble and Mercury. The referee doesn’t call for a DQ at this point, though. Cena hits an AA on both of them. Rollins tries to hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase, but Cena ducks and hits another AA. Rollins loses.
Match Rating: ***
Jack Swagger vs. Fandango (with Rosa Mendes)
Swagger and Fandango put on a sloppy, uninteresting, and completely pointless match. It’s bad. Like, despite wanting to be good, it’s just not. It’s also really short. Fandango wins with a top-rope leg drop.
Match Rating: *1/2
Dolph Ziggler gets interviewed backstage after the match. He’s asked about his match against Luke Harper later on tonight. So he talks about the match at TLC.
R-Truth vs. Adam Rose
Truth and Rose spend almost as much time dancing as they do wrestling. In fact, they might have spent more time doing that. Truth winds up rolling up Rose for the win.
Match Rating: *
After a couple of weeks of ignoring this storyline, Rose once again snaps at The Bunny. The Bunny, neck brace and all, tries to console Rose afterward, but he gets hit with a spinebuster and then viciously assaulted. Rose even rips off the brace. Does this finally count as a heel turn? It seems pretty definitive.
Big Show vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns impressed in his first match back from injury, and that was against Fandango. Now, in his second match back, he … doesn’t really get to do much. And because Big Show also needs to look strong right now (for some reason), he can’t even get a decisive win. Instead, he gets beat up for most of the match, hits a couple of moves, and eventually hits Big Show over the announcer’s table, which winds up with Show losing via countout.
Match Rating: *1/2
Dean Ambrose is interviewed afterward. Ambrose claims he’s been a good boy this year. He’s going to beat up Bray Wyatt tonight.
Natalya (with Tyson Kidd) vs. Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella)
You know, even though Brie and Nikki have been teaming up again, Brie’s still mostly been seen like a babyface. She doesn’t really act like it in this match. She blows kisses to Kidd, which is a heel move, I guess. She and Natalya put on a good match here. Second best of the night thus far, although that’s not saying much. It’s not something to skip, anyway. Natalya wins with a small package, which came from Brie trying to use a small package to counter a sharpshooter.
Match Rating: **1/2
Nikki gets nocked off the apron after the match and Natalya poses with the title. I guess we’re doing this now.
Goldust and Stardust vs. Los Matadores (Fernando, Diego, and El Torito)
El Torito is actually in the match, and he’s dressed as Rudolph. I feel like that should tell you all you need to know about it. It’s slow, boring, and silly. El Torito winds up pinning Goldust to give his team the win. No, really.
Match Rating: *1/2
Luke Harper cuts a backstage promo talking about how he likes to take things away. And he’s going to take away Ziggler’s championship tonight.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper
Harper attacks Ziggler before the match even starts. Harper then continues to dominate the early portion of the match, not letting Ziggler get in any offense. Harper continues to dominate for the vast majority of the match, showing off the numerous amount of moves in his arsenal in the process. Even Michael Cole was impressed, actually calling a michinoku driver by its name.
Eventually, Ziggler does get in some offense, although definitely a disproportional amount. A few superkicks and a Zig Zag leads to Ziggler with a clean victory.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Jerry Lawler interviews Ziggler in the ring after the match. Nothing of importance was said.
Roddy Piper comes out next to host an episode of Piper’s Pit. His guests tonight are Rusev and Lana. Lana makes fun of Christmas and America. Piper tries to interject, but we’re reminded of how Rusev beat up Ryback last week. Piper says he got Lana and Rusev a Christmas gift. It’s Ryback … with a bow on his shirt. Poor Big Guy.
Ryback comes down to the ring and assaults Rusev. Rusev manages to escape before getting hit with a clothesline. Piper and Ryback celebrate in the ring to end the segment.
Alicia Fox, Emma, and Naomi vs. Cameron, Summer Rae, and Paige
They’re all wearing Christmas attires. Paige is the only one who gets anything remotely close to a reaction. The match is slow and bad. Cameron is in it for too long, by which I mean she’s in it at all. Alicia Fox winds up pinning Cameron, after hitting some sort of finisher, for the win.
Match Rating: *1/2
The Miz (with Damien Sandow) vs. Jey Uso (with Jimmy Uso)
Miz gets some cheap heat by almost letting Sandow tag his place in the match, and then almost gets rolled up by Jey Uso, and a mediocre and not particularly interesting match follows. Sandow’s antics at ringside continue to be more enjoyable. A couple of reversals and a roll up with the tights being pulled lets Miz pick up the win. The first heel victory of the night.
Match Rating: **
Bray Wyatt comes down to cut a promo, not start his match like I was hoping. He talks about people being with their loved ones during Christmastime. And then there’s some other stuff that it’s impossible to pay attention to. Then Dean Ambrose comes out, carrying “gifts,” and we’re ready to go.
Miracle on 34th Street Fight: Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose
After a couple of minutes of wrestling, Wyatt is sent out of the ring and we begin the hardcore/spot aspect of the match. Christmas props get used to great effect, there are chairs and tables and Christmas trees, and it very much becomes a spotfest. A fun spotfest, and a good way to conclude the show, but a spotfest nonetheless.
We eventually do get back into the ring, but only for a little bit. We have to go back to weapons, because it’s a street fight. A candy-cane-colored kendo stick gets involved at one point. This is a fun match, but one in which I find very little interest. The feud will continue, neither man will suffer any consequences, and since it’s the Christmas episode, we’re pretty sure Ambrose is going to win anyway. There are fun spots, some cool hardcore moments, and this is a PPV-quality match, but I just find myself uninterested in it for whatever reason.
A surprise of all surprises comes when Wyatt picks up the victory. He threw Ambrose into a kendo stick that was sticking out and pinned Ambrose for the win.
Match Rating: ***
Ambrose winds up beating up Wyatt after the match, though, putting Wyatt through a table to send the fans home happy.
The Good: Cena/Rollins. Ziggler/Harper. Wyatt/Ambrose.
The Bad: Truth/Rose. 6-Diva match. Show/Reigns.
Match of the Night: Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper.