Original Air Date: December 17, 2018
Event Date: December 17, 2018 (aired live)
Commentary: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
Ring Announcer: Jojo
Vince McMahon heads to the ring. Vince knows everyone wants to know what’s been going on with RAW. Vince has been asking himself that same question. RAW has been on for 25 years, and it has had to change over time. He admits that he can’t run RAW by himself, so Vince introduces the commissioner of RAW, Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie heads to the ring, and she and Vince motion for someone else to join them. Triple H heads to the ring, and everyone motions for someone else. Shane McMahon heads to the ring.
Stephanie says that she knows they haven’t been doing what they should be doing. They haven’t been listening to the fans, but that changes tonight. Triple H says that the four of them will be taking control. Shane says that includes SmackDown Live. Steph and Triple H say that they will be empowering the fans and giving them what they want. There will be new faces and new matchups. The fans are now “The Authority.” Vince says WWE will always be “then, now, and forever.”
As Vince’s music plays to end the segment, Baron Corbin heads to the ring. Corbin gets booed as he says that he is ready for a fresh start. Corbin says what happened to him at TLC was not fair, so they all need to have a talk.
After a commercial break, everyone is still booing Corbin (and the people in the ring are all egging them on). Eventually, Corbin says that he didn’t know Strowman was going to show up last night, and he wasn’t prepared for everyone Strowman brought with him. Triple H knows what Corbin is trying to say. He wants management to reconsider removing him from power, and he wants to be the permanent GM of RAW. The McMahons and Triple H discuss it for a second, and they are unanimous. The answer is “no.” That is, unless Corbin can win a match right now.
No DQ Handicap Match
Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle & Bobby Roode (RAW Tag Champ) & Chad Gable (RAW Tag Champ) & Apollo Crews
(referee: Heath Slater)
Result: Kurt Angle pins Baron Corbin after the Angle Slam
Time: 5:32 (1 break)
This was a lot like Corbin’s match last night at TLC. It was a completely one-sided beating. I think this works as a kind of fun way to release some of the frustration people have felt with RAW lately. It doesn’t really solve anything, that will depend on the actual writing of the entire show, but it’s a nice gesture. Now hopefully Corbin goes away for a while. He’s not necessarily someone I want to see get beat up. He’s just someone I don’t want to see.
John Cena recently won the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
Finn Balor vs Dolph Ziggler
(referee: Chad Patton)
Result: Finn Balor wins via DQ when Drew McIntyre attacks him
Time: 6:13 (1 break)
Good match, though it was cut a bit short by interference. Before McIntyre made his presence felt, I was really enjoying the action. Ziggler and Balor work very well together, and they were putting together some nice sequences.
After the match, Drew McIntyre throws Balor out of the ring and attacks Ziggler. McIntyre hits Ziggler with the Claymore Kick in the ring, then he hits Balor with the Claymore on the floor. McIntyre walks away with Ziggler and Balor both down.
Dean Ambrose walks in the back with his IC Title.
Dean Ambrose heads to the ring with some guys in gas masks. Ambrose enters the ring while the gas mask guys surround it. Ambrose starts of by saying that he deserves respect from the “disgusting vermin” in the crowd. At TLC, everything happened just like Ambrose said it would. Seth Rollins spiraled out of control and choked.
Ambrose took the most important thing in Seth Rollins’ life (the IC Title), but he’s not done yet. He plans to take everything from Rollins. But there is another option. As the moral compass of RAW, Ambrose is offering Rollins the chance to come out and say that Ambrose was right all along. Rollins doesn’t come out, so Ambrose decides to issue an open challenge. Not a challenge for a title, but just a challenge for a fight. Rollins still doesn’t come out.
Ambrose says that Rollins is no hero. He’s just a whiner who crumbles when things don’t go his way. And he can’t even be bothered to show his face tonight. Since Rollins won’t come out, Ambrose does issue an open challenge for the IC Title. Tyler Breeze heads to the ring.
Intercontinental Title Match
Dean Ambrose (IC Champ) vs Tyler Breeze
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Result: Dean Ambrose wins via pinfall after Dirty Deeds
Time: 4:01 (1 break)
This was short and clipped in the middle by a commercial break, but it was nice seeing Tyler Breeze have a decent showing. Ambrose was never really in trouble, but Breeze did put him on the defensive with a nice string of offense late in the match.
After the match Seth Rollins’ music plays. Three of the gas mask guys look up towards the stage, and the fourth gas mask guy kicks Ambrose in the face. It is, of course, Seth Rollins in a mask. Rollins gets a few shots in before Ambrose manages to escape up the ramp with the help of the other gas masks. This was completely expected, though I was hoping Rollins would show himself during the title match. I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense for Rollins to help Breeze win the title, but it would have been a nice moment.
Charly Caruso asks Shane McMahon what a “fresh start” means. Shane says that means new faces. Drake Maverick walks up and introduces Shane McMahon to AoP. Maverick says they got their tag titles stolen, so since the McMahons are making things right, Shane should give AoP a title match.
Shane says the notion of an automatic title rematch is antiquated, but he will give AoP an opportunity to earn a title match. They’ll compete in a fatal four way tonight against The B-Tam, The Revival, and Lucha House Party. The winner will get a title shot. Maverick isn’t too happy about that.
Lars Sullivan, again, is headed to the main roster. Lacey Evans is also moving to either RAW or SmackDown. As are Heavy Machinery, Nikki Cross, and EC3.
In the ring, Lio Rush introduces Bobby Lashley. Lashley is sitting on a stool with a guitar, just like Elias always does. Rush says Elias isn’t the only person who can play sweet sounds with a guitar. Lashley played a nice song on Elias’ back on the TLC Kickoff show. Rush promises that Lashley will give everyone a performance that they really want to see. So Lashley poses. He also shows his butt. As usual.
Jojo then introduces Elias. Elias is in the ring, and he smashes a guitar on Lashley’s back. It just makes Lashley angry.
Lucha House Party walks Penelope the piñata.
Sami Zayn’s day will come, and he will return soon.
Fatal Four Way RAW Tag Title Number One Contender Match
AoP w/ Drake Maverick vs The B-Team vs Lince Dorado & Kalisto w/ Gran Metalik vs The Revival
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Dash Wilder pins Bo Dallas after the Shatter Machine
Time: 7:01 (1 break)
Good match. This was fun. After a little back and forth, the match completely broke down. The Revival use the chaos to their advantage in a nice finish. I definitely like the result.
Charly Caruso asks Seth Rollins about last night. Rollins says last night was a disaster. He let Ambrose get inside his head and take his title. This isn’t just about the title though, this is about his life. He lives for what he does. He has to set things right, and that starts with ending Dean Ambrose.
Baron Corbin walks up and blames Rollins for turning everyone against him. Rollins punches Corbin in the face.
Ronda Rousey heads to the ring. She talks about the warnings she gave to Nia Jax, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch. Rousey didn’t come her to explain herself, she come here to define what a champion is. A real champion is more than a winner of a match. A real champion represents the best of the best in every way. A real champion lives for a challenge, and that’s why she’s here tonight.
Rousey suggests that a new tradition be started. After every PPV, the champ should show up the next night and defend their title regardless of the condition they’re in. Ronday Rousey issues and open challenge.
Stephanie McMahon comes out to the stage with most of the RAW Women’s division. She says that everyone wants a title shot, and they all deserve one. Since Steph isn’t playing favorites, she says that Rousey will defend her title against the winner of an eight-woman gauntlet match.
Alicia Fox vs Bayley vs Dana Brooke vs Mickie James vs Ember Moon vs Natalya vs Ruby Riott w/ Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan vs Sasha Banks
(referee: Dan Engler; watching in the back: Ronda Rousey)
Result: Natalya wins with three decisions
Fall 1: Bayley pins Alicia Fox with a crucifix pin (4:23 – 1 break)
Fall 2: Bayley pins Dana Brooke after the Bayley to Belly (7:05 – 1 break)
Fall 3: Mickie James pins Bayley after the Mickie-DT (12:41 – 2 breaks)
Fall 4: Ember Moon pins Mickie James after the Eclipse (16:58 – 3 breaks)
Fall 5: Natalya pins Ember Moon with an O’Connor Roll (20:23 – 3 breaks)
Fall 6: Natalya pins Ruby Riott with a schoolboy (26:40 – 4 breaks)
Fall 7: Natalya wins via submission with a sharpshooter (34:34 – 5 breaks)
Time: 34:34 (5 breaks)
Good match. It seemed to drag at times, but I liked most of Bayley’s performance, and there was some really good stuff near the end. I would have preferred a different outcome, but I understand why they did what they did. I’ll just sit here and patiently wait until Ruby Riott begins her rise in the division.
After the match, Ronda Rousey heads to the ring. Ronda congratulates Natalya, then the two women shake hands and hug. They leave the ring together as the show ends.
We were promised new stuff and a better show this week. I think this RAW was better than most recent episodes, but it remains to be seen if that will be sustained over the weeks and months. It seems that one of the things they’re going to do to build interest is to bring in new people. That’s fine, but newness wears off quickly, so that’s only a short-term solution. Consistently good writing is they key to success.
I do think that writing Baron Corbin off the show after his segments was a good idea. Hopefully that sticks too.
I think it was a bold choice going with a gauntlet match at one-third of this “fresh start.” Gauntlet matches can be entertaining, but it takes consistent action. I’m not sure if tonight’s gauntlet necessarily succeeded on all levels, but I did enjoy many parts of it.
Revitalizing the tag division was a good move. Hopefully this actually leads to something and isn’t just an empty gesture. And that goes for everything tonight. If it goes back to business as usual with new faces doing the same thing that was going on before, then tonight will be a brief moment of hope. I’m hoping for the best.
Match of the Night
Fatal Four Way Tag Match
With the promise of a better show, I still think they can go a long way in paying more attention to the actual matches. The matches early in the night felt short or had some shenanigans that cut them off. The main event was good, but it did seem slow at times. The tag match was the most entertaining match overall for me because of the chaos and quick action.
Official Results: https://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2018-12-17