WWE RAW aired live from the ‘new’ ThunderDome at Tropicana Field. It was RAW’s ‘go home’ show before Sunday’s WWE TLC pay-per-view. AJ Styles and Drew McIntyre met face-to-face six days before their WWE Championship match at TLC.
RAW Results (12/14)
- AJ Styles def. Sheamus
- Hurt Business def. New Day & Jeff Hardy via submission
- Lana def. Nia Jax
- The Miz & John Morrison def. Keith Lee in a Handicap match
- Mace def. Ricochet
- Dana Brooke def. Shayna Baszler via DQ
- Riddle def. MVP (squash match)
Here are the takeaways from this week’s show:
The Miz Read A Christmas Poem
The Miz kicked off this week’s show with an episode of the Dirt Sheet. Miz was seated with a ladder and a Christmas tree in the ring. Miz held up a book that was titled “The Nightmare Before TLC” and promoted his reality show Miz & Mrs. on USA Network. The Miz flipped open the book and read “Twas the nightmare before TLC and all through the ThunderDome every superstar was excited to read my awesome home”.
Miz called the protagonist of the story AJ Styles and a spotlight came on to reveal AJ in the corner of the ring. Styles said not to forget his associate “Omas” and he was shown ringside. Miz stated the story was focused on the competitors in the match and snapped his fingers and the light on Omas went off.
Miz snapped his fingers to reveal John Morrison dressed up as WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. AJ Styles then pretended to hit Morrison with a chair, smash him through a table, and suggested that Drew may pull out his illegal sword during the fight but AJ is not afraid of the wannabe knight. Styles then ripped the sword away and stabbed Morrison several times as Miz tried to continue reading.
AJ climbed up the ladder behind The Miz and raised his hand in victory. Miz said that if AJ failed to win The Miz will enter the story and cash in the Money in the Bank contract and become the new WWE Champion. Styles complained that wasn’t in the book that he gave Miz and the two started arguing.
Sheamus interrupted and said that their community theater performance was slightly entertaining but he’s got a match tonight with Styles. Sheamus got in the ring and said that he didn’t bring a sword because he is prepared to fight with his fists. Styles said if Sheamus isn’t part of the solution he is part of the problem. Sheamus stated that he would rather be part of the problem and Styles threw the Christmas tree at him. Sheamus then knocked AJ out of the ring as RAW went to a break.
AJ Styles Brutally Attacked Sheamus
Sheamus battled AJ Styles in the first match of the night. Sheamus dominated the action early and delivered a Knee Drop to AJ. Styles caught Sheamus with a forearm to the face but Sheamus responded by beating AJ down in the corner. Styles kicked Sheamus in the knee but the Celtic Warrior shrugged it off and connected with a massive Back Body Drop that sent AJ to the canvas.
Sheamus applied a Headlock but AJ quickly reached the ropes to break up the hold. Styles hung up Sheamus in the ropes and hit a knee to the face that knocked Sheamus to the floor outside the ring. Sheamus got back into the ring and planted AJ with a Suplex.
Styles blocked another Suplex attempt by Sheamus and Dropkicked him out of the ring. Sheamus tried to Powerbomb AJ off the apron but Omas caught him and stared at Sheamus as RAW went to a commercial break. When RAW returned, Styles had Sheamus in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring.
The Celtic Warrior broke free with a flurry of elbows to AJ’s face. Styles went back to Sheamus’ knee and connected with several kicks. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse Back Breaker but fell to the canvas and grabbed his left knee. Sheamus slowly made his way to his feet and connected with a Fallaway Slam.
Sheamus leveled AJ with a knee to the face and went for the cover but Styles was able to kick out at two. Styles sent Sheamus out of the ring and once again he had a stare down with Omas. Sheamus clubbed AJ across the chest several times while looking at Omas. Sheamus made his way to the top rope and connected with a Flying Clothesline for a near fall.
AJ was able to lock in the Calf Crusher again in the middle of the ring. Sheamus screamed in agony but was able to fight through the pain and reach the bottom rope to break the hold. AJ set up for the Styles Clash but Sheamus countered into White Noise for another near fall.
Omas shouted some encouragement to Styles as the two superstars hobbled back to their feet. Sheamus slowly made his way to Styles in the corner and lifted AJ up onto his shoulders. Sheamus started climbing up the turnbuckle but Styles escaped and hit Sheamus with a shot to the knee. Styles then covered Sheamus for the pinfall victory.
After the match, AJ Styles taunted Sheamus and he attacked him. Styles tied up Sheamus in the ropes as Omas grabbed a steel chair. Omas handed it to Styles and hit him across the ribs several times. Styles then hit Sheamus in the injured left knee with the chair before a referee finally broke it up.
Hurt Business Picked Up A Win
RAW Tag Team Champions New Day teamed up with Jeff Hardy to face Hurt Business tonight on RAW. Riddle and MVP were ringside for the match. Lashley leveled Xavier Woods with a shoulder tackle to start off the action. Woods booted Lashley in the midsection and tagged in Kingston.
Cedric tagged himself in and Lashley wasn’t too happy about it. Cedric Alexander went for an Arm Drag but Kofi reversed into a slam for a two count. Jeff Hardy tagged in and bounced Cedric’s face off the turnbuckle. Shelton Benjamin tagged in and unloaded some punches to Jeff’s face in the corner of the ring.
Hardy connected with a Slingblade and went for the Twist of Fate but Benjamin blocked it. Hardy sent Shelton out of the ring and knocked Lashley off the apron. Woods played the trombone as Riddle, Kofi, and Jeff Hardy danced before RAW went to a commercial break.
When RAW returned, Kofi and Shelton were battling in the ring. Kingston connected with the Boom Drop and geared up for the SOS. Unites States Champion Bobby Lashley prevented it and sent Kingston out of the ring. Lashley then tagged in and planted Kingston with a Suplex.
Alexander tagged in and elbowed Kingston in the ribs several times before applying a Headlock. Cedric dragged Kingston to the corner and Benjamin tagged in. Shelton connected with back to back Body Slams for a two count. Lashley tagged back in and beat Kofi down in the corner of the ring.
Riddle pounded on the apron to try and fire Kofi Kingston up. Shelton knocked Woods off the apron and brought Kingston back to the corner. Kingston connected with a Stomp and started crawling to the corner. Jeff Hardy tagged in and hit Benjamin with an Atomic Drop and followed it up with a Dropkick for a two count.
Cedric tagged in and booted Jeff in the head for a two count. MVP demanded that Alexander go for the cover again and Hardy kicked out at two. Jeff hit a Russian Leg Sweep and went for the cover but Benjamin broke it. Woods sent Benjamin out of the ring but turned around into a Flatliner from Lashley. Kofi booted Lashley out of the ring and then hit Shelton with a Crossbody.
Woods went for one as well but Lashley caught him and sent Xavier into the barricade. Hardy hit Lashley with a Dropkick through the ropes. Lashley tagged in as Jeff hit Alexander with the Twist of Fate. Lashley went for a Spear but Jeff dodged it and Bobby crashed into the ring post.
Jeff climbed to the top rope but Cedric tripped him up. Lashley then got Jeff Hardy in the Hurt Lock for the submission victory. After the match, Cedric Alexander jumped into Lashley’s arms and then posed on the top turnbuckle while shouting “I helped! Tag Team Champions!” as MVP stared at him with a confused look on his face. New Day will defend the RAW Tag Team Championships against Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander this Sunday at WWE TLC.
Lana Is Out Of The Tag Title Match At TLC
Jax shoved Lana to the mat as Asuka was shown cheering Lana on from backstage. Nia went for a Powerbomb but Lana countered into a Hurricanrana. Laana climbed to the top rope but Nia caught her with a headbutt. Nia climbed to the second turnbuckle and went for a Samoan Drop but Lana escaped. Lana connected with a Double Stomp and rolled up Jax for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Shayna Baszler attacked Asuka backstage and Nia attacked Lana in the ring. Nia bounced Lana’s head off the mat a few times before hitting a Leg Drop. Shayna then stomped on Lana’s arm and her ankle several times. Nia hit Lana with a couple of Leg Drops to the injured leg before Asuka finally made the save. Asuka hit Baszler with a Codebreaker and knocked Nia out of the ring. It was later announced that Lana is out of the Women’s Tag Team Championship match due to injury and that Asuka will need to find a new partner.
R-Truth Interrupted Elias & Jaxson Ryker
Elias came to the ring with Jaxson Ryker during the 2nd hour of RAW. Elias said all he saw was a blinding light after he was electrocuted in the Symphony of Destruction match. Elias claimed he was baptized in lightning and gained so much. Jaxson Ryker stated that Elias’ music has changed him.
24/7 Champion R-Truth interrupted to apologize for interrupting them on Main Event. Elias pointed out that R-Truth was interrupting right now and R-Truth stood in silence because he didn’t want to interrupt again. Elias began playing the guitar before a bunch of superstars chased R-Truth around. Jaxon Ryker leveled Gran Metalik and threw Tozawa onto everyone outside the ring. R-Truth scampered away as Ryker slammed Metalik to the canvas again.
Miz & Morrison Beat Keith Lee
Keith Lee faced The Miz & John Morrison in a Handicap match. Miz and Morrison beat Keith down in the corner to start off the action. Lee quickly battled back and sent The Miz flying out of the ring. Morrison hit Keith with an elbow to the face but Lee responded with a big kick to the midsection.
The Miz sent Lee to the corner and connected with some It Kicks. Keith Lee slammed Miz to the canvas but turned around into a knee to the face from Morrison. Lee hit Morrison with a shoulder tackle that knocked him out of the ring as RAW went to a commercial break.
When RAW returned, The Miz hit Lee with a Clothesline and Morrison followed it up with a kick to the head for a one count. Morrison connected with a Moonsault and went for the cover but Keith Lee was able to power out at two. Keith battled back and hurled Morrison on top of The Miz. Miz hit Keith Lee with a chop block and he collapsed to the mat. Miz and Morrison then covered Keith Lee for the victory.
Orton & Wyatt Played Hide And Seek
Bray Wyatt came to the ring sporting a Fiend themed Christmas sweater. The puppets from the Firefly Fun House were behind the barricade as Wyatt said it was so nice to see everyone’s smiling faces at the ThunderDome.
Wyatt apologized to Randy Orton and claimed that everything was just a giant misunderstanding. Bray said that Orton sometimes has a sick mind of his own but noted that he has things to fix about himself as well.
Bray laughed and stated that he is not sure what is going to be left of Orton after he faces The Fiend at WWE TLC. Wyatt said that he has prepared some jokes for Randy Orton tonight. Wyatt joked that the best way to measure a viper was inches because they don’t have any feet.
Wyatt laughed way too hard as the puppets chuckled along. Bray joked that snakes use “windshield vipers” to clean their windshield. Bray fell to his knees in laughter and stumbled around the ring.
Randy Orton interrupted on the jumbotron and said that Wyatt changed after he hit him with RKO last week. Orton noted that The Fiend appeared out of nowhere and for the first time in a long time he was outmanuevered. Orton suggested that they play a game of Hide & Seek tonight. Bray accepted and Orton dared Wyatt to come find him. Wyatt then shouted “let the games begin!” to end the promo.
Bray made his way backstage and bumped into Riddle. Matt told Bray that he hadn’t seen Randy Orton and pitched a “Bro-Nouns” segment on Firefly Fun House. Riddle said Ramblin Rabbit reminded him of Baby Yoda and had him sign a carrot for his pet rabbit.
Wyatt entered a room with a rocking chair in it. Bray slowly approached the chair as it rocked back and forth. Wyatt took a seat in the chair and Orton attacked him from behind. Orton threw Wyatt in a chest and locked it. Randy then lit it on fire but The Fiend popped out. The Fiend locked in the Mandible Claw until Randy passed out.
Mace Defeated Ricochet
Mace from RETRIBUTION faced Ricochet tonight. Mustafi Ali joined commentary as the rest of the members of RETRIBUTION stood behind him. Mace controlled the action early and hit Ricochet with a big boot for a two count.
Mace applied a Headlock in the middle of the ring but Ricochet escaped and connected with a Dropkick. Slapjack hopped on the apron and Ricochet hit him with a Dropkick. Ricochet knocked T-Bar off the apron and turned around into a Powerbomb from Mace for a near fall. Mustafi Ali shouted at Mace to shut Ricochet down and Mace connected with a slam for the pinfall victory.
Mandy Rose Returned
Shayna Baszler battled Dana Brooke during the third hour of RAW. Baszler went after Dana right away and connected with a running knee for a two count. Shayna bent back Dana’s digits and then Nia Jax attacked Dana from behind to end the match in a DQ. Nia and Shayna beat Dana Brooke down until Mandy Rose made the save with a kendo stick. Asuka rushed the ring as well and the Women’s Tag Team Champions retreated.
AJ Styles Sent A Message To McIntyre
Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles came to the ring for an “Ascension Ceremony” before their title match at TLC. Styles said that McIntyre should address his WWE Championship because he is going to lose it on Sunday.
AJ noted that they have never faced each other before and decided to do some studying to get to know McIntyre. Styles claimed to be shocked that it took McIntyre 19 years to reach the top of WWE. AJ said McIntyre showed us all why it took that long when he lost to Orton last month and added that Drew cannot handle the pressure.
Styles said that McIntyre is taking too many risks and pointed out that Drew has never been in a TLC match. AJ noted that he defended the WWE Championship in a TLC match and won because he knows what it takes to be a champion. Styles vowed to break every table, ladder, and chair in the ThunderDome over McIntyre’s back in order to win the title this Sunday.
McIntyre stated that he has always wanted a match against AJ Styles and the fans will get it this Sunday at TLC. Drew admitted that he has never been in a TLC match and that his goal is to remain champion. McIntyre said it is one thing to get to the top of the mountain but it is a whole different thing to stay at the top.
Drew said that he is the champion that led WWE through unchartered waters this year and is a diamond. McIntyre added that he was going to rip AJ apart this Sunday and is willing to do whatever it takes to himself and to Styles to remain WWE Champion.
The Miz and John Morrison shoved the ladder over onto McIntyre and beat the WWE Champion down. Drew battled back and hit Miz & Morrison with a Claymore. McIntyre hit Styles with the Glasgow Kiss and set up for the Claymore but Omas threw the steel steps in the ring. Styles hit McIntyre with a chop block and followed it up with the Phenomenal Forearm.
Styles told Omas to bring a ladder into the ring and Styles hit Drew in the head with it. AJ then grabbed a steel chair and hit the WWE Champion several times. Styles set up the chair in between the turnbuckles and bashed McIntyre’s face onto it. AJ brought in another ladder as Omas slid in a table. Styles climbed up the ladder and connected with an Elbow Drop that slammed McIntyre through a table. AJ Styles then raised the WWE Championship as RAW went off the air.
Opinion: The majority of this week’s episode of RAW was forgettable. It didn’t feel like it was the final RAW before a PPV. Having said that, there are still several matches I’m looking forward to at TLC and it will be interesting to see who Asuka‘s tag team partner is this Sunday night.