KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 12/18: Lesnar & Heyman address Strowman-Kane situation, Cedric vs. Gulak for Cruiserweight Title shot

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 18, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T

[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with a nearly three minute long recap of last week’s Braun Strowman vs. Kane main event with the inconclusive finish.

-They went live to a wide shot of the arena as Cole welcomed viewers to Raw. Then Kurt Angle’s music played and he made his way to the ring as the fans chanted “You suck!” at him. He smiled led the chant with his arms. Cole said over at Smackdown Live, “they have a mess” regarding who’s in charge of that show, but it’s clear on Raw. They showed the announcers on camera. Graves said he needs to know who will face Lesnar at the Rumble.

Angle said last week the Kane-Strowman match did not have a decisive winner, but Brock Lesnar is in the building, and by the end of the night, he’ll announce who Brock’s opponent will be. He used the singular term “opponent,” not “opponent or opponents,” for whatever that’s worth at this stage. He was then interrupted by Strowman. Booker said Angle’s eyes reveal he is scared right now.

Strowman stared at Angle and said he earned the opportunity to face Lesnar. He said last week he was the only one standing, so that’s why he should be the one Angle chooses to face Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. After an awkward pause and some off-mic words from Angle to Braun, Kane’s music played and he walked out. Cole said Angle is scared now. Kane said he’s caused more destruction in WWE than anyone else for over 20 years, so there’s no way anyone is stepping in front of him. He said Lesnar’s list of victims is impressive, and while it does include his brother in destruction, the Undertaker, it does not include him. He said he’ll get his chance at the Royal Rumble unless Strowman is man enough to stop him. He faced Strowman. Angle tried to talk some calm into them at which point Paul Heyman interrupted.

Heyman strode onto the stage and said they’re not going to have this discussion without input from the title holder, his client, the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar walked onto the stage and jogged in place. Cole said three of the baddest toughest men “in sports entertainment history” are going to be in the ring at the same time. Lesnar circled the ring and then entered it. He held his belt in the air proudly and the fans cheered. Angle then quickly and nervously announced at the Royal Rumble it’s going to be a Triple Threat match with all three. He then bailed out of the ring.

Lesnar, Strowman, and Kane circled each other. Kane threw a backhand at Lesnar which somehow the director missed, then went after Strowman. Strowman took a swing at Lesnar, but Lesnar clotheslined him over the top rope. Kane went for a chokeslam on Lesnar. Lesnar escaped and struggled at first, but then lifted Kane and gave him an F5. “The Beast, marking his territory!” exclaimed Cole. Graves said if that’s a preview of what’s going to happen at the Rumble, Lesnar may be champion forever. Booker said, “That’s a real man, dog.” Cole said there’d be a monster, a machine, and a beast battling it out in six weeks at the Royal Rumble event. He called it a colossal event. Kane sat up, and then stood up. Cole noted he had just taken an F5.

(Keller’s Analysis: Well, they got right to it. How many people got what they wanted and tune out now? Sometimes I wonder if Lesnar is paid by the minute that he has to be in the actual arena. That was a lot of mass in that ring, and WWE deserves some credit for rebuilding Kane in recent weeks to where he didn’t seem like the odd man out in this situation. I am curious how they pull off a triple threat match with those three, and does it lead to Lesnar unexpectedly losing the title without getting pinned? That is a possibility Heyman should express concern about, right?)

-They hyped Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe up next. [c]

-Seth came out to his music. Jason Jordan’s music then played. He was booed. He said he understands Seth doesn’t want to see him right now, he wants Joe. Jordan said he’s not the only one because he’s been asking Angle for a match against Joe the last two weeks, but he hasn’t gotten it. He said he’s done asking. He said he has nothing but respect for Seth, but if he has a bone to pick with Joe, he’ll have to pick the bones when he’s done with them. Seth asked for a mic of his own. He told Jordan he respects him and knows he has a lot of pressure on him. Joe’s music then interrupted Seth mid-sentence.

Joe said it seems “all the popular boys want to dance with me.” He this seems like a complex problem, but he believes in simple solutions. He said if they want to get their hands on him, why not make it Seth vs. Jordan, and the winner gets beat down and put to sleep by him. Seth said that sounds wonderful, except the match has already been made – him vs. Joe. He told him to get to the ring so he can kick his teeth down his throat, and Jordan can go look for his daddy’s approval somewhere else. Jordan dropped his mic and shoved Seth to the mat. Seth said, “Alright, okay” as he sat up. Seth took off his shirt and said he wanted Jordan first after all.

(Keller’s Analysis: I did enjoy Joe sounding like he was going to offer a Triple Threat match, only to instead offer to face the winner of Seth vs. Jordan – in other words, get to watch those two beat each other up and be a fresh opponent for the winner later.)

(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. JASON JORDAN

After a few early exchanges, Seth clotheslined Jordan over the top rope to the floor near where Joe was sitting. They cut to an early break. [c]

Back live, Cole noted that Angle has confirmed that the winner faces Joe later. “This is how we do business here on Raw, impromptu matches, and this is one of them,” Cole said. Joe caught Seth leaping off the ring apron at him, then drove him hard into the ringside barrier. They cut often to Joe’s facial reactions at ringside. Graves compliments Jordan for “already being elite” after just a few years in the business. He said a win here would silence a lot of doubters. Jordan settled into a ridiculously loose chinlock that Seth pretended he was stuck in, even though it was obvious he could have easily just moved his head out of the big gap in Jordan’s “grip.” Jordan caught a Seth boot and overhead suplexed him. They cut to another break. [c]

Back live, Seth had taken control after a Sling Blade. Seth hit a flying clothesline next and scored a two count. Seth turned to stare at Joe. That gave Jordan time to recover, and he surprised Seth with a suplex leading to a two count of his own. Graves said if there is a flaw in Seth’s game, it’s that he can get distracted because he is highly emotional. Seth side-stepped a charging Jordan and then kicked him off the ring apron. Then he dove through the ropes and speared Jordan. Seth ended up hitting the barricade himself, back-first, after colliding with Jordan.

Jordan caught Seth in the ring with a Northern Lights suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Seth punched and headbutted Jordan as he tried to suplex him off the top rope, then landed a frog splash for a believable near fall that popped the crowd. At ringside, Seth delivered a diving knee to Jordan’s head. Then he walked over to Joe and had a staredown as Joe stood and had a few words for him. He walked over to Jordan and threw Jordan into Joe. Then he superkicked Joe, who went down hard. Seth trash-talked Joe, then threw Jordan into the ring. Jordan sat down on a Seth sunset flip attempt and scored a believable near fall. Seth came right back with his signature high-knee for the win.

WINNER: Seth in 19:00.

-After the match, Joe stood on the ring apron. Seth charged with a forearm, then took it to him at ringside. He threw Joe into the ring. The ref tried to back off Seth, but Seth pushed through. Joe caught Seth with a punch and a urinage. Then he punched away at Seth’s head as three other refs showed up to push Joe away. As Joe left the ring at the urging of the referees, he took a shot at Jordan, clotheslining him into the ringside barrier. Booker called it a “love tap.” Graves said, “That was no love tap; that was disdain, and it hurt.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Good set-up, good match, and good post-match angle. Basic stuff well done with characters fans are invested in, and with the heels acting like heels. Yes, Seth left himself open because of his emotions, but at least the announcers pointed it out and as part of Seth’s personality, and it didn’t ultimately cost him the match. Another longer match on Raw, and credit Jordan for carrying his end of it and seeming like he belonged in a long competitive match with someone of Seth’s stature.) 

-The announcers hyped the Cruiserweight match and Women’s match coming up later. [c]


Send your thoughts and questions about tonight’s episode of Raw to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com which will be addressed on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One, dropping around 3 a.m. ET a few hours after Raw ends. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or on the Podcast One app or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just search “Wade Keller.” 


-The announcers commented on clips of the previous match and post-match happenings.

-Backstage Seth, accompanied by Dean Ambrose, told Angle he wants to get his hands on Joe tonight. Angle said in the condition he’s now in, he can’t. Dean said he wants a shot at him, too. In walked Jordan who asked if Angle saw what Joe just did to him. Seth and Dean told him to get in line. Angle resolved it by booking Seth, Dean, and Jordan against Joe, Cesaro, and Sheamus later. Angle told Seth and Dean to take it or leave it.

-The announcers reacted to the announcement. Cole said he liked it. They shifted to Matt Hardy’s transformation. Cole said it was a breakdown. Graves called it an awakening. They highlighted some of the Hardy’s tweets. Graves pointed fans to #Woken.

-Bray Wyatt’s took over the screen. He asked what it is that draws people to “Woken” Matt Hardy. He asked if it’s his words or childish laugh or maybe the funny faces he makes. He imitated his laughs and faces. He said it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. He said he’ll make sure “the right people get hurt.” He said those people are Matt Hardy and all of his fans. He said if Hardy wants to continue on with this chess match, he will play “but I don’t play by the rules.” He sang that he can see through him and he wants him to tell everyone he loves that she is sorry, but the Great War must end. “Run!” he concluded.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m glad they didn’t intersperse Hardy this time. That played itself out somewhere in the middle of last week’s second attempt at that approach. I think Bray’s promos have moved up a notch or two in quality and originality in recent weeks.)

-Finn Balor made his ring entrance. [c]

[HOUR TWO]

(2) BO DALLAS & CURTIS AXEL vs. FINN BALOR

When Bo and Curtis had a conference at the start of the match, Cole said they were discussing strategy. Booker said it wasn’t working. Cole and Graves immediately said they just started the match! When Graves touted Curtis’s valiant return from a neck injury, Cole said Curtis had been cleared for weeks, but milked his neck injury. Balor caught Axel with a low dropkick that connected with his nose. He began to bleed from his nose; some blood got on Balor’s chest. Cole said Curtis was bleeding from his nose. Graves said a broken nose can change one’s strategy. Bo tagged in and grounded Balor with a chinlock. Axel tagged back in and put Balor on the top rope. Balor knocked Curtis to the mat. He then set up a double stomp, but Bo ran over and grabbed his legs. Curtis and Bo double-teamed Balor. The ref called for the DQ.

WINNER: Balor via DQ in 6:00.

-After the post-match attack continued, Hideo Itami ran out and made the save. Graves said he wasn’t supposed to debut until tomorrow night on 205 Live. He said they’ve been longtime friends in their journeys across the globe. Itami threw some kicks to knock Bo and Curtis out of the ring. [c]

(3) FINN BALOR & HIDEO ITAMI vs. BO DALLAS & CURTIS AXEL

The match was joined in progress. Cole said another impromptu match was made official by Angle after Balor asked for it. Cole talked about the history of Itami and Balor in Japan. They built to a hot tag for Itami who rallied against Curtis. He delivered a barrage of rapid-fire strikes leading to a cover, which Bo broke up. Balor entered to even the odds with a sling blade to Bo. Itami then hit Curtis with a running dropkick to the face. Balor then gave Bo a running dropkick at ringside. Itami did the throat-slice gesture and gave Curtis the Go To Sleep for the win. Graves said the landscape of the Cruiserweight Division has just changed. Graves said the GTS has served him well all over the world.

WINNERS: Itami & Balor in 5:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good introduction for Itami. I’m curious if this leads to Balor also dipping his toe in the 205 Live waters, perhaps coming to Itami’s aid at some point to set up some tag matches. I’m an advocate for either dumping 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division or (preferably) going all-in to make it the best it can be. Adding Balor to the mix would be a step in the direction of making it seem more prestigious and relevant, and not the minor leagues for smaller wrestlers.)

-Renee Young interviewed Cedric Alexander backstage. She asked if he’s overlooking Drew Gulak with his eyes on Enzo. Cedric said he wants to be Crusierweight Champion so badly he can taste it and he wants to show the world what the Cruiserweights are made of, but he has to take it one match at a time, and tonight is his focus. He said he’ll be overlooking Gulak only after he pins him and looks forward to facing Enzo. He then winked at Renee as he left.

-A commercial aired for this week’s NXT program. [c]


NOTE: Check out our new weekly “PWT talks NXT” podcast, part of the PWTorch Livecast line-up. The show drops every Wednesday night. Catch the premiere episode from last week right now HERE and then check out this week’s show on Wednesday night as PWTorch Specialist NXT Kelly Wells makes his debut as the host of the roundtable format along with Justin James (NXT TV reporters for PWTorch for years) and Tom Stoup (our on-site Full Sail University NXT TV taping correspondent). Also, search “pwtorch” to subscribe to the free PWTorch Livecast line-up with six new shows per week, each covering a different niche in pro wrestling along with our “Best of” edition every Friday. Tonight’s Livecast features “MMA talk for Pro Wrestling Fans.” Last night’s show features a live call-in format reacting to WWE Clash of Champions hosted by Pat McNeill & Greg Parks. That show is available to stream or download HERE.


-Enzo came out with Drew Gulak. He did some Star Wars references. He said he is the last Jedi and Gulak is his Padawan. Gulak said he always considered himself Jar Jar Binks. He called Enzo his friend and mentor. As a token of appreciation for Enzo, he prepared a new edition of Drew Gulak’s Plan for a Better 205 Live, an Enzo Amore Tribute Edition. Cedric interrupted his attempt to begin his Powerpoint presentation. “Enzo looks like he stuck a porg in a blender,” Graves said.

(4) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. DREW GULAK – Cruiserweight No. 1 Contendership at stake

Enzo joined the announcers on commentary. He said women and kids love him and men are jealous of him. Hey, that’s Roman Reigns Gimmick Infringement. Graves asked what’s going on between Enzo and Nia Jax. After an early dropkick by Cedric, Gulak rolled to the floor. Cedric landed a running flip dive onto Gulak at ringside, then he pointed at Enzo. Enzo said, “Who points these days?” He said that’s rude and his mama should have taught him better. Back in the ring Cedric chopped Gulak in the chest. Cole asked Enzo if he’s counting on Drew winning so he can have an easy title defense. Enzo said he’s a fighting champion. Enzo asked, “What’s worse than getting coal on Christmas? Getting Michael Cole on Christmas!” Gulak suplexed Cedric over the top rope and they both tumbled to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]

Gulak was in control after the break. Enzo said, “I’m as real as the diamonds around my neck. I’m in Hollywood living in the hills. My house is currently not been attended to in three weeks. I guarantee you the temperature is set at 68 degrees, every light is on, and I’m burning a bulb out on the TV because if you’re saving money for a rainy day, you’re planning for a rainy day, and I see nothing but sun rays and I’m wearing sun shades for a reason.” Enzo continued to talk over Cole as they tried to call the match. He said he doesn’t need respect from others because he has enough respect for himself. Enzo objected to Cole calling Gulak his best friend. He said he didn’t want to contradict him earlier when he said that and throw him off his game before his match.

Cedric made a comeback and eventually hit a running Spanish Fly for a believable near fall. They were both slow to get up. Cedric stood first. He took off his elbow pads and threw some uppercuts and a spin kick. Gulak caught his next kick attempt and set up a submission. Enzo said he taught him the move. Cedric reached the bottom rope to force a break. Enzo received a text and then got up and left. Gulak noticed and seemed sad. Cedric then landed a spinning back-fist and a flying clothesline. He followed up with the Lumbar Check for the win.

WINNER: Cedric in 13:00 to earn a shot against Enzo’s Cruiserweight Championship.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Enzo pulled a lot of attention away from it with his commentary, though. I’m assuming Enzo has just found out who Chad Gable’s long-lost father is.)

-The announcers hyped Asuka was up next. [c]

-Backstage Enzo approached Nia Jax who looked smitten by Enzo. He said he got the DM. She said she thought they could continue their conversation from last week, unless he has to catch up with Drew. Enzo said he has been thinking about her tweet “and the answer is right at the tip of your tongue.” Drew walked up to Enzo with a bloody cotton ball stuck up his nose. He apologized for letting him down. Enzo said it’s fine and told him to go fix himself up. Gulak said he let him down and they need to talk about it. Nia said they’d continue chatting another time, and she brushed her finger against his chest. The crowd oohed. Gulak said he needs to review the tapes and see what went wrong. He said if they go over it together, maybe they can figure it out. Enzo yelled that he did a lot of things wrong, then walked away. Drew looked distraught. They cut to a crowd shot of a guy with a stern look who didn’t seem the least bit amused by what he just watched.

(5) ASUKA vs. ALICIA FOX

Fox said in a pre-match soundbite that lighting will not strike twice. She said she will end Asuka’s undefeated streak or else she will freak out. Cole asked Graves what Fox learned from her last match against Asuka. Graves said he’d be surprised if Fox even remembered her last match against Asuka. Fox tried to avoid Asuka’s attack at every turn, but eventually did land a kick when she reentered the ring. That led to a soft two count. Booker said Asuka better not starting believing her press clippings and win every night. Cole emphatically exclaimed, “She hasn’t lost a match in years!” Fox settled into a chinlock after a Northern Lights Suplex. Asuka came back with a missile dropkick and then a hip attack, followed by a kick to the side of the head followed by her armbar. Fox tapped out.

WINNER: Asuka in 4:00.

-They went to the announcers at ringside to discuss Asuka’s win. Cole plugged Total Divas. A sneak peak included Miz and Maryse. Miz said he’d go vegetarian for one week only if she took a bite out of a raw slab of red meat. Maryse pushed him away, but then took a bite. Miz got wide-eyed. Graves said if you’re not supposed to eat animals, why are they so delicious.

[HOUR THREE]

(6) SAMOA JOE & CESARO & SHEMAUS vs. SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE & JASON JORDAN

Jordan blind-tagged himself in at the start, slapping Seth on the shoulder. Seth didn’t like that. Cole said Jordan is just going to tick off his own partners. Booker said you need the respect of your colleagues in the locker room, and Jordan doesn’t get that. Cole said at some point Jodan needs to start winning, not just holding his own. Joe took it to Jordan early in the match. Booker said he likes that Jordan is learning the hard way. Jordan managed to escape a Cesaro headlock with a back suplex and tagged in Seth. Seth slingshot himself onto Cesaro at ringside, then quickly returned to the ring when Sheamus and Joe moved toward him. They cut to a break. [c]

The heels got a sustained beatdown on Seth. At ringside, Joe and Sheamus stomped away at Seth as the ref held Cesaro in the ring. Dean ran around the ring to make the save. Jordan joined him and went after Joe aggressively. Dean shoved Sheamus head-first into the ringpost. Joe threw Jordan into the time keeper’s area. Ambrose kneed Joe from behind. Seth backdropped Cesaro. Dean threw Seth into the ring, then ran back to his corner and called for the tag. The crowd cheered on Seth. He should have thrown Seth into the ring closer to his corner! Seth crawled over slowly, but Cesaro charged in and cut off Seth and gave Dean a boot to the face. Seth threw Cesaro out of the ring, then sidestepped and threw Joe out of the ring, too. Then came his obligatory running dive through the ropes. He tackled Dean in addition to Joe and Cesaro. Dean came up selling his right elbow. Booker wondered what happened to Jordan. A ringside doctor checked on Dean. Back in the ring, Sheamus surprised Seth with a Brogue Kick. The ref entered the ring and counted the pin.

WINNERS: Sheamus & Cesaro & Joe in 13:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot of developments in that match, as Jordan seemed to be a good partner for Seth and Dean without any big incident. The Dean elbow injury, at the hands of Seth, hopefully isn’t setting the stage already for a heel turn for Dean.)

-The announcers threw to a recap of the opening segment.

-They showed the parking garage where a limo pulled up. Out walked Stephanie McMahon. Oh, goodie. [c]

-They aired a vignette of Matt Hardy who was staring closely at a chess board, game pieces already in play. He made a move and called “Checkmate!” He said the forces of the opposition have been eradicated. He laughed. Then the camera pulled back to show that his opponent, Napoleon, was a gold fish in a fish bowl. He addressed the camera and said WWE’s battlefield is much like a chess board – one wrong move can lead to total and utter annihilation. He said his light will illuminate lighter than any shadow. Fans began chanting “Delete!” He retuned to the chess board which had been reset with a full set of white pieces against just a queen and king on the other side of the board, whom he said represented Bray and Sister Abigail who must be stopped. He knocked them off the board and began yelling “Delete! Delete!”

-They returned to the announce desk. Booker seemed to have a bad headache from watching that. Cole discussed the Dean arm injury and showed a clip of Seth causing it.

-Backstage, as Dean was being checked on by a doctor with Seth by his side, Joe, Cesaro, and Sheamus attacked them. Joe told Seth he’s never safe. Joe rolled a heavy crate onto his arm. Dean yelled out in pain as a medic yelled for help. [c]

(7) THE REVIVAL (Dash & Dawson) vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO

Graves said some call them a throwback in tag team wrestling, but in his opinion, they’re the next step in the evolution of tag team wrestling. Cole noted that Dash suffered a broken jaw and then Dawson a ruptured bicep, but they’re back now and ready to go. They showed Titus O’Neal, Apollo Crews, and Dana Brooke watching on a monitor backstage. Brooke, doing her best Alexander York impression, took notes on a clipboard. Dash scored the pin on Slater after their Shatter Machine.

WINNERS: The Revival in 3:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting coincidence that Itami made his Raw debut the same week Dash & Dawson returned. Itami’s stiff GTS is what broke Dash’s jaw back in April, and there was some heat over it. Dash & Dawson heat up slowly with fans and need the right build to get their gimmick, such as it’s a gimmick, over with the larger main roster audience. I’m glad Graves is here to help them along on commentary.)

-They showed Stephanie McMahon chatting with Kurt Angle backstage.

-They showed a commercial for “Table for 3” featuring Finn Balor, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy. It included the teaser that Finn Balor had a confession for the Hardys. [c]

-An ad for “Total Divas” with Natalya and Lana’s feud intensifying.

-Angle came up to Slater and Rhyno after the loss. He said he appreciates the effort, but he needs them to toughen up if they want more opportunities. Slater asked Rhyno what he meant by that. Slater said he’s got kids and a pool and he needs this job. Rhyno said they need to change. Rhyno said Slater needs to toughen up so they can compete with Sheamus and Cesaro, and he has some ideas. Slater asked, “Wait, wait, is this gonna hurt?”

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m glad they’re doing something with Rhyno and Slater. They have a fun comedic chemistry that hasn’t been featured at all lately.)

-Elias sat mid-ring and asked who wants to walk with Elias. He said, “Let’s give it up for Tom Brady.” He said he and Tom have crossed paths quite a few times. He said Tom came up to him once and said his music is the soundtrack to my success. Elias said he told Tom he knows. He said Tom told him he listens to him on game day when he goes through his pre-game rituals, like deflating footballs and manipulating the rulebook and stuff like that. He said if you think Tom Brady is a legend, Elias is a real legend. He said he’s taken Roman Reigns to the limit and survived Braun Strowman, and Angle is afraid of what he is becoming – “and he should be.” He said on Jan. 28, it will be the performance of the year when he enters and wins the Royal Rumble match. He said his song tonight isn’t for the fans of New England, but instead it’s for Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner. He was interrupted quickly by Sasha Banks.

Sasha entered the ring. Elias said, “Look at you!” He thanked her for joining him and asked her watch him do his thing. Mickie James’s music then interrupted. Graves said she’s coming out to tell Elias to never open his mouth in public again. Elias said normally he doesn’t like to get interrupted, but it isn’t bad being him tonight, implying having two beautiful women next to him was cool. He said all the women want to walk with him. He asked them join in. Then he was interrupted again by Bayley. Elias threw his pick to the mat in frustration, then left the ring with his guitar. Bayley asked for a hug. Elias walked right around her. [c]

-Graves plugged that Itami debuts in the Cruiserweight Division tomorrow night. Cole plugged that John Cena returns to Raw on Christmas night live from Chicago, Ill.

-They replayed the angle last week with the brawl between Absolution and the rest of the Raw locker room.

(8) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY & MICKIE JAMES vs. ABSOLUTION (Paige & Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose)

The bell rang 57 minutes into the third hour. Booker talked about Paige on Tough Enough being hard on the trainees. Deville and Rose took it to Sasha at ringside as the ref dealt with Mickie trying to make the save. Paige kicked Mickie, then yelled at Deville and Rose to go after Bayley at ringside. When they went on to beat up Sasha in the ring relentlessly, the ref called for the DQ.

WINNERS: Mickie & Bayley & Sasha via DQ in 3:00.

-Afterward, Nia Jax entered the ring. Paige ordered Deville and Rose to go after her. Jax easily fended them off. Paige cowered in the corner and watched as Jax beat up Rose and Deville. Nia lifted them both onto her shoulder and gave them a Samoan Drop. Paige clipped Jax’s knee from behind and gave her a running knee to the face. She yelled and stomped away at Jax. Rose and Deville recovered and joined in the attack. Fox, Alexa Bliss, and others from the locker room joined in. Suddenly Stephanie McMahon’s music played. She strutted out toward the ring. All of the women stopped fighting as soon as her music played. Graves said when your last name is McMahon, you command a certain level of respect.

Stephanie entered the ring in her high heels and towered over the women (other than Jax). She said a revolution started three years ago with the women in the ring and those on Smackdown Live. She said credit goes to Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young for paving the way. She said the Divas Division became the Women’s Division and they became the Superstars and headliners, main eventing just like the guys and blowing the roof off the joint. She said just two weeks ago women competed in the Middle East for the first time in WWE, breaking a new barrier along with the first Money in the Bank and HIAC matches. She said they inspired little girls in the Middle East and all over the world with their passion and unbridled talent. “But that’s not enough,” she said. “What do you say, ladies, you make history once again?” She asked the crowd if they’re ready to see women make history again. She announced the Royal Rumble featuring all-women for the very first time. All of the women chanted. Nia and Bliss hugged. Paige joined in a “Yes!” chants and seemed moved by the announcement. The show ended as Paige hugged Deville and Rose.

(Keller’s Analysis: That’s just Stephanie being Stephanie, so what more can be said? She should look at that script and tell the writer, “This makes me seem like a totally insecure person who needs to tower over all of these women and have them seem subservient to me and awe-struck by my presence. Is this supposed to flatter me? How about you write good segments and don’t treat me like some egomaniac?” Instead, she seems all in on these things. What struck me more was the character-break from Paige, who was touched by Stephanie’s announcement and even participated win the Yes! chant and hugged Deville at the end like she had just received some college acceptance letter she had been waiting for. Everyone involved in Stephanie segments end up damaged, and this was no exception. They all seemed like school children when the principle arrived with candy. Ugh. If nothing else was changed, at least they should have had Paige seemed like the kid in class who is too cool to get excited when they announce a field trip and just shrugs his shoulders. They could have turned that into a “thing” next week where Paige explains that she’s not impressed by Stephanie and she’s not part of any women’s movements – she’s out for herself and whether there was a Rumble or not, she was going to make her mark.) 


Send your thoughts and questions about tonight’s episode of Raw to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com which will be addressed on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One, dropping around 3 a.m. ET a few hours after Raw ends. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or on the Podcast One app or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just search “Wade Keller.” 


 

4 Comments on KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 12/18: Lesnar & Heyman address Strowman-Kane situation, Cedric vs. Gulak for Cruiserweight Title shot

  1. I am a fan and have been watching every week since I was a wee one, but this was the longest RAW that I ever sat through. The first hour seemed to drag on and on like an old dog on a new carpet.

  2. I thought this show was pretty boring. Bray Wyatt’s act is very stale. He says a lot of words that mean nothing. Very predictable and boring.

  3. The whole “make history” thing is almost as bad as ‘you deserve it’ and ‘ this is awesome’ chants every five minutes.

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