KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 25, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Booker T, Corey Graves
-John Cena came out to his ring entrance. Cole announced that Raw would be commercial free thanks to USA Network. In the ring, Cena said everyone would have to excuse him as a boy in the crow ghad the wrong color hat and the wrong color shirt, and he wants to gift him the right colors for Christmas. He took off his lime green shirt and hat to a kid in the orange and blue color. He returned to the ring and fans chanted “Merry Christmas.” Cena said that’s the first time for that chant on Raw. Cole said it’s the first time Raw has aired live on Christmas. He said it’s great they all get to be together, and cheers to the good times and bad times.
Elias walked out and said he’s been interrupted so many times, he wanted to do the interrupting this time. A loud “C.M. Punk” chant started. Elias said it’s for damn sure Punk won’t be interrupting him. Cena said it’s the holidays and Chicago loves their fellow Chicagoans, so let them have their fun. Elias sat down to strum, but another Punk chant started.
He said it’s Christmas time in Chicago. He sang that he can’t think of a worse place to be. Cena said he is a decent singer, but he always gets to a point where he calls the fans “jerks.” He said they’re not jerks, he is. Some “Yes!” chants. Elias said he never thought of it that way, and it is Christmas, so maybe he has been a jerk. He said he’d love to do that song again if Chicago would give him a second chance. Cena said because it’s Christmas, sing again. Elias was nice this time with his lyrics. Cena began singing with him and turned his back. Elias then stood and punched him in the nose. No pop from the crowd, so that’s progress for Chicago. Elias said Christmas is overrated, and so is Chicago.
(1) JOHN CENA vs. ELIAS
Elias called for a bell. A ref ran out and said Kurt Angle approved the match. Elias dominated much of the match. In the end, Cena made his comeback with his signature series of moves for a clean win.
WINNER: Cena in 16:00.
-They went to the announcers. Cole touted the sellout crowd and asked Graves if Elias proved something and opened some eyes. Graves said it was impressive, despite losing.
-A video package aired on Samoa Joe.
-Backstage Jason Jordan walked into Kurt Angle’s office as Kurt was hanging ornaments on a tree. They hugged and exchanged Christmas well-wishes. Then in walked Seth Rollins, too. They both said Kurt wanted to see him. Seth said he wants Joe after what he did last week to Dean Ambrose. Jordan said he’s been waiting patiently for this match. Seth asked if he understands the concept of patience. Angle said if they want Joe, they have to take care of The Bar first as a team. Seth said not after what happened last week. Jordan said he didn’t get his head kicked in by Sheamus. Jordan said he came over to Raw to concentrate on his singles career and doesn’t want to move backwards. Seth didn’t like the idea that teaming with him was a step backwards. Angle told them to figure things out between them because the match was on, and the Raw Tag Team Titles would be on the line. He wished them a Merry Christmas. Seth and Jordan seemed okay with it. Roman Reigns then walked up to Angle after Seth and Jordan left. He told Reigns that Samoa Joe is all his tonight and said, “Merry Christmas.” He said the title is on the line, though.
-Charley Caruso interviewed Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher in the ring. Kendrick said he wants to find out how good this Hideo Itami is. He said he might belong or he might be a passing fad.
(2) HIDEO ITAMI vs. BRIAN KENDRICK (w/Jack Gallagher)
Itami dominated early, but a Gallagher distraction opened up sustained offense for Kendrick. Itami came back with strikes, which Cole complimented, and then finished him with a running dropkick in the corner and his GTS finisher. The slo-mo of the GTS looked nasty. That’s too stiff. A medic checked on Kendrick afterwards, and he’s either a great seller or he is concussed and hurt.
WINNER: Itami in 4:00.
-A video package aired on Stephanie McMahon’s Women’s Royal Rumble Announcement.
-Backstage Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas wore ugly Christmas sweaters and sang to Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James. The song was about Miz. The were speechless and walked away. Bo and Curtis thought they impressed them and wished them a “Merry Mizmas.”
(3) PAIGE & SONYA DEVILLE & MANDY ROSE vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS & MICKIE JAMES
Graves called Absolution the most dominant trio in recent history in the Women’s Division in WWE. He heaped his usual praise on Mandy. Late in the match Paige knocked Bayley off the top rope and hit the Rampaige for the win.
WINNERS: Absolution in 10:00.
-The announcers commented on clips of Seth diving through the ropes and hitting Dean Ambrose, among others, at ringside last week. Graves called it “a simple miscue.”
-Renee Young interviewed Samoa Joe backstage. He said people aren’t seeing the silver lining here because Dean gets to be at home celebrating the holidays with his family. He said he felt no remorse and now he is moving on to Roman Reigns and his IC Title. He predicted he’d own Reigns and put him to sleep and he’d wake up from a nightmare seeing his (Joe’s) arm raised.
-They showed Kane backstage.
-A commercial hyped the 25th Anniversary of Raw. [c]
(4) KANE vs. HEATH SLATER (w/Rhyno)
An inset interview aired with Rhyno telling Slater that Angle wanted Slater to toughen up, and Rhyno said he’ll make that happen. Graves said Rhyno is like Tony Robbins. Slater tried to leave after an early beating, but Rhyno told him he’s got it and dig deep. Kane chokeslammed him seconds later for the win.
WINNER: Kane in 2:00.
-After the match, Rhyno charged into the ring. He blocked a Kane chokeslam and shoulder-tackled Kane in the corner. Then he set up a Gore, but Kane grabbed him by his throat and hit a chokeslam. [c]
-Curt Hawkins stood in the ring and said 2017 wasn’t his year in terms of wins and losses, but he felt like a Christmas miracle is in the air. He issued an open challenge to anyone who would “step in my living room” and receive two lumps of coal. He vowed to end his 146 match losing streak. Finn Balor answered his challenge.
(5) FINN BALOR vs. CURT HAWKINS
Hawkins got in a little offense early, but ultimately Balor beat him decisively with the Coup De Grace. Graves compared Hawkins to the Cleveland Browns. Booker compared him to Barry Horowitz and Dusty Wolfe, WWF jobbers from the 1980s.
WINNER: Balor in 1:30. [c]
-Cole congratulated the Bellas for having over 1 million subscribers on their YouTube Channel.
-Backstage Curtis and Bo approached Goldust and said he looks like he could use a Mizmas Carol. They sang that his career has lost some speed and luster. Goldust acted like he had a worm crawling into his ear. They presented him with a “Santa’s Little Helper” DVD. They said he’d love it and wished him Merry Mizmas. In the background, Titus Brand showed up. Goldust immediately gave Titus the DVD. When Goldust hissed in his face, Titus threw it over his head as Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke looked on.
-Bray Wyatt talked about how Sister Abigail thought of Christmas as a ritual to make people feel better about their lives. He said “Woken” Matt Hardy is similar as he is using the people for his own gain. He said the fans are surrounded by fireflies and darkness “and her.” He said, “Chicago, I’m here.” Cheers. Then he blew out the lantern.
When Bray entered the ring, as soon as the lights came on, Hardy attacked him. Bray avoided a Twist of Fate and bailed out to ringside. Booker called it mind games. Graves said not many can play mind games with Bray and survive. Hardy led a “Delete!” chant. Hardy took the mic and laughed and made his odd noises.
-Backstage Cesaro and Sheamus chatted about how Angle should appreciate them more. Sheamus said he appreciates Cesaro as a great partner and presented him with a gift. It was a Dean Ambrose action figure. It was missing an arm. Sheamus said it’s a new release this week. Cesaro loved it. Cesaro then gave Sheamus a gift – a Seth action figure. He said he’d break it just like he will break the real thing later tonight. Then Cesaro gave Sheamus another gift – a Jason Jordan action figure. Cesaro said Seth doesn’t want Jordan as a partner and Angle doesn’t want Jordan as a son.
-Christmas trees were being set up at ringside. [c]
-Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak, and Ariya Daivari came out in Christmas outfits. Enzo was Santa, the other two were his elves. He did a bit about how Cedric found nothing but coal in his stocking, then turned it into a dig at Michael Cole. Booker chuckled. Enzo said he’s giving all three of them a “very merry beatdown.” Cole hyped that Enzo would defend against Cedric next week on Raw with the Cruiserweight Title on the line.
(6) CEDRIC ALEXANDER & MUSTAFA ALI & AKIRA TOZAWA vs. ENZO AMORE & DREW GULAK & ARIYA DAIVARI – Miracle on 34th Street match.
They cut to a very early commercial break. [c]
They used canes that were taped like candy canes. Enzo begged off late in the match when Cedric pointed a cane at him. Enzo escaped to the floor, so Cedric hit Drew. Daivari rolled up Cedric from behind for a two count. Cedric came right back with a Lumbar Check for the win.
WINNERS: Cedric & Tozawa & Ali in 8:00.
-Enzo crossed paths under mistletoe with Nia Jax. They shared a seductive smile as Enzo pointed it out. Just as they were about to kiss, Alexa Bliss walked in with an urgent matter to talk to Nia about regarding the Women’s Rumble. Enzo was crestfallen by the interruption. Nia left to hear what Bliss had to say. Enzo was sad.
-Renee interviewed Reigns backstage. He said he “could care less” what Joe has to say and he’s the champ and he’s not leaving without his title. He said tonight is also about Dean and sending a message to Joe that if you hurt one of his buddies, he will hurt you.
-Joe ring entrance took place as the crowd chanted “Joe! Joe!” Graves said this is what Joe lives for – a big fight and a big opportunity. Cole said he wants to systematically destroy The Shield. Highlights aired of Joe attacking Ambrose backstage last week. Then Reigns made his ring entrance. Big reaction, the usual mix.
(7) ROMAN REIGNS vs. SAMOA JOE – Intercontinental Title match
Roman went after Joe aggressively at the start. Graves said that kind of intensity can’t last the whole match. Joe threw some jabs. Booker called them “South paw right hand jabs.” Graves laughed and asked, “Booker, what in the hell is a south paw right hand jab. A south paw is a lefty!” Booker had no answer as Cole said he’s given up. Reigns came back and threw a barrage of clotheslines at Joe in the corner. The crowd counted along to ten. He took Joe down with a big boot. Joe came back with some right hand jabs, which Booker called correctly this time. Joe gave Roman a drop enzuigiri for a two count. They cut to a break at 4:00. [c]
After the break, Joe slapped Reigns and headbutted him. Reigns surprised Joe with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Joe applied a sleeper. Reigns grabbed the bottom rope and then rolled to the ring apron. Joe shoved him down and then dove through the ropes and speared him into the security barrier. Roman immediately grabbed his left arm in pain. Cole said he might be hurt. Joe went to an armbar. Reigns came back and went after Joe aggressively in the corner. He shoved the ref when he tried to get Reigns to back off. The ref DQ’d him. Boos. The ring announcer declared Joe the winner. Reigns gave him a Superman Punch.
WINNER: Joe via DQ in 12:00.
-At ringside afterward, Reigns surprised Joe with a Superman Punch. Joe rolled to the floor. Reigns went after Joe at ringside with a Superman Punch off the ringside steps. Then he threw Joe into the ringpost. Joe went down, yelling in pain. Reigns yanked him up and threw him into another ringpost. Cole said Reigns has a lot of anger inside. Reigns picked up the top of the ringside steps and hit Joe with them. He said, “How are you doing, son? Get up.” (Why would he call “son”?) Two referees warned Reigns to put the steps down, but he hit Joe with them again. Joe cried out in pain again. Reigns swung at Joe, but hit ringpost when Joe moved his arm. They showed Seth watching in the back on a monitor; he was laughing. The referees and a producer (Jamie Noble) tried to calm Reigns down.
-They went back to Seth. Jordan walked in. Seth told him to save his time if he’s trying to talk to him about overcoming their differences. He said he’s wrestling with him as a partner as a favor to Angle because he had his back when he needed it, so he has his. Plus, he wanted a piece of Sheamus & Cesaro. Seth said they have differences, but he doesn’t care, he wants to be tag champs again. He told Jordan not to lose and then brag about how he hung with the top competition. He said everyone is top competition in WWE. He told Jordan to listen to him and he’ll be okay. Jordan said nobody is happy Dean is hurt, but he makes a pretty good replacement for Dean. Seth looked at Jordan seriously and said no mater how good he thinks he is, he will never be as good as Dean. Jordan sternly said, “Right, I’ll be better.” Then he walked away as Seth soaked up those words. [c]
(8) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. CURTIS AXEL & BO DALLAS – Secret Santa match
Before the match, Curtis and Bo stood mid-ring and said they were excited because Angle told them they have a Secret Santa match. Out came Braun. Graves asked if this was actually an “Ugly Christmas Sweater match.” Braun pinned Bo after a running powerslam.
WINNER: Braun in 1:00.
-Afterward, Braun approached Curtis. Cole said he hopes he didn’t throw away his neck brace. Graves said he was thinking the same thing. Braun gave him a running powerslam. The fans chanted “One more time.” He gave another to Bo and another to Curtis. Then Braun roared and celebrated.
-They showed Bliss backstage. Graves said she’d address the fans after the break. [c]
-Bliss stood mid-ring and said she was giving the fans a gift of a goddess “so don’t say I never do anything for ya’.” She said she knows Christmas is a time to scarf down a bunch of Christmas cookies and listen to boring stories nobody wants to hear again. She said 2017 has been the year of Alexa Bliss. She said she started the year as Smackdown champion and will end as the Raw champion. She said she dominates like a freakin’ Jedi from Star Wars. The fans cheered. She said she did it without them before and she doesn’t need them now. She said unlike her colleagues in the back, she punched right though the glass ceiling. She threw to a replay of Stephanie’s announcement last week. She said she’s watched that 100 times and she still gets cold chills. She said to everyone, “You’re welcome.” She said every cheer and tear and moment of excitement is historic and it’s because of her. “I’m the gift that keeps on giving.” She said to every Superstar who walks in her shadow – “believe me, there’s a lot of them” – she will be watching the Rumble to see who steps up to face her. Asuka’s music then interrupted her.
Asuka entered the ring and strutted until the final beat of her music. She looked at Bliss and said she’s entering the Rumble match. She said nobody is ready for her, so she will win. She dropped the mic and smiled as Bliss looked on nervously. After a tense moment, Asuka then kicked Bliss in the side of her head. Graves said Asuka is her pick to win. Her music played and she gyrated her hips. [c]
-Cole announced that Brock Lesnar will be on the New Year’s Day Raw next Monday night.
(9) SHAMUS & CESARO vs. SETH ROLLINS & JASON JORDAN – Raw Tag Team Title match
As Seth came out, they replayed Joe, Seth, and Cesaro attacking Dean and Seth last week. Formal ring introductions took place. Cole said the champs can’t overlook this make-shift pairing of Seth and Jordan tonight.
Late in the match, with Cesaro beating up Jordan, Cole talked about the fight and grit Jordan was showing. Sheamus tagged in and clotheslined Jordan off of Cesar’s shoulders. The ref went to count, but stopped when Seth dove onto Cesaro in the ring. Seth superkicked Cesaro, but Sheamus then gave a Brogue Kick to Seth. Sheamus applied a Clover Leaf. Jordan reached the ropes. Sheamus gave him a White Noise. Seth grabbed Cesaro’s leg to stop him from joining in. Sheamus chased after Seth at ringside, but Seth shoved him into the ringpost. Cesaro then gave Seth an uppercut. Back in the ring Jordan surprised Cesaro with a suplex and scored the pin. Graves said Booker has to eat crow and admit that Jordan is for real. Booker said Jordan will learn a lot teaming with Seth. As Jordan and Seth celebrated, Seth look surprised and impressed by Jordan scoring the win.
WINNERS: Jordan & Rollins to capture the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships in 16:00.
NOTE: Check back for some updated analysis of the show. I’m moving on now to record the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast first!
Send your questions and thoughts about tonight’s Raw to firstname.lastname@example.org for tonight’s post-Raw taping of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast for Podcast One.