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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 16, 2019
DES MOINES, IA
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Samoa Joe
-Before the standard Raw intro video, a highlight package aired that detailed the events of last week between Seth Rollins, AOP, and Kevin Owens.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A very similar video to what we saw last night on the TLC show. Still, effective in telling the Rollins story. Good stuff.
-When the highlight package aired, the intro video for Raw aired, pyro went off, and the announcers welcomed the audience to the show. In the welcoming, Vic Joseph talked about Seth Rollins and questioned who backstage would be able to take him on with AOP at his side. When the intro finished, Rollins hit the ring to a nice reaction from the crowd. Rollins was cold and dismissive as he walked to the ring and King said that we’d see a different Seth Rollins on the show tonight. Once Rollins got to the ring, the audience booed louder as he stood with a microphone. From there, Rollins introduced the two men that have chosen to live on the right side of history. AOP walked out to a negative reaction from the audience. Once AOP got to the ring, Rollins said he wanted to get down to business. Rollins said that when he made his debut in NXT, the world said he was the future. He said that when he debuted on Raw, the world said he was the future. He said that when he beat Brock Lesnar twice, the world said he was the future. He said it wasn’t just fans, but ownership, critics, and everyone. Rollins continued and said that after he beat Lesnar the mood changed and people questioned his leadership. Rollins said that being a leader wasn’t about being cool, but about making hard choices for the sake of progress. Rollins said that that isn’t easy to understand and that Kevin Owens is a perfect example of that misunderstanding. Rollins said that Owens became and example. From there, Rollins said he wanted to tell the truth and that that truth may be hard to accept. Rollins said that he was a leader and a visionary. He said he would lead the brand and wrestling industry into the next decade and beyond. Rollins said that whether everyone liked it or not, he would drag them kicking and screaming in 2020 and impose his will if has to. Rollins then said that if anyone resists, AOP would enforce his will.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That worked. Rollins walked the meta line closely, but never crossed it. He came off as a heel that was fully buying his own hype and legacy. That said, there were some cheers in the crowd. Yes, they are in his hometown tonight, but Rollins need to take those cheers as a challenge and do anything he can to alleviate them.
Rollins then said he needed to address something specific. He said he made a tough call, but that it needed to be done because he had a score to settle. Rollins said he was sorry for what he and the AOP needed to do tonight and then left the ring with AOP walking behind him. As he left the ring, the announce team debated what score Rollins was talking about and hyped up the AOP. Joe specifically talked about AOP and said they do terrible things because they simply like to.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That’s some impactful commentary from Samoa Joe. AOP has had numerous debut hype videos, but this commentary drove home just how dangerous they could be. Very well done on Joe’s part. He continues to showcase his credibility and use it to further storylines and characters in an authentic way.
-The Viking Raiders made their entrance to a small reaction from the audience. As they posed in the ring, the announce team cued up still photos of the Viking Raiders putting Karl Anderson through a table at TLC last night. The show then went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, The OC made their entrance. As they did, they cut a promo on the ramp. Anderson started and said that they can admit that the Raiders are the most unstoppable tag team to hit the WWE in decades. They then said that they hold a a victory over them though. From there, Gallows called the Viking Raiders ugly and said that while they may have the belts, the OC were the best in the world. By this time they got into the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(1) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. THE OC (Gallows and Anderson)
Gallows and Ivar started things off. Gallows quickly tagged Anderson into the match and he was promptly driven into the Raider corner by Ivar. After, Erick tagged into the match and kept momentum with strikes before connecting with stiff knees to his midsection. Eventually, Erick tagged Ivar into the ring and he slammed Erick on top of Anderson with a body slam. From there, Ivar clubbed Anderson to the mat and then tagged Erick back into the match. Finally, Gallows and Anderson regained control. The show then went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Gallows and Anderson maintained control of the match. Anderson hit a spinebuster on Erick and then tagged Gallows into the match. There, Gallows kept momentum and hit Erick with a flurry of punches in the corner before crushing him with a boot to the face. After, he made a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Gallows locked in a side headlock and then pounded on the lower back before connecting with a suplex. From there, Gallows tagged Anderson into the match once again. They cut the ring in half and Anderson yelled that they were the best team in the world which prompted boos. Anderson kept momentum until Erick made the tag to Ivar after countering a second suplex. Ivar cleared the ring with his offense and crushed Anderson after dodging a strike with a cartwheel. Ivar hit a running bronco buster and then covered, but Gallows broke it up at the last second.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ivar’s hot tag should get a bigger reaction from the audience. He hits some very nice offense and fires up well, but the crowd was quiet. That should tell WWE something about their storytelling and character development in the tag division.
Out of that pin attempt, Ivar was distracted by Gallows which allowed Anderson to hit him with a neck breaker. Gallows tagged in after the move and hit Ivar with the same move. Gallows and Anderson attempted a double team, but Ivar countered with a flipping springboard double elbow on both opponents. This caused Gallows and Anderson to roll out of the ring. Seeing this, Ivar and Erick hit tandem suicide dives on them. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, Anderson attempted a cover on Ivar, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Anderson cut the ring in half again and then attempted a clothesline in the corner. Ivar connected with a boot instead and then made the hot tag to Erick. Anderson made his tag as well. Erick proceeded to hit Gallows with a suplex and followed that with a knee to Anderson. From there, Ivar tagged into the match and they hit a double team move on Gallows in the corner. Out of that move, Ivar covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Erick lifted Gallows of a power bomb, but Gallows countered and tagged Anderson blindly into the match. Anderson hit Erick with an uppercut and then tried for a running kick in the corner. Erick countered with a spinebuster as Ivar tagged himself into the match. Ivar climbed to the top rope and after being briefly distracted by Gallows attempted a moonsault. Gallows pulled Anderson out of the way and then they hit Ivar with the Magic Killer for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Gallows and Anderson via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. I like the chemistry between these two teams and a long program between both could give needed credibility to the tag division on Raw. After the pinfall, Samoa Joe slipped up and yelled “new champs,” but quickly caught himself. When the match started, I questioned whether the titles were on the line. WWE needs to be clear with the stakes. If the announcers are unsure, its safe to assume the audience is as well.
-After the match, the announce team put over the win in a big way for Gallows and Anderson. They highlighted that the Viking Raiders only had two losses and that both were to the OC. From there, they started talking about Erick Rowan and questioned what was in the cage he’s been carrying around. They then recapped the events of last week concerning Rowan. When the highlights ended, Rowan was shown walking backstage as the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, the OC was shown celebrating backstage with A.J. Styles. Styles said that Gallows and Anderson were the best tag team in the world. In response, Gallows and Anderson said they would support him ringside against Randy Orton, but Styles told them not to. Styles said he wanted to take Orton on alone and that he would beat him and join them in the winners circle later.
Heydorn’s Analysis: These guys have an incredibly obnoxious heel chemistry together. That’s the point and it works. Good stuff.
-When the OC segment wrapped up, Rowan made his way to the ring. He carried his cage, but left it on the steel steps as he climbed into the ring. Once he did, he posed, the bell rang, and the match began.
(2) ERICK ROWAN vs. DANTE LEON
The match began with Leon rolling out of the ring. He then crawled underneath the ring and attempted to look into the cage. Leon thought better and ran away, but tripped. This allowed Rowan to catch him. From there, Rowan decimated him in and out of the ring before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rowan via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: This is getting old fast. WWE needs to connect the dots and explain why anyone should care about what is in the cage. Otherwise, it’s simply a silly gimmick with a weak payoff.
-After the match, Rowan walked up the ramp with this cage in hand. He looked into the cage and then back at the ring before leaving. From there, Charly Caruso interviewed Andrade and Zelina Vega. Andrade spoke first and addressed Humberto Carrillo in Spanish. Vega then chimed in as well and mocked Charly. Vega said that she and Andrade take him seriously now and that they would take care of him when the time was right. Andrade then spoke in Spanish again before both walked off. The show then went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, a debut video aired for Liv Morgan.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Intriguing. Morgan desperately needed a refresh and it will be interesting to see what this new gimmick can do for her.
-After the video, Bobby Lashley and Lana made their way out to the ring. As they did, the announce team recapped his tables match with Rusev from TLC. Once they got into the ring, they posed together and then grabbed microphones.
Lana spoke first as the audience booed and said that her hot boyfriend Lashley, destroyed and dismantled Rusev at TLC before putting him through a table. She then announced Lashley as the winner of his match as he posed on the ropes and the audience booed. Lana called Lashley beautiful and said that nobody could compare to him. From there, Lana looked at Lashley and said he was wonderful. She said that he gives her butterflies every day and the crowd interrupted with “Rusev Day” chants. In response, Lana told them to be quiet because they simply wanted to move on. Lana then addressed Lashley again, but the crowd chanted. This time, Lashley tried to quiet them and told them to be respectful. In response, they booed even louder. From there, Lana told Lashley she wanted the world to know how much he loved her. The crowd booed and chanted “Bobby sucks.” Lana continued and then pulled out a ring. She opened the ring up and said that she wanted to ask him, to ask her, to marry her. Lashley looked surprised and then told Lana that he doesn’t like when anyone tells him what to do. He then said “except her” and then grabbed the ring from her. Lashley then got down on one knee and called Lana the most amazing women’s wrestler in WWE history. He said they would be a power couple together and then proposed. Lana reacted by jumping up and down and saying “yes.” He said her wedding day would be the most ravishing ever and that it would happen on Lana Day. From there, the couple kissed in the ring and posed to the audience again as Lashley’s music hit. They then left the ring and flaunted their engagement to the crowd. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, I suppose this is a logical next step in this storyline. For better or worse. Lana continues to put everything she has into this and did get some heat where she needed it during the promo. The question is, where do they go? Rusev has stated he doesn’t care about Lana anymore, so this engagement shouldn’t really bother him. Time will tell.
-Out of the break, R-Truth made his way to the ring. Truth did his standard entrance and cut a promo in which he said he wouldn’t be in the WWE if it weren’t for John Cena. Truth talked about being inspired by Cena’s US Championship open challenges and that he would win the upcoming gauntlet match to earn a shot at the US title. He said he would be the first ever 24-7/US Champion and that he would hold the belts until WrestleMania. He pointed where the WrestleMania sign would be and then asked where it was. From there, Akira Tozawa made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(3) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. R-TRUTH – Gauntlet Match with the winner becoming the number one contender to the WWE United States Championship
Both men exchanged offense in the beginning, but Truth took and early upper hand thanks to an elbow to Tozawa. Truth attempted a running shoulder tackle after, but crashed into the steel post. This caused Truth to fall out of the ring and Tozawa capitalized by connecting with a flipping dive on top of him from the ring apron. After, Truth stumbled back into the ring and Tozawa connected with a top rope dropkick. From there, he pinned Truth, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Tozawa kept up his offense and rolled Truth up for a quick three count.
WINNER: Tozawa via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A nothing match, but a good win for Tozawa. Any win would be good for him, but this helps the perception that he is at least some kind of a threat out there.
-After the match, superstars from the back poured down the ramp to chase Truth in hopes of becoming the 24-7 champion. Truth ran off and as he did, Ricochet made his entrance. As he posed on the ropes, the show went to commercial break. (c)
(3b) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. RICOCHET
Out of the break, the bell rang, and the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok, part of the hook of a gauntlet match is the grind that goes along with it for the wrestlers in the match for a long time. Tozawa just got a 4 minute break? Cmon, WWE. Button this up in the future.
Tozawa took over early and connected with a flying suicide headbutt through the ropes and onto Ricochet. After, he tossed Ricochet back into the ring and connected with a kick to the face. From there, Tozawa climbed to the top rope and tried for his dropkick, but Ricochet countered with a dropkick of his own. After, Ricochet hit Tozawa with a round of chops as the audience chanted his name. From there, Ricochet put Tozawa in a shoulder submission and then slammed him to the ground before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Ricochet chopped Tozawa again before attempting and Irish whip into the ropes. Tozawa countered into his own shoulder submission and then took Ricochet down to the mat. From there, both men exchanged various offense until Tozawa hit Ricochet with a delayed German suplex. After it, he covered, but only got a two count. Finally, Ricochet connected with the Recoil and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ricochet via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. Tozawa sold well for Ricochet and got in more offense than expected.
-After the match, Matt Hardy made his entrance as the show went to break. (c)
(3c) RICOCHET vs. MATT HARDY
Out of the break, the match was underway. Hardy connected with a sidewalk slam and followed that by slamming Ricochet’s head into the turnbuckle. From there, Hardy choked Ricochet on the ropes and then covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Ricochet and Hardy exchanged punches until Hardy hit Ricochet with a vertical suplex. After, he covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Hardy brought Ricochet to his feet. Ricochet hit some punches and then the ropes for a move, but Hardy countered into a back body drop. After the move, Hardy covered, but again, only got a two count. In the end, Ricochet countered Hardy’s Twist Of Fate into a rollup for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ricochet via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Boy, that’s unfortunate for Ricochet. Hardy was over in the match and the audience was firmly on his side throughout. Not good if you’re Ricochet and trying to make an impact as a babyface. WWE can’t continue to put him into situations like this one that hurts his standing with fans. There are plenty of carpenter talents in the locker room that could have done this job. WWE needs to think and choose one of them in an effort to help Ricochet get over.
-After the match, Humberto Carrillo walked out as the show went to commercial break. (c)
(3d) RICOCHET vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Out of the break, the bell rang, and the match began. Ricochet attempted a rollup on Carrillo to start things off, but only got a two count. After, both men exchanged offense in the ring, but Carrillo took the upper hand after a spinning heel kick which he followed with an arm drag. The arm drag caused Ricochet to roll to the outside of the ring. After seeing this, Carrillo connected with an over the top rope dive. From there, Ricochet rolled Carrillo back into the ring and maintained control. Carrillo hit a flurry of moves and looped in some submission holds that grounded Ricochet until Ricochet countered them into a rolling pin attempt. Carrillo countered at two. Out of that pin, Ricochet rolled Carrillo up for a second pin attempt, but still got a two count. From there, Zelina Vega walked out and stood at the top of the ramp. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Carrillo got a ton of offense in on Ricochet with commentary that framed him as someone to watch. He needs a mission statement of some kind, but his push has helped freshen up the show in recent weeks.
After the commercial break, the match continued with Ricochet chopping Carrillo in the corner. Carrillo countered with his own, but was then clocked in the face by a Ricochet forearm. After, Ricochet connected with a standing shooting star press and covered, but only got a two count. Finally, after making it back into the ring after being outside as the referee counted to nine, Ricochet got caught with a double foot stomp from Carrillo. Carrillo climbed to the top rope to follow-up, but Ricochet slapped him in the face. Both men battled on the top rope until Ricochet connected with a massive superplex before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, both men exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Ricochet took control with two consecutive northern lights suplexes and then covered, but Carrillo kicked out at two.
From there, both men continued to battle with Ricochet countering a reverse hurricanrana off the top rope. Carrillo quickly connected with a kick after and then hit Ricochet with a top rope moonsault. He then covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Carrillo via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. Clearly WWE has some big things planned for Carrillo based on this booking.
-After the match, Zelina Vega taunted Carrillo as Andrade’s music hit. With Carrillo looking toward the ramp, Andrade hit him from behind. Andrade assaulted Carrillo around the ringside area including on the exposed concrete on the outside of the ring. There, Andrade hit Carrillo with his Hammerlock DDT on the concrete. From there, Mysterio walked out to make the save as Vega and Andrade backed off and left through the audience. Mysterio called for help and the camera zoomed in on Carrillo’s knocked out face as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well done. Not only did Carrillo get a big win, but he now has a storyline to sink his teeth into as well. This was intense and clearly establishes the heel and babyface side of things so the audience can engage in the right way. Really good stuff. However, a one hour match and no winner?
-Out of the break, Humberto Carrillo was shown being taken out of the ring on a stretcher. From there, Seth Rollins made his entrance with AOP at his side. He walked down the ramp with Rey Mysterio’s pipe in his hand and Mysterio looking on in the ring. Then, AOP viciously attacked Rey with Rollins looking on. As Rey writhed in pain, Rollins jumped on the microphone and said that they didn’t come out to fight, but simply return his pipe to him after they found it. As Rey reached for it, AOP stopped him and continued to beat him up. Rollins spoke again and told Rey that things didn’t have to be this way. He said that Rey gave Kevin Owens that pipe and called himself a merciful leader. Rollins told Rey that tonight was his lucky night and that he should remember it because he owes him one. From there, Rollins looked to leave the ring, but turned around and hit Rey with the Stomp instead. The audience booed loudly as Rollins left the ring with AOP walking beside him. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good angle. Rollins needed a heel move that would unify the crowd against and this worked to that end.
-Out of the break, the announce team cued up highlights that recapped what happened between Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, and AOP. After, Seth was interviewed backstage. He said he attacked Rey because he was a leader that leads by example. Rollins then said it was time to establish dominance and that he wanted to challenge Rey Mysterio to a United States Championship match next week on Raw. Rollins then walked off and the announce team hyped Orton vs. Styles in the main event. From there, Randy Orton cut a pre-taped backstage promo on Styles. He put Styles over as a good wrestler, but told Styles that the show was Raw. He said that if Styles had trouble remember who he was, he would remind him with the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment … RKO.
Heydorn’s Analysis: An A to B Orton promo, but more importantly it signified WWE putting some hype juice behind their main event. The Styles/Orton match feels important because of that focus and attention like this.
-When the promo wrapped up, Asuka hit the ring with Kairi Sane at her side. While she walked down the ramp, the announce team recapped her match at TLC against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. With Asuka in the ring, the announce team cued up a hype video for her opponent – Deonna Purrazzo. When the video ended, Purrazzo made he way out to the ring. Once she got to the ring, Purrazzo clocked Asuka with a kick that sent Asuka to the outside mats. As Asuka yelled at Purrazzo, the show went to a commercial break. (c)
(4) ASUKA vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO
After the commercials, the bell rang, and the match began. Asuka took over early, but Purrazzo halted her momentum with an arm submission that grounded Asuka to the mat. Eventually, Asuka countered the hold and put Deonna in a submission of her own. Asuka took momentum from this point on and put Purrazzo in her choke submission which caused her to tap out.
WINNER: Asuka via submission
-After the match, Becky Lynch was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. She talked about losing the TLC match and said that she’s been off the last few months. Lynch said that she was taken out of singles competition and put into the tag division. She thought that was the machine holding her down, but she realized it was the machine protecting her because she was their golden goose. She said that they were protecting her because they didn’t think she could beat Asuka. From there, Lynch addressed Asuka directly and said that she needed her. She said that Asuka was the one person that she couldn’t beat and needed an opportunity at her so she could prove something to herself.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This worked on two levels. One, it setup a logical story with Asuka. Two, it presents Becky as “against the machine” again. She was right in that she’s cooled a bit when she became the star for the company and not strictly someone that the audience chose. There is a different psychology there. With her now fighting people protecting her, it gives some edge back. Will it cultivate the same reaction as this time last year? No, but it’s a smart attempt to do so.
-After the interview with Becky, Randy Orton made his way to the ring to a big reaction from the audience. As Orton posed in the ring, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Rey Mysterio cut a promo backstage and said that he has a lot of bad people coming after him and his US title. He said Andrade was a stellar athlete, but then was disgusted with what he did to Humberto Carrillo. Rey then addressed Seth Rollins and called him a leader that nobody respected. He then accepted Seth’s challenge for next week.
-When Rey’s promo ended, Styles hit the ring and made his entrance. Once Styles got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(5) A.J. STYLES vs. RANDY ORTON
Orton took the momentum early and pummeled Styles in the corner with strikes. Styles battled back, but Orton countered quickly and went for an RKO. Styles countered that with ease and rolled out of the ring. From there, Orton looked on and then pursued Styles on the outside of the ring. There, he suplexed Styles on the ring apron before slamming him face first into the the steel steps. After, Orton tossed A.J. back into the ring and stomped various body parts. Eventually, Styles took control of the match and worked over Orton’s leg. From there, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, Styles continued to hammer away at Orton’s leg. Styles taunted as he struck Orton with a forearm to the back. After, Orton hit Styles with a flurry of strikes, but Styles ended the momentum with a swift kick to Randy’s injured leg. From there, Orton gouged A.J.’s eyes to create separation. Orton then dropped Styles on the turnbuckle as the audience cheered him on. At this point, both men exchanged punches in the center of the ring until Orton hit Styles with a power slam. Finally, Orton battle through the knee and countered the Phenomenal Forearm with an RKO. He then covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Orton via pinfall
-After the match, Gallows and Anderson hit the ring and started to beat up Orton. From there, the Viking Raiders made the save, but got tossed out of the ring by the OC. At that point, the OC continued beating up Orton and hit the Magic Killer on Erick as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match that apparently got a little extra time from the USA Network. Felt old school in nature with Styles honing in on Orton’s knee. It built heat and gave something for Orton to overcome. Orton has found something here with this babyface gimmick and continues to come across as a star. This match delivered. We’ll see what else he can (or wants) to do in the ring to keep it rolling.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 12/9: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including Styles vs. Mysterio for the United States Championship, Rusev and Lana file for divorce, final TLC hype, and more
I was watching on USA’s app and they cut the end of the match off……
R-Truth actually got to shout out Des Moines!