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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
DECEMBER 14, 2020
TAMPA, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe
Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- Randy Orton opened the show talking about not being afraid of the “Fiend” Bray Wyatt when Bray interrupted from the Firefly Funhouse. Bray pretended to be a game show host and even offered Friendship Fog as a prize for $49.95 (a dig at the old PPV price?). Randy demanded a match with Bray, under his Firefly Funhouse persona, even having a match with the Fiend coming up at TLC.
- Raw Women’s Champion Asuka defeated Shayna Baszler in a non-title match.
- Ricochet & Dana Brooke defeated Mustafa Ali & Reckoning of Retribution. (Is this loss acceptable to Ali? He did previously say losing was unacceptable. Asking for my cats.) Here’s Ricochet & Dana in a WWE exclusive:
- A.J. Styles was a guest of the Miz and John Morrison on MizTV. Sheamus joined the party as well as WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Drew said Miz’s balls were in his wife Maryse’s purse and he threw Miz’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Miz and Morrison imitated Drew and Sheamus’s accent.
- Raw Tag Team Championship co-holder Kofi Kingston (New Day) defeated Shelton Benjamin (Hurt Business). He tweaked his knee in the match, and then lost to Cedric Alexander also of the Hurt Business.
- A.J. Styles and the Miz & John Morrison defeated Drew McIntyre and Sheamus in a handicap match. Sheamus accidentally Brogue Kicked Drew and was hit with A.J.’s Phenomenal Forearm for the win. They were then fighting in the back only to join forces and put WWE official Pat Buck through a table. They made amends and went for “pints.” Here’s Pat in a WWE exclusive:
- U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Jeff Hardy in a non-title match.
- Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt fought to a no-contest when after Randy hit his RKO, the lights went out and the Fiend appeared. He gave Randy the Mandible Claw to close out the show.
There was a WWE exclusive with Angel Garza who offered a rose to a mysterious woman:
Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s edition of Raw will be the last heading into TLC, and will be the second show from the Thunderdome in its new home of Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL. This past Friday’s Smackdown was the first in the series of shows. I hope everyone listened to the Smackdown Post Show on which I was a guest of Wade Keller, going two hours on a variety of topics from our great audience of callers.
Here’s what’s on tap for us tonight:
- AJ Styles brings “The Nightmare before TLC” to Raw.
- Bray Wyatt set for WWE Thunderdome field trip.
- Sheamus and AJ Styles set for statement showdown.
- Lana looks to ride momentum in matchup with Nia Jax.
- The New Day & Jeff Hardy set to take on The Hurt Business.
A.J. Styles’ “Nightmare Before TLC”
One-on-One with Sheamus
A.J. Styles is set to challenge Drew McIntyre at TLC for the WWE Championship, and attempt to begin his third reign with the title. He was previously champion from September 2016-January 2017 and then November later that year until November of 2018. Last week as I mentioned earlier, A.J. was a guest of the Miz & John Morrison on MizTV. I talked about the segment, the handicap match, and what happened afterwards between Sheamus and Drew. This week, he plans to bring the “Nightmare before TLC” with the assistance of Miz & Morrison according to WWE.
In addition to this nightmare bit, whatever it is, A.J. goes one-on-one with Sheamus. They had a match on Raw over four years ago. Here’s a clip of that match as well as a WWE exclusive with Miz & Morrison:
Frank’s Analysis: I have no idea what the “Nightmare before TLC” means. Maybe it’s a play on Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas? It’s not worth my time to figure it out. As far as the match goes, I expect nothing but shenanigans and a crap finish to feed the upcoming match between A.J. and Drew.
Bray Wyatt’s Field Trip to Thunderdome
We continue towards a match between “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton at TLC. I mentioned the Firefly Funhouse episode last week and the match between Bray and Randy, with Bray in his Firefly Funhouse character. WWE has advertised in video that Bray will have a “field trip” to the Thunderdome. According to their website he will be bringing Abby the Witch, Huskus The Pig Boy, and the “rest of the gang in tow.”
Frank’s Analysis: I’m sorry but I still crack up at Huskus the Pig Boy being (I assume) a dig on Bray’s previous persona, Husky Harris who was part of Nexus back in late 2010. Other than that, while I’m intrigued as one would be in this feud because of the characters involved, I still don’t have great expectations for the outcome. Nothing about what they’ve done has made me want to see a professional wrestling match which is umm…what WWE does.
Lana vs. Nia Jax
Lana is set to pair with Raw Women’s Champion Asuka to face Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. Late in last week’s show, it was announced that Lana would face Nia one-on-one. Fortunately, the camera was near Asuka and Lana where Lana expressed fear about facing Nia. Asuka talked her up and tried to get her to believe in herself, but then Nia walked in and her confidence disappeared.
Lana and Nia previously wrestled a one-on-one a little over a month ago. They go one-on-one again tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: Look, I get why people are enjoying this whole situation with Lana. She has a certain “charm” and appeal. The combination of her and Asuka is funny, I’ll admit it. That’s the problem though. It’s all about charm, appeal, and comedy. Nothing about this entire situation involves good professional wrestling. To me this is defining Asuka and Shayna down. I don’t see this doing anything positive for anybody involved long-term.
Six-Man Tag Team Match: Jeff Hardy & Raw Tag Team Champions New Day vs. the Hurt Business
Following last week’s matches, Jeff Hardy will pair with New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) to take on the Hurt Business trio of Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander & U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley.
It was announced during the week that New Day would defend the tag titles against Cedric & Shelton at TLC. They recently come up short against New Day but do hold a non-title victory. Kofi’s knee was “injured” during the match against Shelton last week, which led to losing to Cedric one-on-one. Nothing is on the books for the U.S. title at TLC, but it’s possible Hardy could be slotted into challenging Lashley for the title. Here’s Kofi talking about his knee injury in a WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: This is a good six-man tag, but that’s not the point. This is another example of the same people currently feuding fighting in different variations of matches every week. It feels like New Day and the Hurt Business have been fighting forever. Hardy and Lashley are possibly just getting started, but they’re combining their match last week into the New Day-Hurt Business feud.
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
It probably won’t happen until Vince McMahon is no longer in charge, but I wish WWE would change their formula for Raw and Smackdown. I enjoy the AEW a lot better, where people high on the card wrestle different people lower on the card and have clean finishes. You rarely see non-finishes and you’re rewarded for watching the matches. In WWE, the same people fight every week in different variations of matches, and therefore when they get to the “big match” it doesn’t feel special. Sure, you can say I’m pretty much quoting Todd Martin when he talks about this on the Fix, but I thought it long before he said it, and he’s 100% right. I’m sure you have people out there saying “well why do you still watch?” It’s not about me, it’s about the millions that have dropped off through the years and will probably never come back and watch. Ask them why they STOPPED watching.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!