SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
DECEMBER 12, 2022
MILWAUKEE, WISC. AT FISERV FORUM
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-The Raw opening aired.
-Kevin Patrick introduced the show as the camera panned the audience.
(1) BAYLEY (w/Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai) vs. ALEXA BLISS – No. 1 contendership match
During Bayley’s ring entrance, they showed how Bayley and Bliss advanced last week in the Triple Threat matches including Kai and Sky powerbombing Becky Lynch through the announce desk. Becky showed up and attacked Sky and Kai at ringside before the match. Kai and Sky retreated through the crowd as Becky pursued them with a chair. Bliss’s ring entrance then took place. Bayley paced nervously in the ring. Corey Graves noted how Bayley’s expression has changed without her cohorts. He said she looked “borderline distraught.” Bianca Belair’s music then played and she came out and sat ringside to watch. The bell rang about five minutes into the show. Bliss got the first sustained offense in the early minutes. Bayley bailed out to ringside when Bliss climbed to the top rope. Bliss hopped down to the ring apron where Bayley shoved her into the ringpost. It seemed a little off, timing-wise. They cut to a break at 5:00. [c]
Bayley remained in control after the break. Graves talked about Bliss needing to tap into the aggression they’ve seen in her before but not lately. Bliss made a comeback and landed a flip senton at ringside and then a two count in the ring. She followed with a DDT for a near fall at 11:00. Graves noted her landing wasn’t crisp and that’s why a move that often finished others didn’t finish Bayley. (It didn’t look bad, actually.) Bayley came back with a Bayley to Belly for a near fall. A frustrated Bayley tore off a middle turnbuckle pad. Belair told the referee. Bliss dropkicked a distracted Bayley out of the ring. Bayley yelled at Belair at ringside. Bayley then back-elbowed Bliss on the chin and took control back in the ring. Bliss fought back and dropkicked Bayley into the corner. One of Bliss’s boots slipped on the top rope and she regrouped and then landed a Twisted Bliss for the win. Graves said it wasn’t pretty, but she got the job done.
WINNER: Bliss in 14:00.
-Bliss was emotional after the match. Belair entered the ring and held her belt up as she offered a handshake. Bliss pulled her hand away and then switched to wanting a hug. Bliss suddenly shifted Belair into position for a Sister Abigail and got a sinister facial reaction. She then let go and seemed shaken up by something overtaking her. Belair looked confused as Bliss walked away.
(Keller’s Analysis: A pretty good match overall. Largely a clean finish there, so they’re not overly protective of Bayley as a top tier threat at this stage. The moment Bliss was overtaken by some influence that seemed to override her will is the latest stage of her showing she’s ultimately headed toward something different in the Bray Wyatt realm again.)
-They went to Patrick and Graves who were nearly speechless. Patrick said they should just move on. Then they commented on clips of Kurt Angle’s segment on Smackdown last Friday.
-They aired a clip from earlier of Chad Gable and Otis arriving at the arena when Byron Saxton approached them. Saxton asked them about their plan to spoil Kurt Angle’s birthday celebration but were left embarrassed. Gable said Saxton’s milk-related double-entendres aren’t “punny.” He said Angle is a dinosaur who isn’t credible enough to be in the ring with them anymore. He complained that Otis has been trying to get milk out of his beard all weekend. A.J. Styles, Luke Gallows, and Mia Yim showed up, laughing at Gable. Gable called Styles a fossil also. He said people talk about how good he used to be, but if he were to step in the ring with him, he’d give him a lesson. Styles said he should put his gear on so they can wrestle later, but the gear that doesn’t smell like cottage cheese. Gallows called them nerds. Gable acted disgusted by the smell of Otis’s beard. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Milwaukee.
-A vignette aired on Austin Theory at Survivor Series. Then they plugged the U.S. Title contendership match coming up later.
(2) A.J. STYLES (w/Karl Anderson, Mia Yim) vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Otis)
Styles came out first. As Gable and Otis came out, Graves said Otis has been on the road all weekend and can’t necessarily fit into hotel showers so that’s why he still smells. Styles backdropped a charging Gable over the top rope where Otis caught him. Gable dropped Styles face-first on the ring apron and then shoved him into the ringside steps. Gable yelled, “Thank you!” as they cut to a break. [c]
Gable hyped Solo Sikoa vs. Elias later. Gable was in control for a while after the break and scored a near fall with a Northern Lights suplex. Gable went for a top rope move, but Styles moved and then Styles gave Gable a Styles Clash for the win.
WINNER: Styles in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, but just scratching the surface of what they can do.)
-Johnny Gargano was giving Dexter tips on what to do with all of his money he got from Miz. Dexter had drawn some ideas on an ink board which involved various combat outfits. Candice LeRae said they already have everything they need, so maybe they should donate in the holiday season.
-The Judgment Day made their ring entrance. [c]
-Cathy Kelley interviewed The Street Profits who talked about coming to the defense of Akira Tozawa last week. Tozawa yelled, “We want the smoke!” Then he drank from his red Solo cup. They yelled together like Tozawa does before heading to the ring.
(3) THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) & TOZAWA vs. THE JUDGEMENT DAY (Damian Priest & Finn Balor & Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley)
Graves said Ford came to Tozawa’s aid to get “tips on how to handle the ladies.” Tozawa tagged in at 2:00 and went on the attack, but Balor soon took control against him. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back from the break, Ford and Balor battled. Ford fended off Dominik on the ring apron. Priest checked Ford over the announce desk and Ford bumped onto the edge of the table and then hit his head on the chair on his way down. Quite the bump.
Ford took a beating for several minutes until hot-tagging in Dawkins. Dawkins scored a two count on Balor, but Dominik broke up the cover. Dawkins turned to shoot Dominik the evil eye. Balor and Dawkins each tagged out to Dominik and Tozawa. Tozawa went at Dominik with a barrage of punches. He outmaneuvered Dominik. All six battled as chaos broke out. Priest gave his South of Heaven to both Dawkins and Ford. Tozawa dove through the ropes and speared Dominik at ringside. Tozawa climbed to the top rope and leaped at Dominic, but he ducked. Tozawa fended off an interfering Balor, then went back after Dominik. He set up a top rope move, but Priest interfered with a Razor’s Edge into the ring. Dominik then made the cover for the win.
WINNERS: The Judgement Day in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Lots of good action throughout. Well-executed. Tozawa was a sympathetic character in this, an underdog fighting hard but succumbing eventually.)
-In the concourse, Gargano and Dexter bought all of the WWE merchandise from a stand. Gargano said they’re going to spread holiday cheer. Gargano said they’ll need something to carry everything in. He said he had an idea. Dexter handed a WWE bear to a kid who was thrilled. [c]
-Gargano and Dexter walked out to the ring after the break with all of the merch in a wagon. Gargano wished everyone “Happy Holidays.” He said they came into extra money, Dexter won a contract, and he and his wife returned to WWE after having their first baby named Quill. He said his son is known as “Baby Wrestling.” They began throwing WWE merch to fans in the crowd. Graves asked what’s up with the name Quill and said it’ll be tough for the kid growing up. When it started to get boring, Miz showed up and shoved Dexter into Gargano who was standing on the announce desk with a t-shirt blaster. Miz took the money and ran toward the back. Graves said all was right with the world. Adam Pearce walked out and cut off Miz and ordered him to give Dexter his money back.
Gargano and Dexter were waiting for Miz in the ring. Gargano told Miz to give Dexter his money back. Miz asked for a mic. He said he is desperate to win his money back, so much so that he’d offer Dexter a rematch. Gargano whispered something to Dexter and Dexter looked okay with it. Miz didn’t like Gargano calling him Mike instead of The Miz. Gargano said Dexter will give him a chance to win his money back next week, but it will be a ladder match where bags of money are hanging above the ring in a Double or Nothing match.
Miz said he doesn’t have any cash to put up. Gargano said he’s not buying that Miz is broke. Miz said he’s rich, but not liquid, and he said his wife controls their money. Miz told Gargano that his wife controls his money too. Miz said he gets an allowance. Fans chanted “Tiny balls!” at Miz, unprompted. Gargano said they’re telling Miz he has tiny balls. Miz threw a fit and said he has massive, huge, gigantic balls. Gargano told Miz to ask Maryse for an extension of allowance. Miz said that’s crazy, but he’ll figure out a way to get the money. Gargano said one more thing. He said he needs Miz to help them give away the merchandise they have left while dressed as Santa’s little elf. Pearce said he loved the idea. Gargano then wished Miz a Merry Christmas.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a segment that either you get a kick out of as harmless fun or see as an overly long juvenile waste of time. I’d say it went on way too long and Gargano still seems less likeable than he should opposite of Miz.) [c]
(4) IYO SKY (w/Bayley, Dakota Kai) vs. CANDICE LERAE
Bayley joined in on commentary. Graves offered Bayley his chair and was upset with Patrick not offering his instead. They cut to a break a couple minutes in. [c]
Sky tried to powerbomb LeRae off the ring apron, but LeRae fought back and landed a Poison Rana type of move onto the floor. LeRae threw her back into the ring and scored a two count. Sky knocked LeRae off the top rope and landed her Over the Moonsault for the win.
WINNER: Sky in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nothing special.)
-Clips aired of Solo Sikoa attacking Elias and Matt Riddle last week.
-Patrick said Riddle suffered an injury to his trachea and would be sidelined for about six weeks.
-Kelley interviewed Kevin Owens backstage about what The Bloodline did to Riddle. As Owens began talking about how dangerous Solo Sikoa is, Elias strummed his guitar and walked up to him. He said he has a big match with Solo later and he’d like KO to be in his corner. KO said he was crazy given their history. Elias said he needs him. KO froze, then turned and left, returned and stared at Elias, and then turned and left. [c]
-Elias sat mid-ring under a spotlight with his guitar. He said he was having a Matt Riddle tribute concert. He said he found lyrics Riddle had written specifically for this. He tried to get the crowd to sing, “Elias, you’re my Bro!” It didn’t seem to go well. He was interrupted by Solo Sikoa’s music. Solo and Sami Zayn made their way to the ring.
(5) SOLO SIKOA (w/Sami Zayn) vs. ELIAS
The roster split is pretty soft when it comes to friends of Roman Reigns. Solo dominated as they cut to an early break. [c]
Graves said Sami “has been something of a Solo whisperer lately.” Elias made a comeback with some strikes in the corner. He did one of those awful whips from one corner to the other where it was so half-hearted that Solo had to just run himself most of the way across the ring. Elias splashed him in the corner twice, but Solo popped out of the corner and charged at him. Elias landed a spinebuster, though. Elias landed a high knee and a neckbreaker for a two count.
Elias turned and yelled at Sami for no good reason other than Sami mouthing off at him. “I’m not doing anything,” said Sami. Solo went after Elias from behind, but Elias countered into a roll-up for a two count. Solo superkicked Elias to take over followed by a quick Spinning Solo for the win.
WINNER: Sikoa in 8:00.
-Sami held Elias up as Solo delivered a Samoan Spike to the throat afterward. Solo then put Elias’s head in the chair and was about to charge at him like he did to Riddle, but Owens ran out and gave Solo a stunner. Owens removed the chair from around Elias’s neck. Sami held back Solo at ringside as KO challenged him to come get him as he wielded a chair. Sami said, “Another time; now is not the time. We’ve proved our point. They know now. We’re done here.” Solo left with Sami. KO then gave Elias a stunner. Patrick said that shows how he feels about Elias.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not that Elias should necessarily just be squashed, but Solo taking that long to beat him made Solo seem the weakest he has to date. It’s crazy how much better Ezekiel was than Elias that it seems they might actually be different people. Or is it just the jeans? There are just moments in Elias matches where it’s just not smooth at all, and it’s never particularly good otherwise. Some might say Owens turned heel by saving Elias from a career-threatening injury.)
-They went to Patrick and Owens at ringside who plugged the “Tribute to the Troops” special airing on Saturday at 2:30 ET on Fox. They aired a video package on the history of Tribute to the Troops including footage of the first one back in 2003.
-Asuka made her ring entrance and wasn’t wearing her usual facepaint. [c]
-Photos were shown of fans with Miz dressed as an elf and Miz not liking it a bit.
(6) RHEA RIPLEY (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. ASUKA
They battled on the ring apron a couple minutes into the match. Asuka delivered a drop down double knee to Ripley’s jaw. Ripley dropped to the floor. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Ripley was in control after the break. Asuka hip-attacked Ripley off the ring apron to ringside. Dominik checked on her. Asuka pursued her. Dominic said to get to Ripley she would have to get through him. She went for a spinning wheelkick, but Dominik fell backwards to avoid it. Ripley then got up and tackled Asuka into the ring apron. Graves said it was a million dollar distraction by Dominik. Ripley set up a Rip Tide seconds later, but Asuka shifted into an Asukalock. Dominik put Ripley’s foot on the bottom rope and then told the ref. The ref broke Asuka’s hold. Dominik taunted Asuka from the ring apron. She blew her blue mist into his eyes. Ripley shoved Asuka into Dominik, and then landed Rip Tide for the win. Ripley went to Dominik’s aid as he writhed in pain and said he couldn’t see.
WINNER: Ripley in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Ripley and Dominik are entertaining playing off of each other. Not sure what’s up with Asuka skipping facepaint this week.)
-Footage aired of the Lashley-Seth segment last week on Raw.
-They showed Lashley warming up backstage. [c]
-They went back to trainer’s room where Dominik was being tended to for stinging eyes. Priest and Balor checked on him as he continued to say he couldn’t see. A medic gave him eye drops as Dominik asked who that guy was and if he has a license. Priest said he’s tough. Ripley yelled at the medic, “Help him!”
-They went to Graves and Patrick at ringside. Graves complained that Dominik can’t treat Ripley properly during the holiday season if he can’t see. Patrick smiled at what was happening. They shifted to Theory’s new serious side after being mocked for losing his Money in the Bank cash-in. They showed Dolph Ziggler interfering in the Theory defense against Mustafa Ali.
-Ziggler stood backstage and talked about how much the U.S. Title meant to him. He said Theory doesn’t know yet what it’s like to put a show on his back and that will be his downfall. He told him to watch his back.
(Keller’s Analysis: So they’re not going to react to Ziggler costing Mustafa his title match last week?)
-They went to a video package on Lashley.
-Lashley made his ring entrance. [c]
-They showed more pics of Miz dressed as an elf posing with fans.
(7) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. SETH ROLLINS – Winner Earns U.S. Title match
Seth’s ring entrance took place. Graves said Seth looked extremely confident. The bell rang 46 minutes into the hour. Lashley attacked at the bell. Seth made a comeback at ringside when he shoved Lashley into the ringpost and then landed a flying knee to his chin. They showed Theory watching the match on a monitor backstage. [c]
Lashley took control again. Patrick said they both want to get their hands on a cocky Austin Theory. Seth bit Lashley on the top rope and then landed a flying bodypress for a two count. Seth landed a top rope frog splash a couple minutes later for a near fall at 10:00. Lashley blocked a Stomp and then powerslammed Seth. He applied the Hurt Lock. The ref leaped out of the ring to avoid Seth lunging to escape. Lashley then speared Seth. The ref, who sold a hurt ankle from landing at ringside, was slow to get back into the ring. Lashley confronted the ref. He then went for another spear, but Seth turned it into a Pedigree for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. That finish was clever. The ref wasn’t knocked down, but did get hurt leaping out of the path of Seth. The Pedigree out of the spear was a cool finish.)
-Afterward, Lashley yelled at the ref, then back elbowed another ref who went down hard. Pearce ran out and yelled at Lashley. Lashley turned and didn’t want to hear it. Pearce told him to listen to him. He said his hands would be tied if he kept acting out. Lashley shoved Pearce. Pearce then yelled at Lashley, “You are fired!” Lashley asked, “I am what?” The show ended as Lashley looked around confused.
CATCH-UP: Ronda Rousey confirms she’s like a run with the tag titles
Another “OK” show last night. The open and close were decent matches. I wonder if they’re getting ready to flip Bayley, since she keeps losing big matches. I can see Damage CRTL “dismissing” Bayley, since they really don’t need her anymore. Of course, Bayley has a feud with Becky Lynch on the horizon, but The Man is so popular that I don’t see Bayley coming out on top in that battle. Alexa Bliss is heading to Bray Wyatt Weird City again. I can see her battling Bianca Belair, but my hope is that a title change comes when Belair meets Rhea Ripley. She is definitely a force! The rest of Judgment Day, not so much. Bobby Lashley losing made sense, but being fired, not so much. Maybe he and The Hurt Business will resurface in NXT, along with MVP and Omos. Fight THAT team, Bloodline! Wow! Finally, this is something from my crazy mind. Is it just me, or does Asuka look, much, much better without make-up and face paint? She is really attractive, although her character is pn a serious losing streak. Maybe she needs a character change too. Oh, one last thing. If the rumors are true and Ronda Rousey loses her SmackDown Woman’s Title (to Raquel Rodriguez?), I hope she and Shayna Bazler team up to chase the tag-team belts. That would be really interesting!