Monday gives us yet another edition of Monday Night Raw. I know, I know, when will it end?! But alas, I’m here as always to give you the full blow-by-blow as the show as it airs. So watch this space for the WWE Raw recap!
The voice of Howard Finkel introduces the Dirt Sheet. The Miz is in the ring with tables, ladders, chairs and a Christmas tree. He also has a book which he calls the Nightmare Before TLC. Miz says him and Morrison will be in a handicap match against Keith Lee later tonight, my God those two have lost so many handicap matches already. Miz reads from the book, the protagonist of the story is AJ Styles.
Lights fade up and AJ is there posing in the corner. AJ makes sure that Omos gets his spotlight too but Miz says they had to cut for time. Miz says everyone knows that Drew McIntyre is the bravest of all, a mighty Scottish warrior, so tall. And of course the part of McIntyre is played by John Morrison. AJ pantomimes a chair shot to Morrison, pretends to slam his head into the table. Morrison pulls out a toy sword, AJ dodges the swipes of the blade and kicks it from his hand.
He makes a big show of stabbing Morrison, Miz is upset at their over-acting keeping him from reading. He continues the poem as AJ climbs atop the ladder and concludes by saying he will become the new WWE Champion… buuuut if AJ should fail and Drew reaps the glory then Miz attacks and enters the story! He suggests he can cash in Money In The Bank and become the champion and AJ is appalled at the ending, says that’s not in the book that he gave him.
The heels bicker in the ring about the ending until Sheamus’ music hits. Says he thought he’d seen it all in WWE but obviously he hadn’t. Says AJ and him have a match tonight and while they like to run their mouths and play with their swords, he prefers to fight with his fists. He gets into AJ’s face. Styles says if Sheamus won’t be part of the solution, he’s gonna be part of the problem. Sheamus tells him he prefers being part of the problem. AJ backs off and tries to talk some sense into him but Sheamus forces him out of the ring and tosses presents at him as the screen fades to commercial.
AJ Styles vs. Sheamus
Sheamus with a clothesline, knee drop to the chest. Cover for 1. AJ fights back and drives him into the corner. Sheamus reverses a whip and sends him bouncing back hard off the corner! Sheamus turns and stares at Omos. Snapmare, kick to the back. Grinds his knee into Styles’ face. Knocks him into the corner, AJ with leg kicks and Sheamus is favoring them now. AJ with an uppercut, whip reversed, AJ with a forward tuck over Sheamus’ back but he runs right into a Back Body Drop!
Sheamus is going up top but AJ stops him, battering him on the apron and ties him into the ropes for a big chop. V-Trigger like knee takes Sheamus to the floor! AJ takes Sheamus into the ring but he reverses the suplex and sends him flying! And another suplex! Wants one more but AJ is blocking it, throat thrust to escape! Dropkick sends Sheamus to the floor right in front of Omos. AJ goes to the apron, Sheamus clips him and wants a Powerbomb but Omos just pulls Styles to safety. Sheamus is staring down the big man. Commercial break.
We come back to see AJ holding Sheamus down in a leg lock. Sheamus with a series of elbows breaks the hold! But Styles still in control, kicking him to the apron. AJ pulls Sheamus between the ropes, raking at the eyes. Sheamus with a kick as he gets back into the ring but AJ goes for the legs to clip him. Sheamus with an Irish Curse backbreaker. Series of clotheslines, big Fallaway Slam. He’s limping, corner charge, AJ with the boot up but Sheamus with a Pump Knee drops him! Nearfall!
Sheamus does a reversal of the usual Ten Beats of the Bowery, standing on the apron instead of in the ring so he can keep an eye on Omos. Up top gingerly (hah) for a flying clothesline nearfall! Sheamus is lifting him up but Styles reverses into the Calf Crusher! Sheamus makes it to the ropes for the break. Sheamus with a White Noise outta nowhere! Nearfall! Sheamus is trying to take AJ up for a Super White Noise but AJ slips free to the mat, unique Chop Block sends Sheamus to the mat and AJ stacks him up for the win!
Winner: AJ Styles
Cool match and a unique finish. It also foreshadowed a way AJ could potentially win at TLC, if he does the same to McIntyre he won’t be able to climb the ladder.
AJ is boasting afterwards, Sheamus grabs him by the hair but Omos pulls Sheamus out of the ring and he ends up caught with his injured leg caught in the ropes! This is a wild visual, it’s like he’s standing upside down. Meanwhile AJ grabs a chair and nails him with it repeatedly! Sheamus is limp as a ref is checking on him. He acts like he’s leaving but then comes back for more chairshots, that seemed unnecessary.
We see a replay of last week with Lashley throwing Jeff Hardy into Riddle. Hurt Business backstage see a guy with an Original Bro hat eating a Bronut. He offers them one. They start pushing him around. Lashley says “Y’know what goes good with donuts?” and then slowly pours an entire carton of milk over him. That was so wasteful. An interviewer decides to just avoid them but they call her over. MVP says Riddle can’t string together a single coherent sentence, you can’t call him focused.
Says he’s a tremendous athlete but he’s no MVP. He’ll teach her about journalism because she should be asking about the unstoppable team of Shelton, Cedric and Lashley. They assure us that they’ll continue collecting gold and sending people into a world of hurt.
Riddle goes up to Jeff Hardy and the New Day. Xavier says G4 will not greenlight a show called Riddle Me This. Riddle says since they miss Big E, why not have New Day and Jeff Hardy team up with Bro-E in their corner. Kofi says an enemy of the Butthurt Business is a friend of the New Day.
The New Day & Jeff Hardy vs. The Hurt Business (Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander)
Xavier and Lashley start out. Bobby goes for an immediate Hurt Lock, Woods desperately scrambles away. He does stay in though, headlock. Lashley shoots him off, shoulder block. Woods fights out of a suplex, tag to Kofi, double team chop to the chest. Kofi charges but Lashley hoists him up in a Military Press! Cedric tags himself in, but has to explain himself to Lashley. He gets an arm drag, arm wringer. Cedric fights up and shoots him off but Kofi surprises him with a monkey flip!
Tag to Hardy, axe handle to the arm. Jeff drives Cedric’s face into the buckles time and again. Cedric fights back, body blow, tag to Benjamin. He batters him into the corner. Whip, Hardy holds onto the ropes. Slingblade to Benjamin! Kick, looks for a Twist of Fate but Shelton shoves him off. Hardy with a back body drop takes him to the floor though, he also drops Lashley, Kofi with a dropkick to Alexander on his way in and the faces are standing tall going into the commercial break, Riddle dancing and Xavier playing the trombone.
We come back to see Shelton battering Kofi. Floatover in the corner, Kofi with a flying clothesline. Boom Drop! He hits the ropes but Lashley grabs Kofi by the tights and just yanks him with ease to the floor, wow! Shelton takes him into the ring, cover for a nearfall. Tag to Lashley, snap suplex! Alexander tags in, stomping Kofi around. Pulls Kofi up, Waistlock Takedown. Drives his elbow into Kingston’s back repeatedly. Facelock. Kofi is fighting his way up but Alexander yanks him to the mat, Cross Armbreaker as Benjamin tags in and stomps on him.
Pulls Kofi up, body slam! Pulls him back up. And there’s another one. Cover for 2. Bobby tags in, bashing Kofi into the corner and raking at the eyes until the ref pulls him away. Lashley takes Kofi to the heel corner, Benjamin tags in. Quick tags and isolation ensue. For being the first hour of Raw, it went by very fast, I’ve had fun tonight so far. Shelton with Kofi in a headlock. Knocks Woods to the floor, takes Kofi to the corner. Whip to the opposite corner, Kofi with a Single Leg Chest Stomp! Tag to Hardy!
He’s a house of fire, forearms, whip reverses but he nails Shelton with an axe handle. Inverted Atomic Drop, Legal Low Blow, Basement Dropkick, Short Splash for a nearfall! Incredibly they cut away before the dropkick, Jeff has done that exact sequence every match for the last several months how did they not see that coming? Anyway Shelton escapes to tag to Cedric who double legs Hardy and nails him with mounted punches. But Jeff with a Russian Legsweep, cover for a nearfall, Benjamin breaks it up.
New Day send Shelton and Lashley to the floor, Kofi with a huuuge tope wipes out Benjamin! Xavier dives on Lashley but he catches him and hurls him into the baricade! Lariato to Kofi! Jeff with a Baseball Slide to Lashley! Alexander with an inside cradle for a 2 count, roll up for a 2 count, backslide for another one! Hardy tries an O’Connor Roll, Lashley tags himself in, Hardy with a Twist of Fate to Cedric! Lashley wants the Hurt Lock, Hardy escapes though, sends him shoulder first into the post! Wants a Whisper In The Wind but Cedric crotches him! Lashley pulls him into the Hurt Lock and Hardy taps!
Winners: The Hurt Business
Simple match but one I enjoyed quite a bit. Hurt Business has been doing really well for themselves, I lie to see it.
Lana and Asuka are talking backstage. Asuka says even though she’s scared she’s still going to walk out to the ring and face Nia. And that makes her the bravest person she knows. She’s proud to be her partner. Tells her to go and beat Nia Jax.
Nia Jax vs. Lana
Nia batters Lana. She fights back with a surprise rana. Attacks her in the corner, Nia stops her and takes her up top. Wants a Superplex but Lana escapes, trips her off the ropes and stacks her up for the upset win.
Hilarious. Let the face finally get her win immediately BEFORE the PPV. Guess they’re not winning after all, I kinda felt like they would for a while.
Shayna assaults Asuka backstage and Nia jumps Lana afterwards. They then go out to the ring and start torturing Lana in the ring. True to their word Shayna is contorting and twisting her in knots. Stomping repeatedly on her leg. Side crab. Shayna holds Lana’s leg for a big legdrop from Nia! Asuka finally recovers and rushes down to the ring to the ring to send the heels away and then tends to Lana.
Elias is in the ring now, strum of his guitar. He has an electric guitar now. He introduces us to Jaxson Ryker, his rumored associate. He says all of his loyal fans saw his Symphony of Destruction match where he was electrocuted and all he saw was a blinding light. Doctors say voltage of that level would’ve ended an ordinary man but he is not one. He is Elias and in that moment he was baptized in lightning. He gained everything, a vision. Says he found this man who knows the universal truth and it’s that WWE stands for… Ryker yells along, “Walk With Elias”.
Ryker takes up a mic and says that Elias’ music has changed him. That killed me for some reason. Elias wants to dedicate this next performance to Lana. But R-Truth appears in the ring and says he wants to apologize for interrupting the performance last week on Main Event because he’s not an interrupter. Elias tells him he’s interrupting right now. Truth just stares off in the middle distance.
Elias just keeps on playing then but of course the 24/7 Club chase Truth around. Ryker plows through Metalik when he gets thrown into the ring, tosses Tozawa onto the field. Sit-Out Chokebomb to Metalik. Elias strums his guitar and now that everyone’s been laid out the lights go down.
Miz and Morrison are backstage. Morrison says if AJ beats Drew cashing in would be a lot easier. Keith Lee comes up to them and says he has an idea. He has a coin and wants a toss. Morrison calls head. Lee reveals that it is indeed heads. Congrats them for the win but that’s the only thing that they’ll win. I understand nothing about this segment.
Strangely they do Morrison’s music and his slo-mo entrance for this.
Keith Lee vs. The Miz & John Morrison
Heels starting with leg kicks. Battering shots to the gut. Lee with a press to take them both to the apron. Knocks Miz to the floor, Morrison slips in. Forearm, Lee no sells. Morrison avoids several shots, Lee absorbs another shot. Lee with a wicked spin kick takes Morrison to the floor! Miz off the top for a double axe handle, kicks him into the corner. Charges, Lee powers him to the second rope. Miz flies off but Lee catches him, tosses him with an Overhead Belly To Belly with ease! Morrison knocking him around, gets him down to his knees, brutal knee strike to the face!
Lee fights up, Pancakes him! Hits the ropes, Pounce sends him out of the ring onto Miz! Commercial break. We come back to see the heels have somehow taken over. Mizline leads to a Superkick from Morrison for a nearfall. Miz with a running knee, Snap DDT, Running Shooting Star from Morrison for a nearfall! Lee sends Miz to the floor, tries to do the same to Morrison but he lands on the apron only to eat Grizzly Magnum, echoing blow! Lee hooks his head, suplex into the ring but Miz trips Lee and Morrison lands on top for a 2 count!
Morrison with a headlock, Miz comes in for a Single Leg Boston Crab as Morrison keeps the hold on! Boy it seems like there should be rules against this kinda thing, huh? Miz and Morrison stomp on him, pull him for a double suplex but Lee blocks. Reverses! They both charge into Lee clotheslines. Now the avalanches begin, he tosses Morrison into Miz! Pops Morrison up for the Spirt Bomb but Morrison tries to counter with a rana only for him to hold him and toss him into Miz!
Hurls him up again but Miz with a kick from behind makes him drop him. Morrison with a Flying Chuck, Miz with a clothesline from behind, Morrison tries another Flying Chuck but Lee catches him out of the air only for Miz to hit a chop block to drop him, double pin gets the win.
Winners: The Miz & John Morrison
Fun stuff but sad to see this happen to Lee. He’s the first person that Miz and Morrison have beaten in a 2-on-1 handicap match since Colin Delaney in 2008.
Bray Wyatt makes his way out to the ring, which is pretty unusual. He’s got a truly amazing Christmas sweater. As he enters the ring we see the puppets are at ringside and they can’t stop laughing. Bray says hello to the Fireflies. Says it’s so nice to see their smiling faces out here at the WWE ThunderDome. Says it warms his soul. Before they get to the fun stuff, he’s afraid he has an apology to make so here it goes. Tells Randy Orton that he’s sorry, he really is.
Says the both of them were having the time of their lives last week but as things do, it got out of hand and it’s just one big misunderstanding. Says sometimes ‘he’ has a very sad, sick, deranged twisted mind of his own and… anyway. He says he has things to fix about himself but he really wishes that he got the chance to finish what he started because after he takes on ‘him’ this Sunday, he’s just not sure what will be left of him.
And there shall be no fun and games at TLC! Instead there will just be sadness and pain, he starts to laugh as he says this. Says yowie-wowie, that’s alright, that sounds splendid! Since TLC will be no laughing matter, tonight is! He’s prepared some jokes tonight specifically for the Viper and they will be hissterical! He cackles at his own pun. Says how do you measure a viper? In inches, because they don’t have any feet! He could not laugh at this any harder. He then makes a crack about Windshield Vipers.
Orton speaks from the tron. Says last week he told him when the time comes he’d look the devil in the eye and say the most evil son of a bitch has come home. He didn’t realize that later that night he’d give him the chance. The Fiend gave him the chance. After he put him down with the RKO, something changed. Bray changed and he appeared out of nowhere. For the first time in a very long time he was outmaneuvered. It won’t happen again.
Orton says Bray loves to play games so why not extend the field trip and come visit him. Says tonight how about they play a game called Hide and Seek? Bray seems ecstatic, he can’t resist a game. So he accepts. Orton tells him to come find him. Bray says he will, let the games begin!
Instagram promo. Ali vows vengeance. Mace says for years people like Ricochet stepped over him. Tonight Ricochet gets stepped on.
Mace vs. Ricochet
Ricochet with some leg kicks. Mace catches a kick. Ricochet with a slap, Mace glares and tosses him into the corner. Big shot, pulls him out, Spinning Heel Kick! Twisting his head and battering his chest. Ric fights back, nails a Missile Dropkick. Ducks a line, series of shots. Mace shoves him away, Ricochet with a low dropkick, another dropkick to take him down, Standing Shooting Star for a nearfall.
Slapjack comes in for reinforcements, Chet with a springboard dropkick sends him to the floor. T-Bar comes to the apron but Ricochet with a handspring knocks him off too. Mace with a Sit-Out Spinebuster for a nearfall! Ali yells at Mace to shut him down. Mace with a Hellevator like maneuver for the win.
Retribution swarms the ring and Ali tells Ricochet this only ends when he joins them.
Bray Wyatt is going around backstage looking for Orton and meets up with Riddle. He says he hasn’t seen Randy but he has seen the future: Bro-nouns. His target audience is people that talk. Riddle wants Bray to do a lesson on Bro-nouns on the Funhouse. Bray says that sounds real neat but he’s busy. Ramblin’ Rabbit appears and Riddle calls him Baby Bro-Da. He says he has a rabbit at home named Skipper who is a big fan of his, and Riddle has Ramblin’ Rabbit sign a carrot for him.
Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke
Dana goes after with shots but Shayna quickly spins her into a backbreaker. Pump knee in the corner drops her. Rolls her over for a cover for 2. Stands on her head and twists on her arm. Dana sidesteps a corner charge, tries for a Handspring Back Elbow but Baszler catches her and tries a Kirifuda Clutch. Brooke escapes though, pummels her in the corner and snapmares her to the mat. Goes up top but Nia Jax just up and dumps her to the floor for the DQ.
Winner: Dana Brooke (By DQ)
Afterwards Nia and Shayna pummel her until Mandy Rose comes in to make the save with a kendo stick. Baszler starts to come back against her until Asuka joins in on the fray, knocks Nia and Shayna away.
R-Truth backstage talking to God knows who about a PS6 because the PS5 was out of stock. Says he’s spent time in detention for excessive loitering. He doesn’t wanna reward bad behavior but asks what his friend’s opinion is since he’s clearly spent some time in the gym. It’s Huskus the Pig. Bray shows up and tells Huskus he shouldn’t speak to strangers. Truth says he’s right, he should listen to his daddy. Asks if he actually is Bray’s son and he doesn’t answer this, just walks off to continue looking for Orton. Truth calls them a beautiful family.
After a commercial we see Bray going around in another part of backstage asking Orton to come out wherever he is. He sees a dark room that has Abigail’s perpetually rocking chair in it. Stunned he steps over to it. As if in a trance he sits down in the shadows. Orton appears behind him and jumps him, pummeling him with shots. Bray starts fighting back, big uppercut to the face. But Orton slams him into a shutter door and then forces him into a dumpster.
After several stomps he slams the lid shut and seems to lock him inside. Then he grabs some lighter fluid. Dang it’s been a long time since somebody in WWE tried to burn an opponent alive. He drenches the dumpster in the fluid. He takes a lighter to it and it bursts into flames immediately! Orton smiles wickedly as he watches it burn. But suddenly the lid opens and out comes the Fiend, unscathed! He gets Orton in the Mandible Claw to take him down. Not sure how they managed to do that safely with the dumpster still on fire as he popped out of it, it was a nice effect.
And now, um… this can’t possibly be the main event but I can’t really tell you what’s left… oh well.
Riddle vs. MVP
They go to blows immediately. MVP with a few knee lifts. Riddle sidesteps a Playa’s Boot, Riddle with a high kick. Floating Bro for the win.
Yep definitely no the main. Evidently AJ and McIntyre are going to have an Ascension Ceremony ahead of their TLC match. Being that I’m writing the whole time the show is going on – and also I actively try to tune out commentary when I can – it is easy for me to miss stuff but I really don’t feel like I heard them mention that at all throughout the show.
Tom Phillips is in the ring for this Ascension Ceremony. They have the usual TLC decorations around the ring as well. Styles and McIntyre doetheir full entrances.
AJ says he wants what’s around McIntyre’s waist. He says he’s been studying up to find out exactly who McIntyre is. Says he was shocked that it took him 19 years to climb the WWE mountain, how is it possible? With his muscles and height and strength, how did it take 19 years? Well he showed us all with Orton at Hell In A Cell. He can’t handle the pressure, it’s gotten to him so many times. AJ says he knows, he beat Orton and got his title back but it changed him. He’s taking so many risks!
When is the last time he volunteered for a TLC match? Says he’s never been in one before. AJ on the other hand has defended that WWE title in a TLC match before and he won! So he knows how take all those weapons to break and bend them across his back to win that title. Tells him to kiss that WWE Championship goodbye because it will absolutely look phenomenal around his waist.
McIntyre says that was a compelling speech. He says AJ and himself have never wrestled before but he always wanted it. Fans have been asking him for years when they will finally get McIntyre vs. Styles and it will be this Sunday. McIntyre says it’s true he had never been in a TLC match. He realized that his dream isn’t just to win the WWE Championship but to keep it. It’s a whole different ballgame to stay at the top. Says he’s the champion who led WWE through uncharted waters in 2020.
He’s the man who under pressure became a diamond. Says every man dies but not every man truly lives. This Sunday he’s willing to do whatever it takes to himself and whatever it takes to AJ to remain WWE Champion. Asks AJ if he’s willing to do the same. Takes off his title and puts it in the hook. AJ says it sounds like he’s got it all together. Totally prepared to face AJ Styles in a TLC match. Dramatic music plays as the title raises up. AJ says what if it’s not just him he has to face?
Miz and Morrison come in to tip a ladder onto McIntyre! It’s now a three on one beatdown, they took out Sheamus earlier in the night. But Drew deposits AJ, Claymore to Miz, Claymore to the ladder Morrison was holding takes him out! AJ sneaks up on him but eats the Glasgow Kiss! McIntyre stalks for another Claymore but Omos hurls the steel steps into the ring. Off the distraction, AJ with a chop block gets him down to a knee. Phenomenal Forearm! AJ stomps on him, his another Phenomenal Forearm as Omos takes a table into the ring. AJ sets up a ladder and then stands up the table. Styles scales the ladder, elbow drop puts McIntyre through the table! He then of course climbs up and pulls the title down to hold it aloft as the show abruptly goes off the air.