12/22 RAW: A Christmas miracle from WWE

Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
December 23, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

Ho ho holy crap… this show didn’t suck. Well, it’s that time of year again. Last night we had another holiday edition of Monday Night RAW. Normally these shows are complete throwaways since they’re not going to do many major angles or build to anything. In actuality, this show was a complete throwaway since nothing big happened (there wasn’t even any real mention of the Royal Rumble), but it was the most entertaining throwaway program we’ve had in quite some time.

Ho Ho Hogan wasn’t as bad as you thought he would be

The crowd in Minneapolis was red hot as Ho Ho Hulk Hogan made his way down to the ring to kick off the show. I wanted to dislike it, but I just couldn’t. The fans were chanting “Ho Ho Hogan,” and he seemed like he was actually having fun with it. Hogan plugged the matches that were made for the evening, and then John Cena came out. No offense to Cena, but this is where the segment started to derail for me. Cena talked about wanting a Frozen Sing Along Play Set, which I’m sure angered and disgusted quite a few people out there. I just roll my eyes whenever he does his comedy now. Cena then talked about all the ways he got screwed last week before saying he’s not out there to complain. Um, you kind of just did.

Seth Rollins then came out and cut the same promo he’s been cutting for weeks. They were really dragging this thing out by this point. Rollins went on a long diatribe about how he’s the future before moving on to another long rant about how Cena should be bringing The Authority back. It’s the same promo he’s been cutting on both RAW and Smackdown in the past few weeks. He delivers it well enough, but he just doesn’t have the chops to do a promo segment for the ten minutes they allot him before Cena even intervenes. Finally, after what felt like a long time, Hogan booked Cena to take on Rollins in the first match of the evening, which was a definite surprise.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins impresses

In the past eight days, these two have fought three times: twice in gimmick matches and last night in a straight up one-on-one bout. Somehow, they find a way to make it work. The reason? Seth Rollins. This guy is the absolute MVP of the winter right here. I have to use the old adage that the guy could wrestle a broomstick and make it look good (I’m sure some will joke that wrestling John Cena is the equivalent to said broomstick, but I won’t make that joke here). This was just a fun match. Both guys worked really hard and delivered on a night where they could have just phoned one in. As with any big match on RAW, I was expecting a DQ finish. I’m just conditioned that way by this point. I figured when J&J Security ran in, that would be it. Instead, WWE surprised me for the second time that night and still gave the clean finish. Cena disposed of J&J with an impressive double AA before finishing Rollins off with an AA for the win.

Filler nearly puts me to sleep

After a very fun about 45-minutes, the conductor pulled the emergency brake and brought the show to a grinding halt with tons of boring filler. Sandwiched in here was a bad Roman Reigns vs. Big Show match, which I will get to. The “new and improved” Fandango beat Jack Swagger in a match that absolutely no one except the people directly involved in the performance could possibly care about. Then Adam Rose finally went crazy on The Bunny and the Rosebuds, so I guess I lied – an angle did happen on this show. The crowd cared so much that they were chanting for Rose to punish The Bunny some more. I guess that big babyface run for The Bunny just isn’t working. We had two matches with the Divas that were there. The Santa’s Helpers Tag was, um, special, and the Natalya/Brie Bella match just didn’t click for me. Natalya does look to be next in line to face Nikki Bella, so there’s that. The cherry on top of all this was an absolutely awful match that featured Gold and Stardust losing to Los Matadores and El Torito, who was dressed as a reindeer. While that match was brutal, JBL had the line of the night by mentioning that Goldust went from facing Roddy Piper at WrestleMania to losing to a reindeer.

Roman Reigns did not have a good night

I know not many saw it, but Roman Reigns’ struggles on the microphone continued on the RAW Pre-Show. This wasn’t due to him freezing up on camera. It was due to, what else, the writing. Reigns said that he thinks of Big Show as a tree, and his fist is the axe. It doesn’t get much worse. At least they smartly had him do a pre-taped promo for RAW, but that wasn’t much better.

Reigns then went on to have an awful match against Big Show. I’m not quite sure I get the logic of having Reigns face Big Show, as he’s fresh off the disabled list with a hernia. The crowd didn’t give Reigns a big hand during his entrance, and they could care even less while he was taking a beating. It’s not just promos where Reigns suffers. His selling is really, really bad. Reigns doesn’t emote well on the sell, and the crowd wasn’t sympathizing with him at all. Then you had the count-out finish which left a bad taste in my mouth. I know he’ll have another match against Big Show and pick up a win, but Reigns looked really weak with that “win” just because Big Show wasn’t even injured. He got right up to his feet at the count of ten, so it looked to me like Reigns isn’t man enough to beat Big Show straight up. If it came off that way to me, I probably wasn’t the only one. At this point, Reigns doesn’t look close to being ready to win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania XXXI. I don’t think it’s going to get any better either.

Dolph Ziggler and Luke Harper deliver yet again

This is the best feud going in WWE at the moment. I predicted that Luke Harper would establish himself as a dominant and impressive big man at WWE TLC, and he did just that. Harper continued that dominance in his match against Ziggler last night. These two had a great match. The pre-match attack during the introductions was unexpected and a nice touch. They then went on to have a great match. At points, it was marred a little bit by stalling and rest holds, but when they got going, they went full throttle. I loved the part of the match where Ziggler superkicked him while he was going for a Discus Clothesline only for him to stumble and connect with the Discus Clothesline anyway. Even Michael Cole lost himself and exclaimed, “What a sequence!” Ziggler showed a lot of heart and picked up a great victory over Harper. They even let him do a post-match interview with Jerry Lawler that wasn’t interrupted. I figured Harper would attack, but that didn’t happen. This picked the show back up for sure.

The return of Piper’s Pit

It’s always nice to see “Rowdy” Roddy Piper come out. No matter how old I get, that guy will always be one of my top favorites. This was a fun segment. Piper stayed in control and didn’t overdo the segment like he has in the past by constantly talking over the superstars and seemingly trying to throw them off. He stayed focused while Lana did her spiel before going crazy while talking about America. Rusev threatened him, so Piper said he got him a gift and had Ryback come out with a bow on. That earned a chuckle from me. Ryback and Rusev then had a fun brawl to cap off a great segment that got the crowd really fired up. This may have had the most heat of anything on the show.

What’s going on with Miz and Naomi?

Last week on Smackdown (and almost the whole month), Miz was completely focused on Naomi. Miz got her a Divas Championship match, which was ruined when her jealous husband inadvertently distracted her by attacking The Miz. You’d think that would be followed up on with another segment on last night’s show, but you’d be wrong. To my recollection (and I’m honestly not going to go and look back), there wasn’t one mention of that nor was any replay shown. Marital problem storylines rarely work out for the actual real life couple, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise for Jimmy, Naomi, Miz, and Maryse.

Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt work hard… but who got over?

Ambrose and Wyatt fought each other in the main event in a wild Miracle on 34th Street Fight. They killed each other with kendo stick shots, chairs, tables, and ladders. It was a wild and entertaining brawl, but the crowd, much like at TLC, wasn’t as receptive as I thought they would be. One thing that definitely caused me to scratch my head was when Wyatt was on the attack, he sent Ambrose into a Christmas tree at ringside. That’s fine, but then the crowd chanted for him to do it one more time… and Wyatt obliged. Unless I just don’t know anything about anything anymore, Wyatt is the heel, and the heel is not supposed to do what the crowd wants. Wyatt should have faked sending him into the tree before throwing him back into the ring to get some heat. Instead, he did what a face would do and actually obliged them.

The other thing that kind of bothered me about this match is the fact that Wyatt picked up another win, so Ambrose still shows that he cannot win a big match. You would think that Wyatt was the one that was going over for the night, but you’d be wrong. Ambrose then attacked him after the match and dropped an elbow on him from the second rope through a table at ringside, so at the end of the show, Ambrose was the one over. So why not just have Ambrose win the match in the first place if he was going to go over? I guess only in 2014 WWE’s world can two opponents go over in the same segment like that. Someone has to be a winner and a loser. In my mind, they canceled each other out. Nothing was advanced in that. I don’t want to take away from the fact that they worked hard and did entertain. It’s the booking I’m questioning in this instance, not the performers. The only performance thing I questioned I already talked about.

Overall impression

Like I said, if you really look at it, this was a complete throwaway show, but it was an entertaining throwaway. Everyone worked hard, all the big matches actually had finishes and delivered (except for Reigns/Big Show), so in my mind that’s a Christmas miracle delivered by WWE.

Bump of the Night: Luke Harper giving Dolph Ziggler a side slam on the floor!
Match of the Night: The Miracle on 34th Street Fight ***

Final Rating: ***

E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV

Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here.

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!

Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.