Published Dec 3 2018.
WWE Raw took place in Houston, Texas on Monday, December 3. 2018.
Raw kicks off with a 10-bell salute in memory of George H. W. Bush.
Opening segment: Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs. Nia Jax & Tamina Summary: With all four women waiting for the referee to start the match, The Riott Squad made their way down the ramp with a table. Nia Jax took out a distracted Natalya, then joined forces with Tamina to throw Ronda Rousey into the steel steps before hitting her with a leg drop. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan powerbombed Natalya through the table at ringside, with help from a Ruby Riott superkick, and a wounded Rousey attended to her friend as the five heels walked to the back.
Verdict: This opening segment was over within seven minutes, which made for a nice change compared to the lengthy promos we usually get at the start of Raw. Nothing to complain about here. This was better than every segment from last week’s show!
Match 1: Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Alicia Fox & Mickie James (incl. Alexa Bliss Open Forum) Open Forum: Alexa Bliss said last week’s Open Forum with Sasha Banks and Bayley didn’t go according to plan, so she welcomed them both out to do it again. Responding to fans’ questions, Banks insisted she will never betray Bayley and both said that their dream is to face Trish Stratus & Lita at WrestleMania and become the first WWE women’s tag champs. When Alicia Fox, Mickie James and Dana Brooke tried to interfere, Bliss stopped them and made a tag match between Fox & James and Banks & Bayley.
Match: Fox inadvertently kicked James out of the ring in what was a relatively short match. Banks almost made Fox tap out moments later but James broke it up. In the end, Banks hit a backstabber on James and Bayley followed it up with a Bayley-to-belly to get the victory. Bliss surprisingly applauded the winners from ringside after the match.
Verdict: The Open Forum segment had some good moments, notably when Bliss made a couple of sly digs towards Banks, but the Bayley and Banks replies were cringeworthy and they didn’t come across well as babyfaces at all.
Match 2: Lucha House Party vs. Scott Dawson (w/Dash Wilder) Summary: Scott Dawson complained ahead of a one-on-one match that Lucha House Party’s ‘Lucha House Rules’ are unfair. JoJo then announced that the match would be competed under ‘Lucha House Rules’ again, making it a 3-on-1 handicap match. Dash Wilder tried to interfere but the high-flyers used their acrobatics to their advantage once again, with Gran Metalik following up a Salida del Sol from Kalisto by hitting Dawson with a senton for the win.
Verdict: If The Revival are going to lose every week, at least it’s in circumstances like this. The early signs are very promising for Lucha House Party — this was the best crowd reaction they’ve received so far.
Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night Summary: Baron Corbin gave Drew McIntyre a Gold Medal of Excellence to celebrate his one-sided win over Kurt Angle last month. McIntyre thanked Corbin and began to discuss how he has changed the Raw roster since returning in April. The Scot was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler, who wondered why he was not invited to the celebration. McIntyre explained that he only used Ziggler to get himself in a prominent position on Raw, and then said his former tag partner should be kissing his feet for making him relevant again for the first time in 10 years. Ziggler hit a Zig-Zag on McIntyre and Corbin immediately booked a match between the two men.
Verdict: Brilliant. McIntyre has reinvented himself and he’s reaping the rewards. This promo was his best since returning to the main roster. The ‘future world champion’ talk seemed wide of the mark a few months ago, but not now — he’s got Universal/WWE champion written all over him.
Match 3: Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler Summary: Drew McIntyre got on the mic during the match and said he’s going to pretend that Dolph Ziggler is Finn Balor, his TLC opponent. He proceeded to throw Ziggler against the barricade and ring apron multiple times before Balor walked down the ramp. The Irishman sent McIntyre into the barricade with a missile dropkick while the referee was distracted. Ziggler then capitalised by hitting a superkick on McIntyre to become the first man to pin
Verdict: Well, I didn’t see this coming! I thought McIntyre would go another few months, maybe even until WrestleMania 35, without getting pinned. After last week’s McIntyre-Corbin-Lashley dominance, this McIntyre-Ziggler storyline development was perfect.
Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush interrupt Elias Summary: Elias was all set to sing a song when he was interrupted by Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush. When Rush instructed Lashley to pose on the stage, Elias made his way up the ramp and got the better of Lashley in a brawl. Finn Balor then reappeared and threw Rush into the path of Elias, who broke a guitar against the hype man’s back.
Verdict: Nothing much to report here. This was a short segment to continue the build to Elias vs. Lashley at TLC. Not particularly good, not particularly bad.
Match 4: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. AOP & Drake Maverick Summary: Baron Corbin said Bobby Roode will earn another tag title opportunity for himself and Chad Gable if he can defeat Drake Maverick without Gable or AOP at ringside. Cameras showed AOP attacking Gable backstage and Corbin changed the match to a 3-on-2 handicap match. Gable recovered to take part towards the end but AOP dominated and hit a Super Collider on their opponents. Maverick then tagged in to pin Roode for the 1-2-3.
Verdict: This felt like one of the less important moments on the show but it was still a decent storyline development in this unusual rivalry.
Dean Ambrose in-ring promo Summary: Accompanied by six SWAT team members wearing gas masks, a fully vaccinated Dean Ambrose also had a gas mask over his face as he entered the Houston arena and cut a promo on how Seth Rollins is a “weak character” who, along with Roman Reigns, ruined The Shield by becoming a role model who “sucked up” to fans. He added that he is the only person left with “integrity” and described himself as “the moral compass of WWE”. Rollins interrupted and took out the SWAT team members. Then, after a brawl through the crowd, Ambrose struck Rollins with a gas mask before hitting him with a Dirty Deeds at ringside and another in the ring.
Verdict: Ambrose is much better as a heel than a babyface but the gas mask stuff here was plain weird and the promo didn’t really add to what we’ve heard from him before. The segment didn’t pick up until Rollins appeared. Sidenote: Ambrose now has a Scott Steiner-esque siren that plays along with his entrance theme. It’s unclear if it’s a permanent thing but it seems to be.
Match 5: Heath Slater vs. Rhyno Summary: Baron Corbin set up a match between Heath Slater and Rhyno, with the loser getting fired due to a lack of space on the roster. Rhyno dominated the short match but Slater picked up the win out of nowhere with a neckbreaker, meaning his tag partner was fired. Corbin gave Slater a referee shirt after the match and told the former Tag Team champion that, moving forward, he will work as an official.
Verdict: Slater is genuinely one of WWE’s most entertaining Superstars, so it’s great to see that he will be involved in a new storyline, even if it means he has to take part as a referee. Early prediction: there’s a referee bump at TLC and replacement ref Slater counts the 1-2-3 as Strowman defeats Corbin.
Match 6: Jinder Mahal vs. Finn Balor Summary: The Singh Brothers celebrated at ringside at one point during the match after they prevented Finn Balor from getting the win. Apollo Crews then rushed down to ringside to take out both Singh Brothers, allowing Balor to pick up the victory over Jinder Mahal with a Coup de Grace. Following the match, Balor was attacked backstage by Drew McIntyre.
Verdict: This was another short match designed to give Balor a win before TLC. The upcoming encounter with McIntyre feels like a much bigger deal after this episode than it did when it was announced over the weekend, so credit to WWE for that.
Match 7: Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Ronda Rousey & Ember Moon Summary: Ember Moon was revealed as Ronda Rousey’s new partner in this rearranged tag match after Natalya was thrown through a table in the opening segment. The match revolved around Moon’s inability to tag in Rousey. Once the Raw Women’s champion finally entered the match, she attacked Tamina and ordered her to tag in Nia Jax, who immediately tagged Tamina back in. After a brief attack from Rousey on Jax, Moon hit Tamina with the Eclipse and Rousey followed it up with an armbar to make Tamina submit.
Verdict: The PPV storylines on Raw feel a little underwhelming right now because there’s not a lot riding on Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor or Elias vs. Bobby Lashley, and it seems highly unlikely that Jax will defeat Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship. This was still a decent way to end what was a fairly good episode.
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