Published Dec 10th 2018 By Andre Corbeil. As WWE Raw took place in San Diego, California on Monday, December 10th.
Seth Rollins kicks off Raw Summary: A fired-up Seth Rollins called Baron Corbin down to the ring to “spit some truths” about Raw. Rollins said the Raw ratings have “sucked” recently because of Corbin’s leadership and questioned why a tag team like The Revival is in ‘Lucha House Rules’ matches and why Corbin is allowing segments involving urination. He went on to criticise Brock Lesnar for not competing on Raw since 2002 before challenging Corbin to a TLC match later in the show. When Corbin refused, Rollins repeatedly said “coward, coward, coward”, prompting Corbin to accept — but only if the Intercontinental title is on the line.
Verdict: When Rollins said he was going to “spit some truths”, he wasn’t lying! The IC champ said exactly what fans have been thinking about Raw in recent weeks, only it was Corbin — not the WWE creative team or Vince McMahon — who took all the blame. If you didn’t catch Raw, make sure you watch this opening segment — Rollins essentially said Raw is terrible!
Match 1: AOP & Drake Maverick vs. Chad Gable & Bobby Roode (Raw Tag Team Championship) Summary: One of the biggest moments in this 3-on-2 tag title match came when Chad Gable and Bobby Roode launched Drake Maverick over the top rope onto both AOP members at ringside. In the end, AOP decimated Roode with a Super Collider and Gable with another Powerbomb moments later. Maverick then tagged in and began to pin Roode, but “The Glorious One” rolled AOP’s manager up to get a surprise 1-2-3 title victory.
Verdict: It’s always a welcome surprise to see a title change on Raw, no matter how illogical the booking, but… well… how illogical can this booking get?! Roode was pinned by Maverick last week, meaning he and Gable were not granted another title match. This week, they’re given a title match out of nowhere, rendering last week’s match (and our viewing time) completely pointless. WWE, consider my intelligence well and truly insulted!
Natalya addresses Ruby Riott ahead of TLC.
Summary: Natalya claimed Ruby Riott doesn’t respect anything in the wrestling business and said the Riott Squad member made things personal with her in November when she broke a pair of sunglasses which belonged to her late father, Jim Neidhart. When Natalya said she would dedicate their tables match at TLC to her father, Riott appeared on the stage and unveiled a table which contained a huge picture of Jim Neidhart. She ended the segment by telling Natalya that she will be “closer than ever” to her father when she is thrown through that very table at TLC.
Verdict: Natalya’s promos are usually hit-and-miss but the genuine emotion here made for very interesting, if a little uncomfortable, viewing. Riott’s response was delivered superbly. The Riott Squad leader is too good on the mic and in the ring to be out of title contention for much longer.
Match 2: Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler. Summary: Drew McIntyre said before the match that his defeat last week against Dolph Ziggler will make him even more dangerous. One of the biggest moments came when Ziggler landed awkwardly on his shoulder after being launched to the mat from the middle rope. In the end, McIntyre kicked out of a Zig-Zag and hit a Claymore out of nowhere to pick up the win. Following the match, Ziggler was receiving help from officials when he was struck with another Claymore at ringside.
Verdict: McIntyre’s promos continue to impress, as do his matches, but he needs more interesting storylines to become the main-event star that WWE is attempting to portray him as. This important rivalry with Ziggler has been rushed over seven days, but the relatively meaningless rivalry with Balor is deemed PPV-worthy. Why?
Match 3: Bayley vs. Alicia Fox. Summary: It was announced before the match that Apollo Crews will replace the injured Finn Balor as Bayley’s partner in the Mixed Match Challenge against Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox on Tuesday. The finish to this warm-up match saw Crews rush down to ringside after a distraction from The Singh Brothers. Banks, at ringside to support Bayley, helped Crews by taking out the Singhs and Mahal, while Bayley hit a Bayley-to-Belly on Fox to get the win.
Verdict: The highlight came when Crews threw Banks into the Singhs and Mahal at ringside. Other than that, this was just another short match to promote the Mixed Match Challenge.
Dean Ambrose interview. Speaking in a backstage interview, Dean Ambrose told Charly Caruso never to call him “The Lunatic Fringe” ever again. Asked what Roman Reigns would think of his recent actions, Ambrose said “Who cares?” before being shown a video package of his rivalry with Rollins, which included Reigns’ leukemia announcement. Pressed for further comment, Ambrose refused to respond and walked away.
Match 4: Elias vs. Lio Rush (referee Heath Slater). Summary: Elias got the San Diego crowd on his side with a song before he was interrupted by Bobby Lashley and his opponent for the night, Lio Rush. With no referee in sight, Heath Slater made his way to the ring to officiate his first match in his new role. Elias was in control until Lashley interfered and began to attack his TLC opponent in front of Slater. The referee was intimidated by Lashley and allowed the match to continue. Lashley then struck Elias with a guitar and Rush covered his opponent, picking up a slow 1-2-3.
Verdict: The highlight of this match/segment was the storyline development with Slater. It was later announced that Elias vs. Lashley will be a ladder match at TLC with a guitar hanging above the ring.
Alexa Bliss press conference: Ronda Rousey & Nia Jax face-off. Face-off: Alexa Bliss was set to introduce Nia Jax for a heavily promoted press conference/face-off. However, “The Facebreaker”, accompanied by Tamina, entered without Bliss saying a word. Jax went on to say that Ronda Rousey would hand her the Raw Women’s Championship “if she had half a brain left” before claiming she will defeat her with multiple face-breaking punches at TLC. When a fired-up Rousey entered, she was outnumbered by Jax and Tamina, so Ember Moon made the save. It was then announced that Moon would face Tamina next.
Match: Jax tried to interfere on the ring apron but she was prevented from doing so by Rousey, who threw her over the barricade at ringside. Moon then hit The Eclipse on Tamina to pick up the win.
Verdict: Not good. This was another cringeworthy promo from Jax. We saw earlier in the night that, despite failing to win against Drave Maverick last week, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable were inexplicably handed a tag title match. Well, it was just as baffling here to see Bliss appear and not say a single word. The ‘press conference’ had been promoted all weekend!
Match 5: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Intercontinental Championship TLC match, referee Heath Slater). Summary: Baron Corbin intimidated Heath Slater early on by ordering the new referee to get him a ladder. One of the biggest moments came when Corbin chokeslammed Seth Rollins through a table at ringside. Rollins then inadvertently knocked Slater out of the ring with a steel chair. The IC champ turned things around by sending Corbin through a table at ringside with a top-rope frog splash. However, as he tried to claim the title, Slater pushed the ladder over. The ref explained moments later that he needed to do it to keep his job but an unsympathetic Rollins superkicked him in the face before hitting the stomp on Corbin. He then climbed the ladder to claim the title. Dean Ambrose appeared on the stage post-match to have a stare down with Rollins.
Verdict: Slater’s involvement in the match made it seem possible that WWE could spring a surprise by having Corbin win the IC title just six days before TLC. The crowd was electric for Rollins as he retained his title at the top of the ladder, but it must be said that this was another forgettable episode of Raw. Other than the Rollins and Corbin match/segment, there was absolutely nothing to get excited about.
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