Elias def. Bobby Lashley in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight
I'm going to catch flack for this, but I absolutely love the campy holiday matches WWE runs every Halloween and Christmas. They're dumb fun, never take themselves too seriously, and the crowds usually enjoy them. That seemed to be the case here. Elias and Lashley used the Christmas-themed environment to their advantage and turned this into an enjoyable affair to kick off the night. Hopefully Elias winning means this rivalry has been put to rest once and for all.
Raw Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable def. The Revival
Based off what I saw from The Revival and American Alpha in NXT, I have no doubt this could have been an instant classic with the right build and more time, but for what it was, it was an entertaining outing. Fans didn't have much of a reason to believe The Revival would win the twin titles, mind you, but the two tandems worked well together and hopefully we see more matches between them in the near future.
Finn Balor def. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat Match
These three have been at odds for weeks, so it was nice to see them settle their differences (somewhat, anyway) in this Triple Threat match. From an in-ring standpoint, it was a ton of fun, the pace was perfect and everyone got to shine. Balor stealing the victory took me by surprise a bit, but then again, it allowed him to receive a small boost of momentum while McIntyre and Ziggler continue to feud heading into their Steel Cage clash next week.
Bayley, Sasha Banks and Ember Moon def. Mickie James, Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke
It was announced on this show that the women will be receiving their own set of tag team titles soon, and I have mixed feelings. It's an awesome opportunity for the ladies that will hopefully lead to more storylines not involving the main championships on both brands, but if it means more six-woman tag matches such as this one, I'm not a fan. This was nothing new, and quite frankly, it wasn't very good. Plus, Banks and Bayley feuding with The Riott Squad for the umpteenth time isn't exactly thrilling, to say the least.
Braun Strowman Confronted Paul Heyman
Heyman hasn't been seen on WWE TV in months, so his Raw return really should have packed more of a punch than it did. Instead, it fell flat as he read off Christmas rhymes before being interrupted by Strowman. In short, his was a meaningless segment. I understand it was designed to hype up Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, but nothing about this made me any more excited for that encounter than I was previously. Swing and a miss.
Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey def. Natalya
To me, Natalya was hardly a compelling challenger to the Raw Women's Championship, but she and Rousey have history dating back months, so I liked the story they told here with both ladies being hesitant to put the other away. It started out as a friendly competition before becoming a heated battle down the stretch. Granted, the end result was never in doubt, but this was easily the best bout of the night. Natalya didn't turn heel afterward, but it could still happen eventually.
Heath Slater def. Jinder Mahal by Disqualification
Yes, Jinder Mahal, the same man who was WWE Champion a little over one year ago, lost to Slater on this Christmas Eve edition of Raw (albeit by disqualification but a loss is a loss). Maybe if we don't mention how he was once WWE Champion, then it will be erased from the history books? In all seriousness, this was a total waste of time, designed only to reintroduce Rhyno after being "fired" on Raw earlier this month by Baron Corbin. I'm glad Rhyno's back, but beyond that, this was pointless.
Seth Rollins def. Baron Corbin
This was essentially along the same lines as their TLC match from a few weeks ago, but of course, it had a lot less bells and whistles and was more straightforward. However, I think this benefited from being a standard singles matchup and Corbin proved he could hang with an elite athlete such as Rollins. The fact there was nothing on the line didn't help matters, but it was a solid main event, nonetheless, and Rollins is back on track following the loss of his Intercontinental Championship at TLC.
If you thought this holiday edition of Raw was dull, you should have seen the Christmas Eve episode from 2012. Good lord, that was nothing but holiday silliness! Thus, in comparison, this was a decent show that honestly could have been a lot worse. The in-ring action took center stage, which was refreshing, and although not many programs were properly progressed, several announcements were made including the women's tag team titles finally coming to fruition and next week's New Year's Eve episode featuring Ziggler vs. McIntyre inside a steel cage and John Cena's return.
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