12/23 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: C.M. Punk, John Cena, and Big E Langston vs. The Shield, "Bad Santa" Damien Sandow vs. "Good Santa" Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes vs. The Wyatt Family
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Austin, Texas at Frank Erwin Center
[Q1] Raw opened with footage of Damien Sandow and Mark Henry dressed as Bad Santa and Good Santa respectively... The narrator said it's the battle of Bad Santa and Good Santa... Michael Cole and JBL introduced the show on commentary as shots aired of the stage, which had Christmas trees and gifts...
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Kane walked out wearing Santa hats. They were joined by "an elf," who was just a normal sized guy wearing a normal suit and an elf hat. Kane shoved candy in the chest of a fan who wore a Daniel Bryan t-shirt. Cole said Jerry Lawler was enjoying the holiday at home. Lucky SOB.
Hunter said he and Stephanie enjoy making their employees volunteer in soup kitchens at this time of the year. They hyped Bad Santa vs. Good Santa, as well as the two six-man tag matches. Triple H introduced Randy Orton, who came out wearing the two title belts that viewers were told they would never see together in the ring again after TLC.
Orton wished everyone Merry Christmas and happy holidays. He thanked Triple H and Stephanie for supporting him at the time he needed them the most. He said he beat John Cena by himself, but said The Authority inspired his performance. Orton said he had a gift for them.
Orton said his gift to them is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He thanked the duo for giving him the night off. They had a big group hug while Kane watched.Kane closed it out by saying the final lines of the night before Christmas... Cole hyped a Jingle Bells Divas match for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: I want Kane's job. I'm bald. I can stand around and say little or nothing on Monday nights. I can do this. I am fearful that we haven't seen the last of his feud with Daniel Bryan given the way he went after the kid wearing his t-shirt. I hope that's not the match that WWE has in mind for Bryan at WrestleMania.
An ad for Smackdown questioned who will make the biggest impact on the final Smackdown of 2013...
[Q2] 1. The Bella Twins, Natalya, Eva Marie, Cameron, and Naomi vs. Tamina, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Aksana, and Vickie Guerrero. A.J. Lee sat in on commentary. The Total Divas cast wore red Christmas themed gear. Vickie wore fake antlers because she apparently couldn't grow real antlers on short notice, and some of the other heels had Christmas colors on. A fan held up a large "ODB" sign in the crowd. Nice.
Natalya spun Brie Bell around into the heels, then other members of the Total Divas team joined in on it until they were all awkwardly running around the ring together in a circle and the heels ran in one by one and allowed themselves to be knocked over. Natalya put Aksana in the Sharpshooter and got the win... [C]
Total Divas beat Non Total Divas in 3:45.
Powell's POV: Okay, the Total Divas season is over. I actually got a kick out of the show way more than I ever thought I would, but it's time for WWE to give up on this Total Divas vs. non cast members garbage. Hell, it was never time for them to start. If you're drinking along with me tonight (yes, totally unprofessional, but it is Christmas Eve Eve), then take six swigs for the spinning Diva nonsense.
2. Sin Cara vs. Curtis Axel. Sin Cara is still taller than he was before and he still has the giant tattoo on his shoulder. He also speaks English, as he delivered a promo in pop-box form. JBL said it was Christmas and he was sitting next to a turkey. Drink. Sin Cara flipped over the top rope and onto Axel on the floor. Later, Sin Cara finished him off with a Swanton...
Sin Cara defeated Curtis Axel in 5:20.
Powell's POV: Sinico plays the part well and had some impressive spots during the match. The live crowd seemed receptive, but it's a taped show and I've already suspected they've sweetened the crowd reactions.
[Q3] Footage aired from Smackdown of John Cena and C.M. Punk battling The Shield, and Big E Langston racing out to save the babyfaces...
Backstage, a little girl sat on Bad Santa Sandow's lap while "elves" A.J. Lee and Tamina stood by. Santa thinks all children are ungrateful wretches, so he's not delivering any toys this year. "This year, Christmas is cancelled." The narrator asked if Christmas will be cancelled and hyped Bad Santa vs. Good Santa...
Powell's POV: I knew Vince McMahon had a lot of power, but I had no idea that he had enough clout to cancel Christmas. Ugh.
A video showed Big Show dressed as the New Year's Baby and hyped next week as a special edition of WWE Raw. "New Year's Raw" airs next week...
Powell's POV: Big Show in a diaper? Good lord, just slam whatever is left of your drink, crack open a new one and slam half of that one too.
A Batista video played and hyped his return for January 20...
Powell's POV: Wow, there is a reward for watching bad holiday editions of Raw. The commentators addressed the video briefly, but it's probably a case of their commentary being dubbed in for that segment.
Wade Barrett was shown ringing the Salvation Army-like bell and accepting donations. The announcers questioned whether he had changed his ways... A Bray Wyatt video package was shown... Footage aired from Smackdown of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan beating Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a non-title match, and Daniel Bryan saving the tag champs afterward... Footage aired from Smackdown of the Wyatt Family attacking Bryan backstage...
[Q4] Goldust, Cody Rhodes, and Daniel Bryan made their entrances for the six-man tag match... [C]
3. Daniel Bryan, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. Cole said Rowan wears the sheep mask because it makes him feel like a lamb on the inside and then he becomes a monster when he takes it off. Drink. Bryan got the better of Harper and called for Wyatt to tag in. [C]
[Q5] After the break, the Wyatts worked over Goldust until he made the hot tag to Bryan, who blasted Rowan with kicks and followed up with a top rope headbutt. Wyatt ran in and was tackled and punched by Bryan. Wyatt fled to ringside, where Rowan knocked Bryan down. Wyatt mockingly asked Bryan how it feels heading into the break. [C]
Bryan eventually tagged in Cody. Wyatt got involved, so Bryan missile dropkicked him and then caught him with a suicide dive on the floor.
[Q6] Cody hit the Beautiful Disaster Kick on Harper, but Wyatt had tagged himself into the match. Bray performed Sister Abigail on Rhodes for the win. Afterward, Bray jawed at Bryan and then posed over him. The Wyatt sound effect played and then the trio were shown at ringside with Wyatt in the rocking chair...
The Wyatt Family beat Daniel Bryan, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes in 22:20.
Powell's POV: A good match that forwarded two programs. Wyatt got the better of Bryan, and Harper and Rowan's team came out on top of the tag champions again even though it was Wyatt who got the pin.
Backstage, Good Santa Mark Henry was with the Bella Twins and Hornswoggle. A kid sat on his lap and expressed concern that Bad Santa Sandow was going to cancel Christmas. Henry told him not to worry. Drink twice...
Shots of MLB Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer posing with the WWE Champions belts was shown...
Footage of Wade Barrett taking donations on the street was shown...
Renee Young hosted the WWE Christmas carol contest. Xavier Woods and R-Truth started. Woods did the singing. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal were up next with a performance of Jingle Bells. Ugh. Great Khali and Santino Marella were up next and they teamed up for "Deck the Halls." Khali aggressively sang the "fa la la la" parts and got some laughs.
The fans voted by applause for Khali and Santino. 3MB wasn't happy, but they were cleared from the ring by the babyfaces. The two babyface teams teamed up for another song... Cole hyped Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Christmas Present on a Pole match... [C]
Powell's POV: Khali got a laugh out of my girlfriend. I'm taking one of her gifts back. Drink twice.
[Q7] 4. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Dolph Ziggler in a present on a pole match. The present was hanging from the pole. Justin Roberts said the winner gets an Intercontinental Title shot next week on Raw. Ziggler made a play for the present, but Fandango knocked him down to ringside.
Ziggler got back to the ropes, but Fandango kicked him down and reached for the present. Ziggler crotched Fandango on the top rope. They fought for position and Fandango knocked Ziggler to ringside again and took the present down...
Fandango defeated Dolph Ziggler in a present on a pole match to earn an Intercontinental Title shot.
Powell's POV: Drink three times. I know you are probably thinking a gimmick on a pole match is worth at least ten drinks. Hey, it's Christmas for Vince Russo too.
A graphic stated that the biggest Christmas gift was the Statue of Liberty, which France gave to the United States...
The Prime Time Players stood in the ring. Darren Young addressed the crowd as Houston. Titus O'Neil said it was Austin and said they're not greedy, just slow at times. He invited the fans to join them in their stupid dance.
Powell's POV: As usual, a few seemingly drunk guys who were just looking for an excuse to touch one another were shown doing the dance. Drink. Just don't ask your friends and family to do the dance with you, you horny little creep.
[Q8] 5. The Uso Brothers vs. The Prime Time Players. The crowd chanted "This is Austin." Meanwhile, clueless copycat fans in Iowa (Merry Christmas, Wisconsin) are excitedly planning to chant "This is Austin" the next time WWE comes to Cedar Rapids. In the end, one of the Uso Brothers performed a top rope splash on Young for the win. Afterwards, all four men did the Millions of Dollars Dance...
The Uso Brothers defeated The Prime Time Players in 4:50.
Powell's POV: Drink four times for the Millions of Dollars Dance.
A graphic listed the attributes of Good Santa and Bad Santa, then Henry and Sandow were shown walking separately backstage... [C] Cole congratulated Rock for being named the top grossing actor of 2013...
Powell's POV: Drink three times because this somehow made me think of The Tooth Fairy movie.
6. "Bad Santa" Damien Sandow vs. "Good Santa" Mark Henry. Sandow brought a handful of reindeer poop to the ring with him. Oh, um, that's coal. There were presents set in the ring. The first one contained a toilet. Yes, really. Henry stuck Sandow's face inside the toilet. Sandow pulled out a fire extinguisher, but he didn't pull the pin. Henry got it and sprayed it at Sandow.
[Q9] They fought to the stage, where Sandow started kicking over presents. The intellectual Sandow tried and failed again to get a fire extinguisher to work. Henry performed the World's Strongest Slam and ended the misery. After the match, Henry slammed Christmas cupcakes into Sandow's face...
Mark Henry pinned Damien Sandow in 3:20.
Powell's POV I wish Willie T. Stokes would have interfered on Sandow's behalf. Drink eight times (or however many it takes to black out and forget this ever happened).
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed C.M. Punk, who brought in his tag partners John Cena and Big E Langston...
Powell's POV I'm not wearing pants.
Zeb Colter delivered a Christmas promo about illegal aliens and Santa Claus. He said at least Santa only stays one night and sneaks back across the border...
7. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. The Real Americans. El Torito has a white outfit and Christmas tree bulbs. Cole said Los Matadores are undefeated in the bullring on Christmas week. Drink twice.
[Q10] Cesaro performed the swing on Nacho Barrera or whatever his goddamn name is. Don't drink if you're dizzy just from watching that. Los Matadores won with a cross body block...
Los Matadores defeated The Real Americans in 3:25.
Powell's POV: Don't worry, nerds, Cesaro was spared from taking the pinfall. It's okay to enjoy Christmas. Now drink for worrying about something so trivial.
Footage aired from Smacidown of the main event of The Shield vs. Punk and Cena... [C]
Powell's POV: It is cool to see WWE actually acknowledging the existence of Smackdown beyond that throwaway commercial spots. I hope this becomes the norm.
Another ad aired for Batista returning on January 20...
8. Kofi Kingston vs. Ryback. Kofi wore green and yellow tights that would have been considered too loud for an '80s wrestling glam rock tag team. He smiled. He clapped. He took Shellshocked and lost...
Ryback pinned Kofi Kingston in 5:40.
Powell's POV: Let the record show that Earl's Old Fashioned Cheese Puffs taste like shit. You're better than this, Earl.
[Q11] [C] Cole set up clips of the WWE crew that visited troops in Afghanistan. He said this was Vince McMahon's eleventh trip overseas...
Powell's POV: That's cool. I'd tell you to give five drinks back, but that would get messy. By the way, my girlfriend just pointed out that Earl's is a local company. I think she's concerned that Earl is going to show up at my door looking for a fight. Bring it on, Earl!
Wade Barrett delivered his latest Bad News Barrett segment. The money he collected is going home with him because he's not affiliated with any charity...
Powell's POV: Oh, lord, just drink until it's empty and then open a new one. They really needed a "Don't Try This At Home" video here, because some stupid fan is going to end up spending his Christmas behind bars when he attempts to recreate this scene. Speaking of which, don't drive tonight if you're drinking along with me. Sure, it should go without saying, but now I look like I have a heart. If you're downwind, you can probably smell the scent of my self-righteousness.
Backstage, The Shield delivered a promo. They said Cena and Punk have walked down this road before and they end up lying on the ground gasping for air. Roman Reigns said Big E Langston has the target on his back... [C]
The Big Show as Baby New Year's commercial aired again...
Powell's POV: You know, all these beers later and Big Show doesn't look so... Er, um, never mind.
[Q12] Ring entrances for the main event took place...
9. C.M. Punk, John Cena, and Big E Langston vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose. They took a commercial break a few minutes in. [C] After the break, The Shield worked over Cena until he tagged in Punk, who performed a suicide dive and a high knee on Ambrose. Rollins distracted Punk, and Ambrose regained offensive control.
[Overrun] The Shield isolated Punk for several minutes as he made repeated attempts to tag in Langston. He eventually got there and Langston went on an offensive run. He was about to hit his finisher on Ambrose when Rollins caught him with a kick. Cena broke up a pin attempt. Reigns speared Cena. After a series of finishers, Langston hit his on Ambrose and had him pinned, but Reigns broke it up. The referee called for the DQ. The babyfaces cleared The Shield from the ring...
John Cena, C.M. Punk, and Big E Langston beat The Shield by DQ.
Powell's POV: Wait, so John Cena can break up a pin attempt, but when Roman Reigns does the same thing it's a disqualification? Anyway, they built up to the big tag to Langston well throughout the match, but his brief flurry of offense really didn't live up to the big build. It was just too brief. Still, I like the way they gave Langston rub here.
Overall, Raw was filled with holiday campiness and worked in some decent, albeit mostly throwaway in-ring action. It was enough to reward viewers who tuned in with some good wrestling, and nothing other than the Batista video hype felt newsworthy, which is logical considering the holiday week. The members' are giving me the holiday gift of taking the night off from audio (I'd slur my words). Thanks for drinking along with me tonight. Have a Merry Christmas. We'll get back to normal next week (unless Big Show shows up in that diaper again). Drink one for the road and two for the ditch. No, not really.
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