Monday Night Raw – December 18, 2017: It’s About That Time

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 18, 2017
Location: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

We’re officially past the last pay per view of the year and that means it’s time to get ready for the Royal Rumble. Tonight we might find out what’s going on with the Universal Title match as Brock Lesnar is here and Braun Strowman and Kane are both ready to meet him face to face. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of last week’s main event with Kane vs. Strowman going to a double countout in a #1 contenders match.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Kurt Angle to get things going. He recaps last week’s main event as well (they really need to stop doing that just after we watched a video saying the same thing) and promises to solve the problem by the end of the night. Strowman comes out to say he should get the shot, followed by Kane to do the same. Before anything can happen, Paul Heyman comes out to say Lesnar needs to be involved in this. Brock hits the ring and Angle speeds through an announcement of the triple threat at the Rumble so he can get out. Lesnar cleans house and F5’s Kane.

Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe

Hang on as Jason Jordan comes out and says he should be the one facing Samoa Joe, which he’s been wanting to do for two weeks. Rollins says he doesn’t care but here’s Joe to say fight each other and the winner fights him later tonight.

Seth Rollins vs. Jason Jordan

Joe is at ringside. Jordan wrestles him to the mat for a bit until Rollins superkicks him in the ribs. A clothesline knocks Jordan at Joe’s feet and we take a break. Back with Jordan working on the back off some Irish whips into the corner. It’s off to a chinlock with a knee in the back before the running shoulder in the corner gets two.

Jordan gets in another suplex and we take a break. Back again with Rollins getting in some offense of his own, including the springboard clothesline. Jordan clotheslines him down again but gets knocked outside for a suicide dive. The second springboard clothesline is countered into rolling northern lights suplexes for two more as this keeps going.

Jordan takes him up top but gets shoved down, setting up the frog splash for two more. They head outside with the Wind-Up Knee smashing into Jordan’s face. Seth throws Jordan into Joe before superkicking the Samoan down. Back in and the Wind-Up Knee finishes Jordan at 19:49.

Rating: B-. WAY longer than necessary here and another match that showcased the problem with Jordan: he can have good matches but he’s one of the most annoying, whiny characters around. The good thing is they seem primed to turn him heel (the right move) so it might get better, but for now he’s being rather annoying.

Post match Joe lays out both guys. Booker: “It’s called a love tap in our business.”

Back from a break with Rollins, Jordan and Dean Ambrose saying they want a piece of Samoa Joe. Angle makes a six man tag match with the three of them facing Joe/the Bar.

We look back at Matt Hardy being woken.

Bray Wyatt wants to know why people are drawn to Matt. Is it the childish laugh? Or maybe the funny faces he makes? Bray is here to make sure that the right people get hurt, like Matt and all of the fans. He starts singing before saying she is sorry because the Great War must end.

Finn Balor vs. Miztourage

Bo Dallas starts for the team as the announcers can’t stop laughing at each other in that forced way that only they can do. Balor takes care of him in short order so it’s off to Curtis Axel for some stomping in the corner. Axel right hands Balor down and continues his variety of stomping, followed by some knees from Dallas. Finn knocks Axel off the top and loads up the Coup de Grace, only to have Dallas come in for the double beatdown and the DQ at 5:44.

Rating: D+. I can live with a loss like this as you don’t want Balor to be that much of a world beater. Miz should be back soon so we can do the real feud, which should be Balor destroying him in all of five minutes. If nothing else this gives Balor a much needed win in a feud as they try to rebuild him. Granted that won’t help if he just keeps losing but it’s better than nothing.

Post match Hideo Itami makes his main roster debut for the save. I love it when WWE basically admits that 205 Live means nothing.

Hideo Itami/Finn Balor vs. Miztourage

Joined in progress after a break Itami working on Dallas’ arm and handing it back to Balor, who gets caught in a backbreaker. We hit the chinlock for a long while with Cole explaining Itami’s WWE history (minus the series of injuries). Back up and Itami gets the hot tag to clean house, including a running knee for two on Dallas. Balor takes Dallas down, leaving Itami to GTS Axel for the pin at 4:29.

Rating: C-. Itami is a rather small guy but it’s cool to see him thrown in there with the heavyweights. If nothing else it continues WWE’s rather hilarious attempts to pretend like 205 Live needs to exist, given the fact that Itami just beat up two heavyweights with practically no problem. That being said, it would have been interesting to see him debut next week in Chicago and hitting the GTS there, assuming it didn’t set off two hours of CM Punk chants.

Cedric Alexander is only going to be overlooking Drew when he’s looking over him with his hand raised in victory.

Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander

The winner gets Enzo Amore for the title at some point in the future. Before the match, Enzo talks about his microphone being a lightsaber. Drew: “If we’re talking Star Wars, I’ve always considered myself a Jar Jar Binks.” The PowerPoint is loaded up but Cedric cuts him off as you knew he would. Cedric starts fast and sends Drew to the floor for a big flip dive.

Drew suplexes him over the top but gets pulled out as well, leaving them both in a heap as we take a break. Back with Gulak in control as Enzo keeps making up names for Drew. A chinlock sets up a pinfall reversal sequence, followed by Drew walking into a C4 for two. Gulak comes back with something like a sitting STF but Cedric makes the rope. Enzo looks at his phone and leaves, much to Gulak’s dismay. The springboard clothesline (the third of the night) into the Lumbar Check for the pin and the title shot at 12:52.

Rating: C. This was any given 205 Live main event and while completely acceptable, it was again mostly about Enzo. Cedric winning is the right call (despite Gulak rocketing up the entertainment charts as of late) but good night he better win the title. Enzo has destroyed everything he touches as of late and a change is needed.

Post break Enzo comes up to see Nia Jax, who seems interested in a little alone time. Gulak, with a bloody piece of gauze in his nose, comes in to ask if they can go over what happened. Enzo shouts that he did a lot of things wrong and leaves.

Asuka vs. Alicia Fox

They circle each other for a bit until the screechy Fox bails from the threat of a cross armbreaker. Back in and Fox’s northern lights suplex sets up a chinlock, only to have Asuka kick her in the head. The armbreaker makes Fox tap at 3:43.

Rating: D. Is there a reason Asuka isn’t just mauling people like Fox? Since WWE doesn’t let Asuka actually beat anyone of note, we’re stuck with her having issues with Fox and Dana Brooke. I mean….they clearly get the idea of her dominating everything but she doesn’t actually dominate most of the time. Why is this so complicated? Just let her fight a name already.

The Bar/Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose/Jason Jordan

Jordan tags himself in and gets to face Sheamus, who clotheslines his head off. The triple stomping sets up a Sheamus knee drop for two as Jordan is in trouble. Back from a break with Rollins in trouble this time, including a Demolition Decapitator for two. The Irish Curse keeps Seth down but a DDT gives him a little hope. Joe breaks up the hot tag attempt though and hits the corner enziguri.

Sheamus goes shoulder first into the post but Rollins still can’t make the tag. Everything breaks down with a big brawl on the floor with Ambrose cleaning house. Cesaro cuts off another hot tag attempt but Dean comes in anyway. A big suicide dive cuts everyone off but Dean is holding his elbow. The referee calls the doctor over and a very quick Brogue Kick ends Rollins at 13:30.

Rating: C. Well that’s not good. They went straight to the finish and while they did keep the camera on Dean longer than they usually would in an injury, that seemed a bit too realistic. Hopefully he’s not hurt and doesn’t have to miss any time, though given how things have gone for the Shield it wouldn’t surprise me.

Stephanie arrives. Oh come on now we were doing so well without her.

Matt Hardy is playing chess with a goldfish named Napoleon. After beating the fish and agreeing to a rematch, Matt talks about Bray Wyatt and how WWE is like a chess board. Matt goes back to the board (whose pieces have been moved) and promises to delete Bray and Sister Abigail.

Joe and the Bar attack Rollins and Ambrose, including crushing the bad arm with an anvil case.

Heath Slater/Rhyno vs. Revival

Slater gets punched in the face to start as we see Titus Worldwide, including a note taking Dana Brooke now in black with glasses, watching in the back. Wilder and Slater bang heads but Wilder is up in time to pull Rhyno off the apron. The Shatter Machine ends Slater at 3:04.

Rating: D+. Pretty much a squash here but it’s just nice to see Revival back and being dominant again. They’re still awesome and could be a good addition to the title scene, assuming they don’t break down again in all of five minutes. Slater and Rhyno are good for something like this and that’s all this needed to be.

Post break Angle comes up to Slater and Rhyno, saying they need to step it up if they want opportunities next year. Slater panics but Rhyno says his attitude needs to change and has an idea of how to fix it. Slater: “Is this going to hurt?”

Elias is in the ring and talks about being an inspiration to Tom Brady. This turns into a list of insults about Brady as Elias continues to know how to work a crowd. Angle is scared of him and it’s going to be even worse when he’s in the Royal Rumble. Elias is about to sing a song about Roger Goodell but Sasha Banks’ entrance cuts him off.

Sasha Banks/Mickie James/Bayley vs. Absolution

Banks throws Paige around to start but gets caught in the wrong corner. Absolution takes turns on her with Paige stomping her down. Paige gets tossed to the side though and the bot tag brings in Bayley as everything breaks down. The fight heads outside until Banks hits her top rope double knees on Deville, only to have the rest of Absolution come in for the brawl. The referee throws it out at 3:08.

Rating: D. That ending screams a post match angle and I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re going. I mean, we’re less than two months away from the Royal Rumble and a women’s version has been discussed. They certainly have the numbers to pull it off at this point and with Stephanie around, it sounds like announcement time.

Post match the brawl is on with the rest of the roster (including Brooke changing from her street clothes to ring gear and changing her hair) coming out. Cue Stephanie to talk about the Women’s Revolution and how important it is. We hear about all the things the women have done and the women’s Royal Rumble is announced to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. This show felt very long and that’s not a good thing. The announcement at the end helped a lot (save for Stephanie’s regular screeching and everyone stopping their hatred because of her mere presence) but the wrestling wasn’t great and it felt like it was eighteen hours long again. I do however take some solace in the fact that WWE continues to treat 205 Live like it’s nothing, with Itami debuting and the #1 contenders match taking place on Raw. This wasn’t a very good show, but it’s Rumble time and that means things will get good in a hurry.

Results

Seth Rollins b. Jason Jordan – Wind-Up Knee

Finn Balor b. Miztourage via DQ when Axel and Dallas double teamed Balor

Finn Balor/Hideo Itami b. Miztourage – GTS to Axel

Cedric Alexander b. Drew Gulak – Lumbar Check

Asuka b. Alicia Fox – Cross armbreaker

The Bar/Samoa Joe b. Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose/Jason Jordan – Brogue Kick to Rollins

Revival b. Heath Slater/Rhyno – Shatter Machine to Slater

Mickie James/Bayley/Sasha Banks b. Absolution via DQ when Absolution triple teamed Banks

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Volume VI: July – December 1999 in e-book or paperback. Check out the information here:

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9 comments

  1. Dragon says:

    2 very annoying things tonite….1) Enzo on commentary. He just wouldn’t stop and with the other announcers trying to talk it came off terribly. 2) Absolution and rest of womens roster standing side by side at the end. Just ridiculous. And while a womens Rumble is long overdue, having 2 in one show might not come off too great.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    1. Amen on Enzo. My goodness I can’t stand him much longer.

    2. Well they were in awe of Stephanie you see. That was her least bad promo in years. She didn’t rewrite history, didn’t destroy anyone’s credibility, didn’t take credit for everything, and only got two things wrong:

    A. The Women’s Revolution was two years ago (she said three)

    B. Many of the women in the ring tonight weren’t there for it.

    But other than that, it was downright almost not terrible.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    Yeah i was done with Enzo again when he started yammering while Cedric & Gulak were having a pretty good Match.

    I am pretty excited for the Womens Royal Rumble, be interesting to see how many they put in their minus the two Champions along with maybe an NXT name or two who are Iconic shall we say.

    NightShiftLoser Reply:

    Judging from their reactions, that was the moment they found out, so I’d excuse them breaking kayfabe for a moment like that.

  2. Davy says:

    A women’s rumble sounds awful.

    M.R. Reply:

    Sadly I’d have to agree.

    Dragon Reply:

    Yes, it will be awful.

  3. Conor says:

    The whole point of Jordan is that he’s whiny and annoying. And he’s really good at it. It’s not a problem that people dislike him, that’s what they’re supposed to do. And when he eventually cheats to win one of these matches it’s going to be great.

    Jerichoholic94 Reply:

    When he cheats to win I can’t wait to see Booker T’s reaction.