The show begins with the McMahon Family making a vow to change WWE programming for the better. It was a really uncharacteristic move by the McMahon’s to openly admit they’ve been doing a bad job at entertaining their fans so I really don’t know what to make of this.
Former Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin lobbied hard to be named Raw GM permanently. At first, it looked like Corbin was out of luck but the McMahon’s come up with a plan. Corbin gets the job if he can beat Kurt Angle in a match with Heath Slater as special guest referee.
Baron Corbin vs. Kurt Angle: During the match, Triple H made the announcement that the match is now a Handicap Match. The Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable and Apollo Crews join the match. All four men beat Corbin while Slater has his back turned. Shane McMahon comes out to make the match a No Disqualification Match. The foursome all beat Corbin with chairs before hitting their finishers. Angle caps it off with an Angle Slam for the win. I guess Baron Corbin will have to go back to his old salary.
Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler: During the match, Drew McIntyre made his way down to the ring. A DQ was not called Dolph beat him down long enough for Finn to come flying out of the ring with a tope. Dolph capitalizes on the chaos by rolling Finn back in and hitting the Famouser for two. Balor was making his comeback before McIntyre came in and hit Balor with a clothesline causing a disqualification. McIntyre beats both men down finishing off his attack with a Claymore Kick to Dolph and Balor. It was a really fun, evenly match with a logical ending.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Tyler Breeze for the Intercontinental Championship: Since Seth Rollins wouldn’t answer Dean when he called him out, the new Champion issued an open challenge to anyone in the back not named Seth Rollins. The challenge was answered by Tyler Breeze. Breeze really took the fight to Ambrose, at one point rounding off a Beauty Shot spin kick and a Superkick for a close call. Unfortunately, Ambrose counters an Unprittier from Breeze into Dirty Deeds for the win.
After the match, Ambrose gets on the mic to say that is an Intercontinental Champion with integrity, unlike Seth Rollins who didn’t have the guts to show up. Burn It Down blares through the arena and Ambrose’s Swat Team gets in position. Suddenly a Swat member Superkicks Ambrose. It turns out that was Seth Rollins in disguise. Ambrose runs off while Rollins wipes out the Swat Team.
Shane McMahon makes a Tag Team Fatal 4 Way between AOP, The Revival, The B Team, and Lucha House Party. The winners will receive a future opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships. Apparently, automatic rematch clauses are now antiquated and done away with.
We get a cool video package for a few Superstars from NXT on their way up to the WWE.
Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley conduct a parody of Elias’ pre-match performance but instead of songs, we get bicep poses and butt pointing. Elias was waiting in the shadows and when the lights came up he cracks Bobby Lashley across the back with a guitar.
AOP vs. B-Team vs. The Revival vs. Lucha House Party: Lince Dorado and Kalisto of the Lucha House Party have things in hand until AOP comes in. Back from break with The Revival on offense. Chaos ensues with AOP being taken out by a flying Lucha House Party. Scott Dawson and Bo Dallas in the ring doing work. Scott fights out of three different roll-up pins and gets a bling tag to Dash Wilder. The Revival hit Shatter Machine and the win. Finally some respect for The Revival.
Eight Woman Gauntlet Match to Face Ronda Rousey Next Week: Bayley and Alicia Fox are in there for quite some time. Alicia gets eliminated after Bayley shifts a pin for the three. Dana Brooke is out and she’s all over Bayley who’s knee has suffered significant damage. Dana got too cocky and gets dropped by a Bayley to Belly and is eliminated. Back from a commercial break with Mickie James working over Bayley. On a badly injured knee, Bayley gives it one hell of an effort. Mickie plants Bayley with a DDT to eliminate Bayley. Next up is Ember Moon. This was a physical portion of the match with each woman keeping up with the other. Ember Moon takes care of Mickie James with an Eclipse. Natalya is up next and she slows the pace down to tire out Ember. Natalya’s plan works as she catches Ember off guard with a roll-up pin. Before we head to break the Riott Squad come down to the ring. It turns out that we will be seeing a rematch of last night’s Table Match at TLC last night. This portion was a little slower but still enjoyable as Ruby and Natalya have great chemistry. Natalya ducks an attack from Ruby and rolls her up for the to eliminate Ruby. The final competitor in the Gauntlet is Sasha Banks who goes right at Natalya. We come back from commercial to a stalemate. Natalya gets the upper hand and places Banks in the Sharpshooter. Banks was able to fight out by using her leg strength to propel Natalya into the turnbuckle. Both women are going back and forth with multiple stalemates showing no signs of a winner. Banks hits a Meteora for only two. Natalya won’t quit to the Banks Statement. She drops Sasha with an over the shoulder throw leaving Sasha in perfect position to be locked in the Sharpshooter and Sasha Banks taps! WWE books another solid Gauntlet Match using competition to create new opponents for Champions.
I still don’t know what to make of this new direction for WWE programming but it seems like one a wait and see sort of thing. Regardless, for the Christmas Eve edition of Raw, the show is stacked with matches. Finn Balor, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler will be in a Triple Threat Match, Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin, Elias vs. Bobby Lashley in a Street Fight, and finally Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya for the Raw Women’s Championship. That’s a lot of wrestling so I’ll take this week as a positive.
What did you think of tonight’s Raw and this supposed new direction of WWE? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!