A special Christmas Day edition of Monday Night Raw saw Chicago play host to the return of John Cena, Roman Reigns defending the Intercontinental Championship against Samoa Joe & new Raw Tag Team Champions crowned.
John Cena defeated Elias. Grade: B. Cena opened the show to a surprising good reaction considering how Chicago usually treats him; Cena gave a standard Christmas address before he was interrupted by Elias. Fans chanted for CM Punk before Elias clapped back saying that he was sure Punk wasn’t going to interrupt him. The match was okay with it coming as no surprise that Cena picked up an easy win.
Hideo Itami defeated The Brian Kendrick. Grade: C. An underwhelming in-ring debut on Raw for Itami with him picking up an easy win over Kendrick. The lack of character development for Itami is concerning and Kendrick should also be doing far more in the Cruiserweight Division.
Absolution defeated Bayley, Sasha Banks & Mickie James. Grade: B- Another good win for Absolution showcasing their dominance and danger. The real star here was Mandy Rose who really came out here and showed what she is capable of, she carries herself very well in the ring and certainly has a presence about her in the squared circle.
Kane defeated Heath Slater. Grade: B- Rhyno attempted to help toughen up his tag team partner y putting him in a match with Kane, only for the Big Red Machine to utterly destroy the One-Man Band. Kane looks like a monster, or a beast, ahead of the Royal Rumble as he even choke slammed Rhyno post-match, while the story between Slater & Rhyno has great potential to be as entertaining as Slaters job hunt of 2016.
Finn Balor defeated Curt Hawkins. Grade: C- Hawkins cut a promo before the match on his losing streak, before Balor, who apparently has absolutely nothing better to do came out and beat him again. To think Balor could have been facing Lesnar for the title at the Rumble.
Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt. Grade: A- This was exactly what this feud needed; some physicality and action without the long drawn out promos, but still enough to leave us desperately wanting more. Finally we have someone who can go toe-to-toe in mind games with Wyatt. This should bring out the best in both men.
Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa & Mustafa Ali defeated Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari. Grade: C+ The in-ring action was good and the match put the number one contender over strong before his title match with Enzo; however if you’re wondering why people don’t take the Cruiserweights seriously, things like this really aren’t helping.
Samoa Joe defeated Roman Reigns by Disqualification but Roman Reigns is still the Intercontinental Champion. Grade: A. This was two big men beating the holy hell out of one another, and it was amazing. Both Joe and particularly Reigns were as aggressive as ever unloading on each other, with Reigns refusing to stop beating Joe before the referee’s five count. Reigns targeted the arm of Joe in the post-match beat down. When these two are allowed to go all out in a big blow off match, it is going to truly be something special.
Braun Strowman defeated The Miztourage. Grade: C+ The Miztourage singing Christmas carols was ridiculous, but regardless seeing Strowman completely batter these two men was fun, even if more should be done with all three men involved.
Alexa Bliss Promo. Grade: C. Bliss cut a promo taking credit for the Women’s History being made and the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, something that she absolutely should have done, but perhaps with a little more conviction and aggression; it would have helped if she wasn’t jumping for joy at the announcement last week. Asuka announced her entry into the Royal rumble, and I’m not sure how I feel about her being in that match. Alexa interrupting Nia Jax & Enzo Amore just as they were about to kiss under the mistletoe was genuinely great as well.
Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins defeated Cesaro & Sheamus to win the Raw Tag Team Championships. Grade: B- Rollins & Jordan struggling to get along initially but ultimately gelling to win the titles was a nice little story, however this does feel like just a replacement for Dean Ambrose and his injury. Interesting that the titles were taken off Cesaro & Sheamus more interesting that Jordan is now a champion on Raw, but it’s hard to think that Rollins shouldn’t be doing more than this. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.