It's Christmas! And what better way to celebrate the holidays than ... with The Authority? Even if that's not the ideal Yuletide welcome for most of the WWE Universe, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon (and Kane, who was passing out candy canes) did indeed kick off Raw Christmas with a brief address to the WWE Universe that included a smorgasbord of planned contests for the evening. Randy Orton even got in on the goodwill and cheer, strutting down to the ring and giving The Authority a gift of — well, himself as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. One celebratory ignition of the ring posts by Kane later, and Christmas was on!
Christmas came early for the “Total Divas” gals, who knocked off the “True Divas” (plus Vickie Guerrero) in a “Jingle Belles” rumble presided over by the Grinchiest of Divas Champions, AJ Lee, at commentary. The two battalions of belles traded offense pretty evenly for the majority of the match – Eva Marie dodged a spear from Kaitlyn, while Tamina and Nikki Bella continued their recent back-and-forth — but Christmas chaos ensued after a broken pin-count. The “Total Divas” rallied by assembling into a human pinwheel that took out their opponents one by one, and Natalya put the proverbial bow on it by submitting Aksana in the Sharpshooter.
A strong presence in the tag team division with Ryback has been an unexpected gift for Curtis Axel. Still, the former Intercontinental Champion's Christmas was a bit less than perfect when he went up against the resurgent Sin Cara in a Yuletide rumble. Axel didn't seem to have much respect for The International Icon from the get-go, roughly sweeping him off the apron and mashing him mask-first onto the mat. With the WWE Universe behind him, though, Sin Cara found his second wind and returned the favor; the luchador took to the skies and struck Axel with a moonsault outside the ring, punctuating the win with a textbook top-rope senton.
Well, at least one family will be having a good Christmas this year. What, exactly, Bray Wyatt does for the Yuletide is best left to the imagination, but he, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper earned their own tidings of joy by defeating both Daniel Bryan and another of WWE's premier families: the Rhodes brothers. What began as a contest of brains over brawn seemed to be going the way of Bryan & the Rhodeses when the quicker fan favorites isolated Rowan and trapped Harper in the Tree of Woe in an attempt to lure Wyatt himself into action.
Things turned sour when Goldust was strong-armed into Wyatt territory and tenderized by all three Family members in turn, though a fresh Bryan — who really just wanted a piece of Bray — briefly reversed the flow. Bryan's wish to battle “The Pastor of Pain” came back to haunt him when Wyatt tagged in and mangled the “Yes!” man on the mat before dragging him back to Harper & Rowan. Cody Rhodes stormed in to play the role of savior with a late tag while Bryan and Goldust brawled with The Wyatts on the outside, but The Eater of Worlds turned him into a Christmas meal, tagging in and pouncing with Sister Abigail to leave his foes in the cold.
Holiday decorum has no place in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll, so it would make sense that 3MB attempted to derail a Yuletide sing-off the hapless rockers showed no signs of winning ... yet, the laws of Christmas declare that naughtiness be punished, so it was no surprise that Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal didn't have a snowball's chance in ... well, you know ... of getting out of the ring in one piece when they attacked their opponents, The Great Khali, Santino, R-Truth & Xavier “The Voice of an Angel” Woods.
Ever the sour sports, the band traded carols for chaos and initiated physicality on their opponents when Santino & Khali got the win with “Deck the Halls.” However, the fan favorites battled back and did some decking in the old-fashioned sense, socking the band in the mouth and singing into the night with a final rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” After a display like that, it's hard not to have one.
Dolph Ziggler may not be broken after rallying from a rough stretch to defeat Fandango on Raw last week. The Showoff's holiday hopes, however, were shattered when his rival prevailed in a three-peat of their collision at the WWE TLC Kickoff by winning a Present-on-a-Pole match and making off with a blockbuster Yuletide haul: an Intercontinental Championship opportunity against Big E Langston.
Still smarting from his loss the previous week, Fandango wanted no part of Ziggler initially and made a beeline for the present, though he caught a jaw-jacking dropkick for his trouble. The urgency of the match spurred the dancer into action, and he later used his body as a projectile to send both men over the ropes as Dolph attempted to seize the parcel. A crunch-time tussle atop the turnbuckle came down to the wire, and Fandango's dirty play proved the difference maker when he slammed Dolph's head across the pole in question, sending The Showoff crashing down to the steps and the floor in succession, leaving the gift free for the taking.
No reason a pursuit of the WWE Tag Team Championships can't include a healthy dose of holiday cheer. Case in point: The Usos, who didn't let the implications of a match against The Prime Time Players stop them from displaying sportsmanship or silliness en route to a victory that puts them back in the running for the Rhodes Bros.’ twin titles. Titus O’Neil & Darren Young kept things friendly in the bout, though The Big Deal certainly played to win the game, brutally suplexing Young on top of Jey Uso’s prone body for an early advantage.
Mr. No Days Off (even Christmas?) quickly saw his fortunes fade as The Usos traded shots with a series of rapid-fire tags that even an interfering O’Neil was powerless to stop. Despite an effort that everyone from Austin to Houston could appreciate, The Players received an airborne shellacking from a Rudolph-ized Superfly splash by Jimmy Uso. Proving there were no hard feelings, all four partook in the “Millions of Dollars” dance after the final bell, because really, isn't that what everyone wants for the holidays?
‘Twas two nights before Christmas, right there on TV, a Christmas rumble occurred within WWE. On one side Good Santa, a titan of cheer, on the other Bad Santa, with a coal-colored beard. The bell rang three times to let the battle begin, and a box was unboxed to reveal a toilet within. After Bad Santa’s head was shoved down the bowl, the crowd came alive and Good Santa started to roll. An extinguisher spray left Bad Santa damp, but he fought back and fought hard when they fought up the ramp. An attempted induction into the Hall of Pain was cut quickly short via Singapore (candy) cane.
But wait, oh, but hark! The night was not done, and Christmas was saved when Good Santa won. Despite the maneuvers that Bad Santa hurled, Saint Nicholas pinned him with the Strongest Slam in the World. A three-count was counted, the cheers they were cheered; Good Santa had gone and saved Christmas this year. So go one, go all, with kisses and hugs, Mark Henry won Christmas, ‘cause that’s what he does.
That rabble-rousing “immigrant” Santa Claus appears to be the least of Zeb Colter's immediate problems. Despite targeting the globe-jumping Kris Kringle in his latest rant, The Founding Father was left to deal with a heap of coal on the home front when his Real Americans were defeated by Los Matadores, on the eve of Navidad.
The grouchy Americans couldn't put a damper on Diego & Fernando, who made merry all over the strongmen in the early goings. Antonio Cesaro did unleash a mammoth Cesaro Swing on the bullfighters, though a switcheroo by Diego & Fernando on the outside nullified the move and kept Los Matadores alive. Jack Swagger tagged in and the two former U.S. Champions seemed to have their foes surrounded until El Torito – decked out in Christmas lights for the occasion – gored Cesaro in the gut to cut off a potential interference. With the threat neutralized (so to speak), Diego capitalized with a cross body to a weakened Swagger, who couldn't kick out to escape the three-count.
With Skillz All Day, Kofi Kingston's Christmas list surely must be short. That said, the former Intercontinental Champion was left wanting when he went up against that human lump of coal, Ryback, and was Shell Shocked back to the Nativity. Like any bully worth his salt, Ryback set out to ruin Kofi's Christmas and ruin it hard, though The Dreadlocked Dynamo gave a strong effort against the Grinchy powerhouse. Kingston peppered Ryback with so many kicks and strikes that “The Big Guy” was left stumbling into retreat. Ryback found daylight with a big clothesline that sent Kingston spilling over the ropes, and The Human Wrecking Ball smashed Kofi like a Christmas bauble, keeping pace with Kingston's high-octane offense and, ultimately, ending the match with a pulverizing Shell Shocked.
If anyone can break The Shield, it's two strongmen and The Best in the World. Yet, while the all-star trio of John Cena, CM Punk & Big E Langston didn't hand The Hounds of Justice a Christmas loss per se — The Shield are still too tough to take out quite so easily — they left the men in black frostbit all the same. It was momentarily touch-and-go for Cena & Co. after strong start by the Cenation leader was undone by Roman Reigns, who initiated the numbers game against the 11-time WWE Champion. Punk similarly struggled with The Hounds’ strategy, and the X-factor turned out to ultimately be Big E.
Summoned by Punk when all seemed lost, Langston thundered through the ranks of The Shield and — with assistance from his teammates — struck United States Champion Dean Ambrose with the Big Ending, but The Hounds swarmed the three-count and stopped the bout via disqualification. The three villains set Langston up for a Triple Powerbomb that would send him to the South Pole, yet Cena and Punk were having none of it, dragging Reigns through the ropes and capitalizing on a Langston double-clothesline to Ambrose & Rollins with an Attitude Adjustment-Go to Sleep combo to end the holiday season on a high note.
And hey, Santa didn't get run over this year. It truly is a Christmas miracle.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Eva Marie, Natalya, The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) & The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) defeated Vickie Guererro, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Summer Rae & Tamina Snuka (3:45)
- Sin Cara defeated Curtis Axel (5:20)
- The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan & Goldust (22:20)
- Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) defeated Dolph Ziggler in a Christmas Present on a Pole Match to be the #1 Contender for the WWE Intercontinental Championship (4:44)
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) (4:50)
- Good Santa defeated Bad Santa (3:20)
- Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito) defeated The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) (3:25)
- Ryback defeated Kofi Kingston (5:40)
- Big E. Langston, CM Punk & John Cena defeated The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) by Disqualification (14:46)
Other on-screen talent