The presents have been counted, the chestnuts roasted and the Menorahs lit, but Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns had one last bit of naughtiness to address on the night after Christmas: The yuletide shellacking given to them by Braun Strowman in the closing moments of last week's Raw. Despite both Rollins and Reigns demanding that Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon give them a match with The Gift of Destruction, only The Architect won the Strowman Sweepstakes for the evening by Stephanie's decree. Reigns, however, would not be left wanting. Stephanie decreed that The Big Dog would defend his U.S. Title later in the evening against a Superstar of her choosing. Merry Christmas?
Far from the holiday reversal of fortune they were hoping for, The New Day instead walked away from the post-Christmas Raw with a heaping help of booty after they failed to regain the Raw Tag Team Championships from Cesaro & Sheamus. Granted, ya boys’ failure was certainly not for a lack of ingenuity on their part. The record-setting champions sent Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods into the breach against the men who ended their reign, and the speed-first game plan of The New Day left the new champions playing catch-up for some time.
Even isolating Woods didn't turn the match in the champions’ favor right away, at least until Cesaro locked him in the Cesaro Swing. Big E attempted to distract the referee so Kingston could save the match, but Cesaro used Kingston to both knock Big E off the apron and take him out, Gorilla-Pressing Kingston onto the powerhouse outside the ring. And as a result of a Sheamus tag that Woods missed, New Day's last gasp effort of an Honor Roll landed him face-first into the Irishman's boot.
It had been a while since we heard from Nia Jax before last week's Raw, when she mauled a hobbled Sasha Banks after judging The Boss to be “weak” and a “little girl.” This week, Jax continued her crusade to eradicate the landscape of The Boss in a match against a Chicago local named Scarlett, who wore Sasha's merch to the match and dedicated her debut to the absent Banks. The local's loyalty to The Boss seemed to motivate Jax to put a little extra mustard on the beating that followed. She took care of Scarlett in all of two minutes before advising her — or rather, what was left of her — to pick better role models before crushing her with a leg drop.
Give a goodbye hug to Bayley's three-match winning streak against Charlotte Flair, because The Queen finally — finally — notched a one-on-one victory over The Huggable One, albeit one that wasn't exactly on the level. After calling up a replay of Bayley's win over the Raw Women's Champion last week — and showing, definitively, that the official missed Charlotte's shoulder coming off the mat — Flair revealed she and her lawyers had gotten Stephanie McMahon to expunge the match. And with it, Bayley's No. 1 contender status was expunged, too. Then, Charlotte successfully goaded Bayley into a No. 1 contender's rematch with a settlement-guaranteed referee who would be far more sympathetic to The Queen's goals: Dana Brooke.
Bayley, wisely, took Brooke out early in the match, which led another referee to take her place. But Brooke recovered in time to relieve the zebra and re-enter the fray just as Charlotte had taken a Bayley-to-Belly. Dana sealed the deal by slapping a fast three-count on the mat after Charlotte executed a roll-up of Bayley with her feet on the ropes. Flair and square, baby. Flair and square.
You know those video game levels where you show up to the boss battle and haven't gotten leveled up enough to beat him? That was sort of what happened to TJ Perkins on Raw, who had the misfortune of being Neville's first singles opponent since his furious return at Roadblock: End of the Line. The self-proclaimed “King of the Cruiserweights” showed no respect (he didn't shake his hand!) and less mercy to the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Champion, weathering an impressive effort from Perkins and reversing the Kneebar into a stack pin with a handful of tights to seal the bout. He then declared that 1) Americans were ignorant and had overlooked him on account of his looks, his accent or his personality and, 2) he was coming after Rich Swann on 205 Live.
The only thing Enzo Amore got out of sensitivity training last week was a stint in a wheelchair after Rusev (who still hates Enzo after the Lana thing) and Jinder Mahal (who now hates Enzo after being insulted) ganged up on Muscles Marinara at the end of the session. But the loss of his legs slowed Smacktalker Skywalker down about as much as it did Anakin Skywalker: A wheelchair-bound Enzo and roaring mad Big Cass called The Super Athlete down to the ring for a fight and Rusev obliged them, with Mahal by his side. Unfortunately for the two goons, Enzo's injury was a ruse, and Amore revealed his mobility right as they got into the ring, joining in with Big Cass on a beatdown that sent both Mahal and The Bulgarian Brute scurrying.
Well, looks like Braun Strowman was just as anxious to fight Seth Rollins as Rollins was to fight Strowman: The Monster Among Men crashed a tag team match between sensitivity training graduates Bo Dallas & Darren Young and island con men The Shining Stars and attacked them with a Christmas tree to cut off their match. With Strowman having been given an edict by Stephanie McMahon to destroy Rollins, Strowman was clearly eager to jump-start his own bout with The Architect, though Strowman ironically suffered a no-contest himself when an old rival came a-callin’.
That rival, of course, was Sami Zayn, who distracted Strowman with his music before jumping out of the crowd and attacking The Gift of Destruction right in the middle of Strowman's protracted dissection of The Architect. Strowman gave chase when Zayn (who'll battle Strowman next week in a Last Man Standing Match demanded by the monster) escaped through the crowd, and, with Rollins reeling in the ring, Chris Jericho put a capper on Rollins’ night when he slid into the ring and administered a pair of Codebreakers. What's that old expression about turnabout?
With the Raw Tag Team Titles temporarily out of their reach, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson have gone back to their roots: disrespecting and defeateding anyone who gets in their path. After defiling a “Dusty Bear” — a polka-dotted Bayley Bear — that Goldust received as a Christmas present from Bayley, the good brothers added insult to injury by defeateding The Golden Truth in a tag team match. Goldust almost had the match in hand, busting out a rarely seen fury against both of his opponents. Alas, that wasn't enough to get the job done, as a Karl Anderson roll-up with a handful of The Bizarre One's tights sure did. Hard times indeed.
Generally speaking, it's pretty good to be Rich Swann, but that might change tomorrow night. The WWE Cruiserweight Champion rebounded from his tag-team loss on 205 Live by defeateding Ariya Daivari in singles action on Raw, and when pressed to address the elephant in the room — Neville's challenge from earlier in the evening — Swann accepted with relish. The Man That Gravity Forgot quickly attacked from behind and threw Swann back-first into the apron before hitting the Red Arrow on the champion's back, setting the stage for a blockbuster showdown on tomorrow's 205 Live.
It may not be the only one, either. When asked for his own thoughts on the loss backstage, Daivari was confronted by Jack Gallagher in full three-piece regalia, and The Extraordinary Gentleman was somewhat miffed at Daivari calling him a “scoundrel.” So, when Daivari refused to retract his remarks, Gallagher did what any gentleman would do in this situation: slapped Daivari across the face with a glove and challenged him to a duel.
With Seth Rollins having been waylaid by both Braun Strowman and Chris Jericho earlier in the evening, WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens seemingly had a clear path to Roman Reigns’ U.S. Championship in Raw's main event. Not only did The Prizefighter have Reigns beaten in the numbers game (ironic, given the old Shield M.O.) with Jericho at ringside, but Owens was also holding his own against The Big Dog after taking him to Chinlock City.
The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla made his presence known at exactly the right time, climbing on the apron right after Reigns landed a Superman Punch and allowing Owens to spring with a Codebreaker. With Reigns reeling from Owens’ assault, Rollins stormed ringside and Pedigreed Jericho on the arena floor. Reigns finished the job with a Spear to Owens to retain his title, and then the two Shield brothers laid Jeri-KO out with a Pedigree (to Owens) and a Spear (to Jericho). Call it some post-Christmas clean-up.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Cesaro & Sheamus (c) defeated The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (11:00)
- Nia Jax defeated Scarlett (1:00)
- Charlotte defeated Bayley (w/ Dana Brooke as special guest referee) (4:00)
- Neville defeated T.J. Perkins (5:00)
- Braun Strowman defeated Seth Rollins by disqualification (3:30)
- Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) (4:00)
- Rich Swann defeated Ariya Daivari (1:30)
- Roman Reigns (c) defeated Kevin Owens to retain the WWE United States Championship (16:00)
Other on-screen talent