WWE Raw Review – 12.23.19

After being assaulted by the AOP and Seth Rollins two weeks ago, Kevin Owens was back on Monday Night Raw.

But before K.O. could get his thoughts out, Mojo Rawley’s music hit, and he wanted an explanation for Owens hitting him with the lead pipe. These two had a no disqualification match set for later in the night, but the two men were ready to go at it now, and this is how the show began.

Owens started out the match hot, as he knocked Mojo to the outside, before hitting him with a cannonball of the apron and then threw him into the barricade. Mojo would make a brief comeback, hitting Owens with a chair, and then tossed him into a pile of steel chairs for a near fall.

Rawley then set up four chairs in the middle of the ring, but Owens was able to escape at first. However, Owens would get caught by Mojo, and Rawley tossed him through the chairs, but only picked up a two-count.

Owens would recover and go back on the attack, hitting a Swanton Bomb for a near fall. KO would then roll outside and get a table, and after Mojo looked like he would put Owens through the table, Owens turned the tables and hit the stunner. KO clinched the win by planting Rawley through the table.

After the win, Owens called out Seth Rollins and the AOP, and after the break, the trio answered the challenge. Rollins entered the ring by himself and tried to calm K.O. down, but that did not work, and Owens nailed him with a Super Kick. This brought in the AOP, and the trio would beat down K.O. before Rollins ended the segment with a stomp.

Samoa Joe then spoke about the AOP and what those kind of men are here for. It was an excellent way to put over this new faction, and you can watch that here courtesy of Fightful Wrestling.

What happened on the rest of Raw? Check out the full recap below to find out if this week’s episode of Raw made the naughty or nice list.

Rollins vs. Mysterio for the U.S. Title: 

Seth began the match on the attack and twice recorded a near fall in the first minute of the match. Mysterio, though, would fight back and record a near fall of his own, followed up by head scissors to knock Rollins to the mat.

Rey then whipped Rollins into the ropes, setting him up for the 619, but Seth ducked out of the way. Seth would throw Rey into the ring post and then to the outside to regain control. Back from the break, Rollins whipped Rey into the corner, which led to a two-count for Seth. But Rey was able to withstand the attack and hit a hurricanrana which sent Rollins flying out of the ring.

Mysterio then did his signature penguin slide but went a step further as he connected on a sunset flip wall bomb. Back in the ring, Rey would hit a seated senton but got caught as he went for a springboard. However, Rey countered that into a DDT for another two-count.

However, Rey’s momentum came to a halt when Rollins caught him off another springboard attempt and landed hit patented buckle bomb.  This then led to a superkick and a near fall. Mysterio dodged a stomp attempt by Rollins and then sent him flying into the ropes. Rey dialed it up and hit the 619, but as he climbed to the top rope Akam and Rezar interfered and the match ended in a DQ.

The duo dragged Rey up to the announce table, but Samoa Joe refused to get up from the table. He said the only way he gets up is if he beats both of their asses. Rollins intervenes at first and plays it cool, but then sends his boys to “finish him” and they beat down Joe. Rollins hit a stomp to Mysterio on the stage, and then the AOP plant Joe through the table as the show goes off the air.

Becky Lynch demands a match: 

Wow, nice to see ‘The Man’ once again on Raw. Becky got down to business, and she took matters into her own hands. She wants Asuka next, and she is not taking no for an answer. Becky is here to collect one final debt. Asuka and Kairi Sane come out on the stage, and Asuka says she wants to be “Asuka two belts.” Becky responds by telling her in English and Japanese that name the time and place, she’ll be there.

Well, it only seems fitting that one year after their encounter at Royal Rumble 2019, they once again meet at the Rumble, once again with the title on the line. This has to be some of Becky’s best character work in 2019. Usually, Lynch is oozing confidence, but you can clearly tell she is affected by her loss to Asuka nearly one year ago and cannot move forward until she avenges that loss. This has all the makings of a marquee storyline.

Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy shine: 

Black ended his match in mere seconds, as he made Deonn Rusman fade to black. On the ramp, Black crossed paths with Buddy Murphy, who went down to face Joeasa. Murphy would land a jumping knee strike, followed up by Murphy’s Law for the win.

After the match, Black came down to the ring to confront Murphy. Black offered up a handshake, which Buddy turned down, so Black made him fade to black. Their rematch next week should be a great match!

Randy Orton and Viking Raiders vs. The OC:

Ivar, then Erik took turns beating down Karl Anderson early on, as they picked up two near falls in the opening minutes. Erik continued to work over Karl until Anderson finally broke free, and Luke Gallows came in to turn the tide of the match.

Styles then entered the match and took his turn beating down Erik, eventually hitting a leg drop for a near fall. Anderson then made his way back into the match and connected on a spinebuster for a two-count before Styles would tag back in. Erik was able to escape and tagged in Randy while Gallows entered for the OC.

Orton ran wild for a bit early on, but Gallows dropped Orton to the outside, and Randy’s knee was affected by that fall. Back from break, Styles was now in the match, working over Orton’s knee. Randy did fight back, as he was able to hit a suplex on Styles, but the knee was still hurting him.

Luckily he was near his corner to get Erik into the match, and the Raiders made quick tags in and out, displaying their excellent tag team chemistry. The Raiders even hit a Viking experience for a two-count, but Gallows broke it up. Orton made the tag in went for an RKO on Styles, but it was blocked. However, he landed one on Anderson before trying to hit an RKO on Gallows but was again blocked, and the knee was bothering him.

This allowed Styles to set up and land the Phenomenal Forearm for the win. This match seemed to only further the storylines of both the OC vs. Viking Raiders and Orton vs. Styles.

Bobby Lashley vs. Cedric Alexander: 

Alexander starts off the match on fire and even hits a moonsault off the apron. But before he could get in any more offense, Lana gets on the mic. Good grief, this made me want to slam my head through a table. Lana cut pretty much the same promo she has been saying the past month. She basically says Alexander can’t beat up Lashley because they are getting married next week and proposes a Greco-Roman rules match.

Back from the break, those rules Lana proposed were not being enforced. Alexander stayed on the attack until Lashley turned Alexander inside out with a wicked clothesline and then drove Cedric into the corner before hitting a neck breaker for a two-count.

Lashley scooped Cedric up and slammed him to the mat, before going to the middle rope and blowing kisses to the crowd. This allowed Cedric to get back in the match, and his springboard clothesline landed true and then nailed a couple of dives to the outside. Back in the ring, Cedric would then pick up a two-count.

Cedric then countered Lashley’s spear but missed on a dive, which would allow Bobby to hit the spear for a win. This was a better match than I anticipated, and Alexander looked strong even in defeat. Next week is the big wedding, there’s no way they get through that without any interruption, right?

Chelsea Green makes her Raw debut: 

Quite the debut match for NXT’s Chelsea Green on Raw. Early on, both women struggled to gain an edge. But Flair put her boots to Green in the corner, but Green would hit a stomp on Flair for a two-count. Green then landed a dropkick and then applied a chin lock to Charlotte that brought the match to a halt.

Flair would make a comeback by landing several chops, but Green countered with an elbow. However, Flair would answer back with a big boot and then locked in the Figure Eight for the submission win.

Well, it is pretty neat to see these NXT superstars come over to Raw and get a shot at making a name for themselves. Green had an okay showing here against the Queen.

Drew McIntyre vs. Zack Ryder: 

McIntyre overwhelmed Ryder from the opening bell, and even when Ryder sent him to the outside, Drew quickly regained the advantage, tossing him around and making him pay.

Ryder later went for a dropkick off the top rope but ate a powerbomb instead, which led to a Claymore Kick and a win for Drew. But he was not done yet, as he would attack Hawkins and Ryder after the bell, and then got on the mic and said he had fun and 2020 is going to be his year.

I truly hope 2020 is McIntyre’s year, this man is a bonafide main event caliber superstar and deserves to be in the main title picture.

Tony Nese vs. Ricochet: 

Ricochet got an early pinfall attempt and then hit a chop followed up by a dropkick. Nese would then hang Ricochet up in the ropes and then hit a moonsault for a near fall of his own.

Ricochet then broke out of a submission hold, and hit a pair of forearms off the ropes and then followed those up with a hurricanrana. Ricochet then landed a kick to Nese’s head, but Tony hit a punch of his own. Ricochet countered Nese’s attack with a superkick and then the Recoil for the win. Another decisive victory for a man who was named WWE’s breakout athlete of 2019.

Rusev vs. No Way Jose: 

Rusev said he is not mad about Lana marrying Bobby Lashley, and he is never alone because every day is RUSEV DAY! This led to Rusev’s opponent coming out, No Way Jose.  Rusev ended the match in mere seconds with a Machka Kick.

Rusev then rolled out of the ring and celebrated with Jose’s conga line. Clearly, the single life is treating Rusev well.

Erick Rowan beats (another) jobber: 

Rowan’s opponent tried to offer Candy Canes to his pet under the cloth, which only made Erick mad. He threw this jobber back in the ring and hit a couple claw slams for the win. WHERE IS THIS STORY GOING?!?!

For the show being pre-taped, I thought it was pretty solid. There weren’t any 20-minute steal the show matches, but it seemed to me that a lot of storylines were furthered on this show. Rollins and the AOP continued their beef with KO and also started a feud with Samoa Joe. Buddy and Aleister are setting up to have another classic match next week, and Becky and Asuka’s confrontation laid the groundwork for what could be a marquee match at the Royal Rumble.

There were quite a few squash matches, and the Lana/Lashley storyline really has not caught my attention in the past few weeks. Hopefully, they have something big in store for next week’s wedding. I usually do not mind the 24/7 title segments either, but that title seemed to dominate the show, and even Santa won the title this week.

Not a home run show by any means, but I thought it was solid.

My rating: 3.25 out of 5.