12/22 Powell's WWE Raw Live Review: Ho-Ho Hogan hosts the holiday week show, Piper's Pit, Miracle on 34th Street Fight
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
[Q1] Raw opened with Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler hyping the previously announced matches while holiday music played and the graphics had holiday additions...
Powell's POV: The holiday tradition continues. I have already cracked my first beer and will be drinking whenever I see something ridiculous on the holiday themed show. You are welcome to drink a long with me, but I highly recommend that you stick to beer. Please note that "drink" simply means a swig, not a full can or bottle! You must be legal drinking age to drink along with me, and Dot Net is not responsible for any damage you do to your liver tonight. Finally, do not drink and drive.
Hulk Hogan headed to the ring wearing a Santa Claus suit with yellow shades. Drink. He had the live crowd chant Ho Ho Hogan. Drink. Hogan ran through the previously announced matches, including the Miracle on 34th Street Fight. Drink.
John Cena's music interrupted Hogan. There are trees and presents set up on the stage. Cena responded to the mixed reaction he received by saying they had fans from the naughty and the nice list, which makes for an exciting evening. The fans chanted Ho Ho Hogan, making me embarrassed to be from Minnesota. Drink twice if you're from Minnesota.
Cena set up footage of Seth Rollins beating him in the cage match with help from Brock Lesnar. The fans chanted for Lesnar. Cena said he and the entire WWE Universe finally agree because he wants Lesnar too so he can kick his teeth down his throat. Cena told Hogan all he wants is a match against Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins' music played before Hogan could respond. Rollins, Joey Mercury, and Jamie Noble headed onto the stage. JBL referred to J&J Security as evil elves. Drink. Rollins recalled telling Cena on Smackdown that no one wants to hear "your stupid voice anymore." Rollins said he respects what Hogan did for the business, but Hogan's time is up, his time is now, just as Cena says.
The fans chanted "you sold out" at Hogan for standing in the middle of the ring wearing a Santa Claus suit and yellow shades, er, at Rollins. The fans chanted "Ho Ho Hogan" again, Drink twice again, Minnesotans. Rollins said The Authority are at home sad and depressed because they have to watch people like Hogan run the company into the toilet. Drink for Rollins dropping his usual Authority reference.
Rollins said Cena had to get help from "the vigilante Sting" at Survivor Series. Rollins said Cena is lucky that he let Cena get up and walk away on his own two feet. Cena told Rollins to shut up. He said Rollins turned his back on his friends and mastered the art of being a complete scumbag. He ripped Rollins for talking smack about Hogan. "I am not bringing The Authority back," Cena concluded.
[Q2] "Ho Ho hold on a minute, brother," Hogan said. Drink. Hogan announced Cena vs. Rollins would be the first match on Raw. Hogan put his hat on Cena's head and his music played and then he played to the crowd and shook hands with Cena... [C]
Powell's POV: There was a lot of drinking there and I will die if I keep up this pace over the next three hours. Fortunately, with the matches they've announced, it seems like they are focussed on delivering a strong show rather than holiday sports entertainment vomit. That said, I'm not sure why they are giving away so many big matches. I don't expect them to have clean finishes, but it seems odd that they are giving away so many potential pay-per-view matches, especially during Christmas week.
1. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (w/Joey Mercury, Jamie Noble). The bell rang to start the match right after the commercial break. There were dueling chants for Cena. Rollins took an early powder and conferred with his minions before returning to the ring. They caused a distraction and Rollins blindsided Cena. Rollins got a near fall going into the break. [C] Rollins performed a suicide dive on Cena after the break. JBL called it "a hallmark of the Seth Rollins era." What? Drink.
[Q3] Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment, but Rollins slipped out. They fought for position and Cena pulled Rollins away from the ropes he was holding onto. Rollins landed on his feet and kicked Cena. Cena came back with a powerbomb for two. J&J Security tried to get involved again, but Cena backdropped Rollins onto them at ringside.
Cena hit the top rope leg drop and got a two count that the live crowd reacted to at 13:05. Rollins came back with a buckle bomb for a two count. Cole said the number one trend in the world is #HoHoHogan. Drink three times (drink five if you had any part in that trending). Noble and Mercury ran in to stop Cena from performing the STF. He gave them a simultaneous AA. Rollins tried to hit Cena with the Money in the Bank briefcase, but Cena avoided it and hit the AA for the clean win...
John Cena beat Seth Rollins in 15:35.
Powell's POV: Another good match with a surprising clean finish. The show has already exceeded my holiday week expectations. I prefer the idea of Rollins continue to worm his way out of losing to Cena. Here's hoping Rollins does something to Cena to keep their feud going. Either way, Rollins will be fine despite what I assume is massive online fan hate for Cena going over clean.
There was a shot a wreath backstage while holiday music played. A scowling Kane appeared on the screen and said, "Bah humbug." Drink...
2. Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. Jack Swagger. Fandango is still new and improved. He didn't get a televised entrance this week, nor did Swagger. The crowd was silent until Swagger played to them and led a We The People chant. Fandango caught Swagger with a few kicks and then performed the top rope leg drop for the win...
Fandango pinned Jack Swagger in 2:05.
The broadcast team hyped the Intercontinental Title match... Backstage, Tom Phillips asked Ziggler about Harper invoking his rematch clause. Ziggler spoke about how difficult the ladder match was and how it showed him what Harper will do to take the title away from him. He said Harper is a nightmare come to life, but he's a four-time IC Champion who is going to give the fans the present they deserve by keeping the title. Drink for Phillips gazing lovingly at Ziggler when he walked away... [C]
[Q4] [C] A New Day vignette aired with the choir again. Dri-ink... Adam Rose and the Rosebuds made their entrance. The Bunny still has a neckbrace on. Drink twice...
3. Adam Rose vs. R-Truth. Truth and Rose had a brief dance competition. Drink! Rose tried to kick Truth, who rolled up Rose and pinned him. Drink! Rose fumed afterward while the Bunny checked on him. Rose gave the Bunny a spinebuster and the crowd booed. Drink again if you're a Minnesotan. Rose put the boots to the Bunny. Rose went to ringside and let out a primal scream that made the Rosebuds back up, then he hit the Bunny with a running knee against the ring steps. Rose ripped off one of the Bunny's ears and toss him into the barricade. He screamed again. The fans chanted "one more time." Forget about that last Minnesotan drink since the crowd redeemed themselves...
R-Truth beat Adam Rose in 0:55.
The broadcast team hyped Piper's Pit with Rusev and Lana after the break. They also hyped Roman Reigns vs. Big Show for later in the show... Edge and Christian were announced as the guest hosts for the final Raw of 2014... [C]
Powell's POV: Edge and Christian hosting Raw should be fun. Rose finally attacking the stupid Bunny is nice as long as it leads to the Bunny going away or finally unmasking. At this point, the Bunny has battered bunny syndrome. Eli Manning says no more, Bunny.
Footage aired of Roman Reigns and Big Show last week while Big Show made his entrance...
[Q5] Footage aired of pre-taped Big Show promo in which he said he has Roman Reigns' Christmas present in his pants. Okay, I made that pants part up. He actually said it's not a stocking stuffer, it's a face stuffer (his fist). Drink... A pre-taped Reigns' promo aired. He said the holidays are about the spirit of giving, and he's going to give Big Show everything he has. Drink...
4. Roman Reigns vs. Big Show. Reigns entered through the crowd, but they played his promo over his entrance. The crowd was flat early when Show was in control. Reigns came back and hit Show with a Superman punch at ringside that knocked him over the broadcast table. Show was counted out. Show was pissed afterward...
Roman Reigns beat Big Show via countout in 2:45.
Powell's POV: JBL positioned this as more of an accident and a case of Reigns getting lucky. Neither Cole nor Lawler stood up for Reigns.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Dean Ambrose and asked what he's done to prepare for the Miracle on 34th Street Fight. He said he's prepared all year and has been a good boy all year long. He said he went to Mall of America to look for Santa and found his security guard. He said something about Wyatt getting a beating for Christmas... [C]
The broadcast team gushed over Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella making the top of an MSN sports power couple list. Rollins ran out and asked how The Authority were snubbed. I made up the Rollins part...
5. Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella). Brie still comes out to the peppy music even though she's apparently a heel again. Cole recalled Natalya telling him that Kidd checked on Nikki last week because he feared she suffered the same injury he did.
[Q6] In the end, Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, but Brie went for an inside cradle, which Natalya rolled over for the win. Natalya knocked Nikki off the ring apron afterward and held up the women's title. Nikki sold a shin injury again...
Powell's POV: The excuse Cole claimed Natalya gave him was actually pretty funny. Is there a reason we can't hear it from Natalya and Tyson instead? I'm quite confident they could find 30 seconds of promo time in a three-hour show if they had to fill time with that awful New Day vignette. Drink. Natalya was apparently upset with Tyson after the match again, but we didn't get to see what the fallout was because they cut to a random shot of the Bella Twins backing up. Drink for the production error.
The broadcast team hyped Piper's Pit... [C] Another wannabe LOD vignette aired featuring The Ascension. Drink for the older Minnesotans at Raw not booing or even leaving in protest... Goldust and Stardust sang Rudolph, and Goldust said the "little mutant" will have a shiny nose once he pops it. Dear lord, drink...
6. Los Matadores and El Reino vs. Goldust and Stardust. El Reino is El Torito with reindeer antlers. Slam the rest of your beer immediately. El Reino, who also had a red nose, hit a moonsault from the second rope on Goldust and pinned him...
Los Matadores and El Reino beat Goldust and Stardust in 3:35.
Backstage, Luke Harper said he likes to take things away at this time of the year. He said he's giving himself a present. "Dolph Ziggler, I'm gonna hurt you, boy, and I'm gonna take the Intercontinental Championship"... Dolph made his entrance...
Powell's POV: Dot Net reaer Josh K. points out that Kidd was wearing Nikki's "Fearless" hat, which is hilarious. As for the tag match, good lord. No one cared. Pour one out for your fallen homies and drink again. My apologies if your significant other caught you pouring a beer on your living room floor. Just lie and claim you spilled. We're halfway through. Don't pass out on me now.
[Q7] [C] As Harper made his entrance, Cole had to explain what Harper meant when he said he likes to take things away at this time of the year. Drink twice because WWE thinks you're an f'n moron...
7. Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper for the Intercontinental Title.</b> Lilian Garcia handled the in-ring introductions. Harper attacked Ziggler as he was being introduced, then roughed him up at ringside. The referee checked on Ziggler once they were back inside the ring. Once Ziggler gave his blessing, Harper powerbombed him for a two count. Harper continued to dominate and Cole said he could be moments away from winning the title, so they cut to break. Drink. [C]
[Q8] Harper was still in control after the break. Harper slammed him off the broadcast table. Unfortunately, it didn't silence the broadcast team. At 9:20, Ziggler caught Harper with a superkick, but Harper no-sold it and hit a spinning clothesline for a good near fall. Ziggler came back with superkicks and a Zig Zag for a near for the win. After the match, Jerry Lawler entered the ring and interviewed Ziggler, who said he fought and clawed his way to get the title and he'll be damned if anyone is going to take it from him...
Dolph Ziggler pinned Luke Harper to retain the Intercontinental Title in 11:25.
Cole hyped Piper's Pit for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Wow, another clean finish to a pay-per-view match. I've enjoyed both matches, but I don't understand WWE's logic of burning through these feuds. The quick powerbomb and pin attempt by Harper worked better the first time around in their pay-per-view match. It had a feeling of "been there, done that." Still, a good match. In case you're wondering, Erick Rowan was on WWE Superstars tonight. Drink for WWE breaking up The Wyatt Family for no good reason.
The broadcast team hyped Hulk Hogan appearing on Friday's Smackdown, which was actually taped last night. The spoilers are available in our WWE News section...
Roddy Piper headed to ring to a good ovation. The ring was made up for Piper's Pit. Piper said it's the season to have a rowdy Roddy holiday time. "You look great," he told the crowd. Drink. Piper said his guests asked to join him because they have a special Christmas message for all Americans. Piper introduced Lana and Rusev.
[Q9] Lana said Christmas is the one time when Americans pretend to be good people. She said Americans believe in a bloated old man and spoil their children. Scottish, er Canadian, er, American Piper got hot and said it's America where be believe what we want to. Footage aired of Rusev roughing up Ryback.
Rusev asked if Piper now believes he can crush Ryback. A Feed Me More chant started. Rusev asked Piper if he believes he can crush him. Piper said he's full of Christmas joy, and there's no need for them to become a couple of "communist scrooges." Piper said he bought them a gift and put a bow on it.
Ryback's music played and he came out wearing a bow while Cousin Eddie gave him a swift kick on the ass. I made up the Eddie part. Ryback and Rusev brawled at ringside. In the ring, Ryback got the better of the brawl and set up for his clothesline, but Rusev slipped away. Ryback and Piper led "Feed Me More" chants...
The broadcast team brought up USA finishing number one on cable for the ninth straight year. They left out the part about getting a shitty television deal from USA Network as thanks for helping them reach that mark again. Drink...
Footage aired of the Cena, Rollins, and Hogan segment from earlier, and the Cena vs. Rollins match... [C] Cole claimed everyone is talking about Total Divas being the number one reality television show. Drink three times...
8. Emma, Naomi, and Alicia Fox vs. Paige, Cameron, and Summer Rae in a Santa's Little Helper match. The horny Minnesota males popped big for Paige.
[Q10] Alicia pinned Summer... [C]
Emma, Naomi, and Alicia Fox beat Paige, Cameron, and Summer Rae in a Santa's Little Helper match in 4:20.
Powell's POV: What's that three digit number you call to report alcohol poisoning? Drink five - one for each Diva not named Paige. Is anyone surprised that Minnesotans cheered for the pale Diva?
The wannabe LOD vignette aired again. Drink twice for double the torture...
The Miz and Mizdow made their entrance. A Miz pre-tape aired. He said he's been so generous to Naomi, thathe offered the same spirit to Mizdow. He told him to sing him a Christmas song, then stopped before he started and said they were out of time. The Uso Brothers made their entrance...
9. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso) vs. The Miz (w/Mizdow). The Uso Brothers are still carrying their stupid Slammy Awards with them. Jimmy went to Miz's corner and put the awards on the ring steps while Miz and Mizdow played into "yeah/boo" reactions. Miz rolled through a Jey rollup and held the tights for the win. The screen went black for the third count for some reason.
The Miz pinned Jey Uso in 3:40.
Cole hyped a WWE Network exclusive for after the break. It's the Mick Foley edition of Monday Night War. Drink for WWE trying to pass this off as something new and exciting when it debuted weeks ago...
Powell's POV: Did the Ascension vignette air before Miz and Mizdow's entrance or a reason or was that just a coincidence? There's still no sign of Rocco (drink), but give it time. My money is on Viktor being the team member to fall off Titan Tron in a drunken stupor. Drink.
[Q11] [C] The Edge & Christian hype video was shown again... The star of "A Christmas Story" was shown in the crowd. He's no Clark W. Griswold or Bad Santa Willie. Slam the rest of your drink if you disagree...
Bray Wyatt made his entrance. Once in the ring, he sang, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." He spoke about how people surround themselves with their loved ones because it makes them feel safe. "Do you feel safe?" Dean Ambrose made his entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: Safe? Bray has clearly never been to my Christmas family gatherings in Wisconsin. Fear and obligation come to mind. Drink.
10. Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight. There were wreathes set up on each ring post, trees, and presents on the floor near each ring post.
[Q12] Ambrose ran Wyatt into one of the trees on the floor. Rinse and repeat. Drink one for each treat (four). The fans in the front row chanted "Merry Christmas." I hope they get coal. Ambrose set Wyatt on a table at ringside, went to the ropes, and put a wreath around his neck. Wyatt rolled away. Ambrose chased him and ended up putting the wreath around him and then punched him and threw a gift box at his face.
I became distracted by a bogus story about McDonald's getting rid of the Big Mac. I blame the North Koreans for the hoax. Drink. Wyatt and Ambrose kept hitting each other with Christmas weapons, including a candy cane stripped kendo stick. The fans seemed to react less to each weapon shot, though some really wanted tables.
[Overrun] Drink for this show going past the top of the hour. Ambrose pulled out a ladder and the fans cheered because home repair stores like Home Depot and Menards are really big in these parts or something like that. Wyatt ended up slamming Ambrose into the ladder that was set up in the corner.
Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, but Ambrose avoided it and ran Wyatt into the ladder in the corner and then covered him for two. Ambrose set up the ladder and climbed nearly to the top and dove onto Wyatt with an elbow drop for another two count. Ambrose placed chairs on top of Wyatt.
Ambrose went back up the ladder and brought a chair with him. Wyatt recovered and threw a chair at Ambrose and knocked him off the ladder. Wyatt ran Ambrose's face into a kendo stick that was set up in the corner and then pinned him. Drink in celebration for a heel winning the main event of the holiday week show...
Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight in 21:25.
After the match, Ambrose sprayed a fire extinguisher at Wyatt and placed him on a table at ringside. Ambrose went to the ropes and elbow dropped Wyatt through the table.
Powell's POV: I hate the idea of having all the cutesy Christmas themed weapons for a feud involving these two darker characters, but this beat the hell out of the usual holiday nonsense. In fact, the overall show was more entertaining than I expected it to be. Then again, I'm drunk. Drink. Thanks for drinking and/or watching along with me tonight. Finish your drink. Pass out.
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