12/23 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s review of Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins for the U.S. Championship, Randy Orton and The Viking Raiders vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens vs. Mojo Rawley in a No DQ match

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw
Taped December 16, 2019 from Des Moines, Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena
Aired December 23, 2019 on USA Network

[Hour One] The Raw opening video aired… The broadcast team of Vic Joseph, Samoa Joe, and Jerry Lawler checked in. Lawler was giddy over the snow falling effect graphic that was used over the usual Raw logo…

Kevin Owens made his entrance for a promo. Owens said he had a lot to say about a lot of people. Mojo Rawley interrupted Owens. Rawley said the first thing Owens better talk about is his use of a steel pipe. Owens said it wasn’t something he was going to discuss, but they have a no DQ match coming up and he can’t wait to kick his ass again. Rawley said everyone is tough with a steel pipe in their hand. Rawley said it won’t be a Merry Christmas for Owens after their match. Owens mercifully called for them to get to the match…

1. Kevin Owens vs. Mojo Rawley in a No DQ match. Owens got the better of Rawley early, then pulled out chairs and a table and slid them into the ring. Rawley recovered and hit Owens from behind. Rawley slid the table to ringside to draw heat, then picked up Owens and dropped him onto the chairs. Rawley set up four chairs in the ring and went for a superplex, but Owens fought him off.

Rawley ended up tossing Owens from the ropes and onto the chairs, which led to a near fall. Owens came back with a superkick and a Swanton for a near fall. Owens set up a table. Rawley fought off Owens for a moment, but Owens put him down with a Stunner. Owens powerbombed Rawley through the table and then knelt on him while scoring the pin.

Kevin Owens beat Mojo Rawley in a No DQ match.

After the match, Owens said he had plenty of fight left in him and called out Seth Rollins and AOP. Owens said he knew their plan was to attack him backstage, but the least they could do is do it in the ring. Owens said making bad decisions is a big part of his charm, so he insisted they come out and beat the hell out of him. Owens said he wouldn’t leave the ring until they obliged. Seth Rollins, Akam, and Rezar were shown walking on a backstage monitor. The trio started walking and the broadcast team assumed they were on their way to the ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: I guess the vein face paint wearing Rawley era is officially over. The match was better than the pre-match verbal exchange. Rawley had nothing to say and Owens didn’t seem interested in prolonging it. I’d like to see Rawley traded to Smackdown. Raw has a full slate of wrestlers they are trying to get over at once, whereas Smackdown needs all the help it can get.

Seth Rollins and AOP headed to ringside. Rollins had Akam and Rezar remain at ringside. Rollins told Owens off-mic that they both got one over on each other. Rollins offered Owens a handshake and told him it’s done. Owens superkicked Rollins. Owens picked up a chair, but the AOP duo smothered him before he could use it. The heel trio put the boots to Owens. Rollins went for his finisher, but Owens tackled him. AOP worked over Owens with punches. Rollins yelled at Owens that it didn’t have to be this way, then gave him a Stomp…

The broadcast team spoke from their desk on the stage, which was decorated with a tree and gifts. Lawler, who was dressed in a bad Christmas sweater, asked Joe what he thought about the attack. Joe said what viewers are seeing is something they should be afraid of. Joe said he comes from a long line of bad men. Joe said his father and other family members were bad men, but Rollins and AOP are not bad men, they are thugs. Joe said no one was taking it seriously. Joe said you deal with men like that by striking first. Joe said that if you let Rollins and AOP tell the stories then things will get real dark…

Powell’s POV: Joe was really good here and made Rollins and AOP feel more dangerous.

R-Truth was shown walking down a busy street holding the WWE 24/7 Championship. Truth stopped a man and said he’d been invited to light Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Christmas tree. The man checked out Truth’s invitation and noted that it was in Japanese. He said it wasn’t Rock’s tree, it was the Rockefeller Center tree and it’s been lit for weeks. Akira Tozawa showed up with a referee and rolled up and pinned Truth to win the 24/7 Championship…

Bobby Lashley and Lana made their entrance… [C] The broadcast team recapped highlights of Lashley and Lana getting engaged last week. They hyped the Lashley and Lana wedding for next week’s Raw…

2. Bobby Lashley (w/Lana) vs. Cedric Alexander. Alexander got off to a fast start. Lana entered the ring with a mic and asked him who the hell he thinks he is. Lana said next week is the most important day of her and Lashley’s lives. She called for a classic Greco-Roman wrestling match. Lana finished her promo and they cut to break. [C]

Alexander was in offensive control coming out of the break. Lashley came back by turning Alexander inside out with a clothesline. A short time later, Lashley went to the ropes and blew a kiss to Lana. Alexander kicked Lashley from the ropes. Alexander performed a springboard clothesline that sent Lashley to the floor. Alexander performed a suicide dive followed by a flip dive. Back inside the ring, Alexander performed a kick that led to a two count. Lashley came back with a power move, but Alexander avoided his spear. Lashley rallied with a one-handed slam and a spear for the win…

Bobby Lashley beat Cedric Alexander.

Powell’s POV: A good match despite the interruption for Lana’s promo. I kept waiting for Lashley to take advantage of the distraction she caused, but apparently they had him sell at ringside all that time. WWE is clearly sweetening the crowd audio for this taped show. This is the same building that was flat last week, but suddenly the crowd sounds loud and even chanted “Rusev Day” despite looking bored and lifeless.

The broadcast team hyped the U.S. Title match for later in the show and the Lashley and Lana wedding for next week’s Raw…

Rollins and AOP were shown walking backstage when Charly Caruso asked what they hope to achieve with their attacks on Owens. Rollins said he went to extend the olive branch, but Owens kicked him in the face. He said she should ask Owens what he hopes to accomplish by picking a fight with them every week… [C]

Tozawa was shown walking while out of breath in New York City. A graphic noted that it was filmed over the weekend. R-Truth showed up with a referee. Tozawa backed into a man and knocked some food out of his hand in front of a food truck. Tozawa ran away with Truth in pursuit…

3. Drew McIntyre vs. Zack Ryder (w/Curt Hawkins). Ryder’s entrance was not televised. McIntyre put Ryder down with a Claymore Kick and pinned him in just a couple minutes.

Drew McIntyre defeated Zack Ryder.

Afterward, Hawkins checked on Ryder. McIntyre tossed Hawkins from the ring and then gave Ryder a Future Shock DDT. Hawkins returned and ate a Claymore Kick. McIntyre took the mic and said he was having fun, then asked Ryder and Hawkins if they were having fun. McIntyre said they couldn’t speak now, but he would speak for them. He said they would say that they are having fun and that he’s an inspiration to them. McIntyre told the crowd that they saw his definition of fun. McIntyre said 2020 belongs to him…

Powell’s POV: Great, another wheel spinning win for McIntyre. If the creative forces follow their usual format for McIntyre, he’s due to work with a bigger name soon and they will fight to some sort of a DQ or count-out finish in a one-off match, then McIntyre will go right back to beating wrestlers who are lower on the totem pole than he is. I hope I’m wrong and his post match promo is foreshadowing big plans for him in 2020. I’d love to see him win the Rumble match and challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship as a babyface.

[Hour Two] A video hyped Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz vs. King Corbin with the winner challenging The Fiend for the WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble…

Powell’s POV: It’s rare to see WWE lead off an hour with an ad for a match. It’s nice to see them making an effort to make the Triple Threat feel important.

Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance. There were Becky chants (fans could actually be seen chanting her name). Lynch said she’s learned that things go so much better when she takes things into her own hands. She said she has become the face of the company and the company is trying to protect her. She said she doesn’t give a damn what the company wants. Lynch said The Man vs. Asuka needs to happen and she’s not taking no for an answer. Lynch said Asuka is the one woman who has beaten The Man fair and square. She asked Asuka what she thinks about The Man coming to collect her debut.

Asuka and Kairi Sane walked onto the stage together. Asuka asked if Lynch remembers TLC. She showed off her title belt and said she and Sane are the champions. Asuka spoke in Japanese and the fans responded with a loud “What?” Asuka threw out the idea of becoming Asuka Two Belts. Lynch told her to name the time and place. Lynch said she would put it in words that Asuka could understand. Lynch spoke a sentence in Japanese and then her music played to end the segment…

Powell’s POV: I like the unique approach with this feud. Asuka didn’t win some type of No. 1 contenders match out of the blue to set up a title match. Rather, Lynch is hot about her losses to Asuka, and so it’s the champion asking for the match.

4. Aleister Black vs. Deonn Rusman. Rusman’s entrance was not televised. Black vs. Buddy Murphy was announced for next week’s Raw. Black blasted Rusman with a jumping knee during the opening seconds. Black lifted Rusman’s head up with his foot, then put him down with a Black Mass kick and pinned him.

Aleister Black beat Deonn Rusman.

As Black headed up the ramp, Buddy Murphy made his entrance and jawed at him while heading to the ring for his own match with an opponent who was already waiting in the ring for some reason…

5. Buddy Murphy vs. Joeasa. Murphy shook Joeasa’s hand, then hit him with a knee to the head. Murphy used his foot to lift up the head of Joeasa, then gave him his Murphy’s Law finisher and scored the pin while Black watched from the stage.

Buddy Murphy pinned Joeasa.

Black headed to the ring after the match and went face to face with Murphy. Black offered a handshake. Murphy teased accepting, then started to leave. Murphy turned back and took a Black Mass kick from Black, who then sat down crosslegged in the ring next to him while a graphic listed Black vs. Murphy for next week…

Powell’s POV: I liked everything about Black’s squash and Murphy’s similar victory, but I really could have done without Black hitting Murphy with his finisher.

A video package recapped Rollins and AOP attacking Rey Mysterio on last week’s show…

Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Caruso on the backstage interview set. Mysterio said he’s been looking forward to his first match with Rollins for a very long time. Mysterio said Rollins is one of the best wrestlers on Raw and he only wants to defend his title against the best. Mysterio said their first match will always have an asterisk next to it because he’s not just facing Rollins, he’s also facing AOP. Mysterio said they all made a big mistake by not finishing what they started last week… A WrestleMania ad aired… [C]

Powell’s POV: Mysterio has developed into a consistently reliable taker after all these years.

6. Ricochet vs. Tony Nese. Cole hyped the year end awards being issued on Tuesday’s WWE Backstage. Ricochet hit a late superkick and followed up with the Recoil and scored the pin…

Ricochet defeated Tony Nese.

Tozawa was shown hiding at behind trees at a Christmas tree lot. Truth and the referee showed up. Tozawa left his hiding spot for some reason, then Truth and the referee ran after him… Charlotte Flair made her entrance for a match… [C] A brief video package aired on Chelsea Green before she made her entrance for the match…

7. Charlotte Flair vs. Chelsea Green. Green got some early offense, but Flair came back and won via submission with the Figure Eight…

Charlotte Flair defeated Chelsea Green.

Powell’s POV: Green worked as Laurel Van Ness in TNA. Her TNA gimmick was really over the top, but she went all in and made the most of it. WWE gave Green the same treatment that Deonna Purrazzo received last week when she got a video package and then lost quickly and decisively to Asuka.

Tozawa hid behind a man dressed in a Santa Claus outfit while Truth went after him. Santa told him there would be no fighting because it was Christmas in New York City. Santa sent Truth to his sleigh to get his gift. Santa hit Tozawa with his sack of gifts and then pinned him to win the 24/7 Title. Santa said he was going back to the North Pole. Truth showed up and told Tozawa that they had to get Santa… The broadcast team hyped the six-man tag match… [C]

The second part of the Liv Morgan bathroom vignette aired. She said that when you seek affirmation from someone other than yourself, you give that person all the power. She said she’s done that before. She said she was young and impressionable and it was so typical. She said it’s up to her to decide who she is and she’s anything but typical. Another “to be continued” graphic appeared on the screen…

Ring entrances for the six-man tag match took place. A video package aired on the AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton match with Orton suffering a knee injury… [C] An ad hyped the Lashley and Lana wedding for next week…

8. Randy Orton and “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar vs. “The OC” AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson. Erik was isolated by the heel trio, who took turns working him over.

[Hour Three] Erik made a hot tag to Orton, who worked over Gallows for a moment. Orton went for a draping DDT, but Gallows backdropped him over the the top rope. Orton landed on his feet on the floor and sold his knee injury head into a break. [C] Styles hit the Viking Raiders with kicks. Orton made a blind tag and went for an RKO, but Styles shoved him off. Orton set up for a DDT. Anderson grabbed Orton from behind and took an RKO. Orton went for an RKO on Gallows, who shoved him off. Orton sold knee pain again. Styles hit Orton with a Phenomenal Forearm and pinned him…

AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson defeated Randy Orton and The Viking Raiders.

The broadcast team hyped the U.S. Title match going into a break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Where’s Baby Yoda to heal Orton’s knee injury when you need him? Obviously, the finish gave The OC a win while Orton was protected because of the knee injury.

Santa was shown running and eventually climbing into the back of a horse drawn carriage. Truth, Tozawa, and the referee hopped into another horse drawn carriage. The two carriages went slowly side by side for a moment. Santa left his, then Truth and company followed on foot…

Erick Rowan was shown talking at whatever is in the cage beyond the camera…

The Street Profits spoke backstage. Montez Ford said they are just a week away from the wedding, but he still hasn’t received an invitation. Angelo Dawkins said he didn’t event want to go to the wedding, he just wanted to attend the bachelor party. Ford wondered what’s inside Rowan’s cage. Dawkins said it could be anything and listed some possibilities. Ford closed by saying they want the smoke…

Erick Rowan headed to the ring where his opponent Travis Horn was already waiting… [C]

9. Erick Rowan vs. Travis Horn. Rowan had his pet cage at ringside. Horn pulled out one of several candy canes he had in his tights and gave it to Rowan. Horn slowly slipped under the bottom rope and then pulled out all of the candy canes and indicated that he wanted to share them with whatever is inside the cage. Rowan attacked him, destroyed him, and pinned him following two claw slams.

Erick Rowan defeated Travis Horn.

After the match, Rowan brought the pet cage to the stage and dropped a candy cane inside…

Powell’s POV: Someone should call the humane society on Rowan for feeding his pet an ass candy cane.

Santa was struggling to run. Truth pushed Santa down, shoved Tozawa out of the way, and pinned Santa to win the 24/7 Title. The referee told all three men that it was too cold and he was going home. Santa told Truth and Tozawa that they are get coal. Truth called for a truce between Tozawa so they could go find the big apple they have in New York. He asked how Merry Christmas is said in Japanese. “Merry Christmas,” Tozawa replied…

Powell’s POV: These 24/7 Title skits haven’t been particularly imaginative or all that comedic, but they are harmless compared to some of the nonsense that WWE has booked during Christmas week.

Rusev made his entrance for a match… [C] Rusev said he was screwed over at TCL and he’s not happy about it and will do something about it. Rusev asked if he was upset about Bobby Lashley and Lana getting married next week. He said of course not, because that’s the best punishment that he could give to Lashley. No Way Jose led the goof troop conga dancers to ringside.

10. Rusev vs. No Way Jose (w/Rosebud Wannabes). Rusev no-sold a chop from Jose, who quickly begged off. Rusev hit him with a Machka Kick and scored the pin.

Rusev beat No Way Jose.

Afterward, Rusev helped Jose to his feet and then performed a rough Spinaroonie. Rusev went to ringside with the goof troop and a couple of the women kissed him on the cheek. Rusev led the conga line to the stage where snow fell…

Powell’s POV: Well, that happened.

Backstage, Caruso asked Rollins what his U.S. Title match means to him. Rollins said he would win the U.S. Title and “we” are going to establish dominance. Rollins walked away and said, “Come on, boys,” to the AOP duo, who followed him. A separate shot aired of Rey Mysterio walking in another part of the backstage area… [C] Ring entrances for the main event took place…

11. Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins (w/Akam, Rezar) for the U.S. Championship. Ring announcer Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Joe once again griped about “thuggery” from Rollins and AOP. Joe said AOP don’t know remorse and there’s no reasoning with them. Rollins ducked an early 619 attempt and then ran Mysterio through the ropes and into the ring post. Rollins tossed Mysterio under the bottom rope to ringside right in front of AOP. [C]

With Rollins at ringside, Mysterio slid under the bottom rope and into a Canadian Destroyer that drove Rollins into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Mysterio caught Rollins with a DDT for a near fall. A short time later, Mysterio hit the 619. Mysterio tried to go up top, but AOP attacked him for the disqualification.

Rey Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins by DQ to retain for the U.S. Championship.

After the match, Akam and Rezar roughed up Mysterio at ringside while Rollins sat on the apron and watched. “This is not about sending messages, they enjoy this,” Joe said of AOP. Per Rollins’ orders, AOP grabbed Rollins and brought him up the ramp. AOP cleared the broadcast table and told Joe to leave (Joseph and Lawler already ran off). Joe said he sits there and commentates. He said that if he got up it wouldn’t be to move, it would be both of their asses. Joe stood up and was ready to fight, but Rollins quickly got between him and AOP. Rollins tried to talk down Joe. Rollins turned to leave and said, “Finish him.” AOP attacked Joe and put the boots to him. Rollins barked that Joe asked for this. Rollins saw Mysterio slowly recovering and gave him a Stomp. AOP picked up Joe and drove him through the broadcast table to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A very good angle to close the night. I like the way Rollins acted like the peacemaker and then told AOP to finish Joe. This sets up Joe as a babyface for his return to the ring and I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes. Raw needs top babyfaces and he’s a good addition to that upper mix.

Overall, this was a show that was fine if you saw it and fine if you did not. The main event and the angle with Joe gave viewers a reward for watching without giving away too much. There were a lot of throwaway matches, but at least they went fairly light on the sports entertainment holiday nonsense we’ve seen in past years. I watched Raw on delay this week and thought it would feel shorter than usual with the benefit of skipping commercial breaks, but it still felt needlessly long. Happy holidays, gang. It will be business as usual on Friday night with my review of Smackdown and again next week for Raw.



Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...


Readers Comments (7)

  1. Seth’s a natural heel so it’s good to see them not fight it and play into the smarmy social media side. After all – turn the volume up on the real guy right?

    Curious broadly speaking, I was at mania 30 for the culmination of Daniel Bryan’s run, I’m lukewarm to this present face version. Does this just need more time to burn? It feels forced and I think without a redemption promo to the fans they are reacting a little shy to the turn. Thoughts? Merry Christmas!

    • Better to be out in the open as a miserable prick than fake. And as long as he is never allowed anywhere near WWE Title holder again, he can be whatever he wants to be. 4 reigns & 3 failures as a p****, doesn’t need a 4th to go with it. Fans already stopped caring.

      I honestly felt Bryan’s win at 30 felt forced. Like WWE decided(stupidly)”well, they’re not going to shut up with their crying…F*** it, put the belts on Bryan.” As for why the fans seem to be reacting cautiously to Bryan right now, it could just be because he’s going against Bray/The Fiend. We like both guys & don’t want to see either lose.

  2. Guess it was High Time for Samoa Joe.
    2 hours & 57 minutes of time wasted, just for Joe to be bitched out again, but this time possibly as a face. I just hope the decimal point was in the right spot on the contract.

    But AEW sucks…Right marks?

    • Aew has a lot of talent so I’ll assume that wasn’t specific to anything I said? Haha

      I was at mania 30, the passion was real. Having been to 4 Manias, 4 summer slams and a survivor series (I’m from oz so not a bad effort) no doubt that nawlins crowd was the best one I’ve been in.

      So on that basis I disagree, they finally listened. I think the longer they held out the more people tuned out and gave up. Particularly when they went back to cena and Orion again.

      Kofi came out of nowhere and they rode that wave. That’s smart. Vince’s stubbornness on Bryan was a final straw for a whole bunch of fans who just said ‘they don’t listen’ – coupled with punk out and the reigns never ending push they drove a lot of people away.

      I think the biggest issue is quantity though. 3 hours every week? It’s too much no matter how hot an act you have. I have watched wrestling for 30 years and I don’t want that. YouTube and reading reviews it is. I’ll watch the Ppv If they’ve caught my attention. But you aren’t winning new fans that need to commit to some 5 hours plus a week to keep up. Nope.

      • AEW has almost no talent. They’ve got a small handful of people who know what they’re doing, then they’ve got idiots who quit Twitter for their “mental health” when they get called out on their amateur our garbage.

    • Why would anyone care where the decimal point is in their contract

  3. The Ratings are in: 1.835…I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or shake my head in disappointment. Do the ratings need to fall to or below NXT levels before they wake up & realize that it’s time to change? Clearly, what you’re putting out there isn’t working. How do you have that much talent signed & 98% of them are directionless, being wasted, or are just there to keep them away from other companies.

    Royal Rumble is in 39 days & no one has any momentum going into it. No one looks like a possible winner…For the love of all that is sinful & beautiful, they can’t possibly be thinking of giving it to the p**** for a 2nd year in a row, can they?

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