After the previous night’s Smackdown Clash of Champions pay-per-view, the RAW brand gave away a pre-Christmas holiday gift to the WWE Universe by announcing a first-ever event for next month’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
The night also showcased the return of a formidable Tag Team and the debut of an NXT Alumnus.
Though the show lacked the star power Roman Reigns brings to the table, the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar outshined the lapses in a triple confrontation with The Monster Among Men and The Demon Kane.
How did the show end? Which RAW Superstar headlined the night? Find out below in this week’s recap of December the 18’s episode of WWE RAW.
KURT ANGLE KICKS OFF RAW WITH BROCK LESNAR, BRAUN STROWMAN AND KANE.
After the eventful showdown from last week’s No-contest encounter between Braun Strowman and Kane, the Universal title picture was left without a major contender.
This week General Manager Kurt Angle kicked off the show with the two Mastodons in the ring arguing about who should be the No. 1 Contender.
Strowman insisted he ended up with the last laugh from last week’s showdown while Kane claimed he has been on top of the food chain for the last 20 years, thereby stating his desire for the No. 1 spot.
As both Superstars attempted a face-to-face, Paul Heyman’s voice hit the PA System and the fans came alive.
The F-5 King made his return to RAW drawing a thunderous ovation alongside his Advocate, showing zero fear as he confronted his prospective contenders.
A face-off erupted, and in no time, Strowman was deposited to the outside leaving Kane and Lesnar in a slugfest.
In the end, The Beast Incarnate gained the upper hand, delivering a thunderous F-5 to Kane as Strowman watched from the arena floor.
The Champ exited the ring and made his way to the ramp, Kane then sat up, looking unfazed by Lesnar’s F-5 with a surprise in everyone’s eyes.
In between the showdown, Kurt Angle announced a Triple Threat match for The Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 28.
SETH ROLLINS VS. JASON JORDAN
Jordan returned this Monday night in search for retribution over Samoa Joe’s attack from the 2 weeks ago.
The former Smackdown Tag Team Champion, eager to prove his worth on the RAW roster, challenged Seth Rollins after the scheduled match between The Kingslayer and Joe failed.
With the Samoan Submission Machine watching from ringside, Jordan proved to be a tougher opponent against Rollins than imagined. He wore down the former WWE Champion, creating domination through the early stages of the match.
After a while, Rollins picked up the pace and hit Jordan with a springboard forearm for a near fall.
The Kingslayer attempted another offence but was caught with two straight Suplexes that sent him to the canvas momentarily.
Late in the match, Samoa Joe attempted a blindsiding Steel Chair attack but fell to a superkick from Rollins.
After a long spell of momentum shifts, Rollins was able to score the win over the well-matched Jordan.
After the match, Joe attacked both Superstars, obliterating them as referees rushed to their aid.
Seth Rollins defeated Jason Jordan via pinfall.
FINN BALOR VS. CURTIS AXEL AND BO DALLAS; HIDEO ITAMI DEBUTS.
For weeks, the inaugural Universal Champion Finn Balor has found himself winding around in a repeated feud with The Miztourage.
This week he was scheduled in a 2-in-1 Handicap match against the duo.
The bout kicked off at a high pace as both Miztourage allies attacked Balor without remorse.
As Balor fought his way back, the duo called-in a disqualification via a double-team assault.
The Heels continued to trample on the battered Irishman until a strange tune hit the PA System.
To a stunning surprise, Hideo Itami stormed RAW, rushing down the ramp to the aid of his former NXT tag team partner and the stipulation evolved into a Tag Team matchup.
In the end of the competition, The Babyfaces prevailed over the Heels after a trademark Go-To-Sleep finisher from Itami.
Balor and Itami shook hands as a sign of respect to close the segment.
Finn Balor and Hideo Itami defeated The Miztourage.
DREW GULAK VS. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
The No. 1 contender to Enzo Amore’s WWE Cruiserweight Championship reached its decision point as finalists Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak battled in singles action.
Alexander interrupted a pre-match promo and The Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore took a spot joining the commentary team.
The bout kicked off at a very high pace: Cruiserweight Style.
Gulak scored the early domination as he grounded Alexander with a couple of submission manoeuvres in the early going.
Unimpressed by Gulak’s inability to score the quick victory, Amore frustratedly left the announce section leaving Gulak to face his battles alone.
Gulak in the notice of his inspiration exiting the scene, allowed himself to be distracted as the bout hit later stages.
Moments later, Gulak found himself at the receiving end of Alexander’s Lumbar Check finisher, which scored him the win, acquiring the right to challenge Amore for the Cruiserweight title.
Cedric Alexander defeated Drew Gulak to become the new No. 1 contender.
ALICIA FOX VS. ASUKA
The recurrent showdown between Asuka and Alicia Fox continued this Monday night in singles action.
Fox was able to gain control in the early going but later fell to the offensive counter strikes of The Empress of Tomorrow.
As expected, Asuka again, defeated Alicia Fox with a recurrent submission victory and the main roster undefeated streak continues.
Asuka defeated Alicia Fox via submission.
SAMOA JOE AND THE BAR VS. SETH ROLLINS, DEAN AMBROSE AND JASON JORDAN.
After gaining the upper hand earlier, Samoa Joe featured in a 6-man tag team match alongside his friendly allies, The Bar; against the triple team of Jason Jordan, aligning with Dean Ambrose and his earlier opponent Seth Rollins.
Still exhausted from the earlier confrontation with Jordan, Rollins found himself at the receiving end of his opponents.
The bout eventually broke down to the arena floor where all 6 competitors unloaded on each other.
At one point, Rollins delivered a suicide dive, wiping out his opponents with Ambrose crashing down to the arena floor.
Apparently, Ambrose ended up hurting his arm, drawing in the medical team to look into the situation.
Rollins, distracted by Ambrose’s injury, left himself vulnerable to Cesaro’s pinfall in favour the Heels.
Samoa Joe and The Bar defeated Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan via pinfall.
THE REVIVAL RETURNS AGAINST HEATH SLATER AND RHYNO.
The long speculated return of The Revival came to being this Monday night against the inaugural Smackdown Live Champions Health Slater and Rhyno.
In case you didn’t know, Scott Dawson has been out of action due to a bicep injury for over/close to 5 months. This made The Revival slip away from the spotlight since Dash Wilder isn’t contracted to a singles competitor.
The segment kicked off with a surprise return of The Revival, cheering the crowd thunderously as the NXT Alumni walked into the building.
As expected, The Revival obliterated their opponents via their signature Shatter Machine finisher as Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews and their new addition: Dana Brooke, all watched from backstage.
The Revival defeated Heath Slater and Rhyno
ABSOLUTION VS. MICKIE JAMES, SASHA BANKS AND BAYLEY.
JoJo introduced Elias, who announced himself as a contender for the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January.
Sasha Banks interrupted, Bayley and Mickie James, followed after, and Absolution joined the fray for the night’s main event.
Moments into the match, the Heels drew a quick disqualification, working over Banks in decimation mode.
Nia Jax arrived the scene and wiped-out both Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville with a thunderous Samoan Drop before Paige clipped her leg.
The remainder of the RAW Women’s locker room overshadowed the scene and a massive brawl erupted.
Suddenly, Stephanie McMahon’s music hit the PA System and the Commissioner made her way to the ring as everyone halted their aggression.
After running through the lists of achievements The Women’s Revolution has accomplished, she announced the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match which will hold in January.
With that said, she drew a huge “YES” chant and everyone cheered to the close of the show.
ADDITIONAL BACKSTAGE SCENES
SAMOA JOE AND THE BAR BRUTALIZE DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS
MATT HARDY IN POSITION FOR THE GREAT WAR.
NIA JAX SLIDES INTO ENZO AMORE’S DM
- The final booking for the Universal Championship is nothing but amazing. Lesnar, Strowman and Kane in the same ring at Royal Rumble! What else can you wish for?
- Samoa Joe continues to showcase his dominant Heelish nature by knocking-off Rollins and Jordan in the early go.
Jason Jordan, on the other hand, is doing a great job in establishing himself as a valuable asset on RAW. Though his methods seem to be forceful, he sure is a good brawler when it comes to in-ring competition. He established that against Rollins in their encounter.
- Congratulations to the newest member of the WWE main roster: Hideo Itami. His long-awaited debut finally came to light alongside his longtime ally Finn Balor. We look forward to his exploits as he debuts on 205 Live the following night.
- Another congratulations goes to Cedric Alexander for finally attaining the spotlight of the Cruiserweight title picture. I hope his tenure isn’t short lived. Best of luck in his match against Amore.
- The return of The Revival is one of the best developments in the RAW Tag Team division of late. Now we can finally witness more competitiveness and put a stop to the repeated Shield versus The Bar feud for good.
- Glad that the speculated Women’s Royal Rumble match has finally been announced. WWE again solidifies their commitment to taking Women’s Wrestling to the next level. Congratulations to the Women’s division for the groundbreaking development.
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