McGinn’s Raw Recap – 12/22/14

RAW_1126_Photo_262-762172182
Dean Ambrose was in a giving mood during his Miracle on 34th Street fight with Bray Wyatt on Monday (Courtesy WWE.com)

Monday Night Raw
December 22, 2014
Minneapolis, MN

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! You know what I’m talking about! The time when Raw resembles the set of a yuletide B-movie likely to be made fun of by folks of Mystery Science Theater 3000 or to newer audiences, Rifftrax. We get silly matches like A Miracle on 34th Street Fight or perhaps a battle to save Christmas between Good and Evil Santa Claus! There will be goofy items wrapped as presents that will be used on an unsuspecting foe. Odds are Hornswaggle will be cast as an elf. Oh and who forget the man in the red suit himself – no I’m not talking about Kane – of course, I’m speaking of Jolly Old St. Mick. However you choose to celebrate this season, I thank you for spending some of it with me as we document a very special Christmas edition of Monday Night Raw. The gift that keeps on giving!

Your announcers tonight are Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry “The King” Lawler

We begin with the announcing trio using countless holiday cliches including “visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads” which got me to thinking that I wouldn’t know what a sugar plum is even if you threw one at my head. In any event, we get a glimpse at what we’re in for this evening as it’s revealed that Rowdy Roddy Piper will host “Piper’s Pit” with his guest being Rusev and Lana. Roman Reigns will square off with Big Show and Dean Ambrose will rekindle his feud with Bray Wyatt in the aforementioned “Miracle on 34th Street” fight. Geez, they are so predictable!

Once that is over, another hall of fame return takes place as Hulk Hogan, who tonight I guess is going under the alias of “Ho Ho” Hogan, heads down that aisle. He is decked head-to-toe in a Santa suit but you can still see the trademark yellow sunglasses as he holds his hand to his legendary ear. He is here to spread cheer and give out presents to the WWE superstars and the fans on tonight’s show. He is about to finish when, all of sudden, out comes John Cena. Of course, Cena has been given the gift of facing Brock Lesnar for the strap next month at Royal Rumble.

Fans are naturally split on the presence of the former champion. He calls Hogan as legendary and iconic as Santa Claus before telling a truly wretched joke about wanting a Frozen Sing-A-Long set for Christmas this year. He even sings so poorly even Steve Corino want to rip his own ears off. Be that as it may, fans are going batty wanting another appearance by the part-timer Brock Lesnar. Cena wants the very same thing and desires to kick Brock’s teeth down his throat. He is sour about his loss to Rollins in the cage last week but accepts his defeat. He now wishes for another match with Rollins tonight and pleads his case to the man with the rotund belly and 24 inch pythons.

This brings out Mr. Money in The Bank, Seth Rollins flanked by his private security force. He has had enough of this tom foolery and tells John that no one wants to hear his stupid voice anymore. He says that Cena’s time is up and he is the company’s present and future. Basically, his time is now. He says the real indictment is that Hogan is put in charged of Raw when in actuality, it should be the Authority. He still can’t let go of his binky. The Authority is that little blue blanket and you can call Rollins Linus. We get more of a rehash of the aftermath of Survivor Series and how Team Cena couldn’t get the job done on their own. So as a result, Rollins makes his own wish and that is to have Cena bring the Authority back.

Cena says he is putting everyone to sleep and I couldn’t agree with him more. Stop crying about Sting already! Anyway, Cena wants to kick some ass and Hogan grants him his wish. Not only that, but that match is the first of the evening!

JOHN CENA VS. SETH ROLLINS (W/ J&J SECURITY)

The rubber match if you will. Cena won at TLC and Rollins, with the help of Brock and Heyman, was victorious on last week’s program. Cena does his usual face-in-peril routine as Rollins scores with that nifty flipping neck-breaker maneuver. Rollins works the leg for a song while JBL runs down his credentials including his run as the first-ever NXT champ. We also get our usual outside distractions by Mercury and Noble and the completely unnecessary commercial break. Rollins uses those educated feet catching John with a few superkicks and a tremendous enziguri while breaking up an STF attempt. I swear the security force is only there to catch Rollins when he gets tossed onto the floor. Cena drops the leg from the top rope for only two as the fans start to really dig this opener. In the end, John drops J&J with a two-man AA and was able to avoid a Rollins’ briefcase shot while countering with an Attitude Adjustment of his own for the 1, 2, 3. Peace out Seth… at least until you finally cash in that haliburton. WINNER: JOHN CENA

Kane is shown in front of a festive wreath only to shout “Bah Humbug” into the camera spoiling the moment. Pointless though I suppose it made a few people chuckle.

JACK SWAGGER VS. FANDANGO (W/ ROSA MENDES)

This would be a bathroom break for me if Rosa wasn’t involved. Good lord she is hot. Where is the mistletoe when you need it? Fandango wins with his diving leg drop and we move on to drooling over Rosa. WINNER: FANDANGO

Tom Phillips talks to Dolph Ziggler who has to face Luke Harper in an IC title rematch this evening. To sum up Ziggy’s words, Harper is a nightmare come to life but the champion is no slouch either. It’s too bad that Ziggler is too good because that belt is going nowhere tonight.

ADAM ROSE VS. R-TRUTH

Yikes! Everyone is getting a payday before Christmas! This one was thankfully brief as they share a mini dance-off before Truth scores with a devastating school boy to pick up the win. The Bunny, neckbrace and all, tries to console his buddy but eats a spinebuster for his troubles. Rose then throws his furry friend into the stairs and the barricade before storming off. It’s funny when Kane tombstones The Bunny. When Rose beats him down, it’s just plain sad. WINNER: R-TRUTH

For those with the benefits of flash photography, Edge and Christian host Raw next week. Now that’s a show that will just reek of awesomeness.

ROMAN REIGNS VS THE BIG SHOW

To my surprise, the fans were not buying this match at all. Ordinarily, I would say that this wouldn’t be a good sign for the expected WrestleMania main eventer in Reigns. He has to be building momentum in the next few months if he plans on holding on to that spot on the top of the card. More likely the blah crowd is attributed to everyone’s collective Big Show fatigue. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but I stand by my words from before when I say that he should have been murdered by Rowan at the pay-per-view and then join the network analyst rotation. Alas, we get this match where Reigns gets in his version of the “five moves of doom” before Superman punching Show over the announce table. The giant is counted out and quite unhappy and Reigns gets a win over someone not named Fandango. WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS VIA COUNTOUT

Renee is joined by Dean Ambrose who said that he’s been preparing all year long for his Miracle on 34th Street fight tonight. He says that all he wants for Christmas is Bray Wyatt and that tonight he is going to get him. He then says that everytime a bell rings, Bray Wyatt gets a beating! I love it when they incorporate the greatest Christmas movie in the history of humans in their promos!

BRIE BELLA (W/ NIKKI BELLA) VS. NATALYA (W/ TYSON KIDD)

Good lord, how many matches are they throwing out there this week? I’m not complaining in fact I wish all Raws had actual wrestling matches dominating the early hours. I’m not even going to do my traditional ripping of the Bellas in this paragraph even if I still think the Brie heel turn was as stupid as Jingle All The Way 2. Not that I watched that or anything. Not much here. Tyson on the outside is awesome, Natty used her size advantage to counter Brie’s inside cradle into a pin of her own, and Nikki took a nasty bump off the apron while Natalya held up the Divas title. I think we have our next contender for the Butterfly Belt. WINNER: NATALYA

Not feeling the Ascension. Sorry I’m not sorry.

LOS MATADORES (W/ EL TORITO) VS. GOLD & STARDUST

Seriously, it’s like WrestleMania VIII with all these matches tonight! I hope that cancelled Berzerker/Bulldog match is next! To set the stage for this one,Torito is donning reindeer antlers and a little red nose which is justification enough to add him to this match. Stardust is in his green attire and flipping like Sonic the Hedgehog for all of the little guy’s moves. I think it’s sad that the Rhodes Boys have gone from swank heel champions to basically playing the role of 3MB in paint as we end another year. I do enjoy JBL making Great Gazoo jokes though at Cody’s expense. In a convoluted ending sequence, Goldust accidentally swings Torito’s legs into his partners face and while older brother checked on younger brother, the Matadores answered with a back stabber. While Goldust laid prone on the canvas, the little bull finished things off with a springboard moonsault to give Los Matadores some Christmas cheer! WINNERS: LOS MATADORES & EL TORITO

In a dark closet, Luke Harper says he is going to hurt Dolph tonight and take his IC belt. Tis the season after all!

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Dolph Ziggler (C) Vs. Luke Harper

Fun Fact: Luke Harper’s theme song is called “Swamp Gas.” (Available now on iTunes)

Harper didn’t waste anytime and presented Dolph with a boot to the face to start us off. More beatings on the floor including a sloppy fall on a side slam to the mat instantly transformed Ziggler into that plucky underdog figure we’ve all grown to love. Once the bell rang, it seemed automatic that Harper would wear the gold once more as he buried Ziggler with a powerbomb though somehow Ziggy snuck out the back door at the last moment. They keep pumping up Dolph as the “man who never quits” and I’m not sure how I feel about that. It didn’t work too well for Tazz back in the day. This is pretty much a glorified squash through the commercial break which is kind of sad given how awesome their ladder match was at TLC. Dolph takes a savage beating including going face first into the announce table. How many more bumps does the Show Off have in him? This match has everything including a Michinoku Driver reference. Match nearly ended on a tremendous sequence when Ziggler drilled Harper with a superkick only for the bearded one to shake it off and still deliver his version of a clothesline from hell. Dolph then returned the favor for jumping up after a powerbomb do score with a famouser for a near fall. Then to cap off his gutsy performance, he threw two more kicks into Harper’s mug and won it with a Zig-Zag for a fantastic finish! WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER

The King, wearing something that must be seen to believe, gets post-match comments from Dolph who said he pulled off the win thanks to the WWE Universe. Nice celebration that gave the Minneapolis fans the warm and fuzzies. Unless he is defending at the Rumble, I see him being one of the ironmen and possibly in the final four come January.

The Hot Rod comes out to a raucous ovation to host his iconic talk segment, “Piper’s Pit.” Piper is eating up all the love from the fans. He then explains that his guests tonight have a special Christmas message for all Americans. They mentioned the “A” word so that means Lana and Rusev, though I can’t tell but I think Piper intentionally said their names wrong. Oh Roddy! Lana calls Christmas in America a joke (surprise, surprise). I guess we pretend to be nice just one time a year and we believe in fat men giving presents to our spoil children. Piper blows a gasket saying that in America, we believe in what we want to. Lana tells all of us to believe in the jumbotron and we see clips of Rusev decimating Ryback from Smackdown. Fans begin a “Feed Me More” chant and Rusev says he will crush Piper. Roddy cools off Rusev’s jets by saying that he has holiday spirit and then calls them a pair of Communist Scrooges. Piper then reveals his gift to the big Russian and it comes in the form of Da Big Guy, Ryback. Fans go batty and Ryback beats Rusev like an old rug before the U.S. Champ turns tail and runs like he does in every program.

SANTA’S HELPERS SIX-WOMAN TAG MATCH

Alicia Fox, Emma & Naomi Vs. Cameron, Summer Rae & Paige

All these girls are dressed like, well, Santa’s little helpers. Everyone, of course, except Paige who is wearing a black Santa hat though I think she is easily the most over in this group. Pretty much a time filler but Emma can deck my halls anytime she likes. Zing! Want another one? Pretty much a time filler but Summer Rae can stuff my stocking anytime she likes! Wait, what? Okay one more! Pretty much a time filler, but Naomi can Jingle my… Oh nevermind! Fox gets the pin on Cameron and Christmas is saved! WINNERS: ALICIA FOX, EMMA & NAOMI

Still not feeling The Ascension. I don’t care how many promos you throw at me! They debut next week apparently. Get your DVR ready Scott Criscuolo!

THE MIZ (W/ DAMIEN MIZDOW) VS. JEY USO (W/ JIMMY USO)

Not much here to report. I think Jey looked pretty good wrestling solo though I don’t think we’re looking at the next Bret Hart or anything. He gets in most of the offense though loses on the old roll-up, hands on the trunks routine. Naomi is only mentioned in passing and we move on. WINNER: THE MIZ

Scotty Schwartz of Christmas Story and several adult films is in attendance tonight. Let’s hope doesn’t reenact any of his previous scenes before Raw goes off the air. Like the tongue on the pole scene or maybe even something from Christmas Story… Hey oh! Sorry folks, I shouldn’t write these on spiked egg nog!

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET FIGHT

Bray Wyatt Vs. Dean Ambrose

Bray cuts a promo to start by singing the creepiest version of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. He goes on to say that people surround themselves with family and friends this time of year to feel safe. He then laughs off that notion and says in his world, there are no sugar plums Santa Claus and Christmas as they are replaced by sorrow, pain, suffering, etc. That world is called real life and in that life, Bray is king. He has taken Ambrose to his world before and will bring him back tonight. Awesome stuff! If you are keeping score in this series, Bray won at TLC, Ambrose triumphed in a Boot Camp match at Tribute to the Troops, and this match here might settle the score. We shall see.

We get some “Merry Christmas” chants to begin and much to the chagrin of Atheists everywhere. These matches never really get cooking until someone goes outside. Bray gets thrown into one of the many Christmas trees scattered around ringside. In some cool symmetry to the TLC bout from last week, Dean opened a gift that contained a TV monitor. Even though it was clearly unplugged, Dean elected to find another weapon of choice. More brawling follows as Wyatt was shoved into a huge wall of presents. Ambrose tries to splash Wyatt through a table while wearing a wreath though the Eater of Worlds runs away. They then head up to the stage and Dean finds a steel chair in one of the larger presents.He missed with the telegraphed shot and then was thrown from the stage and onto a table. Ouch! Reminds me of the infamous McGinn Christmas Brawl of 2006. I’ll spare you the details but I still smell of fruit cake to this very day. True story!

The match really slowed to a crawl when it actually turned into a wrestling match. What an odd thing to say but this might be one of those rare instances when sports entertainment should win the day. The tone quickly changed when Bray decided to return the favor and throw Ambrose into a pair of trees. He then grabs a candy cane kendo stick and punished Ambrose for a few minutes. He then sets up the stick like a spear in the corner and tried to ram Dean right through it. Lawler watched in horror but both men blocked the potential fatal blow. Wyatt next wedged a chair in a different corner but his plan was foiled when Ambrose whipped him into said chair. They go toe-to-toe from there until Ambrose finds another kendo stick in a little red sack and proceeds to go to work on the buzzard follower. He then flew off the turnbuckle and pasted Bray with a chair to the face. He wasn’t done there of course as a ladder was brought into the fray. Cue the crab walk for Bray who slammed Ambrose onto the ladder. More weapons and mayhem follow. Ambrose gets a chair thrown at him while he is on top of the ladder. As he is falling, Dean gets rammed into that stick in the corner and Wyatt stole Christmas with an improbable victory. WINNER: BRAY WYATT

After the match, Wyatt was looking for more of that suffering and sorrow but wound up tasting some fire extinguisher instead. Dean set him up on the table from earlier and delivered and elbow splatting Wyatt like a bug on the floor. Once again Dean sends the fans home happy in a losing effort. It looks like someone drove an SUV through a Wal-Mart holiday display on Christmas Eve as we fade to black.

To channel Johnny Sorrow from our popular PTBN Reaction podcasts, I absolutely loved this show. We had some fun, had a ton of matches, and everyone stuck to the Christmas theme to perfection. We even had three main event worthy matches in the opener, the IC match and then the street fight at the end. We didn’t have too many long, drawn out and boring talking segments. There was a match, you would blink and boom another match! Love, love loved it! This is the three-hour Raw we have been waiting for all year! Maybe it’s the season, maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting presents in a few days. Perhaps it’s the hours of Michael Buble I’ve listened to at work the last month. Whatever it is, this show was terrific and toed the line between fun and hokie in spectacular fashion. Tell your friends! We can be negative and act like Scrooges 51 other weeks in the year. You can have a year-long Festivus and air out your grievances in the wrestling world whenever you like in 2015. But on 12/22/14, the company did us all right.

And if you don’t agree, I have a hunk of coal and a fruitcake with your name on it Sucka!

Merry Christmas and God Bless us, everyone!

Author: Dan McGinn

Dan McGinn is a former Minor League Baseball announcer, a five-star General in the #sweatervestarmy and an all around babyface who you should be happy to take home to dinner. He also happens to write about wrestling.