This Week In The WWE: 12/22-12/28

Breaking News:

Andrade wins the United States Championship Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, beating Rey Mysterio, Jr. on the Holiday Tour! Sounds reminiscent of AJ Styles beating Kevin Owens at MSG in July of 2018. Makes a ton of sense now that Mysterio, Jr. will be joining forces with Samoa Joe against Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain as we head towards the Royal Rumble and the Road to WrestleMania! Good chance for Andrade to shine for a while, I hope, with a title belt to boost him.

Since it was a holiday week, we get a pair of taped shows with RAW and NXT going the non-live road this week. Makes perfect sense as viewership is generally down with last minute shopping two days before Christmas for RAW and then NXT being on Christmas night. Ironically, while RAW saw a tick down in viewers, NXT saw a tick up as it ran unopposed by AEW, who took the Christmas holiday off.

Smackdown delivers an entertaining final show of the decade to set-up Daniel Bryan vs. The Fiend at Royal Rumble. The third time was the charm as Bryan took home the triple threat match in the main event after a pair of false starts to the match earlier in the night.

Star of the Week – In a week in which there really wasn’t a stand out, we’ll give it to the guy who won the match that we have yet to see yet – ANDRADE. Taking home his first major championship on the main roster is quite the feat. Maybe we’ll get some highlights this Monday Night on RAW.

RAW

RESULTS

  • Christmas Street Fight: Kevin Owens defeated Mojo Rawley
  • Bobby Lashley defeated Cedric Alexander
  • Drew McIntyre defeated Zack Ryder
  • Aleister Black defeated Deonn Rusman
  • Buddy Murphy defeated Joeasa
  • Ricochet defeated Tony Nese
  • Charlotte defeated Chelsea Green (Submission)
  • The OC defeated Randy Orton & The Viking Raiders
  • Erick Rowan defeated Travis Horn
  • Rusev defeated No Way Jose
  • US Title Match: Champion Rey Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins (DQ)

What we loved:

Merry Christmas – With a taped edition of Monday Night RAW, we got to see lots of faces we don’t get to see on a weekly basis. Welcome back Mojo Rawley, No Way Jose, Zack Ryder and Cedric Alexander. Sure, they all lost, but it’s nice to see them get some air time before the end of the year.  Plus, we got Santa winning the 24/7 Championship before R-Truth won it again, for what seems like the 1,000th time (OK, it’s only 25 times!).

More Aleister vs. Buddy – All they deliver is action! Plus, we get a set-up for another match coming up this Monday night.

Welcome to RAW Chelsea Green – Not only do we get Zack Ryder, but we get his better half getting her debut on RAW. A nice outing against The Queen to boot.

Becky vs. Asuka – Yes, we’ve got this one to look forward to now at Royal Rumble. Short and sweet was the build-up as Asuka wants to join Becky as “Two-Belts” champion!

Joe is gonna kill you – Adding Samoa Joe into the mix with Rey Mysterio Jr vs. Seth Rollins and the AOP could be magical. Joe’s done a fabulous job on RAW commentary and now it’s time for his return to the ring. What better way to take on the top heel faction to get him back over! If nothing else, it will be brutally physical as he gets revenge for his table crashing to end RAW.

Meh:

What’s up with all the short matches – Five matches that lasted less than 3 minutes? Seriously. I get wanting to get more people on TV, but that’s ridiculous. Quality over quantity.

NXT

RESULTS

  • NXT North American Title Match: Champion Roderick Strong defeated Austin Theory (Submission)
  • Swerve Scott defeated Jack Gallagher
  • Candice LeRae defeated Taynara
  • Dominik Dijakovic defeated Bronson Reed
  • Bianca Belair defeated Shotzi Blackheart
  • Keith Lee & Lio Rush defeated Tony Nese & Damian Priest

What we loved:

Welcome to Wednesday nights Austin Theory – The former EVOLVE champion makes his way to Full Sail for a Christmas night debut, answering Roderick Strong’s Open Challenge. Good showing and Strong gets the rub to remain “strong” as NXT North American Champion heading into the New Year.

Solid:

Main event – nice pairing of the big boys of Lee and Priest in with the cruiserweights (Rush and Nese). Fun ending to a holiday show that sends everyone home happy to end a good night, albeit taped one, for NXT.

SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • New Day & Braun Strowman defeated Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura, & Sami Zayn
  • Carmella defeated Mandy Rose
  • #1 Contender’s Match: Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz went to a no-contest
  • Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Lacey Evans & Dana Brooke (Submission)
  • #1 Contender’s Match: Daniel Bryan defeated The Miz & King Corbin (Submission)

What we loved:

Finishes – Yes, we’re giving a thumbs up to the fact that there were actual winners and losers. On a night in which a triple threat match was, then wasn’t, became a one-on-one match and then a triple threat match again, I’m happy that that match actually finished. Plus, where it looked like the six-man match between The New Day & Braun Strowman vs. Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn was going towards a DQ, Strowman gets the pin. We deserve, and got, finishes!

More Otis and Mandy – Otis is pure gold my friends. Not only do we get a continuance of the Otis likes Mandy storyline, but it gets tentacles with Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler too. Looks like we might get that Sonya and Mandy, Fire and Desire split coming.

Meh:

Reigns vs. Corbin – Just when we thought Roman Reigns was done with King Corbin, they continue to get involved together as Reigns costs Corbin a shot at The Fiend’s title in the main event.

A Moment of Bliss – We finally get a new moment of Bliss as Alexa Bliss, with Nikki Cross welcomed Lacey Evans to the show to give her kudos for sticking up for her six-year-old daughter against Sasha Banks and Bayley. Now, of course, we applaud Evans, but one question from Bliss doesn’t cut it as it was just used as a set-up to the tag team match as Banks and Bayley attack Dana Brooke while Evans is already in the ring. Fell a little flat for me. The match was better though. So, overall, a plus for the night I suppose.

What we hated:

Sheamus – Enough with the vignettes that go nowhere! We get it already! Sheamus is coming back to face a roster he thinks is awful. I’d rather see nothing than see the same stale promo each week. Move forward or move on and let him get in the ring already!

Parting shots:

We’ve got a Wedding coming Monday Night on RAW! I’m begging WWE for a surprise like we got when Triple H stunned the Stephanie – Test ceremony. Or maybe like when Eric Bischoff shocked Stephanie in the Billy and Chuck wedding by taking off the preacher disguise. There’s always excitement (and chaos) in a WWE wedding. I’m hoping Lana and Bobby Lashley don’t disappoint!

Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at jcrowe567@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots and Red Sox fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND!

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