Scott’s Raw Recap 12/23/13

Christmas is saved! (Courtesy WWE)
Christmas is saved! (Courtesy WWE)

Monday Night Raw
December 23, 2013
Austin, Texas
“Raw Christmas”

We begin with our “good” Santa Claus, Mark Henry telling a tale, with the “bad” Santa Claus, Damien Sandow. We even hear guys like IRS and Freddie Blassie. I guess Henry & Sandow will have a “Battle for Christmas” match. We head inside the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. We begin with the man who brings more joy than anybody, the KING OF KINGS. Although at this time of the year, it is pretty sacrilegious. Out comes HHH, Kane and Stephanie. They have an elf with them, what a goof. Kane is giving out candy canes to kids, until he sees a guy with a Daniel Bryan t-shirt and he shoves him. Serves that kid right! No Lawler tonight, as its just Cole & JBL. Triple H says it’s a special time of year to give and make everyone else give. Employees working at soup kitchens, and “things like that.” How warm and fuzzy. Stephanie’s voice is getting deeper and deeper. We have a pair of six-man tag team matches tonight with all the big players on top of our Santa match. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton interrupts us. He wishes Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everybody. He puts over the Authority and has a present for them. Their present, is him? That’s pretty weak. He thanks HHH and Stephanie for giving him the night off and they all hug. Kane finishes with pyro.

12-DIVA TAG TEAM MATCH: Total Divas vs. Real Divas
Divas Champion AJ Lee joins the guys at the commentary table wearing a Grinch t-shirt. AJ is funny as the Total Divas do some linked together move where they spin around in the ring and knock everyone over.  Total Divas win when Aksana taps to Natalya’s Sharpshooter. WINNERS: Total Divas

The “Did You Know” quips are about Santa tonight. That’s very cool.

MATCH: Curtis Axel vs. Sin Cara
The masked “Mexican” is on a roll of late, trying to get back into relevancy against someone who’s quickly leaving the town of relevancy. This light that Sin Cara’s matches are wrestled under has lasted longer than the red light Kane used in 1997. Sin Cara is wearing Christmas-colored tights tonight. Sin Cara (at least this version) doesn’t wrestle like a luchador as much as the other one did. This guy is a little bigger so he’s a little slower. Sin Cara wins with a Swanton off the top rope. WINNER: Sin Cara

We go back to Friday night, when John Cena and CM Punk took on The Shield in a handicap match.

Bad Santa make a cute little girl feel bad, with elves AJ & Tamina.

Oh my. It’s official. We will be UNLEASHING…THE ANIMAL…AGAIN. Batista returns on the go home Raw before the Royal Rumble January 20.

Bad News Barrett was outside in the streets of Austin pretending to be with the Salvation Army.

We then get a vignette on the war between Daniel Bryan and the Wyatt Family.

SIX MAN TAG MATCH: The Rhodes Brothers & Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
I know Daniel Bryan was Superstar of the Year, but has there been a more vital addition to the roster than Goldust? He has been on absolute fire since coming back. He looks great, and he’s been the ringleader in the ring as you can tell he’s booking all of his and Cody’s matches. It’s been a pretty solid TV match, with the same pacing and action as most of the TV matches lately involving the Rhodes duo. Cole has mentioned now three times during this match that Batista is returning. Now he’s ripping Tony Romo for having a bad back! What the hell Cole?  With a Cowboys fan next to you. D-Bag. Rowan just pulled out a claw. Excellent. This match has told a good story as it’s gone through two commercial breaks. Not much in-ring action tonight but with a gimmick Raw like this its acceptable and expected. Same next week with “New Year’s Raw”. Wyatts win with Bray hitting Sister Abigail on Cody. WINNERS: Wyatt Family

The family continues to beat our heroes down after the match. They grab Bryan and bring him into the ring while Bray is talking to him, saying, “There was an easy way out”.

On the flip side of earlier, Good Santa Henry has a little boy on his lap and he treated him so nice but the boy is scared Christmas will be cancelled. His elves are the Bellas (doing what they do best, standing and smiling).

We get another clip of Bad News Barrett standing like a Salvation Army guy.

We have a Christmas Carol singing contest. Xavier Woods & R-Truth vs. McIntyre/Mahal vs. Khali/Santino. The last team won and 2MB attacked. The good guys clean them out. That was fun. Sometimes you need nice, goofy segments for these shows.

This is what Dolph is doing now? He goes on multi-match runs with various mid-card guys. First Damien Sandow, now Fandango. The present is an IC Title shot against Big E. Langston next week. The match is pretty much both guys throwing each other off the turnbuckle where the pole is. Fandango throws Dolph off the corner and into the steel steps, allowing Fandango to grab the present and get the title shot. WINNER: Fandango

TAG TEAM MATCH: Prime Time Players vs. Usos
I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but DY just said “Houston” instead of “Austin”. Titus says for Christmas they want a win tonight, a title shot and a Slammy. The crowd is chanting “THIS IS AUSTIN”. It had to have been an accident. Still, pretty funny. They then chant “HOUSTON SUCKS”. The match is solid enough, with one of the Usos wearing a red Rudolph nose hitting the splash for the victory. WINNERS: The Usos

MATCH: Mark Henry (Good Santa) vs. Damien Sandow (Bad Santa)
We have a nice comedy match that shows Sandow being thrown into a toilet, Sandow being sprayed with a fire extinguisher. Eventually Henry hits the WSS for the win. CHRISTMAS IS SAVED! WINNER: Mark Henry

Renee is with CM Punk, who says the Shield is ruining everything for everybody. He says Santa brought him help, IC Champ Big E. Langston and John Cena.

MATCH: Real Americans vs. Los Matadores
Ah what would a holiday episode be without #midgetmantaur! The bull is dressed in all white tonight. Tonight the show’s focus (besides the holiday) has definitely been tag team wrestling. Almost the entire division has been showcased. Los Matadores wins this one in what I think is an upset. WINNERS: Los Matadores

MATCH: Kofi Kingston vs. Ryback
Is this a revenge match for Ryback taking Kofi out back in the summer? This match is pretty boring, mostly because after starting the year hot, Ryback is pretty DOA. Ryback wins, which is a surprise. WINNER: Ryback

They may be rebuilding him for Batista’s first feud.

Back from break and Bad News Barrett is back in the building and he talks about the money he’s been raising. He says thousands of dollars has been raised, but he has bad news. He’s not affiliated with a charity so he’s taking the money home. That was actually funny.

The Shield rant about CM Punk and the pain they will inflict. Their promos are still very effective.

SIX MAN TAG MATCH: CM Punk, Big E. Langston & John Cena vs. The Shield
Seth Rollins has a shiner, probably from Friday on Smackdown. We know this match will be good with six solid workers, and that includes Big E, who is in my opinion a more humble version of Bobby Lashley. The Shield are doing their usual great job of dishing out punishment as Punk is the prominent face-in-peril. The match was hot at the end and when Big E hit Ambrose with his finisher I thought it was over. The others broke the pin and the ref calls for the DQ. WINNERS: Cena, Punk and Langston

The babyfaces clean house and we head into Christmas smiling.  With that we’re out!

SCOTT’S TAKE: That was a fun holiday episode. Nothing offensive and a nice focus on tag team wresting.  Merry Christmas everybody!

Follow me @scottcriscuolo and @placetobenation!