Live from Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Oregon!
Raw opened with the commentators hurriedly introducing footage of an incident which took place just before the show went on the air. In the back, Roman Reigns was shown to be the aggressor in a brawl between himself and Drew McIntyre.
The two were eventually pulled apart, with Roman Reigns still desperate to get his hands on Drew McIntyre. McIntyre was also fired up, having been assaulted on his way into the building. Arriving on the scene, General Manager Kurt Angle asked what had happened.
When Kurt was informed that Reigns had started the brawl, he ordered that the instigator be taken away, locked up in isolation for the rest of the show. Angle insisted that nobody was going to ruin the night’s Main Event, and making sure Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns made it there in one piece was paramount.
Returning live, the commentators put over the two huge Number One Contendership matches scheduled for the night, with Ember Moon going one on one with Shayna Baszler, and Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns facing off for the right to challenge Braun Strowman at Starrcade. This was followed by a look back at the rivalry between Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns, which was described as a “Brutal War”. During the package, footage was shown of the initial attack by Drew McIntyre on Roman Reigns, which was followed by McIntyre putting Reigns head first through a Limousine window. When Roman Reigns returned from the attack, he set his sights on revenge, coming between Drew McIntyre and what he believe to be his rightful path towards the WWE Universal Championship.
Out of the video package, back to back interviews were conducted, first with Shayna Baszler, and then with Ember Moon.
Both women spoke confidently about their chances at victory, looking forward to their opportunity to become the next Raw Women’s Champion. Ember Moon put over her long and arduous path towards the upcoming opportunity, which contrasted with Shayna Baszler’s steamrolling of the competition. With two very different journeys towards the Championship opportunity, the winner would pose two contrasting challengers of Nia Jax.
Following those interviews, Braun Strowman made his entrance. Coming down to the ring with the Universal Championship on his shoulder, it was clear Braun had something we wanted to get off his chest.
Talking about Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns in the Main Event, Braun Strowman seemed just as happy to face off with either man at the next Pay-Per-View, which would go by the name of “Starrcade”. While Braun Strowman considered Roman Reigns to be one of the toughest challengers in the WWE Locker Room, he admitted that evening the odds with Drew McIntyre was his number one priority. Whether it would be at Starrcade or at a later date wasn’t important, but defending the Universal Championship in two weeks definitely was. Braun talking about defending his Championship brought out another Raw Champion, Intercontinental Champion Jason Jordan. As ever, Jordan was joined by his “Golden Alpha” teammates, The Authors of Pain.
Jason Jordan spoke confidently, knowing that his back up were there if his mouth got him into trouble. Telling Braun Strowman that they were the real Champions on Raw, Jason Jordan said that the only reason they don’t hold all the gold is because Akam got injured… and Braun’s a coward!
Braun Strowman laughed at this suggestion, and made fun of Jason Jordan’s belief that he would stand a chance against him. Jason Jordan’s confidence was helped by the appearance of Drake Maverick on the ramp, who he believed was there to back him up.
Unfortunately for Jordan, Maverick was only there to do the bidding of his superior Kurt Angle, informing the Intercontinental Champion that on orders of the General Manager, he would be going one on one against Braun Strowman… next!
Having turned his back on his father in a bitter rage, Jason Jordan’s time on Raw has gone from bad to worst since Kurt Angle was reinstated as General Manager. Of course, this was unlikely to change in a match against Braun Strowman, even with the presence of The Authors of Pain at ringside. Managing longer than he would have been expected to, Jason Jordan fell short of his pre-match declarations, losing to a Running Powerslam from the Universal Champion.
Braun Strowman bt. Jason Jordan
Following the match, Braun Strowman scooped the arrogant Jason Jordan up from the mat, dropping him over the top rope towards The Authors of Pain. Akam & Rezar took exception to the disrespect shown by Braun Strowman, and looked to confront him.
When the two men climbed on to the apron, Braun Strowman looked more than ready for both of the former Raw Tag Team Champions. Despite his dominance as Universal Champion, the commentators didn’t fancy Braun Strowman’s chances against both members of The Authors of Pain. The answer as to whether Strowman could have fought off the two of them wouldn’t be answered at this time, as Rey Mysterio ran down to the ring to join Braun Strowman.
The size contrast between Rey Mysterio and Braun Strowman (as well as The Authors of Pain) drew comment from the announce team, but was enough to discourage the A.O.P from entering the ring. Corey Graves was bemused by decision to step down by The Authors of Pain, and questioned why they would be afraid of Rey Mysterio. He was however informed that they have been encouraged to step down by Jason Jordan, who required them to help him to the back following his defeat to Strowman.
Appreciative of Rey Mysterio’s help, Braun Strowman offered his hand to the veteran Superstar, with the two standing tall together in the ring. It was noted as an example that opposites really do attract, as the commentators made light of their little and large connection.
Coming back from the break, the commentators talked about the incident involving Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns earlier in the night. This led into a live look at Roman Reigns, who was placed in “isolation” by Kurt Angle.
With CCTV footage shown of the room that Reigns had been locked inside, “The Big Dog” was seen to be pacing back and forth. Clearly only adding to Roman’s frustrations, the commentators suggested that Reigns would be even more dangerous when he was let out for the Main Event!
Switching gears, an in-depth look was taken at “#WalkWithTheWoken” from last week, as Elias entered the bizarre “Woken Universe”. Showing the key moments from Elias’ trip into the “Hardy Compound”, his defeat following a Sister Abigail was replayed. After the “match” had finished, Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy threw Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel into “The Lake of Reincarnation”. Since then, the two have not been seen. Despite his experience, Elias was at Raw, seemingly ready to give a performance.
Soon, it became clear that the experience had deeply affected Elias, as he couldn’t bring himself to begin his performance. After several failed attempts to get going, Elias gave up. Leaving his Guitar in the ring, “The Drifter” walked up the ramp, shaking his head.
Returning to in-ring competition, Alexa Bliss went one on one with Sarah Logan. Having watched from afar as The Riott Squad beat up her long-term friend and mentor Mickie James, Alexa Bliss had no back-up as she was forced to deal with the numbers of The Riott Squad. Unlike Mickie, Alexa was able to come out of the match victorious, having fought Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan off.
Following the match, Alexa Bliss said that she didn’t need anybody's help, especially when it comes to beating The Riott Squad. Running down the trio, Alexa saved particular scorn for Liv Morgan, who she called a cheap rip-off. Making it clear that she was confident to go it alone, Alexa Bliss said that she didn’t need Mickie James… or anybody for that matter!
WWE Raw - December 2018 - Live on the USA Network!
Returning to the second hour of Raw, the commentators talked about Rey Mysterio having Braun Strowman’s back earlier in the night. After footage was shown of Rey Mysterio, who backed up Braun Strowman against The Authors of Pain, the commentators sent over to an interview with them, as Renee Young stood by.
Conducted to highlight the difference in size between the two men, it was clear that Braun Strowman and Rey Mysterio were getting along very well, during a light-hearted interview with Renee Young. Despite the lightweight nature of the questions being asked, and the generally good atmosphere, one man wasn’t on board with the “fun”. Confronting the duo, Drew McIntyre had some words for the Universal Champion.
Drew McIntyre told Braun Strowman that he is right to be enjoying himself, because he won’t be smiling at all after Starrcade. McIntyre said that while Braun’s laughing and joking, he is preparing to do to what he did to Strowman at Survivor Series, to Roman Reigns tonight. As he walked away, Drew McIntyre looked down on Rey Mysterio, looking to intimidate the much smaller Superstar.
Moving on from that, Jason Jordan was seen in the office with Drake Maverick, stewing after watching Braun Strowman and Rey Mysterio’s interview.
Making general complaints about General Manager Kurt Angle, Jason Jordan rattled off everything that had been done to him since Kurt was reinstated. This included the fact that he had to defend his Championship against Dean Ambrose and
Seth Rollins at Survivor Series, a match which he was still able to win. As Jason Jordan continued to moan, he didn’t realise that Kurt Angle had returned to his office.
Drake Maverick tried to warn Jordan, but the Intercontinental Champion’s rant was not ready to stop. One particular remark would be the one that got Jason Jordan into trouble, as he told Drake that he had to do something, “What’s next? Is he going to make me defend against 3… 4… even 5 people?!”
This was when Kurt Angle broke his silence, saying “that sounds like a great idea!” Jason Jordan facepalmed as he realised Kurt Angle had been listening in, and told the General Manager that it was time he stopped victimising him. Angle said he was doing nothing of the sort, saying that he was going to listen to Jordan, and take his feeling on board. Jordan was pleased by this, before Angle told him “I already have listened… that’s why I am granting your request to defend your Championship against 5 challengers... in two weeks at Starrcade!” Jason Jordan couldn’t believe what he was hearing, and stormed out of the room. Laughing at the Intercontinental Champion, Kurt Angle was clearly enjoying getting his own back on his turncoat son.
Prior to the match, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn bemoaned their defeats to Randy Orton in back to back weeks, saying that they weren’t here to lose to Randy Orton again. Responding to them, Orton said that losing to him is the exact reason they were in the ring, introducing his partner for the scheduled match… Finn Balor!
From early on in the match, Finn and Randy looked to have the upper hand, with Owens & Zayn clearly having a bee in their bonnet about having to compete. Looking to be completely on the same page, the growing friendship between Balor and Orton was on show once more, as they closed in on victory. Things didn’t go to plan from there however, as Bobby Lashley made his presence known.
Getting into it with Randy Orton at ringside, Bobby Lashley was warned to leave ringside by the referee. He did this, but before Orton returned to the apron, Owens (not legal at the time) distracted the referee. With the official dealing with Owens, Lashley ran back down the ramp. Hearing Lashley, Orton turned around just in time to be taken down by a Spear. Lashley then backed up the ramp, as the referee’s focus returned to the action.
With Orton out on the floor, Finn Balor found himself in a two on one situation. As good as he is, Balor couldn’t overcome the odds, and was defeated following a Frog Splash from Owens, set up by a Sami Zayn Helluva Kick!
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn bt. Finn Balor & Randy Orton
Returning from the break, a vignette showed, promoting the fact that “The Big Bang is Coming!” Having been shown on 205 Live in recent weeks, the mysterious hype package made its first appearance on Raw.
Dana Brooke went one on one with Nia Jax. Having recently decided to sever her association with “The Glorious Revival”, Brooke was joined at ringside by Alicia Fox. Footage was shown from earlier in the day, as Dana struck a deal with Fox to be in her corner. This did her little good against the Raw Women’s Champion, but she had nonetheless given her all against tough competition. Following the match, Nia Jax stayed in the ring.
Ready for the Number One Contendership match that would take place right after her match, Jax was ready for her potential challengers. As talk turned to how both competitors had made it to within a step of a Championship shot, Nia Jax left the ring. When she walked up the ramp, she crossed paths with Shayna Baszler, who was making her entrance…
Put over as a huge match in the Women’s Division, the two competitor approached the match in a tentative manner, aware of the dangers their opposition posed. When the match eventually got going, Nia Jax joined commentary, but spoke very little throughout. Just as focussed were the competitors in the ring, who went all out for the chance to face the Raw Women’s Champion. Both Superstar had chances to win the match, each coming close on a number of occasions. After a while, the familiar dominance of Shayna Baszler was there for all to see. Showcasing her physically brutal style, Shayna Baszler applied her techniques perfectly, as she broke down her fellow Championship hopeful. Almost in autopilot, the sequence that had already won Shayna so many matches was well underway. Whether it could be stopped was another question.
Eventually, Shayna Baszler set up for the Rear Naked Choke, but once again proving to be the most difficult singles opponent “The Queen of Spades” has faced, Ember Moon escaped. This allowed her to mount an unlikely comeback attempt. Taking Baszler out of her comfort zone, in a way most opponents haven’t been able to, Ember Moon found herself in position to hit the Eclipse. As she set up, it was put over that had it not been for the Baszler involvement in Ember’s match with Nia Jax two weeks ago, that move may well have won her the Raw Women’s Championship. This time, there was nobody to stop her from hitting the move. Diving from the top rope, Ember Moon connected with the Eclipse, but couldn’t complete the move. Somehow reversing the momentum back into her own favour, Baszler stopped the move from being completed, by overpowering Ember Moon and ensuring that the “Stunner” didn’t land. Now in a prone position, Ember Moon found herself locked in the Rear Naked Choke just seconds after the attempted Eclipse. Such a quick transition caught Ember off guard, and she was unable to escape. After a slightly longer than usual struggle, the body of Ember Moon went limp, and Shayna Baszler was declared the winner.
Shayna Baszler bt. Ember Moon
Standing tall as the new Number One Contender, Shayna Baszler was joined in the ring by Nia Jax.
Facing off in a traditional “Champion vs. Challenger” pose, the commentators confirmed that Nia Jax would defend her Raw Women’s Championship in a one on one match at WWE Starrcade. Despite this match being decided, Ronda Rousey still wanted in on the action. Walking down to the ring, Ronda came between Nia and Shayna Baszler.
It was clear that Ronda Rousey wanted to drop Shayna Baszler there and then, and the tension between the two was clearly mutual. However, instead of getting physical, Ronda took a microphone. Once again stood between Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, Ronda said that she was going to be there at Starrcade. Turning to Shayna, it looked like Ronda had something to say to her former friend, but instead she switched focus to Nia Jax. Jax was interested in what the other Championship hopeful in the ring had to say, but Ronda wasn’t looking to create an issue between the two. Instead, Ronda’s message was one of encouragement, as she pointed at Shayna Baszler and told Nia Jax to “Kick her ass at Starrcade!”
WWE Raw - December 2018 - Live on the USA Network!
Returning to the final hour of Raw with a look back at the end of the previous one, Shayna Baszler’s victory over Ember Moon (and the post-match confrontation) was recapped. This led into an interview with Ronda Rousey, who had just arrived in the back.
Explaining her actions, and the lack of physicality between herself and Shayna Baszler, Ronda Rousey said that it isn’t her place to fight Shayna at the moment. Ronda said that Nia Jax should be given the chance to get her hands on Baszler, adding that she respects the Champion enough not to get involved before then. She carried on, saying that it’s Nia Jax’s job to destroy Shayna Baszler now, but Ronda reiterated that she would be at Starrcade, promising that win, lose or draw, Shayna would eventually have to answer to her!
Joined by The Revival, Robert Roode cut a promo before his match with Seth Rollins.
Robert Roode commented that after their victory over The Revival last week, there has been talk of Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose targeting the WWE Tag Team Championships. Roode said that was all well and good, but right now Rollins had to focus on “The Glorious One”. Robert Roode said that Rollins may have faced him before, but he hasn’t face “this” Robert Roode. When Seth Rollins came out for the match, he was joined by Dean.
Scoring the victory in the match, Seth Rollins’ win was surrounded by the speculation that he and Dean may be looking towards once again becoming Tag Team Champions. While the two hadn’t commented on the rumours, the talk was clearly enough to get under the skin of The Authors of Pain.
First jumping Dean Ambrose on the outside, the two men turned their focus to Seth Rollins in the ring. Seth looked to fight back against the men who cost him and Dean their opportunity to become the Intercontinental Champion at Survivor Series. Outnumbered and overpowered, Seth Rollins quickly fell to the same fate as Dean Ambrose, as The A.O.P dropped him with a “Last Chapter”.
Returning from the break, a flash frame was shown, for just a few seconds. It showed Bray Wyatt on his knees in front of the “Lake of Reincarnation”, in the exact spot that he defeated Elias last week, before throwing Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel into the water.
In much greater spirits than he had been, Jason Jordan was shown in the back with a smile on his face, happy to have seen his long-term rivals Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins taken out by his friends Akam & Rezar. Approaching Jordan with a stern look on his face, Kurt Angle clearly wasn’t happy.
Confronting Jason Jordan, Kurt Angle informed the Champion that when he defends the Championship in a Six Way at Starrcade, he would have to do it alone. The reason for this was simple, as he confirmed that The Authors of Pain that they would also be in action at the event, facing Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins!
Returning to ringside, the commentators spoke about the situation with Roman Reigns, who has been locked in what is essentially “solitary confinement” since the beginning of the show. Sending over to a live feed of the room that Roman was locked in, the commentators suggested that Roman Reigns would be losing his mind in the room.
After an agitated Roman Reigns was shown, clearly desperate to get out of the room, the three man commentary team were divided as to whether Reigns’ mindstate was a good thing for Drew McIntyre… or a very bad thing.
Set-up by a skit from earlier in the day, where Jinder Mahal suggested that “even” The Singh Brothers could beat Titus Worldwide, Apollo Crews & No Way Jose destroyed Sunil & Samir, defeating them in just a few minutes.
Before Crews & Jose had chance to celebrate, the commentators informed viewers of an incident going on in the back. As the backstage area was shown, Rey Mysterio was seen on the ground, having been assaulted by Baron Corbin.
Following up his attack from last week, where he threw Rey into the Ring Post, Corbin this week targeted the knee of Rey Mysterio, which has famously caused him issues over the years. As the attack continued, Corbin tore at the tights of Rey Mysterio, exposing a knee brace underneath his wrestling gear. Baron Corbin continued to lay into Rey Mysterio, leaving him down and out in the back. Heading into a break, the commentators said that the Main Event was up next...
Returning to Raw ahead of the Main Event, footage was shown of the room that Roman Reigns had been in. Stood outside, a man put a key into the door, as Reigns was released from “Solitary Confinement”. Having spent almost three hours locked away, before one of the biggest matches of his year, Roman Reigns was ready for action!
Before the Main Event, footage was once again played showing the rivalry between Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns. Extremely violent, due to the personal nature of the feud, the video package put over that the match would be extremely physical. Once the bell rang, the two competitors couldn’t contain themselves. Going straight into it, Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns forgot about wrestling moves, and started a straight up fist fight. As a result of this reckless approach, the two men soon found themselves on the outside of the ring, continuing to brawl. The referee could do nothing to control the men, and looked to get them back into the ring before starting his 10 count. Blinded with rage, Roman Reigns barely registered the referee’s count, and it took McIntyre entering the ring for him to follow. Hitting Reigns with a Knee to the side of the head, McIntyre sent Reigns back to the outside, following soon after. Despite being just a few minutes into the match, McIntyre looked to bring the Steel Steps into play, dislodging them from the corner of the ring. Feeling that he deserved the shot regardless of the result, McIntyre threw Reigns into the Steel Steps, looking to get a countout victory over “The Big Dog”.
Barely making it back into the ring, Roman Reigns was set upon by Drew McIntyre as soon as he returned. What the opening minutes of the match showed was that as much as Roman Reigns hated Drew McIntyre, the Scottish Superstar’s sense of injustice was just as strong as his opponent’s. In many ways, the two Superstar’s differences were their greatest similarity.
With Drew McIntyre in control, he showed how he managed to defeat Braun Strowman at Survivor Series, and why many have long tipped him as a breakout star in the WWE. If Survivor Series was a star making performance, then this match with Roman Reigns had the chance to be the one that proved McIntyre shone brighter than any other Superstar in the Universe. Enjoying the best of much of the match, McIntyre couldn’t put Roman Reigns away, as the Superstar who had been locked up all night began to fight back. This comeback gathered steam, with Roman Reigns definitively turning the corner with a Superman Punch to his opponent.
Momentum was building for Reigns’ push to become the Number One Contender, as he looked to set up Drew McIntyre for a Spear. Whether he could have hit the move was taken out of the question however, as Dolph Ziggler made his way down to the ring.
Having not been associated with Drew McIntyre since he was chosen to face Braun Strowman at Survivor Series, the commentators were confused as to Dolph’s reasoning for making his presence known. While Michael Cole relaid the fact that Drew McIntyre blanked Dolph Ziggler from the moment he got a sniff of a higher status role in the company, Corey Graves disagreed, suggesting that it was all part of a masterplan. He called it “genius”.
What happened next, nobody could explain. Having entered the ring, and pushed past the referee, Dolph Ziggler looked to Drew McIntyre (who had now got back to his feet), before hitting Roman Reigns with a Superkick. While this wouldn’t be surprising in normal circumstances, Dolph’s decision resulted in the referee calling a DQ victory for Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns bt. Drew McIntyre (DQ)
With Roman Reigns down on the mat, Drew McIntyre couldn’t believe what had just happened. Clearly not pre-planned with Drew before the match, the commentators questioned why Dolph Ziggler would move to hand Roman Reigns the Number One Contendership. Corey Graves suggested that it was because “Ziggler is an idiot!”, but it soon became clear he was anything but. Flashing a smirk towards Drew McIntyre, before he rolled out of the ring (and harms way), it couldn’t be clearer that Dolph Ziggler knew exactly what he was doing.
Drew McIntyre protested to the referee, but it was too late. Dolph Ziggler was now at the top of the ramp, with Michael Cole taking going as far as to justify Ziggler’s actions, suggesting Drew McIntyre deserved what happened after he dropped his only friend! The reality of what Ziggler had taken from him continued to sink in on McIntyre, who held his head in his hands, as Ziggler laughed at him from the safety of the ramp. As the show ended, Roman Reigns returned to his feet, on the outside, with no comprehension of what had just transpired, besides the fact that he was the new Number One Contender!
Braun Strowman bt. Jason Jordan
Alexa Bliss bt. Sarah Logan
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn bt. Finn Balor & Randy Orton
Nia Jax bt. Dana Brooke
Shayna Baszler bt. Ember Moon [Number One Contendership; Raw Women’s Championship]
Seth Rollins bt. Robert Roode
Titus Worldwide’s Apollo Crews & No Way Jose bt. The Singh Brothers
Roman Reigns bt. Drew McIntyre (DQ) [Number One Contendership; WWE Universal Championship]