Raw Review: 12/23/13

WWE.com

WWE.com

The 2013 Christmas edition of Monday Night Raw almost seemed as if it came a week early, because in many ways it was WWE’s New Years Eve. It was the proverbial reset button, because when Raw returns next week, though it will still be 2013 on the calendar, 2014 and the Royal Rumble build will begin. But for now, let’s talk about the biggest moments from this Monday’s Raw.

The Authority promo

The Authority starts things off coming to the ring. They are all wearing Santa hats, they have an elf, and Kane is passing out candy to the crowd.

There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.

They talk about what the WWE has in store for this episode of Raw, and they wish everybody a happy holiday season.

Randy Orton comes out and calls himself the hottest commodity of the holiday season. Orton then thanks The Authority for giving him the night off anyway.

My Take: I know that I’m probably in the minority here, but I find Stephanie McMahon to be so entertaining in these Authority promos. Orton’s promo work is still missing something, as many people have noted for a while, but his interactions with The Authority are fantastic, and the hug he shared with Triple H was gold.

Batista

A video package airs to advertise the return of Batista on the January 20th edition of Raw.

My Take: Batista is returning at the final Raw before the Royal Rumble, indicating he will be making an appearance at the pay-per-view, possibly in the Rumble match. I think this is good, Batista is still popular and relevant, and could generate some interest heading into WrestleMania season.

The Wyatt Family vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust

A back and forth affair that ends with Bray pinning Cody after the Sister Abigail. Wyatts attack post-match, as they are prone to do.

My Take: Fantastic work by all six men, this match was so good. Everything Goldust has touched since his return has turned into (forgive me for this) gold. All six men involved have consistently entertained on WWE television for months now, and putting them together was a recipe for awesome.

It is interesting to note that the Rhodes brothers have lost a lot recently, their break up could be imminent.

Santa Videos/Santa vs. Santa Match

There were three videos throughout the night for the Santa match, one featuring Damien Sandow, one with Mark Henry, and one that featured them both. The one that had both Superstars opened up the show, and it was a parody of “The Night Before Christmas”, it was well done, the writing was perfect, and both guys’ delivery was flawless.

Sandow’s video featured him insulting a child and then telling her Christmas is cancelled. Then in Henry’s video he tells a concerned child that he would not let anybody threaten Christmas, no matter what another Santa has to say about it.

Sandow and Henry come out for their match to modified Christmas carols, WWE does a good job with the entrances. Sandow comes out handing fans, and the referee, lumps of coal. When Sandow gains control of the match, he spends some time destroying the Christmas set on stage, but Henry gains control back while Sandow is distracted. Henry wins a quick comedy match filled with object spots, and a lot of airtime going to the fire extinguisher. As I said in my preview earlier today, it’s a silly concept, but it’s supposed to be, and it’s fun.

My Take: The WWE video production team is so good at what it does. All three videos were well produced, and set up the match well. Sandow is so good at everything he does and his time in the spotlight will come. As for Henry, I used to not be a fan of his, but he has really won me over. Despite not having a lot to work with, both guys really sold this storyline. The match was exactly what you’d expect at the Christmas show. It won’t hurt Sandow at all, much like Del Rio was unfazed by his Miracle on 34th Street match with John Cena last year.

Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler (Christmas Present on a Pole Match)

The Christmas present is an Intercontinental Championship match on next week’s Raw.

I know a lot of people have issues with WWE storylines in recent months, but the actual in-ring wrestling has been very good recently. These guys are working with what they got, but this stipulation really restricted this match to one corner of the ring and it hurt the quality, a match of this nature has to be given more time in order for it to work, and even then it’s really tough to pull off. However, despite the limitations, these two showed why they are two of the best young talents WWE has. Fandango wins by grabbing the Christmas present.

My Take: All three performers in this match, including Summer Rae, are very good at what they do. Fandango and Summer Rae work so well together and they should have a much more prominent spot. Ziggler goes out and entertains every night. Between the ring, the microphone, and Twitter, Ziggler has shown he can entertain in so many aspects, it is very hard to understand why he is so entrenched in the mid card.

CM Punk, Big E Langston and John Cena promo w/ Renee Young

Punk tells Renee that he asked Santa for tag team partners for Christmas, and his reason for this was to get help in taking down the Shield. He introduces Langston, who intends to give out beatings this year for Christmas. Then he introduces Cena, who references all three of their finishers in a fiery speech. All three guys then put in their fists, mocking The Shield, and Langston tells them they can “believe in that.”

My Take: All three guys are good on the mic and it showed here. Renee Young is very good at what she does and she always has the best facial expressions of any interviewer in the WWE.

Shield promo

All three members of The Shield are good in these promos. They talk about CM Punk’s win at TLC and how retribution came his way last week, and how they would continue to give him beatings as long as he keeps coming back, and that the same goes for Langston and Cena, if they want to stick their nose in The Shield’s business.

There was a time where Dean Ambrose was clearly the best promo man in the group, he still is, but the three of them have evolved together in the group promos, and there is something special about them. Interestingly, Roman Reigns was allowed to finish what he had to say without Ambrose interrupting.

My Take: These three guys are the best group I have ever seen in wrestling. They all just fit so well together, in matches, in promos, in every single way. It will be a sad day when they split and all that goes away.

The Shield vs. CM Punk, John Cena and Big E Langston

Yet again, The Shield main event Raw. I was so skeptical of this group when it started, and they have been nothing short of spectacular. The match brings a lot of energy. Daniel Bryan is the best at bringing a crowd into a show, but if anybody is near that level, it’s The Shield. The crowd knows something special always happens when The Shield is around. The match was on the same level as The Wyatt match earlier on, not match of the year candidates, but they took the whole show to another level. Punk, Cena and Langston win by DQ, then hit their finishers to end the show.

My Take: It really is a shame that this group isn’t going to last much longer. This was a great match, and it was the right finish. Christmas show needs to see the faces get the win at the end, but The Shield still need to look strong, the break up isn’t quite here yet.

Overall Impression

This show was exactly what I expected. The biggest problem most fans are going to have with it is that it was mostly fluff, which it was. However, I think that’s okay, in my preview I said that expectations for tonight’s show should be lower than most shows. The Christmas show tends to be more of a Christmas special, and it has less to do with storylines than it does being a feel good show. Still, I think the in-ring action, for the most part, was very good, especially in The Shield and Wyatt matches (a statement that could be made a lot this year). So take this show with a grain of salt. Everything gets back to normal next week when Raw returns to being live as WWE closes out 2013.

Did you enjoy Raw? Did you hate it? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Topics: RAW, WWE

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