For some, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, and this week’s episode of WWE Raw attempted to capture some of those positive vibes as 2023 winds down.
Consequently, we got the usual WWE Christmastime shenanigans, including a “Miracle on 34th Street” Fight and Santa Claus passing out company merchandise to the fans (and coal to the heels that deserved some).
For folks who aren’t as into that stuff as others, this broadcast also hyped up the “Day 1” edition of Raw that will air in two weeks, adding several matches to that card. It was a lot to take in, but most of these three-hour marathons are.
So, what went right on this episode of Raw? What went wrong? That’s what we’re here to discuss.
Right: Katana Chance and Kayden Carter win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
In the second of three championship matches on this episode, Kayden Carter and Katana Chance challenged Chelsea Green and Piper Niven for the WWE Women’s Tag Team gold.
Now, WWE’s booking of the women’s tag belts has ranged from absentminded to uninspired, but the company put in a fraction of effort with this match (i.e. the women got more than three minutes to work with) and it led to something far more interesting than what we usually get from the division.
To top things off, we got a title change! Carter and Chance hit Green with their cool neckbreaker/450 splash combo finisher to score the pin and the titles. It was a nice moment for the new champions, who are a fun team that needed a creative push in the right direction. It is the women’s tag titles, so it will take more work for the company to convince fans that it’s serious about booking these straps correctly, but matches like these always help.
Also, Green dropping the titles for her team continues the larger narrative of Piper carrying the workload for the duo, which will eventually lead to Niven turning on Green after Green works her nerves one time too many.
Wrong: Unnecessary stipulations
This week’s Raw opened with a “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” between JD McDonagh and R-Truth. Before the opening bell, we got the usual show opening song-and-dance, where Truth goaded McDonagh into accepting a “Loser Leaves The Judgment Day” stipulation (ignoring that Truth isn’t in The Judgment Day, but why let those pesky semantics get in the way of a good stipulation).
The two had a fun gimmick match that ended with Truth falling on top of McDonagh through a table to get the slight upset win. That is perfectly fine; the fans certainly don’t mind seeing the beloved Truth get a win and it’s not like another loss will hurt McDonagh (that’s what he’s on the roster for).
But announcing a stipulation (McDonagh had to leave Judgment Day) and immediately ignoring it (which Judgment Day did) makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place. The fans would’ve felt the same about Trutth winning without the added conditions and a loss to someone that low on the card is enough to trigger tension among the Judgment Day members.
It’s not the end of the world, but it seemed a little pointless.
Right: Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins’ segment
With Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins set to wrestle for the World Heavyweight Championship on the “Day 1” edition of Raw, the two met in the ring this week to hash out their differences.
While Rollins most reiterated what he has said about “The Scottish Warrior” — that he blames others for his shortcomings — McIntyre injected some more nuance into this heel character, telling Rollins that this title match serves as potential validation for leaving behind ailing family members to chase his dreams. He spoke with enough conviction that, at the very least, the fans believe that he believes what he’s saying.
The segment ended with the expected brawl between champion and challenger, capping off an effective angle to build to the title match.