– Happy holidays, friends!
– With Spandex (and UPROXX proper) will be taking off Christmas Day, so use that to spend time with your loved ones instead of trolling the Internet for wrestling jokes. Or do both, I don’t care, but you’ll have to read the old ones until Friday.
– Shares, likes, comments and other social media things are appreciated.
Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for December 22, 2014, santa-brother.
Worst: Heat Miser
Here’s Hulk Hogan in a santa suit, pandering for cheers because he’s Hulk Hogan in a santa suit, saying things like “merry Christmas, brother!” It’s the bare minimum required for Hulk Hogan to be Hulk Hogan in a santa suit.
What can you say, though? It was Phoebe Cates’ dad getting stuck in the chimney in Gremlins as a 20-minute wrestling segment. A drunk uncle staggers out dressed like Santa, you smile real big and hug him and then calmly usher him to his destination. If you want to wax poetic about it, it’s the ghost of wrestling’s past, present and future.
You’ve got the Ghost of Wrestling’s Past. He’s gross, tan and in his sixties, still dressing up in costumes and wandering out to shill whatever the boss tells him to so he can soak in those final, desperate cheers. He wants another title run, even though he’s f*cking 60. Then you’ve got the Ghost of Wrestling’s Present. He’s protecting his spot. He appeals to as many people as possible and tries not to piss anybody off. Some of you cheer him and some of you boo him and that’s okay, because you’re “passionate,” and because any real emotional response would rock the boat. He’s decided upon via committee, and sings a few lines he assumes from Frozen because it’s hilarious. Finally, you’ve got the Ghost of Wrestling’s Future. He’s got all the upside and potential in the world, but it’s his job to lose hard to the Ghost of Wrestling’s Present. He says things like “people are miserable because they have to watch the show” and doesn’t mean it, but actually totally means it.
Now I wish Raw had ended with Vince McMahon giving Cesaro a Christmas turkey.
Worst: The Top Good Guy vs. The Top Bad Guy In The Show Opener And It’s Fine And Nobody Cares And Nobody Will Remember
As mentioned, the future has to lose to the present, because it’s ALWAYS the present, Jack.
This wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, either. That’s the biggest compliment I can give this Christmas Raw: it wasn’t horrible. The problem is that it was the same kind of meandering, all-in, nothing at stake even when everything’s at stake WWE show. You’ve got the biggest star of the past 15 years wrestling his new arch-rival, the corporate puppet who holds a Get Out Of Jail Free card to give himself the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and just captained a team of bad guys in a Survivor Series match with the fate of the company hanging in the balance, and it’s a pointless curtain-jerk to open a holiday Raw. Like, I don’t want to complain about being given free, high-quality matches or whatever, but when your two Biggest Things wrestle for 10 minutes to a decisive finish and none of it matters, that’s bad.
That’s it. It doesn’t matter. Nobody really cares. We’ve seen them wrestle a lot. If Rollins wins, it doesn’t change Cena. He doesn’t get new character traits or motivations, he just remains John Cena If Cena wins, WWE doesn’t think wins and losses matter to their younger talent so Seth Rollins just continues being Seth Rollins. He doesn’t lose his briefcase, his alignments don’t change, nothing happens. You could have 100 of these matches in a row or zero and the end result would be the same. That’s not a condemnation of the talent involved, it’s just the way it is. We’ve been trained to believe nothing matters until we’re told. Michael Cole’s the damn Elf on a Shelf.
To put it another way,
Worst: Did Jack Swagger And Fandango Wrestle Or Did I Daydream That
Two notes about the next 15-or-so minutes of Raw:
1. I totally forgot the Roman Reigns vs. Big Show match happened, so I had to edit it in at the bottom of the page.
2. I remembered Jack Swagger and Fandango wrestling, but it was over so fast I was worried I’d imagined it, or seen it in passing on Main Event or wherever.
But yeah, apparently Fandango wrestled Jack Swagger. Remember when Vince said he never did wrestling for the sake of wrestling? I’d love to sit down with him and say, “okay, tell me what Fandango’s doing for the next six months.”
Best: Dan-iel Bry-an Clap Clap ClapClapClap
The Minnesota crowd was largely terrible and didn’t seem to enjoy anything, but they had a few moments of snarky, smarky goodness. The first was chanting “we want Lesnar” during the opening segment, which is totally understandable because they’re in Minnesota (the land of Lesnar) and Hulk Hogan was standing there in a Santa suit NOT being buttf*cked by a Christmas mummy. The second was the entirety of Roman Reigns vs. Big Show, where they chanted “Daniel Bryan” (because organic stars are better than overly manufactured ones) and “boring” (because it was super boring).
I’m honestly really excited for the Royal Rumble, because the Philadelphia crowd is going to grow a big vampire face and bite this dude’s neck. The mood is right for him to eliminate all 29 other superstars, set an impossible record, become the dominant Lesnar-trouncing star and get booed out of the building for it. He’s gonna get Batista’d. Frankly I’m starting to think it’s all on purpose, and that they’re going the Rock route of shoving a green motherf*cker down our throats, have us rebel against it and turn him into something much more valuable, preferably with a personality. If you want to create a Daniel Bryan, you have to have a Batista, right? Maybe Reigns is the Batista and Ziggler’s the Daniel Bryan. Hell, maybe Daniel Bryan’s the Daniel Bryan and we can pretend everything between WrestleManias 30 and 31 was a gas leak year.
Anyway, Roman looked strong here, and I’ve heard that’s the point.
Worst: You’ve Made FRENCH FRIES Mad Now!
In case you were breathlessly waiting for updates, Adam Rose is still feuding with The Bunny. R-Truth challenged Rose to a dance-off, and when they were done they didn’t have anything else in the tank so one rolled-up the other and it was over. Rose was upset and took out his frustrations on The Bunny, which I’m pretty sure he’s been doing since 2005. We pointed out how since September Florida-Georgia Line’s been on WWE TV more than the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but let’s not understate the crippling hilarity of creative having “nothing for” a bunch of guys sitting at home while Justin Gabriel eats shit in a bunny suit.
Watching The Rosebuds has become the best part of any Adam Rose match. They were dancing to R-Truth’s music while Rose was upset, then got INDIGNANT when he beat up The Bunny. French Fries was especially pissed. How you gonna made FRENCH FRIES feel like that, Adam Rose? I’ll be honest, if he transitions from attacking The Bunny to brutally attacking 10 clueless ravers in Halloween costumes every week, I’ll buy his shirt.
Bonus points to JBL for saying Rose has the right to beat them up because he funds their endless Party Bus freakout.
Best: Kane Hates Christmas
Kane walks in front of some Christmas decorations, causes a bad movie trailer RECORD SCRATCH~ and says “bah humbug.” You uh, you fly all the way to Minnesota to do that, Kane?
I love that the announce team can be all, “heh, which a GRINCH” without stopping to remember that yeah, this is an emotionally scarred kid who was kept locked in his dad’s funeral parlor basement for 30 years and manipulated into thinking he had severe burns all over his body, has tried to literally murder numerous people and once chokeslammed his brother into the burning bones of their dead mother. We’ve also seen him lose a baby, rape people, fail at marriage, summon f*cking fire from his hands and accidentally kill his dad while trying to save him from a kidnapping. Maybe dude’s got a good reason to hate Christmas beyond “he’s like a SCROOGE!”
Best: Tyson Kidd Spinning Gold Out Of Hay
There isn’t much to say about Natalya vs. Brie Bella. Brie’s still wrestling like a face despite turning heel for no reason, and Natalya’s a face by default but a total heel whenever she’s not pumping her fists and yelling “come on.” The highlight (again) is Tyson Kidd, who advances a month’s worth of jealousy storylines by wearing a backwards Nikki Bella hat. It’s AWESOME. Yes, we’ve gotten to the point where “Tyson Kidd wore a hat” is considered a highlight of the show.
Also a highlight:
It just goes to show you, people, you should always be yourself turned up to 11. Even if “yourself” is a condescending Canadian dork who’s into cats.
Best: We’re Still Waking Up The Ascension From A Nap To Do These Promos
I love these cornball Fallout Raider promos as much as the next guy, but I can’t stop twitching every time they shake their heads. It’s like somebody unexpectedly splashed them in the face with water. Who taught them how to look tough for promos, their cousin Will?
Best: A Match Good Enough To Save The Entire Show
Thank you for this.
Here’s how you rehabilitate the Intercontinental Championship. First, you put it on a guy who can convince people it’s worth something. Dolph Ziggler’s doing an amazing job of that. Instead of treating it like a secondary prize because he can’t compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship — or worse, simply “having it” and carrying it to the ring — Ziggler’s cutting these sincere promos about how being IC Champion matters to him, and gives him opportunities to shine he wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s perfect. Secondly, you put the champion into competitive, entertaining matches so fans connect “the Intercontinental Champion” with “good matches.” That’s what they did in the 80s. Even the Ultimate Warrior had great Intercontinental Championship matches. Thirdly, you allow the guy who cares and has great matches to WIN those matches. That not only gives fans someone to get behind and understand, it stops associating your f*cking prestigious championship with constant losing.
I’m not saying the IC title’s turned a corner. I’m not brave enough to do that. What I will say, though, is that they’re moving in a wonderful direction with it, and I hope Dolph Ziggler keeps tearing it up, cuts more sincere promos and fewer sassy babyface joke monologues, and wins his matches until it’s time to stop being champion. I’m DYING for someone on the main roster to at least sniff what Sami Zayn’s cooking down in NXT and realize that the one thing WWE crowds don’t have is good people they can rely on.
This was really great. From Ziggler getting Tim Donst’d before the bell rang and having to fight from underneath to the finish, which was the right kind of sudden flurry to stun a guy the size and quality of Luke Harper. I like that he didn’t just lie down and pretend he was dead; he took two superkicks, got snapped to the mat with a Zig Zag and kinda sat up with his hand extended, mindlessly reaching for a rope. More guys need to sell like that. Bray Wyatt shouldn’t get sprayed with a fire extinguisher and suddenly be in a coma. People shouldn’t get knocked out by roll-ups.
Worst: Jerry Lawler’s “Ugly Christmas Sweater”
Can this be the end of the ugly Christmas sweater trend? This is what happens when people grow up thinking good-natured irony is sincerity. Hell, it’s what happens when irony’s the only thing they’ve ever known. Is there even such a thing as a Christmas sweater now, or are they all “ugly?” Furthermore, if Jerry Lawler thinks this is his ugly Christmas sweater, how the hell does he identify his regular clothes?
Worst: It’s Great To See Roddy Piper, But He Adds Nothing
Rowdy Roddy Piper is the Two-Face’s coin of wrestling legends. One side’s charismatic and entertaining, and knows how to get wrestlers over. The other’s done zero prep but wants a paycheck, so he’s gonna go stand on some red carpet and yell until they tell him to leave.
The problem with Rusev and Lana on Piper’s Pit (besides Piper not knowing their names and calling them “Layna and Roosaw”) is that it didn’t have to be Piper’s Anything. Imagine it without him. Lana and Rusev come to the ring, Lana says Americans are stupid for celebrating Christmas, Ryback interrupts to defend Christmas and they brawl. That’s it. Piper’s set decoration. He’s the Miz’s couch. What was his purpose, to explain why Ryback would show up dressed like a Christmas present?
You don’t need Piper’s talents to call Lana and Rusev “communist scrooges.” The guys on her Instagram not trying to spill the beans about “CJ Perry from Florida” could’ve done that. When you’ve got one of the undisputed kings of talking and a linchpin of your first and most invaluable boom period out here to say “USA’s great, shut up Russia, here’s Christmas,” you aren’t trying hard enough.
Best: Ryback In A Christmas Bow Is Just Stupid Enough To Love
Wouldn’t it have been funnier to put a little bow on his head instead of wrapping him like a car, though?
Worst: And Then El Torito Pinned Goldust
I’d say Goldust getting pinned by El Torito while Torito was dressed like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the announce team argued amongst themselves about what to call him would be the worst Christmas Goldust’s ever had, but I remember him getting impaled by a swinging, barbed-wire Christmas tree in TNA, so … second worst?
This is one of those Christmas show matches where you throw up your hands and go “all right, whatever.” I’ll just point out again that circa this time last year, Goldust and Cody Rhodes were winning the tag team championships from The Shield in a match of the year candidate, and Goldust was main-eventing Raws against Randy Orton. Remember how good that was? Remember how Dusty Rhodes had two sons who are a shit-ton better at pro wrestling than most people, and how they’ll work hard and do whatever you want them to? Anybody remember that?
Deep, heavy sighs. I’ll be happy when Cody stops bulking and takes off the body suit, and we can get back to actually furthering somebody’s career.
Paige was the Toot Braunstein of this match, and I mean that as a compliment. She looked like she was in black and white, like they were wrestling in Pleasantville and she hadn’t lost her innocence.
Paige hasn’t been around much lately, so I hope her performance here (and the crowd spending the entire pre-match, match and post-match chanting PAIGE! PAIGE! PAIGE!) helps remedy that. Also, speaking purely as a boy, what’s up, Paige.
Best: The Santa’s Helpers Match Is Way Better Than It Should’ve Been
I fully expected this to be cold boogers on a paper plate. I was live at last year’s Christmas Raw and watched the Jingle Belles match, which is to date probably the worst f*cking thing in the world. When Lawler did his WOO HOO PG PUPPIES thing and announced another PUT THE DIVAS IN SANTA PANTIES hoedown I prepared for the worst.
The good news? It actually wasn’t bad. Here’s the trick: if you’re gonna use your main roster women’s division as a tits-and-ass spectacle where everyone hates each other but coordinates holiday events, at least stock it with people who know their way around a ring. If Paige, Emma, Summer Rae and the rest of the NXT talent trying to break through on Raw have to be the tentpoles of an ELVES YOU’D LIKE TO F*CK match, at least you don’t have Eva Marie and Cameron by themselves in there trying to daisy chain.
I can’t wait until 5 years from now when the NXT women we know have all been called up, Total Divas has life-rafted the models to safety on an island of unrelated fame and Alicia Fox is the new Jazz. I want her to be pushing 40, ripped-up and dropping girls on their heads for fun.
Worst: WWE Should Really Consider Telling Week-Long Stories
You know how Adam Rose has been beating up The Bunny for like two months? The Miz and Jimmy Uso have been beefing over Miz giving Jimmy’s wife a business card for weeks. I honestly think WWE should stop “planning ahead” and realize that different types of stories can be told over different lengths of time.
Say you’re Sami Zayn. You’ve been in WWE for 18 months and you keep losing your big matches. You define your success or failure on your ability to prove your friends wrong, maintain your fragile morality in a mad world and become champion. Your story might take a while to tell. You need to lose to guys like Titus O’Neil, get frustrated, take out your peer heels like Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze and build up to the big make-or-break title shot. That story needs time, space, and months of planning.
Now say you’re The Miz. WWE wants to build to a tag match between Miz/Mizdow and The Usos. The way they plan to do this is having you kinda-sorta flirt with one of the Usos’ wives. That’s it. That’s as far as the story goes. There’s no ending, you just made a lady’s husband mad and he wants to fight you, and the tag titles are involved. You can tell that in a week, can’t you? On Raw you hand her a business card, at the end of that Raw the Usos goes AW HELL NAH and then next week you have your match. The story’s told. You don’t need TWO ENTIRE PAY-PER-VIEW CYCLES.
Watch some old episodes of Nitro. Scott Norton shows up and says he wants a match, and picks on the announcers. Macho Man shows up to stick up for them. The next week, Macho wrestles Scott Norton. When it’s over, they do different things. They do not do Macho Man vs. Scott Norton every week for 10 weeks with slightly different finishes to build to Macho Man vs. Scott Norton. It’s not that important. What you are doing is not that important. Know what story you’re telling and why, especially if you’re gonna go on interviews and define your company goal as “telling stories.”
Best: The Miracle On 34th Street Fight, I Guess
This was fun in the way that every year’s no-disqualification Christmas match is fun. Oh, you hit him with a gift! You Irish whipped a guy into a Christmas tree. You put a wreath on his head and punched him!
It sounds like I’m being a SCROOGEGRINCH (and I am), but part of me just realizes they’re never going to top 2012’s Miracle on 34th Street Fight between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio that involved Santa being hit by a car, angrily thrown teddy bears and Mr. Stocko. John Cena was literally BATTLING FOR THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. What’s going on this year? A couple of guys who shouldn’t be f*cking around so much f*cking around.
I don’t want to say that Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt should be deadly serious 24/7, but man, it’s depressing to see the only two guys on the show who are supposed to dangerous and tough tossing each other into candy canes. This is one of those moments when I have to realize WWE is not aimed towards me, and that Wyatt’s not going to blade and get spikes driven into his forehead on Christmas. Hell, I wanted The Bunny to blade when Adam Rose beat him up. I’ve been watching it wrong for a while.
Anyway, I just kinda want to see them kick each others’ asses without having to qualify it with Michael Cole chuckles, you know? I also don’t want to see them kick each others’ asses in the exact same way on every show for months.
Worst: Instant 50/50 Booking
Bray Wyatt wins when he knocks Ambrose off a ladder with a thrown chair, then runs him face-first into a propped up candy cane. Ambrose lies on the ground clutching his face to sell it. When the match is over, Dean is totally 100% fine, especially in the face, sprays Wyatt with a fire extinguisher and puts him through a table with an elbow drop. You uh, you wanna maybe sell the match we just spent 15 minutes watching? I don’t expect you to get stretchered out because you got hit in the face with delightful holiday treats, but damn, you got stabbed in the eye with a kendo stick, at least palm your eye a little bit when you’re done magically reviving and getting your heat back.
Whatever. I really need 2014 to be over. I’m looking forward to the New Year’s Evil match where Wyatt hits Ambrose in the face with a newborn baby.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Sami Zayn and a healthy Daniel Bryan are main eventing the Raw that John Cena is watching with the angel that’s showing him how life would be if he was never born.
The ascension weren’t told to say that, it’s just that every NXT wrestler refers to the main roster as “the wasteland”.
Roddy was about two syllables away from introducing the Wickedly Talented Adele Dazeem.
Luke Harpers next gimmick should be a wizard cosplayer called Luke Larper.
They need to just randomly have Rose come back out as Kruger, but wearing the bunnie’s hide like a hoodie/cape and blood smeared all over his face, and never acknowledge it.
At the McMahon household they don’t sing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” because Vince doesn’t believe in Good for Goodness Sake
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And he laid out Bray on the table; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the turnbuckle he rose;
He sprang to the top, to the announce team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew dropping an elbow like a missle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere the end of this fight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good — TITTYMASTER!”
Seth Rollins is like Turbo Man: sold out months before Christmas.
Bray: “Safety is an illusion! You are sacrificing your liberty for nothing!”
Kane: :nodding: He’s been listening to me!
On the 12th day of Christmas creative gave to me…
12 Wins by DQ
11 Pins by roll up
10 Rosebuds raving
8 total divas
70 year olds
6 Boring Promos
NO BRASS RINGS
4 Champions losing
3 Black guys dancing
2 minute matches
and I wish I was watching NXT
Merry Holidays, everybody.