Post TLC, we saw an appearance by the entire McMahon family, some changes for the WWE announced, a couple title matches fought, and new faces in the mix. Here’s our recap and the results of WWE Raw, SmackDown, and NXT for the week of December 17th through 19th.
Monday Night Raw – December 17th
The McMahons make some announcements. Vince McMahon himself came out to talk about Raw, which has been around 25 years now. He said they’re going to change with the times, but he can’t do it all by himself. Introducing Stephanie, Triple H, and Shane to the delight of the crowd, it was a family reunion in the ring. Steph said things are going to change, starting tonight – they’re going to listen to the audience. Triple H said they’re going to take back Raw and SmackDown to ensure the fans have the best possible experience and give them what they want – something new and fresh. That means new WWE Superstars and new matches. If they can do that, Vince said, the WWE will last forever.
A sad Baron Corbin interrupted to talk about how unfair his TLC match against Braun Strowman was, appearing to be disappointed that the fans disliked him (as evidenced by their boos) and basically begging for his job back. Triple H said that they might still consider him as manager if he could beat Kurt Angle… right now. Of course, Angle then appeared for his match, receiving a big pop from the crowd.
Kurt Angle defeated Baron Corbin. With Heath Slater as referee, the men went at it. Triple H came out to announce that it was going to be a handicap match – apparently giving the people what they want – and out came Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, and Apollo Crews. Corbin tried to escape but they teamed up against him and forced him back into the ring. Shane McMahon came out to mention that, oh yeah, this was a no DQ match. Kurt Angle eventually got the pin off an Angle Slam and then put Corbin through a table for good measure. It just felt like Corbin deserved it.
Finn Balor defeated Dolph Ziggler by DQ. They set this match up at TLC and Ziggler nearly got the win after knocking Balor from the ropes, slamming him into the post, and hitting a Zig Zag, but it was only a two-count. Drew McIntyre attempted to interfere but Ziggler dove onto him, hitting him with several repeated punches. Balor joined him by flipping out of the ring to take out McIntyre. Back in the ring, Ziggler hit Balor with a Famouser but Balor kicked out again after two. McIntyre caused the DQ with a clothesline to Balor and then a Glasgow Kiss to Ziggler before pummeling his former partner. He then hit both men with a Claymore and walked off leaving them both sprawled out on the floor.
Dean Ambrose defeated Tyler Breeze in an open challenge for the Intercontinental Title. Ambrose came out with his new belt and a SWAT team for security. He insulted the crowd, bragged about beating Rollins at TLC and making him lose control, and then asked his former friend to come out and admit he was right. When he didn’t show, Ambrose issued an open challenge for the title. Tyler Breeze showed up to answer. He did a pretty good job overpowering Ambrose, hitting a Beauty Shot and cross-body for a two-count and then a Superkick for another two-count. But Ambrose eventually hit a Dirty Deeds to get the pin. After the bell, he got back on the mic to insult Rollins and The Architect’s music hit. Dressed as one of Ambrose’s SWAT team, Rollins pulled off his gas mask and pummelled Ambrose until his security team helped the Lunatic Fringe retreat.
Another Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush promo. After losing his TLC match to Lashley, Elias interrupted this duo’s annoying nonsense by smashing a guitar over Lashley’s back.
The Revival defeated the Authors of Pain, The B-Team, and Lucha House Party for the Number-One Contender Spot for the Raw Tag Team Title. This was a Fatal 4-Way match to determine which team would face Bobby Roode and Chad Gable for the title next. There was a lot of high-flying action from the Lucha House Party, but The Revival finished things with a Shatter Machine on Bo Dallas for the victory.
Ronda Rousey’s next title match… After beating Nia Jax at TLC and controversially costing Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair the SmackDown Women’s Title, Rousey came out to the ring to cut a promo. She said she didn’t come here to justify her actions from last night but to define what a champion is. Rousey suggested that they start a new tradition: After every pay-per-view, the champ defends their title the next night. So she issued an open challenge. Backstage, the cameras showed all the women fighting over the opportunity. Steph led them all out onstage and announced an eight-woman gauntlet match to determine who’d get a shot, starting with Alicia Fox and Bayley.
Natalya defeated Sasha Banks for a shot at the Raw Women’s Title. Bayley eliminated Fox and Dana Brooke. Then Mickie James eliminated Bayley. Ember Moon came out and took care of James. But Natalya took care of Moon, the Riott Squad, and Sasha Banks for the right to challenge her friend for the title on Christmas Eve. They ended the show with a staredown. Hey, this is pretty exciting stuff!
SmackDown – December 18th
Becky Lynch wants Ronda Rousey. While Shane McMahon reiterated the message that his family gave on Raw – that it’s a new era in the WWE and all that – Lynch came out in her “The Man” t-shirt to address the crowd… and Ronda Rousey. Lynch said that Rousey cost her the title and she didn’t even fight. But The Man said she’s fought way too hard for the title to let Rousey take it away from her. Then Charlotte Flair’s music hit and The Queen came out in (all black) street clothes to say, “Take a number, in fact, take number two and stand behind The Queen.” Lynch said her days of standing behind Flair are long gone but Flair said Lynch will forever be looking up to her and gave a big WOOO! The Queen said she would’ve become the eight-time women’s champion if Rousey hadn’t interfered.
Asuka’s music hit and the Empress rolled out fully robed and masked with the title belt on. The three began to argue before Vince McMahon came out and told both Lynch and Flair to get over it. Then he told Lynch to take out her anger on Rousey before asking Asuka if she’d like to defend her championship tonight. But it wouldn’t be against the women in the ring. Naomi’s music hit, Vince sanctioned the match, and Lynch and Flair looked on angrily. Apparently, he’s already making good on the family’s promise of fresh new matches and opportunities.
Asuka defeated Naomi. While The Queen and The Man watched from ringside, Naomi laid out Asuka before The Empress got Naomi hung up on the ropes and started talking trash. Her overconfidence backfired and Naomi slammed her off the ropes. During the commercial break, Asuka got in a few more big kicks before Naomi laid her out again. With The Empress hung in the ropes, Naomi knocked her out of the ring but Asuka recovered in time to pull her opponent from the ring too. Outside, Naomi leapt impressively backward from the barricade and landed a kick to Asuka’s jaw. Both women beat the count-out before exchanging a series of blows. After Naomi broke out of an Asuka Lock twice, she hit The Empress with a Rearview for a 2.5 count, nearly stealing the title. Eventually, however, our champ locked on the Asuka Lock and forced the immediate tap-out from Naomi.
Samoa Joe was supposed to “apologize” to Jeff Hardy. They hyped this up, saying Joe was going to issue an apology for trolling Hardy about his issues with alcohol. (You knew this wasn’t going to happen.) Joe said with the holidays coming up, it was only a matter of time before Hardy crumbled and fell back into his old ways. Hardy said that’s not gonna happen. He thinks Joe is only attacking him to cover up his own demons, like the fact that he’s been here for two years and hasn’t won one championship. That struck a nerve and before Joe could attack, Hardy hit him with a Twist of Fate and backed up the ramp while Joe stared him down angrily.
Miz and Mandy Rose vs. R-Truth and Carmella. Vince McMahon picked Mandy Rose to team up with Miz and their surprise opponents were R-Truth and Carmella, who came out dancing. Rose swung Carmella around until she got a kick to the face and tagged in Miz. R-Truth got a two-count before throwing the heel out of the ring. He and Carmella called for a dance break, but after Rose got Mella outside the ring, Miz was able to wrap things up with a Skull Crushing Finale for the pin.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Usos ends in a no-contest. The Good Brothers came out to challenge The Usos, accusing SmackDown of being too same-y: It’s always The Usos, The Bar, The New Day. The Usos responded that it’s not their fault the Good Brothers fell through the cracks because “if you don’t get stepped up, you get stepped on.”
Jey Uso got knocked from the top rope and out of the ring while Anderson kept Jimmy Uso from tagging him in. Gallows came in and ruthlessly wore down Jimmy with elbows and a chokehold. Anderson landed a neckbreaker and got a two-count but Jey kicked out. He kicked out again after a spinebuster from Gallows. Later on, as Jimmy climbed to the top to dive on a worn out Anderson, The Bar’s music hit. Despite the distraction, Jimmy made the dive, hit the splash, and covered Anderson, but Sanity attacked to break it up. The Bar joined them to take out both the Usos and The Good Brothers. Meanwhile, like every other team in the locker room came out to show they want a piece of the action too.
Daniel Bryan cuts a promo before his tag match. The New Daniel Bryan bragged about destroying the Yes! Movement and beating AJ Styles. But as your new favorite environmentalist heel, he says he’s all about creation and that means creating a brave new world on SmackDown. He blamed the people of Fresno for destroying the planet with the worst pollution in the state of California.
Daniel Bryan and Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. AJ Styles and Mustafa Ali. Bryan set up a dragon sleeper on Ali but the former face of 205 Live reached the rope to break the hold. Almas tagged in and took it to Ali, cockily attempting a cover with his boot and brutally clotheslining him. As Bryan yelled for him to finish it, Almas went for a moonsault but got Ali’s knees. Bryan and Styles were tagged in the Phenomenal One unloaded, taking out his frustrations immediately and hitting Bryan with a neckbreaker for a two-count. Styles missed a Phenomenal Forearm but locked on a Calf Crusher, only for Almas to break it up. Styles tossed Almas out of the ring and Ali dove on top of him. Bryan ran into the turnbuckle as Styles stepped aside, but the heel still managed to connect two big kicks to the face. Styles tagged in Ali who climbed the ropes looking to finish Bryan. Almas tried to knock him off but Styles took care of him with a Phenomenal Forearm. Ali hit Bryan with an impressive-looking inverted 450 and pinned the WWE Champ for the biggest win of his career.
NXT – December 19th
Dakota Kai and Io Shirai defeated Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. Shafir and Duke dominated the match at the start but Kai landed some kicks to escape the heels before getting knocked down again by a forearm. With another kick Kai was able to tag in Shirai. The Kiwi stopped a distraction from Duke so Shirai could hit a moonsault on Shafir for the pin.
Dominik Dijakovic defeated Aaron Mackey. In just a few minutes Dijakovic totally annihilated a hesitant Mackey and ended things with a Feast Your Eyes.
Heavy Machinery defeated some random guys. Otis Dozovic flung the jobbers around in this squash match to continue their winning streak. They got the pin on their unnamed opponents with a Double Compactor while staring down Undisputed Era who appeared on the ramp.
Johnny Gargano defeated Aleister Black in a steel cage match. After Gargano attacked his opponent from behind, Black fired back and the two brawled on the floor before finally making it to the cage. The crowd cheered on both men as Gargano crotched Black on the ropes and neither gained total control. Black hit Gargano with a moonsault, pounded him into the steel cage, and hit a Black Mass but chose not to escape just yet. That turned out to be a bad decision as he immediately missed a knee to Gargano who was able to attempt an escape himself. He failed and they hit a powerbomb which wore both men out. After trading blows, Gargano went for the door and locked on a Gargano No Escape but Black broke it by slamming him against the cage. Black stopped Gargano from climbing and then the two battled up top before Black hit a meteora. Gargano slammed his head into the turnbuckle and received a Black Mass in return. As Black went to exit, however, Tomasso Ciampa showed up and slammed Black’s head with the door. Then Ciampa and Gargano teamed up to hit Black with a Meet in the Middle – which Johnny Wrestling couldn’t believe – and as the NXT Champ left the cage, Gargano got the pin.