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5 Things to Watch for on the Christmas Eve Edition of WWE Monday Night Raw

Mike ChiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 25, 2016

5 Things to Watch for on the Christmas Eve Edition of WWE Monday Night Raw

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    While most people will probably be worried about family and Christmas Day preparation on Christmas Eve, wrestling fans will be taken care of as well, thanks to Monday Night Raw. The show was already taped, and it isn't likely to be groundbreaking, but obviously it will still be worth checking out.

    There are several compelling storylines going on in the WWE currently, including The Shield, the relationship between Dolph Ziggler, A.J. and Big E Langston, and the ongoing feud between WWE Champion CM Punk and Ryback. Some, if not all, of those situations figure to be addressed on Raw.

    Due to the holiday, there's a good chance that the WWE decided to take things easy and not push angles forward too much, but I'm sure there will still be plenty worth seeing. With three hours of programming in place, it would be impossible for the WWE to not showcase at least a little bit of relevant television.

    Many wrestling fans have probably already read the spoilers for Monday's edition of Raw, but for the diehards who haven't, here is a spoiler-free preview of the Christmas Eve episode, complete with the top five things that you should keep an eye on.

Santa Claus to Host Raw

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    Santa Claus is going to be quite busy on Christmas Eve, but apparently not too busy to drop in on Monday Night Raw. It was announced that St. Nick himself will be hosting Raw, and it will certainly be interesting to see how he gets involved.

    This won't be he first time that Santa has appeared on a WWE show, and I'm sure it won't be the last. In fact, Santa gets involved physically more often than not, and there's a good chance that will happen again. Some of the more memorable Santa moments include "Stone Cold" Steve Austin giving him a Stunner in 1997 and Austin dressing up like him, giving Vince McMahon a Stunner at the very first Tribute to the Troops.

    It will be difficult for the WWE to top either of those things this year, but Santa promises to play an integral role on the show. It's actually a smart move to advertise Santa on WWE's part, because children will want to see the big man on television on Christmas Eve and may be able to coax their parents into letting them watch some of Raw.

    Whatever the case, it simply wouldn't be a WWE holiday show without Kris Kringle showing up. Even though some of the more serious WWE fans will probably complain and say that having Santa on Raw is childish, it's all in good fun and should add to the atmosphere.

What Role Will The Shield Play?

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    Since debuting by attacking Ryback at Survivor Series, The Shield has quickly become a huge part of WWE programming. They further strengthened their legitimacy by defeating Ryback and Team Hell No at TLC, and they have continued to wreak havoc on the WWE roster since then, so I can't wait to see what they do on Raw.

    The Shield certainly hasn't discriminated thus far, as it has taken out Ryback, Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, The Miz, Randy Orton, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio thus far. Their attacks have benefited the likes of CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Brad Maddox, but it remains to be seen whether they're working with someone or if they are simply trying to prevent injustice as they have stated.

    Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were incredibly impressive at TLC, and I consider them to be the most exciting aspect of WWE programming currently. The WWE may not want to do anything drastic with them on a taped episode of Raw, but they should attack someone or cut a promo at the very least.

    I wouldn't mind seeing them take out Santa Claus, as it would obviously get them plenty of heat with the younger crowd. The more serious fans would probably complain about something like that, but it would be a fun thing for a holiday episode.

What's Next for Dolph Ziggler, AJ and Big E Langston?

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    While many fans were expecting A.J. to turn on John Cena at TLC in favor of Dolph Ziggler, what has happened since then has certainly surprised many.

    Ziggler and A.J are now a couple, and they are being flanked by NXT Champion Big E Langston. A.J. introduced the physical specimen on Raw as he attacked Cena on Ziggler's behalf, and he did it again on SmackDown.

    This particular triumvirate is still in its infancy, so there is plenty of intrigue surrounding it. A.J. obviously has a history of adversely affecting her love interests, so even though her relationship with Dolph is just beginning, many are waiting to see if and when she ruins things. Even more important, though, is the presence of Langston.

    Langston took NXT Wrestling by storm and is considered to be a can't-miss prospect due to his look and surprising athleticism, but he has played the bodyguard role to this point.

    Langston is essentially controlled by Ziggler and A.J., as they simply have to nod in his direction in order to sic him on an opponent, as was the case with The Miz on SmackDown.

    I was excited by the prospect of Ziggler going off on his own, because he has the overall skills to thrive as an individual, but his new partnership is definitely something worth watching. A.J. could be both an asset and a detriment to him, while it's tough to say how committed Langston is to helping him.

    Whatever the case, this is one of the more compelling storylines currently in the WWE.

Will CM Punk Appear?

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    WWE Champion CM Punk has been out of action for the past few weeks due to a knee injury, but he has continued to be very visible on WWE programming.

    Not only did he cut a promo at TLC, but he got into an altercation with Ric Flair on Raw and also had words with Ryback on SmackDown. In fact, Ryback announced that he would challenge Punk for his title on the Jan. 7 edition of Raw.

    Punk is still on crutches, but apparently the WWE and Punk are confident that he'll be ready to compete on the first Raw of the new year. Their match was supposed to take place at TLC, but Punk's nagging knee injury required a scope, and the WWE decided to play it safe. Ryback is still owed a title shot, though, so it has to be done prior to the Royal Rumble.

    It's obvious that Punk is going to beat Ryback, since Punk will be The Rock's opponent at the Rumble, but there is some question as to how it will happen. Whether it's The Shield, Brad Maddox, Dolph Ziggler, Big E Langston, Brock Lesnar or some type of combination, Punk is going to get help, and he is going to retain his title yet again.

    That isn't for a couple weeks, though, so the WWE needs to keep his feud with Ryback relevant until then. There is only so much that can be done, since Punk can't do much physically at the moment, but another promo with Ryback is likely and promises to be quite entertaining.

Can We Expect a Wild Christmas Eve Party?

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    One of the biggest WWE traditions around the major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving is a party involving much of the company's talent. It used to be more prevalent during the Attitude Era, and it was always entertaining, as there were so many great characters on the roster. Even so, Christmas parties often produce some pretty fun moments.

    The WWE has some great personalities currently, most notably Team Hell No. Kane and Daniel Bryan in a comedy setting is guaranteed hilarity, and an appearance from Mick Foley seems pretty likely as well. Also, fans would love to see Ryback devour an entire plate of Christmas cookies before bellowing "Feed me more!"

    Shows that are near Christmas always tend to be lighthearted, since the WWE realizes that viewership is naturally going to be much less than it normally is. The holiday party segment is a way to make the show entertaining without having to cater to storyline development. It's probably another thing that serious fans hate, but it isn't as if the show is going to contain much substance anyway.

    I enjoy comedy segments, as long as they're done right, and the WWE has done a much better job with them as of late. Santa is already going to be in the building, so why not stage a party complete with all the quirky things that we usually see?

    It's Christmas Eve, and there's definitely room for some hijinks in the WWE.


    Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter and listen to him on Ring Rust Radio.

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