WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 17

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 17

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The boss was back Monday night, as Vince McMahon returned to WWE Raw, vowing to shake things up.

    Just 24 hours removed from a TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view that saw Dean Ambrose defeat Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship and Ronda Rousey retain her Raw Women's Championship against Nia Jax, what would The Chairman have in store for a Raw brand desperately in need of a spark?

    And who would emerge victoriously as Finn Balor battled Dolph Ziggler in a match set up Sunday night?

    Find out with this recap of the December 17 show.

Vince McMahon Returns to Kick Off Raw

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    The Chairman of the Board kicked off the show and welcomed his family to the squared circle, including Shane and Stephanie and chief operating officer Triple H.

    All three of the younger family members said they were taking back control of Raw and SmackDown Live. The four of them. Together.

    Triple H vowed that fans would see new faces, new stars and new concepts.

    Vince finished the spiel by saying as long as they give fans what they want, WWE will be forever.

    Baron Corbin interrupted the proceedings, drawing a thunderous chorus of boos as he addressed the McMahon family. He decried the unfairness of his Tables, Ladders & Chairs match with Braun Strowman before the show abruptly cut to commercial.

    Back from the break, Corbin tried to convince his bosses that the fans do not feel that way about him as the jeers continued to rain down from the stands.

    Corbin appeared dejected as the chants of "you suck" grew louder and louder. He tried to justify his actions after the events of the last few weeks and then returned his attention to the match from Sunday, asking fans if they thought his loss to Strowman was fair.

    After some back-and-forth, Triple H said Corbin could be considered for Raw general manager if he can beat...Kurt Angle.

    The Olympian stepped out to a huge ovation and entered the squared circle for his showdown with The Lone Wolf.

           

    Grade

    C

              

    Analysis

    It was surreal to watch an audience turn on a character like Corbin and cheer the very people responsible for shoving him down its throat for so many weeks.

    The idea of the McMahons taking back power on Raw is hardly new and does nothing to "shake things up," as Vince promised.

    A disappointing way to kick off the show, but at least the crowd cared.

Baron Corbin's Comeuppance

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    Angle, seeking revenge for being mistreated by Corbin a month or so ago, took the fight to his opponent right out of the gate. He stomped away in the corner and delivered a German suplex that sent The Lone Wolf rolling to the floor ahead of another break.

    Back from commercial, Triple H announced the bout was now a handicap match. Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable hit the ring to join Angle in a beatdown of Corbin.

    Corbin tried to retreat, but the babyfaces threw him back to the ringside area, with his beating destined to continue. Referee Heath Slater fixed the turnbuckles while a four-on-one beatdown ensued.

    The Superstars retrieved chairs and took turns wearing Corbin out in the center of the ring.

    Angle ultimately delivered the Angle Slam and scored the pinfall victory on the former interim Raw general manager.

    To put an exclamation point on the segment, Angle drove Corbin through a table with the Angle Slam.

          

    Result

    Angle defeated Corbin

            

    Grade

    A

           

    Analysis

    It worked Sunday night, and it worked here, too.

    Corbin took his beating, as the men whose lives he made hell dispatched his GM character.

    The match itself was little about in-ring action and more about the fun and carefree elimination of a character that has been associated with the downward spiral of the Raw brand.

Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Finn Balor and Dolph Ziggler squared off in a match set up by a backstage scuffle Sunday night at TLC.

    The action was back-and-forth as the Superstars cut a wicked pace.

    Late in the match, Ziggler set up for a superkick, but Drew McIntyre hit the ring. The Showoff stopped and brawled with his former tag team partner before Balor dove over the top rope and wiped both men out.

    McIntyre attacked, drawing the disqualification.

    After the match, a beatdown ensued that culminated with The Scottish Psychopath leaving both men lying.

          

    Result

    Balor defeated Ziggler via disqualification

              

    Grade

    C

            

    Analysis

    More of the status quo here, as McIntyre continues his feud with Balor and Ziggler without actually doing anything to advance it or propel it forward.

    Worst of all, this felt less about the two guys working the match and more about McIntyre getting his heat back after losing to Balor at TLC.

    This type of storytelling, where nothing really matters and wins and losses are non-factors, is what makes this show so hard to sit through sometimes.

Dean Ambrose Promo, Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge

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    One night after winning the Intercontinental Championship from Seth Rollins at TLC, Ambrose hit the ring flanked by his security and cut a promo on The Architect.

    He said when he was done with Rollins, he would take his reputation and throw it in the gutter.

    He proceeded to insist that, since The Architect would not come to him, he would issue an open challenge for the Intercontinental Championship. Tyler Breeze answered.

    Ambrose overwhelmed Breeze early, grounding him and beating him down. Prince Pretty overcame the onslaught, though, and scored a few quality near-falls. He even delivered the Beauty Shot but inexplicably did not follow it up.

    Ambrose recovered and delivered Dirty Deeds for the win.

    After the match, he celebrated only to be attacked by one of his security guards. The guard revealed himself to be Rollins, who sent Ambrose scurrying and stared him down to close out the segment.

           

    Result

    Ambrose defeated Breeze

           

    Grade

    C

             

    Analysis

    The match Sunday night at TLC exposed just how ice-cold this rivalry really is. It lacks the intensity and aggression one would expect, and the result is a mediocre program between two guys capable of so much more.

    The Breeze match was essentially a squash that did nothing for the challenger and only established that the new champion can beat an undercard guy.

Elias Plays a Smash Hit for Bobby Lashley

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    Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush were in the ring after the break and wasted little time cutting a promo on Elias.

    Rush cut a brief promo before JoJo announced Elias.

    The lights came up, and Elias blasted Lashley with a guitar. The babyface stood tall as Lashley and Rush watched on from the ring.

          

    Grade

    C-

          

    Analysis

    Another worthless segment that did nothing to advance anything between Elias and Lashley.

    This was a waste of a few minutes that could have been devoted to any of the other same, tired segments that have populated this show on a night of "shake-up."

Fatal 4-Way No. 1 Contenders' Match

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    AOP, The B-Team, Lucha House Party and The Revival battled in a Fatal 4-Way match to determine the No. 1 contenders to Bobby Roode and Chad Gable's Raw Tag Team Championships.

    Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson dominated early, showing off their tag team specialties as they wore down Lince Dorado and Kalisto. The latter delivered a double DDT that allowed him to create separation.

    AOP tagged in, and Akam and Rezar wore down Dorado heading to the break.

    After the break, The Revival took center stage, continuing to beat down Dorado and eventually pairing off with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.

    The finish saw The Revival deliver Shatter Machine to score the win and earn the title shot.

           

    Result

    The Revival defeated The B-Team, AOP and Lucha House Party

            

    Grade

    C+

             

    Analysis

    A week after Seth Rollins name-dropped The Revival as one of the more underused acts in the company, the team comes through with a big win to earn a shot at Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, and rightfully so.

    Dawson and Wilder have been the best team in wrestling for a few years now, but their old-school act has failed to capture Vince McMahon's attention. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction.

    The biggest head-scratcher here was the limited use of AOP. Why even have the former tag team champions appear in the match if it was to be in such a meaningless role?

Ronda Rousey Addressed TLC

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    Credit: WWE.com

    One night after successfully defending her Raw Women's Championship against Nia Jax and interfering in the Tables, Ladders & Chairs match for the SmackDown Women's Championship—costing Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair the titleRonda Rousey hit the ring to address her actions.

    The former UFC star said there was no justifying what she did Sunday night, but she's not worried about that.

    She's about starting a new tradition of champions showing up the night after a pay-per-view event to defend their titles.

    Backstage, Stephanie McMahon interrupted an argument between the women of Raw. She led them to the arena and announced a gauntlet match to determine who would challenge Rousey for the title on the Christmas Eve episode of Raw.

    McMahon announced Bayley vs. Alicia Fox to start.

           

    Grade

    B

           

    Analysis

    Rousey announcing an open challenge for post-PPV episodes of Raw is a nice touch, but the crowd was still very pro-Lynch, ruining what was otherwise a solid babyface promo.

    The gauntlet match is a clever way to eat up television time on a show that hadn't exactly set the wrestling world on fire to this point despite lofty expectations.

Gauntlet Match to Determine the No. 1 Contender to the Raw Women's Title

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Bayley and Alicia Fox kicked the match off.

    Fox controlled the match's shorter duration, but it was Bayley who overcame a rough landing on her knee to score the first fall of the match with a roll-up.

    Alicia Fox eliminated.

    Dana Brooke hit the ring next and took the fight to Bayley, seizing a rare opportunity to showcase her abilities in a singles match. Brooke worked over the knee of her opponent, really controlling the match and appearing to be on her way to victory. Ill-timed trash-talking opened her up for a Bayley-to-Belly suplex as Bayley scored another victory.

    Dana Brooke eliminated.

    Out next was the veteran Mickie James, who continued to attack the knee of her opponent. Bayley was able to deliver her trademark top-rope elbow, but an alert James draped her foot over the rope to break the pin. Later, on the apron, she dropped Bayley face-first into the turnbuckles by kicking her leg out from underneath her. The DDT followed, and James scored the win.

    Bayley eliminated.

    Ember Moon was the next to hit the ring. James attempted to powerbomb her on the floor, but the elusive Moon escaped. She still ended up on the floor and in need of some momentum coming out of the commercial. Moon got it, catching James in flight with a knee and finishing her off with the Eclipse.

    Mickie James eliminated.

    Natalya, fresh off a tables match win at TLC, was out next. Moon took the fight to her, not allowing The Queen of Harts to build momentum. That is until Nattie blasted her with a nasty discus clothesline that left Moon reeling. Natalya tried for the Sharpshooter, but Moon reversed. A roll-up of her own earned Nattie the win.

    Ember Moon eliminated.

    Ruby Riott was out next and looking for revenge following her defeat from the night before. She worked the rib area of Natalya, looking to drive the wind from the third-generation star. As the pace quickened, Riott tried for an elbow drop from the ropes, but Natalya moved and scored the win with another roll-up.

    Ruby Riott eliminated.

    Sasha Banks was the final competitor in the match.

    Everything Natalya tried, the fresher Banks countered or reversed, even driving Nattie to the mat with a DDT ahead of the commercial break. Each woman sought her submission finisher, and each took turns reversing out. Ultimately, Nattie applied the Sharpshooter, and Banks had no choice but to tap out.

    Sasha Banks eliminated.

    Natalya paid tribute to her father after the match and enjoyed a tense staredown with Ronda Rousey as the show went off the air.

           

    Result

    Natalya won the gauntlet

             

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    This was an excellent example of the women's evolution in full force. There was no long, drawn-out hype for the match ahead of time. No one talked about making history, nor did WWE pat itself on the back. It just happened like it was the norm, like it was any other match on the card.

    That is the type of thing the division needs in order to be seen as equal to the men.

    The action here was solid, and though some of it amounted to little, it gave every woman the opportunity to shine. Natalya, in particular, was great. Brooke also continued to prove herself in her big opportunity to work with Bayley.

    With her win, Natalya has a chance to conclude the year on a high note, and Raw has a genuine high-profile main event between best friends Rousey and Natalya for a Christmas Eve show that is usually missable.