WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 2
A week after berating the Raw roster for its poor performance at Survivor Series, Seth Rollins took to the squared circle for an apology, the major angle announced ahead of the show.
Was it a sincere apology or the latest chapter in a heel turn that started a week ago?
And what was the motivation for the attack on Kevin Owens by The Authors of Pain?
Find out the answer to those two questions, as well as whether Charlotte Flair was able to knock off the WWE women's champions The Kabuki Warriors in a handicap match, with this recap of the December 2 show.
Seth Rollins Kicks Off Raw
To a mixed reaction, Seth Rollins hit the ring to kick off Monday's broadcast.
He reiterated his claims that Raw sucked at Survivor Series. He said the men and women in the locker room are his family, and he felt responsible to motivate them.
He called Kevin Owens to the ring, claiming to owe him the biggest apology.
KO said Rollins' apology was crap and questioned whether The Authors of Pain are the two closest members of his family. "You wanna know how I know you're lying? Because your mouth is moving."
AOP interrupted the back-and-forth and challenged Rollins and Owens to a match. Rollins said he could not speak for Owens but seemed in favor. Further bickering led to Rollins walking out, leaving Owens to issue an open challenge to anyone in the back.
Prior to the break, Bobby Lashley and Lana were shown heading through the backstage area, insinuating The All Mighty was about to accept.
The scripting of Owens leading up to dropping the first "s--t" on Raw in recent memory was cringe-worthy and came up completely unnaturally. With that said, it was a significant moment that could be an indicator that Raw is heading in an edgier direction.
That remains to be seen. What does not is that Rollins and Owens appear to be on a collision course, particularly as they bickered back-and-forth. That there is a considerable amount of distrust on Owens' part, plus the dark cloud known as AOP hovering overhead, creates enough intrigue about the immediate future of the program for fans to remain invested.
At least for the time being.
Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley
After the break, Lana entered the arena and said Raw was all about her. Owens interrupted her promo, saying that no one cares about her or her ongoing relationship with Lashley. Owens said Lana speaks so much but says nothing whatsoever.
Lashley arrived, and the first match of the night was underway.
Coming out of an ill-timed break, Owens caught Lashley with a cannonball. Lashley recovered and delivered a facebuster to KO but could only keep him down for a count of two. Owens recovered and delivered the Pop-up Powerbomb.
Just as the babyface was building momentum, Akam and Rezar hit the ring and attacked Owens. They beat him down and dragged him to the locker room as Lashley and Lana watched from the squared circle. Rusev came from out of nowhere and blasted Lashley with a Machka Kick.
After the break, when Lashley berated the detectives for not preventing Rusev from attacking, The All Mighty and The Ravishing Russian were arrested and dragged from the arena in handcuffs.
Owens defeated Lashley via disqualification
There was nothing remarkable about the match itself, but this did one thing incredibly effectively: It blended stories together, producing a segment of television that wasted none of its minutes and advanced two ongoing programs simultaneously.
Owens receiving the beatdown by AOP continues to create questions about who is really pulling the proverbial strings behind Akam and Rezar. It also creates intrigue as to where the team was taking Owens and why.
As for Lashley and Rusev, the fire shown by the latter in recent weeks has helped elevate what has often been awful creative. Their eventual showdown will be red-hot, almost despite the story the writing team handed them.
Akira Tozawa vs. Drew McIntyre
Fresh off a competitive showing during the Survivor Series Kickoff show in which he lost a Triple Threat match for the Cruiserweight Championship, Akira Tozawa faced the unenviable task of battling Drew McIntyre in singles competition.
The Scottish Psychopath towered over his opponent and tossed him to the mat with relative ease. Tozawa turned the tables quickly and delivered a tope suicida that stunned his opponent. McIntyre answered by delivering a reverse Alabama Slam on the floor.
Back in the ring, McIntyre wore down Tozawa with a headlock and woke him back up with a sickening chop. An overhead suplex sent Tozawa across the squared circle in a mesmerizing display of power from the sinister Scot.
The beatdown concluded with a Claymore Kick that turned Tozawa inside out.
After the match, McIntyre cut a promo about the cryptic complaints of the Raw locker room. He called out Randy Orton leading into the commercial break.
McIntyre defeated Tozawa
This was a hell of a showcase for McIntyre, against a guy in Tozawa who was able to bump around and make his offense look absolutely devastating.
After a 2019 that was very up-and-down for McIntyre, it is nice to see the emphasis put on him since his return, including him calling out Orton ahead of the break. After their brutal exchange of chops last week, one can only assume they will have a series of intensely physical matches if and when that time arises.
McIntyre Calls Out Randy Orton
After the commercial, McIntyre remained in the ring, calling out Orton repeatedly.
He replayed footage from last week of his chop-off with The Viper and demanded the 13-time world champion get his ass to the ring. Orton made his entrance and came face-to-face with McIntyre.
The Scottish Psychopath said the only thing Orton is ferocious at in 2019 is posting on social media. He said he was bigger, stronger and the future.
Orton replied, saying he has earned the right to do whatever he wants. He said McIntyre, though, has not. The Viper said the two of them are good, that they have no issues. If McIntyre had a problem with him, though, they could solve it.
The O.C.'s music played and AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows interrupted the proceedings.
An infuriated Styles, frustrated by Orton costing him the United States Championship last week, demanded a match with the third-generation star. McIntyre divorced himself from the situation as The O.C. surrounded the ring.
The three-on-one beatdown ensued, Orton left to fend for himself. Ricochet's music played and The One and Only hit the ring to make the save. Humberto Carrillo joined, but the numbers game continued to be problematic.
Rey Mysterio joined the fray, cleaning house of the heels heading into the break.
This is going to lead to a tag team match, isn't it?
The interaction between Orton and McIntyre was solid and sets up a program between them while also remaining faithful to the creative developments from last week, when the former cost Styles the U.S. title.
Ricochet, Carrillo and Mysterio all have unfinished business with The O.C., so it certainly makes sense within that context. It's just a shame that a huge tag team match of that magnitude isn't met with the same level of anticipation as it would be on a show that does not routinely book them.
Aleister Black vs. Tony Nese
Former cruiserweight champion Tony Nese became the latest Superstar to knock on Aleister Black's door, squaring off with the enigmatic NXT alumnus.
Nese gained a momentary upper hand, dropping Black throat-first on the top rope.
Black recovered, unloaded a flurry of kicks about the body of his opponent and put him away with Black Mass for the convincing win.
After the match, Charly Caruso interviewed Buddy Murphy backstage. Murphy said he did not regret challenging Black and claimed his newfound rival took himself way too seriously.
Black defeated Nese
This really brought nothing to either Black's character or his budding rivalry with Murphy, which should produce some stellar matches. That is disappointing, if only because Nese is capable of a show-stealer when given the opportunity but, like most cruiserweights to this point, was utilized as glorified enhancement talent.
Murphy's post-match promo was fine for what it was but did not carry with it a single element that would suggest he stands a chance in hell of defeating Black when they finally square off.
Eric Young vs. Andrade
Andrade sought to continue his winning ways of late as he squared off with Eric Young in singles competition.
Young, the former Impact Wrestling world champion, put up a tougher-than-expected fight against El Idolo. Andrade, though, picked up the pinfall victory in a hard-fought bout.
After the match, 24/7 champion R-Truth rushed to the ring and quickly found himself in the laps of NASCAR stars Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip. Truth tried to make good with the duo, only to find out that Waltrip had a referee shirt on underneath his jacket.
Befuddled, Truth left himself open to a schoolboy roll-up from Busch, who won the fall and title.
Andrade defeated Young
Andrade's win over Young was secondary to the 24/7 title nonsense that was used to put over the NASCAR champion and one of that sport's biggest characters.
Yes, WWE is likely hoping Busch winning the title garners it some mainstream press, but NASCAR is hardly the NFL, NBA or even Major League Baseball at this point, so the media impact is likely to be minimal, at best.
No Way Jose vs. Erick Rowan
No Way Jose's conga dancers sparked a fire inside Erick Rowan by toying with the mysterious cage he has brought to the ring over the last month.
Rowan responded by obliterating Jose and chasing the rest of his conga line from the ringside area.
Infuriated, Rowan delivered consecutive Iron Claw slams for the decisive win.
Rowan defeated Jose
Does anyone really care what Rowan has in the damn cage?
Any and all momentum he had over on SmackDown while feuding with Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns is dead and gone, replaced by an ice-cold gimmick that has completely negated the cerebral-giant persona he had developed on the blue brand.
It is not working. It will only result in another failed singles push and leave the big man in search of that elusive run that finally connects with audiences.
Charlotte Flair vs. The Kabuki Warriors
A week after being blinded by the trademark green mist of Asuka, Charlotte Flair sought vengeance against The Empress of Tomorrow and tag team partner Kairi Sane in a two-on-one handicap match.
Flair weathered the storm early, surviving an attack prior to the bell and fending off the women's tag team champions heading into the commercial break.
After the timeout, the champions dominated The Queen, even countering a moonsault attempt by getting their knees up and leaving Flair writhing in pain.
Flair mounted a late comeback and was in position to pick up the win. She dropped Asuka with a spear and applied the Figure-Eight. Unfortunately for Flair, she missed a tag to Sane, who delivered the InSane Elbow just as Flair bridged into the hold. Three seconds later and The Kabuki Warriors netted the win.
The Kabuki Warriors defeated Flair
There was nothing inherently wrong with the match at all. Flair has excellent chemistry with Asuka, and her work with Sane here was equally as strong.
The issue lies in WWE Creative's unwavering determination to remind everyone of just how much better than the rest of the roster Flair is. As the match entered its closing moments, it appeared as though she would defeat the reigning tag team champions, and were it not for a blind tag, she would have.
Why should anyone want to see her find a tag team partner to beat the champions when she is so superior to them that she nearly knocked them off by herself?
The Kabuki Warriors should have dominated. The fact that they did not tells fans all they need to know about their position on the roster in relation to The Queen's.
Even if the titles suggest otherwise.
The Viking Raiders vs. Mark Sterling and Mitchell Lyons
Raw tag team champions The Viking Raiders squared off with enhancement stars Mark Sterling and Mitchell Lyons.
Erik and Ivar squashed Sterling and Lyons.
They earned the win with the Viking Experience.
The Viking Raiders defeated Lyons and Sterling.
Shouldn't the tag team champions be beyond one-dimensional squash matches at this point?
Yes, it's fun to watch them obliterate the competition, but at some point, there has to be more to them. Let them engage in fun, physical warfare with other bruising tag teams. They will get over more than they have with the main roster crowds to this point in these one-sided demolitions.
Rey Mysterio, Humberto Carrillo and Ricochet vs. The O.C.
A red-hot, action-packed Six-Man Tag Team match pitting Ricochet, Humberto Carrillo and United States champion Rey Mysterio against The O.C.'s AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson headlined this week's show.
The babyfaces rolled early, but an alert Anderson pulled Mysterio out of the ring during a 619 attempt and sent him crashing into the ring post.
The heels capitalized, beating down the U.S. champion and isolating him from his partners. The hot tag to Ricochet late in the match sparked a massive comeback.
Mysterio delivered the 619, Carrillo wiped out Anderson with a plancha and Ricochet dropped Styles with the Recoil. The One and Only looked to be on his way to victory, perching Styles on the top rope and setting him up for a big headscissors.
The veteran Styles countered, though, and delivered a Styles Clash from the top rope for the pinfall victory.
After the match, the leader of The O.C. stood tall until Randy Orton came from out of nowhere and dropped him with the RKO.
The O.C. defeated Mysterio, Carrillo and Ricochet
This was a damn fun wrestling match that brought tremendous energy down the stretch. The right team went over given Styles' position on the card as a main event heel and his impending program with Randy Orton, but the babyfaces still managed to shine in defeat.
The only question, from a booking standpoint, is whether Ricochet really needed to eat the pin instead of Carrillo.
The former U.S. champion has lost a ton of momentum since the summer, and given his popularity versus the lack of popularity for Carrillo despite a solid two-month push, one has to wonder if WWE Creative made the right decision in opting to continue cooling down the high-flying superhero.
Orton's post-match RKO ensures the program with Styles will continue and simultaneously sets him up as the lead babyface in two high-profile, ongoing storylines.