AJ Styles Fatigue, Humberto Carrillo Impresses Again and More WWE Raw Fallout
Just one day removed from TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, the December 16 edition of WWE Raw did not linger on the events of Sunday night. In fact, with most of the competitors at TLC injured, the red brand focused on the feuds between those who did not compete at the pay-per-view.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson continued their war with The Viking Raiders. Both teams had a clear claim to the title of Raw's best tag team, but only one could stand out from the pack.
Because Styles had moved on to The Viper, Rey Mysterio was left without a challenger. To crown the newest No. 1 contender, six men competed in a gauntlet match.
Humberto Carrillo and Andrade both held a spot in the contest and had plenty of history with the United States champion. However, only one could emerge with the victory.
Other angles just began to develop, including the first week of Liv Morgan's makeover as she tries to reinvent herself.
This show had solid ups and downs, but the heart of it was about giving Raw momentum toward the new year and a fresh start.
AJ Styles Is Overstaying His Welcome Atop Raw Waiting for Brock Lesnar
Once more, AJ Styles main-evented Raw, battling Randy Orton this time around.
While The Phenomenal One had a strong game plan to target his opponent's knee, The Viper still countered a Phenomenal Forearm into an RKO and won. The O.C. stormed the ring and laid out Orton and The Viking Raiders, who came to help.
Once again, the red brand is without its world champion. To make up for it, Styles has taken the reins in WWE. It made sense when he held the United States Championship, but he lost it and still main-evented the next two weeks.
Raw is lacking for star power in comparison to Friday Night SmackDown. However, that has allowed the company to rely on fresh talent, with Buddy Murphy and Aleister Black showing they belong Sunday.
It is not necessary to keep throwing The O.C. into the main event. It could be argued Becky Lynch is the red brand's top champion even with Brock Lesnar around, and she hasn't ended an episode of Raw in months.
Styles may be the most talented all-around star in WWE but until he is holding a championship again, it is time to let others take the spotlight.
Rey Mysterio has potential challengers in Seth Rollins, Andrade and Humberto Carrillo, and he still got only a few minutes of screen time this week. Drew McIntyre has disappeared again, but Kevin Owens might be one of the few men who could defeat The Beast if given a spotlight.
Let everyone have a turn on this three-hour show.
The OC Should Be Raw Tag Team Champions If Feud Needs to Continue
Following the no-contest result at WWE TLC, The Viking Raiders and The O.C. fought in a non-title bout. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson emerged from this physical encounter with the win.
Since first coming to Raw, the Raiders have had one overbearing rival. Gallows and Anderson have fought them every step of the way without any of the matches standing out.
This week's show had the strongest match between the two teams to date, yet it still didn't make it clear why the feud needs to continue.
The O.C. may have been reborn working with AJ Styles, but the move still doesn't take away the years when Gallows and Anderson did nothing. The two could use another title reign even as transitional champions. This was perfectly set up as a moment for The O.C. to win gold.
Instead, this will be a soon-to-be-forgotten contest that leads to a tag title match where Erik and Ivar retain. This rivalry will grow even more tiresome.
Humberto Carrillo Has Established Himself Despite Steady Overpush
Humberto Carrillo ended an impressive run from Ricochet in a No. 1 contender gauntlet match for the United States Championship before Andrade struck. He assaulted the Mexican Superstar and planted him with a hammerlock DDT on exposed cement.
Few men get pushes like Carrillo has in WWE. He was highlighted instantly as 205 Live's rising star and then sent to the heavyweight division as a top pick over Kevin Owens. Rey Mysterio has put him over every chance he gets as the future of the company.
WWE is not short on talented high fliers, and most of them can cut better promos than Carrillo. However, there is an intangible quality that makes it clear why the company may be getting behind him.
He has overcome a few bad early performances to work strong matches with some of the best in the business. His recent clashes with El Idolo have been great both as athletic showcases and story-driven experiences.
While fans could argue others deserve the spotlight more, the Mexican Superstar deserves plenty of respect for what he has accomplished already and what he continues to build.
The Way WWE Handles Liv Morgan's Makeover Will Define Her Future
In the first video showcasing Liv Morgan's makeover, she said she had always dressed as others told her to and was ready to be herself but could only do that by destroying herself.
Both Raw and SmackDown have focused on key wrestlers while allowing the depth of the divisions to suffer. That has to change, and it begins with the women reinventing themselves with characters that can stand out more.
Morgan's restart could build her into a legitimate threat in the women's division. She could also fall quickly back into the same role as her friend, Sarah Logan, who is working Main Event every other week.
Her new gimmick must be given time to shine so she can prove herself as a mic worker and in-ring performer.
If Becky Lynch manages to overcome Asuka at Royal Rumble 2020, she will need a new challenger on the Road to WrestleMania.