WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 20
Welcome to Bleacher Report's coverage and Recap of WWE Raw on December 20.
With less than two weeks to go before Day 1 on January 1, WWE has already put together most of the card and is focused mostly on moving those feuds forward.
Following last week's incident on Miz TV when The Miz used his wife as a human shield, Maryse appeared on The Cutting Edge this week to discuss the situation.
After spending the last few weeks studying under Vince McMahon, Austin Theory put his skills to the test against Finn Balor.
Doudrop and Bianca Belair met for another fight, and Damian Priest battled Dolph Ziggler in a Championship Contender's match. We also saw Bobby Lashley discuss being added to the WWE title match at Day 1.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on Monday's Raw.
Raw opened with a recap of last week before MVP and Lashley came out to deliver a promo about how he earned his way into the WWE title match at Day 1.
The champ made his way down and actually congratulated Lashley on what he accomplished last week, but he said the Lashley he knows is dominant and shouldn't have needed MVP's help to beat him.
The All Mighty said he doesn't need anybody's help and MVP did that on his own. Lashley suggested MVP face Big E to prove he can beat him, too. Lashley got out of the ring and MVP prepared to fight with his cane.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens attacked Lashley from behind and Big E ended up making the save for him. The two huge powerhouses took out both men to end the segment.
Is there trouble in paradise for The Hurt Business? Does Big E helping Lashley indicate a face turn for The All Might? Are Rollins and Owens forming a new alliance or just working toward a common goal until Day 1?
This storyline seems to be making strange bedfellows out of some of these guys, and it's kind of making the whole thing more fun.
This was a solid opening segment. The energy was high, the action was quick and effective, and Big E even dropped a reference to Lashley's sisters.
Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop Part 3
Doudrop and Belair met for chapter three of their series of matches, but they started with some simple shoves and a slap. The EST tried to hit the KOD right away, but Doudrop countered and rolled out of the ring.
The former protege of Eva Marie took Belair down and cornered her for some forearms shots to the body. Belair fought back and hit a dropkick followed by a few shoulder thrusts in the corner.
She climbed to the top turnbuckle for a crossbody, but Doudrop caught and slammed her for a close two-count. They fought out of the ring and the former Raw women's champion hit a spinebuster on the floor as we went to a commercial.
We returned to see Doudrop miss a move from the middle rope. She recovered and hit a cannonball for a near-fall. Belair began to fight back and hit a crossbody from the middle rope followed by a handspring moonsault for a two-count.
Doudrop hit a powerbomb and dragged her to the corner for a Vaderbomb. Belair avoided it and picked Doudrop up for the KOD to get the pin and the win.
While this match had some nice spots and sequences, it also felt like they had less chemistry than in their two previous matches. A few spots looked especially sloppy.
However, the finish and the way you could see the crowd come alive as she powered Doudrop up for the move made everything else irrelevant. That one moment is what everyone will remember and the crowd's response was awesome.
Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory
After two weeks of Theory going after Balor, WWE booked them in a singles match to see if they can settle their differences.
As soon as the bell rang, Balor backed Theory to the corner with body shots. The newcomer to Raw rolled out of the ring to sucker Balor into an attack.
The Demon took him down with strikes when he got back into the ring, but Theory hung him up on the top rope and then unloaded with some rights and lefts of his own.
Balor hit a low dropkick before he clotheslined Theory out of the ring. Johnny Gargano's son tripped him on the apron and hit a neckbreaker on the floor to send us into a break.
When we returned, Balor began to fight back. After a burst of offense, Theory tripped him on the top rope. He jumped up and took Balor down with an impressive maneuver. He tried to take a selfie during a pin but Balor turned the tables and set him up for the Coup de Grace. He hit his finisher and made the cover to get the win over Theory.
Theory might be extremely annoying sometimes, but there is no denying his physical skills between the ropes. When he starts to get going, he can keep up with some of the best of them.
Balor is always a good worker, so seeing him work well with a new opponent like Theory comes as no surprise. It would be more surprising if they didn't work well together. That's how good Balor is.
This is not a feud that should last forever but knowing WWE as we do, we will probably get this match a few more times over the next month or two. If they can keep this level of quality and make each encounter different, nobody will complain.
Miz TV/Omos and AJ Styles vs. the Mysterios
The Miz came out for an episode of Miz TV but had to wait while WWE showed a few video packages. He immediately said he loved his wife and begged her not to talk about their relationship on Edge's show later,
He then turned on host mode and welcomed his guests for the night, AJ Styles and Omos. Omos threw the chair he was going to sit in out of the ring for some reason.
The Miz asked why they have had issues recently and Styles said it was just growing pains. He claimed he and Omos are unstoppable when they are on the same page. He put Omos over as somebody who is destined for greatness and claimed they were back to seeing eye to eye.
The Miz claimed Omos told him differently and Styles mocked him for using his wife as a human shield last week. Before Omos could weigh in, Rey and Dominik Mysterio came out for their tag match against Styles and Omos.
Dom and Styles started for their teams. The Phenomenal One was in control most of the time but Dominik stayed competitive. Rey came in and took it to Styles with a flurry of quick moves.
Rey ended up rolling Styles up for the win after he and Omos had an issue in their corner. This led to the partners fighting after the match. Omos caught him and dropped him on the mat with authority.
WWE talk show segments are strange because even when they are at their best, they still feel forced and rarely produce anything memorable. It's just an excuse to give an extended amount of unnecessary dialogue. That said, Styles and The Miz were good enough to keep this from being boring.
As far as the match is concerned, it was short and not meant to be anything special. It was a storytelling mechanism to facilitate a fight between Styles and Omos. Nothing more.
It looks like WWE is going to test Omos as a singles competitor. It will be interesting to see how he does in an eventual bout against Styles.
Chad Gable vs. Randy Orton
After Otis and Riddle fought last week, their partner's took a turn this week when Chad Gable battled Randy Orton in singles action.
Gable applied a wristlock right away, but Orton quickly reversed it. The amateur wrestling standout took him down with a drop toe hold and Orton rolled out of the ring to recover.
They locked up and Orton hit a side headlock takeover. They continued to keep things technical with different holds and takedowns. The Viper turned up the intensity but when he went for his trademark DDT, Gable countered. Orton rebounded and hit an RKO out of nowhere for the win.
This was a quick match but every single second of it was good. They had great precision and really looked like they could have had a show-stealing performance with a few more minutes.
Otis avoiding an RKO at the end was a nice touch and sets it up for him to have trouble hitting the big man with his finisher in the future.
Literally, the only thing to complain about here was not getting more of this match.
Damian Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler
Big Bob Roode was unable to defeat Damian Priest two weeks ago, so it was Dolph Ziggler's turn. This was a non-title bout, so Ziggler would earn a title shot if he won.
They started out fast and never slowed down. Ziggler came close to winning with a sunset flip before Priest started beating on him with kicks and punches.
Ziggler met Priest on the top rope and hit a huge superplex. We returned from a break to see Ziggler spike Priest with a DDT for a near-fall.
The Archer of Infamy started to build up a head of steam and hit a broken arrow for a close two-count. Roode took Priest down while the ref was distracted, but it just made the U.S. champ angry. He took out Big Bob but got counted out in the process.
The match was really good and would have gotten a higher grade, but the way it ended felt somewhat lazy and similar to something WWE just did in another feud recently.
It's so easy to forget how good Ziggler is between the ropes because it feels like he never gets opportunities like this anymore. As great as he and Roode are together, it might be time for another run for Ziggler as a singles star, possibly as a babyface.
Rhea Ripley vs. Queen Zelina
Rhea Ripley faced Queen Zelina in a rematch from last week, but this time, Nikki ASH and Carmella were banned from ringside to prevent any shenanigans.
Ripley tried to go after Zelina right away but she hid in the ropes to make the ref get between them. She tried to hit some kicks before Ripley made her regret it.
Zelina hit a nice counter to a suplex to get a two-count. Zelina countered a superplex and yanked Ripley's face into the top turnbuckle. Ripley grabbed her and hit the Riptide for the win.
They had better chemistry in this bout than in their last encounter, but like a couple of other matches on this show, this would have benefitted from a little more time.
The ending also felt a little too abrupt. They went from having a competitive exchange to Ripley hitting her finisher. It felt like they missed a step somewhere. Other than that, they had some good spots.
Big E and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins
The main event was a Teddy Long special featuring Owens and Rollins taking on Lashley and Big E just two weeks before all four of them fight over the WWE Championship.
Big E and Owens started for their teams. After the champ had control for a moment, Owens rolled out of the ring. Lashley tagged himself in and took KO out while Big E sent Rollins over the top rope to receive the same fate.
We returned to see Lashley hold Rollins up for a long time for a delayed vertical suplex. He signaled for The Hurt Lock, but Rollins escaped and sent him over the top rope. KO got the tag and hit a senton on the floor.
Rollins and Owens hit a double suplex on Lashley and tried to keep him isolated. Big E got the tag and came in hot. He took out both opponents but couldn't quite get the pin on Owens.
Rollins prevented him from hitting KO with The Big Ending and followed up with a frog splash for a two-count. We came back from another break to see Lashley get the hot tag.
He threw Rollins all around the ring, but KO broke up the pin after a powerslam. Rollins avoided a Spear and Lashley hit Big E by mistake. He was still able to hit Owens with a Spear for the win. Rollins hit him with a Stomp right after the bell.
Rollins and Owens continued the attack after the bell, leaving both Lashley and the WWE champion out cold.
At this point, WWE is just playing into the "Can they co-exist?" meme with some of these matches.
This is something we often say, but there are certain people who just aren't capable of having a bad match. These four might fall into that category.
This match was just as exciting and fun as it needed to be to close out the show. The crowd finally seemed to wake up and embraced everything they were doing. The finish might have been mistimed but they made it work.
Lashley could be turning babyface soon based on what we have seen this week. Time will tell.