Welcome to the merriest episode of Monday Night Raw ever! And we hope you’re having a great Christmas!

Tonight’s festive Raw will feature the return of the 16-time WWE World Champion, John Cena. It’s unclear if Cena is back for an extended period of time, or if this is a simple one-off appearance, but either way it ill be fun to see Cena back in a Raw ring.

The Royal Rumble is less than a month away and last week we got the historic announcement that there would be a women’s Rumble match in 2018! Now that we’ve got the two matches set, it’s time to start getting entrants. Personally I think entering a Rumble should be earned and something fought for, not just assumed. Like qualifying matches etc., whereas there’s little build-up because we all know Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Bray Wyatt will be there. Regardless, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cena announce his appearance in the upcoming Rumble match, which he’s currently a favourite to win.

Elsewhere on tonight’s Raw, The Bar battle Rollins and Ambrose for momentum, again, and Braun Strowman continues to butt-heads with Kane ahead of their huge match with Brock Lesnar. That’s the preview for tonight’s Raw, join the conversation on the Ringside Talk app and wind down with some wrasslin’, after a long day. Enjoy the show!


Monday Night Raw opens with the future Hall of Famer, John Cena making his way to the ring!

Cena is fired-up and Chicago is in good spirits. He takes his shirt off and cuts a quick promo saying that he loves Christmas because it brings everyone together, like tonight. The fans chant “Merry Christmas” and Cena says that is the first time that’s ever been chanted. He is about to make an announcement of some kind when he is interrupted by Elias strumming his guitar.

Elias walks to the ring, playing his guitar. He asks Cena if he knows what WWE stands for and then says it stands for Walk With Elias. Cena and the fans get a kick out of that one. Elias enters the ring and Cena says he is willing to walk with Elias. Elias says he is tired of being interrupted and the fans chant “CM Punk”, to which Elias says CM Punk won’t be interrupting him. Cena says Chicagoians love their fellow Chicagoians. The fans chant for him again and Cena says to Elias, “Welcome to Chicago”.

Elias and Cena banter back and forth in a funny way before Elias silences John with his finger. Cena grabs a chair for Elias and the lights go down. Elias sings a pretty terrible Christmas song and starts insulting Chicago when Cena cuts him off. Cena tells him this is his problem, he shouldn’t insult everywhere he goes. Elias says he simply feels like he is speaking the truth, to which Cena tells him he might be the jerk. Elias says he never thought of it that way, and asks for a second chance from Chicago. The fans aren’t keen but Cena tells him to go ahead. Elias sings the song with nicer lyrics, then tells Cena to take-it-away. Cena starts singing but Elias clocks him with a right hand. Elias stands over Cena and tells him that he doesn’t play for anybody, and also, Christmas and Chicago are overrated. He turns to leave, then runs back an attacks Cena again. Elias then challenges Cena to a match right now and out comes a referee. Cena didn’t even accept.

Elias Vs. John Cena

The second the bell rings, Elias jumps right on him and starts beating Cena on the mat. He lands a stiff right hand to knock Cena on his back again. Cena starts to fight back with a few punches and a hip toss. Cena grounds The Drifter with a headlock but Elias fights out and nails Cena with a hard elbow to the face. He lays Cena on the apron and hits a running knee to knock him out of the ring.

Back inside, Elias throws Cena halfway across the ring! He earns a two count with a body slam, then puts Cena in the Tree of Woe and hits a double stomp to the chest from the top rope for another two count. John attempts a comeback but he runs right into a boot in the corner. Elias puts him back in the Tree of Woe for another double stomp, but Cena avoids the impact and lays Elias out with a clothesline. The Drifter puts Cena on his shoulder and spins him around for a powerbomb to get another near fall. John powers out of a headlock then hits his shoulder tackles but then Elias rolls from the ring. Cena runs out an chases, throws Elias back inside, only to be decapitated with a clothesline when he slides in.

Elias starts to get frustrated. Cena plays possum and pulls Elias into the STF but Samson is able to escape the hold and hit a knee to the face to take Cena down again. The 16-time champion takes Elias down and locks him in the STF again. The Drifter inches his way to the bottom rope to force a break. Elias grabs Cena and hits a modified neckbreaker for another near fall. Cena starts to build up a head up steam as he hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the AA for the pin and the win.

Winner: John Cena

The commentators talk about the match afterwards, asking if Elias proved anything to Cena tonight, and Corey graves says undoubtedly.

We get a video package highlighting Samoa Joe’s path of destruction, particularly in recent weeks regarding Seth Rollins, Jason Jordan, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns.

Backstage we see Kurt Angle putting a bauble on a Christmas Tree when in walks his son, Jason Jordan. They hug and Jordan says Angle wanted to see him, then Seth Rollins walk-in and says the same thing. Rollins says he wants Joe after he did to them last week. Jordan also says he wants Joe and he’s been waiting patiently, to which Rollins asks if he understands what patience is. Angle says they both want Joe but Sheamus and Cesaro keep getting in their way. Rollins cuts him off and says that he won’t team with Jordan again, and Jordan agrees, saying it would be step back for his career. They start arguing but Kurt interrupts them and says that they need to work together because tonight they face The Bar for the Tag Team Championships! They leave, seemingly pleased with that announcement. Angle turns around and Roman Reigns is right there. Angle says Samoa Joe is all his tonight and the Intercontinental Championship is on the line. Merry Christmas.

We go back to the ring and in it stands Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick. Charly Caurso stops to interview them but Kendrick cuts her off and talks about Hideo Itami. Kendrick says they aren’t too concerned with the hype surrounding Itami, and that they aim to see what the fuss is all about right now. Out comes Itami.

Hideo Itami Vs. Brian Kendrick

They start by trading strikes and Itami takes control. He scares Gallagher off the apron before Kendrick knocks him down with a heel kick to score a two count. Hideo shouts to the fans about respect. Kendrick fights back and lays into Hideo with crossface strikes and chokes him in the corner.

Itami fights out of a submission and hits a few kicks to the head. He goes to work with a series of vicious punches, kicks and throws. After a running corner dropkick, Itami taunts the crowd a throat slit motion, then lifts Kendrick and connects with Chicago’s favourite finisher, the GTS for the win!

Winner: Hideo Itami

We see a video recapping last week’s big announcement about the women’s Royal Rumble. Backstage, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James run into Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, wearing Christmas sweaters. They wish the girls a Merry Mizmas and sing a Mizmas carol. The girls weren’t impressed.

Absolution come to the ring, led by Paige, followed by the babyfaces. It’s hard to care about this feud, as well The Shield Vs. The Bar when we see them wrestle every week. Imagine if we’d seen The Rock and Austin wrestle every week, their big showdowns would have meant a lot less.

Bayley, Sasha Banks & Mickie James Vs. Absolution

We start with Sasha and Paige. Paige ducks a lock up attempt and acts like she outsmarted the boss. She tries it again and Banks grabs her by the hair. Paige tags in Rose, who gets hit with a dropkick by The Boss.

James tags in and keeps up the pressure by focusing on Mandy’s arm. The Hugger gets a big pop when she tags in for a double team with Mickie. Mandy nails her with a hard forearm and brings in Deville to take Bayley with by the waist.

Bayley gets Sonya to the corner and tags in Sasha for a double suplex. Banks gets tricked into leaving the ring and Deville almost decapitates her with a clothesline JBL would be proud of. Absolution is in firm control as they take turns beating on Banks in the corner. Rose uses a unique submission, but Sasha rolls over and gets a close two count.

Deville comes back in and locks Sasha in a body scissors submission. Paige and Rose each take their turn putting Banks through the wringer until The Boss throws Rose into Paige to knock her off the apron. Bayley gets the hot tag and goes to work on The Glampire. She hits the Bayley to Belly, but Rose and Deville pull Paige to safety. A huge brawl breaks out at ringside with all six women. Paige is able to hit the Rampaige on Bayley to pick up the win.

Winners: Absolution

Renee Young is backstage with Samoa Joe and she asks if he has any remorse as to what he did to Dean Ambrose last week. Samoa Joe says not at all and that it gives Ambrose time to spend with his loved ones, Renee looks awkward. He says he has been systematically destroying The Shield. Joe goes on to say he will be the new Intercontinental champion.

We see Kane walking to the ring, he will be in action after the break.

*Commercial Break*

We return an out comes Kane for a match. We see a video package of the Kane/Strowman/Lesnar feud.

Kane Vs. Heath Slater  W/Rhyno

Kane takes control right away and corners Slater for some stiff uppercuts. He clotheslines Slater and drops him with a one-armed sidewalk slam. Rhyno tries to give Heath a pep talk, but he just ends up running right into Kane and being sent back over the top rope.

Slater wants to give up, but Rhyno won’t let him and Kane grabs him by the hair. He is able to hang Kane up on the top rope and hit a few good strikes before The Big Red Monster flattens him with a Chokeslam for the win.

Winner: Kane

Rhyno and Kane start brawling after the match an Rhyno gets the better of Kane, then looks for a Gore but runs into a Chokeslam.

*Commercial Break*

Curt Hawkins is in the ring when we return. Hawkins says he had to face the fact that this year was not good, so he vows to end his losing streak before the end of the year, so he issues an open challenge. Finn Balor’s music hits and Hawkins’ heart sinks.

Finn Balor Vs. Curt Hawkins

Hawkins takes the fight to Balor early-on and earns a couple of near-falls. Unsurprisingly, Balor turns things around and hits a double stomp and a sling blade. He dropkicks Hawkins into the corner to set himself up for the Coup de Grace for the win.

Winner: Finn Balor

Dallas and Axel encounter Goldust backstage and sing him a Mizmas Carol. The song says Goldusts career is on a downward trend but they know what will help and they give him a copy of Miz’s movie, Sanat’s Little Helper. Goldust then gives it to Titus O’Neil, who is walking past with his group. O’Neil starts to say that was weird when Goldust reappears and does his weird noise in Titus’ face and the big man jumps in surprise.

Bray Wyatt cuts a quick promo in which he says Sister Abigail didn’t like Christmas, as she thought it was all fake and insincere. Bray then makes his way to the ring where he blows out his lantern, only for Matt Hardy to be behind him. Hardy attacks Bray, who retreats up the ramp. Hardy grabs a mic and laughs maniacally, even Bray Wyatt looks weirded-out.

The Bar are backstage, and Sheamus is complaining about having to defend the titles on Christmas. Cesaro agrees and says Angle doesn’t respect them. Sheamus then gives him a present and a card. Cesaro reads it and it says their catchphrase. The present is a Dean Ambrose action figure with a missing arm.Cesaro loves it, then gives Sheamus his present: a Seth Rollins action figure, then a Jason Jordan action figure. Sheamus says he looks forward to breaking them both. They laugh and wish each other a merry Christmas.

In the arena, we’re getting ready for a 205 Live Miracle on 34th Street Fight!

*Commercial Break*

Enzo and his minions come out dressed as elves an Santa for this tag street fight. There are Christmas tree’s an present boxes everywhere.

Miracle of 34th Street Fight

The Zo Train Vs. Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali & Akira Tozawa

Gulak and Alexander start for their teams, even though it’s a street fight. Tozawa and Ali take out the elves at ringside as we head to a break. There’s a sentence you thought you’d never read.

*Commercial Break*

We return to see Daivari in control of the action against Tozawa. The Zo Train whips Akira into a Christmas tree to get a two count. A spin kick takes down Amore. Both men make the tag and Ali takes it to Daivari with lots of explosive offense. He hits the inverted 450, but Gulak breaks up the pin with a cookie pan.

Enzo begs Cedric not to hit him with a kendo stick. Alexander cracks him with it but then batters Gulak with it pretty bad. Alexander finishes off Daivari with the Lumbar Check.

Winners: Alexander, Tozawa & Ali

*Commercial Break*

We return to see Enzo walking backstage, still dressed as Santa. He walks up to Nia Jax, who is flirty and coy. Enzo spots mistletoe above them and says “whatta we got over here?” Nia and him lean in to kiss when Alexa Bliss bursts in between then and tells Nia she needs her right now. Nia isn’t happy but she goes with her nonetheless. Chicago is disappointed.

Renee Young is backstage with Roman Reigns. She asks what he thinks of Joe’s words earlier, to which Roman says he doesn’t care because he is the Champion. He has no plans of leaving Chicago without his title. However, Reigns does say that anyone who attacks and hurts his brothers, will have to answer to him.

Samoa Joe makes his way to the ring and Chicago loves Joe. We see replays of Joe beating on The Shield. Reigns is out next and the fans aren’t as pleased to see him. Michael Cole says Dean Ambrose is liable to miss 9 months with his injury – this Shield reunuion can’t catch a break. We get ring introductions for both men.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match

(C) Roman Reigns Vs. Samoa Joe

The bell rings and Joe runs at Roman, who hits him with a big clothesline. Roman beats on Roman but then Joe returns the favour with some stiff jabs and an elbow. Roman catches Joe with a big right hand, but again Joe comes back with some jabs. Roman counters Joe by tossing him neck-first onto the second rope. Joe hangs on the rope allowing Reigns to run around the ring and an hit the drive-by kick.

Reigns comes back to the ring, where Joe takes control, chopping him in the corner and landing a back body drop. Joe slams Roman’s head into the corner, then tee’s off on him. Joe slaps Roman repeatedly in the neck before Roman ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. Roman hits Joe in the corner with ten forearms, then a big boot floors Joe.

Roman poses in the corner, waiting for Joe to land a Superman Punch but Joe falls into the corner. Reigns comes after Joe but the referee pushes him back, allowing Joe to land something of a cheap shot an hit some jabs forcing Reigns to the corner. Joe hits a Pele kick for a near-fall.

*Commercial Break*

Both men are inside the ring exchanging right hands. Superman punch by Roman as he goes for the cover but a 2 count only! Reigns up first as he goes for the spear but Joe kicks him in the face. The Coquina Clutch on Reigns and Reigns is down. Roman looks like he’s fading but Roman makes it to the ropes.

Roman rolls to the outside of the ring but Joe jumps through the ropes onto the outside. Roman looks like he hurt his left arm. Back in the ring, Joe with an arm bar as he applies pressure to Roman’s left arm. Reigns fighting out of it. Roman stomping on Joe in the corner of the ring. The referee tries to break it up but Reigns continues. The referee rings the bell as Samoe Joe wins by disqualification. R

Winner Via Disqualification: Samoa Joe

Reigns is frustrated and delivers a superman punch on Samoa Joe. On the outside of the ring, Reigns lands another superman punch taking Joe out. Reigns continuing the beat down on Joe. Reigns hits Joe with the steel steps. Still with the steel steps, he hits Joe a second time taking him down. Reigns grabs a steel chair and he goes to hit Joe with it who was leaning on the ring post but Joe moves out of the way. Referees break it up.

Backstage, Rollins is watching the beat down with a smile on his face. Jason Jordan enters the locker room and Rollins tells him he’s teaming with him tonight for two reasons. The first being because he owes his dad Kurt Angle a favor after he bailed himself out and the second because he has a score to settle with Sheamus and Cesaro. Jordan says he is excited to be teaming with him tonight. Jordan says Rollins has to admit, he makes a good replacement for Dean Ambrose. Rollins tells him no matter how good he thinks he is, he will never be Dean Ambrose. Jordan says he will be even better.

*Commercial Break*

We return to see Dallas and Axel in the ring They start singing Jingle Bells with the fans, then tell us they have a Secret Santa match tonight and they seem excited, that is, until they see their opponent:

Braun Strowman Vs. Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas

The bell rings and Strowman with a clothesline takes Dallas down. Strowman throws Bo Dallas around the ring. He grabs Curtis Axel off the ring apron and throws him onto Dallas. Strowman man handling both of them. He delivers a running powerslam on Bo Dallas. He goes for the cover and gets the 3 count.

Winner: Braun Strowman

After the match, Braun hits Axel with a powerslam. The fans ask for more and Strowman provides, hitting both with another powerslam. Now that’s how you buil omentum and look dominant.

Alexa Bliss is walking to the ring to address the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble!

*Commercial Break*

Alexa Bliss is in the ring. She wishes everyone a Merry Blissmass. She is giving everyone the gift of a Godess. She says 2017 was her year and then goes on to talk about the first ever women’s Royal Rumble. She tells everyone “You’re welcome” because everything has happened because of her. She’s the gift that keeps on giving. Asuka’s music hits. Asuka says she has entered the Royal Rumble and she will win because nobody is ready for Asuka. A staredown between the two women as Asuka delivers the Buzzsaw Kick.

It’s almost main event time, and it’s for tag team gold. Brock Lesnar will return to Monday Night Raw next Monday!

*Commercial Break*

Seth Rollins is out, followed by his teammate Jason Jordan. Sheamus an Cesaro are out next and we get ring introductions.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match

(C) The Bar Vs. Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan

Jordan and Sheamus start the match with a lock up and the Irishman gets taken down with a waistlock. He breaks free with a back elbow and Cesaro takes a cheap shot on JJ. Seth makes the blind tag and springboards into the ring to take down both tag champs. He almost sends them into the crowd with a suicide dive to both men at the same time. Just in time for a break.

*Commercial Break*

We return to see Cesaro and Sheamus giving Rollins a beating. The Swiss Cyborg keeps him grounded with a headlock for a little while. The Celtic Warrior tags in and hits the 10 Beats of the Bodhran, but Seth counters and almost makes a tag. Cesaro hits a leg drop from the second rope for a two count. JJ tries to help Rollins, but he ends up getting rammed into the barricade by both Sheamus and Cesaro.

The Kingslayer hits a DDT, but he has nobody to tag. Cesaro hits an uppercut and Sheamus drops Rollins with an Irish Curse backbreaker for a near fall. The Bar keeps using quick tags and double team moves to punish Rollins, but he stays alive. Jordan finally returns and tackles Sheamus to give Rollins a fighting chance. JJ gets the hot tag and starts going to work on Sheamus. He picks Sheamus up and rams him into the corner multiple times. Cesaro is able to put him in the Sharpshooter, but he lets go to deal with Seth.

Sheamus hits Jordan with a move and it looks to be over but Seth springboards in to break the pin, however Cesaro catches him in mid-air, which distracts the referee from the pin anyway. Jordan fights out of a cloverleaf submission from Cesaro. Rollins throws Sheamus into the steps and Jordan hits Cesaro with his finisher to get the win!

Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins

Rollins and Jordan clebrate their huge win and new tag titles as Raw comes to a close.

That’s it for this week’s Raw, and Raw for 2017. It’s been a wild ride as always but here’s looking fowrard to another great year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Curtis Dillion

Curtis does our weekly live match-by-match coverage of WWE RAW and SmackDown for Ringside News. In addition to SmackDown, Curtis also does WWE & NXT special event coverage as well. He has been helping out at for Ringside News for many years.

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