How Vince McMahon Ruined Christmas

Corporate greed ran wild as WWE went with a live episode of Raw on Christmas night ...

Was there really a need for WWE to run a live episode of Monday Night Raw on Christmas night?

Back in the 1980s, Christmas night was actually a big night for pro wrestling. Also, the NFL ran games on Monday and the NBA ran five of them.

But WWE wrestlers (and staff) are sometimes on the road for 250 days per year. That’s way more than NFL or NBA players. I can’t see a solid reason why running a live Raw on Christmas was an acceptable idea. The talent is on the road enough, let them be home for Christmas, especially the wrestlers with children.

It’s a garbage move by a company that’s so concerned with satisfying stockholders — except when it’s Vince McMahon withdrawing hundreds of millions to play with a football league — it would purposely disrupt its talent roster like this. And while I’m sure you could say, “Well, Vince and Triple H needed to work that night as well,” it doesn’t make it a valid excuse.

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We won’t have ratings numbers until later this week. Want to know why? Because Nielsen employees took the holiday! But when those ratings do come in, I’m sure (quite positive) Christmas night will be one of the lowest-rated Raw episodes of the year.

Was it really worth it?

John Cena beat Elias

This was a very long match that made Elias look really strong despite the loss. It’s more evidence that Cena is beginning to wrap up his WWE run (newsflash, right?), where even when he wins, he’s putting over new talent.

It also says a lot about how WWE feels about Elias. They put him in a prime spot, against a prime opponent, and he wasn’t squashed. It was a lot of back-and-forth action before the pin.

Hideo Itami beat Brian Kendrick

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I was worried for Itami in this match. He’s on his second week after debuting on the main roster, and he uses the GTS as a finisher. That’s the same finisher as CM Punk, and the show was in Chicago. It wasn’t setup the best way to get him over as a babyface

But honestly, the fans just didn’t seem to care enough to really react. Now, Itami was actually the innovator of the move, so he’s not technically ripping off Punk. But still, perception is reality, especially in large crowds.

Paige, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville beat Bayley, Sasha Banks and Mickie James

It was very obvious that the announce team was getting marching orders to pump up Mandy Rose, because they wouldn’t shut up about her. Someone in management clearly sees her as the “breakout” in the group. She’s the Roman Reigns, if you will.

Kane beat Heath Slater

Crowds were legitimately into Slater and Rhyno when they were on SmackDown, but something just isn’t clicking on the Raw brand. They’re on the show, so I suppose that’s good for them, but I would have rather seen WWE use a jobber tag team to get Kane over like this.

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Finn Balor beat Curt Hawkins

Curt Hawkins is really good, and he’s also really passionate for pro wrestling. It’s fun to see WWE using him like this. Yeah, his character loses all the time, but that’s the gimmick. In the right setting, he’s going to get a huge reaction when he finally does win a match.

Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and Akira Tozawa beat Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight

Of course they needed a Christmas gimmick match. Of course.

This was nonsense for the most part. A huge chunk of this match was lost to a commercial break (a good thing), and they somehow tried to spin this into a positive win for Alexander ahead of his Cruiserweight Title match next week. Hey, at least they didn’t have him take the pin before a title match. Right?

Samoa Joe beat Roman Reigns via DQ in an Intercontinental Title match

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Reigns was again booked as a super hero, withstanding the DQ loss and then attacking Samoa Joe after the match. The way it was booked, Reigns left Joe in a heap instead of a more even back-and-forth brawl. That works, essentially, in getting Reigns over but it does hurt Joe despite him getting the DQ win.

Next week, Samoa Joe needs to get the upper hand on Reigns if they want this feud to continue. If they don’t, it means little and the crowd will continue to see Joe as subservient to Reigns.

Braun Strowman beat Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in a Secret Santa Match

This was what it needed to be, with Strowman pulverizing the two babyfaces in short order (under one minute) to get the win.

Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan beat Cesaro and Sheamus to win the Raw Tag Team Titles

I can’t say I’m all that excited for this title change. Rollins and Jordan as a team? We’ll give it time, but I’m not feeling it, at least not yet.

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It will be interesting to see where this goes for Jordan. Is this an attempt to keep him as a babyface? Or, is this just more tools for when they finally pull the trigger on a full heel turn?

This story could also end with Ambrose turning heel on Rollins (after his return). Granted that’s nine months down the line, but Rollins so quickly replacing Ambrose seems like good motivation for Ambrose to return and attack Rollins.