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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 23

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0 of 12Credit: WWE.comMonday Night Raw promised a night of fighting to open this Christmas week of WWE programming. The December 23 edition of the red brand included personal matches and a huge championship contest.Since allying with The Authors of Pain, Seth Rollins had been systematically destroying everyone who got in his way. His next…

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Monday Night Raw promised a night of fighting to open this Christmas week of WWE programming. The December 23 edition of the red brand included personal matches and a huge championship contest.

    Since allying with The Authors of Pain, Seth Rollins had been systematically destroying everyone who got in his way. His next goal was to recapture gold, challenging Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship.

    One man who would be watching the main event closely, Kevin Owens, had his own match with Mojo Rawley in a No Disqualification clash.

    AJ Styles took the fight to Randy Orton once again, this time in a six-man tag match. While The Viper had defeated The Phenomenal One one-on-one, The O.C. has been one of WWE’s most dominant trios, and The Viking Raiders and Orton had to find chemistry quickly.

    Others looked to build momentum going forward. No one, though, was more focused on getting the match she wanted than Becky Lynch, who promised to call out Asuka.

    This episode might not have promised holiday cheer, but it did offer the opportunity for good wrestling and great storytelling all night long.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Mojo Rawley interrupted Kevin Owens, still angry about the attack two weeks ago. The two fought in a No Disqualification match where the heel sent Owens onto a collection of standing chairs. KO fought back and landed the Stunner and then a powerbomb through a table for the win.

    Afterward, he called out The Authors of Pain and Seth Rollins. The Beastslayer offered to let KO join him, but Owens responded with a superkick to Rollins. AOP and their leader beat down The Prizefighter, finishing him with the Stomp.

    Result

    KO def. Rawley by pinfall.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    This was a fun opener that showed the talent of Rawley as a solid heel hand. He pushed KO without ever making him look outmatched. Owens allowed him to seem like more of a threat than just about anyone in the past few years.

    Raw has been so heavily reliant on Rollins and AOP vs. KO lately. It might be a story that is overwhelming the red brand. The Beastslayer was already set for the main event. He did not need to be involved here as well.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    R-Truth got lost in Manhattan trying to find the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and Akira Tozawa rolled him up for three to take the 24/7 Championship. Truth corner Tozawa at a food stall, and the new champion accidentally knocked a bystander’s food out of his hands before running off.

    The Stamina Monster hid behind a Christmas tree until his stalker turned his back. Santa Claus hit Tozawa with a sack and pinned him to become the new champion, forcing Truth and Tozawa to team up. The longest-reigning 24/7 champion regained his title by pinning Santa.

    Afterward, John Cone called out both men for forcing him to run around New York in the cold, walking away and leaving Truth and Tozawa to reconcile.

    Result

    Tozawa def. Truth by pinfall to become the new 24/7 champion. Santa def. Tozawa by pinfall to become the new 24/7 champion. Truth def. Santa by pinfall to become the new 24/7 champion.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    This was the best segment for the 24/7 Championship in months. It was bizarre and all over the place as Truth took the lead in every segment. The Stamina Monster got a moment to show off his comedic chops and win some gold.

    At some point, WWE has to let someone else other than the 25-time champ take the reins with the title. However, this segment would not have been better with anyone else.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In the middle of Bobby Lashley and Cedric Alexander’s battle, Lana stopped the match to announce that the wedding would happen next week. Alexander did not allow the distraction to ruin his momentum, but The All Mighty still hit him with an emphatic chokeslam and Spear for three.

    Result

    Lashley def. Alexander by pinfall.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    Beyond the awkward interruption of The Ravishing Russian, this match was a great showcase of Alexander. He looked like he had Lashley’s number throughout and certainly made the most of the spotlight even though it was obvious he would lose.

    It would have been interesting if The All Mighty had lost just one week before his wedding day. However, no matter what happens next week, the focus is to make Lashley one of Raw’s top stars.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Drew McIntyre dominated Zack Ryder, taking the victory with a Claymore. Afterward, The Scottish Psychopath gave Ryder a Future Shock DDT and Curt Hawkins a Claymore. He gave his definition of fun as destroying anyone and declared 2020 as his year.

    Result

    McIntyre def. Ryder by pinfall.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    It has been a disappointing year for The Scottish Psychopath. Despite having all the tools, McIntyre has yet to stick around on TV for more than a few months at a time. His feud with Roman Reigns going into WrestleMania stopped his momentum, and he has not recovered.

    It is time for him to take a step forward. Raw has promised to set up a host of new challengers as top stars. However, McIntyre has still felt like the odd man out. Even his feud with Randy Orton was quickly brushed aside. 2020 must be the moment where he gets a true main event run.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Becky Lynch called out Asuka. The Raw women’s champion challenged Asuka to a match any place and any time. The Empress of Tomorrow accepted but did not declare when the fight would happen.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    This was simple and to the point. The Man has challenged the one woman she cannot defeat. Asuka is ready to make her pay for it. The match has enough story that it could happen next week, but it needs to be saved for WWE Royal Rumble 2020.

    Raw has its headlining title match for the event, while SmackDown will determine the WWE Universal Championship match Friday.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Aleister Black made quick work of a local competitor with Black Mass. Buddy Murphy tried to one-up his rival with a bicycle knee and Murphy’s Law over another local competitor. The two men stared each other down until The Harbinger of Fury connected with Black Mass on The Best Kept Secret.

    Result

    Black def. local competitor by pinfall; Murphy def. local competitor by pinfall.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    Black and Murphy may genuinely be the most gifted pair of stars Raw has right now, and they are making each other more interesting. Everyone knew that The Harbinger of Fury would make it big in WWE, but The Best Kept Secret has been just as good lately.

    The two are set for a rematch next week, and it is only fair that Murphy gets his win. Regardless, it should be another clash of deadly strikers that steals the show.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Tony Nese tried to work Ricochet tit for tat, and he certainly had the speed to do it. However, The One and Only was still too much for him. He caught The Premiere Athlete with the Recoil for the win.

    Result

    Ricochet def. Nese by pinfall.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    It would have been nice to see these two get more time to shine. Nese is an extremely talented performer who has potentially suffered the most from the quiet end of 205 Live. It would be huge for him to get a complete restart on Raw or in NXT.

    Ricochet has always been great and is still clearly highly regarded. However, he has taken a major backseat in recent weeks.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In an attempt to prove herself, NXT star Chelsea Green challenged Charlotte Flair. The Queen did not let her make a statement, forcing the newcomer to tap out to the Figure-Eight.

    Result

    Charlotte def. Green by submission.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    Green did not show up like Deonna Purrazzo last week, but she still was a solid performer to challenge Charlotte. The initiative to give underused faces in NXT a chance on Raw has been great.

    Raw and SmackDown need a complete shake-up of the women’s divisions. That can begin by letting new stars appear who have just needed the opportunity.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Viking Raiders came out hot in this match, but The O.C. kept them from taking the victory. Randy Orton’s knee gave out on him as the tide turned. The Viper RKO’d Karl Anderson, only for Luke Gallows to push him off into a Phenomenal Forearm, sealing Styles’ win.

    Result

    O.C. def. Orton and Viking Raiders by pinfall.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    As expected, talent shines through in matches like this. The O.C. has found consistent chemistry as a trio and has been able to elevate any opponents. The pacing here also helped avoid the slow moments of most Gallows and Anderson vs. Raiders matches.

    The Phenomenal One got his pinfall back, making this rivalry more competitive, especially as Orton shows the wear of battling this trio.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The local competitor tried to convince Erick Rowan to back down with a candy cane, but he tried to give one to whatever was in The Big Red Wood’s cage. This set off the monster. He hit a pair of Iron Claws to win.

    Result

    Rowan def. local competitor by pinfall.

    Grade

    D+

    Analysis

    On a night of one-sided matches, Rowan’s repeated squashes get more pronounced and boring. It is time to do something with this story. Whether that means giving Rowan a rival or having the mystery of his friend revealed, the time has come for a change.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Rusev promised he would make Bobby Lashley pay for cheating him out of a win at TLC, though he was not upset about the coming wedding. He felt liberated without Lana in his life.

    He took out No Way Jose in a moment, ending the match with the Machka Kick. Afterward, he partied with the conga line, including getting a pair of kisses before leading it up the ramp.

    Result

    Rusev def. Jose by pinfall.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    The Bulgarian Brute enjoying life and getting back to winning was great. This felt like the most useful squash match of the night. Rusev has to rebuild some momentum.

    It will be interesting to see where he goes next. Obviously, he will have some role in next week’s wedding, which will likely be as bad a segment as this rivalry has produced. However, he can then move past it and forward to better things.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In a physical main event, Rey Mysterio went back and forth with Seth Rollins. However, The Authors of Pain did not allow a clear result after the United States champion hit a 619 on the challenger, attacking and causing a disqualification.

    Afterward, the heels tried to send The Master of the 619 through the announce table. Samoa Joe got in the way and got beat down. The Samoan Submission Machine took a double chokeslam through the table while The Beastslayer connected on the Stomp on Mysterio.

    Result

    Mysterio def. Rollins by disqualification; Mysterio retained the U.S. title.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    The best pure match of the night was the main event, as it should be. However, this was still not up to the level of the talent involved. This match could have gotten plenty more time to deliver.

    Someday, Rollins vs. Mysterio will be a fantastic pay-per-view match. For now, it looks like the plan is to build the resistance to Rollins and his monsters. Joe is the latest addition, and it will be great to get him back in the action.

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