Last night's edition of Monday Night Raw was a special holiday themed episode that centered around Santa Claus and his attempt to bring a bit of holiday cheer to the WWE Universe. As WWE fans have come to expect however, not everything happened according to plan.
So what was good, what was bad and what was just plain strange about last night's special Christmas Raw?
1) Raw's opening segment was one of the most entertaining openers in recent memory. In case you missed the show, after the usual announcer introductions, Santa Claus came out to a warm greeting from the crowd. He then began making his way to the crowd barrier to pass out presents.
Alberto Del Rio's music then hit, and Ricardo Rodriguez came out to announce the Mexican aristocrat. Del Rio then came out in an expensive looking car (as per his usual entrance) and accidentally hit Santa, who careened off his hood. Rodriguez and Del Rio then freaked out as medical personnel came out and attended to Santa Claus. After a quick commercial break, there was even a crime scene set up around the scene of the accident.
Sure, it was a bit campy and really cheesy, but it was hilarious. When it comes to WWE and humor, it is really hit and miss. This bit however, was awesome.
2) The overall gimmick of the show was surprisingly funny, and quite enjoyable. Normally episodes of Raw with such glaring themes are just too much, but the humor was pulled off very well on Raw last night. The best parts were the fact that Cole and Lawler were somber and able to keep the straightest of faces when giving Santa condition updates, and Cena turning into a Santa avenging machine that culminated in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight against Del Rio that involved lots of present themed foreign objects. Santa even got some Christmas revenge on Del Rio in the form of a mandible claw.
3) Big Show vs. Sheamus in a LumberJack Frost match was an overall solid match. It isn't often that we see lumberjack matches, and Sheamus and Big Show (whose matches are always incredibly physical) are the perfect wrestlers to fight in such a brawl.
4) David Otunga got some time to play up his slimy lawyer character. David Otunga isn't the best wrestler in the WWE, not by a long shot. However, his sneaky lawyer character is an all around pure heel, and Otunga plays it naturally and perfectly. In a time where cookie cutter bad guys run rampant, heel characters like Damian Sandow and David Otunga stand out because they are so easy to hate. Hopefully as time goes on and Otunga gets more in ring experience, he is given a chance to run with his gimmick.
5) Kane and Daniel Bryan exchange Christmas presents. There isn't much to say beyond that. If you have been following Raw since Team Hell No's inception, you will know how hilarious the team is. Their dialogue back and forth as they give each other gifts was genuinely funny. The best part was when Kane thanked Bryan for giving him a puppy by saying he was hungry.
6) Ryback announced that if Punk is medically cleared in time for their match for the WWE Title on the first Raw of the New Year, that it will be a TLC match. This was incredibly exciting news. It's not often that matches like that air on TV, and if the past confrontations between Ryback and Punk are any indication we are in for a good match.
1) The Christmas carol sung by wrestlers at the beginning of the show was way too cheesy. Overall the theme of the show was awesome, but not that song. It was just too much. Listening to Ryback sing about not eating enough red meat was just terrible.
2) The divas match (Kaitlyn, Layla, Alicia Fox and Natalya vs. Eve, Rosa Mendes, Aksana and Tamina Snuka) was boring and predictable, like all divas matches. Granted, it's not the divas fault. Most shows they're only allowed a couple minutes worth of match time. Still, the division has grown stagnant. The WWE needs to call up a few divas from NXT (specifically Paige) and breathe some new life into the female wrestler roster.
3) The segments where Dolph Ziggler and AJ spend Christmas Eve together doing couple stuff made absolutely no sense. Dolph Ziggler's deal is that he is a cocky ladies man who has no problem picking up chicks, and steals people's girlfriends left and right. It's even written on his shirt.
So, why does it seem that Ziggler and AJ are heading towards a romance? Their kiss should have been a one-time deal that led to Vickie and Ziggler splitting up and then ended, not continuing as it has. Ziggler is smart; he knows what has happened to every wrestler AJ has gotten involved with. He needs to move on from AJ before she costs him his Money in the Bank.
1) Zack Ryder had an entrance, and he was given time to talk. Then, he had a match. Which he won! Every few weeks it seems as if Zack Ryder gets on a roll, wins a couple matches and gets some TV time. Then, the next week he is jobbing to people like Wade Barrett or Del Rio and doesn't even get a chance to mount an offense.
Zack Ryder is clearly one of the most beloved wrestlers to the WWE Universe. The WWE needs to figure out if they're going to push him or not, and stop these constant back and forth motions. They make no sense, and it isn't fair to the fans (let alone Zack Ryder).
2) The lack of The Shield on Raw was a bit strange. The Shield had the perfect opportunity for some quick and easy heat. Run out when Santa makes his comeback from being hit by Del Rio's car, and attack him on the entrance ramp. They could have even justified it by saying that Del Rio was wrongly forced into the match because he accidentally hit Santa. The crowd would have gone nuts. Who is honestly heartless enough to beat up Santa on purpose?
Instead, the trio was suspiciously absent. Seems like a missed opportunity by WWE creative.
What did you think of Monday Night Raw's holiday special? What were your favorite and least favorite parts? Comment below.