WWE live events are always a lot of fun because the performers don’t have the pressure or constraints of live TV and can just enjoy themselves. If you don’t want to take my word for it, watch Elias and Finn Balor having a ball covering ‘Shallow” from a live event this weekend.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with pro wrestling, Finn Balor is the man in the red underpants made almost entirely of ab muscles. Elias is the homeless looking man with a giant scarf who is surprisingly great at music. Don’t ever change, WWE.
WWE Raw was live on Christmas day for the first time ever last night. John Cena made his Raw return in the opening segment with the criminally underrated Elias. Plus, Asuka confronted Alexa Bliss, Roman Reigns fought Samoa Joe and The Bar defended their tag team titles. Here are the five stars from the 12/25/17 edition of WWE Raw.
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5. Elias Plus A Little Bit Of John Cena
Before I get into why I love Elias so much, I want to point out the greatness of John Cena the person. His character has always been too inconsistent for my tastes, but he’s clearly a great guy. The latest example of that is last night on Raw, when he gave a kid in the crowd the shirt off his back. It’s a small gesture to Cena but probably meant the world to that kid and his dad. That it happened on live TV on Christmas made it all the more special. Before Cena could get too hokey he was interrupted by Elias, who is becoming my favorite part of Raw.
Elias has his character figured out better than anybody else on the show, and he’s starting to get rewarded for it. While it would have been nice for him to win, beating John Cena on Christmas isn’t going to happen. Elias still got the first 30+ minutes of the show with Cena and lost a highly competitive match. He got to shut down a CM Punk in Chicago, even though Cena’s insistence on blowing the Chicago crowd was infuriating. He continues to improve on the microphone and in the ring, and has risen to the occasion with every big name they’ve put him with. The key moving forward for him is continued momentum, so hopefully he continues to be featured in important segments.
4. Hideo Itami
Hideo Itami made his main roster debut last week and continued to impress against Brian Kendrick last night. It’s only a matter of time before he’s challenging for the cruiserweight title, and I hope it’s against Enzo. Cedric Alexander gets hit title shot next week, but I think the Zo Train will be able to assist Enzo in retaining the title. Itami destroying Enzo would be a lot of fun to watch and Itami might actually knee his head clean off his shoulders. Bonus points to Itami for performing the GTS in Chicago.
3. Samoa Joe
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) December 26, 2017
If Samoa Joe is featured on Raw, there’s a solid chance he’s going to make this list. Last night was no exception, as he challenged Roman Reigns for the IC title. Joe had a quick but great pre- match interview with Renee Young where he talked about injuring Dean Ambrose. Dean will be out for nine months, and Joe said at least he’s home enjoying the holiday with the ones he loves. He said this to Renee Young, Dean’s real life wife. That’s a next level dickhead move.
The match was very good, as are all Reigns/Joe matches. The DQ finish is always frustrating, but I’ll take that over Joe losing clean. Reigns defending the IC title on a regular basis is always great, especially when it’s against true threats like Joe. With Rollins & Jordan winning the tag titles, Reigns will continue to be a singles star. The Reigns/Lesnar showdown should begin after the Rumble, so it’ll be interesting to see if Roman keeps the IC belt. There are no shortage of guys who could run with the title if Reign loses it, and Joe is near the top of that list.
Asuka officially entered the women’s Royal Rumble last night, and her winning should be the biggest no brainer of 2018. She’s been running in place since debuting on Raw, but Rumble/WrestleMania season is the time to let her loose. The most dominant woman on the roster should be the one to win the first ever women’s Rumble. From there you can have her stalk Alexa Bliss, who still has Nia Jax in her corner. Nia would be able to shift the odds in Alexa’s favor just enough to make the feud competitive. If the women’s division goes any other route but Asuka winning the Rumble and the title at WrestleMania they’re out of their goddamn minds.
1. New Tag Team Champions
With the length of Dean Ambrose’s injury confirmed, WWE pulled their favorite audible. Whenever someone is injured and gets replaced by someone else, there’s a good chance the new person is winning. Zack Ryder won the IC title as a last minute fill in at WrestleMania 32. More recently, Cedric Alexander won the #1 contender spot after Rich Swann was arrested. While those decisions have good shock value, they’re not always the best move for the story. In this case, I think Jordan and Rollins winning the tag titles could work.
Jason Jordan keeps getting opportunities, and although Kurt Angle insists it’s not because he’s his son, it’s getting harder to believe that. Jordan is consistently put in high profile matches and is being rewarded for being a complainer. He finally came through last night, and now he and Rollins are the tag team champions. I’m on board for this IF Jordan continues to perfect his character of a freak in the ring who doesn’t necessarily deserve all the chances he’s getting. I think the best story to tell moving forward would be for Jordan to get a big head from finally winning, which causes issues with Rollins. If WWE is committed to turning Jordan bad, back stabbing Rollins would be the best way to get there.