WWE RAW PRIMER 12/16: TLC Fallout, A Phenomenal Clash with a Viper, Rollins & AOP Begin Their Alliance, Andrade-Zelina Vega, Rusev-Lashley, Is the Beast Around?


DECEMBER 16, 2019

Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Samoa Joe

Arena, Top 10 Moments from Last Week, TLC Results Pertinent to Raw, and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Raw returns to the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. After making an appearance in April of this year following WrestleMania. The building opened in 2005 and started hosting WWE events two years later.

Here are the top 10 moments of last week’s Raw:

TLC is now behind us and we head towards the holidays before gearing up for January, which signals that the Royal Rumble is around the corner. Here are the results of TLC pertinent to Raw:

  • Humberto Carrillo defeated Andrade on the kickoff show
  • Aleister Black defeated Buddy Murphy
  • The Viking Raiders retained the Raw Tag Team Championship over Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson of the O.C. The two teams wrestled to a double count out.
  • Bobby Lashley defeated Rusev in a tables match.
  • The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) retained the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship over Charlotte Flair & Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch

I am writing this before WWE puts up their official preview. There is one known match in Randy Orton vs. A.J. Styles. They’ve advertised Seth Rollins and AOP starting their “reign” in a commercial on Smackdown. I’ll preview those items as well as what would appear to be the situations in which WWE will follow up on coming out of TLC

Matches and Segments

Randy Orton vs. A.J. Styles

It’s been quite the few weeks for A.J. Styles and Randy Orton. Styles blames Orton for losing the U.S. Championship to Rey Mysterio several weeks ago. Last week, at the close of Raw, Styles challenged Rey for the title. He came up short when Orton interfered and winked sarcastically, distracting him from putting away Rey. Styles and his O.C. partners Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson had this to say about Orton in a WWE.com exclusive:

During Smackdown the other night, it was announced that Orton and Styles would go one on one tonight. They last had a match at WrestleMania earlier in the year, which was won by Styles. The roles were reversed then as Styles was a babyface and Orton was a heel.

Frank’s Analysis: I like this for a TV feud and curious to see where it goes. It always good to see an old school grudge feud not over a title. With the O.C. involved and TV time to fill though it’s not crazy to imagine this ballooning into a six-man tag match. Given Gallows and Anderson and the Viking Raiders worked to a double count out last night, that could also be part of this. Here’s Gallows and Anderson in a WWE.com exclusive:

Storyline Follow-Up

Seth Rollins and AOP

Last week on Raw, it was revealed that Seth Rollins was aligned with AOP (Akam and Rezar). He continued to deny it to Kevin Owens when they were in the ring while AOP was arriving in an SUV simultaneously. Rollins left and so did Owens after a confrontation with Mojo Rawley and his new “liberator” Sami Zayn.

Later in the show, Owens started smashing the SUV and opened the back door. AOP attacked him from behind, and then Rollins revealed himself as he was hiding in a chair in the back of the vehicle. He apologized that it “came to this,” and Curb-stomped Owens. Rollins went to the ring and cut a promo talking about how hard he has worked, beating Brock Lesnar twice, but it wasn’t enough. He then revealed his alliance with AOP.

This isn’t the the first time Rollins has had an alliance behind him. He came up with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in 2012 and formed the Shield. He turned on them almost two years later and joined the Authority led by Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon. He was with them for a little over two years until ironically, Triple H cost him the Universal Championship in favor of Kevin Owens. He then reformed the Shield on and off until Ambrose’s departure earlier this year. It’s expected Rollins and AOP will further establish their alliance starting tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: They didn’t need to further drag out Rollins’ heel turn, but there were a few more chapters to be told in forming the alliance with AOP. That along with the segment happening backstage might have led to the mild reaction in the Rollins reveal. At the end of the day, everyone is where they need to be, and I look forward to how this alliance grows. AOP can be the muscle for Rollins.

What’s Happening with Andrade and Zelina Vega

Last week on Raw, Humberto Carrillo defeated Andrade when Vega tried to get involved and it backfired when Andrade knocked her off the apron by accident. They went at it in a WWE.com exclusive where Sarah Schreiber talked to them You can see Vega thinks they’re fine. Also, take a look at Carrillo being interviewed in another exclusive:


Last night on the kickoff show, Carrillo defeated Andrade again. The same spot that cost Andrade the win on Raw nearly happened again, but Vega got out of the way. Andrade was still angry with Vega and walked away from the ring without her. As a result of the social media post and the fact that they’ve argued two shows in a row, and Carrillo questioning Vega’s motives, we can expect more on this tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: I wouldn’t rule out a double turn with Carrillo being managed by Vega. While I like Carrillo, I think he’s a little too plain vanilla for me and a mouthpiece could serve him well. Now they could be going for the plain, authentic side of him and if that’s what they want, then fine you don’t have to turn him. Still, I think it could work with Carrillo and Vega. I would be curious to see Andrade as a babyface.

Is the Rusev-Bobby Lashley-Lana Situation Over?

After uncomfortable kissing, restaurant brawls, Lana faking pregnancies, yelling back and forth, restraining orders, arrests, and divorce proceedings Bobby Lashley defeated Rusev in a tables match at TLC last night. Before the match on the kickoff show, Lana avoided questions from David Otunga and Charly Caruso and said that Lashley would crush Rusev.

During the match Lana did her best to interfere by pulling a table away from Rusev when he tried to use it on Lashley and jumping on his back towards the end of the match. Lashley suplexed Rusev onto a table to pick up the win. After the match, Lana and Lashley were interviewed in a WWE.com exclusive:

We’ll see if there’s more to this feud tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: Am I crazy because I actually wanted to see this match? I didn’t want to feel this way, but when the match arrived, I didn’t mind seeing it. Say what you want about Lana & Lashley, but they’ve come off unlikable which is their jobs as heels. In a time where heels are getting cheered, it’s nice to see them getting booed for their actions and what they say. I don’t see Rusev being in a better or worse place as a result of this feud.

Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch and the Kabuki Warriors

In the main event of TLC, the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) retained their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship defeating Charlotte Flair & Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch in a TLC match. They did so when Asuka pulled Becky off the ladder by tugging it with a rope. She then climbed the ladder and retrieved the championship belts. Following the match, they cut to a brawl that had been going on between Roman Reigns and King Corbin from Smackdown. The brawl involved heels and babyfaces from both Raw and Smackdown. It ended with Reigns spearing Corbin off one a stage onto a pile of wrestlers.

What does Reigns and Corbin have to do with the Women’s Tag Team Championship situation? It has absolutely nothing to do with it, but that’s what happened. Becky still has a “debt” to collect which is avenging her loss to Asuka at the Royal Rumble last year. We can expect follow up on this. She interestingly complimented Kairi on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis: They’re still going somewhere with Becky and Charlotte. It’s hard to say what that is, given a lot of people think Becky is eventually headed towards something with Shayna Baszler at WrestleMania. Perhaps they turn Charlotte again (eye roll) and they feud during WrestleMania season. Who knows, but this whole love/hate frenemy partnership is not over.

Do We See WWE Champion Brock Lesnar?

This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if we see Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman tonight as we get ready to close out 2019 and head towards the Royal Rumble. With Christmas being next week and New Year’s approaching, I would think they’d want to get him out there one more time and at least give us an idea of whom he may be facing at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship. I don’t know and actually doubt this has any significance in reference to the Rumble, but here’s UFC fighter Daniel Cormier being interviewed on BT Sport:

Other Matches and Segments from Last Week Not Followed Up on at TLC

  • Drew McIntyre defeated Matt Hardy. According to Matt’s Twitter account he will be on the show tonight.
  • The Viking Raiders retained the Raw Tag Team Championship over the Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford).
  • Aleister Black defeated Akira Tozawa
  • A vignette aired advertising a Liv Morgan makeover. She has not been on the show since being drafted.
  • Buddy Murphy defeated Zack Ryder.
  • Erick Rowan won another squash match. His opponent tried to steal the cage with whatever Rowan has got in there.

Summary & Closing Thoughts

We’re heading towards the holidays, so I don’t expect much to be going on until the new year. They’ll do some stuff to keep things interesting, but I don’t expect anything major until we get closer to the Rumble. They’ll probably continue feuds and tie up some loose ends, and then get ready to gear up for WrestleMania season. Last night’s TLC was overall a good show, but they still do things to tick people off (no babyfaces helping Reigns in his match, cutting away from the main event instantaneously, another poor match from Bray Wyatt).

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Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.

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