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Merry Christmas … BROTHER. The Yuletide season got a taste of where the power lies when Hulk Hogan arrived in the garb of Kris Kringle to bring merry mayhem to the WWE Universe. John Cena, for one, was more excited than Buddy the Elf in Macy’s, and he wasted no time in delivering his Christmas wish to Santa With Muscles: a piece of payback against Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, and everyone who colluded against him the previous week. Of course, Seth Rollins showed up to play the proverbial lump of coal, but Hulkamania ran wilder than a pack of reindeer on him when the night’s host decreed Cena and Rollins would square off then and there in the first match of the night.
If redemption is on John Cena’s Christmas list, he can cross that one off. Thanks to the benevolence of Ho Ho Hogan, the 15-time World Champion got his rematch with Seth Rollins, who picked the wrong day to antagonize Kris Kringle and the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion. At first, Rollins seemed to have the bout firmly in hand, though his furious opening was thwarted when Cena tossed him full-on into J&J Security and gave Mr. Money in the Bank a taste of his mat-eating medicine with a top-rope legdrop. J&J’s timely recovery gave Rollins one last chance to walk away with the win, but Cena countered with a double Attitude Adjustment to the outmuscled stooges and a second AA to Rollins for the win.
It took a bit to get going, but the new and improved Fandango finally has a win worthy of his self-imposed pedigree, not to mention a solid rebound after getting his lights punched out a pair of times by Roman Reigns last week. Fandango looked rough in the beginning against Jack Swagger, who’s hungry for a win of his own of late and, in fact, has a lingering bone to pick with Fandango. A Swagger Bomb pancaked the studly Superstar, though like any dancer worth his salt, Fandango found his footing with a pair of kicks to The Real American’s head, and a top-rope leg drop moments later
Party’s over: Adam Rose’s reckless gallivant through the WWE Universe came screeching to an uncharacteristically lemony halt in Minneapolis when Rose — looking to recapture the happy-go-lucky spirit of his Raw debut — instead danced his way right into a roll-up pin from R-Truth. The Bunny (stuck in a neck brace thanks to Kane) went to comfort his buddy and was beaten to a pulp by a furious Rose, who barely restrained himself from taking out some other Rosebuds on his way out the door. Bah humbug.
In the battle of Roman Reigns and Big Show, it’s the 2014 Superstar of the Year who has struck first. With Reigns and Show finally getting a crack at each other after a week of insults and pre-emptive volleys, both big men wasted no time in laying into each other with reckless abandon. Sheer power gave Big Show an early leg up, though a timely comeback by Reigns knocked the giant out of the ring and the former WWE Tag Team Champion capitalized with a Superman Punch that sent Show tumbling over the announce table. The Big Dog made it back to the ring by the count of 10, but smart money says this battle is far from over.
Another win for Natalya, and a bit of payback against Nikki Bella to boot. The Queen of Harts, who last week knocked off both Bella Twins in a tag team match but got an iffy aftertaste thanks to Tyson Kidd’s questionable charity, got a singles win over Brie that continued her run of good fortune. She pulled it off despite a pair of running knees to the face that left the former Divas Champion seeing stars for minutes on end, though Brie waited too long to finish Natalya off and had her roll-up reversed as a result. The cherry on top came when Nikki (whose hat, for what it's worth, Tyson ended up wearing) ran to her sister’s aid (or perhaps to distract Kidd anew) and Natalya knocked her off the apron before laying hands on Nikki’s Divas Title. Might Lady Bella have a challenger in waiting?
With all the Yuletide cheer going around, it’s no surprise the perpetually surly Gold & Stardust are looking to play Grinch. If only Rudolph hadn’t come around to rain on their parade. And by Rudolph, of course, we mean El Torito, who joined Los Matadores in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match in the guise of Santa’s most famous reindeer. Torito was all over the match, plaguing Stardust in the beginning and playing an inadvertent role in the finale when Goldust accidentally swung him into Stardust’s head. An anguished Bizarre One was left vulnerable to a Backstabber and springboard moonsault from Torito for the victory. Feliz Navidad.
It appears Dolph Ziggler’s holiday gift is nothing less than a do-over: In his rematch against Luke Harper for the Intercontinental Title, “Zig Man” suffered the same fate — a before-the-bell beating that left him staggered — that befell him the night he lost the illustrious prize to Harper in the first place. The ghosts of Christmas past didn’t quite catch up to Ziggler, who somehow kicked into turbo after a ruthless pasting from Harper that included a face-first slam into the table, a Michinoku Driver and a discus clothesline retaliation to Ziggler’s desperation superkick. When Ziggler finally got his legs under him, though, Harper was completely taken aback. Two superkicks and a Zig Zag toppled the bog monster and earned The Showoff the retention. Is it a Christmas miracle? Debatable. But it’s damn close.
WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is best known for changing the questions when you think you know the answers. But who knew he was into the giving spirit as well? Hot Rod was about five minutes away from catching a beating courtesy of Rusev and Lana on a tense “Piper’s Pit” when he paraded out the Russians’ Christmas present, complete with a bow. That, of course, turned out to be Ryback, who really did have a bow plastered across his massive chest and delivered a season’s beating to The Super Athlete unlike any Rusev had suffered previously. That Rusev escaped in one piece truly is proof that even those on the naughty list get away with one once in a while.
It’s a holiday tradition that the Divas get into the Christmas spirit and mix it up in a specially themed match, and 2014 did not disappoint in that regard. Under the banner of a Santa’s Helpers Six Divas Tag Team Match, the Divas helped themselves to a surprisingly aggressive bout given the festive atmosphere, with Paige and Naomi in particular bringing out the heavy hitting as the ladies battled for bragging rights. Alicia Fox was by far the most prepared, however, hooking a game Cameron mid–roll-up and planting her on to the mat to bring one home for St. Nick.
The Miz has a Christmas bounty on his head thanks to Jimmy Uso, who’s had a less-than-enthusiastic response to Miz’s dealings alongside his wife Naomi. The Awesome One, however, managed to evade the attacks of Jimmy’s brother Jey in singles action on Raw thanks to a bit of well-timed villainy that not even Damien Mizdow could overshadow. While Miz has taken a backseat to his stunt double as far as popularity contests go, he’s got Mizdow beat in terms of pure, killer instinct. A back-and-forth affair was settled only when Miz rolled up Jey’s roll-up and seized a handful of his trunks to claim the win. Not exactly awesome, but definitely well-played.
Before his Miracle on 34th Street Fight against Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt claimed that safety was an illusion. Despite an ultimate victory, that sentiment, apparently, extended to his own well-being. The Lunatic Fringe came bearing the gift of pain and was not shy about unloading his agonizing variety of stocking stuffers against The Eater of Worlds in the latest chapter of WWE’s most bonkers rivalry in years. While Ambrose was his usual, maniacal self (though he understandably stopped short of weaponizing a TV), positioning Wyatt on a table for a wreath-draped elbow dropped, Wyatt certainly stepped up his own madness in the face of the former U.S. Champion. The Eater of Worlds tossed Ambrose through a table of (cue Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) cookies and hurled him face-first through a pair of Christmas trees.
A thwacking from a candy-striped Kendo stick seemed to jar Ambrose out of his stupor, and he roared back into the advantage with a clothesline that flattened Wyatt to the mat. He followed with a chair-assisted elbow drop that added salt to the wound. It was a face-first trip into Kendo stick wedged into the turnbuckle that spelled Ambrose’s ultimate doom, though The Lunatic Fringe got immediate payback for his loss by finally dropping that elbow on The Eater of Worlds through the table. There was no wreath around his neck, but it was a nice cherry on top.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- John Cena defeated Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) (15:40)
- Fandango (w/ Rosa Mendes) defeated Jack Swagger (2:03)
- R-Truth defeated Adam Rose (0:54)
- Roman Reigns defeated The Big Show by Count Out (4:23)
- Natalya (w/ Tyson Kidd) defeated Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) (3:20)
- Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) & El Torito defeated Gold & Stardust (3:33)
- Dolph Ziggler (c) defeated Luke Harper to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (11:20)
- Naomi, Alicia Fox & Emma defeated Cameron, Paige & Summer Rae in a Santa's Little Helpers Match (4:18)
- The Miz (w/ Damien Mizdow) defeated Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso) (3:30)
- Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight Match (21:23)
Other on-screen talent