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WWE Raw live results: John Cena returns on Christmas Day


The Big Takeaway --

New Tag Team Champions were crowned in the main event as Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan defeated Cesaro & Sheamus. That came after a storyline that questioned whether Rollins & Jordan would be able to work together or not after arguing backstage.

Roman Reigns is still Intercontinental Champion after getting disqualified against Samoa Joe, Asuka announced herself for the women's Royal Rumble and laid out Alexa Bliss with a kick, and John Cena's return was relatively uneventful as he took on Elias.

Show Recap --

- John Cena’s music hit to open the show. He found a child in the crowd and gave him his T-shirt and hat. The crowd chanted “Merry Christmas” at Cena, with him saying it’s the first time we’ve heard the chant. He called WWE his family and was going to say something until he was interrupted by Elias’ guitar strumming.

Elias asked Cena what WWE stands for, then said it’s “Walk With Elias.” He asked the crowd if they want to walk with him, which brought on a “Yes” chant after an initial mixed reaction.  The audience chanted “CM Punk,” and Elias said Punk isn’t going to interrupt him. Cena replied that Chicagoans love their fellow Chicagoans and said the crowd should have their fun. They continued to chant for Punk and Cena welcomed Elias to Chicago.

The lights dimmed after some brief back and forth between Elias and Cena. Elias said he had a special Christmas song and told everyone not to interrupt him, but he just got more chants for Punk. Elias blamed Cena and began to sing. He was booed, then sang about Chicago being the worst place to spend his holiday.

Cena complimented Elias’ musical ability but criticized him for always calling people jerks. Cena said they’re not the jerks, Elias is being one. Elias thought about it and admitted that he may have been being a jerk. He sang again, saying he can’t think of a better place to spend his holidays and telling Cena to take it away. When Cena started singing, Elias left him laying with a cheap shot.

Elias claimed that both Christmas and Chicago are overrated and continued to attack Cena. He challenged Cena to a match and it was made official.

John Cena defeated Elias

Cena won with the Attitude Adjustment after hitting his shoulder blocks and the five-knuckle shuffle. Elias maintained control throughout much of the match, with him regaining the upper hand whenever Cena would get hope spots in.

- A video package aired recapping Samoa Joe's issues with Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose.

- Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins appeared in Kurt Angle's office. They both wanted to face Samoa Joe, but Angle mentioned that they'll have to go through Cesaro and Sheamus first. Jordan and Rollins bickered about teaming together, including Jordan calling it a step backwards from his singles career. Angle said he loved the intensity and announced Rollins & Jordan challenging Cesaro & Sheamus for the Raw Tag Team titles for later.

Reigns then appeared. Angle said Reigns will face Joe in an Intercontinental title match tonight.

- Charly Caruso interviewed Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher in the ring. Kendrick is facing Hideo Itami next, and Kendrick said he wanted to find out if Itami was all hype or not.

Hideo Itami defeated Brian Kendrick

Itami hit the GTS to win after a fairly short, non-squash match. There wasn’t much of a reaction for Itami using the GTS in Chicago. He was put over strong on commentary and it was noted that he created the move.

- After a video package on last week’s announcement of the first women’s Royal Rumble match, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel sang a Christmas carol to Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James backstage about missing The Miz. Banks, Bayley, and James just walked away after it was over.

Absolution (Paige, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville) defeated Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James

The heels isolated Banks for a long time, which came after she took a great bump on an impressive clothesline from Deville on the outside. Banks made the hot tag to Bayley, who came in and ran wild. She hit the Bayley-to-Belly on Paige, but Rose and Deville pulled their partner out of the ring. Paige hit the RamPaige for the win after cutting Bayley off when Bayley went to the top.

- After Dean Ambrose's injury was recapped, Renee Young interviewed Samoa Joe about it in the back. Joe said he has no remorse about the injury. He said Ambrose can be at home with the people he loves during the holidays, which led to a (purposeful) awkward second of silence with Young. Joe promised to beat Reigns tonight and become Intercontinental Champion.

Before the interview, Cole established WWE's storyline timetable for Ambrose's absence by saying he could be out for nine months.

Kane defeated Heath Slater (w/ Rhyno)

Video of a promo aired while Slater and Rhyno were entering where Slater said it’s been a rough Christmas for his kids because Angle threatened he and Rhyno’s jobs last week. Rhyno said he didn’t -- he said Slater needs to toughen up and Rhyno is going to make that happen.

Rhyno attempted to encourage Slater and kept him from walking away at one point. Slater was able to briefly fight back, but Kane laid him out with a strike and pinned him after a chokeslam. Rhyno checked on Slater and tried to fight Kane off after an attack, but Kane hit a chokeslam on him as well.

- Curt Hawkins was in the ring when he got back from commercial. He said the year isn’t over yet and he can feel a Christmas miracle in the air tonight. He issued an open challenged, saying his 146 match losing streak is going to come to an end. That brought out Finn Balor to face him.

Finn Balor defeated Curt Hawkins

Taking Hawkins to 147 straight losses, Balor won quickly with the Coup de Grace after Hawkins had tried to start the match of the offensive and tried a couple of pins.

- Axel and Dallas sang a Christmas carol to Goldust backstage where they were critical of his career, then gave him a copy of “Santa’s Little Helper.” (starring The Miz). Goldust gifted it to Titus O’Neil as O’Neil walked by with Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke.

- Bray Wyatt was shown on the video screen talking about how Sister Abigail always hated Christmas. He said Matt Hardy was the type or person who made her hate it. Wyatt said he was here and made his entrance.

Matt Hardy attacked Wyatt when he got into the ring and the lights came on. The crowd chanted “Delete” and Hardy led them by doing the motion. He got on the mic and said “Yeeeeesssss,” laughed, and made noises at Wyatt (who was on the ramp) until the segment ended.

- Cesaro and Sheamus complained about having to defend their titles on Christmas. Sheamus gave Cesaro a Dean Ambrose action figure with a missing arm for Christmas. Cesaro gave Sheamus a Rollins figure, with Sheamus saying he can’t wait to break it. Sheamus also got a Jason Jordan figure, and Cesaro said Rollins doesn’t want Jordan as a partner and Angle doesn’t want him as a son.

Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali & Akira Tozawa defeated Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight

Amore was dressed as Santa Claus and Gulak and Daivari were his elves. Amore cut his promo before the match started, saying he was there to spread Christmas cheer to people who had a terrible day like Alexander. Amore said Alexander didn’t get the one thing he wanted -- Amore’s Cruiserweight Championship.

It was announced that Alexander would get his shot at Amore’s title next week.

There were Christmas trees and presents around the ring. Tozawa and Ali did dives onto Gulak and Daivari as we went to break right when this started, then some of the weapons were in the ring when we came back. Ali hit an imploding 450 on Daivari and had it won until Gulak hit him with a cookie sheet. Alexander threatened Amore with a candy cane pole, hit Gulak with it, then pinned Daivari with the Lumbar Check.

- There was another backstage segment with Amore and Nia Jax. They noticed they were under mistletoe and went to kiss, but Alexa Bliss came running in and said she had to talk to Jax about the women’s Royal Rumble match. Jax left, with Amore angrily wishing Bliss a Merry Christmas.

- Renee Young interviewed Reigns backstage. He said he’s the champion, is going to leave Chicago with his title, and he doesn’t care what Joe has to say. Reigns noted that tonight is about Dean Ambrose and said if you hurt one of his brothers, he’ll hurt you.

Samoa Joe defeated Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns by DQ

Near the finish, Joe got a near fall with a uranage and brought Reigns to the ground with the Coquina Clutch but Reigns was able to reach for the ropes. Joe followed up with an elbow through the middle ropes to the outside. He tried to wear Reigns down, but Reigns fought back with strikes. The referee tried to keep Reigns from striking Joe in the corner, but Reigns wouldn’t stop and the referee called for the disqualification.

After Reigns was disqualified, he hit Joe with a Superman Punch in the ring and kept attacking him outside of it. Reigns tried to get retribution for Ambrose by focusing on Joe’s arm. Reigns threw him arm-first into the posts and hit him with the steel steps. The crowd chanted for Reigns to do it one more time, and Reigns hit him in the arm with the steps again.

Reigns grabbed a steel chair and attempted to hit Joe’s arm with it while the arm was against the post, but Joe was able to get away just in time.

- Rollins and Jordan talked backstage. Rollins was focused on Cesaro and Sheamus and said this can’t be one of the times where Jordan says he came close. Jordan said he’s not a bad replacement for Ambrose. Rollins replied that Jordan will never be as good as Ambrose, and Jordan said that he’ll be better.

Braun Strowman defeated Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas

Axel and Dallas were in the ring and talked about having a “Secret Santa” match where they didn’t know who their opponent was. They started to sing “Jingle Bells” before Strowman’s music interrupted them.