The Big Takeaway:
At least it was a newsworthy show, which had some good ideas on paper. In practice, they weren't executed well tonight. Sheamus has formed a new heel unit with King Barrett, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio called the League of Nations. They won in the main event, which needlessly also included the New Day on its side to beat Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and the Usos. Charlotte teased a heel turn after faking a knee injury to beat her friend Becky Lynch. And Lana reemerged as a heel, doing a complete reset of her character since February.
The New Day came out with confetti and red carpeting like they were going to throw a party. They were there to introduce Sheamus as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Of course, Sheamus thanked the Authority. He also thanked Roman Reigns. New Day pretended they couldn't remember Reigns' 5-minute championship reign, with Xavier Woods mentioning they were playing Street Fighter and heard something about it.
Sheamus said if Reigns' hadn't savored the moment after winning the belt, he would have seen Sheamus coming. They all laughed over Reigns' being champion for 5 minutes and 15 seconds, which I think is the average length a Raw viewer stays around before they turn to the football game. Sheamus said you can have Austin 3:16, because Sheamus 5:15 said I just kicked your arse. Not much heat for Sheamus as a top heel, probably because he's booked as the new Seth Rollins.
As Sheamus held up the belt, Reigns showed up, gave him the Superman punch and took the championship belt. Michael Cole and JBL had moments of awkward silence trying to get this angle over without saying the word "belt." It's like a game of "Password" on national television where "belt" is the clue but the announcers can't say it. Somebody get these people a thesaurus.
Reigns showed off the belt to Dean Ambrose and the Usos when HHH and Stephanie McMahon showed up. HHH wanted the belt back. Reigns gave the belt back. Well, that gimmick was great. HHH said Sheamus wanted to face Reigns for the title tonight. Reigns jumped at that chance. Stephanie said the catch was Reigns could only win the title if he beats Reigns in under 5:15. Maybe they could call that a Quadrophenia Death Match. (Only fans of the Who will get that. Hate to go all Dennis Miller on you.)
Dolph Ziggler defeated Tyler Breeze (10:33)
There traded a series of about ten cradles in a row, all for two counts. After Dolph Ziggler kicked out of a schoolboy cradle by Tyler Breeze, Ziggler hit a Superkick for the win. Once again, Breeze's ring entrance didn't air in lieu of Cole talking about the main event. If they aren't going to give Breeze the full trappings of his character, why bring him up from NXT? Pretty good match.
MizTV featured Rusev with Lana, making her return after her engagement to Rusev was publicly acknowledged. This was weird. Miz said Rusev had to be upset nursing injuries that forced him to miss the WWE World Heavyweight title tournament. Rusev missed the tournament because of injury? When was this acknowledged? Rusev said there was one person who had been there for him while he was injured, and it was Lana.
Lana came out dressed like she was a heel again. She lost her 1980s Great White video wardrobe. Even stranger, Miz said Rusev made Lana "Summer Rae 2.0." Wasn't it the other way around? Lana said she never went all the way with Ziggler. Crowd chanted "Yes, you did." Lana said all the turmoil only made them a stronger couple. Rusev said he never went all the way with Summer. Crowd...ibid. Rusev said from now on, he will break people apart in the ring, but out of the ring his heart belonged to Lana. They started making out in the ring for a very long period of time unti Ryback came out.
Ryback said this wasn't an episode of "Teen Wolf" and the big guy was hungry. This set up a match.
Ryback defeated Rusev via countout (1:44)
Ryback shoulder blocked Rusev into the ring steps, which slammed into Lana's leg. Lana went down immediately. Even though he realized the count was on by the referee, Rusev stopped to check on Lana and got counted out. Rusev screamed at Ryback afterwards. A reminder that Rusev is supposed to be the heel here.
Ambrose met with HHH backstage. On Smackdown, Ambrose earned an Intercontinental Championship match by beating Kevin Owens in a nontitle match. HHH said if Reigns doesn't beat Sheamus tonight in 5:15, then Ambrose would lose his title shot with Owens. Ambrose looked mad. I'm not sure why since I-C champions usually job all the time.
The Dudley Boyz came out. Bubba Ray Dudley said last week was a tough one for them as they were beaten up twice by the Wyatt Family. By doing what they did to the Dudley's, Ray said the Wyatt Family had put their names on tables. Bubba unveiled tables with the names of each Wyatt Family member on them. Bubba challenged them to come out.
The Wyatts came out. Bray Wyatt accepted the Dudleys challenge, but said they should be careful to invite the devil into your backyard because he might like it and decide to stay.
Devon Dudley said the Wyatts had his family and they have theirs. This brought out Tommy Dreamer from the crowd. He brought out the typical trash can filled with weapons. Crowd chanted "ECW." Dreamer looked tanned and looked younger than earlier this year when he was in TNA.
The Dudley Boyz and Tommy Dreamer went to a double DQ with Eric Rowan, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman (3:30)
They got a six-way brawl going after Dreamer made the hot tag. Then the bell just sounded, which got the most heat in the match and not in a good way.
Braun Strowman put Dreamer in the head-and-arm choke while Rowan and Harper laid out the Dudleys. Wyatt ordered the heels to get the tables. As they did so, Bubba Ray got up and pushed Wyatt off the apron and through a table at ringside. Crowd popped and the heels were incensed their leader had gone through a table.
Zeb Coulter cut a promo before the match saying the fans were more concerned with Anne Hathaway's baby bump and social media than the country. Alberto Del Rio said Goldust was out of date and full of hate. Goldust popped him across the jaw. What is the purpose behind the Del Rio/Coulter pairing?
Alberto Del Rio (C) defeated Goldust in a nontitle match (1:57)
Del Rio pinned Golddust after the double stomp off the top rope as Golddust was on the Tree of Woe. Del Rio put Goldust in a flying armbar afterwards, leading to Jack Swagger coming out for the save and the "We the People" pledge.
Charlotte and Becky Lynch talked backstage. Lynch suggested they go to the Authority and ask for a singles match. Charlotte wasn't hot on the idea. Lynch suggested they have a match like they were on NXT again. Charlotte agreed. Ric Flair walked in for a cameo to trade catchphrases with his daughter.
Lucha Dragons and the Usos went to a Double DQ (2:53)
The New Day were on commentary. Big E. was funny as hell. He tried to talk like Michael Cole. He sounded like Tony Gwynn. Jey Uso did a tope on Sin Cara that nearly ended his career. Then Big E. and Kofi Kingston ran in for another Double DQ. Xavier Woods explained that since neither team won, the New Day wouldn't have to defend the tag team titles at TLC. Third screw job finish within an hour. On the other hand, it's really scary that Big E. was more entertaining on commentary in 2 minutes than Cole and JBL have been all year.
Stephanie met with Lucha Dragons and the Usos backstage. They wanted a three-way match with the New Day. Stephanie agreed to put Lucha Dragons in the match. She also agreed to include the Usos, but only if Reigns defeated Sheamus tonight.
Sasha Banks defeated Brie Bella via submission (4:58)
Sasha Banks pinned Brie Bella after a distraction from Naomi. Banks got the tapout with the Bank Statement after a Bakc Stabber. Earlier, Alicia Fox got laid out by a superkick from Naomi and was taken to the back. Announcers explained that Nikki Bella was at home nursing an injury, so Team BAD had Team Bella outnumbered.
Roman Reigns defeated Sheamus (C) by DQ so Sheamus retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (4:37)
Sheamus now has a "Sheamus 5:15" shirt to get heat. Crowd got into the match as the time ran down. To his credit, Sheamus played the time-killing heel very well. Sheamus constantly grabbed rest holds and rolled out of the ring whenever Reigns was on offense. Reigns finally got Sheamus in the ring set up for the spear, but Rusev showed up to jump Reigns for the DQ while Del Rio and King Barrett helped Sheamus out of the ring.
Sheamus fell all over Lillian Garcia's lap, and she didn't look happy about it at all. He introduced Del Rio, Barrett and Rusev as a heel stable called the League of Nations. Ambrose and the Usos hit the ring. Reigns delivered an uppercut on Sheamus to knock him into the League of Nations. They set up a eight-man tag for the main event.
For the record, since Reigns won, Ambrose and the Usos will get their title matches at TLC.
New Day did a commercial introducing New Day t-shirts as part of Cyber Monday. This was during the final hour of the show, which gave viewers two hours to get to their computers in time to take advantage of the discounts.
Charlotte (C) defeated Becky Lynch in a nontitle match (4:37)
Charlotte teased a heel turn by faking a knee injury after a float over in the corner. Flair distracted Lynch, which led to Charlotte doing a nip up and pinning Lynch with a schoolgirl cradle. Lynch acted like she didn't know what Charlotte was doing, but Flair strutted after his daughter proved the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Paige was on commentary saying she knew all along that Charlotte was someone who would win at all costs. It also proves Charlotte is a big UNC fan.
Lynch confronted Charlotte backstage. Charlotte said she didn't cheat to beat Lynch, she lured Lynch into letting her guard down. Charlotte said it was just tough love and trying to teach her something and talked her into giving her a pinkie swear. Paige walked up to Lynch and said at least her friendship wasn't affected.
Next came a segment called the Rosebush with Adam Rose. It's meant to be a takeoff of Entertainment Tonight. I haven't seen a segment like this since ODB's old Trailer Park talk show when she had Magnus on one night. His closing line was "The dirt is always blooming," which seemed like a shot at newsletters.
Stardust held up a Christmas star and called for the Ascension to rise. Instead, Titus O'Neal showed up and started singing Christmas carols like "Stardust got Run Over by a Reindeer." Stardust starting hissing at him, but O'Neal threw a present in his throat and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
Before the eight man main event could begin, the New Day came out again and announced they joined the League of Nations team to make the main event 7-on-4. They were selling merchandise 15 minutes ago and now they're heels again? And shouldn't the League of Nations establish themselves as a quartet before they receive extra help?
The League of Nations and the New Day defeated The Usos, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns (25:10)
Crowd was dead to begin with, but the weird booking just killed it dead. Plus, they went 10 minutes too long. Crowd was more into Ambrose than Reigns. Jimmy Uso started selling his knee from getting the heat and had to leave the match, leaving the babyfaces down 7-on-3. Didn't we just see Charlotte fake the same injury in the previous match? Ambrose did a plancha onto five of the heels, and later took out Sheamus with a tope. Reigns hit Del Rio with a Superman Punch and gave Big E. a clothesline on the floor. As Ambrose took out Barrett, he walked into a Brogue Kick by Sheamus and was pinned.
Heels picked apart Ambrose until Reigns tried to make the save. Reigns got laid out with a Brogue kick and the heels posed.
I feel like using a facepalm emoji. Need a new heel unit? Great idea. Why water them down in the main event with three more heels? Main event was overbooked. Why does Ambrose continue to do more jobs when he's the most over babyface they have? Becky Lynch could be a great babyface. This company doesn't know how to make babyface stars anymore because she came off looking like an idiot on this show. Almost all the matches were too short, and the only one that wasn't was too long. If this one does a 2.0 against a bad MNF game, who will Vince blame? He needs to start with the face in the mirror.