We immediately go to the squared circle for a Christmas special of The Dirt Sheet with The Miz. Miz introduces us to the “Nightmare Before TLC” edition. He’s resting in a chair with a book of the same name. The ring is cheesily decorated for Christmas. Miz reveals he and John Morrison will fight Keith Lee n in a Handicap Match tonight. He starts reading a “Nightmare Before TLC” story on TLC opponents WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles. Miz first mentions AJ’s name and snaps his fingers. AJ comes under a spotlight in the corner of the ring. AJ shows us Omos standing outside of the ring.
Miz mentions Drew McIntyre next and snaps his finger, but Drew isn’t there. However, we see Morrison costumed as a themed version of the WWE Champion. AJ and Morrison put on a comedy skit as The Miz reads. AJ stabs Morrison with the knife, putting an end to his WWE title reign. Miz keeps reading his story, and AJ climbs to the top of the ladder. He poses and laughs as fans cheer him on. The story includes Miz cashing in his Money In the Bank title shot, and AJ isn’t happy with this. AJ comes down the ladder and looks at Miz as he finishes his story. AJ says that’s not how the novel ends. Miz says they changed it to make it better. The music interrupts, and here comes Celtic Warrior, Sheamus.
Sheamus says he’s seen it all here in the wrestling business, but this was it. He says he’s ready to fight with his fists, no matter how much AJ and the others run their mouths and play with their swords. AJ says if Sheamus won’t be part of the answer, he’s got to be a part of the problem. Sheamus wants to be a part of the problem. Sheamus drops his mic and starts pushing AJ into the corner. AJ holds a Christmas tree and throws it at Sheamus. AJ joins Omos at ringside, laughing at Sheamus. Sheamus grabs a gift and tosses it out of the ring, knocking AJ down. AJ looks on from the ground as Sheamus’ music hits while he gets ready for the first match of the night.
AJ Styles Vs. Sheamus
AJ Styles has been working to put together the ideal game plan for taking the WWE Title from Drew McIntyre at WWE TLC. The Phenomenal One was happy to nag Sheamus about his Brogue Kick to the WWE Champion last week, and the fight broke out soon after.
Styles had his own insurance plan for the encounter, as his associate, Omos, prevented an early powerbomb attempt from Sheamus. With a restrained ankle, Sheamus attempted to take AJ Styles up to the top rope, but a reversal helped The Phenomenal One lock up the win in a matchup of former WWE Champions. Styles was far from finished, as Omos tangled a running Sheamus in the ropes and allowed The Phenomenal One to tee off with a series of kicks and a brutal chair attack (ouch) to the defenseless Superstar. The message to his WWE TLC opponent was sent. The Nightmare Before TLC had been delivered.
Winner: AJ Styles in 16:00.
Match Review: 3./755. Put Sheamus against the right opponent, and he will always deliver. I loved the action inside the ring with AJ outsmarting Sheamus after 16 minutes of brilliant action. I liked how Omos was used in the story.
The Hurt Business Vs. The New Day and Jeff Hardy
A rivalry with The Hurt Business brings people together during the holidays. The New Day teamed up with Jeff Hardy to take on Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin, and Riddle, aka “Bro-E” enthusiastically offered his support in their corner.
Before the Raw Tag Team Title Match at WWE TLC, both sides were looking for a punishing statement, and Lashley provided the muscle for his crew early on as “The Chief Hurt Officer.” The ruthless trio targeted Kingston throughout the match, as The Hurt Business strategy seemed to center around grounding the former WWE Champion ahead of WWE TLC. Kingston finally clawed his way to the corner, and a tag to Hardy seemed to tip the scales, but a chaotic sequence allowed the United States Champion to crush The Charismatic Enigma in The Hurt Lock for the win.
Winner: “The Hurt Business” Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin in 15:10.
Match Review: 3.5/5. Another perfect match. I loved the chemistry shown by Cedric throughout the match.
Lana Vs. Nia Jax
Since teaming up with Asuka, Lana gained confidence on the red brand but still had one tall mountain to climb. Lana went toe-to-toe with Nia Jax in the ring and pulled off the unthinkable with a shocking roll-up win. The celebration was short-lived, as Shayna Baszler came charging down to help The Irresistible Force unload on their WWE TLC opponent. The Women’s Tag Team Champions viciously attacked and injured Lana’s ankle before Asuka cleared the ring. Baszler & Jax were far from finished. Their attack carried on backstage as they continued their assault on The Empress of Tomorrow, leaving Sunday’s title match in question.
Winner: Lana in 1:45.
Match Review: 0.5/5. Finally, the ‘weird’ angle ends. Lana got her revenge after being destroyed on the announce table multiple times.
John Morrison and The Miz Vs. Keith Lee – 2-on-1 Handicap Match
The Miz & John Morrison’s antics have wreaked havoc across the red brand, and Keith Lee intended to reign them in. The colossal Superstar controlled much of the match with his superior strength, but the seasoned duo responded with a flurry of attacks to ground their opponent. Miz & Morrison used all of their weight to pin down Lee and claim a win.
Winner: The Miz and John Morrison in 10 minutes.
Match Review: 2.25/5. Decent match with Keith Lee experiencing his first real loss in the RAW brand.
MACE Vs. Ricochet
A week after Ricochet teamed with Dana Brooke to topple SLAPJACK & RECKONING, a new RETRIBUTION member stepped up to the high-flyer. Mustafa Ali intends to show Ricochet the light of RETRIBUTION, and MACE set out to beat it into focus for him. Ricochet fought off his powerful opponent, but Ali quickly dispatched SLAPJACK and T-BAR to slow him down. As Ricochet sent the oncoming horde, MACE worked back to his feet to crush the athletic Superstar.
Winner: Mace in 3:05.
Match Review: 1/5. The retribution storyline is getting stale, and I feel sad to see Ricochet suffering due to this weak script. Mace is played by Dio Maddin and I am waiting for WWE to acknowledge it and then push the Superstar rather than bury Ricochet.
Dana Brooke Vs. Shayna Baszler
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions were far from finished dishing out their cruelty before WWE TLC. As Shayna Baszler set her sights on Dana Brooke, Nia Jax intervened and began punching the blonde Superstar. Asuka and Mandy Rose came rushing to push back against Baszler & Jax, but the statement was made – the champions were willing to do absolutely anything to retain the titles.
Winner: Dana Brooke in 1:30.
Match Review: 0.5/5. It was a chaotic build to the storyline with Nia, Asuka, and Mandy interfering.
Riddle Vs. MVP
In recent weeks, Riddle has caught the ire of The Hurt Business and looked to make a brutal in-ring pitch to MVP. The Hurt Business leader looked to teach The Original Bro some respect, but the newcomer to the red brand had his own intentions. Riddle struck with a Floating Bro to pin MVP, then escaped out of dodge with his Bro-Nuts in hand before Bobby Lashley could enter to attack.
Winner: Riddle in 0:50.
Match Review: 0.5/5. Another short match with Riddle tricking his opponent. WWE should limit using ‘shock factor.’
Back from the break, and it’s time for the Ascension Ceremony, the show’s main event. Tom Phillips is in the ring with a mic. The ring and ringside area are filled with T.L.C. (tables, ladders, and chairs). Tom promotes AJ Styles vs. Drew McIntyre at TLC and says they will join him to raise the WWE title belt above the ring here soon. Tom brings out AJ Styles first.
Out next comes the WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Tom says they will have a chance to talk to each other after the title is raised. AJ Styles reminds us that he and Drew McIntyre have never faced, so he figured he should do a deep dive into who McIntyre is. AJ Styles says he was shocked to find out it took Drew McIntyre nearly 20 years to climb the WWE mountain and become WWE champion. AJ wonders how that is possible. AJ taunts Drew McIntyre over his recent loss to Orton and says, yeah, he beat Orton to get the title back, but it changed him. AJ Styles goes on about Drew McIntyre taking risks. AJ Styles brags about defending the WWE Title in a TLC match once, and says he knows what it means to be a champion. AJ says if he has to take every table, ladder and chair in the Thunderdome and break them over Drew’s back to get the title back, he will do just that. He tells Drew McIntyre to kiss the title goodbye because it’s going to look phenomenal around his waist. Fans boo.
Drew McIntyre says that was an excellent little speech but he’s going to present the facts as he sees them. He says he’s always needed this match. Drew McIntyre admits he’s never been in a TLC match while AJ Styles has had some success in them. Drew McIntyre goes on and says he was the WWE champion that held WWE all year through the uncertainty, he’s the champion that does not crack under pressure, the winner that’s going to tear AJ apart this Sunday. Fans cheer Drew McIntyre on. Drew says every man dies, but not every man really lives. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to himself, and to AJ Styles, to make sure he keeps the WWE Title this Sunday. Drew McIntyre says AJ Styles has to ask himself if he’s willing to do the same. Drew tosses the mic and takes the title from around his waist. Drew locks the title to the holder and it’s raised above the ring as exciting music starts up. Tom has left the ring now. AJ asks Drew what he has to face in the TLC match on Sunday if it’s not just him. The Miz and John Morrison suddenly attack, shoving a ladder over on Drew McIntyre. Drew McIntyre is triple-teamed now as fans boo.
Drew fights back and hits a Claymore to The Miz. He then knocks a ladder into John Morrison with a Claymore. AJ Styles tries to come from behind, but he gets dropped. Drew tosses a ladder to the floor and waits for AJ to get up. Omos suddenly throws half of the steel ring steps into the ring, capturing Drew’s attention. AJ takes advantage of Drew McIntyre staring Omos down, and attacks with a cheap shot. AJ Styles flies in from the apron with a brilliant Phenomenal Forearm. AJ Styles stomps on Drew while he’s down now. AJ orders Omos to get a ladder, and he slides it in. AJ grabs the ladder and keeps ramming it into Drew, then tosses it on him while he’s down. The boos get louder. Omos hands a steel chair in to AJ now. AJ dumps on Drew with chair shots while he’s down.
Omos slides a table and a ladder into the ring now. AJ stands them both up, beating on Drew McIntyre to keep him down. AJ places Drew McIntyre on top of the table then starts climbing the ladder. AJ leaps from half-way up the ladder, putting Drew McIntyre through the table with an elbow. AJ Styles climbs back to the top of the ladder to retrieve the WWE Title belt. Drew McIntyre tries to climb up the ladder, but he has no luck. The WWE TLC go-home edition of RAW abruptly goes off the air with Drew McIntyre down and in pain.
NYK Rating of WWE RAW, December 14, 2020: 7.25/10.
Three Stars of the show
- AJ Styles
- The New Day/The Hurt Business/Jeff Hardy