Raw Recap: December 26, 2016
S2016 episode 1231 Aired on December 26, 2016

The presents have been counted, the chestnuts roasted and the Menorahs lit, but Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns had one last bit of naughtiness to address on the night after Christmas: The yuletide shellacking given to them by Braun Strowman in the closing moments of last week’s Raw. Despite both Rollins and Reigns demanding that Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon give them a match with The Gift of Destruction, only The Architect won the Strowman Sweepstakes for the evening by Stephanie’s decree. Reigns, however, would not be left wanting. Stephanie decreed that The Big Dog would defend his U.S. Title later in the evening against a Superstar of her choosing. Merry Christmas?

With Seth Rollins having been waylaid by both Braun Strowman and Chris Jericho earlier in the evening, WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens seemingly had a clear path to Roman Reigns’ U.S. Championship in Raw’s main event. Not only did The Prizefighter have Reigns beaten in the numbers game (ironic, given the old Shield M.O.) with Jericho at ringside, but Owens was also holding his own against The Big Dog after taking him to Chinlock City.

The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla made his presence known at exactly the right time, climbing on the apron right after Reigns landed a Superman Punch and allowing Owens to spring with a Codebreaker. With Reigns reeling from Owens’ assault, Rollins stormed ringside and Pedigreed Jericho on the arena floor. Reigns finished the job with a Spear to Owens to retain his title, and then the two Shield brothers laid Jeri-KO out with a Pedigree (to Owens) and a Spear (to Jericho). Call it some post-Christmas clean-up.

Far from the holiday reversal of fortune they were hoping for, The New Day instead walked away from the post-Christmas Raw with a heaping help of booty after they failed to regain the Raw Tag Team Championships from Cesaro & Sheamus. Granted, ya boys’ failure was certainly not for a lack of ingenuity on their part. The record-setting champions sent Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods into the breach against the men who ended their reign, and the speed-first game plan of The New Day left the new champions playing catch-up for some time.

Even isolating Woods didn’t turn the match in the champions’ favor right away, at least until Cesaro locked him in the Cesaro Swing. Big E attempted to distract the referee so Kingston could save the match, but Cesaro used Kingston to both knock Big E off the apron and take him out, Gorilla-Pressing Kingston onto the powerhouse outside the ring. And as a result of a Sheamus tag that Woods missed, New Day’s last gasp effort of an Honor Roll landed him face-first into the Irishman’s boot.

Well, looks like Braun Strowman was just as anxious to fight Seth Rollins as Rollins was to fight Strowman: The Monster Among Men crashed a tag team match between sensitivity training graduates Bo Dallas & Darren Young and island con men The Shining Stars and attacked them with a Christmas tree to cut off their match. With Strowman having been given an edict by Stephanie McMahon to destroy Rollins, Strowman was clearly eager to jump-start his own bout with The Architect, though Strowman ironically suffered a no-contest himself when an old rival came a-callin’.

That rival, of course, was Sami Zayn, who distracted Strowman with his music before jumping out of the crowd and attacking The Gift of Destruction right in the middle of Strowman’s protracted dissection of The Architect. Strowman gave chase when Zayn (who'll battle Strowman next week in a Last Man Standing Match demanded by the monster) escaped through the crowd, and, with Rollins reeling in the ring, Chris Jericho put a capper on Rollins’ night when he slid into the ring and administered a pair of Codebreakers. What’s that old expression about turnabout?

In other action... Nia Jax def. Scarlett... Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair def. Bayley... Neville def. TJ Perkins... Rusev and Jinder Mahal attacked Enzo Amore & Big Cass... Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. The Golden Truth... and WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann def. Ariya Daivari.

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