Raw Recap: December 19, 2016
Aired on December 19, 2016

They fooled you! They fooled all of you! Whatever your personal thoughts on the elaborate ruse Jeri-KO concocted to both keep the WWE Universal Title on Kevin Owens and have him win the match against Roman Reigns at Roadblock: End of the Line, you have to admire its deviousness: After weeks of seemingly teetering on the verge of implosion, the two best friends played their ace in the hole and came to Raw stronger than ever, with championship hardware still in tow.

Mick Foley, of course, was not so easily impressed. The beleaguered Raw General Manager (sporting a Christmas shirt that even he admitted was horrifying) not only informed Owens that he would once again have to defend his WWE Universal Championship against Reigns at the Royal Rumble, he devised a stipulation that would keep Jericho from meddling in the action as well: He’d suspend him over the ring in a shark cage under threat of firing if Jericho refused. Foley even tricked Jericho into a demonstration of said cage, hanging The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla high above the canvas while Owens screamed for him to be let down.

In case you haven’t heard, we have new Raw Tag Team Champions. (And new Raw Tag Team Championships — the titles are red now.) The New Day’s record-setting reign was snapped at Roadblock: End of the Line by Cesaro & Sheamus, who received new, red-hued titles as a result. And while the truce between the new and old champs is contentious at best — New Day applauded Cesaro but declared Sheamus to be booty — the rivals had to put that mess aside to join forces against two other prospective contenders for the titles.

That would be Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson as well as The Shining Stars, who displayed both some excellent knowledge of the in-ring science (Epico in particular) and some blunt-force brutality (Gallows in particular) in what was essentially their opening salvo in the new-look Tag Team division. Big E tagged in and seemed ready to rumble his way to the win, but Sheamus wouldn’t be upstaged so easily, tagging himself in, setting Epico up for the Brogue Kick. The Celtic Warrior’s impeding strike ignited a massive brawl, the end of which saw Epico tapping to the formidable Cesaro Swing-Sharpshooter combo.

With Sasha Banks in the rearview mirror, it’s time for another Superstar to step up and prove herself worthy to challenge Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Title. And hey, it’s … Bayley!!!

Well, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves there. No contender has been announced. But The Huggable One didn’t just come at The Queen during her victory lap; she provoked Charlotte in a non-title match and won, earning her third consecutive victory over the reigning Raw Women’s Champion when she rallied from a Charlotte moonsault and executed a textbook backslide for the three. However, as the eagle-eyed Corey Graves pointed out, Charlotte’s shoulder made it off the mat outside the referee’s field of vision. Expect Bayley to have to prove herself once again, but don't be surprised if she pulls it off in round four.

With Kevin Owens staring down a Roman Reigns title defense and Chris Jericho suffering full-on PTSD from his quick trip up the rafters in a shark cage, Jeri-KO should have been easy pickings for Seth Rollins & Reigns in the main event of Raw. And they probably would have been, if not for one word: BRAAAUUUUNNN!

The Gift of Destruction wasn’t apparently satisfied with just demolishing Sin Cara earlier in the night, crashing the main-event match and laying waste to both Reigns and Rollins, ending the match with a disqualification in the Shield veterans’ favor just as they were about to seal the deal against Jeri-KO. Once the match was over, Strowman perpetuated further physicality on a battered Rollins and finally punctuated his beating with a Running Powerslam to Reigns. The lesson: When he says “Or else,” you had better believe that.

In other action... Rusev def. Big Cass via Disqualification... Nia Jax confronted Sasha Banks... Cedric Alexander def. Noam Dar... WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann confronted Neville... Sin Cara vs. Titus O’Neil ended in a No Contest... and Enzo Amore attended sensitivity training.

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