Raw Recap: December 25, 2017
Aired on December 25, 2017

On the first live Christmas episode of Raw, unlikely partners Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan captured the Raw Tag Team Titles. Plus, John Cena made his Team Red return, Roman Reigns unleashed a vicious post-match assault on Samoa Joe, and Asuka officially entered the historic Women’s Royal Rumble Match for an opportunity at WrestleMania.

As the saying goes, ‘tis better to give than receive. And after John Cena arrived to the first-ever live Raw on Christmas to give a young fan the shirt off his back, Elias decided to interrupt him to give The Cenation Leader a taste of what it feels like to be cut off in the middle of a major moment. Cena, surprisingly, decided to play ball and walk with Elias, even encouraging the guitarist to play a song — until he took a few too many digs at The Windy City and Cena called him a “jerk” in response.

That led Elias to politely request a do-over, which Cena agreed to as long as he cut out the insults. But just when it seemed like Elias’ heart was about to grow three sizes, he dropped Cena with a punch to the face and challenged him to a match that Raw General Manager Kurt Angle sanctioned on the spot. The woozy Cena was powerless to stop Elias, who chopped the 16-time World Champion down with body blows and powerslam presses that sent him flying across the ring.

Elias was even wise to Cena’s signature sequences, rolling out of the ring after a couple of shoulder tackles to avoid the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and twice escaping the STF. It was an impressive performance by any measure. But Cena turned the tide almost instantly, administering the shoulder tackles, spinning slam, Five-Knuckle Shuffle and, finally, the greatest gift of all: An Attitude Adjustment both literal and perhaps figurative to end the match in the very arena where he made his WWE debut all those years ago.

The good news for Samoa Joe is that Roman Reigns still hasn’t beaten him one-on-one. The bad news is that The Samoan Submission Machine missed out on the Intercontinental Title, as Reigns decided that, instead of beating Joe, he’d rather beat Joe up.

In other words, Roman remains Intercontinental Champion, even though a burst of excessive aggression forced the ref to call off the match and award the disqualification win to Joe. It’s difficult to blame Roman for the outburst, as Joe’s self-proclaimed “systematic destruction of The Shield” tore Dean Ambrose’s triceps tendon last week, putting The Lunatic Fringe on the shelf for, potentially, up to nine months. Reigns picked up the torch for his fallen brother in truly brutal fashion; the Intercontinental Champion came out swinging, forcing Joe into the uncommon position of fighting from underneath.

Which, ultimately, he did, landing a suicide forearm that tweaked Reigns’ left arm. The Big Dog fought back with one good arm to force Joe into the corner, but once the champion threw the ref out of his way to continue his assault, he was disqualified. Freed from the constraints of the contest, however, Reigns went to town, dropping his foe with a targeted assault of Joe’s shoulder that a squadron of officials was powerless to stop. Joe narrowly avoided Reigns' home-run swing with a steel chair, but the damage may well have been done. Somewhere, Ambrose is most likely smiling. In the backstage area, Seth Rollins visibly was.

Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan both came to Raw wanting a piece of Samoa Joe. But as far as Kurt Angle was concerned, given that Cesaro & Sheamus keep running interference for The Samoan Submission Machine, The Kingslayer and his son would team to face them instead. To sweeten the pot, The Olympic Hero put the Raw Tag Team Titles on the line, and that gambit paid off in something of a Christmas miracle, or at the very least, a gift to two Superstars who needed a big win.

Rollins was vocally hesitant to team with Jordan, and when the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion took himself out of the running with a hasty attack, it seemed as though The Kingslayer’s fears would prove to be well-founded. But Jordan returned at the moment of truth, putting on the same showcase that took Raw’s top Superstars to the limit over the last few months. Where those displays weren’t enough to seal the deal for Jordan in a singles match, a series of clutch interferences by Rollins made sure they were enough to carry the young Superstar over the hump.

Rollins’ last interference, in which he threw Sheamus into the steel steps, took The Alabaster Gladiator out of the match entirely. Cesaro blasted The Architect with a running European uppercut, but he was flustered enough that Jordan was able to catch him with the Angle Slam-neckbreaker hybrid and land the unlikely duo their first Tag Team Championship together. Jordan had raised Rollins’ ire earlier in the night by claiming he’d be a better partner to The Architect than Dean Ambrose ever could be. Now, he’ll get the chance to prove it.

In other action … Hideo Itami def. The Brian Kendrick … Absolution def. Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James … Kane def. Heath Slater … Finn Bálor def. Curt Hawkins … "Woken" Matt Hardy attacked Bray Wyatt … Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali & Akira Tozawa def. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari in a Six-Man Tag Team Miracle on 34th Street Fight … Braun Strowman def. The Miztourage in a Secret Santa Match … and Asuka declared for the Women's Royal Rumble Match.

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