With the TLC pay-per-view taking place on Sunday, Raw had one final show to put a bow on their build to the event. The big story coming out of Raw was AJ Styles' success ahead of his TLC match with WWE champion Drew McIntyre.
Styles was not only able to pick up a win over Sheamus, McIntyre's longtime friend, but also closed the show by beating down the champ and putting him through a table. The Miz and John Morrison also made it clear though the night that they had Styles' back, presenting an extra layer of danger to McIntyre as he heads into an environment with no disqualifications. Of course, Money in the Bank contract holder Miz has his own plans for the WWE title.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action. Read on for everything you need to know coming out of the TLC go-home edition of Raw.
AJ Styles has a big night
AJ Styles def. Sheamus via pinfall with a jackknife pin. AJ Styles, The Miz and John Morrison opened the show with "The Nightmare before TLC," a story reading. After the story culminated in Styles beating Drew McIntyre for the WWE championship on Sunday -- and then an alternative ending with Miz cashing in Money in the Bank on McIntyre to become champion -- Sheamus made his way to the ring to let Styles know he was ready to fight. This led right into the match, which was dominated in the early going by Sheamus. Styles eventually began to attack Sheamus' leg, including putting him in a calf crusher. The leg would play a factor in the finish, with Styles hitting Sheamus in the leg as Sheamus was climbing the turnbuckles. After Sheamus fell to the canvas, Styles folded him up for the finish. After the match, Styles attacked Sheamus with a chair after tangling him up in the ropes.
A championship "ascension ceremony" was held with Styles and McIntyre to close the show. Styles taunted the champion, pointing out McIntyre's physical gifts and asking how it could have taken him 19 years to become a world champion. McIntyre said he has learned that his old goal of becoming WWE champion was not enough, it's now about the tougher task of remaining champion, and the 19 year journey made him a man who can do that because he now thrives under pressure. As the belt was raised, Styles asked McIntyre, "What if it's not just me you have to face in a TLC match?" Miz and Morrison ran into the ring and attacked McIntyre, but the champion quickly turned the tables, taking out all three men. Before he could hit Styles with a Claymore, Omos intervened and Styles hit a chop block and a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles then beat down McIntyre with a ladder and a chair before putting McIntyre through a table with an elbow drop and symbolically retrieving the belt as the show went off the air.
McIntyre is a great dominant face, destroying anyone who steps in front of him, but he's also very good as an underdog facing some long odds. Styles has the advantage in pure numbers and he and Sheamus have established that they're friends, but don't necessarily have each other's back in troublesome spots. McIntyre will retain on Sunday, but they've managed to build enough drama to make the TLC match compelling and find ways to elevate Styles as a threat. Grade: B
Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton play hide and seek
Bray WWyatt came to the ring for a "field trip" to the WWE ThunderDome, with the Firefly Fun House puppets in the crowd. Wyatt apologized for The Fiend showing up during his match with Randy Orton last week, saying he knows he has things he needs to fix about himself and that he wished he got to finish their match -- because who knows what will be left of Orton after his match with The Fiend at TLC. Wyatt said that, since TLC will be no laughing matter, he would make sure Raw is, leading him to read off jokes about Orton. Orton interrupted on the tron, admitting that he was outmaneuvered by The Fiend last week. Orton promised he wouldn't be outmaneuvered at TLC, or tonight, offering a chance for Wyatt to play hide and seek tonight. Wyatt accepted and the hunt was on.
Wyatt ran into Riddle backstage, who pitched a segment on "bro-nouns" for a future Fun House segment but Riddle had to settle for getting an autograph from Ramblin' Rabbit. Next up was a run-in between Wyatt, R-Truth and Huskus. Wyatt stumbled across a room with an empty rocking chair and entered, taking a seat while in something of a trance. Orton then came from a door behind the chair and attacked Wyatt. The two brawled until Orton locked Wyatt in a box and set it on fire. The box lid then popped open and The Fiend emerged, locking Orton in a mandible claw.
The ol' "WWE hosts an attempted murder" segment. It's been awhile since we've seen one of those. The Wyatt/Fiend transformation bit has been a big key to the past two weeks and it's still interesting, though less so when done on back-to-back shows. The hide and seek angle may have been more interesting if it were done throughout the entire show rather than for just a few segments in the third hour, giving it some time to breathe. Grade: B-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
The Hurt Business def. The New Day & Jeff Hardy via submission when Bobby Lashley locked Hardy in a Hurt Lock. Cedric Alexander again tried to be a bit of a glory hog, blind tagging himself in when Lashley had control early in the match and wildly celebrating by himself briefly after the win.
Lana def. Nia Jax via pinfall after a stomp. Jax was dominating when Lana countered a powerbomb into a rana. Jax came back and tired to take Lana to the middle rope for a Samoan Drop, but Lana escaped, kicked Nia's legs out and hit her with a stomp before a pin. After the match, Shayna Baszler attacked Asuka backstage and then came to the ring and helped Jax beat up Lana, stomping her elbow and then helping Jax leg drop onto Lana's leg several times before Asuka made the save. Later in the show, it was announced Lana couldn't compete at TLC and Asuka would need to find a new partner for the match.
Elias officially announced Jaxson Ryker as his bodyguard. Ryker said he saw the light and would not allow people to continue interfering with Elias' concerts. Then, R-Truth interfered with Elias' concert, leading to a slew of superstars to chase Truth through the ring before Ryker took out Gran Metalik to end the segment.
The Miz & John Morrison def. Keith Lee via pinfall after a series of kicks. Lee was a force, as usual, but the numbers game was too much in the handicap match. Miz and Morrison hit Lee with a series of kicks before Lee caught Morrison on a springboard. Miz chopblocked Lee as he was still holding Morrison and the two piled on Lee for the pin.
Mase def. Ricochet via pinfall after a sit-out slam. Mustafa Ali was on commentary during the match and sent Slapjack and T-Bar to interfere. Ricochet fought both off but it was enough of a distraction to allow Mase to score the win.
Dana Brooke def. Shayna Baszler via disqualification after Nia Jax interfered. Brooke was off to a solid start and had Baszler on the ropes, but Jax pushed her off the top rope for the DQ. As Jax and Baszler tried to attack Brooke after the match, Mandy Rose ran in for the initial save, hitting Jax and Baszler with a kendo stick. Asuka then ran in to help run off the tag champions.
Riddle def. MVP via pinfall after a Floating Bro. The match was over almost as soon as it began, with Riddle hitting a knee and then the Floating Bro for the win. He then ducked out of the ring before Bobby Lashley could slide in for the attack.