WWE Raw Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from December 4
The December 4 episode of WWE Raw continued the brand's slow and steady build to the end of the year and featured the continuation of several ongoing rivalries, yet it was the debut of a long-awaited character that stole the headlines Monday night.
Matt Hardy, apparently under his new Woken persona, addressed Bray Wyatt in a pre-taped video package that should prove the foundation for a rivalry between them.
Long expected since Hardy's return to the company, the character was greeted with an enthusiastic reaction from fans that suggests the elder Hardy brother will find success as a singles performer once again in WWE.
Speaking of finding success, Drew Gulak has been a revelation in the cruiserweight division, a Superstar whose willingness to showcase his personality has done wonders for him. Monday night, he earned his way to a No. 1 Contender's match with Rich Swann via victory in a hotly contested Fatal 4-Way match.
Things did not go quite as smoothly for Finn Balor or Jason Jordan, both of whom suffered at the hands of lackluster booking that threatens their credibility and connection with the audience.
Winner: Woken Matt Hardy
From the moment The Hardy Boyz debuted at WrestleMania 33, speculation ran wild about the potential for the arrival of Broken Matt Hardy to the WWE Universe.
For reasons both legal and creative, the popular character with roots in Impact Wrestling was kept off screen.
That changed a week ago when a distraught Hardy had what appeared to be a breakdown. "Delete! Delete! Delete!" he said over and over, motioning with his arm in a way that was eerily familiar to those who watched his descent into madness in Impact.
Monday night, he introduced the WWE Universe to his new Woken persona, interrupting a Bray Wyatt promo in the process and suggesting a rivalry between the madmen may be on the docket.
If Hardy is allowed the creative freedom to go all-out with the character, in much the same way he did during his time in Impact Wrestling, fans could be in for a real treat.
Absurd, bordering on the ridiculous, the character injected that promotion with much-needed life and could do the same for a WWE product that has been accused of being stale, thanks to its formulaic layout.
Most importantly, it could be the spark that lights the flame for Hardy, who has been lost in the shuffle following brother Jeff's shoulder injury this past fall.
If so, do not be surprised to see the master of the Twist of Fate begin a rapid ascent up the card as his popularity and entertainment value shoot through the roof.
Loser: Finn Balor
Finn Balor's descent into mediocrity continued Monday night when it was determined by WWE Creative that the only real contribution he could make to the entire show was a throwaway match with fellow NXT alumni Bo Dallas.
The Irishman gave way too much to a Superstar widely considered a glorified jobber before powering up, delivering his signature stuff and putting Dallas away with the Coup de Grace.
Sure, he won the match when WWE Creative could have stuck it to him by jobbing him out, but a win, under those circumstances, is hardly something to be excited about. It is a placeholder, an empty victory for a Superstar who belongs much further up the card than he is.
In a year in which WWE management has failed many a superb in-ring performer with lackluster booking, Balor stands atop the list, a former universal champion whose stock with chairman Vince McMahon has dropped off to the point that it is difficult to see a sustained main event run at any point in his immediate future—no matter how over he is.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Drew Gulak has been awesome; a legitimate silver lining in the dark cloud of the cruiserweight division for a long time.
His work as the anti-high-flyer was incredibly entertaining and his recent shtick involving power points was just as good.
For years, Gulak was a revered in-ring worker whose skills were never in question but whose entertainment value was untapped.
WWE Creative brought the best out of Gulak, allowing him to prove himself as an entertainer and the result has been a breakout year for the talented technician.
Monday night, he defeated Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and Tony Nese in a Fatal 4-Way match to cash his ticket to a No. 1 Contender's match against Rich Swann next week.
While it remains to be seen if he beats Swann and earns a match with cruiserweight champion Enzo Amore, the victory was a reward for Gulak's transformation and entertaining contributions to the much-maligned cruiserweight roster.
Loser: Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan can have the best match on every episode of Raw from now until next December, but if he continues to suffer from a complete lack of character development and cannot find within himself any real charisma to draw from, he will continue to be met by jeers from fans who could not care less about the former amateur wrestling standout.
Monday night, he somehow beat out Roman Reigns for a worse babyface reaction and then proceeded to cut another forced promo that did not convince fans for a moment to cheer him on.
When the bell rang and he began his quest for the Intercontinental Championship against Reigns, he was the typically strong worker we have come to expect. He was also the bland, characterless persona that has failed to get over since the revelation he was general manager Kurt Angle's illegitimate son.
In a day and age when great wrestling can be expected in any match on the card, simply being a talented in-ring performer is not enough. There has to be something else to grip the fans, but Jordan doesn't have that.
He feels overpushed, underdeveloped and the result is a mediocre character rather than the dynamic presence his on-screen father had early in his career.