WWE held their annual holiday week house show at Madison Square Garden, a tradition that goes back decades, on 12/27. The show drew a strong crowd of 14-16,000, but was not a sellout. That is not a real surprise given the local market has had Raws in two nearby New Jersey locations, Wrestlemania tickets on sale and a PPV in Brooklyn in the last few months, plus a house show at Nassau Coliseum tomorrow. Before the show, they pushed fans to Tweet and text photos and messages for the company to place on their video screens. The entrance way was decorated for the holiday with twinkling lights, blow up characters, etc.
*The New Age Outlaws defeated Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. The Outlaws received a respectable reaction but not a huge homecoming response. It seemed like the younger fans weren't aware of who they were. They got a much bigger reaction for the catch phrases. Billy Gunn noted it was a PG era, which got boos, but still had the fans yell "Suck it." The match itself was solid, but nothing out of the ordinary. Gunn scored the win with the Famouser. Road Dogg made a remark about Rhodes' "porno mustache" on the mic after the bout.
*Brodus Clay defeated David Otunga. Clay had the Funkadactyles with him and did the entire big production number, sans pyro. Otunga did the old Narcissist posing routine before the show, complete with what sounded like the old Lex Luger theme song. Short match and not very good. Clay got the win with a big splash.
*Jack Swagger emerged on the stage and cut a promo on Clay as he walked to the ring, saying he was going to show the world why he was the All American American and rip Clay apart. Two minutes later, he was pinned as well and Clay did the dance-off with a bunch of kids. The dancing got over big. The match did not.
*They announced Tensai vs. Santino Marella with the loser having to sing a song the audience would vote on. That may have been the oddest stipulation match in the history of wrestling, including the wacky Scorpion and Alligator matches in the 1990s in Japan.
*WWE Divas champ Eve Torres defeated Kaitlyn. Good match. Kaitlyn was really over with the younger female fans at the show as you could hear a LOT of girls chanting for her. Kaitlyn looked pretty good here and this was better than the norm for Divas bouts. They did one spot where Kaitlyn caught Eve attempting a kick and slammed her leg down to the mat, forcing her to land with her legs split. Kaitlyn then punched her down.
*Santino Marella defeated Tensai with the Cobra and pinned him to win the song bout. Vickie Guerrero came out to announce Tensai would have to sing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer." At this point, Tensai was probably wondering if he could book a flight for the Tokyo Dome. He at first claimed he was Jewish and didn't know the song, then "warmed up" singing a wrestling version of Adam Sander's Hanukkah Song. He then sang the most awful version of Rudolph ever uttered. This didn't appear to get over with anyone but some kids.
*The Shield, in their MSG debut, defeated WWE Tag Team champions Daniel Bryan & Kane and The Miz in the best thing on the show up until this point. Shield came through the crowd and they brawled all over. One of the best things in the company right now is the Shield and I think a good part of that has to do with the fact that since they are so new, they haven't settled into a "routine" like most WWE talents where they have a few signature spots and trademark mannerisms, so everything feels more like an actual battle and less like a show. Early on, they went for a superbomb off the ropes on Bryan but he turned it into a rana on Reigns. The Shield ended up on the floor and Bryan nailed a tope into the aisle. In the end, Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale on Roman Reigns but was attacked by Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. They nailed the powerbomb and scored the pin. Great stuff.
*WWE United States champion Antonio Cesaro, in his MSG debut, defeated Zack Ryder with the Neutralizer. Ryder was nowhere as over as his glory days a year ago but got a nice reaction. They had a good match with some nice near falls and the crowd was really buying into the idea that Ryder could win. Real good.