This week’s WWE Monday Night Raw continues the road to the Royal Rumble with Tag Team Titles on the line, plus a women’s triple threat match to earn a title shot against Becky Lynch.
The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is set to defend the title against former WWE Champion Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble on January 29. Lashley earned the title shot for the first time ever match when he won a Fatal 4-Way last week on Raw.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1494 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
A video package aired showing highlights of Bobby Lashley’s win in the Fatal 4-Way main event last week on Raw.
Let’s Hear from Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman
The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar made his entrance with his advocate Paul Heyman by his side. Lesnar was wearing a jean jacket and jeans. Lesnar walked around the ring with the WWE Championship with Heyman walking behind him. The fans popped for Lesnar, who is a babyface champion. The Raw commentary team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.
They showed Bobby Lashley standing behind the curtain with MVP while Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were there saying now that they were so happy to see Lashley get this shot at Lesnar. Lashley said there’s no more Hurt Business, they are done and that the All Mighty works alone.
Paul Heyman did the usual introduction for the smiling WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, who said he loves that. Brock gave shout out to Phila-freakin-delphia saying he can’t believe they’re back, but here’s the interruption.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance with Montel Vontavious Porter and they were in suits as they got into the ring with Lesnar/Heyman. MVP did an introduction to present the All Mighty Bobby Lashley to use. That drew boos from the crowd.
Lashley said that it is an honor to finally stand in the ring with him. Lashley said that it’s an honor to be able to share this spotlight with Brock. Lashley said from one super athlete to another super athlete, to look him right in the eye, that with all due respect for 20 years, Lesnar has been ducking and running from Lashley. Lesnar said that with all due respect, it’s an honor for him to be in the ring with himself. Lesnar said that for the last 20 years, he’s been winning championships in this ring and in other rings, so that doesn’t fall on Lesnar, that falls on Lashley. Lesnar said he didn’t have a clue who Lashley was until he met him at Day 1. Lesnar told Lashley it’s his fault for not entering the same arenas that Lesnar was in and Lesnar said that he would have already beat him. Lesnar told them they are dressed well.
Lashley said that at the Royal Rumble, he’ll beat Lesnar for the WWE Title. Lashley told Lesnar he’s a comedian, so after that he’ll be watching him do some comedy. Lesnar did a “knock-knock joke” telling Paul that Bobby was knocking, Paul said, “Bobby who?” and Lesnar said: “Exactly.” The fans laughed. Lesnar told Lashley it’s impossible to beat Brock Lesnar and it’s even more impossible to beat Brock Lesnar when you’re a Brock Lesnar wannabe. Lesnar left with Heyman.
Analysis: I didn’t expect the Lesnar comedy routine, but the knock-knock joke worked to make the crowd laugh. Lashley was genuine in what he said by treating Lesnar with respect at the start and then he did the disrespectful thing by saying Lesnar was avoiding him for 20 years. Lesnar fired back with the insult of Lashley being a Brock Lesnar wannabe, so now we have to see how Lashley responds to that the next time they get together. It wouldn’t shock me if they had a wild brawl in one of the next two weeks of shows.
Lashley was still in the ring when Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander went into the ring to attack. Lashley easily beat them up with a spinebuster on Alexander after Benjamin was sent out of the ring. Lashley drove Benjamin into the ring post. Lashley picked up Alexander and also drove him into the ring post. Lashley left standing tall.
Analysis: It was a way to make Lashley dominant like usual. It didn’t make Benjamin and Alexander look good at all. They aren’t pushed well, though, so that’s to be expected.
Highlights were shown from last week’s Raw when Alpha Academy beat RK-Bro in a non-title match.
Riddle and Randy Orton aka RK-Bro were in the backstage position with Orton saying that they lost last week because Riddle didn’t tag in Orton. Randy said that now the titles are on the line against the Olympian Chad Gable and the tree trunk Otis. Orton had a blue marker and wrote something on the outside of Riddle’s hands. Orton wrote “Tag In Randy” on the back of Riddle’s hands. Riddle said maybe after the big match, they can go out for cheesesteaks.
The RK-Bro tag team of Randy Orton and Riddle entered for their Raw Tag Team Title defense.
The Alpha Academy were already in the ring for the match. They showed “neck training” photos to avoid the RKO. The ring announcer Mike Rome introduced the two teams.
Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable)
Riddle and Gable did some mat wrestling going for submissions with Gable going to the bottom rope. Riddle avoided a charging Gable, then a kick and a senton splash to the back. Riddle with a running kick to Gable on the floor followed by a springboard attack off the ropes onto Gable on the floor. It was like a twisting cross body block on the floor.
The match returned with Gable in control of Riddle with a counter to a pin attempt. Gable with a dragon screw leg whip and then Otis tagged in with a shoulder tackle to knock Riddle down. Riddle flipped out of a move by Otis, then Riddle got to the turnbuckle and jumped off with a Floating Bro attack on Otis. Orton tagged in (to a huge pop) against Gable with Orton connecting with punches and a snap powerslam that Orton always does so well. Orton knocked Otis off the apron, Gable with a necksnap against the top rope and Gable went up top, but Orton tripped him up to crotch Gable on the top rope. Orton went up top and delivered a superplex like he has done many times while Graves said it was even better than daddy used to do. Otis knocked down Riddle on the floor, Gable countered an RKO and shoved Orton into the turnbuckle. Otis tagged in, Orton went for an RKO on Gable again and Gable shoved Orton into Otis, who hit a front powerslam for the one…two…and three! New Tag Team Champions after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall AND NEW Raw Tag Team Champions: Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable)
Analysis: *** I must admit I didn’t expect a title change in this match although I’m certainly fine with it. I also thought if Alpha Academy won that it would be Otis pinning Riddle, not Orton, so kudos to the legendary Orton for doing the clean job to make Otis look impressive. I like how it was booked with Gable working most of the match, then Otis tagging in and being a difference-maker. I wonder what’s next for RK-Bro because maybe they just go separate ways as singles guys instead of doing a turn. I think that’s possible.
Alpha Academy celebrated with their titles while RK-Bro looked sad at ringside.
Analysis: Now that the titles are on a heel team like Alpha Academy, it’s possible that they will feud with a babyface team like the Street Profits. That’s fine with me. I like both teams.
There was a video shown from earlier in the day of US Champion Damian Priest officially declaring himself for the Royal Rumble. Priest said that when he headlines WrestleMania, he’ll still be the US Champion, but the only question is what championship he’ll have on the other shoulder.
The Street Profits and Damian Priest were shown talking in the backstage area. They’re in six-man tag team action. Montez Ford mentioned Philadelphia to get a cheap pop, then Angelo Dawkins wondered what kind of Priest they will be getting. Priest said that they can absolutely give him a solo cup. Priest said that Ziggler, Roode and Gable have been beaten down both sides of him. Street Profits ended it saying they want the smoke.
The Street Profits entered for their match.
Bianca Belair did a promo saying she’s going to win the triple threat match later in the show and then she’ll get a match against Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble for the Raw Women’s Title.
During the entrance of Damian Priest, they showed Johnny Knoxville dumping Sami Zayn over the top to the floor while on Smackdown. Priest and Knoxville are in the Royal Rumble match.
Damian Priest & The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode & Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez)
Ford hit an impressive dropkick on Crews, then Ziggler tagged in for the heel side and Ford rocked Ziggler with a punch. Ziggler went for a corner splash, Ford moved and Priest tagged in with punches. Priest with a lifting slam on Ziggler, then a punch as well as a wheel kick on Roode, who was illegally in the ring. Priest hit back elbow splashes on both guys. Roode was still in the ring illegally, so Ford kicked him out of the ring and Dawkins hit a dropkick on Ford. Priest bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. That led to a break.
The heels were in control as Crews did a press slam to Ford followed by Crews hitting a standing moonsault for two. Ziggler with a dropkick on Ford for a two count. Ziggler had Ford trapped in a chinlock for a bit before letting go. While Priest was on the apron, Ziggler hit him with a superkick. Ziggler charged, Ford caught him and hit a Powerbomb. Dawkins got the tag against Roode with a jumping back elbow, Crews in and Dawkins hit an overhead suplex on Crews along with a suplex on Ziggler. Dawkins with a bulldog on Roode, then a corner splash and Dawkins with a double underhook slam for two with Crews breaking up the pin. Priest kicked Crews out of the ring. Priest faced off with Azeez, Crews with a dropkick on Priest, so Ford hit a somersault dive over the top on Ford and Azeez. Roode with a rollup on Dawkins, Roode charged, Ziggler tagged in, Dawkins hit a spinebuster on Roode and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode & Apollo Crews
Analysis: **3/4 It was the second straight tag team match ending with a heel team getting the victory in a clean manner. I often write about how Ziggler’s finisher used to be the Zig Zag since he switched to the superkick as a finisher, but he got the win here with the Zag Zag. That surprised me a bit. Anyway, it didn’t really matter what side won a match like this. It was the obvious move to not have Priest be part of the pinfall since his team lost. WWE isn’t going to want to make Priest look weak like that.
There was a Smackdown video showing highlights of last week’s show. My review of that show is here. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar had a face to face confrontation that led to Reigns hitting Lesnar with a Superman Punch. Reigns was also informed by his WWE Universal Championship opponent at Royal Rumble – it was Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Seth Freakin’ Rollins made his entrance wearing one of his ridiculous jackets along with his wrestling tights, so I guess we’ll hear him talk and have a match.
It was the top of hour two, so they showed a replay of the start of the show when Brock Lesnar told Bobby Lashley he was a “Brock Lesnar wannabe.” It’s Lesnar vs. Lashley for Lesnar’s WWE Title at the Royal Rumble.
Let’s Hear from Seth Freakin’ Rollins
Rollins said he was in a great mood because the Royal Rumble is on the horizon. Rollins ripped Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley saying that match is not for him. Rollins said that 30-men and 30-women are going to have Royal Rumble matches saying it’s not too bad, but the reason he’s excited is because it’s the night when he’ll become the new Universal Champion. Rollins said that at the Royal Rumble, it’s going to be the Visionary against Tribal Chief, Revolutionary against Head of the Table, brother vs. brother and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Rollins said you may be wondering how he got this match with Reigns. Rollins said he didn’t need an advocate or special counsel because he took matters into his own hands since he’s Seth Freakin’ Rollins. Seth said that there are certain things sure in life – death, taxes and Rollins beats Reigns every time.
Big E, the former WWE Champion, made his entrance saying it’s incredible news and he’s so thrilled for Rollins as Big E got into the ring. Big E mentioned the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty, so the fans cheered and Rollins ripped on it. Big E noted that he has officially entered his name in this year’s Royal Rumble match. Big E said of all the things he can dream about and fantasize about, the one thing he intends to do is to beat Rollins and walk out as World Champion. Rollins laughed at Big E having that dream. Rollins said when it comes to beating Big E one on one, it doesn’t matter what day it is because Big E doesn’t stand a chance. Big E said that they should test that theory out tonight. Rollins said he doesn’t know how he feels and he claimed he wasn’t ready. Rollins said maybe next week in a better town, so the fans booed. Big E said that they shouldn’t just do it tonight, they should do it right now. Rollins got fired up saying that he’s on. A referee went into the ring, so the match was on.
Analysis: I think a match between Rollins and Big E at WrestleMania is a great idea. With that said, doing the match right here and right now isn’t something I would do if it was the plan for WrestleMania. I don’t know what the plan is or if there would be a title on the line.
Big E vs. Seth Freakin’ Rollins
Rollins sent Big E into the ropes leading to a Rollins dropkick. Big E with a leapfrog followed by a belly to belly side slam. Rollins kicked Big E in the face, then a toss out of the ring and Rollins hit a suicide dive on the floor. Rollins charged again, but Rollins hit him with a clubbing forearm to the face. Big E to the apron where he hit a running splash on the apron.
Big E was in control as he sent Rollins into the hood of the announce table. Back in the ring, Big E sent Rollins into the turnbuckle and then wanted the Big Ending, but Rollins slipped out and hit a DDT. Big E went to the floor, so Rollins hit a running knee to Big E’s face. Back in the ring, Rollins jumped off the top with a flying knee to Big E for a two count. Rollins grounded Big E with a chinlock and Big E got up, so Rollins sent him to the corner. Big E came back with a uranage slam. Big E with clotheslines, then Rollins hit a headbutt and Big E sent Rollins to the apron. Big E ran the ropes leading to Big E hitting a Spear on Rollins through the ropes and to the floor. That’s always a great move. They went to break.
The match returned with Big E hitting some signature moves with the two belly to belly suplexes followed by the belly to belly side slam. Big E ran the ropes leading to a splash. Big E went for the Big Ending, Rollins avoided that and Rollins countered a Big E move into an armdrag. They fought over a suplex, Rollins came back with a kick to the head and a rollup for two. Rollins with a superkick for two. Rollins went up top, he jumped off and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. Rollins set up for The Stomp, Big E caught him and hit a Powerbomb for two. Big E applied the Stretch Muffler submission, Rollins punched his way out of it, Rollins with a back elbow and Rollins ran the ropes leading to a Bossman Slam for a two count. Rollins to the apron, Big E charged, Rollins got a knee up and this time Big E greeted Rollins with punches on the top rope. Big E went for a Big Ending off the ropes, Rollins fought out of that and Rollins jumped off the top with nothing because Big E moved. Rollins wanted a Pedigree, Big E got out of it, Rollins with a kick followed by a forearm to the head. Rollins bounced off the ropes and Rollins hit The Stomp for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Freakin’ Rollins
Analysis: ***3/4 A great match between two of Raw’s best. It sucks that Big E had to lose clean, but I get why they did it since it was about putting over Rollins in a big way to give him some positive momentum. Big E also lost at Day 1, so it’s another loss for him. Rollins getting the win was the right call since he’s in the Universal Title match at Royal Rumble later this month. Big E doesn’t get pinned very often, so if you’re going to go it then it might as well be somebody as gifted as Rollins is. Back and forth match with big moves from each guy. Rollins hit his finisher first, so he gets the win. That’s fine with me. This probably could have been the main event of the show although it was unadvertised and done after a promo exchange, so that’s why it took place earlier.
A video aired about the 30-Women Royal Rumble match. It was the same video that aired on Smackdown featuring some current WWE women, plus some legends from the past. The surprising legend was Mickie James, who is the current Knockouts Champion in Impact Wrestling. It’s great that WWE is going to use her. There were 19 official entrants.
The duo of Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. entered for an interview.
Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H. Interview
Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. were in the ring where Sarah Schreiber was there to interview them. Nikki said that they are challenging Queen Zelina and Carmella for a Women’s Tag Team Title match. Ripley said that’s not what they talked about it. Sarah asked a question, Rhea tried to answer, Nikki cut her off and Ripley told her not to talk about it right here. Nikki said that they are going to talk about this right now.
Nikki said that they are talking about the future of their team and Nikki wondered if Rhea wanted to break up. Ripley said that they did well together, but she wants to go separate ways. Nikki said that they’ll get the titles back and show why they are so great together. Ripley said it’s not about the titles. Nikki said that Ripley thinks she’s better because Nikki was pinned last week. Ripley said she’s never said that while Nikki claimed that Ripley was thinking it. Nikki talked about how friends stay together through thick and thin even though Nikki believes she’s better in the ring than Ripley is. Nikki said that it’s nice to know where Ripley’s head is at. Ripley said that Nikki is making her feel uncomfortable. Ripley said this is goodbye, Ripley wanted a handshake and Nikki said it’s fine if Ripley doesn’t want to be her partner anymore. Nikki wanted Ripley to tell Nikki that she believes in her. Ripley said that she always believes in Nikki and she really hopes that Nikki doesn’t stop believing in herself while also hoping that they can still be friends. Nikki asked if she meant that, can they still be friends? Ripley hugged Nikki in the ring wit the fans doing a mix of cheers and boos. Nikki posed on the ropes to greet the crowd. Ripley wanted to touch fists, but Nikki decked her with punches. Nikki kept on punching Ripley and then she bailed before Ripley could get up. The camera was on Nikki, who said that a person that is almost a superhero don’t need any friends.
Analysis: There’s the heel turn of Nikki A.S.H. that was set up a few weeks back. It was obvious it was coming. I think WWE has gone as far as they could with Rhea/Nikki as a team anyway, so it’s fine to split them up. I’m especially excited about Ripley as a singles wrestler that hopefully gets a big push. Last year, Ripley was the runner up in the Royal Rumble. Maybe she can win it this year? Just throwing it out there. I don’t have an official pick yet.
Dana Brooke was shown with the 24/7 Title. Reggie arrived with two cheesesteaks for them. Reggie said he thought the 24/7 Title was in danger. That led to R-Truth chasing after them, a referee was there and Tozawa was in a garbage can. Dana and Reggie threw their cheesesteaks, but it missed the guys and hit Tamina standing there. Tamina was angry about it. Dana and Reggie left.
Analysis: Bad comedy. Somebody has to approve this as a good idea. I don’t know why these are so bad every week. More effort would be nice.
Omos was shown walking down a hallway. Reggie and Dana Brooke were shown running down the hallway with Reggie running into Omos. Reggie apologized. That led to Omos lifting up Reggie against the wall and threatening him. Omos told Reggie that what he does to this guy will be even worse next week (against Reggie). Omos let Reggie go on the ground.
Omos entered for a match with a listed height/weight of 7’3” and 400 pounds.
A commercial aired for Smackdown saying Seth Freakin’ Rollins is back on Smackdown and what does this mean for Roman Reigns as well as the Universal Championship? Find out on Smackdown this Friday.
Doudrop was shown in the locker room saying this is a new year and she’s going to show those two crybabies that they have been overlooking her. Doudrop said she’ll win the triple threat match later to earn a title shot against Becky Lynch and she said that 2022 is finally the year that you get Doudropped.
Omos vs. Nick Sanders
Nick ran into Omos and then he was knocked down right away. Omos stood on Nick’s foot and Omos hit a lifting slam across the ring. Omos with a charging clothesline. Omos lifted up Nicki on his shoulder, then into the air and Omos went crashing to the mat. Omos hit a two-handed Chokeslam for the pinfall win. It went about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Omos
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Omos. They will push him as a huge threat in the Royal Rumble. I’m sure he’ll get a few eliminations in the Rumble.
They showed yet another replay of the Brock Lesnar-Bobby Lashley promo from earlier in the show.
Edge made his entrance to host his talk show. Huge ovation for Edge.
Cutting Edge Hosted by Edge with Beth Phoenix
Edge gave a shoutout to Philly while welcoming us to the Cutting Edge. Edge said that in three weeks, his guest will team with him as The Grit Couple to face the It Couple at the Royal Rumble. Edge did an impressive entrance for his fellow WWE Hall of Famer and his wife, Beth Phoenix. It’s Edge & Beth vs. The Miz & Maryse at the Royal Rumble.
Edge and Beth were in the ring seated in chairs saying they are raising two little girls together as a married couple, but Day 1 was like the first time the fans got to see them interact. Edge said that Beth kicked ass in her career. Edge made references to the Broad Street Bullies NHL team from the 1970s. Edge mentioned they won 35 titles together in their careers and they are the only couple in history to be Hall of Famers.
A video aired about Beth Phoenix showing some career highlights like when Beth was in the 2010 Royal Rumble while also winning multiple titles. It featured comments from other women’s wrestlers talking about Beth’s accomplishments. Edge said he was so proud of her.
Beth commented on the video, all the compliments and she wondered if Edge was trying to butter her up for later tonight, but flattery will get you everywhere. Beth said tonight she’s there to talk some business. Beth trash-talked Miz and Maryse saying the verbal diarrhea coming from them has got to stop. Beth said at the Royal Rumble, they will shut the mouths of Miz & Maryse for good.
The Miz and Maryse made their entrance. As I always say, it’s great to see Maryse. Miz is there too. Miz ripped on the Philadelphia crowd saying he stands with Ben Simmons saying he’d give up $33 million to not play in this crap city. The fans booed. Miz said that he thought Edge would slander Maryse and Miz. That led to Miz saying that at Day 1, he had Edge beat until Edge manipulated his wife to have Beth Phoenix help him. Miz asked what kind of man would use his wife to do something like that. Edge claimed that Miz used his wife as a shield to avoid a Spear. Miz said he had a video package about Maryse.
There was a video shown of Maryse during her WWE career as a champion that won the Divas Title and then falling in love with The Miz as “The It Couple” in WWE. They also mentioned that at the Royal Rumble, Maryse will lay waist to Beth Phoenix and Edge because the power of their love is unbelievable. The fans booed at the end of the video package.
Miz asked if the fans realize how big of a star Maryse is. Miz said that they are lucky to see her live and in person. Miz said that Edge & Beth should be honored to be in the same ring as Maryse. Edge said that Maryse is a former champion, she busted her butt to do what she did just like Miz and Edge said that his wife can deadlift a damn Buick. Edge said that Beth “smashes things” and he said mostly people. Beth said that suddenly, Maryse has become so shy. Beth said now that Maryse knows Beth is back on Raw, Maryse has become quiet like a little mouse. Beth told Maryse that at the Royal Rumble, she’s going to wreck her and everybody in the arena is going to be chanting: “Au revoir.”
Miz told Maryse to tell Beth how badly she’s going to be at her at the Royal Rumble. Miz kept on rambling, Maryse was behind him and then Maryse walked to the back. The fans laughed at Maryse laughing as Miz realized she left. Beth said that if Maryse doesn’t show up to the match at the Royal Rumble, Beth will take great pleasure in knocking Miz’s teeth in. Edge’s music played to end it.
Analysis: A lot of trash talking to keep building this rivalry while adding in some comedy by having Maryse walk out on Miz because she’s afraid of Beth being such a badass. The video packages were done because Beth and Maryse haven’t wrestled in a long time, so it showed them having successful careers of their own before they retired to start their families. I think Edge & Beth will win at Royal Rumble, but it’s not a lock. Maryse’s outfit was the best part of this segment. Just saying.
Austin Theory was shown warming up backstage with Kevin Patrick there to interview him about his match against AJ Styles. Theory said that Vince McMahon reminded him that Styles is a decorated star in WWE that’s a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. Theory said that he’s going to beat Styles while Mr. McMahon will continue to invest in Austin Theory. Patrick asked if Vince had anything more to say and Theory said he did: “Don’t screw this up.” Theory left.
AJ Styles made his entrance to a pretty good pop. Styles is back in babyface mode now after a few years as a heel.
There were highlights shown of Alpha Academy becoming the Raw Tag Team Champions earlier in the night.
Austin Theory made his entrance while taking some selfies.
AJ Styles vs. Austin Theory
Styles hit a backbreaker. Theory with a shot to the threat, then a stomp to the chest and a suplex for two. Styles with a knee to the ribs, but Styles came back with a dropkick. Theory managed to avoid Styles going for an attack by sending Styles to the floor, so then Theory hit a roll through dropkick that knocked Styles off the apron to the floor.
Styles hit a series of strikes leading to a clothesline and a forearm. Styles with a neckbreaker for two. Theory with a cradle suplex into the knee for a two count. Theory put Styles on the apron, but then Styles hit him with a forearm. While Styles was on the apron going for more, Grayson Waller showed up to pull Styles off the apron and stomp on him. That led to a DQ finish after seven minutes.
Winner by disqualification: AJ Styles
Analysis: ** This was fine as a fresh matchup that didn’t have a result because they likely wanted to protect both guys. It was like a preview of a longer match since we only got to see about four minutes. Theory wrestling Styles is a good thing for Theory. Waller attacking Styles made sense based on their history and match on NXT this week.
Post match, Theory got his cell phone and bent down over Styles to take a selfie. Styles got back up, forearm to Waller and he sent Waller into the commentary table. Back in the ring, Waller left the ring and went up the aisle while Styles was in the ring. They exchanged words.
Analysis: The Styles feud with Waller was building over the last month on NXT. That’s the likely main event on NXT this week. It should be very good.
Grayson Waller was shown backstage with Kevin Patrick there to interview him. Waller said that that the Phenomenal One is getting taken over by the Grayson Waller Effect.
Liv Morgan did a promo saying she’ll never stop. Liv said after she wins this triple threat match, she won’t just come close to winning the Raw Women’s Championship from Becky Lynch – she’s winning it.
Becky Lynch made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Championship with a “GOAT” jacket and she was introduced as “Big Time” Becky Lynch. Becky had on some big sunglasses and some shiny pants as well.
The guests on Raw Talk this week were The Miz & Maryse, Nikki A.S.H. and Alpha Academy.
A video was shown of Alexa Bliss visiting some therapist. She has the same attire that she had during his last appearance. The doctor told her to recover, she had to admit she had a problem in the first place and then Bliss laughed about it. The doctor showed the clip of Charlotte Flair destroying Alexa’s doll several months ago. Bliss was asked how it made her feel, so she poured a glass of water, then she poured the glass so it overflowed. Bliss threw down the jug, then she ripped up some papers and wrecked stuff in the office. Bliss threw some flowers and then she screamed.
Analysis: Yawn. I was hoping Bliss would return to the original gimmick she had in WWE. Instead, she was given like four months off to come back as the same character she was in the past when she took over The Fiend gimmick. I really don’t think those kinds of characters work that well in today’s climate of pro wrestling, but it’s WWE. They like goofy stuff like that.
Becky Lynch, the Raw Women’s Champion, did a promo. Becky talked about the three women in the main event calling them strong and relentless women. Lynch said that they had visions of grandeur that they will be the one that overthrows Lynch. Becky said that they want to fight for the right to tell their grandkids that they lost to Becky Lynch. Becky: “Have fun fighting for me, babes.” Becky joined commentary for the match.
Bianca Belair made her entrance looking ready to go with the fans cheering for her. Liv Morgan got a nice pop from the crowd. Becky was bragging about how she beat both women. Doudrop was up last as the only heel in the match.
Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop vs. Liv Morgan
The winner of this match gets to challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at Royal Rumble. There are no countouts and no disqualifications in WWE triple threat matches.
Doudrop with a suplex on Belair and then Belair sent Doudrop out of the ring. Belair fought with Doudrop on the floor, so Morgan used the top rope to flip onto the other women on the floor. Back in the ring, Morgan with a headscissors on Belair, then Belair with a shoulder tackle and Belair jumped over a charging Doudrop. Belair kicked Doudrop to the turnbuckle. Belair with a belly to back suplex on Morgan leading to Doudrop hitting a double cross body block to splash both women. Doudrop hit a Michinoku Driver on Belair. Morgan jumped off the middle rope, Doudrop caught her and Doudrop slammed Morgan onto Belair for a two count with Doudrop covering both women. Doudrop with a chinlock, Morgan broke free and Doudrop hit a corner splash. Doudrop went for a cannonball attack, Morgan moved and Doudrop hit the turnbuckle. When Morgan went for a stomp to the back, Doudrop tossed Morgan over the top to the floor.
The match returned with about seven minutes left in the show. Doudrop charged at Belair, who moved and Doudrop hit the turnbuckle. Morgan with a headscissors on Belair and then a rollup attempt on Doudrop, but then Doudrop sent Morgan into the turnbuckle. Belair hit a Spear on Doudrop so that all three women were down in the ring. Belair sent Doudrop out of the ring so that Belair could exchange moves with Morgan and Morgan applied the Rings of Saturn submission. Belair powered out of that, Belair had Morgan on her back and Morgan came back with double knees to the face. Doudrop back in, Morgan with double knees to her and Morgan kicked Belair into the turnbuckle. Morgan went for a move off the top on Belair, but Doudrop stopped that and Doudrop hit a Powerbomb on Morgan. While Doudrop was going for a pin on Morgan, Belair jumped off the top with a 450 Splash on Doudrop’s back! Wow, that was great. Becky reacted to it as a huge move. Belair covered both women for two counts. Belair hit a spinebuster on Doudrop and a lifting slam that sent Morgan onto Doudrop. Belair with a moonsault off the ropes. Belair with the KOD slam on Morgan, but Lynch went into the ring and attacked Belair. Lynch tossed Belair out of the ring. Belair chased Lynch around the ring, then they stopped, Belair with a kick and then Lynch tossed Belair over the commentary table. Doudrop went to the middle ropes and hit a Vader Bomb splash on Morgan for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Doudrop
The win by Doudrop means she will challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble.
Analysis: **3/4 An average match with a chaotic finish in the final few minutes due to Lynch attacking Belair when Belair had the match won. The crowd really didn’t care about the match that much, but they did react to Belair’s power moves because she was impressive as usual. It was a bit disappointing to hear a lack of a reaction when Morgan was on offense because the fans usually like her more than this. That was a result that I didn’t really expect, but I like it because it means that Morgan and Belair can be threats to win the Royal Rumble match. I don’t expect Doudrop to beat Lynch. I doubt many people would think that Doudrop will win.
After the match, Lynch tried to offer her hand for a handshake and then Lynch slapped Doudrop in the face. Lynch tried a Manhandle Slam, but Doudrop tossed her out of the ring. Lynch told Doudrop that she only won because Lynch helped her win. That’s true. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: Based on this match result, I think Liv Morgan is going to be my pick to win the Women’s Royal Rumble match. Bianca Belair is certainly a possibility to repeat as well since Lynch’s actions were what caused Belair to lose. It also wouldn’t shock me if they ended up doing a triple threat at WrestleMania with Becky Lynch defending the Raw Women’s Championship against both Belair and Morgan at the same time. I prefer a singles match, but I think a triple threat is possible for sure.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Freakin’ Rollins
- Alpha Academy
- Brock Lesnar
7 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
I thought it was a pretty good Raw with some entertaining matches throughout the show. One thing I complain about when I don’t like Raw is when the matches suffer, but this was a good epsiode because of the match quality. The Rollins/Big E match was the highlight while the Raw Tag Team Title change was very good and then the women’s main event was okay. Nothing really was that bad in terms of matches.
The main promo segments were strong thanks to Lesnar/Lashley exchanging words. When Lashley thought he was clever saying Lesnar avoided him, Lesnar fired back calling Bobby a “Brock Lesnar wannabe” so it gave Lesnar the advantage. I’m really looking forward to Lesnar/Lashley at the Royal Rumble.
I like how things are being booked for the Royal Rumble. A fun lineup so far with Lynch/Doudrop as a surprising match, but that’s good for Liv Morgan or Bianca Belair as a Royal Rumble winner. Lots of possibilities in both Rumble matches as I wrote in the review.
The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 29 in St. Louis. Here’s what we know so far:
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth Rollins
30-Man Royal Rumble Match – Big E, AJ Styles, Damian Priest, Johnny Knoxville, Sheamus, Angelo Dawkins, Montez Ford, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio and Austin Theory.
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match – Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Lita, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Dana Brooke, Natalya, Mickie James, Tamina, Shayna Baszler, Summer Rae, Aliyah and Shotzi.
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse
You can watch WWE Royal Rumble streaming LIVE on Saturday, January 29 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on WWE Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.
Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.