Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/16/23 Review

wwe raw deal jan 16

This week’s WWE Raw featured a six-man Elimination Match for a shot at the US Title, plus more building to Raw 30 next week and the Royal Rumble.

It was the last week for WWE to face tough NFL competition on Monday night since the Dallas Cowboys destroyed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their NFC Wildcard playoff game. That means there’s no Monday Night Football competition until September 2023. There was the college football final last Monday and since early September it was NFL games. Since I’m an NFL junkie, it also means I’ll be writing live WWE Raw Deal reviews most weeks until September as well. There will be tough competition for WWE a bit it late April, May & June with NBA/NHL Playoffs, but the NFL is really the king of sports television.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1546 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The Raw intro video aired to start the show. It feels like greatness. That was followed by an impressive pyro display with a vocal crowd on hand. The commentary team was Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves.

This week’s main event is a six-way elimination match for a US Championship match at Raw 30 next week.

Let’s Hear From The Bloodline – The Usos & Solo Sikoa

The Usos made their entrance as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions joined by their brother Solo Sikoa. There was no sign of Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn or Paul Heyman with them. They showed highlights from Smackdown when Sami Zayn was facing Kevin Owens and that’s when The Usos & Sikoa beat up Owens. Solo gave Owens a splash through the table. Zayn didn’t know that The Bloodline would be there.

Jimmy and Jey Uso started off saying that The Bloodline is now in your city. Jimmy spoke about how they’re running Smackdown and Raw every single week. Jey said he hopes that Kevin Owens got the message because you can’t cross the Tribal Chief and get away with it. Jey talked about Roman beating Owens at the Royal Rumble. Jimmy said that next week at Raw 30, every generation of The Bloodline will be there for an acknowledgment ceremony for Roman Reigns. Jey said that next week they’ll defend the Raw Tag Team Championships against The Judgment Day and they’ll win because they the twos, but The Bloodline are the ones.

The Judgment Day made their entrance with Rhea Ripley saying that they run Raw. Finn Balor said that last week they ran the gauntlet, they ran through the tag team division and now they’re coming straight for The Bloodline. Finn thanked the “ex-con” Dominik Mysterio for helping them win last week. Damian Priest mentioned that The Bloodline has never stepped up to The Judgment Day. Dominik said he smelled fear because they are scared. Jimmy mocked Dominik with Jey saying they’ve had the titles for 546 days as The Usos mentioned teams they beat. Jey reminded Dominik that the title reign started when they beat The Mysterios. The Usos bragged about how they would beat The Judgment Day next week.

Dominik claimed they wouldn’t last a minute with the prisoners that he was in the cell with. Dominik called out Solo Sikoa the street champion standing around and doing nothing. Solo stared at Dominik, so Ripley got in the way instead. Dominik gave Solo a cheap shot forearm, so Solo headbutted Dominik. That led to a brawl. Ripley got in Solo’s face and then Mustafa Ali jumped off the top rope with an attack on Solo because that match is next. That led to a break.

Analysis: There was a lot going on there with so many people involved. I think The Bloodline family members at Raw next week sounds cool. I assume it’s Roman’s dad Sika along with uncle Afa and The Usos/Solo dad Rikishi too. I think The Judgment Day could beat The Usos next week since it’s just for the Raw Tag Team Titles. The Judgment Day has yet to win any titles, so it would be a way to give them some gold.

(Commercial)

Mustafa Ali vs. Solo Sikoa

It looked like Ali was in control coming out of the break, but Solo came back with a Samoan Drop. Solo hit the running hip attack in the corner. They showed comments from Ali earlier in the day while the match was going on. Ali said he was fighting back. Ali got some offense going with two dropkicks along with a superkick that knocked Solo out of the ring. Solo came back with an uppercut punch along with a clothesline. Solo went for the charge into the corner again, but Ali moved and Solo hit his back against the turnbuckle. Solo grabbed a hold of Ali and sent him hard into the ring post. The Usos appeared at ringside with their hands up, so Kevin Owens made his entrance. The Usos went after Owens, who sent Jey into the barricade and hit Jimmy into the steel steps. Ali hit a Tornado DDT off the ropes for a two count. Good nearfall. Ali jumped off the top with a 450 Splash, Solo avoided that and Solo hit the Samoan Spike on Ali for the pinfall win. It went about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Solo Sikoa

Analysis: **1/4 It was solid for a shorter match with Solo picking up the win as you would expect. Ali got that nice nearfall after the Tornado DDT, but I don’t think anybody is surprised by the result of the match. Owens brawling with The Usos provided some chaos during the match.

Post match, Kevin Owens attacked Solo right away. Owens hit Solo with a Stunner. Owens beat up Solo on the floor a bit leading to Owens putting Solo on the commentary table. The Usos went after Owens at ringside. Owens fought back by throwing steel chairs at them. Officials and referees showed up to try to stop Owens while The Bloodline retreated to the back.

Analysis: Good fire by Kevin Owens there as he continues to try to fight back against The Bloodline. Owens was laid out on Smackdown by The Bloodline, so it was important to have him look strong here.

There was a promo from Bobby Lashley talking about the elimination match main event. Lashley told Austin Theory that he’s coming for his US Title and he’s going to put away Theory for good.

A commercial aired for Raw’s 30th anniversary next week.

(Commercial)

Cody Rhodes Return Video

For the third straight week, there was a video about Cody Rhodes’s comeback after undergoing surgery for his torn pectoral muscle last June. They showed Cody during the rehab process with the doctor talking about how even though Cody is a great athlete, he doesn’t heal faster than anybody else. Cody mentioned he was told nine months, but patience is not his strong suit. Cody was shown training at The Nightmare Factory (his gym) and his wife Brandi said that Cody looks better than he ever has. Cody said since WrestleMania, he has made it crystal clear what he wants. Cody: “At the Royal Rumble, I’m back!” Cody smiled.

Analysis: That’s awesome. I think we all expected Cody back at the Royal Rumble and it was just a matter if they would announce it or make it a surprise. They chose to announce it. Cody will be a popular pick to win. I know Cody mentioned nine months in that video, but I believe that a torn pectoral muscle can be anywhere from 6 to 9 months. He got hurt in early June, so it’s been about seven months now.

Elias was interviewed by Byron Saxton outside of Adam Pearce’s office with Elias summarizing 2022 for him while adding that he was focused on the Royal Rumble. MVP left the room, they exchanged words, Elias thinks that MVP is going to be in the Royal Rumble and MVP said he could get him a match with the 2023 Royal Rumble winner. Elias thought that meant MVP. That led to MVP going back in the office to talk to Pearce.

(Commercial)

The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander

Angelo Dawkins was wearing some Cincinnati Bengals gear since he’s from the area, they are in Cincy and he’s a big fan of the football team that is very good. Benjamin connected with a spin kick and German Suplex on Dawkins. After a punch by Dawkins, Ford tagged in against Alexander with a cross body block off the top rope. Ford hit a running clothesline. Alexander to the apron, Ford with a back elbow and Alexander hit a running clothesline to knock Ford down on the apron. MVP showed up at ringside as the Hurt Business reunion teases continue.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Ford breaking free from the double team attack, then Dawkins tagged in and hit a leaping back elbow on Benjamin. Dawkins hit a corner splash, jumping kick, spinebuster and Ford tagged in with a Frog Splash on Benjamin for two because Alexander broke up the pin. Dawkins went for a lift, Alexander did a chop block to Dawkins and Benjamin suplexed Ford off the top for two because Dawkins made the save. Ford with a jumping kick on Benjamin, then he sent Benjamin out of the ring, Dawkins got the tag and Alexander hit a suicide dive on the floor. Dawkins hit a somersault dive over the top onto three guys and landed on his feet. Dawkins hit a corner splash on Alexander, MVP grabbed Alexander and distracted the referee, which led to a double team move with Alexander hitting a knee to the face. Alexander went for the pin on Dawkins, but Dawkins countered with a crucifix pin on Alexander for the pinfall win. It went nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)

Analysis: **3/4 A solid tag team match between two good teams. MVP got involved to try to help Benjamin & Alexander, but then it looked like he messed things up for them. The Street Profits are always pushed to a decent level even though they haven’t been champions in a long time.

Post match, Benjamin & Alexander weren’t happy with MVP about his attempted help.

The Judgment Day were interviewed backstage by Cathy Kelley. Chad Gable interrupted with a “shoosh please” leading to some words exchanged between the two teams. Gable told Dominik to sign up for Alpha Academy’s online course the next time he’s in prison. Anyway, they kept on exchanging words and there was a match coming later.

Analysis: It went on a little too long. Just get to the point and move on.

Becky Lynch calls out Bayley up next.

(Commercial)

They showed a clip of WrestleMania 21 videos when WWE did some movie parody videos. They were very memorable going into 2005 with Graves mentioning that WWE will be sharing them again since WrestleMania is in Los Angeles again.

Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch and Bayley

Becky Lynch made her entrance in the crowd and she walked down towards the ring. Becky did some pandering about the Cincinnati Bengals win while joking that she dyed her hair for them. (Her hair is already orange.) Lynch got into the ring calling Bayley a dope and wanted her to get out there. Lynch called her “Karen” and here comes Bayley with Damage CTRL.

Bayley made her entrance wearing a San Francisco 49ers jersey of George Kittle along with IYO SKY and Dakota Kai. Bayley said she is not a Karen, her name is Bayley and they argued about it with Lynch wanting to explain what a Karen is to Bayley. Damage CTRL got into the ring.

Bayley mocked Lynch saying she has no friends while Lynch said she had an arena of friends in Cincinnati. Lynch thinks that Bayley is a sour-faced dope that peaked in 2015. Bayley said that was the year she ran NXT and Becky ran off with the Four Horsewomen and took Bayley’s spot. Lynch wondered if that’s why Bayley tried to recreate something with her two random friends here. Bayley claimed that Lynch took her spot on Raw, Smackdown and WrestleMania while saying that everything that Becky has should have been Bayley’s instead. Lynch said Bayley wanted to be a leader, she wanted to be a champion…or is Bayley full of crap like Becky always said. Lynch said that she wasn’t supposed to be The Man or the first woman to win the main event of WrestleMania, but she did it because she loved this and she worked harder than anybody else. Lynch said she’ll keep doing this until she can’t do it any more. Lynch said she knows Bayley loves this, but when things don’t go her way, Bayley just whines about how it is somebody else’s fault. Bayley said that the only reason that Becky became The Man is because she got punched in the face by another woman. Lynch said maybe she should punch Bayley in the face. Bayley bragged about beating Lynch in the past. Lynch challenged Bayley to a Steel Cage Match next week, Bayley accepted it and Lynch said it’s official, so she will see her next week. Lynch left. No physicality.

Analysis: A big match for next week. You don’t see women’s matches inside a Steel Cage very much, but the rivalry has been built up very well. Lynch did become a popular babyface the way some people thought

Dolph Ziggler was shown in the locker room with Mustafa Ali walking up to him with Ali complaining about Ziggler getting opportunities. Ali complained about Ziggler ruining his US Title match and how Ziggler refused to tag with Ali. Ziggler said he didn’t have time to pay attention to him today because he had to prepare for the elimination match. Ali punched Ziggler in the head and asked if he had his attention now. Ali left.

Analysis: It continued the story they have been telling with Ali complaining about how things aren’t fair for him.

This Friday on Smackdown: Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens have a contract signing for their Royal Rumble match, plus Drew McIntyre & Sheamus vs. The Viking Raiders.

(Commercial)

Elias was in the ring. MVP walked out in a suit to tell Elias that he is facing the 2023 Royal Rumble winner, but it’s not MVP, it is this man…Omos.

Omos (w/MVP) vs. Elias

Omos shoved Elias down followed by a running boot to the face. Elias left the ring, Elias shoved Omos in the back, then Elias jumped onto his back. Omos charged at Elias, who moved and Omos hit the ring post. MVP got in the way, Elias grabbed his guitar and Omos hit Elias with a headbutt on the floor. Omos smashed the guitar on the floor. Back in the ring, Elias hit three jumping knees in a row. Elias went up top, Omos caught him on the top rope and Omos did a double choke bomb for two. They still don’t have a name for that move.

Winner by pinfall: Omos

Analysis: *1/4 An easy win for Omos. Elias got some offense during the match, but all it took was one big move by Omos for the pinfall win.

Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Pearce said that Raw 30 is going to be unbelievable while Pearce talked about the six-man match for the US Title. Akira Tozawa walked up to Pearce saying he wants in the Royal Rumble. Pearce said you have to earn it. Pearce said he can put him in a match and if he wins then Pearce will consider putting him in the Rumble match.

The Judgment Day was shown walking backstage ahead of their match.

A commercial aired for Raw’s 30th anniversary next Monday, January 23rd.

(Commercial)

The Judgment Day – Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio (w/Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley) vs. Alpha Academy – Otis & Chad Gable

As The Judgment Day made their entrance, Corey Graves going back to his routine of prison/crime jokes related to Dominik Mysterio. Last week it was unbearable to listen to. Graves also said that Priest was in the Gauntlet Match for “over an hour” last week on Raw with Patrick saying 56 minutes. I believe it was 50 minutes, but it’s WWE where facts are optional sometimes. Anyway, Gable tried using his quickness to take down Priest, but he had a tough time doing it. Gable grabbed the ankle, Priest got to the rope and Priest got a boot to the face. Gable with a dragon screw leg whip. Otis tagged in with some dance moves and a running body attack. Gable back in, Priest sent him to the ropes, Dom pulled the rope down and Gable went over the top to the floor.

(Commercial)

Gable was trying to tag out, but Priest stopped that to happen. Priest punched Gable, then a splash in the corner and Priest did a suplex into a slam. Dom was back in, Gable shoved him off the top rope and Gable hit a headbutt on Dom. Otis got the tag to a huge pop leading to a charging attack, a running back elbow, a knee lift on Dom and Otis headbutted Priest. A superkick by Priest to Otis and Otis came back with a powerslam for two. Dominik tagged in, Otis splashed both guys and Otis did the Caterpillar, then he stumbled into an elbow drop. Otis wanted a Vader Bomb, but Dominik took down Gable, Otis was distracted and Priest slammed Otis off the turnbuckle. That was impressive. Gable hit Priest with a Chaos Theory suplex. Dominik was legal, so he rolled up Gable for two. Gable applied the Ankle Lock, the referee was looking at Ripley on the floor and Priest hit a South of Heaven chokeslam on Gable. Dom crawled over to Gable for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Judgment Day – Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: *** A pretty good match with The Judgment Day doing the distraction leading to Priest hitting the big move and Dominik capitalizing for the pinfall win. It made sense for The Judgment Day to get the win since they are getting the Raw Tag Team Title match. I mentioned last week that it looked like Alpha Academy are faces now and that continued this week with Otis getting cheered a lot especially when he got the hot tag. Gable is so good in the ring, but as the smaller guy on his team, he usually gets pinned in their tag team matches.

There was a video tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. since Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.

A commercial aired for NXT on Tuesday with Apollo Crews & Axiom facing Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams in tag team action.

(Commercial)

IYO SKY (w/Dakota Kai) vs. “Michin” Mia Yim (w/Candice LeRae)

It seems like they are pushing the Michin name a lot again. Michin hit a running dropkick along with a forearm. Sky with a necksnap against the top rope followed by a missile dropkick off the top. Sky hit a running double knee attack in the corner for two. Sky trapped Yim on the mat with a crossface submission on the mat. Michin tried a back body drop, Sky landed on her feet and Michin hit a neckbreaker. Michin with kicks to the body followed by a flatliner and a running dropkick. Michin hit an impressive German Suplex. Sky with a pin attempt, Kai was on the apron, LeRae took her down, and Sky kicked LeRae. Michin hit the Eat Defeat for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: “Michin” Mia Yim

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay with the crowd barely reacting to some of it. This is typical booking where a tag team champion like Sky loses a singles match to likely set up a Women’s Tag Team Title Match soon.

After the match, Kai attacked Michin and LeRae made the save. Candice hit the double knees on Kai for the save.

Analysis: They don’t do Women’s Tag Team Title matches often, but now they are building LeRae & Michin as challengers to the champions Kai & Sky.

A recap aired of the Alexa Bliss storyline following her attack on Bianca Belair two weeks ago. Last week on Raw, Uncle Howdy stared at Bliss from a distance.

Bianca Belair was shown walking backstage because she’s up next.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about the Royal Rumble card so far:

* 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens

* Pitch Black Match: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

* 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match

Let’s Hear From Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion with the title on her shoulder. Belair said she missed us all so much. Belair missed just last week. Belair talked about getting her face busted on the steel steps two weeks ago. Belair spoke about how even if she ends up with a busted face after what Alexa did to her, she would still face her again and again. Bliss said that every risk comes with the reward of remaining your Raw Women’s Champion. Belair said she heard what Bliss had to say last week and wondered if Bliss had the guts to say it to her face this week.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance saying she’ll gladly repeat herself for her or anybody else. Bliss said that Belair fears her because she has no idea what to expect from her. Bliss mentioned the Royal Rumble match, then Belair cut her off and suggested a Raw Women’s Title match at the Royal Rumble. Bliss asked “what’s the catch?” Belair said that you want to be in control, so the choice is yours. Bliss: “I’ll see you at Rumble.”

Belair left the ring and they got into a fight around ringside. Belair sent Bliss into the barricade, ring post and ring apron a few times. Belair with a back elbow to the head. Belair charged at Bliss, who ducked and Belair went over the barricade. They went brawling into the crowd with Belair punching Bliss repeatedly. Belair opened up two chairs in the aisle and teased doing her finisher, but Uncle Howdy showed up in the entry way with some mysterious light/smoke by him. Bliss hit Belair with a DDT. Bliss looked at Howdy from a distance.

Analysis: The mysterious ways of Uncle Howdy continue as Bliss looked at him just like last week, but we don’t know if they are on the same page or if he’s going to help her win the Raw Women’s Title against Belair. It does add some intrigue to the Belair-Bliss story as we wonder if Belair can overcome whatever is going on with Bliss. I thought Belair would hold that title until WrestleMania and I’ll probably pick her at Royal Rumble, but there’s certainly a chance that Bliss could win too.

(Commercial)

Bronson Reed vs. Akira Tozawa

This is Reed’s first match since his WWE return. Reed is not a tall guy, but he’s a 330-pounder that looks impressive. Reed with a snap belly to belly slam. Reed knocked down Tozawa with a running body attack. Reed hit a running splash on Tozawa in the corner. Reed with a hard body slam long with a running body attack on a seated Tozawa. After Reed grounded Tozawa in a submission, Tozawa got some offense going with a kick, hurricanrana, dropkick while Reed was on the floor and Tozawa hit a suicide dive on Reed. Tozawa went for an attack off the apron, but Reed caught him and gave Tozawa a Powerbomb into the barricade. Reed hit a running shoulder tackle off the apron onto Tozawa on the floor. Back in the ring, Reed went up top and hit a Tsunami splash on Tozawa for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed

Analysis: *1/2 An easy win for Reed. The crowd was mostly quiet for it. I thought this might go two minutes, so going four minutes is longer than I expected. Reed’s top rope splash known as the Tsunami is very impressive.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was interviewed by Byron Saxton backstage. Rollins said he had his mind set on the Royal Rumble and going to WrestleMania, but then officials called him saying this US Title opportunity is here. Rollins said that Cincinnati loves to party and sing, so of course he’s in. Rollins said he’ll win the Six-Pack Challenge, take back the US Title next week, win the Royal Rumble and go on to main event of WrestleMania where he’ll kick Roman Reigns’ ass like only he can. Seth said in the immortal words of Freddie Mercury: “I want it all and I want it now.”

Analysis: Great promo from Rollins there.

(Commercial)

The announcers went over the Raw 30 (XXX) lineup for next week in Philly:

* Becky Lynch vs Bayley in a Steel Cage Match

* The Bloodline Acknowledgment Ceremony

* Raw Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. The Judgment Day

* WWE Legends including The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, X-Pac, Ron Simmons, Road Dogg, Kurt Angle, The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie Bella), Teddy Long and Jerry “The King” Lawler

* Austin Theory defends the US Title against the winner of the six-way elimination match.

Analysis: I thought there would be more legends than that and more big names, but that’s it for now. Maybe they will add some more of them by the time we get to next week. I feel like Edge will return next week after being off for three months and there could be others too.

The entrances took place for the main event with Seth “Freakin” Rollins up first. The fans chanted loudly for Rollins while also singing his song. Finn Balor was next with taped ribs to sell his injury from last week. The Miz was next followed by Dolph Ziggler as two veterans in the match that aren’t really pushed much anymore. Baron Corbin was up next with John Bradshaw Layfield joining him. The last man to enter was “The All Mighty” Bobby Lashley to a good ovation. The US Champion Austin Theory made his entrance to watch the match.

Six-Man Elimination Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin (w/John Bradshaw Layfield)

It’s elimination by pinfall or submission only. No countouts or disqualifications in a match like this.

The bell rang, the six guys started brawling and the show went to break there.

(Commercial)

The wrestlers were fighting all around the ring with Theory on commentary. Rollins and Balor exchanged kicks in the ring. JBL hit Lashley with a forearm to the back, so Corbin hit a jumping knee on Lashley to knock him down. Miz gave Ziggler a back body drop over the barricade at ringside. Theory said he feels like he grew up watching all of these guys. Ziggler came back with a DDT on Miz on the floor. Rollins gave Balor a gutbuster on Balor onto the knee. Corbin tripped up Rollins on the top rope, Balor tried to join Corbin for a superplex and then Bobby Lashley went over there for the Powerbomb into a Tower of Doom spot. Lashley charged at Rollins, who avoided it and sent Lashley into the turnbuckle. Miz knocked Rollins out of the ring. Ziggler with a Fameasser on Lashley and Miz with a Skull Crushing Finale on Lashley for a two count. Miz hit a corner clothesline on Ziggler and a rollup got two. Miz with a boot to the face on Ziggler. Balor went back in with a rollup on Miz for two. Miz kicked Balor into his injured ribs along with a roundhouse kick to the head. Miz tripped up Ziggler followed by a Figure Four Leglock in the middle of the ring. Ziggler sold it well and he turned it. Rollins hit Miz with The Stomp for the pinfall.

The Miz has been eliminated.

(Commercial)

Corbin worked with Balor leading to Corbin splashing Ziggler in the corner. Lashley ran over Corbin with a shoulder tackle on the floor. Balor and Corbin worked together to push Lashley into the ring post. Back in the ring, Rollins hit Balor with a clothesline. Rollins jumped off the apron with a knee on Balor on the floor. Rollins spit some water into Balor’s face. Back in the ring, Rollins and Ziggler teamed up against Corbin with Ziggler hitting a dropkick. Ziggler pulled Corbin out of the ring and sent Corbin into the steel steps. Ziggler and Rollins got nearfalls on eachother, Rollins hit a suicide dive on Lashley/Corbin and Balor sent Ziggler into the turnbuckle. Balor hit a somersault dive over the top onto three guys on the floor. Ziggler went to the top and jumped off with a cross body block onto three guys on the floor. Back in the ring, Corbin kicked Ziggler in the leg, Ziggler avoided a move and hit a superkick to knock Corbin out of the ring. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Lashley, Ziggler with a superkick on Balor and Rollins hit a Pedigree on Ziggler to pin him.

Dolph Ziggler has been eliminated.

(Commercial)

There were four men left in the match with Corbin working with Balor to deliver multiple shoulder tackles, but then Corbin hit Balor with a Deep Six slam for two. Corbin sent Rollins to the apron where Corbin punched Rollins to the floor. Lashley hit a corner clothesline, then shoulder tackles and a neckbreaker. Lashley clotheslined Corbin out of the ring. Lashley with a shoulder tackle on Balor. Lashley hit a DDT/flatliner on Balor/Rollins at the same time. Lashley gave Rollins a spinning slam off the shoulders for two. Lashley hit a delayed vertical suplex on Balor. Omos walked out with MVP joining him, so Lashley stared at them. Corbin gave Lashley a clothesline and Balor hit Slingblade on Corbin. Rollins clotheslined Corbin out of the ring. Balor with a dropkick on Lashley into the corner. Balor went up top and he hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp off the top onto Lashley. Rollins hit The Stomp on Balor for the pinfall win.

Finn Balor has been eliminated.

Seth Rollins has eliminated all three guys so far with Lashley and Corbin also left in the match. Corbin sent Rollins into the barricade, but Rollins came back with a superkick. Omos grabbed Rollins and sent him over the commentary table into the chairs. Corbin looked scared of Omos a bit, then Corbin went into the ring and Lashley hit Corbin with a Spear to pin him.

Baron Corbin has been eliminated.

Lashley looked at MVP and Omos wondering what they were doing. Lashley stuck his head between the ropes, so Theory hit Lashley with the US Title to the head. Omos grabbed Theory by the throat and Rollins hit The Stomp on Omos on the table. It didn’t break the table. Rollins clotheslined Theory over the barricade. MVP on the apron, Rollins hit him with a superkick. Rollins charged and Lashley hit Rollins with a Spear for the pinfall win after 23 minutes.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins has been eliminated

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley

The win means that Lashley gets a US Title match against Austin Theory next Monday on Raw.

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match with lots of action and creative nearfalls. There were a lot of veterans in this match, so they know how to put on an entertaining match with six guys involved. It was pretty obvious that some of the guys in the match had no chance of winning while it would come down to Lashley and Rollins. The ending was a bit controversial with Omos getting physically involved. While Rollins was able to stop Omos, Lashley did capitalize on the situation and benefited from the chaos at ringside to win the match. If Rollins didn’t have to knock MVP off the apron then Lashley wouldn’t have had a chance to recover leading to the Spear for the win. I think the story was that MVP and Omos were trying to help Lashley since we saw MVP talk to Lashley last week as well as rumors of The Hurt Business reuniting.

Bobby Lashley celebrated the win in the ring while Austin Theory held up the US Title. The announcers did a rundown of some of the other things coming up next week on Raw. Lashley and Theory posed as the show ended there.

Analysis: A title change is possible if they want Lashley to go heel with The Hurt Business by his side. That’s a way to get the group going on the right foot with Omos joining the group too. However, Theory holding the title long term works too. It seems as though Theory is likely going to face John Cena at WrestleMania, so I wonder if Theory will have the US Title going into that match or if he’s without a title at that point. There are still a few months until we get there.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Bobby Lashley
  2. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
  3. The Judgment Day

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

2023 Average: 7

Final Thoughts

A good Raw for the most part. They really pushed next week’s Raw 30th Anniversary show a lot for next week, which makes a lot of sense since they will have two title matches, a Steel Cage match, The Bloodline’s acknowledgment ceremony and several legends on hand.

The best match this week was easily the six-man elimination match in the main event for a US Title shot. Lots of chaos at ringside with MVP and Omos getting involved as they tried to help Bobby Lashley win even though he didn’t seem to want the help. Seth “Freakin” Rollins was impressive in the match with multiple pinfalls, but he had to knock MVP off the apron and Lashley capitalized with a Spear for the win. All of this seems to be leading to The Hurt Business reunion with Omos joining the group as well. Maybe Lashley turns heel next week to get the US Title from Theory. It might happen.

The rest of the show had some decent moments. Several shorter matches this week to put over people like Bronson Reed, Omos and Solo Sikoa while trying to build to other things like a Women’s Tag Team Title feud. The Bianca Belair-Alexa Bliss segment was fine with Uncle Howdy appearing again, which will make the Belair-Bliss match at Royal Rumble more interesting. I like the Royal Rumble card at this point.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is the Royal Rumble on January 28th in San Antonio. Here’s the lineup so far.

* 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

* 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens

* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

* Pitch Black Match: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

You can watch the Royal Rumble on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 8 ET/5 PT, streaming live exclusively on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else!

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Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport