This week’s Raw featured a couple of big singles matches with WWE Champion Big E facing Kevin Owens while Finn Balor was looking for revenge against Seth Rollins.
The state of New York hosts Raw again since last week’s Raw was in Brooklyn and this week they are in the brand new UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY that’s home to the NHL’s New York Islanders. It literally opened up less than two weeks ago.
In addition to those matches mentioned above, Randy Orton & Riddle defend the Raw Tag Team Titles vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode along with Damian Priest defending the US Title vs. Apollo Crews. Also, Edge is on Raw for the first time since the draft in early October.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1487 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
Raw started with Seth Rollins making his entrance looking ready for a match. The announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on hand to welcome us to the show. They did a rundown of what’s coming up on Raw this week. There are some new official Raw graphics as well and they look pretty good. Slight changes once in a while is a good thing.
Rollins did a promo saying you might expect him to be in a bad mood, but nobody can keep him down. Rollins claimed he was in a good mood tonight because he’s got a secret. Rollins said that the breaking news is that at Day 1 in Atlanta, Georgia it’s going to be Big E vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship. A graphic was shown on the screen confirming the news. Rollins said that it will be the first day of the new year and the first day of his championship reign. Rollins went over his nicknames about being a visionary, revolutionary and he is Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Analysis: There’s the first match announced for Day 1. Rollins earned that title shot several weeks ago, so I figured they were just waiting until the right time to announce it for the Day 1 PPV.
Finn Balor made his entrance and attacked Rollins with a trip followed by punches. Rollins left the ring, so Balor tackled him over the barricade. Balor tossed Rollins over the commentary table and into the ring. Rollins managed to knock Balor down, then Rollins ran the ropes and hit a suicide dive on the floor. Balor hit a Slingblade on the floor and Balor hit Rollins with the steel steps. The referee asked Rollins if he wanted to have the match, Seth agreed and it started.
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
Balor with a dropkick to the turnbuckle. Rollins bailed to the floor, so Balor hit a somersault dive over the top to the floor. That led to a break.
Balor was in control with a DDT for a two count. Rollins drove Balor’s neck into the top rope, Rollins charged, Balor hit a jumping kick to the head. Balor up top, so Rollins tripped him up to crotch Balor on the top rope. Rollins jumped up top leading to the superplex into the Falcon Arrow combo for the two count. Rollins was up top, he jumped off, Balor got the knees up and a cradle for two. Balor with a double stomp to the chest for two. Rollins countered a Slingblade, Seth hit his own Slingblade and hit a superkick for two. Rollins charged, Balor got a Slingblade and a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor up top again, he jumped for the Coup de Grace, Rollins avoided it, Balor got a rollup for two and they each hit forearms to the face at the same time. They exchanged punches, Balor with a jumping kick, Rollins with a jumping kick, Balor with an elbow to the chest to the mat and Rollins with an eye poke that the referee didn’t see. Balor sold it really well while the announcers pointed it out right away to let the fans know about what Rollins did there. Rollins with a forearm to the back and The Stomp for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match between two of the best wrestlers on Raw. Rollins got the advantage after the cheap eye poke and then it took two moves to put away Balor after that. These guys are evenly matched, they counter moves a lot and it’s fun to watch every time they have a match. Rollins getting the win makes sense since he’s getting the next WWE Title match, so it’s smart to give him positive momentum. I don’t know who Balor is feuding with next, but at least he can say Seth only won because of the eye poke.
They showed a clip of Liv Morgan punching Becky Lynch, who said some mean things to her last week.
Becky Lynch made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion wearing a big pink fur coat. A contract signing is up next.
They showed Vince McMahon checking his phone in his office. Austin Theory was there. Vince didn’t like people saying “how are you doing?” and said answers to that are phony. Vince: “I hate that. I hate when people say ‘how are you, Mr. McMahon?’ They don’t really want to know how I am. They really don’t care. I would say ‘How am I doing? I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, an ingrown toenail and an earache.’ That’s phony. That’s phony crap.” Vince mentioned Theory getting a WWE Title match last week. It led to a video from last week’s Raw with Theory taking a selfie with Vince. Vince told Theory he’s going to make Austin watch the show with him, they’re going to see if there are any surprises and if anybody expects the unexpected. Vince warned Theory if he ever steals from him again…“I will kill you,” says Vince.
Raw Women’s Contract Signing
Becky Lynch was in the ring with the Raw Women’s Title while Sonya Deville, the WWE Official, was on hand along with a long table and two chairs for the contract signing. Sonya introduced Liv Morgan for the contract signing. Good look for Liv for this signing. She is a popular woman.
Lynch welcomed Liv to her first contract signing since Lynch is involved, so Becky said you’re welcome for that. Lynch said she wanted to get Liv angry to see if she’s got that thing in you and that chip on your shoulder. Lynch said then Liv held herself back like she always does. Lynch wondered what’s going to happen, will Liv hold herself back or prove Becky wrong? Lynch said she has already signed the contract. Sonya said that this championship match is going to take place next Monday night on Raw. Lynch ripped on Long Island not getting the big title match and Lynch ripped on the crappy team the Islanders, which drew boos. Morgan told Lynch to shut up, which drew cheers. Morgan signed the contract.
Morgan said that she was upset last week because she channeled her emotions by using her first instead of being a blubbering mess like Becky crying about Charlotte Flair after Survivor Series. Morgan said she even had the footage. They showed a video of a crying Lynch after Survivor Series. Morgan mocked Lynch for crying like a little baby. Morgan said that Becky is the reason Charlotte is not her friend and Becky’s big contract is why Liv’s friends are gone (hello Riott Squad). Morgan told Lynch that she has learned from her past mistakes. Liv threatened a punch and Lynch said that video after Survivor Series was big emotion after a big match. Lynch said some of them (people like her) deserve to be paid. Lynch said she pitched a 10-woman tag team match tonight to see if Liv can lead a team to victory. A graphic was shown on screen about it. The 10-woman tag team match is coming later. Liv said Lynch was too selfish to be a leader and said she accepted the challenge.
Analysis: I don’t know that the contract signing was really needed, but that’s what we got. It should be a good title match next week. It’s a smart move to use Becky Lynch to try to elevate Liv Morgan in a feud, so I liked the promo exchange with Lynch acting heelish by ripping the hockey team and Liv firing back at her. The tag match later in the show is a fine idea to get more women on the show.
Randy Orton was backstage with Riddle going up to him with a “Hey Raaandy” t-shirt. Riddle did his rambling promo about how he looked like Orton and then Orton hit a Bro Derek like Riddle does. Riddle thought that Orton would dress up like Riddle. Orton said that they are about to go defend their titles, so he ranted at Riddle. Orton said he appreciated what Riddle is doing. Orton said that they need to be more ruthless than anybody else and be ten steps ahead of the competition. Riddle told him to close his eyes and Riddle put a wig of long hair on Orton, who checked himself out in a mirror. Randy: “You’ve got two seconds to take this off of my head.” Riddle took the wig off and Orton told him to never do it again.
Randy Orton and Riddle made their entrance for their tag team title defense.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Randy Orton & Riddle vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Ziggler attacked Riddle when he wasn’t ready and the challengers got a double-team neckbreaker. Ziggler with a DDT on Riddle for two. Ziggler worked over Riddle with punches, then he missed a corner charge and Ziggler hit the turnbuckle. Riddle with a kick to break free, Orton tagged in and hit a powerslam on Ziggler. Orton went after both opponents on their side of the ring, but Ziggler avoided the slam on the announce table and hit a superkick. Roode got a hold of Riddle on the floor and Roode gave Riddle a belly to back slam onto the announce table the way Orton does it. That led to a break.
Ziggler was in control of Orton, who was down against the turnbuckle. Ziggler with a corner splash, Roode tagged in with a neckbreaker for two followed by Roode doing push-ups. The fans chanted “Randy” for Orton as Roode applied a chinlock to wear Orton down a bit until Orton hit a belly to back suplex. Riddle got the hot tag against Ziggler with Riddle hitting a jumping knee, a back kick to the head, an overhead suplex across the ring, a flying forearm, broton splashes for both guys and a PK kick by Riddle. Riddle hit a draping DDT off the ropes on Roode just like Orton does it. Orton tagged in leading to Orton/Riddle each setting up for an RKO, but the challengers blocked. Roode clotheslined Riddle out of the ring and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on Orton for a two count. That used to be Ziggler’s finisher. There were “Randy” chants again. Ziggler went for a superkick, Orton caught the foot, rollup and they were back up into the RKO by Orton on Ziggler for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton & Riddle
Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good tag team match featuring four talented workers with the champions retaining as expected. They did a nice job of building to the hot tag to Riddle, then Orton tagging back in and doing some fun spots after that. Ziggler sold that RKO so well, which is no surprise.
Seth Rollins was shown backstage looking happy about his win. Kevin Owens congratulated Rollins on his win and the news about Day 1. Owens said if he beats Big E in his match tonight then he gets added to the WWE Title Match at Day 1. Rollins thought he was lying, but Owens said that he was telling the truth. Owens told him to go ask Adam Pearce “the bald guy.” Rollins said he will do that and he didn’t believe Owens because KO is a liar.
On this day I see clearly because there’s the WWE Hall of Famer Edge making his first entrance on Raw since being drafted on the red brand in early October. Good pop for Edge.
Adam Pearce was shown looking at his phone while in his office. Seth Rollins asked about what Kevin Owens said. Pearce said that Owens was lying. Rollins said he knew he would get it straight from Pearce. Rollins left, Sonya Deville walked in, Pearce informed her of what happened and Sonya said it’s not a bad idea.
Let’s Hear from Edge
Edge said that this was the best job in the world and he missed the fans. Edge said that the last time you saw his ugly mug, he was surviving a war in Hell in a Cell against Seth Rollins. Edge said that now Rollins is the number one contender for the WWE Championship and Edge said Rollins is operating on a different level. Moving on, Edge said he’s on Raw, he’s in Strong Island and there’s a whole new set of opponents he can sink his teeth into. Edge mentioned AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Big E and here comes The Miz.
The Miz was in his wrestling gear and brought his lovely wife Maryse with him. Yes, Maryse is back on Raw. Oh hey, The Miz is there too. They showed highlights of Miz on Dancing with the Stars from earlier this fall. I never watched it. Sorry Miz and “stars” on that show.
Miz was in the ring with Maryse with Edge. Miz said that they gave Edge the big comeback while Miz complained that he was on Dancing with the Stars, yet he wasn’t given a big return. Miz said that when he was injured, he was in a wheelchair so that he was still on the show and when he was gone, he was elevating this company. Miz said that his wife Maryse is back. Miz said he heard Edge’s list of people he has his eye on. Edge noted that he didn’t say Miz’s name, but he thought Miz was still painting himself like a genie. Maryse said that her husband was the most entertaining and best dancer in that show. Edge said that he came in ninth place. Miz claimed that he was only in ninth because WWE fans forgot to vote for him.
Edge said that Miz wants to complain about Edge getting the big promotion and the press. Edge said that Miz knows that interrupting Edge puts Miz in the main event picture. Edge said he could take the easy route and he could get the people to chant “Miz sucks” so the fans did it right on cue. Miz claimed he was an era-defining superstar and said he was WWE Champion this year while wondering when Edge was a champion. Miz said that Edge was in the opening match at WrestleMania (27) while Miz was main eventing against John Cena. Miz ripped on Edge some more.
Edge said that Miz is right that Edge can’t do this for much longer. Edge said he’s the guy that other wrestlers want to test themselves against and that’s mutual respect. Edge said Miz could have that, but he bitches while moaning and complaining. Edge said that Miz made it here from Tough Enough, he wrote notes on his hands and made it all the way to WrestleMania against John Cena with Rock as special enforcer and Miz beat him. (The match sucked, by the way.) Edge noted that people are on other shows mentioning Miz just to get a cheap reaction – there’s an AEW Dynamite reference. Edge said that Miz made it farther than anybody believed he could except for Miz because Miz believed in himself. Edge talked about fighting to get back while Miz just wants notoriety and fame. Edge said Miz expects respect while Edge earned it. Edge dared Miz to jump right now. Miz looked like he was ready to fight while taking off his jacket, Miz said “no” to Edge and left. Miz left with Maryse.
Analysis: It was a way to set up a new rivalry between two guys that have done it all in WWE and they are awesome talkers that know how to build up a match. I didn’t expect Edge to feud with Miz, but that’s fine with me because you know the promos will be good. I’m sure that Edge doing a reference to the MJF/CM Punk AEW Dynamite promo from last week got #WrestlingTwitter fired up. They are maniacs, though, so they get fired up over the littlest things.
AJ Styles was shown with Omos with Sarah Schreiber there to interview them. Styles had sunglasses on to sell the idea that he can’t see due to fire extinguisher spray in his eyes. Styles claimed that Omos had to trim his beard. Styles said now he can’t see while they gave him the smoke right in his eyes. Styles said where there’s smoke, there’s fire and the Street Profits will get burned. Omos helped Styles walk away.
Analysis: All I can say about that are two words…heels lie.
The Street Profits entered for a tag team match.
This Friday on Smackdown, Brock Lesnar returns. What does that mean for Roman Reigns? Find out on Smackdown.
Chad Gable and Otis were in the ring for a match. AJ Styles and Omos entered while Graves tagged about how brave Styles was to be out there.
The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)
Gable sent Ford across the ring and Otis hit an elbow drop. Styles was on commentary. Ford jumped over the apron and Gable caught him into a suplex for two. Otis tagged in, Ford with a back fist to Otis, who managed to tag out and Gable tagged in. Dawkins was in for the Profits with an overhead suplex, Dawkins sent Otis out of the ring and Dawkins with a suplex. Dawkins with a spinebuster. Otis pulled Dawkins out of the ring and the Academy was sent into the barricade. Ford knocked down Gable in the ring. Ford up top, Styles was on the apron and Ford knocked him down. Ford jumped off the top with a Frog Splash on Gable for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits
Analysis: * A short match to put over the Profits while pushing the angle between the Profits and Styles/Omos.
Post match, Styles and Omos talked about what happened with Omos looking frustrated about AJ faking the eye injury.
Analysis: This could the beginning of the split between these two. It’s going to happen at some point.
Vince McMahon asked Austin Theory about what happened. Theory liked it while Vince thought AJ’s surprise was horrible and he could have seen that coming a mile away.
Analysis: Vince just called his creative decisions horrible. I’m sure that makes some fans happy.
Dana Brooke was shown backstage with the 24/7 Championship where she was talking to former champion Reggie.
Damian Priest made his entrance for a US Title defense.
Kevin Owens was shown backstage wearing a Survivor Series shirt with Seth Rollins going up to him saying that Owens was a liar since Rollins talked to Pearce. Owens said he is not lying. Owens said if he beats Big E then he’ll be added to the WWE Title match at Day 1. Rollins laughed off what Owens said.
Apollo Crews made his entrance with the big man Commander Azeez by his side. Crews is a former US Champion as well.
United States Champion: Damian Priest vs. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez)
Crews started with a waist lock takedown, Priest came back with an armdrag and grounded Crews in the ring. Priest with a shoulder tackle that knocked Crews down, so Crews left to the floor. Azeez stood in front of Priest and that led to Crews jumping off the apron with a forearm to knock Priest down on the floor. That led to a break.
Crews was on offense with a standing moonsault for a two count. Priest got back up with punches, then a jumping kick and a springboard leg lariat for a two count. Crews with an enziguri kick to the head, then a clothesline and Priest came back with a slam off the shoulders for two. Azeez held Crews to avoid an attack on the floor. Priest jumped off the steps and hit a somersault dive on Crews. Priest up top, Azeez pulled him off the ropes while Crews distracted the referee, but then the referee saw Azeez interfere and the referee ejected Azeez from ringside. Priest did his crazy eyes look with a kick to the chest of Crews. Priest punched Crews repeatedly, kick to the apron and Priest did a South of Heaven Chokeslam. Priest hit The Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ** It was just an average match. A bit sloppy, but they got through it. Crews didn’t get much offense or really look like he had a chance to win. I guess Priest doing the “angry eyes” thing is his new way of getting fired up and finishing off matches shortly after that. I thought it might lead to him turning heel, but they put him against a heel like Crews this week, so we are supposed to cheer Priest for getting the win there.
Seth Rollins went into the office of Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to talk to them. Pearce and Deville said that Kevin Owens had a good idea and Sonya agreed. Pearce told Rollins that he didn’t lie, Kevin Owens is the one that lied. Rollins complained about it and Rollins went screaming out of the room. The discussion meant that if Owens beats Big E then Owens gets added to the WWE Title match at Day 1. Rollins left angrily.
Analysis: It does make the main event match between Big E and Owens feel like a bigger deal since Owens can get a WWE Title match if he wins. In Seth’s defense, he won a multi-man match that Owens was in for a WWE Title match, so having Owens lose that match and then get another shot does seem unfair if you’re in Seth’s spot.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance for tag team action.
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin with a suplex followed by a backbreaker on Dominik. Alexander tagged in with a leap over the top leading to a senton splash. Dominik got an inside cradle on Alexander, who came back with a clothesline. Alexander with a suplex for two. Dominik with a superkick to Benjamin, then Rey tagged in and hit a headscissors on Benjamin. Alexander back in with a sunset flip, but Rey hit him with a kick and dropkick for two. Rey sent Alexander into the middle rope, so then Dominik sent Benjamin into the rope as well. Rey and Dominik hit a double 619 on the heels. Dominik up top, Rey hit a dive on Benjamin on the floor and Dominik did a Frog Splash on Alexander for the pinfall win after three weeks.
Winners by pinfall: Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to get the Mysterios a win after they were beaten up by Bobby Lashley in recent weeks. The Mysterios needed a win, so they got that here. Simple as that.
Liv Morgan led her babyface team to the ring for the ten-woman tag team match.
There was a Smackdown Breakdown video showing highlights from last week’s Smackdown. There was a Black Friday Battle Royal won by Sami Zayn, which means he gets to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Title. Jeff Hardy thought he won, but Zayn wasn’t eliminated and went back in to eliminate Hardy. Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre wasn’t even allowed to be in the match. We also learned that Brock Lesnar will be back on Smackdown next week.
The heel team led by Becky Lynch was up next for the ten-woman tag team match. Carmella had some ringside attendants put her silver mask on to start the match.
Team Liv (Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Dana Brooke, Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H.) vs. Team Becky (Becky Lynch, Carmella, Queen Zelina Vega, Doudrop & Tamina)
Morgan punched Lynch followed by a dropkick and a running knee. Morgan sent Lynch face first into the mat. Lynch avoided a charging Morgan leading to Lynch getting kicks to the ribs. Carmella tagged in, Morgan got a rollup for two and Carmella did a head whip into the mat. When Ripley tagged in, Carmella brought in Vega, then Vega tried a move and brought Carmella back in. That led to all five women on the team tagging in there in succession, so then Tamina punched Ripley to knock her down. Tamina with a running back elbow leading to a headlock. Ripley broke free with a clothesline leading to all four faces tagging in and Belair went for a KOD on Tamina, but the heel side saved Tamina. The heels bailed to the floor to regroup, so that led to a break.
Doudrop worked over Nikki with a dropkick, elbow drop, and a chinlock. When Nikki broke free, Doudrop hit a clothesline and then a forearm that knocked Nikki down. Doudrop with a body slam, Lynch tagged in and hit a leg drop, but then Nikki moved to avoid another leg drop. Carmella worked over Nikki with punches, then a chinlock, Nikki with a jawbreaker and Ripley hit a clothesline. Carmella acted like she was hurt, so Ripley sent her face first into the mat. Ripley knocked the other heels down. Ripley with knees to the face, Carmella avoided a dropkick and Carmella went for the Code of Silence submission, but Dana Brooke kicked Carmella to break that up. Brooke with a neckbreaker, Vega kicked Brooke, Nikki with a neckbreaker on Vega, Tamina with a Samoan Drop on Nikki, Belair with a Glam Slam on Tamina and Doudrop with a cross body block on Belair. Morgan sent Doudrop out of the ring with the other women. Lynch was back in with a reverse DDT on Morgan. Ripley kicked Lynch out of the ring. Carmella avoided a slam by Ripley and Carmella hit a superkick for two.
The match continued with Tamina working on Brooke to keep Brooke from tagging, but then Morgan tagged in. Morgan with kicks to the head and a cross body attempt was blocked by Tamina shoving her down. Morgan with the double knees to Tamina for two because Lynch broke it up. Brooke tossed Lynch out of the ring, Nikki hit a dive on Lynch and then Doudrop hit Nikki with a clothesline on the floor. Ripley worked over Doudrop with punches. Brooke and Vega went up top where Brooke was, so Carmella went over there to send Brooke onto the other women on the floor. Morgan was on fire with an enziguri on Carmella, a takedown on Vega, a punch to Lynch, and then Tamina stopped Liv’s momentum by hitting a superkick for a two count. Good nearfall. Morgan with two boots to the back to send Tamina into the ropes. Morgan bounced off the ropes with Oblivion (a flatliner off the ropes) for the pinfall win after 20 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Team Liv (Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Dana Brooke, Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H.)
Analysis: **1/4 A long match that was just average. That just kept on dragging on and on. The fans got into it when Morgan battled Lynch, but it was mostly a dead crowd the rest of the show. Morgan getting the win was the right call with Tamina as the obvious heel that was going to get beat. Brooke was barely in the ring and even Belair wasn’t in there much. This may have been the first match all year where it felt like Bianca Belair wasn’t featured a lot. Perhaps WWE felt like Belair would take too much attention away from Morgan. They wanted to put the attention on Morgan, which is understandable considering she gets to face Lynch for the title next week on Raw.
After the match, the women kept fighting with Belair hitting a spinebuster on Doudrop. Everybody was out of the ring except for Lynch and Morgan. It’s almost like they practice this stuff! Anyway, Morgan countered the Manhandle Slam by Lynch and Morgan hit the Oblivion off the ropes. Morgan celebrated with her team.
Analysis: I’ll take Lynch over Morgan on Raw next week. It might be a cheap win for Lynch like her victory at Survivor Series.
Vince McMahon and Austin Theory were shown again with Vince telling Austin to expect the unexpected while also teaching him about what happens when to expect a surprise. Theory kept looking away from him, so Vince yelled at Theory to look at him.
An interview with WWE Champion Big E is up next.
A video aired about Veer Mahaan coming soon. Coming from where? It’s been two months. He was on the show regularly before that and now he’s been “coming soon” for two months.
There was a great video package about former WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. When they don’t have anything for a wrestler to do on the show, they show videos to remind the fans how good their favorite superstars are.
Big E was interviewed by Kevin Patrick with Big E saying he fears no one. Big E said that after he beats Owens, it’ll be him and Seth Rollins for the WWE Title at Day 1. Big E: “Now you gotta feel that, sucka?”
Kevin Owens made his entrance to a mixed reaction.
This week on Raw Talk the guests were Damian Priest, Liv Morgan and Rey & Dominik Mysterio.
Vince McMahon was shown with Austin Theory, who said with surprises, you have to expect the unexpected. Vince told Theory he’s got it, then Vince slapped Theory in the face because he wasn’t ready, so apparently Theory had to be ready to be slapped in the face.
Analysis: I don’t know where these segments are going, but I guess Vince being on-screen with Theory is a way to try to elevate Theory a bit.
Big E made his entrance as the WWE Champion for this non-title match.
Seth Rollins arrived in a ridiculous pink suit, big sunglasses, and a red shirt underneath.
Analysis: Seth and his wife Becky Lynch are big believers in being heels that wear obnoxious outfits to get heat.
Kevin Owens vs. Big E
If Owens wins then he is added to the WWE Title match at the Day 1 PPV where Big E will defend the WWE Title against Rollins.
Owens knocked Big E down with punches, then Owens ran the ropes and Big E hit him with a back elbow to the chest. They left the ring with Big E sending Owens into the announce table. Owens got a rollup. Owens with kicks to the body, then a chop block to the back of the left leg and Owens wrenched on Big E’s left leg on the mat. Owens wrenched the left leg followed by a senton splash on the left leg for two. Owens continued working on the left leg with a low dropkick to the left leg. Big E kicked Owens out of the ring. Rollins chanted “Go Big E” while outside the ring, so Owens smacked Rollins in the head. Owens dared Rollins to hit him, but Rollins said he’s too smart and he’s not going to touch Owens. Big E was back up, Owens with a clothesline and they battled with Owens on the apron. Big E with a clothesline. Big E with a running splash on the apron leading to the break. Big E took the top half of the steel steps off and Owens hit Big E with a DDT on the bottom half of the steps! That led to a break.
There were about nine minutes left in the show. Owens was still in control, he ran the ropes and Big E hit a clothesline. Owens sent Big E into the middle turnbuckle. Owens worked over Big E by the turnbuckle with a superplex tease, but Big E blocked it at first until Owens managed to hit the superplex for a two count. KO grabbed a chinlock, then he ran the ropes, Big E caught him and hit the two belly to belly suplexes along with a belly to belly slam. Big E with a running splash, but Owens got the knees up to block. Rollins tried a senton splash, but Big E got the knees up. Big E with a running splash for two. Owens with a punch to the face, a kick to the jaw and Owens had a knee up to block a running attack. Owens with a running cannonball for a two count. They got into a slugfest, Owens stepped back and hit a superkick for two. Owens charged, Big E caught him with a spinebuster. Owens got a rollup for two and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb to a two count. Owens went to the apron near where Rollins was and then Owens went after Rollins with repeated punches! Owens to the apron, he did a necksnap to Big E’s neck against the ropes. Owens hit a superkick and Big E with a clothesline. Rollins went into the ring to attack Owens, so that led to a DQ finish after 14 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *** A solid match that was heavy on story since the deal was that Owens needed any kind of win to earn the WWE Title match and even though Rollins said he wouldn’t be goaded into it, that’s exactly what happened. The loss doesn’t really hurt Big E at all since it was a DQ. This was more of the issues between Owens and Rollins, who are both heels that just don’t want to get along.
After the match, Rollins attacked Owens with kicks. Big E turned towards Rollins, who hit a superkick and then Rollins hit The Stomp on Big E. It was announced that Kevin Owens was the winner as the result of a disqualification.
It was announced at that point that Owens will be part of the triple threat match at Day One with Big E defending the WWE Title against Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. That led to Rollins flipping out in the ring while Owens taunted Rollins by pointing out that he outsmarted him while Big E held the WWE Title at ringside. The camera focused on Rollins and Owens staring at eachother. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: I don’t really expect Big E to lose the WWE Title at Day One, but if he were to lose it then I’m fine with either guy. If it’s Owens then maybe it’s because Owens has re-signed with WWE (I don’t know if he has), but if it’s Rollins then that’s perfect because Seth’s an awesome performer that hasn’t had a major title run for a few years at this point. I would prefer it if Big E held the WWE Title until WrestleMania although once again if he were to lose it then I don’t think Rollins or Owens are bad choices.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Kevin Owens
- Big E/Finn Balor
7 out of 10
Last week: 6
2021 Average: 6.15
I thought this was a pretty good Raw with some entertaining matches with the opener as the best match and the main event was fun because of the story involving Rollins, Owens and Big E. Rollins was terrific all show long first as a cocky heel with the promo, then the cheating heel that won with an eye poke and then later on he acted like crybaby heel when Owens outsmarted him with KO earning his way into a WWE Title match.
The women’s match went on too long. I understand wanting to go long to give people time, but it just felt boring after a while. Most of the other matches were fine. You can’t give everything 12-15 minutes every week. I just think it was a more entertaining show than Raw usually is.
In terms of promos, the two major ones were both excellent I thought with Edge having to deal with The Miz (and Maryse) as a new rivalry, so at least that will feel fresh as a feud. The Becky Lynch contract signing with Liv Morgan had Lynch as a heel while Morgan does a nice job of standing up to her.
The next WWE pay-per-view is called Day 1 on January 1 in Atlanta. Here’s what we know so far:
WWE Championship: Big E (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
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