This week’s WWE Monday Night Raw is the last episode of 2021. It’s also the last Raw taking place before the WWE Day 1 pay-per-view on New Year’s Day this Saturday.
The company is dealing with some issues regarding wrestlers testing positive for COVID-19 of late, so some live events had to be re-arranged this past weekend. Seth Rollins shared on Twitter that he tested positive and he missed live events. That also affects Seth’s wife Becky Lynch, who is the Raw Women’s Champion. Some other key WWE stars like WWE Champion Big E and Universal Champion Roman Reigns were off live events possibly due to the company wanting to be cautious so that their key guys are able to wrestle at Day 1 on Saturday.
They advertised a bunch of things after last week’s Raw, but some of them may not happen. It was also reported by PWInsider that key WWE Executives were not at Raw this week including Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard, Kevin Dunn, Michael Hayes and Adam Pearce. They noted that John Laurinaitis and Ed Koskey are running tonight’s taping.
Before we get started, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year on Saturday. It will be low key for me (watching college football semifinals on New Year’s Eve sounds good to me) as I’m sure it will be for a lot of people. I’ll be here to write about the Day 1 PPV on TJRWrestling as usual.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1492 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The show started with the Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro – Randy Orton and Riddle – made their entrance. The Raw commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton were on hand to call the action. They plugged what’s coming up this week.
Let’s Hear from RK-Bro
Orton and Riddle were cheered as they stood in the ring. Riddle welcomed us to the final Raw of 2021. Riddle said that you’re going to love what they have planned for 2022 with Riddle saying he wanted to patent his Brogurt. Orton said that the only way he’s going to have a Happy New Year is if he beats Otis tonight. Orton said that they also have to beat the Street Profits or the Mysterios at Day 1 on Saturday. Riddle talked about how when he was off, he was turning green and Orton said maybe he should see a doctor. Orton cued up a video of last week’s Raw when he beat Chad Gable, but then Otis avoided an RKO. Riddle was amazed that Randy was able to play a video like that. Riddle thought that maybe Otis was Un-RKO-able since he had no neck, he was like a bulldozer and Riddle wondered how many burritos he can eat. Riddle claimed that he went out for burgers with Randy with Riddle calling him his best…and Randy cut him off.
Chad Gable made his entrance with his buddy Otis with Gable calling Orton a “nitwit.” Gable said that everybody else will learn there is no more dangerous man and no greater threat in all of WWE than his prized pupil Otis. Gable said he taught Otis everything he knows. Gable bragged about his Master’s degree with an immaculate 4.0 GPA. The fans booed, so Gable had a good line about how they were booing education while Gable added he is a bit advanced for a town like this. Gable said maybe the mindless morons of Detroit can comprehend the fact that Orton is no match for Otis. Gable said it won’t be long until those championships are around the waists of the Alpha Academy. Riddle said he’s a man of “higher” education – good line for a stoner. Riddle challenged Gable to a match. Gable called Riddle an “ignoramus” and wondered what was wrong with Riddle. Gable accepted the match. Riddle told Orton he had a gift for him after they win their matches. Riddle ended it saying “RK-Bro” much to the crowd’s delight. That match is next.
Analysis: A solid opening promo to set up the Riddle/Gable match while Orton’s match with Otis was already announced. Gable had some great lines there while Riddle was his usual self as the stoner guy and Randy mixed in well with some comedy too.
Riddle (w/Randy Orton) vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis)
Riddle and Gable did some mat wrestling to start out with some submission attempts from both guys. Riddle worked over Gable with kicks to the body, then Gable caught the leg and Gable wrenched on the left leg while using the ropes. Gable worked over the left knee with knee drops along with some basic knee twisting. Gable hit a Tiger Suplex where he hooked both guys into a bridging pin for a two count. Gable went up top, he jumped off for a moonsault, but Riddle caught the arm. Gable got out of that, Riddle rolled out of an ankle lock and Gable went for a suplex, but Riddle escaped leading to a knee to the face. Riddle went up top and hit a Floating Bro splash on Gable for the pinfall win. It went four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Riddle
Analysis: **3/4 A fun four minute wrestling match between two guys with a lot of talent. It’s always good to see Gable hit his array of suplexes along with going for submissions, but he just doesn’t get wins in matches like that. Riddle was selling for most of it, then he hit two moves and that was it.
Post match, Otis went into the ring and did a running shoulder tackle to knock Riddle out of the ring. Orton was mad about that. Orton faces Otis after a break.
Randy Orton (w/Riddle) vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable)
Orton with two uppercuts, then he went for an RKO and Otis shoved him down. Otis with a running splash to use his size advantage. Otis bounced off the ropes with a headbutt to the left arm. The fans were chanting “Randy” as Otis hit Orton with multiple shoulder tackles against the turnbuckle. Otis wanted a body slam, Orton went for an RKO again and Otis shoved Orton out of the ring. Otis charged, Orton moved and Otis hit the steel steps. Back in the ring, Orton with a kick and then a draping DDT off the ropes. Orton went for the RKO again, Otis with a shove into the ropes and then Otis hit a front slam. Otis brought Orton to the ropes, Otis off the middle rope with a splash, but Orton moved, Otis hit the mat and Orton hit the RKO on Otis (finally!) for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: **1/4 A nice little match here telling the story about Orton trying to go for the RKO repeatedly, but he could only do it after Otis missed a move and then Orton capitalized with the RKO to win the match. I liked how that was booked.
Post match, Riddle did a promo about how excited he was about Orton beating Otis with an RKO. Riddle said he had a present for his best friend Randy Orton and that’s a big hug. Riddle led the crowd in “Randy” chants. Riddle: “Come on Randy, nobody will know. It’s just between you and me.” Riddle told Orton to give them what he wants, so Orton embrace Riddle. Orton teased an RKO, then he laughed about it and hugged Riddle again.
Analysis: That was funny although Riddle should have made Randy wear a “Hey Randy” shirt as his gift. There is going to be a time when Orton does an RKO to turn on Riddle most likely. I assume it will be before WrestleMania and they can have a match there. Riddle could be the one that turns, but I assume it will be Randy since he likes being a heel.
Still to come on Raw: The Miz and Maryse Renew Their Vows with a special guest officiant.
Kevin Owens was backstage for an interview up next.
They showed highlights from last week’s Raw when Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins worked together to get the advantage over Big E and Bobby Lashley. After Owens/Rollins lost the tag match to Big E/Lashley, Owens & Rollins beat up Lashley and Big E. I noted in my review that I thought this was done to help turn Lashley face although I don’t know if that’s the plan.
Kevin Owens was interviewed by Kevin Patrick, who noted Big E delivered a video message. Big E said that at Day 1, he defends his WWE Title against Owens, Rollins and Lashley. Big E said that for him, for him to do what he does best, he has to hit back and said that this is about his story. Big E spoke about showing up to work every week knowing you are worth more and getting to the top of your industry by doing it the right way. Big e said that this is about walking out of WWE Day 1 as the WWE Champion. Owens replied saying that Big E was wrong. Owens said that he shows up for work every week while Big E was at his house. Owens told Patrick he doesn’t like his first name Kevin, which was funny. Owens talked about getting into the WWE Title match, then he became best friends with Seth Rollins, they took out Lashley and Owens claimed that it was his idea. Owens said he’s going to win the WWE Championship at Day 1. Owens told Kevin Patrick that his name is “Bert” (or perhaps “Burt” as in Reynolds) now.
Analysis: A fun interview by Owens as usual. Big E wasn’t at Raw perhaps out of an abundance of caution with WWE wanting to make sure the WWE Champion was going to be healthy to compete on Saturday, so that’s why it was a video message. I don’t know if Owens will win at Day 1, but I think he’ll have a great showing.
Dana Brooke entered as the 24/7 Champion with Reggie as her tag team partner for a mixed tag team match.
The promo video aired letting us know that Veer Mahaan is still coming to Raw. That has been the case since the draft in early October. Veer was on Raw for months before that and he’s been on Main Event since. It never ends.
R-Truth’s “What’s Up” entrance song is still good in terms of getting fan reaction. Tamina entered to no reaction.
Dana Brooke & Reggie vs. Tamina & R-Truth
It’s men against men and women against women in a mixed tag team match. Reggie had some red/yellow outfit so Corey made fun of him looking like he works at McDonald’s. Truth with a shoulder knockdown, Reggie with a backflip and a back elbow. They did a collision spot to knock both guys down. Tamina tagged in with a superkick on Reggie, Brooke tagged (even though she was already legal) and Brooke with kicks to the body along with a cartwheel into a dropkick. Brooke with a twisting splash, but then Tamina decked her with a back elbow. Truth tagged in meaning Reggie was legal as well. Reggie went off the ropes, he hooked the body of Truth with his legs and then flipped him over like a sunset flip for a three count. It went about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Dana Brooke & Reggie
Analysis: * A short and meaningless match. It’s hard to care about anything involving the 24/7 Title. I think they all have roles as wrestlers. I just don’t think that title is something that needs to be around.
Post match, Tamina was mad about the loss, she tried a punch and Truth ducked it while doing the splits. Brooke hit an elbow smash against the turnbuckle on Tamina to avoid an attack.
Nikki A.S.H. was interviewed by Megan Morant. Nikki noted that Rhea Ripley won last week because Rhea didn’t need her help. Nikki said she likes to think she inspired Rhea while saying that Rhea’s pep talks have helped her. Nikki would like to see the current tag champs Zelina Vega & Carmella put their titles on the like against Nikki & Rhea with Nikki making the official challenge.
The Street Profits were next with the fans popping for them. Montez Ford missed a few weeks, so it’s good to see him back.
A video aired about Roman Reigns holding the WWE Universal Title since August 2020. It showed highlights of Reigns winning matches and wanting to be acknowledged. That led to SummerSlam 2021 with Brock Lesnar making his WWE return. It focused on the story involving Reigns questioning Paul Heyman’s loyalty. It led to Heyman telling Reigns: “I’m protecting you from Brock Lesnar.” Two weeks ago on Smackdown, Reigns fired Heyman and hit him with a Superman Punch. This past week on Smackdown, Heyman said that while Reigns is the greatest Universal Champion of all-time he still needs to be protected.
Analysis: It looked like that was the official video package for the Reigns/Lesnar match at Day 1. If so, I thought it was amazing.
The Mysterios entered for tag team action.
The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
This is the finals of the RK-Bronament to earn a shot at the Raw Tag Team Titles. Ford and Dominik took turns hitting armdrags leading to an RKO. Rey tagged in against Dawkins with Rey hitting a headscissors takedown followed by punches. Dawkins avoided a sunset flip followed by a shoulder tackle. Ford back in with a dropkick and then Dawkins lifted Ford into a moonsault on Rey. Rey got a forward roll sitting on top for two, and then Rey avoided a jumping kick. Dominik tagged in for a double team neckbreaker. Rey tagged in, he was on Ford’s shoulders and Rey did a headscissors to the floor. Rey with a sliding splash on Dawkins while Dominik gave Ford a flipping powerbomb into the barricade.
Ford worked on Dominik in the ring as Riddle and Orton watched on a TV backstage. Dominik countered a move leading to a neckbreaker. Rey tagged in against Dawkins with a seated senton along with a springboard moonsault. Rey used his legs for a headscissors, then he went for a 619 kick, but Dawkins recovered with a jumping back elbow. Rey countered a move into a Tornado DDT for a two count. Dominik with a neckbreaker on Ford, Dawkins punched Dominik and Rey got a nearfall. Dawkins with a double underhook neckbreaker on Rey. Ford tagged in with a Frog Splash for two with Dominik breaking up the pin. Dominik and Dawkins were on the floor so Dominik jumped off the ropes with a body attack. Rey with a 619 kick on Ford, Rey took out Dawkins with a drive and Dominik was up top. Dominik jumped off the top with a Frog Splash for just two. Great nearfall. Dominik sent Ford into the ropes again, but Dawkins tripped Rey from doing a double 619 kick. Dominik with a superkick on Ford. Dawkins threw Rey out of the ring. Ford was the legal man for the team, Dawkins had Dominik on his shoulders and Ford hit a top rope Blockbuster neckbreaker for the pinfall win after 13 minutes. Great double team finisher.
Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great tag team match. Lots of action. Both teams are easy to like. I think Dominik was in there a bit too long, but I guess it’s a way to get him more experience in the ring. Some of the moves that Dominik does look cool although at other times it looks a bit shaky and not as smooth as it could be. I realize he’s still early in his career, though, so he’ll get better. The Profits were on point with everything they did, I like their moves a lot and it’s a big win for them.
The Street Profits will challenge Rated RK-Bro (Orton & Riddle) at the WWE Day 1 PPV on Saturday.
A video package aired about the team of AJ Styles & Omos including their dominance as a tag team earlier in the year. They were Raw Tag Team Champions from WrestleMania until they lost at SummerSlam. Last week on Raw, Omos and Styles split as a team when Omos refused to tag in during a tag team match. Styles didn’t like that, but then Omos dropped Styles with a big power slam into the mat.
AJ Styles will get some promo time after a break.
This Friday on Smackdown: WWE’s Top 10 Moments of 2021 and it’s on FS1 for those of you in the US. It’s a taped show one night before the Day 1 PPV.
The Miz was shown in the backstage area with flowers, which he didn’t like and told a guy (an “idiot”) to take them back because they weren’t right. Miz said he called in WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff to be the officiant for the vow renewal. Bischoff said in his experience, he thinks this vow renewal is going to be “must see.” Miz liked that. Miz yelled while wondering where his roses were.
Analysis: I did not expect an Eric Bischoff appearance, but that’s cool. Eric is a great performer.
Let’s Hear from AJ Styles
AJ Styles was in the ring saying he’s here while asking where’s Omos? Styles wondered if Omos is scared because he won’t live up to his full potential. Styles said he was never selfish and unappreciated like Omos. Styles said that the next time he sees Omos in the ring, AJ is going to kick his teeth in. Styles said he’s got 20+ years of experience on him, we’ve seen lots of giants, but there’s only been on “Phenomenal” AJ Styles.
Styles noted NXT’s Grayson Waller at ringside with a sign saying “The Grayson Waller Effect is Phenomenal” and Styles invited Waller into the ring.
Styles introduced Waller to the WWE Universe, so the fans booed. Waller, the Australian, said since Styles visited him on NXT, he thought he would visit Styles on Raw. Waller said that Mondays feel right and they’ll feel better when Omos is done with Styles and Waller will make AJ’s spot. Styles said that this is where stars are made, but Waller is not a star and not even close. Styles threatened to beat up Waller.
Apollo Crews made his entrance with Commander Azeez. Apollo said that AJ’s giant has left him while Crews/Azeez are a united front. Apollo said that AJ’s giant is there tonight, but Apollo’s giant is there. Azeez said if AJ wants to fight giants, maybe he can face Azeez right now. Styles accepted the challenge. That match is next.
Analysis: Styles is motivated as a singles guy again, so it’s nice to see him deliver that kind of promo instead of when he was with Omos where it was the same thing every time when he’d talk about how dominant Omos was. Grayson Waller getting some screen time is fine with me because he’s on NXT also on USA Network, so it’s cool to have some interaction between the shows.
Carmella, who is one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions with Queen Zelina Vega, was interviewed by Megan Morant. Carmella said that she accepted the challenge from Nikki/Rhea for the Tag Team Titles. Carmella said that Rhea Ripley has this “hot gothic warrior” look to her. Carmella noted that she felt bad for Rhea, but as Nikki mentioned earlier, it is Rhea’s choice to team with Nikki. Carmella said that Nikki isn’t even close to a superhero, she’s “almost” second best, almost good enough and almost doesn’t count. Carmella said her team will remain Women’s Tag Team Champions.
The match was changed to Styles vs. Crews because WWE creative must realize Azeez isn’t good in the ring. I don’t see why they did the pre-match promo the way they did if it was going to be Styles vs. Crews. That’s strange.
AJ Styles vs. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez)
Styles with a corner splash followed by a knee drop. Crews came back with a suplex. Styles with a kick, then a charge and Crews hit a back body drop. Crews sent Styles into the turnbuckle with AJ bumping sternum first into the turnbuckle and Crews did it a second time. Styles sent Crews out of the ring, he went for a move, Crews caught the leg on the apron and did a press slam to send Styles into the ring apron. Crews kicked Styles to knock him down. That led to a break.
Crews was in control with a chinlock. Styles broke free, they exchanged strikes and Styles hit a Pele Kick to the head. Styles with the strikes, a clothesline and a sliding forearm. Styles charged, boot by Crews and Styles hit the Ushigoroshi slam onto the knee for a two count. They battled over a sunset flip, Crews back up and he hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Styles came back with the moonsault off the ropes into an inverted DDT. Styles set up for the Phenomenal Forearm, Azeez pulled Crews to the apron, Styles went after Crews and Crews hit a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron…for just a two count. Styles slipped out of a Crews move attempt, but then Crews hit an enziguri kick. Crews lifted, Styles hit an incredible hurricanrana for two. They exchanged moves again leading to Styles hitting the Styles Clash for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good match between two talented athletes. Their styles (pun intended) meshed well. It was a nice reminder of how great Styles is as a singles wrestler even at 44 years old showing no signs of slowing down. Crews hit a bunch of cool moves as usual, but everybody watching knew that Styles was going to get the win here.
Post match, Styles left before Azeez could get his hands on him. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm off the ropes on Azeez. After that, Azeez tried to come at him again (for some strange reason) and Styles punched Azeez to knock him down.
Analysis: I’m not sure if this was done to turn AJ face (Tuesday report from PWInsider said AJ is a face now) or if he’s the heel against Omos. Either way, I’m glad AJ is a singles wrestler because that’s when he’s at his best. He did his year of working with Omos. I’m ready to see something new like a match with Edge at WrestleMania or some other new rivalry.
Seth Rollins did a video from message from home. Rollins said it was classic Kevin Owens trying to take all the credit. Rollins said since he’s in the giving spirit, Owens can have the credit. Rollins said at Day 1, he’ll take the WWE Championship because Rollins is a visionary, a revolutionary and he is Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Analysis: Seth Rollins noted he tested positive for COVID-19 although he didn’t look sick here. Some people don’t show any symptoms. Hopefully Seth is ready to be cleared by Saturday for the Day 1 PPV.
Kevin Owens entered for a segment at the top of hour three.
There was a reminder of the WWE Championship Match at Day 1 with Big E defending the title against Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley.
Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens said he was in a festive mood saying he had a great Christmas with his family, last night he main evented Madison Square Garden in a match that he won (that part was false since Edge beat Owens) and now in just five days, the entire world gets to rejoice when Owens becomes WWE Champion at Day 1. The crowd booed. Owens noted that he was the only one of the four guys that was at this week’s show while saying it makes him smarter than Seth Rollins, tougher than Big E and a lot stronger than Bobby Lashley. Owens ripped on Detroit being a dump while Owens said it was important to be there to set the example as a WWE Champion to be proud of. Owens said that he had to win a sudden-death Fatal 4-Way against three of the best performers in WWE. Owens said that last week on Raw, Seth Rollins stomped Lashley’s head on the steel steps. Owens said that helps him because if Lashley shows up at Day 1 then he’s going after Rollins. Owens noted that Big E was Speared by Lashley last week, so he’s going after Lashley. Owens spoke about how he created the perfect plan to work with Rollins and that plan will make Owens the WWE Champion.
There was an interruption with Montel Vontavious Porter making his entrance telling Owens he could not be more wrong about his Day 1 PPV predictions. MVP gave Owens credit for a very good plan over the last month. MVP said if Owens thinks that Lashley has forgotten about Owens and that Powerbomb on the apron then he is mistaken. MVP said it takes more than a Stomp and Powerbomb on the apron to take out Lashley. MVP read words from Lashley saying he didn’t care who it was because somebody was going to end up in the Hurt Lock. Owens said he still feels pretty good about his odds and he’s walking out of Day 1 as the WWE Champion. MVP said he’s an idiot and Owens said that his mother said he’s special. MVP said “shortbus special.”
MVP was joined by Hurt Business members Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander. MVP asked them to explain why they are out there. Alexander said that one man cannot beat three. Benjamin said that even the All Mighty cannot take on the whole world. Alexander said that Lashley was at his best when he was rolling with them in the Hurt Business. MVP said that Lashley doesn’t need anyone, but if they want to talk business then he’s willing to give them an opportunity. Owens said that they are trying to put the Hurt Business together and Owens called Alexander to the ring to have a match to get this done.
Analysis: I thought KO did a nice job with this promo there. It’s tough when Big E, Lashley and Rollins aren’t even at the show to do a final build to the match. The good thing is that last week’s angle for the Fatal 4-Way was great, so that makes up for the lack of an angle on this week’s show. MVP countering Owens was fine there although they are both heels. I do like the Hurt Business as a four-man group, but I don’t think WWE’s creative team wants to push it that way again.
Kevin Owens vs. Cedric Alexander
MVP was on commentary here. Owens with a running back elbow on Alexander along with a senton splash. Owens hit a cannonball against the corner. Owens went to the ropes, Alexander to the apron, then Alexander hit a boot and a clothesline on the apron. Owens with a cradle suplex into the knee for a two count. Alexander avoided a Popup Powerbomb and hit a jumping kick to the head. Owens to the floor, so Alexander hit a suicide dive to send Owens into the barricade. Back in the ring, Alexander jumped off the ropes with a flatliner for two. Alexander bounced off the ropes, but Owens crushed him with a clothesline followed by a Popup Powerbomb. Owens hit the Stone Cold Stunner for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *1/4 A dominant win for Owens over a guy that’s barely on the show. Alexander is very good, but he’s not pushed, so of course Owens was going to win.
After the match, Benjamin wanted a microphone and Owens greeted him with a kick to the gut followed by a Stone Cold Stunner to drop Shelton as well. Owens trash talked MVP at ringside.
A video aired showing Dolph Ziggler’s countout win over Damian Priest, who destroyed Robert Roode after the match as well.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance for a US Title match without his tag team partner Robert Roode joining him at ringside.
A video package aired about the rivalry between Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and her Day 1 challenger Liv Morgan. When they had a match on Raw a few weeks ago, Lynch cheated to win by grabbing the ropes, so Morgan gets another shot.
Analysis: It’s the second long video package on the show. Raw is three hours, so they have plenty of time. It also gives some time to Becky and Liv’s rivalry while both women were not on Raw.
There was an Earlier Today promo from US Champion Damian Priest talking about how that blind rage will take control when he’s disrespected and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it. Priest knows that Ziggler can steal the show at any moment. Priest knows if he loses control, Ziggler will try to take control, but then he’ll have to deal with Damian. Priest said that his US Championship will stay exactly where it belongs.
Damian Priest entered as the United States Champion. I think his old entrance and arrow posing was a lot better than this current song.
There were in-ring introductions by ring announcer Mike Rome to start the match.
United States Championship: Damian Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler
Priest sent Ziggler into the turnbuckle, Ziggler tried to fight back with punches and Priest hit Ziggler with a boot to the face. Priest worked over Ziggler with punches and knees to the ribs. Priest missed a corner charge, Ziggler kicked Priest in the knee and did a boot rake to the eyes. Priest came back with some big punches, Ziggler with a kick to the chest, Priest with a back elbow and Ziggler went the apron to take a clothesline off the apron to the floor. Ziggler shoved Priest into the barricade, but then Priest slammed Ziggler into some chairs.
They were back in the ring with Ziggler missing a corner splash when Priest moved, so Ziggler hit the turnbuckle. Ziggler with a kick to the leg along with a Fameasser for a two count. Priest with punches to rock Ziggler leading to a spin kick. Priest with a corner charge followed by a flatliner slam into the mat and then the Broken Arrow slam for two. Ziggler got a rollup for two and then a leaping DDT by Ziggler was good for a two count. Ziggler said that this is what a champion looks like, then a slap to the face and it was Crazy Eyes Priest time. Priest with an armdrag across the ring. Priest with punches on Ziggler. Priest with a running forearm. Priest was punching Ziggler while against the turnbuckle and the referee was counting, so Priest lost by disqualification after 10 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Dolph Ziggler (Damian Priest remains champion)
Analysis: **1/4 An average match that was boring in some parts with a crowd that didn’t care about it at all. The only thing the fans really reacted to was when Priest had the crazy eyes look, but even then they couldn’t follow up with a win because Ziggler won by disqualification. What a lame, underwhelming finish.
Post match, Priest sent Ziggler into the barricade and then Priest hit The Reckoning on the floor.
Analysis: This made Priest look like a heel. I’m not sure that was the intent. I’m just saying this thing drew no reactions from the crowd, so it made Priest look like the bad guy.
The introduction took place for the Vow Renewal Ceremony with the WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff making his entrance. Good to hear that “Back in Black” song again. That Miz/Maryse ceremony is the main event.
Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony for The Miz and Maryse
Eric Bischoff said it was great to be back in a WWE ring. Bischoff talked about the sanctity of marriage and introduced The Miz up first. The Miz faces Edge at WWE Day 1 on Saturday. The Miz walked out there in a white suit. Miz did a slight trip on the steps on his way into the ring. Maryse made her entrance to the “Here Comes The Bride” song. Saxton told Graves to sit down with Graves saying you always stand for the bride. Miz held his wife’s hand to help her get into the ring. There were two microphones there long with flowers all around the ring.
The Miz did a promo saying they have embarrassed Edge week after week and this Saturday at Day 1, he will prove that old Edge is gone and new Edge can’t live up to the standards of The Miz. That led to Miz saying he’ll dominate Edge at Day 1. Miz wanted to give us something uplifting to end this year. The fans booed. The Miz did a promo about how they were married in the Bahamas, but now they are in disgusting, decrepit Detroit. The fans booed. Miz said it’s not where you are, it’s who you are with. Miz thanked Eric for officiating this ceremony. Eric thanked them for inviting him to share this moment with them.
Maryse said that Miz was the man of her dreams while the fans booed. Maryse complimented Miz some more and the fans booed her. Miz said that at Day 1, Miz will show he’s the best father, husband and way better WWE Superstar. Maryse said if loving you was wrong, I don’t want to be right. Maryse asked if Miz would continue to be her husband. Miz asked the fans what he should do, they booed and Miz ripped on them being Detroit football fans that cheer on the Lions. Boos from the crowd.
Miz did a promo trying to speak French, but it was intentionally bad and then Maryse told him to just do it in English. Miz (speaking in English now) said she’s the perfect role model to their little girls and when they make love, it’s like fireworks. Miz asked Maryse if she will continue to be his wife. The fans booed loudly. Maryse said “YES.”
Eric asked if anybody has any objections, so they should speak up now…and here comes Edge in a Slayer shirt. Big pop for Edge with less than five minutes left in the show. Edge to Miz: “Don’t fall!” That was funny.
Edge said he threw up a bit in his mouth. Edge ripped on Miz for hiding behind his wife. Edge told Miz: “I’m going to beat your ass.” Miz told Edge they knew he would come out there and Miz claimed they wanted to show what true love looks like, so Miz kissed Maryse. Edge credited Miz for embarrassing Edge for the last few weeks. Edge said what goes around, comes around, he said he’s going to beat Miz at Day 1 and then he said he’s going to embarrass him. Edge asked if they wanted this to be a white wedding?
The music of The Brood (a group from 1998-1999 that Edge was a part of ) hit in the building and then Edge backed away as some black liquid was dumped on Miz and Maryse in the ring. They call it a “Broodbath” now instead of the Bloodbath name that it used to have when it was a red liquid dumped on the wrestlers. Bischoff was a bit dirty too. Miz and Maryse were furious about it while Edge was backing up the ramp looking happy. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: This was okay. As soon as it was announced, you could tell that Edge was going to show up and get some revenge after the last few weeks. The crowd hated the Miz/Maryse love fest here with boos for the whole segment and part of that is likely because they probably don’t want to see a vow renewal ceremony in the main event spot.
Three Stars of the Show
- AJ Styles
- The Street Profits
- Randy Orton/Riddle
6 out of 10
Last week: 6.25
2021 Average: 6.15
It was another average Raw. I say that most weeks because that’s what Raw is except for the weeks where they put on several great matches. In this case, the Tag Team match between Street Profits/Mysterios was the best of the night and I certainly think those teams can be even better if they have a match again.
Raw was hurt by so many key performers being out with COVID-related issues. Some of them probably don’t have COVID and WWE is just being cautious with them so they can show up on Saturday for the Day 1 PPV.
The next WWE pay-per-view is called Day 1 on January 1 in Atlanta. Here’s what we know so far:
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship: Big E (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Liv Morgan
The Miz vs. Edge
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) vs. The New Day (King Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
Raw Tag Team Championships: Randy Orton & Riddle (c) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss
Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Sami Zayn – It is not on WWE’s website yet.
You can watch WWE Day 1 streaming LIVE on New Year’s Day, Saturday Jan. 1 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.