Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/03/22 Review

wwe raw deal jan 3

This week’s WWE Monday Night Raw is the first episode of 2022 following the Day 1 event that took place this past Saturday on New Year’s Day.

I wrote about the WWE Day 1 PPV (or “premium live event” as WWE wants them to be called now) right here at TJRWrestling as usual. We also had additional Day 1 reaction columns from Kelly Dishnow and then Joel McIntyre wrote his thoughts from his live perspective being at the show.

The big news coming out of Day 1 is that Brock Lesnar is now the WWE Champion after Roman Reigns was unable to defend the Universal Championship against Lesnar due to Roman testing positive for COVID-19. We wish Roman well and hope he can get back in the ring soon. That also means that this week’s Raw will have former WWE Champion Big E, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens in a Fatal 4-Way match with the winner facing Lesnar for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble PPV on Saturday, January 29.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1493 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The opening video package showed highlights of the Day 1 main event with Brock Lesnar winning WWE Title in the Fatal 5-Way match against former champion Big E, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. Lesnar had a staredown with Lashley after the match, so that could be a preview of the future.

Raw started with an impressive pyro display with the commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton welcoming us to the show. They hyped up the Fatal 4-Way Match between Big E, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens with the winner earning a WWE Title match at Royal Rumble. They also promoted other matches coming up. The arena went black for a few moments and then the lights came back on with Paul Heyman in the ring.

Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman…and Brock Lesnar

Paul Heyman said he was in the ring as an advocate to introduce us to his client, the new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. That led to Lesnar making his entrance with the WWE Championship on his shoulder once again while wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. Lesnar walked around the ring with the WWE Championship with the fans cheering him. Lesnar threw the steel steps into the ring, so that he could stand on the steps as a podium to stand on. Lesnar was laughing about it.

Lesnar said he wanted to give a big shoutout to his good buddy Roman Reigns. Lesnar said that Roman is likely at home tuning into Monday Night Raw to see the new WWE Heavyweight Champion, the real champion, Brock Lesnar. Brock: “Get well soon, buddy.” Brock winked. Brock gave a shoutout to South Carolina for a cheap pop and said: “Acknowledge me.”

Lesnar also acknowledged his advocate Heyman for making Brock a free agent and the strings that Paul pulled on Saturday to help make Brock the WWE Champion. Lesnar thanked Heyman, they shook hands and Lesnar gave Heyman the microphone.

Heyman said that Saturday at Day 1, Lesnar showed up wanting to win a title, the other champion couldn’t be there, so a Fatal 5-Way was better than a Fatal 4-Way. Heyman said what does Lesnar do now? He’s concentrating on defending the WWE Championship. Heyman said that Lesnar will defend against the winner of the Fatal 4-Way match that was originally scheduled. Heyman said that Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins are going to try to work together as a team. Heyman said that Rollins thinks he’s a visionary, but he’s too stupid and Heyman claimed Seth’s wife is going to leave him and Seth would know that if he was a visionary. Heyman also said that Kevin Owens can’t beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title. Heyman also trashed Roman Reigns: “One week without me as his Special Counsel and Roman Reigns has COVID.” Ouch.

Heyman said let’s not talk about MVP since nobody does anyone. Heyman said the first time Lashley met Lesnar, Lashley hit a Spear through the barricade. Heyman said that Lashley also gave Lesnar a Spear in the ring while Lesnar was delivering F5’s to everybody else in the match. Heyman said that Lashley also put Lesnar in the Hurt Lock submission. Heyman noted that on all three occasions, Lashley was attacking Lesnar from behind, but if Lashley wins tonight and goes on to face Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, then he’ll have to go against Lesnar face to face. Heyman also called Lashley an “All Mighty Brock Lesnar-wannabe.”

Heyman praised Big E saying he was a great champion that deserves your applause. Heyman said that they had nothing bad to say. Big E said that he’s a credit to WWE Entertainment and the WWE Universe. Heyman said that Big E would still be WWE Champion if he didn’t have to step in the ring with Lesnar. Heyman said they had “respect and admiration” for Big E. Heyman said it would be an absolute honor to witness Lesnar against Big E. The fans cheered. Heyman said Big E would lose, which is no shame, but it would still be an honor to lose to the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Heyman did his usual line: “Reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the world…Brock Lesnar.” The fans cheered while Lesnar smiled because he enjoyed hearing Lesnar do that. They left the ring with Lesnar shaking Heyman’s hand and Brock put his arm on Paul’s shoulder as they walked to the back.

Analysis: I’m a bit surprised that WWE would go back to Lesnar with Heyman again especially with Brock in a face role. However, I assume it could be a way to do a big angle where Heyman is the reason loses the title to another wrestler, then we find out Heyman is still working for Reigns despite being “fired” and then Lesnar goes on to look for revenge against Reigns at WrestleMania. That could be where it’s going. I don’t really know. The words from Heyman about Big E almost like the WWE office talking there to put over Big E as a great guy and maybe they feel bad after ending Big E’s title reign early because if Lesnar wasn’t in the match at Day 1, maybe Big E would still be champion right now. It also shows that Lesnar is a babyface since Heyman advocates for him and they were nice to a fellow babyface like Big E. Anyway, I thought Heyman did a nice job here as always with his promo that was a bit of a babyface style promo instead of his classic heel promo work. Lesnar’s lines were good too.

Randy Orton and Riddle are in action again Alpha Academy up next.

(Commercial)

Randy Orton and Riddle were backstage with their Raw Tag Team Titles. Riddle mentioned hanging out with the group Migos and Riddle thought they could be a rap group. Riddle had on some shades along with gold chains, so Orton tossed them down. Orton reminded Riddle of New Year’s Resolutions with Riddle mentioning he had to listen to Randy more. They ended it with a bit of a weak rap style dialogue and then made their entrance for a match.

There were highlights shown from Day 1 when RK-Bro beat the Street Profits to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles.

Chad Gable and Otis entered with Gable bragging about his Master’s degree while telling the crowd not to boo education. Gable said that he’ll teach RK-Bro about acceptance and that they will accept that they will lose. Gable and Otis attacked before the bell. Otis sent Riddle out of the ring and Otis hit a back elbow on Orton. Otis with an overhead suplex on Riddle on the floor.

(Commercial)

There was an NXT New Year’s Evil commercial for Tuesday’s NXT 2.0 broadcast. I’ll have a review of that usual.

RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)

This is not a title match. Gable was legal with Riddle, Gable with a forearm to the head and a Tiger Suplex on Riddle for two. Otis tagged in with a press slam on Riddle. Gable tagged in with a running elbow smash to the head. Otis back in with an elbow drop as the fans chanted “Randy” for Orton to tag in. Otis charged, Riddle avoided the tag and Otis hit the ring post. Riddle kicked Otis to stagger the big man. Gable crawled under the ring to pull Orton off the apron to prevent a tag. Otis with a splash on Riddle’s back against the turnbuckle. Orton had to deal with Gable as they were brawling on the floor. Otis with a running body attack on Orton. Otis back in, Riddle hit a jumping knee. Riddle tried an RKO, Otis caught him and Otis hit a World’s Strongest Slam (Mark Henry’s finisher although they aren’t calling it that) for the pinfall win at 2:55.

Winners by pinfall: Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)

Analysis: ** It’s a typical WWE booking move to set up a future title match by booking the champions to lose non-title. It’s fine because I like the Alpha Academy a lot. The main story was that Riddle couldn’t tag out due to Gable taking Orton off the apron, then Otis knocked Orton down and Otis finished off Riddle with his power. It was an impressive win by the Alpha Academy after months of inconsistent booking for them.

Bobby Lashley and MVP were interviewed by Sarah Schreiber in the backstage area. MVP said that the inevitable future is that the All Mighty has to overcome insurmountable odds to beat three guys and said it was a Herculean task. Lashley stared into the camera: “Brock Lesnar fears me.”

Omos was backstage with Kevin Patrick with Omos putting his arm around Kevin. An interview is next.

(Commercial)

A video aired about the success and breakup of AJ Styles & Omos.

Omos was interviewed by Kevin Patrick about AJ Styles saying he regretted taking Omos under his wing. Omos was asked how he reacts, so Omos put his giant hand on Kevin’s head to say that’s how he reacts. Omos left.

Dana Brooke & Reggie entered for a match against Tamina & Akira Tozawa, who were already in the ring. Dana and Reggie beat Tamina & R-Truth last week. They went to commercial before the match.

(Commercial)

24/7 Championship: Dana Brooke & Reggie vs. Tamina & Akira Tozawa

Brooke is the 24/7 Champion. Tozawa got a sunset flip on Reggie for two. Dropkick by Reggie after he slipped out of a suplex. Tozawa charged at Reggie to the turnbuckle, Reggie moved and Tozawa kicked Tamina by accident. Tamina punched Tozawa and Reggie hit a somersault splash on Tozawa for the pinfall win. It went 1:16.

Winners by pinfall: Dana Brooke & Reggie

Analysis: 1/2* Bad match. Dana didn’t even tag in. The best part was that it was short. I think the crowd fell asleep for it. I can’t say I blame them.

They showed highlights from Day 1 when Becky Lynch beat Liv Morgan to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.

Becky Lynch aka Big Time Becks entered for some promo time as the Raw Women’s Champion.

(Commercial)

The commercial for Smackdown asked the question wondering what’s next for Universal Champion Roman Reigns now that Brock Lesnar is the WWE Champion. Find out on Smackdown.

Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch said there’s something about the new year that inspires hope in people. Lynch said when that clock strikes midnight, it’s a new year and a new you. Lynch noted that she knows the women in the back have resolutions to be the Raw Women’s Champion, but for her it’s about remaining the Raw Women’s Champion. Lynch said that for the last three or four years, they cannot beat her while noting that many have tried and many have failed.

Lynch claimed she has thought about the past while noting that she has become a work of art. Lynch talked about going to a museum and seeing a work of art where it makes you feel something. Lynch said she’s a work of art because she makes you feel. Lynch said that fine art reveals the truth. Lynch said she is WWE’s “Vincent Van Goat” while telling the crowd they aren’t going to lose ten pounds, you’re not going to get that job promotion and you’re not finally going to get the hell out of South Carolina. That cheap heat drew boos. Lynch said that the girls in the back won’t win the Raw Women’s Championship. Lynch pointed out that Liv Morgan said she was going to win the Raw Women’s Championship, but Liv broke her promise to herself and all of you.

Liv Morgan interrupted the promo ripping on Becky’s ugly jacket. Morgan said that there is nobody harder on Liv than herself. Morgan walked down to the ring saying that Becky knows how close Liv was to winning that title on Saturday. Morgan got in Becky’s face saying she gives it her all every time she steps into the ring and that’s what she did at Day 1. Lynch said maybe Morgan can win the title when Lynch retires. Lynch said there’s only one Big Time Becks and it sure as hell isn’t Morgan.

Bianca Belair also interrupted this promo. Belair mentioned she’s the “EST of WWE” as usual. Belair said that they aren’t buying Lynch’s hype. Belair said that she took a Doudrop detour while she stepped aside for other people to get a shot, but now the EST of WWE is right back in line for Big Time Becks. Lynch said her routine is “Beat, Sleep, Routine.” Lynch said maybe they can have a support group where they talk about losing to her. Lynch said they call that the women’s locker room and Morgan said Becky hasn’t been there in years. Belair and Morgan argued about who had a shot. Lynch said that they should figure this out one on one, then decide who it will be and let Lynch know later.

Belair and Morgan kicked Lynch and tossed Becky out of the ring. Belair and Morgan exchanged punches. Morgan got her feet up to stop a charging Belair and Morgan with a step up kick. Belair lifted up Morgan, but there was Lynch and Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam on Belair. Lynch left with her title.

Analysis: It was okay as a segment to set up a future title opponent for Lynch. It was a case of Becky being her usual arrogant self while Morgan showed a lot of energy as the babyface that didn’t back down while Belair reminded us she’s in the title picture as well. I don’t think Lynch needed to stand tall here, but WWE continues to book her to be dominant in the women’s division. Whenever Becky lose the title, it is going to be a big deal for the winner.

Seth Rollins was shown pondering something with Kevin Owens going up to Rollins while mentioning the Seth “Freakin’” Rollins name that is official now. Rollins complained about Paul Heyman and then Owens said that they should focus on tonight. Owens suggested that they work together again. Owens said that that one of them can win tonight, then beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title and then they can fight against eachother at WrestleMania. Rollins said it’s a great plan since they can trust eachother. Rollins said it sounds like a plan. Seth left. Owens: “Hey, you’re not lying, are ya?” Find out when they have the match.

Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley entered for tag team action. Their opponents were Queen Zelina Vega and Carmella, who are the Women’s Tag Team Champions.

(Commercial)

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Queen Zelina Vega & Carmella vs. Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H.

Ripley hit a delayed vertical suplex on Vega and then Nikki tagged in with a flipping neckbreaker. Nikki tripped running the ropes, recovered enough and hit a running clothesline. Vega sent Nikki into the ropes followed by a chinlock. When Vega let go, she punched Ripley off the apron. Nikki lifted up Vega, who slipped out and Vega did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Queen Zelina Vega & Carmella

Analysis: *1/2 A short match to put over the champions. The crowd barely reacted to the end of the match. Carmella didn’t even tag in. Nikki continues her losing streak. I guess that’s the main story for her. I assume the feud is over now and maybe WWE can try to figure out some other teams to challenge the champions.

They showed the video of actor Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame announcing that he’s going to be in the Royal Rumble match.

Analysis: I don’t mind celebrity involvement if it’s well booked and funny. If it’s bad comedy then it can be tough to watch.

The Street Profits made their entrance for tag team action. They showed pre-match comments where Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins announced they are in the Royal Rumble match.

(Commercial)

Rey and Dominik Mysterio talked about how they are going to be in the Royal Rumble match. Rey said it may be every man for himself, but despite that, they are an unstoppable duo.

The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez

Ford ran the ropes leading to Azeez hitting a shoulder tackle. Azeez with a body slam and a headbutt to the body. Ford with an enziguri kick on Azeez, then Crews and Dawkins tagged in with Dawkins hitting a back elbow. Dawkins with a corner splash and a double underhook slam. Azeez with the save, but then they went to the floor and Dawkins shoved Azeez into the ring post. Dawkins back in, Crews with an enziguri kick to the head, Ford tagged in, Dawkins with a spinebuster and then Ford jumped off the top rope with an incredible Frog Splash (he gets so much hang time!) and pinned Crews to win the match. It was just over two minutes.

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

Analysis: *1/2 Another short match on this show. I don’t know if that was rushed or if they wanted to give the Profits a dominant win. It gives the Profits a win after coming off a loss at the Day 1 PPV. It’s smart to give the Street Profits wins even though they aren’t the champions right now because it makes them look like contenders for whenever there’s a title change.

Damian Priest was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber with Damian talking about showing his temper, how he must keep his cool and he’s going to remain the United States Champion. Priest made his entrance.

(Commercial)

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were in their office as WWE Officials. Doudrop walked into the office complaining about Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan getting title shots. Adam Pearce wondered what she was yelling about and Doudrop called him “grandpa” since he didn’t hear her. Doudrop said everybody is tired of the same people getting title shots. Doudrop said she demands that she is given her first chance at a title. Sonya said they don’t just give title shots, you have to earn it. Sonya suggested next Monday on Raw, a triple threat match Bianca Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Doudrop and the winner of that faces Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title at Royal Rumble.

Analysis: Doing a triple threat match next week is fine. The problem with it is that Belair beat Doudrop multiple times in singles matches, so they are basically ignoring those results to put Doudrop in a match where she’s a win away from a title match. You shouldn’t ignore match results from the past.

Dolph Ziggler entered as the challenger for the US Title match. This is a rematch. They have done this match a few times in recent weeks with Priest losing his cool during matches.

United States Championship: Damian Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode)

The deal here is that Damian Priest can lose the US Title by disqualification or countout. Ziggler with a slap, then Priest worked over Ziggler with punches and a kick that sent Ziggler out of the ring. Ziggler got a hold of Priest on the floor and hit a DDT on the floor. They went to break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Priest punching Ziggler followed by a flapjack slam into the mat. Priest with a running elbow smash against the turnbuckle. Ziggler avoided a move, sent Priest into the ring post and Ziggler hit a running knee for a two count. Ziggler doesn’t always do that, but it looked good. Ziggler trash-talked Priest a bit, then Priest with punches and kicks to the head. Priest with a gutwrench suplex style move for a two count. Priest slowly went up top, Ziggler went after him, Priest kicked Ziggler down and then when Priest went up again, Robert Roode showed up to trip Priest to send him into the ropes. The referee never saw it. Ziggler capitalized with a Fameasser for two. Priest with a clothesline on Ziggler and then Priest went after Roode to attack him with punches while on the floor. Priest had a steel chair, the referee’s count was at eight and he got into the ring. Ziggler wanted Priest to hit him with the chair, Roode on the apron, so Priest threw the chair at Roode. Ziggler capitalized with the Zig Zag for another nearfall. The crowd bought that one as a possible finish because it used to be Ziggler’s finishing move. Ziggler wanted a superkick, Priest avoided it and Priest hit The Reckoning for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest

Analysis: *** A pretty good match here. It was the longest match of the show at this point. Ziggler has so many different moves that lead to believable nearfalls, so it’s smart to utilize those spots to set up moments where Ziggler can get those nearfalls. They built off their previous matches with Priest getting counted out and disqualified in the past, so this time the story was that Priest was able to win without losing his temper too much. I liked the story of the match. It was booked well.

Vince McMahon was shown in his office talking on his phone. Austin Theory walked into the office. Vince tried to give Theory some lessons about how he doesn’t like to apologize. Theory wanted a rematch against Finn Balor, then Vince said that Theory beat him up and we haven’t seen Balor since. Vince said if you can’t beat somebody some way, you can always find some other way. Theory said that Vince taught him to expect the unexpected. Vince told Theory that he is going to be one of the participants in the Royal Rumble. Vince said that if you win the Royal Rumble you can go on to the main event of WrestleMania to face the champion of your choice. Theory didn’t know what to say, but he was excited about it.

The Miz entered with Maryse. It’s always good to see Maryse.

(Commercial)

A video was shown about Edge beating The Miz at Day 1 on Saturday. Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix made her entrance to prevent Maryse from interfering in the match again, so Edge hit a Spear on Miz to win the match.

Let’s Hear from The Miz with Maryse

The Miz was in his wrestling gear and silly robe attire for this non-wrestling segment. The Miz said that they are outraged about the outcome that happened at Day 1. The Miz bragged about how he was the only two-time Grand Slam Champion, yet he still had to “prove himself” against Edge, who is just a one-time Grand Slam Champion. Miz claimed he could see defeat in Edge’s eyes. Miz said he was going to put Edge’s wife to rest when his wife, WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix showed up. Miz claimed that Edge deserved to lose. Miz complained about what Edge did to them last week.

A clip was shown from last Monday’s Raw when Edge had a Brood flashback with a bloodbath that WWE now calls a Broodbath.

The Miz ripped on the fans for liking that while telling them that true love always wins. Miz kissed Maryse. Miz said that he wanted respect from Edge, but then Edge hid behind his wife and Miz asked what kind of man hides behind his wife. Miz said that he doesn’t respect Edge while asking what kind of man hides behind his wife. The fans yelled “you” at Miz. Maryse said that you are brave, courageous, handsome and that’s why she married him. Maryse claimed that if Beth Phoenix was there tonight then she’d punch her right in the face.

Beth Phoenix made her entrance to interrupt this promo. Beth had a unique hairstyle. Beth stayed in the aisle leading to her husband Edge making his entrance. Edge and Beth posed in the aisle for some pyro to go off.

Edge and Beth got into the ring together. Beth dared Maryse to hit her in the face. No punch from Maryse. Edge said that most people would take the “L” (loss) and move on. Edge said unfortunately he knows Miz better than that. Edge ripped on Miz for being a hypocrite, then Miz said nothing and Edge said for once, The Miz was at a loss for words. The fans cheered. Edge said he doesn’t ask Beth to fight his battles. Beth said that was her idea. Edge said that they are crazy enough to give The Miz what he wants.

Edge suggested The Miz and Maryse (“The It Couple”) versus The Rated R Superstar and The Glamazon – “The Grit Couple” at the Royal Rumble. Miz wondered if they are serious. Miz put over Maryse for all of her accomplishments with Beth saying a simple yes or no would suffice. The fans chanted “yes” and Miz said: “We accept.” Maryse wasn’t too thrilled about that. Beth stepped towards Maryse teasing a punch, did nothing and Maryse bumped to the mat out of fear. Edge’s music played to end it as the heels left while Edge/Beth stood tall in the ring.

Analysis: There’s the mixed tag team match that has been rumored and teased since the feud started. I assume the babyface team of Edge and Beth get the win there with Maryse playing the cowardly heel against the powerful Beth. The segment was what it needed to be to officially set up the match.

Big E, the former WWE Champion, was interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Big E said that being WWE Champion meant a lot to him and it meant something to a lot of people. Big E said there’s no shame in losing to Brock Lesnar, but what we don’t do is get kicked and stay down. Big E said that we make sure that our next chapter is our best chapter. Big E said tonight he has the opportunity to right those wrongs and start his path back to reclaiming his WWE Championship. Big E shouted that he’ll be damned if there’s a soul on this Earth that can stop him.

Analysis: Good promo from Big E. I feel bad for him losing the WWE Title because I think he could have been booked a lot better as the champion. I hope he can get the title back some day and have a better title run in the future.

AJ Styles made his entrance for singles action.

(Commercial)

Omos made the entrance for this singles match between former partners. When Omos entered, they shot him from the camera angle from below to make him look taller.

AJ Styles vs. Omos

Some fans chanted for Styles while Omos pointed out the size disparity. Styles with strikes, but then Omos managed to shove him out of the ring. Styles to the floor, then he kicked the leg of Omos, so Omos stayed in the ring and hit a boot to the face. Omos splashed Styles against the turnbuckle. Omos with a whip across the ring leading Styles rolling under the bottom rope to the ring post. Great bump by Styles. Back in the ring, Omos went for a move off the shoulders, but Styles slipped out and hit a couple of kicks. Styles wanted a Phenomenal Forearm, Omos blocked that, Styles sent Omos’ throat into the top rope. Styles jumped off the top, but Omos was there with a hard chop to the chest. Omos had Styles on his shoulders, then lifted up and slammed him to the mat. Omos hit the two-handed Chokeslam sometimes called the Tree Slam for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Omos

Analysis: *1/2 It was a passable match for something that was four minutes involving Omos, who is limited as a big guy without a lot of experience. It’s not a surprise that they would put over Omos in a dominant way. It sucks for Styles, who is one of the best wrestlers in WWE and all-time, but that’s just WWE wanting to put over Omos. They can still book Styles in a strong way, but this wasn’t the best spot for him.

A replay was shown of Brock Lesnar’s opening promo segment with Paul Heyman earlier in the show.

Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event.

(Commercial)

A video was shown from the last time we saw Alex Bliss four months ago at Extreme Rules. Charlotte Flair destroyed a doll, Bliss was sad about it and she has been gone since then.

A graphic was shown saying that “Alexa Bliss’ journey back to Raw” begins next week.

Big E made his entrance to a solid ovation from the crowd. Seth Rollins was announced as “Seth Freakin’ Rollins” because I guess that’s his official name now. Bobby Lashley was up last with his buddy MVP by his side. That main event match is after a break.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 29 in St. Louis. They showed it a few times.

Big E vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP)

It’s pinfall or submission only. The first fall wins. No disqualification or countout.

The show returned with over 20 minutes left. Lashley with a clothesline that knocked Rollins out of the ring. Lashley sent Rollins into the ring post. Big E with a slam on Owens, who went to the apron and Big E hit a running shoulder tackle on Owens to the floor. Big E didn’t get all of it, but he got enough. Lashley faced off with Big E with Big E getting an elbow to the face, but Lashley hit a clothesline and a suplex. Owens back in, so Lashley dropped him with a neckbreaker. Lashley suplexed the big man Owens. The fans were actually chanting “Bobby” as Lashley set up on the floor, Rollins/Owens moved and Lashley went crashing through the barricade at ringside. Big E got a hold of Rollins on the floor with Big E hitting a belly to belly suplex on the floor. Big E sent Owens into the hood of the commentary table. Owens saved Rollins from a Big E slam through a table. Owens whipped Big E into the steel steps. Owens and Rollins sent Big E into the ring post. Owens and Rollins put part of the barricade on Lashley on the floor. Owens and Rollins gave Big E a double Powerbomb (Rollins doing the move with Owens on the side) that sent Big E through the commentary table.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Owens and Rollins punching Lashley at the same time while Big E was down in the ring. Rollins with a running forearm on Lashley and then Owens hit a cannonball splash on Lashley against the turnbuckle. Owens sent Rollins into Big E, who hit a uranage on Rollins, Owens with a superkick on Big E and Lashley with a clothesline on Owens. Lashley and Big E faced off as they realized they should work as a team, so Rollins and Owens tried to run away. That led to Rollins and Owens going up the steps all the way to the hallways in the building near the concession stands. Lashley gave Rollins a Hurt Lock submission, so Owens hit Lashley with a trash can lid. Lashley no sold that, then Big E stared at Owens and Big E gave Owens a uranage slam through a merchandise table that was there. That led to another break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with the four guys fighting into the crowd with Lashley punching Big E. Rollins went over to them while Owens was up in the crowd at a higher level and Owens hit a somersault dive onto the three guys. Owens is a madman that is willing to put his body on the line for big spots like that. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as Owens/Rollins brought Big E back to the ringside area. Owens went up top with a Senton Bomb while Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Big E for a two count. Owens was actually supporting Seth’s pin attempt instead of trying to break it up. Owens and Rollins with a double superkicks to Big E. When Owens and Rollins went for big moves, Big E fought them off until Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for two because Lashley was back in to break it up. Lashley with overhead suplexes to Owens and Rollins. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle on Rollins on the floor. Rollins with an elbow to Lashley, then Big E wanted a Big Ending on Rollins, but Lashley was up and hit a Spear on Big E after Rollins shoved Big E into it. Rollins wanted a clothesline, Lashley ducked, Lashley with a Spear on Rollins and Lashley with a Spear on Owens as well. Lashley pinned Owens for the pinfall win after about 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match. Lots of action with an obvious result since we could all tell they were building to Lesnar facing off against Lashley. The heels Rollins/Owens were so well together that it was getting fans to cheer Lashley while Big E was kind of the odd man out at times. Lashley hitting Spears on everybody is fine to put over that move, but I think Lashley should still be using the Hurt Lock too.

The win by Lashley meant that he faces Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. The announcers put it over as a dream match and a superfight. They showed replays.

Bobby Lashley celebrated the win while the other wrestlers were down around ringside. The announcers put over the Lashley/Lesnar match at the Royal Rumble. Brock Lesnar was shown in the locker room with the WWE Championship on his shoulder. Kevin Patrick asked if Brock had a comment: “I do have a comment. Tell Roman Reigns I’ll see him this Friday at Smackdown.” The camera was back on Lashley celebrating. End show.

Analysis: Lesnar didn’t even react to Lashley’s win and instead mentioned going to Smackdown. I’m sure Lashley/MVP will see that as a sign of disrespect. I guess that means they think Reigns is going to be on Smackdown too, so it’ll be nice to see Roman back if he’s able to be there. A Reigns/Lashley confrontation is a good way to hype up Smackdown for Friday. I’m excited about Lesnar vs. Lashley too.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Bobby Lashley
  2. Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins
  3. Big E

 

The Scoreboard

5.75 out of 10

Last week: 6

 

Final Thoughts

I liked the main event a lot and the opening segment was good too. The story of Lesnar and Lashley is going to be interesting while also delivering a dream match at the Royal Rumble. I thought Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Big E had a good night too. Everything else, in terms of matches, was just average or bad in some cases. There was one long match and it was the main event. The other matches were under ten minutes. Some of the two or three minute matches were so rushed. When Raw is three hours long, that’s disappointing to see.

The promo segments were okay. Lesnar and Heyman together again is an interesting decision that may not last that long, but we’ll see how that plays out. The Becky Lynch promo was similar to her usual bragging with an interruption from opponents. The Edge/Miz promo with their wives set up their Royal Rumble match, so that’s okay.

I really liked the main event. Other than that, it was mostly an average Raw this week.

The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 29 in St. Louis. Here’s what we know so far:

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Bobby Lashley

Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse

30-Man Royal Rumble Match

30-Woman Royal Rumble Match

You can watch WWE Royal Rumble LIVE on Saturday, January 29 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on WWE Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.

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Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport