This week’s WWE Raw was a taped show looking back at some big matches along with highlights of 2022, plus interviews featuring Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Bianca Belair and more.
It was a recap show, so I’m just going to do a quick recap of what they aired over the course of the three hours on Monday night. No rating, three stars or anything like that. I’m just going to let you know what they aired.
The opening of the show featured The Street Profits talking about some of the big moments that took place in WWE in 2022. They were in front of a screen that showed the highlights as they spoke.
This special was hosted by Jackie Redmond and Corey Graves at WWE Studious while graphics and images were shown behind them.
They showed Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar from SummerSlam 2022 in a Last Man Standing Match. I rated it at ****1/4, which means is was a great match and you can read my review here.
A video aired in tribute for John Cena celebrating 20 years in WWE. Cena appeared on Raw in June to celebrate his incredible run. They showed some highlights of Cena’s speech that night.
— WWE (@WWE) December 27, 2022
There were highlights shown of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin beating Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 38 in Austin’s first match in 19 years.
It was back to WrestleMania 38 for highlights of Johnny Knoxville beating Sami Zayn in a very entertaining match with Knoxville getting a lot of help from his friends. That was such a fun match to watch.
Sami Zayn was shown commenting that he was disappointed that they showed that on this show. Sami said coming up they’ll show some of the many wonderful moments of The Bloodline’s incredible year.
The New Day was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods talked about being Triple Crown WWE Tag Team Champions since they won the NXT Tag Team Titles this year. Woods talked about the idea of The New Day first with Big E and then Kofi was all for it, so that led to the group being formed. Kofi spoke about how The Usos are so natural out there, so it’s a great rivalry between the teams. Kofi talked about how they found their way to what they are now while The Usos found their way, then it became like a sibling rivalry to try to push eachother and the fans get to see a long-lasting rivalry.
They showed The Usos beating The New Day on the November 11th edition of Smackdown as The Usos set the record for the longest Tag Team Title reign in WWE history. A terrific tag team match that I rated **** out of five.
A video aired profiling Bianca Belair.
Bianca Belair, the Raw Women’s Champion, was interviewed at home by Jackie and Corey. Belair talked about how she spends the holidays with her husband Montez Ford. Belair talked about how big her WrestleMania 38 win over Becky Lynch was with a long story for her to win the championship during a feud that was very personal between them.
— WWE (@WWE) December 27, 2022
They showed WrestleMania 38 when Bianca Belair beat Becky Lynch to win the Raw Women’s Championship for the first time. I rated it ****1/4 out of five, so it was yet another awesome match on this show. Bianca and Becky are so great.
There was a video that aired about Logan Paul’s impressive year in WWE with three matches.
It was back to Clash at the Castle in September when GUNTHER beat Sheamus in an incredible match for the Intercontinental Title. They only showed quick highlights instead of the whole match. GUNTHER won the match to keep his title, but Sheamus won over the crow because they gave Sheamus a standing ovation after the match. They didn’t show the standing ovation. I went five stars out of five for that one. It’s a definite contender for WWE Match of the Year.
Sheamus was at home doing a video tour of his house, including his bar called “Sheamy’s Bar.” Sheamus was shown talking about how The Brawling Brutes team with Ridge Holland & Butch is because they share the same goal and they live for the fight night. Sheamus talked about the big tag team match at Extreme Rules against Imperium.
They showed Extreme Rules when The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland) beat Imperium (GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) in a Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match. I rated this match highly as well at ****1/4 out of five. A fun brawl.
A video aired about The Bloodline with Sami Zayn talking about the dominance of the group.
There was a video about Drew McIntyre challenging Roman Reigns at Clash at the Castle. The fans were so loud in their support of Drew throughout the match.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed at home as he spoke about dealing with some minor injuries, but he’ll be back very soon. Drew spoke about how he dreamed about a show like Clash at the Castle and he was so happy it materialized. Drew called it a moment and night that he’ll never forget. Drew said he thinks they should do a United Kingdom Premium Live Event show every year and mentioned other parts of Europe like France. Drew made it clear that he wants to go after GUNTHER for the Intercontinental Title and he would love to tangle with that man.
Analysis: Drew vs. GUNTHER? Sign me up. That will be great whenever it happens.
— WWE (@WWE) December 27, 2022
A video aired about Drew McIntyre’s feud with Karrion Kross in the fall.
There was a video package about all the returns in WWE this year like Ronda Rousey, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Mia Yim and Johnny Gargano, along with some changes like Baron Corbin appearing on Raw with JBL. Bray Wyatt’s return at Extreme Rules was also shown.
Cody Rhodes was shown in a suit talking about his WWE return at WrestleMania 38. Cody said he was so glad that wrestling fans enjoyed that while adding that he needed that and he’s blessed that he got it. Cody said that having three matches with Seth Rollins gave them a “bond by battle.” Cody doesn’t know if a fourth match is on his “radar” at the moment. Cody spoke about his Hell in a Cell match performance against Rollins when he won the match with a torn pectoral muscle.
Here’s part of what Cody said (with thanks to 411Mania) about coming back from surgery six months ago:
“Even though I wasn’t present for a good chunk of the year, what I was able to do, I think, really did register with a lot of the WWE Universe. And I want to pick up right back where I left off, right back in that little kid’s shoes who had the biggest dreams. Because in this time that we’re in, I have an opportunity at making that happen.”
“And I’m being incredibly vague here, I get it. But I think anyone who is a fan of what we do can read between the lines. There is one thing that I came back for specifically, one thing. And again, a torn pec couldn’t stop me. I couldn’t name anything that can stop me. It has to be done, it needs to be done, and I want to get it done.”
Analysis: It was great to see Cody back on WWE TV again. Cody was obviously referring to his goal of winning the WWE (or Universal) Championship for the first time. Cody should be back in January by the Royal Rumble or before that because he should be cleared or close to it. I’m ready to see Cody come back with a lot of momentum as a potential Royal Rumble winner.
They showed the Hell in a Cell match from June when Cody Rhodes beat Seth Rollins while Cody had a torn pectoral muscle on his right side. I rated this match five stars out of five.
A video aired about Liv Morgan’s big year after winning the Money in the Bank briefcase and Smackdown Women’s Title.
Liv Morgan was interviewed at home saying she’s never complacent while saying that she thinks the best is yet to come and she’ll keep getting better. Morgan talked about beating Ronda Rousey while proving she can be extreme. Morgan spoke about having fun and exploring what she can do.
It was back to Extreme Rules in October with Ronda Rousey beating Liv Morgan to regain the Smackdown Women’s Title. The match was good at ***1/4 out of five in my review, but it wasn’t necessarily a great match.
There was a video package about The Judgment Day group from Raw. It consists of Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio. The big moment for the group was when Priest, Balor & Ripley turned on Edge, who created the group.
A video aired showing the successful year that Austin Theory had as the two-time and current United States Champion.
They showed some of the recent drama surrounding Bobby Lashley getting “fired” by Adam Pearce, but then that was taken back.
Next Monday on Raw: Austin Theory defends the US Title against Seth “Freakin” Rollins and Becky Lynch will put the Raw Women’s Title on the line against Alexa Bliss.
For the main event of the show, they showed Roman Reigns beating Logan Paul in the Crown Jewel main event for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. I thought it was another great title match by Reigns while Paul was very impressive in his third WWE match. I rated it at **** out of five. Maybe I could have gone a bit higher for it. What matters is that I enjoyed it and was really impressed by both guys in the match.
There was a plug for this Friday night on the December 30th edition of Smackdown. The big match on that show will see Roman Reigns team up with Sami Zayn against John Cena and Kevin Owens. They plugged it many times throughout the show.
— WWE (@WWE) December 27, 2022
It was fine for a clip show summarizing the year that was. They didn’t air whole matches, but they did a nice job of selecting some great matches throughout the show. Lots of quick video packages too, which are always done well by WWE’s production team.
I think it was smart to add some interviews to the broadcast, especially Cody Rhodes. We haven’t heard from Cody on WWE TV for the past six months, so I think it’s a nice way to build to his return in January…assuming that’s when he comes back. They also showed interviews with The New Day, Drew McIntyre, Bianca Belair and more. It was a smart thing to do instead of just matches.
My WWE Johnny Awards column for 2022 is coming this Thursday. I guess I better get started writing it! Happy New Year, my friends.
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.