This week’s WWE Monday Night Raw is the second last Raw of 2021, which also means it was the second last Raw before WWE’s Day 1 PPV coming up on New Year’s Day.
The big news coming out of last week’s Raw is that Bobby Lashley beat Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and WWE Champion Big E in separate singles matches. Thanks to those victories, Lashley has been added to the WWE Championship match at the WWE Day 1 pay-per-view on January 1.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1491 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The opening video package showed Lashley’s three wins on last week’s Raw to earn his spot in the WWE Title match at Day 1.
Let’s Hear from Bobby Lashley and MVP
This week’s Raw began where last week ended with the All Mighty Bobby Lashley joined by his buddy Montel Vontavious Porter. The Day 1 Fatal 4-Way WWE Title match graphic was shown: Big E defending the WWE Championship vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley. The Raw commentary team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.
MVP said that Bobby Lashley is in the building, so get on your feet and give praise to the All Mighty. There was a mix of cheers and boos. MVP said that some people might think what Lashley did last week was impossible. MVP mentioned Lashley beat Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and the WWE Champion Big E. MVP said that you wouldn’t understand the Herculean effort that it took while claiming that Lashley made it look routine. MVP said that what Lashley did was an incredible feat by comparing it to winning a marathon, the NBA Finals and beating a championship boxer. MVP said that nobody can disrespect Lashley now and must acknowledge that we are living in the All Mighty Era.
Big E, the WWE Champion, made his entrance. Big E got into the ring saying that the Lashley he knows is strong, he’s dominant, he’s got a lot of sisters (that led to laughs), but when it comes to getting done in the ring, he does it all on his own. Big E called MVP “Iceberg Slim” while mentioning that MVP hit Big E in the knee during the Big E/Lashley match last week. Big E said that maybe Lashley doesn’t have the cajones that he thinks. Lashley said he didn’t need help from anybody. Lashley claimed he didn’t need MVP’s help to beat Rollins, Owens or “Little E” either. Lashley said that if MVP takes out Big E’s knee then Lashley is going to take advantage of that, so that’s what Lashley did. Lashley claimed that maybe these people are starting to question if Lashley can beat Big E on his own. Lashley commented that last week, MVP mentioned if Lashley couldn’t beat Big E then maybe MVP could. Lashley stood on the floor to see if it’s true that MVP could beat Big E. I should point out that MVP was in a suit with a cane in his hand.
Big E faced off with MVP while Lashley was standing at ringside, so Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens attacked Lashley at ringside. Owens and Rollins whipped Lashley into the ring post. Big E went to the floor to fight Rollins and Owens as well. Rollins and Owens overpowered Big E to send Big E into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rollins and Owens went after Lashley with Rollins going for The Stomp, but Big E was back in the ring with a clothesline and belly to belly suplex. Lashley caught Rollins with a dominator slam off the shoulders. Rollins and Owens retreated to the back while Big E and Lashley stood together in the ring.
Analysis: It was a pretty good opening segment that sets up a tag team match for later. Big E and Lashley are not allies by any means, but in this case, they were on the same page due to the cheap tactics of Rollins and Owens. For what it’s worth, Big E did beat Lashley clean in a Steel Cage Match a few months back when they had a singles match, but I doubt they want Big E to mention that.
They showed clips of Bianca Belair beating Doudrop by countout two weeks ago. Last week on Raw, Belair beat Doudrop by pinfall. After the loss, Doudrop attacked Belair again, so they are having another match this week.
Bianca Belair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber, who said that this match is being called “The Final Chapter” with Doudrop. Belair said that she is the “EST of WWE” and they have one final match for Doudrop to learn no matter how many times Doudrop attacks, she can’t take Belair out. Belair said that she will prove she is the undeniable EST of WWE.
Bianca Belair made her entrance for her match.
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins were shown talking to eachother in a hallway. Owens said that they need to take Lashley out of the match with Rollins telling him to shut up. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville – the WWE Officials – walked up to Owens and Rollins to let them know about the obvious tag team match. Pearce said it’s going to be Owens and Rollins vs. Big E and Lashley. The WWE Officials left while Rollins told Owens he’s too loud, Seth left and Owens thought they should strategize.
Analysis: The tag team match is official now as expected. I figured it was coming before Day 1 at some point, so it was either this week or next week.
Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop
Belair went for the KOD slam right away, but Doudrop broke free and sent Belair into the top rope. Doudrop with a running shoulder block. Doudrop with a corner splash. Belair avoided Doudrop leading to a corner dropkick. Belair blocked Doudrop’s attack, Belair hit a forearm and Doudrop caught a leaping Belair into a powerslam by Doudrop. That got a two count. Doudrop wanted a senton splash, Belair moved, Belair went for a moonsault after bouncing off the ropes, but Doudrop got the knees up to block. Belair rolled to the floor with Doudrop following. Doudrop charged, Belair moved and Belair hit a spinebuster on the floor. That led to a break.
The match returned with Doudrop in control as they fought by the turnbuckle. Belair tried a Powerbomb off the turnbuckle, Doudrop with a punch and Belair moved, so Doudrop hit the mat. Belair missed a move, so then Doudrop hit a cannonball against the turnbuckle for two. Doudrop tossed Belair down, then some light slaps and Belair did a hard slap to the face. Belair with a dropkick followed by shoulder tackles. Belair hit a cross body block off the middle rope. Belair bounced off the ropes leading to a moonsault again for a two count. They went to the turnbuckle with Doudrop getting a hold of Belair leading to a sitout Powerbomb with no pin attempt by Doudrop. Doudrop set up Belair by the turnbuckle, took way too long and Belair moved to avoid the splash. Belair lifted up Doudrop on her shoulders and hit the Kiss of Death (KOD) slam for the pinfall win. That was an impressive move by Belair that drew a big reaction from the crowd. They got a few shocked fans on camera too. It went about 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with Belair beating Doudrop for the third straight week, so that’s likely the end of this rivalry. The good thing about that kind of match was that Belair was able to look impressive by lifting up a bigger woman like Doudrop with ease. It put over Belair in a big way because it showed how strong Belair was to do the KOD on Doudrop to win the match.
A clip was shown of Austin Theory attacking Finn Balor two weeks ago after Balor beat T-Bar in a match. Theory took a selfie with Balor after the match. Theory also cost Balor a win in a tag team match last week with Dolph Ziggler pinning Balor.
Austin Theory was shown looking at his cell phone as he walked around in the backstage area. Kevin Patrick mentioned that Vince McMahon has taken a liking to Theory, so Theory talked about how it was cool to be able to hang out with Vince. Theory said that he thinks Vince McMahon sees him as the future WWE Champion. Theory left with Patrick saying you better hope you don’t lose.
Finn Balor made his entrance for his match against Theory.
Austin Theory entered as the opponent with some generic theme song. Theory took a pre-match selfie with his phone.
Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory
Balor with punches and kicks to start the match. Theory left the ring, then he drove Balor back first into the ring apron and back in the ring, Theory did a necksnap against the ropes. Theory with punches leading to a chinlock. When Balor broke free, he countered a sunset flip into a dropkick. Balor sent Theory over the top to the floor with a clothesline. Theory managed to trip up Balor on the apron leading to Theory delivering a neckbreaker off the apron onto the floor. There were boos that sounded fake, so maybe WWE is piping in fake noise. I don’t know. It’s happened for decades. Anyway, the show went to break.
Theory was in control with a chinlock, Balor came back with a boot to the face, then two forearms and a double stomp to the chest. Theory was on the apron, shoulder tackle to the ribs and Theory with a roll through into a dropkick (with a loud leg slap). Theory missed a corner charge, Balor hit a kick to the head and Balor went up top, but Theory tripped him up. Theory hit a springboard Spanish Fly off the top! That was impressive. Theory went for a pin while taking a selfie, but Balor kicked out and Balor got a two count. Balor countered a move with an elbow to the chest, then he hit a shotgun dropkick and Balor went up top. Balor jumped off the top with a Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: *** A pretty good match between two athletic guys with the younger guy Theory getting too cocky while the veteran Balor found a way to win. Theory trying to cover Balor while wanting to do a selfie was a unique spot that thankfully didn’t lead to the end of the match. That spot with Theory doing the springboard Spanish Fly slam off the top was very impressive. I’m sure it’s been done in wrestling, but I don’t remember seeing it very often. Balor getting the win is a way to humble Theory, who is a cocky guy that hasn’t won enough to be as cocky as he is.
A replay was shown of last week on Miz TV when The Miz hid behind his wife Maryse after Edge tried to go after The Miz. That led to Maryse slapping The Miz in the face.
The Miz was shown backstage with Omos with Miz thanking Omos for some information. Miz mentioned his talk show and Edge hosting Cutting Edge show with Maryse as the guest. AJ Styles walked up to Miz asking what was going on, Miz said it should be a great Miz TV and left. Styles told Omos they’ll do Miz’s show, beat the Mysterios and by the end of the year, they’ll be in the title hunt again. Omos gave AJ a hard slap to the back with AJ acting a bit shocked by that.
The Miz entered for his talk show segment as we reached the end of the first hour.
The Smackdown Breakdown aired showing highlights of last week’s show. The Universal Champion Roman Reigns asked Paul Heyman about some recent actions. Heyman said he’s not protecting Brock Lesnar from Reigns, he’s protecting Reigns from Lesnar. Reigns thanked Heyman for his honesty, then Reigns fired Heyman and Reigns gave Heyman a Superman Punch. Brock Lesnar showed up after that to destroy The Usos and Reigns with Lesnar hitting multiple F5’s much to the delight of the crowd. The crowd loves Lesnar as the badass babyface in overalls.
The Miz was in the ring hosting his talk show as we got a reminder that Miz will face Edge at Day 1 on January 1. Miz said regarding the controversy between him and his wife Maryse, Miz said he understands Maryse and if she loves him and their family then he will not talk about it on Cutting Edge tonight. Miz said that his guests tonight are more combustible than Urban Meyer and his former coaching staff. Well played. Miz introduced his guests.
AJ Styles made his entrance with the big man Omos joining him for this talk show segment. When they got into the ring, Omos tossed the chair that was for him and tossed it out of the ring. Styles sat in the chair.
Miz pointed out that as of late, Styles and Omos have been out of sync. Styles joked that was kind of like Miz and his wife. The fans laughed. Miz asked if the magic has left Styles and Omos as a team. Styles said it’s growing pains. Styles noted that when they are on the same page, they are unstoppable. Styles said that Omos can be a Tag Team Champion on his own while adding that they went off the rails, but that’s okay because it happens. Styles said that they should take all the titles in WWE. Miz claimed that he heard otherwise, Styles asked from who and Miz said he heard it from Omos. Styles said that Miz is trying to deflect. Styles asked Miz what kind of man puts the mother of his children in front of him?
Miz claimed he was shocked when Omos confided in him and he was shocked by what Omos said. Miz claimed Omos was sick and tired of carrying Styles. Miz said that Omos claimed that Styles was holding him back ever since Styles recruited him. Miz told Styles that the mutual respect is very one-sided. Miz said that it took AJ Styles about 15 years to get to WWE while Omos didn’t have to lift a finger because WWE begged Omos to sign a contract. Miz said he’s not the next Andre the Giant, he’s the first Omos. Styles said that Miz is trying to stir up trouble. Styles said that he’s all ears, so he wanted Omos to tell him what was going on. The segment ended there.
Analysis: They’re obviously doing a Styles/Omos split. Styles had some good lines there. You can also tell that WWE doesn’t have much faith in Omos as a talker because he didn’t say a word while Miz said what Omos should have said.
The Mysterios team of father Rey and son Dominik entered for their tag team match. The ring had to be cleared of the Miz TV set, so the tag match was coming up after a break.
AJ Styles & Omos vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Dominik with an armdrag on Styles, who came back with a backbreaker. Styles grabbed Dominik in an abdominal stretch. Dominik went for a unique pin attempt, so then Styles came back with a Pele Kick to the head. Dominik avoided a move, Rey tagged in with a headscissors and a DDT counter. Rey hit a 619 kick against the ropes. Rey went up top with a splash, but Styles got the knees up to block. Styles went for a tag, but Omos turned to the side to refuse a tag and Rey did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Styles for the pinfall win in under three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: * A short match with the Mysterios continuing their positive momentum while Styles/Omos lost due to their inability to be on the same page. AJ Styles just lost a match in under three minutes, though, so that’s weird. It was more about the post match angle instead of the match anyway.
Post match, AJ Styles told Omos if this is how it’s going to be then he never should have taken Omos under his wing. Styles got in the first shot with punches and a jumping kick. Omos shoved Styles towards the apron where Styles hit a forearm. Styles went for a springboard attack, Omos caught him and slammed Styles off the shoulders to the mat. Omos did a quick promo saying the next time Styles sees him it will be in a match against Styles. Omos threw the microphone down at Styles. There wasn’t much of a reaction to that.
Analysis: I feel like the intent was to make Omos come out of this looking like a babyface, yet the fans didn’t cheer for him at all. There might have been a mild reaction at the end there, but it wasn’t much. Anyway, I wasn’t sure if they would do the split on this show. I’m certainly fine with it because I’m ready for Styles to be a singles wrestler again.
Randy Orton made his entrance as a Raw Tag Team Champion. Orton was in a singles match on this show.
Austin Theory was shown backstage ready to knock on Vince McMahon’s door, but then he didn’t do it and walked away.
Chad Gable entered with Otis with Gable in singles action.
Randy Orton vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis)
Gable used his athleticism to trip up Orton while saying it was “for the Academy.” Orton bailed to the floor. Back in the ring, Gable hit an impressive arm drag. Orton missed a corner charge, Gable with a couple of more armdrags and Orton finally got some offense by sending Gable out of the ring. Gable to the apron, Orton with a kick to the gut and he wanted the DDT, but Gable slipped out of it. Gable went for another move, Orton avoided it and Orton hit an RKO for the pinfall win after three minutes. Gable sold that RKO like he got spiked into the mat.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: *3/4 It was fun while it lasted, but it was also short. Gable got most off the offense, Orton made a clever counter and that was it with the RKO. No surprise that Orton would get the win here. I was hoping they would get more like ten minutes instead of just three minutes.
Post match, Otis went after Orton, who went for the RKO, but Otis shoved Orton away. Orton went for the RKO three different times and Otis avoided it with a shove each time.
Analysis: The story was that Orton was unable to hit an RKO on the big man Otis. I guess that’s a future match.
Bobby Lashley was in the locker room with MVP, who asked if Lashley can trust Big E. Lashley said he can’t trust Big E, but he likes that he gets to get beat up Owens and Rollins. Lashley said that if Big E gets in his way then he’ll take care of him too. MVP asked about what happened earlier if Lashley was just setting up to save MVP. Lashley didn’t really answer, then asked MVP if he can get Lashley some water so Lashley can hydrate. MVP left.
Analysis: I hope there isn’t going to be a split between Lashley and MVP. They work so well together. Don’t break up this pairing.
Damian Priest, the US Champion, made his entrance. I miss his old theme song, but it’s not a big deal. Priest has a match after a break.
There was an “Earlier Today” segment shown with 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke hanging out with Reggie. They were at some building full of lights and Christmas trees. Tamina knocked down Tozawa, who was there. R-Truth was dressed as Santa. Tamina tried a rollup on Dana Brooke, who managed to get away briefly. Tamina followed after Brooke, Dana fought her off and Dana ran away with Reggie. Tamina got mad at R-Truth and Tozawa, so they ran away from her.
Analysis: These segments are a way to get a bunch of wrestlers on the show that have nothing else to do, but it’s boring every week. I’m tired of the 24/7 Title segments. They aren’t interesting at all.
Dolph Ziggler entered with Robert Roode. Two weeks ago, Priest beat Roode, so then Ziggler superkicked Priest and now Ziggler gets his match.
Damian Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode)
It’s a Championship Contenders Match meaning Ziggler could get a US Title shot if he wins this match.
Priest with a clothesline followed by a jumping back elbow. Priest missed a corner charge, Ziggler went for a DDT, Priest countered and Ziggler wanted a Fameasser, but Priest blocked it. Priest with a bellclap around Ziggler’s head. Priest sent Ziggler into the ropes leading to Priest lifting Ziggler into a slam that sent Ziggler into the mat. Priest went up top and Ziggler met him up there with a superplex.
Priest was in control with a punch, Ziggler came back with a kick and a leaping DDT for two. Ziggler set up for a superkick, Priest caught the foot and Priest delivered kicks including a spin kick. Priest with a jumping back elbow against the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Priest with a Broken Arrow slam for two. Priest to the apron, he knocked down Ziggler and then Roode tripped up Priest on the apron to send him to the floor. The referee never saw it. Priest had his crazy eyes look, he knocked down Roode on the floor with a punch and then Priest punched Roode repeatedly. The referee was counting Priest out, so Priest lost by countout.
Winner by countout: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: **3/4 A solid match with a lame finish. It should lead to Ziggler getting a title shot even though he only won because Roode attacked Priest without the referee seeing it. This made Priest look bad since he lost focus, but I assume he’ll beat Ziggler whenever they do the title match.
Post match, Ziggler kicked Priest and Priest stared at him with the crazy eyes, so Ziggler ran away. Priest hit The Reckoning neckbreaker on Roode on the floor. Ziggler left to the back with Priest following him.
Finn Balor was shown backstage with Kevin Patrick asking Balor about his win. Balor talked about his victory, but then Austin Theory tackled Balor into some equipment cases. Theory also slammed Balor on an equipment case. Some officials (hey Hurricane) showed up to stop it. Theory took a selfie with Balor, who was selling the attack.
Analysis: I guess it’s fair to assume there’s another Theory match against Balor. Theory will probably get the win when they do it again.
Edge made his entrance to a huge pop. Edge always has a lot of energy for his entrance. Edge’s talk show is after a break as we put an end to the second hour.
Vince McMahon was shown in his office writing with a pencil on some yellow paper. Austin Theory showed up with Vince telling him to have a seat. Theory apologized for taking a selfie during the match, but he got Finn back with a vicious attack. Vince said he enjoyed that. Vince said it was like he beat the chocolate pudding out of him, but he lost the match. Vince said maybe he should fire him and Vince said he enjoyed firing people just before the holidays. Vince said it gave him a warm feeling in his stomach like a very good meal. Vince said he’ll give Theory another chance against Finn Balor next week. Vince said he didn’t become a ruthless billionaire by making bad investments and he hopes this isn’t another bad one. Vince blew eraser shavings onto Theory and laughed about it.
Analysis: I’m sure a lot of fans will be upset about the line about how Vince enjoys firing people. There was way too much of that this year, pal. Anyway, Theory vs. Balor rematch next week. I think Theory will get his win back.
The Cutting Edge
Edge was seated in the ring to welcome us to the return of The Cutting Edge. Edge said his guest is Canadian like him and they are both frustrated with his Day 1 opponent, The Miz. Edge introduced Maryse, who looked great as usual. They replayed last week’s Raw when Miz hid behind Maryse, then Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Edge and Maryse slapped Miz in the face.
Edge asked how frustrating it is to be married to that dude (The Miz). Maryse said she’s not going to be Edge’s friend. Maryse said her husband was the most narcissistic man on the planet and he won’t let her talk. Maryse said she didn’t like being here. She said it’s a little embarrassing. Maryse said that she’s a human being that wants to be respected and she wants to be thanked by The Miz for everything over the last 15 years. Maryse talked about how she cooks, cleans, changes diapers, she takes care of their business and does every single thing. Maryse said she’s exhausted. The fans were booing. Maryse said that last week, Edge could have hurt her really bad. Maryse said she has a 2-year-old Madison and a 3.5-year-old Monroe, so if something happens to her, who will take care of her kids? Nobody answered that. The fans were bored, so they were booing. Maryse asked if Edge would have ever done this to his wife Beth. Edge said he was sorry that Maryse’s life is some horrible country song. Edge asked if anybody else is buying this and the fans booed. Edge claimed that Miz sent her out there so Miz can get one up on Edge. Edge said this is low even for Miz. Edge answered Maryse saying he wouldn’t do this to Beth because he respects her. Edge called out Miz, so that led to Miz’s music playing in the arena.
The Miz attacked Edge from behind and Edge was ready with a kick that knocked Miz down. Maryse hit Edge with her purse to the head along with a slap to the face. Miz capitalized to deliver a Skull Crushing Finale to Edge. Maryse and Miz celebrated with a kiss while Edge was down on the mat. Miz and Maryse happily left together to show everything was okay.
Analysis: That’s the second week in a row where Miz hit his finisher on Edge. The segment was dying a bit during Maryse’s speech where she was whining. I assume this leads to Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix showing up next week to neutralize the Maryse factor. Then they can say Beth will be in Edge’s corner for the Day 1 match while Maryse will be in Miz’s corner. It’s not like you can have Edge hit Maryse, but you can have Beth hit Maryse if needed, so I think that’s where it is going.
They showed a highlight from last week when Queen Zelina Vega beat Rhea Ripley thanks to a Carmella distraction while Ripley was checking on her friend Nikki A.S.H. as well.
Rhea Ripley entered for a rematch against Vega since this is Raw, a place where they love rematches.
A video aired about how Veer Mahaan is coming to Raw. This has been airing since October. The guy was already on Raw for several months before that. I believe he’s been on Main Event recently as well.
Queen Zelina Vega, one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions, made her entrance doing her gimmick where she speaks with different accents.
Rhea Ripley vs. Queen Zelina Vega
Their friends were not allowed at ringside. Ripley used her power to counter a move by Vega, but then Vega countered it into a jawbreaker. Nikki A.S.H. was shown watching on a TV backstage. Ripley used her size advantage to deliver a boot to the face. Ripley wanted a superplex off the middle ropes, Vega fought out with an arm wringer and then a jumping knee for two. Ripley kicked Vega to stagger hear leading to Ripley hitting the Riptide slam for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley
Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for Ripley after losing to Vega last week. The finish felt rushed since Vega got a nearfall, then Ripley just needed a kick and her finisher to end it. It’s 50/50 booking like we see in WWE all the time.
Big E, the WWE Champion, was backstage with Sarah Schreiber about to ask if Big E & Bobby can…and Big E told her not to say that C-Word…co-exist. Big E said it’s not about being the best tag team, it’s about setting the tone for Day 1. Bobby Lashley walked up to Big E with Lashley saying he didn’t need MVP last week or anybody else’s help at Day 1. Lashley said he’s focusing on Rollins and Owens tonight. Big E told Lashley you don’t have to worry about him. Big E told Lashley to leave MVP in the back, Lashley said he’ll do that and left.
Liv Morgan made her entrance in non-wrestling gear with a brace on her left hand/wrist area.
Let’s Hear from Liv Morgan
They replayed what happened last week on Raw when Becky Lynch got the advantage against Liv Morgan with Becky working on Liv’s left arm against the steel steps. They also set up their Raw Women’s Title match at Day 1 on January 1.
Morgan said that last week, she challenged Becky Lynch to a rematch at Day 1. Morgan also had a kendo stick with her in the ring. Morgan said no matter how much pain she was in, she couldn’t let Becky get the upper hand. Morgan said she knew that Becky would fly home to the private gym she owns with her husband (Seth Rollins) in Iowa, so she knew she would fly there to even out the playing field. Morgan said that was Becky’s plan all along. Morgan cued the video of what happened, which was shown on WWE’s social media this weekend.
They showed the gym and wrestling ring that Seth Rollins owns in Iowa. Liv Morgan went into the ring while a woman had a guy in a headlock. It looked like Becky Lynch, so Morgan hit her in the back and then we found out it wasn’t Becky. Instead, Becky was behind Liv. That led to a fight between Becky and Liv with Liv blocking some kendo stick shots and hitting a jumping kick to the head. Morgan hit Lynch repeatedly with the kendo stick to the back, so Lynch retreated. Lynch yelled at Morgan to never come back there again. That was the end of the footage.
Analysis: The footage was a bit cheesy, but I get what they were going for to try to make the rivalry feel even more personal. Seth has owned the Black & Brave Wrestling School in Iowa for several years along with a coffee shop, so that’s where he lives with Becky and their family.
Morgan said she will admit that Becky was a step ahead while trying to tell us that Becky had a student dress up like Becky. Morgan said she didn’t want to beat up an innocent woman, but it made her happy when she thought it was Becky. Morgan said that Becky was willing to sacrifice one of her own students and she thought it was disgusting that Becky would do that. Liv welcomed Becky trying to cheat in their next match. Morgan said that Becky can try to break her arm, but Liv will break her face and become the new Raw Women’s Champion.
Becky Lynch appeared with the Raw Women’s Title while wearing a fur coat. Lynch said that Morgan beat the girl senseless and she had to put ice on her arm. Lynch claimed that when you’re big time you don’t have time to be down. Lynch talked about Liv’s dodgy arm and Liv said it only took one arm to kick Becky’s ass. Lynch said Morgan showed the students that everybody can get lucky once, but Becky will show that luck runs out. Lynch said that Morgan stepped up more than Becky thought she could while Morgan has made a spotlight for herself. Becky said that Liv can’t handle the heat in the spotlight. Morgan said she’s starting the new year as the new Raw Women’s Champion. Morgan told Lynch she’s standing just fine while inviting Lynch to have a look for herself. Lynch said she’s not going to get in there when Liv has a kendo stick. Morgan said she brought the kendo stick for Lynch and Morgan tossed it at Lynch on the floor. Lynch didn’t want Morgan to insult her while Lynch claimed she had a private jet to catch. Lynch left.
Analysis: It was okay. The story at the start was that Lynch didn’t believe Morgan was a threat to her, but in this promo, you could tell Lynch backed off a bit because Morgan has a lot more confidence in herself now. It’s about how Morgan has evolved into a confident woman that thinks she can win now. That’s more talking than we’re used to seeing out of Liv and she handled it well. It felt like WWE decided to edit in crowd responses to the promos because it didn’t look like anybody was cheering that much during parts of Liv’s speech while the boos were out for Lynch’s promo, yet it was tough to tell if any fans were booing. Anyway, I’ll likely pick Lynch to retain at Day 1 although I think if there’s a title change that’s fine too.
A video aired about the opening show opening promo to set up the main event tag team match.
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins were shown talking about their match.
Big E, the WWE Champion, made his entrance for the main event. Good pop for the champion.
This Friday on Christmas Eve Smackdown: Has Roman Reigns left himself vulnerable to Brock Lesnar? Plus, Toni Storm challenges Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title. WWE already taped Smackdown last Friday, so we posted the results on TJRWrestling right here.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance without MVP by his side. Kevin Owens was next and we learned last week that Owens re-signed with WWE for at least three more years. It was a big contract, so it’s no surprise that WWE has pushed him back to the main event level. Seth Rollins was next up as KO’s partner for this main event tag team match.
Next week on Raw:
* AJ Styles vs. Omos
* Randy Orton vs. Otis
* Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory again
* United States Championship: Damian Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler.
It’s nice of WWE to announce four matches a week ahead. Let’s get to this main event.
Big E & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins
Big E with punches to Owens, who bailed to the floor. Lashley tagged in and ran over Owens with a shoulder tackle. Rollins tried attacking Big E, but Big E was ready and tossed Rollins out of the ring. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle on Rollins on the floor. I think that’s the Braun Strowman tribute spot.
Lashley worked over Rollins by sending him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Lashley hit a delayed vertical suplex on Rollins that was very impressive. Rollins slipped out of a Hurt Lock attempt and Rollins sent Lashley to the floor. Owens tagged in with a senton splash on Lashley on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens with a senton splash for two. Rollins tagged in for a double team suplex on Lashley. The fans were chanting “Bobby” as Lashley hit a flatliner on Rollins. Big E got the hot tag against Owens with the belly to belly suplex and a belly to belly side slam. Big E hit a running clothesline on Rollins, then Owens got a rollup for two up and Big E came back with a uranage slam on Owens. Rollins with a distraction, so Owens hit a superkick. Rollins tagged in, went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Rollins tagged in Owens, Rollins hit a dive on the floor on Lashley and Owens jumped off the top with a Swanton Bomb on Big E for a two count. They went to another break.
There were about five minutes left in the show. The match returned with Owens missing a moonsault off the middle ropes. Lashley got the hot tag against Rollins with Lashley hitting a neckbreaker and a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Lashley caught Rollins on his shoulders leading to a powerslam for two when Owens made the save. Big E went after Owens, then Rollins hit a forearm on Big E. Lashley charged at Rollins, who jumped and Lashley hit Big E with a Spear by accident. Owens wanted a Stunner on Lashley, who got out of it and Lashley hit a Spear on Owens for the pinfall win. It went 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Big E & Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a very good tag team match with a lot of action and booked well from start to finish. Four veterans executed it perfectly. I think they did a nice job of telling the story again of Lashley continuing his winning ways after his three wins last week. It makes Lashley feel like a heavy favorite going into the WWE Title match at Day 1, which could be a good thing, but it might be a bad thing. I like how well Rollins/Owens worked together. Lashley and Big E didn’t have issues other than Lashley’s accidental Spear, but then Lashley won right after that.
Right after the three count, Rollins hit The Stomp on Lashley with Rollins asking the referee if the pin was broken up, but referee Chad Patton told him that the match was over. Rollins and Owens pulled Lashley out of the ring. Rollins and Owens hit Big E with the top half of the steel steps. Rollins and Owens also hit Lashley with the steel steps. Owens with a cannonball on Big E against the turnbuckle. The director missed it although we got to see the end of it. Rollins lifted up Lashley for KO to deliver an apron Powerbomb. Owens held Lashley’s head against the steel steps, Rollins teased The Stomp and then Rollins ran into it with The Stomp on Lashley’s head against the steel steps.
Owens and Rollins shook hands in the ring. Owens and Rollins teased attacking eachother, but then they hugged in the ring. Owens and Rollins celebrated their successful post match attack even though they lost the match earlier. That was the end of Raw.
Look at us.
Just look at us! https://t.co/CrZYS7Wsl9
— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) December 21, 2021
Analysis: Good heel attack by Rollins and Owens to end the show. They had issues in the past in terms of being allies, but this week they worked well together to take out Lashley and Big E, both of whom are opponents at Day 1. The attack on Lashley is really going to make Bobby look sympathetic as a character, so that’s pretty good in terms of his future because fans will want to see Lashley get his revenge. I don’t think Rollins and Owens need to be allies long term or anything like that. It’s just a story to show that they realized if they work together they can take out anybody just like they did to Lashley and Big E.
Another thing I wanted to mention is that it seems like WWE might be turning Bobby Lashley into a babyface. They teased the problems with MVP earlier in the show, then he was attacked by two strong heels like Rollins/Owens, which makes me think that they want fans to support Lashley getting revenge against Rollins and Owens for what they did. Raw does seem a bit heel heavy right now, so I can see it happening with Lashley as a face. With that said, I think Lashley is a better heel at this stage of his career. I just think it’s possible that WWE may turn him face.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bobby Lashley
- Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins
- Big E
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
2021 Average: 6.16
It felt like an average Raw that furthered some of the storylines for the Day 1 PPV event well. The matches were good when they were given time while others felt rushed.
I think having two talk show segments like Miz TV and Cutting Edge on the same show was too much. They should have only done one of those because it’s just too much talking on a three-hour show when you already have a long show opening promo plus the Liv Morgan/Becky Lunch promo was lengthy too.
I thought the four guys in the WWE Title picture (Big E, Lashley, Rollins and Owens) all did a great job in their promo, then the match and all of the backstage segments too. I look forward to their match at Day 1.
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)
Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss
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.
To those celebrating, I wish you a Merry Christmas this Saturday. I’m a big Christmas guy, so I look forward to it. My family usually has a big get together with 30+ people, but last year was much smaller. I think we’re shortening it to about 10 people this year due to all the virus-related stuff in the news going on. Our province of Ontario has restrictions going on, so it’s important to be smart about it.
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.