This week’s WWE Monday Night Raw featured Bobby Lashley facing Seth “Freakin” Rollins in singles action, plus a women’s tag match with Becky Lynch teaming with Doudrop against Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan.
We are less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble on January 29. Last week’s Raw saw WWE Champion Brock Lesnar face off with his Royal Rumble opponent Bobby Lashley. No Lesnar on Raw this week.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1495 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
Raw began with the Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch making her entrance for a match. The Raw commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton commented on what’s coming up this week on Raw.
Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch
Lynch did a promo prior to her match as the announcers kept calling her “Big Time Becks” to drive home Becky’s nickname with Becky saying “welcome to the Big Time.” Lynch claimed that the Raw women’s division has never been hotter (that’s a stretch) and it’s all thanks to her. Lynch spoke about women from generations past are coming back like Lita, Mickie James, The Bella Twins all hoping that they can win the Royal Rumble and get to challenge Lynch at WrestleMania. Lynch said she makes stars out of people. Lynch spoke about how the fans weren’t clamoring about Doudrop getting a title match with Lynch saying she got Doudrop a title match. Lynch: “I make people better and then I beat them.” Lynch talked about Doudrop coming from Scotland and claimed that Doudrop didn’t make a name for herself because somebody else made a name for her.
Doudrop made her entrance by walking around the ring instead of simply going into the ring. Doudrop told Becky that she didn’t get Doudrop anything. Doudrop told Becky she made a mistake by picking her instead of Bianca and she wanted Becky to stay out of her way. Becky said she did get Doudrop the win last week and if she follows Becky’s lead then Becky will get her a lead this week too.
Bianca Belair was up next reminding us that she’s the EST of WWE. Belair said that Lynch was so scared of Belair that Lynch had to interfere in the triple threat match. Belair said that she is officially entering the Royal Rumble match. Belair said she’ll eliminate 29 other women, win the Royal Rumble again and go on to main event WrestleMania again. Bianca mentioned possibly challenging one of Lynch or Doudrop for the Raw Women’s Title.
Liv Morgan joined the promo party to let us know she is also in the Women’s Royal Rumble match. Morgan said that she’s going to be one that will win it. Morgan said for that to happen, that will mean she will outlast Belair on her way to winning. Doudrop started snoring and told them to shut up, so she wanted a referee to get in there to start the match. The women argued with a referee in the middle, so that led to a break.
Analysis: It was a decent promo leading into the match that was already announced. As for the Royal Rumble, I’m picking Bianca Belair for the repeat win. Just my feeling on it.
There was a locker room scene with Chad Gable and Otis getting ready for an Alpha Academy Graduation Ceremony later in the show.
Becky Lynch & Doudrop vs. Bianca Belair & Liv Morgan
Belair with a dropkick on Doudrop, then a backflip out of the corner and then Doudrop used her size to knock down Belair with a shoulder tackle. Lynch tagged in leading to a dropkick by Belair, Morgan tagged in with a dropkick and a running knee. Morgan with a back elbow followed by a dropkick off the middle rope. Morgan with two boots to the face for two with Doudrop making the save barely. Belair tried to lift Doudrop, couldn’t do it and Doudrop splashed Belair on the floor. Morgan sent Doudrop to the floor. Lynch with a rollup using the ropes for two. Morgan went for a punch, but Lynch avoided it and hit a Manhandle Slam for two. Doudrop broke up Lynch’s pin on Morgan even though Doudrop was Lynch’s partner. Doudrop tried to cover, the referee told Doudrop she was not legal, then Doudrop tagged herself in (by dragging Lynch to the corner) and hit a running splash on Morgan for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch & Doudrop
Analysis: *3/4 It was okay as a story with Doudrop wanting to get the glory to prove she belongs in the title match. I’m a bit surprised it was such a short match, but they did that long promo before it, so that makes sense I guess. Morgan got pinned last week and this week. They don’t have Belair get pinned very often.
Post match, Doudrop went over to the turnbuckle and splashed Lynch in the corner.
Analysis: They are trying to put over Doudrop as a threat against Lynch. I doubt many people will pick Doudrop to beat Lynch. I’d be shocked if Lynch lost to her.
Reggie and Dana Brooke were backstage talking to Edge and Beth Phoenix. Reggie asked for tips for his match against Omos, so Edge put him over as a great athlete, Reggie asked if that means he has a chance against Omos and Edge said “hell no.” Beth told Dana Brooke it was so happy seeing her wearing gold, Dana said that means everything to her and she left. Edge and Beth walked over to Damian Priest with Edge saying he likes the different side of Priest. Priest asked Edge for advice about the Royal Rumble match. Edge said cardio comes into play, then he should keep doing you and Beth was handed a note saying Maryse wanted to meet her in the ring. Edge said that he’s coming with Beth. Edge told Damian they’ll talk later and left. Kevin Owens walked up to Priest saying he’s looking forward to their match later. Owens said maybe they can show off their technical side. Owens didn’t want Priest to bring out his vicious side. Owens said he had an announcement to make, so he’ll see him later.
Analysis: That was like a backstage medley with six different people involved.
Kevin Owens made his entrance to host his talk show.
It was announced earlier on Monday that WWE Elimination Chamber will take place at the Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 19. Graves said it was a new stadium.
The Kevin Owens Show
Kevin Owens was in the ring to host his talk show while wearing a tank top and a tie. Owens ripped on Tulsa saying this place is brutal while adding that he’s an honest man and that’s the truth. Owens introduced his “best friend” and somebody that he will soon call the Universal Champion, Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Seth Freakin’ Rollins made his entrance in a suit with zebra stripes on it. They showed a clip from Smackdown when Rollins and Reigns exchanged some trash talk prior to their Royal Rumble match.
Rollins and Owens decided to stand instead of using chairs. Owens told Rollins he admired him so much starting with the suits saying Rollins looks marvelous. Owens said he admired Rollins for his courage saying it took Rollins a lot of guts to get face to face Roman Reigns and berate him while adding that Rollins set the table even though Reigns claims he’s the Head of the Table. Rollins said it got a little testy on Smackdown, but the truth is Reigns is rattled and scared of Rollins. Seth said that Reigns is taking shots at his family, then he’s using his cousins, but The Usos couldn’t get the job done. Rollins said that Reigns is playing checkers, Rollins is playing chess and it’ll be like taking candy from a baby.
Rollins added that when he takes that Universal Title, he’ll turn that belt from blue to red and bring that Universal Championship back to Raw. Owens said that’s huge news that Rollins bring the Universal Title to Raw, so they would have the best champion and they wouldn’t need Brock Lesnar or Bobby Lashley because they would have Seth. Rollins said that they could get rid of Lesnar and he has a match with Lashley, so he can get rid of him. Owens had his own announcement saying it will change the face of this industry – Owens said he is officially declaring himself as a participant in this year’s Royal Rumble match. Owens said when he wins the Royal Rumble and when Rollins wins the Universal Championship, they can give the WWE Universe the biggest match of all time – Seth Freakin Rollins against Kevin Freakin Owens.
Damian Priest made his entrance with the US Title. I liked his old theme song better. Priest called them delusional idiots. Priest said that there’s not one person that thinks Rollins can beat Reigns and Owens is a liar, so nobody will believe that he’s going to win the Royal Rumble. Priest warned them not to “wake him up” referring to his wild man persona. Priest informed Owens their match is next.
Analysis: That was newsworthy in the sense that Rollins said he’s going to bring the Universal Title to Raw if he beats Reigns at Royal Rumble while Owens announced he’s in the Royal Rumble match. It was a good spot for Priest to interrupt because the crowd was tired of the two heels in the ring going on for a long time.
A video package aired letting us know that Veer Mahaan is coming. He was already on Raw plenty of times before the October draft and since then, these videos have been airing for months. I assume he’s in the Royal Rumble, but I don’t know.
Damian Priest vs. Kevin Owens
This is not for Priest’s US Title. Owens with a shoulder tackle, then Priest ran the ropes and hit a running shoulder tackle leading to KO doing a flip bump. Priest with a kick to the head followed by Owens doing a running kick. Owens with a senton splash leading to a chinlock. Owens with chops, Priest fired up, Owens said it was clean wrestling and Priest came back with punches along with a spin kick. Owens bailed to the floor to regroup. Priest charged off the steps and Owens hit a superkick. Owens hit a Frog Splash off the apron onto Priest on the floor.
The match continued with both guys slugging it out in the ring with punches and kicks. Priest hit a flatliner on Owens. Priest charged with a running back elbow, Owens with a forearm and Priest with another clothesline leading to a flip bump by Owens again. Priest hit the Broken Arrow slam for a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle, Owens worked over Priest with headbutts and then a Senton Bomb off the top rope for a two count. Good nearfall there with the crowd getting into the match a bit. Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for two. Priest with a kick to the side of the head followed by the South of Heaven Chokeslam for a two count. When Priest tried a whip across the ring, Owens was selling a left leg injury. The referee called for a trainer, then Owens with a kick to the gut and a Stunner on Priest to win! It went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *** A good back and for the match with Owens winning after the fake injury. The crowd got into a bit more as the match went on. The finish is something fitting for a heel like Owens. It was Priest’s first singles loss since being on Raw over the last year. We know WWE loves booking champions to lose non-title matches, so that’s what they did here. It should lead to KO getting a US Title match against Priest and it’s certainly possible that KO could get the title.
A clip aired from last week showing when Alpha Academy beat Randy Orton and Riddle to win the Raw Tag Team Titles.
The Alpha Academy duo of Chad Gable and Otis entered for their graduation ceremony.
They showed when Nikki A.S.H. turned on tag team partner Rhea Ripley last week on Raw.
Nikki A.S.H. was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Nikki said it’s clear to her now that she stands on her own. Nikki claimed that Rhea was not the friend that she thought she was. Nikki yelled about how Rhea broke up their team. Nikki wanted the people of Tulsa to appreciate her as the People’s Hero. Nikki said that after tonight, Rhea will realize she needs a superhero whether she likes it or not.
Alpha Academy’s Graduation Ceremony
The Raw Tag Team Champions Chad Gable and Otis were in the ring. They were wearing a cap and gown red attire you wear at a graduation. The Raw Tag Team Titles were on display along with a podium and they had some plants in there. Gable bragged about being an Olympian with a Master’s Degree with a 4.0 GPA. Gable ripped on the people of Oklahoma for being dumb, so that drew boos. Gable said they were celebrating an institution and a student. Gable said his list of achievements is long. Gable spoke about his prized pupil, his protégé, his number one guy Otis and the fans booed. Gable said that last week, Otis decimated the morons of RK-Bro and they became the Raw Tag Team Champions. Gable presented Otis (with no last name that we know of) with this diploma from the Alpha Academy. Otis said that Chad has helped him reach his full of potential and Otis said that they are promising pure carnage to anybody that messes with their championships.
Riddle made his entrance with his own cap and gown in green. Riddle said you don’t want to know what he had to do to get this gown. Riddle knew he had to give a special speech. Riddle had his speech on a napkin. Riddle said it felt like just last week when Randy and him were the Tag Team Champions that were a couple of young stallions running free. Riddle said that their lives will change forever on graduation day. Gable cut him off saying he wasn’t invited while insulting the Oklahoma fans again. Riddle said he was there to praise them for their strong necks. Gable said that he assumes Riddle wants a rematch. Riddle said that rematch is like when you’ve got to light something up twice…like a candle. Riddle said that a rematch is a “sick idea.” Gable wondered where Randy was and Riddle showed his shirt that said, “Hey Raaaandy” on it. Gable said that they’ll get a rematch in an Alpha Academy academic challenge. Gable said that they will do a series of tests to prove who the smarter team is. Riddle wondered if it was like Billy Madison or Wheel of Fortune. Riddle kept on talking, so Otis left the ring and that was Randy Orton’s cue to appear in the ring and Orton dropped Gable with an RKO in the ring. Riddle hit a knee to the back of Otis to knock him down on the floor. Orton put on one of the red gowns and a cap, which was a unique look for Orton. Orton did a promo: “We accept.” That ended the segment as Orton’s music played.
Analysis: There were some funny lines in there from Gable. I like that he is getting more promo time along with more time on screen because he has deserved it for a long time. The Alpha Academy team has worked well over the last year in terms of making Otis a monster heel with Gable as a mouthpiece that’s also a talented wrestler. The fans still love Rated RK-Bro, so having the feud continue with a mental aptitude test leading to an eventual rematch is a good idea. I have no problem with that at all.
They showed highlights of Finn Balor beating Austin Theory in a match on Raw several weeks ago.
Vince McMahon was shown in his office with Austin Theory showing up to talk to the boss. Vince reminded Theory that Balor beat him. Theory said that after the match, he beat up Balor and it was almost like a half victory. Vince said there’s no such thing as a half victory. Vince wanted Austin to beat Finn and beat him. Vince said if Austin doesn’t win then Vince will beat Austin up with an equalizer by breaking his small bones and then he’s going for the face. Vince said that there will be blood, snot and broken tooth. Vince said he’ll take a selfie and send it to Austin’s mom. Jimmy Smith: “He’s a brilliant motivator!”
Analysis: Crazy Vince is as crazy as ever. Like Jimmy said, it was Vince trying to motivate Theory.
Finn Balor made his entrance. He was off for about a month. I think they gave him a vacation because on his Instagram he had photos visiting his family during Christmas. That match is next.
This week’s Smackdown commercial asked if Seth Rollins has gotten into the head of Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Plus, Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair faces Naomi in a Championship Contender’s match.
A video aired about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because Monday MLK Day was in the United States. These videos are always great. They used the song “Never Break” by John Legend in the video. Sometimes they air them at the start of the show, but they went for the middle of the show this year.
Austin Theory made his entrance. They showed Theory attacking Balor backstage on the December 20 Raw and that led to Balor’s break.
Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory
Theory with a running elbow that sent Balor out of the ring and Theory whipped Balor into the barricade. Theory went back in to break the count, then back out with Balor sending Theory into the barricade and Balor hitting a Slingblade neckbreaker on the floor.
Balor worked over Theory with a chop along with an elbow drop to the chest. Theory with a neckbreaker that sent Balor’s throat across the top rope and when Theory went for another move, Balor hit a Slingblade neckbreaker again. Theory wit ha clothesline, then a stun gun into the top rope and Theory wanted the ATL into the knee, but Balor blocked it. Balor got a rollup for two. Balor to the apron with a kick. Balor up top, he jumped off and Theory avoided the Coup de Grace followed by Theory rolling through leading to a dropkick. Balor lifted up Balor and connected with the ATL slam off the shoulders into the knee for the pinfall win after just about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory
Analysis: *3/4 This was okay. The timing on that match was poor. They only went about six minutes, so we should get to see the whole match. Instead, we only got about three minutes. It was also bad booking for Balor, who should be a top guy on this show. Building Theory is fine, though, so somebody has to be there to lose the matches to put over the younger guy.
After the match, Theory hit his ATL finisher again that sent Balor into the knee. Theory told Balor to expect the unexpected. Theory took a selfie over a fallen Balor.
Rhea Ripley was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Ripley said she never intended on ending her friendship with Nikki A.S.H., but Nikki made up her mind. Ripley said that Nikki is delirious if she thinks Ripley is the villain in this situation. Ripley said she’ll remind everybody exactly who Rhea Ripley is.
Rhea Ripley made her entrance for singles action.
Nikki A.S.H. entered to face Ripley. However, the match did not start because Queen Zelina Vega and Carmella – the Women’s Tag Team Champions – made their entrance. Carmella said that everything they predicted about Nikki A.S.H. has come true. Vega did her fake British accent said that Rhea never would have gotten rid of Nikki if they didn’t give Nikki that little push. Vega called Rhea a low-class loser. Carmella wondered if Ripley really had what it takes. Vega spoke with her regular voice insulting Ripley saying she doesn’t have the guts to be champion on her own.
Nikki attacked Ripley from behind, but the bell didn’t ring. Nikki did a head slam to send Ripley into the mat. Ripley tried a tackle, but Nikki sent her to the floor. Nikki sent Ripley shoulder-first into the steel steps. Nikki left to end it.
Analysis: It was another way to further the story with Nikki and Ripley to get more heat on Nikki as a new heel. They’ll probably do the match next week. The promo by Zelina and Carmella was just a way to get them on the show as heels.
Reggie and 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke were shown having a pep talk backstage while R-Truth, Tamina, Tozawa and a referee watched them backstage. Dana tried to encourage Reggie in his match against Omos. Dana’s advice was for Reggie to stay away from him. Truth’s summary was that Dana told Reggie “to go get got.”
Omos entered for singles action.
Reggie (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Omos
Omos pointed out the size differential and let out a loud scream. The 24/7 title chasers went after Brooke, so Omos took care of Tozawa and Truth easily. Tamina left. The bell rang. Reggie jumped off the top, Omos caught him and hit a two-handed Choke Bomb for the pinfall with a foot on the chest. It was under 30 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Omos
Analysis: It went exactly as expected. Match of the year. Sure.
There was a recap of last week’s promo battle between Edge & Beth Phoenix along with The Miz & Maryse. It led to Maryse walking away while Miz was trying to encourage his wife.
Maryse made her entrance for a segment with Beth Phoenix.
Face to Face – Maryse and Beth Phoenix
Maryse claimed that her husband Michael (The Miz) couldn’t be there tonight. Maryse said that her husband agrees to things without asking her. Maryse called out Beth Phoenix to talk to her face to face, woman to woman and mother to mother.
Beth Phoenix made her entrance joined by her husband Edge. Beth stood in the aisle while Maryse told Beth that the match at Royal Rumble has to be canceled. Maryse said that she doesn’t want it, Beth doesn’t want it and the fans don’t want it. The fans booed, so Maryse did the “really” bit that Miz does. Maryse said that Beth and her came from the same generation while mentioning the two-minute matches. Beth said that they made the women’s what it is today while noting that women nowadays main event WrestleMania because of their work. Maryse said that they should be on the same team, they shouldn’t be fighting and their daughters should be friends together. Beth responded to it: “Would you just shut up?” That led to cheers. Beth said she’s not buying this and neither are the fans. Beth said that Maryse must take acting lessons from her husband. Beth said that their mixed tag team match at the Royal Rumble is not off because Beth is not missing the opportunity to team with her husband for the first time in WWE history. Beth said she’s not going to miss the chance to Glam Slam Maryse’s ass through that canvas. Beth suggested a preview right now.
Beth went down towards the ring, then Miz showed up to try to attack Edge and Edge knocked down Miz with a punch. Beth looked at the guys, so Maryse hit Beth in the back with the DREADED LOADED PURSE~! with Beth selling it like she was knocked out. Maryse opened the purse to show that she had a brick in the purse. Miz and Maryse laughed about it while Edge checked on Beth in the ring.
Analysis: It was Miz and Maryse’s turn to get the advantage in the story, so that’s what we got here. That’s how WWE books these rivalries. Maryse wasn’t genuine in what she said, Beth knew it and then Maryse tricked Beth with the help of Miz.
The Street Profits were backstage talking about how they declared for the Royal Rumble match. Rey and Dominik Mysterio talked about how excited they were to be in the Rumble match. Rey said that The Mysterios will outlast 29 other men in the Rumble match. Dominik said 29 other men as well and said that the Mysterio name will be in the main event of WrestleMania. The Street Profits reminded us that they want the smoke. (Two guys outlasting 29 others would mean 31?). Graves mentioned the error made by the Mysterios there.
The Street Profits made their entrance for tag team action followed by Rey/Dominik Mysterio entering for an eight-man tag team match.
There was a Smackdown Breakdown shown with highlights of last week’s Smackdown episode.
Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez
Dominik with a running headscissors on Ziggler, then a charge and Ziggler hit a clothesline. Roode went for a suplex on Dominik, but Dominik with a kick to break free and Rey tagged in with headscissors takedowns. Rey went up top for a hurricanrana, but Roode caught him and Rey did a headscissors over the top to the floor. That led to other wrestlers getting involved, all eight guys were on the floor and then that led to the commercial break.
Ziggler and Roode with a double team back elbow on Rey, who was the face in peril. Crews hit a standing moonsault for two. Crews went for a press slam on Rey, but Rey countered with a DDT. Dawkins got the tag from Rey leading to clotheslines, a leap over Crews and a jumping elbow. Dawkins with suplexes for Roode and Ziggler and the spinning splash. Dawkins with a double underhook suplex on Crews with Azeez breaking up the pin. Ford with a jumping kick to knock Azeez out of the ring. Rey and Dominik dropkicked Ziggler/Roode into the ropes leading to the double 619 kicks. Dominik jumped onto Azeez on the floor, Azeez caught him and Rey ran off the ropes to knock down Dominik. Crews went for a rollup on Dawkins, who kicked out and Dawkins hit a spinebuster. Ford got the tag and Ford hit the Frog Splash for the pinfall win after about eight minutes. That’s such a great leap by Ford every time he does that.
Winners by pinfall: Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins
Analysis: **3/4 A pretty good match featuring many talented wrestlers…and Azeez was there too. Sorry Azeez. He fills his role just fine as the guy that didn’t even tag into the match. It was a way to give the win to the faces. Ford’s Frog Splash is always a highlight whenever he does it. Awesome athlete.
Post match, The Street Profits and Mysterios celebrated in the ring. Rey and Dominik tossed Dawkins and Ford over the top to the floor. Rey also tossed Dominik over the to top to the floor. They were all smiling about it.
Analysis: A bit of a Royal Rumble preview right there.
They showed a clip of After The Bell podcast with Bobby Lashley talking about how Brock Lesnar doesn’t have a soul. Lashley said that excites him. Lashley said that Lesnar isn’t going to break, he knows how to fight and if you’re a fighter, that’s the challenge you want.
There was a video package about the careers of the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley. This was awesome. It showed Lesnar growing up in South Dakota while showing his career highlights in amateur wrestling before he dominated WWE following his 2002 debut. Three fights into his UFC career, Lesnar became UFC Heavyweight Champion and then he was back in WWE (ten years ago). They covered his big wins over the likes of The Undertaker and John Cena while mentioning his title wins. It also told Bobby Lashley’s life story about how he was an amateur wrestler, then he was in the military and after his first WWE run, he was undefeated in MMA in Bellator. When Lashley returned to WWE, he unleashed havoc and eventually became the WWE Champion for the first time. Now Lashley is ready for the battle that we thought we would never see. They showed clips from the Lashley/Lesnar promo from last week. It ended by saying that only one of them will emerge as the WWE Champion.
Analysis: This was an outstanding video package. I highly recommend it for anybody that didn’t see it, so check it out on WWE’s Youtube page. I’m very excited for their match as a long-time fan of both Lesnar and Lashley. These guys are awesome.
There’s another Alexa Bliss video up next.
A recap was shown of Miz & Maryse outsmarting Beth Phoenix & Edge earlier in the show with Maryse hitting Beth with a brick purse.
The Miz and Maryse were interviewed in the parking lot by Kevin Patrick. They bragged about what they did. Miz claimed he must be the best husband ever because next week is Maryse’s birthday party and Miz said nothing is stronger than his love. They celebrated with a kiss.
Analysis: A birthday party on Raw next week. That means somebody will have a cake smashed on their face too. That’s a not-so-bold prediction.
An Alexa Bliss therapy session was shown with the doctor saying he can’t tolerate a repeat performance from last week. The doctor said that at the end of this therapy, Bliss will be well on the road to recovery. They did word association, when he said “trust” she said Lilly, then he said friend, home, doll and she said Lilly every time. When he said “imaginary” she just stood up and stared at him, so he took off.
Analysis: As I said last week I would have preferred if they just dumped the gimmick and did more of the regular heel Bliss persona. However, they are going with this again, so we’ll see how it goes.
The “All Mighty” Bobby Lashley made his entrance with his buddy MVP for the main event.
Next week on Raw: Alpha Academy Academic Challenge with RK-Bro and Maryse’s Birthday Celebration. They didn’t mention it, but she will turn 39. Also next week, Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley will have a WWE Championship weigh-in.
Analysis: They are advertising three non-wrestling segments. Why do we need to know their weight? It doesn’t matter. It’s just a way to tease a confrontation between Lesnar and Lashley.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins entered for the main event. The deal here with the main event is Rollins challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble while Lashley is challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP)
Lashley with a leapfrog over a running Rollins leading to a shoulder tackle. Rollins with a Slingblade neckbreaker, Lashley avoided a Pedigree attempt and Rollins slipped out of a Hurt Lock attempt. Lashley charged, Rollins ducked and sent Lashley out of the ring. Rollins hit a suicide dive, it barely had an effect on Lashley. Rollins went for another suicide dive, Lashley caught him and Lashley hit a belly to belly suplex on the floor.
There were about ten minutes left as Rollins got a hold of Lashley’s left leg and sent Lashley’s legs into the ring post. Rollins wrenched on Lashley’s left knee against the ropes leading to a dropkick to the leg. Rollins continued to work on the left leg of Lashley with a leg whip takedown leading to a half crab submission. Rollins stomped on the leg again leading to another half crab submission. Lashley managed to kick Rollins out of the ring. Rollins went for The Stomp, Lashley moved out of the way and Lashley hit a flatliner takedown. Lashley was slow to get up while Rollins took his time as well. Some people on other wrestling shows could learn how to sell. Lashley hit multiple overhead suplexes, then a shoulder tackle and a neckbreaker. Lashley wanted a suplex, Rollins slipped out of it and Lashley hit a slam off the shoulders for a two count. Lashley charged, Rollins with a knee to the face, then an elbow to the face and Rollins shoved Lashley into the turnbuckle. Rollins hit a Pedigree on Lashley for a two count. Rollins went up top, Lashley went after him, Lashley was standing on the middle rope and Lashley hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring! That was great. Wow. That led to Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander pulled Lashley out of the ring of the DQ finish. It went 13 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match until the predictable DQ finish. The fans were behind Lashley for some of the match. I say predictable because it didn’t make sense to have either guy do the job on the way to Royal Rumble when they are getting major title matches. They shouldn’t lose, so that’s why WWE opted for the DQ finish. That belly to belly suplex off the top was incredible. I’m sure that Lashley and Rollins could have a great rivalry if one of them was in the face role. Maybe that will happen later in the year because it’s clear that they work well together.
The duo of Benjamin and Alexander sent Lashley into the ring post. They sent Lashley back first into the ring post again. Lashley came back with a double suplex on Benjamin and Alexander. Lashley with a flatliner on Alexander on the floor while Lashley also sent Alexander into the ring post. Lashley gave Benjamin through the barricade at ringside. The Usos showed up in the ring, Rollins turned around and The Usos delivered a double superkick on Rollins. It was a message from Roman Reigns. The Usos left up the aisle with fingers in the air since they are The Ones. Rollins was down in the ring while Lashley was back up at ringside. The camera was on The Usos again to end it.
Analysis: Lashley getting the upper hand over Alexander and Benjamin was not a surprise. That Spear through the barricade always works in terms of getting a big pop. I liked The Usos showing up to attack Rollins as a message from Reigns. It is cheap, but it works and it fits what Roman is about as a heel that has his cousins there to do his dirty work for him. Good ending to the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Bobby Lashley
- Kevin Owens
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
It felt like another average Raw to me. Lots of talking as usual and in some cases it was done to set up more talking segments next week. The main event between Lashley and Rollins was good until the predictable disqualification. I liked the Lashley/Lesnar video package as much as anything on the show.
The next WWE pay-per-view (or Premium Live Event) 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
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
30-Man Royal Rumble Match – Big E, AJ Styles, Damian Priest, Johnny Knoxville, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss, Sheamus, Angelo Dawkins, Montez Ford, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio and Austin Theory.
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match – Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Lita, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Dana Brooke, Natalya, Mickie James, Tamina, Shayna Baszler, Summer Rae, Aliyah and Shotzi.
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse
You can watch WWE Royal Rumble streaming 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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