Becky Lynch stops Liv Morgan pinning Tamina

There are some potentially great matches on the card for tonight’s RAW. Big E takes on Kevin Owens. Finn Balor faces Seth Rollins. Damian Priest and Apollo Crews go one on one for the United States Championship. And RK-Bro have yet another match with the Dirty Dawgs. This one is for the titles. In non-match news, Edge will be appearing.

I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.

Match Results

Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor

RK-Bro def. The Dirt Dawgs

Street Profits def. Alpha Academy

Damian Priest def. Apollo Crews

Rey & Dominik Mysterio def. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin

Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Nikki A.S.H., Rhea Ripley, & Dana Brooke def. Becky Lynch, Carmella, Queen Vega, Doudrop, & Tamina

Kevin Owens def. Big E (DQ)

Seth Rollins

The Show

Seth Rollins opened the show, after a replay of his attack on Finn Balor last week. His outfit wasn’t one of the worst, but it was very furry. Anyway, he had an announcement to make. At WWE’s next PPV, Day 1, on New Year’s Day, Rollins will get his WWE Championship match against Big E.

He thinks it’s appropriate because it’s going to be the first day of a new era and his next championship reign. A title reign that will define the future of Monday Night RAW and the entire wrestling business.

Finn Balor’s entrance music shut him up at that point. Balor posed on the stage then ran to the ring and get his payback. Rollins came back with a suicide dive, but took a slingblade at ringside in response. Balor hit him with the steps then threw him into the ring and Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor officially began.

Balor immediately dropkicked him into the corner and went for the Coup de Grace. Rollins rolled out of the ring, so he dived over the top rope onto him instead.

After a break, we got a great match. Some opponents just bring out the best in each other. It was closely fought. Well-matched, with finishers countered and kicked out of, and them putting each other down at the same time at one point. Rollins caught Balor in the eye while trying to avoid a DDT, then smacked him in the back of the head and hit the Stomp. Not quite a clean win, but that’s ok. WWE have shoved far more boring pairings down our throats for weeks on end. I could take a Rollins/Balor program for a little while.

Seth Rollins dropkicks Finn Balor

Vince McMahon called Austin Theory into his office for a chat. After telling him off for asking how he was – it’s a phoney question because no one really wants to know – he told him he was going to stay in his office with him and watch the show. McMahon’s smiling fatherly demeanour dropped for long enough to tell Theory that if he ever stole from him again he’d kill him, then it was back.

Becky Lynch was next up, for her contract signing with Liv Morgan, officiated by Sonya Deville. Her jacket was almost as fluffy as Rollins’. When Morgan had joined them she said she deliberately got her angry last week to find out if she had that ‘something’, that chip on her shoulder. And she has to admit Morgan got a great right. But then she held herself back and did nothing. One punch isn’t enough and Morgan knows it. So, when it comes to the big fight, will she still hold herself back?

Lynch went off on a rant to the crowd about their local hockey team, until Liv Morgan told her to shut up for once. Morgan signed the contract then admitted she got upset last week. But she channelled her emotions with her fists rather than becoming a big blubbering mess like Lynch did after her match at Survivor Series. In case anyone had forgotten, Morgan had the footage of Lynch’s tearful interview to hand.

And the viciousness didn’t end there. ‘You’re the reason your friend is gone just like your big fat greedy contract is the reason why my friends are gone’. She accused Lynch of being a bully and having become everything she once despised. Morgan has learned that this isn’t the Becky Lynch she used to admire, and she isn’t the Liv she left behind.

Sonya Deville stopped Morgan punching her. Lynch screamed that it was big emotion after a big match and Morgan wouldn’t know anything about that. And some people deserve to get paid. If Morgan had let her finish she would have said she has an opportunity for her. She thinks she can be a leader, she’s pitching a Team Liv vs Team Beck tag team match.

Funnily enough, they already had the teams picked and the graphic produced, so it’s a good job Morgan accepted the match. She’ll be joined by Nikki A.S.H., Rhea Ripley, Dana Brooke & Bianca Belair. Becky Lynch has Queen Zelina, Carmella, Doudrop, and Tamina on her team.

Sonya Deville keeps Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch apart

Riddle expected Randy Orton to dress like him this week, then went off on a tangent about them remaking Freaky Friday with them. Orton tried to explain, again, that it wasn’t going to happen and told him the way to stay champions was to be ten steps ahead of their competition. Riddle convinced him to close his eyes and put a wig on him when he did. Orton gave him a two count to take it off, but Riddle was quick.

RK-Bro (C) vs The Dirty Dawgs was a very good match, I just feel like they’ve interacted so much recently it’s getting rough to concentrate. Orton and Riddle were both down going into a break. Riddle on the announce table and Orton in front of it. Riddle got to play the hero after Orton had taken a lot of punishment. He spent a minute or so fighting both Dirty Dawgs before tagging Orton in for tandem RKOs that Ziggler and Roode prevented. Riddle was knocked from the ring. Orton had to kick out after a ZigZag, but he powered through to deliver the RKO while Riddle held Roode back on the outside.

Randy Orton delivers an RKO to Dolph Ziggler

Kevin Owens, fresh from Adam Pearce’s office, ran into Rollins in the corridor with some news of his own. If he beats Big E tonight, he’ll be added to the Day 1 title match. Rollins didn’t believe him, so went to ask Pearce himself.

He found him. Pearce hadn’t said that. Sonya Deville asked Pearce what had happened after Rollins left, and said it wasn’t a bad idea.

Edge missed the WWE Universe. He said Rollins deserves to be the number one contender because he’s operating on a whole different level, then got on with teasing all the people he could face now he’s on RAW.

All the great options he listed, and he was interrupted by The Miz and Maryse. He was on Dancing with the Stars, so we got a little video of his performances. Unsurprisingly, Miz is a little peeved that Edge got the big return treatment and he got nothing. While he was dancing on television, Edge was dancing with a body that can’t hang anymore. He thinks Maryse should get more fuss made of her. And he’s annoyed he didn’t make Edge’s list. He’s also annoyed with the WWE Universe for not voting enough and letting him get kicked off the dancing show.

Edge pointed out Miz could have gone to Pearce and Deville and demanded a fanfare, but he has a different agenda. He knows that by interrupting Edge he immediately places himself in the main event picture. Bizarrely, he got the crowd to yell ‘Miz Sucks’, which they did enthusiastically.

Miz said Edge’s career was great but he surpassed him years ago and this time he should have stayed home. Edge admitted his window for wrestling is small, but he’s fought to keep it open. He’s still the guy people want to stand across the ring from and test themselves. They respect him and he respects them. Mutual respect, which is something Miz knows nothing about, but could still have. But instead, he bitches and moans about everything he hasn’t got.

But if ‘Little Mizzy’ needs a pat on the back he’ll give him one. Miz went from Tough Enough to the main event of WrestleMania… there was a lot of other stuff about money and fame and living rent-free in a lot of heads (A gentle shot at AEW), but the bottom line is that Miz made it further than anyone thought he could. Except Miz knew he could and made it happen.

The difference between them is that he fought with every fibre of his being to keep the wrestling window open, whereas Miz uses it for notoriety for his next endeavour, a movie, a dance comp, and he leaves his partners high and dry to get fired. But the biggest difference is that Miz comes out and expects respect. Edge earns it.

He offered Miz the fight there and then. Miz looked to be struggling with the zipper on his jacket, which made his ‘No’ a little less impactful.

The Miz and Maryse confront Edge

AJ Styles was blinded by the fire extinguisher Angelo Dawkins let off in his face and the doctors don’t know if he’ll get all his vision back. He’s coming for the Street Profits when he can see, though.

I’m not sure why Styles felt the need to come to the ring for Street Profits vs Alpha Academy if he was insisting he couldn’t see. He joined commentary, so Corey Graves spent some of it explaining things to him and asking him questions. He likes Chad Gable because he’s an athlete. Inevitably, Styles tried to interfere, jumping on the apron to knock Montez Ford down. It didn’t work and Ford kicked him to the floor. His conversation with Omos, after Ford had picked up the win, was off-mic but Omos didn’t look impressed.

Angelo Dawkins knocks down Chad Gable

Vince McMahon appears to be mentoring Austin Theory.

24/7 Champion Dana Brooke was backstage talking to former 24/7 Champion Reggie.

Seth Rollins found Kevin Owens backstage and laughed in his face, calling him a liar. Owens insisted he wasn’t lying and he’ll be added to the match if he wins.

Damian Priest (C) vs Apollo Crews, with Commander Azeez, – United States Championship match – was decent. Commander Azeez gave Crews an advantage going into the break, keeping Priest talking so he could launch himself at him. After the ads, Azeez had more than a little cause for concern because Crews was getting his ass handed to him. We all had cause for concern after Priest’s cannonball off the steps. It was scarily close to going badly wrong. Azeez got himself ejected for dragging Priest off the turnbuckle, which was a shame for Crews because Priest was pissed off and wearing the wild eyes. Once the bodyguard was gone, The Reckoning was a foregone conclusion.

Apollo Crews with Damian Priest in his clutches

Seth Rollins went back to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to ask them to do something about Owens telling lies. Pearce said he’d reconsidered and decided it was a good idea. Owens will be added to the title match if he wins.

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin was great but too short. Cedric Alexander has been woefully underutilised, but I’m glad the partnership with Shelton Benjamin. The Mysterios got the double 619 in and Dominik finished it with a frog splash.

Rey and Dominik Mysterio deliver a double 619 to Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin

Team Liv: Liv Morgan Bianca Belair, Dana Brooke, Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley vs Team Becks: Becky Lynch, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Tamina, & Doudrop started, after Carmella delaying things to get her mask on, with Liv Morgan punching Becky Lynch in the face. That didn’t go anywhere, but at least she got that and a few extras in.

Carmella refused to face Rhea Ripley, but with a series of quick tags, Ripley ended up surrounded five on one. She fought them all off, just, but none of her team stepped in to help. Tamina was the legal competitor. She used her strength to wear Ripley down but didn’t have what it takes to keep her down. Turnabout is fair play, so Team Liv used the same tag tactic to gang up on Tamina, but Team Becks rescued her from a K.O.D. heading into the ads.

Nikki A.S.H. came off worst in a stint with Doudrop and got further punished by Lynch and Carmella before she got back to Ripley. Carmella demanded the ref’s attention after a clothesline. Ripley smashed her face into the mat them took out the rest of the team when he cleared her.

Everyone came in for a piece after Dana Brooke broke Carmella’s submission. But after Becky Lynch had dropped Morgan, it was back to Carmella and Ripley for the next ads.

It’s great to see a women’s division match going through two ad breaks when so many are the length of an ad break. Doudrop dropped Nikki A.S.H. at ringside and got pounded on by Ripley for it. Vega and Carmella pushed Dana Brooke off the top turnbuckle onto A.S.H., Ripley, Doudrop, and Belair. Morgan fought off Vega and Carmella and Lynch but got caught with a superkick from Tamina. She kicked out and delivered Oblivion for the win.

Within seconds, Lynch had kicked Morgan in the head and started pounding on her. Belair and Doudrop were fighting, as were Carmella and Ripley and Nikki and Queen Zelina. Dana Brooke wandered over and started on Tamina. The segment finished with Becky Lynch laying at ringside having experienced Oblivion, and team Liv celebrating in the ring.

Zelina Vega and Carmella push Dana Brooke off the top turnbuckle onto Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., Doudrop, and Bianca Belair

McMahon schooled Theory on expecting the unexpected. Austin Theory doesn’t seem to be quite sure why he’s there, but he’s trying very hard not to mess up.

Bobby Lashley got a ‘getting to know you’ video about how he got into wrestling and how he knew WWE was in his future with highlights of his career once he got there.

Vince McMahon asked Austin Theory if he’d had a good night and what he’d learned. Theory said he’d learned you have to expect the unexpected. McMahon slapped him across the face and told him he had a lot to learn.

Kevin Patrick interviewed Big E about Kevin Owens being added to the title match if he beats him. Big E said it adds no extra pressure. He fears no man, so when he beats Owens it’ll just be him and Rollins one on one and he plans to kick off 2022 by retaining his WWE Championship.

Big E vs Kevin Owens was a non-title main event, but now with added stakes. Seth Rollins joined commentary, rooting for Big E between rants about being lied to and how unfair it was. Owens slapped his headset off to make him cause a DQ, but it didn’t work. Big E took a DDT on the steps going into the final break and Rollins looked nervous.

The whole match was framed by commentary through Rollins’ reactions. When Big E was in control he was happy, when Owens was running the show he whined. Owens tried again to get him involved, taking a few moments out of the ring to pound on him. This time, it worked. While Owens was recovering from a clothesline, Rollins invaded the ring and leapt on him. Instant DQ and Owens is in the match. After kicking Owens until he rolled out of the ring to avoid a Stomp, Rollins delivered the Stomp to Big E instead.

Only when the ring was clear and the announcer officially added Kevin Owens to the Day 1 match did it occur to Rollins what he’d done. The show ended with Rollins having a tantrum in the ring and Owens laughing from the stage.

Big E smashes Kevin Owens' head into the announce desk

There’s really not much to say to sum up this episode. Some decent matches. Nice to see the women’s division getting a match with a decent amount of time. There’s still not a lot of information about Day 1, but it’s going to be a weird build with the festive season to get through as well.

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