Monday Night Raw
Date: January 17, 2022
Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We are less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble and that means it is time for the card to be finalized. Last week saw Doudrop become the #1 contender for the Raw Women’s Title in what should at least be a fresh match. Other than that, we could use some more names being added to the namesake matches. Let’s get to it.
Here is Becky Lynch to get things going. She knows the Royal Rumble is coming up and it is time for some big names to come back for the Big Time. People like Lita, Mickie James and the Bella Twins are here, but for now, it is time to deal with Doudrop. Last week, Becky got Doudrop her title shot, which is what she does. That’s the only way Doudrop could get her shot, but here is Doudrop to say she got everything on her own. Becky says follow her lead and you could win tonight. Cue Bianca Belair doing her dance and saying she’s in the Rumble. Now it’s Liv Morgan coming out to say she’s in too, but Doudrop wants to fight.
Becky Lynch/Doudrop vs. Bianca Belair/Liv Morgan
Belair dropkicks Doudrop to start but gets away without much effort. Everything breaks down and Doudrop is sent outside, leaving Becky to hit the Manhandle Slam on Liv. Doudrop (Becky’s partner remember) breaks up the cover, drags Becky to the corner and tags herself in, and splashes Liv for the pin at 2:24.
Post match, Doudrop hits a Bonzai Drop.
Edge and Beth Phoenix compliment Reggie and Dana Brooke. They walk up to Damian Priest, who is feeling a little edgy. Priest asks Edge for some tips on the Royal Rumble, but Phoenix gets handed a note. It’s from Maryse, who wants to meet Phoenix in the ring, one on one. Edge knows Beth has this, but he’s skeptical. They leave, so here is Kevin Owens to say he hopes he and Priest can have a good, clean match tonight. He’ll also have a surprise on the Kevin Owens Show.
It’s time for the Kevin Owens Show, with special guest Seth Rollins. We see a clip of Seth facing off with Roman Reigns on Smackdown, where he had to run from an Usos attack. Owens thinks Rollins is ready to take the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble, while also complimenting Rollins’ clothes.
Rollins says he’s winning the title and then sticking around on Raw. That works with Owens, because then they would have the best champion here with no Reigns or Brock Lesnar. Owens has his own big announcement: he is in the Royal Rumble! Cue Damian Priest to say no one believes these two are winning at the Royal Rumble. He also warns them not to wake Damian up, because he and Owens are up right now.
Veer Mahaan is coming to Raw.
Damian Priest vs. Kevin Owens
Non-title. Priest shrugs off a headlock and a running shoulder to start before knocking Owens into the corner. Owens manages to knock him down and hits a backsplash, setting up a chinlock. That’s broken up and Priest knocks him outside, where Owens seems banged up. That is some good old goldbricking though, allowing Owens to hit a superkick and a bullfrog splash off the apron.
We take a break and come back with Priest firing off the kicks and hitting a flapjack. The Broken Arrow drops Owens for two more but he breaks up a superplex attempt. Owens hits the Swanton but the Stunner is blocked. The Reckoning is countered into the pop up sitout powerbomb for two, leaving Owens frustrated. Back up and the South of Heaven chokeslam gives Priest two of his own, with Owens coming up favoring his hamstring. That’s enough goldbricking to set up the Stunner to give Owens the pin at 10:57.
Rating: C+. And thus, another champion goes down, because that’s just how things go around here. It should mean that Priest is going to hold the title for a long time, but it doesn’t exactly bode well for his future. The match was pretty good stuff, but I can’t help groaning when a champion loses. It’s a way of life around here, which might explain a bit about where WWE is at the moment.
We look at Nikki Ash turning on Rhea Ripley last week.
Nikki Ash talks about how Ripley should be down and out because she is the villain in all of this. Ash is the People’s Hero and that means she has to do things that normal people don’t understand. After tonight, Ripley is going to understand that she needs a superhero, whether she likes it or not. That’s already better than anything she did in the last few months.
It is time for Otis’ graduation ceremony from the Alpha Academy (in caps and gowns of course). Chad Gable brags about his education and GPA, knowing that no one here in Tulsa knows what a masters degree is. Last week, Otis completed his final exam and graduated, meaning it is time for him to receive his diploma.
Cue Riddle, in a cap and gown of his own, to interrupt though, because he has his own speech, which he wrote at the breakfast buffet this morning. The speech talks about it feels like last week they were the Tag Team Champions, when they were just a pair of wild stallions. Gable cuts him off because he assumes Riddle is here about a rematch, though he doesn’t think Riddle knows what that means.
Riddle says it’s like when you light something up twice. Like a candle! Gable is willing to accept the rematch challenge, if RK Bro can beat them in an academic challenge! Otis looks nervous as Riddle thinks it sounds like Billy Madison. Otis goes after Riddle, allowing Orton to come in from behind and RKO Gable. RK Bro lays them out and Orton takes Otis’ cap and gown (they fit) before accepting the challenge. Something tells me this is going to result in Riddle sounding dumb but then rattling off a really smart answer to win in a big surprise.
We look back at Finn Balor beating Austin Theory last month.
Austin Theory comes in to see Vince McMahon, who remembers that loss to Balor. Theory tries to say that he beat Balor up after the match so it should be a half victory. Vince says there is no such thing, but Theory better win tonight. If not, Vince is going to beat the heck out of him, leave him black and blue, then take a selfie with Theory. Then he’ll send it to Theory’s mom!
We get a tribute to Martin Luther King, about an hour and twenty minutes into the show.
Austin Theory vs. Finn Balor
Theory starts fast and knocks Balor outside as we take an early break. Back with Balor hitting a chop in the corner, setting up a Nightmare on Helm Street for two. Theory is right back with an ATL attempt but Balor reverses into a rollup for two more. Balor drops him again but misses the Coup de Grace. The ATL finishes Balor at 5:48. Not enough shown to rate but that’s a fast loss for a returning Balor.
Post match Theory takes a selfie and beats Balor up even more. Another selfie caps things off.
We look back at Nikki Ash taking out Rhea Ripley (again).
Rhea Ripley isn’t sure what kind of hero Nikki Ash thinks she is, but it’s time for a beating.
Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki Ash
Hold on though as here are Queen Zelina and Carmella to say they were right about everything with these two. Nikki is nothing without Ripley and Ripley needs someone to leech off of, because she can’t do anything on her own. Nikki jumps Rhea before the bell and sends her into the steps, meaning there is no match. That did seem like quite the fast turnaround for what feels like a big match.
We look at Omos destroying Reggie last week.
Dana Brooke gives Reggie a pep talk about his match with Omos as the 24/7 geeks watch from behind and eat popcorn.
Omos vs. Reggie
Cue the 24/7 Goons to go after Dana Brooke so Reggie tries to dive onto Omos. The chokeslam finishes at 29 seconds.
We look back at Miz running his mouth for Maryse, who walked away rather than get in a fight.
Here is Maryse for a face to face showdown with Beth Phoenix. She talks about Miz running his mouth and getting her in trouble but it’s just her tonight. Cue Beth Phoenix and Edge, with Maryse saying that she and Phoenix built up the women’s division. They should be friends with play dates and dinners and drinks. Beth tells her to shut up because she doesn’t buy any of this, because Maryse must have taken acting lessons from her husband.
The match at the Royal Rumble is still on and she is going to Glam Slam Maryse through the mat. Let’s give the people a preview right now but here is Miz from behind to jump Edge. That earns Miz a punch to the face but Maryse hits Beth with her purse, knocking her out. And indeed, there is a brick in the purse. Maryse flips her hair and hits Miz in the face.
The Street Profits are ready for the Royal Rumble. The Mysterios come up to say they too are ready for the Royal Rumble. Yelling ensues.
We look at Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins facing off on Smackdown.
Street Profits/Mysterios vs. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode/Commander Azeez/Apollo Crews
Dominik snaps off a running hurricanrana to take Ziggler down early but Ziggler runs him over. It’s quickly off to Roode but Dominik knees his way out of a suplex. Rey comes in with a hurricanrana of his own and there’s a running headscissors to drop Roode again. Roode blocks a top rope hurricanrana but gets taken outside anyway. Ziggler throws Dominik out as everything breaks down, giving us a big staredown on the floor as we take a break.
Back with Rey in trouble and Ziggler/Roode knocking the other good guys off the apron. Crews adds his standing moonsault for two but Rey is back with a tornado DDT. The hot tag brings in Dawkins to clean house as everything breaks down. Roode and Ziggler take the double 619 but Azeez pulls Dominik’s dive out of the air. Rey breaks that up but Crews rolls Dawkins up for two. Dawkins runs Crews over though and the Cash Out finishes for Ford at 7:58.
Rating: C+. There is nothing wrong with having a bunch of people in there flying around for a fast paced match. They didn’t overstay their welcome either and that made for a more entertaining match. It was a perfectly fine way to use some television time and that is always a good thing to see on a show.
The winners celebrate until the Mysterios throw the Profits over the top. Then Rey throws Dominik over, saying pay attention, and You Can’t See Me.
We see a clip of Bobby Lashley on After The Bell, where he welcomes a challenge from Brock Lesnar.
We get a big video on Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar, both of whom have been forged over the years. Lesnar is from South Dakota, where he grew up on a farm and then won the NCAA Heavyweight Title. Then he came to WWE and dominated here as well, just like he did in the UFC. Then he came back to WWE and dominated again (this time for almost five times as long as his first run).
On the other hand, you have Bobby Lashley, who won three NAIA National Titles in wrestling, along with a gold medal in the Armed Forces Championships. He had a 15-2 record in MMA before coming back to dominate WWE, including winning the WWE Title. Now it is time for these two monsters to collide for the first time ever.
We look back at Maryse hitting Beth Phoenix in the head with a brick.
Miz is very proud of Maryse but he is going to one up himself by remembering that next week is her birthday! He is going to throw her an extravaganza, which earns him quite the kiss.
We go back to Alexa Bliss in therapy where the two of them sit and stare at each other. The therapist is glad things have calmed down a bit, because he can’t have her snap again like last week. He wants to do word association this week, with the following results:
Trust – Lily
Friend – Lily
Home – Lily
Doll – Lily
Imaginary – Bliss stands up and that’s the end of their session.
Bliss sits back down and looks around as the therapist leaves. They won’t let it go with that stupid doll.
Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins
MVP is here with Lashley, who runs Rollins over with a shoulder to start. Rollins changes things up a bit and tries the Pedigree but has to escape the Hurt Lock attempt. That earns Lashley a trip to the floor, where a suicide dive only knocks him to a knee. Another attempt is countered into an over head belly to belly to send Rollins flying as we take a break. Back with Rollins working on Lashley’s legs and grabbing a leglock. A dragon screw legwhip sets up a half crab to stay on the knee.
Rollins lets that go and tries the Stomp, only to be reversed into a Downward Spiral. A belly to belly and a neckbreaker set up the spinning Dominator for two on Rollins. The spear is countered with a superkick though and now the Pedigree connects (Nick Khan will be looking into this Rollins fellow) for two on Lashley so Rollins heads up top. That’s countered into a belly to belly superplex but here are Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander to jump Lashley for the DQ at 13:18.
Rating: B. This was the main event style match and they had the right ending as you can’t have one of the #1 contenders taking a loss less than two weeks away from their Royal Rumble title matches. They also ended the match when either of them could still have won and that is the correct way to do something like this. It was nice to see them not doing anything crazy here and it was a good match on top of the smart finish.
Post match the beatdown is on but Lashley smashes Alexander and Benjamin. Cue the Usos through the crowd to superkick Rollins to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. They did a much better job this year by making sure to avoid overly stupid moments. Other than the Bliss stuff and maybe the American Alpha deal (which wasn’t that bad), they kept things moving here and hyped up the big Royal Rumble matches. I’m still not sure who wins at the Royal Rumble and that is the kind of feeling that you want to have going into the show. Pretty good show this week, though the lack of Big E. was a bit weird.
Becky Lynch/Doudrop b. Liv Morgan/Bianca Belair – Splash to Morgan
Kevin Owens b. Damian Priest – Stunner
Austin Theory b. Finn Balor – ATL
Omos b. Reggie – Chokeslam
Mysterios/Street Profits b. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler/Commander Azeez/Apollo Crews – Cash Out to Crews
Bobby Lashley b. Seth Rollins via DQ when Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander interfered
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