Date: January 10, 2022
Location: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
The Big Takeaway --
Doudrop beat Liv Morgan and Bianca Belair to earn a title shot against Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble. Belair had the match won before that but Lynch broke up the cover.
Chad Gable and Otis beat Randy Orton and Riddle to win the Raw tag team titles, Nikki ASH turned on Rhea Ripley, and Seth Rollins beat Big E clean.
Show Recap --
Brock Lesnar entered with Paul Heyman to a big reaction.
Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin approached Lashley in the back as he watched a monitor. Alexander was excited for Lashley but Lashley reminded him that they were no longer part of the Hurt Business and told them to hit the bricks.
Lesnar was excited to be back in Philadelphia but before he could say any more, Lashley and MVP interrupted. Lashley called them both super-athletes and said it was an honour to share the ring with Lesnar.
Lashley also stated that Lesnar has been running from him for 20 years. Lesnar said he’s been busy over the years winning championships in this ring and other rings. He didn’t even know who Lashley was until they met at Day 1. Lesnar said it wasn’t his fault that Lashley didn’t climb the ladder enough to reach him at the top.
Lesnar was doing some comedy here and Lashley mocked him for it. Lesnar wanted to tell a knock-knock joke and Heyman couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The setup was “Bobby who?” and Lesnar’s punchline was, “Exactly.” The crowd laughed. Lesnar called Lashley a Brock Lesnar-wanna and walked off.
Benjamin and Alexander attacked Lashley from behind but Lashley laid them both out.
Randy Orton approached Riddle in the back. Orton blamed Riddle for the loss last week because he never tagged him in. Orton used a marker to write “tag in Randy” on Riddle’s hands. Riddle asked Orton if they could go out for Philly cheesesteaks after they win and asked if he was a Pat’s guy or a Geno’s guy. Orton said Geno’s.
They showed a Chad Gable tweet where he posted pictures of himself and Otis training their necks to prevent being victims of an RKO.
Alpha Academy defeated Randy Orton & Riddle to win the Raw Tag Team Championships (9:13)
They went to break two minutes into the match after Riddle wiped out Gable with a dive. Gable took control during the break using a dragon screw off the ropes.
Riddle knocked down Otis with a floating bro and made the hot tag to Orton who nailed Gable with clotheslines and a power slam. Orton knocked Otis off the apron before giving Gable a superplex. Riddle tried taking out Otis on the outside but Otis knocked him down.
Orton tried fighting off both opponents but Otis caught him with a World’s Strongest Slam for the pinfall win (Riddle couldn’t get back in the ring on time). Gable and Otis are the new champions. The crowd was red-hot for Orton and seemed surprised by the result. I liked it.
Damian Priest declared for the Royal Rumble match. Priest also met with the Street Profits in the back. They were all on the same page and they were ready to give a beating to Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.
Bianca Belair cut a promo on Becky Lynch, warning her that her time on top was coming to an end.
There was a replay of Johnny Knoxville tossing Sami Zayn over the top rope on Smackdown to qualify for the Rumble match.
Six-man tag team match: Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode & Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) defeated United States Champion Damian Priest & The Street Profits (9:13)
This also went to break two minutes in with the babyfaces on top and like the previous match, the heels were in control following the break (but they didn’t show how it happened this time).
Montez Ford tagged in Angelo Dawkins who handed out suplexes to Ziggler and Roode. Dawkins gave Roode a bulldog and Silencer but Crews broke up the cover. Priest went after Crews but became distracted by Azeez. Ford wiped out Crews and Azeez with a dive as Dawkins gave Roode a spinebuster in the ring.
However, Ziggler was the legal man and he gave Dawkins a Zig-Zag for the pinfall win.
That’s two straight surprise wins by the heels. This match was completely flat and this was not the result I’d have gone with.
Seth Rollins promo
Rollins said he was excited for the Royal Rumble, not because of Lesnar vs. Lashley or because of the Rumble matches, but because he would become Universal Champion. Rollins said he didn’t get the match because of a Penguin-looking advocate, he got it because he’s Seth freakin’ Rollins. He planned on beating Roman Reigns yet again.
Big E interrupted. He claimed to be as excited as Rollins and as excited as Gritty after a (rare) Philadelphia Flyers victory. Rollins didn’t know what Gritty was. Big E said he put $10 on Rollins and announced that he was entering the Rumble match. He had one goal: to beat Rollins at WrestleMania for the world championship.
Rollins laughed and claimed Big E had no chance. Big E offered to test that theory tonight. Rollins hesitated but Big E goaded him into it. A referee entered the ring and the match started abruptly.
Seth Rollins defeated Big E (17:55)
Big E splashed Rollins on the apron and they went to break 80 seconds into the match. Big E smashed Rollins’ face off the announce table as they returned from break. Jimmy Smith said he was covered in “Seth freakin’ Rollins’ sweat.”
Rollins slipped out of a Big Ending attempt and chop-blocked Big E before hitting a flying knee strike for two. Big E came back with an STO, a clothesline, and a spear through the ropes to the outside.
Despite what we just saw, Rollins was back in control following a break. Big E came back with three consecutive overhead suplexes and a splash but Rollins responded with a rolling forearm. They traded counters until Rollins hit an enziguri for two, followed by a superkick for two, and a frog splash for two.
Rollins went for a curb stomp but Big E countered into a powerbomb for two. Big E applied a stretch muffler but Rollins got a rope break. Big E tried a spear through the ropes again but Rollins got his knee up. They traded counters again until Rollins hit consecutive forearm strikes and a curb stomp for the clean pinfall win.
Good match. Another heel win, however. And that’s after Big E issued a challenge that Rollins didn’t really even want to accept.
There was a video announcing 19 entrants for the Women’s Royal Rumble match.
Nikki A.S.H./Rhea Ripley segment
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Nikki ASH and Rhea Ripley in the ring because they had an announcement to make. Nikki issued a challenge to Queen Zelina and Carmella for the tag team titles. Ripley told Nikki (off the mic) that this wasn’t what they agreed to discuss. Ripley thought they were out there to talk about the Rumble.
Schreiber asked them about the rumours surrounding their team. Ripley didn’t want to talk about this in the ring but Nikki did. Nikki grabbed a mic and told Ripley that they’d be able to get the titles again. Ripley thought it would be best if they went their separate ways. Nikki thought they brought out the best in each other.
Nikki knew that Ripley blamed her for their loss. Nikki also made a comment about one of them feeling like they were the better wrestler. Ripley said she never claimed to be better than her. Nikki clarified that she was better than Ripley.
Ripley had enough and was about to leave but offered a handshake before they went their separate ways. Ripley still believed in Nikki and hoped they could still be friends. Nikki asked if she was being sincere so Ripley hugged her.
Nikki turned her back which seemed like a setup for Ripley to attack her. However, Ripley offered a fist bump and Nikki decked her. Nikki hammered away on Ripley before leaving the ring. As she posed on the ramp, Nikki said, “Almost Super Heroes don’t need any friends.”
In the back, Reggie gave Dana Brooke a cheesesteak. This led to a 24/7 segment where various things happened and Tamina (who is celebrating her birthday today) wound up covered in cheesesteaks.
Reggie ran into Omos so Omos was about to kill him but Brooke talked him out of it. Omos issued a warning to Reggie.
Doudrop cut a backstage promo stating her case for the title. She said 2022 would be the year we finally get Dou-dropped.
Omos defeated Nick Sanders (1:36)
Omos won quickly with a tree slam. They piped in booing for the result.
Edge entered for the Cutting Edge.
The Cutting Edge with guest Beth Phoenix
Edge spoke glowingly of Beth Phoenix before introducing her. Edge reminded the fans of how much ass she kicked in her career.
He said she would’ve been in the Broad Street Bullies if they were in the 1970s and said they’ve collected championships the way the Flyers collected Stanley Cups (they only have two). Edge said they’ve won 35 titles as a couple, more than any other couple in WWE — and they were the only couple in the Hall of Fame. (Edge has 31 title wins, Phoenix has 4.)
Edge had a video package played for Phoenix. The crowd cheered the video. Phoenix wondered if he was just trying to butter her up for later and the crowd popped for that remark. Phoenix was sick of Maryse and Miz and was looking forward to shutting their mouths for good.
Miz and Maryse interrupted. Miz sided with Ben Simmons to get heat here in Philly before repeating material from last week’s promo. Miz heard that Edge had a video ready for Phoenix so he also had one played for Maryse. The crowd booed.
Miz said they were all lucky to be in Maryse’s presence. Edge put over Maryse’s career and work ethic but said Phoenix could deadlift a Buick. He’d be as worried as they were if he had to fight her. Phoenix thought it was funny that Maryse was suddenly quiet.
Phoenix planned on having the crowd chanting “au revoir” when she was done with Maryse and she’d be happy to knock out Miz’s teeth as well. The Miz boldly put over Maryse as a look of worry washed over her face. Maryse scampered to the back as Miz continued to ramble. The crowd laughed at Miz who finally realized Maryse left.
Kevin Patrick interviewed Austin Theory about his upcoming match against AJ Styles. Theory said Mr. McMahon warned him about how good Styles was but Theory was ready to prove to McMahon why he should continue to invest in him. Patrick asked if McMahon gave him any other advice and Theory said yes: “Don’t screw this up.”
AJ Styles defeated Austin Theory via DQ (7:00)
Styles outsmarted Theory early on but Theory dropkicked him off the apron which led to break 90 seconds into the match. They wrestled for a bit after the break but the match ended in a disqualification after Grayson Waller attacked Styles as he set up for a Phenomenal forearm. Theory took a selfie over Styles before leaving.
Styles attacked Waller but he bailed before Styles could do any worse.
In the back, Waller told Patrick that he was simply giving Styles a preview of their match tomorrow on NXT. (Waller was looking over his shoulder to make sure Styles didn’t come after him.)
Liv Morgan cut a promo saying she wouldn’t come close to winning the title at the Rumble — she would finally win it.
Alexa Bliss segment
There was a pre-taped segment with Bliss (dressed in her evil overalls and evil makeup) meeting with a psychiatrist. His office had a Newton’s Cradle and Bliss stopped its movement just by looking at it. After the psychiatrist showed her a clip from her past, Bliss flipped out and destroyed his office. Bliss chucked something at him as he ran away. She shrieked.
Becky Lynch promo
They piped in some booing as the live crowd chanted “Becky.” She gave backhanded compliments to Morgan and Belair before putting over Doudrop. She said tonight’s winner would have the pleasure of telling their grandkids that they lost to Big Time Becks.
Lynch joined commentary for the match.
Triple threat match: Doudrop defeated Liv Morgan and Bianca Belair (14:41)
They had a fun match and Doudrop picked up the win to earn a title shot against Lynch.
Morgan and Belair shined early on until Doudrop nailed them both with a running crossbody. Doudrop gave Belair a Michinoku driver before slamming Morgan on top of her. Morgan avoided a cannonball and tried repeated double foot stomps but it had no effect and Doudrop chucked her out of the ring.
After a break, Belair avoided a charge by Doudrop and went to the top but Morgan actually flipped over Doudrop to bring Belair down with a hurricanrana. Doudrop kicked Morgan into the buckle and Belair speared Doudrop.
Morgan put Belair in Rings of Saturn and held the move for a while until Belair got to her feet with Morgan on her shoulders. However, Morgan countered into a Codebreaker before giving one to Doudrop as well.
Doudrop powerbombed Morgan and covered her but Belair broke it up with a 450 splash. Lynch couldn’t help but be impressed. Belair gave Doudrop a spinebuster before giving Morgan a Glam Slam on top of her.
Belair hit a moonsault on both women before giving Morgan the KOD but Lynch broke up the cover. (This wasn’t a DQ because it’s a triple threat.) Belair chased after Lynch but Lynch wound up tossing her over the announce table.
In the ring, Doudrop gave Morgan a Banzai Drop for the pinfall win.
After the match, Lynch offered Doudrop a handshake before smacking her. Lynch tried to give her a Man-handle Slam but that didn’t work. Doudrop shoved Lynch from the ring and the show ended as the two women exchanged words.