Date: December 27, 2021
Location: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
The Big Takeaway --
Much of Raw felt pretty normal but a large chuck was very obviously affected by a large number of absences.
Eric Bischoff appeared as the officiant in the Miz and Maryse wedding vow renewal ceremony. Edge interrupted and doused Miz and Maryse in a “blood” bath.
Big E, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Omos, Liv Morgan, and Robert Roode were among those not on tonight’s show.
Show Recap --
Randy Orton and Riddle entered as the announcers ran down tonight’s show. They seemed to get a big reaction. (Riddle had a Christmas card but Orton chucked it aside.) Riddle was acting like Riddle until Orton cut him off and said the only thing that would make him happy heading into the new year is if he beat Otis right now.
Riddle said he was off last week to do some self-reflecting. He wanted to find his inner viper but he started turning green and he began growing scales. Orton suggested he see a doctor. Orton showed a replay of his match last week and Riddle acted like showing something on the big screen was magic.
Riddle did some more comedy that got no reaction whatsoever until Orton cut him off again when Riddle claimed that he was Randy’s best friend.
They were interrupted by Chad Gable and Otis. Gable put over Otis before speaking of his own Master's degree and 4.0 GPA. Gable received some boos, so he insulted the mindless Detroit crowd for booing education. He said Orton had no chance against Otis and warned them that they would be the next champions.
Riddle finally did get a reaction when he said they were a fan of “higher” education. He challenged Gable to a match right now. Gable called him an ignoramus before accepting. Riddle told Gable to get his big, beautiful brain in the ring so he could give him an RKO.
Tag Team Champion Riddle (w/Randy Orton) defeated Chad Gable (w/Otis) (4:00)
Gable used a Tiger suplex for a nearfall before Riddle blocked a moonsault attempt. Gable applied an ankle lock but Riddle rolled out of it. Gable tried a rolling German suplex but Riddle flipped out of that before hitting a floating bro for the pinfall win.
This was good for four minutes but they could obviously have a much better match with more time. The crowd was into Riddle during the match (just not during his comedy bit earlier).
Otis attacked Riddle and waited for Orton to enter the ring as they went to break.
Tag Team Champion Randy Orton (w/Riddle) defeated Otis (w/Chad Gable) (3:28)
Otis easily blocked a couple of RKO attempts but ran into the steel steps after Orton dodged a charge. Orton followed with a draping DDT but Otis blocked the RKO again and hit a World’s Strongest Slam. Otis didn’t go for a cover and instead went for a Vader Bomb but Orton avoided it and hit an RKO for the pinfall win.
After the match, Riddle told Orton how proud he was for hitting that RKO and told him it was time for his present. Riddle said there was nothing more appropriate than a big hug.
Orton hesitated before giving Riddle a hug. Orton teased giving him an RKO but they both laughed and hugged again before Orton walked away. That bit was good.
Kevin Patrick interviewed Kevin Owens. Patrick aired a promo that Big E sent in (via cell phone video) where he spoke about the importance of being the champion and why he would retain the title at Day 1. Big E said this was about his story, getting to the top, and knowing you didn’t come this far to only come this far.
Owens mocked Big E for saying how much it meant to be there every week — except this week — before telling Kevin Patrick that he needed a new first name. Owens said he would be the next champion. Before he left, Owens told Patrick that his name was Bert now. (Owens got a few laughs during this interview.)
Veer Mahaan is coming.
Mixed tag team match: 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke & Reggie defeated Tamina & R-Truth (2:47)
The announcers seemed to be under the impression that the women and men couldn’t be in the ring at the same time but that’s not how the referee was calling it. Tamina gave Reggie a superkick at one point. Reggie eventually pinned Truth with a rollup for the win.
Tamina tried attacking Truth after the match but he did the splits to avoid it. Brooke knocked down Tamina with a handspring elbow.
Megan Morant interviewed Nikki ASH. Nikki was under the impression that she inspired Rhea Ripley to win her match last week. Nikki challenged Queen Zelina and Carmella to a tag title match last week. Nikki, a real human adult, closed her interview by saying, “boom, zap, kapow!”
There was a long video package for Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at Day 1.
The Street Profits defeated Dominik & Rey Mysterio (12:06)
The Mysterios had the edge before a commercial break but Montez Ford was randomly in control over Dominik following the break. Dominik hit some sort of counter before Rey tagged in and hit Angelo Dawkins with a seated senton and springboard crossbody. Dawkins avoided a 619 and hit a spinning back elbow for two. Rey also hit a tornado DDT for two.
Dawkins gave Rey a Silencer and Ford followed with a big-time frog splash but Dominik broke up the cover. Rey gave Ford a 619 before wiping out Dawkins with a dive. Dominik gave Ford a frog splash for a very close nearfall.
They set up Ford for a double 619 but Dawkins knocked down Rey. Dominik did hit a 619 but Dawkins caught him on his shoulders and Ford hit a blockbuster for the pinfall win. The Street Profits will face Orton and Riddle for the tag titles.
Fun match but Dominik stuck out as a weak link. From that standpoint, the right team won.
Backstage, the Miz yelled at some guy for getting him the wrong flowers. Miz introduced his special officiant for tonight — Eric Bischoff. Bischoff showed up and was excited to be part of this ceremony after already being part of a few WWE weddings in the past.
There was a video package for AJ Styles vs. Omos (which was originally scheduled for tonight).
AJ Styles promo
Styles wondered where Omos was and wondered if he was afraid to live up to his expectations. Styles admitted to being afraid of that very thing early in his own career but he was never selfish or unappreciative. Styles said Omos had to pay his dues. Styles himself has had 20 years of experience and threatened to kick in Omos’ teeth when they finally meet in the ring.
Styles noticed Grayson Waller being loud in the front row. Styles introduced him to the WWE audience. Waller figured he would visit Styles on Raw after he was visited on NXT. Waller noted how easy it was to get under Styles’ skin. He planned on taking Styles’ spot after Omos was done with him.
Styles said this is where stars were made but Waller was no star. Styles offered to show him around and offered to give him a Phenomenal forearm so he could count the lights.
Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez interrupted. Commander Azeez challenged Styles to a fight since Omos wasn’t there. Styles didn’t hesitate to accept.
Styles was definitely a babyface here.
Morant interviewed Carmella and asked about Nikki’s title challenge. Carmella said she spoke with Zelina and they accepted. Carmella out over Ripley but said a tag match between the two would be no problem once Nikki got in the ring.
Not only did they not do Styles vs. Omos (which is fine if Omos couldn’t be there) but they didn’t even do Styles vs. Azeez which they just announced. The commentators said that Crews demanded the match during the commercial break, so that’s what we got instead.
AJ Styles defeated Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) (10:42)
Styles was in control until Crews dropped him on the apron before a break. Styles fought back with a Pelé kick, strike combo, forearm, and Ushigoroshi for a nearfall. Crews came back with a sit-out powerbomb for two. Styles responded with a moonsault into a reverse DDT but Azeez pulled Crews from the ring. Styles went after him but Crews hit a fireman’s carry on the apron for a nearfall.
They traded moves until Styles hit a Styles Clash for the pinfall win.
The finishing sequence was a bit clunky but this was mostly pretty good.
After the match, Styles laid out Azeez with a Phenomenal forearm.
They aired a cell phone video promo that Seth Rollins did from his home. He didn’t say anything interesting.
Kevin Owens promo
Owens was in a great mood. He claimed he won a big match at Madison Square Garden last night but advised us not to look it up. (He lost to Edge in a cage match.)
Owens said he was the only one from the upcoming WWE title match that was here tonight and that made him smarter than Rollins, tougher than Big E, and stronger than Bobby Lashley. He couldn’t blame them for not wanting to be in Detroit, though. He went on for a bit before saying he would be our next WWE Champion.
MVP interrupted. He issued a warning on behalf of Lashley and called Owens stupid for thinking he would win on Saturday. Owens said his mom thinks he’s special.
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander entered. Owens basically cut their promo for them and challenged Alexander to a match before they do it themselves.
(Between this segment and the Styles promo/match, this show is definitely showing the effects of whatever script changes needed to happen because of whatever mysterious thing is causing so many people to miss the show.)
Kevin Owens defeated Cedric Alexander (w/Shelton Benjamin) (3:16)
Alexander got some offense but Owens won with a pop-up powerbomb and stunner.
Owens also gave Benjamin a stunner after the match.
(Funny enough, the match time I got was 3:16.)
Dolph Ziggler entered, they went to commercial break, and upon return from break, Mike Rome was in the ring and introduced a long video package for the Liv Morgan/Becky Lynch feud.
They aired a promo by Damian Priest from earlier today. He said everyone has darkness in them. He does his best to control his own, but last week, his darkness — Damian — came out. When his blind rage comes out, there’s nothing anyone can do about it. He knows that can work against him against a multi-time champion like Dolph Ziggler. But to be clear, the rage that has cost him in the past is the same thing that would ensure he remains champion.
This was dumb and didn’t make any sense.
US Championship match: Dolph Ziggler defeated Damian Priest via DQ (10:23)
Priest chucked Ziggler over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area, onto a pile of chairs, which led to another break — three minutes into the match.
Ziggler hit a fameasser shortly after the break for two. Priest came back with a spinning heel kick, back elbows, flapjack, and broken arrow for two. Ziggler reversed a chokeslam into a rollup for two before hitting a leaping DDT for two.
Ziggler began taunting Priest which caused Priest to turn into a cartoon. Priest hammered away on Ziggler in the corner and the ref called for a DQ because he wouldn’t stop after a five count. The portion of the crowd that’s still awake groaned and booed lightly.
After the match, Priest drove Ziggler into the barricade before giving him a Reckoning.
Miz & Maryse renew their wedding vows with officiant Eric Bischoff
Bischoff entered to his music before a break.
Bischoff was happy to be back and he introduced Miz. Miz tripped on his way into the ring, which wasn’t planned. Miz, Bischoff and the crowd got a good laugh out of it. Maryse entered next wearing a fancy white dress. Because of what just happened, Miz helped her in the ring, which was funny.
Miz insulted Edge, spoke about Maryse and put over Bischoff. Maryse spoke about Miz and the crowd booed over her vows. Maryse said she wanted him to beat Edge and asked if he wanted to continue being married.
Miz claimed Maryse didn’t speak a word of English when they met 15 years ago so he (poorly) did his vows in French. Maryse let him know that parts of his speech were in Spanish. She let him continue in English. Miz said if he were a woman, he would want to be Maryse. He asked if she wanted to continue being his wife. The crowd booed. Maryse said yes.
Bischoff was ecstatic. He asked if anyone had any objections while admitting he knew exactly what always happens in these situations. Edge interrupted.
Edge claimed he wasn’t here to cause trouble. He was ready to beat Miz’s ass at Day 1. Miz and Maryse said they knew Edge would interrupt but they wanted to give him a front-row seat to what true love looked like. Edge admitted that they got the upper hand the past few weeks but he planned on embarrassing Miz before Day 1.
Edge asked if they wanted a white wedding. The Brood’s music went off and black liquid dropped from the ceiling — covering Miz and Maryse (Bischoff got some too). Edge laughed at them as the show ended.
(I’m not a fan of this feud but Miz and Maryse were entertaining in this segment. Bischoff was good too.)