Date: January 24, 2022
Location: Huntington Center in Toledo, OH
The Big Takeaway --
Raw was better than usual and the first two hours, in particular, felt quite fun thanks in part to a hot crowd. The show did drag in the third hour and the crowd lost steam, but that’s the nature of the three-hour Raw.
Show Recap --
Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley weigh-in
Adam Pearce and Corey Graves hosted the WWE Championship weigh-in. Bobby Lashley and MVP entered first. Paul Heyman entered to introduce Brock Lesnar himself.
Lashley wore athletic gear. Lesnar wore a large flannel coat, light blue jeans, and a black cowboy hat. Corey Graves noted to Lesnar that his outfit might not be appropriate for the weigh-in. Lesnar asked if Graves wanted him to get naked before telling him to get on with it.
Lashley weighed in first at 273 lbs. MVP called him an All Mighty killing machine, closer to a God than a man. MVP said Lashley would gain weight after their title match — the exact amount of weight as the WWE Championship belt (he didn’t say how much that was).
Lesnar removed only his hat (as the crowd chanted, “let’s go Brock”) and weighed in at 286 lbs. Lashley said Lesnar was acting like a fool because he knew he would lose on Saturday and it would be his shortest title reign to date. Lashley said that wasn’t a prediction, that was a spoiler.
Lesnar called him a comedian. Lesnar imagined waking up on Sunday with a new champion: “Bobby who?” Lesnar’s music hit and he left. The announcers wondered if Lesnar wasn’t taking Lashley seriously.
They didn’t waste any time with this segment. This was all over just ten minutes into the show.
They recapped Bianca Belair winning last year’s Royal Rumble before winning the title at WrestleMania. After a break, the announcers ran down tonight’s card (which they normally do to start the show, but as mentioned, they got right to that weigh-in.)
Bianca Belair defeated Queen Zelina (3:46)
Zelina countered Belair multiple times stopping her from getting any sustained offense going, but Belair managed to grab her and hit KOD for the pinfall win. The crowd liked Belair.
Graves said Belair could be the first person in 24 years to repeat as Rumble winner.
Kevin Patrick interviewed Kevin Owens and asked him about feigning an injury to give Damian Priest his first pinfall loss. Owens emphasized that it was Priest’s first loss but was offended by Patrick's accusation. Owens demanded that Patrick read “Just Keep Fighting” on his shirt because that’s what he was all about. His win last week meant he earned a US title shot and he would just keep fighting to win the title.
United States Championship match: Kevin Owens defeated Damian Priest via DQ — Priest retains (9:37)
They were having a fun match until the finish and the crowd was really into it.
Owens tried a senton off the apron but Priest got his knees up and slammed Owens on the apron which led to break. Priest continued on offense and hit a headlock DDT for a nearfall. Owens responded with a tornado DDT and frog splash for a nearfall. The crowd thought that was the finish. Priest countered a pop-up powerbomb and hit a roundhouse kick for a nearfall.
Priest angrily stomped on Owens, who was in the ropes, and fans actually booed him. Owens wrenched Priest against the top rope and used a schoolboy holding the tights for two. Priest hit a big clothesline and he hammered away at Owens in the corner as the referee desperately tried to stop him. The crowd booed Priest who just wouldn’t stop and the referee disqualified him.
These finishes are awful but it does perhaps, maybe, seem to be leading to a Priest heel turn. Funny enough, this crowd already seemed to like Owens more than Priest.
There were pre-taped promos by Rhea Ripley, Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan, Tamina, Carmella and Nikki ASH stating their intention to win the Royal Rumble. (Queen Zelina did one earlier as well.)
As the women were making their entrances for the upcoming match, they cut to the back where Sonya Deville admonished Damian Priest for his actions and told him to get himself under control before something worse happens than him getting fined or suspended.
6-woman tag team match: 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke, Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan defeated Tamina, Nikki ASH & Tag Team Champion Carmella (2:23)
Ripley basically dominated the match. Ripley worked over Tamina, everyone traded moves, and Ripley tapped out Carmella with a standing inverted cloverleaf. (Tamina was really off on a few spots.) After the match, Nikki gave Ripley a cheap shot before quickly bailing.
The highlight of the match was Byron Saxton calling Carmella (still wearing her mask) a “walking horror film” and Graves’ reaction to that.
Alpha Academy Academic Challenge
Chad Gable said this would be the first of a triad of events happening over the next few weeks. He figured the idiots of Ohio were too stupid to know what that meant, so he explained that it meant three events. The crowd told him that he sucked. Gable told him not to boo education. Gable also announced that he and Otis were entering the Rumble.
Patrick introduced Randy Orton and Riddle who received a big reaction. (If you couldn’t tell so far, the crowd is hot tonight.)
This week’s challenge was a spelling bee.
Otis was up first and his word was: “Emmental.” He asked for a definition and was immediately able to spell it when Patrick told him it was a form of swiss cheese. Otis and Gable celebrated.
Riddle’s word was: “calibration.” Riddle asked him for clarification and asked Patrick to spell it for him, which was funny. Riddle figured out what it meant: it was like when he had to calibrate when he weighs stuff. The crowd laughed. He was able to spell it and Orton was amused.
Gable was next. His word was “disillusion.” He refused to hear the definition and he spelled it wrong. He spelled “dissolution” — because he misheard Patrick and was too arrogant to hear the definition. Gable was pissed. Orton told him to sit down. (I’m glad Gable just misheard him instead of just being a bad speller.)
Orton was next. His word was “dumbbell” (which was a commonly misspelled word according to Patrick). Orton spelled it right. Gable was pissed that Orton got such an easy word and said Orton’s partner was a dumbbell. Orton told him to shut up and challenged him to a match right now. Orton said he would beat him and would spell out how — with an R-K-O.
This was very good and the crowd loved it.
Randy Orton (w/Riddle) defeated Tag Team Champion Chad Gable (w/Otis) (13:55)
Orton was in control after dropping Gable on the announce table but after he knocked Otis off the apron, Gable hit a chop block and followed with a moonsault for two. During a break, Gable dropped Orton leg-first on the announce table and worked the ankle after the break.
Orton mounted a comeback as the crowd chanted “RKO.” Orton hit a backbreaker and draping DDT. As Orton set up for an RKO, Riddle went after Otis (who was about to hop on the apron) but Otis suplexed him. Orton kicked out of a rollup and hit a powerslam for two.
Orton tried the punt but Gable countered into an ankle lock. Riddle attacked Otis with his scooter as Orton slipped out of the ankle lock before kicking Gable into the buckle. Orton followed with an RKO for the pinfall win. The crowd popped big for the finish.
After the match, Riddle said they could choose the next challenge because they won this week. Riddle announced a scooter race which caught everyone, including Orton, off-guard.
Alexa Bliss segment
Bliss was back at the psychiatrist's office. He asked her when she first met Lilly. She said when she was six years old. She went on and on and on with a story about Lilly. She went on so long, in fact, that they just abruptly cut away from her and moved on to the next thing.
There was a segment with Vince McMahon and Austin Theory in McMahon’s office. Theory said he would win the Royal Rumble and assumed McMahon would grease the wheels for him but McMahon shut him down. McMahon told him to focus on his opponent tonight, AJ Styles. Theory acted surprised he’d have to face such an accomplished opponent (and like they didn’t just wrestle two weeks ago). McMahon told him to be sure he takes a good post-match selfie.
Veer Mahan is coming.
AJ Styles defeated Austin Theory (17:00)
Styles was in full control until Theory dropped him over the top rope. Styles pushed Theory off the top rope but Theory came right back with a rolling dropkick, knocking Styles outside the ring. Styles tried fighting back after a break but Theory hit a backbreaker for two. Styles fought back and hit a springboard inverted DDT. Styles continued with strikes, a neckbreaker, and a sliding forearm for two.
Theory responded with a back elbow and back suplex for two, followed by a rolling blockbuster for two. Theory tried a superplex but Styles slipped out and followed with a Pelé kick. They traded counters leading to Styles applying the Calf Crusher but Theory got a rope break.
Theory shoved Styles off the ropes as he went for the Phenomenal forearm and tried making a cover with his feet on the ropes but the referee caught him. Styles slipped out of an ATL attempt and hit a Phenomenal forearm for the pinfall win. Pretty good match.
The basic story was the Theory managed to keep up with a future Hall of Famer (as Theory called him in the previous segment) but Styles was just better in the end. This isn’t meant as a knock on Theory, but Styles was very clearly the ring general here.
There was a trailer for the upcoming WWE 2K22 game.
Becky Lynch-Doudrop interview
The announcers interviewed Lynch and Doudrop, who were in separate rooms.
Jimmy Smith wanted to start with a question for Doudrop but Lynch stopped him because these things should start with the champion. Lynch went on about how Doudrop idolized her until Doudrop interrupted. Doudrop said Lynch has been desperately trying to hold on to the title and wanted the new girl in this match. Doudrop warned her that she’d get her ribs broken.
Lynch said Doudrop should be thanking her for giving her the biggest match of her life. Lynch rambled and when she finished, Doudrop admitted that she tuned out because hearing Lynch talk made her angry. Lynch told Doudrop to know her place. Doudrop took off her mic and left as Lynch said she’s been champion for three years.
Doudrop appeared in Lynch’s room and attacked her. They brawled briefly until officials separated them.
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Rey and Dominik Mysterio. She asked Rey what it meant to be on the cover of the video game, just as past wrestlers like Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena and Undertaker were. He spoke about how much it meant but said it would make him even prouder to see Dominik be on the cover one day.
Dominik said it would be an honour after playing those games as a kid. He also planned on winning the Rumble. Rey said he’d have to eliminate his dad to do that. Dominik acted like that was no big deal and Rey laughed like he wasn’t serious.
Rey & Dominik Mysterio defeated The Street Profits (8:01)
Dominik hit Angelo Dawkins with a suicide dive before Montez Ford dumped Rey over the top onto Dominik. Ford wiped them out with a flip dive, leading to break two minutes into the match.
Dawkins worked over Dominik until Dominik hit a tornado DDT. They each made tags and Rey ran wild briefly until Ford cut him off. Rey dropped Ford on the middle rope and set up for a double 619 with Dominik, but Dawkins pulled Dominik out of the ring.
Rey tried a 619 and Ford blocked it, but Rey managed to apply a rollup for the pinfall win.
After the match, Dominik tried tossing Rey from the ring as they celebrated (as a Rumble preview) but Rey actually countered and dumped Dominik. Ford chucked Rey from the ring and Dawkins tossed Ford. Dawkins laughed and said, “I had to.”
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode randomly appeared to toss Dawkins from the ring. Dawkins, Ford, Rey and Dominik jumped back in the ring to get rid of Ziggler and Roode.
Kevin Patrick introduced us to his guest at this time, “Seth Freakin’ Rollins.” There wasn’t much to this besides Rollins saying he would appear on Friday’s Smackdown.
(Before this segment, Rollins was shown speaking with Patrick. They went to commercial and Rollins joined Patrick for the segment like he wasn’t just standing there minutes ago.)
The announcers ran down the Royal Rumble card.
Miz introduced Maryse. Security surrounded the ring. The ring was dressed in a red carpet, balloons, and had plenty of presents.
Maryse opened her first gift, which was a framed photo of the two of them. Maryse said she felt even more special than when Miz got her that “pink car” and Miz made sure to mention it was a Rolls-Royce. Miz pointed out the security and informed us that we wouldn’t be seeing Edge or Beth Phoenix.
There was a big gift in gold wrapping (unlike the pink and white wrapping for the rest of the gifts). They acted worried that Edge or Phoenix were inside but revealed that the box instead housed the brick that Maryse used on Phoenix last week. They played a replay of what happened.
Miz sang happy birthday until Edge and Phoenix entered to Edge’s music. They were pissed. Edge issued a warning before they both beat up security. Miz and Maryse bailed as Phoenix and Edge each speared security guards. They also used a Hart Attack and 3D before Edge powerbombed a guard through a table. Edge and Phoenix at Miz and Maryse as the show ended.