Raw airs tonight (Dec. 20) with a live show from the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is the fifth Raw episode during the six week build towards Day 1 on January 1, 2022.
Kevin Owens’ new contract changes the equation
The WWE championship match at Day 1 has been changed multiple times. It was originally booked as a singles match, with Seth Rollins earning a shot at Big E’s gold after winning a ladder match on Raw in November. Kevin Owens was then added to the match after he played the system and outsmarted Rollins, turning it into a triple threat. Bobby Lashley joined the party last week when he actually defeated all three of those men in three separate singles matches in the same night. Therefore the title match at Day 1 is now a Fatal 4-way.
The booking of the match at Day 1 seemed fairly straightforward. No matter which wrestler was winning, Kevin Owens was going to take the fall. That’s because his WWE contract was expiring and many people, this writer included, believed he was on his way out the door. Well, that equation changed after last week’s big news that Owens has signed a new contract with WWE.
Now that Owens is back in the fold, it’s really anyone’s match to win at Day 1. The Royal Rumble event is coming up just a few weeks later, so WWE can do a quick title change at Day 1 and just swap it back at Royal Rumble. This is exactly what WWE did at New Year’s Revolution 2006, for example, by putting the WWE championship on Edge, only for him to drop it right back to John Cena later in the month at Royal Rumble. I don’t anticipate that Kevin Owens will be competing in the WWE championship match at WrestleMania 38, but that doesn’t mean he can’t win the title at Day 1.
As far as tonight’s episode of Raw is concerned, Bobby Lashley and MVP are going to speak their minds about the upcoming championship match. Of course there’s a very good chance their speech will be interrupted by some or all of the other three wrestlers who Bob will be wrestling against at Day 1, and some sort of related match will be booked for the Raw main event.
Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin were nowhere to be found when Lashley needed their help last week, and they never interact with Bob and MVP anymore, so I’m not sure why the former two guys still walk to the ring with the Hurt Business theme song. At any rate, Lashley has shown that he doesn’t need their help anyway. He may be moving towards the babyface side after overcoming the odds last week, so perhaps WWE will book a tag team match tonight pitting Lashley and Big E versus Owens and Rollins? I guess you’ll have to tune in to find out.
The rest of the title scene
After pinning Finn Balor last week, Dolph Ziggler gets a Championship Contender match against United States champion Damian Priest tonight. As usual, winning this type of match doesn’t guarantee that Ziggler will earn a future title shot. It’s just WWE’s fancy way of trying to make a non-title match sound more meaningful than it actually is. I don’t think Priest has ever been pinned in a singles match on Raw. If Ziggler is going over here, it will likely be as a result of Priest channeling his angry split personality and getting himself disqualified.
Carmella and Zelina Vega are the Women’s tag team champions. Queen Vega defeated Rhea Ripley in less than a minute last week in a singles match, because Rhea was distracted by Nikki A.S.H and Carmella. It wouldn’t be an episode of Raw without a rematch, so we’ll see if Vega can take Ripley down even faster tonight when they wrestle again.
Becky Lynch will defend the Raw women’s championship against Liv Morgan at Day 1. After injuring Morgan’s wrist last week, Liv tried to ambush Becky during a training session over the weekend. I’m starting to think the championship match at Day 1 won’t just be a standard singles match. We’ll see if WWE announces any gimmick or stipulation for it tonight.
The Street Profits will take on the Mysterios next week in the final match of the RK-Bro-nament. The winner gets a future shot at Randy Orton and
Matt Riddle for the Raw tag team titles. That tournament match was originally supposed to happen last week, but the rumor mill suggests something is up with Montez Ford. In the meantime, Otis beat Riddle last week, and the champs could be seeing more of Alpha Academy tonight. There’s really nothing for RK-Bro to worry about, though, since Chad Gable is a jobber and exists to be pinned by an RKO.
Reggie is smitten with Dana Brooke and is trying to give her pointers on how to run away from jobbers and retain the 24/7 championship. R-Truth, Tamina, and Akira Tozawa are the primary jobbers trying to find a way to take the title from Brooke. Will they succeed tonight?
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Maryse will be Edge’s guest tonight on his talk show, The Cutting Edge. She slapped The Miz in the face last week, but it’s likely a ruse to make Edge think there is a rift between them. Edge should know better than to fall for their tricks and schemes.
- The talk show fun doesn’t end there, because Omos and AJ Styles will be guests tonight on Miz TV. The relationship between AJ and Omos isn’t great right now, but both men have expressed optimism about their future together. Does Miz have any reason to try to create a bigger divide between them, or will he try to manipulate them into helping him deal with Edge?
- Styles and Omos are busy tonight, as they will also be taking on Rey and Dominik Mysterio in tag team action. We’ll see if Omos has learned how to not get himself counted out like a big dummy.
- Bianca Belair pinned Doudrop last week in a singles match, but Dou was a sore loser and laid out Bianca after the match was over. They’ll have a rematch tonight. Yes, both women’s matches from last week’s Raw are getting rematches tonight.
- Austin Theory has spent some awkward quality time with Vince McMahon in recent weeks, and it has led to him getting involved in Finn Balor’s business. Balor has had enough of this dork and will try to get some revenge in a singles match tonight.
- Apollo Crews was actually defeated by T-BAR last week on Main Event. Yikes.
- Veer Mahaan is still coming (back) to Raw soon, in case you didn’t know. Hopefully he finds his way to Raw sooner than repackaged Elias.
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?