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Raw recap & reactions (Dec. 20, 2021): Will the WWE Champion please stand up

Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens team up to fight Big E and...Bobby Lashley? It happened and we’re going to talk about it.

‘Twas the Raw before Christmas and all through the arena, several wrestlers were stirring, but still no John Cena.

Two more weeks until Day 1, people! Would WWE put coal in our stocking or surround the tree with gifts as far as the eye can see? Give props to Claire’s blog—as you always should—then come back here for a view from under the tree. Or metal rod if you celebrate Festivus.

Let’s talk Raw!


Odd Man Out

First off, shoutout to the person with the “Bobby Trashly” sign. You are royalty, unnamed person.

Now, how did we get here? Big E put a wedge between Bobby Lashley and MVP. That’s why the champ called out his challenger for needing MVP’s help last week. Bobby took, much like Michael Jordan, took that personally. In fact, he took it to heart to the point of telling MVP to square up with the WWE Champion like he said he would.

Before the man Big E and the man he dubbed Iceberg Slim (Google it) traded blows, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins attacked Lashley. E and Lashley cleaned out, a “can they coexist” tag match became a thing, and here we are.

Last week, I pontificated about Raw giving Bobby Lashley the babyface treatment as he went through three men to get a spot in the January 1 Day 1 WWE Championship match. Well lo and behold but this week, Lashley made babyface moves. Bobby preened to the crowd, left MVP in the locker room, and was the target of evil machinations. Which included a curb stomp on top of steel steps. Maybe it was just for one night, but it looks like an All Mighty face turn is coming.

Lashley and E got the W but that wasn’t the important thing. KO and Rollins finally realized their best bet is to form a union for their respective goals. Obviously this will only last but for so long once the bell rings on the first night of 2022, but it’s an added facet to a Fatal-4-Way.

We have a potential separation of Bobby and MVP, two heels working together until they decide to fight each other or ultimately betray each other, and a champion truly in jeopardy,

If there’s one complaint here, it’s that the WWE Champion feels like an afterthought. Rather than driving the story, he’s a bystander. The fact Seth and KO see Lashley as a bigger threat than THE WWE CHAMPION says a lot. Their entire plan hinges on taking Lashley out of the equation, not the man holding the belt.

Nothing interesting is happening with Big E at the moment. E isn’t changing because of the championship, he’s not doing anything different even as the situation mutates in front of him. The champ is the fourth most intriguing person in a championship match and that in itself is a travesty. It also doesn’t really bode well for his chances of retaining said championship.

Maybe the go home show will give E more to do and reveal Lashley’s current morality alignment is just a temporary thing. Who knows? But I do know the four men involved will put on a good match. Actually, that’s the only thing I’m sure of because the story itself is a little disjointed. And the guy who should be the focal point feels like a background player.


Extracurriculars

Big Time Kendo Stick

Look, I like Liv Morgan a lot. I think she’s dope in the ring, and is easy to root for. But her carrying most of a segment on the microphone is not the move. Especially when she eventually goes toe-to-toe with Becky Lynch, who can talk circles around most wrestlers on her worst day. I get the story she’s telling but I’m not enthralled by the way she’s telling it.

STRONG-EST

Billed as the “final chapter” in their three match saga, Bianca Belair and Doudrop battled for the last (?) time. The last time I saw something subtitled “final chapter” it was followed by at least four more installments, including one where the titular character went to Manhattan for about 20 minutes.

But I digress. While I tired of these two because the past finishes left me scratching my head, I “got” the story tonight. What started as Doudrop questioning Bianca’s status on the roster turned into whether or not the former Women’s champ could get her opponent in the KOD. Doudrop neutralizes Bianca’s strength and tucked tail whenever a Kiss of Death was in her future. But not tonight. Bianca finally finished the match with style and showed her power. If that was the point, then, okay? The match wasn’t that different from their previous bouts, minus the finish.

Prince Still Reigns Supreme

Finn Balor’s experiences on Raw the past few weeks are rather meh. Austin Theory is the latest in the line of cats trying to score points off the Prince. Theory finally got his wish to try to make big news and make an impact for Mr. McMahon, but those plans were thwarted by the former Universal Champion. Theory and Balor put on a solid match and work really well together. Based on Theory’s reaction later in the show, apparently the plan is to have them dance at least one more time.

Couples Therapy

Miz pronouncing Omos’ name the way he does was the highlight of this segment for me. I chuckled several times. Omos and AJ Styles were guest on Miz TV where the host explained to AJ that his partner isn’t too thrilled with him. Omos believes he’s carrying the load and tired of looming in AJ’s shadow. I say loom because seriously, have you seen Omos? Only God cast a bigger shadow than that man.

The tension between the two was high before their match with the Mysterios, until it eventually boiled over when the colossus ignored Styles’ tag attempt. The Mysterios got the W, AJ called Omos a piece of trash, and Omos left AJ hurting in the middle of the ring. The worst part? We never got to see their version of the Fastball Special.

AJ and Omos are on deck in a match AJ will have to carry because I don’t think the big man is there yet. But if anyone can make him look good...

Cuts Deep

Speaking of making things look good, Maryse and Miz set a trap for Edge. What looked like a lover’s spat turned into an assault during the Cutting Edge. Edge pitted Maryse for her marriage to a cat like Miz. He was a tad condescending but I mean, come on. He called out Miz, Miz “surprise” attacked him, and Maryse followed joined in the reindeer games.

It was a setup the entire time. Shocker. This feud started interesting and quickly devolved into monotonous and predictable.

Rip Roaring Revenge

Remember last week when Rhea Ripley lost to Queen Zelina? Ripley dominated this week and the message was clear: No Nikki A.S.H., no distractions. And no distractions equal more wins.

Do as I Do

Randy Orton defeated Chad Gable to set an example for his tag partner after last week’s debacle. The point here is to establish Otis as a riddle (don’t even pardon the pun) RK-Bro can’t solve.

Three Stooges 24/7

It’s Christmas so you know what that means. No, not awkward moments with your family. Although, yeah. It means R-Truth is dressed as Santa in another plot to get his “baby” back. Reggie and Dana Brooke walk through a makeshift winter wonderland and escape again. Tamina, Truth, and Tozawa—dressed as an elf—can’t get on the same page. I think Tamina threatened to murderize them and probably poked someone in the eyes.

Sins of the Priest

Big Bob—I love that name so much—made Damian Priest angry. Resulting in a Dolph Ziggler win by count out. Dolph left his partner to the wolf and eventually he’ll get his United States Championship match.


I’m still not over the fact the WWE Champion feels like an afterthought. That, along with the average show leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. There were a couple good matches and forward progression, but the show’s momentum is nonexistent. Day 1 can’t get here soon enough because the build felt tedious and meh at times. This is one of those times.

Oh, and watching Vince do this thing with Austin Theory is getting painful.

Grade: C

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.