Raw airs tonight (Dec. 27) with a live show from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. This is the final Raw episode during the six week build towards Day 1 on January 1, 2022.
COVID throws Raw into disarray
It’s very possible that Raw will be running with a short-handed roster tonight due to COVID. Several top stars on the brand were pulled from WWE’s holiday tour house show at Madison Square Garden following reports and rumors of an outbreak in WWE.
Big E and Seth Rollins are two of the stars who were pulled from the event, and Seth’s tweet about the Chicago Bears does imply that his absence is related to COVID. Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair were also pulled from the event. We don’t know whether these stars have tested positive for COVID, were exposed to someone else who tested positive for COVID, or were pulled from the event by WWE out of caution in an attempt to preserve the scheduled matches at Day 1.
Big E is set to defend the WWE championship against Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Bobby Lashley at Day 1. With Rollins and Big E pulled from the MSG card, whatever go-home angle WWE had planned for this feud might be impossible to book. WWE booked Kevin Owens in a match against Edge on the MSG card; perhaps WWE will come up with some sort of tag match tonight merging wrestlers from two different storylines like this together for the sake of filling time.
Becky Lynch is supposed to defend the Raw women’s championship against Liv Morgan at Day 1. After Becky injured Liv’s wrist two weeks ago, Morgan has been carrying around a kendo stick and is looking to beat the hell out of Lynch with it. If Becky isn’t available tonight, Liv might have to use that weapon to take out her frustrations on someone else. That’s assuming Liv is not one of the superstars whose availability for tonight is affected by COVID.
Bianca Belair has been wrestling against Doudrop in recent weeks, and seemingly settled their issues with a Kiss of Death last week. Unlike Big E, Rollins, and Lynch, Belair doesn’t have a match scheduled at Day 1.
Of course, there could be more than four stars missing from Raw tonight. WWE has a hard enough time as it is filling out three hours of Raw with interesting content with a full roster. Tonight’s episode will need to make significant adjustments if these several wrestlers are unavailable to perform. One of those adjustments could be in the form of adding NXT talent to the show, as they did at MSG when Tommaso Ciampa defended the NXT championship against Pete Dunne.
WWE might also have to announce changes to the Day 1 matches if some of the stars involved have tested positive for COVID and won’t be cleared in time for the Jan. 1 card. That could lead to WWE booking new angles seemingly out of nowhere tonight.
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now as we wait to see how WWE handles it on Raw.
The rest of the title scene
As of a couple weeks ago, The Street Profits are scheduled to take on the Mysterios tonight 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. RK-Bro has had their hands full with Otis while waiting for that tournament to finish. Otis defeated Riddle two weeks ago in a singles match. Last week, Randy Orton failed multiple times to take Otis down to the mat with an RKO. As a result, Orton and Otis go one-on-one tonight.
Dolph Ziggler will challenge Damian Priest for the United States championship tonight. This match might run very long if Raw needs to fill time due to a short-handed roster. But I think we all know how this one will end. Damian Priest hasn’t been pinned in a singles match on Raw, and it would be pure insanity if longtime mid-card guy Dolph was the one who handed him that first type of defeat.
Queen Zelina Vega defeated Rhea Ripley two weeks ago on Raw. Ripley returned the favor last week in a rematch. At some point there will probably be a Women’s tag team championship rematch between Vega & Carmella and Nikki A.S.H. & Ripley.
Reggie is helping Dana Brooke master the fine art of avoiding jobbers and escaping Raw as the 24/7 champion. R-Truth, Tamina, and Akira Tozawa have come up empty in multiple attempts to take the jobber belt away from her.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Maryse and The Miz will renew their wedding vows tonight. Like all previous pro wrestling wedding angles, I’m sure this one will go off smoothly and without any interruptions. I’m sure Edge won’t show up to ruin their plans. He’s a swell guy and will surely leave his enemies alone, out of respect for their love...
- AJ Styles is set to wrestle against Omos tonight. This is a match that WWE really can’t stretch for time because Omos doesn’t know how to sell and is a terrible wrestler. Nonetheless, he’s a very large man, and that means AJ Styles probably has a job to do here. Unless of course he can trick the referee into thinking Omos cheated, which is how he defeated the big man by disqualification at the MSG house show.
- Finn Balor defeated Austin Theory last week. After letting Vince McMahon down, Theory will try to learn from his mistakes and find a way to beat Balor in their rematch tonight. Otherwise, McMahon might have to use his trusty pencil to erase Austin from WWE kayfabe.
- I think WWE Creative forgot about Apollo Crews, Commander Azeez, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander.
- Veer Mahaan has been coming to Raw for over two months, with nothing to show for it. Given tonight’s episode of Raw is thrown into disarray due to COVID, if Veer is available, he might have to finally show up on Raw for that long-anticipated beatdown on a low card wrestler.
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?