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WWE Day 1 is all set to take place tonight (Sat., Jan. 1, 2022) from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. It begins at 7:00 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 pm ET on Peacock in the U.S., WWE Network everywhere else, or your local cable pay-per-view provider.

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let’s get to it.


Universal championship: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar

Geno Mrosko: You know, I love the idea that Reigns and Paul Heyman are working together to get one over on Lesnar but this is Vince McMahon and we’ve seen surprise endings with matches like this before. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we get that again here. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Sean Rueter: Count me among the millions (and millions) who’ve watched wrestling before and think The Tribal Chief & his special counsel are pulling a con to screw over Brock. We can also probably tell you a thing or two about how the WrestleMania rematch gets booked, but let’s see if World Wrestling Entertainment surprises us here first. Pick: Roman Reigns

Kyle Decker: Sean’s con to screw over Brock is a good play, though WWE doesn’t do those types of twists any more. I do think Heyman will play a role in this match, maybe inadvertently helping Roman or helping whomever is winning at the time. No matter what, I don’t see Brock winning the title at this new B-PPV. If he wins it, it’ll be match three at Mania. Pick: Roman Reigns

Claire Elizabeth: Roman’s title reign has been getting a bit stale but finally moving the plot along and kicking Paul Heyman out of his inner circle has freshened it up quite a bit. I don’t think the Big Dog loses the title until he’s well and truly isolated (and certainly not before he passes Brock’s reign length record on day 504 in about two weeks), so a victory here followed by Brock taking out the Usos on the way to a WrestleMania title change seems right. Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: Paul Heyman will betray Brock Lesnar and help Roman Reigns retain the Universal title. Pick: Roman Reigns

Stella Cheeks: I can’t in good conscience pick a winner who wears overalls. Pick: Roman Reigns

Marcus Benjamin: This story is still all about Paul, so it comes down to WWPD: What would Paul do? Paul’s played the situation beautifully so far, seemingly in the pocket of both men and playing off of our shared knowledge of his history. But in the end, this is, as the late great John Thompson used to say, fattening flies for snakes. Brock is silly putty in Heyman’s hands and always will be. Unless Brock Lesnar gets a whole lot smarter, the outcome remains the same. Pick: Roman Reigns

WWE championship: Big E vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley

Geno Mrosko: They absolutely should have done more with Big E’s title reign, and sadly I think it ends here. They’ve been pushing one guy unbelievably hard in the weeks leading up to this match, so I’ll go with that guy. Pick: Bobby Lashley

Sean Rueter: You don’t give a man a middle name then beat him. Plus, he’s got a new best friend to do activities with. Seriously though, coming out of this I can see Lashley chasing the new heel power couple while we bemoan how dirty they did E’s title run. Pick: Seth Freakin’ Rollins

Kyle Decker: If it were me, I’d have Big E lose, win the Rumble, and kick off a real feud with Reigns for WrestleMania. But I think the chance of that happening is very slim. And in WWE, the more folks you add to a title match, the more likely the champ is going to retain. Pick: Big E

Claire Elizabeth: I’d really like to prattle on about how this match is gonna set up a direction for Big E for WrestleMania but I don’t think that’s the case, or at least it won’t be for the title. I see a title change here— “ooh Day 1 fresh start etc.”— and really none of these guys would surprise me, but just for pure fandom purposes I really want KO to have a kickass title reign in return for sticking around, so... Pick: Kevin Owens

Cain A. Knight: This one is a toss up to me, as I can see scenarios where all four men walk out as champ. I think there’s a good chance that Big E won’t be the defending WWE champion at WrestleMania 38, but Kevin Owens is probably in this match to get pinned by him. Pick: Big E

Stella Cheeks: Personally, I would like Big E to win because his title reign has been overshadowed by shenanigans and has, frankly, been uninspiring. Which is insane as he’s one of the most charismatic and inspiring wrestlers in the whole company! But 2021 taught me to lose hope and WWE is currently OBSESSED with heels so I’m going with Mr. Crazy Suits. Pick: Seth Freakin’ Rollins

Marcus Benjamin: I’m not sure how this plays out. And the reason I’m not sure is because the booking so far says Big E’s day as champ are down to—pun intended—one. But no one else involved feels like they need the gold either. All four men had chances to look silly during December, meaning anything goes. But I’m a sentimentalist and an optimist. I’m making this pick with my heart, even if my head has no idea what’s going on. Pick: Big E

Raw Women’s championship: Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan

Geno Mrosko: There’s a part of me that genuinely believes Liv Morgan could be Raw women’s champion and actually make something of it, but do I believe that strongly enough to think they would put her over Becky Lynch? Reader, I do not. Pick: Becky Lynch

Sean Rueter: Really thought Liv was going to get a Nikki A.S.H.-esque title reign. But I don’t think there’s been a loud enough buzz about her push (some of this is due to how engaged the internet is with WWE these days, but it’s striking how much less upset fans seemed when Morgan got screwed over compared to Bianca Belair. Or when Becky was routinely getting robbed in her pre-The Man days) to justify that. She also hasn’t used her mic time to convince anyone she should be holding a top title heading into the most important stretch on the WWE calendar. Maybe they still do it to finish the story, but I doubt it. Pick: Becky Lynch

Kyle Decker: Even if I thought Liv should win the title, I’d be very surprised if Becky lost here. But unfortunately, while I believe Morgan showed some growth in this program, there’s still too much work that needs to be done (mainly on the mic) to warrant even a short run. Pick: Becky Lynch

Claire Elizabeth: Ordinarily Liv would have a zero percent chance, but you gotta understand that WWE is a genetic freak and not normal and sometimes a title changes hands even though it doesn’t make sense. Okay, snark aside I don’t see it happening— Liv can’t really be blamed for failing to hold up tossed in the deep end as a challenger, because the system is fundamentally broken, but she’s failed all the same. Pick: Becky Lynch

Cain A. Knight: Morgan is a stopgap challenger for Becky while WWE tries to fill time getting to the road to WrestleMania. There’s perhaps a small chance that Liv wins here and then drops the title back to Lynch in a few weeks at Royal Rumble. But the better bet is that Lynch’s reign as champ continues uninterrupted. Pick: Becky Lynch

Stella Cheeks: Liv is suffering from the WWE school of stunted promos. Her wrestling could justify a title win, but her character work cannot. The underdog gimmick only gets you so far. Just ask Nikki ASH. Pick: Becky Lynch

Marcus Benjamin: Liv isn’t ready yet. Simple as that. Maybe one day, but Day 1 is not that day. Pick: Becky Lynch

SmackDown tag team championship: The Usos vs. The New Day

Geno Mrosko: Gonna be a good night for The Usos, I reckon. Pick: The Usos

Sean Rueter: Gonna be a bad night for The New Day, I reckon. Pick: The Usos

Kyle Decker: The New Day have won every match involving them and the Usos going back to October. Usos are gonna get one here. Pick: The Usos

Claire Elizabeth: Gonna be a bad night for the Bloodline, I reckon. Pick: New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)

Cain A. Knight: The New Day have gotten the better of the Usos nearly every week, so the law of reverse momentum means the Usos retain the gold. Pick: The Usos

Stella Cheeks: I’m with Nikki Bella. Winners? Losers? It doesn’t matter. These two teams always create magic in the ring. But if I had to pick (and I do cuz it’s my job or whatever) I’m sticking with The Bloodline. Pick: The Usos

Marcus Benjamin: One tag title will change hands on this night. It won’t be this one. Pick: The Usos

Raw tag team championship: RK-Bro vs. The Street Profits

Geno Mrosko: There’s no reason to change the titles here. Pick: RK-Bro

Sean Rueter: Can’t have Riddle take a loss before his big match at New Year’s Evil. Pick: RK-Bro

Kyle Decker: The way Raw is playing, I’d expect RK-Bro to have a longer feud with Alpha Academy coming out of this. It also feels like there’s more juice to be squeezed out of a still entertaining RK-Bro. Pick: RK-Bro

Claire Elizabeth: You gotta think RK-Bro makes Vince laugh and laugh and laugh, right? Pick: RK-Bro (Matt Riddle & Randy Orton)

Cain A. Knight: Randy Orton, singles wrestler, is nowhere near as entertaining as the RK-Bro version of The Viper, so hopefully WWE isn’t looking to break the team up just yet. Pick: RK-Bro

Stella Cheeks: RK-Bro is one of the only tolerable things on Raw. I can’t imagine they take the belts off them at the height of their popularity. Pick: RK-Bro

Marcus Benjamin: I’m apparently going out on this limb all by my lonesome, but I’m going with the Street Profits. RK-Bro is entertaining as hell and still have a lot to do, but if not now for the Profits, when? Pick: The Street Profits

Edge vs. The Miz

Geno Mrosko: I love the idea of Beth Phoenix coming in for a mixed tag, and having Maryse interfere here to give The Miz a victory would pave the way for exactly that. Pick: The Miz

Sean Rueter: I know this program ain’t over, and that booking 101 says the heel should win the opener of a feud in order to give the babyface a reason to keep fighting. But just like his old rival John Cena back in 2017, I just don’t see the Rated-R Hall of Famer taking any Ls to Miz. And it won’t hurt The A-Lister one bit. Pick: Edge

Kyle Decker: I’ll be shocked if this program doesn’t lead to Miz & Maryse vs. Edge & Beth Phoenix. If Edge wins tonight, he won’t need the help. So Miz wins one tonight with blatant help from Maryse, Beth makes the save, and then we have a Rumble match set. Pick: The Miz

Claire Elizabeth: Ordinarily I’d be like “okay Miz has just got to be a speedbump, a nice little night off for Edge to keep him tuned up heading into his ‘real’ WrestleMania feud” but they’re clearly telegraphing two things: 1) Edge is a step ahead mentally but keeps getting got by Miz and Maryse all the same; and b) Beth Phoenix is going to get involved to play equalizer, and I don’t think Beth’s just doing a run-in. So, Miz wins through Maryse shenanigans, mixed tag on the plate, sure why not? Pick: The Miz

Cain A. Knight: Miz is a mid-card guy who shouldn’t be in the same ring as Edge, but he’ll probably win here to set up the return of Beth Phoenix for a mixed tag at Royal Rumble. In some ways this feels like it will be a rehash of the Miz/Bryan feud in 2018 that started out with a Miz victory at SummerSlam, before Brie Bella joined the picture for a mixed tag on the next major event. Pick: The Miz

Stella Cheeks: The Miz wins in a shady Miz like way to set up a mixed tag feud with Edge and Beth Phoenix. If literally anything else happens I will scream. Sometimes the stories are simple! Just let it be fun and simple!! Pick: The Miz

Marcus Benjamin: This feud started in an interesting place and quickly detoured to the land of meh. I don’t put that on either man, but maybe that was always the plan. Maybe, with Maryse playing such an integral part now, is the way to get Beth Phoenix at a big WWE event in Dallas. For that reason alone, Miz has to get the win here due to underhanded deeds. Pick: The Miz

Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss

Geno Mrosko: There is no world that exists where Madcap Moss beats Drew McIntyre on a WWE pay-per-view. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Sean Rueter: The only suspense here is if we’ll finally find out how many points of damage Angela is capable of inflicting. I need to know what die to roll. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Kyle Decker: I was surprised that they had Drew pin Madcap straight up in that tag match on the go-home SmackDown, which had me actually debating if they wanted to give Madcap a win. Then I stopped sniffing paint thinner and came to my senses. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Claire Elizabeth: C’mon. C’mon. What are you doing? Drew McIntyre ain’t losing to Happy Corbin’s right hand goon on PPV. I can’t even consider the idea. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Cain A. Knight: Madcap’s funniest joke of all is the one where he accidentally gets himself booked into a squash match on pay-per-view. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Stella Cheeks: Drew McIntyre has a sword. Madcap Moss wears suspenders. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Marcus Benjamin: I’m not waiting a lot of words on this one. Pick: Drew McIntyre.

Cesaro & Ricochet vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland

Geno Mrosko: I want to pick Cesaro & Ricochet but that would mean believing those two are actually going to win a match on a WWE show. Pick: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

Sean Rueter: Every time I pick heels on the pre-show, I’m wrong. Pick: Cesaro & Ricochet

Kyle Decker: Sean thinks it’s the picking heels that makes him wrong, but the truth is, he’s just always wrong. Pick: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

Claire Elizabeth: This would have been a killer Evolve main event but as a WWE pre-show tag I halfway expect I’ll fall asleep during the heat segment. (Don’t worry, my wife will wake me up if I do.) Anyway I like the mean boys’ little mentor/fanboy dynamic so let’s put them over. Pick: Ridge Holland & Sheamus

Cain A. Knight: Ridge Holland might already be the biggest jabroni out of the four men, so I think he’s taking the fall. I mean, the guy doesn’t even have his own entrance music. Pick: Cesaro & Ricochet

Stella Cheeks: Ricochet exists to lose matches in WWE. Ridge is the new fresh callup. Do the math. Pick: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

Marcus Benjamin: Ridge is a fresh call-up while Cesaro and Ricochet have nothing to gain here. Pick: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

That’s how we see the card playing out.


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