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Raw recap & reactions (Jan. 31, 2022): Don’t be rude to Rebecca

Lita made an unexpected visit up on Raw to challenge Becky Lynch. How would the champ respond?

Monday Night Raw is coming at us from Cincinnati, Ohio this week. I wonder if they have anything else to cheer about this week.

While I ponder on what other big thing happened to Cincy, you go read Claire’s blog. Then come back for some insights.

Let’s talk Raw!


LITA IS BACK

No clever headline here. Becky Lynch needed an opponent for Elimination Chamber, Lita needed something to do. Sometimes in WWE, simple arithmetic still works.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about how we got here. Ronda Rousey made her way to the ring to tell us all whom she will face at WrestleMania. She cut the blandest of bland promos with a scowl on her face while doing her best to hide the smile she wanted to crack as the fans chanted her name.

According to Ronda, “Rebecca” is beneath her but she’s torn. After saying Rebecca’s name so many times, Becky came to the ring because of course she did. After a very brief back and forth between the two, Ronda put the champ on her back and kinda threatened to put her in a submission. I say kinda because Becky’s look of shock and amusement said otherwise. Ronda told Becky—and us—that she’ll have her answer on Friday.

I hate when WWE does this. When you tell me someone is coming to Raw to make an announcement, let them make the announcement. They told us Brock Lesnar was coming to Raw to announce his WrestleMania opponent. I don’t think anyone passed out when he said Roman Reigns, but at least he said something.

Anyway, Ronda exited the ring and while Becky complained about Rousey’s rude behavior, a familiar early 2000s Rock tune played over the arena speakers.

Lita came to the ring, commiserated with Becky on the way Ronda treated her, and even called Lynch the GOAT. Becky returned the favor by telling the WWE legend how much she admired her back in the day and still thinks the world of her now.

That last part might change in a few weeks because Lita challenged Becky to a Raw Women’s championship match at Elimination Chamber. Lita actually goaded Becky, lauding her for never backing down from a challenge and then issuing one of her own. Becky was flustered but had to accept.

So at the “live premium event” none of us want to see or even think about, we’re getting Lita and Becky Lynch. On one hand, that sounds great. On the other, it says a lot about the Women’s division that this is even a thing.

But that’s WWE these days: You take the good with the bad and accept they’re way more intertwined than they ever should be.


Phenomenal...That’s All

AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio. Those names are pretty important in the history of this thing we love. Their resumes are longer than the time it takes me to find the perfect analogy to end this sentence. AND, they’re both WWE 2K cover wrestlers! It’s only fitting that two guys with that much clout wrestle each other for the last spot in the Elimination Chamber next month.

Shocker, and stop me if this isn’t news, they put on a great match worthy of their talents and the prize at the end of the ding ding.

What I liked most is when they knew each other’s moves so well. AJ knew a 619 was coming so he ducked it and hit the top rope for a Phenomenal Forearm. Rey, also a smart vet, knew what was coming and ducked because duh. The funniest moment was the way AJ simply sat up in the most lackadaisical way possible to dodge Rey’s high risk maneuver. The match was that easy for both dudes. The tempo and tenor was just perfect.

There was a moment when AJ styles attempted the Styles Clash from the top rope. I say attempted because Rey escaped and the match continued. But there was something Rey did a lot of throughout the bout: Climbed those ropes. Damn near every chance he got, Rey ascended to the top to hit AJ with something.

Then came the moment when he tried one more time, landing on Styles’ chest. But rather than get the pin attempt, AJ rolled through and finally nailed the Styles Clash that alluded him twice before. Like the match itself, it was a smooth transition and perfect.

This was a great match and easily the best of the qualifiers. Watch it as soon as you can.


Extracurriculars

Beastly Elimination Chamber

Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley set off Raw this week. Not in a match, although Brock came prepared to fight, but in a battle of words. Lashley crowed about his W over Brock but let Adam Peace know how angry he is about the fact he’s defending his title in the Elimination Chamber in a couple weeks.

Brock acknowledged Lashley...kinda..and told the champ that his match with Reigns at WrestleMania will be a title vs. title match. How? He wanted to fight Lashley right there for the title. But Adam Pearce decided to put Brock in the Elimination Chamber instead.

I don’t know bout you but I’m already prepping for a Brock Lesnar victory. One doesn’t just throw out phrases like “title vs. title” and not back them up. The WWE Championship feels meaningless now anyway, so maybe this is the answer to that frustrating enigma.

Do You Believe in Miracles?!

For about an hour and a half, Chad Gable and Riddle did laps around the arena on scooters. I’m in the bag for anything Chad does at this point, so of course I was thoroughly entertained. While it wasn’t great as last week’s spelling bee, it still got the job done.

On the final lap—they did 50 if you’re wondering—they raced out to the ringside finish line. Chad hurt his knee somehow, giving Riddle an easy win.

Nope!

Otis, apparently so aerodynamic thanks to his slick suit that nobody saw him coming, ambushed Riddle and stopped him from crossing the checkered line. Gable crossed, and granted Riddle a match with Otis since Riddle complained about the race and called Chad a cheater. Adam Pearce declared the winner of the impromptu match will earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber. To quote Marcus Burnett, sh*t just got real.

Riddle made Otis look like a million and three bucks. Otis controlled this match and Riddle took a beating. He made every move from Otis look like a car crash.

In the end, Riddle pulled out the W. Barely. But a W is a W no matter how it happens.

Okay match between these two. The weakest of the qualifying matches this week. But Riddle in the Elimination Chamber sounds like a lot of fun.

Next week? RK-Bro and Alpha Academy will go toe-to-toe in a Quiz Bowl. I can’t wait.

Oh and Randy didn’t even show up to have his partner’s back. What a guy, that Orton. With a friend like that...

Dynamic Duo Disassembled

Not sure if this is truly the end of this thing between Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H.(more like A.S.V.) but this was a solid match. Nikki lost because she showed off one too many times and paid the price. My one complaint is wishing it was a bigger match with a tad more violence. Not blood and guts because we know WWE is beneath such things, especially for women, but a fight worthy of a friendship gone sour.

Theory of Relativity

There was no way Austin Theory was winning this match. Right? I mean, c’mon, it’s him vs, Kevin Owens. Owens is a lock for the Elimination Chamber. Right?!

Wrong.

KO and Austin put on a hell of a match worthy of the prize of which they were fighting. I need matches to meet the stakes like Geno and Pat. And that’s exactly what we got here. KO did everything in his power to put the young cat away but nothing worked. KO made one mistake: He forgot he was fighting someone willing to do whatever to win. Austin escaped a power bomb that surely spelled his undoing, kicked the middle rope while KO was getting back in the ring—which reverberated in KO’s lower region—and nailed him with the ATL.

KO is hot. Why? Because prior to the match, Seth Rollins revealed on the KO Show that he has a spot in the Elimination Chamber simply because he’s Seth Rollins. Meanwhile KO not only had to fight for his spot, but didn’t make the cut.

We haven’t heard the last of this. Not by a long shot.

Two for the Price of One

Last week, Bianca Belair beat Queen Zelina. This week, she did the same to Carmella. WWE knows they need Bianca on TV but don’t have anything for her at the moment sooo holding pattern city is her residence. I love Bianca and like Carmella. But this wasn’t for me.

Papa Don’t Preach

Me thinks Miz and Rey Mysterio are converging to fight. Dominik faced Miz this week and lost rather quickly thanks a quick distraction from the always evil Miz. I really have no opinion on the match since it wasn’t much of anything, or the idea of Miz and Rey beefing.

TBD

Homecoming

Big solo win for Angelo Dawkins. Not only did he beat Dolph Ziggler, but he did it in his hometown! Which, if you know WWE, is quite the rarity. The match was okay but there were no stakes in it at all. It was just there to get the hometown hero in front of the crowd since Cincinnati is the place to be at the moment.


I enjoyed Raw for the most part tonight. We got a lot of matches with actual things on the line and reasons for existing! Which is a big deal. For the most part, those matches delivered and we set the table for WWE’s next “premium live event.” Yes, I’m using quotations every time I type those words together.

We also got two updates from Alexa this week, who looks more like her normal self the longer therapy goes on. While the segments aren’t my favorite, I do enjoy that detail.

Solid show and an okay way to end the month.

Grade: B-

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