By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,492)
Live from Detroit, Michigan at Little Caesars Arena
Aired December 27, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in on commentary. Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton and Riddle made their entrance while the broadcast team hyped The Miz and Maryse renewing their wedding vows. They added that a surprise guest would officiate the ceremony.
Riddle wore a party hat and held a Christmas card in his hand. Orton said the only way he would have a happy new year is if he beat Otis. Orton had the production truck air footage of his win over Chad Gable from last week followed by Otis stuffing three of his RKO attempts. Riddle said it was like magic that Orton got the footage to air on the big screen.
Riddle said Otis doesn’t have a neck and Orton made not be able to RKO him. He wondered how many burritos Otis eats and what kind of burritos. He also recalled going out for burgers with Orton and claimed that Orton told him that he was his best friend. Orton cut him off.
Chad Gable and Otis made their entrance and spoke from the stage. Gable said Otis is the most dangerous man in WWE. Gable also boasted about getting his master’s degree and having a 4.0 GPA. Gable asked the crowd if they were booing genius now. Gable said he is a little advanced “for a town like this.”
Riddle ended up challenging Gable to an immediate match. Riddle told Orton not to worry. Gable questioned Riddle wanting to face an Olympic athlete just days before the tag title match at WWE Day 1. Gable accepted the match. Riddle told Orton that he would give him a gift after they win the two singles matches… [C]
Powell’s POV: WWE production hasn’t figured out how to pipe in laughs yet, so it was very noticeable that the live crowd wasn’t reacting to the the Riddle and Orton jokes.
1. Riddle (w/Randy Orton) vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis). Gable targeted the left knee of Riddle. Gable performed a tiger suplex for a near fall. Gable went for a top rope moonsault, but Riddle was waiting with a triangle attempt. Gable countered into an ankle lock that Riddle rolled out of. Gable went for another suplex. Riddle landed on his feet and blasted Gable with a knee to the head, then followed up with Bro Derek and scored the pin…
Riddle defeated Chad Gable in roughly 4:00.
After the match, Otis entered the ring and knocked Riddle to ringside in front of Orton. Otis motioned for Orton to bring it while Smith said their match was coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: A nice television match. Gable continues to shine in the ring despite being booked to lose most of his matches. The broadcast team plugged a lot of matches without mentioning the AJ Styles vs. Omos match that was previously listed for this show. On what may be a related note, WWE had a COVID-19 outbreak that will cause some talent to miss this show.
2. Randy Orton (w/Riddle) vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable). The match was joined in progress. Otis performed a running splash and then yelled that he’s the man. Orton went for an RKO, but Otis shoved him off and Orton tumbled to ringside. Otis followed Orton and charged him, but Orton moved and then Gable crashed into the ring steps.
Orton caught Otis with a kick when he tried to return to the ring. Orton followed up with a Draping DDT. Otis rallied and went for a Vader Bomb that Orton avoided. Orton dropped Otis with an RKO and pinned him clean.
Randy Orton defeated Otis in 3:30 of television time.
After the match, Riddle congratulated Orton on his win and then said it was time for his present. Riddle said the only present good enough for Orton was “a big, beautiful hug.” Riddle got the crowd to chant Randy and then told Orton that he wouldn’t tell a soul if they hugged. Orton hugged Riddle, then teased giving him an RKO. Orton pointed at Riddle and smiled, then hugged him again…
Graves hyped the Miz and Maryse wedding vow renewal… Kevin Owens was shown standing backstage on the interview set with a broadcast team member and didn’t seem pleased to be there… [C]
Powell’s POV: Orton struggling to use his finisher on Otis made for a decent television story. I’m disappointed that they didn’t turn this into a tag title feud, but I guess both teams are going in different directions. And while the Riddle and Orton comedy bits didn’t click earlier, the live crowd was definitely behind them during their matches and were lively during the post match skit.
A Superstar Facts graphic on Seth Rollins was shown… A video package recapped Rollins and Owens attacking Big E and Bobby Lashley last week…
Kevin Owens was interviewed by Kevin Patrick on a backstage interview set. Patrick set up a pre-taped promo featuring WWE Champion Big E, who spoke about sleeping on a tiny studio apartment floor when he learned his craft and getting to the top of the industry while doing things the right way. He also spoke about walking out of WWE Day 1 with his championship.
Owens said Big E was wrong when he spoke about showing for work every week. Owens said that’s not the case this week, but Owens pointed out that he was there. Owens took credit for the plan that he and Rollins used while taking out Lashley last week. He said the next part of his plan is winning the WWE Championship. Owens also decided that Patrick’s new name is Bert…
WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke and Reggie made their entrance for a tag team match against R-Truth and Tamina… [C]
Powell’s POV: Just when it seemed like Reggie couldn’t possibly get more annoying, he showed up for this match wearing a red suit jacket with matching red shorts.
A Veer Mahaan video aired. Yes, he’s still listed as “coming to Raw”… R-Truth and Tamina made separate entrances and bickered before their match…
3. WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke and Reggie vs. R-Truth and Tamina. Truth told Tamina that he wanted to start the match and she obliged. Reggie offered a handshake, but Truth pulled him in for a side headlock. In the end, Reggie performed a move that spiked Truth’s shoulder into the mat and then pinned him…
WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke and Reggie defeated R-Truth and Tamina in 2:45.
After the match, Truth tried to talk to Tamina, who then took a swing that Truth ducked. Tamina also went after Brooke and Reggie. They also avoided her and then Brooke hit her with a handspring elbow in the corner…
Powell’s POV: Reggie’s outfit somehow got even worse when he removed his red suit jacket. He wore a vest that was red in the front and yellow in the back, causing Graves to make the obvious McDonald’s comparison. Anyway, his finisher looked and sounded bad in real time, but Truth popped right up and seemed fine afterward.
Highlights aired of Rhea Ripley beating Queen Zelina on last week’s Raw…
Backstage, Megan Morant interviewed Nikki ASH and asked if WWE officials made the right call in barring her from ringside during Ripley’s win over Zelina. ASH said Ripley won without her, but she also likes to think that she inspires Ripley. She added that Ripley’s pep talk helped her. ASH challenged Zelina and Carmella to a rematch for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles…
The Street Profits made their entrance… [C] A brief video touted Migos appearing at WWE Day 1… A long video package aired to promote the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar match for the WWE Universal Championship.
[Hour Two] The footage chronicled the recent storyline history between Reigns, Lesnar, and Paul Heyman, and concluded with footage from Friday of Reigns firing Heyman… Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance…
4. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio in the tournament finals for a shot at the Raw Tag Titles. Randy Orton and Riddle were shown watching the match backstage and it was noted that they would defend their tag titles against the winning team at WWE Day 1. Rey and Dom performed stereo dives onto the Profits at ringside. [C]
Ford performed a top rope splash on Rey and had him beat, but Dom broke up the pin. Dom took out Dawkins with a dive from the apron to the floor. In the ring, Ford popped up Rey for a move, but Rey countered into a huracanrana that put Ford on the ropes. Rey tagged out and hit a 619 on Ford before also going after Dawkins on the floor. Dom performed a top rope splash on Ford for a good near fall.
Dom put Ford in position for a 619, but he was apparently on the wrong side of the ring so they redid the spot on the other side. Dawkins returned to the ring and ended up putting Dom on his shoulders, then Ford performed the top rope Blockbuster and scored the pin.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins defeated Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio in 12:05 to earn a shot at the Raw Tag Titles at WWE Day 1.
The Profits celebrated their win while Orton and Riddle watched them on a backstage television…
Powell’s POV: A fun match with a couple of really good near falls for both teams. Raw has three good babyface tag teams with the Profits, the Mysterios, and RKBro, but they really need to start building up their heel tag teams, especially if AJ Styles and Omos are splitting up. I’m not sure if Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode can be salvaged at this point, which makes the lack of a sustained push for Alpha Academy all the more puzzling.
A video package aired on AJ Styles and Omos…
AJ Styles made his entrance. A graphic listed “AJ Styles Live!” for after the break with no mention of his previously advertised match against Omos… An ad aired for WWE’s Top 10 Moments of 2021 special that will air Friday night on FS1 (no Smackdown this week)… [C]
Backstage, The Miz flipped out on some guy over the bouquet of roses that he brought. Miz introduced Eric Bischoff as the person who would officiate the wedding ceremony. Bischoff said the vow renewal ceremony would be must see TV…
Powell’s POV: That’s not Eric Bischoff. That’s an elderly man who officiates wedding ceremonies wearing a latex Eric Bischoff mask. I knew this guy would get his revenge for Bischoff impersonating him during the Billy & Chuck wedding.
AJ Styles stood in the ring and recalled Omos saying he would wrestle him this week. Styles said he was there and questioned where Omos was. Styles said he hopes that Omos isn’t scared. He wondered if Omos fears that he won’t live up to his potential. Styles admitted that he was fearful early in his career too.
Styles said you have to pay your dues and Omos will pay his dues to him. Styles said he would kick Omos’s teeth in the next time he sees him. Styles said he has twenty years of experience over Omos. He said he’s seen giants come and go, but there’s only been one AJ Styles.
NXT wrestler Grayson Waller was shown holding up a sign that read “The Grayson Waller Effect is Phenomenal” in the front row. Styles called him out and invited him to join him inside the ring. Once Waller was in the ring, Styles introduced him to the crowd. Waller said that Styles visited him at his house in NXT, so he thought he would do the same for Styles.
Waller said he didn’t have to pay his dues, he just needed to get under the skin of Styles and he begged him to get in the ring. Waller said Monday night feels right, and he’ll take AJ’s spot once Omos is done with him. Styles said of course Waller likes it because “this is where stars are made.” Styles said Waller isn’t a star. Styles brought up the idea of hitting his finisher on Waller.
Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez made their entrance. Crews said that AJ’s giant wasn’t there, but his giant was. Azeez said that if Styles likes to slay giants, then maybe he should face him. Styles accepted the challenge… [C]
Backstage, Carmella was interviewed by Megan Morant. Carmella accepted the earlier challenge made by Nikki ASH for a WWE Women’s Tag Title match. Carmella said Nikki would eventually be tagged into the match “and we all know what that means.” Carmella said ASH isn’t almost a superhero, she’s almost second best, almost a good tag partner, and almost good enough, but almost doesn’t cut it…
5. AJ Styles vs. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez). The broadcast team explained that Crews took the match for himself during the commercial break. At ringside, Crews pressed Styles over his head and dropped him on the apron. Crews kicked Styles and stood over him on the floor. [C]
Styles performed a backflip off of the middle rope and hit an inverted DDT on the way down. Styles set up for his finisher, but Azeez pulled Crews to ringside. Crews climbed onto the apron and Styles went after him, but Crews caught him with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. In the ring, Crews covered Styles for a near fall.
Crews caught Styles with a leaping enzuigiri. Crews hoisted up Styles for a move, but Styles countered into a huracanrana and somehow avoided landing on his head in a scary spot. Styles hit a Styles Clash moments later and scored the pin.
AJ Styles defeated Apollo Crews in 10:45.
After the match, Azeez took a swipe at Styles, who avoided it by rolling to ringside. Azeez checked on Crews. Styles returned to hit Azeez with a Phenomenal Forearm…
Powell’s POV: A good match aside from the near miss spot. I was hoping that Waller would get involved in the match, but it was still a nice touch to have him appear on Raw. WWE sends main roster wrestlers to NXT to pop ratings, but perhaps it will be more beneficial long term to boost the prestige of some of the NXT regulars by having them make appearances on Raw and Smackdown.
Seth Rollins delivered a promo from home in front of a Christmas tree. He said Kevin Owens tried to take the credit earlier, but he could have it because he intended on taking the WWE Championship at WWE Day 1…
Kevin Owens made his entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Rollins indicated on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19. While the virus affects people differently, the new CDC guidance calls for a five-day quarantine rather than a ten-day quarantine as long as a person is no longer showing any symptoms. The guidance also suggests that those affected should wear a mask around others for another five days. I’m not sure when Rollins tested positive, but the company seems confident that he and the other entrants in the four-way will be healthy enough to work on Sunday based on their continued promotion of the match.
Kevin Owens delivered an in-ring promo. He claimed that he won at MSG and told people to not bother looking up the result (funny because he lost to Edge).
[Hour Three] Owens said he was the only person in the four-way match at WWE Day 1 who was present on Raw and acted like he didn’t know why. Owens claimed that he and Seth Rollins have one mind, one heart, and one soul. Owens said he created the perfect plan and it will result in him becoming the WWE Champion.
MVP made his entrance. He read a text message from Bobby Lashley in which he stated that he would rip the noddle arms off of Owens’ body. Owens said there was no way he wrote that. MVP continued to read the message that said one of the entrants would end up in the Hurt Lock. Owens called the text message “utterly terrifying” but said he still feels good about his chances. Owens said his mother told him that he’s special.
Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin made their entrance and joined MVP on the stage. MVP said he couldn’t take credit for this and asked them to explain why they were there. Alexander said Owens was right, one man can’t beat three. Benjamin said even the All Mighty can’t take on the whole world. Alexander said Lashley was at his best when he was rolling with them in the Hurt Business.
MVP said Lashley doesn’t need anyone, but he was willing to let them talk business. Owens cut them off and cut to the chase by saying that Alexander and Benjamin are supposed to beat him up to prove that they should reform the Hurt Business. Owens called for them to bring it on. MVP said he agrees and then led Alexander and Benjamin to the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: So Alexander and Benjamin haven’t actually been in the Hurt Business despite rejoining Lashley at one point and then wearing Hurt Business gear after that? They have been treated like scrubs since then so I guess I’m not surprised, but I am definitely confused.
6. Kevin Owens vs. Cedric Alexander (w/Shelton Benjamin). MVP sat in on commentary. Owens performed an early cannonball on Alexander. Owens pulled Alexander into position, then went up top, but Alexander slid under the ropes. Owens joined him on the apron where Alexander kicked him and clotheslined him.
Owens regained offensive control back inside the ring until Alexander put him down with an enzuigiri that sent him to ringside. Alexander hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Alexander performed a Flatliner for a near fall. Owens came back with a powerbomb, a kick, and a Stunner for the win…
Kevin Owens beat Cedric Alexander in 3:15.
After the match, Benjamin called for “a goddamn microphone.” Before he could speak, Owens kicked him and dropped him with a Stunner…
Powell’s POV: There was no mystery regarding the outcome of the match, but it was a decent showcase for Owens heading into the title match. It was a bit strange to put heel Owens in the ring against another heel, but WWE gets some leeway tonight given the circumstances with various wrestlers sidelined due to the virus.
Footage aired of the recent drama involving Damian Priest and Dolph Ziggler, and then Ziggler made his entrance to his shitty entrance music… [C]
Powell’s POV: Fortunately, I fell a couple minutes behind on the show, so I was able to fast forward through that awful song that just won’t go away.
Ring announcer Mike Rome stood in the ring and directed the attention of fans to the big screen for a video package on the rivalry between Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan…
Footage aired from “earlier today” of Damian Priest delivering a backstage promo. He said he does his best to keep his darkness at bay, but he did lose control last week and his darkness “Damian” came out. He said his blind rage will take control if he’s disrespected and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Priest said it could hurt him against a veteran like Dolph Ziggler, who would try to take advantage of it. Priest said that if Ziggler does, he’ll come face to face with Damian. Priest said his rage has cost him in the past, but it will make sure that his U.S. Title stays exactly where it belongs. Priest made his entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: So the darkness could hurt Priest if he loses control against Ziggler, but Ziggler also shouldn’t want to be face to face with his darkness. So, um, is the darkness a good thing or a bad thing?
7. Damian Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler for the U.S. Championship. Before the match, Rome delivered introductions while both wrestlers were inside the ring. Priest dumped Ziggler to ringside with a clothesline. Priest followed him to the floor where Ziggler shoved him into the barricade. Priest recovered and tossed Ziggler into the timekeepers area. [C]
Ziggler got mouthy late in the match and barked at Priest while holding his face. Ziggler slapped Priest, who snapped. Priest threw punches at Ziggler in the corner and ignored the referee’s five count, causing the referee to disqualify him.
Dolph Zigger beat U.S. Champion Damian Priest by DQ in 10:25.
After the match, Priest continued to work over Ziggler and hit his Reckoning finisher at ringside…
Powell’s POV: The live crowd didn’t seem to care about this match. I have no idea why the creative forces felt the need to stretch out this weak program by creating the need for a rematch.
Highlights aired of The Cutting Edge segment with Maryse as the guest…
Eric Bischoff made his entrance to officiate the wedding vow renewal segment….
Powell’s POV: Marjo shows up or we riot!!! Hey, maybe that’s her under the Bischoff latex mask.
Eric Bischoff stood in the ring that was set up for the wedding. He said it was truly great to be back in a WWE ring. Bischoff introduced The Miz, who made his entrance and then tripped on the steps that were set up against the ring. Bischoff introduced Maryse, who navigated the steps despite wearing a wedding gown.
Miz spoke about proving that the current Edge isn’t as good as the old Edge. He also took a jab at the host city. Maryse said Miz is the man of her dreams. She also said he is the best father, husband, and a “way better WWE Superstar than Edge.” She asked if he will continue to be her husband.
“What do you think, should I?” Miz asked. He told them their opinions don’t matter because they live in Detroit and cheer for the Lions. Miz delivered his wedding vows. He said Maryse didn’t speak a word of English when they met in 2006, so he delivered his lines in French. She corrected him a couple times and pointed out that one line was in Spanish.
Miz switched to English and said that if he was a woman, he would want to be her. He said that she’s the only woman who could tame his wild heart. He asked if she will continue to be his wife. Miz barked at the crowd for making noise. “Yes,” Maryse said. “Yes, I will.” Bischoff said it was so beautiful. Bischoff asked if anyone had any objections, then stopped himself and said “we know how this is going to turn out.”
Edge made his entrance. “Don’t fall,” Edge told Miz. He said it was good to see Bischoff. Edge said he wasn’t there to ruin anything, though he could say that he threw up in his mouth a little while listening to their vows. Edge said he finally has his match with Miz on Saturday. “And I am going to beat your ass,” Edge said.
Miz said they knew Edge would do this and wanted him to have a front row seat so he could see what true love looks like. Miz and Maryse kissed. Edge told them to get a room. He said they embarrassed him over the last couple of weeks and now what goes around comes around and he was going to embarrass them.
Edge motioned to the back, then looked around. Miz got flustered. Edge said he was just messing with Miz. Edge asked if Miz wanted this to be a white wedding. The Brood music played and then the black substance fell onto Miz and Maryse, who threw a fit in the ring while Edge smiled at ringside…
Powell’s POV: It still looks like more of an oil bath than a blood bath, but whatever. Miz messing with the crowd was okay, and it was fun to see Bischoff back in WWE after his past appearances in AEW, but the segment was predictable and felt uninspired.
Overall, I’m giving WWE a bit of a pass for this episode due to missing several top names. Here’s wishing them all a speedy recovery. It wasn’t a great go-home show by any means and they were in a tough position because they couldn’t bring in Smackdown talent because they are holding a Christmas week house show in Orlando tonight. They filled the three hours and it still wasn’t as bad as a lot of the pre-draft episodes. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of WWE Raw. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
Join me for my live review of the WWE Day 1 pay-per-view on Saturday night.