By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Day 1 Kickoff Show
Aired live January 1, 2022 on Peacock, WWE Network, and WWE’s social media pages
Atlanta, Georgia at State Farm Arena
-Kayla Braxton hosted the show and was joined by the panel of Kevin Patrick, Booker T, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg from their usual spot on the arena floor. They immediately addressed the change to the card caused by Roman Reigns testing positive for COVID-19, which led to Brock Lesnar being added to the WWE Championship match.
-The panel ran through the rest of the lineup and it appears as though all of the other matches will take place as advertised.
-A video package aired on the Edge vs. Miz match. The Miz crashed the panel’s desk and spoke about his match with Edge.
-The Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship was spotlighted in a video package.
-Sonya Deville joined the panel and spoke about the Lynch vs. Morgan match. She also played innocent while speaking about her own issues with Naomi.
-Backstage, King Woods and Kofi Kingston were interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Woods declared that New Year’s Day will now be known as New Day Day.
-Kevin Owens was shown arriving backstage. He was wearing a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt (nice).
-The panel spoke about the Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss match.
-Bobby Lashley and MVP were shown arriving backstage.
-Michael Cole and Pat McAfee spoke at ringside about the Reigns situation and the updated WWE Championship match. Entrances for the Kickoff Show match took place.
1. Sheamus and Ridge Holland vs. Ricochet and Cesaro. Cesaro powered up Holland and held him for a bit before performing a backbreaker. Ricochet tagged in and performed an assisted flip onto Holland, which led to a two count. Ricochet’s knee actually landed on Holland’s face while performing the assisted flip. Holland pushed Ricochet to the corner where Sheamus tagged in and then Holland rolled to the floor.
Cole eventually passed along word that Holland would not be able to return. Sheamus said he didn’t need a partner and continued the match on his own. Cesaro performed the Swing on him and then applied the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus reached the ropes to break the hold. Sheamus came back with a knee to Cesaro’s face and covered him, but Ricochet broke up the pin.
Sheamus took Ricochet to ringside and hit him with White Noise on the floor. Sheamus went up top and dove at Cesaro, who hit him with an upper cut and covered him for another two count. Moments later, Sheamus caught Cesaro with a Brogue Kick and pinned him clean.
Sheamus and Ridge Holland defeated Ricochet and Cesaro in 9:45.
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team told the story that Sheamus was able to pull out the win because he took out Ricochet with White Noise on the floor, which then left Cesaro alone to face him. It was hardly ideal for Cesaro to take the pin in what turned into a handicap match, but they obviously stuck with the planned finish despite Holland’s injury. We didn’t get a look at Holland’s face, but he was clearly bleeding and in pain. Here’s wishing him the best. Between Holland’s injury and the Reigns news, this show is starting to feel cursed.
-Big E was shown walking through the backstage area with his title belt over his shoulder.
-The panel spoke about the new main event. JBL made a strong effort to sell the match. The panel ran through the pay-per-view lineup again.
-A video package spotlighted the WWE Championship match. The video focussed on the originally scheduled four-way, then included the update about Lesnar being added to the match.
-The panel spoke about the main event and closed the pre-show shortly thereafter.