11/22 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s live alt-perspective on Survivor Series fallout, Vince McMahon’s stolen golden egg, both rosters on show, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 22, 2021
BROOKLYN, N.Y. AT THE BARCLAYS CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

Ring Announcer: Mike Rome

Backstage Correspondent(s): Sarah Schreiber, Kevin Patrick

Tonight after the show, join PWTorch.com founder and editor Wade Keller and guest co-host Robert Vallejos from PWTorch.com’s Dailycast MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
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[HOUR ONE]

-The show began with a shot of the empty case the Cleopatra egg was in with an irate Vince McMahon sitting behind a desk with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville sitting across from him. Jimmy Smith said McMahon was still fuming over the events of last night as they shifted to a recap video from last night with McMahon discussing the egg being from The Rock and the real thing rather than a stage prop. They then showed the McMahon realizing the egg was missing and reacting, then instructing the entire roster to be on tonight’s show.

They cut back to McMahon, who said there’s nothing, huh? He said do you have any idea the value of this egg? He said The Rock gave it to him, then said it’s not about the value, but that someone stole from Vince McMahon. Pearce & Deville said they interviewed the superstars multiple times and even had the authorities involved, but no one knows anything. McMahon then said if they don’t find out who did it, then the two of them will be relieved of their duties. They said they have some blurry video with someone bare chested, and McMahon said it could be a woman; they agreed. McMahon said the person who comes to him with info will be handsomely rewarded or face Big E tonight for the title.

-Kevin Patrick approached Randy Orton in Gorilla, asking where Riddle was and Orton said it’s not like Riddle to miss a match. Orton said the last time he saw Riddle was last night after their victory over The Usos. He then slowly paused as Riddle approached with a fake mustache and goatee, saying he was doing “Viper stuff.” He said he’s doing what Orton said and is going to he him. He was wearing a black Orton cutoff hoodie like Orton, and even a pair of Orton-like wrestling trunks. He talked up Orton, then said he’s going to Zig Zag Ziggler into his worst nightmare once he hits the three most devastating letters in all of sports entertainment. Orton cut him off at the end and said he said to be like him, not to be him. Riddle said too late and slithered out to the ring to Orton’s music. Orton angrily followed. They showed Orton hitting Jimmy Uso with an RKO on a splash attempt to win their match last night. They cut to break hyping the forthcoming match. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I joked on Twitter that WWE was really putting the entertainment in “sports entertainment” since their pre-show email, pre-show Byron Saxton hype, and intro video all surrounded the stealing of McMahon’s golden egg. As this is ostensibly a show about professional wrestling, one would think a wrestling match or matches would be highlighted instead. That aside, they kept some intrigue to it by putting in the stipulation of either the firings of Pearce and Deville or someone challenging Big E for the WWE Championship. While this would indicate the person who brings the info is gong to be a man, they did suggest the culprit could be a woman. Let’s see how this plays out.)

-They returned with The Dirty Dawgs’ entrance and hyped a handicap match with The Mysterios vs. Bobby Lashley and Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins. They also hyped a Women’s Tag Team Championship match as Queen Zelina and Carmella challenge Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley.

(1) RIDDLE (c) (w/Randy Orton) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Robert Roode) – Singles match

Riddle was still barefoot, but taped both feet. Ziggler picked the foot and tried for a takedown, but Riddle turned it into a quick pin for a one-count. They reset and Riddle shot, then lifted Ziggler into an Air Raid Crash position before Ziggler rolled him into a pin for a two-count. They locked up, then Riddle hit a flying armbar that was quickly stacked into a two-count pin by Ziggler. Both men showing off their wrestling background in this match.

Ziggler hit a back elbow as Riddle broke on the ropes, then hit a dropkick right to the chin for a two-count. He fish hooked the mouth, then pulled on Riddle’s neck against the bottom rope. Riddle’s trunks say Gulak on them. Riddle hit a step-up backflip out of the corner reminiscent of Bryan Danielson, then deadlifted Ziggler into a gutbuster. He spun around several times before hitting the gutwrench, sending Ziggler outside. Riddle went for a springboard, but Ziggler countered with a superkick to the face right in front of Orton. Orton checked on his partner as The Dirty Dawgs’ did his pose in front of him as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Riddle kipping up and hitting running forearms in the corner, but Ziggler hit a back elbow on the third. He went for a Fame-Asser, but Riddle hit a quick powerslam like Orton. Ziggler rolled to the apron, and Riddle went for the draping DDT. Ziggler instead tossed Riddle over, then hit the Fame-Asser as Riddle reentered the ring for a two-count. Orton kept encouraging his partner at ringside. They showed that earlier in the match, the fish hook was actually Ziggler ripping off the fake mustache. The two traded punches from their knees, then their feet, but Ziggler kicked the knee and rubbed his boot across the face.

Ziggler set for a superkick, but Riddle turned him around and hit a pump knee to floor Ziggler, who sold like he went unconscious. Riddle started pounding the mat just like Orton, then hit a running RKO that Smith said was perfectly executed. Riddle won with a clean pin as Orton celebrated. Orton entered suddenly and took out Roode, who tried attacking Riddle, returned Riddle’s mustache, and hit Roode with a Bro Derek to Riddle’s ecstatic response. They posed in different corners to draw in the adulation from the fans.

WINNER: Riddle at 9:26 (RKO)

-Smith shifted to everyone looking for the egg, and Ripley and a host of other wrestlers were tearing apart the backstage area, looking in various crates and boxes. R-Truth accidentally entered either the women’s locker room or restroom.

-They cut back to the ring as Becky Lynch’s music hit. She stopped at the top of the entrance ramp and posed with her title, making her way to the ring holding the title high in the air. Corey Graves and Smith then shifted to a video recap of last night’s Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair match. They had still shots of impactful moments in the match, ending with Lynch’s eventual victory with a bit of turnabout is fair play. They spent a good two to three minutes on the video, which was well done. They cut back to the ring where Lynch was posing to the different sides of the audience. They cut to break hyping “A Victory Lap for Big Time Becks.” [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Riddle taking Orton’s words literally is right in character, and Orton reluctantly yet eventually enthusiastically accepting Riddle’s imitation of him makes him that much more endearing as a character. If they eventually do split with one of them turning on the other – presumably Orton on Riddle – then they’re doing a good job of building up the fan acceptance to the act for the eventual crushing betrayal. However, Wade Keller mentioned to me a few weeks ago he’d like to see them amicably split, probably with Orton wanting to pursue his next WWE Championship and Riddle regaining the United States Championship, and I think I’d like that more because it is so rare in WWE.)

A VICTORY LAP FOR BIG TIME BECKS – In-ring promo

They returned directly to Lynch in the middle of the ring with a mic, her music still going. The fans erupted in cheers as her music ended. She looked around, then said Brooklyn about six times – which drew even more cheers – and she said she’s had some of the biggest moments in her life there. She said it was three years ago when her career skyrocketed as she slapped Flair across the face. She said what you saw last night was a culmination of almost a decade of love and hate and friendship and betrayal, and she wanted to hurt her, injure her, embarrass her, and maim her, and Flair wanted to do the same. She said the fans loved every second of it, that they didn’t care who walked out a winner or who walked out at all.

She said of course she walked out the winner, the best, something she never questioned. She said now it’s time to turn to something fresh and new, asking the fans that they like something fresh and new right? She named Ripley (middling response), Bianca Belair (big response), Liv Morgan (bigger response), and said it’s so funny that she used to put so much stock in the fans’ opinion until she realized they’re full of crap. She said naw, naw, naw, you say you want fresh and new, but she saw them do their chants and their waves last night as ten women worked to gain the respect of the fans.

She said it hurts her to say it, but she agrees with the fans because none of the ten women have what it takes to beat her, especially Morgan. She said what, you like her because she’s the underdog, because she’s won one match in four years? She said they’ll bitch and moan when she loses because Brooklyn, not every underdog wins. She said no one is taking this title off Big Time Becks and threw the mic down.

-Smith shifted to Survivor Series where Belair was able to become sole survivor for Team Raw. Belair then made her entrance to a decent pop, but one that was definitely dulled a bit by being right after Lynch’s segment. The sidebar with wrestler info was a bit updated, looking more sleek than before.

BIANCA BELAIR IN-RING PROMO

She said last night she came back from a four to one deficit because she had the support of the WWE Universe and that she was able to show both brands that she was the EST, listing off all the words, then saying she is the B-E-S-T because she is the sole survivor. An “EST!” chant started. She said now, hopefully Doudrop will go home somewhere and stop being so salty that Belair was chosen. She said Doudrop should do something better with her time like helping Mr. McMahon find that egg. She said she’s about to whoop Tamina and prove she is the EST of WWE. Tamina made her entrance with Natalya by her side. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: You could see heel Lynch coming with how she was peering into the crowd before she began speaking. Even though it was telegraphed, she did a good job buttering up the crowd, using the usually effective call-and-response to her advantage. The only thing is, once again, because her words had so much truth to them that even though she said them so bitingly, it’s hard to disagree with her. It’s kind of like that Alonzo Mourning gif where he starts shaking his head in anger only to nod his head in resigned acceptance. Try as they might, she’s just too good at delivering her words for me to feel any heel heat toward her with all the truth to her words. Fans still seem to want to cheer her as well. They made the right choice, though, considering Morgan is a full-fledge face. Let’s just see what this means for Lynch after her inevitable victory over Morgan.)

(2) BIANCA BELAIR vs. TAMINA (w/Natalya) – Singles match

The match began as they returned, both women locking up before Tamina gained the advantage with a body shot. Belair flipped out of the corner and motioned for Tamina to kiss her ass before backflipping away, then hitting a combo of strikes on Tamina before hitting a snap suplex. She kipped up to a pop from the crowd, then hit her handspring moonsault for a two-count. Natalya looked on from ringside as an “EST!” chant started.

Belair leaped out of the corner, then back onto the middle rope, but Tamina pulled out her leg, hit a superkick, then a Samoan drop for a two-count. Tamina hit about five kicks to the gut in the corner, seating Belair, then hit a running hip attack for another two-count. Tamina locked in a neck wrench on Belair, twisting the head to her left shoulder. The crowd chanted for Belair again, but died down quickly as Belair remain seated. Tamina hit a crossface, then reapplied the wrench.

Belair reacted to the crowd’s claps with some body shots, but Tamina hit a running back elbow. They showed a graphic for Damian Priest’s Open Challenge for later. Tamina rushed at Belair in the corner, but Belair dodge, causing Tamina to hit the post. She kicked her head into the post from the apron, then lifted Tamina into the K.O.D. for the victory. Natalya attacked after the match, but was kicked outside as she went for the Sharpshooter. As Belair asked what she was doing, Doudrop attacked from behind, then hit her running crossbody to lay out Belair. Doudrop posed with the heels outside, so is she now aligned with them?

WINNER: Bianca Belair at 3:57 (K.O.D.)

-Smith shifted to a recap video of last night’s men’s team match, highlight Rollins’ performance. He said he would lead the team to victory and eventually became sole survivor. His music hit to a chorus of boos as he made his entrance in a velvet looking black and red jacket with a feather collar and feathered boa draped across his shoulders (I think; I’m not a fashionista). They cut to break hyping what should be a great match between him and Balor. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: They keep making Belair look strong with her K.O.D.s on Tamina. I have to think this is to setup fans to not only believe that Belair can pull it off, but that she will hit Doudrop with a K.O.D. in their eventual match. The match could have been at least a minute shorter had that rest hold been removed, but overall the match worked in keeping Belair strong after last night. The post-match attack can be explained away in that she fought off Natalya only to be attacked again by someone who wasn’t even at ringside. If this is indeed a new trio, it’s at least something different for Natalya and Tamina.)

-They returned hyping the handicap match and Women’s Tag Team Championship match; earlier, Saxton said “stiffest test” while Graves said “most difficult test” for A.S.H. and Ripley. Yeah, no.

SETH ROLLINS IN-RING PROMO

They cut to the ring where Rollins had a mic and he asked Brooklyn to give it up for the sole survivor. He cackled and danced around the ring with lots of energy. He said last night in that ring, he did what he was born to do and took the show, put it over his shoulder, and led Team Raw to victory. He raised his arms in triumph and bowed several times. The crowd started singing his theme song. Rollins said the best part is he did it all by himself because the rest of his team was eliminated. He said Kevin Owens showed the world he is exactly what Rollins said he was and walked out on them; Bobby Lashley got himself counted out; Austin Theory, bless his sweet soul,  but he just wasn’t good enough; and Balor (he cackled) got Brogue Kicked by Sheamus and pinned (he imitated the Brogue Kick).

[HOUR TWO]

He said in a few moments, Balor is going to walk down the ramp and enter the ring. Rollins said he will then lead by example and show Balor what it means to be the best because he is the visionary, the revolutionary- Balor’s music cut him off. Graves reminded of the history between these two. Rollins attacked Balor as Balor posed on the apron, then beat on him at ringside. However, back in the ring, Balor hit a double-leg takedown and some mounted punches. He sent Rollins outside, then hit a tope con hilo.

He rolled Rollins back into the ring, but Rollins rolled right out. Balor went to rush Rollins, but Rollins caught him and landed him face-first on the timekeeper’s barricade. Rollins then threw around Balor into the post, barricade, and announce desk before stomping on him. He removed the steel steps, then slammed them right into Balor’s face. Rollins then lifted Balor and reentered the ring, hitting a running stomp to Balor on the mat.  Rollins exited the ring, looked back as more refs came to check on Balor, then ran back in and hit another big stomp to Balor, who laid prone on the mat.

Suddenly, as Rollins was retreating up the ramp, a fan seemingly attacked Rollins. They quickly cut away and showed replays of the segment. They cut back to entrance area where Rollins was laughing and celebrating. He walked off.

-They cut to the back where seemingly a quarter of the roster were running around and screaming, looking for the egg.

-They shifted to Sami Zayn in McMahon’s office. He said there were rumblings that a WWE Championship is up for them if they had info on the egg. McMahon said yes. Zayn said he knows who took the egg…well, 95 percent sure. McMahon said do you know them or not? He said yes, so McMahon said bring them here. Zayn said they’re not here yet, but he’s on it. He extended his hand for a shake, but McMahon just said, “Bring him to me.” Zayn walked off.

-The Street Profits’ music hit as they made their entrance with red solo cups raining down both physically and on the Tron. Angelo Dawkins ran to the back, then came back with a black duffle back that they carried with them to the ring. Dawkins feigned lifting a heavy weight as Ford faked out Saxton by giving a cup and some of his drink to Graves instead. Even faces don’t like Saxton! They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with a video postcard of Brooklyn, showing the skyline.

-They showed Owens in the back using the flashlight on his phone to look for the egg as Sarah Schreiber approached asking about him abandoning the team and Rollins’ comments. He said Rollins is a delusional idiot so why would he listen? He said he was focused on finding the egg to get the title shot. He said if he isn’t fortunate enough- he asked if she knew where the egg was, then said he will be paying close attention to who leaves as WWE Champion.

-They cut back to the ring as The Street Profits were waiting for their opponents. A.J. Styles’ music hit as he and Omos made their usual entrance. Smith shifted to Omos’ performance in last night’s battle royal where he eliminated ten wrestlers to win the battle royal for what, we don’t really know. Saxton said it was one of the most impressive performances in a battle royal setting.

(3) THE STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS – Tag team match

Styles and Ford began with Styles taking a shoulder tackle off of a rope run redirection. Dawkins tagged in and hit a shoulder tackle, then belly-to-back suplexed his partner onto Styles. Ford tagged in again, but Styles grabbed the ropes on a double team attempt and tagged in Omos. The Street Profits exited the ring to regroup and discuss their game plan. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with Styles landing a dropkick on Dawkins for a two-count. Dawkins still had on his branded shirt. Styles locked in a standing front facelock to the former amateur wrestler. Dawkins fought to his feet, but Styles landed elbows to the side of the head. He went for Ford, but Ford went to the floor to avoid, allowing Dawkins to hit The Silencer. Dawkins finally made the tag. Ford leaped over Styles and attacked Omos, who barely moved. He then hit a leapfrog and leaping clothesline to Styles.

Styles responded with his usual striking combo, but Ford ducked the backfist, hitting a belly-to-back and standing moonsault for a two-count. He climbed to the top, then leaped over a rushing Styles. Styles then hit a Pele Kick, but Ford countered out of the Styles Clash. Omos then tagged in as Dawkins was still recovering on the outside. Ford started moving his feet, then ran for a crossbody only to flop right off. He went with some quickfire chops and strikes, including an enziguri, but Omos hit a huge lariat that floored Ford.

Omos stalked Ford, then went for his two-handed slam. Dawkins reentered to break it up, but Omos threw him right over the top rope and to the outside. Dawkins then went into the bag, pulled out a fire extinguisher, then sprayed Omos as Ford was on Omos’ shoulders. The ref called for the bell. He then sprayed Styles as he leaped for the Phenomenal Forearm. They ran off with their music playing even though technically, they lost by DQ.

WINNER: A.J. Styles & Omos at 8:13 (DQ)

-They cut to Zelina and Carmella in the back, making their way to Gorilla as Schreiber approached and asked about their game plan. Carmella said the real question is what is the game plan against Ripley because they’re not worried about A.S.H. They said she can be fun and have her moments, but they’re not worried about Ripley’s “scrubby little sidekick.” Zelina spoke in her fake British accent, saying they would win the Tag Team Championship and it helps to start out on top, which is where they’re going to stay once they win.

-A.S.H.’s music hit as she made her entrance, followed by Ripley’s music and entrance, for their title defense. They received a decent pop. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with what I believe is the same vignette for Veer Mahaan.

-They shifted to the ring as they were furiously asking for their opponents to make their way to the ring. Carmella’s music hit first, then Zelina’s. Zelina, like Flair, motioned for the ref to lower the ropes for her. Mike Rome gave formal ring introductions from the timekeeper’s area.

(4) RHEA RIPLEY & NIKKI A.S.H. (c) vs. QUEEN ZELINA & CARMELLA – Women’s Tag Team Championship match

Ripley started, but Carmella went to have her assistants apply her mask. Zelina waved from ringside as Ripley was mad in the ring; she could have just attacked. She did just that after Carmella donned the mask, then hit a few short-arm clotheslines, followed by a ripcord headbutt and arm drag with a basement dropkick. Carmella tagged in Zelina; there is no reaction from the crowd thus far. Zelina went for a single-leg, but Ripley just lifted her in a gutwrench and tossed her aside.

Ripley blocked Zelina’s retreat, then just pushed her away. Zeilna tried crawling under Ripley, but was caught. She hit a few thrust kicks, then a slap to Ripley, but Ripley just hit a headbutt, lifted Zelina into the electric chair, blocked a rana, but Zelina caught her in a DDT to counter a powerbomb for a two-count. Zelina locked in a sleeper, but Ripley rose to her feet and rammed Zelina into their corner.

A.S.H. tagged in and took Carmella, then hit Zelina with a neckbreaker. She leaped away from Zelina, then hit a clothesline. She hit a running splash in the corner, then went for and hit the ten punches in the corner to Zelina’s head that just peeked above the top turnbuckle. She then hit a bulldog and The Purge, her old finisher, but Carmella broke up the pin and slammed A.S.H. face-first into the mat. Ripley chased Carmella around the ring, but broke up Zelina’s pin attempt only for Carmella to hit a superkick, then another one on the outside that sent Ripley into the post.

A.S.H. reached for Carmella, but Zelina came back and distracted the ref so Carmella could hit a superkick. Carmella then landed a Code Red to pin A.S.H. and become the new Women’s Tag Team Champion. They reacted like it was the biggest accomplishment in the world, and I like to see people win championships and give meaning to their victory. Winning a title is always cause for celebration.

WINNER: Queen Zelina & Carmella at 4:48 (Code Red) to become NEW Women’s Tag Team Champion

-They cut to the back where Deville said they have the culprit and Pearce would bring him in. They cut to break.[c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Well, a decent match and I admit, I didn’t think a title change would happen here, but it makes a lot of sense in multiple ways. Ripley and A.S.H. do seemed slogged down in a tag team and it might be time for one, Ripley to go back to challenging the top stars and two, A.S.H. moving on from this character. They’ve tried long enough, and it just hasn’t caught on as hoped. Zelina and Carmella are both smarmy and annoying enough that they can build some annoying heel heat as they continue to relive their championship victory while trying to get out of any real challenge. It’s too bad the crowd wasn’t more invested in the match as that would have made the victory stand out even more.)

-They returned with Zayn joining Pearce & Deville as Theory walked in with the egg. McMahon dismissed Pearce & Deville and told Theory to sit. Zayn joined them. McMahon said Theory used to have a promising career. Theory said he just wanted a selfie with it, but with all the security, he took it back to the hotel. McMahon asked for a selfie as Zayn there are so many holes in the story. Theory showed the selfie as Zayn said that is disgusting. McMahon said Theory took a lot of balls to walk in and do this, so he granted Theory the title shot. Theory asked for a selfie, and McMahon agreed. Zayn reacted in anger, but McMahon told him to shut up. McMahon then said no one likes a snitch.

-Reggie’s music hit as he entered with the 24/7 Championship.

(5) REGGIE (c) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER – 24/7 Championship match

Reggie dodged an attack acrobatically, but Alexander goaded him into another one before hitting a big right hand. He stomped away at Reggie in the corner, then hit another big right hand that floored Reggie. Reggie countered a vertical suplex into a rana pin for a two-count. He went for his twisting crossbody, but Alexander just kicked him out of the air. He landed the Lumbar Check to become the new champ.

WINNER: Cedric Alexander at 1:26 (Lumbar Check) to become NEW 24/7 Champion

-After the match, the 24/7 crew ran down, but Alexander turned into a top rope blockbuster from Dana Brooke. She pinned Alexander to become champ. The group of all men entered the ring and just stopped. Brooke celebrated in the corner as the men looked on.

WINNER: Dana Brooke at 0:00 (rollup) to become NEW 24/7 Champion

-Smith cut to a video of Lashley dominating The Mysterios over the past few weeks in preparation for the handicap match. They cut to the locker room where Dominik said he should have done something last week instead of freezing and apologized to his father. His pops said not to worry because he’s faced monsters like Brock Lesnar, Kane, and others and always held his chin high. He said he doesn’t need his son to fight his battles for him, but tonight, he fights tonight by Dominik’s side and damn proud of it. He said let’s go out there and give Lashley a Mysterio whooping.

-Lashley’s awesome full Tron played as he made his entrance with M.V.P. They cut to break hyping the handicap match to kickoff the third hour of Raw. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: So all that buildup just for Theory to have taken a selfie with the egg? Beyond that, look, Theory is actually a perfect opponent for E tonight as he is definitely losing, but is being given a main event chance against the WWE Champion. They are reportedly high on Theory, and he has the skills in the ring to succeed. This is his make-or-break moment on Raw, very early in his career, but could be akin to John Cena’s pay-per-view feud with The Undertaker in 2003. If he succeeds here, he will most likely be WWE Champion within a few years.)

[HOUR THREE]

-They returned recapping the 24/7 Championship events from the previous segment culminating in Brooke’s victory and ascension to 24/7 Champion, though she is not the first woman to hold the title. They showed her in the back looking around as Schreiber approached. She asked about defending it and Brooke said she doesn’t have a lot of time. She said tonight she created an opportunity and captured it. She said this is her moment to show the world who Dana Brooke is and walked off.

-They cut to the ring where Lashley was shadow boxing to stay warmed up. Mysterio’s music hit to a good pop. They entered to a louder pop. They hesitantly made their way to the ring as Lashley paced the ring.

M.V.P. took a mic and said he has so much respect for Rey because he is an icon and despite his diminuitive size, he has become a giant. However, as a father, he said Mysterio leaves a lot to be desired and he’s disappointed in him. He asked if he taught Dominik if monsters are real because he’s faced and defeated many, but not The All Mighty. He asked what he’s going to do as a father as Dominik yells out in The Hurt Lock (he spoke in Spanish here). He asked what he’s going to say to his wife Angie after he has to tell her what happened to their son, and then just said for her to call him when she gets sick of Rey.

(6) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/M.V.P.) vs. THE MYSTERIOS (Rey & Dominik) – Handicap match

Dominik attacked Lashley as the bell rung, but Lashley just kept overpowering him, each time staring down the father. He lifted Dominik into a vertical suplex, but Dominik slipped out and tagged in his father. He dodged as Lashley crashed into the post. The two kept making quick tags after beating on Lashley in the corner to the body and legs, but Lashley just lifted the elder, then caught him on his shoulders into a running powerslam.

Lashley went for The Hurt Lock, but Lashley hit a missile dropkick that sent Lashley outside. Dominik went for a springboard, but Lashley caught him. As Lashley went to ram him into the ring post, the elder Mysterio flew through the ropes and onto Lashley, dropping Dominik and sending Lashley into the barricade. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with a WrestleMania ad, the same one with Steve Austin. Lashley was shoving Dominick throat-first into the middle rope as they returned, then M.V.P. slapped him behind the ref’s back. Lashley hit a Dominator, then slowly made the cover for a two-count. They showed M.V.P. getting involved during the break. On the outside, Lashley lifted Dominik to his shoulders and this time rammed him into the ring post. He reentered the ring as father Mysterio went to check on his son.

Lashley then exited the ring and rammed the younger Mysterio back-first into the ringside barricade, then rolled him back into the ring. Graves said Lashley is just playing with his prey as a graphic for the WWE Championship match was shown. Lashley implored for Dominik to hit him, which he did to no effect. He did land an enziguri, then landed on his feet on a Dominator attempt. He hit a superkick, then tagged in his father.

He landed some kicks, but Lashley caught him on a springboard moonsault. Dominik tagged his father before his father landed a tornado DDT for a two-count. Father tagged back in and hit a seated senton for a two-count. The Mysterios hit a double drop toehold and then a double 619. The son hit a frogsplash, then the father, but Lashley kicked out at two even with both men pinning him. Lashley then hit a spear on the father before catching Dominick from the top rope with The Hurt Lock to secure the tap out victory.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 10:46 via submission (The Hurt Lock)

-Patrick was in the ring backstage as he welcomed Big E, who looked less than thrilled. Patrick asked if he was blindsided by the news he would be defending his title after a “hellacious” match last night. E said last night, he let a lot of people down, and he can blame no one but himself. He said tonight he has his hands full – quite literally as he was hungry holding a pear – and said he has a match with Theory. He said Theory is young and brash, but he is also talented. E said one thing he can assure is that he will feel pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good after leaving the Barclays Center as WWE Champion. Graves hyped the title match for the main event.

-Priest’s new music hit as he made his entrance for his United States Championship Open Challenge after his DQ loss last night against Shinsuke Nakamura. Smith said it got very dark and very brutal. Priest received a great pop from the home New York crowd. They hyped his open challenge as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Lashley remains looking dominant, and even more seeds are being planted for an eventual Dominik turn on his father. I think that match accomplished what it needed to though I think a few minutes could have been shaved from the match. E was good in his promo, as he has been usually, placing the blame for his loss on himself and not on Reigns, The Usos, or Heyman. He accepted responsibility and took accountability, which is seemingly a novel concept now.)

-They returned with Patrick in the back as he said he was delighted to welcome Morgan. She thanked him as he said she must be over the moon with her recent success. Morgan says it’s a bittersweet feeling, but Lynch interrupted and said the story is that again, Morgan underdelivered. She said luckily, Belair pulled it out, but Morgan did nothing. She said it took her back to Money in the Bank where everyone, including herself, was cheering for Morgan, but someone outshined her again as A.S.H. won, cashed in, and won a title Morgan will never hold. Morgan said she held it last week. Lynch said she does signings all the time and lets little girls hold the title, but it doesn’t make them champion. She insulted Morgan some more, who started getting emotional, then said are you gonna cry? Morgan just slapped the hell out of Lynch, then walked away.

-Commander Azeez took a mic as he and Apollo Crews made their entrance. He demanded everyone stand and applaud a true Nigerian hero and soon-to-be savior of the United States Championship. Crews took the mic and said Mr. Priest, or should I say Damian, because it seems he has a split personality and is ashamed of who he is. He said as for himself, he has embraced his Nigerian heritage and become his true self. He said that’s why he’s going to decimate Priest because he is a Nigerian warrior and will show the world that Priest is not fit to be champion.

Priest yelled at Apollo, interrupting him, saying they’re in New York (cheap pop) – the crowd kept it going as Priest smiled – and said out here, if you want to run your mouth and you want to tell the world how you found yourself, start a podcast or, just a thought, he can shut his damn mouth and fight. Priest said you want to get the know the real Damian Priest then they can just throw down right now. Crews said Priest is a funny guy and they’re in Priest’s hometown, but for them to fight, it would not be fair, so their answer was no. Zayn’s music hit.

He said this is perfect. First, the whole world got to see that he was right all along about the conspiracy against him going all the way to McMahon himself in denying him the WWE Championship opportunity. He said at least one door opened while another closed. He said if they don’t want the match, which he said isn’t a smart decision no offense, then he would take the match and walk out of Brooklyn as the new U.S. Champion.

(7) DAMIAN PRIEST (c) vs. SAMI ZAYN – United States Championship Open Challenge

Zayn rolled out of the ring, but Priest caught him and landed some big shots. He rolled Zayn back inside, but Zayn immediately fled. Priest grabbed him again, but Zayn hit an exploder into the timekeeper’s barricade as they cut to break. [c]

Zayn scored a one-count as they returned from commercial break, who then promptly cinched in a rear chinlock. The crowd was doing another wave. Priest fought out, landing some chest and leg kicks, then a big right hand. He landed a running back elbow splash in the corner, then hit a tunderclap. However, Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count on the bigger wrestler. Zayn climbed to the top rope, taunting the fans, but then at a jumping switch kick from Priest. Priest climbed for a superplex, but Zayn blocked by biting his head. He then landed an avalanche sunset flip bomb for only a two-count.

Priest fought back with a combo of strikes, but Zayn landed a rollup for a two-count. Priest landed an immediate spinning heel kick, then Zayn fled outside. Zayn was able to stun Priest over the top rope, then wrenched his neck on the middle rope for the full five count. He grabbed the title, held it over his shoulder in Priest’s face, then mushed Priest. Priest became infuriated, then took it all out on Zayn. He hit a big sitdown chokeslam, his South of Heaven, then The Reckoning to put away Zayn.

WINNER: Damian Priest at 8:45 (The Reckoning) to retain United States Championship

-They cut to the back where Patrick approached Theory. Theory interrupted and said it’s his first WWE Championship match and he even got a selfie with McMahon, which he showed the camera. He said what’s even cooler is tonight he will become the youngest WWE Champion in history. He said no offense to E, but we all saw what happened last night. He said he is the future and McMahon knows that, and everyone will know after he takes a selfie as the WWE Champion.

-E’s music hit as he entered first. I firmly believe that champions should always enter last for their matches. On the bright side, he received a great pop from the Brooklyn crowd as he ran to the ring. They cut to break hyping the main event. [c]

-They returned with a video promoting WWE’s relationship with Special Olympics. They cut back to the ring where E was waiting for Theory to enter. Theory’s music hit to basically no response as he made his entrance. They showed his selfie from earlier in the night with a smug McMahon. Rollins’ music suddenly hit as he made his entrance in a new getup. Rome gave introductions from ringside.

(8) BIG E (c) vs. AUSTIN THEORY – WWE Championship match

E had Seinfeld-themed gear. Theory hit a quick rollup for not even a one-count as the crowd started singing Rollins’ theme. Theory slapped E, who responded with a big forearm that floored Theory. He hit a bunch of short-arm back elbows, then another to Theory off a rope run. He dragged Theory to the apron, then beat on his chest with shots to the tune of New Day Rocks. E went for his apron splash and hit right across the chest. Suddenly, Owens’ music hit to E’s surprise. E went to go meet Owens, but Owens rightly told E to stay focused. E tried for the corner uranage, but Theory flipped out and hit a leg capture vertical suplex for a two-count. He hit a dropkick to send E outside as Rollins and Owens jawed at each other. They cut to break. [c]

Theory was punching E as they returned with Graves stressing that Rollins and Owens have been professional at ringside. Theory scored a two-count, then punched away some more at E. E caught him wit two overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, then hit a third tradition belly-to-belly. He set for his running splash and hit, then clapped in preparation for The Big Ending. He lifted Theory, but Theory slipped out and hit a drop toehold on E into the turnbuckle. He hit a rolling dropkick for a two-count.

After some back-and-forth, E landed his corner uranage to Theory, but only for a two-count. Theory rolled outside, and E followed to roll him back in, He then turned and glared at both men on at ringside, but Rollins hit a chop block to E, allowing Theory to hit a rolling blockbuster. Owens threw Rollins in the ring, then Rollins exited and two began bickering. Theory and the ref watched, but then Theory turned right around into The Big Ending for E’s victory. Rollins was incensed and then he and Owens began shoving each other.

E ran from behind and hit Rollins into Owens, then sent Rollins over the announce table. He went after Owens in the ring, but Owens rolled out. E turned around and dodged Rollins, hitting The Big Ending. He held his WWE Championship high as Rollins writhed on the floor and Owens looked on from ringside. They replayed the ending of the match and subsequent events after the match. E and Rollins jawed at each other as Rollins looked at both, sitting between them. E raised his title as they showed replays of Rollins eating The Big Ending once more, then the show ended with a closeup of an intense E.

WINNER: Big E at 9:14 (The Big Ending) to retain WWE Championship

(Hazelwood’s Take: From what we saw on television, that was a fine TV main event. Theory was smooth, even though his rolling blockbuster was a bit clunky possibly due the width of E. Theory took bumps well and landed some crisp offense. He was able to cleanly lift E for an easy suplex early in the match, which signals he has more power in him. I think if I was Theory, I would consider the match a success. I think if I was Vince McMahon, I would consider tonight a success. Theory being distracted makes sense because he is still so young and inexperienced, but E probably could have done better with a clean finish of a young up-and-comer like Theory than a distraction finish. Still, his work after the match did some in recovering from that distraction finish as he came off as smart, intense, and confident.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was really a running-through-the-motions show, one that didn’t seem to have much forethought to it as evidenced by no matches being announced until a few hours before the show and the sudden, unannounced WWE Championship, Women’s Tag Team Championship, and United States Championship Open Challenge matches. Championship matches should be announced at least a week ahead of time to build anticipation, even if the outcome seems a foregone conclusion. We did see new Women’s Tag Team Champion crowned, so hopefully this frees up especially Ripley to reenter the singles division. A dominant Lashley and E are good things for Raw, and I can see another clash between them in the future at their current paces.

The big question for me coming out of tonight is what does Owens’ continued involvement at the top of the card, especially after last night, mean with his contract reportedly up at the end of the year? Most of the time, we see WWE put these wrestlers in more mid-card territory and losing on their way out, and while Owens has been losing, he has remained firmly entrenched in the WWE Championship picture alongside E and Rollins, seemingly the only other two people occupying that top space (with Lashley lurking). It’s difficult not to try and read into the booking, particularly when so many (including myself) think Owens is someone to build a promotion around.

On another note, I think the Morgan interview and segment teetered on failing, but her emphatic response to Lynch’s incessant needling saved it to me. That’s the kind of fire Morgan needs to show in the ring and on the mic to even stand a chance against Lynch. The feud shows the current paucity in the women’s division, which is why Ripley jumping back in is so appealing. Doudrop aligning herself with Natalya and Tamina is at least intriguing, but we all still think she’s losing to Belair, right? Then again, I thought Zelina and Carmella were losing tonight, but I was wrong.

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