11/29 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s live alt-perspective on Edge’s return, Big E vs. Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor, Tag Team Championship match, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 29, 2021
LONG ISLAND, N.Y. AT THE UBS ARENA AT BELMONT PARK
AIRED LIVE 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 Cameron Hawkins of PWTorch’s EastCoastCast to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

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•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER RAW


[HOUR ONE]

-The show began with a look at the crowd and RAWbot pointing out Long Island. Seth Rollins’ music hit as he made his entrance, full of cocky vigor and a red fur coat. The lower third/chryon for Raw seems more sleek, updated (maybe I’m just noticing it tonight). Jimmy Smith and Corey Graves hyped Big E vs. Kevin Owens in a non-title match as Byron Saxton hyped the RK-Bro vs. The Dirty Dawgs in a championship match. Smith then said Damian Priest will defend the Untied States Championship against Apollo Crews. Graves then hyped Edge’s return, which drew a big pop.

Rollins was cackling in the ring, dancing to his music as Smith replayed last week’s attack by Rollins on Finn Balor before the match, canceling the match and having it rescheduled for tonight. Rollins said after last week, “you guys” might expect me to be in a bad mood, but he’s Seth Freakin’ Rollins and no one can keep him down. He said there is a very special reason he’s in such a good mood tonight and sang “I’ve got a secret.” He said he has breaking news and asked if the fans want to hear the news. He asked for a drumroll (audience participation!): at Day 1, it’s Big E vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship.

He said Day 1 is such a fitting name because it will be the first day of a new year, a new era, in his next championship reign, a reign that will define the future of Monday nights and this business because he is a visionary, a revolutionary, Seth Freakin’ Rollins. He cackled some more, but Balor’s music to his chagrin.

Balor entered looking serious, but he still did his entrance and pose with the crowd. Rollins beckoned him to the ring. Balor rushed in and took Rollins down, then sent him outside. He hit a flying forearm that sent both men into the timekeeper’s area. He then threw Rollins onto and over the announce table. He tossed Rollins back inside the ring, but Rollins responded with a middle rope tope. Suddenly, Balor hit a slingblade and grabbed steel steps. In a bit of turnabout-is-fair-play, Balor nailed Rollins with the steps, then rolled him inside. The ref checked on Rollins, who told the ref to ring the bell.

(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. FINN BALOR – Singles match

Balor immediately hit the shotgun dropkick into the corner, then climbed for Coup de Grace. Rollins rolled outside, so Balor hit a tope con hilo instead. They cut to break. [c]

Balor hit a counter into a floatover DDT for a two-count as they returned. Balor kicked Rollins in the gut and stomped on him along the ropes. Rollins hung Balor across the top, but Balor rolled away from the springboard knee. Balor hit a kick to the head and climbed to the top, but Rollins took out Balor’s legs to crotch him on top. Rollins looked for a superplex, but Balor pushed him off. Rollins just ran back up and hit a superplex into a falcon arrow, but Balor kicked out just before three.

Saxton noted it’s been six years since Balor defeated Rollins to become Universal Champion. Rollins went for a top rope frogsplash, but Balor got his knees up and used to hit a cradle for a two-count. He then hit a leaping double stomp for another two-count. He went for a slingblade, but Rollins countered and hit one of his own, then a superkick for a two-count. Rollins mounted Balor’s back and hit some forearms to the back of the neck. Rollins then looked around at the crowd before setting for the stomp. Balor hit a slingblade as a counter and then the shotgun dropkick. He climbed, but Rollins moved away from Coup de Grace. Balor dodged the stomp and hit a rollup for a two-count. Both men hit forearms simultaneously to drop each other.

They then teed off on each other in the middle of the ring. Rollins hit a rolling elbow, but Balor hit the overhead kick. Rollins hit an enziguri, but Balor dodged out of the ripcord knee. Rollins poked Balor in the eye away from the referee’s view, then hit a rolling forearm to the back of the neck. He landed the stomp for the pinfall victory.

WINNER: Seth Rollins at 8:43 (stomp)

(Hazelwood’s Take: That’s how I wanted to see Balor enter: no promo, no waiting for the bell, no lockup, just attack Rollins. I quibble a little with how Rollins was just able to bounce back up after being hit with the steps, but you could also explain it away that unlike Balor, Rollins wasn’t attacked from behind nor hit in the head with the steps. The match was good, good psychology with both men reversing each other constantly due to their familiarity with each other. I would have preferred a clean ending, as I do for most every match, but it makes sense here to fit Rollins’ character and to somewhat protect Balor.)

-They cut to a replay of last week where Becky Lynch berated Liv Morgan in the back, drawing tears and eventually a stiff slap from Morgan across the face of Lynch. Morgan looked like that was cathartic as Lynch recovered. Lynch’s music hit as “Big Time Becks” wore a lilac fur coat that put her husband’s to shame. She raised her title as she made her entrance and the crowd just does not want to boo her at all. Smith hyped the contract signing between Lynch and Morgan as they cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Vince McMahon in his office (with padded red walls) as Austin Theory knocked and entered. McMahon said he hated when people asked him how he’s doing since no one really cares. He said he has some kind of syndrome, and ingrown toenail, and something else I missed. He said what’s impressive was Theory’s ploy last week. Theory began speaking, but the truck cut to a replay video of last week’s events. They cut back and McMahon told Theory he’s going to stay in his office and watch the entire show to see if there are surprises and if anyone expects the unexpected to see how they respond. He said if Theory ever steals from him, he would kill him. Theory just nodded.

BECKY LYNCH-LIV MORGAN CONTRACT SIGNING

They cut to the ring where Lynch was in the ring with Sonya Deville. Deville then introduced Lynch, who received a good pop and very little, if any, boos. She said we can get “Little Livie” out here now. Deville said she is the rebellious and passionate Liv Morgan in her introduction. Morgan entered in an all black ensemble. She waved at a young boy who looked like he was just waved to by a goddess. Lynch was sitting in a chair, smiling as Morgan entered.

Lynch said this is Morgan’s first contract signing and you’re welcome for that. She said she’s welcome for also that bit of fire last week in the cheap shot. She said she has to admit, Morgan has a hell of a right. Lynch said but then what happened? She held back; one punch isn’t enough to beat Lynch. She asked if Morgan is going to hold herself back like she always does when it’s time for the show. I think Lynch called Deville “Tonya,” who then said the match is next Monday night. Lynch said the crowd must feel salty about that with the other town getting the title show, then chastised the Islanders to big boos.

Morgan then said would she please just shut up for once, to big cheers. Morgan signed the contract and said here’s her not holding back. She said she got upset last week, but channeled her emotions by using her fist instead of turning into a blubbering mess, just like Lynch crying about Flair and Survivor Series. She then said she has footage ready courtesy of the WWE Social Media Team. They replayed a tearful post-match interview with Lynch. Morgan guffawed as Lynch fumed. Morgan said who knew Big Time Becks cried like such a little baby.

She said Lynch is the reason that she has no friends anymore just like her big contract is the reason why Morgan’s friends are no longer here. She said she learned from all of Lynch’s past mistake. She said Lynch isn’t the person she once admired nor is she the Morgan that Lynch left behind. Morgan said if that punch didn’t let her know, maybe this one will. Deville stopped her as Lynch said that was pure emotion after a big match, which Morgan would know nothing about. Lynch said she pitched a Team Lynch vs. Team Liv match tonight. Deville then showed the team: Lynch, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Doudrop, and Tamina vs. Morgan, Naomi, and other faces I didn’t get a chance to register. Morgan accepted.

(Hazelwood’s Take: Hey, a contract signing where things didn’t completely break down and no one went through a table! Hurrah! That was Morgan’s best promo, but the bar isn’t very high. Even in the good moments, there were parts that felt way too scripted, particularly her ill-timed laughs during sentences. It was just that fake laugh Wade Keller criticized Rollins and Sasha Banks for in the past. Still, overall, I think there were more positives here for Morgan than negatives, particularly because it really was her first positive on the mic in this feud, something she sorely needed. The match being next week is probably an indication they don’t think this feud can string along until Day 1, and I’d agree.)

-Smith then shifted to a video recapping RK-Bro’s events last week where Riddle dressed as Orton, winning his match against Dolph Ziggler with an RKO. Orton then hit Bro Derek on Robert Roode. They cut to the back where Riddle rode up, asking where Orton’s shorts were. He thought Orton would dress up as him like he did last week. Orton asked why the hell he would do that. Riddle said they Freaky Fridayed last week and went over what happened last week. He said it was like looking in a mirror. Orton cut him off and said they’re about to defend their titles, so if he thinks Orton would ride down to the ring on his scooter barefoot, then he’s even more braindead than he thought.

Orton said he appreciates what Riddle’s trying to do, but they don’t need to be each other. He said they need to be ruthless and ten steps ahead of the competition. Riddle said he understood and pleaded with Orton to close his eyes. Riddle then applied a blonde wig to Orton, badly. Orton said Riddle had two seconds to take it off of his head. Riddle quickly did, and Orton said don’t ever do that again. Riddle said, “Sorry Randy.” They made their entrance. They cut to break hyping the Tag Team Championship match. [c]

-They returned with The Dirty Dawgs just finishing their entrance for this title match. Mike Rome made introductions from ringside as their music was still playing.

(2) RK-BRO vs. THE DIRTY DAWGS (Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler) – Tag Team Championship match

Roode & Ziggler attacked both faces from behind as the bell rung, sending Orton outside and hitting a double team neckbreaker/suplex to Riddle for a two-count. Roode tagged in Ziggler, and they hit a catapult DDT for a two-count against the ropes. Ziggler locked in a body scissors, then side headlock, but Riddle tried fighting out. Roode distracted the ref, allowing Ziggler to use the hair to yank Riddle to the mat. He went for a corner splash, but Riddle moved.

Riddle crawled, but Ziggler grabbed him only for Riddle to hit a push kick and tag in Orton. Orton took out Ziggler and Roode, then hit a powerslam on Ziggler. He rolled Ziggler to the apron, looking for his draping DDT, but Rood grabbed his partner and saved him. Ziggler then dragged Orton outside, but Orton took out both men. He slammed Ziggler face-first into the announce desk, but Ziggler flipped out of a belly-t0-back on the announce desk, hitting a superkick. Roode caught Riddle as he came flying in, then hit the Orton belly-to-back suplex on the announce table to Riddle. They cut to break. [c]

Ziggler was beating on Orton in a neutral corner as they returned. Roode tagged in, and he whipped Ziggler into the corner for a splash on Orton, then hit a neckbreaker for a two-count. Roode did some pushups as he taunted Orton. He then locked in a rear chinlock to Orton, Orton’s favorite maneuver. A “Randy!” chant started and he rose to his feet, but Orton dragged him back down. About 30 seconds later, Orton regained his feet and finally hit a belly-to-back counter. He made the tag.

Ziggler tagged in as well, but Riddle hit Final Flash, then an overhead kick to Roode. He hit a running forearm to Ziggler in the corner, then an exploder. He did the same to Roode, then hit both men with Brotons. He punctuated it with a PK to Ziggler, then a draping DDT to Roode as Orton nodded along. Riddle tagged in Orton and both men did the RKO pound. Both had theirs blocked. Roode sent Riddle over, but Ziggler blocked an RKO and hit the Zig Zag for a close two-count.

The crowd chanted for Orton as Ziggle waited for a superkick. Orton caught it, then rolled Ziggler through. As Ziggler went at Orton, Orton hit the RKO. Riddle held Roode as Orton scored the victory.

WINNER: RK-Bro at 10:27 (RKO) to retain Tag Team Championship

-They cut to the back where Rollins was walking and ran into Owens, who was smiling. Rollins asked what he wanted. Owens said big night for Rollins with the victory and the big title match. He said he has big news, too. Owens said if Adam Pearce told him if he beats Big E tonight, he gets added to the title match at Day 1. Rollins laughed and said that’s good, but Owens said that’s not a joke. Rollins said Owens is lying, but Rollins said that’s not how it works. Owens said just go ask Pearce, “He’s the bald guy.” Rollins said he will go ask Pearce because Owens is a liar.

-Edge’s music hit to a huge pop from the crowd. He greeted fans along the entrance before doing his pose and pyro. They cut to break. [c]

-They cut to Pearce in the back as Rollins entered asking about Owens. Pearce asked what is Owens talking about. Rollins said Pearce told him Owens gets added if he wins. Rollins said he should know of everyone that didn’t come out his mouth. Pearce said that never happened. Deville then entered asking what that was about. Pearce said Owens lied, but Deville said it’s not a bad idea.

[HOUR TWO]

EDGE IN-RING PROMO

Edge said this is the best job in the world as the crowd continued with their adulation. He said yeah, he’s back, and the last time we saw his ugly mug was at Hell in a Cell against Rollins and now Rollins is the #1 contender. Edge said Rollins deserves it, even if he hates to say it, because Rollins is operating on another level. Edge said that’s another story because he is in Strong Island, on Raw, and a whole new set of opponents. He named A.J. Styles, Owens, Balor, Priest, E. He said it’s really exciting. The Miz’s music interrupted…yay.

The Miz and Maryse made their return in matching Miz & Mrs. gear. Edge just looked on, befuddled. They cut to a recap video of his time on Dancing with the Stars and as I have never watched a single episode of this show, I could not tell you his results. They both had mics as they entered the ring when the cameras cut back. The Miz looked around and said they gave you the big return treatment, the big press release about being back. He said Edge has been gone what, a month? He asked if that’s what Edge’s career has come to.

He said meanwhile, he’s been highlighting WWE on all platforms. The Miz said when he’s injured, he’s carted around in a wheelchair and if he takes time off, it’s to show the world what it is to be a WWE superstar. He said what pisses him off the most is that one of the greatest female superstars in the history of this company is that his wife is back (he worded it taht way, but I think he meant that there was no press release about her). He asked if he’s not even on Edge’s radar. Edge said he thought The Miz was still painting himself blue and dancing as a genie.

Maryse said The Miz was the best dancer on the whole show, but Edge said didn’t he come in like ninth place? The Miz said his dancing was revolutionary, but the only reason he got ninth place is because the fans forgot to vote for him. He said JoJo Siwa has a more devoted fanbase (yeah, duh). Edge said they want to come out here and complain because he got the big return, but they could have gone to Pearce and Deville and said they wouldn’t go out until they get what they wanted. Edge said this is because their agenda was to interrupt him because that puts The Miz in the main event picture.

He said he could take the easy way like having the crowd say “Miz sucks” on the count of three. He did that and the crowd obliged, loudly. A light “Miz Sucks!” chant started. The Miz said he is an era-defying superstar and deserves respects. He said six months ago, he was WWE Champion, but when was the last time Edge held a major title? The Miz said it was when Edge was opening when The Miz main evented against John Cena. He said this time, Edge should have stayed home for good.

Edge said so they come out here and verbally attack him, dancing with a body that can’t hang anymore and Edge said they’re right; he can’t do this much longer. He said the window is smaller. He said he’s the guy everyone in the locker room wants to stand across from to test their skills because they have mutual respect, something The Miz knowns nothing about because he’s always complaining. He said Little Mizzie needs a pat on the back. Edge obliged, saying The Miz stood in the ring across from him at Tough Enough, that he wrote notes on his hand to beating Cena. He said The Miz has people on other shows just saying his name to get reactions.

He said he’s built an empire and made it higher than anyone that he could or would, except The Miz. He said The Miz believed it and made it happen, but the difference is Edge fought with every fiber of his being to come back whereas The Miz uses this to prepare his next endeavor, leaving his partner to get fired. He said The Miz expects respect, but he earns it. He said they could do this right now and dared The Miz to jump. The Miz removed his gear, saying they want to see them dance? He emphatically said no, tossed the mic, and walked away with his wife as Edge looked on, bemused.

-Smith shifted to last week’s The Street Profits vs. Styles & Omos match that ended with the babyfaces using a fire extinguisher on their foes to escape, even though it was a DQ loss. They cut to the back as Sarah Schreiber approached. Styles had shades on and Omos directed him. She asked about insight and he said is that some kind of sick joke? He said he’s wearing those glasses because he can’t see. He pointed at Omos, but Omos grabbed his hand to point it in the right direction. Styles said those “smoke enthusiasts” sprayed him in the eyes, saying they literally gave him the smoke right in his eyes. He said that’s OK because where there’s smoke, there’s fire. They walked away with Omos helping Styles.

-The Street Profits’ music hit as they made their entrance sans black bag with fire extinguisher. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That promo segment was at least five minutes too long. It did accomplish what it set out to do, and this isn’t the first time The Miz has interrupted a return with his own return. I guess this means Edge’s first feud back on Raw will be with The Miz? Hey, at worst, it’ll be a decent match that will keep Edge relatively safe.)

-They returned with Alpha Academy in the ring. Styles’ music hit as they entered with Omos guiding him. The Street Profits mocked being blind.

(3) THE STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. ALPHA ACADEMY (Chad Gable & Otis) – Tag team match

Otis and Ford began the match as Otis took the advantage, but they kept showing Styles making his way to ringside to know how. Gable tagged in and hit a big monkey flip followed by an Otis splash for a cover that was broken up. Gable had Ford locked in a bow and arrow, but Ford rolled over into a pin. Ford went for a slingshot, but Gable turned it into a Northern Lights bridge for a two-count. Otis tagged in, but Ford fought out of the corner. Gable tagged in and prevented the tag, but Ford rolled through and tagged Dawkins.

Dawkins hit a big suplex on Gable, then took out Otis before hitting The Silencer on Gable. The crowd was tepid as he hit a spinning splash in the corner and a spinebuster. Ford tagged in, but Alha Academy took out Dawkins on the outside. Ford then flipped over the top onto both men. Ford climbed, but suddenly Styles climbed to the apron. Ford kicked him off, then shoved off Gable. He hit the frogsplash for the victory. After the match, Styles looked at Omos trying to explain as Omos looked annoyed, but understanding.

WINNER: The Street Profits at 3:14 (frogsplash)

-They cut to the back, as McMahon asked Theory about Styles. McMahon said that was too obvious, then told Theory he needs to expect the unexpected. He told Theory to look at him when he’s talking to him. What is all this going to amount to in the end?

-The announcers cut to last week where Dana Brooke became the new 24/7 Champion. They showed Brook talking to Reggie in the back.

-Priest’s music hit as he made his entrance for his title defense against Crews. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned as Owens was sitting in the back. Rollins approached, cackling and calling him a liar, saying he talked to Pearce. He started saying liar liar pants on fire. Owens said he’s not lying, and he doesn’t know what to tell him, but if he wins tonight, he’s getting added. Rollins said yeah, sure, and cackled as Owens walked away.

-They cut back to the ring as Priest waited. Crews’ music hit as he and Azeez entered with the AR lion statues roaring and moving. Rome gave introductions again during the entrance instead of formal ones.

(4) DAMIAN PRIEST (c) vs. APOLLO CREWS (w/Commander Azeez) – United States Championship match

They circled and locked up as Crews slammed Priest down. They reset, and Priest hit a deep arm drag and stayed with an arm lock. Crews rose to his feet and used the hair to move Priest into the ropes. He punched Priest a few times, but ate a leaping shoulder tackle after a rope run. Crews rolled out, and Priest followed. Azeez cut him by standing in his way, allowing Crews to hit a leaping knee from the apron. They cut to another break. [c]

Crews hit his big belly-to-back suplex into powerbomb move, then a standing moonsault for a two-count as they returned. He punched away at Priest with Priest on one knee, but Priest blocked the third and hit a big right of his own. He hit a combo, then a glancing leaping switch kick, followed by a rope-assisted leaping knee to the chest for a two-count. Priest was then hit with an enziguri, but he used the momentum to hit a big clothesline. Priest hit what Graves called a cliffhanger DDT for a two-count. Crews rolled outside, and Azeez grabbed him to avoid Priest’s leaping tope. Priest went outside and hit a somersault senton off of the steps, but he barely rolled enough. As he climbed the top, Azeez pulled him off. The ref didn’t seen, but he ejected Azeez anyway. Priest then rose with a furious look on his face (they zoomed in). Priest hit a big teep kick to Crews, then beat on him in the corner. He hit a big kick, sending Crews to the apron. Then hit South of Heaven from the apron to the ring. He hit The Reckoning and that’s that.

WINNER: Damian Priest at 8:26 (The Reckoning) to retain United States Championship

-Pearce and Deville were talking in the back as Rollins entered about Owens still saying he’s going to be in the triple threat, saying it’s unhealthy and not a good look. Pearce said it raises the stakes and Deville thought it was a good idea, so they confirmed it. Rollins exploded and said Pearce lied to him, but Pearce said Owens lied to him. Rollins said Owens told him the truth and yelled, “WHAT IS GOING ON?!”

-The Mysterio’s music hit to a good pop as they made their entrance. They cut to break hyping their tag team match with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Well, I guess Crews ain’t s**t without Azeez at ringside, considering how quickly he was defeated and scoring zero offense from the time Azeez was ejected. Keeping Priest strong is of course the right call. While I don’t think he’ll win the Rumble match anymore like I predicted in August, he’ll probably still have a good showing that solidifies him as a main eventer of the future. I do think his shift to anger and the face he makes is a bit too comical, but the crowd seems to like it and it seems to be working for Priest’s character.)

(5) THE MYSTERIOS (Rey & Dominik) vs. THE HURT BUSINESS (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin) – Tag team match

They began the match as they returned with Dominik and Benjamin. Benjamin took him down, but Dominick regained his footing and leaped off the top with an arm drag. Benjamin caught him with a gut knee, then threw him back on his knee. He tagged in Alexander, hit a suplex, then Alexander hit a leaping front senton, but was too close to the rope for a cover. Dominik tried an inside cradle, but Alexander caught him and then hit a snap brainbuster.

Benjamin tagged in and went for a belly-to-back, but Dominick rolled out and hit a superkick. He tagged in his father, who hit a seated senton then spinning head scissors to Benjamin. Benjamin elbowed the gut and tagged in Alexander, who went for a leaping sunset flip. Mysterio rolled through and hit a kick. He took out Benjamin, then wheelbarrowed Alexander into the ropes. Dominik did the same, then they hit a double 619. Rey hit a seated senton to Benjamin on the outside as Dominik hit a picture-perfect frogsplash to Alexander for the victory. He got height.

WINNER: The Mysterios at 3:02 (frogsplash)

-Smith shifted to a video recap of the earlier contract signing and the announced ten-woman tag team match. The other faces were not Naomi, but Bianca Belair, Brooke, Nikki A.S.H., and Rhea Ripley. Morgan’s music hit as she led her entire team out, Brooke holding up the 24/7 Championship up high. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with the Smackdown Breakdown recap video, highlighting Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler & Natalya that saw Naomi score the pinfall, Charlotte Flair and Toni Storm’s interaction with the pies to the face of Storm, Roman Reigns’ talking down the #1 contender battle royal that saw Sami Zayn emerge victorious, and Kayla Braxton interrupting her own interview with Zayn to announce the lifting of Brock Lesnar’s suspension and announcing his return on this Friday’s show.

[HOUR THREE]

-They cut back to the ring where the faces were waiting, dancing (except Ripley) as they replayed last week’s Tag Team Championship victory by Carmella and Queen Zelina. Lynch’s music hit as the Women’s Champion led out her team with the Tag Team Champion, Doudrop, and Tamina. The champions all held up their titles. Saxton wondered if Lynch could be an effective leader for her team, to which Graves responded apoplectically.

(6) TEAM LIV (Liv Morgan & Bianca Belair & Dana Brooke & Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley) vs. TEAM BECKS (Becky Lynch & Carmella & Queen Zelina & Doudrop & Tamina) – Ten-woman tag team match

The ref rung the bell with all the women still in the ring. Carmella exited to don her mask as the faces huddled and game planned.  Lynch told the heels that they will follow her lead. The captains began the match, and Morgan immediately hit a big right hand, then a dropkick. She hit a lifting knee to Lynch in the corner, then hit a bulldog. Lynch dodged a corner splash and stomped away at Morgan. Lynch taunted the faces, then hit a spin kick to the gut. She tagged in Carmella.

Morgan bridged to dodge a clothesline and rolled up Carmella for a one-count. Carmella grabbed Morgan’s head and slammed her into the mat before taunting Ripley about losing the titles. She asked for Ripley to tag in, then ran away screaming, tagging in Zelina. Zelina entered and went for a crucifix, then a sunset flip, but tagged in Carmella, who tagged in Lynch, who tagged in Doudrop, who tagged in Tamina. the five heels surrounded Ripley and went after her as the faces just stayed in their corner. Graves said it was “crappy leadership.”

Tamina took it to Ripley, hitting a big headbutt that floored her. Tamina hit a rear chinlock, wrenching on Ripley’s head. The faces called for claps and cheers, but there weren’t too many. Tamina went for a Samoan drop, but Ripley slipped out and hit a big clothesline. She tagged in A.S.H., who tagged in Brooked, who tagged in Belair. They did the same, and Belair lifted Tamina for a K.O.D. The faces came in to save Tamina, though Tamina hit the canvas hard. They cut to break. [c]

Doudrop was in control of A.S.H., landing a bodyslam and elbow drop before cinching in a Cobra Clutch variation. A.S.H. fought back with body shots, but Doudrop hit a short-arm clothesline. A.S.H. tried fighting back, but one shot from Doudrop floored her. She took A.S.H. to their corner, and Lynch tagged in. Doudrop hit a bodyslam, then Lynch hit a quick leg drop and elbow drop. She went for her leg drop off of the ropes, but A.S.H. moved. Carmella tagged in and just prevented the tag.

She put A.S.H. in a neutral corner and hit a lot of back elbows. A.S.H. fought back, but Carmella just beat on her for a two-count. She applied a rear chinlock. The crowd seems dead. A.S.H. hit a jawbreaker and rolled away to tag in Ripley. Ripley hit a big clothesline, but Carmella looked hurt, getting up slowly. The ref checked on her, but Ripley slammed her face-first. Ripley then took out the other heels. Carmella went after Ripley, but Ripley hit some cavate knees.

Carmella dodged a Ripley dropkick and locked in the Code of Silence, but it was broken up by Brooke. Then it became the “everyone hit a big move one after the other” segment, ending Lynch hitting an inverted DDT on Lynch. Ripley reentered and threw Lynch outside before looking for Riptide on Carmella. Carmella slipped out, took out the knee, and hit a superkick for a two-count as they cut to break. [c]

Brooke and Tamina were in the ring, but Brook was in the wrong corner. She tried fighting out, but Tamina grabbed her. Brooke finally made the tag to Morgan, who immediately went after the corner. She then took it to Tamina with a combo ending with an enziguri, but Tamina just slammed her down as Morgan went for a Thesz Press. She hit her leaping double knees, but Lynch broke up the pin. Lynch was sent outside, but A.S.H. hit a crossbody from the apron. She turned right around into Doudrop. Brooke took out Doudrop, and Ripley POUNDED on Doudrop hard.

Zelina went for a superplex on the outside, but eventually, she tossed Brooke onto the other four faces. Morgan, in the ring, took out Carmella with an enziguri, then took out Zelina. She turned right into a Tamina superkick for a two-count. Morgan slipped out of a Samoan drop and sent Tamina into the ropes, hitting her Oblivion finisher for the victory.

After the match, things broke down as they all fought. Belair hit a big spinebuster on Doudrop. Morgan countered the Manhandle Slam, rolling out and hitting Oblivion on Lynch to end the segment. Her partners entered the ring and posed victoriously with her as the announcers hyped the title match for next week.

WINNER: Team Liv at 19:36 (Oblivion)

-They cut to the back, as McMahon reminded Theory to look at him as they talked. He asked if Team Becks expected that, and McMahon said you have to expect the unexpected. He yelled at Theory for looking at the door again.

-They showed E in the back as he was rubbing Kevin Patrick with a handkerchief. They hyped the E vs. Owens match with the added stipulation for next as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was most likely the longest match of the night depending on how the next 30 minutes transpires. It was a formulaic match and while Morgan did receive the pinfall victory and laid out Lynch with her finisher, the match’s sloppiest moments all came with her. She went to the ropes and pulled them too early on Doudrop, who only followed to complete the sequence, and most of Morgan’s time with Tamina was awkward in its timing. If Lynch cannot pull out at least a three-star match from Morgan, then it’s time to put a rest in the Morgan hype. Next week is it; either make, or break.)

-They returned with the same vignette they’ve aired the past couple of weeks for Veer Mahaan, which showed a lot of the released John Morrison and Jaxson Ryker. ‘

-The announcers shifted to a very good hype package on the dominance of Bobby Lashley. It showed him working out, posing, and showed pictures and footage of him as youth in amateur wrestling. He was skinny yet still muscular. He discussed his time in the Army and winning silver medal in the Military World Championships. They showed footage from his first run in WWE, hitting powerful suplexes and winning the United States Championship, ECW Championship, and his return as “The All Mighty” WWE Champion.

(Hazelwood’s Take: Damn good video, damn good.)

-Patrick interviewed E in the backstage ring, asking about his match with Owens and the possibility of Owens being added to the match on January 1st. Patrick asked if it adds any pressure. E said no, walked away, then returned, saying he fears no Kevins (eyeing Patrick), then admitted a triple threat makes it more difficult for him to retain. He said he will get rid of that duplicitous scourge Owens tonight and retain his title on January 1st. He said can you feel that sucka and walked away.

-Owens’ music hit as he made his entrance. They cut to break with The Street Profits hyping WWEShop.com’s Cyber Monday sale. [c]

-They returned with a Raw Talk promo featuring Morgan, Priest, and The Mysterios.

-McMahon asked Theory if he had a great time tonight, and Theory said he learned a lot. Theory said you have to expect the unexpected. McMahon said he’s got it, stood up to shake his hand, then slapped Theory back into his seat. He sat back down and said you’ve got a lot to learn. Ha!

-E made his entrance to a big pop. He stormed to the ring with a confident look on his face. Owens even lowered the ropes for the WWE Champion. Rollins’ music hit as of course, he will observe from ringside. He came out in a more demure but still outlandish getup and shades, looking stoic at the audacity (to him) that Owens could be added.

(7) BIG E (c) vs. KEVIN OWENS – If Owens wins, he is added to the Big E vs. Seth Rollins WWE Championship match at Day 1

E took it to Owens with punches in the corner to begin the match, but Owens used a knee kick and his own punches and elbows to gain the advantage. E hit a big back elbow as Rollins joined commentary. E pounded away at Owens in a corner some more, but Owens went for the Stunner. E countered by pushing him out of the ring, then slamming him into the barricade. E then slammed Owens’ face into the announce table as Rollins cheered on E.

Back in the ring, E pounded on Owens’ back, but Owens rolled him up with a schoolboy for a two-count. He then kicked away at E and hit a chop block. He looked to fire up the crowd, then hit an elbow to the knee, locking in a leg lock and punching at the knee area. He taunted the crowd, but they didn’t really respond. E fought out with punches, but Owens hit a leg DDT, even hitting a quick senton to the lower leg for a one-count.

Owens punched E in the forehead, but E powered up and went to work. However, Owens came off of the ropes with a gut kick and an enziguri to the knee for a two-count. Owens looked for the Figure Four, but E kicked him out of the ring. Rollins chanted “Go Big E!” in Owens’ face, so Owens smacked Rollins so hard the headset flew off. Rollins ran to the apron, but said he’s too smart for Owens’ crap and didn’t take the bait.

Owens turned and hit a short-arm clothesline to E. He climbed to the top, but E met him with a shot and Owens climbed back down. E floored Owens on the apron, then went for his leaping splash, which he hit across the chest on the apron. He rolled back in as Owens rolled out by the announce desk. E removed the top of the stairs, but he turned right into Owens hitting a DDT on the flat bottom steel stairs. They cut to break. [c]

Owens had E in a grounded side headlock as they returned. E fought to his feet, but Owens responded with a big chop. He came off of the ropes only for E to land a big clothesline. Owens grabbed and threw E into the middle turnbuckle as E approached, regaining the advantage. He hit a big chop in the corner, the another before lifting E to the top rope. Graves said Rollins would have a 33.3. percent chance in a triple threat and Rollins said, “Something like that.”

E resisted the superplex, but after Owens punched at the compromised left knee, he hit it from the second rope for a two-count. He cinched in another rear chinlock right in the middle of the ring as the fans started a small “Big E!” chant. E hit some body shots, then an overhead belly-to-belly, then another, then a traditional third. He gyrated over Owens before going for his leaping splash, but Owens had the knees up.

Owens went for a senton, but E put his knees up and this time, he hit his big running splash, but only for two. E started his clapping, setting up for The Big Ending, but Owens clocked E and then kicked him in the face. Owens was on the apron, and he put his knee up as E went for the spear. He then hit his corner cannonball on E for a two-count. Owens taunted E, telling him to stay down, but they pounded on each other until Owens landed a superkick for a kick out right at two.

E looked to recover in a corner, then caught Owens with his corner uranage as Owens rushed the corner for a two-count. E lifted Owens for The Big Ending, but Owens slipped out and rolled up E for a two-count. Suddenly, Owens hit a popup sitdown powerbomb for a two-count as Rollins yelled, “NOOOOOOOOO!” as the move was hit. Owens rolled E into position for presumably the Bullfrog Splash, but he then rushed at Rollins and pounded on him at ringside.

Owens went back to the apron, then hung up E on the top rope. Owens went for the Stunner, but E pushed him off. Owens hit a superkick, but E hit a big lariat. Rollins entered and attacked Owens, stomping away at him to cause the DQ. E asked what he was doing, and Rollins hit a superkick in his dress shoes and then a stomp. Rome announced Owens as the winner, and it finally dawned on Rollins what he just did. Owens reacted in ecstasy as Rollins tore off his jacked, kicked at the rope, and began yelling. They showed a graphic confirming the triple threat as they ended the show.

WINNER: Kevin Owens at 16:26 (DQ) to be added to the WWE Championship match at Day 1

(Hazelwood’s Take: As you’d expect from these two, it was a great TV main event even considering all the shenanigans with Rollins. You knew they weren’t going to have E lose clean so soon after Survivor Series, but an interference finish is still lacking. On the positive side, at least they gave Rollins a great reason to have lost his cool and forget about the stipulation of the match as he was attacked TWICE by Owens during the match. This whole night showed Owens’ cunning and intelligence, planting the seed to Rollins about the triple threat, who then germinated it by bringing it to Pearce, who fully blossomed it with Deville’s blessing. Owens’ manipulation of Rollins carried to the main event with the DQ, so that throughline at least worked. It would seem that with Owens so prominently involved in the WWE Championship scene that maybe he will re-sign with WWE. Then again, he’s always been a good soldier in WWE, and could just be playing it out so he can sign elsewhere somewhat at the top of his game.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want a good barometer on thoughts on this show, just listen to the crowd’s reactions, or lack thereof I should say. Outside of Edge’s music hitting, there really was no consistent reaction from the crowd, unless you consider apathy a reaction. That is not good and not to get too much into the WWE vs. AEW debate because there are a lot of contextual factors I think people leave out of this discussion, but it has to be said that with New York being seen as traditionally WWE’s backyard, the AEW crowd at Arthur Ashe was FAR more hot for the show than tonight’s crowd.

Morgan had some moments, but I’m not confident that next week will be some revelatory performance from her, unfortunately. I want her to succeed, but I just haven’t seen the improvement. Crowd support can only get you so far in WWE. To the other top championship, I’m intrigued to see how this triple threat plays out, but more importantly, how they build to that show with over a month remaining; can they keep it fresh or will we all just be at the point where we want the match to happen already?

To other things on the show, I think Edge’s return was wasted a bit because of The Miz, though he makes perfect sense as a first opponent for Edge since he can take losses and it mean nothing to his character (which, somehow ironically, works). Priest is still going strong, but just like with the WWE Championship picture, where is the rest of the mid-card for Priest to defend his title against? It’s going to be an interesting last month of 2021 for WWE, and hopefully as Rollins said, January 1st is indeed a new era, a new start.

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