12/6 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s live alt-perspective on Lynch vs. Morgan for Women’s Championship, E vs. Owens in a steel cage, Edge on “Miz TV,” more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
DECEMBER 6, 2021
MEMPHIS, TENN. FROM THE FEDEX FORUM
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 Javier Machado of PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.

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

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•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 video recap of last week’s main even t between WWE Champion Big E and Kevin Owens where Owens manipulated Seth Rollins, Adam Pearce, and Sonya Deville into adding the stipulation that Owens would be added to the title match at Day 1. Rollins caused the DQ, so Owens won the match and was added to match officially. The video ended with Corey Graves saying Rollins only had himself to blame.

-In the back, Rollins welcomed everyone to “Monday Night Rollins” and said Owens connived his way into the title match. He said tonight, in just a few moments actually, will go one-on-one with E inside a steel cage. The crowd popped as the cage was lowered. Rollins said he would enjoy every second of it as they tear each other apart. He said at Day 1, he will usher in a new year and new era with a new champion as he reclaims his rightful place as WWE Champion. He cackled and said to enjoy the show.

-Big E said he went to hell and back to win the WWE Championship. He said tonight they’re locked inside a steel cage and there’s no easy way out, no shortcut, and he’s going to punish Owens. He said you’ve got to feel that, sucka!

-Jimmy Smith and RAWbot welcomed viewers from Memphis as E’s music hit to a good, sustained pop. Owens then said E has been calling him a liar for weeks, but E’s the real liar because that’s his WWE Championship and E is just holding it for him. He said tonight, the truth is he will punish E, and that is no lie. Owens’ music hit to a chorus of boos as he slowly made his way with disdain on his face. Win by pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage, as with all WWE cage matches.

(1) BIG E (c) vs. KEVIN OWENS – Non-title steel cage match

Owens immediately ran to the door, but E cut him off. Owens responded with punches and a Stunner attempt, then back to the door. E grabbed Owens and forced him into the opposite corner, but ran into a boot. Owens climbed and tried to get out, but E took out a leg and crotched him on the top rope. He punched Owens into the cage, then drove him into the cage twice as Owens was on the apron. Owens tried to fight out and climb to the top, but E climbed to meet him. Owens fought him off with headbutts, but E stayed and shoved Owens’ head into the cage.

Owens finally got E off and hung him on the top. However, E did a rope run and hit his spear through the ropes, but Owens only met steel cage. E brought Owens back in and threw him into the cage face-first, then one more time as Owens fell to the mat. The WWE Champion again forced Owens into the cage from the apron, then a bunch of forearms rubbed across the face. He went for the spear again, but Owens moved as E crashed into the cage and rolled away. They cut to break as Owens recovered in a corner. [c]

Owens was stomping away at E in a corner as they returned from commercials. Owens then began climbing again, but E popped up and grabbed a leg. Owens then hit a moonsault to a standing E from the top rope (he was standing on the middle of it) for a two-count. Owens recovered a bit after, thinking about his next move, then tried to send E off of the ropes for the popup powerbomb, but E countered and threw him into the cage for a two-count.

E called for the door to open, but as he had one leg out, Owens grabbed him, moved him, then bashed E’s head against the cage. He then put the top rope across E’s jaw and cranked forward on E’s head for a good five seconds. Owens tried climbing again, and E had to climb to meet Owens this time. Owens fought back by bashing E’s head into the cage thrice. He surveyed, then went back to climbing instead of hitting a move.

E chased again, but Owens turned it into an avalanche sunset bomb for only a two-count. Owens delivered forearms to E’s face, but it pumped E up. He hit his belly-to-belly combo, then set for his running splash with a hip swivel over Owens. Owens rolled away, trying for the cage, but E grabbed his leg. Owens ducked a punch, then hit a superkick, falling into the corner by the door. Owens hit a corner cannonball for a two-count right next to the door.

Owens crawled for the door, but E prevented the escape. They traded blows in the middle of the ring until Owens cinched in a Boston Crab to E. He began crawling toward the door, but Owens sat on his back, then both tried for the door. Suddenly, Rollins appeared and slammed the door into both men’s heads. They cut to break. [c]

Owens was climbing a corner as they returned, leaping to the top. E climbed to meet him and bring him back. Both men stood on the top rope, beating on each other. E went to the second rope, then looked for The Big Ending, but Owens raked the eyes and caused E to fall to the mat. Owens hit the bullfrog splash for a two-count as Rollins laughed from the outside. After some more back-and-forth, E scored a two-count as Rollins clapped and said this was amazing.

E went for The Big Ending, but Owens slipped out. He then hit the popup powerbomb for a believable near-fall. Rollins said this was the best as he just wants them to beat each other up. Owens yelled at Rollins to shut up as he climbed the corner. Rollins notified E, who quickly climbed as Owens was half-draped over the top of the cage. Owens slowly came back as E hit him with elbows to the gut, then reset for The Big Ending. He used the cage to brace himself, as did Owens to try to prevent it, but E hit.

E crawled to the door instead of going for the pin like WWE 2K game. Owens grabbed his foot, but E kicked him off and crawled out to win the match. Rollins immediately attacked E from behind after the match, beating on him before removing his exquisite blazer and entering the ring to attack Owens. He set Owens for the stomp as boos soaked the crowd. However, he ran right into E hitting a belly-to-belly. E then hit The Big Ending on Owens for the second time, this one a normal version, as E celebrated in the ring with his title to the adulation of the crowd. They cut to break. [c]

WINNER: Big E at 20:08 (cage escape)

(Hazelwood’s Take: I noted on Twitter I like these kinds of starts to shows. You have a quick recap video, quick promos from those involved in the match and/or angle, then right to the match. It’s a nice change of the pace from the traditional 15-minute show-opening promo Raw became known for over the years. The match was good for TV, not the best cage match you’ll see, but a fine one. The second half of the match was basically a wrestling match that just happened to have a cage, and most of the cage spots were built around E thwarting Owens trying to escape. E winning by escaping is a bit of one-upmanship as Owens, as was shown throughout the match, is the more likely to seek victory by escape. All in all, a great opening half hour.)

-They returned as all three men were recovering at ringside, even E though he was celebrating before the break. They showed replays of the ending sequence, then showing Bobby Lashley (in sweet red gear) hitting E with a spear, Owens with a flatliner, and Rollins a Dominator. He then hit his one-armed spinebuster on E, posing in the ring.

(Hazelwood’s Take: I’m glad they showed Lashley’s destruction, but it would have been nice if they cut to break after that had happened instead of before. He looked dominant, and is definitely setting himself up to be the first challenger after Day 1, and deservedly so.)

-Graves then hyped the Women’s Championship match between Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan, presumably for the main event. Smith then hyped Miz TV with Edge as the special guest. Byron Saxton then showed a graphic for the first-ever RK-Bro-Nament with The Street Profits, The Mysterios, Alpha Academy, and A.J. Styles & Omos to meet them for a title. The Street Profits will face Styles & Omos as the other two teams will face each other, the winning teams meeting in a #1 contender’s match.

-Queen Zelina and Carmella made their entrance. Zelina asked how lucky they were that the Women’s Tag Team Champion and Queen greeted them with their presence. They booed as she broke out of her fake accent to say silencio and said she felt sorry for that lose Nikki A.S.H. She said she’s going to send her to the pits of despair, also known as Nashville, Tennessee. A.S.H.’s music then hit as she entered with Rhea Ripley. Graves asked what kind of grown woman dresses like A.S.H.

(2) QUEEN ZELINA (w/Carmella) vs. NIKKI A.S.H. (w/Rhea Ripley) – Singles match

They locked up to begin with Zelina forcing her foe into a corner. They broke, then Zelina ran into an elbow, but pulled A.S.H.’s leg from the top rope to cause her to hit the mat. She then choked her against the bottom rope in front of Ripley, then landed a running knee for a two-count. A.S.H. suddenly hit a crucifix, then a rollup, both for a two-count. A.S.H. then exploded off of a rope run with a clothesline, then a corner avalanche and bulldog.

Zelina escaped a suplex, then tried for a matchbox cover  using the ropes, but the ref saw. A.S.H. then hit a neckbreaker before climbing to the top rope. She leaped, but Zelina just moved out of the way like Samoa Joe. Zelina hit the Code Red for the clean pinfall.

WINNER: Queen Zelina at 2:02 (Code Red)

-In Gorilla, RK-Bro was standing as Riddle was wearing a WWE blazer and tuxedo t-shirt. Riddle was interrupted by Kevin Patrick, who asked about the tournament. Riddle corrected him, saying it was the RK-Bro-Nament. He said he and Randy Orton had a movie bracket, but then came up with the idea for the tourney. Orton said that never happened and it was Riddle’s idea alone. Orton said all he said was that if they had to defend the title, that’s the goal. He said Riddle responded with how Home Alone changed his life (“I told you that in confidence!”). Riddle said they were the special correspondents, including interviews, and knew Orton would forget the blazer, so he brought it. Orton said never, but Riddle got the fans to cheer and said the voices in his head are telling him that Orton should wear the blazer. Orton finally relented to big cheers from the crowd as his music hit and they made their entrance. Smith asked why those two get blazers. They cut to break hyping The Street Profits vs. Styles & Omos. [c]

-They returned with an anti-vaping PSA that highlighted Carmella and her accomplishments in and out of WWE.

-They cut to Ripley and A.S.H. walking in the back as Ripley said they’ll get them next time. Suddenly someone approached, a Black woman, asking for an autograph as the biggest fan, but then pointed at Jerry Lawler. He asked if an autograph would cheer them up, but they stormed off. Lawler was expectedly cheered in Memphis.

-Styles & Omos made their entrance first. They cut to a replay of last week where Styles suddenly regained his vision only to be thwarted by Montez Ford, who hit the frog splash on Chad Gable for the victory. The Street Profits’ music then hit to a good pop as the fans began dancing to the theme. Riddle joined commentary as Orton sat next to him sans headset. They played a pre-recorded promo where they made some fairy tale analogies before saying they’re going all the way. Ford said Styles couldn’t see that kick to the jaw last week, but they will this week as they kick them out of the tournament and they want the smoke.

(3) THE STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS – First round tag team match in the RK-Bro-Nament

Styles immediately went on the attack, but Ford hit a beautiful dropkick, then sent Styles into their corner. Dawkins tagged in and hit a dropkick of his own, then belly-to-backing his partner onto Styles before hitting a leaping frog splash for a two-count. Riddle said he wanted to go against The Mysterios because of the father-son dynamic on both teams (ha!). Styles ate a big right hand, then a spinning corner splash. However, Omos lowered the rope as Dawkins tried to hit it, causing him to land outside behind the referee’s back. Styles took out Ford, then a springboard forearm to Dawkins on the outside. They cut to break. [c]

[HOUR TWO]

Omos was in the ring as they returned, sending Dawkins hard into a corner. He then lifted Dawkins and hit a big bodyslam. He slowly paced around Omos, then stomped him once. He lifted Dawkins to his feet, then hit a big clubbing forearm to the back. Dawkins hit a jawbreaker to create distance, but Omost stood between him and their corner. Omos just laid out Dawkins with a lariat, furious at the jawbreaker.

Styles tagged in as the methodical pace continued. Dawkins tried fighting back with forearms, but Styles floored him with a double throat chop. Dawkins avoided a corner splash and made the hot tag. Ford hit two shoulder tackles, but Styles blocked his vertical attempt. Ford switched to a schoolboy for a two-count, then hit a kick combo. However, he ran into a Styles boot, but then hit a big clothesline after a rope run. He threw off his glove and then slapped Omos. Dawkins then entered and slapped Omos. They hit a double dropkick to send him off of the apron, but he was still on his feet.

Styles sent out Dawkins, then hit an enziguri on Ford, followed by a Pele kick. He then hit a snap brainbuster on Ford, but instead of pinning him, he went to the apron for the Phenomenal Forearm. Omos climbed to the apron and tagged Styles as Styles hit the top rope, saying he will finish it. Dawkins took out Styles, but Omos ran him over outside. Ford tried leaping onto Omos, but Omos just dropped him on the apron. Omos was so focused on Dawkins that they were counted out, even though Styles was telling Omos to get back. Omos reentered too late and was furious with himself, kicking the ropes. Styles looked on in disbelief, then told Omos he needs to listen to him as that’s how the team works. Omos just turned and walked away from Styles, heading to the back. Omos does look to be in tremendous shape as a side note.

WINNER: The Street Profits at 9:42 (count out) to advance in the RK-Bro-Nament

-After the match, Riddle got into an on-scene reporter gimmick and tried to interview a “distraught” Styles. He asked for a word. Styles just said are you talking to me? Riddle asked about the outcome. Styles said shouldn’t Riddle be interviewing the winners of the match? Riddle said his journalistic integrity says to follow the bigger story and that The Street Profits were just too fast. Riddle asked if Styles could explain the dynamic between he and Omos, and Styles asked if this was Dateline. He said that was just a misunderstanding between a great tag team, something Riddle would know nothing about, then said he would shove the microphone down Riddle’s throat if he doesn’t get it out of his face. He stormed off. Riddle asked if Orton would like to add anything (he was still sitting). He grabbed a mic and said, “Nope,” to laughter from the crowd. Riddle said things are heating up in this tournament brought to you by the three most devastating letters in sports entertainment: RK-Bro, which again is five letters.

-Sarah Schreiber was in the backstage ring as she introduced Lynch to a mix of cheers and boos. Lynch interrupted and said it’s a big, big night…for Morgan, the biggest match of her career. She said sure, Morgan won the match last week and hit her finisher, even countering the Manhandle slam a few weeks ago, but here’s the kicker: the real battle for Morgan will be fought in the mind and heart and the people who want to tear her apart. She said no one wants Morgan to win this, but Morgan’s in the perfect position as the underdog who will never really reach her dreams of living among the stars. She ended by saying that’s why tonight is just another Monday for Big Time Becks. Schreiber looked on almost in disgust as Lynch walked away.

-Damian Priest made his entrance for another United States Championship open challenge (Mustafa Ali hinted he would answer the challenge on Twitter). They cut to break hyping the open challenge. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I guess that’s the WWE way of having Styles & Omos lose without either of them actually taking the fall. They’re beginning the eventual breakup, finally, of Styles & Omos, and while it makes sense to have the far smaller wrestler as the babyface, I think Omos is more of a babyface than a heel. I also think Styles could turn himself into a heel by talking about how he would just wrestle circles around Omos, which is true, but basically like what Lynch has been doing to Morgan on promos. Looks like a Mania match that will probably be furthered in the Rumble match.)

-They returned with RK-Bro in the back as Riddle said the crowd was holding onto every syllable of Orton, but said Orton left some on the table. Orton said is that right, then said his broadcasting career is over, for the moment at least, as he put the blazer around Riddle, still wearing his blazer.

(4) DAMIAN PRIEST (c) vs. ROBERT ROODE (w/Dolph Ziggler) – United States Championship open challenge

Welp, not Ali. They locked up, and Roode forced Priest into a corner with punches. Priest then threw Roode into the same corner and landed some high-impact strikes. He then hit a shoulder tackle to a running Roode. Priest laid in one of his stiff forearms, then hit a leaping back elbow to Roode for a two-count. Priest laid in some body knees to Roode in a corner, then a snapmare before a PK to the spine. He then hit a kick across the chest of a seated Roode.

He lifted Roode and hit a big chop, but Roode dodged a leaping attack in the corner. He took out Roode, but then got DISTRACTED (a Wade Keller bit) by Ziggler. He followed outside, but then Roode rammed him into the steel steps. He then threw Priest over the barricade and into the crowd, reentering the ring and posing as they cut to break. [c]

Priest was hitting a strike combo on Roode as they returned, but Roode was able to hit a second rope blockbuster for a two-count. He yelled out in frustration. Roode talked smack, but Priest hit a series of forearms, then a stiff right hand. He then hit a front-facing slam before hitting a back elbow in the corner. He then exploded off of the ropes with a lariat, dropping Roode. Priest hit a big Broken Arrow for a two-count; he literally threw Roode.

Priest then set for what appeared to be a powerbomb, but Roode rolled away. Priest hit the thunderclap, but Rood then hit a backstabber after ducking a clothesline for a two-count. Ziggler encouraged his partner from ringside. The two began to trade strikes in the middle of the ring, but Priest use his long legs to hit a kick combo, ending with a leaping switch kick. He went for a springboard kick, but Roode caught him in a spinebuster instead for a two-count.

Roode readied for the Glorious DDT, but Priest jumped away and set for The Reckoning. Roode fought out, then escaped a South of Heaven chokeslam with a rollup for a two-count. Priest then caught Roode with The Reckoning to retain his title with a pinfall victory. Suddenly, off-camera, a foot came in as Ziggler hit a superkick to Priest. Ziggler then rolled out and consoled his partner, telling Priest Roode should be the champ (but…he just got pinned).

WINNER: Damian Priest at 9:37 (The Reckoning) to retain the United States Championship

-They shifted to Doudrop attacking Bianca Belair over the past few weeks, but Belair gaining some measure of revenge with a spinebuster in last week’s ten-woman tag team match. Belair’s music hit to a BIG pop in her home state. They showed many young Black girls just exuberant at Belair making her entrance. As Belair skipped to the ring, Doudrop ran down and clotheslined Belair, laying her out. They cut to break hyping the match. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Another great match. My only question is wouldn’t this kind of showing have been better served for a singles wrestler, or at least a tag team wrestler who you feel like has singles potential for the future? Roode’s been the champ in the past, sure, but he’s also older than Priest and probably not likely for a singles run. Beyond that, it was a great showing for both men, and Priest vs. Ziggler should of course be a solid match.)

-They returned with a “This Week in WWE History” on the first Raw main event with a women’s singles match as Lita beat Trish Stratus for the Women’s Championship. They bookended by saying 17 years to the day, Lynch vs. Morgan will main event. They showed a tweet that Morgan posted of a tweet where Stratus encouraged her. Graves hyped the main event.

(5) BIANCA BELAIR vs. DOUDROP – Singles match

The bell rung as they cut back. Belair hit an immediate dropkick, but Doudrop used her size advantage to thwart a slam. She whipped Belair into a corner, but Belair evaded and started kicking away at Doudrop in the corner. Doudrop countered an Irish whip, but Belair leaped to the second rope and taunted her with the butt slaps to big cheers. Belair tried using her quickness, but Doudrop countered and hit a big senton for a two-count.

Doudrop beat on Belair in a corner as the crowd was silent. She worked the left arm, including a headbutt to the arm. She locked in a Cobra Clutch variation, but Belair used back elbows to the gut to break out only to be hit with a short-arm clothesline. Doudrop cranked on the arm over the top rope in a corner, but Belair hit a back elbow and kick to escape the corner. Doudrop then just laid her out with a clothesline for a two-count.

Doudrop took her time, then headbutted the left arm again before locking in the modified Cobra Clutch/Gift Wrap position as Smith noted. An “EST” chant started, and she muscled her way out. On the apron, Doudrop lifted Belair, but Belair slid out into the ring, as Doudrop was entering, Belair hit a handspring to the ropes that caused Doudrop to fall to the ground, Smith saying the top rope hit Doudrop in the mouth. Smith said “veteran move” three times in about a ten-word sequence. Doudrop hit a standing splash on the floor as they cut to break. [c]

Belair was fighting out of Doudrop’s grasp as they returned. She went for a vertical suplex, but Doudrop lifted her instead. Belair slipped out, shoved Doudrop into the ropes, then hit a spinebuster using the momentum. The crowd fired up. Belair hit some shoulder strikes in the corner, then climbed for the ten punches. After four, Doudrop slipped out, but Belair hit a crossbody from the second rope for a two-count. Belair was stunned, as was Smith.

Belair pumped herself up, but Doudrop blocked an Irish whip. Belair hit a back elbow, but Doudrop hit a seated senton as Belair went for a sunset flip. Doudrop climbed to the second rope and hit a Vader Bomb for only a two-count! I guess I should call it a Doudrop Bomb or Dou Bomb or…Dou-Drop? Doudrop taunted Belair while mushing her face, then proceeded to take out some of the hair accessories of Belair. Saxton said Doudrop should just focus on winning.

Doudrop hit a big headbutt, but she ate turnbuckle and mat as Belair dodged the cannonball. Belair then tried for the K.O.D., but couldn’t and Doudrop rolled away. She exited the ring and walked to the entrance, content to take the count out loss. She taunted Belair before heading through the curtain.

WINNER: Bianca Belair at 12:58 (count out)

-Smith shifted to a video on Austin Theory and his experience with Vince McMahon last week, culminating in the stiff slap McMahon delivered to teach Theory to expect the unexpected. He said, “You got a lot to learn.” They showed McMahon in the back looking at his phone with a red case as Theory knocked and entered. Theory said he’s a little sore from last week. McMahon said Theory learned last week that people don’t really care about you when they ask how you’re doing. McMahon said he was thinking about putting Theory in a match tonight. Theory said he wasn’t expecting and is surprised. McMahon said, “Oh, man,” upset that Theory didn’t get the lesson from last week.

-The Miz’s music played as he made his entrance to host Miz TV solo; he returned last week with his wife, Maryse. They hyped the segment as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: At first, I thought Doudrop may have called an audible and took the count out because it was supposed to end with the K.O.D., but the quick shift to the Theory video and segment leads me to believe that was the planned finish so they could hit the segment and The Miz’s entrance for the top-of-the-hour segment. We have seen Belair hit the K.O.D. on Doudrop in the past, and now we’ve seen her hit two spinebusters, but it’s smart to delay the payoff until presumably Day 1.)

-They returned with the Smackdown Breakdown from last week, featuring Toni Storm staking her claim to a title match with Charlotte Flair and nailing her with a pie (with added sound effect). They also showed Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn (Zayn is so good in his role), where Lesnar forced Zayn to have his Universal Championship match that night against Roman Reigns…only after laying him out with German suplexes and an F5. Reigns won with an immediate spear and guillotine. Smith then hyped the Reigns-Lesnar match at Day 1.

MIZ TV FEATURING EDGE AS SPECIAL GUEST

The Miz was in the ring dancing to his music as they cut back to the ring. He did his usual introduction. He said he knows what people are thinking, asking about Maryse, but she doesn’t come to places like Memphis, Tennessee in a Southern accent. He said he re-watched last week’s segment and he was speechless: Edge complimented him! He said he’s known Edge for 15 years and doesn’t think this is like him, that he’s a shell of his former self, or is he? He introduced Edge with gusto, and Edge received a big pop. He ran to the stands and stood on the side greeting fans before running to the other side and then to the ramp for his pose and pyro. The trademark appeared with five minutes until the top of the hour.

Edge entered the ring as Saxton said The Miz should be careful what he asked for. The Miz had a big grin on his face as Edge grabbed a mic. He said he actually meant the words he said last week. The Miz said he can’t help but think the Rated R Superstar has lost his “edge.” He said the old Edge would have speared him out of his shoes, but this Edge sounds mentally weak. Edge said you paid nine thousand dollars for those ugly ass shoes before saying his Jordan IIIs are way cooler.

The Miz said you know when he needed Edge’s kindness? When he started in 2006, when he was kicked out of the locker room. He said they both know he was kicked out of the locker room because he was an outcast, because he had the “it” factor. He said instead of being brought under the win of veterans, he was shunned even though he was more famous than 90 percent of the locker room and he doesn’t need that kindness.

[HOUR THREE]

Edge said The Miz is glossing over some things, like Edge pulling him aside in that very arena telling him he has “it,” but The Miz brushed him off. Edge said he went through the same thing seven years before and if someone tried to help him, he would have listened. He said he didn’t walk into the locker room believing everything should be his like The Miz. He said The Miz needs to look in the mirror and the mirror will tell him the same thing it did in 2006: “Miz, you’re an ass!”

The Miz paused, then said Edge is a hypocrite and vulnerable, and that he surpassed Edge in every way. He said he couldn’t wait to beat Edge at “January One.” Edge said if that’s a challenge, they’re on, but they’re there in Memphis and nothing’s standing between them, so what do you say? The Miz predictably said no. He said he’s not afraid or scared, but fell to the mat as Edge faked a punch. Edge said, “Not afraid?” then walked away. Graves said those nine thousand dollar shoes are pretty slippery.

(Hazelwood’s Take: Both were good on the mic, as expected. I don’t think I have much to add beyond what I said last week. They really just continued the segment from last week.)

-They cut to the back where Schreiber approached Morgan about Lynch’s comments. Morgan said Lynch wasn’t entirely wrong as she did everything Lynch said. She said that scares Lynch because everyone’s watching because they want Morgan to win. She said tonight, she’s going to do everything in her power to get what she wants, and that’s the Women’s Championship.

-The Mysterios music hit as they made their entrance for the other first round match in the RK-Bro-Nament. They played a pre-recorded promo where Dominik said part of living up to they Mysterio name is never backing down. Rey said it’s about the size of the fight in them, and they’re going to take out Alpha Academy and then become Tag Team Champion, “Viva la raza!” They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with another Veer Mahaan vignette, the same one showing him landing a bunch of power moves on the likes of the released John Morrison and Jaxson Ryker.

-They cut back to the ring as Riddle joined commentary sans Orton. Alpha Academy’s music hit as they made their entrance for this first round matchup.

(6) THE MYSTERIOS (Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio) vs. ALPHA ACADEMY (Chad Gable & Otis) – First round tag team match in the RK-Bro-Nament

Dominik and Gable began, Dominik landing some punches before hitting his rope-assisted arm drag. Gable was insulted that Dominik went for a tag, saying don’t go crying to daddy. He slapped Mysterio, then hit a butterfly suplex with a bridge. He held on with an arm wrench, but Dominik returned the favor and slapped Gable saying don’t make the tag. Dominik hit a big dropkick, but Gable hit an overhead belly-to-belly as Dominik went for the tag.

Dominik then grabbed the foot to prevent Gable from making the tag, so Gable stomped on Dominik. He rolled through a sprint from Dominik, turning it into a single leg crab. Dominick turned it into an inside cradle for a two-count, then hit an enziguri. He then prevented Gable from making the tag again, but was whipped into a neutral corner, Gable then grabbed the left leg and hit a Dragon Screw in the ropes. Gable went for a moonsault, landing on his feet as Dominik rolled away, then hit a schoolboy with a stack for the victory!

WINNER: The Mysterios at 3:14 (schoolboy stack pin)

-Riddle entered the ring after the match for another interview with the losing team. Otis lifted him for the World’s Strongest Slam and planted him; props to Riddle for yelling, “I’M A JOURNALIST! I’M A JOURNALIST!” as he was slammed.

(Hazelwood’s Take: I like the story that both men were unwilling to let the other tag, although it came back to bite valedictorian Gable in the ass since he initiated the no-tag policy. Still, that was a unique story we don’t often see told in tag team matches, and it piqued my interest simply for being different. At the very least, The Street Profits vs. The Mysterios should be one hell of an athletic match in the finals of the RK-Bro-Nament.)

-They showed McMahon on the phone in the back as Theory was warming up with jumping jacks. McMahon got off of the phone and told Theory to sit. He said because Theory wasn’t ready earlier, he won’t have a match tonight. Theory said his last match was for the WWE Championship. McMahon said Theory needs to find another way to impress him. He unzipped his vest and proceeded to do more jumping jacks, saying he could do that all day. McMahon told him to stop, STOP, then find another way, use his brains. Theory smiled and walked off.

-Finn Balor’s music hit as he made his entrance. They hyped his match with T-Bar as they cut to break. [c]

(7) FINN BALOR vs. T-BAR – Singles match

They returned with T-Bar already in the ring. The bell rung and Balor used stiff leg kicks to gain a side headlock. T-Bark shoved him off and caught him on a Balor crossbody. He hit a knee to the ribs and just flung Balor away for a one-count. He put Balor in the corner and just laid in boots and strikes, shoving his boot to the throat. T-Bar hit a pendulum backbreaker for a two-count, then out Balor in a rear chinlock.

A “Let’s Go Balor” chant started as he looked to get out of the hold. T-Bar jus wrenched him side-to-side, then kneed Balor in the ribs when Balor almost broke out of the hold. However, Balor hit some boots out of the corner, and hit an O’Connor Roll counter on a chokeslam for a two-count. He hit a quick double stomp, but T-Bar hit his discus boot for a two-count (that really should be a finisher with how devastating it looks).

T-Bar lifted Balor into a powerslam position, but Balor slipped out and hit the slingblade. He quickly climbed to the top rope, but T-Bar grabbed his throat, climbed to the second rope, and then ate some chops to the neck that floored him. Balor then set and hit Coup de Grace for the pinfall victory.

WINNER: Finn Balor at 3:37 (Coup de Grace)

-As Balor celebrated after, Theory suddenly attacked Balor from behind, hitting his ATL finisher. He then took a bunch of selfies with Balor’s prone body before exiting.

-They cut to the back as Dana Brooke was sneaking around looking for people. R-Truth and Akira Tozawa appeared saying they could have won right there, but they need to consult the rulebook. Reggie then flew in and said the title looks good on her. He got in the way as Tamina chased Brooke, then laughed after Tamina ran off.

-Lynch’s music hit and even though she received a mixed reaction earlier during her promo, it was ALL cheers when her music hit and she made her entrance. They cut to break hyping the big main event. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Another good match, even though it was short, and just another reminder that just maybe McMahon will finally see it with T-Bar and turn him into a dominant force. The former Donovan Dijak really has all the tools, just get him away from the T-Bar gimmick! Balor looked good in taking down a larger foe, and it appears his next feud will be Theory. This is another feud where it’s fine for Theory to take the loss, but show his skills and potential along the way. I’m wondering if this somehow ends with Theory winning the Royal Rumble match in one of those “expect the unexpected but not if it’s expected but still unexpected” moments McMahon has been preaching to him over the past few weeks.)

-They returned with a video postcard of Memphis, then Smith shifted to Lashley’s destruction of E, Owens, and Rollins earlier in the night. They showed M.V.P. and Lashley in the back, leaving in suits. Patrick approached asking why he “rudely” attacked. M.V.P. said we live in an era where people have become too comfortable disrespecting people because there are no consequences for their actions, but not in The All Mighty’s era. He said they had the unmitigated gall to have a WWE Championship match without Lashley. Lashley said when you disrespect him, Kevin, that’s what happens. They walked off after M.V.P. straightened Patrick’s tie.

-The announcers cut to a package on Morgan. She was the youngest of six children raised by a single mom, with her mom working 60 hours a week. Morgan called herself a confused kid who couldn’t find her way in life. Her mom said Morgan’s life was always about WWE. They showed a random girl watching various moments throughout WWE history, then making her own cardboard title. Morgan said now, she knows who she is and that confused kid has grown into a confident woman who isn’t afraid to go for her dream. She said she won’t be pushed aside for how she feels, won’t be denied the moment she’s waited her entire life for. She said she knows who she is, and that’s the next Women’s Champion.

-They cut back to the ring where Lynch was waiting. Morgan’s music hit to a really good pop that sustained once she made her entrance. They cut to break hyping the match. I wonder if we’ll get in-ring formal introductions. [c]

-To answer my question, Mike Rome was in the ring as they returned from break. He gave formal ring introductions, which is always a good way to pop the crowd. Morgan almost looked overwhelmed at the moment, the support, or both. Lynch just looked amused.

(8) BECKY LYNCH (c) vs. LIV MORGAN – Women’s Championship match

The crowd cheered as the bell rung. Lynch just grinned as they circled, hitting a go-behind and slamming Morgan down. She taunted Morgan about being in the big time. She hit another go-behind, but shifted to a side headlock, then ran over Morgan with a shoulder tackle. Lynch then escaped the ring as Morgan went for her finisher along the ropes. Morgan tried attacking Lynch as she reentered the ring, then put Lynch in a side headlock and hit a shoulder tackle of her own.

Morgan went for a leapfrog, but Lynch slid and grabbed her foot. The women traded pinning combos, then Lynch matrixed out of a pin. Lynch went for the Dis-Arm-Her, but Morgan once again went for a pin. She then hit a La Magistral for a two-count, then a went for a jackknife cover. Lynch powered up, but Morgan hit a backslide, then a schoolgirl. Lynch decided screw this and just punched Morgan in the face to end the pinning combinations.

Morgan hit a back elbow out of the corner, then a second rope missile dropkick. However, Lynch avoided an attack and used her rope-assisted kick in the corner. She went for a baseball slide, but Morgan ducked. She then hit her falling double knees to the face of Lynch and rolled back in. Morgan readied and hit a tope through the second rope (great catch by Lynch), which broke the ten count that was at six. She appeared to jar her elbow.

She rolled Lynch back in for a cover, scoring a two-count. Morgan rolled to the apron, gathering herself. She shook out her right arm as she climbed to the top, but Lynch met her and climbed, looking for a superplex. Lynch hit a second rope supreplex, flooring both women as they cut to break. [c]

The two women were beating on each other as they returned, but Lynch put Morgan in the ropes and hit an uppercut before hitting a second rope leg drop across the back of Morgan, draped across the second rope for a two-count. Saxton said he thinks Lynch is becoming frustrated because she probably didn’t think the match would go this long. Lynch cranked on a rear chinlock, but Morgan fought to her feet. She hit some elbows to the gut and threw off Lynch.

Morgan hit three big forearms, but Lynch hit a rolling ankle pick, then shifted her into an inverted DDT for a two-count (she overshot her initial roll a bit). Lynch missed a corner splash as Morgan dodged, but Morgan had her legs taken out by Lynch on the second rope, her head rebounding on the turnbuckle. Morgan rolled away from a Lynch move, who rolled through, then hit Lynch with a step-up enziguri. Both women were prone on the mat.

With about four minutes left in the show, the two women made it to their feet with Morgan hitting a combo and then a Thesz Press. Morgan hit a running hip attack in the corner, then a step-up knee. Morgan went for Oblivion, but Lynch dodged. Morgan was able to swing back and kick Lynch in the face, then hit a rope-assisted falling double knees to the face for a two-count. Graves mentioned Morgan had been putting in extra training.

Lynch regained her feet and hit a spin kick to the gut, but Morgan hit a head scissors that sent Lynch to the apron. Morgan then leaped over and onto the back of Lynch on the apron, stomping away after landing. She climbed to the top and hit another missile dropkick to Lynch for a two-count. She immediately transitioned into a modified Rings of Saturn, but Lynch countered into a pin, then Dis-Arm-Her.

Morgan reached the ropes, then hit an inside cradle for a two-count. Lynch went for the Manhandle slam, but Morgan countered into a pin. Lynch rolled through, then Morgan, then Lynch again, next to the ropes. Lynch grabbed the rope on the pin, retaining the title. They showed a little girl who had the same look as the infamous Miz Girl on her face: she was MAD.

WINNER: Becky Lynch at 14:49 (stack pin with rope grab) to retain the Women’s Championship

(Hazelwood’s Take: Last week I said if Morgan had a poor showing, then she should be depushed quickly. I’m happy to say she proved me wrong, putting in what was probably her best overall showing tonight. Sure, there were a few spots in the match that seemed odd, but it looked to me as if Lynch actually messed up or mistimed things, not Morgan. The crowd was definitely hot and wanting Morgan to win, but they basically proved Lynch right from earlier in the night. Morgan is in the perfect position as the perpetual underdog who just can’t reach the heights of the stars. In a sense, it’s like Zayn in NXT before he finally bet Adrian Neville for the title. Fans love Morgan as they did Zayn, and even the unexpected to downright rare still gave them enough hope to be invested in the match. Props to both women and the producers of the match.)

FINAL TAKE: Heading into Day 1 with the first December Raw of 2021, I have to say this was an overall above-average show for what we’ve come to expect of the quality of Raw in recent years. They started off the show hot with the cage match, incorporated two tag team tournament matches and a United States Championship open challenge, and furthered the stories in every segment with little wasted time. The pacing of the show didn’t drag as well, and while I know you can’t stack title matches every week, tonight was a good template of how WWE should move forward in their booking philosophy and timing of the show.

Reasserting Lashley and reminding everyone of his dominance was a great move (and short night of work for The All Mighty). While I initially said he would be awaiting the winner of the triple threat, the interview with Patrick in the back leads me to believe he might be added to the match at Day 1. I would rather the former happen, but WWE is really trying to build that show as one of their best in years. The finish to the main event gives Morgan more reason to continue her feud with Lynch, possibly a rematch (maybe a gimmick match) at the January 1st show. That is also where the RK-Bro-Nament (I can’t believe how many times I had to type that tonight) will culminate with the winners facing RK-Bro if I understood everything correctly tonight. I’m also intrigued by the endgame for this McMahon-Theory angle, and want to see more even though I’m not a Theory fan. In that sense, that’s a success for WWE.

Again, this was a good show and while you could skip the A.S.H.-Zelina match and 24/7 Championship stuff, everything else on the show was, if not must-see, at least watchable. As long as WWE remembers that every segment should always be building toward something, they’ll be fine.

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