HEYDORN’S RAW RECEIPT 1/3: Lesnar WWE Championship reign cultivates intriguing unknown heading into Royal Rumble

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

Brock Lesnar return details revealed
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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

This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.

-Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar standing next to one another in the ring to kick of Raw this week couldn’t have felt more right and wrong at the same time. It was great and Heyman juggled a lot with his promo, but seeing them together emphasized major storyline gaps that need to be filled in at some point. WWE is chasing their tail a bit due to pivots and changes because of COVID-19 and Roman Reigns’ positive test. I get it, but that story with Heyman, Lesnar, and Reigns needs a proper payoff. Too big of a long-term story to just let it fizzle away.

-WWE has told a good enough story between Alpha Academy and RK-Bro. When Orton eventually hits the RKO on Otis it will matter and should generate a big pop.

-RK-Bro continues to be endearing together. Riddle can play the pesky little brother role well and that juvenile character doesn’t appear to be having significant pushback from the audience. Can Riddle still be a top guy after this? Remains to be seen, but reactions indicate yes. I’ll believe it when I see it, though.

-Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley is going to be a stiff violent spectacle and I can’t wait. Lashley’s promo backstage and “Brock Lesnar fears me” line was special. That intensity is a major reason why this match has been pined for as long as it has been.

-What in the hell was that 24/7 tag team match about? I know there is three hours to fill, but come on, even for WWE that was embarrassing.

-Vincent Van GOAT? Yeah, Becky Lynch is not only a top star, but a smart businesswoman too. Get the t-shirt’s ready.

-Curious booking around the Raw Women’s Championship coming out of Day One. Belair vs. Lynch seemingly was your WrestleMania match given their long-term arch dating back to Summerslam. Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Doudrop is slated for next week to crown a number one contender for the title at Royal Rumble and Belair is the clear favorite given where the other two women are at this point. WWE is in a pickle. If Belair vs. Lynch is the plan, Morgan likely wins next week setting up yet another title shot and inevitable loss, again, to Lynch. That could be crippling for Morgan. Doudrop simply isn’t ready. This leaves Belair and if that happens, WWE hast something else planned for Lynch at WrestleMania? Let’s hope so.

-Name a colder former promising top act than Rhea Ripley. I’ll wait, but it ain’t happening. The fall from grace there is astonishing, unfortunate, and not fruitful business.

-Montez Ford’s frog splash is a thing of beauty. Attention Kevin Dunn. Don’t ruin it with three camera cuts IN THE MIDDLE of the move.

-Nothing wrong with trying something new with Damian Priest, but the psychology around this gimmick is off. Not sure how much the fans are going to gravitate toward Priest “controlling” the Damian side of himself. It would seem that the babyface reaction in the act is seeing that side come out. A wait and see approach is smart with this, but it’s confusing as of now.

-Austin Theory is getting a key moment in the Royal Rumble isn’t he? Vince McMahon isn’t attaching himself to someone that will be treated like filler fodder, so yeah, he is.

-So, they arrived at the mixed tag between Miz & Maryse and Edge & Beth Phoenix. Now what? The match is on, but the heat isn’t.

-The straight-faced and personal promo from Big E worked very well. He effectively articulated his feelings on losing the WWE Championship and it felt authentic, which allowed for fans to live with him in the disappointment. Here’s to hoping he still has something significant on tap for WrestleMania. He has been a central positive on Raw and helped give the show some needed direction it had lost toward the end of summer in 2021.

-Man, that was quite the job for A.J. Styles to do. WWE needs to be careful, as they don’t have many over acts like Styles. If Omos is slated for a major push, then I suppose this was the right move to kick that off. That said, he’s not anywhere close to ready for that role.

-Excellent main event. It was action packed and put the right guy over in Bobby Lashley. Big E losing the championship was very unfortunate, but with Lesnar holding the title and still having business with Roman Reigns, it creates an intriguing environment of uncertainty around the WWE Championship going into the Royal Rumble.


CATCH-UP: 1/3 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on Day 1 fallout with Brock Lesnar as the new WWE Champion, Styles vs. Omos, Priest vs. Ziggler

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