HEYDORN’S WWE RAW RECEIPT 12/5: Number one contender matches take spotlight without PLE build

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

Seth Rollins addresses Logan Paul
PHOTO CREDIT: Seth Rollins Twitter

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

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

-The Bloodline continue thriving in terms of conveying star power without Roman Reigns involved. It’s powerful and meaningful for a strong act like that to work the way it does even without the unquestionable top star around.

-Riddle was fine to start the show opposite The Bloodline, but came across as less of a star than them by a wide margin. Sami Zayn calling his group “Ucey” to a chorus of cheers should direct him away from doing that in the future. It may Riddle look bad, as “Ucey” is a good thing at this point among fans. If that is the case, a good heel should recognize that and pivot away, so as not to give the babyface a steep uphill climb with the audience.

-Kevin Owens and Matt Riddle teaming together was more exciting than Elias being involved and the match was good, but just not good enough to really believe Riddle & Owens had a true shot at winning the tag belts.

-Solo Sikoa attacking Riddle the way he did after the match was effective in positioning Sikoa as the lethal enforcer of The Bloodline. He brings something different to the group in that role and played the part extremely well. The shots on Riddle were vicious and believable. Riddle did his part in selling for Sikoa, too. Great stuff here.

-Rhea Ripley continues to bring it each and every week. Her backstage promo with Dominik at her side showed off her confidence with the character and the staredown with Becky Lynch teased what could end up being one of WWE’s signature feuds in 2023 if booked correctly.

-Becky back as “The Man” and in full babyface mode is very refreshing. Goes to show why aligning your characters together with fan reaction is so damn important.

Number one contender matches highlight WWE Raw storylines

-Alexa Bliss and Bayley winning their respective number one contender triple threat matches, so that they can face each other with an opportunity at Bianca Belair and the WWE Raw Women’s Championship was the right call to make. It’s a fresh match and with stakes involved can be something memorable. Keep in mind how they got here. Damage CNTRL costing Becky Lynch the win. I’m looking at Lynch to return the favor next week, which means Bliss is moving on to face Belair.

-Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley to determine a number one contender to Austin Theory’s WWE United States Championship is logical. Both were former champions and lost in a bit of a flukey way at Survivor Series. Why not run it back? The brawl was effective at creating added intrigue. If I’m Paul Levesque, I’m better defining these two as heels or babyfaces, so that the audience can pick a winner to get behind.

-If you haven’t checked out Mustafa Ali’s Twitter promo about the US Championship, stop reading and do it. Really great work from him and it helped build interest in his match with Theory. We didn’t get a finish to the match, but Ali’s journey is ongoing. Looking like we’ll get Ali and Ziggler sooner than later given Ziggler’s role in costing Ali his championship match.

-Ohhhhhh, the poker game. I guess the poker was fine and these things happen on WWE Monday Night Raw. It’s really silly stuff, though and for someone like Lumis or Johnny Gargano, who only recently became a regular part of the show, it clearly defines them to a lower level of the roster that they may not ever be able to climb up from.

-That pesky Baron Corbin cheated at poker! Who would have thought, right!? The nerve!! The OC involved in calling him out was fine and the resulting six-man filler match was fine, too. That’s it, though.

-A good squash victory for Dominik Mysterio this week. He needed it. Ripley and Dominik continue to play well off one another.


CATCH-UP: 12/5 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on Usos defending against Elias & Riddle, JBL’s poker tournament, Becky vs. Bliss vs. Nikki

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