When Kevin Owens chose John Cena to be his tag team partner against Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn on the December 30th edition of Smackdown, there were of course going to be repercussions. On Monday’s episode of RAW, the red brand’s roster felt those repercussions, as many of them were beaten down by the Usos, Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn, who were dispatched by Roman Reigns to send a message to Owens. But in the end, it was Kevin Owens who sent a message of his own to the Tribal Chief, as he and the RAW roster banded together to send the Bloodline back to Smackdown with their tails between their legs and a main event loss. And, most assuredly, leaving them feeling a lot less Ucey than when they first arrived.

The show started with a greeting from Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns who were in the Bloodline dressing room. Reigns said that since Kevin Owens kept crashing Smackdown – and on December 30, would be doing so with John Cena – the Bloodline was crashing RAW tonight to send a message to Owens. Reigns said that he was going to send a message to the entire RAW roster and will not rest until they and Owens acknowledge the Bloodline.

Cut to a random area in the back where the rest of the Bloodline were beating up Mustafa Ali and some other jobbers or security guards. After the beatdown, the Usos said there was more work to be done.


Match 1: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (w/ Akira Tozawa) vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest) (w/ Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley)

Dom was wearing shades, selling the mysterious mist he got in the eyes last week. Montez Ford was showing some real fire in this one, taking it to Priest early on.

During the match, they showed a split screen video of another random hallway in the back, where the Bloodline were beating up NXT’s Andre Chase. Then they attacked Elias, with Sikoa giving a “solo” performance, clobbering Elias with his own guitar.


Meanwhile, the match picked up with some intensity. A great looking moment saw Priest plant Dawkins with South of Heaven, but then Priest – still in a seated position after the move – immediately got flattened with a huge Frog Splash by Ford that looked like he landed right on Priest’s face.

Finn looked like he had things in control, blasting Ford with a Sling Blade and a Running Dropkick. But he got distracted by shenanigans on the floor, where Tozawa threw a glass of some liquid right into Dominik’s eyes – hey, maybe they’re going to be doing a thing where Dominik loses his eye; like father, like son, right? Anyway, Balor got distracted by this, and Ford sneaked up behind him and rolled him up for the three-count.

Decent match up until the lame ending.

Winners: The Street Profits

After the match, Rhea stormed up the ramp to confront Tozawa who was heading to the back with the Profits. A livid Rhea called him a piece of crap and punched him right in the face. Then she challenged him to a match right then and there. Tozawa seemed reluctant, but the Profits pumped him up and he answered Rhea’s call.



Match 2: Rhea Ripley (w/ the Judgment Day) vs. Akira Tozawa (w/ the Street Profits)

Tozawa ducked a few shots, but he hesitated when he had the chance to punch Rhea, despite her taunting him to do so. Rhea had no such compunctions, and she dropped him with a Running Boot to the Head, and then ground-and-pounded him, rubbing his face in the mat and striking him with forearms to the back of the head.


Tozawa fought for a comeback, reversing a Powerbomb attempt into a Hurancarana, but when he tried to follow up, he was tripped by Balor from the outside behind the referee’s back. Balor and Priest paid for that interference by some flying Profits. Rhea missed a Running Shoulder Tackle and ended up eating the ring post. But she avoided a Super Senton attempt and Tozawa crashed hard. Rhea picked him up, hit the Riptide, and that was all she wrote.

There were a few sloppy moments here – it looked like a couple of spots suffered from some miscommunication – but otherwise this was a good showcase for Rhea. Seriously, she not only has the look, the skills, but also has the instincts of a veteran – even the little things like trash-talking when she has the advantage and riling up the crowd. Intergender matches can be controversial since usually the visual is of a larger man beating up a smaller woman. But with Rhea, she’s bigger than many of the men on the roster, so it actually works. And having her beat them up and win matches actually looks believable. She’s kind of like Chyna in that way, but with more in-ring skill.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

They recapped the ongoing issues between Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins, including Lashley’s short-lived firing after he put his hands on Adam Pearce last week.

Cut to Adam Pearce and Cathy Kelley in the back. Adam was on the phone with Paul (presumably Levesque?) asking him to return Adam’s repeated calls. Adam refused to answer Cathy’s questions about the Lashley situation, only saying that they had spoken and Lashley will eventually return to work. MVP walked into the scene and asked for a meeting with Pearce. But as they were heading to his office, a referee ran up and said he needed Adam to deal with a situation in the loading docks.

At the loading docks, Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin, and Dolph Ziggler were laid out, reeling from an attack. Ziggler confirmed that it was the Bloodline who had done it.


Match 3: The O.C. (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) (w/ AJ Styles and Mia Yim) vs. The Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)

If the OC are supposed to be babyfaces, they’re the worst, because nothing about Anderson or Gallows screams likeability. Anderson and Gable put on a good wrestling exhibition early on, but the crowd didn’t seem to appreciate it, as they were antsy to see Otis in action based on their chants, and the response he got when he got tagged in. He didn’t disappoint, flattening Gallows with a big Discus Clothesline. But Gallows dodged a Moonsault attempt by Gable, and then he and Anderson hit Gable with the Magic Killer to end the Academy’s night.

This was a pretty basic tag team match. Solid, but nothing to write home about.

Winners: The O.C.

After the match, the Bloodline ran into the ring from out of nowhere and beat down the OC. Adam Pearce and a number of other officials and security made their way to the ring.

The Bloodline said that they ran the business. Sami noted that Pearce was the only one who didn’t want to see the Usos there, and the crowd seemed to agree. He referred to himself as Sami Uso, and said that his family was there to deliver a message, and deliver it they will. The message is that what they did tonight was only a taste of what Owens and Cena have in store for them on December 30. They said their “We the Ones” catchphrase and left the ring with security walking behind them to escort them out. As the Uso convoy got to the top of the ramp, they were attacked by AJ Styles, and he had to be forcibly pulled away from Sami. Good segment.

AJ and Adam Pearce were screaming at each other in the back. AJ demanded a match with one of the Bloodline, so Pearce made the match between Styles and Sami Uso (nee Zayn) for later tonight.


Alexa Bliss / Bianca Belair interview

They ran down last week’s Women’s match that saw Becky Lynch chase off Damage CTRL, leaving Bayley by herself in a multi-woman match for the number one contendership to the RAW Women’s Championship. They showed Alexa Bliss win the match and then nearly hit Bianca Belair with Sister Abigail after the flip was switched.

Cut to a sit-down interview with Byron Saxton who was with Belair and Bliss. Saxton asked Alexa what happened last week, and Bianca noted she wanted to know that too because now she doesn’t trust Alexa. Bliss said she couldn’t explain it herself. She noted that Bray Wyatt had abducted her in the past and turned her into a dark version of herself, and then abandoned her. Bliss said that she had to go to therapy and that didn’t really fix her, it just turned her into a shell of a person. Bliss said that Bianca and Asuka’s friendship has helped her, but it’s also made her realize she has a lot to look forward to, including winning the title from Bianca.  Bianca was dubious that Alexa didn’t know what Bray had done to her. Alexa cut her off, saying that Bray isn’t the threat Bianca has to worry about, but she is. She said that she was winning titles before Bianca

As Saxton was concluding the interview, Bray Wyatt’s logo blinked on the video screen behind the women. As Bianca got up to leave, Alexa picked up a glass flower vase and smashed it over Bianca’s head, knocking her silly. As Saxton called for help, Alexa cheerfully walked away as if nothing had happened.


Match 4: The Miz vs. Dexter Lumis (w/ Johnny Gargano) – “Winner Take All” Ladder match

Two bags of money were hanging over the ring, which was surrounded by ladders. Interesting that the babyface would have backup but the heel doesn’t, just like in the OC-Academy match. Today is backwards booking day, apparently.

It took about 15 seconds before the ladders came into play, with Miz getting the first couple of hits, but Lumis coming back with some big shots of his own, including running Miz’s face into a ladder which was lying on the second rope in the corner. Lumis then used that ladder as a platform from which he delivered a Superplex. Miz then found himself sitting in the corner, his legs splayed out, which set up Lumis to dropkick a ladder right into Miz’s allegedly tiny balls. They had a couple of slugfests at the top of the ladder, and then Lumis tried choking out Miz but Miz hit a rope-assisted Neckbreaker that sent Lumis to the floor. There, Miz sandwiched Lumis in a ladder and then threw ladders, chairs, and the announce chair on top of Lumis – that announce chair throw looked pretty nasty.

Miz denied the crowd the table for which they were chanting, but didn’t deny Gargano a kick to the face and a huge ladder shot, neither of which Gargano was asking for. But in taking time to hit Gargano, Miz didn’t notice Lumis get up, and Lumis hit him with a Uranage on the floor. Lumis then put Miz on the announce table, and went to Legdrop Miz through it from the top of the ladder, but Miz moved and Lumis crashed hard.


Miz scurried back into the ring and scaled the ladder, but Lumis scrambled in, raced up the ladder, and threw Miz down. As Lumis was going to unook the money bags, the returning Bronson Reed ran in and pulled LUmis down. Reed flattened Lumis with a Body Block and squashed him with a Tsunami Splash off the top. Reed then set up the ladder, and boosted Miz up the ladder where he grabbed the money.

After the match, Miz and Reed celebrated Miz’s big win.

For a free TV ladder match, this was fine, and the big legdrop spot was fun. Gargano looked like a little dweeb in this one, getting punked out by Miz, even though Miz was technically outnumbered. Bronson Reed is an interesting re-hire in the post-Vince era. If he can break away from Miz and not end up just becoming a flunkie like the B-Team or Mizdow, he may have a shot.

Winner: The Miz

As the commentators ran down what’s to come, they showed Seth Rollins interacting with some suit in the back. Rollins showed off the T-shirt they made for his return to his home state of Iowa that has “Sing My Song” written on the back. In case you were wondering if Seth is now officially a babyface, well, that should answer the question.


Match 5: AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn

AJ was on fire for this one, firing away on Sami with big shots, including a Springboard Dive to the floor. But Sami retreated when AJ was going for an early Phenomenal Forearm, and lured AJ into a trap. Sami took over and put the hurt on AJ with a series of strikes, until AJ fired back with some bigger and harder strikes, a vicious Backbreaker, and a Jumping Scorpion Death Drop on the floor.

But Sami thwarted another Phenomenal Forearm attempt by hitting the ropes, and AJ fell to the floor hard. Sami took over, but AJ slipped out of a top rope move and hit a Twisting Rack Splash. But Sami fired back with a huge Head Kick and a Brain Buster for 2.99. AJ bought some space with a Pele Kick and went for another Scorpion Death Drop, but Sami reversed it into an Exploder Suplex in the corner.


AJ dodged a Helluva Kick and locked on the Calf Crusher, but Sami got to the ropes.

AJ got distracted by seeing Solo Sikoa come through the crowd and make his way to the ring, and after some distraction by Sami, the ref missed Solo hit AJ with the Samoan Spike on the outside. A Blue Thunder Bomb by Sami was a mere formality as AJ was incapacitated, and Sami pinned AJ.

As Sami and Solo headed to the back, an angry Adam Pearce came out to the ramp and yelled at them.

This was good while it lasted. AJ hasn’t been particularly well-used lately, but he’s still one of the best in the ring. Sami is a great dance partner for him, so this one was bound to be strong.

Winner: Sami Zayn


Seth Freakin’ Rollins / Austin Theory confrontation

It was announced that Rollins will challenge Austin Theory for the United States Championship on the first RAW of 2023.

Rollins got a hometown hero reception. He said that the Bloodline had attacked everyone except him. He said the Bloodline could pass on the message to Roman that Mondays don’t belong to the Bloodline, but rather they belong to Rollins.

This brought out Austin Theory. He used Cena’s “The Champ is here” line, and said that the Austin Theory era is here and is just beginning. And that Seth will either pass the torch to him, or Austin would take it. Theory said that Rollins has only been successful out of luck.

Rollins said that he sees that Austin has grown up and is no longer the same person he used to be. But he said no matter how much Austin has changed, he’ll never be on Seth’s level. Theory retorted, saying that while Seth has been on top of the mountain, Theory is looking to scale Mount Everest. He said that Seth constantly fumbles the ball when it’s handed to him, and that Seth should realize he’s the third-most successful member of The Shield, which got an “oooh” from the audience.

Seth said that he IS the mountaintop, he IS Everest. He challenged Theory to a title match right there and then. But before Theory could reply, Rollins pointed out that the Usos were ready to jump the ringside barrier, so they had to put aside their differences temporarily.

They squared up to face the Usos, but when the Usos got on the apron, Theory bailed from the ring, leaving Seth alone to face the invaders. Rollins made a valiant attempt, but they beat him down. This brought Kevin Owens down to even the odds, and he and Seth cleared the Usos out of the ring. Adam Pearce, the suits, and security came down to restore order, but Rollins and Owens demanded a match with the Usos, and Pearce made the match.

Becky Lynch cut a promo from the bowels of the building. She said that she and Bayley had both climbed up from the bottom to the top. And that they both had done things they weren’t proud of. But the difference is that Becky did it by herself, while Bayley had to use Damage-CTRL to put Becky on the shelf. She challenged Bayley to face her one-on-one with no help.


Match 6: Bayley (w/ Damage-CTRL (Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai)) vs. Becky Lynch

My auto-correct keeps changing Becky’s last name to “Lunch” which is annoying – maybe they could Vince things up and just use one name for her?

Becky outwrestled Bayley early on, even despite some interference by Bayley’s stablemates from the outside. But Bayley used the ring post to good effect to take the edge. Becky came back and won a hockey fight and then blasted Bayley with a Springboard Kick and a Becksploder Suplex. A Springboard Legdrop earned Becky a 2-count, but her follow-up was thwarted by a kick to the knee, and the pendulum swung back in Bayley’s favour.

They had some back-and-forth action before Bayley hit a Bayley-to-Belly Suplex – but Becky kicked out! She then surprised Bayley with an Angle Slam for two.


Becky went up top and hit a Diamond Dust for a two-count. Bayley tried to use the ropes for a sneaky pin, but the ref caught her in the act. Damage-CTRL tried to interfere, so Becky grabbed a monitor from the announce desk and threatened them with it. The ref saw this and demanded Sky and Kai go to the back. As the ref dealt with their protests, Bayley grabbed the monitor, and smacked Becky in the head with it. She then hit a dazed Becky with the Rose Plant and got the 1-2-3.

This was a very good match. These two can really go, and when it was just the two of them battling it out, it was very strong. Pfffft… Sasha Who?

Winner: Bayley

In the back, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins reminisced about their times teaming together. Owens reminded Seth of earlier this year when Seth tried to steal Owens’ WrestleMania spot with Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Seth feigned ignorance. They agreed to put all that behind them and focus on tonight’s match against the Usos.


Match 7: Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso)

Owens and Rollins took it to the Usos before the bell had even rung, and maintained their control in the early moments of the match. But the Usos used chicanery to deliver a cheap shot to Owens behind the referee’s back and take over.

Owens was able to escape their corner and tag in Seth, who had the crowd literally singing along as the took the fight to the Tag Team Champs, laying them both out with a High Cross Body. As Owens looked to end things with a Frog Splash on Jimmy, Jey hit Seth with a Superkick on the floor, unbeknownst to Owens.

Owens went for a Super Somersault Senton on Jimmy, but Jimmy got his knees up to keep the match going. Despite Rollins still out, Owens was managing to keep up the fight against the Usos.

Solo Sikoa skulked his way to the ringside area with ill intentions, but he was stopped by Gallows and Anderson who beat him up, leading to Jey and then Seth hitting Flying Dives to the floor, wiping out everyone else. Rollins then sent Solo into the ring post, and then hit Jey with a Stomp on the floor. But then out of nowhere, Austin Theory popped up out of the crowd and smashed Seth in the head with the US Title belt, knocking him out.


Meanwhile, Owens and Jimmy were still battling it out in the ring. Owens charged Jimmy, but ate a Superkick for two. They both went for big kicks and big hits, and after a couple of those exchanges, Owens hit Jimmy with a Pop-Up Powerbomb and got the hard-earned three-count.

After the match, Owens was the last man standing and he was celebrating the win. Sami Zayn slid into the ring and they stared at each other. Owens looked like he was ready to throw down with his former friend, but Sami retreated, leaving the ring and collecting his Bloodline brethren.

This was a strong main event, and even the overbooking and run-ins made sense in the broader context of the episode’s running thread. Owens hasn’t necessarily been booked to be a legitimate threat to Roman’s title reign, but this helped in making him seem like he should back in that same orbit again.

Winners: Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins




Monday Night RAW - December 19, 2022

Wells Fargo Arena – Des Moines IA

The Bloodline invasion was a strong show-long thread that culminated in a strong main event match. The rest of the matches on the show were good as well, and the promo segment with Seth Rollins was good. Rhea Ripley and AJ Styles were, as always, highlights.  And Johnny Gargano, not so much, though the return of Bronson Reed was an unexpected surprise.

It does make you wonder, though, where everyone else on the current roster is. There were multiple segments on the show where the same people were used repeatedly. Did everyone else get the week off for the holidays? With the roster as big as it is, there has to be a way to showcase more talent. Maybe things will open up a little more come Royal Rumble season.