I wish I could tag in the AI as I did before to compose this write-up but unfortunately at this time the tech is more like the Supercomputer in Superman III rather than Skynet in Terminator so I guess me, us and Raw are stuck with each other for now.
With all the rumours surrounding the possible sale of the WWE and the expiring TV rights deals I wish for only two things in the future. It would be nice if Karrion Kross would wear that red Demolition mask for just one match. It might give him some personality and the entire Raw franchise be sent off to the TV graveyard to be buried alongside Cop Rock, The Powers of Matthew Star and Manimal.
Perhaps something new can be created in its place. Something that doesn’t drone on for three, long agonizing hours making us all want to stare directly into a solar eclipse.
All joking aside, commentator Corey Graves known for saying inappropriate and stupid things, has topped even himself this time.
As Omos lumbered to the ring to face Elias on tonight’s show Graves said gleefully: “This is going to be a bigger disaster than The Stones at Altamont.”
Those who don’t know their history would not understand how tasteless this comment was. Let me do my best Doctor Who and take you back in time.
The tragedy involves the free concert featuring The Rolling Stones at Altamont Speedway in California in 1969. The concert ended with four people dead, one being an 18-year-old black man named Meredith Hunter who was stabbed to death by Hells Angels security after rushing the stage and pulling out a gun. Hunter was beaten up by the Angels earlier for storming the stage with other fans but it has never been clear why Hunter did what he did, who he intended to harm and whether he was high on drugs at the time or not. Some claim the attack was racially motivated. Others say what happened was a matter of self-defence. The entire incident was caught on film as part of the Gimme Shelter documentary that was being shot at the time. Hells Angel Alan Passaro was charged with murder but acquitted on grounds of self-defense.
For Graves to flippantly reference such a terrible event and on Martin Luther King Day of all days is appalling, insensitive and repulsive. Again, this is not the first time Graves’ mouth has spewed awful nonsense from his clueless brain but on with the show…
Things begin this week as The Bloodline minus that clown Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns. Kevin Owens is told that he will learn his “last lesson” from the Tribal Chief at the Royal Rumble.
The Bloodline announces that generations of The Bloodline will participate in a Acknowledge Ceremony on next week’s Raw, whatever the hell that is. I guess this is what we get when we have another part-time wrestler as the promotion’s champion.
The Judgment Day music hits. They dispute who runs Monday Night Raw.
“We are running straight for you Bloodline!” warns Finn Balor as they enter the ring for a staredown.
Damien Priest says the Raw Tag Team Championships are coming back to Raw for good. The Judgement Day claim that The Bloodline doesn’t step up to Judgement Day because they fear them. Dom calls out Solo Sikoa. “You are just standing around and doing nothing,” he says. When he steps to Dom, Rhea Ripley gets in his way. Dom punches Sikoa and things turn into another big, blundering gang brawl. Rhea Ripley dares Sikoa to hit her. Mustafa Ali nails Solo with a splash off the top rope instead.
Solo Sikoa versus Mustafa Ali
Ali is looking for revenge for the beatdown The Bloodline gave him weeks ago. The crowd is just dead for this match and much of the show, actually. Solo crushes Ali with a Samoan Drop. Ali tries to fight back. A head butt puts him down. A couple of drop kicks and super kicks knock Solo out of the ring. Ali charges the ropes for a flippy move and gets a haymaker to the face and a running clothesline. Solo catches Ali by the throat running him into the steel post. The Usos show up and so does Kevin Owens. Owens fights both Usos on the floor. One Uso goes into the stairs and the other into the ringside barricade. Ali takes advantage and almost pins Solo with a Tornado DDT. Solo rolls out of the way of Ali’s splash. He wins with the Samoan Spike.
Solo is given a stunner by Owens before he can celebrate. Owens battles The Usos some more. Owens throws steel chairs at The Usos. Security and officials arrive to separate everyone.
WWE these days sure is looking like WWE in the nineties with all those gangs feuding and rioting all the trme. Where is The Nation of Domination when you need them, eh?
Winner: Solo Sikoa
Bobby Lashley cuts a promo backstage telling Theory his championship reign has an expiration date and that date is tonight.
A Cody Rhodes segment airs. He announces he will be returning to the WWE at the Royal Rumble. Well, the WWE kind of spoiled that in the poster for the event but…
Byron Saxton speaks to Elias about his Royal Rumble intensions outside the office of Adam Pearce. Elias promises that at the Rumble his revenge tour begins when he starts righting a lot of wrongs. MVP walks out of Adam Pearce’s office. He bumps into Elias. The two trade verbal barbs. MVP says if Elias keeps running his mouth he will face the “Royal Rumble winner” tonight. Elias doesn’t see a problem with that. Let me guess. The twist is the match isn’t against MVP but Omos, right?
Forty minutes and we have only had one match.
The Street Profits versus Shelton Benjamin and Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander
Benjamin has Dawkins all flustered early on. Alexander clotheslines Montez on the ring apron. Liking what he sees, MVP strolls to the ring. Dawkins receives a hot tag. He just steamrolls Benjamin and Alexander. Montez soars as only he can. Cedric makes the save for his team. MVP leaps on the apron to pull Alexander out of the way of a Dawkins Stinger Splash. MVP mistimes things. The Street Profits get the 1,2,3 with a sneaky roll-up. MVP apologizes to Shelton and Cedric.
Winners: The Street Profits
The Alpha Academy interrupts a Judgement Day interview backstage. Chad Gable advises Dom to sign up for an online Alpha Academy course next time he is in “prison”.
Okay, this whole Dom prison gag has really run its course. It wasn’t funny the first time. It still isn’t funny the 42th time. Can we move on, please? Ugh.
This confrontation plays out really, really badly. It is just a terrible segment.
Becky Lynch’s music plays. She surprises everyone by heading to the ring from the crowd.
Lynch: Bayley, get out here you dope!
Lynch: Get your kumquat-eating ass out here!
She also calls her a “Karen”.
Yup. That’s the level of Lynch’s insults, folks. Embarrassing grade school garble.
Lynch claims Bayley is trying to recreate the Four Horsewomen with Damage Control. Bayley says everything Lynch has had in her carrer should have been hers.
“The only reason you are The Man is because you were punched in the face by a woman!” laughs Bayley.
Lynch challenges Bayley to steel cage match next week. Bayley accepts.
Mustafa Ali confronts Dolph Ziggler backstage. He accuses Ziggler of getting everything handed to him. Ziggler blows Ali off. Ali hits him in the back of the head. “Do I have your attention now?” asks Ali.
Elias versus Omos
MVP walks out in a suit. “You seem confused Elias,” chuckles MVP. “You are facing the 2023 Royal Rumble winner. It is just not me.”
Told you so.
MVP steps in Elias’ way with his cane. Elias answers by retrieving his guitar. Omos head butts Elias and smashes the guitar on the ground. Elias climbs to the top rope. Omos intercepts him. Omos wins with a chokeslam.
Saxton chats to Adam Pearce. Pearce promises that Raw 30 next week will be awesome. Akira “Reduced to Comedy Relief” Tozawa demands to be in the Royal Rumble. He wants a match to prove himself. Pearce grants him one.
Judgement Day versus The Alpha Academy
Again, why is everyone in a faction allowed to be at ringside? They aren’t managers. What are they doing there? Why doesn’t everyone on Raw or Smackdown just bring down all their pals to the ring to protect them and assist them? Apparently, everyone and their Uncle Phil is allowed at ringside.
Dom just leads Gable all around the ring tagging Priest in. Priest thwarts much of Gable’s technical moves with his brute strength. Otis is tagged in. He is cheered by the crowd. Priest drives Gable to the mat so hard it is unbelievable that he got up. Gable hits a flying head butt on Dom from the top rope sailing across most of the ring. Otis is tagged in. The crowd goes nuts for him. Otis powerslams Priest. He cannot pin him though.
Otis attempts the Worm, trips over himself and fumbles, stumbles with an elbow drop on Priest. Priest chokeslams Otis off the top rope. Dom is in Gable’s ankle lock. Ripley distracts the official. Priest destroys Gable with a South of Heaven. Dom pins Gable.
Winners: Judgement Day
Mia Yim versus Iyo Sky
The crowd doesn’t care about any of this. The charisma deprived Candace LeRae accompanies Yim to ringside because anyone can be at ringside these days. Iyo scores a two count with a missile drop kick from the top rope. Yim fires back with haymakers. Sky locks a crossface on Yim. A running neckbreaker from Yim breaks Sky’s momentum. Kai is pulled off the ring apron by LeRae. Iyo drop kicks LeRae. Yim pins Sky with her finisher. Damage Control puts a beatdown on Yim. LeLae makes the save.
Winner: Mia Yim
Bianca Belair skips to the ring. She has missed the WWE Universe. Belair dares Alexa ‘Botch’ Bliss to come down to the ring. Bliss comes out with her monotone voice and all the enthusiasm of a sleepwalking yak.
Belair challenges her to a title match at the Royal Rumble. Bliss asks what the catch is. Belair: The choice is yours. Belair attacks Bliss slamming her into the side of the ring, steel post and ringside barricade. Belair battles Bliss into the crowd. Belair is about to give Bliss a KOD on two steel chairs. Bliss stops as she sees mist and Uncle Howdy in one of the entrance ways. Bliss attacks from behind with a really weak DDT on the floor. Bliss continues to bombs. Send her back to NXT…yesterday.
Akira Tozawa versus Bronson Reed
Reed runs over Tozawa like a Mac Truck would. An elevated squash match and nothing more.
Winner: Bronson Reed
Seth Rollins predicts he will win the Royal Rumble. Like Freddie Mercury, he wants it all and he wants it now…and that includes Roman Reigns.
Seth Rollins versus Baron Corbin versus Dolph Ziggler versus Bobby Lashley versus Finn Balor versus The Miz – Six-Way Elimination Match (Winner Faces Austin Theory for the United States Championship Next Week on Raw)
Austin Theory shows up on the entrance way to take in all the mayhem. With so many bodies flying all over the place it is hard to call the action. Theory takes his place at the commentary desk. “Everyone I am watching is the past,” says Theory having a few good laughs. Rollins takes out Balor by working on his bandaged ribs. Bobby Lashley slams Rollins, Corbin and Balor to the mat in a monster slam. Miz puts Ziggler in the figure four. Ziggler reverses it on Miz. Rollins pins Miz with a Stomp. He is eliminated.
Balor and Corbin form a partnership helping each other in the match. Rollins takes Corey Graves’ water at ringside. He takes a swig and spits the water in Theory’s face. Rollins and Ziggler team up on Corbin and Balor. They do the entire “everyone splashes everyone on the floor” with Ziggler going last. Rollins pins Ziggler with the Pedigree.
Lashley is about to put on the Hurt Lock. Omos and MVP wander down to the ring distracting him. Rollins pins Balor after he executes the Coup de Grace on Lashley. The crowd starts singing Rollins’ theme. Omos grabs Rollins off the apron throwing him over the announce table. Lashley pins Corbin with a Spear.
Lashley sees Omos and MVP on the floor. MVP is clapping for him. Theory nails a distracted Lashley with the championship belt in the head. Theory turns to give Omos a high five. Omos grabs Theory by the throat to chokeslam him through the announce table. Theory leaps onto the table and off the other side. Rollins Stomps Omos on the announce table. Rollins leaps onto Theory laying in some punches. Rollins clotheslines Theory over the barricade. Back in the ring, Rollins super kicks MVP off the apron. Lashley spears Rollins for the pin. Theory stands on the announce table with United States Championship as Lashley glares at him.
Raw, January 17th, 2023
This show only existed to set the table for next week’s big anniversary show and to add some more matches to the Royal Rumble. WWE cannot see the forest for the trees it seems. There was a lot of awkward action and blown segments like the Lynch and Bayley confrontation which was stilted and off-kilter. Perhaps all of that was because of the turmoil the WWE is in now. You know things are bad when Otis cannot even do the Worm right. Why Alexa Bliss still on the main roster? She has been nothing but a shambling zombie just robotically delivering her lines and wrestling her matches like South Park’s Awesom-O for months now. She has lost her smile for sure.