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In a case of serious New Years Revolution deja-vu, WWE is back with a brand new New Years PPV. Wait? What was that? They are calling PPVs ‘Premium Live Events’ now, erm, ok then. That makes it sound like some sort of rich person’s stage show but whatever. All I ask is that if you are calling something “premium” WWE, please let us not have a repeat of the wonky kind of quality we had in 2021 eh? Ta very much. Anyway, here is what went down at WWE’s first event of 2022 bang on New Year’s Day!
On the kick-off, Breaking news addressed, news that Universal Champion Roman Reigns has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be facing Brock Lesnar on the show. Instead, Lesnar is being added to the monster WWE Title match making it a Fatal-5-Way main event. That is gonna be good!
1. Sheamus and Ridge Holland vs. Ricochet and Cesaro (Kick-Off Show)
There is really something about these New Year’s Events in WWE. I don’t want to say a curse but back in 2005 Eugene and Lita on the same show suffered injuries, in 2007 Triple H suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon and now in 2022, here we go again, as early into this kick-off tag match an unfortunate accident saw Ricochet shatter Ridge Holland’s nose taking him out of the match early. So essentially this became a handicap match, and while plans were no doubt already in place, it is weird they still let Sheamus get the dominant win here and didn’t call an audible or at least have him cheat, and made his talented opponents look quite bad. Match was fine but that early mishap took me out of it a little.
The show featured Hip Hop trio celebrity guests Migos and bigged up of this rather decent card and even included the Reigns COVID developments, heck someone has been working fast tonight!
2. WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos (Jimmy and Hey Uso) (c) vs. The New Day (King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston)
Tale as old as time. The Usos and The New Day can always be relied upon to deliver a great match together and while this was something we have seen many many many times before, the work they put in guaranteed a great opener. The victors should come as no surprise really but these guys made it look like it could go any way at points and started the show off right. As the champs Jimmy and Jey retained over their greatest foes.
3. Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss w/ Happy Corbin
This match was an utter waste of card space. And went far too long at nearly 10 minutes for what it was. Another case of Corbin feud blues. The Scottish Warrior of course picked up the pinfall win (I mean come on if Drew McIntyre lost this, that would have been a head scratcher) after a match few asked for and even less seemed to care about. Very forgettable.
4. WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle) w/Migos (c) vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford)
As much as I love RK-Bro and find it one of WWE’s most entertaining mismatched duos in some time, they have had a few event title defences now that feel a little unspecial and this one again falls into that trap. Don’t get me wrong there was very little wrong in terms of the ring work and the match was decent stuff, especially come the closing moments but it all felt like a weekly show match, with little in way of compelling build. Mind you this may be a reflection more of WWEs less than varied tag divisions at the moment to be fair. The champs get another retention on their record over the game Street Profits. And as a side note Migos accompanied the champs to the ring too.
Backstage Drew got brutally attacked by Corbin and Moss…oh great this feud is continuing so it seems.
5. Edge vs. The Mix w/ Maryse
In many ways this match marked a point where the show picked up. After weeks of rather unexpected and great build, Edge and The Mix delivered a good, old fashioned, slow and steady contest. It could have been better paced and undoubtedly I think these two could have delivered better but the climax promises that better is yet to come. After constant interference by Maryse throughout the match, Beth Phoenix made her triumphant return, giving her Rated R husband time to catch Miz with a spear and get the hard fought win. I enjoyed this match but do think the upcoming Miz/Maryse vs. Edge/Phoenix mixed tag Royal Rumble match will be the main course to this enjoyable starter. I am liking this feud, and as much as I loved seeing Edge get the win, I was surprised he went over here, considering he and Phoenix should surely beat Miz and Maryse next time…surely. Then again Miz always bounces back doesn’t he?
6. WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Liv Morgan
The edge may have been taken off this match, considering these two had a – in my opinion – superior title match weeks back on RAW but that being said, they delivered an exciting match here. And I was particularly impressed at the whole construction, with Becky Lynch nailing the increasingly desperate champion vibes and Liv Morgan really hitting some incredible holds, especially a spinning top rope powerbomb style move, which was astonishing to see. In the end though Big Match Becks lived up to one of her many nicknames, as she retained a her title in a slightly botched spot where I think she was meant to get rope leverage but instead got the clean as a sheet win by pinfall, after countering Liv’s finisher. Who the hell will beat Lynch I wonder!!
Via social media video comes big news as Jackass star Johnny Knoxville announces his intentions to enter the 2022 Men’s Royal Rumble match. Unexpected but I think that could be great, we all know Knoxville can take a licking and his appearance adds a twist to the Rumble field. Should be fun.
7. WWE Championship Fatal-5-Way Match
Big E (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Lashley w/MVP vs. Brock Lesnar
I know there is some level of debate on this one but for me this was hands down the best match of the night, what a main event! I could have watched this all night long and while I wish it went longer than 8 1/2 minutes, my word these guys made every single second count. The build to the original match went in so many directions, initially Seth Rollins vs. Big E, more and more developments got us here and I am so glad they did. WWE often thrives in big marquee multi-man championship matches and this one was a knockout. Every player had a moment to shine. Early on Lashley sent Brock Lesnar crashing through the barricade with a spear (I love that this moment was their first interaction together in WWE history), before Kevin Owens and Rollins (whose pairing has become one of my favourite parts of WWE at the moment – they are just beautiful together) dissected the competition and looked set to conquer each guy one by one, before the monsters they faced fought back. Big E so nearly got his title secured, after a great table spot and some heart in mouth near falls but in the end, despite taking an absolute kicking from every man in the match, Lesnar recovered and scooped up E for the F5 and win! I was quite shocked at the result actually and while I felt Big E was a great champion, this win makes sense and gets us nicely on track for that long overdue Lashley/Lesnar dream match. Brock has never been better than he is in the face fun, he looks to be having a whale of a time out there.
Overall, WWE Day 1 was imperfect but very promising. As the latter half of the card picked things up drasticly and the main event was absolutely incredible stuff and superbly put together (and the first WWE Premium Live Event match of the year candidate). Last year the Royal Rumble was WWE’s best event, and this year’s line-up is absolutely stacked, so we could very well be in for a repeat. Day 1 was a fun start to the year and started our engines as we head for the road to WrestleMania. So, let’s get ready to Rumble…