Bobby Lashley may have smashed his way into the WWE championship match at the upcoming Day 1 pay-per-view, but smooth sailing was not in store on Monday night's episode of Raw. Lashley opened the night celebrating his dominance of WWE champion Big E, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens, all of whom will participate in the Day 1 fatal four-way. But Lashley's night ended face down on a set of ring steps.
The brutal end to the night came at the hands of Rollins and Owens, who had just lost a tag team match to Lashley and Big E. Victory in that match was meaningless, however, especially compared to Rollins and Owens' attempt to remove Lashley from the equation ahead of the upcoming New Year's Day PPV event.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Owens and Rollins team for violent attack on Lashley and Big E
Bobby Lashley and MVP opened the show with an in-ring promo, talking up Lashley beating Big E, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins in the same night last week before Big E interrupted to call out Lashley for needing MVP to win their match. Lashley offered up a match with MVP but before Big E could get his hands on the former United States champion, Rollins and Owens struck. Big E and Lashley were able to fend off the attackers but that would ultimately set up a tag team match later in the night.
Big E & Bobby Lashley def. Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens via pinfall when Lashley hit Owens with a spear. Before the finish, Lashley accidentally hit Big E with a spear. After the three-count, Rollins hit Lashley with a stomp before he and Owens continued their assault. After taking Big E out with the ring steps, Rollins helped Owens powerbomb Lashley on the ring apron before Owens held Lashely face-down on the ring steps, allowing Rollins to stomp Lashley's head into the steel. Rollins and Owens shared a hug as the show went off the air.
There's nothing exciting about WWE's seeming need to stick every upcoming opponent in "can they coexist?!" situations but the writers can't seem to stop themselves from doing it. It's tired and almost always plays out the same way, with a misunderstanding or accident causing extra issues. All that said, the Rollins and Owens attack and celebration to close the show was well-executed and carried enough brutality to feel like it accomplished something. If only they could have gotten there by traveling a road they haven't gone down so often. Grade: C
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- Bianca Belair def. Doudrop via pinfall after a K.O.D. Belair getting Doudrop up for her finisher got a huge reaction from the fans.
- Finn Balor def. Austin Theory via pinfall after a Coup de Grace. Later in the show, Vince McMahon told Theory he'd book him a rematch after Theory attacked Balor backstage.
- AJ Styles and Omos appeared on Miz TV. Styles tried to suggest that he and Omos might go after every title in WWE, but Miz countered by saying that he talked to Omos, who said he's tired of carrying Styles. Omos did not disagree before the Mysterios interrupted ahead of their planned match.
- Rey & Dominik Mysterio def. AJ Styles & Omos via pinfall when Rey Mysterio rolled up Styles. Omos refused to tag in during the match, leading to a brawl with Styles after the match. After Omos dropped Styles, he said the next time they'd see each other would be in a one-on-one match.
- Randy Orton def. Chad Gable via pinfall after an RKO. After the match, Otis attacked Orton. Orton tried three times to hit Otis with the RKO, but Otis was able to shove him off each time before finally pushing Orton out of the ring.
- Dolph Ziggler def. Damian Priest via count out. The finish came when Priest was distracted by Robert Roode and forgot to pay attention to the count as he attacked Roode outside the ring.
- Miz attacked as Edge hosted Maryse on The Cutting Edge. Maryse faked tears while claiming her husband was selfish when he pulled her in front of Edge the previous week. Edge said nobody was buying her story of issues with Miz, at which point Miz attacked Edge from behind. Edge fended off the initial attack, but a slap from Maryse provided a distraction for Miz to hit Edge with the Skull-Crushing Finale.
- Rhea Ripley def. Queen Zelina via pinfall after hitting Riptide.
- Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan traded verbal barbs after Morgan had attacked Lynch at a recent training session. Morgan vowed to start 2022 by becoming Raw women's champion.