With concerns regarding the Omicron variant of COVID-19 forcing several top stars off of this week’s episode of WWE Raw, WWE needed to get creative in order to fill the flagship show’s three-hour runtime.
In this need to shake things up to make this work, WWE gave the viewers at home and the fans inside the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit…a fairly enjoyable show. Yes, the promotion still booked some counterproductive nonsense on this show — which is why this show is still too long and why there’s no such thing as a “good” episode of Raw — but there were more highlights than usual, so let’s talk about those moments.
These are the top two things that went right on the Dec. 27 episode of WWE Raw.
On a show that lasts three hours and in a promotion that houses as many top wrestlers as WWE does, seeing a bunch of lengthy, quality matches should be the norm. That it took several top names staying home due to COVID-19 for WWE to enact this is awfully telling, but the important thing is that the company booked the matches, and they were mostly entertaining.
Of course, it helps when the bouts feature talents such as Randy Orton, Chad Gable, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Apollo Crews, and Cedric Alexander, but that shows that it’s often best to let wrestlers of this caliber do what they do best and not bog them down with bad creative.
For specific recommendations, give the Orton vs. Otis (fun little match built around Orton trying to hit Otis with the RKO), Street Profits vs. The Mysterios (good match with tangible stakes), and Styles vs. Crews (good match with a very good finish) matches a look.
Big E’s go-home promo
This promo Big E cut ahead of his WWE Championship defense at Day 1 was a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one end, he cut a much-needed great promo about how hard he worked to reach the top of his profession as WWE Champion before essentially saying he would fight like hell to keep the promotion’s richest prize in his possession.
On the other, WWE framed this great promo as something for Kevin Owens to respond to instead of letting the champ’s words stand on their own. Now, that isn’t to say that KO shouldn’t have responded to E’s promo, but given how much time E has spent in the background during the build to the Fatal 4 Way, this presentation continued to perpetuate that notion (Seth Rollins got to cut a similar promo as E and it wasn’t used as a set-up for something else, for example).
The latter point is worth its own larger discussion, but it also doesn’t change how impressive E’s promo was.