On an episode of WWE Raw that featured several surprises from a booking standpoint, perhaps the biggest shock of all came during the show’s main event, which ended with Doudrop (sigh, for the name) beating Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan to earn a Raw Women’s Championship match against Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble.
Given Doudrop’s status as a monster heel and her recent inability to string together wins — before this match, her last win came on the Oct. 18, 2021, episode of Raw — it seemed as though WWE placed her in this match (illogically, by the way) to take the pin for either Belair or Morgan. As a result, this match doesn’t quite have the excitement you’d for a Big 4 pay-per-view.
That doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of intrigue.
Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop is an interesting title match for the Royal Rumble.
Even though going with Doudrop as the next number one contender seems like a baffling choice, it’s actually easy to see WWE’s rationale. Yes, it’s a heel vs. heel pairing, but with fans continuing to cheer for Lynch despite her donning the black hat, WWE clearly decided to hand them a one-night license to root on “Big Time Becks” (not that they need one).
Also, WWE correctly understood that booking another Lynch/Morgan match would be one too many and obviously wanted to save another showdown between Lynch and Belair for another show (possibly WrestleMania 38?) — hence why Lynch kept Belair from winning the triple threat.
Yes, both women have been booked better than Doudrop has over the last few months and seem like more obvious top contenders for Lynch (especially Belair), but either Morgan or Belair winning then comes with the expectation of a title change at the Rumble. Lynch vs. Doudrop doesn’t carry such a heavy burden, and that’s perfectly okay.
Sure, no one expects Doudrop to win the title at the Rumble, but in such a big spot against one of the company’s biggest stars on a Big 4 PPV, Doudrop would have a chance to establish herself as someone who can occupy an upper-midcard/main event spot in the women’s division, and not as just a roadblock for other wrestlers higher on the card.
Of course, that happening will also depend on how WWE books her between now and Jan. 29. Showing Lynch fail to hit the Manhandle Slam on her is a nice start — as it establishes that Doudrop’s strength will be a challenge for the champion — but for a wrestler who hasn’t won consecutive matches since last fall, it will need to continue to build her up as a threat. Otherwise, the match will feel like more of a formality than it already does.
Yes, this is basically a filler title match, as the men’s and women’s Rumble matches are the PPV’s main draw, but WWE shouldn’t treat it as such. The company has an opportunity to establish a new star with some help from one of the few major attractions it has. Hopefully, it takes advantage of it.