WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 2

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 2

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 2

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    Austin Theory and Seth Rollins.

    Austin Theory and Seth Rollins.WWE

    Welcome to Bleacher Report’s coverage and recap of WWE Raw on January 2.

    WWE kicked off the new year with a bang by including two big championship matches on this week’s card.

    Austin Theory put the United States Championship on the line against Seth Rollins, and Bianca Belair defended the Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss.

    With The Royal Rumble now just a few weeks away, we also saw WWE begin laying the groundwork for the annual event that kicks off The Road to WrestleMania.

    Let’s take a look at what happened on Monday’s show.

Opening Segment

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    Raw opened in chaos as The Bloodline was already at ringside attacking members of the production crew and destroying the ringside area. Jimmy Uso grabbed a headset and said they were taking over Monday Night Raw.

    Kevin Owens came out onto the stage and had a conversation with Sami Zayn on the mic about why The Bloodline was staging a hostile takeover. Adam Pearce came out and stopped KO from getting in the ring. He told The Bloodline to leave the ring peacefully and out of the building. Solo Sikoa attacked every member of security who rushed the ring.

    Owens ran to the ring but was immediately overwhelmed. The locker room emptied with Superstars coming to attack The Bloodline. The Raw roster forced them to retreat into the crowd, but Pearce told them since they came to work, they would all be having matches on the show tonight.

    This was certainly an energetic start to the show and gave us something different than the usual heel stable promo. KO trying to attack four men by himself made him look kind of dumb, but other than that, this worked well to get the crowd excited.

    Grade: B-

Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Title)

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    The first match of the night was the Raw women’s title bout between Belair and the challenger, Bliss. These two fought inside of WarGames together, but after The Goddess took out The EST with a vase during their interview two weeks ago, all bets were off.

    The champ nailed Bliss with a hard right hand immediately. Belair was sent out of the ring with a dropkick, but she ended up pulling Bliss out with her and swinging her into the barricade.

    Bliss continued to act like her usual self throughout most of the match as if she hasn’t been having blackouts and weird moments recently, so the tension kept building. We never quite knew if she was going to snap or not.

    The pacing of this match felt slightly off for some reason. It was hard to tell if they were being hesitant or if they just weren’t used to working together. Whatever it was, it only affected them during certain sequences. The rest of the match was pretty good. They had three segments to work with, so they had plenty of time.

    Somebody wearing a strange mask distracted Bliss from the crowd. Images flashed on the big screen that seemed to send her into a frenzy. She attacked the referee and then beat down The EST.

    Belair was bleeding from her chin by the time the attack was over. The crowd did not seem to know how to react. The ending of this bout was met with a mixture of confusion and silence. The finish was definitely meant to be part of a larger story, so the conclusion is going to leave some fans wanting more.

    Winner: Bianca Belair by DQ

    Grade: B-

    Notable Moments and Observations

  • Bliss might need different music if she becomes a creepy heel again. Her current song is a little too poppy for a villainess. 
  • The spot when Belair was holding Bliss back by her head like she was a child at the beginning of the match was a bit much. 
  • The moment when Belair swung Bliss into the barricade looked good. Bliss sold the impact well. 
  • The suplex spot when Bliss countered started off great, but the ending was a little awkward. Belair’s power is always impressive during spots like that, so it still got a reaction from the crowd. 

Elias vs. Solo Sikoa (Street Fight)

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    While Pearce was assigning matches for The Bloodline during a backstage segment, he booked Elias to battle Sikoa in a Street Fight since the crooner wanted revenge for having his own guitar smashed over his back by The Street Champ.

    The enforcer of The Bloodline took control by cornering Elias, but it wasn’t a one-sided battle. Elias was able to get in some decent shots here and there to keep himself in the fight.

    The began using the instruments at ringside after a few minutes. A guitar was smashed, a drum kit was knocked over and we even saw a cowbell come into play.

    They fought all around the ring, up the aisle and on the stage as they used whatever they could get their hands on to inflict damage. This wasn’t very fast-paced or exciting most of the time, but some of the weapon spots were fun.

    Hardy, a musician who was in attendance, decided to get involved by smashing a guitar over Sikoa’s back, but when it had no effect on him, the singer bailed. Sikoa hit a Samoan Spike as Elias jumped off the top rope, and then he hit a side slam from the apron onto the piano for the win. The match was alright, but the finish looked great.

    Winner: Solo Sikoa

    Grade: C+

    Notable Moments and Observations

  • They put some instruments around the ring to use as weapons. You knew as soon as that piano was visible that somebody was getting slammed on top of it. 
  • The cowbell is always going to make people think of Blue Oyster Cult and that SNL sketch. WWE should license “Don’t Fear The Reaper” to use as somebody’s entrance music. It would have been great for The Undertaker at one point but that opportunity is long gone. 
  • The Samoan drop Sikoa hit on Elias out of nowhere looked awesome. 

The Usos and Sami Zayn vs. Street Profits and Kevin Owens

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    The Usos and Zayn were put into a six-man tag match with Owens, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins by Pearce while he was deciding how to handle The Bloodline’s action at the top of the show.

    As soon as KO and the Profits hit the ring, they went after their opponents. Dawkins and Jimmy ended up being the first legal competitors once the ref called for the bell.

    This did not just feel like a random six-man tag match. They did a good job of making it feel like there was a lot of animosity on both sides.

    This was a very physical contest that was definitely more of a brawl than a technical showcase. Nobody was trying to work a limb or apply a headlock. They were just throwing hands and feet at whoever they could find.

    Sikoa showed up to give his allies an unfair advantage that eventually led to Zayn scoring the win with a Helluva Kick on Ford. This was an entertaining fight between six guys who are all great at what they do. It may not be memorable in the long run, but it was a solid performance for the first show of 2023.

    The Brawling Brutes and Drew McIntyre showed up to take out The Bloodline and end the segment.

    Winners: The Bloodline

    Grade: B+

    Notable Moments and Observations

  • Ford was shown earlier helping Belair to the back after Bliss left her bloody and injured following their match. He still looked like he was in a bad mood when he made his entrance for this bout, and understandably so. 
  • Ford’s dropkick has to be among the top 10 in the world. It looks awesome every time. 
  • Owens talking trash in the middle of a match will always be funny. 
  • Dawkins took Jey out with a crazy pounce at ringside. 

Dexter Lumis vs. Chad Gable

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    Otis accompanied Chad Gable to the ring for his match against Dexter Lumis. Surprisingly, Johnny Gargano was not out there with Lumis.

    Lumis chased Gable around the ring a bit before taking him down with a Thesz press. The match ended up being pretty competitive in terms of both men being in control at various points.

    Lumis ended up scoring the win by countering a pinfall attempt from Gable into his own cover. The match was nothing special. Gable always looks as smooth as silk, but he can only do so much when the booking is mediocre.

    Winner: Dexter Lumis

    Grade: C

    Notable Moments and Observations

  • This crowd never seemed to recover from the weird ending to the first match. So many people were just standing there or sitting on their hands for the entire show. 
  • The way Otis freaked out when Lumis crawled toward him was hilarious. 

Becky Lynch and Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky

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    Damage CTRL came out for a promo but they were quickly interrupted by Becky Lynch. This led to Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky taking on Lynch in a handicap match because The Man didn’t want to look for her phone to call a partner.

    We returned from a break to see Lynch and Sky begin the match. The Irish Lass Kicker had the match firmly in hand for the first few minutes, but the numbers eventually caught up to her.

    Bayley cheered obnoxiously as her allies began to double-team and dominate Lynch. Mia Yim’s music hit and she ran down to the ring to serve as The Man’s partner. She got the tag and turned the tide against Damage CTRL.

    The match lasted through another commercial break, so Sky and Kai had a chance to regain the upper hand. Sky ended up getting the pin on Yim with the Over The Moonsault while Becky was busy attacking Bayley.

    This ended up being a pretty solid performance from all four competitors. Having Yim come out late only to end up being the one to lose is a weird choice, but having Lynch eat the pin wouldn’t have made much sense either.

    Winners: Damage CTRL

    Grade: B

    Notable Moments and Observations

  • The crowd finally woke up a little for Becky. 
  • Lynch has a nice enziguiri kick. She makes good contact without endangering her opponent. 
  • Kai’s running kick usually looks awesome, but she was moving a little slow when she nailed Lynch in the corner. There was less impact than usual. 
  • The announcers use the Michin nickname too much. We all know her name is Mia Yim. Just call her that. 
  • Sky is so good at making really difficult moves look easy. Even something like a headscissor takedown looks as simple as a wristlock to her. 

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