Austin Theory and Seth Rollins Start 2023 Strong and More WWE Raw Takes
The January 2 edition of Monday Night Raw began the year with wrestling. Some of the best of the red brand looked to make a splash in the ring.
Austin Theory and Seth Rollins did just that with the first great match of 2023. It was a battle after which both men looked great, but A-Town left with the United States Championship.
Alexa Bliss challenged for the Raw Women's Championship, but a Bray Wyatt mask at ringside set her on a path of destruction that got her disqualified.
Dexter Lumis picked up a convincing win over Chad Gable, but he is struggling to get the crowd on his side after a rocky beginning to his main roster run.
The new year did not bring much excitement. However, there was still plenty to discuss from this week's Raw.
Austin Theory Has Earned a Lengthy Title Reign
Austin Theory looked like he may have lost the trust of WWE creative recently with an embarrassing Money in the Bank loss. Luckily, he has not just rebounded but evolved into a main event heel.
Over the past couple of months, he has put on some of the best matches on the show. While working with Seth "Freakin" Rollins helped, he looked right at home in the main event alongside a former world champion.
Now that he has put The Messiah behind him, Theory's story should continue through at least WrestleMania. He has plenty of challengers, from Bobby Lashley to Dolph Ziggler, to keep him occupied.
However, unlike last 'Mania where he was embarrassed multiple times, he should walk onto The Grandest Stage of Them All as a favorite and a serious competitor.
He may lose at WrestleMania, especially if he faces a challenge at the level of John Cena, but what matters is that this road to WrestleMania make him a true new star in WWE, worthy of challenging someone like The Champ himself.
Alexa Bliss Should Not Dethrone Bianca Belair
Alexa Bliss is in the midst of an evolution. That will coincide with a rematch against Bianca Belair, likely at Royal Rumble.
Much like with Charlotte Flair's surprise SmackDown Women's Championship victory, this could be a time to give the women's division a fresh champion, but The Goddess will not be a better champion in this moment than The EST.
There is money in Belair making it to WrestleMania 39 still the champion and facing the winner of the women's Royal Rumble match. Assuming Rhea Ripley will win the Rumble, that could be one of the biggest matches at The Show of Shows.
While the connection between The Goddess and Bray Wyatt will be a big part of WWE going forward, neither Bliss nor Wyatt needs gold to tell their story.
The best plan for Royal Rumble would be for Belair to win but for Bliss to finally break on the same event where Wyatt will return to the ring.
Dexter Lumis Already Needs a Character Reset on the Main Roster
Dexter Lumis is struggling to get over with the WWE Universe. His story with The Miz was a disaster that has left The Tortured Artist struggling for the spark he had in NXT.
While Lumis had a following in NXT, he needed more of an introduction than he has had so far on the main roster. He has a unique enough character to get over but cannot be treated as just another in-ring worker.
WWE did pair him with Johnny Gargano, which could continue, but The Rebel Heart has had his own struggles on the main roster.
A better pairing for Lumis is Indi Hartwell. She has worked in the past as his voice and represents his humanity. She is also ready for the main roster jump.
Even if WWE is not ready for her, Lumis needs more vignettes rather than matches. Until fans care about him, his in-ring work will be completely ignored.
Seth Rollins Has Earned His Choice of a WrestleMania Spotlight
Seth "Freakin" Rollins has been a vital performer for Monday Night Raw over the past year. Arguably, he was the true workhorse of the entire company, and he has become the most popular man on the red brand.
While Austin Theory walked away with the United States Championship, Rollins put another great match on his resume. He has earned one of the most important spots at WrestleMania 39.
Since the retirement of Shawn Michaels, many have laid claim to the title of Mr. WrestleMania. However, no one has truly taken it. Rollins could be the closest and can truly earn it by stealing the show this year.
Candidates for his match include Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, John Cena and Bobby Lashley. The Messiah has earned his pick.
While there are many interesting options, though, this would be a perfect time for him to help elevate someone he knows he can work with. Johnny Gargano comes to mind, while Ricochet and Mustafa Ali are also interesting options.