Doudrop and Alpha Academy's Big Night, Alexa Bliss Returns, More WWE Raw Fallout
For its January 10 edition, WWE Raw stepped up the Royal Rumble hype in a night of surprises and big moments.
Doudrop seemed poised to take the fall in a Triple Threat match with Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan. Instead, she earned an opportunity to face Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 29.
Alpha Academy pulled off a shocking upset as well, when they dethroned Randy Orton and Riddle. Chad Gable and Otis look to be finally at the top of the mountain as a tag team, but can it last?
Big E was defeated by Seth Rollins, continuing a losing streak certainly not befitting of a former WWE champion. The Power of Positivity must find a way to rebound quickly.
Nikki A.S.H. was supposed to be finding her voice and story as a young woman trying to become a superhero. However, it seems like she will be going dark after turning on Rhea Ripley for abandoning her.
Alexa Bliss made a strange but interesting return to Raw in a therapy session. It is hard to say if that can help her, but WWE must assist her in finding a character that can last.
Raw surprised in many ways with one of its most complete episodes in months, and it left a treasure trove of fallout for the immediate future.
Doudrop Gets Biggest Spotlight of Her Career with Title Shot
It is always appreciated when WWE decides to go with the new over the familiar.
Despite the rematches available from the Triple Threat contest that also involved Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan, the company has gone with Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop for the Royal Rumble PPV. On the surface, it's the least exciting of the three options, but this could hugely surprise with a few weeks of buildup.
There is still money in a future rematch between Big Time Becks and Belair or Morgan, but contests like that get stale when repeated too quickly. This was the right time to take a chance on the newer name.
Doudrop has not been able to compete at the top level yet, but Monday's Triple Threat might have been her best match on the main roster.
The 30-year-old is a very talented performer with a lot of experience and great matches from her time as Piper Niven in NXT UK. If she can be unleashed fully against a star at the level of Lynch, fans will get to see a whole new side of the young Scot.
Alpha Academy Finally Gets the Proper Respect with Tag Title Win
Alpha Academy pulled off an unexpected win this week. By dethroning the dominant RK-Bro, Chad Gable and Otis finally won their first gold together as a tag team.
This was a big moment for two wrestlers who have a combined 14 years of experience but still seem like they're barely getting started. While Gable has had multiple tag team runs with various partners, Monday's win represents Otis' first major title with WWE.
It was especially sweet as they defeated one of the company's most protected teams. Orton is one of WWE's greatest and most successful wrestlers, while Riddle has been featured regularly on multiple shows, including a win alongside MSK at NXT New Year's Evil just last week.
This feels like a big moment for Alpha Academy on the Road to WrestleMania, but it is hard to say who can step up to challenge them. What match feels like it could be worthy of The Grandest Stage of Them All?
Gable and Otis have feuded too much already with The Street Profits. Rey and Dominik Mysterio seem to be losing all their spotlight. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode just seem to be drifting.
The Raw tag team division needs some fresh stories and some new blood to compete with its new champions.
Big E Should Not Have Lost to Keep Seth Rollins Strong
Big E walked into 2022 as WWE champion, but he dropped his title at the Day 1 PPV and has now lost three straight matches. It feels like Raw is intentionally cooling off one of the hottest acts on the roster.
While it would be wrong to say the 35-year-old is being buried or no loss has been debilitating, top stars do not lose consistently. He was on track to contend with Roman Reigns this year with consistent booking, but The Head of the Table would never lose this often and this quickly.
Seth Rollins needs to win some big matches to solidify his status as No. 1 contender to the Universal Championship, but he did not need to defeat The Power of Positivity on Monday night. There were many great wrestlers he could have faced instead.
Hopefully, Big E will get better opportunities soon. He was fantastic in this match as he was in many of his contests in recent weeks. He just needs something more to keep him relevant at the highest level.
Nikki A.S.H. Turning Heel Shows WWE's Inability to Tell Long-Term Stories
Nikki A.S.H. may be looking to become a superhero, but WWE seems to think she would be best playing a heel just months into the gimmick. This is such a woeful miscast of a Superstar still finding her voice.
The company has persistently misused the Scot. She won the 2021 women's Money in the Bank ladder match and cashed in the next day. While this story got her the title reign she deserved, it was too rushed and Charlotte Flair ultimately reclaimed her spot at the top of the division.
Rhea Ripley and Nikki were thrown together just like every major women's tag team on Raw and SmackDown in recent times, and they won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships almost by default.
It's a shame because the idea of Nikki fighting as an honest face to show she can be a superhero had potential with the right booking. She never had that, and now it feels like the time has passed.
WWE Needs to Decide What to do with Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss was last seen on WWE television on September 26 at Extreme Rules where Charlotte Flair not only defeated her but also seemed to end her gimmick entirely. Three-and-a-half months later, she has returned for therapy sessions on Raw.
While this idea may have worked in the immediate aftermath of that PPV, it felt like a more definitive change should have occurred after all this time away. But WWE seems to be struggling to use one of its most successful and charismatic female Superstars.
The Goddess has shown what she can do in a variety of roles, and she has the talent to make most anything work. WWE needs to decide what to do with Bliss for the long term.
Hopefully, these next few months will decide who Bliss will be for months and years to come. If done right, she could even be a dark-horse candidate to win the women's Royal Rumble match.