WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 17
Welcome to Bleacher Report's coverage and recap of WWE Raw on January 17.
We are less than two weeks away from the annual Royal Rumble premium live event, which is the same thing as a pay-per-view but takes longer to say.
This week's show saw Bobby Lashley and Becky Lynch respond to their respective challengers for the WWE and Raw women's titles. The All Mighty also took on Seth Rollins in a singles bout, while The Man teamed up with Doudrop to face Liv Morgan and Bianca Belair.
We also saw Randy Orton and Riddle adjust to life without the Raw tag team titles around their waists following their loss last week to Alpha Academy.
Let's take a look at what happened on this week's episode of Raw.
Doudrop and Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan
Raw opened with Lynch making her way out to a confusing response. The crowd looked like it was cheering for her, but WWE clearly piped in some boos.
Big Time Becks talked about the Royal Rumble a bit before moving on to Doudrop. Lynch took credit for getting her a title shot but also said she will defeat her.
Doudrop, Belair and Morgan all came out and talked some trash about the Rumble before Doudrop finally called for the ref so she could beat somebody up.
We returned to see The EST of WWE and Doudrop in the ring. Belair was unable to get her up for a suplex but managed to keep the upper hand until a shoulder tackle took her down.
Lynch tagged herself in and told Doudrop to leave before Belair dropkicked her to the mat. Morgan tagged in and went after The Man with a flurry of quick strikes.
Lynch hit the Man-handle Slam, but Doudrop attacked her and tagged herself in so she could get the pin instead.
The promos before the match were fine and most of the bout itself looked good, but the ending was messy and completely killed the momentum of the match.
Doudrop forgot to tag herself in at first, so she had to go back to the corner and do it before coming back to hit a splash for the pin. It was all a little awkward.
They could have spent less time talking and had more time to work. It would have made this more enjoyable, but it was still nice to see the women's division get the first 20 minutes of the show.
Kevin Owens vs. Damian Priest
Kevin Owens was out to host another episode of The Kevin Owens Show with his special guest, Seth Rollins.
They had a funny exchange where they put each other over. KO was the star of this segment, as he always is in these situations. He also revealed he will be in the men's Royal Rumble match.
Damian Priest came out and trashed both of them before revealing his match with KO would begin immediately, and by that, he meant after a commercial break.
Owens applied a waistlock right away, but Priest was quick to counter. KO was unable to take him down with a shoulder tackle and looked like he regretted his decision before his opponent steamrolled over him.
The Archer of Infamy forced Owens to take a break at ringside to escape his wrath. We returned from a break to see Priest unloading on The Prizefighter with a barrage of kicks.
KO avoided a superplex and hit a senton bomb for a near-fall. KO faked a leg injury and hit the Stunner for the pin to earn a future U.S. title shot.
Owens and Rollins always know exactly what they need to do to make any segment work. Their exchanges in recent months have been nothing short of hilarious.
The match between Priest and KO was decent but not quite as physical as you would expect with these two competitors. The second half was much more competitive than the first. If the title was on the line, they probably would have gone harder.
If Owens won the U.S. title and Rollins held the Universal Championship, having them as the top two singles champions on the same brand would provide some great entertainment.
Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory
After we saw a physical confrontation between Alpha Academy and RK-Bro, Finn Balor and Austin Theory met for a singles match. This was the Irishman's first appearance since his last meeting with the same opponent three weeks ago.
Vince McMahon told Theory that if Balor won, he would personally beat up Theory and send his mom a selfie over his lifeless body.
Balor and Theory started off with a basic headlock before Theory drilled Balor with a back elbow.
He threw The Prince into the barricade, but when he tried to do it again, Balor reversed the Irish Whip and sent him into the wall before taking him down with a Sling Blade.
We returned to see Balor still controlling the pace. Theory began to make a comeback, but when he went for the ATL, Balor countered with a roll-up for a near-fall.
Theory avoided the Coup de Grace and hit a rolling dropkick before finishing the Irishman off with the ATL for the win.
Theory is a good athlete who works well with a variety of opponents, but this whole thing he has going on with McMahon is not helping his character the way WWE thinks it is.
Balor, as usual, looked crisp with every movement. Some performers are on another level from the rest of the crowd, and The Prince is definitely one of them.
Balor will get the win back eventually, but at least WWE is committing to this push even if the character behind it can be annoying at times.
Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki A.S.H.
Nikki A.S.H. gave a promo before this match saying Rhea Ripley was the villain in this story and she is going to show the world when they fight in this match.
Carmella and Queen Zelina came out and mocked both women. Zelina even took credit for helping Ripley realize who Nikki really is.
Nikki attacked Ripley from behind and took her out of the ring to drive her into the steel steps. The ref called off the match and checked on The Nightmare as her opponent smiled ominously from the ramp.
There was no match here, but the segment itself worked to solidify Nikki's heel turn. It wasn't anything special, but the Scot sold the intensity of her attacks well.
Omos vs. Reggie
Before the match could begin, Akira Tozawa, R-Truth and Tamina came down to chase Dana Brooke for the 24/7 title. Omos took out Truth and Tozawa before the ref called for the bell.
Reggie jumped at him from the top rope, but Omos caught him and hit a two-handed chokeslam for the win.
What can you say about a segment like this? It made Omos look dominant, but we already know he is, so did any of this help anyone?
The Street Profits and Mysterios vs. Dirty Dawgs, Apollo Crews and Azeez
Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, Rey and Dominik Mysterio took on Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez in a big eight-man tag team match.
The heels took control of Dominik almost immediately, but he was able to tag in his dad to take down Roode with a hurricanrana. Roode countered a top-rope hurricanrana, but Rey was still able to take him out of the ring.
This led to everyone almost getting into a brawl at ringside. We returned from a break to see the bad guys back in control, but this time they had the elder Mysterio on the ropes.
We got to the spot where everyone comes in and takes turns taking out an opponent. This left Dawkins and Ford to finish off Crews with a spinebuster and frog splash for the win.
This is one of those matches that doesn't have a lot of storyline behind it and is more designed for the live crowd than those watching at home.
Bouts like this give fans a chance to see a bunch of people they like all at once, even if it does lead to most of them not getting enough time in the ring.
Rey throwing his son over the top rope after the match to prove there is no loyalty at the Rumble was such a dad thing to do. It may have been the best part of this whole segment.
Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins
Lashley and Rollins met in the main event of this week's show. The two challengers for the WWE and universal titles both had something to prove in this one.
They locked up, and The All Mighty easily overpowered The Visionary. Rollins hit a Sling Blade but failed to hit the Pedigree after. He avoided the Hurt Lock and low-bridged Lashley out of the ring for a suicide dive.
Lashley caught him in a second dive and hit a belly-to-belly suplex as we went to a break. We returned to see Rollins beginning to focus on the leg of his rival to take out his base.
The All Mighty was taken down hard into a single-leg crab, but he was able to escape and hit a flatliner. He slowly got to his feet and immediately started throwing Rollins around with suplexes.
Rollins countered a vertical suplex but couldn't escape the Dominator. Lashley lined up for a Spear but ran into a kick to the face. The Visionary hit the Pedigree for a close two-count.
Lashley met him on the top rope and hit a huge belly-to-belly suplex. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander pulled Lashley out of the ring and caused a disqualification by attacking him.
As Rollins watched on, The Usos came from out of nowhere to deliver a double superkick.
WWE shows may be hit or miss most weeks, but the main event usually delivers. This was another example of why two great competitors will always be able to give a good performance with enough time.
The only problem was the finish. WWE clearly wanted to protect both men before their Rumble matches, so it booked this kind of finish because neither has to eat the loss. It would be a good strategy if the company didn't go to this well so often.
Lashley and Rollins had great chemistry, and WWE should revisit this as a long-term feud down the road. Even with the DQ, this was a strong main event.