Cowboy Brock Lesnar, Edge and Beth Phoenix Dominate, More WWE Raw Fallout

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2022

Cowboy Brock Lesnar, Edge and Beth Phoenix Dominate, More WWE Raw Fallout

0 of 5


    Ahead of Saturday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, the January 24 edition of WWE Raw produced a mixed bag of bizarre segments and solid wrestling.

    Brock Lesnar showed up in a cowboy hat for his weigh-in with Bobby Lashley. What followed never felt it took this feud seriously, though it is at least clear The Beast Incarnate is having fun in his current run.

    Edge and Beth Phoenix worked together in the main event to take out a group of security guards, showing why they are ready to surprise people in their mixed tag team match against The Miz and Maryse.

    Kevin Owens challenged Damian Priest for the United States Championship. While Monday's contest ended inconclusively, it seems KO could well be the man to dethrone The Archer of Infamy.

    Chad Gable and Otis challenged Randy Orton and Riddle to a mental challenge, a spelling bee, which quickly turned into a mess. Luckily, the Olympian got the chance to shine later in a battle with The Viper.

    The women's division continues to suffer even on nights when WWE is focused on quality wrestling. In two matches using eight of the top women in the company, they barely got six minutes of in-ring time. This is unacceptable for a promotion that should pride itself on its talent.

    Raw is built on great performers, and certain talent stood out on the go-home edition before the Royal Rumble.

The Build to Lesnar vs. Lashley Has Been Strange

1 of 5

    Brock Lesnar is living his best life at the moment. He can just be himself, and no one questions it. He is no longer the quiet monster in the ring, but instead a Canadian recluse who occasionally wears a cowboy hat.

    It's nice to see him open up, but Monday's opening segment with Bobby Lashley was a waste of time. It not only failed to put any hype behind the match but it also sold the idea that The Beast Incarnate looks at his opponent as a joke rather than a challenger.

    While this could lead into an interesting story in the ring on Saturday, with The All Mighty proving Lesnar wrong, it feels like the wrong story to tell. On top of that, The Beast has proved repeatedly that he wins quickly, even in matches where he's supposed to make his opponent look good.

    If Lashley loses to Lesnar quickly at the Royal Rumble, it will shine a light on how little WWE cares about protecting anyone but its key stars.

    The Beast can be whoever he wants and keep winning. He can make a mockery of segments that ultimately lead nowhere, but he never loses any steam. Meanwhile, The All Mighty has put everything into this one character and push, only to be disrespected once more by a major WWE player.

Kevin Owens Is Right Man to Finally Push Damian Priest Forward

2 of 5

    Kevin Owens has always been the consummate professional. No matter who he wrestles, he makes the most of the moment.

    Damian Priest, meanwhile, has drifted for months without purpose and was just waiting for a challenger like KO.

    The Archer of Infamy is too talented to slip into obscurity. He won the United States Championship in August last year because he was one of the hottest talents in WWE at the time.

    Priest was supposed to help elevate the gold, but instead he has been weighed down by booking that cannot find a direction for him. KO could easily be WWE's out, though, moving the title to a man who has already been U.S. champion twice before.

    However, it's more important that Owens helps elevate the titleholder back to relevancy. He should be going into the men's Rumble match as a dark-horse contender, but any win seems impossible for him.

    Priest may not win on Saturday but his performance in the men's Battle Royal, coupled with continued great work with Owens, can take him to the next level and a solo match at WrestleMania 38.

WWE Needs to Reevaluate Its Use of the Women's Division

3 of 5

    Bianca Belair and Queen Zelina should be two of the top women on Raw, but somehow their match on Monday ended in less than four minutes.

    Carmella is a former women's champion and current women's tag team champion, and she should not be tapping out in less three minutes to anyone, even Rhea Ripley.

    WWE has taken some major steps forward in presenting its female wrestlers in a positive light. The "Women's Evolution" brought clarity to the booking of top females on Raw and SmackDown. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Asuka and others all benefited in a major way.

    However, there seems to be a hierarchy now that allows WWE to book the women outside of the elite as filler rather than serious competitors most weeks. The women's tag team title scene is especially egregious.

    Monday's Raw showed that the men could get plenty of time to compete. Austin Theory vs. AJ Styles lasted about 17 minutes, while Randy Orton vs. Chad Gable was over 13 minutes in length. Damian Priest vs. Kevin Owens went for almost 10 even with a non-finish, and The Street Profits vs. The Mysterios got eight minutes.

    That's plenty of time that could have been shared, and it does not even mention all the time wasted on odd segments that did not help anyone.

    If WWE has any plans to build fresh challengers for Lynch going into WrestleMania 38, it is about time Raw started giving the women a chance again. The same goes for SmackDown, too.

Chad Gable Is Shining with Fresh Spotlight...and Bad Material

4 of 5

    Chad Gable has been on a tough road to get back to regular TV time. His evolution into Shorty G may be one of the most embarrassing wastes of time in modern WWE, which is saying something given the company's large roster.

    This week, he got more air time than he has had in a long time, and it was a treat throughout. Even the awkward spelling bee highlighted his charisma and acting ability.

    Gable and Otis have found their voice together, and it highlights how good the former Olympian can be. The big man of The Alpha Academy was always going to be a star in one way or another, but Gable has had to prove himself again and again.

    Gable vs. Orton was a showcase of the former's ability. He did not just hang with one of the best, he proved he can outgrapple The Viper.

    With a combination of great comedic timing and unbelievable athletic ability, Gable should be one of the biggest stars on Raw in the coming years. All WWE has to do is continue to let him work and forget its unnecessary bias against wrestlers under six feet tall.

Edge and Beth Phoenix Could Steal the Show Together

5 of 5

    Edge and Beth Phoenix looked like the seasoned veterans they are as they worked together on Monday. Their tag team ability was shown with a variety of moves, and they have committed completely to their rugged aesthetic.

    In some ways, they have a better dynamic than many longer-term tandems currently on Raw.

    That's not entirely surprising. Edge was one of the most prolific tag team wrestlers in WWE history alongside Christian, while Phoenix and Natalya looked so natural together when they linked up for the introduction of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.

    Together, the married couple have the ability to stand out in a mixed tag team format, especially if WWE allows The Glamazon the opportunity to occasionally fight with the men. These two needed this chance to shine together.

    Edge's return to WWE feels like a final tour, no matter how long it lasts. It's his time to do what he wants to do. Choosing to feud with The Miz was all to set up this contest, and it is very likely to surprise people come Saturday.

    At the Royal Rumble, Edge and Phoenix can prove they are ready to show out together and apart in a run that will cement their legacies.