The first edition of WWE’s new event, Day 1, was thrown into chaos late Saturday afternoon when Roman Reigns announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. Therefore, he was unable to defend his Universal title against Brock Lesnar in the main event.
That pushed-over a domino fell squarely on the second-biggest match of the night. The company improvised, tearing up whatever plans it had for the WWE title for now. They put Lesnar in the four-way with Big E, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley. Lesnar went over, beating Big E with an F-5 to capture the WWE Championship.
There was no sign of Paul Heyman at ringside, although Lesnar did refer to Heyman as his advocate again in a backstage interview. In that bit, they explained his free-agent status allowed him to hop over to the RAW storyline from his SmackDown feud with Reigns.
Certain spots during the match and the post-match pointed toward Lesnar versus Lashley soon. WWE needed to open up some possible avenues since it’s too early to know when Reigns will be back.
We all hope Reigns has a quick and complete recovery. His absence tonight at the “Premium Live Event,” which is apparently our new term for these shows, led to a shift in direction for both brands.
It also led to a “big move” main event. The match started out at full speed, with each worker hitting high-impact moves as quickly as possible.
The match wasn’t long, but it was exciting. It topped off a show that was well-wrestled, but otherwise relatively uneventful. The champions retained their titles in the other matches, while one grudge match did what it needed to do, and the other did not.
Here are a few takeaways from the show:
LYNCH TRIED TO CHEAT, BUT DIDN’T HAVE TO
Becky Lynch defeated Liv Morgan in a solid match to retain her RAW Women’s title. Lynch worked hard selling for Morgan, who got more offense than her last match with Lynch. Morgan did her part also. The finish looked as though Lynch was supposed to use the ropes for leverage again. Unfortunately, she was too far away and it came off more like a clean pin.
They can go back to it, but Morgan seems like a bump in the road until Lynch runs into a more serious challenger.
USOS RETAIN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Usos defeated the New Day clean to retain the SmackDown tag team titles. This match was excellent. All four men can work and they know how to work with one another. They put on an enjoyable opener.
In the RAW tag team title match, RK-Bro defeated the Street Profits clean. The Profits’ fate was sealed when RK-Bro came out with Georgia hip hop group Migos. There was little chance they’d have the local group’s team lose.
Instead, they emphasized how Orton and Riddle are getting along and wrestling as a team better than ever. This will all serve the story once the inevitable turn comes.
CAUTION: MIXED TAG AHEAD
The Miz faced the Edge in a match hardly anyone wanted to see. It was not exciting. It was a Miz match, so it had little intensity. Miz can execute moves correctly, but he never looks much like he’s trying to hurt his opponent. Edge didn’t bring much out of him, either. Edge did a more Brood-like entrance with fire effects. This didn’t make it much better, either.
Edge won when Maryse interfered, leading to Beth Phoenix coming out to chase her away. Phoenix was polite enough to wait patiently in the aisle for her music to play before helping her husband. The odd delay in the music cue led to a bit of awkwardness. It also led to an Edge win.
The finish somehow managed to subtract heat from something that had little to begin with. The babyface went over mostly clean. Phoenix never interfered with the Miz, although she did distract him.
It doesn’t leave fans any angrier at the Miz, nor does it give Phoenix and Edge much of a reason to keep feuding with Miz and Maryse. Perhaps they’ll have Miz and Maryse get some kind of revenge on RAW. It’s believed this will all lead to a mixed tag team match, so we are far from done with it.
A GOOD NIGHT FOR MADCAP MOSS
In a match made so Drew McIntyre could get a solid victory, Madcap Moss turned in one of his best matches. McIntyre clearly wanted to work with him and gave Moss a lot. Moss stepped up and this match was better than most expected. McIntyre did win clean, as he needed to, but Moss showed he has real talent under that silly gimmick.
They also moved the story along by having Moss’ laughing buddy Happy Corbin attack McIntyre in the back after the match. McIntyre was being built as a future Universal title contender and was likely be a factor in the Royal Rumble, but this angle may have been done to explain an injury. PWInsider reported McIntyre’s neck will be examined and he may have to miss some time.
A BAD NIGHT FOR RIDGE HOLLAND
Poor Ridge. The guy can’t catch a break. In the pre-show match, he teamed with Sheamus against Cesaro and Ricochet. That wasn’t the bad break. Teaming with Sheamus is fine.
The bad break came when Cesaro and Ricohet tried an assisted flip onto him. It was onto him, all right. Ricochet’s foot came right down on Holland’s face, breaking his nose. He had to be pulled from the match.
It was another on-camera injury for Holland. In one of his first NXT appearances, he suffered a broken and dislocated ankle when taking a dive from Oney Lorcan. This broken nose is much less severe, at least. It’s early days for him and Sheamus as a combo. Time will tell if they become a real factor in the tag team division, but RAW could use a new heel team for RK-Bro.