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It's 2022 folks, and this year that means it's time for some WWE predictions on the first day of the year!
Yeah so Nick Khan apparently came up with the Day 1 idea and wants to make it a huge annual event (nevermind that in the past when they've tried to cram in a January PPV before the Royal Rumble it hasn't worked out great), always on January 1st. Which seems odd since January 1st won't always fall on a weekend. But whatever. The lineup looks alright I guess. Let's get to it.
Pre-Show: Cesaro & Ricochet vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland
Hey remember last year when it looked like they were finally gonna push Cesaro? Gave him a big win at WrestleMania and even gave him a PPV main event against Roman? Good times. Now here we are and the guy can't even get on the main show of a PPV. Don't even get me started on Ricochet - that guy needs to get the fuck outta there immediately. Anyway I have no faith that Cesaro and Ric are coming out of this with a win.
Pick: Sheamus & Ridge
Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss
What in god's name are they doing with Drew these days? He went from being a dominant WWE Champion to losing every big PPV match and occasionally feuding with underneath guys for no reason. I assume he'll end up getting the big WrestleMania main event against Roman, but having him beat a couple humps like Corbin and Moss doesn't exactly make him look like top contender material.
RAW Tag Team Championship: RK-Bro vs. Street Profits
I say it all the time but imagine how over RK-Bro would be if they actually treated Riddle like the legit MMA badass he is. Instead he's always the guy on the team who gets pinned or has to be rescued by Orton. Because god forbid Randy Orton not be protected at all times. This match will be fine but probably won't go very long.
Pick: RK-Bro retains
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. The New Day
Seriously, how many times have we seen this match on television? We have to be in the mid-20s by this point. AEW's tag team division stomps the guts out of WWE's. You have two credible teams on this brand and the rest of the division is so dead you have to keep coming back to this same match. Jesus. Hey remember when Kofi Kingston was a main event guy for like seven months? Good times.
Pick: Usos retain
RAW Women's Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan
Imagine Liv Morgan in a company that knew how to make people give a shit about her? She'd be great. Gorgeous looks, natural charisma, and above all the work ethic and drive to improve. Too bad she's employed by a promotion that cannot for the life of them figure out how to elevate a babyface star. She has zero chance of winning the title here and the audience knows it, hence they'll be tuned out for this match. Meanwhile the company is still trying to make "fetch" happen with heel Becky despite the audience not at all wanting to hate her. Can we just fast-forward to Bianca winning back the title?
Pick: Becky retains
Edge vs. The Miz
Fuckin' hell with this. Imagine thinking anyone could possibly be invested in seeing The Miz in a semi-main event position, after a year in which he cashed in for the WWE Title out of nowhere, got squashed for it a week later, lost to a rapper, and got eaten by zombies. Man, I remember when The Miz first got the big push in 2010-2011. I was like "This kid has the complete package and is gonna be HUGE." And then the company failed him at every possible level. To be fair, his WM27 performance was bad. Very bad. But he was also put in a no-win situation where WWE only cared about setting up Rock vs. Cena while Miz, the Champion, became a total afterthought. As far as being a box office and ratings draw, the guy never recovered from that. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this feud is a stupid, forgone conclusion. Edge wins.
WWE Championship: Big E vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
Ugh, Owens doubled down on the double-W-E. I mean it sounds like he got paid handsomely to stay, so good for him in that sense, but I have no faith whatsoever that they'll use him for anything more than a gatekeeper role. He'll get the occasional minor push but he'll get slapped back down the second he starts to threaten any of the top guys' positions. Seth Rollins on the other hand has been floundering through upper midcard hell for the last two years and it's baffling to me that a guy with this much talent isn't getting Randy Orton-type protection. And he's certainly put the work in; great showings with Cesaro, Nakamura, and Edge. But his gimmick is terrible and he desperately needs some repackaging. I miss the Burn it Down guy. This match is really between Big E and Lashley. I'm assuming they'll have a singles match at 'Mania? Lashley is supposedly a heel but he's being presented as an unstoppable babyface, which is awkward if he's Big E's main challenger. Anyway, E isn't losing the strap just yet, so I'm betting he pins Owens to retain.
Pick: Big E retains
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
So was Roman firing Heyman all just a ruse and Heyman's gonna come back here to screw over Brock? I'd be so much more excited for a match like this if we didn't see it done to death a few years back. Heel Roman vs. babyface Brock is a much more intriguing dynamic than vice versa. I don't see Roman losing the title before WrestleMania, so he'll win here to tie up their shared win-loss record at three.
Pick: Roman retains
So yeah, not a bad lineup. Unfortunately with the way WWE does television a PPV with seven matches that should go three hours will be artificially stretched out to four. This stupid company needs to knock it off with all the video packages and ads during PPVs.