WWE wanted to waste no time getting things rolling in 2022. With that in mind, they set up their first pay-per-view event of the year for the first day of the year. WWE Day 1 goes down Saturday night from State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
There are some huge matches set for the event, including a rematch between universal champion Roman Reigns and multi-time former world champion Brock Lesnar. Also, Big E will defend his WWE championship against Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens in a fatal four-way match.
Plus, both brands’ tag team titles will be on the line on the undercard. SmackDown champions The Usos will take on two members of New Day — Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods — while the third member of each crew is in action later on in the night. And Raw champions RK-Bro, Randy Orton and Matthew Riddle — battle the Street Profits.
Day 1 will set the tone for the year as WWE prepares to enter “WrestleMania season” with Royal Rumble on Jan. 29. The show will stream live on Peacock beginning at 8 p.m. ET following the kickoff show, which starts one hour prior.
Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will come out on top at WWE Day 1.
2022 WWE Day 1 predictions
Raw Tag Team Championship — RK-Bro (c) vs. The Street Profits
While RK-Bro have been a very successful act, there’s nothing WWE loves to do more than breaking up tag teams. Riddle and Randy Orton are going to break up at some point and have a big featured feud. With WrestleMania approaching, the biggest show of the year could be where we see that all come to a head. Losing the titles here would allow RK-Bro to have the first hints of a split and could easily be followed up at Royal Rumble with Orton eliminating Riddle (or vice versa) to build into a WrestleMania showdown. Pick: The Street Profits win the titles — Brent Brookhouse
RK-Bro is getting so much screen time on Monday Night Raw that it’s tough to see Street Profits dethroning them. It appears WWE is high on Riddle and his eventual split from Orton will have more heat on it if they’re still champions. Pick: RK-Bro retain the titles — Shakiel Mahjouri
Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss
McIntyre beating Moss is the evening’s parlay padder, practically a forgone conclusion. Rumor has it McIntyre is poised for a main event program opposite the winner of Reigns vs. Lesnar. Expect a repeat of SmackDown when McIntyre blasted Moss with the Claymore Kick. Chances are this will be Day 1’s shortest affair. Pick: Drew McIntyre wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)
Raw Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch (c) vs. Liv Morgan
Morgan should win, let’s make that clear. The crowd support for Morgan has been organic and intense since her failed bid to capture the Money in the Bank briefcase in July. Her fanbase is one of the most committed and feverish in pro-wrestling. Lynch is a made woman and WWE should capitalize on the chance to make Morgan a star. Sadly, and I hope I’m wrong, intuition tells me WWE will play it safe and have “Big Time Becks” retain. Pick: Becky Lynch retains the title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)
Edge vs. The Miz
Edge should be the favorite to win under most circumstances. However, there is a glaring reason to side with The Miz in this one: a match pitting The Miz and Maryse vs. Edge and Beth Phoenix. It’s too obvious to pass up and Maryse has been so involved to this point that it seems the clear direction. The most convenient path there is to have The Miz steal the victory with an assist from his wife. It also keeps in place Edge’s trend of feuds that stretch out for months with only a few actual matches. Pick: The Miz wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)
SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) vs. The New Day
I keep waiting for WWE to go in on Roman Reigns’ world falling apart and Day 1 seems like a great time to have that happen. The Usos losing the titles early in the show could shake Reigns ahead of his match with Brock Lesnar. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods also could use a small bump with another run as tag champions — though it would be odd that Woods as King of the Ring would be following the same path as Zelina Vega, who won the Queen’s Crown tournament and then became women’s tag champ. Pick: The New Day win the titles — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)
WWE Championship — Big E (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley
On the rare occasions where WWE builds up a stable of challengers to a champion, it works well. It breaks the monotony of repeating cycles of one-on-one competition that always hits the same story beats. That has been the case with the WWE title picture of late. Lashley’s physical dominance alongside Owens and Rollins’ underhanded tactics pose many different challenges to Big E. Of course, a four-way match also leaves a lot of easy outs to allow the champion to retain while leaving challengers in place to continue moving things forward. It makes no sense to take the title off Big E yet and they’ve set him up in the right situation to allow him to move forward as a champion with many challengers. Pick: Big E retains the title — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)
Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
Reigns’ title reign has been impressive in length, even if some of the ways it had been considered an artistic success in the ThunderDome era have petered out as WWE ran out of compelling and convincing challengers. While it would have been an intriguing idea to have someone unexpected take the title in an upset, WWE seems committed to Reigns being so dominant that only an equally dominant force can stop him. Enter Lesnar. Lesnar vs. Reigns at WrestleMania isn’t a hugely original idea, but it’s a “big match” and that’s probably good enough for WWE. You can’t get there on the back of Lesnar losing to Reigns twice, however, so that means Lesnar needs the win this time around. Pick: Brock Lesnar wins the title — Brookhouse
Reigns’ run at the top is going stale, but a championship stretch 16 months and counting is bound to get cumbersome. Fortunately, Paul Heyman has injected much life into the feud on the road to Day 1. That should soothe any itchy fingers who think pulling the trigger on a title change is necessary. Reigns is weeks away from surpassing Lesnar’s record-setting 504-day first run as Universal champion, a reign conveniently ended by “The Tribal Chief.” Reigns is WWE’s top player and Lesnar’s aura is unshakeable. Keep the title on Reigns, he deserves to set records. And get to work building a star who can reap the rewards of routing Reigns. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the title — Mahjouri