WWE Day 1 2021: Results, Lesnar wins WWE Championship, full recap

Roman Reigns was pulled from the show after testing positive for COVID, so Lesnar was inserted into the WWE Championship match instead.

Daniel Van Boom

Brock Lesnar won a title at WWE Day 1, but probably not the title you expected. Lesnar was scheduled to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship, but Reigns tested positive to COVID and so was pulled from the show. (Best wishes to Roman Reigns.) Lesnar was then inserted into the WWE Championship Fatal Four Way match, which he won by pinning former champ Big E. It was an excellent main event that capped off a good show. 

Elsewhere on Day 1, Edge defeated The Miz with the help of Beth Phoenix, Becky Lynch retained her Raw Women's Championship, and RK-Bro defeated The Street Profits. All matches on the show were solid, and the Raw Women's Championship match was better than solid, but nothing stood out as must-see other than the main event. 

Scroll below for a full recap of WWE Day 1 2021.

Brock Lesnar wins WWE Championship

By Daniel Van Boom

Your new WWE Champion


The Beast is WWE Champion once again. Brock Lesnar won the WWE Championship in a Fatal Five Way featuring Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins by pinning Big E with an F5 in what was easily the best match of the night. 

Lesnar began by picking apart Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens with German Suplexes while Big E and Bobby Lashley fought on the outside. After a while, Rollins and Owens were able to mount a comeback, barraging Lesnar with Superkicks. Big E then slid into the ring and hit a massive clothesline on Lesnar that sent him to the outside, where Lashley speared him through a barricade. 

The four other guys began to work on each other, including Big E smashing Lashley through the announcer's table with a uranage slam. Lesnar began to crawl back though, which led to Rollins and Owens Double DDTing Lesnar on the steps.

Back in the ring, Rollins and Owens double teamed Big E. Both attempted a pin, but were unsuccessful. Rollins set Big E up for a Curbstomp, but Lesnar slid into the ring and caught him for an F5. Lesnar then hit Big E and Owens with F5s, but then ate a spear from Bobby Lashley. Lashley put Lesnar into the Hurt Lock, but Big E broke it up. 

Big E tookout Lashley with a Big Ending, then hoisted Lesnar on his shoulders to do the same. Lesnar powerered out and then hit Big E with an F5 for the win.

After the match, Lashley stared down Lesnar from the rampway, teasing a bout between the two in the near future. 

Rating: 4.25 stars. I loved every second of this main event -- the only problem is that there weren't enough seconds. It went under 9 minutes, which is obviously quite short for a WWE Championship main event. Yet it accomplished a lot in that time, giving everyone a chance to shine and also setting up a bout between Lesnar and Lashley. Lashley speared Lesnar twice, and also had him in a Hurt Lock which Lesnar didn't get out of himself, so the setup for a future match was very nicely done. 

Becky Lynch retains her Raw Women's Championship

By Daniel Van Boom

Becky Lynch pinned Liv Morgan with the Manhandle Slam to retain her Raw Women's Championship. 

It was a very good match, and the obvious intent was to make Morgan look like a star in defeat. The bout began with Morgan getting a flurry of big offense on Lynch, with the idea that Lynch was surprised as she expected Morgan to be overwhelmed by the big stage of a pay-per-view. (Side note: WWE are now calling pay-per-views "premium live events", which is so perfectly awful.) 

Lynch in the match was wrestling as though she was scrambling to win, and all of the big spots were designed to spotlight Morgan. The coolest such spot was when Lynch was stuck on the second turnbuckle and Liv hit a very nice springboard sunset-flip powerbomb. We know that Lynch is an awesome performer, and Morgan did very well too. There were some sloppy parts, like a top-rope dropkick that caught Becky in the hip rather than the chest. 

The highlight was an excellent sequence where Becky was trying to recover by fleeing to the outside, but Morgan followed her out, jammed Lynch's arm in the ringsteps and then repeatedly kicked it. Back on the inside, Morgan locked Lynch into the Rings of Saturn, which is essentially a shoulder crank. The crowd (and me) bought it as a false finish, but Lynch was able to reverse it into a pinfall attempt.

As Lynch was clinging to the ropes, Morgan attempted the Oblivion, but Lynch caught her and hit a Manhandle Slam for the win.

Rating: 4 stars. 

Edge pins The Miz

By Daniel Van Boom

Edge defeated The Miz with a big spear after a distraction from Beth Pheonix, WWE Hall of Famer and wife of Edge. 

How much you like this match depends entirely on how much you care for Miz. The announcers tried to sell it like a clash between two Hall of Famers, with the idea being that Edge already is in the Hall of Fame and that Miz is sure to join him there soon. But for much of the audience, myself included, The Miz is no longer a truly credible challenger to main event stars like Edge.

The match was well structured, and quite good. It's not like The Miz sucked here, just that it felt like an A-level star against a B-level one. 

The Miz came to the ring accompanied by his wife Maryse, while Edge did his awesome Brood entrance, which we last saw during his feud with Seth Rollins. The story of the match at first was that Edge kept trying to put Miz into his crossface, but Miz kept wriggling out. 

There were some fun spots. Standing outside, Edge caught Miz on the apron and hit a nice DDT onto the outside. Later, Miz rolled up Edge and put his feet on the ropes, nearly getting the 3 count but losing it thanks to the ref's noticing the feet at the last second. Miz put Edge in the Figure Four, which led the two into a mid-Figure Four slap fest. 

There was also a great nearfall where Miz pretended his knee was injured, which got the ref's attention. Maryse slapped Edge, who then walked straight into a Skull Crushing Finale for a two. 

Maryse and Miz started to gloat, but then Miz got a scared look on his face and told Maryse to turn around. The camera then fixed on Beth Pheonix, Edge's wife, who was standing on the ramp, staring at The Miz while seething. She stood there for an awkward amount of time before her music hit -- obviously she was waiting for the musical cue, but it came a touch too slow. She then chased Maryse around the ring, which distracted The Miz long enough for Edge to hit a spear for the 3 count. 

Rating: 3.5 stars. 

Corbin and Moss attack Drew McIntyre

By Daniel Van Boom

Backstage Drew McIntyre was getting interviewed about his match earlier in the night with Moss, giving credit to Moss and Corbin for being tougher than they look. As he was saying that, Moss and Corbin attack McIntyre. McIntyre tries to fight back, but the numbers advantage gets the better of him. 

Happy Corbin put a chair around McIntyre's neck and then smashed it with part of the pipe structuring that makes up the stage. 

RK-Bro vs. The Street Profits

By Daniel Van Boom

Randy Orton and Riddle defeated The Street Profits to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships in a solid match. 

Rap trio Migos came out with Riddle and Randy Orton for RK-Bro's entrance, and all five men did the Randy Orton pose, with Migos and Orton on the turnbuckles and Riddle in the center of the ring. 

This match was slightly odd because Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford worked as heels. They didn't cheat, but their attitude and mannerisms were definitely heelish. And you know what? It fit them surprisingly well. 

The most memorable part of the match was the finish: Ford went for a top-rope move on Orton, but Orton dodged and Ford rolled onto his feet and hit the ropes. On his way back, he was caught by Riddle who chucked him up into the air -- where he was snatched by Orton with an RKO.

Rating: 3.5 stars. 

Drew McIntyre pins Madcapp Moss

By Daniel Van Boom

Madcapp Moss and Happy Corbin came out for some very cringe attempts at comedy -- people in Georgia are fat, Drew McIntyre's prom date looked like a goat and so on -- before Drew McIntyre hit the ring for their bout.

They had a basic, fine match, but at 11 minutes it went too long. Madcap came out with Happy Corbin looking like a comedy character, so it was hard to take him seriously against a headlining act like McIntyre. I expected the match to be over quickly, but it went on and on. 

Highlights include a big belly-to-belly suplex from McIntyre to Moss on the outside, and Moss later running at top speed into the middle turnbuckle in a somewhat scary spot. In the end, McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick for the win.

Rating: 2 stars.

The New Day defeat The Usos

By Daniel Van Boom

WWE Day 1's main show starts off with a SmackDown Tag Team Championship bout, with The Usos defending their titles against Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston.

The match began with commentators Michael Cole and Pat McAfee talking about how these teams know each other so well since they've been wrestling for over a decade. That's a good encapsulation of this match: it was good, but nothing special since we've seen it so many times. 

The Usos worked over Kingston to start off the match, but Woods got a nice hot tag and fought back for The New Day. He eventually got into a slug fest with Jey Uso in the ring, then tagged in a newly refreshed Kingston. There came a great spot when Kingston setup Jey for the Trouble in Paradise, but Jey caught him mid-spin with a superkick. He tagged in Jimmy, who hit a top-rope splash for a great nearfall.

Jimmy then worked over Kingston's injured leg, putting Kingston in a half-Boston Crab. Kingston got to the ropes, and then The Usos tried to tandem offense Kingston's injured leg, but they were stopped by Woods. Kingston, who was doing a great job selling his knee, then tried a few rollups on Jimmy Uso. They were all near falls, but the crowd was very into them.  Moments later, The Usos land stereo top-rope splashes on Kingston, but Woods comes in for the save. The crowd loves it

After the save, The New Day get to their feet and square off with both Usos. After fisticuffs, Woods ends up on the outside. Kofi tries another rollup, but it gets countered and The Usos hit a 3D, as in the Dudley Death Drop, for the win. McAfee tells us they call it the 1D -- Down Since Day One and all that.

Rating: 3.75 stars. It's hard to be terribly excited about an Usos versus New Day match, since it's been done over and over again. With that said, these guys worked super hard, and the last half of the match was very fun. Most importantly, the crowd was into it. 

Kickoff Show results

By Daniel Van Boom

Sheamus and Ridge Holland defeated Ricochet and Cesaro in the Kickoff Show. The finish came after Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Cesaro. 

The match was a bit of a disaster, because Ridge Holland got his nose broken when Ricochet, attempting a flippy move, accidentally kicked Holland straight in the face. That took Holland out to get medical attention, but from there the whole psychology of the match was backward. Sheamus, the bad guy, fought back courageously against two opponents and ultimately came out on top.