WWE RAW aired live from the ThunderDome. It was the final episode of RAW before WWE Royal Rumble 2021 this Sunday. Asuka put her RAW Women’s Championship on the line against Alexa Bliss in this week’s main event.
RAW Results (1/25)
- Charlotte def. Shaya Baszler via DQ
- Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Lacey Evans def. Charlotte, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke
- Xavier Woods def. Slapjack
- Sheamus def. John Morrison
- The Miz & John Morrison def. Sheamus in a Handicap match
- AJ Styles def. R-Truth via submission
- Riddle def. Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Cedric Alexander in a Gauntlet match to earn a US Title shot
- Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss ended in a no contest
Here are the takeaways from this week’s show:
McIntyre & Goldberg Attacked Miz & Morrison
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre returned from his battle with Covid-19 and made his way to the ring to begin the show. McIntyre said it feels so good to be back on RAW and thanked the WWE Universe for the get well wishes. Drew stated that he only had a little bit of fatigue and lost his sense of smell and was really lucky. Drew dedicated the match against Goldberg this Sunday to all those that have dealt with the virus.
McIntyre switched his attention to Goldberg and broke down his incredible career and how he went 173-0. Drew added that Goldberg has started a new streak and has defeated every champion he has challenged. Drew vowed to end the new Goldberg streak and remain WWE Champion.
The Miz and John Morrison interrupted and suggested that McIntyre versus Goldberg is WWE‘s version of Kong vs. Godzilla. Miz and Morrison said they were going to beat down whoever wins the match and then The Miz is going to cash in and become new WWE Champion. Goldberg joined the party and got in McIntyre’s face.
Goldberg said “you’re next” and dropped the microphone. The Miz and Morrison started daring them to fight and it backfired. Goldberg hit The Miz with a Spear and McIntyre hit Morrison with the Claymore. McIntyre then raised the WWE Championship and had a stare down with Goldberg to end the segment.
Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Lacey Evans Picked Up A Win
Charlotte Flair squared off against Shayna Baszler in the first match of the night. Charlotte started off the match in control and applied a Headlock. Flair sent Baszler to the corner and then leveled her with a boot to the face. Charlotte went for the Figure Four but Nia Jax hit her with a Leg Drop to end the match in a DQ. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke rushed the ring and attacked Nia and Shayna. Lacey Evans joined the party and went after Charlotte as RAW went to a break.
When RAW returned, it was now a 6-woman tag match with Evans and Mandy battling in the ring. Evans shoved Mandy and did the Ric Flair strut to annoy Charlotte. Mandy took control and brought Evans to the corner. Dana tagged in and planted Lacey with a Suplex for a two count. Shayna and Charlotte tagged in and circled each other in the ring. Charlotte beat Shayna down and sent her into the steel steps outside the ring. Shayna couldn’t get back into the ring in time and the match ended in a countout.
Adam Pearce restarted the match during the commercial break. Nia hit Dana Brooke with a slam for a two count. Baszler tagged in and stomped on Dana’s elbow. Nia Jax tagged in and applied a Headlock in the middle of the ring. Mandy tagged in and cleaned house. Rose sent Lacey to the corner and unloaded some strikes. Mandy followed it up with a knee to the face and went for the cover but Shayna broke it up. Charlotte hit Shayna with a Spear and Nia tagged in.
Flair chased Lacey Evans backstage as Dana Brooke tagged in. Dana Brooke hit a Neckbreaker for a two count and made her way to the top rope. Nia hit her with a punch and launched her to the canvas. Jax then slammed Dana to the canvas with a rough looking Powerbomb and then hit a Leg Drop for the pinfall victory. Later on RAW, Charlotte Flair confronted Ric Flair backstage as he was conversing with Lacey Evans. Charlotte told Ric that he has gone from legend to old man. Lacey Evans then hit Charlotte with the Woman’s Right.
Opinion: This was the match that would never end and killed off about thirty minutes of RAW’s go-home show for Royal Rumble. What a uniquely horrible way to start off this week’s RAW. I find the Ric Flair storyline to be awkward as hell and one of the worst parts of the show.
Mustafa Ali Sent A Message To Kofi Kingston
Xavier Woods faced Slapjack tonight on RAW. Woods started off in control and connected with a Back Body Drop. Slapjack hit Woods with a knee to the face and then slammed Xavier to the canvas for a near fall. Woods hit a Russian Leg Sweep and followed it up with a Clothesline for a two count. T-Bar tried to distract Woods but it didn’t work and Xavier booted Slapjack in the face for the pinfall victory.
After the match, T-Bar hit Woods with a kick to the face and rolled him into the ring. Mustafa Ali instructed Mace & T-Bar to Chokeslam Woods and then sent Slapjack to get a steel chair. Mustafa was about to hit Woods with the chair but decided not to. Ali took a seat and asked for a microphone. Mustafa joked that Woods wants to be king of the ring but sure looks like a peasant right now. Ali said he heard the sad news that Kofi Kingston won’t be cleared to compete in the Royal Rumble but he will be replacing him.
Riddle Interrupted VIP Lounge
Hurt Business came to the ring for an episode of the VIP Lounge. MVP said they have a Gauntlet match against Riddle and referred to him a “brain dead moron that can be crafty”. MVP told Cedric Alexander to focus on the task at hand before United States Champion Bobby Lashley grabbed a microphone. Lashley noted that the Hurt Business has only just begun and Shelton Benjamin was about to say something but Cedric Alexander interrupted. Cedric said everything was because of MVP and Lashley presented him a gold Hurt Business chain. Cedric claimed that he was working with the designer and Shelton said that Alexander has no idea what he was talking about.
R-Truth interrupted and wondered why he wasn’t on the list for his own surprise party. R-Truth noted that his birthday was last week but better late than never. R-Truth thought the “THB” chain stood for “Truth Happy Birthday”. Lashley told R-Truth that he almost forgot his birthday but got him a gift and it is inside the ring. A few superstars chased R-Truth around for the 24/7 Championship and Hurt Business laid them out. Riddle got into the ring and hit MVP with a knee to the face before running away to end the segment. If Riddle wins the Gauntlet match later, he will earn a shot at the United States Championship.
Miz & Morrison def. Sheamus
Sheamus faced John Morrison tonight on RAW. The Miz was ringside for the match. Sheamus brought Morrison to the canvas and went for an Armbar. Morrison escaped and went for a Headlock but Sheamus battled to his feet. Sheamus tackled John to the mat and went for the Headlock again. Morrison escaped but Sheamus connected with a Back Body Drop that sent John flying across the ring. Morrison hit a knee to the midsection and knocked Sheamus to the apron. Morrison stretched out Sheamus’ knee over the rope and then booted him to the floor outside the ring.
Back in the ring, Morrison took Sheamus down with a Dragon Screw for a one count. Sheamus hit Morrison with a knee to the face and connected with White Noise for the pinfall victory. After the match, The Miz suggested a Handicap match and Sheamus accepted as RAW went to a commercial break. Sheamus was in control when RAW returned and sent Morrison out of the ring.
Sheamus caught Miz with an elbow to the face but Morrison hit the Celtic Warrior with a chop block. Miz and Morrison then beat Sheamus down for the next several minutes. Sheamus eventually battled back and sent Morrison out of the ring. Sheamus made his way to the top rope and hit Miz and Morrison with a Flying Clothesline. Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick but Miz hit him with a Crossbody. Sheamus hit Morrison with the Brogue Kick but Miz planted him with the Skull Crushing Finale for the victory.
AJ Styles def. R-Truth
AJ Styles faced R-Truth tonight. If R-Truth won the match, he would qualify for the Royal Rumble match. Styles connected with a Backbreaker as Omos watched on from ringside. R-Truth hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle and went for the Attitude Adjustment but Styles countered into the Calf Crusher for the submission victory.
Riddle Won The Gauntlet Match & Earned A US Title Match
Riddle faced Hurt Business in a Gauntlet Match. If Riddle won he would earn a shot at the United States Championship in the future. Riddle faced Shelton Benjamin first and beat him down in the corner. Shelton went for a German Suplex but Riddle landed on his feet and connected with an overhead kick. Benjamin hit a Spinebuster and went for the cover but Riddle was able to kick out at two.
Benjamin hit a Body Slam for a two count. Benjamin kept Riddle grounded and controlled the next few minutes of the match. Riddle hit Benjamin with a knee to the face and went for a roll-up but Riddle reversed it. The referee was distracted with Cedric Alexander and didn’t see the cover. Benjamin argued with Cedric and Riddle capitalized with a roll-up for the victory. Riddle then faced MVP next. Riddle immediately locked in the Heel Hook on MVP for the submission victory.
Riddle faced Cedric Alexander in the final bout of the Gauntlet match. Cedric Alexander dominated early and kept Riddle on the canvas. Riddle battled back and hit a series of kicks in the corner of the ring. Alexander connected with a Dropkick out of nowhere and went for the cover but Riddle was able to power out at the last moment.
Cedric hit Riddle with a DDT for another near fall and MVP complained about Alexander’s technique going for the cover. Riddle hit a Pele Kick and followed it up with an Exploder Suplex. Riddle went for the Broton but Cedric was able to get his knees up. Riddle responded with a German Suplex but Alexander shrugged it off and hit a Brainbuster for a two count. MVP once again got pissed about how Cedric went for the cover.
Alexander reigned down punches and stomps to Riddle in the middle of the ring. Cedric made his way to the top rope as MVP rolled his eyes. Riddle got out of the way and applied a Triangle choke. Alexander hit a Powerbomb but Riddle didn’t let go of the hold. Riddle then rolled up Alexander for the victory. Riddle earned a shot at the United States Championship. After the match, United States Champion Bobby Lashley attacked Riddle from behind and applied the Hurt Lock.
Edge Announced That He Is Entering The Royal Rumble
Edge provided an injury update during tonight’s show. Edge said that 2020 has taught all of us that you cannot sleep on tomorrow and you need to fight for it every day. He brought up going to bed as champion after WrestleMania 27 but had to forfeit it and his career within a week. Edge stated that he will never forget when he told his mom that he was going to be a wrestler and she said “just go do it”. Edge noted that those words fueled him for 9 years to get his career and dream back and then Randy Orton tore his triceps at Backlash. He then announced that he is entering the Royal Rumble and that he knows it will not be like last year because the stakes are higher. Edge admitted that the window is closing on him every day and vowed to win the Royal Rumble to take back his dream.
Randy Orton Attacked Alexa Bliss
Asuka defended the RAW Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss in this week’s main event. Asuka started off the match in control and stomped on Alexa in the corner of the ring. Bliss sent Asuka out of the ring and rode a rocking horse as RAW went to a commercial break.
When RAW returned, Asuka hit Bliss with an elbow to the face and went for a Dropkick but Alexa got out of the way. Bliss stomped Asuka down in the corner and then applied a Headlock in the middle of the ring. Asuka broke free and hit a Hip Attack in the corner. Asuka followed it up with a German Suplex and a boot to the face for a near fall.
Asuka approached Bliss in the corner and Alexa’s music hit. Alexa was in her normal ring attire all of the sudden and was crying in the ring. Bliss stumbled to her feet as Asuka was confused. Asuka charged at her and Alexa sent her into the turnbuckle. Bliss stared off into the distance and the lights in the ThunderDome went out. When the lights came on, Bliss was in her dark attire and and Asuka caught her with a knee to the face. Asuka went for the Asuka Lock but Bliss escaped. Alexa then locked in the Mandible Claw on Asuka but Randy Orton appeared with burns on his face. Randy then planted Alexa Bliss with the RKO to close the show.
Opinion: As ridiculous as it is, I’m am very entertained by the storyline with Orton, Bliss, and The Fiend. Alexa Bliss has simply been fantastic in this role and I thought she was going to win the title tonight. However, the majority of this week’s show was forgettable and it seemed like WWE was trying to stretch everything out to fill the three hours. The Gauntlet and Handicap matches were examples of that during tonight’s show. I’m hoping that Royal Rumble acts as a reset and RAW greatly improves as WWE builds towards WrestleMania.