Jan. 11, 2021 edition of Monday Night Raw saw some decent matches and deeper dives into the current storylines. So, let’s breakdown the action!
Lacey Evans def. Charlotte Flair:
Firstly, Flair is upset with Evans for her “Wooing” of Flair’s father “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. “The Queen” Charlotte Flair held the upper hand for most of this match. However, when “The Nature Boy” came to ringside the advantage flipped to Evens, The Queen hit her Natural Selection finisher. She covered Evens for what should have been the victory. As a result of Ric Flair placing Evan’s foot on the bottom rope, the match continued.
Many questions arose after Flair’s actions. Those same questions were answered as The Dirtiest Player in the Game tripped his own daughter, which provided the opportunity for Evans to pick up the victory. Evans and Ric Flair walked up the ramp together.
My Thoughts: It’s fun to see Ric Flair returning to “The Dirtiest Player in the Game”, but I just don’t see this storyline going on for very long. However, Evans and Flair work pretty well together in the ring, so we can expect a few more decent matches.
Jaxson Ryker def. Jeff Hardy, Jeff Hardy def. Elias
Ryker took Elias’ place, due to injury, against Hardy and consequently picked up a quick win with a roll-up and a handful of tights. As a result of that loss, Hardy called out Elias, giving way to the original match. Hardy claimed the victory with his Swanton Bomb finisher.
My Thoughts: Good to see Ryker in action again, although rust was showing, even is such a short match. Hardy can carry anyone in the ring, so it was a good start for Ryker.
Keith Lee & Sheamus def. The Miz & John Morrison:
The on-again, off-again partnership of Lee and Sheamus, started on a great note. Lee’s strength was on display, smashing Morrison in the corner with such force the turnbuckle exploded! The pain continued for Miz and Morrison as the match wore on. Finally, after another power move by Lee, Sheamus tagged himself in and sealed the victory with a Brogue Kick to Morrison.
Keith Lee def. Sheamus
The celebration between the two superstars was short-lived. As a result of the two starts to brawl in the ring, a match between the two mammoths began. The two traded huge shots for the majority of this match. In conclusion, Lee was able to use his power and secure the victory with his Spirit Bomb. After the match, Lee offered a fist bump to Sheamus to which he countered with a huge embrace.
My Thoughts: I have enjoyed watching these two huge men go at each other. For now, it seems they like each other or at least respect one another. That being said, with the Royal Rumble coming up, and both men are poised to be in it, who knows what will happen.
Furthermore, Miz and Morrison continue to show a slight bit of tension. Will it lead anywhere, probably not for a while. The tag-team’s spots seem to be a reminder that Miz still has the Money in the Bank briefcase. So, it should be fun to see how that plays out.
T-BAR def. Xavier Woods
New Day member Woods was on his own as Kofi Kingston was out with injury. Woods held his own in this match until a distraction from the rest of Reriburtion cost him the match.
My Thoughts: I really don’t know where WWE wants to go with Retribution. That being said, a feud with The New Day is coming soon. Could the New Day, Kingston, and Woods join Retribution? I really don’t see that happening, but who knows.
Bobby Lashley def. Riddle – United States Championship Match
Settling the controversial Riddle victory last week, Lashley left no doubt in this one going on the offensive before the opening bell. This lead to a quick finish with the Hurt Lock submission.
Riddle def. MVP by Disqualification
For the second time that night. The loser of a match called out the second person at ringside. Riddle called MVP back to the ring to settle the score. However, Lashley had the final say as he Speared Riddle causing the disqualification.
My thoughts: Lashley seems unstoppable right now as the United States Champion. In addition to having the backing of the Tag-Team Champions, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin, and the leadership of MVP, The All-Mighty Bobby Lashley, and The Hurt Business are a fraction to be reckoned with. However, there is a slight tension between Alexander and Benjamin, so we will see where that leads. I am curious which superstar will really give Lashley a challenge for his United States title.
AJ Styles def. Drew Gulak
Gulak attempted to enter his name in the Royal Rumble match but was countered by WWE official Adam Pearce. Pearce stated Gulak must earn his spot in the Rumble by defeating The Phenomenal AJ Styles, leading to a really good match. Both superstars worked well together.
Gulak was so close to securing the victory, causing Omos, AJ’s 7 ft 3in, 335lb protector, to get involved, leading to Styles hitting his Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope and thus stomping Gulak’s dreams of entering the Rumble.
My Thoughts: I don’t believe Styles needs a protector. However, allowing Omos to make the saves, does strengthen Styles as a heel. I don’t see WWE going anywhere with Omos for a while, and then it will probably be AJ turning on him for a mistake. AJ is one of my all-time favorites, so I am happy anytime he is on tv.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
Before the Match, Rose and Brooke declared themselves in the women’s Royal Rumble match. However, the match itself was very one-sided. Jax did most of the heavy lifting, leading to Baszler tagging herself in, submitting Rose with the Kirifuda Clutch, and picking up the victory.
My Thoughts: Baszler and Jax as a team got another win. However, the tension between the two builds. I see it coming to a head at the Royal Rumble, with Baszler eliminating Jax, causing this tension to become a heated rivalry.
Triple H and Randy Orton square off before Alexa Bliss’ throws a fireball finale
Earlier in the night, Orton challenged Triple H to a match. At first, Triple H stated there was nothing in it for him, so the answer was no. Orton then retorted that Triple H’s “balls” were in his wife’s purse and Stephine McMahon wasn’t there. Triple H accepted, and the match was set for the main event.
The two former allies stood toe to toe, trading massive blows, leading to Triple H retrieving his signature sledgehammer. As Triple H entered the ring with his weapon, the sledgehammer caught fire just as the lights went out! The music of the Firefly Funhouse filled the arena, giving way to Alexa Bliss inside the ring and throwing a fireball into the face of Orton. The show faded with Orton still writhing in pain.
My Thoughts: I have really enjoyed this game with The Fiend and Orton. Then adding Bliss into the mix is a bonus. It will be fun to see where WWE goes with this feud. I can’t wait to see how bad it gets.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre answers Goldberg’s Challenge
After mentioning his current situation, testing positive for COVID-19, leading to his being quarantined, The WWE Champ talked about respect. Then going on to state he would beat the respect into Goldberg at the Royal Rumble, therefore accepting the challenge. McIntyre then ended by vowing that Goldberg would be “Next”.
My Thoughts: I didn’t like how this feud began. Last week with the Legends present, it was obvious how McIntyre felt about each legend he met through the night. However, Goldberg came down after McIntyre’s victory, stating how the WWE Champ looked down his nose at the legends, blah, blah, blah. Then, challenging the Champ to a title match at Royal Rumble.
I felt McIntyre did well in answering the challenge, using a part of Goldberg’s “Who’s Next” against him. Part of me sees Goldberg winning at the Rumble because he has never held the WWE title. That being said, I can also see a quick victory by McIntyre leading to the two combatants shaking hands in the ring as a show of mutual respect. I am leaning more towards the latter.
Final Thoughts: Overall, Raw wasn’t a bad show. I still feel three hours is still way too much time to fill. The matches were decent. The final part with Bliss and Orton saved the show, in my opinion. That being said, I was entertained, and I can wait to see how some of the storylines play out.
*All stats by WWE.com