Drew McIntyre will address the WWE Universe!
Goldberg laid down the challenge before he pushed Drew McIntyre over, but McIntyre is no pushover! What will his response be on tonight’s Raw?
- Charlotte Flair VS Lacey Evans; Evans wins.
- Jeff Hardy VS
Elias w/ Jaxson RykerJaxson Ryker w/ Elias; Ryker wins.
- Jeff Hardy VS Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker (after all); Hardy wins.
- Sheamus & Keith Lee VS The Miz & John Morrison; Sheamus & Keith win.
- Keith Lee VS Sheamus; Keith wins.
- Xavier Woods VS T-Bar w/ Retribution; T-Bar wins.
- WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley w/ The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle; Lashley wins and retains the title.
- MVP w/ Bobby Lashley VS Matt Riddle; Riddle wins, by disqualification.
- Royal Rumble Qualifier Match: Drew Gulak VS AJ Styles w/ Omos; Styles wins, Gulak is NOT in the Men’s Royal Rumble match.
- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler VS Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose; Jax & Baszler win.
- Randy Orton “VS” Triple H.
PLAY BY PLAY
Triple H is here!
The Game returns to Monday Night Raw on short notice, but what is his business with the ThunderDome? HHH gets a mic as fans clap on their screens, and he says, “I still got it.” It’s been a long time since he’s said this, but “Welcome to Monday Night Raw!” And it’s a really difficult- But wait, here comes Randy Orton! The Viper grins as he goes to the ring with a mic of his own and says, “Look who it is! The Office decided to show up because McIntyre couldn’t.” Orton tells “Hunter” that there was supposed to be a big match tonight. HHH is aware, and he knows Orton knows it won’t happen now.
But with HHH here all prettied up and here in the ThunderDome, maybe he’s here to make an official ruling? What’s it going to be? Is it that Orton gets to be last in the Men’s Rumble? Or is HHH going to cut through the BS and just hand Orton the title? Well, HHH suggests that if Orton wants the title, he needs to win the Rumble. Wait, HHH is here, and the only reason must be for him to make a call. Orton wants to make sure it benefits him, so what is it? Is that where they are now? Cheap threats, flex on HHH, all of that? It’s been impressive watching Orton for the last year. HHH has seen “the old Randy Orton” step back in. HHH has watched it take place, in awe.
A lot of others criticized and didn’t understand, and thought Orton crossed lines. Not HHH. HHH sat and watched Orton contemplate what he was going to do with the match, watching it burn down, knowing that everything he wanted was on the other end of that match. He knew that The Fiend, the last thing between him and the championship, was burning away. HHH was never more proud of Orton than that moment because HHH would’ve done the same thing. Orton did it because of what Orton wanted, what benefitted Orton. But there are some other things HHH doesn’t understand.
HHH doesn’t understand Orton kicking legends in the head, threatening them and humiliating them in front of the world. Big Show, Mark Henry, HBK, Ric Flair… HHH doesn’t get why he’d do that when it doesn’t benefit him. The Fiend, yes. But Flair? A legend. No. But it took away all the admiration. Orton is not a legend, Orton is not what he thinks he is. It showed HHH that Randy Orton “is nothing but a no good prick!” Orton says HHH can call him what he wants, but Orton is in his prime and IS a legend in hi sown time, just like HHH. In fact, what does HHH say? Does he still have it? Is he still the Cerebral Assassin? Is he still The Game?
Because if he is, maybe Orton takes the legend of HHH out once and for all! It doesn’t need to be a match but a fight! They’ve known each other for over two DECADES, so maybe once more, they go toe to toe. Orton wants to fight, huh? Orton is smart enough to know that when someone wants you to do something, you don’t give them the satisfaction. There’s no benefit in this to HHH, so the answer is no. HHH goes to leave, but Orton asks if it isn’t about the benefit, but about Stephanie having HHH’s balls in her purse. That angers HHH, fans are waiting to see what happens, and HHH DECKS Orton!
Orton bails out and checks his face, but he also grins. The Viper has gotten under The Game’s skin yet again, and he figures that was a yes. Will HHH lace them back up for one night to have this fight?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.
Last week, Lacey Evans shamelessly flirted with her father, Ric Flair. Does she think- No, the word here is “Classless.” If you think Lacey is the first woman to hit on Ric Flair in front of Charlotte, you’re wrong. And she won’t be the last. But Lacey does have some payback coming for it. What about those heated words Charlotte had for Ric? Charlotte knows Ric knows it was a heat of the moment thing, but he raised her and knows how competitive she can be. But the real question is: It’s 2021 and Charlotte’s about to have a match, why is she asking her about her dad? Ric is home, so Charlotte is going to show Lacey how to be a real lady. Will the Queen make the Sassy Southern Belle bow down?
Raw hears from Drew McIntyre.
“How are you, WWE Universe? Now I wish I could’ve been there with you all tonight in the ThunderDome, but unfortunately, as you’ve probably heard already, I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Now I’m one of the fortunate ones with no symptoms, but I assure you, COVID should not be taken lightly. Don’t think you can’t catch it, because you can. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody, and the only way we’re going to be able to stop this thing is to work together.” Wear masks, social distance, and we’ll all see each other again soon.
Charlotte Flair VS Lacey Evans!
Before heading out, Lacey has a quick interview. She wants Charlotte to calm down, have some sweet tea and take a deep breath, then realize that last week, Lacey wasn’t flirting with anyone that didn’t want to be flirted with. Ric Flair may be Charlotte’s daddy, but he is also a “charming, handsome, powerful man’s man, and what lady wouldn’t want a bit of that sugar?” So tonight’s match is dedicated to The Nature Boy. Lacey blows a kiss to the camera for Ric then makes her entrance. Will Charlotte get her right in the kisser for that after the break?
Raw returns and the bell rings. Charlotte and Lacey circle, tie up, and go around. Charlotte puts Lacey in a corner, the ref counts and Charlotte gives Lacey a shove at 3. Lacey shrugs that off and circles with Charlotte. Lacey rushes in but Charlotte side steps her. They tie up again, Charlotte cradles, ONE! Lacey gets back to a corner to fix her hair, and then circles with Charlotte again. Charlotte calls for a test of strength but Lacey kicks low. Lacey headlocks and grinds but Charlotte powers out to run Lacey over! Lacey gets up and Charlotte eggs her own. They circle again, Charlotte blocks Lacey’s kick this time to elbow and CHOP her! And CHOP! And CHOP!
Charlotte CHOPS Lacey off her feet, brings her up to whip to a corner, then runs in to KNEE Lacey and snapmare her down! Cover, TWO! Charlotte eggs Lacey on as she puts on the figure four headscissors and just RAMS Lacey into the mat over and over! Charlotte squeezes tight but Lacey endures the figure four necklock. Lacey gets up, Charlotte throws her around in the headscissor then throws her away! Charlotte runs in, blocks a boot and ROCKS Lacey with a right! Charlotte puts the leg on the ropes to drop a knee on the knee! Lacey hobbles away, Charlotte trips Lacey and steps through, but Lacey slips away to the ropebreak! The ref counts, Charlotte lets go at 3, and Lacey bails out.
Wait, is that Ric’s music? He’s supposed to be at home, but he’s HERE! The Nature Boy styles, profiles and struts his way down the ramp. Charlotte is a bit confused and maybe a bit annoyed as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns again and Charlotte pushes Lacey around in a corner before she RAMS into her with a shoulder! And again! Charlotte goes after the leg but Lacey dodges to bump Charlotte off buckles! Lacey stomps Charlotte down, then hits the swinging bronco buster! Lacey pushes Charlotte out, grins and takes out her handkerchief to dab off the sweat. Lacey goes out after Charlotte but Charlotte kicks and ROCKS her! Charlotte whips Lacey but Lacey reverses to send Charlotte into barriers! Charlotte gets back in the ring but Lacey follows, and does the strut! Lacey drops a knee but misses as Charlotte moves! Charlotte scoops, Lacey slips out and throws Charlotte down!
Lacey drops forearms, wraps on a cobra clutch, but Charlotte endures. Charlotte fights up, fights out and back suplexes Lacey down! Charlotte seethes and gives a glare to Ric before she ROCKS Lacey! Lacey kicks and whips but Charlotte reverses. Charlotte runs in but Lacey dodges to roll up, but Charlotte slips out to BOOT Lacey down! Lacey flounders to ropes, Charlotte runs over but the boot gets hung up! Lacey YANKS Charlotte down, has her in a corner, and wraps the arm around ropes to stomp away on the shoulder! Charlotte BOOTS back, and BOOTS again, to then CLOBBER Lacey with a rally for clotheslines! Charlotte spins Lacey for a neckbreaker! Scoop and EXPLODER!
Charlotte kips up and fires up, and she runs in at Lacey! Lacey dodges, Charlotte puts her on the apron and ROCKS her again! Charlotte backs up to BOOT Lacey down! Lacey falls, Charlotte goes out after her. Charlotte puts Lacey in, climbs up top, but Lacey trips Charlotte up! But Charlotte counters the punch to a backbreaker and buckle shot! Lacey crawls away, but Charlotte hits the NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, but Ric puts Lacey’s foot on the ropes?!? Ric, what are you doing!?! Charlotte suspects him but he says he had nothing to do with it!
Lacey swings on Charlotte but Charlotte ducks it to put Lacey out! Charlotte tells Ric to go home, then she suplexes Lacey! Ric trips Charlotte?! And holds her foot down!? Lacey wins!!
Winner: Lacey Evans, by pinfall
Is Ric turning on his daughter?! For Lacey!? WHAT?! But in the end, Lacey just pinned the Grand Slam Queen again! Is this going to help Lacey and Peyton Royce contend for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships?
Backstage interview with Lacey Evans and Ric Flair!
What just happened out there?! Lacey says she’ll wait to change at the hotel. They head off, and it’s hard to be sure what’s going on. Is Ric trying to recapture his wheelin’, dealin’, kiss stealin’ youth?
Backstage interview with Keith Lee.
So close to achieving the dream of becoming WWE World Champion, how does he bounce back? Keith wants to compliment McIntyre but Sheamus interrupts. Is Sheamus going to rub this in his face? If so, don’t. Sheamus says as much as he loves kicking Keith when he’s down, that’s not this. Keith marched into Claymore Country and put on a hell of a fight. And he earned McIntyre’s respect. If Drew respects Keith, Sheamus respects Keith. But then John Morrison and The Miz have to come in and mockingly applaud the sportsmanship. Every heard of Millionaire’s Row? This right here is Loser’s Row. Well now that Miz ‘n’ Morrison are here, yes.
Oh are they being called losers? Because Miz is STILL Mr. Money in the Bank! “Which means… CHA-CHING!” Sheamus asks Keith if he’s ever seen Dumb & Dumber. Yes, but which is “Dumber?” Morrison says Miz is. Miz says he “hates” to interrupt, but unlike most who have given up on New Year’s Resolutions, they have NOT! They are fully committed to right the wrongs of 2020! And the next two wrongs are you two! So wait, Miz ‘n’ Morrison are challenging Sheamus and Keith to a fight? You can bet yer sorreh arse, they are! And just like the Cleveland Browns dethroned the Pittsburgh Steelers, they shall surprise and topple anyone who thinks they’re untouchable!
So for some reason, you think Sheamus and Keith are the smart place to start? Hey hey, ho ho, the harder- CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! Well, then, does anyone remember the last time Sheamus and Keith teamed up? What happened? Oh Sheamus Brogue’d Keith in the face! COOOOOOORRECT! See you later, fellas. They do have a point there, but Sheamus and Keith say this is the chance to bury the hatchet. Will they do that while burying boots in Miz ‘n’ Morrison’s faces?
Jeff Hardy VS Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker!
A rivalry that looked like it’d never die has come back from the grave! The Drifter says he has bad news and worse news for his opponent tonight. The bad news: Elias suffered a “debilitating injury while recording music this week. The worse news: his substitute for this match is Ryker! And Ryker will prove his allegiance to Elias and the Universal Truth! And that means going through Hardy! Elias’ music inspires, and Ryker is inspired to destroy! Will the Charismatic Enigma be able to handle the Drifter’s follower?
Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias!
The bell rings, Elias joins commentary and Ryker throws hands on Hardy! Ryker bumps Hardy off buckles, throws more hands, stomps, and even more hands! The ref counts, Ryker drags Hardy around to a fireman’s carry. Hardy slips out, dodges and Ryker runs into buckles! TWIST OF FURY! Hardy hurries to the corner but Elias distracts him! The “injury” doesn’t keep Elias from talking smack! Ryker rolls Hardy up and wins!!
Winner: Jaxson Ryker, by pinfall
Well that was definitely “inspired.” Hardy calls Elias out and dares him to get in the ring. Elias’ blisters aren’t the problem. The problem is that fans will see Ryker is better than Elias. Elias says he’ll accept, and tells Ryker to “not” get involved! Will Ryker do exactly what Elias told him “not” to do after the break?
Jeff Hardy VS Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker, for real!
Raw returns and Elias ROCKS Hardy with hands! Hardy hits back but Elias knees low then whips. Elias clobbers Hardy, covers, TWO! Elias looms over Hardy, drops a knee but misses as Hardy moves! Ryker coaches Elias up but Hardy counter punches! And again! And again! Hardy throws more haymakers, whips, and CLOBBERS Elias! Hardy atomic drops, trips Elis up and hits the leg splitting leg drop! Basement dropkick! Elbow drop! Cover, TWO! Hardy keeps his cool as he rallies up the fans. Fans clap on their screens, Hardy kicks but Elias pushes out of the Twist to fireman’s carry, DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, TWO!
Elias drags Hardy up, rams him to a corner, then rams his shoulder in! And throws body shots! The ref counts, Elias stops but then throws forearms! Elias hoists Hardy up top, Hardy hits back and then adjusts, but Elias drags him down! Elias runs in, Hardy dodges and goes up again, WHISPER IN THE WIND! Cover, ONE!! Hardy keeps his cool and he rallies the fans again. Elias stands, Hardy kicks but Elias shoves him and the spin kick away! Elias brings Hardy up but Hardy jawbreakers! But Elias still JUMPING KNEES! Elias hits ANARCHY SUPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Elias drags Hardy up and throws heavy EuroUppers!
Elias swings again but into a backslide, ONE! Kick and TWIST OF FATE! Hardy hurries to a corner, climbs up top, SWANTON BOMB! Cover, Hardy wins!
Winner: Jeff Hardy, by pinfall
Well, Hardy beat Elias, so maybe Ryker IS better than Elias! Elias asks why Ryker didn’t help, and Ryker says he was told not to. Elias tries to explain he didn’t mean it, but what’s done is done. Will Ryker learn to read between the lines of what Elias says?
Sheamus & Keith Lee VS The Miz & John Morrison!
It’s been very obvious The Celtic Warrior and Limitless One haven’t been on the same page, dating all the way back to the road to Survivor Series 2020. But because of their mutual friend, Drew McIntyre, and their common enemy in the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century *stare off into distance* these two are able to put things aside! Will they make the once-again Mr. MITB and the Guru of Greatness #BaskInHisGlory, Fella?!
The teams sort out and Sheamus starts against Morrison. They circle, tie up and Morrison waistlocks to get a headlock. Sheamus powers out, Morrison slides and comes back but into a drop toehold! Sheamus gets a facelock, rolls Morrison, covers, ONE! Sheamus keeps on Morrison with a wristlock, Morrison reaches back to slips around and get a leg. Morrison brings Sheamus down, then drags him back up but Sheamus trips Morrison and stomps him! Sheamus tags Keith and they work together, feed to a scoop to a knee drop! Cover, ONE! Keith has Morrison’s arm but Morrison ROCKS Keith with the other! Tag to Miz but Keith clobbers Miz!
Miz bails out, Keith then scoops Morrison and throws out ONTO Miz! Tag to Sheamus and Sheamus LEAPS to take Miz ‘n’ Morrison down! Sheamus puts Miz in, CLUBS him, then brings him around to a fireman’s carry. Tag to Keith, ROLLING SENTON, then Keith brings Miz back up to feed to the corner. Keith dares Morrison to tag in, and Morrison does, and Morrison fakes a test of strength to Eddy Gordo kick the leg! Morrison fires off more kicks, and a chop block! Keith drops to a knee, Morrison kicks the leg, but Keith HEADBUTTS back! Keith brings Morrison up to TOSS him across the way! And then he RAMS in, and breaks the buckle! Sheamus loves that and Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and the buckle is back in place. Keith is on Miz’s arm but Miz fights up. Keith wrenches and whips Miz into another corner, but this buckle stays put. Tag to Sheamus, they bring Miz up and whips him back to the corner. It stays put, Sheamus wrenches Miz but Miz fights back. Sheamus trips Miz, wants the legs, but Miz kicks him away so Sheamus DECKS Morrison! Miz kicks a leg out and hits a basement DDT! Cover, ONE!! Miz rains down angry fists, then drags Sheamus up to tag in Morrison. Morrison ROCKS Sheamus with big forearms, low knees, then backs off to come back with a KICK! Tag to Miz and they mug Sheamus with stomps!
The ref counts, Miz lets off, and Morrison gets a cheap shot in before Miz runs and BOOTS Sheamus! Miz drags Sheamus up but Sheamus powers towards Keith. Miz facelocks to keep him down but Sheamus still gets close! Keith reaches but Miz drags Sheamus away. Sheamus powers up to back drop Miz away! Miz and Sheamus crawl, hot tag to Morrison and he CLOBBERS Sheamus! Morrison drags Sheamus away, grapevines the leg then drops an elbow. Sheamus pushes Morrison away, but Morrison gator rolls Sheamus all the way to the other corner! Miz tags in, runs and BOOTS Sheamus down! Morrison adds the SHINING WIZARD! Cover, TWO!
Miz keeps Sheamus down with a facelock and knees! Sheamus fights up as fans rally on their screens. Sheamus powers up to push Miz away, but Miz BOOTS him again! Miz runs into an IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Both men are down, fans rally and the two crawl, hot tags to Morrison and Keith! Keith rallies on Morrison with big shoulder tackles! And one for Miz! A TOSS for Morrison! A TOSS for Miz! Keith roars and he starts up corner splashes back and forth! Keith tosses Morrison into Miz! Miz bails out, Keith whips Morrison, for a TOUR OF THE ISLANDS!? Cover, Miz breaks it! Keith GRIZZLY MAGNUMS then whips Miz out!
Keith goes to Morrison but Morrison PELES! Morrison springboards, FLYING CHUCK into GRIZZLY MAGNUM! Keith powers up but Sheamus tags in! This is the stuff from Survivor Series that got on Keith’s nerves, but Sheamus BROGUES Morrison! Cover, Sheamus and Keith win!
Winners: Keith Lee & Sheamus, by pinfall
Keith lets Sheamus have this one, since they won against the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century. They shake hands and pat each other on the back. Will these two become a force to be reckoned with now that they’re getting along?
Backstage interview with Triple H.
He has had time to consider Orton’s challenge, what is his real answer? “Obviously I came here tonight in a different capacity. I came here in a business capacity, as an official of WWE.” But in this world, things change at a drop of a hat and Orton has assured that tonight. So since Orton can’t seem to get it into his head that people like Ric Flair, Mark Henry and The Big Show should be respected, since Orton can’t understand that legends paved the way, Orton’s own father and grandfather paved the way for people like HHH and Orton! That is why Orton is calling HHH out. That is why Orton wants to see if HHH still has what it takes to be “The Game.”
HHH addresses Orton directly: YES! HHH would burn Orton every single time! “You want to fight me?!” Then on behalf of every legend that has ever come, HHH accepts!! Will The Viper be made to regret ever bringing back this Triple H?
Raw returns, and the jovial mood is gone!
Sheamus and Keith stopped patting each other and giving fist bumps, and now they’re shoving each other! They want after each other, the ref says fine, and we have a match?!
Keith Lee VS Sheamus!
SHeamus rushes Keith and they’re brawling fast and furious! Keith gives a knee then shoves Sheamus! Sheamus gets up, throws haymakers, and he has Keith in a corner! Sheamus throws body shots and haymakers but Keith dumps Sheamus to the apron! Sheamus hotshots back and brings Keitha round for the Bodhrain! Keith grabs the arm but Sheamus SLAPS him! Keith HEADBUTTS Sheamus then drags him back inside! “I thought you were a man, Sheamus!” Keith puts Sheamus on the ropes to CHOP away on his chest! Sheamus stays up but Keith GRIZZLY MAGNUMS!
Keith scowls, drags Sheamus up, scoops him but Sheamus slips out! Sheamus throws Keith out, runs and DROPKICKS Keith to the floor! Keith is right up, Sheamus is on the apron and leaps, into Keith’s arms! Keith BELLY2BELLY suplexes Sheamus into the timekeeper’s area! Keith leaves Sheamus behind but Sheamus gets into the ring at 9.5! Only for Keith to drop on him! Keith says Sheamus is tough, and then drags him back up. Keith whips Sheamus to a corner, runs in, but Sheamus dropkicks legs out! Sheamus drags Keith into the post and SLAMS the arm into it! And again! And again! Sheamus goes back in as Keith falls over, and he stomps away on Keith’s arm!
Sheamus clamps onto the arm, then fish hooks Keith’s face! The ref reprimands, Sheamus drops knees on the arm! Sheamus keeps Keith from scrambling away but Keith clasps hands to fight off the armlock. Sheamus keeps prying at the arm but Keith fights up and scowls. Keith shoves Sheamus away, runs in at the corner but Sheamus BOOTS the bad arm! Sheamus goes up the corner, but Keith runs in and HEADBUTTS back! Keith ROCKS Sheamus with his good arm, then climbs up! Keith and Sheamus fight up top, Keith brings Sheamus up but Sheamus throws knees! Sheamus knocks Keith down, adjusts, and leaps, FLYING CLOTHESLINE! BIG KNEE!! Cover, TWO!!
Sheamus is seeing how hard it was for McIntyre to put Keith away, but he keeps after the arm. Keith fights back up, still fighting off the armlock. Sheamus knees Keith in the back over and over, then drops to go after the arm. Keith fights off the armbar but Sheamus stomps away on Keith’s head! Keith keeps his grip, moves around and gets Sheamus in a dead lift! POWERBOMB! Keith is free, he drags Sheamus back up and in, for a SPIRIT BOMB!! Cover, Keith wins!
Winner: Keith Lee, by pinfall
The Limitless One conquers the Celtic Warrior, but he waits for Sheamus to stand back up. Keith offers that first bump again, Sheamus slaps it away, to HUG Keith! Maybe this was just how they were showing each other that respect! Will this just make their newfound friendship even stronger?
Raw again hears from Drew McIntyre.
“Putting my current condition aside, I’d like to respond to Bill Goldberg’s challenge last week. After being pushed to the absolute limit by Keith Lee, I stood and watched as legends who paved the way for me and every other WWE superstar stood on that stage.” They watched McIntyre defend the WWE Championship, and it was a literal dream scenario for him. But before he could properly thank them all, he was rudely interrupted by Goldberg’s knock on the door. McIntyre didn’t see Goldberg coming. One of the most devastating and destructive forces in wrestling history, and a personal favorite of his, actually.
McIntyre and his brother loved seeing who Goldberg was going to demolish week to week. McIntyre was a bit star struck, but as the saying goes, “Never meet your heroes because they will always let you down.” And McIntyre hates to say this, since he wants to like and respect Goldberg, but Goldberg let McIntyre down, and let down his own legacy. Goldberg was putting words in McIntyre’s mouth, and claimed it didn’t matter if McIntyre never said it because he claimed McIntyre was thinking. How could Goldberg know what McIntyre is thinking? Goldberg has McIntyre wrong. You give respect to get respect, that is what a WWE Champion does.
But Goldberg doesn’t know anything about that, now does he? “It is the most prestigious title there is, and it has eluded you your entire career.” So that’s why Goldberg is challenging McIntyre. McIntyre’s respect for Goldberg is keeping him from accepting this challenge. Goldberg is 20 years older than him. That’d be like Goldberg now facing Goldberg in his prime! Would Goldberg even take that fight? But then Goldberg changed McIntyre’s opinion when he shoved him. Maybe Goldberg is the one who needs a lesson in respect. And if that’s what Goldberg wants, he can try to get it at the Royal Rumble. Because now, McIntyre DOES accept the challenge. And in Goldberg’s own words, “You’re next!” Will McIntyre beat some respect into this Goldberg?
Matt Riddle is pumped!
He can’t wait for his match tonight, it will be absolutely incredible when he beats Bobby Lashley! It’ll be like going to your favorite pizza place, getting the fattest pizza with all the meats and cheeses, like goat cheese, buffalo cheese, parmesan, all that, and then you get the box home, open it up, take it all in and finally take a bite. Bro…! Y’know what he means? A little. Lucha House Party just figures he’s hungry. No, but yes. Riddle is using pizza as a metaphor for beating Lashley for the US Championship. Gran Metalik gets that. He and Lince Dorado wish Riddle luck tonight, because they can’t stand the Hurt Business. But watch your back, they fight dirty.
What? You can’t watch your own back, it’s just physically impossible! Riddle, it’s a saying. And you’ve got this. Good luck! Thanks, brochachos! Riddle tries to keep his head on a swivel, but will he at least keep an eye on the prize tonight?
Xavier Woods VS T-Bar w/ Retribution!
Kofi Kingston is home resting an injury, but the Power of Positivity will still hold it down! At least, Woods will try to as he faces the raging behemoth of Retribution! Will the numbers game come back to haunt the New Day?
Raw returns as Retribution makes their entrance. The bell rings, T-Bar and Woods circle and tie up. T-Bar headlocks, grinds Woods down, then taunts Woods with, “Where’s your friend?” Woods powers out but T-Bar runs him over! Mustafa Ali tells T-Bar to show Woods what they stand for! T-Bar grabs at Woods, Woods gets around to headlock back. T-Bar pulls hair and powers out to run Woods over! T-Bar drags Woods up to CLUB him to a corner! And then he throws in big elbows! T-Bar whips Woods corner to corner, Woods goes up but gets caught going over! Woods clubs free, shoves T-Bar and mule kicks! Woods throws hands but T-Bar shoves then CLOBBERS him! Retribution cheers as T-Bar covers, TWO!
Mustafa mocks Woods’ pain, saying it’s nothing to what they’ve felt. T-Bar drags Woods up, DECKS him with a right, then CLUBS him down! T-Bar digs a knee into Woods’ back and clamps on a chinlock. Woods endures as T-Bar thrashes him around and Mustafa talks trash on Woods having no one. The fans are on Woods’ side, though, as they clap on their screens. Woods fights up, and jawbreakers free! T-Bar shakes out the cobwebs and drags Woods up, but for another jawbreaker! Woods CHOPS T-Bar, but T-Bar knees low! Woods ends up in a corner but he boots back! And CHOPS again! And again! And again!
Woods fires off body shots and CHOPS, then whips, only for T-Bar to reverse. Woods slides under, mule kicks, but T-Bar blocks the front kick! T-Bar choke grips, shoves, but misses in the corner! He puts Woods on the apron but Woods enziguris back! Woods climbs, leaps, and missile dropkicks! T-Bar tumbles all the way out of the ring! Woods kips up, fires up and builds speed, to WRECK T-Bar with a dropkick! Woods gets T-Bar back in, throws a forearm, but has to kick at Mustafa and Mace as they creep closer. T-Bar hotshots Woods in the distraction! Mustafa tells T-bar to finish this, and he YANKS Woods into the rope again and again! Torture rack, FEAST YOUR EYES!! Cover, T-Bar wins!!
Winner: T-Bar, by pinfall
Retribution revels in the victory! Will they show all of Raw that no one can stop what’s coming?
Backstage interview of Randy Orton.
Sarah apologizes for disturbing him but she wanted his thoughts on HHH accepting his challenge. “Triple H and I, we go way back. He knows me better than anybody else.” In fact, early, early on, HHH knew Orton better than he knew himself. But times have changed and Orton has this newfound hatred and self-loathing. It is a very horrible thing, but because Orton embraces it, it is a good thing. Orton can direct that hate at someone else. That someone else could be HHH. Will Orton make The Game suffer for the Viper’s own failures?
WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley w/ The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle!
The Chief Hurt Officer and MVP got a little ahead of themselves last week, thinking the Bro was beat. It may have been a technicality of the ref not being in the right place at the right time, but surely they’ll have a better business plan tonight. Will the Rocky Mountain Machine be able to keep this title one of the Hurt Business’ assets?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this golden grudge match begins!
MVP talks trash and Lashley jumps Riddle before the bell! The ref backs Lashley off but this is the receipt for how Riddle went after Lashley last week! Lashley finally lets off, Riddle demands this match happen, and then Lashley CLOBBERS Riddle! Riddle gets up and NOW the bell rings, and Lashley throws more hands, then he throws Riddle! Riddle gets up but Lashley RAMS him in the corner! Lashley throws hands, the ref backs him off but Riddle comes back with hands! Lashley gets Riddle for the lifting Complete Shot to the outside! Riddle tumbles off the apron and Lashley goes out! MVP says this is Lashley giving Riddle the business!
Lashley drags Riddle up, aims but Riddle slips off to POST Lashley! The ring count is high, Riddle FINAL FLASHES Lashley back out! Then ASAI FLOATING BRO! Riddle gets Lashley up and in, ripcords but has to dodge as Lashley breaks free! Riddle springboards, but into Lashley’s arms! MILE HIGH SPINEBUSTER! Lashley stalks Riddle, and drags him up, HURT LOCK! Riddle kicks and flails like last week, but he can’t hide the tap out this time! Lashley wins!!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by submission (still WWE United States Champion)
Turnabout is fair play, and Lashley made sure he put Riddle away. But Riddle gets the mic to call out MVP! “You like to kick ’em while they’re down, huh? I couldn’t beat Bobby Lashley tonight, but I sure as hell can beat you!” MVP can’t believe Riddle wants after him, but he goes to the ring anyway. Riddle literally asked for this, but will he regret it?
MVP w/ Bobby Lashley VS Matt Riddle!
Raw returns and MVP is in Riddle’s face! MVP ROCKS Riddle, Riddle throws hands back! MVP hits a knee smash, then swaggers as he goes BALLIN’~! Elbow drop! Cover, TWO! Lashley is annoyed as Riddle brawls with MVP. MVP uppercuts but Riddle ROUNDHOUSES! Riddle runs in to forearm smash, then goes side to side to forearm again! MVP fights off the Brosploder but Riddle gets around, ripcords, FINAL FLASH! Riddle goes up top, but Lashley is there, so Riddle goes down to PENALTY KICK him! Riddle goes back up, and hits the FLOATING BRO! But Lashley SPEARS Riddle!!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by disqualification
Lashley rains down more fists on Riddle and digs his forearm into Riddle’s face! The Hurt Business will not let Riddle disrespect them! Lashley drags Riddle up to hit a COMPLETE SHOT! Lashley rubs the title belt in Riddle’s face, but Riddle keeps getting up. MVP KICKS Riddle in the side! And those are pointy business shoes, not wrestling boots! Riddle writhes, but will this only make him more determined to take that title from the Hurt Business at all costs?
AJ Styles talks with Adam Pearce backstage.
“Who’s gonna throw me over the top rope when I’ve got Omos beside me?” And by some stroke of luck, like a genie in a bottle that grants him a wish, Pearce better use that wish to be for Roman Reigns to slip on banana peels or something, because that is the only way he’ll become WWE Universal Champion. But hey, if that happens, these two can face each other for the title at WrestleMania! Pearce appreciates that idea, but the Rumble isn’t for a few more weeks and Pearce is busy as a WWE official.
Speaking of official, Drew Gulak appears to official declare for the Men’s Royal Rumble! Now ideally, he’d want to be #30 but- But Pearce says there are only 30 entrants allowed total, equally from both Raw and SmackDown, and those are “valuable real estate.” The window for self-declaring is over, Gulak can’t get in that way. Why not? AJ Styles just did. And Styles had his WWE Championship opportunity, and blew it. Gulak, do you know why Styles can just enter himself into the Rumble? Because AJ Styles is a two-time WWE Champion. What has Gulak done? Glad you asked. Gulak has a flash drive with his credentials on it, for Pearce’s eyes only.
No, here’s a better idea. Gulak wants in, he can earn a spot. Gulak will face AJ Styles, and that’ll be next. Styles smirks as he and Omos stare Gulak down. Will Gulak be able to enter the Rumble with this phenomenal roadblock in his way?
Royal Rumble Qualifier Match: Drew Gulak VS AJ Styles w/ Omos!
The bell rings and Styles and Gulak cancel out dropkicks! Styles gets up first to kick Gulak more, then he CHOPS and BACKBREAKERS! Gulak staggers, Styles whips but Gulak reverses to ROCK Styles! Gulak snap suplexes, covers, ONE! Gulak keeps on Styles with a scoop and FALL AWAY BRIDGE! Cover, TWO! Gulak TIGER DRIVERS! Cover, TWO!! Styles survives again as Gulak brings out a lot in his arsenal! But Gulak brings Styles up, hoists him up top, and climbs up, but Styles fights back. Gulak throws body shots, Styles slips out and clubs Gulak on the back! Styles Electric Chair lifts, but Gulak victory rolls! TWO, backslide, TWO! PELE!!
Styles finally breathes as he has Gulak down. Gulak gets up but Styles throws strikes for the Phenomenal Blitz! BASEMENT FOREARM! Gulak flounders, Styles runs in but Gulak boots! Styles grabs it and dumps Gulak out up and over, just like a Royal Rumble elimination! Omos looms over Gulak and just the size of Omos’ boot scares Gulak! Gulak looks up at the giant that stands before him and backs away slowly. Styles is on Gulak and bounces him off the announce desk! Styles puts Gulak in, springboards, PHENOMENAL FOREARM! Cover, Styles wins!
Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall
The Phenomenal One doesn’t know all the other entries, but we know someone who WON’T be in that match! Will Styles eliminate the other 29 men to once again be a contender?
WWE profiles the prolific career of Goldberg.
Unique intensity, raw, got in the ring and got the job done. An undefeated WCW World Heavyweight Champion and the crowd ate it up. Quick, intense, serious, both in and out of the ring, and absolutely iconic by the time he finally came to the WWE. Goldberg even defeated Brock Lesnar in his first match in 12 years to become a champion once again. The man, the myth, the legend, a Hall of Famer, but is he next to be WWE World Champion?
HHH is getting ready backstage.
Keith Lee checks in with him, and wants to have a talk. “I get it, Randy pushed some buttons.” Orton is testing legends, and he’s testing HHH’s. But ever since Keith go to the WWE, HHH was there for him. Now Keith will be there for HHH. Keith had a double header, he can make it three, because he’d love to get his hands on Orton. HHH appreciates that, but HHH has to do this. HHH made this mess, he’ll clean it up. Keith respects that, and says it’s time to play the game. HHH gets his leather jacket, but will it be game over against The Viper?
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler VS Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose!
The Irresistible Force and Queen of Spades want to be WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions again, almost as badly as The Flex Appeal and Golden Gift want to have those titles just once. But they have business to settle with each other, will Nia and Shayna shred the #SexyMuscleFriends into minced meat tonight?
Raw returns, the #SexyMuscleFriends make their entrance, and they both declare for the Women’s Rumble! They vow to toss the Queen of Spades out hard, but tonight is about this match. Mandy and Shayna start, tie up, and Shayna wrenches to then sweep the legs. Shayna toys with Mandy, gets the arm again, but Mandy rolls out of the stomp to kick Shayna away! Tag to Dana, Dana ducks a kick then blocks another to headlock! Shayna powers out and Nia tags in, to run Dana over! Nia looms over Dana, drags her up, and then TOSSES her! Dana gets to a corner, Nia runs in, and corner splashes! Nia throws Dana down to cover her, TWO!
Nia keeps on Dana with an armlock and then a cobra clutch. Nia thrashes Dana around, Dana endures as Mandy rallies for her. Dana fights up, throws elbows, then jawbreakers free! Nia staggers, Shayna tags in and grabs Dana to whip her away from Mandy. Dana reverses to send Shayna out, tag to Mandy! Mandy fires off on Shayna then rallies with lariats! And a FLAPJACK! Mandy fires up more and Shayna gets up, for Mandy to power her into a corner! Mandy rams in, fires off haymakers, then runs to hit a KNEE FROM A ROSE! Cover, Nia drags Mandy out and HEADBUTTS her down! Shayna tags Nia in and she puts Mandy back in.
Nia stalks Mandy, shoves her then fireman’s carries to a SAMOAN DROP! Cover, but Dana breaks it! Shayna gets Dana in a swinging BACKBREAKER! Dana ends up in a corner, Nia whips Mandy into her, then SPLASH SANDWICHES them! Nia climbs up but Shayna tags in to put Mandy in the KIRAFUDA KLUTCH! Mandy taps, Shayna and Nia win!
Winners: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, by submission
Nia is a bit confused but Shayna high fives her. These two are going for all the gold, but does that mean eventually going after each other? Only the Rumble will tell.
Randy Orton “VS” Triple H!
This isn’t so much a match as it is a sanctioned FIGHT! The Game returns to the ring first, and then waits on Orton. Orton makes his entrance, stares HHH down the entire time, and HHH is ready to strike the second Orton gets in the ring. Orton creeps up but then backs off as HHH steps up. Orton slides in and HHH DECKS him! Orton bails out again, HHH waits and Orton returns. HHH throws hands but Orton counter punches! Orton throws hands, stomps, HHH turns things around to throw more hands! HHH ROCKS Orton, whips him, but Orton kicks him out of the spinebuster! Orton drags HHH up for HARD EuroUppers then kicks him out of the ring.
Orton throws more EuroUppers, whips, but HHH reverses and sends Orton into steel steps! HHH staggers a bit, heads after Orton, and whips him into barriers! HHH drags Orton up, bumps him off the steel steps, but Orton thumbs HHH’s eye! Orton, blood on his cheek, bumps HHH off the announce desk. HHH fights off the back suplex, to give the back suplex to the desk! HHH has Orton’s cheek blood on his head but he doesn’t care. HHH puts Orton back in the ring, and goes under the ring to bring out… THE SLEDGEHAMMER! HHH’s favorite makes its own return to Raw!
HHH glares at Orton, brings the hammer into the ring, and Orton is wiping the blood from his cheek. But the lights start going down? This can’t be, can it? HHH just ignores it to get in the ring, but the lights keep shutting off! Orton and HHH both look around for “him,” but still nothing. HHH aims with the sledgehammer and Orton dares him to, but the hammer is on fire?!? The lights continue to go out so that only the fire lights the darkness. And then, even that goes away, as HHH is taken away?! Where did he go!? What is this purple light-
Firefly Fun House plays all warped, and ALEXA BLISS is back!! Orton stares at her, and she innocently stares back. Orton looks around but “he” still isn’t here yet. Alexa steps closer, and brings up the glove that says “Pain.” A FIREBALL ATTACK?!? Orton might be blinded by the flames that hit his face!! The Viper writhes but Alexa innocently walks away! Will Orton’s eyes be alright? Will he ever wrestle again!?
Given the circumstances of McIntyre recently testing positive for COVID, and apparently very little else planned for the episode, Raw managed to be a decent show tonight. McIntyre still had good promos to address both the challenge Goldberg made and his real life situation. Of course McIntyre accepts Goldberg’s challenge, and of course Raw filled time with a recap of the great title match last week, and a Goldberg vignette. The build wasn’t going to be much more than McIntyre talking and Goldberg responding anyway since the only physicality now would be at the Royal Rumble, so nothing much changed here I think. McIntyre will Claymore COVID to the curb and he will be just fine to have the five minute slug fest that is a Goldberg match.
We got some copy-and-paste with the format of a few matches tonight, because again, not much was planned. Hardy loses to Ryker because Elias distracts, only for Elias to accept Hardy’s challenge, despite the whole point being Elias “couldn’t” wrestle because of a bad thumb. And then Hardy wins because Hardy has already beaten Elias, and because Ryker couldn’t see through Elias’ sarcastic “don’t help me.” I feel like it should’ve just been a longer match of Hardy VS Ryker to see if Ryker can actually wrestle for a long period of time, and Elias still helps him cheat Hardy. Then the format was copied as Riddle challenges for the US Championship, loses fair and square, then calls out MVP, to win by disqualification. Couldn’t it have just been an even better title match?
The one use of the double header format that worked, oddly enough, was Keith and Sheamus teaming together to have a great match with Miz and Morrison, to then have a match with each other. The commercial break somewhat ruined the set-up to the second match, though. It was clearly meant to be the friendly back slapping gets aggressive and then we get that awesome match that was really just friendly competition taken to a higher level. I appreciate that Sheamus and Keith are putting things aside as mutual friends of McIntyre’s, and they can wait to have their feud with each other for when it’ll be a bit more surprising.
Woods had a good match with T-Bar, and I think commentary introduced the new name for Dijak’s finisher, “Eyes Wide Shut,” cuz of the movie having the scene with masks and Retribution likes wearing masks. I wonder if the New Day end up allies of Ricochet’s against Retribution. That’s not a bad combination, really, and could help Retribution get in on the Raw Tag Team Championship conversation. Styles VS Gulak was a good match, but Styles was winning that, even without the stakes. And I do like the detail that someone accomplished can declare as a Rumble entrant but others must earn it. That really should be how it’s handled explicitly, not just implicitly. Though that probably goes out the window when you consider #SexyMuscleFriends declaring because they want to.
Speaking of, that was a good match of Mandy & Dana against Shayna & Nia, and it was a good detail for Shayna to want the win all to herself. She wants to be the alpha female, and that could complicate her teamwork with Nia. Charlotte VS Lacey and then Ric Flair “surprisingly” showing up was a good segment. The match itself felt a bit clunky, maybe Charlotte and Lacey still need time to mesh as opponents again. Ric turning on Charlotte and joining Lacey is an actually surprising move, and I fear what is coming considering Vince is more involved with Raw than any other brand. It’s a bit obvious the first part is Ric is attracted to Lacey and Lacey is attracted to Ric, but I’m really hoping it’s all so Lacey can get in Charlotte’s head with the tag titles as the goal.
And though the story of Randy Orton and The Fiend isn’t quite Roman Reigns levels, it is getting very good. HHH being here to reference history with Orton really worked to make up for not having McIntyre here. The promos were great, as was Keith Lee offering HHH his help, and the brawl we got was pretty good. The hammer showing up was a natural move, and it was brilliant to have it “mysteriously” catch on fire. We didn’t get The Fiend himself yet, but Alexa is clearly growing more powerful in his absence. Throwing a fireball at Orton was a great touch, too, and this is great escalation towards what has to be the next Firefly Fun House match. Orton’s eyes can even be used as to why Orton has to stay out of the Rumble and away until we’re closer to WrestleMania.
My Score: 8.1/10