Monday Night Raw
Date: January 25, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe, Michael Cole
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and the big draw this week is the double return of Drew McIntyre and Goldberg. I’m not sure how much of an appeal that is supposed to have but WWE certainly sees something in it. Also we get a rematch from last week with Asuka defending the Women’s Title against Alexa Bliss, because WWE doesn’t like waiting on much. Let’s get to it.
Here is Drew McIntyre to get things going. Drew is rather emotional to be back here and thanks everyone who sent him well wishes. The virus is a horrible thing but we are going to get through it together. Speaking of things we will get through, this Sunday it is going to be Drew McIntyre vs. Bill Goldberg for the WWE Title. Goldberg was 173-0 in WCW and ran through the Rock like he was nothing….and then he disappeared.
The last thing to go in a heavyweight fighter is his power but Goldberg has started a new streak. Every champion he has challenged since returning to WWE has gone down but on Sunday, Drew is ending the streak. Cue Miz and John Morrison to mock the idea of King Kong vs. Godzilla on Sunday because one of them could wind up injured after the match. That opens a door for a Money in the Bank cash-in because whoever wins is going to be a sitting duck.
Miz promises to win the title but here’s Goldberg to cut them off. Goldberg: “You, me, Sunday, you’re next.” The staredown is on so Miz and Morrison make some jokes from the apron, earning themselves a double beatdown, with Miz taking the spear and Morrison getting Claymored. Another staredown ensues as I beg of WWE to end the Miz thing on Sunday because it is managing to hurt a story that had almost nothing going for it in the first place.
Charlotte says she knows how to perform well under pressure. Tonight she wants Shayna Baszler to bring her invisible crown because it’s one thing to pretend to be a queen and another to actually be one. On Sunday, she is entering the Royal Rumble and defending the Tag Team Titles. As for Lacey Evans and Ric Flair, she has seen her father in some dark places before but this might be the darkest. She’ll be ready though, because she is Ms. Wrestlemania.
Charlotte vs. Shayna Baszler
Nia Jax is here with Shayna Baszler but Asuka isn’t here because she and Charlotte are the most worthless Tag Team Champions in the history of the title. Charlotte starts fast by kicking Baszler down and hitting a baseball slide on Jax. The Figure Eight goes on in a hurry but Jax comes in for the DQ at 56 seconds. Good, as there is no reason to burn off Charlotte vs. Baszler in a real match here.
Post match the beatdown is on with Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke coming in for the failed save. Lacey Evans is in as well and the six woman is ready for after the break.
Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke/Charlotte vs. Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax/Lacey Evans
Mandy and Lacey exchange wristlocks to start before it’s off to Dana to knock Lacey down again. Shayna and Charlotte come in with Shayna kicking away at the leg. That’s enough to send Charlotte over for another tag to Mandy, who takes Baszler into the corner. The alternating beatdown is on with Charlotte kneeing Baszler outside. Charlotte stops to glare at Nia and Lacey but gets rammed into the apron. Shayna throws her back inside….and doesn’t beat the count at 4:44. Everyone seems confused and I can’t imagine that was the planned finish because it just ended out of nowhere.
And never mind as we come back from a break with the match continuing thanks to a decision made by Adam Pearce during the break. Jax runs Brooke over with a clothesline and taking her into the corner. Shayna does the stomp down onto Dana’s arm but Dana gets over for the tag to Mandy anyway. Everything breaks down and Charlotte chases Lacey over the barricade as Dana gets the tag again. Nia misses a charge into the post and Dana gets two off a running flip neckbreaker. A powerbomb into a chokeslam plants Dana again and the legdrop finishes for Nia at 14:05 (counting the break).
Rating: D+. Again. They did it again. One more time, Nia and Shayna beat Dana and Mandy because that’s all these four know how to do. The law of diminishing returns has been in effect for months with these teams but here we are again. Speaking of again, Charlotte and Asuka still might as well not be a team, so hopefully they lose the titles on Sunday and end this worthless idea.
We look at Mace beating Xavier Woods last week.
Mustafa Ali loved what he saw and is ready to destroy Kofi Kingston.
Earlier today, Ali talked about coming after Kofi because he had the greatest moment in his life after Ali had the worst moment of his life.
Xavier Woods vs. Slapjack
Woods charges at him to start but gets kneed down for his efforts. Slapjack bangs up his knee on a missed double stomp though and Woods strikes away. Woods nails a running knee to finish Slapjack for the pin at 2:49.
Post match Retribution beats Woods down, with Ali grabbing a chair. Instead he sits down in it though and says for someone who acts like a king, Woods looks like a peasant right now. Ali has heard that Kofi won’t be competing in the Royal Rumble, but don’t worry because he’ll take Kofi’s place.
Riddle is on his way to the ring when he runs into R-Truth, who has heard about a birthday party. Truth thinks it is for him because it was his birthday last week and they might have 24 karat gold carrots for him. Goat noises are shared.
It’s time for the talk show before a match involving the people in the talk show, this time featuring the Hurt Business in the VIP Lounge. MVP is ready to own the Royal Rumble and tells Cedric Alexander to focus on the task at hand tonight. Bobby Lashley talks about how the team is draped in gold (and silver) and they are just beginning. They have a present for MVP in the form of a THB chain. MVP is rather impressed but Cedric and Shelton argue over the design.
Cue R-Truth to ask about the surprise party, because THB must mean Truth Happy Birthday. Shelton: “Truth, now is not the time.” Truth: “Is it a dance break?” Lashley apologizes for forgetting his birthday last week but he has a gift inside the ring. Here comes the Menagerie of Numskulls to go after the title, with the Hurt Business getting involved. MVP isn’t impressed, but here’s Riddle with the Final Flash to knock him silly. It takes talent to squeeze in two stupid ideas into one segment so well done.
Edge is back tonight. Works for me.
R-Truth asks Adam Pearce if he can enter the Money in the Bank match. AJ Styles and Omos come up with AJ offering his services in a qualifying match. Styles says he’s benevolent, so Truth says he’s a capricorn. Pearce says if Truth can beat AJ, he’ll consider a Rumble spot. Truth things Omos is a taurus, like the one he had that broke down one time. Confused Truth is still one of my favorite things in WWE.
We look back at the opening segment.
Sheamus vs. John Morrison
Both are officially in the Rumble and Miz is in Morrison’s corner. Morrison takes him down with a headlock to start but Sheamus is back up with a hammerlock. The chinlock keeps Morrison down until he fights up, only to get backdropped right back down. Morrison gets in a shot to the throat and break dances over for a kick to the back. Sheamus pops up and grabs the Irish Curse for two before heading to the top.
The top rope clothesline is dropkicked out of the air with a shot to the knee, setting up a running knee to put Sheamus on the apron. Back in and Morrison works on the leg with a leg crank and an elbow to the knee. Sheamus uses the good leg to kick his way to freedom, setting up a release Rock Bottom for two more. The Cloverleaf is blocked and it’s a knee to the face to set up White Noise to finish Morrison at 9:33.
Rating: C. As usual, this worked out well and I’m not surprised by this. They’re always good together and that was on display again. It’s a little weird to have the heel as the speed and the face as the power, but they kept Miz to a minimum and let the guys do their thing, which is exactly the right idea.
Post match Miz wants a handicap match so that’s on as well, as we now have a third Miz and Morrison segment in the first two hours.
Miz/John Morrison vs. Sheamus
No tags here as Morrison takes out Sheamus’ knee to start so Miz can get a DDT for two. An enziguri into a clothesline puts Sheamus on the floor, with Morrison nailing a nice dive. Sheamus gets sent hard into the barricade for some running shots to the head. Back in and Miz stomps Sheamus down in the corner but Sheamus manages to send Morrison outside.
A running clothesline drops Miz and there’s a powerslam to the returning Morrison. Sheamus Regal Rolls Miz onto Morrison and then sends them outside for the double top rope clothesline. Morrison breaks up the Brogue Kick back inside but Sheamus shrugs off the Skull Crushing Finale. The Brogue Kick drops Morrison but it’s the Skull Crushing Finale to finish Sheamus at 6:49.
Rating: C+. I liked this more than I thought I would have, and as much as I want to put Miz into that briefcase and send him to the planet Flaflooga, Sheamus got into the zone that he rarely reaches anymore and that’s a good thing. He really can do the power thing well and Miz and Morrison work well together in spots like this. Sheamus and Morrison have some very good chemistry together as well so I’m not sure why I’m surprised I had a good time here.
Ric Flair and Lacey Evans grapple a bit when Charlotte comes in. Lacey leaves and Flair says he’s doing what he wants to do. Charlotte says he spent his money on everyone but his family but this isn’t cute anymore. Flair is going from legend to old man and she isn’t the bad guy. Ric glares at her as Lacey comes back in and hits her with the Woman’s Right. Lacey asks Flair to explain the WOO as they leave Charlotte laying.
AJ Styles vs. R-Truth
Non-title. Feeling out process to start with Truth sending him over the top but getting caught in a staredown with Styles. Back in and AJ misses the Phenomenal Forearm, allowing Truth to start up the John Cena finishing sequence. There’s the Shuffle but the AA is countered into the Calf Crusher for the tap at 2:35.
We look back at Randy Orton being all masked and creepy. I think this is just airing the same segment from last week.
And now, Alexa’s Playground with Bliss reciting Mary Mary Quite Contrary. She loves what she and Fiend did to Randy Orton two weeks ago and looks at a video of last week’s promo (which we just saw). Bliss thinks he looks better now and says that she just wanted to have some fun with Asuka in her playground. Now we look at Bliss watching herself and Asuka from last week (after watching her talk on the big screens in the Thunderdome). Bliss throws in some Ring Around The Rosey and her face turns into the Fiend for the LET ME IN. Total time spent on watching recaps: seven minutes.
Riddle vs. Hurt Business
Gauntlet match and if Riddle wins, he gets a title shot at Lashley. Shelton Benjamin starts things off and counters a kick into a spinebuster for two. The chinlock goes on and Shelton adds a knee but gets pulled into a guillotine. Shelton tries to muscle him into a suplex so Riddle knees him in the head. A rollup should have Riddle pinned but Cedric Alexander gets on the apron. Shelton yells at Alexander and gets rolled up for the pin at 4:48. MVP is in next and, as he yells at Shelton and Alexander for arguing, gets pulled into a kneebar for the tap at 5:24. Cedric is in last and we take a break.
Back with Cedric putting a knee in Riddle’s back and cranking on the arm. Riddle fights up so Cedric hits a heck of a dropkick for two. The abdominal stretch goes on but Riddle reverses into a suplex, which is countered into a DDT. Back up and Riddle kicks him in the head to start the real comeback.
A t-bone suplex sends Alexander flying but he gets the knees up to block the Broton. Riddle grabs a German suplex to put Alexander down again, only to get pulled into a brainbuster for two more. A quick triangle choke is countered into a powerbomb but Riddle hangs onto the choke. Back up and Riddle grabs a rollup for the pin at 12:24.
Rating: C. Riddle vs. Shelton and MVP were about as nothing as you could get but Alexander had a good match. That being said, the whole Hurt Business in-fighting stuff is still one of the worst things going on around here as of late. It isn’t that surprising though, as the team is good, polished and feel like a threat so they must be stamped out.
Post match Lashley comes out to give Riddle the Hurt Lock to leave him laying.
The WWE Network is moving to Peacock. If it doesn’t increase the price and you get the same things, I’m good with it.
We look at the opening sequence again.
Edge joins us for the first time in several months to talk about how you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Ten years ago, he went to Wrestlemania XXVII and left as champion. Then he lost everything because of his neck and took nine years to get back. He remembers telling his mom that he wanted to be a wrestler and she told him you have to go do it.
With that in mind, he is entering the Royal Rumble. He doesn’t have much time left so he is going to fight with everything he has to make this far fetched dream come true. If you have been with him on this ride until now, you have to try. A world without dreamers and fighters is a much less magical place. He quotes Henry Ford, who said if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. Edge thinks he can, and he’ll see us at the Royal Rumble.
Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss
Bliss is challenging in a rematch from last week. Asuka takes her down into an armbar to start but misses the hip attack. Bliss kicks her to the floor….and then gets on the rocking horse that appears in the ring. Back from a break with Bliss fighting out of a chinlock and getting kicked in the face. Asuka hits another kick in the corner but Bliss’ old music starts playing and now she has her regular gear on (and longer hair).
Bliss sends Asuka face first into the corner and then the lights go out, with Bliss going into the other corner. She does Bray Wyatt’s lean backwards and becomes Fiend Bliss. Asuka’s knee to the face just annoys Bliss and the Asuka Lock but Bliss powers out of it. The Mandible Claw goes on but here’s Randy Orton with red makeup because this company doesn’t know how burns work either for an RKO to Bliss and the no contest at 12:33.
Rating: F. I like Randy Orton, I like Alexa Bliss and I like Asuka. If you put all three of those people into a match and angle, I should like the product. Instead, this was like an eight year old on a sugar rush saying “And then this happens and then this happens but it doesn’t count and then this happens and then the show is over.” They had part of a match and then it was something about a horse and a goddess walking into an RKO. I would say I probably got some of the details wrong in there, but I don’t think there were any details involved in the first place.
Overall Rating: D. And yet, somehow it’s better than last week’s show. This show was going along somewhat nicely and then went FLYING off the rails in the end, with one dumb idea after another. Maybe it’s all the time that they have to fill, but the more I think about it, the more worried I am that this is really what they think is the best use of Raw every week. Between the wrestlers working multiple times, the people watching promos from last week and people doing completely stupid things just because the script calls for it, this was another shining example of how bad Raw can be and that’s a scary thought going forward.
Charlotte b. Shayna Baszler via DQ when Nia Jax interfered
Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler/Lacey Evans b. Charlotte/Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke – Legdrop to Brooke
Xavier Woods b. Slapjack – Knee to the face
Sheamus b. John Morrison – White Noise
Miz/John Morrison b. Sheamus – Skull Crushing Finale
AJ Styles b. R-Truth – Calf Crusher
Riddle b. Hurt Business – Rollup to Alexander
Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss went to a no contest
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