Monday Night Raw
Date: February 8, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
It’s time to start setting things up for Elimination Chamber, as we have less than two weeks before the show and WWE has barely acknowledged the thing yet. Hopefully we actually get something set up tonight, but at this point I’m not sure what that is going to be. I can’t imagine it’s a World Title match inside the Chamber, as Sheamus would seem to be the best option for Drew McIntyre’s challenger at the show. Let’s get to it.
In Memory of Butch Reed.
We open with a clip of Sheamus turning on Drew McIntyre last week.
Here’s Adam Pearce in the ring for a big surprise, so he brings out Shane McMahon. After the canned Shane chants die down, Shane gets to the point: Drew McIntyre will defend the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber against Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, The Miz and Sheamus. Shane praises Pearce’s efforts of late and leaves, running into AJ Styles and Omos on the way to the ring. AJ thinks Pearce is doing a phenomenal job, which is a surprise as he always thought Pearce was kind of a dumba**. Anyway, time for an Elimination Chamber preview.
Actually that will be after Drew McIntyre comes up to Shane McMahon as he leaves. Drew would have appreciated a heads up and thought it would be Sheamus getting the shot on his own. Shane says that match can take place later, because nothing is bigger than Drew inside the Chamber. Shane leaves and Drew shakes his head a bit.
AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy
Feeling out process to start with AJ backing him into the corner and then whipping him into the corner to make it worse. A backdrop gives Hardy two but his knee gives out, meaning it’s time to roll outside. AJ isn’t letting that go though and nails a chop block on the knee. A knee crusher and a ram into the steps have Hardy in more trouble as we take a break.
Back with AJ working on the knee again and grabbing the Calf Crusher. That’s broken up so AJ heads up top, only to get crotched back down in a hurry. The Twist of Fate connects but the Swanton hits mat. The Calf Crusher goes on again in the middle of the ring and Hardy has to tap at 14:33.
Rating: C+. They had time and AJ got to break Hardy down to get the win. That’s all you need to do here and it makes a lot of sense to have two people involved in an elimination match goat it like this. It’s certainly more logical than the Money in the Bank season, as it’s like they’re doing something that connects to the match for a change.
We look at Bobby Lashley beating up Riddle after last week’s title match.
Riddle, with a black eye, comes up to Keith Lee. Yeah he was banged up last week but he got all toasty and watched all the Air Bud movies (including Spikes Back) and now he’s good to go. Riddle is ready to continue fighting for the title but Lee says he’ll win. That sounds like a challenge to Riddle and Lee glares a bit.
Sheamus yells at Adam Pearce for taking his one on one title match and turning it into an Elimination Chamber match. He accuses Pearce of protecting McIntyre and promises to unleash brutality inside the Chamber.
New Day vs. Retribution
T-Bar and Slapjack for Retribution with Mustafa Ali on commentary. Woods headlocks Slapjack down to start so it’s off to T-Bar, who runs Kofi over. Kofi hits him in the face a few times to no avail and Kofi looks scared. T-Bar jumps over him in the corner and then blocks a sunset flip attempt. A faceplant puts Kofi down again so it’s off to Woods, who low bridges T-Bar to the floor. Kofi hits the big dive and some tromboning takes us to a break.
Back with Slapjack kneeing Woods down and slapping on a chinlock. Slapjack runs him over for two so Ali shouts up at Retribution about ending them. A rollup gives Woods two but the kickout sends Kofi over for a tag off to Kofi so the pace can pick up. Trouble in Paradise knocks T-Bar off the apron and Slapjack (Ali: “YOU IDIOT!”) runs into a kick to the face. Daybreak finishes Slapjack at 10:38.
Rating: C-. Pretty run of the mill tag match here and while it’s not like there is any shame in losing to a team as good as the New Day, it continues to astound me how badly WWE has handled Retribution. They got a few wins here and there but now we’re right back where we were at the start. That being said, Ali vs. Kofi should be great, mainly because it might actually have a point and some logic to the whole thing.
Damien Priest will have Bad Bunny in his corner tonight against Angel Garza.
Here are Ric Flair and Lacey Evans for a face to face meeting with Charlotte. Before Charlotte comes to the ring, Ric (whose face looks rather weird for some reason) rants about how he never takes orders from a woman, including Charlotte. He isn’t staying home though and now he needs someone to be exactly what he’s looking for. That means a woman who has the looks and athletic ability, but just needs a little guidance and wisdom.
Lacey says people don’t get what is going on between them and says she respects Flair, unlike Charlotte. Lacey would never talk to her father like that but she’s the bad one in all of this? Cue Charlotte to say if Lacey wanted to get better, she should have trained in the Performance Center. Instead though, she’s trying to use Ric and Charlotte to become a star.
Charlotte has been trying to protect Ric’s legacy for seven years because she sees him for how he really looks. She doesn’t mind Lacey being a star but they aren’t taking her down. Ric suggests they be a tag team but Charlotte says she already has a partner in Asuka. Lacey says if she beats Charlotte, she’s the new #1 contender. Charlotte says let’s do this now so Lacey knocks her to the floor. A whip into the steps has Charlotte in trouble and we take a break.
After we see Miz and John Morrison telling Angel Garza that they’ll take care of Bad Bunny, we’re ready to go.
Lacey Evans vs. Charlotte
Charlotte it sent to the apron to start and slingshots back in with a rollup for two. A dropkick puts Lacey on the apron for some coaching from Ric and she trips Charlotte down. The slingshot elbow gets two on Charlotte and it’s time to start working on the arm. Charlotte’s good arm clotheslines Lacey down but it’s way too early for the Figure Eight. More arm cranking has Charlotte in some more trouble but she nips up and gets in Lacey’s face a few times in a row.
Charlotte sends her outside though and hits the strut but Flair puts himself between them to break up a dive. Lacey gets in another trip to send Charlotte into the apron and we take a break. Back with Lacey working on the arm some more with both the cranking and a hammerlock (because she is smart enough to mix up the arm work). A big crank on the arm gets two but the double springboard moonsault hits raised knees, banging up Lacey’s knee in the process.
Charlotte chops her down and then into the corner, where they completely mistime something, with Charlotte charging at her, stopping, and then getting slapped. Charlotte kicks her to the floor but yells at flair, allowing Lacey to get in another arm twist to take over again. Back in and Charlotte hits the spear, yells at Flair, and unloads in the corner. Charlotte shoves the referee away and that’s a DQ at 10:33.
Rating: C. Lacey’s timing wasn’t great here, which probably has something to do with her not exactly wrestling all that often as of late. At the same time, of course this is all about Charlotte vs. Ric, because why would it be used to focus on anyone but them? There was nothing here to suggest that Lacey was going to get a big rub out of the whole thing and that doesn’t exactly bode well for the future.
Post match Flair breaks it up and gets in Charlotte’s face. Charlotte says this is all hers and glares at Ric before leaving.
Here’s Edge to talk about what a big week he just finished. He went to all three shows last week to get a lay of the land but now he isn’t sure what to do about the WWE Title, because it is going to be defend inside the Elimination Chamber. Edge respects Drew McIntyre, but he isn’t sure if he likes Drew’s odds.
Cue Miz, John Morrison and Angel Garza to say Edge has always been someone to rely on strategy. Miz talks about how Edge can pick any title he wants because Miz will cash in at Wrestlemania and leave as champion. Edge knows about cashing in the briefcase and knows that he’ll need eyes in the back of his head. So why is Miz telling him what he is going to be doing? Edge did the AWESOME thing twenty years ago and now he needs to see this story through by becoming World Champion again. Edge was good here and sold the story they’re trying to tell really well.
Damien Priest vs. Angel Garza
Bad Bunny is here to cancel out Miz and Morrison. Priest shoves him around to start and nails the spinwheel kick. Garza sends him throat first into the rope though and thanks to a quick distraction, is able to tie up Priest’s legs. Some kicks to the face and a clothesline drop Garza again though and it’s the running elbow in the corner. Garza, who has TAKEN OFF HIS PANTS somewhere in there, manages a clothesline to the floor and the stomping is on. Bunny uses the distraction to grab the briefcase and distract Morrison, who chases him into the ring. That’s enough for a double ejection and Priest finishes with the Reckoning at 3:45.
Rating: D+. The match was surrounded by various shenanigans, but what matters here is Priest feels like a star. He’s a big guy who can move in the ring and the rock star feeling to him works rather well. The Bad Bunny stuff is helping as well and it’s great to see a celebrity enhancing someone like this.
Drew McIntyre says he knows the challenges are coming in Wrestlemania season but if Sheamus wanted a title shot, all he had to do was ask and save their 20 year friendship. McIntyre talks about all of the challengers inside the Elimination Chamber, plus Miz has the briefcase and Edge is looking around. Anyone who wants to come after him can come at him though, because he will rip their face off.
Asuka will defend against Lacey Evans at Elimination Chamber.
Bianca Belair talks about how her Royal Rumble honeymoon is over but now it is time to see who she is going to face. It could be anyone but she isn’t going to show her cards yet. Asuka comes in to congratulate her on the win but reminds Belair that she isn’t ready for Asuka yet. Belair disagrees, but says she knows Lacey Evans isn’t ready for Asuka. Dancing ensues and Belair says Asuka needs to take care of Evans at Elimination Chamber because she might be waiting on Asuka the next night.
Riddle vs. Keith Lee
MVP is on commentary and brought the US Title with him. Riddle goes for the arm to start but Lee powers him up for the easy block. With that not working, Riddle tries a rear naked choke but gets thrown down with more power. Riddle kicks away in the corner but gets Pounced down in the big crash. Lee whips him hard into the corner, shrugs off some strikes to the face, and clotheslines Riddle down. The Spirit Bomb is broken up so Riddle goes to the middle rope for a spinning kick to the face.
That’s good for one so Riddle is stunned, though he manages to kick Lee down again. The Floating Bro gets two and Riddle can’t believe it. Riddle strikes away some more but the Final Flash is countered into another failed Spirit Bomb attempt. This one is reversed into a triangle choke but Lee powers out of that as well. With nothing else working, Lee tries another Final Flash but gets countered into the Spirit Bomb to give Lee the pin at 7:51.
Rating: C+. This worked well because they clearly knock each other and how to work together. I like Lee getting a win over…well anyone really and it wouldn’t shock me to see these two, plus maybe three other challengers, put inside the Chamber as well. All of those possible combinations are interesting and that’s a nice place to be.
Post match respect is shown but here’s Bobby Lashley to run them over and hit the spinebuster on Lee. Riddle gets caught in the Hurt Lock again to leave him laying. With Riddle down, Lee is knocked to the floor and the steps off the head send him over the announcers’ table.
Video on Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton.
Orton talks about how he and McIntyre have unfinished business. They face off tonight and then he gets to take McIntyre’s title at the Elimination Chamber. Destiny will come calling once again and he’ll be heading to Wrestlemania as champion.
Nia Jax vs. Lana
Tables match with Shayna Baszler and Naomi at ringside. After a look back at Lana’s table issues at Nia’s hands, it’s a pair of powerbombs to set up an early Stretch Muffler. Lana gets swung face first into the buckle and Lana is mostly done. The trash talk is on, though Nia manages to miss an elbow that Lana had started rolling away from before Jax dropped.
Lana is fired up so Nia runs her over with a shoulder. Some right hands get Lana out of enough trouble to hurricanrana Nia to the apron, setting up some kicks to the head. Nia headbutts her down but misses a legdrop on the apron. Lana uses the breather to shove Nia through a standing table for the win at 4:36.
Rating: D. Of course the match wasn’t very good and was mainly a squash but at least we got the match that these two should have had months ago. The win doesn’t make up for everything they did but points for trying to give someone new a win for a change. I can go with giving us a bit of closure, but that’s what it needs to be here rather than another step. Also, points for a somewhat creative ending.
Post match Shayna jumps Lana but Naomi kicks her in the face. You know what that means.
Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler
Baszler kicks her down to start and goes after the arm, only to have Naomi hit some dropkicks. That isn’t going to last as Shayna takes her down and slaps on a quick Kirifuda Clutch. Naomi makes it over to the rope for the break so Baszler goes to beat up Lana. That’s enough of a distraction for Naomi though and she small packages Baszler for the fast pin at 3:13.
Rating: D+. This didn’t have time to do much here but it was nice to see Naomi getting a win to reestablish her status. It’s true that she is a multiple time Women’s Champion but that was a long time ago and she could use a refresher. This was the kind of thing Naomi needed and I could go with seeing her doing something more.
Video on the Elimination Chamber.
Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre
Non-title. Neither can hit one of their finishers to start so Drew catches him on the apron. The hanging DDT is loaded up but here’s Sheamus for a distraction as McIntyre is sent hard into the posts. We take a break and come back with Orton stomping away in the corner and sending McIntyre outside. McIntyre gets dropped back first onto the announcers’ table, much to Sheamus’ desire. The chinlock goes on back inside but Drew powers out in a hurry.
Drew gets in a few shots of his own, glares at Sheamus, and snaps off the release belly to belly. McIntyre busts out a superplex but can’t hit the Claymore. Instead it’s the Glasgow Kiss but Orton is right back with the hanging DDT. The RKO is loaded up and quickly countered into the Future Shock. The Claymore is loaded up but here’s Sheamus to try the Brogue Kick, which hits Orton by mistake for the DQ at 12:14.
Rating: C+. They weren’t trying to blow the roof off or anything here and what we got worked fine. It helps when you have two people this good doing their thing for a little while with a history behind them. This worked as a main event and the ending gives us a story not involving McIntyre as we head into the Chamber. Not too bad for a match that was done to death last year.
Post match, Drew immediately Claymores Sheamus to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. As is almost always the case with any wrestling show, things get SO much better when there is a focus and something to build towards. Just having some Elimination Chamber matches announced and giving the people something to focus on helped so much and that’s a nice relief. The show still isn’t exactly good though, with way too many dumb ideas and stories that don’t work, but there is something to look forward to and that makes a huge difference.
AJ Styles b. Jeff Hardy – Calf Crusher
New Day b. Retribution – Daybreak to Slapjack
Lacey Evans b. Charlotte via DQ when Charlotte shoved the referee
Damien Priest b. Angel Garza – Reckoning
Keith Lee b. Riddle – Spirit Bomb
Lana b. Nia Jax – Shove through a table
Naomi b. Shayna Baszler – Small package
Randy Orton b. Drew McIntyre via DQ when Sheamus interfered
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