Date: January 20, 2020
Location: Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas
The Big Takeaway --
Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy beat The Viking Raiders to win the tag team titles, and Andrade defeated Rey Mysterio in a ladder match to detain the US title.
Raw ended with Bobby Lashley and Lana rather easily defeating Rusev and Liv Morgan in a quick and underwhelming match.
There was some good stuff on this show but the ending really fell flat.
Show Recap --
Seth Rollins, Buddy Murphy and AOP came out to start the show. Murphy wore a suit. Rollins wore a leather jacket over his new “Monday Night Messiah” t-shirt. Rollins said the fans have all played a part in making him the man he is today and he thanked them for showing faith in him. They booed.
Rollins thanked Murphy for opening his eyes, being brave and standing up to join the right side of history. Rollins showed us a video package recapping last week’s angle, then officially introduced us to his newest disciple, Buddy Murphy. They hugged as people booed.
Rollins said Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Big Show failed. He called this determinism at it’s finest and it was time for the locker room to pick sides because the battle lines have been drawn and everyone was either with them or against them.
Owens and Joe interrupted (they entered separately). Owens understood why they were proud of themselves for taking out Big Show. However, he knew that Show would be back to get them eventually, and their bigger problem was that they didn’t get rid of himself and Joe. Owens thought the fans were as tired as him of hearing Rollins’ voice. Owens wanted to fight.
Rollins thought fighting was a good idea, but they need to find the right time and place. Joe said he saw someone calling himself a “messiah” but was instead a lawyered-up asshat. The crowd chanted for Joe. Rollins realized the odds were in his favour so he invited them down.
Joe told Rollins that he had issues listening. They wanted to fight, but they weren’t the only ones. The Viking Raiders entered. The four men marched to the ring and cleaned house (Rollins bailed before getting involved). Owens gave Akam a stunner and Joe gave Murphy a Uranage. The good guys posed as the crowd cheered.
This was a fine opening segment. Although, it’s perhaps notable that they didn’t let Murphy say anything.
Charly Caruso caught up to Rollins and his friends backstage. Rollins wasn’t surprised that Joe and Owens would hide behind those Neanderthals the Viking Raiders. Rollins had a scoop for Caruso: he and Murphy were challenging the Raiders to a tag title match.
Ladder Match: Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the U.S. Title (18:44)
They both immediately slipped out of the ring to grab a ladder. However, Mysterio was actually baiting Andrade and instead dropkicked Andrade’s ladder into him. Andrade fought him off anyway and drove him into the barricade.
This led to a scary spot where Mysterio used a top rope hurricanrana to flip Andrade onto a ladder. Andrade was probably supposed to land on the ladder on his back, but instead hit the back of his head and neck. I rewound it and it seems like Andrade narrowly avoided disaster. They went to break after this spot, which was less than two minutes into the match.
After the break, Mysterio hit a springboard seated senton from the top to the outside. Mysterio launched Andrade into a ladder in the corner, then set up a tall ladder to climb. Andrade cut him off and hit the triple vertical suplexes, with the last one planting Mysterio on a ladder.
Andrade later powerbombed Mysterio onto an elevated ladder and they went to break again about 10 minutes into the match. After the break, Mysterio sent Andrade to the outside and began climbing but Andrade caught up to him.
Andrade set up a for a Gory Bomb off the ladder onto another ladder, but Mysterio countered into a sunset flip powerbomb, sending Andrade into the ladder instead. This wasn’t exactly a smooth-looking spot, but the crowd appreciated the effort. In fact, Mysterio followed with a 619 and the crowd started going nuts hoping he would grab the title.
Mysterio did grab the title, but Andrade yanked the ladder out from under him before he could pull it down. With Mysterio hanging in the air, Andrade pulled him down and tried a powerbomb but again Mysterio countered. Again, they didn’t really pull this off. Mysterio sent Andrade to the outside and went to climb but Vega climbed to the top first to stop him.
Vega slapped Mysterio, then Andrade gave him a hammerlock DDT, breaking the ladder they were standing on. Andrade climbed up and grabbed the title belt to win the match. Andrade retains the US Title.
After the match, Vega exposed the concrete floor and Andrade set up for a DDT. Before he could do it, a man in a Mysterio mask (who was previously in the audience) appeared to confront him. It was Humberto Carrillo. Carrillo tackled him and attacked until Andrade managed to escape. Carrillo checked on Mysterio.
I mostly enjoyed this but they got too ambitious with the spots they messed up, which is all people are going to remember about this match.
They aired a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute video.
Aleister Black defeated a jobber (0:08)
Black’s opponent charged at him as soon as the bell rang and immediately ate a Black Mass for the pinfall.
Drew McIntyre was shown warming up backstage. Also, the Viking Raiders’ tag title match against Rollins and Murphy was made official.
Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman segment
Heyman said he was having a crisis of conscience because the fans took Lesnar for granted. Heyman would announce a spoiler and Lesnar would deliver, to which the fans say, of course he did, he’s Brock Lesnar. He said that would happen again when Lesnar defeats 29 other men to win the Rumble.
He then explained the rules of the Rumble match before again saying Lesnar would win. Heyman noted that the winner of the Rumble normally earns a title shot against either champion to main event WrestleMania.
However, Heyman said that Lesnar didn’t believe anyone deserved it. He admonished the fans for booing Lesnar and wondered who they thought could possibly be a worthy challenger.
Ricochet interrupted. He said Heyman talked too much. He noted the whispers and concerns going around the back. Some guys were even afraid to get in the ring with Lesnar. Ricochet noted the risks he takes in the ring and wasn’t afraid. Heyman said Ricochet must’ve received his education in Wichita.
Heyman called Ricochet lunch meat for Lesnar and advised him to go to the back. Ricochet said the Rumble may be his only shot. He knew what normally happened to guys when they step to Lesnar, but he wasn’t afraid to do it. Lesnar invited him in the ring. Ricochet took a deep breath and entered the ring. Ricochet challenged him to a fight right now.
Lesnar laughed, brushed him off and left. Ricochet asked Lesnar if he was scared. (That line was designed to get a pop, but it didn’t.) Lesnar came back in the ring and kicked Ricochet in the nuts. Lesnar grabbed the mic, said, “not scared,” and left. Ricochet remained down selling his groin.
Even if Ricochet had said all the right things here, but he did not come across well.
Caruso interviewed Randy Orton about McIntyre. Orton said McIntyre was one hell of a guy and one hell of a talent, but he was not on par with the guy who can strike with the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment.
Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre (11:49)
McIntyre chopped Orton, which Orton sold big, but Orton proceeded to clothesline him out of the ring before giving him two straight backdrops on the barricade. McIntyre fought out of another backdrop attempt and tried for a Claymore Kick, but Orton moved and McIntyre killed a production guy. I laughed. Jerry Lawler was concerned as officials ran out to check on the guy.
After a break, McIntyre tried something off the top but Orton caught him with a dropkick. McIntyre responded soon after with three straight chops, then Orton just poked him in the eye, which got a laugh out of the crowd. Orton followed with a draping DDT.
McIntyre blocked on RKO and hit a headbutt followed by an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. McIntyre used a vertical suplex and kipped up to his feet. McIntyre did a 3-2-1 countdown to a Claymore Kick but Orton countered into a powerslam for a nearfall. Orton then hit a superplex and rolled to the outside.
At that exact moment, AJ Styles and OC ran down to attack McIntyre. They put the boots to him until Orton jumped in with a chair to save him. McIntyre gave Karl Anderson a Claymore, then OC bailed. McIntyre and Orton faced off as Orton still had the chair in his hands. Orton dropped the chair and was about to leave, but instead turned around and gave McIntyre an RKO.
McIntyre demanded a mic as he writhed around. He called out for “Randall Keith Orton” before demanding a microphone that worked (his was working fine). They gave him another one. McIntyre said he should have Claymore kicked Orton, but that’s on him. He hoped they ended up in the Rumble together so he could kick his head off his shoulders, win the Rumble, and finally main event WrestleMania.
(The bell never rang to end the match and an announcement was never made. I stopped the timer on the match once OC attacked Drew.)
Caruso interviewed Charlotte Flair, whom she noted eliminated the most women last year and was the runner-up. Charlotte said she was ready to face anyone and anything. Becky Lynch suddenly appeared beside her with a big smirk on her face, then left without saying anything.
Charlotte said she was eliminated last year by Lynch, who wasn’t supposed to be in the match. Charlotte said she’d be prepared this year and wondered if the other 29 women would be ready for the queen. (I enjoyed Lynch randomly appearing to brag about last year without saying a word.)
Lynch will be on WWE Backstage tomorrow.
Lynch entered for her match. She said Asuka did her a favour by spraying that mist in her face because now she sees clearly. She thought that Asuka was having doubts and that would explain all the sneak attacks and it explains why she was facing her partner tonight instead of her.
Asuka may have beaten her at last year’s Rumble, but Lynch was ultimately the big winner at WrestleMania, while Asuka then went on to make soup on YouTube. Lynch said she would teach Asuka what she now knows: “you can't beat me anymore.”
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch defeated Kairi Sane (w/Asuka) (8:59)
Lynch was distracted by Asuka outside the ring, so Sane chop-blocked her. When Sane re-entered the ring, the ref was distracted, so Asuka attacked Lynch’s leg again. After the break, Asuka watched the match from the top turnbuckle. Even Lawler wondered why the ref was allowing this.
Lynch came back with clotheslines and a running forearm, but Sane responded later with a flying forearm of her own. Lynch came back with a reverse DDT and diving leg drop (which was missed by the director because they were focused on Asuka). Lynch tried a vertical suplex but Sane reversed into a DDT for two.
Lynch used a thrust kick and forearm before knocking Asuka off the turnbuckle. Lynch kicked Sane in the head before applying the Disarmer for the submission win.
Asuka immediately followed with a shining wizard on Lynch. She applied the Asuka Lock before knocking Lynch down with a kick to the head. The crowd booed Asuka as she posed. Sane was delighted with her partner’s performance.
They aired a video tribute for Rocky Johnson. The crowd gave a standing ovation and “Rocky” chants. Lawler had a few nice words prior to the video as well.
Sarah Schrieber found Asuka and Sane and asked Asuka if this is the type of champion she wanted to be, one who attacks people from behind. They yelled at her in Japanese, then Asuka looked at the camera and said Becky was not ready for Asuka.
Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy defeated The Viking Raiders to win the Raw Tag Team Championships (11:06)
Rollins and Murphy hugged as the match started and the crowd gave them a big “aw!” Early in the match, a brawl broke out between Rollins/Murphy and the Raiders in the ring, as well as between Joe/Owens and AOP on the outside. Joe, Owens and AOP fought through the crowd as Vic Joseph let us know that all “six” men were brawling. There are eight of them.
Ivar made a hot tag and ran wild on both men, which included him dodging a Murphy knee strike by doing a cartwheel. Erik and Ivar then took out both opponents with dives. They gave Murphy the Viking Experience but Rollins broke up the cover. Rollins gave Erik an enziguri, then Ivar took out Rollins with a kick of his own.
Murphy tried a sunset flip powerbomb on Ivar, but of course, that wasn’t a good idea. Rollins helped him out and they gave him a double team powerbomb for two. The crowd chanted “let’s go Vikings” as Ivar busted through a double clothesline attempt and took them both down with a handspring back elbow.
Erik powerbombed Murphy as Ivar went to the top, but Rollins pushed him off the top to the outside. Erik chased Rollins away, but as Murphy distracted the referee, Rollins gave Erik a curb stomp on the edge of the ring. Murphy then pinned Erik for the win. Rollins and Murphy are the new tag champs.
This was good, but it felt a bit rushed. Both the match itself and switching the titles from the Viking Raiders to Rollins and Murphy. We’ll see where it goes.
Rollins and Murphy celebrated backstage and they were interviewed by Schrieber. AOP were with them and looked just fine, so I guess they escaped their fight with Owens and Joe. Rollins said this was just the beginning of their dominance and announced that he would win the Rumble.
They did another SNL Weekend Update spoof with the Street Profits. There was a laugh track again. At least this time the laugh track appeared to be an audience with adults and not just children. Among the jokes was Angelo Dawkins saying he hates reboots as a picture of The Miz and John Morrison appeared on the screen. R-Truth also appeared as an on-field correspondent (he was in front of a green screen which had a picture of Minute Maid Park in Houston). This probably sucked but I tuned out the rest of it.
With the Rumble happening at the home of the Astros, I wonder how many jokes they have prepared for Baron Corbin.
Erick Rowan defeated Matt Hardy (2:11)
During the match, whatever lives inside the cage bit Rowan’s hand again. Rowan responded by ramming the cage a couple of times against the steel steps. A few people gasped, a few people laughed. Rowan won with the claw slam.
Hardy didn’t get much of a reaction during the match itself, probably because people knew what was about to happen.
They recapped the Lana, Lashley, Rusev and Morgan stuff.
Schrieber asked Joe and Owens what was next for them. Owens said Rollins and Murphy winning the titles was a problem they would take care of later but for now, he was entering the Rumble and would go on to main event WrestleMania, which would ensure that Rollins wouldn’t.
Joe took the opportunity to enter the Rumble as well. He said he would be at Owens’ side when taking on Rollins, but when it came to the Rumble, he would run through Owens if he had to. Owens nodded his head and left.
Caruso interviewed Mojo Rawley, the 24/7 Champion. He was quickly interrupted by Samir Singh who tried to distract him. Sunil Singh tried a roll-up but Rawley didn’t budge. He slammed both guys and left. This got no reaction.
Mixed Tag Team Match: Bobby Lashley & Lana defeated Rusev & Liv Morgan (3:28)
Lana said Rusev Day was cancelled. She rambled for a while before requesting that the crowd thank them. They didn’t. She said Lashley would dominate Rusev and she would finally get her hands on Morgan. Morgan entered with Rusev. She wore black and red gear. Lana wore blue and yellow.
Morgan and Lana started the match. Less than two minutes into the match, they took each other down with clotheslines before tagging out. Rusev gave Lashley a suplex, then Lana distracted him on the apron. He got in her face but then moved before Lashley could attack. Lashley narrowly avoided punching Lana.
Lana smacked Rusev, then Lashley gave him a Dominator before Morgan broke up the cover. Morgan gave Lashley an enziguri, then Rusev kicked him in the head. Before Rusev could capitalize, Lana grabbed him by the leg. This allowed Lashley to hit a spear for the pinfall win.
That was it. A three and a half minute main event that ended with the heels winning clean again. Besides the squash matches, any of the other matches tonight would’ve been a better way to end the show.