Date: January 25, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL
The Big Takeaway --
Edge appeared via video with a terrific promo to announce that he’s entering the Royal Rumble.
The Women’s title match was every bit as dumb as you could imagine and did not have a winner. Alexa Bliss changed appearance several times, rode a toy horse, and was ultimately laid out by a Randy Orton RKO.
The rest of Raw was dull and once again featured several wrestlers working multiple times.
Show Recap --
Drew McIntyre entered. He said he felt so good to be back on Raw. He thanked the fans for their well-wishes and support. He was lucky that didn’t experience too many symptoms of COVID-19 (besides some fatigue and loss of taste) and was back to training by day four. He dedicated his upcoming match to those affected by COVID and said we’ll get through this.
McIntyre put over Goldberg and talked about his streak. Goldberg also had a streak of winning every championship he challenged for once he entered WWE. McIntyre planned on ending that streak by retaining the title on Sunday.
Miz and John Morrison interrupted. Miz said Sunday’s match would be like Kong vs. Godzilla and both guys could end up injured. They annoyingly explained Miz’s plan to cash-in the MITB briefcase.
Goldberg entered. They piped in loud Goldberg chants. He looked at McIntyre and said, “You. Me. Sunday. You’re next.” As they stared at each other, Miz and Morrison tried egging them on, so Goldberg and McIntyre pulled them into the ring. Goldberg speared Miz. McIntyre Claymore kicked Morrison.
They stared each other down as McIntyre held his belt high. This was good.
They plugged Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss for the title. Tom Phillips said Bliss “revealed the depths of her darkness” last week.
Charlotte Flair told Charly Caruso that she performs well under pressure and wasn’t worried about the “queen” of spades Shayna Baszler. She planned on defending her tag titles with Asuka and entering the Rumble. Caruso asked about Lacey Evans and her dad. Charlotte said something about her dad being in his darkest place and said Evans couldn’t carry the weight of being a Flair. (This felt very scripted.)
Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair defeated Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax) via DQ (0:55)
The match ended quickly by DQ when Nia Jax leg-dropped Charlotte as she applied the Figure Four.
Jax and Baszler attacked Charlotte until Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke ran out to make the save. Evans also ran out to attack Charlotte and everyone brawled as they went to break.
Six-woman tag team match: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke defeated Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via countout (4:43)
This was a mess. Charlotte and Baszler were outside the ring. As Charlotte stared at Evans and Jax, Baszler shoved her into the side of the ring and then into the ring, but Baszler didn’t get back in the ring in time and the ref counted her out. Everyone stood around looking very confused. It definitely felt like somebody screwed up.
The heels complained to Adam Pearce on the ramp during a break. They wanted him to restart the match. The other women were fine with that so he did.
Six-woman tag team match: Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax defeated Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
Rose seemed to have the match won over Evans with a V-Trigger but Baszler broke up the cover. Everyone traded moves until Charlotte chased Evans through the arena.
Brooke gave Jax a neckbreaker for two. Jax launched Brooke off the top rope and followed with some sort of chokeslam that almost certainly didn’t go as intended and Brooke landed hard on the mat. Jax followed with a leg drop for the pinfall win.
Xavier Woods defeated Slapjack (w/Retribution) (2:43)
Woods pretty much marched straight to the ring instead of doing his usual entrance. He attacked immediately when the bell rang with a dropkick. Slapjack fought back and hit some sort of bulldog between the ropes (it was hard to tell with the camera cuts). Woods came back with a Russian leg sweep and Honor Roll clothesline for two.
Mustafa Ali directed T-Bar to do something so he tried distracting Woods but Woods hit Slapjack with a shining wizard anyway for the pinfall win.
T-Bar clobbered Woods with a running boot after the match. T-Bar and Mace also gave him a double chokeslam. Slapjack gave Ali a chair. Ali teased hitting Woods with the chair but used it to sit down instead.
Ali said Woods wanted to be king of the ring but he looked like a peasant. Ali decided to show mercy on him so he can deliver a message to Kofi Kingston. Ali heard that Kingston wouldn’t be able to compete in the Royal Rumble but a replacement has been found: Mustafa Ali.
In the back, R-Truth told Riddle that the Hurt Business had a surprise party for him because his birthday was last week. They commented on both being a Capricorn, the sign of the goat, and they both made goat noises.
They announced that Bad Bunny would perform at the Rumble.
VIP Lounge with The Hurt Business
(Shelton Benjamin entered the stage wearing a face covering. He removed it pretty quickly and put it in his pocket.)
MVP and Bobby Lashley talked about their success. Lashley gave MVP credit. Benjamin was about to speak about his year but Cedric Alexander interrupted him. He said they were on a roll and also gave MVP credit.
They had a gift for MVP. It was a gold chain with a “THB” (The Hurt Business) pendant. Alexander talked about getting the chain made and Benjamin was about to call him out on that but Truth interrupted.
They couldn’t understand why Truth was there. Truth knew that this was really for him and “THB” stood for “Truth, Happy Birthday.” (That was funny.)
Lashley said he did get Truth a gift and invited him into the ring to get it. Truth was skeptical. At that moment, the 24/7 losers ran out after him (including Humberto Carrillo). The Hurt Business beat them up.
Riddle appeared in the ring and attacked MVP from behind with a knee strike and ran away before the rest of Hurt Business could get him.
They played a clip of Edge’s return at last year’s Royal Rumble.
They randomly announced that we’d hear from Edge tonight.
In the back, Truth told Pearce that he wanted a chance to enter the MITB ladder match. AJ Styles entered and wanted to give Truth that chance (to qualify for the Rumble) because he was benevolent. Truth said Styles was benevolent while he was a Capricorn. Pearce made the match.
There was a quick mention of WWE Network moving to Peacock in March (in America). Phillips said every PPV would be included and they’d have more information tonight.
Sheamus defeated John Morrison (w/The Miz) (9:36)
Morrison worked over Sheamus’ leg but he fought back and won clean with the White Noise.
Immediately after the match, Miz challenged Sheamus to a handicap match and he accepted.
2-on-1 handicap match: The Miz & John Morrison defeated Sheamus (6:50)
They beat up Sheamus for four straight minutes until he tossed Morrison from the ring and clotheslined Miz. Sheamus did a rolling senton with Miz while landing on Morrison. He clubbed both guys before knocking them both down with a flying clothesline to the outside.
Sheamus gave Morrison a Brogue Kick but Miz caught him with the Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall win.
Ric Flair taught Lacey Evans some counters in the back. Charlotte appeared in the doorway. Evans bailed. Ric said he’s going to do what he wants and continue to be himself. Charlotte wondered if that meant spending all his money on everyone but his own family. She said he was going from a legend to an old man. She added, “I’m not the bad guy.”
As Charlotte backed away, Evans reappeared and punched her in the face. Ric tried checking on her but Evans pulled him away. I mean, that’s how we’re supposed to see it. He still walked off on his own. This was very silly.
Phillips congratulated “former 24/7 champion” Rob Gronkowski and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on advancing to the Super Bowl.
AJ Styles (w/Omos) defeated 24/7 Champion R-Truth in a non-title match (2:34)
Truth hit a five knuckle shuffle but Styles countered an Attitude Adjustment into a Calf Crusher for the submission win. (This was not for the 24/7 title and nobody ran out after the match, either.)
They replayed some of Randy Orton’s promo from last week. Or maybe it was a new one.
Alexa Bliss was in her playground (set up in the ring they have backstage). She spoke like a child about how much fun last week was and spoke to her imaginary fiend. (Like the Orton promo, they spliced in replays as she spoke to make this take as long as possible.)
She learned her trick (transforming) from “him” and couldn’t wait to see him again. She looked forward to getting a shiny new toy tonight (the title belt). She sang a nursery rhyme and ended with “let me in” in the Fiend’s voice.
This creepy and disturbing promo was followed by Riddle gleefully strutting to the ring for his match.
Gauntlet Match: Riddle vs. The Hurt Business
Riddle defeated Shelton Benjamin (4:48)
Benjamin countered a rollup into a rollup of his own and would have had it won but Alexander was distracting the referee. Alexander said he was trying to help so MVP told him to do nothing. Riddle rolled up Benjamin for the pinfall win.
Riddle defeated MVP (0:07)
The Hurt Business argued with each other as the match started so Riddle put MVP in a heel hook and he immediately tapped out.
Riddle defeated Cedric Alexander
They had a pretty good match that Riddle won with a rollup. (Throughout the match, MVP annoyed with Alexander for not using proper technique on his covers.)
After the match, Lashley attacked Riddle from behind and put him down with the Hurt Lock. (Riddle was caught off guard by this despite them playing the Hurt Business music before Lashley entered.)
Phillips talked about the Peacock deal. He didn’t really provide any more information. He told us to go to the website for more.
This was a pre-taped promo with Edge sitting in a ring in a dark room. He said 2020 has taught him that you can’t sleep on tomorrow. You have to pick yourself up and keep walking forward. Ten years ago, after WrestleMania 27, he went to bed as the world champion but within a week, he forfeited the title and his career. His dream.
He recalled telling his mom that he wanted to be a wrestler and she told him to go do it. Her simple words were the jet fuel that put the fire in his gut for nine years to get his dream back.
However, at Backlash, Randy Orton tore his triceps which was another reminder that everything can be taken from you just like that. You can’t live in that space, you have to fight. His mom would tell him to go do it.
He announced that he is entering the Royal Rumble.
He knows it won’t be like last year because the stakes are higher. The window closes on him more and more each day and he needed to take back what was his. He’s going to fight to make his dream come true. A world without dreamers and fighters was a much less magical place.
He quoted Henry Ford: “if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” and closed with: “Well, I think I can. I’ll see you at the Rumble.”
This was great.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss
About two minutes into the match, Bliss kicked Asuka out of the ring and, suddenly, Bliss was on her rocking horse as music played with the lights turned purple. Commercial break.
Back from break, the toy horse was gone and the lights were back to normal. Bliss hit a dropkick for two.
Asuka fought out of a chinlock and kicked Bliss in the head, used a running hip attack, German suplex and shining wizard for two.
Asuka was about to go for something but stopped when Bliss’ old music played for a moment and Bliss was suddenly in her old gear. She panicked and looked around confused. Bliss dodged a charge and put her head down in the corner as if she was contemplating something.
The lights turned purple and “evil” Bliss appeared (black shirt and lipstick). She no-sold Asuka’s strikes and “powered out” of an Asuka Lock.
Bliss put Asuka in the mandible claw and presumably had it won but Randy Orton, with burns on his face, appeared behind her. Orton gave Bliss an RKO and they went off the air.
(Match went about 12:34.)