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WWE Raw live results: Triple H appears, Drew McIntyre speaks

Date: January 11, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL 

The Big Takeaway -- 

Triple H’s first (unofficial) match since 2019 ended with Alexa Bliss shooting fire in Randy Orton’s face. 

Drew McIntyre accepted Goldberg’s title challenge for the Royal Rumble. McIntyre (via video) also confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19. 

Raw felt short-handed with Jeff Hardy, Riddle, Sheamus and Keith Lee all wrestling twice, in addition to the return of Triple H. Among the regularly featured talent not on tonight’s show were: Asuka, Kofi Kingston, Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin, Ricochet, and Charly Caruso.

Show Recap -- 

The show opened with a recap of Randy Orton taunting Big Show, Mark Henry and Ric Flair. Tom Phillips called it a “troubling” legends night. 

Triple H entered to start the show. They piped in loud cheering and “Triple H” chants. (I think they found a new volume level for him.) Triple H welcomed us to Raw but before he could say more, Orton interrupted. 

Orton said the “office” showed up because Drew McIntyre couldn’t. Orton said he was supposed to have a big match tonight. Triple H said they both know that can’t happen. (They didn’t say what the reason was.) 

Orton knew that Triple H was there to make some sort of announcement. He thought Triple H may award him the WWE title right now. Triple H suggested he win the Rumble if he wanted to be champion. Orton thought he must have an announcement that benefits him in some way. 

Triple H said he was in awe watching Orton lately. He was impressed that Orton did what he had to, setting the Fiend on fire (he didn’t phrase it that way), because he was the only thing standing in the way of him becoming champion again. 

Triple H understood all of that, but what he didn’t understand was Orton punting legends in the head because humiliating them didn’t benefit Orton. As a result, Triple H lost the admiration he had for Orton. Orton’s actions only solidified him as a prick. 

Orton called himself a legend of his own time just like Triple H was. Orton wondered if The Game was still in there. Maybe he could take out the King of Kings once and for all. Orton challenged him to a fight (not a match). 

Triple H said that had no benefit to him. He said no. Orton figured it was because Stephanie wasn’t there so Triple H couldn’t retrieve his balls from her purse. 

Triple H faked saying something before punching Orton in the face. Orton fell out of the ring and smiled as he got back to his feet. Orton took that as a “yes.” (Triple H didn’t say anything.) 

(They cut to the announcers who didn’t say a word about McIntyre.) 

Sarah Schrieber interviewed Charlotte Flair. Charlotte called Lacey Evans classless. She also said that things got heated last week which is why she snapped at her dad. She didn’t understand why Schrieber was asking about her dad when she’s about to have a match. Charlotte wanted to teach Evans a lesson. (I think this was designed to keep Charlotte a babyface by chalking up what she said to Ric as a mere disagreement in the moment.) 

After Charlotte entered the ring, Evans told Schreiber that she thought Ric was a charming man’s man and anyone would want some of that. She dedicated the match to Ric and blew him a kiss. 

They aired a video by Drew McIntyre, taken on his phone. He confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 but he was fortunate to not have any symptoms. He was proof that anyone could get it and encouraged everyone to practice social distancing, wear your mask, and stay safe. 

Lacey Evans defeated Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair (12:26) 

Charlotte was in control but Evans escaped the ring when she attempted a Figure Eight. At that point, Ric Flair’s music hit and he pranced out down the ramp. Charlotte appeared confused (she thought he was at home). About 40 seconds passed as Ric entered, meaning Evans should have been counted out. They went to break. 

When they returned, Phillips mentioned that tonight was the 28th anniversary of Raw. Evans briefly took over until Charlotte hit a back suplex. Charlotte followed later with a neckbreaker and an exploder suplex. 

Charlotte hit the Natural Selection but Ric put Evans’ foot on the rope. The referee saw (but somehow didn’t see Ric’s hand on her boot) so he stopped the count. As they battled near the ropes, Ric purposely tripped Charlotte, and Evans fell on her for a cover. Ric held Charlotte’s foot down as the ref counted to three. Evans left with Ric. This was bad. 

Schreiber tried to interview Evans and Ric but they blew her off and left, seemingly back to the hotel. 

They recapped McIntyre retaining over Keith Lee. Kayla Braxton interviewed Lee. Before Lee could answer her question, Sheamus interrupted. Sheamus had no trouble kicking Lee while he was down but knew that Lee earned McIntyre’s respect. If McIntyre respected Lee, so did Sheamus. They were about to shake hands but Miz and Morrison interrupted. 

Lee and Sheamus compared them to Dumb and Dumber. Miz and Morrison challenged them to a match. Miz said they would topple them just like the Cleveland Browns toppled the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sheamus and Lee thought this was a terrible idea. They accepted. Miz and Morrison seemed confident in their chances. 

Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias) defeated Jeff Hardy (0:49) 

They plugged Hardy vs. Elias but Elias claimed he sustained an injury while recording music. Ryker said he was inspired to destroy. Elias joined commentary. He said he hurt his thumb. 

Elias immediately left commentary to distract Hardy, who fell for it. Ryker used a schoolboy for the quick pinfall win. 

After the match, Hardy challenged Elias to a match. Elias declined. Hardy said if he didn’t accept, people would think Ryker was better than him. Elias accepted the match while telling Ryker to “not” interfere. 

Jeff Hardy defeated Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker) 

Hardy won a relatively short match via pinfall with a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb. 

Elias asked Ryker why he didn’t help. Ryker thought Elias was serious earlier when he asked him not to interfere. 

(A few weeks ago, these two had a Symphony of Destruction match that they said would be the blowoff match in this feud. It was actually the second such match, the first being the Guitar on a Pole match.) 

[Second hour] 

They plugged “The Legend Killer’s Challenge” with Orton and Triple H tonight. 

Sheamus & Keith Lee defeated The Miz & John Morrison (12:52) 

Lee chucked Morrison over the top into the Miz. Sheamus knocked them both down with a double clothesline off the apron. 

Lee drove Morrison into the corner and the turnbuckle broke and the top rope came loose. Lee and Sheamus were very amused as the ref and Miz checked on Morrison. This was a great-looking spot. 

Lee worked over Miz after a break as the ring crew finished fixing the ropes. Sheamus knocked Morrison off the apron which allowed Miz to hit a DDT. They worked over Sheamus for a while until he gave Miz a backbreaker and tagged in Lee. 

Lee hit both guys with shoulder tackles and overhead suplexes before chucking Morrison into Miz. Lee hit a powerslam but Miz broke up the cover. Morrison hit a Pelé kick but Lee swatted him out of the air as he came off the ropes. 

Lee was setting up for something but Sheamus tagged himself in and hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win. Lee wasn’t upset that Sheamus tagged himself in. Instead, they were both just very happy to have gotten along and won. This was good. 

Schreiber asked Triple H about Orton’s challenge. Triple H said guys like Flair and Bob Orton paved the way for guys like them and Randy needed to understand that. Triple H accepted his challenge. 

(Triple H’s most recent televised match was at the Super Showdown in 2019 against… Randy Orton.) 

After a break, Lee and Sheamus were still in the ring but they were suddenly arguing. The ref called for the bell to start a match. The announcers acknowledged how odd it was that they were getting along just fine a moment ago but now wanted to fight. 

Keith Lee defeated Sheamus (6:55) 

They had a back-and-forth match that Lee won clean via pinfall with the Spirit Bomb. After the match, Lee offered a fist bump. Sheamus hugged him instead. 

The set-up for this was odd but at least Lee got a decisive win. 

There was a video package of McIntyre retaining his title and Goldberg issuing the title challenge. 

Drew McIntyre promo 

McIntyre (via his phone video) had a response for Goldberg. McIntyre admitted to being a big Goldberg fan when he was young and was even starstruck when he entered last week. However, as the saying went, never meet your heroes. Goldberg let him down last week when he put words into his mouth. McIntyre is a believer in giving respect to get respect. 

McIntyre said the WWE Championship has always eluded Goldberg (he was World Champion and Universal Champion in WWE). McIntyre didn’t want to accept the challenge initially because of their age difference, but his mind changed when Goldberg put his hands on him. McIntyre accepted and said, “you’re next.” 

Riddle talked excitedly about pizza to Lucha House Party. They wondered if he was hungry. Riddle said pizza was a metaphor for when he beats Bobby Lashley for the US title. They wished him luck but told him to watch his back. Riddle said watching your own back was physically impossible. 

T-Bar (w/Retribution) defeated Xavier Woods (4:55) 

The announcers claimed that Kofi Kingston was recovering from a broken jaw at the hands of the Hurt Business. 

Woods knocked T-Bar out of the ring with a missile dropkick. Woods threatened Mace/Mustafa Ali to back off before they could interfere. The distraction allowed T-Bar to hit Feast Your Eyes for the pinfall win. 

Orton told Schreiber that he has a newfound hatred that he plans on directing toward Triple H. 

[Third hour] 

Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) defeated Riddle to retain the US Championship (1:58) 

Lashley repeatedly attacked Riddle before the match could start, which of course was just payback from Riddle doing it to him last week. Riddle’s mouth was busted open during the attack. The ref asked if Riddle wanted to start and he said yes. 

Lashley was in control but Riddle came back quickly with a Floating Bro to the outside. Riddle tried something off the ropes and I think Lashley was supposed to catch him but they mistimed it. Lashley’s strength made up for it and he hoisted up Riddle for a chokeslam anyway. 

Lashley applied the Hurt Lock and Riddle quickly tapped out. Lashley retained. 

Riddle got on the mic. He said MVP likes to kick people when they’re down. He couldn’t beat Lashley tonight, but he can beat MVP. MVP accepted the match. (Yes, they did this earlier with Hardy and Ryker/Elias.) 

Riddle defeated MVP (w/US Champion Bobby Lashley) via DQ 

MVP wrestled in his dressy clothes. Riddle knocked down Lashley with a PK and hit MVP with a Floating Bro. Lashley jumped in the ring and speared Riddle for the DQ. Lashley and MVP beat him up for a bit before leaving. 

They recapped the Adam Pearce/Roman Reigns angle on Smackdown. 

AJ Styles told Pearce that he would win the Rumble and maybe Pearce would win the title if Reigns slipped on eight banana peels, then the two of them could face each other at WrestleMania. 

Drew Gulak interrupted to announce he would enter the Rumble. Pearce said he can’t do that. Gulak said Styles did. Styles said he can do that because he’s a two-time champion. Styles wondered who Gulak ever beat. Gulak had proof on a flash drive but Pearce didn’t want to see it. He told Gulak he can enter the Rumble if he beats Styles. 

AJ Styles (w/Omos) defeated Drew Gulak (3:12) 

They both attempted a dropkick as soon as the bell rang. Gulak used a few suplexes, including a Tiger Driver for two. Gulak used a backslide for two and Styles came back with a Pelé kick and strikes. Styles chucked Gulak to the outside where he was frozen at the sight of Omos. Styles chucked him back in the ring and hit the Phenomenal forearm for the pinfall win. 

There was a Goldberg video package. 

Keith Lee approached Triple H as he got ready in the back. Lee said Triple H has been there for him and it was his turn to be there for Triple H. Lee didn’t mind working a third time tonight to take Triple H’s place. Triple H said he had to do this himself. Lee handed him his leather jacket and they bumped fists. 

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke (3:21) 

Jax was in control and seemed to be going a move off the ropes but Baszler tagged herself in and tapped out Rose for the win. (Rose and Brooke declared themselves for the Rumble before the match.) 

Triple H vs. Randy Orton 

They kept calling this a “fight” so it’s not an official match, for those keeping records. The bell never rang, either. Triple H entered to his “The Game” theme. He worked in pants and a Motorhead t-shirt. Orton worked in his usual gear. After entrances, there were only about 6 minutes left in the show. 

Orton hesitated to get in the ring. HHH knocked him down with a punch. Orton regrouped before entering the ring again and striking back with punches. HHH came back with fists of his own but Orton knocked him down with an uppercut. HHH responded by tossing Orton into the steel steps. 

Orton poked him in the eye and tried a back suplex on the announce table but HHH blocked and suplexed him on the announce table instead. 

HHH grabbed the sledgehammer but the lights started to turn off. HHH lifted up the sledgehammer which was suddenly on fire, catching him by surprise. The lights went out completely. A purple light shined on the ring and HHH was gone. 

Alexa Bliss appeared in the corner. Bliss raised her hand to her chin before shooting fire into Orton’s face. Orton sold it like he was in immense pain and Byron Saxton said he might be blind. 

(I couldn’t help but laugh at Bliss shooting fire in Orton’s face.)