Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. This is the follow up to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view from Sunday night. I really enjoyed the PPV including both Rumble matches with Bianca Belair winning the women’s Rumble and the 47-year-old Edge winning the men’s Rumble match. Also, Drew McIntyre retained the WWE Title against Goldberg. Next up is Elimination Chamber in three weeks as we also head towards WrestleMania in April. I’m hoping that the good Rumble show means that Raw becomes a better show on the road to WrestleMania. I always have to try to be an optimist. It’s what keeps me going!
From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1445 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.
The show began with ring announcer Mike Rome introducing the WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. The announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe were on hand as usual.
Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with the WWE Championship around his waist and the kilt on as well. Images were shown of McIntyre beating Goldberg at Royal Rumble. After the match, Goldberg showed respect to McIntyre. The giant WrestleMania sign is in the building just as it was at Royal Rumble.
McIntyre welcomed us to Monday Night Raw. Drew said that we are taking it up a notch because we are officially on the Road to WrestleMania (sign point). McIntyre pointed out how awesome the Royal Rumble was while noting that he earned Goldberg’s respect and Goldberg earned Drew’s respect. Drew said “thank you” to the camera. McIntyre went over the other matches on the card calling Bianca Belair the future. Drew mentioned the Men’s Royal Rumble match…and here comes Royal Rumble winner Edge.
Edge made his entrance wearing some street clothes with a bit of a limp after lasting nearly one hour in the Royal Rumble match going from the #1 spot to win the match. Edge now gets a championship match at WrestleMania.
McIntyre said that ever since he came to America to be part of WWE, Edge was a mentor and was always there for him. McIntyre talked about how sad it was when Edge retired. Edge said at least year’s Royal Rumble, he was getting kicked by AJ Styles and then he heard Edge’s music. Drew loved it. McIntyre said that he is happy and proud of his buddy Edge.
Edge said that he appreciated the compliments. Edge said he really likes Drew. Edge asked Drew what is wrong with him? Edge reminded Drew that he won the Royal Rumble last night, so that means he can challenge Drew for that title. Edge said instead of kicking Edge’s head off, Drew didn’t do it. Drew said that he’s not the kind of opportunist champion that Edge is.
Sheamus interrupted the festivities saying that Edge should be happy about winning the Royal Rumble. Sheamus wondered why Edge was questioning anything about Drew McIntyre, who has been carrying this company. Sheamus said that Edge was nursing his injured triceps. Sheamus noted that Drew was his best friend for over half his life. Sheamus told Edge that Drew may take the high road, but Sheamus won’t do that.
Drew calmed Sheamus down and wondered if Edge was going to make his decision. Edge told Drew that he will let him know when he’s ready while telling Drew that this is a dangerous game. Edge spoke about how whoever he chooses, he is walking out of WrestleMania as a champion.
McIntyre held up the WWE Championship after Edge left. When Drew turned around, there was best friend Sheamus with the Brogue Kick to knock Drew down. Sheamus stood over his best friend with the WrestleMania sign in the background. Sheamus left while Drew was down selling the attack.
Analysis: That was an interesting opening segment. Edge didn’t give Drew an answer, but the Wrestling Observer is reporting that the plan is for Edge vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, so we should find that out fairly soon. Sheamus turning on Drew is something a lot of us have expected for many months now. I take it like Sheamus knew that since he didn't win the Royal Rumble, he had to attack Drew in order to get his shot at the WWE Title. There is still Elimination Chamber later this month and Fastlane in March before we get to WrestleMania. I’m ready for Drew vs. Sheamus feud no matter where it takes place. There are other options if they don't go with Sheamus against Drew at WrestleMania. It’s okay if we don’t know all the plans right now.
A replay aired of Sheamus hitting a Brogue Kick on Drew McIntyre.
Sheamus was walking backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed him and Sheamus said that Drew is no longer his friend. Sheamus said he was going for the WWE Championship. Sheamus got his luggage from Drew Gulak who was standing there and Sheamus left.
Riddle made his entrance as replays were shown of how he got this US Title shot. Bobby Lashley entered as the US Champion with his Hurt Business buddy MVP by his side. The wrestlers stood in the ring for championship introductions and the show went to break.
United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Riddle
Riddle charged with a punch, but then Lashley knocked him down with an elbow. Riddle with kicks to the body, but the Lashley hit a powerslam. Lashley with a delayed vertical suplex into a slam. Lashley charged at Riddle, who countered with a hurricanrana over the top to the floor. Riddle kicked Lashley down and hit a Floating Bro attack off the ropes to the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley slapped on the Full Nelson with Riddle in the ropes, the referee counted and Lashley didn’t let go, so it’s a DQ. After the bell rang, Riddle tapped out, but the DQ already took place. It was under two minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Riddle (Bobby Lashley retains US Title)
Analysis: *1/2 That was quick. It didn’t make Riddle look good at all while Lashley looked dominant even in defeat. The Hurt Lock has been put over well as a deadly finisher.
Post match, Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock on Riddle on the floor again. MVP tried to calm Lashley down as Lashley tossed Riddle down to the floor. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission on Riddle again and Lashley tossed Riddle over the barricade. Lashley was freaking out with Phillips noting it took four guys to eliminate Lashley. When Lashley walked away angrily, MVP was behind him with a smile on his face.
Analysis: I really like how Lashley has been booked since joining the Hurt Business and especially as the US Champion. Perhaps WWE is building him up for a main event level push soon. I don’t know what the plan is, but I liked the intensity shown by Lashley. Having MVP laughing about it because he liked seeing Lashley so angry was a nice touch too.
There was a replay of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beating Charlotte Flair and Asuka for the Women’s Tag Team Titles on the Kickoff Show at the Royal Rumble. There’s a women’s triple threat match later.
A Bugati car was shown arriving at the arena. It was multi-platinum recording artist Bad Bunny, who is back again. Nice car.
This week on NXT: More Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tag team matches. Read the review on TJRWrestling on Thursday.
The match returned with Riddle getting checked on by a doctor along with referees with Riddle asking who he was wrestling. They let him know it was Bobby Lashley, Riddle tried to get up, but they calmed him down again.
Randy Orton was shown backstage doing a promo staring into the camera. No more burns on his face. Orton said he didn’t think it was possible that Edge would return to the ring and he congratulated Edge on his Royal Rumble win. Orton said he told the entire world that Edge was never, ever coming back, yet here is Edge. Orton said that Edge made Orton look like a liar. Orton recapped all the violence he caused, saying he loved Edge and sent him home out of compassion. Orton said that Edge is not going to make it to WrestleMania and main event WrestleMania. Orton said that tonight there will be no mercy, no compassion and for Edge, there will be no main event of WrestleMania.
Analysis: Nice heel promo by angry Randy Orton. I like Randy’s promos in that setting where he gets to stare into the camera like that.
There was a graphic that said Edge will face Randy Orton later on Raw.
Analysis: That’s the kind of match that you would think WWE would advertise beforehand, yet the first time they mentioned it was 35 minutes into the show. I’m guessing it was decided late. That’s WWE booking these days.
Xavier Woods was backstage with Kofi Kingston saying he’s had this best of five with Retribution and it’s 2-1 right now. Kofi said that Mustafa Ali has lost his damn mind, but Kofi is back and he’s got Xavier’s back. They did their “New Day rocks” bit to end it.
Xavier Woods made his entrance with Kofi Kingston by his side. Kofi has missed over a month due to a jaw injury.
Mustafa Ali made his entrance with two Retribution members. No Reckoning (Mia Yim) due to COVID-19 positive test and Mace wasn’t there either. There was an earlier today promo from Ali and Mace was back there, but he’s not at ringside.
Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Mustafa Ali (w/T-Bar and Slapjack)
Woods sent Ali into the turnbuckle and then Ali came back with a kick to the ribs. Woods with a clothesline that sent Ali over the top to the floor. Woods whipped Ali into the barricade and back in the ring with Ali hitting a neckbreaker. Ali yelled at Kofi saying he took everything from Ali as Ali sent Woods into the turnbuckle and put his foot against the throat of Woods. Ali with a whip into the turnbuckle leading to another neckbreaker for two. Ali slapped on a chinlock, Woods got back up with kicks to the ribs and chops to the chest. Woods hit a nice side Russian legsweep. Woods charged, but Ali stopped him with a boot to the face. Woods blocked a DDT attempt followed by a huge discus clothesline for two as T-Bar broke up the pin. That could have been a DQ since the referee saw it, but the referee did nothing. Kofi jumped off T-Bar and jumped onto Slapjack. T-Bar chased Kofi, Ali got a rollup for two and then Woods hooked the arms of Ali into a pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Xavier Woods
Woods celebrated with Kingston and Xavier noted he was 2-2 against the Retribution guys now.
Analysis: **1/4 A short match with good action where Woods got the win after the chaos on the outside of the ring. As I mentioned, the referee should have DQ’d Ali when T-Bar interfered, but then they went to the finish about 30 seconds later. I think they are doing a decent job of setting up Ali vs. Kingston, but I don’t know if it will matter as long as Ali is losing matches like this.
There was a backstage scene with Damian Priest talking to Bad Bunny in Spanish. They are still to come. That means Priest is on Raw now.
There was a video letting us know WrestleMania is 68 days away. That’s nice but it’s not a popular number like 69 is.
There was another recap of Sheamus attacking Drew McIntyre earlier on Raw. Drew McIntyre will be interviewed later on Raw.
Analysis: Raw had about six minutes of in-ring action in the first hour. That’s not good. Too much talking. And now it’s time for more talking.
Miz TV with Bad Bunny
The Miz and John Morrison were hosting Miz TV with the Money in the Bank briefcase in the hands of The Miz. They were in their ring gear. They talked about things at the Royal Rumble while talking about recording artist Bad Bunny.
Bad Bunny made his entrance while John Morrison did some awkward dancing while Miz was standing stoically like Booker T during that Bad Bunny song called “Booker T.”
Bad Bunny sat down in a chair in the ring with Miz thanking “Mr. Bunny” for being there. A video aired showing the Miz/Morrison interaction with Bad Bunny at Royal Rumble. Yawn.
The Miz apologized from the deepest part of his heart for destroying the equipment of Bad Bunny. That’s when Bunny accepted and Miz wanted him to apologize, but Bunny did not. Miz noted that he heard Bad Bunny wanted to be a WWE superstar with Bunny saying that it was his dream. Miz talked about how he is good for his careers like he mentored Daniel Bryan, who became a WrestleMania main eventer. Miz said he wanted Bunny to help them record an album. That led to some bad singing from Morrison and Miz doing their goofball routine.
Bad Bunny told Miz and Morrison that they are special, but he is not interested in their help. Miz got mad about that while doing his fired-up routine letting Bunny know who they are. Miz said that this ring can be very dangerous. Bunny said he knows who they are. Bunny mentioned having a good friend who wanted to be there.
That led to Damian Priest making his Raw debut after a successful run in NXT. Priest went into the ring and decked Miz with a forearm to the face to clear the ring. That led to a break.
Analysis: It was the usual Miz/Morrison routine where they do their silly act thinking they are bigger stars than they actually are. It’s a good way to introduce Damian Priest to the Raw audience as a babyface that is hanging out with a major music star Bad Bunny. I wonder if this leads to an eventual tag team match between these four guys. I guess it’s a possibility since WWE probably realizes Bad Bunny is a big deal in the music world. I don’t know much about Bad Bunny, but I know enough to know he’s going to bring some attention to WWE. Plus, Bad Bunny is a legit WWE fan, so that’s a good thing.
Damian Priest (w/Bad Bunny) vs. The Miz (w/John Morrison)
Priest with a spin kick that knocked Miz out of the ring. Priest hit a dive where he jumped off the middle rope over the top to the floor onto Miz/Morrison. Bad Bunny was seated at ringside watching the match. Back in the ring, Miz countered a Priest move and shoved Priest into the turnbuckle. Miz with a corner clothesline on Priest followed by a double axe handle off the top. Miz with a running splash to the back of the neck of Priest against the ropes. Priest blocked a kick by punching the leg. Priest with a spin punch followed by a clothesline. Priest with a corner splash followed by the broken arrow suplex into a slam for two. Morrison was on the apron to distract, Priest looked at him and Miz came back with a boot to the face. Morrison told Miz to use the MITB briefcase, but Bunny took it away and Morrison wanted Bunny to put it down. Bad Bunny hit Morrison with a microphone to the head. Priest grabbed Miz with the Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ** A nice debut for Priest with the win. The finish worked because it got Bad Bunny involved in a way that wasn’t too silly since he used the microphone to knock down Morrison, who had to sell it like it was a big weapon. Priest has a lot of cool-looking moves. Miz rarely wins matches even though he talks a big game. They might have to change the Reckoning finisher name since that is the name of a Retribution member (Mia Yim) on Raw these days. Anyway, long term maybe this leads to Bad Bunny teaming up with Priest against Miz and Morrison.
There was a video about Alexa Bliss being weird against Asuka last week and then Randy Orton dropped Bliss with an RKO.
Alexa Bliss faces Nikki Cross later on Raw.
The Raw Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were in the ring for a title match. MVP was on commentary saying Bad Bunny needed to get his money back for the haircut that he has. The announcers mentioned Bobby Lashley with MVP saying he’s never seen that Lashley before. MVP said he was concerned because he hadn’t seen Lashley go to that extent, but he likes it. Lucha House Party made their entrance.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Hurt Business - Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander (w/MVP) vs. Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado)
Benjamin with a running shoulder tackle on Dorado followed by a toss across the ring. Dorado kicked Benjamin, Metalik tagged in and walked the shoulders of Dorado leading to a hurricanrana. Benjamin caught Metalik and hit a belly to back suplex. Alexander tagged in with a clothesline, but Metalik came back with a dropkick. Dorado back in, Metalik clothesline and Dorado hit a spinning heel kick. Dorado kicked Benjamin to knock him out of the ring. LHP knocked the champs off the apron to the floor as the show went to break.
The match continued with Alexander hitting a Michinoku Driver slam on Dorado for a two count. Benjamin was back in with a body slam. Dorado with a Cutter like move, but then Benjamin came back with a gutbuster. Alexander tagged back in with a suplex for two. Benjamin with knees to Dorado and Dorado tried a hurricanrana, Benjamin lifted Dorado into a DDT for Dorado. That was impressive. Alexander back in, Dorado with a dropkick and Metalik tagged in with a cross body block on Alexander. Metalik with a backflip and then a hiptoss followed by a kick to the ribs. Metalik jumped off the ropes with a hurricanrana on Alexander. Dorado jumped onto Benjamin and then Metalik hit a suicide dive to knock down Dorado on Benjamin. Back in the ring, Metalik countered Alexander into a cradle for two. Metalik with a boot to the face, then a reverse Slingblade, Dorado tagged and hit a splash off the top. Metalik tagged in with a Senton Bomb off the top for two as Benjamin broke up the pin. Benjamin hit a jumping knee on Dorado to knock him out of the ring. Alexander with a knee on Metalik. Alexander said he was done playing games, he was about to do a move, but then Benjamin tagged in and hit Paydirt for the pinfall win. This match went about 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Hurt Business - Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander
Analysis: *** Good action in this match with the champs retaining even though they continue to have issues as a team because of how selfish Alexander seems to be. Lucha House Party always has fun matches as long as they get a chance to show what they can do. The champs retaining was the expected outcome here to give them a successful title defense.
The story was that Alexander was upset about Benjamin tagging himself in. MVP went into the ring to try to calm Alexander down and Cedric seemed to be okay with it. MVP kept on talking to Alexander about it.
Analysis: They are teasing that split every week. I don't want to see a split. Keep the group together for a long time. That's better.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka were interviewed behind the curtain ahead of their match. Asuka was frustrated that they lost the titles because Charlotte was distracted by Ric Flair and Lacey Evans. Charlotte said the only thing on her mind is winning back the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance.
Asuka made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose aka Sexy Muscle Friends (unofficial team name) entered in blue gear. Naomi made her entrance with Lana with the Naomi/Lana team doing a pre-tape promo before the match. Lana has been paired with Natalya, Asuka and now Naomi over the last year or so. She was with Bobby Lashley before that. Just shows how fast things change.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka vs. Naomi and Lana vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
Charlotte and Naomi showed off their athleticism to start the match. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler were shown watching on a TV backstage. Asuka and Rose tagged in with Asuka getting a rollup for two. Brooke tagged in against Lana with Lana getting a rollup. Brooke with a cartwheel into an elbow and then Rose tagged in with a jumping knee on Lana. Asuka was legal with Brooke tagging in for a double team flapjack. Rose and Brooke posed as the show went to break.
The match continued with Brooke going for a handspring elbow, but Charlotte knocked her down. Charlotte used her legs to slam Brooke into the mat. Rose tagged in with Charlotte knocking her down with a kick. Brooke tagged back in with a twisting splash on Charlotte for a two count. Rose tagged back in with a double suplex attempt, but Flair landed on her feet with a clothesline and Asuka tagged with a running hip attack on Rose. Asuka with a German Suplex on Rose followed by a running kick for a two count. Asuka with a missile dropkick, Lana tagged in against Charlotte and Charlotte tried pinning Lana multiple times. Charlotte with a chinlock on Lana leading to a slam into the mat. Lana with a headscissors on Charlotte and Naomi got the tag. Naomi tagged in with back elbows, a jawbreaker and punches. Naomi with a springboard kick to the face of Charlotte for a two count. Lana tagged in with the double knees to the back of Charlotte. Lana charged in with Charlotte hitting a big boot to the face. Rose went into the ring with a knee for Flair. Naomi with a kick to Rose, Brooke with a neckbreaker, Asuka with the double knees to Brooke and Charlotte hit a Natural Selection neckbreaker on Brooke. Ric Flair’s music played as Ric entered with Evans, so Charlotte tagged Asuka into the match. Charlotte left. Asuka wondered what Charlotte was doing, so Naomi hit Asuka with a Rear View attack on Asuka and Naomi pinned Asuka to win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Naomi and Lana
The win means that Naomi and Lana get a future Women’s Tag Team Title match.
Analysis: **1/2 It was just a decent tag team match with a finish that felt rushed while not letting the story develop to show that Asuka was frustrated by Charlotte, which is what caused Asuka to get beat. Naomi beating Asuka is a nice way to give Naomi some momentum after being out of action for a long time. The team of Brooke and Rose did have plenty of offense in the match, but they weren’t a part of the finish. The main story is that Charlotte’s selfishness cost Asuka the match.
After the match, Charlotte was shown walking to the back while Lacey and Ric already left, so Charlotte leaving led to nothing. The announcers tried to summarize it, then they showed Drew McIntyre standing backstage and that was it.
Drew McIntyre will be interviewed up next.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Charly Caruso in the backstage interview set. Drew had the WWE Championship on his left shoulder. Charly asked how Drew is feeling. Drew said it would be an honor to face Edge at WrestleMania. Drew said regarding Sheamus, families fight all the time and they have fought more times than he count. Drew said this was different. Drew looked into the camera saying if Sheamo (that’s what he said instead of Sheamus) is willing to throw 20 years of friendship away for this then so be it. Drew mentioned they have celebrated Christmas together because they had nobody else. Drew said if you want a match, you’ve got it.
A short video package aired about Carlito showing highlights from his first run in WWE from the mid to late 2000s. Carlito had runs as Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Champion in his WWE career. Carlito returned in the Royal Rumble match on Sunday for his first WWE match in ten years.
Elias entered with Jaxson Ryker for a tag team match.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance. Carlito was next as Jeff’s partner, so Carlito is back in action in a babyface role at least for now. Carlito is in amazing shape with abs showing and Carlito didn’t bring an apple with him.
Analysis: Even though Carlito hasn’t been in a WWE ring in over a decade, Carlito has been active as a wrestler and is 41 years old now.
Jeff Hardy and Carlito vs. Elias and Jaxson Ryker
Elias sent Carlito into the ropes, then Carlito with a snapmare and Jeff tagged in. Jeff did a low dropkick into a splash for a one count on Ryker. Elias avoided a whip from Hardy, Ryker pulled the towel of Hardy and Elias attacked Jeff with punches. Ryker was back in with a whip into the turnbuckle and Ryker hit a suplex on Jeff for a two count. Elias hit a running elbow on Jeff. Elias with a cheap punch on Carlito to knock him off the apron. Ryker with a shoulder tackle and then Elias with a sitout Chokeslam on Jeff for two. Elias with a body slam as Ryker tagged in. Ryker missed a headbutt off the middle ropes when Jeff moved, Jeff with a back kick and Carlito got the hot tag. Carlito with a clothesline, running knee strike, dropkick and a kip-up. Ryker managed to get a hold of Carlito’s head with a slam into the mat. Elias back in with a rollup for two. Carlito avoided a suplex and hit a backstabber on Elias. Jeff got the tag leading to the Swanton Bomb on Elias for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jeff Hardy and Carlito
Analysis: **1/2 A simple tag team match with the babyface tag team making the hot tag leading to the finish. Carlito looks like he belongs back in WWE on a regular basis. Jeff Hardy beating Elias is something that has happened a lot in the last six months.
Still to come: Edge vs. Randy Orton
This Friday on Smackdown: Bianca Belair and Edge won the Royal Rumble matches as the road to WrestleMania is underway. It seemed like they were saying Edge would be there, but they didn’t advertise anything specific. Belair is already a Smackdown wrestler, so she should be there. During Raw, the WWE on Fox Twitter account posted a tweet promoting Edge on Smackdown this week, so I guess Edge will be there.
There was a long video package about Edge’s long road back after his 2011 retirement to last year’s Royal Rumble and then Randy Orton turned on Edge. That led to Edge beating Orton in a long Last Man Standing Match. Orton beat Edge in the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” at Backlash in June where Edge tore his triceps leading to a seven-month absence. Edge returned to action at Sunday’s Royal Rumble, won that match as the #1 entrant and now he’s getting a WWE or Universal Title match at WrestleMania.
Edge did a promo talking to the camera saying on the one hand, he’s ecstatic because he won the Royal Rumble. Edge talked about coming back from a torn triceps to outlast 29 superstars from bell to bell. Edge said that there’s a black cloud named Randy Orton that hangs over his head and his family’s head. Edge said Orton could go bell to bell, but Orton said he had a knee injury, it didn’t work and Edge won the match. Edge told Orton to quit spitting the crap about loving Edge’s family and Edge said it’s because Orton is jealous. Edge said he’ll take the match against Orton. Edge said he has to put Orton in the rearview so he can walk into the main event of WrestleMania and take back a championship that Edge never lost. Edge said tonight he gets closure, he gets payback, he can explain to his daughters why he couldn’t play with them when he was hurt and tonight…this ends. Edge was focused as he stared straight ahead.
Analysis: Great promo with Edge looking focused going into the main event later in the night. I still think WWE should have advertised this match earlier in the day.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance to the Firefly Fun House music doing her excited little girl gimmick.
There was a short video about Black History Month with comments from Big E, Titus O’Neil and Montez Ford.
This week on Raw Talk the guests are Lacey Evans with Ric Flair, Lana and Naomi and The New Day.
Edge was shown walking backstage when he walked up to Damian Priest. Edge said that Priest impressed him in the Royal Rumble, shook his hand and said welcome aboard as an endorsement.
Nikki Cross vs. Alexa Bliss
Cross charged, Bliss avoided her and Cross said that they used to be best friends, but now Bliss has changed. Cross with a side headlock to take down Bliss, who used her legs to trap Cross and Bliss smiled at her. Cross with a headbutt to the ribs followed by a cross body block for two. Bliss kept on laughing at Cross. Cross with a snap suplex on Bliss for a two count. Bliss with a jawbreaker followed by two punches to the face and some “child-like joy” as Phillips called it for a two count. Bliss with a dropkick followed by Bliss doing her move where she stands on the back of the opponent. Bliss sent Cross into the mat. Bliss did some hopscotch routine leading to a kick to the ribs for two. Bliss with leg scissors around the waist of Cross. Cross avoided a move with a neckbreaker and a splash. After Cross stomped away on Bliss against the ropes, she turned back, some music played and Bliss was wearing her wrestling gear from the past. Bliss wanted a hug, but Bliss hit her two clotheslines and a corner splash. The creepy music played as Bliss was back in the Fun House gear. This time Bliss didn’t have the white gloves on that she had earlier. Bliss with a shoulder tackle and then Bliss hit her own version of a Sister Abigail neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss
Analysis: ** It’s more of the unique character of Bliss where they tape part of the match earlier in the day and then edit it into the match. That’s WWE taking advantage of the situation with no fans in attendance. Cross hasn’t had anything interesting to do for a long time, so Bliss winning was the obvious result here. I think it’s unique, that’s for sure.
Randy Orton made his entrance while Alexa Bliss was around ringside. Bliss walked up beside Orton, but Orton just kept looking forward as he made his way to the ring.
Edge made his entrance for his first match on WWE TV in over a decade. Edge got the full pyro as usual. The announcers used the “one last time” phrase for this match.
Edge vs. Randy Orton
Edge attacked Orton with punches followed by a knee lift. Orton countered the Anti-Venom submission with an eye gouge and knocked down Edge. Orton with a forearm followed by a stomp on the ribs. Orton drove his knee to the face of Edge. Orton rocked Edge with a forearm followed by some choking on the middle rope. Edge came back with a boot to the ribs followed by the Edgecution DDT for a two count. Edge charged with Orton countering the charge into a powerslam. Orton tossed Edge shoulder first into the ring post with Edge bumping to the floor. Orton whipped Edge shoulder first into the steel steps as the show went to break.
The match returned with Orton remaining in control as he stomped on Edge, who was exhausted after going nearly one hour in the Royal Rumble. Orton connected with some punches leading to Edge hitting one punch to knock Orton down. Edge hit the running clothesline on Orton as Phillips said “one last time” for this match again. Edge went up top, Orton met him with punches and Orton tried a superplex, but Edge knocked Orton down with a headbutt. Edge hit a clothesline off the top on Orton for a two count. Orton tried to hit an RKO, but Edge hit the sitout neckbreaker for a two count. Orton was on the apron and Edge hit a running shoulder tackle to the back of Orton to send Orton into the barricade. Edge brought Orton back into the ring, but Orton left out of the other side of the ring. Edge followed Orton out of the ring, Orton with an eye poke and a belly to back slam onto the hood of the announce table that Orton loves to do. Orton sent Edge back into the ring. Orton with a catapult that sent Edge throat first into the bottom rope. Orton hit the draping DDT. Orton signaled for the RKO as he hit the mat, but then some creepy music played with Alexa Bliss sitting on the ring post. Bliss had some black liquid coming out of her mouth. Orton turned around and Edge hit a Spear on Orton for the pinfall win. This went about 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Edge
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a pretty good match between two talented veterans that know eachother well. Edge did a terrific job of selling exhaustion throughout the match while Orton was aggressive as he should be. Then the creepy stuff took over with Bliss and Edge got the win to end the feud. The story was fine and Edge won to continue his momentum from the weekend.
The camera focused on one side of the ring without showing the part of the ring where Bliss was. When the wide shot was shown again, Bliss was not there. Basically, somebody helped her up there and then somebody helped her down.
Edge rolled out of the ring as the winner while Orton was down in the ring. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: I assume all of the “one last time” comments from the announcers is because Edge is going to Smackdown to go after Roman Reigns and the Universal Title, which is what I mentioned earlier in the review.
Three Stars of the Show
- Randy Orton
- Shelton Benjamin/Cedric Alexander
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2021 Average: 5.5
This was a slightly better show than the last couple of weeks because there’s more focus on the booking after Royal Rumble. The first half had a lot of talking, but then the second half had some better matches. The story of Edge’s comeback is interesting to see me, so I like that he was part of the opening segment and main event with Randy Orton. Edge only beat Orton because of some black liquid coming from the mouth of Alexa Bliss, which gave me some Ultimate Warrior/Papa Shango flashbacks. Anyway, at least it was a pretty good match in the main event.
There was a big turn during the show with Sheamus attacking best friend WWE Champion Drew McIntyre with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus made it clear he wants a shot at the WWE Title with Drew agreeing to it, so that’s likely coming soon.
I did like Bobby Lashley becoming very aggressive after attacking Riddle and MVP was barely able to calm him down. Perhaps this is leading to an even bigger push for Lashley? I’m not sure. The rest of the show was just average stuff.
The next WWE pay-per-view on WWE Network is Elimination Chamber on Sunday, February 21. There’s nothing official right now.
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