The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/08/21 Review


Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. As we head into Raw this week, we are 13 days from Elimination Chamber on February 21. There's nothing official for the Elimination Chamber PPV as I write this before Raw begins. We should learn more about Elimination Chamber on Raw tonight and Smackdown later in the week.
From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1446 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 opening video package focused on Drew McIntyre and Sheamus being best friends for the last 20 years. However, last week on Raw, Sheamus hit WWE Champion McIntyre with a Brogue Kick and Sheamus said he was coming after the WWE Championship. Drew said if you want a shot, then you’ve got it.
There was a shot of the ThunderDome at Tropicana with WWE fans on the screens. The announce team was Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton.

Let's Hear from Adam Pearce and Shane McMahon 
The show began with WWE Official Adam Pearce in the ring and he introduced Shane McMahon. Shane said it was great to be back during WrestleMania season. Pearce announced that Drew McIntyre will defend the WWE Championship in the Elimination Chamber match. Shane asked Pearce who the other five superstars are and Pearce said that they are all former WWE Champions.
The other five superstars were announced as Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, “Mr. Money in the Bank” The Miz and Sheamus. Shane congratulated Pearce on doing a great job and left.
Analysis: I’m not sure what Shane’s role was here, but he is back on TV for some reason.
AJ Styles made his entrance with Omos as they stared at Shane and walked down to the ring. Styles got into the ring with Pearce saying there is a phenomenal chance that McIntyre might lose the WWE Title. Styles said it’s perfect timing for him to be a three-time WWE Champion. Styles told Pearce he always thought of him as kind of a dumbass. Styles told Pearce to leave so he can show what he can do.
Jeff Hardy entered for his match against Styles as the show went to break.
Analysis: The logic of who is in the Elimination Chamber is flawed since some of the guys in the WWE Title match haven't really won that many matches of late. What has The Miz done to earn a WWE Title shot? Jeff Hardy? Even Sheamus hasn't won that many matches of late. That’s what happens when the PPV is 13 days away. It could be built up better. There is also the point that at Royal Rumble to have a 1 in 30 chance to get a title match, yet even if you fail in that, you get a 1 in 6 shot to challenge for the WWE Title. This minimizes the Royal Rumble win although the difference there is that the Rumble winner gets the choice of who to face. Still, having a 1 in 6 chance at the WWE Title is much better than a 1 in 30 chance for a shot at the title in a singles match. This is something WWE does every year, so we are used to it. Believe me, it's not a major complaint. I'm just trying to use logic to explain things a bit. It is a way to hold off on the McIntyre/Sheamus singles match, which could mean they do it at WrestleMania although there is Fastlane in March as well. Anyway, I expect Drew McIntyre to retain the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber although they could go with Sheamus winning the WWE Title and then Drew wins it back at WrestleMania. That's possible.

(Commercial)
Shane McMahon was shown walking backstage towards a limo. Drew McIntyre walked up to him with the WWE Title saying he wanted to face Sheamus in a singles match. Shane informed him that the best thing Drew can do is defend the WWE Title in a major match like the Elimination Chamber match. Shane wished him good luck and left.
Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos)
Jeff grabbed a headlock, then Styles broke free and Jeff hit a shoulder tackle. Styles worked over Jeff with punches, Jeff with a kick to the gut and shoulder tackles. Jeff with a dropkick to the back. Styles charged at Jeff with a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Jeff came back with a back body drop on Styles across the ring. Jeff blocked a kick from Styles and swung the foot forward so Styles was sent into the mat. Styles charged at Jeff towards the turnbuckle, Jeff jumped to avoid him and then Jeff was favoring the left knee that he has injured in the past. Jeff was up against the announce table, so Styles charged with a chop block to the back of the left knee. Styles with a knee breaker and then Styles sent the left knee of Hardy into the ring post. That led to a break five minutes into the match.
(Commercial)

The show continued with Styles continuing to work on the left leg of Jeff by kicking at it and wrenching it against the mat. Jeff tried to get some offense going, but Styles tripped up Jeff and slapped on the Calf Crusher submission with Jeff getting his hand on the bottom rope. Styles tried whipping Jeff into the ropes, but Jeff collapsed while running with the referee checking on him. Styles went for the forearm off the ropes, but Hardy hit the ropes to knock Styles down. Jeff with a jawbreaker, atomic drop, dropkick and a splash for a two count. Jeff with a spin kick leading to a front suplex for a two count while Jeff was favoring his injured left knee. Jeff blocked a Styles Clash attempt and hit a Twist of Fate neckbreaker. Jeff slowly got over to the turnbuckle, Jeff’s climb was very slow and as he got to the top with the Swanton Bomb, Styles moved out of the way to avoid the splash. Styles went back to the Calf Crusher submission on the left leg with Jeff trying to fight it, but Jeff tapped out after about 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/4 The winning ways of AJ Styles continue after picking up the clean submission win here. Jeff Hardy did a very nice job of selling the left knee injury throughout the match from when he was taking moves from Styles and also when he was delivering moves during the match. Styles was relentless in his attacks, which is how a heel should be. These guys had a feud over the IC Title on Smackdown with Hardy taking the title from Styles, so they always have pretty good matches.

Still to come: Riddle vs. Keith Lee.
Keith Lee was shown stretching with Riddle showing up to him with a black eye on his right eye. Riddle did his stoner routine about how he watched Air Bud movies. Keith Lee wondered if it was smart for Riddle to keep going after Lashley and the US Title even though Hurt Business beat him up repeatedly. Riddle kept talking about Air Bud while Lee noted that he had what it takes to beat Bobby Lashley. Lee said he thinks he has what it takes to beat Riddle too. Riddle wished him good luck and he’ll see him later.
Analysis: Riddle's dialogue was so silly here. Air Bud references, really? Then again, he's a stoner guy, so I guess it's fine for him.
The New Day duo of Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston entered for a tag team match. Kofi is back in action after missing several weeks with a jaw injury. That match is next.
(Commercial)

Sheamus was shown walking up to Adam Pearce in the backstage area. Sheamus said that Drew McIntyre wanted to defend the WWE Title against him, but then they put him in an Elimination Chamber match. Sheamus complained about Pearce not giving a 4-time World Champion like Sheamus the respect he deserves. Pearce said that is not it at all. Sheamus said that if you want to stack the odds against him at Elimination Chamber, that’s fine. Sheamus yelled at Pearce that when he unleashes brutality against the other superstars in Elimination Chamber, it is Pearce’s responsibility.
Analysis: Nice job by Sheamus showing a lot of intensity and anger there.
T-Bar and Slapjack (w/Mustafa Ali and Mace) vs. The New Day’s Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston
Ali was on commentary with Mace standing beside him. Woods took down Slapjack with a headlock with Ali saying he speaks the truth. Woods with a shoulder tackle into another headlock. Ali said that his issue isn’t just with Kofi Kingston, it’s with the corporate puppets. Kingston tagged in with a missile dropkick on Slapjack while Woods was holding Slapjack and Woods said that was a new tag move. Slapjack with a shoulder tackle, T-Bar tagged in and hit a running shoulder block. T-Bar caught Kofi in his arms, but Kofi broke free briefly. Kofi tried a sunset flip, T-Bar grabbed him and slammed him hard into the mat. Kofi sent T-Bar and Slapjack out of the ring. Kofi jumped over the top with a diving attack onto both heels on the floor. That led to a break.
(Commercial)

T-Bar was in control of Woods with elbows to the head while Ali kept on complaining about things with T-Bar hitting a body slam. Slapjack tagged in with kicks and a knee lift. Woods with a jawbreaker while T-Bar got the tag and kicked Kingston off the apron. T-Bar with a clothesline on Woods. Slapjack lifted up Woods for a double team back body drop slam for a two count. Woods countered a suplex into a rollup for two. Kingston got the hot tag with a dropkick on Slapjack, a forearm for T-Bar and Kingston hit a leaping clothesline. Kingston with a boom drop leg drop and he taunted Ali. Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise kick on T-Bar on the apron. Kingston with an uppercut, Woods kick to the face, Woods held Slapjack and Kofi got the tag with the double foot stomp for the move they call Daybreak. That was it after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day’s Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston
Analysis: *** This was good with the pace really picking up after Kingston got the hot tag and he was on fire. The Retribution guys win sometimes in singles matches when they cheat due to having the numbers advantage, but they tend to lose matches like this, so they never get that much momentum. I liked the double team moves from New Day including the Daybreak finisher that looks devastating.
Post match, Kingston and Woods celebrated the win with Woods saying he wanted a match with Reckoning since he faced the other Retribution guys in the past. Ali yelled at his guys in the ring about losing the match.
There was a clip from Royal Rumble eight days earlier when Bianca Belair won the Rumble match. They showed the clip of her parents being excited about her win and her dad fell over the chair in the living room. Belair is on Raw later.
The legendary two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair made his entrance in a suit. Lacey Evans made her entrance in her ring gear as they walked together towards the ring.
A commercial aired for NXT Takeover Vengeance Day this Sunday, February 14. I’ll have a preview up a day or two before the show and then a live review on TJRWrestling on Sunday night.

(Commercial)
There was a graphic shown of the custom WWE Title that the company sent to the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They showed images of Tom Brady, former WWE guy Rob Gronkowski and others. Congrats to the Buccaneers. The game took place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which is also the site of WrestleMania 37 on April 10 and April 11.
Damian Priest was shown with Bad Bunny backstage. They are up later in the show.
Let’s Hear from Lacey Evans and Ric Flair
Ric Flair said that he is in the ring because he is not going to take orders from any woman, including his daughter. Flair said that he wants to be there and needs to be there. Flair said that he has found somebody that has all the physical tools and gifts, but Ric is going to train Lacey to become champion. Ric put over Charlotte for being the greatest female wrestler and she doesn’t need him, but he needs this. Ric said that this is just casual. Flair said that they are serving notice to Asuka that they are coming for that title and Lacey Evans will be the next Raw Women’s Champion.

Lacey said that while she thinks Ric is quite cute, she respects Ric and treats him like the legend he is unlike her ungrateful daughter. Evans said that Charlotte is a fool for turning away the greatest wrestler ever. Evans trashed Charlotte for talking to her father the way she does and Evans said she would never talk to her own father like that. Charlotte Flair showed up in her ring gear and robe looking ready for a match.
Charlotte Flair got into the ring with her father Ric and Lacey. Charlotte said if you really wanted to learn, you would work your ass off in the WWE Performance Center. Charlotte said that she has seen this kind of thing a million times. Charlotte wondered what Ric needs her to do. Charlotte said that she never said that she didn’t want Ric’s help. Charlotte said that she is trying to protect this legacy and to add on to this legacy. Charlotte told Ric she didn’t care who he managed, but don’t bring her down too. Evans said she just wanted to learn from him. Evans said that she would be a much better partner than Asuka. Ric suggested that they should become a tag team. Charlotte said that she has been trying to prove herself to her dad, to everybody at home and she called Lacey “Charlotte 2.0” as well. Charlotte said he already had a partner in Asuka. Lacey said that her goal is to become the Raw Women’s Champion. Lacey said that Ric has talked to WWE management and Lacey said if she beats Charlotte then she is the next challenger to Asuka’s Raw Women’s Title. Charlotte told her to have this match right now. Evans hit Charlotte with a microphone to knock her out of the ring. Evans threw Charlotte into the steel steps and told her she accepts the match. That led to a break.
Analysis: It was nice to hear Ric Flair explain why he was siding with Lacey Evans instead of his own daughter. This is the same sort of thing that Ric said on Raw Talk last week, so now they let him say it on Raw. It does make a bit of sense since Ric wants to be on the show and if he is with Charlotte, then she doesn’t want him there, but Lacey appreciates Ric’s legacy and advice. That’s all we want as fans. Explain things to us. It’s not that difficult to do. The promos were fine.

(Commercial)
There was a backstage scene with Miz and Morrison talking to Angel Garza, who faces Damian Priest with Bad Bunny later.
Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans (w/Ric Flair)
Evans targeted the left shoulder of Charlotte right away after Evans threw Charlotte into the steel steps before the break. Charlotte grabbed an armbar, Evans got to the ropes and Charlotte rolled through leading to a kick. Evans grabbed the left arm and sent Charlotte across the ring. Evans pulled the left arm against the top rope and then swept the leg. Evans jumped over the ropes with an elbow drop to the body. Charlotte with a clothesline, Evans got to the bottom rope and then Evans wrenched the left arm again. Evans did a hair pull to send Charlotte to the mat. Evans did it again. Charlotte did two kip ups after each of those moves. Evans did Flair strut, so Charlotte tossed Evans across the ring with an Exploder Suplex. Charlotte tried an attack on Evans, but Evans pulled Ric in front, so Charlotte stopped. Evans tripped up Charlotte on the apron leading to a break after about four minutes.

(Commercial)
The match returned with Charlotte avoiding a trip, but then Evans hit a jawbreaker. Evans with an armbar, Charlotte got out of that and hit a back elbow leading to Evans hitting a running clothesline. Evans hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Evans went up top, she jumped off with a moonsault and Flair got her knees up to block it. Charlotte unloaded with some hard chops to the chest. Evans was favoring her right knee a bit. Charlotte charged with something, Evans slapped her and then Charlotte hit a big boot for two. Charlotte argued with her father on the floor, so Evans did an armbar takedown on the floor. Back in the ring, Evans did a two count. Flair wanted Lacey to do a Figure Four Leglock, but Charlotte kicked Evans away and Charlotte hit a huge running Spear. Charlotte told Evans if he wanted to humiliate her, do it on his own time. Charlotte attacked Evans with punches and kicks. The referee tried to stop it, so Charlotte shoved him and she got disqualified. Charlotte attacked Evans some more after the bell. The match went 11 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Lacey Evans
Analysis: *1/2 This was pretty bad. There were several moments where it looked like they were off. There was that spot where Charlotte ran up to her, Lacey slapped her and then Lacey ran into a kick. That was messed up. Charlotte did sell the left arm/shoulder for most of the match, but then she forgot about it towards the end of the match and after the match. The finish was lame because you can tell they wanted to put Lacey over, yet they don’t want Charlotte losing matches clean, so that’s why there was a lame DQ finish.

Charlotte argued with Ric about what happened. Even though Charlotte lost by disqualification, Charlotte’s music played. That is strange.
Analysis: There was no mention of Evans winning the match, which should mean she gets a title shot against Asuka as they talked about before the match.
Edge is up next.
This Friday on Smackdown: Seth Rollins is back. Plus, Kevin Owens blindsided Roman Reigns last week, so what’s next for them? Find out on Smackdown.
(Commercial)

There was a video about Black History Month with Sasha Banks reading some Rosa Parks quotes. They showed a Bianca Belair tweet honoring Rosa Parks as well.
Let’s Hear from Edge
Edge made his entrance in street clothes. Edge talked about how last week was an amazing week because it all started with him winning the Royal Rumble. Edge said that now he gets to challenge for a title at WrestleMania. Edge talked about being on Raw last week to finish his business with Randy Orton, then he went to NXT and Smackdown. Edge said he was close to making his WrestleMania decision while noting that tonight, the landscape has changed because Drew McIntyre has to defend the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber. Edge talked about how he knows Finn Balor is NXT Champion, he knows Roman Reigns is WWE Champion and Edge said we don’t know who is going to walk out of Elimination Chamber as WWE Champion. Edge said he didn’t like Drew’s odds of leaving as the WWE Champion. Edge said it doesn’t make sense for him to make his decision for WrestleMania right now and said that he’ll wait until after Elimination Chamber.
The Miz made his entrance in a suit with John Morrison and they were joined by Angel Garza as well. Miz is Mr. Money in the Bank too. They got into the ring. Miz said he is more of a strategy guy. Miz said that even if Edge’s comeback leads to Edge winning a championship at WrestleMania, Miz will be there with the Money in the Bank briefcase and he’ll cash in on Edge so he can leave WrestleMania as champion.
Edge said that he is the guy that put the Money in the Bank briefcase on the map. Edge said that he’s out there as the master manipulator keeping three World Champions on high alert and Miz just told him what he’s going to do. Edge said that there are fundamental differences with the way they think. Edge talked about how Miz talks about being awesome, but Edge doesn’t need that because he did that 20 years ago. Edge said that he NEEDS to see this story through and he needs to be champion. Edge told Miz to think about it. Edge left while Garza has a match up next.
Analysis: Great promo work from Edge as usual. Ever since he came back, his promos have been amazing. Edge was always a good talker, but since he has also done a lot of acting work post-WWE, the promos have gotten better. Miz did the usual promo that he always does. I like that Edge is going to wait until after Elimination Chamber to make his intentions known. WrestleMania is over two months away. We don’t need to know the card yet.

(Commercial)
Angel Garza was in the ring for a match with The Miz and John Morrison joining him at ringside.
Bad Bunny made his entrance with Phillips noting he had the most-streamed album of 2020. Bad Bunny even got some pyro for his entrance. They replayed last week on Raw when Bad Bunny helped Damian Priest beat The Miz. Damian Priest made his entrance.
Damian Priest (w/Bad Bunny) vs. Angel Garza (w/The Miz and John Morrison)
Priest with a hard kick to the body followed by some punches including a big uppercut shot. Priest hit a spin kick. Morrison and Miz distracted Priest, so Garza did a shot to the throat. Garza with a clothesline and dropkick. Garza with a dropkick on Priest with Priest on the apron, so Miz kicked Priest in the face with the referee not seeing it. Garza tossed off the pants to reveal the tights, Priest got some momentum going with two big punches and kicks to the body. Priest with a punch followed by a spinning clothesline. Priest with a running elbow smash against the turnbuckle. Miz and Morrison did a distraction, so Garza hit a clothesline over the top to the floor. Morrison with a running knee on Garza. Bad Bunny grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase and slid it into the ring, so Morrison went after the briefcase. The referee John Cone ejected Miz and Morrison from ringside. Priest with the bell clap to the head of Garza and then Priest hit The Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ** An easy win for Priest once again with the assist from Bad Bunny, who outsmarted Miz/Morrison. Garza is a guy that should be booked better and utilized more often, but WWE doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. The long term plan is likely to have Priest/Bunny face Miz/Morrison at WrestleMania, so they are slowly going to keep building to that.

Drew McIntyre, the WWE Champion, was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Drew said that it’s WrestleMania season, expected the unexpected much like what Sheamus did to him last week. Drew said that Sheamus severed a 20-year friendship, but if he wanted a title shot then Sheamus could have asked. Drew said he had to focus on Randy Orton tonight. Drew talked about all of the things against him like Sheamus, Randy Orton, Edge hasn’t chosen his WrestleMania opponent, there’s AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy and it may seem like Drew is backed against the corner, but if anybody tries him then he is ready to tear their damn face off.
Analysis: I loved the intensity from McIntyre there. He is right that there a lot of people gunning for him now.
Riddle made his entrance for his match against Keith Lee.
(Commercial)

It’s official for Elimination Chamber: Asuka defends the Raw Women’s Title vs. Lacey Evans since Lacey won by DQ over Charlotte Flair earlier in the show.
Bianca Belair, the Royal Rumble winner, was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Belair said that this is her time. Belair said that a smart challenger like her never reveals her plans right away. Belair talked about Sasha Banks and Asuka while saying it could even be Lacey Evans. Asuka showed up with the Raw Women’s Title. Asuka congratulated Belair for winning the Royal Rumble, but that does not mean you are ready for Asuka. Belair said that she is ready for Asuka, but then she said Lacey Evans is not ready for Asuka. Belair said that if Asuka handles her business at Elimination Chamber then Asuka may see more of Belair on Raw.
Analysis: I think they will go with Belair vs. Banks at WrestleMania. I really don’t know for sure, though. I’m just saying that’s what I would do.
Riddle was in the ring as they showed a replay of Bobby Lashley beating up Riddle last week.
Keith Lee made his entrance as the opponent. MVP was on commentary with Bobby Lashley’s US Title on the announce table.

Riddle vs. Keith Lee
They did a fist bump since they are long time friends. Lee blocked an armbar on the left arm using his power and Riddle decided to regroup at that point. Lee picked up Riddle around the waist, but then Riddle got back to his feet. Riddle slapped on a sleeper hold with Lee managing to fight it off with a slam into the mat. Riddle with body shots to rock Lee, but then he charged right into Lee, who caught him by the throat. Riddle came back with kicks to the body, Riddle charged and Lee hit a huge shoulder block to send Riddle flying for a two count. Lee with some hard chops to the chest of Riddle followed by Lee doing a hard whip into the corner. Lee with a lefty forearm to the chest. Riddle with forearms, but then Lee hit an elbow and a forearm shot to the face. Riddle with a Pele Kick that sent Lee to the turnbuckle. Riddle with a forearm shot, but then Lee did the Grizzly Magnum double chop to the fest. Riddle jumped off the turnbuckle with a knee to the face for a two count. Riddle with a running kick to the chest. Riddle up top and he hit the Floating Bro splash on Lee for a two count. Riddle with three Broton splashes to Lee’s body. Lee blocked a knee strike and went for a Powerbomb, but Lee grabbed the right arm to take Lee down to his knees. Lee fought out of that and sent Riddle into the turnbuckle. Riddle with a jumping knee. Riddle charged again and Lee hit the Spirit Bomb for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Keith Lee
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a very good match full of action. Riddle got in a lot of offense, Lee kept using his power to keep him away and then Lee found a way to win. They worked really well together. I would have liked to see a few more minutes, but they made the most of the time given. Riddle keeps losing matches, so that sucks. I do like Lee winning, though. I want to see Riddle and Lee both do well.
Post match, Lee and Riddle acknowledged eachother as a sign of respect.  Bobby Lashley showed up and hit a huge spinebuster on Lee. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission on Riddle just like last week. Lashley knocked Lee off the apron and hit a clothesline on the floor. Lashley whipped Lee into the ring post. Lashley picked up the top half of the steel steps, ran right at Lee with them and Lee bumped over the announce table. Lashley stood tall on the announce table with the US Title in his hands. MVP was thrilled about it.

Analysis: Great booking for Lashley again. Lashley has been dominant for a long time now and this week not only did he beat up Riddle, but Lashley destroyed Keith Lee too. I assume it’s Lashley vs. Lee as the next feud for the US Title.
(Commercial)
There was a replay of Bobby Lashley’s dominance after the previous match with brutal attacks on Keith Lee and Riddle.
A video package aired about Drew McIntyre facing Randy Orton. They feuded from SummerSlam last August through the fall with several PPV matches, Orton won the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell and then Drew won it back on Raw prior to Survivor Series. They were the best face and heel on Raw, so it made sense for them to have such a long feud last year.
Randy Orton did a promo staring into the camera saying unfinished stands between him and Drew. Orton said that it is a fact that Drew took the title from him, but at Elimination Chamber, Orton will take it back. Orton said that WWE Title means everything to him. Orton said whether it’s punting legends, hitting the RKO or lighting The Fiend on fire, those actions end whatever unfinished business that he has. Orton said that at Elimination Chamber, destiny will come calling again and he’ll walk into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion.

Analysis: Solid promo from Orton as usual. I expect The Fiend to cost Orton the win in the Elimination Chamber match.
There were Tables surrounding the ring because of the next match.
Nia Jax made her entrance as half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions with Shayna Baszler. Jax is in a Tables Match after the break.
(Commercial)
Lana made her entrance with Naomi by her side. They showed replays of Nia Jax putting Lana through the Raw announce table nine times last year.
Tables Match: Nia Jax (w/Shayna Baszler) vs. Lana (w/Naomi)
Jax knocked down Lana easily and then Jax hit a huge Powerbomb. Jax hit another huge Powerbomb on Lana. Jax wrenched on the left leg of Lana over her shoulder in a Stretch Muffler submission. Jax sent Lana into the turnbuckle. Jax sent Lana throat first into the top rope. Lana avoided an elbow drop, then a corner charge and Lana did a rising kick to the head. Jax shoved Lana down. Jax set up for another Powerbomb, Lana used her legs to send Jax over the top to the apron. There was a table on the floor behind Jax. Lana with three kicks to the head and Jax hit a headbutt. Jax stepped on Lana’s throat against the apron. Jax with a running leg drop attempt on the apron, but Lana moved and Jax hit the apron. Jax yells out: "My hole!" That was actually pretty funny. Jax flipped the table over. Jax was on the floor, so Lana shoved Jax through a table that was against the barricade. That meant Lana won the match after about four minutes.
Winner: Lana
Analysis: *1/4 It was a dominant performance from Jax with Lana finding a way to win. I liked the story in terms of how it was booked because Lana took advantage after Jax missed the leg drop on the apron. Lana should have won too. Booking wise, it made sense.

Post match, Shayna Baszler tried to attack Lana from behind, but Naomi hit a springboard kick to knock Baszler down to send her to the floor. Naomi wanted a match right now.
(Commercial)
This week on WWE Raw Talk on WWE Network the guests include Bianca Belair, Mustafa Ali and Damian Priest. I watched it and Ali was terrific on the show.
Naomi (w/Lana) vs. Shayna Baszler
Baszler took control early on by kicking Naomi's arm and then stomping on the left arm. They said that Jax was helped to the back after going through a table. Baszler wrenched back on the left arm. Naomi with kicks to the arm, then she avoided a charge from Baszler and Naomi hit two dropkicks. Naomi with a headscissors and a slap to the face. Naomi with a sitout facebuster. Naomi went for a Stunner like move, but Baszler countered with a Kirifuda Clutch submission and Naomi got to the ropes. Baszler left the ring. She kicked Lana’s leg and arm. Baszler whipped Lana into the barricade. When Baszler got back in the ring, Naomi hit an inside cradle for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Naomi

Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put over Naomi after Baszler focused on Lana too much and that led to Naomi getting the inside cradle to win. They are trying to build up Naomi/Lana as threats after they earned a Women’s Tag Team Title match last week and then they each got singles wins on this show.
There was a video about the Elimination Chamber match. It featured some of the high spots in the Chamber match over the last few years. Next year will be 20 years for the Elimination Chamber since it debuted in 2002.
Randy Orton made his entrance with Phillips noting that Orton will be entering his eighth Elimination Chamber match. Orton did his in-ring posing for this main event that takes place after a break.
(Commercial)

A new match has been added for Elimination Chamber with Bobby Lashley defending the US Title against Keith Lee and Riddle.
Drew McIntyre made his impressive entrance with the WWE Championship around his waist.
Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
This is a non-title match. McIntyre tried going for a Claymore Kick to start the match, but Orton bailed to the floor. McIntyre tried going for the draping DDT, but Orton avoided it and McIntyre hit a clothesline. Sheamus’s music hit and he ran down to the ring. Orton with a shot to the back and then Orton sent McIntyre into the ring post. Orton whipped McIntyre into the other ring post as the show went to break.
(Commercial)

Orton and McIntyre exchanged strikes as Sheamus watched on from ringside. Orton sent McIntyre out of the ring and Orton gave McIntyre the belly to back slam on the announce table. Back in the ring, Orton slapped on a chinlock. They exchanged punches, Orton with a forearm, McIntyre with punches and Orton with a kick. McIntyre ducked a charge leading to an overhead suplex. McIntyre with another overhead suplex across the ring. McIntyre dropped Orton with a neckbreaker and then McIntyre kipped up to show he was fired up. Orton countered a DDT attempt into a jackknife cover for two. McIntyre hit a spinebuster for two. McIntyre went to the top rope, Orton met him with punches and that led to a superplex by Orton off the middle ropes. Orton loves doing that move as he covered for a two count. McIntyre with a headbutt, then charge, Orton caught McIntyre on the apron and Orton hit a draping DDT. Orton set up for the RKO, McIntyre avoided it and McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT. Sheamus went into the ring with a Brogue Kick, Drew moved and it Sheamus hit Orton. That led to the DQ finish. The match went 12 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Randy Orton
Analysis: *** It was the usual good match between two guys that have wrestled so many times in the last year. I didn’t love the finish, but I think a disqualification ending was the obvious booking here. It doesn’t really bother me that much because I figured it was coming. The weird thing is that there was no sign of Alexa Bliss, who has had issues with Orton and they didn’t even mention Bliss distracting Orton last week. Anyway, it’s a rare loss for McIntyre, but it was cheap, so Drew wasn’t hurt by it.
Right after that Brogue Kick from Sheamus, McIntyre hit Sheamus with a Claymore Kick. McIntyre stood tall with the WWE Title as his music played even though Orton won that match. End show.
Analysis: Drew got payback on Sheamus after Sheamus hit him with the Brogue Kick last week. Simple as that. Easy way to end the show.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Drew McIntyre
  2. Keith Lee/Riddle
  3. Randy Orton

The Scoreboard
7 out of 10
Last week: 6.25
2021 Average: 5.75

Final Thoughts
This week’s Raw was better than it has been to start the year. I'd say it was pretty good overall and my 7 out of 10 score is the high for Raw in 2021. There were better matches for the most part, the storylines were more serious without the goofy shit that holds Raw back sometimes (aside from stoner Riddle's bizarre "Air Bud" segment) and the promos were strong all night long. Really good promos from Edge, Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton and Sheamus to name a few. Even Ric Flair's promo was fine because at least he explained the silly storyline he is in against his daughter.
There wasn't one standout match, but I really liked Keith Lee vs. Riddle for a match that was under ten minutes and Bobby Lashley's post match attack was great. Lashley has been booked so well. Plus, solid matches with AJ Styles beating Jeff Hardy and the McIntyre/Orton match was fine before the predictable DQ finish caused by Sheamus. I don't mind Bad Bunny being out there supporting Damian Priest. It's working well. The women's matches were not very interesting this week. Charlotte and Lacey felt off from the moment it began. The others were really short matches although Ni Jax shouting "My hole!" after an apron bump was pretty funny.
We learned about three matches at Elimination Chamber as well. I'm not sure why Shane McMahon needed to appear with Adam Pearce, but it's WrestleMania season, so that also means it's McMahon season. I have a feeling we'll see plenty more of Shane in the weeks ahead. Lastly, no sign of Alexa Bliss's creepy character this week. That was a bit of a surprise.


The next WWE pay-per-view on WWE Network is Elimination Chamber on Sunday, February 21. Here is what we know so far.
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles vs. The Miz vs. Sheamus
United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) (w/MVP) vs. Keith Lee vs. Riddle
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Lacey Evans (w/Ric Flair)

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John Canton
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