The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/21/20 Review


Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review. This week’s show is a follow up to Sunday’s Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) PPV (read my review here) that was a very good show in terms of in-ring quality although as is always the case with WWE, some booking was questionable. Before I get into the wrestling talk, I just want to wish you a Merry Christmas on Friday if you’re celebrating. I know a lot of us have to celebrate in a different way this year due to COVID-19 affecting our lives and we won’t get to see as much family as we’re used to. It’s tough, but we’ve all been getting used to this bizarre year of 2020 and doing the best we can to get through it. This is just another hurdle for us to get past. Be smart and enjoy life as much as you can.
From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1439 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 Raw intro video aired to begin the show with a “Happy Holidays” greeting on the screen. The show took place at The Trop with Christmas trees all around the building because it's Christmas week. The announce team of Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show with a rundown of what's coming up on this week's show.

Let's Hear from Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in her ring gear and robe along with the Women's Tag Team Title around her waist. They showed highlights of what happened at TLC.
Flair did a promo saying that she is in the ThunderDome and what would be the ThunderDome be without The Queen? On her first night, she walked into the ThunderDome as a champion because that’s who she is at her core and nothing has changed in these last six weeks. Flair said when a friend asks for help and there’s something in it for Flair, all they have to do is ask. Flair introduced her tag team championship partner Asuka.
That led to Asuka’s entrance with the Raw Women’s Title and Women’s Tag Team Title around her waist. Asuka said that the Empress of Tomorrow is now the double champion of today since she’s the Raw Women’s Champion and Women’s Tag Team Champion. Asuka spoke in Japanese for a bit while noting that Nia and Shayna were not ready for Asuka or her partner, “The Queen” Charlotte Flair. That led to Flair asking about that Raw Women’s Championship…and here’s the interruption.
Nia Jax made her entrance with Shayna Baszler by her side. Jax sarcastically said that it was so good to see Charlotte after taking six months to cure that arm. Jax mocked Flair’s robotic voice, so Flair pointed out that she kicked her ass last night. Jax claimed they had a naughty and nice list with Shayna saying that they hand out Season’s Beatings – just ask Lana or Kairi.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke interrupted with each woman in pink and black attire. Rose asked Brooke if something looked different about her, then Brooke asked her the same question and then they noted that Nia and Shayna look a little different. Brooke said that Shayna looks like Rudolph with a nose job while Rose said that speaking of reindeer, the only thing Jax is missing is a set of antlers. They agreed that what’s different is that they aren’t the tag team champions anymore.

Charlotte Flair said maybe they should get a referee, so they can have this match and Charlotte can watch it with Asuka. The match was already advertised. This was a way to do it now.
Analysis: Some of the trash talk here was some of the lame, scripted WWE comedy that makes fans groan when they hear it. No matter who delivers the lines, it’s going to sound too forced and that’s what happened here.
There was a commercial for Raw Legends Night for the first Raw of 2021 with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Big Show, Beth Phoenix, Torrie Wilson and many more. That episode will be on January 4.
(Commercial)

Charlotte Flair and Asuka joined the announce team for this match.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
If you could win my Star of the Night just based on an outfit, I think Mandy is already the winner. Big fan. Just saying. Asuka said she was rooting for Sexy Muscle Friends aka Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. Good name for that team. Baszler took down Rose, then Rose came back with a waistlock and Rose hit a kick to the face for two. Rose with shoulder tackles to the ribs with Brooke getting the tag leading to a double suplex on Baszler. Jax with a headbutt, then a corner charge that didn’t connect, but Brooke sold it anyway, so Jax hit another headbutt. Jax tossed Baszler across the ring along with another corner splash against the turnbuckle. This time Jax missed the corner splash because Brooke moved and Brooke got a headscissors while Jax was holding onto her legs. Rose tagged in with a knee to the back of Jax to send her out of the ring. Rose jumped off the apron onto Jax and Brooke jumped off the apron onto Baszler. Rose and Brooke did some flexing in front of the champions. Rose was on the apron, Jax knocked her down and Jax whipped Rose into the barricade leading to a break.
(Commercial)

Rose was in the ring with Jax with Rose hitting forearms, then a kick to the knee and Jax knocked down Rose with a clothesline. Baszler tagged back in with punches on Rose to keep her down. Baszler drove Rose’s right knee into the mat followed by a kneebar submission. Jax was back in with stomps to the left leg. Rose stunned Jax with a forearm, but then Jax ran over Rose with a clothesline. Jax missed a leg drop when Rose moved and Baszler got the tag. Rose broke free with two clotheslines and a suplex with Asuka getting excited about it. Rose with a back elbow and forearms while Asuka said she loved the Sexy Muscle Friends. Me too. Rose hit a knee on Baszler and Brooke tagged in with a flipping splash for a two count. Brooke went up top and hit a Senton Bomb on Baszler, but Jax broke up the pin and sent Brooke into the barricade. Rose with a knee off the apron on Jax and Brooke with a handspring elbow on Jax into the ring post. Brooke with a rollup on Baszler for two, but Baszler came back with an armbreaker. Brooke sent the back of Baszler into a two count, but then Baszler caught Brooke in the Kirifuda Clutch as Brooke tapped out to give Baszler’s team the win after about 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler
Analysis: *3/4 I’m all for WWE trying to feature the women’s tag team division more, but this felt a bit longer than needed and had some sloppy moments. I still liked how Rose was selling as the face in peril, Brooke did pretty well after the hot tag and the Baszler/Jax team sold when needed to tell the story. The finish was a bit sudden, but not that surprising since WWE likes booking Jax and Baszler strong. Asuka repeatedly saying “Sexy Muscle Friends” on commentary was a highlight of the match.

After the match, Jax and Baszler taunted the champions on commentary. Rose dropkicked Baszler off the apron to the floor while Brooke/Rose dumped Jax over the top to the floor.
There were highlights shown from TLC when The Hurt Business team of Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander beat The New Day to become Raw Tag Team Champions.
The Hurt Business foursome was shown walking in suits as they walked up to a guy wearing a New Day t-shirt. They ripped off the New Day shirt and then Shelton Benjamin put the Hurt Business shirt on him. They are up next.
(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: The 12th Annual WWE Johnny Awards column (my biggest column of the year every year) is going to be posted next week on Monday, December 28. It’s always fun for me to do even in a difficult year like 2020.  Over the last week, I've written two retro PPV reviews as well. Here's WWF In Your House 10 Mind Games 1996 featuring an incredible main event between WWE Champion Shawn Michaels and Mankind. It was one of the best matches in WWE history that ended in a DQ. I loved that match back in 1996 and it still holds up well nearly 25 years later. I also reviewed WWF In Your House 13 Final Four 1997 featuring an exciting main event between Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Undertaker and a bloody Vader during a fun time in WWE. I’ll keep doing the retro reviews on TJRWrestling regularly. Here’s a list of

VIP Lounge with The Hurt Business
The Hurt Business foursome of MVP, US Champion Bobby Lashley and Raw Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander entered the ring that had a black carpet with leather couches as four guys stood in the ring. MVP reminded us that the VIP Lounge is for champions like his guys that are better than you.
Benjamin said that they showed why they are better than any tag team in this locker room and then Alexander spoke up saying especially the New Day. Alexander said that “Prime Alexander” is here now. They’re surrounded by champagne and custom made suits. Lashley said that they are the most dominant force in WWE because Benjamin and Alexander have proven their dominance. Lashley said that there is not a man alive that can beat him for the US Title.
MVP said to commemorate the occasion, he invited a photographer, so a woman photographer went into the ring to take a picture of the Hurt Business foursome as they held up their titles in front of them. While that was going on, R-Truth was behind them holding up the 24/7 Title in a photobombing moment.
That led to members of the Raw roster running around the ring to go after R-Truth to try to win the 24/7 Title from him.
Jeff Hardy showed up with Riddle that is also sometimes known as the Hardy Bros. MVP said that they weren’t invited as members of the roster were still running around after R-Truth. Riddle said congratulations on the big win and he’s really digging the celebration, but he feels like they’re doing a couple of things wrong. Riddle said that they don’t need to buy champagne, have some tasty treats, listen to Joe Rogan, watch Dave Chappelle and escape the grind that life is. Riddle said that there is no reason to spread negativity because we’re all carbon matter that’s on a rock hurling through the void of space.

MVP told Riddle to shut up and nobody cares what he’s talking about. I agree with him.
Jeff Hardy said that there are more important things to life than money. Hardy said that they would rather live with their pride than live with greed. Hardy said that if they are going to beat Bobby and MVP tonight then they are going to fight with the one thing that is worth more than anything they can ever buy – their faith. Jeff’s music played to end it.
Analysis: This felt like filler. Not a good use of time. The tag team match was already announced. I liked the promos from the Hurt Business and laughed at R-Truth’s photobomb moment. I think the promo from Riddle was bizarre, but I guess that’s what his character is supposed to be since he’s a stoner guy. I just thought the dialogue was poor. This show is so long that they need to put segments on like this to kill some time. I did understand why The Hurt Business got time to celebrate, but if this was Smackdown I doubt a segment like that would make it to air when they have less time for the show.

This week on NXT is a Very Gargano Christmas, plus Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defend the NXT Tag Team Titles against Killian Dain and Drake Maverick.
(Commercial)
Angel Garza was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber before his match. He gave Sarah a rose while saying he was a gift to all the women in the world and said maybe after his win she can interview him under the mistletoe. I guess he got tired of flirting with Charly Caruso for a long time, which led to nothing.

Angel Garza vs. Drew Gulak
Garza threw his pants at Gulak since Garza wrestles in trunks. Garza tied up Gulak in the ropes leading to a punch and a running knee to the ribs. Garza with a hiptoss into a pin attempt for two. Garza with a boot to the face, then a superkick and Garza hit the Wing Clipper for the pinfall win after about two minutes. I missed some details, but you got the point.
Winner by pinfall: Angel Garza
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put over Garza, who is a star on the rise while Gulak isn’t pushed on Raw. I’m not sure if Garza’s “lothario” lover gimmick is going to work that well, but he’s a talented young wrestler that has a bright future.
There was a video recap of the WWE Title match with Drew McIntyre retaining his WWE Title. The Miz cashed in Money in the Bank during the match with AJ Styles, yet McIntyre found a way to win.
AJ Styles was shown walking backstage with the big man Omos as Charly Caruso showed up asking him about the match at TLC. Styles had a visible scar on the left side of his face. Styles complained about how The Miz screwed him out of the WWE Championship. Styles said he’s on Miz TV so he can hear what he has to say for himself.
(Commercial)

Miz TV with AJ Styles
Here’s another talk show segment after the talk show segment that happened two segments earlier. The Miz said he had a chance to become a two-time WWE Champion, but he failed himself and his family, so for that he is sorry. Morrison said that’s not the only apology that needs to be delivered tonight. Miz introduced AJ Styles as his guest.
AJ Styles made his entrance in his wrestling gear while Miz and Morrison were in suits while Omos was with Styles as usual.
The Miz said that he took advantage of an opportunity to be a part of the match. Styles told Miz to shut his mouth saying he was selfish and incompetent. Styles blamed Miz for costing him the WWE Championship and they both lost because of Miz.
That led to Miz getting fired up saying that ten years ago he cashed in Money in the Bank, he was going to do it again this year and it didn’t happen. Miz said for 15 years he dedicated himself to be the poster child of WWE, yet nobody respects him and nobody cares. Miz said that maybe people would respect him as the WWE Champion while claiming he would have taken Raw to new heights. Miz said he can only make this right, so from the bottom of his heart, with his soul, with every ounce of dignity, he apologizes and claims they were both robbed last night. Miz said that it’s the holidays, so let’s make this right. Miz wanted to present Styles an opportunity to co-star in a new installment of The Marine.
That led to a poster for The Marine 7 with The Miz, Omos and a small version of AJ Styles. That was mildly amusing.

Omos pointed out that technically, Morrison is on the one that cashed in the Money in the Bank contract, which was true. Morrison told Styles he was going to lose anyway. The Miz walked around the ring pondering that information as Styles and Morrison argued in the ring. The Miz spoke up saying that Omos is right. Miz reminded Morrison that he did cash in the contract, so Miz said that he is the only one that can cash in the Money in the Bank contract. The Miz said he wants the Money in the Bank contract back because he deserves it.
Analysis: I mentioned that in my TLC review. They had Morrison cash in the contract because he’s the one that handed the referee the briefcase, not Miz, so I’m not surprised that it was mentioned here.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with the WWE Title around his waist. McIntyre said that they have a tag team match later tonight, so if anybody takes them out then it’s going to be him. McIntyre said he had himself a celebration after the TLC match while reminding Styles about the permanent reminder on the side of his face. McIntyre said he celebrated with Sheamus and Keith Lee, so they had some drinks and he had a story called the Nightmare After TLC. McIntyre read off a napkin, then Sheamus and Keith Lee showed up to read their parts about how this was a phenomenal nightmare. Sheamus and Lee didn’t remember because Sheamus said everything that happens after 3 am is hard to remember.

The trio of McIntyre, Sheamus and Lee got into the ring to go after Styles, Miz and Lee. McIntyre gave Morrison a suplex across the ring and a clothesline by McIntyre on Miz. Styles hit a dropkick on Lee into Sheamus, so Sheamus was mad about that and Sheamus argued with Lee. The heels retreated at that point.
Analysis: It set up the tag team match for later with issues between Sheamus and Lee, who are both friends of McIntyre. Is it really that interesting? I don't think so, but that's what it is.

There was a video showing the issues between Ricochet and the Retribution group that is a storyline that has been going on for several months. Mustafa Ali wants Ricochet to join the group while Ricochet constantly refuses the offer.
Retribution made their entrance with T-Bar in a match up next.
(Commercial)
There was a backstage argument between Sheamus and Keith Lee with Drew McIntyre showing up to calm them down. Drew told Sheamus to go calm down while adding that he’ll take care of this. McIntyre told Lee that Sheamus is like a brother to him. McIntyre told Lee that if they get on the same page, imagine the damage they can do together. Lee was cool with it and they touched fists.
Analysis: Sheamus could also watch a replay of Styles hitting a dropkick on Lee that sent Lee into Sheamus, but we apparently are supposed to assume nobody can watch things that happen on a television show.

Ricochet made his entrance for another match against a Retribution member.
Ricochet vs. T-Bar (w/Mustafa Ali, Mace, Slapjack and Reckoning)
It’s a shame that Dominik Dijakovic doesn’t get to be himself on the show and has to be this T-Bar character. Ricochet with some quick kicks early on, but then T-Bar caught him with some knees to the ribs followed by a toss across the ring. T-Bar bounced off the ropes with a running clothesline for two. T-Bar with a chinlock, Ricochet sent him to the ropes and Ricochet hit a dropkick on Slapjack on the apron and then Ricochet dove onto Mace. T-Bar took advantage with a boot to the face. Ali told Ricochet to think with his mind and said he belonged with them. Ricochet punched Ali, but T-Bar pulled him off and T-Bar hit a slam off the shoulders into a knee to the jaw for the pinfall win. It was like a GTS, but it was not the same move. The match went about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: T-Bar
Analysis: *1/2 It was okay for a quick match to have another Retribution member get a win over Ricochet after Ricochet was distracted by all the guys at ringside.

Post match, T-Bar did a promo telling Ricochet they are not his enemy, they are his ally. T-Bar told Ricochet to join them or Ricochet will end his existence.
Analysis: The story just goes on and on. I don’t know if Ricochet is going to join the group or find some allies to fight them. A lot of faces on WWE TV don’t seem to have allies since there are a lot of heel beatdowns on every show.
There was an interview with The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods from earlier in the day saying that they’ll be back on top of the mountain. Woods talked about how they’ve lost before and they have come back to win again. Kingston said that he lost some teeth during the match while saying they’ll bounce back because that is what they do.
Analysis: While New Day winning the Tag Team Titles again seems possible, I don’t think it would be a bad thing if Kofi and Xavier became singles wrestlers to go after individual gold. I don’t want New Day to break up. Just saying they can do things other than going for tag team gold. Then again, Raw is lacking in terms of teams, so I assume they’ll still be a team.
The Hurt Business entered for their tag team match.
This Friday on Christmas Smackdown: Roman Reigns defends the Universal Championship vs. Kevin Owens in a Steel Cage Match, plus Sami Zayn defends the Intercontinental Title against Big E and Asuka/Charlotte Flair defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles. That’s a big lineup for Christmas night. They tape it on Tuesday evening.

(Commercial)
The Hardy Bros team of Jeff Hardy and Riddle entered with a slow-motion replay of Riddle kicking off the flip flops.
The Hurt Business – Bobby Lashley and Montel Vontavious Porter (w/Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) vs. The Hardy Bros (Jeff Hardy and Riddle)
Hardy went after Lashley right away, then Riddle tagged in and Lashley sent Riddle into the turnbuckle. MVP worked over Riddle in the corner a bit, then Lashley tagged in and hit a neckbreaker. Riddle kicked Lashley towards the turnbuckle, Hardy tagged in and hit an atomic drop on Lashley followed by a dropkick. Hardy hit the jump of Riddle’s back for the “Broetry” in Motion on Lashley. Hardy lifted up Riddle for a floating bro splash on MVP. Hardy kicked Riddle on the floor and Riddle kicked MVP while on the apron, which led to a break.
(Commercial)
The show returned with Hardy going for a move off the turnbuckle on Lashley, but Lashley countered him by shoving him off the turnbuckle to the floor. Hardy bumped onto the apron and the steel steps in what looked like a painful bump. Hardy slapped on an armbar on Hardy and MVP tagged in with some pin attempts. MVP with a shot to the throat followed by a jumping knee along with the Ballin’ elbow drop. MVP went for the running boot, Hardy moved and Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind attack off the top. Riddle with a hot tag leading to a rising kick, a running forearm and an overhead suplex. Riddle with a broton splash on MVP followed by a Fisherman’s Suplex with Lashley breaking up the pin. Lashley tagged in with a flatliner on Riddle. Lashley went for a stalling suplex, Riddle with a knee to the face and Hardy tagged in while Riddle hit a knee strike. Riddle hit a dive over the top onto Benjamin and Alexander on the floor. Hardy kicked MVP off the apron, then Hardy missed a Swanton Bomb off the top when Lashley moved and Hardy blocked a Spear with a knee lift. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission with Jeff giving up to give Lashley the win after about 12 minutes. They showed Riddle out of the ring, so maybe he was being held there by Benjamin and Alexander after he hit them with the dive.

Winners by submission: The Hurt Business – Bobby Lashley and Montel Vontavious Porter
Analysis: *** This was a good tag team match with Hardy taking some crazy bumps as usual. I liked Hardy’s chemistry with Riddle when they got some offense in the match. Lashley and MVP were dominant for much of the match while Lashley continues to look strong as the US Champion. A lot of champions in WWE lose tag team matches like that, but not Lashley. I feel like this is going to lead to Riddle challenging Lashley for the US Title although they haven’t booked him in a strong enough way to really get him that title shot. It still feels like it is coming at some point soon.

There was a backstage scene with AJ Styles arguing with The Miz and John Morrison to show they were not getting along.
A commercial was shown for Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions interview with Drew McIntyre on WWE Network.
Analysis: I watched it on Monday. Good stuff with Drew sharing a lot of info about things I knew and other things he explained well. Austin always gets the best out of his guests because he’s so relatable due to his success in WWE as well. I liked how Austin thought it was amazing that Drew used to sleep with Steve Austin bed sheets. Hey Steve, you were a very big deal! Steve is still so humble about it. That’s cool.
(Commercial)

Elias was in the ring with Jaxson Ryker for a musical performance. Elias spoke about how his 2020 has been a whirlwind while thanking the fans for listening to his album Universal Truth. Elias said that Ryker has been reborn in the Universal Truth and tonight we test how powerful his music can be. Lucha House Party entered.
Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias) vs. Gran Metalik (w/Lince Dorado)
Ryker decked Metalik with a shoulder tackle while Elias sat on the top playing his guitar and singing. Metalik sent Ryker into the turnbuckle while giving Elias a hurricanrana and Dorado had the guitar. Ryker hit a running double axehandle to the chest followed by a sitout Chokebomb for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Jaxson Ryker
Analysis: 1/2* Poor Metalik. He’s a great wrestler, but obviously, WWE prefers a bigger, more muscular guy like Ryker. It’s not that interesting to me.
A video package aired about the Firefly Inferno Match with Randy Orton beating The Fiend by lighting The Fiend on fire. After the match, Orton poured gasoline on The Fiend and lit him on fire as a Fiend mannequin burned in the ring to end the show.
Randy Orton was shown walking backstage with a sadistic smile on his face.
(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Randy Orton
Randy Orton made his entrance towards the ring as the camera zoomed in on his face with Orton having a big smile on his face after lighting a man on fire at TLC. There were a lot of boos as Orton entered the ring for a promo.
Orton said that he has been called many different things in his life: sick, twisted, deranged and demented. Orton said that at TLC, he proved he is each and every one of those things because he burned The Fiend alive. Orton said that a normal man or person would have regrets, but The Fiend is no man and Randy is not normal. Orton said that he enjoyed every single second as he stood by and watched The Fiend burn. Orton kneeled down in the ring point to exactly where it happened. Orton said if he closes his eyes he can see it and smell it because the stench of burning flesh had a tendency to linger. Orton said that he didn’t sleep because the voices in his head were gone because the only thing he hears is the sound of The Fiend gasping for his last breath as that fire grew hotter and those flames grew higher.
Orton stared into the camera saying that The Fiend is gone and The Fiend is no more. Orton said that he is the evil son of a bitch that took him out as the fans booed some more.
The lights slowly went out in the arena as Orton left the ring. When the lights came back on, there was a purple light around the ring with Alexa Bliss on “A Moment of Bliss” swing set.
Bliss said that “he” built this for her. For now, we can call it Alexa’s playground and she invited Randy to play. Bliss said that Orton is probably wondering where he is – she said he could be at a tanning salon or maybe at the beach, but she hopes he doesn’t get sunburned. Bliss said that he could be at the restaurant eating his favorite food barbecue as she laughed. Orton was in the ring with her. Bliss said that you can still see and smell what Randy did to his flesh. Bliss said that it’s almost as if he absorbed into the mat, under the ground, under each layer of the Earth. Bliss said that “he” is home, but if he ever leaves home then he’ll come back to Alexa’s playground and if he does then it will be like nothing you have ever seen before. The lights slowly went out again. When the lights came on, the camera was on the announcers talking about how they didn’t understand what happened.
Analysis: I thought Orton’s promo was great as a vicious heel that showed no remorse for what he did at TLC. The Bliss stuff was obviously a pre-tape kind of deal that they edit into the show because they turn the ThunderDome crowd off at that point. Anyway, it’s a tease for The Fiend to come back at some point in the future perhaps with a different look or maybe looking the same. It reminds me of what WWE would do with The Undertaker in the 1990s and even into the 2000s at some points when he would be off for a few months before making his return. Since The Fiend is a babyface (apparently), he’s the guy in that role now. I would expect The Fiend back at some point in January leading to perhaps a match with Orton at Royal Rumble or maybe he takes out Orton during the Rumble match. I think something like that makes sense. This storyline is obviously not over.

The video aired showing how Asuka and Charlotte Flair won the Women’s Tag Team Titles at TLC. This was the second time this was shown.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance for tag team action.
The WWE Happy Holidays video aired.
(Commercial)
Asuka made her entrance as the double champion with the Raw Women’s Championship and the Women’s Tag Team Title.
The team of Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce were interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber prior to their match. They were teaming up, yet they still don’t get along. After Evans entered, Royce told Sarah that she is the one that got them this match. Evans and Royce made their entrances for the match.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka vs. Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce
This is not a title match. Asuka tried for an Asuka Lock early on, but Evans made the tag and tripped up Asuka. There was a kick to the gut by Asuka to Evans and then Royce tagged in with a spin kick on Asuka for two.
(Commercial)

The heels were still in control with Royce working over Asuka with elbows, Evans tagged herself in and jumped over the top with an elbow drop. Royce tagged back in and Asuka hit her with a German Suplex. Flair got the hot tag with a clothesline, a belly to back suplex and chop city for Flair on Royce. Flair with a backbreaker leading to a boot to the face. Flair with an overhead suplex on Evans to send her out of the ring. Royce slapped on a half crab submission on Flair, Evans prevented Asuka from breaking it up, but then Asuka got in the ring with a kick to the head. Asuka with a kick on Evans on the floor. Royce got a two count on Flair, but then Flair tripped her up onto her back. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Royce for the tapout win after about eight minutes.
Winners by submission: Charlotte Flair and Asuka
Analysis: *3/4 An easy win for the new champions. I don’t think it needed to be as long as it was since I doubt any fans thought Evans/Royce would win here. Asuka sold well leading to Flair getting the hot tag and then the easy finish from there. Basic tag team action. Whatever the story plan is for Evans/Royce really isn't working.
The trio of McIntyre, Sheamus and Lee were shown getting ready in the backstage area.
(Commercial)

There was a video featuring WWE superstar Titus O’Neil where he gifted a woman with a new car because of the work she did in her community. It was from the Bullard Family Foundation that Titus has. He’s a great guy that WWE just doesn’t much on television.
The Miz was backstage talking on his phone saying that John Morrison is the one that cashed in the contract, but he’s the one that has to cash it in. John Morrison was warming up beside him. Miz said he is sick of being mistreated, so get him back his contract. AJ Styles walked up to him saying get off the phone because they have a match, so Styles ended the call for The Miz and Miz wasn’t happy about it.
The WWE Champion Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event. The ring was surrounded by decorations including Christmas trees, presents and weapons since it’s a Street Fight. Sheamus was up first as one of McIntyre’s partners.
(Commercial)

This week on Raw Talk on WWE Network the guests are Charlotte Flair, Ricochet, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin.
Drew McIntyre was eating a cookie from a table at ringside. Keith Lee was up next as the final partner for the babyface team. McIntyre got Sheamus and Lee to touch fists to show they are on the same page, at least in theory.
The Miz was up first with John Morrison followed by AJ Styles with Omos. 
Holiday Street Fight: Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Keith Lee vs. The Miz, John Morrison and AJ Styles (w/Omos)

This is a Holiday Street Fight, yet the wrestlers were standing on the apron tagging in and out. In a Street Fight, you shouldn’t have to tag since there are no disqualifications. They should have just booked this as a match with no tags.
Morrison started with Sheamus with a strong forearm to the face to rock Sheamus and Miz choked Sheamus across the middle rope. Styles tagged in, Sheamus met him with punches and a big clothesline. Morrison was back in, Sheamus dragged him to the turnbuckle and McIntyre stomped on the hand of Morrison to prevent a tag. Morrison kicked McIntyre’s left knee since McIntyre had the knee taped up after the injury storyline at TLC. Morrison with a leg whip on McIntyre followed by a headbutt. Lee tagged in as he and McIntyre tossed Morrison across the ring with a long-distance suplex. Sheamus tagged in, then hit a double shoulder tackle with Lee, a double elbow on Miz and a double hiptoss on Styles. Sheamus and Lee aggressively congratulated eachother on the teamwork with hard shots to the body, but McIntyre told them to relax and stay on the same page.
(Commercial)

Sheamus was in the ring with Styles with Sheamus hitting an elbow and bringing Miz into the ring. Morrison set up Morrison against the ropes and Sheamus/Drew each hit forearms to the chest of their opponents. Lee drove Miz and Morrison into the side of the ring. Lee whipped Morrison into presents and a tree while Sheamus grabbed Styles in a chinlock. Styles was battling Sheamus as Morrison threw a present and Sheamus hit a shoulder into the ring post because Styles moved. Miz and Morrison went after Sheamus, so McIntyre joined in with a hard chop on Morrison. Sheamus went up top, Styles distracted him and Morrison shoved Sheamus off the top and through a table at ringside. The replay showed that Sheamus used his arms to break the table rather than most of his body. Styles was throwing cookies at his opponents. Miz was next in for his team as he dropped Sheamus with a DDT for two. Styles was back in with a headbutt to Sheamus followed by a jumping kick to the head. Styles with a kick on Lee on the apron, so Sheamus came back with a White Noise slam on Styles. McIntyre got the hot tag with belly to belly suplexes on Miz and Morrison across the ring. McIntyre did a reverse Alabama Slam on Morrison onto Miz. There was a kick to the knee by The Miz and then McIntyre hit a spinebuster on Miz for two as Styles broke up the pin. Lee with a shoulder tackle on Styles, Morrison with a jumping kick on Lee, Sheamus with a backbreaker on Morrison, Miz kicked Sheamus and McIntyre knocked Miz out of the ring with a clothesline. Styles hit McIntyre with a candy cane kendo stick on McIntyre, who left the ring and sent Styles into a Christmas tree. McIntyre gave Styles a Powerbomb through a table that had some food including egg nog as well. Sheamus and Morrison had a kendo stick battle on the floor. McIntyre set up in the ring, Sheamus tagged himself in and Lee tagged himself in, which upset Sheamus. Lee shoved Morrison off the apron onto Omos, who slammed Morrison through a table at ringside. Lee with a Spirit Bomb on Miz for the pinfall win for his team after 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Keith Lee
Analysis: *** It was strange that they had a Street Fight match with no disqualifications and no countouts, yet they barely used any weapons while also following tag team rules. If there’s a no DQ, why do you have to follow the rules with regular tags? It makes no sense. Anyway, Lee got the win for the team after he lost a handicap match to Miz/Morrison, so there’s some 50/50 booking as usual in WWE. I liked a lot of the work in the match. It was just confusing with what was legal and wasn’t legal in the match.
Post match, McIntyre held up the hands of his partners and Sheamus gave Lee a Brogue Kick. McIntyre got in Sheamus’ face to ask why he did that and Sheamus said nothing. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: The friendship of McIntyre and Sheamus is going to fracture at some point. It’s a matter of when. I think Braun Strowman might be Drew’s next challenger, but it could be Sheamus too. Maybe WWE will save Drew and Sheamus for after that or later in 2021. I’m not sure when it might happen.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Drew McIntyre
  2. AJ Styles
  3. Bobby Lashley/MVP

The Scoreboard
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.25
2020 Average: 6.19

Final Thoughts
I was hoping for a better show after a good TLC PPV on Sunday, but this was nothing special. It felt like an average Raw with too many promos, some short matches and not a lot of excitement. I’m pretty exhausted with the Raw brand these days. I hope they turn the corner for the better soon. It’s not a talent issue necessarily. The creative team has to be better.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 31. There’s nothing announced although we know there will be a Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble match on the show.


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John Canton
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