This is the first Raw of 2020 and I did wonder what type of show we were going to get. Raw was up and down in 2019 and I felt like they ended on a strong note. Yes, I do mean that the Lana/Lashley wedding was a strong note. Let’s see how the red brand kicked off 2020 with their first show of the decade.
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman In-Ring
I think we were all wondering what Heyman and Lesnar had to say here and I was actually surprised by the announcement. Heyman started going into his spiel about Lesnar and his accomplishments and it was more of the same we have heard from him. He spoke about how nobody is worthy of facing him and then dropped quite the announcement. He said that Brock will be entering the Royal Rumble and will be entering number one. This is undoubtedly being done to set up his probably Wrestlemania opponent and the possibilities are endless. I wonder how long Brock will be in the Rumble and I hope we get some sort of faceoff between him and Matt Riddle. Riddle has been calling out Lesnar for years so it would be fitting to see them go at it for a bit.
Rey Mysterio In Gorilla
The problem with this promo is that half of it was in silence because the audio wasn’t picked up. I could barely hear what Rey was saying so I missed out on it. When Sarah Schreiber finally came into the shot, we got to hear the rest of the promo. The promo was very copy and paste with what he has been saying over the last few months. I did like the energy but the promo itself was kind of meh.
Rey Mysterio vs Andrade
The chemistry these two men have with one another is a sight to behold because every match they have is fantastic. Rey and Andrade tend to have callbacks to previous matches, but they do not feel forced at all. They find new ways to tell stories in the ring and these are all signs of greatness in a wrestler. People like to make fun of Andrade for getting in the position he is in because he is with Charlotte Flair, but the man is insanely talented, and this was another showcase of it. It looked like Rey would pick up the US Championship after a beautiful Destroyer but Zelina Vega would prove herself again but putting Andrade’s foot on the rope. The referee noticed this after the three count and would restart the match. The match continued and was just as great and Andrade would eventually toss Rey onto Zelina on the outside. This caused a weird sequence to end the match as it looked like Andrade was going for the finish, but referee John Cone told him that it wasn’t time for that yet. Rey went to check on Zelina and then that would be enough for Andrade to capitalize and hit Rey with the Hammerlock DDT for the win. Andrade would then snatch the mask from Rey and take it as a trophy. It looks like these two aren’t done with one another quite yet.
Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe Backstage
I have loved the pairing of Joe and Owens so far and these two know how to play off one another so well. I love how Owens said that Seth was right in recalling his and Joe’s history of not working well with others. In lesser hands, that would have been a story beat that a person would have missed but Owens is not that man. He then mentioned how the uniting against a common enemy is what brought them together and Joe said more of the same. Joe then proposed a match with AOP and Seth against the three of them and that left Owens puzzled. Joe told him that he had a guy and for him not to be worried. This was a great segment and showed how talented both men are on the mic.
Seth Rollins & AOP Backstage
Seth as a heel is just the best thing because the corniness is all gone. I love how he just brushed the challenge aside to make it about him once again and talk about how he was chosen to be the messiah of Monday nights. Seth then said that nobody would stand with Joe or Owens and how he is united with AOP. He said he and AOP would take care of Joe and Owens and it was done so well. Seth is right at home as a heel and he certainly looked rejuvenated.
Street Profits vs The OC vs Viking Raiders
Triple threat matches have a tendency to be fun and this was a fun match. There is no denying that these are probably the top three teams on Raw and I was curious if a title change may occur since it was the first show of the year for Raw. The Street Profits cut a promo prior to the match and I enjoyed that. If they can just combine the Profits mic skills with their ring work, they will be one of the most over acts in WWE. Really fun match with plenty of back and forth throughout. I will say that the highlight of the match was seeing Montez and Ivar show off their athleticism with one another. Both are great athletes and it was nice to see them showcase it a bit. Great action in the match and the Viking Raiders would retain the tag titles here. The only problem with this is that there are really no teams left for the Viking Raiders. The only team that makes sense is AOP and they are tied up with the Owens/Joe stuff.
Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens Backstage
Charly Caruso tried to get Samoa Joe to reveal who the guy he found was, but Joe was not going to give up that information. Kevin Owens then came in and said he also wants to know who it is. Joe had no issue with it and led Owens to a room where the person was. They cut to commercial and when they came back, Joe showed Owens the room in which the person was in. Owens walked in and seemed pleased with who Joe got to be the third man. Charly tried to find out again, but Joe was not having any of it.
Becky Lynch In-Ring
The Becky/Asuka feud might be one of WWE’s best built feuds in recent years. Becky wants to get a win over the one person who has had her number and I love how they use video packages to show that. Becky talked about having some doubts about choosing to fight Asuka again because she hasn’t been able to beat her as of yet. Becky sold all of this very well and Asuka would come out to taunt Becky. I love that they are letting Asuka speak in Japanese and not forcing her to say too much in English because that is obviously not a strong area for her. She would eventually get in the ring and Becky would knock her down with a punch. Becky left and Asuka was left angry in the ring over it. Their match at the Royal Rumble last year was very good and I fully expect their next one to be more of the same.
Erick Rowan Backstage
This was by far the best Rowan segment with his pet during this whole story of it. Rowan was walking backstage with his pet and Mojo Rawley appeared to ask him if he could get a peek. After some persuading, Rowan agreed, and Mojo’s reaction was hilarious. He couldn’t believe what Rowan had in the cage and it had me dying. Maybe there is some potential in Mojo but seems like we may never see it considering his spot in the company at the moment.
Andrade was backstage talking about his win over Rey Mysterio and I love how proud of himself he was. He taunted Rey over the win and flaunted the mask he took as well. If you know anything about lucha libre, that is very much a heel type of thing they do in Mexico and I love seeing it here. Rey would eventually attack Andrade and take back his mask. Looks like this feud is far from over and I really do hope this leads to a mask versus title match at Wrestlemania.
Rowan Squash Match
Outside of seeing Rowan’s pet spray something at the local enhancement talent, nothing to see here.
AJ Styles vs Akira Tozawa
This was pretty much a squash match and you would think I would give this a lower grade than I did. I would have if it wasn’t for AJ taunting Randy Orton by hitting Akira with Randy’s move. He hit the draping DDT and the RKO on Akira for the win. He even did Randy’s pose at the end of the match as well. Then we had something that was very confusing because it looked like a fan ran into the ring. That ended up not being the case as someone didn’t relay to security that the person was there for the next segment. This is what happens when you don’t get the memo.
Lana & Lashley In-Ring
Hate the angle all you want but I think it is doing its job very well. Rusev is over like rover once again and Lana is getting heat with every word she says. The man that security tackled ended up being the officiant from last week and he was there to finish the nuptials for Lana and Lashley. They did finish that, and I love how Lana showed how much she hated how everybody ruined her wedding last week. Lana has become total slime and I know people will call her heat “go away heat” but I think fans have forgotten what heat really is. We have gotten so used to the cool heel that we forget what true heel heat is like. Rusev would eventually pop up on the tron and brag about how he decided to take a honeymoon. The green screen background was hilarious, and I love how he replayed the events from last week. I love how you can see the honeymoon phase started to come to a possible end with Lashley and Lana because Lashley told her to shut up. Lashley challenged Rusev and I love how Rusev went from happy Rusev to the Bulgarian Brute Rusev in an instant. Rusev can be such a huge star and I hope the powers that be notice that in this program. The two will have a match next week and I hope that Rusev comes out on top of that one.
R-Truth was getting interviewed over his title wins when Liv Morgan walked in on the interview. She spoke about Lashley and Rusev’s match and how Lana will be in Lashley’s corner. She then said that someone needs to be in Rusev’s and that she will fill that role. I think Liv is doing a good job so far and I am wondering where she is going with all of this.
Charlotte Flair vs Sarah Logan
At least that was supposed to be the match, but Sarah had other plans. She attacked Charlotte before the bell and the two would have a brawl. Logan looked to have the upper hand at first, but Charlotte would fight back like she always does. The two continued the brawl when Sarah decided to grab Charlotte’s robe. That was enough to set Charlotte off and she would end up taking care of Sarah for the rest of the brawl. Fun little brawl but I was hoping to see Sarah Logan do some things in the ring during a match.
Drew McIntyre vs No Way Jose
It certainly does seem like they are turning Drew face, but they are still keeping his heel tactics, so it is hard to tell. McIntyre took out Jose’s conga line before the match and then proceeded to basically squash Jose. He gave him a Future Shock and a Claymore to pick up the win. He then got on the mic after the match and once again showed how charismatic he is. His personality is shining in recent weeks and he can be a good face if they want to go in that direction. He poled the audience if they wanted to see him hit another Claymore and he gave Jose another one. He then let it be known that he has never had a shot at a world title, and he is entering the Royal Rumble so he can finally get his shot.
Aleister Black vs Shelton Benjamin
This was a solid enough match, but the outcome was rather predictable given the participants. Black is clearly being groomed to go places, so they are doing a good enough job in building him up. Shelton tried to take it to Aleister, but it was to no avail as Black would pick up the win. Buddy Murphy, aka Sir Mitch, would come down and attack Aleister from behind after the match. He would lay out Black with some knees and would taunt him a bit after it. It would be announced that the two will have a match next week and I cannot wait for that.
Seth Rollins & AOP vs Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & ?
I love that Rollins is being introduced now as the “Monday Night Messiah” because that just adds to his heel character. Joe and Owens would make their way out and await their mystery partner. It ended up being the Big Show and I must say that I was left feeling a bit meh about it. It is nice to see Show looking healthy but felt a bit random to see him with these two. It also reminded me how big he is because he towered over everybody in the ring. The match itself was fun enough and it was nice to see Show work the ring again. Show will eventually be in the WWE Hall of Fame, so it is nice to see him working with younger talent to help them get over. It looked like the faces would win but Seth would hit Show with a chair to cause the DQ. This would lead to a brawl with all six men and the faces would end up standing tall as Raw came to a close.
Overall, this was a very solid show to start 2020 with for Raw. I really could not find much to complain about, and it pretty much delivered from start to finish. The highlights had to be the Mysterio/Andrade match, the tag title match, the Becky/Asuka stuff and the continuing story of AOP/Seth and Joe/Owens. The Lana/Lashley/Rusev stuff was done well too and Brock entering the Rumble match has me intrigued. The only true low point was the Rowan squash match and security tackling the officiant before his segment. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.