Hello everyone! SAM here with a surprise edition of A Sovereign Statement since Botch needs the week off from the Raw blog. We have arrived at the final Raw of 2020 and what a year it has been that is a year unlike any other. We went from having crowds in shows to having nobody at all to the ThundeDome. Raw has certainly had its ups and downs for sure but has had a nice groove in recent weeks. Let us see what the red brand had for us to close out 2020.
In-Ring Segment – Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Keith Lee
This was a nice way to begin Raw this week. Drew is stellar and he came out to talk about how his 2020 has gone. He then mentioned how Keith Lee and Sheamus will be doing battle and that the winner gets a shot at him. Sheamus would come out and I really do like the back and forth these two have. Their friendship totally comes through and you can see that the like working together. Sheamus really wants to face Drew but Keith would end up coming out. He told Drew how his word does not mean a thing anymore because of how Sheamus hit him with a Brogue Kick last week. I like how Keith told Drew to watch out for Sheamus because he will do the same to him. Sheamus would get in his grill and Drew would say they should have their match right now instead of later. Sheamus would end up hitting Lee with two Brogue Kicks as they went to commercial. Fun opening segment by these three.
Keith Lee vs Sheamus
This was a fun match between two big dudes. I will say though that I feel like these two can hit another level and maybe we can get that with another match down the line. To quote Big E, this was two big meaty men slapping meat and I was all for that. There was a nice level of physicality in the match too and I will always love Lee’s Grizzly Magnum that he does. That was quite the sound he made on the chest of Sheamus. Fun back and forth in this match and I was a bit surprised Lee won. Then again, I think it makes sense because the match is next week and not at the Rumble. Maybe this opens the door for a Sheamus/Drew match at the Rumble. I also liked that Lee got in the face of Drew after the match to show he is ready for their match.
Backstage Segment – Elias & Jaxson Ryker
I just have no desire of seeing this pairing. Elias doesn’t need Ryker at all.
Gran Metalik vs The Miz
Not a bad match here between these two. Metalik hasn’t been used to his full potential and the Miz is a solid worker. Though I did have the thought about how good a match between Metalik and Morrison could be while watching this. Solid back and forth in the match and I was certain Miz would win here. That ended up not happening though as Metalik would pull off the surprise win. I have to say that the Miz is having quite the poor end to 2020 and I am not sure how I feel about it.
Backstage Segment – Elias, Jaxson Ryker, AJ Styles & Omos
I was ready to give this another skull but AJ Styles and Omos saved me of doing that. I love how they came in and AJ told Elias to quiet down his guitar playing because it is getting in the way of Omos listening to Mozart. That was great and then he has some more words before Elias pointed out how he lost at TLC. AJ didn’t like that and would challenge Elias to a match for tonight.
Dana Brooke vs Shayna Baszler
This is a match that happened and it was fine, I guess. Shayna did look ruthless, which is how she should look really. I just wasn’t into the match and that really is because of Dana. I know she tries hard but she just doesn’t do it for me. I would have been more into this match if it was Mandy Rose instead. Shayna would end up winning here and that was totally the right decision.
Alexa’s Playground – Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton
This was just so much fun and I love how Alexa just swings on the swing set. It comes off so creepy and very much like something you would see in a horror film. She spoke about how she hasn’t seen the Fiend since Randy lit him on fire and then would introduce Randy to the Playground. She wondered if she did something wrong because Randy didn’t show up but there was a reason for that. Randy would show up in the Firefly Fun House and he took advantage of the fact that nobody was home. He started kicking around the puppets and I liked how Alexa was worried for what he may do. Randy was chilling here and I liked how he fixed one of the picture frames. It was a little thing but it is the little things that add to anything. Alexa said she had enough after he ripped the head off Rambling Rabbit and would issue a challenge to him. Randy would accept because he figures that is when Bray returns and we will see what comes from this later in the night.
Backstage Segment – Charlotte Flair
This segment really did remind me why I do not like Charlotte as a face and prefer her as a heel. She loses much of that edge and she doesn’t come off as well in interview segments like this. She did fine and all but she has more swagger when she is a heel. Asuka would come in and be her lively self by saying Nia is not ready for Charlotte and that was that.
Elias vs AJ Styles
I am not going to lie here; I was not expecting this match to be as good as it was. I was expecting either something screwy or a one-sided domination by AJ. This was actually rather competitive and Elias looked stronger than he has in months really. Fun back and forth in the match and I should not be that shocked since AJ was involved. AJ is one of the greatest to ever do it in the ring and he seems to get the best out of whoever he works with. I liked how Omos chased away Ryker from getting involved too. Fun match and AJ would pick up the win here. I wonder if they are turning AJ face or if this is just a one off.
Ricochet vs Mustafa Ali
The problem with this match has nothing to do with the in-ring quality, it has everything to do with the story surrounding it. The match was fun but it was hard to be fully invested because the story of Retribution and Ricochet has been told so poorly. Again, the match was fun because these two are tremendous workers so that made for some fun sequences. The best one was when Ricochet did a backflip over Ali and hit him with a German Suplex when he landed. Very impressive but Ali would end up picking up the win in the end. Ali would ask Ricochet again if he would join but Ricochet declined the invite again and I would assume the story is not over.
Backstage Segment – Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Like the Charlotte segment, this was pretty standard. Nia did her trash talk on Charlotte and would end up saying she is entering the Royal Rumble. The best part was Shayna’s reaction to that bit of news and that it sounds like a good idea to her. Sounds like Shayna will be in the Rumble too.
Backstage Segment – Drew McIntyre
Pretty standard work by Drew here in this interview. He spoke about Lee and had plenty of praise for his friend. He thinks Lee is someone that can make it to the top with his talent and will have a chance to show that next week when they have their match. He firmly believes that but he is also certain that he will be retaining as well. Solid work but not the best Drew has done this year.
Charlotte Flair vs Nia Jax
The match was pretty solid and that is saying something for me considering one of the participants was Nia Jax. I have made my opinion on Nia very clear so I will not harp on it here. Charlotte is the best female worker right now for me so she managed to get something out of Nia here. There was one moment in the match where the screen went black during a pin attempt and I would assume that is because Charlotte had a slip. Charlotte looked to be closing in on the win when Shayna would attack her. Asuka would come in to chase the heels away from furthering any attack on Charlotte. Good enough match and I guess that finish was done to keep both looking strong.
Backstage Segment – The Hurt Business
I am honestly tired of these segments. They are all pretty much the same with them bullying someone backstage. It was nice the first time but now it is just feeling a bit old.
Backstage Segment – Angel Garza
I liked how Charly Caruso carefully approached Garza and that harkened back to when Garza was trying to charm her. Garza started to talk about his 2020 and what is next when R-Truth would come in. Truth bumped into him and knocked the rose out of his hand while he ran away from the jobbers. They trampled the poor rose and I love that Garza still handed it to Charly.
The New Day, Jeff Hardy & Riddle vs The Hurt Business
Each team had some promo work prior to the match. The faces spoke in Gorilla and I always like how Riddle has something to pitch to his cohorts. I will also say that I love that Xaiver Woods has an armband to tribute the late Luke Harper aka Brodie Lee. I will get more into Woods and Brodie in a bit. The Hurt Business then had their chance to say some things and MVP would do his usually schtick. Lashley would then get on the mic and remind us why he is not that great at it. He said he would be in the Rumble and move on to this year’s Wrestlemania. I know he meant next year but I cannot let that slip go by.
The match itself was a lot of fun and all the members had their chance to shine. I was a bit surprised to see Riddle eat the bulk of the offense from the Hurt Business because I would have expected it to be one of the other men. Things started breaking down towards the end of the match and that is when Woods got me by the heartstrings. He would set up Cedric for a tribute that brought a tear to my eye. He would do Brodie’s old Harper pose before his discus clothesline and would hit it on Cedric. It was a perfect tribute and it was followed by a great call by Phillips. I know WWE didn’t have a video tribute but that move by Woods, the call by Phillips and the card at the beginning are perfect for me. The Hurt Business would end up winning though and try to beat down the faces but they would fight them off. I will say that the tribute by Woods bumped up the grade for this match.
Backstage Segment – The Miz, John Morrison and Adam Pearce
Miz was looking dejected backstage over his recent losses and Morrison was trying to tell him to move on from them. Adam Pearce would end up showing up with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Miz was quick to say he is just taunting him but Pearce said that he wishes that were the case. He would explain to Miz that he would be getting the briefcase back and looks like he has another shot. I loved how goofy Miz and Morrison were in t heir celebration because they were total goofs.
In-Ring Segment – Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton
I wondered what would happen with this challenge by Alexa to Randy and they would not waste any time in what was to come. Alexa would grab a gift box that was ringside and open it in front of Randy. A gas can and matches would be revealed and she would tell Randy to do to her what he did to the Fiend so they could be together again. Randy did not go for it right away and Alexa just kept egging him on to do it. Alexa would pour it all around her and eventually all over her to get Randy to light her one fire. Randy would tell her why he could do it and then it looked like he would be doing it. The lights would then go down and Randy would light one of the matches. He stood there smiling with the lit match and the lights would go down even more and Raw would come to a close without knowing if he lit Alexa on fire. I personally enjoyed that ending but I can see how this will divide people who wants answers right away rather than wait with a cliffhanger. They definitely left us wanting more, I will say that.
Overall, this was quite the solid way to end 2020 for Raw. There was some good in this episode and that was the closing segment for me and the opening match. I also enjoyed the eight-man tag and the tribute by Woods to the late Brodie Lee was perfect. The call by Phillips was also perfect and you can see he was caught off guard by it but was ready to shout to the heavens that it was a Harper discus clothesline. All in all, solid work by Raw here and I am ready to see what the red brand has in store for us in 2021.