Hey, kids, it’s the Botching one and Sam staring Eye to Eye at each other once again for another Raw blog. I’m going into this one with great trepidation and I expect I won’t like a lot of this. I didn’t really enjoy the last one of these and I doubt this one will be any different.
How’s that for an intro?
The H Phone – Hulk Hogan
I hate racists.
Miz TV…or is it…New Day Talks? – The Miz & John Morrison, & New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
This was fun. All of them (save Morrison) are always fun. ‘Course, even here, Morrison managed to be fun. Poor Miz. He had his show utterly stolen. I did like Teddy Long gettin’ his “Playa” on. This is how you use legends properly. Here’s hoping the rest of the show goes this way.
This was tons of fun and it would have been hard for this segment to not be. Miz and Morrison are fun together and it was hilarious to see New Day take over the talk show segment. I also dug how Woods flipped the WWE logo on the mic and Kofi followed suit. Teddy Long would end up coming out and I loved how he called for a match with the Undertaker but Adam Pearce had to tell him that he was retired. Long would settle for the tag team special instead and it was nice to see Teddy do his schtick.
The Miz & John Morrison vs. New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
Of course, there’s no way these four aren’t gonna show out and they did here. I may not exactly love Morrison as a personality but as a wrestler, his abilities can’t be argued. He sold really well for New Day and made their stuff look really good. That’s becoming a lost art and Morrison does it quite well. Miz does too. When it came time to return the favor, Kofi always does well there too. Fun hot tag from Xavier and New Day took it. Solid match.
Fun tag match as usual with these four men. Woods has been on fire since coming back from that injury and you can tell he brings it even more since that time on the shelf. Kofi is a lot of fun too and it was nice to see him and Morrison do the athletic stuff that only those two can pull off. Miz worked well too and this was a fun tag match as I said. Really good back and forth and the New Day would end up coming out on top here. It looks like Miz might be getting a bit annoyed with Morrison but time will tell if anything comes of it.
Backstage interview – Randy Orton
Randy is at the top of his game in all respects. He’s on the prowl tonight and a few of them could end up as fish food for him. I loved all of this. So well done.
Randy is just so good on the mic now and he really brings it every week. He mentioned that he did not light Alexa Bliss on fire last week because he decided to show some compassion. He hates himself for that and you can see him sell the regret and anger towards himself quite well. He feels like stalking some legends tonight and we will see how that plays out.
Alicia Fox, Tatanka, Mickie James, & Sgt Slaughter, & Angel Garza
This segment was what it was and it was nice to see Foxy again. I did like how Garza is trying to use being 24/7 Champion as something to pick up women with but it did not work as Sgt. Slaughter cut that out. It was what it was and that is that.
AJ Styles (w/ Omos) vs. Elias (w/ Jaxson Ryker)
They changed the pronunciation of Omos’ (aka Green Mile’s) name. No idea why. As for the match, this was a fun match. It’s just that the feud came out of nowhere at all. Dre said as much in our DD this week and I couldn’t agree more. How very “AEW Women’s Division” of them. I did like the fact that suplex didn’t make AJ let go of his headlock at first. We don’t see that much and it feels very real when we do. The visual of Omos kicking the guitar as Ryker swung it was just amazing. The look on Ryker’s face was right on too. I’ll give him that. Great visual all around! Omos is not the one. Kudos also to the direction and camera work for being so totally right while this was happening.
This match was fine but it wasn’t as good as their encounter from last week. The feud is as random as random gets and I really have no been into it these last two weeks. The match itself was fine and dandy but we all know that AJ is one of the greatest to ever do it so he is able to put on a solid match in his sleep. AJ would end up getting the win with the Styles Clash and it looked like he would be the victim of an attack by Ryker. Omos would intervene and kick away the guitar and Ryker did a good job in selling the shock. I still do not care for him and Elias does not need him but he did his job here. You do not mess with AJ when Omos is around.
Backstage segment & In-ring segment – Charlotte Flair / Charlotte Flair (w/ Ric Flair) & Asuka vs. Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans
Charlotte was short and boring backstage. When she came out with wrestling’s Skeletor, this got annoying. Yeah, I knew he’d be out there with her – we all did. The match itself was fun. I enjoy the uneasiness between Peyton & Lacey. It’s like female Daniel Bryan & Kane. The match itself was pretty solid. Ric was made use of very sparingly as predicted. He did the idiot man thing when Lacey approached him twice. He also weirdly cost Charlotte the tag team match. Peyton sells in a very cartoon-y way that I’ve never really liked. Lacey is far better at it. Those chops certainly made their mark on Lacey too. They aren’t Walter but she doesn’t go easy either. Natural Selection from Charlotte looked absolutely awful. It was a decent match but nothing memorable. The angry “get out” thing from Charlotte to Ric was odd.
I am really not feeling the pairing of Lacey and Peyton and that is a shame because I am a fan of both ladies individually. I just think that it looks dumb to break up the fun team of the IIconics only to put Peyton back in a team. It makes no sense whatsoever. This match was decent enough and Lacey was swooning over Ric and that would cause Charlotte to snap at her a few times. Ric would cost Charlotte and Asuka the match by tripping up Charlotte and that gave the heels a chance to win. I was scratching my head at that and would continue to when Charlotte would tell her father to keep out of her business again. Okay…?
Backstage segment – Big Show, Riddle, & Randy Orton
I did like this. Riddle was and will forever be a fool and it’s high-larious. Show was with him and it was a fun interaction. “The Big Bro”. LOL! Orton came out to menace and bully Show and I loved that too. Show can do it either way. The tension between Randy & Show was amazing. Loved this all the way around.
This was fun and it was nice to see Riddle interact with Show. I feel like these two could have had some fun segments if Show was younger because you could see the chemistry. Orton would end up showing up and he did a good job in poking Show for being on Legend’s night and not being an active competitor. I will say that seeing Orton with his hand on Show’s throat made me laugh a bit because of the visual of that smaller hand on his giant body. Good stuff though from Orton here and Show as well.
Backstage segment – Drew McIntyre & Sheamus, Hulk Hogan, & Jimmy Hart
The chemistry between Drew & Sheamus is just perfect. Then, the racist showed up with Jimmy Hart and ruined the whole thing. Torpedo’d it straight to skeleton. Again, I hate racists.
Riddle vs. Bobby Lashley
This was one that could be really good if given time..and it was. The motivation as laid out by the commentators is hot garbage but the match certainly wasn’t. Lashley is incredibly impactful so his opponent really has to be able to take it and Riddle was there for it. I know I’m staying on this a little but I love seeing solid selling and Riddle has always been really good at it. It really helps tell the story and helps retain my interest. MVP menaced well from the outside too. He’s been such a gift to the Raw roster since he showed up. The outcome and the way they got there was really awkward and dumb. Still, the match was really good.
I have been waiting for this match ever since they have started teasing it and it was plenty of fun. Both men have history in MMA and you can see how tough both came across during the match. Being in the Hurt Business has done wonders for reestablishing Lashley and he really is a credible threat. Riddle has been made to look pretty strong since being on Raw and that is a nice sight. The match was plenty of fun and Riddle would end up coming out the victor when the referee missed him tapping and he stole the win. We know this isn’t the last we will see of these two and I hope we get a lengthy match between them.
Backstage segment – Ricochet, Mark Henry, Randy Orton
Ricochet was wallpaper as always. Randy is too much fun now. Poor Mark Henry. Killing it on the scooter. He did fairly well here. Randy is the best bully WWE has right now. So hate-able and I am TOTALLY here for it.
It looked like Mark Henry and Ricochet were finishing up a rather nice conversation and Randy Orton would come in after. The way he went after Henry here was perfect and Henry did well in using his body language. Randy is just picking on every legend he comes across and this was a good one here.
Backstage segment – MVP & Bobby Lashley
Lashley is mad, gosh darn it all to heck! Short but very sweet.
Short and to the point here with both men being irked as to how Riddle won. They feel cheated and Lashley is ready to take his aggression out on Riddle. Good work for the time it was given.
Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke vs. Shayna Baszler
Shayna came out vicious the way we love her. She’s slowly going back to NXT Shayna and I love it dearly. Dana Brooke has the personality of warm water and when she came out to have the match itself, I was less than interested. Mandy & Dana tag teamed on Shayna to take her out after the weird pin.
It is nice to see Shayna beginning to return to her former vicious self she was in NXT but this whole thing didn’t do it for me. Dana just doesn’t work for me and I think that Mandy would be better off going at Shayna on her own. Shayna has a partner in Nia Jax right so, where was she? The match and stuff after was what it was and it worked I suppose.
Backstage segment – Molly Holly, IRS, Ric Flair, & Randy Orton
Randy continues to menace anyone “legend” and he does so incredibly well. Ric wasn’t great here. His face just went dead face-wise when Randy was giving him the business. He gave nothing. Molly & IRS just basically disappeared so there’s that. Queen noticed some glare but I didn’t even catch it until I went back and watched again. Oh well. That grade was entirely for Orton and the others made it less than it should have been.
Botch mentioned the glare that I.R.S. gave Randy that Queen pointed out and I also did not notice until I saw it again. A part of me would like to think he glared at Randy for what he has been doing to Bray Wyatt because that is his son but I may be looking to far into that. The segment itself was solid like the rest of them and I just grade this one a bit lower because it is so hard to understand Ric these days. Randy was great in calling out Ric for being a shell of himself and he continues his grudge against the legends.
Backstage segment – Keith Lee & Riddle
Riddle is a whole fool and I love it. Short but sweet. It was all it needed to be.
Another quick backstage segment here as Riddle would approach Lee as he was warming up. He spoke about how he took care of business tonight and that he hopes Lee will as well. Lee would thank Riddle for the pep talk and continue to warm up. Nice segment here between the two friends.
Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Randy is WITHOUT RUTH! He got his Shayna Baszler/Pete Dunne on with the limb torture too. This was far more hard-hitting than I thought it’d be. THE EARLOBES THO!!! I know it happened, I heard Hardy sell it, they replayed it, but I couldn’t watch it. CRINGE! These two worked really hard here and gave us one heck of a match.
These two have had good matches in the past and this was another solid one. I had wondered if we would see Randy do something in this match that would make me groan and we got that. He stuck a finger in each ear lobe of Jeff and I cringed and groaned but could not look away. It brought back memories of their feud when Randy did that to him with a screwdriver and it did add that his feud with the Fiend has changed him. Really fun back and forth in the match and Randy would win with that counter from the Twist of Fate into the RKO. Randy has hit that on Jeff so many times and it always looks smooth.
Backstage segment – Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik), Melina / Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander) vs. Lucha House Party
I have literally no reason to care about the LHP. They’ve done absolutely nothing lately that matters. That little interaction was nothing. Okay, the match. The LHP are fun to watch but they haven’t been in a while. They basically job at this point. The Hurt Business, on the other hand, are always fun. Cedric’s ring work is totally altered as a result of his heel turn and I love it. I also loved the battle between Cedric & Shelton to get ring time. It got them into trouble here as LHP took the win. That part doesn’t matter. What does is the fun that happened between Shelton & Cedric. They were both really fun here. Clearly, Cedric is the favored child and Shelton is beginning to chafe.
I honestly could care less about the interaction Lucha House Party had with Melina because it was totally nothing. She honestly didn’t look that into it and that didn’t help things. Now to the match and it was a fun one. Lucha House Party would be a nice addition to the tag scene on Raw if they are truly given a chance like Metalik is being given one on New Year’s Evil. Speaking of that show, how nice of them to mention it during the match that Metalik has a title match on Wednesday in NXT. It was also nice to see the continuing tension between Shelton and Cedric and that is what would cost them the match. Shelton is close to having it with Cedric and MVP is doing his best to keep the peace. Cedric is clearly the hot new toy and Shelton does not fully like that.
Backstage segment – Torrie Wilson, Nikki Cross, Boogeyman R-Truth, Ron Simmons, & Angel Garza
Truth is the champ again! That’s what matters here! YES!!!!
I know Botch loves the 24/7 stuff more than I do so it will not be a surprise to see the difference in our grades. It was nice and all but totally expected that Truth would regain the title.
Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee
The legends all standing there supporting Keith was a really…annoying…moment. It ended quickly and off to the match we went. That little flare up between them at the beginning was fun. Drew tried to buck and Keith was NOT having it. Gotta love it. Really fun storytelling here. Lee was a bruiser in there tonight and Drew sold the punishment like a champ (see what I did there?). They both made each other look so good in there. That power bomb to the CORNER of the announce table! OUCHIES! I love a good hoss right and we got that here. A few near-falls for good measure too. The atomic Spanish Fly from the top rope!!!
Keith has been capable of matches like this for over a decade. He was doing them in Beyond Wrestling and other indies. His match with Chris Hero in Beyond is must watch but many are. Just go look on YouTube and you’ll see how amazing he was well before WWE finally figured it out. I can’t quite believe they turned this man down three times. How blind do you have to be? Keith had it and WWE simply missed it. The things he could have done and the audiences he could have dazzled on the big stage for the last ten years. All I can do is shake my head and be grateful he’s being allowed to do it now.
I wasn’t really feeling this show that much but boy did this main event more than make up for it. At least it did but I will get to that when it comes. Both men brought it here and this was something you could see be on a ppv easy. We all know how great Lee is in the ring and McIntyre is also fully capable as well. Both men brought it and would be a bit stiff with each other too. I guess it helps when you are friends and you know what the other can take. The pounce on the outside was a thing of beauty and Drew really got up there to get over the barricade. The announce table spot had to have hurt and I am surprised that Lee did not spike himself with that avalanche Spanish Fly from the top that had me saying “MAMMA MIA!” in my best Mauro Ranallo voice. Amazing match and the right person went over here and that should have been the end of Raw but it sadly wasn’t.
Oldberg & Drew McIntyre
This was just awful. There’s no way around it. What an absolutely dumpster fire. Keith & Drew just had this incredible match that was all it should have been. Heck, I wasn’t even mad that Keith lost. It was that good! Then, they follow it with…this. Oldberg came out and claimed that Drew had no respect. Um…didn’t he just stand there with the racist and mark out like a little girl? The premise was just dumb-diddy-dumb-diddy-diddy-dumb dumb! Oldberg said more stuff that I didn’t care about, Drew said fighting him would be like fighting his dad and we were off to the feud no one asked for. Thanks, WWE, for completely ruining the end of the show. Like…ruining it a way you’ve never ruined it before. They saved the absolute worst torpedo job for the very end. I’m only grateful that it ran over and USA cut them off.
WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! This. Should. Not. Be. Happening. At. ALL!!!!! Drew has been amazing and he should NOT be lumped in to having a match with the walking embodiment of gassing out in Goldberg. The man could not have a great match if you provide him with an oxygen tank and there is no reason why Drew should be stuck with this. Goldberg talked about disrespect and that made ZERO sense because Drew has been all about respect. Goldberg just doesn’t need to be here and I fear for what may come at the Royal Rumble. This just completely ruined the end of Raw and this was just awful.
This was as predicted. The times where the matches were just allowed to happen were really fun. The stuff involving the legends were, by and large, terrible and not needed. Big Show was the only one of the legends who performed memorably here. That main event with Drew & Keith could print money at any pay-per-view anywhere in the world. That Oldberg has returned to bore us is just annoying. I feel bad for Drew as he’ll be saddled with him for a while. Seeing him come back the first time really was fun and I enjoyed it. He’s been coming back far too often for my liking and I just want him to go away. How utterly annoying…
It could have been a little worse, I guess. At least we didn’t see Retribution tonight.
Overall, not the best episode of Raw and it had a few nuggets of goodness in it. The tag match between the New Day and Miz/Morrison was fun and so was the Hardy/Orton match. The main event was killer as well and showed that Lee is truly someone that does indeed belong in the main event scene. The legends were fine and some segments were definitely better than others. The end with Goldberg/Drew was terrible on every level and I really do fear that Goldberg will win that title at the Rumble. All in all, not the best Raw to start 2021 with at all.