Hey, kids! It’s Sam with the Botching one ready to rundown all the goings on at Raw this week. Let’s get started, shall we?
In-Ring Segment – Drew McIntyre, Edge, Sheamus
I dug this opening by Drew here as he is still champion and we do not have to suffer through another unnecessary Goldberg reign. He did good in talking up his win and what happened at the Rumble. As soon as he started talking about the men’s Rumble, Edge’s music would hit. Edge came out and he did well as we have grown accustom to him doing so. Drew recalled his past with Edge and how he had a front row seat for his return last year. I liked that Edge wanted Drew to treat him like a threat but Drew said he is not the kind of champion Edge has been in the past. Sheamus would come out and we had some back and forth between all three. Edge would leave while giving Drew advice about how he has a target on his back. That should have been the clue to let us know that Sheamus would about to backstab Drew and that is what happened. Sheamus hit him with a Brogue Kick and seems like we are in for a quite delectable feud.
Okay, so here’s the difference between Goldberg & Edge. Edge actually still has something to offer. He is compelling on the mic and can still tell a story in the ring. As such, while I’d still rather someone who’s regular on the roster got the spot, I’m not furious that Edge is back. Drew has been money since he was put in this position and Edge was right there with him. Sheamus’ turn was visible from thousands of miles away but I don’t even care that I could see it coming. This is going to be delicious and I intend to enjoy every morsel.
Backstage Segment – Sheamus
Sheamus kept it short and to the point here when asked about why he attacked Drew. He is tired of being known as “Drew’s friend” and he wants the WWE Championship. I did like seeing Gulak as he was the one that handed Sheamus his luggage and that was that. This feud has the makings of a great one and I will be here for it.
This was all it needed to be. Sheamus was short and to the point. Poor Drew Gulak. Still, it did get him TV for a few seconds. I guess that’s something.
Riddle vs Bobby Lashley w/ MVP (US Championship Match)
This was quite the physical match for as long as it went on. Both men have delved in MMA so they can have more of a strong-style match that one might expect. The match felt like it was really going somewhere when Lashley would put Riddle in the Hurt Lock while he was on the ropes. He wouldn’t let go as the referee counted to five and was disqualified. That wouldn’t stop Lashley though as he would continue to put the move on Riddle after the match and would toss him over the barricade. This Lashley looks like a beast and one you can take serious in the main event scene if he were in it.
We’re getting Lashley the machine now…and I’m here for it. The end sequence was so much money. Lashley refused to let go no matter what anyone said and MVP was loving every second of it, though he did try to stop him. This is the Lashley you can elevate and really have fun with.
Backstage Segment – Randy Orton
Randy really is so dang good on the mic right now that you just hang on his every word. He spoke about his feud with Edge and how Edge is making him look like a liar by returning after he said he would not come back. Randy knows exactly when to bring the intensity to his promos and this was great. Orton vows that Edge will not make it to Wrestlemania because he plans to finish him in their match. Good stuff from Randy here.
Amazing how fast Orton’s face healed. It’s a miracle! Seriously, this was really good. Then again, when isn’t Orton great these days. He menaces better than anyone and this was just dripping in it.
Backstage Segment – The New Day
It is always fun when Woods and Kofi are around each other because they have so much fun with one another. They spoke about Retribution and I liked how Kofi mentioned what Ali has been saying and how he thinks he is crazy to be holding a grudge for what happened in 2019. Fun stuff from these two before Woods takes on Ali.
These two are always fun together and this was no different. New Day needed something new to sink their teeth into and Retribution is the new thing – specifically Mustafa Ali. This feud is going to be life and breath. I can’t wait!
Xavier Woods vs Mustafa Ali
There is potential for this match to be amazing if given time but that isn’t what we got here. That is not saying this match was bad, but just saying there could have been another level they could hit with it. They showed a promo from Ali prior to the match where he talked about Kofi being back and how he will rejoice in beating Woods in front of him. Nice back and forth in the match and Woods would end up winning when some shenanigans happened on the outside and he was able to reverse a roll up by Ali into one of his own for the win. It could have been better but this story is just getting started.
This wasn’t about athletic competition; this was about story…and we got plenty of that here. Really, most of the story so far has been told on Twitter. If you aren’t following Kofi and Mustafa on Twitter, you are missing out! Ali’s promo was really good here now that he has a solid target. They were beginning to get a little plastic-y and this was much better. Word is this may be leading to a Woods/Reckoning match. I am HERE for it!
Miz TV – The Miz, John Morrison, Bad Bunny, Damian Priest
You know what? I had fun with this segment right here. Prior to this though, we did see Bad Bunny hanging out with Damian Priest in his dressing room and we will see how that plays out. Miz and Morrison came out and they hyped up Bad Bunny. Bunny would come out and I liked how Miz and Morrison apologized for what they did and Bunny accepted it. They then wanted one from him but he saw no reason to give one. I did enjoy the song they sang to Bunny even with the ugly sounding Spanish from Morrison. I am sure he can speak better than that given his time in AAA in Mexico but he dumbed it down for the bit. Bunny would end up telling them he came out for Miz TV for one reason and we had the official Raw debut of Damian Priest. Priest would take out Miz and Morrison and Bad Bunny did well here. The man is a lifelong fan and he held his own and I also appreciate him wiping his feet prior to getting into the ring as well.
Yeah, I know, Bad Bunny wah wah waaaaaaah! Look. If you can’t understand why Bad Bunny is a good idea, you hate fun and you don’t understand how business works. See, when they in someone with a huge following who’s an actual star (no one in WWE right now is anything more than a star in their niche), that person’s following might get interested in wrestling – thereby raising ratings and making WWE more money. How tidy, right? While Shaq coming into AEW for a second is painful because he doesn’t care (and he proved it with that awful promo last Wednesday night) Bad Bunny is clearly having a ball here and is totally into it. That makes all the difference for me.
I was asking Sam about how John’s Spanish was and he told me it wasn’t great. Like Sam, I’m sure he was dumbing it down for comedic effect. He even wiped his feet before he got in the ring! He puts respect on WWE so I can respect him.
The Miz vs Damian Priest
This match was solid but all I could think about was how I wanted to see Priest take on Morrison instead. Not that Miz is a bad worker but I think Priest and Morrison could have some magic in the ring. Solid enough match here and Priest looked great. He is someone that has grown on me over time during his run in NXT and I like being able to continue to write about him with him being on Raw. The man can be a star and it seems like people in the back may be thinking that as well. Good back and forth and Priest would end up winning when Miz was distracted by Bad Bunny laying would Morrison with his mic. Big win for Priest in his debut match on Raw.
Miz is great at introducing talent to the casual audience. Priest has been great for years and Miz made sure everything he did looked good. The distraction was fun too. Had to happen so they can continue to tell the story. Priest picked up the win as he should have.
Lucha House Party vs The Hurt Business w/MVP (Raw Tag Team Titles Match)
I was thinking about how random this match was but it ended up working out because this was plenty of fun. Lucha House Party are a fun team that haven’t been booked quite well during their run. The booking has been a bit better in NXT since they have been making appearances there so maybe that can leak out to Raw. The match was fun and I liked how Shelton showed off his strength at various moments in the match against Lince and Metalik. There were some botchy moments during the match but none were egregious enough to take away from a pretty fun match. The thing was that I had no doubt that the Hurt Business would win here. I liked how Shelton did to Cedric what he has been doing to him and tagged himself in at the end to get the glory of the pin. Fun match but I have to wonder who is next for Shelton and Cedric.
I wasn’t looking for this much fun but dag! Both teams tore it up. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik have both been jobbing for a while but they decided to be great here and Hurt Business was ready to have fun too. Really fun back and forth here throughout. I also love the dissension between Cedric & Shelton and they continued to tell that story too. They’re together…mostly.
Backstage Segment – Asuka, Charlotte Flair
This segment with these two felt off to me. I really haven’t been enjoying Charlotte’s mic work since she has been back and Asuka spoke in English here and it didn’t sound all that great. I like that she is trying to improve her English but maybe it would be best to have her continue to do her promos in a mix of Japanese and English. She seemed to stumble here and it didn’t come off all that well. They want the tag titles back and we will see if they get another chance at it.
Charlotte has been just deadly on the mic since her return and Asuka got completely lost. This was just absolutely awful and the only thing that saved it from the skull was Asuka’s enthusiasm.
Asuka & Charlotte Flair vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs Lana & Naomi
This was a good enough match but it wasn’t something special either. It feels random seeing Lana paired up with Naomi and they would explain their pairing in a prematch promo. All the women had a chance to work in the match and I was certain Dana and Mandy would win since they have been feuding a bit with Shayna and Nia recently. I will say though that it is nice to see Naomi back because she really is gifted in the ring. Lana is also continuing to show growth as well. It may not be much but it is coming along. Charlotte would end up ditching Asuka with Ric Flair’s music hit and he came out with Lacey Evans. Asuka watched as she left and she would eat the pin from Naomi. Now, Lana and Naomi get the next crack at Shayna and Nia. Shayna and Nia were also watching the match from the back and I hated that they did not have the tag titles with them since they are the champions. Lana deserves to be tag champion after the work she put in last year.
This was okay for what it was, I guess. The good news is that Lana and Naomi are now the number-one contenders. It should be interesting to see how Naomi fits into the story between Lana & Nia. Either way, I am here for it.
Backstage Segment – Drew McIntyre
Drew was great here and I loved that he was truly at a loss for words over Sheamus betraying him. He held back tears and would give in to Sheamus wanting a title shot. He hates that Sheamus is will to throw away twenty years of friendship for this but he is doing what he needs to do as champion. It really is awesome that both Raw and Smackdown have such great champions at the top of the card right now in Drew and Roman because both men are continuing to show why they deserve that spot.
Did you feel that? If you didn’t, check your pulse; something’s deeply wrong. What an incredible promo from Drew. When stuff like this usually happens, the guy that got turned on just gets mad and we’re off to the races. Drew (and the writers) are giving this real nuance and that’s how life is. I really enjoyed this…apparently even more than Sam…LOL!
Elias & Jaxson Ryker vs Jeff Hardy & Carlito
I liked seeing three out of the four men in the match and it is no secret who the one I didn’t like seeing is. Carlito is looking really jacked and he is still solid in the ring after all these years. Jeff did what Jeff does and so did Elias. Then we have Ryker who didn’t do much of anything and it seemed like Elias was doing all the heavy lifting. Ryker just brings nothing to table and is holding back Elias. Carlito and Jeff would end up picking up the win here and I would not mind seeing more of Carlito. I actually wouldn’t mind if he had a year like MVP did last year of coming in to help some of the misused or underutilized talent. I can totally see him linking up with Lince and Metalik and having them drop the goofy part of the Lucha House Party gimmick and be seen as a more credible threat.
Poor Elias. He released a record not that long ago and they’ve done nearly nothing to make it matter. Why would you not push a guy who released an album (okay, a short EP) on the streamers? It just mystifies me. Instead, they’ve shoved him into the never-ending feud with Jeff Hardy and they’ve even paired him with…him. Like…it’s just weird. It’s like they’re trying to sink him entirely.
Carlito is absolutely shredded and seems really happy to be back. He’s been working the entire time so that’s no big shock. I love the body language referencing his inability to have an apple to “spit in the face of people who don’t want to be cool”. He did what he could here and he was fun. Elias did what he could too. Still, nothing could cover for the charismatic vacuum known as Jeff Hardy or…that guy.
Backstage Segment – Edge
Like Randy Orton, Edge is just amazing on the mic. There was a nice video package prior to this highlighting was he has done since his return and he went on to speak about Randy and their current feud. He is ready to reclaim what he never lost due to his retirement but he needs to put the black cloud of Randy Orton behind him first. Edge really does know how to bring this calm intensity in his promos and knows exactly when to turn it up. Another thing he and Randy share in their mic work. Good stuff from Edge here and he is ready to move past Orton so he can become a champion once again. Edge even found Damian Priest after his promo as he was walking backstage and gave him some props. That is quite the endorsement and could be a sign of what is to come for Priest in 2021.
Take. My. Money. Take anything. I’ll give it to you. Edge’s acting chops are just… I loved every second of this story. No one handles pacing better than Edge. No one. Yeah, I said it. The props to Priest at the end speaks well for Priest. Can’t wait.
Alexa Bliss vs Nikki Cross
They really are going all-in with the theatrics for Alexa’s matches now and I liked how they used it here. Nikki kind of went off on Alexa prior to the match starting but it was hard to follow what she was saying to her. The match itself was nice and these two should have good chemistry given how long they were tagging with each other. I did like Alexa doing the hopscotch prior to delivering a kick to Nikki but I can see how the IWC would hate that because it is fun. Alexa would transform into her old self to try and bait Nikki into lowering her guard but I like that Nikki wasn’t falling for it this time. Alexa is really doing her best character work right now and that is saying something given how good she has been at that so far in her career. Alexa would transform back and would eventually hit Nikki with quite the nice DDT. If it looked familiar, that is because Velveteen Dream uses that move as well. Seems like Alexa can now put Nikki in the rearview but she would come across Randy Orton as he made his way out for his match with Edge and she did not look pleased to see him one bit.
Nikki has essentially been forgotten about. The story here should have been blown off elsewhere. Instead, they blew it off as a match on Raw. What a shame. It shows us that Nikki just isn’t a priority in any way right now. Worse yet, her theme has been switched to a Def Rebel generic thing and while they have done good work, this isn’t the best. Nikki and Alexa were definitely here for this though. Alexa, in particular, has just been on fire lately. It’s amazing to watch. She’s getting her “three faces of Foley” on right now and I am loving it madly. Alexa’s DDT looks delicious and while Velveteen Dream does it, it just looks that much more vicious for Alexa because she’s lower to the ground.
I loved that Randy didn’t even look Alexa when he crossed her path. That was so much money. This is NOT over yet.
Randy Orton vs Edge
This was being dubbed their final encounter but we shall see how final it will be given the way things work in WWE. This was good work and I liked how Edge played the role of someone that went through a lot the night prior while Randy was the relatively fresher one of the two. Good enough back and forth in the match and this was a pretty good main event. All of us in the DD were certain that Alexa or the Fiend would get involved and that is what would end up happening. Randy was setting up Edge for the RKO when Alexa would appear atop the ring post. She was sitting down and looked right at Randy as some black liquid came pouring out of her mouth. This distraction led Edge to hit Randy with the spear and he can finally put Orton behind him. It also seems like Alexa isn’t through playing with Randy and we all know it will be a matter of time until Bray and the Fiend come back into the fold.
As Sam said, this was allegedly their final encounter and it absolutely be. Great story and they both told it perfectly but they need to move on. The match was really good and Edge played the beaten down grappler to the hilt. Of course, the Alexa/Bray/Orton thing isn’t over and now, Orton has a fresh axe to grind…and the feud continues. I’m all for that.
Y O U K N O W W H A T T H A T M E A N S…
Overall, not a bad show this week and that is a pleasant sight considering the build to the Royal Rumble wasn’t filled with the best of shows. Edge and Randy Orton ruled on the mic and I enjoyed the Miz TV stuff with Bad Bunny. Damian Priest seems like he is in for quite the push and I do not mind that at all. The Raw Tag Title match was plenty of fun and it was nice to see Carlito in action since he looked good in there. I disliked Elias having to suffer with Jaxson but that is beating a dead horse at this point. The character stuff with Alexa continues to be a delight and the Sheamus/McIntyre program has all the makings of being a great one. All in all, not a bad episode of Raw this week and that is always a good thing when we are on the road to Wrestlemania.
A pretty good Raw this week. Only the Charlotte/Asuka promo was actually bad. It went from really good to not good. I agree with Sam. Sheamus/Drew should be a blast. I’m also loving Mustafa/Kofi. We should get some golden moments from the Raw episodes to come. See you all next week!