Monday Night Raw – January 4, 2021: Did They Forget To Change The Script?
Monday Night Raw
Date: January 4, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe
It’s another major show with another Legends reunion. This time around the focus is on Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Torrie Wilson for some reason but other than that, it seems like they are in for a bunch of appearances. Other than that, we have Keith Lee challenging Drew McIntyre for the WWE Title. Let’s get to it.
We open with a shot of Hulk Hogan’s picture on the back of a phone. Hogan introduces it as the H Phone, which can let you YouTube, Instagram, Tweet and even make a phone call. Hulk says you can even use it for a phone call. Posing ensues.
It’s time for MizTV with John Morrison listing off all of tonight’s legends. The guests this week are the New Day, who say they have their own talk show called New Day Talks. Xavier Woods serves as the band, with Miz not being sure what to make of this. Now it’s Woods turning into the bailiff for the first question: What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Morrison wants to graduate from hibachi school and take a photo every day so he can do one of those cool photo montages at the end of the year.
Miz isn’t pleased so Kofi asks the next question: which legend would you like to have dinner with? Morrison: “Tatanka. Definitely Tatanka.” That means it’s time for the cooking portion of the show but Miz erupt Miz erupts. Cue Teddy Long for our first cameo to say he has an idea: Miz and Morrison can face THE UNDERTAKER. That brings out Adam Pearce for a correction, so maybe we can just have a tag team match, next. Teddy didn’t exactly sound as usual here, as he was rushing through his stuff. If this is their best idea to open the show, they deserve to lose every fan they have.
New Day vs. Miz/John Morrison
Woods runs Morrison over to start and hands it off to Kofi for more of the same. It’s already back to Woods but Miz comes in to knee him in the ribs. Kofi comes back in with the spinning crossbody for two and there’s a kick to Miz’s chest. Morrison misses the running shooting star press though and a dropkick to the chest gives Kofi two. Miz and Morrison are sent outside for the big dive from Kofi and we take a break.
Back with Morrison kicking Kofi in the head and handing it to Miz for the left hands. Miz cranks on both arms so Kofi fights up, earning himself a knee to the ribs. The Figure Four is countered into the SOS, which is enough for the hot tag to Woods. House is cleaned, including the discus forearm to Morrison. Kofi dives off the steps with an ax handle to Miz and a Shining Wizard finishes Morrison at 13:16.
Rating: C+. The action was good but this wasn’t exactly an inspiring tag match to get things going. Miz and Morrison are a better choice in the ring than either of them on their own, though I could still go for more than this as a way to start off what is supposed to be a special show. It could have been on any given show and that’s not a good sign.
We recap Randy Orton almost setting Alexa Bliss on fire last week.
Orton says he wanted to do it last week but he couldn’t make himself go there. Maybe that is the change that the Fiend has brought on him because he showed restraint and compassion. He hates himself for it but that means he can sculpt that anger into being anything and everything. Can you imagine if he directs that newfound hatred for himself towards someone else? He doesn’t want to talk about the Fiend, because he wants to go talk to some legends about why he is the Legend Killer.
We look at Angel Garza winning the 24/7 Title from R-Truth at the New Year’s Eve celebration.
Garza hits on Alicia Fox but thinks that his title is more beautiful than she is. He moves on to Sgt. Slaughter, Tatanka and Mickie James, but Slaughter smells the rose and calls him a maggot. And that’s probably the last we’ll see of all of them.
AJ Styles vs. Elias
Omos and Jaxson Ryker are here as AJ takes him to the mat with a headlock to start. Elias comes back with some chops as we hear that AJ will be in the Royal Rumble. A Stun Gun cuts AJ off again and Elias gorilla presses him onto the turnbuckle. There’s a clothesline to knock AJ outside and we take a break.
Back with Elias hitting a chokeslam for two, with Ryker looking rather pleased at his influence. AJ gets in a shot of his own but the Phenomenal Forearm is kneed out of the air for a rather near fall. That’s enough for AJ, who counters an electric chair with a hurricane into the corner. A brainbuster sets up the Styles Clash to finish Elias at 7:35.
Rating: C. This was a good bit shorter than last week’s match and while it wasn’t great, it was a nice showcase for Elias. He might not be the most polished in the ring but putting him in the ring with AJ is going to make him look good. Having Ryker be a bit of an influence is a way to go and this worked well enough on most points.
Post match Ryker brings in the guitar but Omos comes in to kick it out of his hands. Ryker panics and leaves with Elias.
Charlotte is in the Royal Rumble.
Riddle tries to get Big Show to become the Big Bro. Show likes the idea and tells Riddle to keep thinking as Riddle leaves. Randy Orton comes in to remind Show what happened when they met last time. Show says he’s ready to go right now so Orton grabs him by the throat and Show sits down. He isn’t falling for Orton trying to get him to do something foolish because Show isn’t ashamed to be a legend. Orton leaves and Show simmers.
Charlotte/Asuka vs. Peyton Royce/Lacey Evans
Non-title and Ric Flair is here with Charlotte and Asuka. Lacey now has a Lacey The Legend hat to make it a special night. Charlotte takes Peyton down to start so Lacey comes in for a wave to Ric. The chase is on outside until Peyton gets in a few cheap shots on the way back in. The double teaming works for a bit but Charlotte hits Evans with a Downward Spiral in the corner.
Asuka comes in with a missile dropkick but gets knocked outside. That lets Evans seem to hit on Ric, earning herself a slap from Charlotte. The brawl is on and we take a break. Back with Asuka getting stomped down in the corner and Lacey grabbing a chinlock. Asuka fights up and hits a running clothesline to drop Royce, allowing the double tag to Evans and Charlotte.
Back to back fall away slams put Royce and Evans down, setting up the moonsault onto both of them. Asuka tags herself in though and hits a Shining Wizard for two on Royce. Charlotte tags herself in as well and it’s a Codebreaker from Asuka into a mostly missed Natural Selection on Royce. That’s broken up but Evans stops to hit on Ric again, who seems intrigued. Charlotte breaks that up but Ric accidentally trips her, allowing Royce to grab a crucifix for the pin at 12:33.
Rating: C-. Well at least one of the legends finally did something, even if it was a mistake. I would bet on this being more about Flair than anyone else, because WWE has a tendency to make every story about him in one way or another. Hopefully it means a way to get the titles off of Asuka and Charlotte, because it’s not like they need them in any way./
Post match Evans kisses Ric on the cheek as Ric is upset. Charlotte gets in his face and says stay out of her business. The crushed Flair leaves again, because we needed to do this story for at least a second time.
Sheamus fires Drew McIntyre up for the main event and says kick Keith Lee in the head one extra time. Cue Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart to say he’s a big fan of Sheamus. He also says Drew is a great champion who reminds him of himself. Drew thanks him for the praise and asks if Sheamus reminds him of Jimmy. Hart: “I can see the resemblance!” Jimmy Hart is a national treasure. Sheamus offers to have drinks with Hulk and Drew, but not Jimmy, earning himself a shouting from the megaphone. Drew and Hogan hit the catchphrase after a nice endorsement (ignore that Hogan’s arms are still bigger than Drew’s).
Riddle vs. Bobby Lashley
Non-title and MVP is here with Lashley. Riddle jumps him before the bell and we’re ready to go with Lashley sending him into the corner to start fast. A hurricanrana out of the corner puts Lashley on the floor but he catches Riddle in a fireman’s carry. Lashley drives him HARD into the post and we take a break. Back with Riddle fighting out of a chinlock but getting blasted with a clothesline.
Lashley hammers away in the corner but the spinning Dominator is countered, allowing Riddle to hit the kick to the chest. The Final Flash gives Riddle one but Lashley catches him on top. The Dominator connects for no cover as Lashley goes with the Hurt Lock. Riddle tries to fight out and bounces off the ropes, with the referee having to duck. That means the referee doesn’t see Riddle tap, making Lashley let go. Lashley doesn’t get why he didn’t win and gets rolled up for the pin at 9:07.
Rating: C. It was energized while it lasted and the ending likely sets up a title rematch at the Rumble. What mattered most here was commentary asking if Riddle was really giving up or if it was a way to sneak in a win. Just putting that idea out there makes Riddle look far stronger and keeps him looking a lot stronger going into the probably title match.
Mark Henry, on a scooter, tells Ricochet to stay with it. Ricochet leaves and here’s Orton to pop up and enter the Royal Rumble. He asks if Henry is entering as well but sees that he won’t be able to due to whatever is wrong with his leg. Henry is ready to leave but Orton threatens him. That means Henry can either leave right now or have Orton strike. A dejected Henry leaves.
MVP insists that Riddle quit so there is no controversy. Lashley promises punishment.
Mandy Rose vs. Shayna Baszler
Baszler jumps her during the entrance and beats the heck out of Mandy, meaning it’s Dana Brooke running in for the save. We have a replacement.
Dana Brooke vs. Shayna Baszler
The Kirifuda Clutch goes on but Dana reverses into a rollup for the pin at 36 seconds.
Post match Mandy has to save Dana from the Kirifuda Clutch and a flapjack plants Shayna.
Ric Flair talks to IRS and Molly Holly when Randy Orton pops up. IRS and Molly leave so Orton asks Flair to walk the aisle with him tonight. Don’t worry, because Orton isn’t going to let Flair screw up again. Flair says no because Orton has done it himself, sending Orton into a rant about how much better Charlotte is than Flair himself. Flair is crushed, again.
We look at Keith Lee becoming #1 contender.
Riddle comes up to Lee to give him a bit of a pep talk. Lee thanks him but doesn’t seem to want to talk.
Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Orton pokes him in the eye to start and takes it to the floor. That lets him drop Hardy onto the announcers’ table a few times before going after the arm back inside. Hardy hits a clothesline but Orton knocks him out of the corner and hits the circle stomp. The chinlock goes on but Hardy neckbreakers his way to freedom. Orton rolls to the floor so Hardy hits a running clothesline off the apron to send us to a break.
Back with Orton grabbing the chinlock again but this time he puts his finger in Hardy’s ear gauges to pull rather hard. With that let go, Orton drops the knee for two instead. We hit another chinlock before Orton just opts to hammer Hardy down again. Hardy fights up and this time hits a basement dropkick for his own two. There’s the Whisper in the Wind for the same and Orton is sent to the floor for a dropkick through the ropes. The hanging DDT catches Hardy on the way back in though and the RKO finishes Hardy at 12:12.
Rating: C. I’m going to have to downgrade this one a bit as the ear gauge thing was hard to watch. Orton beating Hardy is going to keep him strong and it’s not like Hardy is going to lose anything by taking a fall here. Hopefully there is something else from Orton with the legends later though, because this wasn’t much in the way of being more evil and violent.
Lucha House Party runs into Melina, who does their dance.
Lucha House Party vs. Hurt Business
Non-title and MVP is on commentary. Metalik headscissors Benjamin down to start but the rope walk dropkick is countered into a nice powerbomb. Dorado comes in with a middle rope hurricane on Alexander, who snaps off a Michinoku Driver. The Golden Rewind sends Alexander bailing to the corner for the tag to Benjamin and the pace picks up. A jumping knee sends Metalik tot he floor but Shelton and Cedric get in a bit of an argument over the tags. That’s enough to let Dorado crucifix Shelton for the pin at 2:52 (same exact way the other Tag Team Champions lost an hour ago).
Post match MVP yells at them to get on the same page. THEY HAVE BEEN CHAMPIONS FOR TWO WEEKS!
Nikki Cross is talking to Torrie Wilson when Angel Garza comes up to offer Torrie a rose. Torrie says she’s talking to Nikki but sends Garza down the hall to meet Kylie Jenner and Cardi B. It’s actually the Boogeyman, who scares Garza into a rollup to give R-Truth the 24/7 Title back. Truth leaves with the ladies and Ron Simmons comes up for the catchphrase.
Raw World Title: Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee
Lee is challenging and walks through the legends (including Booker T. and Jeff Jarrett) to get here. They shove each other around to start and run the ropes, with Lee not quite getting high enough on a leapfrog. He’s fast enough to drop down as Drew comes back though (that was a smooth save) and then forearm him out to the floor. Lee follows him out and hits the big Pounce to knock Drew over the barricade.
Back from a break with Lee driving in elbows and shoulders in the corner to keep Drew in trouble. Lee slams him down to stay on the bad ribs for two and McIntyre’s belly to belly attempts are blocked. McIntyre finally sends him into the corner though and NOW the belly to belly connects (for some Legends applause). A neckbreaker sets up McIntyre’s nip up but Lee plants him with a spinebuster.
They head outside again with Drew managing a powerbomb off the apron, with Lee’s back hitting the edge of the announcers’ table as he crashes through to take us to a break. Back with the two of them going up top, with Lee hitting a freaking Spanish Fly for two, because he can just do something like that. The Spirit Bomb is countered though and the Claymore retains the title at 21:13.
Rating: B+. This was the kind of hoss/how are they doing that kind of match and if you ignore the times where they nearly killed/horribly injured each other, it was a heck of a fight. I’m a bit surprised by the ending, but Lee got a lot out of this and looked like a threat. If they can follow up on that, it might go somewhere for him, but that hasn’t quite been the case yet. Heck of a match here though.
Post match McIntyre grabs the mic but here’s Goldberg to interrupt. Goldberg says McIntyre has a lot of things going for him, except for respect. McIntyre doesn’t respect those legends so that’s where Goldberg steps in. He isn’t demanding anything like a match at the Royal Rumble, but Drew seems interested.
They go head to head and Goldberg shoves him down….as we cut to Straight Up Steve Austin because we’re out of time. On a show that is THREE HOURS LONG, they manage to go over (for the second time in three weeks). That takes talent. Not as much talent as making up a character trait for McIntyre, but still talent.
This was horribly dumb, as McIntyre spent the entire summer defending the legends from Orton but now, because they need a story for the Rumble, he disrespects them? That’s not how writing a story works, but I don’t think WWE quite understands it that way. I did see a theory that said it was the script they had for Goldberg confronting Reigns and just changed the opponents. It’s just a fan theory but….would you put it past them?
Overall Rating: C-. The main event bailed out a lot of this show, but the ending segment brought it right back down. This was another one of those shows where the legends are just there for the sake of saying hi for two seconds and then it’s back to everything else, making them feel really out of place. If that’s the case, why bring them in? Was anyone going to miss Tatanka, IRS (who sure got over his son being burned alive a few weeks ago in a hurry) or Alicia Fox? Or about half a dozen other “legends?” Just say Hogan and Flair and a few others are back (and don’t have at least eight names advertised not show up).
Other than that, this was a pretty bad show otherwise, as it had four straight matches end with some kind of a rollup, with two of those having the same finish. The Rumble is looking all over the place at this point and Goldberg vs. McIntyre isn’t exactly a thrilling addition. Next week is going to get smoked by the college football title game, but after a show like this, how many people were going to be watching anyway? The show was much more lame than terrible, but that’s probably a lot worse in this case.
New Day b. Miz/John Morrison – Shining Wizard to Morrison
AJ Styles b. Elias – Styles Clash
Lacey Evans/Peyton Royce b. Charlotte/Asuka – Crucifix to Charlotte
Riddle b. Bobby Lashley – Rollup
Dana Brooke b. Shayna Baszler – Rollup
Lucha House Party b. Hurt Business – Crucifix to Benjamin
Randy Orton b. Jeff Hardy – RKO
Drew McIntyre b. Keith Lee – Claymore
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