WWE RAW PRIMER 1/20: Raw Royal Rumble Go-Home Show, U.S. Championship Ladder Match, Beast Among Us, Mixed Tag

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

WKPWP - Mailbag w/Keller & Powell talking Goldberg win, Velveteen Dream's character, NWA Squared, AEW on WrestleMania weekend, more
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JANUARY 20, 2020

Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler

In Memorium: Rocky Johnson

I’m sorry I didn’t do this for the Smackdown primer. I typically like to do this right away. That said, the wrestling world suffered a loss as WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson passed away at the age of 75 this past Wednesday. As most of us know, he is the father of someone who is arguably on a lot of people’s wrestling Mt. Rushmore in “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson.

Rocky spent most of his career in the National Wrestling Alliance. He challenged fellow HOFers Terry Funk and Harley Race for the NWA Championship at various times. Most of his success came in tag team wrestling. He checked in with the World Wrestling Federation in the early 1980s and had feuds with Adrian Adonis, Don Muraco, and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. He won the WWF Tag Team Championship with fellow HOFer “Mr. U.S.A.” Tony Atlas from the Wild Samoans (Sika and Afa also HOFers). They were known as Soul Patrol, and were the first black men to hold gold under the WWF umbrella.

The Rock put out this video on his Instagram account which you can click on via the attached Twitter link as a tribute to his father. He also thanks his fans for all the support given, and shows appreciation for his family & friends & loved ones:

Rest In Peace Rocky Johnson.

Arena, Top 10 Moments from Last Week, and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Raw appears in the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, KS. for the first time since October of 2010. The arena opened that same year and has hosted WWE events on and off ever since. Smackdown appeared here in January of last year. I’ll bet my next two paychecks the announcers don’t mention they’re in Wichita. Now I’ll take that personally. Wichita, KS. holds good memories for me as I did a good portion of my flight training out there.

Here are the top 10 moments of last week’s Raw:

Here’s what on tap for tonight:

  • Andrade to defend U.S. Title against Rey Mysterio in a Ladder Match
  • WWE Champion Brock Lesnar to appear on Raw
  • Rusev & Liv Morgan to battle Bobby Lashley & Lana in Mixed Tag Team Match

Matches and Segments

Ladder Match for the U.S. Championship: Andrade (champ) vs. Rey Mysterio

Two weeks ago on Raw, Andrade retained the U.S. Championship over Rey Mysterio, whom he had beaten for the title at a house show over the holidays at Madison Square Garden. We all thought the match ended when Rey pinned Andrade, but the referee didn’t see Andrade’s foot on the rope. The match continued and at one point, Andrade’s manager Zelina Vega took a bump. Rey showed compassion which led to Andrade picking up the win. After the match Andrade took off Rey’s mask. Later on when Andrade was being interviewed, Rey attacked him and got his mask back.

This feud has gone on for quite going back to their time on Smackdown when Rey returned in late 2018. It has reached the point of a ladder match with the title on the line, and that takes place tonight. To give you a taste of a Rey in a ladder match, here’s the one from SummerSlam 2005 against none other than a man revered by both men in this match tonight. I’m talking none other than Eddie Guerrero:

Frank’s Analysis: I really wish these two had a PPV match rather than everything being on TV. I’m guessing since both of them are in the Royal Rumble, they didn’t want to do this on the same event which I totally understand. That said, this should be a good one as these two work so well together. I expect Andrade to retain, and am curious where Rey goes from here. Maybe they revisit him with Seth Rollins and his crew.

WWE Champion Brock Lesnar Appears

Last week on Raw, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar appeared with his advocate Paul Heyman. They nearly walked away as the crowd was chanting “You suck,” but then came back in to discuss Brock’s upcoming appearance in the Royal Rumble. Heyman talked about his streak of spoilers coming true, and reminded everyone (without actually mentioning it) that Brock ended Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak back in 2014. 24/7 Champion (at the time) R-Truth appeared to declare himself a part of the Rumble, thinking Heyman was in the match. When Heyman said he wasn’t, Truth undeclared himself from the match. When he asked Brock “what’s up,” Brock gave him a nice clothesline and an F5. He threw the 24/7 title belt onto Truth and said “that’s what’s up,” and dropped the mic. Truth would later lose the title to Mojo Rawley.

With less than a week to go to the Rumble, Brock appears once again tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: Brock should have totally pinned Truth for the 24/7 title, and then thrown the thing 50 yards the way he did to the Money in the Bank briefcase at SummerSlam in 2018 when Braun Strowman was threatening to cash in. While Lesnar belongs nowhere near comedy, he and Heyman seemed to be genuinely having a good time. I have to admit, I got a kick out of Heyman and Truth’s exchange and watching Brock laugh. It’s fine for one night, but limit the comedy stuff with Brock.

Rusev & Liv Morgan vs. Bobby Lashley & Lana

In the ongoing saga of the Bobby Lashley-Rusev-Lana love triangle (well actually is it, as Rusev seems happy to be “free” from Lana), Lashley defeated Rusev last week in about 13 minutes. Rusev appeared to be putting Lashley in his Accolade finisher, but was distracted by Lana. Liv Morgan, whom had declared that she and Lana were involved at Lana and Lashley’s first wedding, arrived and confronted Lana. Lana then grabbed a fan’s soda, threw it in her face, and then threw her into the barricade. Rusev, distracted by everything going on, was hit with a spear by Lashley who picked up the win.

Moments later, Lana challenged Rusev & Liv to a mixed tag team match. Lashley balked saying he already beat Rusev, and would have to beat him again and take care of her. That said Rusev & Liv accepted the challenge in a segment later in the show, and that mixed tag takes place tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m sure that fan was a plant, but if not I hope the fan was compensated for the soda. If I’m WWE I’d of gotten a large and thrown in a little popcorn or whatever snack the fan wanted. It’s only fair, right? This feud is where I expected it and my hope is Liv comes out of this a viable wrestler, as they are desperately short of women talent on Raw.

Other Matches and Issues from Last Week:

Drew McIntyre defeated Randy Orton and A.J. Styles in a triple threat match. It was supposed to be Randy vs. A.J. one on one, but Drew interrupted their back-and-forth and got the crowd to want the triple threat. Here’s Drew in a WWE exclusive:

Ricochet defeated Mojo Rawley.

Charlotte Flair defeated Sarah Logan in about two minutes. With them being paper thin on women talent on the Raw side, somebody explain to me why they made Sarah look like a chump. Here’s Sarah in a WWE exclusive:

The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) defeated the Singh Brothers (Sunil & Samir) to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship.

Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Asuka signed the contract for their title match at the Royal Rumble. Kairi Sane kept poking Becky with an umbrella. Asuka was obnoxious. She spit the green mist in Becky’s eyes and walked away. After wincing in pain Becky demanded the mic and cut a promo, saying if she’s going down she’s doing so swinging and taking Asuka with her.

Aleister Black defeated Buddy Murphy in their third televised match. Murphy oddly remained at ringside after the match, which turned out to facilitate his joining Seth Rollins and AOP later on.

Erick Rowan won another squash match.

Seth Rollins and AOP (Akam & Rezar) defeated Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, and Big Show. Buddy Murphy helped Rollins and AOP, and appeared to join their group as I mentioned earlier.

Final Thoughts

Look for more build to the Royal Rumble event tonight and perhaps some hints as to whom may get into it with each other during the match. I hope they build up other women such as Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, as the division is in desperate need of some depth. I’m positive on Murphy joining Rollins and his group, but I’m skeptical of the possibility of him being the designated jobber. Murphy is way too talented for that. Drew McIntyre continues to be my favorite act on the show, and with his recent mic work I hopeful he’s finally getting the big push he deserves. Overall, as I have been lately, I look forward to seeing tonight’s show. Last night I joined PWTorch columnist Greg Parks on Wrestling Night in America to preview the Royal Rumble. Give it a listen!

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.

CATCH UP… HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 1/13: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including the first ever fist fight, Orton vs. Styles, Black vs. Murphy, and more

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