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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 28, 2020
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. AT TROPICANA FIELD (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-The screen noted the death of Jon Huber (“Luke Harper”), 1979-2020.
-The Raw opening theme aired.
-The announcers announced Keith Lee vs. Sheamus with the winner getting a WWE Title shot against Drew McIntyre next week. Also, Randy Orton will be a guest on Alexa’s Playground.
-Drew made his ring entrance. He said it’s been a crazy year. He talked about winning, losing, and regaining the WWE Title during the year. He looked into the camera and thanked the fans for rallying behind him. “From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.” He said the powers that be once determined he was the chosen one, but when the fans decided he was their chosen one, that’s what really counted. He talked about next week’s Raw, defending against either Lee or Sheamus in front of Raw legends. He was then interrupted by Sheamus’s music.
Sheamus entered and apologized for interrupting. Drew said he’s not sorry. He said every time he comes out there and people interrupt. He said he knows where he was going with it. He said last week he went to him and told him not to pull any b.s. in the match. Sheamus said he didn’t. Drew disagreed. Sheamus said they won the match and the rest is fair game. Drew said he should have known. Sheamus asked how long he’s known him. Drew said, “15 years.” Sheamus said their dream was to end up in WWE as champions. Sheamus said he’s a former champion and Drew is a current champion. He said they are one week away from making their dream a reality facing each other. Drew said he’s getting goosebumps, and they’ve been through the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and everyone in the back is going to get really uncomfortable watching because of how physical it’ll be. Sheamus said no one gets more physical than them. Sheamus said it’ll be them for the first Raw of 2021 and they’ll kick off Raw the right way.
Keith Lee then came out. Drew said he knew this was coming. Lee said, “This is real cute. Two best friends, one a former WWE Champion and one current.” Lee said Sheamus kicked him in the face after last week’s win, and Drew vouched for his friend and said he could be trusted. Lee said, “There is zero trust now. Your word is just as good as his.” Lee entered the ring and said every fiber in his being wants to beat his face in right now. He said he’ll be forced to issue an apology. He warned Drew that Sheamus will turn on him too. Sheamus defended his actions, saying he kept saying he was going to betray his best mate, “so who do you think you were.” Drew said they’re both fired up, so let’s get the match started. Drew said whoever wins tonight, the result Monday will be the same. Sheamus then gave Lee a Brogue Kick. Drew angrily got in Sheamus’s face as they cut to a break. [c]
(1) SHEAMUS vs. KEITH LEE – Winner Gets a WWE Title shot
Drew was on commentary during the match. They cut to a break a few minutes in. [c]
Late in the match, Sheamus landed a White Noise for a two count. After some mid-ring exchanges, Lee landed a Spirit Bomb for the win. They cut to Drew smiling in reaction. He said Lee has a chance prove himself next week. Drew entered the ring and held up the title belt as Lee stared back.
WINNER: Lee in 13:00 to earn a WWE Title match next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like the decision to have Lee win. Drew vs. Sheamus feels more Royal Rumble worthy. Drew continues to grow into his role as the alpha of Raw. The Steve Austin podcast on WWE Network is worth going out of your way to watch to gain new appreciation for Drew’s approach to his job.) [c]
-Backstage Elias was strumming his guitar when Jaxson Ryker by his side, enjoying the song. There was a knock on the door, but Elias told Ryker to ignore it.
-Miz and Morrison made their entrance. Phillips said Miz didn’t look happy about having to face Gran Metalik. [c]
(2) MIZ (w/John Morrison) vs. GRAN METALIK (w/Lince Dorado)
An inset interview aired with Lucha House Party during their ring entrance. The announcers said Miz is distracted by his Money in the Bank contract legal claim. Miz began ripping at Metalik’s mask. Joe said Miz appears to be a man in mental pain. Saxton said he’s obsessed with regaining his Money in the Bank contract. Metalik dominated and rolled up Miz for the victory. Miz rubbed his face in shocked anguish as Morrison tried to console him. LHP celebrated together at ringside.
WINNER: Metalik in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: You could see that coming with the commentary stressing how out of sorts Miz appeared. LHP are talented and have been underpushed for a while, but I’m not sure the proper foundation has been built for them to be in a feud with Miz. This felt more like a match built around Miz’s mental state more than building up LHP, but we’ll see.)
-Backstage, Ryker finally answered the door. Omos and A.J. Styles entered and Styles complained that he can’t make a call with all the noise of his music. “You’re not Johnny Cash, more like Johnny Trash!” Elias told Ryker and Styles to bring it down. Elias said Styles is still upset he couldn’t get the job done at TLC and said at this stage of his career, he won’t get many more chances. Styles said he could break his fingers and he won’t be able to play guitar again. Styles and Omos left.
(3) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. DANA BROOKE (w/Mandy Rose)
Baszler worked over Brooke aggressively, focusing on her arm. She went after her at ringside. Back in the ring, Brooke made a comeback. She climbed to the top rope, but Baszler moved. Baszler then gave her a leaping knee strike and applied the Kirifuda Clutch for the win.
WINNER: Baszler in 5:00.
-When Rose entered to check on Brooke, Baszler came up behind her and applied the Kirifuda Clutch on her.
-The announcers aired a video package on the Orton-Fiend/Bliss saga. [c]
-Back in the ring, Bliss was swinging in the ring. She asked, “Do you like my playground? He built this for me. I can’t wait to show it to him when he comes back. But I haven’t seen him since the Inferno Match at TLC when things got (*giggles*) a little heated.” She said maybe he’ll return at Legends Night on Raw next week because he’d love to “meet his hero, Hulk Hogan.” She said she knows for a fact that he’s been taking his vitamins and saying his prayers, although even she doesn’t want to know who or what he prays to. “Or he could be waiting for Orton to come back to my playground.”
She asked Orton to come to the ring. He didn’t come out. She said he doesn’t want to play with them just because they set him on fire once. “How inconsiderate and rude,” she said. Orton then walked into the Playhouse on the big screen. He said he thought he’d take advantage of the Funhouse surely being empty since The Fiend “was burned to a crisp.” He began destroying the set as Bliss looked on concerned from the ring in a swing. He said he doesn’t think The Fiend will come back, but if he does, he will have nothing left but her. He said he wants to show her and him how deranged he is so he can see he’ll have nothing to come back to. He picked up Ramblin’ Rabbit, who let out some concerned utterances. Orotn tore off the rabbit’s head. Bliss yelled, “Stop! Just stop!” She took on a threatening tone and said, “Later tonight, I challenge you in here with me in the ring.” He said, “Okay, so, this is where He is supposed to return, correct? Then I accept.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t buy Fiend is going to return tonight. But I get teasing it at this stage of this rather over-the-top storyline.)
-Charly Caruso interviewed Charlotte Flair backstage. She asked if she’s ready to face Nia Jax. Charlotte said six months ago, Jax injured her arm and she was out of action six months, but she returned last week and won the tag titles. She said she is going to bet on herself. Caruso asked if she has any resolutions. Charlotte said her resolution is to climb to the top and stay there. Asuka walked in and said, “Nia is not ready for Charlotte Flair!” She blew a kazoo.
-Styles made his ring entrance. [c]
(4) A.J. STYLES (w/Omos) vs. ELIAS (w/Jaxson Ryker)
Back and forth action early. Styles chopped away at Elias’s chest in the corner. There seemed to be a botched move or a block by Elias for a move mid-ring, so Styles went to a dropkick instead. Elias rolled to the floor. Styles slingshot himself to the ring apron, but Elias put him on his shoulders and dropped him face-first over the ring apron. Saxton said it could be a game-changer. He then threw Styles shoulder-first into the ringpost. [c]
Elias controlled after the break. Omos stopped Ryker from moving in on Styles at ringside. Styles springboarded at Elias a few minutes later, but Elias caught him and delivered a Drift Away inverted neck breaker for a near fall. Elias climbed precariously to the top rope. Styles got up and knocked him off balance. Styles landed a Pelé kick to knock Elias off the top rope to the mat. They showed reactions from Omos and Ryker at ringside. Elias recovered and gave Styles a TKO for another near fall. Styles came back with a Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
WINNER: Styles in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was an ambitious amount of time to give to a rather cold heel vs. heel match, especially one involving Elias who fans aren’t usually asked to invest in for the athletic aspects of his matches. This was okay, but choppy at times, which is par for the Elias course. Styles is good enough to keep it flowing well enough.)
-The announcers threw to a clip of Ricochet on Raw Talk saying how much this Retribution situation is affecting him emotionally. He said he cannot continue to be the one that people step over in order to further their careers. “If that means trying something a little different, who knows?” he concluded. [c]
(5) MUSTAFA ALI (w/Retribution) vs. RICOCHET
As Ali entered the ring, they aired a prerecorded interview with him saying Ricochet is the one who needs to change. He said he needs to stop thinking with his heart and start thinking with his mind, because he belongs with them. He said he needs to accept them as his allies or accept a future of suffering. A few minutes in, Ricochet and Ali battled near the ringpost. Ali climbed to the top rope. Ricochet knocked him off balance. Slapjack and Reckoning distracted the ref as T-Bar and Mace yanked Ricochet off the ring apron into the barricade at ringside. Ali then leaped off the top rope with a splash on the floor. They cut to a break. [c]
Ali controlled the action for a while after the break. Ricochet mounted a comeback and landed a back suplex after a standing backflip. Richochet went for a shooting star press, but Ali raised his knees and applied a sudden Koji Clutch. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Ali in 12:00.
-Ali told Ricochet he’d give him a chance for a new beginning. “Ricochet, join Retribution,” he said. “What is your decision?” Ricochet said he has made a decision. “I will,” pause… “…not join.” Ricochet gave him a Recoil. T-Bar and Mace ran in. Ricochet fled the scene as Retribution gathered in the ring.
-Caruso interviewed Nia Jax backstage, who was accompanied by Shayna Baszler. Jax interrupted Caruso’s question and said Charlotte is right to fear her. She listed her New Year’s Resolutions. She wants to halt Charlotte’s climb to the top before she gets to the first rung, get the tag team titles back where they belong, and officially enter the Women’s Royal Rumble. “And throw every person over the top rope and when I win, go to WrestleMania and face the champion – whoever that may be,” she said. Baszler was surprised at the last resolution. After Jax left, she said she kind of likes that idea.
-Charlotte made her ring entrance, accompanied by Asuka. [c]
-They replayed the Keith Lee-Sheamus finish from earlier in the show.
-Backstage, Caruso interviewed Drew about facing Lee next week. She asked if he had anything to say to him. Drew said he’s excited about Legends Night with Superstars who paved the way. He said Lee stepped up and it’ll be a night to remember. He said everyone, including him, have been waiting for Lee to step up. He said he saw the spark he needed to reach the top of WWE, and they’ll beat the hell out of each other. He looked at the camera and said Lee has a chance to show who he is, and on his best night he can beat anyone in WWE, “except Drew McIntyre.”
(6) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. NIA JAX
Several minutes in, Charlotte slidekicked Jax into the announce table. When Baszler walked toward Charlotte at ringside, Asuka stopped her. Charlotte threw Jax into the ringpost, then set up a figure-four in the ring. Jax blocked it and suplexed Charlotte neck-first into the lower turnbuckle. She stood and splashed Charlotte in the corner then scored a two count. They cut to a break. [c]
Jax caught Charlotte mid-air and landed a sitout powerbomb several minutes after the break, leading to a two count. They showed Asuka nervously jumping up and down at ringside. Charlotte avoided a Jax legdrop. Saxton said that would have been it. Joe agreed. Charlotte set up a figure-four, but Jax kicked out of it. Baszler distracted Charlotte. Asuka threw Baszler into the announce desk. Charlotte rolled up Jax for a near fall. She applied a figure-four. Baszler came in behind Charlotte and applied her sleeper. The ref DQ’d Jax. Asuka chased the heels out of the ring as they started a post-match attack.
WINNER: Jax via DQ in 11:00.
-Backstage Hurt Business gave a guy in a suit texting on his phone a hard time. He collapsed and they walked over him.
-Saxton announced Riddle & Jeff Hardy & New Day vs. Hurt Business. [c]
-Caruso interviewed Angel Garza. He suggestively talked about 2020 being a year of ups and downs. He had a rose and Garza asked who it was for. R-Truth barged in and knocked the rose to the ground, then ran away from Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak, and Erik. Garza picked up the broken rose and handed it to Caruso.
-The announcers commented on a replay of Big E winning the IC Title on Smackdown. Phillips said he can’t wait to see what Big E has in store for everyone on New Year’s Day.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s not often that Smackdown highlights air on Raw, but since Big E is part of New Day, I suppose it makes some sense.)
-Riddle and Hardy congratulated Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods on Big E winning the title. Riddle said they need a team name. He suggested “Little Bronies” or “The Positively Hard Bros.” New Day headed to the ring to cease involvement in the brainstorming session.
-New Day began their ring entrance. [c]
-When Hurt Business entered the ring, Lashley announced he was entering the Royal Rumble.
(7) RIDDLE & JEFF HARDY & NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. HURT BUSINESS (MVP & Bobby Lashley & Shelton Benjamin & Cedric)
They cut to a break a few minutes in. [c]
Xavier gave Cedric a hard clothesline. Hardy hit a Swanton. Lashley broke it up. Hardy blocked a Lashley spear. Lashley brushed him off and applied a Hurt Lock. Hardy tapped out.
WINNERS: Hurt Business in 14:00.
-After the match, Shelton and Cedric attacked New Day at ringside. In the ring, Riddle gave Lashley a Final Flash knee strike before bailing out to join his partners at ringside.
-Backstage Adam Pearce approached Miz and John Morrison on a staircase. Pearce said he’d love to throw the MITB briefcase at him, but he’s there to return it to him. He said Miz was right, only the MITB holder can cash it in, and that’s not Morrison. He congratulated Miz on getting it back. “It’s once again in your grubby little hands,” he said. Miz and Morrison let out a celebration cheer and then danced and ran up the steps to celebrate and dance some more. [c]
-Alexa Bliss stood in the ring. Orton made his ring entrance. He asked where Fiend was. Bliss said, “This isn’t about Him, it’s about me.” Bliss grabbed a gift wrapped box at ringside and entered the ring. She tore off the wrapping paper and pulled out a gas can and a box of matches. Orton stared at it as she walked toward him in the corner. She placed the items at his feet and backed away. “I challenge you to do to me what you did to him,” she said. She lay on her back. The announcers wondered what she was doing.
She got frustrated when Orton didn’t do anything. She squirted gasoline in the ring and drew a line toward Orton and then a circle around herself. She said Orton doesn’t have the guts. She was teared up and said he’s nothing but a little bitch. She poured liquid from the gasoline can over hear head and stood there staring at Orton. Orton hung his head. Then he lifted up the mic and said, “You think that I won’t do it?” He bent down and picked up the box of matches. “You think I’m not capable,” he said. “I want to do it. I’m trying to process the whole thing. I enjoy watching people in pain, suffering. She said at TLC he burned The Fiend and he went to hell. “Fine, fine, if you want to see Fiend, maybe I’ll set you on fire right now.”
The Fiend sound effects kicked in and the lights went dark. Orton lit the match and gave the camera a sinister look. The announcers begged him not to do it. The match went out and the lights went dark and the show ended on that “cliffhanger.”
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