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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
JANUARY 4, 2021
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. AT TROPICANA FIELD (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-The began with Hulk Hogan discussing the “hPhone” (his bad take on an iPhone), and he held it up as he said his catchphrase and added “Legends Night.” Tom Phillips then welcomed us, this time NOT from the “award winning and critically acclaimed” Thunderdome. The Miz & John Morrison began Miz TV with The Miz happy that he has the Money in the Bank briefcase once again. He ran through the card, including Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee and Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton. He asked Morrison which Legends are here, and he says Ric Flair, Torrie Wilson, Booker T, Hogan, and then he introduced The Miz as the “most legendary.” The Miz said it’s the first Raw of the new year and he’s optimistic now that he has the briefcase back, and Morrison 2021 is their year. He introduced The New Day, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods.
They make their entrance as both teams dance to the music. Kingston thanked the other team for joining THEM on their new talk show, New Day Talks. Woods hilariously took off the mic cover that was upside down for Miz TV and replaced it to its normal upright position. Kingston said they’re going to have a cookout and while the other two aren’t invited, they know they’re going to crash the BBQ anyway. They ran through some food/BBQ related puns to discuss their beef with The Miz & Morrison. Kingston eloquently stole The Miz & Morrison’s “COOOOOOOORRRRRREEECCCTT!” line much to the chagrin of the other two. The Miz said it’s an audition for Woods before he bombs on G4. Kingston then said Woods is the show’s bailiff and every good talk show has one.
He pulled out some cue cards and asked questions. First, he asked about new year resolutions. Morrison said graduate from Hibachi chef school, invest in etherium, and take a picture everyday. Kingston asked which legend they would like to go out to dinner with. Morrison said Tatanka, and The Miz told him to stop giving into them. The Miz tried to end the interview, but Woods played his trombone, which led to the “cooking portion” of the show, until The Miz angrily shouted them down. He said he’s sick of people making fun of his show. Suddenly, Teddy Long’s music played! Holla Holla Holla!
Long said in all his years of GM, he said The Miz & Morrison will face The Undertaker! Sike, Adam Pearce came out and told Long that isn’t the case, and switched it to a tag match between the two teams in the ring (duh). Long danced while the two teams jawed at each other and they cut to break. [c]
(1) THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
-Woods and Morrison began with Woods using his quickness to gain the early advantage. Quick tag to Kingston, who entered and engaged in double team offense with Woods culminating in a double bulldog. Woods tagged back in as they hit their kicks and splash/elbow combo. Morrison fought off Woods and tagged in The Miz, who went right to work on Woods’ midsection. The Miz was shoved into The New Day’s corner, allowing Kingston to tag in and hit some offense for a two-count. A graphic displayed with a reminder of the forthcoming WWE Championship match, Phillips indicating it will be the headliner (as it should be). The Miz fought out of a headlock, attempted the Skull Crushing Finale, but Kingston reversed everything into a crossbody for a two-count. Woods tagged back in, lifted Kingston like they were going to hit a huge double team, but let Kingston down for a stomp on The Miz’s chest. The Miz gained control and Morrison made a blind tag. He went for a standing shooting star press on Woods, but Woods moved and Kingston tagged in to hit the assisted basement dropkick. Kingston landed on his feet on a monkey flip attempt and twerked at Morrison in such a way that Faye Jackson would be proud. Woods and Kingston clear the ring and Kingston then launched himself over the rope, taking out their opponents as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Kingston in control of Morrison, laying in strikes, but Morrison took control after a distraction from The Miz with a head kick. “When in doubt, kick yourself out,” said Samoa Joe. The Miz raked at the eyes, then distracted the ref as Morrison kicked Kingston. Morrison tagged back in as they hit a double gutbuster for a two-count. The piped-in crowd noise is rather annoying at this point because it’s just so manufactured. Kingston fought his way to his feet, but Morrison shoved Kingston back as he attempted to tag in Woods. The Miz tagged in and hit his corner flying-to-sitting clothesline for a two-count. Kingston able to reverse on the feet, but The Miz cut him off before the tag. He attempted a Figure-4, but Kingston countered and hit an S.O.S. Both men made tags. Woods took control over Morrison, but Morrison responded with a huge forearm shiver. Woods responded with the Honor Roll (shoutout PWT Talks NXT crew), then looked for his tornado DDT. Morrison countered into a pin, but had his feet shoved off the ropes by Kingston. Woods hit a shining wizard for the victory.
WINNER: The New Day at 13:15
-After the match, they showed replays about how Morrison’s attention was on Kingston, allowing Woods to gain the victory. Phillips, Joe, & Byron Saxton then shift to discussing the Hardy-Orton match. and FINALLY mention the final segment from last week (only took them nearly half an hour). They replayed “Alexa’s Playground” when they left on an attempted murder by immolation angle. They cut to the back with Charly Caruso asking Orton what was going through his mind as he held that match. He said the voices in his head said to, “Do it, do it, DO IT!” He said he couldn’t do it because something in him changed by facing The Fiend, a story they’ve told with every opponent of The Fiend. He said he showed compassion and mercy and he hates himself for that. He said he realized that he could sculpt this compassion and mercy, that hatred, which makes him truly capable of anything (sure). He said what if he channeled that hatred at someone else? As Caruso asked about The Fiend, he cut her off and said he wants to find some old friends, have a talk, and remind them why he IS “The Legend Killer.” They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It took them HOW long to mention their cliffhanger? Does WWE know how cliffhangers are supposed to work? You don’t have an attempted murder angle to end last week’s show and wait nearly a half hour to bring it up! To the opening segments, the less Terry on my TV the better, and I’m glad The New Day won, but again, there’s no reason to take The Miz & Morrison seriously. This is especially concerning since one holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, but this is WWE after all. Also, love me some Teddy Long!)
-They returned with the commentators welcoming us back to “Legends Night” as they cut to a video of the “TikTok New Year’s” live stream with R-Truth & The New Day. Truth lost the 24/7 Championship to Angel Garza during this stream. They show Garza in the back awestruck at Alicia Fox. He tried to impress her with the 24/7 Championship, and she walked off. Next he saw Tatanka, Sgt. Slaughter, & Mickie James (who is still active). He hit on James, giving her his rose, but Slaughter took it and said, “MAGGOT.” James is also married, so…
They shifted to the entrance area where A.J. Styles made his entrance accompanied by Omos, the latter looking exquisitely dressed as he has the past few weeks. Phillips said Omos corrected him in the hallway and said it’s pronounced “Oh-MAS.” Elias made his entrance next, accompanied by Jaxson Ryker.
(2) A.J. STYLES (w/Omos) vs. ELIAS (w/Jaxson Ryker)
-They began with Styles in control using a side headlock, holding onto it even as Elias hit a belly-to-back suplex. Elias responded with a back elbow to gain control, then pounded away in the corner. He whipped Styles chest-first in the turnbuckle, then hit a clothesline for a two-count. Phillips reminded us that Styles announced his entry into the Royal Rumble match earlier in the day on social media. Styles regained control with strikes, but Elias hung Styles up on the top rope and hit a gorilla press slam onto the top turnbuckle, then hit a forearm that sent Styles to the floor as they cut to break.
They returned panning up at Omos as Elias placed Styles on the top turnbuckle. Elias struck Styles a few times, then attempted a superplex. Styles slipped out and pulled Elias out from the turnbuckle. They traded heavy strikes, but Elias hit a chokeslam sitting uranage style for a two-count. Elias climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Styles rolled to the other side of the ring. Styles struck Elias, but Elias hit a flying knee on Styles for a two-count as Styles attempted the Phenomenal 4-arm. Saxton reminded fans that Asuka & Charlotte Flair will take on Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce later. Elias had Styles in the electric chair, but Styles hit a head scissors, brainbuster, then the Styles Clash for the victory.
WINNER: A.J. Styles at 9:40
-After the match, Ryker tried to hit Styles with the guitar, but Omos quickly and suddenly entered the ring and kicked the guitar into pieces out of Ryker’s hand, timed perfectly like it was a movie. Omos glared at the two as they retreated, and it’s safe to say, Omos is impressing me more and more every single week. The commentators shift to discussing the aforementioned women’s tag team match and cut to WWE Network Exclusive from earlier in the day where Sarah Schreiber asked Flair about the Royal Rumble match. Flair declared herself for the match, seeking to win it in consecutive years. Joe asked what that means if she has to face her own partner. She mad her entrance with her father, “The Nature Boy,” who looked so happy to be in the role of the doting father. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Elias didn’t las as long this week as last (rightfully), but the biggest thing coming out of this match is undoubtedly Omos. That kick was so perfectly timed you would think it was edited, but even if they edited the clip, it wouldn’t have looked so smooth. For a man that size to kick that high with such ease is damn impressive. If his in-ring ability is even mediocre at best, he’s going to be a STAR.)
-They returned with Riddle pitching to The Big Show to be “The Big Bro.” Show played along (why, Show?). Riddle walked off as Orton approached Show, whose demeanor quickly changed. Orton said it must be a weird feeling to know you can’t compete again. He said Show’s career is over because of him. Show said he could compete right now. Orton grabbed his neck, but Show laughed and sat down saying he knows Orton wants him to do something stupid. Show said he’s proud to be a Legend on Legends Night. Orton said he sees Show doesn’t have the guts to reintroduce himself to “The Legend Killer,” so he left.
(Hazelwood’s Take: There will be at least two or three more of these throughout the night. It’s a good reminder of Orton’s sadistic side as he tries to regain that evil.)
(3) CHARLOTTE FLAIR & ASUKA vs. PEYTON ROYCE & LACEY EVANS
-They cut to the ring with Flair’s music still playing, then Asuka made her entrance as Phillips reminded us this team formed only due to Lana’s injury. Royce made her entrance as her Tron really played up her Poison Ivy gimmick, followed by Evans. They played a pre-match promo with the challengers talking about how they’re “future Legends.” Flair and Royce began with the latter mocking Flair with a “WOO!” Flair took care of Royce and asked for Evans, who tagged in only to be taken down after waving to Papa Flair. Flair quickly went for the Figure Four, but Evans rolled out and made the tag to Royce upon reentering the ring. Numbers game allowed the challengers to gain the advantage. Royce with some ugly looking forearms to Flair, then a big kick to Flair. She tried to swing at Asuka, who ducked, but allowed a double team behind the ref’s back. Evans tagged in, but Flair countered an attempted double team and Asuka tagged in.
Royce tagged back in as Asuka took control with a running hip attack, superkick to Evans, then running bulldog/clothesline combo. Leg kick from Asuka, but she’s knocked to the outside by Royce. Evans attempted to distract Papa Flair, but Charlotte Flair responded with a slap. Evans tackled her and they fought on the ground as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Royce & Evans stomping Asuka in the corner. Evans had Asuka in a weird leglock, then tagged in Royce. The chemistry between Royce & Evans is still building. Royce whipped Asuka hard into the corner, then stalked her with a smile on her face. She sent Asuka across the ring with a modified biel, then tagged in Evans. Evans locked in rest hold, then started driving Asuka’s face into the canvas. Royce tagged in and prevented Asuka from tagging in Flair (no T-Rex arms). Asuka took out Evans, then a double clothesline grounds both women. Both women made the tag, but Flair gained the advantage. She started working Evans’ left leg, then gave some stiff chops to Evans’ chest. Royce made a blind tag, but Flair fought her off and hit both women with exploder suplexes. She climbed for her moonsault, Asuka tagged, Flair hit it on both women with only a slight overrotation, Asuka shining wizard on Royce for only a two-count! Flair tagged in, hit a bad Natural Selection, but had the pin broken up by Evans. Evans took out Asuka to the outside, turned to Papa Flair to seduce him, but Charlotte Flair caught her with a baseball slide. Royce attempted to strike, Flair accidentally tripped his daughter, and Royce pinned Charlotte Flair!
WINNER: Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans at 12:32
-Evans kissed Papa Flair after the match, and he looked dismayed. Daughter glared at father, stepped outside, got in his face, and said, “Stay out of my business, again! Do you understand me? Back up now. Get out.” She pointed as Papa Flair exited the area, a complete emasculation. They cut to the back with McIntyre taping up his wrists as Sheamus appeared and asked McIntyre to give Lee a good old kick in the head for him. They turned to see Terry- sorry, Hogan and Jimmy Hart. Hogan gave McIntyre his best, congratulated for carrying the company during “these trying times,” and said McIntyre reminds him a little bit of himself (please no). McIntyre said there’s a resemblance between Sheamus and Hart, calling Sheamus the “Mouth of the South of Ireland.” Sheamus didn’t like that. McIntyre did Hogan’s dumb catchphrase together with some posing…sigh. They cut to break hyping the next match: Riddle vs. Bobby Lashley. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Didn’t we already have a Charlotte-telling-off-Ric segment in the past, which she alluded to in her berating of her father? Of course, when they actually have Flair put over someone on TV, it’s in a tag match against a wrestler who is nowhere near the main event picture. Their booking is, once again, unideal. Please no more Hogan…please.)
(4) RIDDLE vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/M.V.P.)
-They returned with Riddle making his entrance and the commentators replaying the events of last week’s match involving the two competitors. Lashley (“Chief Hurt Officer”) entered next, accompanied by M.V.P. Phillips said Lashley is now well over 100 days into his reign as United States Champion. Lashley’s glare just has an extra bit of “oomph” to it since M.V.P. formed The Hurt Business; he’s just more confident in his abilities now. Riddle attacked before the bell and the commentators said that’s what he should do instead of ridiculing the face for engaging in heel tactics. Lashley used his power to just toss Riddle off of him and gain control. He pounded on Riddle in the corner, but Riddle caught his arm in a flying armbar that took Lashley over the top and to the outside. Lashley put Riddle in a fireman’s carry and drove him into the post, though it looked more like Lashley hit the post and then spun Riddle off. They cut to break. [c]
They returned with Lashley in control, working Riddle’s lower back. Riddle fought back to his feet, but Lashley hit a rolling back elbow followed by a lariat to ground Riddle. Lashley locked in a rear chin crank while M.V.P. shouted down Riddle. Lashley drove Riddle into the corner, Riddle fought back, but Lashley took control with one blow. M.V.P. sung a song on the outside about having nowhere to run or hide, but Riddle responded with an overhead kick and a corner forearm. He countered a Lashley Dominator and hit a kick, Broton, Final Flash for only a one-count. “Do you know who you’re in there with silly man?” asked M.V.P. Riddle went for the Floating Bro but Lashley caught him and hit a huge Dominator, his finisher during his first run in WWE, then posed and locked in The Hurt Lock. They jumped over the ref as Riddle tried fighting out. He tapped, but the ref didn’t see. Lashley broke the lock, then was rolled up by Riddle for the victory. As they say in MMA, hold on until the ref breaks the submission.
WINNER: Riddle at 9:05
-After the match, they showed replays and discussed how the ref wasn’t in position. Lashley looked incensed, rightfully. They called it a “clever victory” for Riddle. They cut to the back with Mark Henry giving words of encouragement to Ricochet. Orton then approached as Ricochet left. Orton said he’d been meaning to catch up with Henry and began by announcing his candidacy for the Royal Rumble match. Henry, on one of those one-legged scooter things, said he can roll away fast enough to get away from Orton’s “ass.” Orton reminisced about being hit with the World’s Strongest Slam over and over again and said he owes Henry a lot of receipts. He said he’d give him a pass as long as he leaves Orton’s presence immediate. Henry, dejected, left. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: WHY have Lashley lose, even in a roundabout way, when he’s been on a good streak? The goal with Lashley should be to have him be undefeated so he can be a viable challenger for the WWE Championship. I get the finish was supposed to protect him, but it’s still a loss in the WWE record book (which will be forgotten by the end of the month). I’m guessing this means Riddle is facing Lashley at the pay-per-view for the United States Championship.)
-They returned replaying the events of the previous match, then cut to the back with Caruso approaching a furious M.V.P. & Lashley. The former said there was no controversy; it was a travesty. “He. Tapped. Out.” said Lashley. He said he’s going to “punish his punk ass.” M.V.P. looked at the camera and said, “Now you done pissed him off.”
-Mandy Rose made her entrance and posed by flexing on the ramp in an homage to her partner, Dana Brooke. As they showed replays, Shayna Baszler attacked Rose, throwing her from barricade to barricade. Brooke ran down and confronted Baszler. She said she’d take on Baszler even though she’s not in ring gear.
(5) DANA BROOKE vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
-They began with Baszler taunting Brooke, but Brooke showed no fear. Baszler looked for the Kirifuda Clutch, but Brooke rolled into the pinfall victory.
WINNER: Dana Brooke at 0:36
-Baszler held on after the match, but Rose broke it up with a pump knee. They hit Baszler with a double flapjack and kicked her out of the ring as they stood tall. They cut to the back with Ric Flair talking to Molly Holly and I.R.S. Orton appeared and the latter two walked away. Orton said it’s been a while and asked if Flair if he could walk him down the aisle for his match, but he won’t let him mess up his match like “you did your daughter’s.” Flair said he’ll never walk him down and discussed their history. Orton said Flair taught him everything, but now he’s only relevant because of his daughter, and he said Charlotte Flair is ten times the competitor her father ever was. Orton said he sees a man who looks and talks like Ric Flair, but he is NOT the man who “taught me damn near everything I know.” He called Flair nothing but a pathetic old man and walked off as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Once again, we are reminded that Vince McMahon views Baszler as nothing more than mid card fodder. What an utter waste of her talents.)
-They returned by hyping the WWE Championship match and replayed Lee’s victory over Sheamus last week to earn the “WWE Championship opportunity.” They showed Lee in the back warming up as Riddle approached wishing him luck. Lee looked annoyed, but said, “Thanks for the pep talk.” He obviously has much more patience than me. Next, Orton made his entrance for his match against Hardy, who made his entrance after (complete with pyro; have to spend that money somewhere, right?). Phillips reminded us of their 2018 Hell in a Cell match that saw Orton use a screwdriver to twist Hardy’s gauge-enlarged earlobe holes.
(6) RANDY ORTON vs. JEFF HARDY
-They began by slowly measuring each other with Orton gaining the advantage in the corner. Orton faked a corner break, then poked Orton in the eye. Orton hit a snapmare and face stomp, then sent Hardy outside. He bashed Hardy’s head into the announce table four times and hit his belly-to-back onto the announce table. Orton broke the count, then rolled Hardy back in for a two-count. Orton employed a methodical pace as he locked in an arm lock to the prone Hardy, then stomping on said left arm. Hardy tried to fight back, but Orton regained control with a knee. Hard whip into the corner, but Hardy used the rebound to hit a clothesline. Orton regained control by kicking the left arm and stomping away at both hands. Randy Orton Special locked in (rear chinlock rest hold). Hardy hit a modified Twist of Fate into a neckbreaker, then climbed for the Swanton. Orton rolled outside, but Hardy hit a flying clotheslines off of the apron as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Orton in control with the Randy Orton Special, then pulling Hardy down by his hair as Hardy tried escaping. Orton then inserted a finger into both earlobes and began pulling and wrenching on them! He shifted to stomping Hardy, then locked in the ROS once again. Hardy finally reached to bottom rope after about a minute to break the hold. Hardy hit a jawbreaker as he tried fighting back, then an inverted atomic drop-leg drop-basement dropkick-falling splash combo for a two-count. The two men traded strikes, but Hardy gained control. Whisper in the Wind hit flush for Hardy for a two-count only; Hardy’s leg landed on the top of Orton’s head. Hardy maintained control and climbed for a Swanton again, but Orton rolled away once more. He used that distance to set Hardy for the draping DDT. Orton collected himself, then did his pre-RKO mat pounding. Hardy countered, looked for a Twist of Fate, but Orton countered into an RKO for the victory. It was eerily similar to how he won his first World Championship at Summer Slam 2004 against [REDACTED].
WINNER: Randy Orton at 14:09
-After the match, Orton posed on the second rope, frothing at the mouth. They cut to the back with Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) greeting Meilna (nice!), who did the “Lucha” pose with them. The Hurt Business’ music played as M.V.P. accompanied the Tag Team Champion, Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin, to the ring for their match.
(Hazelwood’s Take: A pretty standard TV match and what you’d expect form these two. They have good chemistry after all their years working together, but their peak is still at about 2.5-3 stars for a TV match. Orton showing more of his sadism during the match helps build that story they’re telling of him trying to regain that evil, so well done there.)
(7) THE HURT BUSINESS (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin w/M.V.P) vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik)
-They returned with M.V.P. joining the commentary team as The Hurt Business waited for their opponents, who entered shortly after. Let me just say it’s nice LHP are receiving TV time because they are talented. They played a pre-recorded promo with the the two saying they’re going after The Hurt Business and showing what “Lucha Lit” is all about. Metalik and Benjamin began as Phillips reminded us of Metalik’s Cruiserweight Championship match on NXT. metalik used his quickness to gain the advantage on Benjamin, using the ropes to his liking. However, Benjamin caught Metalik and hit a HUGE powerbomb. Alexander tagged in, but Metalik was able to tag in Dorado, who hit a rana from the second rope. Alexander responded with his absolutely vicious looking Michinoku Driver. M.V.P. shouted out encouragement to his team, but Dorado hit a springboard cutter. Benjamin tagged in and hit a pump knee on Metalik waiting on the apron. Alexander & Benjamin tag in themselves to the chagrin of each other, allowing Dorado to hit a series of moves and hit a crucifix pin for the win!
WINNER: Lucha House Party at 2:50
-After the match, M.V.P. berated the two, saying he’s embarrassed. He doesn’t know what’s going on between the two, but he said they need to get on the same page and they win as a team. Alexander said something and walked off. They cut to the back where Torrie Wilson was speaking to Nikki Cross, interrupted by Garza proposing his rose to Wilson. She said she invited some celebrities like Cardi B, and told Garza to go find her (she’s joking). Garza went off asking for Cardi B, but walked into The Boogeyman and his worms. Garza ran off scared, then was rolled up by R-Truth. Truth is once again 24/7 Champion. Ron Simmons appeared, looked at Garza a bit, and said, well, you know, “DAMN!” McIntyre made his entrance for the WWE Championship match just before the half hour, meaning the match should receive at least 20 minutes. he held the sword by the hilt, then again by the pommel as he thrusted it into the entrance area. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: What is with this backwards booking with The Hurt Business?! They’ve completely stunted any momentum and build they had with their inexplicable losses tonight. Look, I’m glad Lucha House Party gained the victory, and they’re much more interesting without Kalisto as their mouthpiece/leader, but come on now, not at the expense of The Hurt Business.)
(8) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KEITH LEE – WWE Championship match
-Lee made his entrance as they returned with all the Legends shown throughout the night greeting him at the top of the ramp. Mike Rome gave the Championship match introduction. They locked up immediately, each trying to outmuscle the other. McIntyre gave a clean break as they reset. Lee gave his own clean break after lifting McIntyre onto the bottom turnbuckle. McIntyre locked in a cavate, but Lee rolled out. He got caught on his leapfrog, but reacted swiftly. McIntyre shoved then slapped Lee in frustration. He caught Lee by surprise as he gained the advantage. Lee responded with a left haymaker that sent McIntyre out of the ring. McIntyre reentered slowly and is working more, if not heel, cunning against the size and strength of Lee. Lee countered with a lariat that sent McIntyre to the outside. He then Pounced McIntyre OVER the barricade as they cut to break with the ref at a seven count. [c]
They returned with the two trading strikes and Lee gaining the advantage as he sent McIntyre into the corner. Lee hit body shots and shoulders in the corner as he worked the midsection that was hurt prior to commercial. McIntyre tried fighting back, but Lee needed only one shot to send McIntyre to the mat. Lee with a look of contempt on his face. He bodyslammed McIntyre by tossing him rather than slamming him, an impressive sight. He hit a more traditional bodyslam next. They cut to the Legends watching from the entrance (I hope they were all COVID tested along with the talent). McIntyre sidestepped Lee to regain the advantage with strikes. he looked for a belly-to-belly, but Lee fought out. McIntyre tried again using the momentum from the corner, but to no avail. He tried again, and the third time worked as he launched Lee over his head to the other side of the ring. He hit a leaping neckbreaker next, followed by a Shawn Michaels-like kip up. He went to the corner for the Claymore, Lee sidestepped, McIntyre with a sunset flip for a two-count, followed by a Ron Simmons one-armed spinebuster from Lee for a two-count. McIntyre rolled to the outside, still favoring his midsection. As Lee argued with the official, McIntyre grabbed Lee from the apron into a powerbomb position and slammed him through the announce table, though Lee landed on the corner edge so hopefully he’s OK. They cut to break with Lee’s eyes closed and the ref asking him if he could continue. [c]
They returned with McIntyre climbing to the top and hitting a flying clothesline for a two-count. They replayed the powerbomb where Lee hit the point of the announce table. Lee regained the advantage with a huge lariat for a two-count. Lee went for a running lariat, but McIntyre countered looking for a backslide. Lee flipped McIntyre over, but the latter hit his Future Shock DDT for only a two-count! Piped-in “This is awesome” chants. McIntyre intercepted on the top rope as Lee struck him. Lee climbed to the second turnbuckle, then the top to hit an AVALANCHE SPANISH FLY! Two-count! That should be a match ender right there. Both men returned to their feet, and McIntyre pushed Lee off of the ropes and used that to hit an Arn Anderson spinebuster for a two-count. Claymore attempt that’s caught by Lee, looked for the Spirit Bomb, McIntyre slipped out, ran the ropes, and hit the Claymore for the victory.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 21:12 to retain the WWE Championship
-After the match, they showed replays and commended Lee on his effort. McIntyre helped Lee to his feet as they fist bumped. McIntyre turned and grabbed a mic. Suddenly, Goldberg’s music hit as he made his appearance and confronted McIntyre. Lee appeared to have rolled out of the ring. Goldberg grabbed a mic and said there’s no better representative to be WWE Champion: speed, size, athleticism. However, he said the one thing McIntyre doesn’t have is respect. He said McIntyre looks at the Legends as tired, washed up men and women and that he’s better in his prime than every one of the Legends. Goldberg said that thinking is wrong, and that’s where he stepped in. He said don’t think he’s demanding anything or making a threat, but made a challenge for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV. McIntyre said that’s not what he said and he’s trying to get in his head. McIntyre said fighting Goldberg would be like fighting his own dad. Goldberg shoved McIntyre to the ground as the show ended.
(Hazelwood’s Take: NO. NO. NO. I’m certain McIntyre could give Goldberg a good match like Lesnar did, but just NO. Very few people I know who follow wrestling want to see Goldberg on TV, let alone in a match for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP. The only good news is this means (for now) that he’s far away from Roman Reigns. Seriously, what a way to just wipe away a good match between McIntyre and Lee, particularly since the latter should have answered any questions people had about his conditioning and ring work. What a sour note to end.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: 2021 just means WWE’s booking continues to worsen, lacking any rhyme or reason. I am still upset about the complete about-face on The Hurt Business, particularly Lashley. The lack of anything remotely substantial for Baszler is just befuddling, even a year later. The less I say about that show-ending angle, the better.