SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
JANUARY 4, 2021
TAMPA, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe
Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- After an opening promo discussing the happenings of the previous week, Keith Lee defeated Sheamus to earn the right to face Drew McIntyre tonight for the WWE Championship.
- Gran Metalik defeated the Miz.
- Shayna Baszler defeated Dana Brooke.
- A.J. Styles defeated Elias.
- Mustafa Ali defeated Ricochet. Ali gave Ricochet another chance to join Retribution, which Ricochet rejected after teasin saying yes.
- Charlotte Flair defeated Nia Jax via DQ when Shayna Baszler interfered.
- Angel Garza teased giving a rose to Charly Caruso until R-Truth and the parade of 24/7 contingent showed up and knocked the rose to the ground.
- The Hurt Business (U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley, Raw Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander, and M.V.P.) defeated Riddle, Jeff Hardy, and New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods).
- Adam Pearce reinstated the Miz as Mr. Money in the Bank. He said because of John Morrison telling the referee Miz was cashing in and not Miz himself at TLC, it was technically not a legal cash-in.
- Alexa Bliss dared Randy Orton to burn her alive as he did “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in their Firefly Inferno match at TLC. Alexa went so far as to “pour gasoline” on her and Randy lit a match. The show went off the air with Randy holding the lit match.
Here are the WWE exclusives from last week:
Legends Night & Other Items Advertised by WWE
We roll into 2021 with the first edition of Raw, which has been billed as Legends Night. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Big Show, and Torrie Wilson have been the names advertised in the hype video WWE has put out. Their website also shows Booker T and Mark Henry as appearing, and I’m certain there will be more. The last time legends appeared on Raw was back in July of 2019 which saw WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin close out the show celebrating with the legends, and appearances by Hogan, Flair, and may others throughout the night. In fact, some of them even held the 24/7 Championship briefly, but you can look up who if you so desire. Typically, WWE will bring back the legends when they want to boost a rating or it’s a significant night. With sagging ratings and it being the first Raw of 2021, I could see why they wanted to do this. Hopefully, all legends are safe, especially the ones vulnerable to COVID. WWE has two other items advertised in their preview:
- Drew McIntyre and Keith Lee to ring in new year with WWE Title clash.
- What’s next for Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss?
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (champ) vs. Keith Lee
As mentioned earlier, Keith Lee earned the right to face Drew McIntyre tonight for the WWE Championship. It will not be the first time they have faced each other, as they faced each other twice shortly after Keith’s promotion (if it’s even still called that) from NXT. Both matches had non-finishes, and if memory serves correctly Randy Orton got involved in one while Retribution and the Hurt Business got involved in the other. If that’s wrong, I apologize, but it’s not important enough for me to research.
Sheamus is still a factor as they bickered two weeks ago because of Keith accidentally bumping into him during a brawl. Following a six-man tag in which they and Drew were victorious, Sheamus Brogue Kicked Keith. We’ll see how that plays in tonight as Keith goes for his first singles title on the main roster. He is a former NXT North American and World Champion.
— Merri-Lee (@RealKeithLee) December 29, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I have such a mixed bag of feelings regarding this situation. Keith should not win the WWE Championship, but he also should be protected. WWE has not done a good job with that to this point, but he hasn’t looked good in his matches. I’m not one who should be talking about being in shape and having good cardio, but I’m not a professional wrestler. Keith is, and has looked “gassed” as a frequent caller pointed out on the post-show last week. I don’t know what they should do here. They do so many crap finishes, so what’s one more, but a clean finish is always better. I have a feeling we’re headed for a triple threat match possibly at the Royal Rumble.
What’s Next for Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton?
What IS next for Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton?
I talked briefly about what happened in the recap. Earlier in the show, Alexa was in the middle of the ring in “Alexa’s Playground.” She talked about Fiend returning tonight to meet his “hero Hulk Hogan,” and uttered some of Hulk’s signature “train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins” in her dialogue. Randy Orton showed up in the Firefly Funhouse instead of the Playground, where Alexa invited him. He started destroying the Funhouse set and tore off the head of Rambin’ Rabbit, who I am convinced is the modern-day version of Kenny from South Park. Go watch some old episodes if you don’t understand what I’m talking about.
After the cliffhanger ending last week, WWE has advertised they will follow up on this story (duh). Both of them have been quiet on social media this past week. Granted, we just lost Brodie Lee, so it may be a coincidence. I do like social media silence instead of seeing their normal, jovial selves in the wake of such a shocking angle.
Frank’s Analysis: So, who’s got money on Fiend returning tonight and attacking Hulk Hogan? Sometimes when WWE is so obvious about something, it doesn’t happen. With the legends returning though, it’s ripe for a Fiend return. I don’t want to say too much more than has already been said about last week’s closing angle. I will say this, it’s not for me. I understand it’s for some people, and I acknowledge your feelings. My guess is there are more people that think like me and less people that are into that, and that’s why the ratings keep going down. None of what they are doing in this angle fits in the world of professional wrestling or makes me want to see a match between Fiend and Randy. Apparently, this is good you-know-what to you-know-who.
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
Despite the nonsense that is the Fiend-Orton story, I’m looking forward to seeing how the WWE Championship picture plays out. I have a feeling Bobby Lashley could be getting lined up for another crack at Drew because of how they’ve protected him lately. Legends night is inherently fun. Hopefully, they can give a rub to some of the current wrestlers. Raw ended on a rough note in 2020. The calendar doesn’t mean things are automatically different. Big changes need to be made for the show to be better moving forward.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!