(Updated) WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER 1/11: Status of Show in Flux Due to Positive COVID-19 Test

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
JANUARY 11, 2021
TAMPA, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe

Drew McIntyre COVID-19 Case

WWE has reported that Champion Drew McIntyre has tested positive for COVID-19, and entered quarantine:

The nature of the amended structure of the show is unknown currently. To the best of my ability, I will update the primer as new information becomes available. Below “the line” is what was originally anticipated for the show.


Match Results and Segments from Last Week

  • The Miz and John Morrison hosted New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) on an episode of MizTV. The two teams faced off in a match, won by New Day.
  • Charly Caruso interviewed Randy Orton, who admitted he hates himself for showing restraint and now burning Alexa Bliss alive the previous week. He said that hatred makes him feel capable of anything and everything. He said he would talk with the legends throughout the night and remind them he’s the legend killer. Throughout the night he confronted Big Show, Mark Henry, and Ric Flair. Orton had punt kicked Show and Flair over the summer last year during the time Raw emanated from the WWE Performance Center.
  • Angel Garza defeated R-Truth on a TikTok video to win the 24/7 Championship. R-Truth regained the title later as Garza was confronted by the Boogeyman.
  • A.J. Styles (w/Omos) defeated Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker). After the match, Omos kicked a guitar out of Ryker’s hands as he was swinging it at A.J.
  • Peyton Royce (Pey Pey) & Lacey Evans defeated Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte Flair & Raw Women’s Champion Asuka. Ric Flair, Charlotte’s father, accidentally tripped Charlotte as she ran the ropes. After the match, Charlotte stared down her dad and told him to stay out of her business. It’s like 2016 all over again. Check out this video from May 2016 and compare it to last week. They’re not exactly the same but the idea is similar:

  • WWE Champion Drew McIntyre was endorsed by WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. Drew did the signature Hogan “Whachya gonna do” bit.
  • Riddle defeated U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley in a non-title match.
  • Dana Brooke defeated Shayna Baszler. Shayna was initially supposed to wrestle Mandy Rose, but she attacked her as she was making her ring entrance.
  • Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy.
  • Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) defeated Raw Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander of the Hurt Business in a non-title match.
  • Drew McIntyre defeated Keith Lee to retain the WWE Championship. After the match, WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg confronted Drew and challenged him to a WWE Championship match.

Other Exclusives from Last Week

Items Advertised by WWE

We move a little closer to the Royal Rumble with another edition of Raw that will feature a non-title match consisting of recent rivals and an answer to a challenge. We’ve had more declarations for both the men’s and women’s rumbles via various platforms, and the WWE & Universal Championship matches appear to be taking shape. WWE has put out a video for tonight’s show hyping Drew McIntyre’s answer to Goldberg, and his non-title match against Randy Orton:

WWE’s preview for tonight is not up as of this writing. I will do my best, time permitting, to update the primer upon the preview coming out later today.

Non-Title Match: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
What Is Drew’s Response to Goldberg?

Let’s talk about these items in the same paragraph, as they are tied into each other.

It seems like a long time ago, but Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton were embroiled in a feud that started before SummerSlam and ended just before Survivor Series. They had a straight-up match at SummerSlam which saw Drew beat Randy to retain the WWE Championship, but did not use the Claymore Kick to do so. They moved on to an Ambulance Match at Night of Champions, which saw the legends that were taken out by Randy (Christian, Big Show, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels) help Drew retain the title. Randy would defeat Drew in a Hell in a Cell match at the titular PPV to win his 14th overall world championship in WWE, only to lose it back to Drew on the Monday before Survivor Series. He used the Claymore Kick to seal the victory. He went on to lose a non-title champion vs. champion match at Survivor Series to Universal Champion Roman Reigns from Smackdown. Tonight, Drew renews his feud with Randy in a non-title match.

There are new elements as Randy has “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss hanging over his head. He burned Bray following their Firefly Inferno match at TLC, and nearly burned Alexa at the close of Raw two weeks ago but couldn’t go through with it. Drew has to contend with Goldberg, who appeared after Drew defeated Keith Lee to retain the WWE Championship. Goldberg claimed Drew did not have respect for the legends, which Drew immediately refuted. He challenged Drew to a WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble. The show ended abruptly when Goldberg shoved down Drew.

Frank’s Analysis: As far as the match with Drew and Randy, it’s hard to say what could happen because WWE does so many distraction and garbage finishes to avoid clean finishes and incorporating that into their stories. I could see Fiend’s effects playing in the arena, distracting Randy, and helping Drew win. I don’t like how that positions Drew. Alexa could get involved somehow as well. Either way, it’s the old Saturday Night’s Main Event formula where they revisit an old feud and use it as a vehicle to do what they want in the current feud for both wrestlers. You also have Sheamus in the mix and Miz with Money in the Bank. (Good god, Miz cashes in on a vulnerable Drew, wins the title, and faces Goldberg at the Royal Rumble? Goldberg wins, and sets up a match with Drew at WrestleMania? I wouldn’t rule it out.)

As far as Goldberg and Drew, I understand it’s the Royal Rumble and you want the focus to be on the rumbles. You don’t need your championship matches to have top contenders. I get all that. It’s still Goldberg who just turned 54 and has probably wrestled a total of 20-25 minutes in his eight matches in WWE since returning in 2016. There’s a reason for that. Also, six men wrestled in one-on-one matches last month to earn a spot in a triple threat match to earn the right to face Drew at TLC. 30 men will be competing in a Royal Rumble for the right to challenge a champion of their choosing at WrestleMania. If I were a WWE wrestler, I would complain. If Bill Goldberg can just walk up to Drew and issue a challenge, shove down the champion, and get a title match, why can’t I? Finally, when is WWE going to build up their next Goldberg or Undertaker? Sooner or later, these “legends” are not going to be able to come back anymore and you’ll need different people you can bring back to pop a rating.

Other Expectations and Final Thoughts

I know it’s gets tiring to talk about the negative aspects of WWE, but I try to be realistic. I’m going to tell it like it is, and I will point out the positives when they are there. Yes, there are some good reasons to have Drew face Goldberg at the Royal Rumble, but what’re we going to do in 2022 and beyond when these “old-timers” can’t come back and help you pop a rating for big matches? You may say “oh Frank, we’ll worry about it then.” I say worry about it now and build your stars rather than have everyone that’s not at the top of card in 50/50 booking world. I know certain people want to be “positive” and that’s fine but I’m going to always be realistic.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!

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