SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
JANUARY 25, 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
Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- Randy Orton opened the show wearing a mask, showing some of his burns, and what it did to him mentally. He declared for the Royal Rumble.
- Charlotte Flair defeated Peyton Royce. Ric Flair and Lacey Evans made their presence felt mid-match with Lacey wearing one of Ric’s robes.
- Mace of Retribution defeated Xavier Woods of New Day.
- Alexa Bliss had Raw Women’s Champion and Women’s Tag Team Champion Asuka on Alexa’s Playground. Alexa got very stern with Asuka when she tried to comfort Alexa by saying the Fiend is still here.
- Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose. Shayna & Nia Jax admitted they never got along, but still want to pursue the Women’s Tag Team Championship.
- A.J. Styles defeated Ricochet.
- The Miz & John Morrison hosted an episode of The Dirt Sheet. Their guests were Gillberg, not Goldberg as was advertised. They also had someone imitating WWE Champion Drew McIntyre.
- The Hurt Business (Raw Tag Team Champions Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin and U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley) defeated Riddle and Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado). Benjamin and Cedric bickered during the match.
- WWE Drew McIntyre announced, from his home gym, that he would be at Raw next week (tonight).
- Jeff Hardy defeated Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias) via DQ when Elias got involved. Elias and Ryker bickered about Elias getting involved.
- Alexa Bliss defeated Asuka in a non-title match. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt’s effects played mid-match. When the arena lights came back on, Alexa was in black lipstick and different gear. She no sold a lot of Asuka’s offense during the match.
Here are the WWE exclusives from last week:
Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s edition of Raw will be the final before heading towards the Royal Rumble which comes to us this Sunday. Thus far, twelve men have been entered/declared for the rumble. I’m certain we’ll get more tonight, during the week via social media and other outlets, and on Smackdown. NXT wrestlers could find their way in as well. Here’s the hype video for tonight’s show:
As was reported here at PWTorch yesterday, WWE announced the following segments and matches via Twitter:
- WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Goldberg meet face-to-face.
- Alexa Bliss Challenges Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship.
- Riddle looks to run the Hurt Business Gauntlet and earn a U.S. Championship opportunity against Bobby Lashley.
- Can Charlotte Flair stay focused in a one-on-one encounter with Shayna Baszler just six days before the Royal Rumble?
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Returns to Confront Goldberg
After testing positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago, Drew McIntyre is set to return to Raw and confront WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg against whom he will defend the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.
This all started at Legends Night on January 4, when Goldberg confronted Drew at the end of the show and challenged him to a title match at the Rumble. Drew accepted via video the following week. This will be Goldberg’s third chance at a world title since returning to WWE in 2016. He defeated Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship in 2017 and did the same only it was against “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt last year in Saudi Arabia. Goldberg has never challenged for the WWE Championship, but did hold the World Heavyweight Championship back in his first WWE run in 2003.
Frank’s Analysis: It would not be good if Goldberg beats Drew this Sunday. Let’s not forget the Miz is in play with the Money in the Bank contract. It makes for some scenarios that I don’t think are good the WWE Championship picture. The best case is Drew decisively wins the match and we move forward.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (champ) vs. Alexa Bliss
On the heels of what happened in the main event of Raw last week, Alexa Bliss will challenge Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship.
Alexa will be vying for her sixth singles championship overall. She last held the Raw Women’s Championship in 2018 after winning Money in the Bank and would lose the title to Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam. After sustaining various injuries, her in-ring time became limited before forming a tag team with Nikki Cross, where they would hold the Women’s Tag Team Championship on two different occasions. Ironically, they lost the titles to and regained them from Asuka & Kairi Sane.
Alexa is sporting a different persona these days, having gone under the influence of the “Fiend” Bray Wyatt.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s always tricky when you have one of these hocus pocus type of characters win a championship. If anyone has the range to pull it off, it’s Alexa. I could see a title change tonight. The Raw women’s picture needs a refresh overall. If that happens though, it would be interesting to see what happens with the partnership of Asuka and Charlotte Flair, who still hold the women’s tag team championship.
Gauntlet Match: Riddle vs. Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin, and MVP to earn right to challenge for the U.S. Championship
Riddle came up short two weeks ago challenging Bobby Lashley for the U.S. Championship after a pre-match attack by Lashley. That was payback for Riddle doing the same the previous week. Riddle did make a comeback in the title match, but it wasn’t enough. I mentioned in the recap what happened on last week’s show.
This week, Riddle gets another chance to earn a title match against Lashley. He must defeat Raw Tag Team Championship co-holders Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander as well as MVP in a Gauntlet Match. The bickering that’s been going on between Cedric and Shelton will be a factor. It’s not clear when the title match would take place, but the Royal Rumble is a rather good possibility.
Frank’s Analysis: If everyone didn’t wrestle each other in different iterations on a weekly basis, I would have more investment in this. I also don’t like how badly they’ve dumbed down Riddle’s character. He shows signs of being serious, which I like, but the bad jokes backstage drag things down. The bickering between Cedric and Shelton makes no sense this early in the run of the Hurt Business, and I don’t understand what it’s about.
Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler
Charlotte Flair goes one on one with Shayna Baszler in a battle of not just upcoming Royal Rumble participants, but the women who were the final two in last year’s offering. Charlotte eliminated Shayna to win the rumble and would go on to defeat Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship at WrestleMania.
Charlotte currently holds the Women’s Tag Team Championship with Raw Women’s Champion Asuka. They won the titles at TLC from Shayna and Nia Jax. Charlotte has had issues with Nia over the past year and defeated her via DQ a few days after this past Christmas on Raw when Shayna got involved. Nia will be lurking tonight for sure and is a participant in this year’s rumble. Last week Shayna and Nia were bickering after Shayna defeated Mandy Rose and admitted backstage, they’ve never gotten along but still want to pursue the tag titles with Charlotte having “daddy issues” and Asuka having issues with Alexa Bliss.
Frank’s Analysis: A year ago, I would have thought of this as a WrestleMania or SummerSlam type of match. Now it’s a match announced on social media one night before Raw. With the bickering going on between Shayna and Nia, it’ll likely lead to shenanigans. It’s a shame if that happens because this match deserves a build and a satisfying finish.
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
I joined Torch columnist Greg Parks on Wrestling Night in America last night to preview the Royal Rumble. We went through many scenarios including potential surprise returns, the set up for the two-night WrestleMania, where characters go after the rumble, and a ton more. It’s always a pleasure to join Greg and I hope you all listen!
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!