WWE Raw Review – 1.6.20
The first Raw of the new decade kicked off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman marching to the ring. This is the first time we’ve seen the WWE Champion since Survivor Series.
Heyman said that his client wants to make history. He goes on to say that Brock told him that no one on any roster is worthy of sharing the spotlight with Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.
After going through a list of Lesnar’s accomplishments, Heyman then states his client will enter the Royal Rumble and enter the Rumble at the No.1 spot. Honestly, didn’t see this coming, and while it will intriguing to see Lesnar start the Rumble match, is his title even on the line?
Right off the bat, I see this going one of two ways. Either Lesnar wins the Rumble from the No.1 spot, and his challenger at Wrestlemania will be determined at a later pay-per-view. Or it comes down to Lesnar and someone else, and that person eliminates Brock and “Slays the beast” to punch their ticket to Wrestlemania.
Either way, this adds a nice wrinkle to the Rumble this year.
Below is the rest of what took place on Raw, ranked best to worst.
United States Title Match:
After Rey Mysterio shockingly lost the United States Title to Andrade at a house show the day after Christmas, this was his rematch to try and win the title back. These two have put on show-stealing matches in the past, so I am expecting that quality of a match. Right out of the gate, Rey started fast, as a head scissors takedown sent Andrade to the outside and then landed a hurricanrana on the outside.
Andrade then was able to get Rey up on his shoulders, and the two tumbled to the outside. With Mysterio still on his shoulders, Andrade tried to roll Mysterio through for a move to the floor, but Rey countered and sent Andrade flying face-first into the steel steps. A dropkick from Andrade sent the show to a break.
Back to the show Mysterio was able to regain control of the match and sent Andrade flying into the corner with a hurricanrana and then followed that up with a seated senton and then countered a move from Andrade into a tornado DDT for a two-count.
Andrade then tried to make his comeback, hanging Rey over the top turnbuckle but missed on a double stomp. Rey then hit the penguin slide and hit a sunset flip, but Andrade countered with the double knees. Back in the ring, Andrade hit a couple suplexes before Rey counted with a small package for a two-count. Andrade then picked up a near fall off a back elbow. Rey then answered with a Candian Destroyer for the win!
…But Zelina Vega had put Andrade’s foot on the rope, and the referee calls for a restart of the match. Back from break, Andrade spilled to the outside, and Rey landed a hurricanrana on the outside. Mysterio then lands a yoshi tonic, but it is only good for a two-count. Rey then would land a powerbomb on the apron, which sent Andrade into the post, and then a leg drop from Rey leads to another near fall. Then Andrade counters with a facebuster for a two-count.
Rey is able to counter Andrade’s double knee strike, and then a hurricanrana sets up the 619, but Vega pulls Andrade out of the ring. Mysterio is then dumped over Andrade’s head, but lands on Vega and the fires Andrade up and sends Rey into the steps. This stunned Rey, and the referee breaks up the match. After catching his breath, Rey gets back into the ring and walks right into a hammerlock DDT and an Andrade win.
Then in the ultimate sign of disrespect, Andrade rips off Mysterio’s mask after the bell. Later on in the night, Mysterio attacks Andrade backstage and gets his mask back, but has to be pulled away from Andrade. This was another solid match between these two men, and the ending and backstage segment surely means this feud will likely carry on to a future pay-per-view.
Aleister Black vs. Shelton Benajmin:
Benjamin charges in hard on Black bu cannot connect. Off the ropes, Black flips over Benjamin and does his seated taunt in the middle of the ring. Black then goes for a submission attempt, but Shelton picks him up and suplexes Aleister.
Shelton then is able to land a couple strikes before dodging a moonsault attempt from Black off the ropes. Aleister is able to connect with an elbow, and then a knee strike before a Black Mass gives him the win. Right after the bell, Buddy Murphy jumps Aleister from behind throws him into the post before taking the attack to the outside.
Murphy then goes under the ring to get a chair, places it under Black’s jaw, and delivers a knee strike to his face. Buddy then sits on the barricade and admires his work. I am all for this feud to continue as these two men have stolen the show in both of their previous meetings.
The Man comes around:
Becky says she is doubting her wisdom on challenging Asuka to a rematch. A video package is played of how Asuka has gotten the best of Lynch over the past year. Asuka then cuts off Lynch and starts shouting at her in Japanese.
Becky does not say a word after Asuka gets in the ring and just lays her out with a right hand. For the first time in quite some time, Becky finally feels like a big deal and her character work throughout this feud has been brilliant. This match with Asuka should be epic, and I am looking forward to seeing it go down.
AOP and Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, and a third man:
All night long, Samoa Joe teased having a third man to take on Raw’s newest faction. Owens was skeptical at first, but after Joe shows him who he hand-picked, Kevin is on board.
Fast forward to the main event, their partner turns out to be…Big Show. Honestly, this was a solid surprise, and the crowd popped. I thought it would Ricochet or someone along those lines, so I am on board with Big Show.
Show starts off by knocking Akam down with a shoulder tackle and then hits a wicked chop on Seth before the break. Back from break, Joe is taking it to Rollins with chops, then KO tags in and lands a cannonball on Rollins in the corner. Owens then hits a backbreaker on Seth, but Rezar pushes KO off the top rope, which allows Seth to catch his breath.
Rezar continues to beat down Owens as the crowd chants for Big Show. After working over Owens for a bit, Akam tags in and takes his turn beating down KO. Seth enters the match and lands a jumping knee strike that leads to a two-count. Rezar tags in and wipes out Joe on the apron but then glances at Show, and this allows KO to land a superkick and tags in Big Show!
Rollins is now in the ring with the world’s largest athlete. But on the outside, AOP throw Joe into the steps. This leaves Big Show at a 3-on-1 disadvantage, but he dispatches of Rollins and then has both AOP members in his grasp before Seth comes in with a steel chair and causes a DQ. This leads to the AOP beating down Big Show before they turn their attention to Joe. Rollins looks for a stomp on Show, but KO distracts long enough for Big Show to land the “Knockout Punch” as Raw finishes up.
AJ Styles vs. Akira Tozawa:
Before the match, we get a recap of the Orton/Styles segment from last week, and those two will go at it next week on Raw. Tozawa attacks first, but Styles lands the Phenomenal Forearm in mere seconds but pulls Tozawa up for a two-count.
AJ then looked to be going for the Styles Clash but instead hit a draping DDT followed up by his own version of an RKO. Message sent to the Viper before their match next week. That is a Wrestlemania caliber match that we’re getting on free TV, I am looking forward to their clash next week.
Drew McIntyre vs. No Way Jose:
McIntyre hits a belly-to-belly on Jose right away before attacking a guy from Jose’s conga line on the outside. Back in the ring, Jose rolls up Drew for a one-count, but McIntyre does a kip-up and lands a Claymore kick for the win.
Hopefully, this starts out McIntyre on a path to the WWE Championship in 2020. Drew kicks off this campaign by entering himself in the Royal Rumble, and honestly, a win there would do him a lot of good, but I am not holding my breath for that to happen as of now.
Tag Team Titles Triple Threat:
These three teams have been battling it out for the past few months on Raw, and it is about time they settle things with a title match. Erik starts out with Anderson, and the Raiders beat him down early on. Dawkins then tags himself in, and Ivar is none too happy. Dawkins then hits a dropkick and then tags Montez Ford in, who also lands a dropkick.
Ford and Ivar then go back and forth, with Montez hitting some fancy footwork to avoid the wrath of Ivar. The duo even trades cartwheels before both hitting a cartwheel at the same time! The OC had enough of this gymnastics show and run into the ring to throw hands. Gallows is now in the match and beats down Ford in the corner before Anderson tags in and does the same.
Another quick tag brings Gallows back in, and he slows Ford down completely. Ford is able to break free and tags in Erik, who takes control of the matchup by dispatching both members of the OC as well as Dawkins. The Raiders then hit the Viking Experience on Ford, but the OC breaks up the pin. Right before the break, Ivar hits a dive to the outside, and Erik tries the same, but Gallows throws him over the barricade.
Back from the break, the OC is in full control for a bit, but Erik is able to escape and tags Ivar into the match. He misses on a bronco buster on Anderson and Dawkins tags in. Dawkins lands a spine buster, and Ford went for a splash, but Anderson tags in and nearly wins it for the OC.
Erik gets Gallows up, and Ivar tags in and hits a big splash off the top rope for the win. After months of squash matches, this finally showed the Raiders at their best. They took on two worthy teams and came away with the win. All three of these teams feel legit and given more time on a pay-per-view, these teams could steal the show.
Wedding Day Take Two:
The pastor from last week was out here to once again try and marry Lana and Bobby Lashley. Shockingly enough, Lana is not happy with his performance and the jumps on the microphone and berates the fans for being jealous of her and her ring. Lashley then speaks up and blames Rusev.
Rusev then shows up on the Tron, and he is in a Hawaiian shirt “on the beach.” Rusev says he has a wedding album for the two of them, and it is mainly photos of Lana and Lashley getting beaten up from last week. Lana then begins to scream, and Lashley tells her to shut up (FINALLY!). He then challenges Rusev to a fight next week, and Rusev says it will be the return of the Bulgarian Brute. After the break, Liv interrupts backstage and says she will be in Rusev’s corner next week. Yikes, this should be interesting.
If I am booking that match, Rusev should surely win the match, the crowd is still entirely behind him and the “Rusev Day” movement. But that match next week screams interference or a screwy finish. YAY!
Charlotte Flair and Sarah Logan:
Before the match even starts, Logan jumps Flair in the ring, and the fight spills to the outside. Flair and Logan trade punches, and they spill over in the crowd. Logan then throws Charlotte into the post before the referee separates them. In the ring, Logan grabs Flair’s robe and starts whipping it into the ground and wipes her feet on the robe.
This enrages Flair, and she spears Logan on the outside and then throws her into the barricade. Flair then drops Logan with a big boot, and the match is never officially started.
It is Royal Rumble season, and right now, Flair is the headliner for the Women’s Royal Rumble, so she will be having people come at her from all sides.
Erick Rowan squash match:
Earlier on backstage, Mojo Rawley asks to peak in the cage Rowan has, and it nearly knocks him off his feet. As for the match, rinse and repeat. Rowan wins in mere seconds. After the match, Rowan shoves KJ Orso’s face into the cage, and he runs away screaming. What is even going on with this storyline?
Raw’s first show of 2020 showed real promise. The main event storyline with AOP and Rollins going against Owens and Joe is still intriguing, while Becky and Asuka are finally starting to feel important. But what Raw is doing well is building solid depth throughout their roster. Black and Murhpy have themselves quite the feud, and Mysterio and Andrade’s storyline took a personal turn this week.
Meanwhile, AJ Styles and Randy Orton are building quite the rivalry, and McIntyre may finally be getting that main event push we all have wanted for quite some time. The show still had its flaws (can we talk about the Lashley/Lana segment?), but overall, this show has me optimistic about Raw’s outlook as we head toward Wrestlemania.
My rating: 4 out 5.