WWE Raw Review – 1.20.20
Go home shows for Raw last year were hit or miss (mostly misses), so who knew what type of show we were in for just six days out from the Royal Rumble.
After last week’s surprise, Buddy Murphy joining the likes of Seth Rollins and AOP, the four of them opened this week’s show. Rollins is one the mic, and he thanks the fans because every single one of them had something to do with creating the Monday Night Messiah.
Rollins then specifically thanks Murphy for standing firmly with the right side of history and introduce him officially as his newest disciple.
This leads to Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens entering the picture, they told Rollins that despite successfully taking out Big Show last week, the two of them were still standing. Joe and Kevin are looking for a fight, and while Rollins said this is not the time or place, but if the two of them want to fight the four men in the ring, he won’t stop them.
Joe tells Rollins he clearly cannot listen because they never said they were the only ones who wanted to fight and call “the boys” out from the back. Joining Owens and Joe were the Viking Raiders, who cleaned the house while Rollins bailed before the attack even began.
Later on in the night, we found out that Rollins and Murphy would fight the Raiders for the Raw tag team titles. This was an exciting twist with less than a week away until the Rumble. Sides are clearly being taken here, and it is neat to see an actual heel faction attempting to run the show. If given the right amount of time, this storyline could develop into one of the better ones this year.
Below is the rest of what happened on Raw ranked from best to worst, followed by my rating at the end.
United States Title Ladder Match:
Often times on Raw, we see the same matches over and over again, and it just screams lazy booking. But Rey Mysterio and Andrade have faced each other several times over the past year, and I still do not get tired of watching those two men in the ring.
Here, the stakes were raised as this was a ladder match for the United States title, meaning we were in for a treat here. It was the first time since 2007 a ladder match took place on Raw. Early on, Mysterio hit a hurricanrana off the top rope, which sent Andrade flying into a ladder.
Back from the commercial and Rey hits a seated senton off the ring post, and then once back in the ring hits a springboard seated senton followed by a hurricanrana on Andrade that sends him flying into a ladder. Rey made his first journey up the ladder, but Andrade stopped the attempt and hit three amigos on Rey, with the final one being on top of a ladder.
Andrade then set up a ladder between the ropes and another ladder in the middle of the ring. This led him to picking up Rey and driving him into the ladder with a powerbomb off the turnbuckles. After another break, Rey attempts to climb the ladder again, but Andrade meets him at the top. These two trade punches before both men wind up, taking hard bumps onto the ladder set up below!
Rey would then hit a 619 and climbed again, but Andrade took the ladder out from underneath him, and Rey hung from the middle of the ring. Later on, Rey would again attempt to get the belt, but Zelina Vega blocked Mysterio, and Andrade hit a Hammerlock DDT onto the ladder while on another ladder, yikes! Andrade then slowly climbed and retained his title.
What a freaking match this was. The bumps these men took were outrageous, and despite facing off several times, they still manage to steal the show. Post-match Andrade went to attack Rey outside of the ring, but a masked man turning out to be Humberto Carrillo stepped in to save the day. Will this now lead to a Carrillo/Andrade program?
Raw Tag Team Title Match:
After their earlier encounter, the Viking Raiders were set to defend their titles against Rollins and Murphy. With the four members of Rollins faction out there, Owens and Joe come down to the ring to even the odds.
The Raiders take the fight to Buddy early on, but then when the AOP tries to interfere, Owens and Joe negate their attempt. The four men fought out into the WWE Universe and were “ejected” by the referee.
Murphy and Rollins have the upper hand after the break, with Seth hitting a frog splash for a near fall. Erik, however, fights back and then his partner Ivar tags in and runs wild, even landing a lariat off a cartwheel. Both Raiders then go flying through the middle rope and hit the Viking Experience on Muprhy, but Rollins saves the match.
Murphy and Rollins then team up to Power Bomb Ivar and nearly win the tag team titles. Ivar then fires up and hits a handspring back elbow onto both men. Ivar then heads up to the top rope, but Seth sends him to the floor. Buddy then hits a jumping knee onto Erik, and then with the referee distracted, Rollins hits a stomp, which allows Murphy to pin Erik for the win!
This outcome seemed inevitable because this new heel faction needed the belts, and the Viking Raiders run has been underwhelming. I really do like this decision because it makes Muprhy feel like a big deal, and now we have a reason to care about Murphy and the Monday Night Messiah gimmick overall.
Becky Lynch vs. Kairi Sane:
Before the match, Becky says then when Asuka sprayed mist in Lynch’s eyes last week, she helped her see things clearer than ever, and maybe it is Asuka who should be doubting herself against Becky. Because while Becky was all over the world main-eventing, Asuka was making soup on YouTube. Nice burn, Becky!
Becky starts the match by punching a taunting Kairi Sane in the face. Later on, Asuka is perched atop the ring post, taunting Lynch. This seemingly fires Becky up as she goes on the attack and hits a couple lariats, but Sane counters and gets a two-count off a diving forearm from the top rope.
Sane later hit a DDT for another near fall on Lynch, but Becky battles back and sends Kairi to the outside. Once again, in the ring, Becky sends Asuka flying with a punch and then taps out Sane with the Dis-Arm-Her. But almost immediately, Asuka is in the ring and gets the Asuka lock on Lynch.
As I have said in past recaps, the build for this match has been incredible. Becky comes out every week and has to explain herself on the mic. She has gone from doubting herself to now feeling Asuka doubts herself. All the while, Asuka is letting her actions do the talking. Becky’s range of emotions could come back to hurt her this Sunday, she better be ready for Asuka.
Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre:
This had the feel of a real heavyweight fight from the opening bell. Early on in the match, Orton received a couple loud and painful chops from Drew. Randy and Drew later both ended up outside the ring, where McIntyre attempted to hit a Claymore, but Randy dodged it, and Drew took out a crew member.
Back from the break, Randy hit a dropkick on Drew as he jumped off the top rope. They then trade several blows before Drew delivered a few more big-time chops to Orton. Randy was able to counter with an eye-poke and then attempted an RKO, but Drew countered.
McIntyre then went for a Claymore kick, but Randy countered with a Powerslam. Orton then nailed a Superplex, and this is when the O.C. run out, and the three men beat down Drew for a bit. Randy evens the odds, though, when he brings a chair into the ring, and Drew hits a Claymore to send the O.C. packing.
Back in the ring, Drew and Randy have a bit of a stare-off, and Orton goes to leave the ring, but then…RKO out of nowhere! Drew then demands a microphone and says that one is on him and says on Sunday he is going to kick Randy’s head off his shoulder and will finally main event Wrestlemania.
Drew, I hope you are right!
Brock Lesnar on Raw…AGAIN:
Wow, if Brock shows up again next week, we may have to start calling him a regular on Raw. While it is nice to see the top champion of the brand on Raw, it just turns into Paul Heyman cutting a slightly different version of the same promo.
Paul says Lesnar has decided there is not a single person in the locker room worthy of main eventing WrestleMania against him, so Brock will just go ahead and win the match himself. Heyman then issues a challenge to anyone in the back to prove him wrong, and we get…Ricochet.
While Ricochet said Heyman talks too much (I agree), his promo was just alright. He said the word “afraid” is not in his vocabulary and then gets in the ring with Lesnar. Brock basically laughs him off and goes to leave, when Ricochet broke the main rule…do not poke the beast.
Brock comes back into the ring and kicks Ricochet below the belt, then in a rare appearance on the mic, Lesnar tells Ricochet he is not afraid of him. I am hoping someone eliminates Lesnar on Sunday because him winning Royal Rumble would be a terrible booking.
Aleister Black dominates:
We do not even find out this competitor’s name, as Black gets into the ring and delivers a black mass right away for the win. This looked to be all about building up Black as a legitimate contender for the Royal Rumble this Sunday.
Monday After Weekend Update:
The Street Profits are back, giving us all the latest updates from WWE. Their comedy is pretty good, and their overall charisma is off the charts, but can they please do something more than backstage segments?
Lana/Lashley vs. Rusev/Morgan:
After another grueling promo from Lana, the match eventually got underway. Lana tried to dodge Liv early on, but Liv winds up, hitting a dropkick on Lana. After that, Lana gets a pair of near falls before things turn into a slapping contest.
Lashley and Rusev then enter the ring with Rusev running wild for a bit before a cheap shot by Lana allows Lashley to gain the upper hand. Liv breaks up a pinfall attempt and sends Lana flying to the outside. More impressively, she nails Bobby with a step-up enzuigiri! Rusev looks to capitalize, but Lana grabs his leg, which allows Lashley to hit a spear and pick up the win.
Honestly, this match is exactly what I thought it would be, by why in the world was this the main event? What a dud to a rather solid go-home show for Raw.
Matt Hardy vs. Erick Rowan:
Finally, Rowan faces a legit competitor. Rowan beats down Matt for a bit and then goes to pet what is in the cage, but it “bites” him again, and his hand is bloodied. Back in the ring, Rowan slams Hardy down with that bloodied hand for the win. I honestly feel bad for hardy, when he and Jeff returned back at Wrestlemania 33, it was such an epic moment, but since then they have done mainly nothing. Horrible job by WWE.
The Andrade/Mysterio match was an instant classic, and the tag-team match with the Raiders and Rollins/Murphy was pretty good as well. Either of those matches would have been a MUCH better fit in the main event. Lynch and Asuka’s feud is coming along nicely, and it is getting much more build than the Women’s Royal Rumble.
As of last week, there were just four entries confirmed for the match, with one being Charlotte Flair. At this point, she has to be the favorite. But with so few women confirmed, there has to be a surprise or two. Drew and Randy also make for an entertaining feud.
By WWE’s standards of a go-home show, this was a rather good show.
My rating: 3.75 out of 5.