There are two weeks to go until the Royal Rumble. The WWE Champion is home sick with COVID. He's wrestling a part-timer who isn't there every week. Things are already going great heading into tonight's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. I'm Jude Terror, and I'll tell you everything that happened, so you don't have to invest three hours of your life into this nonsense.
WWE Raw Recap – January 18th, 2020
Promo: Randy Orton
Raw begins with an MLK video. Then, in a dimly lit and creepy promo from a dark room somewhere, Randy Orton, wearing a wrestling mask to cover hideous burns on his face, cuts a promo. He showed compassion to Alexa Bliss by not setting him on fire, and she paid him back by throwing a fireball in his face. But Orton doesn't blame Bliss. He blames The Fiend. He says The Fiend wanted to prevent Randy from winning the Royal Rumble, but actually Randy likes pain, so he's cool about wrestling with a burnt face, so nyah.
The Thunderdome is packed with some live people viewing, others' images captured weeks ago and now replaying on loop eternally, their digital souls captured and owned by WWE. Tom Philips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe welcome us to the show. Another Monday night. Another three hours of this crap.
Charlotte Flair vs. Peyton Royce
Charly Caruso interviews Ric Flair and Lacey Evans, walking arm-in-arm backstage. She wants them to clarify their relationship. Lacey says she's just learning from the greatest, and Peyton Royce will take care of Charlotte Flair tonight. Charlotte comes to the ring. Royce attacks her on the ramp to set up a commercial break, and then they have a match after that. After a suitable amount of time, Ric Flair heads out and starts dancing around at the top of the stage. Then he brings out Lacey in a robe. Lacey struts around. The whole while, Flair is gawking at them, but still, Royce can only roll her up for a two-count, though the whole thing is so distressing they need another commercial break. Then they wrestle a while longer, and Flair makes Royce tap to the Figure 8.
Winner: Peyton Royce
Flair keeps the hold on for a little while after the match to punish Royce. Good match. About three times as long as it needed to be.
"Riddle" accosts Hurt Business backstage. He compliments everyone on how well they're dressed but calls Lashley "Slobby Bobby." Lashley calls attention to "Riddle's" flip flops and then stomps on his toes. Someone was paid to write that segment.
After a commercial break, Lucha House Party console "Riddle" in the locker room. "Riddle" says he'll tape up his foot and be fine. Lince Dorado asks "Riddle" if he's ever considered exploring the freedom of a furry lifestyle.
Mace vs. Xavier Woods
Mustafa Ali cut a promo earlier today, and we're lucky enough to see it now. He's glad Kofi Kingston broke his jaw, and he's gonna take out Xavier Woods too. This all goes back to Kofi's WrestleMania win two years ago that started with Kofi taking Ali's place in Elimination Chamber because Ali was injured. Holy crap, WWE referenced a past storyline? What am I even watching?!
Woods comes to the ring, followed by Retribution. Is Woods being punished for getting that G4 gig or something? After some commercials, Mace and Woods have a match. Mace wins.
Poor Woods. He doesn't deserve to be involved in this nonsense.
Alexa's Playground with guest Asuka
Sarah Schrieber interviews Asuka before the playground. She wants to know what Asuka expects. Asuka says, "I don't know." Very informative. After some commercials, we see that WrestleMania video released over the weekend announcing the locations for the next few WrestleManias. Then Alexa Bliss comes out and sits on her swingset. She apologizes to Randy Orton for burning his face off and then introduces her guest, Asuka. Asuka comes out and tries to sit in the swing next to Alexa, but an invisible person is sitting in it apparently. Alexa declares her entry in the Royal Rumble. She says if she wins, that means she could face Asuka at WrestleMania. Asuka says that would be her honor, and she's a big fan of Alexa's. Alexa is flattered. But when Asuka does Bray Wyatt's catchphrase, "Yowie Wowie," Alexa gets upset. Asuka calls for her theme music and starts dancing. Alexa freaks out on her. In the ring, the rocking horse starts rocking on its own, a sign from The Fiend, so Asuka leaves. Bizarre segment.
Sarah Schrieber asks Miz and Morrison what they have in store for Goldberg on the Dirt Sheet tonight. Miz says it will be controversial, and Morrison says controversy creates cash. So Eric Bischoff is here?
Mandy Rose vs. Shayna Baszler
Mandy Rose comes to the ring with Dana Brooke. Backstage, Shayna says she's gonna kick Mandy's ass tonight, and then she's gonna do the same to every woman in the Royal Rumble, including her own partner. Jax gets upset, and they bicker. After commercials, and after Jeff Jarrett predicts Goldberg beats McIntyre at the Royal Rumble, Shayna and Nia come out. Shayna and Mandy have a match. Mandy taps out to the Kirafuda Clutch.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Dana Brooke kicks Nia and Shayna while they're arguing after the match. After commercials, Charly Caruso interviews Nia and Shayna about them not getting along. They say they've never gotten along, not even when they were champions. Shayna suggests they ask for their rematch for the tag team titles. Jax agrees.
Sarah Schrieber interviews Charlotte Flair. She asks about seeing Lacey Evans in her father's robe. Charlotte says Lacey is using her dad to get to her, but she'll never beat her.
Ricochet vs. AJ Styles
Adam Pearce gives Ricochet some career advice. AJ Styles and Omos show up. AJ says Ricochet shouldn't take advice from a guy who ran away from a Universal Championship match with Roman Reigns on Smackdown next week. AJ says Ricochet is gonna lose to him tonight. Ricochet heads to the ring. Styles stays behind to yell at Pearce some more. After commercials, Styles and Omos head to the ring. Styles and Ricochet have a match. Once upon a time, something like this might have been considered a sort of dream match, but WWE has sucked the excitement out of both of these guys. It's still a good match, but who cares?
Winner: AJ Styles
The Dirt Sheet with guest Goldberg
Miz and Morrison are in the ring for an episode of The Dirt Sheet. They give Goldberg an excellent intro, so you know something is up here… yes, it's Gillberg. Look, Ryback, Vince McMahon is listening to you! They interview Gillberg, and he cuts a pretty funny promo pretending to be Goldberg. Then Drew McIntyre's music plays, but instead of Drew, it's a chubby guy in a very low-riding kilt and a wig with a bad Scottish accent because Morrison hired him from New Jersey. The segment goes off the rails, and Miz and Morrison yell at each other. They get things back on track and finish things up: both McIntyre and Goldberg will lose at the Royal Rumble because Miz is going to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and win the title. Well, it was nice to see Gillberg. That's all I'll say about that.
Hurt Business vs. Lucha House Party and "Riddle"
Time for the obligatory six-man tag match to kill a bunch of time in the final hour of Raw. Hurt Business comes to the ring. After commercials, Lucha House Party come out, followed by "Riddle." They have a match. Lots of time is killed. Nothing notable happens. Gran Metalik taps out to the Hurt Lock.
Winners: Hurt Business
"Riddle" kicks Lashley after the match and then runs away as Lashley breaks up an argument between Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin.
Elias, hanging in his teenage son's bedroom with Jaxson Ryker, instructs Ryker not to listen to Elias this week if Elias tells him not to interfere in Elias's match. Ryker is gonna take out Jeff Hardy tonight and be on the road by tomorrow morning to storm the capital and stop Joe Biden's inauguration.
Promo: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre cuts a promo from home. He says he'll get his hands on Miz and Morrison when he gets back. He also talks about fighting Goldberg at the Royal Rumble. He expects to win. He also plans to be back on Raw next week. See, kids? COVID is no big deal!
Jaxson Ryker vs. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy comes to the ring, followed by Jaxson Ryker and Elias. They have a match. The less said about it, the better. Elias interferes, causing Ryker to get disqualified.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Elias argues with Ryker. Ryker didn't want him to interfere. Elias thought he did. Jeff Hardy baseball slide dropkicks Elias. He tries to get the jump on Ryker too, but Ryker takes him out.
Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss
Asuka heads to the ring. A lot of people don't realize this because she's spent the last few weeks being Charlotte's sidekick, but Asuka is actually the Raw Women's Champion. Alexa Bliss comes out. It's main event time, which means Raw is finally almost over! They have a match for a bit until the lights go out. Then apparently, they stand there through an entire commercial break, and then Alexa, with dark makeup on now, stands in the middle of the ring, which is lit with purple lighting, while Asuka circles her. Alexa puts her hands behind her back and strolls around the ring, ducking and blocking strikes from Asuka. Alexa has fiend powers now. She shrugs off offense from Asuka, including three kicks to the head in a row, and hits Sister Abigail for the pin.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
After the match, the lighting is back to normal, and so is Alexa's makeup. That was actually a good match with a clean finish. Alexa wrestles better as The Fiend than The Fiend does. If this is the Raw women's title match at WrestleMania, I would be good with that.
Tonight was a mostly boring episode of Raw bookended by interesting segments involving Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss. But there is one nice thing I can say about it: it's over! And tomorrow night, there's a new episode of Impact with the new commentary team, so things are looking up.