In 2021, Ric Flair is still the best thing on Monday Night Raw. Woooooo! Plus: WWE gets way too clever with its commercial breaks. It's Bleeding Cool's Raw recap. The Royal Rumble is less than a week to go. Let's get this over with!
WWE Raw Recap for January 25th, 2021
A maskless Drew McIntyre that supposedly just recovered from COVID-19 heads to the ring to kick of WWE Raw, proving once and for all that the coronavirus pandemic is a HOAX! My god! Val Venis was right! McIntyre says he feels great right now and thanks the WWE Universe for their get well wishes, the true cure for COVID. He suggests people try injecting those well-wishes directly into their bloodstream. Then he moves onto Goldberg and their match at the Royal Rumble. He says he watched Goldberg on television when he was in high school (pushing it), and Goldberg still has it (really pushing it) but McIntyre is gonna break the streak… of Goldberg beating all the champions he challenges. We'll see.
The Miz and John Morrison come out and ramble on about how Miz may cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Remember when people were starting to like Miz? Seems like so long ago. Now Goldberg comes out. "You. Me. Sunday. You're next." Best Goldberg promo ever. No botches!
Miz and Morrison start talking some trash, prompting Goldberg and Morrison to kick their asses together. McIntyre is the one who had COVID last week, but it's Goldberg who's sweating like a pig after literally 2 seconds of action. This match is gonna be greeeaaaaat.
Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler
That was so exciting everyone needs a break, so Raw goes to commercials. Then Charly Caruso interviews Charlotte Flair, who feigns interest in her match with Shayna Baszler tonight, then moves on to talk about her tag team match at the Royal Rumble, plus competing in the Royal Rumble itself. Asked if she expects Ric Flair to be a distraction in all of this, Charlotte says Ric was getting wasted banging hookers her whole life so it's no big deal.
Charlotte heads to the ring, followed by Shayna Baszler with Nia Jax. They have a match, briefly, but Jax interferes to cause the disqualification.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
Jax and Baszler beat down Flair after the match, but Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke run out to make the save. Then Lacey Evans joins in to beat down Charlotte and you know where this is all headed, right? Yeah…
Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax
Raw takes a commercial break and when it returns, this is a six-woman tag match. Amazingly, it ends even less satisfyingly than the last match when Shayna misses the ten count getting back in the ring after brawling with Charlotte, losing by count out.
Winners: Charlotte, Mandy, and Dana
Raw takes a commercial break again and then… Oh god.
Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax AGAIN
Apparently, during the commercial break, the heels complained to Adam Pearce, who, with the consent of the babyfaces, restarted the match. So they wrestle some more as WWE is really stretching the limits of these contrived commercial break setups. This time, Jax pins Brooke with a leg drop.
Winners: Who cares?
Okay, are we sure we're done with that match? For real this time?
Slapjack vs. Xavier Woods
Looks like it. Mustafa Ali cuts multiple promos complaining about Kofi Kingston stealing his Elimination Chamber spot two years ago. Retribution comes to the ring. Xavier Woods has already lost to both Mace and T-Bar. If he loses to Slapjack, it's time to retire, IMO. After commercials, Woods comes to the ring and they have a match. Woods manages to pull out the victory.
Winner: Xavier Woods
Retribution hold Woods after the match and Ali gets ready to hit him with a chair, but changes his mind. He sits on the chair AC Slater style and gives Woods a lecture. Ali says he'll show mercy on Woods but Woods has to tell Kofi Kingston that Mustafa Ali will be replacing him in the Royal Rumble match. You know what, that's fair. So they'll be even then?
The VIP Lounge
"Riddle" runs into R-Truth backstage. R-Truth says he overheard Hurt Business is planning a surprise belated birthday party for him during the VIP lounge tonight. I'm thinking they might have something else planned. After some commercials, Hurt Business heads to the ring. Shelton Benjamin wears his mask onto the stage, admitting the coronavirus exists on WWE TV without being Drew McIntyre. He's so fired!
MVP says he's looking forward to Bad Bunny performing at the Royal Rumble so MVP can have sex with Latina women. Then the other guys say they got MVP a gift for believing in them. They got him a big gold chain with a diamond-studded THB pendant. There's tension between Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander, but R-Truth interrupts. He says he overheard them talking about his surprise birthday party, but Cedric says this is all about MVP and has nothing to do with Truth. Truth says what about the THB pendant — "Truth Happy Birthday." Lashley tells Truth that actually he's right and invites him to come in the ring and get his gift. But the Job Squad runs out to try to get the 24/7 Championship from Truth. In the melee, Truth escapes, but "Riddle" sneaks up behind MVP and knees him in the face.
After commercials, Adam Pearce runs into R-Truth backstage. Truth wants to enter the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. AJ Styles and Omos arrive. Styles explains Truth is talking about the Royal Rumble. Styles offers to fight Truth in a match and Pearce agrees to it.
Sheamus vs. John Morrison
Sheamus comes to the ring to face John Morrison. The excitement is just too great and I lapse into a coma, awakening only when the match is just ending. Sheamus wins with White Noise.
Phew! Dodged a bullet by not having to watch that– damn it! Miz gets in the ring and challenges Sheamus to make this a handicap match!
Sheamus vs. Miz and Morrison
Will the coma thing work again? No? Well, I'm still not paying attention to this. After a commercial break, they have a match. Sheamus puts up a good fight against two men, but Miz ultimately gets the pin with Skull Crushing Finale.
Winner: The Miz
Ric Flair is showing Lacey Evans some move reversals in the dressing room when Charlotte Flair walks in. She sends Lacey away. Ric tells her that just because she's a huge star doesn't mean there's no place for him in the locker room. he says he's always gonna be him. Charlotte gets personal, says he was a crappy dad, and she's the only one protecting him from ruining his legacy. As she's leaving, Lacey attacks her from behind. Ric leaves with Lacey. Much woooooing is heard in the hallway as Raw takes a commercial break.
Damn, Ric Flair is still the best thing by far on this show in 2021.
AJ Styles vs. R-Truth
AJ Styles and Omos come to the ring. R-Truth is already there because he sang What's Up once already tonight and WWE isn't paying him double royalties, god damn it!
Styles tries to mess around with Truth here but gets tossed out of the ring. Truth also gets a Five Knuckle Shuffle on Styles, but when he goes for the Attitude Adjustment, it's too far. Styles makes him tap with the calf crusher.
Winner: AJ Styles
Funny, purposeful, and, best of all, short. Match of the night.
What the fuuuuuuu… How is it only 10PM? There's still an hour of this to go? It feels like I've been watching Raw for seven hours!
Masked Randy Orton cuts another promo in a darkened room. No, wait, it's the same promo. I think? It's hard to tell. WWE occasionally shows the "Last Monday" graphic, but the funny thing is this promo also shows Randy Orton watching clips from the previous Monday that also have the graphic. I have to admit, this is the most interesting Randy Orton has been in… well, ever. He's never been very interesting so it's not a high bar. Alexa Bliss recites nursery rhymes while swinging in her playground. Now she watches those same clips Last Week Randy was watching a minute ago. Is this WWE Raw, or an episode of Doctor Who? Then she watches clips of herself fighting Asuka last week. The point of all this, I guess, is she's fighting Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship tonight.
Riddle vs. Hurt Business – Gauntlet Match
"Riddle" comes to the ring as Raw takes a commercial break and then Hurt Business head out. The idea here is Riddle has to beat Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin, and MVP, and if he does, then he gets a shot at Bobby Lashley in the future. There's no reason to have a match like this if "Riddle" isn't going to get that spot, so logic dictates he wins the gauntlet tonight. Let's find out.
"Riddle" beats Benjamin first after a battle. Then he makes MVP tap in a few seconds when he catches him distracted. Alexander has the best attempt, but he loses too.
Told you. Bobby Lashley puts Riddle in the Hurt Lock after the match, just as this show has put all of us in the proverbial Hurt Lock for the last hour and a half. Thankfully, it's nearly over.
After some commercials, Tom Phillips explains how the WWE Network is moving to Peacock in the U.S.. I wrote about it earlier. NBC overpaid. Then commentary talks about the Royal Rumble card.
Edge cuts a promo, inspired by 2020, about seizing the moment. He talks about winning the championship and then forfeiting it to retire. Then he talks about his mom and wanting to be a wrestler. Then about his comeback. This promo is all over the place. He talks about Randy Orton and his mom some more and then announces he's entering the Royal Rumble. He says the window closes for him more and more every day, so he needs to win the Rumble, main event WrestleMania, and take back the title. He says he has to do it because dreamers and fighters make the world a magical place. Then he quotes Henry Ford and the Little Engine That Could.
Weird promo. But also kinda good?
Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss
Alright, time to wrap this thing up. Alexa Bliss and Asuka have a match with the Raw Women's Championship on the line. You might have forgotten that Asuka was the Raw Women's Champion because she's been a prop for Charlotte Flair for weeks, but we assure you she is. They have a match, which of course features the obligatory ghost rocking horse transition to a commercial break followed by everything being completely normal again after the break.
Things are going well for Asuka but then a musical cue from Bliss's old theme song plays and Alexa seems to transform back into her old self. She seems confused and scared. But when Asuka charges her, she ducks out of the way. Alexa leans on the ropes and the lights go out. When they come back, Alexa is in her goth makeup and the ring lighting is purple.
Alexa shrugs off Asuka's offense. She powers out of the Asuka Lock and puts the mandible claw on Asuka. But Randy Orton appears behind Alexa. He hits her with the RKO. Now THAT was out of nowhere.
Uh… No Contest?
Really boring episode of Raw until the Ric Flair promo and then everything was good after that. Obviously, this means that Ric Flair is the savior of Raw and they need to have him on every week. But, you know, try not to give him COVID.
That's all for tonight. The last hour of Raw was good, and one good hour is better than most weeks, so well done, WWE!