RAW are starting the year with 2 title matches. Rey Mysterio gets his rematch against Andrade. And The Viking Raiders are defending their tag titles in a triple threat against Street Profits and The OC. But the big news of the night is a visit from WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. That’s it from the preview, but I’m guessing there will be some fallout from last week’s dreadful ‘wedding’ segment as well.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Andrade def. Rey Mysterio
The Viking Rowan def. Street Profits and The OC
Erick Rowan def. KJ Orso
AJ Styles def. Akira Tozawa
Drew McIntyre def. No Way Jose
Aleister Black def. Shelton Benjamin
Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & Big Show def. Seth Rollins & AOP (DQ)
♦ Before the credits, we got a recap of the ‘wedding segment’, but that didn’t open the show proper. Brock Lesnar did.
Paul Heyman said they were there to kick off the new decade by making history, because that’s what Brock Lesnar does. Apparently, Lesnar has been wondering who will challenge him for the title at Royal Rumble and they’ve been trying to work out who’s worthy. They drew a blank because no one is worthy of even stepping into the ring with Lesnar.
So they’re going to do something unprecedented. Lesnar is entering the Royal Rumble match. He will be entering at number one, so every competitor potentially has a chance to face him. According to Heyman, it will be Lesnar standing alone at the end. That’s not a prediction, it’s a spoiler.
♦ Rey Mysterio said the championship match means everything to him because the remainder of his career is better measured in days than years. He thanked Dominik for convincing him to keep competing and said he’s taking the title back from Andrade because he doesn’t deserve it.
Andrade (C), with Zelina Vega, vs Rey Mysterio – United States Championship match – was the first match of the night. Mysterio took control early on by launching Andrade face-first into the steps and weathered all Andrade’s attempts to come back. He pinned Andrade but Zelina Vega put Andrade’s foot on the ropes. The ref had counted three and the bell had rung to end the match by the time he saw it, and he had no idea it was Vega. The match was restarted after a break and Andrade quickly took control.
Rey Mysterio pulled it back and delivered the 619, but Vega pulled Andrade from the ring before he could land the frogsplash. Mysterio jumped onto Andrade’s shoulders and when Andrade shrugged him off Mysterio landed on Vega, knocking her out. Andrade tried to carry on with the match and threw Mysterio into the steps before chucking him into the ring, but Rey Mysterio rolled back out to check on Vega.
That was his undoing. When he got back in, he took a hammerlock DDT and got pinned
Andrade ripped Rey Mysterio’s mask off and handed it to Vega as a trophy/peace offering. The officials gave Mysterio a towel to put over his head so he couldn’t be seen without it.
♦ Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe confirmed that Seth Rollins was right about them, they are 2 individuals who don’t play well with others. Rollins can try to divide and conquer, but their alliance is a ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ situation, they need each other that’s all.
Samoa Joe challenged Seth Rollins and AOP to a match against him, Owens, and a third partner he wouldn’t reveal to Owens.
When Charly Caruso took the challenge to Rollins and AOP, Rollins went off on one about being the ‘Messiah of Monday Night’. They accepted the challenge anyway.
♦ The Viking Raiders (C) vs Street Profits vs The OC – RAW Tag Team Championship match – was up next, which was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting it much later in the show. Triple threat tag rules, so two teams in at any one time. A rule that, like most others, is followed only sporadically. Excellent match though. Street Profits and Viking Raiders are invariably a great combination, and the addition of The OC wasn’t going to make it worse.
Karl Anderson tried to steal a pin from Montez Ford on Erik, but Ivar saved the match. Anderson tried to throw Ford out of the ring to get rid of him, but Ford sailed over the top rope and took out Gallows and Dawkins. Ivar tagged in while Anderson was up on Erik’s shoulders and waited for his partner to powerbomb him to the mat before delivering a splash from the top turnbuckle for the win.
♦ Charly Caruso tried to get Samoa Joe to tell her who the mystery partner was, but he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t tell Owens either, but he did agree to show him. Caruso followed them but wasn’t allowed to see. Kevin Owens was laughing when he came out of the room though.
♦ Becky Lynch came out for a chat. Is she injured? I feel like she’s done a lot of talking and no wrestling recently. She’s been wondering what kind of a champion she is. She let the doubters get to her and forced the powers that be to give her a rematch against Asuka, but she’s doubting her wisdom on that one. Maybe she should be happy with everything she’s got and avoid the one woman she can’t seem to beat.
After the footage of the 3 times Asuka has bested her, Lynch was about to tell us what she’s figured out but Asuka showed up. I’ve no idea what she said on the way to the ring but the words ‘easy peasy’ were loud and clear. Before she had chance to yell at Becky Lynch once she got into the ring, Lynch dropped her with a single punch and left.
♦ Backstage, Mojo Rawley asked Erick Rowan if he could look inside the cage. Rowan said yes but don’t tell anyone. Rawley looked then ran off screaming and yelling, ‘What’s wrong with you’ at Rowan.
♦ Zelina Vega and Andrade had a backstage interview. They were asked if Andrade crossed the line and Andrade answered. Before Vega had chance to translate, Rey Mysterio jumped him and took his mask back.
♦ Erick Rowan vs KJ Orso was yet another pointless waste of time. Before the start, Rowan tried to make Orso look in the cage. Orso was having none of it and got back into the ring to take his immediate destruction. After the match, Rowan forced him to look by shoving his face against the cage. When Orso pulled away he was screaming and his face was covered in a blood-like liquid.
♦ AJ Styles vs Akira Tozawa was short. Styles used Randy Orton’s draping DDT and an RKO to pin Tozawa then celebrated with Orton’s poses. It was obviously meant to get under Orton’s skin, but it looks more like Orton is living rent-free in Styles’ head.
♦ There appeared to be a ring invasion, while the ring was empty. Security were briefly shown jumping on someone before the cameras cut away (it was, in fact, the celebrant).
♦ Bobby Lashley and Lana came to the ring still together. The celebrant from last week was there holding a bible. Lana called for silence, which made the crowd very loud, then said they were getting married there and then. The final few lines of the ceremony were spoken (they just picked up where they left off last week) and they were declared husband and wife.
Lana said this was supposed to be the happiest day of her life but she’s not happy. She’s extremely sad but she’s realised it’s nothing to do with her, it’s the negativity of all the people who don’t want to see them married. It’s the fault of all their exes and the WWE Universe. Lashley put most of the blame of Rusev.
Rusev sent them a ‘holiday video’ (wearing a loud shirt stood in front of a picture of a beach) to tell them they seem like the most miserable people in the arena and to show them the wedding video he made them. They weren’t pleased. Lana screamed so much that Lashley told her to shut up. Lashley (with Lana staring daggers at him) challenged Rusev to show up next week so he could rip his balls off. Rusev said next week the Bulgarian Brute is coming back and he will do unspeakable things to Lashley. Lana can have anything that’s left.
♦ Liv Morgan interrupted R-Truth’s interview about breaking the record for the number of championships held in WWE. She was there to say she’d like to be in Rusev’s corner next week when he faces Lashley.
♦ Charlotte Flair vs Sarah Logan never officially started. Logan attacked Flair while she was taking off her robe and they brawled at ringside and even took a brief trip over the barricades. For her own reasons, Logan tried to trash Flair’s robe and threw it out of the ring. Charlotte Flair destroyed her for the disrespect then put the robe back on and left.
No Way Jose vs Drew McIntyre was a massacre. McIntyre took out half the conga line and Jose. After he’d had his hand raised in victory, McIntyre threw Jose onto the conga line then asked the crowd if they dared him to do another Claymore. He dragged Jose back into the ring and delivered the kick, without dropping the mic. Once that was done he said he’d never had a chance to fight for the world title, so he was putting himself in the Royal Rumble.
♦ Shelton Benjamin vs Aleister Black was short and sweet. They finished it with a striking contest in the centre of the ring culminating in the Black Mass. Buddy Murphy attacked Aleister Black after the bell and gave him a beatdown which might have been longer than the match. Then Murphy sat cross-legged on top of the barricade and watched officials tending to Black.
♦ Seth Rollins felt the need to tell the WWE Universe that he has been chosen to lead the brand to the promised land. He was chosen by the people. This is everyone’s fault because Monday Night Rollins wasn’t good enough for us. But we don’t know what’s good for us, only he does. And what’s best for everyone is to eliminate people who impede progress. Then he shut up so their opponents could come out.
Seth Rollins & AOP vs Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & Big Show was the main event of the show. Big Show was an entertaining surprise (at least, in part, because people had convinced themselves there would be a big debut and the internet was cross), although Rollins and AOP may have been less entertained. Kevin Owens took some punishment for his team while Rollins and AOP were in charge, but it was down to Big Show to come in and clean house
The match ended in a disqualification when Seth Rollins hit Big Show with a chair to stop him giving Akam and Rezar a double chokeslam, then it turned into a brief brawl. Rollins was prevented from delivering a Stomp to Big Show by Owens and turned just in time to take a punch in the face from Big Show as the final blow of the night.
Next week already has a lot going on. Randy Orton vs AJ Styles, Aleister Black vs Buddy Murphy, another appearance from Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley vs Rusev with Lana and Liv Morgan in their corners, and a repeat of tonight’s main but in a Fist Fight. Maybe they’ll throw a women’s division match in there, but don’t hold your breath.