Posted on 1/12/121 by Bob Magee
Date: January 11, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL
The Big Takeaway --
Triple H’s first (unofficial) match since 2019 ended with
Alexa Bliss shooting fire in Randy Orton’s face.
Drew McIntyre accepted Goldberg’s title challenge for the
Royal Rumble. McIntyre (via video) also confirmed that he
tested positive for COVID-19.
Raw felt short-handed with Jeff Hardy, Riddle, Sheamus and
Keith Lee all wrestling twice, in addition to the return of
Triple H. Among the regularly featured talent not on
tonight’s show were: Asuka, Kofi Kingston, Cedric Alexander,
Shelton Benjamin, Ricochet, and Charly Caruso.
Show Recap --
The show opened with a recap of Randy Orton taunting Big
Show, Mark Henry and Ric Flair. Tom Phillips called it a
“troubling” legends night.
Triple H entered to start the show. They piped in loud
cheering and “Triple H” chants. (I think they found a new
volume level for him.) Triple H welcomed us to Raw but
before he could say more, Orton interrupted.
Orton said the “office” showed up because Drew McIntyre
couldn’t. Orton said he was supposed to have a big match
tonight. Triple H said they both know that can’t happen.
(They didn’t say what the reason was.)
Orton knew that Triple H was there to make some sort of
announcement. He thought Triple H may award him the WWE
title right now. Triple H suggested he win the Rumble if he
wanted to be champion. Orton thought he must have an
announcement that benefits him in some way.
Triple H said he was in awe watching Orton lately. He was
impressed that Orton did what he had to, setting the Fiend
on fire (he didn’t phrase it that way), because he was the
only thing standing in the way of him becoming champion
Triple H understood all of that, but what he didn’t
understand was Orton punting legends in the head because
humiliating them didn’t benefit Orton. As a result, Triple H
lost the admiration he had for Orton. Orton’s actions only
solidified him as a prick.
Orton called himself a legend of his own time just like
Triple H was. Orton wondered if The Game was still in there.
Maybe he could take out the King of Kings once and for all.
Orton challenged him to a fight (not a match).
Triple H said that had no benefit to him. He said no. Orton
figured it was because Stephanie wasn’t there so Triple H
couldn’t retrieve his balls from her purse.
Triple H faked saying something before punching Orton in the
face. Orton fell out of the ring and smiled as he got back
to his feet. Orton took that as a “yes.” (Triple H didn’t
(They cut to the announcers who didn’t say a word about
Sarah Schrieber interviewed Charlotte Flair. Charlotte
called Lacey Evans classless. She also said that things got
heated last week which is why she snapped at her dad. She
didn’t understand why Schrieber was asking about her dad
when she’s about to have a match. Charlotte wanted to teach
Evans a lesson. (I think this was designed to keep Charlotte
a babyface by chalking up what she said to Ric as a mere
disagreement in the moment.)
After Charlotte entered the ring, Evans told Schreiber that
she thought Ric was a charming man’s man and anyone would
want some of that. She dedicated the match to Ric and blew
him a kiss.
They aired a video by Drew McIntyre, taken on his phone. He
confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 but he was
fortunate to not have any symptoms. He was proof that anyone
could get it and encouraged everyone to practice social
distancing, wear your mask, and stay safe.
Lacey Evans defeated Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair
Charlotte was in control but Evans escaped the ring when she
attempted a Figure Eight. At that point, Ric Flair’s music
hit and he pranced out down the ramp. Charlotte appeared
confused (she thought he was at home). About 40 seconds
passed as Ric entered, meaning Evans should have been
counted out. They went to break.
When they returned, Phillips mentioned that tonight was the
28th anniversary of Raw. Evans briefly took over until
Charlotte hit a back suplex. Charlotte followed later with a
neckbreaker and an exploder suplex.
Charlotte hit the Natural Selection but Ric put Evans’ foot
on the rope. The referee saw (but somehow didn’t see Ric’s
hand on her boot) so he stopped the count. As they battled
near the ropes, Ric purposely tripped Charlotte, and Evans
fell on her for a cover. Ric held Charlotte’s foot down as
the ref counted to three. Evans left with Ric. This was bad.
Schreiber tried to interview Evans and Ric but they blew her
off and left, seemingly back to the hotel.
They recapped McIntyre retaining over Keith Lee. Kayla
Braxton interviewed Lee. Before Lee could answer her
question, Sheamus interrupted. Sheamus had no trouble
kicking Lee while he was down but knew that Lee earned
McIntyre’s respect. If McIntyre respected Lee, so did
Sheamus. They were about to shake hands but Miz and Morrison
Lee and Sheamus compared them to Dumb and Dumber. Miz and
Morrison challenged them to a match. Miz said they would
topple them just like the Cleveland Browns toppled the
Pittsburgh Steelers. Sheamus and Lee thought this was a
terrible idea. They accepted. Miz and Morrison seemed
confident in their chances.
Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias) defeated Jeff Hardy (0:49)
They plugged Hardy vs. Elias but Elias claimed he sustained
an injury while recording music. Ryker said he was inspired
to destroy. Elias joined commentary. He said he hurt his
Elias immediately left commentary to distract Hardy, who
fell for it. Ryker used a schoolboy for the quick pinfall
After the match, Hardy challenged Elias to a match. Elias
declined. Hardy said if he didn’t accept, people would think
Ryker was better than him. Elias accepted the match while
telling Ryker to “not” interfere.
Jeff Hardy defeated Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker)
Hardy won a relatively short match via pinfall with a Twist
of Fate and Swanton Bomb.
Elias asked Ryker why he didn’t help. Ryker thought Elias
was serious earlier when he asked him not to interfere.
(A few weeks ago, these two had a Symphony of Destruction
match that they said would be the blowoff match in this
feud. It was actually the second such match, the first being
the Guitar on a Pole match.)
They plugged “The Legend Killer’s Challenge” with Orton and
Triple H tonight.
Sheamus & Keith Lee defeated The Miz & John Morrison (12:52)
Lee chucked Morrison over the top into the Miz. Sheamus
knocked them both down with a double clothesline off the
Lee drove Morrison into the corner and the turnbuckle broke
and the top rope came loose. Lee and Sheamus were very
amused as the ref and Miz checked on Morrison. This was a
Lee worked over Miz after a break as the ring crew finished
fixing the ropes. Sheamus knocked Morrison off the apron
which allowed Miz to hit a DDT. They worked over Sheamus for
a while until he gave Miz a backbreaker and tagged in Lee.
Lee hit both guys with shoulder tackles and overhead
suplexes before chucking Morrison into Miz. Lee hit a
powerslam but Miz broke up the cover. Morrison hit a Pelé
kick but Lee swatted him out of the air as he came off the
Lee was setting up for something but Sheamus tagged himself
in and hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win. Lee wasn’t
upset that Sheamus tagged himself in. Instead, they were
both just very happy to have gotten along and won. This was
Schreiber asked Triple H about Orton’s challenge. Triple H
said guys like Flair and Bob Orton paved the way for guys
like them and Randy needed to understand that. Triple H
accepted his challenge.
(Triple H’s most recent televised match was at the Super
Showdown in 2019 against… Randy Orton.)
After a break, Lee and Sheamus were still in the ring but
they were suddenly arguing. The ref called for the bell to
start a match. The announcers acknowledged how odd it was
that they were getting along just fine a moment ago but now
wanted to fight.
Keith Lee defeated Sheamus (6:55)
They had a back-and-forth match that Lee won clean via
pinfall with the Spirit Bomb. After the match, Lee offered a
fist bump. Sheamus hugged him instead.
The set-up for this was odd but at least Lee got a decisive
There was a video package of McIntyre retaining his title
and Goldberg issuing the title challenge.
Drew McIntyre promo
McIntyre (via his phone video) had a response for Goldberg.
McIntyre admitted to being a big Goldberg fan when he was
young and was even starstruck when he entered last week.
However, as the saying went, never meet your heroes.
Goldberg let him down last week when he put words into his
mouth. McIntyre is a believer in giving respect to get
McIntyre said the WWE Championship has always eluded
Goldberg (he was World Champion and Universal Champion in
WWE). McIntyre didn’t want to accept the challenge initially
because of their age difference, but his mind changed when
Goldberg put his hands on him. McIntyre accepted and said,
Riddle talked excitedly about pizza to Lucha House Party.
They wondered if he was hungry. Riddle said pizza was a
metaphor for when he beats Bobby Lashley for the US title.
They wished him luck but told him to watch his back. Riddle
said watching your own back was physically impossible.
T-Bar (w/Retribution) defeated Xavier Woods (4:55)
The announcers claimed that Kofi Kingston was recovering
from a broken jaw at the hands of the Hurt Business.
Woods knocked T-Bar out of the ring with a missile dropkick.
Woods threatened Mace/Mustafa Ali to back off before they
could interfere. The distraction allowed T-Bar to hit Feast
Your Eyes for the pinfall win.
Orton told Schreiber that he has a newfound hatred that he
plans on directing toward Triple H.
Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) defeated Riddle to retain the US
Lashley repeatedly attacked Riddle before the match could
start, which of course was just payback from Riddle doing it
to him last week. Riddle’s mouth was busted open during the
attack. The ref asked if Riddle wanted to start and he said
Lashley was in control but Riddle came back quickly with a
Floating Bro to the outside. Riddle tried something off the
ropes and I think Lashley was supposed to catch him but they
mistimed it. Lashley’s strength made up for it and he
hoisted up Riddle for a chokeslam anyway.
Lashley applied the Hurt Lock and Riddle quickly tapped out.
Riddle got on the mic. He said MVP likes to kick people when
they’re down. He couldn’t beat Lashley tonight, but he can
beat MVP. MVP accepted the match. (Yes, they did this
earlier with Hardy and Ryker/Elias.)
Riddle defeated MVP (w/US Champion Bobby Lashley) via DQ
MVP wrestled in his dressy clothes. Riddle knocked down
Lashley with a PK and hit MVP with a Floating Bro. Lashley
jumped in the ring and speared Riddle for the DQ. Lashley
and MVP beat him up for a bit before leaving.
They recapped the Adam Pearce/Roman Reigns angle on
AJ Styles told Pearce that he would win the Rumble and maybe
Pearce would win the title if Reigns slipped on eight banana
peels, then the two of them could face each other at
Drew Gulak interrupted to announce he would enter the
Rumble. Pearce said he can’t do that. Gulak said Styles did.
Styles said he can do that because he’s a two-time champion.
Styles wondered who Gulak ever beat. Gulak had proof on a
flash drive but Pearce didn’t want to see it. He told Gulak
he can enter the Rumble if he beats Styles.
AJ Styles (w/Omos) defeated Drew Gulak (3:12)
They both attempted a dropkick as soon as the bell rang.
Gulak used a few suplexes, including a Tiger Driver for two.
Gulak used a backslide for two and Styles came back with a
Pelé kick and strikes. Styles chucked Gulak to the outside
where he was frozen at the sight of Omos. Styles chucked him
back in the ring and hit the Phenomenal forearm for the
There was a Goldberg video package.
Keith Lee approached Triple H as he got ready in the back.
Lee said Triple H has been there for him and it was his turn
to be there for Triple H. Lee didn’t mind working a third
time tonight to take Triple H’s place. Triple H said he had
to do this himself. Lee handed him his leather jacket and
they bumped fists.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
Jax was in control and seemed to be going a move off the
ropes but Baszler tagged herself in and tapped out Rose for
the win. (Rose and Brooke declared themselves for the Rumble
before the match.)
Triple H vs. Randy Orton
They kept calling this a “fight” so it’s not an official
match, for those keeping records. The bell never rang,
either. Triple H entered to his “The Game” theme. He worked
in pants and a Motorhead t-shirt. Orton worked in his usual
gear. After entrances, there were only about 6 minutes left
in the show.
Orton hesitated to get in the ring. HHH knocked him down
with a punch. Orton regrouped before entering the ring again
and striking back with punches. HHH came back with fists of
his own but Orton knocked him down with an uppercut. HHH
responded by tossing Orton into the steel steps.
Orton poked him in the eye and tried a back suplex on the
announce table but HHH blocked and suplexed him on the
announce table instead.
HHH grabbed the sledgehammer but the lights started to turn
off. HHH lifted up the sledgehammer which was suddenly on
fire, catching him by surprise. The lights went out
completely. A purple light shined on the ring and HHH was
Alexa Bliss appeared in the corner. Bliss raised her hand to
her chin before shooting fire into Orton’s face. Orton sold
it like he was in immense pain and Byron Saxton said he
might be blind.