11/23 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley vs. Keith Lee, and Sheamus vs. Riddle in qualifiers for a Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship, Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross, fallout from Survivor Series

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw (Episode 1,435)
Live from Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
Aired November 23, 2020 on USA Network

[Hour One] Raw opened with a recap of Drew McIntyre beating Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship on last week’s Raw… The Raw opening aired… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe…

“Team Raw” AJ Styles, Sheamus, Keith Lee, Riddle, and Braun Strowman stood in the ring with WWE official Adam Pearce and Omos. Pearce said one of the men in the ring would get a WWE Championship match. He said he wanted to give them all a chance to state their case. Pearce was going to let Styles speak first, but Sheamus cut him off and said Styles wasn’t his captain.

Sheamus congratulated Drew McIntyre for winning the WWE Championship and then labeled himself the MVP of the team, which Styles took exception with. Keith Lee pointed out that he pinned the other team’s captain. Riddle said he beat King Corbin and then wondered if that makes him King Bro. Riddle said McIntyre’s “dope sword” would go well with his “dope crown.”

Pearce said Strowman was last but not least. Strowman asked what he meant by the world last. Pearce said it was a common expression that he didn’t mean anything by. Strowman grabbed Pearce by the collar and shook him, then headbutted him to the ground. [C]

Powell’s POV: I actually hope they put more time into establishing the McIntyre and Sheamus friendship and don’t just rush into the program now. Strowman’s actions felt heelish, so perhaps he’s next in line for WWE TLC.

The broadcast team discussed the previous angle. Saxton questioned what type of repercussions there would be for Strowman’s actions…

Footage aired from earlier in the day of The Hurt Business giving Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods a hard time about losing to The Street Profits at Survivor Series. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin asked for a title shot. Woods said they just did that last week. Alexander said they weren’t asking, they were telling that they want a tag title shot on Raw. Woods got upset and granted the tag title match…

1. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin (w/MVP) for the Raw Tag Titles. The entrances of both teams were televised. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Benjamin caught Woods with a big boot to the head, then threw a running knee at Kingston to knock him off the apron a couple minutes into the match. [C]

Kingston knocked Benjamin down and was setting up on the ropes, but Alexander pulled him down to ringside. Benjamin went to ringside and both men ended up being counted out at 7:55. MVP took the mic and called for the match to be restarted, then asked New Day if they were scared. New Day returned to the ring and it was announced that the match would be restarted. [C]

Kingston was backdropped to ringside where he landed on his feet. Kingston came up selling a knee injury and was isolated by the Hurt Business duo. Kingston nearly made a tag, but Alexander pulled Woods from the apron before he could. Kingston hit the SOS on Benjamin for a near fall.

Woods eventually took a hot tag and worked over both challengers. Woods pressed Alexander over his head and dropped him face first, then covered him for a two count. Alexander came back with a tornado DDT and then tagged in Benjamin, who performed an Olympic Slam and had the pin, but Kingston broke it up. Kingston took out Alexander at ringside. In the ring, Woods stuffed a powerbomb and rolled up Benjamin for the pin…

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods defeated Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in 21:40 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. Still, I really question the idea of having the Hurt Business lose to New Day twice in a row. New Day moved to Raw in mid-October and they have already plowed through all of the meaningful heel challengers. What’s left for them to do? Why not give Alexander and Benjamin a boost? Perhaps they will still get there via Kingston’s storyline knee injury.

Backstage, Charly Caruso caught up with Adam Pearce as he was leaving the trainer’s room. Pearce said that if it were up to him, he would fire Strowman. She asked him what he was about to announce before Strowman attacked him. Bobby Lashley showed up and pointed out that he was the only Raw champion who came out of Survivor Series victorious. Lashley said he wanted to have a discussion with Pearce before he made his decision on the title shot… [C]

Caruso approached Pearce again and asked about his conversation with Lashley. Pearce said Lashley made a compelling case and it’s something he would consider. Randy Orton showed up and told Pearce that they needed to talk…

The broadcast team narrated the footage of Strowman headbutting Pearce. Saxton said Strowman should be ashamed of himself. Phillips said Strowman had been escorted from the building. They transitioned to recapping the women’s Survivor Series elimination match that Lana won in a fluke…

Sarah Schreiber interviewed Lana on the backstage ring set. She said Survivor Series was the greatest night of her career and she’s feeling on top of the world. Schreiber noted that the men’s team is under consideration for a WWE Title shot and questioned whether a Raw Women’s Title shot could be in her future. Lana said she was living a dream and didn’t want to be woken up…

Pearce told Caruso that all the talking from the various wrestlers wasn’t going to cut it. Pearce announced that there would be three singles matches on Raw and the winners would meet in a Triple Threat match next week and the winner will get a title shot. Pearce said Riddle would face Sheamus in the first match immediately…

Powell’s POV: I’m guessing that the matches will include Orton, Lashley, and the Team Raw members not named Braun Strowman.

Riddle made his entrance… [C] Sheamus made his entrance coming out of the break…

2. Sheamus vs. Riddle in a qualifier for the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender. Riddle offered a fist bump, but Sheamus shoved his hand away. Sheamus took offensive control heading into the show’s second hour.

[Hour Two] Riddle rolled out of an armbar and applied one of his own. Sheamus reached the bottom rope with his foot to break the hold, then rolled to ringside. Once Sheamus returned to the ring, he suplexed Riddle and covered him for a two count. Sheamus clotheslined Riddle over the top rope to the floor.

Sheamus leapt from the apron, but Riddle caught him with a kick and then performed an exploder suplex on the floor. Both men returned to the ring where Riddle performed a senton for a two count. Sheamus came back with his clubs to the chest, then shoved Riddle off the apron. Riddle returned to the ring in time to beat the referee’s count.

Sheamus performed an Irish Curse backbreaker and covered Riddle for a two count. Riddle dodged a charging Sheamus, who slammed his shoulder into the ring post. Riddle fired kicks at the chest of Sheamus and then tagged him with a forearm shot. Sheamus picked up Riddle and put him down with an Alabama Slam. [C]

Riddle took offensive control coming out of the break and hit a Floating Bro on Sheamus at ringside. Back in the ring, Sheamus caught Riddle leaping from the middle rope and then slammed him to the mat and covered him for a near fall.

The broadcast team announced Keith Lee vs. Bobby Lashley and Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles as the other qualifying matches that would take place during Raw.

Sheamus caught Riddle in a heel hook in the middle of the ring. Riddle eventually broke the hold with a series of kicks to the chest of Sheamus, then covered him for a two count. Riddle tagged Sheamus with a knee to the head and got another near fall.

Riddle went to the ropes and was cut off by Sheamus, who eventually performed White Noise from the middle rope for a two count. Sheamus set up for his finisher in the corner. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but he stopped when Riddle fell to the mat. Sheamus taunted Riddle, who hit him with a headbutt and a kick to the head. Sheamus ducked another kick and put Riddle in the electric chair. Riddle rolled Sheamus over, then Sheamus applied the Cloverleaf, but Riddle rolled him into a pin for the win…

Riddle beat Sheamus in 20:45 to qualify for the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.

Powell’s POV: This was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect this match to get nearly as much time as it did and both men made the most of it with a good, physical match. Riddle going over means they won’t be rushing into the expected Sheamus turn on McIntyre, which is good news as far as I’m concerned because that relationship needs to develop more on television in order for it to actually mean something when Sheamus turns on him.

Backstage, Asuka asked Lana if she wanted to challenge her for the Raw Women’s Championship. Lana said she told the interviewer that Asuka is one of the best in the world and she wasn’t even thinking about challenging her. Asuka said she likes challenges. Asuka told Lana that she could go home as the Raw Women’s Champion…

Ramblin’ Rabbit was shown standing next to a photo of Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss, and drawing a red X over the face of Cross. Philips hyped the Firefly Funhouse as coming up next… [C]

The broadcast team announced that Asuka vs. Lana match for the Raw Women’s Championship would take place later in the show…

The Firefly Funhouse aired with Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss. Wyatt said friends will always let you down. A frog wearing a top hat and a monocle chimed in. Abby asked who he was. The frog said he’s the Friendship Frog and he believes friendship lasts forever. Wyatt told Bliss to show the frog what she will do to Nikki Cross. Wyatt put his “heal” glove hand over Bliss’s forehead, then Wyatt whispered in her ear.

The frog said Bliss didn’t seem very friendly. Cross bludgeoned the frog with the weird symbol. Wyatt called for a moment of silence, then sappy music played while shots aired of frogs and then Friendship Frog was listed with a memorial graphic that listed 1980-2020. Wyatt said it was a real shame that Friendship Frog croaked, then he and Bliss laughed uproariously…

Asuka made her entrance for the championship match… [C]

Powell’s POV: Is it just me or have the Firefly Funhouse segments gotten worse since Bliss was added to the mix? I’m not blaming her as much pointing out a rough estimate of when things took a turn for the worse. The segments just haven’t felt as creative as they once did. Perhaps it’s because Wyatt doesn’t have an actual program right now and therefore most of the segments are more random than focussed on an actual target.

An ad aired for WWE Tribute to the Troops, which airs Sunday, December 6 on Fox. The time depends on when the NFL games air in each market that day…

3. Asuka vs. Lana for the Raw Women’s Championship. Lana’s entrance was televised coming out of the break. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler came to ringside just before the opening bell. Asuka slid to ringside past Lana, and was taunted by Jax and Baszler for not being able to take out Lana. Asuka poured water on Jax and Baszler, who attacked her for the finish.

Asuka fought Lana to a no-contest in 1:05 in a Raw Women’s Championship match.

Jax was setting up to put Asuka through the broadcast table when Lana rushed to ringside and pulled Asuka to safety. Baszler took the mic and challenged Asuka and Lana to a tag team match…

R-Truth hosted a WWE merchandise spot. A referee popped up, then Drew Gulak hit Truth from behind with a Money in the Bank briefcase. the lighting changed. The referee and Truth ran away, then someone dressed in a Fiend outfit popped up behind Gulak and said, “Yowie Wowie.” Gulak ran away. Akira Tozawa removed the Fiend mask and grabbed a WWE 24/7 Title pillow… [C]

4. WWE Women’s Tag Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka and Lana in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Lana was isolated and taunted by the champions. Asuka took a hot tag and worked over Baszler before putting her down with a shining wizard that led to a two count. Baszler came back with a great looking knee to the head for a near fall of her own.

Jax pulled Lana from the apron and roughed her up at ringside. Jax took the top piece off the broadcast table, but Lana broke free and fought. Jax charged Lana, who moved, causing Jax to tumble over the desk. Baszler grabbed Lana and pulled her her onto the apron in the Kirifuda Clutch, Asuka rolled up Baszler and pinned her…

Asuka and Lana defeated WWE Women’s Tag Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler in 6:50 in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: Lana remains unlikable even though they seem to be presenting her as more of a babyface tonight. Lana clicked as a heel, but I’m just not sold on her in this sympathetic babyface role.

Backstage, Riddle spoke with MVP and said he wanted to wish Bobby Lashley luck. Riddle pitched the idea of pizza flavored yogurt as an investment idea. MVP asked if Riddle really thought Lashley wanted to hear his nonsense. “Uh, yeah,” Riddle said. MVP told Riddle he would give him a couple weeks to make his pitches. He said they could do business if they liked his ideas, then took a threatening tone while saying they would do some business if they didn’t like Riddle’s ideas…

Powell’s POV: Matt Riddle’s stoner routine was fun before they took away his last name and turned him into an absolute doofus.

Phillips set up a video package that recapped Roman Reigns beating Drew McIntyre at Survivor Series with a low blow and help from Jey Uso…

[Hour Three] Ring entrances for the Lee vs. Lashley match took place…

5. Keith Lee vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) in a qualifier for the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender. The broadcast team hyped up the match by noting that it was the first Lee vs. Lashley match. Lee didn’t budge when Lashley went for a shoulder block. Lee blocked a Hurt Lock attempt and knocked Lashley down with a shoulder block.

Lee clotheslined Lashley over the top rope to ringside. Lee smiled, then ran the ropes, but MVP teased tripping him. Lee went to ringside to go after MVP and was blindsided by Lashley. Lee was powered up onto the shoulders of Lashley, who ran him into the ring post. [C]

Lashley had a small cut on his left temple and was in offensive control coming out of the break. Lee showed signs of coming back. Lashley leapfrogged Lee and then knocked him down with a clothesline. Lashley powered up Lee for a suplex. Lee avoided the Hurt Lock. Lashley charged Lee, who leapfrogged him. Lee sent Lashley to ringside, followed him, and performed a running cross body block.

Lee shoved Lashley back inside the ring. The referee turned his attention to Lashley for a moment. MVP ran Lee into the ring post and shoved him back inside the ring. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock, but Lee blocked it. Lashley applied a sleeper, but Lee fell back onto him. MVP hit the ring and attacked Lee for the DQ.

Keith Lee defeated Bobby Lashley by DQ in 12:15 to qualify for the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.

Powell’s POV: Lee’s massive size really stood out while working with Lashley. The match started slow and built nicely to the closing minutes. MVP running in for the DQ saved Lashley from losing, and they can always turn this into a U.S. Title feud. So we’ll have two newer main roster members working with an established star in next week’s Triple Threat. Am I wrong to assume that they will go with one of the usual suspects? I guess we’ll find out next week.

A video package aired on the Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross friendship…

Cross spoke with Sarah Schreiber on the Gorilla Position set. Cross said she’s tried repeatedly to speak with Bliss. She said she’s done trying. She said Bliss made it perfectly clear that she doesn’t want her help and she wants The Fiend. Cross said they can have each other. She said she’s tired of worrying about their friendship. Cross said she would beat The Fiend out of Bliss. Cross made her entrance… [C]

Riddle, Lana, and Keith Lee were announced as the guests for Raw Talk… Alexa Bliss made her entrance…

6. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross. Bliss wore a jumper with her logo on it. Bliss avoided a charging Cross, giggled, and made the Rascalz hand gesture. Bliss went to ringside. Cross followed and then Bliss returned to the ring and giggled at Cross, who pulled her to ringside and roughed her up.

Cross rolled Bliss back inside the ring. Bliss stood in the corner and laughed. Phillips said it was playtime for Bliss, yet the polar opposite for Cross. Bliss was hit with multiple clotheslines and smiled after each. Cross slammed Bliss’s head into the mat and then fired away with punches.

Eventually, Bliss acted like she was crying. Bliss asked Cross to help her. When Cross comforted her, Bliss said she was sorry and hugged her, then dropped her with Sister Abigail. Bliss was all smiles as she covered Cross for the three count…

Alexa Bliss beat Nikki Cross in 4:15.

Phillips hyped footage from Undertaker’s Final Farewell… [C]

Powell’s POV: The lesson here is that if you have a friend who joins a cult, you should try to beat the living shit out of them to make them snap out of it. No? Anywhere, here’s hoping that Bliss using some variation of the Rascalz hand gesture means they will stop using it. I really like the trio’s work, but that hand gesture does nothing for me.

The broadcast team thanked AC/DC for the Survivor Series theme song, then set up the Undertaker video package. It was the same video package that aired at Survivor Series, and included some clips from the Final Farewell segment…

Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event… [C] AJ Styles and Omos made their entrance…

7. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos) in a qualifier for the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender. Phillips noted that Orton and Styles met in a WrestleMania match. Both wrestlers ended up at ringside early on. Orton whipped Styles into the arms of Omos, who placed Styles on the apron, which led to Styles delivering a knee to the head of Orton. Styles dropped Orton onto the broadcast table with a side suplex. [C]

Styles went for a Calf Crusher, but Orton rolled out of it and delivered a knee to the head of Styles. A short time later, Styles made another play for the Calf Crusher and was able to lock in the hold. Orton reached the ropes to break it around the 10:00 mark. Orton went for an RKO, but Styles avoided it and then hit him with an engziguri. Orton rolled to ringside to avoid being covered. Styles went to the apron and was tripped by Orton, who rolled him inside the ring.

The Fiend lighting flashed. Orton looked around and ended up returning to the ring. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton cut him off and performed a draping DDT. Orton struck the Viper’s Pose and then the Fiend lighting went into full effect. Orton leaned against the ropes. The Fiend appeared behind him and yelled. Orton turned and the lights went out. Orton walked into a Phenomenal Forearm and was pinned.

AJ Styles beat Randy Orton in 12:50 to qualify for the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.

A graphic listed Styles vs. Lee vs. Riddle in the Triple Threat to determine the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship for next week’s show. Styles left the ring and was helped up by Omos. The Fiend laugh track played while Orton seethed in the ring to close the show…

Powell’s POV: Well, that happened. It was a heel vs. heel match with a heel providing a distraction to cost one of the heel participants the match. Strange. With Orton out of the picture, next week’s match does feel less predictable. I though they were going to go with Drew McIntyre vs. The Fiend vs. Orton in a Triple Threat at TLC and I wonder if they will still get there somehow. They haven’t officially announced that the winner of the Triple Threat will get their shot at TLC, so I suppose they could have a television match and then do the Triple Threat at the pay-per-view instead. We should know a lot more after next week’s show.

Overall, they filled the time nicely this week and this was a better than average episode despite the fact that Drew McIntyre had the night off. It’s baffling that WWE only bothered to advertise the Bliss vs. Cross match in advance when they actually had a nice lineup of matches. Why not at least announce the plan to have qualifying matches ahead of time to give the show a hook and then do the reveal of the matches on the actual show? Nevertheless, the qualifying match approach gave stakes to those matches, which is always helpful.

Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our weekly post show poll. I will be back shortly with my same night audio review of WWE Raw for Dot Net Members. Join us on our ad-free website and unlock all of our audio content via PWMembership.net.

Readers Comments (13)

  1. MVP: first of all I’m not your bro…

    Riddle: Awww

    This should be number one on the hit list tomorrow

  2. Cheers the Rascalz hand gesture. I like seeing Bliss useing it.

  3. That’s true Jason.

    The lesson here is that if you have a friend who joins a cult mind your own bussiness they want to be stupid let them they will learn sooner or later on their own that joining a cult is no good.

  4. Hey Jason,

    Chrome on a Win10 machine and i’m still hearing that audio player go off with every page that loads.

    • Use and ad blocker, it’s 2020.

      • Gee, I never thought of that. Thanks for nothing. I’ve been using the same ad blocker for years and haven’t had this audio problem with the player on his site until recently.

    • Thanks for keeping me updated on the podcast playing. As I mentioned last week, it doesn’t happen on my laptop for some reason. I passed along the info to the person who handles the technical side of things and hoped that it was cleared up when I didn’t get any complaints after last Monday. I am sorry that it’s still happening. I sent another request to have this addressed, so hopefully it will be taken care of soon. Please continue to let me know if it’s an issue.

  5. Can you fix your website? Whenever I click on an article or link, your podcast starts playing. I like reading your reports despite the amount of pop up ads that appear every time and now this.

  6. I’m wondering if Tom Phillips referring to Nikki as the twisted sister in her entrance was just a throwaway line, or foreshadowing a return to that character?

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