1/4 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee for the WWE Championship and Raw Legends Night headline the first show of 2021

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

WWE Raw (Episode 1,441)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired January 4, 2021 on USA Network

Raw opened with a shot of a Hulk Hogan phone cover. Hogan eventually picked up the phone and delivered his “whatcha gonna do” line… Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on commentary, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…

The Miz and John Morrison stood in the ring for a Miz TV segment. Morrison ran through a list of legends who would appear while doing some impersonations, then included Miz as a legend. The Miz showed off his Money in the Bank briefcase and said he is optimistic about the new year now that WWE gave him the contract back.

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were introduced as the guests. The broadcast team snuck in a plug for Big E defending the Intercontinental Title against Apollo Crews on Friday’s Smackdown. Once in the ring, Kingston said they have their own talkshow called New Day Talks. Kingston said he is the host and Woods is the band leader of their show.

Miz wondered if it was prep work for Woods bombing on G4. Woods showed off a badge while Kingston said he’s also the bailiff. Kingston read from a card and asked Miz and Morrison if they had any resolutions. Miz was annoyed, but Morrison listed some silly resolutions.

Kingston asked them which legend they would like to go out to dinner with. Miz said the interview had gone on long enough. Woods played his trombone. Kingston said that meant it’s time for the cooking portion of the show. Woods put on a chef hat. Miz got upset and said he was sick of them making a joke out of him and his show.

Teddy Long made his entrance and teased booking Miz and Morrison against Undertaker. Adam Pearce walked out and spoke to Long, who then booked the obligatory tag team match with Kingston and Woods vs. Miz and Morrison as coming up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: If the goal was to kick off the new year in the most annoying way possible, then mission accomplished.

1. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. The Miz and John Morrison. The New Day duo dominated the offense. Kingston performed a dive over the top rope onto Miz and Morrison, then Woods played his trombone heading into a break. [C]

Kingston was isolated by the heels until he eventually made a hot tag to Woods, who then worked over both opponents. Morrison cut him off with a forearm shiver. Woods fired back with one of his own. Kingston took out Miz at ringside. In the ring, Morrison tried to steal a pin with his feet on the ropes, but Kingston shoved them off. Woods hit Morrison with a Shining Wizard and scored the pin…

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods beat The Miz and John Morrison in 13:15.

Powell’s POV: Kingston was extra cheesy during the first part of the match, as he actually twerked at one point. I guess everything we’ve seen so far is was more important than letting viewers know if Randy Orton set a gasoline covered Alexa Bliss on fire at the end of last week’s show. Raw’s creative choices continue to be strange.

The broadcast team finally addressed the Bliss and Orton situation. They set up a video package that recapped last week’s madness…

Orton was interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage and she asked him what was going through his head when he lit the match. Orton said the voices in his head were telling him to set Bliss on fire, but he couldn’t do it. Orton said it’s because something in you changes when you face The Fiend.

Orton said he showed Bliss compassion and mercy and now he hates himself for it. Orton spoke about having no boundaries. He told Caruso to imagine what would happen if he directed the hatred he has for himself at someone else. Orton said he wants to find some legends and have a talk, and remind them why he is the Legend Killer…

Powell’s POV: I wish Orton could someone burn the third hour of Raw so badly that it would disappeared forever. They are right when they say wrestlers aren’t the same after facing The Fiend. Quick, name one who truly benefitted and was better off coming out of a match or feud with him. I’ll wait. On the bright side, Orton teasing another legends attack is a solid hook.

Footage aired from Tik Tok of Angel Garza pinning R-Truth at a New Year’s Eve party to win the WWE 24/7 Championship…

Backstage, Garza showed off his title belt to Alicia Fox. She asked if he was the guy who drank cranberry juice while skating to the Fleetwood Mac song. He said no, and she stormed away. Garza found Mickie James, Sgt. Slaughter, and Tatanka. Garza gave James a rose, then Slaughter took it and called Garza a maggot…

Powell’s POV: Congratulations to James for reaching legends status. I’m sure she’s, um, thrilled.

2. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker). Both entrances were televised. Phillips noted that Styles announced his entry into the Royal Rumble match on social media earlier in the day. Elias knocked Styles off the apron with a forearm shot heading into a break. [C]

There were multiple ads for NXT New Year’s Evil during the break. Elias performed a chokeslam on Styles and got a two count coming out of the break. Styles came back and went for a springboard move, but Elias caught him with a knee and then covered him for another near fall. Styles came back and performed a Styles Clash and scored the clean pin.

AJ Styles defeated Elias in 9:45.

After the match, Ryker entered the ring with the guitar and wound up to hit Styles with it, but Omos kicked the guitar. Ryker backed down while the broadcast team marveled over the way the guitar “exploded” when Omos hit it…

Powell’s POV: I guess we’re supposed to like Styles more than Elias because of Omos? It seems like this out of the blue feud is more about Omos and Ryker than Styles and Elias.

Footage aired of Charlotte Flair talking about defying the odds to win a past Royal Rumble match and doing the same this year…

Charlotte Flair and Ric Flair made their entrance for Charlotte and Asuka’s tag team match… [C]

Backstage, Riddle pitched Big Show on the idea of being the Big Bro. Riddle said he had a match, but he would keep coming up with ideas. Show was pleasant and told him to keep thinking. Once Riddle left, Orton showed up and recalled taking out Big Show with an RKO and a punt kick, then asked Show how it feels knowing that his career is over because of him.

Show said he could compete now. Orton grabbed him by the neck. Show smiled and sat down. He said he’s not embarrassed to be out there with the legends, he’s proud of it. Orton said Show doesn’t have the guts to introduce himself to the Legend Killer, so he’d be on his way…

Asuka made her entrance for the tag match.

[Hour Two] Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce made their entrance. A pre-taped interview played with Evans saying they could show the legends what future legends look like. She put on a hat that read “Lacey The Legend”…

3. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka and Charlotte Flair (w/Ric Flair) vs. Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce in a non-title match. Phillips said Flair and Nia Jax are the only two women who have declared for the Rumble match thus far (Shayna Baszler?). Saxton mentioned something about people suggesting that Evans got too friendly with Ric Flair earlier. Ric was doing the strut at ringside when Evans joined him. Charlotte slapped Evans, who tackled her. [C]

The heel duo isolated Asuka until she made a hot tag to Charlotte, who then worked over Evans with chops. Flair knocked down Evans and Royce, then performed a moonsault onto them. Asuka tagged back in and performed a Codebreaker on Royce, then Charlotte performed the Natural Selection, but Evans broke up the pin attempt that followed.

Evans flirted with Ric. Charlotte kicked her through the ropes to break it up. Charlotte rolled Evans back inside the ring. Charlotte ducked a kick by Royce and then ran the ropes, but Ric tripped his daughter, who was pinned by Royce.

Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka and Charlotte Flair in 12:30 in a non-title match.

Afterward, Evans kissed Ric on the cheek. Charlotte looked down at her father, then went to ringside and looked him in the eye before telling him to stay out of her business. Charlotte told him to back up and get out…

Powell’s POV: What in the actual hell was this? So Ric decided to trip his own daughter only to then look sympathetic when she got in his face and ordered him to leave. Do they want fans to dislike Ric and Charlotte?

Backstage, Sheamus approached Drew McIntyre and asked if he was ready for tonight. Sheamus asked McIntyre to give Keith Lee an extra kick in the head for him. McIntyre said he would do whatever it takes to defend his title. Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart showed up. Hogan said he is Sheamus’s number one fan.

Hogan said he was happy that he ran into McIntyre. He wished him luck and said he was excited for the title match. Hogan said it looked like McIntyre had been training, saying. his prayers, and eating his vitamins. Hogan said he was proud of McIntyre for raising the WWE flag high during these strange times. Hogan said McIntyre reminds him of himself.

McIntyre thanked Hogan and asked if Sheamus and his big mouth remind Hogan of Hart. McIntyre called him The Mouth of the South of Ireland. Sheamus said none of them are funny, then wished McIntyre luck. After Hart and Sheamus left, Hogan said he had one question for McIntyre. They both played to the camera while doing the “whatcha gonna do” routine…

Phillips asked what more a person could ask for than the stamp of approval from Hogan. He hyped McIntyre vs. Lee for later in the show, then Saxton hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Riddle as coming up next… [C] A Royal Rumble ad aired…

Powell’s POV: There’s a time when an endorsement from Hogan would have been about as big as it gets. And while it’s still a big deal with some viewers, it’s going to be a turnoff with others. Hogan is a polarizing figure to say the least.

4. U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Riddle in a non-title match. Phillips noted that Lashley was in the midst of a 127-day title reign. Riddle attacked Lashley while he was handing over his title belt. The referee called him off, then started the match.  Riddle knocked Lashley over the top rope to ringside. Phillips said Lashley would be eliminated if this were the Rumble match. Lashley bounced right back and ran Riddle into the ring post. [C]

Lashley hit Riddle with a nice back elbow and followed up with a big clothesline. Riddle acted dazed (even more than usual). Riddle rallied and then MVP barked at Lashley to get back on his feet. Lashley caught Riddle on the ropes and then slammed him down to the mat with a Dominator.

Lashley stood over Riddle and then applied the Hurt Lock. The referee ducked the flailing legs of Riddle, who then tapped out. Lashley released the hold, assuming that he’d won. The referee informed Lashley that he didn’t see Riddle tap. Riddle rolled up Lashley and pinned him…

Riddle defeated U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley in 9:05 in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: So we’re supposed to look at Riddle as a threat to Lashley because he tapped out to him, only to then get a flukey victory? Well, if nothing else, I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to see Charlotte and Asuka, and now Lashley lose tonight.

Mark Henry was using a scooter to get around on on a bad leg. Ricochet thanked him for advice and then walked away. Randy Orton showed up and informed Henry that he was entering the Royal Rumble match. Orton wondered if Henry would do the same. Orton then mocked Henry over his medical situation and assumed he’d never compete again due to all the wear and tear over the years.

Orton asked Henry how fast his scooter goes. “Hopefully fast enough to get away from your ass,” Henry replied. Orton stopped Henry from leaving and said he hoped to talk with him about the old days when he hit him with the World’s Strongest Slam repeatedly. Orton said it’s legends night, so he’d give him a pass if he agreed to peddle his ass away. Henry scooted away while Orton barked at him to get out of his arena… [C]

The broadcast team recapped the Lashley vs. Riddle finish…

Backstage, Lashley and MVP were upset about the way Riddle lost when Caruso showed up and asked them about it. MVP called it a travesty and pointed out that Riddle quit. Lashley barked that Riddle tapped out. Lashley said he would punish Riddle’s punk ass…

Mandy Rose headed to the ring for a match when she was attacked by Shayna Baszler. Dana Brooke ran out to check on Rose, then asked Baszler why she was doing this to Rose. Brooke opted to replace Rose in the match…

5. Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke. Baszler quickly applied a Kirifuda Clutch. Brooke rolled onto Baszler and scored the pin, but Baszler didn’t release the hold. Rose returned to knock Baszler off with a knee strike. Rose and Brooke cleared Baszler from the ring…

Dana Brooke defeated Shayna Baszler in 0:40.

Powell’s POV: Just when it looked like they might actually make Baszler the badass she was in NXT, she loses to Brooke and gets worked over afterward by Brooke and Rose.

Ric Flair was shown talking with “IRS” Mike Rotunda and Molly Holly backstage when he was interrupted by Orton. Rotunda and Holly left. Orton talked about having Flair walk him to the ring for old times sake. He said he wouldn’t let Flair screw up his match like he did his own daughter’s match.

Flair said he would never walk that aisle with Orton again. Flair said he believed in him. Orton said he learned everything he knows from Flair, who is the dirtiest player in the game. Orton said Flair’s daughter is ten times the competitor that he ever was. Orton said he sees a man who looks and talks like Ric Flair, but he’s not the man who taught him damn near everything he knows. Orton called him a pathetic old man…

Powell’s POV: Am I the only one who prefers less talk and more sociopathic action from the heel Orton character?

The broadcast team narrated highlights of Keith Lee beating Sheamus last week to earn the WWE Championship match…

Lee was warming up for his match when Riddle approached him and said he won his match over Lashley and would give him good luck even though he doesn’t need it. Riddle said new year, new champ. Lee thanked him for the pep talk…

6. Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy. Both entrances were televised.

[Hour Three] The match spilled to ringside where Orton slammed Hardy’s head onto the broadcast table. Orton followed up by slamming Hardy onto the table, then brought him back inside the ring and covered him for a two count.

A short time later, Hardy came back with a neckbreaker. Hardy went up top, but Orton rolled to the floor. Hardy climbed down to the apron and then dove at Orton and knocked him down at ringside heading into a break. [C]

Orton put his fingers through Hardy’s earring holes and pulled on them. Hardy came back with a jawbreaker, then stuffed a draping DDT attempt. Hardy followed up moments later with a Whisper in the Wind and then covered Orton for a two count. Orton ended up coming back with a draping DDT. Hardy rallied and went for a Twist of Fate, but Orton countered into the RKO and then scored the pin…

Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy in 14:10.

Powell’s POV: A solid match with the expected outcome. I thought they might be telling a story with Hardy tapping out to Lashley a few weeks in a row. Instead, it looks like they are just booking him to lose repeatedly with no hint that it’s leading to anything.

Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik were walking and talking backstage when they bumped into Melina, who led them in a “lucha” chant…

Raw Tag Team Champions Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin made their entrance with MVP… [C] Lucha House Party made their entrance…

7. Raw Tag Team Champions Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin vs. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik in a non-title match. MVP sat in on commentary. An LHP pre-tape promo aired. Phillips hyped Metalik’s match against Santos Escobar for the NXT Cruiserweight Champion for Wednesday’s television show.

Alexander and Benjamin bickered after they both took turns tagging into the match. Dorado took advantage of their arguing and ended up rolling Benjamin into a pin. MVP threw his headset down.

Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik defeated Raw Tag Team Champions Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in 2:55 in a non-title match.

After the match, MVP asked Alexander and Benjamin if they were embarrassed. MVP said he was embarrassed and told them that they need to get on the same page right now. Alexander said he’s on the winning page. MVP told him that they win as a team. Alexander walked off. MVP held Benjamin from going after him…

Powell’s POV: Why not give Metalik the pin heading into his title match on Wednesday’s NXT television show?

Backstage, Torrie Wilson was talking with Nikki Cross when Angel Garza showed up and tried to give her a rose. Wilson said she invited Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, and Ariana Grande to come to the show. Wilson told Garza that they were in a room down the hall. Garza entered the room looking for Cardi and instead found the Boogeyman. Garza ran out of the room and ended up being rolled up and pinned by R-Truth, who regained the WWE 24/7 Championship. Truth skipped away with Wilson and Cross. Ron Simmons showed up and delivered the “damn” line…

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: I could save myself a lot of time by just delivering the Simmons line as my entire Raw audio review later tonight based on what we’ve seen so far. But at least it looks like they are going to give McIntyre and Lee a lot of time.

Keith Lee made his entrance and walked past the legends who were all on the stage applauding. Booker T and Jeff Jarrett were with the others, and Mark Henry was still in the building…

8. Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee for the WWE Championship. Mike Rome delivered introductions from ringside once the champion and challenger were inside the ring. Lee blasted McIntyre with an early forearm shot, which McIntyre sold by rolling to the ring briefly. The action spilled to ringside. Lee delivered a shoulder block that knocked McIntyre over the barricade. [C]

McIntyre rallied and got a two count, but Lee performed a one-armed slam and covered him for a near fall. McIntyre rolled to ringside to buy time. Lee went to the apron and argued with the referee. McIntyre hoisted up Lee and tossed him at the broadcast table, which broke heading into a break. [C]

McIntyre leapt from the ropes and clotheslined Lee and then covered him for a two count coming out of the break. Lee stuffed a Future Shock DDT attempt and then put McIntyre down with a clothesline. Lee covered McIntyre for a near fall. Lee ran the ropes and went for a clothesline. McIntyre countered into a backslide attempt. Lee used his strength to avoid it, but McIntyre ended up dropping him with a Future Shock DDT and covering him for a near fall.

Lee caught McIntyre on the ropes and performed a top rope Spanish Fly, which led to a near fall. Moments later, Lee went for a Spirit Bomb, but McIntyre escaped. McIntyre ran the ropes and ducked a clothesline attempt, then McIntyre tagged him with a Claymore Kick and scored the clean pin.

Drew McIntyre defeated Keith Lee in 21:15 to retain the WWE Championship.

After the match, the legends were shown applauding from the stage. McIntyre and Lee shook hands. Bill Goldberg’s music played and he walked past the legends and headed to the ring while piped in Goldberg chants played. McIntyre handed Goldberg a microphone.

“Drew McIntyre, you know, I was in the back and I was thinking there couldn’t be a better representative to be the WWE Champion,” Goldberg said. He told McIntyre that he has size, speed, and athleticism. Goldberg said the one thing that McIntyre doesn’t have is respect. Goldberg said McIntyre views the legends as washed up and believes he is better today than they were in their prime. Goldberg said McIntyre doesn’t think any legends pose a threat to him. Goldberg said that’s where he steps in.

Goldberg said he wasn’t demanding anything or posing a threat. “No, sir, I am coming to challenge you, at the Royal Rumble,” Goldberg said. McIntyre said Goldberg was trying to get inside his head. He said he’s all about respect. He told Goldberg to think about himself ten years ago. McIntyre said that fighting Goldberg today would be like fighting his own dad. Goldberg shoved McIntyre down as the show went off the air…

Powell’s POV: A very good main event. It was nice to see McIntyre and Lee get a good amount of time and they made the most of it. If anything on this show hooked lapsed viewers who came back due to the Monday Night Football season concluding, the main event and the tease of McIntyre vs. Goldberg would be it. Unfortunately, the verbal exchange between McIntyre and Goldberg felt very rushed. I know it’s not for everyone, but McIntyre vs. Goldberg does more for me than the Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg match that had been rumored. If they play it right, McIntyre should get something out of beating Goldberg, and I like that its more of an added perk for the Royal Rumble show rather than a true pay-per-view main event.

Overall, though, this was a strange show. They had most of the champions lose their matches. I don’t know if the idea was to make the champions look vulnerable in hopes of getting viewers to return to see potential title changes, but most of the non-title wins were so flukey that they didn’t really help the winners. Randy Orton just ran around and made a bunch of threats that didn’t lead to anything other than him sticking his fingers in Hardy’s earring holes.

I will be back shortly with my weekly same night Raw audio review for Dot Net Members. Join me later tonight for my live review of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 night two. Let me know what you thought of Raw by assigning it a letter grade below. Thanks for joining me tonight.

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Readers Comments (26)

  1. I started my day watching Okada V Ospreay and now watching the start to this raw, wow what a contrast

  2. wow my comment didn’t get through moderation. Fu*k knows why

  3. All I said was my day started with Okada Vs Ospreay and ended with this start to Raw. Wow things change

  4. Jason, not saying that this is how it should or should not be, but objectively I think most of the backlash against Hogan is confined to Twitter or younger wrestlers backstage. A lot of indicators the last 2-3 years like him appearing on the Goldbergs (which has more viewers than any current wrestling show), him appearing on Fox Sports shows with positive comments and a lot of views on YouTube, him being featured in major publications like the LA Times and the crowd reactions from the program he did with Flair and their teams in 2019 indicate that most viewers still are OK to favorable with him, at least as a TV character.

    • Nah, screw that racist and his don’t get caught “apology.”

      • The late US president ronald reagan was caught on tape saying some derogatory things about a group from africa which visited President NIXON at the White HOUSE IN 1970. This transcript was part of Nixon’s recordings during his presidency . You can call Reagan a “racist” but he has been dead since 2004, so I can guarantee that he does not give a damn about some liberal snowflakes’ opinions.

    • I’m 48 and a lifelong fan. My averse reaction to him began in the 80s and really was only collectively corroborated by 2016. It’s in the ether dude. Hogan’s “legend” status is perpetually tabloid-quality. But Thunderlips was so cool.

    • Hogan NEVER committed a crime. He was caught on tape saying derogatory things about black people which many white people say about black people anyway.

      Hogan is 67 years old and extemely wealthy. AS long as hogan has the mcmahon family’s friendship. I think he could care less if some young fans or young wrestlers hate him.

  5. Because you would make your one legitimate badass in the womens division get done over by Mandy and Dana, great business?

  6. I bet it was an awkward backstage reunion for John Morrison and Melina…

  7. “Hogan is a polarizing figure to say the least.”

    I’m one who thinks even THAT is an understatement!

    Oh and on Ric and Charlotte – I think the idea was for Ric to think he was young again for a moment and in the heat of that moment didn’t like what his daughter did hence the trip. But after the match it dawned on him what he’d done and Charlotte’s rebuke I think had that in mind.

    Not trying to defend the booking. Just saying how I saw it.

    • HULK HOGAN will never be a POLARIZING figure like PRESIDENT TRUMP.

      hogan is a washed up ex wwe superstar. He is no longer relevant in mainstream society in 2021. If vince mcmahon wants to put him on tv or do business with him, then that is his right.

      Regarding trump. vince and linda can remain friends with him at their own discretion, but it would be toxic to ever feature him on wwe programming ever again considering the political leanings of the majority of pro wrestling fans.

  8. “I know it’s not for everyone, but McIntyre vs. Goldberg does more for me than the Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg match that had been rumored. If they play it right, McIntyre should get something out of beating Goldberg”

    I certainly admire your optimism Jason, but isn’t this going to be Goldberg lumbering around for 30 seconds before taking the belt off a deserving wrestler again?

    • I get a vibe that Goldberg isn’t coming back to come up short in a challenger role against McIntyre. Goldberg more than likely wins at Royal Rumble and then drops the belt at WrestleMania. It’s fucking embarrassing it really is putting 60 year old overpaid dinosaurs over today’s talent.

      • Actually . BILL GOLDBERG IS 54 YEARS OLD. HE WAS BORN IN DECENBER 1966. dON’T COMPARE HIM TO SENIOR CITIZEN STING WHO WILL TURN 62 IN MARCH 2021.

  9. ” I wish Orton could someone burn the third hour of Raw so badly that it would disappeared forever.”

    What?

  10. i would actually like a review of the night without the BS bias writing. Who cares if you liked it or not, just give me the damn script!!

    • There are plenty of sites out there that do not include commentary. We provide instant analysis. If that’s not for you, then I suggest finding a report on the show rather than a review.

  11. What Goldberg said made no sense. Not only did Drew not say or even imply anything to that effect, for him to have done so would have been heelish and completely out of left field for his established babyface character. He comes across as and has even already been presented as someone with respect for the past – or have we forgotten already the run up and through his program with Orton that involved Flair, Michaels, Big Show, and Christian? Like, what the hell?

    If Goldberg is back as an attraction for the Royal Rumble and here to put over McIntyre, I’m okay with it. If it’s a step to get to a UNIVERSAL title program with Reigns (since he was targeted as ‘next’) and he puts Reigns over, I’m okay with it. If this somehow ends with Goldberg as WWE Champion AND in a champion vs. champion program with Reigns, I’m not for that at all.

  12. Hogan is polarizing? To who? lol hilarious

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