1/11 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of WWE Champion Drew McIntyre’s first comments since testing positive for COVID-19, Triple H’s show opening segment, the continued build to the Royal Rumble

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

WWE Raw (Episode 1,442)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired January 11, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] Raw opened with a recap of the previous week’s Raw Legend’s Night, spotlighting Randy Orton’s verbal assaults on the legends… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe, and the ring announcer was Mike Rome…

Triple H made his entrance and was introduced as the Chief Operating Officer of WWE. Hunter welcomed viewers to the ThunderDome and Monday Night Raw. “It’s a really difficult time…” Hunter started before he was interrupted.

Randy Orton made his entrance with a mic in hand. “Well, look who it is,” Orton said. “The office decided to show up because Drew McIntyre couldn’t.” Orton said he was supposed to have a big match. Hunter said he was aware of that and he also knows that Orton is aware that it won’t happen.

Orton entered the ring while saying he assumed that Triple H was going to make a big ruling. Orton wondered if Triple H would name him the final entrant in the Royal Rumble match or hand him the WWE Championship. Triple H suggested that he win the Royal Rumble if he wants to win the title.

Orton assumed that Hunter was going to make a big announcement for something that benefits him. Hunter asked Orton if he thought he was scared. He said he sat back and watched Orton do a lot of things. He said he’s been in awe and a lot of people think he went too far.

Triple H recalled Orton lighting the match that torched The Fiend. Hunter said he was never more proud of Orton than he was in that moment because he would have done the exact same thing. But Hunter said there are a few things that Orton has done that he doesn’t understand.

Triple H questioned why he kicked legends in the head and humiliated them. Hunter got face to face with Orton while listing some of the names that Orton has attacked and humiliated, then noted that he didn’t understand why when it didn’t benefit him. Hunter said it made him view Orton as a “no good prick.”

Orton said he is at his peak and he is in his prime. Orton said he’s a legend in his own time, just as Triple H was. Orton asked if Hunter still has it in him. Orton said he wanted to have a good old fashioned fight rather than a match with Triple H. Orton challenged him to the fight during Raw.

“You’re smart enough to know that when someone wants you to do something, you don’t give them the satisfaction,” Hunter said. “There’s no benefit in it for me. The answer is no.” Triple H started to leave the ring. Orton questioned whether it’s because Stephanie McMahon wasn’t present so Triple H was unable to retrieve his balls from her purse. Triple H punched Orton, who rolled to ringside and smiled while selling the punch. “I guess that means yes,” Orton said while flexing his jaw…

Powell’s POV: So an officer of the company is fine with Orton burning a man alive, but he takes issue with him picking on the legends? I get that Hunter’s character was all about doing whatever it takes, but this was ridiculous. The tease of a Triple H and Orton fight is a good one, as I assume the goal is to get the fans who are watching the college football national championship game to at least check in on Raw throughout the night.

The broadcast team wondered if that means Triple H was accepting the fight. Phillips emphasized that Triple H didn’t actually say yes to anything. He said they would keep viewers updated on whether he officially accepts. They shifted the focus to the oddball finish from last week with Lacey Evans coming on to Ric Flair, who then tripped his own daughter. Phillips said Flair claimed that he was trying to trip Peyton Royce…

Backstage, Charlotte Flair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber, who said what Lacey Evans did was classless. She said that Evans wasn’t the first person to hit on her dad in front of her. She said she loves her family and she knows her father knows how competitive she is. Flair took issue with Schreiber asking her about her father. She said Ric was sitting at home and she was going to the ring to teach Evans a lesson in class…

Charlotte Flair made her entrance. Meanwhile, Evans told Schreiber backstage that Ric is a powerful man. She asked what lady wouldn’t want some of that. Evans dedicated her match to Ric and then made her entrance. Phillips said the match between Flair and Evans would be up next following a break… [C]

Footage aired of Drew McIntyre delivering a selfie promo. He acknowledged his positive COVID-19 test. McIntyre said he’s been lucky to have minor symptoms, but said it should not be taken lightly. He said that if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone. He encouraged everyone to work together, wear their masks, and follow social distancing guidelines. McIntyre said he would see everyone soon and told viewers to stay safe…

Powell’s POV: It’s crazy that it’s taken WWE so long to send this message considering that they haven’t missed a week of television during the pandemic and have had several wrestlers and personnel who have missed time due to the virus, but at least it finally happened. Most importantly, here’s wishing McIntyre the very best in his recovery.

1. Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans. A few minutes into the match, Evans took a powder to ringside. Ric Flair made his entrance. Charlotte looked surprised to see him. [C] Charlotte performed a side suplex and then shot her father a dirty look.

A short time later, Charlotte hit the Natural Selection and had the pin, but Ric put Evans’ leg over the bottom rope and pointed it out to the referee. Ric said he’s not staying home. Charlotte ducked a Woman’s Right and went for a suplex. Ric tripped Charlotte, causing Evans to fall on top of her. Ric held Charlotte’s leg down while Evans got the pin…

Lacey Evans defeated Charlotte Flair in 12:30.

Phillips hyped Jeff Hardy vs. Elias for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: So Ric is now the horniest player in the game. He’s selling out his own daughter to get some side action. I’d say this storyline is ridiculous, but after watching the news lately it’s kind of hard to say that anything is too farfetched these days.

Ric Flair and Evans were walking arm in arm backstage when Schreiber asked them what happened. Evans said she would change at the hotel…

Backstage, Kayla Braxton tried to interview Keith Lee, but Sheamus interrupted. Sheamus praised him for putting up a hell of a fight. Sheamus said Lee had his respect and was about to shake his hand, but The Miz and John Morrison showed up gloating about Miz holding the Money in the Bank contract. Miz said they were righting all the wrongs as part of their new year’s resolutions, and Sheamus and Lee were on their list. Miz stirred the pot by reminding Lee that Sheamus gave him a Brogue Kick following a previous match…

With Jeff Hardy in the ring, Elias and Jaxson Ryker came out. Elias claimed he suffered an injury while making music, so Ryker would be taking his spot in their match. Ryker said he would do whatever it takes to prove himself to Elias and the Universal Truth…

2. Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias) vs. Jeff Hardy. Elias sat in on commentary and pointed out that his thumb was heavily taped. He claimed he was injured while playing guitar. Hardy put Ryker down and was going to the top rope, but Elias distracted him. Ryker rolled up Hardy and held his pants while getting the pin.

Jaxson Ryker defeated Jeff Hardy in 0:46.

After the match, Hardy challenged Elias to face him. He said Elias was afraid that people would find out that Ryker is better than him. Elias told Ryker that he would destroy Hardy, then told him not to get involved in the match… [C]

3. Jeff Hardy vs. Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker). The match was joined in progress. Late in the match, Hardy performed a Twist of Fate and followed up with a Swanton Bomb for the win. Afterward, Elias wondered why Ryker didn’t help him. Ryker recalled Elias telling him not to help…

Jeff Hardy beat Elias in 3:50.

Powell’s POV: Will Ryker see through the bullshit long enough to have an awakening that makes him stop worshipping that dangerous loser? Oh, and I wonder if his character will stop following Elias.

The broadcast team hyped Lee and Sheamus vs. Miz and Morrison for after the break… [C] The broadcast team recapped the Orton and Triple H segment…

[Hour Two] Saxton and Joe questioned whether Triple H would officially accept Orton’s challenge to a fight…

4. Keith Lee and Sheamus vs. The Miz and John Morrison. During the entrances, Phillips hyped the season premiere of “Straight Up Steve Austin” for post Raw on USA Network. A few minutes into the match, Lee charged Morrison in the corner and drove his shoulder into him. The turnbuckle “exploded” according to Phillips. The top rope was down going into a break. [C]

A crew member was shown reattaching the top rope. Later, Lee had Morrison down and then Sheamus tagged himself in. Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick to Morrison and pinned him. Afterward, Lee smiled and hugged Sheamus, then bumped fists with him…

Keith Lee and Sheamus defeated The Miz and John Morrison in 12:50.

Powell’s POV: So Sheamus just keeps messing with Lee, but now Lee is just laughing it off. We’ll see where it goes, but it was a strange shift out of nowhere.

Backstage, Triple H was asked by Schreiber for his response to Orton’s challenge. Hunter said he was there in a business capacity, but things can change in a moment. Hunter mentioned the legends and how Orton can’t figure out that Ric Flair paved the way for Orton, and his father and grandfather paved the way for him. Hunter accepted the challenge to a fight… [C]

5. Keith Lee vs. Sheamus. The wrestlers were being held apart coming out of the break. The referee called for the bell to start the match while the broadcast team spoke about the 180 that occurred since before the commercial break. Lee was dominant early on and dumped Sheamus into the timekeepers area a couple minutes in. Sheamus barely beat the referee’s ten count.

Sheamus came back by slamming Lee’s left arm into the ring post multiple times. At 5:00, Lee set up Sheamus for a move on the ropes, but Sheamus knocked him down and then clotheslined him from the top rope. Both men stood up. Sheamus delivered a knee strike that led to a two count.

Sheamus went for a cross arm breaker, but Lee blocked it despite Sheamus kicking him repeatedly. Lee powered up Sheamus and slammed him to the mat. Lee followed up with a Spirit Bomb and scored the pin.

Keith Lee pinned Sheamus in 6:55.

After the match, Lee offered Sheamus a handshake. Sheamus shoved his hand aside and then hugged Lee…

Powell’s POV: That’s more like it? It was strange to see them go from being happy going into the break and then fighting coming out of the break, but at least Lee doesn’t look like a dope for letting Sheamus steal the pin in the tag match. Perhaps the idea was for Sheamus to actually become a babyface by showing Lee respect after losing this match? I’m just guessing at this point, but I do think it’s important to establish Sheamus as a babyface for an extended time so that it actually means something when he turns on McIntyre. Otherwise, McIntyre will look like the only person who didn’t see it coming a mile away.

Footage aired of Goldberg and McIntyre from last week. Saxton hyped that McIntyre would respond to Goldberg after the break… [C] An ad aired for the Royal Rumble…

The broadcast team set up a highlight package on McIntyre beating Lee last week, followed by Goldberg’s appearance afterward. It included additional footage of McIntyre standing up after Goldberg shoved him on his ass. They simply went head to head…

McIntyre delivered another selfie style promo. McIntyre spoke about legends paving the way and how he wanted to thank them, but Goldberg showed up. McIntyre called Goldberg one of the most devastating and destructive forces in WWE history. McIntyre said Goldberg was one of his favorites and added that he and his brother watched him every week. McIntyre recalled the old saying that you should never meet your heroes because they will always let you down.

McIntyre said he wants to like and respect Goldberg, but he let him down. McIntyre asked Goldberg how he would know what he was thinking. McIntyre said the WWE Championship has eluded Goldberg. McIntyre said Goldberg is twenty years older than him and he didn’t want to accept the challenge, but if he needs a lesson in respect then he’ll get it at the Rumble. “Goldberg, you’re next,” McIntyre said while holding up his title belt…

Riddle spoke with Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik about his title match and compared it to tasting a great piece of pizza. They told him him that they hope he wins, but warned him to watch his back due to the rest of Hurt Business. Riddle said watching his own back was literally impossible. They said they had him…

Xavier Woods made his entrance for match against T-Bar of Retribution… [C] Retribution made their entrance coming out of the break…

6. Xavier Woods vs. T-Bar (w/Mustafa Ali, Reckoning, Mace, Slapjack). A T-Bar pre-tape aired. Phillips said Kofi Kingston was sidelined by a broken jaw suffered during a match against Hurt Business. Woods had G4 themed tights. T-Bar hit Woods with a big clothesline and covered him for a two count.

Woods rallied with a missile dropkick that knocked T-Bar to ringside. Woods sent T-Bar back inside the ring, then got caught up watching the other Retribution members. T-Bar took advantage of the distraction and ended up delivering his Eyes Wide Shut finisher before scoring the pin…

T-Bar defeated Xavier Woods in 4:55.

Powell’s POV: A nice match. That said, Retribution is still a terrible gimmick and they need to pull the plug and give these wrestlers a real chance to get over. They are trying to make it work and all, but it still feels hopeless.

Backstage, Orton was asked by Schreiber about Triple H accepting his challenge to a fight. Orton said Triple H knows him as well as anyone. Orton said he has a newfound hatred for himself. He said it can be a horrible thing, but it’s a good thing for him because he’s able to direct that hate at someone else…

The broadcast team hyped the U.S. Title match… [C] Highlights aired of the opening verbal exchange between Triple H and Orton.

[Hour Three] Phillips hyped that Orton’s challenge to a fight was officially accepted by Triple H…

7. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Riddle for the U.S. Championship. Phillips said Riddle received the title match after pinning Lashley in a non-title match last week. He also noted that Lashley entered the match as champion for 134 days. Lashley attacked Riddle right after the introductions. The referee checked on Riddle, who yelled that he wanted to fight. Lashley clotheslined him again. The referee checked again and was able to call for the bell to start the match.

Riddle bled from the mouth. Lashley picked him up and dumped him over the top rope to ringside. Lashley followed him to the floor, hoisted him up, and tried to run him into the post, but Riddle slipped away and sent Lashley into the post instead. Riddle delivered a running knee as Lashley tried to reenter the ring. Riddle performed a Floating Bro onto Lashley at ringside, then rolled him back inside the ring.

Riddle went for a move from the middle rope and came up short, but Lashley just powered him up and slammed him down. Lashley applied the Hurt Lock submission hold and got the submission win…

Bobby Lashley defeated Riddle in 1:55 to retain the U.S. Championship.

After the match, Riddle took the mic and said he couldn’t beat Lashley tonight, but he can sure as hell beat MVP. “Oh, you want some of me,” MVP asked. MVP removed his jacket and headed back to ringside with Lashley…

Powell’s POV: Well, that was underwhelming. It was fine for a two minute mauling, but I was hoping for a more competitive match. Riddle challenging MVP because he couldn’t beat Lashley was odd.

8. Riddle vs. MVP (w/Bobby Lashley). MVP wrestled in his regular clothes. Riddle kicked Lashley from the apron, then performed a top rope move on MVP. When Riddle got up, Lashley speared him for the DQ.

Riddle beat MVP by DQ in 1:25.

Lashley roughed up Riddle afterward and put him down with a Flatliner. Riddle got back to his knees. MVP kicked him in the ribs, which Riddle sold big…

The broadcast team spoke about McIntyre vs. Goldberg being official for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. They also recapped footage from Smackdown of Adam Pearce becoming the number one contender when Roman Reigns and Jey Uso attacked Shinsuke Nakamura at the end of a gauntlet match…

Powell’s POV: I guess it’s a good month to be a bald guy with a goatee. Time to shave this quarantine beard and buy some lottery tickets.

Backstage, AJ Styles told Adam Pearce that they could meet at WrestleMania if Pearce slips on a banana peel and wins the title and then Styles wins the Rumble. Drew Gulak showed up and told Pearce that he is in the Rumble and wants to be the thirtieth entrant. Pearce said there are only 30 entrants and he can’t let Gulak enter himself.

Gulak questioned why Styles got to, then said Styles already had a WWE Championship match and blew it. Styles said he’s a multi-time champion and asked Gulak what he’s done. Gulak showed him a flash drive. Pearce said he would put Gulak in the Rumble if he could beat Styles in a match on the spot. Omos stood by Styles, which caused Gulak to back up… [C]

8. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Drew Gulak. Gulak gets a spot in the Rumble match with a win. Gulak’s entrance was not televised. Gulak charged at Styles, who dropkicked him to start the match. Gulak came back and picked up a couple of two counts, but Styles tagged him with a Pele Kick.

Styles dumped Gulak to ringside while Phillips pointed out that it would have been an elimination if this were the Rumble match. Gulak looked up and saw Omos standing over him. Styles slammed Gulak into the broadcast table, then sent him back inside the ring. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm and scored the pin…

AJ Styles beat Drew Gulak in 2:50.

Saxton hyped a Goldberg video package for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m still not sure what they want viewers to think of Styles following that oddball TV feud with Elias, but they did have most of the virtual fans giving the thumbs down after he won. If nothing else, I like that they established that not just anyone can declare for the Rumble match.

The broadcast team touted the Royal Rumble theme song…

A Goldberg video package aired. It included highlights and some comments from Eric Bischoff. Saxton played up the idea that Goldberg has never won the WWE Championship and labeled it the most prestigious championship in WWE…

Backstage, Keith Lee told Triple H that he knows Randy Orton pushed some buttons. Lee said Hunter has been there for him since he arrived in WWE, and maybe he needs to be there for him. Triple H said he appreciates it. “I made this mess, I’m gonna clean it up,” Hunter said. Lee signed, then handed Hunter his leather jacket and said, “I guess it’s time to play the game, huh?” Hunter said hell yeah…

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler made their entrance for a tag team match… [C]

Bobby Lashley, MVP, Nia Jax, and Angel Garza were announced as the guests for Raw Talk… Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke made their entrance…

9. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. A pre-tape aired with Rose and Brooke declaring for the Rumble match. Jax put Rose down with a Samoan Drop and had the pin, but Brooke broke it up. Baszler roughed up Brooke. Jax put both opponents in the corner and splashed them. Baszler tagged herself into the match while Jax was going to the ropes. Baszler put Rose in a Kirifuda Clutch and got the submission win.

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke in 3:20.

Afterward, Jax didn’t looked pleased with Baszler. There was some tension, but they ended up being cordial to one another…

Randy Orton was shown walking backstage… [C]

Powell’s POV: Yes, the tag partner stealing the win from her partner bit is very similar to what we saw earlier in the night with Sheamus and Lee, and very similar to the story we’ve been getting with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. Strange.

Triple H made his entrance wearing a Motorhead t-shirt, jeans, and his leather jacket. He did his water spitting routine on the ring apron. Phillips noted that it had been nearly 18 months since Triple H had a match. Randy Orton made his entrance in his standard gear.

10. Triple H vs. Randy Orton in a fight. There was no referee in the ring. Orton entered the ring and took a punch from Triple H, causing him to return to ringside. Orton returned to the ring and hit Triple H with a series of punches and a kick in the corner. Triple H spun him around and threw more punches, then whipped him into the ropes. Orton kicked Hunter and went back on the offensive.

Orton sent Triple H to the floor and hit him with an uppercut. Orton tried to whip Hunter, who reversed it, sending Orton into the ring steps. Orton came up with a cut on his cheek. Triple H threw Orton into the ringside barricade by the broadcast table, then slammed his head onto the ring steps. Orton thumbed the eye of Triple H.

Triple H rallied and slammed Orton onto the broadcast table, then threw him back inside the ring. Triple H pulled a sledgehammer out from underneath the ring. He looked at it, then slowly walked up the ring steps and stood there.

The Fiend’s entrance presentation started with the lights slowly going down. Hunter entered the ring and then held up his sledgehammer, which was on fire. The lights went out and when they turned on again, Triple H was gone.

A distorted version of the Firefly Funhouse theme aired and then Alexa Bliss was shown standing in the ring with Orton. Bliss approached him, put her hand up near her chin, and had “pain” written on a white glove. Suddenly, Bliss shot a fireball from her hand and into the face of Orton, who sold it like he was blinded to close the show…

Triple H fought Randy Orton to an apparent disappearance? 

Powell’s POV: I thought they might be using the hook of Triple H to set up the actual return of The Fiend. Instead, Triple H magically disappeared and we got a fireball from Bliss. Was this really worth a rare in-ring appearance from Triple H? The show moved at a good pace, but it continues to be underwhelming. I will be back shortly with my same night audio review for Dot Net Members, who are also listening to my Q&A audio show from earlier today. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade below.

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Huh. When Alexa was in the ring, the blood *mysteriously* was gone from Randy’s cheek. Hmmm…

  2. I’ll take a wild guess and say the Fiend and Orton have a blindfold match at the Royal Rumble mixed with the Inferno Match.

    liked Jake Roberts and Rick Martel had at Wrestlemaina.

  3. “Will Ryker see through the bullshit long enough to have an awakening that makes him stop worshipping that dangerous loser? Oh, and I wonder if his character will stop following Elias.”

    Nicely done Sir. By the way, I wonder what Lacey “I want my daughter to look up to me” Evans is explaining this storyline at home.

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