1/18 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss in a non-title match, The Hurt Business vs. Riddle, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik, Randy Orton update, Charlotte Flair vs. Peyton Royce, the Royal Rumble build continues

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

WWE Raw (Episode 1,443)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired January 18, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] Raw opened with the annual video tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr… Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on commentary, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…

A Randy Orton promo aired. Orton wore a mask over his face. He had burn makeup on his the portions of his face that could be seen. He said the voices have never been louder. The camera pulled back and showed that he was standing in a darkened ring. Orton walked through some of his recent appearances with Alexa Bliss while footage was shown.

Orton said his face is the damnation he received for showing compassion. He said the only thing he sees when he closes his eyes is the fireball that Bliss shot at him. He said he was wearing the mask to shield everyone else from the horror that he endured. He said he feels lucky because the fireball could have disfigured his entire face forever.

“I don’t blame her,” Orton said. “I blame him. I blame The Fiend. And I sent him straight to hell.” He said he had no doubt that The Fiend was responsible for what happened and that Bliss is merely the vehicle. He said The Fiend wants to stop him from the inevitable (footage aired of Orton winning the 2017 Royal Rumble match).

Orton said he knows that everyone in the locker room enjoyed seeing his flesh burnt because they thought it eliminated their biggest competition. But Orton vowed to remain in the Royal Rumble match. Orton said he enjoyed the pain and it fuels his every move.

Orton pulled out a book of matches. He said everyone can thank The Fiend when he burns their Royal Rumble dreams to ashes and he then goes on to main event WrestleMania. Orton lit a match and stared at it, then blew it out to end his promo…

The broadcast team spoke at ringside about the Orton promo, then shifted their focus to hyping Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg for the WWE Championship at the Rumble. Phillips said Goldberg would be a special guest on The Dirt Sheet talkshow with The Miz and John Morrison. They also recapped the Charlotte Flair, Lacey Evans, and Ric Flair drama from last week…

Footage aired from “earlier today” of Charly Caruso interviewing Ric Flair and Evans when they arrived at the building. Evans called Caruso a nasty and asked if this was TMZ. Caruso brought up Flair turning on his own daughter. Ric started to speak, but Evans took over and said he lived up to his name as the dirtiest player in the game. She said she is learning from Flair, then said she’d watch her partner beat Charlotte…

Charlotte Flair made her entrance and was attacked from behind by Peyton Royce on the entrance ramp. Flair made a quick comeback and threw a couple of forearms before the referees pulled them apart heading into a commercial break… [C]

Powell’s POV: If you are into The Fiend, Orton, and Bliss storyline, then the opening segment probably worked for you. If not, then you probably fall into the same category is me in terms of thinking that The Phantom of the Orton promo overstayed its welcome.

1. Charlotte Flair vs. Peyton Royce. Flair went right at Royce when the bell rang to start the match and worked her over in the corner. Royce came back and ended up running Flair into the ring post while at ringside. Royce took Flair back inside the ring and covered her for a two count.

Charlotte regained offensive control, but she was distracted by her father Ric making his entrance. Flair walked onto the stage and pointed back, then Lacey Evans walked out wearing one of Ric’s robes. Royce hit a distracted Charlotte with a kick and then covered her for a near fall. [C]

Ric and Evans were no longer on the stage coming out of the break. Charlotte eventually put Royce in the Figure Eight and got the submission win. Charlotte maintained the hold after the referee called for the bell while the broadcast team said she was sending a message. Royce sold knee pain once Charlotte released the hold.

Charlotte Flair defeated Peyton Royce in 12:05.

The broadcast team hyped Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss in a non-title match, as well as in an Alexa’s Playground segment…

The Hurt Business were shown walking backstage when Riddle greeted them. Riddle said he would take the high road. “Yeah, I bet you would,” Shelton Benjamin said. Riddle asked who would ever call Bobby Lashley by the name of “Slobby Bobby” when he was dressed the way he was. Lashley ended up stomping one of Riddle’s feet… [C]

Powell’s POV: As silly as it is, I must admit that I get a kick out of Ric hooking up with Evans and tormenting his own daughter. Hopefully Evans can gain something from this and start to feel more like a real person rather than a GLOW character.

Backstage, Riddle had his foot elevated while telling Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik that his cousin once ran over his foot in high school. Riddle said he still made it to prom and would make their six-man tag match later in the show…

The broadcast team hyped Xavier Woods vs. Mace. A pre-taped Mustafa Ali promo aired. He said he hopes that Kofi Kingston’s broken jaw keeps him out of the Royal Rumble so that Kingston can know what it’s like to have someone take his spot…

Powell’s POV: A nice callback to the legit story of Kingston replacing an injured Ali in what turned out to be the storyline that led to Kingston winning the WWE Championship.

Xavier Woods and Retribution made their entrances. Once in the ring, Ali got in Woods’s face prior to the Woods vs. Mace match. Woods punched Ali heading into a break… [C]

2. Xavier Woods vs. Mace (w/Mustafa Ali, T-Bar, Slapjack, Reckoning). Phillips called it a David vs. Goliath style match due to the size difference between the two wrestlers. Late in the match, Woods slid between the legs of Mace to dropkick Ali, who was on the floor. Woods sent Mace to ringside. Ali barked at Mace to shut him down. Mace returned to the ring and no-sold a superkick, then put Woods down with a kick. Mace followed up with a sloppy looking finisher and scored the pin.

Mace defeated Xavier Woods in 4:05.

Afterward, Ali looked into the camera and told Kofi Kingston that Retribution hopes he gets well soon. The other Retribution members laughed…

Powell’s POV: You the finish was rough when it wasn’t even replayed. Meanwhile, I guess Woods is stuck in Ricochet’s old role of losing to Retribution ever week now that his tag team partner is injured.

Asuka was shown walking backstage when Sarah Schreiber asked what she expected from in her appearance on Alexa’s Playground. Asuka said she didn’t know, then said something about Bliss’s dark side… [C]

The WrestleMania announcement video featuring Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as newscasters was shown. It included Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, Sasha Banks, and John Cena announcing the next three WrestleMania dates and locations…

Alexa Bliss made her entrance for the Alexa’s Playground segment. Bliss wore her headset mic, and the ring had the swing set and a children’s slide along with Brady Bunch yard turf. Bliss sat on the swing and welcomed viewers to her show.

[Hour Two] Bliss said she wanted to “address the viper in the room.” She said she was just coming out to talk to Randy Orton, but things got a little heated. Bliss laughed, then told Orton that she could give him good advice on sunblock.

Asuka was introduced as Bliss’s guest. Asuka walked out and waved. She was going to sit on the other swing, but Bliss got serious and said that wasn’t her seat. Asuka stood between the swing and the slide instead. Bliss said they had a match later, but she wanted to have fun first.

Bliss spoke to the imaginary person on the swing next to her while asking if she should tell them. Bliss announced that she was entering the Royal Rumble match. She pointed out that if she won, she could face Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania.

Asuka sincerely said it would be her honor. Asuka said she’s a big fan. Bliss thanked her. “Yowie wowie,” Asuka said. Bliss turned serious again, then apologized to her imaginary friend while saying Asuka wasn’t supposed to sat that. Asuka had her music play and danced to it.

Bliss said that was enough and barked at Asuka to stop. Bliss told her imaginary friend that if she had done everything right, then he would still be there. Asuka assured a sad Bliss that everything was going to be okay. Asuka said The Fiend is here. “Do not say his name,” Bliss said. Bliss smiled and then waved while a hobby horse across the ring rocked on its own. Asuka left the ring, then Bliss went and sat on the hobby horse…

Powell’s POV: More of the same from Bliss. Nothing about this left me anxious to see her actually wrestle Asuka later in the show.

The broadcast team hyped McIntyre vs. Goldberg for the Rumble…

Backstage, Schreiber asked Miz and Morrison what was in store for Goldberg’s appearance on The Dirt Sheet. Miz barked “no spoilers” and said what they have in store for him will be controversial. Morrison said controversy creates cash. Miz held up his Money in the Bank briefcase…

Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke made their entrance. Backstage, Shayna Baszler delivered a promo while Nia Jax stood by. Baszler spoke about what she did to Rose and Brooke last week, then said she would do the same thing to every woman in the Rumble match, even if it was her own partner. Jax took offense… [C]

Powell’s POV: Does this mean Baszler is back in the Rumble match? She seemed to declare the same night that Jax did, but the WWE website never officially advertised her for the match for some reason.

Jeff Jarrett checked in from his home and spoke about the McIntyre vs. Goldberg match. Jarrett quoted a Toby Keith song and then predicted a Goldberg win…

3. Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax) vs. Mandy Rose (w/Dana Brooke). Baszler’s entrance was televised after they replayed footage of her stealing the glory from Jax in their tag match last week. Jax sat in on commentary. Saxton grilled her about her relationship with Baszler. Jax said you don’t have to get along to be successful.

Jax also said they are both competitors and want to win the Rumble. Jax also said it was okay that Baszler stole the win last week in the tag match. She added that Baszler won’t have her back in the Rumble, so she won’t have Baszler’s back either.

Baszler targeted the arm of Rose, then got caught up bickering with Brooke. Rose rolled up Baszler for a two count. Rose sold her bad arm while working over Baszler for a moment, then started lifting her up with both arms as if nothing had happened. Baszler hit the bad arm again and ended up applying the Kirifuda Clutch for the win.

Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose in 3:40.

Afterward, Jax stood up and argued with Baszler. Brooke dropkicked Jax into Baszler, then headed to the back with Rose…

The broadcast team hyped Asuka vs. Bliss for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: Another week, another loss for Rose. They are obviously setting up a moment between Jax and Baszler in the Rumble match.

Jax and Baszler were bickering backstage when Caruso showed up and said it looked like they weren’t getting along. Jax said they’ve never gotten along. She said Charlotte is distracted with her daddy issues, and Asuka is freaked out by Bliss. Baszler said it’s the perfect time for them to get their tag title rematch. Jax agreed…

Phillips said Jax and Baszler are both in the Rumble match, then recapped the Charlotte vs. Royce match from earlier in the show with the Ric and Lacey drama…

Charlotte Flair was interviewed by Schreiber on the backstage ring set. Charlotte said she’s been accused of living off her father’s name since she started. She said Evans is using her father. She also said she learned from the dirtiest player in the game, but she’s never gone down that path. She said she may need to rethink things because a person can only take so much crap. She said Evans could wear her father’s robe, but she can never wear her crown…

The broadcast team recapped the Roman Reigns, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Owens storyline from Smackdown while highlights were shown from Friday’s show…

Backstage, Adam Pearce told Ricochet that a win in his match could go a long way toward getting him a spot in the Royal Rumble match. AJ Styles and Omos showed up. Styles mocked the idea of taking advice from Pearce and then accused him of running from a WWE Universal Championship opportunity.

Styles said Ricochet would be humiliated, but at least he will still have his dignity. Ricochet said Styles forgot about TLC when he was embarrassed. Ricochet said Styles would need more than a seven foot giant in his corner to stop him from proving that he belongs in the Rumble match.

Ricochet made his entrance. Backstage, Styles told Pearce that he doesn’t like him. Styles said that when he doesn’t like someone, Omos doesn’t like that person. Omos stepped forward and intimidated Pearce… [C]

4. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Ricochet. Styles’ entrance was televised. A few minutes into the match, Ricochet tried to dive from the ring onto Styles at ringside, but Omos caught him. The referee told Omos to put him down, so Omos dropped Ricochet on the floor. [C]

At 10:00, Styles performed a brainbuster and got a near fall. Styles showed frustration, then performed a ushigoroshi for another two count. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Ricochet hit him with his Recoil finisher on the way down and ended up getting a near fall.

Ricochet went up top, but Styles tripped him up on the ropes, causing him to fall onto the apron. Ricochet set up for a springboard move, but Styles caught him and dropped him onto the top rope, then caught him when he bounced off and performed the Styles Clash for the win…

AJ Styles defeated Ricochet in 13:00.

Saxton hyped The Dirt Sheet with Goldberg for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: An awesome finish. That was fun. But why wouldn’t they advertise Styles vs. Ricochet in advance? As much as creative has damaged Ricochet, surely there are fans out there who might have watched the show if they knew that match was coming. Oh, and let me guess, Ricochet gets another chance to qualify for the Rumble match next week?

Footage aired of the Alexa’s Playground segment from earlier in the show…

The Miz and John Morrison sat inside the ring and hosted The Dirt Sheet. Miz said Goldberg was a hero to many fans when they were growing up, and he can be a hero to a new generation if he can win at the Royal Rumble. Miz introduced Goldberg, whose music played.

Gillberg (Duane Gill) made his entrance instead, complete with two security guards holding sparklers while a third sprayed a fire extinguisher. Morrison called him Goldberg and said he looked even more massive than he remembered.

[Hour Three] Miz asked Gillberg how he was preparing for his match. Gillberg spoke about banging his head against the wall. Drew McIntyre’s entrance theme played. A guy dressed as McIntyre and carrying a toy sword made his entrance instead.

The fake McIntyre comically adjusted his wig, then spoke with a Scottish accent while confronting Gillberg. The fake McIntyre said he would kick Goldberg’s ass back to 1998. Fake McIntyre asked if they wanted to cut and do it again. Miz and Morrison told him he was live. Miz barked at Morrison about not using an actor from New York, Los Angeles, or Cleveland.

Gillberg poked his head in between Miz and Morrison, got their attention, and made his mean face. They told him to shut up. Miz and Morrison said McIntyre and Goldberg would both lose at the Royal Rumble because Miz intends to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. Miz boasted that viewers were looking at the future WWE Champion. “Because I’m The Miz, and I’m next,” Miz closed…

Powell’s POV: It’s always fun to see Gillberg, but I wonder how many viewers checked out when they didn’t get the Goldberg appearance that was advertised all night. By the way, I didn’t get the impression that Miz is adding himself to the match. Rather, he just teased a potential cash-in at the Rumble.

The Hurt Business made their entrance for the six-man tag match… [C] The babyface trio made their entrances coming out of the break…

5. “The Hurt Business” Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin (w/MVP) vs. Riddle, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik. The broadcast team recapped footage of Alexander and Benjamin’s recent friction. Their bickering continued during the match. Benjamin shoved Alexander, who tumbled to ringside. [C]

The bickering between Alexander and Benjamin continued. Lashley got upset and tagged himself into the match while Alexander was jawing at Benjamin. Lashley speared Metalik and then put him in the Hurt Lock for the submission win.

“The Hurt Business” Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin defeated Riddle, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik in 12:15.

After the match, Lashley got between Benjamin and Alexander. Riddle threw a kick at Lashley and then fled the ring. Benjamin and Alexander went back to arguing. MVP backed Benjamin away, then Lashley put his arm around Alexander…

Powell’s POV: Is there something about the metal used for the tag team title belts that is making both the men’s and former women’s tag team champions bicker amongst themselves and steal pins from one another? Nope, it’s just bad creative with two teams basically doing the same thing.

Phillips set up footage of last week’s Jeff Hardy matches with Jaxson Ryker and Elias…

Backstage, Elias told Ryker he didn’t want to have another misunderstanding. Elias recalled telling Ryker not to get involved and said that he didn’t mean it. Ryker said he took it literally. Elias said Ryker didn’t walk with Elias last week. Elias asked Ryker what his mission is this week. Ryker said to finish the mission and to make Hardy accept the universal truth of Elias. “Just to be clear, you’re not going to help me in my match tonight?” Ryker asked. Elias told him to go…

Saxton hyped the real Drew McIntyre for after the break… [C] AJ Styles, Omos, Shayna Baszler, The Miz, and John Morrison were advertised for Raw Talk…

WWE Champion Drew McIntyre checked in from home. He said he was watching from his home gym, but he was feeling good despite testing positive for COVID-19. He labeled Miz and Morrison clowns and said sometimes the lions eat the clowns. McIntyre said he respects Goldberg, but that doesn’t outweigh what he will do to keep his championship.

McIntyre said Goldberg put words in his mouth and he doesn’t know if Goldberg even believes what he said, but he saw the intensity in his eyes and he hopes he brings it to the Rumble. McIntyre said that if Goldberg doesn’t bring the intensity, he will eat him alive at the Rumble. McIntyre announced that he will be back on Raw next week…

6. Jeff Hardy vs. Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias). Both entrances were televised. Late in the match, Hardy went up top for his finisher, but Elias pushed him off in front of the referee for the disqualification.

Jeff Hardy defeated Jaxson Ryker by DQ in 3:10.

After the match, Ryker didn’t look pleased. Ryker recalled telling Elias not to help him. Elias implied that meant he wanted him to help. Elias said Hardy was about to perform a Swanton and said nobody kicks out of that. Ryker said he could have. Hardy kicked Elias through the ropes. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate on Ryker, who avoided it and then performed an odd looking slam that left Hardy lying. Elias and Ryker were back on the same page afterward…

Powell’s POV: This just isn’t good use of Hardy. It’s better than watching him tap out to Lashley’s finisher repeatedly, but not by much.

Alexa Bliss was shown skipping and smiling backstage… [C]

Phillips hyped McIntyre and Goldberg appearances for next week on the Rumble go-home show… Entrances for the main event took place…

7. Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss in a non-title match. Early in the match, The Fiend entrance lighting production started and the arena went dark heading into a break. [C] Coming out of the break, the camera did a closeup of Bliss’s face. She magically had black lipstick and dark gear. Asuka acted startled, then struck an apprehensive fighter’s pose.

Asuka went for a spinning back fist that Bliss ducked while keeping her hands behind her back. Bliss blocked Asuka’s strike attempts, but Asuka caught her with one to the gut. Asuka ran the ropes and was knocked down by Bliss, who maintained the serious look on her face while Asuka continued to act leery of her.

Asuka threw a nice knee to the head of Bliss, who went to the corner. Asuka charged toward Bliss, but then stopped when Bliss struck the Bray Wyatt pose in the corner. Bliss looked at her hand and then tried to apply a Mandible Claw, but Asuka blocked it. Bliss knocked Asuka down with a punch and covered her for a near fall. A short time later, Bliss performed Sister Abigail on Asuka and pinned her clean.

Alexa Bliss pinned Raw Women’s Champion Asuka in a non-title match in 11:35.

After the match, Bliss looked into the camera again. There were some production flashes and then Bliss was back to the look she started the match with. Bliss smiled and then mouthed “Let Me In” while Bray Wyatt’s voice said the words…

Powell’s POV: So Bliss is possessed by Wyatt? Good lord, please make this awful wannabe horror movie nonsense stop. Raw is the worst pro wrestling show on television week in and week out. Sure, they have the excuse of Drew McIntyre being home sick. And while he surely would have made this episode better, his involvement would not have been enough to save it. Raw is a creative disaster and is sadly a chore to suffer through more often than not. What a shame. Let me know what you thought of it by voting in our post show poll below. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members.

WWE Raw Poll: Grade the January 18 edition

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Readers Comments (13)

  1. Regarding The Fiend, Orton, and Bliss storyline – who is the face and who is the heel? They all seem like awful people to me

    • I particularly like that Asuka sat in the position to get the Sister Abigail for what seemed like an eternity so Bliss could mug for the camera. I hadn’t watched RAW in awhile, figured I’d give it a shot, and again, still a waste of 3 hours. NXT and AEW are thankfully in a couple of days to get the memory of this horrible show out of my mine.

  2. I dunno Jason, I remember the Evans storyline where she was a face and they exploited her daughter in the story. I get it’s a heel turn and all but, really, Lacey is what, 30? She’s a retired Marine, Semper Fi, and all that. I get that they are capitalizing on a botched spot but it would work much better if it was Royce not Evans with Ric Flair (which is still creepy, either way, witht eh 40 years but…) ROyce would be a much better character as a gold=digger than Evans. Just my .02

    • But that’s not the story. I’m not saying it should be Evans in this role, but it is, so I’m simply hoping she’ll become more than a GLOW character.

      • Yeah, I get that; I think she has great talent and potentail. Creative, especially on RAW, seems to be really good at starting storylines and really lousy about maintaining them (e.g. Bliss/Fiend; it was really fun at the beginning and Bliss is great on the mic and Bray is super good at his role but some of the writing. Ugh)

  3. Judged by what I read, I am very glad I decided to take at least thus week off from watching Raw. Compared to AEW, NXT, & Smackdown, there is absolutely no reason to watch Raw. I’ll be taking some more time off until they can get their shit together.

  4. “So Bliss is possessed by Wyatt? Good lord, please make this awful wannabe horror movie nonsense stop. Raw is the worst pro wrestling show on television week in and week out”

    I disagree the Wyatt / Bliss thing is the best thing on Raw weekly. I could do with out Orton don’t care for him to begin with.

    but with Undertaker offically retired. the Fiend is the best thing ever I’ve always been a horror fan. so things like Undertaker, Kane and Now the Fiend works for me and fun to see.

    • You write this on a regular basis. But my job is to review the show with the masses in mind, not just what appeals to Patrick.

      • But are you appealing to the masses? These Alexa Bliss segments trend on Twitter, they get a lot of play on YouTube, etc. WWE is running with this because it is appealing to people, even if you aren’t one of the people it is appealing to.

        • When something gets a lot of buzz on Twitter, it doesn’t really take into account whether it’s positive or negative attention. YouTube can be a barometer, but in this case I wonder whether it’s the freak show element where people hear about something and feel compelled to see it even if they think it’s trash. Plus, let’s face it, women’s segments have traditionally done well on YouTube. And while this website isn’t the perfect barometer by any means, the comment section would be filled with people disagreeing if they loved these segments and felt I was out to lunch.

  5. Your comments at the end are exactly how i feel. About 10 minutes in i gotta shut it off

  6. Oh it’s another “Vince loves tiny blonde women” episode. Bliss in the opening, middle, and clean win in the end over the champ. What the hell is Asuka doing being remotely scared or freaked out by anything Bliss does? Psycho clown Asuka. “Asuka’s gonna kill you” Asuka. State of the booking.

    • I am not sure it’s only tiny blonde women Vince loves, he likes average-sized ones too. Lacey Evans has a career, remember.

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