WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Alexa Bliss transforms, AJ Styles and Ricochet steal the show – CBSSports.com
With WWE champion Drew McIntyre sidelined for a second week after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, WWE again turned to Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss to do the heavy storyline lifting on Raw. For fans anticipating McIntyre’s return and the continuation of his storyline with Goldberg, both men will appear next week in the Raw go-home show ahead of the Royal Rumble.
For Orton and Bliss, both were dealing in their own ways with the fallout of Bliss having ended last week’s Raw by shooting a fireball into Orton’s face. Orton is now wearing a burn mask and claiming to have been disfigured in the attack, all while claiming he will dominate and win the Rumble on Jan. 31.
Bliss, however, seems to have been pulled even deeper into the dark after burning Orton. On Monday, it was Asuka who felt the wrath of Bliss, losing their main event clash after Bliss transformed mid-match.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action. Read on for everything you need to know coming out of the ThunderDome.
Orton and Bliss continue the fire saga
Orton opened the show with a promo in a dark room, wearing a mask over his face. He said the voices in his head have never been louder than since he was burned by an Alexa Bliss fireball. Bliss had, he said, interrupted the redirection of the anger he had with himself for showing compassion by not lighting her on fire. Orton also said that he blames The Fiend, not Bliss for what happened to him. Still, Orton said his “sickening affliction” would not take him out of the Royal Rumble match and vowed that he would burn down the dreams of everyone else in the match.
Bliss hosted Asuka on Alexa’s Playground, repeatedly talking to the empty seat on the swing set. Bliss declared for the Royal Rumble and got progressively more angry when an increasingly nervous Asuka said or did anything in the interest of having “fun.” These “offenses” included Asuka trying to have a dance party, saying “yowie wowie,” and attempting to sit in the empty seat.
Alexa Bliss def. Asuka via pinfall after hitting Sister Abigail. Bliss smiled when Asuka would get in any effective offense, but it was only a matter of minutes before the lights went out in the ThunderDome and the show cut to commercial. When the show resumed, Bliss was “transformed,” standing in the middle of the ring and showing no emotion as Asuka circled her. Bliss repeatedly blocked and ducked under the strikes of Asuka with ease before knocking her to the canvas with a shoulder block. Asuka hit a knee, sending Bliss into the corner, only for Bliss to do the Bray Wyatt back bridge while holding the ropes. Bliss tried to lock in the mandible claw but was hit by a series of strikes from Asuka. Bliss still managed to grab Asuka and hit Sister Abigail for the victory. Before the show went off the air, the camera flickered and Bliss transformed back and mouthed, “Let me in,” as The Fiend’s voice played in the stadium.
The entire angle featuring Orton, Bliss and Wyatt falls firmly into “love it or hate it” territory. For some, the beats are going to hit far more than not. For others, the supernatural angle is going to be a miss. The match between Bliss and Asuka was solid and entertaining enough with Bliss showing a more complete “Fiend-like” transformation in physicality and mannerisms. The real miss on the night was the Orton promo, where he appeared disfigured from last week’s fireball after WWE “reports” that he had suffered “minor” or “first-degree” burns. The angle keeps pulling Orton away from the things that made him arguably the best wrestler in the world in 2020. Hits and misses. Hate it or love it. Grade: C
What else happened on WWE Raw?
Charlotte Flair def. Peyton Royce via submission with the Figure Eight. Ric Flair arrived at the building with Lacey Evans, who said that their “relationship” just involved her learning from the best wrestler ever and they were going to watch Royce vs. Flair together. The pair came out during the match with Evans in one of Ric’s robes. While the distraction almost cost Flair the victory, she came back to score the submission, refusing to break the hold for an extended period after the match. Later in the night, Charlotte said that it’s time for her to use the lessons she learned from “The Dirtiest Player in the Game.”
The Hurt Business def. Lucha House Party & Riddle via submission when Bobby Lashley put Gran Metalik in the Hurt Lock. Riddle ran into Hurt Business backstage. Everyone traded insults until Lashley stomped on Riddle’s sandaled feet. The Hurt Business internal issues with Cedric Alexander trying to steal the spotlight continued through the match until a furious Lashley tagged himself in and finished Gran Metalik. After the match, Riddle hit Lashley with a cheap shot before running off.
Mace def. Xavier Woods via pinfall after a tilt-a-whirl sidewalk slam. Mustafa Ali said that the group wanted to break Kofi Kingston’s spirit by breaking Woods. Retribution distraction led to the finish.
Shayna Baszler def. Mandy Rose via submission with the Kirifuda Clutch. Before the match, Baszler warned everyone in the Royal Rumble that she was coming for them, including tag team partner Nia Jax. After the match, Dana Brooke dropkicked Jax into Baszler, sending the duo into the ring post.
AJ Styles def. Ricochet via pinfall after hitting the Styles Clash. Adam Pearce told Ricochet that a win against Styles would go “a long way” toward giving him an opportunity at the Royal Rumble. For the second straight week, Styles crushed dreams, catching Ricochet bouncing off the ropes directly into the Styles Clash for the win.
The Miz and John Morrison hosted The Dirt Sheet. After advertising Goldberg to appear on the segment for the first two hours of the show, The Dirt Sheet kicked off with Miz and Morrison introducing the former world champion only to bring out Gillberg (61-year-old Duane Gill). The segment was then interrupted by actor David Krumholtz with a partially exposed butt and tiny sword pretending to be Drew McIntyre. This led to Miz announcing that Goldberg and McIntyre would both lose at the Royal Rumble because he would cash in his Money in the Bank contract at the event and win the WWE championship.
Drew McIntyre cut a brief promo from his home. McIntyre, still quarantined after his COVID-19 diagnosis, said he would be back at Raw next week and encouraged Goldberg to show up and meet him there.
Jeff Hardy def. Jaxson Ryker via disqualification when Elias interfered in the match. Similar to last week, Ryker and Elias were not on the same page regarding what “not helping” meant, this time it being Ryker honestly not wanting Elias to help only for Elias to step in and cause the DQ. Hardy tried to attack after the match, but Ryker hit him with a Bossman Slam.