Tonight’s WWE RAW starts with a graphic in memory of Luke Harper (Jon Huber). Luke, also known as Brodie Lee in AEW, passed away at the age of 41 this past Saturday due to a non-COVID-related lung issue. I have not been able to digest this fact. Luke Harper was a brilliant wrestler and an amazing family man.
The last WWE RAW of 2020 is live from the Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in Florida. Tom Phillips, our RAW commentator, welcomes us. He’s joined at ringside by Byron Saxton and submission machine Samoa Joe. They promote Keith Lee Vs. Sheamus for tonight’s opener and announce that the winner will challenge WWE Champion, ‘The Chosen One’, Drew McIntyre next Monday night on the first RAW of 2021.
We go back to the ring, and here comes WWE Champion Drew. He gets a brilliant entrance pyro and then strolls to the ring. We get a detailed replay of last week’s six-man match where Sheamus surprisingly dropped Keith Lee after their victory. Drew McIntyre pays a nostalgic tribute to Brodie Lee with, “It’s Monday, you know what that means… yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Drew McIntyre talks about his 2020 and is thankful to everyone for helping him, making him their “Chosen One,” and being there, from the bottom of his heart. He talks about defending the Gold next Monday during Legends Night. He goes on showing his babyface gratitude but the music interrupts, and out comes Celtic Warrior, Sheamus. Sheamus is sorry for interrupting, but Drew isn’t buying it because he’s always get interrupted. Sheamus reveals what happened last week and says he agreed not to hit Keith Lee during the match, and he didn’t. They talk about their past and wanting to headline against each other for the Gold and how it’s this close. There’s some ‘European-Special’ tension, but Sheamus says they’re going to kick off the year right and crack each other up. The music interrupts, and Keith lee is here.
Lee speaks about what Sheamus did to him last week and says there’s no trust now. Keith Lee enters the ring and says every fiber in his being wants to beat Sheamus’ face right now (funny script), but he’s decided to wait until the bell rings, then he will overpower Sheamus to apologize. Lee says Drew should maybe consider his best friends because later on, Sheamus may do the same thing and hit Drew in the back. Sheamus says all this is happening because of Keith Lee’s mouth, for going around and telling everyone that Sheamus would turn on his best mate. Lee and Sheamus quarrel until Drew speaks up. He calls the referee down so we can get the proper opener going. Drew doesn’t care if it’s Sheamus or Lee, he will still be the Champion next week. Sheamus suddenly drops Keith Lee with a Brogue Kick, and then another. Drew McIntyre has words with Sheamus as fans boo, and we go to commercial.
Keith Lee Vs. Sheamus – Winner earns a WWE Title opportunity
Sheamus gave a brutal holiday present to Keith Lee with a parting Brogue Kick last week. The thundering kick and the chance for a WWE Title Match set the stage for a showdown between the two monsters. The Celtic Warrior put on an incredible show of strength to deliver White Noise to Keith Lee, but he couldn’t put the monster away. Lee regrouped to strike a crushing Spirit Bomb, which set the limelight for a WWE Championship showdown against Drew on Raw Legends’ Night next week on the first RAW episode of 2021
Winner: Keith Lee in 13 minutes.
Match Review: 3.5/5. A fantastic match featuring two of the talented RAW wrestlers fighting for the right to face Drew McIntyre next week. I am glad Lee won, and WWE still considers him worthy. He is one of my favorite wrestlers on the main roster.
Gran Metalik Vs. The Miz
The world is ready to turn the page on 2020, and The Miz is likely driving the car. The A-Lister has been discouraged after failing in his Money in the Bank cash-in at WWE TLC, and a loss to Gran absolutely isn’t going to help. The King of The Ropes surprised Miz with his aerial attacks, and an acrobatic roll-up won the game for Gran Metalik.
Winner: Gran Metalik in 3:20
Match Review: 1.5/5. Short match to put over Gran Metalik. I feel sad seeing The Miz and Morrison being treated like 3MB (remember those jobber trio?)
Shayna Baszler Vs. Dana Brooke
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax have been in a nasty mood since losing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles at WWE TLC. The Queen of Spades took out plenty of disappointments against Dana Brooke in their latest encounter. Dana Brooke was out to state the case for her and Mandy Rose with impressive acrobatics, but Baszler responded with a crushing knee strike to set up a Kirifuda Clutch finale. After the match, Shayna Baszler turned her attention to Mandy and locked in one more Kirifuda Clutch to further hurt the competition in the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title landscape.
Winner: Shayna Baszler in 4:20.
Match Review: 1.5/5. Short match with the Royal Rumble 2021 favorite Shayna Baszler winning the fight.
AJ Styles Vs. Elias
Elias’ backstage music performance caught the ire of AJ Styles and his associate Amos earlier in the night. The Phenomenal One has been fixated on balancing the claimed wrongs of his WWE Championship Match at WWE TLC, and Elias’ musical performance pushed AJ even further off the handle. The musician landed the first big note by sending Styles smashing shoulder-first into the ring post. Styles landed a picture-perfect Phenomenal Forearm after a tiring back-and-forth to clinch the victory and close the curtain on Elias.
Winner: AJ Styles in 14:00.
Match Review: 3.25. A good match with AJ Styles carrying the fight and selling everything Elias tried to put forward. Heel Vs. Heel matches are seldom exciting, but with AJ Styles at his very best, it is always a treat to watch.
Mustafa Ali Vs. Ricochet
Mustafa Ali has been on a mission to show Ricochet the light and force him to fall in line with RETRIBUTION. After losses to T-BAR and MACE in recent weeks, the high-flyer came out fighting for survival against RETRIBUTION’s leader. The one-person wrecking crew couldn’t hold the army off forever, as Ricochet impressively picked off each member while trying to defy the seemingly insurmountable odds. Ricochet went to the top rope to try for a high-risk attack, but Ali got his knees up and closed in a Koji Clutch for the win. Even in defeat, Ricochet remained defiant and refused to join RETRIBUTION with one final strike to Ali.
Winner: Mustafa Ali in 11:50.
Match Review: 2.75/5. I liked the match but I dislike this rivalry. Ricochet is losing week after week, and he deserves a better treatment. As far as the match is concerned, I am not complaining. Ali and Ricochet are both talented, and they both showed their athleticism.
Charlotte Flair Vs. Nia Jax
Nia Jax set her New Year’s resolution, and taking down The Queen was first on her list. The Irresistible Force has been incensed since Charlotte Flair returned to team with Asuka and defeat Jax & Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. After an intense back-and-forth, Flair began to lock in Figure Eight, but Baszler was waiting with a Kirifuda Clutch to bring the match to a punishing conclusion. Asuka came running in to help her teammate, but the message from Jax & Baszler had clearly been sent.
Winner: Charlotte Flair by DQ in 10:40.
Match Review: 1.75/5. Charlotte is impressive as usual. I am just happy Nia didn’t injure Charlotte in the ring again. Shayna Baszler caused the DQ and a decent rivalry is shaping up quickly.
The Hurt Business Vs. The New Day and Jeff Hardy and Riddle – Eight-Man Tag Team Match
Red brand rivalries came together for an explosive Eight-Man Tag Team Match, as The New Day, Jeff Hardy & Riddle joined forces to battle The Hurt Business. Before the match, Bobby Lashley took a moment to declare for the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. Once the action started, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Riddle & Jeff Hardy all took turns attacking and angering the United States Champion. Amidst a chaotic conclusion, the Lashley brought the all too familiar feeling of the Hurt Lock to Hardy for the victory. As The Hurt Business lined up Hardy for more brutality, Riddle hit Lashley with the Final Flash to signal that there is plenty more to be written in this rivalry.
Winner: “The Hurt Business” Bobby Lashley, MVP, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin in 13:45.
Match Review: 3/5. Hardy taps again! It felt like a house show main event, but that’s what you get during the year end RAW episodes. Good match but it felt repetitive.
We are back in the ring for tonight’s main event segment as The Fiend controlled Alexa Bliss makes her way out with the brand-new entrance theme. Alexa stops in the middle of the ring and motions for Orton to come out to the ring. Alexa Bliss looks to be all business. The music hits next and out comes Randy with Voices in his head.
Randy Orton takes his time walking to the ring and seems a bit careful. Byron reminds us Alexa Bliss has confronted Orton here tonight. Randy Orton takes the mic and asks where The Fiend is. Alexa Bliss says this is not about him; this is about her. Alexa goes to the timekeeper’s area and brings a gift wrapped in a red bow and red paper. She pushes it in the ring. Alexa brings the present to the ring and drops to her knees to open it. Randy Orton watches. Bliss opens the gift and pulls out a gasoline can (whaaat?). She walks over to Randy and places it as his feet, with a match box. She pushes the gift box away. Alexa says she challenges Randy to do to her what she did to “Him” before. Bliss sits down in the middle of the ring now.
Randy Orton crosses his arms and just stares at her, leaning against the turnbuckles. Alexa Bliss gets up and spills gasoline from the middle of the ring to Randy Orton’s feet, putting the can at his feet as well. Bliss tells Orton she did the work for him, so go ahead and light it, do to her what you did to The Fiend. She sits down again and gets frustrated, “Damn it, Orton! Just do it!” Bliss throws a fit some and sits back up. Now Bliss has poured a gasoline circle around herself. Randy still stares her down. She says he doesn’t have the balls to do it. She says Randy thinks he’s twisted, sick and demented, but he’s not because if he were, he’d just light the match. She says TRandy Orton is nothing, nothing but a little bitch (PG-13 for you).
Bliss wants to go to hell where he sent The Fiend at TLC, but Randy Orton doesn’t want to give her what she wants. Fine, maybe he will set her on fire… right now… or maybe… the lights start going down in the Thunderdome crowd. It goes black, but now Randy Orton has lit a few matches. The matches flash a light on Orton’s face, and he looks threatening. He acts like he’s about to drop the matches as the commentators beg him not to. We hear the usual drum of The Fiend go off across the ThunderDome as Randy Orton stares ahead with the matches lit. RAW fades to black.
NYK Rating of WWE Raw, 28th December 2020: 7/10.
Three Stars of the show:
- Keith Lee
- AJ Styles