Monday Night Raw
Date: November 23, 2020
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
We’re finally done with Survivor Series and that means it’s time to head towards Tables, Ladders And Chairs in about four weeks (and also in the new Thunder Dome at Tropicana Field). Tonight is probably going to be about fallout, though I’m not sure what that is going to entail from last night. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s title change with Drew McIntyre regaining the WWE Title from Randy Orton.
Adam Pearce and Team Raw is in the ring to start. Pearce recaps last night’s results and thinks that the five of them deserve to be rewarded for their victory last night. Since AJ Styles was the captain last night (and he has a C on his vest this week), he should go first, but Sheamus says AJ isn’t his captain. Sheamus congratulates Drew for winning the title and says he was the MVP of last night’s match….but AJ cuts him off as well. Bickering ensues until Keith Lee says he should get the shot.
Riddle says that last night was sweet and since he beat King Corbin, he should be King Bro. Riddle: “Do I get a crown???” Then he can beat McIntyre and get the dope sword to go with his dope crown. Sheamus calls him dopey and Riddle says Sheamus can hold the crown and sword. Riddle brings up the Fire Face nickname and we get another round of bickering over the team’s nicknames.
Pearce goes to Strowman for the last word, but Strowman freaks out over being called “last but not least”. Pearce: “It’s a common expression!” Strowman grabs him by the suit and headbutts him down, sending the rest of the team into a frenzy as we take a break. This was a bunch of people arguing about things that no adults would ever actually argue about.
Earlier today, the Hurt Business trash talked their way into a Tag Team Title shot, with Cedric Alexander getting under Xavier Woods’ skin.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Hurt Business
Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin are challenging for the Hurt Business. MVP demands controlled fury from Shelton as he starts with Woods. Shelton powers him down to start and gets two off a suplex. A jumping knee puts Kofi on the floor and we take a break. Back with Woods fighting out of a chinlock and making the hot tag to Kofi for the house cleaning. Shelton catches Kofi on top but Kofi shoves him away, allowing Alexander to get in an armdrag to the floor. Kofi can’t get back in and that’s a double countout at 7:58. Actually we’ll make that a regular countout win for the Hurt Business.
Hang on though as MVP says that’s not how it’s going because they don’t want that kind of a win. New Day isn’t sure about a restart but MVP shouting ARE YOU SCARED is enough to get them back in the ring. Back from a break and the bell rings (because they needed to stand around for four minutes) with Kofi and Shelton slugging it out. A big backdrop puts Kofi on the floor and he seems to be favoring his knee.
Back in and Alexander hammers away at the ribs before tying up the legs, thereby restoring my faith in his intelligence. Alexander goes old school with an Indian deathlock and then switches to a different leg crank. Kofi fights up and hits SOS but it’s still too early for the hot tag. Instead Alexander pulls him back down into another leglock, only to have Kofi slip out and limp over for the hot tag to Woods. A kick to the face drops Alexander but it’s back to Benjamin who gets two off an Angle Slam. Everything breaks down and Kofi flips onto Alexander, leaving Woods to grab a sunset flip for the pin on 22:48.
Rating: C. Well that was a little odd. I would have bet on the title change after the restart but they might be doing that thing where a team loses over and over and then wins the titles anyway because wins and losses don’t matter around here. The action improved in the second half but it wasn’t going to hold a candle to last night’s Street Profits match.
Pearce has a bump on his head and Strowman has been escorted from the building. If it was up to him, Strowman would be fired but he doesn’t have control over those decisions. Before he can make an announcement about the WWE Title, Bobby Lashley comes up and says they need to have a talk first. Pearce likes the sound of that.
Post break and post Lashley conversation, Pearce….is interrupted by Randy Orton, who seems to want to talk as well.
We look at the Strowman/Pearce deal again.
We look back at Lana being the sole survivor last night.
Lana thinks this is a dream come true and never wants to wake up.
We go back to Pearce, who announces a series of matches to set up a triple threat match next week for the next shot at Drew McIntyre. The first match starts now.
Riddle vs. Sheamus
They talk trash to start and Riddle takes him down by the arm. Sheamus fights up and grabs an armbar of his own, which is broken up with some right hands to the face. A hard clothesline out of the corner drops Riddle again but he sends Sheamus outside with some more shots to the face. That’s enough to frustrate Sheamus, who comes back in with a shot to the face. Riddle slugs right back but gets taken to the mat for some arm cranking from Sheamus.
They head outside again with Sheamus getting caught in an exploder suplex and the Broton gets two back inside. Sheamus catches Riddle on the apron though and that means ten forearms to the chest. The Irish Curse gets two but Sheamus misses a charge into the post. Riddle kicks away at the chest but Sheamus is back with an Alabama Slam as we take a break.
Back with Sheamus hitting a pump knee for two, only to have Riddle knock him to the floor. The springboard Floating Bro drops Sheamus again but he catches Riddle’s high crossbody back inside. A spinning release Rock Bottom gets two and we hit the Cloverleaf to stay on Riddle’s back. The rope is grabbed so Sheamus tries another ten forearms to the chest.
This set is countered into an armbar over the ropes and Sheamus’ throat is snapped across the top as well. Sheamus is right back with a heel hook and they forearm it out on the mat with the hold still on. Riddle uses the good leg to kick his way to freedom and the knee is fine enough to hit the Final Flash for two more.
Sheamus catches him on top though and it’s a super White Noise for a rather near fall. The Brogue Kick misses, but it’s mainly due to Riddle collapsing. Riddle manages a headbutt and a kick to the head, setting up a victory roll, but Sheamus reverses into the Cloverleaf again. That’s reversed as well though and Riddle rolls him up for the pin at 20:50.
Rating: B. These guys beat the heck out of each other for a long time and it was cool to see them surviving everything that the other threw at them. It made for a great use of a long match and instead of starting to feel long, it was drawing me in more and more. Very good stuff here and well done on making Riddle seem like a bigger deal again.
Lana runs into Asuka, who congratulates her for last night. Asuka might even give Lana a title shot tonight!
It’s time for the Firefly Fun House with Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss talking about something disgusting: friendship. That introduces us to a frog with a monocle, who no one recognizes. He’s Friendship Frog, and Bray thinks Bliss should show him what she’s going to do to Nikki Cross tonight.
Bliss asks for some help and Bray touches her forehead and whispers in her ear. Bliss whips out a mace and beats the frog so badly that slime comes out of his mouth. Therefore, it’s time for a moment of silence for Friendship Frog, complete with videos of him growing up, his high school yearbook, and his appearance here. He was born in 1980. Bray and Bliss crack up.
Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Lana
Lana is challenging…and here are Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Lana rolls her up for an early near fall but gets kneed in the face. Asuka slides to the floor and gets in an argument with Jax and Shayna, who jump her for the DQ at 1:00.
Post match Lana saves Asuka from going through the announcers’ table. Nia wants the tag match and that seems to be after the break.
First though: R-Truth thinks you should buy WWE Shop stuff on Black Friday. As he pitches it, Drew Gulak hits him with a Money in the Bank briefcase and gets two……and here’s well someone in a Fiend mask to say Yowie Wowie. It’s Akira Tozawa, who takes a 24/7 pillow.
Asuka/Lana vs. Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax
Non-title and joined in progress with Nia shoving Lana down and talking trash. That means the choking is on and Shayna comes in to work on Lana’s back. We hit the neck cranking for a bit before it’s back to Nia, who makes Lana beg for mercy. Lana slugs away to no avail and gets driven back into the corner.
Shayna stands on Lana’s head and pulls on her leg but Lana finally gets over for the hot tag to Asuka. House is cleaned in a hurry with a variety of kicks until Shayna gets in her own shot to the face for two. Nia pulls Lana off the apron and beats her up, only to miss a charge over the announcers’ table. Shayna grabs the Kirifuda Clutch through the ropes but gets rolled up by Asuka for the pin at 6:42.
Rating: D+. It’s nice that they’re finally getting somewhere with Lana fighting back against the bullies, but they have not found a way around the fact that Lana isn’t a likable character. She’s having bad things happen to her but that doesn’t mean I want to cheer her. Nia has gotten what’s coming to her so many times that it doesn’t mean anything either, but the bigger problem is Lana. Give me a reason to care about her, because otherwise it’s just Nia picking on someone who is rather annoying and bad at her job.
Riddle comes up to MVP, who isn’t impressed. Anyway, Riddle has some ideas for MVP’s business investments. Like pizza flavored yogurt. Or BRO-gurt. MVP cuts him off because Bobby Lashley doesn’t have time for this and no, he isn’t Riddle’s bro. He is willing to let Riddle pitch some ideas in a few weeks and maybe they’ll do some business. If not, maybe they’ll do some, ahem, BUSINESS.
We look back at Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre from last night.
Keith Lee vs. Bobby Lashley
Non-title and the winner goes on to the triple threat. Lashley’s headlock is countered into one from Lee and they fight over a top wristlock. That’s broken up as well so Lashley hits a running shoulder, earning himself a glare from Lashley. Lee hits the Grizzly Magnum in the corner but Lashley is back with a running clothesline. This time Lee growls at him but Lashley grabs the Downward Spiral for one.
The Hurt Lock is blocked and Lee clotheslines him out to the floor instead. Lee loads up a dive but gets blocked by MVP, meaning it’s time to give chase. Lashley gets in a cheap shot and drives him into the barricade. A fireman’s carry looks to drive Lee into the post, but it looks more like Lashley’s head gets crushed between Lee and the post as we take a break. Back with Lashley cranking on the arm and then grabbing a chinlock to change it up. Lee fights up with a clothesline but Lashley manages a suplex (it was better than the fireman’s carry).
The Hurt Lock is broken up again and Lee slugs him down without much trouble. There’s the Pounce to send Lashley outside and Lee hits a running crossbody. MVP posts Lee behind the referee’s back but Lee still beats the count. Back in and Lee’s arms are too big for the Hurt Lock so Lee gets on his back. That’s broken up with Lee dropping back on him….which draws in MVP for the DQ at 12:37.
Rating: B-. This was a total hoss fight and they did it as they should have. I know the ending might have felt stupid, but neither Lashley nor Lee need to be taking a fall so having Lee win via DQ is as good of a move as you can have. It’s better than either of them getting pinned and Lee continues to look strong for the second night in a row. Now just keep it up for a change.
Video on Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross being best friends and then being split apart due to the Fiend’s influence.
Nikki Cross talks about how she has tried to save Alexa Bliss but now it’s time to stop trying and start fighting.
Nikki Cross vs. Alexa Bliss
They talk trash to start and Bliss slaps her hand away, which she declares a win. Cross charges into a drop toehold so Bliss bails straight to the floor. The chase is on and Cross hits a headbutt to the ribs so they can head back in. Cross stomps away in the corner and then does the same on the mat for two. A Cannonball in the corner rocks Bliss again and Cross shouts a lot before shoving her down. Bliss looks at her hands and starts crying, which Cross actually falls for, earning herself the Sister Abigail for the pin at 4:17.
Rating: D. Cross is reaching a new level of gullible/stupid at this point and that is the kind of thing that makes her someone I want to cheer. Bliss has looked smarter, happier and more interesting the entire time. Then you have Cross, who just doesn’t get it and needs someone to smack her upside the head. The match was just there for the ending of course, and that’s ok in this story. Just get Nikki’s attention already.
We get the Undertaker video tribute from last night, set to Metallica’s Now That We’re Dead. This version includes a quick version of Undertaker’s Final Farewell from the end of Survivor Series.
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
For the final spot in the triple threat match. AJ goes straight for the rollup at the bell but Orton is back up so they can circle each other again. Orton sends him into the corner but AJ comes out with a shot to the throat for a breather. They head outside with AJ getting knocked up against the barricade, but Almos deposits him back on the apron. AJ hits a running kick to Orton’s face and then drops him onto the announcers’ table as we take a break.
Back with AJ hitting a chop block to take the knee out and put Orton down again. The leg cranking is back on but it’s too early for the Calf Crusher, as Orton rolls out and kicks him in the chest. Orton can’t hit a suplex but he can hit the backbreaker for two. AJ is right back with the Calf Crusher though, with Orton making it over to the rope after a lot of screaming.
The leg is fine enough to hit the snap powerslam for two on AJ but the RKO is blocked. Orton rolls to the floor….and we have Fiend lights. The lights come back up and Orton gets back inside, where he counters the Phenomenal Forearm and hits the hanging DDT. The RKO is loaded up and now the Fiend appears behind Orton, who looks terrified. Then the Fiend disappears and it’s the Phenomenal Forearm for the pin at 12:47.
Rating: C+. The Fiend stuff was good, even if it was another distraction finish. AJ moving on makes the most sense as we’ve covered Orton in the title hunt. Throw in that Orton vs. Fiend is a fresh match and the TLC card is a little more interesting. I’m curious to see how the #1 contenders match goes next week and that’s a nice feeling to have.
Fiend’s laughter ends the show.
Overall Rating: B-. I liked this show and given the way it was structured, I can’t say I’m surprised. This show had a goal of setting up the triple threat and that’s the direction they took throughout the night. There were some problems with the show and that is always going to be the case. For tonight though, it was nice to have something planned and then see them have a way to get there rather than throwing whatever they could out there and hoping to get to the result. Not a great show, but it was focused and that’s what matters.
New Day b. Hurt Business – Sunset flip to Benjamin
Riddle b. Sheamus – Rollup
Asuka b. Lana via DQ when Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler interfered
Asuka/Lana b. Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler – Rollup to Baszler
Keith Lee b. Bobby Lashley via DQ when MVP interfered
Alexa Bliss b. Nikki Cross – Sister Abigail
AJ Styles b. Randy Orton – Phenomenal Forearm
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