If running through two former champions and a whole conga line over the last couple weeks wasn’t any indication, the guy to watch in 2020 might just be Drew McIntyre. The former NXT Champion — and future WWE Champion? — took a great leap forward on Raw when he forced his way into a planned match between Randy Orton and AJ Styles, reconfigured it on the spot into a Triple Threat, and earned a decisive victory over the two former World Champions.
He did so despite a turn of events that united Orton and Styles against McIntyre, allowing them to briefly return to their preexisting game of one-upsmanship. The Phenomenal One once again attempted to co-op Orton’s moves, and The Viper dropped AJ with a Styles Clash of his own that only got two. Orton finally danced with the one that brung him by nailing Styles with an RKO, but McIntyre jumped back into the picture and blasted The Apex Predator with a Claymore to win the match and claim inarguable bragging rights on two of his opponents come the Royal Rumble. Just 27 more to go.
If you’re preparing for the Royal Rumble Match and aren’t the biggest dog in the fight, it helps to go against a dog with a lot of fight in them. So Ricochet’s victory over Mojo Rawley is a good omen for the high-flier’s chances in the Jan. 26 melee. After all, Mojo has the energy of 29 other men crammed into his body, and the former U.S. Champion had to get inventive to get past him, escaping Rawley’s gorilla-press gutbuster to land a Recoil that dropped Mojo like a rock. Ricochet followed up with the 630 for the victory, but crucially, he also threw Mojo over the top rope during the middle portion of the match. That tactic was as sure a sign as any that his focus lies on the biggest victory possible, and perhaps, The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Charlotte Flair vs. Sarah Logan wasn't much of a match last week, as a before-the-bell ambush from Logan immediately turned things into a wild brawl that Charlotte ultimately got the upper hand in. But, oddly enough, Flair didn’t beat her, opting instead to simply leave Logan down at the end of the tussle and settle for bragging rights in lieu of a proper victory.
The Queen quickly corrected the record this week, booting Logan straight in the face to kick off (so to speak) what ended up being a fairly one-sided affair. Logan had no problem throwing hands with the 10-time Women’s Champion, so points must be awarded for bravery. But they must be equally docked for awareness, as Logan narrowly avoided a count-out only to runs headlong into a Figure-Eight that forced a submission. Pointedly, Charlotte threw Logan over the top rope once the referee had placed her robe back over her shoulders, a flex that’s as devastating as it is understandable. After all, what’s the use of being a Royal Rumble favorite if you don’t dress the part?
Let’s be honest: We live in a world where R-Truth could somehow back his way into winning the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. But announcing his intentions certainly did Truth no favors on Raw, as The Rapping Superstar found himself taken to “Sioux Falls City” and relieved of the 24/7 Championship in short order after confronting WWE Champion, No. 1 entrant and presumable Rumble Match favorite, Brock Lesnar.
About the best thing that can be said for Truth is that Lesnar didn’t take the 24/7 Title from him — that was Mojo Rawley, who struck after the dust had settled with a big boot on the ramp — becuase his arrival was a catastrophic misunderstanding that went south in a hurry. It turned out Truth's brazen challenge was actually directed at Paul Heyman, who he thought had entered the Rumble. Truth tried to save himself with a hasty (and historic) Rumble Match un-declaration but Lesnar was unmoved, dropping Truth with a clothesline and F-5 that left him ripe pickings for Rawley's attack moments later. Definitely not the best night for Truth. About the only solace his fans can take is the knowledge that he'll bounce back. You can throw him over the top rope, but he tends to come out on top. Just not tonight.
Even the vaunted return of “The Bulgarian Brute” wasn’t enough to put Rusev over the top against Bobby Lashley, who he memorably humiliated for two weeks straight but can’t manage to defeat as long as Lana remains in The All Mighty’s corner.
In fairness, Rusev certainly demoralized Lashley before the proceedings went pear-shaped, overwhelming his opponent with a punishing offensive press and screams of “COME ON, BOB!” while pie-facing Lashley into the corner. Great stuff all around, especially the savage shake-off of a German suplex from Lashley down the stretch, but Liv Morgan’s arrival led to a confrontation with Lana that stopped Rusev in his tracks and allowed Lashley to pounce with a Spear for the win.
There is clearly no show on which The Singh Brothers won’t compete, but they might have done well to sit out against The Viking Raiders. For all Sunil & Samir’s well-documented pluckiness, they were little more than grist for the mill upon answering the Raw Tag Team Champions’ open challenge, as Erik & Ivar sealed the win with a Viking Experience in what felt like a matter of seconds. To be fair, sometimes confidence gets you the win. This was not one of those times.
Becky Lynch isn’t usually a Man of few words, but this rivalry with Asuka seems to have brought out the brevity in her. Or, at least it did until The Empress of Tomorrow unleashed a slew of green mist in the eyes of The Man moments after they finalized their Raw Women’s Title Match.
That finally seemed to awaken the “badness” that Lynch had been trying to repress. Following the attack from The Empress of Tomorrow, a delirious and half-blinded Becky seized hold of a mic and unleashed a torrent of passion against her foe that amounted to one promise: If she goes down, she’s going down swinging, and Asuka is coming with her.
That’s three in a row for Aleister Black, who once again defeated Buddy Murphy to seemingly close the door (literally and figuratively) on a show-stealing series against The Best Kept Secret, as the rivalry now has a clear winner in the former NXT Champion.
Murphy, obviously, did not take the loss well, which was understandable given the outstanding performance he put on in defeat. Not only did Murphy land a Murphy’s Law that would have won the match if not for a rope break, he kicked out of Black Mass with his last gasp of strength. It was an effort that anyone could theoretically be proud of, but after Aleister earned the win with another ruthless Black Mass, Murphy was left desolate on the outside, having taken his best shot three times and missed, left with nothing but more questions than answers.
After weeks of closely guarding the secret of his cage, Erick Rowan has turned a corner. Now he wants to show what he's hiding to the locals he destroys. Ironically enough, the thing in the pen might not share that enthusiasm. When Rowan tried to remove the unidentified being from the covered pen, he instead withdrew his hand sharply, having apparently been bitten by whatever is inside. Far from humbled, however, Rowan was even more energized, quickly executing an Iron Claw to put away the local.
“The Monday Night Messiah” might be a self-aggrandizing, lightly blasphemous moniker, but there’s no denying a savior did come into play during the first-ever Fist Fight on Monday Night Raw. It just wasn’t Seth Rollins.
As Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & Big Show ran roughshod over Rollins & AOP, Rollins found himself pleading for help from Buddy Murphy, who was still distraught at ringside following his loss to Aleister Black. The Best Kept Secret shockingly accepted, low-blowing Show in a sneak-attack that instantly turned the tide. Away from the ring, AOP placed Joe atop the announce table and powerbombed KO right through him. Then, back in the squared circle, Murphy, Akam, Rezar and Rollins swarmed the giant, and Rollins sealed the victory with a Stomp that left Show unable to continue, earning Murphy an embrace from Rollins. In some ways, there is no ending more fitting for the self-proclaimed Messiah. A flock grown, a leap of faith rewarded and a message sent to all nonbelievers: Resistance will be punished, and faith will be rewarded.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Drew McIntyre defeated Randy Orton and AJ Styles in a Triple Threat Match (11:00)
- Ricochet defeated Mojo Rawley (3:35)
- Charlotte Flair defeated Sarah Logan (1:35)
- Mojo Rawley defeated R-Truth (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- Bobby Lashley (w/ Lana) defeated Rusev (14:20)
- The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) defeated The Singh Brothers (Samir Singh & Sunil Singh) (0:35)
- Aleister Black defeated Buddy Murphy (14:15)
- Erick Rowan defeated Joey O'Riley (1:15)
- Seth Rollins & AOP (Akam & Rezar) defeated Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & The Big Show in a Fist Fight (6:00)
Other on-screen talent