As this week’s title suggests, it’s Legends Night on RAW. Expect to see legends, whether you want to see them or not. Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan are the headline names… which is slightly underwhelming, considering Ric Flair never really went anywhere and most fans would be happy if Hogan stayed wherever he went. In better news, Drew McIntyre puts the WWE Championship on the line against Keith Lee. And we might find out what happened after Randy Orton lit the match at the end of last week’s show.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
The New Day defeated The Miz & John Morrison
AJ Styles def. Elias
Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce def. Charlotte Flair & Asuka
Riddle def. Bobby Lashley
Shayna Baszler def. Dana Brooke
Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy
Lucha House Party def. The Hurt Business
Drew McIntyre def. Keith Lee
The show opened with Hulk Hogan fake-promoting the H-phone, an alternative to the iPhone for all your social media and call making needs.
♦ The Miz and John Morrison opened the show proper with Miz TV. They gloated about Miz having the Money in the Bank briefcase again, talked up the contents of tonight’s show, then brought out The New Day.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods took over the show and thanked Miz and Morrison for being the first guests on New Day Talks. There was a lot of mockery and some questions from Kingston about Miz and Morrison’s New Year’s Resolutions and which of the legends they wanted to go to dinner with.
Miz was in the middle of having a tantrum about being taken seriously when Teddy Long came out and told him and Morrison they had a match against The Undertaker. Adam Pearce arrived and quietly reminded Long that Taker has retired, so Teddy Long did what Teddy Long did, he set a tag match.
The Miz & Morrison vs The New Day happened, as it always does, after the break. It was a very entertaining opening match, as you’d expect it to be. This feud is probably going to rumble on for a while yet. This round was won by The New Day, via a Xavier Woods pin on John Morrison.
♦ Charly Caruso interviewed Randy Orton after a recap of last week. He said the voices told him to set her on fire, but he couldn’t do it. He thinks The Fiend changed him somehow, made him show compassion to her. He hates himself for that but he’s taking that hatred and sculpting it. He asked her to imagine him being able to turn the newfound hatred for himself onto others. She asked if he thought The Fiend was coming back. He told her he didn’t want to talk about him, he was going to go and find some old friends, some legends, and remind them why he is the Legend Killer.
♦ R-Truth got pinned by Angel Garza while confusing talking to Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston at a New Year’s Eve party. Truth thought we were heading into 2020… no one needs more 2020.
Garza ran into Alicia Fox, Sgt. Slaughter, Mickie James, and Tatanka in the corridor. He had a quick argument with Fox, gave James a rose, and got called a maggot by Slaughter.
♦ AJ Styles, with Omos, vs Elias, with Jaxson Ryker, was good. It was also good last week. Styles took a nasty couple of falls going into the break, ribs first onto the turnbuckle, then punched to the floor, winding up laid out by the announce desk. We got back just in time to see Styles making a comeback. It looked like Elias might have ended it with a chokeslam, but Styles kicked out. Styles’ Phenomenal forearm was countered by a knee in the ribs, but that didn’t earn Elias the much-needed victory either. Elias is still waiting for that victory. He got pinned off a Styles Clash.
Ryker got in the ring and swung a guitar at Styles after the match. Styles ducked and Omos intercepted and destroyed the guitar with a kick. Ryker got out of there sharpish.
♦ Riddle spoke to Big Show backstage. He asked him if he’d thought of becoming The Big Bro. Randy Orton approached Show after Riddle left and asked him how it feels to know he’ll never compete again because he ended his career. Show said he could compete right now if he wanted to. Orton put a hand on him, and Big Show just sat down and said he’s not going to let Orton make him do something stupid. He’s proud to be out there with the legends. Orton isn’t in his head. Orton had another go at goading him, telling him he didn’t have the guts to do anything, but it didn’t work.
♦ Sarah Schreiber asked Charlotte Flair for her advice for those women entering the Royal Rumble match. She said not to listen to critics, then declared her entry.
Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte to the ring for Asuka & Charlotte Flair vs Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce. In a backstage video, shown during their entrance, Royce and Evans said Flair and Asuka were the standard of excellence for their division. Lacey Evans is more interested in pitching to be a future legend. Royce and Evans spent less time arguing this time. They even worked together and double-teamed Flair after Royce provoked Asuka to try to get into the ring so the ref would turn his back. That backfired somewhat when Asuka got in and took her frustrations out. Lacey Evans took some time during the match to strut with Ric Flair. Charlotte slapped her for it, Evans leapt at her, and they brawled into a break. A double team finish of double knees to the face from Asuka followed by Natural selection from Flair would have finished Peyton Royce if Evans hadn’t broken it up.
Lacey Evans flirted with Ric Flair again while lying on the apron, so Charlotte kicked her to the floor then rolled her back into the ring. Royce was legal, so Flair turned her attention back to her. As Charlotte rebounded off the ropes, Ric tripped her and she got pinned by Royce. Evans smushed Ric’s face in thanks on her way out. Charlotte looked like she wanted to murder him. She got in his face and told him to stay out of her business. She made him back up and leave.
♦ Drew McIntyre and Sheamus had a backstage chat. McIntyre said he wanted to show the legends the title is in good hands. Sheamus asked him to give Keith Lee and an extra kick in the head from him.
Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart joined them. Hogan said lovely things about McIntyre, and that he reminds him of him. McIntyre asked if that meant Sheamus was Jimmy Hart. Sheamus was not impressed. McIntyre and Hogan did Hogan’s schtick at the end of the segment.
♦ Riddle vs Bobby Lashley started with Riddle attacking Lashley before the bell. Once the match was legally underway, he learned that pissing Lashley off at the start of a match is a bad idea. The match was 80-90% Lashley. Riddle tapped in the Hurt Lock but the ref didn’t see it because Lashley had just lifted Riddle over his head. While Lashley and MVP were arguing with the ref, Riddle won the match with a rollup.
Backstage, MVP and Lashley were livid. Lashley said when he gets his hands on Riddle he’s not just going to beat him or hurt him he’s going to ‘punish his punk ass’.
♦ Mark Henry gave Ricochet a pep-talk, then it was his turn to see Randy Orton. Orton told him he’d declared himself into the Royal Rumble match, and mocked Henry for not being able to do the same, and for having a scooter. When Henry tried to leave, Orton put a hand on him to stop him and said he owed him a lot of receipts. He gave him a pass as long as he scooted off but threatened to hit him where he stood if he didn’t. Mark Henry chose the leave option.
♦ Mandy Rose versus Shayna Baszler didn’t happen. Baszler attacked Rose before she even got to the ring. Dana Brooke ran down and demanded Baszler face her instead, so we got Dana Brooke vs Shayna Baszler. It didn’t last long. Baszler got the Kirifuda Clutch in, but Brooke shifted her weight and got the pin while still in the hold. Shayna Baszler didn’t let the hold go until she was persuaded by a knee in the face from Mandy Rose. Brooke and Rose worked together to pick Baszler up and drop her on her face, then kicked her out of the ring.
♦ Ric Flair, Molly Holly, and I.R.S. were interrupted by Randy Orton. I.R.S. and Holly drifted off and left Flair to it. Orton asked him if he wanted to walk down to the ring with him for old times’ sake. When Flair yelled at him, Orton tried to goad him as well. He told him he looks like Ric Flair and sounds like Ric Flair but he’s not the man who taught him everything, the dirtiest player in the game, he’s a pathetic old man.
♦ Riddle tried to give Keith Lee a pre-match pep-talk. Lee thanked him politely.
♦ Randy Orton vs Jeff Hardy was good, but also grim. I may have missed something looking away when Orton had his fingers through Hardy’s ear piercings and was pulling, but the match carried on, so if I did it wasn’t important. It finished with an RKO because the Legend Killer had to put at last one legend down on Legend’s Night.
♦ Lucha House Party ran into Melina in the corridor. She did the Lucha dance for them.
The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin) vs Lucha House Party was another match where it was mostly one-way traffic, in favour of Alexander and Benjamin in this case, but with a lucky pin for the other team. MVP joined commentary for the match and they spent most of the time talking about what a great job he’d done with The Hurt Business. That conversation came to an abrupt halt when Lince Dorado pinned Benjamin with a crucifix. It was their own fault. Benjamin tagged himself in and Alexander wasn’t happy. The resulting momentary argument lost them the match. MVP yelled at them both after the loss and Alexander walked away. Benjamin tried to go after him, with violent intent, but MVP stopped him.
♦ Angel Garza interrupted Tori Wilson and Nikki Cross and tried to give Tori Wilson a rose. She told him she was talking, but she’d invited Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, and Ariana Grande to watch the show and sent him to introduce himself. Instead, he found The Boogeyman. As he ran away back towards Wilson and Cross, R-Truth rolled him up and pinned him. Wilson and Cross were in on it.
♦ Keith Lee got a legends guard of honour of sorts as he made his way to the ring for Drew McIntyre vs Keith Lee – WWE Championship match – or they were all on the stage to watch the match anyway. They stayed on the stage throughout (someone got them chairs) and it was a main event worthy of the title, as if it would be anything else. It was difficult to know which result to hope for. I want Lee to win the title, but don’t want McIntyre to drop it yet.
They beat the hell out each other. Seeing Keith Lee get suplexed will never not be impressive, especially halfway through a match by someone whose ribs have taken a battering. They threw each other around like cruiserweights at times and spent the rest of it battering each other. Lee paused to argue with an official while McIntyre was on the outside, and got put on McIntyre’s shoulders and powerbombed through the announce desk for his lapse in concentration. He landed with the base of his spine right on the metal edge before it collapsed.
Lee kicked out of the Futureshock DDT. McIntyre kicked out of Lee’s Spanish fly from the top rope. Lee kicked out of the jackknife cover after a spinebuster. McIntyre avoided the first Claymore and tried for a Spirit Bomb but Drew McIntyre struggled down and hit the Claymore on the second attempt for the win.
The legends gave them a standing ovation. Keith Lee wouldn’t let Drew McIntyre help him up, but he gave him a fist bump. McIntyre grabbed a mic, but before he got to say anything, Goldberg arrived.
He said he was thinking there couldn’t be a better representative for the WWE Championship than Drew McIntyre. He has everything except respect and Goldberg accused him of thinking all the legends are washed up and none of them could pose a threat to him. But he’s wrong and that’s where Goldberg steps in. It’s about respect. He’s not demanding anything. He’s challenging McIntyre at Royal Rumble.
McIntyre said Goldberg isn’t the indestructible monster he used to be twenty years ago. He couldn’t beat him. Fighting him would be like fighting his dad. Goldberg pushed him over, and they were forehead to forehead shoving each other when the show went off air.
I’m not a huge fan of Legends Night. It serves no purpose other than to fill a post-New-Year gap. With the exception of the title match, which was awesome, that’s what most of this episode felt like. Filler. Some of the legends never spoke. Most of them had nothing meaningful to do. They were just there. That’s not to say it was without merit, but you could lose this episode (except the main) and not cause too many continuity problems. There’s only so much cynicism one review can take, so I’ll save my thoughts on the prospect of McIntyre vs Goldberg for another week.