Drew McIntyre def. AJ Styles and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat Match
Styles and Orton were originally advertised as going one-on-one on this show, but after McIntyre interrupted them during their opening promo segment, it turned into a Triple Threat. I'm glad it did because not only does it save Styles vs. Orton for another day, it gave McIntyre a chance to work with two top stars for a change instead of the usual jobbers. Once McIntyre was taken out of the equation halfway through, it was pretty obvious he was going to come back and win it. However, that didn't hinder my enjoyment of it at all. Styles and Orton got to do their thing, Orton's Styles Clash on Styles was awesome, and McIntyre picking up the victory was the right call. Honestly, he's the perfect person to win the men's Royal Rumble. I'm not getting my hopes up, but it's about time WWE pulled the trigger on him and that would be the best way to do it.
Ricochet def. Mojo Rawley
I don't think Ricochet has ever been more directionless than he is right now. Sure, he wins more often than not, but he never seems to win whenever it matters most. I guess the same can be said about Rawley, who is dominant on Main Event yet is treated like a loser on Raw (and rightfully so because he does nothing for me). This match just sort of existed. I'm ready for Ricochet to be involved in something meaningful again.
Charlotte Flair def. Sarah Logan
I'm glad this hasn't become a full-fledged feud because I can't take Logan seriously as a threat to Flair. The match was basically a glorified squash with Flair winning in under two minutes. It wasn't bad, but it's obvious that WWE is simply killing time with Flair before the women's Royal Rumble later this month. It's a shame they can't find anything interesting for her to do when she isn't in the title picture.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar Attacked 24/7 Champion R-Truth
I'm going to be honest: This segment didn't seem to serve much of a purpose, but it was an absolute blast. Paul Heyman is one of the few heels who actually attempts to turn the crowd against him and I thought he did an amazing job of that in this segment. Truth was also perfect in his role and I loved his exchange with Heyman. Again, this didn't accomplish anything, but it's hard to complain about wholesome entertainment. Moments after the segment concluded, Mojo Rawley pinned Truth on the ramp to win the 24/7 Championship (which I was disappointed Lesnar didn't destroy). Who could possibly care?
Bobby Lashley def. Rusev
The Tables match these two had at the TLC pay-per-view was painfully boring and I can't say this was much better. Their chemistry is nearly nonexistent in the end and the crowd was waiting for the shenanigans with Lana to happen. Sure enough, Liv Morgan confronted her at ringside, but it resulted in Rusev losing. They'll meet in a mixed tag team matchup next week. I'd like to think that will be the blowoff, but we all know that it won't be.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders def. The Singh Brothers (Non-Title)
You know the Raw tag team division is weak when Viking Raiders are relegated to facing The Singh Brothers of all people. I suppose they're a step up from the local athletes Viking Raiders were facing previously, but they were still a letdown. I hate seeing them on 205 Live and I have even less desire to see them on Raw. Although this was a short and sweet squash for Viking Raiders, the crowd sat on their hands for all of it.
Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Asuka Signed the Contract for Their Raw Women's Championship Match
I've really been digging the feud Asuka and Lynch have had over the Raw Women's Championship heading into their Royal Rumble rematch. I love how they've brought up their history and how Lynch has shown legit doubt over whether she can beat Asuka or not. This contact signing might have had the least amount of talking and physicality I've ever seen, but both Lynch and Asuka played their roles well and I liked how Asuka got the better of Lynch by spraying her in the face with the green mist.
Aleister Black def. Buddy Murphy
While I don't think a third match was necessary because of how decisively Black won the first two times, this was another excellent affair from Black and Murphy and easily the best thing on the entire show. Their chemistry is terrific and what I've appreciated most about their matches is how they've been given the time to go out there and kill it. Black should be considered another dark horse to win the Rumble. He probably won't, but at the very least, WWE needs to allow him to build off this momentum by putting him in an important program on the road to WrestleMania.
Erick Rowan def. Local Athlete
The string of pointless Erick Rowan squash matches continues. We found out last week from Mojo Rawley that whatever is inside Rowan's cage is apparently horrifying. This week, we finally got our first look at the cage, and after Rowan put his hand inside, the animal (or whatever it is) bit him. Rowan then proceeded to beat his defeat his opponent with ease. Once we found out whatever's inside, I'm curious to see if WWE will take his aggressive push to the next level or if all of this was for nothing.
Seth Rollins and AOP def. Big Show, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe in a Fist fight
The Wrap revealed earlier in the day that with no disqualifications or count-outs in play, the only way to win a Fist Fight was for the referee to determine that the Superstars could no longer compete. I didn't have lofty expectations for this by any means, but they kept things exciting and made effective use of the stipulation in the five or so minutes they had before the show went off the air. Owens jumping off the Raw set was a spectacular visual and Murphy helping Rollins and AOP beat the babyface trio was a neat twist. After losing three straight matches to Black, Murphy has quickly rebounded by aligning himself with the top heel on the brand. Just imagine Rollins vs. Murphy down the line. Here's hoping this is a long-term move for Murphy and he won't be booted a week from now.
Props to the Raw writers for producing tighter shows lately with less filler and more wrestling, storyline-driven segments and pay-per-view build. Granted, not everything was exciting and the three hours did drag like they usually do, but the layout is improving and I love how they're advertising more things in advance to give viewers stuff to look forward to. There was a lot more I liked about this show than what I didn't like, so for that it gets a thumbs-up. It's not a perfect program (the Rowan push and the Lana, Lashley and Rusev storyline still baffle me), but Raw is starting to find its rhythm and the timing couldn't be better with WrestleMania season fast approaching.
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