Sunday, the road to WrestleMania officially begins!
The Royal Rumble always kicks off the road to WrestleMania, and this was the final episode of Monday Night RAW before the first Pay-Per-View of 2020.
On this week’s RAW, Andrade defended his United States Title against Rey Mysterio, the Viking Raiders put their tag team titles on the line, Paul Heyman explained how the Royal Rumble works, and Kairi Sane returned to action.
This week’s RAW kicked off with Seth Rollins announcing his newest member, Buddy Murphy. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe came out and announced that Big Show will be gone for a little while, and the Viking Raiders joined Owens and Joe. The eight men brawled, and then after a commercial, Rollins challenged the Viking Raiders to a match for the RAW Tag Team Titles.
Later on in the show, Murphy and Rollins defeat The Viking Raiders to become the new tag team champions.
This was an odd decision considering, there is an actual tag team, The AOP, in this faction, and they didn’t win the belts. However, the Viking Raiders weren’t doing much with the belts, so let’s see what Rollins and Murphy can do.
Below are three things I liked and one thing I did not like about this week’s RAW.
1) Andrade Defeats Rey Mysterio
Everyone was expecting me to put this in this section, and here it is. Andrade and Mysterio have fantastic chemistry and always put on terrific matches time and time again.
For what it’s worth, I did not think this was their best match. I don’t believe a ladder match suits them best. For whatever reason, it didn’t feel like they could not go all out. It was a really good match, but they have had better.
But there is no need to belabor the point. Andrade winning was the right decision, and Zelina Vega’s interference was hilarious and expected.
2) Drew McIntyre Against Randy Orton
This was an excellent first match between the two. Obviously, I did not like the interference from AJ Styles and The OC, but it was expected. There was no way the WWE would give this ending away on free television.
I hope we see more between McIntyre and Orton because they have a lot of potential for an explosive match between them.
The funniest part of the match was when Orton had McIntyre near the barricade and said to a fan, “Watch out grandma,” to warn her what was coming!
After the interference by AJ Styles and his crew, Orton hit McIntyre with an RKO to stand tall. This ticked Drew off and exclaimed to Randy that on Sunday, he was going to kick his damn head off.
I hope these two face each other again soon.
3) Black Mass!
I am not a massive fan of a squash match, but this is an exception. Black hit a local competitor with a Black Mass, then with the cover, and won. The entire match was maybe five seconds.
There is no need for these types of matches to go very long. The purpose of this is to make Black look strong. Mission accomplished. Black looked like a superstar. Well-done WWE. Keep it short and straightforward.
One Thing I Did Not Like: The Ending of the Show
I did not mind this match, and I thought Lana and Lashley winning was the right call, but as the main event, to a “big four” PPV, it just felt flat.
There was nothing about the Royal Rumble, no fun angle to get the viewers excited for Sunday. Nothing. I thought that was a mistake.
Hopefully, Friday Night Smackdown has a good angle planned because RAW’s ending was flat.
Overall, I thought this was a decent show. There was a really good title match, and a title changed hands. But the Becky Lynch-Asuka segment was forgettable; there are only four women confirmed for Sunday, and it still feels like only three men that can win the Royal Rumble at this point.
If this were a typical show, I would give it a three out of five. However, it is the go-home show of a “big four” PPV, so I expect more. Sadly, we did not get more.
I am giving this week’s RAW a 2.25 out of five.