Friday 29 January 2021

WWE SmackDown Full Show HD 29 January 2021 wwe smackdown highlights 29 January 2021


WWE Smackdown Live 1/29/21 January 29th 2021

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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 29

Sana Ejaz Khan


    It's the last show before WWE Royal Rumble, and you know what that means. Friday Night SmackDown promised to build the excitement to a fever pitch just two days before one of the biggest nights of the year. This January 29 edition of the blue brand was certain to be unpredictable.

    Only one match was promised ahead of the night as Bianca Belair looked to avenge her loss to Bayley. After everything The Role Model has put her through, this was The EST's opportunity for welcomed revenge.

    Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens did not want to wait until Sunday to start the trash talk. SmackDown promised a war of words where KO and The Head of the Table could speak their final piece before an epic Last Man Standing match.

    This was far from all that SmackDown would give fans just days before the Rumble. However, the blue brand was keeping it all under wraps. Could Raw stars invade SmackDown to make a statement? Would new stars earn a slot in the men's or women's Rumble matches? Everyone wanted to build momentum.

    The January 29 edition of SmackDown felt like a monumental occasion and a chance for WWE to truly bring the absolute best to the table before the night that will begin to define the Road to WrestleMania.

AJ Styles Interrupts Daniel Bryan's Impassioned Promise to Win the Men's Rumble

1 OF 6

    Daniel Bryan opened the show to talk about what it meant to him to win the men's Royal Rumble. He wanted to change his life one more time by main eventing WrestleMania one last time. He was not certain of how many more WrestleMania moments he had left.

    He put over Chad Gable and Otis with the Alpha Academy getting him in shape for a long difficult climb to the top. AJ Styles interrupted as part of the quarterly Brand-to-Brand Invitational, setting up e challenge by The Planet's Champion for later in the night.

    Styles pushed Bryan to the mat, and Omos got in the way of The Planet's Champion seeking retribution. Bryan called out Styles for standing behind the big man too often.






    Bryan is one of the best in the world, but his promos each week are growing tiring. He continues to play hype man for the Royal Rumble, spending too much time explaining how the match works. It will be best for him to get past WWE Royal Rumble.

    The quarterly Brand-to-Brand Invitational is a silly technicality that WWE likes to pull out at random times. However, bringing The Phenomenal One to SmackDown just before Royal Rumble was a smart way to hype the event.

    Styles vs. Bryan is a guaranteed fantastic clash of top talent. Both men have been considered the best wrestler in the world, and each time they step into the ring, they steal the show.

Bianca Belair vs. Bayley

2 OF 6


    After a video package was rolled for last week's obstacle course, Bayley explained to Kayla Braxton in a pre-match interview why she was simply better than The EST and would win the women's Royal Rumble.

    The Role Model took over the action early, beating down on The EST. Bayley made a mistake by taunting Belair with her braid, motivating The EST to get physical. She landed a series of punches followed by an impressive standing moonsault for a nearfall.

    Bayley tried to take advantage of the injured left elbow of Belair from last week, stopping her from hitting a Glam Slam. However, The EST fought with all that she had, knocking Bayley loopy with a right hand followed by the KOD for the win.

    Afterward, on the top of the ramp, Braxton asked Belair about how much this win meant to her, and The EST put over Bayley as The Role Model glared at her from inside the ring.



    Belair def. Bayley by pinfall.






    Bayley has been the perfect challenger to introduce Belair to the SmackDown audience. Each segment shows more and more why The EST is not just the future of WWE but good enough to challenge the absolute best already. This match was no different.

    While Belair can just rely on her athletic prowess to shine, she has a complete game in the ring, switching her style to tell a complete story. She just needs time. She and Bayley got it in a really good opening contest. This was completely different from their first fight.

    The main mistake WWE made her was the post-match interview. Belair can cut a promo, but she was exhausted after a long fight. She should not have had to put words together when her actions spoke for themselves.

King Corbin vs. Dominik Mysterio

3 OF 6

    Dominik Mysterio attacked King Corbin from behind while The King was headed to the ring. This only seemed to anger Corbin, who emphatically took over once the match began. He physically beat down Dominik with right hands as Rey Mysterio watched on commentary.

    Rey's son tried everything he could to stay in the action, reversing The King's dangerous attempts injure him. Both men went into the steel post, and Dominik managed to reverse an End of Days attempt into a tilt-a-whirl DDT. However, that could not get the win, and the second End of Days attempt connected to win.

    Afterward, Corbin tried to attack Rey as well, but The Master of the 619 sent him into the steel post outside.



    Corbin def. Dominik by pinfall.






    Corbin vs. the Mysterios has hardly been an interesting rivalry. After Rey and Dominik disappeared from television, the story halted, and their return has made Dominik look like a rookie again rather than the young prodigy he seemed to be against Seth Rollins.

    Dominik has decent chemistry with The King, but each loss has cut off what little momentum Dominik already had. He is back to playing second fiddle to his father. The clear focus is to build up one more match between Corbin and Rey.

    Ideally, this rivalry ends within the next month. However, with The Knights of the Lone Wolf off TV lately as well as Murphy, WWE will likely complicate things again soon with those stars returning.

Roman Reigns Gets Under Kevin Owens' Skin in Their Final Showdown

4 OF 6

    After Kalisto chatted up Sasha Banks, The Boss ran into Reginald, who gave her the "perfect wine to pair with losing" the SmackDown Women's Championship. Banks left the wine bottle with the sommelier to return to Carmella.

    WWE showed a video package for the whole history of Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns. Michael Cole led a final interview between The Head of the Table and KO. Owens explained that he would never stop getting back up on Sunday until he won.

    Paul Heyman initially refused to let Reigns waste his words on KO, but The Head of the Tables heard Owens speak for too long. He blamed Owens' father for raising him the wrong way to believe he could beat a better man. He called him and his whole family fools.

    With each painful word, Owens lost his cool more and more, calling him a fake mob boss. Reigns turned off the camera for his side of the interview as KO yelled at the screen with fire. Owens looked ready to find Reigns and start the fight early.






    WWE hyped up KO and Reigns' interview as the biggest moment of the night, and it absolutely was. Reigns found a way under Owens' skin and exploited it. However, at the same time, KO clearly frustrated his rival by never losing his confidence.

    The Head of the Table promotes himself as a family man while KO prides himself as the ultimate family man. This interview clearly defined the dynamic between these two that has made this story so special. Without being able to defeat Reigns, KO has just made the WWE universal champion better.

    This match could be the best on the whole card. Even if it is not, these two men will tell a special story together as they have all along the way to get to WWE Royal Rumble.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles

5 OF 6

    The Miz and John Morrison got into a fight with Big E backstage about who would make a bigger impact in the men's Royal Rumble match. Sami Zayn tried to recruit Shinsuke Nakamura, but The Artist completely dismissed him.

    AJ Styles told Omos to stay in the back for this match, wanting to prove he can beat The Planet's Champion. Cesaro joined commentary to explain why he has more momentum than either man in the ring.

    After an impressive series to start off the match, Bryan got the upper hand only to be interrupted by Sami Zayn. The distraction allowed The Phenomenal One to knock The Planet's Champion off the top rope to the floor.

    The Master Strategist refused to be left off the show and be silenced, so he spoke to commentary with his camera crew. In the ring, Bryan struggled to get off the ring, trapped in the Calf Crusher until he made it to the bottom rope.

    Bryan shifted his weight to plant Styles with a butterfly suplex that transitioned into the Yes Lock until The Phenomenal One made it to the ropes. Big E arrived and clotheslined The Master Strategist, starting a brawl between everyone.

    Zayn attacked Bryan to cause a disqualification then the heels beat down the faces until Shinsuke Nakamura evened the odds. Cesaro and Nakamura almost came to blows, but Zayn got involved and dumped outside.



    Bryan def. Styles by disqualification.






    While the cheap ending was expected and stopped this match from becoming truly special, Bryan vs. Styles was fantastic once again. The two had a great technical showcase in the midst of chaos at ringside, reminding everyone that they still both have plenty more great matches in store together.

    The two got too much time to wrestle the rest of the hour, so something was always going to happen. With the Rumble Sunday, this was the time to build up a variety of challengers. Bryan and Styles may be more likely to win than most in the match, but WWE needs to build a variety of options.

    The six-man tag team match was only a promise of more action and a story that feels more apprioriate as the Royal Rumble go-home show main event.

Daniel Bryan, Big E and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and Cesaro

6 OF 6

    Daniel Bryan was the first victim of the heels after Sami Zayn caught The Planet's Champion with a chop block. After an emphatic missile dropkick, Bryan finally got to rest his knee, giving an impressive hot tag to Big E that could not be stopped even after a European uppercut from Cesaro.

    The Miz and John Morrison arrived to take out Shinsuke Nakamura at ringside then team up on Big E, forcing the referee to call for another disqualification. Otis arrived, seeing an opportunity to finally get revenge on The A-Lister and The Shaman of Sexy. He cleared both out of the ring.

    The match was restarted as a five-on-four handicap match by Sonya Deville. Again, the heels isolated Bryan, who competed over 30 minutes in the various restarted matches. It looked like the heels had the match won after taking out the other faces, but Sheamus arrived to even the odds.

    Everyone hit impressive offense in a chaotic scene that left Zayn fighting a fresh Celtic Warrior. Sheamus planted him with a Brogue Kick to win. Braun Strowman arrived and took out everyone, hitting a running powerslam on Cesaro to end the night.



    Big E, Bryan and Nakamura def. Cesaro, Styles and Zayn by disqualification; Sheamus, Big E, Bryan, Nakamura and Otis def. Cesaro, Styles, Zayn, Miz and Morrison by pinfall.






    The positive in the original six-man match was seeing more great action. Cesaro and Nakamura gave an early preview of the great match they can have together soon. Bryan and Zayn got back to basics with a fun sequence. Big E got to look like a monster with his hot tag.

    It was just an awkward transition to an unnecessary bigger match because Miz and Morrison had to get involved. All the wrestling here was memorable, and everyone got a small chance to stand out. It just was far too much chaos to enjoy it.

    Strowman ended the night as the big late addition to the men's Royal Rumble match, but everyone knew he would be in the contest without official word. While The Monster Among Men should be seen as a favorite, this moment may have built him up too strong to actually pull it out.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

AEW Dynamite Full Show Live Streaming 27 January 2021


AEW Dynamite Live 1/27/21 January 27th 2021

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AEW Dynamite Live 1/27/21 January 27th 2021 Preview

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# 8PM ET – AEW Dynamite Live 1/27/21 January 27th 2021.
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– AEW Dynamite Live 1/27/21 January 27th 2021 Match Card.

Singles Match
Dax v Jungle Boy

Singles Match
Dr. Britt v Shanna

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Hangman v Hunk

Singles Match
Lance Archer v Eddie Kingston

The Elites Vs Darkorder Tagteam Match
YoungBucks & Good Brothers Vs Darkorders Evil Uno, Grayson, Silver & Reynolds.

# Jon Moxley Promo about the 6 Man Tag Title Match in Beach Break

# Promo, Sting & Allin Address their street fight against team taz.

# Promo, Cody Reponds to Shaq

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WWE NXT Full Show Live Streaming 27 January 2021


WWE NxT Live 1/27/21 January 27th 2021

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WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 27

Sana Ejaz Khan


    January is a special month every year in NXT due to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. This year, it is especially clear as tag team wrestling has taken over the product completely.

    Finn Balor has had trouble with Pete Dunne, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, but before he could get to The Bruiserweight, he needed help to take out the help. Kyle O'Reilly agreed to work with his rival to take on a common enemy.

    In the men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, the quarterfinals have arrived. The Grizzled Young Veterans faced a tough fight in the new alliance of Leon Ruff and Kushida. Both have built momentum from nowhere, but Zack Gibson and James Drake were ready to take advantage of their inexperience as a team.

    The other match in the Dusty Classic included newcomers to NXT. The team of Wes Lee and Nash Carter, MSK, made an emphatic statement with an opening-round win against Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Jake Atlas. In the quarterfinals, they faced Drake Maverick and Killian Dain, the odd couple that has managed to work.

    For the women's Dusty Classic match of the night, Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai stepped into the ring with the lesser-known alliance of Aliyah and Jessi Kamea. It seemed like a lopsided affair, but Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter already proved that anything is possible in this tournament.

    With major stakes on a night dominated by tag team wrestling, only the best would emerge victory. This was sure to be a special night for the black-and-gold brand.

Men's Dusty Rhodes Classic: MSK vs. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain

1 OF 7


    MSK used quick tags early to wear down Drake Maverick, showcasing a unique blend of speed and ingenuity. Killian Dain got into the ring to use Maverick as a human weapon to keep the team's hopes alive. MSK found a unique challenge in a chaotic energy of Maverick and Dain.

    Maverick almost caught Wes Lee by stacking him up, but Lee kicked out at two-and-a-half. Nash Carter tagged in, and the two hit an elevated standing blockbuster for the win.



    MSK def. Maverick and Dain by pinfall to advance in the men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.






    This felt too short, but the talent delivered. Maverick especially worked well with MSK, who played a unique role as the dominant performers. For the most part, they will be the face team coming back against top heel tag teams in the future.

    At some point, Maverick and Dain deserve a serious run at the NXT Tag Team Championships, but it was never to be this year. MSK has impressed so far and acclimated well to the black-and-gold brand style. Hopefully, they will get a chance to show their personality soon.

Women's Dusty Classic: Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai vs. Aliyah and Jessi Kamea

2 OF 7


    A video package ahead of this tag team match explained why both teams wanted this victory.

    Jessi Kamea got beat down by Raquel Gonzalez early, but Aliyah got into the ring with Dakota Kai to almost turn it around. Robert Stone tried to encourage the underdogs, but Gonzalez stopped a Kamea hot tag easily and planted her with a single-arm powerbomb for the win.



    Gonzalez and Kai def. Aliyah and Kamea by pinfall to advance in the women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.






    This was almost a squash, but the member of the Robert Stone Brand got a little more offense than expected. It made sense that the most established heel women's team in NXT would look so good against a pair of wrestlers that rarely win.

    It could have been fun to see more from them. The Robert Stone Brand has been absent so long that this could have been a soft reboot. Instead, it was made clear that Aliyah will never be the plan in NXT. Kamea has a chance but just needs more of a character.

Tyler Rust (w/ Malcolm Bivens) vs. Danny Garcia

3 OF 7

    A preview was shown for Tegan Nox's rehab with Brie Larson on Larson's YouTube channel. In a pre-taped interview, Malcolm Bivens explained that last week was just a blip on the radar for Tyler Rust.

    Rust punished Danny Garcia by targeting the elbow of his opponent. However, Garcia showed his focus by using his speed to almost pull off an upset. Luckily, Bivens ended the match smiling after Rust caught Garcia in the Rings of Saturn for the win.



    Rust def. Garcia by submission.






    This was the right setup for a squash, and the match was well-wrestled by both performers. Garcia gave Rust fits along the way to show that the rising star is still not ready for serious top stars yet, but ultimately Rust picked up an impressive win.

    Bivens is going to continue to give Rust easy matches, so this could get tiring. For the moment, it was the right spot. Rust is a future star. He just needs momentum and the right opportunity.

Men's Dusty Rhodes Classic: Leon Ruff and Kushida vs. Grizzled Young Veterans

4 OF 7


    Zack Gibson mocked Kushida and Leon Ruff for their lack of experience as a tag team, but The Grizzled Young Veterans shut up quickly when the faces got an early advantage with impressive and focused tag team offense.

    The Japanese Superstar continued to dominate with submission focus when he was in the ring, even as Gibson and James Drake tagged in and out to stay healthy. However, Kushida still could not stay in the fight alone forever.

    Ruff got a hot tag, almost taking the win with a senton bomb, but Drake saved his partner at the perfect moment. Grizzled Young Veterans planted Ruff with Ticket to Mayhem. Afterward, Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory beat down Kushida until Dexter Lumis scared them off.



    Grizzled Young Veterans def. Kushida and Ruff by pinfall to advance in the men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.






    This was fun nonstop action. Kushida and Ruff work well as the underdogs, working from underneath, especially against a great opportunistic tag team like The Grizzled Young Veterans. There was not much story behind the chaos, but that worked all the same.

    Grizzled Young Veterans continue to work at the highest level as a tag team. It is unlikely they will beat either Undisputed Era or Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa, but Drake and Gibson should win tag team gold by the end of 2021.

Toni Storm Makes Her Intentions Clear to Io Shirai and Mercedes Martinez

5 OF 7

    McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Curt Stallion about who he is. Stallion explained how much he had put into this business to get to NXT and how much more he will do to make his name as NXT cruiserweight champion. Legado del Fantasma injured Stallion backstage to avoid a title match.

    William Regal told Santos Escobar he would defend his title next week no matter what. The champion found a card below his championship as a calling card for some mysterious challenger.

    Toni Storm blamed Io Shirai from taking history away from her multiple times and now wanted to make history by taking something away from The Genius of the Sky, the NXT Women's Championship.

    Shirai arrived and told Storm she would fight her anywhere and any time. Mercedes Martinez planted Shirai before Storm and Martinez got in each other's faces. Shirai dropkicked them both, but Storm recovered and laid out the NXT women's champion to stand tall.






    WWE continues to build up Curt Stallion from an unknown to a worthy challenger. He is the only man Escobar has seemed afraid of to date, actively getting in the way of his No. 1 contender challenging him. It will be interesting to see what they can do next week.

    Storm and Shirai have serious chemistry. The two can main-event NXT TakeOver together. Martinez is also a worthy and interesting rival to The Genius of the Sky. This may end up as a triple threat, but we all deserve Shirai in singles matches with both challengers.

"The Colossal" Bronson Reed vs. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott

6 OF 7

    Adam Cole and Roderick Strong promised they were tougher than Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher. The Blackheart and the technician sat together and talked about their respect for each other after their fight. NXT aired an Imperium vignette on their plans for NXT.

    Isaiah "Swerve" Scott told McKenzie Mitchell that he was finally seeing the hypocrisy of NXT, blaming him for everything while ignoring others' attitude.

    Swerve went right after the right shoulder of Bronson Reed, giving him leverage to wear down and ground The Colossal in the mat. Scott made a mistake by not putting his opponent away, allowing Reed to fight back. Swerve caught The Colossal on the top rope and planted him on his shoulder.

    Scott hit a huge 450 splash that nearly took the victory. A slap to the face by Swerve woke up Reed, who planted Scott with a clothesline and then hit the Tsunami for the win.



    Reed def. Swerve by pinfall.






    This was the best Swerve and Reed have been together. It was the first time Scott felt like he had a legitimate chance to win. However, The Colossal remains too limited in his overall repertoire to have absolute showstealers.

    Reed clearly has become a focus for NXT. He has the size and talent to stand out. However, he is still a few steps away from truly feeling like a main event act. Swerve has more star power, but his size may forever hold him back, especially as an opportunistic heel.

Finn Balor and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch

7 OF 7

    Kyle O'Reilly gritted his teeth to fight through his jaw injury, but Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch gladly took advantage. Finn Balor shifted the momentum whenever he was in the ring, but he had to tag in and out to keep himself fresh, allowing the heels to wear down his former rival.

    At a certain point, The Prince could no longer watch from the sidelines. He tagged in and found himself struggling with the physical tag team work of the heels. The NXT tag team champions dominated with uppercuts and smart double-team impact offense.

    With time to recover, O'Reilly went off on the hot tag and managed to trap Burch in a leg trap for the submission. Afterward, Pete Dunne arrived and worked with Burch and Lorcan to hurt The Prince, breaking his fingers.

    Adam Cole and Roderick Strong were too slow to make the save, but eventually Undisputed Era stood tall with Balor until The Prince tolled away to walk alone.



    Balor and O'Reilly def. Lorcan and Burch by pinfall.






    The main event felt old-school. The tag team action was nothing truly special, but it was always consistently solid. The tag team champions dominated throughout only to lose at the end. It was the latest example of WWE showing a lack of clear respect to the current NXT tag team champions.

    Balor vs. Dunne is going to be special. The inclusion of Undisputed Era felt unnecessary, but UE has been too consistently connected to Dunne, Lorcan and Burch not to get involved. Hopefully, O'Reilly is at least out of the title picture for a few months to get some wins back.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

WWE Superstar Spectacle 2021 1/26/21 Full Show HD


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Monday 25 January 2021

WWE Raw Full Show 25 January 2021 WWE Raw Highlights 25 January 2021


WWE Raw 1/25/21 January 21st 2021

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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 25

Sana Ejaz Khan


    Six days before the Royal Rumble, WWE Raw hit the USA Network needing to build anticipation and excitement for the annual extravaganza and sought to do so with a faceoff between WWE champion Drew McIntyre and Hall of Fame No. 1 contender Goldberg.

    That segment headlined a show that also saw a championship defense and another Superstar looking to earn a title opportunity.

    What went down, who built momentum heading into Sunday's event and what does it mean for the Raw brand moving forward?

    Find out with this recap of the January 25 broadcast.

Drew McIntyre and Goldberg Face Off, The Miz Teases Money in the Bank

1 OF 11


    WWE champion Drew McIntyre returned two weeks after his positive COVID-19 diagnosis for a showdown with Goldberg, six nights before his date with the Hall of Famer at Royal Rumble.

    McIntyre discussed his recovery from the illness and put over his top contender, noting that Goldberg has defeated every opponent he has come back and challenged. He vowed to put an end to the WCW icon's newest streak...just in time for Mr. Money in the Bank The Miz and John Morrison to interrupt the proceedings.

    The former tag team champions teased Miz cashing in Money in the Bank on Sunday night.

    Goldberg entered the ThunderDome and came face-to-face with McIntyre. "You. Me. Sunday. You're next."

    The babyfaces wiped out Miz and Morrison with a spear and a Claymore, respectively, before coming face-to-face once more in a final sell-job for their PPV title clash.






    There is a lot to be said about WWE turning to another star of yesteryear to bolster one of its pay-per-view main events, but in terms of putting the final sell on Goldberg vs. McIntyre, this worked extremely well, and that is because the company's creative team didn't overthink things.

    Goldberg is a badass. McIntyre is a badass. This had a badass staredown and let the visual speak volumes. On top of it all, WWE Creative planted the seeds for Miz to cash in Money in the Bank in a moment that would throw WrestleMania prognosticators into an uproar.

    A hot start to the show.

Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler...Until It Wasn't

2 OF 11


    A year ago, Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler would have been a pay-per-view main event.

    Monday, the second-generation competitor and The Queen of Spades battled in a singles match that lasted mere seconds before Nia Jax saved partner Baszler, drawing a disqualification. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke hit the ring to fend off the heels until Lacey Evans joined the fray, an all-out brawl leading into the commercial break.

    Predictably, a Six-Woman Tag Team match ensued following the timeout.

    Flair and Baszler paired off briefly before the fight spilled to the floor. Then, referee John Cone called for the bell, stating the latter did not beat the count back into the ring. He awarded the contest to the babyfaces.

    WWE official Adam Pearce restarted the match during the break.

    Jax downed Brooke, wearing her out with a modified cobra clutch. Brooke fought her way back into the match and made the tag to Rose. The Golden Goddess laid out Evans while Flair flattened Baszler with a spear.

    Brooke continued her gutsy fight with Jax, only for The Irresistible Force to deliver a choke bomb and leg drop for the pinfall victory.



    Flair defeated Baszler via disqualification

    Flair, Rose and Brooke defeated Baszler, Jax and Evans

    Baszler, Jax and Evans defeated Flair, Rose and Brooke






    Two false finishes? That botched countout?

    Why WWE decided it was necessary to overbook a match it very easily could have booked from the get-go is a question only it can answer, but the result was a confusing couple of minutes that ultimately gave way to a fun, energetic tag bout that highlighted Jax.

    It's not surprising that WWE opted to put the emphasis on her, either. The Royal Rumble match is one that, historically, features a dominant competitor at some point. Jax can fill that role, the female equivalent to Big Show or Kane.

    Would it have meant more if she pinned Flair? Sure, but it served its purpose.

Xavier Woods vs. Slapjack

3 OF 11


    Mustafa Ali's personal vendetta against Kofi Kingston again reared its ugly head this week as the beloved babyface's tag team partner Xavier Woods battled Ali's Retribution henchman Slapjack.

    Woods took the fight to the masked villain, rocking him with the Honor Roll and picking up the win with a shining wizard, staring at Ali as he made the cover.

    After the match, T-Bar flattened Woods on the floor and then joined Mace for a double chokeslam bomb at the direction of Ali. The leader of the faction ordered Slapjack to retrieve a chair and then demanded Woods look at him.

    Ali sat in front of Woods and addressed him. "All this talk of being a king of the ring, but you sure look like a peasant now." He told Woods to deliver a message to Kingston: Though Kofi cannot compete because of injury, there is a replacement. And his name? Mustafa Ali.



    Woods defeated Slapjack






    Ali is one of the most engaging and intriguing characters on Raw, and this storyline with New Day is great stuff. "KofiMania happened at my expense!" he exclaimed in his pre-match promo and then sent the former WWE champion a message in an apropos twist of fate.

    See, Kingston capitalized on an opportunity presented him as a result of Ali's injury. Now, Ali enters the Royal Rumble match as a replacement for the injured Kofi. It's karmic, and while Ali is unlikely to win, it throws gasoline on a fire that should result in some great in-ring work and storyline potential when Kingston returns from injury.

Riddle and R-Truth Interrupt 'The VIP Lounge'

4 OF 11


    The Hurt Business hit the ring for another edition of "The VIP Lounge."

    United States champion Bobby Lashley and Raw tag team champions Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin expressed their gratitude for MVP's belief in them by presenting him with a "THB" necklace. Alexander took credit, further creating tension between him and Benjamin, before 24/7 champion R-Truth interrupted.

    The usual suspects arrived in time to chase after the 24/7 title but found themselves on the receiving end of a beatdown at the hands of the no-nonsense Hurt Business. This left MVP alone in the ring, where Riddle appeared and rocked him with a big knee strike.

    Riddle escaped, leaving the dismayed faction to stare him down.






    This was fine for what it was and further hinted at an eventual split between an overzealous, overconfident Alexander and an increasingly peeved Benjamin.

    Beyond that, it was further proof that three hours is entirely too long for a wrestling show and leads to the presentation of mostly unnecessary segments. Everything about this could have been accomplished in the framework of a match rather than in an entirely separate segment leading to a match featuring the same crop of Superstars later in the show.

    It overexposes the talent and gives fans the option of changing the channel if they are not sold on what they have seen out of the performers.

Sheamus vs. John Morrison

5 OF 11


    Earlier in the afternoon, Sheamus and John Morrison were announced for the Royal Rumble match. In the evening, they battled in a singles match while The Miz, totally coincidentally in wrestling gear, watched from the floor.

    A spirited back-and-forth exchange early gave way to Sheamus grounding Morrison with an armbar. The Shaman of Sexy recovered briefly but ate an Irish Curse as the former WWE champion continued to control the pace.

    Morrison finally turned the tide in his favor, targeting the left leg of The Celtic Warrior.

    Sheamus caught Morrison mid-flight and drove him into the mat en route to a near-fall. The heel answered, hanging his opponent up on the top rope. Sheamus rebounded, rocked Morrison with a knee to the face and put him away with White Noise for the win.

    After the match, Miz challenged Sheamus to a two-on-one match, citing the need to "keep your head on a swivel."



    Sheamus defeated Morrison






    Anyone who remembers the battles Sheamus and Morrison had a decade ago knows how good, physical and hard-fought they were. This was a nice reminder, as the strikes were solid and the chemistry was clearly still there.

    The only thing hurting the match's ability to garner a higher grade was the lack of time. This felt very much like a match that had a lot more to offer but fell victim to time constraints. Given how good this was, WWE officials might want to consider a rematch on a grander stage at some point in time.

    The Miz issuing the challenge for a handicap match is, as we have already discussed, textbook WWE overexposing its talent.

Sheamus vs. John Morrison and The Miz

6 OF 11


    Back from the break, Miz and Morrison beat down Sheamus, using the numbers game to their advantage as they punished The Celtic Warrior and wore him down ahead of Sunday's Royal Rumble match.

    The fight spilled to the floor, where the former tag team champions downed him. Miz and Morrison punished Sheamus, dominating him for the majority of their clash.

    The Irishman fought back, laid into the opposition with 10 Beats of the Bodhran for each man and set up for the Brogue Kick. Morrison grabbed his leg, but Sheamus recovered and rocked him with his finisher. The Miz capitalized on an opening and delivered the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.



    Miz and Morrison defeated Sheamus






    This really positioned Sheamus as a world-beater, a guy who showed tremendous guts in accepting the challenge of former tag champs and nearly upset them. His performance on this night is most notable, but it still raises the question: Why did this handicap match exist?

    Miz and Morrison got back a semblance of heat, but a win in a handicap match does not make up for Morrison's loss moments earlier and the ass-whupping they caught in the opening segment. No one really benefited from this, especially considering we already knew Sheamus is double-tough.

    It was, like most segments when WWE looks to eat up time with overly long matches, good enough but not at all a necessary part of the show.

R-Truth vs. AJ Styles

7 OF 11


    Earlier in the show, R-Truth told Adam Pearce he wanted an opportunity to prove he could compete in the Royal Rumble match. AJ Styles, on a roll of denying Superstars said opportunity, stepped up to battle the 24/7 champion in a non-title bout.

    An angry, determined and focused Styles systematically picked Truth apart. When the beloved babyface tossed him to the floor in a preview of Sunday's Rumble, Styles answered with raw intensity.

    Truth again mounted an offensive, channeling John Cena as he delivered the Five Knuckle Shuffle. An attempt at the STF proved costly as Styles reversed into the Calf Crusher for the win.



    Styles defeated Truth






    Well, this got Styles on television and reminded us that Omos is really, really tall.

    Otherwise, it was an uncompetitive match that saw a former world champion beat a comedy act.


'Alexa's Playground'

8 OF 11


    Ahead of her Raw women's title match against Asuka later in the show, Alexa Bliss joined us for a remote edition of "Alexa's Playground" and recapped the last few weeks in her feud with Randy Orton.

    She said she could not wait to see "him" again, a reference to The Fiend, before revealing that she doesn't feel like playing this week.

    The camera shot a close-up and, with the magic of preproduction, flashed bits and pieces of The Fiend's face with a voice-over of "let me in" while Bliss stared menacingly into the camera.






    Was this little more than a recap segment? Sure.

    Was Alexa Bliss utterly fantastic? Hell yeah.

    Little Miss Bliss has been nothing short of extraordinary and one of the bright spots in some pretty awful episodes of Raw. She has completely embraced this character, and the result is one of the most interesting and engaging characters on the show.

    It was on full display here, and the segment worked exponentially because of it.

Riddle Runs the Gauntlet

9 OF 11


    Riddle entered a gauntlet match for the opportunity to challenge United States champion Bobby Lashley on Monday night and immediately faced fierce competition in the form of Shelton Benjamin.

    The former intercontinental champion downed Riddle with a spinebuster and dominated the majority of the action. An ill-timed bit of interference from Cedric Alexander distracted the referee and robbed Benjamin of a roll-up win. Seconds later, Riddle pinned him with a victory roll to eliminate Benjamin.

    MVP, playing peacemaker, fell prey to a heel hook by Riddle and had no choice but to tap out.

    Back from the commercial break, Alexander rocked his opponent with a gutbuster. Riddle answered with strikes, but Alexander downed him and scored a near-fall. MVP corrected him from ringside, telling him he would have had the win had he cradled his head, his tone that of a frustrated mentor.

    Riddle delivered an exploder. Alexander countered a triangle choke with a powerbomb. Riddle recovered and caught Alexander with another victory roll for the win.

    Lashley wasted no time sending a message to Riddle, beating him down and leaving him lying in the aisle.



    Riddle defeated Benjamin, MVP and Alexander






    Riddle and Alexander tore the house down in the final third of this gauntlet match, demonstrating the sort of chemistry that creates genuine excitement for an eventual showdown between them. Everything was smooth, flawless even. They cut an even pace and showcased some strong grappling and counter-wrestling until the finish.

    It is that finish, as well as the mounting dissension within Hurt Business specifically involving Alexander, that really put this over the top.

    What started subtly as professional envy on the part of Benjamin has evolved into overconfidence, arrogance even, on the part of Alexander. That is costing The Hurt Business the dominance it has enjoyed to this point. MVP's prized addition may be the very piece that brings about the group's unraveling.

    That thread has helped make for one of the best ongoing stories on the Raw brand.

Edge's Announcement

10 OF 11


    Edge returned to WWE television Monday with an update on his injury status.

    He recalled the words of his mother shortly after he was forced to retire nearly a decade ago, giving up a World Heavyweight Championship he never lost.

    He talked about the long journey back and the injury that derailed his comeback a year ago.

    Finally, The Rated-R Superstar announced his entry into the Royal Rumble match this Sunday night in the biggest blockbuster announcement of the show to this point.






    Edge delivered his typically excellent emotion-filled promo, painting the picture for the audience and letting them know how incredibly important going out on his terms is to him.

    He reminded us of the obstacles before looking forward, announcing his return in the Rumble and leaving it up to fate, determination and grit to decide whether he will have the outcome he so desires.

    The announcement adds another layer to Sunday's pay-per-view and provided that boost in significance to a show that had done a rather so-so job of conveying the importance of the event to The Road to WrestleMania.

Raw Women's Championship Match: Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss

11 OF 11


    A week after thoroughly defeating Asuka, Alexa Bliss sought to win a shiny new toy as she challenged The Empress of Tomorrow for the Raw Women's Championship.

    She threw the already-concerned champion off early in the match, tossing her to the floor and then riding a toy horse in the middle of the ring.

    She dominated the action, overwhelming Asuka with an arsenal of mind games.

    The champion mounted a late-match comeback before Bliss' old theme music played and she appeared in her old Goddess apparel. Appearing confused and scared, she lured Asuka in and sent her into the corner. The lights dimmed and a pink light engulfed the ring.

    Bliss shook off a knee to the face and applied the Mandible Claw...just in time for a burned Randy Orton to appear and deliver an RKO. The show went off the air with Orton standing over Bliss.



    Bliss defeated Asuka via disqualification






    The layout of the match and the theatricality within is not something everyone will be eager to embrace. Traditional wrestling fans will denounce it, while fans of theatricality will champion what this Bliss character brings to the table.

    It creates controversy and debate, something that is rarely bad in wrestling.

    With that said, there is a very real issue with the way Asuka has been used throughout her title reign.

    Never the star, always the second-most-important performer in any storyline she has appeared, she continues to be underutilized and mismanaged by a creative team that has never understood or embraced what Triple H and NXT accomplished with her.

    She deserves better than that.

    Randy Orton dropping Bliss with an RKO was the next natural progression in this story, so the show-closing angle was fine in that regard. Unless The Fiend returns at the Rumble, this was a curious conclusion to the final episode of Raw before the PPV.

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