WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Brock Lesnar delivers message, Seth Rollins recruits new follower
Lesnar sent a message about his plans for the Royal Rumble while Rollins added firepower to his group
While it was unclear what the exact rules were for a "fist fight" coming into WWE Raw from Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on Monday night, fans were left with a memorable moment when the match came to an end and Seth Rollins embraced a new follower. In addition to Rollins enlisting the services of a new henchman on this week's Raw, WWE champion Brock Lesnar was present in the arena to continue delivering dire warnings of what was coming when he steps into the Royal Rumble as the first entrant on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Let's have a look now at what went down on a landscape-changing edition of Raw on Monday night.
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Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman send another message
Paul Heyman, speaking on behalf of Lesnar as usual, riled up the Kentucky crowd by calling them stupid for trying to participate in his standard Lesnar introduction. The crowd began chanting "you suck," leading Lesnar and Heyman to leave the ring and start walking to the back. Heyman stopped in the entryway before they came back to the ring. Heyman again pointed out Lesnar's plans to enter the Royal Rumble first and emerge as the winner before reminding everyone there is a new streak going on in WWE: the streak of his correct predictions surrounding Lesnar.
Heyman's rantings were interrupted by the music of another WWE champion -- WWE 24/7 champ R-Truth. Truth said he saw something on TV about the Royal Rumble, and Lesnar may be the "most favorite to win," but his "childhood hero" John Cena taught him to never give up. Truth then officially declared himself in the Rumble. He said he knew that Heyman would be thrown over the top rope before Heyman pointed out it was Lesnar, not himself, who was actually in the Rumble, at which point Truth "un-declared" himself from the match. Predictably, Truth was quickly taken down by Lesnar and hit with an F-5. Lesnar picked up the 24/7 title and laughed before throwing it on Truth.
Truth's bits were funny enough, but the lack of interaction with top stars for Lesnar always feels off when he shows up on Raw. Heyman can hit all the right notes on the mic to add weight to Lesnar's status, and he masterfully worked the crowd into a frenzy rather than having them play along with the "singalong" antics. But the only man who wanted to step in the ring and deliver a message was R-Truth, and only because he thought Heyman was in the Rumble, not Lesnar? That just doesn't do much for anyone. Grade: C
Seth Rollins brings Buddy Murphy under his wing
Both sides in the main event fist fight cut backstage promos earlier in the show. Rollins talked up AOP and made it clear anyone who wasn't with his group was against them. He also said that no one on the roster has sacrificed more than anyone can ever understand for the good of the locker room. On the other side, Samoa Joe was telling Kevin Owens not to worry about the rules when Big Show arrived and doubled down on the lack of concern over the rules of the match, showing off the size of his fist and saying it was all they would need.
Aleister Black def. Buddy Murphy via pinfall after two Black Mass kicks. Another outstanding math between the two men came to an end following Black hitting his trademark kick twice to score his third straight win over Murphy. After the match, Murphy sulked against the ringside barrier, refusing to speak to Charly Caruso when she attempted to interview him there. He stayed in that spot through Erick Rowan's weekly destruction of an enhancement talent before the main event kicked off.
Seth Rollins & AOP (Akam & Rezar) def. Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & Big Show via stoppage in a fist fight. Murphy was still sitting outside the ring, despairing over his loss to Black. After the initial chaos of the match, Rollins implored Murphy to help, which he did in delivering a low blow to Big Show. Owens and KO were powerbombed through a table on the entrance ramp, leaving Show in the ring with AOP, Rollins and Black. After AOP hit a tandem powerbomb on Show, Murphy helped set him up for a Stomp from Rollins, which brought the match to a close. Raw came to an end with Rollins and Murphy hugging in the center of the ring.
There was a sense of frustration with the way Murphy's rivalry with Black had played out. Black had won clean three times, and while they were great matches, it felt like it was time for Murphy to fade to the background as he had after two great 2019 matches with Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. But the loss spurred him to look for hope somewhere new, and that's what "The Monday Night Messiah" has been offering. The group is now stronger, has another top-shelf worker and Murphy has life as a character beyond being a guy who can just turn in show-stealing matches. The moment was one that helped everyone involved in the segment, and that's the most you can ask for from any angle in pro wrestling. Grade: A-
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- Becky Lynch and Asuka participated in an in-ring contract signing for their Royal Rumble title match. Contract signings never go smoothly, so after very little fanfare, Asuka sprayed Lynch in the face with the green mist once both women had put pen to paper. After the staff helped a screaming Lynch flush her eyes at ringside, the champion was furious. While she admitted Asuka was the one woman who seemingly had her number, she promised she'd go down swinging and would drag Asuka down with her.
- Drew McIntyre def. AJ Styles (via pinfall) and Randy Orton after a Claymore Kick on Orton and pinning Styles. Orton opened the show with an in-ring promo where he called out Styles, and the two engaged in a bit of back-and-forth over who would win the Royal Rumble -- and who had the better RKO after Styles used the move last week -- before McIntyre interrupted to initiate a triple threat match. Orton scored a near-fall after hitting a Styles Clash on Styles after multiple attempts by "The Phenomenal One" to hit the RKO. Styles reversed an RKO from Orton, only to be caught with the move seconds later. Before Orton could get the pin, McIntyre ran in to deliver a Claymore Kick to Orton before pinning Styles for the victory.
- Ricochet def. Mojo Rawley via pinfall after the 630. As is the case during so many matches leading to the Royal Rumble, Ricochet threw Rawley out of the ring at one point, allowing talk of how he will be able to throw larger men out of the ring.
- The Street Profits cut a backstage promo, largely discussing the the upcoming street fight. Angelo Dawkins was "working on his Oscars ballot" before the two threw the action back to Charlotte Flair entering the arena.
- Charlotte Flair def. Sarah Logan via submission after locking in the Figure-Eight. Logan tried to make things less wrestling match and more fight, leading to a brawl at ringside. Once action went back to the ring, it didn't take long for Flair to lock in her signature submission and secure the tap. After the match, Flair tossed Logan over the top and out of the ring.
- 24/7 Championship -- Mojo Rawley def. R-Truth (c) via pinfall to win the title. As Truth was being helped to the back after being attacked by Lesnar, Rawley hit a big boot and scored a pin to take the title.
- Bobby Lashley def. Rusev via pinfall after a spear. Lashley and Lana were interviewed earlier in the night, claiming they had decided everyone is jealous of them and made a New Year's resolution to "crush Rusev." The match saw good back-and-forth action between the two rivals. Liv Morgan eventually came to ringside to confront Lana, leading Lana to throw a drink in her face and launch her into the barricade to take her out and use the distraction for Lashley to hit a spear for the win. Next week will see Lashley and Lana team up to face Rusev and Morgan.
- Zelina Vega and Andrade spoke backstage following the announcement of a U.S. title ladder match with Rey Mysterio for next week. Vega said Andrade has been man enough to handle a washed-up legend in Rey Mysterio, including stealing his mask. Vega said they have filed a criminal report against Mysterio after he attacked Andrade and stole back his mask and the United States championship, before saying Mysterio was a disgrace to Latinos and to his son Dominick.
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