Monday's edition of Raw, the first of 2021, was Legends Night featuring appearances some of the biggest stars in the history of WWE. Unfortunately, the involvement of the legends led to a highly unsatisfying end to the championship match between WWE champion Drew McIntyre and Keith Lee and a generally good show overall.
After McIntyre outlasted Lee in an incredible, hard-hitting match, Goldberg appeared in the ThunderDome to issue a Royal Rumble challenge to the champ. Goldberg's motivation made little sense in the big picture. Worse, it will tie McIntyre up for a major pay-per-view event in a match almost no one wants to see.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action. Read on for everything you need to know coming out of the Legends Night edition of Raw.
McIntyre survives Lee, gets challenged
Midway through the show, McIntyre was talking to Sheamus backstage with Sheamus asking McIntyre to give Lee an extra kick to the head for him. They duo were then interrupted by Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart, with Hogan giving McIntyre a motivational speech. Hogan said McIntyre reminds him of himself before the two posed together to end the segment. Lee got his own brief pep talk from Riddle, who told him, "New year, new champ."
WWE Championship -- Drew McIntyre (c) def. Keith Lee via pinfall to retain the title: Lee knocked McIntyre from the ring twice in the early moments of the match. After the second time, Lee hit McIntyre with a pounce, sending him flying over the ringside barricade. Lee continued to dominate the action after the fight returned to the ring, throwing McIntyre around with ease. McIntyre finally came back with a huge belly-to-belly suplex, tossing Lee across the ring and eventually hitting Lee with a powerbomb through the ringside announce table. Lee hit an unbelievable Spanish fly from the top rope, scoring a near fall as the intensity continued to ramp up. Lee caught a Claymore, countered into a Spirit Bomb attempt, but McIntyre escaped before hitting the Claymore for the win.
McIntyre grabbed the mic after the match, but was cut off by Bill Goldberg's music before Goldberg made his way to the ring. Goldberg said McIntyre is a great representative to be champion, but the one thing he doesn't have is respect. Goldberg said McIntyre views the legends in attendance as washed up, and that lack of respect led Goldberg to lay down a challenge for the Royal Rumble. McIntyre said that would be like fighting his dad and Goldberg shoved him to the canvas to end the show.
First things first: The match between McIntyre and Lee was a wonderful bit of power wrestling that showcased both men and left them looking good after the final bell. As far as TV matches, it was wonderful in telling a self-contained story and having plenty of drama, including a hot finishing stretch. Then Goldberg happened. Goldberg's appearance sucked every bit of energy out of the post-match. Making the whole thing even worse, Goldberg's issues with McIntyre made no sense. Where did the idea of McIntyre -- who has been the ultimate face champion -- having no respect for the legends come from? It was pulled out of thin air to give Goldberg some sort of reason to issue a challenge and not appear to be a heel when being a heel would be absolutely fine. Even more than all of that, however, is that there is absolutely no need for Goldberg to be involved in any match, let alone a major pay-per-view title match. It's nonsense and a tired ratings grab that WWE should be beyond with the unprecedented level of talent on their roster right now. Let's change things up for the grades to be fair to all parties. Match grade: A | Goldberg grade: F
Randy Orton tries to sculpt his hatred
Orton was interviewed backstage and said the voices in his head were telling him to light Alexa Bliss on fire last week as the show went off the air. Orton said he ultimately couldn't do it and showed restraint and compassion, meaning he was changed by interacting with the Fiend. But, he said, he can sculpt the new hatred he had for himself and direct it toward someone else. Instead of talking about The Fiend, he wanted to take a walk, find some legends and remind them why he is "The Legend Killer." Orton confronted The Big Show backstage, trying to goad him into a fight. Orton asked Ric Flair to walk him down the aisle again, but Flair argued with him, saying he'd never walk with Orton again after Orton punt kicked him last year. Orton ran down Flair, saying that now, he is nothing but an old man.
Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy via pinfall after an RKO. Orton went at Hardy aggressively early, taking him to the outside and repeatedly slamming his head into the announce table. Hardy fought back, going on a run of offense that set him up to head to the top for a swanton bomb, but Orton rolled out of the ring before Hardy could make the jump. Orton eventually dug his fingers into Hardy's gauged ears and pulled, similar to what he had done to the piercings in their Hell in a Cell match in 2018. Hardy fought back, but a Twist of Fate attempt was countered into the RKO for the finish.
Orton and Hardy put on a fine match, as they've done plenty of times in the past. The failing of this whole thing is in Orton promising to use his self-hatred to form some sort of more dangerous version of himself. He spent the show confronting legends and being a jerk. That's fine, that's Randy Orton. But ,after lighting The Fiend on fire and threatening to do the same to Alexa Bliss, walking around and being a jerk doesn't feel like proving why he is "The Legend Killer" or becoming a more dangerous version of himself. He was aggressive against Hardy, but Orton is an aggressive wrestler by nature. And the ear spot is something he has done in the past also. This felt like a downshift for Orton, which wasn't what was promised. Grade: C
What else happened on WWE Raw?
The New Day def. The Miz & John Morrison via pinfall after Woods hit Morrison with a shining wizard. The Miz and John Morrison opened the show with Miz TV, only to have the segment hijacked by The New Day. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods said Miz and Morrison were actually their guests on the new show, "New Day Talks." After some back-and-forth, Teddy Long interrupted to tell Miz and Morrison they would face The Undertaker, only to have Adam Pearce interrupt and Long to correct himself that the duo would face The New Day. Woods would hit a shining wizard on Morrison to score the win. Orton also confronted Mark Henry, who has an injured leg, telling Henry he owes him "a lot of receipts."
24/7 Championship -- R-Truth pinned Angel Garza (c) to win the title. Garza talked to various legends backstage, bragging about his 24/7 title, and ultimately being blown off by Sgt. Slaughter, Tatanka, Mickie James and Alicia Fox. Later, Torrie Wilson sent Garza into a room where she said he'd find Cardi B. Instead, Garza found The Boogeyman, causing him to run from the room and into R-Truth, who pinned him to win the title.
AJ Styles def. Elias via pinfall after hitting a Styles Clash. Jaxson Ryker tried to attack Styles with a guitar after the match, but Omos kicked through the guitar to make the save.
Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce def. Charlotte Flair & Asuka via pinfall when Ric Flair accidentally tripped Charlotte, allowing Royce to score the pin. After the match, Charlotte got in Ric's face and told her to stay out of her business and forced him to leave ringside.
Riddle def. Bobby Lashley via pinfall with a schoolboy pin. After a solid back-and-forth match, Lashley had Riddle in The Hurt Lock, forcing the tap. The referee didn't see the tap, but Lashley released the hold. As Lashley and MVP argued with the referee, Riddle took advantage of the distraction to roll Lashley up for the win. After the loss, Lashley promised to punish Riddle the next time he gets his hands on him.
Dana Brooke def. Shayna Baszler via pinfall after countering the Kirifuda Clutch into a pin. Baszler was supposed to face Mandy Rose, but Baszler attacked her before the match, laying her out. Dana Brooke ran in to check on her partner, leading to an impromptu match with Baszler. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch and Brooke rolled through to score a pin as Baszler didn't release the hold. Baszler continued to choke Brooke out after the match, but Rose ran in to hit a knee before the two hit Baszler with a flapjack.
Lucha House Party def. The Hurt Business when Lince Dorado pinned Shelton Benjamin with a crucifix. After the match, MVP ran down Benjamin and Cedric Alexander down outside the ring, telling them to be embarrassed. Alexander walked off after saying he's the one winning, while Benjamin cost them the match.