On Monday night, WWE put together a mostly outstanding edition of Raw, focusing on compelling matches that were given time to tell a story in the ring. But, for all the good that took place inside the ThunderDome, the show ended with a questionable segment featuring Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss.
After Orton invaded the Firefly Fun House, Bliss challenged him to meet her in the ring later in the night. That would lead Bliss to demand Orton light her on fire as he had done to The Fiend at TLC. Fans were given no resolution to the situation as the show went off the air with Orton holding a lit match.
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 an action-packed edition of Raw.
Alexa Bliss demands Randy Orton set her on fire
Bliss said she hasn't seen The Fiend since the inferno match at TLC. She said he may be waiting for next week's Legends Week on Raw, or possibly just for Orton to come back to her playground. She asked Orton to come to the ring, only to have his music play twice without coming to the ring. Orton then appeared inside the Firefly Fun House. As Orton kicked, threw and ripped the various Fun House residents, Bliss begged for him to stop before challenging Orton to meet her in the ring later in the night.
In the show's final segment, Orton met Bliss in the ring and Orton demanded to know where The Fiend was. Bliss said it wasn't about The Fiend, but about her, before bringing a present into the ring. She opened the gift to reveal a can of gasoline and a box of matches, placing them at Orton's feet. Bliss then challenged Orton to do to her, what Orton had done to The Fiend at TLC. Orton stood with his arms crossed while Bliss laid down in the ring. She then poured the gas out and demanded again that Orton light the match. Bliss then said Orton isn't truly sick and demented if he won't light the match, before calling him "a little bitch." She then dumped the remaining gas on her head. Orton said he is capable, but was hesitating because he knows Bliss wants him to do it. The lights then went out and Orton struck the match and the show went off the air.
This was interesting until the finish. Going off the air with a cliffhanger of "Did Randy Orton set Alexa Bliss on fire?" is lame, no matter what you thought of the end of Orton vs. The Fiend at TLC. It felt like the writers had an idea, but no idea how to see it through. Orton couldn't light Bliss on fire because, well, you just can't do that. But he also couldn't flat out refuse to do so because it robs him of his primary character trait of being an evil, sadistic monster of a human. And then you have to deal with WWE not following up immediately on social media. They do a lot of playing up their own "reporting," but they aren't saying anything about what happened? How does that work? This was a particularly bad finish to an otherwise outstanding edition of Raw. Grade: D
Keith Lee punches ticket to WWE title shot
Drew McIntyre opened the show with an in-ring promo, talking about his incredible year in 2020 before transitioning into how he would be defending the title next week on Raw against the winner of the night's match between Sheamus and Keith Lee. Sheamus interrupted to tell McIntyre that he kept his word last week, not putting a finger on Lee until after their team won their six-man tag match before saying that he and McIntyre had talked about wrestling for the title for 15 years. Lee then interrupted to say he lost all trust in McIntyre to go along with the lack of trust he already had in Sheamus. With both men fired up, McIntyre called for a referee and said they should start the match right away, but not before Sheamus hit Lee with a pair of Brogue Kicks.
Keith Lee def. Sheamus via pinfall after a Spirit Bomb. This was the hard-hitting brawl that was expected between these two men. A lot of power spots and heavy strikes before Sheamus' headbutts had no effect on Lee, allowing him to hit the Grizzly Magnum chop before a Spirit Bomb for the win, earning him a title shot next week. Later in the night, McIntyre praised Lee for stepping up and said the two will beat the hell out of each other in their match.
The match between Lee and Sheamus was very good stuff, which should be expected with two talented and athletic big men. It's clear this story is just getting started, and it's hard to imagine Sheamus keeping himself out of the match next week. It feels like this is building to a triple threat at Royal Rumble, but that's not a sure thing. That Keith Lee vs. Drew McIntyre should be an outstanding match on Raw? That seems like a guarantee. Grade: B+
What else happened on WWE Raw?
Gran Metalik def. The Miz via pinfall with a sunset flip. The Miz was furious over not being able to regain his Money in the Bank contract, leading to a lack of focus and a big upset loss. All was not lost for Miz, however, as later in the show, Adam Pearce returned the Money in the Bank contract, stating Miz was correct that Morrison was the one who cashed it in at TLC.
Shayna Baszler def. Dana Brooke via submission with the Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler tried to injure the arm of Brooke -- and later the arm of Mandy Rose on the outside -- before trying to choke Brooke out on the outside. Brooke would fight her way back only to submit to the Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler locked Rose in the hold after the match for good measure.
AJ Styles def. Elias via pinfall after a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles took issue with Elias playing guitar backstage earlier in the night, saying Omos couldn't listen to Mozart. This, of course, led to a match. After kicking out of Drift Away, Styles secured the win by hitting a Phenomenal Forearm.
Mustafa Ali def. Ricochet via submission with the Koji Clutch. Ricochet seemed to have things going his way when Retribution members caused distractions before T-Bar and Mace pulled him from the turnbuckle to the floor outside, allowing Ali to hit a splash from the top rope to the floor. Ricochet seemed to have the match won after hitting Kickback, but Mace pulled Ali from the ring before Retribution attacked. After taking out every member of Retribution, Ricochet tried to hit a shooting star press on Ali, but Ali got his knees up and locked in the Koji Clutch for the win. Ali gave Ricochet another chance to join the group, but Ricochet said no and hit a facebuster before leaving the ring.
Charlotte Flair def. Nia Jax via disqualification after interference from Shayna Baszler. Before the match, both Jax and Baszler declared themselves for the Royal Rumble. During the match, Asuka gave Flair an assist by hitting Baszler with a spinning backfist to prevent interference. That worked temporarily, but when Flair had Jax in the Figure-Eight, Baszler slid into the ring and locked Flair in the Kirifuda Clutch for the DQ.
The Hurt Business def. Riddle, Jeff Hardy & The New Day via submission when Bobby Lashley put Hardy in the Hurt Lock. Lashley announced his participation in the Royal Rumble match as The Hurt Business cut a pre-match promo. After a fairly wild run to end the match, Lashley locked Hardy in the Hurt Lock for the victory. Following the match, The Hurt Business continued to attack their opponents until they were fought off, including Riddle hitting Lashley with a knee before leaving the ring.