WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 20
Few weeks of wrestling are more important than Royal Rumble week. With WWE Royal Rumble 2020 on Sunday, the stars all came to play on the January 20 edition of Monday Night Raw.
Andrade once again put his United States Championship on the line against Rey Mysterio, but this time it was in a ladder match. These longtime rivals both wanted the title hanging above the ring and would do anything to get it.
Brock Lesnar made an appearance on Raw for the third straight week in preparation for competing in the Rumble. Paul Heyman had already spoken his piece, but it was possible The Beast Incarnate had one last warning to give to the Rumble field.
Old and new rivals also looked to get the fighting started early. Rusev and Liv Morgan teamed up to fight Bobby Lashley and Lana. Randy Orton wanted to avenge his loss last week by defeating Drew McIntyre. Kairi Sane returned to action against Becky Lynch.
It was an action-packed night that gave the red brand's best one last shot to build momentum before the Road to WrestleMania began in force.
The Viking Raiders Join Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens in Fighting Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins arrived with AOP and Buddy Murphy, praising the newest member of his movement. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe arrived to start another fight.
The Monday Night Messiah welcomed the challenge before The Samoan Submission Machine announced they were not alone. The Viking Raiders joined the war against Rollins, and the babyfaces cleared the ring.
Charly Caruso asked Rollins about his response to the action in the ring. He challenged the Raw tag team champions to a title match alongside his newest disciple.
While this was not the best way to start the show and ran too long, the end result is adding the perfect duo to this conflict. The Raiders are finally in position to fight their most imposing rivals in Akam and Rezar.
The growing battle lines in this war for Monday night could quickly get out of hand. If Rollins adds another member to combat Big Show once he returns, that will lead to two five-man stables dominating screen time for months to come.
Ladder: United States Champion Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio
In this brutal ladder match, Andrade was not able to measure up to the will of Rey Mysterio. After a huge 619 from the future WWE Hall of Famer, followed by a massive senton, El Idolo was out. Mysterio began to climb, but Zelina Vega got in his way, not allowing him to go further.
Andrade used the distraction to send The Master of the 619 through a ladder and retain. Afterward, Vega set up the concrete for El Idolo to DDT Mysterio, but Humberto Carrillo ran down to make the save. He sent the U.S. champion running up the ramp.
Andrade def. Mysterio by taking down the championship to retain WWE U.S. title.
Going into the night, this was the match and moment that stood as the selling point of the whole show. It absolutely delivered on that front. Andrade and Mysterio went all-out, even pushing the risky spots to the max in a few key moments.
El Idolo's next opponent will be Carrillo, and the two have decent chemistry, if not at the same level. It will be interesting to see who benefits from this feud because both men could be among Raw's top 10 stars for years to come.
Aleister Black vs. Local Competitor
Aleister Black knocked out a local competitor in a second with Black Mass for the win.
Black def. local competitor by pinfall.
This is the way to do squash matches with established performers. Rather than playing the hits, The Harbinger of Fury showed how above all this he was with a quick victory.
Black is in the perfect position for a huge WrestleMania run. He likely will not win the Royal Rumble, but it's hard to imagine he won't be near the top of the card with the right opponent. His winning streak has made him credible enough to defeat anyone.
Ricochet Stands Up to Brock Lesnar
Paul Heyman once again hyped Brock Lesnar's future victory in the Royal Rumble. However, Ricochet interrupted him this time. The One and Only told The Beast Incarnate he was not afraid of him.
Lesnar started to walk away. Ricochet asked if he was scared. Lesnar responded with a low blow, making clear to The One and Only that he was not scared.
The idea of Lesnar vs. Ricochet certainly has promise. The Beast has always been better working with smaller and faster opponents, even if the best usually wear him down with technical offense. The One and Only is a special star with the athleticism to make a lasting impact.
He may not be the one to challenge the WWE champion at WrestleMania, but this was a good spot for Ricochet. After weeks of everyone letting The Advocate talk up a storm, Ricochet refused to stay in the back any longer.
Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre
Before his match, Randy Orton stated that Drew McIntyre was never going to be up to his level.
This physical match was driven by two men who wanted to hit as hard as possible every time. McIntyre refused to stay down and seemingly had The Viper on the ropes. The O.C. stormed the ring to stomp on The Scottish Psychopath, causing a disqualification.
Orton grabbed a chair to help fight off AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Afterward, The Viper told The Scottish Psychopath that he respected his toughness before RKO'ing him. McIntyre promised to Claymore Orton's head off in the Royal Rumble.
McIntyre def. Orton by disqualification.
Orton and McIntyre didn't waste their time in this match, fighting tooth and nail from the opening bell. It was a fun battle despite the awkward non-finish. The Viper seemed extra motivated in the ring, which always leads to strong performances.
Once again, it seems like The Scottish Psychopath has been positioned as one of the front-runners to win the Rumble. He would be the perfect rival to Lesnar right now as he commits to his babyface role.
Becky Lynch vs. Kairi Sane
Becky Lynch cut a promo on Asuka, telling her she had a revelation during the contract signing. She realized that The Empress of Tomorrow was scared of her. The Man no longer had any doubt she could beat her challenger.
Even with Asuka barking out orders from the turnbuckle, Kairi Sane was no match for an extra-motivated Lynch. She ran through The Pirate Princess and made her tap out to the Dis-arm-her.
Right after the bell, The Empress struck, laying out The Man and locking her in the Asuka Lock.
Lynch def. Sane by submission.
The Pirate Princess was one of the defining performers in NXT, but her WWE run has been rocky at best. Even though she works well off Asuka, she does not seem to be on the same page as her opponents in the ring. She and Lynch still have not clicked despite The Man working so well with so many.
Luckily, this served its purpose of pushing forward to the match that matters. Lynch vs. Asuka II should be spectacular. The Man's speech about no longer being worried about Asuka was a great final turn before what will be a physical clash.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders vs. Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy
AOP, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe were ejected from ringside before the action could get going.
Seth Rollins showed a surprising new cohesion with Buddy Murphy, keeping Erik and Ivar off balance. However, The Viking Raiders were too resilient to stay down for long. The champions hit the Viking Experience on The Best Kept Secret, but The Messiah made the save.
A double powerbomb from the challengers nearly stole the titles, but Ivar kicked out. Erik got the hot tag and connected on a powerbomb of his own, only for Rollins to send Ivar crashing to the floor on a splash attempt.
This allowed the new disciple to hit a bicycle knee that set up Erik for the Stomp on the apron, and Murphy got the three-count. Backstage, The Messiah promised he would also win the Rumble on Sunday.
Rollins and Murphy def. Raiders by pinfall to become the new Raw tag team champions.
This was a great tag team match that was built on the hard work of all four men. While it was odd to have the makeshift team of Rollins and Murphy dethrone The Raiders, this was the perfect way to quickly and decisively show The Best Kept Secret is more than a trio of losses.
It is likely AOP will have something to say about not being the ones to take this opportunity, and eventually Akam and Rezar will fight The Raiders for gold. It is just a match for a later date.
Erick Rowan vs. Matt Hardy
Erick Rowan put on a dominant display against Matt Hardy. While he wanted to show his friend to The Woken One, it bit The Big Red Wood. This frustrated Rowan, and he lost his mind, hitting Hardy with an Iron Claw to win.
Rowan def. Hardy by pinfall.
It is good that Rowan is moving up to bigger and better competition. It is a shame that one of the most successful men in wrestling is getting squashed so clearly, though. Hardy deserved better.
If Rowan does not reveal what is in that cage in the next couple of weeks, the moment will lose all meaning. It has been too long without any forward momentum, and it's hard to say what the point of all this is.
Lana and Bobby Lashley vs. Liv Morgan and Rusev
Lana called out the crowd for not showing her and Bobby Lashley any respect. She promised to make clear that Rusev Day is dead.
Liv Morgan started off with The Ravishing Russian, not giving in to her taunting. Rusev got the hot tag and ran over Lashley with all his anger. Lana continually cost The Bulgarian Brute every moment of momentum in this match, setting up The All Mighty for a Spear to win.
Lashley and Lana def. Rusev and Morgan by pinfall.
This was a solid if unspectacular tag team match. While it certainly had no reason to be the main event, everyone was motivated throughout. Lana played to her strengths and allowed Morgan to pull out the major offense to pop the crowd.
Lana and Lashley winning again feels like the wrong decision, but it is hard to say what direction WWE is taking the couple. Perhaps Morgan and Rusev just are not meant to win this rivalry because the newlyweds have major success in their future.