Randy Orton Challenged Triple H
Orton was originally scheduled to take on Drew McIntyre on this show before it was announced that McIntyre tested positive for COVID-19. Triple H opened the show instead and took exception to Orton belittling the Legends last week, setting the stage for a fight in the main event. It wasn't made official here, but it was heavily hinted at and forced viewers to remain tuned in to see if Triple H would accept Orton's challenge. I know these two haven't had a ton of matches together in the last decade (other than their one-off at Super ShowDown 2019), but I'm still bored to tears watching them interact because they completely lack chemistry. Shouldn't Orton be going after Goldberg, not Triple H?
Lacey Evans def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair
Charlotte felt her father Ric caused her to lose last week against Evans and Peyton Royce, which of course led to Ric coming out here and this time intentionally costing her the victory. So, was it because Ric wanted to get back at his daughter because of how she treated him last week, or was it because he actually has a thing for Evans? Either way, it's a stupid storyline. Where the hell was Asuka? Isn't she Flair's tag team partner? What are her thoughts? Who are viewers supposed to cheering for and why should any of us care? The match lasted longed than it should have if this was going to be the end result.
Jaxson Ryker def. Jeff Hardy; Hardy def. Elias
I thought we saw the end of this rivalry a month ago when Hardy beat Elias in that Symphony of Destruction match, but apparently not. Ugh. Hardy hasn't had a lot of lack since then. In fact, his win over Elias here may have been his first win of any kind since that victory. All of this was a total waste of time. Ryker vs. Hardy was way too short and Hardy vs. Elias wasn't much better. It kept everyone involved busy, but that was the only purpose it seemed to serve.
Sheamus and Keith Lee def. The Miz and John Morrison; Lee def. Sheamus
Sheamus and Lee were bickering backstage before being interrupted by Miz and Morrison. That led to the tag team match, which was solid yet once again established Miz and Morrison as losers. I was wondering why Lee vs. Sheamus wasn't saved for next week, but then I realized WWE probably had to kill time if a good portion of the roster did indeed contract the coronavirus. They had another hard-hitting affair and Lee winning clean was the right call. Sheamus showing respect to Lee afterward was smart because it will mean more when he inevitably betrays McIntyre.
T-Bar def. Xavier Woods
If you're asking why this match happened, I have no idea, either. My guess is that because Kofi Kingston couldn't appear due to a broken jaw, so they threw Woods and T-Bar together randomly in an effort to fill TV time. In other words, expect The New Day to face off with RETRIBUTION when Kingston gets back. This was fine while it lasted as both guys are talented, but I still find it incredibly difficult to give a damn about RETRIBUTION. Is it safe to assume that Ricochet was absent for the same reasons as everyone else considering he's been feuding with RETRIBUTON for months and he was nowhere to be seen?
United States Champion Bobby Lashley def. Riddle; Riddle def. MVP
After Riddle beat Lashley last week (albeit in fluky fashion), I assumed WWE would wait until the Rumble give Riddle his rightful shot at the United States Championship, Well, because of the circumstances surrounding the show, they felt it was necessary to give it away here without any prior hype. Worse yet, it was over in under two minutes. Instead of having Riddle squash MVP, why not give Lashley and Riddle more time so they could have the match they were capable of? Riddle apparently remains in chase mode yet doesn't deserve another shot at the title because of how fast Lashley defeated him.
AJ Styles def. Drew Gulak
I guess one of the benefits of so many people missing the show this week is that it allowed Gulak to get some airtime for a change. He's been criminally underutilized since moving to Monday nights. He and Styles had a nice little match, even though it was nothing compared to their encounters on SmackDown last year. It couldn't be more obvious that Styles is treading water before he enters the Royal Rumble. Hopefully WWE has a plan in place for Styles come WrestleMania season.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax def. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
What's with WWE protecting Brooke so heavily? She's defeated Baszler at least twice recently and it was Rose who got beat in this bout. At one point, yes, Rose had a ton of momentum due to her win over Sonya Deville at SummerSlam and that has since gone to waste. I can't bring myself to care about this tag team feud, so this match did nothing for me. There technically wasn't anything wrong with it, but it was just sort of there. It was likely designed to get Jax and Baszler back in contention for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.
Randy Orton and Triple H Brawled Before Alexa Bliss Threw a Fireball at Orton
Since this wasn't promoted as a formal match, viewers shouldn't have expected it to be one (though that was never made clear and I was foolishly one of the one people who thought we were getting HHH in actual action). They brought the intensity during their brief brawl, but using this segment as a vehicle to further Orton's feud with The Fiend and Alexa Bliss did nothing for me. I didn't even hate the fireball spot to be honest. Rather, I thought Triple H's appearance was unnecessary seeing as how him being on the show didn't amount to anything. In fact, he randomly disappeared at the end and I don't expect him to be back for a while. It was yet another desperate attempt by WWE to pop a rating that ultimately fell flat.
McIntyre addressed the audience twice throughout the show with pre-taped videos from home, one talking about him testing positive for COVID-19 and another talking about accepting Goldberg's challenge for Royal Rumble. Luckily for him, the pay-per-view isn't until January 31st, so he should be back by then. On the whole, however, this show sucked. I realize multiple members of the roster weren't available for what we can only assume was COVID-related reasons, but that is hardly an excuse in my opinion. WWE could have attempted to make the most of who they had by giving the matches more time instead of rushing them and then following those matches up with another match that made no sense or didn't need to happen. This was a rough watch. Considering this show fell on the 28th anniversary of Monday Night Raw, it's sad to see how far it's fallen over the years.