Randy Orton Addressed Alexa Bliss' Attack
Man, I had mixed feelings on this. As I've said time and time again, I've enjoyed this angle with Orton, Bliss and The Fiend on the whole, but it hasn't been without its issues. This, for example, was definitely polarizing. Some are sure to hate it, but I honestly didn't mind it. I thought Orton did well with the material and actually selling the effects of the fireball instead of moving on from it without repercussions. My biggest nitpick of the segment was that it went on way longer than it should have. Is Orton going to come out looking like Masked Man from SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 at the Royal Rumble?
WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair def. Peyton Royce
I realize the focus is on Charlotte and Lacey Evans right now and not so much Royce, but it's worth mentioning that Royce pinned Charlotte two weeks ago in that tag team match. She also eliminated Bayley back at Survivor Series, yet she doesn't feel any more important than she did previously. That's entirely WWE's fault for not capitalizing on those victories for her. This was a decent match, but Royce still couldn't win even after a distraction from Evans and Ric on the stage. This storyline sucks and doesn't make me want to see Evans and Royce get a shot at the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship that has apparently been forgotten about.
Mace def. Xavier Woods
I said last week that The New Day feuding with RETRIBUTION was incredibly random, but it makes a little more sense now after that Mustafa Ali promo where he blamed Kofi Kingston for taking his WWE Championship opportunity at WrestleMania 35 away from him. Kingston is out injured for now, but it will be interesting to see them go at it when he returns. Unfortunately, Woods is stuck facing members of RETRIBUTION in the meantime. This was fine but completely forgettable.
Alexa Bliss Hosted Alexa's Playground with Raw Women's Champion and WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Asuka
Bliss has been firing on all cylinders with this current character of hers. Alexa's Playground replacing Moment of Bliss as her go-to talk show of sorts could work as long as it's not done to death. This was pretty good, except for Asuka's antics. She was either laughing at certain points or acting afraid. Would bringing back badass Asuka from NXT be too much to ask? I'm not saying she should have no-sold Bliss's creepiness, but the least she could have done was take it more seriously.
Shayna Baszler def. Mandy Rose
The women's tag team division is a mess at the moment, at least on Raw. Baszler and Nia Jax want a rematch for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship but have done nothing to deserve it. Rather, they've been stuck in meaningless matches with Rose and Dana Brooke. It makes zero sense that Baszler lost to Brooke a few weeks ago but was able to beat Rose here. If anything, it should have been the other way around. There wasn't anything wrong with this, but it makes me sad knowing Baszler has lost a lot of her luster in the last year while Rose could have been a singles star right now if WWE followed up on her SummerSlam win properly.
AJ Styles def. Ricochet
Styles and Ricochet had a great series of matches over the United States Championship back in the summer of 2019, so it was cool to see them run it back again here. Much like with Drew Gulak last week, Adam Pearce told Ricochet that he might earn himself a spot in the men's Royal Rumble if he defeated Styles here. Again, that begs the question: How can basically everybody else declare themselves for the Rumble but certain people can't? On the bright side, this was excellent as the action was very entertaining. That Styles Clash may have been among the best he's ever done.
The Miz and John Morrison Welcomed "Goldberg" and "Drew McIntyre" to The Dirt Sheet
I'll be honest: Gillberg coming out instead of Goldberg made me laugh. It's been long enough since we've seen him on Raw that this worked in my opinion, even though it was false advertising because WWE promoted his appearance at the start of the show. The segment went off the rails when the fat dude cosplaying as Drew McIntyre came out. Anything Miz and Morrison are involved in at this point is just terrible comedy. The primary purpose of this segment was Miz teasing that he could cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase at Royal Rumble, which all but confirms that he won't.
The Hurt Business (United States Champion Lashley and Raw Tag Team Champions Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) def. Riddle and The Lucha House Party
Lucha House Party defeated Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander two weeks ago and Riddle has been feuding with Hurt Business for a while now. It was a logical match and it was well-wrestled, but nothing about it was particularly exciting. Hurt Business were dominant as always and won, but I'm not sure if that means Lucha House Party are still owed a tag title shot or not. Either way, Riddle still looks like a loser. WWE may as well move on from this feud because it isn't benefiting anyone at this point.
Jeff Hardy def. Jaxson Ryker by Disqualification
Hardy wrapped up his rivalry with Elias almost two months ago. They revisited that rivalry last week when Hardy lost to Ryker and then beat Elias. That should have been it, but Hardy faced Ryker again this week for no apparent reason. Hardy was having this wonderful run over on SmackDown last year and now he's been reduced to midcard fodder on Raw. What a waste. The match was whatever as it was solely designed to tease tension between Elias and Ryker with Elias accidentally causing him to get disqualified. Are they really breaking those two up already after only a month?
Alexa Bliss def. Raw Women's Champion and WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Asuka (Non-Title)
I suspect we won't be getting many actual matches from Bliss as long as she's doing this character, but I'm totally fine with that because I actually thought this was well done. As previously mentioned, Asuka acting scared was stupid, but I liked the execution of this on the whole and thought it was compelling. Bliss is already in the women's Rumble, so I don't know if she'll get her shot at the Raw Women's Championship after the pay-per-view or at another point. Asuka vs. Bliss at WrestleMania 37 is a possibility, albeit not a strong one.
Unsurprisingly, Raw was another mixed bag this week. The build to McIntyre vs. Goldberg at Royal Rumble is essentially nonexistent with McIntyre not around right now due to him testing positive for COVID-19, but couldn't Goldberg have bothered to show up this week in some form or fashion to promote it in his absence? That wasn't even the worst part, though. The repeated matches are uninspiring, most of the feuds are boring, and a lot of Superstars are spinning their wheels right now. That's almost understandable with Rumble coming up, but it hasn't made for the most thrilling weekly product. I'm in the category of people who are digging most of the stuff they're doing with Bliss, Fiend and Orton, but if you're not, you probably thought this edition of Raw was even worse than I did.