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It’s not often a WWE show ends with a fireball. Alexa Bliss made a lasting impact when she threw a fireball into the eyes of Randy Orton. Just one week later, The Goddess was set to speak on the January 18 edition of Monday Night Raw, only the beginning of a major night for Bliss.
She also returned to the ring in a huge non-title clash against Asuka. The Raw women’s champion has been absolutely dominant, but she has never faced this new dangerous form of The Goddess.
The Hurt Business has tormented everyone on Raw. One man constantly on the group’s radar has been Riddle. This week, The Original Bro teamed up with Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik to face Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin.
WWE Royal Rumble is less than two weeks away, and that means it is time for wrestlers to build lasting momentum. Only one man and one woman can get to WrestleMania 37 through the Rumble match.
This January 18 episode did not promise much before the show, but three hours on the road to Royal Rumble cannot be anything less than memorable.
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After a video package celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Randy Orton spoke in a dark ring, wearing a mask to protect his burned face. He explained that he was lucky, only taken first-degree burns to his face.
He warned that his compassion was not gone. He blamed The Fiend for what happened, even if he was burned alive. He told Bray Wyatt that he would not stop him from winning his third Royal Rumble match. He promised he would compete even masked.
This was all too much, even for WWE. The dramatic music in the darkened ring just did not land. The mask looked too absurd to sell the idea that The Viper was burned in any way. It all was WWE taking an already ridiculous story too far.
There is so much happening right now with Wyatt, Bliss and Orton. The production focus is making this feel like a completely different show when the three are involved. If WWE is not careful, this angle will come crashing down into the realm of self-parody.
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Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Lacey Evans and Ric Flair about their relationship. The Sassy Southern Belle was not interested in any gossip.
Evans did not have time to get her front row tickets before Peyton Royce attacked Charlotte Flair from behind. Evans’ partner dominated early in this contest, blasting The Queen at every opportunity. Fully distracted, Charlotte struggled to even put together a comeback.
An elbow smash set up a hanging neckbreaker, but Flair and Evans finally arrived. The Sassy Southern Belle came out in a dramatic Flair robe, setting up Royce to blast the former women’s champion with a big boot. However, neither women went down easily.
Royce hurt her left knee, and The Queen knew exactly what she needed to do. She set up her signature finisher with a series of knee drops then locked in the Figure-Eight, forcing a tap out. Afterward, Charlotte refused to relent, holding the submission well past the bell.
Charlotte def. Royce by submission.
This was a major opportunity for Royce, who rarely gets to work solo, let alone in matches this long. While it was not a mess, there was certainly room for improvement due to what seemed to be a lack of strong communication.
The story was there, but the two did not carry it through. Charlotte was nearly as aggressive as she sold at the end of the match, and Royce seemed afraid to take shortcuts and clearly wear down The Queen rather than just kicking her until she went down.
She had an impressive varied move set that could pair well with Charlotte in the right type of match. It was a showcase that Royce has the stamina for contests this long but may need a stronger road agent behind to help frame the work.