The 2020 WWE Royal Rumble event has come and gone, so now everyone needs to fasten their seatbelts as we continue to head down the Road to WrestleMania 36, which takes place on Sunday, April 5 in Tampa. Monday night’s post-Royal Rumble edition of Raw, which went down at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, served as the next stop on this journey towards the grandest stage of ’em all.
We didn’t waste any time in beginning to fill out the WrestleMania 36 card, as the men’s Royal Rumble victor chose his world championship target for Raymond James Stadium to open the show. As for the women’s Royal Rumble match victor, well, she didn’t make this so easy. In addition, Raw on Monday featured two title matches as well as an appearance from the man who shocked the wrestling world with his stunning return on Sunday night, WWE Hall of Famer Edge — whose comeback to Monday night was spoiled in violent fashion.
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Let’s have a look now at everything that went down Monday night on Raw as the Road to WrestleMania begins (and remember: POINT AT THE SIGN!).
Randy Orton viciously attacks Edge
The Rated-R Superstar made his triumphant return to Raw on the heels of his headline-making return to the ring after nine years. The 11-time world champion told the fans that they have no idea what the reactions he’s received the past two nights mean to him, which drew the necessary “you still got it!” chants. “You’re damn right, I do,” Edge said in response. Answering how he’s standing in the ring right now, Edge said that he refuses to live in a world of what ifs. After feeling better over the course of the past few years, he wondered if he could come back home, so he got to work. “I got in the best shape of my life at 46 years old so I can get back in here and end my career on MY terms,” he vehemently continued. He then recalled all the old and new faces he saw upon his return Sunday night, and said that hopefully sees them all down the road at some point. Edge said he doesn’t know how long this will all last, but he just wants us all to join him for the ride.
Edge looked set to finish his return promo as he passionately told everyone that he has the grit to keep going, but he was then interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton came down to the ring and gave his Rated RKO teammate a big hug before requesting a microphone. He remembered that every time he dug a hole for himself back in the day, Edge was there to always pull him out. Orton welcomed Edge back home and he called out the chemistry they had in the ring at the Royal Rumble on Sunday. Next, to great delight of the crowd, Orton asked, “What if Rated RKO got back together one more time?” Then, like clockwork, as the fans showered the ring with “YES!” chants, Orton planted Edge with the RKO. “The Apex Predator” then went outside and grabbed a chair, taking it into the ring and cracking Edge over the back. The segment then took an uncomfortable turn as Orton wrapped Edge’s head in the chair and climbed to the second rope as the fans looked on silent and in horror. After mulling over the situation, though, Orton jumped down, giving the appearance that he was showing the slightest bit of mercy on his old friend. He was not, however, as he ran to collect another chair. Back inside the ring with Edge’s face against the chair lying on the mat, Orton delivered a concerto while Edge convulsed in the ring to end the show.
There might not be enough words to describe just how truly amazing this segment of professional wrestling television was. The business is the best when it elicits real human emotion, and that was on full display here as the San Antonio crowd took this all in with stunned silence and horrific looks in their eyes. Despite nine years away, Edge hasn’t lost a step in the performance department, playing his role masterfully here upon his return to weekly television. And, of course, Orton will forever be at his peak when he’s playing the role of the sadistic heel who knows no limits to his madness. We have a recipe now for what has instantly transformed into the can’t-miss feud heading into WrestleMania on April 5. Grade: A+
Drew McIntyre chooses, Charlotte Flair trolls
Drew McIntyre was out to kick off the first edition of Raw on the Road to WrestleMania. The 2020 men’s Royal Rumble winner soaked in the “you deserve it!” chants from the crowd before saying he’s convinced the past 24 hours must all be a dream. He said he’s not gonna be like the others who draw this process out, so he’s here to make a challenge. “I challenge Brock Lesnar,” McIntyre said, which drew a massive pop from the fans. McIntyre said that he doesn’t fear Lesnar like everyone else, and he knows that he’s going to beat him for the WWE championship at WrestleMania. Following the challenge, McIntyre said he felt like having a “Claymore party,” and he issued an open challenge to anyone in the back — a challenge that was answered by OC members Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Both Anderson and Gallows answered the call before McIntyre informed them that they can both fight him tonight.
Drew McIntyre def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson via pinfall: McIntyre picked up the easy victory after laying both Gallows and Anderson out with Claymore kicks and placing the former on top of the latter for the pin. Post-match, McIntyre was disposing of both out of the ring when Lesnar caught him from behind and dropped him with an F-5.
McIntyre resonating with these live crowds is truly a sight to behold, as is the manner in which his personality and charisma are continually shining through during what’s undoubtedly the most important moment of his career. Bottom line is that the rising sensation McIntyre was the perfect choice to challenge the “Beast Incarnate” on the big stage, and Monday’s reaction gave validation to the massive push that’s honestly a bit overdue. Lesnar firing the first shot in the feud was also well-executed seeing as he has every right to be gunning for his WrestleMania challenger for the humiliation suffered in the Rumble match. Solid way to kick off what should be a fun WrestleMania WWE championship program. Grade: B-
Later in the evening, 2020 women’s Royal Rumble winner Charlotte Flair made her way out to address the crowd. Flair said she did exactly what she said that she was gonna do, and she’s gonna brag about it because she’s Charlotte Flair. She then cut to the highlights on the Titantron of her victory on Sunday. After the video package, Flair looked set to make her choice but instead trolled everyone. “At WrestleMania, I am going to challenge … for a championship,” Flair said with an evil smirk. She’s decided that she’s choosing to take her time with her decision. Asuka and Kairi Sane were then out to interrupt. Asuka told Flair that if she would have entered the Royal Rumble, then she would have been the winner. Flair asked for clarification on whether Asuka was challenging her before the women’s tag team champions attacked. Back from commercial, Flair vs. Asuka had been made official.
Charlotte Flair def. Asuka via disqualification: Asuka was in serious trouble as Flair was about to transition the Figure Four into the Figure Eight, but Sane headed to the top rope and broke up the bridge with the InSane Elbow which led to the DQ finish. Afterwards, Flair fought off Sane from the ring before standing tall.
I mean … to believe that we were going to get two definitive decisions on Monday night was a little foolish, eh? Still, Flair dragging out this announcement is slightly concerning, unless it somehow leads to “The Queen” stunning the world and challenging Rhea Ripley for the NXT women’s title; it’s unlikely, yes, I understand that, but it must be mentioned as a possibility on the table with NXT serving as the official third brand now. Flair challenging either one of fellow Four Horsewomen members Becky Lynch or Bayley isn’t necessarily all that enticing, so stretching out the final decision in this case really doesn’t do many favors if we’re ultimately headed towards the inevitable. Grade: D+
What else happened on Raw?Rey Mysterio def. MVP via pinfall following a 619 and springboard splash. Aleister Black def. Kenneth Johnson (enhancement talent) via pinfall after a Black Mass. Post-match, Black took the microphone and said that he would now be bringing the fight to the Raw locker room going forward. Raw Tag Team Championship — Buddy Murphy & Seth Rollins (c) def. Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe via pinfall to retain the titles after Murphy rolled up a distracted Owens. Prior to the match, The Viking Raiders neutralized AOP in the locker room, but Owens was left to himself after Joe was taken out of the match following an awkward landing off a dive. United States Championship — Humberto Carrillo def. Andrade (c) via disqualification after Zelina Vega interfered to break up a Carrillo pin attempt. After the match, Carrillo attacked Andrade, eventually gaining some retribution by planting Andrade on the exposed concrete with his own Hammerlock DDT. 24/7 Championship — Mojo Rawley (c) def. No Way Jose via pinfall after a facebuster to retain the title. Notable here: Rawley was accompanied tonight by NXT star Riddick Moss, who was introduced as his “offensive lineman.” Post-match, R-Truth, disguised as a clown, was able to sneak in and rollup Rawley to win the title. The reign was not long, however, as Rawley planted Truth to win the title back mere moments later. Liv Morgan def. Lana via pinfall after a Flatliner. Erick Rowan def. Branden Vice (enhancement talent) via pinfall after the Iron Claw Slam.
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