Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/14/22 Review

wwe raw deal march 14

This week’s WWE Raw featured a Tag Team Championship celebration for RK-Bro while Kevin Owens had more to say about his WrestleMania interview with Steve Austin.

It’s been hard to really think about things today other than the news about Scott Hall being in a hospital after suffering multiple heart attacks. I’ve been watching clips and talking about him with friends all day. We grew up with Scott as Razor Ramon in WWE and then one of the founding members of the NWO in WCW. Hall was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame twice – first as Razor Ramon and then as part of the NWO. I feel so sad for his family, friends and all of us fans that loved him. “Hey yo” we love you, Bad Guy. Unfortunately as Raw came on the air, we found out that Scott Hall has passed away. He was 63. Rest in peace, Scott. I wrote a tribute to Scott right here on TJRWrestling as well.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1503 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Raw began with a replay of Kevin Owens ending last week’s show by inviting Steve Austin to be on the KO Show at WrestleMania. They showed Austin’s reply that was a great promo telling Owens he’s got a can of Whoop Ass for him.

Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens

Owens started the promo with a “Hey yo” for Scott Hall. Owens talked about how he’s going to be in the main event of WrestleMania because he’s going to have Steve Austin on the KO Show. Owens put himself over for being smart enough to know that Austin would accept and now Owens is proud of himself. Owens said now the entire world…and the crowd chanted “USA” after Owens ripped on Texas. Owens said that now the entire world gets to see him decimate Stone Cold all over Texas while listing off names of Texas cities. Owens said he heard Austin say he was going to open a “can of Whoop Ass” on Owens, but Owens said that is not happening. Owens said that the only thing that will open is a cold can of Canadian beer when Owens is done with him. Owens said he doesn’t like beer, but he will make an exception yet. Owens said everybody will say “oh hell no” when they watch Owens beat the hell out of Austin. Owens: “And that’s the bottom line because KO said so.” Owens went up to a camera guy in the ring and gave him a KO Stunner to drop him on his ass. End promo.

Analysis: A strong promo from Owens as usual. Owens is focused on kicking Austin’s ass. Is it going to happen? Absolutely not. I’m sure Austin will take a few punches and sell a bit, but we know it’s going to end with Austin delivering a few Stunners along with a beer bash like Stone Cold loves to do. If it’s anything other than that, I’ll be surprised. They know how to book this and make the fans happy.

Finn Balor entered as the United States Champion for a match against Damian Priest again.

(Commercial)

Damian Priest, the former US Champion, made his entrance with a bit of a different look now that he’s a heel. Balor won the title from Priest two weeks ago on Raw. The Raw commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were on hand to call the action.

The match was about to begin, but Austin Theory showed up. They showed clips of Theory telling Pat McAfee on Smackdown two weeks ago that they would have a match at WrestleMania. On last Friday’s Smackdown, Theory got in McAfee’s face again, but this time McAfee got the upper hand with a leaping attack on Theory and McAfee worked him over with punches as well.

Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest

Balor knocked down Priest with some kicks, Priest went to the floor and blocked a Balor kick by tripping him up on the apron. Priest got a hold of Balor on the floor where Priest gave Balor a Razor’s Edge style slam on commentary table. The table did not break. Nice tribute to Razor Ramon with that move in the first match on the show.

(Commercial)

Priest was in control with a lifting slam like a flatliner for a two count. Priest with some kicks, then a forearm to the head and Priest did a bell clap to the head. Priest caught Balor for a Chokeslam, but Balor slipped out of it and Balor did a double foot stomp on the chest. Balor charged right into a jumping kick from Priest. Balor escaped a Priest move leading to an elbow to the chest. Balor with a running dropkick that sent Priest into the turnbuckle. Theory jumped on the apron while Balor went up top, so Priest got up, but Balor knocked him down with a kick. Balor hit Theory with a running dropkick. Back in the ring. Priest got a hold of Balor and The Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest

Analysis: **1/2 An average match to put Priest over after Balor was distracted by Theory. This is typical WWE booking to have a champion lose non-title to set up a title match, so it should be Priest vs. Balor at WrestleMania.

After the match, Theory went into the ring and hit Balor with the ATL slam into the knee. Theory took a selfie photo with Balor on the mat. Theory celebrated on his way to the back.

Analysis: Poor Balor getting his ass kicked with nobody caring to help him.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was interviewed by Kevin Patrick in the backstage area with Kevin asking if Rollins is going to be a part of WrestleMania. Rollins stared at Patrick, said nothing and the fans chanted “Cody” because they know what could be coming.

Omos entered for a singles match.

(Commercial)

Commander Azeez entered with Apollo Crews in this “Battle of the Giants.” They teased it last week, so they are doing it now.

Omos vs. Commander Azeez (w/Apollo Crews)

They had a staredown, Azeez did a charge and then Omos knocked him out of the ring with a shoulder tackle. Omos with a clothesline that sent Azeez over the top to the floor. After a Crews distraction, Azeez draped Omos’ throat across the top rope. Azeez hit a corner splash. Azeez wanted a suplex, but Omos countered it to a suplex into a slam. Omos with a two-handed Chokeslam for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Omos

Analysis: 1/2* A short match by two giant men. It was smart to keep it quick with Omos taking a few moves before he put Azeez away. If they do a Men’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania then Omos is definitely a favorite to win it.

Post match, Omos grabbed Crews by the head, brought him into the ring and hit a Chokeslam. Omos celebrated.

Analysis: They continue to book Omos in a dominant way. Crews was pushed at times last year, but not now. He’s just another guy on the roster.

Kevin Owens walked up to Seth Rollins with Owens saying: “Hey come on! Tough times don’t last, but tough guys do!” It was a change to the famous Scott Hall, but a nice tribute. Owens reminded Rollins he was a Visionary. Owens doesn’t have cool nicknames like Seth does. Owens said that he can help him since they are best friends. Owens said that Seth is The Architect, so they can build something, Seth pointed at him to stop, Seth smiled and left. More of that later, I guess.

Liv Morgan entered with her buddy Rhea Ripley by her side.

(Commercial)

Queen Zelina Vega and Carmella made their entrance. They are the Women’s Tag Team Champions defending their titles against Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan and Sasha Banks & Naomi. In a pre-match promo, Vega told Carmella to focus instead of being distracted by her fiancé Corey Graves since they have a wedding coming up.

Liv Morgan (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. Queen Zelina Vega (w/Carmella)

Vega grounded Morgan in a submission by holding her arms for a chinlock on the mat. Vega sent Morgan into the turnbuckle followed by a running knee for two. Morgan got a rollup pin, then they rolled around the ring and Morgan got another two count. Morgan with kicks to the body and then a dropkick. Carmella distracted Morgan, so then Vega hit a Powerbomb out of the corner. Ripley chased after Carmella, who ran away and jumped into the arms of fiancé Graves. Vega charged, Morgan hit the Oblivion slam off the ropes and that led to the pinfall win. It went about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Liv Morgan

Analysis: 3/4* A simple short match with Carmella’s ringside fear of Ripley leading to Vega being distracted a bit and that led to Morgan getting the win. We know WWE loves booking champions to lose, this time it was a tag team champion like Vega. Morgan’s finisher off the ropes does look good.

Post match, Queen Zelina Vega had an angry look on her face as she stared at Carmella at ringside.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as the Visionary made his entrance wearing a long jacket and he was full of smiles as he walked out to the ring while the ladies were still in the ring. Rollins got into the ring and the women left. They went to a commercial.

This Tuesday on NXT, Dolph Ziggler is the NXT Champion and he’ll be on a special edition of Miz TV on NXT.

(Commercial)

There was a graphic for Steve Austin’s new beer launching this Wednesday, 3-16 day.

There was a video package about Roman Reigns beating up Brock Lesnar at a show at Madison Square Garden nine days earlier. They showed this video last week and on Smackdown, yet here we go again. On last Friday’s Smackdown, Lesnar called out Reigns, but there was no sign of Roman according to Paul Heyman. Paul ran away, jumped into a car and got away before Lesnar could get his hands on Heyman.

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins was in the ring saying he had a plan to get himself to WrestleMania. Rollins said he thought all hope was lost, but then his best friend Kevin Owens reminded him who he is so Seth went over his nicknames. Rollins said that he has a plan and he wanted to have his best friend to come out there. Here comes Kevin Owens for the second time in the show.

Rollins mentioned that KO is hosting the talk show with Steve Austin at WrestleMania. Rollins suggested “Freakin’ Speaking with Seth Rollins” or maybe bring back the “Rollins Report.” Rollins wondered what would happen if Steve Austin was his guest? Owens said it’s his talk show. Owens said let’s go talk about it on the bus with Becky and baby. Rollins suggested a match right here tonight where the winner gets to host a talk show at WrestleMania with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Owens said he had the idea first, it’s his guest, he is the one that pissed off Austin and it’s his idea. Owens wondered why was Rollins doing this to him?

Sonya Deville, the WWE Official, said that she liked Seth’s idea. Sonya said she’ll give them some time because in the main event it’s Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens and if Rollins wins then he will replace Owens at WrestleMania. Owens was furious about it while Rollins celebrated.

Analysis: A matchup between two heels who are allies in the main event. There’s a lot of guessing going on about what might happen with Rollins at WrestleMania, so it’s interesting to see just to see how they set it up. The reactions of the two guys were very telling with Owens getting mad because he was the one that came up with the interview idea while Rollins was trying to steal it from him. It shows that heels are bad friends.

They showed clips about the feud between The Mysterios and The Miz/Logan Paul over the last couple of weeks.

The Mysterios entered for tag team action.

A video aired reminding us that WrestleMania 38 is just 19 days away. Stupendous!

(Commercial)

Kevin Owens was in the backstage area complaining to Sonya Deville saying this makes no sense. Owens wondered why Sonya booked the match for the main event. Sonya was just listening and then they showed the graphic for the main event.

The Miz and Logan Paul made their entrance to watch their WrestleMania opponents, The Mysterios. Miz and Logan both have punchable faces, so they have that in common.

The Hurt Business – Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio

Dominik sent Benjamin into the ropes, then a forearm by Dominik, but Cedric made the tag and knocked down Dominik with a clothesline to the floor. Cedric worked over Dominik with a waistlock on the mat while Miz and Logan were on commentary. Miz said that Logan has exceeded all expectations in the ring. Alexander with punches, Dominik hit a jawbreaker and I think a neckbreaker even though the camera was on Miz a lot. Rey tagged in with a headscissors on Cedric, then a springboard off the ropes and Rey hit a Tornado DDT for two as Benjamin made the save. Rey with an enziguri kick on Benjamin. Cedric with a knee to the ribs, Rey sent Cedric into Benjamin by the ropes and the Mysterios hit a double 619 to Alexander. Rey jumped onto Shelton on the floor. Dominik went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Cedric for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Rey & Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: *1/2 A simple match with Dominik as the face in peril, Rey getting the hot tag and then it ended soon after that. It makes sense for the Mysterios to win since they are on the WrestleMania card while Benjamin/Alexander are not.

Post match, The Miz and Logan Paul went into the ring to beat up the Mysterios a bit. Rey fought back with a kick to Paul and Miz used his legs to send Miz out of the ring. Paul was all alone in the ring, so Rey kicked his leg and Dominik dropkicked Paul into the ropes. Miz pulled Paul out of the ring to avoid the 619. The heels Miz and Paul retreated.

Analysis: The build for the WrestleMania tag team match between these guys has been fine. They’re getting consistent TV time while the heels are good at getting heat.

A video aired about Edge doing a promo in the ring last week with a spotlight on him. Edge talked about his Conchairto attack to AJ Styles two weeks ago on Raw with Edge claiming he did it to help Styles. Edge said he felt so good, he felt in control and he was in control of everything that will ever happen in this industry. Edge said that he was on the mountain of omnipotence and the view was phenomenal.

It’s Edge vs. AJ Styles for the first time ever at WrestleMania. Edge is on Raw up next.

A video aired about the WWE 2K22 video game that is in stores now.

(Commercial)

There was a mention of Sharmell being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. She is the wife of two-time Hall of Famer Booker T. and had a successful run as Queen Sharmell when he was King Booker. It was announced earlier on Monday.

Let’s Hear from Edge

Edge walked out in a suit with the arena dark while a purple spotlight was on him again. Edge had a new theme song called “The Other Side” by Alter Bridge. Edge said that he’s better than everybody. Edge said he’s better than the fans, but that’s a given and he added that he’s better than every single person in this industry. Edge talked about how when he came back two years ago, he was interested in pleasing all of you and he was weak. Edge said he realized that “you don’t matter to me.” Edge talked about how he allowed Seth Rollins to walk into his home and mentioned Roman Reigns stack-pinning him at WrestleMania. Edge said that Edge is dead.

Edge said now he is looking at the mountain of omnipotence looking down on everyone. Edge said he won’t be judged by anybody in that locker room and certainly by AJ. The fans chanted “you suck” at Edge. Edge said if AJ makes it to WrestleMania with two generational talents facing eachother for the first time on the grandest stage of them all…and he kind of soaked up the crowd reaction filled with boos. Edge: “AJ, you will be judged.” Edge looked up and had a smirk on his face.

Analysis: It was fine as a heel promo. I think this feud needs more physicality and I was hoping we would get to see Styles go after Edge here, but there was no sign of Styles here. Styles should probably get the win at WrestleMania as payback for what Edge did to him and I think Styles could use some positive momentum as a face.

Styles tweeted a reply that he’ll be on Raw next week.

Bianca Belair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Belair said that Raw has been so peaceful since Belair hit Becky in the throat to make her quiet. Belair said that she’s going to shut up Becky for good at WrestleMania.

Bianca Belair made her entrance for a match against Doudrop. They have done this match many times this year already.

This Friday on Smackdown: An enraged Brock Lesnar and an unhinged Roman Reigns are on the show where Lesnar confronts Reigns. No matches advertised.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Veer Mahaan letting us know he was coming to WWE Raw…eventually…maybe…I don’t know. He was there, then he was drafted in October and hasn’t been on Raw since. He is on Main Event regularly at least.

Doudrop made her entrance with Nikki A.S.H. and a pre-tape promo was shown with Doudrop threatening to rip out Belair’s braid out of her head. Good luck with that.

Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop (w/Nikki A.S.H.)

Belair with a shoulder tackle, Doudrop with a shoulder tackle of her own and Belair kipped up. Belair used her speed to avoid a charging Doudrop, then Doudrop held onto the ropes and Belair missed a dropkick. Belair avoided a splash leading to Belair hitting a moonsault splash onto the back. Belair got a hold of Doudrop in the corner, but Doudrop hit her with a headbutt. They left the ring, Belair managed to send Doudrop back first into the apron, but Doudrop shoved Belair back first into the barricade. Doudrop went for a splash, Belair moved and Doudrop hit the barricade. They went to break with both women on the floor.

(Commercial)

Doudrop was in control with a Michinoku Driver. Doudrop charged in the corner, Belair moved and Belair come back with punches followed by a jumping kick. Belair with shoulder tackles to the ribs, then some taunting in the corner and Belair jumped over Doudrop. Belair teased a suplex, but Doudrop blocked that. Doudrop charged right into a spinebuster from Belair. Belair hit a KOD Slam on Doudrop for the pinfall win. It’s impressive every time Belair does it. It went about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay although I think they had better matches in the past. The way they keep booking Belair to beat Doudrop every month reminds me of how they would always book John Cena against Big Show to show off his impressive power with the AA on Show. It’s just like that with Belair hitting the KOD on Doudrop. That’s why we keep seeing that match and will continue to see it.

After the match, Becky Lynch showed up wearing a gold outfit and she attacked Belair by sending her into the commentary table. Lynch got a chair from ringside, she grabbed Belair by the hair and pulled Belair towards the ring post so that Belair went crashing with the chair into the ring post. Lynch left proudly while Belair was selling a throat injury while officials checked on her.

Analysis: Good heel attack by Becky. Since Becky has missed a couple of weeks due to a throat injury, she was going for payback here and the cheap attack worked.

They showed highlights from Smackdown last week when Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair exchanged words in the ring. Later in the show, they got into a parking lot fight with Flair getting the upper hand.

The RK-Bro team of Randy Orton & Riddle walked out as the Raw Tag Team Champions after they won the titles for a second time last week. Their celebration is up next.

(Commercial)

Highlights were shown from last week’s Raw Tag Team Title triple threat match. It was an incredible with the announcers correctly putting over in a big way as an outstanding match. I thought it was the best Raw so far this year and maybe better than any Raw match for a few years.

RK-Bro’s Championship Celebration

The ring was filled with a red carpet, some balloons, chairs and other items. Riddle said he keeps playing last week’s events over in his head: “Randy, we did it, bro. We’re going to WrestleMania!” Orton said that he is right. Orton said in the locker room saying that this year will be the 18th appearance for him at WrestleMania. Orton said that he has never been Tag Team Champion going into WrestleMania, but not just a tag team partner – Riddle is a friend. Orton said that Riddle has never doubted their success as a team and Orton thanked him for that. Orton hugged Riddle.

Orton said that the last time they won the titles, Riddle threw a party and now Orton has thrown a party. Orton admitted that party planning is not his thing. Riddle claimed this was the greatest night of his career while calling Randy the best and the coolest. Riddle was happy about popcorn and soda with Orton saying it was from the concession stand. Riddle said that’s his favorite. Riddle was happy about bubble gum. Orton said that the last gift goes with the bubble gum, Orton searched “high” and low for that, but it wasn’t opened.

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance saying they wanted to congratulate RK-Bro. Riddle said he didn’t know that Randy invited the Street Profits. Ford said they aren’t there to party – they are there about business. Ford noted that they pinned RK-Bro on Raw a few weeks ago and now that RK-Bro are the new Tag Team Champions, the Street Profits challenged to a match at WrestleMania. Orton reminded them of all the things they had to go through to get a title shot. Orton said they had to win a freaking Spelling Bee, Orton told them to have some popcorn, but the answer is no. Dawkins said when it comes to those titles, they aren’t bros. The fans chanted “RK-Bro” as the teams stood in the ring. Ford said that RK-Bro owns the Street Profits their match, so Ford said that they are not asking for opportunities, they are telling RK-Bro that they are facing them at WrestleMania. Orton said that nobody has ever told him what to do when he is in this ring. Orton said that they aren’t going to do that either. Orton told the Street Profits to turn around and leave or otherwise Orton is going to make them leave. Riddle said that the Street Profits made a good point and Riddle said that they had to face somebody at WrestleMania. Riddle said it’s the right thing to do. Riddle talked to Orton.

Orton said that you’re lucky Riddle is so cool. Orton told The Street Profits that their challenge is accepted. Ford said he appreciated Riddle for talking sense into Orton. Ford said next time they come to Duval, they’ll teach RK-Bro to throw a party that isn’t so much ass. Riddle didn’t like that Ford disrespected Orton like that. Riddle said he thought they were cool, but he doesn’t want like that. Dawkins said if Riddle wants to face Ford that is cool, then Dawkins tried doing the Profits catchphrase, but Orton came back with the RK-Bro line to end it.

Analysis: It was an effective promo exchange to set up the Raw Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania. It’s a matchup between two babyface teams that are very likable although The Street Profits were a bit heelish her with some of the lines they said. I think WWE knows the fans are firmly behind RK-Bro so it’s smart to keep them as the faces and The Street Profits can have a bit of an edge to their act. These teams have had some really good matches in the past. I wonder if Alpha Academy will be added to the title match at WrestleMania because they deserve a spot too, but WWE might want to keep it a regular tag team match.

(Commercial)

A graphic was shown of AJ Styles tweeting in response to Edge earlier in the show. I posted that in the review.

Montez Ford (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. Riddle (w/Randy Orton)

Riddle caught Ford in a triangle submission, Ford got out of it going for a pin and then Ford did a dreaded back rake on Riddle. Riddle came back with two waistlock suplexes for two. Riddle worked over Ford with kicks to the chest along with a Fisherman’s suplex. Riddle with a Broton splash for a two count. Ford countered a Riddle move, Ford hit a dropkick and a clothesline over the top to the floor. Ford jumped off the top rope towards Riddle on the floor, Riddle caught him for a suplex, Ford landed on his feet and Ford hit a jumping clothesline off the steps onto Riddle on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Ford getting a kick to the chest and a running splash for a two count. Ford jumped off the top, Riddle moved, Riddle with a jumping kick and two forearms to the head. Ford charged at Riddle leading to Riddle hitting a powerslam like Orton. Riddle hit a draping DDT like Orton. Ford got an enziguri kick on Riddle, but then Riddle countered a Ford move and hit an RKO. Otis of the Alpha Academy showed up at ringside and threw Orton into the ring post. Chad Gable threw Dawkins into the ring post as well. Riddle went after Otis, so Otis caught Riddle and slammed Riddle into the barricade. It’s a DQ after eight minutes.

Winners by disqualification: Riddle

Analysis: **3/4 A nice sample of what they could do if they got more time, but this was more about the angle with Alpha Academy doing the cheap attack. Some good moves by Ford and Riddle in the match. Ford is going to be a big singles star in WWE some day.

Post match, Gable and Otis hit a tag team move with Otis hitting a back elbow while Gable delivered a German Suplex on Dawkins. Otis hit a Vader Bomb on Ford while Gable went up top and hit a moonsault on Ford. The Alpha Academy duo celebrated after that.

Analysis: There’s the Alpha Academy inclusion that I was expecting. I guess that lets us know it will likely be RK-Bro vs. Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy at WrestleMania. That’s cool with me because it should be an excellent match like the Raw match was last week.

The Raw commentary team talked about the late great “Razor Ramon” Scott Hall. Graves talked about how you can never prepare to say goodbye to somebody like this. Saxton talked about how they grew up idolizing a guy like Scott Hall and Graves wear tearful saying tonight we say goodbye to the Bad Guy.

A video aired in tribute to “Razor Ramon” Scott Hall. It talked about his WWE debut as Razor Ramon in 1992 with the development of the character and Kevin Nash talking about how cool Scott was. It moved on talking about his run as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions ever and the famous Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 10. From there, they talked about Scott Hall going to WCW in 1996 and some clips of “Hey Yo” were included while the famous phrase that “when you’re NWO, you’re NWO for life.” They mentioned he was a gifted entertainer that was a two-time WWE Hall of Famer, a loving father, a dear friend and the famous lines he delivered during his Hall of Fame induction:

The crowd in Jacksonville applauded after the video as they should. Some fans chanted “Razor” for him. That was cool just like Razor was.

Analysis: I definitely got a little teary-eyed watching that Scott Hall tribute video. It was well done. I’m glad they included his famous lines and all those fun moments. The Jacksonville crowd chanted “Razor” at the end. Too sweet.

The screen went black for a moment and then Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event.

(Commercial)

They plugged Steve Austin’s new beer coming out on 3-16 day on Wednesday.

The same Owens-Rollins video package aired that we saw at the start of the show with the inclusion of the promo segment that Owens-Rollins had to set up this match.

Seth Rollins did a quick interview with Kevin Patrick where a happy Rollins talked about how he was going to beat Rollins and then he would go on to WrestleMania.

Seth Rollins made his entrance looking happy and excited about this match.

(Commercial)

They showed a clip of Bianca Belair beating Doudrop earlier in the night. After the match, Becky Lynch beat up Belair and used a chair along with a hair pull that sent Belair into the ring post. The announcers said that Belair suffered “throat trauma” and had difficulty speaking.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

The winner of this match gets to host an interview segment with Steve Austin as the guest.

They were each trying moves to start the match with Owens saying this didn’t need to happen. Owens said that this is his spot and Seth didn’t need to be there. Rollins went after Owens with punches leading to Austin staring at the WrestleMania sign. Owens with punches, Rollins with more punches and more sign staring. Owens tripped up Rollins leading to more punches. Rollins with a clothesline along with a kick to the back while Owens was seated. Rollins with a knee drop on Owens for two. Rollins to the apron, Owens tripped him up and Owens rammed Seth’s knee to the barricade. Owens kicked Rollins in the left leg while also slamming it into the mat. Owens went for a submission pulling back on the left knee. Rollins slammed KO’s head to break free. Owens wrenched the left knee against the ring apron. Owens shouted that he was going to WrestleMania. Owens went for a move on the apron, but Rollins countered with a back body drop on the ring apron. Rollins went for a suicide dive, Owens stepped back, caught him and hit a fallaway slam (a Razor Ramon move) into the barricade.

(Commercial)

There were about eight minutes left in the show when Owens got a boot to the face followed by a Tornado DDT. Owens hit another DDT for a two count. Owens hit a cannonball splash on Rollins against the turnbuckle. Rollins came back with punches, Owens punched him back few times and Rollins managed to send Owens face first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins hit a Slingblade neckbreaker, then a running forearm and Owens sent Rollins to the apron. Rollins jumped off the top with a springboard knee to the face. Owens was out on the floor, so Rollins hit a suicide dive tin to the barricade. Owens went over to the floor near the commentary table and Rollins hit another suicide dive that sent Owens over the table. The referee was counting them out, Rollins made it back in, the count was at nine and Owens got back in to break the count. When Owens got into the ring, Rollins hit a superkick. Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Rollins shouted at Owens that he needs this. They went to the turnbuckle, Owens hooked Rollins and Owens hit a cradle suplex out of the corner for a two count. Owens went up top, he jumped off with a Senton Bomb and Rollins got the knees up. Owens managed to come back with a clothesline. Rollins shoved Owens into the turnbuckle and got a rollup, but the referee had to slide out of the ring and back in to do a count. It was a delayed count. Owens recovered, Rollins went for The Stomp, Owens moved and Owens hit a Stunner for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match between two guys that have wrestled many times. I like that it was a clean finish. The spot where the referee was slow to count the pin was really creative because he had to slide out of the ring and go back in to get in position and it cost Rollins the win on the rollup. After that, Owens capitalized with the Stunner to win clean. Owens winning was the obvious result here.

After the match, Owens was happy about the win while Rollins was sad about the loss. Graves: “All of Seth Rollins’ hopes and WrestleMania dreams were dashed.” Smith said that Seth’s vision has become an “absolute nightmare” while Rollins stared at the WrestleMania sign. Both lines were obvious teases for Cody Rhodes. Anyway, that was the end of Raw.

Analysis: There’s a lot of guessing about Cody Rhodes showing up in WWE every week. I thought this would be the week where it happened. There were Cody hints by the announcers with Graves saying “dreams were dashed” since we remember “Dashing” Cody Rhodes while his dad was the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and Smith saying “nightmare” while Cody is known as the “American Nightmare” as well. I had a guy tweet me saying some “insider” on Reddit claimed that they didn’t do it because of the death of Scott Hall. I don’t know if that’s true or if Cody is even signed by WWE. I’m just sharing it here because I get a lot of questions about it every day. The fact is there are still two more weeks of Raw until WrestleMania, so they could opt to do Cody’s return/debut next week. I don’t know. I thought it would be this week. Just being honest about that.

I know people that only watched Raw or maybe only read this review because of wanting to know if Cody was back in WWE. They might be mad about it. I get that. I don’t know if WWE planned on it happening tonight and delayed it until next week or what the plan was. It’s a reminder that we don’t always have to know the plans beforehand. Watch and find out things as you watch. It’s better that way.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kevin Owens
  2. Seth Rollins
  3. Riddle

 

The Scoreboard

5.5 out of 10

Last week: 7

 

Final Thoughts

It felt like an average Raw to me. It’s kind of a hard Raw to rate because I have been thinking about the death of Scott Hall. There weren’t a lot of good matches since so many of them were short except the Owens-Rollins main event. That was by far the best match of the show. Lots of promos building to WrestleMania and that also means a lot of video packages as well.

A lot of people probably thought Cody Rhodes would be on Raw this week to set up the WrestleMania match with Seth Rollins. It didn’t happen. Maybe next week. I don’t know. It’s okay not to know beforehand.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is WrestleMania 38 from Dallas, Texas on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3. Here’s the lineup so far:

wwe wrestlemania 38 steve austin kevin owens

Winner Take All – Title vs. Title: Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar (Sunday)

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (Saturday)

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair (Saturday)

Edge vs. AJ Styles (Sunday)

KO Show with Steve Austin (Saturday)

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul (Saturday)

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Carmella & Zelina Vega (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan (Sunday)

Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin (Saturday)

Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville (Sunday)

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura

Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory (Sunday)

WrestleMania 38 is a two-night event steaming LIVE on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport