This week’s WWE Raw featured the return of AJ Styles after Edge brutally attacked him three weeks ago, Becky Lynch commented on her attack against Bianca Belair, US Champion Finn Balor faced Austin Theory and we got to see RK-Bro vs. The Alpha Academy again.
Earlier on Monday, WWE announced a new Raw brand match for WrestleMania Sunday. It’s going to be Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro defending the titles in a triple threat match against The Street Profits and Alpha Academy. That should be an awesome match. WrestleMania is now less than two weeks away.
This week’s Raw started with the music of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the crowd popped huge and Kevin Owens made his entrance dressed like Austin. Huge boos. Owens had on two knee braces, jean shorts and a fake bald head. The fans booed him. The Raw commentary team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton as usual.
Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Kevin Owens asked Chicago if they are ready to see Owens open up a can of Whoop Ass on Stone Cold at WrestleMania, give him a hell yeah? The fans booed. Owens tried again and was booed again. Owens went into the “what” routine leading to more boos. The fans chanted “you suck” at Owens. KO spoke as Austin saying that what Owens said about Texas was all true, so he figured he would accept KO’s invitation without thinking. Owens as Austin said that at this stage in his life, the lights are on, but is anybody home? Uh uh. That’s an Austin way of saying no. Owens as Austin said he’s going to the KO Show while fans chanted “We Want Austin” loudly. That led to Austin’s music hitting to an even louder ovation and Owens laughed about it. Owens mocked the crowd for buying it.
Owens called for some beer for a beer celebration. Owens dropped the first two cans that were tossed to him. Owens yelled at a stagehand for sucking at throwing beer and said he must be from Chicago. Owens called for the guy to bring him some beer in the ring. Owens kicked the guy in the gut and hit him with a KO Stunner. Owens did some Austin-like trash talk at the guy’s head like Austin loved to do. Owens opened up two cans of beer and poured it on the poor guy in the ring. Owens also refused to drink the beer and tossed it away. Owens celebrated on all four corners the way Austin loves to do.
Analysis: That was fun. It worked really well the first time Owens entered to Stone Cold’s music and also when Austin’s music played again during the promo. It reminded me of when Shawn Michaels was doing the infamous promo in Montreal in 2005 when Bret Hart’s music played and there was no sign of him. Massive heat for that. There have been other instances, but that was the most memorable to me. Owens did a nice job of using some Austin lines, mocking some of the things Austin does and then of course hitting a poor guy with a Stunner. I think Austin-Owens will be a lot of fun to watch on WrestleMania Saturday for sure.
A replay was shown of last week when Kevin Owens beat Seth Rollins in the main event last week.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins was interviewed by Kevin Patrick, who mentioned Seth wasn’t going to WrestleMania. Loud “Cody” chants from the crowd in Chicago. Rollins laughed, took the microphone and left. Very loud chants.
Analysis: The Chicago crowd is very aware of the Rollins-Cody plan, that’s for sure.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance for a tag team match up next.
They showed highlights from last week when Rey & Dominik Mysterio fought off The Miz and Logan Paul from yet another cheap attack.
The NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode entered for tag team action with The Miz also appearing in a suit to join commentary again this week.
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Dominik with an arm drag on Ziggler to send him out of the ring. Dominik left the ring, Ziggler shoved him into the ring apron and Roode tagged in for a double team slam for two as Rey made the save. Rey with a headscissors to send Ziggler out of the ring. Dominik dropkicked Roode out of the ring. Rey and Dominik each hit suicide dives onto Ziggler & Roode on the floor. Seth “Freakin” Rollins appeared with a microphone saying he wants to get a spot at WrestleMania. Rollins wanted a spot at WrestleMania that will live forever, but then his microphone wasn’t working properly. Rollins said that last week he came for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, but this week he wants bigger and the microphone shut off. So did the wrestlers get back in the ring to break the count to prevent the countout? I guess they did. We never saw.
The match continued with Rey battling Ziggler by the turnbuckle with Rey headbutting Ziggler down. Rey jumped off the top with a seated senton and an enziguri kick. Roode tagged in and punched Dominik off the apron. Rey hit a Tornado DDT. Dominik tagged in with a cross body block, a running headscissors and a neck snap across the top rope. Dominik with a senton over the top and a neckbreaker, but Ziggler broke up a pin attempt. Dominik with a neckbreaker on Ziggler. Rey went to jump onto Ziggler, but Dolph moved and Roode hit a spinebuster for two. Dominik with a dropkick to the knee and a 619 kick on Roode. Dominik went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Roode for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: *** A good match to put over Rey & Dominik in a clean way with Dominik getting the Frog Splash for the win. They had some good spots in the match, the crowd was into it and I like that it was clean like that. It also made sense for the Mysterios to win since they’re a part of WrestleMania while Ziggler/Roode are not.
Post match, Ziggler went into the ring and hit a superkick on Dominik. Rey chased after Ziggler on the floor, so Miz shoved Rey into the ring apron. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Rey on the floor. Miz ripped off Rey’s mask! Dominik called for a towel and Rey put it on his head. Miz shouted about how he humiliated Rey. The fans were booing loudly.
Analysis: It’s a smart way to get Miz some heat by taking Rey’s mask. There’s a whole generation of fans that have no idea that Rey wrestled for a few years in WCW without a mask on. In WWE, he’s always had the mask on for the past 20 years. The fans booing Miz for it shows that the mask that Rey wears still means a lot to fans. It also makes the feud more personal and will make the fans want to see Rey/Dom beat Miz/Logan Paul at WrestleMania. I think the build for that tag team match has been pretty good.
Seth Rollins was in the office of WWE Officials Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville. Rollins wanted the biggest spotlight at WrestleMania. Pearce said that acting like a lunatic isn’t going to get him what he wants. Deville said that she gets that Rollins is frustrated, but she pointed out that Seth failed last week. Pearce said that he’ll look at it and said maybe there’s something they can do. Rollins laughed and walked away.
A recap of the Lesnar-Reigns situation from Smackdown was up next.
There was a replay of The Miz’s cheap attack on Rey Mysterio before the break.
The Miz was shown talking to his wife Maryse on his cell phone with Rey Mysterio’s mask in his left hand. Kevin Patrick asked Miz about what he did. Miz said that as a child Logan Paul was a big fan of Rey Mysterio growing up, but then Logan learned that Rey was a jerk and Dominik was even worse. Miz said that didn’t try to humiliate the Mysterios, he did humiliate them. Miz said that his team will beat The Mysterios at WrestleMania and he dares Logan to wear Rey’s mask on Raw next week.
The Smackdown Breakdown aired showing Brock Lesnar going after Roman Reigns in the parking lot on last Friday’s Smackdown. Lesnar got a forklift that he used to smash the windows that Reigns, The Usos and Paul Heyman were in. Lesnar flipped the truck. Roman and his crew managed to get away in another truck while Lesnar ripped the back door off its hinges. Lesnar brought the car door to the ring saying he was coming for blood at WrestleMania.
Next week on Raw in Pittsburgh: WWE Champion and Universal Champion Roman Reigns are on the show.
Analysis: That’s smart to have Brock & Roman on Raw since it’s the last Raw before WrestleMania. I’m sure somebody will complain that Reigns is a Smackdown guy. Guess what? It’s WrestleMania season. Let’s ignore the brand extension “rules” for a few weeks. It’s okay.
Omos made his entrance for singles action against Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez.
A video aired about the destruction caused by Omos. It was sponsored by Xfinity Mobile as they showed Omos beating Azeez last week.
Omos vs. Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez
Omos was looking at Azeez, so Crews hit a dropkick. Crews with an enziguri kick led to Azeez pulling Omos out of the ring. Omos was on the floor with both guys, Azeez with punches and Omos hit him with an uppercut. Omos grabbed Crews, so then Azeez shoved Omos into the ring post. Omos got into the ring to start the match.
Crews charged at Omos, who decked him with a boot to the face. Azeez tagged in, Omos caught Azeez in his arms and gave him a body slam. Crews jumped onto Omos, who caught him and Omos did a press slam above the head to drop Crews on the mat. Omos with a kick on a running Azeez. Omos told Crews that this is your fault and Omos delivered a two-handed Choke Bomb. Omos stacked the two men and pinned them at the same time. It went two minutes after the bell rang.
Winner by pinfall: Omos
Analysis: * It was another dominant win for Omos as usual for him. This was not good for Crews or Azeez, but obviously they are not a priority right now while Omos is a guy that management is going to want to push.
Omos did a promo saying it doesn’t matter how big they are or how many of them they are. Omos said he is undefeated, he is unstoppable, and anybody has the balls to step up to face him on Raw or at WrestleMania, they are all going to be dominated.
Analysis: There is a rumor that Bobby Lashley may be the WrestleMania opponent of Bobby Lashley. However, we don’t know for sure if it’s happening because Lashley might need shoulder surgery, so if that’s the case then he’ll be out of action. If it’s not Lashley, they would have to pick somebody else to face Omos at WrestleMania or perhaps Omos is going to win the annual Battle Royal, which is apparently on Smackdown the night before WrestleMania rather than WrestleMania itself. That hasn’t been confirmed.
A video aired of Edge’s recent promos about how the fans don’t matter to him. Edge warned AJ Styles that if he makes it to WrestleMania then he will be judged.
AJ Styles made his entrance to a big pop. Styles was off Raw the last two weeks after Edge beat him up on Raw on the February 28th show. Styles gets some promo time after the break as we end the first hour.
Let’s Hear from AJ Styles
A graphic let us know that Styles vs. Edge at WrestleMania will be on Sunday, April 3. Styles said “Chicago” so the fans chanted “AJ Styles” for him. Styles said for the past two weeks he’s been missing stuff like this because he was nursing an injury and recovering with nothing but time on his hands. Styles said he must have watched that clip of what Edge to him with that chair over and over again. Styles said he didn’t want to see the kids or talk to the wife because he just wanted to be alone. Styles talked about Edge on Raw with his moonlighting, spewing out nonsense and answering why he did what he did. Styles said he’s not here to get answers – he’s here to kick Edge’s teeth down his throat. Styles said that they didn’t have to wait until WrestleMania because they can do this right now. Styles wanted Edge to come out here right now. There was no Edge, so Styles called him a coward.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as Seth made his second entrance of the night while wearing a suit. Rollins was greeted with “Cody” chants again so Rollins said rumors are fun, but rumors don’t make moments. Rollins claimed he was concerned for AJ’s health and safety. Rollins wondered if Styles was emotionally and physically capable of facing Edge at WrestleMania. Edge suggested that Styles should go home to his family, hug them tight and come back after WrestleMania. Edge said he should take AJ’s spot and end Edge’s career like he should have done inside Hell in a Cell. Styles said as long as he’s able to walk, he’ll be there to face Edge. Rollins said so if, for some unfortunate reason, Styles is saying Seth can have his spot at WrestleMania? Styles said Seth is doing the same thing he tried to do to Kevin Owens last week. Rollins claimed it was a great idea. Rollins said desperate times call for desperate measures and he’s running out of options. Styles ripped on Rollins dressed like an idiot. Styles said that he’s going to do what Seth couldn’t – he’ll destroy Edge and then they’ll get back to Styles-Edge down the road.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville, the WWE Officials, showed up. Pearce said that Seth is going to get that chance, one last chance. Pearce said that if Rollins can beat Styles tonight then Rollins will replace Styles at WrestleMania. Styles was furious, so he punched Rollins and did some more punches, but Rollins managed to get away. AJ’s music played to end it.
Analysis: It sets up a big match for later in the show. I’m all for Styles vs. Rollins in a singles match at any time. What they should say is instead of Styles losing his WrestleMania spot, they can add Rollins to the match and then AJ can complain about that because he would want to face Edge in a singles match. Anyway, we know it’s likely Rollins against Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania and I don’t think that’s going to change, so this is just a way to give us a story for this week’s Raw. I thought Syles did a nice job of showing intensity during his promo.
The Women’s Tag Team Champions Carmella and Queen Zelina Vega were shown talking backstage. Vega complained about Carmella not being focused while Carmella said she had important life events going on. Vega said that all Carmella is focused on is her stupid wedding and reality show. Camella said she knows how it works. Vega called her a Bridezilla, Carmella called Vega a “little hobbit” and they got into a fight. Carmella and Vega got into a fight on the floor, so it was broken up by WWE Officials in the backstage area.
Analysis: Does anybody care that much if Carmella and Vega fall apart as a team? I never thought it was going to be a long-term thing anyway.
Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan entered for tag team action against Smackdown’s Natalya and Shayna Baszler after the break.
AJ Styles went up to Pearce and Deville in their office. Styles wondered what they were doing while telling Pearce he sucked at this management position and he hasn’t heard good things about Deville either. Styles said he’ll beat Rollins and still get his WrestleMania match.
The Women’s Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania looks like this: Carmella & Zelina Vega (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shayna Baszler on Sunday, April 3. That leads us to this match.
Natalya & Shayna Baszler vs. Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley
Ripley and Baszler exchanged forearms, Ripley with a headbutt and a running dropkick. Ripley slammed Baszler onto the mat and Morgan tagged in with Ripley slamming Morgan onto Baszler. Shayna grabbed an armbar leading to Natalya tagging in. Morgan with a headscissors, then a running knee to the jaw and Natalya did a slingshot suplex. Baszler tagged in with a running knee for a two count. Baszler applied an armbar on the left arm leading to Carmella – the Women’s Tag Team Champion – going to ringside to complain about things to fiancé Corey Graves at ringside. Corey tried to calm her down. Baszler prevented Morgan from tagging out, Natalya tagged in and Morgan kicked her off the apron to the floor. Baszler pulled Ripley off the apron to prevent a tag. Morgan got a cradle on Natalya, who kicked out and hit a discus clothesline. Baszler held Morgan leading to Natalya running the ropes for the Hart Attack clothesline for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Analysis: ** A solid tag team match for the time given. I like the Hart Attack clothesline that the Hart Foundation used as a finisher with Natalya paying homage to father Jim Neidhart and uncle Bret Hart. Natalya & Baszler needed the win more than Ripley/Morgan since they didn’t win a match to earn a title match, so at least now they can say they did.
After the match, Zelina Vega went into the ring and hit Ripley with the scepter. Vega with a knee to Ripley. Carmella shoved Natalya into the ring apron and steel steps along with a superkick on Baszler. Carmella and Vega went into the ring, they teased a fight, but then they hugged in the ring. They celebrated as the champions with the fans booing them.
Analysis: The dysfunctional team of Carmella and Vega is functional again. It worked in terms of getting them heat with the crowd. Are we supposed to think the poorly acted backstage “fight” segment was all a ruse then? I don’t think I care. I doubt most people do.
They showed highlights of Becky Lynch attacking Bianca Belair last week in a spot that saw Belair take a bump with a chair around her throat as she was sent into the ring post.
Becky Lynch aka “Big Time Becks” made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion with some ridiculous headgear on that was like a visor instead of sunglasses.
This Tuesday on NXT: Bron Breakker faces Robert Roode in singles action.
A video aired letting us know WrestleMania is just twelve days away as of Monday. Stupendous!
Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch was seated on a chair in the ring where she took off her visor glasses. Lynch said that there’s a question that she asks herself a lot. Lynch said she found the answer to her question eight months ago when she first faced Bianca Belair at SummerSlam, but she’ll come back to that. Lynch said that it was 15 months where she didn’t hold a title because she was forced to give it up. Lynch said she knew she would do whatever it took to get this title back. Lynch: “My precious.” Lynch said that the only thing that matters is this title and she is power & glory as well as the “prize at the top of the mountain.” Lynch said that this is her world. Lynch said when all of you chose Bianca over her, that’s when she knew she would sell her soul to keep this. Lynch said that Bianca doesn’t have what it takes to beat Lynch. Lynch: “You didn’t mean to damage me, but I meant to injure you.” Lynch said that Belair knows that if Lynch takes her hair then she’ll lose a piece of her soul. Lynch said that she already sold her soul and she would do it again every day of the week if it means keeping this on her shoulder. Lynch was confident talking about how she’ll show Belair at WrestleMania…if Belair makes it.
Analysis: It was fine. It went only a few minutes instead of running too long like some promos tend to do. Lynch is doing a great job as the “Big Time Becks” character while Belair has gained some sympathy because of the injury angle they did last week. I think Belair should beat Lynch at WrestleMania. I don’t know if she will, but I think it should happen. It’s time for Lynch to lose the title.
A clip was shown from Smackdown when Pat McAfee was forced to apologize to Austin Theory, so Pat called him a “punk bitch” among other things.
Austin Theory was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Theory said Pat was smart enough to apologize and not lose his job. Theory said Pat had a great NFL career, but he better be careful because Theory is going to beat him at WrestleMania. Theory said that if he talks to Mr. McMahon then he may be able to cost McAfee his job as an announcer. Theory talked some trash about Finn Balor saying he’s got so many selfies with Finn knocked out and he’s got room for one more.
Austin Theory made his entrance for his match.
There was yet another Veer Mahaan video about how he prepares to strike. The graphic said that Veer is coming to Raw on Monday, April 4. It’s the Raw after WrestleMania.
Analysis: It has taken Veer six months to find his way to Raw even though he was on the show prior to being drafted to Raw last October. Veer was on Raw before that, but for whatever reason, it has taken WWE nearly six months to find him something to do. At least they finally announced a date.
The US Champion Finn Balor made his entrance. They showed last week when Balor hit Theory with a dropkick while on commentary and then Damian Priest beat Balor after that.
Pat McAfee made his way down to ringside to watch Theory’s match. Pat was wearing the tank top that he likes to wear on his Youtube show. Pat lives in Indianapolis where he does his show, so it’s not a long flight to get to Chicago. Pat joined commentary.
Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory
This is not for Balor’s US Title. Theory worked over Balor with forearms to the back, Balor took over and hit a dropkick. Balor stomped on Theory to knock him off the apron to the floor. McAfee mocked Theory at ringside leading to Pat doing some unique crotch chops to Theory and Balor hit a dropkick that sent Theory into the barricade. They went to break there.
Theory applied a waistlock so Pat went to ringside and slapped the mat to get some momentum for Balor. That led to Balor getting the boots up to knock Theory down, then a forearm smash and a double foot stomp on Theory. Balor with a chop, Theory dumped Balor out of the ring near McAfee and Theory slammed Balor’s head into the commentary table. Balor slammed Theory’s head into the table multiple times. Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker on Theory followed a running dropkick. Balor went up top, he jumped off with the Coup de Grace, Theory moved and got a rollup for two. Theory with an elbow smash. Theory with punches leading to Pat on the apron to distract Theory a bit. Balor blocked a Theory move, then Balor with two kicks to the chest and Theory came back with a cradle slam into the knee for a two count. Theory to the apron, Pat distracted Theory multiple times and when Theory went for a move, Balor caught him with an inside cradle for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: **3/4 A competitive match with Pat annoying Theory and costing him the match. Balor needed the win after losing by a distraction finish last week. It wouldn’t shock me if Theory is the guy to beat Balor for the US Title in a few months.
Balor and McAfee celebrated the win while Theory made some angry faces in the ring.
Analysis: I figured they would have announced Balor vs. Priest at WrestleMania, but it’s not official yet. No Priest on this week’s show.
A replay was shown from last week when Alpha Academy attacked RK-Bro and The Street Profits during a match.
The Raw Tag Team Title match is official for WrestleMania: RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle (c) vs. The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Alpha Academy – Otis & Chad Gable. That’s on Sunday, April 3.
The Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro (Riddle & Randy Orton) made their entrance for a match against the former champions, Alpha Academy. That match is up next at the top of hour three.
It was time for a classic WrestleMania moment. They showed a clip from WrestleMania 33 in 2017 when Rob Gronkowski ran over Jinder Mahal with a shoulder tackle during the battle royal. Mojo Rawley won the battle royal after that. Mojo doesn’t work for WWE anymore, so they didn’t show that part.
The Alpha Academy’s Chad Gable and Otis made their entrance. Gable: “Shoosh, please.” The fans booed. Gable said that what they did last week was called retribution. Gable ripped on the crime rate in Chicago while calling the fans “dum dums.” Gable said that they got vengeance for criminal activity when RK-Bro accepted a Tag Team Title match with anybody other than Alpha Academy. Gable put over his prized pupil, Otis and said that Otis was the new face of vengeance, not Batman. Poor Batman. Gable said that they will prevail in the triple threat match at WrestleMania and they will walk out as the Raw Tag Team Champions…ahhh thank you!
Alpha Academy – Chad Gable & Otis vs. RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle
Gable hit an impressive double underhook suplex on Riddle. Otis with a shoulder tackle. Gable tagged in, Riddle cleaned house with an overhead suplex and went for a kick on the apron, but Gable blocked it. Gable knocked Riddle down on the apron, so Riddle went to the floor and Otis ran over Riddle with a shoulder tackle. They went to break there.
Gable decked Riddle with a forearm, but then Riddle came back with a rollup for two. Riddle broke free, Orton got the tag to a big pop and Orton hit Gable with a powerslam. Orton punched Otis off the apron, Gable with a necksnap against the top rope, Orton with a kick and Orton hit a draping DDT on Gable. Orton smacked the mat repeatedly, Gable shoved him, Gable tagged in and Gable hit a German Suplex on Orton. Gable with a clothesline that sent Orton over the top to the floor. Riddle with a knee to Gable and a Bro Derek slam for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle
Analysis: **1/4 It was mostly Riddle working for the champions with Orton getting in there for about a minute before tagging out. I’m fine with the champions winning because WWE books champions to lose non-title way too often. I don’t think a loss is going to hurt the AA guys too much. This is where I complain about doing a commercial for a match that is only seven minutes. I’d rather see the whole match, but I get why it was like this because of the pre-match promo and post-match interaction.
Post match, Otis whipped Orton into the barricade at ringside. Otis went for a corner splash on Riddle, but The Street Profits showed up wearing some jerseys that looked like they were on the Chicago Bulls. Dawkins lifted up Otis leading to a jumping DDT. Dawkins with a Sky High spinebuster on Riddle and then Ford jumped off the top with a Frog Splash. That was a bit of a rough landing on the lower body of Riddle instead of the waist. Ford got a lot of height as usual.
Analysis: Last week it was Alpha Academy getting the advantage in this storyline. This week it was the Street Profits turn. That’s cool with me.
They showed some 24/7 Title hijinks from last week on WWE Digital that led to some comedy spots where Tamina yelled at Akira Tozawa for letting them get away.
Analysis: Riveting action as usual.
Dana Brooke, the 24/7 Champion, entered with Reggie for a Tornado Mixed Tag Team Match.
A video aired about WWE celebrating the Hall of Famers The Bella Twins for Women’s History Month. They will apparently go down as two of the most fearless women in WWE history. Sure. If you say so.
Next week on Raw in Pittsburgh:
* WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Universal Champion Roman Reigns are there.
* Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy
* Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Carmella & Queen Zelina Vega
* Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz
Seth Rollins made his entrance for the main event. If Rollins wins then he gets to face Edge at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
There were about 25 minutes until the end of the show when they started this match. Rollins took control with a Slingblade neckbreaker. Styles with a back body drop to get out of a Pedigree attempt. Rollins charged, Styles launched him over the top and Seth bumped onto the ring apron. Styles jumped over the top with a forearm to Seth’s face. The show went to a break.
Rollins was in control with a chinlock and then Styles came back with a leg whip takedown. Styles ran at Rollins, who moved and Styles slid right into the middle turnbuckle. Ouch. I think AJ got his hand up to take the bump into the hand as he slid out of the ring. Styles got back in before the ten count and Rollins hit him with a neckbreaker. Rollins set up Styles upside down against the turnbuckle leading to a running dropkick for a two count. Styles came back with punches, Rollins with a knee to the ribs and Styles with a shot that stunned Rollins a bit. Styles went for a springboard attack, Rollins knocked him off the apron to the floor and Rollins hit a suicide dive that sent Styles into the commentary table at ringside. Rough bump for Styles there as he hit his side into the table. They went to a break there.
A commercial aired for Smackdown this Friday teasing yet another Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns confrontation without advertising anything specific.
There were about ten minutes left in the show as Rollins grounded Styles with a chinlock. Rollins slapped Styles in the face saying that he liked him, it isn’t personal and he should go home to be with his family. Rollins said he needs this, so then Styles slapped Rollins back. They exchanged forearms, then Styles delivered his series of strikes leading to a clothesline. Styles hit a running forearm. Styles hit a jumping clothesline in the corner followed by an Ushigoroshi slam off the shoulders with Seth landing with his back across the knee. Rollins got a rollup on Styles for a two count, then Styles got a hold of Rollins and slammed him face first into the mat for a two count. Rollins slipped out of a Styles move leading to a forearm followed by a Falcon Arrow slam for two. Rollins kept staring at the WrestleMania sign throughout the match. Rollins went for The Stomp, Styles caught him and Rollins got a hurricanrana for two. They each got nearfalls. Rollins wanted a Buckle Bomb, Styles slipped out of that and delivered a suplex into the turnbuckle! Great spot there. They battled over moves by the turnbuckle, Styles slipped out of a superplex attempt and did a Torture Rack into a Rack Bomb for a two count. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm off the top, but Rollins stopped him with a superkick. Rollins delivered a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Rollins went up top, he jumped off with a Frog Splash and Styles got his knees up to block. Styles was on the apron, he punched Rollins and wanted more, but Edge appeared at ringside and hit Styles with a steel chair to the back. That’s a DQ win for Styles after 22 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match between two of the best wrestlers in WWE. Styles winning was the obvious outcome because we know that his match with Edge is going to happen at WrestleMania. To the credit of the wrestlers, they made it look competitive the whole way. By doing the DQ finish it saves Rollins from getting pinned again, so I get why they did that kind of ending. It’s just frustrating as a fan to watch a 20+ main event match and see a DQ finish. Anyway, these guys are so awesome together with the moves that they do and all the counters. I would love to see a proper Styles-Rollins feud some day with one of them as the WWE Champion. That would be terrific.
While Styles was down on the floor, Edge hit Styles with another chair shot to the back. Edge walked away laughing while Styles was down selling the chair shots.
Seth Rollins was freaking out after the match. Rollins: “This is bullshit.” The swear word was muted. Rollins said that next week, Raw will not happen unless he gets what he deserves, unless he gets his WrestleMania moment. Rollins kept saying it was “bullshit” and fans were chanting “Cody” at him. Rollins ripped apart part of the barricade and shoved the announce table over on its side. Rollins knocked over the steel steps and used a piece of the ring post to hit against the table. Rollins stared at the WrestleMania and then looked frustrated. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: We know Seth is going to face Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania, but WWE’s plan is likely to not announce it beforehand. What will probably happen is Adam Pearce or somebody will tell Rollins that he has a match at WrestleMania against a mystery opponent and then we have to watch WrestleMania to find out who it is. That should work in terms of setting it up. They could also have Cody show up next week on Raw as well. I’m cool with either plan. Obviously, this Chicago crowd was aware of the Cody plans since they chanted “Cody” a few times during the show. It’s just a matter of having some patience until we get to WrestleMania to see it happen.
Three Stars of the Show
- AJ Styles
- Seth “Freakin” Rollins
- Kevin Owens
6.75 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
It was mostly an average show once again as this week as they focused on building the WrestleMania matches as you would expect. The Styles/Rollins main event match was by far the best match on the show and one of the better main events on Raw so far this year. Styles getting the win was needed for him although Rollins has now lost in back-to-back weeks although this time it was a DQ because of Edge.
My favorite promo segment of the show was Kevin Owens doing the Steve Austin impression while also teasing the Chicago crowd that Austin was there. Owens was terrific in terms of being a heel that had no problem pissing off the fans.
The rest of the show was decent with some shorter matches and angle progression that was fine, but there was nothing that special.
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:
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 – Hosted by Kevin Owens with Steve Austin (Saturday)
Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle (c) vs. The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Alpha Academy – Otis & Chad Gable (Sunday)
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Carmella & Zelina Vega (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shayna Baszler (Sunday)
Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin (Saturday)
Anything Goes Match: Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville (Sunday)
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura (Saturday)
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul (Saturday)
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.
Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
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