Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/04/22 Review

wwe raw deal april 4

This week’s WWE Raw was the “Raw After Mania” episode following an exciting WrestleMania 38 event. Prior to the show, WWE announced that WWE & Universal Champion Roman Reigns was set to appear along with a returning Cody Rhodes and more.

I thought WrestleMania 38 was a pretty good event over two nights with a runtime of eight hours. Some great matches, funny moments and memorable things like Cody’s return. I’m happy to see him back in WWE. That’s nothing against where he has been for the last three years since I review their main shows too. I’m just saying it was cool to see that response for Cody on Saturday night. Anyway, here’s my review of WrestleMania Saturday and Sunday all in one post for you in case you didn’t read it. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We’ve done some massive record-setting numbers in the last few days and we aren’t slowing down. Bring on Raw.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1506 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a video package showing highlights of some of the big moments at WrestleMania 38.

The lights went out in the building, then the voice of Cody Rhodes played in the building and the “Kingdom” song started. Cody Rhodes made his return at WrestleMania and now he was back on Raw wearing a blue suit. They did the entrance where he rose up on a platform and walked down a ramp. Cody was introduced as “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes just like at WrestleMania when he beat Seth “Freakin” Rollins in what was a great match.

Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes

Cody was in the ring ready to do the promo when the fans greeted him with “welcome back” chants and they did some “Cody” chants. It looked like Cody was getting a bit emotional thanks to the reaction. Cody: “So what do you guys want to talk about?” (That’s a line he did at the start of one of his last AEW promos.) Cody said it’s been about 47 days since the news came out that he was a free agent. Cody said he chose to remain silent and he heard stories, whispers and theories that surmised to be nonsense. Cody said that everybody thinks that the decision to return to WWE was difficult – it was not. Cody said it was simple. Cody talked about how he was the star that left them in the dust (hello Stardust). Cody said now he’s standing there right now after signing a multi-year agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment and the fans chanted “you deserve it” for him. Cody said that if there was ever any doubt, a shred of trepidation, the moment he rose up about 70-something thousand fans, the moment he made the walk at a WrestleMania and defeated one of the best superstar wrestlers of any era Seth Rollins – that doubt was eradicated.

Cody mentioned a quote: “A man often finds his destiny on the path he takes to avoid it.” Cody called for a photo on the “tron” aka the big screen in the arena. It was a picture of Cody’s dad Dusty Rhodes holding the WWE Title at Madison Square Garden on September 26, 1977. Cody said that it’s so simple to say that’s his father, but in reality, he’s a legend, he’s a son of a plumber, he’s a common man and to Cody, Dusty was his hero. The fans did a “Dusty” chant. Cody said that photo was 1977 in MSG with Dusty holding the championship belt that eventually Hulk Hogan would get his hands on, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, oh and Triple H too and many other greats. Cody said that this very photo was on the mantle in his parents’ bedroom until his dad’s last day. Cody said that he once asked his dad: “I didn’t know you were champion like Hulk Hogan?” Dusty looked at him (with the same eyes that Liberty has – his daughter is Liberty) very stern & patiently while telling young Cody that he won the match, but because it was by countout, he did not take home the championship belt. Cody said he was just eight years old. Cody said that at eight years old, he knew what he wanted to do and what he needed to. Cody said he was going to win this championship belt right here. Cody said he was going to put it in Dusty’s hand and tell him that nobody can take it away from him now. Cody said that unfortunately, that dream died right in front of him. Cody said that opportunity passed…or did it? Cody said that he cannot physically put that title belt in his father’s hands, but he can certainly put it around the waist of the American Nightmare (that is Cody’s nickname if you don’t know). Cody that his intentions are clear, he stands before you ready – finally ready. Cody said he’s going to do it. Cody said he’s going to do it for the fans, for himself, for his family and he’s going to do it for the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. This was great.

Analysis: That was an awesome promo from Cody Rhodes. The crowd was strongly supporting him and even chanting a bit too much while he was trying to speak. I thought Cody did a tremendous job of telling his story about his father while adding that he’s motivated to win the WWE Title. A lot of times in wrestling, the babyface chasing after the major title whether it’s WWE or any promotion is the best story you can tell. Now we get to see Cody Rhodes go after the WWE Title. Could be soon. Could be a year or less. I don’t know, but I’m intrigued. I really enjoyed that a lot. It also felt like WWE let Cody have the floor to say what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. It didn’t sound like a promo that was heavily scripted. It sounded like it came from the heart.

Seth Rollins walked down to the ring wearing a ridiculous-looking pink suit with a tie. Rollins did his dance routine down to the ring and went face to face with Cody. Seth didn’t say anything to him. Cody extended his hand for a shake, Rollins shook the hand Rollins laughed a bit. Rollins left.

Analysis: I thought we might hear something from Rollins saying that he wasn’t ready for Cody at WrestleMania or he would win. Instead, not a word from Rollins.

The Raw commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton did a rundown of what’s coming up. Roman Reigns is there, RK-Bro & Finn Balor vs. The Usos & Austin Theory, Bianca Belair will be on Raw and now it’s time for a match.

The new Women’s Tag Team Champions Naomi & Sasha Banks made their entrance.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan

They didn’t show the entrance of Ripley and Morgan. Ripley hit a delayed vertical suplex on Naomi. Ripley went for a kick, Naomi ducked it and Banks tagged in for a double bulldog into the middle turnbuckle. Banks and Naomi made quick tags leading to a Banks splash and Naomi hit a moonsault. Morgan broke up the pin, Banks with a double knee attack on Morgan on the floor and Ripley kicked Banks to knock her down. Naomi jumped over the top onto Ripley on the floor. Naomi brought Ripley into the ring for a leg drop and that led to a break.

(Commercial)

Naomi was in the ring with Ripley, Naomi jumped off the ropes and hit a springboard kick to the head. Banks tagged in against Morgan leading to Banks hitting a knee to the head, a headscissors and a double knee attack. Banks with double knees along with a running knee in the corner. Banks jumped off the top with a double knee attack. Morgan got a rollup followed by a step up enziguri kick. Ripley tagged in and tossed Banks towards Morgan, who hit a slam leading to Ripley getting a two count. Ripley tried slamming Morgan onto Banks, but Banks moved and Morgan hit the mat hard. Naomi sent Ripley out of the ring, Naomi got the tag and Banks/Naomi hit a double team move with the double knees by Banks while Naomi did a sitout slam on Morgan. Naomi covered Morgan for the win. It went about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks & Naomi

Analysis: **3/4 A solid match to put over the new champions. A lot of times WWE books champions to lose non-title, but on the night after a title win, the right move is to put over the champions Banks/Naomi and keep them strong. I liked some of the double moves of Banks/Naomi. They work well together. Ripley worked most of the match and was kept strong by having Morgan take the pin.

Post match, Liv Morgan got back to her feet to try to talk to Rhea Ripley, who simply walked away from her friend. Ripley walked up the ramp to the back as the music of Kevin Owens hit. Owens stared at Ripley on his way to the ring and Owens walked down to the ring.

Analysis: There’s a rumor of Ripley going heel to be part of the new heel stable led by Edge. I don’t know if she would be part of it or be a heel on her own, but those actions suggest a heel turn might be happening soon.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens did a promo saying that he may have made a mistake. Owens said that he unveiled his plan to trick Steve Austin into a match. Owens said that the Texas Rattlesnake is great and you have to be great to beat one of the greatest superstars in WWE, Kevin Owens. KO said when he tricked Steve into having his first match in 19 years, he tricked himself because he had a back injury. Owens said that he was in the gym the day before, he was lifting a lot of weight and he shouldn’t have even gone in there. Owens said that he sacrificed his health and put himself at risk for all of you. Owens said that as great as that win was for Steve, it should come with a clarification that it came against somebody who wasn’t 100% and it should be stricken from the record.

There was an entrance of a guy whose name is Ezekiel as it said on the screen. It was the former Elias with no beard, he had on wrestling trunks and boots. Owens: “Elias? Is that you? Where the hell have you been?” Ezekiel said he is not Elias with the fans chanting “yes you are” at him. Ezekiel claimed he is Elias’ younger brother. Some fans were chanting “oh walk with Elias” and the guy said his name is Ezekiel. Owens said he recognized those eyes while saying it was Elias. Ezekiel said he is Elias’ younger brother and Owens told him to stop lying because he hates liars. Ezekiel said Owens must hate himself because on Saturday night he lied to Stone Cold and he got stunned. Owens told Ezekiel he didn’t like him while fans chanted “you got stunned” to Owens. Kevin told him what matters is that he’s got ten seconds to get out of KO’s ring or else. Owens did a countdown from 10, then he got to 1 and Owens left the ring rather than do something to Elias…I mean Ezekiel. KO’s music played as he walked away while Ezekiel stood in the ring.

Analysis: There’s the return of Elias, who has been out of action for a long time due to WWE wanting to end the Elias gimmick. There were reports of him having a different look when he came back, but it had been a while since I heard about him. Ezekiel has a great physique, he’s decent enough in the ring and is a good talker from all of his time as Elias, so it’s understandable why WWE is standing by him to give him a shot as a new character. I don’t know if it will work, but interacting with Owens is a good thing since KO is a featured heel on this show. It was a bit comical to have Ezekiel say he was the brother of Elias rather than admit to who he really is. It’s a running gag they can get away with for a few weeks most likely. Anyway, Owens walking away from a fight shows that he can be a cowardly heel at times too.

There was a graphic shown of Bad Bunny winning a Grammy Award on Sunday night.

Dominik Mysterio entered with his father Rey because Dominik is against The Miz up next.

(Commercial)

The Miz made his entrance. They showed what happened at WrestleMania Saturday when The Miz & Logan Paul beat The Mysterios in a tag team match. After the match, Miz hit Logan with a Skull Crushing Finale that came as a surprise. A good match with Paul impressing in his debut match.

The Miz vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/Rey Mysterio)

Dominik with an armbar off the ropes and a trip that sent him into the ropes. Miz sent Dominik into the top rope and Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Dominik for the pinfall win. It went under one minute.

Winner by pinfall: The Miz

Analysis: 1/4* That was rushed. I didn’t think it would be such a short match, but good for Miz looking dominant like that. The video package before the match was longer than the match.

Veer Mahaan made his entrance for his Raw return (or debut if you want to call it that). Veer kicked Dominik, so Rey punched Veer and Veer decked Rey with a clothesline. Veer delivered a sidewalk slam on Rey. Veer pulled on the head/neck of Veer and Dominik was tapping out. Rey was too hurt to make the save, so a referee had to pull Veer off. Veer stood tall over the Mysterios in the ring.

Analysis: The long-awaited return (or debut) of Veer was a dominant showcase of his power. The reason I say return is because he was on Raw plenty of times before October, then he was part of the WWE Draft and they kept airing graphics saying “Veer Mahaan is coming to Raw” for the past seven months. Good for Veer seeing what he can do. I’m not surprised that they booked Veer in a dominant way.

There were graphics shown from media outlets along with photos of some WrestleMania moments. They didn’t show TJRWrestling, so I won’t put over the media outlets they mentioned. That’s how I roll, pal.

Bianca Belair made her entrance as the new Raw Women’s Champion. It’s her first time holding that title after winning the Smackdown Women’s Champion last year. Belair was in a celebratory mood. She’ll get some promo time after a break.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair held up the Raw Women’s Title in her hands as she stood in the ring. Belair thanked the fans for believing in her ability to stand in this ring to hold the title on her own. Belair took her sunglasses off to reveal she had a black eye on her left eye. Belair said she stands here with one eye because even going back to SummerSlam when Becky Lynch took her title (the Smackdown Women’s Title) in 30 seconds, it made Belair realize how much better she could be. Belair said she can never take for granted where she is because just like that (a snap of a finger) it can all be taken from here and that hurts. Belair said she didn’t cheat or injure her opponent to get back to the top. Belair claimed that Becky came for Belair’s throat, her hair and even for Belair’s eye. Belair said even with one eye, she fought until the end and she’s standing in front of us tonight as the champion. Belair said that you deserve better than Becky Lynch as your champion, so Belair became better. Bianca said she knows how hard it is to stay at the top. Belair said she’ll never let the title go ever again. Belair added she’ll fight every woman back there because after Saturday, she’s different, and she is better. Bianca said that maybe Becky can take this downtime to find out who she is without this championship. Belair said that she is the EST of WWE and your new Raw Women’s Champion.

Analysis: A very good babyface champion promo from Belair. It sucks that her eye is nearly closed shut like that because of a move she took at Wrestlemania Saturday, but it should get better in the coming days. Belair has improved a lot in terms of promos over the last two years. I like how much confidence she has in her ability. She just comes across as a very likable person and I’m sure younger female fans think of her as a role model. They should. She’s great.

A video aired about Bron Breakker because he’s challenging Dolph Ziggler for the NXT Title up next. The video showed some highlights about Bron in action with clips of his power moves while Bron talked about how his game plan is explosiveness, power and pure domination.

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance as the NXT Champion with his buddy Robert Roode joining him.

Analysis: I was very surprised when Ziggler beat Breakker at NXT Stand & Deliver on Saturday afternoon (check out my review here) because it seemed like it was set up for a Bron win. I’m also surprised they are doing a rematch on Raw when they could easily do it on NXT on Tuesday. I guess it is WWE’s way of trying to help NXT by putting it in a big spot on the Raw after WrestleMania.

(Commercial)

Bron Breakker made his entrance wearing a singlet that said “BREAKKER” on the front of it. A lot of times Bron wears colorful singles like his dad/uncle The Steiner Brothers used to wear. It was a decent reaction for Bron, but not that loud. Bron is a future major star in WWE.

NXT Championship: Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode) vs. Bron Breakker

Bron drove Ziggler into the turnbuckle followed by an overhead belly to belly suplex. Ziggler left the ring, then he lured Bron back in and Ziggler hit a neckbreaker followed by an elbow drop for two. Ziggler: “This is the big leagues, idiot.” Ziggler ran the ropes, Bron caught him and hit a powerslam. Bron caught Ziggler going for a move and Bron did a catapult that sent Ziggler into the ropes. That is usually a spot into the turnbuckle, but Bron hit the ropes instead of the turnbuckle. Bron set up Ziggler on the top rope, Ziggler slipped out of a move and Ziggler dropkicked Bron off the top turnbuckle to send him crashing to the mat.

(Commercial)

Ziggler was in control with a dropkick on a running Bron. Ziggler wanted a Fameasser, but Bron caught him and hit a Powerbomb counter. Bron hit two running shoulder tackles and a belly to belly overhead suplex. Bron connected with a clothesline. Bron set up in the corner, Roode on the apron, Bron looked at him and Ziggler got a rollup for two. Bron with another clothesline for Ziggler, then Bron ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Awesome dive by Bron! Ziggler took a turnbuckle pad off just like he did on Saturday at Stand & Deliver. Back in the ring, Ziggler hit a running knee followed by a Fameasser. Ziggler wanted a superkick, Bron lifted him and Dolph raked the eyes. Ziggler sent Bron into the ropes, Bron stopped himself from hitting the exposed steel and Ziggler hit a superkick for one…two…and no! Bron got his right arm up at two. That was the sequence that ended their match on Saturday. Ziggler set up for a superkick, but Bron stopped that with a Spear. Bron picked up Dolph overhead into a press powerslam for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Champion: Bron Breakker

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good title match. Bron should have won the title match at Stand & Deliver on Saturday, but I guess WWE decided it would be better for NXT if it happened on Raw instead. I like how Bron learned from what cost him at S&D because Ziggler exposed a steel turnbuckle again, but Bron was ready for it and avoided it. That Spear by Bron looks so impressive especially because Ziggler is so great at selling power moves. They need to come up with a name for Bron’s finishing powerslam because it’s impressive, but it needs a unique name that is for him. I think Bron will have a pretty good run as champion although I’m sure WWE higher-ups are high on him and want him on Raw or SD regularly at some point soon. I say don’t rush it. Let him get more experience in NXT first.

Bron Breakker celebrated with the NXT Title. It’s his second time holding that title.

Analysis: I would have used this Raw to build to the title change on NXT on Tuesday, but I can understand WWE wanting to give Bron a bigger platform on Raw tonight to win the title. I just think the crowd reaction would have been better with the NXT crowd. Way better actually.

Bobby Lashley was up next.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Bobby Lashley and MVP

MVP was in the ring talking about Bobby Lashley beating the dominant Omos at WrestleMania 38. MVP introduced his friend the “All Mighty” Bobby Lashley followed Bobby’s impressive win at WrestleMania. MVP added that Lashley was able to do it even without MVP around. Lashley walked out in his wrestling gear and the fans cheered him because Lashley is in a face role again like he was earlier in his career. Lashley was greeted with “Bobby” chants.

Bobby Lashley said when Omos issued the challenge at WrestleMania, Bobby couldn’t resist because he had to see how strong and powerful this man was. Bobby asked himself if he was certain he wanted to do this and when he knocked him down on Raw, he knew it could be done. Bobby said that Omos was the strongest, most powerful man he has ever been in the ring and Bobby felt almost hopeless. Bobby said that he knew if Omos made a mistake, it would be 1-2-3 and that’s exactly what happened. Here’s the interruption.

Omos made his entrance wearing a jacket on top of the gear that he wrestles in. The announcers talked about how dominant Omos was prior to the match against Lashley. Omos got into the ring with Lashley saying he wanted a rematch because what happened at WrestleMania was a fluke. MVP announced that Omos wanted a rematch and MVP hit Lashley in the back with the microphone. Omos punched Lashley down. MVP jumped on Lashley and punched him repeatedly while yelling that Lashley thinks he doesn’t need MVP anymore. Omos hit a running back elbow to the face. MVP hit a running kick to the face. Omos picked up Lashley and hit a two-handed Choke Bomb. MVP raised the hand of Omos over a fallen Lashley.

Analysis: The heel turn made sense since Bobby is a face and Omos needs a mouthpiece like MVP to be with him. If Bobby is going to be in the face role, he doesn’t MVP with him. It’s a good booking move because MVP has always been better as a heel throughout his career. It’s the same reason why Omos was better with AJ Styles. The promos that Omos does are not that good, so when you give him somebody that’s an outstanding talker like MVP, that’s going to make Omos look more impressive. I’m glad that Lashley has avoided shoulder surgery, he appears to be healthy and I hope he can have a successful run as a face.

Rhea Ripley was backstage with Liv Morgan, who asked about what happened. Rhea said she was able to convince management to give them a title shot for next week. That’s probably Ripley will turn heel.

Carmella & Queen Zelina Vega entered for tag team action against Natalya & Shayna Baszler up next.

(Commercial)

The team of Vega and Carmella were in the ring for their match. Vega did a promo blaming Carmella for costing them the Women’s Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania. Vega ripped on Carmella for being obsessed about her wedding and being engaged to Corey Graves. Vega said Corey was a handsome man, so Carmella got mad about it and mentioned she was the most beautiful looking woman in the world. Vega hit Carmella, who bumped to the floor and jumped on Graves at ringside. Vega left. Graves talked to Carmella, who responded to him with a kiss that included an aggressive makeout session between the engaged couple. That was the end of the scene.

Analysis: Good luck to Corey and Carmella on their wedding in a few days. I guess that’s the end of Vega & Carmella as a team. I’m not too sad if that’s the case. The advertised match did not happen, by the way.

A replay was shown from WrestleMania 38 when Pat McAfee beat Austin Theory. After that, McAfee challenged Vince McMahon to a match and the 76-year-old Vinny Mac beat McAfee thanks to some help from Theory. It was a terrible “match” to get Vince some heel heat. That was followed by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin clearing house with a Stone Cold Stunner by Austin Theory (amazing sell by him). Austin hit Stunner on Vince, which was awful, so they edited how it looked here. Austin had a beer bash with McAfee, then Austin hit a Stunner on McAfee as well and Pat had a memorable moment where he drank beer on the floor.

Austin Theory was backstage with The Usos walking up to him with their Smackdown Tag Team Titles. The Usos said that they got the W at WrestleMania and they’re going to show RK-Bro why The Bloodline runs this whole company. Theory told The Usos that he had McAfee beat. Theory said that Mr. McMahon never makes a mistake. Theory was fired up as he left, so The Usos were happy that they motivated him.

RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) entered as the Raw Tag Team Champions for a match after the break.

Analysis: The second hour only had one match: Breakker vs. Ziggler. I understand wanting to do promos, but it’s been a lot of talking this week. A bit more action would be nice to see.

(Commercial)

Finn Balor made his entrance as the United States Champion that was not a part of the WrestleMania card. It’s lame that Balor was left off WrestleMania this year. The creative team needs to be better with their secondary champions like Balor and Intercontinental Champion Ricochet from Smackdown. Austin Theory made his entrance for tag team action and he was joined by The Usos, who are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions reminding us that they are “The Ones” as well.

Randy Orton, Riddle & Finn Balor vs. Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso & Austin Theory

Balor was in the ring with Jimmy leading to Balor hitting a low dropkick. Riddle tagged in with a waistlock into a front facelock. Jey tagged in with a forearm to Riddle, Theory tagged in and stomped on Riddle. Theory charged, so Riddle sent him over the top to the floor. Riddle went to the apron, Theory tripped him up and Riddle crashed to the floor while grabbing his leg to sell the fall. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Jey working over Riddle with a lifting neckbreaker for two. Jey punched Balor off the apron while Orton avoided a punch. Riddle got back into it with a jumping knee (along with a hard leg slap). Orton got the hot tag against Jimmy with Orton hitting two clotheslines, a punch to Theory and Orton hit a powerslam on Jimmy. Jey back in from behind, Orton elbowed him and Theory tagged in without Orton seeing it. Theory jumped into the ring leading to a dropkick on Orton. Balor tagged in with a kick to Theory’s head and Balor jumped off the top with the double foot stomp, but Theory moved. Balor came back with an elbow drop to the mat. Orton hit an RKO on Jimmy. Jey hit a superkick on Orton, Jey hit a superkick on Riddle and Balor with a Slingblade on Jey. Theory capitalized with the A-Town Down slam off the shoulders into the knee for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Austin Theory and The Usos

Analysis: *** This was a good tag team match with Theory getting his win back after losing to Pat McAfee at WrestleMania. It feels like Theory has beaten Balor several times now, so it wouldn’t shock me if Theory beats Balor to win the US Title soon. The crowd was absolutely on fire for Orton getting the hot tag, which shows it is smart for WWE to keep Orton in the face role. The Usos and RK-Bro worked well together as usual. This was all about putting over Theory.

Post match, Theory took a selfie with a fallen Balor. Theory also took a selfie with The Usos.

They showed some images from WrestleMania 38 with Edge beating AJ Styles thanks to a distraction by Damian Priest at ringside.

Edge’s music hit. At the start of the music it has Edge saying: “You think you know me? You never did.” Edge walked out to the ring in the darkness along with some purple light.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Edge

I missed the start of the promo. When I got back, I heard Edge talking about how this is a man that is tired of doing the right thing for the sheep meaning the fans. Edge introduced his new ally Damian Priest, who walked out in an all-black suit. Priest got in the ring where he shook Edge’s hand.

Edge said he had to ask what was it about Edge that caused Priest to put his career in his own hands. Priest said that Edge has meant a lot to him for a long time. Priest claimed that going into WrestleMania he was lost, the fans chanted “we don’t care” and Priest noted that it didn’t bother him. Priest said he knows that Edge was speaking to AJ Styles, but Edge’s message felt like he was speaking to Priest. That’s why Priest made the decision to pledge his loyalty to Edge. Edge called it the best decision Priest has ever made. Edge said that when he found himself, it was the same night Priest wanted to take control over his career again. Edge said that he knows AJ Styles is going to keep coming while adding that pitbulls only know how to fight. Edge told Styles that he has think of his family and said that AJ needs to fight.

AJ Styles made his entrance, Priest went after Styles and AJ quickly beat him up while tossing Priest over the barricade. Styles went after Edge with Styles whipping Edge shoulder first into the ring post two times in a row. Styles brought two chairs into the ring, but Priest got back into it to save Edge and Priest stomped on Styles repeatedly. Edge got back up leading to a double team move with Priest doing a sweep kick while Edge hit a Spear at the same time. Edge grabbed a chair to try a Conchairto on Styles again, but some officials went to the ring to check on Styles leading to a “Jamie Noble” chant. Noble was one of the officials that checked on Styles. Anyway, Edge and Priest left.

Analysis: It was an effective segment in terms of showing the heel dominance of Edge and his newfound ally Priest. Styles put up a fight, but he was overwhelmed by two guys with nobody around to try to help Styles. There are rumors of Tommaso Ciampa and perhaps Rhea Ripley joining Edge’s group soon. Both of them would be good fits. I like the idea of Edge leading a heel stable. Raw needs something like that.

They showed images from WrestleMania when RK-Bro kept their Raw Tag Team Titles against The Street Profits and Alpha Academy.

The Street Profits made their entrance for tag team action.

(Commercial)

Alpha Academy made their entrance with Chad Gable doing his “SHOOSH” yelling as usual.

Alpha Academy attacked The Street Profits before the bell rang. That led to WWE Official Adam Pearce showing up to say this is now a Texas Tornado Match meaning no tags, no countouts and no disqualifications.

Texas Tornado Match: Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Otis and Dawkins were fighting on the floor, Ford sent Gable to the floor and Ford hit an incredible somersault dive over the ring post onto the three guys on the floor. The fans chanted for tables as Dawkins and Ford hit a double suplex on Gable. Otis got back in the ring, Dawkins punched him a few times, Gable hit Ford with a Fisherman’s Suplex and that got a two count. Otis choked Ford across the middle rope and also stood on Ford. Dawkins got a takedown on Gable, so Otis hit Dawkins to break that up. Otis with a running splash on Dawkins and Gable covered Dawkins for a two count.

(Commercial)

Alpha Academy was in control with Otis hitting a clothesline and then Gable hit a clothesline off the top. Otis and Gable each hit Exploder suplexes. Gable went up top and hit a moonsault on Ford for a two count while Otis hit a Vader Bomb splash out of the corner for a two count. Otis pulled out a table from under the ring. The fans cheered “table” for the popular weapon of choice. Gable set up Dawkins on a table while Otis was on the middle rope. Gable tackled Ford over the top to the floor and Dawkins knocked Otis out of the ring. Dawkins hit a running shoulder tackle to send Otis into the steel steps. Ford went up top, Gable stopped him there and Gable moved the table in a spot for a superplex. Ford got some help from Dawkins, so Gable was set up on the table. Ford stood on the top rope and hit an impressive Frog Splash on Gable through the table! Ford pinned Gable for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very entertaining match. I like Texas Tornado matches occasionally because they allow for more unique spots than a typical tag team match that can be repetitive at times. These teams work well together. Gable is always in the right place at the right time while Otis uses his power well and Dawkins is certainly capable also. Ford’s Frog Splash is always an impressive visual, so seeing him do that onto Gable through a table for the pinfall is a smart way to end the match. It’s a spectacular move.

A video aired showing highlights of Roman Reigns beating Brock Lesnar in the Winner Take All Championship Unification Match. They hyped it up as the biggest WrestleMania match of all-time, but it was really just an average Reigns-Lesnar match. Reigns won clean with a Spear and left with the Universal Title along with the WWE Title.

Roman Reigns was up next as the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion for the main event segment.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw in Detroit:

* AJ Styles vs. Damian Priest.

* Sasha Banks & Naomi defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan. I assume that’s where Ripley turns heel on Morgan.

* Rey Mysterio vs. Veer Mahaan. It’s the Veer Era.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns

The “Tribal Chief” WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance with the “Wise Man” Special Counsel Paul Heyman carrying both of Roman’s championships. The Usos, who are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, joined their cousin Roman for this promo segment. Reigns posed with the Universal and WWE Titles in his hands. Graves put over Roman’s win since he’s the heel announcer while Saxton mentioned Reigns used a low blow and Reigns used the title as a weapon to knock Lesnar down. Reigns did his long walk to the ring that took about four minutes.

Reigns called for the microphone from Heyman, who held both titles. Reigns: “I know what you want. We all know why you’re here, but we’re going to switch things up just a bit.” Reigns called on Heyman to explain The Bloodline’s success.

Heyman bragged about The Usos as the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions in the history of Smackdown, The Usos. Heyman mentioned large box office receipts in the history of SummerSlam, Survivor Series and a billion-dollar year for WWE with Reigns on top for all 365 days of that year. Heyman mentioned the biggest box office for the Royal Rumble when Reigns was on top and Heyman noted the success of WrestleMania 38 ticket sales and who was on top? Roman Reigns. Heyman called Roman the single biggest star in sports entertainment…undisputed…Roman Reigns. Some fans chanted “Roman” for the Tribal Chief.

Reigns said that what is good is for Roman Reigns is good for WWE. Reigns said that with him at the Head of the Table, the billion-dollar deals are coming easy. Reigns claimed that he is the last needle mover because he’s operating at God Mode. Reigns said that he is so much more than all that. Reigns said he was a man of his word that called his shot and he delivered. Reigns said he’ll smash Brock Lesnar, so he smashed him and that’s the past now. Reigns said that other men may be content, but he’s a progressive Tribal Chief and he’s constantly moving forward. Reigns said that this Friday on Smackdown, they will let us know what the next step is. Reigns: “Dallas, Texas…acknowledge me.” Reigns and The Usos held their fingers in the air to let us know they are “The Ones” and that was it.

Analysis: It was a typical promo from Reigns and Heyman. I was hoping for an interruption or something big to possibly happen, but it was the usual bragging about Roman’s success with Heyman providing some more info than usual. It was fine for what it was. I guess we’ll find out on Smackdown what they plan to do with two titles on Reigns, if he’ll defend both separately or what the plan might be.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Cody Rhodes
  2. Bron Breakker
  3. The Street Profits

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

I had somebody complain to me last week that I didn’t put the average here anymore. That was my choice. I didn’t want to keep track. It’s not a big deal. My weekly score of these shows is just how I feel at the time. It’ll be okay if you don’t know what the average is.

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good show for the most part with a lot of promos. I really enjoyed the Cody Rhodes speech that was from the heart and he did an excellent job of expressing himself. Other promos from Bianca Belair, Kevin Owens and Edge were very good as well.

There weren’t that many newsworthy things on the show other than Elias coming back as Ezekiel, Veer Mahaan looking dominant in his Raw “debut” after months of hype and Bron Breakker winning back the NXT Title from Dolph Ziggler.

I liked some of the matches like Breakker beating Ziggler, the Tornado Tag Team match and the six-man tag match that put over Theory. I wouldn’t call it some epic, memorable Raw after Mania show. It was fine.

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Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport