Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. It’s the follow-up to WrestleMania 37 that took place on Saturday and Sunday night. Read my combined review of the two nights right here in case you haven’t read it yet. I liked most of WrestleMania 37 with some pretty good matches on both nights although I was surprised by some booking decisions. In other cases, I wish certain matches went longer and that others got less time. I loved hearing the live crowd again with about 25,000 fans in attendance for each night. It was sold out as much WWE was allowed to sell it out due to health protocols. Anyway, now we move on to the post-WrestleMania Raw that probably won’t feel as special as most years since it’s back to the Thunderdome setup with no fans in attendance except for the ones on video screens. This is the first Thunderdome show at a new venue called the Yuengling Center in Tampa and also the first for Raw’s new announce team, which we’ll get to during the show.
There are some new champions on the Raw brand with Rhea Ripley defeating Asuka for the Raw Women’s Title while the team of AJ Styles & Omos beat The New Day to become the Raw Tag Team Champions. It is AJ’s first time as a Tag Team Champion in WWE to complete the Grand Slam (WWE Title, US Title, Intercontinental Title, Tag Team Title) in terms of titles in WWE. Sheamus also beat Riddle to become the United States Champion for the third time in his career. Meanwhile, Bobby Lashley retained the WWE Championship against former champion Drew McIntyre. That’s three out of four Raw titles changing hands at WrestleMania and all of them are on heels if you count Ripley as a heel. Now we see what WWE will do heading into the WrestleMania Backlash pay-per-view on Sunday, May 16.
From the WWE ThunderDome at Yuengling, Center in Tampa, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1455 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.
There was a video from Earlier Today with Bobby Lashley carrying the WWE Title with MVP by his side. Riddle walked up to Lashley making a challenge with Lashley talking about how Sheamus took the US Title from Riddle. Lashley said he came there to celebrated his victory and address the WWE Universe. Riddle kept on talking about things that Lashley said in the past, so Lashley knocked him down and Lashley called Riddle a loser while Lashley is a winner. That set up the match.
They were at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida as the new home of the Thunderdome. Byron Saxton said that it was at the University of South Florida, which is true, but he didn’t say the name of the building.
Bobby Lashley, the WWE Champion, made his entrance with the WWE Championship around his waist with Lashley in his gear for his match. MVP was with Lashley as usual.
The announce table was shown with Byron Saxton welcome Corey Graves back to Raw and welcoming Adnan Virk of MLB Network for his WWE debut. We found out about Virk and the new announce team officially earlier on Monday. Virk said it was a lifelong dream to be there. They plugged Ripley vs. Asuka in a WrestleMania and the Firefly Fun House segment for later.
Analysis: I’m happy for my fellow Canadian Adnan, who I know from when he was on sports TV here in the late 2000s before he went to ESPN for about a decade and now he’s on MLB Network. Virk hasn’t called a wrestling show before, so he’s learning on the job and I hope fans are respectful about it.
Riddle entered on his scooter. Riddle was at ringside on his scooter, but Lashley was there with a clothesline before Riddle could get into the ring. Lashley drove Riddle back first into the barricade repeatedly. Lashley picked up Riddle to send him into the barricade again. Lashley had Riddle on his shoulders and then he rammed Riddled face first into the ring post. Lashley sent Riddle into the ring, referee John Cone checked on Riddle and Riddle agreed to the match.
Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Riddle
This was not for the WWE Championship. Lashley worked over Riddle with shoulder tackles to the ribs along with a running shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle. Lashley hit a neckbreaker. Lashley with a delayed suplex while holding Riddle up with one arm. Lashley grabbed the scooter at ringside and tossed it over the barricade. Back in the ring, Riddle with punches, but Lashley hit a body slam. Lashley tossed Riddle out of the ring. Lashley gave a press slam to Riddle where he threw him over the barricade and Riddle landed where there was no camera to see what he landed on. There was likely padding because we can’t see it, so they might as well make it safe for the guy. The show went to break there.
Lashley remained in control as he jumped on Riddle’s back. Lashley with repeated knees to the ribs, then he sent Riddle into the top turnbuckle and Lashley hit a flapjack for two. Lashley set up Riddle across the middle rope leading to forearms to the face by Lashley. There was a rising elbow to the chest by Lashley followed by a suplex. Riddle with punches, but Lashley came back with a clothesline. Riddle avoided a spinebuster, then repeated kicks to the body and Riddle hit a rising knee to the face. Riddle went up top, he went for the Floating Bro, Lashley avoided it and Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission with Riddle giving up to give the champ the win. This went about ten minutes.
Winner by submission: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ** This was an ass-kicking to make Lashley look like a dominant WWE Champion. He was on offense for about 95% of this match after jumping Riddle before the match. As good as it made Lashley look, it was not a good sign for Riddle one night after he lost the US Title as well. I’m not sure why management felt like Riddle was the right guy for this spot, but I hope long term there is some better booking for Riddle because I think he’s a babyface that the fans like. If he’s booked like a loser like this then fans may not like him for that much longer.
There was a video showing Rhea Ripley’s Raw Women’s Title win over Asuka at WrestleMania.
Rhea Ripley was interviewed backstage by Kevin Patrick. Ripley talked about how her confidence allowed her to challenge Asuka and then beat Asuka. Ripley said that the WWE Universe witnessed the “brutal new order” of the women’s division and she will prove she is ready for Asuka. Ripley looked like she may have been reading cue cards too.
The Viking Raiders were back together with Erik and Ivar, who is back after seven months injured with a cervical injury. There were loud cheers for them, so they are clearly in a babyface role.
Analysis: Welcome back to Ivar, who had a rough injury after doing a suicide dive during a match. I hadn’t thought about him for a while, but I’m glad he’s back and it also means Erik will be utilized again in the tag team division.
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Erik slammed Ivar onto Alexander to show that the Raiders were back to their old ways. Alexander with a chop block to Erik’s knee and then Benjamin hit a running knee for a two count. Benjamin with a suplex on Erik for a two count. Alexander worked over Erik with some elbows to the head. Benjamin back in, Alexander with a knee on Erik and Benjamin hit an Angle Slam for two. Alexander back in, Erik with a hiptoss and Erik with a knee to the face. Ivar with the hot tag against Benjamin with two shoulder tackles, a sidewalk slam and a running cross body block. Ivar with a seated senton onto a charging Benjamin. Alexander back in, Ivar with the cartwheel and the double clothesline. Erik was back in with Erik slamming Ivar into Benjamin. Erik lifted up Alexander into the Viking Experience powerslam by Ivar and Erik pinned Alexander to win after about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Analysis: **1/4 It was okay for a five-minute match with The Viking Raiders picking up the predictable win to show they are a force in the tag team division again. The tag team division on Raw was lacking teams, so at least there’s another babyface team in the Viking Raiders to bolster the division.
After the match, The Viking Raiders celebrated the win. Adnan said “The Viking Express” as their name, so he has to make sure he gets that right in the future. Maybe he was calling them an express in a way to say they were tough to beat.
Asuka was interviewed by Kevin Patrick with Asuka saying she was ready for Rhea Ripley and she’s going to be champion again.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in a dress that meant a tight outfit and she was showing off those long legs. Charlotte got a pyro display too with the announcers talking about how Charlotte wasn’t happy about missing WrestleMania this year.
Charlotte Flair said that here she is on the Raw After WrestleMania where she would be there with a big smile, but she wasn’t welcomed at WrestleMania. Charlotte complained about how she wasn’t there. Charlotte said is a franchise player and a genuine superstar. Charlotte complained about Asuka needing a partner, she talked about her dad acting like a fool and she complained about Lacey Evans getting pregnant before Charlotte could kick her ass. Charlotte said none of these are in her control. Charlotte said she challenged Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship and Asuka never responded. Charlotte said that Rhea Ripley challenged Asuka, then Asuka accepted and Ripley left with the Raw Women’s Title. Charlotte claimed that every woman in the locker room was happy that Charlotte wasn’t a part of WrestleMania. Charlotte called Ripley the biggest snake in the locker room and said that Asuka even manipulated her way to a rematch on Raw. Charlotte said that “karma is a bitch and I’m that bitch.” Charlotte listed all the women that got to be on the WrestleMania card and said that no one compares to her. Charlotte said that after she sat at home and watched WrestleMania, she doesn’t steal opportunities because she is the opportunity. Charlotte said that if you think she steals opportunities from your favorites, she creates opportunities. Charlotte said that she is the “new” Charlotte Flair because she is that damn good and you’re going to bow down to respect the 13-time Women’s Champion. Charlotte said that she has dedicated years of her life to this business. Charlotte asked what have the fans given her in return? There was no response so she said “exactly” and said enjoy your title match that she should be in. Charlotte dropped the microphone to end it.
Analysis: I thought it was a very good promo. It definitely feels like Charlotte is back to her best role as a cocky heel that brags about how talented she is. I still find it strange that WWE had Charlotte Flair sit out WrestleMania when she’s healthy. She did have a COVID-19 positive a few weeks back and even rumors of a pregnancy, but I’m pretty sure she was cleared. They should have found something for one of their biggest stars. She’s not the only one either because Bayley was another one, among others. Anyway, I’m glad that Charlotte is back as a heel and it makes me wonder how Rhea Ripley will be portrayed as champion, so we’ll see how long it takes until that match is set up.
Asuka made her entrance for the title match.
There was a video promoting Bob Odenkirk’s new action movie called Nobody with Sheamus talking to him about. I’m a huge Odenkirk fan from his role as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and current show Better Call Saul. I’m not sure about this movie, though.
Rhea Ripley made her first entrance as the Raw Women’s Championship around her waist. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions from Mike Rome.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka
The match started with the two women exchanging punches. Ripley tossed Asuka across the long followed by forearms to the back. Asuka countered a Ripley attack with an armbar and Ripley got her feet on the bottom rope. They battled by the turnbuckle, Asuka was seated on the top rope and Ripley dropkicked her to send Asuka tumbling to the floor.
Ripley remained in control with a clothesline followed by a hard whip to the turnbuckle. Asuka came back with a back elbow and Asuka hit a dropkick off the middle ropes with a good sell by Ripley. Asuka with a knee to the face followed by a German Suplex and running hip attack against the turnbuckle. Asuka with a kick to the head, then a spinning heel kick and a sliding knee for two. Asuka went for a missile dropkick off the top, she missed Ripley and Ripley slapped on a submission hold using her legs to tie up Asuka’s legs, Asuka got to the ropes and Ripley slammed her down for two. They messed up some spot where Ripley was going to get Asuka on her shoulders, then they regrouped and Ripley put Asuka on her shoulders. It looked like Ripley was going for a Samoan Drop, but then it was sold like Asuka did a crucifix slam into a pin attempt and Asuka got a two count. Asuka went for the Asuka Lock submission, Ripley was able to power out of that and Ripley sent Asuka into the turnbuckle. Ripley had Asuka on her shoulders and then slammed Asuka forward for a two count. They battled on the apron with Asuka sending Ripley into the ring post, Asuka hit a hip attack and Asuka hit a DDT on the ring apron. The women were battling on the floor and Charlotte Flair showed up to send both women into the steel steps. That led to a DQ after 12 minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: **3/4 This was a solid match although it wasn’t as good as what they did at WrestleMania. They had that moment in the match where they messed up a spot with Ripley having Asuka on her shoulders, then it didn’t work and then when they did it again two more times it looked awkward. It’s not that surprising that Charlotte Flair showed up to interfere considering what she said in her promo.
Charlotte sent Asuka into the barricade and then Charlotte hit a running kick to Ripley. Charlotte hit an overhead suplex on Asuka on the floor. Charlotte kicked Ripley into the side of the ring apron. Charlotte celebrated her actions with a big smile and said: “I’m back.” Flair posted on the ramp while Asuka and Ripley were still down at ringside.
Analysis: That should lead to this becoming a triple threat feud with a title match coming soon.
The Miz and John Morrison were shown walking backstage with Miz being greeted by his lovely wife Maryse, who kissed Miz. Morrison commented on her being there and Miz mentioned that Maryse is the guest on Miz TV this week.
Alexa’s Playground is up next.
This Friday on Smackdown: What is next for new Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair? Plus, Roman Reigns remains on top as the Universal Champion. In other words, they didn’t advertise anything specific.
There was a replay from WrestleMania when Mandy Rose slipped on the entrance ramp on her way to the ring. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were laughing at the replay. Mandy Rose walked into the scene, Baszler left and Jax said that she can handle this. Rose said that she can laugh at herself and it’s funny how you can laugh at things you don’t see coming. That led to Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke shoving Jax into some wall that was there. The blondes left while Jax was angry about it.
Analysis: That was a good follow up to WrestleMania where Mandy Rose had a blooper moment, so it was smart to follow up on it.
Alexa told us a story about a little girl (herself) that was lost until she was rescued by the darkness (The Fiend). Alexa said that the darkness protected her, nurtured her and taught her everything it knew, but then the darkness went away (The Fiend was burned). Alexa said that may be when the little girl realized she didn’t need the darkness at all. Alexa said that she realized she could do everything on her own and wondered if the darkness (The Fiend) was helping her or standing in her way. Bliss said why else wouldn’t she use what she was taught to destroy the darkness? Bliss wondered if the female species the deadliest and said we may never know. Bliss said what we know is that she unlocked something truly evil and she introduced to her new friend Lilly. It was some creepy-looking doll on the swing set beside her. Bliss said that their fun is just getting started and then Bliss laughed. They showed a closeup of the evil doll and that was it.
Analysis: Just what we need on Raw – another puppet or doll or whatever you want to call it. Anyway, the promo was about Bliss saying maybe she didn’t need The Fiend anymore, so that’s why she distracted him with the DREADED BLACK LIQUID~! and now here we are.
The Miz made his entrance with his lovely wife Maryse since their show Miz & Mrs. is back on USA Network after Raw. John Morrison joined them for this talk show segment.
Miz TV with Maryse as the guest
The Miz was seated in the ring with Maryse and John Morrison. The Miz said that history was made and despite everything that happened, he is the most talked about entertainer in all of entertainment. Miz said he knows you’re wondering why Maryse is there. Morrison said he knows why. Maryse plugged the premiere of the new season of the Miz & Mrs. show after Raw on USA Network. Morrison said that there should be a spinoff with Morrison on it called “MMM” and Miz told Morrison that John is on tonight’s episode. They kept on rambling on doing their usual thing. Miz said it has the potential to be the biggest season yet. Miz said that he took Bad Bunny into a WWE superstar and Maryse said that Miz was too giving. Morrison said that they are both way too giving. Miz called for some highlights of Bad Bunny at WrestleMania as they showed some images of Bad Bunny doing moves to Miz & Morrison. Miz said that the pain was worth it because history was made. Here’s the interruption from Damian Priest, which is fine with me because this was dragging on too long.
Damian Priest said that Bad Bunny shocked the world because he trained day and night to show he belonged in a WWE ring while living his dream. Priest reminded Miz about the headlines across the world: “Bad Bunny beats Miz.” That led to Miz saying that Priest was jealous of being upstaged by Bad Bunny. Miz said that he has a lot of great WrestleMania moments like beating John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania. Miz challenged Priest to a match, Morrison said that he was going to do that and Maryse said that you both can fight him. Priest said that they can have a handicap match right now. Miz had a suit on and Morrison was in jeans, but Priest made his way down to the ring.
Analysis: Most WWE talk show segments lead into a match, so that’s what we got here. That Miz promo was the usual rambling promo he always does while also heavily promoting the Miz & Mrs. reality show because it’s on right after Raw on USA Network. Anyway, I guess the feud continues even without Bad Bunny on Raw anymore. It will be nice to see Priest against other guys in the future.
The video aired showing Triple H handing Bad Bunny a briefcase. It was for Bad Bunny’s tour in 2022 and they had dates on the screen.
Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison (w/Maryse)
Priest was wrestling in his ring gear while Miz was in dress pants and Gucci shoes along with a dress shirt. Morrison was in jeans and at least he had sneakers on. Miz grounded Priest and Morrison jumped over the top with an elbow drop. Morrison worked over Priest with punches. Miz tagged in, Priest avoided an attack and Priest kicked Morrison in the head. Priest with jumping elbow smashes on both guys and a Broken Arrow slam on Morrison. Priest with a spinning heel kick on Miz, who was legal. Priest with a South of Heaven sitout Chokeslam for two with Morrison hitting Priest with a knee to break up the pin. Morrison was back in with Priest hitting him with a clothesline. Priest went up top, Morrison rolled out of the ring and Priest jumped over the top with a somersault on both guys on the floor. Priest kicked Miz down on the apron and that allowed Morrison to hit two punches. Priest kicked Morrison off the turnbuckle to the mat. Priest went up top and hit a spin kick for a two count. Priest tried a move, Morrison elbowed out of it and Miz tagged in. Priest hit the Hit The Lights move on Morrison. Priest tried a move on Miz, but Maryse grabbed Miz by the foot to save him. Priest stripped Miz to his boxers and then Miz did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win with his feet on the ropes (and Maryse assisted) after about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Miz & John Morrison
Analysis: *3/4 A cheap win for the heels with Miz getting the victory thanks to using the ropes and even getting an assist from Maryse as well. I don’t like seeing Priest being at all because I think he’s a guy that WWE should push as a new wrestler on Raw, but here they are having him lose. I realize it’s not a bad loss because it was a handicap match. It gives Miz/Morrison the win back after WrestleMania. I just don’t think it was necessary to do this.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler were about to be interviewed by Kevin Patrick and then a replay aired from Jax getting attacked earlier. Jax complained about how they only showed that to embarrass her. Jax said that Mandy and Dana did a cowardly attacked to deflect from Mandy’s WrestleMania blooper. Jax said after the beating they give them, nobody will be talking about Mandy or Dana.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke made their entrance in the gear they were wearing at WrestleMania. Rose didn’t slip this time and Dana applauded her. That’s because it was wet at WrestleMania, but it’s not wet here.
There was a WrestleMania 25 video shown to promote the movie Nobody. They showed when Rey Mysterio beat JBL to win the Intercontinental Title.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler made their entrance as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. They don’t have Reginald with them. This is not a title match. When Jax got into the ring, her foot hit the middle rope and she stumbled a bit, so the blondes laughed at her. That was a scripted tumble although Jax was still standing.
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
Jax tossed Brooke against the ring and put her foot on the throat against the turnbuckle. Baszler tagged in with a knee to the face and Brooke stomped on the left foot. Baszler stretched the leg of Brooke around her neck and sent Brooke into the turnbuckle. Jax was back in with an elbow drop for two. Jax followed up with a chinlock. Brooke tried for a DDT, Jax blocked it and Brooke kicked Jax in the back. Baszler tagged in, Rose got the tag and Rose jumped off the top with a missile dropkick. Rose with two clotheslines and a flapjack. Rose with shoulder tackles, then she avoided a knee and Rose hit a knee to Baszler. Brooke went for her double underhook slam, Baszler fought out of it and Rose escaped a submission by going to the floor. Jax sent Brooke back in the ring and Jax slipped on the ring apron and bumped to the floor. Another scripted slip as Rose and Brooke laughed. Rose and Brooke backed up the ramp rather than face off with an angry Jax and the referee counted them out for the countout. Brooke and Rose were saying “it’s not worth it.” The match went about five minutes.
Winners by countout: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Analysis: 3/4* That was strange. Not good at all in terms of booking. The action was decent, but the finish wasn’t good at all. Bizarre booking here with the babyfaces Brooke & Rose willingly leaving the match because they were laughing at Jax for slipping again. It doesn’t really make Brooke & Rose look smart by walking out of a match with two champions. Heels are the ones that walk out of a match, not the faces. I just find it to be a strange booking decision.
The showed WrestleMania highlights of Bobby Lashley beating Drew McIntyre to retain the WWE Title.
Bobby Lashley is up next with MVP for the WWE Champion’s All Mighty Address. (That’s what they advertised. Lashley didn’t even appear in the next segment.)
This Tuesday on NXT is when NXT begins on Tuesday nights. New champions Raquel Gonzalez and Karrion Kross will bet there and a look at Kyle O’Reilly/Adam Cole after their match at Takeover Stand & Deliver.
Let’s Hear from MVP
Montel Vontavious Porter was in the ring alone. MVP said that Saturday at WrestleMania, Lashley retained the WWE Title and all he wanted to do today was address you himself. MVP said that Drew McIntyre is an absolute warrior that is one of the most dominant WWE Champions, but he told Drew that it’s okay to be number two when the All Mighty Bobby Lashley is number one. MVP said that it’s always a matter of time until Lashley applies the Hurt Lock and after that, it’s all over as we saw McIntyre pass out. MVP said that McIntyre passed out from the intense pressure of the Hurt Lock and if Drew can’t handle it, who can? MVP said that nobody can handle it.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with a promo on the stage. McIntyre wondered how MVP could know how Drew felt right now. Drew said he knew WrestleMania would come down to a few things between the Claymore Kick, Hurt Lock and who makes a mistake. McIntyre said you’re right about the Hurt Lock because when Lashley locks it in, there’s not much you can do. McIntyre said that there aren’t too many men that can humble Drew McIntyre, but look at them on top of the world. McIntyre told MVP to milk that cash cow, make that money and kiss that ass. McIntyre said that eventually, he’ll get that rematch, he’ll connect with that Claymore and Bobby will hit the ground as fast as possible. MVP said that nothing around here is given, everything must be earned, and here comes Braun Strowman for the interruption.
MVP told McIntyre he’s in the back of the line and to fight his way back to the title picture. Braun Strowman told McIntyre to take his ass to the back of the line while Strowman steps to the front of the line after he annihilated Shane McMahon in the steel cage at WrestleMania.
Randy Orton was next with the interruption as MVP yelled: “What is going on here, man?” Orton said that The Fiend and Alexa Bliss are finished, so now Orton can focus on being The Viper, The Apex Predator, and being the WWE Champion once again.
That led to WWE Official Adam Pearce saying that everybody was making good points, so that makes his decision simple. Pearce set up Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton for the main event and the winner will get a WWE Title match against Bobby Lashley at the next PPV, WrestleMania Backlash.
Analysis: This is another typical promo setup where you get three different guys doing the same promo about how they deserve a title shot and then the match is made. It was pretty obvious that was coming when they all got out there. That’s fine with me because Strowman and Orton won at WrestleMania while McIntyre lost, but it was a close match, so you can justify putting Drew one match away from getting another title match. It was weird how they advertised Lashley before the break, but he didn’t even go out there.
The New Day vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker is next.
There was a commercial for the A&E original Biography on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin this Sunday on A&E. I’m looking forward to that and all of the biography shows on WWE superstars coming up.
Drew McIntyre was backstage with Braun Strowman for a conversation. They talked about their upcoming match. Strowman said he knows how bad Drew wants a rematch, but Braun told Drew he is standing in his way from Strowman’s shot at the WWE Title, so Strowman said that Drew had a monster-sized ass whooping coming his way.
They showed a replay of Charlotte Flair’s promo and actions earlier in the show.
Elias and Jaxson Ryker were in the ring with Elias about to do a song for his mentor and friend Shane McMahon “for his unmatched bravery” on Saturday night at WrestleMania. Before Elias could get going, there was a trombone noise with Xavier Woods interrupting with Kofi Kingston.
Kofi Kingston said that Elias and Ryker should apologize for how they disgraced the tag team division. Kingston said that they got their sorry behinds whooped all over WrestleMania by one man, Braun Strowman. Xavier Woods said that you would hate to say it and Woods said that if it happened to them they would never show their faces. Kingston said that after a year without fans, all they could do was catch Braun’s hands. Kofi and Xavier did their “shame” routine. Elias mentioned the colossal whooping from one man happened to New Day as well when Omos tossed them all around the ring and New Day lost their titles. Woods said that they had a failure to communicate, Kingston asked if it was a game with some barking (DMX tribute, Rest in Peace to DMX) and then they said that they will bring back the honor where it belongs. New Day ended with their “New Day rocks” bit.
Analysis: The promos were fine although it dragged on too long. It was just a way to set up the match that was already advertised anyway.
The New Day – Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker
Woods gave Ryker a back body drop over the top to the floor. Kingston sent Elias out of the ring. New Day hit dives over the top onto the heels on the floor leading to a break.
The match returned with Ryker tagging with a spinebuster on Woods. Elias was back in with a spinning slam off the shoulders for a two count. Elias with a chinlock, another plug for the movie “Nobody” aired (somebody must have paid a lot of money to plug that movie all show long) and Elias hit a clothesline. Ryker with a suplex and a headbutt. Ryker charged into a back elbow from Woods, but when Woods jumped off the ropes, Ryker hit him with a forearm to the face. Ryker with a spinebuster and legal man Elias hit a sliding knee to the back for two. Ryker tagged back in with Elias slamming Woods onto the knee of Ryker for a two count. Woods jumped up with an enziguri kick to the back of the neck. Kingston tagged in with a dropkick and a stomp on Elias for two followed by the Boom Drop legdrop. Kingston knocked Ryker down, Woods dropkicked Ryker and Elias avoided the Trouble in Paradise kick. Woods tagged back in, Kofi with a backbreaker and Woods off the top with a double stomp on Elias for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
Analysis: *** It was a good tag team match. I thought Elias and Ryker looked more impressive than usual with some good tandem moves leading to some nearfalls where it looked like they might win. Maybe Elias and Ryker will continue to improve together to be a credible team. Good comeback by Kingston after the hot tag leading to Woods hitting the double team finisher to win. I thought it was booked well. I assume this will lead to New Day getting a title rematch at some point soon.
Randy Orton was shown backstage staring into the camera. Orton said that for the past six months, he was distracted, but all of that ended at WrestleMania. Orton said now he is able to focus on what matters – the WWE Championship. Orton said now he has to go through Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman tonight. Orton said he only has to strike once because he brings with the three most dangerous letters in WWE – RKO. That ended it.
Firefly Fun House is back and it’s next.
The guests on Raw Talk this week are Rhea Ripley, Sheamus and The Viking Raiders.
Firefly Fun House
Bray Wyatt was back on the Firefly Fun House set saying it felt so good to be back. Wyatt said that it felt good especially with his true friends and Abbey the Witch swore when talking about Alexa Bliss. Ramblin’ Rabbit talked about how it will be so roomy in there without her. Wyatt said that they still have eachother. Wyatt said that he felt great and it could be a brand new start for all of them – a new season, new friends and a new Bray Wyatt. Bray said that he felt reborn, then he healed his puppets in the room and “he will return.” Wyatt said no more clout chasing because the Fun House will be strong. That was it.
Analysis: It sounds like a change coming for Bray Wyatt and there wasn’t a Fiend reference there. I don’t know how to react to this stuff. It’s strange, but I guess it’s nice to have Bray Wyatt back.
Drew McIntyre entered first for the main event. Braun Strowman made his entrance as well.
Randy Orton made his slow walking entrance to complete the triple threat match for the main event. Virk got some nicknames wrong with Graves helping to correct and Virk said he was glad that he Corey/Byron to pick him up.
Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman went after McIntyre, Orton went to the floor to regroup and then Orton hit Strowman in the back. McIntyre and Orton worked together with a double suplex on Strowman. Braun was back up with a shoulder tackle on both guys. Strowman tossed McIntyre over the top to the floor. Strowman ran at McIntyre (no “choo choo” noises) and Drew hit Braun with the steel steps. No DQ in a triple threat. Orton capitalized on that with a belly-to-back suplex onto the announce table.
The match continued with McIntyre and Orton working over Strowman with punches and kicks. McIntyre with a headbutt on Strowman to knock him out of the ring. Orton stomped on McIntyre’s foot, Drew came back with two clotheslines and McIntyre hit an overhead suplex. McIntyre hit another overhead belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Strowman was back in the ring, he splashed Orton against the turnbuckle and McIntyre hit a neckbreaker on Strowman, but it looked a bit weird. Orton tripped up McIntyre on the apron. Orton and McIntyre exchanged chops, Orton sent McIntyre into the ring post and onto the top of the table three times. Orton tossed McIntyre over the announce table onto one of the leather chairs. Strowman got back into the match with a running shoulder tackle on Orton. Strowman hit McIntyre with the steel steps while on the floor. You could see referee John Cone talking to all three guys with time cues most likely. Strowman with a forearm to the chest of Orton. Strowman with the steel steps to Orton and the steel steps to McIntyre again. Back in the ring, Orton kicked Strowman and Orton hit a draping DDT off the ropes. Orton set up for the RKO and Orton hit the RKO on Strowman for two, but McIntyre was back in with a Claymore Kick on Orton and McIntyre pinned Orton to win the match. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with a finish that is common in triple threat matches where one guy hits a finisher like Orton connecting with the RKO and then the other guy comes in with their finisher to get the pin. That’s what happened here for McIntyre. I like the way Strowman was booked in a dominant way with the steel steps usage and being in control for several minutes, but then Orton outsmarted him leading to the DDT. McIntyre winning is not a big surprise although I thought maybe it would be time for a new feud, so I thought Strowman would win. I don’t mind McIntyre winning because I know he’ll have a good match with Lashley again.
After the match, McIntyre celebrated the win. McIntyre stared into the camera saying WrestleMania was just the beginning. MVP made his entrance and stood on the stage. T-Bar and Mace appeared behind McIntyre and they hit a double team Chokeslam on McIntyre. That led to the announcers wondering why that happened? They left us wondering if MVP had something to do with it. McIntyre looked on from in the ring and that ended the show.
Analysis: It’s a tease for T-Bar and Mace being a part of The Hurt Business with Bobby Lashley and MVP, but their look obviously doesn’t fit. I would be all for it if those guys ditched the dumb names and masks because they wouldn’t fit in well as those gimmicks in that kind of group. Use different names too. I’d be all for Dijakovic in a bigger role on this show. Anyway, it’s a decent cliffhanger to end the show because T-Bar/Mace attacking Drew is random although we will have to tune in next week to find out what it means. That’s what they are going for with an ending like that. I’m not sure exactly where it’s going and that’s fine. Find out next week.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
- Randy Orton/Braun Strowman
- Charlotte Flair
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2021 Average: 5.93
It was a bad Raw. It wasn’t completely terrible because there were at least few solid matches. It’s still under a 5 out of 10 score, which is rare for me and I was in a good mood going into this show. The promos were just okay for most of the night. It was nice to see Ivar back for the Viking Raiders tag team after a long layoff for him. Charlotte Flair also returned after being off for several weeks and she was back to her heel role after the promo she cut as well as attacking Rhea Ripley/Asuka during their title match. I really liked Charlotte’s promo and attack. She is at her best as this cocky heel character.
The main event was set up at the top of hour three with Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton facing off. McIntyre got the win to challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE Title at WrestleMania Backlash on May 16. That wasn’t all because T-Bar/Mace formerly of Retribution attacked McIntyre, so there’s a tease that T-Bar/Mace might be working for MVP as part of The Hurt Business group. Find out next week, I guess.
I thought the new three-man announce team of newcomer Adnan Virk with Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were okay for their first show together. Virk called most of the moves well, but Graves/Saxton helped calling moves too. Virk also messed up a nickname with Graves helping him out. I think Virk spoke at times during entrances and going to backstage segments when he needs to be quiet, but he’ll learn as he gets more experience.
The next WWE pay-per-view is WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 16. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.