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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/18/22 Review

wwe raw deal april 18

This week’s WWE Raw featured Finn Balor defending the US Title against Theory, Sasha Banks & Naomi putting the Women’s Tag Team Titles on the line against Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan, plus a lie detector test and even a double wedding too.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1508 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The opening video package showed highlights from last week with Cody Rhodes beating The Miz and then Seth Rollins challenging Cody to a WrestleMania rematch. Cody said yes, so that rematch is set for WrestleMania Backlash on May 8th.

Seth Freakin Rollins made his entrance wearing a black and blue suit. The commentary team was Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton and Jerry Lawler. Corey Graves is on his honeymoon for the second Monday in a row. Good for Graves.

Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Seth welcomed us to Monday Night Rollins saying it was a party out there tonight. Seth invited his WrestleMania Backlash opponent Cody Rhodes to come down to the ring for a chat.

There’s adrenaline in the soul as “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes made his entrance wearing a suit. Cody was greeted by “Cody” chants when he got into the ring with Rollins encouraging even more chants. Cody said this feels so familiar. Cody mentioned being in the ring with Rollins in this city. Cody said Buffalo is Rhodes country. Cody wondered what Seth wants to talk about.

Rollins said that Buffalo might be Rhodes country, but this is about respect. Rollins said this is about respect as the fans chanted “Cody” again. That led to Cody posing for the fans, so Seth told him not to do that again. That led to Cody doing it again. Rollins said he was going to tell Cody for his family name, for his brother, for his daddy Dusty Rhodes and for Cody’s long journey going away and coming back as the American Nightmare. Rollins reminded Cody that all that hard work was nothing because Seth made Cody a star in one night at WrestleMania. Cody told Seth to get to the point. Rollins told Cody that at WrestleMania he had an unfair advantage as Mr. McMahon’s surprise opponent. Rollins said he didn’t have the proper time to prepare so Seth…lost. More “Cody” chants for that. Seth said losing was a tough pill to swallow, but some people and maybe Cody think that Cody is better than Seth. Rollins said he is better than Cody in every single possible way. Rollins told Cody that he is not the future of this industry while Seth said that he talks the talk better than Cody, he walks the walk better than Cody, Seth said he dresses better than Cody and then Seth said that Cody had an admiral goal to be WWE Champion. Seth said he has been WWE Champion, so that makes Seth better than Cody.

Cody said that Seth has been to the mountaintop four times while Cody has not been there. Cody said that all of that doesn’t change what happened at WrestleMania. Cody noted that he used to be in a management position, so he suggested they ask the good folks of Buffalo about some of this stuff. Cody asked Buffalo if they think Cody is better than Seth and the fans cheered that while also chanting “yes” for it. Rollins told the fans to shut up. Rollins suggested in the main event tonight, Cody should stand in the ring to face a surprise opponent hand-picked by Rollins. Cody said that we all know the answer with Cody saying he didn’t come back to WWE to run from challengers, so the answer is “absolutely yes.” Cody’s music hit to end it.

Analysis: I thought it was a good promo exchange from two guys that know how to talk really well, so it’s easy to give them time and trust them to deliver an effective promo like that. It helped that the Buffalo crowd was strongly behind Cody during the segment. It also set up an interesting main event with Cody getting a mystery opponent just like Seth had a mystery opponent at WrestleMania. That mystery is a good way to keep people tuned into the show, but in this instance, it’s not as dramatic as WrestleMania since we should all assume it’s going to be somebody on the Raw roster. Anyway, it’s nice to see WWE continuing to feature Cody in a major role in the opening segment as well as the main event.

Sasha Banks and Naomi made their entrance as the Women’s Tag Team Champions for a title defense after the break.

(Commercial)

Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan made their entrance as the challengers. They lost clean to Banks and Naomi two weeks ago and now they get a title match.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan

Ripley drove Banks into the corner, Morgan tagged in with a shoulder tackle and a splash on Banks. Banks with a jawbreaker, Banks with a knee to the face and Naomi tagged in for a double boot to the face. Naomi and Banks each kicked Morgan for a two count. Banks tagged in with a cross body block off the top on Morgan for a two count. Banks and Naomi sent Morgan into the ring post. Banks tried jumping on Ripley on the floor, Ripley caught Banks and Ripley used Sasha’s legs to knock down Naomi. Morgan sent Naomi into the ring post while Ripley gave Banks a Riptide slam onto the top of the barricade. Ouch. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Ripley in control as she delivered a clothesline to Naomi, who was the champion in peril. Morgan with a slam off the shoulders, Liv mistimed the jump and it looked off, but the announcers covered for it saying they were still a new team. Naomi got a hold of Morgan going for a pin, but Ripley made a blind tag and Morgan hit a Powerbomb off the ropes. Ripley hit the Riptide on Naomi for two, but Banks hit a backstabber on Morgan and then Banks hit Ripley to break it up. Naomi with a kick on Ripley, Banks tagged in with the double knees and Naomi hit a full nelson slam. Banks, who was legal, hit the jackknife pin cover on Ripley for the pinfall win. It went about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks & Naomi

Analysis: *** A competitive match that was pretty good for the most part. I’ve said for a while I’d love to see a longer singles match between Banks and Ripley since they have chemistry together. I would have liked to see Naomi sell a bit more after taking the Riptide because she was right back up and doing offensive moves after that. The finish was booked well because it was a double team move by the champions leading to the win. I thought Morgan would be the one to take the pin, but then the post match happened with Ripley being the woman that was frustrated.

After the match, the champions left the ringside area. Morgan talked to Ripley, who was frustrated. Ripley: “Where were you?” Ripley said that she needed Morgan and she wasn’t there for her. Morgan tried to calm Ripley down, so Morgan turned her back and Ripley attacked Morgan with punches. Ripley picked up Morgan and gave her the Riptide in the middle of the ring. The fans booed as Ripley left looking very angry about losing that match.

Analysis: They teased that post match issue the last time they had a match, so it was not a shock that Ripley turned heel there. I’m excited to see heel Ripley because it was a turn that was needed. Ripley was turned on by Nikki A.S.H. months ago and now Ripley was the one that turned on her partner.

A replay was shown of last week when WWE Official Sonya Deville signed a contract to challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Title.

Sonya Deville made her entrance wearing a suit.

(Commercial)

A replay was shown of Ripley attacking Morgan before the break.

Rhea Ripley was shown walking backstage looking angry about what happened. There was some purple light in the background, so there’s a tease of Ripley joining Edge’s heel group soon. Sarah Schreiber asked for an explanation, so Ripley asked her what entitled her to an explanation? Answering a question with a question is rude. What a heel.

Let’s Hear from Sonya Deville

Sonya Deville was in the ring doing a promo saying she has heard chatter that she is misusing her power by making herself a challenger. Deville said she was forced into this position until she can find her way back to being a WWE superstar. Deville said that she had a natural gift to lead those around her. Deville said when Bianca Belair won the Raw Women’s Championship, she knew that she wanted to be in the ring with Belair because Belair isn’t just the EST, she’s the BEST in WWE. Deville said she wanted to be in the ring with the best. Deville said that Belair wanted a challenger, so Sonya gave her one. The fans were chanting “WHAT” at Sonya. Deville said it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

Bianca Belair made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion. Belair got in the ring with Sonya saying if Bianca lays a finger on her then Bianca will be subject to repercussions. Belair said that she’s ready to put her hands on Deville when she’s not an official, so how about they have this match right now? Deville said she did not wait three years to have this opportunity in this rusted-out suburb of New York City. Deville said that the match is going to happen somewhere where Belair is going to hate losing, and Deville said how about next week in Belair’s hometown in Knoxville, Tennessee? Sonya said then you can be embarrassed in front of your family and friends who know Belair is a loser. Belair picked up Deville, so Sonya screamed for Belair to put her down or else she’ll face repercussions and Belair put Deville down. Belair left while Deville was down in the ring.

Analysis: I am a bit surprised that the Belair-Deville match will be on Raw next week. I thought it was going to be at WrestleMania Backlash, but I guess not. They could always do a controversial finish or a non-finish on Raw leading to a rematch at Backlash. Sonya did a solid job of doing a heel promo to get some heat and the fans were booing her for it. Belair is definitely still popular with the crowd.

Veer Mahaan made his entrance for singles action.

(Commercial)

Veer Mahaan vs. Jeff Brooks

Veer punched Brooks in the ribs followed by a toss across the ring. The poor guy ran at Veer, who shoved him down and Veer hit a sidewalk slam. Veer with a lefty clothesline. Veer slapped on the Cervical Clutch submission for the tapout win after one minute.

Winner by submission: Veer Mahaan

Analysis: A squash match for Veer as expected. Good bumps by the jobber at least.

After the match, Veer applied the Cervical Clutch submission on Brooks again. That led to officials (shoutout Jamie Noble & Shawn Daivari) and referees to break it up. Veer applied the Cervical Clutch submission again. That only lasted a bit and then Veer let go.

Analysis: I don’t think the Cervical Clutch is a great name for the move, but that’s what they call it for now.

Adam Pearce was shown walking backstage talking on the phone to somebody. Sonya walked up to Pearce. Sonya complained about Bianca Belair attacking her. Pearce said Sonya was being investigated for her recent actions. Belair walked up to pay her fine – it was a $1 bill. Sonya was mad that the fine wasn’t bigger than that.

Analysis: Huge fine. I’m Canadian. We have had one dollar coins called Loonies since 1987. You should try it out, America. It’s better. We also got rid of pennies. You should use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit too. Just saying.

Kevin Owens made his entrance to host his KO Show at the top of hour two.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage scene with poor Jeff Brooks getting stretchered out of the building.

Kevin Owens Show – Lie Detector Test

Kevin Owens was in the ring to host his talk show that is also a lie detector test. Owens said he despises liars. Owens said that Ezekiel is claiming that he is Elias’ younger brother while Owens claims that man is Elias. Owens had Chad Gable seated in the ring with a laptop along with the materials needed for the lie detector test. Owens got the smartest man in the WWE Universe to help him administer the test. Owens said he had a 2.0 GPA and Chad corrected him that it was a 4.0 GPA. Gable did his “thank you” line saying he’ll uncover the truth. Gable said that if Ezekiel lies during the lie detector test then he’ll beat it out of him in a match. Owens introduced his guest Elias leading to Ezekiel’s entrance.

Ezekiel made his entrance wearing wrestling tights and boots. Ezekiel has a very generic theme song. Ezekiel sat on a leather chair across from Gable while Owens called him “Elias” and Ezekiel made it clear his name was Ezekiel. Owens mentioned stuff that Elias used to do, so Ezekiel asked: “Who wants to hear Zeke speak?” It’s like “Who wants to walk with Elias?” but different.

Gable told the Buffalo crowd to “shoosh.” Gable asked if the sky was blue, Ezekiel said “yes” and it was right. Gable asked him to answer incorrectly, Gable asked if today is Monday, Ezekiel said no and Gable said it was fine when Owens spoke up. Gable ranted about Gable Steveson, so Owens told him to focus since KO paid Gable $150 Canadian for this. Gable asked if your real name is Ezekiel? Zeke answered “yes” to that with Gable saying the results show that Zeke was being honest. Gable asked if Elias is Zeke’s older brother? Zeke said “yes” to that and it is true as well. Gable said that the machine doesn’t lie. Owens asked if his real name is Elias? Zeke said “no” and Gable said that it was true. Gable said that he is in fact Ezekiel. Owens told Gable to get out of there and Owens said he’s not paying Gable. Ezekiel said he’s had enough, he’s tired of being called a liar and called Owens the biggest liar in WWE. Ezekiel said he gets to have his first ever match in WWE right now. Owen’s ripped on Buffalo calling it “Canada’s landfill” (that’s accurate!), so the fans booed. Owens said the only thing he cared about was the truth while telling Zeke to admit that he is Elias…or else. Zeke asked “or else what?” and Owens left. Gable jumped Ezekiel from behind with a cheap attack. That led to a break.

Analysis: It was okay, but not that interesting overall. I thought they could have done a better job on the lie detector test perhaps by asking Ezekiel about some of Elias’ musical skills. Instead, they kept it pretty basic. I also thought it could have used more humor although KO calling Buffalo “Canada’s landfill” did make me laugh at least. Thanks, KO. I needed that.

(Commercial)

Ezekiel vs. Chad Gable

Ezekiel tossed Gable across the ring followed by a kick to the floor. Ezekiel suplexed Gable onto the top of the steel steps. Back in the ring, Ezekiel with a running forearm. Ezekiel with chops, but Gable came back with a leg wrench across the ropes. Gable with a leg whip takedown followed by more moves working on the left leg. Gable with a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Gable wrenched on the left knee of Ezekiel, but Ezekiel sent Gable to the apron. Gable back in the ring, Ezekiel with two clotheslines and a jumping kick. Gable with a throw to knock Ezekiel down. Gable went up top, he jumped off with a moonsault, Zeke got a boot up and Ezekiel with a spinebuster. Ezekiel applied a single-leg crab submission, but Otis was there to attack for the DQ after about four minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Ezekiel

Analysis: *1/2 A simple match to give Ezekiel his first win on television although it wasn’t clean or by pinfall. Gable bumped well while getting a lot of offense. I thought Zeke would win by pinfall, so the DQ is a bit of a surprise, but it also teases another match down the road.

Otis beat up Ezekiel a bit after the match while Ezekiel was getting back to his feet.

A replay was shown of how The Usos and RK-Bro rivalry has grown. The Usos issued the challenge, RK-Bro accepted and now the Raw and Tag Team Titles are both on the line at WrestleMania Backlash.

The Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) entered for a tag team match.

(Commercial)

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance for a match.

RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Orton ran over Dawkins with a shoulder tackle. Dawkins ran the ropes leading to a jumping back elbow. Orton knocked Dawkins down with an uppercut, Riddle tagged in leading to some body stomping and Riddle flipped off Orton onto Dawkins with a senton splash. Ford tagged in, Riddle ran the ropes and Ford hit a dropkick for two. Ford did an Orton taunt to get some heat followed by a belly to back suplex. Ford went up top, Riddle popped up and hit a belly to belly suplex off the top. It was almost like a Spanish Fly version of the move since Riddle landed with Ford at the same time. Anyway, it was really cool.

(Commercial)

Ford and Riddle were in the ring exchanging strikes, Ford hit a jumping kick to the head and Riddle came back with his own kick to the head. Dawkins tagged in, Riddle broke free to bring in Orton and that led to Orton on fire with two clotheslines along with a powerslam. Orton and Riddle each hit the draping DDTs off the ropes with Orton on Dawkins and Riddle on Ford. Riddle tagged in, Ford was waving his arms as if he was telling somebody to come down to the ring, and then The Usos music hit. Ford took out Orton with a dropkick that knocked Randy off the apron, Dawkins punched Riddle and Dawkins had Riddle on his shoulders. Ford made the tag, Ford went up top and hit a top rope Blockbuster on Riddle, who was on Dawkins’ shoulders, so it was a big fall. Ford pinned Riddle to win the match after about eight minutes.

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

Analysis: **3/4 A good match with the champions losing non-title, which is a common WWE booking theme we have seen for decades now. It wasn’t as good as some of the recent great Raw tag team matches because it was a shorter match with a commercial, but I liked the story of the match. The Street Profits outsmarted RK-Bro by having The Usos’ music playing during the match, which led to Ford’s cheapshot on Orton and the double team finish on Riddle with Orton not around to make the save. I thought it was a clever finish although I am against playing theme music during a match. In this case, it made sense with the story.

Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins had microphones as they stood on the stage. Ford wondered who would cue The Usos music and said it’s a lesson to everybody that The Usos aren’t the only tag team that RK-Bro should worry about because The Street Profits are here too. The Profits did their catchphrase: “The Street Profits are up and we want the smoke.” They left while Orton and Riddle were mad in the ring.

Analysis: It was a heelish promo for sure. I don’t know if I would say they are fully heels yet or not, but they are leaning in that direction. Most tag teams turn one way or the other at some point.

They replayed the AJ Styles-Damian Priest match from last week when the purple light went on Priest and the match just ended.

Let’s Hear from Edge

Edge was shown sitting in a black leather high chair with Damian Priest standing beside him. They had a purple light on them. Priest said you might be asking yourself why they are trying to make AJ Styles’s life a living hell. Priest said you need to be reminded about who they are. Edge said that these seeds were planted over 20 years ago when he was in The Brood and Ministry of Darkness. Edge said that this version of that man is much more dangerous. Edge said they haven’t lived up to their true capabilities. Edge talked about how last year at WrestleMania, Priest was the glue while Bad Bunny got all the glory. Edge complained about Priest not having a match at this year’s WrestleMania. Edge said he had to beg for somebody to face him at WrestleMania. Edge took a shot at Buffalo saying that, unlike the Bills and Sabres, he actually wins championships. Ouch. That drew boos. Edge said after nine years of being asked daily about coming back, he fought to get it back. Edge said all it took was two years for the WWE Universe to complain about him coming back saying he was here too much, here not enough and he’s a part-timer. Edge said he decided not to care what you think while taking back the Mountain of Omnipotence. Edge said that the only person with the guts to stand in front of him is AJ Styles. Edge challenged Styles to a match at WrestleMania Backlash. Edge said that they decided to seize the day, which means for AJ Styles, it’s his judgment day. Edge laughed. That was it.

Analysis: I liked the promo from Edge. The line about his history in The Brood and Ministry of Darkness is good because that explains what the power of the light comes from, I guess. I still think the ending to the Priest/Styles match last week was bad. Anyway, I liked how talked about Priest’s reasoning for being with him since Priest wasn’t given enough praise last year at WrestleMania and then Priest was off the WrestleMania card this year. That’s a logical reason to give to say that Priest is mad about things, so he changed the way he acts, which means this heel turn. Anyway, doing Edge vs. Styles at Backlash is certainly fine with me. Another WrestleMania rematch for that show.

Theory made his entrance.

Analysis: In case you missed it, he is no longer “Austin” Theory because WWE made the call to eliminate names that are part of a person’s real name. Since Theory’s real name is Austin White, they dumped the “Austin” part of the name. I think it’s lame, but that’s what WWE does sometimes. We’ll get used to just Theory like we have gotten used to Riddle no longer having “Matt” in his name.

(Commercial)

AJ Styles was interviewed in the locker room by Sarah Schreiber, who mentioned Edge’s WrestleMania Backlash challenge. Styles called him “Judge Edge” while that must make Priest the bailiff. Styles accepted Edge’s challenge. Styles said Edge can save this judgment for someone who…and the lights went purple in the room. Sarah left. The lights went out. Then there was a purple light in the room with Edge and Priest standing there with Styles. The duo knocked down Styles easily, then Priest held AJ’s arm against a case part in the room and Edge slammed the top of the case onto AJ’s left arm repeatedly. Styles was grabbing his left arm. Edge and Priest laughed at Styles writhing in pain.

Analysis: A cheap attack to give Styles a left arm/shoulder injury in the weeks ahead. At some point Styles might get an ally to fight against these guys, but there’s nobody around yet.

A video package aired about Theory, who started the video saying “you can just call me Theory.” It showed highlights of Theory talking about how he’s the best investment that Mr. McMahon has ever made and clips of Theory in action.

Finn Balor made his entrance as the United States Champion. Lawler was putting over Theory saying he can’t see any weaknesses since Lawler was there to be the heel announcer.

United States Championship: Finn Balor vs. Theory

Theory with a shoulder tackle, Balor with a snapmare and a bunch of chops. Theory hit a backbreaker followed by a chinlock. Balor with a jawbreaker, Theory tripped up Balor by the ropes and Theory hit a neckbreaker from the apron to the floor. Good spot leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Theory was in control as he kept Balor down, but Balor came back with running forearms and a double stomp on the chest. Theory caught Balor with a spinning sidewalk slam for a two count. Theory with two clotheslines to knock Balor down. Balor avoided another clothesline leading to Balor hitting a DDT. Theory hit a neckbreaker against the ropes. Theory went for the spot where he jumps into the ring leading to a dropkick, but Balor was ready for it and hit a Powerbomb! That was great for a two count. Balor with kicks to the legs, Theory with a double chop to the throat and Balor worked over Theory with stomps to the chest. Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker followed by a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, but Theory tripped up Balor on the top rope. Theory jumped to the top rope leading to a Spanish Fly slam off the top for a two count. That was a cool spot! Balor countered a Theory move with an elbow to the chest into a slam. Balor clotheslined Theory over the top to the floor followed by Balor hitting a somersault dive over the top on Theory on the floor. Balor was selling a sore neck injury throughout the match. Back in the ring, Balor went up top and jumped off with the Coup de Grace, Theory moved out of the way (leading to Balor selling the neck injury again) and Theory hit the A-Town Down slamming Balor onto Theory’s knee. Theory pinned Balor for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW United States Champion: Theory

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match with Theory dominating parts of it, Balor making the comeback and then Theory getting the clean win. They had some good spots in the match like Balor hitting a Powerbomb counter and Theory’s Spanish Fly slam off the top. It felt like the right time for a title change since Balor hasn’t been used that much of late while Theory is obviously a young star on the rise. I liked seeing Balor selling the neck a lot, which played into the finish for what Theory uses as a finisher. They worked well together, it was given enough time and the result was a clean finish for the heel that wins his first title in WWE. Congrats to Theory.

Theory celebrated with the US Title. They showed replays of the key spots in the match including Theory hitting the A-Town Down to win the US Title.

Theory was joined in the ring by other heel wrestlers like Alpha Academy, Apollo Crews, Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin and others like T-Bar and Azeez, who put Theory on their shoulders.

Vince McMahon’s music hit to a big reaction as the WWE Chairman made his entrance looking proud of his protégé Theory winning the US Title. Some of the fans were singing Vince’s theme song as Theory walked back to the entrance area where Vince was. Theory took out his phone so that he could take a championship selfie with Vince. Vince shook Theory’s hand and they put their arms up together to display the US Title.

Analysis: Good job of incorporating old man Vince in the celebration due to the association with Theory. That made it feel like a bigger moment.

Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage looking at his phone saying Twitter was a wild place while asking: “Who is The Weeknd?” It’s because the singer The Weeknd wore an outfit similar to what Austin has worn in the past. Kevin Patrick asked Rollins if he decided who Cody Rhodes will face later on Raw. Rollins said that he knew who Cody’s opponent would be, but he’s not going to tell us. Rollins got a phone call, he said it was Cody’s opponent and Seth left.

R-Truth made his entrance for the wedding that they were calling a “double commitment ceremony.” Truth is the official.

(Commercial)

Double Wedding (Commitment Ceremony) Officiated by R-Truth

R-Truth was in the ring with a microphone while the grooms Tozawa and Reggie were in the ring. There were other people in the ring too like Los Lotharios and Nikki A.S.H. as well. Truth said that during the ceremony, the 24/7 Title was off limits. Truth asked the crowd “What’s Up” since that’s his catchphrase. WWE was pushing the phrase “commitment ceremony” instead of calling it a wedding.

The brides Dana Brooke and Tamina made their entrance into the ring. Tamina was joined by Naomi with Sasha Banks as bridesmaids, so it was like a Team B.A.D. reunion, I guess. The two couples were in the ring with the guests.

Truth said that we are gathered here for the union of Dana Brookes and she corrected him that it is Brooke, not Brookes. Truth said “my bad” and then he got it right. Truth was dealing with “what” chants so he told the crowd not to “what” him.

Dana had some vows written saying Reggie was her knight in shining armor, she knew he was a man of honor and while it took a while to grow from being friends, she knew they were meant to be. Dana said their love has only grown stronger. Reggie was trying to read something, but the crowd was chanting something and Truth tried to calm them down. Reggie said that Dana is a goddess with everything he could ever want, the fans chanted “WHAT” loudly and Reggie said that their path has made their love stronger. Tamina: “Akira, what she said!” That was Tamina’s vows. Tozawa said “same” to her. Truth asked if there are any objections to these marriages taking place. Tamina: “I object.” Tamina brought Reggie towards her and Tozawa towards Dana. After thinking about it, Tamina put Reggie beside Tozawa and then Tamina was beside Dana. The women held hands. Truth: “Y’all are going to get me fired. I don’t even know if that’s PG.” Tamina went back to Tozawa and Reggie was with Dana. The fans booed. The fans wanted the women together. Truth was trying to wrap it up, but then the guys had to put the rings on the fingers. Truth told them they are committed. Tamina and Tozawa kissed. Dana and Reggie also kissed leading to Reggie pinning Dana to win the 24/7 Title. There was a referee there to count the pin. Tamina tackled Reggie and Tamina won the 24/7 Title. Tozawa rolled up Tamina to win the 24/7 Title. Dana went up top and hit a cross body block on Tozawa to pin for the 24/7 Title. Dana left with Reggie with Dana keeping the 24/7 Title.

Analysis: A goofy segment that went on too long. There were some good lines from R-Truth while the crowd reactions were interesting like when Tamina was holding hands with Dana. These segments are dumb and this one was too. It also happened to be way longer than the 24/7 Title segments usually are. Anyway, at least Truth made me laugh a few times. That’s something positive I can say about it. If it was up to me, this kind of silly crap wouldn’t be on the show. I understand Raw is like a variety show with comedy bits. I just didn’t think this was that interesting.

A replay was shown of Bobby Lashley and Omos/MVP exchanging words last week. Lashley told MVP he was coming for him after he beats Omos.

Bobby Lashley was backstage for an interview after a break.

This Friday on Smackdown: Sami Zayn faces Drew McIntyre in a Lumberjack match and they pushed the rivalry between RK-Bro/The Usos as well.

(Commercial)

Bobby Lashley was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber, who said MVP had a message. There was a promo from MVP saying you are about to realize how big of a mistake you made and Omos was there with MVP. It led to MVP saying that Lashley made a mistake going to WrestleMania on his own without MVP. MVP said that he helped make Bobby Lashley become WWE Champion and he’ll do the same for Omos. MVP challenged Lashley to an Arm Wrestling Challenge against Omos, who said that the All Mighty Era is coming to an end. Lashley said that he’s strong and scary just like Omos is. Lashley accepted the Arm Wrestling Match next week and he’ll show Omos/MVP why they call Lashley the All Mighty.

Analysis: I assume they will do Lashley vs. Omos at WrestleMania Backlash, which is fine with me. Doing an Arm Wrestling Match next week is a good choice since they can get some heat on Omos by having him attack Lashley when it looks like Lashley might win. That’s usually how those things are booked.

Cody Rhodes made his entrance for the main event with some pyro going off for his entrance. Cody found a young kid at ringside to give his white belt to, which is something Cody does all the time. Good pop for Cody during his entrance.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw in Knoxville:

* Bobby Lashley faces Omos in an Arm Wrestling Challenge.

* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair defends the title vs. Sonya Deville. They will be in Belair’s hometown.

Seth Rollins appeared to introduce Cody’s surprise opponent for the evening. Rollins said he is a man of valor, a man who never backs down from a fight, he is a former World Champion (actually Universal Champion) and that’s no line. It was Kevin Owens, who has been Seth’s “best friend” on Raw for many months. Owens hugged Rollins leading to KO making his entrance.

Analysis: That’s not a big surprise because Cody was obviously going to face a heel wrestler. Since Owens is an ally of Rollins, it made sense that it would be Owens in this spot.

Cody Rhodes vs. Kevin Owens

They battled over some moves, Cody went for an uppercut, Owens blocked it and slammed the hand into the mat. Owens even mocked a Goldust taunt! Cody tossed Owens out of the ring, Cody with a punch and then Cody wanted a dive, but Owens blocked him with a punch. They were out on the floor where Owens delivered a fallaway slam into the barricade.

(Commercial)

Owens was in control as he hit a running senton splash on Cody’s back. Owens with a backbreaker followed by some back stretching over the knee. Cody got to the ropes, Owens kneed the back followed by some face gouging. Cody came back with punches, but Owens stopped the momentum with a suplex for two. Owens wanted another suplex, Cody blocked it and Cody hit a front suplex into a slam. Cody wanted his finish, Owens got out of that and Owens got a kick to the gut followed by a DDT for a two count. Owens went up top, he jumped off with a Senton Bomb, but Cody got the knees up to block. Owens left the ring, so Cody ran and tackled Owens onto the commentary table, which led to them crashing to the floor. The music of Seth Rollins hit as Rollins showed up leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Owens and Cody were battling on the turnbuckle while Rollins looked on from ringside. Owens with a headbutt to knock Cody down, so Owens followed up with a Frog Splash for two. Owens went up top again and Owens hit a Senton Bomb for two. Cody got an inside cradle for two. Cody countered a Popup Powerbomb with a hurricanrana, Cody with a superkick, Owens with a superkick and Cody hit a running clothesline. Cody charged right into Owens, who caught him with a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Lawler thought that was three since he’s in the heel announcer role. Owens went up top again, Owens was sitting on the top with Cody trying to superplex him. It was obvious it wouldn’t work because Owens was seated on the front part of the turnbuckle rather than the back. Owens hit a fisherman’s suplex off the middle rope for a two count with Cody getting his foot on the bottom rope. Cody to the apron, Owens wanted aa move there, but Cody hit a back body drop on Owens on the apron. Rollins told Owens to get back in the ring, I think Rollins said “fat ass” at one point and Owens walked away saying this is Seth’s thing, not his. Owens walked away to give Cody the countout win. Rollins left towards the backstage area with Owens. It went about 16 minutes.

Winner by countout: Cody Rhodes

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match with Cody selling most of the way since the story was that Cody was unprepared due to not knowing who his opponent was going to be. Owens was aggressive, he hit all of his big moves except the Stunner and he wasn’t able to put Cody away. I thought Cody would win by pinfall just like he beat Miz last week. Instead, WWE went for the “heel walks away” countout finish, which is about as lame as it gets, but it also gets heel heat.

After the match, Cody was frustrated by the countout finish. Cody was posing on the turnbuckle, but then Rollins was back in the ring and he shoved Cody off the top rope to the barricade. Cody was down selling that bump as the show ended there.

Analysis: It was a bit of a weak ending there. Yes, it was a cheap shot by Rollins, but it was not like it was some vicious attack. I think they just had to do something simple due to being right at the end of hour three. If they had another 30 seconds they probably could have set up a spot with Seth hitting The Stomp or something like that. Anyway, I think Cody should beat Seth at Backlash.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Cody Rhodes
  2. Theory
  3. Finn Balor

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a good show at times while at other times it really dragged. The matches with Theory beating Balor to win the US Title and Cody Rhodes beating Kevin Owens were both very good. I don’t love countout finishes, but it made sense for KO’s character at that time. The build for the Cody/Rollins rematch has been great so far. Theory winning the US Title was the right call there since Balor wasn’t being utilized much as champion.

It felt like that Commitment Ceremony/Wedding went on way too long. I understand some people may laugh at some of it, but I thought it was lame for the most part. The lie detector segment was the same sort of thing that could have been a lot funnier or more interesting. Instead, it just was kind of there with another non-clean finish to a match.

The RK-Bro/Street Profits and Women’s Tag Team Titles were both solid as well. I doubt many people were surprised by Rhea Ripley turning heel on Liv Morgan after they failed to win the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Hopefully this leads to Ripley being used better as a singles wrestler because she’s awesome. I think she has a lot of potential as a heel wrestler.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is called WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 8th. Here’s what we know so far:

* Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins

* Winners Take All Tag Team Championship Unification Match: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

* Smackdown Women’s Championship – I Quit Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

* Edge vs. AJ Styles

You can watch WrestleMania Backlash streaming live on Sunday, May 8, at 8 ET/5 PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport