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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/09/22 Review

wwe raw deal april 4

This week’s WWE Raw featured Theory defending the US Title against Cody Rhodes, who was coming off a big victory at WrestleMania Backlash one night earlier and RK-Bro defended the Raw Tag Team Titles against The Street Profits.

WrestleMania Backlash took place on Sunday (my review is here) with three matches from the Raw brand. I liked the show overall. Cody Rhodes beat Seth Rollins while grabbing the tights as a counter to Seth trying to win by grabbing the tights, Omos beat Bobby Lashley with some help from MVP and Edge beat AJ Styles thanks to an assist from Rhea Ripley. That meant three cheap wins in the Raw brand matches, which likely means we could see rematches down the road. Joel McIntyre also wrote a recap of Backlash with five thoughts, so check that out as well. Hell in a Cell is the next Premium Live Event (pay-per-view) on the WWE calendar and that takes place on Sunday, June 5th in Chicago.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1511 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show opened with a video package showing highlights of the WrestleMania Backlash main event with The Bloodline beating Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro. Roman Reigns pinned Riddle to win for the championship trio.

The Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro made their entrance with Randy Orton and Riddle putting their titles on the line to start the show. The Raw commentary team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.

Let’s Hear from RK-BRO

Orton and Riddle started with a promo while the crowd greeted them with “Randy” chants as Orton welcomed us to Raw. Orton said that unfortunately, they gave it everything they’ve got and they lost the battle to The Bloodline. Orton said that before this is all said and done, they will win the war. Orton said that it was The Usos idea in the first place for it to be a tag team title unification, but it didn’t happen because Roman Reigns tore up that contract because he knows that The Usos can’t hold a handle to RK-Bro. Orton said that they want the Smackdown Tag Team Titles and they want to unify the Tag Team Titles to become the undisputed Tag Team Champions of the world.

Riddle said now that The Usos can’t make decisions on their own and Roman has to make decisions for them, Riddle said that they are going to Smackdown this week to demand that Tag Team Championship match. Riddle said if Roman says no it shows that Roman has no confidence in his cousins whatsoever. Riddle went over Orton’s nicknames, but here’s the interruption.

Analysis: That means the Tag Team Title unification idea was out there, it was promoted and then removed. Now RK-Bro says they’re going to Smackdown to try to get the unification match again, so we’ll see if it happens.

The Street Profits showed up with Montez Ford saying tough loss last night. Angelo Dawkins said that The Bloodline ain’t the ones to worry about because Dawkins said that they are the ones to worry about. Ford reminded RK-Bro that “we got next” because they are going to be the ones to unify the Tag Team Championships. Dawkins said he didn’t hear their names mentioned, so maybe 4-20 shirts got their brains all fogged up. Dawkins reminded them that the title match is next. Ford said that when the smoke and fog clears, not only do they want the tag team titles, they want the smoke. Riddle replied saying “RK-Bro 4:20 says we just smoked your asses” and Orton did his dangerous letters “RK-Bro” line to end. That match is next.

Analysis: Good job by The Street Profits talking about how they were being overlooked, which makes sense from their perspective. The 4:20 line is a good one and it was good when RVD used it many years ago too.

(Commercial)

Raw’s ring announcer Mike Rome did the championship introductions. The Street Profits beat RK-Bro non-title a few weeks ago to earn the title match.

Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Ford got repeated rollups for two counts, then he tapped Riddle on the head and did a bit of a taunt. Riddle went for an armbar takedown, then Ford got out of it and Riddle got a rollup for two while doing his own head tap to Ford. Ford ran the ropes leading to a perfect dropkick. Dawkins tagged in with a shoulder tackle on Riddle. Dawkins ran the ropes with a jumping back elbow for two. Dawkins missed a corner attack when Riddle moved, Riddle delivered kicks to the body and Orton tagged in for the first time with uppercuts. Orton delivered ten punches in the corner as the fans chanted along for the corner punches. Riddle back in as he jumped off Orton’s hands for a splash for two. Riddle used his legs to send Dawkins over the top to the floor. Dawkins tripped up Riddle on the apron, then Riddle was on the floor and Ford hit an incredible somersault over the top onto Riddle on the floor. That was great! Anyway, there’s the standard floor to commercial break spot.

(Commercial)

Ford was in the ring with Riddle, who tried to break free to tag out, but Ford decked Riddle with a clothesline. Riddle with a rising knee to Ford to break free, so Orton tagged in against Dawkins. Orton with two clothesline, powerslam on Dawkins and powerslam on Ford. Orton hit the draping DDT on Dawkins. Dawkins shoved his way out of an RKO attempt, Riddle got the tag with a knee to Dawkins and Riddle sent Ford out of the ring. Riddle with a PK kick on Ford on the floor. Riddle went for a springboard attack, but Ford moved and Riddle hit Orton. Dawkins with a spinebuster on Riddle. Ford tagged in and he jumped off the top with a Frog Splash for two with Orton making the save at the last possible moment! Great nearfall there. Orton sent Dawkins into the barricade. Ford ducked a Riddle kick and Ford hit an enziguri kick to the head. Ford went up top, he jumped off with a Frog Splash and Riddle was ready for it with an RKO on Ford! Wow that was amazing. Riddle covered Ford for the pinfall win. Orton was applauding his partner at ringside. It went about 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle)

Analysis: ***1/2 A great match for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Nice job of having that believable nearfall spot with Ford getting the Frog Splash for two because Orton was back in the ring to save Riddle. I loved the finish with Ford going for another Frog Splash, but there was Riddle to recover with an RKO for the win. The Raw tag team division is a consistent highlight of the show every week since they deliver good matches on a consistent basis.

RK-Bro celebrated the win. Orton was really impressed by Riddle hitting the RKO to win.

Theory was interviewed by Kevin Patrick on a podium near the entrance area, so they are trying a new thing. Patrick mentioned Cody Rhodes is on fire after two big wins against Seth Rollins. Theory, the US Champion, said that he can do this all day and said he’s the youngest US Champion for a reason. Theory said he’s barely scratched the surface of his full potential. Theory said that he was practically in diapers the last time Cody Rhodes was in WWE. Theory said he’s all about the future and the future is all about the US Champion…Theory. That led to Theory taking a selfie on the stage.

Analysis: A generic heel interview by the cocky, young heel US Champion. It was fine. I don’t mind doing interviews on a stage like that so you can get more fan reactions.

A video package aired showing Edge’s win over AJ Styles thanks to Rhea Ripley appearing in a hooded outfit to shove Styles off the top rope. That led to Edge winning the match by submission. The hooded individual went into the ring with Edge after the match and revealed it was…Rhea Ripley. That means Ripley is part of Edge’s Judgment Day group.

Edge made his entrance wearing a dark suit as usual with Damian Priest and Ripley joining him. Edge cut his hair short, so he doesn’t have long hair anymore. The graphic called them “The Judgment Day” instead of just Judgment Day as the group name. They are up next.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Edge and The Judgment Day

Edge was in the ring in his purple suit with a black shirt as the fans booed him. Ripley and Priest stood beside Edge in the ring. Edge said that they formed The Judgment Day because they were tired of being sheep like all of you. Edge said it got him a Hall of Fame ring…big deal, he’s bigger than the Hall of Fame. Edge said that it also got him surgeries all over his body. Edge said that you hide your anger and resentment, so then you go home on your devices with your stupid asinine comments. The fans booed, so Edge said that you hate it because it’s true. Edge said that they hold a mirror up to you and you don’t like what you see because you’re ugly. Edge said that they love what they see in a mirror. Edge ripped on the morons in Hartford saying if you live there you’re a moron (cheap heat). Edge said that nothing and no one can touch them. The fans chanted “you suck” at them.

Priest said that the truth hurts. Priest said that individually they were capable of destroying your favorites, but together they have become more and they are something else. Priest said if you thought that was bad, just imagine an instrument of brutality referring to Ripley. Priest shouted “all rise” for the newest member of The Judgment Day…Rhea Ripley.

Ripley said that joining Judgment Day was the easiest decision of her life. Ripley said that Edge and Damian changed for the better and she wanted that for herself. Ripley said she’s done signing autographs at the airport for all the little kids and the next day she sees those same autographs being sold on EBay. Ripley said she’s done being used, so that’s why she joined The Judgment Day. Ripley said that she had some unfinished business to attend with Liv Morgan. Ripley said that Morgan can no longer ride her coattails and Ripley will give her a reason to cry when Ripley absolutely destroys her.

Edge said that this is about potential. Edge said that they are now his saints of fate. Edge said a few weeks ago, he told Ripley that Morgan was holding her down and an albatross around Ripley’s neck. Edge said that he’s the reason that our favorite tag team split up. Edge said that he saw Ripley as wasted domination, as a juggernaut that was in the slow lane instead of running everything over like she can. Edge said his movement is not done. Edge said they aren’t finished yet and they’re looking for more…here comes Liv Morgan.

Analysis: I liked that promo from The Judgment Day (Edge, Priest & Ripley) although it leaned too heavily on “it’s your fault” meaning the fans. Ripley could have said something else to try to explain the turn. WWE often goes down that road for promos. I get it once in a while, but they do it too often. It works, though. That’s why they do it. Just like ripping on the local sports team gets heat. They know it works, so they do it. I was just hoping for more. Anyway, I’m excited for heel Ripley in this group.

Liv Morgan made her entrance full of smiles while greeting fans at ringside. That match between Morgan and Ripley is after a break.

(Commercial)

Rhea Ripley (w/Edge & Damian Priest) vs. Liv Morgan

They exchanged punches, Ripley hit a headbutt and Edge laughed about it. Ripley hit a running shoulder tackle along with a toss across the ring. Ripley worked over Morgan with punches and more shoulder tackles. Ripley wanted a superplex, Morgan fought her off and hit a hurricanrana off the top. Morgan with a dropkick into the ropes, but Ripley came back with a boot to the face. Ripley punched Morgan repeatedly along with some choking across the middle rope. Ripley rammed Morgan’s head into the mat a few times. Ripley with a body scissors around the waist, Morgan back up and Ripley hit a clothesline for two. Ripley went for Riptide, Morgan slipped out of it, punches and an enziguri kick by Morgan. Liv hit a sloppy-looking DDT and then double knees to the face for two. Ripley came back with a rising kick to the head. Morgan went for a dropkick, Ripley avoided it and kicked Morgan down. Ripley applied the submission hooking Liv’s legs and Liv tapped out after about six minutes.

Winner by submission: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: ** A dominant performance from Ripley, who controlled about 80% of the match until Morgan got a flurry of offense. Ripley came back with a kick, then it was all over from there and Ripley applied her finisher to win. I guess it’s a positive that Ripley didn’t win in three minutes because Morgan was able to fight to make it longer than that. It sucks for Liv, but Ripley needed to get the win here. Ripley should be on the path to challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Title this spring or summer.

Post match, Edge nodded at Ripley, so Rhea applied her submission on Morgan again. Morgan was screaming while tapping out and nobody was helping her. Ripley let go.

Finn Balor made his entrance joined by his Too Sweet buddy AJ Styles. Big ovations for them as a united duo with common interests. Balor faces Priest in a singles match after a break.

(Commercial)

Finn Balor (w/AJ Styles) vs. Damian Priest (w/Edge & Rhea Ripley)

It was the top of hour two as Priest knocked Balor down with a shoulder tackle. Priest whipped Balor into the corner, back elbow by Priest and Balor came back with kicks to the left leg. Balor stretched the left leg across the ropes. Priest got a knockdown with a clothesline. Priest with a suplex into a slam for two. Balor with a jawbreaker to break free, but Priest came back with a flatliner into the mat for two. Priest grounded Balor with a chinlock, Priest with a knee to the ribs and Balor came back with a side Russian legsweep. Balor with kicks, then a running dropkick to the leg and Balor punched Priest repeatedly. Balor with double foot stomp to the chest along with shoulder tackles to the body. Priest wanted a move, but Balor countered with a rollup where he sat on Priest for a two count. Balor clotheslined Priest over the top to the floor. Ripley stood in front of Priest, so Balor stopped and Edge went into the ring to Spear Balor for the DQ finish after five minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Finn Balor

Analysis: **1/4 A shorter match leading to the predictable DQ ending when Balor was about to get the win and Edge didn’t want that to happen. When you have three people at ringside in a situation like this, it’s not a shock that they opted for a DQ finish. It doesn’t hurt Balor or Priest.

Styles went into the ring to save Balor by punching Edge, Priest went after Styles and Styles fought off Priest. Ripley turned Styles around, so Styles didn’t hit Ripley due to not wanting to punch a woman that allowed the heels to take over with Edge sending Styles into the turnbuckle. Edge and Priest did a combo move with Priest doing a sweep kick while Edge hit a Spear at the same time. Edge and his group celebrated their dominance.

Analysis: I liked how that was booked with Ripley playing a factor by turning around Styles, but then Styles had to stop himself and Edge took advantage to get a cheap shot. Nice double team move by Edge and Priest as well. That should lead to a big tag team match with Styles and Balor against Priest and Edge.

They showed a video package of Omos beating Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash thanks to MVP hitting Lashley with a cane before Omos hit a double choke bomb to win.

Omos made his entrance with MVP by his side.

This Friday on Smackdown: We will find out what’s next for The Bloodline and Women’s Tag Team Champions Naomi & Sasha Banks defend their titles against Shayna Baszler & Natalya. I don’t think there will be a title change.

(Commercial)

The trio of Kevin Owens, Chad Gable & Otis were shown talking backstage. Gable said he had Ezekiel’s sample from a drink sent to a DNA lab, so this time next week they’ll find out who Ezekiel really is. Owens said he loved it. Owens claimed his “older brother” is going to be on Raw later to beat the truth out of Ezekiel.

VIP Lounge Hosted by MVP

Montel Vontavious Porter was in the ring to host his talk show with Omos as his guest. MVP said that the VIP Lounge is for them because they are better than you meaning the fans. MVP wanted respect for the man that beat the so-called All Mighty at WrestleMania Backlash, it’s Omos. MVP wanted the fans to respect this man. MVP claimed what he’s been saying is the truth. MVP talked about how Lashley didn’t want to share the spotlight anymore, so he went to WrestleMania on his own and left MVP watching at home on the sidelines.

Cedric Alexander interrupted the promo saying “we did it” while telling Omos that he was proud of him. Alexander walked up to the ring where security guys let him in with MVP allowing it. Alexander said that together they can smash anybody that steps in their way. MVP wondered what “we” that Cedric was talking about. Cedric said he meant the three of us, MVP cut him off and here comes Bobby Lashley.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance, he quickly beat up security with a clothesline, spinebuster and ramming a guy into the ring post. Lashley sent Alexander into the barricade. Lashley got in the ring with Omos, Lashley ducked a clothesline and Lashley gave Omos a clothesline over the top to the floor. Alexander jumped on Lashley’s back, so Lashley slammed him down while MVP left. Alexander jumped off the top, Lashley caught him and Lashley applied the Hurt Lock on Cedric. Lashley stood tall in the ring while MVP kept Omos away. Lashley’s music played to end it.

Analysis: A decent segment to have Lashley get cheered for not backing down against the bigger heel Omos. Alexander’s role was to get his ass kicked, so that’s what happened with Lashley beating him up easily. They are doing a nice job of having MVP run away every time Lashley comes close, but at some point Lashley will get him and kick MVP’s ass. The fans will like that when it happens.

Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce were in the WWE Officials office. Sonya didn’t like that there was an investigation about her actions. Sonya asked Pearce who she is facing tonight. Pearce wanted to have a conversation with her. Deville said it didn’t matter who she is facing because it’s not personal, it’s just business. Sonya left.

Sonya Deville made her entrance for singles action.

(Commercial)

Adam Pearce appeared to announce that Sonya Deville’s contract as a WWE Official is terminated due to her actions abusing her power in the past. Pearce said that Sonya is still a WWE superstar. Sonya’s opponent was announced as Alexa Bliss, who is back in action. Bliss had a Lilly doll in her hand, but she looked like she wasn’t doing the creepy girl gimmick. Bliss was smiling and happy to be back.

Alexa Bliss vs. Sonya Deville

Bliss was greeted by “welcome back” chants. Bliss with a kick to the gut and a DDT. Bliss went up top and hit the Twisted Bliss splash on Deville for the win in about 30 seconds.

Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss

Analysis: 1/4* I’m glad that Bliss is back because she’s good and fun to watch. I’m also fine with her not doing the creepy girl gimmick. It looked like she was the classic Bliss character although she did bring her Lilly doll with her.

Post match, Sonya was freaking out about the loss and how she isn’t an Official anymore. Bliss left happily with a smile on her face.

They showed highlights of Cody Rhodes beating Seth Rollins at WrestleMania Backlash because Cody held onto the tights to win after Rollins tried to win doing the same thing. Cody beat Seth for a second time.

Ezekiel made his entrance for a singles match.

(Commercial)

The older brother of Kevin Owens…Ken Owens. It was Kevin Owens in a wig. Ezekiel said “Hello Ken” to the man in the wig. Owens said he was trying to prove a point here. Owens said that the people don’t believe you are actually Ezekiel while the people in the back are just playing along. Owens asked who actually believes that is Ezekiel? Some fans raised their hands. Owens asked if they have finished high school in Hartford and called them idiots or liars. Owens said he can’t stand liars while saying Ezekiel is the worst liar of all. Ezekiel talked to Ken some more, then Kevin ripped off his wig and freaked out about it. Ezekiel thinks that right now would be the perfect time for Elias to sing Owens a lullaby to help him calm down.

Owens went after Ezekiel with punches, but Ezekiel fought back. Chad Gable and Otis ran out there to help Owens. That led to Gable and Otis beating up Ezekiel along with Owens. Zeke was held on the mat leading to Otis hitting a running splash on Ezekiel. Owens hit Ezekiel with a stunner. Gable: “Thank you!” The heels celebrated over a fallen Ezekiel while KO’s music played.

Analysis: What a great debut for the legend that is Ken Owens! Kenny O! Okay, so maybe it wasn’t really Kenny O, but I am still enjoying the feud. Yes, it’s silly and we know it’s really Elias as Ezekiel. However, it works because of how well Owens sells his frustration. I also like Owens working with Gable and Otis although I don’t think it’s a regular thing. Seeing it once in a while is cool with me.

A clip was shown of Asuka returning two weeks ago during a Becky Lynch promo. Asuka reminded Becky that nobody was ready for Asuka.

Asuka was shown talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce and Becky Lynch walked up to them complaining about things. Lynch complained about Asuka facing Bianca Belair. Pearce said that Asuka is not getting a title shot and said that she has to beat Bianca to earn a title shot. Pearce said that Asuka’s team beat Becky’s team last week. Lynch kept complaining, Asuka yelled at her and they exchanged words. Lynch talked about how she handed the Raw Women’s Title and Pearce said that was two years ago (when Becky left because she was pregnant). Asuka told Lynch she’s not acting like a mother, she is acting like a baby. Lynch left looking frustrated.

Analysis: I’m ready for an Asuka match against Lynch whenever that happens again.

Veer Mahaan made his entrance for what should be another victory.

(Commercial)

A local wrestler named Frank Lowman was interviewed by Byron Saxton in the ring, who said Frank is from Hartford. Frank said he didn’t want to get carted out there after getting decimated by Veer, but he has a wife and three triplets that expect him to provide for them, so he has to do this for his family. (The guy has wrestled as Rex Lawless for most of his career, for what it’s worth.)

Veer Mahaan vs. Frank Lowman

Veer got a hold of Frank, who is bigger than a typical “local wrestler” they usually get. Veer with waist lock takedowns, Frank broke free and got a couple of kicks, but then Veer hit a running Thesz Press. Veer with a sidewalk slam. Veer with a running corner splash and the lefty clothesline. Veer applied the Cervical Clutch submission and Frank tapped out to give Veer the win. It went less than two minutes.

Winner by submission: Veer Mahaan

Analysis: 1/2* It was another dominant win by Veer as usual. Nice story before the match to make Veer look meaner by beating up a guy that said he had triplets. There was no post match attack by Veer.

Cody Rhodes was interviewed backstage by Kevin Patrick, who congratulated Cody on his victory over Seth “Freakin” Rollins at WrestleMania Backlash. Cody gave Seth credit for being a top five talent in the world, but Cody beat him again. Cody said the chapter of Seth and Cody is closed. Cody talked about how Theory is brimming with potential. Cody said that it sounds good to him that he could become the new United States Champion.

Analysis: I don’t believe Cody that the rivalry with Seth is finished, but from his perspective as the winner of the match at WrestleMania Backlash, it would make sense for him to say that.

“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes made his entrance to a pretty good ovation as usual. It remains cool to hear the Kingdom song as his entrance in WWE. Cody gave his white belt to a kid at ringside as usual. Ring announcer Mike Rome announced Cody for the US Title match, which takes place after a break.

(Commercial)

There was another replay of Cody beating Seth at WrestleMania Backlash.

Theory made his entrance as the United States Champion with a lot of confidence as usual. Theory was greeted by boos by the audience. They started the match at the top of hour three with championship introductions by Mike Rome. There were “Cody” chants.

United States Championship: Theory vs. Cody Rhodes

Cody tripped the leg of Theory going for a submission, but Theory got the ropes to break free. Theory ran over Cody with a shoulder tackle followed by a cartwheel followed by a Stardust hand motion. Cody came back with a kick and uppercut punch. Cody got a backslide pin for two. They were up against the ropes, Cody with an elbow to the face, Theory sent Cody’s neck across the ropes and Theory hit a rolling dropkick for two. Theory stomped on Cody’s chest followed by a chinlock. Theory with a running back elbow to knock Cody down. Cody came back with forearms, but Theory did a hard whip that sent Cody crashing into the turnbuckle. Theory with a dropkick to the knee followed by a snap suplex for two. Theory wanted a suplex, but Cody turned it into his own twisting suplex and a dropkick to the apron. Cody jumped off the turnbuckle with a Disaster Kick to knock Theory down to the floor. Theory blocked a kick on the apron and tripped up Cody on the apron. Theory cleared off the commentary table, then he kicked Cody out of the ring near the table. Cody came back with hard chops to the body, Cody wanted a move on the table and Theory slipped out of his grasp. Theory went back into the ring as the fans booed.

(Commercial)

Theory remained in control with a chinlock, Cody broke free and they ran the ropes leading to double cross body block to knock both guys down. Cody bounced off the ropes with a forearm smash followed by a snap powerslam for two. Cody went up top and connected with a moonsault on a standing Theory for a two count. It wasn’t the smoothest moonsault ever, but it worked. Theory came back with a suplex across the knee so that Cody’s back hit the knee. Cody fought back with a Disaster Kick off the ropes followed by a Cody Cutter off the ropes, but there is Seth Rollins with the attack from behind. That’s the DQ finish that most of us expected after 13 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Cody Rhodes (Theory remains US Champion)

Analysis: *** A good match ruined by the most obvious finish. I thought they worked really well together. Theory got a lot of offense, Cody hit his big moves and Theory sold everything really well especially the Disaster Kick and Cody Cutter at the end of the match. I’m not surprised by the lack of a clean finish because Theory should keep the title while Cody should avoid losing matches, so a DQ was what I expected here.

Rollins knocked Cody out of the ring and Rollins punched Cody repeatedly. Rollins sent Cody face first into the commentary table a few times. Rollins said that Cody is not going to take anything from him ever again. Rollins continued slamming Cody’s head into the commentary table. Rollins gave Cody The Stomp on the table. It didn’t break the table, but Cody sold it really well by falling backwards as if it knocked him out. Rollins yelled that Cody will never take anything from him again and Rollins stared at a fallen Cody.

Analysis: It makes sense for Seth to attack Cody because of Seth’s loss at WrestleMania Backlash. It didn’t surprise me at all. Here’s what I tweeted earlier in the day as a prediction: “Cody’s about to win, Seth shows up for the DQ and screams about how Cody cheated to beat him. Just a hunch.” It wasn’t exactly that as far as Seth saying that Cody cheated, but it was a lot of screaming by Rollins. I think we’ll get a third Cody-Seth match for sure. Perhaps it will be inside Hell in a Cell next month.

(Commercial)

A replay was shown of Seth “Freakin” Rollins attacking Cody Rhodes with The Stomp on the commentary table.

The Women’s Tag Team Champions Naomi and Sasha Banks made their entrance for this non-title match.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Doudrop & Nikki A.S.H.

Naomi had some bandage on her left shoulder to sell an injury. I thought Nikki might stop the superhero gimmick, but she’s still dressed that way. Naomi with two dropkicks on Doudrop, then Naomi hit a corner splash and Doudrop headbutted Naomi to knock her down. Naomi slid under a clothesline attempt, then Naomi wanted a sunset flip and Doudrop sat on top for a two count. Doudrop applied a chinlock, Naomi broke free with a jawbreaker and Doudrop tossed her aside. Doudrop hit a running corner splash on Naomi. Doudrop wanted a slam, Naomi got out of it with an enziguri kick. Naomi with a bulldog into the turnbuckle, Banks tagged in and jumped onto Doudrop, who caught Banks with a body slam. Nikki tagged herself in going for a cover for a two count. Nikki grabbed an armbar, let go of that and hit a flipping neckbreaker. Doudrop wanted a tag, Nikki said she’s got it and Banks tagged Naomi, who delivered a kick to the head. Banks knocked Doudrop off the apron to the floor. Naomi held up Nikki while Banks hit the double knees on Nikki while Naomi did a slam at the same time. It was a double team move. It went about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks & Naomi

Analysis: *3/4 An easy win for the champions after Naomi was selling for a few minutes for Doudrop. I liked the double team moves by the champions while it’s not a surprise that Nikki was the woman that lost. Banks didn’t get to be in the ring for that long, but what she did worked well.

After the match, Doudrop yelled at Nikki for not tagging her in. Doudrop wondered why Nikki didn’t take this seriously. Doudrop yelled at Nikki for not listening.

Analysis: Perhaps this will lead to Nikki dropping the “almost a superhero” gimmick and going back to being a more serious competitor.

The Miz made his entrance dressed as a referee since he’s the special guest referee for the next match.

(Commercial)

Mustafa Ali and (no longer Tommaso) Ciampa were already in the ring for their match with referee The Miz doing a promo. Miz said that Ali has a point saying that he was right saying that he (Ali) wasn’t treated right. Miz said Theory went to Mr. McMahon and got The Miz appointed as the referee.

Mustafa Ali vs. Ciampa

Ali with a chop, then Miz got in the way when Ali wanted another chop. Ali with a kick to the chest followed by a jackknife pin attempt, but Miz didn’t count at all. Ciampa with a forearm to the back followed by stomps on Ali in the corner with Miz doing a very slow count. Ali did a necksnap against the top rope, but Ciampa hit Ali with a knee to the floor. Ciampa with a hard clothesline on the floor with Ali doing a flip bump. Ciampa clapped for himself. Back in the ring, Ali got an inside cradle with no count. Ciampa with a back elbow followed by a chinlock, Ali tried fighting out and Ciampa stomped on the head. Ciampa with a hard whip into the corner. Ciampa grabbed a headlock again, Ali sent Ciampa into the turnbuckle and Ali hit a clothesline on a charging Ciampa. Ali with punches, Ali ran the ropes and hit a running forearm to the head. Ali with a running dropkick in the corner followed by a rolling neckbreaker. Ali went up top, he jumped off with a 450 Splash, Ciampa got out of the way and Ciampa hit a forearm. Ciampa with a kick, Ali with a superkick and Ali with a springboard Tornado DDT off the ropes for two because Miz counted way too slowly. Ali complained about Miz’s referee, so Ciampa got a hold of Ali and hit a reverse DDT leading to Miz doing a fast three count. Ciampa got the win after about six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ciampa

Analysis: **1/4 A cheap win for Ciampa due to the shady refereeing by The Miz. Ali always has good matches just like Ciampa, so it would have been nice if they could have a lengthy regular match. Instead, it felt like it was tough to get into the match due to Ali having no chance to win due to how biased Miz was. Ciampa winning in a cheap manner seemed like the obvious decision because of Miz being a corrupt referee.

They showed a video about Lacey Evans talking about her life story. She’s on Smackdown where these videos aired, but I guess they felt the need to include it in Raw. It’s a long show, so it was a way to kill a few minutes. The short story is that she had a rough upbringing, but she has gone on to become a strong mother, wife, daughter, sister, US marine and a WWE superstar.

Analysis: If she is on Smackdown then why is this airing on Raw? Maybe they are switching her to Raw, but I think she’s still on Smackdown.

Bobby Lashley was shown standing by with some news about his future up next.

(Commercial)

A replay was shown of the Bobby Lashley-Omos-MVP situation from earlier in the show.

Bobby Lashley did a promo saying that the reason Omos won at WrestleMania Backlash is because of MVP. Lashley said he wanted to face Omos in a Steel Cage Match next week on Raw.

Analysis: I’m not sure if that’s the right move considering Omos’ lack of experience, but it’s a way to prevent interference in the match, so that’s why Lashley likes it.

They replayed 24/7 Title drama last week. I was hoping we’d go through a whole episode of Raw without showing this bad comedy stuff.

Dana Brooke, the 24/7 Title, was backstage with R-Truth and Tamina. Reggie and Tozawa showed up with flowers for their women. Truth handed Reggie divorce papers and Truth handed divorce papers to Tozawa, so Tozawa ran away. Tamina told Truth to give him the papers. Reggie complained, Tamina slapped the papers away and that was it.

Analysis: A bad segment as usual for the 24/7 Title characters. I feel bad for the wrestlers involved in it.

“Big Time” Becky Lynch made her entrance in some black attire. Becky had on some ridiculous “sunglasses” or whatever you want to call them. I guess you could call it a visor. It’s Bianca Belair vs. Asuka in the main event.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos in a Steel Cage Match.

Becky Lynch was on commentary for the main event with her ridiculous visor on her head.

Asuka made her entrance in this Championship Contender’s match meaning a win could earn a title shot. Bianca Belair was up next as the Raw Women’s Champion. She was at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with husband Montez Ford. Lynch complained about Belair as usual.

Bianca Belair vs. Asuka

There were only five minutes left in the show. I don’t know if it was planned to be this short of a match or if something else ran long.

They battled over an armbar, Asuka kicked Belair in the leg and Bayley got a waistlock takedown into a headlock. Belair bounced off the ropes with a shoulder tackle, but Asuka was still standing. Asuka charge, leapfrog by Belair and Asuka got a pin attempt for two. Belair got back up to shove Asuka down. Belair jumped over Asuka to avoid a charge, Asuka came back with an elbow, a kick and a sliding knee. Belair with a suplex, Asuka went for a kick and Belair tried a slam, but Asuka countered to a rollup for two. Asuka went for an armbar, Belair fought her off and Belair hit a powerslam with one hand. Belair went for a move off the ropes, but Lynch grabbed her by the hands and whipped Belair into the steel steps. There’s the DQ finish after about three minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Bianca Belair

Analysis: *1/4 It’s too bad that we didn’t get a real Belair/Asuka match because I’d like to see what they can do together. I’m sure we’ll get it at some point down the road. With Lynch at ringside, it was obvious that there would be a non-finish since Lynch was there to do a cheap attack on both competitors. Since the match started with such little time left in the show, there was no reason to get excited about the match.

Lynch went into the ring and kicked Asuka. Lynch with a running leg drop. Lynch with a Manhandle Slam. Lynch celebrated as the fans booed. Lynch left the ring while Belair checked on Asuka, who was down in the ring.

Lynch celebrated in the aisle saying, “I’m big time for a reason.” That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It looks like they might be building this as a triple threat feud for the Raw Women’s Title with Belair defending against Asuka and Lynch at Hell in a Cell. If not then perhaps Lynch will beat Asuka in order for Lynch to get her singles rematch. I think a triple threat is most likely for them.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. RK-Bro
  2. Cody Rhodes
  3. The Street Profits/Rhea Ripley

 

The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7

 

Final Thoughts

It was a solid edition of Raw. I don’t know if I’d say good or great, but there were some things I enjoyed like RK-Bro beating The Street Profits in a match that reminded us that Raw’s tag team division is a strength of the show. I liked Cody vs. Theory until Rollins predictably caused the DQ finish due to his attack on Cody. The DQ finish must run in the family since Seth’s wife Becky Lynch attacked Bianca Belair and Asuka to end their main event match. Anyway, it should lead to more Cody vs. Seth while it looks like they might go with a Belair-Lynch-Asuka triple threat feud for Bianca’s title.

I liked the story advancement with The Judgement Day group led by Edge. Rhea Ripley did well as a heel that beat Liv Morgan. AJ Styles and Finn Balor were overmatched by Edge, Ripley and Damian Priest, so we’ll see that story continue. I like the slow build aspect that should lead to Styles-Balor teaming up to try to take the heels down.

It was cool to see four women’s matches on the show, but some of the matches were short. Welcome back to Alexa Bliss. It’s still cool to see WWE trying to get more women on the show, even the women that are not in the title picture. That’s what fans want to see – using the whole roster instead of ignoring a lot of them.

Nothing was announced for Hell in a Cell in less than four weeks. We should learn about some of the matches soon.

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Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport