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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/28/22 Review

wwe raw feb 28

The road to WrestleMania continued on WWE Raw this week with Damian Priest defending the US Title against Finn Balor while Edge was in the house and plenty more.

It’s the last day in February, we have all of March to get through and then WrestleMania is here on April 2 and April 3. Bring it on.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1501 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The Raw intro video aired to begin the show. I don’t remember the last time they showed that. It’s been a while. The crowd in Columbus was there looking ready to go.

The KO Show Hosted By Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens started the show by wearing a cowboy hat. Owens introduced us to his tag team partner and the man by his side when they go after the Tag Team Titles next week, the man that KO calls his “best friend” Seth Rollins. Seth was in his wrestling gear with a jacket. The Raw commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton talked about this week’s show.

Owens and Rollins were in the ring with four leather chairs, a black carpet and some “KO Show” logos in there as well. Owens welcomed us to the Kevin Owens Show with a tip of the hat. Owens said it’s been a tough year for them so far since neither of them have been able to secure a place at WrestleMania yet with KO saying it was a travesty that they’re not on the card yet. Rollins said that they have been screwed on the path to WrestleMania, but the WrestleMania Gods gave them another card to play in the form of the Raw Tag Team Championships. Rollins said that they’ll take those titles into WrestleMania and make moments. Owens said he heard that people believe that KO’s disdain for Texas will distract him from being a Raw Tag Team Champion and Owens said nothing will stop them. Owens said that they’re the absolute best. Owens said that the people of Texas or Texas legends like JBL or HBK who are desperate for KO’s attention and KO stomped on the cowboy hat. Rollins said they’re in Columbus. They introduced the current Raw Tag Team Champions, the Alpha Academy.

The Alpha Academy duo of Chad Gable & Otis entered as the Raw Tag Team Champions. They are wearing a “Shoooosh” shirt since Gable says that instead of “shush” for people to be quiet. Gable talked about how Seth and Kevin were making assumptions about what’s going to happen. Gable did his annoying “thank you” bit after mentioning they are the champions. Owens said that they were aware that Chad & Otis were the champions until next Monday night. Rollins said no hard feelings since they like AA, but WrestleMania needs them. Gable got some local heat ripping on that “community college” Ohio State University, which is in Columbus, so the fans booed. Gable complained about Owens/Rollins being added to the match. Owens told them that they can’t make them personal because it’s just business. Gable said that they have had their chance at WrestleMania, they’ve won championships and Seth main evented WrestleMania. Gable spoke about not even being on the show in the past while saying that he and Otis earned those titles. Rollins said that after they beat AA next week for the titles, AA can face them for the titles.

The teams got into an argument with Gable doing his “SHOOSH” routine a lot, so Owens kicked him in the gut and hit a Stunner. Otis had to be held back. That led to a break.

Analysis: It was a solid promo exchange with Owens continuing to rip on Texas to tease his WrestleMania match against Steve Austin, who should be appearing on Raw within a few weeks I assume. Rollins is a big egomaniac like Owens, so they work well together. Gable does all the talking for his team with the “SHOOSH” gimmick taking over with Gable relying on that for heat.

(Commercial)

Kevin Owens & Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable)

This is not for AA’s Tag Team Titles. Otis worked over Owens with a whip into the corner followed by a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Otis with a spinning back elbow leading to a body slam by the big man Otis. Owens avoided an elbow drop, so Owens hit two senton splashes on Otis. Rollins tagged in with forearms near the corner of the champions, Gable grabbed Seth’s foot and Otis knocked Rollins off the apron to the floor. Otis whipped Rollins into the barricade and back first into the ring apron. Gable tagged in with a forearm to the chest. Gable worked over Seth’s arm a bit followed by a snap suplex for two. Otis splashed Rollins in the corner, Otis to the middle rope, he took way too long and Rollins moved to avoid the splash. KO got the tag with a “suck it” chop leading to a cannonball on Otis. Owens threw Gable out of the ring. Owens with a cannonball off the apron onto both AA guys. Owens jumped off the apron with a Frog Splash on Gable on the floor. That allowed Otis to get back up with a running body attack that knocked KO down leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Gable was in control of Owens by wrenching the knee. Owens got back up, so Gable hit him with a German Suplex, but Owens came back with an elbow and an enziguri kick. Rollins tagged in with two clotheslines, the Slingblade neckbreaker, elbow to Otis and he sent Gable into the turnbuckle. Rollins with a knee off the top followed by a Falcon Arrow slam for two. Owens tagged in with a superkick on Gable, Rollins with a kick and Owens with a cradle suplex into the knee. Otis broke up the pin and he suplexed Rollins across the ring. Otis hit a running splash on Owens in the corner, Otis with a Vader Bomb splash off the middle ropes and Gable hit a moonsault off the top for two because Rollins broke up the pin. Otis charged, Rollins moved and Otis hit the ring post. Otis on the floor, so Rollins hit a suicide dive on him. Gable countered a Stunner into a German Suplex that connected. Gable went up top, he jumped off with a moonsault, Owens avoided it. Rollins got the tag, Owens launched Gables into Rollins, who hit a Buckle Bomb. Owens hit a Stunner on Gable and Rollins hit The Stomp on Gable for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens & Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match here just like last week’s Owens/Rollins match against RK-Bro. It was a matchup with four heels, but the fans were behind Owens and Rollins more because they were the bigger stars in the match. That finishing sequence was great by Rollins/Owens with the Powerbomb into a Stunner and The Stomp for the win. The champions losing non-title isn’t a surprise since it happens a lot and I think WWE wanted to give more momentum to the Owens/Rollins team ahead of the tag team title match next week.

A video aired about Omos destroying people in the ring.

Omos was interviewed by Kevin Patrick, who said that Omos has been on a rampage in WWE. Omos said he’s dominated everybody and today he comes across the largest man he’s ever faced in that ring, T-Bar. Omos said he would dominate T-Bar.

Omos made his entrance.

(Commercial)

T-Bar made his entrance with Omos hitting a back elbow to knock T-Bar off the apron to the floor. The referee told Omar he can’t start the match because T-Bar was done. Omos threw T-Bar into the turnbuckle and T-Bar told the referee he was ready to go.

Omos vs. T-Bar

Omos charged, T-Bar moved and Otis came back with a clothesline. Omos hit a two-handed Choke Bomb for the pinfall win in under one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Omos

Analysis: 1/2* A squash win for Omos. I don’t know what he’s doing for WrestleMania, but it wouldn’t shock me if he won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.

A clip was shown of last week when Bianca Belair exchanged words with Becky Lynch and then Bianca beat Doudrop in an impressive match.

The trio of Doudrop, Nikki A.S.H. and Becky Lynch were backstage for a promo. Lynch said that the only thing that matters is winning. Becky said that they’ll do whatever it takes to be declared the winners.

The trio of Lynch, Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H. entered for tag team action.

(Commercial)

The team of Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan were shown talking backstage with Ripley saying “brutality” was their strategy while Bianca Belair walked up to them. Belair said she wanted to give Becky Lynch a preview of when she beats her for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania.

Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley vs. Becky Lynch, Doudrop & Nikki A.S.H.

Lynch tagged out rather than face off against Belair. Morgan with a headscissors on Nikki and Doudrop tagged in with a shove that put Morgan down on her ass. Morgan with a jumping kick to the head leading to Belair getting a tag. Ripley tagged in after that and Belair/Ripley hit a double team suplex on Doudrop. Lynch and Nikki were tossed out of the ring. Morgan tagged in, Ripley helped her get to the top and Morgan jumped off the top with a cross body block onto the three heels. The three faces celebrated in the ring.

(Commercial)

Belair was in the ring with Lynch with Belair getting a rollup for two, but then Lynch countered a suplex into an inside cradle for two. Lynch with a punch and kick while Belair was on the apron. Lynch sent Belair shoulder-first into the ring post followed by a spin kick. Lynch tied some of Belair’s hair across the top rope and got in some kicks. Lynch hit a leg drop off the middle rope for a two count. Doudrop tagged in with an elbow and Nikki tagged in with a rolling necknap for two. Belair fought out of the heel corner, Ripley tagged in and hit Lynch with clotheslines along with a kick to the chest. Ripley with a powerslam, headbutt and knees to the head. Ripley with a running dropkick. Ripley slammed Lynch off the shoulders for two as Doudrop made the save. Morgan and Doudrop got sent out of the ring. Nikki tagged herself in against Belair, who hit the Glam Slam-like move. Lynch grabbed Belair and pulled her out of the ring. My feed cut out for a bit as the women exchanged moves. Belair with a spinebuster on Nikki and Becky made the save, so Belair hit Becky in the ribs with Belair’s hair. Nikki tried a rollup for two, but Belair kicked out and hit a right hand to the face. Nikki got the KOD slam for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match here. They continue to want to build up Belair as Lynch’s opponent at WrestleMania and that’s the smart thing to do. They had some Lynch-Belair moments, but not that much. As soon as this match was announced, it was obvious that Nikki would be the one that was pinned and that’s what happened.

Belair’s hair attack on Lynch left a mark as you can see here. Ouch.

A video aired showing highlights from last week’s NXT when Dolph Ziggler beat Tommaso Ciampa thanks to a cheap shot from Robert Roode.

Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode were up next.

(Commercial)

Tommaso Ciampa entered to face Roode. New generic theme song for Ciampa. I miss the old song. They showed a pre-tape promo from Ciampa talking about wanting payback against Roode.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Robert Roode (w/Dolph Ziggler)

It’s a matchup between two former NXT Champions. This Tuesday on NXT is Ciampa & NXT Champion Bron Breakker vs. Ziggler & Roode.

Ciampa with a kick to the chest, Roode sent Ciampa out of the ring and they battled on the floor with Ciampa hit a clothesline. Ciampa worked over Roode with some kicks, but Roode came back with a spinebuster for two. Roode with chops, Ciampa got a boot up on a charging Roode and Ciampa hit an elbow smash followed by a reverse DDT for two. Ciampa went for a knee attack, Roode avoided it and Ciampa wanted a move, but Roode countered to sit on top for two. Ciampa hit a running knee on Ziggler on the floor. Roode wanted the DDT, but Ciampa got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Roode with Ciampa leaning forward with his body for the leverage. It went about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa

Analysis: *1/2 A short match between two talented veterans with Ciampa finding a way to get the win even though Ziggler was there to help Roode. The dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is deadly, my friends. Anyway, it is Ciampa getting revenge after Roode cost him the win in Ciampa’s match against Ziggler last week on NXT.

Post match, Roode held onto Ciampa and Ziggler hit Ciampa with a superkick. Ziggler said that Ciampa got lucky once, but tomorrow on NXT, Ciampa and Breakker step in the ring with two-time WWE Tag Team Champions (that would be Ziggler and Roode). Ziggler said that they will prove why the Dirty Dawgs are the dirtiest dogs in the game.

Analysis: It should be a good tag team match on NXT. I think Ziggler pinning Ciampa is a possibility since they are building Ziggler for a title match against Breakker.

There were videos shown of 24/7 Title shenanigans with Reggie beating Dana Brooke for the 247/Title two weeks ago and then last week Dana beat Reggie for the 24/7 Title after she kissed him on the lips.

The team of 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke and Reggie entered for a mixed tag team match.

(Commercial)

Reggie & Dana Brooke vs. Akira Tozawa & Tamina

Brooke with a headscissors that sent Tamina into the corner, then Brooke did a handspring elbow. Tamina hit a back elbow to the face. Tozawa tagged in against Reggie with Tozawa hitting two kicks to the head. Reggie with a pin attempt using his legs and then a dropkick. Tamina with a save, so Brooke dropkicked Tamina out of the ring. Brooke elbowed Tozawa to knock him down. Reggie did a running somersault dive onto Tozawa for the pinfall win after two minutes. It looked like Reggie hit Tozawa on the top of his head. Tozawa was okay.

Winners by pinfall: Reggie & Dana Brooke

Analysis: * A smart move to keep it short. I don’t have much more to say about this title feud for the worst title.

Post match, Dana Brooke kissed Reggie on the lips and tackled him on the mat. Tamina picked up Tozawa at ringside and Tamina kissed Tozawa at ringside. Tozawa had a smile. Graves wanted Carmella to come out there to show them how it’s done while Saxton was very happy.

Analysis: The comedy kiss spot. Good for Reggie and Tozawa, I guess.

The Street Profits were backstage with Kevin Patrick asking them about their match against RK-Bro. Angelo Dawkins said that they need to save the tag team division from the Alpha Academy. Montez Ford complained about the champions. Dawkins talked about how it didn’t matter who leaves with the Tag Team Titles on Raw next week because The Street Profits will be ready at WrestleMania and they want the smoke.

Rey & Dominik Mysterio entered for tag team action.

(Commercial)

They talked about Bobby Lashley saying he was in concussion protocol. In reality, he’s got a shoulder injury.

A clip aired of Miz and Logan Paul beating up The Mysterios on Raw.

Rey & Dominik Mysterio did a promo about how Miz & Logan Paul challenged them to a match at WrestleMania. Rey said that they accepted, but they were dropped and humiliated by Miz. Rey said that at WrestleMania, Miz is done with all of his BS. Dominik said tonight he’s not focused on a Hollywood mega dumbass and his fanboy because tonight they are focused on a match against the Hurt Business.

The Miz made his entrance: “Hollywood mega dumbass.” Miz asked if Dominik thought that Miz was that. Miz did his usual promo running down his accolades in WWE. When Miz mentioned beating John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania, I like to point out that it was one of the worst WrestleMania main events ever. Miz put over Logan Paul for being more of a man than anybody in the building. Miz talked about how with Miz’s help, Logan will be the most famous superstar in WWE aside from Miz. Miz added that they watched it all over again as Miz & Logan hit Skull Crushing Finales on the Mysterios. Miz claimed the fans were sick of watching the same old standard crap like the Mysterios. Miz said his team with Logan is better, newer, they are global and they are awesome.

Analysis: It was a typical Miz promo. It’s fine, but nothing new or special. Rey had some generic dialogue while Dominik got to say some better lines so at least that helped.

The Hurt Business duo of Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander made their entrance.

(Commercial)

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Hurt Business – Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander

Rey with a headscissors on Benjamin, Alexander tagged in and hit a clothesline on Rey on the apron. Benjamin tagged back in with a body slam. Rey fought out of the heel corner while Graves was sucking up to Logan Paul. Rey with a headscissors on Alexander, so Dominik tagged in against Benjamin with a cross body block. Dominik with a hurricanrana followed by a neckbreaker move for a two. Benjamin hit a T-Bone Suplex for two. Benjamin went for a jumping knee, Dominik moved and Dom hit a Tornado DDT. Rey sent Alexander over the top to the floor. Rey with a headscissors on Alexander on the floor. Dominik sent Shelton into the ropes, then to the floor and Dominik shoved Benjamin into the ring post. Miz grabbed Dominik’s foot, Rey chased after Miz and Benjamin did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Dominik for about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Hurt Business – Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander

Analysis: *1/2 A cheap finish due to Miz costing Dominik the win. I doubt Benjamin & Alexander are getting a push. It was more about Miz screwing over the Mysterios to cost them the match. The Mysterios will probably beat Shelton/Cedric next week just how based Raw booking usually is done.

Riddle and Randy Orton were backstage for one of their wacky promos with Riddle rambling and Orton trying to get him to focus.

The RK-Bro duo of Riddle and Randy Orton entered for tag team action.

(Commercial)

The Women’s Tag Team Champions (they still exist?) Carmella and Zelina Vega were talking backstage with Vega doing her random British accent while plugging Carmella’s youtube show with Corey Graves that I don’t watch. Vega said they accept the Women’s Tag Team Title challenge from Sasha Banks & Naomi at WrestleMania. Carmella said that after they win, she’s going to get her fiancé and they’re going to celebrate.

Analysis: I get the feeling the Women’s Tag Team Title match is going to involve multiple teams to get more people on the show. There’s still over a month to go.

Next week on Raw it’s Alpha Academy defending the Raw Tag Team Titles vs. RK-Bro vs. Owens & Rollins. They promoted that a lot on this show.

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

Dawkins started with Riddle with a leapfrog into a jumping elbow. Ford tagged in with a dropkick. Riddle was ready for a standing moonsault leading to a triangle submission. Riddle hit an overhead suplex on Ford. Orton tagged in with some stomps all over Ford’s body. Riddle tagged in with a Floating Bro, but Ford got a knee up and Dawkins tagged in with an overhead suplex on Riddle. Ford tagged in as Riddle clotheslined Dawkins and hit a dive onto Dawkins on the floor. Ford went to the apron leading to a somersault dive onto Riddle on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Dawkins in control with a clothesline. Riddle came back with a rising knee to the face. Orton got the hot tag against Ford with two clotheslines followed by a snap powerslam with the fans coming alive. Orton hit the draping DDT off the ropes. Dawkins went after Riddle, who managed to send Dawkins over the top to the floor. Ford hit a jumping kick to the head. Ford went up top, Frog Splash off the top and it looked like Ford hurt Orton a bit with the landing. Orton was favoring is his right/arm shoulder where Ford landed. Orton rolled towards the ropes, Ford covered Orton, who tried to get his foot on the bottom rope and Dawkins shoved Orton’s foot to prevent that from happening. Riddle saw it and complained about it. It went nine minutes.

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

Analysis: **1/2 I don’t know if that was the planned finish with Dawkins shoving Orton’s foot off the ropes to break up the rope break or if it was going to be something else. Orton clearly was in some pain after the Frog Splash due to Ford landing on him on the shoulder/arm area, so I hope Randy is okay. It was a bit of a strange spot since Randy had to roll towards the ropes to get into position on the side where Dawkins was. I just don’t think it went as smoothly as they hoped. Anyway, it was a big win for the Profits in beating another top tag team on Raw.

Post match, Ford tweeted about it including a line that “everyone is healthy” so hopefully that means Randy is okay too.

Randy offered this comment as well.

Highlights were shown of Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens beating Alpha Academy earlier on Raw.

Kevin Owens and Seth “Freakin” Rollins were interviewed by Kevin Patrick with Rollins saying they had all the momentum. Rollins talked about possibilities going into WrestleMania after winning the Raw Tag Team Titles. Owens said his favorite thing will be leaving that hellhole Dallas, Texas and Owens left.

Finn Balor made his entrance for his US Title match opportunity.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Veer Mahaan coming to Raw. This has been going on since October. They put him on Main Event nearly every week, but he’s still on the way to Raw.

There was a Smackdown Breakdown video shown from last week’s Smackdown featuring the Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns contract signing. After some trash talk as well as contract signing, Lesnar destroyed a bunch of security guys with suplexes and F5’s all over the ring.

Damian Priest made his entrance as the United States Champion. Priest won that title at SummerSlam last August, so it was over six months at this point. This match was set up last week.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage scene with Vince McMahon in the office with Austin Theory. They talked about Vince appearing on the Pat McAfee Show on Thursday with Theory talking about how Pat was a former NFL player, he created the Pat McAfee Foundation, and he signed one of the most lucrative deals in podcast history. Theory said it’s been about 20 years in a sitdown interview while pointing out that Vince scared the interviewer to death. Theory wondered what happened if the interviewer jumped him. Theory wondered if Pat tries to jump Vince, so Theory suggested he can be right there. Vince said it’s not that kind of show and excused himself. Theory: “But it could be.”

Analysis: They were referring to Vince’s appearance talking to Bob Costas over 20 years ago with Vince getting upset and wanting to fight him. In this case it’s going to lead to a WrestleMania angle between McAfee and Vince leading to some sort of match. That rumor/report has been getting a lot of attention over the last week as we covered here. My feeling is that they’ll have Theory wrestle for Vince against McAfee, who was impressive in NXT matches, because the thought of a 76-year-old Vinny Mac having a match is not a good idea. Anyway, McAfee’s show on Youtube is entertaining and using it to set up a WrestleMania angle should be an effective way to get people talking.

United States Championship: Damian Priest vs. Finn Balor

Priest used his size advantage to knock down Balor with a shoulder tackle. Priest hit a leaping back elbow the chest. Balor with an armbar, Priest broke free and hit another jumping back elbow. Priest hit a forearm to the back followed by a chinlock. Balor broke free leading to a low dropkick, a kick to the ribs and some stomps to the chest. Priest went to the floor, so Balor ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top onto Priest on the floor.

(Commercial)

Priest was in control with a backbreaker for two. Balor came back with a jumping kick to the head. Priest charged, Balor got his feet up and Balor hit a running forearm to the head. Balor with a trip leading to a double foot stomp. Balor with shoulder tackles to the ribs, Priest broke free and Balor hit a Slingblade neckbreaker. Balor with a running dropkick that sent Priest into the turnbuckle. Balor up top, he went for a Coup de Grace, Priest moved and Priest hit a clothesline. Balor got a rollup for two. Priest with two jumping kicks to the head followed by the South of Heaven Chokeslam for a two count. Good nearfall there. Balor countered The Reckoning with his elbow to the chest slam. Balor with the running dropkick in the corner. Balor up top and he jumped off with the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win! The crowd popped for that. It went 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW United States Champion: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 A good, competitive match that was even the whole way with Balor coming out on top. It was done in a way where it was even with Priest getting some nearfalls, Balor fighting back, then Balor nearly won a couple of times and Priest was able to come back. I like when it’s even like that especially since they were two babyfaces going into the match. I mentioned last week that I thought Balor was going to win, so I called that one. It just felt like the right time since Priest was a long-term champion while Balor could use some momentum that comes with holding a title like that. A nice pop from the crowd for the title change as well. I’m happy that Balor won.

Balor celebrated with the US Title. The fans were happy about that. It was Balor’s first time winning that title adding to his history of winning the Universal Title, Intercontinental Title and NXT Title in his WWE career.

Damian Priest was in the ring with Balor after the match. Priest said that the fans carried Finn Balor to win the United States Championship. Priest said he never got that respect while adding that the fans never gave him that respect even though he busted his ass and was successful in spite of every one of them. Priest said he’s going to win that championship back and all that love and motivation ain’t going to mean a damn thing. Priest decked Balor with a clothesline leading to boos from the crowd. Priest tossed Balor out of the ring. Priest picked up Balor on the floor and gave him a Razor’s Edge onto the commentary table. The table did not break. The fans booed Priest while Balor was down.

Analysis: There’s the heel turn from Priest that has been teased a bunch in the last few months, then it kind of went away and now it’s official. Priest did the usual deal about how the fans didn’t believe in him, so that’s why he did what he did. The attack was good too. Perhaps it’s going to lead to Balor vs. Priest in a singles match at WrestleMania as they build to a rematch.

A replay was shown of last week with Edge saying he needed somebody to step up to face him at WrestleMania. Edge: “Step up, boys. I’ll be waiting.”

Edge made his entrance for the main event segment. Edge was full of energy as he made his entrance.

This Friday on Smackdown: Ronda Rousey vs. Sonya Deville. The Usos will defend the Smackdown Tag Team Titles vs. The Viking Raiders and Sami Zayn defending the Intercontinental Title vs. Ricochet. They didn’t mention either title match.

(Commercial)

Edge’s WrestleMania Challenge

There were less than ten minutes left in the show. Edge said he’s been waiting for this moment for somebody to step up and face him in a match at WrestleMania. Edge said his roads to WrestleMania get a lot clearer tonight. Edge yelled for somebody to step up. There was a delay a bit as Edge wondered what has happened to this place…and then some words appeared on the screen.

“PHENOMENAL!” It’s AJ Styles! Yes! They’re doing it.

Analysis: The one match I wanted to see at this year’s WrestleMania after hearing both guys talking about it for the last several years. It’s a legitimate dream match between two legends that are two of the best wrestlers of the last 25 years.

Styles got into the ring with Edge, who stared at him. The fans cheered as Edge stared at Styles for a staredown. Styles: “I accept.” Edge said he’s happy that Styles accepted because they have both wanted this match for a long time and clearly the fans wanted this match. Edge said he wanted the “bulldog” AJ, not the guy that has been a “tag team bitch” to Omos for the last year. Ouch. Edge extended his hand for shake, Styles thought about it, but Edge decked Styles with a punch.

Edge worked over Styles with punches, then Styles punched back and hit a jumping kick to the head. Styles to the apron, he jumped for a Phenomenal Forearm, Edge avoided it and Edge hit a low blow kick to the groin! Edge had a heelish look on his face. Edge worked over Styles with forearms to the face. Edge was about to leave, but then he stopped himself. The fans were booing Edge for his action as Edge made his way sown to ringside. Edge found two steel chairs that he brought into the ring. Edge placed one of the steel chairs under AJ’s head. Edge had a deranged look on his face as he thought about what he should do. Edge grabbed the second steel chair for the Conchairto attack against AJ’s head. It looks deadly, but when you do it right, it’s a case of the guy with the chair avoiding the head and just smacking the steel chair. Edge stared out in the crowd, then back down at Styles and Edge hit another Conchairto on the head of Styles. The fans were booing loudly. Edge stared up at the WrestleMania sign while Styles was down in the ring. The announcers were mad about what Edge did. Edge just stared at the fallen Styles below him. That was it for Raw.

Analysis: It was the second segment in a row with a heel turn with going down the dark part as the “Rated R Superstar” once again. Edge did a bunch of cheap things in that segment with the handshake offer leading to a punch, then the low blow kick and then the chair usage multiple times even though Styles was clearly out of it. They could have easily done Edge vs. Styles as a babyface match at WrestleMania and it would be fine like that, but having Edge go heel like this is a way to make it more intense. If you do face vs. face then it’s not as intense. After this segment and what they can do over the next month, fans are going to be salivating at the thought of Styles getting his revenge, so they can build it up really well. I think Styles should win and will win at WrestleMania as well. AJ just got a big new contract for a lot of money, so WWE is going to push him right near the top where he should be. Edge is 48 and Styles is 44, so it’s the right time to do this legitimate dream match. I get why they didn’t want referees or security out there, but it does look weird when one guy is allowed to beat up another guy without anybody trying to break it up. It’s not a major gripe, but I had to at least point it out. I’m excited about Edge vs. Styles. It’s going to be my favorite match at this year’s WrestleMania. I’m glad they are doing it.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens
  2. Finn Balor
  3. Edge/AJ Styles

 

The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was mostly an average Raw and then it finished with a strong third hour. That’s not always the case for Raw, but I liked a lot of that final hour. Finn Balor beating Damian Priest for the US Title was cool leading to Priest going heel after the loss. I’m happy for Balor.

The showdown between Edge & AJ Styles in the main event was great with Edge going back to his heel roots. If it was a face vs. face match it would be fine, but having Edge go heel makes it more personal and will have fans wanting Styles to beat him. Bring it on for WrestleMania.

The in-ring action was solid all night with a big focus on the men’s tag team division leading to the tag team title match next week. Randy Orton had a rough night after the way Montez Ford hit that Frog Splash on him, so hopefully Randy is okay. I enjoy how well Rollins/Owens have been booked in recent weeks as they deliver consistently good promos and put on entertaining matches week after week.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is WrestleMania 38 from Dallas, Texas on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3. Here’s the lineup so far:

wwe wrestlemania 38 brock lesnar roman reigns

Winner Take All Championship Unification: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Universal Champion Roman Reigns (Sunday)

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (Saturday)

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair (Saturday)

Edge vs. AJ Styles

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul (Saturday)

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Zelina Vega & Carmella (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi

WrestleMania 38 is a two-night event steaming LIVE on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport