The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/08/21 Review

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/08/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. Last week’s Raw saw Bobby Lashley beat The Miz to become the WWE Champion for the first time in Lashley’s career. This week on Raw, Lashley defends that WWE Title against The Miz. Plus, Braun Strowman wants an apology from Shane McMahon. We should learn more about what WWE has planned for the Raw roster at Fastlane on March 21 as well. After Fastlane, WrestleMania 37 is five weeks away on April 10-11.

From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1450 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.

The opening video package showed highlights from last week’s Raw when Bobby Lashley beat The Miz to become WWE Champion. It took place after Miz delayed the match twice. Lashley won the WWE Title in the main event after Shane McMahon made it a Lumberjack Match to prevent Miz from running away. Lashley won easily within a few minutes.

There was a shot of the WWE ThunderDome with the fans on the screens. The announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe were there to call the action.

The Hurt Business foursome were shown walking backstage in suits. It was from earlier today. The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Lashley said that he’s been through a lot while noting it took him 16 years. Lashley said for 16 years he dealt with obstacles and politics to get his hands on this WWE Title. Lashley said that Miz tried to delay the inevitable and now there’s a rematch. Lashley said that 16 years is too long to wait for the WWE Title and he’s going to walk into WrestleMania as the Almighty WWE Champion. Lashley said that the All Mighty Era has just begun.

Let’s Hear from The Miz

The Miz made his entrance with John Morrison. That WWE Title rematch is up first. The Miz says he stands there empty-handed because Bobby Lashley is the new WWE Champion. Miz complained about Shane McMahon pulling a fast one last week. Miz spoke about all the things he has done for WWE while noting he doesn’t take vacations or get injured. Miz said that when he said he didn’t feel very well, he meant it and he claimed he had stomach cramps. Miz claimed he successfully defended the championship, he got counted out and he lost, but the only way the champion can lose his title is if he’s pinned or submitted. Miz said it is shady, but then he outsmarted everybody. Miz said that Bobby had his chance and he blew it. Miz said that his contract did not state that he had to defend his WWE Championship twice in one night.

Miz complained that he was forced to defend the WWE Title twice in one night. Miz said if he didn’t defend the title he would have been stripped of the title. Miz complained about a Lumberjack Match being unfair. Miz said that it was unfair that Bobby Lashley brutalized Miz and he has no repercussions coming to him. Miz said that WWE did one thing right because tonight he gets his rematch. Miz had a message for everyone that was tweeting, blogging, interviewing and celebrating Bobby’s title win all last week – he wants people to be close to their devices this week. Miz said that there will be a hashtag #ANDNEW because he’s The Miz and he’s awesome.

Analysis: A lot of talking from a guy that barely wins any matches and tried to get out of the title defense last week. Miz is a good promo, but he’s lacking in credibility because of how he is booked.

Bobby Lashley was shown walking backstage with MVP by his side.

A commercial said that WrestleMania tickets were available in limited combo and single tickets one week from tomorrow. That means they will be available less than four weeks before WrestleMania. The commercial said that WrestleMania is “Back in Business” this year. Here’s a link on WWE.com with more info.

WrestleMania tickets available one week from Tuesday

(Commercial)

Bobby Lashley made his entrance as the All Mighty WWE Champion with MVP by his side. There was a cool graphic display on the screen showing some highlights of Lashley in action before his music played. That was really well done. Lashley looked impressive as usual and ready to go for this title match. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions from ring announcer Mike Rome. Lashley posed with the WWE Title again.

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (w/Montel Vontavious Porter) vs. The Miz (w/John Morrison)

The Miz bailed to the floor to start the match, then back in the ring and Miz left the ring again. Lashley grabbed Miz, who did a neck snap on the top rope, but Lashley got a hold of Miz and hit a delayed vertical suplex. Drew McIntyre was shown watching the match on a TV backstage. Lashley charged at Miz against the turnbuckle, Miz moved and Lashley went shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Miz left the ring, Lashley lifted Miz and Miz sent Lashley into the ring post. Lashley with a clothesline on Miz on the floor leading to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Lashley in control as he grounded Miz with Lashley putting his fist against the face of Miz. Lashley with a clothesline. This match was about five minutes at this point, so it was already longer than last week. Miz avoided a Lashley charge, Miz tried a clothesline, Lashley caught Miz and Lashley tossed Miz across the ring. Miz bailed to the floor, so Lashley sent Miz into the barricade and then chest first across the barricade. Lashley sent Miz into the top of the announce table. Back in the ring, Miz with a boot to the face, then Miz with a kick to the arm and Miz sent a charging Lashley over the top to the floor. Miz went for a dropkick on the floor, but Lashley put Miz on the shoulders leading to Lashley running Miz into the ring post. Lashley hit a flatliner on Miz followed by punches to the head. Lashley sent Miz into the ropes leading to the massive spinebuster from Lashley. The camera zoomed in on Lashley’s angry face. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission with Miz tapping out after about eight minutes.

Winner by submission: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: *1/2 A dominant win by the WWE Champion. That’s expected. It was longer than last week because they wanted to go through a break, but it was similar to it. Lashley did bump a few times in this match although he was in control for about 80% of the match. Miz bumped well for Lashley. I like how Lashley has been booked in the last few months.

Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz – WWE Championship Match: Raw, Mar. 8, 2021

The announcers talked about WrestleMania tickets on sale one week from tomorrow on March 16. I should point that they played The Rock saying “Finally” in the commercial, so it’s leading people to think that The Rock might be there. I don’t know if he will be. I think the “finally” is just there because it means finally there will be fans at WWE shows after one year of no fans.

Drew McIntyre was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. McIntyre pointed out that Lashley attacked McIntyre after Elimination Chamber so that Lashley could get the WWE Title from Miz. McIntyre said that he knew Lashley was dangerous, but so is Drew. Sheamus showed up and attacked McIntyre. Sheamus threw McIntyre into some boxes and crates in the backstage area. Sheamus told McIntyre this is not over. Sheamus told McIntyre he’ll make his life a misery, every day of his life. Sheamus left while McIntyre was furious about it.

Analysis: I really liked Drew’s match with Sheamus last week. It’s smart to continue the rivalry.

(Commercial)

Rhea Ripley is coming soon to Raw. No details on when it will be.

Drew McIntyre walked down a hallway letting WWE Official Adam Pearce know he wanted a match against Sheamus tonight. Drew wanted it to be a No Disqualification Match.

Analysis: That’s great. It should be awesome.

A video aired showing the problems between Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon last week.

Braun Strowman was shown backstage with R-Truth going up to him reading something he wrote down. R-Truth said he needed Strowman’s help to win the 24/7 Title. Truth was rambling on about different things. Strowman said he was going out there to get Shane McMahon to apologize to him. Truth said that this discussion never happened and he left. Strowman walked towards the ring as the show went to break.

This week on NXT: Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship and Io Shira vs. Toni Storm for the NXT Women’s Championship. Both matches should be awesome.

(Commercial)

It’s official for later on Raw: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a No Disqualification Match. McIntyre beat Sheamus in a great match last week.

Let’s Hear from Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman wondered what was going on with Shane McMahon. Strowman complained about not being in the Elimination Chamber match and then being put in some Tag Team Title match with Adam Pearce last week. Strowman noted that Shane got on the apron and mentioned that Shane wanted Pearce in the match, so then the team lost. Strowman mentioned that Shane made a comment mocking Strowman’s intelligence last week and Strowman didn’t like that. Strowman warned Shane that he could snap him like a twig. Strowman didn’t want to get fired, he wanted respect and he was demanding Shane McMahon to come out there right now to give him a damn apology.

Shane McMahon made his entrance to his classic “Here Comes the Money” song and he got in the ring with Strowman. Shane looked Strowman in the face: “I apologize.” Shane left the ring with his music playing.

Shane stood on the stage, he was about to say something and then he stopped. Strowman told Shane that if he had something else to say then he should say it. Shane left to the back.

Analysis: That was a lot less uneventful than I thought it would be. I still think it’s going to lead to a WrestleMania match between Strowman and Shane, but there’s no indication of that yet.

Sheamus was shown walking backstage. A replay was shown of his attack on Drew McIntyre. That match is next.

This Friday on Smackdown: A confident Daniel Bryan is ready to unseat the “Head of the Table” Roman Reigns. What lengths will Roman Reigns go to maintain his road to WrestleMania? That was it.

(Commercial)

There was a graphic letting us know that WWE 24/7 Champion Bad Bunny will be performing at the Grammy Awards this Sunday night.

Shane McMahon was shown walking backstage with Sarah Schreiber asking him if he wanted to elaborate on what happened out there. Shane declined and kept walking.

Sheamus made his entrance and then Drew McIntyre attacked him with a forearm to the back. McIntyre sent Sheamus into the steel steps and into the ring apron. Drew sent Sheamus into the ring leading to the bell ringing to start the match.

No Disqualification Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus

Sheamus with a shoulder tackle, Drew ran the ropes and hit a running elbow strike. Sheamus with an eye gouge leading to a knee lift. Sheamus pulled Drew off the turnbuckle to take him down. Drew sent Sheamus over the top to the apron, then Sheamus drove the neck into the top rope and Sheamus hit a top rope clothesline. Sheamus kicked Drew out of the ring, then Drew avoided an attack and Drew sent Sheamus into the steel steps. Drew tossed Sheamus over the announce table onto the leather chairs because the announcers moved. Sheamus came back with a shove that sent Drew back first into the ring apron and then Sheamus hit a clothesline. Sheamus with a kendo stick, Drew moved to avoid it and Drew sent Sheamus over the barricade near the screens. Drew with a body slam onto the bottom half of the steel steps. Drew grabbed the kendo stick, but Sheamus kicked the ropes when Drew was going in the ring, so it was like a low blow kick. Drew with a double ax to knock Drew down. Sheamus hit Drew in the back with the kendo stick. You could see some red scarring on the back of McIntyre. Sheamus with a kendo stick shot to the arm and then a Rolling Senton from Sheamus got a two count. Sheamus pulled on the mouth of McIntyre to cause some pain. Drew hit two overhead belly to belly suplexes followed by a neckbreaker. McIntyre got some kendo stick payback with multiple kendo stick shots to the body and then a side Russian legsweep got a two count for Drew. McIntyre with more kendo stick shots to the body. They left the ring with Sheamus sending Drew face first into the ring post. Sheamus gave Drew a spinebuster onto the announce table, which did not break. The show went to break there.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Sheamus in control in the ring with an eye gouge leading to a backbreaker. Sheamus slapped on the Cloverleaf submission with Drew grabbing the leg to fight out of it. Sheamus charged right into a spinebuster by McIntyre for a two count. Both guys had visible scars on their backs. Drew charged at Sheamus, who got his feet up to block the attack and Sheamus hit a knee to the face. Sheamus tried going up top, but McIntyre tripped him up. Drew hit a superplex off the top rope for a two count. Drew with a kick to the chest, but then Sheamus caught him and hit the White Noise slam. Sheamus brought a steel chair into the ring, McIntyre with a shot to the throat and then Drew hit a steel chair attack to the back. Drew hit the Future Shock DDT onto the steel chair that was only good for a two count. Drew set up for the Claymore Kick, but then Sheamus threw the chair at his face. Sheamus hit a rising knee to the face for a two count. Great nearfall right there. Sheamus wedged the steel chair against the turnbuckle between the top/middle rope. Drew sent Sheamus into the chair that was wedged between the turnbuckle. Drew hit a Claymore Kick that sent Sheamus out of the ring. The pin had to take place in the ring. Drew slowly brought Sheamus into the ring, so Sheamus went back out of the ring. When Drew followed Sheamus back out of the ring, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick that knocked Drew down on the floor. Sheamus got the top half of the steel stairs, then Drew got the top half of the steel stairs and they ran into eachother. There were “this is awesome” chants. Drew bumped over the barricade to the floor. The referee Eddie Orengo talked to Drew and Sheamus with both guys still down without moving. The referee called for the bell after about 19 minutes.

Match Result: No Contest /Draw

Analysis: ***3/4 This was awesome just like last week. These guys are so good at working together and building up to believable nearfalls for both guys. It’s the second week in a row where they had a four star level match or right below it. They didn’t let up on those kendo stick shots and other weapons as you could see by all the scars on their backs. While I’m sure some fans might not like that there’s not a decisive winner there, this should lead to Drew/Sheamus having a third match at Fastlane. That’s certainly fine with me. If you’re into wrestlers that treat matches like a fight and aren’t afraid to hit eachother hard for our entertainment, check out this match. It was really fun.

Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus – No Disqualification Match: Raw, Mar. 8, 2021

After the bell rang, referees and WWE Officials like Jamie Noble checked on the wrestlers. Drew and Sheamus both stayed down for several minutes. Drew stumbled back up to his feet and then fell down.

Analysis: Nice job of selling by both guys.

(Commercial)

There were replays of the Sheamus/McIntyre ending.

A video package aired about Randy Orton’s feud with The Fiend/Alexa Bliss over the last few months. It took a few minutes to cover a lot of what has happened in that rivalry.

AJ Styles with Omos was interviewed by Kevin Patrick, who is a new backstage interviewer that’s Irish. I miss Charly Caruso. Styles noted that Randy Orton burned The Fiend to a crisp and said that this was the worst thing that Orton could have been done. Styles said he already hears voices in his head, but now there is voodoo magic. Randy Orton appeared, so Omos stepped up. Randy Orton wondered if Styles thought that it was funny that Orton had his mind messed with. Styles said it was weak. Orton suggested a match later on Raw saying he wants to show Styles how weak he is. Styles intimidated Orton by staring up at Omos, Styles said he accepted and Orton said “good” as Orton left. Styles: “This guy is crazy.”

Xavier Woods entered for a match with Kofi Kingston by his side.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw: The Hurt Business duo of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin will defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods.

Analysis: I have no problem with doing title matches on TV and New Day has had a lot of success as a team. However, I’d like to see challengers earn title shots.

Shelton Benjamin entered with Cedric Alexander as Raw Tag Team Champions.

Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/Cedric Alexander)

Benjamin sent Woods out of the ring, then Woods went back in and hit a jumping side kick. Benjamin with a belly-to-back slam for a two count. Benjamin whipped Woods into the turnbuckle followed by a hard body slam. Kingston: “Sick moveset, Shelton.” Benjamin with a chin lock and then another body slam. Benjamin sent Woods to the apron, Woods with a forearm and Benjamin with a punch followed by a knee strike to the face for two. Woods with a forearm to the face and then Woods with a sunset flip for two. Benjamin came back with a kick to the face. Benjamin was staring at Kofi on the floor, so Woods got an inside cradle on Benjamin for the pinfall win. The match went about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Xavier Woods

Analysis: *1/4 It was fine while it lasted. It’s typical booking to have a tag team champion wrestler losing in a singles match to give momentum for the challengers. Woods and Benjamin worked well together, but then the veteran Benjamin lost because he was looking at Kofi. Not a great finish.

Riddle was interviewed in the Gorilla Position by Sarah Schreiber. Riddle had a scooter with him and he wondered what he was going to do with it. New Day got through the curtain. Kingston and Woods were excited about Riddle having a match, so then Riddle asked them to watch his scooter. Kofi was excited about it.

Riddle made his entrance as the United States Champion with the “bro” chants.

It was announced that William Regal will have two game-changing announcements on NXT.

Analysis: I think one of the announcements is NXT moving to Tuesdays after WrestleMania and also introducing NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. It could also involve the next NXT Takeover running for two nights on the Wednesday and Thursday before WrestleMania.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw, Riddle defends the US Title against Mustafa Ali.

Analysis: Two title matches next week on the Raw episode that is six days before Fastlane.

Riddle vs. Slapjack (w/Mustafa Ali)

Riddle was very aggressive on offense with an overhead suplex and a broton early in the match. Slapjack attacked the bare feet of Riddle and then he hit a slam onto the ring apron. Slapjack hit a snap suplex out of the corner followed by a sitout slam. Riddle ran the ropes leading to Slapjack hitting a dropkick. Slapjack with a suplex. Slapjack went up top, Riddle went after him, then Slapjack knocked him down and Riddle countered a top rope move into a Powerbomb. Riddle with a Final Flash knee to the face for a two count. Ali claimed that he deserved to be champion. Slapjack got out of a slam leading to a kick to the chest by Slapjack for a two count. Riddle with another Final Flash knee and a Bro Derek slam for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Riddle

Analysis: *3/4 An easy win for the US Champion. It’s nice to see a champion winning non-title, which was expected since Slapjack isn’t a big name and was there to put over Riddle. I think Riddle has some of the best offensive moves out of anybody on Raw.

Post match, Mustafa Ali trashed Slapjack for embarrassing him. Riddle celebrated the win.

There was a replay of Shane McMahon’s apology to Braun Strowman earlier in the show.

Shane McMahon was backstage talking to Adam Pearce. Shane joked about how people were sensitive around there. Shane let Pearce know he had something else to say to Braun Strowman and he’s going to the ring right now.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman

It was the top of hour three. The show returned with Shane McMahon in the ring with a microphone. Braun Strowman made his entrance for the second time on the show.

Shane McMahon spoke into a microphone, then changed microphones and then walked around the ring. Shane stood on the ramp while Braun was standing in the ring. Shane said he’s done some self-introspection while adding that he had some fun last week. Shane noted that sometimes he has fun at other’s expense, but that’s okay as long as it benefits him. Shane said that one thing they had to get done…and then he said he didn’t think he could talk to Braun about this. Shane said that he needed to come to an understanding with Braun. It seemed like Shane was forgetting his lines. Shane said that he would never try to make Braun look stupid. Shane noted that he could tell that Braun was upset with him. Shane spoke about how Braun may have heard phrases like “stupid is a stupid does” and mentioned the “stupid tree” and talked about how maybe Braun is a big guy that’s stupid. Shane kept on rambling about Braun being stupid, then he pissed off Braun and Shane ran to the back. Shane jumped into a white SUV-style car, Strowman was in pursuit and Shane drove off. However, as Braun walked away, Shane was behind him and waved at Braun, who couldn’t see him. Shane: “So stupid.” Shane laughed.

Analysis: This was bad. It seemed like Shane forgot some of his lines. I don’t know what he forgot or why he forgot it, but Shane was pacing back and forth without speaking, so you could tell he had a hard time remembering what he was supposed to say. While I’m aware of a report saying it went exactly as planned, I have my doubts about that. Did they really script a guy to be this bad in a promo? That’s why I have my doubts. It sucked. I guess Shane got through it okay by mentioning the stupid lines to insult Strowman, but it was awkward before that. Anyway, it wasn’t clear why Shane was targeting Strowman, but it seems like this is a slow build to a WrestleMania match. That can lead to a big bump for Shane to put over Strowman.

Shane McMahon provokes Braun Strowman: Raw, Mar. 8, 2021

The team of Naomi and Lana made their entrance as the challengers for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. They earned this title match on February 1. That match is next.

A video aired about WWE’s work with Girl Up for International Women’s Day and throughout Women’s History month.

(Commercial)

The team of Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions with Reginald by their side. Jax said that Reginald got fired by Carmella and Sasha Banks slapped him, so Jax brought Reginald to ringside because she likes wine, plus she thinks Reginald is cute.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (w/Reginald) vs. Naomi and Lana

Lana and Naomi did double team kicks on Jax and then Baszler tagged in as she drove Lana into the turnbuckle. Lana with a kick followed by a bulldog. Naomi tagged in with a split-legged moonsault on Baszler, who came back with a gutwrench suplex. Lana back in with a double team neckbreaker for two. Baszler sent Lana to the floor with Jax on the floor, so Naomi hit a dive over the top to take down Jax/Baszler on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Baszler hitting a clothesline on Lana. Baszler slapped on an armbar on the left arm. Lana with a jawbreaker. Baszler punched Naomi, Lana with a kick and then Naomi got the tag with a dropkick on Baszler. Jax was in against Naomi, who hit a forearm and a springboard kick. Naomi with a kick to the side of the head and then Naomi with a headscissors into the mat for two. Naomi avoided Jax, who knocked Baszler off the apron. Reginald grabbed Naomi’s foot to stop her momentum and Lana tagged in with a dropkick on Reginald. Jax ran over Lana and Naomi on the apron. Jax hit a huge Powerbomb on Lana for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

Analysis: *1/2 It was decent with the champs using Reginald to their advantage to get the win. Reginald stopped Naomi’s momentum, Lana took him out, but then Jax was able to capitalize and the match was done right after that. Smart way of booking the finish. I like Naomi/Lana as a team, but it seems like WWE wants to keep the titles on Jax/Baszler going into WrestleMania at least, so I can understand why they got the win.

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Naomi & Lana – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Raw, Mar. 8, 2021

Jax picked up Reginald and carried him to the back with Baszler walking beside them.

A clip aired from Straight Up Steve Austin on USA Network with Charlotte Flair as the guest.

Randy Orton was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber, who said that people were concerned about him. Orton was surprised that anybody in that locker room could be concerned about him. Orton said AJ Styles should be concerned about the three most dangerous letters in WWE: RKO. End promo.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Rhea Ripley coming soon to Raw.

The team of Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke were interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Rose and Brooke fired off their scripted dialogue about wanting a title opportunity at WrestleMania. Charlotte Flair walked into the picture looking taller than the others and told them they had five weeks to prove they are worthy of a title shot against Asuka. Charlotte hoped their bite was as strong as their bark.

Analysis: The dialogue here was very lame. Mandy and Dana have been a team that didn’t get pushed, so now they are talking about singles gold. I have no idea what the plan is for the Raw Women’s Title right now. A multi-woman match seems like a possibility unless WWE wants to go with Asuka vs. Charlotte again.

A clip aired from earlier to show how Randy Orton’s match was set up against AJ Styles.

AJ Styles and Omos were interviewed by the Gorilla position. Styles said that Orton was taking all of his frustrations out on Styles and AJ suggested that Orton should focus on The Fiend instead. Styles said that he’s going to give Orton a loss heading into WrestleMania and he wondered what Orton’s voices in his head will think about that.

AJ Styles made his entrance with Omos. Phillips said that it was a WrestleMania-worthy matchup just like he said for most of the show. That match is next.

(Commercial)

This week on Raw Talk the guests are Riddle, The New Day and Peyton Royce.

A replay aired of Bobby Lashley beating The Miz to retain the WEW Title. They even showed Lashley’s new cool entrance on the replay.

Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event. Orton took a very long time to make his entrance as well as doing his posing for several minutes.

AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Randy Orton

Orton rocked Styles with a punch and then Orton sent him into the turnbuckle. Orton with an uppercut. Orton went for an RKO, but Styles shoved him off and Styles bailed to the floor. Orton chased Styles with AJ getting in some kicks to the ribs. Orton with a running back elbow. Orton with a kick to the chest. They left the ring with Orton giving Styles a belly-to-back slam onto the announce table right in front of Omos. Orton wasn’t afraid of Omos as he sent Styles into the ring. Styles punched Orton off the apron and then Styles jumped over the top with a forearm to knock Orton down.

(Commercial)

Styles was in control with a shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle and then Styles kicked the leg of Orton. Styles wrenched the left leg into the mat. Styles continued the attack of Orton’s left leg. Styles with a punch that rocked Orton and knocked him down. They exchanged some moves again leading to Styles hitting an enziguri kick to the head. Styles grabbed a headlock, Orton sold it for a couple of minutes and then drove Styles back first into the face. Orton with punches, Orton off the ropes, Styles ducked and Orton him with a clothesline. Styles charged right into a powerslam by Orton for two. Styles avoided a suplex, but then Orton hit the modified backbreaker for two. Styles avoided a superplex and then wanted a Phenomenal Forearm, but then Orton blocked it with a punch. Styles slapped on the Calf Crusher on the left knee that Orton has been selling the whole match. Orton tried to get to the bottom rope, then he turned back around and Orton kicked Styles to hit him. Orton with an uppercut leading to the Draping DDT off the ropes. Omos pulled Styles out of the ring to save him from more.

That led to the creepy red lights in the arena and Alex Bliss was shown in the Firefly Funhouse. Bliss played with some toy and said “not yet” for the “pop goes the weasel” song. Bliss lit and blew out a candle. That set off some fire by the ring posts, which is basically similar to the pyro that Kane had in his career. An explosion if you will. Orton had black liquid coming out of his mouth, so Styles went up top and hit a Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: *** A pretty good match by two veterans that know eachother well due to their history together. The problem is that nobody is going to remember the match due to Orton losing in cheap fashion since he had the DREADED BLACK LIQUID~! on him and was distracted by the ring posts going on fire due to Alexa Bliss. There were a lot of clever counters by both guys. In the end, Styles took advantage of a situation to get a pinfall win although Styles has no storyline right now. That sucks for him.

Post match, Orton was freaking out in the ring over the black liquid he had coming out of his mouth. Bliss was shown laughing on the video screen. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: The slow build continues. I assume it leads to The Fiend vs. Orton at WrestleMania in what could be a cinematic match. I hope Bray Wyatt has enjoyed his three-month vacation and time with his family. I could use a vacation too.

Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles: Raw, Mar. 8, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Drew McIntyre
  2. Sheamus
  3. Bobby Lashley

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 7

2021 Average: 5.95

 

Final Thoughts

It was mostly an average edition of Raw. I think the first half was a lot better than the second half because of the presentation of Bobby Lashley as WWE Champion. and the excellent Drew McIntyre/Sheamus match for the second week in a row. Those guys are awesome together. The draw finish should lead to another match, so that’s fine with me. As for Lashley, WWE said in their preview that he would have some championship celebration. That never happened. Plans change, pal. At least Lashley’s entrance looked cooler than ever.

It felt like there was a lot of filler in the second half of the show. There were several short matches and meaningless segments. The Randy Orton/AJ Styles match was the second heel-heel match, which shows that WWE is doing a poor job in building up faces on this show. The women’s division wasn’t featured much at all aside from a short Women’s Tag Team Title defense with Jax/Baszler retaining the titles.

What stood out as the worst segment was Shane McMahon looking like he forgot his lines during a promo segment with Braun Strowman. They ended up getting through it, but it just sounded so awkward with Shane looking like he was lost out there.

The lineup for WWE Fastlane on March 21 looks like this right now:

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair

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

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