The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/05/21 Review

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/05/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. This is the go-home Raw for WrestleMania 37 taking place this Saturday and Sunday. I wrote this TJR Blog on Sunday afternoon with some predictions for WrestleMania less than one week away. We will have a more in-depth and detailed WrestleMania preview most likely posted on Friday morning.

There is a lot of content coming this week. I’m also going to have the WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver preview on TJRWrestling on Tuesday, I’ll probably have some sort of review for WWE Hall of Fame, which airs on Tuesday night. There will be reviews for the two Takeover shows on Wednesday and Thursday, my review for AEW Dynamite usually goes up on Thursday, there’s Smackdown on Friday and then two nights of WrestleMania reviews on the weekend. There are also other shows that exist that I don’t write about, but I think my plate is pretty full at the moment. This is in addition to news, editing other content by our staff at TJRWrestling and whatever else we may be posting during WrestleMania week. I think I’m ready for it. Bring it on.

From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1454 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 show began with a graphic that said “ThunderDome Raw Live!” even though it was taped last week. Yes, pro wrestling companies lie to us sometimes. Anyway, it’s the last Raw at Tropicana Field since they move to Yuengling Center (also in Tampa) next Monday. The Raw announce team is Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe.

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre made his entrance in non-wrestling gear. They showed a clip of the end of Raw last Monday when King Corbin and Drew McIntyre did cheap attacks on McIntyre. Later on Raw is King Corbin vs. McIntyre. Phillips said this Sunday at WrestleMania, McIntyre is returning to the main event to face Bobby Lashley for the WWE Title. The main event might mean the last match, but it might not mean that.

Drew McIntyre talked about how it was five days until WrestleMania. Drew spoke about how unique the last year was at WrestleMania and now they are back in business with Drew fighting for the WWE Championship. Drew mentioned the “All Mighty” WWE Champion Bobby Lashley saying this match is happening even though Lashley has tried to take him out and Drew said that this is the biggest fight of their lives. Drew said he can’t wait. McIntyre talked about how he and Lashley have almost 20 years apiece, similar journeys and he was wondering what made them different – sacrifice. Drew said he was willing to sacrifice, Bobby sacrificed a lot and they have missed weddings, birthdays, and Christmas with family. Drew said that he left home (Scotland) at 22, for one purpose to come to WWE and become WWE Champion. Drew said he couldn’t go home to Scotland when his mom was going through chemotherapy and she told him if he came home she would kick his ass. Drew talked about how he got fired, he came back to WWE, he became WWE Champion and for the last year, he has gone through everything from Hell in a Cell matches to TLC matches. Drew wondered how Lashley can beat the man that has sacrificed everything. Drew said that at WrestleMania he’ll put his foot right Bobby’s ass and end the All Mighty Era.

Bobby Lashley walked out in a suit with the WWE Title with MVP by his side. Lashley said he gets the journey that Drew is on because it took Lashley 16 years. Lashley claimed that the guys in the back are scared of the Scottish Warrior, but last week he saw fear in Drew’s eyes. Lashley told Drew he felt him shake, quiver and go out in the Hurt Lock. Lashley said that McIntyre is going to go out at WrestleMania. McIntyre suggested they get in a fight right now, but MVP said that’s not how this works.

MVP told Drew that WrestleMania on Saturday is when this happens. MVP said that Drew will be in the center of the ring with the All Mighty WWE Champion, Drew will lose dignity, lose consciousness and Drew will lose the match. Drew responded by saying “screw that” and told Lashley he’s going to run him down and get back his WWE Title. MVP told Drew he might not even make it to WrestleMania.

King Corbin showed up in a suit saying McIntyre might not even make it to WrestleMania. Corbin said that he’ll finish what he started last week. Corbin said that there is no WrestleMania for Drew, no WWE Championship and tonight, Corbin will whip his punk ass.

Drew McIntyre aims to take out King Corbin on path to Bobby Lashley: Raw, Apr. 5, 2021

Analysis: It was just a way to build up McIntyre vs. Lashley at WrestleMania some more as well as the McIntyre vs. Corbin match later. I like Drew a lot, but sometimes his promos talking about his journey and everything he has been through sounds repetitive, which might turn the audience against him. I think Drew should be fine at WrestleMania in terms of cheers, though. Lashley’s promo was fine while MVP does a nice job of calming down Lashley as a good manager should do. Corbin showing confidence is okay, but I doubt anybody watching thinks he is going to win. I also think McIntyre vs. Corbin is not a strong main event to draw a big audience, so I think that’s probably going to hurt people’s interest in this week’s show.

They showed clips of Omos dominating New Day last week. AJ Styles faces Xavier Woods next on Raw.

A commercial aired for WWE Hall of Fame 2020/2021 on Peacock/WWE Network airing on Tuesday. It’s apparently only a 90 minute broadcast with short speeches.

(Commercial)

Later on Raw: Rhea Ripley & Asuka vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. WWE loves booking the champion and the challenger as teammates. It’s tiresome.

The New Day, who are the Raw Tag Team Champions, were backstage in Gorilla Position with Riddle showing up with his scooter. Riddle did one of his rambling promos where he mentioned Kofi Kingston “getting high” during matches. Anyway, they kept on talking about their WrestleMania plans. It was fine, but nothing that interesting.

The announcers were shown on TV with Samoa Joe back after missing last week. They plugged Peacock streaming, which is “The Only Place to Stream” WrestleMania in the US. I believe regular PPV providers are airing it too at a higher price. It’s WWE Network for the rest of us.

The entrances took place for the first match with New Day up first followed by AJ Styles with the big man Omos.

Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos)

Styles with an armdrag on Woods. Styles hooked the leg of Woods, then he rolled through and applied the Calf Crusher submission. Kofi Kingston did a promo saying Omos gave New Day their best, but New Day were still standing. Kofi threw the microphone at Omos. Woods did an inside cradle to Styles to beat AJ in under two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Xavier Woods

Analysis: 1/2* A short match to show that New Day were smarter than Styles/Omos. Styles lost three weeks in a row (pinfall, DQ, pinfall) so I think that makes a Styles/Omos win at WrestleMania even more likely. They were my pick anyway. Omos will be a big factor.

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest were shown driving into the building in an expensive car.

Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage because he’s in action up next. At least there are no “choo-choo” noises while he is walking backstage.

A commercial aired for WrestleMania hyping up the Randy Orton match against “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt with Alexa Bliss. That is on night two on Sunday.

(Commercial)

The video aired promoting WrestleMania in five days for night one. Some of the people in the video are not advertised for WrestleMania while most of the key people are in the video.

Braun Strowman made his entrance for a Handicap Match. There was a Steel Cage surrounding the rin. They showed a video package recapping Braun’s feud with Shane McMahon, which is based on Shane calling Braun stupid. It’s not that interesting.

Braun Strowman did a promo inside the Steel Cage saying that his whole life, he has been bullied by guys like Shane McMahon. Braun talked about Shane having a fake report card to insult Braun and get under his skin. Braun warned Shane saying you can run your mouth all you want, but when that door closes, the running ends because you’re locked inside the cage with Braun. Braun said he’s not just going to whip his ass for himself, he’s fighting for everybody that has been called stupid. Braun yelled that there’s no running, no games and you’re locked inside a steel cage with the Monster Among Men. Braun said at the end of their match, the last thing you’ll hear is not “here comes the money” it will be “here comes the body bag” to take Shane to the back. Braun said that Shane is going to get these hands.

Shane McMahon showed up for a promo on the stage. Shane said a Steel Cage Match at WrestleMania is not that stupid of a choice by Braun. Shane said that this match might favor Braun if it was against any other man. Shane said that he will outwit Braun and defeat Braun at WrestleMania. Shane said the next day, Braun is going to wake up and admit that he is stupid.

Analysis: I understand what they are going for with this feud. Braun wants to show he’s not stupid, but I don’t think it’s working that well. Braun’s promo was okay, though. We know Shane will take some crazy bumps to put over Braun and that’s fine. I just don’t think feuding with Shane really helps Braun become a bigger star even though that’s probably the intent of the creative team. Braun was at his best in 2017 against guys like Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. It feels like so long ago because most of his feuds since then have been below average.

Elias and Jaxon Ryker entered to face Braun Strowman in a Handicap Match.

A commercial aired for NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver airing on Wednesday and Thursday night. It’s going to be amazing.

(Commercial)

The steel cage was no longer surrounding the ring as the match began.

Braun Strowman vs. Elias and Jaxson Ryker (w/Shane McMahon)

Elias and Ryker did not have to tag in during this match. Strowman shoved Ryker over the top to the floor. Ryker got back in and they did a double team suplex to take down Strowman. Ryker went up top, Elias held Braun and Ryker hit a splash to the body. Elias went up top, Ryker held Braun and that got a two count for the heels as Strowman powered out. Strowman did the classic big man spot of sending both guys off his back. Strowman with a running splash on Ryker and Elias together. Strowman delivered a Powerslam on Ryker and a Running Powerslam on Elias. Strowman pinned both guys at the same time for the win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

Analysis: *1/4 A dominant win for Strowman over two guys that aren’t going anywhere anyway. They wanted to put over Strowman ahead of WrestleMania, so that’s all this was. A basic squash match.

After the match, Strowman stared at Shane, who was on the ramp.

The Miz and John Morrison were shown walking backstage with Kevin Patrick there to talk to them. Miz and Morrison had paint cans with them and they walked up to Bad Bunny’s $3.6 million white Bugati car. Miz and Morrison used red paint brushes to paint all over Bad Bunny’s car with their names along with their recent song title “Hey Hey Hop Hop.” Miz also said his daughter likes finger painting, so he did some finger painting on the car as well.

Analysis: It’s the dreaded cheap heat paint routine. It’s been a while since we have seen something like that. In WWE history, they usually have the babyface ruin a heel’s car after the heel brags about how rich they are. In this case, it was done to get heat on the heels Miz & Morrison since Bad Bunny is so rich that he’s got a Bugati. Must be nice.

(Commercial)

They were back in the parking lot area with Bad Bunny walking up to see all the paint on his car. Bad Bunny said something in Spanish while looking angry about what happened. The Miz attacked Bad Bunny with a forearm to the back along with some weak-looking punches. Miz and Morrison tossed Bad Bunny on the hood of another car. Morrison yelled at Bunny for disrespecting them. Miz trash-talked Bad Bunny saying he didn’t respect him and this is what he’ll do to Bad Bunny at WrestleMania. Some WWE Officials showed up and then Damian Priest showed up. Bunny was getting checked on and he was saying he was okay.

Analysis: More heat for Miz and Morrison with the cheap attack. I think if you can afford a $3.5 million car, you can probably afford the new paint job. I think Bad Bunny will be just fine with his car issues.

Asuka made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion that will defend that title against Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania on Sunday. They showed an earlier today interview with Rhea Ripley that showed Ripley was confident going into her WrestleMania match. Rhea Ripley made her entrance and the match will be next.

(Commercial)

There was a replay of The Miz/Bad Bunny issue from before the break.

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler entered with Jax’s buddy Reginald.

This Saturday at WrestleMania is a Women’s Tag Team Turmoil match: Naomi/Lana vs. Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke vs. Riott Squad vs. Natalya/Tamina. The winners face Baszler/Jax for Women’s Tag Team Titles on Sunday at WrestleMania.

Analysis: I’m glad that more women can be on the show. I’m happy for all of them involved in the match. They can also add more teams to the match to perhaps get Bayley/Carmella on the show or some other women they have. I know they had a segment on Smackdown with Billie Kay trying to get Carmella as a partner, but I think Bayley/Carmella makes more sense as a team. Apparently, WWE posted a graphic with Carmella/Billie as a team, so they will probably be added to the match on Smackdown, which was already taped. That graphic that WWE posted has been deleted.

Asuka and Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (w/Reginald)

Asuka started with Baszler with nothing really happening between them. Ripley tagged in against Baszler, who Rhea won the NXT Women’s Title from and Ripley body slammed Baszler. Jax faced off with Ripley, then Ripley got out of a slam attempt and Ripley tagged Asuka into the match. Asuka with a spin kick to the ribs followed by a submission attempt on the arm, but then Jax knocked down a running Asuka. Jax with a running splash on Asuka against the turnbuckle. Jax went for a charge, Asuka moved and Asuka did double knees to the face. Ripley tagged in against Baszler with Reginald providing a distraction, so Baszler kicked Ripley in the back of the left knee. Jax sent Ripley into the ring apron and that led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Baszler in control of Ripley with more kicks to the legs and then Jax was back in with a body slam followed by an elbow drop. Baszler was back in with a hard kick to the upper back of Ripley. Baszler twisted on the left foot of Ripley and then Baszler with elbow drops to the left knee. Jax tagged in with a leg drop to the left knee of Ripley. Jax slapped on a chinlock, Ripley elbowed her way out of that and Ripley hit a dropkick. Asuka was back in with a dropkick, a hip attack and a German Suplex on Baszler followed by a knee to the face for a two count. Asuka went up top, but Ripley shoved Asuka down and knocked her off the apron to the floor. Ripley lifted up Asuka and gave her a face first slam on the floor. Back in the ring, Baszler hit a knee to Asuka’s face to pin Asuka to win the match. It went about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match to further the issues between Asuka/Ripley with Rhea showing us she’s a heel now. Asuka was terrific in the match as usual, Ripley attacking Asuka came off as a bit of a surprise and then Baszler/Jax were able to pick up the win. At least champions won a non-title match, which has become a rare thing in WWE.

Post match, Asuka was down in the ring while Ripley was shouting about Asuka will found what Ripley is all about at WrestleMania.

Asuka & Rhea Ripley vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler: Raw, Apr. 5, 2021

Analysis: There’s not much of a story for Asuka vs. Ripley, but I think Ripley will win the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania.

There was a backstage scene with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin approaching MVP backstage. Cedric and Shelton were mad about being kicked out of the Hurt Business last week. Cedric pushed MVP up against some garbage bin and told MVP he is a washed-up hasbeen that is leeching off Bobby Lashley. Cedric called MVP a cripple as well since MVP has a leg injury. Cedric said he may not be able to beat Lashley, but he’ll leave his mark. Shelton warned MVP that his “crippled ass” should stay out of the way. MVP was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber with MVP saying he’s the reason why Shelton and Cedric were Raw Tag Team Championships, why they were wearing suits and flying in Business Class. Lashley showed up wondering what happened, MVP said it’s okay and Lashley said he’ll break Cedric’s ass in half. Ouch.

This week on Smackdown: Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Title match (Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode vs. Street Profits vs. Rey/Dominik Mysterio vs. Otis/Chad Gable) plus the men’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

(Commercial)

They showed a replay of the end of the women’s match.

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler with Reginald were shown walking backstage. That led to appearances from Naomi/Lana, Dana Brooke/Mandy Rose, Natalya/Tamina and Riott Squad because they’re in the Tag Team Turmoil match. Billie Kay also showed up, they noted that Billie has no partner, but Billie said that Carmella is reviewing Billie’s resume. Jax and Baszler spoke about the Tag Team Turmoil Match, then they can face Jax & Baszler on night two.

Analysis: A lot of people in one segment. I’m leaning towards a Tag Team Turmoil win for Lana/Naomi, but I have no preference. I’d be fine with another babyface team like Riott Squad or Mandy/Dana winning too.

Bobby Lashley entered as the WWE Champion with his buddy MVP by his side. They showed a video package summarizing the rivalry between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre heading into WrestleMania. Bobby’s match is after a break.

(Commercial)

The match was about to begin, but Benjamin attacked Lashley before the bell. MVP was on commentary saying Bobby didn’t need help. Bobby cleared house with knees to the ribs of Benjamin and he tossed Benjamin out of the ring. The bell rang to start the match.

Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Cedric Alexander (w/Shelton Benjamin)

Lashley with a hard body slam followed by a neckbreaker. Lashley with two huge tosses across the ring and then Lashley dumped Alexander out of the ring. Lashley chased Alexander back into the ring, Alexander with a forearm to the back and Lashley tossed Alexander across the ring again. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle followed by a suplex. Lashley tossed Alexander out of the ring. Lashley had Alexander on his shoulders and Bobby sent Alexander into the ring post. That led to a break with Lashley in full control.

(Commercial)

Lashley was in full control with a chinlock, Alexander broke free with a dropkick to the leg and Lashley hit a flatliner. Lashley dumped Alexander out of the ring. Lashley picked up Alexander, Benjamin pulled Alexander off Bobby’s shoulders and Alexander sent Lashley into the steel steps. Alexander with two suicide dives in a row to send Lashley into the barricade. Back in the ring, Alexander with the Neuralizer kick, then another kick and a missile dropkick from Alexander with Lashley kicking out of a pin attempt easily. Alexander went for a jumping attack, but Lashley got a hold of him and hit a spinebuster. Lashley with a spinning slam off the shoulder. Benjamin wanted Lashley to stop, but Lashley hit the All Mighty Spinebuster that looked very impressive. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission with the referee calling for the bell to end it. This match went ten minutes.

Winner by submission: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: **3/4 A good match that was more competitive than I expected it to be. I thought it might get about five minutes at most, but they stretched it out to ten minutes with Alexander getting some offense after an assist from Benjamin. Other than that, it was mostly about Lashley dominating the match and looking strong as the WWE Champion. This showed that Lashley was going to be tough to beat.

Post match, Lashley held onto the Hurt Lock and Benjamin went after Lashley with punches to the back. Lashley applied the Hurt Lock to Benjamin as well. MVP said “it’s business” and MVP put the WWE Title around the waist of Lashley as the champion celebrated.

Bobby Lashley vs. Cedric Alexander: Raw, Apr. 5, 2021

Analysis: The post match attack was done to get more heat on Lashley going into WrestleMania. I think some fans might cheer Bobby at WrestleMania, but he’s still a heel.

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest were shown backstage. They will address what happened earlier in the show.

A commercial aired for WrestleMania 37 hyping up Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair for the Smackdown Women’s Title on night one of WrestleMania.

(Commercial)

They showed some murals in London, England featuring WrestleMania graphics. The announcers went over the busy week ahead.

Tuesday – WWE Hall of Fame 2020 & 2021

Wednesday & Thursday – NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver

Friday – Smackdown has the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and Fatal 4-Way for Smackdown Tag Team Titles

Saturday & Sunday – WrestleMania 37

I will review them all.

There was a video package about Randy Orton’s feud with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt leading to their match at WrestleMania 37 on Sunday.

Let’s Hear from Bad Bunny and Damian Priest

Bad Bunny made his entrance along with Damian Priest for a promo. They showed highlights from earlier with The Miz and John Morrison beating up Bad Bunny after they painted his car.

Priest said that Miz and Morrison crossed a line. Priest said it’s just because Bad Bunny is a Grammy Award-winning entertainment icon and they are yesterday’s news. Priest said that Miz was son concerned with Bad Bunny that he couldn’t hold the WWE Title for more than eight days. Priest said it’s easy to beat down a man 2 on 1, so he suggests that they make this a tag team match: Miz and Morrison vs. Bad Bunny and Damian Priest at WrestleMania.

Bad Bunny said that he just came here following his dreams and believing in his dreams because he loves this business. Bunny said he respects every superstar. Bunny said he used to watch Raw, Smackdown, every pay-per-view with his dad, brothers, friends and family. Bunny said he has a lot of good memories with WWE, but now he doesn’t how to feel or what to think. Bunny said he came there to do his job and he’s grateful for the opportunity to perform at the Royal Rumble because he respects and loves Booker T the way he loved Triple H, Stone Cold, The Undertaker, Ric Flair and wrestling legends of his country. Bad Bunny said he used to respect and love Miz, but he doesn’t Bunny since the first day they met. Bad Bunny said he is not a professional wrestler, but he is a man and Miz disrespected him. Bad Bunny talked about how Miz has disrespected him for no reason. Bad Bunny said he knows he jumped from the top rope at the Royal Rumble and he spoke in Spanish for a bit. Bad Bunny said that was no reason to attack Bunny with the guitar or paint the Bugati car. Bad Bunny said he respected Miz, but Miz doesn’t respect him and Miz crossed the line. Bad Bunny said that this Saturday at WrestleMania, he will show Miz how to respect him. Bad Bunny said that he will shut Miz’s mouth and whip his ass. Bad Bunny spoke in Spanish some more.

The Miz and John Morrison were shown in the parking lot standing by a limousine. The Miz said that Bad Bunny doesn’t belong there and Bunny has overstayed his welcome. Miz said that they will embarrass and hurt Bad Bunny. Morrison said that they accept the tag team match. Morrison and Miz left in the limo.

Analysis: First of all, I think making it a tag team match is a wise decision. It limits the amount of time that Bad Bunny has to be in the ring, so they can be smart in how they structure the match and setting his spots for the match. Secondly, I thought Bad Bunny did a decent job on the promo. There will be people hard on him because wrestling fans immediately hate celebrity involvement for some reason, but the guy is a genuine fan and he’s working hard to fit in. For a guy whose second language is English, the promo was decent enough. Lastly, I think Bunny and Priest winning at WrestleMania is the biggest lock on the show.

Mustafa Ali was shown walking in the backstage area. Sheamus showed up talking about Riddle with Ali saying that because of Riddle, Retribution is dead and Ali is mad that Riddle is the US Champion. Sheamus said that they have something in common – a dislike for Riddle as the US Champion. Sheamus said he’ll root for Ali at ringside. That led to Riddle riding on his scooter between the two guys because Riddle’s match is up next.

Riddle made his entrance on the scooter. When Riddle got in the ring and kicked off his flip flops, there were animated birds that flew towards the camera.

Analysis: I never thought I’d have to do an analysis about animated birds, but here we go. People on wrestling Twitter are angry about it. It’s literally one second of animated birds on the screen for a three-hour TV show. Who cares? Find something else to complain about. USA Network is owned by NBC, which is the Peacock brand with birds as a logo, so if they want to put animated birds out there then that’s fine. It’s quick. We’re probably going to get like eight to ten outstanding matches from WWE over the next week, yet some people are only going to complain about animated birds because that’s how society is. Smile more. Move on lol.

(Commercial)

They said that Bebe Rexha will perform America The Beautiful at WrestleMania this Saturday. I have no idea who that is, but good for her.

The guests on Raw Talk this week are Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.

A clip was shown from last week showing Sheamus beating Riddle on Raw. They will face off at WrestleMania for Riddle’s US Title. That will be on night two.

Mustafa Ali made his entrance with some generic theme song as his music. Sheamus made his entrance to join commentary for the match.

Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali

Riddle with a gutwrench suplex with Ali coming back with a two count. Ali with a running dropkick followed by a chinlock. Riddle got out of that and hit a back body drop over the top to the floor. Riddle sent Ali back in the ring and put on the hat that Sheamus brought to ringside. Ali took advantage of that with a Russian legsweep on the floor.

(Commercial)

Ali was in control after a stomp on the bare feet of Riddle and a running kick to the ribs. Ali slapped on the leg scissors around his waist with Riddle breaking it by driving Ali into the turnbuckle followed by a running piggyback slam in the ring. Riddle with a jumping kick, two forearms to the face and an Exploder Suplex. Riddle went for a running kick, Ali moved and Riddle hit a Broton Splash, but Ali slapped on the Koji Clutch submission that he calls Lights out according to Phillips. Riddle hit a Fisherman’s Buster for a two count. Riddle went for a submission on the arm, but Ali got his leg on the bottom rope to break the hold. Ali sent Riddle throat first into the ropes followed by a suplex into the double knees for a two count. Great move for a nearfall. Ali went for a DDT off the middle ropes, Riddle caught him, pointed at Sheamus and Riddle hit the Bro Derek slam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Riddle

Analysis: ***1/2 This was very good with Riddle picking up the win to get some positive momentum going into WrestleMania. Ali isn’t in a match at WrestleMania, so it made sense for him to lose here. The last few minutes were especially interesting as Ali hit a lot of moves going for nearfalls, but then Riddle did an impressive counter to put him away. They had a lot of chemistry here.

Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali: Raw, Apr. 5, 2021

Riddle and Sheamus did some long-distance trash-talking to end it. I think Riddle will retain the title at WrestleMania.

Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kevin Patrick with Drew saying that King Corbin is the kind of guy that will do anything to get the job done. McIntyre said that it’s going to be the same thing that happens every time when he hits a Claymore Kick and then he’s onto WrestleMania to win the WWE Title. That main event is next.

There was a commercial with WWE superstars encouraging viewers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because we can do this together. I agree.

(Commercial)

There was a Hungry for Mania moment sponsored by Snickers that looked at WrestleMania 24 in 2008 when Shawn Michaels beat Ric Flair to send Ric into WWE retirement. “I’m sorry, I love you.” It was not the main event, but it was a memorable moment.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event with Phillips once again saying this Saturday in the main event of WrestleMania, Drew will be in the WWE Championship match. The announcers did another hard plug for Peacock.

There was a rundown for the WrestleMania lineup in this order for Saturday, April 10.

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair

Damian Priest & Bad Bunny vs. The Miz & John Morrison

Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos

Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins

Tag Team Turmoil Match: Naomi & Lana vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) vs. Natalya & Tamina – The winners will challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Titles on Night 2.

Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon

Once again they said Drew McIntyre will main event. And here’s the rundown for night two of WrestleMania on Sunday, April 11.

The Fiend (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Randy Orton

Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley

Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews

Sami Zayn (w/Logan Paul) vs. Kevin Owens

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Winners of Tag Team Turmoil Match

United States Championship: Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus

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

They made it clear that the Universal Championship match is the main event, which was expected. There are 14 matches in all. Our predictions will be on TJRWrestling on Friday.

King Corbin made his entrance for the main event. Corbin is not a part of the WrestleMania card, be he is in the battle royal on Smackdown.

Bobby Lashley was shown watching TV backstage. Lashley did a quick interview saying he’s going to put Drew in the Hurt Lock and put his ass to sleep. Corbin’s match with McIntyre is next.

(Commercial)

The match began with MVP joining commentary.

Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin

Corbin with a shoulder tackle. McIntyre with a headlock, Corbin with a punch to the ribs and McIntyre hit shoulder tackle of his own. After Corbin regrouped by going to the floor, McIntyre hit a back elbow and then a suplex. Corbin sent McIntyre into the turnbuckle followed by Corbin’s slide out of the ring and back in with a clothesline for two. McIntyre was in control with punches and kicks along with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Corbin hit a belly to back slam for two. McIntyre bounced out of the corner with clotheslines and then two overhead belly to belly suplexes across the ring. McIntyre hit a neckbreaker, then a kip-up back to his feet and Corbin avoided a DDT by going to the floor. Corbin tripped up McIntyre on the apron, but then McIntyre came back with a whip into the ring post and the steel steps.

(Commercial)

The match returned with McIntyre doing a Northern Lights Suplex for two. That’s not a move that McIntyre does regularly. Corbin sent McIntyre to the ring apron, then a punch to the face and Corbin sent McIntyre’s left arms/shoulder into the ring post. Corbin sent McIntyre into the top of the announce table. They were back into the ring with Corbin hitting elbows to the shoulders of McIntyre. Corbin hit a suplex for two. Corbin hooked the arms of McIntyre leading to repeated elbows to the head. McIntyre was back up, he ran the ropes and Corbin hit a Chokeslam for a two count. Corbin doesn’t always do that move, but it looked great and he should do it more often. Corbin went for a charge from outside the ring, but McIntyre stopped him with a spinebuster for two. McIntyre walked right into a sidewalk slam for a two count.  McIntyre with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt and a Future Shock DDT for a two count. McIntyre went up to the top turnbuckle, Corbin met him there and Corbin hit a superplex off the middle ropes for two. They both got up with punches and Corbin hit a Deep Six Slam. MVP told Corbin it’s not about beating McIntyre, it’s about taking him out. MVP handed Corbin his cane, so Corbin went for a cane attack, McIntyre ran the ropes, Corbin dropped the cane and McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: ***1/4 A solid match here in the main event. I don’t know if it was smart to book them in a nearly 20 minute match since a shorter, more decisive win by McIntyre would have been more impressive. They worked hard and had the result that most people could see coming with McIntyre picking up the win. The storyline that somebody could replace Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania if they beat him was weak from the beginning, but WWE kept trying to push it. I liked some of the nearfalls in the second half of the match even though it was obvious who was winning, so if there were fans I doubt there would have been any reaction to Corbin’s offense. It was all about giving Drew that positive momentum.

Drew McIntyre had his hand raised as the winner as he stared back at the WrestleMania. Bobby Lashley, the All Mighty WWE Champion, entered on the stage with MVP. Lashley and McIntyre had a long-distance staredown while looking at the WrestleMania sign. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: A long-distance staredown is fine, but maybe a brawl there to end the show would have been more exciting. Just a thought.

Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin: Raw, Apr. 5, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Drew McIntyre

2. Riddle

3.Bobby Lashley

 

The Scoreboard

5.5 out of 10

Last week: 5

2021 Average: 6.04

 

Final Thoughts

It was an average Raw that wasn’t that interesting, but they did have a heavy focus on all of the Raw matches at WrestleMania. I think the third hour was probably the best due to the quality of the matches even though it was obvious that Drew McIntyre and Riddle were going to beat their opponents. A lot of the matches this week featured people wrestling at WrestleMania against people that aren’t on the WrestleMania card, so that meant it was a predictable show.

I thought Rhea Ripley blatantly costing Asuka their tag team match was done well at least. Ripley seems like she is in a heel role now although I’m not sure if fans are going to boo her since she’s new on Raw and is popular from her NXT run. I still can’t really get into the Braun Strowman/Shane McMahon feud, which I find extremely boring. The Bad Bunny/Miz situation turned into a tag team match at WrestleMania, so that’s cool with me because that’s better than a singles match. This is also the first Raw Deal where I had to write a few sentences about animated birds that upset some fans for their one second of screen time. Wrestling fans will complain about anything.

Anyway, I thought it could have been a much more interesting show, but instead, it just felt like a typical Raw in 2021 where you are hoping for something exciting to happen and it just never does. With that said, I don’t think that the WrestleMania card is that mad. We’ll have more on that in our TJRWrestling preview on Friday.

Here’s what the WrestleMania 37 lineup looks like right now for Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11.

Saturday, April 10 – Night 1

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
Damian Priest & Bad Bunny vs. The Miz & John Morrison
Tag Team Turmoil Match: Naomi & Lana vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) vs. Natalya & Tamina – The winners will challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Titles on Night 2.

Sunday, April 11 – Night 2

Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
The Fiend (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Randy Orton
Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Sami Zayn (w/Logan Paul) vs. Kevin Owens
United States Championship: Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Winners of Tag Team Turmoil Match
The hosts of WrestleMania are Hulk Hogan & Titus O’Neil.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

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Twitter: @johnreport

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