The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/19/21 Review

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/19/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. Last week’s show was very disappointing for a Raw after WrestleMania, so let’s hope things get better this week as we head towards the WrestleMania Backlash PPV on May 16.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1456 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the WWE ThunderDome at Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. 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 shot of the ThunderDome as Raw announcer Adnan Virk welcomed us to the show. I think Adnan has to have some more enthusiasm in his voice as he welcomes us to the show in the future. Anyway, it’s time for Drew McIntyre to start the show. The announce team of Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves talked over some Raw highlights from last week when McIntyre won a triple threat match with Randy Orton & Braun Strowman, but then T-Bar and Mace dropped Drew with a double Chokeslam.

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre

McIntyre talked about how an opportunity is a hell of a thing where you can make things happen. Sometimes opportunity falls right into your lap. McIntyre said last week he would get his rematch for the WWE Title, then Braun Strowman and Randy Orton showed up, Drew kept his mouth closed and watched as Adam Pearce made a triple threat match. Drew won that match to earn his WWE Championship rematch at WrestleMania Backlash. Drew mentioned Mace and T-Bar making their name at Drew’s expense on last week’s Raw. Drew said he knows that the mastermind behind this is MVP. Drew said he has more questions than answers, he wondered if they might wear suits and take off those masks. Drew said all he knows is when he gets his hands on those big bastards he’ll get some retribution. Yes, the name of the group that T-Bar and Mace were in.

That led to Montel Vontavious Porter making his entrance in a suit with a cane for his right leg. MVP said he knows it’s a tired and worn out cliché, but perhaps Drew should expect the unexpected. MVP congratulated Drew for his victory because the All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley will beat McIntyre again. McIntyre asked MVP about the attack last week. MVP said that Bobby Lashley makes the decisions while MVP is his Vice President. MVP wondered why they would need those guys to attack Drew when Lashley beat Drew all by himself at WrestleMania. Drew said that Lashley also tried to get the locker room to take him out. MVP claimed that Mace and T-Bar have zero affiliation with The Hurt Business. MVP said that maybe Drew made a few enemies. Drew said maybe MVP is telling the truth and then Drew left the ring saying maybe it was a huge coincidence that he was attacked last week. When Drew got closer to MVP, Mace and T-Bar attacked McIntyre again. Mace and T-Bar sent McIntyre into the ring again and hit a double Chokeslam. The two big men walked right by MVP, who had a smirk on his face looking at McIntyre in the ring. The announcers said something looked fishy here.

T-Bar and Mace were shown backstage interviewed by Kevin Patrick, who was looking for answers. They didn’t say much as they named some animals for some reason and then said that they were going to finish off Drew McIntyre. Replays aired of the mystery attack.

Analysis: It’s a continuation of what happened last week with the cheap attack by Mace/T-Bar for the second week in a row. MVP saying that Mace/T-Bar have nothing to do with The Hurt Business doesn’t have to be true because we all know that heels lie. This reminds me of when Seth Rollins denied that AOP was part of his group a few years ago and then as the weeks went on, they were revealed to be a group. McIntyre did well with his promo while MVP was solid as usual.

MACE & T-BAR launch another attack on Drew McIntyre: Raw, April 19, 2021

(Commercial)

Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage with his hand on his right ribs. Drew walked up to Adam Pearce saying he wants to take on T-Bar and Mace. Pearce said he can’t take them on at the same time and said that he needs a tag team partner. Drew said that he didn’t need a partner, so he told Pearce to make the match.

The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander

Erik and Benjamin exchanged strikes, Benjamin with a waistlock and Alexander tagged in with a dropkick. Benjamin was back in with a whip into the turnbuckle. Alexander with an elbow to the back, Erik with a punch and Ivar tagged in with a sidewalk slam on Alexander. Cedric avoided an attack and then Benjamin came back in with a knee to the face of Ivar. There were quick tags from Benjamin/Alexander as they worked on Ivar in their corner. Ivar kicked his way out of the corner and then Ivar made the tag to bring in Erik. That led to strikes from Erik with a forearm to the face, but Benjamin hit an overhead suplex. Alexander with a running forearm and a Tornado DDT for a two count as Ivar made the save. Benjamin sent Ivar out of the ring, but Ivar sent Benjamin into the barricade followed by a cross body block against the barricade. Erik caught Alexander, slammed him down and hit a knee to the face. Erik launched up Alexander for Ivar to hit the Viking Experience (Adnan said Viking Express) powerslam for the pinfall with the win after about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)

Analysis: **1/4 A short match to put over The Viking Raiders again. Benjamin & Alexander are a good team that is very skilled in the ring, but they have lost all momentum since being kicked out of The Hurt Business group. The work was fine here. Virk said “Viking Express” for the finisher name twice while Graves said Viking Experience, which is what it was in the past, so that’s probably what it still is. Virk is still new, but he needs to get the move names right especially finishing moves.

Randy Orton was interviewed by Kevin Patrick saying that The Fiend will be around no more after what Orton did to him at WrestleMania. Orton complained about how Drew McIntyre was lucky to get that WWE Title match at WrestleMania. Orton said that he will go after whoever leaves as the WWE Champion after WrestleMania Backlash. Riddle showed up on his scooter doing his annoying stoner gimmick suggesting that they could be a tag team called RK-Bro. Orton walked away without saying anything.

Analysis: That could be the beginning of a feud between Orton and Riddle, who is no longer the US Champion and will need a rivalry.

(Commercial)

This Tuesday on NXT: Dexter Lumis vs. LA Knight and women’s wrestler Sarray makes her NXT debut.

Randy Orton walked up to Adam Pearce in the office with Orton saying that he wanted to face Riddle tonight with Orton refusing to say Riddle’s name. That led to Pearce saying he’ll see what he can do.

Analysis: They advertised Orton vs. Strowman for several days, but I guess it’s off now.

They showed a video of Charlotte Flair’s heel promo from last week and then later in the show, Flair attacked Rhea Ripley & Asuka during their match.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance in dress clothes for a promo up next.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair

Charlotte Flair was in the ring as boos were piped into the building. Charlotte said that she was demanding respect and said that she didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings, she was just expressing how she felt. Charlotte said that she is the biggest star in this division and if any one of the “rats” in the back doubt her, she was the one they were talking about at WrestleMania because she wasn’t there. Charlotte claimed that the other women hate eachother. Charlotte said that her WrestleMania match was taken from her while adding that it was not a big deal that Rhea Ripley beat Asuka. Charlotte said that she can beat both of them and that’s why they call her “The Opportunity.” They do? Charlotte said that she thinks Asuka is one of the greatest competitors in the world, but it doesn’t mean she likes her.

Asuka made her entrance in her wrestling gear with a colorful robe as usual. Before Asuka could say a word, Rhea Ripley joined the party.

Rhea Ripley appeared with the Raw Women’s Championship on her shoulder. Charlotte wondered if they were both going to gang up on her. Charlotte said that she’s going to beat Asuka and Rhea should take some notes on how great Charlotte is. Rhea said that knowing Asuka, she knows that Asuka is going to beat Charlotte. That led to Charlotte speaking slowly to Asuka saying she ended Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania. When Asuka tried to speak, Charlotte cut her off and Asuka said: “Tonight, I’ll beat you…bitch!” Ripley thought that was pretty funny. Asuka left. That match is later in the show.

Analysis: The Charlotte Flair promo was similar to what Charlotte was saying last week although now she’s trying to push “The Opportunity” as her nickname or something like that. Ripley supporting Asuka winning the match means that Ripley is more of a face now after being a bit heelish before WrestleMania. I liked Asuka’s line at the end after Charlotte was cutting her off repeatedly.

Randy Orton was shown walking slowly backstage. Riddle went by him on his scooter with Orton looking frustrated about it. That match is next.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: I wrote a review of the A&E Biography on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin right here. I enjoyed it for the most part although I wish they touched on some topics like the importance of the WrestleMania 13 match with Bret Hart. I realize in two hours you can’t cover everything in a guy’s career, but that’s something I think they should have mentioned. Overall, I did enjoy it a lot and it was cool to get Austin’s perspective on a lot of topics, plus it was nice to see guys like Vince McMahon, The Rock, Mick Foley, Jim Ross and others close to Austin being a part of the documentary…I also posted a retro PPV review of the WWF In Your House 7 Good Friends, Better Enemies PPV from 25 years ago this month in April 1996. It’s a one match show in a lot of ways with Shawn Michaels and Diesel having a terrific No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Title. Some of the rest of the card sucked including an all-time stinker by Goldust and The Ultimate Warrior, but Shawn/Diesel really save that show.

There was another replay of the Drew McIntyre segment to open the show. It’s official for later in the show: Drew McIntyre vs. T-Bar & Mace in a 2 on 1 Handicap Match.

Riddle made his entrance for his match. When Riddle kicked off the flip flops in the ring, the bird animation was on the screen. That pisses off some fans, but I don’t mind it at all. Randy Orton made his slow walking entrance. I just want to wish a happy 4/20 Day Eve to both guys. If you know, then you know.

Randy Orton vs. Riddle

Orton went for a suplex, Riddle slipped out of it and went for a sleeper, but Orton managed to pull Riddle’s hair for a takedown to get out of it. Riddle kept going for a sleeper, so Orton dropped to his back to slam Riddle into the mat. Riddle reached back up for another sleeper with a body scissors, which led to Orton rolling to the floor. Riddle went for a kick, Orton caught the foot and sent Riddle down on the apron. Orton delivered his patented back suplex into a slam onto the announce table. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Orton stomping on Riddle’s bare feet with Orton laughing about it. Orton drove his knee into the face along with some choking on the middle rope. Riddle tried to come back with some strikes to the face, but Orton hit the snap powerslam for a two count. Orton rocked Riddle with an uppercut, more chops by Riddle and then Orton did an eye poke. Riddle came back with chops, then forearms to the face and Orton came back with a hard whip into the turnbuckle with Riddle taking a sternum bump. Orton slapped on a chinlock as they showed some red marks on Orton’s chest after the chops of Riddle. Orton charged at Riddle against the turnbuckle, Riddle moved and Orton hit his left arm against the ring post. Riddle with a kick to the face, then an up-kick from Riddle and Riddle hit two running forearms. Orton with a punch, Riddle swept the leg and hit a Broton splash for a two count. Riddle went up top, Orton stopped him there and Orton hit a superplex off the middle rope for a two count. Orton normally goes to the top rope to hit that move, but he went off the middle rope here. Orton went for a punch, but Riddle used his legs to wrap around Randy’s head/arm. Orton came back with a kick to the chest followed by the draping DDT off the ropes. Orton set up for the RKO, but Riddle countered into a crucifix pin for the victory after 14 minutes. Sweet counter for the win with Orton kicking out right after the three count.

Winner by pinfall: Riddle

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match with Orton in control for about 80% of it, which made me think that Riddle was going to find a way to get the win. That’s just how WWE books those kinds of matches. I thought the finish was executed perfectly by Riddle because he managed to hook the arms, get the shoulders down and it looked like a believable finishing sequence that could win a match. It was a much-needed win for Riddle since he lost to Sheamus and Bobby Lashley, so I’m glad he was able to win here. There was a spot where Orton may have hurt his arm a bit, but he was able to get through the match.

Riddle vs. Randy Orton: Raw, April 19, 2021

Riddle celebrated the win like it was a big deal and Orton was frustrated about the loss in the ring.

Analysis: I assume we get a rematch next week with Orton getting the win there or if Riddle wins again, Orton would attack him to set up a third match. Using Orton to try to elevate Riddle is a good sign. I’m not sure if WWE has pulled the plug on Orton feuding with Strowman yet, but I guess it’s not happening now.

Sheamus walked into the office of WWE Official Adam Pearce with Shamus wearing the US Title around his waist. Pearce mentioned the specific champions that held that title while noting that John Cena offered up open challenges for that title. Sheamus said he didn’t care about what Cena did. Sheamus said he’ll do an Open Challenge, but it won’t be for the championship. Pearce wished him good luck.

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler made their entrance as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. They’re in action up next.

This Friday on Smackdown: Seth Rollins attacked Cesaro last week, so who remains to challenge Roman Reigns, who says nobody is on his level? They didn’t advertise anything specific.

(Commercial)

Naomi and Lana made their entrance feeling the glow for this non-title match.

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Naomi & Lana

Naomi with a kick to the body of Jax, a kick to the head and Lana tagged in with a trip. Naomi tagged back in with a clothesline. Lana was back in with a kick to the head, then Naomi back in and she hit a leg drop for two. Jax blocked a suplex and then she suplexed Lana/Naomi at the same time although it didn’t look great. Baszler tagged in with a knee to Lana for two. Lana got a rollup for two. Baszler took down Lana to the mat and stomped on the left arm of Lana. That led to Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke making their entrance with microphones in hand. They cued up a replay of last week when Mandy slapped Jax in the face last week. Brooke cued up when the two blondes sending Jax into a wall. They also showed a replay of Jax doing a slip spot on the apron, which was some bad acting. That led to Dana/Mandy losing by countout. Anyway, Baszler had Lana in an armbar during all of this while Jax went up the ramp after the blondes. Naomi got the tag, then she hit a double facebuster with Lana on Baszler and Naomi pinned Baszler for the pinfall win. The match went four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Naomi & Lana

Analysis: 1/2* Terrible booking here. I felt bad for the women in the ring. Do we really need three replays showing during a short match? It takes away from the match and makes the result feel meaningless. Anyway, the champs lose non-title, which is one of WWE’s favorite things to do in terms of how they book these shows.

They showed a post-WrestleMania interview with Bad Bunny speaking in Spanish and the words were shown on the screen. Bunny loved being in front of the fans and he spoke highly of Damian Priest as well. Priest put over Bad Bunny for how hard he worked. Bad Bunny said he had an incredible experience working with WWE, they accepted him and it was a pleasure to work there with everybody. Bad Bunny said thank you for everything.

They also plugged Bad Bunny’s tour coming in early 2022 noting that all of the shows are sold out. I wasn’t planning on going anyway. I’m sure he’ll be okay without my presence.

Analysis: I don’t know much about Bad Bunny’s music, but I think he earned everybody’s respect with an impressive showing at WrestleMania. I’m sure WWE will use him again at some point in the future although he’s got a music career that keeps him busy too.

The Miz and Maryse are up next.

This Sunday night on A&E is the Biography about the late, great “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

(Commercial)

Miz TV

The Miz made his entrance with his lovely wife Maryse to host Miz TV in the ring. The Miz said that this not a typical episode because tonight he is joined by the love of his life, the mother of his beautiful children, his wife Maryse. Miz said that last week couldn’t have gone any better while claiming he made Bad Bunny a household name and he took credit for the sold out tour. Miz said that they beat Damian Priest and the season premiere of Miz & Mrs. was also last week. Maryse said that Miz is the greatest superstar of his generation and they said that they loved eachother. Miz said that they deserve a special celebration. They kissed and then some pyro went off around the ring. They had some champagne while also plugging their hit reality show Miz & Mrs. on USA Network after Raw. The Miz said that this Sunday is also a WWE 24 documentary on Peacock/WWE Network all about The Miz’s career.

Damian Priest showed up for the interruption as he joined Miz and Maryse in the ring. Priest said that Miz is as delusional as Jake Paul thinking he’s a real fighter. Priest cued up a replay of last week on Raw when Miz got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Priest to win the handicap match after a Maryse distraction. Priest wondered what kind of man brags about a win like that. Priest said that Miz got his pants ripped off in front of the world and everybody saw that Miz has no cajones. Maryse said if you want a match with Miz tonight, you got it. Miz wasn’t thrilled about it, but Maryse talked to him. Priest said that’s cool because that’s why he came out there. Priest had some of the champagne, then spit it out and said it was trash, so Miz threw some champagne on Priest. That led to Miz leaving with Maryse with Miz smiling about it while Priest wiped his face after the champagne was thrown on him.

Analysis: It was the typical talk show segment to set up a match. Maryse setting up the match led to Miz reacting with a shocked look to show that Miz didn’t want to face Priest in a singles match, which is a subtle way of putting over Priest as a guy that Miz fears. I’ve actually seen some of Miz & Mrs. and it’s not that bad for a reality show. Some of the themes of the episodes and situations they are in are so fake, but that’s “reality TV” these days.

The New Day were shown walking backstage with Riddle going up to them with a scooter. Kofi Kingston congratulated Riddle on the win while noting that he (Kofi) hates that Randy Orton guy. Xavier Woods had a case with him, Riddle asked what that was for, Riddle kept on ranting and they said “Silver Dollar Pancakes” together. Sure. I don’t know what to say.

(Commercial)

Elias was in the ring with Jaxson Ryker about to do one of his songs, but then The New Day’s Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston showed up. Woods was playing a guitar to interrupt Elias.

Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)

The bell rang with Elias hitting a running knee for two. Elias followed that with a twisting suplex for a two count. Woods distracted Elias, so Kingston hit a Thesz Press followed by punches. I guess Woods was playing Steve Austin’s theme song there. Kingston with a kick to the chest, but then Elias came back with a press slam that sent Kingston throat first across the top rope. Elias hit a delayed vertical suplex and he sent Kofi chest-first onto the ring apron. Elias hit an overhead suplex for a two count leading to an armbar from Elias. Kingston came back with two boots to the face followed by a cross body block onto Elias for a two count. Virk called it a “splash” but it’s a cross body block. Kingston went for the SOS trip into a slam for a two count. Elias tried to block it, but Kofi hit it. Elias kicked Kofi in the chest to knock him down. Elias went up top with Kofi hitting him with a forearm. Kofi went for a hurricanrana off the top, Elias blocked it and Elias hit an elbow drop off the top for the pinfall win after about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Elias

Analysis: ** This was an average match. I didn’t expect that kind of finish with Elias winning in a clean finish. I figured with Ryker out there, you’d see Elias cheat to get the win, but it was totally a clean win over a former WWE Champion in Kofi Kingston. I think it was just a way to give Elias some momentum since he tends to lose so much whether in singles or in a tag team.

Kofi Kingston vs. Elias: Raw, April 19, 2021

Alexa Bliss in her playground is up next.

(Commercial)

Alexa’s Playground

Alexa Bliss was backstage on her playground while on her swing set. Bliss said that her doll Lilly has been her best friend for a long time. They showed pics of childish Bliss and they edited in the appearance of the creepy doll. Bliss laughed about shoving a girl down when they were kids and she ate her ice cream. Bliss said that when teachers asked her why she did it, she told them the truth – Lilly made her did it. Bliss said that if Lilly doesn’t like something, she has no problem letting you know. Bliss said that all of the girls on the Raw roster should know that Lilly didn’t like “him” (referring to The Fiend) and she doesn’t like any of them. Bliss laughed maniacally.

Analysis: I find this stuff to be pretty silly, but it might appeal to some fans that like creepy dolls? I don’t know. I’d rather see Bliss as a heel wrestler because that’s when she was at her best. I think she’s a good actress compared to others in WWE, but I don’t think this is the best use of her talents. Is the creepy doll going to help her win matches moving forward? I don’t know. I’m not that interested in it.

They replayed what happened earlier in the night when Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose caused problems for Nia Jax.

Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose were interviewed by Sarah Schreiber, who asked if this is appropriate behavior. Mandy said that they aren’t the bullies. Mandy said that she slipped on the WrestleMania stage, but Shayna/Jax kept watching it over and over again. Nia Jax walked into the screen, so Mandy/Dana left and Shayna Baszler yelled at Jax about causing Shayna to lose. Shayna told Jax to pay attention or else. Jax was like “or else what?” Angel Garza walked up to Jax to ask what she sees in Reginald, who hasn’t been around for several weeks.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for his handicap match.

(Commercial)

T-Bar and Mace made their entrance while the “shut it down” song of Retribution played even though the group is finished.

Drew McIntyre vs. T-Bar & Mace

McIntyre rocked T-Bar with strikes, then T-Bar came back with elbows to the head and McIntyre delivered a hard chop to the chest. McIntyre delivered a suplex to T-Bar along with a headbutt. Mace tagged in with punches as MVP was shown watching on a TV backstage. McIntyre with a hard chop to Mace, who came back with a high elbow to the face. T-Bar and Mace hit a double suplex on McIntyre for a two count. Mace with a punch, then T-Bar back in and the big guys hit double knees to the chest. T-Bar with a chinlock, McIntyre punched his way out of that and T-Bar pulled Drew’s hair to take him down. Mace hit a belly to back suplex for a two count. T-Bar was back in as he drove his foot into Drew’s throat. McIntyre rocked T-Bar with some punches leading to a spinebuster for two. McIntyre charged, T-Bar with a boot to the face and when T-Bar jumped off the ropes, Drew hit a headbutt to stun T-Bar. Drew spotted Mace trying to a cheap shot, so Drew knocked him off the apron. T-Bar and Mace tackled Drew against the turnbuckle, which led to the disqualification finish after seven minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: *1/2 A nothing match with a bad finish. I bet if Drew had a singles match with Dominik Dijakovic instead of T-Bar then it would be a very good match, but instead, we get this.

After the bell rang, Braun Strowman made his way down to the ring for the save. T-Bar and Mace left the ring. Strowman yelled at them saying that’s not how we do things around here.

(Commercial)

Based on what happened before the break, it was a hollla holla holla Teddy Long tag match special.

Braun Strowman & Drew McIntyre vs. T-Bar & Mace

Strowman ran over Mace with a running shoulder tackle with McIntyre smiling about it. Strowman with a punch to the ribs of Mace and then he sent Mace into the turnbuckle. Strowman with a knee lift to the chest of Mace. McIntyre was back in with punches on Mace, the referee made Drew move back and Mace hit him with a forearm to the chest. T-Bar tagged in, McIntyre with a clothesline on him and Strowman hit a boot to the face. Strowman had a bit of blood on his forehead I think when he hit the mask of Mace earlier, but it was not a lot of blood. Strowman rocked T-Bar with an uppercut punch and a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Mace avoided a punch, so then T-Bar hit a chop block to the left knee. T-Bar and Mace hit a double team clothesline/kick on Strowman for a two count. T-Bar hit a running kick to the face of Strowman for two. T-Bar kept Strowman grounded for a bit, but then Strowman came back with a back body drop. McIntyre tagged in with a clothesline on Mace, McIntyre with another clothesline on Mace and McIntyre with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre with a neckbreaker followed by a kip-up to show he was ready. McIntyre pulled Mace’s mask off (hey look it’s former Raw announcer Dio Maddin – what a shock) and he said he did him a damn favor. Mace slapped McIntyre and McIntyre hit him with the mask repeatedly. The referee called for the DQ. It went about six minutes.

Winners by disqualification: T-Bar & Mace

Analysis: *1/2 Another match that was below average with another lame finish. Strowman was booked very strong here. Weak ending to the match. They cared more about advancing the story after the match.

Post match, T-Bar got in a cheap shot on McIntyre and Strowman made the save. Strowman punched T-Bar and ripped off the mask (hey look it’s former NXT superstar Dominik Dijakovic – what a shock). That led to T-Bar & Mace leaving the ring and they were happy to be the winners of the match. The announcers had to act like they had never seen T-Bar & Mace even though most WWE fans would know them as Dominik Dijakovic (on NXT) and Dio Maddin, who was an announcer on Raw a few years ago.

Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman vs. MACE & T-BAR: Raw, April 19, 2021

Analysis: I’m glad that they took the masks off and will likely be kept off permanently now. At least that’s some progress for these guys with these silly gimmicks. I assume we’ll see this tag team match again.

The Miz & Maryse were shown walking backstage for The Miz’s match up next.

(Commercial)

This week on Raw Talk the guests are Naomi, Lana, MVP and Damian Priest.

The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Damian Priest

Priest was in control early on with a suplex into a slam across the ring. Priest with a jumping elbow smash to the face. Maryse grabbed Priest’s foot for a distraction, so Miz got in a cheap shot kick and a sliding kick sent Priest under the bottom rope to the floor. Miz sent Priest into the barricade two times. Miz went up top and jumped off with a double axehandle along with some punches to the head. Miz bounced off the ropes with a boot to the face. Miz did his backbreaker leading into a neckbreaker combo spot that he always does. Miz did his kick routine to the chest, but then Priest blocked that with an elbow to the leg and then Priest did a flapjack. Priest with a running elbow splash on Miz against the turnbuckle. Miz avoided a suplex, but Priest was able to come back with a diving attack off the ropes. Miz crawled to the ropes, Priest blocked a punch and punched Miz. Maryse on the apron again, Miz with a rollup and Priest kicked out this time. Priest with the bell ringer clap and then the Hit The Lights neckbreaker on Miz for the pinfall win. It went about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest

Analysis: ** It was decent as a singles match to put over Priest in a clean manner. I expected that result since Priest/Bad Bunny got the tag team match win at WrestleMania, Miz got the win in the handicap match last week, so Priest got the win back in a singles match this week. It’s typical 50/50 booking we see all the time. Priest needs to get away from Miz now. They have booked this rivalry for long enough and everybody needs to move on from this.

Asuka was shown warming up backstage for her main event match.

(Commercial)

Sheamus was in the ring for a promo with the US Title around his waist. Sheamus said that the world needs to know that he is the NEW United States Champion. Sheamus said that it’s going to be like that for a long, long time. Sheamus said he is going to be YOUR fighting champion, which means he’s going to an issue an open challenge for his championship each and every week on Raw…or whenever he wants. Sheamus asked if anybody wants a shot at the champ and here comes Humberto Carrillo to answer the challenge.

Humberto Carrillo was in the ring posing, so Sheamus attacked him from behind. Sheamus stomped on Carrillo and tossed him over the top to the floor. Sheamus went after Carrillo with a clothesline. Sheamus whipped Carrillo into the barricade two times and Sheamus rammed Carrillo into the ring post. Sheamus destroyed Carrillo with forearms to the chest while the shaky camera was in full effect for it. Sheamus drove Carrillo back first into the ring post. Sheamus dragged Carrillo back into the ring, Carrillo pulled himself up against the turnbuckle and Sheamus nailed him with the Brogue Kick. Sheamus yelled at Carrillo and told him he is not in his league. Sheamus posed with his US Title to end it.

Analysis: This was a dominant ass-kicking by Sheamus to put him over as a champion that isn’t going to be a fair champion since he attacked Carrillo before the match could begin. I don’t even remember the last time Carrillo had a singles match on Raw. Sheamus will probably be champion for a few months at least. I think guys like Keith Lee and Ricochet could be future opponents although they don’t use Ricochet much anymore. Lee does have a bright future whenever he’s able to wrestle again.

Charlotte Flair was shown getting ready for her match up next.

(Commercial)

It was main event time with about 15 minutes left in the show. Charlotte Flair made her entrance first wearing one of her robes. Asuka entered as the opponent. Rhea Ripley made her way down to ringside with the Raw Women’s Championship.

Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair

Asuka took control early with kicks while Charlotte was against the ropes, but then Charlotte moved to avoid the hip attack. Rhea Ripley was watching a steel chair at the bottom of the ramp. Charlotte wanted a neckbreaker, but it looked like Asuka may have reversed it and both of them hit the apron while selling it right in front of Ripley, who stood up. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Charlotte sent Asuka into the turnbuckle, but then Asuka came back with a dropkick off the middle rope. Asuka with a dropkick, then a knee to the face and a running hip attack. Asuka with kicks, Flair caught the leg and then Asuka came back with a German Suplex. Asuka with a running kick for two. Charlotte with a back elbow, but Asuka came back with an armbar until Flair was able to stomp that move with some punches to the face. Charlotte drove her knee into Asuka’s face and Charlotte went off the ropes with Asuka going for the double knees, but they messed that up a bit. Asuka with a spin kick to the face. Asuka bounced off the ropes and Charlotte hit a Spear for a two count. Good nearfall there. Charlotte went for a Figure Four Leglock, but Asuka kicked her to the apron. Charlotte grabbed Asuka’s left leg and stretched it across the ropes. Back in the ring, Asuka jumped to avoid a chop block and then Asuka slapped on the Asuka Lock, but Charlotte was able to get to the ropes. Charlotte went back to a chop block to take down Asuka again. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight submission and then Rhea Ripley pulled Charlotte’s arms (the referee never saw it) to stop that. Charlotte went after Ripley, Asuka kicked Charlotte in the face and then Asuka hooked the arms of Charlotte for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Asuka

Analysis: *** It was their usual match although they did mess up during a couple of spots. A cheap win for Asuka thanks to an assist from Ripley, which is payback for Charlotte costing Asuka/Ripley their singles match last week. I thought the match was pretty good and they did do the final spots well with Ripley stopping Charlotte’s Figure Eight attempt while the referee was looking elsewhere. Asuka’s pinning sequence was a bit similar to Riddle on Randy Orton earlier, but not exactly the same thing. I do like that hooking of the arms into a pin better than the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! so that’s fine with me.

Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair: Raw, April 19, 2021

After the match, Charlotte was furious and she tossed referee Eddie Orengo across the ring. Charlotte flipped Eddie over and hit him with forearms to the back. There were other referees that showed up to try to stop Charlotte, but then she beat up Eddie with more forearms to the back. Charlotte went to the apron where she was about to leave, but then she went back into the ring and kicked Eddie in the ribs. Charlotte was raging mad in the ring as the show ended right there.

Analysis: That was a bit of a surprise with Charlotte beating up poor Eddie after her loss. I’m sure WWE will say Charlotte is “fined” and maybe even “suspend” her for a week. It’s a way to further establish her heel persona. I assume it’s Ripley vs. Flair vs. Asuka at WrestleMania Backlash, but they have four weeks to get there. No rush.

After the show, WWE said that Charlotte was fined and suspended for her actions, so my predictions as soon as the show ended were true. It’s not my first day, pal.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Riddle
  2. Randy Orton
  3. Charlotte Flair/Asuka

 

The Scoreboard

5 out of 10

Last week: 4.5

2021 Average: 5.88

 

Final Thoughts

This was a poor episode of Raw for the second week in a row. The week before WrestleMania wasn’t that good either. There were also some people missing this week with no sign of WWE Champion Bobby Lashley, John Morrison wasn’t there and for the second week in a row, no AJ Styles/Omos as the Raw Tag Team Champions.

There were a couple of good matches with Riddle beating Randy Orton in a competitive match with a cool finish. The Asuka/Charlotte Flair match was pretty solid as usual, but not that long for them. Some matches were awful too. I don’t know who decided to book that women’s tag match the way they did, but they showed three replays DURING the match. It was painful to watch. Other matches were just short with some bad finishes that meant nothing and were easy to predict because WWE loves 50/50 booking so much. There just isn’t much excitement or interest in any of the matches. I’m happy that T-Bar and Mace got unmasked at least, but it only came after two short matches with bad finishes. Raw just feels like a boring show week after week with nothing that interesting. Can we get some big angles or something that feels important? Raw needs to be more exciting than it is.

A lot of focus was put on Charlotte Flair given that she got to do another promo and then main event with Asuka. After Asuka won thanks to an assist from Rhea Ripley, Charlotte beat up referee Eddie Orengo. It should get Charlotte some heat for beating up a referee, but it doesn’t make me that interested in the storyline. It feels like they will probably do Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte at WrestleMania Backlash next month.

The next WWE pay-per-view is WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 16. Here’s what we know so far.

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

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors (this season sucks) 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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