The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/26/21 Review

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/26/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. The next pay-per-view is called WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 16. The last two weeks of Raw have been very disappointing, so here’s hoping things get better for the red brand soon.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1457 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.

A replay was shown from last week when Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman faced off against Mace and T-Bar. It led to Drew and Braun unmasking the masked men. We are supposed to think it was a big deal that they were unmasked.

The show began with a shot of the WWE ThunderDome as the announce team of Adnan Virk, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. The duo of Mace & T-Bar made their entrance without masks on their face. The announcers kept calling them by these names instead of their past names Dio Maddin and Dominik Dijakovic. They are sticking with T-Bar & Mace as the names.

Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman were talking in the Gorilla position. Strowman wanted a thank you from McIntyre with Drew saying he wanted to face them by himself last week. They continued to argue about things while bragging about their credentials and then Braun said he could beat both guys by himself. Strowman grabbed the microphone and said that this is going to be a handicap match, so the bell rang.

Analysis: It’s nice to start with a match in the first seven minutes instead of a promo as usual.

Braun Strowman vs. Mace & T-Bar

Strowman was in control early as he sent T-Bar into the turnbuckle multiple times and hit a running splash. Strowman with a splash on T-Bar by his own corner, so Mace tagged in with punches. Mace ducked a clothesline, ran the ropes and hit a jumping side kick. T-Bar tagged in with punches, then Mace back in with kicks and elbows. Strowman kicked Mace in the ribs, Mace with more punches and T-Bar tagged in with kicks to keep Braun grounded. Mace and T-Bar each stomped on Strowman against the turnbuckle while going past the referee’s five count, so the referee called for the bell after four minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Braun Strowman

Analysis: * A short match to set up the tag team match that was already advertised.

Drew McIntyre ran out to save Strowman. McIntyre whipped T-Bar into the barricade at ringside. McIntyre fought with Mace, Strowman was back up and McIntyre hit Mace with a clothesline out of the ring while Strowman tossed T-Bar out of the ring. McIntyre went to Braun asking for his thank you and Braun called him a “funny guy.” That led to a break.

Analysis: It was McIntyre’s way of proving to Strowman that it was tough to beat T-Bar & Mace in a handicap match and that Braun needed Drew’s help just like Drew needed help last week. At least it protects T-Bar & Mace a bit because losing a handicap match by getting pinned would make them look bad.

(Commercial)

The match started during the break.

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

McIntyre was in the ring with T-Bar, who fought out of a DDT and hit a back elbow to the head. McIntyre with hard chops, T-Bar with a forearm, and McIntyre hit a Glasgow Kiss headbutt for a two count. Mace with a spinning slam on McIntyre for a two count. Mace grabbed an armbar, McIntyre got to the ropes to break and McIntyre hit a Russian legsweep to take Mace down. Strowman faced off against T-Bar with Braun hitting a shoulder tackle, then a running splash, and when Strowman charged again, T-Bar moved, and Drew hit the ring post. McIntyre tagged in with a neckbreaker on T-Bar. McIntyre jumped off the top with a clothesline on T-Bar. They battled over holds with McIntyre managing to hit the Future Shock DDT for two as Mace made the save. Strowman beat on Mace with punches and he dumped Mace out of the ring. Strowman did the running shoulder tackle on Mace. McIntyre went for a clothesline on T-Bar, who ducked, so Drew hit Strowman by accident. T-Bar sent McIntyre into the turnbuckle, so the referee was counting them out for the countout win. It went about eight minutes.

Winners by countout: T-Bar & Mace

Analysis: *1/2 I don’t think it’s a great idea to have a match end in a countout after just booking a disqualification. That’s a case of WWE not wanting any of these guys to lay down to do the job in the match. It keeps T-Bar & Mace looking strong with a “win” while McIntyre & Strowman have issues as a team.

After the match, Strowman went into the ring and gave McIntyre a Running Powerslam. Strowman yelled at McIntyre for hitting Braun with the clothesline even though it was an accident by Drew.

Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman vs. MACE & T-BAR: Raw, April 26, 2021

Analysis: This led to a Braun/Drew match being set up due to the problems they had.

There’s a six-man tag after the break.

(Commercial)

Drew McIntyre walked up to WWE Official Adam Pearce in his office. Drew said he wanted Braun in a match tonight. Pearce said he can do that, so there’s our main event.

There was a Miz TV talk show in the ring with Miz doing his usual routine of plugging his reality show as well as the WWE 24 documentary about him. Miz and John Morrison were joined in the ring by Elias and Jaxson Ryker. Miz mentioned Bad Bunny selling out his 2022 World Tour in mere minutes, so they wanted to offer sincere congratulations. Miz claimed that their star power helped while Morrison said that Bad Bunny didn’t give them free tickets. This kept on going with some bad singing and I was busy on Twitter criticizing it for being so bad.

Analysis: The creative team basically came up with this: “Miz, go do a promo for five minutes. We have three hours. Please go kill some time for us.” One of the reasons Smackdown is better is because they make the most of the two hours and really don’t have the time killing segments like what happened here. This was really bad.

Damian Priest showed up for the interruption. Priest brought out The New Day with Xavier Woods carrying a case that might be an instrument. Instead, Priest and New Day had a case full of tomatoes, so they threw the tomatoes at the heels. The camera cut way too many times to give us different angles of this as the heels kept falling over in a comedic way. The show went to break.

Analysis: I understand that the bad singing performance by the heels was done on purpose to get heat and have the faces show up to throw tomatoes at them, which makes fans happy…I guess. That doesn’t make it a good segment. All the camera cuts are annoying too.

(Commercial)

There was a replay of the tomato tossing. The already advertised match began there.

Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Damian Priest vs. The Miz, Jaxson Ryker & Elias (w/John Morrison)

The best wrestler on the heel team wasn’t in the match. The heels worked over Woods for a bit until Woods hit a rolling elbow on Elias for a two count. Woods tripped up Miz, Kingston got the tag and New Day did a double team bulldog for a two count. Woods and Kingston were doing quick tags for nearfalls. Priest tagged in for the first time, so Miz brought in Ryker to face off against the big man Priest. They exchanged strikes, Priest with a legsweep takedown and Elias tagged in with Priest tripping him up. Miz avoided a sweep and then got kicked in the back of the leg. Kingston with a clothesline that sent Elias out of the ring and Priest sent Miz out of the ring as well. Woods played the trombone to celebrate the momentum. I thought there would be a break, but then Kingston hit a cross body block on Elias in the ring. The heels isolated Kingston in their corner, Kingston got a boot to the face, then he went up top and Elias knocked Kofi down to the apron to the floor. Miz hit a running kick on Kingston and that led to the break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Kofi in the ring as the face in peril as Miz worked over Kofi with a kick and punches. Miz set up Morrison against the turnbuckle, Morrison squeezed a tomato against Kofi’s face. Elias with a forearm to the face of Kingston followed by a spinning suplex into a slam for two. Elias had Kingston in a headlock leading to a clothesline. Ryker with a headbutt to the chest leading to a sleeper hold, but Kingston fought out of it with elbows. Ryker with a slingshot suplex on Kingston and Elias tagged in with a running forearm to the face for two. Miz was back in with kicks and choking leading to the “It Kicks” with Kingston avoiding a kick leading to the SOS trip into the slam. Priest got the hot tag against Elias with Priest hitting a jumping elbow, then a kick to Ryker and Priest hit corner splashes. Priest with a spin kick to Ryker. Priest bounced off the ropes and hit a clothesline on legal man Elias for a two count. Priest with a spinning kick to the face of Elias for two. Miz saved his partner, but then Priest gave Miz a Broken Arrow slam. Woods tagged in, he jumped off the top and Elias hit Woods with a knee to the face. Woods with a boot to the face of Elias, Ryker was the legal man and Kingston hit a missile dropkick on Ryker, who was taken down in a double legsweep. Priest kicked Miz off the apron. Priest with a kick on Ryker and Priest jumped off the ropes onto Miz/Morrison on the floor. Ryker with a double ax to the face of Woods. Kingston knocked Elias off the ropes and Woods hit an inside cradle on Ryker for the pinfall win after about 16 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Damian Priest 

Analysis: ***1/2 This turned out to be a very good tag team match. It would have been even better if John Morrison was in it. It was smart to structure it the way they did with Kofi as the face in peril and Priest getting the chance to look impressive after the hot tag. I think they should have had a better finish where New Day did a double team move or something like that because it wasn’t a hot finish to the match. It feels like New Day has been feuding with Elias/Ryker for a few weeks now while Priest vs. Miz has been going on for months. I’m ready for all of these guys to move on from these rivalries.

The New Day & Damian Priest vs. The Miz, Elias & Jaxson Ryker: Raw, April 26, 2021

There was a backstage scene with WWE Official Sonya Deville walking backstage. Sonya usually only appears on Smackdown, but now she’s on Raw. Sonya opened a door and Charlotte Flair walked into the building with her even though Charlotte was supposed to be suspended this week.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: The retro WWE PPV reviews continue on TJRWrestling. Earlier on Monday, I posted a review of the Unforgiven 1998 pay-per-view that took place 23 years ago at a time when WWE business was really starting to turn things around in their battle against WCW. The main event saw Steve Austin defend the WWE Title against Dude Love in what was a very good match that had a memorable ending when Austin hit Vince McMahon in the head with a steel chair. There was also the first-ever Inferno Match between The Undertaker and Kane. I thought they did a great job considering the circumstances. The rest of the card wasn’t that great, but if you liked Sable then that’s a show worth checking out. Just saying. Anyway, I’m posting retro PPV reviews on TJRWrestling all the time and they’re all listed in order of when they took place. Check that out right here. Thanks for the support!

There was a quick commercial for Miz & Mrs. after Raw on USA Network.

Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair with Sonya Deville

Sonya Deville was in the ring for a promo and she was introduced as a WWE Official. Sonya was in a suit. Sonya introduced Charlotte Flair, who walked out to the ring in a dress for this top of hour two segment. Sonya also introduced WWE referee Eddie Orengo, who was in the ring last week when Charlotte attacked him. They showed a replay of that attack by Charlotte as she tossed Eddie around the ring, punched him repeatedly and kicked him in the ribs.

Sonya said that Charlotte was suspended indefinitely and given a $100,000 fine. Sonya said Adam Pearce didn’t hear both sides before his decision, so Sonya told Charlotte to let us know what she had to say. Charlotte said she understands the error of his ways. Charlotte apologized to WWE management, to WWE Universe and to Eddie Orengo for her childish ways. Charlotte said that instinct just took over. Charlotte wanted to right the wrongs that she committed. Charlotte apologized for putting her hands on him and for manhandling him last week. Eddie said he accepted her apology. Eddie said he didn’t see Rhea interfere and if he did then Charlotte would have won the match. Sonya said that Charlotte has apologized, she paid her fine in full and her suspension has been lifted. Sonya said that tonight, Charlotte will return to in-ring action and Eddie will be the referee of the match.

Charlotte Flair said that Eddie said that it was his mistake, so she wanted Eddie to apologize to her. Eddie said sorry and Charlotte said, “good boy” with a smile on her face. Sonya said now Charlotte has been reinstated and she looks forward to seeing Charlotte in the ring later tonight. Corey Graves said that the whole thing seemed fishy to her. Charlotte walked up the ramp with Sonya and Charlotte was smiling about what happened.

Analysis: There’s the follow up to the ending of Raw last week. Most people probably thought Charlotte would be off this week, but there’s no break for her. Charlotte was very heelish because even though she was reinstated, she wanted Eddie to apologize to her for her error so she could hear him say he made a mistake. It’s what heels do.

When Charlotte and Sonya made it backstage, Adam Pearce wondered when Sonya was going to tell him about this. Sonya said she was looking for him before the show, couldn’t find him and Sonya said she was sorry. Pearce said he would accept the apology if he could believe it with Pearce leaving angrily.

Analysis: They have teased issues with Deville/Pearce for several months now, so maybe this will lead to Sonya being more of the heel authority figure.

Sheamus made his entrance with the United States Championship around his waist.

This Friday on Smackdown: Roman Reigns will defend the Universal Title vs. Daniel Bryan and if Bryan loses, then he must leave Smackdown. In addition to that, Apollo Crews will defend the Intercontinental Title against Big E. Two title matches in one night. Sounds like a big Smackdown this Friday.

(Commercial)

Adam Pearce was shown in his office talking to somebody on the phone about how Sonya was usurping her power. Braun Strowman showed up saying that he had no problem facing Drew McIntyre tonight. Strowman pointed out that in the triple threat match two weeks ago, Drew pinned Randy Orton, so Braun said if he wins tonight then Braun wants to be in the WWE Title match at WrestleMania Backlash. Braun wanted to know if Pearce could do it or if he needed to get approval from Sonya. Pearce didn’t like that line and Pearce told Braun he gets the match.

Analysis: I like that addition to the Drew vs. Braun match later in the show. It keeps fans interested to see if Braun can get the win to get into the WWE Title match at Backlash.

Sheamus was in the ring as a replay was shown from when he beat up Humberto Carrillo last week. Sheamus said that the US Champion is a fighting champion and he proved it last week. Sheamus said that Carrillo is the first of many men that tried to take away his US Champion. Sheamus said that he didn’t let the bell ring because Humberto didn’t belong in the ring with Sheamus. Sheamus said he was a very generous fella, so after the debut of his open challenge, he’ll do it again. Sheamus dared somebody to come on out to have a swing at Sheamus, but the US Title will not be on the line.

Humberto Carrillo answered the challenge for the second week in a row. Sheamus wondered if Carrillo was “loco” for coming out there again. Sheamus threw his hat at Carrillo and then beat on him with punches along with kicks. Sheamus turned his back, so Carrillo came back with punches. Sheamus charged right into a back body drop by Carrillo over the top to the floor. Carrillo dropkicked Sheamus off the apron twice. Carrillo hit an impressive suicide dive to knock Sheamus over the announce table. There was no match because Carrillo left to the back while Sheamus was furious at ringside.

Humberto Carrillo gets even with Sheamus: Raw, April 26, 2021

Analysis: Good moves by Carrillo with some nice bumps by Sheamus as well. I’m perfectly fine with Carrillo getting back into the mix on Raw since he’s a talented guy that is fun to watch. Since Sheamus kicked Humberto’s ass last week, it made sense for Humberto to get some payback. I don’t see Sheamus dropping the US Title to Carrillo, but they can have a pretty good match together.

The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley was shown walking backstage with MVP. Kevin Patrick walked up to them mentioning Braun Strowman could be added to the WWE Title match at WrestleMania Backlash. MVP said that Strowman hasn’t been added to the match yet. MVP said that they had grievances to address and teased saying something important, but then he said he won’t do it now. They left.

(Commercial)

There was a commercial for the A&E Biography about the great “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Macho Man was my first favorite wrestler ever.

Analysis: I’m looking forward to it. I think WWE did a very good documentary about Macho Man in the past as well if you’ve never seen it. I’m not sure how many new things they can tell us, but I think it will be interesting. Anyway, the A&E documentaries have been terrific so far.

Rhea Ripley was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Ripley did a quick promo saying that while Charlotte is “playing rugby” with the referees, Ripley will stay busy as the Raw Women’s Champion.

Let’s Hear from Bobby Lashley and MVP

Bobby Lashley made his entrance in a suit with the WWE Championship in his hands. Lashley was joined by his friend Montel Vontavious Porter, who is like a manager for MVP. Lashley vs. McIntyre is on for WrestleMania Backlash with Braun Strowman possibly added to that WWE Title match.

Lashley said that a few weeks ago, he walked into WrestleMania and walked out of WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. Lashley said that he held his title high, he demanded respect and the respect he received from the live audience felt good. Lashley said it felt good because Drew was crumpled up like a dollar bill on the sidewalk that nobody cares about. Lashley said that Drew is like the bubble gum stuck on his shoe. Lashley said he’ll beat Drew McIntyre again at WrestleMania Backlash and now it could be a triple threat match?

MVP spoke up saying he was offended by that and wondered why WWE would treat Lashley so poorly. MVP said that Lashley is the Chief Hurt Officer of The Hurt Business and the WWE Champion, so any business that WWE wants to conduct needs to go through Lashley. Bobby said that it’s intentionally disrespectful. MVP said that Lashley has been the WWE Champion for 56 days and now his reign can be in jeopardy because of a triple threat match that he wasn’t consulted about. MVP said that we saw this before when Lashley lost the US Title because somebody pinned somebody else (Riddle on John Morrison). MVP said that Lashley can lose the WWE Title and not even be involved in the pinfall. Lashley said that Drew and Braun know that he can beat them at any time. Lashley said that he’ll be out there to check out his business interests. Lashley said after chasing this title for 16 years, he is going to hold onto it and will leave WrestleMania Backlash as the WWE Champion.

Analysis: It was a solid promo with Lashley speaking a bit more than usual. I thought Lashley handled himself well with the promo with MVP making some smart points as well. It makes sense from the perspective of their characters.

A replay was shown of Riddle beating Randy Orton last week on Raw.

Riddle was interviewed on his scooter by Kevin Patrick. Riddle said that Orton is a viper that’s a big, scary slithering snake and then Riddle did his rambling routine. Randy Orton showed up saying he doesn’t know what planet he is from, Riddle said he’s from Earth, Randy said that they have nothing in common and Riddle said that they are both from Earth. Orton said he thought he’d teach Riddle a lesson in respect, but instead Riddle earned his respect. Orton said that Riddle said last week that Riddle said their tag team name would be RK-Bro and Orton said that he wants to try it out. Orton said that he called in a favor, so they have a match tonight if they want it. Riddle did his rambling routine, Orton told him to be quiet and Orton told him we’ll see how it goes out there tonight and Orton left. Patrick said that was unexpected, so Riddle said: “Totally, bro.” That ended it.

Analysis: I like this idea of them teaming up at least once. Does it feel like Orton is going to turn on Riddle the dumbass stoner? Yes it does. I just think it’s a good thing for Riddle to feud with an established top guy like Orton. It’s also fresh for Orton as well.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke causing problems for Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler last week. It cost Jax and Baszler a non-title match against Naomi and Lana when Naomi pinned Baszler.

The trio of Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and Reginald were standing in a line talking with Jax complaining about things. Shayna said that they have had too many distractions and then complained about Reginald. Baszler wanted no distractions in their match. Jax was handed flowers (by WWE creative team member Ryan Ward) and Angel Garza told Jax he got the flowers for her. Garza kissed Jax’s hand. Jax walked down the hallway and smacked Mandy Rose with the flowers saying that she should put these in water.

Braun Strowman was shown working out prior to his main event. MVP went up to Strowman saying that Lashley didn’t appreciate Strowman’s groveling. Strowman said that Lashley should say it to his face. Strowman said that after he beats Drew McIntyre tonight, there’s nothing you can do to stop Strowman from walking out of WrestleMania Backlash.

Randy Orton made his entrance first for a tag team match. Riddle was up next with his flip flop kick and the bird graphics on the screen. That match against Benjamin/Alexander is up next after a break.

(Commercial)

This Tuesday on WWE NXT: Kushida & MSK vs. Legado del Fantasma and Mercedes Martinez vs. Dakota Kai. Also, an interview with Adam Cole. Read my review exclusively on TJRWrestling on Wednesday morning.

The team of Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander made their entrance. This is the first match in hour two of Raw and it took 47 minutes into the second hour to get to it. There was a lot of talking in hour two.

Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander vs. RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle)

Riddle with two gutwrench suplexes on Alexander. Benjamin tagged in and worked over Riddle with punches. Alexander was back in with a leg lock on the left leg. Benjamin tagged in with a knee to the left leg and then Alexander hit a running dropkick to the left leg. Alexander stomped on the back of Riddle’s knee while keeping Riddle on the heel side of the ring. Benjamin with a knee breaker. Benjamin applied a submission hold twisting the left leg and Riddle got to the ropes. Alexander was back in, Riddle with a kick and Orton tagged in against Benjamin. Orton and Benjamin trained in wrestling together about 20 years ago. Orton with a clothesline on Benjamin, then Orton caught the boot to avoid a kick and Benjamin hit a spin kick to the head. Orton came back with a powerslam with Virk just saying “unbelievable move” but he should say the name of the move. Orton was setting up Benjamin, Alexander jumped off the top and Orton dropped Alexander with an RKO. That was great! Riddle hit a DDT off the ropes, Riddle wanted a tag and Orton tagged him in, which led to Riddle hitting a Floating Bro splash off the top for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

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

Analysis: **1/2 The RK-Bro team was successful in their first match. It was either that or have Orton turn on Riddle, but that can come later. That RKO by Orton on Alexander was awesome. It was a fun match that was kept short under ten minutes. I feel bad for Benjamin & Alexander because they used to be booked so much better, but lately, it feels like they lose every match.

Post match, Riddle hugged Orton enthusiastically, but Orton wasn’t willing to hug back. They showed replays. Riddle celebrated the win with enthusiasm while Orton left up the ramp.

Randy Orton & Riddle vs. Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander: Raw, April 26, 2021

Analysis: There was no Orton turn yet. It’s likely coming soon although maybe WWE wants to turn Orton face and they know that Riddle can help him get there. It would mean Orton/Riddle are an odd couple sort of tag team perhaps even earning a title shot in the near future. I’d rather see Orton in the heel role that he’s most comfortable in than see him as a face again. With that said, I do like Orton/Riddle interacting just because it’s something fresh for Orton and it’s good for Riddle too.

Still to come: Alexa Bliss with her evil puppet friend.

Analysis: That was the end of the second hour of Raw. Hour two had one match in it that went seven minutes as I pointed out above.

(Commercial)

There was a commercial about getting vaccinated with WWE stars wanting us to get vaccinated. Things are going slower here in Ontario compared to the US. I know most people in the US that have wanted it have gotten it.  I’m happy to say I’ll be getting the vaccine on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to it.

The introductions took place for the women’s tag team match.

Asuka, Naomi & Lana vs. Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (w/Reginald)

Ripley is teaming with the heels, so is Ripley a heel? She has been a bit of a tweener on Raw so far. Asuka started with Baszler, Ripley tagged herself in and tossed Asuka across the ring. Asuka with a knee lift to Ripley’s face. Naomi tagged in with a corner clothesline on Ripley. Lana tagged in for a double team takedown and a kick to the head of Ripley. Lana countered a Ripley move into a rollup for two. Ripley with a headbutt followed by a suplex for two on Lana. Ripley grounded Lana with a body scissors while Graves ripped Virk for comparing this match to TikTok for some reason. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke showed up for a distraction, Shayna left ringside and Mandy/Dana tossed a bucket of water on Shayna. Jax walked over to them and then predictably slipped on the water. That was such a fake fall that was supposed to look realistic. Bad acting here. Anyway, the show went to break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Baszler stepping on Lana’s left arm. Lana countered a move by Baszler and hit a side Russian legsweep. Asuka tagged in with a shoulder tackle to Baszler, double knees to Jax and a running hip attack by Asuka on Baszler got a two count. Asuka missed a kick when Baszler moved and Baszler hit a knee to the face. Jax was back in with a body slam on Asuka and then an elbow drop by Jax for two. Jax with a running splash on Asuka and Jax hit a Samoan Drop, but Asuka rolled towards the turnbuckle. Jax charged, Asuka moved and hit a spin kick. Naomi tagged in with a cross body block off the top. Naomi with jumping forearms and a kick off the middle ropes. Naomi used her legs to sent Jax to the mat for a two count. After a Reginald distraction, Jax knocked Naomi down. Ripley tagged in with a lifting slam that sent Naomi hard into the mat. Asuka saved Naomi from the pin and Ripley sent Asuka out of the ring. Lana tagged in, Ripley hit the Riptide on Naomi and Lana hit a cross body block off the top on Ripley for two. Lana with double knees to the back of Ripley, but then Asuka did a crucifix pin for two. This was after Jax knocked down Asuka on the floor. Ripley hit the Riptide slam on Lana, Jax tagged in and hit the leg drop for the pinfall win because she has the power of Jaxamania. It went 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay with the champions getting the win. No surprise that Lana was the one to get beaten on the face side. It’s typical WWE booking where Baszler/Jax lost in a tag team match last week and then they were on the winning side this week.

Alexa Bliss was on her playground saying to come back because we’re going to have so much fun.

(Commercial)

The guests on Raw Talk on Peacock/WWE Network are Bobby Lashley with MVP, Riddle and Sonya Deville.

Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke were backstage celebrating their actions. Sonya Deville walked up to her former best friend Mandy criticizing them for what they just did out there. Sonya said that Charlotte Flair needs an opponent, so she’s going to face Mandy up next. Mandy was okay with that.

Alexa Bliss Playground

Alexa Bliss was on her playground swing saying her puppet friend Lilly is her confidant and devil on her shoulder. Bliss wanted us to look into her eyes, think dark thoughts, think twisted thoughts and repeat after her: “Lilly, Lilly, Lilly.” Bliss wanted us to picture something and they showed some outdoor scenery when a screaming Lilly interrupted it. Bliss laughed like it was hilarious. Bliss said that Lilly was restless on the playground, so Alexa thinks it’s time for Lily to play with the rest of WWE. Bliss said don’t blame her for what happens next because “Lilly made me do it.” They showed evil Lilly’s face to end it.

Analysis: It was a warning by Alexa Bliss to let us know that Lily will “play” with others in WWE, so it sounds like Bliss will be put in matches again perhaps as soon as next week. My interest level in this angle is very low. I like Bliss a lot and she’s a lot of fun as a heel, but I think this evil puppet story is lame.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance in a robe for her match. There was a replay of last week’s Flair/Asuka match when Ripley cost Flair the win. That led to Flair beating up referee Eddie Orengo. Charlotte was fined $100,000 and suspended, but then earlier on Raw, Charlotte was brought back after her apology. Charlotte made Eddie apologize to her, so Eddie did just that. That Charlotte/Mandy match is next.

(Commercial)

Mandy Rose made her entrance with tag team partner Dana Brooke.

Charlotte Flair vs. Mandy Rose (w/Dana Brooke)

The referee was Eddie Orengo as mentioned earlier. I wanted to mention that since he was the referee that Charlotte beat up last week. Charlotte was in control early with a clothesline and Charlotte put her feet on the rope, so Brooke told the referee while Charlotte told Dana to shut up. Rose with a forearm followed by a dropkick. Rose charged into a knee by Charlotte. Charlotte set up Rose on the top rope, Rose kicked Charlotte down and Mandy hit a missile dropkick for two. Rose worked over Charlotte with punches and a forearm. Rose sent Charlotte into the corner where Charlotte nearly hit the referee, and then Charlotte hit a boot to the face for a two count. Charlotte complained about how Eddie was too slow to start the count. Mandy got a rollup for two and then a running knee for two. Charlotte drove Mandy face first into the knee followed by Charlotte sending Mandy into the middle turnbuckle. Charlotte hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Charlotte Flair

Analysis: **1/2 This was a solid match for the time given.  While it was obvious that Charlotte was going to win, I like how they booked this in a way where Mandy got some offense in and nearly won a few times. Charlotte losing and blaming the referee was a possible finish too, but I think WWE wanted Charlotte to get the win since she lost last week.

Charlotte Flair was happy about the win while Dana checked on Mandy after the loss. Charlotte didn’t let the referee raise her hand.

Analysis: I like how Charlotte was booked on the show this week. She remains a cocky heel character that’s easy to hate. It’s simple and it works for her.

Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage with Kevin Patrick asking about tonight’s stipulation. McIntyre said that Braun Strowman is a monster and a monster complainer. McIntyre said that Strowman is not going to screw up Drew’s rematch at WrestleMania Backlash and tonight can only end one way with a Claymore Kick.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for Make A Wish to help create hope for wish kids. Go to wish.org/wwe for more info.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event. Drew put his sword into the stage and that led to the pyro going off. When Drew got into the ring, more pyro went off there as well. Braun Strowman made his entrance as he got some special effects for his introduction as well. This was Strowman’s third match on the show.

Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman

If Strowman wins then he is added to the Lashley vs. McIntyre WWE Title match at Wrestlemania Backlash on May 16.

There was a running shoulder tackle from Strowman to knock McIntyre down. Strowman showed his agility by rolling over McIntyre, but then McIntyre hit a dropkick to the knee. McIntyre went up top, Strowman slammed him off in a move that we saw in nearly every Ric Flair match and Strowman punched McIntyre out of the ring. Strowman was about to do his run around the ring, but there was an interruption. Bobby Lashley’s music hit as the WWE Champion Lashley made his entrance with MVP as Lashley held the WWE Title in the air. Braun and Drew stared at Lashley. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Strowman whipping McIntyre into the turnbuckle. Lashley and MVP were watching on leather chairs at ringside. Strowman continued his dominance with another hard whip into the turnbuckle. McIntyre went for a sleeper, Strowman powered out of it and McIntyre hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre was back up with a jumping neckbreaker for two. MVP told Drew to beat the man and handle his business. McIntyre charged with a Claymore Kick, but Strowman caught Drew and hit a huge Powerbomb for a two count. I think if Strowman did a Powerbomb as a finisher it would be a lot more impressive than the Powerslam. McIntyre blocked a forearm to the chest and McIntyre hit a Glasgow Kiss headbutt that rocked Strowman. When Drew does the move, he gets his hand up in front of his face, but the wrestlers always sell it as a big move. McIntyre with a spinebuster for two. Strowman powered Drew up against the turnbuckle and Strowman connected with two uppercuts. Strowman connected with a superplex off the middle ropes and there was a replay that showed it wasn’t a smooth landing, but they were okay as Strowman got a two count. Strowman delivered a huge forearm to the chest of McIntyre. Strowman charged with a running splash. Strowman charged at McIntyre and hit a splash. MVP was on the apron, Lashley distracted the referee, Strowman wanted a powerslam, MVP pulled McIntyre off Braun’s shoulders (MVP and Lashley wanted Drew to win to avoid a triple threat situation) and Strowman punched MVP off the apron after Drew moved. McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT on Strowman. McIntyre set up for the Claymore Kick. T-Bar and Mace showed up at ringside, so Drew had to punch them to knock them off the apron. That led to Strowman hitting the Running Powerslam on McIntyre for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

The win means that Bobby Lashley will defend the WWE Championship vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman at WrestleMania Backlash on May 16.

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match with these two big guys working well together. They were working hard and set up the spots well. It was a tough finish to do with four people outside the ring causing havoc, but they managed to make it work. There was a nice mix of power moves, counters and then a chaotic finish to the match. The story is that Lashley/MVP wanted McIntyre to win to keep it a singles match, so they tried to interfere, but then Mace/T-Bar got involved to complicate things and that’s why Strowman won. It’s rare for McIntyre to lose clean like he did at WrestleMania, which is why it was a shady win here. It wasn’t that cheap because Braun is still a babyface.

Strowman stared at Lashley, who was standing on the announce table with the WWE Title in his hands. McIntyre got back up, stared at Strowman and together they stared at Lashley. It was a triple threat staredown. That was the end of Raw.

Analysis: It doesn’t surprise me that Strowman was added to the match. I think WWE probably realized that Lashley vs. McIntyre wouldn’t be that fresh, so doing a triple threat match changes it up a bit. I think Lashley will probably retain at WrestleMania Backlash. Plus, WWE doesn’t want to have Lashley beat Drew at two straight PPVs since they probably want Drew to remain in the title picture. They could go to Lashley vs. McIntyre later in the year like at SummerSlam if they are in front of fans and want to do a title change there. I’m just thinking long-term here. There are a lot of options.

Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman: Raw, April 26, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Drew McIntyre
  2. Braun Strowman
  3. Riddle/Randy Orton

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 4.75

2021 Average: 5.88

 

Final Thoughts

It felt like an average Raw to me. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but at least it was better than the last two weeks. I thought there was too much talking in general with only one short match in the second hour. I don’t know if anybody was clamoring for three Braun Strowman matches in the same show, but that’s what we got here. I did think Strowman’s match with Drew McIntyre was pretty good, so I didn’t mind that one. That means we get Bobby Lashley vs. Strowman vs. McIntyre for the WWE Title match at WrestleMania Backlash. Title change coming? I don’t think so, but clearly, WWE felt like they needed to change it up a bit.

It was also the third straight week where the Raw Tag Team Champions AJ Styles & Omos were off the show and not even mentioned. It could be COVID-19 related or injury-related, but at this time I have no idea what the reason is.

There were some solid matches including the six-man tag (the promo before the match was awful), but the six-woman tag wasn’t nearly as good. I enjoyed the debut of the RK-Bro team as well. Charlotte Flair was booked to be more of a cocky heel again, which is when she’s at her best. I just think the show is lacking excitement and if I keep hoping for something big to happen. It just doesn’t happen. That’s why Raw is just another average show week after week.

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 vs. Braun Strowman

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley

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

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @johnreport

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