Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. They have announced a Raw Tag Team Title match with AJ Styles & Omos defending their titles against the former champions, The New Day. Plus, there’s a Women’s Tag Team Title match with Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defending their titles against Naomi & Lana, so I guess they felt the need to advertise some title matches in advance. Also, Bobby Lashley will face Braun Strowman or Drew McIntyre in a non-title singles match. I just want a better, more consistent show.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1458 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.
There was a summary of last week’s Raw when Braun Strowman beat Drew McIntyre in a singles match (thanks to some distractions). Thanks to the win, Braun is in the WWE Title match at WrestleMania Backlash, so now it’s Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Title against Strowman and McIntyre in a triple threat match.
There was a video from earlier in the day with MVP talking to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Pearce had a coin that will be flipped to see who Bobby Lashley will face tonight on Raw. Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman showed up to talk trash. Strowman called the coin toss as tails, the coin was flipped and it was tails, so Strowman will face Lashley on Raw. It led to some more trash talking.
Let’s Hear from AJ Styles & Omos
AJ Styles and Omos entered the Thunderdome as the Raw Tag Team Champions. They were not on the last three weeks of Raw after they won the titles at WrestleMania. The announce team of Adnan Virk, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were at ringside to welcome us to the show.
AJ Styles said that on WrestleMania Saturday, you saw AJ Styles and Omos defeat The New Day to become the Raw Tag Team Champions. Styles bragged about how Omos was a champion after his first match. Styles said that Omos wrecked New Day and they will do it again tonight. Styles asked: “Did you miss us?” The Thunderdome crowd booed as Styles said of course you missed them. Styles said he knows fans are wondering where they went. Styles claimed that they went to celebrate in the Caribbean having a little fun, suntanning and getting sunburnt because he had better things to do than throwing tomatoes like The New Day. Styles said that officially he is a Grand Slam Champion in WWE while saying it only took him five years, which is pretty quick according to AJ. Styles said that they are there for one reason only…and here’s the interruption.
The New Day’s Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston made their entrance. Woods said that they made a hell of an impact. Kofi congratulated them on some well-deserved time off. Woods said that’s the kind of work ethic when they became 11-time Tag Team Champions and then Kofi sarcastically said that they took breaks too. Kofi said that all jokes aside, there is a reason they are 11-time Tag Team Champions because every time they get knocked down, they pick themselves up and win their titles back every time. Kingston said that on the greatest night of his career when he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania it was a very physically draining match, but somehow the next day he came the next night to Raw and he showed up because that’s the champion that he is. Kingston said that’s the kind of champion that New Day elevated him to be. Kingston said that taking a month off is not the way that the New Day rolls. Omos said he has had enough of these morons joking around. Omos said that neither of them will be able to laugh or walk after he is finished with them tonight. Woods said now it’s time to come back to reality and the reality is that New Day are about to become the 12-time WWE World Tag Team Champions. That match is next.
Analysis: It was fine for a show opening promo to set up the match that was already advertised. Styles claiming they went on vacation is a way to explain the absence although it doesn’t have to be the truth. I don’t know if there was an injury or if it was COVID-19 related, but whatever it was, the champs are back now. I liked New Day taking shots at the champs for taking that break and the champs ignoring it because they can do what they want.
This Tuesday on NXT: Women’s Tag Team Championship Street Fight with Ember Moon/Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae/Indi Hartwell. Plus, Finn Balor is back.
Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
Styles tagged in Omos, who stepped in the ring for his first match on Raw. Woods with kicks to the legs, Omos grabbed Woods and tossed him across the ring. Omos with a forearm to the back of Woods. Omos tossed Woods into the turnbuckle and Kingston tagged in. Kingston with kicks to the legs and Omos shoved Kingston down with Virk noting that Omos is 7’4” and 405 pounds. The height is close to real, but I think the weight is exaggerated. New Day with a double dropkick and then Omos hit a double clothesline. Styles celebrated as Omos knocked down Woods with a knee. Styles gave Omos a high five, so the referee said that was a tag. Woods got a rollup on Styles for two and Woods kicked Styles out of the ring. Woods kicked Styles into the announce table. Kofi was legal for his team, he jumped up top and did a back first dive onto Styles on the floor leading to a break.
The match continued with Woods hitting a kick to the leg of Styles and a sliding flatliner for two. New Day guys made quick tags leading to the unicorn stampede on Styles in their side of the ring. Kingston with an armbar on Styles, AJ with punches and then Kofi hit a jumping knee to the face. Styles with a Pele Kick on Kingston, Woods tagged in and Styles got out of a move leading to Omos tagging in. Omos with a clothesline on Kingston and he shoved Woods down. Omos with a backbreaker on Kingston and a backbreaker on Woods. Omos with running back splashes on Kingston and Woods against the turnbuckle. Omos with a two-handed Chokeslam on Kingston and after a kick from Woods, Omos kicked Woods down. Styles got a tag, he jumped off the shoulders of Omos and Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Woods for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: AJ Styles & Omos
Analysis: ** These matches are unique because it’s backward psychology with the faces preventing the heel Styles from tagging out of the ring. I thought the New Day guys were great in terms of selling for Omos and making all of his offense look so impactful. If you don’t sell it in a big way then it means nothing. Omos has been dominant in his two matches so far and likely will continue to be dominant for a long time.
There was a scene in the office with Sonya Deville talking to Charlotte Flair saying something like she’ll think about it. Adam Pearce walked in asking what that was all about, Sonya said nothing and Pearce said she was overstepping her bounds. The scene cut away.
An interview with Bobby Lashley and MVP is next.
This Friday on Smackdown it’s a Throwback edition of Smackdown. They have announced Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins for it.
There was a video of Eva Marie standing up against a Ferrari in a short black dress. Eva asked if she had our attention. She was laying on the car. Eva said that on the road of life, she was always in control of her own life and the independence that comes with it. Eva Marie was standing on the car saying she wants to be someone that others looks up to. She said “Eva-lution” is coming soon.
Analysis: She’s a fine-looking woman and looked great here. Can she perform well in the ring? I’m not so sure about that. The “Eva-lution” thing sounds a bit like the “Emmalina” thing they wanted to do with Emma that never really went anywhere. Anyway, welcome back Eva Marie. I’d rather see Mickie James, Peyton Royce, Chelsea Green or Billie Kay back. I like to sarcastically put over Eva Marie as a legend, though. Eva Marie is 36 and hopefully improved as a performer. Eva’s WWE return was rumored over the last year, so now she’s back.
The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and MVP were interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who is usually just on Smackdown (Kevin Patrick missed Raw because his wife had a baby). Lashley said that those guys have to pry the WWE Title out of his hands and he won’t lose the title without being pinned. MVP talked trash about Strowman.
There was a backstage scene with Elias and Jaxson Ryker with some tomatoes. They tried to throw them at New Day as revenge, but when the camera panned over, it was Randy Orton standing there so they hit Randy with the tomatoes. Randy’s tag team partner Riddle was riding by on his scooter, so it looks like a tag team match for later.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance for a match.
Charlotte Flair waited in the ring. They showed the news from last week that Charlotte’s suspension was lifted. That was an angle that failed miserably. Dana Brooke made her entrance with some new music and Mandy Rose by her side. Charlotte beat Mandy last week.
Charlotte Flair vs. Dana Brooke (w/Mandy Rose)
Charlotte shoved Brooke in the face repeatedly and said she was still Charlotte’s protégé and “bitch” too. Brooke with a headscissors takedown and a dropkick. Charlotte sent Brooke throat first into the middle rope for a two count. Charlotte with a boot that knocked down Dana for a two count. Brooke got some momentum back by using the top rope to stun Charlotte and then Brooke hit an enziguri kick, but Charlotte came back with a clothesline. Brooke went for a sunset flip out of the corner, but Charlotte stomped on Brooke repeatedly. Charlotte missed a running kick, so Brooke punched Flair in the back. Brooke with a handspring elbow and Brooke did it again on the other side of the ring. Brooke went up top, she jumped off and hit a Swanton Bomb for a two count as Charlotte got a shoulder up to kick out. Brooke charged again with a handspring elbow, but then Charlotte did a chop block to the knee. Good counter. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight submission and Brooke tapped out. It went about five minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: ** A clean win for Charlotte Flair after Brooke got some offense and even a decent nearfall in the match. I don’t think anybody watching this thought that Brooke was going to win and that’s okay because sometimes you just need to book matches like this to put somebody over clean. We know Charlotte is going to win matches like this to build her up as a heel.
After the match, Charlotte kept Dana in the Figure Eight submission, so Mandy saved her friend with a dropkick to Charlotte. Mandy hit a running knee that knocked Charlotte out of the ring.
Sonya Deville made her entrance in a red suit with the women in the ring and that led to a break.
This Sunday on A&E Biography the subject is WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. That should be an interesting story.
Sonya Deville said that as a WWE Official equal to Adam Pearce, she has allowed Charlotte Flair to make a proposal. Charlotte complained about how Rhea Ripley is facing Asuka again at WrestleMania Backlash and then Charlotte did her usual promo about her accomplishments. Charlotte complained about Ripley taking Charlotte’s spot at WrestleMania. Charlotte said that she has learned from her mistakes. Charlotte said that WrestleMania Backlash would be a bigger deal if she was in the title match. Charlotte said if you add her to the match, she would make it bigger since she’s an influencer. Charlotte said that she gave Sonya the opportunity to be an authority and she made the right decision bringing Charlotte back. Charlotte said love her or hate her, the division needs her and the WWE Universe needs her. Charlotte said that she is happy to oblige, so give her a match that is of her worth. Charlotte wanted Sonya to add her to WrestleMania Backlash and make that courageous decision. Charlotte said, “be fair to Flair.” Sonya said that Charlotte makes a compelling argument and since the men have a triple threat match WWE Championship then Sonya will add Charlotte to the Raw Women’s Championship match to make it a triple threat match.
Rhea Ripley showed up for a promo with the Raw Women’s Title around her waist. Ripley said this is absolute crap. Ripley said that Charlotte wasn’t in the match at WrestleMania because nobody likes Charlotte. Ripley said she is confident she can beat Asuka one on one because Ripley already did and she became champion. Ripley got into the ring saying that a triple threat match was unfair. Ripley said that she should have known this was all part of Sonya’s plan.
Asuka joined the promo party by getting into the ring with Charlotte, Sonya and Rhea. Asuka said that this is bullcrap. Asuka mocked Charlotte for whining and crying like a baby. Asuka said that she can beat Charlotte and she can beat Rhea since she is ready to become the Raw Women’s Champion.
Charlotte said that is why nobody compares to her because they lose their minds. Charlotte said that she will walk out of WrestleMania Backlash as the Raw Women’s Champion. Ripley got in Deville’s face and she complained about it saying that Charlotte didn’t earn it, so Charlotte hit Ripley in the back. Asuka sent Charlotte out of the ring. Asuka stood tall in the ring as her music played to end it.
Analysis: This company really loves triple threat matches right now. They’re overdoing them. It was a lot of talking, whining and the kind of stuff that would probably cause a casual fan to turn the channel. I like Charlotte Flair more than most people, but it’s lazy booking when you do stuff like that and not having people earning a title shot.
Humberto Carrillo was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Humberto said that Sheamus thinks he can bully everyone, but Humberto is not afraid of him. Sheamus showed up with a cheap attack and he whipped Humberto into some equipment cases that were nearby. Sheamus told Humberto he won’t be in condition to accept the open challenge tonight, but there’s always next week.
The often-losing duo of John Morrison & The Miz made their entrance for Morrison’s match up next.
There was a backstage scene with Adam Pearce going up to Sonya Deville asking what that was about. Sonya said she sent him a text. Adam said that they share an office and he didn’t get any text. Sonya said that she had to make a decision. Pearce said that they had to make decisions together and she agreed.
They replayed the tomato-throwing “comedy” segment from last week. Some of the slow-motion replays were mildly funny, I guess.
The Miz and John Morrison did a promo saying that they suffered humiliation last week when they were pelted by rotten tomatoes by Damian Priest and The New Day. Miz went over his accomplishments again including WrestleMania main eventer (arguably the worst main event in WrestleMania in history) and so on. Anyway, they kept on going on and on as I lost interest.
Analysis: Hey WWE, you don’t need every heel character to brag about their accomplishments in every promo every week sounding like robots. Something different would be nice. I realize Miz is being annoying as a heel character, but it’s just boring to hear it all the time.
Damian Priest made his entrance for his match. They showed some pre-tape comments from Priest about how he’s going to win.
Damian Priest vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz)
Priest with an atomic drop and a sweep kick. Morrison went for a move, Priest sent him to the ropes and Priest delivered a clothesline to send Morrison over the top to the floor. They went to break one minute into the match.
Morrison was in control of Priest with a trip followed by punches. Morrison with a running knee on Priest for two with Miz celebrating that move. Morrison ran off the ropes, but Priest was ready with a flapjack. Priest worked over Morrison with forearms and punches, then kicks to the body and Morrison came back with a kick/forearm of his own. Priest missed a high kick when Morrison moved and Morrison with a rising kick. Priest kicked Morrison into the turnbuckle. Priest with a running back elbow followed by a clothesline for two. Priest to the middle ropes, he was distracted by Miz and Morrison hit a Spanish Fly slam off the middle rope for two. Miz with a distraction again, then Morrison got a rollup and the referee was slow to count. Priest with a bellringer clap on the head of Morrison and then the Hit The Lights neckbreaker for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: *** This was a pretty good match with some cool moves and counters from both guys. That Spanish Fly slam by Morrison off the middle rope was really impressive on a bigger guy like Priest. It was another win by Priest over these same two guys he has been feuding with for about three months. Morrison is one of the most underused guys in WWE that could be doing so much more. I wonder if Miz distracting the referee during the Morrison pin attempt could be the start of their split as a heel duo. I’m ready to see Priest against some other opponents.
There was a backstage scene with Mansoor in the office with WWE Official Adam Pearce. Mansoor signed a contract with Pearce noting that makes Mansoor an official Raw superstar. Sheamus walked in saying something happened to Humberto Carrillo because of him. Sheamus mocked Mansoor thinking he was an intern and Mansoor said he’s a Raw superstar like Sheamus. Sheamus said Mansoor can accept Sheamus’ open challenge (not for the US Title) and can take a Brogue Kick from the US Champion. Sheamus told Mansoor he has a match later. Mansoor said he didn’t expect things to change quickly around here. Pearce told him to get used to it.
Analysis: Good for Mansoor who goes from 205 Live to Raw instead of being featured on NXT like a lot of other people who go from NXT to Raw.
MVP was interviewed by Kayla Braxton again. MVP said that this Bobby Lashley match with Braun Strowman shouldn’t even be happening. MVP said that Strowman didn’t even deserve to be in the title match. MVP said that Bobby and Drew have a lot in common with their 15-year journeys to get to the WWE Title. MVP said that maybe Bobby and Drew will take out Strowman together. MVP wanted us to watch what Lashley does to Strowman later.
It’s Lashley vs. Strowman in the main event.
PLUG TIME: I wrote a review of the A&E Biography documentary about the great “Macho Man” Randy Savage. While I did like most of it especially in the first hour, the second hour spent more time taking shots at Macho Man than it celebrated the man that he was. I understand biographies don’t always have to be a feel-good story, but this one felt unnecessarily harsh at times. They barely talked about great WrestleMania moments, yet would rather share wild and outlandish stories that could be bullshit. I just thought it could have been a lot better. As I wrote in the review, the WWE documentary about Savage in 2014 was a lot better than this one…My most recent retro WWE PPV review is Backlash 2003. It wasn’t a great show by any means, but if you’re curious about the only Rock vs. Goldberg match, that was the main event of that show. You can find a listing of all my WWE PPV reviews listed in order from when they took place right here on TJRWrestling. Thanks for reading.
Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin vs. Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado)
The match began after the show returned from break. Metalik with a missile dropkick on Alexander. Cedric came back with a Michinoku Driver. Benjamin tagged in with two body slams on Metalik and a back body drop for two. Alexander worked over Metalik with repeated kicks, Metalik kicked his way out of the corner and then hit a bulldog. Dorado tagged in against Benjamin, Shelton avoided a diving attack and hit a huge clothesline with Dorado doing a flip bump to sell it. Benjamin with knee drives to the body. Benjamin went for a Powerbomb, Dorado tried a DDT and Benjamin powered out leading to a boot to the face for two. Dorado hit an impressive Tornado DDT on Shelton and he sent Alexander out of the ring. Dorado hit a diving cross body block on Alexander on the floor. Metalik tagged in and hit an elbow drop off the top onto Benjamin for the pinfall win after about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado)
Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for a shorter match. I thought that this match was designed to get Cedric and Shelton the win, but after what happened post match, there is no future for this team. I don’t expect Lucha House Party to get any kind of push on Raw. With that said, it’s nice to see them get a rare win like that.
Post match, Cedric Alexander was furious about the loss. Cedric said that they went from being Tag Team Champions to this. Cedric said no wonder they got kicked out of the Hurt Business and he said that Shelton was the weak link. Cedric said that he should have turned on Shelton too. Cedric said that he is in the prime of his life, so just like Shelton, this team is done. Cedric walked to the back alone while Shelton looked on from ringside.
Analysis: I thought the team was a good thing for Alexander and Benjamin for a while, but then the WWE creative team lost faith in them even though they are good workers. I’m not sure if Alexander or Benjamin will get any kind of push as singles wrestlers. They don’t have big personalities, so that hurts their chances.
Angel Garza was shown walking out of an elevator with a rose in his hand. Drew Gulak trashed Garza for being a ladies man that can’t seem to score with the ladies. Drew challenged him to a match, then mocked him for the rose and Garza said after he wins the match he’ll shove the rose up Gulak’s ass.
There was a video wishing The Rock a Happy Birthday. It was on Sunday and he turned 49 years old. Also, it was announced that Young Rock will get a season two.
Analysis: Good for Young Rock. I’ve seen every episode and I enjoy it. While I don’t think it’s hilarious or anything, I like the stories they tell whether true or not. It’s easy to watch.
Shelton Benjamin was shown walking backstage. Kayla Braxton asked him about Cedric’s comments. Shelton said he can take a hit, he has seen talented young guys like Alexander fizzle out while Shelton survives. Shelton said that Cedric was in The Hurt Business because Shelton saw something in him. Shelton said that Alexander can say what he wants, but Shelton is going to continue to survive.
Angel Garza made his entrance with a rose in his hand while Drew Gulak was already in the ring.
Drew Gulak vs. Angel Garza
Garza threw the pants at Gulak and hit two dropkicks. Garza with a running kick followed by punches. Garza hit a double underhook backbreaker. Gulak with a kick, a headbutt to the ribs and then a tight headlock. Garza with a lefty clothesline, dropkick and a running boot against the turnbuckle. Garza hit the Wing Clipper for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Angel Garza
Analysis: *1/2 It’s nice to see that WWE remembered Garza and Gulak are on the Raw roster. They did what they could in a very short match. Garza winning makes sense as a heel with a lot of potential while Gulak isn’t the type of guy that WWE likes to push.
Post match, Garza picked up his rose and he put the rose by Gulak’s face. Garza also put the rose in Gulak’s tights followed by a running kick to the ass.
Analysis: That’s a unique way to celebrate the win. Earlier in the show, Garza said he’d put the rose up Gulak’s ass, so that’s what happened.
Riddle was shown backstage on his scooter where he approached the Viking Raiders standing nearby. Riddle asked if the Viking Raiders saw the NFL draft and if they were rooting for the Vikings or Raiders. Erik said he’s a Browns fan while Ivar said that they are vikings that raid. Riddle put over Ivar for being a ladies man.
Riddle went on his scooter to talk to Randy Orton with Riddle excited about the RK-Bro tag team. Riddle kept on talking, Orton made him be quiet and off they went for a tag team match up next.
There was a video package showing some Braun Strowman highlights to put him over.
They replayed Angel Garza shoving a rose into the tights of poor Drew Gulak.
Riddle made his entrance on a scooter. That led to Riddle kicking off the flip-flops and then the animated birds were flying on the screen. Randy Orton made his entrance as Riddle’s tag team partner. Elias and Jaxson Ryker made their entrance for tag team action.
RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker
Orton was angry about the tomatoes earlier so he worked over Elias with punches. Elias with a kick to the ribs and Ryker tagged in with kicks/punches. Orton with a shot to the eye, Riddle tagged in with a kick to the ribs of Ryker and then Ryker countered a submission attempt with a body slam. Ryker drove Riddle back first into the turnbuckle and Elias tagged in with a jumping knee for a two count. Elias with a running back elbow for a two count. Ryker tagged in with Elias suplexing Riddle onto Ryker’s knee for a two count. Ryker with a slingshot suplex into a slam for two. Riddle avoided a suplex and Riddle hit a knee to the face. Orton got the hot tag against Elias with a clothesline followed by a DDT attempt, but Elias sent Orton throat first into the top rope. Elias brought Orton out of the ring and Orton slammed Elias onto the hood of the announce table. Orton with a modified backbreaker. Orton with a draping DDT off the ropes, Riddle tagged in and Orton dropped Ryker with an RKO. Riddle went up top and hit a Floating Bro splash for a two count after about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle)
Analysis: **1/4 The RK-Bro boys found a way to win again. Nice job of selling by Riddle, Orton got the hot tag and then they worked together to win. Orton got to hit his RKO as well, so they got everything in as needed. It was an obvious outcome.
The unlikely duo of Riddle and Orton celebrated the win with Riddle very enthusiastic about the victory while Orton just stood there.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton saying he didn’t care who won the Lashley/Strowman match as long as they beat eachother up. Drew said he had lots of questions about T-Bar and Mace attacking him. Braun Strowman walked up to McIntyre saying that he heard MVP saying that Drew and Bobby may gang up against Strowman. Braun said that he belongs in the match and at WrestleMania Backlash, he’s walking out of there as the new WWE Champion. Drew told Braun that maybe or maybe not, but for now he just needs to leave.
Sheamus entered for his match with the US Title around his waist.
Mansoor made his entrance for his Raw debut match.
Sheamus vs. Mansoor
This is not for the US Title held by Sheamus, who took down Mansoor with a side headlock followed by a shoulder tackle. Sheamus with a hard slap to the face, Mansoor with a forearm and Mansoor hit two running dropkicks. Mansoor with a rolling pin attempt for two. Sheamus set up Mansoor so he was sitting on the top rope and Sheamus delivered Mansoor a clothesline off the ropes to the apron to the floor. Sheamus pulled on the mouth of Mansoor to make him smile. Sheamus delivered the forearms to the chest followed by a clothesline. Sheamus with a press slam that sent Mansoor ribs first into the top of the barricade. The referee counted Mansoor out and Mansoor got back in before the ten count. Sheamus was stunned by that. Mansoor with multiple back elbows, then a dropkick to the knee to send Sheamus into the turnbuckle. Mansoor hit a Tornado DDT for a two count. Mansoor went up top, Sheamus knocked him down and Sheamus hit the White Noise slam. Sheamus had a small cut on his forehead. Humberto Carrillo showed up at ringside with a dropkick on Sheamus for the DQ. It went about five minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Sheamus
Analysis: *3/4 It was just a decent match with a lame finish in order to give Carrillo some revenge against Sheamus. I figured it was coming after Sheamus won the match by pinfall, but I guess WWE didn’t want Mansoor losing his first match in a way where he takes a finisher. It doesn’t matter that much.
Carrillo sent Sheamus out of the ring and Carrillo delivered a suicide dive that sent Sheamus into the announce table. Sheamus was able to recover, he sent Carrillo into the ring and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Mansoor to put him down as Sheamus celebrated to end it.
Analysis: They are trying to build up Carrillo as a possible threat to Sheamus, but I don’t know if it’s working since Sheamus usually stands tall after their interactions.
Alexa Bliss was backstage with her evil doll Lilly and she’s up next.
Alexa Bliss was on her playground with her doll. Bliss said that a certain someone may have caught Lilly’s eyes, but she can’t tell us who because it’s a secret. Bliss said you shouldn’t blame her for what happens next. Bliss sang some song about how the world goes crazy at the sight of Lilly and they have fun together, so they’ll be friends forever. Then Bliss said “Lilly, what did you make me do?” and laughed in an evil way. The Lilly closeup ended it.
Analysis: I find this incredibly boring especially in the third hour when Raw makes me sleepy. I like Bliss as a performer. I just think the puppet gimmick is lame. Bliss has had two matches since Royal Rumble and one of them was a “win” over Randy Orton.
Naomi and Lana made their entrance for their title match.
This week on Raw Talk the guests are Drew McIntyre, Rhea Ripley and Damian Priest.
The entrances of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler weren’t shown. They were in the ring to start the match.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (w/Reginald) vs. Naomi & Lana
They were going really fast with Jax and Naomi starting the match. Lana tagged in against Baszler and Lana hit a cross body block off the top on Baszler. Lana with a splash on Baszler’s back, Naomi with a jawbreaker on Baszler and that got a two count. Naomi and Lana did a double team facebuster on Baszler. Jax saved her partner and tossed Naomi into the side of the announce table. Reginald did a referee distraction and Lana covered Baszler for a two count. Lana went for a move on Baszler, but Shayna countered into a Kirifuda Clutch submission, Lana tapped out and that gave the champs the win. They only got two minutes.
Winners by submission: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Analysis: 1/2* This was rushed. They were tagging so fast, moving in and out of the ring quickly to get spots in and it ended in two minutes. WWE has to plan it better and give a title match more time. Sad for the women involved in this because there’s not much you can do in a tag team match that only gets two minutes.
There was a backstage shot of WWE Champion Bobby Lashley with MVP, who did another promo hyping up Lashley ahead of the main event match.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP by his side.
Braun Strowman entered for the main event.
Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Braun Strowman
This is not for Lashley’s WWE Title. Lashley with a neckbreaker for just a one count. Lashley charged and Strowman knocked him down with a clothesline. Strowman with another clothesline that sent Lashley over the top to the floor. Strowman sent Lashley back into the ring, Strowman with a running splash and Lashley came back with a boot to the face. Lashley with a running clothesline for just a one count. Strowman powered out of a submission attempt and he punched Lashley in the chest to knock him down. Drew McIntyre’s music hit as Drew walked down to ring in his wrestling attire, so Strowman left the ring to confront him. Lashley capitalized on that by jumping onto Lashley to knock him down on the floor. Lashley wanted a fist bump from Drew, but Drew wouldn’t do it.
The show returned with about six minutes left in the show with Drew McIntyre joining commentary for the match. Lashley did a leapfrog, Strowman got a hold of Lashley and then Lashley hit a flatliner for a two count. Lashley sent Strowman left shoulder first into the ring post. Lashley drove his forearm into Strowman’s face and then hit a suplex for two. Lashley put his forearm into Strowman’s face again. Lashley charged with a shoulder tackle again. Lashley charged at Strowman with a running punch to the face with Strowman selling it like he was rocked. Lashley with more punches, but then Strowman managed to get Lashley on his shoulders and Braun did an Electric Chair Drop slam sending Lashley to the mat for a two count. Strowman with a running splash against the turnbuckle and then a suplex into a slam. Strowman with a kick to the ribs. Lashley countered a Powerslam into a Hurt Lock attempt, but Braun fought it off and Braun hit a sidewalk slam. Lashley rolled out to the floor near McIntyre. Strowman left the ring, he charged and Lashley tossed Strowman onto McIntyre on commentary. Strowman and McIntyre argued with Drew on the apron, so then Lashley hit a Spear on Strowman for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: *** It’s nice to see a champion win a non-title match although it’s not like it was clean. Braun lost because Drew distracted him. Lashley has been booked consistently well in the last few months and while he’s been the champion as well, so that’s something that is a highlight of Raw. Lashley and Strowman work well together in terms of hitting the big moves, making it look realistic and clearly I think they like being in matches because they have good chemistry. Lashley winning with a Spear isn’t that common, but it’s better than having Strowman tap out to the Hurt Lock, so it works as a way to end a match like that.
Post match, Drew McIntyre went into the ring and hit a Claymore Kick on Lashley. When Strowman got up, McIntyre hit Braun with a Claymore Kick as well. McIntyre stood tall in the ring.
Next week: Drew McIntyre faces Bobby Lashley in a non-title match. That means McIntyre lost to Strowman last week, Strowman lost to Lashley this week and then we get McIntyre vs. Lashley next week.
McIntyre was standing over Strowman while Lashley was out of the ring. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: It was fine for a post match angle. Any time there is a triple threat they do the same sort of thing where one guy is dominant one week, then the next guy the following week and the third guy the week after that. We saw it on Smackdown brand before WrestleMania too. It’s just how they always do this stuff. Announcing Lashley vs. McIntyre is fine I guess, but I think that should be a DQ finish or somebody loses from Braun’s distraction.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bobby Lashley
- Braun Strowman
- Damian Priest/John Morrison
5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2021 Average: 5.81
I find myself writing the same things about Raw week after week. I like the WWE Title picture with Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman having a good main event while Drew McIntyre found a way to get involved as well. Other than that, though, is just a boring show with meaningless segments and repetitive feuds that just go on forever. One of the other things I like is the RK-Bro pairing of Randy Orton and Riddle because it makes me laugh. Other than that, it’s tough sitting through some of these segments.
While we might get two or three great matches on Smackdown or NXT nearly every week, Raw rarely does that because for whatever reason, the show with three hours of TV time has so many shorter matches that mean nothing. That Women’s Tag Team Title match that is supposed to feel like a big deal because it’s a title match got two minutes. I feel so bad for the wrestlers on the show. They are doing the best they can, but the creative team on Raw is letting them down big time. I realize they tried to get some more midcard wrestlers out there this week. It’s just that everything felt so short that it’s not going to have much impact in the long run.
Raw continues to be a disappointing show. I’m trying to be optimistic when I watch, but it’s just tough to really care about it right now. At least we have Eva Marie’s return to look forward to! That will save the Raw brand.
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
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
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