Welcome to The Raw Reaction, where I offer up my take on this week’s show from Everett, Washington. You can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
The usual Raw opening and pyro start us off again this week before Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. We are shown a replay from last week’s beatdown on Matt Hardy. Orton says his No Holds Barred match is off due to Hardy not being cleared to compete. Hardy comes out in a neck brace and cuts another promo on Orton about what he did to Edge. Hardy said that is not how he is going out and Orton goes to leave. Orton comes back down the ramp and Hardy misses with the chair shot before getting dropped with an RKO. Orton starts hitting Hardy with the chair to blow massive holes in basic logic. Two referees finally come down to the ringside area to stand around asking Orton to stop. Orton eventually drills Hardy with two Conchairtos on the steel steps before leaving. If you keep bringing up the fact a guy isn’t medically cleared but then have absolutely nobody come and help Matt out just makes no sense. I get the why but it still just looked bad. Orton did great heel work and Hardy sold perfectly. The segment did run a little long though and was a bit much.
The first match of the night has Aleister Black taking on Erick Rowan. Black had a very impressive showing against Rowan, someone who is about the same size as him. Black hit Rowan with Black Mass to stagger him against the ropes before getting dropped with a second Black Mass to give Black the victory. It’ll be interesting to see who Black picks a fight with next.
Charlotte Flair is out next for a promo about her appearance at Takeover Portland and accepting Rhea Ripley’s WrestleMania challenge. Charlotte then goes on about how she helped build up NXT to what it is today. Charlotte ran down Ripley before pointing at the WrestleMania sign again to end the segment. I was surprised Ripley did not come out for a counterpoint, given what happened at Takeover. I guess there will be more time for that in the weeks to come.
Up next is a regular triple threat match for the 24/7 title between Riddick Moss, Mojo Rawley, and R-Truth. Truth mimics “his hero” John Cena with a few of his moves on Mojo, but Riddick steals the win to retain the title in a short match. I think Riddick has had more title defenses than Mojo had. Riddick should take the title to NXT and see what kind of fun they can have there.
We get a quick plug on the Women’s Elimination Chamber match with the winner facing Becky Lynch for the Woman’s title at WrestleMania. The competitors are Shayna Baszler, Natalya, Asuka, and the former Riott Squad. We can put Shayna down as the winner in Sharpie marker.
Drew McIntyre is out next for a promo on Brock Lesnar before he is interrupted by Paul Heyman. Heyman said Brock would dispose of Ricochet at Super Showdown and then Drew at WrestleMania. Heyman then introduces Drew’s opponent, MVP. MVP with a quick promo before Drew runs right through him, picking up the win after a Claymore Kick.
We are given a replay of what happened between Becky and Shayna last week before Becky comes out to cut a promo on Shayna. Becky talked about the fine she’ll have to pay when she gets her hands on Shayna. Shayna appears on the video screen with a quick promo on Becky. That should be a good match at WrestleMania.
We have tag team action next as Bobby Lashley and Angel Garza team up to take on Rusev and Humberto Carrillo. The match itself was about what you would expect. The faces really needed a win but, given Rusev’s situation, Garza pins him with the most protected finisher in all of pro wrestling, the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! Also shocking, neither Lana or Zelina Vega interfered in the match. After the match, the fans poured their love into Rusev, if only WWE cared about such things.
Up next, Natalya takes on the odd one out Kairi Sane, who had Asuka with her. I’m not quite sure why they decided to go with the Riott Squad in the Chamber instead of the Kabuki Warriors, unless there is a tag title feud planned for WrestleMania and they just needed an extra body. Anyway, Natalya had an okay match with Sane, who picked up a rare countout victory after some Asuka interference.
Seth Rollins and his gang are out so Rollins can give his sermon. Rollins tries to be all Jesus like but is nothing like Chinstrap Jesus. Rollins claims Phase One of their movement was complete and it was time for Phase Two. Rollins goes on for a little bit too long before The Viking Raiders come out looking for a fight. Rollins bails so his guys can get beat up by The Viking Raiders. Kevin Owens comes up from behind Rollins and drops him with a stunner after The Viking Raiders clear the ring to set up the Teddy Long approved six-man tag main event. Holla! Holla!
The OC is out for promo time with the returning AJ Styles. Styles cuts a promo to hype the Super Showdown gauntlet match before Ricochet comes out. Ricochet and Styles trade barbs, leading to a match between Ricochet and Karl Anderson. Karl does his job putting Ricochet over ahead of his WWE title match at Super Showdown.
Main event time with Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders taking on AOP and Murphy. Rollins was not at ringside for this match. It’s a match we’ve seen before but it is another hard hitting back and forth match. The Viking Raiders eventually take out AOP so Owens can drop Murphy with the stunner and here’s Rollins with the run in to give the faces a needed win, albeit by DQ. AOP eliminates Viking Raiders and Owens gets another four on one before the Street Profits appear to lend a hand to Owens. Viking Raiders recover and Rollins bails again so Owens and company can wipe out Murphy and AOP to close the show.
Let’s look at the highs and lows:
Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders finally get a win in their feud with Rollins and company. I’m sure the heels could have given up a pinfall loss this week and not hurt them at all. The addition of the Street Profits finally gives them something to do as well, with their Super Showdown tag title match announced after the show went off the air.
The sermon and Orton/Hardy segments just dragged on for a bit too long. Another show with lots of talking.
That’s all I’ve got for now, until next time.