Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. This week’s show follows Sunday’s Elimination Chamber PPV that had some big news because The Miz became WWE Champion after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on Drew McIntyre. The cash-in happened after McIntyre wrestled for about 30 minutes in an Elimination Chamber and had to deal with Bobby Lashley beating him up for about five minutes after the match. WrestleMania is on April 10-11, but before we get there, WWE has Fastlane in four weeks on March 21. It’s fair to assume The Miz will be in a celebratory mood while McIntyre will be angry and looking for revenge, not just on Miz, but Lashley as well.
From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1448 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.
There was a video package that showed Drew McIntyre retaining the WWE Title during the Elimination Chamber match. It also showed Bobby Lashley’s post match attack and then The Miz cashing in the Money in the Bank contract. The Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on McIntyre and pinned Drew to become the WWE Champion for the second time. That was how Elimination Chamber ended.
Miz TV WWE Championship Celebration
John Morrison was in the ring where he introduced his friend, the new WWE Champion The Miz. That led to The Miz walking out with the WWE Title and then a lot of pyro went off on the stage. There were balloons around the ring along with a red carpet and chairs in the ring as part of the Miz TV setup. Miz hugged Morrison when he got into the ring. Miz was in a suit while Morrison was in his wrestling gear. There were boos greeting The Miz in the ring.
The Miz welcomed us to Miz TV Champion’s Edition. Miz noted that 16 years ago he first stepped foot inside a WWE ring and everybody said that he would be fired within three months. Miz noted that today he stands there on Raw as the WWE Champion. Miz said that all the top superstars of his generation have come and gone, yet here he is still standing. Miz claimed he has taken out Batista, John Cena, the list goes on and on, then he said Triple H, Big Show, Bobby Lashley and Edge. Miz said that none of them measure up to him. Miz said he is like the Babe Ruth of WWE because he called his shot. Miz said he told Drew McIntyre he would cash in the Money in the Bank contract and beat him, so that’s exactly what he did. Miz said that he is a main event caliber superstar. Miz said that he is the only two-time Grand Slam Champion in the history of the business. That means he has held every major title multiple times (at least twice). Miz said he deserves that title. Miz said he didn’t ask for your respect, he demands it.
Bobby Lashley showed up in a suit with his buddy MVP joining him. MVP has a crutch beside his right leg since he’s dealing with a slight meniscus tear in his knee according to what MVP said on Instagram. Lashley is the former US Champion since Riddle won the title by pinning John Morrison in a triple threat match.
MVP congratulated Miz on his new WWE Championship. MVP mentioned that Miz has an impressive list of accomplishments. MVP noted that Lashley wrecked Drew McIntyre to help Miz become the WWE Champion. Miz claimed he was going to thank them in his speech. Miz tried to leave, but MVP noted that he wanted to disclose the terms of their agreement. MVP said that Miz has an obligation to make things right. MVP said Morrison cost Lashley the US Title, then Lashley helped him become WWE Champion, so he deserves a title shot. Miz said he promised Lashley a WWE Championship match, but he didn’t say when while rambling on about his responsibilities as champion. Miz said that there is no time for it. MVP said that when Miz mentioned WWE titans that don’t measure up to The Miz, he did say Lashley’s name. Lashley grabbed Miz by the tie, then threatened to kick his ass and put him in the emergency room. Lashley told him he is going to take that WWE Championship from The Miz while adding it’s going to be painful, merciless and awesome. That ended the segment.
Analysis: That was an interesting promo that teases something for later in the show, so that’s done to keep viewers interested. There was a backstage scene at Elimination Chamber with MVP talking to Miz, so that was where they can say they made the deal for Lashley to attack McIntyre and that led to Miz cashing in the Money in the Bank contract. It makes sense as a storyline anyway. I like the idea of Lashley getting a WWE Title shot and also becoming the champion because I think he’s done a fantastic job over the last year as a heel with MVP by his side.
Riddle walked up to Lucha House Party in the backstage area with Riddle carrying the USA Title around his shoulder. Riddle did his stoner rambling routine naming the eagle on his US Title “Travis” and then Riddle was off on a scooter for his match with John Morrison up next.
John Morrison was in the ring while a clock was shown giving Miz until 9pm ET to answer Lashley’s challenge. Riddle entered for his match against Morrison. The announcers are Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton as usual.
Riddle vs. John Morrison
Riddle with an armbar takedown with Morrison getting out of it. Morrison with a kick, but then Riddle caught his arm with another submission attempt. Morrison hit an impressive kick to the side of the head, but then Riddle came back with a gutwrench suplex for two. Riddle blocked a kick, Morrison did an eye poke and a dragon sleeper that led to Morrison sending Riddle onto the Apron. Morrison kicked Riddle off the apron to the floor. Morrison went for a twisting dive over the top to the floor, but then his knee hit the top rope, so Morrison landed hard on his knee. Morrison appeared to be okay. They battled on the apron. Riddle trapped the leg and hit a fisherman’s buster suplex on the apron leading to a break. Great move there.
The match returned with Riddle charging for a splash, but Morrison got his knees up. Morrison with a forward slam into a pin attempt for two. Riddle with a jumping kick to the face, then a running forearm and another forearm. Riddle with an exploder suplex out of the corner, Morrison moved out of the way of a PK and moonsault, but Riddle followed with a kick. Riddle with a Floating Bro splash off the ropes onto Morrison on the floor. Back in the ring, Riddle hit a German Suplex for two. Morrison charged at Riddle, who was on the middle ropes, and Morrison hit a Spanish Fly slam for a two count. Riddle hit the Bro to Sleep, Morrison with a superkick to the apron, Riddle tried a sunset flip, but Morrison hit a knee to the face. Morrison went up, Riddle blocked it and hit the Bro Derek for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Riddle
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good match between two talented athletes that were given some time to show what they can do. Riddle needs wins like that over established veterans to look like a credible US Champion, so I’m all for booking like that. They had a few spots where they were not on the same page, but a lot of the moves and counters looked smooth. I really liked that Spanish Fly of the middle ropes by Morrison. The finish was good with Riddle popping up and finishing off Morrison with the Bro Derek. They might finally be booking Riddle right after a lot of inconsistency in terms of how he was booked.
The Miz/Lashley Ultimatum countdown clock had about 29 minutes left.
There was a video about Rhea Ripley heading to Raw soon.
Analysis: That’s cool with me. Ripley is young at 24 years old, very talented already, she has a lot of confidence and a bright future. It also makes sense to not put her on the same show as Bianca Belair since they are two women on the rise.
There were clips shown of Bad Bunny as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and he had the 24/7 Title with him.
Bad Bunny was shown walking with Damian Priest when Sarah Schreiber showed up for an interview. Bunny said that with his boy Damian by his side, you should get used to seeing him with that 24/7 Title every week. R-Truth was standing nearby with a referee, Truth hugged the referee and Truth spoke to Priest/Bunny. Truth did his bit confusing Bad Bunny as Bugs Bunny while making Space Jam references. Priest stood in Truth’s face saying his name is Bad Bunny. Truth: “My bad…bunny.” Truth said you got him this time, DP. Truth left.
Analysis: Truth was great as usual with some funny lines. The idea is that Bad Bunny might hold the title for a while because he has the big man Damian Priest by his side.
There was a replay of Bobby Lashley reminding The Miz about the deal that they made.
The Miz complained to WWE Official Adam Pearce about what Bobby Lashley wants him to do. Pearce asked Miz if there was a deal and Miz said that it was not in writing. Pearce told Miz he needs to step up to take on all challenges. Miz wanted him to delay for when the time is right. Pearce said he’ll respect whatever Miz decides to do, but he has to decide soon because the clock is ticking. Pearce left while Miz checked his phone.
The New Day duo of Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance for a match.
There was a video plugging Punky Brewster on NBC’s Peacock streaming service. It debuts on Thursday. No Peacock here in Canada for me. I don’t think I would watch it. They showed some of the cast on the ThunderDome screens including Freddie Prinze Jr., who used to be a writer for WWE.
Retribution made their entrance for a tag team back. Good to see Reckoning (Mia Yim) back after missing a few weeks due to COVID-19. The two big guys are in this tag team match.
Retribution – T-Bar and Mace (w/Mustafa Ali, Slapjack and Reckoning) vs. The New Day – Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods
T-Bar with a forearm to the back of Woods, then Woods got an armbar and Kingston tagged in with a double foot stomp to T-Bar’s arm. T-Bar with a body slam on Kingston. Mace tagged in, he slammed Kofi’s back into the mat repeatedly and then T-Bar hit a running boot for a two count. T-Bar with a backbreaker. Mace tagged in, T-Bar kicked Woods off the apron and Mace/T-Bar hit their double team Chokeslam called High Justice. Ali wanted them to do it again. Woods sent T-Bar over the top rope, Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise kick on Mace and Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise kick on T-Bar for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day – Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods
Analysis: *1/2 A short match to put over New Day after Retribution refused to pin Kofi when they had the chance. It was a bit of a surprise that they would go with a finish where Kofi didn’t bring Woods into the ring and Kofi managed to win with the Trouble in Paradise in a way that made it looks easy. I don’t mind New Day winning. I just don’t know where things are headed for them.
Post match, New Day left to the back. Mustafa Ali did a promo ripping on T-Bar failing him and Mace disrespecting him. Ali wondered how much longer he has to deal with this crap. Ali yelled at them telling them he has carried them on his back and they failed over and over again.
Analysis: That promo made it feel like the end of this failed group may be coming soon. It just hasn’t worked that well, so it might be time to pull the plug on it. Then again, it could lead to the group being booked stronger. I’m not sure where it’s going.
Bobby Lashley was in his ring gear as he was shown walking backstage with MVP. The ultimatum had just under four minutes left as they went to break.
This Wednesday on NXT, what will Adam Cole do next? Plus, Karrion Kross faces Santos Escobar in a No DQ match. I’ll have a review on TJRwrestling on Thursday. On Monday, WWE announced NXT live two hours on Wednesday here in Canada. Love that. Makes life easier on me.
It was near the top of hour two as we got another replay of Bobby Lashley letting The Miz know he wanted a shot at the WWE Title.
Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, was in the ring saying it’s been nearly an hour (since the show started) and the ultimatum was up. Pearce introduced Bobby Lashley, who was in his wrestling gear, and MVP in a suit with the crutch for his injured right leg. Lashley and MVP joined Pearce in the ring.
The Miz made his entrance in a suit with the WWE Title on his shoulder while John Morrison was with him still in his ring gear. The Miz and Morrison got in the ring as well. All five guys had microphones in their hands.
Pearce told Miz he had the obligation to give Lashley his decision. The Miz said he made his decision that he needs more time. Lashley told Miz to quit stalling because he is wasting Lashley’s time while adding it is like wasting money. Miz tried to complain about it with MVP saying that Miz doesn’t have a deal with other WWE superstars. Miz said he needs more time. Miz said that he understands Lashley wants his title shot, but Miz claimed he wanted to be at his best. Miz said to give him a week. Braun Strowman’s music hit as the former Universal Champion made his entrance.
Strowman said that if anybody is getting a WWE Championship match around here it’s him. Strowman said he can do whatever he wants. Strowman said that Shane McMahon and Pearce had something against him while Strowman noted he’s a former Universal Champion while pointing out that he deserves a shot more than Lashley. The Miz tried stirring the pot saying Lashley shouldn’t take that from Strowman.
Shane McMahon made his entrance to join this promo party that now has seven guys standing in a line in the ring. Shane wondered what kind of ship Adam was running around here. Shane said that Braun can’t just storm out there to expect a WWE Championship match. Shane reminded Braun that Elimination was for former WWE Champions to compete in while Braun has never held that title (he was Universal Champion). Braun said he thinks that whole idea sucked. Strowman said he wants a WWE Championship opportunity tonight. Shane said no to that. Strowman said if you won’t give him a match with The Miz, then he would like a match with Bobby Lashley. Shane and Pearce said that they would like to see that match.
Shane said that Braun Strowman will face Bobby Lashley tonight. If Strowman wins against Lashley then it will be Strowman vs. Lashley vs. The Miz for the WWE Title next week. Shane left. Strowman turned his back on Lashley, which led to Lashley doing a shoulder tackle chop black to the back of Strowman’s left knee. Lashley left while Strowman was pissed off about it.
Analysis: It’s a good idea to have matches where there is something on the line for the winners. I don’t know if the average WWE fan cares that much about Strowman vs. Lashley, but it does affect next week’s WWE Title match. It also means that The Miz will survive as WWE Champion for at least eight days going into next week’s title match against Lashley and possibly Strowman as well. I’m not sure why they feel the need to bring Shane McMahon back although it’s WrestleMania season and we all know the McMahon family loves to be involved on screen during that time of year.
This week on Smackdown: Edge is challenging Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. They didn’t specifically advertise anything.
There was a recap of what happened before the break.
Tornado Tag Team Match: The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander) vs. Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik)
This is not for the Tag Team Titles held by The Hurt Business. Tornado rules means there are no tags. MVP is on commentary for the match.
Benjamin with a clothesline on Metalik and then Alexander hit a dropkick to the back of Dorado. Benjamin with a back body drop on Metalik across the ring. Alexander with a suplex on Metalik for two. Dorado was back in, Benjamin held him across the back and Alexander hit a dropkick on Dorado. Benjamin dumped Dorado out of the ring, then Benjamin hit Metalik for a forearm and a suplex by Benjamin. Alexander with a knee drop on Metalik. Alexander whipped Dorado into the barricade and into the ring apron. Benjamin gave Metalik a Powerbomb for two as Dorado broke up the pin. Benjamin lifted Metalik, but Dorado pulled Alexander out of the ring and Dorado with a kick. Metalik with a spinning DDT on Benjamin and Dorado with a splash off the top for two as Alexander made the save. Alexander sent Metalik to the apron, Dorado with a chop to Alexander and Dorado hit a headscissors. Metalik jumped off the top, btu Alexander got out of the way. Benjamin knocked Metalik out of the ring, Benjamin tossed Dorado into a knee by Alexander and then Benjamin hit Paydirt for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander)
Analysis: **1/2 A clean and decisive win for the Raw Tag Champions Benjamin and Alexander. The match was dominated by the champs for a few minutes, then LHP had a moment where it looked like they might win, but the teamwork of Benjamin and Alexander got it done. It’s nice to see Hurt Business win and Riddle win non-title matches on Raw this week. I mention it because WWE books champions to lose non-title way too often, so I like to see the champs winning those matches to make the champs look strong.
Bad Bunny made his entrance as the 24/7 Champion followed by his buddy Damian Priest, who is in action next.
Angel Garza made his entrance. This guy could be a much bigger star, but they don’t use him that much.
Damian Priest (w/Bad Bunny) vs. Angel Garza
Priest with a clothesline followed by forearms that rocked Garza. Priest with a jumping back elbow for two. Garza sent Priest into the turnbuckle, Garza with a clothesline and then Garza took off the pants to wrestle in the tights. Garza threw his pants at Bad Bunny. Garza with a dropkick followed by a running kick against the turnbuckle. Garza slapped on a Camel Clutch submission, Priest got out of that and Garza stepped on the back on Priest to keep him down. Garza with a chinlock, Priest broke free, Priest with a forearm and a jumping kick to the head. Priest with a punch, the bell clap, a kick to the head and Priest with a running back elbow. Priest with the Broken Arrow slam for a two count. Garza came back with a punch, then he stared at Bunny and Garza hit Priest with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Garza trash-talked Bad Bunny with Garza inviting him into the ring. That allowed Priest to get back into it with a kick to the face and Priest jumped off the top with a spinning heel kick. Priest nailed his finisher called Hit The Lights that was renamed since it was called The Reckoning, but there’s a wrestler named Reckoning on Raw. It’s smart to change the name. Anyway, they got about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ** That was a strong win for Priest, who continues to pick up victories as a Raw newcomer. I think Angel Garza is a guy that could be doing a whole lot more on this show. This went a few minutes longer than I thought because I figured it would be three minutes instead of six minutes, so at least it’s good that they got more time. Priest’s offense looks impressive especially for a bigger guy like him.
Post match, there were wrestlers that went after Bad Bunny. Priest took care of Akira Tozawa and Humberto Carrillo easily. Drew Gulak ran at Bad Bunny, who tossed Gulak over the top to the floor. Priest celebrated with Bad Bunny to end it.
Analysis: This continued the story that it’s going to be tough to take the 24/7 Title from Bad Bunny because he has Damien Priest hanging out with him.
Randy Orton is up next.
There was another video about Rhea Ripley coming to Raw soon. She’s only 24 years old and finished second in the Women’s Royal Rumble match last month.
A clip was shown from Raw last week when Randy Orton was distracted by the face of Alexa Bliss on every screen in the ThunderDome, which led to Orton being counted out in the Gauntlet Match.
Randy Orton was shown backstage saying failure is not a word that he is familiar with. Orton said that lately he is surrounded by it. Orton said that last week he should have won the Gauntlet Match, but he lost and then Orton was the first man eliminated in the Elimination Chamber match. Orton said that every time he’s distracted, he takes care of the problem like when he set The Fiend on fire. That led to the clip of Orton setting The Fiend mannequin on fire at TLC two months ago. Orton said he took care of The Fiend, he is no more although some like to think that he is coming back, but Orton claims Fiend is not coming back. Orton wondered why can’t focus on what matters. Orton coughed during his promo. Orton said that he is still distracted, but not by The Fiend, he is distracted by Alexa Bliss. They played a clip of Bliss last week laughing into the camera. Orton coughed up some black liquid and then he ran out of the interview set. The announcers wondered what was going on.
Analysis: The mystery black liquid is back. We saw the black liquid coming from Alexa Bliss’s mouth a few weeks ago. Old school fans like myself will remember it from Papa Shango feuds from nearly 30 years ago. If you remember that then that means we’re old, pal. Anyway, the Orton feud with The Fiend clearly isn’t over and will probably lead to a WrestleMania match, but until then, we’ll get more weird segments like this.
A replay aired from last week on Raw when Lacey Evans involved Charlotte Flair and everybody else that Lacey was pregnant. Ric Flair celebrated with some “woo” yelling.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance for a tag team match.
There was a video that let us know WrestleMania is 47 days away while noting that it was “exclusively on Peacock” for those of you in the United States. They intend to have fans there with around 25,000 to 30,000 fans, but tickets aren’t on sale yet.
Asuka made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. This is not a title match. Phillips mentioned that NXT’s Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota have a title opportunity while Raw’s Naomi and Lana have a title opportunity as well.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Charlotte Flair and Asuka
Asuka and Baszler exchanged submission holds with Joe putting it over as high-level grappling. Charlotte tagged in, Jax tagged in for the first time and Jax rocked Charlotte with a punch. Charlotte came back with punches, Charlotte with an overhead suplex and a double dropkick sent Jax out of the ring. Asuka knocked Baszler off the apron to the floor.
Baszler was in control of Asuka with a kick to the back for a two count. Baszler stomped on Asuka’s left elbow and then Jax pulled on the left arm against the ropes. Asuka avoided a stomp leading to a rollup for two. Charlotte tagged in with kicks, then punches and a corner charge missed leading to Baszler kicking Charlotte in the legs. Charlotte avoided a double suplex, Charlotte clothesline on Jax, chop to Jax and Charlotte with kicks to both women. Charlotte kicked Jax in the knee. Charlotte charged right into a Powerbomb by Jax for a two count. Jax with a clothesline. Baszler back in to work on the arm, Flair got out of it briefly and then Baszler drove Charlotte back into their corner. Charlotte managed a sunset flip takedown on Jax, then Baszler tagged in and knocked Asuka off the apron. Charlotte slapped on the Figure Four Leglock, but then Jax hit a leg drop on Charlotte to break that up. Asuka made the hot tag with a missile dropkick on Baszler, Jax tagged in, Asuka was on fire with running hip attacks on both women and Jax splashed Baszler when Asuka moved. Asuka with double knees to the face and a running knee. Baszler broke up an armbar attempt by Asuka with a stiff kick to the face. Charlotte was back in with a boot to Baszler, who moved, but then Charlotte kicked Asuka by accident. Charlotte left the ring with Baszler and Jax hit a leg drop on Asuka for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average tag team match. The teams have wrestled many times in the past, so it was a lot of familiar spots in the match. It was clear by the end that the whole point of doing this match was to have Charlotte hit Asuka with a boot to the face by accident (when Baszler moved), which is probably going to lead to a storyline. Jax pinned Banks on Sunday and Asuka on Monday. The announcers didn’t make a big deal of it because she’s just a tag team wrestler right now.
Post match, Charlotte tried to help Asuka to her feet. Asuka slapped her hand away because she was mad that Charlotte kicked her even though it was an accident. Charlotte was frustrated.
Analysis: I think it’s fair to assume that Charlotte’s heel turn is coming soon. Charlotte likes being a heel more than being a face, so I can see her turning on Asuka and that WWE goes with that as a WrestleMania match just like three years ago.
Jeff Hardy entered for a match against Sheamus.
There was a commercial for Young Rock on NBC on Tuesday night. I liked the first episode. They were showing it on USA Network after Raw as well. Byron wanted to watch it with Joe, but Joe said no. Joe rules.
Sheamus made his entrance against a familiar opponent from their Smackdown days last year.
Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy
Sheamus was aggressive early on with punches and a back elbow that rocked Hardy. Sheamus slapped on an armbar, Jeff with an armdrag that sent Sheamus under the bottom rope and then Hardy stomped on Sheamus repeatedly. Sheamus popped back up with a clothesline. Sheamus with a forearm to the lower back of Jeff, Sheamus with a low dropkick on Sheamus on the apron and then Jeff with a dropkick that sent Sheamus into the barricade. Hardy jumped off the steps with a leg lariat that sent Sheamus into the barricade and that led to a break.
The match returned with Sheamus hitting three backbreakers in a row for a two count. Hardy came back with punches and a jawbreaker. Sheamus charged, Jeff moved and Jeff sent Sheamus shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind diving attack off the ropes to knock Sheamus down. Hardy did the atomic drop, leg drop, dropkick and a splash was blocked by double knees into a pin attempt for Sheamus. Jeff got his feet up to stop a charging Sheamus and Jeff hit a splash off the middle rope for a two count. Hardy with a spin kick, then Sheamus kicked Hardy and Hardy came back with the Twist of Fate neckbreaker. Hardy was slow getting up to the top, Hardy jumped off, Sheamus moved and Sheamus shoved off a Twist of Fate attempt. Sheamus got out of a rollup, Sheamus with an eye poke, a knee to the face and Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: **3/4 A solid match between two guys that have wrestled a lot in the last year. Jeff is at a point in his career where you can tell he’s going to lose to guys at one level (like Elias), but when he’s out there with somebody like a Sheamus or AJ Styles then you know Jeff is probably going to lose. Sheamus has been getting a bit of a push of late since he pinned Drew McIntyre last week, but beating Jeff Hardy in 2021 doesn’t feel like that big of a deal.
Charlotte Flair was shown backstage with father Ric Flair standing beside her. Charlotte said that she can’t focus because of this Lacey stuff with Ric dancing about what happened. Charlotte said that she is trying to protect their legacy. Charlotte said that this is not the performer that she is and she told Ric to go home…please. Ric said that he never said that the baby was his. Ric said he saw potential in a good human being. Charlotte said that he saw potential in many blondes over and over. Ric said that he saw that Lacey could be a great competitor. Ric said that he was a part of Charlotte’s success. Ric said that Charlotte is one of the greatest of all time. Ric said he wanted the best for her and he loved her. Ric told her that he wanted to be behind the Raw Women’s Champion and he wanted their name (Flair) to be a household name. Charlotte said that Ric wants to be her dad, her biggest fan and support the women, but then Ric thinks it’s funny. Charlotte told him that when she’s in the ring she wants to prove that she is Charlotte Flair and she thinks that Ric still wants to be the Nature Boy even on his daughter’s time. Charlotte said that she is thankful for everything that Ric has given her, but let her be Charlotte Flair. Charlotte told him he loved her and she left.
Analysis: That was long for a backstage segment. There were moments there where Charlotte was getting emotional talking to her father and hearing him talk to her. Thank you Ric for telling us he’s not the father of Lacey’s baby because if WWE tried to push that angle then that would be awful (Lacey is married with a daughter). Anyway, this might have been a way to write Ric off TV because Charlotte wants him to go home and not try to interfere in the business she is a part of right now. That also makes Charlotte look a bit heelish since she’s being rude to her own father, so again that makes me think Charlotte is heading towards a heel turn.
There was a replay of Randy Orton spewing up some black liquid earlier in the show.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke vs. Naomi and Lana
All four women were in the ring without entrances. Naomi started with Brooke, then Lana tagged in, Lana with a kick on Brooke leading to a bulldog. They showed Baszler and Jax watching on a TV backstage. Lana and Naomi are owed a title match. Rose tagged in with a running knee strike on Lana for two. Brooke with a handspring back elbow. Lana tagged out with Naomi facing Rose and Lana took out Brooke on the apron. Naomi and Lana hit a double facebuster into the mat and Naomi pinned Rose to win the match in about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Naomi and Lana
Analysis: 3/4* That was quick and felt like it was supposed to be longer, but they had to rush to get through it. It builds up Naomi and Lana with a win because they are getting a future title shot against Baszler and Jax based on a win a few weeks ago.
Bobby Lashley was shown warming up backstage.
AJ Styles made his entrance with Omos for a match up next.
They showed replays of Omos getting involved in AJ Styles matches over the last few months. Ricochet made his entrance. If I had to pick one person on Raw that is the most underutilized, I think I would pick him.
AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Ricochet
Ricochet with a dropkick followed by a kick that sent Styles out of the ring. Back in the ring, Ricochet with a body slam and elbow drop. Styles slipped out of a suplex, Styles kicked the leg and then Styles hit a snap suplex into the turnbuckle. Styles with a backbreaker leading to a chinlock. Ricochet bounced off the ropes right into a dropkick by Styles. Ricochet blocked a kick, then punches and then Styles with a shot to the throat. Styles suplexed Ricochet into the top rope and he went for a Styles Clash, but Ricochet countered into a hurricanrana for a two count. Ricochet with a German Suplex for a two count. Ricochet went up top, he jumped off with a flip, Styles moved and Ricochet landed on his feet. Styles with a knee to the face. Styles hit the Styles Clash for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ** A clean win for Styles in a matchup between two great athletes. The days of Ricochet hanging with Styles and holding the US Title feels like so long ago considering how WWE books Ricochet these days. I like how they teased the finish from their last match, but Ricochet got out of that and then Styles won shortly after that.
Post match, Omos grabbed Ricochet and gave him a two-handed Chokeslam that sent Ricochet to the mat. Big drop there.
Analysis: It’s a way to get Omos involved a little bit more. They are having him get physical nearly every week.
This week on Raw Talk the guests are Riddle, AJ Styles with Omos, Naomi and Lana.
There was a backstage scene with The Miz complaining to John Morrison about things with Miz wanting to find some other way to get out of this WWE Title match next week. Braun Strowman walked up to them, said nothing and Miz/Morrison left. The main event is next.
Braun Strowman made his entrance for the main event. It was noted by Phillips that it was Strowman’s first singles match since October. Bobby Lashley was up next with MVP joining him at ringside. There is not much time left, so it won’t be a long match. The Miz joined commentary for this match.
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP)
Lashley with a waistlock takedown and then Strowman did a waistlock takedown to Lashley. Strowman with hammer fists on Lashley. Strowman whipped Lashley into the turnbuckle, then Strowman charged with a splash and Strowman sent Lashley over the top to the floor. Strowman left the ring leading to the charge on the floor, but Lashley moved and Strowman hit his knees into the steel steps. Lashley jumped off the steps onto Strowman on the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley with a running dropkick to the left knee and Lashley hit a flatliner for two. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock, Strowman got out of that easily and Lashley went for a suplex, but he couldn’t do it. Strowman with a punch to the back and a clothesline. Strowman hit a corner splash followed by a Running Powerslam for a two count. Everybody was shocked by that since that was Strowman’s finisher that few people ever kick out of. There were stunned reactions by the announcers and Miz to really sell it. Strowman was stunned by it too. Strowman charged right into a huge spinebuster from Lashley. Lashley ran the ropes and hit a Spear on Strowman for the pinfall win after five minutes. Strowman got his left shoulder up shortly after the pinfall win by Lashley to make it look close.
Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: *** It was an entertaining five-minute match with a lot of big spots and impactful moves. We have seen many of those kinds of matches in recent years, so I think the formula works when it’s done right. Everything they did felt like a big deal. I loved the way the announcers, Miz and Strowman sold how big of a deal it was that Lashley kicked out of the Powerslam. Lashley winning clean is big too.
After the match, Lashley put the Hurt Lock on Strowman as well. The Miz tried to attack Lashley with the WWE Title, but Lashley caught him with a huge spinebuster. Lashley hit a huge Spear on Miz as well. Lashley celebrated his dominance with MVP cheering him on. Lashley held up the WWE Title while The Miz was out in the ring. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Is Bobby Lashley on his way to becoming the WWE Champion? Yeah, I think it’s going to happen. It should happen. There’s no reason for Miz to have a significant title reign. It is Lashley’s time now.
THE ALMIGHTY @WWE CHAMPION SOON COME!!
— Bobby Lashley (@fightbobby) February 23, 2021
Three Stars of the Show
- Bobby Lashley
- Braun Strowman
- Riddle/John Morrison/The Miz
6 out of 10
Last week: 6
2021 Average: 5.81
It was just an average episode of Raw. The Miz didn’t have to defend the WWE Title one day after winning it, but Miz certainly could lose the title next Monday on Raw when he defends the WWE Title against Bobby Lashley. The way Lashley was booked against Braun Strowman was absolutely perfect. It was a meaningful win with Bobby kicking out of Braun’s finisher. Lashley looked dominant after the match as well. The best run of Bobby’s WWE career is happening right now and it’s partly due to booking, but I think Bobby is performing at a high level as well.
I think Lashley will leave next week’s Raw as the WWE Champion with Drew McIntyre going after him immediately after that match. Do Lashley vs. Miz again at Fastlane and then Lashley vs. McIntyre at WrestleMania for the WWE Title. That sounds good to me.
Three champions won non-title matches on this show. My pet peeve booking is having champs lose non-title several times on the same show, yet this week all three champions won non-title. That’s what I want to see. When you build your champions to be strong, it means more when they lose.
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