Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. We are less than two weeks away from WrestleMania 37 on April 10 and April 11. Most of the WrestleMania lineup is set, but there are still going to be some additions along with some possible changes as well. I wrote this TJR Blog on Sunday afternoon with some predictions for WrestleMania two weeks early, so if you want to know my thoughts on any of the announced matches, please check that out.
From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1453 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 shown from earlier in the day with Drew McIntyre arriving at the stadium. Sarah Schreiber showed up to interview him. McIntyre talked about how Bobby Lashley is telling the locker room if they take out McIntyre then Bobby will give them a WWE Title match. McIntyre warned the locker room that if they try to take him out then they’ll get a Scottish ass whipping.
There was a shot of the ThunderDome with the crowd on the screens. Only a few more episodes in Tropicana Field. The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and there’s no Samoa Joe this week.
Let’s Hear from Bobby Lashley with The Hurt Business
The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance in a suit along with his Hurt Business buddies MVP, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. They were all in suits. Lashley defends the WWE Title against Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania on Night One (Saturday, April 10).
MVP said that we are less than two weeks away from WrestleMania where Bobby Lashley will walk in and walk out as the champion. Lashley said that if anybody can take out Drew McIntyre then you will be rewarded with a WWE Title match at WrestleMania. MVP said that they felt like Drew has already had his opportunities, so they want to see somebody else step up and accept that generous offer. MVP cued up highlights of last week when Drew McIntyre beat Benjamin and Alexander in a Handicap Match last week on Raw.
Lashley told Benjamin and Alexander they couldn’t get the job done and now they are barred from ringside at Lashley’s match at WrestleMania. Lashley said that he can’t count on those two guys for anything right now. Lashley said he refuses to associate himself with incompetence. MVP said that Bobby is right because they failed miserably. Alexander said that they could have done this privately and Benjamin wondered if they brought them out there to embarrass them without national television. Benjamin talked about how they had Lashley’s back. Benjamin shoved MVP and Lashley hit Alexander with a forearm. Lashley punched Benjamin, who punched back and Lashley hit a flatliner on Benjamin. Lashley kicked Benjamin in the ribs to knock him out of the ring. Lashley told Benjamin and Alexander that The Hurt Business is over. Lashley reminded us that somebody can still take out Drew McIntyre and that person would get a WWE Title match. Alexander and Benjamin left while Lashley and MVP were in the ring.
Analysis: I like the story continuity that Lashley & MVP were frustrated about Benjamin & Alexander losing last week, but I’m not sure about kicking the guys out of the group unless it’s just a swerve to set up something later. I think the foursome has been very effective. Perhaps it’s a case of WWE wanting to put some other people in the group, so maybe that’s why this is happening this way. Anyway, they continue to book Lashley as a dominant heel champion, which is a good thing to see week after week. The other thing with the group is that it could be a swerve to set up McIntyre, so we’ll see how it goes later in the show.
There was a clip from last week when Sheamus attacked Riddle with Riddle’s scooter. That set up their match this week.
Riddle was backstage on his scooter with Sarah Schreiber asking him about what happened. Riddle said that Sheamus pissed him off and he didn’t like being pissed off. Riddle went on the scooter over to Titus O’Neil, who is the WrestleMania host. Riddle asked Titus to roast a pig at WrestleMania. Titus said he’s the host, not the roast of WrestleMania. Titus left. Riddle said that kids love ice cream and mac & cheese. Riddle kept going on his scooter and Sheamus hit him with a shoulder tackle to knock him down. That match is next.
Analysis: They really like booking Riddle like a dumbass with these segments. I don’t know if they are helping him at all, but at least he’s talented in the ring.
Still to come: The Miz and John Morrison debut their music video. Plus, Shane McMahon’s expose on Braun Strowman.
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander went up to Adam Pearce getting mad about what happened to open the show. Cedric said that Shelton wanted to face Bobby Lashley tonight and if there’s anything left then Cedric wants Bobby next week. They ripped on Pearce a bit and then they left.
They showed Tom Phillips at ringside with Byron Saxton and MVP was sitting in on commentary. They said Samoa Joe couldn’t be there this week.
Sheamus made his entrance first. Riddle was next on a scooter as the US Champion for this non-title match.
Riddle vs. Sheamus
Sheamus was aggressive with uppercuts and a punch to the ribs. Sheamus took over Riddle with a side headlock. Riddle got out of that with sleeper where he took down Sheamus, but Sheamus was able to power out of it. Sheamus elbowed Riddle in the head repeatedly followed by a clothesline. Sheamus worked over Riddle with forearms, then Riddle with a knee to the face and a dropkick that knocked Sheamus out of the ring. Riddle with a kick to the chest followed by the Floating Bro splash onto a standing Sheamus leading to a break.
Sheamus was in control as he was pulling on the mouth of Riddle. After Riddle got in some forearms, Sheamus hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Sheamus delivered hard forearms to the back of Riddle. Sheamus tried a move off the apron, Riddle went for a counter and Sheamus shoved him down. Riddle popped back up with a belly-to-belly suplex off the top. That was a Kurt Angle like move that looked very impressive. Riddle with a Pele Kick, then a running forearm and another forearm. Riddle with an Exploder Suplex across the ring. Riddle kicked Sheamus repeatedly in the chest with Sheamus against the ropes and then Riddle hit another kick followed by the Broton splash for two. Riddle with a triangle choke variation finisher, but then Sheamus managed to get to the bottom rope to break the hold. Sheamus blocked a kick and picked up Riddle with the White Noise slam on the apron for a two count. Sheamus with an Alabama Slam for a two count. Sheamus set up in the corner, Riddle hit him with a jumping knee to the face and got a cradle for two. Sheamus caught a kick from Riddle and Sheamus hit a knee strike to the face for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match between these two as usual. We have seen it a few times in the last couple of months and I think we’ll see it again at WrestleMania since the champion Riddle lost to the challenger Sheamus in this non-title match. It’s rare to see Sheamus win a match without the Brogue Kick, but I don’t mind that rising knee getting the win since it looked devastating. It also tells the audience that Sheamus can win a match without a Brogue Kick, so keep that in mind in the future. Sheamus continues his hot streak of very good TV matches with Riddle also having a nice run.
After the match, Sheamus celebrated on the turnbuckle and Riddle hit him from behind to knock Sheamus down to the floor.
Analysis: It was payback for Riddle after cheap attacks from Sheamus in the past including in the backstage area before this match.
They showed some of the recent issues between Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon including Shane’s fake knee injury last week.
Shane McMahon was shown walking backstage with Elias and Jaxson Ryker, who was dressed for a match. Shane’s expose on Braun Strowman is next.
There was a video about WrestleMania taking place in just 12 days as of Monday.
Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage with AJ Styles and Omos standing in the hallway. Styles said that Bobby has got Drew shaking in his boots. Styles talked about how they had bigger plans at WrestleMania when they embarrass New Day to become the new Raw Tag Team Champions. Styles said he’s focused on Xavier Woods tonight and told Drew maybe their paths will cross sooner or later. Drew was yelling about who wants to take him out.
Shane McMahon Expose on Braun Strowman
Shane was in the ring with Elias and Jaxson Ryker. Shane spoke about the allegations that he might have had an illegitimate knee injury. Shane denied the allegations and lied about how he got through it on the road to WrestleMania against Braun Strowman. Shane put Braun’s fifth-grade report card on the screen with the Braun getting “D” grades in his subjects. Braun’s real name is not Braun, but let’s not be too picky. Shane read a teacher report that Braun instigated fights. Shane kept on reading this to show how stupid Braun is. They had a graphic up saying “2 + 2 = 5” and then said “I’m not stupid” repeatedly. Shane said that he’s going to beat Strowman at WrestleMania and then claimed that maybe what Strowman needs is a big hug.
Analysis: That was boring. Really bad too. It was silly and I think if there was a crowd they would have chanted “boring” as Shane kept rambling. This feud really isn’t that interesting to me. It’s a case of Vince McMahon wanting to put over Strowman in a big way and thinking Shane is the perfect guy to do it.
Braun Strowman made his entrance for a match with Jaxson Ryker. Shane and Elias left the ring.
There was a Snickers commercial featuring The Miz and Xavier Woods.
Braun Strowman vs. Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias and Shane McMahon)
Strowman with a kick to the gut and two tosses across the ring. Strowman left the ring, Shane ran away and Strowman drove Ryker into the turnbuckle. Show with elbows to the head and a headbutt. After a Shane distraction, Ryker hit Strowman in the back and then a boot to the face. Ryker with a running shoulder tackle to the knee and then a bulldog headlock. Ryker jumped off the turnbuckle, Strowman was too far away and Strowman kicked him out of the ring. Strowman hit a running shoulder tackle on the floor with the fake train noises playing in the arena. Strowman with a running splash on Ryker against the turnbuckle. Strowman with a Running Powerslam on Ryker for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: 3/4* A squash win to give Strowman more momentum going into WrestleMania. They did the train noise while Strowman was running around the ring again. I don’t love it or hate it, but I’m sure some fans are bitching about it.
Post match, Strowman charged at Shane on the floor and then Elias hit Strowman with a jumping knee to the back of the head. Elias and Shane tried punching Strowman to keep him down, but Strowman powered out of that as the heels retreated.
Strowman mentioned that Shane accepted his challenge for a match at WrestleMania. Strowman said that Shane told Braun he can pick any match that he wanted. Strowman said that Shane’s goons can’t get involved in the match. Strowman told Shane there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide because Shane will “get these hands” in a Steel Cage Match. Shane still seemed confident about it while Strowman stood tall in the ring.
Analysis: It’s rare to have a Steel Cage Match at WrestleMania. It does fit the story in that it will prevent Shane from running away. Strowman should get the win there. I can see Shane doing some big bump off the top of the cage through a table in the ring or something like that. Shane is crazy, so I’m sure he’ll do something big.
The music video from The Miz & John Morrison is up next.
The Dirt Sheet Hosted by The Miz & John Morrison
The Miz and John Morrison were seated in chairs in the ring to host their show. Miz faces Bad Bunny at WrestleMania. Morrison said that his hair is so big because he’s full of secrets. Miz claimed this is the most anticipated Dirt Sheet show ever. They spoke about their music video while mocking Bad Bunny for being nominated for a VMA and not winning last week. Morrison said that Bad Bunny did win a Grammy, but Miz said that is not how this goes. Miz complained about how Bad Bunny hit him with a guitar while Miz claimed he was trying to teach him a lesson. Miz said that Bad Bunny was out of line. Miz said he promises to pay back Bad Bunny for every ounce of ridicule, disrespect and for every splinter of wood in his back. Miz said that they will still be the backbone of this company after Bad Bunny’s 15 Minutes of Fame are up.
It was the time for the World Premiere video of Hey Hey Hop Hop that is a music video featuring The Miz and John Morrison. They claimed it was being filmed in Puerto Rico even though they were actually doing some bad dancing on the Raw stage. It also featured some bad rapping and “singing” that trashed Bad Bunny along with Damian Priest. The dance moves they did looked like a couple of 40-year-old guys with no rhythm. I didn’t time it, but it felt like it ran about three minutes.
Analysis: This was bad. They are heels, so that was the point of it. It’s about pissing off the audience by being annoying heels.
Bad Bunny made his entrance with the big man Damian Priest by his side. Priest congratulated them and claimed that they enjoyed the music video. Bad Bunny said it was entertaining. Priest said that Miz won’t be laughing when Bad Bunny handles him at WrestleMania. Bad Bunny spoke in Spanish, so Priest translated saying that Bad Bunny said he will make Miz his bitch. Miz went after Bad Bunny, who punched Miz in the face. Miz retreated with Morrison, who told Miz to wait until WrestleMania. Bad Bunny threw the chairs out of the ring and Bad Bunny tossed the poster out of the ring.
Analysis: It was another week where Bad Bunny did some physicality with a decent-looking punch to the face of The Miz. It was fine for what it needed to be.
Randy Orton was backstage talking into the camera. Orton talked about facing legends like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, The Undertaker, John Cena and so on, but none of them compare to The Fiend. Orton said that months ago, he chose to light that match and watch The Fiend burn. Orton said he ignored the fact that The Fiend is not a man, he’s sick and twisted, and he’s an abomination from hell. Orton said that Alexa Bliss trapped him at Fastlane and she knew she could bring him back. Orton said that at least now he knows what he is dealing with. Orton said that at WrestleMania, he will stand across the ring from a sick and twisted abomination. Orton said that lucky for him, they were both cut from the same cloth. Orton said he knew how far into hell he had to sink until The Fiend is out of his life once and for all.
Analysis: Good promo from Orton there. I may not love the feud because of how silly it has been for most of the last few months (especially the black liquid stuff), but when Orton needs to deliver a promo he expresses himself well. It was something that wasn’t a strength of Orton in the past, but in this last year with no fans, Orton has improved a lot.
The All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance for his match. Shelton Benjamin were walking backstage because Shelton’s match is next.
This week on Smackdown is the fallout from last week when it was announced that the Universal Championship match at WrestleMania will be Roman Reigns vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan. Plus, Sami Zayn will have his documentary red carpet premiere with Logan Paul as his guest.
There was a replay of Bad Bunny punching The Miz in the face.
Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/Cedric Alexander)
Lashley’s WWE Title is not on the line here. Benjamin with a waistlock takedown. MVP talked about how Benjamin and Alexander didn’t get the job done. Benjamin with knees to the ribs of Lashley, but Bobby came back with a flatliner followed by punches. Lashley dumped Benjamin out of the ring. Lashley put Benjamin on his shoulders and ran Shelton into the ring post. Lashley sent Benjamin into the ring with a running shoulder tackle. Alexander tried to distract, so Lashley scared Alexander into running up the ramp towards the back. Back in the ring, Benjamin hit the Pay Dirt neckbreaker slam for a two count. Benjamin with a running knee to the face, then another running knee and Lashley came back with a huge spinebuster. Lashley whipped Benjamin into the ropes leading to another huge spinebuster. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission on Benjamin, who passed out to give Lashley the win.
Winner by submission: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: *1/2 It was an impressive win for the WWE Champion to give him more momentum going into WrestleMania. Benjamin got that one nearfall with his Paydirt move, but then Lashley was able to come back easily with those spinebusters leading to the Hurt Lock. Lashley has been booked very well as WWE Champion.
There was a backstage scene with The New Day going up to AJ Styles and Omos. Xavier and Kofi said that they were going to have game night. Styles didn’t want to play their games. Kofi and Xavier said Game Night is about to begin as they walked towards the ring.
This Wednesday on NXT: A battle royal with 12 wrestlers. Plus, it’s the final NXT before Stand & Deliver the following week.
The announcers spoke about WrestleMania. We know Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon is a Steel Cage match. We can also add Riddle defending the US Title vs. Sheamus at WrestleMania on Night 2 on Sunday, April 11.
New Day Game Night
The New Day were in the ring hosting Game Night. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions. They introduced AJ Styles and Omos to join them in the ring. The ring was full of tables with games on them. Styles said that Omos and him are the better team in this ring. First up is Charades with Kofi doing the actions with Xavier Woods correctly guessing “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. AJ Styles tried to do his Charades topic “The Lion King” but Omos didn’t even try to guess. Next up, Woods had to draw a Rocket Ship and did a nice job of it, so Kofi was able to get it right. AJ Styles drew “The Sun” and Omos didn’t even guess.
Omos spoke up saying enough with the games. Omos said that they don’t have to play this game to be the Tag Team Champions. Omos told New Day that at WrestleMania he’ll show them both what he’s capable of. Styles has a match with Woods after the break. Styles wrecked the other games in the ring and New Day kept on talking. This mercifully came to an end.
Analysis: I like New Day and Styles a lot, but this bored me. I realize the point of it was to show that New Day are a cohesive unit while Styles/Omos are not as much of a team, but it was still tough to get through. Omos actually came across as a face by telling New Day to stop. It was bad. It’s killing time on a three-hour show.
There was a video that aired featuring some kid doing a Hulk Hogan promo. It was done to remind us that Hulk Hogan & Titus O’Neil will be the hosts of WrestleMania.
Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos)
Styles connected with a dropkick. Woods avoided a charging attack from Styles and hit a forearm to the chest. Woods unloaded on Styles with chops, then Styles sent Woods to the turnbuckle and when AJ missed a corner charge, Woods came back with a chop. Woods with a forearm that knocked Styles off the apron to the floor, but then Omos stood in front of Woods to prevent a dive. Woods dropkicked AJ out of the ring on the other side and Woods hit a somersault dive over the top onto Styles as the show went to break. Woods laughed and smiled at Omos, who still had a serious look on his face. That led to a break.
The match returned with Woods in control with a press slam of sorts for a two count. Woods set up Styles by the turnbuckle, Styles slipped out of that with a trip and Styles hit an Ushigoroshi suplex into the knee for a two count. Woods got out a Styles Clash attempt and hit a Tornado DDT out of the corner for two. Woods went up top for a move, but Omos pulled Styles out of the ring. Woods tried to kick Omos, who blocked the foot and flipped Woods over the top into the ring. There’s the DQ finish. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Xavier Woods
Analysis: *3/4 It was a short match where we only got to see about four minutes of action because of the commercial during the match. I know Woods and Styles are Georgia guys that go back a long way to when they were in TNA, so I’m sure they would love to have a proper feud and long matches one day. They didn’t get that chance here. Getting Omos involved for the DQ is fine because it teases what he might do at WrestleMania when he’s legally in a match for the first time.
Omos grabbed Kingston and gave him a press slam over the barricade. Back in the ring, Omos hit a running backsplash on Woods against the turnbuckle. Styles sent Woods into Omos, who hit a two-handed spinebuster slam. Omos pinned Woods with his foot on the chest and Styles counted the pin as a preview of what might happen at WrestleMania.
Analysis: That was effective in terms of showing the power of Omos and what he might be able to do in the ring.
Alexa Bliss was shown on her playground for her segment up next.
There was a Hungry for WrestleMania moment (sponsored by Snickers) that showed the WrestleMania 30 main event. Daniel Bryan won the WWE Title that night in a match against Randy Orton and Batista. I was there in New Orleans. It was loud. I had a great time. Read my WrestleMania 30 review here and all my WrestleMania reviews listed in order right here.
They replayed what happened before the break with Omos dominating The New Day.
A replay was shown of Randy Orton’s issues with The Fiend and Alexa Bliss. Orton faces The Fiend at WrestleMania.
Alexa Bliss was shown on the Alexa Bliss Playground set in the backstage area. Bliss was sitting on a swing. Bliss said that at TLC, Randy burned The Fiend alive and Randy believed that The Fiend was gone forever, but Randy was wrong. Bliss said that The Fiend needed time and now he’s just salivating at the idea of standing across from Randy Orton at WrestleMania. Bliss spoke about how Orton’s biggest mistake is that he thinks he understands what is next while adding that he doesn’t know what is next. Bliss said: “At WrestleMania, the Legend Killer dies.” Bliss opened up her “pop goes the weasel” toy box and laughed. The camera panned over to show The Fiend sitting on a swing as well.
Analysis: That was creepy, but it was entertaining. I’ll give Bliss a lot of credit for adapting her character and doing a good job with it. From a performance standpoint, she is doing well.
Drew McIntyre was shown backstage and he walked into the huge locker room area. McIntyre dared somebody to try to fight him. McIntyre got in Braun Strowman’s face saying that Strowman should be a multi-time World Champion by now. Strowman said he’s focused on Shane McMahon and told Drew that if Drew wins the WWE Title at WrestleMania then Braun will be first in line to challenge him. Drew got in Humberto Carrillo’s face and tossed him down. Angel Garza tried an attack on Drew, but Drew threw him down easily. Drew Gulak got in Drew’s face and Drew headbutted him to knock him down. Drew stepped up to Ricochet, Drew said he has known him for a long time and Ricochet said that Bobby Lashley’s word doesn’t mean anything. It ended up being a challenge for a match in the ring with Drew saying he’ll see him out there.
Analysis: I feel like they could have done more with the story about somebody in the locker room trying to take out Drew to get a WWE Title match. They really didn’t do much with it. Drew facing Ricochet later is fine with me because Ricochet is one of the most poorly used guys in the company.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler entered with Reginald, who did a flip on his way down to the ring.
The team of Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose were on commentary for this match. They looked tremendous as usual.
Naomi (w/Lana) vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax & Reginald)
Naomi went for a move off the ropes, but Baszler stopped her with a kick to the arm. Baszler stomped on Naomi’s left arm and Baszler went for an armbar on the left arm. Rose and Brooke talked about wanting to get a Women’s Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania. Naomi with a neckbreaker on Baszler and then a sitout slam for two. Naomi went for a bridging pin, Baszler got out of it and Naomi did a split-legged pin attempt. Naomi went to the ropes, Reginald was on the apron, Lana tried to hit him and Jax got a hold of Lana. That led to Jax getting sent into Rose on the chair and Lana kicked Brooke to knock her down. Back in the ring, Naomi did a bridging pin on Baszler. It went about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Naomi
Analysis: *1/2 This felt rushed with a lot of chaos happening on the floor, so it was tough to get into it. It was done that way to give Naomi a pinfall win over a tag team champion Baszler, so they’re trying to make us care about the Women’s Tag Team Titles. It was too rushed.
Asuka, the Raw Women’s Champion, was shown walking backstage with Riddle going up to her with his scooter. Asuka asked if he was doing okay and Riddle said he was happy to face Sheamus at WrestleMania. Riddle wondered if people in Japan would like his scooter. Asuka said yes, but then Riddle laughed it off and went away. That was strange.
Rhea Ripley was shown standing backstage talking to a shorter guy to make her look tall. That contract signing is next.
There was a clip shown of Bad Bunny punching The Miz earlier in the night. Bad Bunny faces The Miz at WrestleMania.
Raw Women’s Title Match Contract Signing
Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, was in the ring with a table and two chairs to mediate this contract signing for a match at WrestleMania. Pearce introduced the challenger Rhea Ripley first. The Raw Women’s Champion Asuka was up next. This match will take place on Night 2 of WrestleMania 37 on Sunday, April 11. Both women were seated in the ring for the contract signing.
Ripley noted that Asuka is the “current” Raw Women’s Champion. Asuka laughed about that and told Ripley she is overconfident. Ripley said in her first night on Raw, she was confident enough to challenge Asuka to a match at WrestleMania. Ripley said she’s confident told Asuka that she’s going to beat her at WrestleMania and take her championship. Ripley signed the contract first followed by Asuka. That led to some Japanese ranting from Asuka. That led to Asuka saying that Rhea is not ready, but Rhea flipped the table over and hit Asuka.
Nia Jax was back with Shayna Baszler with Reginald. Jax said she didn’t know what was worse – Ripley challenging for a match at WrestleMania or Asuka accepting the match. Baszler said that both things were bad. Baszler said that her and Jax have dominated for the last year, so where is her championship match? Baszler bragged about kicking Asuka’s ass and threatened to beat up Ripley. Jax said that if Asuka can pull herself out from under that table, then how about Jax/Baszler face Ripley/Asuka next week and Jax will show them what brutality is. Ripley said she accepts while Asuka held her mouth while selling the table flip attack.
Analysis: It was tamer than most WWE contract signings. There wasn’t that much talking and Ripley flipping the table leading to Asuka bumping showed how intense Ripley is. The way Ripley challenged Asuka without earning a title shot was different than what we usually see, so I liked seeing Jax & Baszler calling out Ripley a bit for how she is getting the title shot. Anyway, setting up a tag team match for next week is fine. They are taping next week’s show early.
Ricochet was shown walking backstage for his match. MVP walked up to him saying he was glad to see Ricochet thinking like a businessman. Ricochet said that this isn’t about Bobby Lashley’s offer. Ricochet said he thinks Lashley and MVP are full of it. Ricochet said that he doesn’t know when he’ll get a title opportunity, so this is about him beating Drew McIntyre because he knows he can do it.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the match against Ricochet. McIntyre was focused as he stared at the WrestleMania sign ahead of him.
There was a Dairy Queen sponsored video with Titus O’Neil talking about life with his two sons and they showed his mom. It was called “Share Your Happy” presented by DQ.
There was a rundown of recent WWE Hall of Fame announcements. They mentioned Kane and The Great Khali being announced last week. Earlier on Monday, it was announced that Rob Van Dam will be in the WWE Hall of Fame as well.
Ricochet made his entrance for this match with Drew McIntyre. MVP was back on commentary again.
Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet
McIntyre with a back body drop with Ricochet getting a lot of height. McIntyre with a belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Bobby Lashley was shown watching on a TV backstage. Ricochet was able to counter a move and do a headscissors that sent McIntyre to the turnbuckle. Ricochet with a jumping knee followed by a springboard kick off the turnbuckle for a one count. Ricochet sent McIntyre out of the ring with Drew punching him in the face. McIntyre sent Ricochet into the steps, Ricochet jumped onto the barricade and ran across the barricade with a dropkick. That was cool. Ricochet set up McIntyre by the turnbuckle, Ricochet went up top and wanted a 630 Splash, but McIntyre avoided it. McIntyre came back with Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: *1/2 It was nice to see Ricochet get in some offense with some moves that few wrestlers can do, but then McIntyre finished him off easily. It’s easy to understand why they kept this a short match in order to make McIntyre look strong. It would be nice if Ricochet was used better.
McIntyre celebrated the win and Mustafa Ali did a chop block to the back of the leg. McIntyre tossed Ali out of the ring and told him he wants a fight right now.
Drew McIntyre vs. Mustafa Ali
Ali was in control with another chop block to the back of the left leg again. Ali was wearing different gear that was a greenish color rather than his Retribution gear since Retribution is done. Ali hit a dropkick to the left knee. Lashley was frustrated, so he walked away from watching on the TV. Ali jumped off the top with a splash onto the left leg of McIntyre. Ali with punches, but then McIntyre came back with a belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre with another overhead belly to belly throw across the ring. Ali with a kick to the leg, but when he went for a move off the middle ropes, McIntyre dropped him with the Glasgow Kiss headbutt. McIntyre with a Claymore Kick on Ali for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ** It was another easy win for McIntyre. At least they tried to tell a story with Ali repeatedly going after the left knee, but McIntyre was able to overcome it. I liked the spot where Ali jumped off the ropes and Drew stopped him with a headbutt. That set up the Claymore Kick for the win.
Drew McIntyre did a promo calling out Bobby Lashley for a fight. McIntyre told Lashley to grow a set of balls and get out here. The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley showed up in his ring attire with MVP saying this was not a good business decision. They went to break with about ten minutes left in the show.
This week on Raw Talk the guests are Asuka, Riddle, The Miz & John Morrison.
Drew McIntyre Confrontation with Bobby Lashley
There were only five minutes left in the show as McIntyre did a promo with Lashley in the ring. McIntyre said that you can’t prevent the inevitable – their title match at WrestleMania. Lashley said that he didn’t need anybody’s help, he reminded Drew about Elimination Chamber and he almost ended his career. Lashley told Drew that his time is up because it is now the All Mighty Era. Drew said that at Elimination Chamber, Bobby beat his ass and he knows how dangerous Lashley is. Drew said if he didn’t exist then Lashley would dominate, but Drew does exist. Drew said tonight proved that Lashley is afraid of Drew McIntyre.
That led to Lashley punching McIntyre and it turned into a fight. McIntyre with a headbutt followed by a kick that sent Lashley out of the ring. King Corbin showed up from behind McIntyre and gave him a suplex into a slam two times in a row. McIntyre came back with a belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre charged right into a Deep Six slam by Corbin. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission on McIntyre, who was left in a heap in the ring. Corbin told Lashley to do it again and then Lashley applied the Hurt Lock on McIntyre again. MVP said that this is The Hurt Business. Lashley stood tall over McIntyre with MVP saying he had never seen Lashley this intense before. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock on McIntyre for the third time. Drew tried to fight it, but Lashley held onto it until McIntyre passed out in the hold. Lashley stood tall over McIntyre with the WWE Title while Corbin was beside Lashley. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: It was a good segment with a bit of a surprise due to the appearance of Smackdown’s King Corbin. It’s a case of WWE wanting another heel to get involved in order to give Lashley the advantage in the segment. Since Corbin was there to deliver some moves to McIntyre, it softened up Drew for Lashley to take Drew out with the Hurt Lock. Nobody helped Drew or tried to break it up either. It was about making Lashley look like a dominant champion, which is how he should be booked. I assume this will probably set up McIntyre vs. Corbin next week on Raw with Drew picking up the win and then Drew can get some momentum back going into WrestleMania. It’s possible that Corbin is being moved to Raw now and maybe this is the new version of The Hurt Business with another wrestler added to it, but I don’t know. I’m just saying it’s a possibility.
My current feeling is that McIntyre will beat Lashley to win back the WWE Title although that’s hardly a lock. It’s just my prediction at this point.
Corbin explained it on Twitter saying Lashley made an offer, so Corbin showed up.
We used to run #WWERaw, we destroyed monsters and punished everyone.
— mayor of jackpot city (@BaronCorbinWWE) March 30, 2021
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
5 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2021 Average: 6.08
This was a step back after last week’s good show. I was bored by a lot of what they did this week. Some of the talking segments like New Day’s game show and Shane McMahon’s promo were bad segments. Add in that Miz/Morrison rap song with a promo that went on way too long. I understand Raw is a three-hour show with time to kill, but those kinds of segments are going to turn off the audience. I know that if I wasn’t writing live then I would have been hitting fast forward for most of the night.
With all of that said, I did like the way they built up the WWE Title match at WrestleMania with Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. I didn’t expect King Corbin to show up since he’s a Smackdown guy, but I figure it’s just to have Drew beat a heel like Corbin next week. It was a show-long story with Drew taking on all comers, which led to Lashley confronting McIntyre in the main event and Lashley standing tall. Simple booking that works.
I wish I could call it a great Raw on the road to WrestleMania. It wasn’t that. Not even close really.
Here’s what the WrestleMania 37 lineup looks like right now for Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11.
Saturday, April 10 – Night 1
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Steel Cage Match: Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman
Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
Bad Bunny vs. The Miz
Sunday, April 11 – Night 2
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
The Fiend vs. Randy Orton
Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
United States Championship: Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus
The hosts of WrestleMania are Hulk Hogan & Titus O’Neil.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.