Randy Orton is set to open RAW tonight, to explain his actions towards Edge at the end of last week’s show. Lana and Liv Morgan have a rematch tonight thanks to some ‘continued social media sniping’, and this time Lashley and Rusev are not banned from ringside. Lashley has his own match to worry about. He takes on Seth Rollins ad Ricochet for the opportunity to face Brock Lesnar at Super ShowDown. There have been heavy snowfalls in the area today, so there may be some odd things happening due to that.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW Review.
Liv Morgan def. Lana
Drew McIntyre def. Mojo Rawley
AOP & Buddy Murphy def. Kevin Owens & The Viking Raiders
Aleister Black def. Eric Young
Rey Mysterio def. Angel Garza (DQ)
Asuka def. Natalya
Ricochet def. Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins
♦ While Randy Orton made his ultra-slow way to the ring, commentary informed us that Edge had undergone tests and would update the WWE Universe when everything is back.
Orton roamed the ring looking troubled while the audience booed him. When he eventually spoke, he said he guessed he owed everyone an explanation, then went quiet again for ages before saying anything. It probably didn’t help to have the crowd reminding him he sucks every time he opened his mouth. He stopped and started a couple of times then said, ‘I can’t do this’ and got out of the ring and left.
♦ In amongst the housekeeping, commentary announced a six-man Tag Team Elimination match featuring Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders against AOP and Buddy Murphy.
♦ Lana vs Liv Morgan was the opening match of the show and it started with Lana feigning a wrist injury and calling for a doctor so she could get the upper hand on Liv Morgan. It sort of worked, Morgan wasn’t fooled but Lana ended in control anyway, briefly. It had to be brief, the whole thing was over inside a couple of minutes when Morgan beat Lana with the same springboard flatliner she used last week.
As Liv Morgan was celebrating, Ruby Riott’s music hit and there were smiles all round as Riott made her way to the ring. They went in for the hug, and Ruby Riott knocked Liv Morgan on her ass and started beating on her. She left Morgan Laying the left. Lana, ever the opportunist, delivered her finisher to Morgan after Riott left.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs Mojo Rawley, with Riddick Moss, started with Drew McIntyre talking. He told Rawley he would Claymore his head off three seconds after putting the microphone down, then talked about Brock Lesnar. He said the fact Lesnar attacked him from behind shows he’s apprehensive about him and his Claymore. And at WrestleMania, he will kick Lesnar’s head off his body and finally become WWE Champion. McIntyre apologised to Mojo Rawley for forgetting he was there, then made good on his promise.
♦ Buddy Murphy sounded like a brainwashed disciple in his interview alongside AOP before their match. He said that, as far as they were concerned, they’d already won the match and were concentrating on the ‘Monday Night Messiah’ leading RAW into the future.
Seth Rollins arrived and dismissed them to prepare. Charly Caruso asked Rollins about the triple threat for the Super ShowDown title shot. He said life has a funny way of working itself out. Just when you think all is lost. Last week, his WrestleMania dreams were dashed when he got thrown out of the rumble, now he’s got a second chance. Rollins also reminded us he’s beaten Lesnar twice and suggested McIntyre should start preparing for him as a WrestleMania opponent.
♦ Kevin Owens & The Viking Raiders vs Buddy Murphy & AOP w/ Seth Rollins – Tag Team Elimination match – was good, and very eventful. Ivar totalled the LED ring board by crashing into it. While Kevin Owens was checking on him, Seth Rollins Stomped Erik on the other side of the ring and he was eliminated. Ivar looked to have potentially dislocated his shoulder and was led away by medics, leaving Kevin Owens to contemplate his next move during a break. Samoa Joe couldn’t come and save him, he’s out injured after last week. By the time we came back, he’d decided to take his chances. He did great and managed to eliminate Buddy Murphy while Rollins was trying to rouse AOP because Owen’s had taken one out with the steps and one with a cannonball. Sadly, for Owens, there was no respite because Akam was in to replace Murphy and straight on him. Kevin Owes eliminated Akam moments later with a stunner. Rezar was the last man standing and he charged into the ring after Rollins’ pep-talk, only to go shoulder first into the ring post when Owens sidestepped. It looked like Owens had it all wrapped up when he delivered a senton from the top, but Rezar kicked out. Rollins got up on the apron to distract Owens and Rezar almost decapitated him with a clothesline. Rezar planted Kevin Owens into the mat a couple of times, with Rollins shouting instructions on the outside, and pinned Owens for the win.
♦ Ricochet said he’s wanted to prove he’s one of the best since he was fourteen. And tonight he gets the chance to do that. He’s not as big and strong as Lashley and doesn’t have a gang like Rollins, so he’s going to use his determination because that’s what got him here.
♦ Aleister Black vs Eric Young was more interesting than watching Black knock out a local competitor in one move, but not much longer. He knocked out Eric Young in a minute or so.
After the match, Black talked. It was all very philosophical and poetic, but it boiled down to the fact he’s planning to kick a lot of heads off.
♦ Commentary recapped the Humberto Carrillo and Andrade rivalry and declared Andrade out ‘indefinitely’ due to the injuries he sustained. My guess is it’ll be around 30 days while he serves his wellness failure suspension.
Humberto Carrillo vs Angel Garza, with Zelina Vega, looked like it was going to be the next match, but it didn’t happen. Carrillo clearly wasn’t expecting to see his cousin. Vega organised it to exploit Carrillo’s vulnerabilities. Garza said he knows Humberto is shocked to see him but he’s there because he’s the leader of their family and Carrillo must answer to him. He called Carrillo a disgrace to the WWE Universe, their family, and to Latinos. That was as far as he got before Carrillo snatched the mic. I don’t speak Spanish, but whatever he said made Vega slap his face and Garza jump him. Carrillo didn’t get anything in. He took a Wing Clipper before being thrown out of the ring then was thrown into the steps so Vega could pull back the matting. Rey Mysterio arrived to make the save before Garza could DDT Carrillo on the concrete.
Rey Mysterio vs Angel Garza happened after a break and Garza looked suitably intimidated. I really enjoyed all but the end of this match. There is a lot of history between Rey Mysterio and the Garza family, some of which commentary explained during the match, and I’m a sucker for all that stuff. Zelina Vega saved Garza from a 619, but Mysterio took him out from over the top instead. Vega then kept him talking until Garza could superkick him and finish the match via DQ with a DDT on the concrete.
♦ Charlotte Flair came out to talk about her WrestleMania choice. She said she’s held the RAW and SmackDown championships multiple times and beaten both Becky Lynch and Bayley. The crowd chanted for Rhea Ripley and Flair said she has love for NXT and NXT has love for their queen. Despite being a ten-time champ she still wants more.
Rhea Ripley interrupted her at that point. She said Flair has beaten Becky and Bayley, but she hasn’t beaten her. In fact, Ripley has beaten her. So if Flair’s going to challenge for any title at WrestleMania… and held the belt up as the end of the sentence. Flair smiled at her and walked away.
I would be one hundred percent more interested in that match than either of Flair’s other options.
Charlotte Flair will answer Rhea Ripley’s challenge on this week’s NXT.
♦ Bobby Lashley was asked if Lana’s loss had distracted him. He said no because they’d have plenty of reasons to celebrate when he wins. He’s going to beat Rollins and Ricochet and go on to defeat Brock Lesnar. Then he’ll beat McIntyre at WrestleMania.
♦ Asuka, with Kairi Sane, vs Natalya was decent and long enough to be bisected by an ad break. Like many of Natalya’s matches, it had a methodical quality to it, and the crowd seemed to drift off in the middle. Natalya got a Sharpshooter locked on but Asuka got to the ropes. Kairi Sane distracted Natalya so Asuka could get the Asuka Lock on, and Natalya tapped out.
After the match, Asuka grabbed a mic and demanded a rematch against Becky Lynch for the title. Lynch came to the ring wearing shades, a sensible precaution around Asuka, but took them off to talk. She said beating Asuka at the Royal Rumble damned near gave her superpowers and she wants to drink from that fountain again. The only thing better than beating Asuka once would be to do it again, so, yes. Kairi Sane tried to attack her from behind and Lynch anticipated and blocked then turned back to Asuka and said ‘See, superpowers. Eyes in the back of my head’.
♦ Seth Rollins talked a lot before the main event. It was part bragging and part complaining about the WWE Universe turning on him. Nothing we haven’t heard many many times already.
Seth Rollins vs Ricochet vs Bobby Lashley – Number One Contender’s Match – was the main event of the evening. Buddy Murphy and AOP arrived after a few minutes of what was shaping up to be an interesting match. Murphy took on Ricochet, and AOP took out Bobby Lashley. Kevin Owens came out. Buddy Murphy ran to meet him and got taken out on the stage. Erik of The Viking Raiders arrived and started on AOP, Owens joined him and they chased off AOP through the crowd.
After a break, it was back to the triple-threat, and whatever advantage Rollins had gained had been lost. There was a Tower of Doom of sorts, and it basically wiped everyone out. Seth Rollins took the worst of it and rolled out of the ring. That meant he wasn’t close enough to do anything about it when Ricochet delivered a 630 splash to Bobby Lashley and pinned him.
Before Ricochet had time to get to his feet, he was F5’d by Brock Lesnar.
Parts of the arena were empty due to the weather. RAW showed footage of how bad it was during the show and it did look grim. The show was good. Much better than the last few weeks. Ruby Riott is back. We might get Charlotte Flair versus Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania. And Brock Lesnar has been on every episode of RAW this year.