Murphy and AOP hold up Kevin Owens for Seth Rollins

Rusev & Humberto Carrillo versus Bobby Lashley & Angel Garza is the weird pre-announced match of the night. Why? No one knows. A match that makes more sense is Matt Hardy versus Randy Orton, after their altercation last week. Aleister Black faces Erick Rowan as he makes his way through the RAW roster. Seth Rollins is planning to deliver a sermon. We’ll hear from Becky Lynch regarding what she plans to do about Shayna Baszler. And we’ll probably hear from Charlotte Flair after she accepted Rhea Ripley’s WrestleMania challenge at NXT TakeOver: Portland (read the full review here).

I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.

Match Results

Aleister Black def. Erick Rowan

Riddick Moss def. Mojo Rawley and R-Truth

Drew McIntyre def. MVP

Angel Garza & Bobby Lashley def. Rusev & Humberto Carrillo

Kairi Sane def. Natalya

Ricochet def. Karl Anderson

Kevin Owens & The Viking Raiders def. Murphy & AOP (DQ)

Matt Hardy and Randy Orton

The Show

Randy Orton opened the show after a ton of recaps of his bad behaviour and said the match against Matt Hardy isn’t going to happen. Hardy is still trying to get cleared but even if he does, it’s not happening.

Hardy came out in a neck brace and tried again to get Orton to explain why he attacked Edge. He confirmed that the doctors won’t clear him, but he showed up anyway. Orton will not be the reason for Hardy’s dreams ending.

Randy Orton told him he should have left last week while he could still leave the arena on his own two feet. Hardy got into the ring and Orton asked what he could do if he decided to RKO him there and then. Orton said no one will ever understand why he did what he did. He respects Matt Hardy and everything he’s done, but he loves Edge like a brother. He’s sorry. He stopped, then said ‘I’m truly sorry’ and left the ring.

He got up to the stage then turned around and came back. Matt Hardy was waiting for him with a chair but when he swung it Orton ducked then pulled Hardy’s injured neck down onto the ropes. As Hardy struggled to his feet, Orton delivered an RKO then hit him repeatedly with the chair. When Matt Hardy couldn’t get up, Orton got another chair and put it under his head before removing the neck brace. He lifted the other chair for a shot to Hardy’s head, then dropped it out of the ring and started to leave. This time he only got a few paces before he turned back, dragged Hardy out of the ring and laid him on the lower half of the steps. Then he delivered the chair shot to the head and just sat on the chair for a few seconds. He went back yet again and repeated the chair shot then yelled ‘I’m sorry’ and actually left.

Matt Hardy was stretchered off to a ‘local medical facility’ during the break.

Randy Orton kneels over Matt Hardy

Erick Rowan vs Aleister Black was the first time in ages I can remember Erick Rowan having a proper match. He was never going to throw Aleister Black around like he’s been doing with everyone put in front of him recently, or not for any length of time anyway. There was some advantage from Rowan’s superior strength and size, but it wasn’t enough to take the win. A Black Mass ensured it became the first match Erick Rowan has lost in a while.

Aleister Black knees Erick Rowan in the head

Charlotte Flair started her segment by showing the footage of her accepting Rhea Ripley’s challenge for WrestleMania and driving it home with a Natural Selection. She asked if we wanted to know why the crowds chant NXT, then said she went to Portland to find out what made Ripley think she could just come on RAW and challenge The Queen. And she was impressed. Then she started to reminisce about the hard work her NXT class put in to make it possible. She thinks Ripley is really good, but pride comes before a fall and she’s going to humble her at WrestleMania. That is, without doubt, going to be my favourite match of ‘Mania.

Charlotte Flair

 Riddick Moss (C) vs Mojo Rawley vs R-Truth – 24/7 Championship Triple-threat match – started sometime during a break, which was a bit disorienting. It didn’t last long though. Moss pinned Rawley to retain. Rawley tried to take out his frustrations on R-Truth and got dropped.

R-Truth takes down Mojo Rawley

The competitors for the women’s Elimination Chamber match have been announced. They are Natalya, Liv Morgan, Shayna Baszler, Asuka, Ruby Riott, and Sarah Logan. The winner will be Becky Lynch’s WrestleMania opponent.

Drew McIntyre vs MVP was a surprise when it was announced, even after McIntyre’s attack last week, because MVP had previously announced his retirement from in-ring competition. McIntyre had a little chat with the crowd before the match and got everyone to point at the sign with him. I like smiley Drew McIntyre. He’s funny. Apparently, Suplex City is now in Claymore Country and he’s going to demolish it.

Paul Heyman came out and introduced Brock Lesnar, but Lesnar did not appear. Heyman said he just wanted everyone to know what it was going to sound like when it was announced ‘And still’.

McIntyre was unimpressed. Heyman told McIntyre how much he respects him, but said he had someone who doesn’t, and finally brought out MVP. MVP talked about respect, and McIntyre’s lack of it, then cheap-shotted McIntyre before the bell. It was good that he got that bit of offence in, because it was basically all he got. Ten minutes of waffle and a sub-two-minute match finished by a Claymore.

Becky Lynch appeared after a lengthy recap of last week’s weirdness with Shayna Baszler apparently developing a taste for human flesh. She said she came to America to seek her fame and fortune but she found she had no use for fame. She knows what to do with fortune though. She took bundles of cash from a bag and threw it in the ring, saying she was paying her fine up front for the things she was going do to Shayna Baszler. A down payment on violence because Bad Things were going to happen when she finds her. She went through all her other challengers because she felt she had to. But she’s coming after Baszler because she wants to.

Baszler appeared on the big screen and said she’ll tell her how it’s going to happen. Baszler is in the Elimination Chamber match, which is laid out perfectly for her. So, she’s going to go through everyone else and win the match to get to Lynch. She didn’t plan to do what she did last week, she just did it. But imagine the things that she does have planned.

Lynch said she’ll be watching the Elimination Chamber match closely, and rooting for her.

 Charly Caruso asked how the tag match came about. Lana said she came up with the idea on Valentine’s day because they’re two of the hottest couples in WWE. Zelina Vega (who is married to Aleister Black) was very quick to point out that she and Angel Garza were strictly business. Bobby Lashley & Angel Garza vs Rusev & Humberto Carrillo actually wasn’t bad. Weird, but quite fun in places. Garza got the pin on Rusev with a handful of tights. Rusev smacked Garza in the back while he was celebrating on a turnbuckle, and knocked him out of the ring.

Humberto Carrillo flies onto Bobby Lashley while Angel Garza looks on

 Natalya vs Kairi Sane was decent. I’m just very frustrated that the tag titles seem to have been forgotten again. Asuka interfered, kicking Natalya in the head at ringside, and Natalya got counted out.

Kairi Sane and Natalya

Murphy, flanked by AOP, introduced the ‘Monday Night Messiah’ to give his sermon. Remember, I watch these things so you don’t have to, and sometimes it’s a chore. He waffled on about progress while the crowd told him he sucks. Last week, they vanquished Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and The Viking Raiders and completed phase one. They showed they can do anything they put their mind to and now the work begins. He doesn’t take his responsibilities lightly. Phase two will not be easy, but it is necessary and it’s for the greater good. Now it is time to seek out the weak, the lesser, and the non-compliant. They will seek out the flaws in the system and rehabilitate them if they can and eradicate them if they must. It’s not a threat, it’s the gospel. Any non-compliant will face the same fate as the weak if they stand in the way of progress.

It turned out that The Viking Raiders weren’t completely vanquished last week, because they ran down and beat up Murphy and AOP. Rollins got away as far as the stage, then took a stunner from Kevin Owens.

Tonight’s main event will be Murphy & AOP versus The Viking Raiders & Kevin Owens, again.

Kevin Owens stands over Seth Rollins

The OC were back to full strength. AJ Styles is back, but won’t compete until the incredibly odd gauntlet match at Super ShowDown. They talked a lot about how amazing AJ Styles is and the fact he wants a title match after he wins the gauntlet, whoever the champion is. Eventually, Ricochet interrupted. Styles said no one believes Ricochet will ever be champion and he doesn’t even deserve the match. The OC laughed when he said he was going to beat Lesnar, so Ricochet challenged Styles. Karl Anderson said he couldn’t allow Styles first match back to be against Ricochet, so he’d take it.

Ricochet and The OC

Ricochet vs Karl Anderson was good. Anderson spends so much more time being a smartarse than he does wrestling, it’s easy to forget how good he is. Styles and Gallows were ejected from ringside during a break, so it was a genuine one on one. Ricochet got the pin after kicking Anderson in the head.

Ricochet flies onto Karl Anderson

Charly Caruso asked for Liv Morgan’s reaction to Ruby Riott’s interview last week. Morgan said she was just as excited as everyone else to see Ruby Riott. Having her come out to celebrate her victory with her was very emotional and one of the best moments of her career. Then Riott betrayed her trust and threw her and Sarah Logan’s friendship aside like it meant nothing. Being betrayed by someone you wholeheartedly believed in is enough to break anyone. And not long ago it would have broken her. But she’s not that puppy on a leash Riott described, she’s found a home in her own skin, with the power of looking to the future with an open eye. And in her future, she’s eliminating Ruby Riott from the chamber match and going on to WrestleMania.

Kevin Owens & The Viking Raiders vs Murphy & AOP was twenty minutes of déjà vu to finish the show. It wasn’t a bad match, just like it wasn’t a bad variation of the match last week or the week before. Seth Rollins did not accompany his disciples to the ring. It got around fifteen minutes before Rollins appeared and caused the disqualification by attacking Kevin Owes while he was trying to pin Murphy. AOP took out Erik and Ivar by throwing them into the barricade while they were distracted by Rollins’ arrival.

The four of them beat up Kevin Owens, then AOP and Murphy held him still while Rollins yelled in his face about standing in the way of progress. Street Profits ran down before Rollins could make good on his promise to ‘crucify’ Owens, and they sent Murphy flying on their way to the ring then took out AOP. The Viking Raiders joined them, and Rollins got the hell out of there leaving his disciples to take a beating.

Street Profits and Ivar advance on Seth Rollins

That episode of RAW was all build and filler. It wasn’t bad, but it was nothing special. It’s just that time of year. Things will start to come together over the next few weeks.

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