With Elimination Chamber finished (read the full review here) we are on the final stretch of the Road to WrestleMania. Drew McIntyre will be in action, and while Brock Lesnar isn’t mentioned in the preview, The Beast is going to want some revenge for the Claymores that left him laying last week. Now Shayna Baszler is confirmed as Becky Lynch’s challenger for WrestleMania, we wait to see how the build-up to their match is going to play out. Rey Mysterio has a match against Angel Garza. And Edge will be appearing to address Randy Orton RKO’ing his wife.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Rey Mysterio def. Angel Garza
Bobby Lashley def. Zack Ryder
Drew McIntyre def. Erick Rowan
The Kabuki Warriors def. Natalya & Liv Morgan
Riddick Moss def. Cedric Alexander
Aleister Black def. Seth Rollins (DQ)
Seth Rollins, Murphy, & AOP def. Street Profits & The Viking Raiders
♦ Becky Lynch opened the show to talk about Shayna Baszler being her WrestleMania opponent and showed highlights of Baszler destroying everyone in the chamber. That led into Baszler’s post-match interview where she addressed her comments to Lynch, saying she’s going to take the RAW Women’s Championship and there is nothing Lynch can do about it. And she called her a bitch.
When that was done, Lynch said Baszler cut through the entire field and in a matter of minutes cut down the one person it has taken Lynch her whole career to beat. The thing about Baszler is, she was a pioneer of women’s MMA, a top raked cage fighter for ten years straight, with the longest title reign in NXT history. And most interestingly of all, she is a world-class scumbag. Lynch called Baszler a ‘black hole of charisma’ and said she might be a bitch but she’s the bitch who runs this division.
Lynch used to only recognise Baszler as the constipated looking robot from NXT who refused to shake her hand after last years WrestleMania. But now she sees clearly that Baszler is the biggest threat to come her way since she pried the title from Ronda Rousey’s broken hand last year. Because Baszler’s not just looking for a fight or the title, she’s looking to rewrite history because normal people like Lynch don’t beat trained killers like her. Except she does, she did, and she will again.
She believes Baszler is underestimating her, discounting her, and she’s going to smash her face in for it.
♦ Rey Mysterio vs Angel Garza was the first match of the night, and it was really good. Angel Garza took control early on, but he got cocky when he tried to 619 Rey Mysterio and took a kick to the face which took him a while to recover from. When Mysterio went for his own 619, Garza ducked and Mysterio took a kick to the face, but Garza was unable to deliver the Wing Clipper. Eventually, Mysterio did get the 619 and pinned Garza off the top rope, despite a slip.
♦ We saw video footage of Kevin Owens being met as he tried to enter the arena, by Seth Rollins and his minions. Owens threw his case at AOP, but it was a token gesture and he got destroyed by AOP and Murphy while Rollins ate popcorn.
♦ Stone Cold Steve Austin will be on RAW next week, on 3/16.
♦ Rhea Ripley got a video package of her visiting the WrestleMania venue and talking about her journey to being the first person to fight for an NXT title at WrestleMania. They showed it on NXT last week, but it was a nice getting to know you for people who don’t watch NXT.
Charlotte Flair appeared immediately afterwards and commented on the package, calling Ripley ‘the next big thing’, and ‘the new shiny toy’. Flair is confused because Ripley said she had to beat the best (her) to be the best, but she doesn’t want to be anything like her. Ripley shouldn’t lose any sleep over that because she is not and ever will be her, there is only one Charlotte Flair. So Ripley can enjoy the hype because it’s not going to last. Flair is fighting for the NXT title to teach Ripley a lesson. It’s one thing to stand in an empty stadium and talk about your hopes and dreams but it is another to stand in a stadium filled with ninety thousand people and be humbled by The Queen.
Ripley came out and tried to talk to Flair, but Flair said they’d already heard enough from her. This isn’t NXT, it’s Monday Night RAW. Flair’s kingdom. Flair tried to dismiss her and Ripley knocked her on her ass with a smack in the face, and left.
♦ Zack Ryder vs Bobby Lashley happened with Curt Hawkins in Ryder’s corner. Ryder could have done with him in the ring and it still might not have helped. Lashley won it very quickly with a Dominator.
♦ Seth Rollins and Murphy knocked on Aleister Black’s door to offer him the chance to join them and tip the numbers game in his favour. Black declined. Rollins spelt out that he’s either with them or against them. Black said those sound like fighting words and he accepts.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs Erick Rowan was mainly surprising because Rowan is still carrying his cage around, but almost certainly for the last time. McIntyre picked it up and put it on the floor, then used the steps to squash it. Rowan was enraged but that just made it easy for McIntyre to deliver the Futureshock DDT and Claymore for the win.
♦ The Kabuki Warriors vs Liv Morgan & Natalya was unexpected considering three of the four got decimated by Shayna Baszler less than 24 hours ago. Asuka and Sane pointed out Asuka’s damaged wrist during their pre-match promo, but Asuka said it was ok. They appeared to be having fun but I’ve got no idea what else was said. Eventually, their opponents cut them off. Sane was very playful at the start of the match, but Liv Morgan was not there to play and things got serious quickly. Ruby Riott came down to observe from the ramp, just before we went into a break. A little later, Sarah Logan arrived as well and stood a few feet away from Riott. Morgan was on the apron keeping an eye on them and launched herself off the top turnbuckle onto them when they started fighting. That meant she wasn’t there when Natalya reached for a desperately needed tag.
Realising she was on her own, Natalya tried to finish it but she didn’t see the Kabuki Warriors’ tag and put the Sharpshooter on Sane when Asuka was legal. Asuka kicked her in the head and pinned her.
♦ The OC appeared for AJ Styles to complain about The Undertaker stealing moments from him. He stole a trophy from him at Super ShowDown, and he cost him a match at Elimination Chamber. Three years ago, Styles saw Taker get beaten by Roman Reigns, and after the match, The Undertaker laid his hat and coat in the ring and walked away. It was a beautiful moment but he ruined it by coming back. Now Styles wants him at WrestleMania. Ten to fifteen years ago he would have been hesitant about calling The Undertaker out. But he doesn’t see this mythical monster, The Phenom, anymore. He sees a broken-down old man named Mark Calaway. Undertaker should have retired at his peak ten years ago. Styles’ hypothesis is that it’s Michelle McCool’s fault he keeps coming back and he said some unpleasant things about her. He said Taker’s wife would run him into the ground and he would help her. He was going to make sure The Undertaker dies at WrestleMania, he’s going to take his soul. There were more baiting and goading and some bad puns, but I got bored of typing.
The match was later confirmed and the contract signing is next week.
♦ Charly Caruso tried to interview Randy Orton backstage. She asked for his thoughts on Edge coming to the area, but Orton said nothing.
♦ Riddick Moss vs Cedric Alexander – 24/7 Championship match – was brief. Moss is now the longest-reigning 24/7 champion. He retained with a neckbreaker.
♦ MVP made an appearance to talk about his transition from in-ring competitor to absolute Brainiac. He’s looking to build a stable and he wants to start with Edge. They go way back but he thinks Edge lacks focus and he can lead him back to winning ways if he focuses and listens to him. Edge’s arrival was shown on the big screen while he was talking and Edge stalked towards the ring with the wild look in his eyes.
Edge swiped the mic from MVP’s hands, called out Randy Orton and gave it back to him. MVP tried to get Edge’s attention, he got a spear when he mentioned Beth Phoenix. Randy Orton attacked at that point and after the briefest of exchange, Edge delivered an RKO to Orton and got a couple of chairs from ringside. Orton escaped to the stage, MVP went for Edge and Edge choked him out while looking at Orton. Still looking at Orton, Edge RKO’d MVP on a chair, then delivered the same Con-chair-to shot Orton gave him after yelling ‘This is you, Randy’. Randy Orton was still watching as Edge did it again and they stared each other down while Edge’s music played. Orton left and Edge chased him as we went into the break.
It was Charly Caruso who later had to break it to Edge that Orton had left the arena.
♦ Triple H has been given a lifetime achievement award by Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Arnold Sports Festival.
♦ Paul Heyman and Drew McIntyre got video promos. Heyman’s was about how dominant Brock Lesnar is, listing the people he’s conquered and showing how long Lesnar has been dominant for. Drew McIntyre said everything Heyman said was true until Lesnar ran into him. Last Monday, he showed Lesnar has finally met his match. He’s been taught never to make a promise he can’t back up, so he’s choosing his words carefully when he says he’s going to Claymore Lesnar in the face, knocking him on his ass, and pinning him.
♦ Seth Rollins vs Aleister Black was apparently a first time ever match, but it was never going to be one on one, so does it even count. Rollins was eating more popcorn on the way to the ring and sharing it with fans. Brave considering the global health crisis in progress. The match was good but predictably finished in a disqualification when Murphy had to stop Rollins getting pinned. Rollins called AOP down and The Viking Raiders followed to try to neutralise them. The numbers were still against them, so Street Profits came to make it even. Poor Aleister Black was forgotten when Montez Ford called for RAW to finish with an eight-man tag.
Seth Rollins, Murphy, & AOP vs Street Profits & The Viking Raiders did main-event the show. It was good, but if I’m honest I was more interested in Rollins vs Black. Viking Raiders’ Erik was the one to take the majority of the punishment in the match. Murphy hurt his knee taking him out with a massive leap off the apron to the outside. He was laid on the floor screaming going into a break but was recovered enough to be stomping on Erik by the time we came back. Erik launched Rollins into the front row and Murphy had to help him back into the ring. They isolated Erik, who was struggling by then, by taking everyone else off the apron.
It was Montez Ford who finally tagged in and he was ready. Unfortunately, after another ad break, he was already struggling and in need of a tag. Thanks to Murphy’s arrogant posturing, he got one, but he was back in to deliver a frog splash on Rollins that would have got them the win if Murphy had been a fraction of a second slower. He also got the honour of skittling everyone except Rollins with a dive over the top rope. Sadly, Rollins was waiting for him when he got back in the ring and a Stomp finished the match.
Kevin Owens attacked Rollins while he was celebrating, took him down then dealt with AOP and Murphy, but Seth Rollins got back up and Owens took three Stomps to close out the show.
For the next few weeks, RAW is all about WrestleMania and building that card. It can lead to some stilted and weird feeling episodes, and some very talky ones, like this one. Hopefully, it will all be worth it on April 5th.