Elimination Chamber gave us a new WWE Champion (read the full review here). The Miz successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase. That’s opening the show and everything else is a mystery. So let’s see what happens.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Riddle def. John Morrison
The New Day def. RETRIBUTION
The Hurt Business def. Lucha House Party
Damian Priest def. Angel Garza
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Charlotte Flair & Asuka
Sheamus def. Jeff Hardy
Naomi & Lana def. Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose
AJ Styles def. Ricochet
Bobby Lashley def. Braun Strowman
♦ John Morrison introduced The Miz as the new WWE Champion to get the show underway. Miz welcomed us to ‘Miz TV – Championship Edition’ and, of course, started with a whole career’s worth of I told you so’s. In fairness, everything he said about his longevity and defying odds and predictions is true. And his many accolades are very impressive. But he’s so very smug about it.
Bobby Lashley and MVP came out to join them. MVP is on crutches, thanks to a knee injury. MVP congratulated Miz but pointed out he neglected to mention Bobby Lashley destroying Drew McIntyre as the only reason he’s champion.
Miz tried to dismiss them, but MVP wanted to talk about the arrangement they had. Morrison cost Lashley his title and Miz had an obligation to make it right. So Miz promised Lashley the first title shot if he helped him become champion. They were there to collect.
In true Miz style, he tried to talk his way out of it. Lashley gave him one hour to come to his senses or he’d be staring in a new reality show called How Lashley sent me to the emergency room. One way or another, Lashley is going to beat Miz up and take his title. It’s going to be painful, merciless, and awesome.
♦ Lucha House Party congratulated Riddle on his new United States Championship. He thanked them, then thanked them again when he realised they weren’t talking about a video game. The segment finished with him leaving for Riddle vs John Morrison, on a scooter. He didn’t bring the scooter to the ring. Miz did not stick around with Morrison.
A good match that looked a few times like it would go Morrison’s way. He was going for the Starship Pain when Riddle grabbed him off the turnbuckle and delivered Bro Derek for the win.
♦ Rhea Ripley got a couple of Coming Soon vignettes. I’m glad they are putting her on the opposing brand to Bianca Belair.
♦ Bad Bunny and Damian Priest had a backstage interview with Sarah Schreiber. Bad Bunny said he was going to be on RAW every week with the title. Priest caught R-Truth lurking and called him out. There was a very R-Truth Bad Bunny/Bugs Bunny mix up, but Truth developed somewhere to be when Priest got in his face.
♦ RAW was running a countdown clock for Bobby Lashley’s ultimatum. It was showing just over 21 minutes remaining when Miz went to complain to Adam Pearce. Pearce encouraged Miz to take on all challengers, including Lashley but said he’d respect whatever decision Miz makes.
♦ The New Day vs RETRIBUTION (T-BAR & MACE) was the latest in Mustafa Ali’s vendetta against Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. Reckoning is back with the group, which is fantastic news, but Woods has still not been granted his match against her (come on WWE, don’t be cowards, Mia Yim can handle it). Decent enough match. RETRIBUTION would have had it won off a double team slam on Kingston if Ali hadn’t insisted they punish him some more. What actually happened was Woods tipped T-BAR out of the ring, Kingston gave MACE a Trouble in Paradise to get him out of the ring, then gave T-BAR one and pinned him.
Mustafa Ali had a tantrum after the match. He said he carries them all on his back and they fail over and over again. We must be getting close to the point where they beat the crap out of him.
♦ Adam Pearce brought Bobby Lashley, with MVP, out to hear The Miz’ decision. Miz’ decision was… he needed more time. Lashley and MVP weren’t buying it. He kept insisting he needs more time and trying to bargain. He asked for a week, but Braun Strowman arrived before anything was settled.
Strowman said if anyone is getting a title shot it’s him, and accused Adam Pearce and Shane McMahon have a vendetta against him and that’s why they kept him out of the chamber match. Miz used the opportunity to try to deflect Lashley’s attention to Strowman, but Shane McMahon added himself to the group while he was arguing with MVP.
McMahon, told Pearce off for running a sloppy show, explained to Strowman, again that the Elimination Chamber match was for former WWE Champions, a title Strowman has never held. Strowman said that idea sucks, McMahon sucks, The Mix sucks, Lashley sucks, and everything else sucks. He wants a title shot tonight. Shane McMahon said he thinks that idea sucks, so no. Strowman said if he can’t have the champion he wants the challenger. McMahon liked that and upped the stakes. If Strowman beats Lashley tonight then next week’s match will be The Miz vs Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman for the WWE Championship.
Strowman was telling Shane McMahon that might have been the smartest decision he’s ever made when Lashley chop-blocked him.
♦ The Hurt Business vs Lucha House Party was a tornado tag, non-title, match. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin were back on the same page and working in harmony for the first time in weeks, which was terrible news for Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado because they got destroyed in there. They kept getting up and fighting back because that’s what they do, but it was all kinds of bad for them. Lince Dorado pulled Alexander’s arms out from underneath him as he was rebounding off the ropes and kicked Benjamin in the head. A DDT and a splash on Benjamin followed and Alexander only just made it back to stop the pin. Sadly, that was their one decent shot. Gran Metalik took a knee in the face from Alexander and Paydirt from Benjamin and got pinned.
♦ Damian Priest, with Bad Bunny, vs Angel Garza was fun. I like putting Priest with Bad Bunny as a way of getting the RAW crowd used to him. He’s been able to show character, humour, and loyalty much quicker than any promo series would have done. And his work in the ring speaks for itself. Garza tried to rush Priest at the bell and got levelled with a clothesline that almost took him out of his stripper pants. He took them off and threw them at Bad Bunny once he finally took Priest off his feet. Garza paid too much attention to Bad Bunny, trash-talking him while he was punishing Priest. He had Priest down for a while before Damian Priest got angry, powered out and struck back. The bell clap and a kick in the head put Garza down, but Garza kicked out of the broken arrow and hid under the ropes. He got a lucky shot in when Priest pulled him away, managed to tip him over the ropes, and spent the whole time he was down trying to get Bad Bunny in the ring. He was met with a kick in the face from Priest and another from the top. Hit the Lights finished the match for him.
The 24/7 chasing pack arrived during the celebrations. Damian Priest took out Akira Tozawa and Humberto Carrillo (I wondered where he’d been), and Bad Bunny tossed Drew Gulak out of the ring all by himself.
♦ Randy Orton said failure isn’t a word he’s too familiar with, but lately, he finds himself surrounded by it. Last week he should have won the gauntlet which would have put him at an advantage for the Elimination Chamber match. Instead, he was the first man eliminated. So he asks himself what’s the distraction. Every time he gets distracted or has a problem he does whatever it takes to deal with it. The Fiend was a problem, so he set him on fire. He’s gone and he’s not coming back, but Orton is still distracted and it’s Alexa Bliss causing it. He showed some footage of Bliss’ ritual from last week and when the cameras cut back to him he coughed up a load of the same black gunk Bliss spat out a few weeks ago and stumbled off.
♦ After a recap of Lacey Evans’ pregnancy announcement, we got Charlotte Flair & Asuka vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. It was nice to see Flair and Asuka having a match without soap opera style drama. Flair and Asuka want the titles back and they were going all out to make a case for another shot. It was a hard-hitting one, but Jax and Baszler don’t do anything else. Charlotte Flair took a ton of punishment in the match, resulting in some damage to her arm. She managed to get Baszler in a Figure-Four when Baszler took a moment to knock Asuka off the apron, but couldn’t bridge into the Figure Eight. Nia Jax made her let go with a leg drop. Asuka nearly tapped Jax out with an armbar, but Baszler kicked her in the head. Asuka tried to get Baszler in the Asuka Lock, Baszler got free just as Flair went to kick her in the head and the kick hit Asuka instead. Flair threw Baszler out of the ring and followed her. Nia Jax pinned Asuka with a leg drop.
Asuka pushed away Flair’s hand when she tried to help her up.
♦ Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus was brutal like they just carried on from the Chamber match. They beat the hell out of each other to the point Jeff Hardy was bleeding before Sheamus got the Brogue Kick that ended the match.
♦ In a tearful conversation, Charlotte Flair told Ric that everything with Lacey Evans is making her unable to concentrate. She told him it’s not funny to pretend he was the baby’s father, even if he thinks it is. All she’s doing is trying to protect their legacy. He said he never suggested the baby was his, he just saw a lot of potential in Evans. Charlotte told him he’s seen potential in a lot of blondes and it’s not funny when it’s a co-worker and it’s interfering with her performance. He said he thought she could be a great competitor and he could motivate her like he motivated Charlotte. He thinks for a lot of her life he pushed her and he’s not saying that’s why she’s the competitor she is but he likes to think he had some part in it. Now she’s one of the all-time greats, but what about the tough love the advice, everything they’ve done together. He loves her and wants the best for her, but he was trying to expand the brand. He wanted to be Ric Flair, the man behind the RAW women’s title. He wants women to be the biggest part of the card.
Charlotte doesn’t see it like that. He says he’s her biggest fan, but he’s trying to take the spotlight while she’s trying to prove she’s not Ric Flair’s daughter, she’s Charlotte Flair. And she asked him to go home. She told him she loves him and she’s thankful for the doors he’s opened and everything he’s given her, but let her be Charlotte Flair. She told him again that she loves him and walked off in tears. Ric looked down sadly as she left.
♦ Naomi & Lana vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose was observed from backstage by Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. It didn’t take too much time out of their busy schedule because the match got around a minute. Naomi and Lana won it with a double team, planting Mandy Rose face-first into the mat.
♦ I like this year’s Black History Month clips, but I think WWE could do something a little more… just more.
♦ AJ Styles, with Omos, vs Ricochet is a match that should be done every few months and given a respectful amount of time, just because it’s fun, but it’s only been a couple of weeks. Commentary spent much of the match talking about Omos, which is fair enough considering the contribution he’s been making to Styles’ success rate recently. His help wasn’t required this time though. It finished with a Styles Clash like the last one. Omos lifted Ricochet above his head after the match and dropped him to the mat. Is Omos considering stepping into the ring for himself?
♦ The Miz and John Morrison are not happy with the way things are going. They were fretting and bitching about it when Strowman approached them. They decided to move on and Strowman headed to the ring for the main event. Miz came out before it started and made his way to commentary. Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman started with less than ten minutes left of the show. It was a big lads match. Strowman threw Lashley out of the ring over the top. Lashley avoided Strowman’s charge which sent him crashing into the steps. A kick to Strowman’s knee and a flatliner got Lashley a near fall, but Strowman kicked out. He couldn’t get The Hurt Lock on, but he got Strowman up for a vertical suplex even if he didn’t get to execute it. Lashley kicked out of Strowman’s running powerslam and Strowman looked shocked, but not as shocked as Miz. A spinebuster followed by a spear got Lashley the win. Post-match Lashley took Strowman’s leg out from under him and put him to sleep with The Hurt Lock.
Miz tried to attack Lashley with the title but took a spinebuster and spear. He goes one on one with Lashley for the title next week.
Not a bad episode of RAW. Not a great episode of RAW. I’m still annoyed with WWE for the utter disrespect of the RAW Women’s Champion and Championship, and I’m less than impressed by the one-minute match. It can’t be that hard to give the women’s division some respect.