WWE didn’t give us a preview for tonight, so it’s anything goes. That’s usually the way with the RAW After WrestleMania and that’s what makes it fun. If you haven’t seen the big event yet, here are your links for the Night 1 and Night 2 reviews. Expect a few surprises, a rematch or two, and maybe even a couple of personnel changes.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Bobby Lashley def. Riddle
The Viking Raiders def. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Asuka def. Rhea Ripley (DQ)
The Miz & John Morrison def. Damian Priest
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
♦ The show opened with footage of Bobby Lashley arriving and being congratulated. Riddle appeared on his scooter and challenged him to a match. Lashley said no but Riddle kept pushing. Eventually, Lashley shoved him to the floor and gave him the match saying he’s going to show him the difference between a loser and a winner.
Bobby Lashley, with MVP, vs Riddle opened the show proper, with no big-talking segment first, just a pre-match beatdown of Riddle. The beatdown continued after the bell as well. There was the briefest of resurgences from Riddle, but he went to sleep in the Hurt Lock as most do.
♦ The first new thing of the RAW After WrestleMania is the commentary team. Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Adnan Virk (more information about him here) are the new desk and I miss Samoa Joe already but it looks like his time on commentary may be over. He did such a great job with the sit-down interviews before TakeOver, I’m half-hoping they’ll just move him to NXT. They told us to expect a Firefly Fun House episode and Asuka versus Rhea Ripley in a WrestleMania rematch.
♦ In a backstage interview, Rhea Ripley said it’s all about being confident in herself. That allowed her to challenge Asuka and to beat her. What we witnessed is the brutal new order of the women’s division and tonight she’s going to definitively prove she’s ready for Asuka.
♦ The Viking Raiders are back!! And what a return… The Viking Raiders vs Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin was. Ivar is all healed up and it’s great to see them. It would have been even better to have their return in front of fans instead of the ThunderDome, but we can’t have everything. Cedric Alexander took the Viking Experience that ended the match.
♦ In a brief interview on her way to the ring, Asuka said, last night Rhea Ripley brought the fight but now it’s her turn. She’s ready for Ripley and she’s going to be RAW Women’s Champion again.
♦ Charlotte Flair came to the ring to address the WWE Universe. She was unhappy about being left off WrestleMania, especially things beyond her control kept her away. It was Asuka needing a tag partner, her dad acting the fool, Lacey Evans getting pregnant, and Asuka not answering her challenge. She called Rhea Ripley an opportunist and the biggest snake in the locker room. Ripley was the one who took the opportunity, but every other woman in the locker room was jumping up and down that Charlotte Flair wasn’t going to be at Mania. Asuka even manipulated her way into a rematch the night after losing, but karma is a bitch and Flair is that bitch. It was a passionate promo, calling out every woman in the locker room and saying no one compares to her. She doesn’t steal opportunities, she is the opportunity, she creates opportunities. She’s not going to be humble anymore, she’s not apologising for being that damned good. She knows how good she is, and everyone needs to show some respect for what she’s brought to the industry. What has anyone given her in return? So they can enjoy the title match she should have been in.
♦ Rhea Ripley (C) vs Asuka – RAW Women’s Championship match – was the first rematch of the night. They picked up where they left off less than 24 hours ago. Great match, but it’s so tough to get excited about next day rematches. It got exhaustingly messy towards the end. Asuka got the Asuka Lock on, but Ripley ran her into the corner to break it. Frustration set in for Ripley when her next pin attempt failed, and it started to look bleak for her when Asuka bashed her face off the apron. Then Charlotte Flair attacked Asuka to cause the disqualification, flinging her in the barricades and pounding on her and laid Ripley with a big boot out as well. Flair went back to Asuka and beat her down, then gave Ripley another kick as well. Best possible end to the match because I’d have been annoyed if they’d taken the title off Ripley after a day, and Asuka didn’t need another loss.
♦ John Morrison seemed unaware that Maryse was going to be their guest on Miz TV.
♦ Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were watching Mandy Rose falling over on the WrestleMania ramp on repeat. Baszler wandered off and Rose came over to talk to Jax. She said it was embarrassing but she can laugh at herself and it’s funny when you don’t see these things coming. Then she slapped Jax and Dana Brooke arrived so they could take her down together.
♦ Alexa Bliss has some explaining to do after causing The Fiend’s loss last night. She said WrestleMania was fun and told a story to do it. She was a little girl who was lost and was rescued by the darkness. The darkness protected and nurtured her and taught her everything it knew. But then it went away. She wonders if that’s when the little girl realised she might not have needed the darkness after all. How do we think it made her feel when she realised she could do everything on her own? Was the darkness helping her or standing in her way? Why else would she use what she was taught to try to destroy the darkness? Is it true what they say, that the female of the species is the deadliest? We may never know, but there’s one thing we do know. Along the way, she unlocked something truly evil. She introduced us to her new friend, Lily, a scary-looking doll. She said to trust her, their fun is just getting started. Lily’s teeth are little skulls and she bites.
♦ Miz TV happened. Maryse was there because the new Miz and Mrs season premiere follows RAW. Morrison was feeling pushed out and suggested a spin-off featuring him. Miz turned that down then spent some time taking credit for Bad Bunny’s incredible WrestleMania performance.
Damian Priest came out and said Bad Bunny did so well because he put the work in. Miz responded by saying Priest didn’t even feature in the highlight reel. Miz challenged Priest to a one on one match. Morrison said he was about to do the same thing. They argued until Maryse said they could both fight him. Priest called them idiots and accepted a handicap match.
In the cut back after the ads, Triple H and Bad Bunny had a vignette sending Bad Bunny back to his day job, with a mic from Triple H. He’s on tour next year. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he pops up again at some point.
Damian Priest vs The Miz & John Morrison saw Miz and Morrison wrestling in their suits, although Morrison was shirtless. They could have done with Maryse’s help as well because they struggled. It was an unseen tag that became Priest’s undoing. Morrison took Hit the Lights, but Miz had tagged in. He went for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Priest countered and Maryse, realising her husband needed her, pulled him half out of the ring. Priest pulled him back and ripped Miz’ shirt off and trousers into pieces around his ankles. Maryse got up on the apron and Damian Priest calmly asked her to get down so she didn’t get hurt. Miz rolled him up and pinned him, with his feet on the ropes, while Priest was trying to protect his wife. Maryse stood in front of Miz on the ramp to protect his modesty.
♦ Jax and Baszler were taken through Jax’ altercation with Rose and Brooke and Jax got upset about it being shown. She said the attack was cowardly and designed to deflect from Rose’s blooper. Mission accomplished because no one is going to be talking about it after the beating they give them.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke was a non-title match. Nia Jax tripped getting into the ring and nearly knocked Baszler over, which annoyed her and made Rose and Brooke laugh. I’m not sure angry Nia Jax is the one you want to be fighting. She got more angry after she slipped off the apron getting back into the ring after throwing Mandy Rose back in. Rose and Brooke took one look at Jax’ face and backed up the ramp saying it’s not worth it and took the count-out loss.
♦ MVP took some time to talk about Riddle’s disrespect and about Drew McIntyre’s loss to Lashley. He talked too much about McIntyre because McIntyre came to join him. McIntyre said he knew WrestleMania would come down to Claymore versus Hurt Lock and who made the first mistake and he’s man enough to say he made the first mistake when he let MVP distracted. He encouraged MVP to keep putting Lashley on that pedestal because, one day, he’ll knock him off. MVP was responding when Braun Strowman turned up, but he took the time to tell McIntyre to get to the back of the line.
Strowman agreed and said McIntyre’s at the back of the line and he’s at the front. Randy Orton arrived and said now Alexa Bliss and The Fiend are behind him he’s throwing his hat into the ring as well.
Adam Pearce came to the stage and gave McIntyre, Strowman, and Orton a Triple Threat match tonight. The winner will face Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania Backlash.
Backstage, Strowman tried to intimidate McIntyre, but it didn’t work.
♦ Elias dedicated the song he didn’t get to sing to Shane McMahon’s ‘brave’ efforts in getting his ass kicked by Braun Strowman… he might have used nicer words. The New Day didn’t even let them get started, they just strolled out and mocked them for getting their asses kicked by Strowman. Elias asked wasn’t that what happened to them with Omos… Eventually, they stopped arguing and The New Day vs Elias & Jaxson Ryker got started. Good match, not a great match. I could buy Elias and Ryker as a legitimate team, but Woods and Kingston are hard to beat. Elias took the double team and the pin from Woods.
♦ Randy Orton said he’s been distracted for the past 6 months by Alexa Bliss and The Fiend but they’ve disappeared after WrestleMania so now he’s able to focus on the WWE Championship. He’s got to go through Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman tonight, but he only needs to strike one because he’s bringing the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment, RKO.
♦ The Firefly Fun House returned to RAW. I’m not even going to try to explain. Just watch it.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs Braun Strowman vs Randy Orton was our main event of the evening. Decent Triple Threat. Orton got McIntyre out of the match for a while by throwing him over the announce desk, then got run through by Strowman. Strowman hit McIntyre with the steps to keep him down. hit Orton with them, then hit McIntyre again. He rolled Orton into the ring but took a draping DDT on his way in. With McIntyre still down, Orton took his time going for the RKO. McIntyre made it back in time to break the pin by Claymoring Orton in the head. Strowman was still out of it, so McIntyre pinned Randy Orton and got his rematch at WrestleMania Backlash.
MVP came to the stage after the match and watched as McIntyre was attacked by T-BAR and MACE. I think The Hurt Business might have some new muscle.
A reasonable episode of RAW, but a bit tame for a RAW After WrestleMania. It was good to see The Viking Raiders, but there weren’t any other big surprises. No call ups, no teases, just more of the same. People started slating Adnan Virk on social media within half an hour of the show starting. That’s just not fair. He had a slightly tentative start, made a few mistakes, but I would imagine there’s a lot to get used to even for such an experienced announcer. Give him a month, then judge his progress.