The preview for tonight’s RAW is very minimalist. Drew McIntyre wants to know if MVP was responsible for setting MACE and T-BAR on him last week. And Asuka gets her hands on Charlotte Flair after Flair’s attack last week during her WrestleMania rematch. Flair is also due to address the women’s locker room this week. At a push, that’s half an hour accounted for. The rest is a mystery.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
The Viking Raiders def. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Riddle def. Randy Orton
Naomi & Lana def. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Elias def. Kofi Kingston
Drew McIntyre def. MACE & T-BAR (DQ)
T-BAR & MACE defeated Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman (DQ)
Damian Priest def. The Miz
Asuka def. Charlotte Flair
♦ Drew McIntyre opened the show. He said opportunity is a hell of a thing. You can make your own opportunities, work hard, never give up, make things happen. But sometimes opportunity just falls in your lap. Last week he was saying he would eventually get his championship rematch then Strowman was demanding a shot and Randy Orton as well, then Adam Pearce presented him with a chance to earn his rematch and he took it and now he’s the number one contender.
MACE and T-BAR tried to make their names against him last week, but he knows MVP was behind it. He just doesn’t know why they would align with him. He knows he’s going to get a little ‘retribution’ when he sees them, though.
MVP came out and called McIntyre’s allegations ridiculous. He said that McIntyre had a habit of being taken by surprise and should start expecting the unexpected. He denied either he or Bobby Lashley had ordered the attack, and said The Hurt Business didn’t need them. Then he outright stated that that MACE and T-BAR had zero affiliation with The Hurt Business.
McIntyre got out of the ring to approach MVP, pretending to believe him. He was attacked by MACE and T-BAR again before he got anywhere close. They dragged him back into the ring and slammed, then they left. They didn’t acknowledge MVP on their way out.
Backstage, Kevin Patrick tried to ask them if they were affiliated with MVP. They named animals until MACE said a sabre-toothed tiger. T-BAR checked that was extinct and said that’s what they were going to do to Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre demanded MACE and T-BAR in a match. Adam Pearce insisted he needed a tag team partner but McIntyre refused to budge. We shall see what happens.
♦ What better way to carry on the celebrations of The Viking Raiders’ return, than by having them face the same team they fought last week. That said, The Viking Raiders vs Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin was a good opening match of the show. The last thing Alexander and Benjamin wanted was to go 0-2 to Erik and Ivar, but that’s tough. Shelton Benjamin had his ribs merged with the barricades by Ivar and Cedric Alexander took The Viking Experience and got pinned.
♦ Kevin Patrick interviewed Randy Orton about The Fiend. Orton assured him The Fiend will never be seen or heard from again as long as Orton’s in WWE. Now The Fiend and Bliss are in his rearview, he’s going after the winner of McIntyre versus Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash. Riddle interrupted the interview and tried to make RKBro a tag team. Orton just walked away from him, so I think Riddle got off lightly.
As it turned out, Orton went straight to Adam Pearce and demanded a match with the blond kid who doesn’t wear shoes, whose name he didn’t know, so he could teach him a lesson.
♦ Charlotte Flair took to the ring for her address to the locker room. She said she came back last week simply demanding respect from the locker room and the WWE Universe for everything she’s given the industry. She didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, she was simply expressing how she felt. She couldn’t keep it up any longer even with the sarcasm dripping off the words. She came back unapologetically her, the biggest star in the division. And if any of those rats (yep, she said that) in the women’s locker room don’t want to believe it, who were they all still talking about, even though she didn’t have a match. Charlotte Flair, every headline. As much as the women say they don’t like her, they don’t like each other just as much. They’re so fake to each other. She doesn’t know why they’re mad, she was the only one who had a WrestleMania match taken away from her.
So Rhea Ripley beat Asuka. So what? She can beat Asuka and she can beat Ripley. She could beat them both in the same night, that’s why they call her the opportunity. She respects Asuka, she’s one of the greatest competitors in the entire world. But that doesn’t mean she has to like her and she’s going to remind Asuka how much she doesn’t like her and prove why she’s the Queen.
Asuka had heard enough and came to the ring. As soon as she lifted the mic to her mouth, Rhea Ripley’s music hit and Ripley came to the stage. Flair suggested Ripley sit at ringside and take some notes on how great she is. Ripley said she’ll take Flair up on that, but she’s fairly sure Asuka will beat her.
Asuka tried to talk and Flair kept interrupting her. When she did the slow-talking and shouting thing (touch of casual racism there), Asuka yelled, ‘Charlotte, tonight I will beat you, bitch’. Flair looked shocked, Ripley was laughing her head off on the stage, and Asuka’s music ended the segment.
♦ Riddle zoomed past Orton on his way to the ring for Randy Orton vs Riddle. I think he may have intensified his beating by a couple of notches. Riddle’s approach was to go for the submission. It looked like it might have been a relatively solid plan until they ended up on the outside and Orton threw him over the announce desk. That was heading into a break and we got back in time to see Orton stamping on Riddle’s barefoot. Orton growled at Riddle while he had him in a headlock that it was about respect. Riddle said he understood, and somehow that fired him up. I guess he’s after respect as well. I don’t think he got Orton’s respect, but the match got a long-ish time and he did get the win, with a crucifix pin while Orton was lining him up for an RKO.
♦ Adam Pearce congratulated Sheamus on winning the US title at WrestleMania and asked him to think about the legacy of the title and mentioned John Cena’s weekly open challenges. Sheamus wasn’t pleased and accused Pearce of trying to goad him into doing an open challenge. He said he’d do one, but not for the title.
♦ Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Naomi & Lana was interesting. Lana always looks so joyful to be in the ring with Naomi that I can’t help smiling. They’re developing some decent teamwork as well and they used it to good effect on Jax early on. The match was interrupted by Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke just after Baszler stomped on Lana’s arm. They wanted to show Jax their attack on her backstage last week, and Jax slipping off the edge of the ring in their match. Jax abandoned Baszler, who had been looking for a tag and strode off after them. Baszler took a double-facebuster and got pinned by the time she got to the stage. I’m still not completely sure what the agenda is.
♦ They aired an interview with Bad Bunny from after WrestleMania. He had a great time and loved working with Damian Priest. He said he’ll cherish the memory forever. It doesn’t sound like he’s planning a return but never say never in WWE. Priest had lovely things to say about how hard he worked and how well he did. And Bad Bunny said a lot of nice things about how great everyone from the bosses to the coaches to the locker room was. What a sweet interview.
They plugged his tour afterwards, but it’s already sold out.
♦ The Miz and Maryse, no Jon Morrison, hosted a Miz TV celebration of “Miz and Mrs.” He’s now taking credit for making Bad Bunny a household name and his tour selling out. And they talked about the TV show and how much they love each other. I’m a fan of cutely in love couples, but there are limits. Are we going to have to listen to them plug Miz and Mrs every week? There’s also a WWE Chronicle premiering on Sunday on the WWE Network, which should be great.
Damian Priest joined them, but he didn’t look like he was there to offer his congratulations. He said The Miz is as delusional as Jake Paul thinking he’s a real fighter and showed the footage of Miz ‘earning’ his victory with his pants around his ankles and his feet on the ropes. He suggested the world saw Miz has no “cojones. Maryse accepted a match on Miz’ behalf before Priest asked for it. Priest thanked her, congratulated them, then drank some of their champagne and told them it was trash. Miz threw some in his face and they left the ring.
♦ The New Day ran into Riddle in the corridor and congratulated him on his victory against Orton, then it got weird again. After he left, Kingston and Woods admitted they never have any idea what he’s talking about, but they seem to like him.
They were on their way to Kofi Kingston, with Xavier Woods, vs Elias, with Jaxson Ryker. Woods had a big instrument case with him when they saw Riddle, and it turned out to contain an electric bass, which they used to drown out Elias. It was Kingston’s match for the most part, but Elias picked up the win with an elbow drop.
♦ Alexa Bliss, with Lilly, appeared from Alexa’s Playground. She wanted to tell us about Lilly. She’s been her best friend for a very long time. One time they were on a playground like that one and another little girl wouldn’t let her have a bite of her ice cream cone. She didn’t like strawberry anyway but she shoved the little girl off the swing so she broke her arm, then Alexa ate all her ice cream. When the teachers asked her why she did it, she told the truth. Lilly made her do it. The teachers thought she was bonkers but if Lilly doesn’t like something she has no problem letting you know. So there’s something all the little girls on the RAW roster should know. Lilly didn’t like ‘Him’, and Lilly doesn’t like any of them.
Lilly has a creepy laugh and tried to bite the camera when it focused on her to end the segment.
♦ Sarah Schreiber asked Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke if they thought embarrassing Nia Jax was appropriate behaviour. They said they’re not the bullies, Nia and Shayna are the bullies. They had to leave partway through their explanation because Jax arrived. Schreiber left when Baszler appeared too. Baszler told Jax to get her head in the game and accused her of being distracted lately. She told her to start paying attention or else. Jax yelled, ‘Or else what?’ at Baszler as she stormed off, then Angel Garza approached Jax and asked her what she sees in, “That circus clown Reginald”.
♦ WWE Superstars are still telling everyone to go and get vaccinated. It remains excellent advice.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs MACE & T-BAR started with commentary speculating about McIntyre’s chances of survival against two superstars the size of MACE and T-BAR. He did what Drew McIntyre always does, he piled in and got on with it. MVP was shown watching the match, which just furthered speculation about the ex-RETRIBUTION members’ loyalties. Honestly, this is the kind of match I want to see MACE and T-BAR in, but preferably one on ones, not handicap matches. T-BAR got caught with a Glasgow kiss that rocked him. MACE had to help out, which he did. But when McIntyre knocked him off the apron, he got back in the ring and they stamped on McIntyre in the corner until the ref disqualified them.
Before it could turn into a full-on beatdown, Braun Strowman turned up yelling, ‘Stuff don’t go down like that in here.’
After the break, we got Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman vs MACE & T-BAR, which was odd timing considering we got nine-tenths of the handicap match. When Braun Strowman looks like he’s average height, you know there’s a lot of human in the ring. McIntyre seemed to enjoy this one more, especially watching Strowman beat up MACE. Strowman cut his forehead, which was either by headbutting MACE, or just on his mask. I think it might have been the latter, but the former sounds tougher, so we’ll go with that. McIntyre had to be backed off in the corner when he came in, and MACE caught him in the throat while the ref had his attention. Strowman took a chop block from T-BAR after allowing himself to be distracted by MACE.
McIntyre unmasked MACE then beat him with his own mask until he got disqualified. T-BAR suplexed McIntyre post-match. Strowman came in, shoulder tackled him, and ripped his mask off too. Thank goodness for that. Can they just be Dominik Dijakovic and Dio Madden now, please?
♦ The Miz, with Maryse, vs Damian Priest was good. Maryse, of course, got involved. She grabbed Priest’s leg, allowing Miz to kick him in the face and out of the ring. On the outside, Miz threw him into the barricades, then took it back in the ring and pounded on him. Priest kicked out of the pin attempt on one. When Priest fired up, he manhandled Miz. Maryse got up on the apron and Miz tried for the same finish, despite Priest saying they weren’t doing that again. One bell clap later, Damian Priest, Hit the Lights and got the pin.
♦ Sheamus said there is something the world needs to know right now. He’s the new United States Champion and it’s going to be like that for a long time. He did it by not being a nice fella and not making reckless decisions. He’s going to be our fighting champion, which means he’s issuing an open challenge for his title every week on RAW, or whenever he wants. So, if anyone wants a shot at the champ… that was about as far as he got before Humberto Carrillo answered it. Sheamus attacked him from behind when he got into the ring and threw him out of it, then levelled him at ringside and threw him into the barricades and ring post before beating on him until he stopped moving. A final ring post to the spine and Sheamus dragged him into a corner and waited for him to stagger to his feet so he could deliver a Brogue kick.
♦ Asuka vs Charlotte Flair got the main event spot. Rhea Ripley sat at the bottom of the ramp instead of joining commentary, which would have been interesting, but at least it didn’t pull focus from the match. She got up to stand over them when they ended up laid out in front of her courtesy of a neckbreaker on the apron that hurt them both.
Great match, but you’d expect nothing less, although the camera spent entirely too much time on Ripley, who gave up sitting down and paced around instead. Flair almost got Asuka off a spear and looked furious when she kicked out. Asuka got the Asuka Lock on but Flair got to the ropes. Rhea Ripley pulled Flair’s arms out from under her when Flair had Asuka in the Figure-Eight. Flair grabbed Ripley by the head. Asuka kicked Flair in the face and pinned her.
Charlotte Flair beat the ref up after the match. She even went back for second and third goes after being backed off by two other officials. The third go was just a huge kick in the midsection. Interesting way to end the show.
Flair was later fined and suspended for the attack on the referee.
That was an interesting episode of RAW. Lots of build-ups, lots of potentially interesting possibilities. Adnan Virk is still very much settling in on commentary. Corey Graves bitching at Byron Saxton is still annoying. I still miss Samoa Joe being insightful and sensible.