Finn Balor has a shot at Damian Priest’s United States Championship on this week’s RAW. Edge is going to talk about his WrestleMania future. A six-woman tag was announced in the opening montage – Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs Becky Lynch, Nikki A.S.H., & Doudrop. And that’s all the WWE preview had to offer, so the rest is a mystery.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins & Kevin Owens def. Alpha Academy
Omos def. T-Bar
Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, & Liv Morgan def. Becky Lynch, Nikki A.S.H. & Doudrop
Tommaso Ciampa def. Robert Roode
Dana Brooke & Reggie def. Tamina & Akira Tozawa
The Hurt Business def. The Mysterios
Street Profits def. RK-Bro
Finn Balor def. Damian Priest
♦ Kevin Owens gave Seth Rollins a very enthusiastic introduction to open the show. They’ve got a triple-threat tag title match next week. They were hosting a KO Show. They bitched about not already being on the WrestleMania card, but they’ve got one more chance and they’re going to take it. Nothing is going to stop them walking into WrestleMania as tag team champions and Owens won’t be distracted by the feud he’s found himself in with the state of Texas.
The current tag champs, Alpha Academy, were their guests. The conversation was long, boring, and predictable. Otis and Gable are annoyed that Rollins and Owens weaselled their way into the match. Rollins and Owens are confident they’ll walk out of the match victorious because WrestleMania needs them. And eventually, Chad Gable got so annoying that Owens hit him with a stunner.
Alpha Academy vs Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins & Kevin Owens started after the break. Good match and a brutal opener. Rollins got mauled by Alpha Academy in the first half. Otis could well have finished it if he’d been a bit quicker off the turnbuckle. Owens got some momentum back heading into the next break, taking Gable down on the outside from the apron, but he got bulldozed by Otis immediately after because he wasn’t paying attention.
Owens was in trouble when we got back. Rollins was entirely too cocky when he came in, but he wasn’t in long enough to do any damage to himself or his opponents. Otis failed to stop Rollins from breaking up a nailed in pinfall despite Rollins running straight past him. Rollins took him out of the match by sending him into the ring post, superkicking him in the head, then putting him down with a suicide dive. Gable missed a moonsault on Owens and succumbed to a stunner and Stomp double-team finish.
♦ Omos got a highlight reel of destruction vignette before his interview with Kevin Patrick. I say interview, he took the mic off Patrick and yelled about how he’s dominated everyone and he’s going to dominate T-Bar.
Omos vs T-Bar was pointless. He barged T-Bar off the apron before he could get into the ring and had to pick him up and put him in the ring. The ref refused to start the match because T-Bar couldn’t stand, so Omos threw him into a corner so he could drag himself up on the ropes. He did and the match started.
T-Bar dodged Omos’ first charge, then the entire match was two moves. I hate that. Omos is big but terrible and T-Bar is an incredibly talented and experienced wrestler who sits in catering for months then gets squashed.
♦ Nikki A.S.H. wants to be the superhero of their match. Doudrop is happy to be the villain. Becky Lynch doesn’t care, she’ll just do whatever it takes to win.
Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan decided on the strategy of brutality and Bianca Belair asked to be tagged in if Becky Lynch enters the match.
Becky Lynch, Doudrop, & Nikki A.S.H. vs Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, & Liv Morgan was great. It looked like Belair would get her wish straight away, but Lynch tagged out before contact was made. Belair and Ripley teamed up to suplex Doudrop and throw Nikki and Lynch out of the ring, then Ripley assisted Morgan in a dive from the top turnbuckle to take down all three.
Belair did get some time with Becky Lynch. They were mid-fight when we came back from a break. Lynch used Belair’s braid to drag her into the ring post and to tie her to the top rope. The ref undid that before she could use it, but Belair was in a lot of trouble by then. After taking a break to let Doudrop carry on the punishment, Lynch came back for another go, but Belair got away from her and tagged Ripley. Doudrop flung herself onto Ripley and Lynch to stop Ripley from getting the pin but took so much out of Lynch that Nikki had to drag her over to the corner to tag in.
Liv Morgan landed a scary suicide dive and took another nasty landing off the apron. Belair almost pinned Nikki but Lynch pulled her away by her hair. Belair snapped and whipped her with it until Lynch left the ring and the arena. She’s pinned Nikki A.S.H. with a K.O.D. before Lynch got to the stage. Becky Lynch was still screaming, but that braid cuts so who can blame her.
♦ Robert Roode, with Dolph Ziggler, vs Tommaso Ciampa came about because Roode cost Ciampa his match against Dolph Ziggler last week on NXT 2.0. Tomorrow on 2.0 they have a tag match with NXT Champion Bron Breakker as Ciampa’s partner. Tonight, a chance for Ciampa to do some advanced damage, or for Roode to. Knocking Ziggler off the apron with a knee almost cost Ciampa the match but he recovered and rolled Roode up for the win. Roode hit him from behind post-match. Ziggler joined in for the beatdown. Ziggler cut a quick promo for tomorrow’s match over Ciampa while he was laid out in the ring.
♦ Dana Brooke & Reggie vs Tamina & Akira Tozawa was a mixed tag match with 24/7 rules suspended for the duration. It was fun, and Dana Brooke is looking incredible. Reggie got the pin and a kiss from Brooke after the match. Akira Tozawa got the kiss he’d been looking for from Tamina and got all spacy. Tamina didn’t even smile.
♦ Street Profits told Kevin Patrick they’re out to save the tag division and they want to face whoever wins next week’s match at WrestleMania.
♦ Titus O’Neil’s community work was celebrated, along with the Bullard Family Foundation as part of the Black History Month celebrations.
♦ The Mysterios vs The Hurt Business was a good excuse to remind us that WWE 2K22 is out in a couple of weeks and Rey Mysterio is the cover star. Also, The Mysterios vs The Miz & Logan Paul has been made official for WrestleMania Saturday. Rey had a message for Miz that he was done with his bullshit at WrestleMania before Benjamin and Alexander arrived, but they got Miz instead of their opponents. He talked about himself for a few minutes, and his partner for a few seconds then left.
It would have been nicer to have the time Miz spent talking, added to the match. It would also have been nice if the commentary had spent more time talking about the match and less time talking about Miz. It was a good match until Miz grabbed Dominik’s legs. Rey chased him off through the crowd and Dominik got rolled up and pinned.
♦ The Undertaker is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. SmackDown and Hall of Fame are on the same night, so get your caffeine ready.
♦ Carmella and Queen Zelina accepted the challenge for the tag titles issues by Naomi and Sasha Banks on SmackDown.
♦ Randy Orton’s pre-match pep talk to Riddle was the Orton equivalent of ‘You’re doing fine, sweetie’. They’re winning tonight and next week and heading into WrestleMania as champions.
RK-Bro vs Street Profits was an excellent match. Both teams are on fire at the moment and good tag team wrestling is a beautiful thing. Street Profits especially, always give you that. Montez Ford was ready for Orton’s RKO after Riddle and Dawkins had taken each other out. He deflected and landed a frog splash. Orton would have got his foot on the ropes, but Dawkins was there in time to prevent it and the pin stood. – What actually happened was something went wrong. Orton wasn’t close enough and it looked like he might have picked up an injury. Shoulder, maybe ribs? Many concerned looks were being exchanged post-match.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens celebrated being the team with all the momentum in another Kevin Patrick interview where he barely got a word out.
♦ Veer Mahaan is still Coming to RAW. No one knows when, but he’s still getting weekly vignettes.
♦ Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar – Winner Take All, Championship Unification Match – will headline WrestleMania Sunday.
♦ Austin Theory is worried about Vince McMahon going on the Pat McAfee show alone. He offered to go along and have his back in case McAfee starts trouble, but McMahon said it’s not that kind of show. After McMahon left, Theory said, ‘But it could be’. I guess that’s the beginning of the rumoured Vince McMahon vs Pat McAfee abomination for WrestleMania.
♦ Damian Priest (C) vs Finn Balor – United States Championship Match – was exactly what Priest asked for. He wanted a world championship calibre challenger, and Balor is definitely that. Fantastic match. Hard-hitting and high-flying, and highly entertaining. Go watch whatever highlights they put up on YouTube. Balor kicked out of South of Heaven after taking a couple of huge head kicks and set Priest up for the Coup de Grace. He landed it and we have a brand-new United States Champion.
Post-match, Priest said the crowd carried Balor to the win and he never got the respect and love from the WWE Universe that Balor has. He’s going to win his title back though. The speech was a slightly clumsy heel turn but the attack afterwards, ending in a Razor’s Edge over the announce desk, made it fairly clear.
♦ Edge got the closing slot of the night to find out who, if anyone, is going to challenge him for WrestleMania. No one came out on the first call, then AJ Styles arrived. I’m into that. He accepted. Edge was excited, but said he wanted ‘The bulldog AJ not the guy who’s been playing tag team bitch to Omos for the last year’. He stuck his hand out for Styles to shake then punched him in the face when he took too long. They brawled, Styles took him down with a kick in the head but missed with the Phenomenal Forearm and Edge kicked him in the balls. Edge had a different, serious but almost vacant, look about him as he pounded on Styles. He’s gone to a different place in his head.
The fury arrived as he tried to leave the ring. He grabbed a couple of chairs from the timekeeper’s area, put Styles’ head on one of them, and fought an internal battle about picking up the other one for the Con-Chair-to. Eventually, the dark side won and he delivered it. Deed done, he looked like he might cry for a moment as the crowd began to boo, then delivered a second one.
Good episode tonight. Minimal chatter and some highly entertaining matches. The possible injury to Randy Orton is a worry. And I question whether they can sustain the crowd booing Edge for any length of time, especially when Styles has been less than endearing for the last few months. Wait and see time, I guess.