WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) defeated Sheamus in a non-title match (11:38)
They were having a back-and-forth match until Sheamus became momentarily distracted by Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin arriving at ringside which allowed Lashley to knock him from the ring.
Alexander distracted the referee and Lashley simultaneously while Benjamin clotheslined Sheamus. Lashley appeared confused as to why his buddies were there as they went to break.
Alexander and Benjamin cheered on Lashley as MVP also appeared slightly confused. Lashley remained in control and hit a powerslam for two. Alexander tried giving words of encouragement but Lashley told him to step down from the apron.
Sheamus used the distraction to mount a comeback. He clubbed away at Lashley before hitting a flying clothesline to the outside. Sheamus hit another one in the ring for two and a lifting knee strike for two.
Sheamus seemed to be setting up for the Brogue Kick but became distracted by Alexander. This allowed Lashley to hit a spinebuster and apply the Hurt Lock for the submission win.
Alexander and Benjamin attacked Sheamus after the match as Lashley continued to look on in confusion. McIntyre sprinted out and fought off Alexander and Benjamin. He dared Benjamin to come after him but he backed off.
McIntyre confronted Lashley in the ring as MVP held back Lashley. MVP wanted Lashley to wait until WrestleMania while McIntyre begged him to take a swing, even putting his hands behind his back. Lashley eventually left.
It was refreshing to see Raw start with a wrestling match without some long promo to set it up (even in the match itself felt like a backdrop for an angle).
Tom Phillips plugged that Randy Orton would call out the Fiend tonight. He said they would show a replay of the new-look Fiend. Actually, what he said was: “We’ll take you back to his hideous reemergence from the fiery depths of hell.”
Lashley told Alexander and Benjamin that he didn’t need their damn help. MVP told them that they tarnished the image of Lashley by making it seem like he couldn’t beat Sheamus alone. He called it an embarrassment, just like it was an embarrassment that they lost the tag titles. He said it didn’t reflect well on Lashley and wanted to know what they would do to make up for it.
There was a video package of Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton with the Fiend’s return. Byron Saxton repeated the “fiery depths of hell” line we just heard before the break.
Raw Women’s Champion Asuka defeated Peyton Royce in a non-title match (11:11)
They aired a clip of Royce’s Raw Talk promo during her entrance.
Royce got more offense than you’d expect (much of which didn’t look good) but Asuka mounted a comeback after a break (in a small screen in the top left corner because they were showing replays) and got a two count after a German suplex and shining wizard.
Royce blocked a back fist (which looked good) and hit a Widow’s Peak for two. Asuka ducked a roundhouse kick and hit a Codebreaker for a nearfall. Royce used a double foot stomp off the top to Asuka’s back for two.
Asuka applied an armbar before transitioning into an Asuka Lock for the submission win. The announcers put over Royce’s effort.
Rhea Ripley entered as Asuka celebrated. Ripley called Asuka one of the greatest champions in WWE history. Asuka appeared flattered, which was funny.
Ripley recalled Charlotte Flair challenging Asuka to a title match while Asuka was on the shelf after getting her teeth knocked out. Ripley said Charlotte wasn’t here now because she was recovering from COVID.
Ripley wanted an answer. She challenged Asuka to a title match at WrestleMania. Asuka said Ripley was not ready before accepting the match. They both appeared happy.
Adam Pearce approached McIntyre in the back. They talked about Sheamus before Pearce notified McIntyre that Benjamin and Alexander challenged him to a handicap match.
Pearce noted how that might not be a good idea so close to Mania. McIntyre accepted under the following stipulation: if he won, Alexander and Benjamin would be banned from ringside at Mania. Pearce accepted the stip.
They said Asuka vs. Ripley for the title was made official for Mania.
The Miz defeated Jeff Hardy (4:20)
Before the match, Hardy said we know that Morrison will get involved as soon as Miz got in trouble and suggested that he go to the back. Morrison willingly left.
They had an even match that Miz won clean after chucking Hardy into the post and hitting a Skull Crushing Finale.
Bad Bunny smashed a guitar over Miz’s back after the match. (It was a good visual and not accidentally happened with the WrestleMania sign behind them.) Bad Bunny grabbed a mic and said, “I accept your challenge, bitch.”
AJ Styles & Omos / New Day promo
AJ Styles and Omos entered. Styles said he and Omos would literally bury the New Day at WrestleMania. They were full of confidence and Styles said they can’t lose.
New Day interrupted. Xavier Woods thought it was funny Styles wanted to bury them in holes considering last year’s Boneyard match. Kofi Kingston called Styles a wee little man and warned Omos that he can lose the match if Styles gets pinned. New Day questioned how close they really were but Styles said Omos was his best friend.
New Day asked Styles a few questions, only to reveal that Styles didn’t know Omos’ favourite colour (mauve), ice cream flavour (peanut butter caramel), or all-time wrestler (André the Giant). Styles demanded Kingston get in the ring so he could beat him up. Styles said, “A-J-rocks” as he swivelled his hips and Woods demanded they cut to commercial.
They announced Eric Bischoff for the hall of fame.
Raw Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) defeated AJ Styles (w/Omos) (13:56)
They were having a competitive match until Styles chucked Kingston into the steel steps. Omos stepped in Woods’ way to prevent him from getting involved which led to break.
Kingston mounted a comeback and went for a Trouble in Paradise but Styles caught him in mid-air with an enziguri. Kingston fought Styles off the top rope and hit a splash to the back for two. Styles applied a Calf Crusher but Kingston got a rope break. Styles kicked out of a cradle and hit a low dropkick.
Styles set up for the Phenomenal forearm but Woods blew on his trombone which caused Styles to stumble. This was very funny. Styles went for the forearm again but Kingston countered into an SOS for the pinfall win.
Kevin Patrick asked why Sheamus would accept a match against Lashley after what happened last night. Sheamus said that’s who he was. He wasn’t going to back down from a fight. Patrick asked about McIntyre helping him and Sheamus said it was about respect.
Riddle interrupted by riding into the frame on his scooter. Sheamus asked him if it was easy to ride and acted interested in Riddle’s answer. As Riddle went on, Sheamus hit him in the gut with the scooter. Riddle writhed around in pain and asked, “was it something I said, bro?”
They congratulated themselves on having a lot of YouTube views.
2-on-1 handicap match: Drew McIntyre defeated Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander (13:06)
McIntyre was in control and set up Benjamin for a Claymore but Alexander pulled his partner out of the ring. McIntyre went after Benjamin and tossed him around ringside before tossing him back into the ring. Alexander blind-tagged in and chop-blocked McIntyre. Hurt Business chucked McIntyre into the barricade which led to break.
Hurt Business remained in control after the break until McIntyre eventually came back by headbutting Benjamin. McIntyre hit Alexander with clotheslines and an overhead suplex before giving Benjamin a Future Shock DDT. McIntyre gave Alexander a neckbreaker and gave Benjamin a Claymore.
McIntyre killed Alexander with perhaps the best-looking Claymore kick ever for the pinfall win.
So Alexander and Benjamin are banned from ringside at Mania’s WWE title match.
MVP admonished Benjamin and Alexander in the back. Lashley barged in and shoved Benjamin. He said they couldn’t get the job done and said he would find someone who can. Lashley walked into the locker room where the usual 24/7 losers all hung out together (along with Ricochet). He said if any of them took out McIntyre before Mania, he’d give them a title shot.
Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (w/Reginald) defeated Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose in a non-title match (2:46)
Naomi and Lana were on commentary. There was a replay of Jax taking Reginald shopping.
Rose got in Reginald’s face so he slipped in the ring. He did a flip to show off to Jax before leaving the ring. Naomi and the announcers were baffled that he could just get into the ring in the middle of a match. Rose used the momentary distraction to hit a knee strike for two.
Some other stuff happened, Reginald did another flip on the apron, and Jax gave Brooke a Samoan drop for the pinfall win. This was dumb.
Alexa Bliss was on her swing set in the back. She let Randy Orton know that she was still in his life, and so was “he.” Bliss told Orton to be careful what he wishes for. She giggled before saying “let me in” in the Fiend’s voice.
Shane McMahon and Elias segment
Elias, Jaxson Ryker and Shane McMahon were in the ring. Shane’s left leg was heavily wrapped and he used a crutch. Shane said he would’ve wiped the floor with Braun Strowman if not for his injury. He still planned on beating “B-b-b-braun” once he healed.
Shane said Elias didn’t exactly help him out yesterday. Elias was going to defend himself but Shane told him not to interrupt him ever again. Elias obeyed. They had a song for Strowman called, “Braun is stupid.” They sang about Strowman’s stupidity.
Strowman interrupted (he waited until they were finished). Strowman didn’t care if Shane had a pegleg, he was still coming after him. He had a song for Elias: “The man who got these hands.”
There was a video of The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8 in Toronto, one of my favourite live show moments.
Braun Strowman defeated Elias (w/Shane McMahon & Jaxson Ryker) (3:07)
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
Strowman ran around the ring and ran over Ryker and Elias as they played a train chugging sound effect. I couldn’t believe my ears. Strowman won with a powerslam.
Shane hit Strowman in the back with his crutch but it had no effect. Strowman was about to go after Shane who bolted from the ring, revealing that his leg was obviously fine. Strowman challenged him to a match at Mania. Shane smiled and accepted. Shane said he would do whatever match Strowman wanted and would win because Strowman was stupid.
They announced a few specific match dates for the two-night WrestleMania:
Saturday, April 10: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair The Miz vs. Bad Bunny
Sunday, April 11: Roman Reigns vs. Edge Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley
(They messed up the graphics and showed the Miz/Bad Bunny graphic two or three times by mistake before finally showing the proper graphic for Reigns/Edge.)
Main event segment
Orton entered wearing a hoodie and shorts. He said it would be over tonight for the Fiend and for Bliss. Tonight would finally end all of the bullshit.
Bliss appeared on the stage holding a jack-in-the-box toy. A Fiend puppet popped out of it. The lights went out and the Fiend appeared behind Orton.
Orton grabbed a gas can (that he brought to the ring). The Fiend stood still as Orton began dousing him with gas. Orton grabbed a match but before he could light it the Fiend took a step toward him. Orton laid him out with an RKO.
Bliss entered the ring and stared down Orton as the Fiend got up. The Fiend put him in the mandible claw before hitting Sister Abigail. Bliss giggled and pranced around. She sternly pointed to the WrestleMania sign as flames went off around it.
The announcers let us know this match was made official and Samoa Joe even said it was happening on the Sunday. I have no idea how they suddenly knew any of that.
Bliss kneeled in front of the Fiend and they posed as the show went off the air. Thumbs Up. Aside from the Alexa & Bray bullshit this was a solid show. Some good and lengthy matches and angles to setup mania, Rhea Ripley......so yeah.
Im proud of you RAW