Raw kicked off with Sarah Schreiber approaching Drew McIntyre as he arrived to the building earlier today. She asked about Bobby Lashley’s bounty. McIntyre said anyone considering the offer should wonder if Lashley was a man of his word. He dared someone to come after him.
The Hurt Business segment
Lashley and the Hurt Business entered the ring. MVP said Lashley would walk in and out of WrestleMania as the champion. Lashley made his proposition clear: whoever took out McIntyre would earn a WWE title match at WrestleMania.
MVP didn’t want people to think they were being generous — they just thought that McIntyre has already had his opportunity and they wanted somebody new in the picture. He asked if anyone was willing to step up but nobody entered.
MVP said there were two men who would not get that opportunity and he showed a replay of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin losing last week. Lashley was embarrassed that they lost last week and lost the tag titles. He couldn’t count on them anymore and refused to associate himself with incompetence. MVP said they failed miserably.
Alexander said they could have done this privately. Benjamin wondered if they brought them out here just to embarrass them. Benjamin fired up and reminded Lashley that they always had his back and he was champion because of them.
MVP tried to settle things down when Lashley decked Alexander. Benjamin took down Lashley but a brawl ended with Lashley giving Benjamin a flatliner.
Lashley said the Hurt Business was over as far as Benjamin and Alexander were concerned.
In the back, Schreiber asked Riddle why he thinks Sheamus attacked him with his scooter. Riddle didn’t know why. Maybe Sheamus had a tummy ache or just didn’t have a soul. Riddle was pissed off — as pissed off as he’d be if he dropped a burrito. Riddle saw Titus O’Neil and told him he should roast a pig at Mania.
O’Neil thought there was something wrong with him and checked his forehead. Riddle said he was fine. “They checked me earlier, I’m fine.” Riddle thought he was part of the “roast” of WrestleMania. O’Neil clarified that he’s hosting with Hulk Hogan. O’Neil left. As Riddle talked to himself about food, Sheamus ran in and decked him.
Alexander and Benjamin confronted Adam Pearce. Benjamin wanted a match with Lashley tonight. Alexander wanted what was left of him next week. Pearce hesitated so they questioned if he was protecting Lashley or if he was even in charge. Alexander wondered if he had to check with Lashley the way he always checked with Roman Reigns. Alexander told him to grow a pair and make the match.
Samoa Joe was not on commentary so MVP joined Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton at the desk.
Sheamus defeated US Champion Riddle in a non-title match (12:45)
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
They were fighting back and forth until a cool spot where Riddle ran up the ropes to suplex Sheamus off the turnbuckles. Riddle followed with a Pelé kick, forearm strikes, an exploder suplex, kicks to the chest, a final flash knee and senton for two. Riddle applied a triangle choke but Sheamus hoisted him up and hit a powerbomb. Riddle managed to hold on and reapply the hold but Sheamus got a rope break. Sheamus picked up Riddle and hit a White Noise on the apron for a close nearfall. Sheamus followed that with an Alabama Slam for two. Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick but Riddle ran right at him with a knee strike. Sheamus blocked a kick and hit a knee strike of his own for the pinfall win. Very good action, particularly the last few minutes. As Sheamus celebrated, a pissed-off Riddle knocked him out of the ring. They played “bro” chants.
Kevin Patrick asked Shane McMahon (who was with Elias and Jaxson Ryker) what he planned to reveal in his exposé tonight of Braun Strowman. Shane wasn’t going to tip his hand but did say we’d find out some interesting things.
Shane McMahon segment Shane claimed that his knee injury was real. He managed to sprint away last week due to adrenaline and he would recover in time to beat Strowman at Mania. Shane posted Braun’s (not his real name, of course) fifth-grade report card. He received and D- in social studies and math, a D in English, and a D+ in gym class. The card had notes from the teachers and was even signed by “Mrs. Strowman.” They also posted a photoshop of Strowman wearing a dunce cap with “2+2=5” written on a chalkboard.
Strowman marched out for his scheduled match against Ryker. (They cut to break which means Strowman just stood around in the vicinity of the man who has been mocking him for weeks for five minutes.)
They announced some sort of deal where you can get half-price on your Peacock premium subscription which is only $2.50 a month.
Braun Strowman defeated Jaxson Ryker (w/Shane McMahon & Elias) (2:27)
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
Strowman won with a powerslam. They played the train noise again mid-match when he ran around the ring. This led Phillips to call him “WWE’s answer to Snowpiercer.”
Strowman chased after Shane after the match but Elias cut him off with a knee strike. They triple-teamed him until Strowman fought them off and Shane ran to the stage.
Strowman grabbed a mic and cut an out-of-breath promo where reminded Shane that he was allowed to pick the stipulation for their match. He announced a cage match. MVP (on commentary) said, “Shane isn’t smiling anymore.” They cut to Shane who was, in fact, smiling.
The Dirt Sheet with The Miz & John Morrison
Miz said Bad Bunny was nominated for a VMA last year but didn’t win. Morrison said, “he did win a Grammy, though.” Miz blew through that remark and said he would beat Bad Bunny at WrestleMania.
They rambled for a bit before introducing their music video. That led to a clip of them introducing their music video again. They claimed it was filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico but it was obviously filmed in the Thunderdome with crowd shots spliced in.
Miz and Morrison wore all-white suits in the video but there were also shots of them hopping around in bunny costumes. They cut back to the live Thunderdome where they played loud booing. Miz and Morrison were very proud of themselves.
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest interrupted. Priest said Bad Bunny would handle the Miz at Mania. Bad Bunny responded in Spanish. Miz demanded to know what he said so Priest translated: Bad Bunny would make the Miz his bitch.
Miz and Morrison left the ring and Miz got in Priest’s face. Miz said Priest wouldn’t be able to protect him at Mania. Priest moved aside so he could make his move. Miz went after him but Bad Bunny punched him right in the face (which looked good).
Priest and Bad Bunny hit the ring where Bad Bunny tossed the Dirt Sheet set props around. They dared Miz and Morrison to get in the ring but they didn’t.
In the back, Randy Orton ran down a list of legends that he has encountered in his career but stated that none of them compared to the Fiend. Orton tried burning the Fiend only to realize he wasn’t human, he was an abomination straight from hell.
Orton was glad to learn what he’s dealing with because he can finally put an end to this. Orton said they were cut from the same cloth and he knew how far into hell he’d have to reach to ensure the Fiend was out of his life once and for all. This was golden. Randy Orton verily a man after my own heart.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Shelton Benjamin (w/Cedric Alexander) in a non-title match (4:14)
Lashley confronted Alexander who sprinted to the back. Benjamin caught Lashley with Paydirt in the ring for a nearfall. Benjamin hit knee strikes but Lashley cut him off with a spinebuster. Lashley hit another spinebuster and won with the Hurt Lock after Benjamin passed out.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods bumped into AJ Styles and Omos in the back. New Day had game night set up for Styles and Omos because New Day wanted to see how well they know each other. Styles said no, he only planned on beating Woods in their match tonight. They called him a chicken so he accepted.
Riddle vs. Sheamus was made official for Mania. (They’re making it very clear which matches are on which night, so that’s good.)
The New Day Game Night
New Day had games set up in the ring. The first game they played was charades. Kingston had to pantomime a specific song and Woods guessed it right. Styles had to pantomime “The Lion King” but Omos didn’t guess it.
The next game was Pictionary. Woods had to draw a rocket ship and Kingston guessed it right. Styles had to draw the sun. He drew the sun but Omos didn’t guess it. It was clear he wasn’t interested in playing.
New Day celebrated their win. Omos had enough. He said the only thing they had to win was their match at Mania and he planned on showing them what he’s capable of.
Woods thanked us for watching. Styles started chucking the games out of the ring so Woods said he was mimicking a three-year-old.
They aired a clip from social media of a young fan doing a Hulk Hogan impression. It was the best promo of the night so far.
Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) defeated AJ Styles (w/Omos) via DQ (7:55)
They went to break two minutes into the match after Woods hit a flip dive. Back from break, Woods hit a back body drop for two. Styles responded with a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two and Woods followed that with a tornado DDT for two.
With Styles on the apron, Woods appeared to be going for a running kick but was blocked by Omos. Omos chucked him into the ring for the DQ.
Kingston tried going after Omos but Omos caught him and chucked him over the barricade. Styles whipped Woods into Omos who powerbombed him. Omos put his foot on Woods and Styles counted to three.
There was a Snickers commercial earlier with the Miz and Xavier Woods. There was a Snickers-sponsored video here of Daniel Bryan beating Randy Orton and Batista at WrestleMania 30 to win the world title.
Alexa Bliss had a jack-in-the-box toy. She said it was no ordinary jack-in-the-box. She gave us a history lesson and let us know they used to be called a devil-in-a-box. She said Orton thought he could get rid of the Fiend but he was wrong, and now she has her Fiend-in-a-box.
She said Orton didn’t know what was next. She gave us a hint: “At WrestleMania, the legend killer dies.” She giggled as she played with her toy.
The camera expanded to reveal that the Fiend was sitting on the swingset beside her (motionless) the entire time.
Drew McIntyre segment
McIntyre busted into the locker room where half the wrestlers weren’t even paying attention to him as he ranted about the fact that nobody was going after him. McIntyre looked at one wrestler who was on his phone and wondered if he was busy Tweeting because that’s the only way people try to get noticed anymore. McIntyre dared somebody to stand up and take a shot.
He got in Strowman’s face and said he should be a five-time champion by now. Strowman said he would deal with Shane at Mania first before coming after him. McIntyre threatened Humberto Carrillo and tossed him aside before getting in Riddle’s face.
As Riddle spoke, Angel Garza tried attacking from behind but McIntyre tossed him aside too. Gulak thought about going after McIntyre but McIntyre headbutted him.
McIntyre got in Ricochet’s face. Ricochet told McIntyre that he doesn’t trust Lashley, but if he was looking for a fight, he’s got one. McIntyre was content. (Ricochet often comes across as intimidated and he did here, too.)
Naomi (w/Lana) defeated Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax) (2:22)
There was nothing particularly bad up until this point (I was thinking). Even the God damn Alexa/Bray segment wasn't that bad, it was just there. This! was bad.
Poor Naomi who is so talented and should be atleast a 5 time champion by now.
Poor Shayna who should be the champion of every promotion in the world all at the same time right now. Seriously though, with rare exception Shayna Baszler looks the best female wrestler/mma fighter in the world by a grand margin. With rare exception every woman across every promotion looks one or two levels beneath her.
This should have been much better than it was and wasn't because of friggin Reginald. My problem isn't with Reginald. My problem is the fact that Reginald exists.......and is mentioned by name like we should care. He's so annoying and extra and the situation is never about him.
Naomi won with a cradle after a bunch of distractions outside the ring involving (initiated by Reginald) Lana, Jax, Reginald, and Dana Brooke/Mandy Rose who were on commentary.
There was a weird segment with Asuka and Riddle in the back. They were doing comedy about his scooter when Riddle suddenly remarked that he forgot what he was saying and just walked off. It was odd because he looked right at the camera when he said that. Asuka looked confused but smiled and chuckled as a way to cover, perhaps.
Rhea Ripley was shown speaking to some guy in the back. She was considerably taller than him.
Asuka-Rhea Ripley Contract Signing
Pearce introduced both women. Ripley made it clear that Asuka was the “current” champion. Asuka laughed and said yes, she is the champion. Asuka called her overconfident. Ripley said she was confident enough to challenge her on her first night and confident enough to say she will win at WrestleMania. They both signed.
Asuka called Ripley’s confidence borrowed, not earned. Asuka was about to say Ripley wasn’t ready for her but Ripley turned the table over onto her. Hopefully now Asuka will realize THESE BITCHES AREN"T PLAYING WITH YOU!!! Stop the goofy shit, your the fucking champion.
Jax and Baszler (with Reginald who to my pleasant surprise said and did nothing) interrupted. They spoke about how much they’ve dominated Raw the past year and wondered where their Mania match was. Baszler said she kicked Asuka’s teeth out and couldn’t wait to give Ripley a taste. Ripley told her to go ahead. Jax challenged Asuka and Ripley to a tag match next week. Ripley accepted on Asuka’s behalf.
(Asuka was down selling the entire time Jax, Baszler and Ripley spoke.)
MVP approached Ricochet in the back. He was glad to see Ricochet thinking like a businessman and taking them up on their offer. Ricochet said this wasn’t about their offer and thought they were both full of it. Ricochet wanted this match because he doesn’t know when he’ll get another opportunity and knows he can beat McIntyre.
They announced Kane, The Great Khali, and RVD for the hall of fame, joining Molly Holly and Eric Bischoff.
Drew McIntyre defeated Ricochet (2:46)
McIntyre tossed Ricochet around with ease early on until Ricochet mounted a brief comeback. McIntyre whipped him toward the barricade but Ricochet balanced himself on the barricade before hitting a dropkick. Ricochet missed a splash off the top and McIntyre nailed a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win.
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
There were no heels to take Ricochet's L?
Mustafa Ali attacked McIntyre after the match until McIntyre tossed him out of the ring. McIntyre dared him to fight.
Drew McIntyre defeated Mustafa Ali
That's more like it.
The match was underway after a break and Ali was targeting McIntyre’s leg. Ali hit a splash to McIntyre’s legs which got him a two count. McIntyre came back with some great-looking suplexes. Ali tried a cutter but McIntyre headbutted him out of the air and hit a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win.
Main event angle
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing up
McIntyre grabbed a mic and demanded that Lashley come out and do the job himself. Lashley entered. MVP (on commentary) wasn’t happy that Lashley came out. This… led to commercials.
After four or five minutes of them standing around, Lashley entered the ring.
Lashley told McIntyre that he never needed anyone’s help. He could have and should have ended McIntyre’s career at Elimination Chamber, and what he did that night will pale in comparison to what he’ll do at WrestleMania.
McIntyre liked that Lashley was fired up. He knew Lashley was dangerous and he would be the man around here if McIntyre didn’t exist. But he did exist and it was clear that Lashley was afraid of him.
They brawled until McIntyre headbutted Lashley out of the ring.
Baron Corbin suddenly attacked McIntyre from behind. Corbin slammed McIntyre but McIntyre came back with a suplex. McIntyre set up for a Claymore but Corbin countered into a Deep Six.
Lashley put down McIntyre with the Hurt Lock as Corbin encouraged him to do it again. Lashley put him in the Hurt Lock twice more as Corbin looked on.
(A tenuous) Thumbs Up