The WWE ThunderDome will have a new location starting with tonight's show. The Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida will be the ThunderDome's home going forward.
A new Raw commentary team will also debut tonight. Sportscaster Adnan Virk has signed with WWE and will be the new lead play-by-play voice of Raw. He'll be joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton on the commentary team.
Show Recap --
Raw kicked off with footage from earlier today of Bobby Lashley and MVP arriving at the building. He was greeted by a couple of wrestlers and he signed an autograph for someone. Riddle rode in on his scooter and challenged him to a match. Lashley noted that Riddle got beat up by Sheamus last night. Lashley said he was only there to address the fans.
Riddle rambled on about Lashley claiming to give out opportunities. Lashley was getting annoyed so he shoved Riddle down. Lashley said there were winners and losers and he was going to show Riddle the difference between the two tonight.
Adnan Virk, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton are the announcers. Virk said tonight would be a thrill of a lifetime.
There’s a Raw Women’s title rematch tonight, as well as a new episode of the Firefly Fun House.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) defeated Riddle in a non-title match (10:27)
Lashley attacked Riddle during his entrance as he rode around the ring on his scooter. Lashley tossed him around ringside and drove him into the ring post.
Lashley slid Riddle into the ring and Riddle told the referee to start the match. Lashley took control immediately and hit an impressive delayed vertical suplex. Riddle tried fighting back but Lashley slammed him before pressing him over the barricade which led to commercials. Lashley remained in control and hit a flatliner for two.
Lashley continued the beating as the announcers wondered how much more Riddle could take. Riddle came back with strikes and took down Lashley with a knee strike. However, he missed a floating bro and Lashley put him in the Hurt Lock for the submission win.
There was a random graphic shown during the match plugging that Maryse would be on Miz TV tonight.
Kevin Patrick interviewed new Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. She said she had enough self-confidence to challenge Asuka on her first night and to beat one of the best champions ever at WrestleMania. She said her reign was the “brutal world order” and she’d be ready for Asuka again tonight. (This felt very scripted.)
The Viking Raiders defeated Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin (5:39)
Alexander and Benjamin didn’t get an entrance.
Benjamin hit Erik with a knee strike allowing him and Alexander to take control. Benjamin hit an Angle Slam for a nearfall. Erik eventually came back with a knee strike on Alexander. Ivar made the hot tag and he hammered away on Benjamin before hitting shoulder tackles, a crossbody and seated senton. Ivar knocked down both opponents with a double clothesline.
Erik tagged in and the Raiders gave Alexander the Viking Experience for the pinfall win.
Patrick interviewed Asuka. She said Ripley took the fight last night but tonight was her turn. Losing was a nightmare but she was ready for Ripley and would once again become champion. Asuka was fired up.
Charlotte Flair promo
Charlotte Flair entered. Virk mentioned that there were rumours she wasn’t happy to be left out of WrestleMania. Charlotte got on the apron and waited until someone opened the ropes for her to enter. There was nobody designated to do this so she motioned to a camera guy to do it.
Charlotte said she wasn’t “welcomed” at WrestleMania. People told her that it’s not a big deal to miss one because she’s been on five already. She said it was unacceptable that she wasn’t included.
It wasn’t her fault that Asuka needed a new tag partner, that Ric Flair made an ass of himself on Legends Night, or that Lacey Evans got pregnant meaning she couldn’t kick her ass at Mania.
Charlotte noted that she challenged Asuka on Raw but she didn’t even respond. She said Ripley took advantage and beat Asuka. She called Ripley a snake. Charlotte claimed that everyone in the division was jumping for joy that she wasn’t on WrestleMania. She said karma was a bitch and she was that bitch.
Charlotte named every woman who was on Mania over the weekend and said that none of them compare to her. Charlotte said she didn’t steal opportunities — she was the opportunity. She wasn’t going to apologize for being that damn good and we should be bowing down to the 13-time champion.
She said she demanded respect and told Ripley and Asuka to enjoy the match that she should be in. She dropped the mic.
Raw Women’s Championship match: Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka ended in a DQ (11:51)
Thumbs In The Middle Up
Ripley was in control and dropkicked Asuka out of the ring, which led to break less than two minutes into the match.
Ripley cut off Asuka with a clothesline. Asuka came back with kicks, a flying dropkick, a German suplex, a running hip attack, roundhouse kick and a sliding knee for two. There was a weird spot where Asuka flat-out missed a flying dropkick. Ripley applied a standing cloverleaf but after Asuka got a rope break, Ripley drove her into the mat for a two count.
They messed up two spots in a row after that. Ripley wanted to get Asuka up in the electric chair drop position but they just kinda fell over. They tried another spot where Ripley basically hit a Samoan drop, but that didn’t seem to be the planned spot because Asuka is the one who covered Ripley. Ripley finally did slam Asuka for a two count.
After Asuka gave Ripley a DDT on the apron, Charlotte flew in and attacked for the DQ. Charlotte laid them both out and mocked them.
Miz and John Morrison sauntered through the back in a great mood. Miz greeted Maryse. Morrison wondered what she was doing there. Miz said she obviously their guest on Miz TV. Morrison seemed surprised.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were in the back watching a replay of Mandy Rose slipping and falling during her entrance at Mania. They were very amused. Rose jumped in and Jax told Baszler she could handle this alone. Baszler left. Rose admitted it was embarrassing but also funny because she had a sense of humour about herself. She said it was funny when things happen when you least expected it. Rose and Dana Brooke attacked Jax and left her laying.
I think Alexa Bliss basically said that she’s become powerful enough on her own and didn’t need the darkness (Bray Wyatt). She also had a new friend named Lilly. It was a puppet with pigtails. The segment ended with a CGI version of the puppet and it snarled at us.
(Feel free to watch this if you want to know more of what she said.)
MizTV with guest Maryse
Miz said he was still the most must-see superstar in WWE. Maryse was on to plug their show which follows Raw. Morrison thought maybe they should have a spinoff show with him involved. Miz didn’t like that idea.
Miz said he made Bad Bunny into a big superstar. He showed pictures of Bad Bunny giving Morrison a falcon arrow and wiping them out with a dive. Miz said Bad Bunny would have been a flop without him.
Damian Priest interrupted. Even he didn’t want to take credit for Bad Bunny’s performance. Priest said Miz was trying to save face but reminded him that Bad Bunny beat him.
Miz reminded Priest of his past WrestleMania success. Miz challenged him to a match. Morrison said he wanted to challenge him to a match. They argued until Maryse told them that they could both fight him. Priest said he was more than happy to beat them both in a handicap match right now.
2-on-1 handicap match: John Morrison & The Miz (w/Maryse) defeated Damian Priest (5:33)
Miz and Morrison wore their normal clothes because they weren’t expecting the match yet.
Priest gave Morrison his finisher but Miz had tagged himself in. Miz tried hitting Skull Crushing Finale but Priest blocked it and went for Hit the Lights but Maryse saved Miz by grabbing his foot. Priest ripped Miz’s pants so we could see his underwear for the purposes of comedy.
Maryse got on the apron so Priest politely asked her to get down. Miz used the opportunity to apply a schoolboy with his feet on the rope for the pinfall win.
(After the match, Miz tripped over his pants on the ramp, which was probably planned, and Maryse then tripped over Miz’s pants, which was probably not planned.)
Patrick asked Jax about Rose and Brooke. They aired a replay of what happened earlier. Jax asked if the replay was necessary since it was from like 20 minutes ago. She said she and Baszler would give them a beating and nobody would be talking about them anymore.
Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke via countout in a non-title match (4:33)
This was extremely dumb.
If you haven’t gotten enough of people tripping accidentally, Jax “tripped” over the rope as she entered the ring before the match so Rose and Brooke could laugh at her.
During the match, Jax tossed Rose in the ring and slipped again as she tried getting back in the ring. She ran after Rose who bailed up the ramp with Brooke. They willingly left knowing they’d be counted out. They could be heard saying, “it’s not worth it.” Graves was baffled.
There was a recap of Lashley retaining his title over Drew McIntyre.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley’s All Mighty Address
MVP was in the ring alone. He explained why Lashley wasn’t there by saying Lashley felt disrespected and didn’t want to experience any more foolishness.
He put McIntyre over as a warrior. However, he took his eyes off the prize for a second and it cost him. MVP said it’s always just a matter of time until Lashley applied the Hurt Lock. MVP wondered how much pain McIntyre must be in today.
McIntyre interrupted. He said MVP had no idea how it felt. He knew it would come down to the Claymore or Hurt Lock and he admitted he got caught. He noted how proud MVP was and wanted him and to keep milking Lashley for what he’s worth. He wanted Lashley’s head to be as big as possible because he would get his rematch and would knock Lashley off his pedestal.
Braun Strowman interrupted. He told McIntyre to step to the back of the line.
Randy Orton came out next. He said the Fiend and Alexa Bliss were finished (we just saw Bliss earlier) and he wanted to be WWE Champion again.
Adam Pearce entered. He said they were all making great points, so tonight, there would be a triple threat match and the winner would face Lashley for the title at “WrestleMania Backlash.”
There was a commercial for the Steve Austin documentary on A&E.
McIntyre and Strowman argued in the back over who would win tonight. Strowman appeared to have a black eye.
Elias and Jaxson Ryker were in the ring. Elias had a song dedicated to Shane McMahon. Elias tried playing his guitar but every time he went to strum it, Xavier Woods’ trombone played (off-screen). New Day came out.
Kofi Kingston said they shouldn’t be apologizing to Shane, they should be apologizing to the rest of the tag division for getting their asses whooped by one man at Mania. Woods said they would never show their faces again if that happened to them. New Day shamed them.
Elias reminded them that they also got beat up by one man, Omos, and lost their tag titles. Kingston referenced DMX and said New Day planned on showing them what a real tag team looked like.
Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods defeated Elias & Jaxson Ryker (10:04)
Kingston and Woods each hit flip dives which led to break 40 seconds into the match. The match continued four minutes later and they didn’t show a single thing that would’ve happened during the break. Then, as Elias held Woods in rest hold, a quick movie trailer randomly played. (And on my feed, the trailer was all audio and the actual clips didn’t appear.)
They beat up on Woods until Kingston made the hot tag and took down Elias with strikes and leg drop. Woods took out Ryker on the outside and New Day followed with Day Break on Elias for the pinfall win. (Woods got the pin.)
Orton said he would win tonight after he strikes with an RKO.
Firefly Fun House
Bray Wyatt and his sweater welcomed us back to the funhouse. The rabbit said it would be lonely without “her.” Wyatt said they’d always have each other. Wyatt felt reborn and everything will be fine because “he” will return. He smiled and waved.
Triple Threat match: Drew McIntyre defeated Braun Strowman and Randy Orton (11:14)
McIntyre and Orton worked together early on and suplexed Strowman. However, Strowman popped up and tackled them. He ran around the ring but McIntyre smashed him in the face with the steel steps. Orton backdropped McIntyre onto the announce table which led to break 90 seconds into the match.
Apparently, nothing of note happened during the four-minute break. McIntyre hit Orton with clotheslines and overhead suplexes but Strowman ran him over with a boot. Strowman charged at Orton in the corner but ran unto a neckbreaker by McIntyre.
Orton and McIntyre fought on the outside until Orton chucked him over the announce desk. Strowman ran over Orton before nailing both men with the steel steps. As Strowman entered the ring, Orton cut him off and hit a draping DDT.
Orton gave Strowman an RKO but McIntyre broke up the cover by giving Orton a Claymore kick. McIntyre pinned Orton to become the number one contender. It’s Lashley vs. McIntyre again.
A fine match with a good finish.
After the match, MVP entered the stage. McIntyre turned around into a double chokeslam by T-Bar and Mace (wearing their Retribution gear). Graves wondered if MVP had something to do with this. Yes, obviously.
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up