Hey everybody! SAM here with our friendly neighborhood Botch and we have come to the go-home episode of Raw. Not that great of a build on the Raw side of things but let us see what they had for us anyways.
In-Ring Segment – MVP, Bobby Lashley, The Miz John Morrison & Drew McIntyre
It is truly night and day when it comes to when Lashley first came back to WWE to where he is now. He is very much looking like the man I saw at the end of his run in Impact that was confident and looked like a world champion. He came out with MVP and they spoke about how Lashley has finally reached the top of the mountain. A bit more of what we have heard before but then the Miz would come out with John Morrison. He clearly wants another shot because he has every excuse in the book as to why he lost to Lashley. McIntyre would then come out and I loved how he walked right by Miz and Morrison because he doesn’t view them as a threat whatsoever. This would end up in a brawl and we would get Sheamus attacking Lashley for a nice surprise. Nice opening overall and I am all-in on Lashley’s run as champion.
If Miz has never shown his worth before, he’s shown it during this entire Lashley championship ascendency. Miz has done EVERYTHING so right! He’s a fantastic slimy heel. He’s just despise-able. I, too, really liked how Drew had NO time to bother with Miz. I didn’t see Sheamus coming at all but I liked it. It set up a match later that was…well, we’ll get there. As for Lashley, we’re getting back to TNA-Lashley. This is the one that could talk convincingly. He’s still working on it but he’s closer than he’s been since he began his most recent WWE run. Really fun segment overall.
Backstage Segment – Sheamus
Sheamus kept this short and to the point as to why he attacked Lashley. He wants Drew at 100% so he has no excuses for when he loses to him at Fastlane. He also wants to prove that he can be the one to take the title from Lashley as well. Good stuff from Sheamus and I like that they didn’t drag this on like some promos have a tendency to.
Agreed. Interesting story here. Neuter Lashley so he can’t inflict too much damage on Drew so that Drew is 100% for Sheamus. This was all it needed to be.
The Miz w/ John Morrison vs Drew McIntyre
Solid match here and I liked how Drew sold the attack he received at the beginning. Of course, once the match really got going Drew got into form. I liked that Morrison kept trying to find way to interfere in the match because he knew Miz was in for a long night. Speaking of long night, those chops Drew gave Miz had to have hurt and I can only imagine the kind of chops we will get if we ever get a WALTER/Drew match somewhere down the line. Morrison would be ejected and this is where it came to mind that Morrison really must have hurt his knee because he hasn’t done much since that match he had with Riddle where he reportedly injured it. Drew would end up picking up the win here and would taunt Lashley a bit by winning with the Hurt Lock.
Deft storytelling here. Can’t say this better than Sam just did. Those CHOPS tho! WALTER would have been proud. The marks could be seen in all their glory on Miz later. Loved Drew winning with Lashley’s submission. Miz’s selling is just aces all around and they work so well together. Fun match that did its job.
In-Ring Segment – Braun Strowman & Shane McMahon
I just am not feeling this feud one bit. Shane is calling Braun “stupid” and Braun doesn’t like that because he was bullied when he was younger. I know this is to just set their Wrestlemania match up that we all know is coming but they surely can come at it from a better angle than this. None of this makes me want to be invested in this feud and the best part was Braun acting intense I suppose.
I just don’t care. Shane and Braun are compelling and they can both make most things work. I just can’t care here because idea behind this is just so poor. I don’t know who came up with it but they should be fired on the spot. Just like last week, Braun did all he could. This time, Shane didn’t totally blow his lines like he did last week. They tried to explain that away too but it just didn’t fly. This just needs to be dropped. We won’t miss it.
Backstage Segment – Naomi, Lana, Dana Brooke, Mandy Rose & R-Truth
This grade is really all due to Truth and what he did here. He was decked out in Stone Cold gear since WWE is celebrating him this week and he thought the celebration was today. He was reminded that it was tomorrow and he just nailed this. I don’t really remember what Dana, Lana, Naomi or Mandy did because Truth stole the segment like he tends to.
This can’t be said enough. Truth is a national treasure. He was the entire focus of this and everything he did was just incredible. You love to see it. I wouldn’t mind an entire show of just him. Really. He’s THAT good.
Naomi & Lana vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose
I wasn’t really feeling this match and there were only a few noteworthy things that happened in it. One being that Lana really looks better in the ring and you can tell she is putting in the work. I have seen on her social media that she has trained with Natalya and Tyson Kidd and those are two great people to learn from if you want to get better. The other thing that happened in this match was Asuka returning and not wanting to wait to get a piece of Shayna as she was on commentary with Nia. Dana and Mandy would win and that was quite surprising because I feel like Naomi and Lana are the team with any sort of investment at this point.
I will give Lana her due. She is improved in the ring for sure. Sam mentioned why above and I’m glad for her. Still, her improvements are at the service of things lately that I just don’t care about. As Sam said, Naomi and Lana were just kinda shoved together with no real plan. I hate that for both of them. Speaking of that, I hate that Mandy is saddled with Dana. She should be so much more. That team has been nothing since their inception and remains so. Dana got the pin but, like everything that’s occurred in her career up til now, do you care? The Asuka/Shayna stuff was far more memorable. Nia on commentary was really fun too. She may not be amazing in the ring but she’s solid on the mic always.
Backstage Segment – New Day & Riddle
I am enjoying seeing the New Day interact with Riddle because they just seem so relaxed with each other. I think it has to do with the fact it doesn’t look like they are playing characters and rather it is just some dudes that know each other that are talking before they go do some things. Riddle wished them luck in their tag match and I liked how New Day complimented Riddle on his scooter aka stallion. I also liked how Riddle pitched getting tattoos and pancakes but the tattoos were a bit too soon of an investment. He then would say they should get their own stallions and New Day seemed fine with that as they would then make their way out to their match with Cedric and Shelton.
I’m not into this as much as Sam is – at all. He’s sensing relaxation; I’m sensing forced dialog. Every line felt that way to me. I didn’t hate it or anything; I just didn’t really care. New Day operate on a different rhythm from Riddle and it shows every time they’re together. Maybe this’ll get better as time goes on. I’m sure we’ll see.
The New Day vs The Hurt Business (Raw Tag Team Titles)
You know what? I get tired of people saying how WWE doesn’t pay attention to the tag division because we get matches like this that prove them all wrong. This was quite the fun tag match and it really should be expected as all four men can bring it in there. I will say that I was quite taken aback when Shelton would launch Kofi into the steps because that looked vicious. Great back and forth in this match and I thought the Hurt Business would win since Lashley is champion but that would not be the case as New Day would put on quite the set of moves at the end to take the titles and become 11-time champions. That is quite the feat for them and they continue to cement why they are future hall of famers.
Really fun match. I’ve always really enjoyed how Cedric’s entire move set is fundamentally changed now that he’s a heel. Dude just gets it. Shelton launching Kofi into the stairs was PARTICULARLY vicious! OUCH! They made that look INCREDIBLE. Not entirely sure why New Day won here but I’m definitely not mad at it. I also wonder what’s next for Shelton/Cedric. They had a good run so I hope they aren’t forgotten about.
In-Ring Segment – New Day, AJ Styles & Omos
I decided to separate this from the match because it really is its own thing. New Day were celebrating when AJ Styles would come out with Omos. AJ gave them props for winning but he had more to say than that. He started listing all the titles he has won in WWE, which is quite the accomplishment, and would then say he wants the tag titles. He and Omos want a shot at the New Day at Wrestlemania because AJ has nothing to do for the big two-night event. New Day would agree and this really caught me by surprise. I did wonder who New Day would face and I actually do not mind this because it is something that is fresh. It also will finally give the fans a look at what Omos is capable of in the ring.
Didn’t see THAT coming. Omos is gonna debut as an in-ring competitor at Mania. Okay. In truth, he has worked matches before when he was in NXT. He did the house show circuit. Here’s one that’s been recorded. It has no audio but this will give you an idea of what we might get:
Anyway, this could be fun. He’s quite literally the second-largest man to step foot in a WWE ring and I think the spectacle of that alone will make this fun. I want to see him throw Woods around a little. Of course, AJ, Woods and Kingston can work their faces off so it’ll still be a lot of fun.
Backstage Segment – Bad Bunny, Damian Priest, Miz, Morrison & R-Truth
I really cannot stress how much I have enjoyed seeing Bad Bunny in WWE. The man is fully invested in what he is doing and it has made Priest look good too as a result. They had their fun talking smack to the Miz since he has had a run of bad luck and boy was the Miz’s chest a nice shade of Drew’s hand. Miz and Morrison would end up leaving when Priest stepped up to them and then it would be even more fun. Truth tried to sneak attack Bunny and then would play it off as he was presenting him with all the merch he had of Austin. Bunny would end up giving Truth the 24/7 Championship back and I loved Truth’s wholesome reaction to getting it back. That wouldn’t last though as the jobbers would come and Truth was on the run once again.
Truth got his baby back. Why Bunny wasn’t just pinned for it is entirely beyond me but okay. Bunny really has been an asset in WWE and he’s been totally invested. He’s having a ball and I’ve enjoyed him. This really was basically a product shill in disguise done extremely well by Truth…because he does everything extremely well.
Damian Priest vs Jaxson Ryker
I honestly do not know how to grade this match because I was laughing with joy at seeing Priest squash Ryker like a bug. This is a nothing match, but the sight of seeing someone that is a minority beat a rather trash person so quickly is amazing. It really did prove that Elias doesn’t need Ryker one bit as well. Elias attacked Priest after and would grab his guitar to hit Priest but Bad Bunny would stop him. Elias would then grab Bunny but Priest was there to make the save for his amigo. Morrison would then appear walking down the ramp and that ended up being a distraction as Miz would hit Bunny with Elias’ guitar across the back. It wasn’t the most violent hit but Bunny sold it perfectly. Miz would run away and we have ourselves the Mania match for Miz.
Sorry. I don’t do racists.
Backstage Segment – MVP & Bobby Lashley
Another promo that was short and to the point here with MVP and Lashley. MVP did all the talking and he said that Drew is in for a preview of their match at Wrestlemania tonight. Lashley is going to put the hurt on Sheamus and Sheamus may not be 100% going into his match with Drew at Fastlane. Nice stuff here and MVP is really continuing to shine in this role.
MVP really is a trooper. Injuries just don’t sideline him. He wrestled as part of the BDC in TNA with a busted ACL. Here he is with a similar injury if I’m not mistaken and he’s still showing up. There’s a lot to be said for that. MVP is most valuable on the mic anyway and he showed it here too.
Shane McMahon vs Braun Strowman
This was supposed to be a match between Shane and Braun but we all knew it wasn’t going to happen for free on Raw. Shane would do his best to delay the match and even had hopscotch set up at ringside. Braun would have enough of the delays and would take the fight to Shane. Braun would catch him and start beating him down. Braun would then go for his charging tackle and I hated that he did not run the hopscotch. That would have been a fun moment but he didn’t do it. Shane would hit him with a camera and would then beat him down with it. Shane would then prop him up on the announce table and hit his patented elbow from the top rope through the table. He would then dump some slime on Braun and all I could think was that someone watched the Kid’s Choice Awards this past weekend. This made me slightly invested in the feud but that isn’t saying much considering what they have done so far.
The camera thing was kind of interesting. The rest of this was a total yawn. The slime thing was just odd. Like…why? So much “why?” in this entire annoying feud. Poor Braun. He deserves better than this. Heck, Shane does too…unless he’s writing it. If that’s the case, maybe he doesn’t.
Alexa was on her swing set in her playground and she had some words for Randy Orton. She would tell Randy that if he wants to get rid of her, he will have to accept her challenge. This was actually shorter than I expected but I think that worked because Alexa didn’t have time to drag this out and wanted Randy to know what was next for him. I have enjoyed this story and I really am excited for the Fiend’s return.
Asuka vs Shayna Baszler
As far as a match goes, there was nothing to it. Asuka would end up winning but she did have the odds against her. Nia Jax would accompany Shayna and Asuka would do her best to neutralize her at every moment. Asuka would win with a surprise roll up but that was only the start. Shayna didn’t like that and the fight would continue. Asuka would end up getting the upper hand and that is when things escalated. Asuka would drive Shayna’s face into the bottom turnbuckle and would take off the padding to do it again. Asuka would also take out Shayna’s mouthguard so it could have maximum impact. The referee would stop her though and all I could think of was that this should be the feud for Wrestlemania. Have Shayna and Nia drop the tag titles and let us get a proper Shayna/Asuka feud with the intensity turned up to 11.
Welcome, Kana! How we’ve missed you! I want what Sam wants: a full-fledged feud where Shayna and Asuka bring out the very worst in each other. Book it, darn it all!
Backstage Segment – Retribution & Riddle
This is a short segment before the commercial break but it is quite hilarious. Ali was in the middle of telling off Retribution once again when Riddle would come flying by on his stallion. I have no idea how anybody in Retribution was able to keep a straight face with Riddle flying by and the sound effect he made why flying by. It is things like this that make me believe that Riddle is going places.
Again, Retribution is nothing and nowhere but Riddle is a whole fool. I loved Riddle flying by on the scooter. He’s just so strange and I love it.
Riddle vs Mustafa Ali (US Championship)
Solid match here between these two as Ali was trying to show Retribution how to win and this time it would be for a title. I will say that my favorite part of the match was the neckbreaker to the outside because Riddle had quite the meme worthy reaction when he landed. Fun back and forth in the match and Ali looked to have it won but T-Bar was still distracting the referee because Riddle had Ali rolled up. Riddle would retain and Ali was not happy with Retribution. Retribution has really run its course and that sucks because not only has this been a horrible call up for Dijak, Thorne, Mia, and Dio but it has also wasted an Ali heel run.
Sam is very kind. This wasn’t a bad match by any means but when we can see the outcome from several miles off, it kinda takes me out of it. You know the deal: Ali loses, he goes off on Retribution, and Ali wants redemption because…reasons. He hopped on Twitter and wants Riddle at Fastlane. Why? This wasn’t a dirty win by any means. It’s not that I dislike Ali at all; I definitely don’t. It’s just that, like all stories centered on Retribution, this isn’t making sense. Ali is in a losing fight here and I’m not invested.
Backstage Segment – Randy Orton
Some pretty short promos tonight as this was another one. Randy would be asked about Alexa’s challenge and it seemed like he couldn’t wait to say that he accepts it. He wants to get rid of her and in turn that will get rid of whatever could be left of the Fiend. Randy seems like he is tired of Alexa’s games and is willing to do whatever it takes to end them.
In-Ring Segment – Drew McIntyre
Drew really is great on the mic and this was quite the solid promo from him. He talks about how guarantees can make fans upset and I could not help but think of a certain show that happened that had a major mishap this month. He would then move on and talk about how he will beat Sheamus in what will be a hard-hitting match. He plans on winning and going on to beat Lashley at Mania. Drew wants a seat at ringside for the match between Lashley and Sheamus and I cannot blame him one bit.
Another solid promo from McIntyre. This is par for the course for him. Referencing AEW was just silly and I dislike it no matter which company does it. We’re getting Drew at ringside. How bad can that be?
Bobby Lashley w/ MVP vs Sheamus
This match is what you would call “big meaty men slapping meat” because this was a hoss fight. No better way to put it because they both brought it here in the main event. Lashley has really turned it up a notch in the aggression department and we all know Sheamus is more than willing to be in this style of match. I honestly can’t think of many bad matches that Sheamus has had since his return and I was delighted at how good of chemistry he had with Lashley. Both men beat the heck out of each other and it would be Lashley that would be the one that would pick up the win when he countered a Brogue Kick with a spear. Lashley would end up putting the Hurt Lock on Sheamus after the match Drew would enter the ring. Drew would hit him with a Claymore and would stand tall in the ring as he would have a bit of a stare down with Sheamus as Raw came to a close.
Yep. Total hoss fight here. Both of them went at each other like their lives depended on it. Drew is so reactionary and he was fun to watch as he took the whole thing in from a chair at the side of the ramp. The stare down at the end was fun too.
T h e D e d u c t i o n
Overall, not the greatest go-home I have seen but it was also not the worst. The tag title match and main event were the real highlights of the evening for me. There might be hope for the Shane/Braun program but that really is dependent on how much they continue with Shane calling Braun “stupid”. I love that Asuka has rediscovered her intensity and I truly want to see a proper program between her and Shayna. The surprise of AJ and Omos being the challengers for the New Day at Mania was nice and I really want to see what Omos can do. All in all, not the best go-home but also not the worst. I think it really is a case of the build for Fastlane on the Raw side of things being very meh.
Agreed. This was a decent episode of Raw but not much more. Shane/Braun just needs to be moved on from. I don’t think anyone would care if they just never brought it up again. I know I wouldn’t. This is easily the worst angle Shane has ever been involved in. I also love that we’re getting Omos in-ring main roster debut at Mania of all places. I still have no idea why “Fastlane” is even a thing. To me, this is just one too many shows and little of this episode of Raw felt like a “go home” to anything.