The Road to Edge-lemania
The show with 100% less dog food.
It appears Paul Heyman is hitting his stride when it comes to RAW’s booking. After a rocky start, the show has generally been at least average, with flashes of excellence at times. Tonight, was no different — with a surprise return, a surprise debut, and two surprise appearances. It’s the road to Wrestlemania, so RAW will be going all out to build to the show of shows. Lets see how they did tonight, below.
Randy Orton promo and video package
Liv Morgan def. Lana
Drew MacIntyre def. Mojo Rawley
Rezar def. Kevin Owens in tag team elimination
Aleister Black def. Eric Young
Rey Mysterio def. Ange Garza (DQ)
Asuka def Natalya
Ricochet def. Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley
Randy Orton Addresses His Attack on Edge Last Week
Following a recap of “The Viper”’s vicious attack last week on Edge, “I hear voices” blares over the arena speakers and out comes Randy Orton to a cascade of boos.
Randy soaks in every moment of the hate with the vitriol intensifying with every syllable he attempts to speak. Orton sells his conflicted soul to the world as he searches for the explanation for last Monday’s events. In the end, he utters four simple words, “I can’t do this.”
Ortons walks back to the locker room – the WWE universe letting him know what they think of him the entire way back.
This was a great way to build for WrestleMania. The kayfabe Edge injury helps prolong the storyline while building anticipation for Edge’s in the ring singles return.
Lana vs Liv Morgan
WATCH (the end)
Jerry “The King” Lawler is the only one excited for this puppy (because puppies). WWE shows how much they care about the match by forgetting to change the titantron from Lana’s graphic package during Liv’s entrance, despite having a commercial break to do so. Liv quickly squashes Lana for the win.
Typically, this wouldn’t be worth a watch but as Liv celebrates her music is cut off by that of the Riott Squad and a returning Ruby Riott. A warm welcome quickly turns frosty as Ruby attacks her former stablemate.
It’s great to see Ruby back after such a long injury lay-off. The women’s division needs to build its mid-card so we’re not subject to the same 6 wrestlers competing for the top titles. Having Liv in a feud with someone with actual in ring skills is the best way to build her character moving forward.
Mojo Rawley vs Drew MacIntyre
HOW IN THE HELL IS THE 24/7 TITLE NOT ON THE LINE? IT LITERALLY DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF THE DAMN THING.
Anyways, Drew cuts a promo while Rawley is still in the ring, says he’ll Claymore him once he puts the mic down, Mojo still looks the other way while Drew does this, he gets Claymored, the end. Maybe Drew’s scheduled opponent couldn’t make the event due to the blizzard and WWE had to call an audible, but this made no sense to squash Rawley a week into his gimmick change.
Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders vs Buddy Murphy and AOP in a tag team elimination match.
This match was a brilliant display of what all these competitors can do. The match is hot from the start with The Viking Raiders looking like the tag team stars they could be.
Rollins gets involved with a stomp on the outside to eliminate Erik, who is covered by Murphy. Ivar is made to leave the ring after “injuring” his shoulder in a spot on the outside. It’s not 100% clear at the moment if the injury is storyline related or if it is legit, but there is cause to believe it’s real based on what happens later in the night.
It’s now Owens vs The World with the crowd firmly behind him. KO keeps fighting through the mismatch, eventually eliminating Murphy with the pop-up power-bomb, eliminating Akam with the stunner and nearly eliminating Rezar with a top rope senton. Rollins inevitably interferes again and Rezar hits Owens with two spinbusters to get the the pin. Despite the defeat, the crowd gives Owens a standing ovation. This match was everything it needed to be. All the performers stars burned brighter afterwards and it progressed the storyline further.
Aleister Black vs. Eric Young
Eric Young still exists. This one ends exactly as you’d expect. Black delivers a solid promo afterwards, so that’s nice.
Fun fact: According to Shawn Ross Sapp, Aleister Black is 18-0 on the main roster in singles competition.
Humberto Carrillo vs Angel Garza
Since Andrade is serving his suspension for a wellness policy violation– don’t be too quick to pin this on his enhanced physique however, he did just gain Ric Flair as a father-in-law (wooooo)– there was a need to change up this story, which is exactly what happens.
Zelina Vega comes out with NXT superstar, and Carrillo’s cousin, Angel Garza. After a brief back and forth on the mic, Garza attacks Carrillo and attempts to DDT him on the concrete like Andrade did before. Before he can, Rey Mysterio comes out for the save. This sets up Garza vs Mysterio after the commercial break.
Garza is such a fantastic heel. His mannerism’s and his swagger are top quality. Hopefully this is more than a cup of coffee as he looked fantastic. He’s Humberto Carrillo with charisma.
The match finish comes with Vega distracting Mysterio, who receives a vicious super-kick form Garza. The NXT call-up DDT’s Rey on the exposed concrete that was exposed earlier for the DQ. I know some aren’t happy with the finish, but it worked with the storyline. It made Garza look like a piece of shit which was entirely the point. Plus, there is talk Mysterio is carrying an injury and this is a way to write him off the show for a bit.
Charlotte Flair Promo
Well, I can’t believe they (probably) did it.
Charlotte continues her will-she-won’t-she of deciding who should take on at WrestleMania but she is cut off by… Rhea Ripley! Last week I said Charlotte would likely be choosing to face Becky, mostly because I couldn’t see Charlotte winning the NXT Championship or losing to Ripley at WrestleMania, and I’m happy that I’m likely wrong.
Flair does not end up saying who she will challenge at WM36 tonight, but tune in to NXT on Wednesday to find out (take that AEW!).
Asuka vs Natalya
This… was… interesting. For the early part it seemed like a good technical match, with a lot of reversals. Things got interesting when Natalya audibly said, “Lets go Bitch, you want to shoot on me.”
The match is interrupted by the commercial break with the ref talking into Natalya’s ear. Maybe, I’m a huge mark, but it made me significantly more invested after this. The strikes were stiff moving forward with Natalya taking a wicked heel kick to the face. Eventually, Asuka is able to latch on the Asuka-lock for the submission win.
Unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t very hot for this one. Natalya gets a lot undue hate, mostly since she has been booked into oblivion, but she’s a good hand and one of the most technically proficient women in the division.
After the match, Asuka screams for Becky to come out. The Man/GOAT obliges and they set up a rematch for the RAW Women’s title next week.
I’m curious if narcissism can be sexually transmitted, because Becky was oozing with the same oblivious cockiness that Seth Rollins has been for a while (upon further review, I also realize oozing was a poor choice of words). WWE appears to be sewing the seeds for a possible Becky demise. Lynch has been one of the hottest properties of WWE over the last two years, but a change could be the best thing for her character. Fans are fickle and WWE needs to do everything in their power to avoid another Cena/Reigns/Rollins situation where people get tired with the over-saturation.
Seth Rollins vs Ricochet vs Bobby Lashley
Seth leads off with an amazing promo. I am completely shocked Seth can get away with not only the religious imagery and allusions in the U.S., but he literally stated the WWE Universe “crucified” him tonight. It totally works in making Rollins that delusional, pretentious heel.
The match was set up to determine who will get fed to Brock Lesnar at the next Saudi Arabia show, Super ShowDown. The contest gets off to a good start with Ricochet reminding people how good he can be in the ring, that is until AOP and Buddy Murphy come out. After laying waste to Rollins’ opponents, out comes Kevin Owens and Erik (interestingly no Ivar) to clear the intruders.
Things end with Seth Rollins out of the ring after a three-person Superplex. Ricochet capitalizes with the 630 on Lashley to pick up the win and giving him a shot at the man who gave him a shot to the pills a few weeks earlier. The aforementioned pill kicker, Brock Lesnar then shockingly runs out of the back to F-5 Ricochet, ending the show.
It was a little surprising that WWE didn’t go with Lashley for the nostalgia laden Saudi show, but Ricochet gives this match the best opportunity to entertain. Brock’s best matches lately have been with smaller guys like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, but everyone knows this is a place-holder feud to get to Drew vs Brock at ‘Mania.
Oh, and Goldberg is apparently returning to WWE this Friday on SmackDown…