SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
MARCH 1, 2021
TAMPA, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe
Match Results and Exclusives from Last Week
- Riddle defeated John Morrison to retain the U.S. Championship. As reported here at PWTorch.com, Morrison was injured during the match.
- New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated Retribution (T-Bar & Mace). After the match, Mustafa Ali lashed out at his losing squad.
- Raw Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander of the Hurt Business defeated Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) in a Tornado Tag Team match. (I don’t remember if the titles were on the line if it even matters.) Here’s the Hurt Busines in a WWE exclusive:
- Damian Priest (w/Bad Bunny) defeated Angel Garza.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax defeated Charlotte & Raw Women’s Champion Asuka in a non-title match.
- Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy.
- Naomi & Lana defeated Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke.
- A.J. Styles (w/Omos) defeated Ricochet.
- Bobby Lashley defeated Braun Strowman to prevent him from being added to the WWE Championship match between Lashley and the Miz.
Items Advertised by WWE
We continue to move past Elimination Chamber and onto Fastlane, which will be the final “stop” on the road to WrestleMania as WWE likes to bill that show. Things got turned on their ear last week with the Miz winning the WWE Championship after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on Drew McIntyre. That will all get addressed on tonight’s episode of Raw. WWE does not have their official preview up, but they put out a video hyping two items, one of which we knew from last week’s show:
Drew McIntyre Returns
WWE Championship: The Miz (champ) vs. Bobby Lashley
We’ll lump these items together as without question, they are tied into one another.
Tonight, the Miz defends his WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley. Miz made a deal with Lashley and the Hurt Business which had Lashley attack Drew McIntyre after he won the Elimination Chamber match to retain his title. This softened up Drew and made it easy for the Miz to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, and easily beat him for the title. Miz is currently in his second reign, the first of which spanned late 2010 until the spring of 2011. (Ironically, I am in the middle of covering that time period on the VIP-exclusive podcast WWE Then and Now)
Last week, Lashley gave Miz an ultimatum and demanded a title match, which was apparently part of the deal. Later, Braun Strowman made his presence known and wanted in on the “championship festivities.” Shane McMahon arrived and made a match between Strowman and Lashley, with the stipulation that if Strowman would win he would be added to the championship match between Lashley and Miz (which hadn’t been announced as official to that point, but who cares about that detail, right? So annoying.). As it turned out, Lashley defeated Strowman, and gets the one-on-one with Miz tonight. Here he is in a WWE exclusive:
Let’s not forget about former champion Drew McIntyre, whose second title reign in the past year came to an end thanks to Lashley and the Miz. WWE has advertised that he will return to address the attack by Lashley. Sheamus is also lurking, and talked about facing Drew in this WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: There’s a lot to unpack in this situation, and frankly it’s not worth the time. By putting the title on the Miz they have prioritized storytelling and trying to create compelling TV rather than having deserving people involved in the title picture. I’m not against the Miz being champion, but rather against a man who’s been treated like a low-rent comedy act and a loser for well over a year holding such a distinction. It’s a moot point. Let’s address something else. Lashley is not a babyface, at all. He attacked Drew to help a heel get an advantage. That’s not a babyface. Maybe he comes off that way in a feud with the probably hated Miz but make no mistake Lashley is a heel. I don’t know what I see for tonight, but for sure I don’t see a clean and satisfying finish to this match. They’re setting up whatever they have planned for Fastlane.
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
Tonight, I join Wade Keller on the Raw post show to break down the episode and talk to you, the great PWTorch listeners and readers. Listen live, call in, send an email, or listen when the show becomes available on demand. I always enjoy joining Wade and I hope you join us for the festivities. As far as tonight’s show, outside of what’s “advertised,” I’m sure there will be follow up on the tension between Charlotte Flair and Asuka, who lost their match last week. I don’t have any other certainties except for maybe them setting up another challenger for Riddle for the U.S. Championship, and what’s next for Randy Orton and this crazy feud with Alexa Bliss and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. Last week, Randy spat up a black substance like that of the Ultimate Warrior in his feud with Papa Shango from 1992. I can’t say I expected to ever see that again, but here we are. Talk to you folks later!
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!