SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
MARCH 22, 2021
TAMPA, FL. AT THUNDERDOME IN TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe
Match Results from Last Week
- Drew McIntyre defeated the Miz (w/John Morrison).
- Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose defeated Lana & Naomi.
- New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander of the Hurt Business to regain the Raw Tag Team Championship. A.J. Styles & Omos came out afterwards to challenge them to a match for the titles at WrestleMania. Here’s New Day in an exclusive talking about their title win:
- Damian Priest (w/Bad Bunny) defeated Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias).
- Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon wrestled to a no-contest or I should say reenacted the show Double Dare from Nickelodeon when he poured green slime over Braun (such good sh*t, right Vince?).
- Raw Women’s Champion Asuka defeated Shayna Baszler in a non-title match. Asuka attacked Shayna after the match, and here she is in an exclusive:
- Riddle defeated Mustafa Ali of Retribution to retain the U.S. Championship.
- WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Sheamus in a non-title match.
Fastlane Results Pertinent to Raw
- Riddle defeated Mustafa Ali on the kickoff show to retain the U.S. Championship. After the match Mace and T-Bar choke slammed Ali, signifying the end of Retribution.
- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair to retain the WWE Women’s Championship. Here’s Shayna & Nia in an exclusive:
- Braun Strowman defeated Elias. Here’s Braun in an exclusive:
- Drew McIntyre defeated Sheamus in a no DQ match.
- Alexa Bliss defeated Randy Orton with the help of a returning “Fiend” Bray Wyatt.
Items Advertised by WWE
Fastlane is behind us and we can now concentrate on WrestleMania, which comes to us in less than three weeks and will begin with night one taking place on Saturday April 10 and concluding the following night. New Japan Pro Wrestling has done this with Wrestle Kingdom for the past two years as did WWE last year with WrestleMania. It was moved from Raymond James Stadium to the WWE Performance Center, but this year it has found its way back to Raymond James and will have up to 25,000 spectators.
Only Rhea Ripley making her Monday Night Raw debut is advertised tonight, as well as speculation on the fallout from Fastlane.
Rhea Ripley Debuts
For the past several weeks, vignettes have aired advertising that Rhea Ripley is coming to Raw. That actually comes to fruition tonight as Rhea, whom they are calling “The Nightmare,” makes her Raw debut.
She has previously appeared on Raw. Last year she showed up and roped Charlotte Flair, winner of the 2020 Royal Rumble, into challenging her for the NXT Championship. Charlotte surprisingly defeated Rhea for the title and eventually lost it to Io Shirai in triple threat match involving those three women at NXT Takeover: In Your House last year. Rhea went on to be in mostly personal feuds thereafter culminating in one with Raquel Gonzalez.
WWE on Fox tweeted speculation on whom should challenge Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. Rhea retweeted it:
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) March 20, 2021
Frank’s Analysis: I really don’t need Tom Phillips saying something like “It’s Raw’s Nightmare” or some other catch phrase every time she comes out, but I can’t guarantee that won’t happen. That said I’m excited as a fan of Rhea’s, but I’m concerned. She’s not a woman Vince particularly goes for with the gothic look and short hair, and I’m worried that can all work against her. They had a ready-made star in Shayna Baszler and they smashed her to little bits. Maybe I’m being panicky for no reason and everything will be fine, but I don’t think my concern is without merit. We’ll see. A lot of people have been tweeting about a triple threat match at WrestleMania with Rhea, Asuka, and Charlotte for the Raw title. Personally, I’d prefer a one-one-one. There’s not enough time to have issues between all three women to warrant a triple threat.
I’m interested to see what’s next for the Retribution group. I don’t have many hopes for Slapjack (former Shane Thorn) and Mace (former Dio Maddin). Reckoning (Mia Yim) and T-Bar (Dominick Dijakovic) could certainly inject some life into their respective divisions. My guess is a repackaging is in order, and a re-debut after WrestleMania. They’ll likely pretend their Retribution personas never existed. That’s probably a good idea, although I don’t know if I’ll ever get those stupid names and masks out of my head. I’d speculate on Ali, but they’re so start and stop with him it’s not worth thinking about to be perfectly honest.
With the Drew McIntyre-Sheamus feud seemingly behind us, the focus will shift to the build for Drew vs. Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. I’m hoping they keep things simple and not have any goofy tag matches or ineffective interplay. Have them just win matches on their own and seem like big deals heading into seemingly the Raw main event.
The Fiend is back. A match with Randy Orton at WrestleMania is likely a thing. House of Horrors Part II? Hey, the Godfather sequel was very well regarded. I think Rocky II is in this category. Why not this?
I expect a build to some kind of multi-team match for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Even though Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke beat Lana & Naomi it doesn’t matter. They’ll likely both be in it along with Tamina & Natalya just to get them all on the card.
Aren’t you glad they released Andrade? It’s not as if the same people wrestle each other week in and week out in different iterations. There are ALWAYS fresh matches on a weekly three hour Raw that one could never be bored, right? When was the last time Angel Garza wrestled? Humberto Carrillo? Drew Gulak? Akira Tozawa? Oh, right they’re the 24/7 cavalry. What happened to Keith Lee? Dabbo Kato?
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!