SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RAW TALK REPORT
MARCH 22, 2021
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kevin Patrick and Xavier Woods
This week’s guests: Rhea Ripley, Braun Strowman, and Sheamus
– Xavier Woods was the special co-host along with Patrick. Woods alluded to R-Truth being “gone,” so it is a bit unclear if this is a permanent thing or not. After welcoming Woods, Patrick began to recap Raw starting with the ending angle with Randy Orton, Alexa Bliss, and the roasted and toasted Fiend. Patrick admitted to being creeped out while Woods sat there kind of smiling. Playing the loyal WWE spokesman, Woods called the whole thing crazy and a mess, but in a good way and noted that he was smiling because he was just glad not to be the one facing the whole situation.
– From there, they hyped the upcoming Hey Hey Hop Hop song coming next week from the Miz and Morrison. They followed that up and discussed the Drew versus Hurt Business angle.
(Morgan’s Analysis: While I shake my head a bit at the absolute unabashed promotional overreach, I will say that Woods is very good and keeps his energy up without going overboard.)
– Patrick brought up Kofi’s match with A.J. Styles allowing Woods to pitch the WrestleMania match between New Day and A.J. & Omos. Nothing special here but pretty standard. [c]
-Yup we went to a commercial here, actually the Vaccine PSA with the WWE stars.
– After the commercial, Sheamus came out ant threw what appeared to be Riddle’s scooter on the desk. Patrick asked Sheamus if he wanted to talk about Riddle, but quickly shifted to asking Sheamus if he was the most tired man in WWE having faced Drew or Bobby Lashley in each of the last five weeks. Sheamus came right back at him about why is he talking about five weeks when he (Sheamus) has been doing this week after week for the last year. His whole point was that he is the one who has created both Lashley and Drew and that he has not gotten the credit for his work and keeps getting shafted and overlooked.
(Morgan’s Analysis: I am a little bit worried here that Sheamus is saying that he deserves to be included in the championship match and they may be thinking about this, but I’m hoping that they are just setting this up for either a run with Riddle or then an opponent for Lashley if he retains the title at WrestleMania.)
– The segment ended with Sheamus giving an impassioned rant on how he goes out every night and lays it all on the line and he deserves the respect that he’s earned. As he throws down the mic and storms off, Woods and Patrick both commend him for his passion and his ability.
– We are treated to another video promo for WrestleMania.
– As we return to the set Rhea Ripley was on next. Patrick called her appearance on Raw as unprecedented. Woods took over the interview and after selling Ripley’s record on NXT big time, he asked her what is going through her head right now. Ripley spoke very calmly, which was a mistake, in my opinion, showing little passion and stating that her last time on the main roster she took on Charlotte and now she is taking on Asuka.
(Morgan’s Analysis: I don’t know who wrote her lines, but when she responded to Woods’ question with “there are a lot of things going through my mind and I don’t really know how to describe them. I really don’t know what to say right now,” my thought is, “what are you doing?” Here is your chance to let Ripley lay out her mission statement and be a strong upcoming star and you write this for her and have her deliver it in a subdued monotone?)
– From there, both Woods and Patrick asked questions that could have led to some great moments for Ripley, but she consistently either came out with standard platitudes about not spilling her secrets or that she is about brutalizing people in the ring. Woods came right out and asked Ripley why she is a “nightmare” (which is her whole tag line right now) and she just ignored the opportunity to say anything about it.
– After another WrestleMania promotion we come back to Braun Strowman who came out wearing some kind of face mask and looking like a member of Retribution. It wasn’t a COVID-19 mask as it had holes in it. The only thing I can think of is that I guess it’s supposed to represent a “cow-catcher” on the front of a train engine and leans into the whole Strowman Express thing they are doing.
– Strowman basically said that he is capable of ripping the skin off of people and that the fact that Shane McMahon wants to get in the ring with him makes him stupid, though he said he doesn’t really want to use that word. They had Strowman here talking very fiercely but not yelling and not screaming, and obviously trying to make him seem measured and intelligent to counter what Shane has been saying about him. Strowman then related that as a child he had a reading disorder and had been called stupid and he made all those people regret those words. He said he has overcome all this to become a WWE Superstar and represent the WWE the way he has and that Shane is going to pay for what he has said. Strowman ended with a direct to the camera yelling rant that he is going to rip Shane apart and that everyone including Vince and Shane’s kids are going to beg him to stop and that he will beat him so badly and prove to everyone that he is not stupid. From there, he too, threw down the mic and stormed off. No one took their mics with them today. If this was Talking Smack, Kayla would have yelled at them.
– Patrick and Woods were left a bit stupefied and Patrick said to Woods, somewhat sarcastically, welcome to Raw Talk, noting that it had been a tough night with lots of storming off talent. At this point, Kevin Patrick started to build up Shane and all his previous matches and said that Braun should be careful. Woods then told Patrick that he fought Braun and still feels the pain from that swamp match and that Shane might be a daredevil, but he has no idea what he is in for versus Braun.
– With that Patrick signed us off after thanking Woods for stepping in.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Let’s see, what to say about this edition of Raw Talk. Overall, a bit long at 29 & ½ minutes, but the chemistry between Woods and Kevin Patrick was good and actually made Patrick better. If they are smart, they will keep these two together, but knowing WWE, they won’t. As for the segments, Sheamus was great. He really wears his passion on his sleeve and is really good at cutting a promo like this. Whether he is in conversational mode, good old Irish boy mode, or full on pissed off mode, like tonight, Sheamus is a real artist and fun to watch. I hate to say this, but Rhea Ripley was not good. It was a combination of bad scripting and bad producing. They need to watch this and go into major correction mode before they totally destroy her. As for Strowman, he was fine and actually did an okay job starting out the segment calm and relatively intellectual before going full “Strowman” at the end. Not sure how much this helped build the match as either you want to see Shane get his butt kicked and do some incredibly stupid (used the word on purpose) big stunt move or you don’t. Personally, this is a match I plan on using to run for the kitchen to get some snacks. All in all, an okay show and one to watch to watch Sheamus and see Ripley’s first attempt at her run on the main roster.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S RAW TALK REPORT: 3/15 WWE RAW TALK REPORT: Drew McIntyre discusses upcoming PPV matches, Miz rants, more