SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
APRIL 5, 2021
TAMPA, FL. AT THUNDERDOME IN TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
** Due to my personal schedule on Monday, I’m posting this Sunday evening, much earlier than the usual Monday post-lunchtime timeframe. Since the show has already been taped, enough was advertised to write a real primer for a change. **
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe? MVP? Dok Hendrix? (OK that was a stretch)
Match Results from Last Week
- Sheamus defeated U.S. Champion Riddle in a non-title match. They are now scheduled to go at WrestleMania for the title. Sheamus last held the title back in 2014. Here’s Sheamus in a WWE exclusive:
- Braun Strowman defeated Jaxson Ryker after Shane McMahon attempted to humiliate him by showing an old report card showing grades of D+ and worse.
- After breaking up the Hurt Business, WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match. Here’s Shelton and Cedric Alexander in a WWE exclusive after the match:
- Xavier Woods of the Raw Tag Team Champions New Day defeated A.J. Styles via DQ when Omos got involved in the match.
- Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions in two minutes. Shayna Baszler is a former two-time NXT Women’s Champion.
- Drew McIntyre defeated Ricochet and then Mustafa Ali.
Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s edition of Raw will be the go-home edition heading into WrestleMania. The episode has already been taped since WWE will now be leaving Tropicana Field and taking the Thunderdome to the Yuengling Center in Tampa, FL. WWE has advertised four matches:
- Xavier Woods and AJ Styles set for rematch five days before WrestleMania title clash.
- Asuka & Rhea Ripley to collide with WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax.
- Drew McIntyre looks to overcome obstacle of King Corbin before WrestleMania.
- The Hurt Business continue to implode as Bobby Lashley takes on Cedric Alexander.
Xavier Woods vs. A.J. Styles
At WrestleMania, New Day (Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston) will defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against A.J. Styles & Omos. This is a rematch from last week, which was mentioned earlier in the recap. Prior to the match, New Day and A.J. & Omos took part in the first ever “Game Night” skit. They played Charades and Pictionary before Omos had enough, and then they got to the match.
New Day does not have a good record at WrestleMania when they have been involved in tag team title matches. They are 0-3, losing at WrestleManias 31, 34, and 36. This will be Omos’s in-ring debut alongside A.J. whose record at WrestleMania is 3-1 in actual in-ring matches. He took part in the Boneyard Match last year with the Undertaker, and so if you count that as an actual match, he’s 3-2.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t expect anything more than shenanigans tonight in advance of the title match at WrestleMania. Even though they got to this in a weird way, I’m actually looking forward to it to see what Omos does in the ring. A.J. could be doing something better, but what exactly do they have for him? I don’t see the better option.
Non-Title Match: WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs. Raw Women’s Champion Asuka & Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley makes her in-ring debut on Raw tonight. She teams up with Asuka, her WrestleMania opponent and the women she’ll be challenging for the Raw Women’s Championship. Last week they signed the contract for the match. As expected, tempers flared which led to Rhea throwing the table on Asuka. Before things could get any crazier, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax came out. They questioned why they didn’t have a WrestleMania match, and then challenged Rhea and Asuka to a match next week (tonight). Rhea accepted on Asuka’s behalf.
Last year, Rhea went into WrestleMania as the NXT Women’s Champion and fell to 2020 Royal Rumble winner Charlotte Flair. This year, she goes in as the challenger for the Raw title. She was the last person eliminated in the 2021 Royal Rumble by winner Bianca Belair, who is challenging Sasha Banks for the Smackdown title. Here’s Asuka in a WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: WWE likes this formula of WrestleMania opponents involved with the tag team champions, considering we just went through this with Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks. I could see why they do it, since outside of Asuka & Rhea there’s nobody that feels like a star and worth watching either woman wrestle enroute to WrestleMania. That doesn’t make this a good idea.
Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley was looking for someone to take out Drew McIntyre ahead of their title match at WrestleMania. In exchange, they’d get a title match. Throughout the night Drew was daring anyone to step up including Humberto Carrillo, Riddle, Drew Gulak, and Ricochet. Ricochet didn’t care about Lashley’s offer, and as I mentioned earlier fell to Drew in a match that was just about him bringing a fight. After Drew’s subsequent match with Mustafa Ali, he called out Lashley. He went so far as to say “If Drew McIntyre didn’t exist, you’d be the man in this whole company. But I do exist, and tonight sending everyone out to get me, you proved to me Lashley is afraid of Drew McIntyre.” They went at it until old nemesis King Corbin made a surprise appearance from Smackdown to attack Drew. The show closed out after Lashley applied multiple Hurt Locks.
Lashley, Corbin, and Drew formed an unofficial alliance in late 2018 during Corbin’s time as G.M. of Raw. Things are obviously much different these days as both Drew and Lashley have been WWE Champions while Corbin won the 2019 edition of the King of the Ring tournament. Last year, Corbin utilized the “quarterly cross-brand invitational” rule to challenge Drew for the title but came up short. Tonight, they go one-on-one ahead of Drew challenging Lashley for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Here are some tweets from Corbin and Lashley showing their days as an unofficial trio:
We used to run #WWERaw, we destroyed monsters and punished everyone.
— THE KING (@BaronCorbinWWE) March 30, 2021
— Bobby Lashley (@fightbobby) March 30, 2021
Frank’s Analysis: I’m not sure in fact I’m almost positive they won’t acknowledge those days because they were not good. I don’t hate Corbin like everyone else does, and this is a spot that makes sense for him since they’re not doing anything with him on Smackdown. That said, this is nothing more than a victory for Drew that will lead to post-match shenanigans between Drew and Lashley.
Non-Title Match: WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Cedric Alexander
Speaking of Bobby Lashley, he goes one-on-one with former Hurt Business associate Cedric Alexander. Last week, Lashley ended the Hurt Business by telling Cedric and Shelton Benjamin he’s worked too long and hard for the WWE title, and refuses to be associated with incompetents. He cited their loss to Drew in a handicap match a week earlier that got them barred from ring side at WrestleMania and losing the Raw Tag Team Championship. MVP said the Hurt Business was over. Later backstage, Cedric and Shelton told WWE executive Adam Pearce they each wanted a match with Lashley.
Lashley defeated Shelton in about four minutes. Tonight, Lashley faces Cedric. Oddly, this is not the first time they’re facing each other. They went at it ahead of Lashley “marrying Lana” back in late 2019 (the not-so good old days). Here’s a clip from that match:
Frank’s Analysis: I know a lot of people were upset by the Hurt Business breaking up. It actually didn’t bother me. Shelton and Cedric weren’t adding to Lashley’s act recently that I can remember. I’m not saying I agree with them breaking up, I just don’t see where they had to stay together. They looked the part and were cool, but let’s be honest. Shelton is nothing more than a jobber and they don’t see much in Cedric. This was more about occupying those guys. In the end, Lashley got elevated but they have to be careful. He doesn’t have the mic skills and while I appreciate rough but authentic talking, leave the heavy lifting to MVP. That’s why he’s there.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!