4/5 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Mania go-home, Lashley vs. Alexander, cross-brand McIntyre vs. Corbin match, Jax & Baszler vs. Asuka & Ripley, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
APRIL 5, 2021 (Recorded 3/31)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. AT TROPICANA FIELD (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe

Ring Announcer: Mike Rome

Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest co-host Brandon LeClair of PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
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(Hazelwood’s Take: This is to go-home show before what is ostensibly a three-night WrestleMania with their special edition of Smackdown Friday. Both Raw and Smackdown this week were taped as WWE will be moving from Tropicana Field to the Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida.)

[HOUR ONE]

-They began with Tom Phillips welcoming us from the “final destination” before WrestleMania as he did his usual intro. Drew McIntyre’s music hit as Byron Saxton said McIntyre is “marching toward the main event” this Saturday, so I guess we know now. Phillips reminded us of Bobby Lashley’s bounty on McIntyre as they replayed video of last week’s encounter that ended with King Corbin from Smackdown attacking McIntyre and allowing Lashley to cinch in The Hurt Lock three times.

McIntyre said it’s only five days until WrestleMania and he can’t help but think to last year, how unique it was, but fast forwarding to now and once he’s fighting for the WWE Championship. He said he has so much running through his head. He said, Corbin, the All Mighty WWE Champion Lashley, this match is happening and it’s the biggest fight of their lives. He said they’re going to rip each other to shreds and he can’t wait.

He said he and Lashley have had a similar journey over the last 20 years. He said what makes them different is sacrifice, how much he’s willing to sacrifice. He said Lashley has sacrificed a lot, sure, missing weddings and birthday and holidays, but the difference is Lashley goes home and makes up for lost time, but he doesn’t have that luxury. He said he left it all behind at 22 to come to WWE and become WWE Champion.

He said at times he wish he had the luxury of going home when things were tough. He said he wanted to go home so bad when his mom was going through chemo and how she told him she would kick his ass herself if he came home (he got a little choked up). He said he kept sacrificing everything to the industry: being fired, rehired, working his way to the top, and becoming champion. He asked Lashley how he could beat a man that would sacrifice everything.

He said Lashley hasn’t beat him, and he’s going to beat Corbin tonight. As he threatened Lashley, The Hurt Business’ music hit as Lashley & M.V.P. walked out. Lashley asked if McIntyre was done yet and how everyone has to hear talk on and on about last year. He said 17 years for McIntyre, 16 years for him so he understands, but McIntyre’s time is over.

He said all the guys in the back are scared of the “Scottish Warrior.” He said he saw fear in McIntyre’s eyes and felt him shake, quiver, and go out in The Hurt Lock. He said that’s exactly what’s going to happen again. McIntyre said it wasn’t fear, it was his ass going out. He put over The Hurt Lock and asked if Lashley needs help. Lashley interjected saying he doesn’t need any help and McIntyre should stick around to see his match later.

M.V.P. jumped in and said this doesn’t happen tonight; it doesn’t work that way. He said happens Saturday where McIntyre will lose his dignity, his consciousness, and ultimately the match. McIntyre said nevermind about the speech about sacrifice. Maybe he’ll just go be a driver for Amazon or Uber. He said he’s going to whoop Lashley’s ass and get his title back. M.V.P. said that’s a lot of tough talk considering McIntyre might not make it to Saturday. Corbin’s music hit.

He walked out (sans King gear) and said he agreed with M.V.P. so he’s not sure why McIntyre is worried about making it to Saturday. Corbin said he started something last week and he’s going to finish it tonight. He said tonight he whoops McIntyre’s punk ass. McIntyre chuckled as Corbin’s music played to end the segment.

-Phillips shifted to The New Day vs. A.J. Styles & Omos feud as they played video of Omos’ laying waste to both members of The New Day last week. They hyped a rematch between Xavier Woods and Styles next as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: While it kind of felt like it started going off the rails toward the end, it also seemed like what would happen in reality when two people are going at it like that. Lashley was tremendous on the mic for the most part: direct, confident, and believable.)

-They returned hyping a tag match later between Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler and Asuka & Rhea Ripley. They showed The New Day in Gorilla as Riddle approached. He said it was messed up what Omos did, saying his power level must be over 9,000 (DBZ reference). Kingston said hopefully no one gets as high as Omos had them. He said they’re going to retain with their trademark hip swivels. They asked him about Sheamus and Ali. He said they’re both sticky and he has to break them up before he grinds them out before he rode away. The New Day were confused as they entered for their match. Their foes entered next. Phillips welcomed Samoa Joe back to commentary (he was absent last week as M.V.P. filled in).

(1) XAVIER WOODS (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. A.J. STYLES (w/Omos)

They began with Styles going with a throat shot instead of a lockup, then a big hiptoss as Woods came off the ropes. Woods fought back with strikes, though, until Styles rolled Woods into the Calf Crusher early. Woods strained for a bit, but then Kingston grabbed a mic, trash talked Omos, then threw the mic at him. Kingston retreated into the ring, breaking the hold as Styles went after him. As Styles approached Woods, Woods rolled him up for the victory. They celebrated over the barricade as they showed replays after. They stood in the array of screens, victorious.

WINNER: Xavier Woods at 1:19 (rollup)

-They showed a white Bugatti arriving with Bad Bunny & Damian Priest. They exited as they showed Braun Strowman heading to the ring for a match. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Tell me, good reader: is THAT a finish that makes you more likely to purchase WrestleMania, exclusively on the peacock Network in the United States? It does not for me, that’s for sure. It’s still a match I’m really looking forward to watching, though, mostly for Omos.)

-They returned with Phillips saying, “The Strowman Express rolls into WrestleMania,” as he made his entrance. Sigh. They played a recap video of all the various moments from the past two months or so where Shane McMahon insulted Strowman’s intelligence. They then showed McMahon laying out Strowman with one of the TV cameras, a flying elbow onto the commentary table, and then pouring slime on him. They actually went black-and-white like they do when there’s blood, accentuating the green of the slime. They showed his injury, miraculous recovery, attack with a crutch, and announcement of a steel cage match for WrestleMania on Saturday.

He took the mic inside the steel cage and said his whole life he’s had to deal with guys like McMahon, bullying him because of his appearance with no idea of who he is, what he wants, or what he’s capable of. He said McMahon doesn’t understand what he’s gotten himself into. He said McMahon could run his mouth all he wants, but once the door’s locked, he’s trapped with him in the cage. He said he’s going to whoop McMahon for every person on the planet who’s been called stupid, told they’re not good enough, and there’s no running and no games. He said McMahon will be locked in a steel cage with the Monster Among Men.

He said at the end of the match as his “corpse” lays in the middle of the ring after he beats him all around the ring and said the last thing he will hear isn’t “Here comes the money,” but rather, “Here comes the body bag.” McMahon’s music hit as he strutted out. He said there’s a lot of anger coming from Strowman and wonders what he ever did to Strowman. He said letting Strowman choose the match was to see how much his intellect has grown since the fifth grade. He said the choice was, dare he say, not that that stupid.

He said the match would favor Strowman if he was any other man, “but I’m a McMahon.” He really said that. He said the morning after when Strowman looks at himself in the mirror, he will say, “I really am stupid.” Elias & Jaxson Ryker made their entrance.

(Hazelwood’s Take: After a good job on the mic last week, Strowman went right back to the Dolph Ziggler School of Promos by yelling 90 percent of the time. It was not good.)

(2) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. ELIAS & JAXSON RYKER (w/Shane McMahon) – Handicap match

They returned and started the match; Elias & Ryker do not need tags, tornado rules. Strowman physically dominated both men, then threw Ryker over the top. He rushed Elias into the corner and wailed away with forearms to the chest. Ryker saved Elias from a powerslam, held onto Strowman’s knee, and Elias hit a leaping knee. They hit a double team belly-to-back suplex, then stomped away.

Elias held and beat on Strowman as Rykes climbed and hit a diving headbutt. Ryker did the same as Elias climbed and hit an elbow drop. They both covered him, but Strowman threw both men off. McMahon made his way to the ring from the ramp and removed his coat as they beat on Strowman until he powered out, knocking both men to the mat. McMahon retreated as Strowman glared, then hit a double corner avalanche. He hit a forearm to Elias, then a powerslam to both men. He pinned both for the win.

WINNER: Braun Strowman at 2:37 (Powerslam)

-They cut to the back with The Miz & John Morrison asked about their match, then blacked out paint cans they were carry. They called themselves great “artistes” in the light of Monet and Picasso. They approached the Bugatti, 3.6 million dollars as Morrison said, before The Miz said there’s a scratch and this is matching paint. They started painting around the car in red paint, ruining a beautiful Bugatti. The Miz even resorted to finger painting. They called it a masterpiece as they walked away. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Seeing what they did to that car hurt, it really did. On another note, 45 minutes into the show and the two matches totaled 3:56. Wow.)

-They returned with COVID-19 vaccine PSA featuring different WWE wrestlers. They showed Bunny in the back looking furious as he made his way to the back to see his car. He looked furious, rightfully, and yelled out in Spanish. He laughed in that I-can’t-believe-this right before The Miz & Morrison attacked him from behind. They threw him over a different car as Morrison said this is what happens when they mess with him. The Miz said he doesn’t respect Bunny as Adam Pearce finally made his way and forced them away. Priest approached and was mad. A medic checked on Bunny as they shifted back to the announcers. Joe said he should have expected this.

-Asuka made her entrance for her tag team match with Ripley against Jax & Baszler. Phillips shifted to a replay of last week’s contract signing, a segment that was inexplicably interrupted by Jax & Baszler for literally no reason than WWE has no other way to book feuds between Women’s Champions and their challengers. They showed video from earlier in the day as Ripley as asked by Sarah Schreiber how they could coexist after last week. Ripley said she’s not going to reveal her strategies because she knows exactly what she’s doing. She said Asuka may want payback, but she’s going to have to wait until Sunday. Ripley entered next as they cut to another break. [c]

[HOUR TWO]

-They returned with the two standing in the ring and Phillips saying Ripley had yet to look Asuka in the eyes. They then shifted to a video of the antics on the Bugatti and the jumping of Bunny. The Tag Team Champion made their entrance next, first Baszler and then Jax (with Reginald). Phillips said Saturday night will see a tag team turmoil match with Lana & Naomi, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke, Natalya & Tamina, and Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott (I think), the winners facing the champs Sunday. The WrestleMania Twitter account tweeted out a picture that involved Carmella & Billie Kay as well.

(3) ASUKA & RHEA RIPLEY vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER (w/Reginald) – Non-title match

Asuka and Baszler began with the faces arguing with each other (great). They tied up, with Baszler immediately working the left arm. Asuka reversed into a side headlock, then hit Baszler with a shoulder tackle that hardly moved Baszler. The latter taunted Asuka, but was ran over by her foe, who proceed to grab her arm and shove her foot into Baszler’s face. Asuka looked to tag in Ripley, but she shook her head no. Baszler hit Asuka away and NOW Ripley tagged herself in.

They hit a set of go-behinds before Ripley bodyslammed, bodyLAUNCHED Baszler into her corner. Jax tagged in as her and Ripley stared each other down. Ripley pounded away, then slipped out of a bodyslam attempt and tagged in a bewildered Asuka. She entered, hit a few reversals, then locked in an Octopus. Jax powered how and just ran over Asuka for a two-count. She threw Asuka into the corner and hit an avalanche. Asuka yelled and tried fighting back, eventually dodging a charging Jax, hitting a codebreaker, and tagging in a furious Ripley.

Ripley took out Baszler, who tagged in, then Jax off of the apron. She grabbed Reginald, who had climbed the apron, only to be hit a chop block from behind. Jax tagged in, went outside, and shoved Ripley back-first into the apron. They cut to break with Ripley writhing on the floor. [c]

They returned with Basler as she stomped on Ripley’s knee like she does elbows. She covered for a quick one-count as Ripley looked to fight off her adversary. Jax tagged in, hit a big bodyslam, and then an falling elbow for a two-count. Baszler tagged in and hit a few body shots in the corner. She hit a snapmare and kick to the back. Asuka keeps yelling from the corner.

Baszler looked to lock in a heel hook, maybe an Achilles hold. Ripley yelled at her partner to shut up. She kicked at Baszler, but Baszler just rose and attacked the leg more. She dragged Ripley to the corner so Jax could tag in. She bent Ripley’s knee while applying pressure with one foot. She leg dropped the injured knee, then locked in a modified Cobra Clutch to a seated Ripley.

Ripley fought out and hit a dropkick to Jax’s face. She crawled to the corner and made the tag as Baszler tagged in. Asuka dropkicked Baszler, took out Jax, hit corner hip attacks on both, then a Shining Wizard to Baszler for a two-count. Asuka climbed, but Ripley knocked her off onto the apron and to the floor. She hit a belly-to-front suplex and rolled Asuka in right into a Baszler knee for the loss.

WINNER: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler at 12:00 (knee)

-The announcers hyped the Women’s Championship match, then shifted to Lashley vs. Cedric Alexander as they replayed the dissolution of The Hurt Business as Alexander & Shelton Benjamin were kicked out of the group. They then showed Benjamin losing to Lashley last week. They showed M.V.P. in the back as Alexander approached. Alexander grabbed him as Benjamin approached and said he may want to listen.

Alexander said M.V.P.’s greed is going to cost him. He said M.V.P. had the audacity to call them weak links. He said he may not beat Lashley tonight, but he’s going to give him a fight. He said he hoped McIntyre kicked Lashley’s teeth down his throat. Benjamin fixed M.V.P.’s coat and said he should “keep his crippled ass away.” Schreiber approached and said if he’s concerned about Lashley’s match, and he said he’s never scared for Lashley. He said he’s surprised at the actions of the two because they were successful because of M.V.P. Lashley approached, asked what happened, and said angrily, “I’m going to whoop his ass.” They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I guess they just needed to make sure Ripley’s a heel going into the weekend I guess, but why? She was doing fine as the ultra confident tweener. Still, they should have a good match. Also, good for Alexander & Benjamin standing up for themselves AND being realistic.)

-They returned with a replay of Ripley’s turn on Asuka and subsequent tag match loss. They showed Jax & Baszler as Schreiber approached asking if they were confident about retaining their title. Jax said that was the longest question ever and of course they’re worried. Lana & Naomi approached, then Rose & Brooke, then Natalya & Tamina (“You guys don’t even go here!”), then The Riott Squad, and Billie Kay and her headshot, all while Jax & Baszler diminished them. Jax repeated the rules, then walked off as the other teams berated each other. Of course.

-Lashley’s awesome entrance played as he & M.V.P. made their way to the ring for Lashley’s match against Alexander. He faced Benjamin last week first after the pair demanded to Pearce they be given singles matches. They played a recap video of Lashley’s ascendance to WWE Champion. The video then interspersed McIntyre’s story from last year’s Rumble match and the cash-in by The Miz after the Chamber match thanks to Lashley. The video ended with clips of Lashley’s bounty announcement, McIntyre’s subsequent two victories last week, and Corbin’s attack. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Alexander already in the ring yet Lashley’s music still playing, graphics too. Lashley yelled at Benjamin, then turned back to Alexander, then was attacked from behind by Benjamin. He fought off both men, then delivered heavy body knees to Benjamin before throwing him out.

(4) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) (w/M.V.P.) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER (w/Shelton Benjamin) – Non-title match

The match started with Alexander trying to strike away, but being downed by one forearm to the back. He was slammed to the mat, then driven into the corner to eat some blows. Lashley then hit a neckbreaker and a big biel out of a corner. He grabbed Alexander and performed another, with Alexander going more for height than distance on the biels.

Lashley threw Alexander out right in front of Benjamin, who encouraged his partner. Lashley exited the ring, chased Alexander in, then hit a one-armed throw as Alexander tried beating on him as he reentered the ring. He set in the corner and ran to deliver a corner shoulder to the gut, then lifted Alexander for a vertical suplex that he snapped off well.

He tossed Alexander outside again, but followed immediately this time as M.V.P. said “he’s beasthandling.” He lifted Alexander onto his shoulders and did what is now a signature move for Lashley: ran him right into the post. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with Lashley in control, driving his knuckles into a seated Alexander’s chin. Alexander fought back with some kicks and a dropkick, but ran right into a flatliner. Lashley threw Alexander outside yet again, smirked at Benjamin, then attempted the same move from before the break, but Benjamin pulled down Alexander. Lashley went after Benjamin, allowing Alexander to push Lashley into the post.

Alexander then hit two lower rope topes, then the Neuralizer back in the ring. He hit an enziguri from the apron, climbed the top, and hit a missile dropkick for a pin with immediate kickout. Alexander was force to the apron, then was hit a an awkward-looking spinebuster as he tried to reenter the ring. Lashley then hit the Dominator, his finisher from his first WWE run.

Benjamin pleaded with Lashley to stop, but Lashley instead hit another spinebuster that almost turned into a powerbomb. He immediately cinched in The Hurt Lock, and the ref called for the bell as Alexander was out. Benjamin came in and attacked, but was hit with a flatliner. Lashley gave Benjamin The Hurt Lock as well before tossing his aside. M.V.P. entered and wrapped the WWE Championship around Lashley’s waist and held his arm high. Lashley posed as the segment ended.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 10:20 (The Hurt Lock)

-They shifted to Bunny & Priest in the back with Priest giving the former a pep talk. Saxton said the two will address the situation next; I’m guessing this is where it becomes a tag match. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Look, I hated the breakup of The Hurt Business. However, they’ve done well using the story and wrestlers involved to make Lashley look both indestructible and ruthless. I really do hope this is a red herring to lull McIntyre into a false sense of security; they might be banned from ringside during the match, but no one said anything about before the match…)

-They returned with a video of the graffiti-inspired murals on buildings in the United Kingdom hyping different WrestleMania headliners. They also hyped the next eight days of WWE programming (yes, eight straight). They then played a recap video of the Randy Orton/The Fiend/Alexa Bliss saga, beginning with Orton immolating The Fiend and shifting to Bliss and her varied actions throughout the months. It also showed the return of The Fiend at Fastlane, this time without still shots and full video. It also showed Orton succumbing to The Fiend last week I believe. They hyped the match for Sunday, seemingly in a straight up wrestling match.

-Bunny & Priest made their entrance to “publicly address the situation” from earlier. They looked pretty mad, Bunny moving a little gingerly to sell the attack, though he did roll into the ring. They showed replays of the events from earlier in the night. Priest said The Miz & Morrison crossed a line tonight, and it’s just because Bunny is a Grammy winning global entertainment icon. He said The Miz is so concerned with Bunny that he couldn’t hold the WWE Championship for more than a week. He said it’s easy to beat a man two-on-one, so he proposed a tag team match at WrestleMania. Bunny nodded in agreement.

Bunny said he just came here believing in his dreams because he loves the business, loves and respects “every superstar,” and remembers when he used to watch Raw, Smackdown, and every PPV with his dad, brothers, friends, and families. He said he has a lot of good memories with WWE, but now he doesn’t know how to feel, what to think about this experience. He said he came here to perform, to do his job, and he’s very grateful for the opportunity to perform at WrestleMania due to his song “Booker T” because he loves and respects Booker T, just like Triple H and Stone Cold and Ric Flair and those of his country.

[HOUR THREE]

He said he used to love and respect and The Miz, but he didn’t respect him since the first day. He says he knows he did what he did and he’s not a wrestler, but he’s a man and The Miz disrespected him. He disrespected his DJ, his music, his fans, everything, with no reason. He knows he did what he did at the Royal Rumble, but he said if you’re truly a fan, then some things in Spanish which I’m guessing translates to, “If you had the chance, wouldn’t you?” and some more. He kept going in Spanish (which I don’t understand, unfortunately), then said The Miz had no reason to hit him with a guitar or paint his car. He asked who The Miz thinks he is?

He said The Miz is a champion and he respects him, but he crossed the line. He said he doesn’t know why, but he doesn’t care. He said he’s going to show The Miz how to respect him. He said he’s going to shut The Miz’s mouth and whip his ass. He asked if he knew where they’re from, spoke more in Spanish, then was interrupted by The Miz & Morrison from the back.

The Miz said Bunny doesn’t belong here. He said Bunny’s overstayed his welcome, and he’s going to embarrass and hurt him just like tonight. Morrison then accepted the tag match as they left in what looked to be a Towncar limo. Bunny’s music played in the arena as the segment ended.

-They cut to the back where Sheamus approached Mustafa Ali and tried to give him advice regarding Riddle. Ali interrupted and said because of Riddle, Retribution is no more and he’s not United States Champion. Sheamus said they don’t have much in common, but they do have one thing: a complete and utter dislike of Riddle. He said he’s going to be out there at ringside on commentary to support Ali. Riddle rode by, splitting the two on his scooter, as his music played for his match against Ali. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: There’s the tag match we all knew was coming. It makes it much easier to work around Bunny. He started to tail off a bit in his promo, but really picked it back up and found his footing again once he started speaking Spanish. All in all, I thought he did fine considering he isn’t a trained promo.)

-They returned with the announcement that Bebe Rexha will perform “America the Beautiful” Saturday, and a Raw Talk promo with Jax & Baszler, McIntyre, and Strowman. They cut back to Riddle in the ring as they replayed the events of last week that led to the upcoming match where Sheamus defeated Riddle. I guess they meant it was to explain why Sheamus will be on commentary. Ali made his entrance. Sheamus then made his entrance to join commentary.

(5) RIDDLE (c) vs. MUSTAFA ALI – Non-title match

They began with Sheamus still making his way to the table. Riddle shot, but Ali stuffed it. Ali took the left arm, but Riddle looked for a triangle choke that Ali rolled into a two-count. A couple of go-behinds for both men led to Ali forcing Riddle into the corner to break up a standing Americana.

Riddle hit a gutwrench suplex, but Ali rolled out of the next one for a two-count. He came off the ropes and drilled Riddle with a one-footed dropkick to the face, then locked in a rear chinlock, transitioned to a side headlock. However, he was tossed over the top with a backbody drop, then a PK to the chest from Riddle on the apron. Riddle rolled Ali in and grabbed Sheamus’ hat to taunt him. This allowed Ali to hit a side Russian legsweep on the outside as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Ali pounding Riddle in the corner, then shoving his boot in Riddle’s throat a couple of times. However, Riddle grabbed Ali’s boot and took him down. He hit a combo of strikes, went for a sunset flip, but Ali rolled through, When Riddle went to defend his head, Ali stomped on Riddle’s bare foot, then kicked his gut for a two-count. He locked in a body scissors on Riddle, but Riddle carried him and rammed him into one corner, then two, then just slammed him onto the mat back-first.

When they rose, Riddle hit a chest kick, some strikes, overhead kick, two running corner forearms, an exploder, then the Broton combo finish. He took a bit to attempt the cover, allowing Ali to lock in Lights Out (Koji Clutch). Riddle deadlifted Ali into a fisherman’s buster for a two-count. He tried for a triangle armbar, but Ali reached the rope with his foot. He then bounced Riddle chest-first off of the middle rope and hit a gourdbuster-gutbuster for a two-count.

Ali slapped Riddle, then hit him with a back elbow. He went for a tornado DDT, but Riddle caught him, stared at Sheamus, and hit Bro Derek for the win. After the match, Riddle and Sheamus yelled at each other about who was going to win over the weekend.

WINNER: Riddle at 10:32 (Bro Derek)

-They cut to McIntyre in the back as he was asked about Corbin. McIntyre said heavy is the head that wears the crown. He said you would think that someone with a giant melon head like Corbin would make a more sensible decision, but he gets it: huge stakes. He said the truth is Corbin is big, dangerous, and generally does whatever it takes to get the job done. He said the outcome will be the same: Claymore between the eyes, victory, going to WrestleMania, and regaining his WWE Championship. They cut to break hyping the cross-brand (really, cross-show) match. [c]

-They returned with “Hungry for Mania” moment brought to you by Snickers, this one the retirement match for Flair against Shawn Michaels (“I’m sorry, I love you”). McIntyre made his entrance next, for the second time carrying the sword. Phillips gave another reminder that peacock is the only place to stream the big shows this weekend. The announcers then ran through the Saturday card (all the while McIntyre’s music still playing in the background). They then ran through the Sunday card with McIntyre still waiting in the ring (hahahahahaha). Corbin finally made his entrance looking like a LARP version of a King.

They showed Lashley watching in the back as Schreiber asked who he would prefer to face. He said earler tonight, McIntyre said he was going to give him an “All Mighty ass whooping.” He said that’s going to be hard when he puts him The Hurt Lock. They cut to break, meaning McIntyre’s just been in the ring kicking it for at least five minutes prior to the break. [c]

(6) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KING CORBIN

They returned with M.V.P. joining commentary as the two locked up. After a stalemate, they reset. They locked up again, but Corbin hit a go-behind, then a side headlock to gain the advantage. McIntyre threw Corbin into the ropes, but Corbin dropped him with a should tackle and did a little shuffle. After the reset, McIntyre hit a go-behind, then a cavate, then a side headlock. Instead of going off of the ropes, he held onto the side headlock.

Corbin forced the break against the ropes, but didn’t break cleanly with a body shot. He ate a clothesline for his troubles and rolled out of the ring. He reentered and shoved McIntyre into the corner, then punched away. He yelled at the ref, allowing McIntyre to strike back and hit a back elbow after sending Corbin off of the ropes. McIntyre hit a snap suplex that had Corbin land on his hip for a two-count.

He chopped Corbin, evaded Corbin rushing the corner, but Corbin slid outside and back in to hit McIntyre with a clothesline for a two-count. He forced McIntyre throat-first into the middle rope and shoved him into the rope as Phillips reminded viewers of the trio of Lashley-Corbin-McIntyre from a few years ago. Corbin stomped away at a prone McIntyre in the corner, then whipped him hard into another, dropping McIntyre immediately. The camera zoomed in on McIntyre with a sadistic grin on his face. M.V.P. yelled out for Corbin to finish McIntyre.

Corbin hit a belly-to-back slam for a two-count. He whipped McIntyre into the corner, but McIntyre came out with a clothesline, then another, then an overhead belly-to-belly. He hit another out of the corner, ducked a strike, hit a neckbreaker, then kipped up. He stared at M.V.P., who waved at McIntyre. McIntyre went for Future Shock, but Corbin slid away and out of the ring. He tripped McIntyre on the apron, but as he went to throw McIntyre into the post, McIntyre reversed and sent Corbin into the post, then hard into the steps. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with McIntyre hitting a Northern Lights for a two-count. Corbin tried fighting back, but McIntyre hit a flurry of strikes against the ropes. He looked to bounce Corbin off the ropes, but Corbin held on, flipped McIntyre onto the apron, then just threw him shoulder-first into the post and off of the apron. M.V.P. implored Corbin to stop admiring his work.

Corbin bounced McIntyre off the commentary table, then rolled McIntyre back into the ring. He hit some 12-6 elbows to McIntyre’s clavicle area, then taunted McIntyre. McIntyre tried fighting back with body shots and strikes, but Corbin countered his suplex attempt with one of his own for a two-count. He rolled McIntyre into a crucifix and just rained down elbows to the head; in MMA fights, the ref usually calls for the bell due to the inability to defend yourself.

McIntyre fought back, but was caught with a big chokeslam by Corbin for a two-count. Note that they keep calling McIntyre “Scottish Warrior” to replace “Scottish Psychopath” since the latter isn’t very face. Corbin went for the sliding in-and-out clothesline again, but McIntyre caught him in a spinebuster into a jackknife cover for a two-count. Corbin shoved McIntyre into the corner to avoid Future Shock, then hit a big sidewalk slam on McIntyre as the latter came out of the corner.

Four minutes left in the show when Corbin looked for End of Days, but McIntyre countered into Glasgow Kiss and Future Shock for a two-count. McIntyre leapt outside and climbed to the top, but Corbin struck him before he could ascend fully. Corbin climbed with McIntyre seated, then looked for a superplex from the middle rope, and he hit. He couldn’t get a good cover as McIntyre kicked out at two.

Both men recovered in opposite corners, selling the match. They met in the middle and began trading strikes. McIntyre started getting the better, but ran right into Deep Six for a two-count! M.V.P. left the desk and told Corbin it’s not about winning, but taking McIntyre out. He handed Corbin his cane. Corbin missed and was hit with Claymore. Victory.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 17:58 (Claymore)

M.V.P. limped away, then grabbed his cane from the ring apron as they showed replays. McIntyre stared down M.V.P. as the ref raised his arm in victory. Lashley’s music hit as he stood at the top of the ramp, posing. The show went off the air with both men glaring at each other.

(Hazelwood’s Take: You knew Corbin wasn’t going to win, but it was a serviceable TV main event. Both men worked hard and did what they could to sell the intensity of the match. M.V.P. on commentary added a lot to the match, particularly in selling the stakes for Corbin. M.V.P. was also right: Lashley never said “defeat” McIntyre, but to “take him out.” I just hope Lashley retains and has a reign at least through SummerSlam.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: For a go-home show, it was rather lackluster. There really wasn’t much, in my opinion, that would entice those on the fence to buy the show. Maybe they added enough importance to the WWE Championship match, and intrigue to the Women’s Tag Team Championship match, Women’s Championship match, and United States Championship match, but it seems more like the build to a B-level pay-per-view, let alone what’s supposed to be their biggest two nights of the year. It just reiterates the overall sentiment heading into this weekend: crap build, but the matches should be great.

1 Comment on 4/5 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Mania go-home, Lashley vs. Alexander, cross-brand McIntyre vs. Corbin match, Jax & Baszler vs. Asuka & Ripley, more

  1. >After a good job on the mic last week, Strowman went right back to the Dolph Ziggler School of Promos by yelling 90 percent of the time.<

    Meanwhile I bet you've praised Rick Flair's yelling promos and never said a negative word about them. You just don't like Dolph Ziggler.

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