SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RAW TALK REPORT
APRIL 5, 2021
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kevin Patrick and Xavier Woods
This week’s guests: Braun Strowman, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax w/Reginald, and Drew McIntyre
– Quick word here regarding the Peacock interface. It was a little bit hard to find this week’s Raw Talk in the new environment.
– Okay, on with the show. Thankfully we were graced with yet another week without R-Truth in the co-host seat as Xavier Woods joined Kevin Patrick to host the show. After the normal way over the top exclamations by Patrick that we are almost at the end of the road to WrestleMania, Woods began with loudly and proudly proclaiming “yet another victory over A.J. Styles,” While Patrick tried to bring up Bad Bunny and the action on tonight’s Raw, Woods continued to bask in his sneaky pin (second one in a month) of Styles. This went on for a little while longer, probably actually longer than the actual match lasted.
– Woods continued a little while longer cutting a promo on A.J. and Omos and then about WrestleMania with a live audience and how great it will be. Patrick finally got to Bad Bunny and the vandalization of Bunny’s $3.6 million (value keeps going up) Bugatti. He followed up with a quick push that the match is now a tag team match with the addition of Damien Priest and John Morrison. Patrick continued to run down the card highlighting the Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre match. Woods commented that it would be something special and is an ultimate challenge for Drew. Patrick quickly ran down tonight’s guests including Drew, Strowman, and Baszler & Jax before going to a break which featured a promo for the Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks match.
– Coming out of the break we are graced with the presence of Braun Strowman. It is really funny that on Raw Talk Strowman always speaks normally and comes across as very erudite. While the delivery was good, the point of Strowman’s promo was that Shane McMahon had been shaming him and acting entitled and he came across as whinny and complaining. Strowman continued that this match was all about working for the people and that it was for anyone who had ever been bullied in their life.
– Woods continued along this angle that in the past Strowman had been all about ripping and tearing and that now he is fighting for the people. Strowman then went into a whole rant that back in 2015 he had a severe back injury and that the great medical staff got him the emergency attention he needed. He then related a litany of his family who have overcome huge medical problems and disabilities but still fought on and succeeded in life. This rant was given in Strowman’s non-shouting voice and is totally meant to clearly portray him as the babyface versus Shane.
(Morgan’s Analysis: I will give Strowman a lot of credit here for delivering a very solid wrestling promo and whether he had excellently memorized a good script or was shooting from the hip, this was good and if Strowman is going to continue as a babyface this is the Strowman we need to see on Raw, not the screaming, train noise, run around the ring giving shoulder blocks Strowman.)
– Strowman finished up very strongly by saying “I fight for you!” Unfortunately, rather than leaving on that great note, Patrick had to ask him a question about tactics and Shane so that they could mention the cage which as you know (yes sarcastic comment here) is the single most destructive and dangerous thing in WWE.
– With that Strowman left and we got a Hall of Fame promo.
– Okay we are back with another appearance by Baszler, Jax, and Reginald. As has been their shtick, Jax acted like a prima donna, calling Kevin Patrick, the new guy and Baszler just adding little snarky comments. The upshot of this segment was to push the team of Natalya and Tamina while also having something good to say about the other three teams in the four-way match to determine the ultimate challenger for the title. The subject then turned to Reginald, unfortunately, and Baszler whined and pleaded not to talk about him while Jax supported and defended his presence.
(Morgan’s Analysis: The whole demeanor of this tandem is so off-putting that it is hard to get into what they are saying, and it seems their whole existence is to get involved with the Raw and Smackdown women’s championship contenders to fill time on television. There is no real competition for them and their brief comments about the other teams does nothing to build up the match with the exception of potentially highlighting that there is still some dissension here and there could be a breakup if things don’t go their way at WrestleMania.)
– On a positive note, Patrick did ask Baszler why Rhea Ripley can just ask for a championship match and she responded that that is part of the problem and that she doesn’t get the support from the powers that be. On the downside here, Baszler’s response was more a complaint and a whiny attitude rather than a fierce competitor. Sigh, the misuse of Baszler continues.
(Morgan’s Analysis: WWE either needs to pay a whole lot more attention to this division and championship (which was basically created for Sasha and Bayley) or just scrap it and go back to contending for the main championships and personal feuds.)
– At this point we got two commercials a get your vaccine promo and a promo for the Fiend vs. Randy Orton match.
– Coming back to the show, Patrick welcomed Drew McIntyre and Woods immediately noted that Drew was wearing a shirt and they promptly blatantly plugged the website where the shirt could be purchased. Patrick brought up the hard-fought match versus Corbin and Drew noted that it was a tough battle, but referencing the past when Corbin, Lashley and Drew ran together he knows Corbin well and that the Claymore always gets the win.
– Drew spoke about how while he was defending the title all year, he was keeping his eye on Lashley and knew that this match was coming. Drew said that Lashley’s strategy to weaken him with this offer that Lashley and MVP made didn’t work and that he was 100% for WrestleMania and after a monstrous clash between to legit heavyweights he would hit the Claymore and walk out of WrestleMania as the champion.
– Patrick asked if Drew sees any weaknesses in Lashley and he said he really doesn’t see any, Lashley is a beast, a big, bad man and probably the toughest in WWE except for Drew McIntyre. Drew noted that he is really looking forward to gaining the championship in front of a live audience. Drew then sold Lashley hard, noting that just like himself, Lashley is always in the gym working out and honing his skills but nonetheless when all said and done Drew McIntyre will walk away victorious.
(Morgan’s Analysis: I am paraphrasing here, but this entire segment using set up questions from Patrick and Woods was an extended and excellent wrestling promo and Drew continues to be on the top of his game.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A bit long this week at 34 minutes but if you take out the commercials it comes in around 29 minutes or so. I have to say that Strowman did a good job and hopefully will watch this show back with the writers and realize that an impassioned Strowman is much better than a screaming and yelling Strowman. Of course, Drew McIntyre continues to be really good, I would say great, but he does a bit too much posturing for the company (this week the silly tee-shirt plug) and at times tonight seemed a bit too laid back about everything. Still, a really good performance. As for Baszler and Jax, just skip through this, it is not worth your time and I really hope they break these two up or at least get rid of Reginald and the implied dissension between them. They are not getting good heel heat, for me it is total “go-away” heat.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S RAW TALK REPORT: 3/29 WWE RAW TALK REPORT: Miz and Morrison hype their video, Riddle doubles down against Sheamus, more