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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
APRIL 12, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT YUENGLING CENTER (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller with guest co-host Frank Peteani of PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.
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(Hazelwood’s Take: After an exhausting week that culminated with a two-night WrestleMania, it’s just another reminder that there are no off-seasons in WWE. I’ve heard from a couple of people who are just emotionally drained from wrestling and want a break. That being said, it was a Mania that delivered for the most part. For Raw, three championships changed hands as Sheamus, Rhea Ripley, and A.J. Styles & Omos won their respective title matches while Bobby Lashley and Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler retained in theirs.
Further, Tom Phillips is gone, off to 205 Live. He is replaced in lead announcer duties by Adnan Virk, currently of MLB Network and formerly of ESPN. Samoa Joe is also no longer a commentator as his status has returned to a competitor. Corey Graves joins Virk & Byron Saxton, making the switch from Smackdown to Raw. I’ve always liked Virk, so it will be interesting to see how he transitions to commentating pro wrestling. Graves was irritating for two hours; three hours is going to make him unbearable. Here’s hoping getting away from Michael Cole helps.)
-They began with their new musical intro for their “WWE Forever” video, then showed Lashley & M.V.P. being welcomed by people in the back and then Riddle rode by on his scooter. He challenged Lashley, who said he got whooped by Sheamus, so why is he stepping to him? Riddle said something about his braces being some signal for aliens, then Lashley said he’s not going to fight someone lesser.
Riddle asked about Lashley saying “anyone can have a chance at being WWE Champion,” out of context of course. Lashley & M.V.P. looked annoyed. Riddle kept talking until Lashley rammed his face into the handlebars of his scooter, then said he was going to teach Riddle a lesson tonight. M.V.P. looked worried.
-Virk welcomed us from Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida, then Lashley’s “All Mighty” intro aired. I always gig to The Hurt Business music. Looks like that Lashley-Riddle match is first. They cut to Saxton welcoming Graves and new lead commentator, Virk. Virk thanked both of his compatriots for “carrying me tonight.” He hyped a Rhea Ripley-Asuka rematch and “Firefly Fun House” for later tonight. Riddle rode to the ring on his scooter.
Lashley attacked him as he rode around the ring before the match started, then threw him into the barricade. He rammed Riddle back-first into the barricade three more times, then threw him into another barricade. He hit his fireman’s carry into the ring post as M.V.P. looked on, bemused. Lashley threw Riddle into the barricade again, then finally rolled him into the ring. The ref checked on Riddle, but the match started.
(1) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) (w/M.V.P.) vs. RIDDLE – Non-title match
Lashley immediately punched and rammed Riddle’s head into the turnbuckle a few times. He then hit several shoulder thrusts in the corner, whipped Riddle across into another corner, hit a running shoulder block, and ended with a neckbreaker. He motioned for his delayed vertical, and he held it with one-arm, flexing with the other, for about five seconds before slamming him down.
Lashley exited the ring to grab Riddle’s scooter, then launched it into the “crowd.” Riddle fought back as Lashley reentered, but Lashley hit a quick bodyslam and chucked Riddle outside. He lifted Riddle in a military press and launched him into the Thunderdome as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Lashley stomping away at Riddle in the middle of the ring, then a leaping hip attack across the small of the back of Riddle. They showed Riddle just beating the ref’s count during the commercial break. Lashley held a rear chinlock, and while Riddle fought back, Lashley caught him with three body knees, a flatliner into the top turnbuckle, and a flatliner for an awkward two-count.
Lashley then punched a prone Riddle and drove his knuckles into Riddle’s chin. He gave crossfaces to Riddle as he was held up by the second rope, then drove his boot into Riddle’s throat for the maximum ref’s count, twice. He Irish whipped Riddle and hit a huge back elbow that Virk called a shoulder tackle. He then hip tossed Riddle right into him driving his knuckles back into Riddle’s chin.
He slammed both of Riddle’s arms against the mat, then stomped on his right bicep. Another chinlock applied, but Lashley put some torque on this one. Riddle fought back with strikes, but once again, he’s floored with one Lashley move, a lariat. Riddle jumped out of the big spinebuster, hit a head kick, some strikes, then body kicks, hit a go-behind, Final Flash knee strike, and a Floating Bro that missed as Lashley immediately put him in The Hurt Lock! Nice transition. Virk said it’s no wonder how Lashley continues to dominate.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 10:25 (The Hurt Lock)
-They shifted to last night’s Asuka vs. Ripley Women’s Championship match. It was one of those typical night-after pay-per-view recaps with video and still shots at intense moments, including the finish that saw Ripley become the new Women’s Champion. They shifted to Kevin Patrick in the back, who welcomed Ripley.
He congratulated her and asked about her defense less that 24 hours after winning. Ripley said it’s all about self-confidence, the confidence that allowed her to challenge and beat Asuka. She said what we witnessed last night was the “brutal new order” of the women’s division. She said she’s going to prove once again that she is ready for Asuka. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: You can quibble with the match length on the surface, but watching the match, this was all about Lashley doing what he said he was going to do: teach Riddle a lesson, a lesson in domination at that. Every time Riddle had any offense, it was immediately snuffed out by Lashley. It was just a complete and utter victory for Lashley, which is exactly how he should be booked as WWE Champion. Good, straightforward, confident promo from Ripley.)
-They returned with Cedric Alexander’s old music playing as he & Shelton Benjamin were in the ring for a tag team match. The Viking Raiders returned. What a downfall for the former The Hurt Business members.
(2) CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)
Alexander and Ivar began (I think it’s Ivar, I could never tell), but Ivar took the advantage right away throwing Alexander into their corner and wailing away. He tagged in Erik, who bodyslammed Ivar onto Alexander. Benjamin tagged in and hit Ivar off of the apron. Alexander hit a chop block and Benjamin a rising knee to Erik for a two-count.
Benjamin bodyslammed Erik twice, then hit a body knee, some strikes across the back, and finally a snap suplex that Erik had been fighting for a two-count. Alexander tagged in as they keep isolating Erik. Corner shoulder thrusts from Alexander as he trash talked a little bit before hitting a running knee to the gut. Erik hit a big right forearm, but Alexander held on and took him to a neutral corner. Alexander responded with big rights of his own, but as he went for a clothesline, Erik caught him in a standing head-arm choke.
Alexander used 12-6 elbows to fight out, then tagged in Benjamin. Erik tried fighting out of the corner, but Alexander hit a rising knee and Benjamin an Olympic slam for a two-count. Alexander tagged back in, but Erik hit his flip-over knee. Both men made the tag, but Ivar gained the advantage after hitting a few shoulder tackles and a falling sidewalk slam. He hit a flying splash to a seated Benjamin, then hit Benjamin with a seated senton out of the corner.
Benjamin rushed him into their corner as Alexander tagged in. Ivar cartwheeled through their double clothesline, took them out, then had Erik lift him and ram him into Benjamin. They hit The Viking Experience on Alexander for the victory. They showed replays after the match as they celebrated in the ring. Virk called them “The Viking Express.”
WINNER: The Viking Raiders at 5:38 (The Viking Experience)
-They showed Asuka warming up as Patrick approached and asked about last night. She said Ripley brought the fight, and now it’s her turn. She yelled in Japanese, then said last night was a nightmare, but she is ready for her and will once again be champion. That’s next as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Sigh, how quickly Alexander & Benjamin have fallen since being removed from The Hurt Business. They’re more exciting to me than The Viking Raiders, so I was just deflated when I heard that horn that signaled their return. Well, good for them I guess, but disappointing for Alexander & Benjamin.)
-They returned with a still-shot musical recap of WrestleMania and some of the memorable images. Charlotte Flair then made her entrance. Virk said there are rumors she wasn’t happy about not being on WrestleMania, and Graves responded those were just rumors. She motioned for a cameraperson to lower the ropes for her and to his credit, he shook his head at the forced indignity of it all.
She grabbed a mic and said she’s here on the Raw after Mania and she would usually have her big smile, but she wasn’t welcomed at the biggest stage, she wasn’t there. She said she knows what some people are thinking, “It’s just one and you’ve been on five.” She said she is a franchise player and what she does in the ring is sacred to her family. She said she wasn’t on the show for things out of her control. It wasn’t her fault that Asuka needed a partner, that her father acted like a fool, that Lacey Evans got pregnant and she didn’t get to kick Evans’ ass in the ring, she said.
She said she challenged Asuka to a match, but Asuka didn’t respond. She called Ripley an opportunist and said a new star was born, but she wasn’t the only one thinking about opportunities. She said all the women in the locker room thought, “Oh my god, there’s no Charlotte Flair on WrestleMania!” She gave kudos to Ripley and called her the biggest snake in the locker room, then said Asuka even worked her way into a rematch. She said karma is a bitch, and she is that bitch. She listed off names of a bunch of women’s wrestlers, pretty much the whole roster, and said no one compares to her.
She said for the first time since she signed her WWE contract, she realized she doesn’t steal opportunities, but she IS the opportunity. She said to all the delusional WWE fans at home that thinks she steals opportunities from their favorites, she said she’s creating opportunities and for us to bow down to the 13-time champion. She said no more nice Charlotte Flair and to show respect for what she’s done in this industry.
She said she’s dedicated years, tears, blood, and sweat to this industry, and what have the fans given her in return? She looked disgusted, said exactly, then said to enjoy the title match that should have been in. Graves defended her of course as Virk said she called out everyone. Saxton said we got more than we bargained for there.
-Asuka made her entrance first, a little animated yet much more subdued than when she’s the Women’s Champion. They cut to break hyping the match as Asuka posed on the turnbuckle. [c]
(3) RHEA RIPLEY (c) vs. ASUKA – Women’s Championship rematch
They returned with Asuka hopping around in the ring to stay warm. Ripley then made her entrance. Mike Rome gave formal ring introductions, and the ref held the title high for everyone to see.
They locked up to begin as both traded some ugly strikes in the corner (ugly in a fight-like way). Ripley used her strength to throw Asuka across the ring by her head, then hit her with a shiver across the back once to drop Asuka. She went for an inverted belly-to-back, but Asuka rolled it into a one-count.
Asuka then caught Ripley in an armbar attempt that was broken up by Ripley grabbing the rope. She then beat on Asuka some and seated Asuka on the tope rope, facing the Thunderdome. She then dropkicked Asuka off of the corner and to the floor as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Ripley holding Asuka in a body lock that Asuka rolled into a two-count, but Ripley just booted her back to the ring. She then whipped Asuka hard into the corner, forcing her to the mat again. In the corner, Ripley rammed Asuka’s head off of the top turnbuckle three times.
Asuka fought off Ripley, then hit the middle rope missle dropkick to create space. Ripley shook off the move a bit, but ran right into Asuka’s lifting knee, leg-capture German suplex, hip attack in the corner, then a headkick and spinning back kick into a Shining Wizard for a two-count.
Asuka climbed to the top, but missed the missile dropkick as she fell short. Ripley immediately locked in her Prism Trap inverted cloverleaf submission, but Asuka reached the rope. Ripley decided to just lift her off using the ropes and slammed her for a two-count. Ripley started to mush Asuka in the face, which prompted a furious response from Asuka.
Ripley responded in kind with knee strikes, but then both women missed Shining Wizards. Ripley hit an ugly, ugly electric chair, then went for another one that took a bit of effort to lift Asuka. Asuka tried reversing and I think she hit a crucifix driver, but Ripley landed right on top of Asuka. Asuka covered for a two-count, then transitioned into a Fujiwara armbar. Ripley tried rolling through, but Asuka tried for the Asuka Lock.
Ripley kept fighting and ran Asuka right into a top turnbuckle. She hit the electric chair slam face-first for a two-count to Ripley’s frustration. On the apron, Ripley tried for a suplex, but Asuka shoved her into the post, hit a running hip attack, then a modified DDT on the apron. As they battled for positioning, Flair ran down and shoved Asuka into Ripley into the steps. She took out Asuka, then gave a big (barefoot) boot to Ripley.
She turned to Asuka again and hit her version of the exploder suplex on the outside. She then kicked a seated Asuka into the video board on the ring, then the same to Ripley. She did the “crying” face to both women, taunted them and the crowd, posed, and retreated back up the ramp looking so smug. She motioned for another cameraperson or ring crew to grab her heels, which came off as she ran down the ramp.
WINNER: No contest at 11:50 (Flair interfered)
-They cut to The Miz & John Morrison in the back as they approached Maryse. Morrison asked what she’s doing here before being reminded she’s their guest. Morrison said he knew that and went to catch up with them. “Alexa’s Playground” is next, so is this the “Firefly Fun House” segment they advertised earlier? They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Flair is a heel, that’s for sure. Her promo had some truth (that was devoid of context) and made sense in a vacuum, coalescing with her stated mission and goal. Basically, it’s the exact promo you want from a heel: some kernels of truth that makes sense to the heel yet obviously heelish to the fans. Too bad for the non-finish, but even if you weren’t expecting it, Flair’s sudden appearance and promo definitely signaled it was coming.)
-They returned with Jax & Baszler watching and rewatching Mandy Rose’s slip that went viral over the weekend. Rose approached, then Jax dismissed Baszler. Rose said it was embarrassing, but funny as she could laugh at herself. She said it’s funny like that when you don’t see them coming, slapped the hell out of Jax, then jumped Jax with Brooke and threw her into a cart. Jax rose and looked pissed.
-They shifted to Alexa Bliss on a swing in her playground, saying WrestleMania was so much fun. She said people are wondering why she did what she did. She told a story interspersed with video of herself. She said she was saved by the darkness, that it protected and nurtured her, and taught her everything he knew (The Fiend). She said the darkness went away (they showed him being immolated), and she said she wondered if that’s when the little girl realized she might not have needed the darkness after all.
She said how do you think it made her feel when she realized she could do everything on her own? She asked if the darkness was helping her, or standing in her way? She said why else would she try to destroy the darkness (I think)? She asked if the female of the species is the deadliest, but we know for sure that along the way she unlocked something truly evil, and introduced her new friend, Lily (maybe a nod to Lilleth?), a creep doll that looks like her “Playground” form.
-The Miz’s music played next as he made entrance (what a sudden atmosphere shift). Maryse entered to her music. Morrison then entered, and all three did the slomo entrance. Graves is back to his utterly annoying self on the intro here. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It seems that Bliss is now done with The Fiend, having discarded him after gaining what she could in a “teacher beats master” type of angle. Not sure I’m glad she’s continuing as such, but hey, let’s see where this goes. She’s at least very good and believable in her promos and segments.)
-They returned with as The Miz gave the usual introduction. He said what a whirlwind of a weekend it was and despite everything that happened, he remains the most talked about entertainer in all of entertainment. He asked what is his wife doing here, the most gorgeous, vivacious, intelligent mother in reality television doin here? She said it’s because it’s the season premiere of Miz & Mrs. after Raw. Morrison asked about a spinoff called “MMM” because they’re “all Ms.”
The Miz said Morrison is in the episode as they plugged a Maryse commercial that will be on the episode. She cringed as they hyped it. The Miz then said everyone is talking about how he turned Bad Bunny into a bonafide WWE “superstar.” Maryse said he’s too giving, and Morrison said they’re both too giving. The Miz then shifted to some still shots as he described how Bad Bunny looked incredible…because of them.
Priest’s music interrupted as he entered sans Bunny. He said even as his tag partner, he doesn’t want to take away from Bunny’s accomplishments. He said Bunny worked hard, day and night, to perform. He said The Miz said Bunny didn’t belong, but the headlines said “Bad Bunny beats Miz.” The Miz asked, angrily, where was Priest’s name and image? He said if he wants some of the starpower to rub off on him, he challenges Priest to a fight.
Morrison said he had the same idea. They fought over it before Maryse interrupted and said they both could fight him. Priest said he knows what’s going on and they’re idiots. He accepted the handicap match before they could even challenge him and walked down to the ring as The Miz & Morrison complained they’re still in suits. They cut to break. [c]
-They played a commercial showing Triple H handing Bunny a box with a mic, and announced his 2022 tour dates and locations.
(4) THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON (w/Maryse) vs. Damian Priest – Handicap match
They returned with Virk saying the match was made official during the break and the heels mad. Priest started with The Miz, but took out both men. After a distraction, The Miz gained the advantage. He slingshotted Priest into Morrison, who hit a springboard elbow to Priest laid across The Miz’s knees.
Morrison removed his shirt, then mounted the back of Priest and pounded away before applying a rear chinlock. Priest powered out, but Morrison hit an elbow to the throat, then rushed Priest into their corner. He hit a couple elbows before tagging in his partner. Priest fought off Morrison, then dodged The Miz as he leapt for his sitting clothesline. He hit running flying elbows to both men in the corner, hit the Broken Arrow to Morrison, then a striking combo that ended with a flying twisting elbow to The Miz.
Priest hit a chokeslam (South of Heaven), but Morrison broke up the pin with a knee. Morrison tagged in, but Priest dropped him with a jumping flatliner. He went to the top, but Morrison rolled to the apron and outside. Priest then hit a running flipping senton over the corner onto both men outside. He climbed, but was dragged to the apron by The Miz. The Miz rushed at him, but was stomped to the apron.
Morrison met Priest at the top turnbuckle, but Priest fought him off. Priest kicked Morrison off, climbed again, and hit an avalanche spinning heel kick for only a two-count. Morrison fought off Priest, blind tag, Priest nailed Hit the Lights, The Miz looked for Skull Crushing Finale, Priest countered, but Maryse held onto The Miz’s feet to help him. She rose to the apron, distracted Priest, and The Miz rolled up Priest using the ropes for the victory.
WINNER: The Miz & John Morrison at 5:32 (rollup)
-They cut to Jax & Baszler in the back as Patrick approached and replayed what happened earlier. Jax asked if that was necessary to play that and said it was a rhetorical question. She said regardless, that was a cowardly attack to deflect from the blooper. She said mission accomplished because after the beating they’re going to give them, no one will be talking about them. Rose & Brooke made their entrance as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: What do you do with that Bad Bunny rub? Have Priest lose. Of course.)
-They returned with another still image montage from the weekend, this time with different images than the first. Rose & Brooke were in the ring, flexing (sigh). Jax & Baszler then made their entrance. Jax tripped on her entrance into the ring, looking furious at the slip. The foes laughed.
(5) NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER (c) vs. MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE – Non-title match
Jax and Brooke started, with Jax quickly gaining the advantage. She gave a biel to Brooke, then a corner avalanche. She shoved her boot into the collarbone of Brooke, then rubbed her face across the second rope. Baszler tagged in and whipped Brooke right into Jax, then hit a knee for a two-count.
She started working the left leg, stomping on it and then applying a nice Stretch Muffler. She literally CARRIED Brooke over to their corner, tagged in Jax, then swung Brooke into the turnbuckle. Jax hit a running elbow for a two-count, then locked in her seated Cobra Clutch. Brooke hit a jawbreaker, went for a tornado DDT, then hit a enziguri to Jax.
Baszler tagged in, didn’t see Rose make the tag, then was hit by a Rose missile dropkick. Rose hit some clotheslines, a flapjack, and then rushed Baszler into a neutral corner. She missed a pump knee, so did Baszler, then Rose looked for a butterfly driver only for Baszler to try for a Kirifuda Clutch. Rose ran through the ropes to escape, but Jax tagged in and stalked Rose. Jax slipped again trying to climb up to the apron, then furiously went after the opponents. They retreated and willingly took the countout, seemingly content with seeing Jax slip twice and not, you know, an actual victory.
WINNER: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler at 4:45 (countout)
-They shifted to recapping the Lashley-Drew McIntyre WWE Championship match from Saturday night, much like the Asuka-Ripley package earlier, that saw Lashley retain. They hyped Lashley’s “All Mighty Adress” next as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It was obvious from the first slip that it was storyline. Still, really? Not only that, but the face team is just fine willingly LOSING a match when they’ve stated they want the Women’s Tag Team Championship, which should put them further from a match for said titles? This was just terrible all the way around. The only good thing was that Stretch Muffler spot from Baszler. Just head-shaking bad, really.)
-They returned with some mainstream press attention of WrestleMania before shifting to M.V.P. in the ring, introduced as Montel Vontavious Porter. He said this is an official announcement from The Hurt Business. He said Saturday, Lashley retained the WWE Championship and all he wanted to do today was celebrate and address all of us. However, he felt so disrespected, so he wanted to make some things clear.
M.V.P. lauded McIntyre a bit, then said it’s OK to be number two when Lashley is number one. He said McIntyre gave him everything he had, but M.V.P. told him it was just a matter of time until The Hurt Lock is applied and when that happens, it’s over. He said we watched McIntyre pass out, unconscious, and asked how he feels today. He said McIntyre can barely lift his head at all.
He said if McIntyre can’t handle the pressure of The Hurt Lock, “I ask you who can? I’ll tell you: no one.” McIntyre’s music interrupted as M.V.P. threw up his arms in disgust. McIntyre, on the stage, asked how the hell he would know how he feels. M.V.P. said he’s pretty sure McIntyre’s feeling pretty humble right now.
McIntyre said he’s man enough to admit he made the first mistake when he allowed himself to be distracted by M.V.P. He said M.V.P. is right about The Hurt Lock, but there’s not a man in the world that can humble him. He said he wants them to keep on this path, keep growing the ego in the fancy suits and pretty little sunglasses, keep milking that cow because he wants Lashley’s head as big as possible and on the highest pedestal so that he falls as far as possible once he hits the Claymore. He was in M.V.P.’s face at this point.
M.V.P. said he respects him and McIntyre said to choose his words wisely. M.V.P. said everything must be earned, not given, then Braun Strowman interrupted (damn). M.V.P. said McIntyre can go to the back of the line and fight, that’s how it works, but asked why Strowman was there.
Strowman said he agrees with M.V.P.: McIntyre lost, go to the back of the line. He said he should be next for defeating Shane McMahon. Randy Orton’s music hit as M.V.P. yelled out, “What is going on here, man?!” Orton said The Fiend & Bliss are finished, so he has all the time in the world to focus on what he’s truly great at, being The Legend Killer, The Viper, The Apex Predator, being WWE Champion once again.
Adam Pearce appeared and calmed them down. He said his decision is simple: triple threat match tonight and the winner will face Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash. Virk said this is huge, Graves agreed, and McIntyre and M.V.P. jawed some more. They hyped The New Day vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker next as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Well, at least Strowman and Orton are coming off victories.)
-They returned with McIntyre in the back as he came across Strowman. Strowman said he knows he saw what he did to McMahon. McIntyre said he threw him off of the top, big monster. He said it’s a triple threat, though, and explained the match before Strowman said he’s acting like he doesn’t know what a triple threat match is, insulting his intelligence. He said McIntyre is in his way so McIntyre has a “monster-sized” ass whooping coming his way.
-The announcers hyped the triple threat match before showing a recap video with parts of Flair’s promo and her interference in the Women’s Championship match. They showed Elias & Ryker in the ring next, the former strumming his guitar as he introduced the pair. He said he wanted to take the time to make sure Shane McMahon receives the respect he deserves for his “valiant and heroic” effort against Strowman. He dedicated his song to McMahon’s “unmatched bravery.” As he went to strum, a trombone sounded. He tried again, then asked if someone was messing with the sound. He tried again, and The New Day made their entrance.
Kofi Kingston said he hears them out here forming a makeshift apology to McMahon, but not apologizing to the tag team division for how they disgraced it by getting their behinds whooped all over WrestleMania by just one man, Strowman. Xavier Woods say you hate to see it, and said that if that happened to them, they would never show their faces again even though their faces look like “little cherub angels from the heavens.” They continued to insult the two (good), and asked if all they could do was “catch Braun’s hands” and said they should be ashamed as they chanted “Shame!” at them.
Elias said a colossal whooping by one man is exactly what happened to them with Omos as they lost the Tag Team Championship. He asked Kingston just how high he was up there with Omos. Woods said what they have is a failure to communicate. Kingston asked if they think it’s a game and that it’s not about them, but about how Elias & Ryker brought shame to the tag team division. Kingston said they’re going to bring the honor back where it belongs by whooping them.
(6) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. ELIAS & JAXSON RYKER
Woods and Ryker started, with the latter using his power to gain the early advantage. However, Woods dodged a rushing Ryker and then sent him over the top rope. Kingston then threw Elias outside. Both men then hit tope con hilos on Elias & Ryker as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Ryker making a blind tag as Elias forced Woods into a Ryker spinebuster. Ryker hit three falling forearms to Woods before hitting some more punches, then a cover for a two-count. He forced Woods back into their corner, tagged in Elias, then hit an avalanche before tossing Woods to Elias for a Death Valley Driver-type move for a two-count. Elias locked in a modified chinlock to a prone Woods as they did a split screen for Bob Odenkirk’s new movie that lasted all of 15 seconds.
Woods fought back, but couldn’t yet make the tag. Elias hit him with a back elbow, then tagged in Ryker. Ryker hit a big suplex for a two-count, then a falling headbutt for another two-count. He whipped Woods into their corner, but Woods hit Elias off and Ryker away. He climbed and leapt to Ryker, but Ryker hit a big Polish hammer to ground Woods.
Elias tagged in and hit a sliding knee for a two-count, then tagged in Ryker as they hit a vertical suplex onto Ryker’s knee for a backbreaker combo and two-count. Ryker locked in a Camel Clutch, but Woods hit a jawbreaker to escape. Woods rolled out of a suplex attempt, hit an enziguri, and finally made the tag as Elias tagged in. Kingston came in hot, taking out both men, then hitting his leaping stomp to Elias for a two-count.
Kingston hit The Boom Drop then set for Trouble in Paradise. He sidestepped Ryker, then allowed Woods to take him out. He missed Trouble in Paradise, then fought out of an electric chair. Woods tagged in as they hit Daybreak for the victory.
WINNER: The New Day at 10:04 (Daybreak)
-They cut to Orton in the back who said he’s been distracted for the past six months, but that ended last night. He was distracted by The Fiend & Bliss, but they “disappeared, it seems,” so he can focus on the WWE Championship. He said he has to go through McIntyre and Strowman tonight, except he only needs to strike once because he brings with him the “three deadliest letters in sports entertainment, R-K-O.” They hyped the “Firefly Fun House” as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: They should have cut off five minutes from the entirety of the segments involving those two teams. It was just there.)
-They returned with a Raw Talk promo featuring The Viking Raiders, Ripley, and Sheamus. The “Firefly Fun House” music played as Mercy the Buzzard, Huskus the Pig, and Abby the Witch were shown before Ramblin’ Rabbit proudly presented the return of Bray Wyatt. Wyatt walked through the doors, laughing and happy.
He said hello to his fireflies, and said it was good to be back in the Fun House with his true friends. Abby was bleeped out a bit. Wyatt said, “Witches be wildin’.” Rabbit said it’s going to be so moody around here without here, then Wyatt grabbed him, kissed him, and tossed him aside. He said they’ll always have each other. He said he feels great and thinks it can be a new start, a new season, new friends, and “a brand new me!”
He said he felt reborn, danced around, and did a healing preacher gimmick for a bit. He said everything will be fine because HE shall return. He said no more clout chasing in this here simulation. He was pretty over the top before waving goodbye.
-McIntyre made his entrance with his sword; he did his usual entrance. Graves & Virk discussed having short memories in sports, and applied that to McIntyre. Strowman entered next with his dumb “Strowman Express” sound effects. He laughed at the sword in the stage, then posed as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Look, that was weird and abrupt, but worth it just to hear Wyatt in his best tent-revival preacher voice say, “NO MORE CLOUT CHASING IN THIS HERE SIMULATION!”)
-They returned with another still shot recap montage with different shots from the weekend, then hyped Miz & Mrs. as McIntyre and Strowman were in the ring staring each other down. Orton entered next. Graves said this might be the most dangerous Orton because “he has clarity.”
(7) DREW MCINTYRE vs. BRAUN STROWMAN vs. RANDY ORTON – Triple threat match to determine #1 contender to face WWE Champion Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash
They began with McIntyre going after Strowman, then turning to force Orton out of the ring. Graves said it was a veteran move to let McIntyre and Strowman beat on each other. Orton reentered, went after Strowman, then double-suplexed him with McIntyre. Orton then attacked McIntyre, but Strowman ran them both down with a shoulder tackle. He threw McIntyre outside, then was hit with the steel steps in the head during Strowman Express by McIntyre. Orton then hit his belly-to-back to McIntyre on the table as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with McIntyre and Orton double teaming Strowman with strikes against the ropes, each trading blows. McIntyre sent Strowman outside with a Glasgow Kiss, but then was hit with Orton’s patented poke to the eye. He slammed McIntyre, then did his patented stomps around the body and appendages. McIntyre fought back with body shots, but Orton hit a knee to the body. McIntyre exploded out of a kick with a clothesline, then another, then an overhead belly-to-belly, then another out of the corner.
Strowman reentered, booted McIntyre, hit a corner avalanche on McIntyre. missed on Orton, then was hit with an ugly neckbreaker by McIntyre. As McIntyre went to the apron, Orton took out his foot and forced him to the apron, then hit a chop across the chest. McIntyre responded in kind, but Orton slammed his head into the barricade and ringpost. He did the same onto the table, twice, three times (the last one was soft) before sending him over the table and into a commentator’s chair. Suddenly, Strowman hit the Strowman Express on Orton, then rolled him inside.
Strowman grabbed the steel steps and hit McIntyre in the face, a little turnabout is fair play. Strowman then hit a big forearm across the chest of a prone Orton on the apron, then hit Orton in the head with the steps, then again to McIntyre before tossing them aside. He lifted Orton, rolled him into the ring, but was caught with a kick on reentry as Orton set for his draping DDT that he hit.
Orton then set for the RKO, pounding the mat, and hit. McIntyre hit the Claymore on Orton as he covered Strowman to win. He will face Lashley in a rematch next month. They showed replays after the match, a furiously-paced match even with the commercial break, particularly the last five minutes.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 11:14 (Claymore Kick) to become #1 contender for WWE Championship
M.V.P. came out, then T-Bar & Mace appeared and delivered a double chokeslam to McIntyre. The left the ring and looked on from the bottom of the ramp as they showed replays. McIntyre sold the move as the show ended with M.V.P., T-Bar, & Mace looking on.
(Hazelwood’s Take: For what it was, it was actually a decent match. It was probably just the right amount of time for a match involving Strowman. They did well and worked hard, each man really laying it into each other. I was actually hoping to see a returning Samoan Joseph stake his claim for Backlash, but I guess this works fine. I’m not excited, but they’ll put on a good match like they did Saturday.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a filler show at best, a bad show at worst. I said it felt like the last four or so seasons of Naruto on Twitter. Aside from the opening and closing matches, the show was filled with a good amount of just meh. What’s next for Bliss and The Fiend is intriguing, but this was not a vote of confidence that they could carry the momentum from the weekend forward.