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RAW TALK REPORT
APRIL 12, 2021
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kevin Patrick and Xavier Woods
This week’s guests: Sheamus, Rhea Ripley, and Viking Raiders
– Kevin Patrick welcomed us to Raw Talk sitting alone at the desk, mentioning that he is expecting Xavier Woods to join him. A bit weird that Woods was not out there already, perhaps he had to take care of something backstage. Anyway, Patrick recapped the main event between Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, and Braun Strowman as well as the angle at the end with Mace and T-Bar attacking Drew, calling it a real mystery.
– Patrick kept stretching, mentioning the other big events on Raw including the return of the Firefly Funhouse and Charlotte. Patrick actually called Charlotte a petulant child, as he recapped both her promo and her interference in the championship rematch between Asuka and Rhea Ripley. I must say I’m surprised that a statement like that made it into the script, but it may be a way to keep Charlotte from turning full heel and justifying whatever future heel/babyface flip flops they have in-store for us and Charlotte.
– With Xavier Woods still nowhere in sight, Sheamus came out and immediately mentioned that Patrick better make good use of his time since he had already wasted three hours backstage (interfering with his eating and drinking time) waiting to come on Raw Talk. After some standard talk about winning the US Championship, Patrick actually asked a real interview question, asking how Sheamus felt about finally winning another title after a five-year drought. Sheamus gave a good answer and said that it feels great, and he just kept plugging along and stressing he knew that it would come. He compared it to a soccer team that has been down for a bit, but finally gets back to their winning ways. The two Irishmen (yup, Patrick is Irish too) connected over soccer and their favorite teams giving Sheamus a chance to mention almost every NBC property. Patrick reminded him that he forgot to mention Peacock, so Sheamus touted Peacock as well. This was great, it really felt like a real interview and not a scripted and staged opportunity to push some WWE nonsense.
– Patrick asked how Sheamus felt walking out at WrestleMania in front of a live audience. Sheamus very genuinely noted how great it was using both “universe” and “fans.” I hope Sheamus still has a job after this interview as Sheamus dropped several shots at WWE, mostly about the fact that he spent three hours backstage, but was not on this episode of Raw. This was a great segment, and Patrick and Sheamus have good chemistry as two Irishmen having a talk and lifting a “pint.”
– We got a vaccine PSA, a promo for the A&E biography of Stone Cold Steve Austin, and a promo with Bad Bunny and Triple H, where Triple H hands Bunny a briefcase saying, “you did great at WrestleMania, now it is time to do what you do.” The promo cuts to Bad Bunny opening the briefcase (is it filled with money?), no, a microphone. The scene cuts to Bunny climbing aboard his big 18-wheeler and we get a graphic that tickets for a Bunny concert tour will go on sale on April 16. Okay, Bad Bunny gets some ad time from WWE and Triple H (of course) gets to be on screen with him…bye bye Damien Priest.
– As we come back, Xavier Woods is finally at the desk, claiming that he didn’t know he was supposed to do the show and was in the shower (his air was still a little wet). Woods spoke about how great the energy at WrestleMania was and that he is looking forward to full stadiums and being able to interact with the people again. As the camera panned, we see the Viking Raiders and Woods asked Ivar “how’s the body, you have been out for a while?” Ivar seemed to not quite know what to say to that, but he said he was feeling really good. Both Raiders talked about how great it was to be back together. The conversation was pretty standard WWE and rooted in that the Viking Raiders have a lot to prove to the division.
– When Woods asked what is next for them, Eric took the conversation of track a bit by talking about Sarah Logan, who is his wife and the fact that the Raiders are such a team that Ivar is like his second wife and it has been so hard going for seven months without having his partner, Ivar, there with him. Eric went on that this is the second WrestleMania where the Raiders were on the sidelines and they don’t want to be on the sidelines again. He noted (catch phrase alert) that they may have lost matches, but they have never lost a match.
– When questioned about A.J. Styles and Omos, Eric said it doesn’t matter they will run through everyone. This was another good interview, a real interview, and as a counterpoint to their Viking Raiders gimmick both men seem very grounded, erudite, and almost soft spoken. I am not sure how this will go on Raw, but if they keep this side of their personalities on “interview” shows and be more aggressive pre- and post-match speaking about winning and breaking bodies, etc. that is probably the best way to go. I really hope that Vince likes these guys, and they get a real push, because they have something that makes you want to root for them.
– Another break featuring an NXT on Tuesday promo and a Stephanie McMahon fronted promo about how much giving and community service the WWE does around WrestleMania. One thing I have to say here is that you shouldn’t tout that you gave $37,000 dollars in equipment to the Special Olympics, when you could probably finance the entire program with the proceeds from one week of WWE on Peacock. So tone deaf, but Stephanie has to have her moment.
– And we are back with Rhea Ripley. Both Patrick and Woods sold Ripley’s win over Asuka big time and Ripley kept using the term “dream come true” and that it was really special. Ripley acknowledged that it was really special on night one standing on the stage and that she did get emotional. Woods asked about her entrance with the live performance of her music, and she noted that it was great and really helped get her pumped up. Woods commented that she looked so cool and steady during her WrestleMania match to which Ripley said that she was there to take care of business and she did, and she was now champion.
– Going to a mid-interview break, Patrick played the clip of Ripley tearing up during the initial on-stage moment on night one of WrestleMania and as they broke you could hear Ripley saying, “Thanks, guys”, like she really didn’t like them focusing on that break in her badass character.
– During the break we got a WrestleMania Backlash promo and a promo for the Edge documentary on the network.
– And we are back. They recounted the Charlotte interference in the match on Raw. Ripley went into aggressive mode and called Charlotte jealous and concerned that Ripley will take her place, which in Charlotte’s mind justified her coming out and ruining Ripley’s rematch with Asuka. Ripley said that she is “sick and tired of Charlotte”, which is a bit weird since this is the first time in a long time that they have been together on the same show (bad scripting there). After a sustained rant about how she is the women’s champion and that she is here to stay, Ripley again proclaimed that she is sick and tired of Charlotte Flair and she doesn’t want to talk about her anymore and stormed off the set.
– This was very abrupt change in mood for Ripley going from a rather engaged interview about her time at WrestleMania to a rather disjointed and angry rant and a storming of the set. There is a much better way to show Ripley is pissed and is going to show Charlotte that she is not going anywhere, and she is the new top dog on Raw. This just continued the, in my opinion, the rather muddled presentation of Rhea Ripley. If they are going to make her a badass baby face against a heel Charlotte, they need her to be a bit more even tempered. Sure, give the emotional promo, but don’t storm off the set. Don’t talk about being sick and tired, talk about how you (Ripley) are better than Charlotte and intended to show her just how much better.
– Note to WWE, get someone to write better stuff for Ripley, because just having her being Angry Ripley is not going to work.
– Woods and Patrick tried to make the promo work by pointing out all the bad stuff Charlotte has said and done, but with Charlotte being off the air for four to five weeks, they didn’t have much to work with and it sounded like what it was, pushing a specific narrative that needs work.
– Woods’ final point was that Charlotte has always had the spotlight since her days in NXT and that she sees Ripley as someone who has done similar things in her rise to the top and she is worried that she may lose that spotlight to someone like Ripley.
– With that Patrick signed us off noting that it had been quite a week.
FINAL THOUGHTS: At 32 minutes total, including about five minutes of promos and commercials, the show did not overstay its welcome. All in all, a good show even with the glitch of Woods not showing up until the second segment. Both the Sheamus and the Viking Raiders segments were a fun watch, with the wrestlers actually acting human. I have to shout out Sheamus’ veiled digs at the WWE. They are great little easter eggs for the viewer. Ripley’s segment was ok and I know they had to get to the whole Charlotte thing, but I almost wish they had started with that. I really hope they find someone great (hello Paul Heyman) to write for Ripley before Vince loses interest and she falls by the wayside like so many have done before her coming from NXT. Definitely worth a watch this week.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S RAW TALK REPORT: 4/5 WWE RAW TALK REPORT: Braun Strowman strikes a softer tone, McIntyre hypes WrestleMania, more