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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 19, 2021
LIVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA – “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-Virk introduced the show as Drew McIntyre made his way to the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Virk’s intro was as low energy as I ever remember for the first words out of an announcer’s mouth on WWE TV.)
-They went to Virk, Graves, and Saxton on camera briefly. They hyped McIntyre’s rematch against Bobby Lashley at Backlash.
-Drew spoke in the ring about opportunity. He said when he said he’d eventually regain the WWE Title. He said that triggered wrestlers in the back. He made fun of Braun Strowman’s speaking style and mentioned Randy Orton, too. He said Adam Pearce booked him against Braun and Orton, and he came out on top. He then talked about Mace and T-Bar. He said they decided to make their name at his expense. He said he doesn’t know if they’re aligned with MVP, but he’s looking for some retribution against him. He said he was getting fired up. He asked if anyone was looking for a fight. MVP’s music played and he walked out onto the stage.
MVP called Drew’s allegations ridiculous. He told Drew perhaps he should start expecting the unexpected. Drew asked MVP if he was going to tell him he had nothing to do with the attack last night. He said Bobby Lashley recently decided to downside the Hurt Business. He said Lashley already proved he could beat him alone, so why would he ask for help. Drew said Lashley tried to get the whole locker room to take him out before WrestleMania. MVP said Mace and T-Bar have zero affiliation with the Hurt Business.
Drew dropped to ringside and approached MVP. He said maybe they could talk it out. Then Mace and T-Bar attacked Drew from behind. They double chokeslammed him mid-ring, then left. MVP admired their work from ringside as Drew winced in pain mid-ring.
-Backstage Mace and T-Bar t0ld Kevin Patrick that they’re going to finish off Drew.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s so tough to get into Mace and T-Bar after they were so inept in Retribution, and this feels more like WWE utilizing them to fill TV time for Drew leading up to Backlash more than they are a threat to rise up the ranks.) [c]
-Back from the break, the announcers commented on a replay of Mace and T-Bar attacking Drew.
-Backstage Drew was fuming. He approached Pearce and asked for a match against Mace and T-Bar. Pearce insisted he get a partner. Drew said he wants to do things the right way or else he’s going to get a baseball. bat. Drew said he doesn’t want a partner and he told Pearce to make the match happen.
(1) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN
The announcers talked about Erik and Ivar each coming back from career-threatening injuries in recent years. Ivar broke up a Cedric cover of Erik a few minutes in. Shelton and Ivar battled at ringside. Cedric back-flipped at Erik, but Erik caught him and then tagged in Ivar. Then they gave him the Viking Experience finisher for the win. Virk called it the Viking Express.
WINNERS: Raiders in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I suppose having the Raiders beat Cedric & Shelton means more than beating two jobbers, but sure feels like Cedric & Shelton could be utilized better than this after their run in Hurt Business.)
-Patrick interviewed Orton backstage and asked about taking out The Fiend. Orton said The Fiend will never be seen or heard from again in WWE as long as he’s still around. He said now he will wait to see whether Lashley or McIntyre walk out with the WWE Title. He said the winner will have a target on his back. Riddle interrupted Orton on his scooter. He talked up Orton’s nick-names, then asked what it means to be the Apex Predator. He suggested that since neither of them have titles, they could team up at RK-Bro. He said he could get him a scooter. Orton just wandered away. Riddle shrugged his shoulders. [c]
-They showed Adam Pearce standing backstage texting when Orton walked up to him and said he’s sick and tired of the disrespect. He said he doesn’t know who the barefoot “goofball kid” is who rides a scooter, but he wants to teach “whomever he may be” a lesson. Pearce said he’d see what he can do. “Do that,” Orton said.
(Keller’s Analysis: I know he acts like a kid, but Riddle is 35, only six years younger than Orton. This could be a really fun match. Would Riddle ever have any matches if he didn’t annoy people into agreeing to fight him?)
-A video package aired on Charlotte’s return last week.
-Charlotte began her ring entrance. [c]
-Charlotte stood mid-ring with a mic in hand. She spun around. Boos were piped in. She said she came back last week simply demanding respect after everything she has given the industry. She said she didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. She said she came back unapologetically herself. She said everyone in the women’s locker room was talking about her despite not being on the WrestleMania card. She said they’re all so fake to each other, pretending to like each other and dislike her. She complained about her WM match being taken from her. She said she can beat Rhea Ripley and Asuka in the same night. “That’s why they call me The Opportunity.” She said he’ll give Asuka an opportunity to wrestle her tonight and she’ll show Ripley why she is the face of the division. She said Ripley is really good, but she doesn’t have to like her. Asuka interrupted.
She entered the ring and was about to speak when Ripley walked onto the stage to her music. Charlotte asked if they are going to gang up on her. She told Ripley to watch her match later against Asuka and take notes about how great she is. Ripley said knowing Asuka, she knows Asuka is going to beat Charlotte. Charlotte laughed and asked Asuka if she heard that. Charlotte spoke slowly and said, “I am the one who ended your streak.” Charlotte said she is going to be the one going for the Raw Title. Charlotte kept interrupting Asuka. Asuka yelled that she is going to beat her and she called her “bitch.”
(Keller’s Analysis: There are way too many instances of women calling each other “bitch” in pro wrestling these days. It has no impact anymore and just feels cheap.)
-Riddle zoomed past Orton backstage. Orton took a deep breath and snarled. [c]
-A graphic touted WWE having over a billion views of various social media posts WrestleMania week.
-They went to the announcers on camera as they reviewed Mace and T-Bar attacking Drew earlier. Graves said the match has been made officially, and it will be two-on-one.
(2) RIDDLE vs. RANDY ORTON
Riddle came out first. When Orton came out, the screen said Raw is the no. 1 trend on Twitter. Virk said some call Riddle obnoxious. Graves said he’s an acquired taste that eventually you find charming. He said he’s unusual with the constant stream of consciousness he spews out. Orton took Riddle down seconds into the match and locked on a side headlock. Riddle stood and powered out. Virk said people appreciate the moxie of Riddle. Riddle applied an early sleeper. Graves said Orton was in trouble. Orton yanked on Riddle’s hair to break free. Riddle applied the sleeper several times until Orton yanked his legs out from under him on the ring apron. He then tossed him into the announce desk. They zoomed in on Riddle and cut to a break. [c]
Riddle eventually made a comeback with an upkick and then landed a Broton. Orton countered Riddle into a superplex for a two count. Riddle surprised Orton with a leg wrap around his neck while hanging over the top rope. He had to break before five. Orton then landed a draping DDT. When Orton went for an RKO, Riddle countered with a crucifix for the upset three count. Saxton said he’s shocked. Graves said so was Orton. Virk called it astounding. Virk said it’s the biggest win of Riddle’s career.
WINNER: Riddle in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sure, it was just a leverage pin, but it still sends a message that Riddle is more than the singles wrestler equivalent of Cedric & Shelton. I was on guard for a non-finish due to Fiend or Alexa Bliss showing up in some way.)
-Pearce congratulated Sheamus for winning the U.S. Title at WrestleMania. Pearce talked about the legacy of the U.S. Title. He said John Cena, for instance, defended it every week. Pearce said he’s not Cena, though. Sheamus asked if he was trying to embarrass him or goad him into wrestling every week. Sheamus said he would wrestle, but not with the title on the line.
-They went to the announcers at ringside to react.
-As Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler made their ring entrance, Virk said “they always bring the fun.” [c]
(3) NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. LANA & NAOMI
Naomi and Jax battled first. Jax blocked a suplex attempt by both Lana and Naomi, then suplexed both of them at once. Baszler tagged in. A graphic plugged Alexa’s Playground coming up later. When Baszler stomped on Lana’s arm, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke walked out to their music. They showed a clip of Baszler and Jax laughing at Rose falling at WrestleMania. Then they threw to a clip of them attacking Jax and then Jax slipping on her attempt to enter the ring last week. The match just stopped in its tracks during this odd interruption as Jax scowled. Baszler reached for a tag, but Jax was so upset she dropped off the ring apron and marched after Rose and Brooke. Naomi and Lana then gave Baszler a double facebuster for the win.
WINNERS: Lana & Baszler in 5:00.
-The announcers commented on a clip of Bad Bunny & Damian Priest winning. Then they showed Bunny talking about the win and what an honor it was share to share the moment with Priest, “especially being Latin from Puerto Rico.” He said he’ll remember it forever. Priest had a few words too. They spoke in Spanish and had captions throughout.
-Virk said Bunny’s 2022 tour sold out and was the most successful tour announcement since 2018.
-Graves hyped Miz TV. He said they’d be celebrating the hugely successful season premiere of Miz TV. [c]
-Miz TV: Miz and Mayrse celebrated each other. They kissed as pyro blasted. Miz plugged Miz TV and the WWE documentary on his career debuting tonight. Priest walked out to his music. Miz looked agitated. Priest said Miz is delusional. He threw to a clip of Priest yanking off Miz’s pants last week, but Miz still pinning him with his feet on the middle rope for leverage. Priest asked what kind of man brags about a win like that. Priest spoke in Spanish. Miz asked what he just said. Priest said the world saw he has no cajones last week, but he can translate with his fist if he still doesn’t understand. Maryse spoke in French. She told Priest he can have a match against Miz later. Miz looked blindsided by that idea. Priest said that’s what he’s there for. Priest drank his champagne. He said it’s trash. Miz threw champagne in Priest’s face, then left with Maryse smiling wide.
-Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston congratulated Riddle on beating Orton earlier. They talked until Riddle said “silver dollar,” then they yelled together excitedly, “Silver Dollar Pancakes!” [c]
-Elias sat mid-ring with Jaxson Ryder. As he began to play, Xavier interrupted playing bass guitar. Then the New Day theme played.
(4) KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods) vs. ELIAS (w/Jaxson Ryder)
Kofi scored a near fall a few minutes in with an S.O.S. Elias blocked a huracanrana off the top rope and landed a flying elbowdrop for the win.
WINNER: Elias in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They can give Elias a win over Kofi, but it doesn’t make him any more relevant as an in-ring act for WWE. This match epitomized the sense of WWE just listlessly spinning its wheels right now in this disappointing initial post-WrestleMania stretch. Remember when there were Raw Tag Team Titles?)
-They showed Bliss swinging backstage with her new doll on a swing next to her. [c]
-Bliss said she and her doll Lilly have been best friends for a very long time. She said when a girl told her she couldn’t have bite of her ice cream cone, she “shoved that little bitch right off the swing and she fell on her ass and broke her arm. Then I got to eat up all her ice cream. That was fun.” She told the teachers afterward that Lilly told her to do it. She said the teachers thought she was bonkers. She said Lilly didn’t like “him” and she doesn’t like any of the women wrestlers in WWE, either. She giggled and swung some more. They went to a close-up of Lilly who giggled, then a brief shot of Bliss sweating black liquid.
-The announcers commented on a replay of Jax abandoning Baszler to go after Rose and Brooke earlier.
-Sarah Schreiber asked Rose and Brooke if it was appropriate behavior by them earlier. Rose said they’re not the bullies. She said Jax and Baszler watched her slipping over and over. Jax walked up to them, so they fled. Baszler then angrily told Jax she better get her head in the game and back on their business. She said she lost because of her. She got in Jax’s face and said, “You had better start paying attention or else.” Jax asked, “Or else what?” Angel Garza walked up to Jax and asked what she sees in that circus clown Reginald.
(5) DREW MCINTYRE vs. MACE & T-BAR
Graves said both T-Bar and Mace are “significantly taller” than McIntyre. (They’re actually very close in height.) They showed MVP watching on a monitor backstage. Mace and T-Bar got in most of offense. When they double-teamed Drew relentlessly in the corner, Braun Strowman made the save. He yelled, “That’s not how stuff goes down around here.”
WINNER: Drew via DQ in 7:00. [c]
(6) BRAUN STROWMAN & DREW MCINTYRE vs. MACE & T-BAR
They turned this into a tag match after the break. Braun tagged out to Drew after a few minutes and Drew rallied, “recharged and revitalized,” said Virk. He kipped up and smiled at the hard cam. Drew yanked off Mace’s mask. He said he did him a favor. Mace slapped him. Drew slapped him and then whacked him over and over with his mask. The ref called for the bell. Braun then ripped off T-Bar’s mask. “Off comes the clown mask!” Braun yelled. Drew yelled that they’re just getting started.
WINNER: Mace & T-Bar via DQ in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The bright side is they don’t have their masks anymore. The bad news is their characters will always have lineage to Retribution as a result of being unmasked as T-Bar and Mace instead of having time away and then returning fresh with new looks and names. I wonder if anyone, without prior knowledge, said, “Hey, that’s that former Raw color commentator dude?)
-They showed Miz and Maryse walking backstage and hyped Miz’s match with Priest next. [c]
(7) MIZ (w/Maryse) vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Graves said Priest isn’t quite at the level of Miz is yet. Miz rolled to the floor as the bell rang with a taunting smile on his face. He and Maryse smooched. Graves said that’s motivation. Priest yanked Miz back into the ring and beat on him in the corner. Maryse grabbed Priest’s leg. Miz knocked Priest to the floor. He threw Priest into the barricade at ringside. Miz mounted and punched away at Priest in on the mat and scored a one count. Miz settled into a chinlock. Miz threw Yes Kicks at Priest. Priest blocked one and slammed Miz face-first to the mat. Maryse distracted Priest and then Miz scored a two count with his legs on the second rope. Priest then came right back with Hit the Lights for the win. Graves called it a big-time win for Priest.
WINNER: Priest in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay match.)
-They showed a split-screen of Asuka and Charlotte warming up. As Virk talked about them, they cut away as he was mid-sentence.
-They aired at least the third ad for NXT tomorrow night. [c]
-Sheamus stood mid-ring. He said there is something the world needs to know. “That is I am your new United States Champion.” He said it’ll be like that for a long, long time. He asked anyone who wants to put their hands on real gold, come get it. Humberto Carrillo answered. He came out and somersaulted into the ring. As he posed for the hard cam, Sheamus attacked him from behind and threw him to ringside. Sheamus attacked him at ringside. He continued to beat him down including a Brogue Kick. He yelled that he’s not in his league. He stood over him holding up his U.S. Title belt. Saxton said others might think twice before answering Sheamus’s open challenge.
(Keller’s Analysis: So was that to set up a feud with Carrillo or just establish Sheamus as a badass not to be messed with? It seems Carrillo deserves a better return than that.)
-They showed Charlotte warming up backstage. [c]
(7) CHARLOTTE vs. ASUKA
Charlotte came out with her new entrance outfit. It’s a significant change from her robes. As Asuka and Charlotte stared at each other mid-ring, Ripley made her entrance. She grabbed a chair and sat at ringside. Asuka reversed Charlotte into a neck breaker on the ring apron. Ripley stood and walked toward them as Graves threw to a break. [c]
Charlotte caught Asuka’s roundkick mid-ring. Asuka fired back with a snap German suplex. She then landed a running kick for a two count. Ripley paced at ringside. Asuka and Charlotte botched a move and both were slow to get up. They exchanged blows. Charlotte speared Asuka for a near fall. Charlotte went for a figure-four, but Asuka grabbed the ropes. Charlotte gracefully dropped to the floor with a handstand. Charlotte went to clip Asuka’s legs, but Asuka leapfrogged her and applied an Asuka lock. Charlotte grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Charlotte chop-blocked Asuka’s legs and applied the figure-four. She bridged into the Figure-Eight. Ripley yanked Charlotte to break the hold. Charlotte grabbed as Ripley. Asuka kicked Charlotte in the chest and scored a three count with a crucifix, just like Riddle beat Orton with.
WINNER: Asuka in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a shocking ending that Ripley was involved, but how are viewers supposed to feel about Ripley?)
-Charlotte attacked the referee afterward. She beat on him in the corner and then threw a barrage of elbows to the back of his head. Another ref told Charlotte to get off of him. Charlotte stood up smiling. She went after the ref again. Saxton said it’s not the official’s fault she lost the match. He called it classless behavior.