HEYDORN’S RAW RECEIPT 2/21: Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch set effective foundation for WrestleMania feud

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

Analysis of the hits and misses of WWE Raw
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE and Complex Sports

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.

-Brock Lesnar continues to be an absolute blast as a babyface. He’s walked the line of being too silly in this role, but this week he stepped back and was able to show his personality and his destructive intimidation. The line to Paul Heyman on “getting a step closer” was the perfect way to strike a balance.

-Paul Heyman, take a bow. Heyman played the part of scared, but heelish foil for Lesnar well and was obnoxious in trying to take credit for Lesnar’s current success. They’ve got six weeks until WrestleMania and Heyman’s work moving forward is paramount to getting Lesnar vs. Reigns as hot as it can be.

-Alpha Academy has shined on the microphone with the various skits and vignettes they’ve been asked to do. Their in-ring work has been stellar too and has given credibility to what is a comedic act at the core. When they drop the tag team belts, it will matter.

-Tommaso Ciampa looked like he belonged on Monday Night Raw. Shocking, I know. This may be a one off due to his match with Dolph Ziggler this week on NXT, but it shouldn’t be. Ciampa is not going to be “the guy” on Raw, but he certainly fits in the Finn Balor spot on the roster perfectly. With nothing left to do in NXT, using him on the main roster at worst gets WWE some much-needed fresh matchups.

-Logan Paul. We’re doing this again? Whatever. As long as this match is low on the card and not positioned as something more than it is, whatever. Paul has value, but it revolves around people wanting to see him get knocked out. That doesn’t play in WWE’s world outside of potential mainstream social media buzz.

-It’s sad to say, but after last week’s gauntlet match and Elimination Chamber, Rhea Ripley is as hot and legitimate as ever. A mid-card WrestleMania program is a logical next step. No, not against Nikki A.S.H, but how about Doudrop, Carmella, or a cross promotion bout with Sasha Banks? The latter would be a big boost.

-It’s shameful what the character tweak did to Damian Priest. He wasn’t a main event act before, but he was something. The act feels lost now as it teeters back and forth between heel and babyface. The audience knew how to feel about him before and now they have no clue.

-Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch delivered a smooth and effective promo together to reignite their feud for WrestleMania. Both women set the table nicely and wove into it the events from Summerslam. This will be an exciting watch for six weeks.

-Belair and Doudrop brought the house down. Match of the night without question. The mission clearly was getting Belair over strong and showcasing her. They accomplished that feat. Though she took the L, these types of performances from Doudrop will stand out among WWE officials and help her push long term.

-Edge was a master on the mic this week. His promo not only sold the big stage of WrestleMania and it’s meaning, but it sold his match too – whatever that ends up being. WWE isn’t subtle, so Edge saying “Phenomenal” is a pretty clear indication we’re getting Edge vs. A.J. Styles.

-I liked the main event quite a bit. Good action, but also nice to see they are working to actually build up the tag team title match in a couple weeks. Yep, that was pig flying overhead…


CATCH-UP: HEYDORN’S DYNAMITE RECEIPT 2/16: Adam Cole finds his main event voice in square off with Adam Page

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