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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 28, 2022
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-The new “Feels Like Greatness” opening theme aired for Raw followed by Jimmy Smith introducing the show as the camera panned the crowd.
-Kevin Owens made his ring entrance for a show-opening “KO Show” segment. He walked out wearing a cowboy hat (awkwardly) and stood near the entrance area and introduced “my best friend, Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins.” He said they’ll win the Raw Tag Team Titles. As Seth danced his way out, Corey Graves said KO and Seth didn’t have a path to WrestleMania until they figured this one out. Byron Saxton gave them credit. Smith hyped Becky Lynch & Nikki A.S.H. & Doudrop vs. Bianca Belair & Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan Graves hyped Damian Priest vs. Finn Balor for the U.S. Title, and Saxton hyped Edge would reveal who answered his WrestleMania Challenge. Smith hyped the Triple Threat tag team match next week for the Raw Tag Titles with Alpha Academy vs. RK-Bro vs. Owens & Seth.
KO and Seth arrived in the ring. KO welcomed everyone to “The Kevin Owens Show.” He told Seth it’s been a rough year for them so far, as neither of them have managed to secure a place at WrestleMania yet. He said that’s not okay. He said the two biggest WWE Superstars in history not on WrestleMania is a travesty. Seth cackled and said that’s no lie. He said they’ve been screwed every step of the way, but the WrestleMania gods have given them one more card to play. He said they’re headed to Dallas to create moments. Owens said people are saying his disdain for Texas could distract him, but he assured Seth that won’t happen and that he’ll be focused on winning the tag titles. “Nothing will distract me from that,” he said. He said JBL and HBK won’t distract him. He stomped on his cowboy hat. Seth told KO they’re not in Texas tonight and they have a show to do. Seth introduced Alpha Academy.
Chad Gable & Otis made their way to the ring to their entrance theme. Owens said they made sure Otis’s chair was extra sturdy. “Let’s hope so,” Otis said. Gable said it’s their first time on The KO Show. He said, “Ah thank youuuu!” Seth asked KO why he said it that way. Owens asked if he knows he says “thank you” weird. Gable said he’d take it as a compliment. He said all he’s hearing so far is a couple of asses making a couple of “ass-sumptions” about next week’s match. He said they can talk all they want, but the current defending champions are Alpha Academy. He said “ahh thank youuuu!” again. Owens and Seth looked at each other like he was a weirdo. Owens said next week those tag titles are coming home with them. Seth said it’s not personal and he likes them, but that’s the way it’s going to be.
Gable said they weaseled their way into the match. He said the crowd probably went to that sorry excuse of an institution, Ohio State University, whereas he has a Master’s Degree. The fans booed. Gable took exception to them wedging themselves into the match because it took their odds of winning from 50 percent to 33.33. Owens said numbers are confusing, but he can’t take it personal. He said they need the belts to get to WrestleMania. Gable said it’s pathetic that they’ll do anything to get to WrestleMania, but they’ve already had their chance to headline WrestleMania. Gable said they busted their asses to finally earn their way onto the Greatest Stage of Them All. Seth said after they beat them, they can challenge them at WrestleMania. “It’s a win-win, baby!” Seth said. Gable shhh’d Seth. Owens said not to shhh him. They went back and forth, with KO demanding he shhhh and then giving him a kick to the gut and a stunner. They cut to abruptly to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: Gable continues to be entertaining, and Seth and KO giving him a hard time about how he says “thank you” was a blast. Gable & Otis were annoying, but they were more sympathetic in this exchange and showed a glimpse of how they could transition to a fan-favorite team down the line. The story that Owens & KO need to win the tag titles to assure they get on WrestleMania and aren’t left off is a good hook to give them a meaningful mission even if they’re not in a major singles match.) [c]
(1) ALPHA ACADEMY (Chad Gable & Otis) vs. SETH ROLLINS & KEVIN OWENS – Non-title match
The match was joined in progress, and Smith said it has major championship implications. Otis beat up Seth for a bit, then tagged in Gable. Seth avoided a corner swing splash by Otis, then hot-tagged in Owens. KO charged and knocked Gable off the ring apron, then hit Otis with a cannonball in the corner. He threw Gable to the floor and then leaped off the ring apron with a flip dive onto Otis and Gable. He played to the crowd to a mixed response, then landed a frog splash on Gable on the floor. Otis popped up and clotheslined KO. They cut to a break as the camera zoomed into a close-up of Otis’s face. [c]
Back from the break, Gable hit some suplexes on KO. KO countered with an elbow and an enzuigiri. He then crawled over and hot-tagged Seth. Seth took control, then tagged Owens back in. KO superkicked Gable as he set up a suplex on Seth. He dropped Gable on his knee head-first, but Otis broke up the cover. Otis overhead-suplexed Seth, then returned to his corner and officially tagged in. KO set up a Stunner, but Otis blocked it and squashed KO in the corner. He followed with a swing splash in his corner. Gable tagged in and landed a moonsault. Seth broke up the cover. Graves noted that Otis let Seth run right past him because “he got caught up in the moment.” Otis threw Seth in the corner, but Seth side-stepped him when he charged and sent Otis shoulder-first into the ringpost. Seth dove onto Otis at ringside. KO, meanwhile, rolled up Gable for a two count. Gable came back with a German suplex. He then dragged Owens to the corner and went for a top rope moonsault, but Owens moved. Seth tagged in and gave Gable a buckle bomb. Owens hit a Stunner. Seth then landed The Stomp for the win.
WINNERS: Seth & Owens in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A good, smoothly executed, hard-hitting tag match that gave the challengers some “momentum” heading into next week, but Gable & Otis came across as being in their league.)
-A vignette aired on Omos.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed Omos backstage. Omos yanked the mic up to his level and said since he arrived, he has dominated Randy Orton & Riddle, the Dirty Dogs, the New Day, and A.J. Styles. He said tonight he’ll be facing the largest man he’s ever faced, T-Bar, and he’ll dominate him.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was easily his best mic work to date.)
-Omos made his ring entrance. Graves said they should reinforce the ring for this one. [c]
(2) T-BAR vs. OMOS
Omos knocked T-Bar hard off the ring apron as he entered the ring. He dragged him back into the ring. The ref said she can’t start the match if he’s knocked out. Omos threw T-Bar into the corner. The ref checked on him and he said “give me a minute” as he nodded. Graves said it has to be the worst decision of his career. T-Bar avoided a charging Omos. Omos clotheslined him seconds later. T-Bar flip-bumped onto his head. Omos then gave him his double-arm chokeslam for the win.
WINNER: Omos in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t know why WWE doesn’t see T-Bar worth protecting and featuring more given his work prior to getting to the main roster, but with their shallow roster depth, it seems they could have been building up T-Bar for a few weeks with wins to set this match up, and made it feel like a bigger deal while also protecting T-Bar more. But instead, Omos squashed him even though he hasn’t been on TV lately. It just meant less than it could have, and it certainly in a macro sense feels like a waste of T-Bar as a solid second-tier gatekeeper.)
-A clip aired of Bianca Belair pinning Doudrop followed by Becky Lynch throwing a fit at the commentary table.
-Nikki A.S.H. and Doupdrop talked about their tag match later. Doudrop said she’s fine with being the villain later after Nikki said she’s the only superhero the show needs. In walked Becky who said she beat Belair in 26 seconds and she’ll win tonight and she’ll in again at WrestleMania.
-Lynch’s ring entrance began. Graves said he’s curious to see how this team works out. [c]
-Backstage, Liv Morgan was admiring Rhea Ripley’s jacket. Liv then asked what their strategy is. Ripley suggested “Brutality.” Liv said she liked that. Belair walked in and said she wants to get her hands on Becky because there’s a long-awaited K.O.D. waiting for her.
(3) BECKY LYNCH & NIKKI A.S.H. & DOUDROP vs. LIV MORGAN & RHEA RIPLEY & BIANCA BELAIR
Ripley came onto the stage to her music. Morgan came out to her music next. And finally Belair joined them. Liv was going to start against Becky when the bell rang, but Becky asked for Belair. So Belair tagged in. “WrestleMania preview!” said Graves. Becky circled Belair, but then tagged out to Nikki. Saxton said he should have known better. Liv then tagged right in. Graves wondered what the path for the other four women is to WrestleMania. Smith said a great performance here could earn them an opportunity. The babyface trio took control early. Liv leaped onto all three heels at ringside and then shrieked in excitement as they cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, eventually Nikki took control. Belair tagged in and slammed Nikki. Becky yanked Belair to ringside. Morgan leaped onto Lynch on the floor. Doudrop knocked Morgan off the ring apron. Ripley dropkicked Doudrop. Nikki surprised Ripley with a flying bodypress off the top rope. As Nikki celebrated, Belair surprised her with a spinebuster. Lynch broke up the cover. Belair whipped Becky with her hair braid. Becky retreated to the floor and gasped at the welts on her abdomen. Nikki surprised Belair with a roll-up, but Belair kicked out and came back with a K.O.D. for the win.
WINNERS: Belair & Ripley & Morgan in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another match given enough time to develop nicely and give everyone some time in the spotlight. Ultimately it was a way to showcase Belair and also give a visual to what her hair braid can do to human skin.)
-A clip aired of last week’s NXT main event featuring Bobby Roode interfering on behalf of Dolph Ziggler giving him a win over Tommaso Ciampa, with NXT Champ Bron Breakker making the save.
-Roode made his ring entrance, accompanied by Ziggler. [c]
-A soundbite aired with Ciampa who said last week on NXT, he had Ziggler beat until Roode “decided to play dress up and hit me with a camera.” He said Roode is about to learn a grown-man lesson courtesy of him.
(4) TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. ROBERT ROODE
As the match began, Graves hyped Ciampa & Breakker vs. Roode & Ziggler on NXT on Tuesday night. Smith said Ciampa is a general in the ring who knows the strategy of all his opponents. Ciampa and Roode battled at ringside. Ciampa yelled at Ziggler and then threw Roode back into the ring. Roode sat down on a Fairy Tail Ending attempt for a two count. Ciampa kneed Ziggler off the ring apron, then countered Roode’s attack from behind and rolled him up for the win.
WINNER: Ciampa in under 3:00.
-Roode attacked Ciampa afterward. Ziggler joined in and superkicked him. Ziggler told Ciampa he got lucky once, but on NXT, he and Breakker won’t be so lucky against the two-time WWE Tag Team Champions. He said they will show why the Dirty Dogs are the dirtiest dogs in the game. The segment closed with Ziggler’s music playing.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid cross-promotion with NXT and a good way to drop Breakker’s name onto Raw and make him a known name to the viewers who watch Raw but not NXT.)
-They aired a recap of what’s been going on with Dana Brooke and R-Truth.
-Dana Brooke then made her ring entrance, flexing her biceps. Reggie joined her. They looked like they were on the same page. [c]
(5) TOZAWA & TAMINA vs. REGGIE & DANA BROOKE
Graves said Tozawa has a one-way crush on Tamina. Saxton said sometimes relationships start that way. “People like you pay a lot of money for women to treat them poorly, but that doesn’t count for everybody,” Graves said to Saxton. Saxton said he didn’t know what Graves was talking about. Tamina got the better of Dana early. Reggie and Tozawa tagged in. They had some nice rapid-fire athletic exchanges. Tamina broke up Reggie’s cover on Tozawa. Tozawa went for a rear waist lock on Dana, but Dana elbowed out of it. Reggie then flipped onto Tozawa’s chest for the win. Dana kissed Reggie as they were celebrating. She really kissed him. Saxton was very happy. Smith said he seemed too happy. Tozawa made cartoon faces at Tamina at ringside and looked ready for a kiss. Tamina gave him a big kiss. Tozawa looked ready to faint. Dana and Reggie fanned him.
WINNERS: Reggie & Dana in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to the match, but it was actually fine while it lasted. The romance stuff is a matter of personal taste.)
-Patrick interviewed the Street Profits and asked for their thoughts on facing RK-Bro later. Montez Ford said if they win, they might be next in line for a title shot. Angelo Dawkins said they have to save the tag division from the Alpha Academy. He said whoever wins next week, the tag belts have to be defended at WrestleMania, and they are chasing that opportunity. Ford declared, “We Want the Smoke!”
-Rey & Dominik Mysterio made their ring entrance. Rey rode on the back of Dominik as they slapped hands of the fans. [c]
-A clip aired of Bobby Lashley getting injured at Elimination Chamber. Graves said if he’s not cleared by Saturday for the MSG show, Brock Lesnar will still be defending the Raw Title against someone.
-Highlights aired of Miz revealing Logan Paul was his partner last week.
-Rey and Dominik stood in the ring. Rey said they accepted their challenge for a match at WrestleMania. He said at WrestleMania, Miz will be done with all his B.S. Dominik said tonight they’re not focused on “some Hollywood dumbass and his fanboy; tonight we’re focused on our match against the Hurt Business.” Miz’s entrance theme interrupted them. Miz walked out in a suit and said “Hollywood mega dumbass?” He asked if he really thinks Logan Paul is a fanboy. Miz ran down some of his finest WWE moments, including hosting Miz TV. He touted marrying the sexiest women in all of WWE, Maryse. He said he beat John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania. He said he is the only two-time Grand Slam Champion in the history of WWE. He said last week with Logan was one of his proudest moments because it was two A-listers joining forces on their way to dominating the division and maybe becoming tag team champions. He said Logan went the distance with the greatest fighter in the world. He said he’s a social and NFT pioneer. He said with his help, he’ll become the most famous Superstar in all of WWE. He said the only one who loved beating the Mysterios down more than him was Logan. He said they rewatched it together. He said he even heard some cheers as they did so, which means he’s finally getting the respect he deserves. Fans chanted “You suck!” He said the fans are tired of the same old tired crap, whereas he and Logan are awesome.
(Keller’s Analysis: Rey’s delivery on that promo was like he had never stared into a camera before. Dominik is showing hints of a cocky, heelish personality. Not sure if it’s intentional or not, though.)
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander came out to the Hurt Business theme. [c]
(6) REY & DOMINIK MYSTERIO vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER
The heel duo dominated early. Dominik eventually took over against Shelton after avoiding a charging knee in the corner. He hit a tornado DDT for a near fall, broken up by Cedric. Rey jumped and knocked Cedric to ringside, then head scissored him to the mat. Dominik then knocked Shelton into position for a 619. Shelton moved, so Dominik dove through the ropes at him. Shelton caught him, Dominik slipped free, and then Dominik shoved Shelton into the ringpost. Miz then interfered and yanked Dominik’s leg. Rey ran over to chase Miz away. Meanwhile, Shelton rolled up Dominik for the three count.
WINNERS: Shelton & Cedric in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Stop the presses! Shelton & Cedric won a match! They needed a win, even a tainted one.)
-Backstage Riddle showed Randy Orton he was practicing coloring and staying within the lines to improve his focus and concentration. He said he has been feeling foggy lately. He said his mouth has been dry and he’s had the giggles. He said he’s not sure if it’s from The Stomp “or because I put the high in Ohio.” Orton said nothing seems to be out of the ordinary and he seems fine to him. Riddle asked if he has any sage advice for him. Orton said they are winning the tag team titles if it’s the last thing they do. Orton’s music played as he and Riddle made their way out toward the ring. [c]
-A commercial aired hyping Undertaker entering the Hall of Fame on a two-for-one event the night before WrestleMania Saturday. They were pushing tickets for the show.
-They went to the announcers on camera who threw to a clip from Smackdown of Naomi and Sasha Banks revealing they’re going after the Women’s Tag Team Champions.
-Backstage, Zelina Vega told Carmella she just watched the debut of her new reality show and noted there’s a lot of sex talk. Zelina said they accept Sasha & Naomi’s challenge. Carmella said if she thinks she and Graves talk a lot about sex, she should see how they celebrate.
-Graves hyped the Raw Tag Team Title triple threat match.
(7) THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. RK-BRO (Riddle & Randy Orton)
Riddle caught Ford with a leg triangle as Dawkins was diving on him early. Riddle tagged in Orton. Fans cheered. He stomped on Ford over and over. Riddle knocked Ford to the floor and flip dove onto him at ringside. Ford charged at Orton and knocked him off the ring apron to the floor. Ford then flip dove onto Riddle at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
After the break, Orton rallied and signaled for the RKO. Ford blocked it and landed a leaping roundkick to Orton’s head. Ford then landed a top rope splash. Ford made the cover. Orton was about to put his leg on the bottom rope, but Dawkins shoved it away, so the ref counted to three.
WINNERS: Street Profits in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Orton appeared to be legitimately hurt. He didn’t make it close enough to the bottom rope to even reach it with his boot, which messed up the finish. He was clutching his upper left chest and shoulder area. Ford and Orton talked after the match. The ref went over to check on him. Riddle played up Dawkins’ cheating, but also was concerned for Orton. The Profits also bent over and examined how Orton was doing. Then they celebrated their win, but it looked like Ford was concerned. That’s a big loss to next week’s Raw and then WrestleMania if Orton suffered an injury that’s going to take him out of the mix. There might be heat on Ford, too, if it’s determined he was at fault, but it didn’t look obvious on TV either way.)
-Patrick interviewed Seth and KO backstage who were excited about the prospects of defending their tag team titles at WrestleMania. Owens said the best part of WrestleMania weekend will be leaving “that hellhole known as Dallas, Texas.”
-Finn Balor made his ring entrance. The announcers touted Balor and what a big win it’d be if he marched into MSG on Saturday and WrestleMania next month as U.S. Champion. [c]
-A vignette aired hyping the arrival of Veer to Raw. The graphic said he’s coming to Raw. No date was listed.
-They went to the announcers on camera, who threw to a Smackdown recap focused on the Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns contract signing.
-Damian Priest made his ring entrance. [c]
-Austin Theory sat with Vince McMahon. He said he wanted to talk about Vince being interviewed by Pat McAfee. He said it’s been about 20 years since he did a sit-down interview, and that included him slapping the papers out of the interviewers hand and scaring him. He asked Vince what happens if McAfee asks a question that pisses him off or what if McAfee tries to jump him. He offered to be there for him. “You’d pull him off of me?” Vince asked. Theory said he’d have his back. Vince said, “It’s not that kind of show.” He got up and left. Theory picked up a pencil and thought for a second, then said, “But it could be.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Are they doing this McMahon interview to film an angle to set up a Theory vs. McAfee match at WrestleMania?)
(8) DAMIAN PRIEST vs. FINN BALOR – U.S. Title match
They did formal ring introductions. Balor got polite cheers. Priest got polite cheers. No strong emotions by fans favoring one or the other. Saxton said it was bold of Priest to issue an open challenge so shortly before WrestleMania. Smith said he didn’t want to be like Sheamus, his predecessor as U.S. Champion, and instead be a fighting champion. Priest dominated early. Balor made a comeback and stomped away at Priest until he rolled to the floor. Balor then flip dove over the top rope onto Priest at 3:00. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Priest was in control. He landed South of Heaven a few minutes later for a near fall. Priest went for a Reckoning, but Balor countered and then hit a shotgun dropkick followed by the Coup de Gras for the win.
WINNER: Balor in 12:00 to capture the U.S. Title.
-After the match, as Balor celebrated, Priest told him “the fans carried you to winning my United States Championship.” He said they paid Balor respect, which is something the fans never showed him. He said he was successful in spite of the lack of fans’ support. He said he’ll win the title back and the motivation he gets from the fans won’t mean a damn thing next time. Balor stepped up to Priest, who then clotheslined Balor. He tossed Balor out of the ring. Saxton said this was the last thing he expected from Priest in defeat. Priest then tossed Balor onto the announce desk. Smith said Priest has lost his mind. Priest said he is right.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s cool. I didn’t see that coming, but heating up Balor while also perhaps lighting a spark as far as Priest’s character due to suffering a setback could make both wrestlers more relevant and interesting from here. Priest needed something, and turning heel already made him more interesting than he’s been in a long time. The delivery of the promo by Priest was a little off kilter, but the emotions and the message came through.)
-Edge made his ring entrance. [c]
-A fired up Edge asked who wants to step up. No one came out. Edge asked, “What has happened to this place?” After a pause, A.J. Styles’ music played. Smith said this is at the top of the list of matches he’d like to see. Graves said there aren’t many dream matches left that haven’t taken place. “A match nobody thought we’d ever see, but potentially five weeks away.” Styles said, “I accept.” Edge said he’s wanted this match for a long time. Edge said he wants the bulldog version of A.J., “not the guy playing tag team bitch to Omos.” Styles asked if that’s how he sees him. Edge attacked Styles. Styles set up a Phenomenal Forearm, but Edge ducked and then kicked Styles in the crotch. Fans booed. Smith said that was “a literal cheapshot low-blow.” Edge mounted Styles and punched away at him. Smith said Styles is “tough as a nail, but he was not prepared for this.” Edge was going to leave, but then paused and grabbed two chairs.
He brought the chairs into the ring. Styles was not moving. Edge slammed his head into the chair. Boos rang out. Saxton said Edge did not have to take it this far. Edge picked up another chair and eyed Styles, but then dropped the chair. He leaned on the top rope and seemed to be trying to gather himself. He then turned and grabbed the chair and smashed Styles across the back of his head and shoulders. Saxton cried out, “What are you doing, Edge?!” Edge then looked around and got emotional and looked like he was going to cry. He then wound up and hit Styles again with the chair. “Dammit!” yelled Graves. Edge then looked up at the WrestleMania sign. Smith said WrestleMania didn’t bring out the best in Edge, it brought out the worst. “Inexcusable,” he said as the show ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m glad they went with Edge being a heelish aggressor and not playing up merely the “dream match” aspect where two wrestlers who respect each other want to “steal the show.” It also positions Styles to be a full-fledged babyface, as long as fans stick with the story WWE is telling. Unless the boos were piped in, it seemed to be getting the intended reaction.)