SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 21, 2022
ROSEMOUNT, ILL. AT ALLSTATE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-The show opened with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s theme music, but out came Kevin Owens wearing a tacky bald cap and an Austin 3:16 t-shirt with jorts and knee braces. The knee braces are quite the touch. Corey Graves loved it and shifted into plugging The KO Show at WrestleMania.
Owens stood in the ring as boos rang out. He said, “Chicago, if you’re ready to see Kevin Owens open a can of whoop ass on Stone Cold at WrestleMania, give me a hell yeah!” Fans booed. He said, “What? … What? … What?” He then said, pretending to be Austin, that everything KO said about his horrible home state is true. He said that’s why he accepted his invite to be on his talk show at WrestleMania. He said he pretended to be a badass in the middle of nowhere when he filmed a selfie video accepting the offer. One of his knee braces appeared to have a kickstand! He went into other signature Austin bits like “eh-eh” and “sumbitch.” Fans chanted “We Want Austin.”
Austin’s music played again and Owens jerked around to look at the stage “anticipating his arrival.” Austin’s entrance video aired, but then he began laughing. Graves laughed that Owens tricked everyone again. They cut to disgusted (gullible?) fans. Owens said: “Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you twice, shame on you for being absolute idiots. And that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.” He said all that’s left is to drink some beer and get some liquid courage before KO gives him an ass-kicking of a lifetime. “Now get me some beer!” he said. Austin’s music played. Owens dropped the can that was tossed to him.
Owens picked up the mic and asked for them to stop the damn music. Owens blamed the stagehand for throwing a beer so poorly. “You must be from Chicago, right?” he said. He had the stagehand enter the ring and handed KO a beer. KO made fun of how he entered the ring. Owens then gave him a Stunner and then got down and trash-talked in his face, a la Austin. Owens opened two beers and poured them over the guy’s face.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment. I feel bad for fans who thought Austin might be showing up in person as a surprise. That said, the goal here is to build up to WrestleMania, and Austin’s pop will be bigger if he doesn’t appear until then. Owens was great imitating Austin and seemed to be having a hoot doing it.)
-They replayed clips of the Seth Rollins-KO stuff last week where Seth wanted to host a talk show at WrestleMania with Steve Austin instead of KO.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed a sad looking Seth backstage. He asked what his current state of mind is regarding not going to this year’s WrestleMania. Fans chanted “Cody! Cody!” in the background. Seth chuckled and then broke into a cackle. He then seemed to channel Jim Carray and yanked the mic away and said he’d be borrowing that.
-Rey & Dominik Mysterio made their ring entrance. They looked happy. Jimmy Smith said, “That’s the look of a team that has punched their ticket (to WrestleMania); they’re riding high right now.” They showed Rey with Mario Andretti, a famous race car driver. [c]
-After the break, they showed a clip from last week of Rey and Dominik surrounding Logan Paul and setting up a double 619 until Miz yanked him to safety.
(1) REY & DOMINIK MYSTERIO vs. ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER
They went to an impressive wide angle shot of the packed-looking venue as the entrance began for Ziggler & Roode. Miz then came out and joined the announcers on commentary. Dominik opened against Ziggler. Dominik flipped away from Roode and then dropkicked him in the back, sending him to the floor. Then Rey and Dominik dove through the ropes and tackled Ziggler and Roode. Suddenly, Seth’s music played. He said the show doesn’t move another second until the world hears what he has to say. “I want a WrestleMania spot and I’m going to get a WrestleMania spot because I am Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins.” He said he doesn’t want just any spot, he wants a spot on WrestleMania that is going to live forever. The mic started giving out on him. He lost his composure. He said he wants something bigger than interviewing Austin. His mic went out again and he dropped the mic, but yelled that he cannot be shut up. [c]
Ziggler had Rey set up for a superplex after the break. Rey blocked it and shoved Ziggler down. He fended off Roode, then leaped onto Ziggler. He hot-tagged in Dominik, who rallied against Roode with a flurry of moves. Dominik looked at ringside as Rey and Ziggler were fighting. Roode caught Dominik with a spinebuster for a two count. Dominik countered Roode with a roll-up for a two-count, then a 619. (It’s still not a move he does well at all.) Dominik then landed a top rope splash for the win.
WINNERS: Mysterios in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid action, although Dominik continues to have moments where he still not crisp and is unpolished on even some basic moves. Maybe he could use more ring time than he’s getting.)
-After the match, Ziggler superkicked Dominik during his celebration. Rey chased Ziggler at ringside. Miz cut off Rey and gave him a Skull Crushing Finale. He then yanked off Rey’s mask. Rey covered his face. Smith said, “That is too far!” Graves said it’s the ultimate disrespect in the Lucha Libre culture. Dominik covered Rey’s face and asked for a towel. Miz tore up a fans’ sign at ringside and yelled, mask in hand, “That’s humiliation, that’s what it’s all about!”
-Backstage, Seth was in a gleeful mood as he told Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville he wants the biggest spotlight possible. Pearce said interrupting the show and acting like a complete lunatic won’t get him what he wants. Seth asked what will get him what he wants, since they aren’t exactly coming up with anything. Deville said Seth came up short last week, and that was his fault, not theirs. Pearce said maybe there is something they can do. Seth cackled and left.
(Keller’s Analysis; They’re definitely building up to something WrestleMania-related to Seth, so when it’s revealed, it will feel like a bigger deal than if they weren’t doing all of this.) [c]
-Postcard shots aired of Chicago, Ill.
-A replay aired of what Miz did to Rey minutes earlier. Then backstage, Miz had Rey’s mask in hand and he was on the phone bragging to Maryse. Patrick approached Miz and asked what drove him to steal Rey’s mask. Miz said as a child, little Logan Paul was a huge Rey fan and all he wanted was a mask of his own of Rey. He said the saying goes, “Never meet your heroes.” He said he found out what a jerk Rey is, and he said Dom is even worse. He said they’ve tried to humiliate them, but they couldn’t. He said he succeeded in humiliating them, though. He looked into the camera and told Logan the mask is his. “I dare you to wear it next week on Monday Night Raw,” he said. He imitated Rey’s entrance theme as he strutted away.
(Keller’s Analysis: Miz was sufficiently obnoxious here, so the part of the fanbase that’s really into Rey are going to want to see Rey get revenge.)
-They went to the announcers on camera, who threw to a video recap of the Brock Lesnar angle against the Bloodline with the forklift.
-Omos made his ring entrance. [c]
(2) OMOS vs. COMMANDER AZEEZ & APOLLO CREWS
Crews and Azeez went after Omos before the bell. Azeez distracted Omos, then Crews dropkicked him behind. Then Azeez grabbed Omos’s boot and Crews landed an enzuigiri. Azeez punched Omos a few times at ringside, but Omos absorbed them and then choked both Azeez and Crews. Azeez broke free and shoved Omos into the ringpost. Crews entered the ring and asked the ref to ring the bell to officially start the match.
Omos entered and knocked Crews down with a boot to the face. Omos one-arm bodyslammed Azeez, then pressed Crews over his before dropping him. Then he gave Azeez a big boot. He followed by grabbing Crews and pointing at Azeez and saying, “This is your fault!” Omos then headvice-slammed Crews onto Azeez and covered both a once for the win. Smith called it “an unreal display of dominance.”
WINNER: Omos in 3:00.
-After the match, Omos said it doesn’t matter how big or “main event” someone is, he is undefeated and he is unstoppable. He said anybody who has the balls to step up against him at WrestleMania, they will be dominated. He stared into the camera as his music began playing. Graves said there’s not a mortal man who is ready for the dominance of Omos.
-A video package aired on Edge’s promo last week.
-A.J. Styles made his ring entrance. Graves said he’s back after absorbing two Conchairtos. [c]
-Styles talked about watching a replay of Edge beating him down, the watching Edge last week standing under mood light to explain why. He said he doesn’t care why, he just wants to kick Edge’s teeth down his throat. He said they don’t have to wait until WrestleMania, because he can come out right now and get what’s coming to him. “Be a man,” said a fired up Styles. When Edge didn’t come out, Styles called Edge a coward. Seth’s music then played.
Seth danced onto the stage as his music played again. Graves said he hoped his mic will work this time. Fans chanted “Cody!” Seth told Chicago to simmer down. “Rumors are a lot of fun, but rumors don’t make moments and I am living for my WrestleMania Moment,” he said. Styles told him to cut the crap and asked what he wanted. Seth said he’s concerned for Styles’s well-being. He asked if he’s capable of facing Edge at WrestleMania given what happened to him. He told him to go home to his wife and kids and get 100 percent, then come back after WrestleMania. “And you let me do what I should have done inside Hell in a Cell and that is end Edge’s career on the Greatest Stage of Them All!” He said that’s befitting him. Styles said as long as he’s able to walk, he’ll be at WM and he’ll face Edge. Seth said, “Oh, so if for some unfortunate reason you got taken out, you’re saying I could have your match against Edge at WrestleMania?” Styles said this is like his ploy last week to try to take KO’s spot. Seth asked how Chicago felt about him vs. Styles. He said desperate times call for desperate measures, and he’s running out of options.
Styles told Seth he dresses like an idiot and he’s delusional too. He said he’s not just going to give up his spot at WrestleMania. He said he’s going to do what he couldn’t – he’s going to destroy Edge. He said then he’ll turn his attention back to him after WrestleMania. Pearce and Deville walked out. Pearce asked Seth to listen. Seth told Pearce not to rain on his parade. Pearce said he and Deville have decided he’ll get one last chance. He said if Seth can defeat Styles tonight, he will replace Styles against Edge at WrestleMania. Styles yelled, “Are you kidding?” Seth celebrated. Styles hit Seth a few times and then he stood and glared at Pearce and Deville.
(Keller’s Analysis: What flimsy logic would lead Pearce to do this?)
-Backstage, Zelina Vega told Carmella, who was preoccupied with her phone, that she’s not focused on WrestleMania. She said she should be watching her back. Carmella said she has other important things going on, so stop freaking out. Vega said she’s working hard enough for both of them because Carmella is focused on the wedding and her reality show. Vega said they now have a Fatal Four-way match at WrestleMania and she knows how it works. Vega knocked Carmella’s phone out of her hand. Carmella called Vega a Hobbit and slapped her. Vega tackled Carmella. Officials pried them apart.
-Liv Morgan made her ring entrance. She was joined by Rhea Ripley seconds later. [c]
-Styles complained to Pearce and Deville, saying they were rewarding Seth’s incessant whining. He said Pearce is doing a bad job in his role. He said he hasn’t heard good things about Deville, either.
(3) SHAYNA BASZLER & NATALYA vs. RHEA RIPLEY & LIV MORGAN
Carmella came to ringside and fretted about her phone. Natalya and Baszler finished Morgan with a Hart Attack clothesline.
WINNERS: Natalya & Baszler in 2:00.
-After the match, Zelina attacked Ripley and Morgan with her scepter. Carmella then shoved Baszler into the ring apron and threw Natalya into the ringside steps. Graves cheered her on. Carmella entered the ring and faced off with Zelina. They exchanged some heated words, but then looked around and realized they had done well together. They smiled and hugged.
-A clip aired of what Becky Lynch did to Bianca Belair. A medical update noted that Belair suffered a fractured hyoid bone in her throat and will be out of action “an unspecified amount of time.”
-Becky made her ring entrance.
-A commercial aired for Bron Breakker vs. Robert Roode on NXT on Tuesday night. [c]
-Becky sat mid-ring with her title belt over her shoulder. She said there is a question she asks herself a lot, but maybe they don’t “because maybe your mind doesn’t think in symphonies like mine does.” She said, “What does it a profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul.” He said gaining the world can mean a lot of different things to different people. She said it was eight months ago when she first faced Bianca Belair at Summerslam, but before that it was 15 long months she went without holding the Raw Title. She said it wasn’t because anyone beat her, but rather because she was stripped of it. She said she knew when the time came, she’d do whatever it took to get back her precious title. She said she is the prize at the top of the mountain and it’s her world.
She said when she came back and the fans chose Bianca over her, that’s when she knew she would sell her soul to keep the title. “You can crush my throat, but I will crush yours worse,” she said. She said Belair doesn’t have what it takes to beat her. She said Belair didn’t mean to damage her, but she meant to injure Belair, and that’s the difference between them. She said Belair isn’t there this week because she knows she will lose a piece of her soul if he shows up. Becky said she’s already sold her soul and she’d do it again every day of the week and twice on Mondays if it meant keeping her title on her shoulder. She asked Belair, “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?” Fans chanted “Becky sucks!” She said she’ll show the rest of the world at WrestleMania “if you make it.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Good stuff from Becky. She makes that title feel so important, and she continues to do everything one can do to turn fans against her and root for Belair.)
-Clips aired of the Pat McAfee-Austin Theory feud.
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Austin Theory backstage. Theory said he doesn’t care that McAfee’s apology wasn’t sincere. He said he’s a dumb jock, but it was smart to apologize to save his job even if it wasn’t sincere. He said McAfee has no place in the ring with a professional athlete like himself. He said McAfee better be careful because he could go talk to his mentor, Mr. McMahon, and cost McAfee his job as a commentator. Schreiber asked if he’s had a chance to prepare for his match against Finn Balor tonight. Theory said he has so many selfies standing over Balor he’s running out of storage, but he has room for one more on his road to WrestleMania.
-Theory made his ring entrance. [c]
-Breaking News: A vignette said Veer Mahaan is coming to Raw on Apr. 4.
(4) AUSTIN THEORY vs. FINN BALOR
As the match was about to begin, Pat McAfee was introduced as a special guest commentator. Graves said McAfee is a spotlight hog, but then welcomed him to the table. When Balor kicked Theory to ringside a minute in, McAfee stood and crotch-chopped Theory and taunted him. Balor then caught a distracted Theory with a running missile dropkick. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Theory had Balor grounded in the ring. McAfee got up from the commentator desk and pounded the mat to encourage Balor and taunt Theory. Balor caught a charging Theory with a kick as Theory was looking toward McAfee. He followed with a double stomp and a chop to his chest. Theory came back and tossed Balor to ringside and rammed his face into the table. He told McAfee that’d be him at WrestleMania. Balor reversed Theory into the table as McAfee cheered him on. McAfee said that would be him at WrestleMania. Balor leaped off the top rope, but Theory avoided his Coup de Grace. Theory took over. McAfee stood on the ring apron and yelled at Theory. The ref scolded McAfee, who then jumped to the floor. Theory lifted Balor for his finisher, but Balor escaped and kicked Theory in the chest and then set up an inverted DDT. Theory, though, surprised Balor with a backbreaker for a two count. Theory told McAfee to watch his next move. McAfee charged at him and distracted him again. Theory then rolled toward Balor, but Balor caught him with a small package for the win.
WINNER: Balor in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: McAfee taunting Theory relentlessly builds up their match and is fun since Theory is such a good foil. That said, it made Balor look relatively weak how much he relied on McAfee to slow Theory’s momentum.)
-A clip aired of last week’s battle between Alpha Academy and The Street Profits. Then the announcers said the Raw Tag Team Title match at WM was expanded into a Triple Threat match.
-RK-Bro made their ring entrance. [c]
-Smith hyped Seth’s “Last Chance” to get onto WrestleMania later against Styles.
-Alpha Academy then made their way out. Chad Gable “shooshed” the crowd, then talked about how the crime rate in Chicago is higher than its literacy rate. He said RK-Bro were guilty of criminal negligence when they accepted challengers for their tag titles against any team other than Alpha Academy. He said Otis is the new face of vengeance. Gable said they’re messed up the match by making it a triple threat, reducing their odds of winning, yet they’ll still walk out once-again Raw Tag Team Champions.
(5) RK-BRO (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. ALPHA ACADEMY (Chad Gable & Otis)
A couple minutes in, Gable blocked a running kick by Riddle on the ring apron. Otis then charged Riddle and checked him hard at ringside. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Riddle hot-tagged Orton. The crowd popped for Orton as he clotheslined and snap powerslammed Gable. He set up a draping DDT, but Otis broke that up. With Orton preoccupied with Otis, Gable snapped Orton’s neck over the top rope. Orton came right back with a draping DDT, though. Orton played to the crowd, who stood and cheered. He signaled for the RKO, but Gable blocked it. Orton tagged in Riddle, but Gable clotheslined Orton over the top rope. Riddle caught Gable with a high knee to the chin followed by his Bro Derek for the win.
WINNERS: RK-Bro in 7:00.
-Afterward, Otis threw Orton into the ringside barricade, then went after Riddle in the ring. The Street Profits showed up, though, and made the save. They knocked Otis over the top rope, then gave a double-team leaping DDT to Gable. They helped Riddle to his feet, but then they attacked him with a spinebuster by Angelo Dawkins and a frog splash by Montez Ford. Graves said the Profits need this killer instinct and attitude. Their music played to end the segment.
-A clip aired of Dana Brooke flirting with Reggie when Akira Tozawa showed up and accused Dana of cheating. Tamina showed up and all four brawled. R-Truth joined in briefly, then ran away. Tamina fell onto Tozawa. Tozawa asked, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Tamina teased kissing him, but then scolded him for letting them get away.
-Dana Brooke and Reggie made their ring entrance. Byron Saxton said Dana seems to have a little extra pep in her step now that she’s found love.
-A video for Women’s History Month honored the Bella Twins. [c]
-Smith commented on Gable Steveson winning the NCAA Hvt. Championship again. He said he walked over the competition and left his shoes on the mat. He said he now enters his professional career.
(6) DANA BROOKE & REGGIE vs. TAMINA & AKIRA TOZAWA – Tornado Mixed Tag Team match
As Tamina and Tozawa made their entrance, they aired a clip from earlier in the day of Tozawa asking Tamina about their “moment” last week. Tamina said she felt it too. She told him she wants what Tozawa wants. Tozawa asked, “You do?” He closed his eyes and puckered up. She grabbed his face and asked if he wants the 24/7 Title for her. He said he does. She told him to make it happen.
Dana leaped onto Reggie’s shoulders. Tozawa leaped onto Tamina’s shoulders. They fought briefly from that position. Tamina kicked Reggie to break it up. Tamina landed on Tozawa’s crotch by mistake. He let out a loud comedic yell. Reggie then pinned Tozawa. Tozawa could barely walk. Tamina picked him up and carried him to the back.
WINNERS: Reggie & Dana in under 2:00.
-A clip aired of the opening segment with Kevin Owens imitating Steve Austin.
-Styles made his ring entrance. [c]
-The announcers ran through the entire WrestleMania line-up.
(7) SETH ROLLINS vs. A.J. STYLES
Seth’s ring entrance aired. Graves said Styles can’t be at 100 percent after what Edge did to him. Seth went for an early Pedigree, but Styles backdropped out of it. Styles knocked Seth to the floor and then slingshot himself at Seth with a flying forearm. They cut to a break. [c]
Seth dominated Styles for a few minutes, then dove through the ropes and tackled him at ringside. They cut to a second mid-match break. [c]
Back from the break, Seth had Styles grounded in the ring. Seth looked up at the WrestleMania sign. He told Styles this isn’t personal and he likes him, but he wants him to go home and be with his family. He said he needs this and slapped Styles and called him a son of a bitch. That fired up Styles, who attempted a comeback. Seth resisted, but Styles took him to the mat with a flurry of strikes. He landed a neckbreaker across his knee for a near fall. Styles planted Seth face-first for another two count. Some fans chanted “A.J. Styles.” Seth escaped a Styles Clash and hit a rolling elbow and a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Seth looked up at the WrestleMania sign again. Fans chanted “This is awesome!”
Seth waited in the corner, then went for a Stomp. Styles avoided it. They leveraged each others’ shoulders down for some two counts. Seth set up a buckle-bomb, but Styles instead overhead suplexed Seth into the corner turnbuckle. Seth landed on his head. Styles climbed to the top rope, but Seth stood and knocked him off balance. Seth went for a superplex, but Styles resisted. Seth tried again, but Styles knocked him off balance. Seth sold an ankle injury. Styles then put him in a torture rack before slamming him with a rack bomb for a near fall. Both were down and slow to get up. Saxton said this is evidence how of much WrestleMania means to both of them. Styles got up and set up a Phenomenal Forearm. Seth caught him mid-air with a superkick and then landed a buckle-bomb. He leaped off the top rope with a splash, but Styles lifted his knees. Both were down again and slow to get up.
Edge showed up at ringside and hit Styles from behind with a chair just as he set up a Styles Clash.
WINNER: Styles via DQ in 23:00.
-Seth looked at the ref in a panic when he realized Styles won by DQ and would go on to face Edge at WrestleMania. Seth pleaded with the ref, but the ref explained his rationale. Seth ranted at ringside and cleared the announce desk. He grabbed a mic and stood on the desk. “This is bullshit!” he shouted. He was bleeped. He said next week, Raw won’t happen unless he gets his WrestleMania Moment. He threw the mic down and yelled “It’s bullshit” a few more times. Another “Cody!” chant. Seth tipped the announce desk over and then knocked over the ringside steps. He tore off the ringpost cover. Then he looked up at the WrestleMania sign as the show ended.