The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/01/21 Review


Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. There’s a big match headlining Raw this week because The Miz is defending the WWE Title that he won eight days earlier against the former US Champion, Bobby Lashley. We also know that former WWE Champion Drew McIntyre is back. WWE has Fastlane on March 21 and WrestleMania on April 10-11. Now that we’re in March, let’s hope Raw can be a better, more consistent show on the road to WrestleMania.
From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1449 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.
The show began with a video package showing highlights from last week’s Raw the set up the WWE Title match on Raw this week. Bobby Lashley beat Braun Strowman in last week’s Raw main event to prevent Strowman from being added to the WWE Title match this week. Lashley beat up WWE Champion The Miz to end Raw last week.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre, the former WWE Champion, made his entrance for a match against former best friend Sheamus. Drew was off Raw last week because he was selling the attack from Elimination Chamber when Bobby Lashley attacked him. Drew entered for a promo.
Drew said that it has been a bitch of a month for him. Drew spoke about how Sheamus severed their 20-year friendship and he still doesn’t understand why. Drew said that they are about to beat the hell out of eachother and it’ll be an absolute war. Drew said at Elimination Chamber, he outlasted five former World Champions, but he defended his championship. What happened next, Lashley attacked and kicked his ass. McIntyre said that the “resident cockroach” The Miz successfully cashed in the Money in the Bank and now “The Freakin’ Miz” is the WWE Champion. Boos from the crowd. McIntyre stared at the WrestleMania sign. McIntyre said he has a clear vision in his head and he knows his mission. Drew said he was going to regain the WWE Championship. Drew said that last year he won at the Performance Center, he brought it to the ThunderDome and defended it against everybody. Drew said that whoever leaves with the WWE Title tonight, he is coming for them.
The Miz entered with the WWE Championship with John Morrison with both of them in suits. The Miz wanted to be officially introduced, so ring announcer Mike Rome introduced The Miz as the current WWE Champion and a bunch of pyro went off by the stage. That gives me a "Best in the World" Shane McMahon flashback when he'd make Greg Hamilton announce him using that phrase to annoy the crowd.
Miz said that he admired how much Drew has handled everything with dignity and class. Morrison said that’s just like how a former champion should handle things. Miz said that it was only a matter of time for him to cash in Money in the Bank to become WWE Champion again. Drew suggested Miz joins him in the ring and gives him a big hug. Miz declined that. Miz wondered why Drew would be upset with him. Miz said that what he did is exactly what the Money in the Bank holder is supposed to do. Miz said that the person at fault is Bobby Lashley. Drew said it won’t work on him. McIntyre said he won’t do Miz’s dirty work for him and then said that Miz will have to deal with Lashley all by himself. Miz said he didn’t ask or want help from Bobby Lashley while claiming that he (Miz) is the victim. Miz said he is a father to two beautiful baby girls, Lashley threatened his well-being, so Miz had to make that deal and make that choice. Miz wondered why somebody like Bobby Lashley got the first shot at the WWE Championship and not somebody like Drew McIntyre. Miz suggested that they can work together.
The Hurt Business music hit as Montel Vontavious Porter walked out with a cane for his injured right leg. MVP wondered if this was the beginning of a business relationship or ramblings from The Miz. McIntyre said he didn’t want or need anybody’s help. MVP told Miz that Lashley will step in the ring with Miz and become WWE Champion. MVP said that there’s nothing that Miz can do to stop that. MVP told Miz that Lashley vs. Miz will take place at 9pmET so in less than one hour, Lashley will destroy him. MVP left.

The Miz once again tried to tell McIntyre to work with him.
Sheamus showed up saying that Drew doesn’t give a damn about anybody but himself. Sheamus said after he’s done with Drew, he won’t be in any shape to help anybody. McIntyre left the ring and got into a brawl with Sheamus as they exchanged punches. The referees showed up to try to separate Drew/Sheamus as Drew hit Sheamus with a clothesline over the barricade. That match is after the break.
Analysis: It was a bit long since it went over 15 minutes, but it’s not like that is anything new on Raw. I thought Drew’s promo was good as a former WWE Champion that is pissed off about losing the title, yet also smart enough to know that he might get another shot at getting his title back. Miz did his usual routine of trying to get out of what’s coming to him, yet there was MVP to inform him the match was on. Drew and Sheamus brawling makes sense due to their past issues as well.
(Commercial)

Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
Sheamus worked over Drew with punches, then Drew came back with some chops and a running back elbow. Sheamus with a clothesline and then he jumped off the middle ropes with a knee drop. Drew with a suplex followed by a punch to the face along with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Sheamus blocked a kick leading to kicks to the ribs and a knee to the side of the face. Sheamus with repeated elbows to the face. McIntyre trapped Sheamus against the ropes leading to McIntyre hitting repeated forearms to the chest. Sheamus dumped McIntyre out of the ring. Sheamus got in a couple of shots while Drew was on the apron and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick while Drew was on the apron, so Drew bumped to the floor. That led to a break.
(Commercial)

Sheamus was in control with elbows to the face leading to an armbar. Sheamus with the Irish Curse backbreaker for a two count followed by some choking across the middle ropes. Sheamus with another knee drop to the jaw. Sheamus with the forearms to the chest while against the ropes. McIntyre came back with a palm strike, then Sheamus did one, they exchanged strikes and McIntyre hit two clotheslines. McIntyre with an overhead belly to belly suplex. McIntyre with a clothesline that sent Sheamus over the top to the floor. Sheamus drove McIntyre into the edge of the ring apron. McIntyre sent Sheamus back first into the ring post and McIntyre hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex into the announce table. McIntyre broke the referee's count and then delivered a suplex into a slam on the announce table. The table didn’t break, but it was a hard slam. Back in the ring, McIntyre jumped off the top with a clothesline for two. Sheamus was able to get some momentum back with a clothesline. Sheamus pulled himself up to the top rope, McIntyre kipped up and McIntyre hit the Glasgow Kiss headbutt leading to Joe’s famous “give us a kiss” line. McIntyre with another overhead belly to belly suplex off the ropes.
(Commercial)

The match returned with McIntyre getting in some chops, then he got a sunset flip for two. McIntyre with a spinebuster into a jackknife cover for two. Sheamus came back with a jumping knee strike for two. Sheamus hit the White Noise slam for two. McIntyre fought out of a Cloverleaf submission and McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT for a two count. McIntyre charged, Sheamus went to the apron and choked Drew across the top rope. Sheamus pulled on the back/neck of McIntyre against the top rope.  Sheamus went up top, McIntyre went up there and McIntyre hit White Noise, which is a Sheamus move, and that got a two count for McIntyre. Sheamus got a hold of McIntyre by the ropes, he kicked Drew in the chest and Sheamus hit the Alabama Slam that McIntyre has used. That means they each used moves that the other guy regularly does. Sheamus set up in the corner, he charged with a Brogue Kick, but McIntyre came back with a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after 23 minutes. The idea was that Drew hit his finisher before Sheamus did.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ****1/4 This was an excellent match by the two best friends that had no problem hitting eachother very hard throughout most of the match. They were also given a lot of time and I really enjoyed it. Sheamus targeted McIntyre’s jaw the whole match with Drew doing a great job of selling it. These guys are incredible athletes to be at that size, work a fast-paced match like that and they didn’t look tired. I liked the final segment of the match where they were hitting moves that the other guy regularly does in order to show that they knew eachother so well. McIntyre winning wasn’t a shock to me. I don’t think Sheamus is hurt by the loss. They’ll probably do this again at some point with this match serving as a nice template of what to expect. Drew was my WWE Wrestler of the Year in my awards last year, but Sheamus has been very good too. Should this match have been saved for a PPV-like show? Maybe, but I think Raw needs big matches like this too.

Post match, McIntyre and Sheamus stared at eachother from across the ring. It was not a handshake or anything like that, but more of a look of respect.
There was a clock that let us know Miz vs. Lashley was happening in about 15 minutes.
Naomi was shown backstage for her match. Naomi walked into Nia Jax, who had a staredown with Naomi. They have a match up next.
(Commercial)

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There was a commercial for Young Rock on Tuesday on NBC. I’ve seen the first two episodes. It’s fun to watch.
Naomi entered with Lana. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Jax and Baszler defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles on Wednesday on NXT against Women’s Dusty Cup winners Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai. That should be fun even though they are both heel teams.
Naomi (w/Lana) vs. Nia Jax (w/Shayna Baszler)
Jax with a shoulder tackle and then a hair whip across the ring. Naomi with a jawbreaker leading to Jax hitting two elbows followed by a bearhug. Jax with a Samoan Drop. Jax with a Powerbomb on Naomi for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax
Analysis: 1/2* Poor Naomi. They should have got an indy wrestler to get squashed like that instead of a former Women’s Champion like Naomi. Anyway, it put over Jax in dominant fashion. Yawn. I don’t really care for Jax wins.
Bobby Lashley was shown staring into the camera backstage with a serious look on his face. That WWE Title match is next.

(Commercial)
There was a video about former NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley coming to Raw soon. She will be a force.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance with his Hurt Business ally Montel Vontavious Porter joining him at ringside. Lashley got some pyro as he posed in the ring.
The music of The Miz hit, but there was no sign of the WWE Champion. MVP asked the referee what’s up. The Miz was shown backstage grabbing his stomach saying he was sick and his stomach was in knots all day. Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, checked on Miz with John Morrison there as well. Lashley was watching this on the video screen, so Lashley ran backstage to go after Miz. That led to Miz saying he needs a little more time. Lashley grabbed Miz around the face and told him he was going to beat him for the WWE Title. Pearce told Miz he will defend the WWE Title at 10pm ET.
Analysis: Lame. It’s a swerve. They used the opening segment to tell us 9pm for the WWE Title match and then The Miz’s fake stomach illness led to it being delayed for another hour. It’s the kind of thing that is going to piss off fans because you’re blatantly lying to them in order to try to keep them interested when/if the match takes place later. It’s not a good thing to lie like that. I realize that it fit The Miz's character. I just think it would be better to not book something like this.
Braun Strowman made his entrance.
This week on Smackdown, Daniel Bryan will face Jey Uso in a Steel Cage Match. If Bryan wins then he will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at Fastlane. I think Bryan wins on Smackdown.

(Commercial)
The countdown clock was back for Miz/Lashley at 10pm ET.
Let’s Hear from Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman did a promo in the ring saying that clearly Shane McMahon and Adam Pearce have something against him. Braun mentioned getting suspended after headbutting Pearce and then he wasn’t put into the WWE Title match at Elimination Chamber. Strowman said that he watched Elimination Chamber and without him in the match, it sucked. Strowman said now he’s standing out there because he has some tag team match. Strowman thinks Shane and Adam are laughing at him because he doesn’t know what is going on. Shane McMahon showed up for the interruption with Adam Pearce.
Shane and Adam got into the ring with Strowman. Shane said that Strowman’s inability to reach his own personal goals has led Braun to being a little angry and upset. Shane said he was there to help him. Shane noted that he is taking a few MBA courses and one of the courses is about conflict management. Shane said that the key to conflict resolution is communication. That’s why Braun is in a tag team match tonight. Shane said that he made the match, not Pearce. Shane said that in order for Braun to solve this conflict is to force him to work with WWE management. Shane told Braun he is teaming up with WWE management. Braun wondered if Shane would be his partner. Shane told Braun that his partner will be the guy that he had a conflict with is Adam Pearce. Strowman said that sucked. Shane said that they can work things out. Shane said that tonight they can compete for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Braun said that doesn’t sound that bad. Braun told Shane that if Pearce screws that up then he will “get these hands.” Strowman grabbed Pearce by the collar and Shane tried to calm him down.
Analysis: That wasn’t what I was expecting, but here we are. It seems like they are building to Strowman vs. Shane as a long-term feud possibly leading to a WrestleMania match. Then again, maybe they’ll be allies. There are a lot of ways it can go.

(Commercial)
Braun Strowman, Adam Pearce and Shane McMahon were in the ring. Pearce was in a dress shirt with a jacket and not in wrestling gear. The Hurt Business duo of Benjamin and Alexander entered for their title defense.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander vs.  Braun Strowman and Adam Pearce (w/Shane McMahon)
Strowman ran over both champions. Strowman sent both guys out of the ring. Strowman ran around the ring with a double shoulder tackle to knock down Alexander and Benjamin at the same time. Strowman with a whip into the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Strowman tossed Alexander across the ring with ease. Strowman did it again as he tossed Alexander across the ring. Strowman charged, Benjamin pulled Alexander out of the way and Strowman went left shoulder first into the ring post. Alexander with a dropkick and legal man Benjamin with a running knee to the face. Strowman decked Alexander with a punch and Strowman with a Powerslam on Benjamin. Shane went onto the apron, told Strowman to tag in Pearce, and then Benjamin managed to flip over Pearce with an inside cradle for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander
Analysis: *1/2 It was a creative way to book that match. I figured they would do something with Peace tagging in and it cost the team the match, but I didn’t anticipate that kind of finish. I thought it was booked well in terms of telling the story of Shane being controlling and Braun being pissed at Shane for his actions. I’m glad Benjamin and Alexander kept their titles.

Post match, Strowman yelled at Shane calling him a puppet master. Strowman said that he was going to wreck this place and it will be on Shane’s hands.
Analysis: Strowman kicking Shane’s ass will make the fans happy, so maybe the point of this whole thing is to rebuild Strowman as a top face. It might work.
Elias and Jaxson Ryker were backstage where they talked to Damian Priest and Bad Bunny, the 24/7 Title. Elias talked about how their music inspires people. Elias said that Bad Bunny is well on his way to reaching the pinnacle of the music industry. Elias said that he and Bad Bunny should drop a single together. Bad Bunny nodded. Elias said that his people can call Bad Bunny’s people to make this thing happen. Bunny spoke in Spanish to Priest, who told Elias “that’s a no.” That was it.
Analysis: It set up a match between Elias and Preist after the break or it was already set, so this was just done to make us care.
The countdown clock was 34 minutes for Miz vs. Lashley at 10pm.
(Commercial)

Elias was in the ring with Jaxson Ryker. Elias complained about not being nominated for a Grammy award. Elias said he was going to remind everybody, including Bad Bunny, why WWE stands for Walk With Elias.
Bad Bunny made his entrance as the 24/7 Champion with Phillips noted that he was nominated for some Grammy Awards. Damian Priest entered for his match. It was noted by Phillips that Bad Bunny had 8.3 million streams on Spotify alone.
Damian Priest (w/Bad Bunny) vs. Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker)
Priest with an armbar leading to Elias going to the ropes to break free. Priest wrenched on the left arm, Elias with a forearm and Priest kicked him in the chest. Priest with a spin kick followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. They went to break three minutes into the match.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Priest in control with an armbar on the left arm. They exchanged strikes, Elias with a kick to the gut and Priest avoided a knee strike, which led to an arm drag into another armbar. Elias set up Priest against the ropes and pulled on the arm so that Priest’s head was sent into the top rope. Elias with a running kick. Elias drove Priest’s upper body into the ring apron and then a running knee. Elias with a clothesline for two. Elias with a running kick to the face. Elias set up Priest by Ryker, there was a referee distraction and Ryker hit Priest with a forearm. Elias grabbed a headlock for a couple of minutes. Priest made the comeback with punches, kicks and a clothesline. Priest with a running elbow smash against the turnbuckle and the Broken Arrow sitout slam got a two count. Ryker went on the apron, Elias with a rollup, Priest got out of that and Priest tried a cover, but Elias kicked him to the apron. Priest with a kick to the head and when Priest jumped off the ropes, Elias hit him with a rising knee to the face. Elias countered a Priest move and sent Priest into the turnbuckle. Elias picked up Priest on his shoulders, Priest got out of that, bellclap by Priest, a kick to the head and then Priest with the Hit The Lights neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: **3/4 It was just an average match. I prefer shorter Elias matches since his matches aren’t that good. To their credit, the last few minutes were better than the first half of the match, so ended up turning it into a pretty good match. I would have rather seen Priest winning a match like that in a more dominant fashion. I think something around seven minutes would have been better here.

There was another video about the WWE Title match between The Miz and Drew McIntyre. The same video that opened the show was played again.
A clip aired of The Miz saying he was sick earlier in the show with Lashley telling Miz he was going to beat his ass for the WWE Title. Morrison: “Somebody get a towel!” There was one on a table. Pearce told Miz he had to defend the title.
The Miz was shown walking with the WWE Title backstage with John Morrison by his side. That is next.
(Commercial)

Randy Orton was interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who is usually on Smackdown. Orton said he didn’t know what happened last week, but what he does know is that Alexa Bliss has a part to play. They replayed Orton spewing some black liquid out of his mouth. Orton suggests that Alexa Bliss stays out of his life. That led to Alexa Bliss appearing on the TV screen laughing at Orton and saying he was silly. Bliss said “bring it back” and told Randy there was something he should know. There was a scene of Randy Orton walking with a red light on him with the evil Randy saying that soon he will come face to face with everything he has ever done. Orton was watching and coughed at the sight of that.
Analysis: I'm not a big fan of this type of thing, but I guess WWE felt the need to try something different. It is probably leading to Orton facing The Fiend in a match at WrestleMania. They could be doing something like last year’s WrestleMania when Bray Wyatt faced John Cena in a Firefly Funhouse “match” that had all these weird flashbacks to moments in Cena’s career. We could see something similar with Orton.
The Miz made his entrance with the WWE Championship on his shoulder and John Morrison by his side.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance looking very focused with Montel Vontavious Porter by his side. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions by ring announcer Mike Rome.
The Miz wanted to talk business with them. Miz said that Lashley has waited 17 years to be WWE Champion, but this isn’t the stage right now. Miz wanted to do this match at WrestleMania. Miz: “What do you say?” MVP said that they are doing it right now. Mike Rome made the announcement and the bell rang to start the match.

WWE Championship: The Miz (w/John Morrison) vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Montel Vontavious Porter)
The bell rang, Miz left the ring, grabbed the WWE Title and ran up the ramp to the back. The referee Rod Zapata counted Miz out of the ring, so Lashley won by countout. The Miz retains the WWE Title because you can’t lose the title by countout.
Winner by countout: Bobby Lashley (The Miz remains WWE Champion)
Analysis: LOL. That’s my reaction. It’s just funny that WWE is going to try to milk this for as long as they can and delay it. It makes Miz look like a terrible champion, but I guess that’s the goal here. It also makes Miz look crafty by taking advantage of the rules. Miz running up the ramp with the title looked funny too.
Lashley and MVP were furious about what about happened.
(Commercial)

They replayed the WWE Championship match with Miz running away with the WWE Title.
Bobby Lashley was shown backstage with MVP where Lashley talked to Shane. That led to Shane saying that they will have a championship match tonight. MVP said that this is bullshit. Shane said he’ll consider something. Shane said that he’ll consider stripping The Miz of the WWE Title and handing it to Bobby Lashley. That led to Lashley saying he wants to fight Miz so he can beat the piss out of him.
Analysis: Good use of “bullshit” by MVP. I think a lot of the audience saw it the same way.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance saying she wanted to be Asuka’s partner when she came back. Charlotte said she wanted to be a good tag team partner and kick ass with somebody she respects. Charlotte said she got mixed up with Lacey Evans and her dad, but then she told her dad to go home last week. Charlotte said that we are six weeks away from WrestleMania with Bianca Belair facing Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women’s Title. Charlotte said that she wants to face Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. Charlotte claimed that Asuka is at home injured. A clip was shown of last week when Shayna Baszler kicked Asuka in the face and knocked out a tooth. They highlighted the tooth. Charlotte said she knows Asuka will come back stronger than ever because that’s who she is – she’s a fighting champion. Charlotte said when Asuka comes back, she’ll challenge her and here comes Baszler.

Shayna Baszler entered with Nia Jax with their Women’s Tag Team Titles. Baszler said that Charlotte likes to call herself The Queen, but she’s there to tell her that she is fighting an uphill battle and she’s an army of one. Baszler bragged about how Asuka no longer has any teeth. Baszler said that her and Nia are the most dominant force in WWE. Baszler told Charlotte she could benefit from help. Jax said that it’s a shame that Charlotte sent her father home because the locker room wished Charlotte was the one that went home. Jax: “No one likes you.” Jax told Charlotte that the power in this division has shifted because it will be Shayna or Jax who challenges Asuka if she returns. Jax noted that Charlotte had a nice smile and plugged the Punky Brewster appearance. Charlotte said that people don’t call her the best or the greatest of all time, they call her simply Charlotte Flair. Baszler and Charlotte got into it with punches, but then Jax knocked Charlotte down. Baszler held Charlotte and Jax hit a leg drop. The match might be next.
Analysis: A cheap heel attack by Jax and Baszler against Charlotte, who apparently has no allies. The problem with this kind of thing is that Charlotte isn’t a natural babyface, she’s much better as a heel. I’m not sure about Charlotte facing Asuka at WrestleMania in a singles match. I get the feeling it will be a multi-woman match, but if they do singles then I guess Asuka vs. Charlotte is possible.
(Commercial)

There was another countdown clock telling us about 22 minutes until Miz faces Lashley.
Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax) vs. Charlotte Flair
Baszler was in control with a gutwrench suplex. They showed Lana and Naomi looking on backstage because they have a Women’s Tag Team Title shot in the future. Charlotte lifted up Baszler into a flapjack and then a back body drop. Charlotte with an Exploder Suplex across the ring. Charlotte with a leg wrench against the shoulder and then a chop block. Jax on the apron, Charlotte punched her and Charlotte stopped Baszler from doing a rollup. Baszler kicked Charlotte out of the ring. Jax charged, Charlotte avoided her and Charlotte sent Jax into the steel steps. Charlotte got out of a Kirifuda Clutch attempt and kicked the back of the leg of Baszler and then Charlotte hit a Natural Selection neckbreaker on Baszler for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: *1/2 It was a dominant win for Charlotte Flair, who was beaten up before the match, yet was able to come back easily to beat Baszler. I figured they would have booked a DQ finish here, but instead, it was all about putting over Charlotte in a big way.

There was a backstage scene with Shane McMahon with Adam Pearce in the office. Shane told Pearce to tell Lashley that if The Miz doesn’t show up for the match later tonight then they will strip Miz of the WWE Title and award it to Lashley. Pearce left to go tell Lashley.
(Commercial)
The countdown clock was at around 15:30 for the WWE Title match.
Riddle, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado vs. Retribution (T-Bar, Mace and Slapjack) (w/Mustafa Ali and Reckoning)
Riddle ran right into T-Bar, who caught Riddle and gave him a Chokeslam into a backbreaker for two. Slapjack tagged in with a suplex on Riddle for two. Mace with a sidewalk slam on Riddle for two. T-Bar with a backbreaker. Riddle broke free with a knee to T-Bar, Mace was sent out of the ring and Dorado tagged in with a cross body block off the top to legal man Slapjack. Dorado with a superkick on Slapjack, Metalik tagged in, went on the shoulders of Dorado and hit an elbow splash onto Slapjack for the pinfall win in under three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Riddle, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado
Analysis: *1/4 A quick match to continue the losing ways of the Retribution group. Cool finisher.
After the match, Mustafa Ali yelled at his guys. Ali told Riddle he wants a match right now…after a break.
(Commercial)
This week on Raw Talk on WWE Network the guests are Drew McIntyre, Elias with Jackson Ryker, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali (w/T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack and Reckoning)
Riddle with a gutwrench suplex, Ali to the floor and back in with a kick to Riddle’s face. Ali with a dropkick to the left arm. Ali with a neckbreaker. Ali went for a move off the ropes, but Riddle trapped him in a choke submission. Ali got out of that. Riddle with a Pele Kick to the side of the face and Riddle hit two running forearms. Riddle with an overhead suplex on Ali. Riddle with a Broton splash followed by a kick to the chest for two. Riddle with the Final Flash knee. Slapjack to the apron, Reckoning was in the ring, Riddle to the middle ropes, Mace got in his face (the referee was looking at Reckoning) and Ali grabbed Middle by the back and slammed him to the mat. It looked like he was going for a backstabber. Ali pinned Riddle to win the match after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mustafa Ali
Analysis: ** This was decent with Ali getting help from the distractions in order to get the win. The finish didn’t look smooth, but it was good up until that point. Whenever a champion is in a non-title match, there’s a good chance he will lose. It should set up Riddle vs. Ali for the US Title possibly at Fastlane with Riddle keeping the title. It only took WWE eight days to book Riddle to lose non-title. They love booking champions this way.
The Miz walked into the office with Shane McMahon and Adam Pearce. The Miz said he defended the title already like the champion because he did what he had to do to keep the title. Miz talked about how deserved to go to WrestleMania as the WWE Champion and Miz claimed he deserved respect. Miz talked about all of the things he does for the company saying he can be a host, he can do interviews at 6am and all these other things. Miz said that he was a main event caliber champion while wondering what kind of champion Bobby Lashley will be. Shane said maybe we’re about to find out because it’s all up to Miz. That match is coming up after the break.

(Commercial)
There was a commercial for WrestleMania 37 in 40 days.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP for the third time tonight. The Miz was out next as the WWE Champion with John Morrison by his side. There was not a lot of time left in the show. Ring announcer Mike Rome did the introductions for the title match.
Shane McMahon made his entrance with an announcement on the stage. Shane introduced a few lumberjacks, which led to members of the Raw roster surrounding the ring to keep the wrestlers in the ring.

WWE Championship: The Miz (w/John Morrison) vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Montel Vontavious Porter)
The Miz tried attacking with the WWE Title, but Lashley avoided that. Miz went to the ring apron and hid by the ring post. Miz left the ring, but Drew Gulak threw him back in the ring. Lashley with a clothesline followed by shoulder tackles. Lashley grabbed Miz by the body and tossed him across the ring. Miz left the ring, so Hurt Business members Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin tossed Miz back in the ring. Lashley hit a flatliner on Miz followed by punches. Miz with punches that had no effect. Lashley press slammed Miz over the top onto Retribution members and Miz was sent back into the ring. Lashley hit the mighty spinebuster. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission, Miz tapped out and there’s a NEW WWE CHAMPION! Bobby Lashley wins after three minutes.
Winner by submission AND NEW WWE CHAMPION: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: * That was an ass-kicking. The Miz tried to get out of it, but he couldn’t do it and there’s a new WWE Champion – Bobby Lashley. It went exactly as it needed to go with Lashley dominating from the moment the bell rang, no selling whatever The Miz tried to do and Lashley won it easily. I'm happy for Lashley.
Bobby Lashley posed with the WWE Title on the apron and he pointed at the WrestleMania sign. The Miz was out in the ring. MVP wanted Lashley to hurt Miz again, so Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock on Miz again. Lashley held up the WWE Title. Lashley stood on the chest of The Miz and held up the WWE Title. Lashley posed some more. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: That’s awesome. I’m genuinely happy for Lashley. It's been a long journey for the guy. They found something good for him with MVP and The Hurt Business group following that terrible angle with Lana and Rusev. I'm all for this push and the fact that he's WWE Champion right now on the Road to WrestleMania is really cool. I don’t know Bobby or anything like that. I’m just saying as a fan of this business and as a fan of him that watched him in the mid-2000s until now, it’s really cool to see Bobby Lashley as the WWE Champion. Well deserved.
I'm not sure what they might do at Fastlane, but I think Lashley vs. McIntyre for the WWE Title makes a lot of sense for WrestleMania. The Miz is most likely going to team with John Morrison against Damian Priest and Bad Bunny at WrestleMania. That's why we all assumed Miz was a transitional champion and that's exactly what he was. I think Lashley vs. McIntyre will be an awesome match at WrestleMania if they just go with a singles match. I realize some people might suggest Lashley vs. Lesnar. I don't need to see it. I think Drew should be in the WWE Title match in front of a crowd after the awesome year he has had. Brock can sit this one out. I'm not a Lesnar hater by any means. I just think it's time to focus on the full-time stars with Lashley vs. McIntyre as the WWE Title match at WrestleMania. That's what I would do anyway.

Here's an awesome video.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Bobby Lashley – Congrats to Bobby Lashley on becoming WWE Champion. The first star has to go for him.
  2. Drew McIntyre
  3. Sheamus

The Scoreboard
7 out of 10
Last week: 6
2021 Average: 5.92

Final Thoughts
The big news this week is we have a new WWE Champion after Bobby Lashley defeated The Miz to win the WWE Title for the first time in Lashley’s career. I know Bobby’s a heel, but that was a cool thing to see. I’m sure there are some fans that were frustrated that WWE did the match at 9pm, then 10pm and then in the main event. It was a tactic to delay the inevitable, which impatient fans are going to hate. Then in the closing moments, Lashley won the WWE Title in dominant fashion. I like it. I’m happy for Lashley, MVP and everybody that came up with The Hurt Business concept because it has worked very well over the last year. I assume we get Lashley vs. McIntyre at WrestleMania, which is what it should be for arguably Raw’s two top guys over the last year. The story is already in place with Lashley costing McIntyre the WWE Title, so it’s easy to set it up.
This week’s Raw was a bit of a mixed bag, I guess you could say. It was a Raw that started off very strong with an awesome match between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus. That match was one of the best Raw matches in a long time and probably the best Raw match since they started in the ThunderDome last summer. They beat the hell out of eachother, had a long match and delivered a match that left me wanting to see a rematch soon.
The rest of the show featured some matches that went too long (Damien Priest should have beat Elias a lot quicker) and then a lot of matches under five minutes. In other words, nothing felt like a big deal because a lot of it felt rushed.
I did like that we had the big moment of Lashley winning the WWE Title and the great Drew/Sheamus match, so there were positive things this week.


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Thanks for reading.
John Canton
Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com
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