The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/30/20 Review


Welcome to another WWE Raw Deal review right here on TJRWrestling. It’s the third week in a row where Raw is taking place from the WWE Performance Center with no fans in attendance with WrestleMania set to take place this week. Remember, WrestleMania 36 is “Too Big for One Night” because it’s on Saturday, April 4th and Sunday, April 5th.
Live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1401 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. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Let’s roll.
Raw began with a video package showing highlights of the AJ Styles rivalry with The Undertaker leading to their WrestleMania match this weekend.

Let's Hear from The Undertaker 
The Undertaker was shown in a darkened room talking about AJ Styles and then he said Allen Jones (AJ’s real name) since they’re being real now. Undertaker looked more like “American Badass” or “Big Evil” Taker here. Taker said for such a small man, you have a really big mouth. Undertaker didn't know if he had a big set or if he's writing checks that his ass can't cash. Taker said you probably think you're dropping pipe bombs to get under his skin, but he said he’s heard far worse from far better than him. Taker added that there have been some truths to what AJ has been saying.
Undertaker said that 10-15 years ago AJ admitted he wouldn’t have tried to face him and Taker added, "you're damn right you wouldn't want to." Taker said he was content being a big fish in a small pond (hello TNA). Taker said AJ knew back then that AJ didn’t have what it took to hang with Undertaker, Steve Austin, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, Edge (I'm surprised he forgot Kane) and he said they were the very best this business had to over. Undertaker: “The Phenomenal One, my ass!” Undertaker said that you waited until they all left to come here, expect for Taker. Undertaker admitted that he has far more matches behind him than he does in front of him, but "Allen" you stepped in something now there's no coming back from.
Undertaker said that he gets it because it’s just business, but where AJ crossed the line is the first time AJ mentioned her. Undertaker said that he thinks Styles is mad because she did the Faith Breaker aka The Styles Clash better than him and she got it over. No matter the reason, Undertaker said you’ll pay the price for disrespecting Taker's wife Michelle McCool. Taker added that Styles will pay the price in a Boneyard because it was AJ's idea. Undertaker said if you want to be relevant at WrestleMania, then who better than Undertaker to make it happen and he’ll make him famous. Undertaker said you can bring those assclowns Gallows and Anderson because all three of them will feel the wrath of the unholy trinity he is bringing with him and they will feel the pain. Undertaker said that you will get hurt, you will suffer and most importantly…you will rest in peace. There was a coffin graphic in the background that said AJ Styles 1977-2020 on it.
Analysis: That was an awesome promo from Undertaker in response to all of the trash talk that Styles has done in the build up to their WrestleMania match. It was the right tone and delivery while the dialogue made sense from Undertaker’s perspective. Undertaker also mentioned AJ’s real name just like AJ did in his promos against him and bringing up Taker’s wife Michelle McCool is a reply to what Styles has said to him. This would have been awesome in front of a crowd, but sadly we don’t get to see that. I just think it would get over huge with fans cheering for Undertaker with that kind of promo. I’m not a fan of showing a grave considering there are people dying every day due to Coronavirus. I know people die every day somewhere for something already, but it’s in the news more than ever now. This is just a wrestling match. Keep it simple.

The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton were on screen welcoming us to the show.
There was a clip from earlier today with Becky Lynch arriving in a big truck that had her face and “The Man” on it.
(Commercial)
Becky Lynch entered with the Raw Women’s Title. They showed a clip of Lynch attacking her WrestleMania opponent Shayna Baszler on Raw last week.
Lynch stood in front of the screen rather than the ring, which has become the promo spot of choice. Lynch talked about how last year she talked trash, made bold predictions and she left with two titles. Lynch said let’s take a look, so that meant it was time to show last year’s WrestleMania main event.
Here’s my WrestleMania 35 review from April 7, 2019 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey or as WWE calls it…New York even though it’s not New York. Close enough.
Analysis: The WrestleMania 35 broadcast is airing on ESPN this Sunday before the second day of WrestleMania and WWE is showing it on Raw. They have done that with WrestleMania 30 and WrestleMania 32 matches before they aired on ESPN too.
Anyway, here’s that Rousey vs. Flair vs. Lynch match including introductions because they showed them on Raw.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts performed “Bad Reputation” for Ronda Rousey’s entrance. It’s a good song that fits Rousey well. Rousey did her power walk down to the ring with the Raw Women’s Title on her left shoulder. It was hard to hear the crowd due to the live music filling the stadium. Charlotte Flair was up next with the Smackdown Women’s Championship around her waist. It was a purple look for “The Queen” for this WrestleMania main event. There were some fireworks for her entrance. Becky Lynch was last as the only babyface in the match and the Royal Rumble. Lynch had a different style and she was dressed in black attire. The women stood in the ring as Greg Hamilton did the intros. The Raw announce team was calling this match.

Winner Take All for the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships: Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch
The bell rang at 12:01AM, so it’s seven hours after the Kickoff Show started. First fall wins the match with no disqualifications and no countouts in a triple threat.
(I had forgotten that it started after midnight. This show had a run time of 5:24:19 on WWE Network for just the main PPV. Add in two hours for the Kickoff Show and it’s over seven hours.)
Lynch and Rousey got into a slugfest to start the match with Rousey kicking Lynch out of the ring. Rousey kicked Flair out of the ring as well. Rousey drove Lynch back first into the barricade and she hit the Piper’s Pit slam on Flair on the floor. Lynch drove Rousey into the ring post and Flair hit an overhead suplex that sent Rousey into the barricade. Flair and Lynch exchanged punches, Flair kicked at the left knee and Lynch managed a rollup for two. Rousey got back into it with a kick to Lynch’s face and Flair kicked Rousey in the face. Flair held Rousey up for a Powerbomb, but Rousey held on with an armbar. Lynch dropkicked Rousey to the floor with a rough landing for Ronda on her back on the apron to the floor. Flair with a boot to the face of Lynch for two. Flair with a knee drop to Lynch as fans chanted for Lynch. Flair went up top for a moonsault, she jumped, Lynch grabbed her in her armbar, but Rousey got into it with an armbar of hers on Lynch. Flair capitalized on that with a running knee to the face of Rousey. Flair hit a double Natural Selection on both women at the same time for a two count. Flair dumped Lynch out of the ring. Flair chopped Rousey repeatedly, Rousey said she chops like a bitch, Flair chopped her in the face and Rousey came back with a knee to the face. Flair countered an armbar attempt into a Boston Crab. Lynch got back into it with a bulldog on Flair. Lynch hit a reverse DDT on Rousey and a regular DDT on Flair at the same time. Lynch with a spin kick to the face. Lynch and Flair exchanged strikes again, Flair went up top, Lynch went after her and Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex off the top for two. Rousey went up top and hit a cross body block on both women at the same time for two. Rousey slammed both women down and Rousey slapped on a double armbar. Flair and Lynch countered with a double Powerbomb, then they picked Rousey up again and hit a third double Powerbomb on Rousey. Flair tossed Lynch out of the ring and covered Rousey for a two count.

Flair charged at Lynch on the apron, Lynch with a kick and Lynch with a uranage slam on Flair for a two count. Lynch had a showdown with Rousey leading to Lynch slapping on the Dis-Arm-Her submission, but Rousey reached the bottom rope to break the hold. Rousey sent Lynch back first into the turnbuckle. Rousey charged and Lynch kneed her in the face. Flair got back into it with a kick to the face. Flair punched Lynch on the top rope and they did the Spanish Fly slam off the top rope. That looked great while Flair favored her right knee on the landing. Flair with an overhead suplex on Rousey. Lynch went for the armbar, but Flair sent Lynch into the middle turnbuckle. Flair back up on the apron leading to a kick that knocked Lynch down. Rousey’s left leg had cuts and bruising on it. Flair slapped on the ringpost Figure Four Leglock on Rousey against the ringpost until Lynch kicked Flair to break it. Flair whipped Lynch into the barricade. Flair went for the Figure Eight, but Rousey countered into an inside cradle. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Rousey, but Lynch broke it up with a top rope leg drop on Flair to break it up. That was well done. Flair was bleeding from the right elbow. Lynch brought out a table from under the ring and she set it up near one of the turnbuckles. Flair whipped Lynch face first into the table. Flair went up top favoring the right leg, Lynch went after her and teased a Powerbomb. Rousey dumped Flair off the top to the floor. Rousey flipped over the table saying “tables are for bitches” leading to boos from the crowd. Lynch avoided the slam, she went for the armbar and Flair hit a double Spear on Lynch and Rousey at the same time for two. Flair set up the table against the turnbuckle. Flair whipped Rousey’s head into the table, but not enough to break it. Flair hit a Spear on Lynch for two. Flair charged at the two women leading to a double arm drag that sent Flair into the table. It only broke a bottom part of the table as Flair bumped to the floor. Rousey and Lynch had a face-off leading to punches from both women. Rousey hit a running knee to the face. Rousey went for her Piper’s Pit slam, but Lynch hooked the arms of Rousey and had her pinned down for the victory at 21:30. As soon as the pinfall happened, Ronda got back up to complain while the announcers if Ronda was really pinned.
Winner by pinfall and New Raw & Smackdown Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match that was worthy of a main event for most of it, but the finish was weak. I didn’t like the ending. The right finish was for Lynch to win via tapout on Rousey. Instead of doing what would have been the best ending, they went with that pinfall counter instead. The problem with an ending like that is there was not much of a buildup to it. That’s the kind of finish you do in a TV match to set up a PPV match or even a smaller PPV show, but not the main event of WrestleMania. It should have been a submission win for Lynch. Maybe WWE didn’t want Rousey to lose that way or Rousey may have had issues with it. I don’t know. The work by all three women was great with Flair doing a fantastic job, Rousey took a beating more than she usually does and Lynch kept on fighting with the crowd strongly behind her. I thought Flair had the best performance of the three although all of them did well. The end result was the right call with Lynch as the winner, though. I’m glad she has both titles for now.

Analysis x2: The finish was that Rousey was supposed to have both shoulders down to take the pin, but Rousey had her right shoulder up at the start of the pin attempt. More details on that are here.
(The match was okay, but not great. Ronda deserves credit for working part of the match with a broken hand. I expected them to have a better match with a finish that was more decisive. Lynch making Rousey tapout was the right way to end it and instead, we got that weak pinfall finish. It’s a case of WWE wanting to keep Ronda strong for a potential match with Lynch down the road. The blame can go to the wrestlers for not doing the bridging pin right or the referee for counting before Rousey was down with both shoulders. Maybe it was the plan to do it this way. Either way, it did not go smoothly. I think what most fans will remember most is the mistake on the finish rather than the actual match.)
They showed the full WrestleMania 35 main event along with the introduction. There were three commercials as well.

Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch was still in front of the screen while claiming that was the first time she watched that match. People in wrestling lie, my friends. Lynch did a promo about how she has no problem admitting that she didn’t know who she was without being the champ and she said she knew about Shayna Baszler’s demons. Lynch said that Baszler walks around cool with her low voice and her cage fighter background ready to fight with emotion. Lynch said that if Baszler wins then she can say she did something that her buddy Ronda didn’t do. Lynch said for once, Shayna would steal Ronda’s spotlight instead of the other way around or you lose and get put back in Ronda’s shadow. Lynch wondered which one of them will be destroyed by a loss at WrestleMania.
Shayna Baszler showed up from behind Lynch and gave her the Kirifuda Clutch submission. Baszler sent Lynch face first into the announce table. Baszler picked up Lynch and swung her into the side of the announce table. Baszler grabbed the Raw Women’s Title, stood over Lynch and dropped the title on her. Baszler left while Lynch was down selling the attack.
Analysis: It was a fine heel attack by Baszler to get the advantage going into WrestleMania. That bump into the side of the table looked good. Lynch has always been great at selling, which helps when you’re a babyface. I liked what Lynch said in the promo about how Baszler had a chance to beat Lynch before Rousey could. That’s a good way of talking about Baszler’s motivation.
(Commercial)

Aleister Black vs. Jason Cade
Black avoided some kick attempts and then he sat in the ring. Cade with a kick, Black caught the kick, Black with a kick to the gut and a Black Mass kick ended this in under one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Analysis: 1/4* Another squash win for Black. There’s not much to analyze here.
They showed highlights of Seth Rollins’ great promo trash talking Kevin Owens for being a failure at WrestleMania while Rollins has had a lot of success at WrestleMania.
There’s a six-man tag team match after the break.
(Commercial)

It was time for a six-man tag team match with The Street Profits entering first. Kevin Owens was up next wearing a KO-Mania IV shirt to represent his fourth WrestleMania event.
Angel Garza made his entrance with Zelina Vega for the tag team match. Vega said that Andrade has a rib injury and he’s unable to compete. Vega said she had access to the hottest superstars in WWE and she introduced the 22-year-old Austin Theory from NXT to join her team. Seth Rollins was the last person to enter for the heel team.
Analysis: The Andrade rib injury story is true. I don’t know how long he’ll be out, but there’s a lot unknown about the future in WWE post WrestleMania anyway. That’s why he missed this match and he’s going to miss WrestleMania as well. Theory has a bright future at 22 years of age and maybe he’ll be a NXT regular, but for right now he’s on Raw.

Kevin Owens, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Seth Rollins, Angel Garza and Austin Theory (w/Zelina Vega)
Theory shoved Owens, so Owens punched and chopped him. Dawkins slammed Ford onto Theory and then Street Profits did a double flapjack to Garza onto Theory. With Garza and Theory on the floor, Ford hit a somersault dive over the top onto the two heels.
(Commercial)
Ford was in the ring with Garza with Garza hitting a dropkick, then he threw the pants at Ford and hit another dropkick. Theory with a snap suplex on Ford for two. Theory hit an impressive roll through into a dropkick on Ford for two. Dawkins got the tag with a clothesline on Theory and an overhead suplex. Rollins got the tag as Dawkins was sent to the floor. Dawkins ran over Theory in the ring, but then Rollins went back into the ring with a superkick on Dawkins. Theory tagged in with a chinlock on Dawkins and then Garza slapped on a chinlock as well. Owens to Garza: “You’re not an angel!” That was funny. Rollins with a kick to the back of Dawkins followed by a chinlock of his own. Rollins punched Ford off the apron, Dawkins got a rollup on Rollins and Rollins came back with a Slingblade takedown followed by punches. Dawkins came back with a good looking punch to the jaw. Owens got the tag, Garza tagged in as Rollins got out of there and Owens hit a clothesline followed by a senton splash. Owens with a cannonball splash against the turnbuckle Owens went up top and hit a Senton Bomb for a two count as Theory broke up the pin. Ford kicked Theory out of the ring and Ford went for a somersault dive, Theory moved and Ford went smack on the floor and his feet hit the steel ramp. Ouch! I think Theory was supposed to catch him or break his fall there, but he didn’t and Ford hit hard. Back in the ring, Owens hit a Stunner on Garza for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins

Analysis: *** It was a solid tag team match with the faces getting the win after Owens got the hot tag. Owens wasn’t in the ring that much before that tag, so it was all about building to that moment. Theory had a few moves that showed off his athleticism, but I would have liked to see him get more offense. Rollins avoided Owens the whole match to show he’s a cowardly heel. That bump by Ford over the top and onto the bottom of the ramp sounded brutal, so I hope he’s okay. As I said, I think Theory was supposed to catch him and missed him.
After the bell rang, Rollins went into the ring and hit The Stomp on Owens. Rollins stood over Owens, then Rollins left and Seth’s music played even though his team lost. Owens was down selling the attack.
Analysis: I thought after last week that Rollins was going to win, but now I’m leaning towards picking Owens. It makes sense in the story for KO to get the big win.

A preview clip of The Big Show Show starting Big Show on Netflix. It premieres next week on April 6.
(Commercial)
There was a replay of Rollins hitting Owens with The Stomp after the match they just had. That led to an Owens promo in the ring.
Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens
Owens said that Seth kicked some sense into Owens, no pun intended. Owens said he was thinking a lot about what Seth said last week and what just happened, he has a lot to say. Owens said last Monday, Seth walked around this place saying that this building was built because of him and everybody that came through this place should be thankful for Seth because it was built on Seth’s back. Owens said that he heard that this place was built despite of him. Owens said he heard that when Seth set foot in that warehouse in Tampa, Seth was a nightmare to deal with because nobody could stand him. Owens talked about how Seth has done an outstanding job of proving everybody right by proving he is an arrogant dipshit – no bleep for the swear word.
Owens said that the difference between them is that he is not delusional like Rollins and last week Seth proved him right. Owens said Rollins thinks he’s a God when it comes to WrestleMania and that Owens is a disappointment. Owens said that those words actually stung, they stayed with him, but when he was at home thinking about this, he can claim the same accolades that Rollins has. Owens rattled off his accomplishments saying he’s been Intercontinental Champion twice, he’s been US Champion three times and he was Universal Champion well before Rollins. Owens said he is man enough to admit that his accomplishments were things he didn’t get on his own because he had somebody helping him or watching his back for each of them. Owens told Rollins that he had that too. Owens told Rollins that none of them were things you accomplished on your own and he always had backup. Owens said Rollins needs to be honest with himself because the only thing he said that actually makes sense is that when you got to WWE, your past doesn’t matter and that will never be more true come Saturday at WrestleMania. Owens said on Saturday, their past doesn’t matter – the only thing that matters is that it’s Owens vs. Rollins finally one on one. Owens said that he will show Rollins he’s not a prophet, he’s not a messiah and he’s not a God when Owens beats him in the ring and takes his first WrestleMania from Rollins. Owens said that this Saturday, he will be the one to burn it down, which is Seth's catchphrase.

Analysis: That was well done by Owens as you would expect from a great talker like him. There was a bit of a lie there because not all of Seth’s titles were because he had help because when it comes to Seth’s babyface wins like the two Universal Title wins last year when he beat Lesnar, they were clean. Seth did have a lot of cheap wins in his career, though. As I wrote earlier in the review, it makes sense for Owens to get the win at WrestleMania although really it doesn’t matter much because both guys are going to be two of the top stars on Raw.
Coming up next are some comments from Edge.
This Friday on Smackdown: John Cena returns to Smackdown and The Miz & Morrison host Miz TV with New Day and Usos.
(Commercial)

There was an excellent video package that summarized the story between Edge and Randy Orton to set up their WrestleMania. The video covered a lot while running for about four minutes.
Let’s Hear from Edge
Edge was seated in a darkened room somewhere in the backstage area. Edge said that Randy said that Adam Copeland is a junkie for Edge and he admitted that is probably right, but it’s not an ego thing. Edge said that he loves the feeling that happens in an arena when his music hits, that raw connection and intensity that he shares with the audience because he came from them. Edge said that they are all junkies for this. Edge talked about being a 13-year-old kid sitting 11th row ringside for WrestleMania 6 with Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior (Edge was born in 1973 so he would have been 16 in 1990 at that point due to his October birthday, but he said 13), he knew then that he was a junkie for this. Edge said if you’re not a junkie for this then you’re in his way. Edge said that clearly they have different definitions of the word grit.
Edge said that to Randy, being handpicked by Evolution is grit to him and resting on his family’s laurels. Edge said that Orton has been off an on with spurts of magic for the last 20 years where he was okay with being okay. Edge said okay for Randy is better than most and that’s a Hall of Fame okay. Edge said that grit is reaching down into that hole that will pull somebody out that doesn’t deserve it or refusing to be in Evolution because you don’t want to be somebody’s lacking. Edge said that grit is building your own Hall of Fame career. Edge said that grit is thinking about how to get back here every day for nine years and end this on your terms.
Edge admitted that he was mistaken saying that Orton was jealous of him. Edge said Randy is not jealous of Edge, he is jealous of his passion because Edge has it and the only time Randy has it is when Randy is around. Edge said that he makes Randy better and everybody is saying this is the best that Randy Orton has ever been. Edge claimed that the last time that Orton ever scratched being this good was nine years ago. Edge said that scares Orton. Edge said that the voices in Randy’s head can’t handle this feeling, so they told him to make a horrible mistake by attacking Edge. Edge said that Orton almost had him believing that maybe the Royal Rumble was enough, but then Randy mentioned his wife (Beth Phoenix) and the names of Edge’s girls (daughters Ruby and Lyric) and you pulled Edge back in. Edge said that Orton accepted a Last Man Standing match while noting he was a man that would dive face first into a flaming table with thumbtacks in his body (WrestleMania 22 reference) just to grab that torch that Orton took for granted. Edge said that Orton has dug himself another hole, but this time Edge won’t pull him back out, he is going to push him so far in that Orton will never get back out. Edge stared ahead to end the promo.
Analysis: It was another amazing promo on this show. It’s no surprise that Edge would do that considering he’s always had strong promo skills and he has spent much of the last decade acting in TV/movies, so those promo skills have improved. There’s no doubt that he is very capable when it comes to delivering a money promo like this. Just like I praised Orton last week for saying things that fit his character, this was very good because it made sense from Edge’s point of view. What he said about having grit is true and that Randy is jealous of that connection that Edge has with the fans. A lot of Orton’s critics would say that he has coasted at times, he hasn’t worked as hard as he could to make a storyline or match great and I agree with it to an extent. In Edge’s case, nobody ever questioned his effort because he earned the reputation as a very hard worker that accomplished a lot in his career. It’s a shame there won’t be fans in attendance for the match at WrestleMania, but I think Edge vs. Orton has the best build of any match at this year’s WrestleMania, so kudos to them and the creative team on a job well done.

Asuka is in a match up next.
(Commercial)
Asuka made her entrance. That led to the official announcement for WrestleMania with Asuka and Kairi Sane defending the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. That is the first defense of those titles in over three months.
Asuka did a pre-match promo ranting in Japanese asking “who are you?” to her opponent and said that “nobody is ready for Asuka.”
Asuka vs. Kayden Carter
Carter is from NXT and she hit a dropkick to sent Asuka into the ropes. Asuka came back with a running hip attack followed by some ass slapping. Asuka kicked out of a cover attempt and Carter hit a springboard dropkick for two. Asuka blocked a kick, held the foot and hit a German Suplex. Asuka hit a roundhouse kick to the head. The Asuka Lock submission finished it off for Asuka after one minute.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: 1/2* A squash win for Asuka as expected.
After the match, Asuka went to the announce table for some more Japanese ranting. I think she said “Alexa and Nikki” in there along with “easy peasy” and then it stopped.

Still to come on Raw is Brock Lesnar.
(Commercial)
There was a clip from earlier today with Rhea Ripley walking towards the WWE PC when Charlotte Flair walked up to her and kicked her into a garage door. A referee and producer Adam Pearce broke it up. Flair called Ripley a “rookie” and told her that she will see her at WrestleMania…woo.
Analysis: A basic cheap attack from Flair, who is firmly back in heel mode. I think Ripley will win their match at WrestleMania.
They aired a replay of Brock Lesnar’s WWE Title defense against Rey Mysterio at Survivor Series 2019. They showed the full entrances.

Rey Mysterio made his entrance wearing a mask that had some white as the main color along with some green hair on it. I was getting a lot of Doink the Clown tweets on Sunday during this show and now I see why. The mask has a bit of a Doink feel to it. Mysterio got some pyro when he went into the ring. Brock Lesnar made his entrance with the WWE Championship around his waist along with his advocate Paul Heyman by his side. Lesnar got the pyro for his entrance as well. Lesnar had a big smile on his face. Mysterio and Lesnar stood in the ring for the championship introductions with Heyman doing a great job of introducing Lesnar as usual. The fans joined in on Heyman’s speech, but then booed Lesnar.
No Holds Barred, No Disqualifications for the WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Rey Mysterio
The bell rang, Mysterio left the ring and grabbed the lead pipe from under the ring. Lesnar avoided a pipe attack and hit three clotheslines to put Mysterio down. Lesnar tossed Mysterio under the bottom rope leading to Mysterio’s bump on the floor that he takes on his chest. Lesnar tossed Mysterio over the Spanish announce table. Mysterio gave Lesnar an overhead belly to belly suplex onto the top of the announce table. Lesnar jumped onto the top of the table on Mysterio. Lesnar drove Mysterio back first into the ring post. Mysterio got some offense when he shoved Mysterio into the ring post. Mysterio went for the pipe in the ring, but Lesnar grabbed him and gave Mysterio a German Suplex onto the lead pipe. Lesnar with another German Suplex on Mysterio. Lesnar picked up Mysterio again with a German Suplex across the ring. That led to Mysterio’s son Dominick going into the ring with a white towel. Lesnar grabbed the towel and threw it out of the ring. Lesnar grabbed Dominick by the throat and Mysterio hit a low blow on Lesnar. Dominick also hit Lesnar with a low blow. Mysterio got the lead pipe, he hit Lesnar three times with it and Dominick hit Lesnar in the back with the chair. Rey and Dom hit a double 619 on Lesnar and the fans ERUPTED in cheers. They loved that. Great spot. Dominick went to the top rope and hit a splash on Lesnar. Rey went up top and hit a splash on Lesnar, Dom covered his dad as well and Lesnar kicked out at two! Holy shit, what a great nearfall that was. The fans really wanted that to be it. Heyman had a great shocked look on his face. Lesnar got back up and gave Dominick a German Suplex across the ring. Mysterio jumped off the top, Lesnar caught him on his shoulders and Lesnar hit a F5 on Mysterio to get the pinfall win at 6:58.
Winner by pinfall: Brock Lesnar
Analysis: **3/4 That was a lot of fun for a match that only got about seven minutes. The last few minutes with Dominick coming in the ring to help his dad led to the crowd exploding in cheers. Lesnar sold everything well as the unbeatable monster and the fans believed that was going to end the match. I thought it was booked perfectly. That’s because I predicted the Dominick appearance in my preview of the show where I said Rey would come close to beating Lesnar (thanks to Dominick), but fall short. In terms of a story, it was very good. As a match, it was just average. I still enjoyed the entire presentation of it all.

(The result was never in doubt. I think the highlight was the spot with Rey and Dominick hitting the double 619 because the crowd popped huge for it. They work well together and if they went 15 minutes it would have been an amazing match, but I understand wanting to keep it short to make Lesnar look more dominant.)
The Raw broadcast managed to insert two commercials in a match that was seven minutes long.
The announcers did a rundown of the 16 matches at WrestleMania this Saturday and Sunday. They did not specify what matches will air on what night. Kevin Owens said his match is on Saturday, so at least we know that. Becky Lynch said in an interview recently that her match is on Saturday, so there is that too. Anyway, here’s the order that WWE announced the matches even though it means nothing in terms of the presentation.

* WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
* Firefly Fun House Match: John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
* Boneyard Match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
* Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
* Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton
* Smackdown Women’s Title Elimination Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi
* Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
* Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
Rob Gronkowski will be the host of the first ever two-day WrestleMania.
* Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Miz & John Morrison (c) vs. The Usos vs. The New Day – There’s a change to this match, but I’m not spoiling it.
* Elias vs. King Corbin
* Dolph Ziggler vs. Otis
* Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits – Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins (c) vs. Angel Garza and Austin Theory
* Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lana)
* NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka and Kairi Sane (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
* Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns - There’s a change to this match. I’m not spoiling it, but I did write about it here and Roman Reigns posted on Instagram saying he chose not to wrestle.

Analysis: I find it irresponsible that WWE would continue to advertise Goldberg vs. Reigns when a lot of fans know that the match isn’t happening. Plus, Reigns said it on his Instagram on Monday! I understand Raw was taped last week, but they could have done something to mention that it has been changed. If WWE waits until Friday to announce the change then I feel like that’s too late. They should probably announce something during the week. Anyway, I doubt Vince McMahon cares about false advertising and he feels like he can do what he wants.
Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman are up next in the main event.
(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman while Brock Lesnar stands there
Brock Lesnar stood against the ropes while Paul Heyman was in the ring with a microphone in hand. No intro music. They were already in the ring. Heyman did his usual introduction routine.
Heyman said that he hates to be the one to pull the curtain back in this industry and he said he loves being in the business of taking larger than life personalities and promote them to global audiences. Heyman said that this will be the most unique WrestleMania in our lifetimes not just because it’s the first WrestleMania that is too big for just one night, but because we’re all living through the unique time in our lifetimes together. Well said.
Heyman talked about how they call the go-home segment on the go-home Raw in WrestleMania. Heyman said who stands there in this spot more often than not, your champion Brock Lesnar. Heyman said that because year in, year out, he’s the beast to slay and the conqueror to conquer and the one to beat on the biggest show of the year. Heyman complimented Drew McIntyre for stepping up because he is that special. Heyman said that McIntyre is special compared to that guy on the street, to that guy in the gym and compared to that locker room – the most extraordinary roster in the history of this industry – Drew McIntyre is that special. Heyman said that others that were special were guys like The Rock, who Brock beat the first time he beat him and he listed other names like Hulk Hogan, Randy Couture (UFC), Shane Carwin (UFC), John Cena and The Undertaker. Heyman said they’re special Hall of Famers, but when they got in there with Lesnar they weren’t so goddamn special, they were just Brock’s bitch. Heyman put over how great that Claymore Kick by Drew McIntyre is, but noted signature moves of those other competitors didn’t work against Lesnar on the day that it truly mattered after the bell rang.

Heyman said that now that Lesnar knows the Claymore Kick is coming to him, either Lesnar has mastered a strategy to avoid the Claymore Kick or Lesnar will eat a Claymore Kick and we’ll find out if it can take down Lesnar. Brock shook his head no. Heyman said he had something more than a prediction or spoiler. Heyman said that next year on the go-home segment on the go-home Raw before WrestleMania, you know who is going to be standing here with the title? Brock Lesnar. Heyman said he’ll be talking about how McIntyre had a great story to tell that is the right guy in the right place with the right look at the right time, but got beaten fugly (that’s f**king ugly) at the 2020 WrestleMania by the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Heyman said this year at WrestleMania, Drew McIntyre walks in special, but then McIntyre walks out just like everybody else…nothing more than Brock’s bitch. The camera focused on Lesnar’s face to end it.
Analysis: It was the usual great promo from Heyman like we have heard many times over the years. I always say that if Lesnar spoke a sentence or two it would mean a lot because we rarely hear from him. I get why Lesnar doesn’t speak since Heyman is so great at it. The direction of the Heyman promo made sense from his point of view because he talked about people that Lesnar has beaten in WWE and UFC. They aren’t going to mention a guy like Seth Rollins beating Lesnar twice last year, but fans know that happened and they know Lesnar can be beaten. I would have liked to see McIntyre out there offering a bit of a rebuttal to show how confident he is. Heyman getting the last word for Lesnar is fine because we are used to it.

Speaking of McIntyre, this video of him working out in Scotland is awesome. It would have been nice if they showed it on Raw.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Undertaker
  2. Edge
  3. Kevin Owens

There were some great promos on this show.

Final Thoughts
The promos were the highlights of Raw this week. If you added them all up they might have only taken up about 20-25 minutes of airtime, but I would recommend watching the promos from Undertaker, Edge, Owens, Heyman and Lynch. I thought The Undertaker’s was the best of the bunch because it had that “American Badass” Taker vibe to it instead of one of the more classic “Deadman” Promos that he does. Edge and Owens were outstanding too. I would have liked to hear from Drew McIntyre because they haven’t had him do a significant promo in the build up to his match, so that was lacking from the show.
The only new match that aired that wasn’t a squash was a pretty good tag team match, which shows that WWE superstars can have good matches if they get a chance to show it in front of a crowd. That gives me some faith that there will be some potentially great WrestleMania matches even though it’s tough with no fans there.
It’s WrestleMania week and I hope at some point later in the week we know what matches are on Saturday and what matches are on Sunday. I have no idea if WWE is going to let us know, but I hope they do. We will have a preview up later in the week plus I’ll write about WrestleMania live on TJRWrestling on Saturday and Sunday. It’s what I do.

The next WWE PPV is WrestleMania this Saturday, April 4th and Sunday, April 5th. Rob Gronkowski will be the host of WrestleMania. The lineup looks like this.
* WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
* Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns - There’s a change to this match. I’m not spoiling it, but I did write about it here and Roman Reigns posted on Instagram saying he chose not to wrestle.
* Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton
* Firefly Fun House Match: John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
* Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
* Boneyard Match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
* NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
* Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
* Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
* Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Miz & John Morrison (c) vs. The Usos vs. The New Day – There’s a change to this match, but I’m not spoiling it.
* Smackdown Women’s Title Elimination Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi
* Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits – Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins (c) vs. Angel Garza and Austin Theory
* Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lana)
* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka and Kairi Sane (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
* Elias vs. King Corbin
* Dolph Ziggler vs. Otis
That’s the full card with 16 matches.

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John Canton
Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com
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