Venue: Toyota Arena (Ontario, CA)
The show began with Seth Rollins,
Buddy Murphy and AOP standing in the middle of the ring. Rollins called for a replay video of last week’s match, which Rezar won by pinning Kevin Owens. Seth said they are here to preach a message of oneness and unity and they would not leave the ring until their message is heard. Kevin Owens came out to confront Rollins and his disciples. Seth reminded KO about how Samoa Joe and Ivar hurt themselves trying to help him. He warned him that if you stand alone, you will fall alone.
Owens responded to Rollins by saying that he not only sounds stupid but looks stupid too. He was then joined by the Viking Raiders and they burst down to the ring to brawl. While Rollins stood in the ring, Samoa Joe surprised him from behind with a Coquina Clutch. After a stunner to Murphy, Owens, Joe and the Raiders stood tall. Their celebration was short-lived, however. Becky Lynch’s music blared, signaling her Raw Women’s Title match with Asuka was up next.
Asuka, joined by Kairi Sane, mocked and laughed at Lynch as she made her way down to the ring. The match began with a fight for control, which Asuka won by locking in a headlock. Becky was eventually able to gain the advantage for a brief period of time but Asuka countered with a knee and a sit out spinebuster. On the outside, Kairi sacrificed herself by pushing Asuka out of the way of a leaping Becky and absorbing the blow. Back in the ring, Lynch went for a move off the second rope but Asuka was able to catch her with a double knee strike.
After locking in a disarm-her in the ropes, Becky teased a suplex before reversing positions and slamming Asuka spine first onto the apron. After a commercial break, Asuka had a submission locked in but Becky was able to scoop her up and slam her to the mat to garner a near fall. Lynch looked to put away Asuka with a leg drop off the top rope but Asuka moved out of the way. The two went back and forth, both rolling up the other for near falls before Becky was able to hit a Rock Bottom and pick up a pinfall victory. After the match, Shayna Baszler attacked the champion from behind, took out her mouthpiece and bit Becky on the back of her neck. Baszler stood up and screamed as blood dripped out of her mouth. Lynch wailed in pain and asked the ref to check her neck. The medics then came out and helped her to the back as she tried to assure them that she was fine.
Backstage, Becky told the medics that she didn’t need to go to the hospital because it was just a flesh wound.
Mojo Rawley and Riddick Moss had a brief pre-match interaction in the ring with the Street Profits. Montez Ford accused Rawley of riding Rob Gronkowski’s coattails. Moss and Angelo Dawkins started things off. Dawkins quickly drilled Moss with a spinebuster and Ford finished him with a frog splash off the top rope. After the match, Moss surprised Rawley with a roll-up pin to become the new 24/7 Champion.
Outside in the parking lot, medics tried to load Becky in the ambulance. She agreed to go to the hospital but only on her own terms. She then grabbed the driver, pulled him out, hopped in the driver’s seat and sped off.
MVP hosted Drew McIntyre in his VIP Lounge. MVP talked about the good and the bad times the two had in the past. He said he was proud Drew was finally reaching his potential. MVP told McIntyre that he shouldn’t listen to the doubters who think he’s not ready to be WWE Champion. MVP told Drew he needed a veteran mentor to guide him through the process. McIntyre asked MVP if he wanted to be his version of Paul Heyman and he agreed. Drew said the difference between him and Brock Lesnar is that he didn’t need a business manager kissing his ass. Drew went to leave but MVP grabbed him and warned not to turn his back on him. McIntyre responded with a Glasgow Kiss, ripped his shirt off and sent the veteran flying over a couch with a Claymore Kick.
Zelina Vega introduced a video highlight of Angel Garza’s altercations with Humberto Carrillo and Rey Mysterio from last week. Garza said that he’s a man’s man because no man can measure up and a lady’s man because no woman can resist him. Humberto then came storming out to beat on his cousin before security subdued him. A flustered Garza then entered the ring to do battle with Cedric Alexander. The two ended up on the outside, where Angel teased stripping the mats but Alexander recomposed himself before he could. Back in the ring, Garza ripped off his pants and nailed Cedric with a wing clipper to pick up the win.
Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Rhea Ripley if she was still waiting on an answer from Charlotte Flair. Ripley said she doesn’t wait for things, she gets out and gets what she wants. Sarah Logan broke up the interview and confronted Rhea. Logan asked Ripley why she thought she could just come to Raw and do whatever she wanted. The NXT Women’s Champion responded by saying, “I’m Rhea Ripley, who are you?” before walking off as Sarah stood and sighed.
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Lana and Bobby Lashley. Lana said it was Bobby’s dream to face Brock Lesnar and that Ricochet got lucky and stole Lashley’s opportunity. Bobby said that he doubted Ricochet was even going to make it to SuperShowdown after facing him. Lana then shooed Sarah away.
Sarah Logan came out and said she will defend her turf by any means necessary and demanded that Rhea come out to face her. Rhea obliged. Before the match could start, Charlotte Flair’s music hit and she made her way to the top of the ramp to observe Ripley beating down Logan. Rhea made quick work of Sarah, finishing her off with a Riptide. After the match, she grabbed a mic and called Charlotte out for not answering her challenge on either Raw or NXT last week. Flair said she wondered whether Rhea would still even be the Women’s Champion after her match with Bianca Belair at Takeover Portland on Sunday.
Charly caught up with Ricochet before he made his way through the curtain and asked him what he thought about Bobby’s strong words. Ricochet said he never backed down from a fight before and he doesn’t intend on doing it now. As the crowd chanted Rusev Day, Ricochet said facing Brock Lesnar is the biggest opportunity of his career and nobody is going to stop him from walking, limping or crawling into SuperShowdown.
Ricochet scored the first big move of the match, connecting on a flip over the top rope onto Bobby Lashley on the outside. His momentum was short-lived. Lashley soon took control of the match, tossing Ricochet head-first into the ring post and back-first into the barricade before throwing him back into the ring to inflict more punishment. Ricochet was able to buy some time to recover with a step up enziguri. He was able to capitalize with a flurry of moves, including a springboard cross body and a standing shooting star press, which got a near fall. Lashley didn’t stay down for long. He nailed Ricochet with a thunderous spinebuster before propping him up on the top rope and tossing him off. Somehow, Ricochet was able to flip over and land on his feet and stun Bobby with multiple running dropkicks. He then finished off Lashley with a 630.
Randy Orton came down to the ring to cut a promo. Orton was only able to get out a single sentence, “What I did to Edge hurt me more than it hurt him” before Matt Hardy’s music interrupted him. Hardy said that although he and Edge had their bad blood, they were once friends with the same dream. Matt said he and Edge helped to revolutionize the TLC match and stole the show at Wrestlemania. Hardy said his ill-feelings towards Edge vanished when he saw his one-time friend had to retire prematurely. He said Randy took away Edge’s miraculous return and asked what the hell was wrong with him. Orton tried to stun Matt with an RKO but Hardy fought back briefly before Randy was able to finally hit him with it. He then rolled outside the ring, grabbed two steel chairs and delivered the same devastating sandwich chair shot to the head he gave to Edge.
Backstage, Sarah interviewed Ruby Riott, asking her why she had such animosity for Liv Morgan. Riott said that she didn’t buy into Morgan’s transformation, so she came back to put Liv in her place.
Aleister Black made quick work of Akira Tozawa, finishing him off with a Black Mass. After the match, Aleister grabbed a microphone and said he was appreciative of each and every person here tonight. He said he knows a thing or two about rebelling against paradise and that he feels like an animal inside of a cage. He said anyone who ventures out to face him will be trapped in a metaphorical cage with him.
Becky returned in the ambulance and stormed back into the arena. She made her way out to the ring and delivered a message to Shayna, telling her she was going to smash her face in and break her down week by week, little by little.
The main event was a four-on-four tag match, pitting Seth Rollins,
Buddy Murphy and AOP against Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and the Viking Raiders. The match started off with Rollins and his disciples taking turns beating on Erik. After a brief glimpse of hope provided by Ivar, it was Kevin Owens’ turn to get worked over. Samoa Joe and the Viking Raiders provided one of the highlights of the night with a synchronized three-man suicide dive. Not be outdone, Owens went up top and hit a cannonball to the outside onto a group that included both friends and foes. The finish was Samoa Joe locking in the Coquina Clutch on Murphy who tapped while the ref had his back turned to deal with Rezar trying to run into the ring. Rollins took advantage of the blind spot and stomped Joe’s head into the canvas, which allowed Murphy to flop onto him and get the pin.
This week’s show featured the beginning of yet another Wrestlemania feud. With Ronda Rousey apparently not coming back for Mania, Shayna Baszler seems like the logical challenger for a feud with Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship. Following the conclusion of a long dominant title reign in NXT, it’s time for Baszler to make the move up to the main roster. There’s no bigger or better way to debut than to do it in a spotlight title match at the company’s biggest show of the year against one of the WWE’s most popular stars. The lackluster triple-threat match at Survivor Series between Becky, Baszler and Bayley is a cause for concern, but a singles program between just Shayna and Becky should hopefully end up clicking better. Their build to the Survivor Series match was well done, which is probably why the match felt so disappointing.
The Lynch storyline was clearly the key point of tonight’s show. But there was other good stuff as well. Ricochet won over the crowd with an exciting performance against Bobby Lashley. Drew McIntyre got another encouraging reaction from the crowd in a segment with MVP, who is clearly better suited for promos instead of in-ring action at this point in his career.
The Matt Hardy-Randy Orton interaction seemed like a placeholder but it did at least get a little more heat for Orton. Given Hardy’s soon expiring contract, it may be a goodbye to him as well.
For the second week in a row, Angel Garza looked like a natural and showed that not only does he belong on the main roster full time but that he’s got the type of charisma to be one of the future stars of the show. A potential stable of him, Vega and Andrade could be gold.
After two weeks of multi-man tag matches featuring Kevin Owens against Seth Rollins’ crew, the main event didn’t have quite a fresh feel, but it was fine for what it was, It was a nice welcome back for Samoa Joe, even though he was the one who ultimately ate the pin.
Aleister Black had another strange promo. This week, instead of talking about shadows, he discussed cages. Could that be a hint at an eventual feud with Eric Rowan, who along with his caged pet was absent from tonight’s show?
They’re prolonging the Charlotte challenge acceptance until after Takeover, which is understandable, but if that’s the course of action, they probably could have just saved the big Rhea challenge spot until next week and kept the focus primarily on her match with Bianca Belair at Takeover. The Charlotte involvement has forced Belair into third wheel territory for no real reason since there’s still plenty of time until Wrestlemania.
Rusev was once again absent from the show. Who knows what his direction will be now that Lana and Lashley have seemed to move on to new things and Liv Morgan is now set up for a feud with Ruby Riott. Ultimately, the whole Lana/Lashley/Rusev/Liv storyline didn’t seem to benefit any party involved.
Overall, it was a good show with a pretty responsive crowd. The Kevin Owens, Joe and Viking Raiders gang versus Rollins and his disciples angle looks like it will continue, but there needs to be some type of new dynamic added to freshen things up a bit in the coming weeks. The multi-man matches feel recycled. It might be time to laser in the focus on Rollins and Owens as a singles program.