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ajreturnsraw

Date: March 21, 2022
Location: Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL

The Big Takeaway --

Seth Rollins’ attempt to weasel his way onto WrestleMania failed once again and he threatened to sabotage Raw next week unless he gets what he wants. 

Show Recap --

Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music hit and everyone in the crowd was fooled. Of course, it was Kevin Owens in an Austin 3:16 t-shirt, jean shorts, knee braces and a poorly-fitting bald cap.

Owens acted as though he was Austin, mimicking his catchphrases and yelling “What” at the crowd. They loudly booed and chanted “you suck.” Owens said Austin didn’t do much thinking when he accepted the WrestleMania invite but that’s because Austin didn’t do much thinking at all these days. The lights were on but nobody was home.

The crowd chanted “we want Austin” and Austin’s music hit again. The crowd popped and Owens acted shocked. The music stopped and Owens laughed and called them idiots.

Owens called for beers but he missed each one they threw at him. Owens blamed the stagehand for throwing them poorly so he gave him a stunner. Owens cracked up the beers and dumped them on the guy. Owens did Austin’s pose as the segment ended.

Owens got a ton of heat here.

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In the back, Kevin Patrick asked Seth Rollins about not going to WrestleMania this year. The crowd loudly chanted “Cody” (louder than last week). Rollins laughed, grabbed the mic, and left. 

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Rey Mysterio was shown at the IndyCar event with Mario Andretti.

The Miz entered with Ziggler and Roode and joined commentary.

Rey & Dominik Mysterio defeated NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (9:29) 

A minute into the match, Rey and Dominik each hit dives when Seth Rollins’ music hit and he entered on the stage.

Rollins said he wanted a spot at WrestleMania and he wanted something even bigger than Austin. His microphone kept cutting out as he spoke and he claimed that they were trying to shut him up. 

Rey made a comeback on Roode before making the tag to Dominik. Dominik had Roode pinned but Ziggler broke up the cover. Dominik gave Ziggler a cutter but Roode responded with a spinebuster. Dominik came back with a 619 and frog splash for the pinfall win.

After the match, Ziggler superkicked Dominik while Miz gave Rey a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz abruptly ripped off Rey’s mask and the crowd loudly booed. Rey covered his face until Dominik got him a towel to cover up.

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Rollins spoke to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville in the back. He knew they cut his mic. Pearce said interrupting a match and acting like a lunatic wasn’t going to get him what he wants. Deville told Rollins that he was the one who failed last week. Pearce told Rollins that he would see what he could do. Rollins cackled. 

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Miz was on the phone with Maryse, bragging about taking Rey’s mask. Patrick interrupted him and asked why he took Rey’s mask. Miz said Logan Paul grew up a huge fan of Rey Mysterio but you should never meet your heroes. Paul learned that Rey and Dominik were jerks and Miz was happy to humiliate them. Miz dared Paul to wear the mask on Raw next week. 

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Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will both be on Raw in Pittsburgh next week.

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1-on-2 handicap match: Omos defeated Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez (1:49)

Crews and Azeez attacked Omos before the match officially started but he fought them off. The bell rang and Omos gave Azeez a scoop slam before dropping Crews with a press slam. Omos gave Crews a tree slam, stacked him over Azeez, and pinned them for the win.

Omos cut a promo after the match. He dared someone to step to him on Raw or at WrestleMania but no matter who it was, they would get dominated.

The crowd’s been hot so far but they didn’t seem to care about this. 

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AJ Styles entered.

[SECOND HOUR]

AJ Styles promo 

The crowd chanted for Styles. He said he’s been missing out on stuff like that being out the past few weeks. While sitting at home, he watched the replay of what Edge did to him over and over. He just wanted to be alone and didn’t even want to be around his wife and kids.

Styles watched Edge’s promos with mood lighting over the past two weeks but he didn’t care about that. He wasn’t here for answers, he was here to kick Edge’s teeth down his throat. Styles said Edge would get the “bulldog” at WrestleMania but called him out for a fight right now. Edge didn’t enter so Styles called him a coward.

Rollins’ music hit and he entered again. The crowd chanted for Cody. Rollins told them to settle down. He said rumours don’t make moments and he was living for his WrestleMania moment. Styles told him to cut the crap and wanted to know why he was out there.

Rollins was concerned for Styles’ health and safety. He wondered if Styles was even capable of facing Edge. Rollins suggested that Styles go home, hug his wife and kids, fully recover, and come back after WrestleMania.

Styles said Rollins wasn’t taking his spot. If he could walk, he would face Edge. That gave Rollins an idea but Styles knew what he was trying to do. Rollins asked the crowd if they’d like to see him against Styles tonight. Styles said he would do what Rollins couldn’t do and that’s destroy Edge. Once he was done with Edge, he’d get back to Rollins.

Pearce and Deville entered. Like last week, Pearce went ahead and made the match. If Rollins can beat Styles tonight, he would replace him at WrestleMania. Rollins excitedly pranced around so Styles decked him. Rollins bailed before Styles could do worse.

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Queen Zelina confronted Carmella in the back. Carmella blew her off so Zelina smashed her phone. Zelina called Carmella ugly and Carmella called Zelina a hobbit. Carmella slapped her so they brawled until officials broke them up.

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Styles barged into the office of Pearce and Deville. Styles told Pearce that he sucked at this management thing and said he hasn’t heard good things about Deville. Styles said he would go ahead and beat Rollins to secure his WrestleMania spot.

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Natalya & Shayna Baszler defeated Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan (3:54)

Carmella marched out during the match to complain to Corey Graves. Graves tuned out of the match and so did I. Natalya and Baszler picked up the win after giving Morgan a Hart Attack.

After the match, Zelina attacked Ripley from behind with a kendo stick. Carmella shoved Natalya into the steel steps before taking out Baszler with a superkick.

Carmella and Zelina teased another confrontation but they hugged and smiled. They’re on the same page after all. 

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Becky Lynch promo 

Lynch pondered a question: what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose their soul? Lynch recalled the many months she went without holding the championship belt — not because she lost it, but because she was forced to surrender it.

Lynch knew she would do whatever it took to get it back. So what does it profit a man? This championship was everything and holding it meant she was power, she was glory, she was the prize at the top of the mountain. This was her world. She returned but the crowd had chosen Bianca Belair over her and that’s when she knew she would sell her soul for the title.

Belair didn’t have what it took to beat her. Belair could damage her throat, but Lynch damaged her’s worse. Belair hurt her by accident, but Lynch hurt her deliberately.

Lynch came here to take Belair’s hair but Belair wasn’t here tonight. Belair couldn’t risk losing her soul but Lynch already sold hers. Lynch would show Belair what she stood to profit at WrestleMania — if Belair can make it.

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Sarah Schreiber asked Austin Theory about Pat McAfee’s “apology” on Smackdown. Theory called McAfee a dumb jock who had no business stepping in the ring with him. Theory said he could talk to Mr. McMahon and McAfee wouldn’t even have a commentary job anymore. After Schreiber asked about his match tonight, Theory said he was running out of storage on his phone because of all the post-beatdown selfies he had with Finn Bálor. He planned on taking one more tonight. 

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Veer Mahaan is coming to Raw on April 4th. 

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Pat McAfee entered and joined commentary.

United States Champion Finn Bálor defeated Austin Theory in a non-title match (8:00)

Long story short: McAfee repeatedly distracted Theory until Bálor pinned him with a small package.

After Theory fell out of the ring, McAfee mocked him and did his own weird version of the crotch chop. Bálor dropkicked Theory into the barricade which led to break. Despite what we just saw, Theory was in control after the break.

McAfee rallied the crowd behind Bálor and Bálor came back with a running forearm and double foot stomp. Theory rammed Bálor into the announce table as he issued a warning to McAfee. Bálor responded by smashing Theory’s head repeatedly into the announce table.

Bálor went for the Coup de Grace but Theory dodged it. McAfee distracted Theory and the crowd actually chanted for “Pat.” Theory and Bálor exchanged counters until Theory hit the ATL for a nearfall.

McAfee again distracted Theory and Bálor rolled him up for the pinfall win.

[THIRD HOUR]

They showed Rob Gronkowski attacking Jinder Mahal at WrestleMania 2017 (but didn’t show Mojo Rawley going on to win the André the Giant Battle Royal).

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Chad Gable did a pre-match promo doing his usual schtick.

Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton & Riddle defeated Alpha Academy in a non-title match (7:38)

Otis ran over Riddle outside the ring leading to break two minutes into the match. Riddle made a hot tag almost as soon as they returned to break and Orton gave Gable a powerslam. Otis got in his way so Orton decked him before giving Gable a draping DDT. Gable countered an RKO and hit a German suplex but Riddle had blind-tagged in.

Gable tried giving Riddle a German but Riddle flipped out of it and hit Bro Derek for the pinfall win.

After the match, Otis knocked Orton over the barricade. He went to give Riddle a Vader Bomb but the Street Profits (wearing Chicago Bulls-themed attire) made the save. Riddle was happy to see them, but Angelo Dawkins hit him with a spinebuster and Montez Ford followed with a frog splash.

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They congratulated Gable Steveson on winning the NCAA Championship.

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Mixed tornado tag team match: 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke & Reggie defeated Tamina & Akira Tozawa (1:06)

Reggie pinned Tozawa in the little window in the upper left corner of the screen because they were showing a replay of Tamina’s head hitting Tozawa’s balls. 

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Next week’s go-home Raw in Pittsburgh:

  • The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy
  • Sasha Banks, Naomi, Ripley & Morgan vs. Zelina, Carmella, Natalya & Baszler
  • Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz
  • Lesnar and Reigns appear

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AJ Styles defeated Seth Rollins via DQ (22:52)

Styles hit a springboard forearm outside the ring before a break but Rollins took control during the break after hitting a neckbreaker over the middle rope.

Styles fought back and sprinted toward Rollins in the corner but Rollins moved and Styles went face-first into the buckle. (The spot sounded brutal because Styles’ leg hit the post at the same time and it made a loud crashing sound.) Rollins gained control from there and hit a suicide dive which led to another break.

Rollins taunted Styles and smacked him but that just woke up Styles who came back with a strike combo and fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two. Rollins used a jackknife cover for two and Styles followed with a facebuster for two.

Rollins blocked a Styles Clash and followed with a rolling elbow and falcon arrow for a nearfall. They exchanged counters and cradles until Styles suplexed Rollins into the turnbuckles. Styles followed later with a rack bomb for two.

Styles went for the Phenomenal forearm but Rollins superkicked him in mid-air and followed with a buckle bomb. Rollins went for a frog splash but Styles got his knees up.

Styles once again set up for the forearm but Edge attacked him from behind with a steel chair for the disqualification.

Rollins pleaded with the referee but Styles was announced the winner by DQ, meaning Styles will face Edge at WrestleMania.

Rollins grabbed a mic and said, “this is bullshit!” Rollins said Raw won’t happen next week unless he gets his WrestleMania. Rollins repeatedly said “bullshit” off the mic as he threw a Bret Hart-level tantrum around ringside. (There was a brief chant for Cody.)