Date: March 8, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL
The Big Takeaway --
Bobby Lashley easily retained the WWE title against the Miz in Raw’s opener. Drew McIntyre was teased as his next opponent, but he will likely have to finish his feud with Sheamus first. The two had a no disqualification match that ended in a ref stoppage.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler retained their tag titles over Naomi and Lana. Next week, Riddle defends the US title against Mustafa Ali, while the Hurt Business defend their tag titles against the New Day.
There was also a bizarre segment involving Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman.
Oh, and AJ Styles beat Randy Orton after Alexa Bliss made Orton cough up goo again.
Show Recap --
There was a recap of last week’s show-long angle that led to Bobby Lashley beating the Miz for the WWE title.
They cut to the Hurt Business walking through the back all dressed in suits earlier today. Sarah Schrieber approached Lashley for an interview. Lashley mentioned how happy he was. He’s been through so many obstacles and backstage politics but he busted his ass to get the shot.
When he finally got his shot, he made sure to punish the Miz. He was going to make an example of the Miz right now to send a message to the rest of the locker room. Sixteen years was too long to wait to win the title and no one was taking it from him. “The all mighty era has begun.”
Miz entered the ring with John Morrison for his title rematch. He rambled about how much he does for the company while never getting injured. He deserved the benefit of the doubt last week when he said he had stomach cramps. He technically defended his title successfully last week when he lost by countout. He admitted that was shady but he outsmarted everyone.
He continued to recap everything we just saw in the opening video package. He said the only thing WWE did right was giving him his rematch tonight. He wanted everyone who celebrated Lashley’s win last week to get ready to post about their new champion.
There was a commercial for WrestleMania tickets going on sale. The show’s tagline is “Back in Business.”
Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) defeated The Miz (w/John Morrison) to retain the WWE Championship (9:06)
Lashley’s entrance now includes a lightning effect. Drew McIntyre was shown watching this match in the back.
Miz tried avoiding Lashley but Lashley caught him and hit a delayed vertical suplex. Miz avoided a charge and Lashley went shoulder-first into the post. Miz also ran Lashley into the post but Lashley ran him over with a clothesline. This led to a break less than two minutes into this title match.
Lashley remained in control, chucking Miz across the ring and into the barricade. Lashley cut off a brief comeback attempt and drove Miz into the post. Lashley hit a flatliner and spinebuster before applying the Hurt Lock for the submission win. This was basically a 9-minute squash match.
Backstage, McIntyre told Schreiber that he’s the only worthy challenger. He was pissed off about Lashley attacking him and costing him the title only to beat the Miz of all people to win the title, while McIntyre himself beat Brock Lesnar for the title. McIntyre questioned Lashley’s passion and heart.
Sheamus attacked McIntyre and tossed him into equipment boxes. Sheamus threatened to make McIntyre miserable. After Sheamus left, McIntyre got up and tossed stuff around in anger. McIntyre was great in this segment.
Rhea Ripley is coming soon.
After a break, Adam Pearce approached McIntyre. McIntyre didn’t allow Pearce to speak. He demanded a no disqualification match against Sheamus.
R-Truth approached Braun Strowman in the back. Truth said Bugs Bunny has gone to the dark side and joined the Monstars so he needed his own Monstar to get his baby back. Truth did some more comedy before Strowman cut him off to tell him he was going to the ring to demand an apology from Shane McMahon. Truth put on shades and tried zapping him like Men in Black. Truth ran off when it didn’t work.
There was a commercial for NXT which includes a “massive announcement” from William Regal.
McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a no DQ match was made official for tonight.
Braun Strowman / Shane McMahon segment
Strowman entered the ring to complain about Shane McMahon. Strowman knew he could snap Shane’s neck but also knew that Shane could fire him. (Not if you snap his neck first.) Strowman snarled like a lunatic, demanding that Shane show him respect and give him an apology.
Shane entered. He got right in Strowman’s face and said, “I apologize.” Byron Saxton said, “That’s it?” Shane left. Before going to the back, Shane teased that he had more to say, but he left.
WWE wished Bad Bunny luck at the Grammys.
Schreiber asked Shane if he wanted to elaborate on what it seemed like he was about to say earlier. Shane said, “maybe later.” He left.
No disqualification match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus ended in a no contest/referee stoppage (19:22)
(This technically started a minute or two before 9pm so the first hour of Raw had about 10-11 minutes of wrestling.)
McIntyre attacked Sheamus during his entrance, which was a funny visual. The match officially started once they hit the ring. They fought back and forth until McIntyre ducked a kendo stick attack by Sheamus. McIntyre responded by slamming him on the steel steps. Sheamus kicked the middle rope into McIntyre’s groin and attacked with the kendo stick.
Sheamus used a rolling senton for two. McIntyre came back with overhead suplexes and a neckbreaker. McIntyre attacked with the kendo stick and used it to hit a Russian leg sweep for two. Sheamus posted McIntyre and slammed him on the announce table which led to break.
Sheamus hit a backbreaker and applied a cloverleaf but McIntyre escaped and hit a spinebuster for two. McIntyre followed with a superplex for two. Sheamus came back with White Noise for two. Sheamus grabbed a chair but McIntyre seemed to punch him right in the face. McIntyre hit him with the chair and gave him a Future Shock DDT on the chair for two.
McIntyre tried a Claymore but Sheamus chucked the chair at his face and hit a knee strike for a nearfall. Sheamus wedged a chair between the turnbuckles but McIntyre chucked him into it and exploded off the ropes with a Claymore. However, Sheamus fell out of the ring. McIntyre struggled to get him back in the ring and Sheamus came back with a Brogue Kick.
They each grabbed a set of steel steps and charged at each other. They knocked each other down and they both collapsed. “This is awesome” chants played as the ref checked on both guys. They didn’t respond so the ref called the match off and asked for help from the back. Officials checked on them as replays of the collision aired.
There was a Randy Orton/Alexa Bliss video package.
Kevin Patrick (new interviewer) interviewed AJ Styles in the back. Styles ignored his question because he wanted to talk about Orton. He laughed about Orton being the victim of voodoo magic. Orton (who happened to be nearby) interrupted.
Orton asked if there was something funny about a grown man having his mind messed with. Styles thought it was weak. Orton wanted a match tonight so he could show him just how weak he was. Styles accepted and warned Orton that he might have an even bigger problem (Omos) on his hands. Orton was pleased.
The New Day will face Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander for the tag titles next week.
Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) defeated Tag Team Champion Shelton Benjamin (w/Cedric Alexander) (3:46)
New Day wore gear inspired by Mortal Kombat. Kingston dressed in Scorpion’s yellow and black, while Woods wore Sub-Zero’s blue and black. They also had an MK logo on their gear, except with a unicorn silhouette instead of a dragon.
There was a spot early on where Benjamin hit a stiff knee strike for a very close nearfall. Woods came back with chops, strikes, and discus forearm but Benjamin knocked him down with a boot. Benjamin decided to turn his attention to Kingston so Woods rolled him up for the pinfall win.
In the back, Riddle told Schreiber that Retribution wouldn’t be able to distract him in his match tonight. He was more concerned about where to park his scooter. He left it in the back once and got a ticket. If he took it to ringside, Mustafa Ali might break it. Riddle asked her if she had any ideas for him. She didn’t.
New Day walked in on his interview and Riddle asked if they wanted to play Call of Duty later. They said they’d be ready to play after he beats Slapjack. Riddle asked them to watch his scooter and they were more than happy to oblige.
Riddle defends the US title against Ali next week.
US Champion Riddle defeated Slapjack (w/Mustafa Ali) in a non-title match (3:52)
Riddle exploded out of the gate with a series of suplexes and strikes. He went for a penalty kick on the apron but Slapjack blocked it (sort of) and dropped him on the apron. Slapjack hit a few suplexes himself for two, followed by a nice dropkick for two.
Riddle blocked a missile dropkick and hit a final flash knee for a nearfall. Slapjack kicked Riddle for a two count and Riddle fought back with a knee strike and Bro Derek for the pinfall win. This was fun while it lasted.
Ali admonished Slapjack after the match.
Pearce approached Shane in the back. Pearce asked Shane about what was about to say earlier. Shane resisted and Pearce politely backed off. Shane admitted he had something to say to Strowman and asked Pearce to go get him.
Shane McMahon / Braun Strowman segment
Shane was in the ring after a break as loud “Shane O Mac” chants played. (They don’t play the chants this loud for any main roster talent, except maybe McIntyre.)
Strowman entered. Shane acted like his mic wasn’t working so he left the ring to get a new one. He backed away up the ramp.
Shane breathed heavily as he contemplated what he would say next. Strowman wanted to know why he was out here. Shane stalled. He just stood there holding the mic as Strowman paced around.
Shane could tell that Strowman was upset with him. Shane said he didn’t want to call Strowman stupid, then proceeded to basically call him stupid. Shane then purposely stuttered and called him “B-b-b-braun.” This pissed off Strowman so he went after Shane who sprinted to the back.
Shane could be seen running toward an SUV. When Strowman arrived, the SUV took off. Strowman left, at which point Shane reappeared. He laughed and called Strowman stupid again.
This really sucked.
They replayed Nia Jax saying “my hole” before losing to Lana in a tables match.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (w/Reginald) defeated Naomi & Lana to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championship (7:40)
Jax entered with Reginald. She felt bad for him after he got fired by Carmella. She also knew a thing or two about wine. She called him cute.
Jax and Baszler cornered Lana on the outside but Naomi yelled, “Lana, move!” before wiping out the champs with a corkscrew dive. This led to break two minutes into the match. Baszler took over during a break anyway and stomped Lana’s arm.
Lana kicked Baszler and they both tagged out. Naomi took out Baszler before hitting Jax with a series of kicks but Baszler broke up a cover. Reginald grabbed Naomi’s leg as she came off the ropes so she stopped what she was doing and tagged in Lana.
Lana dropkicked Reginald as Naomi held him by the head. Jax ran over both Lana and Naomi before giving Lana a powerbomb for the pinfall win. Jax carried Reginald away on her shoulder after the match. This was a bad segment.
Schreiber approached Orton and mentioned that several wrestlers were concerned for his well-being. Orton was surprised to hear he had any friends. He thought it was funny considering none of them actually approached him. He said Styles just needs to be worried about getting an RKO.
Schreiber interviewed Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. They wanted to be taken seriously as a team and as individuals. Charlotte Flair joined the segment to remind them that she wanted a title shot at WrestleMania. Rose said they did too. Charlotte said they had five weeks to prove their case.
Kevin Patrick asked Styles if he regretted his comments. Styles said no. He said Orton should be focused on the Fiend or Alexa Bliss or whoever. Styles planned on handing him a loss heading into WrestleMania.
(Styles entered for the main event and they went to break. When they returned, they aired a recap of Lashley retaining his title and the recap basically showed Lashley’s entire entrance. By the time Orton entered and the match started, Styles would have been waiting in the ring for 10 minutes.)
AJ Styles (w/Omos) defeated Randy Orton (15:36)
Orton was all over Styles and suplexed him on top of the announce table. Orton became distracted by Omos so Styles nailed him with a springboard forearm which led to break.
Styles was in control until Orton came back with right hands, a clothesline and powerslam for two, followed by a backbreaker for two. Orton set up for a superplex but Styles slipped out and dropped Orton on the turnbuckle. Styles went for a springboard move but Orton tripped him.
Styles blocked a draping DDT attempt and applied a calf crusher. Styles let go after Orton got close to the rope and Orton followed with an uppercut and draping DDT.
As Orton set up for an RKO, Omos pulled Styles from the ring. Alexa Bliss appeared on the screen as the arena lights turned purple.
Bliss lit a match and blew it out which caused fire pyro to go off from three corners of the ring. Orton began coughing up black goo. Styles hit a Phenomenal forearm for the pinfall win.
Bliss giggled as Orton looked on.