Date: April 25, 2022
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN
The Big Takeaway --
Asuka returned, Mustafa Ali returned, Ciampa turned heel, Bianca Belair retained her title, and Randy Orton handed out plenty of RKOs on his 20th anniversary night.
Show Recap --
Randy Orton's 20th-anniversary celebration
Riddle was in the ring and the Raw roster surrounded ringside. (Seth Rollins sat alone next to the commentary table.)
Riddle played an Orton video package. It started with his debut win over Hardcore Holly on Smackdown 20 years ago and spanned his career including his time in Evolution, his first world title win, his time as the legend killer, and his many title reigns including his current tag title reign with Riddle. Orton said he’s been having a ton of fun because his partner is fun to be around and it’s reignited his passion. The crowd gave the video a big ovation.
Orton entered and the crowd chanted for him. Orton said he appreciated Riddle. He mentioned that Knoxville, Tennessee is actually where he was born and it was cool that they were doing this here. Orton said there have been a lot of ups and downs but he hoped the fans weren’t getting sick of him because he wasn’t going anywhere for a long time.
Orton said he’s had a lot of great moments and matches including matches against John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Undertaker and Mick Foley. In fact, it was because of Foley he became the legend killer. Triple H and Ric Flair deserved credit as well.
Orton was having more fun than he’s ever had and it was because of Riddle. Orton told him, “I love you, man.” They hugged. Orton said the fans have always supported him through everything and he loved them all as well.
Riddle had a surprise for Orton — a man who looked up to Orton and once considered him a friend. Riddle introduced Cody Rhodes. Rhodes hugged Orton. Riddle acted jealous.
Rollins grabbed a mic and interrupted. Rollins warned Orton not to trust Rhodes. He claimed Rhodes was just there to steal his spotlight. Rollins told Rhodes that not everything was about him. Rollins said tonight was about Orton whose time was in the past. Rollins said the next generation would be inspired by him, not Orton or Rhodes or Riddle.
Ezekiel interrupted. As a newer superstar on the roster, he wanted to introduce himself to Orton. Kevin Owens marched out through the crowd and accused Ezekiel of being a liar.
Owens ranted like a mad man until the Usos interrupted next. The Usos said their favourite Orton moment would be when they beat RK-Bro at Backlash to unify the titles.
Adam Pearce entered to sign an eight-man tag match. Rollins, Owens and the Usos against Rhodes, Ezekiel, Riddle and Orton.
Owens decked Ezekiel so Orton dropped Owens with an RKO.
Glenn Jacobs was shown speaking with Bianca Belair in the back.
Bianca Belair defeated Sonya Deville via count out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship (0:45)
Belair chucked Deville over the announce table and won in 45 seconds by count-out. Deville said this shouldn’t count because she slipped on water and had the match restarted as a no count-out match.
No count-out match: Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair defeated Sonya Deville via disqualification (0:52)
Deville hit Belair with a chair for a DQ in under a minute. She claimed that Belair used a weapon — her hair — first, so this shouldn’t count either. She had the match restarted as a no count-out, no DQ match.
(I don’t know if those were officially matches or not, but I’m listing them anyway.)
No count-out, no disqualification match: Bianca Belair defeated Sonya Deville to retain the Raw Women’s Championship (6:08)
Deville immediately signalled to the back and Carmella and Queen Zelina marched out to assist her. After a break, they were teaming up on Belair who fought them off. Deville drove Belair face-first into the middle turnbuckle and gave her a DDT onto a steel chair for a nearfall.
Belair once again fought off both Zelina and Carmella before giving Deville a KOD for the pinfall win. Belair retains the title. The crowd was happy.
Carmella and Zelina argued in the back until they were interrupted by Deville. She informed them that they screwed up her title chance so now they wouldn’t be getting theirs. Zelina didn’t like this news so Deville slapped her. Carmella spoke up too so Deville slapped her even harder. Deville let them know that she was still the boss.
Edge & Damian Priest segment
Like last week, Edge sat on his throne with Damian Priest by his side. Edge said Priest would finish his business with Finn Bálor tonight. Edge insulted Tennessee’s college football team, mocked the fans and mocked AJ Styles. Priest said Bálor would face his judgment day. (Edge said a lot of words but that was the gist of it.)
Veer Mahaan defeated Sam Smothers (0:36)
Mahaan won quickly by submission with the “Cervical Clutch” (modified camel clutch).
After the match, Mahaan reapplied the hold before slamming the guy on the announce table. Mahaan leaped onto the table and applied the hold again.
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Bobby Lashley who was warming up as if he was getting ready for a fight. She noted that he didn’t seem to be warming up for an arm wrestling contest. Lashley said he was pretty confident in his arm wrestling abilities but he didn’t trust Omos or MVP.
They showed tweets from John Cena, Drew McIntyre and Triple H congratulating Orton on his anniversary.
Arm Wrestling Match: Bobby Lashley defeated Omos (w/MVP)
This went exactly as you’d expect.
Omos was initially winning but as MVP berated Lashley, Lashley powered up and won. Omos attacked Lashley afterwards and slammed the arm wrestling apparatus onto him.
There was a segment earlier today with R-Truth giving couples counselling to Reggie, Dana Brooke, Tamina and Akira Tozawa. This resulted in a mixed tag match with Truth as the referee.
Mixed tag team match: Tamina & Akira Tozawa defeated 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke & Reggie (1:31)
Tozawa won with a diving senton on Reggie.
Tozawa tried to pin Brooke afterwards for the 24/7 title but Truth broke it up. Truth, still dressed as a referee, tried to pin Brooke while also counting the fall but she kicked out and ran away.
Becky Lynch promo / Asuka return
A downtrodden Lynch entered. She said it’s been three years since she walked out on Raw without her championship, three years since somebody has been able to beat her. She almost didn’t want to appear tonight because she didn’t know who she was without the title. “I’ve hit rock bottom. That’s it. That’s all I have to say.”
Lynch was about to drop the mic but she realized that being at the bottom meant there was only one way to go. This would be the beginning of an epic Becky Lynch comeback and the fans would be lucky enough to witness it. She would topple Belair and she would be champion forever because no one could stop her.
Asuka entered to a big reaction. Lynch froze.
Asuka told Lynch: “I will stop you. Because no one is ready for Asuka.”
Asuka flicked Lynch’s nose. Lynch took a swing at Asuka, Asuka ducked and swung back but Lynch bailed.
Backstage, the Street Profits spoke about Orton before congratulating Belair on retaining her title. They spoke about tonight’s match before announcing, per Adam Pearce, that they would face the winners of the tag title unification match.
Damian Priest defeated Finn Bálor (7:21)
Edge watched from his throne on the stage. Priest was announced as “representing Judgment Day.”
Priest gave Bálor a Razor’s Edge onto the apron which led to break 90 seconds into the match. Bálor came back with his usual offense and countered a chokeslam into a cradle for two.
Bálor went to the top but was distracted by… Edge standing up off his chair. Priest grabbed Bálor and hit a big chokeslam and flatliner for the pinfall win.
Miz TV with guest Theory / Mustafa Ali returns
Miz introduced Theory and they took a selfie together. Miz spoke about their similarities before asking Theory what it was like being US champion.
Theory said he looked up to Miz and planned on living up to his standards. Theory wanted to prove he was the best investment Mr. McMahon has ever made and would take the US title to new heights. The crowd chanted “what” at Theory throughout his promo.
Mustafa Ali interrupted. Ali was all smiles. He received a moderate “welcome back” chant.
Miz asked if Ali still worked here and Theory asked if he was the guy who took his ball and went home.
Miz made a joke at Ali’s expense and Ali said if he wanted to laugh he would watch Miz try to wrestle. Ali challenged Theory to a US title match tonight. The crowd cheered.
Theory said no. Ali wondered if Theory was all biceps and no balls. Ali said Theory was running away from a fight like he was the Miz. Theory stood up for the Miz and called him a future Hall of Famer who would never run away from a fight.
Miz said he would love to embarrass Ali but he doesn’t have a magic wand to make a match whenever he wanted. Theory said, “but I do.” Theory had texted McMahon who made a match between Miz and Ali. Miz wasn’t happy.
Miz told Ali, “I’m gonna make you wish you got your walking papers.” Ali smacked him.
Mustafa Ali defeated The Miz (6:42)
Miz was in control until Ali came back with a spinning kick, a chop, and a rolling neckbreaker for two. Miz responded with a DDT for two. Miz shoved Ali off the rope and he landed awkwardly on his leg. Miz went for the Figure Four but Ali reversed into a cradle for the pinfall win.
— As Ali posed on the stage after the match, Tommaso Ciampa rushed in from nowhere and decked him. (They abruptly cut away from this.)
The announcers referred to him only as “Ciampa.”
Schreiber interviewed Rhea Ripley. Ripley said she finally opened her eyes. When she first arrived on Raw, she won the championship on her own. Since then, she’s had teammates who have done nothing but drag her down.
Liv Morgan barged in and attacked Ripley until they were quickly separated by officials.
Chad Gable argued with Owens about payment for last week’s segment. Owens still didn’t want to pay him. Rollins interrupted because he wanted to speak to Owens. They argued until they were interrupted by the Usos. Jey and Jimmy told them to stay on their page because Rollins and Owens don’t want to be on Roman Reigns’ bad side. Rollins laughed and the Usos walked away. Rollins tried to play nice with Owens but Owens walked away from him too.
Kevin Patrick interviewed MVP and Omos. MVP said the arm wrestling challenge wasn’t about brawn, it was about brains, and Lashley showed why he’d be nothing without him. Omos challenged Lashley to a match at Backlash. (They piped in booing for Omos.)
10:27pm: Cody enters. Commercial break.
10:31pm: MVP/Omos interview
10:35pm: Ezekiel enters, RK-Bro enters.
10:37pm: Usos, Owens, Rollins enter.
10:40pm: Ezekiel attacks Owens. Teams brawl leading to commercial break.
10:43pm: Back from break, main event is underway.
Eight-man tag match: Cody Rhodes, Ezekiel & Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton & Riddle defeated Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens & Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos (approx. 15:13)
(Ezekiel's physique and tassels on his arms make his body look like Ultimate Warrior’s.)
Orton and Rhodes worked together early on but the Usos used their numbers advantage to take control over Rhodes. Rollins waited for Rhodes to be down before tagging in but Rhodes fought him off and tagged in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel hit Rollins with a jumping knee and spinebuster for two. Riddle tagged in and hit a few moves until Jimmy Uso attacked him from behind and Rollins brought him down with an impressive reverse superplex.
After a break, Riddle brought down Rollins with a floating bro but Jimmy prevented a tag. Riddle fought him off but the heels knocked all of the babyfaces off the apron so he couldn’t tag out. Owens hit a senton for two but Orton managed to tag himself in.
Orton handed out back suplexes to Jey, Rollins and Owens onto the announce table before giving Jey a draping DDT. Rhodes gave Rollins a Disaster kick and Orton followed with an RKO. Ezekiel assisted Orton into giving Owens an RKO, and Riddle assisted in Orton giving Jimmy an RKO.
Jey tried a splash but Orton countered into an RKO for the pinfall win.
The crowd cheered and the good guys posed as the show ended.