United States Champion Andrade and Zelina Vega Interrupted Drew McIntyre
I could have done without the replays of McIntyre beating Brock Lesnar and Big Show last week, but I understand they have to kill television time somehow. His promo was very good before he was interrupted by Andrade and Vega and I absolutely loved that their history from NXT was acknowledged. Andrade taking credit for ending his NXT Championship reign and putting him on the shelf for six months makes him an automatic threat to McIntyre despite having not picked up an important win in a while. This was a solid segment all around.
Asuka def. Ruby Riott in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
I really hope The Kabuki Warriors losing the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 36 means Asuka and Kairi Sane will be branching back out into singles competition. As for Riott, she hasn't been seen since Elimination Chamber, but I was glad she had a chance to shine here against Asuka. This was a fun, lengthy match with Riott looking good in defeat. Asuka winning was the right call, even though I don't expect her to win the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Aleister Black def. Oney Lorcan
It was announced right before this that Black will be facing Austin Theory in a Money in the Bank qualifying match next week. Meanwhile, it was good to see Lorcan on Raw for the second straight week. He and Black received an ample amount of time and it was every bit as physical as I expected. I'm all for Black having longer matches each week if they're always going to be this entertaining.
Becky Lynch Addressed Money in the Bank
It doesn't look like there are any immediate plans to continue the Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler feud, which is weird considering how indecisive Lynch's WrestleMania win was. I'm sure they'll go back to it eventually, maybe even as soon as post-Money in the Bank, but at least Lynch is maintaining a presence on TV with her strong mic work. Baszler cashing in the contract to take the title from Lynch is an idea, but I'd rather her beat Lynch for the belt straight-up given the nature of her character.
Shayna Baszler def. Sarah Logan in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Well, this wasn't much of a match, and that's exactly what I liked about it. Coming off her loss to Lynch at WrestleMania, Baszler had to go in there and murder someone and that's exactly what happened here. She let loose on Logan with a flurry of punches before stepping on her arm the same way he did to Dakota Kai two years ago in NXT. As previously noted, she's currently my pick to win the whole thing, but I don't think that fits her character too well. On a side note, I have no idea whether this show was live or not (the WWE Live logo wasn't in the corner during the broadcast), but if it was taped, there is no excuse for Mike Rome's botch making the air afterward.
Austin Theory def. Akira Tozawa
I guess this means Theory is an official member of the Raw roster and it wasn't just for WrestleMania season. I'm a fan of his, but there's a lot of room for improvement there and he never had much of a chance to grow in NXT. On the bright side, he's been recruited into the faction with Andrade, Vega and Angel Garza, so it could be worse. This was a nice little showcase for him as Tozawa never ceases to make his opponents look great. It's interesting that he's continuing to appear on Raw despite being recently announced for the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament.
Angel Garza def. Tehuti Miles
The focus here was on Garza and the rest of his faction building momentum ahead of Andrade's main event match with McIntyre. Miles is a Performance Center recruit and was last seen on NXT two weeks ago in a losing effort against Killain Dain. Garza made short work of him in this bout before he, Andrade and Theory unleashed an assault on Theory post-match, which established them as a force to be reckoned with.
Nia Jax def. Kairi Sane in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Sane is a very talented competitor, but the outcome was never in doubt. She just returned last week after a year-long hiatus and there was no way she was losing here. It's a shame because Sane is awesome, but I fear she'll be relegated to enhancement status on her own. She could benefit from a face turn at some point seeing as how she flourished in that role in NXT.
NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair Addressed Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai
I still disagree with the decision to put the NXT Women's Championship on Flair, but here's hoping they make the most of it. She cut a quality promo here addressing her WrestleMania rival before turning her attention to Shirai, who became the new number one contender last week on NXT. I assume that feud will play out on NXT, but it would have been cool to see her pop up and lay out Flair in this segment.
Bobby Lashley def. No Way Jose
At the end of the day, it's up to the performers whether they want to work and put themselves at risk by traveling, but I honestly can't believe that Jose is considered "essential personnel." Did they really have the guy fly out for a two-minute squash? At any rate, this was all about further teasing tension between Lashley and Lana. To be fair, their alliance has been pointless from the start and their storyline with Rusev was a waste of time.
The Viking Raiders def. Ricochet & Cedric Alexander
Both of these teams are babyface, but since there's no crowd for the time being, I suppose it doesn't matter much. They went out there and killed it. Ricochet and Alexander scored their first win as a team last week, so while I'm not thrilled that they've already lost, this was a highly enjoyable encounter that gets Viking Raiders back in the Raw Tag Team Championship picture. Bianca Belair stressed in a backstage segment afterward that Street Profits have never beaten Viking Raiders, so that's a simple enough story right there.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre def. United States Champion Andrade (Non-Title)
That NXT TakeOver match between McIntyre and Andrade from 2017 was fantastic. Unfortunately, they weren't given nearly enough time to recreate that magic here. It felt rushed and was not nearly as terrific as it had the potential to be. Andrade losing decisively should come as no surprise since he hasn't won a singles match in over a month. Following the main event, Seth Rollins emerged as McIntyre's next WWE Championship challenger. They work well together and Rollins' rivalry with Kevin Owens seems to be over, so I'm all for it.
Last week's boring post-WrestleMania Raw didn't give me high hopes for the show going forward, but they bounced back with an excellent episode this week I thought. There's only so much they can do in the empty arena environment and I appreciated that they made everything matter. The Money in the Bank build helped with that and it was smart to advertise multiple matches for next week in advance. Combine all that with how the wrestling was above-average on the whole and you have yourself a top-notch show. If they insist on doing shows during this time, the least they can do is make them worthwhile and this was a prime example of that.
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