Drew McIntyre def. The O.C. in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
It's about damn time WWE pulled the trigger on McIntyre as a main event-level babyface. The promo he cut here was similar to the ones he used to cut as a face in NXT years ago and thus it's easy for the crowd to rally behind him. I'm not super high on making him make Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson look so weak, but the Raw tag team division is in shambles anyway, so it hardly matters. It's more important that McIntyre is made to look dominant and this accomplished that. Brock Lesnar laid him out with an F5 afterward, which was inevitable after what happened between them at the Royal Rumble. I'm looking forward to their feud heading into WrestleMania 36.
Rey Mysterio def. MVP
I thought MVP returning to a WWE ring at the Rumble following a 10-year absence was a very cool moment, even if he didn't last long. Granted, he's 46-years-old now and doesn't have much upside long-term, but I'm all for him making a few appearances like this here and there. He definitely showed his age here, but I thought it was a solid match up until the ending, which was botched beyond the belief. How does something like happen and an audible isn't called? It looked hilariously bad.
Aleister Black def. Kenneth Johnson
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Johnson was a part of the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic and was bumped in the first round. He didn't get much of a chance to showcase his skills here due to being beaten by Black in relatively quick fashion. I wouldn't have thought anything of this until Black picked up a mic and talked afterward about his Royal Rumble elimination and how he's ready to bring the fight to the rest of the Raw locker room. It's encouraging to see that Black might finally have a sense of direction.
Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy def. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe
The verbal exchange that preceded this between the two teams was entertaining and ensured that there wouldn't be any interference from AOP thanks to The Viking Raiders ambushing them backstage. I'm not sure whether Joe's injury before the commercial break was legitimate or not, but it would really suck if it was considering how injury-prone he's been throughout his main roster run. Owens managed to hold his own just fine and the match itself was enjoyable. Rollins and Murphy just captured the tag titles a week ago, so it would have been premature for them to drop them so soon.
Humberto Carrillo def. United States Champion Andrade by Disqualification
First and foremost, it was never explained why Carrillo was granted a rematch for the title despite being beaten clean on the Royal Rumble Kickoff show. It would have made more sense to do the disqualification there and the clean finish here. It was another enjoyable outing from them, but again, not their best. I wasn't a fan of the non-finish, but I understand it was done to keep the feud alive. Carrillo brutally attacking Andrade afterward was designed to write Andrade off TV for the next month as it was reported right after the show he was suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. Apparently Paul Heyman is high enough on him that he didn't want to have him drop the strap before leaving.
Charlotte Flair def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Asuka by Disqualification
Flair addressed her Royal Rumble victory during her pre-match promo but didn't reveal which championship she'll be vying for at WrestleMania. I'm glad they're holding off on that because it doesn't make sense for her to target either Becky Lynch or Bayley right now. I was hoping Shayna Baszler would interrupt her here and take exception to Flair eliminating her in the Royal Rumble, but instead, we got The Kabuki Warriors. Does this mean she could be challenging for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania? Lord, I hope not. Been there, done that. The NXT Women's Championship would honestly be a more intriguing option. As for Asuka vs. Flair, it was as excellent as all of their other encounters, but I thought the disqualification ending was lame, especially since they did the same thing earlier with Andrade and Carrillo.
24/7 Champion Mojo Rawley def. No Way Jose
Oh great, Rawley have taken their never-ending rivalry from Main Event to Raw. I hardly consider this a serious push for Rawley since that 24/7 Championship means absolutely nothing. In fact, the only interesting thing about Rawley as 24/7 Champion is that he's brought in Riddick Moss from NXT to basically be his new heavy (because of their similar backgrounds in football). Unfortunately, Moss already failed at his new job since he let R-Truth swoop in and steal the belt back from Rawley while dressed as a cheeseburger (and no, not THE Cheeseburger from Ring of Honor). Rawley regained the title moments later, but I can't bring myself to care about this "feud."
Liv Morgan def. Lana
I'm not even sure you can call this a "wrestling" match. The only positive thing I can say about it is that it was on the shorter side, but I'd argue even then that it was two minutes longer than it should have been. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this storyline has sucked since it started and this did nothing to change my mind. I realize Bobby Lashley and Rusev were announced as being barred from ringside, but I still figured they'd show up in some form or fashion, so at least they stayed true to that stipulation. Now that Morgan has defeated Lana decisively, let's please move on from this.
Erick Rowan def. Branden Vice
Despite Rowan getting tossed from the Royal Rumble by Brock Lesnar in under 10 seconds, Rowan's strange push continues. We are still no closer than we were two months ago to finding out what's inside the mysterious cage. This was another standard squash from Rowan, which wore out their welcome two or three weeks after they started. WWE is essentially asking viewers to change the channel by consistently putting them in the third hour.
Randy Orton Attacked Edge
I loved everything about this angle. Few people are better at speaking from the heart than Edge and you can tell that he was emotional talking about returning to the ring at the Rumble. This would have been a strong segment for his promo alone, but then Orton had to go ahead and revert to his roots as a brilliant heel by ruthlessly attacking Edge. Orton blasting him with a con-chair-to was almost hard to watch knowing Edge's neck issues and the crowd let him have it. They have history, it was already teased in the Rumble, and Raw needed a new top heel with McIntyre recently becoming a babyface. This was the smartest move to make and I'm excited for all the possibilities with this feud in the weeks and months ahead. I just hope they don't blow it off in Saudi Arabia and instead they save it for WrestleMania where it belongs. Edge vs. AJ Styles would be awesome too, but there's no telling how long Styles will be out for after reportedly suffering a separated shoulder in the Rumble.
Coming off a newsworthy Royal Rumble pay-per-view, I thought this Raw kept the ball rolling very nicely. Sure, it died down a bit as it always does in the third hour with the 24/7 title stuff, Liv vs. Lana and the Rowan squash, but everything else served a purpose and held my attention. The closing angle was the highlight of the night and they started off strong too with McIntyre destroying Gallows and Anderson. There some terrific matches in the middle as well with the two title matchups and Charlotte vs. Asuka, so this show gets an easy thumbs-up from me. Raw has been much better lately compared to a year ago, so here's hoping they can maintain this momentum heading into WrestleMania.
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