Edge Accepted Randy Orton's Challenge
I'm slightly more open to Edge and Orton continuing their feud now than I was a week ago coming off their last two verbal exchanges, but Charly Caruso has got to stop calling it "the greatest wrestling match ever." That's setting people's expectations way too high, especially after the dud of a match they had at WrestleMania. On the bright side, their mic work in this segment was once again excellent and Edge's intensity sold me on their upcoming rematch. Fingers crossed it lives up to the hype, but I assume it won't because WWE isn't doing them any favors with this dumb buzzword nonsense.
Seth Rollins Addressed Rey Mysterio; Murphy def. Humberto Carrillo
I've noticed that not everyone is enamored with Rollins' "Monday Night Messiah" gimmick, which is totally fine, but I think he's been knocking out of the park this year. He's a glorious a-hole, to say the least. I actually liked how he dressed and spoke as if he was giving a sermon as it fit his character perfectly. It was nice to see Carrillo show some fire for a change and step up to the duo of Rollins and Murphy, even if he ended up losing fairly quickly to Murphy.
NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Ruby Riott (Non-Title)
Well, this was random. The formula of Flair issuing an open challenge of sorts before beating a member of the Raw women's division is starting to get old, though I can see some fans arguing that it got old a while ago. It would be one thing if the matches were worthwhile, but Riott was straight up squashed by Flair here in a matter of minutes. In fact, Riott hasn't won a match since February... of 2019. How she wasn't released during the latest round of cuts, I have no clue. I'd love if the company did something with her, but I've long given up on that ever happening.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka and Kairi Sane Attacked Nia Jax
I was hoping Asuka would go back to taking a more straightforward and serious approach, but no such luck. Instead, she and Sane were as over-the-top as usual and, in my opinion, it was incredibly obnoxious. It dawned on me when Jax came out and attempted to spoil the celebration that her acting is actually worse than her wrestling, which is saying something. Their skits backstage later on in the night weren't much better. The Raw women's division is already hurting without Becky Lynch.
Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth
This was a rematch from the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Thankfully, this was also kept short and sweet. The only thing that took away from it was Truth wasting time on the outside pretending to be his "Pretty Ricky" persona, which needs to go away forever. I don't know where this ultra aggressive side of Lashley has been the last two years since he returned to WWE, but I'm glad we're getting it now. He looked like an absolute killer here and his new Master Lock-esque finisher is a nice addition to his arsenal.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross def. The IIconics by Disqualification
WWE is so light on female tag teams that they really should stretch this feud out as long as possible, even though I have very little interest in it as of now. The match barely got started before it ended abruptly due The IIconics accidentally got disqualified when Peyton Royce kept throwing Bliss into the ring post. I have no idea why she'd get disqualified for that, but then again, it didn't make any sense last week either when Seth Rollins got disqualified for hitting Rey Mysterio, so I'm not entirely surprised. Billie Kay got fed up with Royce for the first time afterward backstage when she slapped her, but they immediately made up, so I'm not sure if that was designed to plant the seeds of dissension or something.
Shayna Baszler def. Natalya in a Submission Match
I'm not super behind the idea of a lengthy feud between Baszler and Natalya, but this probably should have been saved for next week if only to ensure Baszler doesn't run out of opponents to face in the Raw women's division. That said, this was exactly what it needed to be as an energetic sprint and Baszler winning quickly and decisively. Natalya's recent losing streak may lead to her turning heel for the umpteenth time based off her temper tantrum afterward, but I'm not at all invested.
Kevin Owens Hosted The Kevin Owens Show with Zelina Vega, United states Champion Andrade, Angel Garza and Austin Theory; Apollo Crews and Owens def. Garza and Theory
This marked Owens' first appearance on Raw since WrestleMania 36. He even acknowledged here that he's been out injured due to his little stunt at the event, but at least he got his "WrestleMania moment." At any rate, The Kevin Owens Show existed to further tease tension within Vega's stable and to set up the subsequent tag team match. It could have been much better with more time, but what we got from them was solid. Crews vs. Andrade for the United States Championship has been confirmed for next week, and Theory has been booted from Vega's group. I thought that may have been WWE's way of sending him back down to NXT, but apparently not as this wouldn't be the last we'd see of him on this show.
Aleister Black def. Murphy by Disqualification
You had to assume this wasn't going to last long since Murphy was already in action earlier in the evening, and sure enough, this ended up being more of an angle than a true match as the focus was on what was going on at ringside with Rollins and Theory. Black and Murphy had amazing chemistry together during their feud back in December and January, but it was more important to establish Theory as Rollins' newest disciple. He'll be better off with Rollins than with Vega's stable I feel.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre def. King Corbin (Non-Title)
McIntyre vs. Corbin isn't exactly my idea of a must-see TV main event, but I liked how they played off their history together as well as with Lashley, who was standing on the stage with MVP the whole time. Plus, it turned out to be an enjoyable outing with McIntyre once again going over strong. McIntyre vs. Lashley for the WWE Championship is now official for Backlash, and while I'm happy Lashley is receiving a serious push for a change, I hope WWE can continue to book him well even after he likely loses to McIntyre.
I'd like to dedicate this review to legendary 411Mania columnist Larry Csonka, who passed away early Monday. I'd often read his work before writing reviews of my own and seemed like a great guy, so he will be dearly missed. As for this episode of Raw, I thought it was fairly decent on the whole. Some things are clicking, others aren't, but I didn't feel the show dragged and it held my attention for the most part. Most importantly, the Backlash card is quietly coming together and it has promise on paper, but fingers crossed they scale back on the "greatest match ever" tagline for Edge vs. Orton because, if not, it's going to be a long next few weeks.
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