Monday Night Raw – February 22, 2021

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 22, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton

Elimination Chamber has come and gone and that means some heads have exploded as Miz is the new WWE Champion. I’m not sure where this is going, but as a long time Mizfit, I’m rather pleased with everything that happened. If nothing else, it means that we are going to be free of the Money in the Bank briefcase for at least three months. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of last night’s main event with Drew McIntyre winning the Elimination Chamber and Miz cashing in to win the title.

It’s time for MizTV, Championship Edition, with all kinds of pyro and balloons. Miz is VERY pleased with having the title back because he is the star that stayed. Want to see Batista? Go watch a buddy cop movie. John Cena? He’s doing a commercial. Miz is a bigger star than all of them, including Edge. If Edge is playing high stakes poker, this title is Miz’s royal flush. Miz is holding this title because he deserves it….and here’s the Hurt Business (with Bobby Lashley in a light pink suit) to interrupt.

MVP talks about how Miz omitted Lashley’s involvement but Miz says he was ready to get to that. That’s not good enough for MVP, because there was a deal last night: Miz gets the title and Lashley gets the first title shot. Miz says that’s true, but Miz never said when he gets the title shot. There just isn’t time right now, so Lashley grabs him by the tie and says Miz has one more hour. If Miz makes the wrong decision, he’s going to be in a new reality series called “How Bobby Lashley Sent Me To The Emergency Room.” Either way, Lashley is getting that title and it’s going to be awesome.

Riddle comes up to the Lucha House Party and thanks them for having his back to get to the title. They’re a bit worried about him facing John Morrison tonight but no worries because Riddle has….a scooter!

Back with a countdown clock giving Miz about 43 minutes to answer Lashley, because saying “until the top of the hour” was asking too much of Lashley.

Riddle vs. John Morrison

Non-title. Morrison starts fast with a leg lariat but gets pulled into a quickly broken figure four necklock. Morrison’s kick to the head is countered into an ankle lock but that’s broken up in a hurry as well. Riddle’s gutwrench suplex gets two but another kick to the head sends Riddle outside.

A corkscrew dive drops Riddle again, only to have him come back with a fisherman’s buster onto the apron. We take a break and come back with Riddle kicking him to the floor and hitting a springboard Floating Bro for the big crash. Back in and Morrison runs up the corner for a super Spanish Fly and a near fall. Riddle doesn’t seem to mind and hits the Bro Derek for the pin at 11:07.

Rating: C+. This was better than I was expecting with the two showing some nice chemistry. I’m not sure why they didn’t let this be a title match so Riddle could get a defense under his belt but it’s not like it matters very much. Riddle could be champion for a long time to come and this was a good way to get things started.

We look at Bad Bunny performing on Saturday Night Live with the 24/7 Title.

Bad Bunny and Damien Priest talk about how great things have been but see R-Truth hiding near a referee. Truth thinks that it’s Bugs Bunny and was just trying to get an autograph. Priest: “His name is BAD Bunny.” Truth: “Oh….my bad…..Bunny.” Truth runs off.

Miz appeals to Adam Pearce, who sympathizes but says the WWE Champion should be ready to face all challengers. The clock is ticking, so Miz pulls out his phone.

New Day vs. Retribution

Mace and T-Bar for the team here with Reckoning, Slapjack and Mustafa Ali in their corner. T-Bar hammers Woods down to start so it’s off to Kofi, who gets planted down with ease. It’s off to Mace for two off a big boot and Woods is knocked off the apron. A double sitout chokeslam crushes Kofi but Ali wants more. Woods manages to low bridge T-Bar and Trouble in Paradise sends Mace outside as well. Back in and another Trouble in Paradise finishes T-Bar at 2:50.

Post match Ali yells at Retribution and asks how much longer he has to deal with these failures. He carried the team on his back and they have failed over and over again. Ali storms off.

Here’s Adam Pearce to bring out Lashley (in gear) and MVP, followed by Miz (in his suit) and John Morrison. Miz says he needs more time to make a decision because so many people want their chance. MVP doesn’t want to hear it but Miz asks for a week. Cue Braun Strowman to say he deserves a shot but Pearce and Shane McMahon have something against him. He is far more “clarified” to face Miz than Lashley, which is all the opening Miz needs to try and stir the pot.

MVP isn’t having that but here’s Shane McMahon to interrupt. Shane says last night was about former WWE Champions rather than Universal Champions but Strowman says all of that sucks. He wants his match tonight but Shane thinks that idea sucks. Strowman says he wants to face Lashley tonight then, so Shane makes the match and let’s sweeten the pot a bit: if Strowman wins, next week’s title match is a triple threat. Reality sets in on Miz in a hurry but Strowman yells at Shane, allowing Lashley to take out Strowman’s knee.

Hurt Business vs. Lucha House Party

Non-title tornado tag with MVP on commentary. Shelton and Cedric take over to start, including a hard basement dropkick to Dorado’s back. Dorado gets knocked out of the air and then out to the floor, leaving Metalik to get double teamed. Metalik’s comeback is countered with a powerbomb for two as Dorado makes the save.

Dorado manages to get in some right hands to the face for a breaker and it’s a tornado DDT into a top rope splash for two on Alexander. MVP yells at Shelton as Alexander fights back a bit. Dorado catches him on top with a super hurricanrana but (after an unnecessary tag) Metalik misses a top rope double stomp. Alexander knees Dorado down though and Paydirt gives Shelton the pin at 5:53.

Rating: C-. I’m not sure what the point of this one was as the Hurt Business didn’t give up much of anything save for a quick Lucha flurry. That being said, it was really nice to not have the champs not fighting among themselves for a change. I have no idea why they needed to have issues in advance so it was quite the relief to see it work for once.

We look back at Damien Priest helping Bad Bunny win the 24/7 Title last week.

Damien Priest vs. Angel Garza

Bad Bunny is here with Priest. Garza runs straight at him and gets his head taken off with a clothesline for two. Some strikes in the corner rock Garza but he’s back with his own clothesline. Garza TAKES OFF HIS PANTS and yells at Bunny before slapping on a camel clutch. Priest fights up and elbows Garza’s right hand away, setting up a kick to the back of the head.

Another kick doesn’t get to launch as Garza collapses so Priest hits the running elbow in the corner. The Broken Arrow gets two but Garza is back with a hard running clothesline to the floor. Garza taunts Bunny so Priest kicks him in the face. The top rope spinwheel kick sets up Hit The Lights for the pin at 6:14.

Rating: C-. Kind of dull here but Priest got the win with his finisher. There’s a cool aura to Priest and WWE is smart to put him in such a high profile spot. Yes Bunny is the important part here, but Priest is likely to be around a lot longer and WWE is giving him a nice platform to get noticed.

Post match the menagerie of numskulls comes out to go after the 24/7 Title but Bunny sends Drew Gulak over the top.

Rhea Ripley is still coming.

Randy Orton says he has not failed very much in his career but lately he has not been able to shake the Fiend. Even after burning him alive at TLC (which we see), the Fiend and Alexa Bliss have been costing him, including last week when Bliss cost him the chance to be the last entrant in the Elimination Chamber. Orton has a Bliss problem and, after seeing her promising to bring back the Fiend last week…..he chokes on a bunch of black goo coming out of his mouth.

Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax vs. Asuka/Charlotte

Non-title. Asuka starts fast with an Octopus on Shayna, who reverses into a Stretch Muffler. That’s reversed into an armbar which is broken as well so it’s off to Charlotte to strike away at Jax. Everything breaks down with Jax and Baszler being knocked outside as we take a break. Back with Shayna kicking Asuka down and stepping on her face. The big stomp to the arm misses though and Asuka gets over for the tag to Charlotte. Everything breaks down and Charlotte gets to clean house with a big boot to Shayna but Jax powerbombs her down for two.

The chinlock goes on before Baszler comes in to work on the arm. That doesn’t last long so Jax comes back in, allowing Charlotte to hit a weird looking hurricanrana into the corner. The Figure Four has Baszler in trouble but Jax makes the save with the legdrop. Charlotte gets over to Asuka to start cleaning house but the Asuka Lock is broken up by Charlotte’s missed big boot. Jax drops the leg for the pin at 12:31.

Rating: D+. I wasn’t feeling this one whatsoever as it was awkward in multiple parts and felt like they were in different books. I’m not sure why Charlotte kicking Asuka in the face by mistake is supposed to be some big moment, but WWE has a history of thinking Charlotte is a bit more important than most others do. Pretty off match and hopefully it’s the last time we have to see it.

Post match Asuka isn’t pleased and Charlotte walks off. That would seem to be a stake in the heart of the partnership after….uh….about two months.

Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy

Sheamus knocks him off the ropes to start and we hit the early armbar. That’s broken up with an armdrag to the floor and a dropkick through the ropes has Sheamus in trouble. Hardy hits a dive and we take a break. Back with Sheamus hitting a trio of Irish Curses for two and pounding the chest with forearms.

Hardy fights up and nails the Whisper in the Wind and a top rope splash (rather than the Swanton) gets two. There’s the Twist of Fate but Hardy takes a good while getting up top, meaning the Swanton can’t launch. White Noise is countered but Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick as well. The second one connects though and Hardy is done at 10:15.

Rating: C. The Sheamus push continues and I’m not sure where this is going at the moment. In theory he should be moving towards Sheamus getting to face Drew McIntyre in some big match but I’m not sure what that is going to be. Hopefully they do something with it, as the build has been pretty good so far.

Charlotte is with Ric Flair in the back and says she can’t do this anymore. She can’t keep focusing on Ric because it is affecting her career. Last week he was out there pretending the baby was his and it’s costing them their legacy. She tells him to go home but Ric says that he never said it was his baby and he saw potential in Lacey. Charlotte: “You see potential in a lot of blondes.”

Flair talks about how he had a bit of a hand in making Charlotte what she is today and wanting to expand their brand. Charlotte says Ric just wants to be the Nature Boy and all he cares about is himself, leaving him rather sad. I’m sick of this story, but they absolutely nailed the emotions here and Flair’s explanation did make sense.

Naomi/Lana vs. Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke

Brooke gets whipped into a big boot to start and it’s quickly off to Mandy. Lana comes in for a few kicks and a double X Factor finishes for Naomi at 1:31. Is there a reason Mandy and Dana are a team other than to heat up the next thrown together #1 contenders to the Tag Team Titles?

Ricochet vs. AJ Styles

AJ starts fast and blocks a kick in the corner to send Ricochet face first into the mat. Some kicks to the head look to set up the Styles Clash but Ricochet backdrops out. A kick to the head rocks AJ but he knees Ricochet hard in the face. The Styles Clash finishes Ricochet at 3:49.

Rating: C. This would be your “well that happened” moment of the show. I’m assuming this was a way to kill some time so Lashley vs. Strowman doesn’t have to go as long and also reheat AJ a bit after last night. I’m not sure how much reheating you need after finishing runner up to the WWE Champion inside the Elimination Chamber, but at least Ricochet got pinned again.

Post match Omos chokeslams Ricochet. Well chokedrops to be more accurate but close enough.

Braun Strowman scares Miz and John Morrison.

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley

If Strowman wins, next week’s title match is a triple threat. Miz is on commentary as Strowman runs Lashley over to start. Lashley is sent outside but avoids a charge into the steps. Back in and Strowman counters the Hurt Lock and hits the running powerslam for a near fall. Lashley manages a heck of a spinebuster for two and then cuts Strowman down with the spear for the pin at 3:15.

Rating: C. They were very smart to keep this short because these two could have gotten in trouble going long. I’m rather surprised by the result as it’s not often that the win and in stipulation doesn’t work. The title match next week should be good, if nothing else for seeing how many ways there are to go.

Post match Lashley puts Strowman in the Hurt Lock so Miz comes in with the title…and gets planted with a spinebuster. Lashley picks up the title and poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. This was a weird show as they had a lot of things going on but at the same time there was an energy here that helped a bit. You can tell that things are going to start happening in the near future and that’s a good thing. I’m curious to see where things are going and a lot of that is due to the lack of Drew McIntyre. You know he isn’t going to be gone long and there is a good chance he’ll be involved in the main event. I want to see where these things are going and that’s a nice feeling. Some of that is due to Miz Tonk Man and that’s a nice change of pace after some strong McIntyre reigns.

Results

Riddle b. John Morrison – Bro Derek

New Day b. Retribution – Trouble in Paradise to T-Bar

Hurt Business b. Lucha House Party – Paydirt to Dorado

Damien Priest b. Angel Garza – Hit The Lights

Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler b. Charlotte/Asuka – Legdrop to Asuka

Sheamus b. Jeff Hardy – Brogue Kick

AJ Styles b. Ricochet – Styles Clash

Naomi/Lana b. Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke – Double X Factor to Rose

Bobby Lashley b. Braun Strowman – Spear

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