Monday Night Raw – March 29, 2021

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 29, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Byron Saxton, MVP, Tom Phillips

We are less than two weeks away from Wrestlemania and that means it is time to really hammer things home. That might be a problem for the next two weeks though as the shows are going to be up against the NCAA Elite Eight this week and championship game next week. I’m not sure how WWE is going to handle these things but it could be interesting. Let’s get to it.

Drew McIntyre arrived earlier and isn’t worried about someone taking him out before Wrestlemania.

Here is the Hurt Business to get things going and MVP recaps the chance for someone to take out McIntyre for a future title shot. We look at Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander losing to McIntyre last week and Bobby Lashley is not pleased. They failed miserably and Lashley does not want to be associated with them. MVP gives them the chance to defend themselves but Shelton says Lashley wouldn’t have the title if not for him. Shelton doesn’t like MVP holding him back so Lashley decks Alexander and Shelton suplexes Lashley down. That earns him some knees to the ribs into a Downward Spiral.

We look back at Sheamus attacking Riddle with his scooter last week.

Riddle isn’t sure if Sheamus had a tummy ache or just doesn’t have a soul. Sheamus made him mad last week and tonight Riddle is dealing with it. Riddle goes over to Titus O’Neil and thinks that Titus is hosting the roast of Wrestlemania. Titus corrects him but Riddle asks about the mac and cheese. Sheamus jumps Riddle before their match.

We look at the Hurt Business split, for some reason featuring Main Event graphics.

Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander go up to Adam Pearce and want Shelton vs. Lashley tonight. If that works, Alexander wants a chance next week. Pearce isn’t sure, so they question his testicular fortitude. The match isn’t made but I think you know where this is going.

Riddle vs. Sheamus

Non-title. They go to the mat to start until Sheamus takes him into the corner for a shot to the ribs. A headlock takeover has Riddle in trouble but Riddle pulls him down into a choke (for what looked like a tap but doesn’t count). Sheamus fights up and they head outside where Riddle hits the Floating Bro.

We take a break and come back with Sheamus fish hooking the jaws but Riddle fights up. Sheamus goes up top but gets caught in a belly to belly superplex, with Riddle seeming to land on his head. Riddle is fine enough to send Sheamus into the corner for some running forearms into a t-bone suplex.

The Broton gives Riddle two but a triangle choke is reversed into a powerbomb….which doesn’t break the hold. Instead Sheamus makes the apron for White Noise onto said apron to knock Riddle silly for two. An Alabama Slam gets two more but the Brogue Kick is is broken up. Riddle’s knee is blocked but Sheamus’ connects (it looked like it was supposed to be a Brogue Kick but they were too close) for the pin at 12:45.

Rating: B-. As soon as I saw this match booked and it went past five minutes, I know where it was going, all the way up to Wrestlemania. That is the kind of thing that WWE has done over and over and for the life of me I don’t get the logic. They have a match that is probably the same length that they are going to go on Wrestlemania with a clean finish so now I am supposed to want to watch them do the same thing in less than two weeks? That’s the best that they have and it isn’t exactly inspiring.

Post match Riddle shoves Sheamus off the apron.

We recap Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman.

Shane promises to expose Strowman tonight.

Drew McIntyre runs into AJ Styles and Omos and accuses them of wanting to cash in on Lashley’s offer. Omos says their Wrestlemania plans are more realistic and tension is teased.

Here are Shane McMahon, Elias and Jaxson Ryker for a chat. Shane credits adrenaline for allowing him to run to safety last week. As for Strowman, Shane has found a few things about him, including proof that Strowman is stupid. We see Strowman’s report card (three D-, a D and a D+), plus comments on how much of a distraction Braun really is. Then we get a picture of Braun, with his beard, a dunce cap and a WrestleMania XV jacket, standing in front of a blackboard with “2+2=5, I AM NOT STUPID I AM NOT STUPID” written in large chalk. Shane thinks Braun needs a hug so here is Braun himself.

Braun Strowman vs. Jaxson Ryker

Strowman throws him outside and chases Shane McMahon around (minus train sound effects) but Shane gets away. Back in and Ryker manages a quick shot and goes up, only to leave an ax handle short so he lands on his feet and then ax handles Strowman. That doesn’t get him very far so Strowman goes sends him outside again, setting up the train (with sound effects), but it doesn’t even go halfway around the ring and only hits one person. Back in and the running powerslam finishes Ryker at 2:27.

Post match the beatdown is on with Strowman cleaning house again. Strowman grabs the mic and reminds Shane that he gets to pick the stipulation. It’s going to be….a steel cage match.

It’s time for the Dirt Sheet, with Miz and John Morrison being rather pleased about their upcoming music video. Before we get there though, Miz needs to rant about his challenge to Bad Bunny last week, followed by Bunny attacking him to accept the challenge. Miz promises to pay Bunny back at Wrestlemania for every piece of wood in his back. Now we get the music video for Hey Hey, Hop Hop.

The video features the two of them in white suite (and bunny suits) dancing on the Raw stage and talking trash about Bad Bunny and Damian Priest in front of a fake crowd, including saying that Bunny isn’t OG like Bugs. Also, because WWE, we look at Miz and Morrison watching themselves on the screen, which kind of misses the point of a music VIDEO.

This goes on for a rather long time and Miz is in tears, so here are Bunny and Priest to interrupt. Bunny, in Spanish, promises to take care of Miz at Wrestlemania so Priest steps aside so Miz can get in Bunny’s face. A right hand staggers Miz (it looked good) and Priest and Bunny head inside to break up the Dirt Sheet set.

Randy Orton talks about being in the ring with a lot of legends over the years but none of them have been like the Fiend. Orton knew that he had to do something about the Fiend so he made the decision to burn the Fiend alive. Then Alexa Bliss started talking about how she could bring the Fiend back. Now Orton knows what he is dealing with and knows that at Wrestlemania he has to dig down deep and take care of this abomination. Orton will do whatever it takes to get the Fiend out of his life.

Bobby Lashley vs. Shelton Benjamin

Non-title and Cedric Alexander is here with Benjamin. Shelton wrestles him to the mat to start but Lashley powers up and hammers away. Lashley sends him outside for a hard posting, followed by a running shoulder in the corner back inside. Hold on though as Lashley has to chase Alexander up the ramp. The distraction lets Shelton hit Paydirt for two, followed by a running knee in the corner. Lashley shrugs it off and hits a pair of spinebusters into the Hurt Lock for the win at 4:13.

Rating: C. Shelton was game here and it made for a nice enough match. As usual, there is nothing wrong with an obvious ending and it isn’t like they wasted a bunch of time or teased a bunch of false finishes. Just get in, do what you need to do, and then get back out before things stop being interesting.

New Day comes up to AJ Styles and Omos in the back because they have an idea for game night. AJ is ready to fight Xavier Woods instead tonight but New Day doesn’t seem impressed. They’ll play some kind of a game first before we get to the title match at Wrestlemania. Kofi: “LET THE GAMES BEGIN BAY-BEE!!!”

Riddle vs. Sheamus is set for Wrestlemania.

It’s time for New Day game night, with all kinds of games set up in the ring. AJ Styles and Omos join them and we’ll start with charades. New Day manages to get A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton but AJ can’t get Omos to understand the Lion King. With that out of the way, it’s time for Pictionary (or at least something close to it). Kofi identifies a rocket ship but Omos can’t figure out the sun. Omos is sick of these games and AJ throws some of the stuff out before his match with Xavier Woods. This show is setting a new record for bad ways of building a pay per view.

A kid has paid tribute to Hulk Hogan with an impression and a big Hogan poster.

Xavier Woods vs. AJ Styles

Woods, in Mortal Kombat themed gear, shoulders AJ down to start and sends him into the corner. AJ gets knocked outside for the big flip dive from Woods, who mockingly glares at Omos as we take a break. Back with Woods hitting a backdrop and putting AJ on top but Styles drops him face first onto the turnbuckle. A fireman’s carry backbreaker gives AJ two but Woods is back with a tornado DDT for one. Woods goes to the apron but Omos grabs the leg to throw him back inside for the DQ at 7:57.

Rating: C. I know Kofi is the one who gets the glory but Woods is someone who can more than hold his own in the ring. That makes for some pretty good matches like this one, as Woods was able to do just fine against a master like Styles. It’s also nice to see Omos do something, because just standing there and glaring is only getting him so far.

Post match Kofi gets gorilla pressed over the barricade (with WWE knowing how to shoot the move to make it look all the more impressive). Woods gets planted with something like a Sky High so Omos can put his foot on Woods’ chest for a three count.

It’s time for Alexa’s Playground with Bliss looking at a Jack in the Box. They used to be called the Devil in the Box and could only be opened once they were weakened. That is what happened to the Fiend at Wrestlemania and Randy Orton believed that the Fiend was gone forever. The Fiend was really just weakened and trapped inside Bliss’ Fiend in a Box. Now Fiend is looking forward to Wrestlemania, because the Legend Killer dies. She turns the crank on the box and a Fiend figure pops up….and the real Fiend is sitting beside her. Ok that was actually kind of creepy.

Drew McIntyre is frustrated and heads into the locker room to ask who is stepping up to take him out and get his Wrestlemania title shot. No one has stepped up and he never would have done that just a few years ago. Drew tells Braun Strowman to step up because he should be a five time World Champion (egads the horror). Strowman says he’ll take care of Shane McMahon and then come for the title when McIntyre wins it.

Humberto Carrillo doesn’t seem interested so McIntyre tells Riddle to do it. Riddle says Sheamus is a full Thanksgiving meal….so McIntyre has to deal with Carrillo. McIntyre headbutts Drew Gulak and gets in Ricochet’s face. Ricochet knows Lashley’s word means nothing but if McIntyre wants a fight, he has one. Drew can respect that and they’re on for later. Makes sense, even if this made these people seem rather lame for not being willing to go after the title.

Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler

Lana, Nia Jax and Reginald are at ringside and Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke are on commentary. Shayna starts fast and stomps on the arm as we look at Brooke and Rose some more. The Kirifuda Clutch is broken up but Reginald offers a distraction. Everyone gets into a brawl on the floor and Naomi rolls Baszler up for the pin at 2:24.

Riddle comes up to Asuka in the back to ask if they would like scooters in Japan. Riddle starts to say something else, laughs, and says he forgot his lines. He walks off and Asuka awkwardly looks into the camera. I know it’s kind of hard to tell with Riddle, but that felt a lot like the Sid promo from the 90s where he forgot it was live.

It’s time for the contract signing for the Women’s Title match. Rhea Ripley and Asuka both come to the ring, with Ripley saying that Asuka is soon to be the former champion. Rhea signs and so does Asuka, who talks about Rhea having too much confidence. The table is turned over and smashed into Asuka’s head….and here are Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax and Reginald.

They can’t believe Ripley is here to get the title shot after Baszler has dominated the two of them already. Where is their Wrestlemania match? Baszler wants to fight Rhea right now but Jax proposes a tag match for next week, which Rhea accepts. So yes, now Jax and Baszler are going to drag down ANOTHER Women’s Title feud for Wrestlemania, because just one wasn’t enough.

MVP comes up to Ricochet and is happy that Ricochet is taking things seriously. Ricochet doesn’t want to hear it and heads to the ring.

Great Khali and Rob Van Dam are going into the Hall of Fame. This year’s class is pretty awesome.

Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre

McIntyre wastes no time in LAUNCHING Ricochet for a backdrop and then sends him flying off a belly to belly. Ricochet gets in a shot to the face though and sends McIntyre outside, only to be pulled to the floor for a shot to the face. A whip into the steps is countered with a jump onto the barricade, where Ricochet walks across and hits a dropkick on the floor. Back in and 630 misses, allowing McIntyre to hit the Claymore for the pin at 2:41.

Post match here’s Mustafa Ali (who seems to have shaved a bit) to go after McIntyre’s knee. McIntyre sends him outside and we have another match.

Mustafa Ali vs. Drew McIntyre

Joined in progress with Ali staying on the leg and kicking it out to the apron. McIntyre’s chop doesn’t get him very far as Ali knocks him down to go after the knee again. A top rope splash to the leg gets two but McIntyre snaps off an overhead belly to belly. There’s another one but McIntyre is slow to follow up. A third suplex sets up a Glasgow Kiss into the Claymore for the pin at 3:42 shown.

Rating: C. This was a bit better than the previous one, though watching McIntyre run through people who could be in an interesting place on this show is a little rough. That being said, McIntyre and Lashley being built up as monsters is a good way to go and we could be in for a heck of a match at Wrestlemania as a result.

Post match McIntyre calls out Lashley and, after we cut to a nervous looking MVP, here he is. Post break, McIntyre says he didn’t even notice MVP behind him and now it is time to fight. The brawl is on with Lashley being knocked to the floor. Cue King Corbin to jump McIntyre from behind and lay him out until McIntyre manages a belly to belly. The Claymore is countered into Deep Six, allowing Lashley to put on the Hurt Lock. Lashley does it two more times to really hammer the point home and leave McIntyre laying.

Overall Rating: D+. Lashley and McIntyre did everything they could to save this but they could only do so much. I don’t remember the last time I saw a show that did so little to make me want to see a pay per view. This was every bad WWE booking trope (split up a perfectly good/rather good team, beat the champ to set up rematch, distraction finish, set up matches on the fly, a lot of Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler and a King Corbin appearance to set up a match either this week or next) with very little to make me want to watch. It felt like total autopilot for most of the show and that’s really bad at this time of the year.

Results

Sheamus b. Riddle – Jumping knee

Braun Strowman b. Jaxson Ryker – Running powerslam

Bobby Lashley b. Shelton Benjamin – Hurt Lock

Xavier Woods b. AJ Styles via DQ when Omos interfered

Naomi b. Shayna Baszler – Rollup

Drew McIntyre b. Ricochet – Claymore

Drew McIntyre b. Mustafa Ali – Claymore

 

 

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