Monday Night Raw
Date: April 19, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Things should be a bit more back to normal this week as Wrestlemania season is over. That is probably a good thing after last week’s show was not exactly worth bragging about. This time around we have Asuka vs. Charlotte in a match that has been done quite a few times before so let’s get to it.
Here is Drew McIntyre to get things going. We get a recap of him winning a triple threat match last week to become #1 contender to WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. After the win, he was attacked by Mace and T-Bar, with MVP looking on in approval. With the recap of last week out of the way, McIntyre recaps last week. McIntyre gets to Mace and T-Bar, but he doesn’t believe that they are the masterminds here. That would be MVP, which has McIntyre wondering if Mace and T-Bar are going to start wearing those nice suits.
Cue MVP, who implies he didn’t know anything about it, causing Drew to mock him for suggesting he didn’t know anything about it. MVP says Lashley is expecting McIntyre to be a worthy challenger at Wrestlemania Backlash. As for Mace and T-Bar, Lashley recently decided to downsize the Hurt Business, so why would he need those two after he already beat McIntyre at Wrestlemania? Mace and T-Bar have ZERO affiliation with the Hurt Business. McIntyre doesn’t seem to buy it but here are Mace and T-Bar to jump him again. The double sitout chokeslam drops McIntyre and the two walk past MVP, who doesn’t really respond.
In the back, Mace and T-Bar talk about….snakes and saber tooth tigers? Sabre tooth tigers are extinct, just like McIntyre will be when they are done with him.
Post break, McIntyre demands Adam Pearce give him Mace and T-Bar tonight. Pearce says get a partner but Drew is going to fight no matter what.
Viking Raiders vs. Cedric Alexander/Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin drives Erik into the corner to start and then wrestles him down to the mat without much effort. Alexander comes in for a running dropkick for no count as Erik powers him off in a hurry. Erik gets taken into the corner again and Shelton drops him with a clothesline. One heck of a shot to the face drops Alexander and it’s Ivar coming in to miss the seated crossbody.
Ivar gets taken into the corner and tosses his way right back out. A quick roll over to the corner allows the tag back to Erik, who is taken down with a snappy tornado DDT from Alexander. Everything breaks down, after a Cannonball against the barricade to Benjamin, the Viking Experience (or Viking Express according to Virk, again) hits Alexander for the pin at 5:16.
Rating: C-. The less than dominant performance from the Raiders made sense here as they have only had one match in about seven months. They shouldn’t be able to run over a team who were recently the Tag Team Champions….even though they did last week. So in other words, they did the last two weeks backwards and it already seems like they are running low on teams for the Raiders to beat up.
Randy Orton talks about how the Fiend is gone for good….and here’s Riddle on his scooter. He talks about how neither of them have a title any longer so they can team up and have matching scooters. Orton walks away, as everyone tends to do with Riddle, who is rapidly losing his charm in these segments.
Post break, Orton asks Adam Pearce if he can face Riddle tonight. Pearce will see what he can do. Given how little of Raw tends to be planned out, I don’t think it should take long to get to a decision.
We recap Charlotte returning last week, promising to be totally and completely different this time, then interrupting Rhea Ripley defending the Women’s Title against Asuka last week.
Here is Charlotte for a chat. She is tired of the lack of respect from the women’s locker room. Wrestlemania was taken away from her and that just wasn’t fair. She can beat Asuka and Rhea Ripley on the same night, so tonight Asuka is getting taken out as Ripley sees what Charlotte can do.
Cue Asuka and Ripley, with the latter being willing to take Charlotte up on her offer, even though Asuka is beating her tonight. Asuka goes to say something but Charlotte cuts her off and condescendingly reminds her of the Wrestlemania match. Asuka promises to beat her tonight, “b****”. I would pay a good bit of money to come up with any new way to present Charlotte other than the “I’m better than all of you” heel.
Riddle scooters past Randy Orton on the way to the ring.
Randy Orton vs. Riddle
Orton grabs a headlock takeover to start but Riddle flips over into a choke on Orton’s back. What looks like a tap is written off as a slap at Riddle’s head and Riddle keeps the choke on. Orton finally drops back for the break but Riddle pops back up to slap it on again. They roll out to the apron and this time Orton sweeps the leg out to send him crashing outside.
We take a break and come back with Orton hitting the circle stomp. The snap powerslam gives Orton two and a belly to back suplex drops Riddle again. Orton seems to be favoring his shoulder and Riddle strikes away, only to get poked in the eye. Riddle comes back with chops out of the corner so Orton whips him hard into another corner to take him down. The chinlock goes on, with Orton shouting at Riddle in the process. Riddle fights up and avoids a charge to send Orton shoulder first into the post.
The fired up Riddle kicks him down and there’s the Broton for two. Orton catches him on top and that means the superplex (and a nice one at that). Back up and Riddle gets sent to the apron but catches Orton in a triangle choke. That doesn’t last long due to Riddle hanging upside down, allowing Orton hitting the hanging DDT. The RKO is loaded up but Riddle reverses into a crucifix for the pin at 13:33.
Rating: B-. It’s nice to see Riddle getting his momentum back and it isn’t like Orton losing is going to mean a single thing to him. Riddle can do some very good things in the ring and he was getting to showcase that here. Just keep him away from so many of the backstage appearances and we could be seeing something pretty awesome from him.
Sheamus comes in to see Adam Pearce, who talks about the history of the US Title. We hear about John Cena’s US Open Challenge and it seems that we will be seeing it again tonight.
Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler vs. Lana/Naomi
Non-title. Naomi staggers Nia to start and brings Lana in for a headscissors into a failed Russian legsweep attempt. Lana takes Nia down with a chop block and kicks her in the head for a bonus. It’s off to Baszler to pull Lana to the mat without much effort and there’s the stomp to the arm. Cue Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke to show us a clip of Nia and Shayna laughing at Mandy slipping at Wrestlemania (now off the WWE Network, because reasons), as the match just completely stops for this flashback.
Now we look at Mandy and Brooke attacking Jax, followed by the match later in the night with Jax slipping off the apron. Mandy and Dana ran off to lose the match, but it was funny you see. We come back to the match (yeah that thing that was going on) where Shayna is armbarring Lana. Nia storms to the back and a double X Factor finishes Baszler at 4:17.
Rating: F. Not only did the finish look bad because Lana can’t manage to jump into the air properly, but about half of this match was spent in a flashback to an angle built around someone falling on the ramp in a stadium that had just been soaked by a bad rainstorm. How this is the best thing they can think of at the moment is beyond me, but such is life in WWE for you these days.
Nia is STUNNED that this happened.
We look at Bad Bunny’s Wrestlemania performance.
Bad Bunny, with Damian Priest, talks about how awesome it was. It meant a lot and he was very impressed with Priest. Speaking of Priest, he was impressed by Bunny and we hear about how much respect Bunny received from everyone.
Bunny’s tour is sold out.
Here’s are Miz and Maryse for MizTV, with Miz fawning over his wife. Miz talks about Wrestlemania and last week before taking credit for Bunny’s tour being sold out. The two talk about how much they love each other and this is their big celebration. The pyro seems to shake Maryse as they kiss and it’s time for a champagne toast. Miz hypes up his WWE 24 special on Sunday but here is Damian Priest to interrupt.
We look at Miz being stripped to his underwear, which is totally different than his trunks. Maryse helped Miz cheat to win last week so Priest says a man shouldn’t be happy with that kind of a win. Priest accuses him of not having much to show in his underwear so the challenge is on. Maryse accepts, though Miz isn’t exactly pleased. That’s what Priest wanted so he has some champagne, which he calls trash.
Riddle comes up to New Day in the back and suggests some changes to their gear. The solution: SILVER DOLLAR PANCAKES! Riddle leaves and Kofi Kingston asks if Xavier Woods understood anything Riddle just said.
Here are Elias and Jaxson Ryker but the performance is interrupted again, this time by Xavier Woods on bass.
Kofi Kingston vs. Elias
Kofi starts fast with a rollup for two but gets knocked down. Elias gets distracted by Woods playing Steve Austin’s theme and Kofi hits a Thesz press (which looked to be a mistimed version of his standard double stomp) for some right hands. A delayed vertical suplex gets Elias out of trouble and it’s time to stomp away in the corner. Kofi gets in a shot to the face but gets knocked off the top again. Elias’ clothesline is countered into a rather sloppy SOS for two. This time Elias goes up but gets caught as well, only to block Kofi’s super hurricanrana. The top rope elbow finishes Kingston at 4:42.
Rating: D+. This was a rather messy match but at least it gave Elias one of the biggest wins of his career. Yes his character is pretty stale and he has been doing the same thing for years now, but at least they are giving him a little something to do. Maybe this goes a little somewhere, and right now it isn’t like they have all that many fresh ideas anyway.
It’s time for Alexa’s Playground, with Alexa Bliss explaining that Lily has been around for a very long time. We see some photos of Lily around her as a baby (WWE loves itself some doctored photos) and Bliss talks about shoving a kid at the playground so she could eat her ice cream (even if she didn’t like strawberry). When asked, she said Lily made her do it. Lily will let you know if she doesn’t like something so Bliss warns the entire roster. Lily tries to eat the camera again. Oh yeah they’re running with this.
We look back at the women’s tag team from earlier tonight, because OH YEAH THEY’RE RUNNING WITH THIS TOO!
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke say that they are not the bullies. Yes Mandy slipped at Wrestlemania but it was Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler who kept watching it. Jax and Baszler come in to chase them off but Baszler yells at Jax for costing them the match. Baszler tells her to get better or else. Jax: “Or else what?” Angel Garza of all people comes in to have Jax’s back.So yes, they are still arguing almost eight months after winning the titles in the first place. Also, I would hope that Garza is not being swapped in for Reginald. He’s too good for that.
Drew McIntyre vs. Mace/T-Bar
No partner for McIntyre, who charges at T-Bar and hammers away to start. A kick to the face sets up a battle over a suplex with McIntyre pulling it off for two. MVP is watching in the back as Mace comes in to unload on McIntyre in the corner. Some running knees put McIntyre down and we hit the chinlock….and go to a wide shot to show off the Thunderdome for some reason (ala Vince McMahon in the mid 90s pay per views). Mace suplexes him for two but McIntyre hits T-Bar with a spinebuster for two. The Glasgow Kiss slows T-Bar down but Mace’s distraction lets the double teaming begin, which is good for a DQ at 5:57.
Rating: C-. This didn’t have time to go very far but at least Mace and T-Bar didn’t get pinned right out of the box. It isn’t a win, but they lost because they were beating McIntyre up instead of a result of the opposite. I’m still curious about where this goes, though I have next to no confidence in it going anywhere positive for them in the long term
Immediately after the bell, here’s Braun Strowman to clear off not Retribution. Load up the tag match.
Braun Strowman/Drew McIntyre vs. T-Bar/Mace
Yeah you knew it was coming as soon as the music hit. Strowman powers out of a headlock to start and then runs Mace over with a shoulder. Drew certainly likes that and Braun forearms Mace down. T-Bar comes in and is pounded down into the corner as well. A Mace distraction lets T-Bar get in a chop block though and we hit the reverse chinlock.
T-Bar knees him in the back and grabs another chinlock but Strowman backdrops his way to freedom. The hot tag brings in McIntyre to pick up the pace, including an overhead belly to belly to Mace. There’s a jumping neckbreaker into McIntyre’s nip up….and there goes Mace’s mask. Commentary doesn’t seem to recognize him as a former member of their family, even as McIntyre hits him with the mask for the DQ at 5:24.
Rating: C-. Just a tag match here but losing the mask might get rid of a little bit of the Retribution stigma. Again, this is better than the team getting pinned, though it still isn’t exactly the best way to make them seem like big stars either. They went with another tag formula match here and that was fine, though it would be nice to see Mace and T-Bar pin someone. Like, ever.
Post match Strowman rips off T-Bar’s mask and knocks him outside as well. The start of non Retribution’s theme sounds like Neville’s NXT music.
Miz vs. Damian Priest
Miz has Maryse with him and goes outside to kiss her to start. Priest pulls Miz back in for a slam and elbows Miz down, but Maryse offers a distraction. That lets Miz hit a big boot and then a running dropkick puts Priest on the floor. Priest is whipped into various things before a neckbreaker gets two back inside.
The YES Kicks fire Priest up though and he blocks a kick with an elbow to the leg. Priest’s running elbow connects in the corner but Miz slips out of the Broken Arrow. Instead, Priest hits a springboard flip dive to take Miz down again. Maryse’s next distraction lets Miz grab a rollup (just like last week) for two, only for Priest to come back with Hit The Lights for the pin at 5:02.
Rating: C-. What matters here is Priest won, but I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of Miz pinning him last week. I’m assuming it was to promote the reality show, but if you can have Priest get the win back the next week, was there really no one else to take the fall? Priest has some major potential and I would love to see WWE realize some of it.
Asuka is warming up in the back and we go to a break in the middle of Virk’s hype for the main event.
Here is Sheamus for the Open Challenge for a US Title shot and we have a challenger.
US Title: Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo
Sheamus is defending….in theory at least, as he jumps Carrillo before the bell and throws him outside. Graves thinks Sheamus might be mad about the new European Super League as he whips Carrillo into the barricade and forearms him in the chest. Back in and the Brogue Kick drops Carrillo so Sheamus can say Carrillo isn’t in his league. No match.
Asuka vs. Charlotte
Rhea Ripley comes out to watch as Charlotte grabs a headlock. They fall out to the floor in a heap though and it’s off to an early break. Back with Charlotte hammering away but Asuka scores with a knee to the face. A Shining Wizard (leg kick according to Virk, as the completely understandable learning curve continues) drops Charlotte but what looked like a Codebreaker completely misses. Thankfully commentary doesn’t try to hide it as they slug it out from their knees.
Charlotte is up with a spear for two and then heads to the apron. Asuka’s kick to the ribs is blocked and Charlotte wrenches on the knee as long as she can. Back in and the Asuka Lock sends Charlotte to the ropes so she takes Asuka’s bad leg out again. The Figure Eight goes on but Ripley breaks it up, meaning the fight is on. Asuka kicks Charlotte in the arm and crucifixes her for the pin at 9:16, though Charlotte’s shoulder was a bit off the mat.
Rating: C+. I know Charlotte loses here and it seems to set up Asuka vs. Ripley II, but come on. You know Charlotte is getting in that title match because that is what Charlotte does almost every single time. It’s going to happen no matter what and it wouldn’t shock me to see her win the title again. I would certainly hope not, but it isn’t like it would be unprecedented.
Post match Charlotte yells at the referee and beats him down, even continuing as other referees come out to yell at her.
Overall Rating: D+. I went back and forth on the overall rating as this was a huge upgrade from last week but they are doubling down on so many of the repetitive/dull/stupid ideas. Riddle is still getting way too much time, Mace and T-Bar didn’t exactly look dominant, we’re still living in Charlotte’s world, and Mandy Rose slipping is one of the bigger stories on the show. You would have almost no idea that Wrestlemania was eight days ago and that shouldn’t be the feeling. The show wasn’t the worst and was a big improvement over last week, but it still wasn’t exactly good. Better, but they still need to fix a lot of problems.
Viking Experience b. Cedric Alexander/Shelton Benjamin – Viking Experience to Alexander
Riddle b. Randy Orton – Crucifix
Lana/Naomi b. Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler – Double X Factor to Baszler
Elias b. Kofi Kingston – Top rope elbow
Drew McIntyre b. Mace/T-Bar via DQ when Mace and T-Bar double teamed McIntyre
Mace/T-Bar b. Drew McIntyre/Braun Strowman via DQ when McIntyre hit Mace with the mask
Damian Priest b. The Miz – Hit The Lights
Asuka b. Charlotte – Crucifix
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