Monday Night Raw
Date: April 26, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We’re getting closer to Wrestlemania Backlash and we need a lot of the card set up. I’m not sure what we are going to have added tonight, but odds are we are going to get more of T-Bar/Mace attacking Drew McIntyre as we wait to find out what is going on. Other than that, probably a lot more of the same. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of Drew McIntyre/Braun Strowman vs. Mace/T-Bar last week, with the latter two losing their masks.
Mace/T-Bar vs. Drew McIntyre/Braun Strowman
Before the match, we get an inset promo from Mace/T-Bar, still unmasked but with some streaks painted on their faces, promising to take care of McIntyre/Strowman. In the back, McIntyre and Strowman yell at each other over who is in charge (ignore the production worker walking through the back and dropping down because he isn’t supposed to be in the shot). Strowman says he’s going to show McIntyre how to do this himself so we’ll do that instead.
Mace/T-Bar vs. Braun Strowman
T-Bar is in regular trunks. Strowman throws T-Bar around to start and powers him into the corner but Mace comes in for a running side kick. A fairly awkward exchange of strikes sees Strowman knocked down into the corner and the double stomping begins…and ends the match via DQ at 2:58. Mace looked especially awkward with his timing, but what would you expect against Strowman?
Post match here is McIntyre for the save and house is cleaned in a hurry. Drew asks Strowman for a thank you and we take a break.
Mace/T-Bar vs. Drew McIntyre/Braun Strowman
Joined in progress with T-Bar fighting out of the Futureshock and slapping McIntyre in the face. The Glasgow Kiss gives McIntyre two and it’s off to Mace to power McIntyre down by the arm. Everything breaks down in a hurry and Strowman sends both of them outside for the Strowman Express (now minus noise). Strowman knocks McIntyre over the barricade by mistake though and that’s a countout to give Mace/T-Bar the win at 4:23.
Rating: D+. I like Mace and T-Bar as a regular team without the Retribution factor, but I could go with something other than them being pawns in McIntyre vs. Strowman’s side feud. At least they have better looking gear and have dropped the masks. Now if they could get some better names (like, say, Dominik Dijak and Dio Maddin), they might get somewhere. It isn’t like the tag division is awash with teams at the moment.
Post match Strowman powerslams McIntyre and shouts about that being how McIntyre repays him for last week.
Post break, McIntyre demands and receives a match with Strowman tonight.
It’s time for MizTV with John Morrison back. After plugging his various things, Miz introduces Elias, with Jaxson Ryker as his guests. Miz takes credit for Bad Bunny selling out his 2022 world tour in record time but they didn’t even get tickets. They are the real musicians though and that means it is time for Hey Hey Hop Hop Unplugged.
After a verse or two (allowing me to understand more of it than ever), the lights go out and we have an interruption. He has a surprise of his own, so here is New Day, with Xavier Woods carrying a very large guitar case. Inside though are…..rotten tomatoes, with the flying fruits taking down all four villains. In short, this was dumb.
New Day/Damian Priest vs. Jaxson Ryker/Elias/Miz
Ryker takes Woods down to start so it’s quickly off to Elias. A shot to the face has Woods in more trouble and Miz comes in, only to get beaten down in a hurry. The good guys take turns kicking and elbowing Miz down, so we’re off to Ryker vs. Priest for the power battle. Priest knocks him out to the floor so it’s Elias coming back in and getting taken down, followed by a leg sweep to Miz. House is cleaned and a trombone concert….actually doesn’t take us to a break.
Instead it’s Kofi with a high crossbody for two on Elias, meaning Ryker comes back in. Elias breaks up something else off the top though and Miz kicks Kofi down as we take a break. We come back with Kofi still in trouble and Morrison getting in a tomato to the face. Elias adds a chinlock, followed by a clothesline to drop Kofi again. Ryker grabs his own chinlock before handing it back to Miz for the IT Kicks. Kofi finally manages to knock him down and hands it off to Priest (as Woods is missing for some reason).
House is cleaned but Elias escapes the Broken Arrow. He can’t escape a clothesline from Priest for two and the good looking top rope spinwheel kick connects for the same with Miz making the save. Miz gets caught in the Broken Arrow as Woods is back up to come in, only to be kneed out of the air by Elias. Priest is already back in to hold Ryker for Kofi’s missile dropkick and a forearm puts Miz on the floor, setting up the dive.. Kofi pulls Elias off the top and Woods small packages Ryker for the pin at 16:50.
Rating: C-. This was rather long and not that interesting, though what else were you expecting with Elias and Ryker in there? Priest continues to be the guy with the other people and that isn’t exactly a thrilling place for him. I’m curious to see what he can do on his own, but at least he is getting to do his cool stuff and isn’t getting pinned to promote a reality show.
Smackdown’s Sonya Deville is here and….lets Charlotte in. I’m surprised it took her this long to be back.
Post break here is Deville in the ring to introduce Charlotte (who was suspended last week). The referee that Charlotte attacked last week is here too and we see a clip of the beatdown. Charlotte apologizes, which is enough for Sonya. She thinks the suspension was a little hasty so we’ll just forget about it. Charlotte has the referee apologize to her (Charlotte: “Good boy.”) and she will be wrestling again tonight with this referee calling the match. Sonya and Charlotte head to the back and run into an angry Adam Pearce, who doesn’t buy Charlotte’s apology.
Post break, Braun Strowman comes in to see Pearce and talks about how he didn’t lose the triple threat #1 contenders match. That means that if he beats Drew tonight, the Backlash match should be a triple threat, which works for Pearce. Of note: Strowman said every WWE buzzword, including saying that he was still in contention for a WWE Championship opportunity at WWE Wrestlemania Backlash. NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS!
Here’s Sheamus to say how much he enjoyed last week’s open challenge where he beat down Humberto Carrillo. He liked it so much that we can have another open challenge, but not for the title. Cue Carrillo, with Sheamus saying he can’t believe this guy is trying again. Sheamus jumps him again and beats Carrillo down, but some shouting at commentary lets Carrillo gets in a few shots of his own. Some dropkicks put Sheamus on the floor and a suicide dive knocks him over the announcers’ table. Sheamus is furious as Carrillo leaves.
MVP doesn’t like jumping to a conclusion about Braun Strowman being added to anything. Tonight, he and Bobby Lashley have some grievances to address.
Rhea Ripley is glad Charlotte is back, but it was fun watching her lose so much money.
Here are Bobby Lashley and MVP for a chat. Lashley is not happy with Drew McIntyre being back like gum on the bottom of his shoe, but now he’ll beat McIntyre AGAIN. Then there is the chance that it could be made a triple threat match, which offends MVP because that’s how Lashley lost the US Title without being beaten. Tonight is important, so Lashley will be watching the main event in person. Perfectly fine promos here.
We look at Riddle beating Randy Orton last week.
Riddle, on his scooter, says he’s on cloud 12 after last week. He isn’t sure what an apex predator is, but he knows that Orton is a viper. Last week, Riddle beat him like a sexy mongoose, but here is Orton to interrupt. Orton: “I don’t know what planet you’re from.” Riddle: “I’m from earth.” Orton: “Shut up.”
Orton says they don’t have much in common (Riddle: “We’re both from earth.”) but he likes the idea of the RKBro team. They have a tag match scheduled for tonight, if Riddle wants it. Riddle is in and thinks they should get matching snakeskin Speedos. Orton shushes him and if it goes well, maybe they can have a chat. He seems to be regretting this already.
We look at Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke messing with Nia Jax.
Nia Jax rants to Shayna Baszler and Reginald about the disrespect. She also doesn’t like Charlotte being reinstated after a simple apology but Charlotte is a spoiled brat, just like Mandy Rose. Shayna complains about Nia being distracted and says don’t let it happen again in their match tonight. With Shayna gone, Nia gets some flowers….from Angel Garza, who wishes her luck tonight. Nia takes the flowers and hits Mandy in the face with them, which leaves Mandy and Dana Brooke…well just standing there actually.
MVP comes up to Braun Strowman and says Bobby Lashley isn’t happy with the idea of a triple threat. Strowman says if Lashley has a problem, come say it to his face, because he’ll be in the main event at Wrestlemania Backlash.
Randy Orton/Riddle vs. Shelton Benjamin/Cedric Alexander
Riddle takes Alexander down to start but a shot to the ribs gets him into the wrong corner. Shelton comes in and it’s time to start in on Riddle’s knee, including some running shots with the leg tied in the rope. The half crab goes on for a bit until Riddle fights up and hits a jumping knee to the face. The hot tag bring sin Orton to clean house, including the RKO to pull Alexander out of the air. Orton drops Shelton with the hanging DDT and the Floating Bro gives Riddle the pin at 4:35.
Rating: C-. I liked this a little more than I expected to and the idea of Orton vs. Riddle is interesting. Of course they aren’t going to be a long term team, but this is at least a fresh way to set things up. It’s already going better than Y2AJ, but I’m still waiting on the possible RKBro shirts before passing final judgment.
Commentary is stunned that Orton didn’t turn on him.
Rhea Ripley/Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka/Naomi/Lana
Asuka goes after Baszler’s arm to start and even offers it to Ripley for a tag. Ripley passes, but is willing to come in after Baszler knocks Asuka down. Lana comes in to roll Ripley up for two, earning herself a hard headbutt. A dragon sleeper sets up a bodyscissors on Lana, including some forearms to the back for a bonus. Cue Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, which is too much for Baszler. She goes after them so they throw a bucket of water at her.
Nia comes in and falls down, meaning Reginald has to drag her away like a turtle on its shell. Back from a break with Asuka coming in to hip attack Baszler, who kicks her in the face. Jax plants Asuka with the Samoan drop but misses a charge in the corner. Naomi comes back in with a springboard crossbody and a headscissors driver gets two on Jax. Reginald offers a distraction though and Jax jumps Naomi from behind.
Ripley (hey she’s in this match too) comes back in for a belly to back faceplant, with Asuka having to make the save. Riptide plants Naomi but Lana is legal and comes in off the top with a high crossbody for two of her own. Nia runs Asuka over on the floor as Lana rolls Ripley up for another two. That’s enough for Ripley, who hits Riptide and hands it back to Nia for the legdrop and the pin at 11:36.
Rating: D+. Just over two weeks ago, Ripley was winning the Raw Women’s Title at Wrestlemania. Now she is playing third fiddle to Charlotte and the Battling Bosses, plus Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke trying to humiliate Nia Jax. That has me worried about her immediate future, but hopefully she gets to beat someone up at Backlash to get her a little more attention. She wasn’t much of a focus here, and that isn’t a good sign. I’m not worried about her long term, but Raw’s priorities for the women’s division are rather pitiful.
Post break, Sonya Deville comes up to Mandy and Dana, who shouldn’t have done that. Deville isn’t surprised because Mandy doesn’t take things seriously, so she can face Charlotte next instead.
Alexa Bliss talks about how Lily the doll has been the angel and demon on her shoulder. You can have your own Lily too and it’s really easy. Bliss tells us to look into her eyes and imagine a calm place, like the pond that we see. As we look at the flowers, Lily pops up and screams at us, with Bliss laughing about how she got us. The problem is Lily is bored back here, so it’s time for her to play with the rest of WWE. Lily bites at the camera again.
Charlotte vs. Mandy Rose
Dana Brooke is here too as Mandy flips out of a wristlock to start. Some shoulders in the corner have Charlotte in more trouble but she knees her way out said corner. Mandy is back with a missile dropkick but the referee gets caught in the corner, allowing Charlotte to hit a big boot for two. With Charlotte yelling at the referee about how to count, Mandy hits a knee to the back for two of her own. That’s enough for Charlotte, who plants her with Natural Selection for the pin at 4:18.
Rating: D+. This was a weird one as you had Charlotte being annoyed at the referee but nothing really came of it as it’s still Charlotte vs. Mandy Rose. How much extra help should Charlotte need here? There is something interesting about Mandy giving Charlotte a run for her money and Charlotte being a bit nervous about it, but instead we got a weird setup.
Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman
If Strowman wins, he’s in the WWE Title match at Backlash. McIntyre hits a running shoulder but Strowman literally brushes his shoulder off. With that not working, McIntyre takes him down by the leg and drops some elbows, only to have Strowman knock him to the floor. The Strowman Express is loaded up but here are Bobby Lashley/MVP to interrupt as we take a break.
Back with McIntyre getting a sleeper on Strowman but he gets driven into the corner. A jumping neckbreaker gives Drew two so MVP gets up for a pep talk. The Claymore is countered into a powerbomb (in a smooth transition) for two but McIntyre blocks the big forearm to the chest.
There’s a spinebuster for two on Strowman, who catches McIntyre going up top. A superplex gets two on McIntyre and now the forearm to the chest connects. The powerslam is loaded up so Lashley gets up for a distraction. MVP makes the save, allowing Strowman to hit the Futureshock. The Claymore is loaded up but here are Mace and T-Bar for the real distraction. The running powerslam gives Strowman the pin at 13:21.
Rating: C. I don’t know how surprising the result was and that’s ok in this case. I wasn’t wild on McIntyre vs. Lashley II for the pay per view title match so adding Strowman in at least makes things different. They need some fresh blood in the main event scene and while Strowman has been around, he hasn’t been in a spot like this for a pretty long while now. Mixing it up is a good thing and that’s what we’re seeing here.
The three way staredown ends the show.
Overall Rating: C-. I’m not sure if it is just being better than the last few weeks or actually having a point but this felt like a better show than they have done recently. You can see most of the Raw half of the Backlash card from here and that is not a bad thing. This show was not exactly good, but it had a point and didn’t have as much horrible so by comparison to the usual shows, we’ll call it an upgrade.
Braun Strowman b. Mace/T-Bar via DQ when Strowman was double teamed in the corner
Mace/T-Bar b. Braun Strowman/Drew McIntyre via countout
New Day/Damian Priest b. Jaxson Ryker/Elias/Miz – Small package to Woods
Randy Orton/Riddle b. Shelton Benjamin/Cedric Alexander – Floating Bro to Benjamin
Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler/Rhea Ripley b. Lana/Naomi/Asuka – Legdrop to Lana
Charlotte b. Mandy Rose – Natural Selection
Braun Strowman b. Drew McIntyre – Running powerslam
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