Monday Night Raw
Date: February 21, 2022
Location: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
With Elimination Chamber out of the way, it is time to start making the final preparations for Wrestlemania. We now even know the main event (or one of them at least) as new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will face Universal Champion Roman Reigns, winner take all. They might want to work on finding anything else that matters somewhere in there. Let’s get to it.
Long Elimination Chamber recap.
Here is the new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar to get things going and the fans seem rather happy to see him. After thanking the fans, Lesnar is cut off by Paul Heyman, whose signature line is cut off almost immediately. Heyman manages to say that he represents the one true champion around here and says Lesnar might not get to Wrestlemania as champion.
Lesnar still has to defend the title at Madison Square Garden on March 5 against Bobby Lashley, but if Lashley can’t make it, Heyman will find a better opponent. Lesnar says he’s doing just fine without Heyman and says he’ll be on Smackdown, complete with a Heyman impression.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens are ready to beat RKBro tonight and be added to the Tag Team Title match. Then they can defend the titles at Wrestlemania, maybe even against the Usos in a champion vs. champion match. Either way, Owens doesn’t want to have to be in that horrible city of Dallas.
Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy
Non-title. Dawkins takes Gable down to start and it’s off to Ford for a good dropkick. Otis comes in to run Ford over with the straight power. Everything breaks down though and the Academy is sent outside. Ford gets pulled out with them, but it’s Dawkins hitting the big flip dive onto the pile as we take a break.
Back with Ford fighting out of Otis’ neck crank but getting cut off again with a clothesline. Gable comes back in and counters a sunset flip attempt with a northern lights suplex. An armbar doesn’t last long though as Ford fights up and brings in Dawkins to clean house. Everything breaks down and Dawkins is taken outside for a ram into the barricade. Back in and Otis comes in off a blind tag so Ford tries a slam, with Otis falling on top of him. Gable holds down Ford’s foot and Otis gets the pin at 9:07.
Rating: C+. The Profits continue to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch while the Academy are nailing this formula very well. Gable is the loudmouth who has a monster in his back pocket but can still do things on his own, while Otis is the monster who crushes everyone. It’s an effective combination and they had a good match here against worthy opponents.
NXT’s Tommaso Ciampa says he’s ready to face Dolph Ziggler any night of the week, including Mondays. He even has the perfect partner to team with against Ziggler and Robert Roode. Cue Finn Balor, who knows he is on Raw now but will never forget where he came from.
Finn Balor/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler
Ciampa only gets half of an entrance as we come back from a break. Roode starts with Ciampa and gets dropkicked down, setting up Ciampa’s headlock. That’s broken up and Ziggler is brought in, with commentary saying that this is Ciampa’s Raw debut (it isn’t) and Smith saying he remembers Ciampa facing Walter (which Graves quickly corrects to Gunther) in NXT. Everything breaks down and Balor dives outside onto the other two as we take a break.
Back with Ciampa and Ziggler slugging it out until Roode slips in for a cheap shot. Ziggler slaps on a front facelock but Ciampa fights out of that as well. The hot tag brings in Balor to clean house as everything breaks down. Ziggler and Ciampa are sent outside, leaving Roode to plant Balor for two. The Sling Blade drops Roode though and it’s off to Ciampa for the knee to the face. The Fairy Tale Ending is countered but Ciampa is right back with a rollup to put Roode away at 9:16.
Rating: C. It’s still strange to see Ciampa on Raw but he is a talented veteran who can make anything work anywhere. This helped set up his showdown with Ziggler, which is likely a way to set up Ziggler for the Wrestlemania weekend NXT Title shot. Balor being back is a good sign as well, and now maybe he can do something better going forward.
It’s time for MizTV, with Miz complaining about Rey Mysterio. Rey uses everything he can to get the upper hand, including using his son Dominik to beat him at Elimination Chamber. That’s because the people need Rey and will forgive everything he does. Miz knows better than to trust the people, so he has his own partner. He is someone from a fighting family and he is dashing.
Before we get to meet him though, here are the Mysterios to interrupt. Rey says he knows everyone here hates Miz’s guts so it doesn’t matter who Miz has found. Bring them out there so they can get rid of him and give the Wrestlemania spot to someone who deserves it. Miz asks if Dominik deserves a WWE contract or did his dad just get him one?
Dominik says his dad brought him into wrestling and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep him here. Threats are made but Miz mocks the idea. A tag match is proposed for Wrestlemania, with Miz bringing out Logan Paul as his partner. Paul says he has pool toys bigger than Rey and Dominik accepts the Wrestlemania challenge. The fight is on with the Mysterios getting taken down and then sent into the posts.
The Alpha Academy isn’t worried about RKBro or Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens.
Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki Ash
Yes, it continues. Nikki talks a lot of trash to start, with Rhea eventually snapping and tossing her into the corner. A delayed vertical suplex drops Nikki again so she heads outside to rant to commentary. This time Rhea sends her face first into the announcers’ table, setting up Riptide for the pin back inside at 2:43.
Undertaker Hall of Fame video.
Damian Priest vs. Shelton Benjamin
Non-title and Cedric Alexander is here with Benjamin. Priest gets thrown outside to start, where Cedric gets in a hard shot to make it worse. Back in and Benjamin gets two off a suplex and we hit the chinlock. Priest fights up with a series of kicks of his own and there’s the South of Heaven chokeslam. The Reckoning finishes for Priest at 3:10.
Rating: C. This is the kind of win that can get Priest back on track. Benjamin isn’t going to be a threat to win the title and has nothing to lose, so have him put Priest over and get a nice win. Priest is starting to put things back together and he keeps holding onto the title, but at least now he isn’t losing most of his matches. It’s nice to see them make that kind of a correction for once.
Post match Priest says he has beaten a bunch of guys and now he wants more competition. Cue Finn Balor to say he’ll come take that title next week.
We recap Reggie turning on Dana Brooke to take the 24/7 Title back last week.
Here is Reggie for a chat. He has something to say and promises that there will be no 24/7 shenanigans for the moment. First though, he would like Dana Brooke out here, so here she is to join the chat. Reggie says that he got emotional last week and took his shot, but for now, he wants to make it up to her. He asks for and gets a referee before laying down on the mat. Dana covers him for two but Dana kisses him for the pin and the title. Post match here are the goons, with Reggie helping Dana escape. Akira Tozawa winds up inn Tamina’s arms but gets dropped when asking for a kiss of his own. The chase is on.
Video on the women’s Elimination Chamber match, with Bianca Belair earning the Wrestlemania title shot.
Here is Bianca Belair for a chat. She is the EST of WWE, which she explains again. Belair main evented last year’s WWE and now it is time to do it again. Cue Becky Lynch to remind Belair of what happened, six months ago to the day, at Summerslam. Becky promises to take her down at Wrestlemania but Belair isn’t convinced.
Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop
Becky Lynch is on commentary. Doudrop runs her over to start but Belair takes her into the corner for some kicks to the ribs. Back up and Belair sends her to the apron, where Belair hits her handspring kick to the face. Belair stops to yell at Becky though and Doudrop hits a crossbody as we take a break
We come back with Belair hitting a belly to back suplex but again stopping to yell at Becky. That makes Lynch take off her jacket as Doudrop crushes Belair in the corner. The Cannonball misses though and Belair manages a powerbomb out of the corner (leaving Becky speechless). Doudrop misses a charge in the corner though and it’s a KOD to give Belair the pin at 11:06.
Rating: C. There are certain things in wrestling that almost defy belief and Belair being able to throw Doudrop around is one of them. You don’t see someone with that kind of power, not to mention athleticism, very often and it is always impressive. It’s the same thing that made John Cena look like a star and WWE would be smart to push Belair, who has the charisma to back it up.
Post match, Becky and Belair stare each other down.
Here is Edge for a chat. He has a seat in a chair and asks if the fans can smell it. It isn’t him reeking of awesomeness, but rather the smell of Wrestlemania in the air. His first Wrestlemania was Wrestlemania 3 and he listened to the results on the radio. He heard about Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant and doing the impossible and he was so excited.
Then he was brought in for his first Wrestlemania at Wrestlemania XIV (Edge: “Yeah that’s how old I am.”) but he didn’t get in the ring until two years later. Edge talks about some of his best Wrestlemania moments, including TLC II (no other teams mentioned), the first Money in the Bank ladder match, the match with Mick Foley and coming THIS CLOSE to beating the Undertaker. Now he needs Wrestlemania again, just like Wrestlemania needs Edge. He needs someone to step up and fight him, because he’ll make you live forever.
RKBro vs. Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens
If Owens and Rollins win, they’re added to the upcoming Tag Team Title match. Riddle and Owens grapple a bit to start before colliding on an exchange of shoulders. Rollins comes in to take over on Riddle, who snaps off a gutwrench suplex to take him down as well. Orton gets to stomp on Rollins as a result and it’s a backdrop to the floor. The belly to back drop onto the announcers’ table is loaded up but Owens makes the save, with Orton being sent over the table instead.
We take a break and come back with Orton fighting out of Owens’ chinlock and making the hot tag to Riddle. A bit of house is cleaned, at least until Owens catches him on top to tie him in the Tree of Woe. Rollins hits an Alberto double stomp for two and Owens adds a brainbuster onto the knee for two more. The Stunner is blocked so Owens hits an enziguri setting up a Swanton.
Rollins adds a frog splash for two and the shocked face is on. Back up and Riddle rolls underneath a clothesline, allowing the hot tag to Orton. The double hanging DDT connects but the RKO is shoved off, with Orton landing in the corner to tag Riddle. Rollins knocks Orton outside for a Stomp on the floor, leaving Riddle to take Owens down again. Riddles’ RKO is countered into a Buckle Bomb though and it’s the Stunner into the Stomp for the pin at 12:38.
Rating: B-. This was an energized match as both teams can bring it when they are given the chance. Adding Owens and Rollins to the title match doesn’t take anything away from RKBro, but their time seems to be coming to an end. I’m not sure how wise that is as they are the most over thing on Monday Night Raw, but that has never stopped WWE before.
The Alpha Academy isn’t pleased to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. The best thing about this show is that it felt like they were starting to plan for Wrestlemania. It came off like the wrestlers were into their individual stories and are moving in some kind of a direction. Granted some of those directions aren’t clear yet, but the show felt more focused and like more things had been planned out. That is nice to see for a change and you could feel it as a result.
Alpha Academy b. Street Profits – Rollup Gable holding Ford’s leg
Finn Balor/Tommaso Ciampa b. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler – Rollup to Roode
Rhea Ripley b. Nikki Ash – Riptide
Damian Priest b. Shelton Benjamin – Reckoning
Bianca Belair b. Doudrop – KOD
Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens b. RKBro – Stomp to Riddle
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