Given that Seth Rollins and his cohorts have more or less pulled ahead of the makeshift Kevin Owens-Samoa Joe-Viking Raiders alliance, it seemed like as good a time as any for Rollins to take a victory lap and bask in the glow of his own personal Messiah complex, not to mention the fact that his enemies seem to be plagued by the injury bug. Unfortunately for him, the gloating may have been somewhat premature.
For all Rollins’ insistence that Owens was setting himself up for martyrdom by failing to keep his allies upright, KO’s forces were back to full strength, as demonstrated by the sudden return of Samoa Joe. The two-time United States Champion made his presence known in the scrum between the two squads, dragging Rollins to the mat in the Coquina Clutch and helping KO score a long-awaited blow against Rollins and his disciples. And for Owens, whose motto has been "just keep fighting," it's looking like he might finally get a win to go with it.
Becky Lynch’s “superpowers” held firm on Raw, as The Man once again narrowly yet decisively beat back Asuka to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. That was about the only good thing that happened to the champ, though, as NXT’s Shayna Baszler ruthlessly attacked Becky after the match, quite literally taking a piece out of the Raw Women's Champion.
For all intents and purposes, The Man was a sitting duck. Lynch squeaked out the win against Asuka with a modified Manhandle Slam following a series of rollup counters, but the worn-down champion stood little chance against a full-strength Shayna Two-Times. The Submission Magician rained blows on Lynch’s head, locked her in the Kirifuda Clutch and seemingly bit a chunk out of the back of Lynch’s neck. And while The Man was able to drive her own ambulance to and from the local medical center and return with a warning for Shayna — “You better find me before I find you” — she did so having realized what those superpowers got her: pieces of herself on the mat and a rogue’s gallery that has grown by one.
As any football head knows, finding a good offensive lineman is crucial to success, so Mojo Rawley might want to go back to the drawing board with Riddick Moss. What appeared to be a demoralizing loss by the NXT veteran turned out to be an elaborate ruse to relieve Rawley of the 24/7 Championship.
Mojo should have perhaps seen it coming. Moss is a physical specimen, but he was steamrolled by the Profits, who pinned him instantly with a spinebuster-Frog Splash combo. None the wiser that something was amiss, Mojo went to his partner's side and was quickly pinned via small package. Riddick made his exit through the WWE Universe, and Rawley lost it in the ring. The ruse was complete. As they say on Sports Twitter, you truly hate to see it.
The hustle never stops for Montel Vontavious Porter, but the two-time United States Champion may have overplayed his hand during a VIP Lounge with Drew McIntyre that turned on a dime into a tense (and unsuccessful) negotiation of sorts when MVP pitched himself as McIntyre's business manager.
Given their long history together, and MVP's stated desire to transition behind-the-scenes, it wasn’t the worst idea on paper. But McIntyre refuted the idea that he needed anybody handling his business, leading to a confrontation that was as heated as it was brief. When MVP laid hands on his guest, the self-proclaimed “Sexy Scotsman” dropped MVP to the mat with a Glasgow Kiss and Claymored him right over the VIP Lounge couch before hitting the “Ballin’!” taunt for good measure. Whatever lies ahead for Drew McIntyre remains unclear, right down to his opponent at WrestleMania. But whether it's win, lose or draw, he's going to get there on his own merits.
Hyperbole aside, Angel Garza’s Raw debut truly was one of the more impactful in recent memory. He got his cousin Humberto Carrillo so riled up that Carrillo came out seeking payback for Garza’s Hammerlock DDT onto the concrete, dropping Garza before the former NXT Cruiserweight Champion's bout with Cedric Alexander.
As Carrillo was removed from ringside, Alexander went on the attack, getting himself to the cusp of victory with a burst of aggression. But Garza — “the man’s man” — dropped his foe out of midair with a dropkick, removed his tearaway pants with unmatched panache and hit the Wing Clipper to win. With Carrillo still lying in wait, Garza’s ultimate comeuppance may still be coming down the road. Until then, our one option is to watch him win. Whether we like it or not is, unfortunately, beside the point.
The idea of Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania is … tantalizing, to put it mildly. But Ripley still had a little bit of locker room business to attend to, battling a riled-up Sarah Logan before once again attempting to prod The Queen into a historic match at The Show of Shows.
Logan’s impetus for poking the bear was that Ripley thought she could come to Raw and do what she wanted with impunity, which motivated her to defend her turf. Despite Logan’s bravery, The Nightmare swiftly dispatched her with the Riptide while Charlotte watched from the ramp. But if The Queen (coming off a less-than-welcome return to NXT) was moved to accept Ripley’s WrestleMania offer, she didn’t show it. Instead, she pointed out that, depending what happens this Sunday at NXT TakeOver: Portland, Rhea Ripley might not be NXT Women’s Champion much longer. It seems if Rhea wants her answer, she’ll have to earn it.
Depending on whom you ask, Ricochet either achieved the impossible by pinning Bobby Lashley in a Triple Threat Match last week to earn a WWE Title bout with Brock Lesnar ... or, he stole The All Mighty’s victory, his moment and his dream. Despite Lashley’s vow to return Ricochet to “reality,” however, the former United States Champion once again pinned Lashley to bring himself one step closer to his dream of the WWE Championship.
He did it pretty expertly, too. For a “scrawny kid,” as he remembered being labeled during a pre-match interview, Ricochet certainly rose to Lashley’s level, withstanding a massive amount of punishment to pin Lashley with the 630. Based on his physical state after the match, Ricochet may have to make good on his promise to “crawl” to Super ShowDown if need be. For now, however, this should prove two things: One, that last week’s win was no fluke. And two: If he beats Lesnar, that won’t be, either.
Last week, Randy Orton found himself unable to explain his shocking attack on Edge. This week, Matt Hardy tried to force Orton into revealing, as he said, "What in the hell is wrong with you?" But rather than help prod The Apex Predator into the confession the WWE Universe wanted, Hardy instead wandered into the same fate as The Rated-R Superstar.
Orton only got one sentence out — that what happened hurt him more than it hurt Edge — before Hardy arrived, demanding answers for the man with whom he made history and went through hell, as both hungry up-and-comers and bitter rivals. In response, Orton dropped Hardy with an RKO after a brief scrap and administered a one man Con-Chair-To to the former Raw Tag Team Champion in an echo of his attack on Edge. At least this time we know why Orton struck, though that’s likely to be cold comfort to the WWE Universe as more trailblazers fall at his feet.
It’s still unclear who, exactly, Aleister Black is hoping to fight at the end of his one-man crusade. Until then, he’s emphatically winning all of his other fights. This week, Black disposed of Akira Tozawa in a short, nasty battle of strikers before offering a warning to anyone who might take him up on his against-all-comers mentality.
After Black showed appreciation to the audience for their desire to rebel against a “given idea of paradise” — something he said he understood — he claimed he was beginning to feel like an animal inside of a cage. And, for anyone looking to dance, they should consider themselves warned. “Know that it is not me who is in there with you,” Black said. “It is you who shall be trapped inside this metaphoric cage with me.”
If there was ever a time for Kevin Owens to land a blow against Seth Rollins, it was tonight. Healthy Ivar, healthy Samoa Joe, strong showing in the show’s opening brawl. Unfortunately, The Monday Night Messiah has his house in order, and with his disciples at full strength in the same match for the first time, Rollins led his flock to victory against Owens and his spirited but outmatched posse of rebels.
Each team took its cues from its respective leader. Team KO was reckless, throwing their bodies to the wind — literally, in Owens’ case. Rollins’ crew, meanwhile, was far more methodical, employing some true tag team symmetry that came in handy during the closing moments, when AOP distracted the ref, allowing Rollins to Stomp Joe while he had Murphy in the Coquina Clutch. Murphy, who had been tapping out while the ref's back was turned, ended up getting the pin as a result of the interference. In Owens’ defense, this is but the first of what will likely be many battles. But having seen their foe at full force, the differences are becoming clearer. Team Owens fights. Team Rollins believes.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Becky Lynch (c) defeated Asuka (w/ Kairi Sane) to retain the WWE Raw Women's Championship (19:00)
- Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) defeated Mojo Rawley & Riddick Moss (0:45)
- Riddick Moss defeated Mojo Rawley (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- Angel Garza (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Cedric Alexander (2:45)
- Rhea Ripley defeated Sarah Logan (0:37)
- Ricochet defeated Bobby Lashley (w/ Lana) (11:05)
- Aleister Black defeated Akira Tozawa (1:30)
- Seth Rollins, Murphy & AOP (Akam & Rezar) defeated Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & The Viking Raiders (Ivar & Erik) in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match (14:35)
Other on-screen talent