Monday Night Raw
Date: March 7, 2022
Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We are less than a month away from Wrestlemania and that means we are probably going to start some of the harder pushes to the show this week. In theory we should be getting some more matches set for the show, as probably about half of it has been set. There is also a Tag Team Title match this week so let’s get to it.
We open with clips from Madison Square Garden where Roman Reigns and the Usos laid out Brock Lesnar and left him bloody to end the show.
Here are Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins for a chat before their Tag Team Title shot. Rollins is fired up and Owens talks about how the deck has been stacked against them all year. Tonight though, they’re taking the titles and going to Wrestlemania! That’s great, but they have to compete in the dump known as Dallas. Being there with Rollins will make it more bearable though and we look at some clips of how we got to this title match. Owens goes on a rant against the other team, including saying that Shorty G. and Otis suck.
Cue Alpha Academy, now with a SHHHHHHHUSH at the start of their entrance. Chad Gable lists off his resume and throws in a THANK YOU regarding how they are going to retain their titles. We cut to RKBro in the back, where the team is rather fired up to get their titles back. Riddle digs it.
Tag Team Titles: Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens vs. RKBro vs. Alpha Academy
Alpha Academy is defending, there are three people in the ring at once and you can only tag your own partner. Rollins takes Riddle and Gable down to start and hands it off to Owens to take over. Owens steps on Riddle’s bare foot and hits a DDT for two before running Gable over as well. A Vader Bomb elbow gets two on Gable and it’s back to Rollins with a top rope crossbody to Riddle and Gable.
The two of them are sent outside so Rollins can hit a suicide dive, followed by Owens’ Swanton for two on Gable as we take a break. Back with Otis getting to clean house, including a splash for two on Riddle, with Otis pulling him up. The neck crank goes on for a bit before Otis has to hammer Riddle down to break up the comeback. The Vader Bomb misses though and the hot tag brings in Orton to clean house on Gable and the returning Rollins.
A double hanging DDT takes the two of them down but Gable counters the RKO into the ankle lock. That’s broken up and Orton hits the RKO on Rollins, with Owens making the save. Orton drops Gable and Owens onto the announcers’ table, and RKBro combines to drop Otis onto it as we take another break.
Back again with Riddle hitting the Floating Bro for two on Rollins with Owens making the save. Otis gives Orton a World’s Strongest Slam and it’s a Vader Bomb into Gable’s moonsault for two as Rollins makes the save. Gable slips out of a Rollins’ superplex attempt so let’s just make it a Tower of Doom with Owens sending everyone down instead. Everything breaks down and it’s a big brawl to send us to a third break.
Back again with most everyone on the floor and Riddle going up top. Rollins breaks that up and gets two off an Alberto double stomp. Riddle gets Rollins into a triangle choke but it’s Gable making the save this time. Gable hits rolling German suplexes on Orton, Rollins and Riddle before going up top for the moonsault….which Orton catches in an RKO for some AMAZING timing. Rollins and Owens break that up though and it’s a buckle bomb to Gable into a Stunner into the Stomp but Riddle throws Rollins out and steals the pin and the titles at 27:02.
Rating: B. This got a lot of time (a crazy amount of time for a Raw match) and the title change actually shocked me. After that RKO to Gable, it would have been almost a letdown if they didn’t get the titles here so this is a nice surprise. Good match, though that is assuming you can ignore “HOW WILL THEY GO TO WRESTLEMANIA IF THEY LOSE?????”, which is a dumb story even by WWE standards.
Owens and Rollins are devastated, with Rollins walking off in a trance and Owens talking to himself. Orton talks about how he has never had this much fun in twenty years and he will actually call Riddle his friend. THEY’RE GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA!
Post break, Owens is still in shock.
24/7 Title: Dana Brooke vs. Tamina
Brooke is defending and has Reggie in her corner, while Tamina has Akira Tozawa. Earlier today, Brooke asked Reggie for a good luck kiss and got just that. On the other hand, Tozawa asked Tamina for one and was kissed hard into a wall for his efforts. Tamina clotheslines her down to start but gets caught with the handspring elbow in the corner. Another clothesline takes Brooke down again though and we hit the Boston crab. Brooke finally powers out and grabs a bad looking rollup to retain at 1:45. Believe it or not, Brooke survived in her hometown.
Post match Tozawa says Brooke cheated and says the winner of the match is the love of his life, Tamina. Tozawa preps for another kiss but she walks by him, teases coming back, blows him a kiss, and then leaves.
Seth Rollins still can’t talk.
We look at Roman Reigns attacking Brock Lesnar at MSG again.
Here is the Miz for a chat. Miz says he’s home and says that the cheers he receives are respect. We see Dominik Mysterio insulting Logan Paul, who is Miz’s special guest this week. Cue Paul, who says it is good to be home and he is honored to be going to Wrestlemania as Miz’s partner. Paul talks about growing up in Cleveland and went to high school here, with Cleveland making him the man he is today.
They don’t like Dominik riding on Rey’s coat tails because that isn’t how they do it here in Cleveland. Speaking of Cleveland, here is another Cleveland native: Jerry Lawler. After a rather nice reaction, Lawler lists off some Ohio towns where he lived over the years and thanks Miz for inviting him here.
Lawler looks at the Wrestlemania sign and thinks it would be great to have the show right here in Cleveland. Miz doesn’t think much of that idea because Cleveland isn’t exactly a Wrestlemania city. Miz: “YOU WERE JUST CHEERING ME AND NOW YOU’RE BOOING ME???” This city couldn’t even handle the pyro without the lake catching on fire. No one stays here, just like when the Browns or LeBron James left. Miz says he and Paul can go on to a real Wrestlemania city and leaves, with an unsure Paul following. This was kind of a weird segment as I’m not sure what it accomplished other than having Lawler out there.
We look back at Dolph Ziggler’s recent issues with Tommaso Ciampa.
Bron Breakker and Tommaso Ciampa are here to face Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in a rematch of last week’s NXT. Breakker is excited and ready to go before defending the NXT Title against Ziggler and Ciampa tomorrow night.
The Street Profits are asked what they think about having no path to Wrestlemania but point out that they beat RKBro last week.
Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode
Breakker shrugs off Roode’s headlock to start and muscles him up for a suplex. It’s off to Ciampa for a clothesline and a chinlock before being driven into the wrong corner. That’s enough to send Ciampa outside and we take a break. Back with Ciampa in trouble and getting caught with a double back elbow.
Ciampa manages a jumping knee and it’s back to Breakker to clean house. Ziggler knees Breakker in the face for a breather but the gorilla press….is broken up by Roode. A rollup gives Ziggler two but Breakker charges into the post. The Zig Zag connects for two with Ciampa making the save. Another jumping knee sends Roode outside and the gorilla press powerslam finishes Ziggler at 9:37.
Rating: C+. Breakker getting to debut on Raw is a nice touch as it’s clear that he’s just here as a guest star. I like the idea of presenting some NXT wrestlers on Raw every week, if nothing else just for the sake of building up some of what they’re doing. Good match here, as Breakker looked composed enough on the bigger stage.
Post match Ziggler says that was one win and promises to take the title tomorrow night when Breakker crumbles.
Video on Omos.
Omos is asked if he has a path to Wrestlemania (OH SHUT UP ALREADY!) and asks how many people he has to dominate.
Omos vs. Apollo Crews
Commander Azeez is here with Crews and Omos says he’s next. Omos runs Crews over to start and we’re already on the double arm crank. The rather slow paced Omos forearms Crews off the apron and out to the floor in a crash. Back in and Crews hits a jumping enziguri but gets chokeslammed for the pin at 2:42.
Post match Azeez comes in to check on Crews so Omos laughs at him.
We look back at AJ Styles accepting Edge’s Wrestlemania challenge, sending Edge into a rage and crushing him with two Conchairtos.
Here is Edge, but his entrance is very different this time, as his music cuts off and a dark spotlight comes on him as he walks to the ring. After taking his sweet time getting into the ring, Edge says “you think you know me?”. Tonight he is going to talk to AJ Styles but make sure you put the kids to bed first. Edge did what he did last week to bring out the real AJ Styles.
It was a new Edge too, as he pealed back his head and saw the real him, which he had never seen before. That is an Edge that he has fallen in love with and now he feels in control of everything that happens in this ring. Edge is standing on the mountain of omnipotence and the view is phenomenal. A closeup of Edge’s face wraps it up. The entrance was good but it felt like this got cut off before he got to the point.
Kevin Owens never wants to feel how he felt after that loss again. He just had an epiphany and it is the idea that is going to change his entire Wrestlemania future. There are details to iron out, but he has a plan that he will reveal later tonight.
We look at the Reigns/Lesnar MSG clip again.
Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley vs. Carmella/Queen Zelina
Non-title but if Morgan and Ripley win, they are added to the Wrestlemania Women’s Tag Team Title match. No entrance for the champs here as Morgan sends Carmella into the corner to start. That just annoys Carmella so Ripley comes in and cleans house until Zelina hits a tornado DDT. Carmella superkicks Ripley into the steps and we take a break.
Back with Vega cranking on Ripley but she kicks Carmella in the face (with a Munsters reference on commentary), allowing the hot tag to Morgan. Everything breaks down and Graces gets off commentary to check on Carmella. Zelina kicks Morgan in the face but there is no Carmella to tag. Vega yells at Carmella, who is talking to Graves, allowing Morgan to….not really hit the Codebreaker. Ripley comes in and hits Riptide for the pin at 9:03.
Rating: D. It was sloppy, it was long and the ending was about promoting WWE’s newest stupid reality show. This was one of the more annoying things I’ve seen WWE do in a long time and it sets up the “let’s throw everyone in one match at Wrestlemania for the most worthless belts in the company” deal, because that’s easier than putting in some work to make a better story.
Vader is going to the Hall of Fame. In his words, it’s time.
Austin Theory vs. Finn Balor
Non-title and after a video on Austin Theory vs. Pat McAfee, we’re ready to go. Theory takes him up against the ropes for some shots to the back to start but Balor gets in a few shots of his own to take over. We take a break and come back with Theory in control and knocking Balor down again, but ATL is escaped. A running dropkick into the corner knocks Theory silly but here’s Damian Priest to break up the Coup de Grace for the DQ at 8:36.
Rating: C. This was just kind of there and that isn’t a great sign for the start of Balor’s title reign. Priest vs. the Demon is the kind of Wrestlemania idea that writes itself and odds are that is where we’re going. I’m not sure how well the match will go, but at least both Balor and Theory have a likely Wrestlemania match set up.
Post match Priest powerbombs Balor and Theory adds the ATL for the sake of picture taking.
Bianca Belair (now in a Don’t Touch The Hair top) is ready to put the EST in Wrestlemania. Of note: Becky Lynch was said to be injured during an incident with Belair the previous night and isn’t here.
Here is Kevin Owens for his big Wrestlemania idea. He doesn’t have a match to Wrestlemania so he needs a path to get to the event. That’s why he is going to have the biggest Kevin Owen Show of all time, but that means he needs a special guest. He needs someone from Texas, so maybe he could have JBL. Nah, as the horns on his limo are more interesting. Booker T? The guy who spent most of his career as part of a tag team called HARLEM Heat? Shawn Michaels is a proud Texan…but Owens is a proud Canadian so on behalf of Bret Hart, SHAWN MICHAELS IS NOT INVITED!
That leaves one Texas legend and he is someone who is probably drinking a lot of beer. When he was in WWE, he had to wear knee braces to get through his matches. Owens would love to have this guy come here so he can give him a Stunner and then pour out a glass of milk. He finally gets to it and challenges Steve Austin to Wrestlemania. You knew that was coming in some way so this is about as good as it’s going to get.
Overall Rating: C-. Most of the wrestling was good, but a few of the big talking segments (Miz, Edge) kind of flopped. They did set up/advance some things for Wrestlemania, but this HOW WILL THEY GET THERE stuff is dreadful. It treats fans like they have never watched Wrestlemania before as there is no reason to believe that most of these people won’t be on the show in some way. There are other ways to set up a Wrestlemania match and hearing the same thing over and over again all night got old fast. There were some good parts here, but it felt like WWE was overthinking the build to the show more often than not.
RKBro b. Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens and Alpha Academy – Stomp to Gable
Dana Brooke b. Tamina – Rollup
Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa b. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode – Gorilla press powerslam to Ziggler
Omos b. Apollo Crews – Chokeslam
Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley b. Queen Zelina/Carmella – Riptide to Zelina
Finn Balor b. Austin Theory via DQ when Damian Priest interfered
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