Monday Night Raw
Date: March 21, 2022
Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Commentators: Corey Graves, Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton
There are two Raws left before Wrestlemania and that means WWE needs to really hammer things home. That is how it should go at least, but you never can tell with what this company is going to do. I’m sure Seth Rollins will be all Wile E. Coyote with one dumb idea after another on his way to his ultimate goal of doing anything at Wrestlemania so let’s get to it.
We open with the glass shattering and it’s….Kevin Owens, in an Austin shirt, jean shorts, and a bald cap. Owens does a good enough Austin impression as he insults the crowd for falling for the gag and promises to destroy Austin once and for all at Wrestlemania. Then the glass shatters again, but fool me once and all that, as Owens gets to laugh at the people.
After another threat to Austin, Owens calls for some beers (Steve Austin lagers of course) but can’t catch them. Therefore he yells at the guy to bring them into the ring and Stuns him before pouring some lager over him. You could write this step by step from the second the glass shattered and that’s how it should have been. Sometimes you need to play it by numbers instead of going nuts and screwing something up and they got it as right as they could here.
We look back at Seth Rollins going a bit nuts last week and losing to Kevin Owens for the rights to interview Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.
Rollins doesn’t like the suggestion that he isn’t going to Wrestlemania and starts laughing maniacally. Ignore the CODY chants as he steals the microphone.
Mysterios vs. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode
Miz is on commentary as Dominik grabs a springboard wristdrag out to the floor. Back in and a powerbomb/neckbreaker combination puts Dominik down so Rey comes in for the save attempt. The Mysterios clear the ring for stereo dives to the floor and….here’s Seth Rollins. He wants a Wrestlemania spot and he is going to get one, even if his mic keeps giving out out.
Rollins wants the biggest thing at Wrestlemania that will live forever but since his mic gives out, we take a break. Back with Rollins gone and Rey fighting out of a superplex attempt. Dominik comes back in with a high crossbody to Roode, who is right back with a spinebuster for two. The frustration sets in, allowing Dominik to hit a 619 into the frog splash for the pin at 9:30.
Rating: C-. You can only get so much when a large section of the match was spent on looking at Rollins fighting with the microphone. The Mysterios are a team that should make sense on paper but they just aren’t clicking no matter how WWE presents them. That is a problem that WWE is going to have to deal with somehow, but I’ll take it over Dominik getting a singles push at this rate.
Post match Ziggler hits Rey with a superkick and Miz grabs a Skull Crushing Finale on the floor. Miz even steals the mask and the fans freak out as Rey covers his face with a towel.
Seth Rollins is with Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce and explains that he wants to do something at Wrestlemania. Pearce says this isn’t the way to go about it but maybe there is something he and Deville can do. Rollins laughs and walks off.
Miz is on the phone when he is interrupted to be asked about stealing the mask. It turns out that Logan Paul was a big Rey Mysterio fan growing up and he just wanted a mask. The lesson Paul needs to learn is to never meet your heroes, because they can be horrible. Now it is time for Paul to beat up his heroes at Wrestlemania, but first, Miz dares Paul to wear the mask next week on Raw.
Smackdown Breakdown, this week all about Brock Lesnar trying to destroy the Bloodline.
Omos vs. Apollo Crews/Commander Azeez
Crews and Azeez jump him before the bell but Omos grabs them by their throats on the floor. They get back in for the opening bell, with Omos hitting a one armed slam. The chokeslam to Crews sets up the double pin at 1:45.
Post match Omos promises to dominate anyone at Wrestlemania.
Video on Edge’s recent trip over the, uh, edge.
Here is the returning AJ Styles for a chat. AJ talks about how he has been gone for a few weeks and that much time is a dangerous thing. He has been watching that clip of Edge attacking him over and over and now he has to see Edge with his mood lighting, asking why. Styles doesn’t care because all he wants to do is kick Edge’s teeth down his throat. Instead, he gets Seth Rollins, who, after hearing the CODY chants, says that rumors don’t make moments.
Rollins has an idea: AJ stays at home for Wrestlemania and Rollins ends Edge’s career instead! Styles passes on the idea, saying that if he can walk, he’ll be facing Edge. This is just like last week when Styles wanted to take Kevin Owens’s spot, sending Rollins into a rant about how he’s running out of options. Styles isn’t cool with everything going on with Rollins right now so here are Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to interrupt. Pearce says Rollins is getting one more chance at Wrestlemania, because if he can beat Styles tonight, he can face Edge instead. Styles clears Rollins out in a hurry.
Carmella is on her phone again when Queen Zelina interrupts. Zelina doesn’t think Carmella is taking their Wrestlemania title defense seriously but Carmella blows her off. Instead Zelina throws the phone away and tells her to get her head in this. That’s good for a slap and the brawl is on.
AJ Styles yells at Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville about their decision but promises to win anyway.
Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler/Natalya
Ripley takes Baszler down to start and it’s off to Morgan, who gets pulled into the wrong corner. Natalya comes in and drops Morgan down, allowing Shayna to crank on the arm. Cue Carmella to cry to Corey Graves about what happened to her as Morgan fights out of the corner. Baszler pulls Ripley off the apron though, leaving Natalya to hit Morgan with the discus lariat. The Hart Attack gives Baszler the pin at 3:48.
Rating: C. This is where the title match at Wrestlemania is going to fall apart (because it means so much in the first place): since there are so few teams in the division, they are going to have to face each other and knock one another down, leaving no one worth anything once we get to Wrestlemania, where Zelina and Carmella likely retain anyway.
Post match Carmella beats up Baszler and Natalya before posing with Queen Zelina, who approves so hugging can ensue.
We look at Becky Lynch injuring Bianca Belair last week.
Here is Becky for a chat. She sits in a chair and asks what it profits a man to gain the world but to lose his soul. Becky went fifteen months without the Raw Women’s Title and it is worth it to give given up her soul to get the title back. This week she was going to go after Belair’s hair but Belair is injured too. It’s a throat for a throat and Becky would sell out over and over again if it meant keeping her title. At Wrestlemania, she’ll show Belair what profits she has gained. This felt like an explanation for a heel turn that took place seven months ago.
We recap Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory.
Theory is ready for the dumb jock McAfee and he wants to make Vince McMahon proud..
Veer Mahaan is coming on April 4.
Aust….WAIT WHAT??? THEY SET A DATE??? Somebody get my medicine.
Austin Theory vs. Finn Balor
Non-title and here is Pat McAfee to join commentary. An early rollup gives Balor two and he’s back with a basement dropkick. Theory gets kicked out to the floor, where McAfee mocks him with some weird dancing. The distraction lets Balor hit a shotgun dropkick against the barricade and we take a break.
Back with McAfee cheerleading Balor to his feet for the comeback, only to have Theory knock him outside. Balor sends him into the announcers’ table over and over, setting up the shotgun dropkick into the corner. The Coup de Grace misses though and Theory takes Balor down, drawing McAfee up to the apron. The ATL is broken up but Theory is right back with a brainbuster onto the knee for two. Another McAfee distraction cuts Theory off though and the small package gives Balor the pin at 7:58.
Rating: C. This was all about McAfee vs. Theory as the US Champion was left out there in a feud that has nothing to do with him. I’m still not sure why this is McAfee vs. Theory instead of Theory going after the Intercontinental Title, as Ricochet has nothing going on and it isn’t like McAfee is being brought in especially for this show. The match was good enough while it wasn’t focused on the announcer, but that was the case most of the time.
We look at the Raw Tag Team Title situation, which is leading to RKBro defending against Alpha Academy and the Street Profits in a triple threat at Wrestlemania.
RKBro vs. Alpha Academy
Non-title. Before the match Chad Gable promises that the Academy is winning the titles at Wrestlemania. Gable cranks on Orton’s arm to start but Orton brings him into the corner. The assisted Floating Bro gives Riddle two but Gable sends him into the wall that is Otis. Riddle fights back with some running forearms, only to be knocked outside for the running Otis clothesline as we take a break. Back with Riddle making the hot tag to Orton (big reaction for that) and house is cleaned. The hanging DDT hits Gable for two as Otis makes the save. Riddle comes back in and jumps Gable, setting up the Bro Derek for the pin at 7:49.
Rating: C+. RKBro continues to be the most popular act on Raw and they continue to put on some of the most consistent matches on the show as well. It makes sense to keep them together this long and I’m not sure where they go from here. For the first time in forever, I want to see a team stay together and it is going to be a big deal when they finally split up, because they have gelled that well.
Post match the Street Profits run in and take out both teams.
Dana Brooke was attacked by Akira Tozawa earlier this week but manages to escape with the title again, as Tozawa continues to screw things up.
Dana Brooke/Reggie vs. Akira Tozawa/Tamina
Non-title. Earlier today, Tamina choked Tozawa and demanded to get the 24/7 Title. We start with a game of chicken but Tozawa can’t hold Tamina up. Instead he gets on her shoulders and locks up with Dana until Tamina kicks Reggie in the ribs. Tamina and Tozawa are sent into the corner, where Tamina falls face first into a low blow on Tozawa. The running flipping seated senton gives Reggie the pin at 1:04. This is a thing that continues to be on Raw every week.
We recap the opening segment.
AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins
The winner gets Edge at Wrestlemania. Styles grabs a headlock to start but gets knocked down by a running shoulder. A Pedigree attempt is countered though and AJ sends him over the top and out to the floor. The slingshot forearm takes Rollins down again and we take a break. Back with Styles fighting out of a cravate but missing a charge into the post. That’s good for a nine count on the floor so Rollins chops away in the corner back inside. A running dropkick in the Tree of Woe (that was nasty) gives Rollins two but AJ fights back again.
Rollins breaks up a springboard though and AJ goes crashing back to the floor. Rollins’ suicide dive connects and we take another break. Back again with Rollins letting go of a cravate and screaming about how he needs this to Styles. The slugout goes to Styles, including the running forearm in the corner. The fireman’s carry backbreaker gives AJ two and a belly to back faceplant gets the same.
Styles can’t hit the Styles Clash as Rollins escapes and grabs a Falcon Arrow for two of his own. We hit the pinfall reversal sequence until AJ suplexes him into the corner. AJ takes him up top but Rollins slips off and bangs up his leg, allowing Styles to grab a torture rack swing into a powerbomb for two more. The Phenomenal Forearm is superkicked out of the air though and Rollins hits the Buckle Bomb. AJ slips out to the apron and loads up the Phenomenal Forearm but Edge comes in with a chair to Styles for the DQ at 22:44.
Rating: B. Again, what would you expect from two guys of this caliber getting this much time in a featured match? That is the kind of thing that you do not see very often and it is special when it does, as both of them got to look good. I don’t think there was much doubt about the result, but the match being rather good makes up for that.
Post match Rollins snaps and says the show doesn’t happen next week unless he gets what he wants. Things are broken at ringside to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. What mattered here was it felt like the show was taking things seriously (24/7 Title stuff aside) and the talking segments worked better than in recent weeks. They helped advance some things towards Wrestlemania, with Owens’ segment working out well. I’m not sure how we get to what should be the pretty obvious end game for Rollins but they put it in the prime spot this week and it felt bigger as a result. I liked this show, though it felt like a fluke rather than a change of pace.
Mysterios b. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode – Frog splash to Roode
Omos b. Apollo Crews/Commander Azeez – Double pin
Natalya/Shayna Baszler b. Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley – Hart Attack to Morgan
Finn Balor b. Austin Theory – Small package
RKBro b. Alpha Academy – Bro Derek to Gable
Dana Brooke/Reggie b. Tamina/Akira Tozawa – Running flipping seated senton to Tozawa
AJ Styles b. Seth Rollins via DQ when Edge interfered
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