Monday Night Raw
Date: April 11, 2022
Location: Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton
We’re back to normal this week as the Wrestlemania Weekend glow is gone. Now we get to see what the regular crowds are like and how they respond to what WWE is offering. At the same time, we get to see how things go when WWE doesn’t have to try as hard. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Cody Rhodes’ return at Wrestlemania and wanting to become the WWE Champion to honor his father.
Here is the Miz for MizTV. Miz wastes no time in introducing Cody Rhodes, though he does make sure to insult the fans a few times. Miz accuses Cody of taking too long to come out but Cody says it has been awhile since he was in front of a crowd like this one. Hang on as Cody gets to pose a bit more and the fans certainly like him. We hear about Cody being the grandson of a plumber but without the Rhodes name, he would just be a plumber. Cody says it would be nice to be a plumber right now because Miz is full of….and he stops himself.
Miz hasn’t changed a bit in years and that makes him reliable. Cody is here to win the Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Championship belt, though Miz points out that it’s a title because a belt holds up your pants. We hear about how Seth Rollins wants a rematch where Cody can’t surprise him but the fans cut off Miz again.
Miz gets in Cody’s face and says he knows where Cody has been for six years but Cody says hold on. He respects Miz and all of his accomplishments but maybe Miz is threatened by him. Cody has enjoyed their chat but he’s looking forward to their match, which will be his first on Raw in six years. Miz goes for the sneak attack and gets sent outside. Cody kept the reaction for another week so they might be on to something here.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Veer Mahaan
Veer runs him over to start but Dominik is up with a superkick. A missed charge sends Veer outside, where he sends Dominik into the barricade. The baseball clothesline drops Dominik on the floor and another does it again inside. The cervical clutch (camel clutch/Gargano Escape hybrid) finishes Dominik at 1:58.
Post match Mahaan puts the hold on again, then lets it go, then puts it on again, leaving Dominik to take a stretcher out.
Post break, Dominik is put into the stretcher.
Veer Mahaan says he strikes fear into the hearts of men.
We look back at Edge and Damian Priest taking out AJ Styles last week.
Styles is scared of what he is going to do to Priest tonight. Priest walks up so AJ gets in a fight with him, with agents having to break it up.
AJ Styles vs. Damian Priest
During his entrance, Priest says he is here to prove that he is worthy of working with Edge. Styles slugs away to start and hits a clothesline to put Priest on the floor. There’s the forearm off the apron to send Priest over the barricade. A whip into another barricade has Priest in more trouble and we take a break.
Back with AJ bleeding from the head but still managing to hammer away. The Downward Spiral plants Styles though but the Reckoning is countered into a Pele. Styles tries the Phenomenal Forearm, which is countered with a kick to the head. Hold on though as Priest drops to a knee and the lights go out. The purple spotlight comes on Priest….and we take another break. Back again with….the match being over, we’ll say at 13:05.
Rating: C. That’s WWE for you. They set up a match but then realize that they don’t want either of them to lose so they get creative and give us whatever this was. I’m sure there is some internal WWE logic behind what happened, but since WWE can’t bother to explain any of this stuff, we’re left sitting here wondering what the heck just happened. More importantly though, I’m left sitting around wondering why I should care if they’re just going to end a match like that.
AJ isn’t happy and says Edge is his no matter what.
Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz
Hold on as here is Seth Rollins at the bell to conduct the crowd in his entrance theme. Miz gets in an early kick to the face but Cody snaps off the powerslam to send Miz outside. Back in and we hit the cravate to hold Miz in place before Cody sends him face first into the buckle. Miz gets in a shot to the face though and the chinlock goes on. Jimmy calls it a beautiful one and Cody is sent outside as we take a break.
Back with Cody hitting a suplex for two, with Miz being sent outside for a suicide dive. They get back in and Cody misses something off the top to damage his knee. The Figure Four goes on and stays on for a good while, but Cody finally turns it over for the break. Back up and the Cody Cutter sets up the Cross Rhodes at 11:50.
Rating: C+. This is the kind of win that can boost Cody a bit: he beats an established name clean in the middle of the ring and starts looking like a force. That makes two matches for Cody and two wins over former World Champions. He has a long way to go, but they are starting off well and that’s more than I would have bet on in this case.
Post match Rollins (who didn’t do anything during the match) grabs the mic and says he heard Cody mention the word REMATCH. Rollins could go for that and Cody accepts the challenge, date to be announced.
We recap the debut of Ezekiel from last week, much to Kevin Owens’ annoyance.
We meet the newest member of the Raw roster: Tommaso Ciampa (thankfully not renamed to Steve Lewis), but Ezekiel comes up to introduce himself. Ciampa is glad to meet him but Owens comes in to say that’s Elias. Ezekiel and Ciampa say not quite and Owens thinks he is the only sane person left around here.
Liv Morgan vs. Naomi
Naomi rolls her down to start and hits a quick kick to the face for an early two. A double jumping kick to the face drops Liv again but she’s back with a rollup. That means a pinfall reversal sequence until Naomi gets a rollup pin at 2:18.
Here is Bobby Lashley in the VIP Lounge despite not being a guest. He barely beat Omos so now it is time for him to wreck this set. Cue MVP and Omos, with the former threatening lawsuits if Lashley breaks anything. Lashley wants Omos right now but MVP says Omos is learning to be a businessman so he’s waiting until the money is right. That’s fine with Lashley, who still wants an explanation from MVP.
Believe it or not, MVP actually gives him one, saying that when he returned to WWE, Lashley was floundering. Lashley had talent but he wasn’t going anywhere so MVP had to save him. Lashley accuses MVP of being on a farewell tour and a lot of yelling ensues. MVP says Omos is going to destroy Lashley, who promises to take Omos down again and then take MVP out. With that taken care of, Lashley throws a bunch of the set out of the ring.
We recap the double engagements in the 24/7 Title shenanigans.
R-Truth, Akira Tozawa and some others have a bachelor party with Reggie, but aren’t happy that Dana Brooke and the 24/7 Title are at a bachelorette party. It’s time to break it up.
Austin Theory asks the bosses for a US Title shot next week. Deal, and you can just call him Theory. Oh screw off. Kevin Owens comes in to take Theory’s place and demands proof that Ezekiel and Elias are different people. That information is confidential (Owens: “HIS LIBRARY CARD IS CONFIDENTIAL????”) so next week, Owens will make him take a lie detector test. With Owens gone, Sonya Deville says she has a deal in place for Bianca Belair’s first title defense.
Bianca Belair vs. Queen Zelina
Non-title. Belair blocks a rollup to start and runs her over but Zelina takes her down for a Last Chancery. That’s broken up with straight power and Belair hits a gorilla press drop. The KOD connects to finish Zelina at 2:08.
Post break, Sonya Deville is in the ring to announce Belair’s first challenger. It wasn’t an easy pick as she had a lot of options, but Belair is ready for anyone. Deville has an open contract and Belair signs without a second thought. The opponent is……Deville herself, who takes out Belair’s knee and hits a running knee to the face.
We go to the bachelorette party, where Tamina agrees to keep the truce with Dana Brooke tonight. After their honeymoons though, it’s open season for the 24/7 Title. Los Lotharios come in for the Kiss Cam but Nikki Ash has a surprise: a pair of strippers, but one of them is a referee. Tamina breaks up the cover and slides Nikki down the bar as R-Truth, Akira Tozawa and Reggie come in. R-Truth gives them a speech about how the love of the title is all that matters. He’s a certified marriage guy (and has a certificate to prove it) and bans all attacks on Dana until after next week’s double wedding. And now, dancing.
Adam Pearce isn’t happy with Sonya Deville but she asks what he can do about it.
Alpha Academy vs. RKBro
Non-title and before the match, Chad Gable brags about his intelligence, his degree, and everything about himself in general. Orton takes Gable down to start and hands it off to Riddle for some kicks to the chest. Otis comes in to run Riddle over though and we take a break. Back with Gable working on Riddle’s arm but Riddle fights up and brings Orton back in to clean house. A rollup gives Gable two but Orton grabs the RKO for the pin at 8:08.
Rating: C+. This was pretty good stuff while it lasted and that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. These teams have done well in their previous matches, though it is pretty clear that the Academy is on their way down. RKBro vs. the Usos is going to be a big deal and they don’t need the Academy there for that kind of a match.
We cut to the back where the Usos arrive. After a break, here are the Usos, with Orton saying the Big Dog let his b****** off the leash. The Usos laugh it off and get straight to the point: they want the title unification match. Riddle thinks that sounds like something out of Avengers with Thanos trying to get all of the crystals together. Cue the Street Profits to interrupt, because they should be at the front of the line. Jimmy: “There’s only one line and it’s the BLOODLINE!” The Profits and the Usos are ready to go and Orton makes the match.
We recap Veer Mahaan taking out Dominik Mysterio earlier in the night.
Street Profits vs. Usos
Non-title and RKBro is at ringside. Ford dropkicks Jimmy down to start and hands it off to Dawkins, who suplexes him onto Jimmy for one. Jey comes in and gets elbowed down for two, only to have Jimmy come back in off a blind tag. A double spinebuster drops Dawkins and a top rope forearms to the chest gets two.
Dawkins tries to fight out of the corner but gets caught with a jumping enziguri. The Usos head outside to glare at RKBro, only to have Ford flip dive onto them. Ford dances a bit as we take a break. Back with Dawkins fighting out of a chinlock, allowing the double tag off to Ford for the house cleaning.
A running Blockbuster gets two on Jey and Dawkins pulls Jimmy to the floor for a right back. Back in and the Doomsday Blockbuster gets two more on Jey. Jimmy cuts off Dawkins’ dive and superkicks him down, only to have the Superfly Splash hit knees. Ford adds the frog splash for two with Jey making the save. Dawkins is sent into the post and it’s the 1D to finish Ford at 15:11.
Rating: B-. This match got the time that it needed to be better and that is what made it work. Again, I don’t think the Profits are going to matter all that much in the picture so it was a good idea to get rid of them here. Go with the Usos vs. RKBro on the big(ish) stage and leave the other teams out of the picture for the time being.
Post match the champs stare each other down and hold up the titles. The Usos leave but RKBro has to take out the Profits. That’s enough for the Usos to superkick Orton down to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. It wasn’t quite last week, but they did keep some momentum going after the post Wrestlemania Raw. That’s more than I would have bet on with this show as WWE has a tendency to drop down a good bit with Wrestlemania season over. You can see a lot of Backlash being set up and now they have another few weeks to really set things up. I’m cautiously optimistic for the next few weeks though and that is a nice feeling.
Veer Mahaan b. Dominik Mysterio – Cervical Clutch
AJ Styles vs. Damian Priest went to a no contest
Cody Rhodes b. Miz – Cross Rhodes
Naomi b. Liv Morgan – Rollup
Bianca Belair b. Queen Zelina – KOD
RKBro b. Alpha Academy – RKO to Gable
Usos b. Street Profits – 1D to Ford
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