Monday Night Raw
Date: April 18, 2022
Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler
We are most of the way to Wrestlemania Backlash and a lot of the card has been set. Last week’s Smackdown saw RKBro vs. the Usos officially announced for the pay per view and at the moment, that is the biggest match on the card. Maybe we can get some more things added this week so let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at Cody Rhodes beating the Miz last week and then setting up his Wrestlemania Backlash rematch with Seth Rollins.
Here is Seth Rollins to get things going. Rollins gets straight to the point by calling out Cody Rhodes, who joins him in the ring. Rhodes thinks Buffalo is Rhodes Country and the fans seem to agree. Before Rollins can get anything in, the fans keep cutting him off. Rollins says he was going to talk about his respect for Rhodes and his family.
After all of those years of hard work to become the American Nightmare, Rollins made him a star in one night at Wrestlemania. Rhodes asks him to get to the point, so Rollins says he wasn’t properly prepared at Wrestlemania, hence his loss. Rollins will be ready at Wrestlemania Backlash and he is ready to win once and for all. Rhodes remembers Rollins being to the top of the mountain four times, but Rhodes was the winner at Wrestlemania.
It’s true that Rhodes has been gone for six years and he spent some time in management. One thing he learned is that sometimes you need a mediator, so how about the good people of Buffalo? A quick audience poll seems to favor Rhodes, but Rollins has an idea of his own: Rhodes vs. an opponent of Rollins’ choice tonight. Rhodes is in as it continues to still work for him.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Sasha Banks/Naomi vs. Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley
Banks and Naomi are defending with Banks getting knocked down to start. Ripley wheelbarrows Liv into a splash for two but Banks is back up with a kick to drop Liv. Everything breaks down fast and they all go to the floor, with Banks getting hit with Riptide onto the barricade, leaving her looking very….surprised (Maybe?) as we take a break. Back with an assisted powerbomb setting up Riptide on Naomi but Banks makes the save. The Codebreaker into the Bubba Bomb into a rollup gives Banks the pin at Ripley at 7:26.
Rating: C. The match was pretty short and to the point but Ripley and Morgan lose, again, because the team that was put together all of a month ago needs to have some emotional split. It isn’t like the champs are some legendary pairing either, as this division continues to exist for the sole purpose of giving women a token story.
Post match Morgan and Ripley argue, with Ripley turning on her to end their time together after….about six weeks? Maybe?
We look back at Sonya Deville attacking Bianca Belair to set herself up as Belair’s first challenger.
Rhea Ripley is asked about an explanation but we don’t deserve one.
Here is Sonya Deville for a chat. She talks about how she is a competitor who wants to face the best in WWE. That is why she wanted to face Bianca Belair, because Deville doesn’t want to beat some each champion. Cue Belair to say but Deville threatens her with problems if she touches a WWE official. Belair is ready for the match right now but Deville says we’ll do it next week in Belair’s hometown next week. Deville keeps needling her and gets caught in the KOD, which means Deville has to threaten her with losing the title right now. Belair drops her and leaves.
Veer Mahaan vs. Jeff Brooks
Brooks gets driven into the corner to start and then thrown back out of it. The Million Dollar arm sets up the Cervical Clutch to make Brooks tap at 1:01.
Post match Mahaan does it two more times, despite referees and agents coming in.
In the back, Sonya Deville is ranting to Adam Pearce about Bianca Belair’s conduct and wants a huge fine. Belair comes in and pays her fine: $1.
Here is Kevin Owens for the KO Show and Chad Gable is in the ring to administer a lie detector test. Owens isn’t happy with Elias pretending to be his younger brother Ezekiel needs to get out here right now for the test. Cue Ezekiel, who says he is Elias’ younger brother, sending Gable into a rant about how Gable Steveson is overrated. Owens says focus, because he is getting $150 Canadian for this.
They get to the questions, with Ezekiel being truthful about his identity. Each one sends Owens further and further over the edge but Ezekiel has finally had enough. He has his first match tonight but Owens is tired of all this lying. Threats are made and Ezekiel basically tells him to bring it. Owens leaves so Gable jumps Ezekiel from behind.
Ezekiel vs. Chad Gable
Ezekiel charges at him to start but Gable grabs a dragon screw legwhip out of the corner. It’s time to go after the knee with a spinning toehold of all things before Gable goes up. The moonsault hits a raised boot though and Ezekiel (Ezekiel: “SPEAK WITH ZEKE!”) grabs a one legged Liontamer. Cue Otis to jump Ezekiel for the DQ at 3:28.
Rating: D+. Ezekiel isn’t exactly a top level worker, but I don’t think giving him a pinfall in his first match is the worst idea. If you don’t want Gable getting pinned, don’t put him in the match in the first place. This just left both guys looking weak, as Gable came off like Owens’ lackey and Ezekiel gets a lame DQ win in his debut. Why do it this way when you don’t have to?
Video on RKBro vs. the Usos for Wrestlemania Backlash.
RKBro vs. Street Profits
Non-title. Dawkins powers Orton into the corner to start and Orton isn’t sure what to do here. He settles for taking Dawkins into the RKBro corner and handing it off to Riddle for a headlock. Ford comes in with the dropkick to Riddle and goes up, only to have Riddle run the corner and hit a super Spanish Fly. We take a break and come back with Riddle striking away at Ford so the hot tag can bring in Dawkins to clean house. Everything breaks down and the double hanging DDT plants the Profits. The RKO is loaded up but the Usos’ music plays for a distraction, allowing a Doomsday Blockbuster to finish Riddle at 7:38.
Rating: C. First off, big points for not running ANOTHER singles match between two tag wrestlers. Those things haven’t been interested in forever and WWE has run them into the ground over and over again for the better part of ever. The distraction ending wasn’t exactly good, but at least they set up the Usos vs. RKBro, though they might have set up a short term program with the Profits for the titles too.
Post match the Profits say RKBro needs to be worried about them.
We recap AJ Styles vs. Damian Priest from last week, with Priest kneeling and the match ending.
Damian Priest and Edge, the latter sitting on a throne, says the fans need to know who they are. Edge says these seeds were planted when he was in the Brood and the Ministry of Darkness. They haven’t lived up to their potential, like last year when Priest was playing second fiddle to Bad Bunny. Then he didn’t even have a match at this year’s Wrestlemania!
Edge had to beg someone to face him at Wrestlemania and that was too far. He returned in a great moment but in two years, the fans are treating him like a part timer. The only person to stand in their way is AJ Styles so Edge officially challenges AJ for Wrestlemania Backlash. It will be AJ’s judgment day.
Post break, Styles accepts Edge’s challenge…and the lights start flickering. Edge and Priest appear and the beatdown is on, with Edge slamming a locker door on Styles’ arm over and over.
United States Title: Theory vs. Finn Balor
Theory (egads) is challenging and takes over early on by taking Balor down. We hit a rather early chinlock with Balor having to fight up and jawbreak his way to freedom. Theory takes him down again and hits a hanging neckbreaker out to the floor as we take a break. Back with Theory hitting a swinging side slam but Balor fights back. A suplex doesn’t work but Balor is able to counter a rolling something into a sitout powerbomb for two.
Balor stomps away and hits a Sling Blade into the shotgun dropkick. The Coup de Grace is broken up though and a springboard Spanish Fly (cool) out of the corner gives Theory two. A Town Down is broken up and Balor clotheslines him to the floor, setting up the big running flip dive. Back in and the Coup de Grace misses again, which bangs up the already bad neck, allowing Theory to hit A Town Down for the pin and the title at 11:35. Lawler: “SELFIES FOR EVERYONE!”
Rating: C+. After everything they did with Balor in recent weeks, they didn’t have a choice here but to change the title. Theory has beaten him time after time and it makes sense to give him the title to make him into something. Above all else, Theory gets elevated, even if it means Balor’s up and down WWE career continues.
Post match the villains come out to celebrate with Theory. Cue Vince McMahon to raise his hand and congratulate him as well.
Seth Rollins has an idea on who Cody Rhodes’ opponent will be but won’t say who it is. Now excuse him as he has a phone call from the opponent.
It’s time for the double commitment ceremony (not wedding) between Dana Brooke/Reggie and Tamina/Akira Tozawa, as presided over by R-Truth. During the ceremony, the 24/7 Title is off limits, as per Truth’s orders. Here are the women, with Sasha Banks and Naomi helping carry the bridal train. After Brooke corrects Truth on her name (it isn’t Brookes), it is time for one of the couples to be unified and the other two to get hitched.
Brooke says her vows, though the fans are not exactly interested, giving this quite the WHAT treatment. Reggie gives a to the point speech, talking about how their love has made them stronger. Tamina: “Same.” Tozawa: “What he said.” Truth asks for objections…but Tamina objects and tries to switch grooms. Actually hold on again as Tamina wants to marry Dana…..who is cool with this. Truth: “Y’ALL GONNA GET ME FIRED! I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF THAT’S PG!”
They switch back to the original pairings and the fans still don’t like this. They exchange rings and Truth says they’re committed, so get the smooching on. Smooching ensues….and Reggie pins Brooke to win the 24/7 Title. Then Tamina wins the title. Then Tozawa wins the title. Then Brooke hits a high crossbody off the top and wins the title before jumping on Truth’s back and running off. This could have been far, far worse, even if it didn’t really accomplish anything.
We recap MVP turning on Bobby Lashley to join Omos and set up their Wrestlemania Backlash rematch.
Earlier today, MVP said he has moved on to bigger, meaner and stronger things with Omos. Before Wrestlemania Backlash, they want to let Omos display his strength. Say in an arm wrestling match next week.
Lashley talks about how he has to beat Omos to get to MVP. Is Omos stronger than him? We’ll find out next week because the arm wrestling is on.
Cody Rhodes vs. ???
Seth Rollins brings out Cody’s opponent and it’s….Kevin Owens. They start fast with Cody knocking him outside but the suicide dive is blocked with a right hand. Owens fall away slams him into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Cody hitting a dropkick but the snap powerslam doesn’t work. Owens hits a backsplash to the back for two and starts ripping at Rhodes’ face.
Cody fights back but the Cross Rhodes attempt is blocked and Owens hits a hard DDT for two. They fight outside with Cody knocking him over the announcers’ table, only to have Seth Rollins come back out. We take another break and come back with Owens breaking up a superplex attempt and nailing the frog splash for two.
A Swanton is good for the same and Owens hits the swinging superplex. They head to the apron with Cody reversing an apron powerbomb to send Owens outside. Rollins yells at Owens to get his fat a** back in….but Owens isn’t having this and takes the countout loss at 17:20.
Rating: B-. This felt like a main event and what matters is Rhodes continues his roll. I can get not wanting to have Owens take a pin here as he still has some momentum going, but Rhodes gets to beat his third World Champion in three matches. Good main event match here, and Rollins vs. Owens might be warming up for after the next pay per view.
Rollins shoves Rhodes off the top to end the show, with Rhodes holding his ankle. Notice what Lawler did at the end when he shouted “RHODES IS HURT!” That’s the old school “come back next week to see what happened” mentality that you almost never see in WWE these days. When is the last time a WWE show ended on a cliffhanger or something that made you wonder what happened after the show ended? Do more of that and make this feel more exciting.
Overall Rating: C+. There were some rocky points in here and some of it wasn’t the best, but it also didn’t have some terrible moment or some dagger to the whole show. It wasn’t some classic, but there was enough good action and movement forward, plus the wedding was funny in a bit of a car crash way. Not too bad of a week here and I’m good with that after some of the recent Raws.
Naomi/Sasha Banks b. Rhea Ripley/Liv Morgan – Jackknife rollup to Ripley
Veer Mahaan b. Jeff Brooks – Cervical Clutch
Ezekiel b. Chad Gable via DQ when Otis interfered
Street Profits b. RKBro – Doomsday Blockbuster to Riddle
Theory b. Finn Balor – A Town Down
Cody Rhodes b. Kevin Owens via countout
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