WWE Raw Review – 2.3.20

After his shocking attack on Edge last week, Randy Orton opened the show to a chorus of boos from the Utah crowd.  Randy looks conflicted and even goes to offer up an explanation for why he turned on Edge.

But every time Orton went to speak, the crowd got louder and more bitter toward the Viper. Randy eventually says he can’t do this and hops out of the ring. With Edge not being here, it looks like Randy may have to carry the feud for a bit, which is not a concern because he is operating on a whole different level right now.

However, the rumor is Edge vs. Orton will take place at Super Showdown and not Wrestlemania. If that is indeed the case, it will be a huge disappointment, as Edge vs. Orton is a Wrestlemania caliber match that fans here would be clamoring to see.

Below is the rest of what happened on Raw, ranked best to worst, followed by my rating at the end.

Zelina Vega has a new client: 

Humberto Carrillo was out here for a fight, just a week after attacking Andrade and putting him on the shelf. So this week, Vega brought out Carrillo’s cousin, NXT superstar Angel Garza.

Vega says that when you mess with her business, you pay the price. Garza then gets in the ring and tells Humberto that is he is the leader of their family and calls Humberto a disgrace to their family. This predictably leads to a beat down by Garza, who hit the wing clipper on Carrillo and then threw him into the steel steps.

But right as Garza went to plant Humberto into the exposed concrete, Rey Mysterio came down and made the save.

Back from the break, Garza and Mysterio were all set to have a match. Early Garza would take the fight to Rey. Garza hits a dropkick and then shakes Mysterio’s hand. Then on the top turnbuckle, Garza tries to tear Rey’s mask off and then hangs him up on the top rope, where he delivers a running kick to the chest.

Right before the break, Rey went for the 619, but Garza countered and sent Mysterio to the floor. After the commercial, Mysterio was back in the ring and landed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Garza then missed on a moonsault but then recovered to record a near fall off a kick to the face.

Rey then would land a seated senton, but Garza would strike with his knee and again picked up a near fall. Garza attempted to land the wing clipper, but Rey countered with a sunset piledriver. Vega pulled Garza out of harm’s way, but Mysterio hit a dive to the outside.

Garza took Rey over to the exposed concrete and hit a DDT on Rey, and the referee called for the bell, meaning it was a DQ?

This storyline with Rey/Humberto/Andrade and now Garza has all revolved around this exposed concrete, and to have Garza fill in for Andrade and instantly get heat with Vega is rather good storytelling, and the matches overall have been rather good too. This is also a way to keep the storyline going with Andrade suspended for 30 days. Oh, and Garza was excellent in his Raw debut.

Charlotte Flair’s decision: 

Flair comes out and says she has beaten both Becky and Bayley before and is a ten-time champion. But before she can continue, “THIS IS MY BRUTALITY!”

Rhea Ripley’s music hit, and a thunderous roar could be heard from the crowd. Ripley says Charlotte has never beaten her, and in fact, Ripley has a win over the Queen! Rhea lays down the challenge to Charlotte for a match at Wrestlemania. Flair just responds by walking out of the ring and then at the top of the ramp gives a “WOOO!”

It was then announced later in the night that Charlotte would be on NXT this Wednesday to answer the challenge.

I really want to get excited for a Ripley/Flair match, but the only way the only right payoff for this feud would be for Ripley to win, and let’s be honest, do we really think WWE is having Flair lose two years in a row at Wrestlemania?

Asuka wants a rematch: 

What a treat, two great wrestlers having a good TV wrestling match, what a concept! For not being featured as much recently, Natalya really delivered in this match.

Nattie looked to have the match won when she locked in the sharpshooter, but Asuka was able to crawl to the ropes. Right as Nattie went to get back in the ring, Kairi Sane provided the distraction, and Asuka locked in her submission hold to pick up the win.

After the match, Asuka grabbed a microphone and cut a passionate promo, saying she wants a rematch with Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship. The Man answers the call and says, beating Asuka at the Rumble damn near gave her superpowers, and she wants to drink from that fountain again.

But then Becky pauses and thinks, why would she put her title on the line so close to WrestleMania? Well, she says the only thing more fun that beating Asuka once would be doing it again!

Then Lynch fends off an attack from Sane and says she’s got eyes in the back of her head.

Yes, it is a bit surprising that Becky is set to defend her title just a couple weeks after beating Asuka at the Royal Rumble. But this match has a different storyline, surprisingly. Becky is now full of confidence (as shown by her “deal with it” glasses), and an overconfident Becky may be vulnerable and overlook a hungry contender in Asuka.

Seth Rollins vs. Ricochet vs. Bobby Lashley: 

With Rollins’ new faction, you knew it was only a matter of time until one or all of them became involved with this match. And right on cue, as Ricochet was in the middle of an offensive run, Murphy interfered, and the AOP attacked Lashley.

But Owens and Erik of the Viking Raiders came down to even the odds and send Seth’s henchmen packing. Once this became an actual triple threat contest, the match really got going.

Late in the match, Seth hit a buckle bomb on Ricochet and then up on the top rope, and all three men go flying. Ricochet is able to shake off the cobwebs and climbs back up to the top rope where he lands his 630 splash for the win on Lashley.

The referee barely finished counting to three when Brock Lesnar came running down and nailed Ricochet with an F-5.  To me, Ricochet seemed like the right choice here, as he already has a bit of history with Lesnar before and at the Rumble. The WWE Champion has a history of working well with smaller wrestlers (Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Finn Balor).

While the Royal Rumble winners were a big focus on this episode (as they should be) but it is also helpful to have other main event storylines. This makes the show go by quicker and builds more depth on the roster. While I fully expect Lesnar to retain at Super Showdown, I am excited to see Ricochet in his first main event title match. With Heyman at the controls, they should knock this out of the park (fingers crossed).

Kevin Owens & Viking Raiders vs. AOP & Buddy Murphy: 

After Samoa Joe was injured a week ago after a dive to the outside, the Viking Raiders were now Kevin Owens’ partner in this six-man elimination match.

Early on, the Viking Raiders teamed up to take down Rezar, but that attack was short-lived, and the AOP would go to work. After the heels were on the attack, the Raiders once again went to work for a bit on Buddy Murphy.

The Raiders then hit dives to the outside, but Ivar then misses on a move and takes out the LED board, and Seth lands a stomp onto Erik while the referee has his back turned, and Murphy then pins him for the first elimination.

With Erik now gone and Ivar being checked out for an injury, Owens would now be facing AOP & Murphy with a 3-on-1 disadvantage.

KO fought on an attack from AOP and then Murphy, and regained the edge when he threw Murphy into the barricade. But with a two-man advantage, the heels went back on the attack as the AOP beat down KO, keeping him grounded.

Owens spiked Murphy into the mat, but Akam was quick to jump in and not let KO attempt a pin. Later own Owens got rid of Akam momentarily with a cannonball of the apron, and then back in the ring caught Buddy and hit his pop-up powerbomb for the pin and elimination.

Quickly Akam jumped into the ring and attack Owens, but Kevin turned his attack into a stunner and eliminated one half of the AOP. Now it was between Rezar and KO.

Owens would hit a pair of kicks, a cannonball, and then went up top for a Swanton Bomb, but it was only good for a two-count. Owens had Rezar on his shoulders, but Rollins causes a distraction. This allows Rezar to wipe out Owens with a clothesline, and then a pair of spine busters was good enough for Rezar to secure the win.

It appears that WWE is building up Owens to be the top babyface on Raw, and he looked great even with the odds stacked against him. The crowd was entirely behind him, and I am all for Owens raising hell and fighting against Rollins and his disciples.

Lana vs. Liv:

Well, even though Liv Morgan took down Lana last week on Raw, these two women were facing each other again.

Lana tried to get out of the match early on by calling for the doctor, but it was all a setup. She got in a near fall, but Liv was in control the rest of the way, and she picked up the win in mere minutes. I’ll admit, Liv’s new finisher is a cool move, but the crowd was more invested in Lana’s ex-husband (Rusev Day chants filled the arena) than the two women.

I am really hoping something better is in store for Liv Morgan…and right on cue Ruby Riott made her triumphant return to Raw! But instead of embracing Liv, Riott launched an attack on her former Riott Squad buddy.

Of course, Lana is waiting in the corner to pick the bones. Is Ruby working with Lana? I sure hope not, but hopefully, a feud with Ruby will get Liv going. Liv has so much potential with this new character and her commitment to it has been stellar, but working with Lana won’t take you to new heights.

However, a feud with her former best friend would be something to get Liv going, but I am afraid Lana could be heavily involved and will ruin the feud entirely.

McIntyre blindsides Mojo Rawley:

Back from commercial, we get a recap of the terrible snowstorm that hit Utah over the past 24 hours, but the WWE Universe filled the arena. In the ring, Mojo Rawley is there with his new offensive linemen Riddick Moss.

Drew McIntyre then comes out, who is set to face Rawley tonight. He thanks the crowd for coming out, and then lets Mojo know he’ll Claymore his head off. But first, Drew addressed the Brock Lesnar attack from a week ago. Drew says Lesnar is apprehensive because he is just as big and as fast as Brock, and at Wrestlemania, he is going to kick Lesnar’s oversized head off.

Back to the task at hand, McIntyre nails Mojo with a Claymore kick and pins him quickly for the win. Finally, the powers that be are pushing all their Drew McIntyre chips into the center of the table and going all-in on him, which I am glad to see. To me, this push of McIntyre is only complete with a win in April, but that is a topic for another day.

Aleister Black vs. Eric Young:

Black is no longer waiting for a fight to come to him, Aleister is out looking for a fight. In no time, Black drew Eric Young up and landed the Black Mass for the win. After the match, Aleister got on the mic and says he’s a firm believer that people should be whoever they choose to be because that right there drives relentless competition.

Black then went on to say he will engulf the whole locker room in shadows cast from his Black Mass, and while they lay there, they will realize it was done by a person who was told he could be whatever he wanted to be. I am waiting for Aleister to move onto bigger and better things; hopefully, this is the beginning of that push.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

As I said earlier, I felt like this show was entertaining throughout. We got a surprising return of Ruby Riott, and a storyline is set up (hopefully) with her and Liv. Rhea Ripley showing up and calling out Charlotte was also a pleasant surprise. Usually, the Royal Rumble winners are the ones seeking out their challengers, but it was different (and refreshing) to see a champion go after the Rumble winner.

Randy Orton cut a solid (four-word) promo and still did not answer the question everyone wanted to know. Why did he attack Edge? The main event match was good, and Kevin Owens courageously took on Rollins’ disciples and nearly pulled off the upset.

My rating: 4.25 out 5.