WWE Raw Review – 3.23.20
Typically with Wrestlemania less than two weeks away, there is a buzz in the air when you turn on Monday Night Raw. However, with the global pandemic taking the crowd out of the equation, WWE has had to adjust its shows.
This week’s Raw opened with Paul Heyman speaking about his client’s dominance over the years. From John Cena to the Undertaker, Lesnar has taken down every man in his way.
Drew McIntyre, of course, responded by exclaiming that he is going to be the guy to take down Brock and become the new champion. It is truly unfortunate for this feud, especially to be in front of no fans, especially after their killer opening segment a couple of weeks ago.
I do give WWE credit for continuing to put on a show during these unfortunate circumstances. However, it is usually the same dialog from Heyman around this time of year, and Lesnar’s opponent offers up the same response. The match these two men will have should be good, but you can only build a match up so much by doing nothing but cutting a promo.
After this opening promo segment, WWE then aired the triple-threat match from the 2015 Royal Rumble between Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, and John Cena. This match is arguably the best triple-threat match from the past five years, but this is the drawback of having to air three hours of TV.
In a perfect world, I would like to have seen WWE use this time to feature lesser-used superstars. However, I am not sure what the rules even are for these shows, there might not also be a ton of talent backstage. Regardless, I was entertained with the triple-threat match.
After Undertaker took it to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson last week, all three members of the O.C. were out on the stage. But AJ Styles did all the talking here.
The basis of Styles’ promo here is that the Undertaker has lost his mystique. Mark Calaway is now a man posting selfies with a Tiger and wearing maternity pants. But he is going to do the fans a favor and bring back the deadman of old. AJ challenges the Undertaker to a Boneyard Match.
Styles last line was rather potent, saying, “And I have got the perfect plot picked out for you, and ironically enough, it’s the same one that Michelle McCool picked out when she buried your career.”
With next week being the final push before Wrestlemania, I surely expect the deadman to show his face and answer the challenge.
Nearly an hour and twenty minutes into the show, the first in-ring action of the night took place. It was Ricochet and Cedric Alexander taking on Andrade and Angel Garza, who will be challenging for the Raw Tag Team titles at Wrestlemania.
Before the bell even rang, Garza and Andrade tried to jump Ricochet as he made his way into the ring. Just a few minutes into the match, Garza tries to sneak into the match by moving the tag rope (slick move, man!), but the referee caught Angel.
This allowed Andrade to send Ricochet to the floor, which brought out the Street Profits to the commentary table. While the action in the ring was quite good, I truly enjoyed Montez Ford on commentary. That man is just full of hype. Even in an empty arena, he still brought his “A” game.
Toward the end of the match, Ricochet hit a corkscrew dive to the outside on Garza, while Alexander landed his Michinoku Driver on Andrade, but that was only good for a two-count.
But just moments later, Andrade hit a wicked back elbow strike on Alexander and picked up the win despite the referee apparently not remembering to hit the mat a third time.
After the match, the Street Profits made their way to the ring and ended up in a brawl with their challengers. These four men should be able to put on an EXCELLENT match in two weeks!
Ford and Angelo Dawkins had to regroup because they had a match on the other side of the commercial break.
Early on, Ford hit several LOUD chops, but Thorne fights back and even gets a near fall. But Montez was able to escape with a dropkick and lets Dawkins run wild for a bit before Ford comes back in to hit the frog splash for the win.
This was a solid, five-minute match to highlight the Tag Team Champions. Just what WWE should be doing with their top champions going into Wrestlemania.
Back from the break, Shayna Baszler was in the ring for a sitdown interview. Baszler taunts Charly Caruso a bit, before telling her to ask the question that she REALLY wants to ask.
Baszler says she loves to destroy, and she wants to take Becky Lynch’s title at Wrestlemania because it will destroy her. But just as Caruso goes to ask the next question…
BAM! Lynch nails Baszler with a steel chair and then strikes again to send a message to her challenger. Actions speak louder than words, and Becky made things quite clear, she is nothing like the previous challengers Baszler has encountered. If there was a crowd here, they’d be chanting, “Becky, Becky!”
Aleister Black enters the Performance Center, and we learn he will be facing Bobby Lashley at Wrestlemania. As for this match, Leon Ruff was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Black dodged a kicked and then stuck with a wicked Black Mass that turned Ruff inside out.
Black and Bobby Lashley seemingly came out of nowhere, but it could have the potential to be another good match on a stacked Wrestlemania card.
Kevin Owens is in the ring, and he calls out Seth Rollins after Owens answered the Monday Night Messiah’s challenge last week.
Rollins takes all the credit for the performance center getting built, saying it, along with Gargano, Ciampa, Undisputed Era does not exist without Seth Rollins.
Seth then asks Owens why he picked Wrestlemania to make an example of him? Rollins has several Wrestlemania moments, while Owens has done nothing but fail, and last year he was not even good enough to be on the show.
Overall, this was a killer promo by Rollins, maybe the best one in quite some time. Rollins may be a bit delusional by saying he’s the sole reason for the Performance Center being around as well as the top talent in NXT, but he sure did have a part in helping build the brand.
Where Rollins is spot on is his analysis of Owens track record at Wrestlemania. He has not gotten the job done, and Rollins is seeking to bring out that vulnerability in KO as we head into the final stretch before Mania.
After a replay of Charlotte vs. Asuka from Wrestlemania 34, where the Queen broke Asuka’s streak, we finally saw Randy Orton give his answer to Edge’s challenge.
Randy says he’s done things over the last few months that have been misunderstood. Orton said what he did came from a place of love, but his actions have been taken as an act of brutality. Orton then goes on to say Edge is a junkie for his own ego.
Orton then goes on to say that he, in fact, does have the one trait that Edge said he didn’t have, which is grit. But Randy thinks maybe that word means two different things to the two of them. To Orton, grit doesn’t mean sitting on your couch for nine years looking up to the heavens and wondering “What if?”
According to Randy, everything he did, he did out of love for Edge. Orton finishes up by saying Edge may be writing this story, but at Wrestlemania, he is going to write the last chapter and end it. He accepts.
As I have said before, it is hard to judge this show given the situation we currently are facing in the world. I still applaud WWE, as well as AEW, for continuing to put on shows as these are literally the only forms of entertainment we have with all other sports canceled.
The tag team match between Garza/Andrade and Ricochet/Alexander was great, and the promo Rollins cut on Kevin Owens was spectacular. Orton did a good job, trying to get behind Edge’s thinking and explain what he was going through.
AJ Styles cut a different version of the same promo on the Undertaker, and Becky finally dropped the mic and used a steel chair to speak this week.
Overall, I will give this show a 3.25 out of 5.