WWE Raw Review – 4.13.20
Last week on Raw, we saw what happened to the new WWE Champion shortly after he defeated Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. This week the champ was live and opened the show with a promo, thanking the fans for an outpouring of support since he won the title.
Drew went on to say if you deserve an opportunity at the title, you will get an opportunity at the title. But was then cut off by Andrade and Zelina Vega. This leads to Vega saying how Drew got two incredible Wrestlemania moments, but an injury to Andrade forced him to miss the show. Vega then says it would be a shame if someone were to injure Drew and force him to lose the title.
McIntyre recalls his NXT Championship match with Andrade, where he lost and tore his bicep, forcing him to miss six months. Drew throws out the challenge of a champion vs. champion match for later in the show.
This was a pretty solid opening segment, and it was nice to see a reference back to their NXT title match. It is easy to forget these two men have a bit of history, but a match between Raw’s two top male titleholders is refreshing.
Below is the rest of what took place on Raw, ranked best to worst with my rating at the bottom.
Aleister Black vs. Oney Lorcan:
For many weeks we saw Aleister run through the competition, winning several matches in mere moments. This was a different kind of fight, as Lorcan brought it in this match.
The second half of this match was both men delivering big strikes. Lorcan dropped Black late in the match with a lariat, but it was only good for a two-count. Lorcan then delivered a chop to Black, which only angered him.
A knee strike from Black was followed up with a Black Mass for the win. After the match, Black was asked what his game plan was for next week, and his response was simply “To win.”
Aleister is starting to build momentum with more impressive wins of late. I am hoping that results in a spot in the MITB match, and giving Black the briefcase would elevate his push. Aleister Black as an eventual WWE champion? Sign me up.
Champion vs. Champion:
As Andrade made his way to the ring, he was joined by Garza, Theory, and Vega.
Early on, Andrade went for the same arm that McIntyre injured in their match from NXT. Again, this is a nice flashback.
This was a hard-hitting match, as Drew delivered several chops that left Andrade’s chest beet red. Despite interference from all parties in Vega’s stable, McIntyre landed a Claymore for the win.
However, the win was short-lived as Garza took out his legs, and Seth Rollins ran down to pick the bones. After two stomps, it was evident what Rollins was after.
Seth cut several backstage promos throughout the night, but his last one, where he said he’s been left no alternative, and tonight he will stomp out all doubt, was telling.
After spending much of last year in the title picture, Rollins appears to be back in that picture. This feud has potential, but it would be bad for Drew to lose his title just a month after winning the belt off of Brock Lesnar.
Also…is Seth now working with Vega and her crew?
What is next for “The Man?”
Becky comes out and wants to clear up some confusion. She told Shayna that their match was going to be a test of heart vs. skill, but it was actually a battle of the mind. Lynch then goes on to say that maybe this historic title reign has gotten to her head, or…maybe she used it to get into Baszler’s head.
Lynch continues by saying the only person that can get close enough to the Queen to destroy her is the joker that she thinks poses no threat, and that’s why she’s still the champ.
Becky then addresses the Money in the Bank match and challenges the winner. Lynch ends by saying she has a plan, and she will shock the world one more time no matter who wins the MITB match.
This was the return of serious Becky, and she cut an excellent promo. While Lynch is a “babyface,” it was nice to see her return a bit to the cocky/confident form that worked so well for her in her rise to the top of the industry. Lynch is not the best wrestler, but her attention to detail with her character and passion on the mic is what sets her apart.
Asuka vs. Ruby Riott:
In the first of three Money in the Bank qualifying matches for the women, Asuka began taunting Ruby in her native Japanese language and dancing around. Ruby offers a handshake but then puts Asuka in a headlock to start the match.
Early on, Ruby asked Asuka several times, “Where is the real Asuka at?” This seemed to light a fire in Asuka because she brought it for the remainder of the match. Right before the break, Riott threw Asuka over the barricade, but the Empress responded with a roundhouse kick and then danced on the barricade.
After the break, Riott gained momentum back and was in control for a bit, picking up a couple of near falls. Asuka regained control with an ankle lock that she turned into a suplex.
In the end, Riott missed a move from the top rope, and Asuka locked in her submission, but Ruby countered for a near fall. The two women then traded two-counts before the Empress applied the Asuka Lock for the win.
Of the women who qualified for the Women’s MITB match, Asuka deserves it the most. A title run to reestablish Asuka is just what the Women’s division needs on Raw.
Austin Theory vs. Akira Tozawa:
For the time being, it looks like Theory will be a consistent name we see on the red brand. Theory wastes no time after the match begins, taking it to Tozawa. But Tozawa was not phased and responded with kicks of his own.
But in no time, Theory was back on the attack with a series of kicks and strikes to Tozawa. Theory then whipped Tozawa into the corner, and the hit a standing moonsault for a two-count. Theory later hit a backbreaker for another near fall.
After getting beat down for several minutes, Akira fought back, sending Theory to the outside with a hurricanrana, and then hit a running senton off the apron. Back in the ring, Tozawa picked up a two-count off a missile dropkick.
Theory breaks Tozawa’s octopus submission and hits his finisher called the “ATL” for the win.
With Vega on commentary, Andrade and Angel Garza join Theory in the ring, and Andrade delivers the hammerlock DDT to Tozawa. Vega was in her element here, and she is putting together quite the stable of talent.
Tag team action:
The newly formed tag team of Ricochet and Cedric Alexander took on the Viking Raiders, who we have not seen in a while.
After getting squashed by Brock Lesnar back at Super Showdown, Ricochet lacked direction. Pairing him with Alexander may turn out to be a solid move as the duo has pretty solid chemistry together.
A great spot in this match is when Erik tossed Ricochet over the top rope and onto the floor, and then Ivar took a dive to the outside and wiped out both Ricochet and Alexander.
Despite the finish being a bit botched, this match overall was rather good.
The Viking Raiders had a great showing here, and it is nice to see them get back in the tag team title picture. The Smackdown tag team division seems to be more well featured than Raw’s, granted they do have the New Day and Usos.
It is time to make the tag division a priority, and reestablishing the Raiders as a formidable team would be a step in the right direction.
Charlotte Flair takes us to school:
Charlotte is here to give the fans a history lesson of how she won the Women’s Royal Rumble to earn the right to fight for any title of her choosing. She did not want to face Becky again, as they have gone to battle many times, and the same goes with Bayley.
Flair says she beat the “next big thing” in NXT and that she is the biggest thing going, which is why Vince McMahon chose her to save the main event of Wrestlemania last year.
The Queen then says she is going to remind NXT of humility. Next in line? Io Shirai, who won the ladder match last week to earn the right to face the champ. Flair then finishes by saying she is not here for just victories, but to teach lessons.
Shirai vs. Flair is a pay-per-view quality, and I hope they save that match for later down the line. Regardless of when it happens, I am looking forward to this NXT Women’s title match.
Shayna Baszler vs. Sarah Logan:
Before the match, Baszler was asked about the comments her friend Ronda Rousey made. This question got a blank stare from Shayna, who then made her way to the ring.
Right away, Baszler gained the edge, dropping Logan to the mat with a forearm strike. Shayna then unloaded a series of blows to Logan while she was down. As the referee pulled Baszler off Logan, Shayna waited a moment before delivering a vicious kick to the arm.
This kick resulted in the referee stopping the match and declaring Baszler, the winner after Logan was unable to go. Baszler was once again made out to be an unstoppable force, but was this even necessary? Shayna is the second woman to qualify for the Women’s MITB match.
Men’s Money in the Bank:
Backstage, MVP was in the VIP Lounge to announce the three Raw men’s Money in the Bank qualifying matches.
The first two matchups announced were Rey Mysterio vs. Murphy, and then Aleister Black vs. Austin Theory. The final matchup was Appolo Crews taking on…MVP himself.
I do enjoy the fact all the superstars that will be in the MITB ladder matches this year will have qualified to get there. Makes the match feel more legit, in my opinion.
Garza was back out here after assisting Theory and Andrade in the beatdown of Tozawa to take on Tehuti Miles from NXT.
This was not much of a match, as Garza came out of the gates on fire and hit the Wing Clipper in mere minutes. And surprise, surprise…Theory and Andrade are back out here to beat down Miles even more.
If there is one takeaway from this show, WWE went out of there way to make this new stable look like a million bucks. With not many factions around these days, this trio led by Zelina Vega could make some noise.
Jax qualifies for Money in the Bank:
Poor Kairi Sane, she lost to a returning Nia Jax in little time. Jax was made to look like the dominant force she was before getting double ACL surgery. Not sure how well Jax will fare in a ladder match, but I am sure WWE sees more potential in Jax than Sane.
Sane’s pairing with Asuka has been far from perfect, but it is nice to see them root for one another. It is just a shame Kairi is suffering several losses in a row.
The story coming into this match was the tension between Lana and Bobby Lashley. Lana seemingly cost Lashley his Wrestlemania match, and she was screaming here again until Lashley got out and told her to “shut the hell up.”
Lashley then finished No Way Jose off, and he and Lana headed up the ramp, but Bobby still looked less than thrilled.
Despite missing Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, and AJ Styles this show was still above average. This show set up a new heel faction, which could be good for Raw moving forward, especially with a babyface champion.
Besides the Asuka/Riott match, the other two women’s MITB matches were a bit of a question mark. I understand making Baszler and Jax look strong, but shouldn’t these qualifying matches be a bit more competitive?
Also, Rollins being in the WWE title picture after losing is a bit puzzling. Will KO come back and ruin Seth’s chances at capturing the title.
Aleister Black had another great match, and Becky’s firey promo was one of her better performances of late.
My rating of Raw: 3.25 out of 5.