3/29 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of the Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley contract signing for the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania, U.S. Champion Riddle vs. Sheamus in a non-title match, the penultimate edition of Raw heading into WrestleMania 37


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw (Episode 1,453)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired March 29, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber in the backstage area. She asked about Bobby Lashley sending wrestlers after him to take him out before WrestleMania. McIntyre essentially said they could bring it on and get a good old fashioned Scottish ass kicking… Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance along with fellow Hurt Business members MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander. MVP spoke briefly, then Lashley said that anyone who takes out McIntyre would be rewarded with a title match against him at WrestleMania.

MVP said Lashley’s offer wasn’t about weakness, it was about letting someone else step up and get the opportunity of a lifetime. MVP asked if anyone would accept the offer. MVP set up highlights of McIntyre beating Benjamin and Alexander in a handicap match. Per the match stipulation, Benjamin and Alexander are barred from ringside during the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania.

Lashley scolded Benjamin and Alexander for failing to get the job done in the handicap match. “And don’t get me started on the Raw Tag Team Titles,” Lashley said. He told them that they are embarrassing to his image and he can no longer count on them for anything. Lashley said he worked too hard for too long to surround himself with incompetence.

MVP told Benjamin and Alexander that this was their opportunity to speak up for themselves. Benjamin told Lashley that he wouldn’t even be WWE Champion if it wasn’t for them. MVP tried to interject. Benjamin shoved MVP, then Lashley dropped Alexander with a punch. Lashley removed his jacket and traded punches with Benjamin. Lashley put Benjamin down with a Flatliner, then kicked him in the ribs.

Lashley said The Hurt Business is over as far as Benjamin and Alexander are concerned. He said the offer still stands for anyone else who can take out McIntyre, as that person would get a title shot against him at WrestleMania…

Powell’s POV: The hits keep coming for Benjamin and Alexander. I don’t know if this is a swerve and the group will end up staying together or if they are moving in a different direction. But the last three weeks have seen Benjamin and Alexander lose the Raw Tag Titles, lose a handicap match, and now get kicked out of Hurt Business.

Highlights aired of Sheamus throwing Riddle’s scooter last week… Schreiber interviewed Riddle, who said Sheamus pissed him off and he doesn’t like being pissed off. Riddle spotted Titus O’Neil and asked him about roasting a pig at WrestleMania. O’Neil explained that he’s the co-host at WrestleMania. Titus blew off Riddle, then Sheamus blasted Riddle out of nowhere. Phillips hyped their non-title match as coming up next… [C]

The broadcast team hyped the premiere of The Miz and John Morrison video, and a Shane McMahon expose on Braun Strowman. They also recapped the Hurt Business segment…

Backstage, Benjamin and Alexander approached Adam Pearce and barked at him about Lashley. Alexander called for a singles match between Benjamin and Lashley, and said he wanted to face Lashley if there was anything left of him…

MVP was shown on commentary with Phillips and Saxton. Phillips said Samoa Joe was unable to be there and MVP was filling in…

Powell’s POV: Oops, I mistakenly assumed Joe was present. I corrected the earlier mention of him being on commentary.

1. U.S. Champion Riddle vs. Sheamus in a non-title match. Riddle applied a sleeper, but Sheamus powered out of it and backed him into the corner where he delivered elbows to the head of Riddle. A short time later, Riddle sent Sheamus to ringside, then performed a Floating Bro heading into a break. [C]

Riddle threw a series of kicks to the chest of Sheamus, who was kneeling against the ropes. Sheamus caught his leg and went for an Alabama Slam, but Riddle slipped out and delivered a kick and a Broton for a two count. Riddle applied a triangle, but Sheamus powered him up and slammed him. Riddle maintained the hold, but Sheamus reached the bottom rope to break the hold.

Sheamus pulled Riddle over the ropes and gave him White Noise on the apron. Sheamus brought Riddle back inside the ring and covered him for a two count. Sheamus followed up with an Alabama Slam for another near fall. Sheamus set up for his finisher, but Riddle hit him with a running knee in the corner and rolled him into a pin for a two count. Sheamus came back with a big knee to the head and then pinned Riddle.

Sheamus defeated U.S. Champion Riddle in 12:45 in a non-title match.

After the match, Sheamus was celebrating on the ropes when Riddle knocked him to ringside. Riddle told Sheamus that he’s going to get what’s coming to him…

Powell’s POV: So Riddle is a poor sport in addition to being the dumbest character on the roster? The match was enjoyable and I’m looking forward to seeing the likely rematch at WrestleMania.

The broadcast team recapped last week’s segments involving Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon… Shane was walking with Elias and Jaxson Ryker when he was approached by backstage interviewer Kevin Patrick. Shane spoke about his expose and said it would be very enlightening… [C]

The WrestleMania video aired. We are 12 days away…

Drew McIntyre was walking backstage when he came across AJ Styles and Omos. McIntyre said that Lashley’s offer seemed like one that Styles couldn’t refuse. Styles said Lashley had McIntyre shaking in his boots. Styles said he and Omos would embarrass New Day and become the new Raw Tag Champions. Styles told McIntyre that he’s sure they will cross paths soon enough. McIntyre called out to ask who was going to take up Lashley on his offer…

Shane McMahon stood inside the ring with Elias and Jaxson Ryker. Shane said that the knee injury that prevented him from facing Braun Strowman at WWE Fastlane was legitimate. He claimed that adrenaline gave him enough pain relief to get out of the way to avoid doing more damage, so that he can beat Strowman at WrestleMania.

Shane had Strowman’s fifth grade report card on the big screen. He got two Ds, a D+, and a D-. He read the comments that included Strowman fighting with classmates, needing to be held back a year, and needing summer school. Shane called for a photo to appear. It was Strowman wearing a dunce cap.

Shane said Strowman is intellectually challenged. Shane said he would outwit Strowman at WrestleMania. He said that at the end of it, maybe Strowman just needs a warm hug from all of them. Shane taunted Strowman, who made his entrance. Phillips hyped Strowman vs. Ryker for after the break… [C]

The broadcast team hyped WrestleMania airing on Peacock and the special they are having for signups…

2. Braun Strowman vs. Jaxson Ryker (w/Elias, Shane McMahon). Strowman roughed up Ryker, then chased Shane, who avoided him. A short time later, Strowman told Shane that this would be his fate, then hit a running power slam and scored the pin.

Braun Strowman defeated Jaxson Ryker in 2:25.

After the match, Elias hit Strowman from behind. Shane joined Elias in putting the boots to Strowman, who eventually stood up and shoved them both aside. Strowman grabbed a mic and asked Shane where he was running off to. Strowman recalled Shane saying he could pick any match that he wanted to have at WrestleMania. Strowman said he picked a match that won’t let Shane’s goons interfere. He said there will be nowhere to run or hide, then announced that they would have a steel cage match…

Powell’s POV: Because no one ever interferes in WWE cage matches, right? I can’t even say that he should have selected a Hell in a Cell match because they’ve ruined that gimmick too. Putting the match type aside, the build to Shane vs. Braun has been terrible.

The broadcast team recapped The Miz and Bad Bunny segments from last week, then said the premiere of “Hey Hey Hop Hop” was coming up next… [C]

[Hour Two] The Miz and John Morrison hosted The Dirt Sheet talkshow in the ring. The WrestleMania graphic showed Damian Priest being with Bad Bunny, and Morrison being with Miz. Morrison said that if you’re wondering why his hair is so big it’s because it’s full of secrets. Miz mocked Bad Bunny failing to win an MTV video music award last year.

Miz rambled on with his usual schtick and then set up the airing of their new video. Morrison claimed the video was filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Miz said they are loved there. The video featured Miz and Morrison dancing in white suits on the Raw stage with clips of fans reacting to other things. They danced in white bunny outfits as the video continued.

Afterward, Miz said he was going to practice for when the video wins an award, but he was interrupted by Damian Priest and Bad Bunny. Priest said they enjoyed the video. Bunny said it was entertaining. Priest said Miz won’t be laughing when Bunny handles him at WrestleMania. Bunny spoke in Spanish. Miz asked what he said. Priest translated Bunny as saying that he’ll make Miz his bitch.

The Miz and Morrison went to ringside. Priest let Miz past and then Bunny punched him and knocked him down. Priest and Bunny entered the ring. Morrison held Miz back from entering the ring. Bunny tossed chairs out of the ring and shoved the Miz and Morrison poster over and threw it at them…

Randy Orton stood backstage and spoke of how he’s faced legends such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, and John Cena. Orton said none of those men quite compare to The Fiend (ha!). He recalled torching Fiend and said he chose to watch him burn.

Orton said Fiend isn’t a man, he’s much more than that. Orton said he’s an abomination from hell. Orton said he now knows what he’s dealing with. He said he will dig down deep and make sure that The Fiend is out of his life once and for all…

Bobby Lashley and MVP made their entrance. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were shown walking backstage… [C] Phillips hyped that there are still limited combo and single tickets remaining for WrestleMania…

3. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/Cedric Alexander) in a non-title match. Benjamin jumped Lashley when the bell rang. MVP rejoined the broadcast team. A couple minutes in, Lashley put Benjamin on his shoulders and then ran him into the ring post. Inside the ring, Benjamin performed Paydirt and got a near fall. Lashley came back with two spinebusters and then applied The Hurt Lock and got the submission win…

WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Shelton Benjamin in 4:15 in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: MVP tried to claim that Benjamin passed out rather than tapped out, but he actually did tap out for whatever its worth. I like The Hurt Business, so I’ll be disappointed if their split actually sticks.

Backstage, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods approached AJ Styles and Omos. They had a big notebook with various things written on the pages, including that they miss Big E and a podcast plug. Kingston, who had a big bowl in his hand, said it was game night and called for the games to begin… [C]

The broadcast team announced Riddle vs. Sheamus for the U.S. Championship for WrestleMania night two…

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods stood in the ring where various games were set up on tables. They welcomed viewers to game night and introduced Styles, who was accompanied by Omos. Kingston said it’s important for teammates to be on the same page. Styles said they would play their silly games just to prove them wrong.

The first game was charades. New Day got “A thousand miles Vanessa Carlton” right. Styles and Omos failed with The Lion King. Next up was pictionary with New Day getting “rocket ship” right. Styles had to draw the sun, but Omos didn’t make any guesses.

Omos said enough with the games (God bless him). He said he would show them what he’s capable of at WrestleMania. Styles said he would show Xavier Woods what he’s capable of on the spot. Woods said that was all the time they had for game night. Styles started tossing things around…

Powell’s POV: Grown men dancing in bunny costumes, Shane listing Strowman’s grades from fifth grade, and now game night. Has there ever been a worse build for WrestleMania (at least on the Raw side)?

Phillips set up footage of a kid on YouTube doing a Hulk Hogan impersonation (no, he didn’t say that)… The broadcast team hyped Hogan and Titus O’Neil co-hosting WrestleMania…

4. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston). Woods sent Styles to ringside and performed a flip dive. Woods rolled back inside the ring and gave a cutesy wave to Omos. [C] Late in the match, Woods had Styles down and went up top. Omos pulled Styles under the ropes. Woods went to the apron and tried to kick Omos, who shoved him over the top rope for the DQ.

Xavier Woods beat AJ Styles by DQ in 8:00.

After the match, Omos press slammed Kingston over the barricade. Styles roughed up Woods, then Omos gave him the old Baldo Bomb. Omos put his foot on Woods while Styles made a three count…

Powell’s POV: Omos’s first match is a good hook for WrestleMania. But the New Day act is so tired that it’s hard to feel sympathy for their characters.

Alexa Bliss was shown swinging on her backstage swing set while holding the jack in the box toy… [C] A sponsored video recapped Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30…

[Hour Three] The broadcast team recapped Omos destroying Woods. The Raw Tag Title match was hyped for night one of WrestleMania… A video package recapped last week’s drama involving Randy Orton, The Fiend, and Alexa Bliss…

Alexa Bliss sat on her backstage swing set and said the jack in the box was called the devil in the box centuries ago. She recalled Orton burning The Fiend alive and assuming The Fiend would be gone forever. She said The Fiend was just weakened and trapped. Bliss said The Fiend just needed time and now he’s salivating at the idea of standing across from Orton at WrestleMania.

Bliss said Orton’s biggest mistake is thinking he understands what’s next. Bliss offered a hint. “At WrestleMania, the Legend Killer dies,” Bliss said. She wound the jack in the box toy until it popped out and then she started laughing. The camera pulled back to show the charred version of The Fiend sitting on the swing next to her…

Powell’s POV: The Fiend is going to kill Orton at WrestleMania? How long will it take Peacock scrub a live killing from the show?

Backstage, Drew McIntyre stormed into a group locker room and asked who was going to step up to take him out. He said nobody stepped up and he’s disappointed. He said the younger him would have dropped him.

McIntyre approached Braun Strowman and said he should have been a five-time champion already. Strowman said that after he takes out Shane and if McIntyre wins the title, he’ll be the first person to come find him.

McIntyre grabbed Humberto Carrillo and said he wanted him to step up, then tossed him to the ground. McIntyre approached Riddle, who said he was stuffed because Sheamus is like a Thanksgiving meal and he doesn’t have time for dessert. Carrillo went after McIntyre, who dropped him with a forearm and tossed him over a chair. McIntyre told Drew Gulak to be a man and then headbutted him.

McIntyre approached Ricochet, who said McIntyre didn’t have to look any further for the fight that he wanted. McIntyre said he respected that and would see him in the ring…

Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Reginald made their entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: McIntyre showed good intensity and he came off well, but it happened at the expense of everyone other than Ricochet. It makes the WWE Championship and even WrestleMania look bad when Riddle is content with facing Sheamus, and Strowman is content with facing Shane rather than attempting to go after the brand’s top title on the biggest show of the year.

5. Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax, Reginald) vs. Naomi (w/Lana). Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose sat in on commentary. Late in the match, Jax hoisted up Lana after she took a swipe at Reginald. Lana slipped away and shoved Jax into Rose. Brooke hit Lana, who ended up kicking her. Baszler kicked Lana off the apron, then Naomi rolled up Baszler and pinned her…

Naomi pinned Shayna Baszler in 2:20.

Powell’s POV: I assume this is leading to a Triple Threat for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles at WrestleMania. Sadly, I couldn’t care less.

Asuka was walking backstage when Riddle approached her on his scooter. He said he was sore, but at least he gets to face Sheamus at WrestleMania. Riddle asked if she liked the scooter. Riddle asked her if they would be big in Japan. Riddle looked into the camera and said he forgot what he was saying. Asuka looked confused for a moment before walking away…

Powell’s POV: I think Riddle screwed up and didn’t realize they were live or didn’t know what else to do because he forgot his line, but it’s hard to say for sure because his character is such a dimwit.

Rhea Ripley was shown talking to a man backstage while Phillips hyped the contract signing for after the break… [C]

Adam Pearce hosted the contract signing for the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. He introduced Rhea Ripley followed by champion Asuka. Ripley said Asuka should be labeled as the “current” champion. Asuka laughed and said she’s the champion and Ripley is overconfident.

Ripley said she was confident enough to challenge Asuka on her first night, and is now confident enough to tell her that she will beat her and take her championship. Ripley signed the contract, then Asuka did the same. Asuka spoke in Japanese, then said Ripley’s confidence is borrowed, not earned. Asuka kept jawing at Ripley, who got upset and dumped the table on her.

Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Reginald walked out and spoke from the stage. Jax said she doesn’t know what’s worse, Ripley having the audacity to challenge for the title on her first night or Asuka accepting. Baszler said she and Jax have dominated the entire division for nearly a year and questioned where their WrestleMania match is. Baszler threatened Ripley, who asked what was stopping her. Jax challenged Asuka and Ripley to step in the ring with them next week. “We accept,” Ripley said before tossing the mic aside…

Powell’s POV: We just saw something similar with Jax and Baszler facing the Smackdown Women’s Champion and her WrestleMania challenger. And it’s hard to take Baszler’s domination claims seriously when she just lost via the overused distraction finish.

Ricochet was shown walking backstage when MVP approached him and said he was happy that he started thinking like a businessman. Ricochet said it wasn’t about Lashley’s offer. He said he thinks MVP and Lashley are full of it. Ricochet said he was going to beat McIntyre because he knows he can…

Drew McIntyre made his entrance… [C] The broadcast team hyped Kane, Great Khali, and Rob Van Dam as the latest WWE Hall of Fame inductees… Ricochet made his entrance…

6. Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet. MVP was on commentary again. Lashley was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Ricochet got an early one count. They went to ringside where Ricochet ran along the top of the barricade and then dropkicked McIntyre. Back inside the ring, Ricochet went up top for his finisher, but McIntyre moved and then Ricochet rolled through. McIntyre blasted him with a Claymore Kick and scored the pin.

Drew McIntyre beat Ricochet in 2:55.

After the match, Mustafa Ali attacked McIntyre, who ended up sending him to ringside. McIntyre barked at Ali to fight him… [C]

Powell’s POV: You didn’t really think they were going to have McIntyre and Ricochet tear the house down for 25 minutes to close out the show, did you?

7. Drew McIntyre vs. Mustafa Ali. The match was joined in progress with Ali wrenching McIntyre’s knee around the ring post. McIntyre followed up a short time later with a top rope splash on the back of McIntyre’s bad leg. McIntyre came back with a pair of suplexes. Ali kicked the bad knee and then leapt off the ropes, but McIntyre knocked him down with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt. McIntyre counted down then hit the Claymore Kick and scored the pin…

Drew McIntyre beat Mustafa Ali.

Powell’s POV: Well, at least Ali didn’t have a group of Purge cosplayers in his corner.

McIntyre took the mic and said everybody tried and everybody got their asses kicked. He called for Lashley to come out and do the job on his own. Lashley made his entrance. MVP wasn’t happy on commentary. [C]

Asuka, Riddle, The Miz, and John Morrison were hyped as the guests for Raw Talk…

McIntyre stood in the ring and told Lashley that he was so focussed on his match that he didn’t even noticed MVP behind him. McIntyre said Lashley can play any tricks he wants, but he can’t prevent the inevitable that is facing him at WrestleMania. Lashley said he didn’t need tricks and asked if McIntyre forgot what he did to him at Elimination Chamber.

Lashley told McIntyre that his time is up and it’s now The All Mighty Era. McIntyre said Lashley beat his ass at Elimination Chamber and he knows how bad he is. McIntyre said Lashley would be the man if he didn’t exist, but he does exist. He said Lashley is afraid of him Lashley pie-faced him and they fought. McIntyre gave Lashley a Glasgow Kiss and sent him to ringside.

King Corbin attacked McIntyre from behind. Corbin got the better of McIntyre while Saxton assumed that the word of Lashley’s challenge had spread to the Smackdown locker room. McIntyre came back with a suplex and went for his finisher, but Corbin countered into the Deep Six. Lashley reentered the ring and put McIntyre in the Hurt Lock while Corbin cheered him on.

Corbin told Lashley to do it again. Lashley obliged by putting McIntyre in the Hurt Lock. Lashley released the hold and then grabbed the title and shoved it in the face of McIntyre while talking trash. Lashley put McIntyre in the Hurt Lock again. Corbin yelled in McIntyre’s face while asking him how he likes it now. Lashley posed with the belt while Corbin stood next to him…

Powell’s POV: A decent angle that put heat on Lashley and presumably set up McIntyre vs. Corbin for next week’s go-home show. It was one of the few segments that clicked on a really rough night for the company being this close to WrestleMania. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Raw. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade below.

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