By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,454)
Taped last week in Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired April 5, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe checked in on commentary (Mike Rome was the ring announcer)…
Drew McIntyre made his sword entrance while highlights aired of him being attacked by King Corbin last week. McIntyre spoke about leaving his friends and family behind with the purpose of coming to WWE and becoming the WWE Champion.
McIntyre spoke about his mother going through chemotherapy and telling him that if he came home she would kick his ass. McIntyre said he’s sacrificed everything for the industry. He asked Bobby Lashley how he can beat a man who will sacrifice everything. McIntyre said he would run through Corbin, put a boot between the eyes of Lashley, and end the All Mighty Era.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and MVP made their entrance. Lashley said McIntyre’s time is over. He said the wrestlers in the back are afraid of The Scottish Warrior, but he saw fear in McIntyre’s eyes last week. Lashley said he felt McIntyre shake and quiver before going out when he put him in the Hurt Lock last week.
McIntyre said The Hurt Lock is no joke, but he took issue with Lashley sending people after him to do his dirty work. Lashley said he didn’t need help and pointed to what he did to Shelton Benjamin last week. McIntyre called for fighting on the spot, but MVP stepped in and said it will happen Saturday at WrestleMania. MVP said McIntyre will lose his dignity, his consciousness, and the match.
McIntyre said maybe he should just give it all up and become an Amazon or an Uber driver. Lashley interrupted McIntyre, who threatened him. MVP stopped Lashley and said it was tough talk considering that McIntyre might not even make it to WrestleMania.
King Corbin made his entrance in his regular attire. Corbin said he started something last week and will finish it tonight. Corbin said there will be no WrestleMania or WWE Championship for McIntyre because he would whip his punk ass. McIntyre nodded and smirked at Corbin…
The broadcast team hyped Xavier Woods vs. AJ Styles for after the break… [C] A WWE Hall of Fame ad for Tuesday’s ceremony on Peacock…
Powell’s POV: McIntyre delivered a good promo. I don’t write this often, but I actually came away wishing that he would have received more time before Lashley and MVP interrupted him. It’s hard to take Corbin as a serious threat to McIntyre tonight, but it would be tough to take most people seriously when they are facing the challenger for the WWE Championship on the go-home show for WrestleMania.
The broadcast team hyped the previously advertised women’s tag team match…
Riddle spoke with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods on the Gorilla Position set. He said that what Omos did to them was messed up. Riddle spoke about how high Omos can get them. Riddle spoke about facing Sheamus at WrestleMania, and apparently facing Mustafa Ali later in the show. Once Riddle left, the New Day duo wondered if he was high without saying it, then questioned if they were too. One of them said they had a craving for milk and cookies…
The broadcast team hyped Peacock during the entrances. Samoa Joe was with them, so he’s back on commentary after missing last week’s show…
1. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston). Styles caught Woods in an early Calf Crusher. Kingston grabbed a house mic and said Omos gave them their best and they’re still here. Kingston threw the mic at Omos and then rushed into the ring, causing Styles to release the hold. Woods caught Styles in an inside cradle and pinned him.
Xavier Woods beat AJ Styles in 1:20.
Powell’s POV: A nothing match that didn’t move me in any way regarding the Raw Tag Title match at WrestleMania. The unintentional highlight was Tom Phillips marveling over Omos being unfazed by having a microphone thrown at his abdomen.
A sports car pulled into the venue. Bad Bunny and Damian Priest exited what Phillips said was a $3 million car… A shot aired of Braun Strowman walking backstage. Phillips said he would be in action after the break… [C]
The WrestleMania video aired. We are five days away (from hopefully never having to see those corny ass pirate ship graphics ever again)…
Braun Strowman made his entrance and there was a cage around the ring. A video package recapped Strowman’s feud with Shane McMahon. They cut back to Strowman, who said he was going to beat Shane’s ass for everyone who has been called stupid and said they wouldn’t amount to anything.
Strowman said there’s no running and no games, Shane will be locked inside the cage with him. He spoke about the agony that people feel when they are called stupid. He closed by saying that Shane would get these hands at WrestleMania.
Shane McMahon made his entrance and spoke from the stage. He said Strowman had a lot of anger and questioned what he ever did to him. Shane said that he let Strowman pick the match as a test to see how far his intellect has come since that horrible fifth grade report card.
Shane said the choice of a cage match is not stupid. Shane said he’s a McMahon and will outwit and defeat Strowman inside the cage. Shane said that Strowman will wake up the next morning, look into the mirror, and say that he is stupid. Elias and Jaxson Ryker made their entrance for a handicap match. Phillips said Elias and Ryker wouldn’t have to tag in and out of the match… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Shane and Strowman build has been lousy, but at least Strowman showed good fire with his go-home promo.
2. Braun Strowman vs. Elias and Jaxson Ryker in a handicap match. The cage was raised, so this was just a standard match. Shane watched from the stage to start. The heels took advantage of the numbers game early on. Shane removed his jacket and walked to ringside while Elias and Ryker continued to dominate.
Strowman did the same big push of the heels spot that he did last week. Strowman glared at Shane, who backed up the ramp. Strowman powerslammed both opponents and pinned them simultaneously. After the match, Strowman pointed at the WrestleMania sign and then Shane pointed at his own head…
Braun Strowman beat Elias and Jaxson Ryker in 2:40 in a handicap match.
Kevin Patrick caught up with The Miz and John Morrison in the backstage area. They were carrying buckets of red paint with them and said they had a masterpiece to create. They used brushes to paint “Hey Hey Hop Hop” on the hood of the car, then painted the sides as well while Phillips once again claimed that it was a $3 million car… [C]
Powell’s POV: If Bad Bunny can afford a $3 million car, then he can afford a new paint job.
Bad Bunny was shown discovering his newly painted car in the backstage area. He yelled in Spanish. Miz hit Bad Bunny from behind. Morrison held Bunny while Miz worked him over. Miz threw Bunny onto the hood of a car parked next to the Bunny’s car. Miz barked at Bunny that this is what happens when they are disrespected. Adam Pearce showed up and yelled for help. Damian Priest, producers, and a trainer tended to Bad Bunny…
Asuka made her entrance. Highlights of last week’s contract signing were shown. Footage aired from earlier in the day of Ripley telling Sarah Schreiber that she knew what she was doing when she proposed the match. She said she and Asuka would have to work together or get ripped part. She said Asuka would have to wait until Sunday for her payback at WrestleMania. Ripley made her entrance and joined Asuka inside the ring… [C]
[Hour Two] The broadcast team recapped the Bad Bunny angle… Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Reginald made their entrances. Phillips announced Lana and Naomi vs. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose vs. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan vs. Natalya and Tamina in a tag team turmoil match at WrestleMania night one, with the winners getting a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles on night two…
3. WWE Women’s Tag Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (w/Reginald) vs. Rhea Ripley and Asuka in a non-title match. Asuka went for an early tag, but Ripley didn’t oblige. Baszler shoved Asuka into their corner and then Ripley tagged herself into the match. A short time later, Ripley failed to hoist up Jax, so she tagged Asuka in again.
Asuka made a rough tag to Ripley, who caught Reginald on the apron. Baszler clipped the knee of Ripley, who rolled to ringside. Jax shoved Ripley into the apron. [C] Ripley was isolated by the heels. She eventually made it to her corner and Asuka accepted the tag.
Asuka had Baszler down and climbed up to the top rope. Ripley shoved Asuka to the floor. Ripley slammed Asuka at ringside, then threw her back inside the ring. Baszler blasted Asuka with a knee to the face and then pinned her.
WWE Women’s Tag Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Rhea Ripley and Asuka in 12:00 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: I’m not crazy about the idea of Ripley being the heel in this feud. Asuka has been a good babyface, but it feels like it’s time for a change. That said, Ripley being a heel could also be for something long term with Charlotte Flair or even Becky Lynch, so we’ll see where it goes.
The broadcast team narrated highlights of last week’s segments involving The Hurt Business breaking up…
MVP was shown texting on his phone in the backstage area when he was approached by Cedric Alexander. MVP asked him what he was doing there. Alexander shoved MVP into some production equipment. Shelton Benjamin told MVP that he may want to listen. Alexander called MVP a crippled has-been and said he can’t wait to see McIntyre expose Lashley at WrestleMania. Benjamin told MVP to keep his crippled ass out of the way.
Sarah Schreiber showed up after Alexander and Benjamin left. MVP said he was disappointed in the duo that he made relevant again. Lashley showed up and asked what happened, then said he would “break his ass in half”… [C]
Backstage, Schreiber asked Jax and Baszler if they are confident about defending their tag titles against the winners of the turmoil match. The other teams all showed up and bickered. Billie Kay showed up with a headshot. Baszler asked if she had a partner. Kay said that Carmella was reviewing her resume. Jax said they have a match on Saturday and they would face the winners, but she didn’t have time for all their drama…
Bobby Lashley and MVP made their entrance. A long video package aired on Lashley’s rise… [C]
4. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Cedric Alexander (w/Shelton Benjamin) in a non-title match. The Alexander and Benjamin entrance was not televised. Benjamin jumped Lashley before the bell. Lashley eventually fought off both men and the bell rang to start the match. MVP sat in on commentary. Lashley dominated Alexander and ran him into the ring post. [C]
Alexander rallied and performed a pair of suicide dives. Back inside the ring, Alexander performed a handspring into the ropes and then threw a kick at Lashley. Alexander went up top and dropped Lashley with a missile dropkick, but he covered him and only got a one count. Lashley came back with a spinebuster and then put Alexander in the Hurt Lock for the win.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Cedric Alexander in 10:20 in a non-title match.
After the match, Benjamin attacked Lashley, who put him down with a Flatliner. MVP said emotions get in the way and cloud your ability to make good decisions. He said it was just business. Meanwhile, Lashley put Benjamin in the Hurt Lock…
Powell’s POV: I still have no idea why the Hurt Business was split up. They had a good thing going. They’ve gone too far to claim that this was all a swerve, but perhaps they can eventually say that reuniting is good business if they want to go there. By the way, we have a storm rolling through. On the off chance that I stop updating, that means my power went out, but hopefully it won’t be an issue.
Damian Priest was shown talking with Bad Bunny in the backstage area. Phillips said Bunny would address the situation with his car after the break… [C] The broadcast team hyped the WrestleMania week events… A video package aired on Randy Orton’s feud with The Fiend and Alexa Bliss…
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest made their entrance. Priest said Bunny is a record smashing icon, whereas Miz is yesterday’s news. Priest said it’s easy to beat down a man two-on-one. He called for a tag team match, making it Priest and Bunny vs. Miz and Morrison. Bunny nodded along.
Bad Bunny took the mic and said he was following his dreams because he loves the business and respects the superstars. He recalled watching Raw, Smackdown, and every pay-per-view with his friends and family. He said he has a lot of good memories with WWE, but now he doesn’t know how to feel.
[Hour Three] Bunny said he came to WWE to perform and do a job and he’s very grateful. He said he performed his song Booker T at the Royal Rumble. He said he loves Booker laong with Triple H, Steve Austin, Undertaker, and Ric Flair. He said he even loved and respected The Miz, but Miz hasn’t respected him from day one.
Bad Bunny said he knows he’s not a pro wrestler, but he is a man and Miz disrespected him, his music, and his fans. Bunny spoke in Spanish for a bit. He said that what he’s done to Miz was no reason for hitting him with a guitar or trashing his car. Bunny said he respects Miz, but Miz doesn’t respect him.
Bunny said Miz crossed the line and he’s going to show him how to respect him. Bunny said he would shut Miz’s mouth and kick his ass. Bunny was finally interrupted by Miz and Morrison clapping on the big screen and mockingly praising him for his performance.
The Miz said Bad Bunny has overstayed his welcome in WWE. Miz said he and Morrison will embarrass him. Morrison accepted the tag team match. The duo climbed in the back of a limo that drove away…
Powell’s POV: It’s hard to feel pity for an outsider who had his $3 million car painted. This may have worked for Bad Bunny’s fans, but it’s hard to imagine that he won over a lot of pro wrestling fans who were unfamiliar with him before he showed up on WWE television.
Backstage, Sheamus tried to talk with Mustafa Ali about Riddle. Ali cut him off and Ali vented about Riddle and tried to head out for his match. Sheamus stopped him and said they don’t have a lot in common, but they both dislike Riddle. Suddenly, Riddle drove his scooter between them and then made his entrance. The corny birds once again flew when Riddle kicked his flip flops off… [C]
Bebe Rexha was announced as the performer of “America The Beautiful” at WrestleMania night one… Drew McIntyre, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Reginald, and Braun Strowman were named the guests for Raw Talk… Highlights aired from last week of Sheamus beating Riddle in a non-title match…
5. U.S. Champion Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali in a non-title match. Sheamus sat in on commentary. Riddle caught Ali with a kick, then approached the desk, took Sheamus’s hat, and put it on. Ali performed a side Russian leg sweep. [C]
Ali caught Riddle in the Koji Clutch. Riddle powered out and suplexed him for a two count. Riddle applied a triangle. Ali reached the ropes with his foot to break it. Ali came back with a gutbuster for a two count. Riddle eventually hit Bro Derek and scored the pin.
U.S. Champion Riddle defeated Mustafa Ali in 10:35 in a non-title match.
After the match, Sheamus stood on the broadcast table and jawed at Riddle…
Powell’s POV: A good match. I am looking forward to Riddle vs. Sheamus due to the expected match quality, but not because of the storyline build. I could say the same about a number of WrestleMania matches.
Backstage, McIntyre was asked by Kevin Patrick if he feels threatened by Corbin trying to take him out to take his place at WrestleMania. McIntyre said he could say horrible things about Corbin, but he’s dangerous and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. McIntyre said he would take out Corbin with a Claymore and then have his date with destiny when he takes back the WWE Championship… [C]
Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event. The broadcast team ran through the lineup for WrestleMania nights one and two. As King Corbin made his entrance, they cut backstage where Schreiber asked Lashley whether he would prefer to face McIntyre or Corbin. He said that if McIntyre gets by Corbin, he would love to beat him up. Lashley recalled McIntyre saying he would give him an All Mighty ass whooping. He said it will be very difficult to do when he puts him in the Hurt Lock at WrestleMania… [C]
6. Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin. MVP was on commentary. The match spilled to ringside where McIntyre ran Corbin into the ring post, then into the ring steps. [C] Corbin ran McIntyre into the ring post. MVP stood up and shouted encouragement to Corbin, saying WrestleMania was right there waiting for him.
Corbin wrapped himself around McIntyre and then hit him with repeated elbows to the head. Corbin chokeslammed McIntyre and covered him for a two count. Corbin continued to dominate the offense. MVP stood up and asked if he wants to go to WrestleMania. McIntyre dropped him with a Future Shock DDT for a near fall.
Corbin cut off McIntyre on the ropes and superplexed him. Corbin covered McIntyre for a near fall. Corbin hit the Deep Six for another near fall. MVP stood up and passed his cane to Corbin, who tried to hit McIntyre with it. McIntyre ducked the cane shot, then hit the Claymore Kick and scored the pin.
Drew McIntyre beat King Corbin in 18:00.
After the match, MVP limped to the stage. Bobby Lashley made his entrance and stood in front of MVP on the stage. McIntyre jawed at Lashley and then looked at the WrestleMania sign. Phillips asked who was willing to sacrifice more for the WWE Championship. He said we would find out on Saturday at WrestleMania…
Powell’s POV: It actually took the WrestleMania challenger for the WWE Championship over 15 minutes to defeat King F’n Corbin on the go-home show? Wow. The match was well worked and McIntyre will ultimately be fine, but this really was a strange way to end the build to his WrestleMania match.
Overall, they dedicated some time to every Raw match on the WrestleMania card, even if it was in video package form in some cases. Unlike last week, they didn’t find a way to lessen my enthusiasm for WrestleMania, so at least the show had that going for it. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night Raw audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by giving it a letter grade below.
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