By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,508)
Live from Buffalo, New York at KeyBank Center
Aired April 18, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] A video package recapped last week’s segments involving Cody Rhodes and The Miz along with the post match angle involving Seth Rollins… The broadcast team was Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, and Jerry Lawler (who was filling in for Corey Graves), and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…
Seth Rollins made his entrance. “Welcome to Monday Night Rollins,” Rollins started. Rollins said it was a party and no one wants to party alone, so he invited Cody Rhodes to join him in the ring. “Come on down, let’s have a chat, baby,” Rollins said.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance dressed in a suit. Rollins asked Cody how it felt to be on top of the world and encouraged the fans to give it up for him. Rhodes said it all felt so familiar to be in the ring with Rollins in Buffalo. Cody said that Buffalo is Rhodes Country.
Rollins said it was all about respect. A “Cody” chant broke out. Cody played to the fans and Rollins acted irked. “Don’t ever do that to me again,” he said. Cody repeated the gesture by playing to the fans again. Rollins said things were going to go in one direction, but now they were going in another direction.
Rollins said he was going to tell Cody how much respect he had for his family, including his father and brother, and how much respect he had for him returning as The American Nightmare. Rollins took credit for making Cody a star in one night at WrestleMania. Cody asked Rollins to get to the point.
“The point is that at WrestleMania, you had an unfair advantage,” said Rollins. “You came in as Mr. McMahon’s surprise opponent.” Rollins said he didn’t have the proper time to prepare and said that’s why he lost their match. Another loud “Cody” chant broke out. Rollins said what’s worse is that Cody and some of the fans think Cody is better than him.
“I am better than Cody Rhodes in every possible way,” said Rollins. He called Cody the flavor of the month and said he’s not the future of the industry. Rollins recalled Cody’s stated goal of winning the WWE Championship. Rollins said he’s been to the mountain top and that makes him better than Cody.
Cody said Rollins has been to the mountain top four times, while he hasn’t been there once. Cody said that Rollins’ tantrum didn’t change what happened at WrestleMania. Cody said that in his absence from WWE, he had a management position and learned about mediation. Cody said they should involve a third party and simply ask the fans in Buffalo. A “Cody” chant broke out.
Cody asked the crowd if they think he’s better than Rollins. The fans cheered. Rollins actually encouraged them. A “yes” chant broke out. Rollins barked at the fans to shut up. Rollins said he wanted to put the shoe on the other foot after what happened to him at WrestleMania.
Rollins asked Cody to stand in the ring and face a wrestler of his choosing in the main event of Raw. Cody said Rollins and the fans already know the answer. He said he didn’t come back to WWE to run from challenges. “So absolutely yes,” Cody said. Rollins laughed…
The broadcast team hyped previously advertised segments and matches, and added RK-Bro vs. The Street Profits in a non-title match… Sasha Banks and Naomi made their entrance for the WWE Women’s Tag Title match… [C]
Powell’s POV: A compelling opening segment. Cody continues to be red hot with WWE crowds and I really like the way Rollins is using the excuse of not being able to prepare for Cody before their WrestleMania match as an excuse for losing the match. It’s a valid excuse in their storyline world and sets up their rematch nicely, and they also used it to set a good hook for tonight’s main event match when Cody has to face a mystery opponent selected by Rollins.
1. Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. The entrances of the challengers were televised coming out of the break. The match spilled to ringside where Ripley swung Banks into Naomi. Morgan kicked Naomi so that she ran into the ring post. Ripley picked up Banks and slammed her aggressively onto the barricade. [C]
Ripley hit her Riptide finisher on Naomi and had her pinned while Morgan held Banks from behind. Banks ended up hitting a Backstabber on Morgan and raced to break up the pin. Naomi and Banks hit a series of combo moves on Ripley that ended with Banks pinning Ripley.
Sasha Banks and Naomi defeated Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan in 7:25 to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Titles.
After the champions left the ring, Morgan spoke with a frustrated Ripley, who tried to walk away. Morgan grabbed her by the arm and spun her around and they continued to bicker. Ripley yelled at Morgan, who tried to calm her down and leave the ring. Ripley grabbed Morgan and attacked her. Ripley put Morgan down with the Riptide and then left the ring…
Powell’s POV: What we saw of the match was entertaining and I just wish they had given it more time. They foreshadowed the hell out of the Ripley turn so that everyone other than Morgan and the broadcast team knew it was coming. Even so, I’m happy to see them try something new with Ripley. There’s a lot of speculation that she will end up with Edge’s faction, which could be fun.
Highlights aired of last week’s angle that resulted in Sonya Deville becoming Bianca Belair’s next challenger for the Raw Women’s Championship. Sonya Deville made her entrance… [C]
Imagery of the Buffalo sports teams and their fans was shown while Smith praised the passion of the city’s fans. The broadcast team recapped the previous match and angle…
Ripley was shown walking through the backstage area when Sarah Schreiber popped up out of nowhere to ask her to explain her actions. Ripley asked Schreiber what entitled her or anyone else to an explanation, and then stormed away…
Sonya Deville stood in the ring and said she’s heard chatter that she was abusing her power by making herself the first challenger of Bianca Belair. She said she was forced into the office position until she could find her way back to being a wrestler. She said she saw a window of opportunity and she took it.
Deville said she wants to take the title off of Bianca Belair. “The best and nothing less,” Deville said. Deville added that Belair wanted a challenger and she gave her one. She said it was nothing personal, it was just business.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair made her entrance. Once she entered the ring, Deville pointed out that she is still a WWE official and said Belair would be subjected to repercussions if she put her hands on her.
Belair called for the title match to take place on Raw. Deville said she didn’t wait three years to have her opportunity in Buffalo. Deville said the match could happen next week in Belair’s hometown of Knoxville so that she would have family and friends there when she lost the title and needed a shoulder to cry on.
Deville taunted Belair, who picked her up for a KOD. Deville threatened to have her fined, suspended, and stripped of the championship. Belair dropped Deville and left the ring. The broadcast team questioned if there would be repercussions…
Veer Mahaan made his entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: My guess is that next week’s Belair vs. Deville match will be more of an angle than a match. And if WWE takes its usual approach, they’ll put a lot of heat on Deville because the show is in Belair’s hometown. That said, I could be misreading this, as it’s possible they have another challenger in mind for Belair at WrestleMania Backlash. Either way, I’m enjoying the approach they are taking with Belair and Deville.
2. Veer Mahaan vs. Jeff Brooks. Mahaan dominated the match and put him away with the Cervical Clutch.
Veer Mahaan defeated Jeff Brooks in 1:10.
Mahaan reapplied the hold after the bell. WWE producers and referees ran out and he released the hold. Mahaan reapplied the hold again before eventually leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: A repeat only this time it was Brooks rather than Dominik Mysterio.
Backstage, Sonya Deville asked Adam Pearce what he was going to do about what Belair did to her. Pearce said Belair had been fined and added that there was a lot of talk about repercussions for what Deville has done. Deville claimed she did everything by the book. Belair showed up and handed Pearce a dollar bill to pay off her fine. Deville was upset. Pearce said he did it by the book…
Kevin Owens made his entrance as Jeff Brooks was being stretchered out following his match with Veer Mahaan… [C] The broadcast team recapped the Mahaan match and then Brooks was shown being stretchered through the backstage area…
Kevin Owens stood in the ring and welcomed everyone to the Kevin Owens Show. Chad Gable was seated at a table that had a laptop and supposed lie detector equipment on top of it. Owens said he hates lairs.
[Hour Two] Owens said he would expose Elias as the liar that he is and then Gable would beat him in a match afterward. Gable said he would remain impartial and get to the truth. He said that if Ezekiel lied, he would beat the truth out of him in their match. Owens introduced “Elias.”
Ezekiel made his entrance. Owens told him to have a seat. Ezekiel once again claimed that he is the younger brother of Elias. He said he had one question for the fans in Buffalo. “What wants to hear Zeke speak?” Owens said it was the same thing aa “who wants to walk with Elias.”
Gable put the equipment on Ezekiel and then asked him baseline questions. The big screen showed the results as they appeared on Gable’s laptop. Gable’s last question was whether Gable Steveson was a spoiled brat who messed with the wrong man. Owens told him to focus.
Gable asked Ezekiel if his real name is Ezekiel. He milked it for a moment and said yes. Owens asked how bad he was lying. “He’s telling the truth,” Gable said. Owens got upset. Gable asked Ezekiel if Elias is his older brother. He answered yes and Gable confirmed that he was telling the truth. Owens asked if his real name is Elias. Ezekiel said no, and Gable said he was telling the truth.
Owens wondered if Ezekiel was paying Gable more than he was. Owens told Gable he wasn’t paying him and told him to leave. Ezekiel told Owens that he had enough and was tired of being called a liar by Owens, the biggest liar in WWE. Ezekiel said he was excited to be having his first WWE match.
Owens said he knew Ezekiel was lying and said he better tell him the truth or else. “Or else what?” Ezekiel asked. Owens left the ring. Gable attacked Ezekiel from behind. Owens saw it and smiled from the stage… [C]
3. Ezekiel vs. Chad Gable. Late in the match, Ezekiel performed a spinebuster and then applied a submission hold. Otis showed up and ran into Ezekiel for the DQ finish.
Ezekiel defeated Chad Gable by DQ in 3:30.
Powell’s POV: The crowd seemed lukewarm regarding the Ezekiel character. It’s kind of a cute gimmick for now, but it feels like a one note joke that will get old in a hurry.
A video package recapped the story of Roman Reigns sending the Usos to Raw with the goal of unifying the Raw and Smackdown Tag Titles, along with clips from the Usos beating The Street Profits on last week’s Raw…
“RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle made their entrance for their latest match against The Street Profits… Saxton set up a sneak peak of The Northman movie… [C] The Street Profits made their entrance coming out of the break…
4. Raw Tag Team Champions “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins in a non-title match. Lawler said the Profits were hanging out with the Easter Bunny because they both like the same kind of music – hip hop. Ugh. Ford went to the top rope at one point. Riddle ran up and performed a Spanish Fly heading into a break. [C]
Orton and Riddle performed stereo Draping DDT’s on the Profits. Riddle struck the Viper’s Pose, but ended up being distracted by the Usos’ entrance music. The Profits attacked Riddle and ended up performing a Doomsday Blockbuster on him, which led to Ford scoring the pin. The Profits laughed about the way they stole the match.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins defeated “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle in 7:50 in a non-title match.
The Profits went to the stage. Ford wondered who would cue the Usos’ music at such an unfortunate time. He said the lesson is that the Usos are not the only team RK-Bro should be worried about…
Powell’s POV: The Profits have taken some losses, but they are being protected more than Alpha Academy. That said, I won’t be surprised if this match leads to them losing a rematch next week.
Footage aired from last week’s segments with AJ Styles and Damian Priest, including the awful lights out finish…
Edge sat on a throne while Damian Priest stood next to him. Priest said those wondering why he and Edge were so set on making Styles’ life miserable need to be reminded of who the hell they are. Edge spoke about how the seeds were planted from his history in The Brood and The Ministry of Darkness.
Edge said they haven’t lived up to their true potential. He pointed to Damian Priest doing all the work and Bad Bunny getting all the glory at WrestleMania last year. Edge said he had to beg for someone to face him at this year’s WrestleMania. Edge vented about fans who complained about him being a part-timer.
Edge said he and Priest will pass judgment on anyone who stands in their way and Styles is the only person so far with the guts to do that. Edge challenged Styles to face him at WrestleMania Backlash and said it would be his judgment day…
Theory made his entrance for the U.S. Title match… [C]
AJ Styles was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber inside his locker room. He accepted Edge’s challenge to a match at WrestleMania Backlash. The lights flickered and then turned to the Edge lighting, and Edge and Priest were standing one each side of him. Edge and Priest attacked Styles. They placed his arm inside a bench cabinet and slammed the top piece on his left arm several times…
A video package aired on Theory… Finn Balor made his entrance…
5. Finn Balor vs. Theory for the U.S. Championship. Mike Rome remained at ringside and delivered introductions for the title match. Theory slid to ringside and pulled Balor so that he was draping over the apron. Theory dropped him with a neckbreaker at ringside. [C]
[Hour Three] Theory rolled through the ropes and shot up for a move, but Balor caught him and powerbombed him for a near fall. When both men stood up, Theory took a shot at the injured neck of Balor, who responded by putting the boots to Theory moments later. Balor played to the crowd and performed a sling blade clothesline and a running dropkick in the corner.
Balor went up top for his finisher, but Theory stood up and crotched him in the corner. Theory performed a springboard Spanish Fly for a near fall. Theory set up for his finisher, but Balor slipped away and hit an inverted DDT. Balor sent Theory to ringside and performed a flip dive onto him.
Balor rolled Theory back inside the ring and went for the Coup De Grace. Theory rolled out of the way and Balor acted like his neck was jarred when he landed on his feet. Theory hit the ATL and scored the clean pin…
Theory defeated Finn Balor in 11:35 to win the U.S. Championship.
After the match, Chad Gable, Otis, Apollo Crews, Commander Azeez, T-Bar, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin came out. Azeez and T-Bar put Theory on their shoulders and all of the heels celebrated his title win.
Vince McMahon’s entrance music played. Vince walked onto the stage and pointed at Theory, who left the ring and joined Vince on the stage. Theory took a selfie with Vince, who then shook his hand and raised his arm…
Powell’s POV: A very good match with a creative finish. It’s not every day that you see a guy sell a neck injury when he lands on his feet after shying away from a top rope move. It’s also not every day that you see the heels come out of the locker room to celebrate a title change. I got a kick out that.
The broadcast team hyped the main event and Lawler used his own phone to take a photo of Theory and McMahon…
Backstage, Kevin Patrick approached Seth Rollins and asked if he’s decided who fill face Cody Rhodes in the main event. Rollins said he had and laughed. Patrick asked if Rollins would care to share the person’s identity with the fans. Rollins got upset and asked if Patrick understands how this works. Rollins explained he had no idea who he would face at WrestleMania, and Cody has to go through the same thing tonight. Rollins took a call from the mystery opponent and walked away…
R-Truth made his entrance as the production crew set up the ring for the double commitment ceremony… [C]
R-Truth was joined in the ring by Reggie and Akira Tozawa, along with Nikki ASH, Angel, Humberto, and other men and women. Truth told Tozawa that his fly was down, then said he got him. Truth said the 24/7 Title, which was on a table at ringside, was off limits during the ceremony.
Dana Brooke and Tamina did the wedding march and had Sasha Banks and Naomi holding the back of Tamina’s dress. Brooke had to correct Truth on the pronunciation of her last name. The crowd gave Truth the “what?” treatment and he told Brooke that her vows had to come from the heart.
Truth asked the crowd to let Brooke say her vows. They gave her the “what?” treatment as she read them. She called Reggie her knight in shining armor and said she knew he was a man of honor. Reggie said her lines were beautiful.
The crowd started up again and Truth tried to get them to calm down and promised they would get to the part where they could sing “Shout” (by Otis Day and The Knights). Reggie read his vows quickly. “What she said,” Tamina told Tozawa. He responded by saying, “Tamina, same.”
Truth asked if there were any objections and said to speak now or forever shut your trap. Tamina objected. She grabbed Reggie and shoved Tozawa toward Brooke. Truth asked if there were any additional objections. Tamina shoved Tozawa and Reggie together and then stood with Brooke.
Truth said they were going to get him fired and added that he didn’t know if this was PG. Reggie had to brush off Tozawa. Tamina put the original couples back together. Truth said that if there were more objections, people should keep them to themselves. He pronounced them committed and told them that they could get their smooching on.
Truth said it was his bad, then had them pull out the rings. Tozawa struggled to get Tamina’s ring on her finger. Truth said they were committed and told them to get their smooching on for real. Both couples kissed. Reggie brought Brooke to the mat with his kiss and a referee made a three count. Tamina hit Reggie and then pinned him. Tozawa went under her dress and rolled her up and pinned her. Brooke dove onto Tozawa from the ropes and then pinned him to regain the title. Brooke hopped on the back of Truth, who ran to the back with her and the title belt…
Powell’s POV: I can honestly say that I have attended longer and more painful wedding ceremonies than this one.
The broadcast team recapped the Bobby Lashley, Omos, and MVP storyline. Lashley was shown talking with Sarah Schreiber, and Jimmy Smith said Lashley would be interviewed after the break… [C]
The broadcast team touted Make-A-Wish’s Wish Day…
Lashley was interviewed by Schreiber on the backstage ring set. Footage aired from earlier in the day of MVP delivering a promo while standing next to Omos. He said he was going to teach Omos all the things he taught Lashley about how to become the WWE Champion. Omos held up his hand and said the All Mighty Era was coming to an end. Omos put his hand over the camera.
Lashley said that if he wants to get to MVP, he has to go through Omos. He guaranteed he would do that. Lashley said Omos is big, strong, and scary, but so is he. He asked if Omos was stronger than he is. Lashley said they would find out next week when they have an arm wrestling contest…
Cody Rhodes made his entrance for the main event. He gave his weightlifting belt to a young girl at ringside and then entered the ring… [C]
The broadcast team hyped Lashley vs. Omos in an arm wrestling challenge, and Bianca Belair vs. Sonya Deville for the Raw Women’s Championship for next week’s Raw…
Seth Rollins made his entrance with a mic in hand. He said it was time for the main event and to show the world that Cody isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Rollins said Cody’s surprise opponent was a man of valor, someone who never backs down from a fight, and a former world champion. Rollins said that’s no lie.
Kevin Owens made his entrance. Once on the stage, he looked at Rollins and then hugged him before heading to the ring for the match…
6. Cody Rhodes vs. Kevin Owens. Cody dumped Owens to ringside and set up for a suicide dive, but Owens hit him from the floor. Owens pulled Cody out of the ring and gave him a fallaway slam into the ringside barricade. [C]
Cody set up for CrossRhodes, but Owens avoided it and DDT’d him instead. Owens went up top and performed a Swanton, only Cody put his knees up. Owens rolled to the floor and sold back pain. Cody followed and dove onto Owens, causing both to tumble over the broadcast table. Seth Rollins made his entrance again and was on the stage heading into a break. [C]
Rollins was at ringside next to the broadcast team coming out of the break. Owens performed a frogsplash for a near fall, then followed up with a senton and got another near fall. Cody caught hi in an inside cradle for a two count. Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, but Cody countered into a huracanrana.
Cody superkicked Owens, who returned the favor. Cody clotheslined Owens and both men stayed down for a moment. When they got up, Cody charged at Owens, who put him down with a Popup Powerbomb for a near fall.
Owens went back to the ropes. Cody cut him off and ended up joining him on the ropes. Cody sold back pain of his own. Owens knocked him off the ropes, but Cody threw a punch and climbed back up. Owens executed a fisherman’s suplex from the ropes and covered Cody, who put his foot on the bottom rope to break the count.
Cody rolled to the apron. Owens followed and set up for a move, but Cody backdropped him instead. Owens tumbled to the floor. Rollins encouraged Owens to return to the ring.
[Overrun] Rollins started barking at Owens to get his ass back in there. Owens told Rollins that it’s “your stupid match” and then walked out and took the count-out loss. Smith and Saxton were quick to say that Cody didn’t want to win that way.
Cody Rhodes defeated Kevin Owens via count-out in 17:20.
Cody went to the middle rope to play to the crowd. Rollins snuck up behind him and shoved him over the ropes to the floor at ringside. A graphic listed Theory, Bianca Belair, and The Street Profits for Raw Talk to close the show…
Powell’s POV: It wasn’t a satisfying finisher, but it’s actually fairly true to the Owens and Rollins’ characters and their recent issues. I assume we’ll eventually get a real feud between Cody and Owens, so there was no reason to have Owens take a clean loss in an unadvertised match. It seemed like the live crowd expected something bigger for the mystery wrestler role. They were quiet when Owens came out and a little slow to get into the match, but they got louder as the match went on.
Overall, a decent show unless you can’t stomach the sports entertainment silliness of the lie detector test and commitment ceremony segments. By the way, the overrun only went a minute or two. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below. I will be back with my weekly same night audio review of Raw for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).