By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,509)
Live from Knoxville, Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena
Aired April 25, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] Riddle stood in the ring and the rest of the roster surrounded the ring while Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in on commentary. Seth Rollins was seated next to the broadcast table with his feet up. Riddle welcomed viewers to the show and set up a video package on Randy Orton for his 20 years in WWE celebration.
Riddle introduced Randy Orton as his best friend. Orton made his entrance and bumped firsts with T-Bar, Veer Mahaan, Apollo Crews, and Commander Azeez before entering the ring. A loud “Randy” chant broke out.
Orton told Riddle that it was cool and he appreciated him. Orton also pointed out that he was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and said it was pretty cool that they were holding his anniversary there. He said there have been a lot of ups, downs, twists, and turns. Orton said he hopes the fans aren’t sick of him because he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Orton said the twenty years have flown by. He mentioned John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Ric Flair, and Mick Foley as wrestlers he’s had great matches with. He said Foley made him The Legend Killer and he wouldn’t be there without him.
Orton said he’s having more fun now than he ever has during his career and that was due to Riddle. Orton hugged Riddle and then an RK-Bro chant started. Orton said he’s had his ups and downs with the WWE Universe, but they have always come right back and supported him. “I love each and every one of you as well,” Orton said.
Riddle told Orton that he had a surprise for him. He said there was a man who wanted to come out because Orton is a mentor to him. He said this person looked up to him as a mentor and he said that he and Orton are actually friends.
Cody Rhodes was introduced by Riddle. Cody came out dressed in a suit and walked to the ring with a smile on his face. Cody entered the ring and hugged Orton. Cody told Riddle off-mic that he told him he knows Orton. “Awww, well isn’t this cute?” Rollins said.
Rollins entered the ring while accusing Cody of trying to steal Orton’s spotlight, just as Cody stole his spotlight at WrestleMania. Rollins told Cody that not everything is about him. Rollins said this night is about Orton. Rollins said Orton’s best years are in the past. He said Orton is not the present or future of WWE, and neither is Cody. Rollins said the people would be inspired by him.
Ezekiel entered the ring and said that as one of the newest superstars, it was time for him to say congratulations and introduce himself. Orton shook Ezekiel’s hand. Ezekiel spoke about watching Orton with his brother Elias.
Kevin Owens called Ezekiel a liar and entered the ring. Owens acted maniacal as he said that Ezekiel passed a lie detector test while adding that he would figure out how he did it.
Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso made their entrance and entered the ring. Jey said they were 15 years-old when Orton started. Jimmy asked if he had a favorite Orton moment. Jey said it was when they beat them at WrestleMania Backlash to unify the tag titles.
WWE authority figure Adam Pearce came out and announced that in honor of Orton’s anniversary, it would be Cody, Ezekiel, Riddle, and Orton against Rollins, Owens, and the Usos. Owens punched Ezekiel. Orton dropped Owens with an RKO. Orton’s music played while Graves hyped the eight-man tag, and Smith hyped the Raw Women’s Championship match…
Glenn “Kane” Jacobs was shown talking with Bianca Belair in the backstage area. Smith said the Raw Women’s Championship match would be up after the commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A fun segment with a lot of moving pieces. The Orton tribute video was nicely done, and then they got down to business by setting up the show’s eight-man tag team main event. They will have a lot of star power in the main event, so it will be interesting to see if they can fill out the remainder of the show adequately.
Sonya Deville was already in the ring coming out of the commercial break. Bianca Belair made her entrance. Footage showed how Deville took the first title shot…
1. Bianca Belair vs. Sonya Deville for the Raw Women’s Championship. Mike Rome delivered introductions from ringside while both wrestlers were inside the ring. Deville pulled Belair to the floor and slammed her head on the apron. Belair tried to ran Belair at the broadcast table, but Belair reversed it and sent Deville over the table. Deville was counted out just 45 seconds into the match. Deville took the mic from Mike Rome and made an excuse, then announced that the match would be restarted.
Belair and Deville fought at ringside again. Deville grabbed Belair’s braid, but Belair was able to use it to send Deville into the timekeepers area. Deville emerged with a chair, hit Belair with it, and was disqualified. Deville said Belair used a foreign object in the form of her hair. She said the match would be restarted with no disqualifications out count-outs. Deville motioned to the back and then Carmella and Queen Zelina headed toward the ring. [C]
Deville dominated the action coming out of the break with help from Carmella and Zelina. She retired to run Belair into a chair that was wedged in the corner, but Belair reversed it. Belair took out the sidekicks and then hit her KOD finisher and scored the clean pin…
Bianca Belair defeated Sonya Deville in 8:55 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
Edge was shown seated on his throne while Damian Priest stood next to him… [C]
Powell’s POV: You had to turn your brain off for this one in that Adam Pearce’s character was pissed at Deville last week, but apparently decided to just sit back and let her stack the deck against Belair with repeated restarts and help from Carmella and Zelina, who are apparently back on the same page despite splitting up previously. Anyway, I’m surprised they didn’t turn this into angle designed to put heat on Deville so they could have the match at WrestleMania Backlash. But they actually put over a babyface in her hometown, so I guess that’s progress.
Carmella and Zelina were arguing backstage when Deville showed up and scolded them for not getting the job done. She said they would not get their championship opportunity since they didn’t help her win. Deville slapped Zelina. Carmella wound up to slap Deville, who said she wouldn’t do that since she’s still her boss. Deville slapped Carmella and stormed off…
Edge delivered a promo with Priest standing next to his throne. Edge said they are better than everyone, but they haven’t shown it because they were worried about pleasing the fans. He worked in a couple of cheap jabs at the locals. Edge spoke about AJ Styles and recalled separating his shoulder when they first met in the Royal Rumble match.
Edge said he doesn’t think Styles can hit the move with one arm. Edge told Styles to stay at home and hug his kids tight with his one good arm. Priest said Finn Balor’s judgement has been determined and he is his punisher. Priest said Balor’s judgment day has arrived…
Powell’s POV: Both men had the same darker look, but Edge seemed to tone down the darkness of his character by working in some easy jabs at the host city.
Veer Mahaan made his entrance… [C] WWE’s top ten Instagram photos were shown coming out of the break… Highlights aired of Veer destroying Dominik Mysterio two weeks ago and an enhancement wrestler from last week…
2. Veer Mahaan vs. Sam Smothers. Saxton said Smothers went to the University of Tennessee. Mahaan hit him with a big boot and followed up with his million dollar arm clothesline. Mahaan applied the Cervical Clutch for the submission win.
Veer Mahaan defeated Sam Smothers in 0:38.
Afterward, Mahaan ran Smothers through the ropes and into the post, causing Smothers to tumble to the floor. Mahaan followed and reapplied his finishing hold until referees talked him down. Mahaan picked up Smothers and slammed him onto the broadcast table. Mahaan leapt onto the table and reapplied the Cervical Clutch…
Powell’s POV: Another squash win for Mahaan minus the stretcher job. He also shook it up a bit with the slam on the broadcast table. Wait, wasn’t that the same nice guy who bumped fists with Randy Orton earlier?!?
Bobby Lashley was shown shadow boxing backstage. Sarah Schreiber showed up and said it didn’t seem like Lashley was doing a normal workout for an arm wrestling match. He said he had to be prepared because he didn’t trust Omos or MVP…
Omos and MVP made their entrance… [C] Tweets from John Cena, Drew McIntyre, and Triple H were shown regarding Randy Orton’s 20-year milestone…
An arm wrestling table was set up in the ring where Omos and MVP were waiting. MVP cut a promo about Lashley having a big ego. When the fans did the “what?” nonsense, he told them to shut up. MVP sang the praises of Omos and worked in a jab at the host city. MVP said Omos would crush Lashley’s “puny digits” and rip them off at the wrist.
[Hour Two] Bobby Lashley made his entrance…
3. Bobby Lashley vs. Omos (w/MVP) in an arm wrestling challenge. MVP held the mic and taunted Lashley as Omos jumped out to an early lead. Lashley glared at MVP and made a comeback. Lashley eventually put Omos away.
Bobby Lashley beat Omos in an arm wrestling challenge in 0:55.
Afterward, MVP distracted Lashley, allowing Omos to attack him from behind. Omos eventually put Lashley down with a clothesline. MVP was all smiles. Omos wanted to go after Lashley again, but MVP stopped him and pointed at the arm wrestling table, which Omos picked up. MVP told Lashley that he wasn’t looking so mighty. Omos jabbed the table onto Lashley several times. Omos tossed the table out of the ring and it punctured the mat in front of the entrance ramp…
Powell’s POV: Pretty standard stuff with the heel destroying the babyface after the arm wrestling was over. I was surprised to see Lashley actually beat Omos, as these things often end with the heel attacking before he actually loses.
A video package recapped last week’s double commitment ceremony with all of the WWE 24/7 Title changes that closed with Dana Brooke leaving as champion, just as she started…
R-Truth made his entrance and was introduced as a guest referee for the next match. A graphic listed Reggie and Dana Brooke vs. Akira Tozawa and Tamina… An ad for Smackdown hyped Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey’s Beat The Clock Challenge, and Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn in a cage match… [C]
Footage aired from earlier today of Truth hosting a couples therapy for Reggie and Dana Brooke, and Akira Tozawa and Tamina. He said he would tear them apart to keep them together if he had to. Truth said he arranged for a mixed tag match as an exercise in teamwork. He said the 24/7 Title was not in play during the match…
4. Reggie and Dana Brooke vs. Akira Tozawa and Tamina in a mixed tag match. Both teams were in the ring along with referee R-Truth coming out of the break. Tozawa put Reggie down and then went up top and yelled, “I love you.” Tozawa performed a senton splash and pinned Reggie.
Akira Tozawa and Tamina beat Reggie and Dana Brooke in 1:30.
Afterward, Tozawa jumped into the arms of Tamina. They both turned their attention to Brooke. Tamina threw Brooke to the mat and then Tozawa covered her, but Truth threw him off. Truth held the ropes open for Brooke to leave, then rolled her up and tried to count his own pin, but she kicked out…
Powell’s POV: The live crowd was nearly silent for this segment. I continue to believe that the 24/7 silliness is more popular backstage than it is with the actual fans most weeks.
A video package spotlighted the Cody Rhodes vs. Kevin Owens match from last week along with Seth Rollins attacking Cody afterward… The broadcast team hyped the eight-man tag main event…
Becky Lynch made her entrance with shorter hair, shades, and an overall look that seemed inspired by the late David Bowie. Lynch showed no emotion as she walked to the ring and looked at fans. She climbed onto the apron, sighed, and then entered the ring… [C]
Lynch removed her glasses and looked down and then looked at the crowd. Lynch said it’s been three years since she walked out on Raw without her championship. She said she hasn’t wanted to show her face on Raw because she doesn’t know who she is without that title.
Lynch said she has grown accustomed to looking in the mirror and seeing a champion that she didn’t recognize herself after WrestleMania. Lynch said she’s hit rock bottom and that’s all she had to say. She stopped herself from putting the mic down and said that if she’s hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Lynch said this means she’s on the verge of a legendary comeback. She laughed maniacally. She said she would overcome the hometown girl Belair and become the champion forever. She said no one would be able to stop her and then started listing women from the Raw women’s division until she was interrupted.
Asuka made her entrance in her usual gear and received a good reaction from the crowd. Lynch acted shocked as Asuka entered the ring and danced past her before going to the ropes and continuing to dance. Asuka took the mic and yelled in Japanese, then danced while a small Asuka chant broke out.
Asuka looked at Lynch and said, “I will stop you because no one is ready for Asuka.” Lynch seethed. Asuka flicked Lynch’s nose. Lynch took a swing at Asuka, who ducked it. Asuka threw a spinning back fist that Lynch ducked before leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: As much as I was hoping to see a darker Asuka rather than the usual Asuka, it’s just plain good to see her again. This is her first night back on WWE television since the Money in the Bank ladder match back in July 2021. Asuka and Lynch work well together and this should be a fun way to keep Lynch busy while keeping her away from the Raw Women’s Championship for now.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins delivered a backstage promo. Dawkins gave respect to Randy Orton, and Ford spoke about Bianca Belair retaining her title. They shifted their focus to the eight-man tag main event. Ford said that no matter who wins the main event or the unification match at WrestleMania Backlash, they are up next. Yes, they still want the smoke…
Finn Balor made his entrance for a match against Damian Priest… [C] Saxton hyped SummerSlam tickets being on sale… Edge sat on his throne while Damian Priest stood at his side on the stage. Edge’s new theme played and then the song and lighting changed, causing Priest to make his entrance. Mike Rome introduced Priest by saying he represents Judgment Day…
5. Damian Priest vs. Finn Balor. Edge watched the match from his throne. Balor clotheslined Priest over the top rope to the floor. Priest landed on his feet and pulled Balor out with him. Priest performed a crucifix bomb onto the apron. [C]
Balor put Priest down with a kick and then went up top for his finisher. Edge stood up from his throne on the stage and this somehow distracted Balor. Priest pulled Balor into the ring by the throat and then chokeslammed him. Priest hit his finisher and scored the pin.
Damian Priest beat Finn Balor in 7:20.
After the match, Priest walked toward Edge and then stopped and dropped down to one knee. Edge motioned for him to stand, and he did. Priest stood in front of Edge and held up his left fist…
Powell’s POV: I just keep waiting for the Edge and Priest act to get better. The match was fine aside from the silly distraction finish.
The Miz made his entrance for a Miz TV segment with Theory as his guest… An ad for Tuesday’s NXT 2.0 television show focused on the awful Bron Breakker and Joe Gacy angle from last week… [C]
The Miz welcomed viewers to Miz TV and said they were celebrating the career of Randy Orton. Miz said Orton’s career might stack up to his own one day. Miz said his guest might remind viewers of him.
U.S. Champion Theory made his entrance while Miz danced to his entrance music. Once in the ring, Theory took a selfie with Miz, who said it’s like looking in a mirror. Miz said that when he was a young Miz, he had to earn his “The” and told Theory not to worry because he’ll get there.
Theory said he grew up watching Miz and said he was almost like an inspiration. The fans did the “what?” shit. Miz told them to shut up. Theory called Miz an inspiration for overcoming the odds. He also said he would become the best investment that Mr. McMahon ever made.
Theory said he would bring the U.S. Title to new heights. He said he’s the youngest U.S. Champion in WWE history, but he will be remembered as the U.S. Champion. Miz offered advice for Theory. He said people become jealous when you are a new champion. He said everyone in the locker room is a parasite.
[Hour Three] Miz said everyone should have to earn the right to face Theory in the ring. He said no one should be allowed to just come out and demand a title match.
Mustafa Ali made his entrance. The broadcast team acted shocked to see him, and the live crowd gave him a mild reaction. Ali entered the ring and smiled at the crowd. A “welcome back” chant broke out with some fans. “You still work here?” Miz asked. Theory asked if Ali was the guy who took his ball and went home. Miz assumed he was Mufasa, the younger brother of Mustafa Ali.
Ali said if he wanted to laugh at a joke, he’d watch Miz wrestle. Ali said he was backstage discussing some matters with Adam Pearce. He said he had to come out when he heard that Theory was a guest on Miz TV. Ali challenged Theory to a U.S. Title match for later in the show.
Theory said he’d think about it, then immediately said no. Ali asked if Theory was all biceps and no balls. Ali said Theory was running away like his name was The Miz. Theory called Miz a former champion, a trailblazer, and a future first ballot Hall of Famer. Theory said Miz wouldn’t run away from a fight.
Miz started going on about how he wished he could face Ali on the spot. Meanwhile, Theory was on his phone. Theory informed Miz that he just texted Mr. McMahon and Miz had his match with Ali. Miz wasn’t happy about it, but he told Ali that once he’s finished with him, he’ll wish he had gotten his walking papers. Ali slapped Miz… [C]
Powell’s POV: For those who missed it, Ali requested his release from WWE back in January. The company declined to let him out of his deal, and this was his surprise return. The live crowd didn’t treat him like a returning star, though it’s not like he was established as one before he disappeared from television. Hopefully this run will go better for him. Either way, he and Theory should have some really good matches together. By the way, the dark main event of the Minneapolis Smackdown on June 17 has been changed to The Usos vs. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods for the Smackdown Tag Titles per a local ad that just aired. It was previously listed as The Usos defending their titles against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs. No, I don’t read anything into this as far as WrestleMania Backlash is concerned.
A WWE and Make-A-Wish video aired… Randy Orton and Glenn “Kane” Jacobs were shown chatting backstage…
6. Mustafa Ali vs. The Miz. Miz kicked Ali’s knee and then dropped him with a DDT for a near fall. Ali caught Miz on the ropes a short time later and joined him on the top rope. Miz pushed Ali, who backflipped onto his feet. Miz took out Ali’s leg with a dropkick. Miz went for the figure four, but Ali rolled him into a pin.
Mustafa Ali defeated The Miz in 6:40.
Ali went to the stage to celebrate when he was suddenly blasted by a Tommaso Ciampa forearm…
Rhea Ripley was shown pacing on the backstage ring set. She turned and made eye contact with Sarah Schreiber, who walked away… [C]
Powell’s POV: Graves was there to defend Miz for not being prepared. In other words, they can run this back again next week if they want to play that up even more. I was legitimately surprised to see Ciampa take the cheap shot at Ali and I look forward to seeing them work together.
Highlights aired of Rhea Ripley turning on Liv Morgan after their loss to Sasha Banks and Naomi in last week’s WWE Women’s Tag Title match…
Ripley was interviewed by Schreiber, who asked if she was ready to explain why she attacked Morgan. Ripley said she finally opened her eyes. She said she became the Raw Women’s Champion on her own when she first arrived. She said she’s been surrounded by tag team partners since then who bring her down to their level. Ripley said she’s done with that. Morgan showed up and fought with Ripley until they were pulled apart…
Backstage, Kevin Owens argued with Chad Gable about last week’s lie detector test while Otis stood by. Rollins showed up and received the shoosh treatment from Gable. Owens dismissed Gable and said he wouldn’t pay him for lat week. Rollins said he’d been looking everywhere for Owens, who said he tried to fight his heart out for him last week until he was insulted. Owens said he should give Rollins a lie detector test to see if he means what he says.
Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso showed up and told Rollins and Owens that they want the win and didn’t want them to screw it up for them. They said they better be on the same page or Roman Reigns wouldn’t be happy. Rollins laughed about it. When the Usos walked away, Rollins put his arm around Owens, who quickly removed it and walked away…
Cody Rhodes made his entrance for the main event… [C] The broadcast team recapped footage from the arm wrestling challenge…
Kevin Patrick attempted to interview Omos and MVP backstage. MVP questioned if Lashley looked like a winner after the arm wrestling challenge. MVP said Omos challenged Lashley to a match at WrestleMania Backlash…
The remainder of the entrances for the main event took place. Graves said he bumped into Elias at LAX and he’s looking great. Once everyone was in the ring, Ezekiel attacked Owens. The teams brawled and the babyfaces quickly cleared the heels from the ring… [C]
7. Randy Orton, Riddle, Cody Rhodes, and Ezekiel vs. Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins in an eight-man tag match. The match was joined in progress. Rollins eventually caught Riddle on the top rope and gave him a reverse superplex. [C]
Rollins eventually took a hot tag and cleaned house on the heels, dumping three of them in a row onto the broadcast table. Orton returned to the ring and pulled Jey in and dropped him with a Draping DDT. Orton struck the Viper’s Pose, but Rollins hit him from behind.
Cody took out Rollins with a Disaster Kick. Orton put Rollins down with an RKO. Moments later, Orton dropped Owens with an RKO. Riddle blasted Jimmy with a knee and then elevated him into an RKO from Orton. Jey leapt from the top rope and was caught on the way down with an RKO and pinned by Orton.
Randy Orton, Riddle, Cody Rhodes, and Ezekiel defeated Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins in an eight-man tag match in roughly 15:00 of on-air time.
The babyfaces celebrated afterward while the cameras focused on Orton. A small graphic listed Asuka, Mustafa Ali, and Sonya Deville as the Raw Talk guests…
Powell’s POV: You had to know that this was going to be the RKO Show for Orton’s anniversary. This was not a case of predictability being a bad thing, as Orton’s milestone is deserving of the spotlight and the live crowd ate it up.
Overall, a fun show with the Orton celebration and a couple of surprise returns. I will have a lot more to say in my weekly same night Raw audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
Join John Moore for his live review of NXT 2.0 on Tuesday night.