We kicked off this episode of Raw with Kevin Owens who came out and held a promo in the centre of the ring. He recapped that the AOP and Seth Rollins attacked last week him, Rey Mysterio and Samoa Joe. Additionally, he said that these attacks were the reason why Mysterio lost his United States Championship a few days ago at the Madison Square Garden.
Rollins, Akam and Rezar came out and the Architect started to talk while they were on the stage. He said that what happened wasn’t something that he chose, but it would be a sacrifice. Rollins noted that he would sacrifice himself by being a leader who will take the WWE and whole industry into the next decade.
Owens had heard enough and went to the ringside to pick up a fight with them, but logically got beaten up. They tossed him back into the ring where they continued the insult. Samoa Joe came out to help KO, but in the end, security came out to separate the five wrestlers.
After the commercial break, we saw KO and Joe in the locker room as Charly Caruso approached them for an interview. She asked why Joe wanted to get involved in this situation. He answered that KO would never stand alone again. Owens added that he would know a lot of bad people, but he has never known anyone as bad as Joe and also noted that he would mean this in the nicest way. KO went on by saying that he would be glad to have Joe at his side and added that security would come to them in a minute as they were asked to leave the building. Then, the security men approached them and escorted them out of the building.
Opinion: A good opening segment even though it still feels a bit weird to see Joe and Owens teaming up as faces while Rollins is the ultimate heel at the moment. Anyways, it’s something new and I quite like it.
Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
These two men showed a great performance and worked well together by showing some great moves and counter-attacks. In the final phase of the match, Buddy Murphy lifted Aleister Black’s head with his foot (as Black usually does) but Black was able to counter. Then, Black performed a Brainbuster for a nearfall. Black got up to lift Murphy’s head with his boot for the Black Mass Kick, but Murphy ducked underneath, rolled Black up for a two count just to then eat a Black Mass Kick out of nowhere. It was clear that the match would be over, but Black lifted Murphy’s head with his foot for a second finisher and then pinned his opponent.
After that, we saw Rollins and the AOP in the backstage area as Akam and Rezar seemed to be nervous and talking in their native language. The Beast Slayer asked them what would be the matter and they said that nobody would be able to kick them out. Rollins answered that the management asked them politely to leave and so nobody will kick them out. Then, security men showed up to also bring them to the outside of this building.
Opinion: Even though it was the first match on this episode, it’s hard to think that there will come a better one during the rest of the show. This match was really entertaining as they received enough time to work together. Besides, it makes sense to ask KO and Joe as well as the other three men to leave the building, so it’s fair.
Erick Rowan vs. Kip Stevens
Ahead of this match, we saw Erick Rowan with his animal cage approaching Lana in the backstage area who got ready for her wedding with Bobby Lashley. Rowan was upset as he wasn’t invited and then just said: “we don’t care”. Rowan shouted at Lana before leaving. You have to add that throughout the episode, there were numerous little segments in which we saw Lana or Lashley getting ready for the wedding which was logically the main event.
After that, we also saw two pictures of Randy Orton as one showed him sitting in the ring during a house show and in the second picture, he was in a wheelchair.
As the match between Kip Stevens and Rowan started, Stevens rolled out of the ring to get under the ring and came back out near the animal cage. Rowan firstly destroyed him at the ringside before tossing him back into the ring where he continued the beating before pinning him.
Opinion: It seems as the WWE would run out of ideas for the local wrestlers who face Rowan. Hopefully, it’s now just a matter of time until they reveal what it is in the cage as it is really getting boring.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
Charlotte Flair came out to announce that she would enter the Women’s Royal Rumble match. She added that she could talk about being a 10-time women’s champion, that she has main evented WrestleMania and that she’s the Queen of the WWE, but she’s tired of it. Instead, she would want to prove why she is the Queen and challenged someone to come out and fight her. Natalya’s music hit and she came out as she accepted the challenge.
Surprisingly, they received almost 15 minutes to show off a great match. In the middle of the match, 24/7 Champion R-Truth ran out and was followed by several other wrestlers. Eric Young even received a Big Boot by Charlotte, but after that, R-truth and the other wrestlers left the arena again and the match went on.
Flair performed a Big Boot followed by a Spear, but Natalya kicked out. Moments later, Charlotte applied the Figure Four and then went up into the Figure Eight what forced Natalya to tap out.
Opinion: A match which was better and longer as I expected. It was clear that Flair would go over, but Natalya still had the chance to keep up with her opponent. Besides, they really continue to let the Figure Eight look like an extremely effective move.
Interview with Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch got interviewed by Caruso in the backstage area and the first question was if Lynch would already know when she’ll put her title on the line against Asuka. The Man announced that the fight would take place at WWE’s Royal Rumble. She added that her contract would come up and that she would want that match against Asuka before even consider to discuss a new deal. The Man went on by saying that she could sign one of the biggest contracts in the history of the WWE if she would just shut her mouth and forget about her defeat against Asuka from last year. She described that she wouldn’t know if she could beat Asuka, but she’s going to right her record even if it kills her.
Next, we saw another Liv Morgan vignette and she explained that she would now be different and added that she would decide when she’s ready. Morgan added that she thinks that she’s ready asked: “are you?”.
Opinion: Good interview by Lynch and the angle with which they work in this storyline is really interesting as this time not the challenger asks for a match, but the champ wants to prove something.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. “The OC” Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (w/ AJ Styles)
Firstly, AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance and we saw a video which recapped Gallows and Anderson beating the Viking Raiders two weeks ago and also the whole OC beating Randy Orton and the Viking Raiders in last week’s episode of Raw. Anderson said that everyone thought that the Viking Raiders would be unbeatable and also noted that they would be the Best Tag Team in the World.
Suddenly, the Street Profits came out and interrupted them. Montez Ford noted that they bet in their debut match on Raw the team of Anderson and Gallows. Styles explained that it would mean that they were lucky. The Phenomenal One added that they should stick to their cute skits backstage or risk getting hurt. Angelo Dawkins explained that he would be afraid if this wouldn’t come from three men named after a teen soap opera. Ford sang the OC television series theme song and then Gallows asked them for a match.
The match itself took about 12 minutes and in the end, the Street Profits won as Dawkins slammed Anderson on the mat followed by Ford’s Splash from the top rope.
A few moments later, we saw Dawkins and Ford in the backstage area and Ford wondered if they would now be the best tag team of the universe as they bet the OC. Dawkins answered that he should think bigger and said that they would be the best tag team of the multiverse. Ford brought up the wedding of Lana and Lashley, but Dawkins was only worried about the bridesmaids.
Opinion: It’s a bit confusing as the Street Profits had no chance against the Viking Raiders in the last match between the two teams while they now bet the team which has a victory over Erik and Ivar. Anyways, later that night, they announced a triple threat match between these three teams for the Raw Tag Team Championships for next week.
Drew McIntyre vs. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder in a handicap match
Drew McIntyre made his entrance as the other two men already were in the ring. He said that the handicap match should be a disadvantage, but he isn’t worried. He entered the ring and Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder attacked him. However, the match was over after not even one minute as he performed a Claymore Kick against Hawkins and a Future Shock DDT against Ryder.
Opinion: Hopefully, these squash matches will lead to something big for McIntyre. It would be horrible to see that it will lead to nothing for him.
Randy Orton’s injury
Orton came out using crutches and a had brace on his left knee. A WWE crew worker helped Orton getting on the apron and in the ring. He kicked off his promo by explaining that injuries and such accidents are part of the industry and that every wrestler is aware of that. The Viper added that it would kill him to need help to get into the ring. The crowd chanted “Randy” as they did numerous times during this segment.
He noted that he saw wrestlers who had to give back their titles due to injuries and recalled Edge who had to end his career due to an injury. He said that he knew that something bad happened to his knee, but he didn’t know how bad until the doctors looked at his MRI this morning. He explained that he would be out for a very long time and that there’s a good chance that he won’t come back. Anyways, he promised the fans that he would do anything in his power to make sure that someone is getting an RKO at WrestleMania.
Styles interrupted the Apex Predator and joined him in the ring. He mocked Orton by asking if he would strike. Styles poked at Orton and noted that he wouldn’t touch him. He asked Orton what he would want to do about it. The Phenomenal One added that he would give the fans what they want and put his arms behind his back to let the Viper strike. He shouted at Orton “come on”, but Orton just did nothing. Styles explained that he would be a patient man and wait until WrestleMania to put him into the Calf Crusher to end his career.
The Phenomenal kicked one of Orton’s crutches away and said that he would see him at WrestleMania. An “AJ sucks” chant broke out while Orton asked Styles if he would know what the difference between them would be. The Viper explained that Styles would be patient while he isn’t and hit Styles with an RKO from absolutely out of nowhere. After that, he celebrated with the crowd.
Opinion: Great to see that the injury isn’t that bad while I liked this segment in general very much. Styles did a great job in acting like a heel and the crowd was really into it.
United States Champion Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) vs. Ricochet in a non-title match
At first, a match between Andrade and a local wrestler was scheduled and Andrade completely destroyed him in the ring. Then, Andrade went with his opponent to the ringside where Zelina Vega helped him to remove the mat from the floor and it was clear that Andrade would want to perform the Hammerlock DDT on the exposed floor as he did against Humberto Carrillo.
Anyways, Ricochet came out to interrupt him and told Andrade to fight him if he would look for a fight. The match took about 11 minutes and was solid as we expected it to be. However, in the end, Vega interfered what allowed Andrade to perform the Hammerlock DDT to win this match.
After the fight, we saw Vega and Andrade in the backstage area walking as Sara Schreiber approached them to ask about the rematch for the U.S. Championship on next week’s episode of Raw. Vega said that Andrade would win again while Andrade boasted that he’s now the United States Champion.
Opinion: I think that this was in truth the perfect chance to give Vega some time on the mic to let her talk about Andrade being the new champ. The match between him and Ricochet was good, but I think that a promo by Vega would have been more interesting.
Then, it was time for the main event and the wedding of Lana and Lashley. The minister who was already in the ring firstly introduced Lashley and then Lana. The minister read from the script and a “Rusev Day” chant broke out while Lana was shouting that this wouldn’t be about Rusev. Lana read out her vows and said that it would Lashley’s luckiest day of his entire life as he is marrying the greatest WWE superstar ever and additionally greatest women of all time. She added that this would be Lashley’s greatest moment of his life, career and manhood. She added that she would want to jump on him and make love as they then did before the wedding continued.
Lashley read out his vow from a sheet of paper and said that he would be the luckiest man on earth. Then, they put the rings on the finger of each other. Next, the minister asked if anyone would have any objections. A man walked down the ramp and explained that he would be the first husband of Lana. “She left me for that son of a bitch Rusev,” the man continued. “and then she left that son of a bitch for that son of a bitch.” Lashley grabbed the man and slammed him on the ground to silence him.
The minister again asked for any objections and this time an unknown woman came out who introduced herself as the first wife of Lashley. Lana knocked the woman off the apron and then the minister asked if there were any other objections. Liv Morgan came out and said that the wedding would have to stop. She said that the love of her life is right there and explained that she wouldn’t have made it through that year without the love. Morgan asked “how could you do this to me?” and Lashley said that he never touched Morgan and that he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Morgan explained that she didn’t talk about Lashley, but about Lana. The fans chanted “yes”, and Lana started to cry. They approached each other and then Lana slapped Morgan in the face as a brawl between these two broke out. The refs had to separate them while Lashley and the minister looked confused. They brought Morgan away while Lana told the minister to go on. He was about to name them husband and wife as suddenly Rusev came out of the giant cake which was placed in the ring. He taunted Lana and bet up Lashley. Then, Morgan returned and shoved Lana’s face into the cake. The show went off air as Rusev mocked Lana and she slapped him.
Opening: That was just horrible. The whole storyline until now sucked and this didn’t make it better. The only positive thing is that Morgan’s long build-up really led to a big spot. Hopefully, they have a good plan for her how she will be included in this whole story. Meanwhile, Rusev’s attack wasn’t surprising at all and I’m curious what will be next for these four superstars
My personal highlight of this episode was clearly the segment with Styles and Orton. Both men are great on the mic, they had a good story to tell and the RKO was the perfect surprising element. In general, the show was quite entertaining, but nothing too special while the wedding was just horrible and makes the whole episode look worse. Next week, we’ll have the matches for the Raw Tag Team Championships and the U.S. Championship, as well as the storyline with KO, Joe and Rollins, will continue. So, the next one will hopefully be better than this episode of Raw.