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Winfree’s WWE RAW Report 3.29.21

March 29, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s WWE RAW Report 3.29.21  

Hello everyone, Winfree tagging in for Tony on this particular episode of Monday Night Raw. Tonight things should be speeding up towards WrestleMania, the ongoing drama between WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre will probably take a step forward. There’s also what shenanigans might crop up between Randy Orton, Alexa Bliss, and Extra Crispy Fiend, AJ Styles and Omos will almost certainly interact with the New Day again. You know, all the usual stuff trying to build towards Mania in less than 2 weeks. Should be a good time.

Drew McIntrye arrives earlier today and is asked about Lashley’s offer to the locker room last week. Drew repeats it, in case we missed it, then says everyone should remember that Lashley probably isn’t good for his offer and if you do step to him you’ll get a Scottish ass kicking.

To the ring now, and The Hurt Business is here. They all head to the ring, MVP has a mic. He says this is an official announcement from The Hurt Business, WrestleMania is less than 2 weeks away and Bobby Lashley will walk in and out of Mania as champion. He reiterates the business proposition to the locker room, you know in case you missed it last week or Drew’s summation a minute or so ago. MVP says this isn’t weakness, Drew’s just had his chance and they want to give someone else the chance to become a star and get the opportunity of a lifetime at Mania. MVP moves on to the people who wont be in the ring with Lashley at Mania, then we get a recap of Drew beating Cedirc and Benjamin last week. Lashley says they had a perfect opportunity last week, and couldn’t get the job done and now are barred from his match. Oh, and don’t get him started on losing the tag team titles, they’re tarnishing his image and he can’t count on them now. He will no associate himself with incompetence. MVP says Lashley is right, they failed miserably last week and wants an explanation. Cedric tries to make nice, Benjamin wants to know if they brought things out here to embarrass them. They bicker, Benjamin waist locks Lashley, and they start brawling. Lashley with a flatliner, Cedric bails and Lashley punts Benjamin out of the ring. MVP says they should be ashamed of themselves, then Lashley kicks Cedric and Benjamin out of the Hurt Business, and reminds us again of his offer. So we spent most of that repeating stuff, then broke up the best stable in the promotion? Odd decisions all around.

Video recap of Sheamus smashing Riddle with his scooter last week. Riddle is in the back and is asked about the attack. He says he just wanted to ask Sheamus questions, and doesn’t know why Sheamus did that but Sheamus missed him off and he doesn’t like being pissed off. Some bizarre metaphor follows, then he glides over to Titus O’Neil and asks if he’ll roast a pig in the ring at Mania, because he thought co-host was roast. Titus walks away, like we all wish we could, then Sheamus saves us and blindsides Riddle to se up their match after this break.

We come back to a reminder that Bad Bunny and Miz will have a match at Mania and Miz and Morrison have a parody video set to air tonight. Joy. A recap of what just happened follows, then in the back with Benjamin and Cedirc walk up on Adam Pearce to plead their case and Benjamin wants a singles match with Lashley and Cedric wants one next week. Pearce asks if they’re sure, Cedric asks if he’s got to consult Bobby like he does Roman, then asks where Pearce’s balls are.

Back to the ring for our first match. MVP has joined commentary, there’s no Samoa Joe tonight so he’s our third man in the booth.

Match #1: Riddle vs. Sheamus

They tie up and Sheamus over powers Riddle but Riddle slips around and they resume jockeying for position. They move to the mat and wrestle around, back up and Sheamus gets an STF. Riddle slips free and locks up a triangle, Sheamus covers him there and forces a kick out. Sheamus starts laying in strikes then hits a headlock takeover. Shoulder block from Sheamus, Riddle slips to the back when they were running the ropes and gets a rear naked choke locked in. They hit the mat and Sheamus is able to break the grip, get up and force things into the corner to get a break. Elbows from Sheamus then a clothesline. They start trading rights, Sheamus gets the better of it but then Riddle with kicks and a jumping knee followed by a drop kick and Sheamus is out of the ring. Riddle with a running kick from the apron then the Floating Bro to the outside, dropping both men as we head to commercial break.

We come back to Sheamus in control. They start trading rights again, this time Riddle gets the better of it, but he runs into a tilt a whirl backbreaker for a near fall. Sheamus starts abusing the lower back and calls Riddle a disgrace to his title. Sheamus gets Riddle on his shoulders, climbs the ropes but Riddle fights free, then is kicked by Sheamus. Riddle back on the top rope with Sheamus, wants a superplex but Sheamus tosses him off, Riddle back up and hits a top rope belly to belly suplex and both men are down. Riddle almost landed on the top of his head there, rough landing. Sheamus and Riddle start trading blows again, Riddle hits a Pele kick then running forearms in the corner and another belly to belly suplex. Bro kicks to the seated Sheamus but they’re in the ropes and the ref has to break them up. Sheamus tries an Alabama Slam, Riddle rolls through then lands a Final Flash knee, then a Bro-ton for a near fall. Riddle with a triangle choke, Sheamus tries to powerbomb out but Riddle holds the choke and Sheamus has to grab the ropes to save himself. Sheamus to the apron then lands a right to the body, pulls Riddle over the top rope and hits a White Noise on the apron but still only gets 2. That kind of spot should be a finish IMO. Sheamus with the Alabama Slam for another near fall. That annoys Sheamus enough to set for the Brogue kick but Riddle intercepts with a knee then a roll up but Sheamus counters a kick, then hits a stunted Brogue Kick to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Sheamus won

Rating: 3 stars

That was a fair bit of fun, absent what felt like a slightly botched finish and an unnecessary kick out from an apron spot which ding it down just a bit. But really these two gel together quite well and should have a good match at Mania.

Post match Riddle shoves Sheamus out of the ring and promises that Sheamus is going to get what’s coming to him.

In the back Shane McMahon is with Elias and Jaxson, he says he can’t reveal anything from his upcoming expose beforehand but it will be enlightening. That will come up right after this commercial break.

Drew walks by AJ and Omos, he says he’s not turning his back on either of them. AJ says Bobby’s offer has Drew shaking in his boots, he and Omos have more realistic goals. They’re going to embarrass the New Day at Mania, and tonight AJ is focused on his match with Xavier Woods but he’s sure his path will cross with Drew’s sooner or later. Drew begins ranting and raving about someone being man enough to take him on.

To the ring, our trio of heels are here for their stuff on Braun Strowman. Shane starts, and addresses the accusations that his knee injury wasn’t legitimate. He says anyone doubting him doesn’t understand biology, physiology, kinesiology, or adrenaline and it was adrenaline that propelled him to avoid Braun. During his deep dive into Braun’s history he found some new stuff on him. We have Braun’s 5th grade report card, lots of D’s. Maybe they’re being unfair only focusing on the letter grade, so the teacher’s comments are more important. In Social Studies Braun was a bully, in Math he lacks problem solving skills and should be held back a few years, English indicated Braun will need summer school to make up his issues. But nothing can sum this up like a picture, and here’s adult Braun in a dunce cap. Ryker says Braun is just a big guy with a tiny brain. Shane says he’ll outwit Braun at Mania but at the end of all of this maybe what Braun really needs is just a hug. Someone wrote that and felt good about it. Let that sink in.

Braun shows up, Shane powders, Elias follows and we’ll have his match with Ryker next.

Match #2: Braun Strowman vs. Jaxson Ryker

The match starts as we come back. Braun with a kick then tosses Ryker around the ring a few times. Braun heads out of the ring and menaces Shane, Shane runs away. More Braun offense on Ryker. Elias and Shane both distract Braun and Ryker gets a few blows in. Braun runs into a kick then a chop block from Ryker and kneeling bulldog. Ryker heads up to the ropes, they badly mistime the flying move and Braun hits a kick to make up for it. Out of the ring, the train sound effects kick in and Braun runs over Ryker. Back in the ring, Braun with an avalanche, tells Shane this is his fate at Mania, then hits the running powerslam to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Braun Strowman won

Rating: Cushaw. . . SQUASH

Braun chases Shane post match, Elias intercepts him with a flying knee and they start stomping Braun. Braun fights up and tosses both of them away, the heels high tail it and Braun gets a mic. He asks where Shane is running to, he hasn’t forgotten that Shane accepted his challenge at Mania. Shane seems to have forgotten that Braun gets to choose the kind of match, and he’s decided he wants one without the goons or Shane’s ability to run because there’s no running or hiding in a steel cage.

A reminder that after the break we’ll get that parody thing from Miz and Morrison. So, if you’ve got to run to the store for anything I imagine this next 10 minutes will be pointless.

The Dirt Sheet theme brings us back and our hosts are sitting in the ring. Morrison says his hair is big because it’s full of secrets. OK? Miz says this is the most anticipated Dirt Sheet ever because “Hey Hey, Hop Hop” is debuting. Random popular music references follow, and they mock Bad Bunny not winning a VMA last year but Morrison points out that he did win a Grammy. Miz moves on and says he thought he proved that Bad Bunny didn’t belong here, he hit him with a guitar and challenged him to a match, but Bunny accepted with his own weapon. Morrison says Bunny has some big cotton balls. I have no words. Miz promises to pay back every single slight at Mania, but he’s going to focus on the positives, like the two of them still being the backbone of this company post Mania. Morrison says they shot this over 2 days in San Juan, Puerto Rico where the locals love them. Miz then throws to their video, and I regret not drinking alcohol. OK, this was obviously not filmed in San Juan. This also isn’t mixed well in terms of the audio levels. This is a multimillion dollar company and they figured that was a good use of air time?

Bad Bunny and Damien Priest are here. Priest says they actually enjoyed that, it was really entertaining. He’s glad Miz found time to relax and goof off, because he wont have that time after Mania when Bunny handles him. Bunny speaks Spanish, Priest translates for Miz, Bunny is going to make Miz his bitch. Miz and Morrison come down but Priest intercepts just long enough to let them think about it then steps aside. Miz walks up on Bunny, who clocks him with a right. Bunny and Priest into the ring, they tear up the set, Priest asks them to get in the ring and do something but they wont and have to just walk away. We spend a lot of time just watching them in the aftermath.

Finally we cut, and Randy Orton is in the back for promo time. He runs down all the legends he’s been able to wrestle, but none of all those great names compare to The Fiend. He had to make a choice to deal with The Fiend, so he did and burned him alive. No man could have survived, but the Fiend is no man. The Fiend is an abomination from hell, and he figured Alexa Bliss was just part of some elaborate game, their match wasn’t a match it was just a trap. Bliss had the Fiend’s heartbeat in the palm of her hand and could have brought him back whenever. At least now he knows what he’s dealing with. At Mania he wont stand across from a man, but a sick abomination. Fortunately he and The Fiend are cut from the same cloth. He’s willing to sink into hell to make sure The Fiend is out of his life once and for all. Decent promo from Orton.

Back to the ring where Bobby Lashley heads out for his match. Apparently we’re getting a handicap match. Oh, the announcer botched that, it’s still one on one. That will be right after this break.

We come back to a replay of Bunny’s right cross to Miz. Back to the ring, Benjamin is already between the ropes.

Match #3: Bobby Lashley w/ MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin w/ Cedirc Alexander

Benjamin jumps on Lashley at the bell, lands a mat return from a rear waist lock. Lashley fights up, gets mat returned again and Benjamin starts landing knees to the body. Back up, Lashley fights free and hits a flatliner to take over. Lashley with rights to the head then tosses Benjamin out of the ring. Lashley picks up Benjamin and drives him ribs first into the ring post. Back into the ring Lashley spears Benjamin in the corner. Cedric tries to get involved, Lashley scares him all the way back up the ramp, but on getting back into the ring Lashley eats a Pay Dirt for a near fall. Benjamin starts landing rights then a step up knee in the corner, sets for a another running knee and gets it. Lashley comes out of the corner and hits Benjamin with a spinebuster. Another spinebuster from Lashley, he wants the Hurt Lock and gets it. Benjamin tries to fight free but fades to his knees and passes out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bobby Lashley won

Rating: Fig leaf. . . SQUASH

I’m not sure the full squash is warranted, but that’s what I’m going with despite Benjamin getting some offense in. Just designed to remind us that Lashley is a beast, and further kill The Hurt Business as a group.

In the back The New Day walk up to AJ and Omos. They’ve got a bowl full of names for game night, hopefully to help AJ and Omos build chemistry. Woods and Kingston make chicken noises, AJ says the New Day is going to lose a lot. Kingston wants the games to begin and they walk off. That, well that was certainly a segment I guess. We head to commercial.

We come back and commentary tells us the steel cage stipulation for Braun and Shane is official as is a US title match between Riddle and Sheamus at Mania. In the ring Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are here for New Day game night. They’re going to put their team skills to the test, then invite out AJ Styles and Omos. AJ obliges, and here they come. Everyone in the ring, Kingston says that team chemistry matters, especially heading into Mania. So he’s got a plethora of games set up to determine which team is better. AJ rightly criticizes this idea, but says they’ll play the silly games just to prove them wrong. Charades are up first. Woods explains the rules, in case you didn’t know. New Day are up first, Kingston reads and mimes for Woods, who somehow manage to guess a song and artist correctly. AJ and Omos up next, Omos doesn’t say anything while AJ tries to mime The Lion King. Round 2 is another name but now we’re doing Pictionary. New Day correctly draw and guess Rocket Ship. AJ wants Omos to draw, Omos does not want to play so AJ will draw instead. AJ draws the sun, Omos just wishes his football career had panned out. So New Day have a clean sweep, Omos says enough with the games. They don’t need to win a game to win the belts, all they have to do is win at Mania. Omos will show them both what he’s capable of then. Woods says that’s all the time for game night, AJ knocks stuff over and we head to break. AJ vs. Woods is up after this break. That, that was not a good segment.

Alright, we get the start of the match when we come back from break.

Match #4: AJ Styles w/ Omos vs. Xavier Woods w/ Kofi Kingston

They tie up, AJ lands a right. They run the ropes and AJ hits a drop kick. Woods sent into the ropes, he avoids AJ and hits a discus forearm. Woods with strikes on offense, AJ sends Woods into the corner but misses a Stinger splash and walks into a hard chop. AJ gets tossed out of the ring, but Omos stands between Woods and AJ to prevent a dive. Back in the ring Woods kicks AJ out of the other side of the ring so he can hit the dive. That sends us to break. Oddly paced television segment but alright.

We come back and Woods is still running wild. AJ can’t get any offense, gets press slammed over head for a near fall. Up to the top rope, Woods is looking for a superplex but AJ slides free and drops Woods onto the ropes then hits a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for a near fall of his own. AJ wants the Styles Clash, but Woods fights free and hits a tornado DDT for another near fall. Woods up top, Omos pulls AJ out of the way. Woods tries to punt Omos, Omos catches the kick and tosses Woods over the top rope for a DQ.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Xavier Woods won via Disqualification

Rating: 2.5 stars

The odd pacing hurt this, and the non-finish was probably necessary but also hurt things.

Omos with a military press to Kingston and tosses him into the sea of monitors. AJ starts beating down Woods, Omos charges him into the corner and smashes him. Omos with the sky high choke bomb, puts a foot on Woods and AJ counts to 3. AJ and Omos pose.

In the back Alexa Bliss swings with a knockoff Lament Configuration, her Playground will be up after the break.

We come back to a replay of Omos and AJ wrecking Woods and Kingston. Then a replay of last week between Randy Orton, Alexa Bliss, and The Fiend. Alexa is on her playground, she loves jack in the boxes, hers is so much more than one though. Centuries ago these were called The Devil in the Box, and demonic presences could be sealed within once they were weakened. At TLC that’s what happened to The Fiend, Randy through he was gone but the Fiend was weakened and trapped in her Fiend in a Box. But you can’t trap evil forever, all He needed was time and now he’s salivating at the thought of facing Randy at Mania. Randy’s biggest mistake used to be playing with fire he didn’t understand, now it’s thinking he knows what’s next when he doesn’t. She’ll give all the firefly’s a little hint, at Mania the Legend Killer. . . dies. The camera pans over to Fiend sitting on the swing next to her, and of course “let him in”.

Drew is hanging out shirtless in the back and snaps, storming into the locker room and demands to know how’s stepping up. No one has stepped up, and he’s actually disappointed by the lack of ambition. He demands someone step up and fight him. He points out Braun, Braun says after he’s done with Shane at Mania he’ll be the first one to find the champion. Drew grabs Humberto and tosses him, comes up to Riddle but Riddle says Sheamus is like a full meal and he doesn’t have room for dessert. He intimidates Drew Gulak, then headbutts him. Ricochet stands, Drew’s known him a long time and knows he wants the chance. Ricochet says Lashley’s word means nothing to him, but if Drew wants a fight he’ll give it to him. Drew says he’ll see Ricochet in the ring.

Back to the ring, the women’s tag team champs are here with Poochy, I mean Reginald Baszler will wrestle Naomi after the break.

Back from break, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke have showed up to talk on commentary.

Match #5: Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax and Reginald vs. Naomi w/ Lana

Naomi gets smacked by Baszler but takes over. Naomi tries a jump but Baszler kicks the arm and starts working it. Enziguri from Naomi then a seated snapmare and some roll ups but Baszler escapes and drops for a leg lock, though Naomi escapes and hits a leg drop. Reginald up on the apron to distract, Lana takes a shot at him but misses then Nia tries to Samoan drop her, Mandy and Dana get involved, chaos ensues and Naomi rolls up Baszler to pin and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Naomi won

Rating: DUD

Well, that was a dud. This is a 3 hour show but of all the things to get short changed they chose this one?

In the back Riddle rolls up on Asuka, he’s happy he can fight Sheamus at Mania and is happy his scooter is working again. He’d been using that all night, why is it only working now? Asuka is excited for him, Riddle winds up walking off after asking if she thinks scooters would be big in Japan. Asuka looks confused, and we cut to a shot of Rhea in the back. Rhea and Asuka will have their contract signing after this break.

We come back to recap the Miz and Bad Bunny stuff from earlier. Then we send to the ring where Adam Pearce introduces the signees for the match. Rhea Ripley out first, followed by the champion Asuka. Both women sit at the table, Rhea calls Askua the current champion, Asuka says she’s just the champion while Rhea is over confident. Rhea agrees, on her first night on Raw she called out Asuka for Mania and now she’s confident enough to say she’s going to beat her at Mania and win the belt. Rhea signs first, Asuka does as well. Asuka speaks some Japanese, and says her confidence is borrowed not earned. Asuka says Rhea has the talent but isn’t ready, Rhea tosses the table into Asuka to interrupt her. Oh, here come Baszler and Nia Jax with Reginald again. Nia doesn’t know if Rhea’s audacity is worse or Asuka for accepting the challenge. Rhea is new, Asuka’s the one who should be ashamed, Baslzer says she and Asuka have dominated the women’s division for nearly a full year and they want their Mania match. Baszler reminds us she kicked out Asuka’s teeth and can’t wait to give Rhea a dose of that reality. Rhea asks what’s stopping her? Nia offers a tag team match next week if, Rhea accepts on behalf of herself and Asuka. Not the best segment, though I’ve been horribly spoiled when it comes to contract signings by Roman Reigns. I question the necessity of another tag team match, I get that Baszler and Jax need a match but this seems like a dumb way to set it up.

In the back Ricochet walks, and runs into MVP. MVP is glad to see him start thinking like a businessman, Ricochet says he thinks Lashley and MVP are both full of it and tonight is about him making the most of this chance. He’ll see MVP later. Back in the ring Drew McIntyre’s music hits and he heads down for our main event. That match will be up after the break.

We come back and commentary reminds us that Kane and The Great Khali are going into the Hall of Fame this year before dropping the new name of Rob Van Dam. Back to the ring, where Drew waits for Ricochet.

Match #6: Drew McIntryre vs. Ricochet

Ricochet comes out swinging, Drew misses a clothesline but then tosses Ricochet high into the air with a back body drop. Bell to belly throw from Drew, he’s tossing Ricochet all around the ring. Ricochet flips out of a belly to belly suplex, hits a tilt a whirl head scissors then lays in more strikes and a jumping knee. All that leads to a cover for 1. Ricochet avoids a rush but Drew pulls him out of the ring and levels him with a right. Ricochet runs along the barricade and hits a drop kick. Back into the ring, Ricochet up top for the 630 but misses, and runs into a Claymore to end things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Drew McIntyre won

Rating: DUD

Not quite a full squash given all the offense they gave Ricochet, so I’m just going with dud.

Mustafa Ali jumps Drew from behind post match. Drew fights back, tosses Ali out and then says he’ll give Ali a match right now. We fade to black, and I assume we’ll come back to that match.

Match #7: Drew McIntryre vs. Mustafa Ali

We come back to Ali working the leg of Drew around a post. Drew kicks him off, Ali back into the ring and chop blocks Drew down. Leg kicks from Ali, while commentary says Retribution went up in smoke and I guess that’s all the closure we’re getting. In the back Lashley walks away from a TV where he’d been watching. Drew starts landing chops, Ali back to the leg but barely gets a 1 count. Ali to the apron, up top and hits a splash to the leg. Ali yells at MVP on commentary that he’s coming for the belt then lays in rights to Drew. Drew catches a running Ali with an overhead throw, then starts throwing him around the ring. Strikes in the corner from Drew, then he tosses Ali again. Ali kicks the leg, tries to jump off the ropes but runs into a Glasgow kiss headbutt. Drew calls for the Claymore, hits it and wins.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Drew McIntyre won

Rating: DUD

Not that this was badly executed, but it was way too short to matter.

Drew demands a mic and calls Lashley to come out. He says everyone tried and everyone lost, 2 guys is everybody? I remember when John Cena pinned the whole roster, now that was everyone. Drew calls Lashley out, demanding he grow balls, and here comes Lashley. MVP on commentary wants them to save this for Mania, Lashley stands at the top of the ramp and both men stare at each other as we head to commercial again.

Back from break, Lashley heads to the ring with a mic. Drew says he barely noticed MVP behind him, and says Lashley can play all the tricks he wants he can’t stop the inevitable, him taking the belt from Lashley at Mania. Lashley says he never needed help, he almost ended Drew’s career at Elimination Chamber and probably should have. But what he did at the Chamber will pale in comparison to what he’ll do at Mania and says the All Mighty era is here. Drew acknowledges the beating at Chamber, and puts Lashley over as someone who would be the man if it weren’t for Drew and says Lashley is afraid of Drew. That annoys Lashley enough to prompt a fight. Both men go at it, with a metric ton of camera cuts. Drew headbutts Lashley out of the ring, but here’s King Corbin from behind. Corbin jumps Drew, hits a couple of back suplexes, but Drew then throws him out of a corner but Corbin counters a Claymore with a deep six. Lashley in with the Hurt Lock. I’m just happy Corbin seems off Smackdown, Tony can “enjoy” his presence. Corbin eggs on Lashley, who applies the Hurt Lock for a second time on a mostly unconscious Drew. Lashley poses over the fallen Drew McIntyre, then gets another Hurt Lock, because the mistimed things I guess. Corbin talks trash, Lashley tosses Drew down again and poses with the belt to end the show.

3.0
The final score: review Bad
The 411
Barely a 3, the opening match between Sheamus and Riddle being the only real bright spot on this entire show though both Randy and Alexa's promos get honorable mentions. Shane and Braun's segment was pretty terrible, though that shouldn't really surprise anyone. Miz and Morrison took up a ton of time with utter nonsense, for some reason we're getting Rhea Ripley teaming with Asuka next week because lazy booking I assume. To say nothing of Riddle's randomness in the back, the man talks like a 7 year old child with his ramblings. The narrative of Lashley offering a chance if someone takes out Drew was used more to publicly shame the locker room, and the payoff involved King Corbin so you know it was bad. I get that you have to protect talent this close to WrestleMania, but this was a very very poor show with tons of down time, tons of pointlessly elongated segments, a handful of timing botches both in the wrestling and overall production. It's baffling that a show this bad exists so close to what's supposed to be the biggest event of the wrestling year.
legend