The Miz walked into Monday Night Raw with the WWE Championship in his arms after successful cash-in at WWE Elimination Chamber.
After WWE Elimination Chamber the Miz found a way to take the title from Drew McIntyre, but only after getting some help from Bobby Lashley. One night later, there are answers to be found as new champions head into the ThunderDome with only six weeks remaining before WrestleMania.
The night started with John Morrison in the ring to introduce the new WWE champion, The Miz. The celebration was in full swing with pyro and explosions. The Miz gloated about rising above expectations and the men he is eliminated across his career, equating himself to baseball legend, Babe Ruth. The Miz tried to continue, but he was interrupted by Bobby Lashley, with MVP in tow.
MVP immediately reminded The Miz that Lashley provided the door that he walked through before the cash-in. The terms of the deal were since Morrison took Lashley’s United States title, The Miz owes Lashley a shot at his new belt. The Miz tried to dance around the deal but Lashley sent an ultimatum that the answer comes tonight or else.
Opening Segment Grade: A
Great way to cement Lashley as a top contender, while not ignoring that it was Morrison’s involvement that cost him his US title.
Matt Riddle and the Lucha House Party had a brief segment before Riddle’s title defense against Morrison, which was the first match of the night.
Riddle took the match straight to the mat, but Morrison was not completely uncomfortable in that space. Morrison went for his diverse strikes while Riddle continued to counter with a grappling-based attack. Morrison landed a unique springboard press to outside the ring, but Riddle continued to counter, even landing a package brainbuster on the apron.
Morrison would not go away, grounding Riddle and locking in a variation of a head-and-arm choke. Riddle’s momentum would not be stopped, hitting a combo of attacks, and finishing it with the floating bro to the outside the ring. Morrison tried to go to Starship Pain, but Riddle counted with the Bro Derek for the win.
Morrison versus The Miz has a real “flow” feel whenever they face each other in the ring. Ever since their first match on SmackDown, these two have great chemistry that always delivers against each other.
Matt Riddle vs John Morrison: B+
Rhea Ripley is announced as coming soon to Monday Night Raw.
Damian Priest and Bad Bunny foiled another attempt by R-Truth to regain the 24/7 title.
Tag team action was next as The New Day were out next to face off against Mace and T-Bar of RETRIBUTION.
T-Bar did not waste any time to sit Xavier Woods down with a knee to the midsection, but Woods fought back and tagged in the former WWE champion, Kofi Kingston. Kingston was immediately grounded as well and isolated on the opposite side of the ring. Mace and T-Bar had Kingston finished off, but a series of miscues caused them to eat two Trouble in Paradises in a row and get pinned in the middle of the ring.
The New Day versus RETRIBUTION: D
Anytime the New Day are on television it is a celebration, but Mace and T-Bar had some clear miscommunication at the end of the match, not knowing who the legal man was and who should get pinned. They did not look good in this match at all.
The deadline for The Miz came and went, leading to Adam Pearce standing in the ring to welcome Lashley and MVP back out. The Miz answered the call but was not in wrestling gear. The Miz said he needed more time, much to the anger of Lashley. The Miz tried to back peddle even more until Braun Strowman walked out to the ring.
The argument continued until Shane McMahon made his way down to the ring. McMahon berated Strowman, until he demanded a match against Lashley. That match was made with a stipulation that if Strowman wins, then next week there is a Triple Threat for the title.
The Hurt Business were back out, this time as Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin faced off against The Lucha House Party in a tornado tag team match.
All four men immediately started brawling in the ring with Benjamin and Alexander getting the early advantage. The Hurt Business continued to pick apart both members of LHP, frequently dominating them in two-on-one situations. There was nothing that Lucha House Party could do, even though they kept fighting back, they had nothing to offer to the current tag team champions.
That changed once they found a way to drag Alexander from the ring, nearly pinning Benjamin after tandem offense. Once Benjamin came back into the ring, it was a matter of seconds until Lince Dorado found himself eating the Paydirt, giving the tag champions another victory.
The Hurt Business defeated Lucha House Party: C+
Damian Priest was out next with Bad Bunny by his side to face Angel Garza in singles action.
Garza tried to surprise Priest but ran right into a stiff clothesline. Garza came back with his own offense, dropping Priest after landing two clotheslines of his own. It was the opportunity that Garza needed to keep Priest down, assaulting him while accosting Bad Bunny on the outside.
Garza was in trouble once Priest got back to his feet, as Priest landed a swarm of offense. He used that momentum to put Garza down with the Broken Arrow, but the former NXT Cruiserweight champion kicked out. Garza knocked Priest from the ring and then called for Bunny to get inside the ring to fight him next. But that gave Priest enough time to get back to his feet, back into the ring and close out the match with Hit the Lights to get the pinfall victory.
Damian Priest defeated Angela Garza: B
The pairing od Damian Priest and Bad Bunny continues to deliver as Priest becomes a bigger star on the red brand and Bunny gathers those mainstream headlines. The 24/7 squad ran out to the ring and both Priest and Bunny worked together to clear the ring, allowing him to keep the 24/7 title.
Randy Orton was on screen to talk about his continuing issues with Alexa Bliss. He cannot focus on title aspirations because he is distracted by Bliss. But before the segment was over, Orton started coughing up a dark liquid and ran off camera.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka were out to take on the women’s tag team champions, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
Asuka and Baszler started things off, with the Raw Women’s champion getting the upper hand early. When Baszler found herself in Flair’s clutches, she did what she could to escape and tag in Jax. Asuka and Baszler may have gone to grappling, but Flair and Jax were all about slinging the elbows and chops. The champions found themselves getting bounced from the ring, while Flair and Asuka celebrated inside.
Asuka found herself isolated on the champions side of the ring, as both women took turns beating her down. Asuka found a way to counter Baszler and get to her partner for the tag. Flair came in hot and even found a way to take out the champions when they tried to double-team her. The numbers game eventually overcame Flair, as she was cut off on the wrong side of the ring as well. Flair got the tag, and it was Asuka’s turn to come in hot.
A miscue led to Flair dropping Asuka who was badly stunned. Jax followed up with a leg drop on the women’s champion and she was pinned by one-half of the tag champs.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated Charlotte Flair and Asuka: B-
This was another solid match as the four women in the ring are familiar with each other and capable of delivering. Unfortunately, the viewing public wants more from the women’s division and the WWE continues to go in the exact opposite direction, overing not only less, but the same matches and performers week after week.
Jeff Hard and Sheamus had singles action to attend to in the next match. Sheamus jumped on Hardy early, not giving him any space. Sheamus was battering Hardy early, but Hardy was willing to fight back. Even still, he found himself getting leveled after a nasty clothesline. They would fall outside the ring where Hardy got the advantage, landing some high-flying offense.
Back in the ring it was Sheamus dropping more blows, cutting Hardy off at every moment. Hardy’s opening came when he forced Sheamus to run into the steel post, then followed up with Whisper in the Wind. Hardy chained together more offense, but Sheamus kicked out of everything. The two veterans continued to counter each other until Sheamus landed a pump knee, then smashed Hardy with the Brogue Kick for the win.
Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy: B
Jeff Hardy and Sheamus put together a hard-hitting match that was an excellent change of pace heading into WrestleMania. These two guys are familiar with each other, but this match was still enjoyable and put some much-needed heat on Sheamus.
A second women’s tag team match was up next with Lana and Naomi up against Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. Rose and Brooke had some nice tag team offense early in the match, cutting Lana off with frequent tags. Lana found a way to tag in Naomi and after laying out Brooke they hit a double facebuster to pick up the pinfall win.
Lana and Naomi defeated Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke: C
This was a quick match, but thankfully one that kept heat on Lana and Naomi as they are in position to get a tag team title match at some point in time.
Ricochet and AJ Styles stepped out for a one-on-one match next. Ricochet shot out of the corner like a bullet, landing a stiff dropkick. It did not take long before Styles took over, planting Ricochet into the corner with a stiff suplex. Ricochet fought out of the corner, dropping him with lefts and rights, but Styles came back with a shot to the throat.
Ricochet avoided missing the 630, but Styles used an eye gouge and knee to the face to stun Ricochet enough to hit the Styles Clash and get the win.
AJ Styles defeated Ricochet: B-
Another great match from Styles as he continues to make men look good in defeat. Ricochet takes another loss, but it is hard to expect anything else out of him at this point on the WWE roster.
The main event brought on Strowman and Lashley. With a win for Strowman, Lashley’s title opportunity becomes a Triple Threat match next week.
The two men started out pushing each other round and throwing each other to the mat in shows of strength. Strowman had the early advantage, just tossing Lashley out of the ring. But he paid for the moment when he crashed into the steel steps after missing Lashley. Strowman fought back, landing the Powerslam, but Lashley kicked out before three. With the momentum, Lashley put on a head full of steam and landed the spear, pinning Strowman in the middle of the ring.
Bobby Lashley defeated Braun Strowman: A-
This was an excellent way to make Lashley look strong heading into next week, picking up a clean win over Strowman and dominating The Miz after. This is the perfect way to set up next week’s title match.