The road to WrestleMania is officially underway!! Matches are already set, storylines are progressing, it truly is the best time of the year to be a WWE fan.
On this week’s RAW, Ruby Riott returned, and Ricochet won the main event and will face Brock Lesnar at Super Showdown.
Randy Orton kicked off the show by saying he owes everyone an explanation for last week. The VERY HOT crowd cut Orton off at every sentence. Orton said nearly nothing for several minutes as the crowd practically took over the segment. Orton did a fantastic job at selling his emotions and eventually said “I can’t do this” and walked out to thunderous boos.
Then Liv Morgan defeated Lana in about 90 seconds. But after the match, Ruby Riott returned! Morgan went for the hug, and Riott turned on her former tag-team partner, hitting her with a trip and a kick. Lana then hit Morgan with an X-Factor.
I actually enjoyed this segment. The Lana-Morgan stuff had grown stale, but this adds a new element to it. Assuming the goal is to build Morgan into a huge baby-face, and then it is mission accomplished. Plus, I am intrigued to see if Lana and Riott team-up or what happens with those two.
Drew McIntyre had an entertaining segment, and squash-match with Mojo Rawley and Aleister Black had a forgettable squash-match, which I have more on that below.
Here are three things I liked, and one thing I did not like about this week’s Monday Night RAW.
1) The HOT Crowd!
For the first time in over 10 years, WWE had an episode of RAW in Salt Lake City, Utah and they were jazzed up for it. Despite a snowstorm nearly canceling the show, every seat was taken, and the crowd was well engaged all throughout the night.
They started off strong with the Randy Orton segment and then continued. They gave Rhea Ripley a thunderous ovation and were very engaged in the Asuka-Natalya match.
I wish the crowd was this good all the time. Well done Salt Lake City, I am sure you will get another WWE event, soon.
2) Flair vs. Ripley:
After Flair won the Royal Rumble, there were rumors that she would challenge NXT Champion, Rhea Ripley for her title. However, I had my doubts that Vince and company would pull the trigger when push came to shove. I always had a feeling when it came down to it, Vince with go with Flair vs. Becky Lynch. But that is not the case. All signs point to Flair vs. Ripley at WrestleMania.
It was announced that Flair will appear on NXT this week, which should really help the ratings and continues to point to Flair challenging her.
This would be a massive spot for Ripley, challenging the most-decorated female wrestler on the “grandest stage of them all,” but I think she is ready for it. This should be an exciting feud, and I am ready to see how it unfolds.
3) Becky Lynch vs. Asuka Part Two:
I really thought long and hard about putting the Rey Mysterio, Angel Garza, Humberto Carrillo, and Zelina Vega segment here, but I just couldn’t do it. The Asuka-Natalya match was too good, and seeing Lynch defend her title on free television next week takes the cake.
Asuka took on Natalya in a match that went longer than I expected. The two-traded submission moves and near-falls throughout the entire match. Natalya locked in the sharpshooter, but Asuka broke it up by getting to the rope. Kairi Sane caused a distraction, allowing Asuka to lock in the Asuka Lock and pick up the victory.
Asuka winning was the correct and obvious decision. The surprise came when she challenged Lynch, and Lynch accepted for a match for the RAW title NEXT WEEK!!
Another reason I went with this segment instead of the Garza debut was because of the potential. No, I do not think Asuka has a shot next week, but I think there’s a decent chance we see Shayna Baszler after the match, setting up Lynch vs. Baszler at WrestleMania!
So the potential of Baszler and a title match gives this the nod over the debut of Garza.
One Thing I Did Not Like: The Aleister Black Segment
I honestly struggled to pick something and thought about saying nothing, but the article is three things I liked, and one thing I did not, so I had to pick something.
After the promo last week where Black said he is going to start to “Pick. A. Fight,” I thought we would get a real segment with Black. Instead, we got another squash match against Eric Young, who is barely on the main roster.
Then, after the match, Black cut another promo in the ring, which did not make much sense. It was difficult to understand, and what I could understand, did not make much sense and sounded repetitive
The whole thing was very underwhelming after a good promo last week. But, when that is the one negative, you know it was a good show.
All in all, this was an excellent segment. Orton kicked off the show strong, Ruby Riott returned, Seth Rollins did not win the main event and won’t be facing Brock Lesnar, and Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair is going to happen.
This was an excellent RAW, which makes two weeks in a row now!
I give this weeks RAW a 4 out of 5!