Bobby Lashley Presented WWE Champion The Miz an Ultimatum on Miz TV
As expected, Lashley and MVP interrupted Miz's championship celebration because he was coming to collect after beating up Drew McIntyre at Elimination Chamber enough to allow Miz to cash in on him. I love how Lashley didn't waste time in demanding a shot at the strap and the ultimatum was a brilliant way of keeping viewers tuned in for the first hour. Everyone played their roles well and cut good promos. WWE should kick off Raw like this more often so more fans stick around to see what will happen next.
United States Champion Riddle def. John Morrison (Non-Title)
I was hoping we'd be getting more of these two following their interaction in the Triple Threat at Elimination Chamber and I'm glad we got that here. People tend to forget how talented Morrison is because of how he's been booked like such a loser for the last year alongside Miz, but this served as a nice reminder of what he can do. It was also a much-needed rebound win for Riddle following his many setbacks in the last few months at the hands of The Hurt Business. Hopefully he'll have a decent reign as United States Champion, but I'm not holding my breath.
The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) def. RETRIBUTION (T-Bar and Mace)
RETRIBUTION costing (or at least attempting to cost) Kingston his spot in Sunday's WWE Championship Elimination Chamber was so easy to do given the history between Mustafa Ali and Kingston, but WWE didn't do it for whatever reason. Don't get me wrong, RETRIBUTION is awful, but at least that would have made sense and would have progressed the Kingston vs. Ali rivalry along. Instead, RETRIBUTION ate another loss here in what was a perfectly fine match. Ali then scolded them all afterward, but seeing is believing as far as whether the end is near for the group because I feel like we've seen this before and it led nowhere.
Bobby Lashley Confronted WWE Champion The Miz; Braun Strowman Demanded Adam Pearce and Shane McMahon for a WWE Championship Match
I guess the idea was that, according to The Hurt Business, Miz had to defend the title against Lashley or he'd get his ass kicked. If he didn't, he'd get his ass kicked, so neither option was ideal for Miz. As expected, the match didn't happen here, but it was announced for next week. Strowman staked his claim at the title and that set up the Strowman vs. Lashley main event nicely, but all it did was make me even more certain that we're getting Strowman vs. Shane at WrestleMania. I mean, does anyone honestly care?
Raw Tag Team Champions The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander) def. The Lucha House Party in a Tornado Tag Team Match
These teams have had a handful of matches in the past few months and some have been better than others. That said, this was a very enjoyable affair that benefited from the Tornado tag team stipulation that we don't get often enough. Lucha House Party were a bit more smooth with their offense this time compared to their previous encounter with Hurt Business, but Benjamin and Alexander went over as they should have. They seem to be back on the same page after teasing tension for weeks, so that's a positive. Now, WWE just has to start rebuilding the Raw tag team division because it's in shambles at the moment.
Damian Priest def. Angel Garza
This was a rematch from a few weeks ago. If Garza couldn't win with Miz and Morrison in his corner to combat Bad Bunny, there was no way he was winning on his own. Still, this was a well-wrestled affair. I maintain that Garza is being criminally wasted right now and should be doing more than losing enhancement matches and competing on Main Event, but that's nothing I haven't complained about before. On the bright side, it's cool that Priest has been benefiting from this Bad Bunny alliance and has been getting consistent television time out of it so far.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler def. Raw Women's Champion Asuka and Charlotte Flair (Non-Title)
Asuka's main roster booking has been so strange to me. She'll be booked dominantly from time to time (as she should be), but then you'll remember that she hasn't defended her title on pay-per-view since September (against someone who isn't even employed by WWE anymore) and will never be positioned as a strong champion. Look no further than this match, where she was pinned by Jax instead of Flair. It was more of the same from the two teams and thus it was hard to care. Flair and Asuka appear to be headed for a WrestleMania match, but I desperately hope Rhea Ripley arrives before then to make it a Triple Threat. Flair vs. Asuka one-on-one again at WrestleMania wouldn't accomplish anything other than getting the belt back on Flair for a thousandth time.
Sheamus def. Jeff Hardy
I enjoyed the series of matches Sheamus and Hardy had on SmackDown last summer and I enjoyed this outing as well. Sure, it felt like filler and won't matter much in the long run, but at least they killed time in effective fashion. Sheamus is still focused on facing Drew McIntyre at some point, so this was a necessary clean win for him. As for Hardy, this is the least he has meant since returning to WWE in 2017. I'm not saying he needs to be the world champion, but he's too popular to be underutilized the way he has been.
Naomi and Lana def. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
Yes, Naomi and Lana are still number one contenders to the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship despite Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair getting a shot before them at Elimination Chamber, as well as Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez next week on NXT. I'm glad there's a lot going on in the division, but seriously, it's all over the place. As I've said, Lana and Naomi do not interest me as a duo in the slightest. At a mere minute long, this was passable and nothing more.
AJ Styles def. Ricochet
Remember when this match was considered special a few years ago? Now, it's a throwaway third-hour Raw match because of how poorly Ricochet has been handled since getting the call-up from NXT. They tried to make the most of the time they had, but it was too short to be anything out of the ordinary. My question is what Styles will do come WrestleMania if that rumored Triple H match won't be happening. He's better than contending for the United States Championship in my opinion.
Bobby Lashley def. Braun Strowman
Had Strowman beaten Lashley here, he would have been added to next week's WWE Championship match between Miz and Lashley. Thankfully, that was not the case. This started so close to the top of the hour that I was worried it would quickly get ruined by interference from Drew McIntyre, but instead, they had a hoss fight, kept the pace energetic, and Lashley picked up the shockingly clean victory. This was extremely well executed and made Lashley look like more of a beast than he already was.
The WWE Championship picture once again has my attention and I'm excited to see what they'll do with Miz vs. Lashley next week. Fastlane is coming up as well, so let's not forget about that. Lashley was the star of this show to me, so it gets the mild thumbs-up for that reason alone. Riddle had a good first night as U.S. Champion and other people picked up key wins, but I couldn't help but feel like the third hour was thrown together as always. WrestleMania is fast approaching, so here's hoping they have somewhat of an idea of what the more important people will be doing at the event.