WWE Champion Interrupted Drew McIntyre; McIntyre def. Sheamus
Say what you will about McIntyre as WWE Champion over the last year, but he's really come into his own on the microphone and has turned into a terrific talker. He addressed his loss of the title at Elimination Chamber and confirmed that he won't be getting involved in Miz's title defense against Bobby Lashley. The match he had with Sheamus was just fantastic stuff and exactly what I was hoping for from them. They beat the holy hell out of each other and had me hooked the whole time. My only issue with it was that it wasn't advertised in advance and should have saved for a stage such as WrestleMania. We'll see if the feud is over or not, but it really feels like they're moving on to McIntyre against Lashley. If so, that sucks for Sheamus.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Nia Jax def. Naomi
Naomi returned just over a month ago at the Royal Rumble, where she had a strong showing and lasted a long time. Here, she lost in a matter of minutes to Jax in an unnecessary squash. Seriously, what was this was supposed to accomplish? Jax is already dominant and gained nothing from beating Naomi as quickly as she did. Rather, it did more damage to Naomi than anything. I know Naomi has been around for over a decade, but she'd be a fresh face in the Raw Women's Championship picture now. Instead, she's being wasted in a pointless tag team with Lana.
WWE Champion The Miz vs. Bobby Lashley Went to a No Contest
Lashley was in the ring when Miz was shown in the back acting like he had a hurt stomach and claiming to Pearce that he couldn't compete. I loved how Lashley wasted no time in running to the back and roughing up Miz. This pushed the WWE Championship back another hour. They should have advertised it for the main event initially, but whatever. Both Miz and Lashley played their roles well and the payoff was worth it, so I can't complain.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander) def. Adam Pearce and Braun Strowman
We already saw Strowman dominate the entire Raw tag team division on the road to WrestleMania three years ago. Never again, please. There was zero reason for him to take the tag titles here with Pearce or anyone, so I'm glad WWE resisted that urge. I assume the whole point of this was to build to Strowman vs. Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 37, but I can't say I care one iota. Worse yet, Shane came off heelish here while Strowman looked like a complete idiot for tagging in Pearce. Yes, Hurt Business retained their titles (thank the lord), but they were made to look weak for three minutes. This was trash.
Damian Priest def. Elias
I can guarantee you that the sole reason this match went 15 minutes was because WWE was killing time before 10 o'clock hour when the WWE Championship matchup was set to start. Otherwise, it's ridiculous to think it would take Priest that long to beat Elias. Don't get me wrong, Elias entertains me, but he's a midcard act right now and that won't be changing any time soon. Priest, on the other hand, has been on a roll since moving to Raw and has beaten Angel Garza and Miz (the WWE Champion) in less than half of that time. There wasn't anything wrong with this from a technical standpoint, but it definitely dragged by the end.
Bobby Lashley def. WWE Champion The Miz by Count-Out
This was Lashley's second attempt at getting a title match (or actually his third if you count last week). You had to know something was going to happen because there was no way they weren't saving this for the main event. Sure enough, Miz darted off with the belt as soon as the bell rang before Lashley could even touch him. I don't think I've seen Miz run faster in my life. It was a weak way of postponing it until later in the night, but again, they should have had it announced as the main event of the evening to begin with.
Charlotte Flair def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler
I thought we were done with this feud once Flair and Asuka lost to Jax and Baszler twice, but I guess not. It's so sad that this could have been a WrestleMania worthy match at one point and now it's been reduced to a throwaway match on Raw that ended in three minutes. There wasn't anything interesting about this at all. For what it's worth, Flair threw out the idea of her challenging Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania, but I sincerely hope Rhea Ripley is added to the mix because Asuka vs. Flair one-on-one again does nothing for me.
United States Champion Riddle and The Lucha House Party def. RETRIBUTION (Mace, T-Bar and Slapjack)
RETRIBUTION are such losers that they're losing to Lucha House Party now. I like Lucha House Party, but honestly, it doesn't get much worse than that. This ended fairly quickly and thankfully so because it was a joke to begin with. I don't know why Riddle continues to team with Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik so often, but I assume it's because Raw has no other teams at the moment. RETRIBUTION continuing to lose gives me a shred of hope that they're on the verge of breaking up, which is well overdue.
Mustafa Ali def. United States Champion Riddle (Non-Title)
This stemmed from Ali being embarrassed by RETRIBUTION's loss and wanting to prove that he was a true leader. I was shocked he won, and although I typically hate when champions lose non-title matches, it was refreshing to see Ali mean something meaningful for a change. Even if it leads to a longer match between the two for the title, I'd be down because that'd be a blast. Unfortunately, this was too short to be what it could have been. By the way, is Ali just done with Kofi Kingston? Because I was looking forward to them facing off at some point.
Bobby Lashley def. The Miz in a Lumberjack Match to Win the WWE Championship
A title change was the only thing they could have done to make all the crap that preceded worth it. That said, I wasn't positive they'd pull the trigger, simply because WWE tends to drag things out and not strike when the iron is hot. It's also rare we see the WWE Championship changing hands on Raw nowadays. To WWE's credit, they actually did and made Lashley the new WWE Champion. It's a long time coming after all the bad booking he's endured over the last year, but MVP's guidance was the deciding factor I think. Whether you like Lashley or not, there's no denying that him winning was a moment. Now the key is keeping the title on him for the foreseeable future. I'm talking through SummerSlam or whenever the reign has run its course. Either way, this was a hot ending to the show.
We often say that SmackDown is The Roman Reigns Show. Well, Raw was The Bobby Lashley Show on Monday night. The title change was obviously huge and the highlight of the night, but don't let that overshadow how great that Sheamus vs. McIntyre match was. Everything else was pure filler and what you'd normally expect from an ordinary episode of Raw, but those two things made the three hours worthwhile. I'm curious what Raw will have in store for Fastlane and even WrestleMania because there's still a lot left to be determined it seems and where certain Superstars will wind up on the cards for both events.