Drew McIntyre and The Miz Confronted WWE Champion Bobby Lashley; McIntyre def. Miz
I mentioned this last week, but Lashley's new updated entrance is beyond badass. I thought I missed an episode of Raw when Lashley said that he'll be defending the WWE Championship against McIntyre at WrestleMania 37 and that McIntyre will face Sheamus at Fastlane. When did those matches become official? Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to both bouts, but the lack of fanfare regarding the announcements was stunning when you consider Raw is three hours long and they apparently couldn't have been bothered to announce them on the show itself. McIntyre vs. Miz was exactly what it needed to be with McIntyre
Shane McMahon Accepted Braun Strowman's Challenge
The two segments these guys had on last week's Raw were among the worst I've seen and were an absolute waste of time. I feared we were in for a repeat, but thankfully, Shane finally agreed to face Braun. The segment wasn't that long and yet it still felt like it dragged. I know this was supposed to serve as a hook for their match later in the night, but I'm so apathetic toward this feud it's not even funny.
Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose def. Lana and Naomi
Not only does WWE lack legitimate women's teams, but most of the teams they do have are uninteresting. Rose and Brooke are extremely generic while Lana and Naomi don't have very good chemistry. It feels like WWE's way of limiting Lana, but it's a complete waste of Naomi. The actual match was fine albeit forgettable. Asuka coming out mid-match to taunt Shayna Baszler on commentary was a nice touch, though.
The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) def. The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander) to Win the Raw Tag Team Championship
These teams had a handful of matches against each other late last year, but it's been long enough that this felt fresh and was enjoyable. The action was as good as you'd expect, but I hated the outcome. Lashley just won the WWE Championship, so it felt premature to take the tag titles away from Hurt Business. That said, it became obvious afterward why WWE did it: to set up New Day vs. AJ Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania. Omos making his in-ring debut on the big stage is interesting, but it's a significant step down for Styles, who wrestled The Undertaker in Night 1 of WrestleMania last year.
Damian Priest def. Jaxson Ryker
It was only two weeks ago that it took Priest to beat Elias in a 15-minute match. I noted at the time how ridiculous that was because of where Elias been slotted on the card since his return in October. I like the guy, but seriously, Priest shouldn't be struggling to defeat a lower-midcarder. I say all of that because Priest put Ryker away here in under a minute. That was certainly a surprise, but hey, I'm not complaining. Short and sweet.
Shane McMahon Attacked Braun Strowman
I figured they wouldn't give away the match here and that's exactly what happened. The bell never rang, and instead, Shane dodged Braun before attacking him and pouring what looked like slime all over him. It was a stupid segment that failed to get me invested in their upcoming outing at Fastlane. Seriously, who could possibly give a crap about this rivalry? Neither of them are likable and it's simply wasting everyone's time.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler (Non-Title)
It's so sad that this could have been a big pay-per-view match at one point considering Asuka and Baszler are arguably the two greatest and most dominant NXT Women's Champions of all-time. Instead, it's been relegated to a Raw match that didn't last more than two minutes. To be fair, it was a logical matchup to do after Baszler legitimately injured Asuka several weeks ago, but a win over Baszler doesn't mean nearly as much as it once did. Asuka brutalizing Baszler and Nia Jax was justified because of what they've done to her, but it still seemed like they were teasing a heel turn for her. Heel Asuka vs. a babyface Charlotte Flair incoming? No thanks.
United States Champion Riddle def. Mustafa Ali
Needless to say, RETRIBUTION is damaged goods at this point, and as talented as Ali is, I have no desire to see him hold the United States Championship right now. Besides, Riddle's reign is just getting started, so him retaining here was the right call. It was a well-wrestled match that I enjoyed while it lasted, though I wish they got more time and weren't interrupted by a lengthy commercial break. I continue to hope that RETRIBUTION's losing ways and Ali getting frustrated at them will lead to the group's demise sooner rather than later.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley def. Sheamus (Non-Title)
As a first-time-ever encounter, this was a hell of a hard-hitting main event. There was no way Sheamus was beating Lashley with how dominant Lashley has been lately, but I question having Sheamus lose clean before he faces McIntyre at Fastlane. If nothing else, he never ceases to deliver whenever he steps in the ring and this was no exception. I have no idea where Sheamus factors into the WrestleMania card once he inevitably loses to McIntyre. Could he serve as Shane's surrogate? Maybe?
Before this week, WWE had nothing announced for Fastlane on the Raw side of things or even WrestleMania. There were multiple match announcements made on this show and I appreciated that, but I maintain that a lot of the 'Mania build has been a mess as far as Raw is concerned. Announcing Lashley vs. McIntyre as the main event for one night of WrestleMania with such little fanfare was especially startling. Raw was a bit better than usual this week and the matches held my attention more, but as a go-home show, it failed in getting me interested in Fastlane.