WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 13
After a few weeks of putting on pretaped shows from the Performance Center, WWE has started airing live content again with this week's Raw.
The decision to go back to live shows instead of taping things ahead of time seems strange. WWE has done a good job preventing spoilers from leaking, and taping things across the entire week sounds like a safer option for all of the employees than having everyone there for a live show all at once.
WWE didn't announce any matches before the show on its website as it usually does, so most of this week's broadcast was probably still being written and retooled before it went live.
Let's take a look at what happened on this week's live episode of Raw.
Raw opened with Drew McIntyre coming to the ring after WWE played clips of his WrestleMania victory over Brock Lesnar.
He looked into the camera and thanked the fans for the privilege of performing for them and supporting him since his title reign began last week.
McIntyre showed a clip of his match against Big Show while commenting on it in the background. He began saying he was going to be a fighting champion before United States champion Andrade interrupted him.
Zelina Vega congratulated the Scot on his win and reminded him how El Idolo beat him for the NXT title. McIntyre said he remembered and accepted the challenge for a match.
McIntyre looked genuinely humbled as he thanked the fans before turning back into a confident WWE champion to continue the segment.
This was a good promo for the new champion. It was especially nice for WWE to bring Andrade and the Scot's NXT feud into the story.
It's hard to pull off segments like this without a crowd, but Vega and McIntyre had enough charisma between them to make it work.
Asuka vs. Ruby Riott
Asuka and Ruby Riott were out after the break for the first of three Money in the Bank qualifying matches.
Riott did not fall for Asuka's fake handshake and immediately put her in a headlock. She taunted The Empress of Tomorrow to show the real fighter she is, and her rival responded by taking her down in an armbar and stomping on her shoulder.
The Japanese Superstar dominated the next few minutes with some of her signature high-impact offense. When we returned from the break, the green-haired grappler had retaken control of the situation.
Asuka ended up scoring the submission victory with her trademark finisher after a back-and-forth exchange of near-falls.
Riott looked poised for a push when she returned to WWE television on February 3, but everything changed when WWE had to stop having regular tapings.
This was a good match from two of the better workers on the Raw roster. WWE has never fully tapped Riott's ability, and it was great to see her get an opportunity to shine against someone who is just as talented.
There were times when it looked like Riott was going to win, and moments like that are what helped make this a solid performance. This is a combo WWE should keep in its back pocket for a future title feud.
Aleister Black vs. Oney Lorcan
Aleister Black came out looking to continue his winning streak against NXT's Oney Lorcan. They began with a basic exchange of holds and reversals.
For two guys known for their striking ability, they kept things tamer than expected for the first few minutes. As soon as Lorcan hit the first European uppercut, the pace picked up.
When we returned from a commercial, Lorcan was in the driver's seat. He had Black on the defensive and kept him there with some precision strikes and painful submissions.
The Dutch Destroyer took a lot of punishment before he was finally able to hit Black Mass for the pin.
Black and Lorcan have complementary styles. They aren't the same, but they both use strikes as their primary source of offense.
They had good chemistry in this bout, especially when they were being more technical in the first half. They didn't have a single weak moment.
There isn't much more to say here. These are two talented performers who displayed their skills in a great performance. The only complaint is that they didn't get more time.
Shayna Baszler vs. Sarah Logan
The second Money in the Bank qualifying match of the night featured Sarah Logan taking on Shayna Baszler in her first post-WrestleMania appearance.
The Queen of Spades immediately tackled Logan to the mat and beat her mercilessly until the referee stepped in. She stomped on her rival's arm, and the ref was forced to call for the bell.
The victor stormed off and threw a chair on her way to the back while Logan sat in the ring crying in pain.
As a match, this was short and uneventful. As a segment to make Baszler look like the most dangerous woman in the company, it worked perfectly.
This is similar to an injury angle she was part of in NXT with Dakota Kai. WWE made sure to keep the camera on Logan for a long time to sell how much pain she was in.
It would not be shocking to see Baszler win at Money in the Bank. Management clearly has big plans for her.
Akira Tozawa vs. Austin Theory
Newcomer Austin Theory was in action this week against former cruiserweight champion Akira Tozawa.
The first minute was a competitive exchange, but Theory quickly took control and grounded the Japanese Superstar in a rear chinlock.
Tozawa turned things around and hit a huge senton from the apron to the floor. Zelina Vega talked up her newest client on commentary while he tried to get himself back in the fight.
Theory hit the ATL for the win before Andrade and Angel Garza joined him in the ring. The trio beat up Tozawa while Vega called the shots from the stage.
Theory is continuing to be featured on Raw, which could indicate WWE plans to put him on the fast track instead of making him spend time in NXT.
This was a decent match. The attack after it was over to establish the trio as an official stable under Vega was more interesting.
Theory has a MITB qualifying match next week, so it was wise to give him a win and a little momentum for next Monday.
Tehuti Miles vs. Angel Garza
Garza was back out after the break for a match against NXT's Tehuti Miles. Vega was not with her client during his entrance, so he hit on a crew member at ringside who was taking pictures.
The ladies' man made quick work of the developmental talent and won with his patented Wing Clipper in less than three minutes.
Vega, Andrade and Theory came back out and proceeded to beat up another Superstar to show their dominance.
This segment did two things: It made Garza look like a dominant competitor, and it made this new stable appear even more dangerous.
Vega's group has a lot of potential, especially if WWE books it this strong going forward. Once again, the post-match beatdown was more important than the match itself.
Kairi Sane vs. Nia Jax
In what might have been the quickest and most dominant victory on a show with several quick bouts, Nia Jax dominated Kairi Sane.
This win advances Jax to the women's MITB match at the next pay-per-view. WWE kept Asuka backstage so she wasn't there to help her partner.
A couple of squash matches are fine, but WWE put on too many during this show. Jax winning with such force makes sense, but it's hard not to notice when the company does four quick bouts in a row.
Jax looked good here, though. She is beginning to build herself back up after almost a year out following double knee surgery.
Bobby Lashley vs. No Way Jose
Bobby Lashley was looking to avenge his WrestleMania loss to Black by taking out No Way Jose in dominant fashion.
Lana tried to call the shots from ringside, but The All Mighty got upset and told her to shut up. This is yet another crack in their failing marriage.
At this point, mentioning how this win does nothing for Lashley is pointless. WWE is obviously going to keep using quick matches while it's filming at the Performance Center.
The one good thing here is WWE seems to be setting up The All Mighty and Lana to break up soon. When that happens, maybe he can be taken seriously as a competitor again.
The Viking Raiders vs. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander and Ricochet were looking to continue their winning ways this week in a match against The Viking Raiders.
The high-flyers got in a surprising amount of offense early in the contest. Ivar and Erik are known for overpowering almost everyone, so it was fun to see how Ricochet and Alexander used their own styles to make up for the size disadvantage.
The powerhouses took over just as the show cut to a break. When we returned, Alexander was taking a beating from Erik and Ivar.
The high-flyers made a late comeback, but the Raiders were too much for them. Erik and Ivar picked up an important win on their way back to the tag titles.
After five squash matches in a row, this was a breath of fresh air. These are four talented performers who knew exactly how to work with each other's styles.
This was a good performance, but it was slightly disappointing to see Ricochet and Alexander losing a match so soon after debuting as a tag team.
The Viking Raiders are the kind of team WWE needs to make a top priority. They are too good to let their talents go to waste. With any luck, they will earn a title shot and regain the Raw Tag Team Championships soon.
Andrade vs. Drew McIntyre
Zelina Vega got in Drew McIntyre's face before the bell, which led to Andrade going for an early attack. The WWE champion easily took control, though, and began dominating the United States titleholder.
Angel Garza and Austin Theory were at ringside to provide backup. Everyone was vocal and talked a lot of trash while the fight was taking place.
El Idolo went after the left arm he injured during their NXT feud in 2017, but McIntyre didn't allow him to keep the upper hand for long. The Scottish Psychopath even managed to take out Garza and Theory.
McIntyre picked up the win with a Claymore Kick after a brief but competitive match. As soon as it was over, Garza took the champ down with a chop block, and Seth Rollins ran down to deliver a superkick.
WWE is not always known for acknowledging its own history, so it was nice to be reminded of McIntyre and Andrade's previous feud in NXT to add some context to this match.
These two worked great together back then, and their chemistry was just as good in this contest. It would have been nice to see them get more time, but they did a lot with what they had to work with.
The attack from Rollins sets up the WWE champion's first major feud, which will likely lead to a match at Money in the Bank on May 10.