WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 22
The title scene on Raw looks much different following the events from Sunday's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
Not only did Riddle win the U.S. title from Bobby Lashley in a Triple Threat match that also included John Morrison, but The Miz won the WWE Championship after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract after Drew McIntyre had retained the title in a grueling Chamber bout.
The Miz didn't do this alone. He had Lashley to soften McIntyre up for him, which leads to the possibility that MVP and Lashley made some kind of deal to offer their assistance.
This week's Raw dealt with all of the fallout from Elimination Chamber while also setting up WWE Fastlane on March 21. Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's Raw.
After the obligatory recap video, Morrison was in the ring to introduce The Miz for his WWE Championship celebration on a very special episode of Miz TV.
The A-Lister looked like he was on top of the world as he walked down the aisle with pyro blasting behind him. He proceeded to talk about his journey over the past 16 years from unwanted rookie to being the WWE champion.
He called himself the Babe Ruth of WWE because he told everybody exactly what he was going to do and then did it on Sunday. MVP and Bobby Lashley made their way to the ring but The Miz didn't look worried. MVP congratulated him on his win but reminded him that it was Lashley who attacked McIntyre to set him up. The Miz thanked them and tried to make a quick exit.
MVP said The Miz owes Lashley a title shot since Morrison cost him the U.S. title. The Miz said he may have promised a title match but he never said when it would happen. Lashley grabbed him by the tie and told him he had an hour to give him an answer.
Updated After One Hour
After the time had expired, The Miz met Lashley in the ring and tried to talk his way out of defending the title right away. Braun Strowman came to the ring and said he deserved a title shot first. That brought out Shane McMahon.
He tried to explain the situation, but Strowman demanded a match. When Shane said no, Strowman said he will face Lashley instead. Shane agreed and said he would earn his title shot if he defeated Lashley.
This segment was predictable but in this case, it was also the best possible outcome. Putting Lashley into the WWE title hunt is the best thing WWE could have done for him and for Raw as a whole.
The Miz was the best version of himself for this segment. He was the cocky heel when he was listing his accomplishments but as soon as a bigger, stronger competitor got in his face, he turned back into a coward.
The A-Lister is almost a throwback in that way. He doesn't care about looking cool all the time. He is always willing to take the low road because that is what bad guys do. He is sneaky, conniving and two-faced.
When we picked back up an hour later, Strowman and McMahon inserted themselves into the story. It adds another wrinkle to the plan but Lashley needs to be the priority here.
John Morrison vs. Riddle
Riddle won the U.S. title at Elimination Chamber, and his first non-title match came 24 hours later when he battled the man he pinned to win the belt, Morrison.
Morrison tried to hit a shooting star press early on, but Riddle countered into a triangle submission that forced The Monday Night Delight to grab the bottom rope. JoMo dodged a kick and hit one of his own, but Riddle popped right back to his feet for a gut-wrench suplex.
The ref was blocked when Morrison hit a thumb to the eye. He kicked Riddle off the apron and took him out with a corkscrew over the top rope. Riddle dropped him with a fisherman's suplex on the apron as the show went to a break.
They had a nice exchange of big moves and near-falls when we returned. Morrison hit a beautiful Spanish Fly from the middle rope at one point, but Riddle managed to score the win.
Riddle and Morrison showed good chemistry Sunday, but they seemed to have a few issues during this match that slowed the pace down at times. The missteps were small, but they were easily noticeable.
Morrison is one of the most unique talents in WWE, but there is one thing he needs to work on. He hits a variety of kicks from every angle, but none of them ever look powerful. He has to start putting a little heat on his strikes, and he will up his game considerably.
This match had a handful of cool spots, but they didn't flow together as well as they should have. If Riddle and Morrison work together a couple of times before having a title match, they will find their groove. The second half of this bout was better than the first and helped end it on a high note.
The New Day vs. Retribution
T-Bar and Mace of Retribution took on Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston to keep the New Day vs. Retribution feud going for another week.
Woods started off against T-Bar, and the big man hit a knee to the body to take control right away. Woods was able to tag in Kingston for a quick double-team move, but T-Bar slammed him with ease. Mace tagged in and slammed Kingston's head into the mat a few times before T-Bar hit a running boot to the face for a two-count.
Retribution kept Kingston isolated, and T-Bar kicked Woods off the apron. T-Bar and Mace hit a double-team finisher, but Ali told them to do it again instead of trying to go for the pin.
Woods and Kingston managed to recover and stole the win. The New Day celebrated in the aisle while Ali ripped into his team on the mic about failing him over and over.
This was a quick tag team match that didn't allow for much but at least gave all four guys a minute or two in the ring. Both teams hit a couple of nice spots and nothing looked off. It just didn't have the time to be anything more than what it was.
Retribution appears to be on the brink of imploding as the group continues to rack up losses and suffer one embarrassing moment after another. Meanwhile, The New Day looks to be back on the path to success after losing the Raw tag titles.
Eventually, Ali is going to snap and either break up the group or get kicked out with everyone going their own way. Whatever happens, WWE needs to find a better way to use Mia Yim.
The Hurt Business vs. Lucha House Party
Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado took on Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in a Tornado tag team match to prevent anyone from tagging themselves in to steal the win.
The Hurt Business took control almost immediately and maintained the upper hand for quite some time. MVP cheered Alexander and Benjamin on from the announce table as they scored a two-count.
Every time Dorado or Metalik would try to do something, Benjamin and Alexander would team up to take them down again. When it looked like Lucha House Party was starting to gain some momentum, MVP started yelling at his team.
Benjamin made the save and hit Paydirt on Dorado for the pin and the win.
This was a fast-paced contest that highlighted how good Benjamin and Alexander have become as a duo. Even though they have their problems, they have remained one of the most fluid duos on Raw.
Dorado and Metalik always seem like they are on the cusp of a real push, but it always ends up with them putting someone else over. It would be nice to see them get a solid run as the tag champs because they can have a good match with anyone.
Angel Garza vs. Damian Priest
Bad Bunny accompanied Damian Priest to the ring for his match against Angel Garza. Priest ran over Garza with a clothesline to get an early near-fall.
Garza was able to trip him into the middle turnbuckle and hit a pair of clotheslines. He took off his tearaway pants and threw them at Bad Bunny before he went back to work on Priest.
The Archer of Infamy broke out of a camel clutch, but Garza stomped him back down and applied the hold again. Priest got to his feet and unleashed a flurry of strikes. He hit the Broken Arrow for a two-count.
Garza hit a huge clothesline to send Priest over the top rope, but instead of following up, he taunted Bad Bunny. Priest recovered and hit his finisher for the win.
This wasn't a squash match because Garza got in some good offense, but it was still an entire match designed to make Priest look good. In that regard, it worked fine.
Garza has been underused for months, but since he isn't being pushed, he won't be hurt by the loss. Priest gets a quick win, and Bad Bunny continues to be a presence on Raw for better or worse.
Seeing a longer, more competitive match between Garza and Priest would be great. They worked well together, and despite their size difference, Garza never quite felt like an underdog.
Asuka and Charlotte vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax
Asuka and Shayna Baszler started for their teams with an exchange of submissions. The Empress brought The Queen of Spades to the corner so she could tag Charlotte.
Baszler broke free and brought Nia Jax in to overpower The Queen. After a commercial break, Baszler and Jax had Asuka cornered and were working over her left arm.
Charlotte got the tag and countered a double suplex from the champions, but Jax still managed to take control and ground her with a powerbomb.
Jax and Asuka were tagged in, and The Empress went on a rampage against both opponents. She locked Jax in an armbar, but Baszler kicked her in the face. Charlotte accidentally kicked Asuka and allowed Jax to hit a leg drop for the win.
The team of Charlotte and Asuka needs to come to an end. They either need to feud over the Raw women's title or move on from each other.
This match had its moments but went on longer than it needed to for the result we received. WWE could have accomplished everything this bout did in half the time if it wanted to.
Jax and Baszler need a new team to feud with, and The Riott Squad is the best option. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan are a great duo who have been kept down for far too long.
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
Sheamus and Jeff Hardy both came up short in the Elimination Chamber, and they were looking to take out their anger on each other in this match that also revisited their feud from last year.
The Celtic Warrior knocked Hardy down right after the bell and never let up. Hardy knocked him out of the ring, but one clothesline from Sheamus laid him out.
The Charismatic Enigma knocked him off the apron and hit Poetry in Motion from the steps to send us into a commercial. Sheamus was back in control when we came back, but Hardy stalled his momentum with a jawbreaker.
Hardy hit Whisper in the Wind but didn't have enough energy to make a cover. Sheamus blocked a pendulum dropkick, but a Twist of Fate took him down. Hardy climbed to the top rope, but Sheamus recovered and was able to hit a Brogue Kick for the win.
Sheamus and Hardy know how to complement each other in the ring, and they were able to put on a solid match with no buildup behind it.
Sheamus was made to look like a top contender leading up to Elimination Chamber, and it's great to see WWE keeping him strong until it figures out what to do with him.
Hardy is one of those guys who can lose a million times and always be accepted when he gets another push, so he won't suffer from this loss.
Naomi and Lana vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
Baszler and Jax watched from backstage as Lana and Naomi teamed up to battle Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. Rose and Brooke had the upper hand until Naomi made the tag and hit a double facebuster with Lana for the win.
This was reminiscent of the tag team match that originally spawned the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance all those years ago. It was short and did nothing to make either team look good. There's nothing more to say about this.
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet
The next match saw Ricochet take on AJ Styles with Omos in his corner. The One and Only got in a little bit of offense before Styles suplexed him into the corner.
The Phenomenal One got a little too cocky, and Ricochet beat him down with a series of punches. They almost botched a hurricanrana but found a way to save it.
Styles rolled out of the way of the 630 and drilled Ricochet with a knee to the face. He hit the Styles Clash for a quick win. Omos slammed Ricochet after the match on Styles' orders.
With the exception of the hurricanrana they almost screwed up, everything Ricochet and Styles did looked good. They just didn't do enough to make this a memorable encounter.
Omos attacking Ricochet after the match felt designed to build a new feud between Styles and Ricochet, which should allow them to have a few great fights down the line.
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
The main event was Strowman's opportunity. If he could beat Lashley, he would earn his way into the next WWE title bout with Lashley and The Miz.
The A-Lister came out to watch the action from the commentary table. Lashley scored the first takedown with a waistlock, but Strowman hit the same move a moment later for a quick one-count.
The Monster Among Men dumped Lashley over the top rope and tried to run him over. Lashley jumped onto the apron to avoid him and collided with the steps. The All Mighty hit a low kick to the knee followed by a flatliner for a two-count.
Strowman hit his trademark powerslam, but Lashley managed to kick out and get to his feet to hit a Spear for the pin and the win. The Miz looked shocked as Lashley celebrated.
Similar to Priest vs. Garza, this short bout was designed to put Lashley over, and it worked beautifully. He kicked out of Strowman's finisher and beat him clean to keep him out of the title picture. It was pleasantly surprising to see WWE refrain from trying to shoehorn Strowman into the match.
Taking out the WWE champion after the match was over was the icing on the cake. The Hurt Business continues to be one of the best things on Raw, and with Lashley looking more like a main event star than ever, the group might be unstoppable.
This was a hot and cold episode of Raw, but it did a decent job of laying the groundwork for Fastlane.