WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 1
On the Road to WrestleMania, anything can happen. WWE knows that, and the company hopes everyone else does as well. For that reason, the March 1 edition of Monday Night Raw did not promise much going in.
After an exciting WWE Elimination Chamber, The Miz walked out as WWE champion, shocking the world. However, it was time for him to pay the piper. He had enlisted Bobby Lashley's help at the event, and he was given just one week before he had to defend against The All Mighty.
Since losing to Drew McIntyre in controversial fashion, Lashley has looked unstoppable. He won the WWE United States Championship with ease and only lost it because Riddle pinned John Morrison, never defeating the actual champion.
The A-Lister may be a mastermind with many plans to keep his gold, but The All Mighty is a force beyond all planning. No one can beat Lashley on his best day, and this was his chance to finally win the WWE Championship.
Before he got that opportunity in the main event, McIntyre promised to return to WWE. Would he be able to focus on what was stolen from him, or would Sheamus make it clear that his former friend had another promise to keep first?
This edition of the red brand had every opportunity to blow the WWE Universe away. However, with little promised ahead of time, fans had to just hope WWE had a grander plan with just one month before WWE WrestleMania 37.
The Miz Asks for Drew McIntyre's Help; McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Drew McIntyre made his statement to the men who got in his way. He made clear he was ready to put Sheamus behind him immediately and then get back his WWE Championship from The Miz or Bobby Lashley after this show's title match was done.
The A-Lister arrived with John Morrison, decked out in fancy suits and sunglasses. Miz tried to convince McIntyre to help him defeat The All Mighty. MVP arrived to make a formal announcement that Lashley would have his title match at the top of the hour, giving The A-Lister less than one hour to prepare.
The Celtic Warrior arrived and got in the way of Miz begging McIntyre for help, starting the fight between him and McIntyre. This was hard-hitting even before the bell. Both men did not pull a single punch. Sheamus gladly elbowed McIntyre repeatedly in the jaw, targeting an old wound.
The battle grew more uncomfortable to watch as Sheamus looked to break the former WWE champion's jaw with knee drops. The two fought outside, and McIntyre threw The Celtic Warrior onto the announce table. McIntyre then knocked out Sheamus on the top rope with a headbutt to set up a superplex.
The Celtic Warrior went for the Cloverleaf, but McIntyre rolled through and planted Sheamus with the Future Shock DDT. McIntyre caught him with White Noise off the top rope for a near-fall. The Celtic Warrior planted him right back and went for the Brogue Kick only to run into a Claymore that won it.
McIntyre def. Sheamus by pinfall.
McIntyre continues to work on the highest level, yet he still may not be outwrestling Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior has been incredible these last few months. He can do no wrong in the ring, and it was clear that he wanted this more than anything.
He and one of his absolute best friends got to fight one-on-one fueled by pure hatred. The heat in this contest was palpable. The two brutalized each other, and the focus on the jaw worked, allowing Sheamus to look truly sadistic.
The only real disappointment was that the two fought with no hype on Raw rather than waiting for WWE Fastlane or even WrestleMania. The point of Sheamus turning should have been a major match rather than such a rushed clash.
Nia Jax (w/ Shayna Baszler) vs. Naomi (w/ Lana)
Naomi was happily skipping to the ring, only to walk right into an angry Nia Jax. Once the two got to the ring, backed up by their tag team partners Lana and Shayna Baszler, it was clear that The Irresistible Force would not be denied.
Jax caught Naomi attempting to run around the ring, wearing her down with a bear hug. She followed up by planting the veteran with a Samoan drop and chokeslam for the win.
A video package was once more shown for Rhea Ripley, promising she would arrive on Raw soon.
Jax def. Naomi by pinfall.
Naomi took time away from WWE with serious potential upon her return. She had the opportunity to truly take over a division in need of more top stars. When she returned to back up Lana, she at least had a chance to win the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.
Now, she and Lana look as out of their depth against the champions as The Riott Squad did. The tag team division needs serious contenders. This made the faces look like jokes. Losing to Jax is not a problem. It is losing so quickly without much of a fight that ruins all of Naomi's momentum.
Naomi is better than this. WWE has put too much time into Lana's feud with Jax and Baszler to treat it like such a joke now. This is so lazy.
Raw Tag Team Champions Hurt Business vs. Braun Strowman and Adam Pearce
Braun Strowman called out Shane McMahon and Adam Pearce for cheating him out of opportunities. Shane-O-Mac arrived to announce that The Monster Among Men would team up with Pearce, resolving their conflict together by competing for the Raw Tag Team Championships.
Strowman refused to take Pearce's help, throwing around Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin all on his own. However, The Monster Among Men missed Alexander and went shoulder-first into the steel post. Strowman recovered and planted Shelton with a running powerslam.
As Strowman went for the cover, Shane told him to tag in Pearce. This gave Shelton time to recover, and he caught Pearce with an inside cradle for three. Afterward, The Monster promised to destroy everything while Shane watched.
Alexander and Benjamin def. Strowman and Pearce by pinfall to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
This was not good. Strowman continues to be booked with a singular mindset in the tag team division. He makes every tag team look like a joke. The Hurt Business has been so well protected to this point that Alexander and Benjamin couldn't lose even though they were not working well together.
This made both look bad, and it showed why fans can rarely take the tag team division seriously. This was all about building the awkward and uninspiring feud of The Monster vs. "The Best in the World." Shane has had some surprisingly good matches with AJ Styles and The Miz, but Strowman is a step too far.
This match has no spark to it. It is hard to tell who is supposed to be the face in this rivalry.
Elias (w/ Jaxson Ryker) vs. Bad Bunny (w/ Damian Priest)
Elias tried to set up a collaboration with Bad Bunny backstage, but the 24/7 champion was not interested. The Living Truth called out the Grammys as a shame for missing his hit album.
Damian Priest arrived to shut up Elias. The Archer of Infamy wrenched at the left arm of The Living Truth, making an impression on the musician. Elias refused to lose easily and managed to take over the action, gladly taking the help of Jaxson Ryker.
The Archer of Infamy was dazed for a moment but found his second wind, attacking Elias with a series of strikes and then connecting on the Broken Arrow. After The Living Truth kicked Priest into the ropes, he caught The Archer with a leaping knee for a near-fall.
Elias went for Drift Away, but Priest escaped before winning with Hit the Lights.
Priest def. Elias by pinfall.
This match was an absolute slog. Priest and Elias are both individually talented. However, they have zero chemistry. This contest moved from armbar to headlock for a long stretch. Even when the momentum ramped up, nothing felt remotely tense.
It was so clear that Elias would not win. He has lost almost all of his momentum as a potential threat on Raw. Ryker's inclusion has made him less interesting rather than more.
Priest at least won, which was the result that was needed. He is still undefeated, and it feels like The Archer of Infamy is ready to go straight to the top after Bunny has gotten his one big match.
WWE Champion The Miz vs. Bobby Lashley
Kayla Braxton asked Randy Orton about the odd situation from last week when he began spitting up blood. Alexa Bliss arrived, followed by another version of The Viper on the screen. Bliss promised Orton would pay for all that he has ever done.
The Miz got out of defending his title at 9 p.m. ET by saying he was having cramps. He could not get out of the match at 10 p.m. ET even after trying to implore Bobby Lashley to wait until WrestleMania for his monumental first WWE Championship.
Once the bell rang, The A-Lister ran out of the ring and up the stage, intentionally getting himself counted out. Lashley was irate, but MVP kept him calm, certain he could fix this.
Lashley def. Miz by count-out; Miz retains the WWE Championship.
This story all made sense. Miz was taking every single shortcut knowing that Lashley was too good for him to beat one-on-one. Lashley was so impatient that he and MVP were not figuring out answers to Miz's complications until after the tricks had been executed.
It was not the most exciting story to watch unfold. It felt so inevitable, yet any surprise twist would have been a waste of The All Mighty. He was ready for this moment, and this had to be the time he won. WWE could not give this story all night and not deliver.
Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler (w/ Nia Jax)
Charlotte Flair talked about what she wanted at WrestleMania. She had put everything behind her with Ric Flair and Lacey Evans. She wanted to fight Asuka, though she had to wait until The Empress of Tomorrow was healthy following a brutal kick from Shayna Baszler last week.
The Queen of Spades arrived on cue with her tag team partner Nia Jax. The champions made clear they wanted Asuka instead and would go through The Queen to do it. The two attacked Charlotte before the bell, making sure she was vulnerable for Baszler.
The Queen of Spades nearly locked in the Kirifuda Clutch after interference from The Irresistible Force, but Charlotte recovered and planted Baszler with the Natural Selection to win.
Charlotte def. Baszler by pinfall.
Charlotte and Baszler are good together, but this was too short. The result also took away from the action in the ring. The idea of these two having a full match where The Queen of Spades could wear down Charlotte throughout is enticing but may never happen.
Somehow, despite all the work done to build up Jax and Baszler, Charlotte is still seen as a much higher priority. In the same night The Irresistible Force squashed Naomi, The Queen of Spades lost decisively and too quickly to Charlotte.
Retribution vs. Riddle and Lucha House Party; Mustafa Ali vs. Riddle
After Mustafa Ali's angry words last week, Retribution worked hard early against the fast-paced offense of the talent on the other side of the ring. However, Slapjack walked into a Lince Dorado superkick and a Gran Metalik splash from Lucha House Party that won the match for the faces.
Afterward, Ali demanded a match with the United States champion. The Original Bro agreed, and the match was on. The leader of Retribution was too emotional early and ran into a gut-wrench. However, Ali focused on the left arm of Riddle and nearly hyperextended it with a vicious assault.
The Original Bro fought back and hit a Final Flash knee, but Retribution surrounded the ring and helped Ali set up a top-rope headscissors slam to take the win.
Lucha House Party and Riddle def. Retribution by pinfall; Ali def. Riddle by pinfall.
The story here was better than the action, which was badly rushed over two matches. From the surprise finish of the six-man tag early to the ugly finish of the single match that followed, it was clear no one was quite comfortable with the time they had.
However, this was a rousing success of storytelling. Ali was able to get Retribution to work together to benefit him, even when his goons could not win on their own. He leads by example on paper but truly takes advantage of the team more than he ever helps them.
Hopefully, this means that Retribution is not falling apart right away. There's still a chance for the group to at least get Ali his first-ever WWE title.
Lumberjack: WWE Champion The Miz vs. Bobby Lashley
The Miz lost it backstage after Shane McMahon said The A-Lister would forfeit his title if he did not face Bobby Lashley in the main event. He questioned what kind of champion The All Mighty would truly be for WWE on The Road to WrestleMania.
After introductions, Shane-O-Mac arrived to make clear that this match would now be a lumberjack match. Miz tried to get himself disqualified as the bell rang with the WWE Championship, but Lashley caught him and refused to be phased by any more tricks.
He threw around Miz, including into the mix of lumberjacks, who all wanted to hurt The A-Lister. Finally, Miz was left alone with Lashley and caught in the Hurt Lock, forced to tap out. Afterward, The All Mighty locked him in his signature submission a second time to make his point clear.
Lashley def. Miz by submission to become the new WWE champion.
This was a long journey to get to the end, but this genuinely worked as The All Mighty's emphatic victory. Going into the night, both men were heels, so WWE had to find a story to tell. By the end of the night, Lashley was the clear fan favorite, taking out the scumbag heel.
Miz was never going to last long as champion with his current run. He always does the work, and he was set up to allow The All Mighty to become the WWE champion for the first time. It was a heroic moment while still creating a dangerous monster to be overcome down the line.
Lashley has been through so much to get to this moment. He has always been so close to that goal, and he is now one of WWE's top heels. He has made history in his own career that will last a lifetime.