WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 15March 15, 2021
WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 15
WWE's Fastlane pay-per-view takes place Sunday, which means this week's Raw was the red brand's final chance to set anything up for the show.
After winning the United States Championship from Bobby Lashley at Elimination Chamber, Riddle immediately entered into a feud with Mustafa Ali. This week saw the leader of Retribution get an opportunity to take the title away from him.
Speaking of Lashley, this was The All Mighty's second Raw as the WWE champion after defeating The Miz to win the title two weeks ago.
The Hurt Business may have recently gained a new championship, but it also had to defend the Raw tag titles against The New Day on Monday's show.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's WWE Raw.
The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre
The show opened with a segment that included Lashley, Drew McIntyre, The Miz, John Morrison and Sheamus. Predictably, this turned into a fight and led into the first match of the night.
The A-Lister tried to take control early, but McIntyre was too powerful for him to keep down. The Scottish Warrior ignored a kick to the chest and hit a brutal headbutt to establish his dominance.
Morrison provided a distraction for his tag team partner, but The Miz quickly found himself back on the mat. McIntyre hit a reverse Alabama slam, but as he lined up for the Claymore, JoMo pulled his friend from the ring to save him. This led to the ref kicking him from the ringside area.
Every time The Miz had a moment of offense, McIntyre responded with twice the aggression. He spiked the A-Lister with a Future Shock DDT before nailing him with a Claymore. He refused to make a cover because he wanted to send a message to Lashley by beating The Miz with a full nelson.
The Miz and McIntyre are both veterans who know how to put a match together, but their lack of chemistry kept this bout from being anything more than middle-of-the-road.
The opening segment unfolded exactly as you would expect. The Miz wanted a rematch for the WWE title, but so did McIntyre. It was logical, but that also made it predictable.
McIntyre using his rival's finisher was a nice way to taunt Lashley. It will be interesting to see if Lashley attempts to hit somebody with a Claymore in retaliation.
Lana and Naomi vs. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose
Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose faced Lana and Naomi in a rematch from three weeks ago. Lana and Naomi came out on top in that encounter, so Rose and Brooke were looking to rebound from the loss.
Rose and Brooke had the upper hand and cornered Naomi for some quick tags and double-team offense. The Golden Goddess scored a two-count after a stiff running knee.
Naomi was able to make a tag to Lana after hitting a jawbreaker out of desperation. This led to all four women getting involved at the same time.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were on commentary, but The Queen of Spades left the table to attack Asuka when she came out for some reason. Back in the ring, Brooke hit Lana with a neckbreaker to get the pin.
There isn't a lot to say about this match. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good either. Lana looked better than usual in the ring, but that just brought her close to everyone else's level.
The stuff with Asuka and Baszler felt forced and unnecessary. The 50-50 booking with the tag team division is getting old. WWE either needs to commit to making the women's tag titles matter or merge them with the new NXT women's tag titles and let the black-and-gold brand do it.
The Hurt Business vs. The New Day (Raw Tag Titles)
The second hour of Raw started with the first of two titles matches scheduled for this week. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods challenged Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander for the Raw Tag Team Championships.
Woods and Alexander had a nice exchange to start the fight. They used quick offense and counters before Kingston tagged in and scored a two-count. Alexander flipped Kingston right into Benjamin's arms for a brutal spinebuster.
The former WWE champion hit a double stomp out of nowhere to give himself a chance to tag Woods and turn things around. Woods and Kingston tried to take out their opponents with simultaneous dives, but Benjamin and Alexander had them scouted and took them down at ringside.
We returned from a break to see Alexander and Woods trading strikes. Both men made the tag, and Kingston came close to beating Benjamin a few times. He nailed The Gold Standard with Trouble in Paradise, and Woods followed up with a diving elbow. They hit their finisher to get the pin and win the tag titles.
As they celebrated with the belts, AJ Styles and Omos came down to the ring. The Phenomenal One congratulated them on their win before saying he and Omos want a shot at the titles at WrestleMania. The New Day accepted the challenge.
As great as it is to see The New Day with the tag titles back, this did not feel like the right time to take the belts off The Hurt Business. Lashley just won the WWE title, and it would have been nice if the group had most of the gold for a little while.
As far as this match is concerned, it was a great exchange between two teams that have been the best Raw has to offer for months. This rivalry has produced some fun encounters, but this might have been their best.
The addition of Styles and Omos to the tag team division will add some needed variety. Omos is an unknown when it comes to his wrestling ability, but his size makes him a threat to anyone. He and Styles have a Shawn Michaels and Diesel thing going that could be great if done right.
Damian Priest vs. Jaxson Ryker
Damian Priest defeated Elias two weeks ago, so this week, Jaxson Ryker was looking to even the score. Elias was at ringside, but so was Bad Bunny, who had just given R-Truth the 24/7 title back a few minutes earlier.
Priest won the match in about a minute. After it was over, Elias tried to attack Bad Bunny, but The Archer of Infamy took him out, too. Morrison came down and distracted them so The Miz could hit Bunny with a guitar from behind. Priest chased him away before checking on his friend.
The match between Priest and Ryker was a squash. There is nothing to critique other than the possible setup we saw for a WrestleMania match.
It feels like WWE is building toward Bad Bunny and Priest vs. The Miz and Morrison. WWE is smart to capitalize on the press Bunny is receiving for his Grammy wins on Sunday, but a lot of wrestling fans will probably complain about a match like this because some people do not enjoy celebrities getting involved in the action.
Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon had another long-distance exchange this week. The Monster Among Men was in the ring, but the son of Vince McMahon kept his distance.
Strowman demanded a match, and Shane called him stupid several times. They yelled over each other until Shane accepted the challenge, and the match took place just after the halfway point in the show.
Shane pretended to do some cardio at ringside to prepare and used the opportunity to mock Strowman's intelligence again. The Monster Among Men caught him and started destroying him at ringside. He took a full lap around the ring, and Shane hit him with a camera he took from a crewmember at ringside.
He put Strowman on the announce table and hit an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle to put him through it. He then grabbed a bucket of green slime from under the ring and dumped it onto Strowman.
Was anyone asking for Shane vs. Strowman? After last week's abysmal segment, probably not.
This week was much better in creating a personal rivalry to set up a future showdown at WrestleMania, but there is still going to be a vocal section of the WWE Universe that doesn't want to see Shane back in the ring.
If Strowman is not going to pursue a title, this was a good way to use him for now. Shane can always afford to put somebody else over because he is not a regular Superstar who lives by wins and losses. He is a corporate jerk who likes to humiliate people, and that makes him a good heel.
This segment was nothing special, but it was miles ahead of what they did last week to kickstart this feud.
Asuka vs. Shanya Baszler
Baszler knocked out one of Asuka's teeth a few weeks ago, but The Empress returned this week looking to show The Queen of Spades why she is the Raw women's champion.
Asuka attacked her before the bell and kept up the aggression once the ref officially started the match. The Empress knocked Jax off the apron, but the distraction allowed Baszler to drill her with a knee to the face.
Asuka recovered and took out Jax by sending her into the ring post. Asuka and Baszler tried to put each other in their submissions, and it led to Asuka winning with a pinning combination reversal.
Baszler tried to kick out another tooth after the match, but Asuka blocked and hit a flurry of her own kicks to the face. She curb-stomped The Queen of Spades into the bottom turnbuckle. She removed the padding and almost did it again before the ref got in her way.
This was a short match, but the entire segment did more to make this feud feel personal than anything that came before it.
Seeing Asuka be willing to go to such violent lengths to get what she wants made her appear more dangerous in one segment than her entire title reign. She looked unhinged in ways we haven't seen before.
Baszler and Asuka complement each other well with similar styles. If this is building to a singles match for the Raw women's title, it should be a violent and hard-hitting clash.
Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali (U.S. Championship)
Two weeks ago, Ali pinned Riddle in a non-title match. This week, they met with the United States Championship on the line. As usual, the rest of Retribution was at ringside to support the leader of the group.
The former 205 Live regular got in the first few shots before Riddle threw him across the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex and kicked him out of the ring. Ali pulled him into the announce table, and when they got back into the ring, he kicked Riddle right in the mush.
We returned from a break to see Ali dominating the champion. It seemed like he had an answer for everything Riddle tried to do. Eventually, The Bro was able to make a comeback.
Ali had Riddle pinned but T-Bar had mistakenly distracted the ref. After he kicked out, Riddle hit his finisher for the win to retain his U.S. title. He escaped the ring before Retribution could attack. Ali was visibly upset by the loss and berated his crew.
This may have been one of the best matches Riddle has had since coming to the main roster. He sold well for his opponent and looked more focused than usual.
Ali is a tremendous performer who is stuck in a storyline that will likely fizzle out soon. WWE is clearly building toward Ali disbanding the faction or everybody turning on him when he gets too angry.
This bout was a highlight on a show that has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster.
Bobby Lashley vs. Sheamus
McIntyre gave a quick promo before the match took place. Lashley and Sheamus went after each other hard once the bell was rung. The All Mighty had the advantage at first, but The Celtic Warrior kept finding ways to stall his momentum.
McIntyre watched as the two powerhouses tore each other apart. They mostly focused on hitting each other with strikes while occasionally mixing in traditional wrestling maneuvers.
Lashley still had firm control of the match when we returned from a break. He drove Sheamus into the barricade a few times before putting him in the corner for a series of back elbows. The Celtic Warrior sidestepped a charging Lashley and sent him into the ring post.
After enduring most of Sheamus' signature offense, Lashley recovered and hit a flatliner for a two-count. Sheamus lined up for the Brogue Kick, but Lashley caught him with a spear first to get the win.
This was just two big dudes beating the life out of each other. This is the kind of match pro wrestling is built on and was a solid main event for this week's show.
Lashley continued to prove he is still at the top of his game, and Sheamus looked as good as he ever has in this encounter. They made this the most competitive bout of the night.
Sheamus does not get enough credit from the WWE Universe. He is a convincing badass who can also put people over better than most. He is as valuable as anyone else on the Raw roster.
This week's show was hot and cold, but both title matches and the main event made it worth watching.