WWE Raw Fallout: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre Heats Up, New Day Back on TopMarch 16, 2021
WWE Raw Fallout: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre Heats Up, New Day Back on Top
With Sunday's Fastlane pay-per-view barely built and late sales of WrestleMania 37 tickets just around the corner, WWE has to go big. And the March 15 edition of Raw contained plenty of moments that felt like the company pushing the envelope on The Road to WrestleMania.
Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre made their rematch at The Show of Shows official before making statements of their own. The Scottish Warrior squashed The Miz in an extended one-sided bout while The All Mighty took out Sheamus days before the Irishman and McIntyre clash at Fastlane.
The New Day won in the best match of a night with a few outstanding bouts and took the Raw Tag Team Championships off The Hurt Business. It may have been the wrong time, but it set the stage for AJ Styles and Omos to step up to the plate against the new titleholders.
Asuka showed an aggression she has not showcased in years, dominating Shayna Baszler in a way that went beyond the match. It was a good sign that Raw has a plan with the women's division for WrestleMania.
Monday's show wasn't all great, though, as Braun Strowman continued to be belittled by Shane McMahon. And Mustafa Ali was unable to capture his first title, and it seems he may finally break up Retribution now.
All in all, Raw was a mixed bag, but it was a show that WWE tried hard to sell with moments that set the stage for the future.
Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre Official as Raw's Ace in the Hole for Mania
Bobby Lashley is a truly dangerous champion. He and Sheamus had an incredible match to end Monday's show, and that was on top of staring down Drew McIntyre, The Miz, John Morrison and The Celtic Warrior earlier in the night.
McIntyre and Lashley have been Raw's most dominant forces over the past year, and only The Scottish Warrior has the build to fully challenge the WWE champion.
WWE could have done a better job building to their match at WrestleMania and has backed itself into a corner, but it will rely on the talent to get the show out.
Matches for The Show of Shows are now being made in quick succession, but Lashley vs. McIntyre is the money match for the red brand.
Two dominant forces will clash at Raymond James Stadium on April 10-11, but has WWE fully committed to Lashley enough that he can defeat McIntyre on The Grandest Stage of Them All? Is The All Mighty's reign just another prize to a veteran like The Miz's win at Elimination Chamber?
Anything can happen, but WWE must commit to the money match. Let Lashley and McIntyre tell their story without any weak distractions along the way.
Only Braun Strowman Hurt by Build to Match with Shane McMahon
Braun Strowman demanded a match with Shane McMahon, and the WWE producer accepted.
Shane-O-Mac mocked The Monster Among Men further before sending him through the announce table with a diving elbow drop. He then dumped green paint all over the former universal champion.
This rivalry is the most awkward WrestleMania build WWE is attempting to sell. McMahon has always been a painful heel, and his antics in this feud are just about the worst of his career. He was already an insufferable villain, but now he's just playing the schoolyard bully.
Strowman was once one of the most dominant men in WWE, and he can still be that giant at any time. While WWE doesn't see him as a true world champion for the future, he is a reliable monster. He has shifted back and forth from heel to face since his loss to "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam, and the creative team cannot sell him now as a pure good guy.
This story may have made more sense if McMahon was coming in as the face against a dangerous destroyer. Strowman is best in pure destruction mode. He could be ripping apart his rival's cars and tearing down the WWE stages.
Instead, we have weird hopscotch, paint hazing and a grown man calling another man "stupid" repeatedly as the ultimate insult. Strowman will win at WrestleMania, but he may not recover from all of this.
New Day Regains Titles at a Time When Hurt Business Should've Remained Dominant
Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston just looked more motivated than Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin on Monday night.
After time on the shelf, The New Day brought their best to the Raw Tag Team Championships match. It paid off as Trouble in Paradise, a springboard elbow drop and Daybreak sealed the win for the new champions.
New Day now have an incredible 11 tag team reigns to their name. That is an incredible feat and a showcase of the longevity of a team that has been through so much. Kingston and Woods now join former teammate and intercontinental champion Big E in holding gold ahead of WrestleMania.
However, the timing of this title change was all wrong and only came about because WWE could not come up with a big angle for WrestleMania with The Hurt Business. That is a shame because there were plenty of options with the right booking behind Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin.
After the match, AJ Styles came out with Omos to challenge New Day at The Show of Shows. This is a fascinating contest, but it's not that special that WWE couldn't have gone another route.
The Phenomenal One is a special talent who needed a spotlight at WrestleMania 37, and The New Day could not be left off the card, either. However, everyone involved could have been set up better than the lazy quick shuffle that took place on Monday.
Asuka Shows New Level of Aggression That She Has Desperately Needed
Asuka returned to action in a motivated mood. She attacked Shayna Baszler before the bell, and the two brutalized each other once their match got underway.
The Queen of Spades nearly trapped The Empress of Tomorrow, but Asuka snuck in a pinning combination to claim the victory.
Afterward, the Raw women's champion kept attacking Baszler until the referee had to intervene. The Empress looked like the woman who dominated NXT while The Queen of Spades pushed her like the competitor who broke her records in the black-and-gold brand.
It was an incredible showcase and added new life to the Raw women's division. The red brand needed this version of Asuka; WWE needed this Asuka. It has been a long time coming, and she made a quick match with Baszler feel like so much more.
This will all ultimately lead to Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania, but hopefully this fresh attitude is the difference. With both at their best, The Empress and The Queen can make it their best together.
Hopefully, alongside the imminent arrival of Rhea Ripley, Raw can turn around its underutilized women's division.
The End of Retribution Is Nigh, and It Cannot Come Soon Enough
Mustafa Ali and Riddle went back-and-forth in a high-energy United States Championship match, but miscommunication from Retribution proved to be the difference.
T-Bar got on the apron to cause a distraction at the wrong moment, costing Ali a roll-up win and allowing the champ to hit the Bro Derek to retain the title.
The only thing that could have saved Retribution was for Ali to finally win a championship in WWE. He has long deserved that shot, and it seems like the company is ready to take that chance with him. It will only come after the end of Retribution, though.
This stable was a flop from the outset, when it was made to look weak against the current roster. Even the arrival of Ali as its leader did not stop WWE from booking them like jokes. The Hurt Business squashed the group's momentum, and The New Day finished it off.
So many people involved with Retribution are too good for this angle. T-Bar is one of the best big men in the business, and Reckoning can be an integral part of the women's division. Slapjack and Mace have shown potential as dangerous threats who have gone nowhere as part of Retribution.
It's time for everyone involved to go their separate ways. Ali needs to finally win some gold, and the other members need to forge their own path as stars on a brand that will feel deeper if it uses its talent properly.