Drew McIntyre Gets Another Title Shot, Charlotte's Return, More WWE Raw Fallout
WrestleMania 37 energized many with an emphatic two-night event, but a few disappointing results—especially involving WWE Raw stars—gave many pause. It was up to the often-lauded Raw after WrestleMania to change those perceptions.
Instead, Monday's edition further emphasized that WWE has lost interest in this night as the one when surprises happen. It was a show that mostly maintained the status quo. The build to WrestleMania Backlash on May 16 already looks fairly similar to the 'Mania card itself.
Drew McIntyre earned another WWE title opportunity against Bobby Lashley, after facing the most obvious other top stars on Raw in Randy Orton and Braun Strowman. The Scottish Warrior won the Triple Threat without any interesting elements added to the rematch so far.
Charlotte Flair and The Viking Raiders returned to action, but neither made a lasting mark. It was more of a return to what was expected in 2020.
WWE didn't even try to take advantage of the excellent WrestleMania 37 work by Bad Bunny, who did not appear on Raw. Instead, Damian Priest lost in a handicap match to The Miz and John Morrison to erase some of The Archer of Infamy's mystique.
The point of the night was unclear. Even if WWE had no big debuts or major returns lined up, there were plenty of stories to tell that could have made more of an impact.
Drew McIntyre Earns Another Shot at Bobby Lashley
Drew McIntyre could not get an automatic rematch, so instead he was booked in a Triple Threat with Randy Orton and Braun Strowman. While The Viper landed an RKO on The Monster Among Men, The Scottish Warrior got the pin after connecting on a Claymore on Orton.
McIntyre earning another shot at Bobby Lashley made sense, but it would have been more interesting if he was facing other competitors who could challenge The All Mighty. Strowman already lost to the WWE champion recently, and Orton vs. Lashley has no appeal.
The match between McIntyre and Lashley at WrestleMania was as good as their past battle at Backlash last year, but it's time to give these two a real story to build upon in order to make the rematch matter.
Hopefully, that will come in the next few weeks. For now, though, there is no reason to get excited about the third installment of this contest.
The only element added to this story was the arrival of T-Bar and Mace to help MVP, but that only adds more concerns rather than extra excitement.
WWE Mashes Up The Hurt Business and Retribution into Less Interesting Stable
Retribution broke up with the promise that T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack and Reckoning might get a chance to work on their own. However, T-Bar and Mace seem to be stuck behind another leader instead.
The former Retribution members linking up with MVP won't lead to the rebirth of The Hurt Business, but it does come off like WWE mixing and matching the best elements of each former stable.
What did Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin do to become lesser to T-Bar and Mace, a team they defeated repeatedly in 2020? Is Slapjack going to disappear again much like he has previously when he was Shane Thorne? Worse yet, what does this all say about the group's former leader, Mustafa Ali?
It's hard to say where this will lead and if T-Bar and Mace will have better fortune than the past wrestlers under MVP. At the very least, though, it could help take the masks off both men.
At the moment, however, this does not feel right. The Hurt Business was something special, but every tease of what the faction could become next is less interesting than what was already established.
The Viking Raiders Return to Add Needed Depth to Raw Tag Team Division
The Viking Raiders made a surprise return to action against Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. Erik and Ivar made a serious impact on the former Raw tag team champions, winning with The Viking Experience.
New titleholders AJ Styles and Omos did not appear on Raw, which may be because it isn't clear who will challenge them. The Viking Raiders could be a fascinating pairing for them, though. Erik and Ivar have the speed and power to potentially challenge Omos.
These two have never been used the way one would expect. An excellent powerhouse team, the Raiders can add a unique element to any tag division. Hopefully, this second run won't feel like what was an endless rivalry with The Street Profits.
The New Day remain the only credible team in the division beyond the champions. Alexander and Benjamin have lost so much, and it's hard to tell how WWE truly views T-Bar and Mace based on their treatment in Retribution.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a true rebirth for, arguably, the weakest division WWE has.
Charlotte Flair Goes Back to Basics with Return
Charlotte Flair immediately addressed her absence from WrestleMania 37, with her anger shown clearly in a heel promo in which she established her desire to reclaim the Raw Women's Championship.
She then attacked Rhea Ripley and Asuka during their title rematch and stood over both.
The Queen is back and looks set to return to the character that most suits her promo style.
The Raw women's division is back to Charlotte and Asuka, but Ripley adds a fresh element to this angle. The Triple Threat to come has the potential to steal any show, and the story that is told will be even more important to the future.
The Queen has always been a priority for WWE, but now is not the time to backpedal on the new champion. She needs to give the win back to Ripley before this is all over.
It is great to see Charlotte again, though. It is especially good to hear her cutting strong heel promos again. She was awkward as the polite face. That has never been a position The Queen has been able to stay in for too long.
The Miz Is Better with Maryse, but Damian Priest Worse Off Without Bad Bunny
Miz TV featured the return of Maryse, who was interviewed by her husband and John Morrison, but Damian Priest interrupted to set up a handicap match.
However, with his feet on the ropes and his pants around his ankles, The A-Lister still rolled up The Archer of Infamy for the win.
After a huge victory for Priest and Bad Bunny over The Miz and Morrison at WrestleMania, there was no reason for Monday's handicap match to take place. The Archer of Infamy should not be getting beat by a team such as Miz and Morrison on his own, and it also ended his undefeated run on Raw.
Ultimately, Priest suffered for the situation, especially due to the bad comedy involved. Without Bad Bunny around to keep him fully relevant, WWE was happy to give him a loss on his record. It may not matter in the long term, but it does show he can be vulnerable.
Meanwhile, the return of Maryse has clearly energized The Miz. While the finish was awkward, he picked up a win. He can now play the heel more clearly with his wife at his side. Perhaps he can even return to the best run of his career.
With her return, Miz and Morrison teased a bit of tension. If that comes to pass, The Shaman of Sexy can hopefully play the exciting face while The A-Lister is the conniving heel.