WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 19
WWE dealt with all of the fallout from WrestleMania 37 last week, so this week's show was all about building up WrestleMania Backlash on May 16.
After attacking Asuka and Rhea Ripley last week following her return to the red brand, Charlotte Flair found herself in a one-on-one contest with The Empress on Monday.
Drew McIntyre earned a WWE title shot last week, but MVP orchestrated an attack by T-Bar and Mace to soften him up. This week, The Scottish Warrior was looking for answers.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's episode of WWE Raw.
The Viking Raiders vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander faced Erik and Ivar in a rematch from their encounter on last week's show. Benjamin and Erik started for their teams.
Surprisingly, Benjamin overpowered the Viking and brought in Alexander for a double-team. The former members of The Hurt Business maintained control with quick tags to keep themselves fresh. Erik uncorked a huge right hand so he could tag in Ivar.
The big man missed a splash and allowed Alexander and Benjamin to regain the upper hand almost immediately.
A few moments later, The Viking Raiders were able to turn things around and get the win with the Viking Experience.
While it's great to see Alexander and Benjamin being portrayed as competent wrestlers, it makes no sense why they controlled so much of the action.
Erik and Ivar just returned last week. If WWE wants to rebuild them, they should be destroying tag teams with little to no effort. They don't have to squash every team they face. They just need to look like the powerhouses they are.
The match was decent but ended up being on the short side. Erik and Ivar only got in a little bit of offense toward the end. The match they had last week had a similar issue, but it wasn't as glaring because they had more time.
Randy Orton vs. Riddle
During a backstage interview, Randy Orton was interrupted by Riddle. Orton immediately went to Adam Pearce and demanded a match despite having no idea who Riddle was.
The Viper took control, but when he went for a suplex, Riddle countered into a sleeper. Orton pulled him off his back by his hair. Riddle went right back to the same hold, so Orton backed him into the corner. Riddle went for it a third time.
The Legend Killer dropped onto his back to break the hold, but Riddle grabbed him a fourth time. Riddle forced Orton to roll out of the ring. Orton caught Riddle's kick from the apron and tripped him before dropping him onto the announce table.
We came back from a commercial to see Orton stomping on Riddle's feet repeatedly. The Bro fired back with some strikes before The Viper planted him with a powerslam for a two-count. Orton followed up with a vertical suplex and a thumb to the eye when Riddle tried to mount a comeback.
The former MMA fighter unloaded with a series of punches and forearms, but one Irish whip into the corner from Orton put him back down. The Legend Killer hit the ring post when Riddle avoided a shoulder in the corner, allowing the former U.S. champion to get in some offense.
The Bro was able to avoid the RKO and rolled Orton up for the upset win.
Orton singlehandedly made the backstage segments with Riddle funny. His reaction to the scooter and pretending not to know who Riddle was when he requested the match were legitimately hilarious.
The match they had ended up being highly entertaining. The Viper controlled most of the action, but when Riddle had the upper hand, he made the most of it.
The Viper has reached the point in his career where he can do more good getting other people over. He might be the one person who can make a feud with Riddle entertaining for everyone, even the people who dislike The Bro.
They had good chemistry both in the ring and as opposite personalities backstage. If this feud continues, it should only get better from here.
Lana and Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax
Naomi started off this tag team match against Nia Jax. She hit a few kicks before tagging in Lana. Jax overpowered both women when they went for a double Irish whip, but the neon warriors managed to keep her under control with quick tags and a few double-team moves.
They went for a suplex, and Jax ended up suplexing both of them instead. Shayna Baszler tagged in and leveled Lana for a two-count. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke came out and played a few embarrassing clips of Jax as a distraction.
Jax angrily ignored a tag from Baszler and went after Rose and Brooke, leaving her partner high and dry. Naomi got the tag and hit a double facebuster with Lana for the win.
The first minute of this match was actually some solid tag team wrestling. It went downhill from there because of the distraction by Rose and Brooke.
Shenanigans are fine, but they have to make sense. Jax is a champion. She shouldn't be suckered into doing something that stupid so easily.
Also, what did Rose and Brooke gain by helping another team get a win? If anything, this would allow Naomi and Lana to request a title match before them.
The women's tag team division is booked with almost no effort behind it, which is a shame because there are some talented Superstars who aren't being used to their full potential.
Elias vs. Kofi Kingston
Elias and Jaxson Ryker were back for another performance, but once again The New Day interrupted them. This time, Xavier Woods was playing bass instead of a trombone.
Elias hit Kofi Kingston with a running knee as soon as the bell rang for a quick two-count. He stayed on the former WWE champion and grounded him with strikes.
Woods distracted him with some bass notes so Kingston could take control. Elias dropped him across the top rope to stop him in his tracks. Kingston recovered and hit a flying crossbody for a near-fall.
They screwed up the S.O.S. but eventually hit it for a close two-count. Elias countered a hurricanrana and hit a flying elbow drop for the clean win.
Most of this short match was decent, but it started to fall apart toward the end. The S.O.S. botch and a few other moments stood out as sloppy.
It looks like Ryker and Elias will continue to feud with The New Day for the time being. What's strange is WWE seems to have two non-title feuds going in the Raw tag team division while Omos and AJ Styles have been unused since winning the Raw tag titles at WrestleMania.
Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman vs. Mace and T-Bar
Drew McIntyre came to the ring as soon as the show started to call out MVP for orchestrating an attack on him last week with T-Bar and Mace. It didn't take long for MVP to come out for a response.
He said McIntyre was just mad that Bobby Lashley put him out at WrestleMania and told him to expect the unexpected. MVP said Mace and T-Bar are not associated with The Hurt Business, but McIntyre did not believe him.
The Scottish Warrior approached MVP, but before he reached him, Mace and T-Bar attacked him again. They hit a double chokeslam as MVP looked on. They walked right past him on the ramp as they headed to the back. After a break, McIntyre asked Pearce to book a fight against Mace and T-Bar.
The handicap match got started at the top of the third hour. McIntyre went right after T-Bar and brought him to a neutral corner to beat him down. T-Bar made the tag, and Mace nailed a huge uppercut for a two-count.
The former Retribution members started to dominate the former WWE champion. McIntyre hit a spinebuster for a two-count as he started to rally. Mace and T-Bar double-teamed him until the ref called for the bell. That is when Braun Strowman's music hit, and he came out to make the save.
After a break, we returned to see this turned into a tag team match. McIntyre smiled as The Monster Among Men destroyed Mace. Eventually, Mace and T-Bar took the big man down.
McIntyre tagged in and ripped Mace's mask off. He used it as a weapon against Mace and got himself disqualified. Strowman ripped off T-Bar's mask before they left.
The opening segment of the show was a good exchange between MVP and McIntyre, but the match that it spawned was mediocre at best.
The best part of this was seeing T-Bar and Mace look like an actual threat to McIntyre. They are both bigger than he is, so it would have been ridiculous if he dominated them like he would most other opponents.
Why is Strowman helping McIntyre? They were just in a match last week as opponents. They have never shown any signs of being friends, so this felt extremely random.
Ending both matches in disqualifications was a bad choice, but it will be more acceptable if Mace and T-Bar keep the masks off and go back to their old names.
The Miz vs. Damian Priest
The Miz was out next with Maryse for an episode of Miz TV. John Morrison was nowhere to be seen as Miz started talking about making Bad Bunny a household name. He even took credit for Bunny's tour selling out. He and Maryse also bragged about their reality show's ratings.
They flirted with each other and kissed as fireworks went off in the ThunderDome. The Miz plugged an upcoming WWE documentary about him and tried to propose a toast to himself, but Damian Priest interrupted.
The Archer of Infamy made a joke about The Miz being about as real of a fighter as Jake Paul before he mocked him for losing his pants last week. Maryse ended up accepting a challenge on her husband's behalf.
Priest started off strong and immediately put The A-Lister on defense. A distraction from Maryse allowed The Miz to throw him into the barricade. He nailed Priest with a double ax handle from the top rope and a series of punches.
Priest blocked the It Kicks with an elbow strike and hit a senton from the middle rope. After kicking out of a dirty pin, Priest hit his finisher for the win.
On one of the weaker shows in recent memory, this ended up being one of the strongest segments of the night. That says a lot about the state of Raw right now.
This match was fine for what it was. Priest picked up the clean win even with Maryse there to provide some distractions. Morrison's absence went unexplained.
Priest needs to move on from this quickly. He should be chasing the U.S. title, not keeping up his feud from WrestleMania.
Asuka vs. Charlotte
Charlotte gave a promo during the first hour where she called the women backstage "rats who don't actually like each other." Asuka and Rhea Ripley came out, but nothing much happened from there.
The Queen and The Empress finally met in the main event of the evening. They locked up and came to a stalemate a few times before Asuka finally took control with some kicks to the body. Charlotte avoided a hip strike and nailed her with a boot to the face.
Both women went down hard after a neckbreaker on the apron. It was hard to tell who was supposed to come out on top in that one. We returned from a break moments before Asuka began to build some momentum. She hit a nice German suplex and a running kick for a close two-count.
Charlotte avoided the Asuka Lock and applied the Figure-Eight. Ripley caused her to break the hold while the ref was checking on Asuka, and that allowed The Empress to roll Charlotte up for the win. The Queen attacked the official after the match and beat him down. Even two other refs couldn't make her stop until she wanted to.
Like her father, Charlotte was born to be a heel. She is so much better at it than she is at being a babyface, and she is much more valuable as an obstacle for another face to overcome because The Queen will never be an underdog.
These two have great chemistry as opponents, but there were a few moments when it looked like they were trying to rush, leading to a couple of minor mistakes. For the most part, they looked good.
Seeing Rhea Ripley circle the ring like a shark eyeing her prey gave this bout an extra level of unpredictability. You can never tell if she is going to attack or just keep watching these two beat each other up.
On any other night, the way this match ended would have been fine, but this week featured too many disqualifications and instances of interference. This was a weak show with only a few highlights worth taking the time to watch if you did not tune in live.