Monday Night Raw – April 5, 2021: The Hard Sell
Monday Night Raw
Date: April 5, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
It’s the go home show for Wrestlemania and unfortunately about half of the show will be destroyed by the NCAA Championship game. Therefore you might expect a lot crammed into the first hour and a half or so, but we are going to be lucky enough to have the main event of Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin, because you always need more Corbin. Let’s get to it.
Here are last week’s results if you need a recap.
Here is Drew McIntyre for an opening chat. We see a clip of King Corbin and Bobby Lashley taking him out last week and, after the fire goes off, McIntyre talks about how we have five days until Wrestlemania. Things have changed so much in the last year and now McIntyre is ready for he and Lashley to tear each other to shreds.
Drew talks about how much he wanted to be WWE Champion, even when his mother was getting leukemia treatment. He wanted to go home so badly but his mom threatened to beat him up herself if he gave up. It took his this many years to get to the top of the mountain….and here are Lashley and MVP to cut him off.
Lashley says it took Drew sixteen years to get to the top but it took Lashley seventeen so he knows the feeling. Now he is on top of the mountain and everyone wants to take his title. Last week he felt Drew quiver and shake in the Hurt Lock, which Drew agrees is no joke. Drew is ready to fight right now but MVP says they’re waiting for Saturday. MVP promises Drew loses so Drew says maybe he can go be an Amazon driver instead. Or he can say screw that and come win the title back at Wrestlemania. King Corbin comes out to promise to beat up Drew tonight.
Riddle and New Day make jokes about Omos getting Kofi pretty high last week. Kofi Kingston hopes no one gets that high over the weekend but knows they’ll win. Oh and Riddle is ready for Sheamus, even though he smells bad.
AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods
AJ has the Calf Crusher on in less than a minute so Kofi throws the microphone at Omos for a distraction. That makes AJ let go of the hold and Woods grabs a small package for the pin at 1:18. This has been your first example of “get them out of the ring before they can get hurt during Wrestlemania week”.
New Day goes into the stands to celebrate with the titles.
Bad Bunny and Damien Priest show up in a $3 million Bugatti.
Video on Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon, including the announcement of their cage match at Wrestlemania.
Here is Braun Strowman in a cage for a chat. Strowman is sick of being tired of being called stupid, even with Shane having his fake report card last week. At Wrestlemania, Strowman is fighting for everyone who has ever been called stupid. At Wrestlemania, it isn’t going to be here comes the money, but here comes the body bag. Cue Shane McMahon to say the decision to have a cage match is not that stupid. Shane promises to beat Strowman at Wrestlemania and that is going to make him feel stupid. This is still a horrible feud, but at least this was coherent and not something that made me want to lash out irrationally.
Braun Strowman vs. Elias/Jaxson Ryker
The double teaming puts Strowman down to start and Ryker hits a top rope headbutt. Elias hits a top rope splash called an elbow, but Strowman kicks both of them off at once. That makes Shane take off his jacket to come to the ring but Strowman knocks Elias and Ryker away, sending Shane backtracking. Strowman clubs them down and hits back to back powerslams for the pin at 2:36.
Miz and John Morrison have buckets of paint….and use it on the Bugatti, complete with HEY HEY, signatures and a painting of a bunny. Good thing it’s a white car.
Post break Bunny finds his car and panics a good bit, only to have Miz and Morrison jump him from behind. Agents and Priest make the save as Bunny seems more surprised than hurt.
We recap the contract signing between Rhea Ripley and Asuka from last week. It turned violent and led to a tag match this week.
Rhea Ripley says she and Asuka have to work together tonight or they’ll get destroyed. Asuka can wait for vengeance.
There will be a four team Tag Team Turmoil on Saturday, with the winners getting a Women’s Tag Team Title match on Sunday.
Asuka/Rhea Ripley vs. Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler
Non-title. Shayna and Asuka shove each other around to start with Asuka taking her down and stepping on her face. Ripley comes in and throws Baszler around so it’s off to Jax for the power showdown. Jax picks her up but Ripley slips out and….tags Asuka right in. Jax runs Asuka over for two but she is right back with a Codebreaker.
It’s back to Ripley, who is distracted by Reginald and sent into the apron as we take a break. Back with Jax dropping an elbow on Ripley to keep her in trouble. That’s broken up in a hurry and the hot tag brings in Asuka to clean some house. A knee to Baszler gets two but Ripley turns on Asuka, allowing Baszler to hit a running knee for the pin at 12:01.
Rating: C-. Makes as much sense as anything else, as it isn’t like there was any reason for Ripley and Asuka to work together. Ignoring that this is the fourth time in a month and a half that we have had people feuding for a title facing the Tag Team Champions between Raw/Smackdown/NXT, the match at least made a bit of sense this time around.
We look back at the Hurt Business splitting up last week.
Cedric Alexander, with Shelton Benjamin by his side, grabs MVP by the jacket and says Lashley is nothing without the two of them backing him up. Violence is teased but Cedric and Shelton let him go and leave. MVP says he isn’t worried about Lashley vs. Cedric tonight. He talks about how many great things he did for the two of them when Lashley comes up to ask what happened. Lashley promises pain for Cedric tonight.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are happy with their win when the women in the Tag Team Turmoil match on Saturday (for the shot at the Women’s Tag Team Titles on Sunday) and Billie Kay come in to say they’ll win. Jax’s “YOU DON’T EVEN GO HERE” to Natalya/Tamina was funny. Not as funny as when Bianca Belair said it in NXT last year, but still funny.
Video on Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre.
Cedric Alexander vs. Bobby Lashley
Non-title. Hold on though as Shelton Benjamin comes in to help Cedric jump Lashley before the bell. Lashley knocks them away and we officially get going with Lashley sending Cedric into the corner. A neckbreaker gives Lashley two and they head outside with the beating continues. Cedric’s forearms to the back have no effect so Lashley sends him into the corner for the running shoulder to the ribs. Outside again with Alexander being sent ribs first into the post as we take a break.
Back with Alexander hammering away but being sent outside. Benjamin saves Alexander from going into the post again so it’s the Neuralizer to stagger Lashley back inside. A missile dropkick gives Alexander two but Lashley plants him with a spinebuster. The spinning Big Ending sets up a powerbomb/spinebuster (Lashley got him so high that it could have been either) and the Hurt Lock finishes Alexander at 10:20.
Rating: C. This was longer than I would have expected and it was nice to see Alexander get in some offense before going down as he should have. As stupid as it is to split up the Hurt Business before they could really become great, Lashley running through them has been effective. Granted he could have run through some other talented people to get here but leave it to WWE to mess up something good.
Post match Lashley won’t let go so Shelton comes in for the save, earning himself a beating of his own.
Video on Fiend vs. Randy Orton.
Here are Damien Priest and Bad Bunny to address what Miz and Morrison did earlier. Priest says it’s easy to jump Bunny 2-1 so let’s make this a tag match at Wrestlemania. Bunny talks about how he has been a huge fan for a long time and watched wrestling with his dad. He is only here to do his job and perform his song about Booker T., but now he has to deal with these two.
After switching to Spanish for a bit, Bunny says he doesn’t respect Miz anymore and at Wrestlemania it is time to give him a whipping. Miz and Morrison pop up on screen to mockingly applaud everything Bunny and Priest said. The tag match is on and they ride off in their limo.
Mustafa Ali talks to Sheamus about how Riddle cost him the US Title. Tonight, he’s taking care of Riddle, but that’s not cool with Sheamus. He’s rather serious about this but Riddle splits them up with his scooter.
Mustafa Ali vs. Riddle
Non-title….and a bunch of colorful birds come flying at the screen when Riddle jumps up to kick off his shoes. I know it happened last week and it’s still bizarre. Riddle takes him down for the early triangle choke attempt but Ali is out in a hurry. Ali gets in a chinlock of his own but Riddle breaks that up just as fast and sends him outside for a kick to the chest. A Sheamus distraction (thanks to the hat) lets Ali drop Riddle on the floor as we take a break.
Back with Ali hammering away in the corner and grabbing a bodyscissors to work on the ribs. Riddle gets him up and drops back for the break, meaning it’s time for some breathing. They get back up with Riddle hitting the running forearms in the face, only to have Ali go back to the ribs. A few kicks get two and Ali grabs a guillotine choke but Riddle isn’t having any more of this. The choke is quickly reversed into a Bro Derek for the pin at 10:32.
Rating: C. This is another match that could have been something interesting if it meant anything other than softening Riddle up for Sheamus. That being said, I can go for Riddle activating Beast Mode and destroying someone, though I do wish it wasn’t Ali. They did what they needed to do here, even if it wasn’t something I wanted to see.
Drew McIntyre is ready to run through King Corbin and move on to the title match. He isn’t sure why Corbin thinks this is a good idea, but it’s a Claymore and the pin.
Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin
Before the match, Bobby Lashley promises to put McIntyre to sleep at Wrestlemania. MVP is on commentary as they shove each other around to start. Drew grinds away on a headlock for a bit before running Corbin over for two. Corbin manages the slide underneath the corner into a clothesline for two of his own, followed by a hard whip into the corner to drop McIntyre again. A belly to back slam gives Corbin two more and they head outside.
This time Corbin is whipped into the steps though and McIntyre smiles as we take a break. Back with McIntyre getting two off of a bridging northern lights suplex and then hammering away. Corbin sends him to the apron and then into the post though, which has MVP rather pleased. Back in and Corbin gets two of his own off a suplex of his own before crucifixing the arms and elbowing McIntyre in the head.
Corbin cuts off a comeback attempt with a chokeslam for two. Another under the ropes clothesline is cut off with a spinebuster for a jackknife cover into a near fall. McIntyre grabs the Futureshock for two because THIS MATCH NEEDS TO KEEP GOING. Corbin catches him on top and gets two more off a superplex, followed by Deep Six for the same. That’s enough for MVP, who says that this is about taking out McIntyre, meaning it’s time to send in the cane. Of course it takes too long and McIntyre hits a (very leg slappy) Claymore for the pin at 18:00.
Rating: C+. Well thank goodness they split up the Hurt Business because otherwise we could have had McIntyre fighting the two of them here instead of Corbin vs. McIntyre for the better part of twenty minutes. Gotta get that Corbin in there though, as he doesn’t have anything to do at Wrestlemania and it wouldn’t be right to not have him do the same power moves that he has done since he debuted. Throw in the “oh dang we need to wrap this up” finish and this was entertaining, but really frustrating at the same time.
Lashley comes out for the big showdown to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This show served one purpose and one purpose only: to get you fired up for Wrestlemania. What we got was good enough in that regard, but watching an eighteen minute Corbin match might not exactly light you up all that much. The rest of the show had some moments, but you could feel every minute of this three hour commercial, with only a few parts being noteworthy. It isn’t like there were expectations coming into this one, though I’m not sure how much more it made me want to see the shows.
Xavier Woods b. AJ Styles – Small package
Braun Strowman b. Elias/Jaxson Ryker – Powerslam
Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax b. Asuka/Rhea Ripley – Running knee to Asuka
Bobby Lashley b. Cedric Alexander – Hurt Lock
Riddle b. Mustafa Ali – Bro Derek
Drew McIntyre b. King Corbin – Claymore
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If they’re going to protect people from getting injured right before WM by keeping the matches short (which they should), why the hell would they let McIntyre wrestle an 18 minute match against Corbin?
The last RAW before WM should always be way more promo-heavy than matches.
Wrestlemania looks terrible this year. Other than smackdown main event, there is nothing new here. WM has lost that special feeling.
Sasha and Bianca isn’t new? What about Asuka and Rhea Ripley? Seth Rollins and Cesaro not new enough for you either? Pretty sure Shane and Braun have never had a Singles Match either.