WWE Raw recap & reactions (April 4, 2022): The real season premiere

The Raw after WrestleMania is the biggest Raw of the year. So of course Claire and I are here to talk about everything that happened, didn’t happen, and why. Claire’s got you on the move-by-move summary, while I got you covered on the analysis.

While I’m not jumping on tables, I will entertain.

Let’s talk Raw!


I Must Break You

Bron Breaker showed up to Raw this week but not for the reason I figured. Bron got his rematch against Dolph Ziggler for the NXT title after getting screwed at Stand & Deliver. While not as good as their previous contest, this was a solid outing with a simple story at its heart.

Ziggler believed Bron wasn’t ready for the big lights of Raw. There’s a difference between wrestling on a Saturday afternoon and on a Monday night. Dolph talked a lot of trash during the match, being the best jackass version of himself. But Bron wasn’t hearing any of that BS.

Like most matches with Bron, it’s about learning from past mistakes. Big Bob Roode made an interference attempt because of course he did. Rather than let Roode stick around and ruin all of his fun, Bron showed an insane amount of hops and leapt over the rope to crash into Roode with a Swanton Dive. That’s a big man capable of doing things big men normally can’t.

With Roode neutralized, Ziggler went for a repeat of their previous championship match. Dolph removed the middle turnbuckle cover and, again, nobody saw it. From there, it was almost an exact repeat of Stand & Deliver: Bron managed to lift Dolph over his head, Dolph poked his eye, and then he pushed Bron into the turnbuckle. But Bron, again showing how much he learns, knew what was coming and put on the brakes before his head collided with steel.

Dolph’s two Superkick attempts went nowhere, and Bron eventually finished it with his Military Press Slam.

Bron regains his title and who knows whether Dolph and Big Bob go back to NXT or not. And the rest of my questions are NXT-related, so tune in tomorrow for those and more during my NXT recap!


The Punishment for the Guilty

I’m digging what Edge and Damian Priest are throwing down. Edge told us he didn’t expect Damian to come out at WrestleMania, but it makes sense. Priest, like Edge, hid his true self trying to appeal to the “sheep” known as WWE fans. Of course, when the fans started chanting “we are sheep,” Edge responded perfectly.

There’s a twisted minister vibe Edge has with this gimmick. He said Damian is someone who understands his message. He asked Damian what was it about his “pearls of wisdom” that inspired him. And Damian, in his explanation, sounded like a churchgoer explaining why he signed up. “I was lost,” Priest said. Edge’s message gave him direction. “Your message? It felt like you were speaking to me. Directly to me.”

Yup, all of that sounds just like something said in churches, cults, and treehouse clubs around the country.

Edge is on a mission to reveal any and every wolf in sheep’s clothing, and as far as he is concerned, the fans are the only obstacle in their way.

Oh, that and AJ Styles.

AJ was rightly upset after losing at WrestleMania, and Edge understands AJ will not stop. Right on cue, AJ made his way to the ring and did what he does best: fight.

But, to Edge’s point, a Pit bull knows only fight, not flight. AJ’s instincts to dive headfirst into a two-on-one situation wasn’t smart. And he paid the price for that lack of intelligence.

This is good and has the potential to be great. It will hit another level if Edge uses his words to entice AJ to join his crew. Will he do it? Probably not. But one can make an argument that bad guy AJ is more accomplished in WWE than good guy AJ.


Extracurriculars

Cody is Here for Dad

Cody Rhodes opened Raw this week. It’s still crazy this is where we are in 2022, and even wilder Cody is opening the flagship show and given free rein to tell his story. Cody talked about rumors, talked about the past, and talked about WrestleMania. But his main point was about his motivation.

Cody is here for to win the WWE Championship. Not just for his fans, not just for his wife and kids, but for his dad.

That’s a great reason for coming back to WWE. Cody has unfinished business on behalf of his dad and wants to correct what he—and a lot of us—feel is an egregious error. The promo was a bit long winded but once Cody got to the emotional crux, it all clicked into place. Seth Rollins made his way to the ring and I figured all hell would break loose. But no, Seth welcomed Cody back and it was all peaceful. I guess that story about Dusty never winning the championship got to him too.

Same, Seth. Same.

VEER IS JUST HERE

Look, this was always going near the top of this list. Miz squashed Dominik Mysterio. Seriously, it wasn’t even a thing. That signaled a tune we’re all familiar with from video packages telling us of his imminent arrival.

Veer rolled to the ring with locks flowing like a Vidal Sassoon commercial. Rather than attacking The Miz, he decimated The Mysterios. Veer is here. Hide your families because he’s out for all of the blood.

Roman Shows Up and Leaves

Speaking of the WWE Championship, the Undisputed WWE Universal champ was the main event this week.

Why is it here instead of getting a whole bunch of words up top? Because he really didn’t say much. Roman talked his talk, gloated about being Brock, and then told us all he’ll talk about the rest of his future later. Long and short of it?

Watch SmackDown this Friday. Meh.

The Champ is Here

I planned to write more for Bianca Belair before the show started, but it turns out there’s not much to write. Bianca came out, cut a dope babyface promo, showed the black eye courtesy of Becky Lynch, and told the world the crucible by fire made her better. She also threw a diss or two at Becky, setting up a rematch down the line.

The one disappointment is there was no challenger. It’s the Raw after Mania and we have no challenger for Bianca’s title. Maybe they wanted to give her this moment to shine while letting that eye heel, but it feels weird to not know what the immediate future holds for one of the red brand’s top stars.

Tornado Tag

Shocker, but The Street Profits and Alpha Academy put on a very good tornado tag match. That wasn’t the initial plan but since these four men have more disdain for the rules than each other, Adam Pearce called an audible and made it an anything goes tornado tag match.

The Alphas dominated this match for the most part. The Profits fought from underneath, a good way to bring back their babyface shine after flirting with the dark side for a few weeks.

The Texas crowd wanted tables and eventually, we got tables. While the Academy brought the tables to the dance, it was Motez Ford and Angelo Dawkins who benefited.

With Otis isolated and Chad Gable placed on the table, Montez took to the sky for Frog Slash that split the table, and Chad, in half.

Good match that didn’t overstay its welcome and was the right amount of chaos.

Rhea Ain’t Happy

Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan lost their championship contenders match to Boss x Glow. Because, of course they did. The champs weren’t losing their first match as champs, even if the titles weren’t on the line. That’s just silliness.

Once again, the story was Sasha and Naomi working like a well-oiled machine. That’s their advantage going into every match, especially since their friendship goes back years. And it showed itself in the last sequence. Rhea and Liv tried their hand at double team moves during the match and it was a success until it wasn’t. Rhea tried to alley-oop her partner onto Sasha, but they took just a tad too long and missed.

That opened the door for Naomi and Sasha to do what they do best, and get out of Dallas with the W.

Rhea though? Rhea isn’t feeling this tag team thing. She was dismayed after the match, didn’t want to talk to her partner or even walk out with her. Later, we found out Rhea convinced the worst managers ever to give her and Liv a tag team title match…even though they just lost a match to do just that. How, Sway?!

My guess? They lose the match and Rhea turns on Liv, then joins Edge’s new Omen-influenced group.

Walk With Ezekiel?

Kevin Owens is great. KO came out and did what great heels do: Made excuses for his L to Steve Austin. Owens talked about his bad back, his workout earlier in the day that aggravated said back, and how Austin is a sham for living with that win in the record book since it was against an unhealthy man. Hilarious. And he managed to give Austin his props in the process.

But then…weird music played and Ezekiel graced us with his presence. Now, far be it from me to call anyone a liar, but this Ezekiel cat looked remarkably like Elias. You remember Elias, right? The man who went away months ago, got a few vignettes about dying and resurrection, and then nothing.

Well, now he’s back. And the gimmick here is he’s obviously Elias but claiming he’s actually Elias’ brother. Ah, yeah, that makes sense. It’s incredibly silly and something the audience can have fun with, which Dallas certainly did.

Et tu, MVP?

MVP called his best friend, Bobby Lashley, to the ring this week. They celebrated Bobby’s victory over Omos and Lashley told the tale of finding a way to beat the monster. MVP said he was proud of Bobby for beating Omos without him.

Yeah, about that.

Omos made his way to the ring, demanded a rematch, and MVP shocked the world when he turned on his former Hurt Business partner.

Good that Omos has a mouthpiece now because talking isn’t his forte. Actually, a lot of the actual wrestling part of pro wrestling isn’t his forte either, but one step at a time.

Bobby vs. Omos just became a bit more interesting with MVP switching sides like water rides.

Poor Finn, Part Infinity

The Uso’s got into Austin Theory’s head earlier this week, motivating him before their six-man tag match against Finn Balor & RK-Bro. Austin vowed to prove everyone wrong and reward Mr. McMahon’s faith in him by destroying Finn.

And it was a solid tag match too. But then, yeah, Austin got another pin on finn. The United States champ looks like a chump week in and week out. No matter how high the match was, this result just sours everything for me.

Corey & Carmella

Sure, we can talk about Queen Zelina and Carmella breaking up. We can talk about Zelina saying Mella is more concerned with her fiancé than winning championships. Nor will we talk about Zelina shooting her shot at Corey.

This segment was all about Corey and Carmella making out. And to that I say “no thanks.”


This was a good episode of Raw. It moved, had a great rhythm, and never felt bogged down. The crowd was hot and the wrestlers delivered when it was their time to shine. So why good and not great? It was an anti-climactic ending, and I can do without the Carmella and Corey madness.

Oh, and of course the continuing mistreatment of the United States Championship. I cannot abide that.

Grade: B+

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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