With very little announced ahead of WWE Raw, it was unclear what action would fill the three hour broadcast. Shockingly, there were a number of big names either appearing on the show unannounced or making their returns to the ring. Included in that group was Kevin Owens, who was back in action for the first time since his WrestleMania 36 win over Seth Rollins, helping the also-returning Apollo Crews take out Andrade and Angel Garza in tag action.
Edge and Randy Orton opened the show, following up on Orton's challenge for a "wrestling match" at Backlash after Edge had won a Last Man Standing "fight" at WrestleMania. Edge, unsurprisingly, accepted the terms of Orton's challenge, meaning WWE fans will get their first taste of Edge in typical singles action at the upcoming pay-per-view.
Also of note, Seth Rollins brought a new disciple into the fold. After Austin Theory was cast out by Zelina Vega, Andrade and Garza, Rollins extended his black hand. Theory took it, and helped Murphy attack Aleister Black before sharing a hug with The Monday Night Messiah.
Let's take a look at all the action that went down on Raw.
WWE Raw results, grades
Edge accepts Randy Orton's challenge: The opening of Raw began with Orton again challenging Edge to a "wrestling match" after being asked by Charly Caruso exactly what he meant in the main event of last week's Raw. Orton went on to explain that the challenge is simple considering "wrestling" is the second word in the WWE acronym and that not every athlete -- whether in WWE or outside of it -- can do what they do. Midway through Orton's promo, Edge's music hit. He again claimed that Orton may well be the best wrestler in the world, but he had everything handed to him with wrestling as a fallback option in his life. Meanwhile, Edge claimed he had to scratch and claw for everything he got, and in doing so, became even better than Orton in the ring. "You don't love the sport like I do, like the rest of the locker room does," Edge said before accepting the match at Backlash. It is going to be tough for them to live up to the billing of the match, and the storyline is a bit weak, but both got the job done. Grade: B
Seth Rollins shares his revelation: Appearing rejuvenated backstage and not the disheveled mess he was last week while wearing a black suit with his hair pulled back, Rollins told Murphy he had a revelation that he could not wait to share. After the break, Rollins said Rey Mysterio helped him understand that "without darkness, there can be no light," but that Mysterio was a cathartic sacrifice for the greater good as Rollins now understands the leader he needs to be. Rollins then told Mysterio "you're welcome" from the bottom of his heart. Humberto Carrillo interrupted Rollins to call him a coward while referring to Mysterio as a hero and his idol. Rollins cut him off and said he was not dressed to compete, but Murphy was ready despite having a match later in the show. The mic work from Rollins continues to be solid. Grade: B
Murphy def. Humberto Carrillo via pinfall after hitting Murphy's Law. This was a very solid little match between two top-tier in-ring performers. Rollins played his part at ringside to ensure Murphy managed to get the victory. After the match, Rollins gave Murphy a head nod, leading Murphy to continue his attack on Carrillo. It only took a moment for Aleister Black to make his way to the ring to make the save. Rollins immediately walked up the ramp to make his escape as Black took it to Murphy and chased him from the ring after a missed Black Mass. Good short match and a good continued build to Murphy's renewed rivalry with Black makes for a good segment. Grade: B-
Liv Morgan opened up by sharing that her mom is her hero because of her determination. While the loss to Charlotte Flair last week was devastating, Morgan said it taught her that she is just like her mother and she has her sights set on one day being Raw women's champion. The more character development for Morgan, the better. Grade: B
Charlotte Flair (c) def. Ruby Riott via submission in a non-title match: Flair opened her segment by doubling down on her comments to Bayley from SmackDown about there being levels of champions with Flair promising she will prove that she's the greatest on Friday night when they go head-to-head. Riott got some good offense in during the early portion of the short match, but Flair quickly took over with her cunning and locked in the Figure Eight for the win. Grade: C
MVP continued recruiting Bobby Lashley, interrupting an interview he was doing backstage with Caruso. MVP said he and Lashley have been speaking but they will not be doing business together because he's focused on "clowns" like R-Truth and Lana. The latter reference angered Lashley, but MVP calmed him down by playing reverse psychology and saying Lashley would prefer to take the easy route against guys like R-Truth and enjoy his trophy wife rather than a real trophy like the WWE championship. MVP continues to crush it with storyline development. Grade: A
King Corbin pitched a fit backstage demanding to know why he did not have his own locker room and why his crown was smudged when he arrived. Corbin is on Raw as part of the brand-to-brand invitation that began last week. Later in the show, he said he carried WWE champion Drew McIntyre for an entire year on Raw, would beat him tonight and then see him again in the main event of WrestleMania 37. Grade: C
Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth via submission with a Full Nelson. Before the match, Truth threw out another threat to Tom Brady, saying he would sack Brady to win back his 24/7 championship -- again, confusing the quarterback with teammate Rob Gronkowski. After Lashley charged toward Truth, Truth ducked from the ring and popped in the Pretty Ricky fake teeth. That didn't do much to help Truth, however, because Lashley brutalized Truth, smashing him into ring post and paintbrushing him back inside the ring. Lashley locked Truth in the Full Nelson he used to win last week before turning it into a slam. Lashley scooped Truth back off the mat and locked the Full Nelson in again to force the submission. Post-match, MVP made his way to the entrance ramp, applauding Lashley's violent efforts. Lana, meanwhile, was shown throwing a tantrum in the backstage area. Grade: B-
Women's Tag Team Championship -- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) def. The IIconics via disqualification. Bliss hit Twisted Bliss on Billie Kay fairly early into the match. Peyton Royce made the save and snapped on Bliss. Royce slammed Bliss into the ring post repeatedly. When she failed to obey the referee's directions to stop the match, The IIconics were disqualified, allowing Bliss and Cross to retain the titles while building on the interesting new "mean streak" version of The IIconics and almost certainly building up to a rematch in the near future. After their loss, The IIconics were shown backstage with Kay slapping Royce after blaming her from the loss. The two then cried over their mutual disbelief toward Kay's actions as their emotional evening continued. Grade: B
Asuka championship celebration crashed by Nia Jax, Kairi Sane attacked: With a red carpet in the ring and balloons all over the WWE Performance Center, Sane welcomed the new Raw women's champion. She handed Asuka a bouquet of flowers as the new champion celebrated wildly and then listed all of her partner's accomplishments in the ring as a grand slam champion. Sane then began playing a recorder as Asuka danced, which led to Jax interrupting. Jax told Asuka she has nothing to celebrate because she was handed the title and promised to take it off her soon. As Sane tried to get between them and Jax stepped to the champion, Asuka attacked and cleared her out of the ring.
Later in the show, after Asuka and Sane finished celebrating, Jax was shown tracking down Sane while alone and throwing her into a road case, interrupting her recorder playing. This led to Asuka finding Jax and confronting her, eventually pulling her down by her ponytail and hitting a roundhouse kick. Jax's promo made little sense considering it was explained in storyline why Asuka was champion, and it was not delivered well either. Sane and Asuka, however, were great as usual throughout all parts of this. Grade: B-
Shayna Baszler def. Natalya in a submission match: Natalya was the aggressor early, locking Basler in both a Sharpshooter and knee bar that she had to escape. However, when Baszler got out of the knee bar, she cinched in the Kirifuda Clutch until Natalya passed out. Natalya sat despondent in the ring and then expressed her frustration after the match as WWE's crew began setting up for the KO Show, throwing equipment all over the place. Quick match but another dominant performance for Baszler to look strong, and Natalya's actions afterward at least provide a bit of intrigue. Grade: C+
Kevin Owens returns, surprises Zelina Vega's faction: In Owens' first appearance in six weeks, he explained that he finally got a WrestleMania moment but injured himself in the process, which is why he has been absent from television. Now that he's back, he wanted to welcome Zelina Vega's organization of Andrade, Angel Garza and Austin Theory. Vega propped up each of the three men -- who were shown fighting backstage earlier in the show -- and said that they come from the streets so they know how to handle themselves, while Owens is used to being on the sidewalk. With that, Vega asked Owens why he was standing on the ring apron, so he explained that the ring would be too crowded. Apollo Crews' music hit, and after a few weeks out of action with a knee injury, he ran down and immediately attacked Andrade as all five men brawled to commercial. Everyone in the ring is better than the result of this segment, which was boring and did not accomplish anything. Grade: D
Kevin Owens & Apollo Crews def. Andrade & Angel Garza via pinfall: Another short match with Owens and Crews getting in most of the offense. Crews got the hot tag and immediately went after Andrade, knocking him from the ring ropes. That's when Austin Theory got involved to try and distract the referee. Instead, Crews pushed Garza into Theory and grabbed the legal man for a spinning sit down powerbomb. After the match, Andrade and Garza attacked Theory all around ringside with Zelina Vega screaming that he was "useless" and she never should have believed in him. The post-match attack leads one to wonder whether Theory is headed back to NXT. It was a nice segment considering Crews got over and there was some intrigue. Later in the evening, Crews threw down another challenge to Andrade, saying he would challenge for the United States championship next week. Vega interrupted and said that Crews had a choice to walk away with his one good knee, or take the match and never walk again. Crews said he'd take the match and would walk away with the title. Grade: B
Drew McIntyre had no problem cutting down King Corbin, who he said is a terrible person not only in the ring due to his dastardly antics but outside the ring as well. McIntyre said he's seen Corbin in action over the years and despises him, so he has a Claymore "fit for a king" in the main event of the show.
Aleister Black def. Murphy via disqualification: Black wasted no time going at Murphy, but before the match could truly get underway, things took a turn on the outside of the ring. With Austin Theory still down on the outside, Seth Rollins reached out a hand and pulled him back to his feet before sending Theory into the ring. Theory attacked Black for the disqualification before helping Murphy put a brutal two-headed beating on Black. Rollins hugged Theory, who returned the hug as a new, young powerhouse became Rollins' newest disciple. Theory being put with Rollins is a brilliant partnership and he fits much better with Rollins than as a part of Zelina Vega's group. Grade: B+
The Viking Raiders welcomed The Street Profits to an axe throwing competition. Out in a field filled with other vikings, the Raiders welcomed the Profits with a gift of "smoke" (a campfire). After the Raiders hit the bullseye every time they threw the axe, Montez Ford threw it as far as he could. The Raiders asked what was wrong and guessed there was "too much smoke," so they took logs off the fire. Angelo Dawkins' try was no better as he threw his axe backwards into a water barrel. The Raiders held off some angry vikings. The Raiders continued to throw bullseye after bullseye while the Profits missed every throw ... until, like the Raiders in the basketball game last week, Ford hit a bullseye on his last throw. A police car showed up with an axe embedded in its windshield. Dawkins then threw an axe backward for a bullseye. The police then confronted The Raiders about the dangers of throwing axes. But the female cop agreed to let them go this time, only because Ivar was cute, but not Erik. This did not have the charm or humor of last week's basketball game and was a slog across way too many segments through the show. Grade: C-
Drew McIntyre (c) def. King Corbin via pinfall in a non-title match after a Claymore Kick. Before the match, Bobby Lashley and MVP walked to the entrance ramp to announce their interest in what happened in the match. Lashley told McIntyre that he had his sights set on the WWE championship. The match was a bruising affair between two big men. McIntyre took some early action to Corbin on the outside, including a big clothesline over the ringside barricade. McIntyre continued his recent gimmick of kicking out of most pin attempts at one in the moments where Corbin did get the upper hand. Corbin accused McIntyre of being a follower, which sparked a late comeback for the champion. Corbin would manage to counter the first attempt a Claymore Kick into Deep Six, but moments later ate the kick for the pin. McIntyre and Corbin showed some solid chemistry and even threw a few curveballs in with the Deep Six counter to the Claymore. After the win, McIntyre stared down Lashley and told him, "I want to fight you." Grade: B