On a night with two championship matches, it was the announcement of the WWE championship match for WrestleMania that overshadowed the action on Raw. As expected, Drew McIntyre will be the man to challenge for Bobby Lashley's title at the biggest event of the year.
The announcement led to a series of confrontations between McIntyre, Lashley and Sheamus. This culminated in a main event match between Lashley and Sheamus that saw Lashley outlast the Irishman before running into a Claymore from McIntyre. McIntyre will face Sheamus at Fastlane on Sunday, leaving him to face one final huge challenge before getting a shot to reclaim the WWE championship he held for the majority of the past year.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights from all the action inside the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field.
WWE title match set for WrestleMania
WWE champion Bobby Lashley and MVP opened the show with an in-ring promo following a graphic announcing Lashley would defend his WWE championship against Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. The pair discussed the dawning of the "All Mighty Era" before they were interrupted by The Miz and John Morrison. Miz pitched Lashley for a rematch at WrestleMania, only to be interrupted by McIntyre. McIntyre vowed to take out Lashley at WrestleMania, but turned his attention away from the champion, leaving himself open to a blindside attack by Lashley. Miz took advantage and continued the attack while Lashley went up the ramp, only to suffer his own blindside attack at the hands of Sheamus. Sheamus would later explain that he attacked Lashley for attacking McIntyre and sticking his nose into Sheamus' business.
Drew McIntyre def. The Miz via submission with the Hurt Lock. Morrison was involved on the outside of the ring several times, including pulling Miz from the ring to help him avoid a Claymore, leading to his being ejected from ringside. McIntyre sent a message to Lashley when he used the Hurt Lock to force Miz to tap out.
Bobby Lashley def. Sheamus via pinfall after a spear. McIntyre was out to cut a promo prior to the match before setting a chair up at the foot of the entrance ramp to watch the match. The match itself was the expected hard-hitting brawl between the two big men. Sheamus kept Lashley on the defensive for much of the match, but Lashley managed to use the spear to counter a Brogue Kick and score the pinfall. McIntyre entered the ring to hit Lashley with a Claymore before the show went off the air.
The opening 30 minutes of this show -- mostly anchored by the issues between McIntyre, Lashley and Sheamus -- was an absolute disaster of bad writing. Announcing the title match for WrestleMania with a graphic rather than building to it through on-screen story was also a strange decision. Ultimately, the whole thing was saved by a fantastic "big man match" between Lashley and Sheamus. In ring, any mix of the three is going to turn out a great match right now; they're all clicking as performers and willing to take as much as they give in the ring. McIntyre vs. Sheamus at Fastlane should be another great showing, as should McIntyre vs. Lashley on the big stage. Grade: B
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose def. Lana & Naomi via pinfall when Brooke pinned Lana with a spinning neckbreaker. During the match, Asuka made her way to the entrance ramp and brawled with Shayna Baszler, who was on commentary for the match.
- Raw Tag Team Championship -- The New Day def. The Hurt Business (c) via pinfall to win the titles after hitting Daybreak on Shelton Benjamin. A very good back-and-forth match that saw New Day eventually manage to isolate Benjamin and hit a flurry of moves, Kofi Kingston hitting Trouble in Paradise, Xavier Woods hitting an elbow drop and the pair hitting Daybreak to get the pin and win the titles. After the match, AJ Styles came to the ring with Omos. Styles told New Day that he and Omos don't have anything going on at WrestleMania and that they are now a tag team before laying down an official challenge for the titles.
- R-Truth became 24/7 champion once again after Bad Bunny handed him the championship backstage, saying Truth deserved it more. This came after another confrontation between Bunny, Damian Priest, The Miz and John Morrison.
- Damian Priest def. Jaxson Ryker via pinfall after Hit the Lights. After the match, Elias ran in and attacked Priest and grabbed his guitar, but Bad Bunny ripped the guitar away. Elias tried to slam Bunny, but Bunny countered and landed a punch before Priest took out Elias with Hit the Lights. John Morrison was then out, causing a distraction that allowed Miz to hit Bunny with the guitar.
- Shane McMahon beat up Braun Strowman and poured slime on him. Strowman demanded a match, which McMahon accepted. Before the start of the match, McMahon was able to hit Strowman with a camera, then an elbow from the top rope through the announce table before pouring two buckets of slime on him.
- Alexa Bliss addressed Randy Orton, telling Orton that Fastlane would be his chance to get her out of his life, if he was willing to take it.
- Asuka def. Shayna Baszler via pinfall by countering the Kirifuda Clutch into a pin. After the match, Asuka continued attacking Baszler, curb stomping her into the bottom turnbuckle, then removed the pad and attempted to do it again before the referee stopped her.
- United States Championship -- Riddle (c) def. Mustafa Ali via pinfall to retain the title after hitting Bro Derek. T-Bar tried to cause a distraction, but it backfired, allowing Riddle to score the pin and retain the belt.