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WWE Raw preview (Feb. 22, 2021): Lame Duck

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Live from ThunderDome!

The Headliner

The Miz is WWE champion.

Since there’s no official preview yet for the Raw after Miz’s second successful cash-in closed Elimination Chamber on Feb. 21 - and since our call for action on his Money in the Bank briefcase in this space last week was clearly the driving force behind WWE’s booking decision last night (that’s sarcasm) - let’s play out the next few months, shall we?

A quick recap of how we got here... Miz won the Money in the Bank contract from Otis last October thanks to Tucker turning on his Heavy Machinery partner. He failed a cash-in at TLC in December, but got the case back on a technicality since John Morrison handed it to the referee. He’s been on the short-end of a feud with 24/7 champ Bad Bunny since Royal Rumble, and got the taste slapped out of his mouth by the chart-topping musician backstage last night. Now he’s holding Raw’s top prize just six weeks away from WrestleMania 37.

The big question is whether WWE will keep the strap on the A-Lister for this year’s Showcase of the Immortals. He’s clearly a name they value; he’s always on their television programs, doing outside press for the company, working with their partners on things like movies & reality shows, etc. ‘Mania is a two night affair again this year. One main event is set for Tampa with Edge vs. Roman Reigns official, and they have choices for the other night (Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair, whatever John Cena or Goldberg do - if anything, even Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton) if they decide a Miz title defense isn’t show-closing caliber.

Or, his reign could be a short one. This win came after Drew McIntyre was softened up by not only his successful title defense in an Elimination Chamber match, but also an attack by Bobby Lashley. That seems to have been the product of an alliance Miz forged with MVP in a different backstage segment earlier in the PPV. The brains of The Hurt Business probably wasn’t negotiating for guest spots on Miz & Mrs., so I’m guessing he’ll be wanting to collect a title shot for Lashley soon.

Can Miz weasel his way out of that? The way The All Mighty’s been presented of late, it’s hard to imagine him losing to Miz, even with shenanigans. Is Lashley/McIntyre a more palatable WrestleMania title program than the Awesome One vs. anyone? I’m guessing it is, and we haven’t even talked about how Morrison & Miz are rumored to be facing Bad Bunny & his pal Damian Priest at Raymond James Stadium the weekend of April 10 yet.

It’ll be interesting to see how WWE plays the next month-and-a-half. If I was the booker man? Turn up the heat on the real ‘Mania feud by having Lashley help Miz retain again in a rematch. Kill a couple weeks with the A-Lister trying to squirm out of his deal with MVP before he gets backed into a corner and loses the strap to Bobby (Bunny could also either get involved, or just laugh in Miz’s face afterwards to advance that program). Then we get Drew’s revenge tour, culminating in him regaining the WWE championship at WrestleMania - this time with some fans in the stands cheering.

Give us your armchair booking below, and we’ll see how Vince McMahon & team do it starting tonight on Raw.

The title scene

Before we do any fantasy booking for Raw Women’s titleholder Asuka, WWE has to remember she’s the champ. Lacey Evans’ pregnancy left her in catering last night, and the way the division has been booked during her reign, it’s going to take work to build someone like Peyton Royce into a credible challenger - or to transition Charlotte Flair out of her family drama.

Either Nia Jax or Shayna Baszler would make viable #1 contender’s. But after retaining the WWE Women’s Tag Team championship thanks to an ill-advised champagne toast, they still have defenses against the red brand’s Lana & Naomi and NXT’s Raquel González & Dakota Kai awaiting them.

Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin are more like Asuka in that they don’t have clear challengers in place for their Raw Tag Team belts. Maybe Lucha House Party get another shot after they picked up a win in six-man action last week?

After pinning Morrison in a Triple Threat (and protecting Lashley in the process), LHP’s frequent partner Riddle is the United States champ. Big question here remains what’s going with Keith Lee, and how the friendly rivalry between the Limitless One and the Original Bro will play out now that Riddle won gold in his absence.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- If Lashley and Miz are joining McIntyre in the top program as it appears, that leaves Sheamus out in the cold again. Despite entering last, he didn’t even make it to the final two of the Chamber match last night. The Celtic Warrior was eliminated by fellow heel AJ Styles, so that doesn’t seem like a likely rivalry.

- With dreams of KofiMania 2 dashed, will New Day resume beefing with RETRIBUTION? After Mustafa Ali’s squad again tangled with Ricochet on the Elimination Chamber Kickoff, will the One and Only team-up with Kingston & Xavier Woods?

- Alexa Bliss stayed out of Randy Orton’s business in the Chamber, but she keeps warning him (and us) about Bray Wyatt’s rebirth.

It’s the Elimination Chamber fallout show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?