The Royal Rumble is over and the road to WrestleMania continues. Elimination Chamber is three weeks away. You can read my detailed review of the five hour Royal Rumble in case you haven’t done so already. I also wrote a 10 Takeaways column from the Royal Rumble for The Comeback, so check that out as well because I go a bit more in-depth in breaking down the matches a well as talking about the future. Let’s see what WWE has in store for us following the Rumble.
Live from Phoenix, Arizona (for the third night in a row), this is the Raw Deal for episode #1339 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you want to support us at TJRWrestling, here’s a Donate Link for our Paypal to contribute in some way to help us grow the site.
The show began with a shot of the WrestleMania above the ring, which his going to be a common thing for the next two months. Get ready for some sign pointing and staring as the banner says.
This week’s Raw begins with the entrance of Seth Freakin’ Royal Rumble Winner Rollins, who got a big ovation from the crowd. Rollins entered the ring for a promo.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
The fans greeted Rollins with a loud “Burn it Down” chant as Rollins soaked it in for about a minute. Rollins said that the reason he was going to outlast 29 of those guys in the Royal Rumble was his heart, determination, passion and love. Rollins said that tonight he is in the ring saying that Seth Freakin’ Rollins is going to the main event of WrestleMania, which led to the camera angle showing the WrestleMania sign of course. The fans chanted “you deserve” it for him. I agree. Rollins said that he promised himself he wasn’t going to do it, but it could be once in a lifetime, so he’s gotta point at the sign and he did #ThePoint at the WrestleMania sign. Rollins said that's all he's ever wanted to do in his life and he looked like he was almost crying with tears of joy.
Rollins said that now he's got a choice to make where he could go to Smackdown and challenge a long time friend of his, the WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Rollins said that the other path would take him to Suplex City where he would challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Champion. Rollins said that he’s going to take some time to think about his decision…and here comes Triple H.
Triple H, the suit wearing McMahon in-law, made his entrance as he walked out to the ring to greet Rollins. There were some “NXT” chants for Triple H.
Hunter said he is glad that Rollins got to live his dream of pointing at the sign. Hunter noted that he challenged Rollins to bring back Seth Rollins because he has known that dream and Hunter paused saying that Rollins got him emotional. Hunter said that he saw that in Rollins, that’s why he challenged him and Rollins stepped up with Hunter saying he’s proud of that. Hunter said that the Royal Rumble tests the limits of superstars to show what they can do and test those limits until there is only one. Hunter said last night we found out who the one is. Hunter said that one is Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Hunter told Rollins he needs to make his decision while adding that Becky Lynch will make her decision tomorrow on Smackdown. Hunter said that he needs Rollins to make his decision tonight because of how fast the “machine” moves. Hunter said that he’s going to give Rollins until the end of the night for his decision while letting us know that Bryan and Lesnar will be there. Hunter said he needs Seth to let him know whose ass he is going to kick at WrestleMania. Rollins thought about it…but here comes Dean Ambrose.
Analysis: That’s a good way to keep viewers interested by letting us know there’s a WrestleMania announcement coming later in the night.
Dean Ambrose walked out to the ring looking unimpressed. Ambrose said that this father-son schtick makes him sick. Ambrose talked about how Hunter didn’t believe in Seth when they were driving around Florida for $500 and Ambrose said that he believed in him while Triple H did not. Hunter pointed out that Ambrose stabbed Rollins in the back when their other brother announced his leukemia is back. Ambrose said it doesn’t concern Hunter and Hunter said everything in the ring concerns him. Ambrose told Rollins he’s a suck up and he called him a pure kiss ass. Ambrose said that he hopes Rollins beats Lesnar or Bryan, but the one guy that he’s never been able to beat fair and square without Corporate Kane, J&J or this guy’s help (meaning Triple H) and that is Ambrose. Ambrose challenged Rollins to a match right now. Rollins seemed fine with it. Hunter was about to leave and Ambrose asked if Hunter had to ask permission from his father in law first. I think fans were chanting “yes he does” there. Hunter said “get me a referee right now” so the match was on.
Analysis: I like the way they did that promo with Hunter out there as the mentor of Rollins, then Ambrose was there to claim Hunter never believed in him and they mentioned the Ambrose backstab on Rollins as well. The line by Ambrose about Hunter needing permission from Vince McMahon was pretty funny. Rollins showed a lot of his emotion during his promo and seemed genuinely happy about things, so that’s something fans can relate to. Ambrose needs to do more in-ring promos like that instead of backstage promos standing in a parking lot.
The match started after the break.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
Rollins was aggressive early on as they spilled out to the floor with Rollins hitting a suicide dive into the barricade. They went to the other side of the ring where Rollins hit a clothesline off the barricade on Ambrose on the floor. When they went back into the ring, Ambrose slammed Rollins down by the back of his head. Rollins came back with a superkick. Rollins with a kick to the ribs and wanted The Stomp, but Ambrose rolled to the apron. Rollins went for a sunset flip on the floor, but Ambrose held on and sent Rollins shoulder first into the ring post. Ambrose whipped Rollins into another ring post. Back in the ring, Ambrose stopped a Rollins dive with a punch to the head and Ambrose hooked the arms into a face first slam for a two count as they went to break about five minutes into it.
The match continued with Ambrose punching Rollins while they battled on the turnbuckle. Rollins with a headbutt followed by a cross body block off the top to take out Ambrose. Rollins worked over Ambrose with chops and a Slingblade neckbreaker. Rollins hit a suicide dive to send Ambrose into the barricade followed by a clothesline when they went back into the ring. Rollins hit another suicide dive to knock down Ambrose outside the ring. Back in the ring, Rollins with a jumping kick to the head. Rollins hit another suicide dive to take out Ambrose on the floor again. Back in the ring, Rollins went up top and missed a Frog Splash. Ambrose with a cradle for a two count. Ambrose wanted Dirty Deeds, Rollins countered with the knee to the face and a Buckle Bomb. Rollins with a kick to the face. Rollins did the “Burn it Down” stomp and Rollins hit The Stomp. It was nice of Ambrose to wait in a crouched position for him. When Rollins hit The Stomp, Ambrose did a silly back bump and Rollins pinned him to win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: *** It was a pretty good match from two guys that have wrestled many times on television and live events, so they know how to have a good match like that. What bothered me about the finish is Rollins hit all those moves to set up the Stomp, then Ambrose has to sit there in a crouch position for five seconds while Rollins cues up the chants and then Rollins hit the move right away. Maybe do something before that to make it look less cheap. Ambrose’s bump after The Stomp was funny with a back bump out of it. That’s fine on a live event for a laugh, but don’t do it that way on TV. I expect Rollins to win every match he has on the road to WrestleMania. If he loses, I’ll be surprised because ideally, you want a wrestler to win matches when they’re going to a championship match at WrestleMania. There are always exceptions, but if it was me booking, Rollins would keep on winning.
Rollins left the ring as the victor. The announcers shilled matches that are still to come. Ambrose was upset about the loss. The Women’s Tag Team Titles were at ringside for the next match.
This week on Smackdown, Daniel Bryan wants to change the climate of WWE forever. Also, Shane McMahon and The Miz are throwing a “Best Tag Team in the World” celebration as the new champion. No mention of Becky Lynch is odd, but I’m sure she’ll be there since Triple H mentioned her.
Dean Ambrose was still in the ring sitting on a chair with a microphone in hand. He said he had something to say, but he was interrupted by Nia Jax’s music. Jax made her entrance with Tamina for their scheduled tag team match. Photos were shown of Jax attacking R-Truth and replacing him in the men’s Royal Rumble. She eliminated Mustafa Ali and was tossed out shortly after.
Jax went into the ring and got in Ambrose’s face for some trash talk. When Ambrose turned his back, Jax hit Ambrose with a forearm and he left the ring while referees showed up to escort him to the back.
Analysis: I am not sure if that is going to lead to anything because it feels random. Jax in the Rumble was the first time in years where WWE allowed intergender action with the men hitting moves on a woman, so perhaps this will lead to Jax facing off against the guys more often. I’m not really a fan of it, but it’s okay if booked well.
UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, it was reported that Ambrose plans to leave WWE at the end of April when his contract is up. I'm surprised by it, but it might explain the way he was booked on this show.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance with her tag team partner Mickie James. I like this team a lot. Bliss and James did a pre-tape promo ripping on their opponents.
Elimination Chamber Tag Team Qualifying Match: Alexa Bliss and Mickie James vs. Nia Jax and Tamina
The winners are in the Tag Team Title match at Elimination Chamber.
Bliss started with Tamina with Bliss hitting a backflip knee to the ribs. Jax tagged in and tackled Bliss into the turnbuckle where James was, so Bliss and James were knocked down by Jax as they went to a break.
The match returned with Tamina grounding Jax with a headlock. Bliss came back with a sunset flip into a pin for two. Tamina knocked down Bliss with a sloppy looking clothesline. Jax tagged in with a headbutt on Bliss. Jax hit a running hip attack on Bliss against the turnbuckle and then pinned Bliss against the turnbuckle with her giant ass. That drew a reaction from the crowd. Jax slapped on a chinlock on Bliss. Tamina tagged back in with a headbutt. Bliss came back with a kick to the face and Bliss hit another sunset flip for a two count. Bliss grabbed the hair and Tamina, avoided a punch and James got the hot tag. James went up top and connected with the Thesz Press. James with a back elbow followed by a headscissors takeover and a neckbreaker got a two count. James with a spin kick leading to Jax tagging back in. James wanted a DDT, Jax pushed her away. Jax had James on her shoulders for a Samoan Drop, Bliss went up top for an attack, so Jax grabbed Bliss and placed her on her shoulders too. Jax gave James and Bliss a Samoan Drop at the same time with Jax pinning James for the pinfall win after 10 minutes. It was a big move for the finish that the crowd popped for.
Winners by pinfall: Nia Jax and Tamina
The win means that Jax and Tamina qualify for the Elimination Chamber match for the Tag Team Titles.
Analysis: ** It was okay. It’s clear that WWE wants to utilize Jax a lot again, so putting them in the Chamber match makes sense to make them the biggest threats to win. Jax was put over in a big way by hitting a Samoan Drop on two women at once. The James and Bliss team worked as faces even though they have been heels during their alliance. I don’t think this means they will become faces although Bliss has mostly been a heel on the main roster for the last three years. This was all about putting over Jax with Tamina there boring us as usual.
Kurt Angle was shown backstage being interviewed about his match with Baron Corbin. A clip aired of Angle getting beat up by Drew McIntyre back in November. Angle said it’s taken him a long time to get over the match with Drew, but it’s taken him longer to get his match with Corbin, so the only person that should be worried is Corbin.
Baron Corbin made his entrance for his match with Kurt Angle at the top of the second hour.
Kurt Angle made his entrance. Corbin did a quick promo to insult Angle, so Angle punched him. Corbin is still wrestling in the dress shirt. I assume it’s because somebody backstage doesn’t like his look without a shirt whether it’s because of tattoos or how he looks.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Angle hit Corbin with a German Suplex. Corbin did his slide out of the ring and come back in the ring with a clothesline. The announcers bickered about things with Graves defending Corbin while Young and Cole ripped on Corbin. Angle fought back by avoiding a corner charge that led to Corbin hitting the steel ring post and Angle hit three German Suplexes for a two count. Cole mentioned when Raw was in charge, Raw had its worst ratings in history. That is actually true. Corbin with a boot to the face. The announcers kept bickering. When Corbin tried to trash talk, Angle slapped him in the face and hit an Angle Slam for a two count. Angle pulled down the straps on the singlet and Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock on the left leg of Corbin. Corbin powered out of it by kicking Angle away. Corbin hit the Deep Six slam that usually gets a two count, but it got a three count in this match. The match went about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put over Corbin, which is fine because he’s the younger guy. I don’t know how many more matches Angle has left at 50 years old, so maybe there will be some angle leading to his retirement at WrestleMania. I don’t know what the plan is for him.
After the match, Corbin went back into the ring and delivered the End of Days slam. That is the usual finisher that Corbin uses. Corbin limped out of the ring. Angle looked frustrated about the loss.
Analysis: It was a cheap attack to get some more heat on Corbin.
Still to come: Seth Rollins makes a WrestleMania decision and Ronda Rousey issues an open challenge.
Finn Balor was shown walking backstage where he was greeted by some other superstars like Rhyno Heath Slater, Apollo Crews, the Heavy Machinery tag team, Bayley and Sasha Banks. Balor was moving slowly as he walked. He is up next.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young were shown on camera talking about the Royal Rumble.
They set up a video package showing Brock Lesnar’s win over Finn Balor at the Rumble. I thought it was a pretty good match that was under ten minutes with Balor looking like he had a chance to win, but Lesnar won with the Kimura Lock submission on the left arm.
Let’s Hear from Finn Balor
Finn Balor made a slow walk down to the ring to sell the match he had with Brock Lesnar because he’s a good professional wrestler that knows it’s important to sell after a big match too. Balor was in street clothes rather than wrestling gear.
Finn Balor stood in the ring saying that last night for ten minutes he went toe to toe with Brock Lesnar. He said he makes no excuses while adding that Brock Lesnar beat him. Balor said that Lesnar beat him again (after the match). Balor said he never felt speed or power like it and never seen it combined. Balor said that today he is hurt, but he is not standing out there with his head hung low. Balor said he’s standing out there with his head held high because last night, Brock Lesnar beat him, then he beat him again because he made Lesnar believe. The fans cheered. Bobby Lashley’s music hit.
As Bobby Lashley walked out to the ring with Lio Rush, Graves noted that Lashley ate 11 donuts earlier and still looks like he does. That's some insightful commentary huh? No word on if they were glazed.
Rush told Balor it wasn’t right that he got a match with Lesnar and added that Balor can’t beat Lashley. Rush said that Lashley is bigger and better than Lashley. Rush continued the trash talk, so Balor pointed out that Lashley lasted only about 12 seconds in the Royal Rumble. That upset the big guy, so Lashley kicked Balor in the ribs and whipped him into the turnbuckle. Lashley picked up Balor and gave him a one armed Spinebuster two times. Lashley was about to leave, but he gave Balor another Spinebuster. Lashley posed over a fallen Balor. Rush took off his “All Mighty” Lashley shirt and put it on Balor, who was left in the ring selling the attack.
Analysis: It was a pretty standard segment to set up a Lashley vs. Balor feud likely for the IC Title. That makes sense since Balor has never been the IC Champion before, so they could do a title change as soon as Elimination Chamber or build it up for Fastlane or WrestleMania where Balor can win the title. Lashley’s slam looks similar to a Chokeslam, but he is grabbing the guy around the waist, so that’s why I’m calling it a Spinebuster like move.
Later on Raw is Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre.
A commercial aired for the Halftime Heat NXT tag team match that airs during halftime of the Super Bowl on WWE Network, Youtube and other places. More details on it here. I’ll be watching that instead of Maroon 5 at halftime. Let’s go LA Rams in the Super Bowl. Get that win for me.
Replays aired of Lashley’s attack on Balor from before the break.
The Revival were in the ring for a tag team match. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins entered as the opponents. A clip aired of them winning the tag team titles about a decade ago.
The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
Ryder and Hawkins dominated early on as they sent the heels out of the ring. Dawson and Wilder took control on Ryder with a double team suplex. Dawson with a belly to back suplex followed by Wilder hitting a leg drop on Ryder for a two count. Ryder came back with a neckbreaker. Hawkins tagged in with Cole noting his losing streak is 256 matches. There was no reaction for Hawkins as he hit dropkicks on both Revival guys. Jumping kick to the head by Hawkins on Dawson. There was a mild “let’s go Hawkins” chant. Dawson decked Hawkins with a clothesline. Rollup from Hawkins got two. Wilder tagged in and that led to the Shatter Machine from The Revival for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Revival
Analysis: * Easy win for The Revival in a match that felt like Superstars instead of Raw. I assume the Ryder/Hawkins team will continue teaming up leading to Hawkins finally getting a win and perhaps they’ll end up as Tag Team Champions again. There’s no need to rush it. Slow build. I’d like to see The Revival doing more than this. I’m sure they want to do more too.
There was a shot of Smackdown’s WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan walking backstage. Bryan had a shiner under his left eye. Charly Caruso asked about Seth Rollins, which led to Bryan saying that they will, then he said we will end all of Seth’s WrestleMania hopes tonight.
Analysis: The black eye from Bryan looked nasty. It’s a rare Raw appearance for Bryan since there’s no Smackdown house show today.
A video aired about WWE’s work with UNICEF Kid Power. They showed clips of WWE superstars hanging out with some kids. There were some kids at ringside.
Elias played a note on the guitar because he is up next.
Let's Hear from Elias
Elias was in the ring playing his guitar. Elias did his usual catchphrase promo with the fans chanting the right things at the right time. There was even the “Walk With Elias” chant to the tune of the famous White Stripes song. Elias said that the fans let him down and they need to be better because, by the time they see him out there, they should be giving him a standing ovation. The fans cheered loudly while Elias said there should be signs for him in every ring across every globe (there’s only one actually). Elias said that we are in the presence of Elias and said we are in the presence of greatness. Graves mentioned the globe line botch. Fans chanted “we’re not worthy” at him while Elias said that he’s not going to sing any more songs for us because his songs are for him. Elias told the fans to shut their mouths and here comes Jeff Jarrett again.
Jeff Jarrett called Elias “slapnuts” and ripped on him for attacking Jarrett with the guitar. The Road Dogg Jesse James showed up wearing “The Man” shirt for Becky Lynch. He did his famous catchphrase intro. He ripped on Elias for saying that he always wants to play for himself and Dogg told Elias to play with himself on his own time. Dogg set up the fans to chant “Suck It” for him.
Road Dogg and Jeff Jarrett started singing the “With My Baby Tonight” song from over 20 years ago. Dogg and Jarret went down to ringside to sing the song, so Elias went up behind Dogg and hit him with a guitar in the back. Jarrett went after Elias with Jarrett working over Elias with punches and Jarrett decked him with a hard punch to the jaw. Jarrett always threw a good punch. Jarrett picked up a guitar and the fans wanted him to hit Elias with hit, but Elias punched him in the ribs. Elias hit Jarrett in the back with the guitar. Elias stood over a fallen Jarrett and the fans booed him.
Analysis: Elias is back to being a heel after about three months as a face. They used the legends to spout some catchphrases and have Elias disrespect them to set up his turn. Elias also ripped on the crowd during his promo, so that helped accelerate the turn. I think Elias is better as a heel. His matches were so boring as a face because he was not good at working the face style. He's more comfortable as a heel. In other news, Jeff Jarrett has started working for WWE as an agent/producer, so he might be involved in this storyline further. Road Dogg has been part of the creative team for a few years and is a top writer on Smackdown.
Dana Brooke went up to Natalya backstage and said that she’ll be a better partner to Natalya than Ember Moon would be. Brooke noted that Moon was Natalya’s first choice, but Moon has some injury. Brooke claimed she’s better than Moon and better than Natalya. They walked away for a tag team match against The Riott Squad.
There was a shot of Mojo Rawley in a darkened room saying it is somebody else’s fault. Mojo said that he is the greatest combination of size, strength, speed and intelligence, but they think he’s a nobody because of “you.” He was looking in a mirror saying that they don’t know who he is because of you. Rawley said that soon everybody will see who he really is.
Analysis: I don’t know where it’s going, but at least the creative team remembered Rawley is still on Raw. Good luck to him with whatever angle he is in. He’s a good guy that deserves a shot to show what he can do. The bad thing about talking to a mirror to yourself is it gave me some bad NWO mirror promo memories.
The women in the tag team match did not get a televised intro. They were already in the ring.
Dana Brooke and Natalya vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan (w/Ruby Riott)
This is for a spot in the Tag Team Title match at Elimination Chamber.
Brooke tagged herself in for her team and she hit a clothesline on Morgan outside the ring that sent Morgan into the LED boards on the side of the ring. There was a spot where Morgan and Logan did a double team move on Brooke, but Natalya made the save. Morgan and Brooke had a very sloppy exchange. Natalya tagged in with a slam on Morgan. Natalya was distracted by Riott. Morgan got a rollup for a two count, but Natalya powered out and slapped on the Sharpshooter. Logan shoved Brooke into Natalya to break up the Sharpshooter and Morgan gave Natalya the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan
The win means that Morgan and Logan are in the Elimination Chamber Tag Team Title match as the second team to qualify.
Analysis: * It was a rushed match with a weak story where Brooke was a glory hound that cost her team the win with her selfishness. I’m not surprised that the Riott Squad went over there. Brooke might be turning into a full heel, which she needs to do because she has had nothing to do for a long time.
Post match, The Riott Squad celebrated the win. Natalya was frustrated with Brooke, who felt bad about what happened.
Ronda Rousey is up next at the top of hour three with an open challenge.
The announcers plugged that the Royal Rumble attendance number was 48,193 people.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance for an open challenge for the Raw Women’s Title. Rousey stood in the ring as fans chanted “Becky” at her.
Rousey said if you can’t dream big, ridiculous dreams then what’s the use of dreaming at all? The fans booed her as she tried to talk about how last year she stepped in the ring at the women’s Royal Rumble. Rousey said she had big dreams and a year later she stands before us as the Raw Women’s Champion. The fans kept booing Rousey. Rousey said that Banks has more passion and desire than any competitor she has ever faced. The fans chanted “Becky” again and she let them stop.
Rousey moved on to talk about Lynch by pointing at the WrestleMania sign. Rousey said that she knows Becky Lynch is watching and she has a choice to make. Rousey teased the crowd by putting the microphone to her face, then taking the microphone away and here comes Bayley.
Analysis: That was a rough promo from Rousey. It was pretty bad. The fans rejected her because they wanted Becky and Rousey had a tough time getting through it. I guess that somebody decided to just send Bayley out there because Rousey had a tough time getting through the promo.
Bayley said that she’s not Becky Lynch, but she is one half of the Boss N Hug Connection while noting that Sasha Banks gave her the match of her life last night. I don’t agree with that part of it. Bayley asked Rousey to put the championship on the line right here tonight in Phoenix. Rousey held up the title to accept the challenge.
Analysis: It was weird that Bayley had to issue the challenge when Rousey was out there to have the open challenge already. It was supposed to be Rousey issuing the challenge, but then it was Bayley doing the challenge instead because of Rousey's struggles with the promo. They got to where they wanted to go at least.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Bayley
Bayley started the match by working on the left arm of Rousey after Sasha Banks worked on the arm at the Royal Rumble. Rousey came back with an armbar using the ropes as an assist. Bayley came back with a neckbreaker off the ropes. Rousey did a move out of the corner where she tweaked her left knee, so Bayley went after the left knee of Rousey with a leg whip on the rope. Rousey was sent to the floor as the show went to break.
The match continued with Bayley still in control as she drove Rousey into the turnbuckle. The fans sang the “Hey Bayley” song that UK fans often sing for her. Rousey hit two clotheslines, three arm whips by Rousey on Bayley and then Rousey collapsed to the mat because she was selling a leg injury. Rousey worked over Bayley with punches to the ribs and a running elbow to the head for two. The fans were booing Rousey a lot and cheered Bayley for kicking out. When Rousey went for knee strikes, Bayley took down Rousey by the left leg and slapped on a knee bar submission. Rousey got out of the hold leading to both women spilling out to the floor. That was a nice move by Bayley going after the leg. Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly suplex into the barricade for the second commercial break of the match.
Bayley was still in control as she got a nearfall on Rousey. Bayley went up top and hit an elbow drop to the chest. Bayley slapped on the Bank Statement submission for her buddy Banks, but Rousey managed to get to the ropes. Bayley was on the top rope, Rousey went up to the top rope after her and Rousey took down Bayley with the armbar. When Rousey slapped on the armbar on the right arm, Bayley quickly tapped out to give Rousey the win after 16 minutes.
Winner by submission: Ronda Rousey
Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match that got a lot of time with the two commercials. It was probably too long because I think Rousey should have won in a more decisive way. There were definitely some sloppy moments in this match. I liked the psychology of Bayley working on the left arm and leg of Rousey to try to beat her, but Rousey kept coming back. Bayley got most of the offense in the match until Rousey hit that incredible armbar for the finish.
After the match, Rousey shook hands with Bayley along with a staredown out of respect.
Becky Lynch’s music hit as “The Man” made her entrance for a rare Raw appearance. Big pop for Lynch the Royal Rumble winner. Lynch was limping on her left leg because she was selling the injury from the Royal Rumble. Bayley left. The fans greeted Lynch with “Becky” chants.
Lynch said “The Man is back on Raw” as the crowd cheered. Becky told “Ronnie” she told her she would find her way to see her again. Lynch said that the last time she came to her show, Lynch dropped Rousey right there in the middle of the ring. Lynch said that even after that, Rousey never came looking for Lynch to prove that she is the baddest, so Lynch has come looking for her to prove that she is not the baddest. More “Becky” chants. Lynch said that she won the Royal Rumble and unlike Seth Rollins, she doesn’t need much time to think. Lynch to Rousey: “I choose you!" She was talking about the title match at WrestleMania. Lynch: "At WrestleMania, I will break your mystique, I will take your title and I am gonna kick your ass in front of the whole world." The fans loved it.
Rousey grabbed the microphone. She asked Lynch how her leg is and unlike her, she wants the best of Lynch that has ever existed. The fans booed Rousey as she said that she can re-break Lynch’s face faster than she can say Nia Jax. Rousey said that she could kill her with her bare hands and the only thing stopping her was her own choice. Rousey said that they are the same age, so while Lynch was training, Rousey was main eventing in a sport where they didn't even want women competing and then she got to be in the main event. Rousey noted that last year at WrestleMania while Lynch was on the pre-show, Rousey stole the show in her first match. Rousey said she was a household name for a decade. Rousey said she is going to own her at WrestleMania. They had a long staredown and Rousey left. Lynch smiled at her. Cole had a good line wondering if WrestleMania can be tomorrow, which is a way of saying he’s excited about it. A lot of us are.
Analysis: That was awesome. What a great staredown by the two top women in the company and it’s a match that the fans want to see more than anything at WrestleMania. I know the rumors are that Charlotte Flair might be in the match at WrestleMania and I like her a lot, but I would be happy with just a singles Rousey vs Lynch match too. There’s still two months until we get there, though, so there’s no rush. I thought Lynch’s promo was outstanding and it made the fans love her as much as ever. Rousey did an excellent job of firing back at her. Rousey was way more comfortable in that promo than the promo earlier in the night. Great job by the women here.
Braun Strowman was backstage with Seth Rollins. Strowman shook Rollins’ hand, said he earned it at the Rumble and told him to make the right choice at WrestleMania. Strowman’s match is up next.
There was a clip of a Make A Wish kid Ryan Wright at the Make A Wish headquarters in Phoenix where Ryan was surprised by Seth Rollins and Sasha Banks. Ryan got to meet some more WWE superstars. Ryan was also at Raw with his family.
Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre made their entrances for their match.
Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman was in control early in the match as he kicked McIntyre out of the ring. Strowman went after McIntyre on the floor, but McIntyre kicked his leg and Strowman went crashing into the barricade at ringside. The show went to break there about one minute into the match.
The match returned with Strowman selling the leg injury. Strowman punched Rousey with an uppercut and a punch to the chest. Strowman with a clothesline that sent McIntyre over the top to the floor. Strowman was limping as he picked up McIntyre, which led to McIntyre shoving Strowman into the ring post. Strowman slammed McIntyre down on the floor outside the ring. Strowman grabbed the steel steps to attack McIntyre, but Corbin showed up to attack Strowman for the DQ finish after about seven minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Braun Strowman
Analysis: *1/2 It was more of an angle than a match since we only saw about four minutes of action. I’m not surprised that neither Strowman or McIntyre got beat. Build it up as a PPV match down the road.
After the match, Corbin attacked with a steel chair a few times and Strowman punched the chair to knock it out of Corbin’s hands. Strowman whipped Corbin into the steel steps at ringside. Strowman hit a running shoulder tackle on McIntyre and a running shoulder tackle on Corbin as well. Strowman slammed Corbin face first into the steel steps two times. McIntyre got back into it with a Claymore Kick. Corbin and McIntyre hit a double team Chokeslam on
Analysis: Good heel attack on Strowman. It will probably lead to Strowman facing one of them at Elimination Chamber unless there’s a Chamber match for the guys, but we don’t know that yet. I guess it could be a handicap match too.
There was a shot of WWE Champion Daniel Bryan talking to Erick Rowan. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman knocked on Universal Champion Brock Lesnar’s door to let him know they are ready to go. Seth Rollins’ WrestleMania decision is up next.
Next week on Raw: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox for the Women Tag Team Title Match at Elimination Chamber.
Main Event: Seth Rollins Makes His WrestleMania Decision
Seth Rollins was announced, but Brock Lesnar’s music hit. Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, made his entrance with Paul Heyman with about five minutes left until the top of the hour.
Heyman did a promo introducing Lesnar. Heyman said that this is an easy choice for Seth Rollins and he should challenge for the WWE Championship held by Daniel Bryan. Heyman said that they’ll have a great grappling match and put on a sports entertainment clinic because the last thing anybody on this planet wants to do is get into a fight with the Beast, Brock Lesnar. Heyman talked about how difficult it would be to beat Lesnar…and here comes Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins walked down to the ring quickly and got into the ring with Lesnar. They had a staredown with Lesnar smirking at him. When Lesnar turned his head, Rollins punched him, Rollins kicked Lesnar in the ribs (Lesnar hurt his ribs in the match with Finn Balor at the Royal Rumble) and Rollins wanted The Stomp, but Lesnar hit him with a F5 instead. Lesnar picked up Rollins and hit another F5 to Rollins. Lesnar picked up Rollins and hit a third F5 to Rollins. Lesnar hit a fourth F5 on Rollins. Lesnar picked up Rollins one more time for a fifth F5 this time on the Universal Title. Lesnar held up the Universal Title over his head as the fans booed him and Rollins was up against the ropes.
Rollins to Lesnar: "Is that all you got?" Lesnar kneed Rollins in the ribs and hit a 6th F5 to Rollins. That was the end of Raw right at 11pmET.
Analysis: There was no official announcement from Rollins, but it looks like he’ll be going after Lesnar’s Universal Title since Daniel Bryan wasn’t even part of the segment. The plan was reportedly Lesnar vs. Rollins from a few months ago, so it looks like WWE is going to stick with that. I thought this was an effective way to start the mon the road to WrestleMania with Lesnar dominating Rollins with six F5s in a row while Rollins stayed down after the last one. They have over two months until WrestleMania, so there’s plenty of time to build it up. I thought it was a good segment.
After Raw went off the air, WWE announced Lesnar vs. Rollins as an official match at WrestleMania. I really hope Rollins wins the title there.
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) January 29, 2019
Three Stars of the Show
- Becky Lynch
- Ronda Rousey – She is here because of the promo after the match, not before it. The match was fine too.
- Seth Rollins
6 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2019 Average: 6.33
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 7.5, 5.5, 6.5, 5.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)
2019 Low: 5.5 (January 7, January 21)
I give this week’s Raw a 6 out of 10.
It was an average edition of Raw with a strong final hour thanks to a lot of star power that had some quality segments. The highlight of the show was the Lynch face off and promo with Rousey. The crowd came alive for that segment way more than anything else on Raw this week.
The matches were okay with Rousey vs. Bayley and Rollins vs. Ambrose as the best of the night around the three-star level. Other matches on the show were disappointing for the most part.
Prior to the last hour, I was leaning towards a 4 out of 10, so the last hour provided a nice boost to make it a 6 out of 10. I think that Lynch/Rousey segment is going to get a lot of people talking about their WrestleMania match with over two months to go until the match takes place. It was smart of WWE to set it up already because it came one night after the Rumble. Well done by Becky and Ronda. I know the fans booed Ronda lot, but she was great in that post-match promo after a poor pre-match promo. Give her some credit for bouncing back well. Becky continues to be on fire. It's great to see.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Elimination Chamber on February 17 in Houston, Texas. Here’s what we know so far:
Women’s Tag Team Titles Elimination Chamber Match: Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan vs. Raw team #3 vs. Smackdown team #1 vs. Smackdown team #2 vs. Smackdown team #3.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. They’re all good! Thanks for reading.