Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for March 11, 2019. There are just four weeks to go until WWE’s WrestleMania 35 event, so it should be an interesting month as we learn more about the WrestleMania lineup. At least I hope so.
On Sunday night, WWE presented Fastlane and you can check out my review of that here. It was a pretty good show with very predictable matches, so that hurt it a bit. Still, it’s a nice reminder of how much talent there is in WWE because even when you can tell who’s going to win, the matches are usually good. The biggest results as far as Raw goes were The Shield winning the six-man tag team main event match and Becky Lynch “beat” Charlotte Flair by disqualification thanks to Ronda Rousey. That Lynch/Flair result means that Rousey vs. Lynch vs. Flair is officially the Raw Women’s Title match at WrestleMania.
Speaking of Rousey, you may have seen a video she released on her Youtube channel last week where she swore about a bunch of things in WWE, referred to Becky Lynch by her real name (Rebecca Quinn), called wrestling fake and said she didn’t care anymore. It’s all part of her new heel persona where she’s talking like a “shoot” instead of a worked promo. I covered it in this article. Anyway, a lot of memes have popped up in the internet wrestling community to mock Ronda’s words, so I figured I might as well share this one too.
What a heel! She makes a good point, but I’m loyal to The John Report name. Sorry, Ronnie. She might appear again later.
Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1345 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. I recently lost a freelance writing job at another website due to budget cuts. I’m still looking at other writing options too. If you can help in some way, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Here's a note about the banner up top since it is now the fourth Shield reunion graphic that has been seen on a Raw Deal banner in the last four years.
Tonight's Raw Deal review will feature the fourth Shield reunion banner. We also had them in 2018, 2017 and 2016 as you can see here. I predict another in 2020 too. pic.twitter.com/j5gHeFqct0
— John Canton (@johnreport) March 11, 2019
There was a shot of the crowd in Pittsburgh as Michael Cole welcomed us to the show and mentioned there were 27 nights until WrestleMania. That’s when The Shield’s music hit.
The Shield trio of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns made their entrance by walking in through the crowd and the crowd popped big for them. They were wearing their “Hounds of Justice” shirts. They entered the ring to soak in the moment as the fans gave them a big ovation. The Raw announce team is Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young as usual.
Let’s Hear from The Shield with their “Farewell Address”
Roman Reigns started things off by saying that life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Reigns said that if last night is the last time ever, then he has no regrets because he was in this ring doing what he loves with people he loves. Reigns said that last week these guys didn’t let him down and they never have. (I guess we’ll forget about the heel turns.)
Reigns said that he hasn’t had a one on one singles match on Raw in over five months. Reigns said that they can correct that and he can have that match right here in Pittsburgh. Reigns said that Ambrose has some business too. He said he didn’t know what it is and neither does Dean, so he wished him good luck.
Reigns said that Rollins is the one that has the real business. The fans chanted “slay the beast” for Rollins and Reigns said that’s what Seth is going to do. Reigns said that Rollins will beat Brock Lesnar, take that Universal Championship and while he does it, the whole world is going to chant “burn it down” so of course, the fans chanted that. Rollins received hugs from his buddies and they did the Shield fist pose in the ring. The Shield heme song played with Cole noting that on the road to WrestleMania, they are going their separate ways. Rollins was alone in the ring.
Analysis: That was a six-minute segment to wrap up this Shield reunion. The idea behind it was that this is the end of them as a group (for now) and they are on separate paths on the road to WrestleMania.
Seth Rollins was in the ring alone ready to talk about WrestleMania when Paul Heyman showed up for his usual promo. After Heyman did his intro, Rollins did his own “Brock Lesnar” name yell. Rollins noted that Lesnar dominated Big Show, beat Samoa Joe, took Braun Strowman to Suplex City, annihilated Goldberg – that Brock Lesnar? Heyman said yes, that Brock Lesnar. Rollins noted that Lesnar had a real tough time getting by Daniel Bryan, that got pushed to his limit by the “Phenomenal AJ Styles” and the Brock Lesnar that was “this close” by being beaten by Finn Balor. Heyman reluctantly said “yeah” to that. Rollins said that Lesnar has a problem with guys of his size, speed, quickness and ability, but with all due respect to those guys, there is one guy uniquely suited to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania and that is Seth Freakin’ Rollins. Seth said three weeks is all he’s got left because Rollins is taking that Universal Title and bringing it back to Monday Night Raw. The fans chanted “slay the beast” again before Heyman could respond.
Heyman said that there will be no slaying of the beast. Heyman said that Rollins is running down names, but he’s not telling the whole story. Heyman spoke about how Lesnar had no time to prepare for any of those opponents while the fans booed. Heyman: “There’s no booing while Paul Heyman has the mic.” The fans booed some more. That's why Heyman is a great talker. Little things like that. Heyman noted that Mahal became Styles, Styles became Bryan, Strowman became Balor and in every one of those cases, Lesnar had 5, 6 and 12 days to prepare for his opponent. Heyman said that if Rollins wants to meet his client, allow Heyman to introduce him.
A Brock Lesnar video aired for the absentee Universal Champion as if we don’t know who he is.
Heyman said that ever since Rollins won the Royal Rumble, Lesnar has prepared for Rollins. Heyman said if Seth thinks he knows Brock Lesnar, he doesn’t know Brock Lesnar. Shelton Benjamin showed up in the ring and hit two German Suplexes on Rollins. Benjamin hit a third German Suplex on Rollins leading to a break.
Analysis: The attack from Shelton Benjamin is pretty random, but he’s got a connection with Lesnar because they were collegiate wrestlers at Minnesota and they also started in WWE together when they were known as the Minnesota Stretching Crew. Benjamin wasn’t doing anything on Smackdown, so it’s a random move to Raw similar to Kevin Owens and Matt Hardy showing up on Smackdown after being Raw guys. The promos from Rollins and Heyman were pretty good although they did drag on a bit. I liked the point of the promo with Rollins saying that Lesnar had trouble with quicker guys while Heyman tried to come up with excuses for it.
The match started after a break. Paul Heyman was a guest commentator for this match.
Seth Rollins vs. Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin was in control with a headlock followed by a shoulder tackle. Heyman said that Lesnar was training for WrestleMania to explain where he was. Rollins hit a dropkick on Benjamin to knock him out of the ring. Rollins sent Benjamin back in the ring as Heyman mentioned Benjamin was a trainer for Lesnar at the University of Minnesota. Rollins hit a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the middle ropes on Benjamin. Rollins went for The Stomp, Benjamin moved, suplex by Benjamin, but Rollins landed on his feet. Rollins teased a dive and Benjamin stopped him with a knee to the face for a two count. They went to break there.
The match returned with Benjamin hitting a clothesline on Rollins on the floor. Heyman took a phone call while he was on commentary. They went back in the ring with Rollins hitting a headscissors into the turnbuckle. Heyman claimed his client didn’t like the comments from Cole or the video package while adding the Lesnar is on Raw next week. Rollins hit a Slingblade neckbreaker on Benjamin and a springboard clothesline. Cole said about Lesnar: “Maybe he’ll beat me up again.” I hope so. Benjamin hit Rollins with two more German Suplexes. Benjamin picked up Rollins, teased a F5, Rollins break free, Rollins hit two kicks and hit The Stomp for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good match with Benjamin getting a good amount of offense although I don’t think anybody watching this show believed that Benjamin was going to win. The finish could have been set up better because it was just a couple of kicks to the gut to set up The Stomp. They could have done a bit more there to make it more exciting.
Still to come: Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin and Triple H goes face to face with Batista.
Finn Balor, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance as Rollins made his way up the ramp. They shook hands as Rollins walked to the back. Rollins is in an IC Title match after the break. When Balor was in the ring, Lashley’s face was shown on the screen. The match is after the break.
The announce team of Cole, Graves and Young mentioned WWE has 1 billion followers on all social media platforms. It’s an impressive number although it’s not like that matters when it comes to attendance being down and TV viewership numbers going down too. Company profits are way up, though, so that's important.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance without Lio Rush, who has been out selling an injury from when Braun Strowman attacked him last week. They stood in the ring for the championship intros.
Intercontinental Championship: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley
Lashley was aggressive early on with strikes and a chinlock. When Balor got back to his feet, he hit Lashley with a dropkick. Lashley drove Balor into the turnbuckle. Balor went for a kick, Lashley blocked it, they battled on the apron and Balor with two more dropkicks. Balor with a running kick while on the apron leading to a break.
The match returned with Lashley in control with a chinlock. When Balor got moving, Lashley hit a flatliner for a two count. Lashley picked up Balor for a Powerbomb, Balor escaped and dumped Lashley out of the ring, but Lashley came back with a belly to back suplex on the ring apron. Following a punch, Lashley slapped on an armbar. Balor broke free with a basement dropkick. Lashley charged, boots to the face by Balor and Balor hit Lashley with forearms to the face two times in a row. Balor with a double foot stomp to the chest of Lashley. Balor charged, Lashley caught him and slammed Balor back first into the turnbuckle. Lashley went for a slam off the shoulders, but Balor got a rollup for two. Lashley launched Balor into the turnbuckle and Balor with a Slingblade takedown. Balor with a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top and the bell started ringing because Lio Rush did it. That distracted Balor, so Rush grabbed the IC Title and ran to the apron. Balor with a kick to the head of Rush. Balor went for a springboard attack back in the ring and Lashley hit a Spear out of mid-air on Balor for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: **1/4 The match was a bit below average with Lashley in control for most of it and the fans never really got into it. Balor did his best with several dropkicks as well as his other moves, but the fans had a tough time getting into this match. The finish of this match means that Rush is back to being an ally of Lashley after he helped him win this match. I’m surprised there was a title change because Balor didn’t have a long reign as IC Champion. It was less than one month. I thought he would hold the title for longer than that.
Post match, Lashley celebrated the win with Rush while the announcers talked about how they are buddies again.
Later tonight on “A Moment of Bliss” we’ll find out who is the host of WrestleMania.
Baron Corbin was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso, who cued up a video of Corbin’s comments last October. Corbin said that he wished Roman Reigns the best in leukemia, but if he comes back, he hopes it’s not to Raw. Corbin admitted he said it and said he won’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. Corbin said that he wanted Reigns gone from the wrong. Corbin said there is no way Reigns is 100% while claiming that he has been carrying Raw since Reigns dropped the ball. Corbin said he’ll house train the Big Dog.
Ronda Rousey was shown walking backstage because she’s up next at the top of hour two.
Let’s Hear from Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Championship on her shoulder. Rousey had a serious look on her face as usual. When Rousey got into the ring, a video aired about Fastlane that showed Rousey go into the ring, she punched Lynch and Lynch was disqualified to set up Rousey vs. Lynch vs. Flair at WrestleMania.
Rousey told the crowd to shove it and said she didn’t care about what these “bandwagon bitches” think. Rousey reminded the fans that they chanted “you deserve it” after she was beaten with a stick. Rousey said that the fans are cowards just like their hero Becky Lynch. Rousey claimed that fans can boo her behind a barricade, but they wouldn’t do it to her face. She said that there is no sanctuary for Lynch and Flair. Rousey said she’ll embarrass and humiliate both of them on the grandest stage of them all. Rousey said that she disqualified Charlotte at Fastlane so she can beat Becky and Charlotte and prove that WWE are carny con artists. Rousey said that WWE has the permission to make this a handicap match. Rousey said that anybody who believes in them is a joke.
Analysis: It was an angry promo from Rousey to reflect her new heel character. I thought she did well in the promo although she did speak too fast again. That’s something that has been a problem for her, but I think it’s because she gets nervous out there and I read that she had issues with public speaking in the past. Anyway, she got through it fine, the fans booed her and it was the response she was looking for.
Here’s the interruption from…Dana Brooke? Yes, really. Brooke said that we have heard enough of her venom. Brooke said that at this point, she has nothing left to lose. Brooke said she won’t let Rousey disrespect WWE, the WWE Universe or the women’s locker room. Brooke said she’s not a big time fighter, but she loves WWE and loves this business. Brooke said that she has worked her tail off to earn the respect of the women’s locker room and prove that she belongs there. Brooke said that each week on Raw, she fights for a chance and she doesn’t even get the time of day, let alone a match. Brooke said that she might not be on TV and she’s not a household name like Rousey, but all she wants is just a chance. Brooke said that normally Rousey has an open challenge after a pay-per-view and Dana is here to accept the open challenge.
Rousey kicked Brooke out of the ring and took her down with armbar whips. Rousey hit the Piper’s Pit slam. Rousey grabbed the arm of Brooke and she was going to break it, but the referees went in the ring. Rousey yelled at some fan saying you have to pay $60 to see her put on an armbar. It's not UFC here, Ronnie. Much cheaper to watch in WWE. Rousey decked a referee with a hard slap to the face. Rousey grabbed her title and left. Brooke was helped by referees.
Analysis: There was no match. Just another ass kicking from Rousey. A lot of what Brooke said was true when she mentioned she is barely on the show and then she was made to look like a loser. The crowd didn’t respond to Brooke at all since she is barely on the show. This was all about putting over Rousey again.
A video package aired that showed Batista attacking Ric Flair on his 70th birthday as a message to Triple H, which set up the Face to Face this week on Raw.
Aleister Black made his entrance followed by his tag team partner. They face Roode and Gable after a break.
This week on Smackdown: Vince McMahon addresses Kofi Kingston and Shane McMahon explains his actions after he attacked The Miz at Fastlane. McMahonamania season is running wild, brother.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable concluded their entrance as the match began.
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Black sent Gable out of the ring with a back body drop and Roode tagged in to hit a spinebuster on Black. Roode hit a suplex on Black, Gable tagged in and Roode slammed Gable onto Black. Roode was back in, Black with a sunset flip and Roode missed a corner attack when Black moved. Ricochet got the tag with a neckbreaker on Gable, a headscissors on Roode, shoulder tackle to Roode, Gable with a tag that Ricochet didn’t see. There was a Gable German Suplex along with a Roode neckbreaker at the same time that got a two count. Ricochet avoided a German Suplex and hit a clothesline. Ricochet wit ha rollup on Roode, the Roode got a rollup of his own, Black tagged in and hit a kick to the side of the head. Ricochet wit ha knee to the face of Roode and a springboard kick on Gable. Black with a Black Mass kick on Roode for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Analysis: **1/2 Fun match while it lasted, but I wish they got closer to 15 minutes. Sadly, Raw is bad in terms of giving good matches a lot of time even though that’s the kind of thing that would make it a better show. The finish was set up well with Ricochet and Black working well together for the decisive win.
When Black and Ricochet made it to the top of the ramp, the Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder knocked them down with forearms to the back.
Analysis: It feels like they are setting up for a multi-team match for the Raw Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania, but I don’t know for sure.
Still to come is Kurt Angle addressing his future. Alexa Bliss hosts her talk show segment up next.
There were images shown from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and Natalya showed up to meet some young fans dealing with cancer. They spoke about a girl named Kelsey who was shown with Reigns at the hospital.
Moment of Bliss Hosted by Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss made her entrance looking fantastic as usual. Fine looking woman. Bliss said that she had a scoop. She asked who will be the host of this year’s WrestleMania. She said that hosting WrestleMania is a special honor. Bliss mentioned previous hosts including Kim Kardashian (boos), The Rock (cheers) and The New Day (cheers). Bliss said that this year’s host of WrestleMania is…Alexa Bliss.
Bliss acted shock by the announcement. Bliss said that it’s such an honor for the WWE Universe and “you are welcome.” Bliss said that finally WrestleMania will be hosted by the brightest star on the grandest stage of them all. Bliss said that was our moment of Bliss and she left.
Analysis: Bliss went from being in a title match at WrestleMania last year to being the host of WrestleMania. That’s a big drop off. The “host” role at WrestleMania is unnecessary, which is why they don’t do it every year. It’s a way to get somebody on the show that isn’t in a match.
There was a replay of last week’s Raw with the bad comedy skits involving SNL’s Michael Che and Colin Jost including Braun Strowman living up Jost by the neck.
Braun Strowman was interviewed by Charly Caruso, who noted they are special correspondents at WrestleMania. Strowman said that he liked jacking him up by the neck last week. Some guy showed up to say Strowman’s car has arrived, Strowman asked “what car?” and there’s the commercial.
Analysis: Strowman needs a bigger role at WrestleMania than some comedy feud with Colin Jost. He’s a key part of Raw and hasn’t done anything significant at WrestleMania yet.
Braun Strowman was in the parking lot with a red convertible that had a bow on it. A random guy backstage said that the cast of SNL got him this car. It was a letter from Colin Jost. Strowman liked the look of the car. Strowman ripped off the door of the car and complained about them giving a car that he couldn’t even fit in. Strowman broke the glass and ripped off the hood of the car. Strowman gave the backstage guy the door while saying that the next time he sees them will be live from New York, so I guess that means he’ll be on Saturday Night Live soon.
Analysis: This was lame. It’s a way to put over Strowman’s comedy skills, I guess. It’s not exactly the most compelling storyline, though. As I said, I wish he had something more meaningful to do at WrestleMania.
Shortly after the segment, WWE tweeted this:
Get a crash course in #WWE action like never before with the new #WrekkinSlamMobile available now at #WWEShop! Take the slammin' action outside of the ring & buckle up for a ride you won't forget.https://t.co/NzgH8HyF9m pic.twitter.com/nBzjjg4FRn
— WWEShop.com (@WWEShop) March 12, 2019
That means Strowman is in this storyline to promote some toy car. Yawn.
Elias was in the ring with his guitar saying that he wouldn’t return to his hometown until he was a superstar that people could believe in while adding, “here I am.” Elias asked who wants to walk with him as the fans cheered. Elias said that it was a miracle that he was such a success while adding that if you’re from Pittsburgh, you’ll be an enormous waste of life. Elias said that when he got back into town he was reminded of how miserable the people are there. Elias said that the miserable people hold the good people back, which is the advice he gave Antonio Brown – that drew a lot of boos. Elias claimed he called “Tony” to get out of this city and he did while adding he looked great in black and silver (with the Oakland Raiders). Here’s the interruption by No Way Jose.
No Way Jose made his entrance with his conga line. Jose has green and yellow hair now. Elias dropkicked Jose. Elias beat up two guys in the conga line as well. Elias stomped on Jose. Elias hit a Drift Away neckbreaker on Jose on the bottom of the ramp. The announcers said that Elias was sick of people interrupting him.
Analysis: It was the usual Elias promo where he got cheap heat by ripping on the local fans, which was his hometown of Pittsburgh this week. It was funny. No Way Jose showing up was so random because he is almost never on Raw. Elias badly needs a storyline and really has needed a feud for the past two years on Raw.
A video package aired about the brother duo of Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) as the next inductees in the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame. They were 10-time Tag Team Champions in WCW that never wrestled in WWE together. It is Booker’s second Hall of Fame induction since he was inducted in 2013 as a solo act.
Analysis: Harlem Heat were a great team in the 1990s in WCW. There are a lot of WWE teams that could definitely be in the Hall of Fame before them, but for whatever reason, Harlem Heat gets to go in before them. It's all done at the whim of Vince McMahon. It's his call.
Let’s see what Ronda Rousey thinks.
I made that earlier. You're welcome. That's the last one of those.
Lacey Evans made her entrance with Cole mentioning she was the “Sassy Southern Belle.” Evans walked over to Renee Young and waved her fan in Young’s face. Nia Jax and Tamina made their entrance as they walked by Evans. Jax faces Natalya after a break.
Images were shown from Fastlane when Natalya tried to save best friend Beth Phoenix from an attack from Nia Jax and Tamina, but Jax and Tamina were dominant in the segment.
Natalya made her entrance. Natalya said that after what Jax and Tamina did to her friend, it made Natalya realize who has her back. Natalya said that she thought Ronda Rousey had her back, but I guess not. Natalya said that she didn’t trust Jax or Tamina, but she can trust her best friend as Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix made her entrance.
Natalya (w/Beth Phoenix) vs. Nia Jax (w/Tamina)
Jax with a running clothesline on Natalya. Tamina held Natalya’s leg and Jax hit a splash. Phoenix went into the ring and attacked Jax. Phoenix knocked Jax out of the ring with a clothesline. That led to a DQ. It was around 30 seconds total.
Winner by disqualification: Nia Jax
Post match, Phoenix kicked Tamina out of the ring.
Analysis: There’s no point in rating that since it was a couple of moves before the finish. It was very rushed. Giving women’s matches less than one minute is bad to see when WWE hypes up this “women’s evolution” all the time.
When Jax and Tamina got backstage, they were attacked by Sasha Banks and Bayley. There was a brawl there with officials like Fit Finlay and Scott Armstrong breaking it up along with referees.
Batista was shown arriving in an expensive car. He was joined by a bunch of dudes in black suits.
Analysis: That second hour was poor. A lot of boring stuff and not much action with only six minutes of action in one hour.
Triple H and Batista in a Face to Face Encounter
Triple H made his entrance at the top of hour three. Hunter was dressed with a leather jacket, his fists taped and jeans. He was not dressed in his corporate look, but instead, he was dressed looking like he was ready to fight.
Batista made his entrance wearing a shiny jacket, dress pants and shades. There was a big pop for Batista’s music and entrance since it has been so long since he’s been on Raw. Batista had personal security (indy wrestlers) with him.
Hunter wondered if Batista would come down to the ring or if he was going to be on the ramp as a nose ring model. Hunter mocked the stupidity. Batista said that he’s not stupid, he paid attention and he learned from two of the dirtiest players in the game – Triple H and Ric Flair. Batista said that the security is his protection while adding that he knows Hunter’s sledgehammer is close by. Batista said he’s in control and he wanted Hunter to give him what he wants. Hunter said he’s not going to give “Dave” a damn thing. Hunter asked how many times has he quit this company and walked away? Hunter wondered why Batista was entitled, because he’s a big Hollywood movie star? Hunter said he’s not giving him anything. Hunter said that since Batista is a big coward, then Hunter will step up the ramp and tear his way through the “Guardians of the Independent Scene” (that drew laughs because it was a great line) and he’ll kick his ass.
Batista said that we are not doing it his way. Batista said that the reason he quit is because he wanted to get away from Hunter for always holding him down and shutting him out. Batista said that he wants Hunter to give him what he wants or he will continue to hurt people that Hunter loves. Hunter said he’s not going to give him a damn thing and Hunter told him to face him like a man.
Batista said you know what I want to Hunter and he said Hunter won’t give it to him. (Batista was spitting a lot into the microphone, so that looked weird.) Batista kept telling Hunter to give him what he wants. Batista said that he wants him at WrestleMania. Hunter yelled back that if you want him at WrestleMania then you’re on.
Hunter got into his deep wrestler voice saying that their match at WrestleMania will have no rules, no law and it will be No Holds Barred. Batista seemed to agree with it and he left.
Analysis: There’s the official announcement for Triple H vs. Batista as expected after the angle they did two weeks ago. The match was rumored since last October, but then Triple H tore a pectoral muscle. Hunter is fine now. A No Holds Barred match makes a lot of sense because it will allow them to brawl around the stadium and make it different from the other matches. Batista mentioned it being his last match, which is what he has said in the past about wanting to retire at WrestleMania in a match with Hunter. Batista kept saying “give me what I want” and it was awkward, but they got they got through it. I think Triple H will win at WrestleMania.
Kurt Angle is up next.
Kurt Angle entered in his ring gear with an Angle t-shirt on. Angle said that 23 years ago, he left Pittsburgh to go to the Olympic Games and he won a Gold Medal with a broken freakin’ neck. Angle said that led him to WWE and he has beaten many Hall of Famers along the way. Angle said that Pittsburgh has always been his hometown. Angle announced that at WrestleMania, he’ll compete in his farewell match. Angle thanked WWE, the guys he has competed with and Angle thanked the fans. Angle was emotional as he said he had the time of his life. Fans chanted “Thank You Kurt” at him. Angle said that it’s only right that he had one last match right here in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then it’s on to WrestleMania.
Analysis: Kurt Angle is one of my favorite wrestlers ever, so it’s sad to hear him call it a career at WrestleMania. However, it does make sense since he’s 50 years old and has had a lot of injuries. The body can only take so many bumps in a 20+ year career. I think it’s the right time for him to call it a career. You can be a fan of a guy, but we don’t want to see them killing themselves in the ring when they are as old as Angle is. He’s got five kids (plus Jason Jordan haha), so he’ll stay busy even in retirement. I can see Angle having a job backstage in WWE too.
Apollo Crews made his entrance as Angle’s opponent in a match after the break.
Kurt Angle vs. Apollo Crews
Angle took down Crews with arm drags. The announcers put over Crews as a huge fan of Angle. Crews got a boot to the face, but Angle hit a belly to belly suplex. Graves talked about Angle being a local hero of his since he’s from Pittsburgh like Angle. Crews hit a dropkick followed by a suplex. Crews with a chinlock. Angle got back into it with three German Suplexes on Crews for a two count. Angle went for an Angle Slam, but Crews hit an arm drag and a step up enziguri. Crews with a standing moonsault for a two count. Crews went up top and went for a Frog Splash, Angle moved and Crews hit the mat. Angle hit an Angle Slam for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle
Analysis: ** It was a basic match to get through it and have Angle get one more win in Pittsburgh. It could be argued that the younger guy Crews should win over a retiring guy like Angle, but I don’t think it hurts Crews to lose to Kurt. It was about giving Angle a happy moment in his hometown, which is cool to see.
Post match, Angle and Crews hugged. Angle received a standing ovation from the crowd while they chanted “you suck” during his theme song as always.
Analysis: That was a nice ovation for Angle. I’m sure it meant a lot to him.
Roman Reigns was shown getting ready in the locker room because he’s in the main event up next.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. When Reigns got into the ring, Drew McIntyre showed up in his ring gear and attacked Reigns from behind with punches. McIntyre grabbed Reigns and whipped Reigns shoulder first into the steel ring post. The battle spilled out to the floor. Reigns tried to fight back with punches, but McIntyre decked him with a Claymore Kick to the head to put Reigns down. McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to the face of Reigns while his head was up against the ring post. Cole screamed about McIntyre’s cheap attack.
Reigns was groggy at ringside. A doctor checked on Reigns along with referees. Rollins checked on Reigns, who said he was alright. Rollins told Reigns if he is not cool then it’s okay. Reigns said that he just had a little headache and he’s fine. Reigns walked up the ramp with his hand on Seth’s shoulder.
Analysis: That was a vicious looking attack with Reigns selling it like he may have a concussion. McIntyre looked like a badass during the attack. It’s likely that WWE is building McIntyre back up and he’ll probably be the WrestleMania opponent of Reigns. Based on the way this attack was booked, it certainly looks like they are going in that direction. It gives Reign a solid match on the show while it would be the biggest match of McIntyre’s career.
There was a shot of Roman Reigns walking backstage with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose by his side. Reigns was walking gingerly as Rollins and Ambrose told Roman to get it checked out. Rollins went into the room with Reigns while Ambrose walked over to Triple H in the backstage area. Ambrose said he wanted to fight Drew McIntyre right now, no disqualification, no countout and Falls Count Anywhere. Triple H says he’s on and he’ll let Drew know.
Analysis: Hunter could have said they have nothing else booked, so you can have the match, but it’s not like WWE will book their guys to say that.
The announcers talked over replays of Roman Reigns getting attacked by Drew McIntyre.
Dean Ambrose made his entrance looking intense.
Drew McIntyre did a promo as the fans booed him. Drew wondered if Dean was going to take this beating like a man or squeal like Roman. Ambrose charged at McIntyre on the ramp and the bell rang.
Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
Ambrose hit a suplex on McIntyre on the stage. They went brawling out on the floor. The fight continued over a barricade and they climbed up the steps leading to a McIntyre slamming Ambrose into a wall near the mezzanine area in the arena. McIntyre teased tossing Ambrose down some stairs, but Dean bought his fingers and Ambrose hit a double axehandle. They went to break there.
The brawl continued in the crowd as they got to the arena floor. There were clips of the fight during the break when they battled by the merchandise area. When they got to ringside, McIntyre caught Ambrose and gave him a belly to belly suplex on the floor. McIntyre grabbed the steel steps and hit Ambrose in the head with them two times. Suplex on the floor by McIntyre. They went brawling into the crowd again with McIntyre saying he will take out The Shield one by one, so Ambrose took him down with a low blow kick to the groin. McIntyre grabbed a chair and threw it at Ambrose’s back. McIntyre picked up Ambrose and sent him chest first into the hockey boards. Ambrose put McIntyre on an equipment case and rolled the case into another case. Ambrose hit an elbow drop on the floor for a two count. The fight continued on the stage with McIntyre working over Ambrose with punches. McIntyre brought Ambrose over the announce table, but Ambrose hit a belly to back suplex on the announce table, which did not break. It was a light slam. Ambrose with punches to McIntyre. Low blow from McIntyre led to wife Renee Young complaining about it. McIntyre with a pencil to the eyes of Ambrose McIntyre picked up Ambrose and drove him face first into the screens on the stage two times. That got a two count. Ambrose fell down when he tried a punch to sell his exhaustion. McIntyre struck Ambrose multiple times. McIntyre trapped Ambrose’s head against a railing and McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to the head of Ambrose. McIntyre covered Ambrose on the floor behind the announce table. That led to the pinfall win for McIntyre after 14 minutes. Renee stopped talking in the last few minutes while her husband was getting destroyed.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ***1/4 That was an entertaining brawl with Ambrose doing the job to put over McIntyre, who is likely against Reigns at WrestleMania. It’s all about building up McIntyre by having him go through Ambrose to get to Reigns. The finish was brutal with the Claymore Kick against the railing. When you end a match in a big way like that, it really puts over McIntyre as a dominant heel.
There were replays of the key moments in the match.
McIntyre posed on the announce table. Ambrose managed to crawl onto the stage again, so McIntyre hit another Claymore Kick to put Ambrose down again. Renee yelled at the sight of her husband getting kicked again, but she stayed away at a distance. McIntyre posed and was looking at the WrestleMania sign. Referees and doctors checked on Ambrose to end the show.
Analysis: I think Reigns vs. McIntyre is a good match to do at WrestleMania. While it won’t be a main event match for Reigns, that’s okay because he was in the last four main events. Think of it as a big return match for Reigns. They also have a storyline going into it because Reigns will want revenge for McIntyre kicking his ass and beating Ambrose. They have three more Raw episodes to build this story up more.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Dean Ambrose
- Drew McIntyre
6 out of 10
Last week: 6
2019 Average: 5.6
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 6.5, 4.5, 4, 4.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)
2019 Low: 4 (February 11)
I give this week’s Raw gets a 6 out of 10.
It felt like an average show to me. Raw continues to be a show with way too much talking, not enough in-ring action and too many boring segments. Smackdown has four matches over ten minutes sometimes while Raw can barely get two matches to go that long and Raw is one hour longer. Let’s see more action, please.
The first 30 minutes were good, so they did get off on the right foot. That second hour was pretty bad. I just wasn’t entertained by much of it. The last hour was better than the second hour, so it kept the show from becoming a really bad show.
There was some progress made for WrestleMania storylines with the big news coming with Triple H and Batista agreeing to a No Holds Barred Match at WrestleMania. We also got a good idea of Roman Reigns’ WrestleMania match after he was attacked by Drew McIntyre to set up their likely match. There wasn't anything "must see" on Raw this week, at least in my opinion. Oh, and maybe Batista should spit less when he talks. Just a suggestion.
The next WWE pay-per-view is WrestleMania 35 on April 7. Here’s what we know so far:
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs. Batista
Alexa Bliss is the host of WrestleMania.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Thanks for reading.