Live from Washington, DC, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1348 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. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner above. There *may* be sarcasm there.
The show began with a shot of the WrestleMania sign. Stephanie McMahon made her entrance as the announce team welcomed us to the show and ran down some of the things that would happen later on Raw.
Let’s Hear from Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie stood on the stage instead of in the ring as she said we are just six days away from WrestleMania. Stephanie said she was going to add a fourth competitor to the main event of WrestleMania…herself. It’s an April Fool’s joke. Bad mom joke.
Stephanie said that when Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey faces Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and “The Man” Becky Lynch, both titles are on the line. Stephanie said this Sunday at WrestleMania it’s Winner Takes All. Stephanie left.
Analysis: That’s fine with me. I assume what will happen is Becky wins both titles, gets assigned to Raw or Smackdown on April 15/16, gives up the other title and is one show. That sets up a vacant title on one of the shows. Just a guess. They could also keep Lynch on both shows, but then she might be too overexposed and that's not good.
Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman While Brock Lesnar Stands There
Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, made his entrance for a promo with Paul Heyman by his side to do the talking as usual.
Heyman said that the Universal Title match is also the winner (Brock Lesnar) taking all this Sunday at WrestleMania. Heyman said that Lesnar will take Seth Rollins’ best shot because we know Rollins is coming with his best shot and we expect nothing less. Lesnar said that he will take everything that Rollins has in life. Heyman continued his usual promo saying that this Sunday, Lesnar will end Seth Rollins’ career. Heyman said that if you watch hockey for the fights, watch NASCAR for the car wrecks and football/soccer for the riots, Lesnar will violate Rollins and desecrate the good name of WrestleMania. Heyman said that with Lesnar will define the saying that life isn’t what you want, it’s what you make out of it. Heyman said that after the match, he will talk to Lesnar about what’s next in Brock’s career. There’s that UFC tease again. Heyman said that Rollins is an afterthought to Lesnar.
Seth Rollins walked down to the ring with a purpose as Heyman went to the apron and Rollins got in Lesnar’s face.
Rollins said that this is the biggest match of his career, this Sunday at WrestleMania. Rollins said this is Brock’s biggest match of his career and Brock laughed about it. Rollins said that nobody wants Brock here and the fans cheered that. Rollins said that he doesn’t want Brock there, the locker room doesn’t want you there and the fans are sick and tired of Lesnar, which led to cheers. There was also a “Burn it Down” chant as Lesnar laughed. Rollins said that Lesnar doesn’t give a damn what anybody wants except him. Rollins put over Lesnar as the most decorated athlete in combat sports history. Rollins said that beating Lesnar may be improbable, but it Is not impossible. Rollins said he would beat Lesnar, he will take his title and there’s not a damn thing Lesnar can do about it.
Lesnar bumped into Seth’s chest, so Rollins kicked Lesnar in the groin. Lesnar came back with a German Suplex. Lesnar went for a F5, but Rollins hit a low blow punch followed by a superkick. Rollins hit The Stomp and grabbed the Universal Title as he stood over a fallen Lesnar. Rollins tossed the title down and left. The crowd loved this.
Analysis: I thought that was well done. I liked the Rollins promo a lot following a Heyman promo that felt repetitive after so many years. The physical interaction was good in the sense that Rollins showed that he can hang with Lesnar even though it took him hitting two low blows to put Lesnar down to set up for The Stomp. I hope Rollins wins the Universal Title at WrestleMania, but they can’t have every face win every match, so maybe Lesnar will retain. I’m not sure. Also, the “advantage on TV, lose on PPV” theory doesn’t come into play as much as it used to in the past.
An eight-woman tag team match is next.
A commercial for NXT Takeover New York on Friday. That’s going to be an outstanding show. I’ll have a review for that late Friday night most likely.
Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage when Charly Caruso showed up to mention that if Rollins does those low blows on Sunday then he’ll be disqualified. Seth said that Lesnar had it coming to him and that Seth wasn’t a champion…yet. Seth left with a confident look on his face.
The faces in the women’s tag team match had their entrances shown. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young mentioned this was the first Raw match for Peyton Royce and Billie Kay.
Natalya, Beth Phoenix, Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Nia Jax and Tamina
Bayley and Banks hit a double team elbow on Royce followed by a double team dropkick by Banks as Graves did his usual bit complaining about Banks being selfish. Natalya tagged in with a suplex on Kay. Phoenix and Natalya did a double team hair whip on Kay. Phoenix used her power by grabbing the arm of Kay and lifting her up. The faces cleared house, then they argued among themselves leading to a break.
The faces were in control after the break (that’s rare) as Bayley hit a clothesline on Kay followed by two corner elbows. Royce saved her partner Kay leading to Kay kicking Bayley off the apron and to the floor. Royce and Kay kicked Bayley at the same time followed by their iconic pose. Jax and Tamina refused to tag in for their team. Bayley sent Kay out of the ring followed by a neckbreaker against the ropes. Phoenix shoved Banks off the apron and Phoenix tagged herself in. Phoenix with a clothesline on Royce and she hit a powerslam on Royce. When Phoenix ran to the ropes, Tamina grabbed the ropes and Phoenix bumped to the floor. Phoenix charged at Tamina and tackled her through the barricade. That led to a mild “holy shit” chant. That was impressive. The referee didn’t count Phoenix out of the ring. Royce went out of the ring and tossed Phoenix back in the ring. Royce tried some offense, Phoenix no sold it, Phoenix grabbed Royce and hit the Glam Slam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Natalya, Beth Phoenix, Sasha Banks and Bayley
Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match that was designed to put over Beth to show that she’s back to being as good as ever. I think it was a bit silly that they did the tackle spot by the barricade, then the ref never counted her out of the ring and then Phoenix no sold the bump shortly after to win. Yes, it put her over, but they could have done it in a more effective way. Tamina and Jax didn’t even tag in, which is fine because they usually make a match worse. I think Banks and Bayley retain at WrestleMania.
Batista was shown arriving in a limo in his hometown of Washington. He’s up next.
There was a Snickers commercial with Miz and Charlotte Flair. I’m on a diet. Sorry Snickers.
Batista made his entrance in a suit and some red shades. He was booed for his entrance, but also some cheers since he’s seen as a big star. The clip aired of Triple H agreeing that he’ll retire if he loses.
Let’s Hear from Batista
Batista stood in the ring with a spotlight on him. He paused for a bit as the fans chanted “welcome back” for him. Batista pointed at the video screen.
A video package aired showing clips of the Batista feud with Triple H in 2005 that saw Batista beat Triple H multiple times in PPV matches including WrestleMania 21. I have reviews of those 2005 shows in our Retro PPV Reviews section.
Batista took off his sunglasses, looked right into the camera and said: “Hunter, kiss my ass.” Batista dropped the microphone and posed to end that promo segment.
Analysis: That was simple. It was all that was necessary because the feud has been set up pretty well. I don’t think they needed to have a brawl or anything like that to get people more ready for the matches. Sometimes a simple thing like that is better than talking for ten minutes. I don’t mind it at all.
Still to come is Kurt Angle in his last Raw match.
This week on Smackdown: Kofi Kingston will sign the contract for his WWE Championship match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. Plus, AJ Styles and Randy Orton are guests on the Kevin Owens Show talk show.
PLUG TIME: WWE was in the spotlight due to the HBO show "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" ripping into WWE for not calling their wrestlers employees. Instead, WWE's superstars are signed to "independent contractor" deals. They also attacked Vince McMahon, wrestling's drug problem, the health of wrestlers and more. I wrote about 3,000 words about it. A quick summary of that is I agreed with several of the points made by Oliver, but they got some stuff wrong or failed to explain points well enough. I'll admit I'm not here to take sides. I think there are some things WWE does very well and just like any other major corporation, they could be better at a lot of things too. The good news is it got people talking and WWE followed up by inviting Oliver to WrestleMania, so we'll see if there's any follow up to that...The WWF in 2000 reviews continue. Here's Backlash 2000, which is an outstanding show and one of my favorite PPVs ever. The pop for Steve Austin going to the ring to help The Rock beat Triple H for the WWF Title is one of the loudest crowd reactions ever...Following Backlash was the May 1, 2000 edition of Raw, which is a show headlined by The Rock vs. Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage for the WWF Title. This was also the show where Edge & Christian debuted the world famous "five-second pose for the benefit of those with flash photography," which was a lot of fun over the next year or so...Next up was Smackdown from May 4, 2000, featuring a Handicap Tag Tag Team Match with the WWF Title on the line. Sounds weird, huh? It was actually pretty entertaining as The Rock teamed up with Earl Hebner to battle against Triple H, Road Dogg and X-Pac. There's more to come this week as well and you can check it out in our WWF in 2000 section on TJRWrestling. I have a lot of fun reviewing those shows, so thanks for checking them out if you do.
Elias was shown outside of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Elias said that he will headline WrestleMania. He said that there will be no interruptions and that all the attention will be on him. Elias talked about other musical artists that played there and claimed that after Sunday, nobody will talk about them – they will only talk about him. Elias claimed they will talk about his WrestleMania moment when over 80,000 people decide to walk with Elias.
Analysis: There will be an interruption. It’s just a matter of who. John Cena seems likely. Maybe The Undertaker.
Apollo Crews vs. Jinder Mahal
This match started, I wasn’t interested at all and the announcers were talking about Michael Che and Colin Jost being in the match. The ring was surrounded by competitors in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Crews hit a Frog Splash and pinned Mahal in a match that went about one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews
Analysis: 1/2* A quickie that was boring. Sorry for lack of details. I don't think I missed much. At least the Frog Splash looked good. As time moves on, the decision to make Jinder Mahal the WWE Champion for six months in 2017 continues to be one of the dumbest booking moves this decade.
After the match was over, the guys in the battle royal (no Braun Strowman at ringside) got into a brawl in the ring. Titus O’Neil ended up cleaning house by tossing a bunch of guys out of the ring. Mahal went back into the ring with the Singh Brothers and tossed O’Neil out. Crews kicked Mahal out of the ring. Crews picked up Samir Singh and tossed him onto Mahal and Sunil on the floor.
Analysis: They devoted about four minutes to try to make people care about the battle royal at WrestleMania. The fans won’t care because WWE has made it a comedy match with Strowman and the two SNL guys in the center of it. Yawn. I am not interested in it at all.
Kurt Angle was shown talking to Rey Mysterio backstage as they prepared for a match against eachother.
It was mentioned that Yolanda Adams is singing America the Beautiful. She is the girlfriend of Titus O’Neil, but that wasn’t mentioned.
Kurt Angle Tribute Video
Kurt Angle made his entrance to a big pop and the familiar “You Suck” chants. Angle said that this is last night ever here on Monday Night Raw and he wants us to know how appreciative he is for the good times and the bad times. Angle said he heard a lot of boos, but mostly cheers. Angle said from the bottom of his heart, he wants to say “thank you” and fans chanted “Thank You Kurt” at him. It was announced that a video package would air about Kurt's career. Kurt reacted as if he didn't know it was coming, so it's nice of WWE to surprise him.
A video package aired about Kurt Angle’s career. It featured comments from other wrestlers that he worked with during his career. They showed clips from Angle’s prime years from 1999 to 2006 in the WWF/E where he was a six-time World Champion. Triple H put over Kurt’s ability to poke fun at himself and do whatever, which led to some funny clips. The cowboy hats with Stone Cold were shown. Steve Austin put over Angle as one of the most talented guys he’s been in the ring with. Angle talked about how he couldn’t keep himself together and he left (in 2006) with Angle saying he didn’t know if he would ever be back. Angle was shown at his Hall of Fame speech in 2017 saying that moments last forever. The milk truck moment was shown. Angle said he was born to win a Gold Medal, but his destiny was to come to WWE to entertain the fans.
When the video ended, Angle was in tears in the ring at the end of the video. There were loud “Thank You Kurt” chants from the crowd.
Analysis: Awesome video. Angle is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. They did a great job of mixing in the championships along with the comedy spots that made Angle so legendary. His ability to do it all as a face or a heel is what made him special. I recommend watching it if you were ever a fan of Angle.
Baron Corbin showed up for a promo to huge heat from the crowd. Corbin said that the video should have been black and white because it’s ancient history. Corbin talked about how Angle struggles to take his coat off while saying that Angle can’t go two or three minutes without huffing and puffing in the ring. Corbin said that the superstars of today are better. Corbin said he’s sick of the fans saying that Angle deserves somebody better at WrestleMania. Some fans chanted for “Cena” but not a lot of them. Corbin said that what you’ll see at WrestleMania is an old man laying flat on his back this Sunday.
Angle said that they will square off this Sunday, but since this is Kurt’s last night on Raw, why not have an exhibition match right here tonight? Corbin went down to the ring, but he didn’t go in the ring. Renee called him a scumbag. Corbin went to the floor and asked where’s the intelligence from Angle and said that he’ll just wait until WrestleMania.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance because he was Angle’s announced opponent for Raw. Mysterio said that somebody needs to teach you a lesson in respect. Mysterio said that on behalf of Angle, how about Mysterio faces Corbin instead?
Corbin punched Mysterio, Angle saved Rey and Mysterio hit a seated senton splash off the top on Corbin. Angle hit an Angle Slam on Corbin. Angle’s music played as Corbin left up the ramp and Angle hugged Mysterio.
Analysis: The advertised match was Angle vs. Mysterio, but that interaction meant that the match was off. That’s probably for the best because Angle hasn’t looked great in the ring, so it’s good to give him some rest and get ready for Sunday. I know a lot of people don’t like Corbin, but his heel promo work is solid. It’s just when the bell rings, his matches bore me a lot of the time. The crowd should be interested in the Angle/Corbin match at WrestleMania.
The lovely Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Flair said that Asuka was blindsided when Flair took her title. Flair said she’ll break Becky’s leg and tap out Rousey. Flair said that at Winner Takes All, that’s going to be her. When Caruso asked if Flair would lose her cool, Flair said she’s a professional that’s not a hothead like Lynch or a loose cannon like Rousey and warned that both women should stay the hell away from her…WOO…with a wink.
Analysis: Solid promo from Charlotte, who is one of my favorites in the company. I think she’s a lot more natural as a heel and it shows every time she talks.
Ricochet and Aleister Black made their entrance for the Raw Tag Team Title match.
The Revival did not get a full televised entrance. The teams stood in the ring for the championship match introductions. Black and Ricochet get a NXT Tag Team Title match at NXT Takeover New York on Friday as well. I don’t expect them to win those titles. That match is likely their NXT farewell.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black
Dawson hit a back elbow to the face of Black and Wilder tagged in with Dawson sending Black’s face into the knees of Dawson. Black tripped up Wilder leading to a two count. Ricochet tagged in with an armbar on Wilder, Dawson tagged back in and hit a headbutt to Ricochet’s back. The heel Revival duo isolated Ricochet, but Ricochet came back with a double hurricanrana. Black tagged in with a knee to the ribs, Ricochet with a dropkick and a double team hip toss on Wilder leading to a two count by Black on Dawson. Wilder went after Black, so Dawson wrenched the left arm of Black against the ropes and Black went to the floor for a break.
The Revival duo were in control as Dawson grounded Black with an armbar. Black tripped up Dawson with a kick to the legs. Wilder prevented Black from tagging out, but Ricochet got the hot tag. Ricochet with a forearm to Wilder and a neckbreaker to Dawson. Ricochet got a couple of nearfalls on Wilder. Dropkick by Ricochet knocked Wilder into Dawson and Ricochet covered for a two count. Dawson got in a cheap shot punch on Ricochet by the ropes. Wilder picked up Ricochet and hit a Gory Special slam for a two count. Great nearfall there. Black went over to Dawson and pulled him off the apron. Black sent Wilder into the barricade and kicked Dawson. Wilder hit an impressive Tornado DDT off the barricade. Ricochet jumped over the turnbuckle with a somersault dive over the top onto Dawson and Wilder on the floor. Great spot that got a great reaction. Wilder went into the ring. When Ricochet tried to get in the ring, Dawson was hiding under the ring and he grabbed Ricochet’s leg to prevent him getting in the ring before the ten count. It was a countout finish. The match went about 12 minutes.
Winners by countout: The Revival
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good match. If they got another five minutes and had some more nearfalls it would have had a really hot crowd too. I get why they did a cheap finish to set up a future match between the teams, but I was hoping this would run a bit little longer. Wilder was on fire for his team and Ricochet showed off some cool moves as usual. I enjoyed this.
After the match, Black hit a Black Mass kick on Wilder outside the ring. Back in the ring, Black hit a Black Mass kick on Dawson as well. Ricochet went up top and hit a 630 Splash on Dawson. Ricochet’s music played to end it.
Analysis: That was simple payback for the faces after the match to keep the story going.
Still to come: Mysterio vs. Corbin, Bobby Lashley is there and that six-woman tag team match is still to come.
Ronda Rousey was shown warming up backstage with some shadow boxing. Charly Caruso tried to interview. Ronda said she didn’t care to talk, she was there to fight. Ronda said that this Sunday is judgment day for Becky and Charlotte, but if they provoke her, then their judgment day will be tonight.
Roman Reigns was shown backstage because he’s up next.
A commercial aired for the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday on WWE Network at 7pmET. I have plans Saturday that will prevent me from writing about it live, but I may write a summary later on Saturday night.
A commercial let us know WrestleMania is six days away. Good.
The announcers were excited about WrestleMania. Renee wanted to do matching outfits with Cole, but he said no. What a heel, Michael.
A video package aired about the Andre the Giant Battle Royal with Braun Strowman and the two SNL guys.
Alexa Bliss was shown backstage talking to Tyler Breeze and Bliss said he liked his new hairstyle. EC3 was also standing there with Breeze saying he was telling EC3 that. Bliss mentioned some things happening at WrestleMania because of her. EC3 laughed about Saturday’s Weekend Update on SNL was great. Braun Strowman showed up asking what they were laughing about, so Breeze and EC3 said their friends were watching clips from Weekend Update. Strowman walked up to two indy guys that were backstage holding an iPad. Strowman called them Michael Che and Colin Jost and told them to meet him in the ring or they will get these hands.
Analysis: Strowman gets to have a squash match later. Thrilling.
Roman Reigns was interviewed by Dasha Fuentes, who mentioned his issues with Drew McIntyre ahead of their WrestleMania match. Dasha mentioned rumors that Reigns may not be fully healthy for WrestleMania. Reigns said that Drew doesn’t know anything about him. Reigns said that he is 100% clear and at WrestleMania…here’s Drew with a cheap attack on Reigns. McIntyre worked over Reigns with punches and told him he should have said no. McIntyre whipped Reigns into some equipment cases. McIntyre said that he wants Roman to see his face when he closes his eyes at night. McIntyre left as Reigns struggled to get back up to his feet.
Analysis: The story has been that McIntyre has had the advantage the entire time in this rivalry and that continued this week. I think McIntyre might win at WrestleMania because it would put him over huge. Plus, there are likely going to be a lot of face wins at WrestleMania, so some heels like McIntyre should win matches too.
The Riott Squad trio made their entrance to lose…I mean have…a tag team match.
Becky Lynch was interviewed in the Gorilla Position with Charly Caruso doing the interview. Lynch said that she’s walking out of WrestleMania as the first ever Raw and Smackdown Women’s Champion. Lynch said she didn’t care what that “wooden dope” Flair had to say and said that she got in Ronda’s head months ago. Lynch said when Rousey is untouchable, that’s when she is most beatable. Lynch said that she knows she has made an enemy of the McMahon family, but she’s made it this far. Lynch talked about taking both titles on the greatest stage of them all. Lynch said that Rousey and Flair talk about making history, but she had no choice but to make history.
Analysis: Becky is on fire in her promos, in her matches and in everything she does. That was a very good promo by Lynch in making her points well and showing confidence as usual.
Lynch made her entrance for the tag team match. Big pop for her as usual. Charlotte Flair was up next with the Smackdown Women’s Championship around her waist. Ronda Rousey was up last with her power walk and the Raw Women’s Championship on her shoulder.
There was a stipulation that if Rousey, Flair or Lynch turns on eachother then they are out of the WrestleMania main event.
Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan
Flair started with Riott and then Lynch tagged herself in. Lynch taunted Flair to hit her, but Flair didn’t do it. Lynch is no longer selling that left knee injury. Lynch hit a dropkick on Riott leading to Riott going to the floor for the commercial.
The match returned with Logan working over Lynch with a hard whip into the corner. Lynch hit a forearm off the middle ropes. Lynch sent Logan out of the ring and Riott tagged back in. Lynch kicked Riott, Logan back in and she hit a running knee to Lynch’s face. Logan slapped on a submission on the legs of Lynch. Lynch made the comeback with a clothesline, a jumping leg kick, Bexploder suplex and a suplex by Lynch on Morgan for two. Flair tagged Lynch’s back, told Lynch to get out of her face and Rousey tagged Flair to make her the legal woman. Rousey took down Morgan with a hiptoss and an armbar on Morgan for the submission win after eight minutes.
Winners by submission: Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for the Rousey, Flair and Lynch team. The crowd was into it a bit, but there was no reaction for the Riott Squad offense because we all knew they were doing the job. Rousey was barely in there, but she got the win.
After the bell rang, Rousey attacked Flair with punches. Lynch and Flair got into it with punches. Flair got back up and security guys (indy wrestlers) showed up in the ring. The girls beat up the security guys. Guys showed up dressed as cops. Rousey managed to break free and she went after Lynch. Rousey knocked over a cop, so Rousey was handcuffed against the turnbuckle. With Rousey cuffed, Lynch attacked Rousey with punches. Lynch was put up against the turnbuckle and she was handcuffed too. When Rousey left the ring, Flair attacked Rousey and Lynch. Flair was handcuffed as well. The three women were shown being pulled by the cops into the backstage area and arrested.
Replays aired of the three women getting arrested.
The women were shown in the parking lot with Rousey and Lynch placed in the same police car. That led to the women kicking eachother with Rousey breaking the back window with a kick. The women were separated, then Flair was kicking at Lynch and Rousey got in the driver’s seat and drove into the other police car. It was a crazy situation. Eventually, order was restored leading to Lynch and Rousey getting driven away in police cars. Before Lynch was taken away, Flair kneed Rousey in the head. The cars with Lynch and Rousey were driven away. Flair was held by the cops leading to the break.
Analysis: It was a chaotic situation with the announcers screaming about how serious this was, but then it almost became comedic because it was so cheesy. The wrestlers playing the cops did a poor job in their roles and they looked like the most incompetent cops ever. The point of this was to show that Rousey, Flair and Lynch hated eachother to the point that they would fight even while handcuffed. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but I found myself laughing just because of how long this segment went. The intensity shown by the women was good, though, so the wrestlers did their parts to make it work. I don’t think it was some all-time great segment or anything close to that. It was a bit different from the norm, so give WWE some props for their creativity with it.
Analysis x2: After seeing what they ended Raw with, I think they should have ended Raw with this segment. I assume the reason they didn't end with this was so they can spend the last hour talking about the women being arrested and telling fans to stay with WWE.com for more info.
A replay aired of the women getting arrested from before the break. The announcers talked about how serious this was with the women being arrested.
It was noted that Rousey was scheduled for the Today Show on Thursday on NBC...if she's out of jail.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker)
Gable with an overhead suplex on Tucker and Roode tagged in with a clothesline. Lacey Evans’ music hit as the “Sassy Southern Belle” walked around on the stage in the middle of this tag team match, so Roode slapped on a chinlock. Lacey left. Tucker with a forearm to Roode, Otis got the hot tag to no reaction and a running shoulder tackle. Roode wanted a DDT, but Otis drove him to the turnbuckle followed by a corner splash. Otis did his Caterpillar move leading to an elbow drop for two with Gable breaking up the pin. Gable took out Tucker over the top to the floor. Gable went for a top rope move, Otis knocked Roode out of the ring and Tucker/Otis hit the Compactor double team move on Gable for the win after about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Heavy Machinery
Analysis: *1/4 It has been a while since Heavy Machinery won a match on Raw, so it gave them some positive momentum. Boring match, but the finish was okay.
Post match, Roode had a frustrated look on his face, so it’s likely there will be a turn coming. With the Superstar Shakeup in two weeks, there might be a split that way anyway.
A video package aired about Kofi Kingston earning a WWE Championship match against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.
Braun Strowman entered for his handicap match to a big pop.
The show returned with Cole updating us that Rousey, Flair and Lynch have been arrested and booked in jail. Sure.
Braun Strowman vs. “Michael Che” and “Colin Jost”
Strowman tossed each guy across the ring followed by a clothesline on Che. Strowman tossed Jost and Che over the top like it was a battle royal. Strowman ran around the ring with shoulder tackles for both guys. The fans wanted more, so Strowman ran over both guys a second time. Strowman with a corner clothesline on both guys. Powerslam on Che and Powerslam on Jost. Strowman picked up both guys on both shoulders and hit a double Powerslam. That looked cool. Strowman pinned both guys to win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: 1/2* Squash match city as expected. I can’t say I care much about the battle royal, but at least WWE is trying to build it up. The women’s battle royal has received almost no attention on TV.
Bobby Lashley entered with Lio Rush for something up next.
The announcers ran down the WWE schedule of events for the week leading up to WrestleMania.
Bobby Lashley, the Intercontinental Champion, and Lio Rush were in the ring with Charly Caruso in the ring for an interview. A clip aired from Finn Balor beating Jinder Mahal and Lashley to earn an IC Title match at WrestleMania.
Lio Rush said you just saw that what happened last week was a fluke because Finn didn’t pin Bobby. Rush said that this Sunday, he doesn’t have dead weight Jinder Mahal. Rush said the only concern is where the party will be in New York City, but certainly not here in DC. Charly mentioned the rumors that Balor may be Demon Balor at WrestleMania.
Finn Balor showed up on the video screen as smoke filled up the room. Balor said that at WrestleMania, his Demon will be your nightmare. Balor was shown in Demon gear to let us know that it will be Demon Balor at WrestleMania.
Analysis: That should mean a Balor win at WrestleMania. That match doesn’t interest me that much since they have wrestled so many times. Plus, Balor already won the title a few weeks ago, so there’s not going to be as much of a reaction this time around. Also, why would Balor wear Demon Balor gear for this title, but not the Universal Title at WrestleMania? I know the answer is because WWE didn’t want him to dress as Demon Balor and lose at Royal Rumble. I’m just saying from a kayfabe point of view, there’s no real explanation for that. Anyway, it doesn’t matter that much. Demon Balor should beat Lashley in under five minutes. Keep it simple.
Baron Corbin vs. Rey Mysterio is up next.
They showed a clip from WrestleMania 33 in 2017 when Rob Gronkowski got in the ring to knock over Jinder Mahal with a shoulder tackle that helped Gronk’s buddy Mojo Rawley win the battle royal. There are rumors that Gronk will be part of WWE soon.
It’s official for WrestleMania with Bobby Lashley defending the Intercontinental Title against “Demon” Finn Balor. The “demon” gear look of Balor was shown.
Rey Mysterio entered for the main event. The announcers went over most of the WrestleMania card as graphics were shown letting us know what was coming up on Sunday.
Baron Corbin was introduced to boos, including “Washington, DC’s favorite son” and Cole noted that Corbin wasn’t from there. Cheap heat is fun, though.
Rey Mysterio vs. Baron Corbin
Mysterio with a running dropkick to the knee followed by a dropkick that sent Corbin into the barricade at ringside. Corbin went for a Powerbomb, but Mysterio countered with a hurricanrana that sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Corbin came back with an elbow to the face leading to a break.
The match continued with Corbin sending Mysterio back first into the barricade. Back in the ring, Corbin stomped away on the right knee of Mysterio. They left the ring with Corbin whipping Mysterio into the barricade. Mysterio was selling a right knee injury a lot, he got in some kicks and Corbin launched Mysterio into the air leading to a rough landing on the mat. Corbin tossed Mysterio out of the ring under the bottom rope. Corbin hit a running clothesline on Mysterio on the floor. Corbin tossed Mysterio back into the ring. Mysterio got on Corbin’s back and went for a sleeper. Corbin tossed Mysterio down and then Rey hit a springboard hurricanrana. Mysterio with a Tornado DDT for a two count. The crowd was not into this match much at all. Mysterio set up Corbin against the ropes followed by the 619 kick to the face. Mysterio up top and he missed a Frog Splash because Corbin moved. Corbin came back with the Deep Six Slam for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: *1/2 It was a boring match with a crowd that wasn’t that interested. Corbin usually gets a two count with the Deep Six Slam, so maybe they were told to end it there because the crowd was dead. I don’t know. This match didn’t excite me for WrestleMania at all.
Corbin celebrated the win on the stage. Kurt Angle showed up and slapped on the Ankle Lock on Corbin’s left foot. Angle let go when referees showed up. The crowd barely reacted to this.
Analysis: I know that was a way to build up more interest in Angle vs. Corbin, but I don’t think the fans care about it.
The announcers talked about the big story from the show involving Lynch, Rousey and Flair getting arrested. They told us to follow WWE.com for more on the story. The graphic was shown hyping the women’s main event and that was the end of Raw.
Analysis: The women’s arrest angle should have been the main event of Raw. It would have been way more exciting than what we got to see at the end. About 30 minutes after Raw, it said the women were released from prison.
Three Stars of the Show
- Becky Lynch
- Charlotte Flair
- Ronda Rousey
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 5
2019 Average: 5.46 (Smackdown is 7.08)
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 4.5, 6, 6, 6.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)
2019 Low: 4 (February 11)
This week’s Raw gets a 5.5 out of 10.
It was a promo heavy show as expected during WrestleMania season. The big segment involved the women in the WrestleMania main event getting arrested. I thought it was a bit comical especially considering the last Becky Lynch arrest was "exposed" by Rousey when she said the arrest pics were taken in the hallway. The intensity that Rousey, Flair and Lynch showed was probably the best thing on the show. I thought Seth Rollins had a strong showing as well even though he wasn't on for that long.
Some of the angle development was good. The ending was very weak, though. You should end the last Raw before WrestleMania with a brawl or some chaotic situation. Instead, it was Baron Corbin winning a boring match and then Kurt Angle beating him up. It did not feel like a main event.
If you missed this Raw, there really wasn’t anything that you need to go out of your way to see. It was mostly an average show with a weak ending.
Here's the WrestleMania 35 lineup for this Sunday, April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
* Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championship (Winner Take All): Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch
* Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
* WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
* No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs. Batista (Triple H Must Retire if He Loses)
* Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
* Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
* Falls Count Anywhere Match: Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
* United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
* Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin (Angle’s Retirement Match)
* Intercontinental Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. "Demon" Finn Balor
* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks and Bayley (c) vs. Tamina and Nia Jax vs. Natalya and Beth Phoenix vs. (The IIconics) Peyton Royce and Billie Kay
* Andre the Giant Men’s Battle Royal
* Women’s Battle Royal
* Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese
Alexa Bliss is the host of WrestleMania, Elias is a musical guest, Yolanda Adams will sing "America the Beautiful" and Joan Jett will sing "Bad Reputation" for Ronda Rousey's entrance.
We will have a WrestleMania preview up on Friday morning.
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.