Monday Night Raw
Date: January 14, 2019
Location: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves
We’re getting closer and closer to the Royal Rumble and as long as we don’t have anything like last week’s Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar fiasco, I should be fine. The problem is Strowman might not be fine, as his recovery from elbow surgery isn’t done yet, meaning he might not be able to compete at the pay per view. Let’s get to it.
Vince McMahon arrives to open things up and isn’t happy about a spot on the limo.
Here’s Braun Strowman to a rather strong reaction. Strowman talks about Lesnar being scared of him, including the time that he had to be saved at WWE World Cup (still not the name of the show). He’s getting the Universal Title at Chase Field but the only thing that Lesnar is getting are these hands. This brings out Baron Corbin, with Strowman reminding him that he got fired. Corbin says the people are going to listen to him and if he’s up there for five minutes, it’ll be longer than Strowman lasted against Lesnar.
The chase is on with Strowman heading to the back and throwing Sunil Singh over a table for not knowing where Corbin went. Strowman goes off to find Corbin and we get a quick song from Elias. The lyrics say he knows where Corbin went so here’s Strowman, who couldn’t possibly have heard the song from where he was, to hear Elias say Corbin is in the limo. Strowman finds a pipe and breaks the window before just ripping the door off. Vince comes up and isn’t happy with the broken door but doesn’t say anything.
Post break Braun can’t put the door back on so Vince says he’s a wrecking ball. That’ll be a $100,000 fine, which Strowman says is crazy. Vince doesn’t like being talked to that way, so the Universal Title match is canceled. Vince leaves so Strowman turns the limo over. Did Corbin ever get out of there?
Nia Jax/Tamina vs. Ronda Rousey/Sasha Banks
Nia throws Banks around to start but gets kicked in the head, allowing the tag to Rousey. Ronda kicks Tamina in the face as well and the armbar attempt sends Tamina bailing to the floor. Banks knocks Nia off the apron and we take a break. Back with Nia putting Banks in a chinlock….as we go split screen for a trailer for Glass. We come back to full screen with Banks fighting up and sending Tamina into Nia. The Bank Statement makes Tamina tap at 10:02 without a tag to Rousey.
Rating: D+. This wasn’t the worst but it’s still hard to care about anything involving Nia. They did something interesting with having Banks get the win without Rousey doing anything in the end, which is a nice way to help pump things up a bit. Now just let them have an awesome match at the Rumble.
Post match Rousey and Banks are interviewed with Rousey saying it’s going to mean a lot to make Banks tap. That’s not cool with Banks, who says she can make anyone tap. Banks promises to make Rousey tap out with grace so Rousey says Banks can be the world’s most grateful loser. That sounds like Rousey calling her a loser, so Banks says Rousey can bank on tapping. Banks goes to leave but Rousey goes after her and talks about respect.
A bunch of wrestlers are outside Vince’s office when Jerry Lawler comes out. No Way Jose comes up so dancing can ensue.
Post break Bayley and Natalya are holding Rousey and Banks back. They finally leave so Bayley and Natalya can argue over whose fault it was. The Riott Squad comes up to laugh at them and a six woman is set up for later, if Bayley and Natalya can find a partner. Somewhere, someone has to be laughing at this because it has to be a rib at this point.
Lucha House Party vs. Revival
Kalisto and Gran Metalik here. Before the match, Revival complains about getting cheated out of the titles last week, which still isn’t a good way to make them heels. Kalisto flips away from Wilder to start and it’s Metalik dropping Kalisto onto him for two. An atomic drop into a dropkick from Wilder gets two on Kalisto and we go split screen to hear Apollo Crews volunteer to face Lesnar at Royal Rumble. Curt Hawkins comes up to say he should get the shot as Dawson gets two off a suplex to Kalisto.
EC3 comes in (making his Raw debut) and smiles without saying anything. The B Team says the B stands for Brock but they’re not sure which one should get the fight. Kalisto knocks Dawson away as Heath Slater says he shouldn’t fight Lesnar but Rhyno could. Back to full screen with Metalik coming in off the hot tag and getting to clean house. A dropkick misses though and Dawson plants Metalik with a DDT for the pin at 4:13 with Wilder shoving the foot off the rope.
Rating: D. I’m not wild on the cut to the back when it was little more than a cameo from EC3, though I’ll certainly take the storyline stuff over a movie plug. The match itself was nothing that hasn’t been done either, but I’m not sure why they can’t figure out if we’re supposed to cheer for the Revival or not. It shouldn’t be that hard.
Vince comes out of his office and says he’ll make the announcement of the replacement in the ring.
Here’s Vince for the announcement but John Cena cuts him off before anything can be said. Cena talks about everyone leaving Vince high and dry, leaving him with a bunch of misfits (or Hall of Famers, same thing) to carry things. Vince needed someone to stand up and that’s what Cena did, time after time. Now, Cena wants to stand up one more time and he won’t let Vince down.
Cena says he can do this because he has RUTHLESS AGGRESSION but here’s Drew McIntyre to say it should be his shot now. Like everyone else Cena talked about, Cena can leave. Now it’s Corbin coming out (YOUR PRESENCE IS NOT REQUIRED!!!) to threaten legal action over what happened with Strowman earlier, though he’ll be fine with just a title shot.
Finn Balor comes out as well to say he’s tired of being left out of these conversations. Out of everyone here, he’s the only one to have ever been Universal Champion. Vince says Balor may be one day again, but he doesn’t have the beef to size up against Lesnar. Balor says Vince never believed in him but the people here do. There’s nothing Balor can say to change his mind, so he’ll show Vince instead. The fight is on with McIntyre being the only one left standing. A Claymore knocks Cena silly for a bonus and Vince makes a four way for the title shot tonight.
Post break, Jinder Mahal comes up to Vince and says he should be in the match instead. Vince seems to buy into it and says Mahal can face any of the four and if he wins, he can go to the Rumble. Mahal picks Balor to face tonight, and if he wins he gets to go to the Rumble. Wait what? Did I miss something here?
Bayley/Natalya/Nikki Cross vs. Riott Squad
Cole makes it clear that neither Nikki nor the rest of the NXT callups have been assigned to either brand and will be appearing on both shows for awhile. Bayley starts with Logan as Nikki freaks out on the apron. She gets the tag and immediately starts choking Logan, followed by a dropkick to send it off to Morgan instead. All six get in and Nikki says let her play by herself.
Nikki goes after all three of them on the floor, allowing Bayley and Natalya to add baseball slides. The distraction lets Nikki crawl underneath the ring and pull Riott into the ring skirt for a pounding as we take a break. Back with Bayley in trouble as Morgan comes in to choke away. A dropkick to the back gets two and it’s Logan coming in for the chinlock.
Bayley fights up and sends Logan into the corner so the hot tag can bring Natalya in. Morgan snaps off a running hurricanrana for two and it’s Nikki diving in for the save. Something like a super Hart Attack drops Logan and a Regal Cutter puts her down again. Everything breaks down and Nikki crushes Riott and Logan in the corner. Bayley tags herself in as Nikki hits her hanging swinging neckbreaker. The top rope elbow gives Bayley the pin at 11:31.
Rating: C. Most of the match was nothing we haven’t seen before but this was ALL about Nikki, who was the ball of fire that she needed to be. Nikki’s greatest strength is coming off as actually nuts and that’s what she did here. Now just please don’t make her the latest plaything for this ridiculous feud. That would be as dumb as you can get and I really hope it’s not the case here. Anyway, great debut in an eh match.
Balor is on his way to the ring and sees Lacey Evans talking to Dana Brooke and Mickie James.
Dean Ambrose talks about right and wrong. It’s right that he gets to defend the Intercontinental Title but wrong that he has to defend the Intercontinental Title in a triple threat match in Memphis.
Finn Balor vs. Jinder Mahal
The winner is in tonight’s four way for the title. Mahal jumps Balor before the bell and knocks him off the top, sending Balor ribs first into the barricade. Balor gets in and says he wants the match so Mahal hits him in the face for an early two. The chinlock goes on and Mahal knocks him to the floor as we take an early break.
Back with Balor’s bad ribs being sent into the corner and a reverse chinlock going on. Balor fights up with a kick to the head and some running forearms. The real comeback is on with the big flip dive to the floor onto Mahal and Singh. Back in and the shotgun dropkick sets up the Coup de Grace to give Balor the pin at 9:33.
Rating: C-. This wasn’t a great match on its own but it sets Balor up for the win later on. The rib injury was a good addition as it makes Balor’s hill that much harder to climb. There’s a good David vs. Goliath story to be told with Balor vs. Lesnar and this was a smart place to start.
Lio Rush says Bobby Lashley is ready to win the Intercontinental Title.
Intercontinental Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
Dean is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Before the match, Rollins says this is his last chance to win the title back and knock Ambrose’s teeth out. All that matters out there is what you do bell to bell and no one can do it like him. Dean offers Rollins a partnership against Lashley and gets sent outside for his efforts. Rollins dropkicks Lashley outside as well and hits a dive before punching Dean again.
Back in and Rollins gets double teamed to put him in trouble for the first time. Lashley hits a running shoulder to the ribs in the corner but a second charge misses, allowing Rollins to slug away. One heck of a spinebuster puts Rollins down and Dean sends Lashley outside. That’s enough of a delay to let Rollins clothesline Dean to the floor for a suicide dive to both. Rush tries to go after Rollins but has to bail to the floor instead. The chase is on so Lashley hits a spinebuster on Rollins and a belly to belly on Dean as we take a break.
Back with Dean hitting a clothesline on Lashley and forming a rather loose partnership with Rollins to keep him in trouble. That gives us the big staredown but they go with more stomping on Lashley instead. A shot with the steps puts Lashley down again and NOW it’s time for the big showdown. Rollins hits the Falcon Arrow for two with Rush coming in for the save because there are no DQ’s. Ambrose knocks Rush to the floor and gets superkicked, only to have Lashley come back in to steal two.
Dirty Deeds is broken up by Rollins’ springboard clothesline and there’s an enziguri to Lashley. Rollins adds the frog splash but Dean sends Rollins outside to steal the near fall. Ambrose and Lashley get together for a Doomsday Device on Rollins, who pops right back up. Rush offers ANOTHER distraction and gets Seth knocked outside, leaving Lashley to spear Ambrose for the pin and the title at 13:15.
Rating: C. It was exciting at times though I’m a little surprised by the title change. Lashley hasn’t really been doing anything of note but at least it’s something fresh. Ambrose didn’t have many people to feud with but it’s not like Lashley has that many more. Not a bad match, just a surprise ending.
Alexa Bliss won’t answer the door to get her latte so the delivery guy brings it in. Bliss is changing and covers up in time, much to her own annoyance.
It’s time for a Moment of Bliss. Before we get to the guest, we have some news to get to. A few weeks ago, the Women’s Tag Team Titles were announced but no date was given. Well Bliss has the details: in five weeks at Elimination Chamber, three teams from Raw and Smackdown will compete inside the Chamber to crown the first champions. Bliss pulls off a blanket to reveal the titles, which have a big plate with points on the corners.
That’s enough for that though as it’s time to talk to Bliss’ guest: Paul Heyman. He tells Bliss to ask her best questions so Bliss asks about tonight’s four way. Lesnar would run over any of the four in the match tonight with a quick mention of each competitor. He has had his eye on McIntyre and knows he’ll be a World Champion, but not right now. As he talks about the four, Otis Dozovic from NXT appears and looks….disturbed. He talks about pretty ladies as Heyman and Bliss look horrified. His partner Tucker Knight comes in to pull him back to wrap things up. That was a rather forced debut but Dozovic definitely got some attention.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. John Cena
One fall to a finish and the winner goes to the Rumble to face Lesnar. Balor starts fast by heading up top for an early Coup de Grace on Corbin but gets pulled down into a chokebreaker for two as we take a break. Back with Corbin knocking Balor off the apron to keep the ribs in trouble. Cena hits a tornado DDT for two on Corbin with McIntyre making the save.
McIntyre comes back in and gets caught with some of Cena’s usual until Corbin makes a save of his own. Balor and Cena load up Corbin for a double superplex but McIntyre powerbombs them both down, only to get crotched on top by Corbin. That’s fine with Drew, who does his situp into a choke superplex as we take another break. Back again with Balor charging into the End of Days, leaving Corbin to take the Glasgow Kiss.
Cena goes up top but dives into a powerbomb from McIntyre for two. Drew and Corbin start stomping away until the good guys fight back. Cena takes Balor up top for the super AA with Corbin throwing him outside to steal two. Now it’s Corbin grabbing a chair to unload on Cena and McIntyre but Cena is right back with an AA. The Claymore takes Cena down but Balor hits a tornado DDT of his own on McIntyre. The Coup de Grace to Cena gives Balor the title shot at 19:13.
Rating: B-. They weren’t exactly hiding this one and that’s ok. Having Balor pin Cena after coming in injured and having already wrestled a match earlier in the night is about as strong of a push as you can give someone and it should suit him very well going into the Rumble. The match was entertaining for what it was and that’s all this needed to be.
Post match Cena says he believes in Balor and says he’s the next Universal Champion.
Overall Rating: C+. Oh it’s the Road to Wrestlemania season alright. This was WAY better than previous weeks as stuff actually happened here and we had some fun. Getting rid of Strowman was a necessary move but at the same time it adds so much more energy to the whole show. Balor isn’t likely winning the title but at least he has the charisma to make me believe there’s a chance. The rest of the show was full of stuff and while I don’t agree with all of it, it’s still nice to have a thing or two actually feel different for a change. I’ll take this over what we’ve been having for the last few months with ease so call this one a success.
Ronda Rousey/Sasha Banks b. Nia Jax/Tamina – Bank Statement to Tamina
Revival b. Lucha House Party – DDT to Metalik
Bayley/Natalya/Nikki Cross b. Riott Squad – Top rope elbow to Morgan
Finn Balor b. Jinder Mahal – Coup de Grace
Bobby Lashley b. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins – Spear to Ambrose
Finn Balor b. Baron Corbin, John Cena and Drew McIntyre – Coup de Grace to Cena
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