Before we get started, thank you very much for all the kind wishes and condolences. I mentioned those to my family and they were rather touched to know that a bunch of people said such nice things.
Monday Night Raw
Date: January 28, 2019
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
It’s time for the Road to Wrestlemania to begin and we’re in some pretty good shape around here. Seth Rollins won the Royal Rumble last night and, barring a big surprise, he’s probably going to decide to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title in April. That means we’ve got a long way to go before the show and a lot needs to be done. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Seth Rollins to open things up to a very strong reaction. After a BURN IT DOWN chant, Seth talks about putting his heart into everything last night and that’s why he won. Now he gets to stand in this ring and say that Seth Freaking Rollins is going to the main event of Wrestlemania. Rollins promised himself that he wasn’t going to do it, but he has to point at the sign man. Now though, Rollins has a choice to make. He can go to Smackdown and challenge his longtime friend Daniel Bryan, or he can go to Suplex City.
With a SETH FREAKING ROLLINS chant going, Seth says it’s going to be a decision he needs to think about. This brings out HHH to say Rollins got to point at the sign and would have been disappointed if he hadn’t. HHH has been there before and it’s why he challenged Rollins to step up a few weeks ago. The Royal Rumble was designed to put thirty athletes in the ring and see who is best. Rollins, who may be crying, did that, but now he needs to know what he’s doing at Wrestlemania.
That’s what he can decide tonight, because Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar are going to be here tonight. Fans: “SLAY THE BEAST!” This brings out Dean Ambrose to say HHH wanted to get rid of Seth when the two of them were riding the roads in Florida. Dean believed in him though and they were going to take over together.
HHH calls him out for his hypocrisy because everything in this ring concerns him. Dean wants to fight Rollins right now so HHH says he’ll think about it. HHH goes to leave but Dean asks if he needs permission from his father-in-law first. Fans: “YES HE DOES”! Dang this is a hot crowd tonight. HHH: “Get me a referee.”
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
They start brawling after a break with Rollins knocking him outside for some right hands against the barricade. Back in and Dean stomps him down in the corner but has to bail before the Stomp can connect. Dean takes over and we hit the chinlock, followed by a belly to back faceplant for two.
Back from a break with Seth shoving him off the top and an exchange of some loud chops. The Sling Blade sends Dean outside for the suicide dive, followed by an enziguri to put him on the floor again. Another suicide dive sets up the Ripcord knee back inside, meaning it’s time to burn it down. The Stomp finishes Dean completely clean at 11:27.
Rating: C+. Having Rollins go nuts with one win after another is a fine way to set him up for Wrestlemania as it’s what he does best. As long as they don’t do something crazy on the way to having him face Lesnar for the Universal Title, everything is going to be fine. Not exactly thrilling, but fine.
Post break an annoyed Dean is still in the ring when Nia Jax and Tamina come out for their match. Nia and Dean have a standoff until a Tamina distraction lets Nia knock him to the floor. If they’re really trying to recreate Chyna with Nia Jax, they’re more insane than I thought.
Women’s Tag Team Titles Qualifying Match: Alexa Bliss/Mickie James vs. Tamina/Nia Jax
Bliss tries to grab Tamina by the throat to start and gets shoved down with ease. A quick spinning rollup gives Bliss two, as does the moonsault into the double knees to the chest. Nia comes in and we take an early break. Back with Bliss missing another moonsault into the double knees, allowing Tamina to grab the chinlock.
Nia comes in and gives Bliss a Stinkface, setting up another chinlock as this isn’t exactly thrilling so far. Bliss finally rolls away from Tamina for the hot tag off to Mickie. The pace picks up and a neckbreaker gets two on Tamina. Jax puts Mickie in a fireman’s carry, adds Bliss on top, squats them, and then drops backwards to pin James at 9:54.
Rating: D+. I’ve seen worse and Nia’s spot at the end was impressive. She’s a lot better fit in something like this than on her own, mainly because she hasn’t come off as a failure in a tag team yet. I like Mickie and Bliss as a team, though I can understand why they went with the more logical and experienced team here.
Kurt Angle is fired up to face Baron Corbin, because Corbin cost him everything.
Baron Corbin vs. Kurt Angle
Before the match, Baron talks about how Angle is a legend and believes that he has one great match left in him. Corbin is ready to prove him wrong so Angle punches him in the face. The first German suplex has Corbin in trouble but he slides underneath the corner and clotheslines Angle down. Angle shrugs off some right hands as the announcers argue about the ratings going down while Corbin was all over TV. As he’s wrestling on Raw, because WWE doesn’t understand the problem. The Angle Slam gets two and it’s off to the ankle lock. That’s broken up as well and it’s the Deep Six for the pin at 3:55.
Rating: D. You have to assume that this is setting up Angle’s farewell match at Wrestlemania and really, it can’t come a moment too soon. Angle has been playing the greatest hits for a long time now and it’s getting harder and harder to watch him in the ring. He has a place in WWE, but it’s not in the ring anymore.
Post match Corbin lays Angle out again.
We look back at Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar from last night.
Here’s a slightly subdued Balor for a chat. He’s making no excuses because Lesnar beat him last night. Balor has never seen a combination of speed and power like that but he’s out here with his head held high. Last night he made Lesnar believe….and here’s Bobby Lashley to interrupt. Lio Rush says Balor is scared of Lashley because what happened last night is nothing compared to what Lashley would do to him. Balor calls Lashley out for only lasting 12 seconds in the Rumble and the beatdown is on with the injured Balor not being able to fight back.
We look at Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre destroying Braun Strowman to put him on the shelf.
Zack Ryder/Curt Hawkins vs. Revival
We even get a video package on Hawkins and Ryder’s history as a team. Revival gets beaten down to start and it’s a double dropkick through the apron to take them down. Things get down to a more traditional pace with Dawson dropping Wilder into a legdrop on Ryder, who reverses a suplex into a neckbreaker. The hot tag brings in Hawkins, who gets his head taken off with a clothesline. A blind tag brings Wilder back in though and it’s the Shatter Machine for the pin at 2:53.
Daniel Bryan didn’t need Erick Rowan’s help to retain the title last night. If Seth picks him though, he’ll end all of Rollins’ hopes and dreams.
Video on WWE teaming up with UNICEF Kid Power.
Here’s Elias for a song. The fans sing WALK WITH ELIAS but Elias says the fans have let him down. They need to be better because the standing ovation should be starting as soon as they say his name. It’s too late now, so the fans deem themselves not worthy. He has a song ready for tonight, but here’s Jeff Jarrett to interrupt. After calling Elias Slap Nuts, Jeff says Elias’ problem is with him instead.
We get the name spelling….and here’s Road Dogg to interrupt. The fans start the HOLY S*** chant but Dogg says it’s a family show. We actually get With My Baby Tonight, featuring Renee dancing and singing at commentary. Elias finally clocks Dogg with the guitar but Jeff beats him up. Another guitar shot takes Jeff down though as the face experiment seems to have ended in a hurry. Fair enough, as it wasn’t working.
Natalya and Dana Brooke don’t seem to be on the same page before their tag match.
Mojo Rawley looks in a mirror and says soon everyone will see who he really is.
Women’s Tag Team Titles Qualifying Match: Riott Squad vs. Dana Brooke/Natalya
Brooke is sent to the apron early on, allowing her to cartwheel over Morgan. Logan takes Dana down back inside and it’s an assisted middle rope bulldog for two on Dana. The hot tag brings Natalya in a few seconds later and, after slipping out of a sunset flip, the Sharpshooter has Morgan in trouble. Logan shoves Brooke into them for the break though, allowing Morgan to get a rollup pin at 2:50.
Here’s Ronda Rousey for an open challenge but egads the fans don’t want to see her. After a BECKY chant, Rousey gets booed out of the building while talking about dreaming big. She thanks Sasha for a great match last night because Banks made her better than she’s ever been before. After a point to the sign, Ronda knows Becky has a choice to make. With the fans getting the better of her again, Bayley finally comes out to cut her off and answer the challenge.
Raw Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Ronda Rousey
Bayley is challenging. Rousey takes her straight down to start and Bayley resets in the corner. It’s already time to go after the arm with the armbar over the ropes having Bayley in more trouble. A quick suplex gives Bayley two and she dragon screw leg whips the knee over the ropes to send us to a break.
Back with Bayley staying on the knee until a shot to the face gives her a breather. A clothesline takes Bayley down and it’s time for the rolling judo throws. The leg gives out though and Bayley is right back with the kneebar. They roll out to the floor though and they’re both down again, sending us to another break.
Back with Rousey still in trouble and Bayley hitting her sliding kick underneath the bottom rope. The top rope elbow sets up the Bank Statement of all things, but Rousey is in the ropes quickly enough. Bayley goes up but gets slammed down, setting up a very fast armbar to retain the title at 15:29.
Rating: B. Another good match for Rousey here as it seems we’re checking off all the names as fast as they can. Bayley wasn’t really a threat to win the title, but at least they had something work as well as it did here. They’re doing something interesting with having Rousey getting work down, though I’m not sure where it goes.
Post match Ronda picks Bayley up and here’s a limping Becky to a HUGE reaction. Becky has been hearing about the baddest woman on the planet for a year now but the last time Becky was here, she dropped Rousey. It’s funny that Rousey has never come looking for her for some payback. Becky doesn’t need the extra time. She picks Ronda Rousey for Wrestlemania.
The staredown is on until Rousey grabs the mic, asking how Becky’s leg is. Ronda wants the best version of Becky possible, because she can break Becky’s face faster than she can say Nia Jax. Rousey was stealing the show last year in her debut when Becky was on the Kickoff Show. Becky has been the Man for a few months but Rousey has been a household name for ten years. That’s the mic drop, though Rousey isn’t enough of a talker to have one of those. At least the match is made though.
Braun Strowman tells Seth that he earned it last night so he needs to go make the right decision.
Video on a kid at Make-A-Wish headquarters getting to meet wrestlers.
Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman
Drew goes right after him with a chop to the chest and a kick to the face, only to be flattened by a hard shoulder. Strowman tries his running shoulder around the ring but gets drop toeholded into the barricade to send us to a break. Back with Strowman fighting out of a chinlock and starting to run McIntyre over. Another hard shot sends McIntyre outside so it’s time to grab the steps, only to have Corbin jump Strowman from behind for the DQ at 6:53.
Rating: D+. This didn’t have time to go very far but I liked the fact that they had a DQ finish instead of having either of them lose. Strowman taking another loss wasn’t going to do him any favors and McIntyre should only be losing in special circumstances. They didn’t do anything great here, but at least they got the ending right.
Post match Strowman beats on Corbin until McIntyre gets in a cheap shot, allowing the beatdown to commence on Strowman.
Here are Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for Rollins’ pick. Heyman calls it easy to make decisions when you only have one option. Rollins’ only choice is to fight Daniel Bryan because all other roads lead to the Beast. This brings out Rollins for the staredown with Lesnar and Rollins starts slugging away, including a Stomp attempt, which is countered into an F5. Brock hits a second through fourth, followed by a fifth on the title. Rollins asks if that’s all Brock has and picks himself up, meaning it’s a sixth F5 to end the show with Rollins not picking anything yet. You know, because it’s such a mystery.
Overall Rating: C-. I liked the angles more than the wrestling here as they’re certainly continuing the idea of having things move forward. That’s the biggest and best change they can make after so many months of standing in place and at least some of the stuff they have going on is good. It’s not a great show, but it did what it was supposed to do and got the Royal Rumble winners (I think we know where Seth is going) out of the way early.
Seth Rollins b. Dean Ambrose – The Stomp
Tamina/Nia Jax b. Mickie James/Alexa Bliss – Samoan drop to Bliss
Baron Corbin b. Kurt Angle – Deep Six
Revival b. Curt Hawkins/Zack Ryder – Shatter Machine to Hawkins
Riott Squad b. Dana Brooke/Natalya – Rollup to Natalya
Ronda Rousey b. Bayley – Armbar
Braun Strowman b. Drew McIntyre via DQ when Baron Corbin interfered
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:
And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at: