Monday Night Raw
Date: February 11, 2019
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
It’s the go home Raw before Elimination Chamber and, thanks to some announcements made earlier in the day, we now have some matches for Sunday from the red side. As for tonight, Becky Lynch has been invited to the show and Seth Rollins is ready to respond to Brock Lesnar after the beatdown from two weeks ago. Let’s get to it.
HHH and Stephanie McMahon are in the ring to open the show with Stephanie talking about the “Elimination Chamber View” on Sunday before correcting herself. HOW DARE SHE GO OFF SCRIPT LIKE THAT!!!! So totally unprofessional. They run down the card with a focus on Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott, leading into a recap of last week’s issues with Becky Lynch. This brings out Becky to say it’s nice to be here and nice to see both of them, especially since the swelling has gone down on Stephanie’s face. Becky: “I’ll hit you harder next time.”
HHH apologizes for what he said on Smackdown and now Becky has seen her doctors, who have conferred with the WWE doctors. There is no tear and Becky will be fine with a few weeks of rest. Therefore the suspension is lifted and the Wrestlemania match is on. Actually hang on as Stephanie has one more thing Becky has to do. The match is on…but she has to apologize to the two of them first.
Becky doesn’t get that because it was their idea to make her see a doctor in the first place. Stephanie: “Don’t be stubborn.” Becky: “SHUT YOUR FACE!” The McMahons have been screwing people over for decades and no one is stealing her opportunity. She’ll fight Vince himself if she has to but she’s not apologizing. Stephanie and Becky go face to face so HHH breaks it up and tells Becky that she has a choice. She can die on this hill and throw it all away or she can go to Wrestlemania. He wants an answer tonight.
Boss And Hug Connection vs. Nia Jax/Tamina vs. Liv Morgan/Sarah Logan
The team that takes the fall enters the Chamber first. During their entrances, Bayley and Sasha summarize their year and say nothing can break them no matter what. Nia and Tamina promise to win because they’re Samoans. Since you don’t want to be in first here, Sasha makes Morgan start with Nia and then bails to the floor before a tag. Logan tries to headbutt Nia and just gets headbutted back down. No one can do anything with Nia so thankfully it’s off to Tamina for a chinlock on Morgan. Nia comes back in so Liv kicks away at the knee but Bayley tags herself in.
The Squad beats Bayley and Sasha down as we take a break. Back with Banks down on the floor (again) as Bayley gets beaten down by the Samoan Slaughterhouse (yes the Samoan Slaughterhouse, which someone got paid to create). Sasha is taken out by medics as the beatdown continues without much effort. Bayley fights up and makes the tag off to Logan, who gets chinlocked as well.
The top rope splash misses though and it’s back to Bayley to clean house. Why she doesn’t just sit on the floor or walk out since there’s no benefit to winning the match isn’t clear, but my guess is general face nitwitedness. The running dropkick beneath the bottom rope hits Morgan and the top rope elbow gets two as Logan saves. There’s the Bayley to Belly to Morgan but Tamina is back in with a superkick. Nia comes in with the Samoan drop to finish Bayley at 14:40.
Rating: D+. I’ve seen worse and while it’s understandable that they can’t have Banks in the ring, the inclusion of Nia and Tamina just sucks the life out of anything. They’re going to get pushed because they’re monsters and they’ll tell you about how Samoan they are, which is the extent of anything they have going for them. Bayley and Banks as the first entrants can make for a heck of a run, though I can’t imagine they actually win.
Elias is in the ring as Becky is contemplating things in the back. Balor comes up to her and talks about Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush (dude stop being selfish). He knows she’ll do the right thing and take care of things. Becky: “You’re still awesome.”
Elias is ready to perform but we get a long video on Seth Rollins’ rise back up the ranks to the main event of Wrestlemania.
Elias is ready to play one more time but here’s Lucha House Party to cut him off. That’s enough for Elias, who snaps about being disrespected and his album not being nominated or a Grammy. Kalisto tells him to chill, because they want to walk with Elias. It’s finally time to sing the song, which is about how terrible it is to be in Grand Rapids. Kalisto gets in some guitar playing of his own and does quite well, earning himself a guitar to the back. Elias bails before he gets beaten down as well. I’ve heard worse ideas for a short feud.
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush come to the ring…and let’s go to Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose talking about the Elimination Chamber. That was rather sudden, which seems to be a trend tonight.
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
Lashley and Rush are at ringside. An early Rush distraction lets McIntyre hammer away and the chinlock goes on in a hurry. Balor sends him into the corner but gets pulled out to the apron. A missed charge sends McIntyre hard into the post but it’s Lashley grabbing the boot to break up a dive. One heck of a dropkick through the ropes drops Rush and it’s a Sling Blade to McIntyre, drawing in Lashley for the DQ at 3:02.
Rating: D+. Not enough time to mean anything but it was an angle instead of a match anyway. They were smart to not have McIntyre take a fall here as there was no point to this being anything other than a DQ. It served a purpose and let us have an energetic burst, at least while it lasted before what is likely a tag match.
Post match the beatdown is on until Kurt Angle makes the save. Rush gets his ankle locked until Baron Corbin runs in to take Angle out. Braun Strowman makes the final save and Corbin actually stays to fight, with McIntyre saving him from the powerslam. You know what’s next.
Baron Corbin/Lio Rush/Drew McIntyre vs. Kurt Angle/Finn Balor/Braun Strowman
Joined in progress with McIntyre in trouble until he drives Balor into the corner for some choking on the ropes. Balor fights over and brings in Angle without much trouble, meaning Kurt can clean some house. A middle rope missile dropkick (didn’t look to make much contact but a camera cut makes the save) sets up the Angle Slam for two with Lashley making the save. Lashley plants Angle with a Downward Spiral and it’s Corbin grabbing the chinlock.
Angle fights back until getting sent to the floor as we take a break. Back with Balor fighting back but having the Sling Blade countered into a chokebreaker for two. Lashley comes back in to stay on the ropes but a powerbomb is countered into a basement dropkick. McIntyre and Strowman knock each other down on the floor, leaving Balor to block the spear and dive on McIntyre in a quick switch. Back in and Balor knocks Rush down, allowing Lashley to crotch him on top.
The spinning Dominator gets the pin on Balor, despite the boot being on the rope. I’m not sure what the point of a screwy finish there would be but it might not have been intentional. Cue a second referee to say what happened and the match is CONTINUING after another break. Good grief this is as obvious of a case of a match being extended that I can remember seeing in a long time.
Back again with Balor in trouble as Strowman has been knocked over the barricade and Angle is down outside. Balor fights out of a chinlock and hits a double stomp to Lashley, which is enough to tag in Strowman for the real comeback. Strowman heads outside for the running shoulders around the ring, followed by the running powerslam to Lashley. Balor adds the Coup de Grace for the pin at 22:18.
Rating: D. This was far from the worst match I’ve ever seen or even a terrible one but it felt like it went on for hours. There are very few things more annoying than a match that keeps going because it needs to keep going, which is exactly what was happening here. It doesn’t exactly help that this isn’t the most thrilling set of feuds in the world. Balor vs. Lashley is fine, but it wasn’t much more than that.
Kevin Owens is at a bowling alley and says he’s been spending as much time as he can with his family during his time off. He and his son have been watching Raw and it’s rather hard sometimes. It’s either going to be Raw or Smackdown but he’ll be back in about a month. Owens throws a gutter ball and seems rather ok with things.
Becky has no answer for what she’s going to do.
Video on the March on Washington.
Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riott
This could be interesting. Nikki tells her to come on and grabs a rather aggressive headlock. The sleeper goes on with Riott standing up to drive her into the corner. Riott uses the knees to drive Nikki face first into the buckle as we cut to (full screen of course) Ronda Rousey getting in Becky’s face to say it’s bigger than two of them. Becky needs to man up and apologize, even if she doesn’t mean it.
Back to the match (because we can cut away from this but not Baron Corbin Chinlock Theater) with Nikki getting put down with an STO for two. Another STO on the apron is countered into a layout reverse DDT to put Riott on the floor. Ruby gets caught in the ring skirt for some forearms to the head but Riott kicks her off the top. The Riott Kick finishes Cross at 5:22.
Rating: C-. Completely unnecessary time away from the match aside (it came after a twenty two minute match and they take it away from a five minute match instead), this was entertaining while it lasted and Riott getting a win is fine. It’s also ok with Cross losing as she isn’t the kind of person who is going to be hurt by a loss due to her complete insanity.
Here’s Rollins to talk about Wrestlemania but he’d rather talk about the last twelve months. He accomplished a lot and it all culminated at the Royal Rumble. Rollins was at the top of the world but the next night it was knocked down with six F5’s. He’s never felt pain like that but what matters is he’s back up. Wrestlemania might be the last match of his career, but here’s Paul Heyman to interrupt. After teasing Lesnar being here (with Rollins not buying it), Heyman says he’s here to educate Seth.
For some reason Seth assumes that all men are created equal, but that’s not true. Rollins’ DNA does not match Lesnar’s because Brock is a rage filled monster. We call this a suicide mission, but Rollins says he’s fine with that. He’s tired of Lesnar holding the Universal Title hostage and he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent Lesnar from leaving Wrestlemania as champion. That’s not a prediction, but rather a spoiler. Heyman leaves and here’s Dean Ambrose….to tell Rollins to slay the beast. Dean sits down in the timekeeper’s area and Rollins leaves.
EC3 vs. Dean Ambrose
After the IIconics say winning the titles would be the perfect coronation for them, EC3 kicks and punches away to start, followed by a middle rope dropkick. A suplex sets up a nerve hold but EC3 can’t hit the 1%er. Instead he goes shoulder first into the post and Dean makes the comeback with a Boss Man Slam getting two. So is Dean suddenly just a face again? He’s certainly wrestling like one. EC3 crotches him on top but gets small packaged to give Dean a fast pin at 3:54.
Rating: D+. Uh….ok then. So Dean is leaving in less than two months and is now trading wins with the newcomer while suddenly turning face after months of being a heel? It makes as much sense as some of the things they’re doing right now, but that’s never stopped them before and it won’t do it now.
Alexa Bliss tells Becky not to apologize, which Becky knows is just a way to get into the title shot at Wrestlemania. Bliss says do whatever you want, but an apology makes you the Irish girl who swallowed her pride and sold out. Becky: “If I apologize, the only thing I’ll be selling out is Wrestlemania.”
Tag Team Titles: Revival vs. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable
Roode and Gable are defending. Wilder slams his way out of an armbar to start and brings Dawson in. That means another armbar from Gable as everything breaks down. The champs are sent outside with Gable hitting a moonsault onto both of them as we take a break. Back with Roode fighting out of a chinlock and bringing Gable back in. Dawson takes him down with another chinlock and it’s time to go after the arm.
A hard belly to back suplex sets up an assisted legdrop for two from Wilder. Another chinlock is broken up with another belly to back suplex but Roode gets pulled off the apron. Back from another break with Dawson getting catapulted into the corner, allowing the hot tag to Roode. House cleaning ensues with Roode bailing out on the Blockbuster but settling for a heck of a spinebuster for two on Wilder. Revival makes a blind tag though and a Gory Special/bulldog combination gives Dawson two (cool move at least).
Gable comes back in with a high crossbody to Dawson, followed by a Blockbuster/German suplex combination (with Wilder landing on his head) for another near fall. Wilder gets Gable up for a powerbomb (after a sunset FLIP off the top) with Dawson adding the top rope clothesline but Roode dives in for the last second save. Roode sends the Revival into each other, leaving Dawson to catch him with a DDT. A quick jackknife rollup gives Gable two but it’s a blind tag into the Shatter Machine to FINALLY make the Revival champions at 19:50.
Rating: B+. Well it took long enough and at least they won the belts in a very good match. I have no idea if this is going to put the Revival Might Leave rumors to bed but at least everything worked on the way there and we had an awesome match to finish things off. Roode and Gable never felt like anything more than transitional champions and there’s nothing wrong with that. Revival is LONG overdue to win these things and I’m rather pleased with how we got here.
Post match, Revival heads to the back and says they’ve been telling everyone that they’re the best and now they’ve proven it.
Here’s Becky for the decision, because somehow the ending of the go home show for Elimination Chamber is about HHH and Stephanie getting an apology to set up a Wrestlemania match. The bosses come out as well and talk about how Becky needs to accept the consequences for her actions so she can go to Wrestlemania. The fans don’t want Becky to do it so HHH tells her to ignore the fans and get Wrestlemania like she wants.
Becky quickly apologizes and walks away from a handshake, saying that now there is no one stopping her from her dream. HHH offers his congratulations, shakes Becky’s hand and says she’s going to Wrestlemania. Becky: “Wait that’s it?” HHH: “You’re going to Wrestlemania.” HHH and Stephanie leave as Becky starts talking about Ronda, who comes out to hear it in person.
Before it can get physical, here’s Vince McMahon to cut them off. He doesn’t buy the apology so Becky is suspended for SIXTY DAYS, meaning she’s out of Wrestlemania and Charlotte is in instead. Vince raises Charlotte’s arm and tells Rousey to get used to this scene, because it’s how Wrestlemania will end. I don’t think anyone really believes this is sticking, but it’s a nice cliffhanger.
Overall Rating: C-. That’s a crazy nice bump at the end as this was looking like a terrible show until the last thirty five minutes or so. The big thing continues to be WWE not knowing where to focus though, as we’re dealing with Wrestlemania build while also setting up Elimination Chamber on Sunday. It’s not going to get any better with Fastlane taking place in less than a month, and that’s not a good idea with so much other stuff going on.
At some point they need to pick a focus and stick with it, because we’re getting two half builds instead of one good one. That’s fine when it’s building to a big match, but I find it hard to care that much when the major Raw match on Sunday is for the inaugural Women’s Tag Team Titles and the first champions might not even be on this show. The last fourth or so of this show is good, but the rest is about as skippable as you can ask for.
Nia Jax/Tamina b. Boss and Hug Connects and Sarah Logan/Liv Morgan – Samoan drop to Bayley
Finn Balor b. Drew McIntyre via DQ when Bobby Lashley interfered
Finn Balor/Braun Strowman/Kurt Angle b. Drew McIntyre/Bobby Lashley/Baron Corbin – Coup de Grace to Lashley
Ruby Riott b. Nikki Cross – Riott Kick
Revival b. Chad Gable/Bobby Roode – Shatter Machine to Gable
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