Monday Night Raw
Date: March 4, 2019
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
It’s the go home show for Fastlane and since we only have four matches set for the show, you can expect to have a lot of matches announced for Sunday tonight. That’s not the best way to do things in the world but it’s the only way they can go given how little WWE seems to care about the show. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Roman Reigns to open things up to another solid pop. Reigns says last week was the comeback but this week it’s time to take the yard back. There was one person standing in his way and that’s Seth Rollins. This brings out Rollins, who says what an inspiration this is for him. Rollins wants to bring the Universal Title back to Raw but he knows what Reigns is going through. If anyone deserves the shot, it’s Reigns. That sounds nice to Reigns, but he tells Rollins good luck.
There’s one more thing though: he wants to get the band back together one last time. Rollins: “Anything but that.” The fans certainly seem to like the idea so Reigns talks about it not being clear what Ambrose is doing. All Reigns knows is that he wants one more moment with his brothers. Rollins isn’t sure about this because he put that part of his life behind him…but Reigns is right. For Reigns’ sake, he’s in. Reigns wants Ambrose out here right now so here he comes, but Elias blasts him in the back with the guitar. Reigns and Rollins chase him off and Ambrose staggers away.
They had me believing that they were going to go with Reigns vs. Lesnar again at Wrestlemania so it’s quite the relief that it was just a tease (for now). I know that Reigns is going to be back on top of the card at some point in the future but for now, it needs to be Rollins after what they’ve built up over the last few months.
Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin are in the back with Drew talking about breaking the Shield months ago. Lashley promises to win the Intercontinental Title back and Corbin talks about how Angle needs to learn that he just can’t hang with the athletes of today.
Finn Balor/Kurt Angle/Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre/Baron Corbin
The feud that will not die. Corbin and Strowman slug it out to start with Strowman sending him outside twice in a row. That means the running shoulder to send him into the barricade so it’s off to McIntyre vs. Balor. The villains are sent to the floor for a flip dive from Balor, but a second one is broken up by Lio Rush as we take a break.
Back with Balor in trouble and getting thrown to the floor for his efforts. McIntyre muscles him up for a suplex but some right hands get Balor out of trouble and it’s off to Angle. That means the German suplexes and an ankle lock to McIntyre with Lashley making a save as we take another break.
Back again with Angle sending Corbin to the floor and bringing Strowman in for the forearm to the chest. A running powerslam sets up the Coup de Grace to Corbin for two with Rush making the save. Lashley takes Balor out so it’s Strowman tackles Rush through the barricade for a very nasty crash. Back in and the spear finishes Balor at 14:43.
Rating: C-. Totally standard match that we’ve seen from this combination multiple times. That’s not the worst thing in the world but I’m tired of watching these same six people over and over with nothing really coming from the whole thing. The wrestling was fine, though I could go for this going somewhere.
Post match the villains beat up Angle by sending him face first into the raised steps. A Claymore hits Balor and he gets slammed onto the steps.
Earlier today, Ascension talked to the B Team and Curt Hawkins/Zack Ryder about how much they can’t stand Heavy Machinery because they’re taking opportunities. And they’re stupid.
Heavy Machinery says that hurt their feelings and revenge is promised. They still have no idea what to do with these two.
Ruby Riott vs. Natalya
They slug it out to start with Riott taking her down for a very early chinlock. That’s reversed into the Sharpshooter but Riott is getting too close to the ropes so it’s broken up. Riott tries a small package but Natalya reverses into one of her own for the pin at 2:04.
Post match here’s Lacey Evans (now the Sassy Southern Belle) for her regular cameo.
We look back at Batista attacking Ric Flair last week and calling out HHH.
Stephanie McMahon welcomes some members of the Saturday Night Live cast, who will be special correspondents at Wrestlemania. One loves Philadelphia and the other loves New York. Stephanie warns them that wrestlers can be aggressive though the New York one is fine because he wrestled in high school. They leave, with Stephanie offering security.
Via his Instagram, Batista says that he won’t be here tonight because he doesn’t like Philadelphia.
Here’s HHH to talk about Batista and Flair. HHH says he was here last week for Ric Flair, but also for Richard Fliehr, one of the best men he has ever known. They were at each other’s sides for their weddings (well, most of Flair’s weddings as HHH couldn’t make all of them) and HHH was next to him when Fliehr buried his son. Then a year ago he stood by Fliehr’s bed when he was clinging to life and was scared to answer his phone because he thought it was the call saying he was gone.
Last week HHH wanted him out here to be the Nature Boy one more time but Batista wouldn’t let that happen. Batista has been trying to get HHH’s attention for months and when HHH got hurt in November, it seemed to be the end of things. That wasn’t good enough for Batista, who finally didn’t quit for once. So Batista attacked a seventy year old man who was trying to have one more moment?
Now Batista wants to show up on a screen and go Bad Guy 101 with HHH by saying he doesn’t like Philadelphia? HHH doesn’t care where he wants to go and he’ll come to Batista’s house or go to a movie set if he has to. When Batista comes to see him, it’s going to be the man instead of a character and Dave has to look him in the eyes. Good promo here and HHH’s response made sense, though I’m still needing to know why Batista did this in the first place. What exactly does he have to prove?
We look back at Ronda Rousey throwing down the Women’s Title last week.
Stephanie calls what Rousey did last week blasphemy so tonight WWE is going to do what’s best for business and drop all charges against Becky Lynch. The suspension is officially lifted (Now why didn’t they just do this before???) but Becky needs to be here tonight to sign a hold harmless policy for her match on Sunday. That would be against Charlotte for the officially vacant Raw Women’s Title.
Reigns comes up to Ambrose in the back but Dean walks away.
Heavy Machinery vs. Ascension/B Team/Curt Hawkins/Zack Ryder
This is a gauntlet match with Heavy Machinery trying to get revenge on all three teams in one night. The B Team starts with Otis fighting off Axel without much effort. It’s off to Tucker who sends Dallas into Axel, who DDTs his partner by mistake. Otis comes in for the Compactor to get rid of the B Team at 1:37.
The Ascension is next and Konnor takes the running stomachs to the head for one. Konnor is right back up to take over on Tucker but he misses a charge into the post. It’s back to Otis to clean house and a Vader Bomb gets rid of Ascension at 4:33. Ryder is in with a slingshot splash on Otis and a Russian legsweep/STO combination for the same. A pop up World’s Strongest Slam gets Otis out of trouble and the Caterpillar finishes Hawkins at 5:55.
Rating: D. Well at least they finally won something, though I still have no idea what they’re supposed to be. Last week’s weirdness from Otis was one thing but this was a much more standard tag act. I’m not sure what this accomplished other than showing how terrible the lower half of the tag division is, though Heavy Machinery being a middle of the pack team is their best place.
The SNL guys don’t know much about wrestling as the New York one wants to know where Koko B. Ware is. They run into EC3 spraying water on himself before running into Titus O’Neil, who gets a quick picture. No Way Jose and the conga line pop in for some dancing.
Torrie Wilson Hall of Fame video. They even managed to show some of her matches, which features a ridiculous amount of neckbreakers, the one move she could actually do.
Charlotte knows Becky will sign the paper because of her pride. That way on Sunday, Charlotte can be Raw Women’s Champion again in a great moment.
Rollins tries talking to Ambrose about getting the Shield back together but it’s a no. He appreciates the help last week but now he has to do it on his own.
Here’s Elias to sing about how he knows he’s in Philadelphia because of how bad their sports teams are.
Elias vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose is holding his back on the way to the ring and the fight is on in a hurry. They head outside with Ambrose sending him back first into the barricade. A clothesline puts Elias right back on the floor and we take a break. Back with Elias hitting Old School but getting sent outside again for a suicide dive. They head back inside with Dean shrugging off a shot to the bad back and hitting a swinging neckbreaker. After stopping to hold his back, Dean’s top rope elbow to the head is blocked with a jumping knee to the face, setting up Drift Away for the pin at 8:06.
Rating: D+. How long has it been since Elias won a major match? And clean on top of that? Ambrose seems to be leaving, though WWE acknowledging it more than once makes things seem a little fishy indeed. Maybe he is leaving though and if that’s the case, at least he’s putting some people over on the way out.
Post break Dean is still in the ring when Reigns and Rollins come out to pitch the reunion one more time. Dean goes through the crowd instead but here are Lashley, Corbin and McIntyre to interrupt and make fun of the Shield being split again. The fight is on until Ambrose runs back to the ring for the save. Rollins and Reigns do the pose and Dean throws his fist in for the big reunion.
We look back at Stephanie’s big announcement.
Shield vs. Corbin/McIntyre/Lashley is set for Fastlane.
Sasha Banks vs. Tamina
Bayley and Nia Jax are at ringside. Tamina sends her into the corner to start and crushes her with a splash. Sasha is right back with the running knees in the corner for two and a running knee to the head gets two more. A Russian legsweep sets up the Bank Statement but Nia Jax pulls Tamina out. Nia throws Bayley down but gets the Meteora from the apron. It’s enough of a distraction for Tamina to hit the superkick for the pin on Sasha at 3:15.
Rating: D+. Just a quick build towards the Tag Team Title match on Sunday and there’s nothing wrong with that. I can’t imagine the titles change hands this soon and there is a lot more potential for Bayley and Sasha to have a big match at Wrestlemania rather than the Samoans. It’s fine for a first title defense and with that out of the way, we can move on to something bigger and better.
The SNL correspondents go their separate ways with one of them saying he’s not afraid of anyone. Braun Strowman pops up and intimidation occurs. Upon being asked if this is real, Strowman lifts him up by the throat.
Post break Strowman is still choking him when the other SNL guy comes in for the save. Strowman says he’ll see them at Wrestlemania.
Tag Team Titles; Revival vs. Ricochet/Aleister Black
Ricochet and Black are challenging and before their entrances, they talk about how their actions will prove that they belong. Black goes with the strikes on the champs to start but gets swung into a belly to back suplex. The springboard moonsault gets Black out of trouble as Chad Gable and Bobby Roode head out to watch.
Back with Dawson getting kicked in the face and a double legsweep taking the Revival down so it can be off to Ricochet. A backslide and sunset flip give Ricochet two each and it’s the springboard European uppercut to send Wilder outside. Roode and Gable are done with this and jump Wilder for the DQ at 3:54.
Rating: D+. Another instance of a match being used to advance an angle, which might see a triple threat match on Sunday. Black and Ricochet being thrown together as a team is acceptable enough, though they both seem to have more potential as singles stars. At least the Revival didn’t lose for a change. That’s something right?
Post match the fight is on with Roode and gable being sent outside, leaving Ricochet and Black to backflip into their poses.
Video on Alexa Bliss working with Girl Up for Women’s History Month.
Here’s Stephanie McMahon with the Women’s Title and the agreement for Becky to sign. After we see Rousey laying the title down last week, Stephanie brings out Charlotte and Becky. Stephanie explains the hold harmless agreement but Charlotte mocks her before any signing takes place (and I need to make sure who signs and who doesn’t, because if there’s one thing WWE adheres to, it’s signed contracts). Becky offers to fight her right now on one good leg and there’s the signing.
We cut to the back where Rousey is storming into the arena and come back with her walking to the stage (must be a huge arena). Rousey storms in and demands the title back. Stephanie hands it over and changes Sunday’s match. Now, if Becky wins the on Sunday, she’s in the Wrestlemania title match. Ronda isn’t done yet though and yells at Stephanie about making money for the company. She goes into a rant against the fans about how terrible everything is and how she’s sacrificed so much for this company and then they boo her out of the Staples Center.
Screw the Woo and the beating is on with Charlotte getting kicked to the floor. Rousey puts Becky in the armbreaker and cranks back before hammering away in the corner. The armbreaker goes on again and Charlotte leaves as Ronda poses over Becky. Ronda puts the hold on for the third time as they seem to have wrapped things up very early.
After a replay, we go to Stephanie (because of course) in the back where she says she didn’t do Ronda a favor. Becky made a mistake by signing the document and now she’s upset at Ronda for what she did. She can’t wait to see what’s going to happen at Wrestlemania and there are decisions to be made.
We cut back to the arena where a producer tells Ronda to hold up the title. She does just that to end the show. They did a good job with turning Rousey heel which should eliminate anyone who could steal some of Becky’s cheering, but having Stephanie as the other face in the story just makes my head hurt.
Overall Rating: C-. I’m not sure what to think of this show. The wrestling wasn’t anything to see but they were trying as hard as they could to set up some things for Fastlane while also building towards Wrestlemania at the same time. The stories are getting better (or at least more intense) and I want to see where things go from here. Fastlane feels like more of a complete show, but I still don’t buy for a second that WWE sees it as anything more than content for content’s sake.
Baron Corbin/Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre b. Kurt Angle/Finn Balor/Braun Strowman – Spear to Balor
Natalya b. Ruby Riott – Small package
Heavy Machinery won a gauntlet match last eliminating Curt Hawkins/Zack Ryder
Elias b. Dean Ambrose – Drift Away
Tamina b. Sasha Banks – Superkick
Revival b. Ricochet/Aleister Black via DQ when Bobby Roode and Chad Gable interfered
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