Monday Night Raw – March 18, 2019

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 18, 2019
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves

We’ve got four shows left between now and Wrestlemania and that means it’s time to really crank things up. This time around it means that Brock Lesnar is actually here for a change and is likely going to get in Seth Rollins’ face. We also get to find out who will face Kurt Angle in his retirement match. Let’s get to it.

Here are Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar to open things up. The fans boo a lot so Lesnar holds up the title, drawing a BURN IT DOWN chant. Since commentary can’t be quiet, Cole points this out for everyone. Heyman takes a shot at the fans and then moves to Seth Rollins, who necessitated an appearance from Lesnar tonight. Rollins acts like he’s a Suplex City arsonist (good line) who suggests that Lesnar has a problem with the smaller guys. Heyman points out the problem with that theory: Lesnar won all the matches.

Now Rollins is out here talking about Lesnar on the same night he has to fight a career killer like Drew McIntyre. Heyman: “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING SETH ROLLINS???” This brings out McIntyre for the showdown I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Last week he took out Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns and after tonight, Lesnar is going to need a new challenger. Cue Rollins with a chair to knock McIntyre silly before chasing Lesnar out of the ring. It’s nice to have Lesnar around, but I still don’t really want to see Rollins win the title. He’s just kind of there, but at least he’d be around every week.

We look back at Bobby Lashley regaining the Intercontinental Title last week.

Here’s Finn Balor for a chat before a tag match. Last week the luck of the Irish wasn’t with him but he’ll get the title back. This brings out Lashley and Rush with Lashley showing off his new favorite pose: holding up the title, because Chicago doesn’t get many championships. Balor says enjoy the pose, because he’s getting the title back soon. He has a partner tonight though.

Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor/Braun Strowman

This would have been better if Cole hadn’t said it was going to be a MONSTROUS tag match before the break. Strowman and Lashley take turns shoving each other around before Lashley bounces off of him to send us to a break. Back with Balor kicking Rush into the corner, allowing Lashley to run in and break up a hot tag attempt. The Downward Spiral gets two and Lashley punches him in the head to stop the tag again.

The missed charge sends Lashley into the corner and Balor dives over for the tag. Rush gets thrown off some hiptosses but Lashley breaks up a powerslam with a spear. A frog splash gives Rush two with the kickout sending Rush into the corner. He heads outside but is suddenly surrounded but Strowman runs Lashley over instead. There’s a chokeslam to Rush as Lashley leaves, followed by the running powerslam for the pin at 7:26.

Rating: D+. I could go for Strowman being added to the Intercontinental Title match, if nothing else for the sake of having something new over just Balor vs. Lashley. The feud isn’t exactly on fire and getting Strowman involved with something like this is certainly better than just being the celebrity guy.

We look back at Ronda Rousey wrecking Dana Brooke last week, including slapping a referee.

Rousey, with husband Travis Browne, arrives and gets yelled at by a referee for being late. The referee now has his own security.

It’s time for A Moment Of Bliss, with Alexa Bliss throwing it to the announcers for a rundown of the big matches. Bliss talks about how the show deserves a big host, just like her. Now it’s time for her guest, so ladies and gentlemen, Elias. Bliss announces that Elias has an announcement: he’ll be the headlining musical act for Wrestlemania. Last year’s interruption serves as motivation for this year because he hates being embarrassed.

This is going to be better than Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison or Queen at Live Aid. Cue No Way Jose’s conga line (minus Jose), with Heavy Machinery included. Bliss apparently invited them but they’re here way too early. As she yells, one of the people in the line jumps Elias and reveals himself as Jose.

Elias vs. No Way Jose

Jose, with the green braids, runs Elias over to start and armdrags him into an armbar. A running clothesline in the corner sets up a missed high crossbody and Elias unloads in the corner. Elias drops a knee to set up a top rope elbow, followed by Drift Away for the pin at 3:54.

Rating: D. It’s such a relief to have Elias as a heel again, but it feels like he’s right back where he was a year ago. I’m sure someone is going to interrupt him at Wrestlemania to do something and it should be entertaining, but there’s nothing new for him to do other than the same thing again?

Here’s Kurt Angle to announce his opponent for his final match. There are a lot of people he wants to face but only one he wants to beat. That would be Baron Corbin, which the fans don’t seem to like. As for tonight though, Angle gets to have one final match in Chicago.

Kurt Angle vs. Chad Gable

Gable says the pleasure is all his and that this is an honor for him because Angle is a hero to him. A running shoulder takes Angle down to start so he wrestles Gable to the mat. Chad walks into an overhead belly to belly to send him outside for a breather. Back in and they hit the mat with Gable starting in on the arm.

Angle whips him into the corner and grabs a front facelock but Gable kicks him to the floor. Some shots to the knee have Angle in trouble and we take a break. We come back with Gable skinning the cat but walking into some clotheslines. The ankle lock is reversed so Angle grabs a German suplex, which is reversed into an ankle lock from Gable. That’s broken up but Gable misses the moonsault, allowing the ankle lock with the grapevine to make Gable tap at 12:16.

Rating: D. I know I’ve seen Angle looking worse at a steady pace but this was the first time where it was actually hard to watch. He looked like he was laboring to pick Gable up for another German suplex and that’s very tough to take after seeing him in his prime. Even his TNA days were better than this and he only had sparks there. I’m very glad he only has a few matches left because it’s getting worse by the week.

Post match Corbin comes out to say how much he’s looking forward to humiliating Angle.

Post break Corbin talks to the Revival when Apollo Crews comes up. He doesn’t like what Corbin did out there and a match is made for later tonight. Corbin says the Revival likes him. Revival: “H*** no!”

Here’s the Boss N Hug Connection for a chat. Sasha Banks isn’t happy with the IIconics saying they’re ducking them but Bayley says they’ll be on Smackdown tomorrow. This brings out Natalya and Beth Phoenix with Beth talking about wanting to contend for the titles….when she was active. She was happy as a commentator but then she saw Nia Jax and Tamina’s pettiness. They awoke the dragon and now she’s thinking that the one missing thing could become a reality.

Beth is ready to step out of retirement and challenge for the titles along with Natalya. Bayley thinks Beth needs to train a bit more but Natalya points out that Bayley is talking to a Hall of Famer. The fight is on and we have a referee. This was another terrible, terrible example of WWE having no idea how women talk to each other as Bayley felt out of character and there was no real reason for the champs to turn down the challenge.

Natalya vs. Sasha Banks

At least it’s not the non-title match. Natalya slams her down for her running basement dropkick and knocks Sasha outside….and here’s Nia to talk about how Beth is jealous of her. She’s more successful and the prettier version of the Glamazon. Tamina superkicks Beth and Bayley as the bell rings at 2:35. Nia says she’ll see them at Wrestlemania.

Mojo Rawley is looking in the mirror again (after about a two month break) and talks about how much he hates potential. Mojo: “FIGURE IT OUT!”

Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal

Ricochet starts fast and hits the springboard missile dropkick, followed by the moonsault into the superhero pose. Back in and the Singh Brothers breaks up another springboard, allowing Mahal to get two off a slam. We hit the chinlock with Jinder adding in some shots to the ribs. Ricochet fights up and rolls into a dropkick, followed by a springboard….kind of a crossbody (more like a rib attack) to send Mahal outside. The Space Flying Tiger (as called by Graves) takes out everyone and the 630 finishes Mahal at 6:45.

Rating: C-. There was no reason for Mahal to get in this much offense but it’s nice to see Ricochet getting to showcase what he can do. He’s just fun to watch and it’s more impressive when you consider Ricochet is more average sized than most high fliers. Throw in the cool look in general and it’s really easy to cheer the guy.

Warrior Award announcement for Sue Aichison, who has worked for the company for 33 years.

Seth Rollins is ready to burn Suplex City down.

Dana Brooke says this is the Road to Wrestlemania and she’s ready to shake things up.

Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Dana Brooke

Ronda is defending and if there is any justice in the world, Dana shouldn’t lay a finger on her and then lose in about thirty seconds. Rousey knees her in the face, knees her in the ribs and the armbar finishes Brooke in 19 seconds.

Rousey won’t let go of the arm until some referees come out. Ronda beats them up too and goes over to her husband, who hits a guard for trying to hold her back. Browne pulls Ronda over the barricade. To recap: their solution to making Rousey a heel is doing what made her the biggest female star in the world.

Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews

Corbin charges at Corbin to start and slides underneath the ropes, where Crews nails a moonsault. Back in and Corbin nails a shot to the face, followed by an elbow into a chinlock. That’s broken up in long order so Corbin grabs Deep Six for two. The fans get on Corbin as Cole and company talk about fans not being happy with Corbin being Angle’s opponent. Crews loads up the End of Days but gets reversed into a small package for the pin at 4:45.

Rating: D. Please let that be a sign that Corbin is being swapped out for anyone else. I can’t believe how pathetic Corbin is every week and it just never stops. Corbin is like a low level infection that you can’t get rid of: he doesn’t harm much, but he just won’t leave no matter what.

We recap last week’s argument between HHH and Batista.

Batista joins us via satellite and says he doesn’t like HHH. He’s wanted one more match with HHH but can’t get his attention. Batista has heard about how he owes his career to HHH but all HHH ever did was groom him to be the muscle. There’s more to him than just being a meathead and it was HHH who caused him to quit nine years ago. There were goals that Batista wanted to accomplish but HHH was cutting him off. Now look at what Batista has accomplished since leaving WWE.

Cole defends HHH but Batista doesn’t buy it. HHH is a cerebral assassin and now he’s gotten in Cole’s head too. The real HHH is a manipulative control freak so hopefully Vince McMahon fires him one day and ends his corporate career. Then at Wrestlemania, Batista can end his in-ring career. Interview over. That’s the explanation I’ve been waiting on and it cleared up enough to make the story work. It’s still a stretch, but at least it’s a story that can make sense.

We look back at Braun Strowman breaking a car from the SNL guys last week.

Strowman wants an apology from the two of them and he’s so mad that he’s entering the Andre the Giant Memorial battle Royal so as many people as possible can get these hands. Then he’ll deal with the SNL guys. Bliss comes up and says that can’t happen but she’ll deal with it.

Charlotte talks about Serena Williams for Women’s History Month.

Here’s Drew McIntyre for a chat before his match. We see a clip of McIntyre laying out Roman Reigns last week. Drew talks about how everyone around here believes in fairy tales, which is why he took Reigns out last week. McIntyre wants to speak to Joe, the man behind Reigns. Joe was sitting on his couch because of Drew, so let’s do it at Wrestlemania.

Reigns needs to say no but he knows what is going to be said. All bets are off at Wrestlemania and what he did to Dean and Reigns last week will be nothing. Rollins comes up on screen and says that’s why he did what he did to Drew earlier tonight. We see a replay of the beatdown, which was for his brothers. This is for Seth.

Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins

The fight is on in the aisle with referees and security out to break it up. Joined in progress with Drew pulling him down into an armbar with the pressure on the face. A hard shot to the face keeps Rollins in trouble and they head outside, where Seth misses a moonsault off the steps to send us to a break. Back with Drew stomping on Seth’s back as it’s all McIntyre so far.

Seth gets knocked outside for a belly to belly onto the barricade…and it’s time for a chair. That takes too long though and Rollins scores with a kick to the face. Back to back suicide dive set up a Sling Blade for two but the reverse Alabama slam knocks him silly again. McIntyre takes him up top gets punched in the face, only to have Rollins slip out for the superplex into the Falcon Arrow for two. The fans are WAY into this as Heyman and Lesnar come out for a distraction, allowing McIntyre to hit the Claymore for the pin at 14:13.

Rating: B. This was starting to rock at the end and as tired as I am of that ending, it did what it needed to accomplish. Lesnar gets to prove that he’s smart enough to mess with Rollins and McIntyre looks strong before going on to face Reigns. Lesnar’s distraction might not have been inspired stuff, but at least it went the right way after a pretty awesome match while it lasted.

Lesnar and Heyman laugh to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. I’m not sure what to make of this one. They did advance a lot of stuff towards Wrestlemania, but they made sure to go with a lot of the least interesting stuff possible. Nia/Tamina being added to the Women’s Title picture, Corbin as Angle’s opponent and Strowman still dealing with the SNL guys. There was enough stuff on the show to keep me going, but there were a lot of times where I was rolling my eyes and wondering how much longer there was to go.

Results

Braun Strowman/Finn Balor b. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush – Running powerslam to Rush

Elias b. No Way Jose – Drift Away

Kurt Angle b. Chad Gable – Ankle lock

Natalya vs. Sasha Banks went to a no contest

Ricochet b. Jinder Mahal – 630

Ronda Rousey b. Dana Brooke – Armbar

Apollo Crews b. Baron Corbin – Small package

Drew McIntyre b. Seth Rollins – Claymore

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1 (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

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