Monday Night Raw
Date: March 25, 2019
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
We’re down to less than two weeks before Wrestlemania and the big story today (and one of the biggest in recent years) is that the Raw Women’s Title match will be headlining the show. It’s hard to fathom that something like this could actually happen, but that’s the case now and I really can’t believe I’m seeing it. Let’s get to it.
We open with a discussion of the main event being announced, which is quite the sight to behold.
Here’s Ronda Rousey for a Beat the Clock Challenge but first, a chat. To a chorus of boos and WE WANT BECKY chants, Rousey says that women are main eventing Wrestlemania. That’s all she has to say so she drops the mic…and then picks it up, saying that she’s going to make both Charlotte and Becky tap at the same time. The mic gets dropped again and again she picks it up, saying she doesn’t know what a Beat The Clock Challenge is but it sounds like another BS gimmick so let’s get this over with.
The Riott Squad comes out as the opponents for Ronda, Becky and Charlotte but here’s Becky for a rebuttal first. Becky talks about how Ronda was handed everything when she came in but no one cared until the Man came around. At Wrestlemania, the night will end with Ronda’s title over Becky’s head and Ronda’s head under Becky’s boot. Now it’s Charlotte interrupting, saying that it’s not the last six months for Becky or the last year for Ronda, but everything since Charlotte debuted.
Beat the Clock Challenge: Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Logan
This is the first of three matches with the competition being won by whomever has the fastest time. Logan bails to the floor to start and the chase is on until Sarah dives back inside. A modified Texas Cloverleaf has Rousey in trouble until she makes the rope. That means a Superman elbow to the face and the armbar to make Logan tap at 1:25.
Beat the Clock Challenge: Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott
Charlotte misses a running big boot to start and nearly gets thrown outside. Natural Selection misses as well and Ruby hits a quick Downward Spiral. The Riott Kick is countered into the Figure Eight but time expires at 1:25.
Beat the Clock Challenge: Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan
Charlotte boots Becky in the face before the clock starts and the screaming Morgan stomps in the corner. We hit the early chinlock as Rousey is looking confident on the stage. Becky rolls away and fires off the uppercuts. A kick to the ribs looks to set up the Disarm-Her but Becky gets rolled into the corner. Morgan goes for the leg but gets rolled up to give Becky the fast pin at 1:18 to win the challenge. This was a good idea as the wrestling didn’t mean anything, but Becky winning a match that plays into Ronda’s claim to fame is a smart way to go about things.
Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush
If Balor wins, he gets a title shot at Wrestlemania. Rush is in street clothes though and says that he’s not medically cleared to compete thanks to Braun Strowman. Therefore, we have a replacement.
Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley/Jinder Mahal
If Balor wins, he gets an Intercontinental Title shot at Wrestlemania. The Singh Brothers offer an early distraction and Balor gets clotheslined to the floor as we take a fast break. Back with Balor making a comeback until the Singh Brothers trip him from the floor. That just means a big flip dive onto all four, followed by the Coup de Grace to pin Mahal at 4:47. Not enough shown to rate but it did exactly what it should have and needed to.
Elias is in Time Square for a performance when a guitar player comes up and sings. That’s enough for Elias, who is going to focus on headlining Wrestlemania.
Revival vs. Ricochet/Aleister Black
Non-title. It’s a brawl before the bell to start with Ricochet kicking Dawson to the floor and Wilder joining him in a hurry. The NXT chants begin (which would apply more to the Revival than Black/Ricochet) and we get the opening bell with Dawson sending Black into the corner. Black kicks his way out of a hammerlock and brings Ricochet in to pick up the pace. The Revival is sent to the floor and it’s the moonsault from Black, followed by one from Ricochet which barely makes contact.
Back from a break with Ricochet taking a double suplex but getting in a kick to the face for the tag off to Black. That means more kicks and a double standing Lionsault but Dawson takes him into the corner to regain control. It doesn’t last long though as Black Mass knocks Wilder silly, setting up the 630 for the pin at 8:38.
Rating: C. Not a bad match and it can set up something for Wrestlemania, but egads man come up with something other than having the champs lose. If WWE is so scared of having people leave, maybe not having them lose like this could entice Revival to stick around. Also, as weakened as the titles are at this point, do they belong on Wrestlemania? Against two people who haven’t been on the main roster for three months yet?
Here’s Drew McIntyre with a clip from two weeks ago when he attacked Roman Reigns. Then last week he challenged Roman to a match at Wrestlemania. Back in the arena, Drew says he hopes someone got through to Reigns because he’s already beaten Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Now he’s going to appeal to Joe the man, the husband and the father. Reigns has already been through enough because they’ve already watched their dad fight for his life. Do they want to see him go through it again at Wrestlemania when he’s going to lose this time?
This brings out Reigns to say that he accepts, but this is coming from Joe: don’t ever run your mouth about his wife and kids. The fight is on with Reigns getting the better of it until a low blow and Claymore take Roman out. Just in case you didn’t get the idea, we see a replay of the high points a few seconds after.
Post break McIntyre runs into Ambrose (Wasn’t he supposed to….leave?), who didn’t like being called a cockroach. Dean wants a Last Man Standing match tonight and it’s on.
Sasha Banks vs. Natalya
Bayley and Beth Phoenix are at ringside. Natalya doesn’t waste time in going after Sasha and it’s an early surfboard hold. That’s broken up with a rollup, though Natalya is right back with one of her own. They head outside with Natalya being sent into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Banks kicking at the ribs and slapping on the Bank Statement. That’s broken up and Natalya gets the Sharpshooter for a long crawl to the ropes. Cue Nia Jax and Tamina for the no contest at 8:48.
Rating: C-. It wasn’t bad while it lasted but then HEY! IT’S TIME FOR NIA AND TAMINA! Why these two have to be involved is beyond me but that’s never stopped WWE before and it’s not going to here. As annoying as they are, they’re going to be around and I’m sure they’ll be around after they lose, because that’s the only way WWE knows how to book them.
Post match the brawl is on with Beth hitting a Glam Slam on Tamina to send the monsters running. Beth and Natalya stare down at Bayley and Banks.
Hart Foundation Hall of Fame video. Back in the arena, Natalya is in tears and points to the sky.
Kurt Angle is happy to have his last match in Boston tonight when Baron Corbin comes in to mock him for sticking around so long. Angle: “Screw you.”
Bayley and Banks aren’t happy with the interference so they’ll take on everyone at Wrestlemania.
It’s time for A Moment Of Bliss, this time in the ring. She’s very happy about everything that has happened since she was announced as the host of Wrestlemania, but not everything has gone that well. We look at Braun Strowman’s issues with the SNL guys before Strowman is here as the guest. Bliss recaps everything that Strowman has done to various cars and asks what would happen if Strowman were to give them his hands.
That would be severe pain, which Bliss says is the first step in the healing process. Bliss brings in her seconds guests (via satellite): the SNL guys, who are soundly booed. Colin Jost apologizes for putting on a Mets hat last time and puts on a Yankees hat instead. Michael Che accuses Strowman of crossing the line and Jost makes jokes about the college admission scandal. Maybe he could teach Strowman something, like how to be an adult.
They want to make this right and all it takes is repayment for the car and an autograph from Brock Lesnar. Strowman has a better idea: Jost enters the Andre the Giant battle royal. Or maybe he can just stay backstage and let Strowman take care of this himself. Jost is eventually convinced but decides that Che is in too. Bliss makes it official and the two of them panic. I’ll definitely take this over some unfunny segment that gets extra time.
Elias is in front of Madison Square Garden, which isn’t quite the Garden in Boston, but he’ll sell it out faster than Billy Joel will. He’s having a cup of tea and someone puts a quarter in it. That seems to give Elias an idea.
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
Corbin gets a special intro, listing off his accomplishments and announcing him as Boston’s favorite son. Crews starts fast and dropkicks Corbin to the floor for the apron moonsault. Back in and Corbin slams him down to take over as Renee and Graves argue over whether or not they should make fun of Corbin for getting the match against Angle. Crews is right back with an enziguri and the frog splash for two. End of Days wraps up Crews at 2:46.
We recap the Beat the Clock Challenge.
Next week: Rousey/Lynch/Charlotte vs. Riott Squad.
Here’s Seth Rollins for a chat. He and Brock Lesnar are not cut from the same mold and they’re taking different paths forward. Rollins wants the burden that comes with being champion so he can inspire people. When he was a kid, he was inspired by Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, HHH and John Cena. Brock Lesnar doesn’t inspire people that way and that’s not what Rollins wants. Yesterday he had an autograph signing and everyone told him to beat Lesnar at Wrestlemania.
This brings out Paul Heyman and my eyes roll as this feels so old hat. Heyman thanks Rollins for making the Wrestlemania title match a handicap match with Rollins and the people teaming up against Lesnar. Heyman likes the odds because Rollins is just begging for the support. What’s next? Asking for thoughts and prayers because he’s undersized and overconfident? Heyman hopes Rollins loses so that everyone can take it personal. That’s it for Paul, but Rollins charges up the ramp and scares him down. Rollins promises to burn Suplex City down. This was every not great Heyman promo you’ve heard for nearly two years.
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
Non-title. I love it when the Brand Split is thrown completely out the window during Wrestlemania season. Joe says he forgot his bow of flowers but he was never that sentimental in the first place. His gift instead: a good night’s sleep when Joe chokes him out. Joe blocks an early German suplex attempt and sends Angle outside for a suicide dive.
Back from an early break with Angle in trouble but managing to roll the German suplexes. A running boot to the chest sets up the running backsplash but Angle…..ok there’s no snapping off to it but he gets the Angle Slam for two more. Joe on the other hand snaps off the powerslam, only to have Angle slip away and hit a missile dropkick. Angle Angle Slam is escaped and Joe gets the Koquina Clutch, with Angle dropping back into a cradle for the pin at 8:59.
Rating: D. Well of course. I mean OF COURSE you have the US Champion lose here to give Angle a feel good moment in a match to cap off a rivalry that ISN’T FROM THIS COMPANY. This is the kind of thing that WWE brings on itself and doesn’t get why it’s a bad idea. Joe just lost to Angle, who can barely move, and now I’m supposed to buy that he’s a threat to Rey Mysterio? Why? Just because he has the US Title?
This match didn’t need to happen or at the very, very least, didn’t need to be a clean fall. A countout was an impossibility here? I’m sure having the third champion lose tonight was the better call instead. And they wonder why no one cares about titles anymore and haven’t in a long time.
Here’s HHH for a chat. Before he gets to Batista, he praises the women getting to the main event of Wrestlemania because they’ve all earned it and it’s the ultimate goal. HHH talks about being glad that he didn’t get the microphone that Batista spit on, but he has something else to see. That would be a letter….which HHH can’t get out of his pocket. HHH: “I’m doing the job for the envelope in my pocket!”
It’s a letter from Batista’s lawyers, saying that he won’t be wrestling at Wrestlemania unless certain conditions are met. Batista talked about a lot of things, including figuring out that Evolution just existing to keep the World Title on HHH a little while longer. HHH: “Dave had a big week. He realized that and figured out that the moon isn’t made of cheese!” Batista also said that Evolution didn’t do anything for him.
When Batista joined Evolution, he was the Deacon and carried around a collection plate for D-Von Dudley. Evolution kept him from having a successful career. Six World Titles later, he left when he found out he couldn’t beat John Cena. Then he said HHH’s obsession made him quit again, just because he wouldn’t answer Batista’s phone calls. HHH called him back and Batista’s manager asked if HHH would move Wrestlemania to better accommodate his shooting schedule.
The letter finally got to the point: Batista wanted HHH to give him what he wanted. What he really wanted. What he really, really wanted. This goes on for two pages (to the tune of Wannabe by the Spice Girls if that isn’t clear) until it’s finally announced that HHH’s career had to be on the line. Batista beat up a seventy year old man to get HHH on the grandest stage of them all and that’s what HHH gave him. Now Batista is trying to quit again by making HHH put his career on the line but HHH isn’t letting him out of things that easily.
See, if HHH can’t beat a “self diluted douchebag” like Batista, he doesn’t belong in the ring. His career is on the line. This was hilarious with me laughing out loud multiple times. The problem is that’s the completely wrong direction to go for the feud, as HHH’s mentor and idol was beaten down. He shouldn’t be trying to be funny here (though he was really good at it).
Elias has collected thousands of dollars for performing….but he spends too much time bragging and a guy comes up to steal it. Then he steals the guitar case. Elias isn’t worried because he’ll make more money when he performs at Wrestlemania.
Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
Last Man Standing. Drew chops him down to start and sends things to the floor, including a swing into the barricade. Back from a break with Dean hitting a top rope ax handle but getting beaten up with a kendo stick to the ribs. Dean is right back up though and knocks Drew to the floor for a suicide dive.
The Glasgow Kiss drops Dean again and a steps shot to the head makes it even worse. A chair is brought inside and wedged into the corner, of course with Drew going face first into it after having set it up. Dirty Deeds gives Dean an eight count and it’s time to hammer away some more. Dean grabs a table but gets thrown through it in the corner. That’s good for a nine count and the Claymore is good for the ten at 9:55.
Rating: C. This didn’t have much time to go anywhere and was one of the most obvious endings you could have. That being said, it’s also the most logical way to go as Dean doesn’t seem to be sticking around (though he keeps popping up). McIntyre beating up Reigns’ Shield buddies is a good way to go and it gives him some actual momentum heading into Wrestlemania.
Overall Rating: D+. I’m not sure what to think of this one as the wrestling was nothing great, but the pace of the show was excellent with nothing dragging and none of the stories getting too much time. The promos were good (albeit repetitive in some cases) and advanced or addressed the stories….but then there’s the problem on the show. Of the five matches involving champions, the champions went 1-3-1, with Rousey getting the lone win. I have no idea why that needed to be the case less than two weeks before Wrestlemania, but Raw has never been the most logical show in the world.
Ronda Rousey b. Sarah Logan – Armbar
Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott went to a time limit draw
Becky Lynch b. Liv Morgan – Rollup
Finn Balor b. Bobby Lashley/Jinder Mahal – Coup de Grace to Mahal
Ricochet/Aleister Black b. Revival – 630 to Wilder
Natalya vs. Sasha Banks went to a no contest when Tamina and Nia Jax interfered
Baron Corbin b. Apollo Crews – End of Days
Kurt Angle b. Samoa Joe – Rollup
Drew McIntyre b. Dean Ambrose – Ambrose couldn’t answer the ten count
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