Following the announcement that the RAW Women’s Championship match will be this year’s WrestleMania main event, Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair have a ‘beat the clock’ challenge tonight. Other matches on the card include Finn Balor in a handicap match against Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush (again), and Kurt Angle versus Samoa Joe. Everything else is WrestleMania prep. Alexa Bliss will try to make peace between Braun Strowman and Michael Che, and Colin Jost. We’ll find out more about Beth Phoenix coming out of retirement. Roman Reigns might respond to Drew McIntyre’s challenge. And we might get more entrants into the André The Giant Battle Royal.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Ronda Rousey def. Sarah Logan
Charlotte Flair failed to beat the clock against Ruby Riott
Becky Lynch def. Liv Morgan
Finn Balor def. Bobby Lashley & Jinder Mahal
Aleister Black & Ricochet def. The Revival
Sasha Banks def. Natalya
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews
Kurt Angle def. Samoa Joe
Drew McIntyre def. Dean Ambrose
The Key Bits
» The show opened with the announcement of the women main eventing WrestleMania before Ronda Rousey came to the ring. She scowled while the crowd chanted for Becky Lynch. When she did speak, she said, for the first time ever, women are going to be the main event at WrestleMania and she only has one thing to say ‘you’re welcome’. She dropped the mic, stepped away, then picked it up again and promised to tap out Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair at the same time. After the second mic drop, she picked it up again and said the beat the clock challenge sounds like another BS gimmick, ‘so let’s just get this farce over with’.
The Riott Squad came out, followed by Becky Lynch. Lynch told Rousey to stop being a little weirdo. Everyone knows she came in with a big money contract and the whole world yawned. She was given every opportunity and advantage, only wrestled the best of the best and, still, no one cared until The Man came around. The best thing that ever happened to Rousey is Lynch, she saved her title run, she makes her better, and that’s why they’re the main event of WrestleMania. And Rousey knows how it ends, with Lynch raising the title over her head and Rousey’s skull under her foot.
Charlotte Flair was the last one out. She was unimpressed by her opponents’ words and claimed all the credit for the WrestleMania main event. She was hand-picked for it because of everything she’s done over the last seven years.
Finally, we got started. Quick rule-check – The first match puts the time on the clock that the other two must try to beat. Simple.
Ronda Rousey vs Sarah Logan was first up. Logan’s initial strategy was to run away, which worked in her favour because she managed to get back into the ring first and get in some offence. Rousey stopped the clock at one minute twenty-five seconds, tapping Logan out with an armbar, and immediately left ringside.
Charlotte Flair vs Ruby Riott was up next. Flair had Riott in the Figure Eight when the time ran out, but she didn’t beat the clock. Rousey taunted Flair a bit from the stage, and Flair kicked Becky Lynch in the face when she got in the ring to face Liv Morgan.
Liv Morgan vs Becky Lynch started with Lynch still recovering from Flair’s boot and Morgan in full control. It took Becky Lynch less than a minute to recover and she pinned Liv Morgan with a jackknife cover with seven seconds left on the clock.
» Finn Balor vs Bobby Lashley & Jinder Mahal was Balor’s chance to qualify for another shot at the Intercontinental Championship. It was supposed to be Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush, but Rush is apparently not cleared to compete. Rush had organised a replacement though, Jinder Mahal. Suddenly, Balor found himself facing horrible odds. Rush was still at ringside, and now the Singh Brothers were there too. Within seconds of the match starting, they were causing a distraction that got Balor knocked from the apron to the floor. Balor doesn’t stay down for long though. He took everyone out with a dive over the top rope then finished Mahal with a Coup de Grace after a relatively short match. Lashley destroyed Mahal and the Singh Brothers after the match. He will now defend the title against Balor at WrestleMania.
» Sasha Banks vs Natalya happened again because it was interrupted last week. Bayley and Beth Phoenix accompanied their partners. Decent match, and a reasonably long one as well. Both Banks and Natalya failed to make the other tap to their signature submissions. This one finished the same as last week though, with interference from Nia Jax and Tamina. Bayley was the first to get taken out, then Tamina got in the ring to superkick Banks. Beth Phoenix was ready for them. She got Nia Jax up on her shoulders before Tamina kicked Phoenix to make her drop her, then Tamina took a Glam Slam.
Beth Phoenix put her foot on Sasha Banks’ title belt as Banks tried to retrieve it, just to send a message.
Natalya got to stay in the ring while a package celebrating the face The Hart Foundation are the latest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2019, was played.
Backstage, Bayley and Sasha Banks were asked about how the tag division is heating up right now. Sasha Banks said they’d take any team on any brand at any time. So, if anyone wants to come for them, they’ll take them all on at WrestleMania. You can just smell that a Four-way tag match is coming, can’t you?
» Drew McIntyre said he doesn’t care if he’s liked but he will be respected. He’s been waiting for an answer from Roman Reigns for a week. He’s hoping someone has convinced Reigns not to accept his challenge. He’s already destroyed The Shield and he now Roman Reigns the superstar wants to say yes, but he’s appealing once more to Joe, the man. Hasn’t he put his wife and children through enough? McIntyre threatened to hold RAW hostage until he gets his answer, but he didn’t have to. Roman Reigns arrived, got nose to nose with McIntyre and said Roman accepts your challenge, but Joe wants to tell him not to ever run his mouth about his wife and kids. Then he punched him in the face and just kept punching. Reigns totally had the measure of McIntyre as they fought, until McIntyre delivered a low blow and followed up with a Claymore as Reigns struggled to his feet.
» Backstage, McIntyre was approached by Dean Ambrose who took exception to being called a cockroach. Ambrose challenged him to a Last Man Standing match tonight. McIntyre said he doesn’t know how Ambrose is standing as it is, but he won’t be later.
Dean Ambrose vs Drew McIntyre – Last Man Standing match main evented the show but wasn’t actually very long. What it lacked in time allocation, it made up for in brutality. Every TV match could now be Ambrose’s last, McIntyre seemed pretty intent on making this one career ending. Ambrose went in hard at the start, but McIntyre moved when he came off the top turnbuckle to the floor and Ambrose crashed down hard. McIntyre flung him to the barricade as we went to a break. McIntyre brought out a kendo stick and left welts on Ambrose’s torso. McIntyre’s back was bleeding. Ambrose got taken down with the stairs, McIntyre got sent into the chair he brought into the ring. Dean Ambrose brought the table in, and in the finest wrestling tradition, it was he who went through it. He still got up, but took a Claymore and couldn’t answer the count.
» Triple H addressed Batista’s comments, after taking a moment to congratulate the Women’s division. He said that makes him happy, but other things don’t make him happy. Like the letter, he got from Batista’s lawyer. The letter, when he finally got it out of his pocket (it put up a fight) said Batista will not be competing at WrestleMania this year unless Triple H agrees to another stipulation. He went through the rambling grievances detailed in the letter before getting to the point, Batista will only compete if Triple H puts his career on the line. Triple H said it was just another attempt on Batista’s part to quit and he wasn’t going to let that happen. If at this point in their careers, if he can’t beat a self-deluded douchebag like Batista, he has no business being in the ring anyway. If Batista wants his career on the line, he’s got it.
» Seth Rollins came out to talk about Brock Lesnar. He said that he and Lesnar aren’t cut from the same cloth and the roads they are taking to WrestleMania are different. But whoever wins their match will be the man who defines the future of their business. That’s heavy but he wants to carry that burden. He wants to be a champion who inspires people. When he was growing up people like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart inspired him, but Brock Lesnar does not inspire people. This is the biggest match of his career. He didn’t realise how important this match was to the WWE universe until recently, but everyone at the autograph signing he did recently, begged him to beat Lesnar. And now he has to do it because he refuses to let Lesnar be the Champion who defines the future. With the fans behind him, he’s unstoppable.
Paul Heyman appeared to disagree. He talked about Rollins needing thoughts and prayers and still not having a chance of beating Lesnar. Rollins ran up the ramp after Heyman and Paul Heyman stumbled and fell and started begging Rollins not to hurt him. Seth Rollins stood over Heyman and told him he’s not asking for thoughts and prayers, he’s there to answer them.
Heyman was still on the floor when Kurt Angle came out for his match and Angle directed a couple of the crowd’s ‘You Suck’ chants at him.
The Other Bits
» Elias did three promos this week, from Times Square and Madison Square Garden. He still got interrupted by a dude with a guitar in the first one, mistaken for a busker in the second, and had his money stolen in the third, but no one hit him with anything this week.
» Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The Revival took a while to get started officially because the two teams piled into each other before the bell. The match was great. Black and Ricochet have gelled as the most unlikely of teams, very quickly. The Revival showed how worried they are by the number of underhand tactics they used. It didn’t do them any good though. Aleister Black caught Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson with the same Black Mass before Ricochet delivered the 630 to Wilder for the win.
» Baron Corbin interrupted Kurt Angle talking about his farewell tour to deliver a tirade about people only cheering because they feel sorry for him and how much he’s going to enjoy ruining his final match at WrestleMania. Angle’s ‘screw you’ wasn’t the most eloquent response, but it was apt.
» Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews happened. Corbin won with End of Days.
» Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe was good, really good. There is so much history between these two and it was clearly an important moment. Before the match, Samoa Joe said he couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye to Angle forever than to put him to sleep one last time, and the headbutt he started the match with was a good start. Joe had the better of the match, as it should be, and almost managed to put Angle to sleep, but Angle reversed his weight and got Samoa Joe’s shoulders to the mat for the three-count.
Angle will be on SmackDown Live tomorrow to face AJ Styles.
» Alexa Bliss tried to make peace between Michael Che and Colin Jost, and Braun Strowman. She brought Strowman out first and said we all know what happens when he lets his temper get the better of him. Strowman enjoyed her examples, Reigns in the ambulance, Lesnar under the rigging. Michael Che ad Colin Jost appeared by satellite. Che told Strowman he respects him but Strowman crossed the line. Jost was just insulting and not actually funny. He also wanted Strowman to pay for the car he destroyed, with interest, and get him Brock Lesnar’s autograph. Strowman challenged Colin Jost to enter the André The Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania. When he refused, Strowman said he could either do that or wait for him to catch them backstage and deal with them. Jost protested and Jost said if he’s doing it, Che had to do it too. Bliss made it official.
With only one more RAW before WrestleMania, I expected something more. I don’t know what because all the elements were there, but it just didn’t have the big hype feel I was looking for. It was all a bit fragmented. There’s still next week. Join us then to see if it comes together on the WrestleMania go home show.