All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Hideo Itami VS Jack Gallagher; Itami wins.
- Tony Nese VS Akira Tozawa; Nese wins.
- The ‘Zo Train VS Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali; Alexander & Ali win.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Cruiserweight Champion is a Certified Tyrant.
Last week, Enzo Amore “taught Tony Nese a lesson” when he had everyone else in the ‘Zo Train beat him down in the middle of the ring. But before Enzo could elaborate more on the Premier Athlete’s position in the stable, the #1 contender to the Cruiserweight Championship reminded Enzo that their match was on the horizon. Enzo decided not to listen to Cedric Alexander until he was “a real one” like Enzo. Alexander laughed that off, Enzo can’t be “a real one” if he needs The ‘Zo Train to get things done. In fact, Alexander thwarted the ‘Zo Train by defeating Drew Gulak again and then getting to Ariya Daivari before Daivari got to him. Alexander vowed to shatter Enzo’s false reality and show the Bonafide Stud who is truly S A W F T. Will the New Year bring a New Cruiserweight Champion?
Drew Gulak encounters Cedric Alexander backstage.
The #1 contender wonders if Gulak is waiting for an important call from “the boss.” Why would Sasha Banks call him? And Cedric may have things against Gulak’s “best friend”, but Enzo won’t even be here tonight, hence waiting for the phone call. The same “best friend” who called Gulak a “sugarplum fairy”? Enzo doesn’t seem that concerned about Gulak. Well, Alexander shouldn’t worry so much about Gulak’s friendship with Enzo, and more worried about surviving tonight’s match so he can make it to New Year’s Raw. Wait, do you here that? It’s peace and quiet. Alexander is reminded of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Imagine it, Drew: a world where Enzo isn’t Cruiserweight Champion. And having Alexander would be better? To Gulak, Enzo is George Bailey, for he has shown Gulak this IS a wonderful life. Alexander paints the picture for Gulak: no more talking down to Gulak; no more mocking the PowerPoint presentations; and no more making Gulak dress up as his elf. Enzo Amore losing means a #Better205Live, for everyone, but especially Drew. Is Alexander getting Gulak to reconsider his allegiances?
Hideo Itami VS Jack Gallagher!
The newest addition to the Cruiserweight Division gave The Man with a Plan a GTS and a fractured orbital bone for Christmas, sidelining THE Brian Kendrick for some time. Can the Ungentle Gentleman get payback in return or will he also be made to respect Itami?
Actually, Gallagher comes to the ring with a microphone to speak his mind. “Mr. Itami, last night I learned that you are no stranger to a little bit of cruelty.” Itami drove that knee into Kendrick’s head, and Gallagher heard his nose break and orbital bone shatter. Gallagher promises to teach Itami and “these ignorant Chicago pillocks” a lesson: “cruelty knows no bounds.”
The bell rings, Gallagher and Itami circle. They tie up, Gallagher pushes Itami to ropes, then slaps Itami out of the break. Itami slaps Gallagher back then gives him knee strikes before whipping him to ropes, kitchen sink knee and a stiff kick to the back! Itami gives Gallagher another kick and then demands Gallagher “respect me!” The referee has Itami hold back in the corner, but Itami still drives in knees. He snapmares Gallagher down, drops knees on Gallagher’s head, and pulls the knee pad down for the jumping foot scrape. Itami mocks Gallagher’s mustache tweaze before demanding that everyone show him respect.
The knee pad comes back up, Gallagher trips Itami up but Itami kicks Gallagher all the way out to the apron. Gallagher throws in a shoulder but misses, Itami kicks at him again and again. Itami then hops up to the second rope, takes aim and hits a flying guillotine leg drop!
Itami continues to demand respect, Chicago shows him some with their cheers. Gallagher tries to escape but Itami is right on him. Itami drags Gallagher back into the ring but that pulls the ring skirt up. Itami tells Gallagher again, “Respect me!”, but Gallagher ducks the Penalty Kick and gets out of the ring. When Itami walks over to the ropes, Gallagher uses that upended skirt to trip him up! Gallagher then drags Itami and tucks him under the skirt before stomping away on Itami’s head. The referee counts and Gallagher stops stomping at 4, then climbs up to embrace the heat while Itami gets free. Gallagher climbs down and stalks Itami, sitting him up to drive knees into his spine. Now Gallagher applies a chinbar and neck wrench. Fans rally for Itami, Itami endures the hold and feeds off the energy to get to his feet. Itami elbows Gallagher but Gallagher puts him in a corner for European Uppercuts and a knee grinding right into Itami’s chin. Gallagher backs off, mocks the fans booing and jeering, then stomps Itami again. The referee reprimands Gallagher, Gallagher brings Itami out for the cravat hold. Snapmare to face scrape, Gallagher trolls Chicago more. Cover, TWO, back to a chinlock. Fans rally again, Itami gets to his feet, Gallagher yanks him down by his hair. Gallagher goes for a neckbreaker, backslide counter, TWO! Gallagher goes to boot, Itami blocks and counters with a dragon screw. Itami and Gallagher are both slow to standing up, but it is Itami who rallies on Gallagher. He kicks, snap fisherman suplexes, then fires up. Gallagher elbows Itami away, then goes corner to corner into a boot. Itami hits a tornado hotshot, then a flying clothesline!
Cover, TWO! Itami keeps focus, he brings Gallagher up for a strike fest, which staggers Gallagher into a corner. Itami again demands respect before running corner to corner, but Gallagher avoids the dropkick. Gallagher hotshots Itami, runs in, takedown into the Captain’s Hook!
Gallagher honors his comrade by using his submission hold. Itami endures, reaches, crawls, and gets the ropebreak. Gallagher lets go, then brings Itaim up. Gallagher has the double underhook but Itami shovels Gallagher up and over. Itami gives more strikes to rock Gallagher, then finally hits the “Respect Me!” dropkick. He fires up, stands Gallagher up, but instead of a fireman’s carry, Itami drags Gallagher down into a modified Rings of Saturn.
Gallagher taps, Itami wins! He may not have made Gallagher #GoToSleep, but did he earn Gallagher’s respect?
Backstage interview with Tony Nese.
The Premier Athlete was beat down by The ‘Zo Train in order to “teach a lesson”. Is Tony even still part of The ‘Zo Train? “The next time I see Enzo, Daivari or Drew Gulak, part of me wants to just lay them out right where they stand.” At the same time, part of Tony understands Enzo is a “global superstar”. Like him or not, you can’t deny that “the money, the fame” helped Tony go up. That said, what will Tony do next? That’s the real question. And that’s when Akira Tozawa walks over.
“Hey, Tony, are you on the train or off the train?” Tony decks Tozawa! That isn’t much of an answer, perhaps their match will tell more of where The Premier Athlete stands.
Tony Nese VS Akira Tozawa!
The Stamina Monster is still sore physically and mentally after that sucker punch from The Premier Athlete. Will Tony regret his actions when he doesn’t have “friends” backing him up?
The bell rings, and Tozawa goes right at Nese with a boot and hammering hands. The ref backs Tozawa off while fans chant “AH! AH!” Nese takes advantage by running Tozawa off with a back elbow. He stomps away on Tozawa, then gives clubbing crossface punches. Tozawa chops back, and so does Nese. It becomes a chop fight, Tozawa fakes one to jab and rock Nese. The fans continue the “AH! AH!” battle cry as Tozawa whips Nese. Nese sunset flips but Tozawa rolls through to then give Nese a Penalty Kick and a screaming back senton!
Tozawa fires up with more “AH! AH!” and the fans join in while Nese gets out of the ring. Tozawa builds speed and launches the Tozawa Torpedo, which Nese intercepts with a kick!
Nese drags Tozawa to the floor and stomps away out of anger. He even mocks the “AH! AH!” before flexing. Nese puts Tozawa in the corner, covers, TWO, so Nese gives leg drop after leg drop. Another cover, another TWO, so Nese wrenches Tozawa’s head. Tozawa reaches for ropes, gets the break, Nese lets go before stomping Tozawa again. Nese brings Tozawa up but Tozawa fights back. Nese slows Tozawa with knees, then whips him corner to corner hard. Cover, TWO, Nese puts Tozawa in the bodyscissors and chinlock. Nese puts the squeeze on Tozawa as fans rally, but Nese keeps Tozawa grounded with crossface punches. Tozawa manages to break free of the bodyscissors but that chinlock is on tight. Fans rally again, Tozawa feeds off it, “AH! AH!” starts up again but Nese clubs Tozawa down. Nese mocks “AH! AH!” again but takes too long setting up his suplex, Tozawa suplexes Nese instead! Both men are down, Nese rolls to ropes and the apron. Tozawa fires up, forearms Nese down, “AH! AH!” and now he hits the Tozawa Torpedo!
Tozawa gets Nese in the ring, covers, TWO! He brings Nese up but Nese resists the back suplex with back elbows. Nese blocks a kick, pumphandle into Michinoku Driver, TWO! Both men are showing signs of exhaustion, but Nese is up first. He brings Tozawa up, Tozawa gives body shots and chops. Nese shoves Tozawa then hits a stiff forearm, but Tozawa responds with a boot. Nese ducks Tozawa’s punch to give a mule kick to knee lift to roundhouse. Tozawa jumps the sweep, Nese slips out of the back suplex and folds Tozawa in a pin, TWO! Tozawa rocks Nese with the spinning roundhouse! Nese goes down, Tozawa climbs up. The fans chant “AH! AH!” while Tozawa takes aim, Nese springs up with the Southpaw Shoryuken!
Nese dumps Tozawa down, brings down the knee pad, and hits the Premier Kneese!
Nese wins! ‘Zo Train or no train, will the Premier Athlete find himself climbing the mountain to the championship?
Is the Cruiserweight Champion smitten with a certain Brutal Beauty?
It seems that way given the Christmas Raw mistletoe kiss that almost was. Enzo Amore and Nia Jax were moments away from locking lips when Nia’s friend, Alexa Bliss, interrupted the moment itself. If Enzo is lucky, can he be there to kiss Nia into the New Year?
The ‘Zo Train VS Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali!
From losing members to losing matches, Enzo Amore’s Certified Stable is losing steam in the Cruiserweight Division. Can “Gabba Gulak” and “Daivari Dinero” get things back on track before the New Year arrives?
The Cruiserweight Crusader wishes to speak first. “How are you doing?” He and Daivari are representing the ‘Zo Train without Enzo tonight. Another year is coming to a close, so Gulak feels it is time to reflect. Not just on the bad, but the good, and the best way to do that is with a “Best of” list! The fans chant for “PowerPoint”, and that’s fine, because Gulak is going to present the best of his presentations with a new edition of hiiiiiiiiiiiiis… POWERPOINT! PRESENTATION!!
So please turn your attention– to Cedric Alexander’s and Mustafa Ali’s entrance.
Alexander and Ali have their own microphones and wish to speak their piece. “Drew, I’m sorry to interrupt. But Mustafa, aren’t we in your hometown of Chicago?” Gulak did have a large presentation to give, but Ali has some valid points of his own. Chicago cheers for Ali, Gulak shouts down their chanting. Ali goes over his points. First: nobody believes Daivari & Gulak would be friends without the ‘Zo Train. Alexander agrees. Daivari looks down on “blue collar scrappers” like Gulak. It’s why Daivari threw Gulak under the bus with Enzo. Ali defends Daivari, because Gulak is always stealing the spotlight with those PowerPoint presentations~! Thumbs up!
“Don’t you dare mock my PowerPoint presentations!” Gulak shouts back. Daivari, admit it. You were Enzo’s right hand man until “Captain Underpants” join. Gulak doesn’t want Daivari to listen to this. But in the end, these two were being played all along. First by each other, now by Enzo. So, if Enzo had to choose the ‘Zo Train and Nia Jax, who do you think he’d prefer? Just saying.
The match finally begins, with hometown hero Ali and Privileged Persian Daivari. The two circle, Ali gets the waistlock but Daivari backs him down. The ref calls for a break, Daivari dirties it up with a mule kick. He keeps on Ali with haymakers, then says “Chicago sucks!” before giving even more. Daivari whips Ali corner to corner but Ali goes up and over, handspring to arm-drag, Ali puts Daivari in an armlock. Daivari endures the hold, gets to his feet and pulls Ali’s hair. He brings Ali into the ‘Zo Train corner, Gulak tags in. Ali fights back, Gulak knees low, then gives a running knee strike to Ali’s head. Gulak whips but Ali reverses and throws Gulak with a body drop. Tag to Alexander, double whip to double hip toss. Cover, ONE, Alexander wrenches Gulak’s arm. Gulak gets up, reverses the wrench onto Alexander, but Alexander reverses it back. Alexander whips Gulak, then sends him flying with another body drop. Cover, ONE, so Alexander tags Ali back in. Ali climbs up while Alexander wrenches the arm, double stomps to that arm. Ali chops Gulak to a corner, fans cheering him on. He whips Gulak, Gulak reverses but Ali kicks Gulak away. Ali runs but Daivari blocks his path, allowing Gulak to clobber Ali from behind and snapping him off the ropes. Gulak drags Ali over, tags Daivari, Daivari stomps a mudhole into the hometown hero. Daivari gives Ali a neckbreaker and covers, TWO. Daivari wrenches Ali’s neck, fans chant “Ali! *clap clap*” which upsets Gulak. Ali feeds off the fans’ energy and fights back against Daivari. He goes for a tag but is blocked and hit with a spinebuster!
Cover, TWO! Daivari drags Ali up while Alexander gets the fans rallying again. Tag to Gulak, The ‘Zo Train brings Ali out and up, but Ali slips out of the double back suplex. Alexander tags in, and hits a 2-for-1 springboard missile dropkick!
Alexander kip-ups and fires up with the fans. He rallies on Gulak, blocks the kick to hit the back elbow. Alexander runs, handspring but Daivari trips him up and Gulak boots him down. Gulak boots Alexander all the way out of the ring, then tags Daivari. Daivari fetches Alexander and bounces him off the announce desk. The referee counts, Daivari puts Alexander in the ring. Cover, TWO, so Daivari drags Alexander back to ‘Zo Train territory. Tag back to Gulak, Gulak hits a running stomp. Cover, TWO, Gulak gets frustrated. He drags Alexander back again and stands him up for a chop. Alexander resists but Gulak still throws him out. He keeps the referee distracted a moment, but Daivari still gets caught creeping over to Alexander. The referee orders Daivari to stay by the corner, Alexander meanwhile climbs up and in. Gulak is upon him, Alexander shoulders him away to then hit the step-in springboard complete shot!
Alexander and Gulak are both down, fans rally as they crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Daivari and Ali! Ali rallies on Daivari with the crowd behind him. Daivari reverses the whip but Ali turns that into a flapjack dropkick! Ali fires up, builds speed and FLIES!
Down goes Daivari from that corkscrew plancha! Ali puts Daivari in the ring, rolls and hits the facebuster! Gulak barrels in and breaks the pin, then he takes out Alexander on the apron. The referee gets Gulak to go back to his corner while Daivari goes after Ali. Daivari puts Ali on the top rope, Gulak disapproves given his rules. Daivari still climbs up, but Gulak protests. Gulak and Daivari argue, Alexander slips into the ring and gives Gulak a Lumbar Check!
Ali dumps Daivari down, and hits the 0-5-4!
Ali and Alexander win! Chicago cheers on their hometown hero and the #1 Contender. With momentum on his side, can the Carolina Kid become the new Cruiserweight Champion in the New Year?
As for The ‘Zo Train, they’re still arguing on the outside over whose fault it is that they lost. Is The ‘Zo Train headed for a complete train wreck this close to the close of 2017?
205 Live’s not-quite Christmas edition was pretty solid. I didn’t know THE Brian Kendrick was legitimately injured on Christmas until tonight, and I feel that is part of why Itami won without the GTS. Until WWE can be sure Itami can safely use the move he invented, he won’t be using it at all. Though, that seems fine by Itami, he already added a submission finisher to his moves. Itami’s time in the Cruiserweight Division will unfortunately be spent spinning his wheels while he waits for the title scene to open up.
The rest of the night was spent developing the expanding ‘Zo Train saga, as now Tony Nese must decide whose side he is on and what he’ll do once he’s made that decision. He and Tozawa put on a great match, as well, so I’m hoping they take some time with this while he has matches with other Cruiserweights. In fact, why not have Nese go up against Itami to intertwine their stories as well as just give us an incredibly stiff and competitive match? Then everything with Alexander and Gulak was great tonight, both Alexander (and by extension, Ali) making some valid points about how awful and unappreciative Enzo is to Gulak, and then the main event tag team match. Great to see the usual hometown curse was undone for this occasion, but it was mostly because story dictates Alexander needs one more win to stay strong before facing Enzo for the Cruiserweight Championship on Raw. I still expect Gulak to be pivotal to the ending of the match, and hopefully it results in Gulak’s Face turn.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Results & Report! (1/22/19)
SmackDown prepares for the Royal Rumble in the biggest ways! Rey Mysterio VS Andrade Almas, 2 out of 3 Falls! Who gains momentum while breaking the tie?
- Naomi VS Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville; Rose wins.
- The Miz w/ Shane McMahon VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus; Cesaro wins.
- Mustafa Ali VS Samoa Joe; Joe wins.
- Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Rey Mysterio VS Andrade Almas; wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Man starts off SmackDown!
Becky Lynch prepares for her shot at the Empress of Tomorrow at the Royal Rumble PPV, but she’s here in Wichita to say that there’s nothing more than she likes than being in the ring fighting. But The Man has something to say first. It wasn’t too long ago that no one paid attention to Becky. But now everyone has an opinion on who and what she should be. Becky will say this: the only thing The Man should be doing is main-eventing Wrestlemania! Fans agree with that! And she’ll slap the heads off anyone and everyone who gets in her way. That journey starts on Sunday, against Asuka. Becky’s watched Asuka clean out NXT, steamroll the main roster, and is undoubtedly one of the best. “But I’m better.”
Becky reminds us that Asuka never beat Becky for the title. And the fact that isn’t eating her up tells Becky something. The others have warmed themselves on the fire Becky lit, but things change at the Rumble. Becky has dethroned a Queen, and will break the Empress! Becky will walk through fire and brimstone- But speaking of the Empress, here comes Asuka! Asuka stands across the ring from Becky and holds up the belt. She tells Becky in Japanese that she’s not intimidated by the talk. Fans duel as these two argue, but here comes Charlotte! The Queen is going to be in the Women’s Rumble, but she has a mic to tell both Becky and Asuka tonight that “As much as I’m enjoying this, and excited for your match this Sunday”, nothing will be better than her throwing out 29 other women to win the Rumble.
And then the choices she’s got on her plate. Ronda VS Sasha, but Sasha’s someone Charlotte’s beaten so many times, and has beaten the Hell out of Ronda via “Ken” the kendo stick. Then Asuka VS Becky, Charlotte broke the Empress’ Streak, and “The Man” may have gotten her the last few months, but Charlotte has owned the division for four years. And Charlotte IS the Main Event! Charlotte lets out a “WOO~” but Asuka fires off on Becky! A brawl goes down in the ring and Charlotte watches in amusement. Fans cheer but referees come out to break this fight up! Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” and they do fight, but security comes out to try their hand. It’s no good, Becky gets after Asuka now! Asuka throws Becky into barriers then stomps away! The brawl continues, and Becky throws Asuka over the announce desk!
Referees and security reprimand Becky but she uses her own jacket to whiplash Asuka over and over! The Lass Kicker stands tall, to then clobber Asuka back down! Fans are thunderous as Becky finally backs off. Asuka gets up and is furious, but she’ll have to wait for Sunday to settle things. With this level of fire inside both of them, which woman will blaze a trail down the Road to Wrestlemania?
The brawl continues backstage!
Asuka caught up to Becky and the fight again has to be pulled apart! Will these two even make it to Phoenix?!
Naomi VS Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville!
The Glow found out about the Golden Goddess trying to seduce and humiliate her husband, but she threw down in the hotel room. This fight finishes in the ring, will Naomi make Mandy #FeeltheGlow in the strongest way? Or will Mandy dim the lights instead?
Naomi doesn’t wait for the bell! She charges through Sonya and gets right at Mandy on the ramp! She throws Mandy into the apron then into the ring. Naomi wants to keep going, but Mandy SLAPS her! The bell rings and now things are official as Naomi fires off slaps of her own! She tops it off with a backhand and Mandy rolls out. Mandy regroups with Sonya while we go picture in picture. Sonya helps Mandy catch her breath and Mandy returns. Naomi is right on Mandy but Mandy puts Naomi in the corner. Mandy stomps a mudhole then backs off at the count of 4. Naomi gets up and SLAPS Mandy! Naomi snapmares and runs for the sliding lariat! Leg drop cover, TWO! Naomi keeps on Mandy with an armlock while Mandy checks her nose.
Naomi wrenches and Mandy endures. But Naomi rubs Mandy’s face into the mat, then pulls her hair before stomping her back down. Mandy checks her nose again as Naomi scoops and slams her. Naomi runs and drops the splits! Cover, TWO! But Naoim doesn’t let up, she’s right back on Mandy with a facelock. They stand up and Naomi whips. Mandy reverses but Naomi slides and shoulders back in. Sonya runs in but gets a kick, Mandy blasts Naomi with a knee! Mandy drags Naomi up and in and covers, TWO! Mandy keeps on Naomi with a rain of right hands! She drags Naomi up for a thrashing chinlock, but now Naomi endures. Naomi fights her way up but Mandy reels her in. Naomi dodges and rolls Mandy up, TWO! Jawbreaker as we return to single picture!
Naomi roundhouses Mandy, then runs for lariats and elbows! Mandy clotheslines Naomi back down then covers, TWO! Mandy glares at Naomi as she stomps her back down. She kicks Naomi to the ropes then chokes her against them. Mandy lets up at 4 while fans boo and jeer. Mandy drags Naomi up for forearms in a corner, but backs off at 4 again. Naomi boots back, and hits the enziguri! She kicks Mandy while she’s down, then stands her up for forearms of her own! Mandy shoves Naomi away, but Naomi come back to hit a huricanrana! Mandy staggers about and Naomi runs, but is put on the apron. Naomi hits Mandy away, but Sonya anchors feet. Mandy takes advantage by shoving Naomi into the post! Cover, Mandy wins!
Winner: Mandy Rose, by pinfall
The duo formerly known as Absolution works together for victory! However, the Royal Rumble is always every superstar for themselves. Will Sonya be willing to help Mandy then? Will Mandy go into business for herself? Or will Naomi get back at both of them with an elimination?
Rey Mysterio speaks.
“2006, I was in the Royal Rumble match for over an hour.” He used every trick he had to survive. His speed got the better of bigger competitors. His training gave him the stamina to never slow down. And his will to keep fighting shocked the world. This Sunday, Rey looks to repeat history. But tonight is about respect as he faces Andrade Almas again. Almas took a shortcut to win, but now he won’t have La Muneca ringside. The playing field is even, and Almas will learn that in order to gain respect, he has to earn it. Who will earn massive momentum towards this year’s Royal Rumble match?
The Miz meets with Shane McMahon.
Is he ready? He’s ready. The Most Must-See Superstar takes on the Swiss Cyborg up next!
The Miz w/ Shane McMahon VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!
The #BestTagTeamintheWorld challenges The Bar for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships on Sunday, and the Hollywood A-Lister looks for a singles sweep leading into it! He got the better of the Celtic Gladiator on Shane O’Mac’s birthday, and Shane even got to give Sheamus a Coast2Cake dropkick. Can Miz gain his team more momentum tonight? Or will Cesaro save the champs from going 0-2 against 1/3rd Best in the World?
The bell rings and Sheamus distracts right away so Cesaro can blast Miz with big European Uppercuts! Cesaro does not let up on the EuroUppers until the ref counts 4! Cesaro then deadlift gut wrenches and tosses Miz! The Swiss Cyborg taunts Shane then drags Miz up for a headlock. Miz powers out and things speed up, but Miz gets caught into a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Cesaro keeps on Miz with a whip but Miz reverses. Miz runs, blocks the boot and kicks the leg against the ropes! Miz backs off, but runs back into another EuroUpper. Cesasro dumps Miz but Miz sunset flips to the Figure Four! Miz has Cesaro in the legendary leg lock but he heads for the ropes. Sheamus helps Cesaro get the ropebreak, then helps him escape the ring.
Miz goes for the wrecking ball dropkick, but gets another EuroUpper for it! The Bar is fired up but Shane keeps Sheamus in check while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and Miz fights out of a headlock. Cesaro throws hands but Miz counter punches! Miz backs Cesaro down with rights and lefts, then kicks! Miz goes corner to corner for a dropkick! He keeps going and hits another dropkick! Miz wants a hat trick, and hits the A-List lariat! Fans fire up and Shane applauds while Sheamus panics. Miz climbs up but leaps into another EuroUpper! Cesaro has feet on the ropes but Shane stops that! Sheamus come around and runs Shane over! Miz rolls Cesaro, TWO! Cesaro swings but into a full nelson. He elbows out of the Finale and puts Miz on the ropes. Cesaro chokes, Sheamus gets a cheap shot! Gotch Neutralizer!! Cover, Cesaro wins!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
But Shane comes back with a vengeance on Sheamus! Cesaro goes after Shane but gets those same fast hands! Shane shoves Cesaro into a post, then clocks him again! Fans are riled up for Shane as he clears off the announce desk! Shane puts Cesaro on top then climbs up high. Fans are anticipating Shane’s trademark madness, but Sheamus shoves Shane down at the barriers! Sheamus drags Miz up to throw him into a post, then The Bar mugs Shane! Cesaro feeds Shane to a BROGUE!! Fans boo and jeer as The Bar stomp away on Shane, but Miz shields Shane with his body. Miz gets clubbing hands and then dragged over to the table.
Cesaro scares off the referee while Sheamus drags Shane up. The Bar work together, to body slam Shane through Miz and the table!! Fans lose their minds over this, but does this mean Shane & Miz will lose out on those titles?
Mustafa Ali speaks.
The Beacon of Light was meant to face the Destroyer in a match last week, but the Destroyer decided to destroy Ali before the bell ever rang! Joe left Ali for dead, but Ali being a former Chicago police officer, he doesn’t back down so easily. Ali learned that eyes tell the whole story. Joe gave Ali a beating and kept asking “Do you understand?!”
Ali understands, but it wasn’t the punching and post tosses that told him. It was Joe’s eyes. And those eyes said Ali wasn’t worthy. Those eyes said Ali was just an example being made. Those eyes said Ali was nothing in Joe’s eyes. But now Joe will have to look into Ali’s eyes and see a man with no fear. It will be a light so bright the darkness has nowhere to hide. Ali’s eyes say he can win. But will his body back up what his eyes are saying?
Vince McMahon sees what happened to his son.
He watches backstage as referees and medics help Shane and Miz get up. Somehow Shane and Miz are okay after what The Bar did, but Vince can’t worry about them right now. He has to keep the peace between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles in their face-to-face encounter, next!
Vince McMahon heads to the ring!
Wichita greets The Chairman with an ovation as he enters. He’ll hold his thoughts to himself about what just happened to Shane, but he’s sure that tag title match will be incredible. And that brings him to the two most passionate and athletic superstars on SmackDown having their own title match on Sunday. First, the challenger and former champion, The Phenomenal AJ Styles! Styles makes his entrance, and fans give him an ovation. Then, the champion himself, “The New” Daniel Bryan! Fans boo this time for the man who killed the Yes Movement.
But Bryan doesn’t stand in the ring, despite this being a “face-to-face.” Bryan claims this is a trap, and refuses to step into a ring with the “sociopath”, the same man who slammed Bryan into a bunch of “animal carcasses” last week. Bryan’s too embarrassed to stand in the same ring as a man who pandered to the people. He had a vision of the future of AJ Styles once again being WWE Champion. It is an ignorant future, an impotent future and an illiterate future! AJ Styles cannot be allowed to have the title, because he uses it for fame and fortune. Bryan uses it for the “greater good”! Greater good? Is that “Greater good” Bryan acting like a jackass?
This behavior is why the fans want Styles to be their champion. He makes them laugh and cheer and jump around, but he doesn’t make them think or feel guilty when they should feel guilty every day of their lives! Bryan doesn’t care about their feelings, because he’s not the “People’s Champion”, he’s the Planet’s Champion! The planet doesn’t need Styles, it needs Bryan to use this platform to be its voice. If the planet had a voice, it’d be shouting for Bryan to shut up. Styles doesn’t remember Bryan pedaling a bike here. He probably got on a plane to get here. There’s a word for that: fickle. Fans echo “Fickle!” at Bryan. And Bryan talks of being embarrassed? That’s not the feeling. It’s fear.
Styles stood across from many men and has seen that look in their eyes, too. Bryan is afraid of what will happen at the Royal Rumble. Bryan should be afraid. He’s corrupted himself just to have the title. But what happens when he no longer has that title? What will Bryan have left? “Nothing.” Bryan quotes Carl Sagan, but Vince insists he get in the ring. Fans say “YES! YES!” but Bryan knows Vince obviously doesn’t want to listen. The Baby Boomers are the greatest parasites of this world! These fans bow down to Vince, but they don’t realize that Vince’s entire generation just takes and takes but never gives back! They BOW to Vince for it! It’s like Vince just pulled this incredible illusion to conceal the economic debt, but fans are satisfied with social media garbage.
Meanwhile, Vince hordes the wealth and power! Vince has created such an environment where someone like Styles can be a hero! Damn it, Bryan, get in the ring! Styles knows Vince advertised a face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in a ring. Styles chases Bryan on the outside! And catches him! Styles throws haymakers then throws Bryan into barriers! Bryan scampers away but Styles keeps on him, throwing him into steel steps! Styles puts Bryan in the ring, takes aim, and springboards, but Bryan uses Vince as a shield! Styles aborts but gets the Knee Plus for it! Fans boo as Bryan takes the belt and retreats. The New Daniel Bryan won’t have anywhere to run at the Rumble, will the real AJ Styles get that belt back?
R-Truth and Carmella talk about their respective Royal Rumble matches.
Truth is excited to be Mr. 30 and book his trip to face the Phenomenal AJ Styles or the New Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. So not the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar’s champion? No, Truth does not want to go to Sioux Falls City. No it’s Suplex City. Same thing. But Truth wouldn’t mind trying the Cruiserweight Champion, Bobby Murphy. No it’s Buddy Murphy. And there’s a weight limit to that Division, Truth. Oh so he’s fat? No he’s just not 205! As for Carmella, she encounters Charlotte. Charlotte thinks she’s just going to waltz her way into the Rumble and Mania? She wasn’t even in last year’s. This isn’t’ just any match, it’s a tornado. You gotta keep a head on the swivel and hold onto the ropes. Plus, Carmella’s Ms. 30, the #GatekeeperinGucci. No one gets through her.
Charlotte tells Carmella it’s fine to be confident. Being 30th is an advantage, but Charlotte is Charlotte. And with a trip to Mania on the line, the match isn’t a tornado, Charlotte is. Who will survive their respective Rumble matches to headline the Greatest Show in Sports Entertainment?
Mustafa Ali VS Samoa Joe!
The Beacon of Light said his peace, but The Destroyer’s expression says it all for him on his way out. This match will finally happen, who will send the biggest message this close to the Royal Rumble?
SmackDown returns as Ali makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two circle. Ali and Joe approach and Joe throws those swift jabs! Joe stomps Ali in the corner, then grinds his boot in. He scrapes Ali out of the ring, then pursues while trash talking. Joe stand Ali for a CHOP, and Ali staggers to the ramp. Joe drags Ali up and says Ali still doesn’t understand. He throws Ali at the post but Ali hops up to fly back for a crossbody! Ali keeps on Joe with fast hands, and both men get in the ring. Ali dropkicks Joe down, then throws haymakers! The ref counts and backs Ali off, but Joe CHOPS Ali off his feet! Joe drags Ali up and headbutts him back down.
Joe drags Ali up by his hair to then throw into buckles. He runs but misses, Ali forearms him away! Ali slingshots but into throat chops! Ali crashes and burns, we go picture in picture. Joe leaves Ali down and out while a ring count climbs. But Joe then goes out to fetch Ali with a grin, and drags him up for roundhouses. Joe paces around Ali like a shark with blood in the water before putting Ali back in. He rains down rights and stomps on Ali, still smirking. He sits Ali up into an arm surfboard and digs a knee into Ali’s back. Ali endures and powers up to fight out! He runs, but into Joe’s elbow! Joe glares down at the dazed Ali before covering, TWO! Ali lives but Joe is just annoyed. Joe drives his elbow into Ali’s head, then looms over him menacingly.
Joe puts Ali in a corner and gives more jabs and elbows. He stops at 4, but Ali crawls after Joe. Joe says Ali asked for this, and throws hands, but Ali counter punches! Ali backs Joe down then whips, but Joe reverses. Joe runs in for the back elbow and Pele! Ali goes down, Joe covers, TWO! Joe grows further annoyed, but he just smirks as he looks down at Ali. He drags Ali up for a neck wrench, but Ali endures again. Fans rally up and Ali powers up. Ali fights back but Joe knees low and backs Ali down. Joe whips corner to corner but Ali slips out to hit back. Ali slingshots for the facebuster! But he’s too tired to cover! Fans rally up as the ref counts. Both men stir and stand.
Ali ducks the punch to dropkick Joe back! And another dropkick sends Joe out. Ali builds speed to DIVE! Direct hit! Joe staggers but Ali pursues, but Joe puts him in the timekeeper’s area. Ali returns with a leaping crossbody! He tackles Joe down and rains down rights! Ali drags Joe up but Joe shoves him into the ring. Joe returns but Ali kicks and SUPERKICKS, and SUPERKICKS again! Joe staggers, Ali leaps, tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Ali can’t believe Joe lives, but he doesn’t’ give up. He drags Joe over to a drop zone and climbs up. Joe trips Ali up, then drags him into the Coquina Clutch! Ali flails but Joe drops down with the body scissors! Ali taps, Joe wins!
Winner: Samoa Joe, by submission
But Joe won’t let go until Ali falls asleep! Joe sends his message to Ali and the other 28 superstars entering the Men’s Rumble. Will Joe destroy the entire field? Or will there be a shining light in his way?
The New Day do Royal Rumble research.
They watch the many saves of Kofi Kingston’s career. Kayla Braxton comes in to ask them about The New Day going every man for himself. Everyone asks this question! Tom Phillips, Renee Young, Mike Rome, now Kayla? Is Tony Chimel gonna ask next? He does! Chimel, be gone! Be gone, Chimel! “Every man for himself”, but that doesn’t matter to The New Day. When one of them wins, they all win! Now, they’ll dog walk erryone, but Kofi wonders if this is the year he can’t save himself. Woods and Big E keep Kofi’s chin up, and Kofi gets an idea. He has a new idea! But he’s not telling you, Kayla. Kayla, no no no. What will Kofi do to keep himself in the Rumble this time? Will this finally be the year he actually wins?
Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Rey Mysterio VS Andrade Almas!
The King of Lucha Libre and El Idolo have gone back and forth, and now they’ll settle things in the main event before the Royal Rumble! Without Zelina Vega, can Almas stay tranquilo? Or will Mysterio show Cien how it’s done?
The bell rings and we begin the first fall. Almas and Mysterio approach and Almas fires of kicks and punches. He whips and elbows Mysterio down, then drags Mysterio up for a shove. Mysterio kicks back then runs again, but into a torture rack. Almas swings but Mysterio makes it an arm-drag! Mysterio aims at Almas on the outside for a flying huricanrana! Almas is down and we go to break!
SmackDown returns again, and Almas looms over Mysterio. Almas whips but Mysterio reverses, only to be put on the apron. Mysterio shoulders in then swing kicks Almas away. Almas is dazed while Mysterio catches his breath. Mystiero springboards for the seated senton! He keeps moving to springboard again but into a dropkick! Cover, TWO! Almas keeps his cool as he drags Mysterio back up. Almas hammerlocks but Mysterio slips out to sunset flip DESTROYER! Cover, TWO! Mysterio keeps calm and heads to a corner. He hops up as Almas crawls over, flying wheelbarrow to victory roll, but Almas counters! TWO, and Almas puts Mysterio on the top rope. Mysterio adjusts but Almas trips him up! Almas climbs now, but Mysterio trips him up!
Mysterio goes to the outside, CHOPS Almas, then climbs up to join him. Almas fights Mysterio then gets a fireman’s carry. Mysterio stops Almas, then adjusts to SUPER- No, the Steiner is blocked to a SUPER SIT-OUT POWERBOMB!! Cover, Almas gets the first fall!
Almas – 1; Mysterio – 0
But this is just the first! The second fall begins, but both men have already given so much. Fans know “This is Awesome!” as both men catch their breath. Almas stands while Mysterio leans on the ropes. The ref gives the signal, and Almas kicks Mysterio. Powerbomb lift, rebound, another sit-out! Cover, TWO!! Mysterio survives this bomb, but Almas just fires himself up. Almas drags Mysterio up for another bomb, but Mysterio pops through for another DESTROYER!! Cover, Mysterio gets the second fall!
Almas – 1; Mysterio – 1
Things are tied up faster than a hiccup, and now it all comes down to this third and final fall! Both men are down and catching their breath, so we go to one last break.
Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Results & Report! (1/21/19)
Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey, defends her title at the Royal Rumble, but she first tests the waters against Sasha Banks in tag team action!
- Finn Balor VS Braun Strowman; Finn wins, by disqualification.
- Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush VS Apollo Crews; Lashley wins.
- Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre; Rollins wins.
- Six Man Tag: Lucha House Party VS Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers; Lucha House Party wins.
- Elias VS Baron Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Heavy Machinery VS The Ascension; Heavy Machinery wins.
- Raw Tag Team Championships, Special Referee: Curt Hawkins; Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival; Roode & Gable win and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
- Ronda Rousey & Natalya VS Sasha Banks & Bayley; Banks & Bayley win.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE honors Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream.
WWE has a 10 bell salute for this great man and his fight for “love and justice between fellow human beings.” #LongLivetheDream
The Beast returns to Raw!
The Royal Rumble approaches, and that means a WWE Universal Championship match comes with it! Paul Heyman has a mic and while fans boo and jeer, he again introduces himself as The Advocate for “the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, BROCK LESNAR!!” And to get down to business: on last week’s Raw, in front of a global television audience, Finn Balor pinned John Cena. It was not a fluke, it was not controversial, it was simply Finn Balor stepping up and seizing the moment. “So much so” that John Cena took to the mic to say he believes in Finn. Cena should, because the WWE Universe has declared “We Believe in Finn!” And the WWE Universe should, because even Paul Heyman believes in Finn!
Heyman gives Finn credit where credit is due, because even Finn believes in Phoenix, he will do the very same thing he’s always done: capitalizing on fate and opportunity. And not just in any match, but a title match. Not just any title match, but a Universal Championship match. And not just against any Universal Champion, but against Brock Lesnar, who trained to prepare for Braun Strowman. Lesnar wont’ defend against the temperamental Monster Among Men but against a man with a completely different style. And that is why Finn believes in Finn, and why Heyman believes Finn believes in Finn. And that’s why when Finn says this himself, you should listen to him, for he is the voice that matters.
However, Heyman’s is the voice that martyrs. At the Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar will make Finn into that martyr, “sacrificed for the sin of making you believe he can conquer the unconquerable”! Sacrificed for believing Finn can take what Lesnar’s got! Sacrificed for thinking Finn is a “Slim Reaper” who will slay The Beast. But here comes that spoiler alert for Raw and the Rumble: “Even miracles fear Brock Lesnar.” Sunday, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, THE Royal Rumble PPV, Brock Lesnar will put to bed the “ridiculous notion” that Finn Balor even belongs in the same ring, with Finn looking up from the mat saying “Oh my God, I believe in Brock Lesnar.” But wait, that’s Vince McMahon! And The Chairman heads straight for the ring!
Vince takes up a mic and with fans cheering him, he tells Heyman that he’s actually going easy on Finn. That was some old school promoter style drumming up of business. Heyman saying FInn stands no chance against Lesnar is rather passe. Now you should try David and Goliath. One day, David went out, ate all the mushrooms, and thought he could take on a big nasty giant. He did, and Goliath beat the hell out of David, until he was reincarnated as Finn. What? Vince says Finn earned his opportunity, and both men have their fans, but even in “Hillbilly Land” Oklahoma City, the fans know- What’s wrong? He’s speaking too fast. Well if any fans actually believe Finn will win, then you all believe in fairy tales. But this is no fairy tale, this is BRAUN!!
The Monster Among Men may not get Lesnar at the Rumble, but he wants Lesnar now! Vince asks Strowman what the hell he thinks he’s doing out here, but Strowman and Lesnar are too busy staring down. Fans chant “Get These Hands!” while Lesnar grins and gives Strowman space to enter. Strowman has his own mic and says “Last Monday was the worst night of my life, thanks to Baron Corbin.” $100,000 and a title match down the drain. But that was also the luckiest night of Lesnar’s life. If Lesnar still has the title after Sunday, Strowman will be waiting on the other side to rip Lesnar up like that limousine! Vince warns Strowman, he’s lucky to still have a job. But here comes Finn Balor! The Extraordinary Man smiles but so does Lesnar as Finn joins everyone in the ring.
Finn says “Same old Monday Night Raw.” Braun doing Braun things, while Finn’s the guy who beat three other men, including the GOAT, John Cena. Heyman says he’s the second greatest, behind Lesnar. Well Finn still earned his opportunity against Lesnar. As for Vince, he may not believe in Finn, because he doesn’t leave in fairy tales, but Finn does. And Balor Club believes. And at the Royal Rumble, Finn will take back his Universal Championship! Strowman says he definitely could’ve beat Lesanr, and has no idea if Finn could, but he better. Finn appreciates the support, but keep your nose out of his business because he’ll do what Strowman hasn’t. Lesnar laughs as he wants to leave but Vince says Lesnar should stick around for this.
Finn tells Vince has the story backwards. David stood up to Goliath and everyone laughed at him. But they didn’t know who David was, and what he was made of. Goliath fell face down in the dirt, BOOM. And no one was laughing after that. Vince has an idea: Lesnar should be ringside to watch this real-life David VS Goliath! Finn VS Strowman, even Vince will stick around for this! Will Finn prove the story true? Or will Strowman prove he should still be the man to face The Beast?
Finn Balor VS Braun Strowman!
Raw returns and Finn jawbreakers free of Strowman’s grip! Strowman knees low but runs into a dropkick! He stays standing and runs at Finn in the corner. Finn dodges and kicks him back! Lesnar laughs and Strowman gets distracted. Finn SLAPS Strowman, and that only angers Strowman! Finn goes for the legs but gets clubbed down. Strowman drags Finn up but Fin n lips free. Finn boots Strowman but his slingblade is denied! Strowman clubs Finn down again! Strowman kicks Finn out of the ring but fans rally up for Finn. Finn drags himself up but Strowman runs out to run him over! Even Lesnar was impressed by that.
Strowman drags Finn back into the ring, then stalks Finn to a corner. He squashes Finn with a splash then hauls Finn up. Finn slips out and gets to a corner but gets another splash! Cover, TWO! Finn lives but Strowman keeps his cool. Strowman clamps on a nerve hold and Finn endures the grip on his shoulder. Fans rally and Finn stands, only to be headbutt out of the ring. Strowman goes for another lap, but Finn slingblades him! Lesnar is now impressed by that. Finn hurries back in the ring and the ring count begins. Fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” as the count rises to 5. Strowman stands and shakes it off to enter at 7, but Finn dodges in the corner.
Finn comes back with forearms, but Strowman only staggers. Finn keeps trying but Strowman grabs him! Strowman scoops but Finn slips into a sleeper hold! Finn holds on tight but Strowman backs him into buckles. But Finn hops back on! Strowman drops to a knee, but pries Finn’s arms away! Finn drives elbows in fast and furious! Fans fire up as Strowman falls back, Finn double stomps! Finn fires up and climbs. He makes sure Lesnar is watching, but Strowman grabs Finn to throw him at Lesnar! For Lesnar to throw overhead! Finn just took a quick visit to Suplex City, then he gets in the ring with Strowman. The match-up we were meant to get might go down here, but Finn trips Lesnar to dropkick him into a post!
Finn gets back in the ring with Strowman, builds up speed and FLIES onto Lesnar! Lesnar’s down but Finn has Strowman still chasing him. They go around and into the ring, and Finn throws hands. Finn runs, slingblade again! Finn dropkicks Lesnar out of the ring, then goes out to dropkick him into barriers! Fans are thunderous for Finn as he grits his teeth. But Strowman grabs Finn by his head and hauls him right up! Strowman hip tosses Finn in, but misses in the corner to hit post! Finn runs back at him for a shotgun dropkick! Strowman’s down, Finn climbs up and fans fire up with him. COUP DE GRACE! But Lesnar attacks! F5!!
Winner: Finn Balor, by disqualification
Finn wins here but not the way he wanted. The Beast is mad, but will he just be the Goliath to Finn’s David?
Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush head to the ring!
The Rocky Mountain Machine is the NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion, and both Men of the Hour had a part in making it happen. Lio Rush praises Bobby Lashley as being better than both Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Lashley is also better than everyone else in the locker room. Lio and Lashley aren’t issuing an open challenge, open challenges are for kids. Lashley is a professional fighter. A fighter! They don’t do this for fun, but for the money. They are here to celebrate, and what better way than for Lashley to stand on a podium and show off his physique? Lashley stands on the podium while Lio puts the title on Lashley’s waist so everyone can see why Lashley IS The All Mighty! Hit the lights!
Lashley stands in the spotlight as Lio straps the belt on him. Lashley flexes but Apollo Crews comes out! Apollo joins Lio and Lashley in the ring with his own mic. He congratulates Lashley on becoming the new champion. There’s no doubt that Lashley is a stud, just look at him. But let’s be real: no one paid money to see Lashley pose. They paid money to see Lashley compete. Now Apollo knows this isn’t going to be a title match, but how about they lock up? Lio says Apollo is not in Lashley’s league! But hey, maybe if Apollo wins in a pose off, he’ll get a match. Pose off? What? Apollo doesn’t know how to do that. Well judging from his track record, he doesn’t know how to be champion, either!
Lashley stands on the podium again, the spotlight hits, and we get the double guns! Apollo mocks the flexing as he gives a little pop-lock action! And some Hulkster and Savage. Lashley takes another turn for the side chest. Only Lio is impressed. Apollo takes another turn, and winds it up for his own side pose! Fans like Apollo way better. Lashley takes one more turn, for his Most Muscular! Lio thinks Lashley has won this, but Apollo gets his final turn, for a spin and flex. And Lashley attacks! Lashley whips Apollo but Apollo throws Lashley out instead! And then Lio gets caught, for a trophy lift toss at Lashley! Apollo flexes and Lashley is furious! Will Apollo get his match after all?
Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush VS Apollo Crews!
Raw returns, and yes he does! But Lashley also has Apollo in a bearhug. Apollo endures the squeeze and fights out with haymakers. He runs but Lashley follows, to get Apollo with a complete shot! Cover, TWO! Lashley keeps his cool and drags Apollo up into a corner. He throws hands and whips corner to corner. Lashley rams his shoulder in, then hauls Apollo up top. Apollo kicks Lashley away to then missile dropkick him down! Both men slowly stir and stand, and Apollo mule kicks and boots. Lashley swings but misses while Apollo hits a leaping lariat! Apollo kips up and fans fire up with him. Apollo climbs up and aims, but Lashley gets under. Lashley runs but Apollo leaps over! Roll up, TWO!
Apollo raises the roof because he raises Lashley in a trophy lift! Apollo drops Lashley but it took a lot out of him, too. He manages to stand first, though, and drags Lashley up. Apollo tries again, and gets a proper drop. Lio protests and distracts, so that Lashley has time to avoid Apollo’s moonsault. Apollo dodges to enziguri Lashley down, but Lio distracts again. Apollo tosses Lio in but Lio runs around and dodges. But Lio gets caught into another trophy lift, only for Lashley to SPEAR Apollo! Cover, Lashley wins!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by pinfall
The 24 Year Old Piece of Gold pays dividends again as he helps Lashley leave Apollo down and out. But they don’t get time to celebrate this win, because here comes Seth Rollins! Oklahoma City is ready to #BurnItDown, but The Architect isn’t here for Lashley. Rollins has a match with Drew McIntyre, and wants that match next. Will Rollins gain some major momentum going into THE Royal Rumble match?
Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre!
Raw returns as Rollins takes up the mic. “Today we celebrate the life and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Even now, perhaps especially now, we can learn a lot from him. MLK once said a measure of a man is not where he stands in times of convenience, but in times of challenge and controversy. Rollins feels like he’s in times of challenges and controversy. He had two titles and two brothers, but now he’s got none of either. But life isn’t about what we don’t have, it’s about what we do have. What Rollins has is what he’s always had, and it’s the business. As long as Rollins has the ring, the fans and the fire, he’ll win the Royal Rumble! Even saying it out loud makes it sound like a crazy long shot, but Rollins has always been about long shots.
Rollins knows he’s not huge or powerful, but he’s from a small town much like Oklahoma City. His parents were working class, he could’ve been working in a factory, on a farm or driving a truck himself. But the reason he’s not is because of this feeling. Love, passion, determination, whatever it is isn’t just in his chest but ingrained in his soul! Long shot, sure. Thirty men putting it all on the line to headline Wrestlemania. But Rollins promises to be one man left standing and going to Wrestlemania, and that is THE MAN, “Seth Freakin’ Rollins!” But now, the Scottish Terminator makes his entrance.
McIntyre tells Rollins that he’s going to kick his head off tonight, but he must also offer a rebuttal. McIntyre does not stand idly by as Rollins lies to the fans! Rollins is not winning the Rumble, and it’s just Rollins’ style. His reckless abandon will get him eliminated. But what would happen if Rollins harnessed that same passion into the body of a Terminator? That’s “Drew Freakin’ McIntyre!” This means everything to Rollins, so McIntyre hopes they’re the final two, because McIntyre wants to see the look in Rollins’ eyes when he’s thrown out and hears the announcement that the winner is Drew McIntyre! Fire fights fire, after the break!
Raw returns as McIntyre runs back into the ring, only for Rollins to clothesline him back out. Rollins then builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit floors McIntyre, but Rollins puts him back in quick. Rollins springboards and hits a flying clothesline! Cover, ONE! Rollins keeps his cool as he CHOPS McIntyre at the ropes. He whips but McIntyre reverses, only for Rollins to kick him away. Rollins elbows McIntyre, then puts him out all the way tot he floor. McIntyre clutches his back while Rollins assesses the situation. Rollins climbs up high, aims from the post, and leaps! But McIntyre sends him into barriers! McIntyre wraps Rollins around the post and pulls back! He lets up at 4 to then cover Rollins, TWO!
McIntyre keeps on Rollins with an armlock, but fans rally up. Rollins feeds off the energy but McIntyre throws him down by his hair. McIntyre returns to the armlock and adds a chinbar. Fans continue to rally and Rollins powers up again. Rollins jawbreakers free! Rollins runs but into a big elbow from McIntyre! Cover, TWO! McIntyre stalks Rollins and drags him up for a CHOP of his own! McIntyre stomps away on Rollins while fans cheer Rollins on. Rollins throws haymakers and whips, but McIntyre reverses hard! Rollins tumbles up then down, McIntyre covers, TWO! McIntyre stomps Rollins more, then chops Rollins to a corner before tossing him overhead! Cover, TWO! McIntyre turns to the armlock to keep Rollins down.
Fans continue to rally for Rollins and Rollins fights up again. Rollins whips but McIntyre reverses, then kicks Rollins out of the air! Rollins rolls out but McIntyre pursues. McIntyre chops Rollins then drags him up for the Inverted Alabama Slam to the floor! The Terminator dominates and smirks while we go to break.
Raw returns again and both men slowly stand as fans declare “This is Awesome!” Both men start chopping away, but then Rollins runs and dodges to slingblade! He boots McIntyre out of the corner and hits a blockbuster! Cover, TWO! Rollins grits his teeth while fans fire up again. He goes back to McIntyre for a powerbomb but McIntyre back drops. Rollins sunset flips, TWO! McIntyre flips Rollins around for his own powerbomb lift, but Rollins huricanranas! Cover, TWO! Rollins runs, tilt-o-whirl to Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO!! McIntyre survives but Rollins keeps his focus. Rollins gets to the ropes to stomp, “Burn It Down!” Fans chant and Rollins mule kicks. Rollins runs but misses the stomp! McIntyre clubs and scoops but Rollins lands on his feet to shove McIntyre into buckles!
Rollins puts McIntyre up top backwards, but McIntyre elbows him away. Rollins hops up to swing kick McIntyre into the Tree of Woe! He climbs but McIntyre sit sup for a suplex! But Rollins gets back up and runs in, only to miss! McIntyre gets up and runs, but into a SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!! McIntyre lives but both he and Rollins are down. OKC again says “This is Awesome!” as they both stand. Rollins and McIntyre brawl and chop and forearm back and forth. Rollins gets an edge but walks into the Glasgow Kiss! McIntyre is too dazed to cover, but he gets himself back up. McIntyre drags Rollins up for a fireman’s carry, and then climbs a corner. He prepares Rollins, for a SUPER Celtic Cross! Cover, TWO!! But right into a sit-out bomb!! Cover, TWO!? Rollins shocks McIntyre and OKC!
McIntyre crawls over to Rollins and drags him up again. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” but this has to end. McIntyre swings Rollins but Rollins rolls him up, Rollins wins!!
Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall
The Architect survives to surprise the Terminator! Can Rollins surprise everyone by keeping his word of winning the Men’s Royal Rumble match?
The Revival plead their case to Vince McMahon.
First there was the pin on the wrong man, and then there was the missed ropebreak, they are feeling robbed! Vince wants to know what they’re after. The Revival wants one last chance at the titles, with a very special guest referee. Someone who has 20/20 vision and is going to call it right down the middle. But then Curt Hawkins comes by and wants one more shot to break his own Streak. Maybe Hawkins should be the Revival’s referee. Well Hawkins does know three counts. Vince makes the deal, and The Revival make nice with Hawkins. Will the History Factory be the man to help The Revival get justice?
Dean Ambrose speaks.
“Earlier tonight, a certain Architect quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” It was cute, made Ambrose tear up, but another quote from MLK is that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And it is an injustice that Ambrose is not Intercontinental Champion right now. Rollins and “Bend Over’ Bobby, he’s coming for you both at the Royal Rumble. He’ll chop them in the throat and kick them in the balls, and then dump them both out of the ring. 2018 was not Ambrose’s year, after he spent half of it in the hospital. He owes it to himself to win this year’s Rumble, it will be his Miracle on Ice. Ambrose vows to own the Road to Wrestlemania, and justice will be served. Will the Moral Compass redirect Raw down the right path? Or just down his path?
Six Man Tag: Lucha House Party VS Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers!
Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado have had a lot of fun since forming, and it’s even led Kalisto to the Cruiserweight Championship this Sunday. But there’s no room for fun with The Modern Day Maharaja and his Bollywood Boys. Which trio will make big inroads towards titles on their own Road to Wrestlemania?
Mahal starts against the Golden Lynx, but Lince has to worry about Samir & Sunil. Mahal puts Lince in a corner but backs off at 4. He swings but Lince dodges to kick away. Mahal pushes and scoops Lince to slam him down! He wraps Lince in a chinlock and the Singhs want in. Mahal tags Samir and they mug Lince. Samir gets an atomic drop and dropkick from Lince but tags in brother Sunil. Sunil runs but into a big back drop! Lince CHOPS Sunil then tags Kalisto. Kalisto gets help for an elevated splash, Lince adds the planking! Cover, ONE! Kalisto keeps on Sunil with a CHOP, then an acrobatic arm-drag! Sunil runs but into another arm-drag. Sunil grabs Kailsto’s mask to whip Kalisto hard out of the ring, then tags Mahal.
Mahal drags Kalisto into the ring, covers, ONE! Mahal keeps on Kalisto with a rough chinlock, but fans “Lucha! Lucha!” Tag to Sunil and he wraps on a headlock. Kalisto endures as Sunil leans on him. Kalisto powers out but gets caught short of his corner. Sunil hits Lince, Kalisto hits a heel kick! Both men are down and crawling, hot tag to Gran Metalik! The King of the Ropes springboards to crossbody, then springboards to triangle dropkick Samir and Mahal! Metalik handsprings but Sunil dodges, only to run into a scoop backbreaker! Cover, Lucha House Party wins!
Winner: Lucha House Party, Gran Metalik by pinfall
Mahal is furious but the fiesta is rolling in Oklahoma City! Will this victory help the luchadores head for tag titles? And what of Kalisto’s own title match at the Royal Rumble?
Dana Brooke is impressed by EC3’s Top One Percent physique.
She asks him fitness and match preparation tips, but The Drifter passes by. EC3 does his best to explain his “alone time” to Dana, but we’re getting Elias next!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
Oklahoma City is glad to see him and hear his guitar playing. “Brothers and sisters, 2019 is going to be an incredible year.” Elias will win the Royal Rumble but there will be more rivers to cross and mountains to climb. No matter how far he goes, there will always be a truth that brings him back: that WWE stands for “Walk With Elias!” OKC knows that. As for tonight, Elias has a song that might be his finest work yet. Elias sets to playing but Baron Corbin walks out to interrupt. Fans boo the Lone Wolf but he tells them to shut up, too. Corbin tells Elias that he ratted Strowman out and almost got Corbin killed. Fans like that, though. Corbin realizes Vince is right that OKC is a bunch of hillbillies. But Corbin is going to put Elias in his place!
Elias doesn’t know what world Corbin is living in, but he’s not the Raw GM. So Elias is gonna sing that song after all. Corbin keeps talking over Elias, but Elias has Corbin’s mic cut. Elias likes that. He’s skipping his Rumble song to sing a new one. “Baron interrupts my performance. Will this ever end? Baron against Elias, do we really need to see that again?” At the Royal Rumble, Corbin stands no chance, Elias sees it clear. So Corbin needs to shut his mouth, so that he can hear: Nobody cares, people are tired. Why does Corbin still wear that stupid vest? Remember, he got fired! Fans remind Corbin that, “You Got Fired!” But Corbin rushes Elias! Only to narrowly avoid the guitar shot! Elias and Corbin will throw down again, who gets the last word before the Rumble?
Elias VS Baron Corbin!
Raw returns and Elias goes Old School but for an arm-drag! Corbin bails out but Elias wrecks him with a dropkick! Fans fire up with Elias as Elias rams Corbin into barriers. Corbin retreats to the ring but Elias is on him on the apron. They brawl, Elias blocks a kick but gets pushed into the post! Elias goes down in a heap and Corbin acts like he’s already won something. Corbin drags Elias back up and throws him face first into the post. He puts Elias in the corner, then rains down rights. Fans rally up for Elias while taunting Corbin with “You Got Fired!” Corbin tunes the fans out but Elias hits back with body shots. Elias whips but Corbin slides out then in to lariat! Cover, TWO! Corbin grows frustrated, but trash talks the fans first.
Corbin throws Elias out but Elias stays on the apron. Elias hits back, then shoulders in, then jumps over Corbin’s slide. Corbin comes back in but into a leaping knee! Inverted swinging neckbreaker, TWO! Elias grows frustrated but he stomps away on Corbin. The referee backs him off, but Elias comes back to whip. Corbin holds the ropes and the ref backs Elias off again, only for Corbin to rock Elias with a right! End of Days! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The fans don’t like it, but Corbin did win. Corbin rolls on towards the Rumble, will he be the End of Days for 29 other superstars?
It’s time for another Moment of Bliss!
The Goddess appears on her set and takes a seat before picking up her custom mic. Alexa welcomes the fans back to her show, and notes that Sunday will have the Women’s Rumble match for a chance to main event Wrestlemania. As such, this Royal Rumble edition will present just some of the 30 participants for that match. Obviously there will be Carmella, who won the right to be Ms. 30, but there are also the IIconics, the Riott Squad, the Samoan Dynasty, Ember Moon, Zelina Vega, Nikki Cross, Alicia Fox, Bayley and Charlotte Flair. As for Alexa’s guest, her best friend and worst enemy, and perhaps the odds on favorite for the Rumble, Nia Jax! The Irresistible Force is all smiles as she joins Alexa on set.
Alexa cuts to the chase. Nia winning means choosing either champion to face at Wrestlemania. Which brand would Nia choose? But before she can give a proper answer, Ember Moon appears! The Goddess did not invite the War Goddess here. Ember snatches Nia’s mic and Nia tosses a chair over. But Ember says she got tired of waiting for an invitation that would never come. She is making her mark, and vows to win the Women’s Rumble. But the Captain, Alicia Fox, comes out. She snatches the mic and tells everyone that as Captain of the Women’s Division, she’s setting a course for Wrestlemania. It starts by going through the other 29 women this Sunday. But then Mickie James appears! She thinks it’s “super cute” they’re all arguing, but Mickie stole the show at Mania once, and looks to do it again.
The four women argue, but out come The Riott Squad! Alexa wants a little bit of control on her own show. She gets up on her chair to shout for them all to stop. This is HER show, okay!? Hers! If this becomes some kind of brawl, they’re all embarrassing themselves as catty women, but also they’re ruining this show’s reputation! Everyone hears Alexa out, until Nia starts trouble with a shove! The women all brawl, and Nikki Cross is even in the mix without being an official member of Raw! Referees hurry to get them tot he back, but that only puts the brawl into the gorilla position! Nikki throws Ruby around while Ember tackles Nia into the curtains! Alexa is at a loss for words. The only thing she can say is that the entrants this year are very passionate.
But this Moment of Bliss will be one we won’t ever forget: because Alexa is officially back in action in the Women’s Rumble! But wait, it’s Lacey Evans! The Lady of NXT turned the Model Soldier says “What a bunch of nasty, classless little girls” she just saw. Luckily for the WWE Universe, the winner of this year’s Women’s Rumble will not be some sawed off girly little runt, i.e Alexa. It will be Lacey, a “classy, sophisticated lady.” Lacey leaves Alexa speechless even more than that brawl. But has she only incurred the wrath of the Goddess?
Titus O’Neil speaks.
Many think him winning the Royal Rumble will be nothing short of a miracle, but luckily he believes in miracles. And that is why Titus enters the Rumble- Hey, who is that interrupting his shot? Just walking in and then out? Well excuse you! But will Titus Worldwide~ be the one to head to Wrestlemania?
Heavy Machinery VS The Ascension!
Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic are COMIIIN’ to the main roster, but before choosing a side, the #BlueCollarSolid boys will show the WWE Universe what the power of #SteaksandWeights can do! Is it enough to avoid the Wasteland against Konnor & Viktor?
The teams sort out and we start with “Dozer” and Viktor. They tie up, and Dozer powers Viktor to a corner. The ref backs them off but Viktor shoves Dozer. Dozer comes back but Viktor throws hands. Viktor bumps Dozer on buckles but Dozer fires up. Viktor dodges but Dozer throws him off to then scoop, spin, spin, spin some more, and then slam Viktor! Tag to Tucker, and they give us some BOOM SHAKA LOO double falling headbutts! Viktor flounders but boots Tucker away. Viktor chops away then whips corner to corner, but Tucker goes up and over to crossbody! Tag to Dozer, and Heavy Machinery march around. They double belly bump Viktor, then Konnor runs into double shoulders!
Dozer does the kick pump, into the elbow drop! Dozer squashes Viktor in a corner, then fans fire up. Otis pumps up and gives us the Caterpillar! Tag to Tucker, and Viktor gets the Compactor! Cover, Heavy Machinery wins!
Winners: Heavy machinery, Tucker Knight pinning
HASHAAA! Tucker & Dozer win their debut, but this is only the beginning! Will Heavy Machinery steamroll the Tag Team Division right out of the gates?
Raw Tag Team Championships, Special Referee: Curt Hawkins; Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival!
The #TopGuys are convinced that it’s somewhere between a conspiracy and utter incompetence, but for whatever reason, the other referees on Raw haven’t given them a fair match finish. But now they’ll put Mr. Losing Streak in the stripes to see if they can’t get the justice they deserve. Will Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson finally get those titles? Or will the champions continue to be Absolutely… GLORIOUS?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the teams sort out. Dash starts against Gable and ties up. Dash wrenches the wrist but Gable rolls and bridges through. Gable gets a headlock, armlock then drop toehold fast! He has the arm then tags Roode. Hawkins is very strict about the tag, insisting that Roode needed to hold the tag string. The tag does not count, and Dash gets away with throwing Gable down by his hair. Dash calls Hawkins over to officially tag with Dawson. Dawson bumps Gable off buckles then throws chops and forearms. Dawson throws European Uppercuts and Gable bails out. Gable fights back but Dawson whips him for a hard hitting EuroUpper! Dawson rocks Roode, which Hawkins reprimands him for, but The Revival double whip Roode. Roode dodges and then baits The Revival into Gable’s clotheslines!
Roode and Gable throw both Revivals with exploders! Gable builds speed and Roode helps him FLY onto Dash! But Dawson runs Gable over! Hawkins works to regain order while we go to break.
Raw returns and Dawson reels Gable in, but Gable reverses to a big back suplex! Both men are down but fans fire up as they crawl. Hot tag to Dash, and Dash stops Gable. He scoops but Gable slips out to tag Roode! Roode rallies on Dash and hits a back drop! Dawson flies in but into an urenage! Roode fires up as he runs in at Dash, for a big shoulder tackle. Roode hops up, takes aim, but Dash dodges. So Roode clotheslines Dawson out before giving Dash a spinebuster! Fans fire up more as Roode goes after Dash on the apron. Roode suplexes but Dash makes it a crossbody! Cover and Dawson holds Roode’s feet down! But Hawkins sees that! He’s being a fair referee by reprimanding Dawson for that.
Roode gets Dash but Dash reverses and scoops. Roode slips out and rolls up, TWO! Dawson with a cheap shot that Hawkins doesn’t see! Dash rolls Roode, but puts his feet on the ropes and Hawkins catches him! Hawkins reprimands the Revival for this, so Dash tags Dawson. The Revival double whip but Gable tags in. Roode kicks Dawson but Dash clotheslines him out. Gable flies but Dawson rolls through! He’s holding the tights! Hawkins sees that again, so Dawson gives up. Dawson throws Gable out, then starts shoving Hawkins. Hawkins reminds him who the ref is, and Dawson runs into Gable’s shoulder. Gable sunset flips but Dash keeps him from falling over! Hawkins breaks that up, Gable gets his sunset flip, Gable & Roode win!
Winners: Chad Gable & Bobby Roode, Gable pinning; still Raw Tag Team Champions
The plan backfires! The Revival tried to cheat to win but Hawkins would not let them get away with any of it. Dash & Dawson try to reason with Hawkins, but they end up beating him down instead! But here comes Zack Ryder! The Broski fights the #TopGuys off, protecting his former Edgehead bro. Is this a save for old time’s sake? Or are we seeing a reunion in the making?
Backstage interview with Ronda Rousey.
The Baddest Woman has a tag team match up next, what would she say to challenger, Sasha Banks? Ronda wants to focus on her match tonight, but she’s trying to figure out why she should apologize. And she’s concluded that she doesn’t owe Sasha a damn thing! Ronda took her moment to hype up Sasha, and then Sasha goes and turns it all into an insult? What does Sasha expect from Ronda? Ronda’s been respectful since day one. Is she supposed to wash Sasha’s feet? Ronda practically had to beg Sasha to have this match! Sasha is too busy living the Boss life than actually try to be a champion! Sasha’s so high on herself that she’s not hungry anymore! That’s the difference between them, and Ronda will show that even The Legit Boss answers to someone!
Ronda Rousey & Natalya VS Sasha Banks & Bayley!
Ronda is definitely rowdy tonight, and she joins forces with her pal, The Queen of Harts, to face the #LegitHuggable best friends! Will the Baddest Woman build some last momentum before going 1v1 with Sasha at the Rumble? Or will tonight be #BossTime rolling into the title match?
Raw returns once more as Natalya makes her entrance. The Boss & Hug connection enter as Natty works to keep Ronda calm. Sasha picks up a mic to talk about resentment. Who does Ronda think she is? Sasha’s the four time champion, one of the first to be a in a Hell in a Cell, and lasted 40 minutes in that inaugural Women’s Rumble. Yet Ronda just shows up and gets handed everything. Sasha and Bayley put their hearts and souls in the ring every day, yet Ronda talks about desire? Stop talking about worthy competitors, Sasha already is one. She earned her shot by beating Nia and making her tap out. And that will happen to Ronda at the Rumble! This fight is ready to go now, and each friend has to keep Ronda and Sasha from tearing into each other.
The referee keeps the peace, and teams finally sort out. Natty convinces Ronda to stand down, and she starts against Sasha instead. The two circle with the bell, Sasha hits Ronda! Sasha gets Natty down while the ref keeps Ronda back! Sasha wrenches Natty and tags in Bayley. They double whip and crisscross Natty into the corner. They double suplex Natty down, Bayley covers, TWO! Bayley keeps on Natty with buckle bumps, then tags in Sasha. Sasha and Bayley uses Poetry in Motion to hit Natty, then tag back. They double whip and double hip toss, Bayley back elbows and Sasha boots! Ronda just runs in and tackles Bayley! Ronda throws Sasha, and now she controls the ring while we go to one last break.
Raw returns once more and Bayley fights out of Natty’s waistlock. Bayley runs but into Natty’s tackle into the corner! Tag to Ronda, and they give Bayley a Rowdy Hart Attack! Sasha did swipe at Ronda but it didn’t bug her at all. Ronda and Sasha trash talk but the ref keeps the peace. Ronda tags to Natty and Natty fetches Bayley into the ring. Bayley crawls but Natty stops her from reaching Sasha. Natty snap suplexes Bayley down, then stomps her down before covering. TWO, and Bayley hurries to Sasha. Tag made, Sasha knees Natty! Bayley adds a knee side to side before Sasha hits a swinging meteora! Cover, TWO! Sasha trash talks Ronda back before dragging Natty up. She bumps Natty on buckles and hauls her up. Bayley tags in as fans rally for Natty. Tag again, SUPER STEINER to METEORA! Cover, TWO!
Sasha keeps her cool while Ronda reaches for Natty. Sasha swings on Ronda, then hops up onto Natty. But Natty holds her, tag to Ronda! Electric Chair drop, roll through to Rowdy Slam, but Sasha throws elbows! Sasha backslides, ONE! Russian leg sweep, into Bank Statement crossface! Ronda endures but Natty breaks it up! Sasha throws Natty out but Ronda rolls Sasha up, TWO! Ronda boots Sasha, but Sasha boots Ronda! Tag to Bayley, back stabber but Ronda counters with a judo throw! Ronda covers Bayley, TWO! Ronda fires up again, and throws heavy knees into Bayley. Then a big boot puts Bayley in a corner. Rowdy dares Bayley to stand, but Sasha stands in her way. Bayley pushes Sasha out of the way and still gets those strikes! Ronda wants more, but she runs into a toss from Bayley! Tag to Sasha!
Sasha climbs, Bayley has Ronda, ax handles to Ronda’s arm hit. But Ronda gets Sasha with a takedown into the armbar! Sasha scrambles towards ropes, and they end up under them. Ronda lets go but reaches for Sasha. Sasha kicks Ronda, but Natty tags in. Natty suplexes Sasha in hard! Natty walks all over Sasha then hits her with a basement dropkick! She puts on the Sharpshooter! Sasha endures but Bayley saves her! Bayley tackles Ronda, but runs into the discus! Natty goes back to Sasha, powerbomb lift but Sasha slips out to knee! Back stabber, to Bank Statement!! Natty endures, but taps! Sasha & Bayley win!
Winners: Sasha Banks & Bayley, Sasha by submission
Ronda returns and Sasha lets Natty go. The Boss tapped out The Queen, but what about the Baddest Woman on the Planet? These two stare down and trash talk more, and fans want to “Let Them Fight!” We go off the air but we know this fight is coming. Who will win when the title’s on the line?
This was not a great go-home but this was better than most Raw has had as of late. It had a really good beginning and a pretty good end, but the middle was rough. To get those out of the way, Lucha House Party VS Mahal & The Singhs wasn’t much of anything other than a filler Six Man Tag. I don’t know if I want a feud between these two trios, but I do appreciate it means the Bollywood Boys are getting actual matches on television. I would also appreciate it if it meant they were joining the Cruiserweight Division and 205 Live per the Fresh Start initiative. Then another Elias VS Corbin is literally what Elias was saying we shouldn’t be getting in his song. Corbin wins to keep himself afloat, but Corbin really should just leave Elias alone after the Rumble, regardless of what happens.
The opening segment, for being another 20+ minute talking segment, was a good talking segment because Heyman did good again, Vince going off on a truly inaccurate retelling of David VS Goliath, and then it all leads to that really fun opening match. Throwing Lesnar in at ringside and having him do those shenanigans was actually a good move to me, it gets some heat between Lesnar and Finn quickly since this is all rather sudden. There has been talk all over about if Demon Balor returns and what that would mean. I’m pretty sure Demon Balor returns only if Lesnar is losing, which is still an uncertainty. I obviously want Finn to win, especially as Demon Balor. And if the talk of Rollins winning is true, Finn VS Rollins to bring the Universal Championship full circle would be great.
The pose-off between Apollo and Lashley was cheesy, but their match was pretty good. Apollo didn’t win but I hope he still gets a chance at the Intercontinental Championship. I feel like those two could really give us something great in such a match, I’m just not sure if Apollo would win. Rollins VS McIntyre was great, but perhaps Rollins winning with just a roll-up means there will be more to come after the Rumble. Again, if Rollins wins, him and Finn would be great for Mania, but that doesn’t mean McIntyre can’t go after the title at Elimination Chamber or Fastlane. Now depending on the validity of John Cena’s ankle injury, McIntyre’s story with him might be on pause, but that can allow McIntyre to do a lot of other things while waiting.
Heavy Machinery was a lot of fun in their debut, it was reminiscent of their early matches in NXT. I just hope going against The Ascension doesn’t foreshadow how they’ll be treated. I’m hoping they go to SmackDown, but even over there, if a team like SAnitY can’t get any screen time, I’m not sure about Heavy Machinery. Then going into The Revival’s segments, it seems like their tag team division concerns are only going to grow. Obviously it’s story, but Hawkins being an exceptionally good referee messes The Revival up again, and now it seems The Revival might be going against a revived Edgeheads. This will be great for Ryder & Hawkins, but it just means more mouths to feed in the tag division, which hurts The Revival and all teams on Raw. But maybe The Revival’s concerns will wake creative up and all teams get a fair shake.
I’m still not sure about EC3 being the Top One Percent Mute. When is he going to get his in-ring debut like Nikki Cross and Heavy Machinery? Lacey Evans had a good appearance after a fun third Moment of Bliss. Is Lacey going to be the woman to make Alexa Bliss turn Face? That would be big for Alexa, but also because she’s officially okay for action. I don’t know the chances of Alexa winning the Rumble, but her and Lacey being each other’s Road to Mania feud is great. I just hope Alexa doesn’t need to take that Woman’s Right punch if the concerns are for Alexa’s head.
And of course, the main event featuring the women was actually really good. For one, Ronda’s promo and Sasha’s counter were pretty good, though I think Sasha’s was better. The story in the match was good, and we never really got a prolonged Sasha-Ronda moment, so that leaves a lot left for them in their match. I’m still confident in thinking Ronda wins, Becky wins, and Mania gives us some sort of Undisputed Women’s Champion match, even with a third opponent via the Women’s Rumble. But I’m thinking Sasha is going to give Ronda one of her toughest matches in sheer technical skill and charisma.
My Score: 8.1/10
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