Raw kicks of its 2019 in epic fashion! A talk show premiere, a Tag Title Lumberjack Match, and the returns of John Cena, Brock Lesnar AND Hulk Hogan!
- Six Man Tag: Finn Balor, Seth Rollins & John Cena VS Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush; Cena, Balor & Rollins win.
- Raw Tag Team Championships Lumberjack Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival; Roode & Gable win and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
- Elias VS Baron Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Mixed Tag: Mahalicia w/ The Singh Brothers VS Apollo Crews & Ember Moon; Crews & Moon win.
- Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Nia Jax w/ Tamina; Banks wins and will face Ronda Rousey for the title at the Royal Rumble.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose VS Seth Rollins; Ambrose wins and retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE mourns the loss of “Mean” Gene Okerlund.
A fight breaks out backstage!
Bobby Lashley attacks Seth Rollins for the beating The Architect gave him on last week’s Raw! Security and superstars pull the two apart but it doesn’t stop the fighting! Rollins and Lashley fight up gorilla and towards the stage, for it to spill out onto the stage! Rollins and Lashley brawl more, and even OFF the stage! Lashley staggers to his feet but throws security aside, only for Rollins to FLY onto him! Rollins hammers away but referees join the superstars in pulling them apart. Lashley tosses Rollins back onto the stage, but Rollins is quickly pulled away. Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” but Lio Rush talks sense into Lashley.
John Cena is Raw!
The Cenation is back, and is fired up as he makes his way down the ramp. Cena hits the ring and picks up a mic as fans both cheer and jeer. “For those watching around the world, welcome to Orlando, Florida! Welcome to Monday Night Raw! And welcome to the Road to Wrestlemania!” That fight was all about Wrestlemania. Rollins knows it, Cena knows it, fans know it. You either step up or get left out. Cena isn’t going to be left out of the plans this year, which means he’ll step up right now. Everyone knows that on the Road to Wrestlemania, there is one match anyone can go after the main event! And that is THE Royal Rumble match. “In life, nothing is handed to you.” Cena plans on earning his ticket, because he officially enters the Rumble!
However, Drew McIntyre appears! The Scottish Terminator stares Cena down from the stage and tells Cena “I have waited for this moment for years. Years!” Unlike everyone else, McIntyre doesn’t care who Cena shares his bed with, or doesn’t. McIntyre doesn’t care about that stupid haircut or what Cena does in Hollywood. What McIntyre cares about is those 16 world championship reigns. That Cena has main-evented multiple Wrestlemanias, and that Vince Mcmahon says Cena is the Greatest of All Time. And why is that? Because McIntyre actually agrees. Cena is the GOAT! What’s his point?
If Cena has been watching, McIntyre has a reputation for taking out some greats. Cena can check with The Shield on that. No, wait, McIntyre broke them. Check with Ziggler- No, McIntyre destroyed Ziggler. Then call Kurt Angle, and he will tell McIntyre what he’s capable of. McIntyre humiliated and tapped Angle out to his own ankle lock! McIntyre tells Cena to look at him. He is the most dangerous man in the WWE, and now he targets Cena. Cena feels good after how Raw started. And now this makes Cena sad. Because McIntyre’s just saying the same thing everyone else does. Cena had to leave, to force everyone to come up with different promos. What makes McIntyre different than them? McIntyre says they were all talk, “I’m gonna bloody show you!” McIntyre is ready to fight, Cena is ready to fight, but Lio Rush says there’s a situation?
Rollins has gone CRAZY! Rollins attacked him and Lashley “viciously”, and claims Rollins attacked Lashley. It’s not their fault Rollins can’t get a rematch with Dean Ambrose. Lio threatens legal action! “This show is officially cancelled until somebody does something about Seth Rollins!” Speaking of, Rollins attacks Lashely!! The brawl is back on, on the ramp! And Ambrose appears to join the fight! Cena helps Rollins, but McIntyre goes after Cena for himself! Ambrose and Lashley beat up Rollins then hit Cena. McIntyre helps Ambrose with Cena, but here comes Finn Balor! Finn goes right at McIntyre with a slingblade! Then he clotheslines McIntyre out, and FLIES onto everyone!! Chaos returns, but we go to break!
Six Man Tag: Finn Balor, Seth Rollins & John Cena VS Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush!
Holla holla! Raw returns as Cena puts Lashley in a headlock. Lashley powers out but Cena grabs the ropes. Lashley runs in but misses, and then things speed up. Cena runs Lashley over with a lariat and tags in Finn! Finn climbs while Cena wrenches the arm. Finn drops ax handles and then wrenches Lashley. Lashley knees low, and drags Finn up for a fast scoop slam! Lashley stares Cena and Rollins down, then tags in Ambrose. Fans chant “Lashely Sucks!” as he and Ambrose mug Finn. Ambrose grinds Finn into the ropes, but backs off at 4. Ambrose runs but into arm-drags! Finn has Ambrose down, but Ambrose gets up and fights out.
Ambrose whips but Finn reverses. Ambrose sunset flips but Finn rolls through to dropkick! Cover, TWO! Finn grabs Ambrose but Ambrose powers him to the corner. Tag to McIntyre and McIntyre throws hands and CHOPS Finn! McIntyre stalks Finn and drags him up in a deadlift suplex! Cover, TWO! McIntyre eggs Finn on, but Finn counter punches! They brawl and McINtyre knocks Finn down. McIntyre stomps Finn, then taunts Cena. McIntyre tags in Lashley and they mug Finn in the corner. Lashley drives elbows into Finn then wraps on a chinlock. Fans rally for Finn and Finn feeds off the energy. Lashley elbows Finn down, then tells the fans to hush. Fans boo instead.
Lashley scoops Finn but Finn slips out. Finn reaches for his corner but Lashley keeps him away. Finn throws forearms but Lashley whips Finn into the corner. lashley runs into boots, and FInn fights his way out. Fnn runs but into a tackle to the open corner! Lashley rams his shoulder n over an dover, then tags Ambrose in. Ambrose stomps Finn in the corner, but backs off at 4. Ambrose whips Finn corner to corner, and hits a forearm smash. The Lunatic says his team is the “dream team”, and he whips Finn corner to corner again. Finn boots Ambrose but runs into another forearm, only to PELE! Fans fire up as both men head for their corners. Hot tag to Cena!
Cena rallies with those famous shoulder tackles! Then the spin-out powerbomb, and Five Knuckle Shuffle! Cena lifts but Ambrose tags to McIntyre. The AA hits but so does the Glasgow Kiss! McIntyre staggers from the impact, too, but covers. TWO, and we go to break!
Raw returns and Ambrose grinds his forearm into Cena’s face. Ambrose backs off, and Cena counters the sucker punch from Lashley! Cena dropkicks Ambrose down, and fans fire up again. Ambrose and Cena head for their corners, hot tag to McIntyre! McIntyre clobbers Cena then throws hands and chops. Cena hits back with heavy hands, but runs into a spinebuster! Jackknife cover, TWO! McIntyre puts Cena in their corner and tags in Lashley. Lashley stomps Cena then drags Cena up for a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO! Cena survives but Lashley flexes. Fans boo as Lashley sucker punches Rollins! But Cena gives Lashley an AA! Lashley and Cena crawl, tag to Ambrose! Ambrose puts Cena in a sleeper! Cena flails and Ambrose drags him away.
Ambrose wrangles Cena down with body scissors. Cena endures as fans rally up. Cena rolls around and gets free of the scissors. He reaches for his corner, but first pries his way out of the hold. Cena knees low, then headbutts and throws hands. Cena runs but into Ambrose’s knee. Ambrose drops an elbow on Cena and Cena rolls out of the ring. Ambrose goes out to drag Cena up and throw him into steel steps! Cena is down as the count rises, and we go to another break.
Raw returns again and Ambrose snapmares Cena to stomp him out. Cover, TWO, but Ambrose puts a chinlock on. Cena endures as fans slowly build to a rally. Cena gets up and Ambrose becomes a backpack, but Cena still takes steps towards his corner. Rollins and Finn reach out but Ambrose rakes Cena’s eyes! Ambrose boots Rollins, but turns into a clothesline from Cena! Both men are down and fans rally up again. Cena crawls for his corner, and tags in Finn! Finn boots and rallies on Ambrose, then hits McIntyre! Finn hits Ambrose with forearms, then the elbow drop DDT! Lashley runs in but gets a Slingblade! Ambrose wants Dirty Deeds but Finn counters to double stomps! Finn blasts Ambrose to a corner with the dropkick! He heads up top! COUP DE GRACE!
But CLAYMORE from McIntyre! The referee reprimands McIntyre but he just grins because he saved the match for his team. McIntyre reaches out to Ambrose as Ambrose crawls. But Rollins returns to his corner! Ambrose hurries, but so does Finn! Hot tags to McIntyre and Rollins! Now The Architect rallies! Rollins jumps over McIntyre to then enziguri! Rollins runs corner to corner but is put on the apron. He springboards onto Ambrose and Lashley! Rollins keeps moving, springboards over McIntyre. McIntyre kicks low and reels ROllins in, but ROllins slips through to Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO!! Rollins keeps his focus as he fires up with Orlando. Orlando already chants it, so Rollins stomps along, “Burn It Down!”
Rollins aims, mule kick but McIntyre back elbow.s McIntyre as Rollins but Cena gets McIntyre with an AA! Lashley SPEARS Cena! SUPERKICK to Lashley from Rollins! And then Rollins drags McIntyre back into the ring. Rollins hurries to SUPERKICK McIntyre down! Rollins heads up top, for the Frog Splash! But it flops as McIntyre rolls away! Ambrose tags in to go after his hated enemy. Ambrose underhooks but Rollins rolls up to CURB STOMP!! Cover, Rollins and team win!!
Winners: John Cena, Finn Balor & Seth Rollins, Rollins pinning
The Architect wins it for his dream team, and all three men roll on towards the Royal Rumble match! Will Rollins earn himself an Intercontinental Championship match along the way?
But wait, everyone can see Triple H talking with the Boss & Hug Connection. HHH seems to be talking with Sasha Banks & Bayley about their WWE Women’s Tag Title aspirations, but Rollins goes in search. Will Rollins want a straight answer out of HHH about his title predicament?
Rollins finds HHH, and slaps him!? “I want Dean Ambrose, I want the Intercontinental Title, and I want it tonight.” HHH gives Rollins the match, and yes, it’ll be tonight. And it’ll be Falls Count Anywhere. “Welcome back.” The Architect gets the match he wanted, but will he get the revenge he wants on The Lunatic?
WWE and Raw honor the life of “Mean” Gene Okerlund with a 10 Bell Salute.
Hulk Hogan is Raw!
The Immortal One was one of Gene Okerlund’s closest friends, and their interviews together were some of the most memorable from wrestling history. The Hulkster is here now to honor Mean Gene in person. Orlando gives Hulk a great ovation as he says “Now let me tell you something, brother!” But Hogan gets serious, letting us know that making an in-character entrance because that’s how Gene would’ve wanted it. Gene loved to entertain, especially the WWE Universe. So now, let’s have a look at some of his greatest moments! Hogan cues up the tribute video for Gene, which includes some of the greatest wrestling icons of all time.
“Hulkamania would never have gotten as big as it did without Gene Okerlund.” Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Flair, you name them, he’s talked to them. “If one day I’m called up to the big house, I want you to bury me face down. And then all of my critics can kiss my ass!” Mean Gene will forever be missed. Hogan says Gene was one of a kind, and speaks on behalf of everyone who has even anything to do with WWE, “we love you, my brother.” Gene may not be in the ring, but he’s in our hearts. Orlando claps, “Thank you, Mean Gene!” Hogan wants them to keep going, then asks them what to do? They want that. “Well let me tell you something, Mean Gene!”
Hogan knows Gene is with the angels on them big white clouds, putting the greatest matches together, like Randy Savage & Ultimate Warrior VS Roddy Piper & Mr. Perfect! And Andre the Giant is the guest referee! Gene’s probably breaking up fights between Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, too! Those weights are clanging and banging, but Gene doesn’t have to get so swole. He’s got Moolah and Mae Young! Mean Gene, there’s one last question to ask all the Maniacs: “What you gonna do when Mean-Gene-o-mania runs wild on you, brother?!”
Raw Tag Team Championships Lumberjack Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival!
The rest of the Raw Tag Division surrounds the ring as the GLORIOUS Duo takes on Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder in this escalated rematch! Why are the #TopGuys getting another? Because there was some controversy as to who was the legal man for The Revival. Now with the Lumberjacks ringside to be witnesses, will Dash & Dawson get a fair finish to this title fight?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and we begin with Roode and Dash. Dash and Roode tie up, and Dash gets a headlock. Roode powers out but Dash runs him over. Cover, ONE, but Dash gets Roode with a headlock takeover. Roode headscissors but Dash pops out, and then Roode gets a headlock. Dash powers out but things speed up, and Roode wants the DDT! Dash gets away, but rolls out to where Heath Slater & Rhyno are waiting! They scare Dash back in, and Roode rolls Dash up! TWO, but Roode wrenches the arm. Dash pushes Roode to the Revival’s corner, tag to Dawson. Dawson runs into Roode’s arm-drag, and then Roode tags Gable. Gable takes the hand-off to wrench Dawson. Dawson reels Gable into a lariat!
Dawson puts Gable on the top rope with a rebound suplex but Gable slips out. Gable waistlocks and rolls for a cover, TWO! Gable springboards for a crossbody cover, TWO! Things speed up and Gable arm-drags Dawson. Dash tags in but Gable headscissors Dawson. Then he headscissors Dash! Tag to Roode, and the Glorious Duo double whip the Revival into double back drops! The Revival bail out but the Lucha House Party force them back in. Gable & Roode clothesline them back out, so the Lucha House Party go to bring The Revival back up. The Ascension back The Revival up and back the Lucha House Party off. Slater & Rhyno back LHP up, but Roode helps Gable FLY onto The Revival! LHP help put Dash in, Roode covers, TWO!
Roode keeps on Dash with an arm wrench and he tags in Gable. Gable climbs to ax handle the arm. Gable hits Dawson for good measure, but Dash pulls Gable’s hair. Tag to Dawson, things speed up but Dash kicks Gable and Dawson hangs Gable out to dry! Gable tumbles out, Rhyno and The B-Team help him back in. Dawson covers, TWO! The title continues after the break.
Raw returns as Dash pulls Gable’s hair to keep him from Roode. Dash whips but Gable arm-drags! Gable reaches but Dash again keep shim back. Gable breaks free, hot tag to Roode! Roode rallies, but Dawson tags in. Roode still gets Dawson with an exploder! Then he gives one to Dash! Roode fires up and so does Orlando. Roode tackles Dawson in a corner then knocks Dash off the corner. He clotheslines Dawson out and the lumberjacks put him back in. Roode gives Dawson a spinebuster! Cover, TWO! Gable returns and Roode tags him in. The Glorious Duo coordinate but Dawson hits Roode away. But Gable leaps over and waistlocks Dawson, for Roode to add a blockbuster to the German Suplex! Bridging cover, but Dash makes it in time!
Dash throws Roode to a post, then puts Gable on the top rope. Gable brings Dash out with bodyscissors! Gable climbs up top, and leaps at Dawson! But Dawson rolls through, TWO!! Dawson runs but into a waistlock. Dash tags in, Chaos Theory hits, but Dash frog splashes onto the bridging Gable! Cover, TWO!! Gable survives and all four competitors are down. The lumberjacks watch anxiously as Dash and Gable slowly stand up. Dash has Gable in the Electric chair, and tags in Dawson. Gable throws Dash with headscissors, but Dawson leaps for a sunset flip! TWO, and Gable trips Dawson up for a jackknife. TWO as Dawson lifts up. Dawson wants a backslide but Gable goes for his own. The two duel and roll to some kinda cover, TWO!
Gable goes for another backslide but has to dump Dash to the apron. Dash saves Dawson but Roode trips Dash! Dawson cradles but Roode rolls it to favor Gable! But Dawson’s leg is on the ropes! The Glorious Duo win!?
Winners: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, Gable pinning; still Raw Tag Team Champions
But the lumberjacks do serve as witnesses, they all saw that! Is this some kind of conspiracy? Or is it just bad officiating? Will the Revival get a third chance at the titles over this controversy?
Raw takes another look at the coming new faces.
Lars Sullivan is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before! Who will be the first to suffer a Freak Accident?
Lacey Evans vows to use her Woman’s Right to clear out and clean up the Women’s Division, while maintaining her manners.
They’re COMIIIN’! Heavy Machinery will use the power of #SteaksAndWeights to bring the good times and the big fights to the Tag Team Division.
“You wanna play? Play with Nikki!” The Loony Lass has no fear, there’s only chaos. Nikki Cross is on her way, who wants to play?
And of course, last but certainly not least is the #TopOnePercent. The Best Here, the Best There, the Best Everywhere is prepared to rack up #VictoryAfterVictory no matter where he ends up.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
The Drifter comes to Orlando, plays his guitar, and reflects over his 2018. Elias weeps over the level of stardom he’s reached and the speed at which he reached it. He dropped an album, sold out Madison Square Garden, and has been all over the world. And now it brings him here to Orlando. There is a universal truth that follows him everywhere, and that is that WWE truly stands for “Walk With Elias!” Orlando knows it and it fires Elias up. Now if you thought 2018 was great, it will be nothing compared to 2019. Because on January 27th, he will walk into Chase Field, be in front of 40 thousand, and he will win the Royal Rumble match!
But as much as Elias enjoys his successes, he enjoys the failures of one Baron Corbin. Corbin was GM, running Raw into the ground and cancelling all Elias’ performance. Corbin’s a joke. Elias hasn’t forgotten any of Corbin’s wrongs, and has a song about it. But Corbin interrupts! Fans boo but Corbin claims he’s here to help because he tells Elias to stop. No one can endure another mind-numbing performance. Just like the WWE Universe, Elias has no idea what it’s like to be in such a respected and high-stress position as GM. After everything Corbin did for Elias, Elias should respect him. Everyone should respect and admire Corbin!
But that’s the problem: no one understands, so they disrespect him. They’d probably like it if he disappeared, huh? “Yes!” Well that’s not happening! Corbin’s entering the Rumble, and will actually win to main event Wrestlemania! Elias put his stool and guitar away, how about they– Elias tells Corbin to stop talking and shut his mouth! Their match is now, who will gain some major momentum towards the Royal Rumble?
Elias VS Baron Corbin!
The bell rings and Corbin circles with Elias. They tie up and Elias gets a waistlock. Corbin backs Elias down but Elias dodges to chop and chop and chop! Corbin knees low then whips Elias to a corner, but Elias goes up and over. Elias mule kicks Corbin then clotheslines him out of the ring! Elias builds speed to wreck Corbin with a dropkick! Fans fire up as Elias climbs up top. Elias falls right onto Corbin! “Who Wants to Walk With Elias?!” Orlando does, but we’re going to break.
Raw returns and Corbin has Elias in a half nelson. Elias fights out but Corbin knees low. Corbin runs but Elias sends him out, only for Corbin to come back and throw Elias over the ropes. Corbin blasts Elias off the apron, then mockingly applauds as fans rain down boos. The referee counts but Corbin goes out to fetch Elias. Corbin rams Elias into barriers, then puts him back in the ring. Corbin continues to mockingly applaud, but Elias hits back! Elias chops and whips but Corbin slides out. Corbin slides back in and clobbers Elias with a clothesline! Cover, TWO! Corbin is furious and tells the ref “You Suck!” Fans tell Corbin he sucks, but Corbin drags Elias up for a rain of right hands. Fans troll Corbin with chants of “You Got Fired!” as Corbin climbs. Corbin leaps, into Elias’ leaping knee!
Elias and Corbin get to opposite corners, and Elias grits his teeth as he drags himself up. Elias runs and hits Corbin with an elbow, then rams in a right hand. He drags Corbin up to whip but Corbin reverses. Elias runs out to clothesline Corbin down! Elias stomps and punches away on Corbin in the corner! The ref backs Elias off as Elias roars. Elias hits Corbin in the corner again, then hauls him up in an Electric Chair! Corbin slips out but Elias runs, to reel Corbin in for a swinging neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Elias keeps his cool as he heads up top. Elias leaps for the Macho Elbow, but rolls through as Corbin evades. Corbin throws Elias at the ref, then rocks him with a right! Corbin throws Elias into the post! Then End of Days! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The Lone Wolf mockingly applauds again as he rubs his victory in the fans’ faces. Corbin wins this match, but can he win the Royal Rumble on his road to redemption?
Dean Ambrose speaks.
“What is this world coming to?!” HE tries to keep his promise to the ungrateful fans. Ambrose never liked Six Man Tags, anyway. Ambrose is the only man he trusts. He is the Moral compass and the last line of defense against “that mad man”, Seth Rollins. Do the fans not think it hurts Ambrose to fight Rollins? Ambrose lost everything to “bring balance back to WWE.” If Rollins wins, it’s game over for everyone! But Ambrose won’t let that happen. If Ambrose has to do it in the ring, on stage, or getting in line for hot dogs, Ambrose vows to end this tonight. Ambrose vows to burn Rollins down, but will he be the one burned?
BRAUN is Raw!
The Monster Among Men returns from elbow surgery and is ready for his WWE Universal Championship match at The Royal Rumble! And knowing that The Beast is in the building, Strowman wants to be here to meet him. Strowman picks up a mic as fans chant “Get These Hands!”, but then decides this isn’t time to talk. He dares Brlock Lesnar to appear! But of course, Paul Heyman makes his introductions, from backstage. The Advocate for the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar”, says he knows that The Monster in the ring is looking for a face-to-face confrontation.
But Heyman gives Strowman some education. Heyman knows how much hype has gone behind this encounter, but the lesson is “card subject to change.” That change is this confrontation, and for Strowman’s benefit. Because if Lesnar came down to #GetTheseHands, he wouldn’t have an opponent left at the Rumble, just another victim. Let this be a lesson learned. Strowman doesn’t need to thank Heyman, but Heyman will still say “you’re welcome.” And Lesnar smirks as he takes his leave. But Strowman tells the “Beastie Boy” that he’s waiting in this ring, for Lesnar. Lesnar considers his options. Is that all? Well unless Lesnar wants to hide with Heyman… Fans chant “Get These Hands!” and Strowman says he’s in Lesnar’s ring. Why doesn’t Lesnar get in Strowman’s face like Heyman said would happen?
Is that all Strowman’s got? Lesnar doesn’t have to do anything, because he’s the champion. Strowman asks Brock if Heyman’s ass is every jealous of all the crap that comes out of Heyman’s mouth. Lesnar chuckles at that one. Strowman hears “Blah blah blah, Lesnar is afraid of Strowman. Blah blah blah, Lesnar doesn’t want to be face to face with the Monster Among Men.” Strowman’s right here while Lesnar hides on a screen like a coward. Lesnar should thank Paul because otherwise, Lesnar wouldn’t be making it to The Rumble. “Because everybody in here knows what happens when you Get These Hands!” Lesnar decides to test Strowman, even to Heyman’s surprise! Lesnar goes to gorilla, then out on stage!
Beast and Monster stare down as Lesnar heads down the ramp. Lesnar circles the ring, but doesn’t enter. He goes back up the ramp, even as fans boo. Strowman tells Lesnar to turn around, but Heyman laughs as Lesnar takes back his belt. Strowman promises that the Rumble will see him crowned new Universal Champion! The Beast and Advocate are confident now, but who will have the last laugh when this rematch finally happens?
#Mahalicia is in the ring!
Jinder Mahal says that before he obliterates Apollo Crews, please join him in finding tranquility. “Captain” Alicia Fox leads the way with Shanti. Wait, wait, that’s not quite right. Mahal calls out all the fans who do not chant along. Where is this? Right, Orlando. Yuck! Fans boo as Mahal says they do not deserve his tranquility! But before he can continue to rant, out come their opponents!
Mixed Tag: Mahalicia w/ The Singh Brothers VS Apollo Crews & Ember Moon!
The Shenom and the rising star join forces as each of them are on great rolls as of late. Mahal, Fox, Ember and Apollo are all in their respective Rumble matches, who will win big to gain momentum on the Road to Wrestlemania?
The bell rings and the men start. Mahal and Apollo tie up and Mahal powers Apollo to a corner. Mahal throws his shoulder in but then says Shanti. He whips Apollo corner to corner but Apollo goes up and over to handspring and also use Shanti. Things speed up and Mahal throws Apollo to ropes, only for Apollo to crossbody on the rebound! Cover, TWO! Apollo tilt-o-whirls to try a crucifix pin, TWO! Mahal runs into a dropkick! Apollo drags Mahal up but things speed up again. Apollo hits a leaping back elbow, then kips up to raise the roof. Because he now raises Mahal! Mahal slips away to tag in Foxy. Apollo clotheslines Mahal out to then slingshot out onto him and the Singhs!
Meanwhile, Moon and Foxy enter, and Ember blasts Foxy with a dropkick! Then springboards for a crossbody! Ember roars and runs in to handspring forearm smash! She has Alicia in the target zone, climbs up, and hits the Eclipse! Cover, Moon & Crews win!
Winners: Apollo Crews & Ember Moon, Moon pinning
The War Goddess brings victory to her team, and now both she and Apollo roll on towards The Rumble! Will 2019 be their year to main event Mania?
It’s the premiere of A Moment of Bliss!
The Goddess, Alexa Bliss, walks out on stage to her “set”. She appreciates the ovation from Orlando. They don’t have much going on as a city, but that changes tonight. Orlando goes down in history as the site of her show’s premiere. She demands coffee. Her assistant comes out and serves Alexa in her special cup. She dismisses the assistant rather dismissively, then cues up the highlight reel of Ronda Rousey’s 2018. From Ronda’s debut at Royal Rumble to her first match at Wrestlemania to all the media appearances in between, Ronda has been a big hit with everyone. Alexa gives the Baddest Woman on the Planet her introduction, and out comes the Rowdy Raw Women’s Champion! Orlando is excited to see Ronda, but Ronda isn’t as excited to see Alexa.
Alexa and Ronda take their seats, and Alexa asks Ronda about her 2018, and what’s next for her in 2019. Ronda hears out the fans cheering for her, and Ronda admits 2018 was extraordinary. As champion, Ronda looks forward. Ronda wants to be someone everyone can be proud of, and that means chasing her limits down with a vengeance. There is one woman that pushes everyone she faces to their limits. This woman has more athletic ability in her pinkie finger than Charlotte Flair does in her entire body. A woman who has more great stories than Becky Lynch. A woman that makes Ronda’s admiration for this business look like nothing. That is the unsung hero of Raw, Sasha Banks! Alexa is rather surprised to hear that name come up. Wasn’t she talking about Alexa?
Nia comes out, making gag noises. Cue the romcom music, right? Should they let Ronda and Sasha have a date? Girl crush, anyone? Or is Ronda forgetting about someone? She and Ronda have unfinished business. Nia is all about “new year, new me.” Rollins gets a rematch, what about Nia? When and where? But here comes The Boss! Sasha smiles as she’s honored to be named by Ronda. It is better to look forward and not back. Sasha is looking forward to a title match with Ronda. Because it will be Sasha’s pleasure to teach Ronda how to lose with class and dignity. Nia refuses to accept Sasha ignoring her. Nia won’t just rip Sasha’s face off, she’ll break her face. Get to the back of the line.
“B*tch, what line?!” Sasha sees a ring, so why don’t they have a #1 contender’s match? Sasha doesn’t hear Nia’s answer, she heads to he ring. Nia refuses to do this on Sasha’s time, but will management make it time? Find out after the break!
Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Nia Jax w/ Tamina!
Management did make this match, and now the Irresistible Force must put up or shut up against The Boss! Who is going to the Rumble as Ronda’s next challenger?
Raw returns with the bell, and we can see that each superstar has their allies ringside. Sasha and Nia circle and tie up. Nia shoves Sasha but Sasha comes back with forearms. Nia knees low then grabs Sasha by the chin. Sasha SLAPS Nia, then leads her on a game of cat ‘n’ mouse. Sasha goes under the ring to come out the other side. Tamina warns Nia and Nia catches Sasha’s crossbody. Sasha slips out but Nia whips her at he ring. Sasha swings around to kick Nia, then runs to wreck her with a dropkick. Nia stays standing so Sasha knees her on the way back in. Sasha dropkicks Nia down then covers, TWO! Sasha runs and rolls to get a guillotine on Nia! Nia stays standing, and powers out to a suplex! Both women are down and Bayley grows concerned.
Nia stands first and drags Sasha to her feet. She whips Sasha to a corner, then squashes her with a splash. Nia soaks up the heat as she says she’s front of the line. Nia drags Sasha up to put her in a corner. She runs in but Sasha dodges. Sasha runs back in but Nia puts her on the apron. Sasha knees Nia back, but Nia runs Sasha over and out of the ring! Tamina goes after Sasha but Bayley goes after Tamina! Tamina throws Bayley into barriers! Sasha goes after Tamina, but Nia comes out to grab Sasha. Nia fireman’s carries and then trophy lifts Sasha around. She throws Sasha onto the spare trunk! Nia and Tamina laugh as Nia returns to the ring. The ring count climbs past 5 as Sasha crawls back towards the ring. Sasha gets up and runs, to beta the count at 9.5!
Nia drags Sasha around in the ring, then picks her up for a sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO!! Sasha survives and the Samoan Dynasty is frustrated, but we go to break.
Raw returns and Nia tortures Sasha in the torture rack. Sasha endures and fights out with elbows. Nia puts Sasha down but Sasha goes after the arm! Nia shoves Sasha off but Sash fires back kicks. Sasha jawbreakers then baits Nia into a corner. Nia misses and Sasha hits her with a big bulldog! Sasha keeps moving, meteora! Cover, TWO! Sasha keeps going, shining wizard! Cover, TWO! Sasha doesn’t give up as she climbs up top. Sasha leaps, SUPER Meteora! Cover, TWO! Nia survives but Sasha puts her in the Bank Statement crossface! Nia powers her way out as she lifts Sasha up. Sasha sunset flips through but Nia stays on her feet. Nia prepares her first and punches, but the Facebreaker hits the mat! Sasha runs, tilt-o-whirls, and gets the guillotine, only for Nia to pop her into the Samoan Drop!
But Sasha rolls away! Nia crawls to a cover, ROPEBREAK! Sasha survives and Tamina is frustrated for Nia. Nia drags Sasha back up by her hair, then tells her to stay down as she tosses her to a corner. Nia runs in for another splash, then soaks up the heat. She scoops Sasha into the fireman’s carry, then climbs up top. Sasha slips out but Nia kicks her away. Nia adjusts, but Sasha is on her with forearms. Sasha climbs up, but Nia gets her in the fireman’s carry again. Samoan Drop to the buckles! Sasha falls out of the ring and Nia grins. But Nia won’t leave her out there as she puts her back in the ring. Nia covers, TWO!! Tamina is furious and Nia is seething, but Sasha still lives.
Nia glares as Bayley rallies the fans behind Sasha. Nia drags Sasha up for a headbutt, then runs, but Sasha avoids the leg drop! Sasha drags herself up with ropes as Nia comes over. Sasha boots Nia away, then dodges her. Nia hits buckles, but Tamina goes after Sasha. Bayley dropkicks Tamna, then throws her into barriers! Bayley stomps Tamina out, and Sasha dumps Nia out. Nia climbs back up and both women are on the apron. Sasha baits Nia into the post! Nia staggers on the apron, and Sasha gets up to huricanrana Nia into the apron! But Sasha crashes and burns on the ground, leaving them both worse for wear. Sasha forces herself up and pushes Nia into the ring. Sasha slingshots and rolls Nia into the crossface! Nia endures, but taps! Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission; will face Ronda Rousey at the Royal Rumble
It’s #BossTime for the title in Phoenix! Will Sasha do in 2019 what no one could in 2018 and stop the Baddest Woman on the Planet?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose VS Seth Rollins!
The Lunatic burned a bridge when he betrayed The Architect months ago. And since then, he’s tried to ruin Rollins’ life, all in the name of atonement for past sins. Will Ambrose atone for his own sins at the hands of his former friend? Or will he finish his mission and put Rollins out of the Intercontinental title’s misery?
As Ambrose makes his entrance, Rollins attacks! Rollins doesn’t want to wait for this fight as he brings the fight to Ambrose! They go to the ring but then Rollins throws Ambrose into barriers. Rollins throws hands then puts Ambrose in the ring. The ref can finally ring the bell, but then Ambrose bails back out. Rollins pursues because there are no boundaries to this match! Rollins tackles Ambrose then rains hands! He puts Ambrose back in the ring only to clothesline him right out. And then Rollins DIVES! And rolls Ambrose up! TWO, and Ambrose goes running. Rollins gives chase to clothesline Ambrose into the crowd! Rollins hops the barriers and chases Ambrose up the side. He throws hands and Ambrose staggers about. Rollins bounces Ambrose off an equipment case!
Rollins rains down rights but Ambrose shoves him away. Ambrose retreats around behind commentary and then behind the stage. Rollins follows and the two fight backstage. Cameras do what they can to keep up as these two fight. Rollins throws Ambrose into a ladder! And he has a shovel!? Rollins swings but misses. Ladders fall as Ambrose retreats again. Rollins catches up to throw more haymakers, then bounces Ambrose off trunks. He throws Ambrose into spare rafters, then lines up a shot. Rollins pushes the rig, but Ambrose gets away! Rollins chases Ambrose up onto trunks and the two brawl! Ambrose clubs Rollins but Rollins shoves him into the wall. Rollins glares at Ambrose, as he lifts for a bomb. Ambrose fights out to throw Rollins onto the trunks! Cover, TWO!
Ambrose glares down at Rollins as he asks “Is this what you wanted?” Ambrose throws a ladder at Rollins, then covers. TWO, and this match continues after the break!
Raw returns once again, and the two have now ended up among the fans on the stairs! Ambrose grinds his fingers into Rollins’ face, trying to pry Rollins’ jaw apart! Rollins gets free of the grip and fires of CHOP after CHOP! Rollins haymakers and chops Ambrose step by step back down the stairs. They end up by the railing and Rollins tosses Ambrose over. Rollins then LEAPS and tackles Ambrose down! Cover, TWO! Ambrose survives, but retreats as he asks for a timeout? Rollins won’t give him one, and throws him into the railing. Fans chant “Burn It Down!” for Rollins as he punches Ambrose right in the nose! Rollins brings Ambrose back to ringside, and keeps pursuit around the corner. Rollins haymakers and hammers Ambrose, then whips him into barriers.
Ambrose shoves Rollins away, and grabs a chair! Ambrose jabs the chair into Rollins’ ribs, then SMACKS him on the back! Cover, TWO! Ambrose tosses the chair aside and fans say “We Want Tables!” Rollins crawls as Ambrose exposes the bare concrete. It’s just like the night Ambrose started this dark mission. Ambrose rains down rights on Rollins to keep him down, then says “For old time’s sake.” He drags Rollins over to the exposed floor, and underhooks Rollins. Rollins counters with a back drop, onto the concrete! Ambrose writhes and clutches his back while Rollins stands back up. Rollins puts Ambrose in the ring, but Ambrose rolls back out. Ambrose pokes Rollins’ eyes! Ambrose climbs up while Rollins blindly feels around. But Rollins still gets up top, to SUPERPLEX! Roll through to Buckle Bomb! And SUPERKICK!
Rollins fires up with Orlando as he stomps, “Burn It Down!” Rollins runs, CURB STOMP!! But Bobby Lashley appears to attack Rollins! Lashley lifts and tackles Rollins into barriers! And then again! The Rocky Mountain Machine makes Rollins pay for last week with a belly2belly suplex! Fans chant “Lashley Sucks!” but Lashley doesn’t care, he just wants revenge. Lashley puts Rollins in the ring so that he can gut wrench and hit the Dominator! Lashley aims at Rollins as Rollins slowly staggers to his feet. He SPEARS Rollins, and then leaves him prey to Ambrose. Ambrose crawls to a cover, Ambrose wins!
Winner: Dean Ambrose, by pinfall; still WWE Intercontinental Champion
The Lunatic should give a massive assist to Lashley & Lio for that attack. Rollins no longer has a claim to the title, but now he must suffer more at the hands of Lashley. Lio puts a table in the ring for Lashley, and helps him set it up. Lashley then drags Rollins up, and SPINEBUSTERS Rollins through the table! The Almighty Lashley leaves Rollins down in the wreckage, but will Rollins rise from the ashes to burn Lashley down?
Raw 2019 finally begins, and it feels like that “fresh start” is starting to really take effect. I really expected Hogan’s tribute to Mean Gene to open the show, but it really worked to open with something else instead. Hogan’s tribute to Gene itself was really well done. He managed to keep it about Gene, the video itself was incredible (as many WWE video packages are), and that closing in-character bit was actually just right for this. Whether this was just WWE/Vince wanting any reason to bring Hogan back or what, that’s a subject for someone’s opinion article, and everyone’s feelings over Hogan, good or bad, this was still a well-done moment in time.
As for how Raw did start, it was great. Lashley and Rollins fighting, it bleeding into the Cena VS McIntyre tease, and then escalating to bring in Finn and Ambrose for a great Six Man Tag, it was a very good flow to me. If anything, this Six Man Tag should be seen as a framework for how things are going to be for Wrestlemania. Cena VS McIntyre can make a great match for both guys, and would be even bigger if it was at Mania. This really becomes #MondayNightRollins as he does double duty, both the Six Man and a great Falls Count Anywhere with Ambrose. I’m a little disappointed Lashley didn’t wait until after the match to attack, but I suppose this is the only way to put a period on Rollins VS Ambrose.
But that’s good for Finn, as I suspect he’ll get a title program with Ambrose next. Since Finn doesn’t outright look like he’ll get a Universal Championship shot, even with the Royal Rumble match coming, Finn getting another chance at a different title looks good to me. The Universal Championship spot wasn’t quite what it should’ve been. Both in reality and in kayfabe, Lesnar doesn’t get face to face with Strowman, the first disappointment. The second disappointment was that Strowman didn’t give the best lines to egg Lesnar on. The lines directed at Heyman were pretty good, but Strowman could’ve done better insulting Lesnar. But the part that did seem to plan was that Lesnar would keep his distance, to keep his cocky aura while also making it plausible that he is afraid. I just really hope that Strowman wins, it’s the only way this Fresh Start will be real.
The Raw Tag Team Championships story is actually alright now. The lumberjack stipulation worked well this time because now there are eyewitnesses to the controversial finish that helps Roode & Gable win. With three weeks until the Rumble, I’d expect at least one more tag match to settle this, and I would think with The Revival winning. The Revival win and take on any number of teams on the road to Mania, and then Roode and Gable can either try again or go their separate ways for them to try for a title match via the Royal Rumble. Roode and Gable each joining the Intercontinental Championship scene would be great for them and for Raw.
Raw’s new talk show had a decent first episode, but it’s not like the focus was on the talk show. Ronda naming Sasha was quite surprising, but I suppose it’s really only Sasha or Bayley left. Sasha VS Nia was great, even though it was sloppy, and totally teases some Sasha & Bayley VS Nia & Tamina for the Raw half of the WWE Women’s Tag Titles story. Ronda VS Sasha will be good, too, and I would love if Bayley got her turn with Ronda at either Elimination Chamber or Fastlane. That way Ronda VS Becky makes a great finale for Ronda’s (first) series with the NXT Horsewomen at Wrestlemania, and we worry about Horsewomen VS Horsewomen and such going towards Summerslam and hopefully Evolution 2019.
My Score: 8.5/10