Raw heats up in the homestretch! Will Finn Balor retain the Intercontinental Championship against Bobby Lashley? Will Batista confront Triple H in person?
- Shelton Benjamin VS Seth Rollins; Rollins wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Finn Balor VS Bobby Lashley; Lashley wins and becomes the new WWE Intercontinental Champion.
- Aleister Black & Ricochet VS Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; Black & Ricochet win.
- Nia Jax w/ Tamina VS Natalya; Nia wins, by disqualification.
- Kurt Angle VS Apollo Crews; Angle wins.
- Roman Reigns VS Baron Corbin; No Contest.
- Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose VS Drew McIntyre; McIntyre wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
The SHIELD is here!
And they start off Raw by walking down the stairs in Pittsburgh! Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were victorious in their #OneLastTime match with Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley at Fastlane. The Shield goes to the ring as fans give them a huge ovation. Roman picks up a mic and says, “Over the past few months, I’ve come to realize that life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed”. If last night was truly the last time together, he has no regrets. Roman was in the ring doing what he loves with people he loves. Roman asked them for a favor and his brothers didn’t let him down, and he is forever grateful.
But as we all know, we’re on the Road to Wrestlemania. There are three men who need to handle their business. Roman hasn’t had a singles match in over five months, so let’s correct that tonight! Ambrose is fired up because has business to handle, too. Not even Ambrose knows what it is, but good luck with it. And the real business is Rollins’. How many years has he chased the dream? Fans chant “Slay the Beast!” Roman doesn’t want to speak for Rollins but that’s exactly what he’ll do! Rollins is in the main event, he is going to beat Brock Lesnar, and he’s going to take that WWE Universal Championship. And he’ll do it while everyone chants, “Burn It Down!” Roman and Ambrose hug Rollins and hand over the mic. And just like at Fastlane, we get one last Shield fist bump.
Rollins stays in the ring while Roman and Ambrose leave together. He gazes up at the Wrestlemania sign while fans continue to chant. “Last night at Fastlane, The Shield burned it down!” But ladies and gentlemen, it’s Paul Heyman. The Advocate to the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion “and Mr. Rollins’ conqueror in the main event of Wrestlemania,” BROCK LESNAR, is here. Rollins likes that, and also shouts, “BROCK! LESNAR!” The man who dominates his opponents. The man who dominated the Big Show, ran through Samoa Joe, took Braun Strowman to Suplex City, annihilated Goldberg. Well Heyman appreciates Rollins is doing his shtick for him. But yes, that’s Brock Lesnar.
Rollins marvels at THE BROCK LESNAR that had a real tough time getting by Daniel Bryan, and got pushed to his limits by AJ Styles. THE Brock Lesnar who came so close to being beat by Finn Balor. That Brock Lesnar? Heyman says, “Touche.” Seems to Rollins that Lesnar has a problem with guys who are Rollins’ size, stature, speed and style. And with all due respect to Finn, Styles and Bryan, but there is only one uniquely suited to defeating Lesnar: “Seth Freakin’ Rollins!” Rollins tells Heyman they have just over three weeks. Run your mouth all you want, because Rollins is going to Mania, taking the title off The Beast and bringing it home to Raw every single week!
Heyman is actually at a loss for words. But he says there will be NO slaying the Beast! Rollins runs down names, but he’s not telling the whole story! Lesnar had no time to prepare for those men. Shrug shoulders all you want but there’s no booing when Heyman’s talking! Lesnar VS Mahal became Lesnar VS Styles. Lesnar VS Styles became Lesnar VS Bryan. And Lesnar VS Strowman became Lesnar VS Finn! Each time, Lesnar had less than two weeks to prepare! So “with all due respect”, Rollins runs his mouth like he knows Lesnar rather than knowing all the F5’s he took! If Rollins wants to meet Lesnar, then Heyman gives BROCK LESNAR another video package. It’s a lot of F5’s and German Suplexes.
“Ever since you won the Royal Rumble,” Brock Lesnar has had his “sadistic fantasies” about what he’ll do to Rollins. Lesnar is prepared for Rollins in the main event of Wrestlemania. Does Rollins really think he knows Lesnar? He doesn’t know Lesnar. Because behind Rollins is Shelton Benjamin!? Benjamin suplexes Rollins around a lot like Lesnar would! The Gold Standard leaves Rollins down, is he going to soften the Architect up for the Beast?
Shelton Benjamin VS Seth Rollins!
Raw returns and this match begins! Rollins goes right at Benjamin but Benjamin throws him down. Rollins gets back up but Benjamin turns it around to a scoop slam. Benjamin grins and Heyman on commentary claims this is not a conspiracy. Rollins waistlocks and headlocks but Benjamin wrenches out to a keylock. Benjamin gets a headlock and takeover, then grinds his forearms into Rollins’ face. Heyman says Lesnar isn’t here because he’s busy training for Wrestlemania, as he is an athlete. Rollins fights his way up but Benjamin keeps the headlock. Fans rally and Rollins powers out. Benjamin runs Rollins over but things speed up. Rollins runs Benjamin over with an elbow!
Rollins CHOPS Benjamin then whips to ropes. He dropkicks Benjamin down and out of the ring! Rollins pursues and throws haymakers and chops! He bumps Benjamin off barriers and puts him back in the ring. Rollins throws haymakers and has Benjamin in the corner. Rollins CHOPS Benjamin more, then whips corner to corner. Benjamin reverses but runs into a boot. Rollins hops up, blockbuster! Fans fire up as Rollins stomps “Burn It Down!” Rollins aims at Benjamin, runs in, but Benjamin dodges. Benjamin suplexes but Rollins lands on his feet. Rollins dumps Benjamin out to then build speed, into a kick! Benjamin covers, TWO! The Architect is in trouble while we go to break.
Raw returns as Rollins endures a chinlock. Fans rally and he fights his way up. Rollins fights back with body shots but Benjamin knees low. Benjamin dumps Rollins out then throws him into barriers! Benjamin throws Rollins into apron then back into barriers then runs him over with a clothesline! Heyman takes a phone call, and we can only assume it’s Lesnar. Benjamin puts Rollins in the ring and shakes his head. Benjamin doesn’t seem impressed with the #1 contender. He drags Rollins up for a powerbomb but Rollins resists. Rollins overhead bridges, TWO! Benjamin powerbomb lifts but Rollins huricanranas Benjamin into buckles! Heyman confirms, Lesnar called and is upset by what commentary is saying about Heyman. Heyman also confirms that Lesnar will be here next week on Raw!
Fans fire up for Rollins as he CHOPS Benjamin. Rollins climbs up but leaps over Benjamin. He keeps moving, slingblade! Benjamin gets to a corner and Rollins runs in. Benjamin puts him on the apron but Rollins kicks back. Rollins springboards for a flying clothesline! Cover, TWO! Rollins keeps his cool and takes aim at Benjamin. Benjamin dodges the kick and German suplexes Rollins! Benjamin drags Rollins up for another German! Fans rally but Benjamin taunts Rollins. Benjamin fireman’s carry, but Rollins slips out to SUPERKICK! And mule kick, to Curb Stomp! Cover, Rollins wins!
Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall
The Architect overcomes Heyman’s little ploy and picks up momentum for Wrestlemania! If Heyman is right and Lesnar is appearing next week, will Rollins have some “questions” for him?
But wait, here comes Finn Balor! Pittsburgh welcomes Balor Club, and his Intercontinental Championship! The Extraordinary Man shakes hands with The Architect, and heads to the ring. But Bobby Lashley glares via the titantron. Finn defends that very belt, up next!
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Finn Balor VS Bobby Lashley!
The Rocky Mountain Machine claims Finn is simply “borrowing” the title, given Finn pinned Lio Rush and not Lashley in their odd 2v1 championship match. Lashley takes his shot to take the belt back, will he hit his mark? Or will the Road to Wrestlemania stay Too Sweet?
Raw returns as Lashley makes his entrance, and it really is without Lio Rush. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Finn and Lashley circle and tie up. Lashley waistlocks and slams Finn right down. He drags Finn up to bump him off buckles then stomp a mudhole into him. Lashley backs off at 4 but comes back to choke Finn on the ropes. He lets up at 4 again, and Finn staggers away. Lashley clubs Finn in the corner then stalks him. He puts on a neck wrench but Finn endures. Fans rally for Finn but Lashley shifts to the other direction. Lashley puts Finn on ropes to club and choke him. Lashley lets up to run but into a dropkick! Finn keeps on Lashley but Lashley powers him to a corner!
Lashley rams his shoulder in then runs corner to corner. Finn evades but his kick is blocked for an elbow! Lashley joins Finn on the apron, hauls him up, but Finn resists the suplex. Finn sends Lashley down with a dropkick, then Penalty Kicks! The Extraordinary Champion has control while we go to break.
Raw returns as Lashley grinds Finn down in a chinlock. Finn fights his way up as fans rally behind him. Finn pries the hold loose and fights back with fury! He runs but into a complete shot! Cover, TWO! Finn lives but sputters for air. Lashley stomps Finn down then circles him like a shark. Lashley drags Finn up for a powerbomb, but Finn fights free again. Finn sends Lahsley out but Lashley drags him out! Apron back suplex! Lashely covers, TWO! Lashley grows frustrated but looms over Finn. He toys with Finn then brings him up. Lashley throws a haymaker then wraps on the chinlock. Lashley shifts to an armlock and grinds his forearm on Finn’s face. Finn endures and works against this hold. But Lashley knees low and prepares the bomb. But Finn back drops! Lashley sunset flips but Finn rolls through, dropkick!
Finn boots Lashley from a corner. Finn throws forearms on the run, and knocks Lashley over! Lashley gets to a corner but Finn CHOPS! Finn whips corner to corner but Lashley reverses. Finn goes up but gets caught! He slips out and trips Lashley for double stomps! Fans fire up while Lashley sputters. Finn aims but runs into Lashley’s arms! Lashley rams him into one corner then to the opposite! Lashley gut wrenches to the Canadian rack, but Finn slips out and rolls up! TWO, but Finn keeps moving, tilt-o-whirl long dart! Lashley runs corner to corner, but into a slingblade! Lashley gets up fast but staggers to a corner. Finn runs in to shotgun dropkick! Lashley’s down in the drop zone, Finn climbs up! But who is ringing the bell? Lio Rush!! Lio snatches the belt and shouts that it doesn’t belong to Finn!
Finn gives chase, but sees Lashley coming. Finn kicks Lio down, then slingshots, into a SPEAR!! Cover, Lashley wins!!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by pinfall; NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion
The Man of the Hour redeems himself as he helps Lashley take the belt back! The Rocky Mountain Machine is again champion, but will Finn find a way back to Wrestlemania?
Backstage interview with Baron Corbin.
He takes on Roman Reigns later tonight, but people still bring up Corbin’s “out of line” comments. What did he even say? Footage replays from October as Corbin belittled Roman’s leukemia, and acted like Roman shouldn’t come back. Yes, Corbin said that. But he’s not worried about other people’s feelings. Corbin just wanted Roman gone from the ring. But now he’s back. Overcoming that disease surely took it’s toll, and after Fastlane, no one is 100%. Corbin’s been the one carrying Raw on his back while Roman was away. He promises to house train the Big Dog, but will he get bit?
Ronda Rousey is here!
The Baddest Woman on the Planet and Raw Women’s Champion heads right to the ring and picks up a mic. At Fastlane, she interfered directly in the match between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, practically handing Becky a spot in the title match at Wrestlemania. But she doesn’t give a damn what “bandwagon b*tches” think when they all cheered when Becky beat her with a crutch. Becky’s their hero because they’re all cowards. But Becky and Charlotte will have nowhere to hide. There is no sanctuary, Ronda is going to desecrate their place of worship on the Grandest Stage of Them All. It’s why Ronda wanted them both in one match, so she can expose WWE as the carny con-artists they are. And no one can stop her!
In fact, the WWE could even make this a Handicap Match and Ronda wouldn’t break a sweat. Anyone who believes in Becky, Charlotte or this charade is a joke! But just as Ronda’s about to leave, Dana Brooke appears to respond. Dana tells Ronda this is enough. Enough of Ronda’s venom. Dana is the woman with nothing left to lose in the WWE! She won’t let Ronda disrespect hits company or its fans! Dana may not be the big time fighter, but she loves this company and this business! She’s worked so hard just to be here, just to have some respect, and to prove that she belongs! Each week, Dana fights for her chance, but barely even gets the time of day! So Dana may not be a household name, but all she wants is just one chance.
Dana brings up that Ronda has made a habit of defending after a PPV, so Dana wants to accept that challenge. Ronda kicks Dana down! And then grounds ‘n’ pounds! Dana bails out but Ronda pursues to throw her around! Ronda puts Dana back in the ring and rolls her into the Piper’s Pit! Referees rush the ring and Ronda spares Dana. To SLAP a ref! Ronda picks up her jacket and her belt and takes her leave. Will Ronda simply toy with The Queen and The Man at Wrestlemania?
Aleister Black & Ricochet VS Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!
The Unexpected Duo of Dutch Destroyer and King of Flight were robbed of a proper Raw Tag Team Championship match by the GLORIOUS Duo once, and then they were in the way in the Triple Threat at Fastlane. But now they look to settle things directly! Will Aleister & Ricochet make Roode & Gable #FadetoBlack?
Raw returns as Roode & Gable finish their entrance. The teams sort out and Gable starts with Aleister. Gable throws forearms but Aleister fires them back! Gable tackles Aleister to the corner and tags in Roode. They double whip but Aleister rolls off their backs. Aleister dumps Gable out and fires off on Roode. He sweeps the leg but Roode dodges the knee to SPINEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Roode keeps on Aleister with kicks and body shots. Roode puts Aleister in the corner and CHOPS! Tag to Gable and Roode suplexes Aleister. Roode then back suplexes Gable for the splash. Cover, TWO! Gable keeps on Aleister with a figure four knot to chinlock. Aleister endures as Gable digs an elbow in. Fans rally up but Gable tags in Roode. The GLORIOUS Duo stomp a mudhole into Aleister.
Roode drags Aleister up for a backbreaker. Cover, TWO! Roode wraps on a rear bearhug and squeezes tight. Aleister fights and fans rally. Aleister fights out but Roode shoves for another spinebuster, but Aleister sunset flips. TWO, and Roode knees low. Roode whips Aleister to an open corner but misses! Tag to Ricochet! Ricochet rallies on Roode and Gable gets a neckbreaker! Ricochet dodges Roode to huricanrana him to a corner! He rams his shoulder in then springboards, btu Roode dodges. Tag to Gable and Ricochet fights off Roode. Gable catches him in a waistlock. Blockbuster Chaos Theory! Bridging cover, TWO! Ricochet lives but Gable tags Roode back in. They coordinate but Ricochet disrupts the combo. Gable lands on his feet but so does Ricochet. Ricochet spins Gable to lariat!
Ricochet rolls Roode out of the DDT, TWO! Roode has Ricochet, TWO! Tag to Aleister! Roode has Ricochet but gets a roundhouse! To a spinning knee! Ricochet dropkicks Gable, Roode takes BLACK MASS! Cover, Aleister & Ricochet win!
Winners: Aleister Black & Ricochet, Black pinning
The air strike strikes and wins again! Will the NXT all-stairs still find a way to take over the main roster?
But The Revival attacks from behind! The #TopGuys ruin the celebration, but they back off when Roode & Gable walk up. Who will make their way to Wrestlemania to challenge Dash & Dawson for those titles?
It’s time for A Moment of Bliss!
The Goddess walks on set and takes her seat. This is a very special episode, because the 1 BILLION social media followers have been buzzing. Not just about The Shield’s farewell address of the Intercontinental Championship change, but about Alexa’s scoop. She knows who the Wrestlemania host will be this year. Think about who they’ve had. Kim Khardashian is not as big as this person. The Rock is not as electrifying as this person. And The New Day aren’t near as positive as this person. This year’s host is none other than… Alexa Bliss! Yes, it’s The Goddess herself! She gets to host Wrestlemania!
It’s such a shock, she had nothing prepared, but well, the only thing she can say is… “It is such an honor for the WWE Universe, you’re welcome.” Fans know “You Deserve It!” and so does she. Finally, the brightest star will be on the grandest stage. This has been your Moment of Bliss.
Backstage interview with Braun Strowman.
Does The Monster Among Men regret assaulting Colin Jost? He and Michael Che will be the guest correspondents at Wrestlemania. Well Jost better stay away from Strowman. Because Strowman liked jacking Jost up. An attendant says Strowman’s car is here. What car? The Monster has a mystery on his hands while we go to break.
Raw returns, and there’s a car with a card. The attendant reads it: “Dear Mr. Strowman, we both said and did things we regret.” On behalf of the Saturday Night Live cast, Jost got him this car. Don’t destroy it like you did Vince’s limo because there are no more title matches to screw him out of. “LOL”, your friend, Colin Jost. See you at Mania. Well it does look nice. But Strowman rips the car apart! It’s too small for Strowman, anyway. What’s under the hood? Strowman rips it and the front bumper off! Strowman tells the attendant to send this piece of the car to Jost and let him know the next time they meet, it’ll be live from New York. Is SNL gonna #GetTheseHands?!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
The Drifter returns to his hometown and they’re glad to see him! Strowman did not appreciate that gift, but Elias is sure Pittsburgh will appreciate his. Elias promised himself not to return home until he was a hero everyone could believe in. Well, here he is. Elias begins to play, and fans cheer. He’s got just one question for everyone: “Who Wants to Walk With Elias?!” Steel City sure does. Statistically speaking, it is a miracle Elias is such a success. Because there is overwhelming evidence that being born in Pitt means you’ll be an enormous waste of life. Elias returns home and is quickly reminded of just how miserable everyone is here. And those miserable people hold the great ones back.
That is what Elias told Antonio Brown. “Tony, you’ve already got their money, now do whatever you can to force a trade.” And now he looks great in silver and black. But here comes No Way Jose and his conga line! Jose even has a new look! But Elias wrecks him with a dropkick! And throws him into barriers! Elias runs through the conga line and rains down rights on Jose. Elias scares off the rest of the party people before giving Jose Drift Away on the ramp! The frustration has finally boiled over and the fiesta’s done. Will Elias ever truly have his moment?
WWE proudly announces that Harlem Heat is headed to the Hall of Fame!
Booker T and Stevie Ray ruled over tag team wrestling in WCW as 10-time world tag team champions! Such an accomplishment still stands tall today, “now can you dig that, SUCKAAA~!?”
Lacey Evans walks out!
The Sassy Southern Belle struts to commentary, but her strut to the back is interrupted by Nia Jax & Tamina. Nia and Tamina just shrug her off and head to the ring. The Irresistible Force takes on the Queen of Harts for what happened at Fastlane!
Nia Jax w/ Tamina VS Natalya!
Once again, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match did not go the way the Samoan Dynasty wanted, and they took it out on The Boss & Hug Connection after the match, and even Beth Phoenix who was on commentary! The Queen of Harts rushed to rescue her good friend but got beat down, too. Can Natty get revenge on the Irresistible Force on the Glamazon’s behalf?
Raw returns as Natty makes her entrance, and she has a mic. Natty tells Nia and Tamina that after what they did, it got Natty thinking about who has her back. She used to think it was Ronda, but seems she didn’t know her that well. Natty doesn’t trust Nia and Tamina, but she does trust this woman: The Glamazon, Beth Phoenix! Beth returns to Raw to be Natty’s back up! The Queen of Harts hits the ring and we begin!
Natty goes right at Nia with fast hands, but Nia runs her over! Nia drags Natty up and tosses her to a corner. Nia runs into boots but Tamina grabs a foot! Beth protests while Nia squashes Natty in the corner. So Beth goes after Nia herself!
Winner: Nia Jax, by disqualification
But The Glamazon keeps fighting, sending Nia out of the ring! Tamina runs in but Beth takes care of her, too! Some of the most physically powerful women in the WWE are ready to fight, but when and where will the Samoan Dynasty have to answer to the Divas of Doom?
But wait, the Boss & Hug Connection come for revenge in gorilla position! Security and officials do their best to stop this scrap, but this is far from over! Will Sasha Banks & Bayley get their own revenge on Nia & Tamina?
Cars pulls into the arena parking lot.
And who emerges? Dave Batista! The Animal, with quite a bit of security, heads inside!
Triple H is here!
The Game saw The Animal arrive, so he’s going to wait for him in the ring. HHH dares Batista to show up and fans even chant for him. The music hits, and Batista walks out on stage! But so does his personal security. The bodyguards walk ahead of Batista on the ramp and fans boo. Batista picks up a mic but takes a moment as fans chant and jeer. HHH speaks first. “You just gonna stand there looking like a nose-ring model or are you gonna come to the ring like I asked you to and face me like a man?” Nice guards, by the way. Probably for HHH’s protection, right? Batista speaks. The security is because Batista’s not stupid. He learned, he paid attention to the two dirtiest players in the game: HHH, and Ric Flair. Batista admits the guards are here for his protection. Where’s the sledge hammer?
But HHH’s biggest mistake was underestimating him. Batista says they’re doing this by his terms. Give Batista what he wants. That’s all he needs. HHH isn’t giving “Dave” a damn thing. Why should he? How many times has Batista quit the WWE? And HHH is supposed to hand Batista stuff? Because he’s a Hollywood star now? HHH isn’t giving Batista anything, which leads us to the next option: since Batista won’t go to HHH, HHH will go to him. HHH will walk up the ramp, tear his way through the Guardians of the Indies, and beat Batista’s ass on stage! Batista says that’s not happening. HHH can try, but Batista will be long gone.
Batista admits he quit, but because he wanted to get away from HHH holding him down and looking down on him. It’s all HHH has ever done. Batista has wanted one thing for years, and he’ll get it or he’ll hurt those HHH loves! HHH is NOT giving Batista anything but the beating he deserves! So be a man, get in the ring, and take it. But Batista knows HHH wants it, too. He sees that it’s tearing HHH inside. HHH won’t give Batista what he wants because he wants to be in control. But Batista wants it, and HHH won’t give it to him. HHH vows it’s the beating and nothing more. No, Batista wants HHH at Mania! Is that what this is about?! Beating up a 70-year-old man and hiding behind bodyguards because of a match!? If that’s what Batista wants, “YOU’RE ON!!”
Batista thanks HHH. One last match for Batista to end his career on his terms. Because he’ll use it to end HHH’s career on his terms. See you at Mania. Batista turns to leave, but HHH says Batista’s right. But dig down deep, Mr. Hollywood. Find whatever scrap is left of the REAL Animal, because the match is on HHH’s terms. “Bring everything you have, because there will be no rules, no restrictions,” NO HOLDS BARRED!! The Game has laid down the law, but will it be #GameOver at Wrestlemania?
Kurt Angle is here!
Pittsburgh’s own Olympic Gold Medalist returns home to the loving ovation of “You Suck!” Angle goes to the ring and he even looks dressed to compete. “23 years ago, I left Pittsburgh to compete in the Olympic Games.” And yes, he won a gold medal with a “broken freakin’ neck.” Then Angle traveled with the WWE and pro-wrestling for the next 20 years. He has competed against any number of legends and icons, but Pittsburgh has always been his home. That’s why he wanted to say this here. At Wrestlemania, Angle competes in his farewell match. Angle thanks the WWE, every superstar he ever shared a locker room with, and all of the fans along the way. He literally had the time of his life. The fans chant “Thank You, Kurt!” but he thanks them. Angle feels it’s only right for one last match in Pittsburgh, too!
Kurt Angle VS Apollo Crews!
One of Angle’s biggest fans gets to compete against him for the first time, and the last time. Will Angle kick off his farewell tour with success or failure?
Raw returns and the bell rings. Angle and Apollo tie up and Apollo gets the headlock. Angle powers out but Apollo runs him over. Things speed up and Angle hip tosses Apollo then arm-drags him. Angle gets the armlock and Pittsburgh cheers. Apollo gets up and powers Angle to a corner. Apollo throws body shots then whips corner to corner. Angle counters but runs into a boot. But Apollo runs into Angle’s belly2belly! Angle runs in but misses and Apollo drops him with a dropkick! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps on Angle with a suplex then covers, ONE! Apollo stays on Angle with a chinlock. Fans rally for Angle and Angle fights his way up. Angle fights out and throws hands but Apollo throws some back. They go back and forth but Angle gets a German Suplex! Angle holds on for another! And the hat trick! Cover, TWO!
Angle stalks Apollo as the younger star stands up. Angle Slam escaped with an arm-drag! Enziguri! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Angle survives but Apollo doesn’t let up. Apollo heads up top, and leaps! Frog Splash FLOPS! Angle Slam! Cover, Angle wins!
Winner: Kurt Angle, by pinfall
Pittsburgh celebrates with their hero! Angle shows Apollo respect with a handshake, Apollo returns it with a hug. The farewell tour begins with a victory, but will it end with one at Wrestlemania?
Roman Reigns VS Baron Corbin!
The Big Dog has his first singles match in five months, and it’s to silence the sarcastic and obnoxious Lone Wolf. Will this still be Roman’s Yard? Or will Corbin take advantage of Roman’s time away?
But Drew McIntyre attacks first! The Scottish Terminator rains down rights on Roman, but he isn’t done there. He throws Roman right into a post! The referee checks on Roman while McIntyre glares from above. McIntyre goes out and drags Roman up, but Roman fights back! Roman uppercuts but McIntyre Claymores! McIntyre looks down upon a rocked Roman, then dares him to get up and fight. Roman crawls while McIntyre takes aim again. McIntyre Claymores Roman into a post! “I promise you, Roman!” McIntyre says. “This is just the beginning!” Referees and medics come to Roman’s aide and keep McIntyre back. Roman does his best to clear his head, but insists he’s fine.
Seth Rollins appears to check on Roman, but Roman tells him he’s okay, too. Rollins walks with Roman to the ramp, all the while assuring him it’ll be fine. Roman walks on his own at the stage, but he’s definitely still dizzy. Will Roman be alright to eventually make his singles return?
The Shield walks with Roman backstage.
Ambrose is furious but Rollins assures them Roman will get checked out and it’ll be fine. Roman accepts and goes into the trainer’s room, but Ambrose huffs and puffs up to HHH. “I want to fight Drew McIntyre, tonight.” And in Falls Count Anywhere. HHH gives Ambrose the match. Will the Lunatic reek revenge on the Scottish Terminator?
Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose VS Drew McIntyre!
But as McIntyre makes his way back out, he tells Dean, “I just want to know one thing. Are you gonna take this beating like a man? Or are you gonna squeal like your pathetic brother, Roman?!” Ambrose rushes McIntyre on the ramp! The bell rings and the fight is on! McIntyre suplexes but Ambrose counters to his own! McIntyre gets off stage but Ambrose leaps onto him! Ambrose throws McIntyre into barriers and they break through to the crowd! McIntyre hits back but Ambrose bumps him off barriers .And again! Ambrose chases McIntyre up the stairs and throws headlock punches. McIntyre rakes Ambrose’s eyes then chops him back. They go up the stairs and throw more CHOPS! Ambrose chases McIntyre again as they head further up.
McIntyre hits back and drags Ambrose the rest of the way up. McIntyre bounces Ambrose off the hand rail then brings him to the top. He scoops and throws Ambrose into the wall! Fans chant for Ambrose but McIntyre drags him up to bring him to the edge! Ambrose holds on for dear life and bites McIntyre’s fingers! Ambrose jumps with ax handles! And he smashes McIntyre with a garbage can! This fight will continue all over the arena while we go to one last break.
Raw returns once again, and Ambrose kicks over the ref to get at McIntyre. They go back down the stairs as Ambrose throws forearms. McIntyre gets away from Ambrose but Ambrose pursues. McIntyre rocks Ambrose and covers, TWO! He stands Ambrose up and they start chopping! They go back to barriers and Ambrose dumps McIntyre over. Ambrose climbs the barrier and leaps, into McIntyre’s overhead suplex! McIntyre pulls the steel steps apart, and aims at Ambrose. He rams the steel into Ambrose’s head! Cover, TWO! McIntyre brings the steps up again and holds them high up. He runs and rams Ambrose again! Cover, TWO! McIntyre grows frustrated with Ambrose but he deadlift suplexes him down! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally for Ambrose while McIntyre drags him back into the crowd. McIntyre throws forearms. “I’m going to take out The Shield one by one.” Ambrose low blows McIntyre to shut him up! And he fires off furious fists from all sides! Ambrose paces about but McIntyre jabs him with a chair, and SMACKS him on the back! McIntyre brings Ambrose around and snake eyes on barriers! McIntyre stalks Ambrose with the chair, but Ambrose kicks back. Ambrose bumps McIntyre off production trunks. He puts McIntyre on it, and takes him for a ride! Ambrose rams McIntyre into another trunk! Then drops an elbow! Cover, TWO! McIntyre drags himself up but Ambrose bounces his head off the trunks. McIntyre and Ambrose end up near commentary and then on stage.
Ambrose pursues McIntyre, cradle on the stage! TWO, and McIntyre rains down rights on Ambrose again. McIntyre drags Ambrose up and to the announce desk! He clears it off but Ambrose back suplexes him on it! Ambrose leaps on and rains down rights of his own. Ambrose fires up but McIntyre low blows back! McIntyre jams a pencil in Ambrose’s eye?! And then scoops Ambrose to long dart him into the LED boards! He does it again! Cover, TWO! Ambrose still lives, but he can barely stand. McIntyre mocks Ambrose but Ambrose SLAPS him! McIntyre slaps back, then slaps Ambrose around. He drags Ambrose through railing and hammers away. Ambrose is stuck, CLAYMORE!! The railing breaks off! Cover, McIntyre wins!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
The Scottish Terminator wrecks Roman and brutalizes Ambrose! Will he finish his mission of shattering The Shield for good on the Road to Wrestlemania?
But somehow, Ambrose rises?! How is Ambrose still moving!? CLAYMORE again! We go off the air as McIntyre storms off. When and where will he look to do the same to The Architect?
Well this certainly wasn’t a bad Raw. The Shield’s farewell speech was mostly by Roman but it was well done, and it segued into Rollins’ segment with Heyman and Benjamin smoothly. Rollins’ and Heyman’s debate over Lesnar was pretty good, and both had valid points. Naturally Rollins wins against Benjamin to keep him strong, though I wouldn’t expect Lesnar’s appearance next week to turn into him giving Rollins another beating. Lesnar will likely leave laughing to keep with his usual pattern. The rest of The Shield had quite the night, too, with Corbin setting Roman up for a trap like that. McIntyre is still on his own mission to end The Shield, and wrecking Roman gets him heat and Roman some sympathy.
WWE still needs to be careful not to overdo Sympathetic Roman, but for this, it’ll be fine. Ambrose VS McIntyre was really fun, and that ending was incredible. I’m hoping for Roman & Ambrose VS McIntyre & Corbin at Mania. It won’t violate the One Last Time as it won’t be the full Shield. Rollins has Lesnar to take care of, so Roman and Ambrose can be victorious on their own to shut up Corbin and McIntyre. This allows Ambrose to ride off into the sunset should he really be leaving, and leaving indefinitely. Angle also has his own farewell coming, and probably a more real one than the rest. Apollo was a good choice to start this farewell tour, as both fan and truly athletic competitor. Angle can take on any number of superstars for his final match, but both putting them over or Angle leaving on top would be great.
I was really surprised to see Finn lose the Intercontinental Championship, but it worked for it to be because Lio Rush interfered. Finn will surely want payback on both of them, but whatever match we get, I would hope Finn wins it by beating Lashley directly. Elimination Chamber was about Finn getting the title at all, so Wrestlemania should be about him overcoming a beefy opponent. Ronda’s explanation wasn’t quite what I expected, but it does up her Heel persona. As does denying poor Dana a title match. Ironically, WWE wants Ronda to be a Heel but this way of acting is what’s getting fans to like her again. I’d hope for more from Becky and Charlotte on SmackDown tomorrow. As for Dana, maybe she should go to SmackDown, they’ve got more room there.
The “face-to-face” of HHH and Batista was interesting. The dialogue was good but the fact no action happened was a bit of a let down. But now that it’s No Holds Barred, the match is going to be even more fun. Alexa Bliss announcing herself as the Wrestlemania host was clever, but it sounds like Alexa still isn’t quite ready for an in-ring return. A shame, because I think she and Lacey Evans would’ve had a good program. All Lacey’s done since is strut about. Maybe something happens at Wrestlemania that at least causes a confrontation between them. And it definitely sounds like there’s going to be a confrontation between Strowman and Jost. That poor car… Elias was great on the mic as always, and he wrecks No Way Jose. Maybe Double J shows up next week and we get back to that.
Aleister & Ricochet VS Roode & Gable was really good, but I’m hoping they get to shine on the main roster in singles matches more. Granted, there is the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic that Aleister & Ricochet are in, but after that and once their main roster call-ups are permanent, both of them could try for the Intercontinental or United States Championships with great results. Of course, with The Revival attacking them, things might not be down as far as the Raw Tag Team Championships. Given the complications on NXT with Tommaso Ciampa’s neck surgery, I wonder if Aleister & Ricochet end up competing on both TakeOver and Mania… The Women’s Tag situation is going how I expected, Divas of Doom are looking as the likely legends team. SmackDown will need to have their own response for these titles to be cross-branded, though.
My Score: 8/10