Raw turns Chicago into Suplex City as the Beast, Brock Lesnar, returns! Will Seth Rollins have something to say to him this close to Wrestlemania?
- Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush VS Finn Balor & ???; Finn & Strowman win.
- Elias VS Now Way Jose; Elias wins.
- Kurt Angle VS Chad Gable; Angle wins.
- Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Natalya w/ Beth Phoenix; No Contest.
- Ricochet VS Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers; Ricochet wins.
- Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey VS Dana Brooke; Rousey wins and retains the Raw Women’s Championship.
- Apollo Crews VS Baron Corbin; Crews wins.
- Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre; McIntyre wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Beast opens Raw!
Brock Lesnar and his Advocate, Paul Heyman, head to the ring while Heyman lets someone else introduce them to Chicago. Chicago boos while Heyman takes up a mic of his own. “Ladies and-” The booing drowns out Heyman so he stops. Lesnar eggs the fans on by raising the WWE Universal Championship belt. Heyman starts again but fans boo. “Ladies, gentlemen, and things that live in Chicago”, Heyman gets through his intro for himself and the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion. Heyman then turns his attention to Seth Rollins. Rollins is the one who needed an appearance tonight by Brock Lesnar. Rollins came out like he’s the baddest, but he’s not. He’s a revisionist, #BurnItDown arsonist, and not just a Shakespearean but Heymanean spin doctor that Lesnar has a problem stylistically against guys Rollins’ side and speed.
But here is where Rollins turns out to be a fool. Heyman will ask as if the fans’ opinions mattered. Lesnar VS AJ Styles, who won? Not Styles! It was BROCK LESNAR! Lesnar VS Daniel Bryan, who won? Not Bryan! BROCK LESNAR! Lesnar VS Finn Balor? Not Balor, BROCK LESNAR! And now Rollins comes out and wants to say things to Lesnar on the same night as Drew McIntyre?! McIntyre is a career killer! Not like Lesnar, but still pretty good. McIntyre took out Roman Reigns, he took out Dean Ambrose, and 20 days away from Rollins having the fight of his career, he wants that fight?! What is Rollins thinking?! But Rollins doesn’t come out, it’s Drew McIntyre! “Well, well, well. It is refreshing to finally get the respect I have earned here in the WWE!”
McIntyre tells Chicago to shut their mouths and open their ears, because he’s the man who brutalized Roman then did the same to Ambrose! As for Lesnar, make sure to find a new opponent because after McIntyre brutalizes Rollins, Rollins will definitely not make it to Mania. But Rollins ATTACKS with a chair! Rollins gives McIntyre several fast chair shots and Chicago is fired up! Referees tell Rollins to leave but fans want “One More Time!” So Rollins listens to the fans! He SMACKS and SMACKS and SMACKS away on McIntyre’s back! Rollins glares at Lesnar and heads for the ring! But Lesnar leaves.
Fans boo the Beast, but Lesnar laughs as he heads for the back. but taunts of “Slay The Beast!” get Lesnar to reconsider. Heyman tells Lesnar they’re better than this, they’re not gonna destroy Rollins for free. Lesnar listens to Heyman and leaves. Will Lesnar be leaving New York champion against The Architect?
Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush VS Finn Balor & ???
The Rocky Mountain Machine and Man of the Hour have gone back and forth with The Extraordinary Man, all over the WWE Intercontinental Championship. But who will be Finn’s friend in this match against such a duo? Find out after the break!
Raw returns and Finn wishes everyone a late Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The luck of the Irish were not on his side last week because he lost the title to Lashley. But Finn says he doesn’t plan being a former champ for too long. However, he’s interrupted by the current champion. Lashley & Lio walk out and Lio has a mic of his own. “Hey, Bobby. It looks like the little leprechaun is upset because you’ve got his pot o’ gold around your waist.”
Before this match starts, Lio feels Lashley needs to show the new favorite pose. Lashley lifts the belt. Finn says Lashley should enjoy the belt while he can because he plans on getting it back real soon. As for tonight’s mystery partner, Lio should remember this guy very well. This guy plans on getting his hands on both opponents. It’s BRAUN STROWMAN! The last time Strowman was around, Lio was plastered through barriers. Will Strowman do that again this week?
The bell rings and Strowman starts against Lashley. They circle and tie up. Lashley pushes Strowman and they tie up again. Lashley pushes then flexes, but this time Strowman shoves him! Strowman flexes and roars, but the two collide shoulders. Lashley bounces off Strowman! Lashley bails out and Strowman dares him to return while we go picture in picture.
Lio and Lashley regroup and Lio coaches Lashley up. Lashley hops up on the apron but Strowman runs over. Lashley manages to catch Strowman with a hotshot! Then he throws forearms and haymakers. Lashley runs but Strowman runs him over! Strowman drags Lashley up and over and tags in Finn. Strowman wrenches and Finn drops ax handles. Finn keeps on Lashley with kicks but Lashley puts him in a corner. Lashley runs but Finn dodges. Finn kicks but gets caught! Lashley elbows Finn down, but Finn gets back in at the ref’s count of 3. Finn gets stomped right away, and Lashley scoop slams him down fast. Cover, ONE, but Lashley is on Finn with more stomps. Lashley tags Lio in as we return to single picture.
Lio drags Finn up but Finn fires forearms back. Lio tags out to Lashley and Lashley clobbers Finn down! Lashley digs his knee in while putting Finn in a chinlock. Finn powers up as fans rally and throws hands. Finn runs but into Lashley’s complete shot! Cover, TWO! Lashley tags Lio in and Lio chokes Finn on the ropes. Lio lets up on 4 and slingshots in. Finn rolls through the sunset flip to dropkick Lio! Lio tags out again, and Lashley knocks Finn back down. Fans and Strowman rally for Finn but Lashley wraps him up in a chinlock. Finn fights up again, reaches, but has to forearm Lashley away first. Lashley whips Finn to a corner but Finn boots back. Finn runs but Lashley catches him to put him in the corner! Lashley goes corner to corner but Finn sends him into the post!
Lio tags in, Final Hour misses, and then Lio gets scared by Strowman! Finn hits Lio with an elbow drop DDT! Fans fire up as Finn crawls. Hot tag to Strowman! Lio manages to avoid Strowman once, but not the second time! Strowman tosses Lio then squashes him in the corner, to toss him again! And a third time! Lio is drooling from being topsyturvy. Strowman drags Lio up to club him back down! Strowman scoops but Lashley SPEARS! Finn’s back and trips Lashley for double stomps! Lio kicks Finn out hard, and climbs up top. He aims at Strowman, Final Hour! Cover, TWO! And Lio flies off Strowman at that! Strowman glares at Lio and fans want Lio to “Get These Hands!” Lio slips out of the ring and the chase is on.
Finn stops Lio, and now Lio is trapped. Lio can’t escape to the ring, and Finn holds on to Lio. Lashley saves Lio but HE gets blasted by Strowman! Lio kicks Strowman and runs, but gets run over! Strowman drags Lio up and CHOKE SLAMS! Lashley leaves?! Strowman drags Lio up for a MONSTER SLAM! Cover, Strowman and Finn win!
Winners: Braun Strowman & Finn Balor, Strowman pinning
The Monster Among Men and the Extraordinary Man win, and it seems Lio has lost more than just a match. Will both Strowman and Finn head for a title match come Wrestlemania? Will Lio go crawling back to Lashley in more ways than one?
Ronda Rousey and husband arrive to the arena.
The Baddest Woman on the Planet is confronted by various officials. She’s late to the show, and after what she did last week, management has deemed it necessary there is extra security. No one wants another incident like last week, but will Ronda even care?
It’s time for A Moment of Bliss!
The Goddess will host this year’s Wrestlemania, but first she’ll continue to host her hit WWE talk show. She and her special guest, Elias, will talk after the break.
A Moment of Bliss, and therefore Raw, returns and Alexa gives us the introduction. The Road to Wrestlemania has the 1 BILLION followers buzzing. Alexa throws it over to commentary for the Wrestlemania match card rundown. Back to Alexa, she knows the Oscars didn’t have a host, but this is Wrestlemania. The only person worthy of hosting is Alexa. And she’s not going to talk herself up, but she feels she’s a great host. She inspires people all over the world, like Lily Singh. Alexa takes full credit for Lily’s success. And now, ladies and gentlemen, Elias. The Drifter walks out with a strum of his guitar, and takes a seat. “Hello, I am Elias.” “Hello, I am Alexa.”
Alexa knows Elias is a fellow victim of interruptions, but she guarantees no one will ruin his big announcement. Elias thanks her, and then announces he will be the headline musical act at Wrestlemania, in the greatest city of all, New York. A Moment of Bliss is again great at breaking big news. But Alexa has a big question for Elias. Elias said last year would be his greatest performance of all. But what happened is the reason this all happens! Elias uses last year as motivation for this year. He is born for the pressure and he thrives off it. But to put things in perspective even Chicago Bears fans can understand: if his performance at Wrestlemania was a game winning field goal, Elias would make it every single time.
This year will be the best by anyone anywhere. Prince, Queen, Johnny Cash, but all better. Mark Elias’ words: Mania night, if anyone dares to interrupt, they- No Way! It’s Jose! Oh and Heavy Machinery. The conga line has grown by quite a bit, but conspicuous by his absence is Jose himself. Alexa says Dozer was way too early. This was supposed to be a gag, at the end, so as not to interrupt. C’mon, Otis. They had TEN rehearsals. Elias wishes to teach Dozer a lesson in timing. And someone attacks! The masked taco is JOSE! Talk about great timing. Will Elias give Jose a preview of his Mania performance? Or will Jose simply say “No Way” to the Drift Away?
Elias VS No Way Jose!
Raw returns as The Drifter rides the Airplane Spin! Jose goes around and around, then goes around the other way! The conga line cheers Jose on as he turns it into a rolling senton! And a festive splash! Cover, TWO! Jose keeps on Elias in a corner with buckle bumps and heavy forearms. Jose brings Elias corner to corner for another buckle bump! He whips Elias but Elias reverses. Jose goes up and over and arm-drags Elias into a keylock. Elias gets up and whips but Jose hops over to arm-drag again! Elias fights back with forearms and chops, then even slaps Jose around. The conga line continues to cheer Jose while Elias pulls him into ropes by his hair. Elias whips corner to corner but Jose dodges! Jose rallies with big lariats! Hip toss to neckbreaker!
Jose runs in at Elias corner to corner for a big splash! He rolls Elias to then climb up top. Jose leaps but flops on the mat as Elias dodges! Elias fires off kicks and punches in the corner! The referee backs Elias off but Elias comes back to kick Jose more. Elias whips and runs Jose over with his own clothesline. “Who wants to walk with Elias?!” Elias goes back to Jose for more haymakers and chops. Jose hits back with forearms and elbows. Jose runs out but into a scoop slam! Elias drops a knee then climbs to the top rope. Macho Elbow! But Elias isn’t done with Jose, he drags him up and fisherman for the Drift Away! Cover, Jose wins!
Winner: Elias, by pinfall
The party’s over and no one’s happy as Elias shuts Jose down. Will Elias be uninterrupted and give his best performance ever at Wrestlemania?
Kurt Angle heads to the ring!
The Olympic Hall of Famer promises to let us know who he wants for his final match at Wrestlemania, after the break.
Raw returns with the ovation of “You Suck!” Angle thanks the fans, and says his Farewell Tour continues! He’ll be having a match here in Chicago! With 20 days left, Angle prepares for his last match ever. Fans chant “Thank You, Kurt!” but he thanks them. Angle thanks the McMahon Family for allowing him to choose his last opponent. There are so many he’d love to face, but there’s one he wants to beat. The man who made Angle’s life a living Hell since being Raw GM, Baron Corbin. Angle would be so happy to make Corbin tap out in his last match at Wrestlemania. A big move for Angle, but for tonight, it’s Chad Gable! Will Angle win this battle of fellow Olympians?
Kurt Angle VS Chad Gable!
The bell rings and Gable shakes Angle’s head. Gable lets Angle know he’s a hero and is thankful for this opportunity. They circle and tie up, and Angle puts Gable in a corner. Angle backs off clean and goes with Gable again. Gable gets a headlock and Angle powers out. Gable runs Angle over! Angle sits up fast and Gable keeps his eyes on him. They circle again and Angle shoots in. Gable blocks and standing switches. Angle does the same but Gable gets an armlock. Angle headscissors but Gable pops out and fans applaud. They circle again and tie up. Gable reels Angle in, spins around and drop toeholds Angle down!
Gable floats to a facelock but Angle powers his way up. Angle wrenches and headlocks but Gable powers out, only for Angle to run him over. Gable gets to a corner and elbows Angle away, only to run into Angle’s belly2belly! Angle waits as Gable bails out. Gable gets up while fans let Angle know “You Still Got It!” Gable returns and circles with Angle again. They tie up again and Gable gets the leg to waistlock. Gable throws Angle down, but Angle sits up. Angle powers up and arm-drags Gable down. Cover but Gable keeps a shoulder up. Gable headscissors but Angle pops out again. Gable gets the leg to a cover, ONE, but he’s on Angle’s arm again. Angle endures as Gable wrenches. Gable snapmares and goes after the arm with knee drops! Cover, ONE, but Gable is still after the arm.
Gable wrenches and grinds it down again then whips. Angle reverses and Gable hits buckles hard! Angle keeps on Gable with a facelock to grind him down. Gable works his way back up but Angle knees low. Angle whips but Gable grabs ropes. Gable sends Angle out hard, but both men are down while the ring count begins. Angle slowly stands and climbs in at 5. Gable dropkicks his legs out! Gable goes after the knee now like he did the arm. Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Angle as Gable wrenches the knee in a spinning toehold. Angle endures as Gable spins again. Angle shoves Gable off then clotheslines him out. The Farewell Tour is having a rough go while we go to break.
Raw returns and Gable is back on the outside. Angle catches his breath in the ring but Gable’s back in fast. Angle sends Gable out. Gable skins the cat, only to get run over! Angle rallies with lariats and a whip to a big back drop! Gable gets to a corner and boots Angle away. Gable leaps for a sunset flip, but to an Ankle Lock! Angle turns Gable over but Gable victory rolls, TWO! Angle gets Gable with a German Suplex! He holds on but Gable rolls through, to an Ankle Lock! Fans don’t like Gable stealing Angle’s favorite hold. Angle endures and rolls to send Gable into buckles! ANGLE SLAM- DDT counter?! Cover, TWO!! Gable almost had the legend, but he won’t go easy, either. He climbs up high for another shout out to Angle, MOONSAULT! But it flops!
Angle grabs the leg and puts on the Ankle Lock! Gable flails, reaches, but the grapevine makes him tap! Angle wins!
Winner: Kurt Angle, by submission
The Farewell Tour continues successfully at 2-0! But the celebration doesn’t last long, because here comes Baron Corbin. Corbin says Chicago shouldn’t greet Angle’s Wrestlemania opponent with boos. Corbin loved laughing at Angle and humiliating him, and it was good. But it’ll be even better when he does it all again in Angle’s very last match. It doesn’t matter what Angle’s done in his entire career, because everyone will remember only his last match. “Oh it’s true, it’s damn true.” Fans chant “We Want Cena!” but they’re getting the Lone Wolf. Will Angle use his farewell match to shut Corbin up?
Baron Corbin talks with The Revival.
He hopes they saw what he did to Angle. Yes, funny stuff. But Apollo Crews comes by. Bedore Angle shuts Corbin up for good, Apollo wants a chance tonight. Really? Apollo has Intensity and Integrity, but- Is that a yes or no? Let him finish. Yes or no? Let him fi- Yes or no? YES! See, Corbin, this is why no one likes you. He’s so difficult. People like him! The Revival does, right? HELL NO! The Revival and Apollo laugh as they leave Corbin behind, but will Apollo make sure to take Corbin seriously tonight?
Sasha Banks & Bayley are here!
The Boss & Hug connection bring the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships to Chicago! Why? We’ll see after the break.
Raw returns and Charli Caruso is there to interview them. Bayley & Banks vowed to take on all comers, but they haven’t been on SmackDown. Are the IIconics right in thinking they’re avoiding them? Bayley keeps Sasha calm and reiterates that they’ll face any team who makes the challenge. So expect the Boss & Hug Connection to make a special SmackDown appearance! And it’ll be “IIconic.” But when it comes to Wrestlemania- Natalya interrupts! And she isn’t alone, she brings out Beth Phoenix! The Queen of Harts and the Glamazon, the Divas of Doom, head to the ring together! They pick up mics as Chicago cheers.
Beth tells Bayley and Sasha that she respects the Hell out of them. She watched as they worked so hard to make these tag titles a reality. And she knows how much they do to bring respect to the titles. The Divas of Doom would’ve loved such a moment back in the day, but Beth has enjoyed watching things unfold before her eyes. At least, until Nia Jax & Tamina setting the whole Division back with jealousy. But Nia and Tamina did do something else, too. They awoke the dragon! Beth got to thinking, “Maybe Natty’s and my dream can still become a reality.” Beth loved her career, but there was one thing missing. And since the champs will take on anyone, anywhere, how about Beth un-retires, joins Natty, and challenges for those WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at Wrestlemania? Chicago loves that idea!
Bayley and Sasha talk it over, and such a match would be a huge honor. But are they sure about Wrestlemania? Doesn’t Beth need more time to prepare? All due respect, she’s been out for six years, and competition around here has evolved. Well with all due respect back, this is Beth Phoenix! She is a WWE Hall of Famer, and she won the WWE Women’s Championship here in Chicago! Beth isn’t afraid to fight superstars like you. Sasha asks Natty who she thinks she’s talking to. The Boss & Hug bleed for this business. They know who Beth is: the woman whose coattails Natty’s riding into Wrestlemania! Natty SLAPS Sasha! So Sasha tackles Natty!
Beth and Bayley pull their friends apart but Beth throws Sasha down. Bayley gets in Beth’s face now, so Beth shoves her down! Referees hurry to keep the peace, are we going to get Beth’s in-ring return already?!
Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Natalya w/ Beth Phoenix!
Raw returns, and it won’t be Beth’s return just yet. Instead, The Boss and the Queen of Harts go right at it with the bell! Sasha hits a Thesz Press and rains down rights! Natty gets up and throws rights of her own. Sasha shoves and blocks the kick to give a kick. Sasha runs in at the corner but misses. Natty gives Sasha the rebound sit-down and the basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Natty keeps on Sasha with a standing abdominal stretch. Fans rally while Sasha endures. Sasha fights out but Natty goes to hip toss. Sasha counters to a wheelbarrow, and victory rolls! TWO, and Natty denies the backstabber by going backwards. Sasha uses that to her advantage by throwing Natty into buckles!
Sasha goes corner to corner for Meteora! And then runs back in, only to miss. Natty hits the discus clothesline! Sasha bails out, but here comes Nia! The Irresistible Force simply wants to comment on Beth coming out of retirement. Beth thinks Nia is jealous of her? Nia did more in three years than Beth did in her entire career! Beth is jealous of Nia, and wants to come back because Nia has all this attention. Nia is really just a prettier, stronger Glamazon. And then Tamina attacks Beth from behind! Tamina also SUPERKICKS Bayley and SUPERKICKS Sasha!
Tamina runs away before Natty can get at her. Natty checks on Beth while Nia laughs. The Samoan Dynasty regroups and says they’ll see them all at Wrestlemania. Will such a challenge be honored? Will the Boss & Hug Connection only get more of the same when they show up on SmackDown?
Mojo Rawley speaks, to himself again.
“They’ve always told you how much ‘potential’ you have.” Potential? He hates that word. “What good is ‘potential’ if you don’t do anything with it?” Why can’t he figure this out? WHY!? Mojo demands he figure himself out, but is that easier said than done?
Ricochet VS Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers
The King of Flight usually appears alongside the Embodiment of the End, but not tonight! He’ll go it alone, after the break!
Raw returns and the Modern Day Maharaja circles with the One and Only. Mahal powers Ricochet to a corner and grinds him into the buckles. He backs off at 4 but Ricochet dodges his sucker punch. Ricochet headscissors Mahal to a corner, then runs in. Mahal puts him on the apron but Ricochet hits back. Ricochet springboards for the missile dropkick! Mahal bails out and Ricochet builds speed, but he fakes Mahal and the Singhs with the Superhero Landing. Fans applaud and Mahal is speechless. Mahal hurries back in but Ricochet slingshots out. Ricochet misses but adjusts to shoulder in. He slingshots up and over to SUPERKICK and whip. Mahal reverses but Ricochet boots him away. Ricochet punches and kicks back, but the Singhs anchor his feet! Mahal clobbers Ricochet to the apron!
Fans boo as Mahal drops springboard knees on Ricochet. Mahal digs his knee in, but backs off at 4. Mahal and the Singhs chant Shanti before Mahal scoop slams Ricochet. Cover, TWO, but Mahal keeps on Ricochet with knees to the back. Mahal wraps Ricochet up in a chinbar and half nelson. Ricochet endures while fans chant “USA!” Ricochet powers up and fights out, but Mahal back suplexes. It becomes a crossbody and cover, TWO! Mahal wrangles Ricochet into a chinlock! Fans rally again and Ricochet feeds off the energy. Mahal wrangles him back down to the mat, but Ricochet refuses to quit. Ricochet powers his way up and fights with elbows. Mahal whips Ricochet hard into buckles then drags him up for big knees. Mahal taunts Ricochet as he chokes him against the ropes. The ref counts and Mahal backs off at 4.
The Singh Brothers taunt Ricochet while Mahal throws a big haymaker. Mahal taunts Ricochet more as he stomps him. Mahal drags Ricochet up for haymakers and elbows, then puts on the chinbar half nelson. Ricochet endures as fans rally again. Ricochet fights out but Mahal knees low. Mahal whips but Ricochet boots and enziguris! Ricochet somersaults to the shotgun dropkick! Mahal hits buckles and falls while Ricochet fires himself up. Ricochet counter punches Mahal, then headscissors him to a corner again. Ricochet runs in for the shoulder tackle, then springboards for a flying uppercut! Standing Shooting Star! Cover, TWO! Mahal bails out and regroups with the Singhs, but Ricochet builds speed. Ricochet hits the Sasuke Special! Fans fire up with Ricochet as he puts Mahal back in. Mahal’s in the drop zone and Ricochet climbs, 630 senton!! Cover, Ricochet wins!
Winner: Ricochet, by pinfall
Whether in a team or by himself, The One and Only always finds a way! Will Ricochet find himself fighting for a title one way or another come Wrestlemania?
WWE hands out the 2019 Warrior Award.
Senior director of talent relations, Sue Aitchinson is an unsung hero who means so much to the WWE superstars backstage. After 22 years of excellence, she definitely deserves it!
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins.
With his wild attack on Drew McIntyre, is this a glimpse of his plan to take down both the Scottish Terminator and Brock Lesnar? Well for McIntyre, he hurt Rollins’ brothers so he hurt McIntyre back. If Rollins has to keep doing that, then fine. Tonight is for Roman, for Ambrose, and in a way, for Lesnar. Rollins won’t be pushed around by anyone, and he’ll fight fire with fire. McIntyre finds that out later tonight, but can Rollins burn Suplex City down to the ground?
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey VS Dana Brooke!
The Baddest Woman on the Planet no longer cares about anything but destroyer her opponents. She only does this out of obligation, but can Dana make the most out of this opportunity? Or will she just be an example to everyone else on the roster not to get on the Baddest Woman’s bad side?
Raw returns and Dana has her own interview. Has she really thought things through? Ronda’s on a warpath against Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Those women are former champions of their own, but Dana’s… Dana knows she’s the underdog, but Wrestlemania season is about dreams coming true. She isn’t naive. She’s not better than Ronda, but all she has to do is be better for three seconds to become the new champion. Dana has all the optimism in the world, but is it enough for a true shocker?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Dana catches a kick and SLAPS Ronda! But Ronda hits a big knee to Dana’s face! Then knees to her body! Armbar on, Dana taps, Ronda wins!
Winner: Ronda Rousey, by submission; still Raw Women’s Champion
But she doesn’t let go! She makes Dana suffer until she’s good and ready to let go. She shoves a referee down! That’ll be another fine. But Ronda doesn’t care, she just talks with her husband at ringside. Security runs in but she beats them down! And so does her husband, Travis Brown! Ronda’s husband gets Ronda out of there as she says it doesn’t matter how much money she’ll be fined. Ronda is definitely ready for Wrestlemania, but will her new attitude come to cost her?
As for Dana, she cries while clutching her arm. Forget competing for a championship, will Dana ever compete for Raw again?
Apollo Crews VS Baron Corbin!
The Lone Wolf may be the final opponent for Kurt Angle, as picked by Angle himself, that doesn’t mean Apollo can’t humiliate him before then. Who will have the last laugh here in Chicago?
The bell rings and Corbin ties up with Apollo. Corbin pushes Apollo to a corner but backs up. Apollo dodges the sucker punch but Corbin whips him to a corner. Apollo goes up and over and they bump shoulders, but Corbin comes back to run Apollo over. Things speed up and Apollo dropkicks Corbin to a corner! Apollo handsprings but Corbin rushes him. Apollo goes up and over and Corbin slides out, and Apollo springboard moonsaults onto Corbin! He puts Corbin back in the ring, then shoulders and slingshots, only to get a hard right! Corbin soaks up the boos and jeers from the fans while mockingly applauding. Corbin points to the Wrestlemania sign before throwing forearms. He puts Apollo in a corner and throws more rights.
Corbin runs in, Apollo goes up and over again. Corbin slides out and in, but Apollo dodges the clothesline. Apollo runs but into a back elbow! Corbin wraps Apollo up in a half nelson and chinbar. Fans boo Corbin and cheer Apollo as Apollo endures. Apollo slowly fights his way up and out of the hold. He throws more hands then elbows Corbin away. Apollo hops up but leaps into Corbin’s hand. Corbin lifts but Apollo slips out, only to run into Deep Six! Cover, TWO! Apollo survives but Corbin keeps his cool. Corbin mockingly applauds again before pointing back at the Wrestlemania sign. Corbin rains down rights on Apollo while fans chant “We Want Cena!” To which Corbin replies, “You can’t have him!” He drags Apollo up and reels him in, but Apollo slips out of End of Days to a cradle! Apollo wins!
Winner: Apollo Crews, by pinfall
And Corbin is furious! Corbin let his ego get ahead of him and now he’s embarrassed in Chicago! Will the same thing happen against the Hall of Famer on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
Dave Batista is live via satellite!
The Animal has what he wants at Wrestlemania: one last match with Triple H, in No Holds Barred! Batista is home in Tampa, Florida as he answers questions. Why is he so angry with HHH? “I just don’t like him.” Batista has wanted nothing more but to come back and beat him one more time. Well that’s a bit vague. There must be more to this. How long does this trace back? To Evolution? No, it goes even further. Batista keeps hearing that he owes his career to HHH, HHH made him a star. Even before Evolution, HHH just groomed Batista into being his bodyguard. HHH’s career speaks to that, even in DX. He used Batista as a meat head, and held him down or shut him out. But he also underestimated Batista.
Nine years ago, Batista quit the WWE, at the height of his wrestling career. This is also HHH’s fault. And quit? Batista didn’t quit. Imagine someone who is your friend, but he’s also your boss and he’s also jealous. HHH held Batista down because of his insecurities. HHH wouldn’t give Batista fair chances, because Batista didn’t come off as a star. But look at what Batista’s done since leaving. He’s a huge movie star in control of his own life, without HHH. Batista demanded the match he deserved, and he got it. Michael Cole argues that HHH has done so much for so many, but Batista doesn’t believe how naive Cole is. HHH manipulates and controls people. HHH is the most insecure control freak in the world.
Batista makes two bold predictions: one day, hopefully soon, Vince will fire HHH to end his business career; and at Wrestlemania, Batista ends HHH’s wrestling career. Now get out of his house! The Animal and The Game go one last time in No Holds Barred, but will it end the way Batista wants?
Backstage interview with Braun Strowman.
There is clearly still some resentment in The Monster Among Men for SNL star and Wrestlemania special correspondent, Colin Jost. Jost didn’t help things with a gift last week, because Strowman ripped it apart! And Jost only makes it worse by saying (on social media) that Strowman could learn some discipline and self-control. Strowman says Jost is the one who needs to learn things. Strowman will take his frustrations out in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, and then when he finds Jost backstage-
Alexa Bliss comes over to let him know that she can’t let the show be disrupted. She wants to broker peace between Strowman and Jost. Alexa doesn’t need to broker anything, because Strowman is gonna leave Jost and Michael Che broken after he gets through with them. That’s not what that means. And this is what she’s trying to avoid. Give Alexa a week to figure it out. Fine. But if Jost still disrespects Strowman, Strowman will show Jost what “discipline” really is. Will The Goddess be able to bring about a Wrestlemania truce?
Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre!
The Architect made sure to kill two birds with one chair as he attacked the Scottish Terminator while sending a message to The Beast. McIntyre must still be stinging from the steel chair shots, but will he make Rollins regret his attack? Or will Rollins #BurnItDown in Chicago on the way to Wrestlemania?
Raw returns and McIntyre wishes to speak first. “Actions speak so much louder than words.” As such, McIntyre shares footage from last week’s Raw. McIntyre ruined Roman Reigns’ in-ring return with head-rattling Claymore kicks. He promised it was just the beginning, and in the present, McIntyre speaks on Roman’s return. Roman has become weak, and relied on his brothers for the heavy lifting. But the Shield is no more thanks to McIntyre. Rollins had to attack like a coward! Why? Because just like the fans, Rollins is living in a fantasy world. Everyone wants to believe in heroes, but McIntyre pulled back the curtain. This is McIntyre’s Yard now!
McIntyre takes a moment to speak to Roman Reigns directly. No, not Roman the superstar, but Joe Anoa’i the man. That’s what Joe wanted, right? Joe the husband, father and man sitting at home because of McIntyre! If Roman/Joe wants to truly inspire the people, then McIntyre has a challenge for him. He and Roman will fight at Wrestlemania! And everyone already knows the answer, but Joe needs to look at his family. They must have tears in their eyes, because they’re hoping he says no. McIntyre agrees, Roman should say no. Because if Roman accepts, last week will look like nothing! McIntyre vows to destroy Roman! But Rollins has a response on the titantron! “That right there is why I did what I did to you earlier tonight, Drew.” Rollins replays footage of his own now, of that attack from just earlier in the show.
Rollins says those chair shots were for his brothers. But this match tonight is for him. Rollins makes his entrance, and it’s time for a fight! McIntyre rushes Rollins on the ramp and they brawl! Referees and security come out to separate them, because this needs to happen in the ring. But Rollins and McIntyre don’t care, they continue to brawl! Both men are ready, but we go to break!
Raw returns again, Rollins fights out of a hold. But McIntyre drags him down by his hair and back into an armock! McIntyre digs his fingers into Rollins then grinds his forearm in. Fans rally and Rollins fights his way up. Rollins throws haymakers and whips, but McIntyre reverses to elbow Rollins down. Cover, TWO! McIntyre stalks Rollins and drags him up by his hair for another armlock. McIntyre puts on a chinbar, too, and cranks back. Fans rally for Rollins and Rollins breaks free again. McIntyre knees low then whips but Rollins boots him away. Rollins hops up and over then runs to tilt-o-whirl, but McIntyre suplexes Rollins! McIntyre deadlift suplexes Rollins then covers, TWO! McIntyre keeps his cool as he stalks Rollins to the ropes. Fans cheer but McIntyre CHOPS Rollins off his feet.
McIntyre stomps Rollins then brings him back into the chinbar and armlock. Rollins fights up and reaches but McIntyre keeps him from the ropes. McIntyre brings Rollins down and digs a knee into Rollins’ head. Fans build to another rally and Rollins gets up again. Rollins haymakers but McIntyre shoves. Rollins kicks McIntyre away then dumps McIntyre out. McIntyre drags Rollins out but Rollins throws haymakers and chops! Rollins whips but McIntyre reverses. Rollins stops himself from hitting steps then elbows McIntyre. He hops up the steel steps but McIntyre swats him out of the air! The Terminator has the better of the Architect while we go to one last break.
Raw returns once more, and McIntyre covers! TWO, but barely! McIntyre glares down at Rollins as Rollins clutches his lower back. McIntyre sits Rollins up to CHOP, then stomp him down! “I’ve taken out your brothers. You’re next!” Fans boo as McIntyre drags Rollins up for a bomb. Rollins huricanranas out! McIntyre rolls out of the ring but Rollins builds speed. Rollins DIVES but McIntyre throws him into barriers! McIntyre paces while the ring count climbs. McIntyre fetches a chair! He wants to return the favor from earlier, but the referee tells him not to use it. McIntyre smacks the post to test the chair, Rollins hops up to SUPERKICK McIntyre down! Both men are on the ground while the ring count restarts.
Fans count along as the count passes 5. Rollins sits up at 6 and McIntyre follows at 7. They both stand at 8 and get in at 9.5! Rollins immediately clotheslines McIntyre out and DIVES! This time he hits! But Rollins keeps going to DIVE again! Rollins keeps moving but McIntyre returns, to get a slingblade! SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO! McIntyre survives the adrenaline rush from Rollins and both men are down. Fans fire up as Rollins drags McIntyre up. Rollins goes to bomb but McIntyre resists. McIntyre back drops and gets through the boot to elbow Rollins. McIntyre brings Rollins up, inverted Alabama slam! Cover, TWO! Rollins survives and McIntyre is beside himself. McIntyre brings Rollins up to the top rope while fans rally again.
McIntyre chops Rollins then climbs up to join him. He lifts Rollins into position, but Rollins slips through to try a bomb. McIntyre punches Rollins down then adjusts. McIntyre drags Rollins back up to the top, but Rollins fights back. They both brawl and McIntyre headbutts Rollins away. But Rollins returns so fast, SUPERPLEX! Roll through, McIntyre tries to counter but Rollins still gets the Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO!! Rollins freaks out but the fans keep him focused with chanting. “Burn It Down!” Rollins aims at McIntyre, SUPERKICK! But Brock Lesnar’s music hits! Because Lesnar’s still around! Lesnar heads for the ring, Rollins turns around into a CLAYMORE! Cover, McIntyre wins!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
Lesnar and Heyman laugh, because that’s all they had to do to screw Rollins over! The Terminator sweeps The Shield, but it was The Beast’s presence that beat Rollins. Will this only fuel the fire Rollins will use to burn Suplex City down?
This was not one of the better Raws, but it still had some really good stuff. Lesnar opening for Heyman to talk, that was good. McIntyre showing up was a surprise, but so was Rollins hacking away with that chair. Rollins VS McIntyre was a great main event, and it was actually a great move for Lesnar to distract Rollins for a loss. Since Lesnar isn’t going to compete on television, the only way he can keep even in the build is if he costs Rollins momentum. This also makes McIntyre’s story against the Shield brothers a bit stronger. McIntyre VS Roman sounds like a really good match for Wrestlemania, and it’ll be a great way for Roman to truly return to in-ring action. But it does seem a shame if Ambrose isn’t going to have anything to do, unless he’s meant to help Roman somehow.
Michael Cole didn’t really help things on commentary when it came to Finn’s mystery opponent. While Strowman has teamed with Finn before and it was a natural choice, it also seemed like an odd choice since Strowman has his own weird story going on. Strowman gets the win for Finn, but he already said he’s in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. I wouldn’t be surprised if Strowman eliminated the majority of the competitors this year for a dominant victory. As for Finn, he’s still technically on course for one or both Lashley and Lio and that Intercontinental Championship. Though, obviously having Strowman fight his battles for him isn’t a good move, there should’ve been a way Finn got the pin on Lio instead.
It’s rather interesting that now of all times, Raw is deciding to get lower card guys going. No Way Jose gives Elias a good match but Elias wins because I’m still sending Elias VS Jeff Jarrett in a real good match with some guitar smashing. Mojo Rawley has another promo after being gone for a bit, perhaps he makes a big impact on the battle royal, too. And as was made a story point in the night, Baron Corbin was not anyone’s choice for Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania, except for Angle’s. I suppose other names, like John Cena, weren’t going to work out if they only figured this all out recently. WWE craps the bed again, but at least Corbin got comeuppance already for Apollo Crews to get something for himself. I hope that Angle’s farewell is successful, it’s not like Corbin would be hurt losing to Angle.
The Women’s Division did pretty well tonight. Bayley & Sasha promise to show up for SmackDown, but we’re also getting two strong contenders in the Samoan Dynasty and Divas of Doom. With everything that went down, this is definitely no less than a Triple Threat Tag Team Match, probably up to a Fatal 4 Way. Beth Phoenix coming back is great, even just for Mania, but I wonder if they’ll give her an in-ring return in these last few weeks left just so she isn’t working off the rust at Mania. And as I said last week, Ronda Rousey going Heel like this is actually going great, and it was quite the nice surprise for her husband to get in on the action. And poor Dana, she should’ve gone to SmackDown when she had the chance.
Batista’s interview promo was an interesting one. It’s still not really clear how it was HHH held him down when Batista won various titles multiple times. But perhaps it’s something about Batista not being seen on par with The Rock or John Cena doing all the media and Hollywood. Of course, Batista has a good point that he still made it in Hollywood. Whether his motivations are spot on or not, Batista is doing a great job in this new Heel persona he has. I’m pretty sure HHH will have a response next week where he’ll basically deny Batista’s points tonight and give his side, but the words won’t really change things at this point, No Holds Barred will still be good.
My Score: 8/10