26th Feb2019

WWE Raw – Feb 25th 2019: Results & Review

by Nathan Favel

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Welcome to this week’s Raw review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have Roman Reign’s big announcement, the return of both Sting and Ricky Steamboat, as well as Ric Flair’s Birthday Party. Did you notice if there were any matches scheduled?

Match #1: Ricochet & Aleister Black def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

The hits just keep on coming for The Revival, who clawed their way to the top of the Tag Team division only to find several new boulders hovering precariously over their heads. Last week, Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano checked the new champions, and Dash & Dawson fared no better this week against the other half of the new NXT contingent, Ricochet & Aleister Black. To their credit, The Revival employed a sound strategy, jumping their opponents before the bell in an attempt to get ahead of their near-uncontrollable foes. It gave them a bit of separation, but not enough: The champions’ strategy of divide and conquer couldn’t contain Ricochet, who took out Dash Wilder at ringside and left Scott Dawson easy pickings for a Black Mass from The Dutch Destroyer that put the match away. The defeat did not escape the eyes of former champions Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, who scouted the contest from a monitor backstage. And while it might be excessive to read too much into a pair of defeats, it doesn’t mean The Revival shouldn’t take the situation seriously: The division is watching, and the vultures are starting to circle.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This was good for its length, but a way of looking at this match is that it was close, but no cigar. This is the kind of match that you could stack on the top of the tower, so to speak, but having it the way it is just made it feel like they didn’t even realize it belonged as a main event.

Match #2: Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey & Natalya def. Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan (w/Liv Morgan) via DQ

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

For all the flack she’s taken recently for the crime of not being Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey has certainly gone to bat for her embattled, would-be challenger at WrestleMania. From her infamous “Ice and Advil” pep talk to encouraging Becky to make nice with the McMahons and save their planned match at The Show of Shows, The Baddest Woman on the Planet seems to, at the very least, recognize Lynch’s game, or at least the significance of a main-event clash between the two. (She has likewise made her thoughts known on Mr. McMahon’s handpicked replacement Charlotte Flair; they are, shall we say, somewhat less charitable). None of that stopped Becky from crashing a tag team match pitting Rousey and Natalya against The Riott Squad, however, and The Man immediately announced her rival by cracking Natalya in the face and whacking her with her crutch. Security kept Becky and Rousey from tearing into one another, but Becky was taken from the arena and arrested, leaving Rousey alone in the ring to conduct some business.

Calling Mr. McMahon down to the ring, Ronda was instead met by Stephanie McMahon, who barely got a word out before Rousey pleaded that the McMahons drop the charges against Lynch, reinstate her from suspension and place The Man back into the Raw Women’s Title Match at WrestleMania. Stephanie was moved, if not swayed, by Rousey’s arguments that Lynch’s reinstatement would be “best for business” or an example for her daughters; the champion’s subsequent “demand” that Becky be brought back into the fold was not quite as warmly received. Though Stephanie attempted to hold her authority over Rousey’s head, The Baddest Woman on the Planet didn’t back down. Stating that she had no desire to defend her title against “chosen” challengers, Rousey declared that it was time for Mr. McMahon to stop making the tough decisions and instead make the right one. And with that, she laid down the title at Stephanie’s feet and walked out of the ring.

My Take: 2 out of 5 - The write-up that WWE wrote for their recap of Raw surprisingly ignored the actual match that came before this angle. Maybe that just serves as a reminder of what Vince values above everything else, which is drama. Consider how this match, which was decent for the brief time it was going on, already had the history between Ronda and Ruby to work with, yet just threw that away for the big feud of Lynch and Ronda. I’m well aware of how big that title match will be, but Ruby will never become a big star if she isn’t given more to work with then a couple of short title fights against the champion and a lame tag match happening at random. Oh, the wrestlers hit each other a couple of times and Norman Reedus showed up and said that Blade 2 still kicks ass and $#@! you…that last little part might not have happened.

Match #3: Kurt Angle def. Jinder Mahal

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

On any other night, Jinder Mahal’s ill-advised open challenge to any of Ric Flair’s birthday guests — The Maharaja’s attempt to prove himself worthy of his own invite — might have led to a major power play by the former WWE Champion. Unfortunately for him, Kurt Angle answered. And for all the recent flashes Mahal has shown of his old, ruthless self, this turned into a rout once The Olympic Hero claimed control. An Ankle Lock spelled defeat for Mahal, and suplexes to The Singh Brothers added insult to injury. The good news for Mahal and The Singhs is that they’re as likely as anyone to go find their own party in the wake of a rough night; unfortunately, the only thing they’ll have to celebrate is that, in the grand scheme of things, it could have been worse.

My Take: 2 out of 5 – This was just moves, so it wasn’t much of a match, but Kurt suplexed the life out of Jinder, so it gave people something to enjoy.

Match #4: Intercontinental Champion Finn Bálor def. Lio Rush – WWE Intercontinental Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

It’s a fair point, honestly: Thanks to Handicap Match rules, Finn Bálor technically beat Lio Rush to win Bobby Lashley’s Intercontinental Title, so shouldn’t Lio get the rematch? Much to The Man of the Hour’s horror, that’s exactly what happened when he interrupted Alexa Bliss’ ogling interview of the Irishman on “A Moment of Bliss” to strong-arm his way into getting Lashley a rematch and found himself getting the nod instead. Rush is, of course, no joke in the ring — consult 205 Live immediately for further elaboration — so this was nowhere near the washing the champion was perhaps expecting. Suffice it to say, The 24-Year Old Piece of Gold had more than a fighting chance and looked like he might pull off the upset, especially after Bálor tweaked his knee blocking the Final Hour. That the champion prevailed was mostly due to a single moment of veteran instinct and timing; Bálor caught Rush off a springboard and spiked him with 1916, then followed up quickly with the Coup de Grâce to secure the victory. Bálor turned in a gritty effort by fighting through pain to retain his title, and his attempt to sow dissent between Rush and Lashley by implying that The Man of the Hour thought himself the true money player of the partnership seemed to play out exactly as he drew it up: Furious over Lio’s failure to get him a title bout and then lose the one he received, The All Mighty harshly chastised his hype man in the backstage area and ended their confrontation with a pointed question: “Can I trust you?”

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was fine stuff for a match that got screwed out of being a title match of traditional length (more than five seconds). Anytime I see these guys together in the ring I consider that to be easy viewing and this match did not dissuade me from feeling that way after the bell rang in victory for Balor. I’d argue that this pairing is the one they should go with for Wrestlemania, as it could be a real barn-burner. Hey Stoopid…don’t kill yourself, because you’re worth it. Is that how people help people not kill themselves? Emma Stone looked kinda hot in The Help. Anyway, if you’re looking for a match that makes wrestling look easy, then this one is right up your alley…cat.

Match #5: Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) vs. Braun Strowman

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Defeating Braun Strowman one-on-one is as tall an order as anyone in WWE can conceive. Unfortunately, it’s been quite some time since The Monster Among Men has been dealing with anyone one-on-one, so Strowman decided to nip this particular problem in the bud. Perhaps sensing that some shenanigans were coming down the pike in his planned bout with Bobby Lashley — a fair guess given that Lashley, Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin have ganged up on him in recent weeks — The Gift of Destruction opted to forego the match and simply obliterate the former Intercontinental Champion. (Lio Rush, who was still smarting from his unexpected title bout with Finn Bálor just moments earlier, was quickly disposed of as well.) Some might say that Strowman won’t be able to win this fight in the long term without friends at his side; Raw was a strong argument in the other direction, where his two hands — These Hands, if you will — will give Braun Strowman all the help he needs.

My Take: 0 out of 5 – The match never actually happened, but this was another case of intentional false advertisement, so it gets a 0. The brawl was a nice little spectacle, but a match would have been much better.

Match #6: Drew McIntyre def. Dean Ambrose (No Disqualification Match)

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

If Dean Ambrose was a man on a singular mission at the end of 2018, he has become something of the opposite in the early months of this year; by seeking out Drew McIntyre for a No Disqualification Match and poking the proverbial bear by stepping to Elias, The Lunatic Fringe has shown himself to want little more than a fight, any fight, against anyone who is willing to oblige. That he tends to get his wish has been a sharp — if unsurprising — double-edged sword, and tonight was no exception. On one hand, the McIntyre match was right up Ambrose’s depraved alley: The Lunatic Fringe ripped off his leather belt — sneakily, he wore two to the ring — to tan the hide of The Scottish Psychopath. But Elias, who had been hit with Dirty Deeds earlier in the evening, sprinted down the ring with payback on his mind and clobbered Ambrose across the back with his guitar. McIntyre didn’t hesitate to take the help, downing The Lunatic Fringe with a Claymore for the three. Things took a quick turn for Ambrose when Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley arrived for a four-on-one stomping of the former WWE Champion, but The Lunatic Fringe found himself fielding an unlikely assist when Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns came to the ring and cleaned house with a chair and Superman Punches, respectively. The Big Dog sealed the attack with a Spear to McIntyre, but neither acknowledged Ambrose until they had made their way back up the ramp, when they stared down their turncoat brother from afar. An extending of an olive branch? A one-and-done assist for old time’s sake? It’s anybody’s guess, but Dean Ambrose certainly looked like he didn’t mind what he’d gotten, whether he asked for it or not.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This turned out pretty well for a brawl and was able to keep the action going at a good pace. Ambrose still looks like he needs a vacation (his body looks good but moves too slowly compared to what it used to), but he did well here and had some of that old magic left. McIntyre worked hard here, but he just doesn’t have the intensity he had in Impact, which is a shame. I would have liked to have seen the more ambitious version of this match (the Ric Flair/Terry Funk I Quit Match is a good place to start), this worked for what it was and kept the crowd happy.

Match #7: (Main Event) WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Bayley def. Nia Jax

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

The Boss ‘N’ Hug honeymoon might not be over, but storm clouds are approaching: Nia Jax & Tamina have thrown themselves full-steam into their hunt for Sasha Banks & Bayley’s brand-new WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships, and Nia re-emphasized the narrowness of their initial defeat in the Elimination Chamber during a one-on-one bout with Bayley on Raw. Absent pods, grates, or impromptu allies to stack the deck, The Irresistible Force simply overwhelmed The Huggable One until she made the mistake of going after Banks at ringside, giving Bayley the opening she needed to knee Nia in the side of the head and quickly pounce with the top-rope elbow drop. So yes, the champs won this one. But it was close, and the margin for error is very, very small.

My Take: 2 out of 5 – This was not much to talk about, but Nia is just too clumsy to make something good out of in a short amount of time. The reason why Bayley could carry Nia to great matches in NXT was because the matches would go for the proper length, which gives you time to pace every move. In this match, Bayley was forced to help Nia rush through things Nia has trouble with when she has all the time she needs to do them, let alone just a few minutes like she did here. I said she enough times to make the Women’s Liberation Movement think that Anita Bryant stopped holding the orange juice hostage. Look that reference up and see if you don’t still think I’m an idiot/moron. I wanted to like this match, but it just didn’t get there as a main event.

News Of The Night:

  1. Becky Lynch got arrested for fighting with Ronda Rousey.
  2. Ronda Rousey left the Women’s Title at Stephanie McMahon’s feet in protest of Becky Lynch not being cleared to fight her at Wrestlemania.
  3. Roman Reigns announced he is in remission and will be able to return to wrestling, very soon.
  4. The Shield may still be getting back together before Dean Ambrose leaves the WWE after Wrestlemania.
  5. Sting, Ricky Steamboat and Shawn Michaels were there for Ric Flair’s birthday party.
  6. Batista returned and attacked Ric Flair in an effort to provoke Triple H to fight him in a match.

Final Verdict: 3/5

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