19th Mar2019

WWE Raw – March 18th 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 Kurt Angle’s big Wrestlemania announcement, Batista complaining about Triple H and Brock Lesnar gearing up for his big title match with Seth Rollins.

Match #1: Finn Bálor & Braun Strowman def. Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

If Finn Bálor is serious about keeping his championship drought a short one, he certainly got off on the right foot. The Irishman selected Braun Strowman as his mystery partner against Lio Rush & Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley, and his selection paid off in a major way. The Monster Among Men has been in a little bit of a mood thanks to Colin Jost and Michael Che, and he was so dominant that The All Mighty straight-up bailed on his hype man in the middle of the match. Lashley’s walk left Rush to the mercy (or lack thereof) of a Running Powerslam and a 1-2-3 that might mean more for Bálor than it first appears: Yes, Strowman got the pinfall, but the “W” goes in the Irishman’s books, too. When it comes time to earning a title match, that could go a long way.

It may have been a glimpse into Strowman’s future as well: As The Monster Among Men revealed in an interview later in the night, his ongoing beef with Che and Jost has left him so riled up that he’s declaring for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal so he can beat up everyone at once. He isn’t above giving the “Weekend Update” duo These Hands as well — much to the concern of WrestleMania host and Strowman’s former Mixed Match Challenge partner, Alexa Bliss. Luckily, The Goddess talked The Monster down and bought herself some time to broker a peace. Not that much, however: Strowman’s generosity isn’t unlimited, and Alexa has one week to make things right. After that, all bets are off.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This was a nice match that didn’t really go for anything other than what the storyline required. Strowman was the big weapon for Balor to use on Lashley and Rush and that was really all that this match was about.

Match #2: Elias def. No Way Jose

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

If there’s been one running thread throughout Elias’ WWE career, it’s that every time he picks up a guitar, he will be interrupted. Last week, the offending party was No Way Jose, and this week, it was again No Way Jose, who crashed The Living Truth’s appearance on “A Moment of Bliss” in an ultimately unsuccessful bid for redemption after last week’s shellacking. The Dominican Dancing Machine got off to a rollicking start, catching Elias unaware thanks to a bait-and-switch in which Heavy Machinery led the conga line and Jose disguised himself as the infamous cheeseburger. But a strong opening for Jose ended in bitter fashion when Elias rallied with a top-rope elbow drop and Drift Away, turning what began as a statement for his opponent into one of his own: As he announced on “A Moment of Bliss,” The Living Truth has secured the gig of headlining musical act for WrestleMania and is determined to get through the performance uninterrupted. This, then, was his warning.

My Take: 1 out of 5 – This was a lousy match and that’s all there is to say about it.

Match #3: Kurt Angle def. Chad Gable

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Angle had picked Chad Gable as his final opponent in the Second City, and it quickly became apparent that he might have bitten off more than he can chew: The former Raw, SmackDown and NXT Tag Team Champion moves like Angle in his prime and is a candidate for the same kind of longevity and dominance the elder Olympian enjoyed. Entering in his old American Alpha garb and a red, white and blue singlet, Gable took Angle to the limit — he escaped the Angle Slam and locked in an Ankle Lock of his own — and might have won had he not gone high-risk and whiffed on a moonsault. The missed maneuver left Gable exposed, and Angle pounced with a grapevine Ankle Lock to earn the submission.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was a good match that made excellent use of both men. Gable wrestled like a young Kurt Angle, while Angle wrestled like Bob Backlund just before his body started to go all the way out. For a guy who is way past his prime, Angle can still deliver a good performance. I’m glad these two guys got to wrestle each other before Angle’s time in wrestling comes to an end.

Match #4: Sasha Banks def. Natalya via Disqualification

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Sasha Banks & Bayley have been making the rounds on Raw and NXT to scout prospective challengers for their WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles, but they needn’t have searched so far and wide: Their WrestleMania opponents might be coming to them. After a couple weeks at commentary during which she found herself throwing hands with the new generation of Superstars, Beth Phoenix offered to come out of retirement for a past-vs-present clash of The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection and the “Divas of Doom” at WrestleMania, potentially setting The Glamazon up for the one accolade she missed out on in her Hall of Fame career.

Nia Jax & Tamina aren’t about to let themselves be passed over, however; the twice-spurned “Samoan Slaughterhouse” interfered in The Boss’ bout with Beth’s partner Natalya — itself stemming from a tense war of words between the two teams in the wake of Beth’s challenge — leading to a disqualification victory for The Boss after Tamina appeared from beneath the ring and superkicked everything that moved. If nothing else, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships are set up to have a very interesting first WrestleMania season, and we haven’t even gotten to The IIconics’ persistent challenges yet. But perhaps the champs’ appearance on tomorrow’s SmackDown LIVE will shed some light on that front.

My Take: 2 out of 5 – This was going somewhere, but Nia Jax came out there and killed the momentum, so what little progress that was made quickly became the only progress made.

Match #5: Ricochet def. Jinder Mahal

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Since his WWE debut, Ricochet has become such a key player in the Tag Team divisions of Raw, SmackDown LIVE and NXT that the WWE Universe hasn’t gotten much of a look at him in singles action. In short? He’s still pretty great there, too. Facing Jinder Mahal, The One and Only needed only a second of separation, and he made good on it once he got it, rallying from The Maharaja’s ground-and-pound strategy to unleash a truly remarkable sequence of maneuvers. The display culminated in a Space Flying Tiger Drop onto Mahal and The Singh Brothers on the outside, and a 630 to Mahal’s sternum moments later sealed the bout. You’d be forgiven for rewinding the ending of the match until your DVR ran out of battery, but better to save the space: Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this win over a former WWE Champion is that it’s only a matter of time before he goes above and beyond it, both figuratively and, of course, literally.

My Take: 1.5 out of 5 – This was a dull match that died after Ricochet had to hand the control of the match to Jinder, who is not one of the great thinkers in the ring.

Match #6: Ronda Rousey def. Dana Brooke – Raw Women’s Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Dana Brooke isn’t wrong that WrestleMania season is a time when underdogs become legends, but there was no storybook ending in her improbable Raw Women’s Championship Match. Despite earning the first title match of her career by standing up to Ronda Rousey last week, Brooke was savaged in short order by The Baddest Woman on the Planet, and the security team WWE hired to prevent further aggression from Rousey quickly followed. Rousey and her husband, UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, each laid out a member of the security squad before making their way out of the arena through the concourse. It was the most unhinged display of physicality yet from the champion, and when all is said and done, the WWE Universe might look back on this evening as the night they should have seen what was coming Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair’s way. In that respect, and in its own twisted fashion, this match might land Dana Brooke a line in the history books after all.

My Take: 1.5 out of 5 – So much for Dana getting a chance to be taken seriously. This ended before it could even begin, with Rousey feast on Dana after beating her to death in very little time.

Match #7: Apollo Crews def. Baron Corbin

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

The WWE Universe is not thrilled with Baron Corbin facing Kurt Angle as the Olympian’s final WWE opponent at WrestleMania. Baron Corbin doesn’t care. And tonight, at least, it cost him: Corbin’s opponent for Raw was Apollo Crews, an Angle admirer who challenged The Lone Wolf to defend his idol’s honor, but the former Constable instead reserved his focus for the audience, who showered him with boos. As a result, Crews caught him with a small package for the victory and shared an embrace with Angle atop the ramp. Corbin can talk all he wants about a “river of tears” for a disappointed audience, but if there’s any lesson for him as WrestleMania approaches, it’s that he would do well to remember who exactly he’s sharing the ring with.

My Take: 1 out of 5 – This wasn’t a good match, but Crews won, so that’s something.

Match #8: (Main Event) Drew McIntyre def. Seth Rollins

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Drew McIntyre is all about speaking destructive goals and making them into reality, so he shared an ominous opening bit of business before facing Seth Rollins: Seeking to complete his dismantling of The Shield and establish his dominance over WWE, The Scottish Psychopath challenged Roman Reigns to a “fight” at WrestleMania, addressing him by his given name of “Joe” and begging The Big Dog to refuse for the sake of his wife and children. As for his seeming insistence on looking past Seth Rollins, he made good on that as well by defeating The Kingslayer, though it’s fair to say he had a little bit of help. It’s also fair to say he needed it. Left fuming by McIntyre’s disrespect to Reigns, The Kingslayer rode an emotional wave of adrenaline out of a deep hole against the Scotsman. Brock Lesnar’s music hit just seconds before he was set to deliver the Stomp, and McIntyre capitalized on the distraction, bulldozing Rollins with a Claymore to earn an impressive, if ill-gotten victory.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – This was an excellent main event that did what a match like this should do, which is be exciting. Seth was great here and Drew was only a step behind. This was a mixture of a brawl and a sprint, which means that they looked like they wanted to beat and kill each other at the same time. I really liked the match and you just might like it as well.

News Of The Night:

  1. Kurt Angle picked Baron Corbin to fight him at Wrestlemania, which may prove to be a ruse hide the real opponent for Angle.
  2. Drew McIntyre challenged Roman Reigns to a fight at Wrestlemania.
  3. Braun Strowman will be competing in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal.
  4. It looks like the Women’s Tag Titles will defended against many teams this year for Wrestlemania.
  5. Batista claims to have been held back by Triple H and that is why he wants to destroy his former mentor.

Final Verdict: 2/5

If it wasn’t for the main event, this show would’ve gotten a worse review.

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