23rd Apr2019

WWE Raw – April 22nd 2019: Results & Review

by Nathan Favel

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Welcome to this week’s Monday Night Raw review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have more confusion from the WWE Draft/Super-Star Shake-Up/if they give it another name I’ll be pissed off. Let’s see if the build for the Money In The Bank Pay Per View gets enough time to sell itself on Raw.

Match #1: AJ Styles def. United States Champion Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio to advance to Raw’s main event

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

It was only a matter of time until AJ Styles found himself in the mix for the Universal Title once he jumped ship to Raw, but the speed at which The Phenomenal One has maneuvered into contention for Team Red’s top title is impressive even by his standards: Thanks to a Triple Threat victory over Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio, Styles is now one win away from his very first Universal Championship opportunity at WWE Money in the Bank. Despite the well-documented history between the three competitors — Joe is very adept at beating up Styles though not beating him, while Rey was trounced by the Samoan bully at WrestleMania — the match was a complete scramble from start to finish, with each Superstar fighting for whatever edge they could get. That made Styles’ victory all the more impressive; Mysterio had both him and Joe lined up for 619s but only connected with The Samoan Submission Machine before Styles snatched him out of midair. The Phenomenal One then used Mysterio as a human implement, powerbombing and Styles Clashing him on top of a defenseless Joe to tee the big man up for a pinfall. The three-count followed, and just like that, he’s almost there.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5 – This was an excellent match that re-united two thirds of the greatest multi-man, as well as one of the best matches in wrestling’s history, in AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. Rey Mysterio did a great job jumping into the established chemistry between AJ and Joe to make this bout a real thrill. This is one of those matches that could have enticed folks to buy it on PPV, but since Vince doesn’t value matches like some of the better promoters out there, you get it with no anticipation. Still, it’s great to have this match at all, so I’ll quit #!?@$&%). Overall, this was a blast.

Match #2: Naomi def. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Billie Kay

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Last week, Naomi defeated The IIconics with Bayley at her side in tag team action. Bayley’s on SmackDown LIVE now, but a two-on-one advantage didn’t give the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions any kind of a leg up in a one-on-one match between Naomi and Billie Kay. The former SmackDown Women’s Champion was more than prepared for shenanigans from Peyton Royce and summarily knocked her off the apron when she threatened to get involved. Naomi followed up with a sunset flip to Billie, securing an impressively quick pinfall that left The IIconics steaming — though they should probably count themselves lucky: If Naomi still had a partner, they might have themselves a pair of challengers.

My Opinion: 1 out of 5 – This was a lousy match, but at least it didn’t break your hip to watch it.

Match #3: Baron Corbin def. The Miz and Drew McIntyre to advance to Raw’s main event

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Like the proverbial bad penny, Baron Corbin just will not go away. The former General Manager of Raw, Golden Gloves champion, former Money in the Bank contract holder, former United States Champion defeated The Miz and Drew McIntyre to advance to Raw’s make-or-break main event, where he’ll face AJ Styles with a Universal Title opportunity on the line. “Des Moines’ favorite son” might be pushing it, but he certainly is the city’s luckiest inhabitant at the moment, because this one was looking like it was going to The Miz. Despite facing a pair of heavy-hitters in Corbin and McIntyre, The A-Lister somehow willed the match into his favor almost from the jump. He rallied from a Celtic Cross variation on a Tower of Doom to trap McIntyre in a Figure-Four Leglock, kicked out of Corbin’s Deep Six and escaped the End of Days; by the match’s midpoint, the crowd was firmly behind him. Corbin, however, was just a little bit smarter. After Miz accidentally sprinted full-bore into a Claymore from McIntyre, The Lone Wolf shoved the Scotsman out of the ring and stole the pinfall. Even taking Triple Threat rules into account, the win was something of a highway robbery, but Corbin’s haters shouldn’t take it for a given that Styles will send him packing: The only thing more ominous than Baron Corbin getting another opportunity is the moment you realize he tends to make the most of them.

My Opinion: 2.5 out of 5 – This was like watching paint dry on a jumbo jet while it was going way up high. It was kind of interesting, but it might still put you to sleep. Miz still doesn’t work as a good guy, but he works better than Corbin does as…anything. I feel bad about always having something negative to say concerning Corbin, but it’s Vince’s fault for putting him on TV before he was ready. Drew looked good here, but he already feels like he’s lost in the shuffle. Overall, this was a bit less than what it should have been, but a bit more than what I assumed it would be.

Match #4: Cesaro def. Cedric Alexander

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

There are fewer tougher trials by fire out there than a match with Cesaro, so one can argue that all Cedric Alexander had to do in his first match as a full-blown Raw Superstar was put on a good showing. In that case, the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion certainly succeeded, giving the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion a fight worthy of his reputation. But faced with a motivated Swiss Cyborg (the status of his partnership with Sheamus went unaddressed, but he didn’t seem to mind flying solo), Alexander simply couldn’t get over the hump. That isn’t to say The King of Swing made quick work of the purple brand’s former franchise player. Alexander’s combo of power and speed gave Cesaro a fair amount of fits as he tried to box in his opponent. But his skills proved a double-edged sword, as Cesaro shifted to a defensive strategy and let Alexander come to him, and “The Soul of 205 Live” was forced to once again start from scratch. This time, Alexander found success by going high-risk with a top-rope plancha, and yet again, a defensive strategy proved key for Cesaro: When Alexander went big with a springboard, The Swiss Superman planted his feet and administered a jaw-jacking European uppercut that grounded his opponent for three. Both Superstars are, to a degree, starting from scratch, so the match is hardly make-or-break for either. And some history should provide comfort here: Alexander’s former rival Ali lost in his SmackDown LIVE debut a few months back and ended up just fine. But it was hard to begrudge Alexander’s visible disappointment that he couldn’t make a statement — or clear the bar.

My Opinion: 3 out of 5 – This was far too short for its own good, but it was high-quality stuff all the way through. Cesaro is on Raw, depite not being drafted last week. Screw it. At least Cesaro is getting some attention. Cedric was excellent here, but I don’t like him losing yet. That being said, I don’t see Vince doing much with Cedric at all, so perhaps this is the beginning of the end for him. The match itself was as good as time allowed, but it’s a shame that time didn’t allow something a bit more extensive.

Match #5: NXT Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders versus The Lucha House Party

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Here’s where the Raw Tag Team division stands: The Usos and The Revival are sniping at each other backstage, The Viking Raiders are demolishing everyone in their sights, and reigning champions Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins might be on borrowed time. The big-ticket item there, at least Monday night, was the exploits of Erik & Ivar, who feasted on The Lucha House Party in what was billed as a match but ended up a mauling. The bearded pillagers made quick work of the three masked men, and the severity of the beating did not go unnoticed by Ryder & Hawkins, who were interviewed after the match and seemed to be sweating — at least in Hawkins’ case — over the prospect of facing the Raiders down the line. The Ultimate Broski restored his partner’s confidence with a well-timed pep talk, though one would hope he looked closer at what had just transpired: The Lucha House Party are pretty peppy themselves, and it didn’t do much for them.

My Opinion: 0 out of 5 – The match never got started as it was used as a brawl, instead.

Match #6: Raw & SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch def. Alicia Fox

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

On paper, Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans is something of a mismatch. The latter is still something of an unknown, while the former sits at the undisputed head of both Women’s divisions thanks to her dual possession of the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Titles. Factor in that Lacey is getting on Becky’s last nerve, and the forecast seemed to be a rout in favor of The Man. If Raw is any indication, that prediction might be a little off. True, Lynch backed up her championship pedigree with a victory over Alicia Fox, who put up a very impressive fight against the twice-over titleholder. But the moment The Man submitted Fox with the Dis-arm-her, Evans stormed the ring and clocked The Man with the Woman’s Right. Becky staggered to her feet, only to wander into a second right from The Lady of WWE that put the Irishwoman on her back and, possibly, gave her a very harsh preview of WWE Money in the Bank. For all Lynch’s well-earned confidence, Lacey Evans might not just do what Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair couldn’t, she might just do it backwards and in heels.

My Opinion: 0 out of 5 – Fox is still a lousy wrestler, but Lynch is good. That said, this match was a failure, no matter what way you look at it.

Match #7: Robert Roode def. Ricochet

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

No, it didn’t just get more formal around here: Having lost his tag team partner to SmackDown LIVE in the Superstar Shake-up — or, if you ask him, having dropped 150 pounds of dead weight — the man formerly known as Bobby Roode has undergone a self-imposed reboot, which is why he’s now demanding to be referred to as Robert Roode and sporting a rather ravishing mustache. Lest you think the reinvention was confined to surface trappings, however, there’s a certain intangible something that has changed about The Glorious One; Robert Roode was rougher, tougher and more underhanded against Ricochet than Bobby Roode ever was, down to the way he claimed the win against the former NXT North American Champion. Right as Ricochet began to deploy his various, video-game caliber aerial attacks, Roode evaded the 630, ruthlessly chucked Ricochet head-first into the middle turnbuckle and administered the Glorious DDT for the win. Robert Roode will certainly have more to say as time goes on, but the last word on his re-debut might actually belong to Corey Graves: Maybe Roode didn’t change who he was so much as remember it.

My Opinion: 3 out of 5 – From a technical perspective, this was fantastic. Every move went from one to another in beautiful succession and made a perfect blend of Roode and Ricochet’s two contrasting styles. The problem with this match is that the booking required this match to not have a real purpose beyond Roode winning. Each move was not implemented to make both men look like proper title contenders, but rather to just smoothly get to the finish. The crowd wasn’t really excited about this one, which is a shame. Overall, this was a fine bout that deserved better.

Match #8: (Main Event) AJ Styles def. Baron Corbin to earn a Universal Championship opportunity at WWE Money in the Bank

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

AJ Styles is going to WWE Money in the Bank, and Baron Corbin made him earn it. While the main-event clash that decided Seth Rollins’ challenger for the Universal Title wasn’t quite the unstoppable force and the immovable object, Styles vs. Corbin was still a dead-even confrontation between two Superstars who consistently find a way to win, albeit under very different circumstances. That Styles prevailed wasn’t exactly a surprise — it’s kind of his thing — but it was somewhat surprising given the way the bout was going. Fittingly, both Superstars continued with the same strategies that won them their respective Triple Threat Matches earlier in the night: Styles gritted his way through tall odds after suffering a mid-match injury, while Corbin exploited whatever weakness he could find by targeting that same injury. Corbin’s size made it impossible to execute the Styles Clash, which took away one of The Phenomenal One’s signature weapons. The Lone Wolf didn’t hesitate to capitalize, but a Calf Crusher left the big man a step slower, and a Phenomenal Forearm sealed the deal. Perhaps recognizing the magnitude of the victory — and certainly recognizing the magnitude of the challenge ahead of him — Seth Rollins came out for a respectful handshake with his new challenger that nonetheless had an air of tenseness about it: Respect or otherwise, Rollins worked hard to take this house back. It’d be unwise to let AJ start putting his feet up just yet.

My Opinion: 3 out of 5 – This was not as good as some of the other matches on this card, but AJ’s performance was excellent. Corbin just isn’t ready for prime-time yet. AJ winning was the best decision and will yield the best match for Seth Rollins, so that’s that and there you go.

News Of The Night:

  1. The Viking Experience is now called the The Viking Raiders.
  2. Bray Wyatt’s new gimmick is that he’s changed himself into a demented children’s TV host who resents, but still essentially remains, a violent bastard. The vignette they did this with was great and actually made him even more insane than before. Bray seems to have lost a lot of weight as well, so he should move even better in his matches.
  3. AJ Styles will wrestle Seth Rollins at Money In The Bank for the WWE Universal Title.
  4. A Moment Of Bliss will announce the Male and Female Money In The Bank competitors, next week.
  5. Samoa Joe is now on Raw.
  6. Cesaro is now on Raw.
  7. Bobby Roode has reverted back to being called Robert Roode, which was some-thing he did for some time in Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling to great acclaim. Roode also has changed his beard to Rick Rude’s mustache.
  8. Triple H and Seth Rollins are being booked to be on good terms.

Final Verdict: 3/5

Things started out well enough, but a few bad matches ruined a good night. That being said, we had some good matches as well, so the chance for Raw to be good this year is still possible.

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