19th Feb2019

WWE Raw – 18th Feb 2019: Results & Review

by Nathan Favel

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Welcome to this Raw review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have some interesting news regarding NXT on this show, so let’s get to it before Harry Potter farts himself to death.

Match #1: Braun Strowman def. Baron Corbin (Tables Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Baron Corbin can always be counted on for a good strategy, though without his friends at his side, his luck doesn’t tend to match up. Facing a very angry Braun Strowman in a Tables Match, the former General Manager-Elect of Monday Night Raw relentlessly worked the battered ribs of his longtime foe, stayed on the attack after a strong opening and kept the action as far away from any stray tables as he could in the hopes of whittling Strowman down to claim the win the win. It didn’t work, but it was enough to make things interesting. That last tactic was especially wise: Slamming Corbin through a table would be light lifting for The Gift of Destruction, but The Lone Wolf’s combination of a wisely-picked target and impressive ring awareness made sure Strowman had neither the strength nor proximity to make that happen. Even when Strowman began to rally, Corbin’s fresher legs allowed him to keep the match at a quick pace — until he sprinted headlong into the Monster’s clutches and found himself plowed through a table via Running Powerslam to end the match. That result was hard-won vindication for Strowman, who was driven through two tables by Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley at last night’s pay-per-view, but the presence of Paul Heyman at the top of the ramp seemed to give him something of a second wind. Strowman ominously ensnared Brock Lesnar’s notorious handler by the shirt collar, but he ultimately released The Advocate from his clutches; he’d had enough destruction for one night.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – There was some solid action here, but it was a bit clunky and a bit more than slow. Corbin is no Dean Malenko, if you catch my drift. Strowman still needs a little seasoning, but he’s getting better all the time, so if you want to see what it looks like when a bicycle runs on two wheels that have been cut in half, this is your match.

Match #2: Intercontinental Champion Finn Bálor & Ricochet def. Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Finn Bálor’s Intercontinental Title victory was a welcome return to championship status for the dynamic Irishman, who’s labored for almost three years to claim a title since winning and vacating the Universal Championship in the span of a day. His current reign, though only one day old, is certainly looking to be an eventful one: He’s already got a rival and a friend to his name, as well as a victory. The rival is Bobby Lashley, the musclebound former champion who lost his title under Handicap Rules when Bálor pinned his second, Lio Rush. The friend is Ricochet, the NXT high-flyer who defies description — he’s literally called The One and Only, which should give you an idea — and came to Bálor’s rescue during a sneak attack from Lashley and Rush. The victory came in the following impromptu tag match, which showcased the skills and athleticism of everyone involved; with three speedsters and one powerhouse sharing the ring, it was, to borrow Rush’s phrase from last night, plenty of sizzle with a big side of steak. Rush and Ricochet provided a lot of the former, while Lashley seemed set on painfully reducing Bálor to a flash in the pan. Rush made the mistake of provoking Bálor instead of closing out, however, allowing the Irishman to rally and tag in his partner, who took the fight to Rush and — once Bálor had dispatched Lashley at ringside — put the match away with his astounding 630 maneuver.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – I wouldn’t call this one of the great tag team matches, but it was a fine showcase for these four guys. Ricochet looked great in his main roster debut and I think he will do well if this is a permanent thing.

Match #3: The Lucha House Party def. Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The goose egg remains, though it cannot be denied that Curt Hawkins is slowly inching toward the victory he hopes will snap his now-legendary losing streak. It’s not a matter of winning the big one so much as winning any one at all, which is perhaps why The Prince of Queens seemed somewhat frozen at the moment of truth during a tag team match that pitted him and Zack Ryder in a tag team match against Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik of The Lucha House Party. Hawkins rallied long enough from his brief hesitation to deck Metalik on the apron with a hard right, but The Golden Lynx was lying in wait with a hurricanrana that spiked Hawkins to the mat and proved enough to extend his streak by one.

My Take: 2 out of 5 – This had the potential, but the booking and the length crippled this puppy from the tail to the tip of the nose.

Match #4: NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The state of the tag team division has been something of a sticking point for The Revival over the last few weeks — too many fluke losses and Lucha House Rules for their taste — so their first night as Raw Tag Team Champions was right up their alley: A rematch of a 2016 contest against NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano that was named the match of the year. To be sure, the arrival of the onetime #DIY was a godsend for tag-team aficionados; the two teams put on an impromptu classic that seemed to foreshadow a new, ultracompetitive era for Raw’s tandem division and gave The Revival the kind of competition they crave. The result, however, left something to be desired for the self-proclaimed “Top Guys.”

Ciampa & Gargano did, indeed, give them a hell of a fight — more, perhaps, than they were ready for, as Dash & Dawson found themselves quickly put on their heels by Gargano’s speed and The Blackheart’s cruel ingenuity. Any strategy the champions had quickly went out the window, and the match quickly careened into a sequence of rapid-fire pin attempts. Dawson found himself on the wrong end of a slingshot spear from Gargano, which set up a fateful tag from Ciampa and the duo’s rattling finisher of a running knee and superkick to either side of the head that they call Meeting in the Middle. The good news for the champs is that they could try to write it off as a fluke, as Ciampa and Gargano have unfinished business at Full Sail with various challengers and, perhaps, each other. This may be a one-off reunion, and it might be better for The Revival’s reign if it was. Because for one night at least, they got exactly what they wanted, and they weren’t ready for it.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was a fun bout that gave both teams a chance to re-kindle that old NXT magic. They fit each other like an old glove and were able to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. This was a nice teaser of what could be a full return for #DIY if they are a regular fixture on Raw.

Match #5: Drew McIntyre def. Dean Ambrose

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

What’s Dean Ambrose thinking? It’s a question better asked than answered, as The Lunatic Fringe’s motivations seem to change at a moment’s notice. This week, he provoked a furious Drew McIntyre with a slap to the face, moments after The Scottish Psychopath petitioned Triple H for a match against Seth Rollins in hopes he might earn a victory that could send him to WrestleMania in The Kingslayer’s place. It proved to be an unwise strategy, as McIntyre made relatively quick work of the former WWE Champion with a pair of Claymores.

My Take: o.5 out of 5 – This wasn’t much of a match. A couple of moves and it was over.

Match #6: Aleister Black def. Elias

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Elias came to Louisiana not so much to play a song as bring himself to such a state of peace that he drifted off to unconsciousness, so Aleister Black arrived to give the man precisely what he desired. The former NXT Champion was the last and potentially most fearsome of Full Sail’s new arrivals to make his presence known on Raw, and Elias had luckily seen enough of what came before to be ready for The Dutch Destroyer. Or, at least, as ready as he could be. The Living Truth fought dirty and fought smart, grounding Black to take away his striking ability. But Aleister fought tougher, blistering Elias with every body part he had available to him, lastly and most greatly with his foot in the form of his wicked Black Mass kick. Good night, sweet prince.

My Take: 2 out of 5 – Black did well here, but this wasn’t much of a wrestling match.

Match #7: (Main Event) Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey def. Ruby Riott

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Ruby Riott, long considered a contender-in-waiting, was more or less routed by Ronda Rousey at Elimination Chamber, and even though she fell short of The Rowdy One’s title once again on Raw, Riott managed to salvage no small amount of pride by at least making it a fight. She may owe a little bit to Becky Lynch. The Man’s attack left Rousey as bruised as it did irritated, and Ruby was able to capitalize accordingly. (Related note: Lynch will be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, and menacing if violates her suspension again, though Triple H admitted he thought it was cool.) The rest of The Riott Squad also paid dividends, handing Rousey a 3-on-1 disadvantage where needed. But she couldn’t close out; Rousey kicked out of not one but two Riott Kicks, took out the Squad with a crossbody to the outside, and sealed the deal with an Alabama Slam into the turnbuckles and the piece de resistance, the Armbar. The Baddest Woman on the Planet wasn’t quite done there, either; she quickly dispatched the rest of The Riott Squad when they rushed the ring to send her challenger and her cronies scurrying in a display of dominance that surely caught the eye of Charlotte Flair, to say nothing of you-know-who as well.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This worked out just fine and was a good match. This was a nice companion to the Pay Per View version from last night, but it kind of dilutes the desire of anyone to bother with the PPV cards when they know they’ll just get a free version the next night. Actually, Vince makes this mistake all the time, so it’s just the Happy Days record at this point, but it might be playing Linkin Park instead of whoever the hell it was on the show.

News Of The Night:

  1. NXT main eventers Ricochet, Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa all debuted on Raw to good effect.
  2. Dean Ambrose is being positioned as having a possible personality problem or memory loss, if not just being a friendly sociopath, thanks to Seth Rollins wondering what was wrong with Dean when he asked why the former didn’t aid the latter in his match with Drew McIntyre.
  3. Nia Jax and Tamina are the first rivals for Sasha Banks and Bayley’s Women’s Tag Team Titles.
  4. Ric Flair’s birthday celebration in Atlanta is next week.
  5. Paul Heyman had a fabulous vignette that gave the history of Brock Lesnar and why he would beat Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania, despite Rollins’s endurance.
  6. The Braun Strowman/Brock Lesnar feud is still being kept alive.

Final Verdict: 2.5/5

There was some decent wrestling here, but the arrival of the big NXT stars was the highlight here, even if the crowd didn’t seem to care about anything tonight.

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