Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of a Sovereign Statement. Well this is the special New Year’s Eve edition of Raw so it was pretaped but did it hinder the quality? Well I will answer that question so let us dive in.
Steel Cage Match
I have said it once and I will continue to say it that Drew McIntyre is just that guy. He has the look, the mic work, the ring work, the character work and everything else you need to be the top guy. He is more than ready to move into that spot and I have no doubt that we will be talking about him for years to come. This was another good match between these two as Dolph Ziggler has been a great foil for Drew. Drew’s trash talking in the ring is among the best in all of wrestling and he showcased more of it here. McIntyre picked up the win here after hitting Dolph with two picture perfect Claymore kicks. McIntyre gave Dolph a beating after the match and it would seem McIntyre has put Dolph in his rearview for the time being.
New Year’s Resolutions Part 1
This was a fun segment featuring some superstars and their resolutions for 2019. Finn has his usual things to say as did Ember Moon. The Lucha House Party talked about how 2019 will be their year but we shall see about that. The Ascension stole this one for me by having Viktor wish for the Fashion Files to come back. I do hope WWE brings it back some day because those were some of their greatest comedic moments in recent years.
Seth Rollins In-Ring
This was an interesting promo from Seth as it looked like it was going to be a standard one that he has given of late. It was a pleasant surprise that Triple H came down to the ring and told Seth that he wouldn’t get his automatic rematch with Dean and that he wasn’t sure if Seth deserved it. He talks about being his most vocal supporter and Seth tried to shoot it down, but Triple H tells him that Seth got him to believe in him. This felt like a longer version of Vince asking to see the real AJ on the Christmas edition of Smackdown and I enjoyed it. It feels like there is something on the horizon with these storylines because it cannot be a coincidence that we got these so close to one another. Before this ended though Shane McMahon came down to the ring to announce a Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship for a match later in the night.
This battle royal was fun because it not only had some of the mainstays of the mid-card on Raw, but it featured some faces we haven’t seen in some time. We had a Zack Ryder, Mojo Rawley and No Way Jose sighting among others. Conventional wisdom would have us think that someone like Finn or Baron Corbin would win this match, but this was the Apollo Crews show tonight. He had a stellar performance in this match with not only the most eliminations, but he would win it! He even had a promo after the match that showed he has emotion and isn’t just a smiling face babyface. If Apollo can build on this, he can have quite the 2019.
Natalya is one of those people who doesn’t have the best promo game. but she can deliver some good lines. She did a bit of that here. but she was quickly interrupted by Nia Jax and then Tamina would attack her and they beat down Natalya for a bit. Pretty standard stuff here to set up a tag match for later in the evening.
We cut to the ring and Baron Corbin is in the ring complaining about his spot like he has been since he lost all authority. He wanted a reward and was greeted with one by the life-changing music of Elias. Elias was at the top of the ramp and delivered a very good promo like only he knows how. I know they were in Detroit and he had to name drop someone, but did it have to be Kid Rock? I mean he surely could have said someone like Eminem, but I guess since Kid Rock has a relationship with WWE, that is why he did. This would lead to a brawl between the two in which Elias would get the better of Corbin. Looks like this will be the feud for these two leading into the Royal Rumble and I look forward to what they can do with this.
New Year’s Resolutions Part 2
I enjoyed the seriousness behind Drake Maverick’s words for AOP here and I hope they can turn it around because I do believe that pairing can still work. The Riott Squad had some quick words and Ruby made them work. Zack Ryder and No Way Jose closed it out and it is hard to really get behind anything they said sadly.
Six- Woman Tag Match
If I were to have one wish for WWE in 2019 it would be to scale back these six-woman tag team matches because we have gotten a lot of them. Seems like every week now there is one on Raw and I know it is a way to give the women a match but there are better ways to do it. It gives me flashbacks to when the women’s revolution started and all they did were these types of matches. This was a fun match between the Riott Squad and Ember/Sasha/Bayley as all six women can more than hold their own in the ring. Not much we haven’t seen before from these women and the faces picked up the win here.
The Almighty vs The Kingslayer
I loved that we had a more serious Lio Rush when he delivered a promo prior to this match. A very good change of pace from the comedic tone he had when telling Lashley to strike different poses. The more I see Seth with each week, the more I have come around to the belief that Seth is the best in WWE right now. He simply cannot have a bad match and he brought out a good one from Lashley. Seth’s quickness versus Lashley’s raw power was a good contrast in styles and it played out well here. Just when it looked like a double count out may happen, Seth grabbed a chair and hit Lashley with it. Seth went to town on both Lashley and Rush after the match with the chair and it looks like Triple H’s words struck a chord with him. Seth delivered quite the Blackout, that is what the Stomp should be called, to Lio at the end and it looks like we are in for a new Seth in 2019.
Jinder & The Singh Bros vs Slater & Rhyno
To be honest, this was a match that we should see on Main Event but somehow ended up on Raw. The match was what it was and Jinder picked up the win for his team. The best part about this was that the Singh Bros were able to display a little bit of their wrestling in this match. I hope we can get more or them because they are more than capable in the ring.
Dean Ambrose Promo
I hate that I have to grade an Ambrose promo so low, but it truly is deserving of that. This heel turn worked when it happened but has fallen off ever since. Everything he says has zero conviction behind it and I have to wonder if he wants to take this heel run in a different way but is being directed to go this way. When he says he is the moral compass, I do not believe that he believes that. Daniel Bryan is killing it on Smackdown as their moral compass because you can believe his words through the conviction behind them. I hope they do something with his character soon because if they don’t, I fear the fans will turn on him in the worst way.
New Year’s Resolutions Part 3
I said it in the DD for Raw that I cannot believe that Roode and Gable are working because they seemingly have found chemistry from out of nowhere. It seemed like once Gable got his robe and was able to participate in the entrance fully, something clicked with them. Roode looks like he is having fun again and I actually want to see where they go in 2019. The Revival also had some words here and I think they have a shot to be what they were in NXT if they let them. Bayley and Sasha closed this out by saying more of the same they have been.
Intercontinental Championship Match
When I found out Apollo would be the one challenging Ambrose in this match, I was hoping this would be his showcase match and boy was it. He had a different look in his eyes of that of someone who was ready to show was they can do and not of someone who is happy to be working for WWE. This was the match of the night and Apollo had a tremendous showing here. I hope he is able to build off of this and continue to grow his character because that has been the missing ingredient with him during his WWE tenure. Of course, Dean would go on to pick up the win here as his story with Seth isn’t over quite yet, so it will be interesting to see where they go with him. Also, please change his entrance music because the siren over his theme is not working one bit.
A Moment of Bliss Coming Soon
Alexa Bliss is getting her own talk show on Raw? Oh, please sign me up for that because this could have the makings of something great. Just please no “This is Your Life” moments and I will be happy.
Rousey & Natalya vs Nia Jax & Tamina
Solid tag match to end Raw but I felt like it could have been better. I loved that Ronda didn’t come out smiling and came out to fight because I think that is how she should come out for her matches. The bad thing about this match is that Ronda came out too fast to start and there was a bit of sloppiness as a result. Things changed once Natalya entered the match as things were able to slow down and the match could breathe a bit. The result was obvious as Ronda and Nattie were able to pick up the win here as Ronda made Tamina tap in the arm bar. I have to wonder what is next for Nia because she won’t be in the title picture, so I would assume the newly announced Women’s Tag Titles could be something for her and Tamina to go after. Though I think there are other teams now that have earned a better claim to be the inaugural champions.
I must say that Raw closed out 2018 with some solid shows overall and this was another one. There were no lulls during the second or third hours and that is good news. I do hope they are able to continue to build and make Raw a great show once again. There is plenty to look forward to for Raw in 2019 and I will be here each week with a Sovereign Statement to talk about it. I would also like to add that I am grateful to our Queen Kendra and the others for allowing me to join the Wrestle Royalty crew in 2018 because it is a dream to be able to write about something I love. I hope to see you all in 2019 and to see new faces around the Wrestle Royalty kingdom as we continue to grow here. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.