Well here we are with the Raw after the Royal Rumble and I was rather excited for this week’s episode. The Royal Rumble was fairly good, and Takeover was phenomenal as usual. Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch won their respective Rumble matches and the question on everybody’s mind was which champion will they choose for Wrestlemania? Let us see what the Raw after the Rumble has in store for us.
Seth Rollins In-Ring
Seth Rollins was my pick to win the Rumble and he was able to pull it off, so it only made sense for him to kick off Raw tonight. The crowd was firmly behind him throughout his opening promo and he looks like he is ready to lead Raw. He had a good promo where he spoke about his Rumble win and how he felt going into it. Triple H then came out and I was very surprised to see him here. He congratulated Seth on his win and how he was glad to see the “old” Seth back. Dean Ambrose then made his way to the ring and had his best promo since he turned heel. There was hardly any hint of the moral compass character he has been playing and more of the unstable, unhinged character he excels at. Him asking for a match with Seth and then telling Triple H that he needs to ask permission from his father-in-law was perfectly done. Triple H didn’t hesitate in asking for a referee to come down to the ring for our opening match.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
It really is hard to find anything new in matches between these two because they have faced off so many times over the last few years. They have had matches that were duds and matches that have left us on the edge of our seats. This was probably right in the middle and was a good match. There is always a bit more aggression in their encounters because of the past history between them. It was to nobody’s surprise that Rollins picked up the win here and Ambrose sold the Blackout, still refuse to call it “The Stomp”, like the Rock would sell the Stunner. After the match, Dean was sitting in the ring ready to get something off his chest but was interrupted by Nia Jax and Tamina who were coming out for their match that was up next. We know the reports about Dean leaving the company post-Mania are out there, so we will have to see how this plays out next week.
Alexa Bliss & Mickie James vs Nia Jax & Tamina
This was the first qualifying match for the Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber match and it was just okay to me. Maybe it had to do with it being heel versus heel, but something just was off for me. The fans love Alexa right now and she definitely played a more face role in this match. I actually would be interested to see how Bliss could do as a face because I think she could pull it off. It was rather predictable that Nia and Tamina would pick up the win here and they have to be seen as the favorites to become the inaugural champions.
Kurt Angle Backstage Interview
Kurt Angle is one of my all-time favorites and the way this backstage interview was done felt a bit odd to me. I think the camera angle just threw me off, so I wasn’t able to fully get invested in this. Using video clips as an almost “flashback in Kurt’s head” felt off to me as well. This whole interview just felt strange to me as a whole.
Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle
Like I said, Kurt is one of my favorites of all-time, but his body has been through so much and it shows every time he steps into the ring. There were some spots which I feared a bit for Corbin because it looked like Kurt simply didn’t have the strength to get him up. Corbin would go on to pick up the win, not with the End of Days, but with the Deep Six. That is usually a telling sign as to the state of someone when Corbin defeats someone with his secondary maneuver. It feels like we are heading to a storyline that has Angle continuously losing only to ride off into the sunset at Wrestlemania. If that is where we are going with this, I am all for it.
Finn Balor In-Ring
Finn had a good showing against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble and he sold the battle wounds very well here. He had a solid promo as well and you can see a bit more edge to him that he hasn’t been able to tap into as much during his main roster run. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush came out to interrupt and we all had an idea about what was to come. Lio is the best thing to happen to Lashley as he has brought the edge and toughness that was lacking in Lashley when he returned to the company. I was dying when Lio called Finn a twerp and I love the swagger Lio has with Lashley right now. This led to Lashley beating down Finn and this seems like the program for both men going forward.
The Revival vs Ryder & Hawkins
It was nice to see WWE follow up on Zack Ryder helping Curt Hawkins and them reforming as a tag team. With the way the Revival have been booked, I had no idea who would go over here because you can make a case for either team. The match was what it was, and the Revival picked up the win by hitting the Shatter Machine on Hawkins. I just have this feeling that this will lead to Hawkins getting his first win in 200+ matches over the Revival.
Daniel Bryan & Rowan Backstage
Daniel Bryan is the best heel on the main roster right now and he is perfect in this save the planet role. He has given me vibes of CM Punk at the height of his straight edge persona when he formed the Straight Edge Society and that is a good thing. He owned the mic here and I love that he is ready for Seth if he were to choose him.
WWE & UNICEF
We all have our gripes with WWE but what they do outside the ring with charity is always commendable. The joy on the faces of those children when they were able to hangout with the WWE superstars was priceless. I will always give kudos to WWE when they help out and do things like this.
It looks like the Elias as a face experiment is over and he is back to being a heel. He started off as he usually does but he went back to talking smack about the crowd and the crowd didn’t want to boo at first but that would change. I will say he does look a bit more comfortable as a heel, so this may be for the better. I was surprised that Jeff Jarrett came out to interrupt Elias and it looks like we may have a program between these two. Road Dogg came out in support of JJ and they both sang “With My Baby Tonight” and Elias would have none of that. Elias took out Road Dogg with a guitar shot and he and JJ fought in the ring for a bit. It looked like JJ would get the guitar shot on Elias, but Elias would regain the upper hand and deliver the guitar shot to him. Guitar on a pole match at Elimination Chamber anyone?
Dana Brooke & Natalya Backstage
Well it certainly does suck that Ember Moon will be out with injury considering we are on the Road to Wrestlemania. I like that Dana Brooke showed a bit here because she hasn’t had much of a chance to show anything at all. I love that Natalya had a bit of apprehension in trusting her skills and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Mojo Rawley Backstage
I like the intensity from Mojo here but where the heck is this going to go from here? He hasn’t been on television in months and the first time we see him we get this. I really have no words on this because I have no clue what it was I saw.
Riott Squad vs Natalya & Dana Brooke
Would it kill WWE to have Natalya have a match against somebody that isn’t the Riott Squad? I am totally over seeing this match pairing and I hope it is the last I see of it for months. This was the second qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber tag team title match and it was okay. It really is hard for me to be invested in a variation of a match I have seen countless times throughout last year. The Riott Squad picked up the win here because of miscommunication between Dana and Natalya so I imagine we get a short program between those two.
Ronda Rousey In-Ring
First things first, the crowd completely took over this segment and Ronda couldn’t recover from it. You can expect that Ronda is going to be getting a ton of heat going into Wrestlemania and it will be interesting to see how she deals with it. Rousey issued her open challenge, kind of, and Bayley came out to save what was left of this. Bayley accepted the challenge and that put an end to this segment that was going downhill fast.
Ronda Rousey vs Bayley
We always tend to forget that Bayley is a beast in the ring like her fellow four horsewomen because her booking has been so poor. This was a very good match and Ronda sold consistently well for Bayley. One complaint I have had for Ronda has been that she is inconsistent in matches when it comes to selling. Bayley showed an edge and aggression that hasn’t been seen in quite some time and that gave this match an extra oomph. Just when it looked like Bayley was closing in on the win, Ronda was able to snatch an arm bar for the tap out win. That ending felt a bit too “super” to me and would have left a sour taste in my mouth if it wasn’t for what was about to come…
The Man Decides!
We all kind of expected Becky to show up and boy did she ever show up. The pops she gets are right at the level that Stone Cold Steve Austin used to get and she is the most over person in all of wrestling right now. I don’t think many of us ever envisioned that in 2019 a female wrestler would be the talk of wrestling but here we are. She came out to make her intentions known that she is coming after “Ronnie” and her belt at Wrestlemania. Ronda did do a bit better on the mic here, but it was so hard to hear her through the crowd that was pro-Becky throughout this. If you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favor and see it because Becky is everything and more right now.
Braun and Seth Backstage
Short and to the point and I enjoyed it. Braun congratulated Seth on his victory and told him to make the right choice for his opponent at Wrestlemania. I can’t help but feel sorry for Braun because it feels like his moment has passed him by and now he may fall into the Big Show and Kane role of not being the top guy but someone who they occasionally throw into the main event scene.
Make A Wish
Like I said earlier, say what you will about WWE they do things for charities and children that you can’t help but applaud. What a moment for him and this will be a night he won’t forget.
Braun Strowman vs Drew McIntyre
McIntyre simply has the aura of someone that doesn’t see the brass ring or glass ceiling but sees everything that is beyond that. McIntyre is a towering man and seeing him matched up with Braun is rather interesting. This was a good and physical match and one that we may be seeing more of in 2019. I enjoyed the DQ ending with Corbin attacking Braun with the steel steps because it makes sense for him to want some retribution on Strowman. Corbin and McIntyre would team up to take down Strowman and save themselves for the time being.
Seth Rollins’ Decision
We all expected Seth to come out and tell us who he was going to face at Wrestlemania but Brock Lesnar decided to change things up a bit. He came out to the ring first with Paul Heyman and Heyman told Seth to choose Daniel Bryan. I love the rationale Heyman was able to spew here as he can talk for hours and I will listen. Seth then came down and made his intentions clear by attacking Lesnar in the ring. It looked like Seth would get the upper hand but Lesnar was able to hit Seth with multiple F5s, including one on the Universal Championship and all I will say is that this should be fun.
As January closes, it is safe to say that Raw has been fairly good throughout this month. This was another very good episode of Raw and just about every segment felt like it was done with a purpose. There wasn’t much filler tonight and plenty of stories started to take shape as we are on the Road to Wrestlemania. The highlights from this week’s episode were definitely the Bayley/Rousey match and Becky Lynch showing up to make it known she is coming for Ronda and the Raw Women’s Championship. The only real low points for me were the Mojo promo backstage because I have no idea what to make of it and Kurt’s backstage promo for the same reasons. Also, Ronda getting eaten alive by the live crowd prior to her match with Bayley was a low point as well. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.