The Big Dog Is Back

Over the weekend we learned that Roman Reigns would be returning to Raw to give an update on his battle with leukemia. We also had Ric Flair’s 70th birthday celebration that would take place this week to look forward to. So, let us see what Raw had to offer us this week.

 

Roman Reigns’ Announcement

I was extremely worried when I heard the news that Roman was going to give an update on his battle with cancer. We all were hoping for good news, but I do not think that many of us were expecting to hear what he had to say. Roman was showing the signs of his battle with cancer as he was considerably slimmed down. He walked into the arena to a chorus of cheers and I was so happy that the crowd in Atlanta showed him all that love. He thanked the fans for all the thoughts and prayers and messages they have sent him throughout his battle. Then came the best news ever and Roman said that he was in remission. The crowd let out a roar and filled the arena with cheers to that news. Seth would come out and embrace Roman and the crowd continued to shower him with cheers. I am so happy for him and to the people who think that he faked his cancer, you all should fade away and classify yourselves as obsolete!

 

Ricochet & Aleister Black vs The Revival

When I saw that this match was happening, I knew it would be a fun one and that it was. The Revival are finally atop the tag division on Raw and I feel like they could have used some other team to get Ricochet and Black over here. Champions shouldn’t eat that many losses and the Revival would eat one here. Ricochet and Black are two people that just have that thing that could make them stars, so long as Vince and creative do not mess it up that is. As I said, this was a fun match that saw the team of Ricochet and Black pick up the win after a Black Mass. Fun but short match overall.

 

Baron Corbin Backstage

Corbin has completely come into his as being complete slime and is one of the few members on the roster that gets true heat from the fans. He embraces it and it only adds to his character. I love how Corbin played off his prior comments on Roman Reigns but that he also warned Roman to not to get in his way. I also love how the interviewers are being a bit snippier and not just being pushovers of late.

 

Elias In-Ring

I love Elias dearly and I think he is one of the best on the mic, but he has become lost over the last month or so. He went from being over as a heel, to turning face, now he is back to being a heel and it feels like he is just spinning his wheels. Like I said, he is still great with his promos, but he currently lacks direction and that isn’t a good thing with the ever-growing roster. He tried to sing a song but was interrupted by Lacey Evans and it was so hilariously and perfectly done. Then Dean Ambrose came out and he seems to have a bit of his swagger back since dropping his heel persona. He challenged Drew McIntyre to a no disqualification rematch and then had a nice back and forth with Elias. He his Elias with Dirty Deeds after ducking a guitar shot and that was that.

 

Riott Squad vs Ronda Rousey & Natalya

I have totally lost count how many times Natalya has faced the Riott Squad in some capacity over the past year. I am so over seeing her face them and maybe they should move one of them back to Smackdown because they have run these matches to the ground. The match itself was fine but, after seeing it so many times, it is hard to be invested in it. I know Ronda is pulling back her punches so she doesn’t accidently hurt someone, but she is swinging at air most of the time and that doesn’t look good. The match ended when Becky Lynch came from the crowd and a brawl ensued between her and Rousey. Referees, backstage personnel, security and police officers came down to separate the two and Becky would leave the arena in handcuffs.

 

Ronda Rousey In-Ring

Ronda really needs to slow down when she delivers her promos because she stumbles all over the place and it completely takes away from the good lines that are written for her. She called out Vince but was greeted by Stephanie McMahon instead. I loved Stephanie here, but Ronda completely took me out of it with her poor delivery of her lines.  Ronda needs an acting coach or some time down at the Performance Center because she is regressing in her promo game and it reminds me as to why Hollywood hasn’t really been calling her back since her last movie. Ronda ended up giving up the title to Stephanie in an act of protest for not reinstating Becky Lynch and it should have been a great moment, but it wasn’t due to Ronda’s poor acting.

 

Jinder Mahal Open Challenge

Jinder complained about not being invited to Flair’s birthday celebration and issued an open challenge that was answered by Kurt Angle. The match itself was pretty much something that would be left out of the Hulu version of Raw. This is about as skippable as skippable gets and that is really all I have to say about it.

 

A Moment of Bliss with Balor Club

I don’t know if it is me, but I feel like Finn has his swagger back ever since capturing the Intercontinental Championship. His mic work is full of confidence and the way he carries himself has that confidence as well. He and Alexa Bliss had good chemistry during this and I know some people are probably turned off by her flirting with the males but it’s not over the top, so I am fine with it. Lio Rush came and did his best Kanye West/Taylor Swift moment and continued to tell Finn that Lashley deserves to be Intercontinental Champion and not him. Finn took that opportunity to goad Lio into a match with him for the IC Title and we would get that next.

 

The Man of the Hour vs Balor Club

This was an amazing match and was a great showcase for Lio Rush. Lio showed the people who haven’t seen him on 205 Live that he is a force to be reckoned with and he had a great match with Finn here. If you haven’t seen the match, stop reading and go see that match because it is that good. Finn was in a different role during this match as he was the bigger man for once. This match was really all about Lio and he was close to beating Finn on more than one occasion. Finn would pick up the win but Lio looked great in defeat. I know I didn’t speak much on this match because I do not want to spoil too much of it because it is darn good and is one of the best Raw matches early here in 2019.

 

The Ascension & Heavy Machinery Backstage

Tucker was plain vanilla here and the Ascension carried this before Otis got involved. The Ascension showed some real personality here that I haven’t seen since they were on the Fashion Files. Otis did a good job in showing how he was offended by the Ascension’s comments towards him and quickly beat them down.

 

Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush at Gorilla

Lio sold his disappointment so well and Lashley showed a real intensity here over Lio getting that IC title opportunity. It looks like they are setting up Lio to eventually turn face on Lashley and I cannot wait for that. WWE usually does a good job in setting these up but fail in the aftermath and I hope this won’t be the case this time around.

 

Braun Strowman vs Bobby Lashley

This was supposed to be a match between Strowman and Lashley, but the two men decided to fight before the bell was rung. They fought one another and Strowman would get the better of him. Not much outside of that and I expect this match to happen next week.

 

Seth Rollins Backstage

Seth Rollins did well here, and he sold his happiness toward Roman’s announcement very well. He spoke a bit about his upcoming match with Brock Lesnar and how he will celebrate with Roman. Short but good stuff from Seth here.

 

Dean Ambrose vs Drew McIntyre

This was a fun match and Dean surprised all of us by wearing two belts. Dean took off one to whip McIntyre with, but McIntyre would get the upper hand and whip him with it. I felt bad for Renee because you could hear and feel how uncomfortable she may have been watching that. I know this was no disqualification but not many weapons were used during this match. It looked like Dean was building momentum to a win, but Elias came from nowhere to blast Dean with a guitar. That allowed McIntyre to pick up the win and then he, Elias, Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley would begin to beatdown Ambrose. Seth and Roman came down to make the save and the crowd erupted with Roman started hitting his signature moves. Seth and Roman then walked away and left Dean in the ring and I feel like this is leading to something more.

 

Bayley vs Nia Jax

We have seen this matchup many times in recent years and, like their previous encounters, was a solid match. Bayley has her swagger back and it shows in her ring work because she is looking smooth in there once again. Nia did her best in using her size to her advantage and it would look like she would pick up the win multiple times but that would not be the case. Tamina tried to get involved by attacking Sasha Banks but she was able to side step her and Tamina crashed into the steps. Bayley picked up the win with an Elbow Drop and I have one gripe with the way Michael Cole sold the win. He said Bayley picked up a huge win and made it seem like Nia and Tamina are the tag champs and not her and Sasha. Cole is usually on point, but he was off there.

 

Rick Flair’s Birthday Celebration

There wasn’t much time left when they started this celebration so we all had to know something fishy was up. Triple H was in the ring with Stephanie and they introduced Kurt Angle, HBK, Ricky Steamboat and Sting to the ring to partake in this celebration. He then introduced Ric Flair and he wasn’t coming out. It was here that the shock of the night happened when Batista returned and was shown in the back going into Flair’s dressing room and he presumably beat him up. He asked Triple H is he was watching him now and looks like we are getting Triple H vs Batista at Wrestlemania. I honestly didn’t know how to feel about this, but I guess I am fine with it. There is usually one attraction match at Wrestlemania and I guess this will be it. I have no idea how good the match itself will be, but the build could be rather good. Avengers Endgame comes out a few weeks after Wrestlemania so maybe WWE is hoping to grab the fans of the MCU for Wrestlemania.

 

Final Statement

There were only two real low points in this week’s edition of Raw and they were the Jinder/Angle match and Ronda’s match with Natalya and the Riott Squad and her subsequent in-ring segment with Stephanie. Also, the Heavy Machinery segment with the Ascension was rather forgettable as well. This night’s highlight belongs to Roman Reigns as his news that his leukemia is in remission is undoubtedly the best news ever. This was a very solid episode of Raw and I enjoyed it. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and make sure you join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.