WWE Monday Night RAW - April 8, 2019
by Scrooge McSuck
- Presented LIVE from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, it's our favorite episode of Monday Night Raw of the year: THE RAW AFTER WRESTLEMANIA. Wild crowds, beach balls, debuts, and questionable chants! Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young are calling the action unless otherwise noted and give us the advisory warning that the crowd might not play along with the storylines (a.k.a. having brains of their own).
Just a quick note: I've seen a lot of negative reactions to a couple of matches at WrestleMania that I thought delivered a satisfying performance (mostly Shane/Miz, to a lesser extent, the Main Event) and I stand by my rating: The story told was a man releasing frustration and aggression on a jerk who assaulted his father, and not for one moment did they try and be cute with a "wrestling" match (other than the suplex at the end, I can't name many wrestling moves done other than punch and kick). The reaction for the latter was still positive, but in a "it was good, but that's all" way, with a lot of reasoning comparing it to other matches working a completely different style and story and other shows from the week outside of WWE. Maybe in 5-years my rating might drop half-a-star when I notice more blown spots, but it deserves a spot as one of the top matches of the night.
- Seth Rollins, the NEW Universal Champion, comes out to kick off the show. Before he can give his monologue, we get photo highlights of last night's match where Seth's prophecy as the Beast Slayer came true. Crowd chants "You Deserve it", but he corrects them, saying "We Deserve It." He's been waiting a long time to stand in the ring and hold up that title. It only took climbing Mount Everest and defeating the most dominant Champion in WWE history ("Thank You Rollins"). He says he feels like he got ran over by a Mack Truck. He may have taken some questionable tactics to gain an advantage, but he didn't do anything to Brock that he wouldn't have done to him. He heard Lesnar and Heyman left WrestleMania and took a flight to Vegas, and for all he's concerned, they can stay there. Rollins says he's the reigning, defending, FIGHTING, Universal Champion that everyone can be proud of. Suddenly, THE NEW DAY INTERRUPT. In case you missed it, Kofi is the NEW WWE Champion. They "casually" mention a Superstar Shake-Up, coming next week. They couldn't wait for Smackdown Live to celebrate. Big E is so excited, he does a split. Kofi mentions the "Winner Take All" stipulation last night and suggests the new Universal Champion and the new WWE Champion have a winner take all match TONIGHT. No Shield, no New Day, just 1-on-1, TITLE FOR TITLE. Rollins accepts. Woah. I guess Kofi is losing the title tonight.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match:
Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins (c) vs. The Revival:
WrestleMania Rematch. Hawkins snapped his losing streak of 269 matches and is now on a 1 match winning streak. HOT TAKE, ME. Ryder and Dawson start. Lockup into the ropes. Dash tags in, but Ryder escapes the corner. Wilder grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Ryder connects with a clothesline. Hawkins in for a combination side effect/leg sweep for two. Wilder slows Hawkins down with a forearm and he gets to play face-in-peril. Dawson works him over in the corner and takes him over with a side headlock. Crisscross and Hawkins with a dropkick. He charges into the corner with a forearm and unloads with rights. Whip and Dash gets the knees up, allowing Dawson to drop Hawkins with an uppercut. Revival with the Hart Attack for two. We come back from commercial with Hawkins hitting Dawson with a running high knee. Ryder gets the hot tag and runs wild. Missile dropkick on Wilder and a one0man flapjack to Dawson. Broski-Boot to both opponents (to no reaction). Hawkins drops the elbow from the top on Wilder for two. Hawkins fakes an injury and cradles Wilder for two. Dawson pulls Hawkins out of the ring and Wilder rolls Ryder up for two. Dawson gives Hawkins a Brain Buster on the floor. Dawson with a flying knee across Ryder for two. Ryder counters a suplex for a double neck breaker. Dawson hangs on to the ropes to block and rolls him up for two. Shatter Machine to Ryder, but Hawkins is the legal man. He sneaks in and cradles Wilder for three to retain at 10:06. TWO IN A ROW! Decent match, no worse than the WrestleMania Kick-Off Match.
- Baron Corbin comes out with boisterous introduction (former acting GM, former gold-gloves winner, former US Champion, former Money in the Bank Winner, the man who defeated Kurt Angle in his last match, and Brooklyn's favorite son). Crowd chants "A-Hole" at him, but he takes it as a compliment. He proved that Angle didn't deserve to be in the same ring as him. "Shut the F Up" chant. He proved he's better than an Olympic Gold Medalist. He thinks he deserves a Gold medal of his own. Kurt Angle interrupts, wishing Corbin luck and offers him a handshake... a left handed shake. He pulls Corbin in, gives him the Angle Slam, and applies the Ankle Lock, forcing Corbin to wildly tap out. LARS SULLIVAN finally debuts! He gets in Angle's face and plants him with the Freak Accident. He adds insult to injury, diving off the top rope with a flying headbutt. My fiancée says Lars looks like "Baron Corbin on steroids." I guess you have to humiliate Angle once more on the way out.
- Alexa Bliss comes out, dressed to compete. Apparently, she issued a challenge to the Boss ‘n' Hug Connection.
Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss:
I was expecting a tag team match with a mystery partner called up from NXT, but there's hope of a surprise debut at the end of this. Bayley Buddies appear to be working this time. Bliss taunts Bayley about losing the title last night and gets decked. Bliss fights out of the corner, only to get dropped face-first across the turnbuckle. Bliss escapes to the floor and decks Bayley with a right hand. Back inside, Bliss grabs a chin-lock. That's a good sign of a short match. Bayley escapes but gets dropped with a short clothesline. Bliss stops short on a charge into the corner and slaps Bayley across the face. Bayley blocks a Code Red and hooks the ropes in plain view of the referee. "She must've learned that from Sasha Banks." Sunset flip into the corner, causing Bliss to hit her head on the turnbuckle. Bliss recovers and hits a DDT out of nowhere for three at 2:47. Yup, that was short. Bayley can join Angle in the "humiliated" section of tonight. Lots of bad selling in such a short time.
- Smackdown Live commercial promising the CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATION OF THE NEW DAY AND KOFI KINGSTON. Hmm, I wonder if we're getting a non-finish in tonight's "Winner Take All" match.
- Becky Lynch, THE MAN AND NEW Women's Champion of Raw and Smackdown, comes out next. BUT FIRST, photo highlights from last night's Main Event. Crowd with the obligatory "You Deserve It" chant. Ronnie and Ric's Daughter bragged about everything that made them better, but it was the one who walked in with nothing that left WrestleMania with everything. The crowd decides to have an impromptu singing session to Becky's music. She left home at 15 and became a master of surviving, and she'll always find a way to win at the end. Whenever Ronnie is done sulking, The Man will be here to slap her head off her shoulders. As for Charlotte, the McMahons will probably hand her the Tag Titles to help her get over losing to Becky again. Lacey Evans interrupts and decks Becky with the Woman's Right. Becky chases her down and unloads with rights. They slug it out on the ramp, trading control, until Becky locks the Disarm-Her on, but Lacey manages to escape. Finally, doing something with the random appearance of Evans. Becky barely selling her finisher doesn't do much wonders for her, though.
Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable:
WHY did they add that weird crank noise to Black's entrance? Because Vince McMahon ruins everything. Might as well just call him "Aleister" while we're at it. It seemed like last week they were teasing a possible split between Roode and Cosplay Roode. Black and Gable start with some chain wrestling and counters until they wind up at a neutral position. Gable takes a shot at the throat and takes Black down with a waist-lock. He hooks the body and unloads with forearms. Roode in with stomps across the chest. He continues to put the boots to Black in the corner. Whip to the ropes, Ricochet tags in, and they clean house. Black follows Gable out with a diving Meteora (knees from the apron) and Ricochet hits Roode with an Asai moonsault. Back inside, Ricochet works the arm of Roode. Ricochet teases another dive, but Roode pulls the ropes down, causing him to take a big bump to the floor. We come back from commercial, with Ricochet teasing a comeback. Gable catches him off the ropes with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and sends Ricochet into the corner. Combo knee lift and clothesline for two. Gable meets a boot charging into the corner and Ricochet follows with a rolling dropkick. Black with the hot tag, running wild on Roode with a variety of strikes. Springboard moonsault on Roode for two. Roode with a twisting sunset flip for two. Black with more strikes and a knee to the side of the head for two as a wave runs wild in the crowd. Ricochet with a twisting suplex for two. Aleister and Gable end up on the floor. Ricochet goes to the top, but Gable shoves him down. Roode with a spinebuster for two. Neck breaker and moonsault combo gets two. Black deposits himself and Roode to the floor. Gable with the rolling German, but Ricochet lands on his feet and hits a modified Code Breaker for three at 11:05. Roode immediately attacks Ricochet from behind because he's a sore loser. Solid match, but the crowd wasn't as into it as you'd think.
- Elias lets us know he's getting a second attempt to perform his Rock Opera tonight, and if anyone interrupts, there'll be hell to pay. FORESHADOWING.
- Weird hype video for... a demented turkey puppet? I bet it's Bray Wyatt.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush):
This is promoted as Ambrose's final match in WWE, with his contract expiring this month after 6+ years on the main roster. It's about time I add "Lio" into my Word dictionary. Rush teases a promo but has no words. Lashley says when Dean is gone, he'll take care of his wife for him. Ambrose knocks Lashley off the apron and they brawl around ringside as Renee asks, "what does that mean." ARE YOU THAT F'N STUPID? They fight finds its way to the top of the ramp, with Lashley taking a soft bump into the LED board. Ambrose with Dirty Deeds. He undresses the announcer's table as Rush takes a shot at him, buying Lashley time to recover and lay Ambrose out with a spear. Lashley puts Ambrose through the table with a spine-buster as the match never begins. Crowd chants "Thank You Ambrose" as he kind of plays dead. What a curtain call. Last night may have been the Night of Happy Endings, but the same can't be said for tonight.
- Sami Zayn is HERE and he's LIVE... NEXT!
- Mojo Rawley yells at himself in a broken mirror. I think he found the Ascension's art supplies kit, because he has some drawings on half his face. Is this ever going anywhere? Maybe he's the one controlling the evil chicken dinosaur turkey dog puppet that was cackling at us.
- Sami Zayn is back after 10-months on the shelf, recovering from double shoulder surgery. People are happy to see him. He says if you're going to miss WrestleMania, you might as well come back the Night After WrestleMania™. It may be hard to believe, but his schedule is wide open, and he can go for a match right now. After a short pause, the challenge is accepted...
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn:
Balor is the NEW Intercontinental Champion, defeating Lashley at WrestleMania. I guess this is babyface vs. babyface, since Sami isn't totally playing heel yet. No, I don't know who authorized the match being for a Championship. If Hawkins can get title matches without winning in over a year, why not Sami Zayn? Lockup to the ropes and a clean break. Another lockup and Zayn with another break, with theatrics. Balor goes for the arm but Zayn counters. They trade counters until they're back in a neutral position. Balor dumps Zayn out. Zayn rushes back in to avoid a dive, tosses Balor, and taunts. Back inside, Zayn controls with a side headlock. Crisscross and Balor connects with a dropkick for two. Now Balor controls, going after the arm. Zayn forces a break in the ropes and unloads with a flurry of rights and lefts. Whip is reversed, Balor rolls through a sunset flip and hits Zayn with a basement dropkick. Leg sweep and double stomp across the chest from Balor. He sends Zayn to the corner but meets a boot. They trade blows until Balor connects with the (Don't Call It A) Pele Kick as we take a break. We come back with Zayn hitting the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Balor counters the Helluva Kick with a Sling Blade and knocks Zayn into the corner with a shotgun dropkick. Zayn avoids the Coup de Grace and rolls Balor up for two. Zayn with an Exploder into the turnbuckle. He sets up in the opposite corner but misses the Helluva Kick. Coup de Grace hits and Balor retains at 12:03. Slow paced that was picking up, then we got a commercial and rushed into the finish. The point of returning Zayn and jobbing him already?
- Zayn says all tonight did was reinforce what he realized over the last 9-months, and it genuinely seems like he's been missed, and from the bottom of the heart, he didn't miss any of this, or anyone in the audience. He says WWE is a Super-toxic environment, not because of the McMahon's or any of the Superstars, but because of the audience and their ugliness. He lives a meaningful and fulfilled life, while they're lives are void of meaning and all their joy is from being critics. He's not here to save or "takeover" WWE and says he'll see everyone in hell.
- Dana Brooke wants an opportunity at "The Champ Champ" Becky Lynch.
- Elias is out next. He's upset that Cena interrupted him for the second WrestleMania in a row and says Cena is no musician. He shows off his own rapping skills, which don't require his guitar. He says the next man to interrupt him is a dead man... AND HERE'S THE UNDERTAKER. Elias teases bailing but decides to grow a set and readies himself for a fight. Elias' attempt at a bum rush is greeted by a big boot. Taker plants him with the Chokeslam and adds a Tombstone Piledriver for good measure. I guess they've got to promote another show in Saudi Arabia.
WWE Championship and Universal Championship Match:
Kofi Kingston vs. Seth Rollins:
Winner Take All, or so we're supposed to believe. Seriously, there was a commercial advertising tomorrow's Smackdown and Kofi's WWE Title Celebration. There's no chance this ends with a conclusive winner. Lockup and Kofi goes to work on the arm. Rollins counters with a side headlock takeover. Whip to the ropes and Rollins with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Kofi connects with a back elbow. Rollins blocks the S.O.S. and they go through a long sequence of avoiding each other's signature moves as we take a break. We return with them trading strikes in the middle of the ring. Whip to the corner, Kofi gets the boots up and springboards into a dropkick from Rollins. Rollins with a step-up enzuigiri for two. Kofi avoids the Curb Stomp and cradles Rollins for two. Boot to the midsection and DDT for two. Rollins meets a boot charging into the corner but recovers to meet Kofi on the top rope. Kofi blocks the super-plex, dumping Rollins to the floor. Suddenly, Sheamus and Cesaro run in and attack Kofi for the DQ at 7:50. Seth tries to save, but gets worked over, too. Kofi and Rollins eventually clear the ring, and the match turns into a tag team match with Kofi and Rollins vs. The Bar. Crowd responds with a very loud "Bullsh*t" chant.
Kofi Kingston & Seth Rollins vs. The Bar:
Rollins hits Cesaro with a sling blade and knocks him to the floor. Cesaro catches a plancha and slams him across the apron. Kofi tries a dive but Sheamus catches and throws him into the barricade as we take a commercial break with 9-minutes left in the show. We come back with Rollins trying to fight his way out of the corner, but Sheamus cuts the tag off. Double back breaker for two. The distracted crowd has me believe there's beach balls in play. At this point, I don't even care, I'm ready for a cool-down. Rollins fires off chops on Sheamus as the crowd chants "We Want Beach Balls." CONFIRMED. Kofi with the hot tag, springing in with a clothesline, followed by a dropkick. Kofi with a jumping clothesline, followed by the Boom Drop. S.O.S. on Sheamus for two. Everyone gets dumped to the floor and Kofi comes off the top with the trust fall plancha. The Bar catches it, so Rollins adds a suicide dive to the pile. Back inside, Kofi with a flying body press for two. The referee avoids getting bumped and Sheamus hits an almost Brogue Kick for two. Rollins avoids a rolling senton, hits Sheamus with a Super-Kick, and sends him to the post. Cesaro goes for the Swing, but Kofi cradles him for two. Rollins with the blind tag. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and Rollins with the Curb Stomp for three at 9:18. Fine action across both "matches", but the crowd felt betrayed by the bait-and-switch, and it's hard to blame them when the pay-off is a lame-duck match against Sheamus and Cesaro.
- No appearances from Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, the Women's Tag Titles, among others, for the record.
Final Thoughts: The burn-out is real, as usual. Although it wasn't all covered, this adds up to 18 hours of WWE content consumed since Friday night. The wrestling was mostly solid, but it was a night of trying to find new direction for most of the Superstars, and the news broke of our latest Superstar Shake-Up. Lars finally debuted, Undertaker made a cameo, and the fans were ripped off with a bait-and-switch with the Main Event. Not the worst episode of Raw, and it moved with a better pace than other Post-Mania shows.
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