The road to WrestleMania rolled on last night as Monday Night Raw broadcast live from Chicago, IL. Being just three weeks away calls for more excitement as the weeks go on, with much of sed excitement aiming at the return of Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle’s big announcement on who he would be facing in his “Farewell Match”. Would the big events live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
The Beast Incarnate Gets into the Head of Seth Rollins
— WWE (@WWE) March 19, 2019
To kick off Raw, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman kicked off the show, marking Lesnar’s first appearance since hitting Seth Rollins with six F5’s the night after the Royal Rumble. Brock would be in the ring doing his usual smiling and laughing as Heyman would talk up his client, but in a different way than usual. While he would inform Seth that his idea that Brock can’t handle the types of performers like him as Lesnar struggled against AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and Finn Balor, he would continue to make the point that regardless, Brock Lesnar left all three of those matches victorious. He would then question what Rollins was thinking, taking a match against a career killer like Drew McIntyre just three weeks out from his meeting with The Beast. Unexpectedly, this would have McIntyre interrupt The Beast and his advocate rather than the number one contender for the Universal Championship. McIntyre would make the point that Heyman and Lesnar should start looking for a new contender starting now because Seth Rollins isn’t going to make it to WrestleMania following their match later on. Finally, Rollins would show up, nailing McIntyre with a chair a number of times, leaving him downed and going for Lesnar, just for Lesnar to retreat and laugh at the thought of getting physical. This would lead to the main event.
Before the match, Rollins would show anger following McIntyre’s promo when he called out Roman Reigns for a WrestleMania match. This would lead to Rollins and McIntyre once again adding a hard-hitting match to their long rivalry that stems back to last summer.
Seth Rollins would show that the rumored injury he had for the past month would not stop him for putting on a show, putting his body on the line all match long. In the closing moments of this one, Rollins would lift the massive McIntyre up for his signature superplex into a falcon arrow, leading to a near fall. As he would begin to tune up The Stomp, with “Burn it Down” getting chanted loudly through the air, Rollins would be interrupted by the music of Brock Lesnar. Lesnar and Heyman would come out on the stage, staring down The Architect. As Brock looked to be heading down to fight, Rollins would turn towards McIntyre, getting nailed by a Claymore kick and losing to McIntyre in the meantime. This would mark another roadblock for Rollins as he heads to WrestleMania, but also mark another huge victory for McIntyre after putting out Reigns last week and laying waste to Dean Ambrose in the main event. It would be a night where both Lesnar and McIntyre would get the edge on Seth Rollins, and with two weeks to go, the build will only get better.
Kurt Angle names his Final Opponent
It was announced this past weekend on Twitter that Kurt Angle would be on Raw to announce his final opponent for his farewell match at WrestleMania. This had fans stirring as to who it could possibly be. Rumors of John Cena came to mind as the thought of Cena debuting against Kurt while being Kurt’s last match would be some sort of great story telling. A possible matchup with Shelton Benjamin for a final Team Angle scene inside the ring was also rumored by fans. Yet, when Kurt Angle got to the ring, ready to make his announcement, he would name Baron Corbin as his final opponent, saying he had made his life a living hell for months now and wants to put an end to it in his final match. The Chicago crowd would let him hear it however, as it seemed that no one wanted to see Kurt’s final match be against Corbin. What would follow would be a cool matchup between Chad Gable and Kurt, yet the crowd was clearly unpleased.
As the match would end with Angle making Gable tap out and both shaking hands as a sign of respect, Corbin would be on his way out. Corbin would be booed out of the building, as he would make it his purpose to say he would humiliate Angle in his final match. What was really remarkable here was the Chicago crowd chanting “WE WANT CENA”. Not a chant you would expect to hear in Chicago, but it’s hard to disagree with Chicago on this one. While there is plenty of time for the match to change, it seems that this match has certainly been built up for months now.
Batista Airs out his Grievances via Satellite
Last week, all Batista said was “give me what I want”. And after a while, that is exactly what Big Dave got in the end. His chance to finish Triple H for treating him wrong all these years. Last night, Batista was located at his home in Tampa, FL for a sit-down interview via satellite with Michael Cole “live” on air. Michael Cole would ask Batista what his problem with Triple H was and Batista would be pretty general by just saying “I don’t like him”. Cole would ask him to explain more, indicating how Triple H has been nothing but great to him in his career and even brought up NXT, which would begin to set Batista off. He scoffed at the idea that Triple H was ever looking out for anyone but himself. He knows he lied to him when he was in Evolution, he just was hired as his muscle. He knows that Triple H never believed in him, which is why he left. Batista left so that he could become a bigger star, so that he could come back and play by his rules. For the most part, he was expanding on his words from last week, stating that he plans to hurt Triple H, and finish whatever his career is left, because that’s all he wants. He would storm off from the interview, kicking the WWE reps out of his home to end it. What becomes clear here is that Batista’s intensity is very much still in him, and we should expect one more face-to-face in the coming weeks between the long-time rivals and former friends.
Raw MVP: Ronda Rousey
Following Dana Brooke’s challenge to Ronda Rousey last week and her getting beaten down, Dana would be rewarded this week with a Raw Women’s Championship match this week against Rousey. Rousey was fined during the week for her conduct towards a referee from last week, so when she showed up to the show with her husband, Travis Browne, referee John Cone and security would greet her to let her know she was late, and it wouldn’t be acceptable again. Rousey laughed it off and continued with her husband, who for the first time would seemingly become a part of any story she’d be involved in. Later on in the show, Dana Brooke would get her first opportunity at the Raw Women’s Championship. As the match got started, it essentially ended. The killer that Ronda Rousey has become was in full force, laying waste to Dana by putting her into the armbar almost immediately (a nasty looking armbar at that). She would continue with the armbar until she had to be taken off of her. With Travis Browne at ringside, she would go to talk to him before a referee would come over to her and try to reprimand The Most Dangerous Woman on the Planet. Rousey would plant the referee and a security guard before getting taken down by a group of guards, which would lead to Browne getting involved, nailing a security guard with a punch of his own (For those who may not know, Browne is also a UFC fighter, so that was no light punch). Browne would pull Rousey over the barricade as they would walk off together, but the revelation wasn’t that here, but the fact that Rousey has become a killer meaning Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch have woken an animal that no one can be prepared for. It’ll be interesting to see what Flair and Lynch have to say tonight on SmackDown LIVE.
While Raw may have been an up and down show once again, there were some key moments that help build up stories and continue to plan matches as WWE heads into their biggest event of the year. Tonight on SmackDown LIVE, Kofi Kingston will have to run the gauntlet in hopes of getting his one-on-one match against Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Make sure to check back for the SmackDown Rundown tomorrow to see how Kofi faired in the biggest match of his 11 year career.