Original Air Date: January 21, 2018
Event Date: January 21, 2018
Commentary: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
The show starts with a video tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman head to the ring. Heyman seems amazed that Finn Balor pinned John Cena last week, but he says there was no controversy in the match. Heyman talks about how John Cena and the WWE Universe believe in Finn Balor. Everyone should believe in Balor.
Heyman believes too. Heyman believes that Balor believes he will win because Lesnar hasn’t been preparing for Balor. Balor’s voice matters, but Heyman’s voice martyrs. At the Royal Rumble, Finn Balor will be martyred for making people believe that believe that he will win. Balor thinks he can perform a miracle, but even miracles fear Brock Lesnar. When Balor is on his back looking up, he will believe in Brock Lesnar.
Vince McMahon heads to the ring. Vince thinks Heyman is going soft on Balor. Vince says Balor versus Lesnar is like David and Goliath. Vince tells the story of David and Goliath, but he stops after Goliath beat up David. After a few moments, Braun Strowman interrupts and heads to the ring.
Strowman gets on the ring apron and stares at Lesnar for a while. He eventually enters the ring and says last Monday was the worst night of his life. At the same time, last Monday was the luckiest night of Lesnar’s life. If Lesnar still has the Universal Title after Royal Rumble, he’s going to rip Lesnar apart.
Finn Balor heads to the ring. Balor knows that Vince doesn’t think he can beat Lesnar, but the Balor Club believes. Balor says he will reclaim his Universal Title at Royal Rumble. Strowman says he’s not sure if Balor can beat Lesnar, but he better. Strowman chimes in, so Balor tells him to stay out of his business. Balor also reminds Vince how the story of David and Goliath actually ended.
Vince decides to see a David and Goliath situation right here tonight, so he makes the first match of the night.
Braun Strowman vs Finn Balor
(referee: Rod Zapata; at ringside: Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman)
Result: Finn Balor wins via DQ when Brock Lesnar hits him with an F5
Time: 7:40 (joined in progress)
Good match. This match was all about making Balor look like he can be competitive against Lesnar in some people’s eyes. I know he can have a great match with Lesnar, but WWE seems to think we need convincing. I think this match did a pretty good job of doing that. Balor got thrown around, but he also managed to attack both Lesnar (who was at ringside) and Strowman. He got caught eventually, and the finish was a bit of a cop-out, but this was still fun.
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush head to the ring. Rush says Lashley is better than Rollins, Ambrose, and everyone else in the locker room. Rush and Lashley aren’t out here to issue an open challenge. open challenges are for kids. Bobby Lashley is a fighter, and he fights for money. Instead of an open challenge, Lashley has come out to show off his physique.
Lashley stands on a pedestal, and Rush puts the IC Title around his waist. Rush is about to speak again when Apollo Crews comes out and heads to the ring.
Crews says no one paid to see Lashley pose. They paid to see him compete, so Crews challenges Lashley to a match. Rush says if Crews can beat Lashley in a pose-off, then he can have a match. Crews says he doesn’t know how to pose, so Rush says Crews doesn’t know how to be a champ either. Crews accepts the challenge.
Lashley poses as he usually does, then Crews sort of dances. Lashley poses again, and Crews tries to match him. Lashley poses for a third time, but when Crews responds he is attacked. Crews manages to throw Lashley out of the ring, and he tosses Rush over the ropes and out to the floor.
Bobby Lashley (IC Champ) w/ Lio Rush vs Apollo Crews
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Result: Bobby Lashley wins via pinfall after a spear
Time: 2:48 (joined in progress)
I wish this had been a little longer. Crews showed agility and strength, but there just wasn’t enough time to really develop anything more than just a short series of moves. Crews also had trouble pressing Lashley over his head, so having to redo his press slam into a standing moonsault detracted from this brief match.
After the match, Seth Rollins heads to the ring. Rollins and Lashley stare at each other as Lashley heads to the back.
In the ring, Rollins talks about some of the challenges he’s had over the past year. He says it’s important to focus not on the things we don’t have, but on the things we do have. Rollins still has the WWE, and he still has a mic in his hand, and he plans to win the Royal Rumble. It might be a long shot, but Rollins’ whole life has been a long shot. As Rollins finishes, Drew McIntyre comes out and heads toward the ring.
McIntyre says he won’t sit by while Rollins lies to everyone. There is a zero percent chance that Rollins will win the Rumble, and it’s all because of his wrestling style. McIntyre wants to look into Rollins eyes when McIntyre is announced as the winner of the Rumble.
Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Seth Rollins wins via pinfall with a schoolboy
Time: 10:38 (joined in progress; 1 break)
Very good match. Rollins looked good, and McIntyre looked extremely powerful. Rollins had to use his speed and wits to outmaneuver McIntyre, and though he took a lot of punishment, Rollins managed to turn things in his favor throughout the match. This could be a great feud if they continue.
The Revival complain to Vince McMahon about how they’ve been cheated recently. They want another title match, this time with a good referee. Curt Hawkins walks up, so Vince makes him the referee for The Revival’s match. The Revival begin to compliment Hawkins.
Dean Ambrose thinks it is an injustice that he is not currently the IC Champ. He plans to hurt both Lashley and Rollins before dumping them both out of the ring at the Royal Rumble. 2018 wasn’t great for Ambrose, so he deserves to win the Rumble. Justice will be served on Sunday.
Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers vs Lucha House Party
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Gran Metalik pins Sunil Singh after a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
This was okay. It could have been better, but it was very short. Not much happened, but Lucha House Party was fun to watch as always. I do think the finish was a bit premature. Gran Metalik hit an ordinary backbreaker, and it looked like Samir was late sliding into the ring to break up the pin attempt. Sunil even put his shoulder up at three, but the referee called the match. It seemed odd.
A promo for EC3.
Dana Brooke asks EC3 about his diet as Elias walks by.
In the ring, Elias plays his guitar. Afterwards, Elias says 2019 will be a great year even if it won’t be easy. He then begins to play a new song when Baron Corbin interrupts. Corbin is angry that Elias told Strowman where he was last week. Elias nearly got Corbin killed.
Elias doesn’t care what Corbin says. Corbin isn’t in charge anymore, so Elias has Corbin’s mic cut off. Elias plays a song about Corbin. Corbin gets mad and rushes down to the ring, but he quickly backs away when Elias swings his guitar at Corbin.
Elias vs Baron Corbin
(referee: Rod Zapata)
Result: Baron Corbin wins via pinfall after End of Days
Time: 3:24 (joined in progress)
This wasn’t much of a match. It was too short, and it wasn’t terribly eventful.
Alexa Bliss comes out to the stage for A Moment of Bliss. She talks about the Royal Rumble and reveals some of the female participants. Afterwards, she brings Nia Jax out to the stage. Bliss asks Jax who she would rather face if she wins the Rumble, but Ember Moon comes out before Jax can answer. Moon takes the mic from Jax and says she’s going to win on Sunday.
Alicia Fox comes out and says she’s setting course for Wrestlemania. Mickie James is next. The women begin to argue, and the Riott Squad, Tamina, Dana Brooke, and Nikki Cross come out to join the argument. Alexa Bliss stands up on her chair and tells everyone to calm down. There is a moment of calm before Nia Jax starts a brawl. Referees swarm out to the stage, but that just forces the brawl into the backstage area.
With everyone else off the stage, Bliss announces that she will also be competing in the Royal Rumble match. Lacey Evans comes out and complains about the “nasty, classless little girls” on RAW. Evans also says she’s going to win the Rumble. Bliss doesn’t seem impressed.
Heavy Machinery walks in the back.
Titus O’Neil believes in miracles, and he believes he will win this year’s Royal Rumble.
The Ascension vs Heavy Machinery
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Result: Tucker Kinght pins Viktor after The Compactor
This was fun. I think it was a good in-ring debut for Heavy Machinery, even if it was a total squash. I do think there was a bit too much goofiness in the match for my tastes, but I know Heavy Machinery can have good, serious matches as well.
RAW Tag Team Title Match
The Revival vs Chad Gable & Bobby Roode (RAW Tag Champs)
(referee: Curt Hawkins)
Result: Chad Gable pins Scott Dawson with a prawn hold
Time: 4:43 (1 break)
This was okay. The story started with Hawkins being a stickler for the rules in The Revival’s favor, then it became a way to catch The Revival in a whole bunch of shortcuts. The Revival is better than all the cheating they were doing, and I wish they were able to wrestle like the did in NXT.
After the match, Curt Hawkins explains his actions to The Revival. The Revival attacks Hawkins, so Zack Ryder runs to the ring to save Hawkins. Ryder clears The Revival from the ring, then he helps Hawkins get to his feet.
Dasha Fuentes asks Ronda Rousey what she would say to Sasha Banks if she were here right now. Rousey says she doesn’t owe Sasha an apology. Sasha is the one who began being disrespectful to Rousey all the time. Rousey goes off on how Banks might be a boss, but she’s not a champion.
Ronda Rousey (RAW Women’s Champ) & Natalya vs Sasha Banks & Bayley
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Sasha Banks forces Natalya to submit to the Bank Statement
Time: 7:37 (1 break)
Pretty good match. The story here was all about Rousey being infuriated by Banks, and about Banks poking and prodding Rousey to make her even more angry. The finish wasn’t a surprise. It was a typical pre-title match tag finish, but I think it was done mostly well. There were a few moments that didn’t work completely, but the match was fine. The emotions are what mattered here anyway, and the emotions in the match were good.
I don’t think I enjoyed this show as much as some recent RAWs. The matches leading into title matches at Royal Rumble were fairly typical and unsurprising. The women did the usual thing before the Rumble of everyone coming out just to say that they’re going to win. Baron Corbin won a match… This show has me worried that the fresh start isn’t going to last very long when the road to Wresltemania is opened after the Rumble.
Match of the Night
Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre
There were a lot of strange things in matches this week. Rollins and McIntyre delivered what was easily the most solid, straightforward match of the week.
Official Results: https://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2019-01-21