Monday, January 27, 2020

Match Results & Grades

  • Braun Strowman/Finn Balor defeated Bobby Lashley/ Lio Rush via Pinfall: C-
  • Elias defeated No Way Jose via Pinfall: D-
  • Kurt Angle defeated Chad Gable via Submission: C
  • Natalya vs. Sasha Banks (no contest):C+
  • Ricochet defeated Jinder Mahal via pinfall: C-
  • Ronda Rousey defeated Dana Brooke via Submission: F+
  • Apollo Crews defeated Baron Corbin via pinfall: E+
  • Drew McIntyre defeated Seth Rollins via pinfall: B+

Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman address Seth Rollins:

Anyone else starting to grow tired of Paul Heyman hyping up Lesnar matches while Lesnar mindlessly bounces next to him? Heyman does his usual intro, but is interrupted by a crowd that DOES NOT want Brock Lesnar but DOES want Seth Rollins! Heyman says that Rollins wanted Brock here tonight, thinking he’s a bad man. Rollins thinks Brock has a problem with guys like himself, but he’s a fool as Lesnar has already beaten AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and Finn Balor. Drew McIntyre (Rollins’ opponent tonight) arrives and says it’s refreshing to get the respect he deserves. He tells Brock to find a new opponent for Mania, as he’ll take Rollins out tonight. Rollins arrives and attacks Drew with a chair from behind. He beats the shit out of Drew, and chases off Brock. This was a pretty strong segment that was aided by a crowd that was ferociously behind Seth Rollins and against Brock Lesnar!

Finn Balor & Braun Strowman vs Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush:

Bobby Lashley and Strowman begin the match with a lot of power struggles repeatedly ending with Lashley getting knocked on his ass. Finn Balor tags in and some decent double team offence follows. Lashley cuts him off and knocks him to the floor. After Balor is beaten down by both men for a good while, Lashley charges into the corner and rams himself into the turnbuckle! Balor cuts off Rush and tags in Braun. Braun runs wild on Lio, tossing him around with absolute ease. Lashley makes the save with a spear, the match starts to break down as Lio hits a frog splash for 2. Lashley takes out Balor, Braun then takes Lashley out and chokeslams Lio Rush. Lashley bails and Braun hits the powerslam for the win. Similarly to the opening segment, this was aided by a hot crowd but besides that, I’m very confused as to why WWE is booking Finn Balor as such a loser to be frank. He’s incapable of beating Bobby Lashley for some reason and seems to suffer from the same kind of hot and cold booking that stifled the likes of Sasha Banks at her peak babyface run in 2016.

“A Moment Of Bliss“… *SIGH*:

Out comes Alexa Bliss for my personal least favourite talk show in WWE history and surprise surprise Elias is her guest. Bliss hypes herself up as the host of WrestleMania 35 and runs down the card with Michael Cole for some reason. Elias arrives and jams on his way out. Bliss flirts with him and promises that this is a safe place. Elias announces that he’s the headlining musical act at Mania. He’s motivated to thrive in the moment and then mocks the Chicago Bears. Just to add some more fun to the segment, No Way Jose’s music hits and the conga line and Heavy Machinery dance out. Bliss is not happy that they came out early. Jose unmasks and attacks Elias. As usual “A Moment Of Bliss” was my least favourite part of Raw. It pains me to see a character as well skilled as Alexa reduced to a pretty blonde who flirts with all the semi attractive male wrestlers, she has way more to offer and whilst she may be a fun WrestleMania host, id much rather see her in the Wrestlemania women’s battle royal to add some much needed star power!

Elias vs. No Way Jose… *SIGH*:

Kurt Angle’s WrestleMania Reveal:

Angle comes out to his usual jubilation and hypes his farewell match at Wrestlemania. He’s allowed to pick his opponent, and while there are a lot of guys he’d love to face, there’s only one he really wants to beat, Baron Corbin. He wants to make him tap at Mania. Well folks if you thought a No Way Jose segment would be underwhelming, it doesn’t get much worse than this. Baron Corbin is a personality anchor on Monday Night Raw and whilst it may have been unrealistic to presume Angle would face somebody on a John Cena sort of level, it is still massively disappointing knowing Baron Corbin has a more confirmed Wrestlemania spot than someone like Asuka or The Usos!

Kurt Angle vs. Chad Gable:

Gable spends the first portion of the match attacking the arm, grounding things. Angle battles back, but misses a charge and spills to the floor. Back in and Gable dropkicks Angles knee. He continues focusing on the knee, and then covers for 2. Angle fights out and dumps Gable. Post break and gable is back in and runs into clotheslines. The backdrop follows, Angle gets the ankle lock but Gable cradles him for 2. Angle hits a German, but Gable counters into an ankle lock. Angle counters out but Gable hits the DDT for 2. Gable up top and the moonsault misses. Angle gets the ankle lock, Gable fights, but has to tap out. Imagine seeing this match with Angle in his prime! Would have been an absolute barn burner, meanwhile Angle in the present day is almost uncomfortable to watch in the ring for me, his retirement match cant come soon enough in my opinion!

The Women’s Tag Team Champions Speak:

Sasha Banks & Bayley are in the ring being interviewed and are asked about whether they’ve been avoiding the IIconics by appearing on every show bar Smackdown Live. They announce that they will be appearing on Smackdown the following night. Natalya arrives (to the joy of few) and she’s joined by Beth Phoenix (to the joy of many). Beth says that whilst she respects the champions, and everything they’ve done for the titles so far, She and Natalya never got that chance. Beth was fine doing commentary until Nia Jax & Tamina awoke a dragon with their actions, and she and Natalya want a shot at the titles at Wrestlemania. Bayley shows some rare attitude and says that match would be great but asks Beth if she needs more time to prepare since she’s been retired for 6 years. Natalya puts over Beth and says Beth isn’t afraid. Banks takes issue with Natalya’s attitude and says Natalya is riding Beth’s coat tails to get a Mania match (true) leading to a brawl followed up by…

Natalya vs. Sasha Banks:

Natalya takes control early on capturing Sasha in a full body stretch submission hold which looks really good. Banks escapes the abdominal stretch, hits charging knees but then walks into the rolling lariat. Then just to rain on our parade Nia Jax arrives. She talks shit to Beth during the match which allows Tamina to then attack Beth, Bayley and Banks causing the disqualification. Nia says they’ll see them at Mania and oh lord I fucking hope not. This was a real shame in how it ended as 1. The pre match stuff was fun and had some intrigue behind it and 2. This couldve been a quality match but oh no all interest flew out of the window when Nia & Tamina arrived to crash the party. In my opinion these two women belong nowhere near Wrestlemania and Tamina in particular belongs nowhere near main roster wrestling full stop.

Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal:

Ricochet comes out to a great reaction, its nice to see an NXT callup actually connecting to the fans rather than working dark matches or getting no reactions! They work into some back and forth, Ricochet hits an enziguri and follows up with strikes and kicks until the Singh Brothers distract him, allowing Mahal to take the heat. Mahal grounds things and just sort of yells a lot. Jinder whips Ricochet to the buckles, but he fires back and starts to make a comeback. The match ends with Ricochet climbing up to the top rope and the 630 finishes it. I mean its a tough task to make Ricochet seem dull but you can always count on Jinder to nail it!

Ronda Rousey vs. Dana Brooke:

I was met with some initial hope when Dana slaps Rousey but this is quickly squashed by knee strikes. The arm bar follows and Dana taps out and her “opportunity” lasts less than half a minuet. I don’t understand what this achieves or how calling attention to Dana’s jobber status is a good thing but maybe this just isn’t meant for me. Post match Ronda kisses her husband and fights some security guards for some reason…

Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews:

This match really wasn’t very good. The “action” felt very slow and plodding and how is anybody supposed to view Baron Corbin as a threat if he loses right after his Wrestlemania match is announced?!?

Batista is here via satellite for an interview to discuss his issues with Triple H. Batista says he doesn’t like Triple H, and for a long time has wanted to come back for one last match against him. Batista says that it goes back way before Evolution. Triple H only groomed him to be his muscle and to use him to protect him. Triple H held him down and underestimated him. Cole asks Batista about quitting WWE in 2010 and Batista blames Triple H for that too. He goes on to state that Triple H was jealous of him, and didn’t think he was a star. Now he’s a movie star and he’s in control and did it without Triple H and now he is back to end Triple H’s in ring career. This was awesome. Badass jacked up Batista is so believable and surprisingly im really looking forward to watching these two beasts absolutely run through each other!

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre:

After Drew comes out to run down Seth & The Shield, Rollins charges the ring and brawls with Drew on the ramp. Back from commercial McIntyre tries to ground things, but Rollins fires up and they fight to the floor. McIntyre sidesteps the moonsault and Rollins crashes and burns. Post break, and McIntyre covers for 2. McIntyre follows with chops and an overhead toss. Rollins counters the powerbomb into a RANA. McIntyre then counters the suicide dive and slams Rollins to the barricade. McIntyre grabs a chair and Rollins superkicks it into his face. Rollins follows with suicide dives, sling blade and a superkick for 2. McIntyre fights of the powerbomb, and hits the reverse Alabama slam for 2. McIntyre takes him up top, follows but Rollins slides out and heads back up. McIntyre head butts him to the mat but Rollins pops up with the superplex and then does the deal with the falcon arrow for a great near fall. Brock Lesnar’s music hits out of nowhere as he arrives to distract Rollins; claymore by McIntyre and he pins Rollins. This was a much needed quality match to end the show and whilst it could be argued Rollins shouldn’t be beaten so close to Mania, it keeps Drew looking awesome whilst building some more sympathy for Seth!

Overall this was a pretty meh show with a couple of good bits here and there that stopped it from being a total dud. Overall Grade: C-

Ben Williams

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