WWE Raw results from March 18th, as the show aired from Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.
Brock Lesnar finds time to be on RAW
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar walked out to open the show. Heyman tried to talk but the crown drowned it out with a “burn it down” chant.
Heyman began by mentioning how Rollins had claimed Lesnar has a problem with wrestlers of Rollins’ size. Heyman rubbished those claims and then Drew McIntyre came out and bragged about beating up Ambrose and Reigns last week, and Rollins attacked him with a chair and beat him down until the chair was all bent.
Lesnar teased getting into the ring but walked away with his usual smirk after Heyman stopped him.
Our take from it: No one would have imagined that Lesnar as champion would get next to no reaction from the crowd one day but that day has arrived. Lesnar couldn’t even muster the same reaction Drew McIntyre got from the crowd. That is what happens when the championship belt is rarely seen on RAW. This was also a really lame effort at hyping up Lesnar and Rollins fighting each other at WrestleMania.
Something definitely is brewing with the whole Reigns and McIntyre situation. Moving forward, WWE should put their weight behind guys like Rollins. The company desperately needs a champion who is seen every week. On a side note, it was fun seeing McIntyre getting beat up.
Lio Rush costs Bobby Lashley another match
(Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush vs. Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman)
Lashley and Strowman started the match with a show of strength that Strowman won. Once Balor tagged himself in, Lashley and Rush took turns beating him up. There was the rallying bit and Balor was ultimately able to tag Strowman in.
Strowman literally threw Rush around like a rag doll around in the ring and almost ended up finishing the match but Lashley speared him and Rush followed it with a frog splash for a pin. Strowman literally threw Rush across the ring while kicking out. Lashley ran through Balor and Strowman ran through Lashley and then hit the running power slam on Rush for the win.
Winners: Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman
Our take from it: This match was fun to watch. There are no two ways about it but it showcased yet another year where WrestleMania is just weeks away and WWE has no clue what to do with Strowman. He will be in the battle royal and probably find a way to squash Lio Rush and the SNL guys but that is the worst case of talent wastage.
Balor too is getting sort of strangled here and he definitely deserves better. This was a fun segment and match though.
No way Jose is Elias’ jobber?
(No Way Jose vs. Elias)
This segment started with Alexa Bliss hosting ‘A Moment of Bliss’. Elias announced that he would be the headlining music act at WrestleMania this year. Elias tried to start a performance but got interrupted by No Way Jose’s music and Heavy Machinery came out dancing. No Way Jose attacked Elias while wearing a mask.
The match started with Jose airplane spinning Elias. Jose missed a splash and then Elias hit a few stomps followed by a Drift Away for the win.
Our take from it: This all seems to be a setup to introduce a surprise celebrity performance at WrestleMania. There is no way WWE would allow Elias to be the headlining act at ‘Mania. No one really cares for the musical performances all that much, so how this all ends up shouldn’t have that much impact on the show.
This is also probably for the best as Elias is in the best place doing his little musical thing. There is just so much going on with the rest of the roster. His role might be limited but at least he will have his moment.
Heavy Machinery dancing was supposed to be funny and it kinda was, in a weird way. No Way Jose is perfect in the role of the modern Godfather.
Kurt Angle makes his announcement and faces one of his biggest fans
(Kurt Angle vs. Chad Gable)
Kurt Angle announced that his retirement match will be against Baron Corbin. He then had a match with Chad Gable. They exchanged a couple of shoulder tackles. A bit of technical wrestling took place. There were plenty of reversals as well and at one point Gable managed to turn an ankle lock into an ankle lock of his own.
Gable also seemed particularly happy about being at the receiving end of a German Suplex. Ultimately, Angle managed to put Gable in the Ankle lock and got him to tap out.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Our take from it: This was sort of apparent from the way WWE was building up the enmity between Corbin and Angle. Here is the thing though. Angle is a big deal. At one point he had equal standing with legends like the Rock, Stone Cold and the Undertaker. His send-off needs a much bigger player than Baron Corbin who is at best a mid-carder. Kurt Angle needed to be given something bigger as his last WWE match.
At this point it seems like WWE might even have him lose to Corbin which would be the worst. The match with Gable was great fun though and a great show of the emotions that wrestling can evoke. It is something like this that is needed at WrestleMania.
The Boss ‘n’ Hug connection gets more opponents
(Sasha Banks with Bayley vs. Natalya with Beth Phoenix)
The Boss ‘n’ Hug connection announced that they will be confronting IIconics on SmackDown. Beth Phoenix and Natalya interrupted them and Beth asked for a shot at the title. Some trash talking followed with Bayley asking if that is what they wanted as Beth has been retired for 6 years. Banks insulted Natalya and a brawl broke out.
The match between Banks and Natalya started with punches by Banks. Natalya hit an Atomic drop. She then put Banks in an abdominal stretch. Natalya hit a discus clothesline.
Nia Jax walked out and insulted Beth Phoenix. Tamina sneaked up on Beth and attacked her. Nia and Tamina attacked everyone.
Result: No Contest
Our take from it: WWE is clearly going with a four-way for the tag titles at WrestleMania with The IIconics being expected as the fourth team. This is not the best option but better than the Boss ‘n’ Hug connection facing just Tamina and Jax.
Natalya is good but Beth would be clunky as she wasn’t the best when she was a full-time performer and 6 years away wouldn’t have improved things. This is the best of the situation and hopefully more entertaining women’s tag teams can be formed in the future.
Ricochet makes mockery of Jinder Mahal
(Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal with The Singh Brothers)
Ricochet dropkicked Mahal and did that superhero landing thing. The Singhs distracted Ricochet and Jinder got a clothesline in. Ricochet got back with a head scissor and springboard clothesline. A cartwheel senton and a 630 sealed the deal.
Our take from it: This was one of those random matches that seemed randomly put together. WWE is also doing the whole superhero landing thing a bit too much. It can only stay cool if done in moderation, a word that probably does not exist in WWE’s dictionary.
The match was too short to have any substance and Jinder Mahal’s flaws are laid bare when he faces someone like Ricochet. Black was missed here but it was a good change in pace. A match that didn’t really do much for anyone involved.
Rousey’s husband is involved too?
(Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Dana Brooke)
Brooke actually managed to stop kicks from Rousey and slapped her. That was all the offense she managed as Rousey floored her and hit her a few times before putting Brooke in the armbar and Brooke tapped out.
Rousey would not release her hold. Referees came out and got attacked by Rousey. The security personnel were next and they got decked by Rousey’s husband, Travis Browne, who was ringside.
Winner and still RAW women’s champion: Ronda Rousey
Our take from it: How the might have fallen! Rousey was the best thing going into WrestleMania along with Becky Lynch and then WWE put too many cooks together by adding Charlotte and now they are further diluting everything by having Rousey’s husband of all people being involved.
This is just shambolic as one of the best ever match and feud has been virtually destroyed. Even if this match main-events WrestleMania, it will be a quasi main-event.
Corbin pays for being cocky
(Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin)
Crews sent Corbin over the top rope. Crews then landed a dive to the outside. Corbin missed a dipsey doo clothesline but connected with an elbow.
Crews did an impressive backflip. Corbin connected with a deep six but instead of pinning Crews, he got distracted by trash talking the Crowd. Crews took advantage and rolled up Corbin for the win.
Winner: Apollo Crews
Our take from it: Another time-filler match that was short. It was good seeing Crews win but this did little for the impending match between Corbin and Angle. The match was short and Corbin once again showed that he is not the best option to face Angle and that WWE can still pull of a swerve for the legend that is Kurt Angle.
Batista vows to end Triple H’s career at WrestleMania
Batista wowed to end Triple H’s career via a satellite broadcast. He called Triple H a control freak.
Our take from it: Batista does come off as genuine. Probably all those acting lessons paying off. WWE is still following the hands off approach here but if they want to keep the momentum going, a more hands on approach involving both men coming to blows is needed soon.
Drew McIntyre calls out Roman Reigns but gets Rollins instead
(Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre)
McIntyre went on a rant on how actions speak louder than words. He recounted how he beat up Ambrose and Reigns on the same night and called out Reigns for a match at WrestleMania. He warned Reigns that if he were to accept the challenge, he would get beaten up badly despite surviving cancer. Rollins came out to put a stop to the trash talking.
The fighting started on the ramp itself. The match was a brutal exhibition of power by McIntyre. There were quite a few painful looking spots. The match was filled with plenty of back and forth as both men kept foiling the other’s big moves.
The end of the match featured a few near falls. Rollins almost had the match won when he connected with a Falcon Arrow and was about to hit the Stomp when Brock Lesnar and Heyman came out. That distraction allowed McIntyre to hit the Claymore kick for the win.
After Raw went off air, Drew McIntyre starting attacking Rollins when Dean Ambrose came out to a huge pop to save his Shield brother.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Our take from it: This was a brutal match and showed that the future looks promising. If WWE has the audacity to put the title on Rollins and send Lesnar on a sabbatical, these two can tear the house down in the coming year.
Rollins is still the highlight of WWE and needs another extended title run. This match was also beautifully put together and the prospect of seeing Reigns and McIntyre duking it out in the battle of titans should be great fun to watch. Overall, a great end to an otherwise forgettable show.
Overall Raw Review: This was one of those confusing shows that ended up having next to nothing when it came to actual substance. A lot of the big names were also missing and for the most part it felt like an off show.
The main event was awesome but apart from that there was little to write home about. WWE is spoiling perfectly good storylines by adding unnecessary angles. The Rousey situation is a perfect example of that. Hopefully, this was a one-off and things will improve from next week.
Moment of the Night: Strowman tossing Rush across the ring while kicking out
Overall Rating: 3.3/5