The January 7th, 2019 edition of WWE RAW took place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
After a RIP Mean Gene graphic we fade in on a backstage brawl between Seth Rollins & Bobby Lashley, stemming from their issues that arose during the holiday shows that some of us (me) didn’t watch. Zack Ryder already making his first Raw appearance of 2019, along with the rest of the other random Raw roster members trying to break this stuff up. We go right from that to…
That led to a promo from John Cena, Cena welcomes us to Orlando, Florida, Monday Night Raw, the Road to WrestleMania, and his mid-life crisis. I made one of those up. Cena says he won’t get left out of WrestleMania again (well, he wasn’t left out, but I want to forget about that whole business too), and announces he’s entering the Royal Rumble Match. Drew Mcintyre says he’s been waiting for this moment for years. He doesn’t care about Cena’s bed partners, his haircut or anything except his 16 world championships, that he’s main evented multiple WrestleManias, and that Vince McMahon calls him the greatest of all time. Drew agrees with Vince on this. He invites Cena to check with some of the people he takes credit for destroying, including Kurt Angle. Drew wants him some of Cena. John is sad now, because he’s heard the same thing every week from every single superstar, and he had to leave so they could come up with a different promo. Cena asks Drew what makes him different. Drew says he’ll show him. Any showing of things is interrupted by Lio Rush going on about how Seth Rollins is out of control, and he & Bobby Lashley will get a lawyer if something isn’t done about Rollins. Rush cancels the show until somebody does something, and that lasts five seconds before Rollins attacks again. Dean Ambrose comes out to help Lashley, and we get three on two until Finn Balor’s music plays. He does a flip dive onto everybody as we head into commercial & I wait for Teddy Long to come out and make the six-man tag team match playa holla holla holla.
Finn Bálor, John Cena, and Seth Rollins defeated Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Dean Ambrose. Rollins countered Dirty Deeds with a stomp to pin Ambrose. After the match, Rollins stormed backstage and demanded an Intercontinental Championship match against Ambrose for later tonight. Triple H agreed, making it falls count anywhere. Good, traditional style six-man tag team match with solid competitors. Everybody got to look competitive & do their thing, with the finish setting up something for later. Nothing wrong with this. (***1/2)
For some reason, the TitanTron shows Triple H talking with Sasha Banks & Bayley backstage so Seth can make a funny face at it. Oh, it’s so Seth can go backstage and demand a match with Dean tonight. Triple H agrees, and makes it Falls Count Anyhwere. He welcomes Seth back.
Hulk Hogan is WALKING...
Hulk Hogan showed up and did his thing. You can watch the tribute to Mean Gene below. My misgivings about Hulk Hogan & his spot with WWE in 2019 aside, this was as good a way to use him as any. WWE using the occasion to sell Hulkamania t-shirts on their website was pretty sleazy, but the appearance itself was fine. I’m not going to fault anybody that didn’t approve of it though.
Lumberjack Match for the Raw Tag Team Championship: Bobby Roode and Chad Gable (c) defeated The Revival. Gable won when Roode reversed a small package from Scott Dawson, and the referee counted three even though Dawson’s foot was hooked on the bottom rope. Looks like we're getting ourselves a re-match.
Hello, he is Elias: Nice to see Orlando on Elias’s side after the Full Sail crowd spent so many months & years crapping on him. He reflects on all the things he did in 2018, and mentions the Universal Truth that WWE stands for Walk With Elias. He’s got more in store for 2019, as he is entering the Royal Rumble Match. As much as he’s enjoyed his own successes, he’s enjoyed the failures of Baron Corbin. He has a song about it! Unfortunately, the Applebee’s waiter is here to spoil the show. Blah blah blah blah blah oh, the Preds are finishing the Leafs off! Good times there. I flip back in time to see Elias ask Corbin to shut his mouth.
Elias vs. Baron Corbin. Orlando with a brief CM Punk chant, which will probably upset Twitter. Corbin goes over with the End of Days. Bit of a dud match here. (*)
Braun & Brock Are Here: Braun Strowman comes down to the ring and has no interest in talking. Heyman & Lesnar are backstage, and Heyman runs through his spiel. Heyman says they won’t get Face to Face, because if Brock came down to the ring to get those hands, he wouldn’t have an opponent at the Royal Rumble. Braun tells the Beastie Boy that he’s waiting for him. Well, this is awkward. The fans chant Get These Hands, and Braun asks Brock to come on down. Braun tries to goad him, and eventually he does. Brock walks around the ring & laughs, then heads out. Braun says he’ll be crowned new Universal Champion at the Royal Rumble. Man, this was weird. Lesnar did nothing and it felt like a waste of an appearance. Braun didn’t do much to prove himself here either. Not a good week for this program…it seems to be better off when neither of them are on the show.
Apollo Crews and Ember Moon defeated Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox.Moon pinned Fox after an Eclipse.
A Moment of Bliss: Alexa Bliss is here to introduce a Ronda Rousey video package & interview her. Ronda seems unsure of what to say while the crowd tries to work up some kind of chant. She goes into this speech and it eventually gets around to her wanting to wrestle Sasha Banks because she admires her. Nia Jax comes out and wants her rematch. Sasha enters & says she’ll teach Ronda how to lose with dignity. Nia says she weighs 300.5 ounces, which comes to 18.78 pounds. Sasha wants a match with Nia where the winner gets Ronda, and she heads to the ring. Nia says she’s a bitch, but not the bitch. I’m not really sure what happened here, but it led to a match.
Winner Gets Ronda: Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax: Tamina & Bayley came down to ringside during the commercial. I don’t see the guillotine choke working here, and sure enough it leads to a suplex. Renee makes sure to upgrade Bayley from Sasha’s “friend” to “best friend”. In any event, Bayley gets taken out by Tamina, then Nia gorilla presses Sasha for a minute before dropping her on some boxes. Sasha makes it back in the ring before the ten count. Sitout powerbomb gets two before we go to commercial. Nia dominated during the break, but Sasha comes back once we’re back. She goes for the Bank Statement but it’s not really working out for her. Nia hits the Samoan Drop, but Sasha gets her foot on the bottom rope. The referee sees it this time, unlike in the tag team match earlier. Nia goes up for the Super Samoan Drop, but Sasha slips out. Does it help? Nah, Nia drops her throat-first on the top rope & Graves has an orgasm on commentary. This thing falls apart late & Nia ends up tapping to tbe Bank Statement. Sasha Banks is going to the Royal Rumble to take on Ronda Rousey! They had their typical fine power vs. speed match early on, but at some point things just went downhill very quickly. (*1/2)
Falls Count Anywhere Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) defeated Seth Rollins. Rollins appeared to have the match won following a Stomp, but was attacked by Bobby Lashley. Ambrose crawled onto Rollins and pinned him to retain the championship. After the match, Lashley put Rollins through a table. This was much, much better than the TLC match, as the combatants realized this was supposed to be a brawl & acted as such. It wasn’t the craziest thing ever, but it did the job for a Monday night. (**1/2)
End of show.