The main takeaway segments from last week’s Raw were the suspension of Becky Lynch by Stephanie McMahon due to Becky not willing to see a doctor and have her moment
took away from her, as well as Jeff Jarrett having his first match on Raw in 19 1/2 years in a losing effort to Elias, and Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman teaming up in
a losing effort by disqualification to Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre.
The announced segments going into Raw were an invitation by the McMahon family to Becky Lynch to appear, as well as a Seth Rollins appearance following his absence from last week. Prior to Raw, two matches were made for the Elimination Chamber PPV involving Raw talent, those being Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin and Finn Balor getting his Intercontinental Title shot in a handicap match against Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush. Raw took place from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Becky Lynch/Stephanie McMahon/Triple H Segment
For the second week running, Raw started with Becky Lynch and the McMahons; a nice little video package was shown to highlight what happened last week on both Raw and
SmackDown before ‘The Man Came Around’. Once Becky was introduced, it was brought to our attention by Stephanie that Becky over the last week met the doctor and was cleared, meaning the suspension is over and that she has her Mania match against ‘Ronnie’. However, there was a catch – Becky had to apologise for her actions from last week on both Stephanie and Triple H. Becky claimed the McMahons have “been screwing people for decades”, and her response to the apology was “HELL NO”. Nevertheless, Becky was told “this is not your hill to die on”, and to think over her decision. This would be the overarching angle on Raw for the rest of the night, up until the closing segment.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan
Following on from this, we had the same match that the SmackDown tag teams for Elimination Chamber had last week, but with its Raw counterparts. Before the match, we
had mini packages for both Jax & Tamina and Banks & Bayley, with the focus either being on size or their dreams. This was a fun little match; the main takeaway from this was the condition of Sasha Banks going into this Sunday with the ‘Legit Boss’ being took out and having to be taken to the back, especially with the rumours of her injury. This meant Bayley had to go the match alone, and by doing so, she came close to winning after hitting the Bayley To Belly on Liv Morgan, but in the end she was unable to overcome the odds. Those odds being the ‘Irresistible Force’ Nia Jax, who pinned Bayley with the Samoan Drop, giving her and Tamina a huge amount of momentum going into Sunday. Post-match, the camera cut to an upset Bayley looking at the Women’s Tag Titles at ringside.
Backstage, we had the first Becky interaction with a Raw superstar, that being her fellow Irish star in Finn Balor. Balor said “It’s good to wait for certain things and bide your time”, and to not let “pride ruin your moment”.
A highlight package of Seth Rollins was shown, with the focus surrounding the gauntlet match this time last year where he beat John Cena and Roman Reigns in the same night. This and the previous Balor/Becky interaction both seemed to inadvertently interrupt a planned Elias segment.
Elias/Lucha House Party Segment
And that continued, as we pretty much had the standard Elias segment: as soon as he started playing the guitar, he was interrupted again, this time by the Lucha House Party. Personally, as soon as I saw LHP come out, I knew this segment was going down the toilet. The focus was that LHP wanted “to walk with Elias”. After Elias played a song, though, the LHP would claim it was “crap”, followed by Kalisto wanting to try himself. Once the former two-time United States Champion had started to play a few strings, he was cracked over the head by the Drifter, who then escaped. This would be quite a drop for Elias, who was feuding with a Hall Of Famer and the current Intercontinental Champion not so long ago to now opposing the mid-card of 205 Live.
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
Raw is really starting to repeat its matches at the moment, especially at the top of the card. At least with these two, they have a very good David vs. Goliath mentality, with the quickness of Finn against the strength of McIntyre. However, this match would not last long due to constant interference from Lashley and Rush on the outside. This would include the finish, in which Balor had McIntyre in position for the Coup De Grace but would be pushed off the ropes by Lashley leading to a DQ. Due to a post-match beatdown on Balor, an impromptu six-man tag match was made, involving saviours of the day Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman.
Finn Balor, Braun Strowman & Kurt Angle vs Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley
This was a continuation of two feuds put together into one match, those being the tag rivalry and the Intercontinental Title rivalry. For the middle of Raw, this was a stacked match, with arguably everyone except Rollins who was involved at the top of the card. The match was good for what it was, with the focus being to isolate Strowman from the ring at all costs, and McIntyre being the primary focus of that. The match seemed to finish abruptly when Lashley pinned Balor off a Dominator; however, Balor’s foot was on the rope, leading to a restart of the match. After that, it was complete control by the babyfaces, especially Strowman over the opposition. Braun would lead his side to victory following a powerslam to Lashley, and tagging in Balor to hit the Coup De Grace for the three-count.
A video package was played of Kevin Owens saying he is recovering well from his injury and that he is around a month away from returning, before getting a zero on the bowling alley. Becky Lynch was then interviewed by Charly Caruso, who asked Becky what she is going to do. Becky’s response: “None of your damn business”.
Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riott
When I saw this match was happening on Raw, there was a sense of excitement based on the connection these two had shown in NXT, but now with the roles reversed, with Cross being the face and Riott her antithesis. This bout very much displayed how good Cross can be, with Nikki being able to get in all her major moves such as a diving crossbody in and out of the ring, as well as her trapped ambush in the ring apron. Despite this, Riott was too much for the chaos of the women’s division, winning with the Riott Kick to gain some form of momentum, although not much, going into her title match with Ronda Rousey this Sunday.
Seth Rollins Segment
After a week off-screen, the 2019 Royal Rumble winner was back to talk about his “ride of 2018, and I was glad to share it with all of you”. Rollins said that he has taken all of the punishment that the Beast can give and is still standing. Brock Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman would then interrupt Rollins, asking if he really does believe he can slay the Beast, that Brock Lesnar is a “career-killer”, and that Rollins is on a “suicide mission”. Rollins responded by claiming “I will sell my soul to the Devil and burn in Hell to beat Brock Lesnar”. The master of interruptions Dean Ambrose would then follow Heyman’s step and (yes) interrupt. but would keep it brief, telling Rollins to “slay the Beast”.
EC3 vs. Dean Ambrose
This match followed the exact same format as their battle last week, so if you are interested in what happened, last week’s Raw review might be more suitable to check out. The big difference this week was that Ambrose actually got the win with a rollup, making it 1-1 between these two, and both with roll-up wins. This means a third is most likely to take place at the Elimination Chamber PPV, which will probably take place on the pre-show.
We then had another backstage segment with Becky Lynch, this time with a long-established enemy in Alexa Bliss. At first, Alexa told Becky that everyone was behind her, but when pressured to say her true feelings, the Goddess Of WWE told Becky that she would be known as “the Irish girl who swallowed her pride and kissed up to the Authority as a sellout”.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (C) vs. The Revival
Despite seeing this match excessively on Raw, these two teams are still able to put on great matches, repeatedly giving some prestige to the Raw tag team division which it has needed for around a year. The main reason to bring this up is that these two teams were able to get a crowd that seemed disinterested and fatigued from the show and get them invested in a great match. Some big spots in this match were Gable hitting a moonsault onto both members of The Revival on the outside, as well as a beautiful powerbomb blockbuster combination by the Raw Tag Team Champions. For The Revival, a great tag manoeuvre used was a Gory Bomb special by Dash, with some extra force from a running Dawson. The finish would come out of nowhere, as a sly tag by Dash would see him be in the perfect position to be caught in a Shatter Machine and to crown The Revival as NEW RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!!!
Becky Lynch/McMahons Segment
Now for the main event segment on the show, as we go full circle to where we began. Stephanie and Triple H told Becky to “shut the crowd out”, and to focus on her career. Becky said “if all I have to do to get the Mania main event is to say two words, then I apologise”. This led to Ronda Rousey coming out for a stare-off for the likely WrestleMania 35 main event. However, there was a huge twist to be had, as Vince McMahon would come out and suspend Becky Lynch for 60 days, due to not believing her apology, and Vince’s replacement was none other than the opportunistic Charlotte Flair.
Overall, as a go-home show for Elimination Chamber, this was pretty poor, but the main event segment, the Tag Team Title switch and some form of momentum for Balor and
Riott going into this Sunday elevated this into a mediocre episode of Raw.