Wrestling Review: WWE Raw, April 8 2019

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Raw Flashbacks

When going into this show, it is best to look at what occurred at WrestleMania involving the Raw Superstars. Raw ended up with all of its Championships changing hands, with the new titleholders being Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder, The IIconics, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and ‘The Man’ Becky Lynch, who became the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champion in the main event. Other Raw matches and involvements involved Braun Strowman winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Baron Corbin defeating Kurt Angle in his retirement match, Triple H defeating Batista, Roman Reigns defeating Drew McIntyre, and Alexa Bliss as host in a memorable segment involving Hulk Hogan.

Raw took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with the only announced segments being a Becky Lynch appearance and Alexa Bliss calling out a member of The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection.

Seth Rollins Segment

The post-Mania show kicked off with the NEW Universal Champion Seth Rollins. Rollins talked about how he’s now the “reigning, defending Universal Champion”, and that Lesnar can stay as far away from WWE as possible. Then, out came the NEW WWE Champion Kofi Kingston with The New Day. Kofi with Xavier Woods and Big E talked about the achievements of both Rollins and Kofi, with Big E showing his athleticism by doing a full splits. This would lead to a challenge by Kofi for a Champion vs. Champion winner-take-all match for later tonight, which Rollins accepted.

Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder (C) vs. The Revival

In the only rematch from last night, Hawkins and Ryder put their newly-acquired Tag Team Championships on the line against the former Champs, The Revival. Like on the Kick-Off Show the night prior, this was a very good affair with a very similar set-up to their previous bout. Some big spots included a brainbuster by Scott Dawson to Curt Hawkins, as well as the closing segment which had Hawkins roll-up Dash Wilder after The Revival seemed to have it won following a Shatter Machine on Ryder. Is this the beginning of a winning streak?

Baron Corbin/Kurt Angle Segment

Following Baron Corbin’s biggest win of his career the night before, it was time for Corbin to gloat, which he did thoroughly by calling himself ‘Brooklyn’s favourite son’ and saying that he is now better than an Olympic Gold Medallist. This brought out Kurt Angle, who wished Corbin the best of luck and shook his hand before hitting the Angle Slam and Ankle Lock, getting the happy moment he was unable to achieve at WrestleMania. But then, after three months, we finally had the debut of Lars Sullivan, who hit a Freak Accident and a huge diving headbutt on Angle, laying the Hall Of Famer out in the centre of the ring. Building to Strowman vs. Sullivan could be a big match, as would Reigns vs. Sullivan.

Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

Your eyes do not deceive you … Alexa Bliss has a match!!! These two have had a lot of matches in the past and they do have pretty good chemistry with each other. This was a good showing for both, with highlights being an Alabama Slam by Bayley into the turnbuckles and a vicious forearm on the outside by Bliss. In the end, it was The Goddess Of WWE who won with her patented DDT, proving that alongside death and taxes being guaranteed, Alexa Bliss will always beat Bayley. This did showcase a more brutal Bayley though, which could see the shocking idea of Bayley turning heel, which at least to me seems unthinkable.

Becky Lynch Segment

The winner of the main event of WrestleMania had her time to shine. Becky talked about how she overcame the odds last night, and praised the fans for sticking behind her, noting that it’s now The Man’s time on top. Becky was interrupted by 1930’s model Lacey Evans, who actually did something and hit the Women’s Right on the Champion. This led to a brawl and a separation between the two. This is a big spot for Lacey Evans to be Becky’s first challenger, but it’s something new, which should be a positive to those fans who get annoyed with Alexa and Charlotte getting constant title shots.

Following this, we got two segments: screaming-in-the-mirror Mojo Rawley and an supposedly laughing Buzzard? The latter potentially indicates the return of Bray Wyatt to be near.

Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable

This was a nice exhibition match for the tag division, but not much else significant can be put to it. Before going any further, Aleister Black’s new entrance with the Dracula–esque sound effect is a killer and completely unnecessary as well. The crowd for this match was extremely disappointing, with fans being completely uninterested, despite them wanting to see Black and Ricochet be highlighted more. The match itself was very much similar to their last, with a greater focus on moves than actual story, but all four came off looking good. This was especially the case for Black and Gable. The finish saw Ricochet hit a jumping double knee attack on Gable to get the win. Post-match, Roode blindsided Ricochet, and left with Gable before Black could interfere. This got zero reaction, despite giving a lot of fans what they wanted (a heel turn for Bobby and presumably Chad too).

Dean Ambrose vs. Bobby Lashley

With this match being announced as Dean’s last before his contract expires, the set-up had some emotion despite the obvious outcome. However, it didn’t even begin: after Bobby Lashley claimed that once Ambrose is gone he’ll “take care of Renee”, a brawl ensued between the two, with Ambrose hitting the Dirty Deeds on the ramp. But he was still dumped through the announce table with an elevated uranage. If this is Dean’s last show in WWE, then it’s been a wild six years.

Intercontinental Championship Match
Finn Balor (C) vs. Sami Zayn

This segment began with a returning Zayn challenging anyone in the locker room, which led to the extraordinary man who does extraordinary things to respond and put his title on the line. This was a very good workhorse match, and the right bout to bring Sami Zayn for. Some of the big moments included a big Blue Thunder Bomb by Zayn, and a close call after he reversed a Coup De Grace into a roll-up. However, after avoiding a Helluva Kick, Balor capitalised by hitting the double stomp for the win.

Post-match, Sami grabbed the microphone claiming he’s “never missed the fans”, before ranting about how the fans are changing their minds all the time, and that they should just stay watching the show and not be involved. This was a very good promo.

Dana Brooke gave a backstage promo saying she’s not standing at the back of the line anymore, and that she’s taking every chance she gets.

Elias Segment

Elias was looking to get the musical performance out, which he was unable to do at WrestleMania due to a returning Doctor of Thuganomics. After claiming later in the night that whoever interrupted would have hell to pay, and that they would be a “dead man” if they did, it was only fitting for who would come out. After missing only the third WrestleMania in his whole career (for reasons???), The Undertaker appeared and laid out the Drifter with a chokeslam and Tombstone, looking in the best shape that the Dead Man has been in since 2010. The Undertaker posed and walked to the back before the next Saudi Arabia show takes place.

Universal Champion vs. WWE Champion – Winner Takes All
Seth Rollins (U C) vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE C)

On paper, the stakes of this match were of huge importance, and yet despite that, it was hard to see an outcome in which one of these would walk out with both titles. They matched up well, with both attempting a quick win but being unable to do so. Without The Shield or New Day coming out, to me it personally felt a lot more significant for Kofi as WWE Champion, as he was truly by himself. As the match started to heat up, it became a lot more tense with Kofi and Seth taking more risks, including Kofi throwing Seth off the top turnbuckle to the outside. This abruptly led to The Bar coming out and attacking Kofi and Seth, which ultimately led to …..

Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston vs. The Bar

HOLLA HOLLA PLAYA!!! Now, this is something no one cared to see. That is not to say the match was bad by any means, but for the night after WrestleMania 35, The Bar from SmackDown should not be main eventing Raw. It was a solid TV main event, with Sheamus and Cesaro being control for the majority, even hitting their finisher on Kofi. But in the end, despite the disappointing crowd (who chanted AEW, CM Punk etc.), Kofi and Rollins were able to get the win following a Trouble in Paradise into a Stomp. Post-match, both new champions celebrated with their titles to end the broadcast.

Overall, Raw was a solid show, giving us three title matches and a few surprises throughout, including The Undertaker, Lars Sullivan and Alexa Bliss wrestling. But with no Reigns, McIntyre or Strowman, and the Superstar Shake-Up next week, the show did feel like a stopgap before we move past WrestleMania properly.