We are in Chicago, 20 short nights away from WrestleMania. You know who else is? Paul Heyman and his client “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, as promised and advertised. Boos rain down upon them—this is Monday Night Rollins, after all—not that they care. Lesnar even presents his title to them with a large smile on his face, which only causes a “BURN IT DOWN” chant. Heyman tries to speak, and then here come more boos, even before Heyman insults the people of Chicago. He calls Seth Rollins “a revisionist,” spewing propaganda last week about how Lesnar has a problem when it comes to facing guys like him. So he reminds everyone who the winner of the matches against AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and Finn Balor were. (Spoiler alert: They were all Brock Lesnar.)
Tonight, Rollins has a match against Drew McIntyre, who Lesnar calls “a career killer.” (Not “the career killer” like Lesnar but definitely “a.”) Heyman can’t understand what Rollins is possibly thinking, having a match against a guy like McIntyre 20 days before facing Lesnar at WrestleMania. Then out comes McIntyre, who thanks Heyman for being someone who finally shows him the respect he deserves. He talks about how he brutalized both Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose last week… and he’s going to do the same to Rollins, so Lesnar should ask Heyman to find him a new WrestleMania opponent because Rollins is not going to make it to the show.
With that, McIntyre eats a chair shot from behind by Rollins. Officials come out to stop Rollins, and it looks like he’s done… until he heeds the audience’s cheers of “ONE MORE TIME” and hits a fallen McIntyre with even more chair shots. The “BURN IT DOWN” inspire him to go into the ring and face off with Lesnar, but Lesnar’s out as soon as Rollins is in. Rollins holds court inside as the “SLAY THE BEAST” chants go on, and Lesnar looks like he might take the bait, but Heyman stops him.
Just a reminder: Lio Rush is back in Bobby Lashley’s good graces after helping him win the Intercontinental Championship back from Finn Balor last week. They now have a tag team match against Finn Balor and a parter of his choosing next. (It’s going to be Braun Strowman. Michael Cole spoils it by saying he think he knows, then saying, “I believe it’s going to be a MONSTER-ous match.” No, not “monstrous”—he really wants us to know it’s a monster. Thanks for ruining the fun, Michael Cole!)
Braun Strowman & Finn Balor def. Lio Rush & Bobby Lashley
Before we officially learn who his partner is, Balor wishes Chicago a “happy belated St. Patrick’s Day.” He talks about his lack of luck last week, but how he plans to turn it around… but Lio and Lashley interrupt him before he can continue or even mention who his
Strowman starts the match off against Lashley, both shrugging off each other’s offense and flexing on each other, literally. (Then it goes on commercial, and we are immediately hit with picture-in-picture and a Head & Shoulders commercial starring “The Man” Becky Lynch.) Lashley gets the advantage during
He’s about to finish him with the running powerslam, but Lashley spears him, then Balor double stomps Lashley, and Lio removes Balor, to become the only man on his feet. He hits his beautiful frog splash on Strowman… who kicks out and throws him halfways across the ring in doing so. So he makes Strowman run, and as it turns out, there’s nowhere to run. Lashley wrecks Balor, but Strowman runs him over, then he and Lio are back in the ring, and the rest is monstrous history—because Lashley refuses to help Lio and instead just heads to the back, in obviou fear.
The RAW Women’s Champion is in the building, and the WWE has hired extra security to prevent “another incident” like last week. Good luck.
With this week’s edition of “A Moment of Blliss,” Alexa Bliss’ guest is someone who knows just as much about being rudely interrupted as she does: Elias. She gives him a “guarantee” that no one will interrupt his announcement, and she’s surprisigly right as Elias announces that he’ll be the headlining musical performer at WrestleMania. (Alexa Bliss will of course be hosting WrestleMania. Congrats to you two for not wrestling on the card, I guess.)
He would’ve been good if he just announced that and ended it, but then he goes on to talk trash Chicago and ramble on about his performance, so then the interruption comes: No Way Jose’s conga line, sans No Way Jose and led by Heavy Machinery’s Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight. Alexa apologizes, as she actually contracted the conga line for her talk show but only for the end of the segment. They even had 10 rehearsals to get this right! Elias is about to ruin this party once and for all, but he’s jumped by a costume-wearing, masked member of the conga line.
Actually, it’s No Way Jose, getting revenge for last week!
Elias def. No Way Jose
During the commercial break, a one-on-one match is made official, and upon returning from the break, No Way Jose is very much in control. But Elias is ultimately fueled by his anger and frustration over years of interruption, and he wins on the Road to WrestleMania.
The Kurt Angle Farewell Tour rolls on, and now Angle’s having his final match in Chicago. But first, he’s going to pick his opponent for his farewell match at WrestleMania. There are many men he wants to face, but only one man he wants to beat: Baron Corbin. (Understandable given their relationship, but the WWE Universe is definitely underwhelmed.)
Kurt Angle def. Chad Gable
But at least tonight, he goes against someone worth getting excited
As expected, this is a technical match, and also one that could be called a red, white, and blue blur. But as much as Angle is Gable’s hero, Gable does not go easy on the man, going after his left leg with intense precision. So Angle’s tactic has to
Then Angle goes for the three German Suplexes, but Gable has taken so much out of him that he can only do one, allowing Gable to put him in an ankle lock himself. Angle gets out of it and then goes for an Angle Slam, but Gable turns it into a DDT. Another two-count, so Gable goes for a moonsault, but Angle moves out of the way, and he then locks the ankle lock back in. Gable tries to escapes, but Angle grapevines the leg, and Gable taps out.
Post-match, Angle wants to celebrate with Gable, but out comes Baron Corbin to ruin everything and gloat. He says the only thing the WWE Universe will remember is Angle’s very last match.
Then, backstage, Corbin tries to tell The Revival how “hilarious” it was out there. They’re clearly not interested—Corbin is the bully others pretend is funny so they don’t have to deal with the reprecussions—and then Apollo Crews comes over to challenge him to a match tonight. Corbin accepts, and then Crews lets him know nobody likes him. Corbin thinks The Revival like him, but they let him know—in unison—“Hell no.”
The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection are out for some tag team action against who even knows. But before their match, Charly Caruso interviews them in the ring, bringing up The IIconics’ claim that they’re ducking them. Aftter all, they’ve promised to defend the championship everywhere, but they’ve only shown up on RAW and NXT, not SmackDown. Sasha Banks is about to pop off at that questions, but Bayley takes the reins, informing Charly that they’ll be making “a special appearance on SmackDown LIVE” tomorrow night. Then Sasha says that as far as WrestleMania goes, they look forward to facing—
Well, she’s interrupted by Natalya’s music. And then out comes Beth Phoenix, and the Divas of Doom head to the ring to let Sasha and Bayley know a few things. First, Beth lets the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection know she was content to work as a commentator and watch from the sidelines during the Women’s Evolution. But Nia Jax and Tamina forced her to get out from behind the announce table and take action. They “awoke the dragon,” she says, and that’s why she’s stepping out of retirement to challenge (alongside Natalya) them for a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania.
Bayley is obviously stoked for this challenge, but she wonders ou loud if Beth doesn’t want a little more time to prepare. After all, she’s been retired for six years, and the division “has evolved” since her time. True. Natalya then speaks for Beth, noting that this was the building in which Beth won the Women’s Championship and reminding noted wrestling superfans who the hell Beth Phoenix is. Then she says it’s not like Beth would even have an issue facing “someone like you,” so Sasha Banks stands up for her best friend, saying Beth is really just the woman Natalya is using to even get a match at WrestleMania. (Kinda true too.) Natalya strikes first, then Bayley fights back. They get separated, but then Beth gets in Sasha’s face and pushes her. This is not friendly competition.
Sasha Banks vs. Natalya went to a No Contest
Okay, apparently it won’t be tag team action: It’s singles action between Sasha and Natalya. But before the match can really get going, Nia Jax’s music hits and she comes out with a microphone. She mocks Beth for coming out of retirement, saying she’s done more in three years than Beth ever did in her entire career. “I’m a prettier, stronger version of ‘The Glamazon’,” she says, before Tamina attacks Beth from behind and then also takes out Sasha and Bayley.
Oh hey, Mojo Rawley is back in his dark room with his mirror. And now he despises the word “potential.” “What good is potential if you don’t do anything with it?“ Good question. “FIGURE IT OUT!” Okay. See you next week, maybe. Maybe not though.
Ricochet def. Jinder Mahal
Ricochet is in singles action tonight, against Jinder Mahal (with the Singh Brothers in tow, of course). (Aleister Black is not here tonight, due to personal matters.) Jinder of course has the power and the numbers, but Ricochet has the speed and the ability, so ultimately, the latter wins.
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes interviews Seth Rollins (in Chicago Bears gear) about his strategy against Drew McIntyre and if it’ll be the same for Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. “You hurt my brothers, you better be prepared to get hurt,” Rollins says. “Because is for Dean. Tonight is for Roman.” It’s also kind of for Brock Lesnar, who he’s hoping will be watching tonight.
Apollo Crews def. Baron Corbin
On commentary, Michael Cole notes how the WWE Universe is universally (hehe) disappointed by Kurt Angle choosing Baron Corbin as the competitor he’ll be facing in his final match at WrestleMania. In fact, Corbin tweeted:
And during this match, they even chant “WE WANT CENA.” We truly do. And while he’s too busy not giving the crowd what they want, Corbin’s distracted and Apollo Crews beats him with an inside cradle. Angle celebrates with Crews and Corbin seethes.
“I just don’t like him.” That’s what Batista has to say about Triple H and their impending No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania. Batista says Triple H “uses people to protect him,” like he did in D-Generation X and Evolution. He groomed Batista to be his muscle, talked down to him, and underestimated him
Now he’s the one in control, demanding the match he deserves. Cole tries to defend Triple H, but Batista notes the whole “Cerebral Assassin” thing, the real Triple H. “He’s got you fooled, he’s got you all fooled. That’s what he does.” Batista hopes one day Vince McMahon wakes up and fires Triple H, but Batista promises to end Triple H’s in-ring career at WrestleMania.
Charly Caruso interviews Braun Strowman about the Colin Jost/Michael Che thing because that’s also something to remember will be part of WrestleMania. Strowman announces he’ll be entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania so as many men as possible will get these hands, and he’ll also be going for Jost and Che backstage.
Before his match against Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre has some things to say in the center of the ring. But first, he shows the footage of him destroying Roman Reigns last week before their match could officially begin. McIntyre says that, at Fastlane, he could tell Reigns wasn’t 100%, and he proved it last Monday. Then he calls Rollins “a coward” for “viciously assaulting” him. “This is my yard now,” he claims. He then wants to speak to Reigns—well, “Joe, the man”—and let him know:
“If you want to be a hero so bad… Then I have a challenge for you: I challenge you. I challenge you to a fight. Not just any fight. I challenge you to a fight at WrestleMania! I know the answer already. These people know the answer already.”
But Reigns should look to his family and their tears and say no, because if Reigns fights McIntyre at WrestleMania, “all bets are off.” He promises Reigns: “I will hurt you. I will maim you. I will destroy you.”
Then Rollins is on the TitanTron, and he lets McIntyre know that this is why he attacked him the way he did earlier tonight. “That was for my brothers. This is for me.”
Drew McIntyre def. Seth Rollins
McIntyre meets Rollins at the ramp, both men trying to destroy each other before the match can officially begin.
But once it does, McIntyre honestly has an answer to everything Rollins has to offer. But he just can’t put him away. So he decides to go for the chair—for revenge—and he only ends up eating a superkick from Rollins as a result. They both end up on the outside for a 10-count, but they get in at the same time (right before the count of 10), and then Rollins just fucking rallies. It’s… insane.
Rollins is truly a speed demon, and he hits a gear that didn’t even seem possible. But while it looks like he’ll win, instead, he ends up just burning himself out, perhaps using the end of his reserves. But the “BURN IT DOWN” chants fuel him back up. And he is so ready to burn it down… until Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come out for the distraction, allowing McIntyre to finally hit the Claymore Kick and get the win.