Monday Night RAW is in Boston, MA, and the entire WWE Universe (and world) is abuzz over the announcement that WrestleMania 35 will have the first-ever women’s main event in the form of the RAW Women’s Championship triple threat match between Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair.
So WWE rides that momentum by kicking off the show with a Ronda promo and a Beat The Clock Challenge—featuring all three competitors in the WrestleMania main event, against members of The Riott Squad—which you can read about here.
Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal & Bobby Lashley, to face Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 35 for the Intercontinental Championship
During his and Bobby Lashley’s entrance, Lio Rush runs his mouth about Finn Balor (and Braun Strowman). Once he’s done with that though, he also says he’s “not medically-cleared to compete tonight” because of Strowman giving him these hands last week. So Balor will be facing Lashley and… Jinder Mahal. Michael Cole asks how Balor could possibly defeat the team of Lashley and Mahal, but considering he’s beaten then both individually—multiple times—even with the damn numbers game in the form of Lio Rush and/or the Singh Brothers, I’d say he’s still got a pretty good chance.
And that ends up being true, as Balor ultimately ends up hitting Mahal with a Coup de Grace for the win and the title opportunity at WrestleMania. A furious Lashley then beats up the Singh Brothers and spears Mahal, but you know what? That’s what you get when you keep teaming up with people in matches where you’re the only one who has anything to lose. Lashley screwed Lashley.
WrestleMania musical act Elias is stuck in Times Sqare while all of his colleagues are in Boston, and he’s under the assumption that he’s headlining WrestleMania. (Remember: Ronda, Becky, and Charlotte are.) His street performance of course gets interrupted by another street musician and surprisingly not the rain. Seriously, I’m worried about Elias. Get an umbrella, Elias. You don’t want to get sick before your big show.
Ricochet & Aleister Black def. The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson)
Oh look, Aleister Black is back! And he and Ricochet are facing off against The Revival again in another non-title match. Both teams immediately go after each other, not even waiting for the match to officially start or for The Revival to even take their titles off. Once the bell finally rings though, Scott Dawson grabs Black’s leg from the outside so Dash Wilder can get the early advantage.
But ultimately, Ricochet and Black end up beating The Revival—again—in this non-title match, after Black hits a Black Mass (on both Dash and Dawson) and Ricochet hits a 630 (on Dash). But Dawson makes sure the ring announcer Mike Rome reminds the WWE Universe they’re still RAW Tag Team Champions, even though they lost a non-title match. Again.
“I don’t give a damn if you like me, but you will respect me,” Drew McIntyre says in the center of the ring. It’s been a week since he’s challenged Roman Reigns to a fight at WrestleMania, and it’s been two weeks since he laid waste to “The Big Dog.” McIntyre continues, “I’ve already vanquished the Shield, I exterminated that cockroach Dean Ambrose.” He even beat Seth Rollins, the #1 Contender to the Universal Championship… although that was with a little help from Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.
Yet again, McIntyre goes low, bringing up Roman’s fight against leukemia. He even brings up Roman’s—well, Joe’s—family as he does so. McIntyre is willing to hold RAW hostage if he doesn’t get what he wants (what he really, really wants), but he doesn’t have to: Reigns comes out to give him his answer:
“Roman accepts your challenge.”
But then Reigns speaks as Joe: “Don’t you ever run your mouth about my wife and kids.” After that, he beats the crap out of McIntyre, getting payback for the past two weeks. McIntyre’s only defense? A low blow. And then he’s able to hit Reigns with a Claymore, able to stand tall over his handiwork. After that, WWE officials send McIntyre to the back.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose confronts McIntyre about that extermination comment. So he challenges
Sasha Banks vs. Natalya went to a No Contest
It’s “Boss Time” in Boston! Sasha Banks (accompanied to the ring by Bayley) is facing off against Natalya (accompanied by Beth Phoenix) in singles action. This was the match that was supposed to happen last week, but Nia Jax and Tamina turned the whole thing into chaos. Natalya gets a lot of offense against Sasha, but she also seems very concerned with talking trash to Bayley—and then, eventually Sasha too—which only gives Sasha more openings for offense against her.
Natalya is eventually able to get Sasha into a Sharpshooter in the center of the ring, and Sasha almost makes it to the ropes, but Natalya brings her back to the center? Is Sasha gonna tap? No. And while she doesn’t make it to the ropes, she does get Natalya down as a way to get out of the submission.
And then Nia Jax and Tamina come out of nowhere to ruin things again like they did last week. Only this time, Beth Phoenix is able to take out both Nia and Tamina, putting Tamina down with a Glam Slam. The “YOU STILL GOT IT” chants are much-deserved with that one that.
Backstage, Charley Caruso asks Kurt Angle about his decision to have Samoa Joe come in from SmackDown to face him on his Farewell Tour. Angle admits he’s not looking for easy competition; he actually wants to challenge himself during this last stretch of his career.
Then Baron Corbin shows up to ruin everything (there’s a pattern forming), telling Angle that the WWE Universe is only cheering him on because they feel sorry for him. Angle’s response? “Screw you.” Short and to the point—Corbin clearly didn’t expect that.
Meanwhile, a fed up Sasha Banks and Bayley announce they will simply take on any challenger who wants a shot at their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship—at WrestleMania.
Alexa Bliss is now using “A Moment of Bliss” for conflict resolution between Colin Jost, Michael Che, and Braun Strowman. And here I thought her promise to Strowman last week meant she’d try to resolve things offscreen, in the week leading up to this RAW… where none of us would have to see
Instead, Strowman reiterates his wanting to give his hands to Jost and Che, while Jost and Che aren’t even in the arena: They’re “live via satellite.” That doesn’t stop the Boston crowd from booing when Jost puts on a Yankees hat. Then he makes an Operation Varsity Blues joke that doesn’t land—maybe not the right crowd—and decides to trash talk Strowman. (It doesn’t really matter what he says though, because the Boston crowd is too busy chanting “YANKEES SUCK.”) Oh, and to make matters worse, Jost says that his favorite wrestler is Brock Lesnar.
So Strowman demands Jost enter the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, a deal Che accepts for Jost. Then Jost makes clear, “Che’s in too.” Alexa apparently has the authority to make this all official, so there you have it.
We’re back to Elias freezing his tail off in New York City, this time in front of Madison Square Garden, and he’s interrupted by a man putting a quarter in his empty cup. Elias pretended there was hot tea in that cup, so obviously the cold has warped his brain.
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews
Well this is funny: Baron Corbin seems to think having Mike Rome rattle of all of his “former” accomplishments (Acting General Manager, Golden Gloves champion, United States Champion, Money in the Bank winner) makes him sound cool. Instead, it only highlights how much he’s constantly failed after getting any bit of success. (Remember, his Money in the Bank cash-in was a failed attempt. Thank you, Cena.) I’m pretty you don’t ever become a “former” Golden Gloves champion though, so he must have really tanked that one.
But does at least actually beat Apollo Crews this time around, after losing to him last week. However, he can’t just accept a win, so he attacks Crew after the match and hits him with another End of Days.
Seth Rollins is in the building, y’all. “Brock Lesnar and I are not cut from the same cloth,” Rollins says. He wants to be a champion who inspires people, which is not the type of champion Lesnar is. He points out how every fan, no matter who they are, has asked him to beat Lesnar. So he has to beat Lesnar. And he has an army behind him—the WWE Universe—and that makes him “unstoppable.” Together, they are going to burn Suplex City down.
That final part gets Paul Heyman’s attention. He comes out to say “thank you” to Seth Rollins for letting him know “the match at WrestleMania is now a handicap match.” Hehe. Then he goes on his “beaten, victimized, and conquered” rant, before bringing up “thoughts and prayers.” But when Rollins comes up the ramp to meet Heyman face-to-face, everything Heyman says seems to fly right out the window, as Heyman begs and pleads for Rollins to have mercy for him. Rollins makes clear that he’s not asking for “thoughts and prayers,” he’s answering them. Because “WE” are marching up to Suplex City and “WE” are going to “BURN IT DOWN.”
Kurt Angle def. Samoa Joe
The Kurt Angle Farewell Tour rolls on in Boston, and Angle even gets a little fun out of the “YOU SUCK” chants by pointing to a fallen Paul Heyman as he makes his entrance. Samoa Joe, on the other hand, makes clear he’s going to put Angle to sleep “one last time.” This is actually the first time these two men have faced off in WWE, having fought some classics against each other in TNA.
Joe has the early advantage, just beating the tar out of Angle. Angle has to eventually hit a desperate Angle Slam, which actually revitalizes him, but when he goes for the ankle lock, Joe is able to get out of it and then hit Angle with the powerslam. Angle starts feeling it again soon, hitting a missile dropkick, and then the straps are down! But Joe gets him in the Coquina Clutch. However, while Angle isn’t able to fight out of it, he flips Joe over for a successful pin attempt.
Triple H is in asskicker (check the leather jacket) and joker (he makes fun of the “Deacon Batista” gimmick) mode, and he’s got a letter from Batista’s lawyer, saying Batista won’t be competing at WrestleMania this year… unless Triple H agrees to one more condition. Before Triple H reads the condition, he talks about Batista’s WWE career in a less than positive light. He then makes a Spice Girls joke (as serious as a zig-a-zig-ah) before finally reads the condition: As earlier implied, Batista will only have this match if Triple H agrees to put his career on the line. According to Triple H, “This is just another attempt by you to quit. I am not going to let you quit this time, Dave.”
So he accepts.
Back to Elias in the cold New York City rain… and someone takes all of his busking money. He says “that’s okay” because he’ll “make a lot more at WrestleMania.” One would hope that this WWE Superstar is making more money than just busking and musical guest money… And then the guy who stole his money takes his guitar case—who steals a guitar case?—and Elias is too busy fiddling with his guitar (and his fingers must be frozen) to notice.
Drew McIntyre def. Dean Ambrose, in a Last Man Standing match
Unsurprisingly, Drew McIntyre has the physical advantage from moment one in this match… but Dean Ambrose just keeps getting up, practically beging to absorb more damage. And then a kendo stick is introduced, and McIntyre has no problem going to town on Ambrose with it. Or using the steel beams under the wrestling ring to do damage. Or bringing in a chair.
But all it takes is one Dirty Deeds from Ambrose to shift the momentum. While that doesn’t quite keep McIntyre down for the count, it works to weaken him significantly. Ambrose then brings in a table, but after he sets it up, McIntyre charges into him, and Ambrose ends up suffering the table shot instead. But Ambrose still gets up at a count of eight, somehow… only for McIntyre to hit him with a Claymore. That’s got to be the end. But it’s actually not? Maybe? Ambrose starts to get up, but he can’t make his way to his feet before the count of 10, and McIntyre defeats him. Again.
There are only a few more days until WrestleMania (April 7), but there are also only a few more days before the LIMITED EDITION Quote Phase t-shirts are gone forever (March 31). Get this main event gear before it’s too late!