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Cook’s WWE Raw Review 1.21.19

January 21, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Paul Heyman Brock Lesnar Raw 1-21-19
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Cook’s WWE Raw Review 1.21.19  

Cook’s Raw Review 1.21.19

Finn Balor defeated Braun Strowman via disqualification (**)
WWE Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Apollo Crews (*1/2)
Seth Rollins defeated Drew McIntyre (***)
Lucha House Party defeated Jinder Mahal & the Singh Brothers (*)
Baron Corbin defeated Elias (N/A)
Heavy Machinery defeated The Ascension (N/A)
Raw Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode & Chad Gable defeated The Revival (***)
Sasha Banks & Bayley defeated Ronda Rousey & Natalya (***)

-Hello friends, I’m back for Raw duty after a stint on IR due to illness last week. Things have been all helter skelter here at the 411, and the same could be said for World Wrestling Entertainment heading into one of its biggest events of the year. Let’s take in the Red Brand’s last three hours of entertainment prior to the 2019 Royal Rumble.

BROCK IS ACTUALLY HERE: After the Martin Luther King Jr. video package, Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman make their way to the ring. Paul runs through his spiel then dives into the matter at hand, Finn Balor pinning John Cena last week to earn a Universal Championship opportunity. He seized the moment, and now everybody believes in Finn Balor. Paul does too, and puts over the fact that Brock has been training for Braun Strowman, a completely different type of opponent than Finn Balor. Balor’s voice matters, but Heyman’s martyrs. Brock will turn Finn into a martyr on Sunday, sacrificed for the sins for making us believe. Heyman’s spoiler alert this week: Even miracles fear Brock Lesnar. On Sunday, Finn will be flat on his back and will say he believes in Brock Lesnar. One of Heyman’s better hype jobs in recent memory. He does well when he has something new to talk about.

“No Chance in Hell” plays as Mr. McMahon comes down to the ring. He doesn’t buy into this whole Balor vs. Lesnar thing, and says you could only believe in it if you believe in David vs. Goliath. Vince’s re-telling of the story is a little different than I remember. He glosses “Oak City” as “Hillbilly Land” & suggests that they believe in fairy tales. Braun Strowman cuts that all off to stare Lesnar down while standing on the apron. Vince asks what Braun is doing. Braun’s upset because Baron Corbin caused the worst night of his life & the luckiest night of Brock’s. He promises to face Brock down the road, and here comes Finn Balor to point out it’s the same old Monday Night Raw with Braun doing Braun things. Vince doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but Finn & the Balor Club do. Some testiness between Finn & Braun. Finn re-tells the David vs. Goliath story the way I heard it. They might tell it differently today, as I’ve noticed that the loudest Christians believe a lot of things I never learned back in the day. Vince decides that now would be a fine time for a David vs. Goliath story, and books Finn vs. Braun…next! Brock can sit ringside.

Finn “David” Balor vs. Braun “Goliath” Strowman: We join in progress & Balor’s trying to employ the hit & run strategy. The Monster Among Men takes control though, kicking him out of the ring & nearly shoulderblocking him into the front row. Splash in the corner gets a near-fall. Back outside & Braun tries his running shoulderblock again but it’s met with a Sling Blade by Balor. I, for one, am happy that WWE crowds have returned to the traditional 10 count intead of the 10-10-10 stuff. Balor trying a sleeper on Braun, then some repeated elbows & a double stomp. Balor goes up top, but Braun tosses him into Brock, who suplexes him on the floor! A staredown is interrupted by a Balor attack, culminating in a dive on the floor! Balor takes turns landing moves on both big men, and manages to avoid a Braun smash in the corner. Up top…coup de grace to Strowman! Brock comes in with an F-5 and that gets Braun disqualified at somewhere around six minutes. Fun little sprint with Balor getting a chance to do some cool stuff on both of the big guys. Nothing ground-breaking, but fun enough. Balor vs. Lesnar is pretty much a typical Rumble title match where the champion’s expected to go over, and I’m not sure how they’re going to make people think Finn can actually win without using explosives or something. All we’re hoping for is a good match, which seems doable. (**)

Intercontinental Championship Pose-Off: The All Mighty Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush come out to the ring. Lio says that Lashley is better than Rollins, Ambrose & everybody in the locker room. Lashley is a professional fighter that doesn’t do it for fun, but for the money. They’ve come to celebrate, and Lashley’s idea of celebrating is posing on a podium. Jesus, even his parties are boring. Apollo Crews makes his way to the ring…not sure why Michael Cole thinks Apollo might be joining the celebration. He isn’t, for the record. Apollo wants a match, but Lio offers a pose-off. We get a pose-off, but I feel the judges in the audience may be a little biased in favor of people that add dance moves to poses. This ends with Lio being tossed onto Lashley on the floor, and I’m guessing a match after the commercial. This was pretty useless until Lio got tossed out of the ring, which is always a good time. I would not be opposed to the Royal Rumble consisting of Lio being thrown over the top rope 29 times.

Bobby Lashley vs. Apollo Crews: We join this match in progress (what is this, Stampede Wrestling?) & the IC Champ is in control. Crews comes back with a second-rope dropkick & nips up, and pulls the stick & move. He tries to military press Lashley…the first one doesn’t work but the second one does. Enziguri leads to Lio getting in the ring, which leads to Lio getting pressed, which leads to Crews getting speared for the three count in about four minutes. Apollo did some funky stuff, but this didn’t get enough time to go anywhere. Not a huge fan of having two straight matches end with a competitor beating up a person at ringside until somebody hits a finisher. (*1/2)

Seth Rollins comes out before the next commercial break so he can do a brief staredown with Lashley. Lots of staring going on these days in America. We return from commercial & Rollins lays down some knowledge on Martin Luther King Jr., leading to a recap of his last few months. He promises to win the Royal Rumble & makes a pretty darn passionate case for himself. Drew McIntyre promises to kick Seth’s head off tonight, and takes exception to Seth lying to the people. He argues that Seth’s crazy, flying around style will get him eliminated, and says that he has the same level of passion. He hopes they’re the final two, and says he will win the Rumble & go to WrestleMania. Two passionate men here. I’ve gotta say that was the best promo I’ve seen from Rollins since…well…ever? He needs performances like this one if he’s going to re-take the top position on Raw.

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre: It looks like we’re at least near the beginning of this one. Rollins stands on top of the ringpost only to eat barricade after Drew gets out of the way. This leads to some armbar action in the ring. McIntyre dominates for the next minutes, including an overhead throw (not a suplex). Gotta like the up & over interrupted by a kick to the stomach! Drew follows that up with a reverse Alabama Slam to the floor, which is followed up by a commercial. The commercial ends just in time for Seth’s comeback, with a sling blade & blockbuster & things like that. HE DID THE DEAL…ONLY 2? He sells the knee a little and starts burning it down, but misses the stomp and jams that knee. Drew into the Tree of Joey Lawrence, but Seth can’t take advantage. A Claymore attempt is met with a superkick for a nearfall. The fans declare it awesome. I think the headbutt is pretty cool. Drew ascends the turnbuckles with Seth on his back and hits a Kryptonite Krunch, but only two. Sitout powerbomb gets two. A schoolboy from Seth is enough to finish after about fourteen minutes. I’m guessing some will say I’m underrating this one. It was solid, but was missing a little something to hit that “this is awesome” level for me. I’m sure these two have it in them, and we’ll see it at some point. This was a nice little match with some big moves towards the end. (***)

The Revival take their litany of complaints to Mr. McMahon & ask for one more title match with a special guest referee. Curt Hawkins shows up requesting a match, and Vince decides he can be the special guest referee. Dash & Dawson immediately start kissing ass like they’re MJF talking to Cody or something.

Dean Ambrose can also quote MLK, and points out that the fact he isn’t IC Champion is an injustice. Is it “Bend Over Bobby” or “Bent Over Bobby”? Suckas gots to know. Anywho, Dean says the Royal Rumble will be his shining moment and his miracle on ice. Justice will be served.

The Lucha House Party vs. Jinder Mahal & the Singh Brothers: Jinder starts out dominating Lince Dorado, then allows the Singhs to take over. They get thrown around. Kalisto comes in to do a bunch of flips & arm drags. Jinder comes back in & the Indian contingent specializes in restholds while the announcers talk about meditation & Kalisto’s skull. Gran Metallik tags in, does some flips, hits a backbreaker and gets the win in about four minutes. I’m a pretty big fan of the lucha style, and those guys are fine performers. But man do I have zero reason to care about anything they’re doing right now. Just flips for the sake of flips and lucha lucha lucha, typically against people that can’t work the style. Give me something to work with here, guys! (*)

EC3 is backstage posing in a mirror. Dana Brooke says he looks great and tries to get information on his fitness methods while Elias walks by. EC3 should challenge Lashley to a pose-off.

Hello, he is Elias: Dude’s a pretty solid guitar player. He’s written a song, of course, and of course Baron Corbin is out here because he hates music. He tries to book himself into a match with Elias, but Elias points out that he can’t do that anymore. They cut Baron’s mike, and Elias actually gets to sing a song. I’d rather hear more of that than sit through another Baron vs. Elias match, but I didn’t write this show, so…

Baron Corbin vs. Elias: Elias does a rope-walk as we join this match in progress. Corbin gains an advantage when he powers Elias into the ringpost with his foot. Corbin’s got some kind of infatuation with those ringposts. A knee to the jaw changes things, and a swinging neckbreaker from Elias gets two. A blow to the throat, followed by the End of Days ends it around three minutes. Larry Csonka cuts off star ratings at three minutes or so and so do I. This was a match and it was there.

A Moment of Bliss: Alexa Bliss is here to explain the Women’s Royal Rumble to us & name the participants. She introduces her guest, Nia Jax. The interview lasts one question before Ember Moon appears. She wasn’t invited, but she’s tired of sitting in the locker room & waiting for an invitation. Cpt. Alicia Fox appears, then Mickie James, then The Riott Squad, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke & Tamina. I think that’s everybody. Alexa is outraged that they would ruin her reputation as a legitimate talk show host. They go ahead and do it with a brawl that spills backstage. Alexa was the only one that didn’t expect it, apparently. She announces that she will be competing in the Royal Rumble match, then Lacey Evans appears! She denounces the nasty, classless little girls, calls Alexa a sawed-off little runt and says the winner will be a classy, sophisticated lady. Most of this was just kinda there for me, but I’m all about Lacey vs. Alexa. Bliss has been so good with her character work that people kinda want to cheer her anyway, and finally somebody’s come along with a persona that’s even more stuck-up & annoying. It’s the classic “Yeah, she’s an asshole, but she’s our asshole” situation.

Titus O’Neil announces he’s entering the Royal Rumble match, and a stagehand walks into his shot. OK.

The Ascension vs. Heavy Machinery: 650 pounds of steaks & weights & ham & milk & whatever. Otis starts off with Viktor, and Viktor’s attempts at grappling don’t go well. Spinning bodyslam! Tucker tags in & they do a double headbutt. Some innovative offense from Knight. Briscoe Brothers double shoulder tackle. Otis with the dancing elbow drop, and here’s the Caterpillar elbow! Konnor’s not getting to do much, and this one’s over. Squash city, as it needs to be if we’re going to take the new guys seriously. Nice to see the Ascension’s still alive though.

Raw Tag Team Championship Match With Curt Hawkins As Referee: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. The Revival: I just wonder how Heath Slater feels now that his wrestler/referee gimmick has already been usurped. Dash & Gable start, and Roode’s attempt to tag in is foiled when he doesn’t hold the tag rope. In Roode’s defense, it’s not like TNA had tag ropes. (Maybe they did, I don’t freaking remember.) Gable flips to the floor, but eventually gets met with a running fist before the commercial. Roode does get the tag after the commercial and runs through some fun offense until the Revival tries the WrestleMania V finish to no avail. Then they try the feet on the ropes gimmick. Then they try hooking Gable’s tights. Then Dawson pushes the referee. Then they try the hold hands on the sunset flip attempt. None of these work, and Gable gets the rollup for the three count. The Revival attack Curt Hawkins afterwards, which leads to Hawkins’ former tag team partner Zack Ryder clearing the ring! The crowd goes mild for the Edgeheads reunion, which is understandable since these guys have done nothing for ages. I liked the story here. The Revival have had a valid complaint for the last few weeks, and this week they pulled out all the dirty tricks they could think of & couldn’t get the job done. Now they’re actually heels! It makes sense! The in-ring was pretty solid too. Somebody should tell somebody important that Roode & Gable are actually kind of fun as a team in the ring. (***)

Dasha Fuentes interviews Ronda Rousey, who is outraged by the disrespect shown by Sasha Banks. So outraged she can barely form a coherent sentence.

Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley: See, Ronda is all crazy-like and needs to be calmed down by Nattie. Sasha grabs the mike and lists her accomplishments while telling Ronda where to go. Sasha & Natalya start & Sasha cheap-shots Ronda on the apron. Mind games! Bayley & Sasha work over Natalya for awhile. Rousey takes them both outside prior to the commercial. Bayley’s getting the business end of the beatdown when we return, and soon enough it’s Natalya’s turn. The women not in the title match taking all the offense to let the women in the title match look good makes way too much sense. Then we do get a little Ronda & Sasha, and Sasha counters out of a suplex attempt & locks in a Bank Statement, but Natalya breaks it up. Bayley tags and they go for the backstabber into the Bayley to Belly, but Ronda counters and damages Bayley’s arm in the process. Bayley counters the armbar attempt, tag to Sasha, and now she’s in trouble. Natalya tags in and goes for the Sharpshooter, but Bayley breaks it up. She smacks Ronda down off the apron! Sasha comes back, hits the backstabber into the Bank Statement, and Natalya taps out! I liked the layout of this match, with the champion & challenger on Sunday getting the best opportunities to look good, while Bayley & Natalya played their role & backed their partners up well. Much like the Universal Title match, it’s tough to see the challenger winning on Sunday. Sasha’s got other stuff going on and it’s not like anybody expects Ronda to lose the title anytime soon. That being said, they did more to sell us on Sasha winning than they did Finn winning. (***)

-Sasha & Ronda are pulled apart by their partners & the referee as the show comes to an end.

-End scene.

Thanks for reading.

Dance the night away…

article topics :

RAW, WWE, Steve Cook