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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Jan. 14, 2019): Just need a shot

In case you needed as clear a sign as possible, WWE was happy to hand you one. Finn Balor’s one of their biggest stars and they know it.

...Would you call the review so far unbiased? Geez, I’m trying. Vince McMahon said the “you’re not big enough” line on national television and then they booked Balor to win anyway with John Cena’s ringing endorsement. Good grief, man.

It’s the sort of moment that we’ve starved for on Raw in the past few years. With Lesnar as champion, no one really got these sorts of moments. Hell, even Roman Reigns had to have like 4 cracks at it to a growing displeasure. And to be fair, several other guys and gals NEED a moment like this moving forward. It can’t stop with Balor. If I could challenge WWE to anything this year, it would be to find a way to give moments like this to Drew McIntyre, to the debuting Lars Sullivan, to the weirdly debuting EC3, to Ember Moon, to Nikki Cross...the list goes on and on.

And that’s why I’m struggling so hard with this review. Y’all know Balor’s my guy. Y’all know I’m grinning here as I type this. Being impartial is impossible, but I’ll try my best.

So let’s start from the top, shall we? Braun Strowman got his title match revoked in a way that I thought made Strowman look as good you could hope on short notice. He got back to his roots, drew Vince’s ire, and has a clear story going forward. I cover him later in the review.

Superstars lined up in front of Vince’s office begging for an opportunity, but 4 men hit the ring to tell the boss to his face: John Cena, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Finn Balor.

Cena’s argument cited that he’s never let the boss down. He runs with every shot he gets. McIntyre scolded Cena for thinking so highly of himself and daring to say he still had “ruthless aggression.” Corbin simpered and pandered as is his wont and Balor appeared last, annoyance bleeding into his voice as he asked “why am I always left out of these conversations?”

Vince was skeptical of Balor, gesturing to all the “beef” surrounding him. Balor claimed that Vince had never believed in him and swore to earn that belief through his actions. One match with Mahal and a Fatal Fourway later, there he stood.

I thought the main event was a bit slow at times, but had good moments. I honestly felt like McIntyre would explode with a big move here or there before slowing back down into the pace of the match. But we got the fast-paced, satisfying false finishes to end the match and a very stiff Coup de Grace to Cena to earn Balor the victory.

Hats off to Cena, man. He put over Becky Lynch last week, he put over Balor HUGE this week...you know what? Your hair looks awesome, John. Never change it.


Let’s have a title match!

I saved this segment of the show for last in my review because I don’t even know what to say about it.

In terms of wrestling matches, I think this was my favorite on the show. The Triple Threat between Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins was fast-paced, featured some really cool moments, and a sickeningly satisfying Spear to crown our new Intercontinental Champion.

But outside of that? I don’t know what to think.

The story between Ambrose and Rollins has been...enigmatic at best. There have been good moments and moments that make you scratch your head. Does that feud continue now that the belt is out of the picture? Rollins swore again on this show that he’d never forgive Ambrose.

Do they focus on the Royal Rumble? With one show left before the PPV, perhaps they just hang in limbo for a week.

As for Lashley, I tentatively like that he’s champion, but what are they going to do with this? Lashley’s still struggling a bit with his footing in the Raw landscape and I think he has yet to have a really engaging feud. Kevin Owens was on Twitter teasing a return, which would make a lot of sense considering how Lashley put he and Sami Zayn on the shelf.

...I think I’m talking myself into this title reign.


Let’s SELL a title match!

Y’all, we’re one week into the Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks build. AND I’M SO DAMN READY FOR THIS MATCH LET’S GO BANKS, BABY!!!

...Ahem.

Okay look...Rousey and Banks’ tag match on Raw this week was irrelevant. It wasn’t a masterpiece of technical wrestling; it was just a thing that had to happen. I’m not too fussed about the whole thing, considering what we got next.

After Banks picked up the victory over Tamina with a Bank Statement – which was a great decision to give Banks the win, by the way – Charlie Caruso came out to the ring to interview the duo. With a short build, here was WWE’s one shot to sell this match.

Man did they hit a home run.

Outside of kayfabe, we know that Rousey’s a huge fan of Banks. Hell, we wrote a story about that on Cageside Seats just this week. We know the truth here, and WWE used that and made it part of the story.

Rousey gushed over getting to team with Banks, saying that she knew she could trust Banks because they both respect one another. And if she were able to beat Banks at the Royal Rumble, that’d be the finest moment of her title reign.

Ah, but then Banks showed an edge she’s been missing since, oh...since Charlotte was on Raw. Banks took offense to Rousey already deciding where defeating Banks would sit in her list of accomplishments. Rousey was extremely apologetic and tried again, saying that she knows how good Banks is and it’s going to take everything that Rousey has to tap Banks out.

Uh...wrong answer again, Ronda. This segment poisoned the well so well between these two. It moved Rousey on from her fandom of Sasha Banks and it brought back the edge Banks needs to be a champion. AND we got a Four Horsewomen tease. Twice!

I’m giddy. This match is going to be killer.


The Rest

Moment of Bliss reveals the Women’s Tag Titles – It also featured Paul Heyman rabbling about all the main event contestants – except Balor – before Otis of Heavy Machinery came out and spazzed out to pay off the Alexa Bliss topless bit from earlier in the show, I guess. How STUPID was that by the way? She was like two feet from the door as the dude knocked! Answer the man, Alexa!

Braun flips a limo, loses title match – I lamented last week over how poorly Braun Strowman came off in his segment with Brock Lesnar. Well the big dude’s back to destroying property and flipping vehicles and I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief, even if he’s losing a title match in the process.

For starters, this is about as good a decision as you could make considering the circumstances. WWE tried to turn an injury issue into something that’ll give Strowman a story moving forward. Guys...is there any better story for this sort of character than drawing the ire of Vince McMahon?

I want to see Braun breaking all of Vince’s toys. Any show where he flips over Vince’s private jet will earn an immediate A+ by the way, WWE. There’s your golden ticket.

A wild EC3 appears – He was standing shirtless outside Vince McMahon’s door and said not a word. Uh...congrats on the debut?

LET NIKKI PLAY – I love how Natalya and Bayley had that big Rousey/Banks chasm festering and then BAM. Nikki freaking Cross added to the equation. It was hilarious how the Riott Squad was so terrified of Cross. Hilarious, but understandable. I thought the match was a bit clunky, but it was a solid debut for Cross. Bayley’s top rope elbow drop rocks, too.

The Revival def. Lucha House Party – What do you do when the entire division is chaos and the refs can’t get a call right to save their life? You cheat. Good on you, Revival. You’re the good guys, in my book.

Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal – You don’t interrupt the Balor entrance, Mahal and Singh. It’s a sacred event that happens once a week. You get 6 years of bad luck for that sort of behavior.


I liked a lot of this show and I think Raw’s did a wonderful job with the two top titles in preparation for the Rumble.

With that said...the mid card and lower card is still awfully weird at the best of times. The tag team division is a disaster and I’d like to see WWE capitalize on this Natalya/Bayley strife and the magic between Nikki Cross and Ruby Riott. Show em some real chaos, Nikki.

Grade: B+

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