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WWE Raw results, live blog (Jan. 7, 2019): John Cena returns

WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 7, 2019) from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view scheduled for later this month in Phoenix.

Advertised for tonight: John Cena returns, Brock Lesnar is back to share a ring with Braun Strowman, Chad Gable & Bobby Roode vs. The Revival, and more!

Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the Raw live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


We’re gonna hit it, we’re gonna kick it, we’re gonna break out through the ice. You give us fever, you give us sweat, you’re gonna make us live it twice. Tonight long stick goes boom, and I liveblog this here pro wrestling show for you, folks.

The show opens with a graphic dedicated to the memory of “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

We go backstage where Bobby Lashley is brawling with Seth Rollins as the roster tries to separate them. They brawl clean through into Gorilla and out onto the stage! Rollins knocks Lashley off the stage with a forearm! Referees, medics, and road agents Jamie Noble and five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce have joined the fray but they will not be separated!

They get Seth on stage as a “Let them fight!” chant rings out and finally escort both men to the back.

Enter sixteen-time world champion John Cena.

He welcomes us to the show and proclaims the start to the Road to WrestleMania and talks about how that’s why we just had that brawl-- at WrestleMania either you step up or you get left out. He knows how that feels and he’ll be damned if he gets left out again this year, so he’s gonna step up right now. Everybody here knows that one the Road to WrestleMania there’s one match that can give any superstar a golden ticket to the main event.

The Royal Rumble, of course. In life nothing is given away or handed to you, you work hard and earn every inch, and he’s going to earn his golden ticket and officially enters himself into the 2019 Royal Rumble.

Enter Drew McIntyre.

He says he’s waited for this moment for years. Unlike everybody else, he doesn’t care who John shares his bed with or his stupid haircut or what he gets up to. No, what he cares about is his sixteen world championships, his multiple WrestleMania main events, the fact that Vince McMahon himself called Cena the Greatest of All Time. And why? He happens to agree with Vince that Cena is the GOAT.

John asks him what his point is and McIntyre says he’s got a reputation for taking out the greats. Check with the Shield that he single-handedly dismanted, or Dolph Ziggler who he destroyed in a cage last week, or Kurt Angle, who will tell you what Drew’s capable with after he tapped him out to his own ankle lock. McIntyre demands Cena look at him and says he’s the most dangerous man in WWE and he’s come for him!

Cena says he was feeling pretty good to start the show and then this happened and now he’s sad. What’s sad is he’s heard the same thing for every week from every single superstar, so much so that he’d have to leave so they’d shut their mouth and think of a different promo. What makes Drew any different from them? McIntyre says they were all talk and he’ll bloody show him!

Coat off, Drew advances on the ring, John takes his t-shirt off--

Enter Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley, storming the stage, Lio yelling about how Seth has gone crazy, attacking them left and right, and if something isn’t done about Rollins they’ll get a lawyer. He says the show is canceled until somebody does something about Seth... ROLLINS BLINDSIDES THEM! DEAN AMBROSE JOINS THE FRAY! CENA AND MCINTYRE ARE INVOLVED, WE’VE GOT ALL-OUT CHAOS THAT WILL PROBABLY LEAD TO A TAG TEAM MATCH LATER!


Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose, & Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor, John Cena, & Seth Rollins

Match in progress, Lashley and Cena the legal men, off the ropes, leapfrog and the GOAT decks Walking Armageddon with a lariat! Tag to Finn, diving double axhandle, arm wringer, Bob fires a back elbow off and slams Balor. Tag to Ambrose, who is wrestling with a wallet chain in like it’s 1998. Scraping a forearm across Finn’s face but he goes off the ropes and runs into a pair of arm drags into an armbar.

Whip off, sunset flip to the basement dropkick, two for Balor and he follows it with a front chancery but Dean gets him in the corner for a tag to McIntyre. Drew stomping away, tag to Lashley, keeping the pressure up, crossface into a reverse chinlock. Finn to his feet, reaching for the tag, forearms, Bob whips him to the corner, boots up, clear the apron, charge in and Lashley lifts him and rams him into the turnbuckles!

Shoulder thrusts, referee John Cone warning him off, tag to Dean, putting boots to Balor, hammer whip into a charging forearm. Whip across, boots up, Pele kick and the way is clear! Reaching... TAG TO CENA! Shoulder block, shoulder block, duck the lariat, fall-forward Blue Thunder Driver, “You can’t see me!”, Five Knuckle Shuffle, fireman’s carry but Ambrose tags out before the Attitude Adjustment connects!

Big headbutt from a legal McIntyre... NOPE! And so we go to break.

Back from commercial, Ambrose is in control on Cena, who gets separation with a dropkick. McIntyre tagged in, block the tag, right hands, trading punches, off the ropes, spinning spinebuster into a jackknife pin... CENA KICKS OUT! Tag to Lashley, nearfall into some flexing, clear Rollins from the apron but John catches him with the Attitude Adjustment!

Both men down and out, Dean tags in, sleeper hold to block the tag, falling back to the mat with the bodyscissors in! Cena strugging, fighting to his feet, leg kick to break, headbutt, right hand, off the ropes and Ambrose catches him with a knee. Elbow drop follows, John rolls to the floor and Dean follows out after, stalking his prey. Throwing him into the steel steps, and so we go to break.

Back from commercial, Ambrose in control with the sleeper hold, Cena posts to his feet and staggers towards his corner. Both men down and out, tag to Balor, in hot with forearms, flying forearm, duck a lariat, inverted headlock elbow drop, Sling Blade for an interfering Lashley, block Dirty Deeds, double leg into the double stomp and Finn is fired up!

Shotgun dropkick, headed up top... COUP DE GRACE BUT MCINTYRE CATCHES HIM WITH CLAYMORE! Tags made, Rollins in hot on Drew, landing an enzuigiri, Drew staggers into the corner, charging, back body drop to the apron... ASAI MOONSAULT INTO DEAN AND BOB! Springboard back in, nobody home, jockeying for position... FALCON ARROW! Superkick connects, Drew shrugs it off with a back elbow.

Looking for the inverted Alabama Slam but Cena comes in with the Attitude Adjustment! Lashley with the spear, Seth catches him with a superkick, collects McIntyre, another superkick! Up top... NOBODY HOME ON THE FROG SPLASH! Dean tags in, underhooks, rolled off, Rollins leaps...

Finn Balor, John Cena, & Seth Rollins win by pinfall with Blackout from Rollins on Dean Ambrose.

Backstage, Seth slaps Triple H and demands another shot at the Intercontinental Championship tonight!

Hunter says he’s got Ambrose tonight, falls count anywhere!

Noted racist Hulk Hogan is shown walking backstage to send us to break.

Back from commercial, we get a social media roundup celebrating the legacy of the late great “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

Ring announcer Greg Hamilton then leads a ten bell salute.

Enter noted racist Hulk Hogan.

He starts off in promo cadence before getting serious and taking his glasses off. He says he came out wide open and in character because that’s how Mean Gene would have wanted it. Gene loved entertaining everyone in the WWE Universe, more than anything else he did, and Hulk throws to a music video memorial to the greatest backstage interviewer of all time.

Hogan says he was one of a kind and that he speaks for the whole WWE Universe when he tells Mean Gene that we love him. And he’s gotta say that being out in the ring without Gene is, he’s not out here, but he’s in our hearts. He loves and misses him, and a “Thank you Mean Gene!” chant breaks out. Hogan asks the crowd if they want one more, and Hulk busts out one last “Lemme tell you, Mean Gene...” and cuts a promo about how he’s in heaven setting up a tag match featuring a variety of deceased legends and breaking up fights between Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan and also he’s getting swole so he can have his choice of Fabulous Moolah or Mae Young, except Gene doesn’t need to get swole because he can just be with both of them?

Did... did the Hulkster just suggest that Mean Gene is having a heavenly three-way with Moolah and Mae? Weird.

Anyway, moving on, he asks what all the Hulkamaniacs in heaven are gonna do when Mean Geneamania runs wild on them, posing, flexing, end of promo.

Also the end of the segment, folks, because we’re off to break.

Back from commercial, we see the tag division surrounding the ring as lumberjacks.

The Revival get a picture-in-picture promo about how they’re happy to have lumberjacks on-hand to protect the sanctity of tag team wrestling.

Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs. the Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Lumberjack Match)

Roode and Wilder to start, collar and elbow, Dash with a side headlock, shot off, shoulder block, only one, side headlock takeover countered to a headscissors and Bobby grabs a headlock of his own. Shot off, drop down, Glorious DDT dodged and a schoolboy gets two. Tag to Dawson, Roo with an arm drag into an armbar, tag to Gable, off the ropes into an elbow, slingshot suplex blocked, O’connor roll for two, springboard crossbody... NOPE!

Flying arm drag, tag to Dash, flying headscissors for everybody! Tag to Roode, double-team sends the challengers to the floor and Lucha House Party throw them back in! Tag champs send them to the floor with a lariat, this time the heel teams come over and we get less prompt motion as a back body drop assists Gable with a dive! Back in, arm wringer, tag to Chad, diving double axhandle, forearm to clear the apron but Wilder gets the tag anyway.

Off the ropes, front kick, gourdbuster over the top rope and Gable is sent to the floor where he’s sent right back into a nearfall by the lumberjacks and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Wilder in control but Gable gets an arm drag off the ropes and makes the tag! Roode in hot with clotheslines, Dawson with the blind tag and Bob hits an exploder suplex on each member of the Revival in turn! Charging strikes for both men, off the ropes, clothesline sends Scott to the floor and the lumberjacks throw him right back into the spinning spinebuster... NOT ENOUGH!

Chad tags in, up top, Dawson runs interference but they switch it up and hit a blockbuster / German suplex combo! Gable sends Dash to the floor, diving crossbody, Scott rolls through, handful of tights... NO GOOD! Chaos Theory starts, blind tag, pin off the Chaos Theory, Wilder off the top with a diving splash... SO CLOSE! Electric chair, tag back to Dawson, the Olympian breaks free and kicks out of a sunset flip that follows.

Jackknife pin, Scott bridges up, Chad thinking backslide, struggling, Dawson sits down, roll into a double pin, they both kick out before it becomes a problem. Dash running interference, inside cradle, Roode rolls Gable around...

Bobby Roode & Chad Gable win by pinfall with a small package on Scott Dawson to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship.

Commentary points out not only the interference, but that Dawson’s foot was on the rope and the match should have continued.

Commentary hypes up a face-to-face between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman and we go to break.

Back from commercial, commentary throws once more to the video package covering the NXT superstars that are soon to be called up to the main roster.

Elias is in the ring to play us a song.

He plays a few bars instrumentally before speaking about how he wept when he recalled his 2018, given his level of stardom and how quickly he reached it. He released an album, played Madison Square Garden, and has been all over the world, and that’s all brought him here tonight to Orlando. From there he goes into his usual spiel about walking and says 2018 was nothing compared to what he’s got in store for 2019.

Like how he’s gonna win the Royal Rumble. And as much as he’s enjoyed his own successes, he’s enjoyed the failures of Baron Corbin. Wasn’t so long ago that he was on top of the world, but now look at him, his life’s a joke. He hasn’t forgotten all the times Baron has wronged him and wrote a song about them that he’ll play right now. He starts playing--

Enter Baron Corbin. He says he’s here to help and we all can’t take another mind-numbing performance. He says nobody here knows what it’s like to have a job as respected and high-stress as being general manager of Raw, and after everything he’s done for us he should have our respect and admiration. That’s the problem, we don’t understand so we disrespect him, and as a matter of fact he bets we’d all like him to disappear.

Well that’s not gonna happen, and Corbin’s going to enter the Royal Rumble, win it, and main event WrestleMania. Elias tells him to shut his mouth, and apparently they have a match I guess?

Baron Corbin vs. Elias

Circling, go-behind, Corbin backs him into the corner but Elias fires back with chops. Knee lift in return, hard whip into the pop-up mule kick and he sends Baron to the floor with a clothesline before following it up with a baseball slide. Up top, falling splash sends us to break!

Back from commercial, Corbin out and back in, dumping Elias to the apron before body avalanching him to the floor! Back in, whip, Baron out and back in for the big lariat... NOPE! Apoplectic and yelling at referee Darrick Moore, right hands when his attention goes back to the Drifter. Headed up top to follow... HE DIVES INTO A HUGE KNEE FROM ELIAS!

Elbow, sliding forearm, whip reversed but a lariat drops Corbin. Wailing punches in the corner, Moore peels him away and warns him but he drifts right back over for a big forearm. Electric chair, big man slips off, Elias off the ropes, catch the lariat and reverse to a swinging neckbreaker for two! Drifter up top, nobody home, he rolls through, Baron almost throws him into the referee before decking him with a wicked right!

Putting Elias into the post, wrist-clutch...

Baron Corbin wins by pinfall with the short-arm End of Days.

In the bowels of the arena, Dean Ambrose cuts a promo.

He says he’s busting his butt to keep his promise to all of us-- he never liked six-man tags anyway, they’re unnatural and he’s the only man he can trust. He says he’s our last line of defense against Seth Rollins and says it hurts more than we know that he has to hurt Seth. He’s done what he has to in order to bring balance back to WWE and if Rollins gets the title back it’s game over for WWE.

So whether he has to beat him in the ring, on the announce table, in the parking lot, out getting a hot dog, he’s going to burn Seth Rollins down.

We see Paul Heyman knocking on Brock Lesnar’s dressing room door and go to break.

Back from commercial--


Enter Braun Strowman.

He goes to speak before handing the mic back to a crew member and calls Brock Lesnar out at the top of his lungs!

Paul Heyman appears on the tron, standing next to Brock and delivering his usual introduction. A monster, standing in the ring and looking for a face-to-face confrontation, is that what Strowman’s doing? He knows Braun was brought up in his household as a monster, so he’s going to give him an education. Lots of money has been spent on this face-to-face, but “card subject to change.”

And the change here is for Strowman’s benefit, because if Lesnar came down to the ring to get These Hands, he wouldn’t have an opponent at the Royal Rumble, he’d just have another victim. Let this be a lesson learned, and don’t thank either of them, but hey, you’re welcome. Brock smirks at Braun and chuckles, and Strowman begins.

He calls Lesnar “Beastie boy” and says he’s standing in the ring, waiting for him. Lesnar laughs more and Braun calls him out for hiding behind his advocate, before reminding him that he’s in his ring so why not come down and get in his face. Paul E. asks if that’s the best he’s got, and after a beat, Strowman asks Brock if he ever thinks Heyman’s ass ever gets jealous of all the crap that comes out of his mouth?

All he’s hearing is “blah blah blah, Brock is afraid of Braun, blah blah blah he doesn’t want to get face-to-face with the monster among men”, and he calls Lesnar a coward who should thank Paul for keeping him back there, because if he came down, he wouldn’t make it to the Royal Rumble. Everybody here knows what happens when Lesnar gets These Hands. That turns Brock’s opinion, and he tells Paul he’s gonna go see what he’s got.

Lesnar makes his way to ringside alone, staring Strowman down as he advances. The Beast Incarnate circles the ring and leaves, at which point Braun yells for him to turn around. Brock meets up with a chuckling Heyman and slowly turns, at which point Strowman says at Royal Rumble, he’s gonna win.

Commentary hypes up some of our forthcoming festivities and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Jinder Mahal, the Singh Brothers, and Alicia Fox are in the ring.

Jinder asks Alicia to lead the way as they seek tranquility, and she repeats their mantra several times until Mahal cuts her off and asks somebody in the crowd if they think they’re too good to breathe with Alicia. He heckles a few more people and runs Orlando down.

Apollo Crews & Ember Moon vs. Mahalicia (Alicia Fox & Jinder Mahal) (Mixed Tag Team Match)

Crews and Mahal to start, Apollo flipping away, off the ropes, drop down, leapfrog, crossbody for two. Crucifix pin to follow, only two, single leg dropkick right on the button, duck a lariat, corkscrew back elbow into a kip-up and Crews is fired up! Military press, Jinder slips away and makes the tag! Crews takes out the men, Ember in fired up, handspring forearm, set her up...

Apollo Crews & Ember Moon win by pinfall with Eclipse from Moon on Alicia Fox.

We see Alexa Bliss getting the Glam Squad treatment backstage to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Alexa Bliss makes her entrance and takes her seat at the set for A Moment of Bliss, which has been set up on the stage rather than the usual spot in the ring.

She thanks Orlando and says she knows they don’t have much going on, but that changes tonight when they’re the site of the premiere episode of her show. She gets coffee from a crew member before rolling footage of her guest, Ronda Rousey’s last year in video recap form.

Ronda makes her entrance and denies the handshake before taking her seat. She says this year has been extraordinary but she wants to look forward and not back, and she wants to be a champion we can all be proud of, so she has to chase after her limits with a vengeance. There’s one woman who’s pushed everyone to their limits, a woman with more athleticism than Charlotte Flair, a more harrowing story than Becky Lynch, a woman who is this business, the real Rocky Balboa of the women’s division, the unsung hero of Monday Night Raw, Sasha Banks.

Bliss is skeptical and says she thought Rousey was talking abut her. The sound of someone dry heaving comes over the PA and Nia Jax comes out, asking if they should all leave so Ronda and Sasha can have a moonlit dinner. (That sounds nice, actually...) She knows Ronda wants to forget about her but they have unfinished business, and TLC was a fluke.

If Seth Rollins is getting a rematch, she deserves one too, so when’s she getting it?

Enter Sasha Banks. She says she’s beyond honored for the kind words and she’d love to face Ronda for the Raw Women’s Championship. It’d be her pleasure to teach Rousey how to lose with dignity and class. This riles Nia up and she says there’s a three-hundred-pound Samoan standing in front of her who could break her face, so get to the back of the line.

Banks questions the existence of the line and challenges her to a match for the #1 contendership right now! The Boss heads to the ring and Jax begs off, saying she’s not ready yet as we go to break.

Back from commercial in time for the bell!

Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks (WWE Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match)

Jax right on Banks, Sasha fires back with right hands, to the floor, under the ring to get behind her and off the steps with a crossbody but Nia catches her! The Boss slips out, kick from the apron, off the ropes, baseball slide and a knee and a dropkick as Jax tries to return for two! Rolling into a guillotine choke in the middle of the ring, Nia reverses into a vertical suplex!

Jax throws her in the corner, body avalanche, choking Sasha in the corner, she dodges the avalanche this time, to the apron for a knee to the face but Nia blasts her off the apron! Bayley getting into it with Tamina, Snuka throws her into the barricade for her trouble and Banks attacks to help her pal! Jax with a fireman’s carry into a military press, walking her around ringside... MILITARY PRESS DROP INTO A ROAD CASE!

Referee Shaun Bennett counting as Banks crawls... and barely makes it back inside! Drawing the Boss up, sitout powerbomb gets a nearfall and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Jax has an Argentine backbreaker rack applied and is well in control. Banks slips out, looking for an armbar, denied, leg kicks, jawbreaker, sidestep the charge, flying bulldog, off the ropes for the running Meteora but it’s only good for two! Running knee connects... NOPE! Rolling through, Bank Statement crossface applied, trying to wrench it back but Nia posts to her feet.

Banks looking for a sunset flip, Jax tries to punch her head in but Sasha slips away! Tilt-a-whirl reversed into a Samoan drop... NOT ENOUGH! Fireman’s carry in the corner, Nia headed up top but Banks slips down. Jax kicks her away and we get some jockeying for position, Nia in position... fireman’s carry drop across the top turnbuckles! Banks is down and out on the floor!

Desperate dodging puts Jax shoulder-first into the post, Tamina tries for a cheap shot but Bayley runs interference and puts her into the barricade! Low bridge from the Boss gets Nia on the apron with her, sidestep puts her into the post, looking for a Frankensteiner off the apron... and it all goes a bit pear-shaped. Back inside, into the crossface...

Sasha Banks wins by submission with the Bank Statement crossface to become #1 contender to the WWE Raw Women’s Championship.

And so we go to break on the promise that our main event is next.

Back from commercial, Rollins blindsides Dean during his entrance! Pummelling away, referee John Cone trying to restore order as Seth rolls him in the ring and we’ve got a bell!

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Intercontinental Championship Falls Count Anywhere Match)

Dean to the other side, Rollins with dives, cover on the floor comes up empty. Fighting into the crowd and out to the technical area where Seth puts him into a road case! Ambrose running away, headed backstage past the LED boards. When the cameras catch up, Dean is stumbling and Rollins clubs him from behind before throwing him into a ladder leaned against the wall!

Shovel in hand, Ambrose ducks the shot and stagges away but Seth is right on him, smashing him into road cases and scaffolding alike! Rolling the scaffolding, trying to ram Dean with it but he runs away and they end up fighting atop some road cases. Rollins clubbing away, powerbomb lift but Ambrose fights out with overhead elbows into a mat slam for two!

Cone checking on Seth, Dean grabs a ladder and throws it at his one-time brother... a nearfall and we go to break!

Back from commercial and Dean is clawing at Seth’s face on the concrete steps in the middle of the arena seating! Slugging it out as Rollins recovers, right hands, pushing Ambrose over a barricade before diving off it... STILL NO! More punches to the head, back over the barricade to ringside, pressing the attack with yet more punches and throwing the champion into the barricade.

Dean shoves him aside and rams a chair into his midsection before waffling it across his back! That gets a nearfall and Ambrose peels the ringside mats back to expose the concrete floor. Mounted punches to hammer the message home, underhooks over the exposed floor, Seth counters with a back body drop! Back inside, Dean with an eyepoke and up top but Rollins recovers and charges in for the superplex!

Roll-through... INTO A BUCKLE BOMB TODAY! AVADA KEDAVRA! Fired up, tuning up the band... BLACKOUT! Slow to cover... LASHLEY YANKS ROLLINS OUT OF THE RING! Ramming him into the barricade, throwing him back inside, gutwrench into the Yokosuka Cutter and he follows it up with a spear! Dean crawls over for the cover...

Dean Ambrose wins by pinfall with a lateral press to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Post-match, Lio Rush gets a table out and slides it in the ring for his man to set up... Lashley slams Rollins through the table!

Bob kisses his fingers and poses while Lio talks trash.

That’s the show, folks.

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