Welcome to our coverage of WWE Monday Night Raw for 19 March.
Tonight’s show is set to feature the return of Brock Lesnar after weeks of no-shows. Lesnar’s absence pissed-off the number one contender Roman Reigns, who last week got suspended for rudely confronting Vince McMahon over the head of everything. McMahon gave his word that Brock would “appear” tonight, however WWE’s goal is to have the fans angry at Lesnar, so chances are he won’t be there in person, he’ll appear for a Skype interview. Thus far, the fans have seen through these attempts to get us to dislike Brock and it hasn’t worked in Roman’s favour.
Monday Night Raw tonight will feature a monumental match that many of us assumed we’d never see on a WWE programme, and that’s The Ultimate Deletion. Matt Hardy has challenged Bray Wyatt to a match at the Hardy Compound, which will potentially feature the entire Hardy family. If last week’s hype video is anything to go by, it seems Hardy has creative control over these videos and therefore we can expect it to be as bat$hit as ever. Hopefully this is the match that elevates Hardy to the status we expected from him and makes the fans care.
Elsewhere on tonight’s Raw, Asuka puts her streak on the line against Alexa Bliss but Nia Jax is sure to be close at hand to keep an eye on the Champion. How will The Bar react to facing Braun Strowman at WrestleMania? And who will gain momentum in the Intercontinental Championship race? All that and more to look forward to on tonight’s Raw. Remember to download the Ringside Talk app and enjoy the show!
WWE Monday Night Raw opens with the General Manager Kurt Angle coming to the ring. Angle welcomes the fans to the show.
Angle says he has to start off with some bad news and that is that Roman Reigns’ suspension is still in effect and he won’t be here tonight – which receives cheers from the fans. He then says Brock Lesnar is not here yet but he has Vince’s reassurance that he will be here. Moving on, Angle says that he needs to address the tag team battle royale last week. He reminds us that Strowman entered that match and won, without a partner, so now he needs to figure out what to do. Just then, Kurt is interrupted by a familiar face…
The fans are surprised and so is Angle, as Roman saunters through the crowd and around ringside. Reigns gets into the ring with a mic. Kurt tells Reigns that he’s trespassing and Roman doesn’t care. Brock wasn’t here last week or the week before and somebody has to be here to represent the main event of WrestleMania. Angle says Lesnar will be here tonight, to which Reigns asks where he is, then. Kurt reiterates that he was told that Brock is running late and Roman laughs about the idea.
Angle tells him if he wants to talk about it he has to do so on his own time outside the arena and Roman asks why he’s suspended, for telling the truth? Kurt says he understands he’s upset and he gets it, he wants to get his hands on Lesnar, but he’ll tell him this– he’ll have him in three weeks at WrestleMania, and all he has to do is wait. Angle tells Reigns that he’s gonna have Lesnar in the palm of his hand at WrestleMania 34. The Big Dog says he does understand but he still doesn’t care. This is Dallas, Texas, and he’s made a whole bunch of memories here, and he’s not leaving the ring until he makes one more tonight – cheap pop.
He tell Kurt to go backstage and talk to whoever he has to because he’s not leaving until he faces Brock tonight. Angle leaves and Reigns grabs a steel chair and sets it up in the ring to have a seat and wait for Lesnar. Three US Marshals come down and get in the ring to escort Roman out. He stares them down and asks them a few questions the mics don’t quite pick up before they start reading him his rights.
Reigns says they’re wasting their time and holds his hands out, at which point he’s handcuffed and goes to leave but one of them grabs his arm and Roman stops short. They keep putting hands on him and the Big Dog is unleashed! He’s clubbing away on the one that started it when the other two come over and he sledges them aside! Reigns kicks on a guy in the corner when suddenly, Brock’s music hits and here he comes!
He runs down and Roman goes to swing the chair but he’s still cuffed and Brock German suplexes him! Lesnar throws a couple chairshots and referees come down to try and get Paul Heyman to call his client off to no avail. Another German suplex! And another chairshot! The Beast stands over Reigns as he writhes in pain and scoops him up for another German, which looks nasty cause Reigns can’t break fall.
To the chair again, he kicks Roman aside and wails on his back a few more times! Lesnar finally takes his leave as referees check on Reigns, Heyman draping the Universal Championship over his shoulder… but Brock takes his shirt off and goes back inside for three more chairshots and a German suplex! Again, Lesnar takes his leave and Paul E. gives him his belt back but again he returns to the ring and delivers an F-5!
This time, Brock actually leaves and EMTs hit the ring to load Roman Reigns onto a stretcher. They get him on the gurney and start to wheel him away when Brock comes running back down and tips over the stretcher – much to the delight of Dallas. He bends down and gets in Roman’s face before dragging the gurney across the floor! And again, Brock takes his leave as the EMTs get Reigns back upright and we go to break.
Back from commercial and we get a recap of what we just saw, which pretty much showed the entire thing again. We go backstage where Roman is being wheeled out and into an ambulance.
We get a video package that recaps what has happened between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax.
Alexa Bliss makes her entrance for a match and we go to break.
We’re back and Alexa is in the ring with Mickie. Bliss says she gets it, last week she said some things about Nia Jax that were very hurtful and wrong. She didn’t know she had a worldwide audience listening, but that’s no excuse. She tries to claim that she and Mickie James were joking around and it was just girl talk, and she knows she got carried away in the moment and said things she shouldn’t have and there’s nothing else to say besides “I’m sorry.”
She’s really sorry…that she didn’t speak the truth sooner. Bliss says she didn’t lose one ounce of sleep or feel one bit of remorse. Nia was humiliated in front of the entire world and Alexa loved every second of it. She never liked Jax, she used her! She says it felt good and she repeats it a little slower so Nia can understand. How dumb do you have to be to believe that she’d be friends with someone like Nia. She feels so much better now that that’s off her chest, like a whole weight was lifted off her shoulders, three hundred pounds of sad, pathetic loser. Now that she doesn’t have Nia dragging her down she’s gonna do what no one else could and end Asuka’s undefeated streak.
Asuka makes her entrance and we head to commercial as the Empress of Tomorrow is perched atop the ropes.
We return from the break with the match already in progress. Bliss is in control as she chokes Asuka against the ropes. Alexa distracts the ref, allowing Mickie to get in a cheap shot on Asuka.
The Goddess keeps the momentum as they take the fight out of the ring. Back inside. Asuka fights out of a headlock, but Bliss jumps over a kick so she can nail Asuka with her own kick for a two count. The Empress of Tomorrow starts to build some momentum as she unloads with a series of strikes to score her own near fall. James provides a quick distraction so Bliss can hit Asuka in the throat and deck her in the face. Mickie takes another cheap shot behind the ref’s back. Bliss continues to dominate the action as we head to a break.
We return to see Asuka cutting off Bliss on the top rope and attempting to hit her with a superplex. Bliss knocks her down and hits a snap sunset flip for a close two count. She has a hissy fit when the ref tells her it was only a near fall. Asuka uses her whole body to take down Bliss for a two count and give herself some time to recover.
Alexa counters the Asukalock, so Asuka puts her in an Ankle Lock instead. Alexa makes it to the ropes to force a break and James pulls her out of the ring to safety. Mickie grabs the title and walks around the ring with Bliss. Alexa wants nothing to do with Asuka and takes the loss. Asuka is declared the winner by count-out.
Nia Jax’s music hits and she comes running down the ramp, full pelt. Alexa pushes James into her path so she can run away. Jax runs Mickie over and chases Bliss until she grabs her by the legs through the ringpost, however Alexa kicks her off and runs away again. Jax catches her by the hair as she tries to leap the barricade. Mickie saves her but gets thrown into the LED wall on the ring for her troubles. Alexa escapes through the crowd while Nia yells from ringside. Jax gives chase and they end up running backstage.
Later tonight, John Cena wants an answer from The Undertaker, however Braun Strowman is up next.
We return from commercial to see Kurt Angle on the phone backstage. Alexa Bliss runs in and tells Angle that he needs to do something because Nia needs to be suspended or arrested. Angle says he’s seen enough arrests tonight and nobody will be telling him what to do, especially not her. He says he saw what Nia did tonight but he also saw what she did last week, as did millions of girls around the world and she should be ashamed. So, he’s going to do something about Nia, he’s going to give her a match against Alexa. For the Raw Women’s Championship. At WrestleMania.
Braun Strowman makes his way to the ring and the announcers declare that for Strowman to face The Bar at WrestleMania, he must find a partner. Strowman says he carved a path of destruction last week and now he’s going to WrestleMania, but earlier tonight management informed him he’d have to have a partner. Now, he doesn’t think he needs a partner, and as a matter of fact he knows he can win the tag titles by himself.
The Bar have some words for Strowman. Standing on the stage, Sheamus says Braun he’s out of his mind if he thinks he can beat both of them by himself. He knows he won the battle royal by himself, but throwing opponents over the ring is completely different from defeating the greatest tag team in the history of WWE. But since tag teams are a little complicated for him, Cesaro will break it down. The Swiss Superman takes months and years to build chemistry and trust with your tag partner, you have to drive together, eat together, sleep together. The crowd and Strowman laugh but Sheamus tells them to grow-up and points out he meant room together and continues saying they optimize their sleep to optimize their training and he doesn’t care if his tag partner is Black Panther, Captain America, or Rick Sanchez, he doesn’t stand a chance against them, because they’ll still be tag champs when they leave.
They go to say their catchphrase when Braun tells them to shut up. Sheamus is apoplectic, asking if he thinks he’s funny or tough and pointing out they’ve beaten every tag team on Raw and he and his partner will be no different. The beating Brock Lesnar gave to Roman Reigns tonight was nothing compared to what they’re gonna do to his team at WrestleMania.
Braun says they don’t need to worry about Roman and Braun because they need to worry about his partner at WrestleMania and the fact that Kurt Angle told him he gets a match against one of them right now. He asks which of the Bar want to get these hands! The Bar go to get in at the same time but Sheamus backs off, leaving Cesaroto face the monster alone!
Braun immediately takes control and starts whipping him from corner to corner until Cesaro flies over one of them and lands on the floor.
We return to see Cesaro jump on Braun’s back – master-blaster style. He kicks Strowman in the face a few times to take him down to his knees. Cesaro tries to catch Braun with a roll-up, but the big man is too powerful. Cesaro low-bridges him out of the ring and hits a dropkick through the ropes to send him into the barricade. Strowman grabs him and drops him across the barricade to put a stop to his momentum. Sheamus distracts the Monster Among Men, but it fails and Braun ends up slamming Cesaro into the barricade again before throwing him back into the ring.
Cesaro sidesteps him and Braun crashes into the ring post. The Swiss Superman hits a beautiful corkscrew uppercut for a one count. Braun punches him out of the air when he goes for the same move again. Another distraction from Sheamus allows Cesaro to roll out of the ring. Strowman runs over Sheamus and sends him flying into the barricade before he gets back in the ring. He catches Cesaro flying off the middle turnbuckle and powerslams him for the pin and the win.
Braun heads up the ramp and poses on the stage while Sheamus checks on his sleep partner.
Cole and the announce team talk about The Ultimate Deletion and we get a video package of Matt Hardy inviting the WWE Universe into his home to meet his platoon. His beautiful wife Queen Rebecca, son King Maxel, and son Lord Wolfgang, and says everything he does, he does for them. He addresses Vanguard-1 and tells him to scan the Hardy property non-stop for an invader, the consumer of terrestrial entities. He asks Senor Benjamin to prepare the battlefield for ANNIHILATION and we pan out and go to break.
We return from the break as the bell rings for this match. Titus takes control early against Dawson, utilising some hard slaps to the chest in the corner. Dawson eventually makes the tag to Dash and they double team the big man to ground him.
They keep O’Neil isolated with quick tags and vicious strikes, classic Revival. Apollo gets the hot tag and takes out both members of The Revival with his trademark quick offense, including the standing moonsault for a near-fall. Dawson kicks out of an inside cradle and Wilder takes out Titus at ringside to prevent a tag. Crews leaps over the top rope and onto Wilder, then back inside.
Apollo maintains the upper hand and hits a flying cross body. Dash makes the blind tag and they hit Apollo with the Shatter Machine for the pin and the win.
The Revival really needed a win and deserve lots of momentum. Charly Caruso enters the ring to interview the duo. She asks about the path to WrestleMania after last week. Wilder says there’s no tag team on earth more qualified than they are, and Dawson adds that if Braun decided to step into their world, they’re gonna compete in his, so they declare their intent to be the first tag team to ever win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal!
We get a video package for the latest 2018 Hall of Fame package, the World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry. Great video and a great inductee.
Up next, Sasha Banks and Bayley need to get on the same page to face Absolution.
Back from commercial, we get a video package celebrating Women’s History Month by way of the female superstars of WWE, past and present. Tonight, after Raw, there will be a new episode of WWE 24 that showcases the night of the Women’s Chamber match.
Bayley makes her entrance for her tag team match and is followed after by her partner, Sasha Banks. Sasha is on the mic as she walks to the ring andsays she was raised to talk things out face to face, that’s what friends do, and whatever is going on between them, she genuinely she wants to fix it. She understands that she hurt Bayley’s feelings at Elimination Chamber but she has to understand that was every woman for herself and she wasn’t trying to betray their friendship, just win the Raw Women’s Championship, just as she’s going to win the battle royal at WrestleMania. Last week Bayley left her high and dry, and that makes twice that Bayley left her, but since she’s the bigger person and considers her like a sister. Sasha says she forgives her. Sasha extends a hand but Bayley turns and gets a microphone of her own.
Bayley says the night after Elimination Chamber and their tag, she was angry and acted impulsively. She could have cost her the match but she didn’t, and the next week she helped her win but took off when the match was over because she can’t get over what Sasha did to her at Elimination Chamber. It’s not even about what she did, it’s how she did it. She gets it, Banks knows her better than anyone and she knows Sasha does what she has to to win but the look on her face after she did it, the glare in her eyes and the smirk on her face ate at Bayley’s core. She literally grabbed her hand, kicked her down the pod, and watched her fall, smiling. She can’t get the picture out of her head, and Banks is supposed to be her best friend, so why was knocking her down so easy, like it meant nothing?
Sasha doesn’t have time to respond because Absolution make their entrance. Paige has a mic and says she is sorry if they’re trying to find some resolution but it’s time for a match and her ladies are gonna show these little girls how real women settle a score.
Banks and Deville start the match. Banks forces her to the corner and lays-in some shoulder thrusts. Sasha ducks a clothesline and the action goes back to the corner. Sonya ducks Banks and knocks Bayley from the apron before dumping Sasha to the floor with her. Absolution pose in the ring as we go to break.
We return to see Rose holding Bayley in a headlock. The Hugger counters and slams her face into the top turnbuckle multiple times. Banks makes the blind tag and shoves Bayley off of Mandy so she can make the cover. Rose slams Banks into the mat when she avoids a running double knee.
Sonya tags in and they stomp Sasha in their corner together. Banks takes a lot of punishment from Absolution before she finally breaks free. Bayley makes a delayed tag before she unloads on Deville. Rose breaks up a pin and Banks starts fighting her. Bayley has Sonya pinned, but the ref is distracted with Banks. An argument breaks out between Banks and Bayley, which leads to Deville shoving Bayley into Banks and both fall. Deville then kicks Banks in the face for the win.
After the break, John Cena will be out demanding answers from The Deadman!
John Cena makes his way to the ring to a big reception from Dallas. Cena says this is not your typical Monday Night RAW; everything is bigger in Texas. Last week, he put out a WrestleMania challenge to The Undertaker and gave him a choice: yes or no. Tonight, we will find out The Undertaker’s response. Cena still finds it amazing that The Undertaker has been in hiding for so long simply because he feels embarrassed. The Undertaker feels like everyone thinks he no longer belongs here. Cena says that’s ridiculous because as long as there is a WWE, the name “Undertaker” has meaning and fans still care.
Cena says The Undertaker’s response to his challenge at WrestleMania is… nothing. Silence. Not a yes or a no. Nothing. That is the biggest mistake The Undertaker has ever made. Cena said it last week and meant it. Cena doesn’t mind going to WrestleMania as a fan, but he wants to be Undertaker’s opponent. For Undertaker not to respond is damn disrespectful to him and the WWE Universe. Without the fans, there is no Streak, Rest in Peace, or Undertaker. Cena says, “So, Mr. Undertaker, after all those people have given you everything they have, you can’t find it to give them a yes or a no?” The crowd is buzzing, but they cannot agree on a singular chant. Cena says if Undertaker is retired, then he should say so. But if he’s not retired, say yes and give the world what they want to see. Undertaker is not the god they made him. He’s the man he’s allowed himself to become. That man is a coward. Cena says, “The Undertaker is a coward!” Cena dares him to prove him wrong. Cena tells him to do some magic tricks. Do something! The crowd starts a “Do something” chant.
Nothing happens. Cena says this is the exact moment Undertaker has let everyone down that ever believed in him. Undertaker is not a god and shouldn’t be considered a man. Suddenly, Kane’s music hits, and Undertaker’s half-brother makes his way to the ring. The commentators are wondering if this is the sign Cena was looking for from The Undertaker. Cena says Kane has been sent by The Undertaker to give them the response they deserve. Cena asks Kane if it’s yes or no. Cena hands him the microphone, but Kane won’t take it. Kane then grabs him by the throat and gives him a Chokeslam! Kane leaves Cena in the ring, and we’re none the wiser.
We see lengthy replays from the start of the show again, when Reigns got arrested, then beaten to a pulp by Brock Lesnar.
Still to come, a recap of Ronda Rousey’s road to WrestleMania, and The Ultimate Deletion. First however, out comes the Intercontinental Champion and The Miztourage as we head to the break.
We return from commercial and see a Dallas Cowboys player in the front row. We then get a quick video of Matt Hardy preparing for The Ultimate Deletion. Matt is asking for guidance from a giraffe named George Washington while feeding it carrots.
The Miz and his boys are patiently waiting as we return. The Miz says it’s three weeks from WrestleMania and he gets no respect. Promotion is in full effect and he’s nowhere to be found on the posters and can’t even get on WrestleMania magazine?! The WWE Champion AJ Styles, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, they get to be on the cover and in singles matches and he has the deck stacked against him in a triple threat?
And you know what irks him the most? Is he the bad guy? The crowd chants in the affirmative and he again decries the lack of respect. Just because you buy action figures of Finn Balor and Seth Rollins that makes them the heroes? Last week he exposed both men for liars, but beneath the fake smiles and shows of respect they hate each other and all it took was a brief nudge to get them to blows.
Miz says at WrestleMania that brief nudge will turn into a shove for “Tyler Black and Prince Devitt” as they get sent back to the bingo halls. Weird call-out to their former names. And if Miz can’t get our respect he’ll take it when he emerges from WrestleMania as the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time.
Balor Club, including the Prince himself, make their entrance. Seth Rollins comes out next and joins the commentary desk to send us to break.
We return to see the match already in progress. The Club is in control of Axel until he kicks Balor in the face and tags Dallas. Miz tags in and delivers a knee to the gut for a two count. Axel comes back in and takes a low dropkick to the face. Bo manages to cut Balor off from his partners to prevent a tag.
The Miztourage beats on Balor in the corner for a long time. Eventually, Karl Anderson gets the tag and he goes to work against Axel. He hits a neckbreaker from the middle rope for a two count. He gets the same result with a cross body from the top rope. Miz makes the blind tag and hits a DDT for a quick near fall as we head to a break.
We return to see Karl Anderson plant Axel with a spinebuster. Balor and Dallas both get the tag and the former universal champion goes wild. He takes out Miz on the apron before flipping over the top rope onto Axel and Dallas.
Finn gets tripped on the top rope by Axel, but he still manages to counter the Skull Crushing Finale with a roll-up. Balor knocks Axel off the apron and rolls up Miz for the pin and the win.
Miz attacks him after the match and his cronies join in. Dallas and Axel take out Anderson and Gallows while Miz focuses on Balor in the ring. Rollins decides he has seen enough and runs down to clear The Miztourage from the ring. He Stomps Miz into the mat and comes face to face with Balor. They share a staredown as we head to the break.
We return and get a new video package that showcases Ronda Rousey – although this one is more than just a rehash of recent weeks, it shows her gorwing-up and struggles in life, including her UFC losses. That was a far better way to showcase Ronda than by simply replaying her debut over and over.
We get a video showing Bray Wyatt arriving at the Hardy Compound. Wyatt is greeted by Vanguard 1, which shows a hologram of Matt welcoming him, and telling him to follow the music. Bray follows it to a ring in the woods, where Matt is waiting, alongside his wife playing the piano. Bray stands on the apron. After the break, the Great War will reach its climax and we will see The Ultimate Deletion.
The match starts in the ring, and they circle the ring doing their weird laughing. Matt Hardy says the time for laughter is over and they square up. Vanguard One goes into attack mode while Hardy takes him down and punches away at him. Hardy boots him back and hits a side Russian leg sweep for a two count. Hardy goes for a Twist of Fate, but Wyatt counters into a Sister Abigail attempt. Hardy gets out, but Wyatt clotheslines him down. Wyatt says he’s a god before remembering he has a housewarming gift. Wyatt goes under the ring and grabs a chair. Hardy says, “Vanguard, initiate!” Vanguard One sets off some fireworks, and Wyatt is startled, leading to Hardy hitting him with the chair in the midsection a few times before cracking him in the back.
They now begin to fight across the compound into the Dilapidated City. Hardy asks if it reminds him of anything, and it’s the shed that Randy Orton burnt down last year. Wyatt laughs with glee at the return of his home. Hardy brings him back to reality by hitting him in the midsection with a kendo stick. Wyatt blocks a shot and smacks it off Hardy’s back. Hardy disappears again and Bray follows after.
Wyatt searches for Hardy and goes to the Land of Obsolete Men – which is like a graveyard of Hardy symbols. Matt pops out from behind a tombstone and says, “Consumer, I’m over here!” Wyatt hits one of the gravestones but he’s gone. Matt appears from behind another and calls out to Bray, who we see hitting the different gravestones. Hardy then waddles off towards the camera laughing – very Scooby Doo sequence there. They then start fighting in the woods. Wyatt gets the better of him and kicks him in the ribs. Wyatt smacks a log off his back and picks up a two count. Wyatt punches away at him and laughs.
Wyatt throws him into the garage door of a shed, comically shouting “what’s behind door number one?!”. The door opens, and we’re inside the Dome of Deletion. It has a ring in it, a lawnmower, a wheelchair and a grand piano. Wyatt goes for a uranage on the piano, but Hardy blocks it. Hardy sends him head-first into the ring post. Hardy grabs a ladder and hits Wyatt in the midsection with it. Hardy says, “Welcome to the Dome of Deletion!” Hardy slams the ladder off Wyatt’s midsection. Hardy looks at the “Chair of Wheels” and the “Mower of Lawn”, trying to choose which to use, before shouting, “Wonderful” and choosing the lawnmower. Hardy gets on the Mower of Lawns and goes to run over Wyatt, but Wyatt arcs his back and scares him. Wyatt attacks and puts him in the ring. Hardy snaps him off the top rope. Wyatt then DDTs him on the apron of the ring and picks up a two count. This is amazing.
Bray drags Matt out of the dome. Vanguard 1 scans the area and finds Wyatt carrying Hardy to the Lake of Reincarnation. He tries to hit Sister Abigail on a dilapidated boat, but he grabs Vanguard 1 instead and throws it away. Bray turns to find the boat overturned and Hardy seemingly underneath. He finds Senior Benjamin under the boat, who tosses a globe to Wyatt. Brother Nero appears behind Bray singing He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands for a second before Matt grabs Wyatt and lands the Twist of Fate for the three count.
Matt laughs with his arms out to celebrate. Bray says it’s not over before Matt knocks him into the lake. He tells Senior Benjamin to retrieve Wyatt from the lake. Benjamin says he can’t find Wyatt and Hardy declares the great war to be over and Bray Wyatt has been DELETED. Matt chants DELETE to end the show.
That was….amazing in its own right. I like the return of Jeff and Matt needed the win. Hopefully this signals big things for the future of the Broken Empire and maybe Bray can even return and join forces.
That’s it for this week’s Raw. Let us know what you thought of the show and remember to come back tomorrow night for SmackDown Live results. Until then, safe travels!