Welcome to Ringside News’ coverage of Monday Night Raw!
This marks the final Monday Night Raw before the 2019 Royal Rumble. Last week saw the main event of the Rumble change drastically, as Braun Strowman was evicted, and Finn Balor took his place to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship! Tonight Balor aims to prove that he has what it takes to take down The Beast. While Lesnar may not be on tonight’s Raw, Heyman definitely will be to address the new challenger.
After the kerfuffle last week between Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks, the two pair off with Bayley and Natalya for a tag match, ahead of their big showdown at the Rumble on Sunday!
Also teased for tonight’s Raw is the reaction of Strowman to be kicked out of the main event of the Rumble, the new era of Bobby Lashley as Intercontinental Champion, and the new Superstars continue to make their presence felt.
That’s the preview for tonight’s WWE Raw. Let us know what you’re excited to see by downloading the Ringside News app and following us on Instagram. Enjoy the show!
WWE Raw opens with a beautiful tribute video to Martin Luther King Jr, followed by a ten-bell salute.
We go live to the arena in Oklahoma City, and out comes the WWE Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar!
Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, make their way to the ring and Heyman introduces them. Heyman says they shall get right down to business; last week on Raw, Finn Balor pinned John Cena. Heyman says it was no fluke, there was no controversy; Balor stepped-up and seized the moment. So much so, that John Cena, the second greatest of all-time (behind Lesnar says Heyman), took the mic in his hand and said he beieves in Finn. Heyman says he should believe, and the entire WWE Universe does as well. Heyman says he believes in Finn Balor too. That is the theme of Finn Balor’s career: seizing the moment. And Balor seems to believe that he will capitalise on faith and circumstances, when he comes to the Royal Rumble on Sunday. Heyman says Brock has trained for Braun Strowman, but he won’t be facing Strowman, instead he has to face an opponent that is completely different, and he hasn’t trained for Finn. Heyman says that’s why Finn thinks he stands a chance against Brock Lesnar. However, this Sunday, his client will turn Finn Balor into a martyr; sacrificed for making everyone thinking he can conquer the unconquerable; sacrificed for thinking he can take what Brock’s got; sacrificed for thinking that he can end the title reign of Brock Lesnar. This Sunday, it will be Finn Balor on his back saying, “Oh my god, I believe in Brock Lesnar!” Lesnar holds up the WWE Universal Championship.
Suddenly, Mr. McMahon’s music hits! The old man makes his way to the ring to an excited Oklahoma. McMahon says Heyman is like an old school promoter trying to drum up some business. McMahon says the only way anyone can believe in Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor is if people believed in David vs. Goliath. McMahon says Goliath beat the holy hell out of David, but then David was then resurrected as Finn Balor. The fans cheered. McMahon claims Balor doesn’t have many fans. If any of the people in hillbilly land actually believe that Balor can beat Lesnar, then the believe in fairy tales. The fans boo and Vince asks why they’re booing, to which Heyman says he was speaking too fast for them. Vince doesn’t get to say much more before he’s interrupted.
The Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman’s, music hits, and he stomps his way to the ring. Strowman says last Monday was the worst night of his night because of Baron Corbin. Corbin cost him $100,000 and the Universal Championship. Therefore last Monday was also the luckiest night of Lesnar’s life. Strowman says that if Lesnar survives this Sunday, he’ll be waiting on the other side to rip him apart like one of Mr. McMahon’s limousines. McMahon tells him he’s lucky he’s still employed.
Finn Balor’s music hits and he makes his way down to the crowded ring. Balor says this is the same old Monday Night RAW; Strowman being Strowman, Brock being Brock, and so on. He says he knows Vince does not believe he can beat Brock Lesnar, to which Vince agrees and says he does not believe in fairy tales. Balor says he’s the guy that beat three other people, including the greatest of all time John Cena. Heyman corrects him and says Cena is the second greatest behind Brock Lesnar. Balor says he earned his opportunity to face Lesnar. Balor says he knows McMahon believes he can’t beat Lesnar, but he believes. The Balor Club believes. At the Royal Rumble, he will beat Lesnar and reclaim his Universal Championship. Strowman says he knows he could have beat Lesnar. Strowman doesn’t know if Balor can, but he better. Balor warns Strowman to keep his nose out of his business because he’ll beat Lesnar, which is something Strowman couldn’t do.
At this point, Lesnar and Heyman leave. McMahon calls him back, but Lesnar keeps walking up the ramp. Balor then corrects McMahon on his tale of David vs. Goliath; David took out Goliath. No one was laughing then. McMahon invites Lesnar and Heyman to come to ringside. Balor is going to reenact David vs. Goliath because he’s facing Braun Strowman now.
We return to see this match already underway. Strowman throws Finn from the ring, then turns his back to stare at Lesnar. Balor then comes back in, turns Braun around, and slaps him in the face. The fans “oooohh”, but Braun swings and Finn ducks. Balor tries to scoop Braun and tip him over, but Braun just clubs his back and Finn collapses. Balor looks for a slingblade but Strowman grabs hold of him and clubs his chest. Strowman chucks Balor out of the ring again and stares at Brock.
Braun leaves the ring, runs around the corner and shoulder tackles Finn against the barricade. Braun gets Finn back in the ring and applies a trap hold. Balor starts to fight to his feet but Braun headbutt’s him and Balor rolls from the ring. Strowman leaves the ring again, looks for the running shoulder tackle again, but Balor catches him with the slingblade! Balor gets back into the ring and the referee counts Strowman, who makes it back inside at 6.
Strowman runs at Balor in the corner but no-one is home. Balor ducks and dodges Strowman, laying in some kicks, but then Braun grabs hold of him. He lifts Finn for the running powerslam but Finn slides down and applies a sleeper. Strowman rams him into the turnbuckles to break the hold, but Balor jumps right back into it. Balor gets Strowman down to one knee, then knocks him onto his back and hits a double stomp! Balor takes to the top rope for the Coup De Grace, but Braun grabs him by the throat. Strowman tosses Balor to the outside and right into Brock Lesnar… who catches Finn in mid-air and hits him with a belly-to-belly on the floor!
The referee doesn’t call for the bell for some reason and the match continues. Brock steps onto the apron and lays his belt on the mat and taunts Strowman to come get some. Balor then pulls Brock’s feet out and he hits the apron/belt with his head! Balor then dropkicks the back of Lesnar, sending him into the ring post. Balor gets back into the ring and continues the attack on Strowman, before ducking a clothesline and diving over the top rope with a tope onto Lesnar!
Balor suckers Strowman into chasing him, then kicks him as he comes back into the ring. Balor slides out again and dropkicks Brock into the barricade, before running back into the ring and dropkicking Braun into the corner. Finn takes to the top rope and connects with the Coup De Grace, but before he can make the pin, Brock appears and hits him with an F5 and the referee calls for the bell.
Why the referee didn’t call for the bell earlier is beyond me. Lesnar takes his title and leaves up the ramp with Heyman.
Later tonight we’re getting Ronda Rousey and Natalya Vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley, but up next it’s a celebration of the new Intercontinental Champion, Bobby Lashley!
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush come to the ring for their celebration.
Rush starts things by saying that Lashley is better than Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. In fact, Lashley is better than everyone in the locker room. Rush says they are not out here to issue an open challenge, because that’s for children. They don’t just fight for the hell of it, Lashley is a professional, he only fights for money. Instead of an open challenge, Bobby is going to stand on a podium with the Intercontinental Championship around his waist, and pose. Lashley does just that. He stands on the podium and begins posing but out comes Apollo Crews!
Crews comes to the ring, mocking Lashley’s poses. Crews says that Lashley is a star, no doubt, but nobody here paid money to see him post. They want to see him compete. He says he wants to face Lashley, even if it isn’t for the belt. Rush says Crews isn’t in Lashley’s league, so how about they have a posing competition. Apollo says he doesn’t even know how, to which RUsh says he clearly doesn’t know how to be a Champion either. Crews gets frustrated and agrees. They begin posing against each other, and Apollo poses in funny ways, getting the fans to cheer. Rush gets mad, as does Lashley, who attacks Crews. Apollo turns the table and throws Lashley from the ring, before lifting Rush in a military press and tossing him out and onto Bobby. Crews poses for the fans, who are really into it, as we head to a break.
We return to see this match underway. Lashley is in control as he clotheslines Apollo for a two count. Lashley whips Apollo to the corner and tackles him with his shoulder. Lashley sets Crews on the top rope but get kicked away, and Crews follows-up with a front dropkick from the top rope.
Crews kicks Lashley and hits a dropkick, as well as a kip-up, then heads to the top rope. Crews dives but Lashley dodges him, and Crews rolls through, then looks for a roll-up but Bobby kicks-out. Crews lifts Lashley up for a military press but he can’t hold him up and falls over. Crews gets up and goes for it again and this time lands it. He looks for the moonsault follow-up but Lashley rolls out of the way. Rush gets on the apron and Apollo grabs him, and throws him into the ring. Apollo lifts Rush for a military press but Lashley spears Crews for the win!
Just as Bobby is celebrating and Rush is putting the title around his waist, Seth Rollins’ music hits and out comes the Kingslayer. Lashley isn’t pleased but leaves the ring. The two come face-to-face on the ramp, but pass as Rollins has a match with Drew McIntyre next!
Seth Rollins starts out by saying today we’re celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He says we can learn a lot from Dr. King today. He reads a quote from King that essentially says you don’t learn the measure of a man from good times, but from times of difficulty and hardship. He says he knows all about that, because it wasn’t that long ago that he was in this ring with his brothers, with titles around their waists. Now he doesn’t have his family, or titles. However he still has his first love, his true love, this. He says as long as he has his love and his feet under him, he plans to go and win the Royal Rumble match. He knows it’s a longshot, but he doesn’t give a damn, because his whole life was a longshot. He says he’s not a typical WWE Superstar; he’s not big like McIntyre or strong like Lashley. He’s from a small town, not much different from Oklahoma, his parents were simple people, working to put food on the table. And if wasn’t for wrestling, he’d probably be working in a factory, or field , or driving a truck. So yeah, him outlasting 30 other men in the Royal Rumble is a longshot but he promises that there will only be one man left standing on Sunday night, the man going on to headline WrestleMania, the man, Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Drew McIntyre comes out. He says he is going to kick Seth Rollins’ head off tonight, but after listening to him, he needs to provide a rebuttal. He tells Seth that he is lying to himself and the fans, because he has zero chance of winning the Royal Rumble. He says it all comes down to Seths’ style; it makes him easy to eliminate. McIntyre says Seth has a tonne of passion, but what if you took that passion and put it in a 6.5″ body, well you’d have Drew Freakin’ McIntyre. He says he hopes it comes down to the two of them, because he knows how much this means to Rollins. And he wants to throw Rollins out, then he wants Seth to hear them announce that he is the one going to main event WrestleMania. They go one-on-one, next!
Once again, we join the match in progress. Rollins clotheslines McIntyre over the top rope and hits a suicide dive onto him!
Rollins sends him back inside, climbs onto the apron, and hits a springboard clothesline for a near fall. Seth chops the chest of Drew and gives him a back body drop over the top rope. Rollins goes to the top rope and dives to the floor, but McIntyre moves and Rollins crashes into the barricade. McIntyre puts Rollins in the ring and stretches him around the ring post.
McIntyre then gets back into the ring and picks up a two count. McIntyre stretches Rollins with a knee in his back. Rollins tries to escape and connects with a jawbreaker, but McIntyre quickly responds a back elbow for a two count. McIntyre stomps Rollins, but Rollins begins fighting back. McIntyre reverses a whip to the corner, and Rollins rolls up the turnbuckles, just like Shawn Michaels. McIntyre hits a belly-to-belly overhead suplex before applying an arm bar.
Again Rollins fights up and tries to use the ropes to slingshot over him, but McIntyre kicks him in the ribs. Rollins goes outside to recover, but McIntyre follows, and hits him with an inverted Alabama Slam on the floor! McIntyre sits by the steps, laughing, as Rollins looks out.
We return to see Rollins in high-gear: chopping Drew, before hitting a slingblade and a blockbuster from the top rope. Drew grabs holds of Rollins but Seth responds with a hurricanrana for a near-fall. Rollins hits the ropes and hits a tilt-a-whirl falcon arrow and scores another near-fall!
Rollins starts to stomp up the band, then kicks McIntyre in the gut, looks for The Stomp but McIntyre avoids it. Rollins chops Drew and sends him into the corner. Seth sets Drew on the top rope and hits an enziguiri to knock him into the tree of woe. As always, McIntyre sits up and tosses Rollins via the head. But Seth landed on his feet! Seth runs at Drew but the Scotsman dodges and Seth hits the turnbuckles. Drew looks for a Claymore but Seth fires back with a superkick for a near-fall!
Both men climb to their feet as the fans chant “this is awesome”. They trade shots until McIntyre lands the Glasgow Kiss and both men fall. McIntyre lifts Rollins onto his shoulders, then begins climbing the ropes, and jumps off to land a white noise! Seth kicks out but Drew immediately lifts him up and powerbombs him for another two. Drew gets angry and lifts Rollins while talking trash. Drew grabs Rollins for a short-arm clothesline but Seth flips over and rolls McIntyre up for the win!
Still to come, Ronda Rousey and Natalya vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley.
We see The Revival backstage with Vince McMahon. They’re explaining the controversies that have prevented them from winning the Raw Tag Team Championships recently. Vince asks what they want and they ask for another shot, with a referee with 20/20 vision. Curt Hawkins walks up and asks for an opportunity ahead of the Royal Rumble, to which Vince says no. Then he says Hawkins could serve as the referee The Revival have been seeking. He walks off as Dash and Dawson start sucking-up to Hawkins.
Dean Ambrose is backstage. He says that a former partner of his quoted Dr. King tonight. Ambrose quotes King by saying, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It’s an injustice that he is not the Intercontinental Champion. Ambrose can’t wait to eliminate Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley from the Royal Rumble and win the whole thing.
Jinder Mahal starts off against Lince Dorado. Mahal takes him down before tagging in Samir Singh. Dorado knocks Samir him down, so Sunil Singh tags in.
Dorado grabs hold of Sunil, then Kalisto tags in, and they hit a double-team splash on Sunil. Kalisto takes him down and applies an arm bar. Sunil quickly throws Kalisto out of the ring.
Mahal tags in and sends Kalisto to the corner, where he taunts him, before hitting a body slam. He then applies a sleeper hold before he tags in Sunil. Sunil applies a chin lock before releasing and knocking off Dorado. Gran Metalik tags in and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for the win.
We get a video package hyping the debut of EC3. Then we EC3 posing backstage while Dana Brooke watches. She asks him questions about how he stays in such great shape. Elias then walks by them. Elias will be out, next.
Elias says that 2019 is going to be an incredible year. Even after he wins the Royal Rumble, there will be many roads to walk, and mountains to climb. However there will be one universal truth that will keep them true; WWE stands for Walk With Elias. He says he has written a song for tonight, and it might be his best yet. He begins to play but is interrupted.
Baron Corbin comes to the stage and begs Elias to stop talking. The fans are booing loudly and he tells them to shut up as well. He reminds everyone that last week Elias ratted him out to Braun Strowman, and almost got him killed, to which the fans cheer. He asks what is wrong with them and they chant, “you suck”. Corbin says Vince was right when he said Oklahoma was full of hillbillies. He says he wasn’t going to just sit backstage and allow Elias to sing, so he’s coming down to the ring to put him in his place. Elias says Corbin isn’t the GM anymore, and can’t just do things like this. He tells a stagehand to cut Corbin’s mic, and it does shut-off. Elias then says he was going to sing a song about the Royal Rumble, but now his mind is racing. He sings a song about Baron Corbin, in which he asks why Corbin is still wearing his GM outfit, says he doesn’t stand a chance at the Royal Rumble, and says nobody needs to see them wrestle again. Corbin gets tired and storms the ring but Elias swings the guitar. Corbin slid right back out of the ring before the guitar could connect. They will have a match, next!
We join this match in progress, again. Elias walks on the ropes like The Undertaker before leaping off to hit an arm drag. Elias and Corbin punch it out on the apron before Corbin kicks him back first into the ring post. Corbin punches away at Elias in the ring while the crowd chants, “You got fired!” Elias throws Corbin to the corner, but Corbin slides out of the ring, runs in the other side, and catches him with a clothesline for a two count.
Corbin throws Elias to the apron, but Elias fights him back. Elias catches him with a knee to the face followed by a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. Elias punches wildly at Corbin, but the referee pulls him back. Corbin uses the referee’s distraction to hit Elias with a right hand in the throat, before hitting the End of Days for the win!
Up next we will get a Royal Rumble edition of A Moment of Bliss!
We’re back and out comes the Goddess, Alexa Bliss. She reminds us that, this Sunday, will be the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble. She then shows a graphic that announces 21 of the 30 women competing in the match itself. Bliss then introduces her former friend and partner, and the favourite for Sunday’s match, Nia Jax.
Bliss says they should cut to the chase. She asks, if Nia were to win the Rumble, who would she choose to face at WrestleMania. Before Nia can answer though, Ember Moon walks out and snatches the microphone. She says she is tired sitting back there, waiting for an invitation that was never going to come. She says she is taking this moment to stake her claim that she will win the Rumble.
Alicia Fox then comes out and takes the microphone from Moon, and says she will win the Rumble on Sunday. Mickie James is next out and she announces her intention of winning. They begin arguing, then The Riott Squad, Tamina, Dana Brooke, and Nikki Cross come out. Bliss gets mad, stands on her chair, then yells at them. She reminds them that this is her show, and tells them they are embarrassing themselves.
Everything seems to calm down, but then Nia shoves one of them and a huge brawl breaks out on the stage. Bliss just stands and watches as referees try to separate them. The brawl spills backstage and Bliss is left alone on the stage. She turns to the fans and says “that was unexpected.” She says those women are very passionate, because this will be A Moment of Bliss we never forget, because she is back and will be competing in the Royal Rumble!
The fans cheer, but then she’s interrupted by the First Lady of NXT, Lacey Evans. She takes the mic from Alexa and calls all the women classless. She says luckily for us, the winner of the Royal Rumble will not be a girly runt, it will be her; a classy, sophisticated, lady. She stares at Bliss before walking backstage.
Heavy Machinery are making their way ringside, because they make their debut next! Tomorrow night on SmackDown Live, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles come face-to-face, with Vince McMahon as moderator!
Otis Dozovic starts against Viktor. Viktor throws him into the turnbuckle, but Dozovic bounces right back with a spinning power slam – like an aeroplane spin.
Tucker Knight tags in, and they hit stereo falling head-butts on Viktor. Viktor fights Knight, but the big man hits a springboard cross-body to shock the audience. Dozovic tags back in, and they sandwich Viktor’s head between their midsections. Konnor makes the tag but the quckly take him down as well.
Dozovic dances and drops an elbow on Konnor. He then does the caterpillar (like Scotty 2 Hotty’s worm) and drops an elbow. Knight tags in, and they hit the Trash Compactor for the win.
Coming up after the break, Gable & Roode Vs. The Revival with Curt Hawkins as guest referee and the Tag Team Championships on the line.
The bell rings and we start with Chad Gable and Dash Wilder. Gable flips through a wrist-lock and takes Dash down with an armbar. He tags Bobby Roode but Roode wasn’t holding the tag rope, so Hawkins disallowed the tag.
Meanwhile, Dash slams Gable into the corner and tags Dawson into the match. Dawson knocks Gable into the turnbuckle, before kneeing Gable against the ropes. Dawson sucker punches Roode, so Dash joins him and they beat on Roode. Gable comes flying off the ropes to take them both down. Dash and Dawson roll from the ring, so Roode flips Gable over the top rope onto Dawson. He poses after the move but then Dash knocks him down. We head to the break at a stalemate.
We come back from the break to see Wilder stop Gable from making a tag. Gable then reverses Wilder and leaps to make said tag to Bobby.
Roode hits a pair of clotheslines followed by a back body drop. Dawson comes off the top rope, but Roode counters into a slam. Roode shoulders Wilder and goes to the second rope. Wilder moves, causing Roode to clothesline Dawson over the top rope. Roode then hits Wilder with a spinebuster. Wilder rolls to the apron, so Roode tries for a suplex, but Wilder counters into a splash and Dawson holds the feet, but Hawkins catches them and won’t count.
Dawson tries to cheat again by pinning Roode with his feet on the ropes, but again Hawkins’ 20/20 vision spots it. Gable tags in, hits a crossbody, but Dawson rolls through and rolls him up with a handful of tights. Hawkins sees and won’t count the pin. They shove Hawkins. Gable comes in and rolls Dawson up for the win!
The Revival argue with Hawkins, so he has replays shown of what they did during the match. They attack Hawkins but out comes Hawkins’ former partner, Zack Ryder! Ryder clears The Revival from the ring and helps his friend Hawkins to his feet. They’re back baby!
Ronda Rousey is warming up backstage. Charly Caruso stops her for a quick interview. Rousey says she has been trying to find a reason why she owes Sasha Banks an apology. Well, now she realises she doesn’t owe Banks a damn thing. The crowd cheered that. Banks insulted her immediately. Rousey has received nothing but disdain and resentment from Banks. Rousey was put in the position of begging her to face her for the title. Where is Banks’ passion? Banks is high on life instead of hungry to improve. That’s the difference between a Boss and a Champion. She’s the Boss’s Boss, the HBIC, and the Raw Women’s Champion. Awkward promo at times from Rousey but she ultimately saved it.
Banks grabs a microphone when she and Bayley get to the ring. She asks who Rousey thinks she is. Banks reminds us that she is a 4-time RAW Women’s Champion, as well as the first woman to be in a Hell in a Cell match. Rousey got handed everything since she debuted last year. Rousey didn’t give Banks anything. She earned her opportunity against Nia Jax when she made her tap out, which is what she’ll do at the Royal Rumble. Natalya and Bayley hold back Rousey and Banks respectively.
Banks and Natalya are to start the match, however Banks immediately knocks Rousey off the apron and takes Natalya down. The referee warns Rousey not to come in the ring.
Bayley tags in, and they hit a double-team suplex for a one count. Natalya fires back and heads to the top rope but Bayley slams her off the top rope. Banks and Bayley hit a modified Poetry in Motion. Banks tags in, and they hit a double hip toss. Rousey runs in and spears Bayley before taking Banks down. Bayley and Banks roll to the outside to recover as we head to the final break of the night.
We return to see Bayley duck under Natalya but then Nattie grabs holds of her and slams her in the corner. Ronda tags in and hits the Hart Attack with Natalya. Banks and Ronda talk some trash at each other, then Nattie tags back in.
Bayley tries to make the tag but Natalya catches her with a snap suplex for a two count. Bayley makes the tag and Sasha connects with a knee to the face of Natalya, followed by double knees in the corner. Sasha taunts Rousey before picking up Natalya and slamming her head into the turnbuckles. Bayley hits a hurricanrana from the top rope to Natalya, followed by a meteora from Sasha for a two count.
Sasha swiped at Ronda on the apron but the Champion avoided it. Sasha then went for double knees on Nattie but the veteran caught hold of her and tagged Ronda. Rousey lifted Sasha and slammed her but then Sasha hit a roll-up, followed by the Bank Statement! But Natalya came in to break the submission. Sasha knocked Natalya from the apron, then hit Ronda with a kick square in the mouth, followed by a backstabber.
Bayley tagged in and looked for the Bayley-To-Belly but Ronda hit her with a Judo throw. Ronda takes the fight to Bayley, then they mess-up a move, so Sasha just tags in and connects with a double axe handle to Ronda. Rousey catches Sasha with the armbar but Sasha rolled to the apron to break the hold. Natalya tags in and suplexes Sasha, before running over her back and hitting a basement dropkick. Nattie applies the Sharpshooter but Bayley comes in and breaks it up, before knocking Ronda off the apron. Natalya connects with a discus clothesline to Bayley, but the distraction allows Banks to get Nattie in the Bank Statement and the Hart taps!
Sasha and Bayley don’t just leave the ring however, they share a big argument with Rousey and Natalya.
Raw goes off the air with the four women yelling at each other. What did you think of tonight’s show? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to come back tomorrow for all your wrestling news and results! Until then, safe travels.