Welcome to Ringside News’ coverage of Monday Night Raw!
Last night was the Royal Rumble and, as always it was a monumental show. Maybe it didn’t please everyone, but I thought it was a great event all around. Obviously the two big stories, as pertains to Monday Night Raw, is that Brock Lesnar retained his Universal Championship over Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins won the men’s Royal Rumble match! These two are on a collision course ahead of this year’s WrestleMania, although there will be still be the Elimination Chamber in the meantime, so a lot can change.
Ronda Rousey retained over Sasha Banks in a really good match at last night’s show. Now that leaves Rousey without an opponent, but obviously we think Becky Lynch may challenge Ronda and make the move over to Raw. That said, it’s a little too early for all that, so perhaps Ronda will find a new challenger in the meantime.
Also on last night’s show, The Revival and AOP failed to earn title shots against Gable and Roode, and lots of smaller stories were furthered in the Rumble matches themselves. Tonight we’re getting Kurt Angle Vs. Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman Vs. Drew McIntyre, and qualifying matches for the women’s tag team Elimination Chamber match. The Road to WrestleMania is firmly underway, and tonight should kick things into gear.
That’s the preview for tonight’s Raw. Remember to follow us on Instagram, download the Ringside News app, and enjoy the show.
Tonight’s Raw from Phoeniz, Arizona opens with the Kingslayer, the Architect, the 2019 Royal Rumble winner, Seth Rollins!
Rollings comes to the ring and Phoenix is in fine voice, chanting “Burn It Down”. Seth says last week 30 guys would go into the Rumble match and lay it all on the line, for the chance at immortality. He said the reason he would outlast them all, was his heart and determination. And tonight he’s standing here, and can say Seth Freakin’ Rollins is going to the main event of WrestleMania. The fans chant “you deserve it”. Seth says he would promise himself that if he won the Royal Rumble he wouldn’t point at the sign, but he says it’s a once in a lifetime thing that so few people get to do. Rollins starts to get a lump in his throat and says all he ever wanted to do in his life was grow up to main event WrestleMania. But winning the Rumble was just the start, now he has a big choice to make. On one hand, he could turn to SmackDown Live and challenge his good friend Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. While his other option takes him right to Suplex City, where he faces Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. He says he will have to mull over that decision.
Seth is interrupted by a ghost from his past, The Game, Triple H! HHH allows an “NXT” chant to swell. He smiles and says he’s glad Seth pointed at the sign, because he may have regretted not doing it. He says a while ago he challenged him not long ago to bring back the real Seth Rollins. He says Seth came out here tonight and got him all emotional, like two grown men blubbering, but he’s so proud of Rollins for making it. He says the Royal Rumble challenges everything in a Superstar to see which one has it in him. And that one, is Seth Freakin’ Rollins! “Burn It Down” from the fans again. HHH reiterates that Seth has a decision, as to who he will burn down at WrestleMania, but like Becky Lynch has the same decision to make. He says Becky has to make her decision tomorrow night, but Seth has to make his tonight. Triple H says they need to know, because the machine moves fast. He says Seth has until the end of tonight, but both Bryan and Lesnar will be here and he needs Rollins to tell him whose ass he’s going to kick at WrestleMania. The fans chant “slay The Beast”. Rollins says it’s going to be one of the hardest decisions he’s ever made but if it’s gotta be done tonight…
Dean Ambrose comes to the ring. Ambrose reminds Seth of where he came from, saying Triple H didn’t believe in him. Says HHH wanted to get rid of him. While he always believed in Seth. Triple H interrupts him, reminding everyone that Dean turned on Seth the same night Roman Reigns had leukaemia. Ambrose turns to HHH and says this doesn’t concern him, to which The Game says everything in the ring concerns him. Ambrose says Seth has changed, he’s a kiss-ass now. But he can move along knowing that he was never able to beat Dean Ambrose. Seth could never beat him without the help of Corporate Kane, J&J Security, or Triple H himself. He tells Triple H to make the match for tonight. Triple H turns to leave but Ambrose meets him on the apron and asks if he needs to ask Vince’s permission first. The fans chant “Yes he does!”, but Triple H says get a referee down here now. The match will take place after the break!
We’re back and the match is already underway. Rollins with a snapmare and kick to the chest. They brawl to the outside with Rollins chopping at the chest of Ambrose. Rollins jumps off the barricade to with a clothesline to Ambrose. He tosses the former IC Champion back into the ring.
Ambrose slams Rollins down by his hair and unloads mounted right hands. Rollins fights to his feet and levels Ambrose with a superkick. Ambrose avoids a Curb Stomp, eats a kick through the ropes, Rollins attempts a sunset flip, Ambrose hangs on, jumps down and tosses Rollins into the ring post. Ambrose gets an STF applied. Rollins breaks free and unloads more chops. Rollins looks for a suicide dive but Ambrose jumps up and punches him before he can fly. Ambrose gets back inside and hits a facebuster for a near-fall as we head to the break.
Rollins and Ambrose exchange chest chops to the cheers and boos of the fans. Rollins ducks a clothesline and catches Dean with a slingblade and the lunatic rolls from the ring. Seth follows-up with a suicide dive, followed by a second!
He gets Ambrose back inside and looks for a Falcon Arrow but Ambrose slides down his back. Seth knocks him from the ring and hits another suicide dive – although Ambrose barely sold it. Seth gets him back in the ring, goes up top, and looks for a frog splash but nobody’s home and Dean rolls him up for a near-fall.
Ambrose is getting frustrated and grabs Seth for Dirty Deeds but Rollins dodges and hits the Ripcord Knee, followed by a Buckle Bomb, Avada Kadavra and The Stomp for the win!
Rollins sold The Stomp like Rock used to sell The Stunner. Later tonight, Rollins must make his choice between Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar.
Also tonight, Kurt Angle Vs. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre Vs. Braun Strowman, and an open challenge from Ronda Rousey. We see the new Women’s Tag Team Championships set on a pedestal at ringside.
We’re back and Dean Ambrose is still in the ring, he’s sitting on a chair with a microphone. He says he has something serious to say. “When I signed for WWE…” but then he’s interrupted by Nia Jax and Tamina.
The two women come to the ring and comes face-to-face with Dean Ambrose. Nia hits him from behind, knocking him out of the ring. Officials prevent Ambrose from getting back inside. I hope this mixed-gender thing doesn’t become common, it’s super unrealistic. Ambrose walks up the ramp and out comes Mickie James and Alexa Bliss for their match.
It’s confusing who we’re supposed to root for here, because Jax and Tamina are obvious heels but before the match we got a promo from Bliss in which she called them pigs.
We start things off with Tamina and Alexa Bliss, and The Goddess does her best to shove Tamina. Bliss grabs Tamina by the throat but the Samoan shoves her back and onto her back. Alexa hits a nice arm-drag kip-up, and a knee-first moonsault. Tamina tags Nia Jax, who slams Alexa into the corner, knocking Mickie off the apron.
We’re back in time to see Alexa miss a moonsault and get superkicked by Tamina. Nia applies a sleeper to Alexa. Bliss fights up and catches Tamina with a sunset flip pin but Tamina kicks out and clotheslines her down. Nia tags in and hits a hip attack in the corner, before pinning Bliss there with her ass. She drags Bliss by the foot into the air and slams her down. Nia grounds Alexa with a modified chicken wing.
The fans chant “RKO” at Nia as Alexa climbs to her feet. Nia slams her into the turnbuckles and tags Tamina. Snuka headbutts Alexa, who crawls to the corner. Alexa kicks Tamina and does another sunset flip pin attempt to no avail. Bliss looks to tag Mickie but Tamina knocks the veteran from the apron. Bliss ducks Tamina and finally tags Mickie.
James comes in with a senton to Tamina, followed by a rope-assisted hurricanrana, and a neckbreaker for a two count. Mickie ducks a superkick and hits the Mick Kick. Jax tags in and Mickie looks for a DDT but Nia just tossed her off. Jax lifts Mickie onto her shoulders, looking for a Samoan drop but she spots Alexa on the top rope, so she grabs holds of her and has both them on her shoulders! Nia walks around and does a squat before hitting the Samoan drop for the win.
Nia and Tamina are the first team to qualify for the women’s tag team Elimination Chamber match. Two more spots from Raw remain, and we’ll see a match tonight with Natalya and Dana Brooke taking on Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan.
Kurt Angle did an interview earlier today, in which he blamed Baron Corbin for him losing his job as General Manager. The interviewer reminds Kurt that he was humiliated by Drew McIntyre the last time he had a singles match, and asks if he thinks the same thing will happen against Corbin tonight. Angle says it took him a while to get over that loss to Drew, but he’s waited a lot longer to face Baron Corbin, and tonight he makes it worth the wait.
Before the match begins, Corbin grabs the microphone and says he knows Kurt Angle thinks he has one last great match, one last great run. However he says the fans don’t care about Kurt Angle, they won’t be there for him when he’s hurt. He says he will beat on Angle, but then the Olympian clubs him down and the referee calls for the bell.
Angle punches Corbin around before hitting a German suplex. Angle whips Corbin towards the corner but the former GM slides out underneath and runs back in the other side and attacks Angle with a clothesline.
Corbin slows the pace down and punches and kicks Angle around the ring. He taunts the crowd before applying a modified rear chin lock to Angle. Corbin connects with a knee to the gut before whipping Angle to the corner. Kurt dodges the running Corbin, who hits his shoulder on the ring post. Angle follows-up with three German suplexes in a row for a two count. Angle stalks Corbin and grabs him for the Angle Slam but Corbin gets off and connects with a big boot. Baron punches Angle but Angle ducks and hits the Angle Slam for a near-fall. Angle takes the straps down and applies the Angle Lock! After a minute, Corbin kicks him off and connects with Deep Six for the win!
Corbin starts to leave but then comes back down and hits Angle with the End of Days. He laughs and points at the fans, mocking them. Michael Cole asks if that was indeed the end of Kurt Angle’s days.
Still to come, Ronda Rousey’s Open Challenge, and Seth Rollins choosing his WrestleMania opponent. We see Finn Balor walking backstage and lots of stars are congratulating him on a valiant effort last night. He’ll be out next!
We see some highlights from the Universal Championship match last night, in which Brock Lesnar bested Finn Balor.
Balor makes his way to the ring. He says last night he went toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar for ten minutes. But he makes no excuses, Brock Lesnar beat him. And then Lesnar beat him again. He has to be honest, he’s never felt speed or power like it, especially not combined like that before. And today he’s hurting. But the reason Lesnar did that, is because he made Brock Lesnar believe in Finn Balor.
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush come out and interrupt. Rush says it’s a disgrace that a twerp like Finn even got a shot at the Universal Championship – that’s rich. Rush says we all know Finn almost won, but he wouldn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell against Bobby Lashley. Rush says Lashley is so much faster and stronger than Balor will ever be. Balor says he lasted longer with Brock than Lashley did in the Rumble itself. That’s enough for Bobby, who attacks Balor, hitting him with two one-handed spinebusters. Rush takes his Lashley shirt off and lays it across Balor.
We see a replay of November, when Lashley, McIntyre, and Corbin beat on Strowman, and broke his elbow. Strowman will face McIntyre later tonight.
A replay is shown of Lashley attacking Finn Balor before the break.
We start with Dash Wilder and Curt Hawkins. The latter takes the fight to Wilder and knocks him into the corner. Ryder tags in and they hit Wilder with a flapjack. Dash rolls from the ring and Dawson comes running in but he gets knocked out by Hawkins, then Ryder dives through the ropes with a dropkick to both.
Ryder gets Dash back in the ring but Wilder takes him down and makes the tag to Dawson. They hit a double-team suplex/dropkick combination. Dawson hits a leg drop, then tags Dash back in. Wilder kicks Ryder and beats him around. He looks for a suplex but Ryder reverses with a neckbreaker. Curt Hawkins comes in and takes out both Wilder and Dawson with dropkicks, and an enziguiri. The fans are chanting his name but then Dawson takes him down and knocks Ryder from the apron. Dash is tagged and they hit the Shatter Machine on Hawkins for the win.
Hawkins is pissed with himself after the match, and Ryder tries to console him.
We see Daniel Bryan walking with Erick Rowan backstage. Charly Caruso stops them and says without Rowan last night, Bryan wouldn’t have beaten AJ Styles. She asks if he thinks he can beat Seth Rollins, if he chooses him. Bryan says he would have beaten Styles regardless. And as for Seth, Bryan says he encourages pollution every time he tells “Burn It Down!” He says he won’t have to wait until WrestleMania to shatter Seth Rollins’ dreams, they’ll do that tonight.
After the break we’ll be walking with Elias!
Elias is in the ring when we return. He plays a nice little ditty on the guitar before asking who wants to walk with him. The fans cheer but he says he’s been testing them, and they let him down. He says they need to be better, they should give him a standing ovation everytime they see him appear. The fans just cheer him more and chant “we’re not worthy”. Elias says that’s right, they’re not, and to think he wrote songs for them. Not anymore. I guess Elias’ babyface run is over before it really got going. He tells them to shut-up before he can start playing. However he’s interrupted by Jeff Jarrett once again!
Jarrett says “listen up slapnuts.” He says Elias need not worry that about the fans here in Phoenix, because he has an issue with Elias after what he did last night. JJ started to introduce himself but then he was interrupted…by Road Dogg! Dogg asks if Elias is serious about not playing for the fans anymore? Then says if that’s the case, the fans would rather Elias play with himself on his own time. He says they will play a show of their own. Dogg and Jarrett then come down to the ring, while singing their old song. Not long though, until Elias smashes his guitar off the back of Dogg! JJ has seen enough and he attacks Elias and connects with some big right hands. Jarrett grabs his own guitar and looks to break it over Elias, but the Drifter punches him in the gut, takes the guitar, and smashes JJ with it as well!
Natalya is warming-up backstage and Dana Brooke approaches her. Brooke says she knows that Ember Moon was hurt and can’t tag with Nattie tonight, but she’s her partner now. She says that she’s better than Ember and they can go all the way. Natalya says she doesn’t care how good she is, they just need to be on the same page. Brooke takes umbrage with that and says she is better than Natalya as well. She walks off, and Natalya begrudgingly follows.
We see Mojo Rawley sitting backstage, in a dark room, yelling at someone. He’s saying nobody knows who they are because of themselves. The camera turns around and we see that it’s Rawley staring in a mirror. He says soon everyone will know who he is.
Natalya starts against Sarah Logan, and Nattie hits two suplexes in a row. Brooke tags herself in and flips over Liv from the apron to the floor. She then clotheslines Morgan into the LED apron on the ring.
Back inside the ring, she terrorises Morgan for a minute before Sarah tags in. Logan takes control by knocking Brooke’s head into the turnbuckle. She tags Morgan again and they hit a double team facebuster for a two count.
Dana tags Nattie after an enziguiri from Morgan. Nattie takes her down after knocking Ruby from the apron, and locks Morgan in the Sharpshooter. Logan comes back in to break it up by pushing Brooke into her. Morgan rolls up Natalya for the win.
The Riott Squad celebrate after their win and stare at the women’s Tag Team Championship at ringside. Natalya stares on angrily, before leaving Dana by herself.
Ronda Rousey’s open challenge will be next!
The Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey, makes her way to the ring. She gets a decent reaction, but then the fans start chanting “Becky”.
Ronda asks, if you can’t dream big and ridiculous dreams, what is the point in dreaming at all? Last year she stepped in the ring after the women’s Royal Rumble, she dreamed big, and one year later she stands before them as the Champion. As for Sasha Banks, Rousey says Banks gave her the fight of her life. The fans are booing loud and chanting for Becky. She laughs and says they got her to stutter. They continue to boo, so Ronda snarls and says let’s talk real then. She points to the WrestleMania sign and addresses Becky Lynch. She says she knows Lynch is watching, and she knows she has a choice to make. Bayley comes out before Rousey can speak further, but the commentators kept saying that the fans were completely unaccepting of Rousey or anyone but Becky.
Bayley says she may not be Becky Lynch, but she is one half of the Boss ‘N Hug Connection, and a former Women’s Champion. She asks Ronda to put her title on the line against her, right now. Ronda agrees and Bayley makes her way to the ring.
After introductions, this match gets underway. They lock-up and Ronda takes Bayley down right away, looking for the armbar, but Bayley scrambles to the ropes to force the break. They lock-up again and Bayley grabs an arm – the arm Banks attacked last night. Bayley throws her from the ring but then brings her right back in, in a terrible sequence.
Ronda grabs Bayley’s arm over the ropes in an armbar but is forced to let go at the 4 count. Bayley hits her with a stunner of sorts coming back into the ring. Ronda then did a flip up over the ropes, where Bayley would normally run under, but Bayley didn’t and Ronda seemingly tweaked her knee on the way down. Bayley then, supposed to hit a chop block to the knee, for some reason grabbed Ronda first and shoved her, then hit the chop block. Bayley hits a dragonscrew over the ropes that knocks Ronda from the ring as we head to the break. Awful opening few minutes from both women.
We’re back and Bayley is holding Ronda’s leg and hitting elbow drops onto it. Ronda grabs hold of Bayley and tries to lock in a rear naked choke but Bayley shrugs it off and slides away. Bayley tosses Ronda to the corner and hits a back elbow. Snapmare from Bayley into a pin attempt for 2.
Ronda hits two clotheslines with roll-throughs, then lands some Judo throws, but then her leg gives out. Ronda grabs Bayley and lands some knees to the gut, but Bayley then grabs the leg in an toe hold but Ronda gets out and both women roll out under the bottom rope. Bayley lifts Ronda and hits a belly-to-belly into the barricade. Both down as we head to the break.
We’re back and Bayley hits some shoulder tackles in the corner before throwing Ronda out of the ring. Bayley dives through the ropes with a dropkick to Ronda, then puts her back inside for a near-fall. Bayley goes up top for an elbow drop, then applies the Bank Statement! Ronda crawls towards the bottom rope and gets it but Bayley doesn’t let go until 4.
Bayley is frustrated that she can’t put Ronda away. Bayley lifts Ronda onto the top rope, but Ronda slides underneath and starts to climb up herself and flips Bayley own and into the armbar and Bayley taps.
Wow, what a sloppy mess that was, and it was every bit as much Bayley’s fault as it was Ronda’s. After the match Ronda offers Bayley a hand and helps her to her feet. They shake hands then, but The Man’s music hits!
Lynch receives a hero’s welcome and she’s still selling her knee from the match last night. She hasn’t been on Raw since she invaded with SmackDown Live and got her nose broke. She says The Man is back on Raw. She looks at Ronda and says she told her she would find her way back to her. Lynch says she’s been hearing about the baddest woman on the planet for about a year now. But last time she came to her show, she left her lying in the ring. And even after that, Ronda never came looking for her to prove she is the baddest. Well, now she’s come to prove once and for all that Ronda is not. Lynch reminds everyone that she won the Royal Rumble match, but unlike Seth Rollins, she doesn’t need time to think, she chooses Rousey. The fans chant “Yes!” At WrestleMania, she will break her mystique, take her title, and kick her ass in front of the whole world.
Ronda grabs a microphone and the fans boo loud. Rousey says the whole world needs to hear this. She asks how Lynch’s leg is. She says unlike Lynch, she doesn’t sneak attack people, she wants the best version that she can get. Ronda then says everyone knows she can break her face faster than she can say Nia Jax. In fact, she could kill Lynch without breaking a sweat, but she doesn’t because she chooses not to. She then says she and Becky are the same age, but while Lynch was training, she was main eventing a sport that didn’t even want women in it. Then last year, while Lynch was on the pre-show, she stole the show in her debut match. She says the fact of the matter is she owns the ground she walks on and at WrestleMania she will prove why she’s the baddest woman on the planet. Ronda leaves and Lynch smirks after her. Fantastic promo from Rousey!
We see Seth Rollins backstage and Braun Strowman walks up to him. Strowman says he earned it last night, and shakes Rollins’ hand before walking off. He’ll face Drew McIntyre next!
The bell rings and they lock up. Strowman pushes McIntyre away immediately and Drew stares back at him. McIntyre attempts a shoulder tackle and Strowman stays on his feet. McIntyre starts unloading on Strowman with kicks and chops. Strowman quickly takes McIntyre off his feet and kicks him in the ribs and the Scotsman rolls to the outside.
Strowman jumps out of the ring, runs at McIntyre, but Drew catches him with a drop toe hold, sending Strowman into the barricade as we head to a break.
We’re back live as Strowman catches McIntyre with a big slap. Strowman connects with a chop of his own, then clotheslines Drew over the top rope.
Strowman grabs a the top half of the steel steps and starts walking towards McIntyre. Baron Corbin shows up and attacks Strowman from behind – the referee calls for the bell.
After the match, Corbin grabs a steel chair and hits Strowman with it in the ribs and over the back. He looks to hit him again but Strowman punches the steel chair out of his hands and sends Corbin flying into the steel steps at ringside. Strowman runs around the ring and launches McIntyre at the barricade. Strowman runs again and this time takes out Corbin at ringside. McIntyre is able to make it back to his feet as Braun is with Corbin, and floors Strowman with a Claymore Kick. Corbin and McIntyre start to leave together, but come back and grab Strowman. Corbin and McIntyre give Strowman a double chokeslam over the steel steps! They leave as officials tend to Strowman.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross to determine the final team from RAW to head inside the Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match will take place next Monday night.
Paul Heyman and the WWE Universal Champion make their way down to the ring. Heyman does his usual introduction for himself and Lesnar. He says he finds the premise of this entire program tonight to be absurd, because this should be the easiest decision of Seth’s entire life. Heyman says Rollins only has one option for WrestleMania: to challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. The fans boo but Heyman says this is for Seth’s own good. He says Finn Balor is proof that nobody should cross the Beast. And to do so at WrestleMania is the worst sin of all.
Heyman is then interrupted by Seth Rollins, who storms to the ring and Heyman climbs out with the Universal Championship. Seth gets right in Brock’s face and Lesnar just laughs at him. Lesnar looks to Heyman and laughs, but Seth clocks him with a right. Seth starts kicking the stomach of Brock, then hits the ropes for The Stomp but Brock grabs holds and hits an F5. Lesnar grabs Seth and hits a second F5, then a third. Heyman hands Lesnar his title, but then Brock grabs Seth and hits another F5. Lesnar lays his title down in the ring, lifts Seth, and hits a fifth F5 onto the Universal Championship!
Lesnar poses with the Universal Championship, and turns to leave but Seth begins pulling himself up on the ropes and yells “is that all you got Lesnar?!” Brock, angrier than ever, runs over and knees Seth, before lifting him up and hitting a sixth F5.
That’s it for this week’s Raw. Let us know what you thought of the show, and be sure to come back tomorrow for more wrestling news and results.