We’re live from the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA for another rousing episode of WWE RAW, hot off last night’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. I had a nice mid-afternoon nap and am currently sipping a Red Bull martini with cocaine on the rim, so my chances of staying awake for the next three hours are high!
TIME TO PLAY THE GAME
Triple H started the show announcing that D-Generation X would enter the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame, including himself, Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Chyna. He also announced that Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and Ricochet would be in action tonight!
But that’s not all, folks. Call now, and you’ll receive Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin in a Tables Match absolutely free of charge! Just pay shipping and handling.
KILLAM: Well… Chyna got a great reaction. The NXT stars got less and less of a reaction as each of them were awkwardly announced. Has the company just completely forgotten how to create memorable debuts, or were they that worried about the news leaking out before the show? I guess we’ll see how it goes, but for now I’m of the opinion that that was an incredibly lame way to set up — well, we’re not exactly sure what they’re setting up, I suppose.
BARON CORBIN vs. BRAUN STROWMAN
The story of the match was Strowman having his ribs and side wrapped up, and Corbin using steel chairs, steel steps and the announce table to do everything he could to weaken the monster. There was a humorous shot of the announcers all calling the match behind a destroyed commentary table that they literally couldn’t see over. After a solid 15-minute match with absolutely no interference, Strowman slammed Corbin through a table in the corner with a running powerslam to score the win.
On his way out Strowman ran into Paul Heyman on the ramp and nearly choked him to death, before mercifully letting him live.
KILLAM: Okay, everyone hold on. 24 hours ago Corbin had help from Lashley and McIntyre, driving Strowman through TWO tables while simultaneously referencing the Shield’s triple powerbomb (and remember, Vince is the worst at subtlety and does absolutely nothing without meaning). Tonight, he… what, exactly? Decided to be honorably, suddenly? Stopped having friends, suddenly? Renee Young even said “It doesn’t look like Corbin has any friends tonight!” WHY!? WHAT CHANGED THAT YOU’RE NOT TELLING ME!? Color me confused.
STORY TIME w/ PAUL HEYMAN
Heyman finally made it to the ring to introduce HIMSELF narrating a video package about Brock Lesnar. We got to hear about Lesnar having to grow up on a farm, alluding to the “terrible things he did” to put food on his table growing up. Whatever that means. We also got to see footage of him beating people up in college and becoming a world-class amateur wrestler, before Finn Balor interrupted…
KILLAM: Did… Did Brock Lesnar hunt and eat people as a child?
After a commercial break, Finn Balor talked about all the great Intercontinental Champions like Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. Paul Heyman disappeared for some reason. He was interrupted by Lio Rush, which was just a distraction for Lashley to attack from behind and lay out the new champion. Rush hit the ring and squashed Balor with a Frog Splash, until RICOCHET ran out and cleaned house with springboard moves galore!
KILLAM: This was actually a pretty cool segment. I guess we’re going to skip over Lashley attempting to murder Lio last night at Elimination Chamber, for now. Hopefully they explain that one later. Ricochet got a nice pop from a crowd that has otherwise been asleep for an hour.
RICK O’SHEA MAKES RAW DEBUT
We’ve got a tag team match! This was a huge highlight reel for the newcomer who carried about 99% of the actual offense. Ricochet shined early with some crazy exchanges against Rush, who is one of the only people in the world who can actually keep up with him. Balor was the fall guy, and got worked over by Lashley to slow things down in the middle, as Rush made sure he couldn’t get the hot tag. Until he did. After about a dozen springboard dropkicks, Ricochet led Lashley on a wild goose chase around ringside, did a springboard moonsault off the barricade, and dropped Rush with his incredible 630 senton to win.
KILLAM: Great showcase for the debuting Ricochet. I actually love him and Balor together. The spot on the floor, with him doing the moonsault off the barricade and Balor hitting the shotgun dropkick — excellent stuff. They could have maybe shaved a few minutes off the middle, but this is always going to be a problem with three hours shows. Please, for the love of flying spaghetti monster, give us a singles match between Ricochet and Rush at some point.
Triple H was shown talking to Natalya backstage but was interrupted by Drew McIntyre, who wants Seth Rollins in a match tonight with his WrestleMania spot on the line. Because that’s how that works. Dean Ambrose showed up instead and slapped him in the face, and Hunter sarcastically asked if Drew wanted to change the match to Ambrose instead.
KILLAM: I laughed. That’s all.
IT’S A LUCHA HOUSE PARTY!
The Lucha House Party actually had a pretty good, albeit short match with Ryder and Hawkins. All of those guys can get it done in the ring and put as much into their five minutes (or so) as possible. I was sports entertained. Ryder was obviously frustrated after the match when Hawkins lost, again.
Heavy Machinery came out and pranced around to absolutely no reaction. Lacey Evans walked down the ramp, then walked back up the ramp. Heavy Machinery then strutted down the ramp… and strutted right back up the ramp. Segment over.
KILLAM: AM I HAVING A @#*&%! STROKE!?
DIY vs. THE REVIVAL
Before the match Ciampa and Gargano ran into Gable and Roode backstage and engaged in the most generic discussion of all time. The words “We’re here to Takeover!” were actually said. Get it? Because of NXT Takeover?
Some basic offense early on in the match as Gargano got worked over by The Revival. A lot of it actually took place during the commercial break so we couldn’t see it. Gargano got hit with a basic tag team move and convulsed for 15 seconds straight like he was shot by a mugger. Things picked up near the end when Johnny reversed the Shatter Machine, hit a superkick and let Ciampa go crazy on the tag champs. Revival hit their Electric Chair Bulldog combo, but it wasn’t enough. Surprisingly, DIY scored the win with Meeting In The Middle.
KILLAM: I’m probably going to get blasted for this, but I thought that was incredibly mediocre until the last few minutes. Johnny’s over-acting doesn’t usually bother me, but he also usually has much longer matches where it makes sense 20-25 minutes into an absolute war. Here it just felt cartoonish and unnecessary. The crowd didn’t care at all. Also… Maybe I missed something, but the last time we saw these two, weren’t they NOT going to be friends? Didn’t Johnny refuse to partner with him? Why are they suddenly besties again?
THE WOMEN ARE FINALLY HERE!
Bayley and Sasha Banks came out and tried to talk about making their way up from the NXT brand and making history along the way, leading up to their big win at Elimination Chamber, but you could tell their very real emotions were making that difficult. The crowd was completely dead, as they have been all night.
Nia Jax and Tamina came out, with Nia mocking the crowd as like three people booed her, and Tamina stood there not knowing how to have emotions. She played up the whole “Sasha only cares about Sasha” thing, and mocked her for always losing titles in her very first defense. They brawled for literally two seconds before bailing. Seriously.
KILLAM: I’m fading. It’s not even that this show has been terrible on paper, because by all counts it should have been okay. The crowd is completely dead, refusing to make any noise, and nobody doing promos seems to actually care. I can tell they’re just as bored as I am. What the hell was that two second fight? Aren’t these big, imposing ladies supposed to be, like… intimidating, or something?
LUNATIC vs. PSYCHOPATH
Dean Ambrose came out of the gate swinging with a heart of gold, but was quickly murdered by a sickening headbutt. McIntyre bullied him around the ring before dropping him with not one, but two Claymore Kicks.
KILLAM: I guess we really are just moving on from the whole Strowman getting murdered at Elimination Chamber thing… Don’t get me wrong, I was over it before it started and I’d much rather have McIntyre in a major singles program heading into WrestleMania, but I at least wanted them to transition in a way that made ANY kind of sense.
ELIAS vs. ALEISETER BLACK
Elias controlled almost the entire match with basic offense. Eventually Black came back with a flurry of strikes and knees, and his signature springboard moonsault, but got caught with a jumping knee to the face coming off the ropes. Black Mast out of nowhere, and that’s all she wrote.
KILLAM: This should have been 10 seconds, at most. Fade to Black and it’s over. Especially in front of this crowd would WWE couldn’t have paid to have a reaction. Better yet, they should have just turned the lights out while Elias was in the ring, had Black show up and knock him out cold. Eh. The action wasn’t bad, and Elias looked good, but it’s one of those rare moments that would have had much more impact without actually being a full-on match.
RONDA ROUSEY vs. RUBY RIOTT
Ronda did some awful punches in the corner and went for the armbar, but Ruby deuced out of the ring faster than my interest in this show. After a commercial break Ruby was in control, hit a big spear and a cannonball splash from the second rope. Ruby with a headbutt and a flash kick to the skull, but it wasn’t enough. Ronda fought back with a gutwrench suplex, managed to fight off both Liv and Logan on the apron, but was caught with a second Riott Kick, for yet a second nearfall. RIP Ruby’s finisher… Ronda into the armbar again, but the Squad pulled her to safety, so she flew off the top rope to take them all down. Armbar finally locked in, and it’s over.
After the match Rousey took down all three members of the Squad, and they very quickly took the show off the air.
KILLAM: This was alright. I have a big problem with Ronda kicking out of finishers TWICE in a match that didn’t warrant it. All they’ve managed to do is make Ruby and her girls look like complete losers. Not to mention the fact that Ronda DESTROYED her in 10 seconds the night before, then suddenly struggled to beat her in 15 minutes. They could have at least mentioned the beatdown the night before being the reason, but no — that would make way more sense. No Becky. No Charlotte. I guess that’s just how we’re ending this show…
KILLAM: Nothing on this RAW made any sense. No continuity from Elimination Chamber. Seemingly nothing set up for WrestleMania. This was the filler of all filler shows, and even the NXT debuts couldn’t save it. I’ll also point out that it took TWO HOURS to get any women on the show, outside of Lacey Evans coming out to convince me that I’m having a stroke.
I don’t understand why WWE is so obsessed with ruining every surprise. Do we NEED to know exactly when Kevin Owens is coming back? Would it kill them to write in a story for any of the NXT guys coming up? I’m bored. They’re bored. The writers are bored.
Why did Corbin have no friends suddenly?
Why are Ciampa and Gargano best friends again after they explicitly said Gargano refused to team with him again like… a week ago on NXT?
Why is Ambrose a babyface?
WHY THE HELL IS ELIAS A HEEL?
If WWE RAW was literally any other television show on any other network, and its fans held it to the same standard as regular television programming, it would have been cancelled years ago. I’m not asking for much. I just want someone who writes the show to ACTUALLY WATCH THEIR OWN PRODUCT. Just write ONE THING that makes sense from one week to the next.