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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
JANUARY 28, 2019
PHOENIX, ARIZ. AT THE TALKING STICK RESORT ARENA
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 P.M. ET
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young
Arena, Royal Rumble Results Pertinent to Raw, and Items Advertised by WWE for Tonight
The Royal Rumble is now behind us and we have officially kicked the tires and gotten on the road to WrestleMania. We have our Rumble winners and champions in place for now and will begin to discuss the potential matches for ‘Mania come this April.
Raw returns to the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ for the first time since February of last year. The nearly 30-year old arena has hosted WWE events going all the way back to Wrestling Challenge for those of who remember that show from the WWF days, and a handful of WCW Monday Nitros. It even hosted Elimination Chamber in February of 2017, an event that saw Bray Wyatt capture his first and only WWE Championship. This weekend’s NXT Takeover also took place here.
Here are the Royal Rumble results pertinent to Raw:
- Ronda Rousey defeated Sasha Banks to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
- Becky Lynch won the women’s Royal Rumble. This is pertinent to Raw as she has the option to challenge either show’s women’s champion at WrestleMania. Given what happened prior to Survivor Series and their exchanges on social media, it is expected that she will challenge Ronda Rousey for the Raw title.
- Brock Lesnar defeated Finn Balor to retain the Universal Championship.
- Seth Rollins won the men’s Royal Rumble. It is expected he will challenge for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.
- Raw Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode & Chad Gable defeated Scott Dawson of the Revival & Rezar of AOP in a non-title match on the pre-show. Had Dawson & Rezar won they would have earned future championship matches for their respective teams.
Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com subject to change as the day goes on:
- The Kingslayer celebrates Royal conquest
- The “Rowdy” Road to WrestleMania
- The Beast Triumphant
- Where will the new WWE Wrestlers wind up?
The “Kingslayer” Seth Rollins Celebrates Rumble Victory
Seth Rollins earned an opportunity at either the Universal Championship or WWE Championship at WrestleMania by winning the 2019 Royal Rumble.
WWE played up the “injury angle.” Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley was making his Rumble entrance when Rollins eliminated him before he could get involved in the match. This led to Lashley dragging (but not eliminating) Rollins through the ropes and giving him a suplex and throwing him through one of the announce tables.
Rollins eventually recovered, and the Rumble came down to he and Braun Strowman. Strowman had entered the Rumble earlier in the evening when it was announced John Cena would not participate. They went back and forth and ultimately were outside on the apron, where delivered his signature curb stomp to eliminate Strowman.
It is expected Rollins will challenge for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania. Here he is in a WWE.com exclusive with Charly Caruso after the Rumble last night:
Frank’s Analysis: I must say the men’s Rumble was less than stellar. Perhaps it’s me, but it almost felt like WWE wasn’t happy about giving Rollins this victory although they knew it was the right call. The injury angle didn’t add much to the story and was essentially repeated from earlier in the night when they did the same with Becky Lynch in the women’s Rumble. Bear in mind, this is all a diversion from plan A due to Reigns’ leukemia announcement. Who knows. At any rate, the interview following the Rumble felt real and authentic as Rollins was last week. I like the little dig on WWE that there’s no time to rest, as they have Raw the next night. It’s fine that he didn’t clearly say he’s going after Lesnar at ‘Mania, but it’s what we expect. I would have liked to hear him cite their history, as they have gone at it before, but I’m sure we’ll get that once it’s confirmed Rollins is going after the Universal Championship.
Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey’s Road to WrestleMania
As I said earlier, Ronda Rousey retained the Raw Women’s Championship over Sasha Banks by getting the pin fall following Ronda hitting her “Piper’s Pit” drop on Sasha. Ronda tried to show Sasha respect and even held the ropes for her as she was leaving.
Sasha would stop and come back to shake Ronda’s hand, a left-handed handshake mind you, and held up four fingers referencing the Four Horsewomen of NXT (herself, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch). This did not sit well with Ronda, whom as we know was part of the Four Horsewomen of MMA (herself, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, and Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir also of NXT). Here she is in a WWE.com exclusive with Charly Caruso after the match:
Becky Lynch won the Women’s Royal Rumble. It is expected that she will challenge for the Raw title at WrestleMania, given how her previously scheduled match with Ronda at Survivor Series was postponed due to Becky’s injury.
There has been a lot of discussion in regard to Ronda’s future in WWE, as has been covered here at PWTorch and other wrestling media outlets. It’s possible she could be taking a leave following WrestleMania, although nothing is confirmed. She has expressed her desire to start a family, both to WWE prior to her signing her contract and in a YouTube video. We’ll certainly stay on top of this as the story unfolds.
Frank’s Analysis: I think a lot of people hope we get the Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey one-on-one match at WrestleMania, although it’s more likely we get a triple threat with them and Charlotte. I wonder if Charlotte will weave her way in saying that Becky wasn’t originally in the Rumble and only got in because she replaced an “injured” Lana. There’s a lot of time and two PPVs between now at ‘Mania so it’s anybody’s guess.
As far as the Horsewomen vs. Horsewomen feud, I would think we get that at some point. Logic would suggest, given Sasha putting up the “four” sign when she did last night, that they could this this at WrestleMania. It’s a match that certainly has a ‘Mania “feel.” I still think we get what we have been expecting, and that’s Ronda vs. Becky and possibly Charlotte. Survivor Series would make sense for the Horsewomen stuff, in a Survivor Series style match or a straight-up four-on-four (which could essentially be done anytime). There are a LOT of moving parts to getting this together. Whatever the case may be, here’s hoping WWE properly builds to what could be a huge moment.
Ronda’s issue with the horsewomen in the video is interesting. I don’t see how the horsewomen of NXT is a “marketing” thing. Ric Flair was part of the original Four Horsemen, and thus it’s logical WWE would create a stable involving his daughter. Even though the horsewomen of NXT have feuded at some point, I’m sure they would come together for the right cause and batting the horsewomen of MMA would certainly fit under that heading.
Brock Lesnar Retains and What’s Next
In an expected result, Brock Lesnar retained the Universal Champion over challenger Finn Balor. He did so by getting Balor to submit to his Kimura lock, something we haven’t seen in quite some time. Prior to Brock getting the Kimura lock in, Balor hit a double stomp (similar to his Coup de Grace) but only got a two-count. After the match, Brock hit two German suplexes and gave an F5 for good measure on his fallen challenger.
Here’s Paul Heyman in a WWE.com exclusive with Dasha Fuentes:
As I said earlier, it’s expected Seth Rollins will challenge Brock at WrestleMania for the Universal title. At last year’s WrestleMania, Brock retained over Rollins’ Shield “brother” Roman Reigns in a much-maligned match.
Frank’s Analysis: I think Balor looked strong and gave Lesnar enough of a fight to make me believe he could win the match. I don’t think they’ve ever referenced the diverticulitis on TV, and I could understand playing that card. I think it would have been fine not to reference that, because to me it makes it look like the only reason Brock was vulnerable was because of an illness. Seth Rollins did something similar to Brock at the Royal Rumble in 2015, and I don’t recall them referencing the diverticulitis then. It’s like they didn’t have faith in Balor and thus the past illness was the only way he could gain the advantage. That’s just my opinion. I’m still overall happy with the match. I think Balor needs a move to Smackdown in the shakeup and get in the WWE Championship picture. Just think of the matches over there, assuming the key players stay put (Andrade, Nakamura, Bryan, Ali, Rey, even Hardy for that matter).
Where Will the New Wrestlers Reside?
Last night Lacey Evans made her main roster in-ring debut entering the Royal Rumble at #1 and was opposite of #2 Natalya. She was eventually eliminated by Charlotte Flair.
Nikki Cross has previously wrestled Becky Lynch on Smackdown and teamed with Bayley & Natalya to defeat the Riott Squad on Raw. She partook in the Rumble last night, entering at #8, but was eliminated by the IIconics.
Heavy Machinery defeated the Ascension last week. They did not partake in last night’s festivities.
EC3 has yet to wrestle on TV, except for a match on Main Event. He has appeared in poses and smiles but hasn’t spoken.
Lars Sullivan hasn’t appeared on TV at all, but apparently is home and in a good place with WWE. He has been dealing with mental issues, with which WWE has been cooperative.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t have strong feelings as to where everyone will end up. I could see Vince getting behind Lacey Evans strong, and thus Raw seems logical for her. Nikki Cross would make sense for Smackdown. Heavy Machinery could go either way. Tag team wrestling is not a priority for WWE. I’d lean towards Raw. EC3 I could also see for either show as well, with a lean towards Smackdown. Lars we’ll have to stand by.
Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website
The Talking Stick Resort Arena is advertising a start time of 5:30 p.m. local time. They show the following matches:
- Intercontinental Championship Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins (does not specify if the title is on the line.
- Finn Balor & Elias vs. Dean Ambrose & Drew McIntyre
They also advertise Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey appearing.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at email@example.com. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!