WWE RAW PRIMER 2/4: Stephanie invites Becky, Angle’s future, Bayley & Sasha vs. Alicia & the Twisted Sister, Rollins’ Decision, Balor vs. Lashley, Double J vs. Elias

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

Corbin vs. Madcap Moss set for WrestleMania Backlash
Baron Corbin (photo credit Brandon LeClair © PWTorch)


FEBRUARY 4, 2019

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young 

Arena, and Items Advertised by WWE

We are now in the full swing of things for WrestleMania as Raw rolls into the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon after last appearing in October of 2017.  The arena, which opened for business in 1995, has held WWE events as far back as 2004, including Unforgiven for that year.  Current WrestleMania main eventers Seth Rollins and Ronda Rousey were 18 and 17 respectively at the time just to illustrate how time flies.  Nonetheless while we are in WrestleMania season our attention is on Elimination Chamber, which takes place in less than two weeks on Sunday, February 17.

Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com subject to change as the day goes on.  Thus far three matches are on tap for what looks to be an incredibly packed show:

  • Stephanie McMahon invites Becky Lynch to Raw
  • Kurt Angle will address his WWE future
  • Sasha Banks & Bayley face Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross in final Raw WWE Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
  • Does Seth Rollins regret his decision to choose Universal Champion Brock Lesnar as his WrestleMania opponent
  • Will Braun Strowman get payback against Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin?
  • Finn Balor looks for retribution against Bobby Lashley
  • Jeff Jarrett comes swinging for Elias

Stephanie McMahon Invites Becky Lynch to Raw

Stephanie McMahon has invited 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble winner Becky Lynch to Raw, following her challenging of Ronda Rousey last week.  Words don’t do justice for what went down, so here’s the YouTube clip from WWE’s channel:

It’s never quiet on Twitter with Becky and Ronda these days:

Any questions?  We’re two months before WrestleMania and it’s started already between these two.  One can only imagine what Stephanie has in store for Becky.  Remember, there is a history with Stephanie and Ronda that may or may not factor in here.

Frank’s Analysis:  WWE has been heavily scripting wrestlers’ promos for a long time.  Last week was evidence of it not working with Ronda prior to her match with Bayley.  To complain about it is futile because it’s been done for such a long period of time.  Unless AEW or some other promotion proves to be true competition for WWE, why should we expect things to change?  With that said it’s interesting that Ronda was so heavily rejected.  You wonder if it had to do with anything in regard to the news of her possible departure from WWE after ‘Mania, or just the fact that people want to see Becky beat her in that match.

Before we get excited, let’s not forget the possibility of Charlotte Flair being inserted into this match.  This tweet from Becky indicates her desire for it to happen unless I’m reading her intentions wrong:

Regardless of what Becky may or may not want, I think we all can agree on what we want to see.  I can’t imagine her not wanting this match one-on-one, but I fear she may want her bestie included to share that main event moment together.  It should stay one-on-one, as that’s what the fans clearly want to see given their reaction last week.

Kurt Angle Addresses His Future

On Friday night, Olympic gold medalist and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle sent out this tweet:

Our beloved Olympian who won a gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck has had some unceremonious moments on TV lately.  He entered the Royal Rumble at #4 and was eliminated rather quickly by Big E.  Last week on Raw, he lost in four minutes to Baron Corbin in a previously unadvertised match.  Corbin won with his Deep Six and not his finisher End of Days.

I’m sure we’re all curious of the future of Kurt and tonight, he addresses that future.

Frank’s Analysis:  It’s hard to say what may be really going on here.  Kurt is been certainly treated like an afterthought.  It could be leading to where he questions his future and has to “go back to his roots” or something of that nature to get ready for a bigger match at WrestleMania against whomever where he puts his career on the line.  (Undertaker?  Last match for both?  Probably not because can we expect Kurt to carry a match, but you never know.).  If it’s the end of the line for Kurt that’s fine, I just hope he’s treated with a little more respect.  I understand he went to TNA/Impact for years but it’s not like he didn’t put plenty of money in Vince’s pocket during his initial run.  If he’s going to be used now and then as a wrestler, then utilize him in a way a veteran with nothing to prove should be used.  Let him look like a credible threat that could win but comes up short against the younger, up-and-coming wrestler.

Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross in a Qualifier

At the Elimination Chamber PPV, an elimination chamber match will be held to determine the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.  Last week, Nia Jax & Tamina qualified by defeating Alexa Bliss & Mickie James.  Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan of the Riott Squad qualified by defeating the odd combo of Natalya and Dana Brooke (whom I don’t know from week to week if she’s a heel or a babyface).  Over on Smackdown, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville qualified, not by wrestling, but by announcing their participation in the match.

Sasha & Bayley each challenged Ronda Rousey unsuccessfully for the Raw Women’s Championship last week between the Royal Rumble and Raw.  They reunite the Boss ‘n Hug Connection this week to face Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross.  Let’s call them the Twisted Sisters?

Frank’s Analysis:  The way this whole thing has been put together is a joke.  The situation between Nia & Tamina and Alexa & Mickie last week was downright laughable.  Between the pre-match promo to Alexa voluntarily getting off the top rope onto Mickie who was on Nia’s back for a Samoa drop.  It doesn’t get any sillier than that.  Mandy & Sonya not having to wrestle to qualify is nonsense.  I understand there’s less depth on the Smackdown side, but it’s not the point.  If you want me to take a match such as this seriously, everybody has to get in the same way.   

It should be noted that were women’s tag team champions in the WWE (then WWF) from 1983-1989.  The initial champions were Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria, who were the NWA Women’s Tag Team Champions.  When the WWF seceded from the NWA in 1983, they were recognized as the first WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions.  That lineage will not be recognized as part of these championships.

Rollins Has Chosen Lesnar for WrestleMania

Following his Royal Rumble 2019 victory, Seth Rollins had a decision to make as to which champion he would challenge at WrestleMania.  In a heartfelt opening segment promo, he made cases for challenging both Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Smackdown’s WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, someone with whom he’s been friends with for a long time dating back to their days in Ring of Honor (he wasn’t that specific on TV).

At the end of the night, when we expected Rollins to come out with his decision, Lesnar appeared with Paul Heyman instead.  Heyman suggested he take on Bryan and have a “fine grappling match.”  Rollins interrupted, and went out to get in Lesnar’s face.

As they went at it, Lesnar treated Rollins to six F5s to close out the show.  We didn’t get Rollins’ decision on air; however, we learned on WWE.com afterwards that he had chosen Lesnar.  Here’s what happened after Raw went off the air:

Frank’s Analysis:  There’s no surprise here as we expected Rollins to face Lesnar at WrestleMania.  You could certainly argue the merits of a match with Daniel Bryan, but they look to be going with Rollins as their guy.  The way to do that is to defeat Lesnar.  This was how they eventually christened Roman Reigns.  Thus far they have told the story of Rollins overcoming the odds by getting back into the Rumble after having been put through the table, and he’ll certainly have to do the same with Lesnar.  The merits of what they’ve done overall with his Rumble win and taking a one-sided beating from Lesnar have been debated.  WWE has a large task in front of them as far as building the anticipation for this match.  I have to admit Lesnar’s part time status actually helps here 

Braun Strowman’s Revenge Against Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin

Last week, in another unadvertised match, Braun Strowman took on Drew McIntyre just prior to the final segment.  During the course of the match as Braun was about to hit Drew with the ringside steps, Baron Corbin interfered causing a disqualification.  Drew & Corbin and Braun went back and forth ultimately ending up with Braun being slammed onto the steps.

No match has been announced yet, but follow-up is expected tonight.

Frank’s Analysis:  There’s not much to pick apart here.  Corbin has been feuding with Braun on and off for a while.  Braun did get the win that caused Corbin to lose his GM position at TLC in December.  McIntyre has been taking quite a few more loses than one might have expected lately.  He was eliminated from the Royal Rumble by Dolph Ziggler and didn’t figure into the final four as I expected.  In theory they protected him last week, but you wonder if the damage has been done.  Braun was protected as he should be, and we move forward.  There’s probably a tag match forthcoming either tonight or at the next PPV.  Let’s not hope Nicholas returns.

Non-Title Match: Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Finn Balor

Finn Balor came out last week to discuss his coming up short against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.  He oddly emphasized a few times that he held his head high, because despite losing he made Lesnar believe.

Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley came out with his manager Lio Rush.  Lio made a point to tell Balor that a “twerp” like him (has Lio looked in the mirror?) never deserved a Universal Championship match in the first place.  He said Lashley was stronger and faster than Lesnar would ever be.  Balor pointed out how Lashley only lasted 12 seconds in the Royal Rumble, which lead to Lashley attacking Balor.

Tonight, they go one-on-one in a non-title match.  They were opponents in the early stages of Lashley’s heel turn in late October as well as going at it on Raw in Manchester, England in early November.  Balor won the initial contest while Lashley won in Manchester.

Frank’s Analysis:  Balor sure seemed fine with losing.  While we all expected it, it’s not the point.  The idea is to win the big match, and when you don’t, you’re disappointed.  You want Balor to come out and say something to the effect of “Lesnar may have won this one, but I will never give up my quest to be Universal Champion.”  Rollins moving into that program makes things tricky, but that’s also not the point.  One should not be content to take a champion to the limit.  They should want to win.  With that said, this feud concerns me because they are finally getting it right with Lashley but also gave Balor a huge spot recently.  You hope neither competitor gets damaged in this feud.

Elias vs. Jeff Jarrett

J E double F … J A double R … E … double T … that’s double J, ha ha, Jeff Jarrett.

Last week, Elias apparently turned heel to mark about the 1,000th turn we’ve seen recently in WWE.  He trolled the crowd during his performance only to have Jeff Jarrett come out and interrupt.  Moments later we got treated to a returning Road Dogg, who was once the “Roadie” for Jeff Jarrett back in the mid-1990s.  They sang Jarrett’s “hit song” With My Baby Tonight (it is a catchy song).  As they were approaching the ring, Elias hit Dogg with a guitar from behind.  Jarrett and Elias went at it in the ring and when Jarrett teased us with hitting Elias with a guitar, Elias stopped him and hit Jarrett with it laying him out.

Tonight, Jarrett and Elias go one-on-one.

Frank’s Analysis:  Hearing Jeff Jarrett’s theme makes me think of my college years and the bad days of WWE.  That’s not Jarrett’s fault, but hey he’s back and the writing is still overall very questionable.  Thinking about this Elias turn back to heel why don’t we take a look at the turns since August shall we?

  • Braun Strowman: heel turn then back to babyface
  • Bobby Lashley: heel turn
  • Dolph Ziggler: I’m just Dolph Ziggler turn (what, he’s the one that said I’m not a good or bad guy…I’m just Dolph Ziggler)
  • Becky Lynch: heel turn then back to babyface
  • Charlotte Flair: heel turn
  • Carmella: babyface turn (by just getting paired with R-Truth)
  • Dana Brooke: changes by the week
  • Daniel Bryan: heel turn
  • Big Show: heel turn then back to babyface
  • Rusev: babyface turn then back to heel
  • Bella Twins: heel turn (part time but still counts)
  • Nia Jax: heel turn
  • Alexa Bliss: I can’t figure it out
  • Mickie James: see Alexa Bliss
  • Vince McMahon: whatever is needed for the show
  • Triple H: babyface turn (I think)
  • The Miz: babyface turn

 I may be missing a few.  As far as Elias vs. Jarrett it’ll be fun in a way but I can’t imagine it being much to speak of as time goes on.

Other Possible Items for Tonight 

  • Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins teamed together on TV for the first time in nearly eight years and lost to the Revival.  Their last match was on Superstars in 2011 against Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov.  It’s hard to say if we’ll see if any follow up.  They made a point a reuniting them in a big way two weeks ago only to have them lose the following week, albeit to the much-beleaguered Revival.
  • As has been well-covered here at PWTorch, Dean Ambrose has advised WWE that he will not renew his contract upon its expiration at the end of April.  Last week he lost to Seth Rollins clean.  Following that match sat in a chair and was going to talk to the fans, only to be interrupted by Nia Jax and Tamina.  Jax knocked Ambrose out of the ring.  With her attacking R-Truth and entering herself in the men’s Royal Rumble, it appears they could be heading towards an intergender situation with Ambrose on his way out.  The last intergender match on WWE programmiBy Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialistng was a lumberjack contest between Asuka and James Ellsworth last summer.  Some other matches of note through the years were Jeff Jarrett vs. Chyna for the Intercontinental Championship, Jarrett’s infamous last match in WWF in 1999.  There was also Vince McMahon vs. Stephanie McMahon in an “I Quit” match at No Mercy in 2003.
  • Mojo Rawley was seen talking to himself in the mirror, saying people think he’s a nobody because of himself.  Despite a start-and-stop push for Rawley through the years, look for follow-up on this tonight.

Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website

The Moda Center is advertising a start time of 4:30 p.m. local time.  They show the following matches, which clearly shows things haven’t been updated:

  • Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (obviously incorrect as Lashley is IC champ).
  • Finn Balor & Elias vs. Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley (are they flipping Elias back to being babyface?  I can’t keep up)

They also advertise Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey appearing.

Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at fpeteani@gmail.com.  Questions and discussion are welcome.  Thank you for reading!

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