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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 11, 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, MI
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-The show kicked off with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the middle of the ring. They got a nice reaction and then addressed the cheering audience. Out of the gate, Stephanie pumped up the crowd and welcomed them to the show. She said they were on the road to WrestleMania, but that they have a stop this Sunday for Elimination Chamber. She plugged the women’s tag team title match and the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match. They also hyped Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott for the event. In doing so, Triple H said that if Ronda Rousey wins at Elimination Chamber, she would go on to face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. Triple H then said, “or that was the plan, until this happened.” He then cued up a highlight video that detailed Becky Lynch getting suspended by Stephanie McMahon last week and her confrontation with Triple H on SmackDown Live. The video specifically detailed Stephanie kicking Lynch in the leg.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A nice little commercial thus far for Elimination Chamber. My skin crawls when Stephanie welcomes audiences to Raw. I’m not sure what it is, but its surely inconsistent with her character on TV.
After the video, the audience chanted “Becky” and Stephanie said that in spite of everything last week, they would do what is best for business and give the fans what they want. From there, Stephanie said that Becky did see the doctor last weekend and was about to announce her findings, but was interuppted by Becky Lynch herself.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Huge pop for Becky Lynch. One has to hope that Triple H and Stephanie are truly hearing that reaction. That kind of fan passion is hard to create and WWE needs to run with it while they have it.
Becky received a huge reaction from the audience and as she walked to the ring, the announce team said that her WrestleMania match with Ronda Rousey was in question. Once she got to the ring, Becky grabbed a microphone and paused as the audience continued to chant for her. From there, she said it was nice to be at the show and that it was nice to see Triple H and Stephanie looking well. Triple H then chimed in and said that their situation escalated quickly. He then apologized for what he said to her on SmackDown and said that WWE doctors agree with Lynch’s and that Becky Lynch would be cleared. He then announced that her suspension was lifted and Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch at WrestleMania is on. Stephanie then called that match one of the biggest matches in history and that it would happen only if Becky does another thing. Triple H then said all Becky has to do to make that match official is apologize to both him and Stephanie. From there, Becky got a bit worked up and questioned what she had to apologize for. Stephanie told her to calm down and Becky responded by telling Stephanie to shut up. Becky said that McMahon’s had been screwing people over for years. She said that she would not allow her opportunity to be stolen and that she’d fight Stephanie, Triple H, and even Vince McMahon to keep her title shot. She then told them to shove their apology up their “arse.” Stephanie then got into Becky’s face, but Triple H calmed the situation down. He told Becky not to die on this hill and by the end of the night he wants her to make a choice and either fight for her dreams at WrestleMania or throw it all away because of her ego.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A really nice segment that set a good hook for the remainder of the program. Had Stephanie and Triple H been a bit more heelish and unreasonable with Becky leading up to this moment, and apology to them from Lynch would really seem like an outrageous request. With what has happened though, it seems to me the smart move is for Lynch to apologize and move on. Definitely not what WWE is going for, but its a situation that manifests when you don’t lay a solid foundation for the stories being told. Regardless of that inconsistency, this show is rooted in Becky Lynch. Smart move.
When Triple H finished, he left the ring and Sasha Banks walked out. Banks was followed by Bayley. Both women walked down together and as they did, a backstage promo aired in which Banks and Bayley discussed their past year. They said they’ve been through everything and that their next chapter is winning the women’s tag team championships at Elimination Chamber. (c)
Out of the commercial break, Tamina and Nia Jax hit the ring. As they walked down, a pre-recorded promo aired from them too. In it, they said they would win the tag titles. Once they got to the ring, the bell rang and the match began.
(1) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. TAMINA & NIA JAX vs. LIV MORGAN & SARAH LOGAN – Loser enters Elimination Chamber first on Sunday
After some back and forth action to start, Nia Jax and Sarah Logan went at with Jax getting the upperhand after a headbutt. With Logan down, Jax tagged Tamina into the match. Tamina got some quick offense in, but was then speared by Logan. After, Logan tagged Morgan into the match. Morgan quickly attempted a pin, but Tamina kicked out. Out of the pin, Morgan lost control of the match after Tamina body slammed her to the mat. From there, Tamina locked in a sleeper hold before tossing her across the ring and tagging Jax back into the match. Eventually, Morgan was knocked toward Bayley and Bayley tagged herself into the match. As soon as she got in, Jax nailed her with a clothesline. On the outside of the ring, Ruby Riott speared Banks into the guardrail and the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: A bit of a slow pace to start the match, but the concept and stakes here are important. Clearly heading into the chamber first is a disadvantage. With that on the line, WWE can get away with featuring these teams fighting each other just a few days out from the PPV show.
Out of the break, Liv Morgan was back in control of the match and had Bayley in a side headlock. As she did, Banks was checked on by medics and was walking out of the arena with doctors as Bayley got beat down in the ring. While this happened, Corey Graves questioned Banks’s commitment and said she needed to suck it up and help her partner. Back in the ring, Bayley was still getting destroyed by members of both other teams. Eventually, the action turned to Riott Squad and Tamina. Logan and Morgan hit a series of double teams on Tamina, but Tamina overcame and caught Logan with strikes. From there, she slammed Logan into the turnbuckle and then tagged Jax into the ring. Once Jax entered she dominated Logan and put her into a version of a cobra clutch. In the end, Bayley made a blind tag into the match and destroyed all of her opponents with various offensive moves. She connected with a top rope elbow drop on Morgan and covered, but Logan interuppted the pin. Out of the pin, Bayley kept momentum and hit the Bayley To Belly on Morgan, but right after, Tamina super kicked Bayley. Tamina then tagged Nia Jax into the match and Jax hit Bayley with a Samoan Drop. Jax then covered for the 1,2,3 win. As the third count hit, Graves said “I hope you’re happy Sasha Banks.”
WINNER: Tamina and Jax via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match and sets up a nice story for Banks and Bayley in the chamber match on Sunday. Can they got the distance as a team after all they went through in the past year? WWE has equity with that history that they’ve never properly cashed in. That can do so with this story.
-After the match, Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage. She walked past Elias as the announce team wondered what she’d do. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Elias was introduced. Right after, Finn Balor was shown talking to Becky Lynch backstage. Balor told her that pride is what got Becky to this moment, but to not let it hold her down and get the best of her. He said that its better to bide your time just like he will with Lashley. Becky then asked Balor what he would do and he said he wouldn’t tell her what to do. He simply said not to let pride get the best of The Man. From there, Elias was introduced again, but a Seth Rollins promo package aired instead that detailed the last 365 days of Seth Rollins. After the Rollins video, Elias was introduced again, but was then interuppted by the Lucha House Party.
Heydorn’s Analysis: If you’re going to interrupt Elias with video packages, maybe just don’t send him out until they are over? I can handle the silliness of LHP interrupting him, but video packages? C’mon now, WWE.
Once Lucha House Party got to the ring, they did their lucha chant with the audience as the show went to commercial break. (c)
After the break, Elias demanded that the LHP music get cut off. He said he was the biggest music star on the planet and that his album was not nominated at the Grammys. He said he wrote a song to sing and then questioned why the LHP was out there. Kalisto jumped in and said that unlike Elias, they want to actually entertain the WWE Universe. From there, Lince Dorado said that on this night though, they wanted to Walk With Elias. Hearing that, Elias played his song that trolled Grand Rapids. The audience reacted negatively and after, Elias asked the LHP what they thought. All three Lucha House Party members gave the song three thumbs down as the audience chanted “you suck.” Elias then asked LHP if they thought he could do better than him. Kalisto stepped up and said he could do it better. He sat on Elias’s stool and then strummed the guitar to a nice reaction from the crowd. Elias called Kalisto’s song good and then asked Kalisto if he wanted to do a duet. Kalisto said yes and Elias went to grab his other guitar. Once he got it, he smashed it over the back of Kalisto and then ran off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Brutal. Truly brutal. Ok, the entire segment built toward the guitar shot. Most people had to have seen that coming a mile away. The announcers completely no sold it though. They didn’t put any heat on Elias. Nearly 15 minutes and two full segments for nothing. Brutal.
After Elias ran off, Bobby Lashley’s music played and he walked out to the ring with Lio Rush. The show then went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose talked about their history within the WWE Women’s division. They said they’ve done it all and that because of their history, they will win the women’s tag titles inside the Elimination Chamber. When the promo ended, Finn Balor hit the ring to a loud reaction. As he walked to the ring, Michael Cole cued up Raw highlights from two weeks ago in which Bobby Lashley beat up Balor.
(2) FINN BALOR vs. DREW MCINTYRE
When the video ended, Michael Cole announced that Finn Balor would face both Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley at Elimination Chamber. Balor can pin either one to become the Intercontinental Champion. From there, McIntyre walked out. The announce team highlighted McIntyre’s history with Balor as he walked to the ring. Once he got there, the bell rang, and the match began. Right away, McIntyre took control of the match. He whipped Balor into the corner and then mounted him before railing him with a flurry of stiff punches. With Balor down, McIntyre taunted and mocked him before putting him in an arm submission hold. Eventually, Balor broke the hold and nailed Drew with a dropkick. From there, the action spilled to the ring apron where Balor dodged a shoulder tackle from McIntyre. Drew hit the ring post and rolled to the outside of the ring. Balor attempted to hit Drew with a suicide dive, but Lio Rush tripped him up. In response, Balor kicked Rush into Lashley and then hit a Sling Blade on McIntyre. With Drew down, Balor climbed to the top rope for the Coup De Gras, but Lashley pushed him off to cause a DQ.
WINNER: Balor via disqualification
-After the match, Lashley and McIntyre double teamed Finn Balor. Kurt Angle came out to make the save, but was eventually attacked from behind by Baron Corbin. Corbin, Lashley, and McIntyre then beat up both Balor and Angle, but Braun Strowman made the save. Strowman cleared the ring and ran off the heels after almost hitting Corbin with his power slam finisher. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: The match was simply a means to an end in order to help build Lashley vs. Balor. Smart move too. Balor vs. McIntyre in a one on one match is a big match for WWE down the line if done right. In order for it to be big and draw, it can’t be watered down and given away too much on television.
-Out of the break, a six mag tag team match was underway under the orders of Stephanie and Triple H.
(3) FINN BALOR, KURT ANGLE, & BRAUN STROWMAN vs. BARON CORBIN, DREW MCINTYRE, & BOBBY LASHLEY
Balor was being decimated in the ring by all three members of the heel team. With McIntyre in the ring against him, Balor connected with a DDT and then tagged Kurt Angle into the match. Angle hit McIntyre with three German suplexes and then tried for the Angle Slam, but Drew countered. Instead, Angle hit a second rope missile dropkick on McIntyre and covered, but Corbin broke up the hold.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Loads of selling by Drew McIntyre for a broken down Kurt Angle. Without a story, that looks incredibly out of place.
Eventually, Angle lost momentum and was beaten viciously in the ring by Baron Corbin. From there, Corbin locked in a chin lock submission as the audience cheered for him to escape. He did, but was then elbowed in the face by Corbin. The heel team continued to dominate Kurt Angle as the show went to commercial break. (c)
When the commercials ended, Angle finally made the hot tag to Finn Balor. Balor cleared the apron of his opponents before clocking Corbin with a step up enziguri. He then went for the Sling Blade, but Corbin caught him and choke slammed him into his knee. After, Corbin tagged Bobby Lashley into the match. Lashley hit a series of strikes on Balor before lifting him for a powerbomb. Balor countered the move and hit a basement dropkick before trying to make a tag. As he did, Strowman and Angle were knocked off the apron by Drew and Corbin respectively. On the outside of the ring, McIntyre took Strowman out with the Claymore Kick. Back in the ring, Balor sidestepped Lashley’s shoulder tackle and then hit Corbin and Drew with a flipping suicide dive over the top rope. Balor then rolled back into the ring and hit Bobby Lashley with a dropkick. Balor then climbed to the top rope for Coup De Gras, but was distracted by Lio Rush. Because of the distraction, Lashley was able to hit his finisher and pin Balor for the 1,2,3. As the three count was made though, Balor got his foot on the rope. The referee missed it, but then restarted the match after being told of his mistake by a second referee from the backstage area. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: This certainly is something isn’t it? We’re nearly 30 minutes into all of this madness, but the crowd seems quieter than they should be. This feels like WWE trying to fill time rather than present a really solid 30 minute match or matches.
When the action returned, Balor and Corbin were in the ring. As they continued the fight, the announce team played highlights of what occurred during the commercial break that left Balor partner-less in the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That’s a big moment in the story of this match. Not to mention a big spot. Odd that it occurred during a commercial break.
Corbin tagged Lashley into the ring and Lashley continued their assault until Balor hit him with an enziguri. As he did, the audience cheered and chanted “we want Angle.” Instead, Braun Strowman got to his feet and walked to his corner so Balor could make the tag. Balor did and Strowman destroyed everything in sight. He connected with running shoulder tackles on each opponent and Lio Rush before trying to get back into the ring. As he did, Baron Corbin tried to stop him, but Angle suplexed him which freed Strowman up. Once Strowman got into the ring, he countered a Lashley spear into a power slam before tagging Finn Balor into the match. Balor hit his Coup De Gras on Lashley and then covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Balor, Strowman, and Angle via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: The hot tag to Strowman saved the match. He got an incredible reaction when he appeared from the seats and the cameras caught him in the perfect moment. Great production work there. Balor going over leads me to believe he won’t win on Sunday, but this gives him “momentum” and presents Balor as a winner.
-After the match, a selfie promo aired from Kevin Owens. Owens was at a bowling alley and said he’s been spending time with his family while he recovers. He said he’s been paying attention to Raw and said it’s been a rough watch. Owens then said that he would be back in a month before rolling a gutter ball.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much to pick through in that. Heel or face? Who knows. Raw or SmackDown? Who knows. I like the mystery.
-When the Owens promo wrapped, Nikki Cross made her entrance. Cross got a good reaction before the action went backstage to Becky Lynch. She was interviewed and asked what she would tell her fans if she doesn’t apologize and prevents her fans from seeing her in the main event of WrestleMania. From there, Ruby Riott made her entrance as the show went to commercial break. First commercial up was a WWE/Black History month video package. (c)
-Out of the break, the bell rang and the match began.
(4) RUBY RIOTT vs. NIKKI CROSS
Both women tied up in the middle of the ring to start things off. Cross got the early upper hand with a sleeper hold that transitioned into a two count pin attempt. Riott battled out slammed Cross into the ring post before covering for a two count. From there, they cut backstage where Becky Lynch was confronted by Ronda Rousey. Rousey told her to Man up and apologize even if she doesn’t mean it so that they can main event at WrestleMania. Rousey said by not apologizing, it would confirm that Becky was afraid to face her at WrestleMania.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I expected more intensity from those two women, but the tone here worked. It added a layer to their relationship and rivalry. Good stuff.
Back in the ring, Ruby Riott continued to beat on Cross. She whipped her into the ropes and followed, but was hit by an elbow from Cross. Riott quickly got the momentum back and taunted Cross before Cross countered and slammed Riott onto the ring apron. In the end though, Riott hit Cross with the Riott kick for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Riott via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Some good spots from Cross, but basically a showcase for Riott to get her somewhat hot for Elimination Chamber and Ronda Rousey. Nothing more other than that.
-After the match, Paul Heyman was shown backstage talking to a stagehand as the show went to commercial break. (c)
When the show returned, Seth Rollins walked out to a large pop from the crowd. As he made his way to the ring, the announcers discussed his match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. When Seth got into the ring, he peaked up at the WrestleMania sign before grabbing a microphone and addressing the audience. The crowd chanted “Burn It Down” at Rollins which led him to take a pause.
Finally, he addressed the audience and said he wanted to talk about his last year. From there, he detailed his year in his own words and said it was crazy. He said this was the year he finally felt like Seth Freaking Rollins again. He said he was on top of the world when he won the Royal Rumble, but the bottom dropped out thanks to Brock Lesnar. Rollins then said he had bad news and good news. He said the bad news was that he took six F-5’s and that he’s in immense pain. He said the good news was that he took six F-5’s and was still standing. He then said if he can stand he can fight. If he can fight he can stomp. If he can stomp he can beat Brock Lesnar. From there, Rollins said that he doesn’t care about the cost of fighting Brock Lesnar before being interuppted by Paul Heyman.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Now that’s a babyface promo. Really good stuff from Rollins. He allowed the audience in to build sympathy, but then confidently detailed what he would and could do at WrestleMania. Well done.
Heyman quickly introduced himself before teasing a “WrestleMania sized” announcement. Heyman then trolled the crowd and teased a Lesnar appearance before saying that Lesnar was not in the building. Heyman then said he was there to educate Seth Rollins. Heyman asked Rollins if he honestly believed that his DNA matches Lesnar’s DNA. Heyman called Rollins a top tier athlete and top tier WrestleMania worthy performer. Heyman said Brock Lesnar is a beast and predator though. He said Lesnar is a career killer with an unrepentant soul. From there, Heyman said that if Rollins goes into WrestleMania with the mindset of taking Brock’s beating, its a suicide mission. He said that if Rollins tries to take the Universal Title from Lesnar at WrestleMania he would be the architect of his own demise. Heyman then said that it wasn’t a prediction, but a spoiler.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Heyman kept his retort simple and easy to follow. In turn, his words and message lingered and were more impactful. Recently, Heyman has gotten a little too cute with his Lesnar promos. He pulled back the reigns on this one and it worked like a charm.
In response, Rollins told Heyman that he was right. He then said that he doesn’t care that it may be a suicide mission. He said that Brock Lesnar has held the industry he loves hostage too long. Rollins said he would be the martyr and sacrifice everything if it means that Brock Lesnar doesn’t leave WrestleMania as the Universal Champion. Rollins said that that wasn’t a prediction either, but a spoiler.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Rollins getting the upperhand against Heyman on the microphone is a big deal. For one thing, it doesn’t happen often. Secondly, Rollins put a lot out there and as a babyface needs to deliver now. Turning the spoiler verbiage back on Heyman was a nice touch too.
From there, Seth’s music played and the segment appeared to be finished. Instead, Dean Ambrose walked out and confronted Rollins in the middle of the ring. Ambrose asked Rollins for the microphone and said he had one thing to say to him. Ambrose then told Rollins to slay the beast before rolling out of the ring and sitting in a chair near timekeeper area. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well there you go. That tells you all you need to know about Ambrose’s future in WWE.
-Out of the break, EC3 made his entrance for his upcoming match against Dean Ambrose.
(5) DEAN AMBROSE vs. EC3
Ambrose started the match off by punching EC3 into the corner. Ambrose then attempted a flying elbow, but EC3 countered with a clothesline. After, he mounted Ambrose and hit a flurry of strikes before whipping him into a corner. From there, EC3 hit Ambrose with a delayed vertical suplex before locking a shoulder submission on Ambrose. In the end, Ambrose rolled EC3 up out of nowhere for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ambrose via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Trading wins with Ambrose who is one foot out the door and between two drastically different characters is not the way to get EC3 over as a premiere star in the company. His treatment thus far gives insight as to where WWE has him slotted on the main roster.
-After the match, Becky Lynch was shown backstage and was confronted by Alexa Bliss. She told Lynch not to apologize because it would show weakness. Bliss said many women look up to her and to not apologize. Lynch then questioned whether or not Bliss was being genuine and wondered about her intentions with her advice. Becky said she wouldn’t be selling out if she apologizes. Just selling out WrestleMania.
-Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made their entrance as the show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Alright, I’ll still give WWE props for trying to weave a story throughout their show. The payoff here is weak though. Very weak and the story is hanging on by a thread because of it.
-Out of the break, The Revival made their entrance ahead of their shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships.
(6) THE REVIVAL vs. BOBBY ROODE & CHAD GABLE – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Out of the gate, Gable and Dash tied up with Gable getting the upperhand after a hip toss. Soon after, Dash tagged Dawson into the match and Gable kept momentum on him as well. Eventually, Dawson turned the tide on Gable and grounded him with an arm submission. Gable bridged out and took Dawson to the mat before locking in an arm submission of his own. Gable then hit a flying clothesline on both Revival members before he and Roode hit tandem suplexes which caused Dash and Dawson to roll out of the ring. From there, Gable hit a moonsault from the top rope down to the floor as the show went to break. (c)
Out of the break, the Revival owned the match and targeted their attack on Chad Gable. They double teamed Gable with a back suplex before Wilder covered for a two count. From there, Gable hit offense including a dropkick before attempting to make a tag, but got to an inch away before being pulled back by his opponents. Gable then hit his own back body drop and tried to make a tag again, but Roode was knocked off of the apron by Dawson. Dawson made a blind tag into the match and hit Gable from behind, but Gable quickly recovered and connected with a German suplex. He then tried to make a tag to Roode, but he was still writhing in pain on the outside mats. The show then cut to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Some decent psychology here between both teams and the spots have been unique enough in terms of giving Gable nobody to tag on the outside. The exact same story was told in the women’s tag match earlier in the show. I like the story, but in two matches on the same show? Questionable.
When the show returned, the action continued. Dash and Dawson hit Roode with a double team facebuster maneuver before covering, but Roode kicked out at two. Roode recovered quickly and hit Wilder with a top rope neckbreaker into Gable’s German suplex. He then covered, but only got a two count. In the end and after great back and forth action, The Revival hit Gable with the Shatter Machine off the top rope. They then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: The Revival and new WWE Raw Tag Team Champions
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match that picked up throughout the second half of it. Unique spots and good action led to an incredible top rope Shatter Machine. Could the rematch take place at Elimination Chamber?
-After the match, The Revival was interviewed backstage. They said being champions sounded great and that they were the best tag team on the planet. They then cut the interview short and walked off.
-Becky Lynch’s music blared in the arena and The Man received another nice reaction from the audience. As she walked down, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, Becky stood in the ring as Triple H and Stephanie made their way out to the ring. Once they got in, Stephanie addressed Becky and said it had been a long night. She asked Becky if she wanted to live her dream at WrestleMania or not. Triple H then addressed Becky and said that they want this entire thing to work out. Stephanie called Lynch vs. Rousey the biggest match in WrestleMania history, but that Becky needs to accept the consequences of her actions. Becky looked out into the audience and received a mixed reaction before responding. She then said that if all that is keeping her from her dream is two words then … she paused and looked out into the audience again. From there, Lynch just said she was sorry and that they now have a deal and her path is clear to get hands on Ronda Rousey. In response, Triple H said he wouldn’t have it any other way and that she is going to WrestleMania. Triple H and Stephanie shook her hand and then left the ring. From there, Becky Lynch addressed Ronda Rousey before Rousey walked out to the ring. Rousey had a smile on her face as she marched down. As they went face to face, Mr. McMahon walked off and interuppted. Vince said that that could be one of the greatest main events of all time. He then addressed Becky and said she had a bad attitude. He said that he was the man and sometimes he needs to make tough decisions. He then suspended Becky Lynch for 60 days which removed her from her match against Rousey and slotted Charlotte Flair instead. Vince then endorsed Charlotte and raised her hand as the show went off the air.