WWE RAW PRIMER 2/11: Becky invited again, Rollins response to Lesnar, Balor’s IC Title prospects, Ronda vs. Ruby announced, Dana vs. Natalya?, Next up for Kurt

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist


Kurt Angle (art credit Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
FEBRUARY 11, 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. AT THE VAN ANDEL ARENA
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00PM EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young

Arena, and Items Advertised by WWE

Tonight, WWE Raw emanates from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan as we get ready for Elimination Chamber which takes place in just under a week.  The arena played host to Raw in June of last year and has hosted wrestling events as far back as 1996, including WCW Monday Nitro in the thick of the Monday Night Wars.

Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com subject to change as the day goes on:

  • Becky Lynch invited to Raw again by the McMahon Family after her controversial actions last week
  • How will Seth Rollins respond to Brock Lesnar?
  • Did Finn Balor earn his Intercontinental Championship Match?
  • Ruby Riott sets her sights on the Raw Women’s Championship
  • Will Dana Brooke go one-on-one with Natalya?
  • What’s next for Kurt Angle?
  • McMahons Invite Becky Lynch to Raw

Where do we begin with Becky Lynch after last week?

Becky was invited to Raw by Stephanie McMahon following her 2019 Royal Rumble victory and challenging of Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania.  Stephanie told Becky she needed to see a doctor and get medical clearance to be allowed to participate in the match (which is taking place in two months).  Becky refused, saying “I’m the glitch in your plan (probably assuming they want Rousey vs. Charlotte but the McMahons haven’t done anything to indicate as such), but here I am and I’m not moving for anyone.”  She then called out Stephanie for being a daddy’s girl and not having to struggle for anything.

They continued to go at it and Stephanie even asked the fans if they wanted to see Becky vs. Ronda, after which Stephanie told Becky to see the doctor due to her wrestling injured being a liability.  When Becky refused, Stephanie suspended her until she sought medical attention.  Becky attacked Stephanie, and put her in the Disarm-he but she couldn’t hold the move.  As officials were trying to maintain order, Becky went after Stephanie again but Stephanie fended Becky off with a kick.  We later learned she kicked Becky in her “bad knee.”  Here’s the WWE YouTube clip of that segment:

The next night on Smackdown, Becky invited herself to interrupt Charlotte Flair’s opening promo.  She was interrupted by Triple H.  “Trips,” as he is called occasionally, interrupted and politely asked Charlotte to leave.  He proceeded to re-emphasize that if Becky got cleared by a doctor, the suspension would go away and she would have her match with Ronda, to which Becky still refused.  He called her out for being self-destructive, going on a “suicide mission” when she invaded Raw a few months ago, and being afraid of being cleared by the doctors.  Becky treated Triple H to a slap.  Here’s the clip of that segment:

You can’t have one of my primers without “Twitter wars”:

After all of that, the McMahon family has invited Becky to Raw.  She was probably coming anyway, right?

Frank’s Analysis:  Phew!  I’m tired just composing this section.  The problem with this whole situation is that Becky doesn’t make sense.  What is her issue with the McMahons?  It’s true that the McMahon characters have been underhanded through the years, but they haven’t done anything to indicate Becky is going to get screwed out of this match.  The only thing Becky could be possibly calling on is after she earned the title match with Carmella at this past SummerSlam, Charlotte was given an opportunity to get into the match after coming off the injured list.  That never sat well with Becky.  As we recall Charlotte earned it, won the title that night, and got treated to a post-match attack by Becky which started the swell of her popularity.  If Charlotte is going to be cherry-picked into this match at WrestleMania, WWE’s best bet is to make the fans believe they management wants her in and doesn’t want Becky, but then Becky somehow gets back in late on.  The problem is, management has not indicated a desire to remove Becky.

Seth Rollins Response to Brock Lesnar

Two weeks ago we learned that 2019 Royal Rumble winner Seth Rollins will challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.  This will be their second televised one-on-one encounter for a world championship.  They last went at it at Battleground in 2015 when Rollins was WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  That match ended when the Undertaker returned and attacked Lesnar, setting up their SummerSlam main event for that year.

That of course was then and this is now, and we have the obstacle of Seth Rollins dealing with a back injury that is not known to be serious.  He was treated to six F5s a few weeks ago and was not on Raw last week.  A video package was shown.

Tonight, Rollins addresses Lesnar as they get ready for their championship match coming up at WrestleMania.

Frank’s Analysis:  You just hope that there’s truth to the Rollins injury not being serious and can go at WrestleMania.  It would be wise not to wrestle him as much in the run-up to the show, but with low ratings and the amount of people currently on the shelf they may not have a choice.  They’ll want to get him working as soon as practical.  Given Rollins’ promo pre-Rumble, should he defeat Lesnar at WrestleMania it will be a special moment and we can expect his victory promo the night after to be just as great.  We should exercise caution given last year’s unexpected Lesnar victory over Reigns and hope that doesn’t happen here.

Finn Balor’s Intercontinental Championship Pursuit

Last week, Finn Balor was to challenge Bobby Lashley for the Intercontinental Championship.  It was not originally advertised as a championship match.

Coming off Balor coming up short against Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, Lashley made his way out to the ring with his manager Lio Rush.  He said he could beat Lesnar in his sleep, and thus Balor had no chance against him.  He told him if he can beat Lio, and entertain him enough, he would earn a championship match.  The match was on between Lio and Balor, under Lashley’s approval, but not before Lashley attacked Balor.

Balor defeated Lio with his Coup de Grace, and got out of the ring as Lashley made his way in.  Tonight, we find out if Balor has earned his Intercontinental Championship.

Frank’s Analysis:  It’s always better to build towards a championship match.  It’s preferable to have them at a PPV, but it’s understandable to have them on TV as well.  If they’re trying to build towards a title match it’s great, but Lashley having the ability to decide he doesn’t want to defend his title is downright absurd.  Where was the great McMahon regime to weigh in on this decision?  Wrestlers can just back out of matches whenever they desire?  They would have been better served to advertise Lio vs. Balor ahead of time and build up that match during the show and weave that into a future title match.  They did accomplish planting a seed for a possible Lashley vs. Lesnar match down the line, if you’re looking for the positive out of this.

Raw Women’s Championship Announced: Ronda Rousey (champion) vs. Ruby Riott

Last week, Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey defeated Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan back to back.  She defeated Morgan in under a minute, and then called out the fans for booing her and wanted somebody to “do something.”  She then took on Sarah Logan, and defeated her in about five minutes.

Ruby Riott teased entering the ring and thought better of it, leaving to go to the back with her Riott Squad girls.  They were interviewed by Dasha Fuentes in Gorilla, and Riott revealed she didn’t get in the ring because her girls need her.

On Friday, WWE announced that Riott will challenge Ronda for the Raw Women’s Championship at Elimination Chamber.  Here’s Ronda on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis:  It’s interesting to see that the booing is getting to Ronda.  What doesn’t help is her yelling at Becky for attacking Stephanie McMahon prior to going out for the match with Morgan.  Didn’t Ronda have a mixed tag match and a feud with Stephanie upon her arrival into WWE last year?  When did things get all patched up?  It also doesn’t help that now that WWE is teasing Becky not being in the WrestleMania match, the fans could be taking it out on Ronda.  There’s also the thought that “it’s getting old” with Ronda, and fans want to see their people have success.  We’ve seen popular people like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, and Becky Lynch get beaten down through the years in favor of whom the company wanted to push. People have enough after a while.  Look at the ratings.  

As far as this match with Ruby, you can’t expect her to win the title, so it’ll be interesting to see what WWE tries to accomplish with this match.  They have worked together before on TV where Ruby had a good showing.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see the crowd favor her over Ronda.

Dana Brooke vs. Natalya?

Two weeks ago, Dana Brooke teamed with Natalya and came up short against Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan in their qualifier for the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Elimination Chamber.

Last week, Dana attempted to apologize to Natalya, but was given the silent treatment.  She then said she would ask the McMahons for a match with her to prove she’s a better competitor.  As Dana walked out of the room, Natalya took off her AirPods and thus she likely didn’t hear Dana at all.

We’ll find out tonight if this match takes place.

Frank’s Analysis:  Teasing this as a segment indicates they may think something of Dana Brooke; however, we’ve seen them start & stop with so many people through the years (see Mojo Rawley) it’s hard to generate any enthusiasm for something like this. If she can’t cut it in the ring, then find something else for her to do.

Next for Kurt Angle

Last week, Kurt Angle came out to discuss what has been happening him recently.  To recap he lost a match decisively to Drew McIntyre just before the holidays last year, was unceremoniously eliminated from the Royal Rumble after being in for a short period of time, and lost a match to Baron Corbin in about four minutes.  He discussed living by the three “I’s” (Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence).  Given how things have gone recently, he said he has been been plagued by the three “D’s” (Defeat, Doubt, and Depression).

He mentioned there was one opponent he couldn’t defeat and that was Father Time.  Baron Corbin interrupted followed by Drew McIntyre.  Corbin said Angle should have made this speech at the Hall of Fame two years ago and went away.  Drew said he sees fear in Angle’s eyes as opposed to the warrior he once saw.  As they approached the ring to attack Kurt, Braun Strowman’s music hit.  Strowman threw few into the ringpost while Angle threw Corbin out of the ring.  Corbin and Drew would retreat while Strowman and Angle would stand together.

In the main event (is the last segment even the main event anymore?), Strowman & Angle teamed to face Drew and Corbin.  Drew and Corbin would win via DQ when … yes this happened … Strowman, the illegal man in the ring attacked Drew after being warned by the referee.  Mind you, Drew broke up a pin attempt by Angle on Corbin, and thus Drew was illegal too.

Tonight, we begin to find out what is next for Angle.

Frank’s Analysis:  Unless they are going to enforce this rule where a team is DQ’d when the illegal man interferes, what they did last week was downright silly.

As far as Angle is concerned it’s hard to understand why they’re making his situation so depressing.  Unless they’re going to have him win some big match at an upcoming PPV and prove he’s “still got it,” doing this doesn’t make a lot of sense.  An outside-the-box thought would be to form a team with Strowman and Angle and have them win the tag titles soon or even at WrestleMania.  WWE.com has an article up showing Angle’s tag team partners through the years, which could be foreshadowing a partnership with Strowman that’s more than a “one-off.”

Other Possible Items for Tonight

  • Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins talked about losing in their first match together a few weeks ago.  Hawkins alluded to his long losing streak while Ryder discussed how they didn’t even spell his name right on TV.  Ryder said together they can stop being losers, and become winners.  Given the Revival won a fatal four-way tag match to earn another shot at champions Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, it’s hard to know where they’ll get these guys a “W.”  Could Jinder Mahal & one of the Singh Brothers be good fodder to give Ryder & Hawkins a MAJOR victory?  ;o)
  • Another Moment of Bliss segment turned into a circus act.  Alexa Bliss’s guest was EC3.  Alexa teased coming onto EC3 a little, but was interrupted by Nia Jax and Tamina.  They were then interrupted by Dean Ambrose, who alluded to Nia having a crush on him.  He then asked EC3 what happened to EC1 and 2.  After not allowing him to speak, EC3 went after Ambrose which lead to a match.  EC3 won in about three minutes with a leverage pin.  It appears Ambrose is in the “job-out” role now, so look for a rematch tonight or perhaps something at Elimination Chamber.  Ambrose was scheduled to work an inter-gender match with Nia at a house show, but it is now off.  It has been speculated, but hard to know if they’ll be doing an inter-gender match on TV/PPV in the future.  EC3 vs. Ambrose on the Elimination Chamber kickoff show, a rematch tonight, or both for that matter wouldn’t be severely unexpected.
  • Mojo Rawley was seen talking to himself in the mirror once again.  He said being a team player hasn’t helped.  We’ll see if he admits that he came in with too much “hype.”
  • Elias defeated Jeff Jarrett accompanied by the Road Dogg.  Road Dogg played his Roadie character signing “With My Baby Tonight” while also playing his DX character.  Jarrett hit Elias with a guitar after Elias won with his Drift Away.  It’s likely this nostalgia act is over, as fans were not buying.  Even my wife, who tends to be very observant, asked if anybody cares about the Jeff Jarrett act while we were watching this segment.  Look for this story to end and what’s next for Elias.
  • Bayley and Sasha Banks qualified for the Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match by defeating Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross.  Fox & Cross attacked Bayley & Sasha prior to the match, but it took place anyway with Bayley doing most of the work.  This is due to Sasha currently being injured; however, she is expected to compete at Elimination Chamber at the moment.  Look for something tonight involving the Raw teams that competed to be in the match.  Alicia and Nikki were none too pleased with each other after losing to Bayley and Sasha last week.

Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website

The Van Andel Arena website is advertising a start time of 7:30 p.m. local time.  They show the following matches, which clearly shows things haven’t been updated, as is the case recently with many arenas’ websites as of late:

  • Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (obviously incorrect as Lashley is IC champ and Rollins is hurt).
  • Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (possible)
  • Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax (Ronday is not a typo, that’s how they have it)
  • They also advertise Bobby Lashley 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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