Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
FEBRUARY 18, 2019
LAFAYETTE, LA. AT THE CAJUNDOME
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 P.M. ET
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
Arena, Elimination Chamber Results Pertinent to Raw, and Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight, WWE Raw arrives in Lafayette, LA. In the Cajundome. Raw’s last appearance in this arena was back in June of 2017 although it played host to Smackdown on the September 11 episode last year.
Elimination Chamber is in the rear view mirror now and we turn our attention to Fastlane, which will take place on Sunday, March 10. Fastlane will be the last “stop” on the road to WrestleMania as it has been in recent years. Here are the results from Elimination Chamber last night that are pertinent to Raw:
- Bayley & Sasha Banks become the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions defeating Nia Jax & Tamina, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville, Naomi & Carmella, The Iiconics, and Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan of the Riott Squad.
- Finn Balor defeated Bobbly Lashley and Lio Rush in a handicap match to win the Intercontinental Championship.
- Ronda Rousey defeated Ruby Riott to retain the Raw Women’s Championship with Charlotte Flair at ringside. Charlotte came in to confront Ronda and both were met by suspended Becky Lynch. Becky attacked Charlotte and then Ronda Rousey with one of her crutches.
- Baron Corbin defeated Braun Strowman in a no-DQ match with the help of Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre
Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com, subject to change as the day goes on. There are no matches advertised as of this writing:
- What fate awaits the inaugural (not really inaugural but OK) WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions?
What will happen after Becky Lynch ruthlessly assaulted Charlotte and Ronda Rousey?
How will Bobby Lashley come at the Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor?
What will the age of The Revival look like?
- The Boss & Hug Connection Begin Their Championship Run
Bayley & Sasha Banks captured the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship in the Elimination Chamber match for said title last night. They started the match, and ended it by Sasha tapping out Sonya Deville with her signature Bank Statement.
Bayley and Sasha have been through a lot through the years. They were part of the Four Horsewomen of NXT. Who could forget their match at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn in August of 2015 which won Match of the Year. Bayley’s initial match on the main roster was being Sasha’s surprise tag team partner at Battleground in 2016 against Charlotte Flair & Dana Brooke. Bayley and Sasha were involved in a fatal four-way at WrestleMania in 2017 for the Raw Women’s Championship when Bayley was champion. They went through multiple personal issues on-screen that lead to counseling by Dr. Shelby, which ultimately solidified their friendship. They now stand atop the women’s division with the tag team titles. They were emotional in a post-match interview in the ring with Charly Caruso.
Tonight, their reign begins. The titles are not exclusive to Raw or Smackdown so this week we will begin to see how the titles are defender and contenders decided.
Frank’s Analysis: This was tough to take as a special moment, considering how Bayley and Sasha Banks have been booked for quite some time. It was interesting to hear some boos during the interview, and you wonder that’s the reason or if people just reject the characters. There could also be the resenting of the addition of another title, as it is the tenth title on the main roster if you consider the Cruiserweight Championship as part of the main roster. Nonetheless, it’s good to see Sasha and Bayley have a special moment. It will be interesting to see how number one contenders are decided and how often they appear on Raw and/or Smackdown. This could be a test to see how they handle “floating champions.”
Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey Following Becky’s Attack
Last night, Ronda Rousey retained the Raw Women’s Championship by defeating Ruby Riott with Charlotte Flair at ringside.
Following the match, Charlotte came in to confront Ronda when Becky Lynch appeared from the crowd. Of course we all recall Becky was suspended by WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon at the conclusion of last week’s Raw and removed from her match with Ronda at WrestleMania. She was replaced by Charlotte.
Becky proceeded to attack Charlotte with one of her crutches with Ronda watching. Becky appeared to want to have Ronda join her, when she began to attack Ronda herself with a crutch. Some of the shots appeared to hit her clear on the head which lead to her bleeding hard way. After some time, security arrived to remove Becky from the ring.
Becky was also previously “injured” by Charlotte during her house show match with Asuka last week. Here’s that YouTube clip:
You didn’t think you’d get away with one of my primers without some tweets:
Bow down to that beating, you thieving bitch. pic.twitter.com/tNnNHIGbhc
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) February 18, 2019
The McMahons are killing everything I’ve built, and they’re doing it week by week, and show by show. And even though I have NEVER ENDING knee issues, I will figure out a way to stay alive in all of this.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) February 17, 2019
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) February 18, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: There’s been enough analysis on this situation, so there’s no need to pile on. It does seem to be getting layers added. It was quite silly that Becky was out there for an extended period and got to perform her attacks before security arrived. You would think WWE would want to get her removed as quickly as possible. At any rate, ultimately at some point she will be reinstated and this match will be a triple threat at WrestleMania. One positive out of tonight is they ruled out, at least for now, Becky and Ronda being friends in this situation. It will ultimately be interesting to see if Becky does win, does she pin/submit Ronda or Charlotte? No matter the way we get to this match, that is key to this whole situation.
Finn Balor Begins His Intercontinental Championship Reign
Finn Balor won his first Intercontinental Championship by winning a handicap match against Lio Rush and incumbent champion Bobby Lashley last night. Balor pinned Lio by hitting his signature Coup de Grace with Lashley outside of the ring.
Balor won the inaugural Universal Championship at SummerSlam 2016, but had to relinquish the title the night after due to an injury suffered during the match. He had opportunities against Roman Reigns and recently Brock Lesnar to regain the title, but came up short. He finally holds WWE gold.
He did not pin the champion, and thus Lashley will likely want a rematch ASAP. He took issue with Lio after the match and attacked him, effectively ending their partnership. There are multiple layers to this situation, which will get follow up tonight. Here’s Lashley on Twitter:
My voicemail is full. Not taking calls right now…Especially from you… https://t.co/x5YdmkjB85
— Bobby Lashley (@fightbobby) February 18, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: This can’t help itself but feel a little cheap considering Balor pinned Lio and not the champion. It’s not that Lio isn’t super-talented, but for someone like Balor you would want to see him win a championship in a more special way meaning one-on-one. This is the issue with triple threats and fatal four-ways, etc. They protect Lashley here, but yet they didn’t care about protecting him just a few months ago in that feud with Elias. Nonetheless it’s interesting that Balor wins a title after everything he’s been through in the manner that he did. Building up to a bigger match between these two and having Balor win the title then, WrestleMania or not, may have been a better way to go. With Lashley seemingly going on his own, we’ll see how WWE handles this feud going forward.
The Age of The Revival
After multiple attempts in recent months, last week the Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) captured their first Raw Tag Team Championship by defeating Bobby Roode & Chad Gable.
The match was not advertised in advance by WWE nor discussed on the show prior to it taking place. The Revival did win a number one contender’s match two weeks ago, but it wasn’t known when they would cash in their opportunity. Nonetheless that took place last week before a fatigued crowd in the third hour of the show. They were certainly behind the Revival in their victory, and they were genuinely excited in their post-match interview with Charly Caruso:
Tonight, their reign begins as Raw tag champs. There were multiple reports that the Revival had asked for their release, so their getting the titles is interesting. There were also rumors that the Usos hadn’t signed an extension yet, and won the Smackdown Tag Team Championship last night as well.
Frank’s Analysis: Above everything else, it’s about time for The Revival. It’s unfortunate that tag teams are not a priority for WWE. Them being put in the third hour of Raw, unadvertised is not a very endearing endorsement. It’s hard to get enthusiastic about their run going forward. With AEW looming, every rumor is going to get discussed and thoughts about talent leaving will be talked about a lot more heavily.
DX Gets the Call for the Hall
As reported by ESPN.com and confirmed by WWE, D-Generation X will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. WWE will recognize all members of DX; Shawn Michaels, Triple H, the late Chyna, “Road Dogg” Jesse James, and “The Bad Ass” Billy Gunn. It does not say they will recognize Ravishing Rick Rude as part of the group. He managed the initial start-up of the group.
DX was a faction started by Triple H & Shawn Michaels & Chyna in 1997 when WWE was in the thick of the Monday Night Wars with WCW. They were essentially the answer to WCW’s nWo that featured their close friends Kevin Nash & Scott Hall & Sean Waltman. DX was the anti-authority faction that pushed the limits on TV with juvenile and various sexually suggestive acts. It was as a member of DX that Shawn Michaels won his third WWF Championship.
When Michaels was forced into an early retirement in 1998, Sean Waltman returned to WWF and joined DX along with Road Dogg & Billy Gunn (The New Age Outlaws). They would become a beloved babyface faction and famously “invaded” WCW during an episode of Monday Nitro:
Members would leave the faction bit by bit and the faction was all but broken up by the end of 1999. Triple H and Shawn Michaels would reunite as DX in 2006 and feud with various factions including the Spirit Squad (featuring a young Nic Nemeth AKA Dolph Ziggler), Rated RKO (Randy Orton & Edge), and Vince & Shane McMahon.
They disbanded when Triple H was injured in 2007, but would reunite again in 2009 to feud with Legacy (Randy Orton & Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase). During this run which last just under a year, they captured their first Unified WWE Tag Team Championship.
They reunited again at various shows including the 1000th Raw with everyone except for Chyna. They again appeared at the 25th Anniversary episode of Raw. Shawn Michaels came out of his second retirement to reform DX one more time with Triple H to defeat the Brothers of Destruction (Undertaker & Kane) at WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia this past November.
This will be Shawn Michaels’ second induction into the Hall of Fame as he was previously inducted in 2011 following his second retirement. He joins Ric Flair as a fellow two-time inductee. His second retirement match came against the Undertaker at WrestleMania in 2010. He was initially forced into retirement in 1998 following his dropping of the WWF Championship to fellow HOFer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at that year’s WrestleMania.
Triple H will be inducted as part of this faction before his inevitable entry as a single’s act. Billy Gunn is currently a producer for the upstart AEW. The most notable portion of this is Chyna. She left WWE in 2001 and never returned. She passed away in 2016. Back then Chyna was involved in a romantic relationship with Triple H before he became involved with Stephanie McMahon, to whom of course he is now married. She became involved in the adult entertainment industry, and famously released 1 Night in Chyna which featured Sean Waltman with whom she was romantically involved at the time. Several pornograhic videos featuring Chyna would be released through the years. Until now, Chyna was effectively persona non grata, if you will, on WWE TV. In an interview with Steve Austin years ago, Triple H seemed uncomfortable with the idea of Chyna being given the ultimate recognition although he did recognize her place in the company’s history.
At this year’s WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, arguably one of their greatest factions will be inducted. It’s likely they are the “featured attraction” for this year’s offering.
Other Possible Items for Tonight
•Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre assisted Baron Corbin in defeating Braun Strowman in a no-DQ match as I brought up earlier. Those three seem to have an on/off alliance so look for more tonight, following last night and their six-man tag match against Braun & Kurt Angle & Finn Balor last week. The oddest card in this whole thing is Drew McIntyre, as he seems to be just a stooge as this point.
•Elias was interrupted multiple times last week doing his performance, with one of times being by Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Lince Durado, and Gran Metalik). When he offered to do a duet with Kalisto, he attacked him from behind with a guitar. After that painful segment, look for a match with Elias and Kalisto or one of the LHP members tonight.
•Dean Ambrose defeated EC3 in a rematch from their contest two weeks ago. They are even at one match apiece. Another match could be on docket tonight.
•Seth Rollins told Paul Heyman he will do whatever he has to do end Brock Lesnar’s reign as Universal Champion at WrestleMania. None of them were on the show last night, and Rollins continues to be sidelined with an injury. Look for a video package or something to remind us that this match is taking place and Brock Lesnar still exists.
Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website
The Cajundome’s website advertises a 6:30 p.m. local time start with doors opening one hour prior. They advertise two matches as a “double main event”:
- Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin
- Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley. The website is not updated as they still show Lashley as Intercontinental Champion.
Follow Frank Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at email@example.com. Questions and discussion are welcome.