WWE RAW PRIMER 3/11: Fastlane Fallout, Batista-Triple H face-to-face, Balor puts the IC Title on the line, next up for the Shield members, Nia & Tamina, Becky’s back in the title match

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

The Shield (art credit Joel Teach © PWTorch)


MARCH 11, 2019

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young

Arena, Fastlane Results Pertinent to Raw, and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Raw comes to us tonight from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The arena is the home of frequent NHL Stanley Cup Champions the Pittsburgh Penguins and opened for business in 2010. WWE has used the building on a regular basis including this year’s New Years Day episode and last year’s Extreme Rules PPV.

Fastlane is now behind us and we can fully turn our attention towards the big one in WrestleMania as we are just under a month away. Here is a recap of results pertinent to Raw from last night’s PPV:

  • The Revival defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable and Aleister Black & Ricochet to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship
  • Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax & Tamina to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
  • Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair via DQ when Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey interfered on Charlotte’s behalf (technically). Becky Lynch is back in the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania and will challenge Rousey along with Charlotte in a triple threat match.
  • The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) defeated Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin

Tonight, they should start painting a clearer picture for WrestleMania. Here is what’s advertised thus far for tonight’s show:

  • What will happen when Triple H and Batista go face-to-face? (They’ll have a promo)
  • Will chaos reign now that Becky has been added to Raw Women’s Title Match at WrestleMania (hasn’t it done so already?)
  • Who will stop Nia Jax & Tamina on The Road to WrestleMania?
  • Where will Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose go after The Shield’s last ride?
  • Who will emerge victorious in Intercontinental Title showdown

Batista and Triple H Go Face to Face

Two weeks ago, we all remember how Batista attacked Ric Flair prior to his going to the ring for his 70th birthday celebration. He wanted Triple H’s attention.

Last week on Raw, Batista appeared via his Instagram account. He said he couldn’t be in Philadelphia because he just didn’t want to be there. He would consider coming to Pittsburgh next week (of course meaning tonight).

Triple H was in the ring and proceeded to unleash on his former Evolution partner and did so “out of character.” He talked about being there not just for Ric Flair, but Richard Fliehr the man behind Ric Flair. He discussed his fear of losing Ric when he was very sick not too long ago to being there when his son Reid passed away to being at his wedding (well one of them anyway). He called out Batista for heeling on the crowd and talked about how this has become extremely personal and it’s not between characters, but he and “Dave” (Batista’s real first name of course). In the end he invited Batista to face him like a man and said, “if you want my attention Dave, you got it!” Here’s the promo from last week’s Raw:

Frank’s Analysis: I have to admit it’s cool when the fourth wall is broken, but it should only be done to a degree. As a wrestling fan, I want to try to figure out and have a discussion with people as to whether or not what we saw is real but, in the end, not know 100 percent. Don’t tell me (a) you’re breaking character and also (b) call out somebody for something that half the roster does anyway (Dean Ambrose during his crummy heel turn, Elias every week, etc.). It’s better just to tell the story in character and let us the fans figure out and talk about whether or not something is real. It’s what made the initial run of the NWO so great. In the end, this should all be fine as Triple H and Batista will get it done and make it exciting.

Becky Lynch is Back in to Face Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania

The long and winding road has gotten us to the destination we all suspected for quite some time.

There has been much ado in the past month what with Becky Lynch winning the Royal Rumble to her suspensions, Charlotte Flair replacing her in the match at WrestleMania against Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship, all the Twitter wars, Becky’s attacks on Ronda & Charlotte, Ronda turning heel and snapping last week on Raw and going after Becky, and Becky’s DQ win over Charlotte with assistance from Ronda. We now have the triple threat match set for WrestleMania where Ronda will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against both Becky and Charlotte.

It’s been quite the journey if you consider Becky winning the Royal Rumble and arriving on Raw the next night to say to Ronda “I choose you.” This past week has been no exception. On Ronda’s “Ronda on the Road” series on YouTube, she gets a lot off her chest in a rant that has been well discussed. It’s included in the following Twitter link. There is some NSFW language:

Just to recap last week, here’s the YouTube clips of Ronda attacking Becky Lynch and Stephanie McMahon talking to Charly Caruso in Gorilla afterwards:

Here’s Becky in a WWE.com exclusive after her match with Charlotte. Becky tells an interesting story in that every time things have gotten tough in Ronda’s career, she’s crumbled:

Tonight, we start getting ready for the triple threat match we all figured we expected to have at WrestleMania.

Frank’s Analysis: This story has gotten way out of hand and gotten away from what it should have been from the beginning. The dynamics are all over the place. There’s no need to rehash all the steps. It’s too convoluted. The bottom line is you don’t want to tell people that what you’re doing is fake. That doesn’t do the business nor the wrestlers against whom you’re competing any favors nor the rest of the matches on the card for that matter. Any of the great feuds have walked right up to the line but never crossed it. Go back and look at Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, the early stages of the nWo, any feud that Ric Flair had, or even John Cena for that matter. A lot of those feuds got the audience to the point where they believed what was going on was real but didn’t know for sure. If Becky Lynch is to win this match, Ronda saying that it’s fake undercuts that great moment. It also positions Charlotte and Becky on the same side in some sense, which should not be the intention of this match. The other issue is Becky feels very cold going into this match, and I fear that’s by design.

Nia Jax & Tamina’s Road to WrestleMania

Last night at Fastlane, Nia Jax & Tamina came up short in their attempt to become WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions as current champs Bayley & Sasha Banks prevailed. The match went around seven minutes and Bayley scored the pin with an elbow off the top rope.

After the match, Jax & Tamina went after Bayley & Sasha. WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, who had been a guest commentator on the match, intervened and started with a stare down with Tamina. Jax attacked Phoenix from behind and they would double team when Phoenix’s good friend Natalya came out for the same.

We’ll see tonight in which direction they go.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m guessing we’re heading towards Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya at WrestleMania. That has a special match feel and Jax and Tamina are good foils for Phoenix and Natalya. As far as Bayley & Sasha, there are plenty of opponents for them going forward considering they will defend the titles across all three brands. They could potentially, instead of having a single battle royal, have a tag team battle royal on the preshow and the winners get a shot at Bayley & Sasha on the main show.

Next for the Shield Members

Last night, the Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins) defeated Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley. The match went about 25 minutes and Reigns scored the pin when they hit the signature Shield triple powerbomb on Corbin. After the match they embraced each other and chatted amongst themselves and did the Shield fist bump to close out the show.

It was Reigns first in-ring action since returning from his battle with leukemia. Ambrose fought side-by-side with his Shield brothers for the first time since October of last year after feuding with Seth Rollins ever since. It has been made known that he is not renewing his WWE contract and will leave upon its expiration sometime after WrestleMania. Michael Cole re-emphasized that point last night. Rollins won the Royal Rumble and has a date with WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Frank’s Analysis: This was the best way to have the last match for the Shield. You didn’t need shenanigans, a turn, or anything like that. What they did was exactly what needed to be done. We know what’s next for Rollins, but it’s anybody’s guess what’s next for Reigns and Ambrose at WrestleMania. You can have a tag team match with them, depending on the opponents you have lined up. Reigns could go one-on-one with McIntyre, which could set up the next challenger for the Universal Champion which would presumably be Rollins unless we get a repeat of last year. As far as singles matches for Ambrose it should be someone that needs a solid victory in a hard-fought match. For some reason Lio Rush jumps out to me. The promos between these two leading up to ‘Mania would certainly be interesting.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Finn Balor (champ) vs. Bobby Lashley

Last night on Fastlane, it was announced that Finn Balor would defend the Intercontinental Championship against somewhat long-time rival Bobby Lashley.

Lashley and Balor have been on the dance floor for a while now. They traded victories on Raw when Lashley turned heel back in October. When Lashley became Intercontinental Champion, he put the title on the line at Elimination Chamber in a handicap match against Balor. Lashley’s partner was his manager Lio Rush. Balor pinned Rush to win the title, much to the dismay of Lashley. Lashley attacked Rush after the match, but their partnership did not dissolve as we suspected it had. Rush did not accompany Lashley in his match last night.

Balor recently retained the title over Lio Rush in a “gutsy” win (right). Tonight, he defends the title in a one-one-one against Lashley.

Frank’s Analysis: Balor’s run has sadly felt lackluster since he didn’t pin the actual champion. For a guy who went through becoming the inaugural Universal Champion and having to relinquish the title the next night, you would have thought they’d want to make the moment more special. Hopefully a decisive win solidifies his reign and can go onto to something at WrestleMania (likely a multi-man match) with better traction.

Other Possible Items for Tonight

  • Aleister Black and Ricochet were not pleased with their performance last night at Fastlane. Look for them to continue to pursue the Revival for the Raw titles. Here they are in a WWE.com exclusive:

  • Heavy Machinery won a gauntlet match last week over the Ascension, Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder, and the B-Team. If Black & Ricochet are going to be players in the tag team title picture, I’m curious if Machinery are used in anything beyond comedy.

Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website

The PPG Paints arena advertises a start time of 6:45 p.m. local. They show one match:

The Shield vs. Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Bobby Lashley

They also show Ronda Rousey, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, and Elias appearing.

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

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