KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 19, 2019
CHICAGO, ILL. AT ALLSTATE ARENA
REPORT BY ZACK A., PWTORCH SUBSCRIBER
(1) Rezar from AOP beat Kurt Hawkins. This was a really good match, actually. Hawkins got some really near falls which got the crowd going.
(2) Titus O’Neal & Lucha House Part beat The Revival & The Asension in about 6:00 when Titus pinned Viktor. The Revival’s music got a great pop since Chicago like the indy-cool teams. Then they got boos which seemed to be more because they were on Main Event which fans realized meant they wouldn’t get time on Raw.
-Seth Rollins was hot all night and fans were really behind him. When he made his comeback against Drew and scored some near falls, fans were into it. When Brock Lesnar’s music hit, I was worried, and sure enough they did the spot where the babyface is stupid. I would have preferred a double countout. Brock didn’t even do anything. He just stood there and Seth still lost focus. Lesnar had an easy payday once again.
-Kurt Angle got a fantastic reaction when he came out, second only to Seth. Then he said he chose to wrestle Baron Corbin at WrestleMania and everyone just groaned. Fans were chanting “We Want Cena!” before Angle announced Corbin. They picked that chant up again during the Apollo Crews vs. Corbin match. It was loud. Angle had asked his followers on Instagram who he should pick, and the top five answers were John Cena and they were highly liked. The “likes” pushed those comments to the top. When the bell rang to start Angle vs. Chad Gable, the fans chanted “This is awesome!” even before they locked up. Angle is so far past his prime, but he had the fans because we knew it’s his last go-around. Fans were chanting “Thank you, Kurt!” after the match, but the camera was on the announcers at the time.
-Corbin taunted the crowd during his match against Crews by telling the crowd they’re not going to get Cena, they’re stuck with him beating Angle at WrestleMania.
-Finn Balor got a good reaction. He’s one of the indy-cool guys.
-I thought tonight was a great night for Braun Strowman. He got a great reaction demolishing Lio Rush. I’m glad he’s in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal so he has something to do. I get the Saturday Night Live, as he’ll be on SNL to play this out and get some additional publicity.
-The second hour had a stretch of segments that took the crowd out of the match. They got back into it in the third hour.
-The commercial breaks were ridiculous. Wrestlers would do their entrance and then stand in the ring for five or six minutes or sometimes longer. They just stand there and it’s awkward. When I went to Smackdown in last 2017, they weren’t doing that. When the break ends, they start their music again. It’s like they’re making it seem their music has been playing the whole time, but it’s not. They stop their music and play commercials for WWE stuff and then start the music again after the break.
-It was cool to see Beth Phoenix’s music, but her mic skills are terrible. They had some heat at the end of the segment, but lost the momentum with the crowd by going to the commercial break before starting the match. The crowd wasn’t really against Sasha Banks & Bayley, maybe a few boos when they first came out. The crowd liked Beth & Natalya, but also Sasha & Bayley.
-Jinder Mahal’s long headlock that ate up most of the Ricochet match was crazy. Ricochet only did two moves. It was ridiculous. I love Ricochet and I was happy he was on the show. I was sad Aleister Black wasn’t there.
-Between the Seth promo and then a Dana Brooke promo, there was an awkward stretch of Dasha Fuentes shown on the big screen doing nothing after Seth walked away. Then they cut to Dana’s interview. On the TV show itself, they were showing Rousey standing in the ring, but on the big screen in the arena, it looked some someone missed their cue to cut away from Dasha.
-Although they said Batista was “live from Tampa,” it was pre-taped. The funny part is Michael Cole was talking on the screen but he wasn’t talking at the desk. It was so obviously. His head was down and he was writing down something while he was on the big screen interviewing Batista. So that whole thing was pre-taped, and it was obvious to the fans in the arena that Batista wasn’t “live.” People were generally pretty interested in what Batista was saying, although at one point there was a “C.M. Punk” chant that quite loud. There were also fans booing the Punk chants to discourage them and drown them out.
-Drew McIntyre’s wording announcing he wanted a match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania was awkward. It was like he was setting up a gimmick match announcement.
-I understand not having Roman Reigns in Chicago. I remember seeing Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal years ago at Money in the Bank and it was rough. I suspect they were protecting him from the Chicago fans, but also not wanting to overexpose him before WrestleMania. This is more of a Seth city than a Reigns city. There was some booing during the Drew-Roman replay from last week, but it could’ve been booing what Drew was doing. I think Roman will be fine. The WrestleMania crowd and the Day-after-WrestleMania Raw crowd will be telling.
-After Raw went off the air, Brock was still standing there. Then Baron Corbin ran past Brock and started to beat on Seth in the ring. Brock walked to the back, and as soon as Brock walked around the corner, Dean Ambrose’s music hit. So Dean apparently just walked right past Brock. The timing was way too fast. Dean got a fast reaction and gave Dirty Deeds to Corbin. Then Seth gave Corbin a Stomp to send everyone home happy.
-WWE advertised on the Allstate Arena website and on Facebook that the main event would be Dean & Seth vs. Drew & Baron. That didn’t happen. They also advertised Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley for the IC Title. They advertised Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar to appear, so at least they delivered on that. Last week on Raw during localized ads on cable, they showed Lashley vs. Balor as a match on Raw this week in Chicago, but they showed Lashley wearing the IC Title before he won it on Raw!
-The fans in Chicago didn’t like the XFL commercials. Lots of boos. The only city even remotely close to Chicago that has an XFL team is St. Louis, and fans here don’t get along with St. Louis when it comes to pro sports teams.
-There were Total Divas cameramen everywhere, so they were shooting footage for that show here.
-The arena holds 18,000, but the Titan Tron and stage block a big section. So of the roughly 14,000 seats available, it was about 90 percent full.
-They had Dean Ambrose hats and tops at a discounted rate. It was ten bucks for either of them and everything else was priced at 25 dollars or more.
-Overall, it was a fine show, but not a great show. I was hoping for a little bit more. This was my first Raw, but outside of something crazy, it might be my last televised weekly event. The commercial breaks really turned me off. During the breaks they did games with kids and gave them prizes and stuff, but for me it felt too aimed at kids. I did want to go one time to Raw in person; I’m originally from Australia and moved to Chicago for college and the great pro sports teams in this market. I am thinking about going to the War Games NXT Takeover special on Survivor Series weekend in November.