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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 1, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-They opened with Stephanie McMahon’s entrance theme as Cole, Young, and Graves hyped various Raw segments including Kurt Angle’s final Raw appearance, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman speaking, Batista appearing live, and Stephanie’s big announcement.
-Stephanie stood on the stage and said she can’t believe they are just six days away from WrestleMania. She said the Triple Threat main event is about to become bigger. She said she is adding herself as the fourth competitor. Then she said it was an April Fools joke. She said for the first time in 35 years, the women will be the main event of WrestleMania. She said the breaking news is that “all titles will be on the line.” (I think meant “both women’s titles.”)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was short and got right to the point.)
-Cole hyped the six-woman tag match with Riott Squad vs. Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch & Ronda Rousey. He said if any of the women in the WM35 main event betray their partners, they won’t be able to compete at WM.
(Keller’s Analysis: So if Charlotte walks out on the match later, is her title on the line still?)
-Lesnar and Heyman walked to the ring. Heyman had an extra dose of cockiness walking alongside Lesnar. He seemed to channel Jerry Lewis as he said, “Ladies and gentleman.” He said it’s poetic justice that Stephanie just used the phrase “winner take all.” He said Lesnar will be the winner who takes all Seth Rollins has to offer. He said he will take Seth’s best shot and then take everything Seth has in life “because that’s what Brock Lesnar does to people at WrestleMania.” He said Brock seizes the moment at WrestleManias and defines his own legacy and history at the expense of his opponents. He cited Roman Reigns. He said this Sunday the same will happen to Seth. He said Lesnar will violate Seth and desecrate the good name of WrestleMania. He said his foot will be on Seth’s chest and his title will be above his head again, “Lesnar will define the saying that life isn’t what you want it to be, it’s what you make out of it.” He said after WM he and Brock will go out to dinner and discuss what’s next for his career. He said Seth is just an afterthought to Brock.
Seth’s music interrupted. Lesnar snarled toward Seth walking to the ring. Seth entered the ring, and Cole said Seth doesn’t seem phased. He said it’s the biggest match of both of their careers. He said everything changes for Lesnar after WM because he loses his leverage after he loses. “Nobody wants you here,” he said. He said he doesn’t want him there, nor does “the locker room” or the fans. Lesnar laughed uproariously as fans chanted “Burn it down!” Seth said he’s taking his title and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. Lesnar mocked Seth to his face, then began to walk out of the ring. When Lesnar lightly shoulder-checked Seth as he walked past him, Seth kicked him in the crotch and punched away at him. Lesnar gave him a big back suplex and went for an F5. Seth escaped and gave him another low blow. Then came The Stomp. Seth grabbed the Universal Title and held it up, then threw it down on Lesnar. Cole asked if Seth will end Lesnar’s stranglehold on the Universal Title at WrestleMania. As the camera zoomed on Lesnar, Cole said they’d try to get a word with Seth after the break.
(Keller’s Analysis: Everyone was good here. Lesnar, in particular, doesn’t get enough praise for his body language and facial expressions. He communicates so much without saying a word. Seth got fans fired up, but what does it mean that it took two low-blows to get the better of Lesnar? Are they still protecting Lesnar while giving Seth a spirited beatdown six days before WM? If so, what does that portend?) [c]
-Backstage Charlie Caruso told Seth if he does what he just did at WM, he’ll get DQ’d and won’t become champion. He said Lesnar had it coming and he’s not a champion… yet.
(1) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY & NATALYA & BETH PHOENIX vs. THE IICONICS (Billie Kaye & Peyton Royce) & NIA JAX & TAMINA
The heel teams were in the ring. The ring entrances for the babyface teams aired. Graves said Beth’s workout videos on YouTube are impressive and she hasn’t lost a step. Phoenix tagged in a couple minutes into the match against Kaye. She powered Kaye into the air. When Sasha and Bayley entered to fend off interference from other heels, Phoenix said she had everything under control and got snippy. They cut to a break. [c]
When the IIconics took over, Tamina and Nia just dropped to the floor and refused to tag in. Kaye yelled at them, giving Bayley a second to recover and reached to tag Sasha. Phoenix knocked Sasha off the ring apron and tagged herself in. Graves said Phoenix wasn’t going to let Sasha steal the spotlight. Phoenix rallied against Royce, but Tamina yanked the rope down and Beth fell to the floor. Phoenix stood and looked enraged, then tackled Tamina through the barricade near the time keeper’s area. They were both slow to get up. Fans began chanting, “You still got it!” Royce threw Phoenix into the ring and slapped her a few times. Phoenix blocked one and then gave her the Glam Slam for the win.
WINNERS: Phoenix & Natalya & Sasha & Bayley in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good job making it seem like the teams are out for themselves and not loyal or even able to coexist with each other. Phoenix was made to look really strong, although it takes a little of the specialness away to see her in action on Raw like this in an extended stretch before WM.)
-Batista was shown getting out of a limo in the parking garage. [c]
-Batista made his ring entrance. They showed a brief clip of Triple H putting his career on the line in their WM match. Batista stood mid-ring and paced for a bit. There was a small “Welcome back!” chant. He pointed at the big screen. A video package aired on Triple H vs. Batista over the years. It included Batista pinning Triple H as audio aired of Batista saying, “There isn’t anything Triple H hasn’t done in this business except beat me.” Batista took off his sunglasses, looked into the camera, and said, “Hunter, kiss my ass.” He dropped the mic, put his sunglasses back on, and walked away.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hard to forget your lines when you only have one line. That worked well enough, though, like he couldn’t be bothered to speak more than that. It seems maybe inspired by Angle’s pithy response last week on Raw.)
-Renee hyped Kurt Angle’s final Raw appearance. [c]
-They showed postcard scenes of Washington D.C. Then they showed Elias outside the MetLife Stadium entrance. He said there will be no interruptions at WrestleMania. He said the fans will silence their cell phones, hold their applause, and shut their mouths. He dropped some names who have played at MetLife, and he said nobody will talk about them anymore after his performance. He said he will steal the show with his WrestleMania Moment.
(2) JINDER MAHAL vs. APOLLO CREWS
EC3, No Way Jose, The Ascension, Lucha House Party, Rhyno, Heath Slater, B-Team, Tyler Breeze, The Singh Brothers, and Titus O’Neal were at ringside. Renee said winning the match can kickstart the rest of your year. She cited Baron Corbin. It didn’t take long for Jinder to settle into a side headlock. It has to be intentionally trolling everyone that he does this so early in his matches when nobody else in the business does that anymore because it’s what lazy wrestlers did to fill time in the 1970s at non-televised events. Graves predicted that Michael Che would be the winner of the battle royal. He called it his hot take. Crews won with a frog splash.
WINNER: Crews in 1:30.
-Afterward, Crews posed in front of the Andre trophy. The others wrestlers entered and tried to pose with the trophy. A brawl broke out with everyone. Cole said this is a preview of Sunday.
(Keller’s Analysis: If anyone was excited about the battle royal before this, nobody left is excited about it. It also diminishes Braun Strowman that nobody else of any prominence has entered this battle royal, apparently.)
-They showed Angle chatting with Rey Mysterio backstage. [c]
-They showed a tweet by Yolanda Adams announcing she’ll be performing “America the Beautiful” at WrestleMania.
-Angle made his way to the ring. Cole said it’s his final trip to the ring on Raw in his career. Angle said he’s heard some boos and mostly cheers in his career. He thanked the fans from the bottom of his heart. Fans chanted “Thank you, Kurt!”
-A video package aired on the career of Kurt Angle with soundbites from John Cena, Randy Orton, Big Show, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, and Steve Austin. Back live, fans chanted “Thank you, Kurt.” Baron Corbin then walked out. Graves said he lives to rain on other people’s parades. Corbin sarcastically said he’s sorry for interrupting a little stroll down memory lane. He said he’s not sure who made the video, but it should have been in black and white because it’s ancient history. He said the man standing in the ring struggles to take his jacket off now and can’t wrestle more than few minutes without huffing and puffing. He said the Superstars of today are just plain better than him and he can’t hang anymore, “especially me.” He said on another note, he’s starting to get irritated with the fans filling his social media saying Angle deserves somebody better as his last opponent in WWE. Some “Cena” chants could be heard. Corbin said they can chant all they want, but it won’t change things. He said they should forget the man they saw in the video because the last image they’ll see is a broken down old man lying down on his back in the ring this Sunday. Boos.
Angle said they will square will off this Sunday, but since it’s his last night on Raw, how about they have an exhibition match tonight. Corbin walked to the ring and said that’s Angle’s intensity, but not his intelligence, because if he entered the ring now, Angle wouldn’t make it to WrestleMania. Rey then came out to his music. Corbin entered the ring. Rey told Corbin if he doesn’t want to fight Kurt tonight, that’s fine, but someone needs to teach him a lesson in respect. “How about you and me throw down instead?” he said. Corbin said he wouldn’t do that. He took a cheap shot at Rey. Angle punched away at Corbin and went for a suplex. Corbin blocked it, but Rey dove onto him. Angle then gave Corbin an Angle Slam. Corbin rolled to the floor. Corbin fled as fans chanted “You suck! You suck!”
(Keller’s Analysis: Straight forward and effective. I give them credit for addressing the backlash against Corbin being Angle’s opponents and not running from it. The Angle video was nice. I liked the ratio of actual in-ring content instead of comedy segments.)
-Caruso interviewed Charlotte backstage. She asked if she was concerned that she put her title on the line at WM. Charlotte gloated that she beat Asuka and on Sunday she’ll blindside the world, just as she did Asuka, when she taps out Rousey. Charlotte said she changed the game again, and “winner takes all” means her. Caruso said she has to coexist with Becky and Rousey first, though. She asked Charlotte if she’ll lose her cool. Charlotte said she’s not a hot-head like Becky or a loose-cannon like Rousey. She said after the match, Ronda and Becky better stay the hell away from her or they won’t make it to WrestleMania. “Wooo!” she said.
-Ricochet’s ring entrance took place. Then Aleister Black’s. [c]
(3) THE REVIVAL vs. RICOCHET & ALEISTER BLACK – Raw Tag Team Title match
The Revival’s ring entrance didn’t air. Mike Rome did formal ring introductions. Cole noted that Black & Ricochet also have a chance at the NXT Tag Team Titles on Friday at NXT Takeover, too. He said it could be a major week for them if they win here and win there. They cut to a break a few minutes in after Black tagged in. [c]
The Revival was in control after the break. In the end, all four brawled at ringside. Dash gave Black a tornado DDT on the floor. Ricochet flip dove over the top turnbuckle onto Revival at ringside. Dawson hid under the ring and yanked on Ricochet’s leg as he tried to beat the count back into the ring. The ref counted him out. Afterward Black landed Black Mass on Dash and Dawson, and then Ricochet landed his 630.
WINNERS: The Revival via countout in 12:00 to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Good finish to put heat on the heels for getting a cheap countout win to retain their titles.)
-Cole announced that Rey would wrestle on Raw for the first time in almost five years when he faces Corbin later on the show. Young hyped that Bobby Lashley would respond to rumors of “The Demon” at WrestleMania. Graves plugged the six-women tag match again.
-Caruso approached Rousey. She said she didn’t feel like talking tonight, she feels like fighting. She then talked about not caring about the stipulations on the match, she’s winning on Sunday. She said if they provoke her tonight, though, judgment night will be tonight.
-They showed Roman Reigns standing backstage. [c]
-Highlights aired of Braun Strowman, Michael Che, and Colin Jost last week on Raw.
-Alexa Bliss told Tyler Breeze she loves his new hairstyle. EC3 was standing next to him. She said she’s doing a great job at host of WrestleMania. She took credit for the women main eventing, Kofi Kingston getting a WWE Title match, and the Andre the Giant battle royal will feature Jost and Che. Breeze said they’re fashionable and funny. EC3 laughed, and then in walked Braun. He asked what was so funny. EC3 and Breeze pointed at a couple guys in the hall and claimed they were laughing at Weekend Update. Braun stormed over to them and said they’d “get these hands” for that. He walked away and they looked frightened.
(Keller’s Analysis: EC3 spoke! Breeze’s new look, which debuted on last week’s WWE Main Event TV show, is a good upgrade. They could make for a good tag team if that’s where they’re headed.)
-Caruso interviewed Reigns backstage. Mix of cheers and some scattered boos. She asked about facing Drew McIntyre. She asked about rumors that he might not be 100 percent. Reigns asked who is making up the rumors. He said he is 100 percent healthy. Drew then attacked him. He pounded away at him. Drew said he should have said no. “I want you to see my face when you close your eyes at night,” Drew said. They showed Reigns struggling to stand afterward for about ten seconds.
-The Riott Squad made their ring entrance. [c]
-A Smackdown commercial said Kofi will sign the contract for his WWE Title match at WrestleMania, plus Randy Orton and A.J. Styles will go face-to-face on The Kevin Owens Show.
-Backstage Caruso interviewed Becky Lynch. She said she’ll walk out of MetLife Stadium as the first-ever Raw and Smackdown women’s champion. She called Charlotte “a wooden doll.” She called Rousey “a little weirdo.” She said she triggered Rousey’s god complex months ago and got in her head. She said tonight they are forcing her to tag with Rousey and Charlotte, and they’re hoping she loses her cool so they can take her out of the WM match. She said she’s gotten this far with the McMahons against her, and the only way she can ensure they can’t sink her after WM is to take home all the gold on the Grandest Stage of Them All. She said her opponents want to make history, but she has no choice but to make history.
(4) BECKY LYNCH & CHARLOTTE FLAIR & RONDA ROUSEY vs. THE RIOTT SQUAD (Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan)
Lynch made her ring entrance. Then Charlotte made her ring entrance. Becky turned her back to Charlotte during her entrance. Then Rousey entered and Becky got in her face and smiled. Charlotte stepped in front of them and said they’re all talk. Charlotte opened against Riott, then Becky tagged herself in. When Charlotte got upset, Becky taunted Charlotte to slap her. They cut to an early break. [c]
Rousey laughed when Logan took over on Becky. Graves said Becky is coasting on the fact that the WWE Universe is buzzing about her. He said Becky has been talking, but not actually delivering on those words in the ring and that’s her challenge at WM. When Renee called him out for saying she’s been coasting, Graves said Renee is “as bad as the Internet” because he took one of her words out of context. He then, oddly, reiterated that he thinks Becky is coasting. Becky made a comeback. Charlotte tagged herself right in. As they argued, Rousey tagged herself in. Becky and Charlotte left the ring as Cole said these are combustible elements. Rousey then put Morgan in an armbar for the tapout win.
WINNERS: Rousey & Charotte & Becky.
-Immediately after the bell rang, Rousey attacked Charlotte with a punch to the neck and then a barrage of punches. Becky yanked Rousey off of Charlotte and went after her. Rousey mounted Becky. All three brawled. Security guys entered the ring. The women beat them up. Fake cops entered, all with shirts that had clearly never been worn before or even washed.
Rousey was cuffed. Becky was held back. Becky broke free and attacked Rousey. Becky was cuffed next. As usual, Charlotte had left the ruckus and watched from afar, but then attacked Rousey. The cops cuffed her, too. She managed to kick Becky in the face. Graves said it’s unfortunate it had to end up this way. “The main event of WrestleMania is in handcuffs tonight!” Cole said. Renee said it’s unbecoming of all three. The women kept trying to break free and yelled at the cops. Cole asked if everyone could image what it will be like when they’re the ring under triple threat rules. Charlotte stomped on the feet of the cops and yelled. Rousey yelled that she pays their salaries.
They replayed highlights, then showed Charlotte being put in the back of a squad car. Rousey kicked Becky. In a total cornball moment, both Becy and Ronda were put in the back of the same unmarked car. They began kicking each other. They broke the window. Charlotte got out of the other car and began kicking Becky again. Rousey then commandeered the unmarked car and drove it into the other squad car. She was put in the back of the car which had the broken window. Becky was put back in the squad car. Charlotte kicked Rousey in the head as Rousey stuck her head out of the window. The cars drove away with Rousey and Becky, while Charlotte was left behind yelling at the police to get their hands off of her.
(Keller’s Analysis: Yes, that was as dumb and cornball as it gets, but it was almost so over-the-top that it worked in a camp way. I’m not sure that’s the tone they should be going for headed into the main event, though. It’s so hard to include fake police officers and have it not seem totally fake. Obviously in real life, those three would be in jail well beyond Sunday if they resisted arrest and assaulted the police like they just did there. I’m just thankful there was no dash cam that WWE producers magically cut to to show the view from inside the vehicles. That aside, they did make it seem like these three are going to tear each other apart in the main event, so stick around for all eight hours or so of WM to see how it all plays out in the main event.) [c]
-They replayed what happened. Cole said Rousey is scheduled for The Today Show this Thursday, but they don’t know her legal situation.
(5) HEAVY MACHINERY (Otis & Tucker) vs. BOBBY ROODE & CHAD GABLE
Graves compared Heavy Machinery’s antics to the Bushwakers. Cole said Otis is “a fun-loving guy who loves to entertain, but don’t make fun of him.” Lacey Evans sauntered out briefly to her music, and the match came to a temporary halt. Otis scored a near fall after his Caterpillar. Gable leaped off the top rope, but Otis caught him. Tucker then leaped onto the back of Otis with their Compactor finisher to get the win. Roode looked dismayed by Gable getting pinned.
WINNERS: Heavy Machinery in 3:00.
-A video package aired on Kofi Kingston. [c]
(6) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. TWO GUYS FROM THE HALL
Braun tossed the two guys that EC3 and Breeze set up earlier.
-They showed a graphic that showed Roode, Gable, Rusev, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Mustafa Ali were among those in the Andre battle royal too.
-Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley walked onto the stage. [c]
-The announcers hyped the WrestleMania week programming including Smackdown and the return of Miz & Mrs on USA Network on Tuesday, then NXT Takeover on Friday, the Hall of Fame on Saturday, and then WrestleMania on Sunday starting at 5 ET with the Kickoff Show. The second hour of the Kickoff Show will air on USA Network.
-Caruso interviewed Lashley and Rush in the ring. She threw to a clip of Finn Balor winning last week to earn his IC Title match at WM. Caruso asked if they have any concern about Sunday given that Balor beat the odds last week. Rush said it was a fluke, and Balor didn’t even pin Lashley. Rush said Lashley won’t have to deal with dead weight Jinder Mahal. He took a dig at D.C. and got boos. Caruso asked about rumors that Balor’s alter-ego The Demon at WM. Lashley said they are one in the same and he can whoop Balor, so he can whoop The Demon. Balor showed up on the big screen and said Lashley ought to be concerned. Balor said he’s always been a guy who’s had demons, and at WrestleMania his Demon will be his nightmare. Then he turned into The Demon. Cole wished Lashley luck because The Demon is coming for his IC Title.
-Graves plugged that Corbin vs. Rey was coming up next. [c]
-They showed Gronk at WrestleMania two years ago beating up Jinder.
(7) REY MYSTERIO vs. BARON CORBIN
As Rey came to the ring, Cole urged viewers to go to WWENetwork.com to sign up for WrestleMania free for new subscribers. The announcers hyped the top WrestleMania matches as on-screen graphics showed various match-ups. With Rey in control they cut to a break a couple minutes in. [c]
Corbin dominated after the break. When he went for Rey’s mask, Cole asked if there could be anything more embarrassing and humiliating than Rey being unmasked. (Does anything sound less sincere and more empty and ridiculous than when Cole robotically recites that line every time someone goes for Rey’s mask?) Rey eventually made a comeback and went for a top rope splash, but Corbin moved. Corbin then gave Rey a Deep Six for the three count.
WINNER: Corbin in 9:00.
-Afterward, as Corbin celebrated, Angle attacked him and put him in an ankle lock.
(Keller’s Analysis: What a flat finish to the WM hype. That was just strange. Corbin beats a Smackdown fan favorite and then gets put in an ankle lock.)
-They showed a clip of what happened with Rousey, Charlotte, and Becky. Cole said they’ve been arrested and WWE.com is following the story. He hyped the WM35 main event one last time.