Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of WWE Raw – 21 Jan. ’19

Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Saved from maps.roadtrippers.com. Addition by Fentress Architects.

The WWE is probably going to start us off with the usual stuff. They did in a variety of aspects. We got the MLK Tribute. Then we get Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. Glad to see they’re changing up the opening 15 minute talk segment. Heyman is playing up Balor being able to win because of the change in opponents at the last minute. Even though Brock has had 2 weeks to prepare for him. This argument is dubious at best. I did get a chuckle out of him calling Balor “The Slim Reaper.” Just when I thought we’d have a decent length segment, Vince McMahon comes out. He hurls some insults at Balor and recalls the story of David & Goliath. Braun Strowman breaks up the party. Strowman warns Lesnar that he’ll be ready to take out Lesnar if he survives at the Royal Rumble. Finn Balor points out that we’re getting the same old stuff. He knows Vince doesn’t believe in him but Balor believes in himself. Balor correctly points out that David beat Goliath. Vince makes Balor vs Strowman. Interesting. Some sort of interference costs someone, I would assume.

Balor gets clubbed for being an idiot and going for a double leg take down. Corey Graves uses the now regular “Primal concrete sledge” Pantera line about a Braun swat. He does the usual running shoulder blocks on the outside. Balor counters one with a Sling Blade. Balor busts out a sleeper hold. Always needed to take down someone larger than you. Strowman recovers when Balor goes to the top rope. Balor gets thrown into Lesnar. He suplexes Balor. Strowman & Lesnar jaw at each other. Balor recovers and pulls Lesnar off the apron and runs him into the post. Lesnar tries to interfere intentionally when Balor takes him out with a couple of drop kicks. He forgets about Strowman. He misses a charge into a post. Balor recovers. Balor delivers a Coup De Grace when Lesnar comes in and attacks him. Finally a DQ win for Balor. Lesnar gives Balor and F5 and leaves him laying.

Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush come out. I can only hope this means he doesn’t need to show his ass any more. Rush saying that Lashley is better than both Ambrose & Rollins. Rush puts the title on a waiting Lashley. Apollo Crews comes out. Crews knows he isn’t getting a title match but wants a non-title bout. Rush proposes a pose off. It’s so weird that Crews is acting like he isn’t jacked too. Crews does a nice dance routine and poses. Lashley attacks. Crews turns the table and tosses Lashley out of the ring. He then presses Rush and tosses him onto Lashley.

They end up having a match. Crews is holding his own. He fails on a press slam on Lashley. He goes back to it. Lashley dodges a standing moonsault. Rush ends up in Crews clutches again. Lashley spears Crews for the win. Seth Rollins comes out during the celebration just to be a dick I suppose. Even if he does have his match next, it’s a dick move.

It looks like Rollins gets to talk before his match. He’s ready to win the Royal Rumble. He seems like a prime candidate to me. Drew McIntyre comes out to offer his rebuttal. Rollins has a 0% chance to win because McIntyre will indeed win on Sunday. He’s another favorite but honestly with likely two heel champions, I’d shade more towards Rollins between the two. Rollins vs DB would delight me. McIntyre has control of much of the match early. Rollins picks it up after a commercial. Rollins gets a tow from a Falcon Arrow. Rollins misses a Stomp. McIntyre gets pushed into the corner chest first. McIntyre gets hung up in a Tree of Woe. Rollins flips out of McIntyre’s Core Work Out move. McIntyre goes for a Claymore but gets super kicked. Glasgow Kiss changes the momentum. McIntyre gets a near fall after a power bomb. Rollins flips thru on a Rainmaker attempt or at least that’s what it looked like to me. Rollins rolls him up for the win.

The Revival are talking to Vince McMahon. They ask for another tag team title match with a special guest referee. Curt Hawkins wonders in and seems to be the ref now?

Dean Ambrose is still dwelling in weird areas. He too like Rollins quotes MLK. There’s some serious injustice going on without him being IC Champion. He’s ready to take both Lashley & Rollins at the Rumble. Without the title, Ambrose is more of an option.

Jinder Mahal & the Singh Brothers are taking on the Lucha House Party. Lince Dorado starts out in the match. Mahal tags out so that the House Party can start. Kalisto brings his impressive offense. Sunil gets to take a beating. Gran Metalik comes in and gets a quick pin. Even the announcers seem surprised.

Dana Brooke talks nutrition with EC3 after his video package. Elias walks by even though he gets his own segment next.

Elias is ready to win the Royal Rumble. He’s in the conversation but further down my ballot. Baron Corbin ruins the fun. Elias gets someone to cut Corbin’s mic after he comes out and threatens him. Elias of course rips on Corbin for his performance. They have a scheduled match so why did Corbin need the threat, exactly? Elias walks from turn buckle to turn buckle on the top rope before executing an arm drag. Corbin tosses Elias into a post to gain control. Elias gets back on the offense as soon as he gets back into the ring. High knee gets and a neck breaker gets him a two count. The ref pushes Elias back. It creates an opening for Corbin. Throat shot followed by the End of Days for the win.

Alexa Bliss is out for a Moment of Bliss again. She reads off a list of women in the Royal Rumble. 21 if my count wasn’t mistaken. I didn’t feel like pausing it because it’s not terribly important. Nia Jax is her guest. Bliss is direct and asks who she wants to face if she wins. Ember Moon interrupts. She’s ready to make her claim. Alica Fox comes out. Mickie James comes out. The Riott Squad comes out. Bliss gets on a chair and yells at them. Even Nikki Cross is there. A giant brawl endues. He declares that she is competing in the Royal Rumble match. She gets a positive reaction. Lacey Evans comes out and yanks the mic from Bliss. She talks down to Bliss which gets her some boos.

Titus O’Neil is an awesome promo.

Heavy Machinery is taking on The Ascension. Pot meet Kettle. Otis Dozovic starts. Tucker Knight gets to show his agility. Trash Compactor for the quick win. Corey Graves pulling out the Tremors reference in response to his education on the Caterpillar elbow.

Curt Hawkins is indeed officiating this match. The Revival is out first. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable finally get to show up. Hawkins enforcing the tag rope on Roode early in the match. Four way action ensues. Roode & Gable execute matching T-Bone suplexes. Roode cleans house after a break. Roode tries to suplex Wilder but he changes his weight to fall on Roode. Dawson tries to hold down Roode’s leg. Hawkins catches him. Wilder goes for another pin and uses the rope. Hawkins catches him. Gable tags in. Dawson tries to use the tights in a small package but Hawkins catches them a third time. Gable rolls up Dawson for the win. The Revival attacks Hawkins after the match. Zack Ryder comes out and makes the save. The tag division could use another team.

Ronda Rousey is forgetting lines again. She doesn’t think Sasha Banks is hungry enough. She’s going to show Sasha who the real boss is, her. Natalya is teaming with her against Sasha Banks & Bayley. Banks get to retort in the ring. Banks & Ronda have a show down. Banks gets her in a Bank Statemnt but Rousey gets out. Banks kicks Ronda in the face. Bayley tags in. Things don’t go so well. Sasha gets back in the match. Ronda locks on the arm bar but rolls to the ropes. Natalya gets tagged in. She gets in a few familar spots. Nattie gets Banks in a Sharpshooter. Bayley makes the save and knocks Rousey off the apron. Back Stabber into a Bank Statement for the win. Rousey comes in and starts jawing at Banks. Bayley & Nattie separate them. Raw goes off the air.

Kevin DiFrango

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