Live from Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pennsylvania!
Opening the first Raw of 2019, footage was shown from last week, from after the show went off the air. Confronting Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman could no longer contain his frustrations after being informed he wouldn’t get a rematch for the WWE Universal Championship, and wouldn’t be in the Royal Rumble either.
While his frustrations may not have been directed at the General Manager specifically, Braun Strowman’s demands certainly were. Strowman said that if he wasn’t going to be given the chance to become the Universal Champion again, then he wanted Kurt Angle to get him a match with Brock Lesnar.
Following the opening titles, Michael Cole talked over footage of Paul Heyman entering the building earlier today.
Introducing the man who was Brock Lesnar’s advocate during his time with the company, it was suggested that Paul Heyman was at the show to address the challenge made by Braun Strowman, which had been shared on social media throughout the week.
As the commentators continued to discuss the events of last week’s Raw, where Braun Strowman received his punishment for his out of control behaviour, the music of “The Monster Amongst Men” began to play.
Making his way down to the ring, the former WWE Universal Champion restated his desire to face Brock Lesnar. He asked the WWE Universe if they wanted to see him kick Brock’s ass, before saying that he knew Paul Heyman was in the building, and called him out to “talk business”. Braun Strowman wasn’t answered by Paul Heyman, but rather Kurt Angle, who once again had to be the bearer of bad news.
Kurt Angle told Braun that even if Paul Heyman wanted to make the match happen, Brock Lesnar was no longer under WWE contract. He explained that negotiations with a star like Brock Lesnar can take months, and the match wouldn’t be happening - certainly not at the Royal Rumble. Kurt added that he didn’t invite Heyman to Raw, and there would be no talk of a match between the two at this point. Braun Strowman wasn’t happy with this, and grabbed Kurt Angle by his suit jacket. Marking the first time Braun had put his hands on his “mentor”, Kurt Angle was shocked by Strowman’s actions. While he escaped the fate that Drake Maverick suffered, Braun Strowman was very clear in what he wanted from Kurt Angle. He said that if he wasn’t getting his rematch, and he wasn’t getting the chance to win the Royal Rumble… then he wanted Brock Lesnar!
Returning from the break, a recap of the opening segment was followed by Kurt Angle returning to his office. Stood outside the office, Sasha Banks and The Riott Squad were waiting for Kurt. They complained to the already stressed General Manager, saying that Ronda Rousey didn’t deserve a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble. Kurt Angle didn’t have time to deal with the issues, and told the Superstars that before any decision was made, he was going to talk to Ronda Rousey herself!
Returning to the ring, footage was shown of Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel’s return last week, where they turned on Elias, seemingly aligning with Bray Wyatt. Having not been seen since they were thrown into the “Lake of Reincarnation” at The Hardy Compound, the two men later declared “We. Are. Woken!”
While Elias attempted a performance on Raw, he was interrupted by “haunting” images of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Shown to be dishevelled and unkempt, Dallas & Axel had clearly been through an awful experience at The Compound.
The opening match of the evening, Elias’ night had the chance to go from bad to worse in a short space of time. While Elias managed some offence on Dean Ambrose, his head was clearly not in the match. As a result, Dean Ambrose made fairly quick work of the abandoned “Drifter”, defeating him following a Dirty Deeds in about 6 and a half minutes.
Dean Ambrose bt. Elias
After the match, a downtrodden Elias was left in the ring, as Dean Ambrose celebrated up the ramp.
Up next, the commentators introduced the first part of a two part interview with the new WWE Universal Champion, Drew McIntyre. Having not had the chance to speak his mind, due to the actions of Braun Strowman, McIntyre requested a sit-down interview, in order to get his point across.
Drew McIntyre reiterated his belief that those who were surprised by his victory at Starrcade, simply hadn’t been paying attention for the past 6 months. Beyond that, he spoke about his meteoric rise, saying that for those who had followed the last 4 years of his career, including his time in NXT, knew exactly what he was capable of. McIntyre commented on the recent actions of Braun Strowman, saying that WWE management must continue to take the strongest action possible against him. McIntyre said that beyond criminal damage and assault, Braun Strowman’s list of offences is greater than anybody else in the history of the WWE. McIntyre suggested that wasn’t somebody who would be suitable as a face of the company. As far as Drew himself taking that role? That would be saved for part 2…
Following the interview, Titus Worldwide were shown in the Locker Room. Having broke the team up last week, Titus O’Neil told Apollo Crews and No Way Jose that he had big ideas for both men. While No Way Jose would have to wait until next week, Apollo Crews would be in action later in the night, and he would have a tag team partner that O’Neil considered a better fit.
Before the match began, Seth Rollins cut a promo about his troubles with Jason Jordan, as well as his “Golden Alpha” teammates The Authors of Pain. Rollins was not only focussed on proving he was fit to compete, but also that he was ready to overcome a group who have dogged his career for the last few months. Once the match started, it didn’t take long for AOP to get involved.
Showing the fire and passion that resulted in such an impressive 2018, Seth Rollins continued to build momentum in the new year, impressing against Jason Jordan. Having lost his Intercontinental Championship two weeks ago, Jason was desperate to get back to winning ways, but struggled against the man he defeated for the title in the first place. Akam & Rezar tried to help Jordan’s cause, but were taken out as Rollins hit a Superplex to the outside, which flattened them. From there, Seth Rollins proved to have too much for Jason Jordan, picking up a symbolic victory with a Curb Stomp to his opponent.
Seth Rollins bt. Jason Jordan
Having defeated Jason Jordan, Seth Rollins had finally got one over on “Golden Alpha”. Taking out all three members of the group in the process, Rollins looks to be in good shape as he headed into the Royal Rumble!
WWE Raw - January 7th 2019 - Live on USA Network!
Returning to the second hour of Raw, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn were seen in the office of the General Manager. Having heard of a major Tag Team announcement, Owens & Zayn speculated that they were added into the Royal Rumble WWE Men’s Tag Team Championship match. Kurt Angle didn’t give them an answer, instead encouraging them to wait and see, as the announcement would come up next.
Returning to ringside, the commentators spoke about the first hour of Raw, as well as the Intercontinental Championship match that was coming up in the Main Event. Roman Reigns’ match with Bobby Lashley was also promoted. When it was time to return to the ring, the music of The Bellas Twins played.
Making their return to the WWE, the stars of Total Bellas made their entrance, smiling and interacting with the WWE Universe. Once they entered the ring, The Bellas talked about how great it was to be back, but had one thing on their mind when it came to the current WWE landscape. Nikki & Brie said that when the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships were announced, their social media went crazy. While they weren’t back to be able to compete for the titles back at Survivor Series, they were proud to watch Asuka & Charlotte become the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. However, upon their return, they spoke to the Commissioner of Raw, Stephanie McMahon. With her blessing, The Bellas Twins officially announced their intentions to challenge for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at the Royal Rumble!
Going into the commercial break, the commentators put over the potential of a huge match between The Bella Twins and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions at the Royal Rumble.
Returning to the show, the commentators introduced footage which took place “during the break”. Making their entrance ahead of Logan & Ruby’s match, The Riott Squad confronted The Bellas Twins. The argument was mostly between Liv Morgan and Nikki Bella, with the former having instigated the incident.
Liv Morgan told Nikki Bella that she runs Raw now, and Nikki needed to go back under whichever rock she’s been hiding under.
The two most experienced women on the roster, Mickie James and Natalya wouldn’t be what most people would describe as friends. They have however been forced together, as Mickie James became aware of the dangers of the up and coming Riott Squad. Having got their act together recently, Mickie James has tried to get Alexa Bliss on board, but “The Goddess” has thus far stayed out of it. Last week however, may have changed that, as Liv Morgan referred to herself as “The Real Goddess” of Monday Night Raw. While she had not yet invoked Bliss, it was clear that Morgan was getting big ideas about her role on Raw.
Her role in this particular match was also instrumental, as she helped Ruby and Sarah to victory. Pinning Natalya, Ruby Riott’s “Riott Kick” was enough to end the match.
The Riott Squad bt. Mickie James & Natalya
Refusing to leave the ring after the match, The Riott Squad dragged Mickie James in from the outside. Laying into her, the three women looked to leave her down and out, as they already had done with Natalya. Liv Morgan directed the team, as The Riott Squad continued a humiliating beatdown of the two veteran Superstars. With the commentators calling on somebody to do something, Alexa Bliss eventually made her way down to the ring.
Running down the ramp, Alexa Bliss managed to clear the ring of The Riott Squad, taking down Sarah Logan first, and then Ruby Riott. When Alexa Bliss reached the self-dubbed “Real Goddess”, Liv Morgan managed to get away, leading the group to the back.
Despite being hurt from the attack, Mickie James had a smile on her face, as Alexa Bliss had finally come to her aid. Natalya wasn’t so sure, surprised to see Alexa Bliss help anybody. Bliss herself didn’t have much reaction at all, and didn’t stick around. Leaving the ring, Alexa Bliss clearly didn’t feel comfortable in the role of “knight in shining armour”.
Returning from another break, the commentators talked about Alexa Bliss’ actions from before the break, wondering what resulted in her change of heart. Corey Graves believed that it was to do with Liv Morgan’s attempts to steal her moniker, but soon it was time to hear from the woman herself.
Or it would have been, if Alexa Bliss didn’t refuse to speak to the interviewer who approached her in the back. Instead, Alexa Bliss just gave the person who asked her the question a “mean” look, before continuing to walk through the back.
Back into the office of Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman was the latest person looking to speak to the General Manager.
Kurt told Braun that he had tried to speak to Paul Heyman, but he was proving as slippery as ever. Angle said that he would do what he could to find out if Braun’s desire to face Brock was in anyway possible, but he couldn’t promise anything. If that was the case, Braun told Kurt he had a plan B, warning that if it came to it, he’d be more than happy to go directly to Brock himself!
Returning to the ring, Titus O’Neil led Apollo Crews and No Way Jose to the ring. Asking No Way Jose to remain at ringside, O’Neil’s focus for the night was with Apollo Crews.
Titus O’Neil admitted that the team of Apollo Crews and No Way Jose was a bad call, accepting that the two of them just didn’t have that chemistry. But O’Neil was sure that Crews could thrive in the tag team division, which meant he had to think outside of the box. As a result, Titus O’Neil had come up with the perfect partner for Apollo Crews, and a man who was no stranger to Titus Worldwide. Welcoming this man back to Raw, Titus O’Neil introduced the Cruiserweight Champion… Akira Tozawa!
Working well as a team, Apollo & Akira would go on to defeat a team of local talents with relative ease. Despite their success, the celebrations were cut short by the presence of Jinder Mahal. Looking to kill the buzz of Titus Worldwide, Mahal made his way to the ring with The Singh Brothers in tow.
Jinder Mahal ran down the group, calling No Way Jose a loser, and Apollo & Tozawa a pair of idiots. Jinder Mahal said that he was worth more to the WWE than the entire roster of Titus Worldwide, and said that none of them would ever be Superstars, let alone WWE Champions. Before Jinder Mahal could continue to boast about his achievements, No Way Jose hit him with a Punch in the mouth, an effective way of shutting someone up.
Falling backwards into the arms of The Singh Brothers, Jinder clearly hadn’t prepared himself for a knockout blow from No Way Jose. Standing tall, the rest of Titus Worldwide were delighted that Jose had shut Juinder up!
Returning to Raw to close out the second hour of the show, it was time for Ronda Rousey to speak to the WWE Universe. As she made her way to the ring, the commentators discussed the situation she finds herself in, with much of the Raw roster against her getting a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble. They claimed this to be due to their desire to see somebody earn a title shot fairly, but it seems the women have instead hatched a plan to eliminate Ronda from the Royal Rumble, sending her out of the Raw Women’s Championship picture long term.
After talking the WWE Universe through her dilema, Ronda Rousey spoke about how the match with Shayna Baszler wasn’t just about the Championship, but also about her getting her hands on the person who turned her back on her. Having considered Shayna Baszler a close friend, the betrayal made her question if she could trust anybody anymore. Rousey said that she felt like she was ready to make her decision, but first she wanted to speak to the Raw Women’s Champion. Ronda Rousey’s call out was answered, but not by who she expected…
With a superficial smile on his face, Paul Heyman made his way to the ring. Shaking hands with Ronda Rousey, Paul Heyman looked to pander to “The Baddest Woman on The Planet”, cutting a promo which put her over in a way that he usually reserved only for Brock Lesnar. Ronda Rousey wasn’t sure why Paul Heyman was out in the ring instead of Shayna Baszler, but Heyman changed the subject.
Instead, Paul spoke about the potential of somebody like Ronda Rousey, saying that the moment when she finally got her hands on the Women’s Championship could only happen at one show. Heyman said that only one show of the year would be big enough to carry a Ronda Rousey title challenge, and that’s why his advice was for her to enter the Royal Rumble. Ronda said he hadn’t asked for Paul’s advice, but Heyman begged her to hear him out. Going on, Heyman said that before they can even talk about the potential money in her becoming the first ever “Heyman Girl”, they needed to talk about the story of Ronda Rousey in the WWE. Giving a history lesson, Paul Heyman reminded the WWE Universe that Ronda Rousey made her first appearance as a member of the roster at last year’s Royal Rumble. She then made her first in-ring appearance at WrestleMania. Heyman saw a parallel exactly one year later, and suggested that the potential of Ronda Rousey earning a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at the same event that she debuted in, before going on to the event she had her first match at to win the title, was too perfect to pass up on.
Paul Heyman said that he wasn’t trying to get anything out of Ronda Rousey, but he couldn’t help but add his two cents when he heard about the situation. As Paul Heyman left the ring, and headed up the ramp, the Raw Women’s Champion appeared at the top of it.
With a microphone in hand, Shayna Baszler suggested that Ronda Rousey listen to Paul Heyman, saying that the Royal Rumble was far too early for Ronda Rousey to think about killing her own hype.
WWE Raw - January 7th 2019 - Live on USA Network!
The final hour of Raw started with footage from “moments ago”, where Braun Strowman was shown waiting by the curtain to confront Paul Heyman.
However, footage from ringside showed why the two men didn’t cross paths, as Paul Heyman wisely took a side exit from the arena floor. By the time Braun Strowman realised what Paul Heyman had done, the closest link to Brock Lesnar currently in the WWE would have been long gone.
Following footage of last week’s year end speech from Roman Reigns, where he signalled his intent to win the Royal Rumble and once again take his place in the Main Event of WrestleMania, it was time for “The Big Dog” to be in action. Going one on one with Bobby Lashley, for the first time ever, the two dominant Superstars went back and forth in a highly physical contest. Looking to get back to winning ways, a frustrated Bobby Lashley seemed willing to do anything to pick up the victory. Of course, to stand a chance against Roman Reigns, any Superstar would have to be at the top of their game. Whether this could be said for Bobby Lashley was unclear. Lashley did however show signs that his head wasn’t in the game, and ultimately robbed the match of a decisive finish.
Rolling out of the ring, in the middle of an intense flurry of offence from Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley avoided a Superman Punch. Refusing to return to the ring unarmed, Bobby Lashley grabbed a Steel Chair and hit Reigns with it upon his return to the ring. This resulted in a DQ.
Roman Reigns bt. Bobby Lashley (DQ)
After a couple more Steel Chair shots to Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley threw the Chair down and headed up the ramp. Grabbing a microphone as he walked up towards the stage, Bobby Lashley said that wins and losses didn’t matter at this time of the year, claiming that when he won the Royal Rumble, nobody would remember whether he beat Randy Orton… or Finn Balor… or Roman Reigns!
Reporting from in the back, Renee Young was seen standing outside the General Manager’s Office. Young confirmed that Ronda Rousey was currently in the office speaking to Kurt Angle, but promised she would speak with her after she was done. Just as Renee said that, Ronda Rousey walked out of the office.
Taking a deep breath, after being asked if there was any update, Ronda Rousey nodded her head. Ronda then said after listening to people who she respects, and some that she doesn’t so much, she’s made a decision. Ronda Rousey then confirmed that one year after her debut at the very same event… she would
be entering the 2019 Royal Rumble match!
Back to ringside, Braun Strowman made his entrance for his match with Mojo Rawley.
Having been involved in a confrontation with him two weeks ago, Braun was ready for Rawley. However, before Mojo made his way to the ring, Strowman received a message from the hospitalised, “Advisor to the General Manager” Drake Maverick.
Clearly struggling even to sit up in his hospital bed, Drake told Braun Strowman that what he did to him two weeks ago was one of the most despicable and cowardly acts in the history of the WWE. Maverick accepted that some moves had been made to ensure that Braun Strowman was punished for his actions, but felt that not enough had been done considering the nature of the attack. Showing a vengeful side, from the safety of his hospital bed, Drake Maverick vowed that by the time his legal team were done with Braun, there would be nothing of him left. Maverick added that he would do everything in his power to bring “The Monster Amongst Men” down, even if it meant taking himself down with him!
Following the message from Drake Maverick, Braun Strowman made light work of Mojo Rawley, destroying him in just a few minutes. After the match, Braun called Paul Heyman a coward for refusing to talk to him, and said that if he wasn’t going to get an official match with Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble, he was at least going to call on Brock Lesnar - or his representative Paul Heyman - to have the guts to show up to the event, and answer the challenge in person!
Returning to Raw, the second part of Drew McIntyre’s interview was shown, with the WWE Universal Champion talking about the future of his reign.
Drew McIntyre spoke about being the “face of Raw”, saying that it isn’t a role that he will feel uncomfortable in. McIntyre said that his whole life he had been a leader, and there was nothing to ever wanted more than to go into WrestleMania as a Champion. This year is McIntyre’s chance to do just that, and he was happy to do that. McIntyre added that he was ready to carry Raw on his back, and lead them into WrestleMania. As for those added pressures of being the Universal Champion, Drew McIntyre insisted that he was more than prepared for whatever might expected of him!
Ahead of the Main Event of Raw, Finn Balor was interviewed about Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio.
Having teamed with both men since they came to Raw, Finn Balor said that he knew they’d put on a great show, just like he intended to at Royal Rumble. Balor said that he wasn’t interested in what everybody else was doing or saying, because when it comes to outlasting 29 other Superstars, Finn Balor knows he can go all night long. As Balor looked to walk away, he was confronted by Golden Alpha.
Confident between Akam & Rezar, Jason Jordan tried to intimidate Finn Balor, saying that he had no business talking about Championship ambitions, certainly not in the presence of “Golden Alpha”. Finn Balor laughed off Jordan’s threats, and looked to walk away from the situation, but The Authors of Pain stopped him in his tracks. Sizing up as if they were going to take Balor down, Finn found support from the most unlikely source.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with the former Universal Champion, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn stared down Golden Alpha, saying that they should back off. Jason Jordan pretended not to be affected by Owens & Zayn’s presence, but nonetheless led Golden Alpha away from the scene. Confused, Balor looked to Zayn & Owens for answers, but the two men just walked away…
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Set up last week, after a gentleman’s agreement between the two Superstars, Rey Mysterio’s first defence of his Intercontinental Championship was just about as difficult as a title defence could get. From the opening bell, Randy Orton gave Rey Mysterio a torrid time, showing that despite the mutual respect between the two, there would be nothing held back in the pursuit of the Intercontinental Championship. This continued throughout the match, and as it went on, Randy Orton seemed to be more and more in control of the contest. Of course, one can never count Rey Mysterio out completely, and the Lucha Legend was more than capable of turning the momentum of the match on its head. As Rey Mysterio built up steam, he was distracted by the emergence of Golden Alpha.
Taking a keen interest in the match, possibly because Jordan has yet to receive his rematch, Golden Alpha seemed happy to spectate as the match went on. However, when Rey Mysterio looked to seal the victory, things changed.
Having nothing to do with Randy Orton, Jason Jordan and The Authors of Pain edged closer to the ring as Rey set up for the 619. When Mysterio hit the move, sending Randy Orton back towards the center of the ring, Jason Jordan climbed onto the apron, distracting the referee. As he did this, The Authors of Pain pulled Rey Mysterio off the apron, throwing him with ease down onto the barricade. AOP then launched him into the Steel Steps. Rey Mysterio was now down on the ground, and when the referee regained focus, he began to count the Intercontinental Champion out. Randy Orton recovered from the 619 before the referee reached 10, but hadn’t quite regained his bearings as he recouped in the corner of the ring. As a result, the referee was able to reach the 10 count before either man could act, resulting in an unsatisfying victory for Randy Orton.
Randy Orton bt. Rey Mysterio (Countout)
Having done their damage to Rey Mysterio, Golden Alpha showed that their attack wasn't solely focussed on him. Entering the ring, Golden Alpha were confronted by a valiant Viper, but nonetheless managed to take full advantage of the numbers game. Taking Orton down, and finishing him off with a “Last Chapter”, The Authors of Pain ensured that both Champion and Challenger were out of the equation. This allowed Jason Jordan to grab the Intercontinental Championship from out of the hands of the referee, and raise it above his head in the middle of the ring.
Dean Ambrose bt. Elias
Seth Rollins bt. Jason Jordan
Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan bt. Mickie James & Natalya
Titus Worldwide’s Apollo & Akira bt. [Local Talent] Anthony Bennett & Colin Davies
Roman Reigns bt. Bobby Lashley (DQ)
Braun Strowman bt. Mojo Rawley
Randy Orton bt. Rey Mysterio (C) (Countout) [WWE Intercontinental Championship]