Date: March 25, 2019
Location: TD Garden in Boston, MA
The Big Takeaway --
Kurt Angle beat Samoa Joe and will face Rey Mysterio on Raw next week.
Show Recap --
They kicked off the show announcing that the Women’s title match will main event WrestleMania and they made sure to plug all of the media outlets who covered it online.
Ronda Rousey came out. She was booed. Rousey let the crowd go long enough for a loud “we want Becky” chant to start. Rousey said women would be in the main event at WrestleMania for the first time ever. “I only have one thing to say: You’re welcome.”
She dropped the mic, then picked it back up, because she actually had more to say: she was going to tap-out both Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair at the same time. She claimed she didn’t know what a beat the clock challenge was and called it another one of our B.S. gimmicks.
The Riott Squad came out for their match, then Lynch came out to cut a promo. Lynch called Rousey a weirdo and noted that she came into the company with a big contract and only fought the best of the best, yet nobody cared about her until The Man came around. Lynch said Rousey was better off with her around and that’s why they were main eventing.
Lynch said they both knew how this would end, with Lynch holding the title above her head with Rousey’s head under her foot.
Charlotte came out next. She said they were in the main event, not because of what Lynch has done in the past six months or because of what Rousey has done over the past year--but because of what she has done over the past seven years.
Beat the Clock match: Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey defeated Sarah Logan (w/Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) (1:25)
Logan ran around to kill time, then caught Rousey in a submission. Rousey fought out, hit a leaping forearm followed by an armbar for the submission win at 1:25.
Beat the Clock match: Charlotte Flair NC Ruby Riott (w/Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan) (1:25)
They counted down from 1:25 and Charlotte applied the Figure Eight with a few seconds left, but Ruby held off and didn’t tap-out as time expired. (The match didn’t continue beyond the time limit.)
Beat the Clock match: Becky Lynch defeated Liv Morgan (w/Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan) (1:17)
Charlotte booted Lynch before her match started, but Lynch won anyway with a roll-up at about 1:17, winning the beat the clock challenge. Rousey and Lynch yelled at each other post-match (with Rousey standing on the stage).
This all felt rather pointless.
2-on-1 handicap match: Finn Bálor defeated Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley & Jinder Mahal (w/Lio Rush and The Singh Brothers) (5:48)
Lio Rush was supposed to be Lashley’s partner, but said he wasn’t cleared to compete because of what Braun Strowman did to him last week. They found a new partner instead. Renee Young noted how ridiculous it was that they could just pick their own replacement. Rush also said Bálor would be leaving the game a broken down piece of garbage like Rob Gronkowski.
After a break, Bálor made a comeback on both men until he was tripped up by the Singhs. He responded by taking out everyone (except Rush) with a flip dive. He tossed Mahal in the ring and hit Coup de Grace for the pinfall win. Crowd popped pretty big. The win meant Bálor gets an IC title shot at Mania. After the match, Lashley slammed both Singhs, then speared Mahal.
Elias was shown at Time Square in New York. He said he would give the greatest performance we’ve ever seen at Mania. He claimed Time Square was normally dead at this time of night, but there were people everywhere just to see him perform. Before he could start, a random guy with a guitar showed up to perform instead. Elias told him to go perform in the subway.
They plugged Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe. Corey Graves noted that they had a storied history, but have never wrestled in WWE.
Aleister Black & Ricochet defeated Tag Team Champions The Revival in a non-title match (8:57)
Cole noted that Black and Ricochet beat the Revival a few weeks ago in a non-title match. After a break, Cole said if Black and Ricochet could pick up a non-title win tonight, they might earn themselves a title match.
Before the break, there was kind of a messy spot where Ricochet barely caught Dash Wilder with a dive to the outside, then Black followed with a double knee strike on Scott Dawson. Despite the dives, Revival were in control after the break.
Ricochet used a soccer kick on Dawson and a neckbreaker on Wilder, then made the tag to Black. Black used strikes on Dawson, then took out both men with a springboard moonsault. Black followed with more strikes and a knee to the head, but Dawson kicked out. Dawson faked a punch and nailed a DDT, but Ricochet broke up the cover.
Black caught both men with one Black Mass, then Ricochet nailed Wilder with the 630 for the pinfall win. Crowd got quiet during the match, but popped for the finish.
Drew McIntyre/Roman Reigns segment
McIntyre told the crowd that they might not like him, but they must respect him. McIntyre said a week was a long time to wait for an answer. He was nervous anticipating Roman Reigns’ answer but didn’t blame Reigns for taking his time.
McIntyre had a clip for us and replayed what he did to Reigns two weeks ago and noted that he could have finished him off right there if he wanted to. They also included the clip of McIntyre saying Reigns beat leukemia but he can’t beat him. McIntyre said he took out Dean Ambrose and beat the number one contender Seth Rollins.
McIntyre spoke to “Joe” again and asked if he had put his family through enough already. They already had to watch daddy fight for his life--does he really want to put them through that again knowing he’s going to lose. The crowd booed, then chanted for Reigns.
McIntyre threatened to stay out there all night, then Reigns interrupted. Reigns stood toe-to-toe with McIntyre (McIntyre was noticeably taller). Reigns said that “Roman” accepted the challenge. He said the next message wasn’t coming from “Roman” and warned him to never speak about his wife and kids again.
Reigns attacked McIntyre and tossed him around ringside. Upon re-entering the ring, McIntyre caught him with a low-blow, followed by a Claymore kick. Referees checked on Reigns as McIntyre left. This only got a modest amount of heat.
After a break, McIntyre was shown walking through the back where he ran into Dean Ambrose. Ambrose wondered why McIntyre called him a cockroach or why McIntyre claimed he exterminated him. Ambrose didn’t feel exterminated and challenged McIntyre to one more match tonight--a last man standing match. McIntyre didn’t know how Ambrose was even standing, but promised that he won’t be standing after tonight.
Natalya (w/Beth Phoenix) defeated Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) via DQ (7:36)
After a break, Natalya did the spot where she steps over/on her opponent while running the ropes, but Banks caught her leg and transitioned into the crossface. Natalya countered that into a sharpshooter but Banks fought out of it and flipped Natalya into the turnbuckle.
Suddenly, Bayley was attacked on the outside by Tamina and Nia Jax. They jumped in the ring and Tamina gave Banks a superkick for the DQ. Phoenix jumped in for the save and got Jax on her shoulders, which the crowd popped for. Tamina saved Jax, but Phoenix caught her with the Glam Slam. The crowd chanted “you still got it” as Natalya embraced Phoenix.
They announced the Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart as the Hart Foundation for the Hall of Fame and aired a video package. After the video, they cut to Natalya and Phoenix who were still in the ring, and Natalya was in tears as the crowd cheered. Phoenix stepped aside so Natalya could take in the moment. This was nice.
Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Kurt Angle about facing a tough opponent tonight. Angle appreciated Samoa Joe coming in from Smackdown for the match. He said this tour wasn’t about handshakes, it was about leaving on his terms. He was honoured to face Chad Gable and Apollo Crews and would be ready for Baron Corbin at Mania (the crowd booed). Corbin interrupted to mock him. Angle got in his face, said “screw you,” and left.
A Moment of Bliss
This week’s episode took place in the ring instead of on the stage. Bliss said the Mania lineup has gotten better since she was named host and mentioned the women in the main event. Bliss aired clips of Strowman’s involvement with Colin Jost and Michael Che of SNL, then introduced Strowman as her guest.
She ran down some of the violent actions from Strowman’s past, all of which he admitted to doing. Bliss introduced Jost and Che, who appeared via satellite. Jost knew he made a mistake when he wore a New York Mets hat in Philly, and wouldn’t do it again. This time, he put on a Yankees hat here in Boston, which was booed.
Jost went on for a while and said he wanted payment for Strowman destroying the car. Among the things Jost wanted was an autograph from his favourite wrestler, Brock Lesnar. Strowman suggested Jost enter the battle royal at Mania, or else he’ll find both Jost and Che backstage and take care of them. Che heard this and accepted on Jost’s behalf.
Jost then added Che to the match. Strowman told them both to shut up, then asked Bliss if she could make this official. She pretended for a moment that she couldn’t, then she made it official. Strowman said they better show up, or they’ll walk around NYC the rest of their lives wondering when they’ll get these hands.
Back to Elias, who was in front of Madison Square Garden. Elias had a cup of herbal tea, then somebody tossed a quarter in his cup. Elias ranted at the guy, who was already gone.
Baron Corbin defeated Apollo Crews
Corbin was introduced as a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, former U.S. champion, former Money in the Bank winner, and Boston’s favourite son.
Crews hit a frog splash but Corbin kicked out. Corbin followed soon after with End of Days for the clean win. After the match, Corbin gave him another End of Days.
Rousey, Charlotte and Lynch will be on ESPN tomorrow morning. Young said it would be their first interview since the announcement that they were main eventing Mania. (They all cut promos earlier tonight about said announcement.) Next week, the three women tag together against the Riott Squad.
Seth Rollins promo
Rollins said he would cut straight to the chase, then went on to cut a long promo. Rollins said he and Lesnar weren’t cut from the same cloth and their roads to Mania couldn’t be more different. He wanted to be the kind of champion that inspired him when he was little, like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart or Ric Flair. Even Triple H and John Cena inspired people.
Lesnar was not the kind of champion who inspired people. Rollins always knew he wanted this match but didn’t realize until recently how much it meant to all of the fans. He mentioned doing an autograph signing yesterday in Boston and every fan had the same message for him: please beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
Rollins said that message hit him in the heart and now he feels like he has no choice. “Now, I have to beat Brock Lesnar.” Rollins refused to let Lesnar be the champion the defines the future and couldn’t let him continue to cast a shadow over this industry. Rollins pointed at the fans and said he had an army with him and together they would burn it down.
Before he could quite finish his line, Paul Heyman interrupted. Heyman wanted to thank Rollins, because now he knows the match at Mania is a handicap match: Lesnar against Rollins and the entire WWE universe. Heyman liked those odds and assured them that their chances of winning were zero.
He said Rollins sounded pathetic for needing their affirmation and wondered if he would ask for thoughts and prayers next. Heyman mocked people who asked for thoughts and prayers because their pets or distance relatives needed surgery. He suggested Rollins would be asking for thoughts and prayers after what happens to him in Suplex City.
Heyman hoped Rollins took it personally when he and the entire universe lost at Mania. Heyman left up the ramp, then Rollins chased after him. Heyman fell down and immediately began begging for his life, saying “I hope you win!” then suggested that Lesnar put him up to this.
Rollins laughed and said he wasn’t here to ask for thoughts and prayers, he was here to answer them. He said “we” were going to march into Suplex City and let the crowd chant “burn it down.” Heyman was great here. Angle came out for his entrance with Heyman still sulking on the ramp and directed the “you suck” chants at him.
Kurt Angle defeated Samoa Joe (8:55)
Joe cut a promo before the match. He said he forgot his bouquet of flowers and even though they have a lot of memories together, he’s not a sentimental person. He said it would be a cold day on the wrong side of the afterlife before he lets Angle go riding off into the sunset.
Joe had a special gift for Angle in his last night in Boston: “I couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye to you forever than putting your ass to sleep one last time.” This was great.
When the match started, the went face-to-face and mimicked their first meeting in TNA, with Joe giving Angle a headbutt this time. Joe took out Angle with a suicide dive and they went to break.
Joe was in control after the break, but Angle cut him off and used rolling German suplexes for two. Joe countered an Angle Slam and hit an inverted atomic drop, big boot and senton for two. Angle came back with an Angle Slam for a nearfall. Joe fought off an ankle lock and hit a powerslam for two.
Angle avoided a muscle buster and (barely) hit a missile dropkick. Angle sized up for the ankle lock but Joe caught him in the Coquina Clutch. Angle then rolled into a cradle for the pinfall win. This match was a struggle.
Triple H promo
Somewhat surprisingly, this was not a top-of-the-hour segment. Triple H congratulating Rousey, Lynch and Charlotte for getting the main event at Mania. He called it historic for them, every woman in the back, and every woman who ever stepped foot in the ring. He said it wasn’t given, it was earned.
He said moments like that made him happy, like having a dry microphone, and not the one Batista spit all over last week. Some things don’t make him happy, like the letter he struggled to pull out of his jacket pocket from Batista’s lawyer that stated his client won’t compete at WrestleMania unless he agrees to another stipulation.
Among the ramblings in the letter, Batista wanted Triple H to admit that he only started Evolution to help him retain the world title. Triple H congratulated him on finally realizing this, which drew a laugh from the crowd. Triple H ran down some more things in the letter, while mocking Batista the entire time.
He said Batista was better off having been a part of Evolution considering all of the titles he won after leaving them, then noted Batista quit once he realized he couldn’t beat John Cena. He claimed Batista wanted the Mania date pushed back to comply with his filming schedule for Guardians of the Galaxy.
He went on for a while and finally got to the stipulation that Batista wanted, that Triple H would retire if he lost. He said Batista beat up a 70-year-old man for this and he already agreed to the match. At this point in their careers, if he can’t beat a douchebag like Batista, he doesn’t belong in the ring anyway. He agreed to put his career on the line.
Elias was shown performing on the streets of a rainy New York City with no one watching. Some guy stole the money out of his guitar case, then stole the guitar case.
Next week on Raw, Kurt Angle faces Rey Mysterio. Also, Brock Lesnar appears.
Drew McIntyre defeated Dean Ambrose in a Last Man Standing match (9:56)
The match started with only about 11 minutes left in the show. Mike Rome raced through the rules of the match as McIntyre entered. Ambrose crashed and burned on a diving elbow attempt to the outside, then McIntyre tossed him into the barricade as Cole frantically cut to break with only 8-9 minutes left in the show.
Back from break with 5-6 minutes left in the show, McIntyre nailed Ambrose with a Kendo stick to the gut and to the back, then stuck the point of the stick in Ambrose’s face. Ambrose clotheslined McIntyre out of the ring and followed with a suicide dive. Young groaned and mentioned the bruise left on Ambrose’s body from the Kendo stick.
McIntyre followed with a headbutt, then catapulted Ambrose chest-first into the steel grate under the ring. McIntyre followed with a steel steps shot, but Ambrose got to his feet before the count of 10. McIntyre placed a chair in between the ropes, but Ambrose managed to drive him into it. Ambrose followed with Dirty Deeds but McIntyre got up at the count of 7.
Ambrose set up a table in the corner of the ring but McIntyre picked him up and drove him through it. Ambrose got up at 5, then McIntyre nailed him with a Claymore kick. Ambrose tried getting up but fell down as the referee countered to 10. McIntyre wins. He posed and pointed at the sign as they went off the air right at 11:00 pm ET.
McIntyre didn’t break the rules or anything, but there’s no real reason why Ambrose’s buddies couldn’t have come out to help him here. Reigns in particular had plenty of incentive.