Date: April 8, 2019
Location: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
The Big Takeaway --
Raw came to a crashing halt after the advertised “winner take all” match between Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins ended in a DQ when it was interrupted by Sheamus and Cesaro of all people.
One of the highlights was the return of Sami Zayn, who lost to Finn Bálor but then cut a memorable heel promo. Tonight also featured the debut of Lars Sullivan, an appearance by the Undertaker, Alexa Bliss’s return to the ring and possibly the final TV appearance of Dean Ambrose. Ambrose was beaten up by Bobby Lashley, and if it really was his final appearance, it will be easily forgotten.
This isn’t a criticism, but worth mentioning: Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Triple H and Batista were among those not on the show.
The Superstar Shake-up is next week on both Raw and Smackdown.
Show Recap --
Michael Cole welcomed us to Raw and it appears his voice hasn’t recovered from last night. Seth Rollins came out to start the show and they aired a recap of his title win. They came back to his arena and the crowd was giving him a standing ovation and “you deserve it” chants.
Rollins said, “No, we deserve it.” Rollins said he waited a long time to stand in this ring and hold the title over his head, and all he had to do was climb Mount Everest and defeat the most dominant champion in WWE. The crowd loudly chanted “thank you, Rollins.”
Rollins thanked them, then he admitted he felt like crap after taking a beating from Brock Lesnar. But, he got back up. And even though he may have used questionable tactics, he didn’t do anything to Lesnar that Lesnar wouldn’t have done to him. The crowd chanted “full-time champ.”
Rollins heard that Lesnar and Paul Heyman went to Vegas for some meetings, but as far as he’s concerned, they can stay there. Rollins called himself the reigning, defending, fighting, Universal champion and he would be a champion they can be proud of.
Big E’s voice and The New Day’s entrance interrupted. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E came out, and Kingston got a huge pop. Kingston said Rollins looked confused, and Big E said they couldn’t wait until tomorrow to celebrate.
Woods put over Rollins’ win over Lesnar, then mocked Heyman. Big E said Kingston did the unthinkable, winning his first WWE Championship singles match in 12 years. Big E did the splits, which Rollins couldn’t believe. The crowd chanted for Big E.
Kingston said he and his sons watched the main event where the winner took all. Kingston thought that was a great idea for Becky Lynch. Kingston then suggested the new Universal Champion and the new WWE Champion have a winner take all match tonight. Huge “yes” chants.
Kingston said the Shield weren’t around, so offered a one-on-one match with no New Day at ringside. Title for title. Rollins accepted and the crowd popped. Rollins’ music played as Woods and Big E rocked out in the background. This was fun.
Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder defeated The Revival to retain the Tag Team Championships (10:02)
Cole said seven titles changed hands last night, which was a record. Revival hit a Hart Attack which led to a nearfall and a commercial break. After the break, Ryder made a hot tag and ran wild on both guys. He dished out Broski boots and tagged in Hawkins who hit a flying elbow drop for two.
Hawkins landed awkwardly on his leg but was just faking, which led to a small package for a nearfall. They went back and forth until Revival hit Ryder with a Shatter Machine, but Hawkins was the legal man, so he slipped in and used a schoolboy on Dawson for the win. A fine match, and the crowd was happy.
Baron Corbin promo / Lars Sullivan debuts
Corbin came out for a promo. The crowd called him an asshole and he took it as a compliment. Corbin said he showed that Kurt Angle didn’t deserve to be in the same ring as him. The crowd chanted “shut the fuck up.” Corbin said he expected nothing less from a bunch of dirty New Yorkers.
Corbin was used to people doubting him and last night he proved he was better than an Olympic gold medalist. Corbin thought he deserved a gold medal of his own. Angle interrupted. The crowd chanted, “thank you, Kurt.” Angle said Corbin was the better man last night and his career was officially over.
Angle wished Corbin luck and shook his hand. Angle pulled him in and said he wished him bad luck, then gave him an Angle Slam. Angle put Corbin in the ankle lock and he wildly tapped out.
Angle led the crowd in “you suck” chants as his music played then, suddenly, Lars Sullivan’s music hit and he entered. Cole said Sullivan was 6’3”, 330lbs. Angle got in Sullivan’s face, then Sullivan gave him a Freak Accident followed by a diving headbutt. The crowd wasn’t happy with this.
Next week is the Superstar Shake-up on both Raw and Smackdown in Montreal.
Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley (2:44)
Earlier today, Bliss issued a challenge on social media to either Bayley or Sasha Banks after they squandered their title defense. Bayley accepted and came out alone. Bayley did a sunset flip into a powerbomb, which drove Bliss head-first into the turnbuckle. Bayley got a two count, then Bliss followed soon after with a DDT for the clean win.
They’re promoting a WWE Championship celebration for Kingston on SmackDown tomorrow, despite what they have advertised for tonight’s main event.
Becky Lynch promo
Lynch wore the Raw title around her waist and held the Smackdown title on her shoulder. They aired clips of her win last night, then came back to the live crowd who were signing her music. Lynch said she worked in a bar not far from here 9 years ago. The crowd chanted her name and “you deserve it.” She thanked them and said, “we did it!”
She gleefully called herself “Becky Two-Belts” and the crowd chanted that, too. Lynch recalled all the months of “Ronnie and Ric’s daughter” running their mouths, but when all was said and done, the woman who walked in with nothing left with everything.
Lynch knew she wasn’t the fastest or strongest person in the company. She left home at 15 years old and it taught her how to survive. She would always find a way to overcome and win in the end. Crowd chanted “you’re the man.” Lynch responded, “You hear that Ronnie, ya little weirdo?”
Lynch said she’d be waiting for Ronda Rousey to come back so she could slap the empty head off her shoulders. She figured the McMahons were going to hand Charlotte the tag titles or something. Lynch knew there was plenty of other competition and she was ready to slap the heads off all of them.
As Lynch was about to leave, Lacey Evans sauntered out. She faced off with Lynch, then clocked her right in the face with the “woman’s right.” Lynch was knocked back, but not down. She regrouped and ran after Evans. They brawled and went back-and-forth until Lynch tried putting her in the Disarmer. Evans managed to slip away as officials held back Lynch.
They announced Dean Ambrose’s last WWE match would happen tonight against Bobby Lashley.
Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Rollins why he accepted the challenge. Rollins said this is what he loves and he lives for the next challenge. He admired Kingston and New Day for challenging him, but he was also a little insulted because this was Raw and they would now have to face the consequences. He knew Kingston was capable of an A-plus performance, and he would need another A-plus performance tonight.
Ricochet & Aleister Black defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (11:03)
It happened off camera, so you couldn’t see it, but the little platform that lifts Black to his feet during his entrance malfunctioned, so he just popped up to his feet through the smoke. They aired an in-set promo by Roode and Gable, who basically said they would do whatever it took to win from now on.
After a break, Black made a hot tag and hit Roode with strikes, then hit both guys with a springboard moonsault. Black followed with more strikes. The crowd is doing the wave. Roode bumped into the referee, so Gable pushed Ricochet off the top and he bounced off the ropes. Roode followed with a spinebuster for a nearfall.
Roode and Gable hit a neckbreaker/moonsault combo, but Black broke up the cover. Gable went for the Chaos theory suplex, but Ricochet spun out of it and hit a codebreaker for the pinfall win. Roode knocked down Ricochet afterwards, but Black chased him off. This was a good match, but the crowd was distracting. They did pop for Ricochet flipping out of Gable’s suplex.
Backstage, Elias said his performance was interrupted by John Cena and his rapping, something he could do in his sleep. Elias said the McMahons have given him all the time he wants for a performance tonight, then warned anyone who dared to interrupt him.
There was a vignette where the camera zoomed in on a box with smoke coming out of it. Some sort of vulture puppet popped out of the box and started cackling.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush)
The match never happened. Rush was about to cut a promo but seemed unsure, so Lashley cut a promo instead. Lashley told Ambrose not to worry, because he would take care of his wife when he’s gone (then peered over at Renee Young). Ambrose attacked him and the fight went up the ramp. Ambrose hit a DDT, then began clearing the announce table.
Rush tried to attack, but Ambrose no-sold it and Rush ran away. This allowed Lashley to regroup and he speared Ambrose, then gave him a spinebuster through the table. The crowd chanted “you still suck.” Young and officials checked on Ambrose (who has taken way worse beatings than this). The crowd chanted “Thank you, Ambrose.” This was weird.
Sami Zayn was shown walking through the back and the crowd popped big.
Mojo Rawley yelled at a broken mirror.
Michael Cole said he wasn’t sure if we would see Young back on commentary tonight and that Ambrose was receiving medical attention.
Zayn came out and the crowd loudly sang his music. They also did the Olé chant and chanted “welcome back.” Zayn figured if he was going to miss WrestleMania, he might as well come back the night after WrestleMania. His schedule was wide open and wanted a match. Finn Bálor came out. Bálor said something to the referee, who relayed the message to the ring announcer. This match would be for the Intercontinental title.
Finn Bálor defeated Sami Zayn to retain the Intercontinental Championship (12:04)
Young was back on commentary but wouldn’t answer Cole when he asked about Ambrose. Zayn has a buzz cut. There were dueling chants for both guys. Zayn was being his obnoxious self, tapping away at Bálor’s chest and hamming it up after faking a dive to the outside. Bálor responded later with an awesome dropkick.
Zayn fought out of a rest hold and aggressively chopped and clubbed Bálor. Bálor came back with a basement dropkick, double foot stomp and chops of his own. Zayn blocked a chop with his boot, then they traded strikes, leading to a Pele kick by Bálor.
After a break, Zayn nailed a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. Bálor came back with a slingblade and running dropkick. Zayn avoided the Coup de Grace and used a schoolboy for a nearfall. Zayn hit an exploder into the turnbuckle but missed the Helluva kick and Bálor hit the Coup de Grace for the win.
This was great, though it was basically a race to the finish once they came back from break.
After Bálor left, they cut his music and the crowd cheered for Zayn. Zayn thought coming out here tonight would cure what ailed him, but all it did was reinforce what he realized over the past nine months. It genuinely seemed like the fans missed him, but Zayn did not miss any of this or any of the fans.
Zayn said WWE was a toxic environment, but it wasn’t because of the McMahons or the other superstars, it was because of the fans and their ugliness. Zayn lived a meaningful and happy life, but the fans lived a meaningless existence. They only receive satisfaction from being critics. He called a fan a moron and bemoaned the crowd for being judgemental.
Zayn called them ugly on the inside and mocked them for thinking they were the voice of reason. Overnight, the fans have become the overlords of WWE, but Zayn always tried to do what was right. Zayn wasn’t here to take over the WWE, he was here to hold the fans accountable because nobody else will. “See you in hell.” Zayn was awesome here.
(During the previous match, Graves clarified that Kingston's celebration tomorrow is contingent on him winning tonight.)
Backstage, Dana Brooke spoke to Sarah Schreiber. Brooke wanted to congratulate Lynch on becoming the champ-champ. She knew there were a lot of challengers, and even though she wasn’t at the front of the line, she was no longer at the back of the line. Brooke was ready to seize the moment and congratulated Lynch once again.
Elias promo / Undertaker return
Elias was in the ring. He said Cena was not a musician or an artist and called him fake-humble. Elias wanted to show how easy it was to rap. Elias began his rap, which included a line about giving Cena the middle finger. He said anyone who interrupts him next is a dead man. The Undertaker’s gong went off and the crowd erupted.
Undertaker came out and again the crowd popped huge. Taker got in the ring and Elias slowly went through the ropes like if he moved slowly enough maybe Taker wouldn’t see him. Elias changed his mind, though, and re-entered the ring. The crowd loudly chanted for Taker.
Elias put down his guitar and took off his jacket. Taker looked bewildered that Elias wasn’t running for his life. The crowd chanted “Taker’s gonna kill you.” Elias tried to catch him off-guard but ran into a big boot. Taker then gave him a chokeslam and tombstone. He covered Elias and the crowd counted “1-2-3.”
Winner Take All: WWE Champion Kofi Kingston defeated Universal Champion Seth Rollins via DQ [No title change] (7:42)
The crowd chanted for Kingston early on. They went to break 90 seconds into this presumably historic match. After the break, Rollins caught Kingston off the top with a dropkick. Rollins went for a curb stomp but Kingston moved and used a schoolboy for two, then spiked him with a DDT for another two count.
Kingston pushed Rollins off the top rope and he flew into the barricade. Sheamus and Cesaro then ran out and attacked Kingston for the DQ. Rollins made the save and they eventually fought off The Bar.
Rollins grabbed the mic and said he and Kingston could finish their match another time (the crowd groaned), then challenged The Bar to a match right now. Yikes.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston & Universal Champion Seth Rollins defeated Sheamus & Cesaro (9:20)
The crowd chanted “bullshit” as the match started. After a break, the crowd was not paying any attention to the match. The announcers tried to place the heat on The Bar for ruining the match.
Kingston made a hot tag and hit Sheamus with a dropkick and leg drop. Kingston hit S.O.S. but Cesaro broke up the cover. Kingston tried his trust fall dive but was caught, then Rollins knocked down The Bar with a suicide dive. Kingston followed with a flying crossbody on Sheamus for two.
The Bar double-teamed Kingston and hit an assisted White Noise, but Rollins broke up the cover attempt. Rollins then took out Sheamus with a superkick outside the ring. Kingston hit Cesaro with a Trouble in Paradise, then Rollins followed with curb stomp for the pinfall win.
Kingston and Rollins bumped fists afterwards, then posed with their title belts.
If you didn’t see it, this was as dumb as it sounds. Worse, even.