Date: January 28, 2019
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ
The Big Takeaway --
Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch had a heavily heated segment that made their match feel like a big WrestleMania main event. Read more on that below.
Seth Rollins didn’t make his choice official, but it looks like he will be taking on Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Lesnar gave him six F5s at the end of the show.
It’s definitely WrestleMania season, because there were five different segments were babyfaces were laid out by heels. Among those segments was Baron Corbin laying out Kurt Angle after beating him in a four-minute match.
The teams of Nia Jax & Tamina and Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan qualified for the Elimination Chamber, which will crown the women’s tag team championships. Sasha Banks & Bayley will likely qualify next week after they face the team of Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross.
Also, Elias is back as a heel, which is for the best.
Show Recap --
Seth Rollins came out with a big smile to start the show. He received a big reaction and “burn it down” chants. Last week, he said he would win the Rumble because of heart and now he can stand there and say he’s going to the main event of WrestleMania. The crowd chanted “you deserve it.”
Rollins told himself he wasn’t going to do it, but he just had to and he pointed at the sign. The crowd cheered. Rollins actually got choked up and spoke about all the people who wished they could be in his spot. He knew this was just the beginning of the journey.
He said one path could take him to Smackdown and he could challenge a friend of his in Daniel Bryan (which was booed), or he could go to Suplex City and face Brock Lesnar. I think the crowd chanted “take his belt.” Rollins said it would take some time to make a decision.
Triple H came out to a positive reaction and “NXT” chants. He said he pushed Rollins to bring back the old Rollins and he stepped up to the challenge. Triple H also got emotional and blamed Rollins for getting emotional earlier. He put over Rollins’ win and told him he had a decision to make.
He mentioned Becky Lynch needing to make the same decision (she was cheered), which she would do tomorrow, but he needed Rollins to make a decision by the end of the night. Triple H said both Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar would be here tonight. The crowd chanted “slay the beast.” Before Rollins could respond, Dean Ambrose came out.
Ambrose called their father-son thing cute but it makes him sick. Ambrose recalled being on the road with Rollins, talking about how Triple H wanted to get rid of Rollins, and how when they wanted to take over WWE, Triple H tried to get in their way.
Triple H belittled him for trying to play the brother card considering what he did the night Roman Reigns announced he had leukemia. Ambrose told him that this doesn’t concern him, and Triple H told him everything around here concerns him. Ambrose called Rollins a suck up.
Ambrose hoped Rollins did beat Lesnar or Bryan but said Rollins has never been able to beat him without help. Ambrose told Triple H to put him in a match with Rollins right now. Triple H was about to leave, then Ambrose got in his face and asked if he needed permission from his father-in-law. The crowd chanted “yes he does.” Triple H called for a referee. Ambrose was really good here.
Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose (12:32)
After a break, Rollins came back with a high cross. They traded chops, then Rollins hit a slingblade, followed by consecutive suicide dives. Rollins kicked Ambrose, who fell out of the ring (it looked like he was about to do the rebound clothesline, but didn’t) and Rollins hit another suicide dive.
Rollins went to the top, looked at the sign, then missed a frog splash, which led to a rollup and a nearfall. Rollins countered a Dirty Deeds into a ripcord knee, followed by a buckle bomb, superkick and curb stomp for the win. Ambrose oversold the curb stomp. After Rollins left, they cut to Ambrose who was seething over the loss.
Back from break, Ambrose was sitting in the ring. He claimed he had something serious to say and asked the fans to not be jerks. He mentioned signing with WWE, but before he could continue, Nia Jax and Tamina interrupted.
Jax got in Ambrose’s face. They chirped at each other for a bit until Ambrose turned his attention to Tamina. Jax then clocked him from behind and he fell out of the ring. A million referees were at ringside already and they held him back as the crowd chanted “let them fight.” Alexa Bliss and Mickie James came out as Ambrose left.
Elimination Chamber qualifier: Nia Jax & Tamina defeated Alexa Bliss & Mickie James (10:01)
Bliss was getting offense on Tamina, then Tamina knocked her down by just sorta swatting at her. Jax tagged in and gave Bliss a running hip attack, then pinned her head against the buckle with her ass for a few seconds. James got the hot tag and gave Tamina a neckbreaker for two.
Jax tagged in and hoisted James on her shoulders. Bliss was about to attack from the top rope, but changed her mind when Jax saw her. Jax then hoisted Bliss on her shoulders too, along with James, and gave them both a Samoan drop. Jax then pinned James for the win. The finish was cool. Jax and Tamina qualify for the Chamber match to crown the tag titles.
They aired a pre-taped interview of Kurt Angle by Dasha Fuentes. It was weird, because they didn’t show Fuentes, and they spliced in clips as Angle spoke. Angle said he wasn’t worried about a repeat of what happened in his match with Drew McIntyre, and the only person who should be worried was Baron Corbin.
Baron Corbin defeated Kurt Angle (3:56)
Corbin cut a promo before the match. He said the fans didn’t care about him and he would humiliate Angle tonight. As Corbin spoke, Angle punched him in the face. The referee separated them and started the match. Angle hit a German suplex, but Corbin quickly cut him off.
Michael Cole went on a loud rant about something and mentioned that Angle had to return to the ring to provide for his family. Angle avoided a charge and hit rolling Germans as the announcers all yelled at each other as loudly as they could. (Angle struggled to hit the third suplex.) Corbin slipped out of an Angle Slam and hit a big boot for two.
Angle smacked him and hit an Angle Slam for a nearfall. The announcers are still arguing. Angle applied the ankle lock. Corbin sold for a while before he turned around and kicked down Angle. Corbin then gave him a Deep Six for the pinfall win. Crowd was stunned.
Corbin returned to the ring and gave Angle an End of Days as the crowd booed. Cole wondered if this was the end of Angle’s career and then quickly moved on to something else. This sucked.
Finn Bálor was shown walking gingerly backstage. He was greeted by Heath Slater, Apollo Crews, Sasha Banks and Bayley. He also passed Heavy Machinery as Otis Dozovic was pumping his fist and gyrating.
Finn Bálor promo
Bálor came to the ring. He didn’t do his usual poses during his entrance because he was selling from last night. The crowd chanted “too sweet” for him. Bálor said he went toe-to-toe with Lesnar for 10 minutes, but he has no excuse, Lesnar beat him. Then Lesnar beat him again.
Bálor said he’s never seen power and speed like that before, and now he’s hurt. But Bálor said he could hold his head up high. He said Lesnar attacked him after the match because he made Lesnar believe. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush interrupted.
Corey Graves said he saw Lashley eating 11 donuts in catering and he still looks incredible. (Funny enough, on Observer Radio a few weeks ago, Dave Meltzer told a story about Lashley being able to eat whatever he wants and still stay in shape.)
Rush said it was a disgrace that a twerp like Bálor got a title shot in the first place. Rush said Bálor almost beat Lesnar, but he wouldn’t stand a chance against Lashley (he’s already beaten Lashley). Rush said Lashley was bigger, stronger and faster than Lesnar.
Bálor brought up Lashley only lasting a few seconds in the Rumble, so Lashley attacked him and left him laying with a three spinebusters. Rush took off his Lashley t-shirt and draped it over Bálor. This was fine, but it was also the second straight segment with a heel leaving a babyface laying.
The Revival defeated Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins (2:57)
No entrance for the Revival. Cole talked about the history between Ryder and Hawkins and they showed clips from their time as a team on Smackdown (10 years ago), becoming tag champions and their time as Edgeheads. Revival won quickly with the Shatter Machine on Hawkins. Ryder tried to cheer up Hawkins but Hawkins was pissed at himself for losing.
Charly Caruso caught up with Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan. Bryan has a black eye. Bryan said he would have beaten AJ Styles no matter what last night. He also said Rollins promotes air pollution and wanton destruction everytime he says “burn it down.” (It sounded like he said “wonton destruction.”) Bryan said he would end Rollins’ WrestleMania hopes tonight.
Elias said he gave the fans a chance but was disappointed in them. He said they should be standing on their feet and cheering the moment he’s introduced. He said they were in the presence of greatness but now it was too late for them. The crowd chanted “we’re not worthy.” Elias couldn’t believe he wrote songs for them at one point, but his songs are just for him now.
Elias was about to perform, not before telling them to shut their mouths, but Jeff Jarrett interrupted, fully clothed this time. Jarrett called him slap nuts. Jarrett said Elias had a problem and spelled out his name as the crowd sang along. Road Dogg came out and joined him. He wore a Lynch shirt.
He said if Elias only wanted to perform for himself, he should play with himself on his own time. He then had the crowd yell “suck it.” A small group chanted “holy shit” after that. Road Dogg asked them to stop, then realized he only made it worse. Road Dogg and Jarrett then sang “With My Baby Tonight” as they walked down to the ring.
Elias smashed a guitar over Road Dogg’s back as he was singing. Elias attacked Jarrett, but Jarrett fought back. Jarrett went for the guitar, but Elias punched him low and smashed him with the guitar. The crowd was hot for this.
Dana Brooke caught up with Natalya and said she knows she isn’t her first choice for a partner after Ember Moon got hurt. Brooke asked Natalya if she thought she was as good as Moon. Natalya said they just need to try their best tonight. Brooke said she was better than both Moon and Natalya. Brooke then asked Natalya if was coming with her after she just insulted her.
Elimination Chamber qualifier: Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan (w/Ruby Riott) defeated Natalya & Dana Brooke (2:37)
Natalya had Morgan in the Sharpshooter as Brooke knocked Riott off the apron. Logan got in and pushed Brooke into Natalya. Morgan then rolled up Natalya for the win.
(Update: I forgot to add it, but there was a segment around here where Mojo Rawley yelled at himself in the mirror. It seems like he has a split personality. Or maybe he doesn’t.)
Ronda Rousey came out and got a mixed reaction. She talked about dreaming big. She debuted a year ago and now she stood there as Women’s champion. The crowd is flat-out booing her now. She credited Sasha Banks for her performance last night then flubbed her line. She admitted the crowd made her stutter.
She then moved on to WrestleMania and said Lynch has a choice to make. The crowd chanted for Lynch. Rousey just stood there for a bit until Bayley interrupted. Bayley challenged her to a title match right now and Rousey accepted.
Ronda Rousey defeated Bayley to retain the Women’s Championship (15:27)
Bayley worked over Rousey’s leg after Rousey landed “awkwardly.” That’s what they said happened anyway, it didn’t look like that at all. Bayley used a chop block and took over from there, controlling the match through a break.
Rousey came back with a couple of clotheslines and judo throws. She fell down attempting one more throw, selling the damage from last night’s match. Rousey continued her comeback anyway and hit a running elbow strike for two.
There was a cool spot where Rousey went for a boot but Bayley caught her and applied a leg lock. Rousey transitioned out of it and they spilled to the outside where Bayley tossed her into the barricade. After a break, Bayley used a dropkick and flying elbow drop. Instead of going for the cover, Bayley applied a crossface but Rousey got a rope break.
Bayley went to the top and initially fought off Rousey, but Rousey ran back up and brought her down with a spinning slam, then applied the armbar. Bayley tapped immediately. Rousey retained. Rousey helped Bayley to her feet and they shook hands.
Becky Lynch’s music hit and the camera caught a very excited Nita Strauss in the crowd. Lynch limped to the ring and was welcomed by a big reaction. Lynch said, “Ronnie, I told you I’d find a way back to you again.” Lynch said she’s been hearing about the baddest woman on the planet for the past year, but the last time she was on Raw, she dropped Rousey.
Even after that, Rousey never came looking for her to prove she was the baddest. Lynch was here to prove she was not. The crowd chanted for Lynch. Lynch said, “Unlike Seth Rollins, I don’t need much time to think. I choose you.” The crowd erupted in “yes” chants. Lynch said she was going to break Rousey’s mystique and kick her ass in front of the world.
Rousey grabbed a mic and the crowd booed loudly. Rousey said she wants to beat the best version of Lynch that ever existed. Rousey said she could easily re-break her face and had the ability to “kill” her with her bare hands.
Rousey realized they were the same age, which meant as Lynch was training, Rousey was main eventing in a sport where they didn’t even want women. Rousey said she’s been a household name for a decade, she owns the ground she walks on and is going to own Lynch at WrestleMania. Rousey slammed the mic and stormed off. Lynch smirked.
This was a red hot angle. It felt like a big main event angle and definitely like it should remain a singles match.
Backstage, Strowman found Rollins, shook his hand, told him he earned it last night and to make the right decision tonight.
Braun Strowman defeated Drew McIntyre via DQ (6:53)
Strowman was going to attack McIntyre with the steel steps (as payback from a while back) but Corbin showed up and attacked him from behind for the DQ. Corbin hit him with a chair, but Strowman punched the chair out of his hands and tossed him into the steps. Strowman then gave both men running shoulder tackles.
Strowman bounced Corbin’s face off the steps, then McIntyre flew in and nailed him with a Claymore kick. A fan yelled “watch out!” right before but, sadly, it was too late. The heels gave Strowman a double chokeslam on the steps. This was the fourth segment on the show that ended with a babyface laid out.
Main Event segment
They introduced Seth Rollins but Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out instead. Heyman said the concept of tonight was absurd because there was only one choice for Rollins to make, and that was to face WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. He said they would have a great grappling contest, but the last thing Rollins wants was to get into a fight with Lesnar.
As Heyman continued, Rollins interrupted and got right into Lesnar’s face. Lesnar was amused and looked away for a second, then Rollins punched him in the face. Rollins kicked him in the gut a couple of times and went for the curb stomp, but Lesnar grabbed him and gave him an F5. Lesnar then gave him two more. Then one more. Then one more on the title belt.
Lesnar was about to leave, then Rollins sat up slightly against the bottom rope and yelled at Lesnar, asking him if that’s all he had. The copyright graphic popped up on the screen as Lesnar grabbed Rollins and gave him one more F5 and they went off the air.
I enjoyed this, but this was the fifth segment on the show that ended with a babyface laid out.