Date: March 11, 2019
Location: PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
The Big Takeaway --
Kurt Angle announced that his last match will take place at WrestleMania. Angle also had one more match tonight in his hometown of Pittsburgh and defeated Apollo Crews.
Raw ended with the Drew McIntyre show. Roman Reigns was supposed to have a match with Baron Corbin, but McIntyre attacked him and laid him out with two Claymore kicks, including one into the ring post. They played it up like Reigns might have a concussion. This led to McIntyre beating Dean Ambrose in an entertaining falls count anywhere match. McIntyre won with a Claymore kick and gave him another after the match.
Show Recap --
The Shield came out through the Pittsburgh crowd to start the show. The announcers ran down last night’s events and reiterated that Dean Ambrose is leaving the company.
Roman Reigns said he’s come to realize that life is short and if last night was the last time ever, he had no regrets because last night he got to do what he loves with who he loves. He said his brothers have never let him down.
Reigns said we were on the road to WrestleMania and they all had business to take care of. He himself hasn’t had a singles match on Raw in over 5 months and would love to here in Pittsburgh. Reigns said Ambrose had his own business to take care of but wasn’t sure what it was. He wished Ambrose luck.
Reigns moved on to Seth Rollins and the crowd chanted “slay the beast.” He said Rollins would beat Lesnar at Mania and take the Universal title. Ambrose hugged Rollins and they all did the Shield pose, then Ambrose and Reigns left the ring to let Rollins take over on his own. (Ambrose didn’t say a word here.)
Rollins said the Shield burned it down at Fastlane, but before he could say anything else, Paul Heyman interrupted. Rollins ran down some of the names Lesnar defeated along the way, including Goldberg, Big Show and Samoa Joe. Rollins then noted that Lesnar had trouble with Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles, and was almost defeated by Finn Bálor.
Rollins said Lesnar seems to have trouble with guys his size and style. Unlike those other men, he was uniquely qualified to actually beat Lesnar. The crowd chanted “slay the beast” and Heyman said that wasn’t going to happen.
Heyman said Rollins wasn’t telling the whole truth. Lesnar had no time to prepare to face the men Rollins mentioned. He said Styles replaced Jinder Mahal, Bryan replaced Styles, and Bálor replaced Braun Strowman. Lesnar only had 5-12 days to prepare for each of those men.
Heyman played a Lesnar video package then warned Rollins of what was to come. The crowd shrieked as Shelton Benjamin suddenly appeared from behind and tossed Rollins around with three German suplexes. They played Benjamin’s music and went to break.
Seth Rollins defeated Shelton Benjamin (10:24)
Heyman joined commentary. He said Benjamin and Lesnar weren’t necessarily friends, but did run down their history together. Rollins hit a blockbuster but missed a curb stomp. Rollins slipped out of a German but Benjamin caught him with a running kick for two.
After a break, Heyman took a call on his cell, then told Cole that Lesnar didn’t appreciate his comments, nor was he a fan of the video package the lazy WWE production crew made for him. Heyman announced that Lesnar would be on Raw next week. Cole didn’t seem worried and flippantly said “maybe he’ll beat me up again.”
Benjamin hit a German suplex and seemingly went for an F5, but Rollins slipped out, hit two superkicks and a curb stomp for the pinfall win. As Rollins celebrated, Bálor’s music hit and he entered for his match. Bálor and Rollins shook hands on the ramp.
(There was a weird moment where they showed Bobby Lashley’s face on the big screen as Bálor’s music and lights were still going.)
WWE congratulated themselves on having one billion followers on various social media.
Bobby Lashley defeated Finn Bálor to win the Intercontinental Championship (10:54)
Every Bálor TV match seems to start the same way. The heel takes control and applies a rest hold within a minute, then Bálor fights back and hits a flip dive leading a break. That’s what happened here, except instead of a dive, Bálor used a running soccer kick from the apron.
After a break, Bálor fought out of a headlock (as Rollins did in the previous match) but Lashley caught him with a downward spiral for two. Bálor countered a powerbomb into a low dropkick, followed by a running forearm, chop, and double foot stomp. Lashley grabbed him and drove him into the turnbuckle, but Bálor came back later with a slingblade and running dropkick.
Bálor went up to the top but the bell suddenly rang and Bálor stopped what he was doing. It was Lio Rush ringing the bell. Rush grabbed the title belt, so Bálor chased after him and gave him an enziguri. Bálor then tried a springboard move but Lashley caught him with a spear for the win. Lashley is the new IC champion. He celebrated with Rush afterwards.
(There was a local commercial advertising Raw in Montreal after Mania, and one of the matches announced was Lashley defending the IC title against Rollins. This aired before the title change we just saw.)
Later tonight, Alexa Bliss reveals the host of WrestleMania.
Charly Caruso asked Baron Corbin about his Reigns comments from a few months ago, then they showed a replay. Corbin reiterated his comments and said Reigns couldn’t possibly be 100-percent after battling that disease. He said he would house train the big dog tonight. He also said Reigns’ Shield brothers wouldn’t be able to help him. Not sure why that’s the case.
Ronda Rousey promo
Rousey started: “You can all take your applause and shove it. You think I give a damn what you bandwagon bitches think?” Rousey said she didn’t forget people chanting “you deserve it” after she got beaten with a kendo stick. She ran down Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, and said she would desecrate the place they love.
Rousey said she got Charlotte disqualified last night because she wanted to beat them both at Mania. She also wanted to embarrass and expose Lynch, Charlotte and WWE as the carny con-artists they always have been. Rousey said WWE has her permission to make the match a handicap match and would be embarrassed with herself if she even broke a sweat.
Rousey said Lynch and Charlotte were both jokes and anyone who believes in this whole charade was also a joke, then tossed down the mic.
Dana Brooke came out and said we’ve heard enough of Rousey. She said she had nothing left to lose and wasn’t going to let Rousey disrespect the business, the fans and the locker room. Brooke said she worked her ass off to get here and to prove she belongs. Brooke noted that Rousey normally issues an open challenge after a PPV and she would be glad to accept.
Rousey instead kicked her down and tossed her around ringside. She was about to apply an armbar as officials surrounded her, but stopped and told the fans to pay 60 bucks if they wanted to see an armbar. She smacked a referee and Cole piped in with “Rousey’s gone rogue!” Rousey grabbed her title and jacket and left. Rousey was good here.
Ricochet & Aleister Black defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (4:26)
Ricochet and Black won quickly after Black pinned Roode following a Black Mass. Afterwards, the Revival attacked Ricochet and Black on the stage. They backed away when Roode and Gable got close.
Kurt Angle will address his future tonight here in his hometown.
A Moment of Bliss
Bliss said being the host of WrestleMania was an honour and listed some past hosts: Kim Kardashian (who was booed), The Rock and the New Day. They played a quick video to announce that Mania will be hosted by none other than Alexa Bliss. Bliss acted surprised and said it was an honour for the WWE universe. “You are welcome.”
They aired a video package recapping what happened last week with the guys from SNL and made sure to show some screenshots of websites that wrote about it. Caruso asked Strowman if he thought he had the right to jack up Colin Jost by his neck. Strowman didn’t care if he had the right to or not, he enjoyed it. A stagehand appeared and told him that his car was ready, to which Strowman responded, “what car?”
After a break, Strowman and the stagehand were in the parking lot in front of a Chevy Camaro. The guy read a note from Jost who wrote an insincere apology to Strowman stating that the Camaro was a gift.
Strowman ripped the car apart while yelling about how it was too small for him anyway. He ripped off the door and hood with ease, then smashed the windshield with his bare fist. Strowman said he would see Jost and Michael Che live in New York and they would get these hands. This was amusing.
Elias was in the ring. He was cheered. He tried turning on his hometown, saying it's a miracle he’s a success given he came from Pittsburgh where everyone is an enormous waste of life.
He said people from Pittsburgh were miserable, and miserable people hold great people back, and that’s the advice he gave to his friend Antonio Brown. He advised Brown to take their money and run, which he did, and now he looks great in black and silver. The crowd booed this but it wasn’t that loud. It’s almost like they didn’t want to boo their hometown guy.
No Way Jose (who now has bright green and yellow hair) danced out with his friends but Elias attacked him and gave him a Drift Away on the ramp.
They announced Harlem Heat for the Hall of Fame. Lacey Evans entered and waved at Corey Graves (while blocking Renee Young’s face).
Nia Jax (w/Tamina) defeated Natalya (w/Beth Phoenix) via DQ
Before the match, Natalya said she wasn’t sure who had her back anymore and didn’t think she could trust Rousey. She did know she could trust her best friend, which brought out Beth Phoenix.
The match ended quickly by disqualification when Phoenix attacked Jax as she worked over Natalya. She also knocked down Tamina. The heels bailed as Phoenix checked on Natalya. They cut to the back where Sasha Banks and Bayley brawled with Jax and Tamina until officials broke it up.
Batista was shown arriving at the building.
Batista and Triple H face-to-face
Triple H came out wearing jeans, a t-shirt and leather jacket. The crowd chanted for Batista. Batista’s music hit and he sauntered out to the stage wearing a fancy suit and shades. About ten security guards came out to stand in front of him and the crowd booed. Triple H asked if he was just going to stand there like a nose-ring model or if he was going to do something.
Triple H guessed security was there for his own protection. Batista said no, he wasn't stupid. He learned from the two dirtiest players in the game and admitted the security was here for himself. He asked Triple H where his sledgehammer was. Batista said they were going to do things on his terms and he was going to get what he wanted.
Triple H said he wasn’t giving Batista anything. He asked Batista how many times he’s quit this company and wondered why he would give him anything. Triple H said if Batista was too much of a coward, he would make his way through his security, the Guardians of the Independent Scene, and kick his ass.
Batista said he quit because he wanted to get far away from Triple H. He got tired of Triple H holding him down and looking down on him. Batista would get what he wanted or he was going to continue hurting the people that Triple H loved. Triple H told him to get in the ring.
Batista knew that Triple H wanted it too, but he won’t give it to him because he’s not in control. Batista wanted him at WrestleMania. Triple H yelled, “you’re on.” Batista smiled and thanked him because this is all he ever wanted: one last match to end his career on his terms, and to end Triple H’s career on his terms.
Triple H told him to dig deep down inside because the match would be on his terms. He said their match would be no rules, no restrictions, no laws--a no holds barred match. Batista left.
Kurt Angle announcement
Angle came out in his gear and a t-shirt. Angle said 23 years ago he left Pittsburgh to compete in the Olympics where he won a gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck and that led him to a career in WWE where he beat everyone.
No matter where he went, he always considered Pittsburgh his home, which is why he wanted to make this announcement tonight: WrestleMania would be his farewell match. He thanked the WWE, the locker room, and the fans. He became emotional and said: “You made it so much fun for me. I literally had the time of my life.” The crowd stood and chanted “thank you, Kurt.”
Angle wanted one more match in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then it was on to WrestleMania.
Kurt Angle defeated Apollo Crews (3:01)
Graves spoke about what it was like growing up in Pittsburgh and following Angle on TV. Angle used a belly-to-belly suplex but Crews came back with a dropkick for a one count. Crews followed with a vertical suplex and chinlock, but Angle fought out and they traded punches.
Angle then gave Crews triple German suplexes (Crews went way up for the last one). Crews kicked out at two, then hit an enziguri and standing moonsault for two. Angle avoided a frog splash and nailed an Angle Slam for the pinfall win.
Angle seemed emotional celebrating the win. He helped Crews to his feet and they hugged. The crowd applauded Angle as he soaked it in. This was nice and also kind of sad.
Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin
As Reigns entered the ring before the match, Drew McIntyre attacked him from behind. Reigns tried to fight back, but McIntyre caught him with a Claymore kick outside the ring. McIntyre sized him up and hit another Claymore kick, this time knocking Reigns’ head into the ring post. Officials ran down to back off McIntyre as a trainer checked on Reigns for a concussion.
Reigns acted like he might have a concussion. Rollins ran down to check on Reigns. Reigns said he didn’t want to do this out here. Rollins told Reigns that it was okay to admit if he’s not fine. Reigns said he just has a headache. Reigns put his arm over Rollins’ shoulder as they walked up the ramp.
Back from break, Ambrose and Rollins walked with Reigns toward the trainer’s room. They urged him to get checked out. Rollins went into the room Reigns. Ambrose saw Triple H and marched up to him. Triple H asked how Reigns was doing. Ambrose said he wanted McIntyre in a falls count anywhere match. Triple H said, “hell yeah.”
Drew McIntyre defeated Dean Ambrose in a Falls Count Anywhere match (14:22)
McIntyre came out with a mic and asked Ambrose if he was going to take this beating like a man or if he was going to squeal like his pathetic brother Roman. Ambrose ran after him and they started the match.
Ambrose was all over him as they fought through the crowd. They got to the top of the 100 level section and McIntyre tossed him into a wall. He tried chucking Ambrose over a railing into the crowd but Ambrose bit him and nailed him with an axe handle. Ambrose threw a small table at him and they went to commercial.
During the break, the fight spilled onto the concourse where Ambrose dumped a table on McIntyre, then ate some popcorn off the floor. McIntyre then tossed him into the merchandise stand.
Back from break, they made their way down section 103 to the ringside area where McIntyre hit Ambrose with the steel steps for a two count. He tried it again but again Ambrose kicked out. McIntyre followed with a suplex on the floor for another two count. McIntyre taunted him and said he would take out every Shield member one at a time, so Ambrose kicked him in the nuts.
McIntyre used a steel chair, then dumped Ambrose on the hockey boards. Ambrose placed McIntyre on an equipment case with wheels and pushed it into another case. He followed with an elbow drop for two. Ambrose then used a small package of all things on the stage for two.
McIntyre cleared the announce table but Ambrose gave him a backdrop onto it. McIntyre followed with a low-blow of his own, then stabbed Ambrose in the face with a pencil. McIntyre then drove him into a video board a couple of times for a two count. Ambrose slapped McIntyre, then McIntyre slapped Ambrose.
McIntyre then squeezed Ambrose through a railing and killed him with a Claymore kick, which looked quite violent. McIntyre pinned him for the win.
As McIntyre posed on the announce table with his music playing, Ambrose started moving and got to his knees. The announcers pled with him to stay down. McIntyre nailed him again with a Claymore kick and they cut his music as the show ended. This was great.