Happy New Year everyone! This is a taped edition of Raw and it kicks off with Dolph Ziggler taking on his former partner Drew McIntyre inside of a steel cage!
Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre – Steel Cage Match: McIntyre dominated most of the beginning of the match, stopping any and all comebacks from Ziggler. Before we head to break both men are at a stalemate after Drew attempted to escape the cage but was stopped by Dolph. Back from break and Ziggler uses his quickness to hit a Famouser for a two count. Ziggler tried escaping through the door twice but McIntyre caught him. Ziggler uses the door and whacks McIntyre to create an opening. Ziggler hits a second Famouser again for a two count. We’re back from another break with McIntyre hitting a massive Superplex. McIntyre proceeds to lawn dart Dolph into the cage. McIntyre got cocky and Dolph hits a Zig Zag for a close two count. Just when Dolph has things in hand McIntyre rounds off a Claymore Kick out of nowhere. McIntyre hits a second Claymore Kick for good measure and picks up the win.
After the match Dolph begins talking trash as McIntyre goes to leave. Drew goes back into the cage and beats Dolph down some more. Drew pins Dolph’s head between a chair and the cage and dropkicks the chair into Dolph’s head. Drew gets on the mic and proclaims himself the king of the Raw jungle and let’s everyone know he will go on to win this year’s Royal Rumble. He is the king of the Raw jungle and soon he will be the king of the WWE jungle.
Seth Rollins comes down to the ring and wants his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. Rollins doesn’t get Ambrose but he does get Triple H who comes out to inform Rollins that automatic rematches are a thing of of the past. Triple H questions whether Seth even deserves to be in the discussion. The jab fires Rollins up who is ready to take on everyone including the McMahon Family. Seth tells Triple H he has no issue bringing back to ruthless Rollins of the past. Shane McMahon comes down to the ring to ease the tension and inform everyone that there is about to be a Fresh Battle Royale, the winner will face Dean Ambrose later tonight for the Intercontinental Championship tonight.
Apollo Crews wins the Fresh Start Battle Royale eliminating a total of eight competitors. Incredible.
Natalya says she’s entering this year’s Royal Rumble and plans to win the title at WrestleMania. She’s confronted by Nia Jax and jumped from behind by Tamina.
Baron Corbin isn’t happy he lost the battle royale to include in his horrible end to 2018. Elias appears and sings a tune completely berating Corbin. Both men get in a crazy brawl before a commercial break.
Ember Moon, Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Riott Squad: This one was really long. It wasn’t bad, the closing moments where Ember wiped out Ruby and Liv was awesome. Bayley comes off the top with a beautiful elbow to get the win.
Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush): The whole match Rollins had to deal with Lio Rush being a pesky nuisance almost costing Rollins the match on multiple occasions. Rollins began chasing Rush around ringside who was doing his best SpiderMan impression. As impressive as Rush’s speed and balance is, Rollins got his hands on him and laid him out. Lashley tried capitalizing but he just ended up angering Rollins to the point where Rollins brutalizes Lashley with a chair in full view of the referee. Rollins continues his assault on both Lashley and Rush and caps off the devastating attack with a brutal Curbstomp to Rush.
Jinder Mahal & the Singh Brothers vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno: I really only paid attention to this to see the Singh Brothers, who are great wrestlers, work in the ring. The Singh Brothers took most of the punishment but Mahal swoops in with a Khallas for the win.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship Match: Absolutely amazing performance from Apollo Crews. Tonight Crews lived up to the monicker of Human Highlight Reel. Crews mixed in quick strikes that really caught Ambrose off guard. Crews lands a beautiful Standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. The closing moments saw Crews come off the top with a Frog splash but crashing and burning as Ambrose moves out of the way. The veteran Ambrose used the opening to hit the Dirty Deeds DDT and get the win to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Nia Jax & Tamina Snuka vs. Natalya & Ronda Rousey: The Raw Women’s Champion comes out of the gate and goes off on both Tamina and Nia. Rousey’s momentum is halted by Jax but Ronda gets the tag to Natalya who keeps the offense on her team’s side. The action spills outside where Ronda leaps off the top with a crossbody taking out Nia and Tamina. Fast forward to Rousey once again going off with lightning quick punches. Nia withstood the offense and thanks to the precision of a Tamina Superkick the match isn’t over. Natalya takes out Jax then is taken out herself by Tamina. Snuka heads to the top looking for the Superfly Splash. As she comes down Rousey blocks the impact and locks in the armbar. Tamina taps. I really enjoyed this match. The pacing and flow was great. Great ending. The final Raw of 2018 ends with Rousey and Natalya celebrating in the ring.
The first Raw of 2019 is absolutely stacked with the returns of Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena. Also Chad Gable and Bobby Rose will defend the Raw Tag Team Championships against The Revival. Should be a huge show.
What did you think of Raw tonight. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.