By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on April 22, 2019 from Des Moines, Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena
[Hour One] Triple H made his entrance while the broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in and announced that there would be a pair of Triple Threat matches on Raw and the winners of those matches would meet in the main event to determine who will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship at the Money in the Bank event. The matches feature Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe, and Drew McIntyre vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin.
Seth Rollins made his entrance and joined Triple H inside the ring. Rollins and Triple H approached one another, shook hands, and hugged. Rollins received a loud home state reaction and noted that he was standing in the ring in his home area as the WWE Universal Champion. Triple H said Rollins walked into WrestleMania as a King Slayer and he walked out a certified Beast Slayer.
Triple H said the landscape has changed since WrestleMania because the world is now gunning for Rollins. Seth said he knows that and he also knows that MITB is right around the corner. Rollins mentioned that he cashed in successfully and he also had it cashed in on him. Rollins said he would never let that happen again. Hunter told him not to put the cart in front of the horse. He said he should be more concerned about who he will defend the title against at MITB.
Rollins assumed that Hunter wanted him to face Brock Lesnar in a rematch. Hunter said he hadn’t heard from Paul Heyman and he assumes that Lesnar is in Las Vegas licking his wounds. Triple H announced the two Triple Threat matches and that the winner of those two matches would meet in the Raw main event tonight to determine his challenger at MITB.
Samoa Joe made his entrance. Cole simply called him a brand new member of the Raw roster. Joe said he does what he wants, when he wants. He said the U.S. Champion has arrived on Raw. Joe said Becky Lynch came up with an interesting concept as a double champion. He said his shoulders are wide and there’s room for Seth’s title. Rey Mysterio came out and said Joe’s not the only former Smackdown wrestler looking to make an impact on Raw. Mysterio said he’s not on Raw just to hang out and drop knowledge, he expects to face Rollins at MITB.
Drew McIntyre came out and said he doesn’t care what anyone thinks they deserve or about new matchups. He said he spent a year getting rid of dead weight and now it’s his time. McIntyre told Rollins that the only reason he’s world champion is that he got to Lesnar before he did. McIntyre said he will beat Rollins at MITB and finally become Universal Champion. Seth smirked at McIntyre.
The Miz made his entrance and said that Rollins are back on the same brand and Rollins once again has something he wants. Miz said he’s changed since they last crossed paths. Baron Corbin came out and said he’s the most deserving man to challenge Rollins. Corbin asked the other wrestlers if they have ever beaten a gold medalist in his farewell match at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles made his entrance and the fans chanted his name once he entered the ring. Styles asked if Corbin ever shuts up. Styles said Corbin’s face is almost as annoying as his voice. Styles said everyone in the ring seemed to forget that he’s on Raw. Styles said he will win the Triple Threat and then the No. 1 contenders match and then people would find out why Smackdown is the house that he built. Styles said this is Raw and he’ll give people what they always wanted by challenging Rollins for the title at MITB.
“This is what you were talking about, huh?” Rollins asked Hunter. “Everybody is gunning for me.” Rollins said he’s ready and it doesn’t matter who he faces because he’ll burn it down…
Cole hyped Mysterio vs. Styles vs. Joe as the match up coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A decent opening segment that showed off the two Triple Threat match participants, which included some of the wrestlers moved over from Smackdown. There was no explanation for Joe arriving a week late, let alone the roster changes the company made today.
1. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio in a Triple Threat for a spot in the No. 1 contenders match. Styles set up for a Styles Clash on Mysterio, who grabbed the ropes to block it and ended up countering into a huracanrana and a pin, which Joke broke up. Joe caught Styles charging at him in the corner and performed a uranage for a two count going into a break. [C] The wrestlers set up a tower of doom spot that resulted in Joe backdropping both opponents from the middle rope. [C]
Powell’s POV: Even while this match is taking place, the social media buzz is for Bobby Roode becoming Robert Roode and sporting a new porn mustache.
— WWE (@WWE) April 22, 2019
Mysterio performed a huracanrana that sent Styles to ringside. Joe went after Mysterio, who countered into a DDT. Mysterio went for the 619, but Joe avoided it and applied the Coquina Clutch. Joe released the hold when he spotted Styles leaping at him from the ropes. A short time later, Mysterio hit the 619 on Joe. He tried to Drop the Dime on Styles, who caught him and powerbombed him onto Joe and then performed a Styles Clash on Mysterio on top of Joe and then pinned Mysterio…
AJ Styles defeated Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio in a Triple Threat match in 18:00 to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match.
Cole hyped Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox for later in the show, then they set up footage of John Cena filling in as host of the Ellen talkshow… Naomi made her entrance for a match against Billie Kay… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good Triple Threat match with a cool finish. Joe came up a bleeding afterward around his eye and nose. I like the way they opened the first Raw after the shakeup with three wrestlers they brought over from Smackdown and put them in a fresh match.
Naomi was still dancing coming out of the break. They showed footage of Naomi and Bayley defeating The IIconics in a non-title match last week. The IIconics came out and did some mic work that died a painful death. They noted that Bayley moved to Smackdown in the shakeup. Cole encouraged viewers to check out the WWE website for a recap of all the roster moves…
2. Naomi vs. Billie Kay (w/Peyton Royce). Naomi performed a sunset flip over the top rope and pinned Kay clean. The broadcast team played up Naomi having the number of the IIconics…
Naomi beat Billie Kay in 1:10.
The Bray Wyatt playhouse vignette with all the toys and the laughing doll aired… The Miz made his entrance for the second Triple Threat match… An ad for Smackdown focused on Roman Reigns punching out Vince McMahon last week and actually questioned whether he’ll be fired… [C]
Powell’s POV: The best part about Cole encouraging viewers to check out the WWE website for details on the Superstar Shakeup is that there is nothing new on the website regarding all the changes that were made today. By the way, does anyone over the age of seven actually believe Reigns will be fired, especially when they just showcased The Sheild’s farewell on WWE Network last night?
McIntyre received a partial introduction, but Corbin’s entrance was not televised…
3. The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin in a Triple Threat for a spot in the No. 1 contenders match. McIntyre and Corbin worked together and put the boots to Miz at ringside during the opening minute of the match.
[Hour Two] McIntyre brought Miz back to the ring where he showed some signs of life before they beat him down again. McIntyre ended up kicking Corbin, who responded a short time later with a clothesline. Miz threw his kicks at both heels. McIntyre ducked the finale, which hit Corbin. McIntyre headbutted Miz. They set up their own tower of doom spot that resulted in Corbin sneaking under both wrestlers and powerbombing McIntyre, who had Miz on his back and thus landed on top of him. [C]
Miz leapt from the top rope onto McIntyre and Corbin, who were on the floor. Back inside the ring, Miz avoided a Claymore Kick and put McIntyre in the figure four. Corbin returned to the ring and performed a Deep Six on Miz for a two count. In the end, McIntyre caught Miz with a Claymore Kick. Corbin tossed McIntyre to ringside and stole the pin…
Baron Corbin defeated Drew McIntyre and The Miz in 15:00 in a Triple Threat to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match.
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Styles, who was watching the match on a monitor. Caruso brought up the difference in size. Styles dropped the size of the fight in the dog line, then ran through some of his WWE accomplishments. Styles said he hopes Rollins watches when he beats Corbin… Sami Zayn made his entrance heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: There was some good work in the match, but I had a hard time buying Miz kicking the ass of Sanity and now hanging on against Corbin and McIntyre. I’ve enjoyed Miz’s act over the years, but seeing him go from pest heel to world beater is a bit much. And McIntyre selling as much as he did for Miz didn’t help his cause either. If there’s one good thing about Corbin winning it’s that he stole the pin from McIntyre, which could mean that Corbin is done sucking the life out of McIntyre and Bobby Lashley in their tired alliance.
Cole set up a Make A Wish video…
Powell’s POV: If I were a Make A Wish kid, my wish tonight would be for Baron Corbin to never appear in a Raw main event ever again.
Zayn spoke about telling the fans the truth about themselves. He also said he had the time of his life “outside these prison walls”. Zayn showed photos of the big screen of his various travels and how happy he was. Zayn spoke about how being away from the fans made him happy. Zayn said it’s easier for the fans to boo and blame him rather than hold themselves accountable. Zayn told the fans they should all take a trip. “You can all go to hell,” Zayn said to close.
With Zayn still in the ring, Cedric Alexander made his entrance and crossed paths with Zayn on the stage. Cole set up a quick video package on Alexander performing big moves on 205 Live. Cole hyped Alexander vs. Cesaro for after the break and stated that Cesaro is part of Raw due to the Superstar Shakeup… [C]
Powell’s POV: Yep, Cesaro is another week later shakeup change. Weird. By the way, anyone who subjects others to more than two photos from their vacation is a heel with me. If there’s a positive about Facebook, it’s that people stopped forcing friends and family to sit through their shitty vacation slide shows and now just post the photos on Facebook. Pretend like you care by liking a couple of their photos and that’s usually enough to make them feel like you care. If I’m in a good mood, I might even write something like “Hey, great pics, Aunt Maggie!” It helps to throw in that exclamation point for phony enthusiasm.
4. Cedric Alexander vs. Cesaro. Cole wondered what Cesaro moving to Raw will do for the relationship between him and tag partner Sheamus. Alexander got a two count off a Michinoku Driver. Alexander performed a handspring into the ropes and knocked Cesaro to ringside with a kick. Alexander performed a flip dive and then rolled Cesaro back inside the ring. Alexander leapt from the top rope right into an uppercut from Cesaro, who pinned him clean…
Cesaro defeated Cedric Alexander in 6:30.
Powell’s POV: I wasn’t sure what to hope for in this match. Beating Cesaro means nothing right now because he’s put over everyone on Smackdown, but a loss in his return to Raw isn’t a very good start for Alexander. Here’s hoping that Cesaro will get a real push this time around as a singles wrestler.
Caruso interviewed Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso backstage. They mentioned the Lucha House Party and said the party is over, do not drink and drive. They looked at one another. Wow. They started to discuss the Viking Raiders and Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder when The Revival showed up. The Usos pretended they were dozing off when Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson spoke. The Usos welcomed The Revival to the Uso penitentiary…
The Viking Raiders made their entrance for a match with Lucha House Party… [C]
Powell’s POV: Yes, the fetish porn sounding Viking Experience name was scrapped after one week. WWE officials don’t care what you think of Baron Corbin or Roman Reigns, but they will listen if you mock the name of a tag team.
The Viking Raiders beat up all three members of Lucha House Party before the referee could start a match. They performed some impressive power moves and the fans still sat on their hands…
Powell’s POV: Wow, the crowd was dead for this segment.
Backstage, Sarah Schreiber interviewed Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, who said they earned the tag titles and wouldn’t let two “sweaty, horny, wooly mammoths” like Viking Raiders take the titles away from them…
Becky Lynch made her entrance and the crowd came to life again… [C] Lynch stood in the ring and soaked up the crowd cheers and a “Becky” chant coming out of the break. Lynch said there was something in the air in Iowa and she could sense it backstage. She said it was the Superstar Shakeup. Um, yeah. Lynch turned her focus to Lacey Evans. Lynch said she has made a career of slapping bleached blondes who curry favors from management. Lynch said Evans is a new version of an old approach. She said that while Evans was in the back trying to help her career, she was in ring. Lynch started to call out Alicia Fox.
[Hour Three] Lacey Evans made her entrance and questioned why Lynch always lets her emotions get the best of her. She said it might be because she’s Irish or because as The Man she always wants to be the center of attention. Evans gave her etiquette lessons. Lynch said Evans is getting on her last nerve. Lynch said her Irish emotions want to slap Evans’ head off her shoulders. She told her not to confuse her recent happiness with contentment. Lynch said she will take care of Evans at Money in the Bank and then it will be time for The Man to go back to collecting her debt. Alicia Fox made her entrance while Evans walked up the ramp…
5. Raw and Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox in a non-title match. Lynch was dominant to start. They went to ringside and Fox drove Lynch into the barricade. Fox kicked Lynch and fell over. Fox rolled Lynch back inside the ring and covered her for a one count heading into a break. [C]
Lynch came back with a punch at ringside and whipped Fox into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Lynch performed a pair of exploder suplexes. Fox tried to roll up Lynch, who rolled through and applied a Disarmer for the submission win.
Becky Lynch defeated Alicia Fox in a non-title match in 8:30.
Immediately after Fox tapped, Lacey Evans entered the ring and hit Lynch with the Woman’s Right punch. Lynch got to her feet and Evans hit her with another Woman’s Right…
Powell’s POV: I know they want to give Lynch a decent amount of television time, but going over eight minutes with Fox is a bit much. On the bright side, I like the way they are establishing the Evans character.
Backstage, Caruso interviewed Corbin, who said people typing in their basement are the people who don’t think he deserves to challenge Rollins for the title at MITB. Corbin said he’s not looking past Styles, he’s looking through him…
Powell’s POV: I’ll have you know that I am in my living room, sir.
Ricochet made his entrance for a match against Robert Roode… [C] Roode made his usual Glorious entrance, but now his name is listed as Robert Roode on the big screen and he has a porn stache. Footage aired from Roode’s WWE website interview. He’s still doing the Glorious bit…
6. Robert Roode vs. Ricochet. Ricochet ran up the ring post to perform a moonsault onto Roode, who was on the floor. [C] Ricochet performed a standing shooting star press for a two count. Roode came back with a spinebuster for a near fall. Roode avoided Ricochet performing a top rope move, then shoved him chest first into the corner, and followed up with the Glorious DDT for the win…
Robert Roode defeated Ricochet in 11:15.
Powell’s POV: Roode’s upper lip looks like Ron Burgundy’s mustache and Silas Young’s mustache had a baby.
A Firefly FunHouse video aired. Bray Wyatt walked onto the set of the children’s funhouse set wearing a sweater. He introduced himself and said we’re going to have fun. Children’s laughter could be heard. He said it’s his special place and all his fireflies can feel safe. Wyatt ducked and put his gloved hands over his face. The camera did blurry effects.
Wyatt said he wanted to introduce people to his special friends. Mercy the Buzzard and Abbey the Witch (puppets) introduced themselves. Wyatt said he used to be a very bad man. Children booing played. Wyatt said he deserved that, but he’s been barbarically punished. Wyatt said even in his weakest moments he won’t turn into “that pathetic slob loser” ever again. He stood next to a cardboard cutout of his old persona, then pulled out a chainsaw and cut the head off the cutout. Wyatt said he’ll always light the way and all you have to do is let him in. Wyatt laughed maniacally…
Powell’s POV: Wow, and I was joking about Uncle Bray’s TV Funhouse over the last few weeks in this review.
One of the broadcast team members asked, “What the…” regarding the Wyatt video, and then AJ Styles made his entrance for the main event… An ad for NXT TV hyped Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong… [C]
Graves hyped a Money in the Bank edition of Alexa Bliss’s talkshow for next week. Graves said Bliss will introduce the Raw participants in the men’s and women’s MITB ladder matches… Baron Corbin made his entrance…
7. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship. Before the match, Graves said he heard rumors of Styles suffering an injury that could affect the match. Ring announcer Mike Rome ran through the silly Corbin accolades. There were boos when he was introduced as Des Moines’ favorite son. Styles went for a springboard move, but Corbin punched him and maintained offensive control going into a break. [C]
Styles set up for his Styles Clash finisher, but Corbin fought his way out of it. Corbin did his run to ringside around the ring post and back into the ring and ate a Pele Kick. Corbin came right back with Deep Six for a two count. Styles came back by rolling Corbin into a Calf Crusher. Corbin grabbed the head of Styles and slammed it into the mat to break the hold. Corbin positioned Styles by the ropes and went for a move from the top. Styles avoided the leaping Corbin, then hit his Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin in 13:10 to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship.
The broadcast team marveled over the first meeting between Rollins and Styles at Money in the Bank. Cole said many believe that Rollins and Styles are the two best in the world today. Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Title belt over his shoulder and joined Styles in the ring. Rollins offered a handshake. Styles looked to the crowd and then accepted the handshake. Rollins pulled him in a bit and they jawed back and forth at one another to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good main event with the right outcome. WWE needs something hot coming out of the lackluster Superstar Shakeup and a match between Rollins and Styles has me sold on Money in the Bank. The alternative of Corbin challenging for the championship would have been painful. And in fairness, I was high on Corbin before they made him the general manager and he started wrestling in his bad wedding bartender outfit. The guy could really use a makeover or even just go back to his old wrestling gear. Overall, Raw was interesting due to the format with the two Triple Threats leading to the main event. Throw in Roode’s mustache and the strangeness of Bray Wyatt’s gimmick and this was definitely a different night. I will have a lot more to say in my weekly members’ audio review coming up later tonight.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Jake Barnett discussing WWE Superstar Shakeup and all the news of the week.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...