WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 11
The February 11 episode of WWE Raw saw the return of Seth Rollins after a week-long hiatus, and he was more than ready to address his impending Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 35.
That promo, coupled with the McMahon family inviting Becky Lynch back to the flagship and the final build to Elimination Chamber this Sunday, made for a noteworthy episode.
What else went down and how did it affect the stars, stories and matches slated for the pay-per-view extravaganza?
Find out with this recap of Monday's USA Network presentation.
The McMahon Family Invites Becky Lynch Back to Raw
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon kicked off this week's show and recapped the events from last Monday and Tuesday, when Becky Lynch unabashedly assaulted and made fools of the authority figures.
The power couple said they wanted to hear from Lynch's doctors regarding her knee injury, to which The Man responded by interrupting, making her way to the ring and revealing that her doctors cleared her to compete against Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania on April 7.
Stephanie and Triple H lifted the suspension but said the match will only happen if The Irish Lass Kicker apologized for putting her hands on them last week.
Lynch said the McMahon family has spent years screwing people over and came face-to-face with Stephanie in an intense back-and-forth.
The Game said The Man will prove how much she wants the match with Rousey by apologizing, something he would give her the rest of the show to do.
The segment could have done without Triple H mansplaining things to Lynch, but beside that small criticism, it was a well-done angle that set up a later segment on the show and left fans guessing as to what The Man would ultimately do.
That is the key to an effective television segment and one which will make the show that much more engaging.
With that said, Lynch needs to stand up and continue spitting in the face of management for this to play out correctly because a neutered Man is not one anyone has any interest in watching.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. The Riott Squad vs. Tamina Snuka and Nia Jax
In a preview of Sunday's Elimination Chamber match for the Women's Tag Team Championships, The Riott Squad's Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, Tamina Snuka and Nia Jax and Sasha Banks and Bayley battled in a Triple Threat match to kick off the in-ring portion of Monday's show.
The added stipulation? The losing team will enter this Sunday's high-stakes title bout first.
The story of the match saw Bayley forced to go it alone following another injury to Banks, their championship aspirations likely hanging on her ability to withstand punishment. She did, for a large portion of the match, and took the fight to both Morgan and Logan.
Unfortunately, the raw strength of Snuka proved too much as Tamina powered her down with a Samoan Drop for the pinfall victory.
Jax and Snuka defeated Bayley and Banks and The Riott Squad
The match was nothing greater than the television tag bouts we have seen between these teams before, but the story involving Bayley fighting for her team was a nice touch that elevated its quality and suddenly positions the former favorites as the underdogs come Sunday night.
It also highlighted the tag team chemistry of The Riott Squad and put over the unstoppable force of Snuka and Jax. In that regard, this was a big success and added positively to the otherwise rushed nature of the build to Sunday's historic match.
Lucha House Party Interrupts Elias
On the heels of the Grammy awards, Elias found himself interrupted on multiple occasions, most notably by Lucha House Party's Gran Metalik, Kalisto and Lince Dorado.
Elias called himself the greatest musician on the planet and after being having chants of "you suck" rain down on him, he handed over his guitar to Kalisto to play to demonstrate just how difficult it is.
After teasing a duet, he blasted Kalisto with another guitar, leaving the former United States champion lying.
Metalik and Dorado checked on their comrade to end the segment.
Lucha House Party vs. Elias is the feud absolutely no one asked for.
This was not particularly engaging, nor was it a worthwhile use of Elias, who has fallen from grace just eight months after being at his hottest as a character.
Hopefully this is not what the Road to WrestleMania has in store for one of the more interesting characters on the show because if so, the writing team could be walking with Elias...right off a creative cliff.
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
Intercontinental champion Bobby Lashley and mouthpiece Lio Rush watched from ringside Monday as Finn Balor battled Drew McIntyre.
With the announcement that Balor will challenge for the IC title in a handicap match against Lashley and Rush at Elimination Chamber, the Irishman sought to leave a lasting impression against The Scottish Psychopath.
Before the match could really get started, Lashley shoved Balor in front of the official, drawing a disqualification.
McIntyre, Rush and Lashley beat down Balor, but Kurt Angle made the save. He succeeded until Baron Corbin arrived. The Lone Wolf turned the tide in the heels' favor until Braun Strowman arrived and cleared the ring.
Balor defeated McIntyre via disqualification
Quick, someone call Teddy Long because we're about to have a tag team match, playa!
This made sense within the context of the intertwining rivalries, but it is such lazy, obvious and predictable booking that you have to wonder if WWE Creative is even trying at this point.
The match it spawns will probably be good just based on the stars involved, but otherwise this felt like the set up to the same match we have been watching for the last three months in one form or another.
Six-Man Tag Team Match
And just like that, the predicted match takes to the ring.
Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin isolated Finn Balor from partners Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman, working the smaller man over to great success early.
The Irishman eventually tagged in Angle, who found himself on the receiving end of a beating at the hands of the ruthless trio of villains.
The Olympic Gold Medalist finally made the hot tag to Balor, who exploded into the match, taking the fight to anyone who stood in his path.
The action broke down, with Strowman squaring off with Corbin on the floor. His hand wrapped around the gullet of The Lone Wolf, The Monster Among Men lost track of McIntyre, who blasted him with a Claymore Kick.
Back inside, Lashley scored a controversial pin on Balor, whose foot on the bottom rope went undetected by the official and was briskly removed by his Elimination Chamber opponent.
The heels celebrated, but another official hit the ring and ordered the match restarted.
Back from break, McIntyre and Co. disposed of Strowman in the crowd and with Angle still down, Balor was left to endure a three-on-one beating. After several minutes, he finally created separation and tagged in a recovered Monster Among Men, who unleashed hell.
He bowled over everyone, leading to one last tag to Balor, who delivered a Coup de Grace for the win.
Balor, Angle and Strowman defeated Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre
If you thought the formation of the match itself was lazy, the fact it went three segments of television and told essentially the same story as the women's tag from earlier (albeit with a happier ending) made it look like the most creative and inventive thing ever.
Balor getting the win for his team and being spotlighted the way he was helped, but this was unnecessarily long and did nothing to enhance the excitement (or lack thereof) for Sunday's matches.
With repetition comes boredom, and the entire last 30 minutes of the show flirted dangerously with that uncomplimentary tag.
Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riott
Just six days before a championship opportunity against Ronda Rousey at Elimination Chamber, Ruby Riott battled Nikki Cross.
Most of the match was spent cutting backstage, where Rousey confronted Becky Lynch. The Raw women's champion said The Irish Lass Kicker will prove she is a coward if she does not man up and apologize to The Authority.
Back in the ring, Riott withstood the frenzied attack of Cross, including a ring apron-assisted attack by the NXT export.
She ultimately cut Cross off with a Riott Kick for the pinfall victory.
Riott defeated Cross
What was the point?
The women were mostly disrespected via more attention being paid to what was going on backstage, and Cross lost a singles bout she could not afford to at this point in her young main roster career.
Sure, Riott was spotlighted ahead of her title bout Sunday, but does anyone think she stands a chance in hell of winning when even WWE Creative is already wholly focused on Lynch vs. Rousey?
A waste of a television time, though not due to the effort of the women involved.
Seth Rollins Addresses Brock Lesnar
Seth Rollins was last seen enduring a massive beatdown at the hands of Brock Lesnar, but he returned Monday night to address his WrestleMania 35 opponent.
Rollins recapped his last year, admitted he has been hurt and that the agony of six F-5s is unlike anything he has ever experienced. But he vowed to roll into WrestleMania and defeat Lesnar, a promise that brought out the advocate for the reigning, defending, undisputed Beast Incarnate: Paul Heyman.
Heyman said mindset is everything and if Rollins is not careful, he will be The Architect...of his own demise.
Rollins promised he would burn in hell before Lesnar left WrestleMania with his title.
Dean Ambrose interrupted the proceedings and came face-to-face with his former partner-turned-bitter rival. After a momentary uneasiness, The Lunatic Fringe said, "slay the beast," offering support to the man he traveled the roads with so often.
Heyman was his typically great self, a compliment that almost does a great disservice to how phenomenal a talker he is. The man could make a bland meatloaf dinner sound like a five-star dish if necessary. God knows he has more than once in recent memory.
Rollins stepped up his promo game here, too, delivering when he absolutely needed to. With Lesnar's frequent absences on the Road to WrestleMania, though, the question becomes whether The Architect can do that consistently. He will have to if the program is to enter the critical weeks as red-hot as it should.
With all that said, whose idea was it to have Ambrose come out and offer a sign of support for Rollins? Seriously, who did it?
That writer should be located and driven from the arena immediately because they were just part of a team that spent weeks telling a story that featured the intensely personal breakup and subsequent feud between the two—a feud that included The Lunatic Fringe mocking Roman Reigns' cancer diagnosis.
But Monday night, cooler heads prevailed. It was out of character for Ambrose and a complete dismissal of months of television.
EC3 vs. Dean Ambrose
The complete unraveling of everything that had been accomplished in recent weeks continued here as EC3 battled Dean Ambrose in a rematch from last week.
Just seven days after EC3 scored a win that announced his arrival on the main roster, the former TNA world champion found himself essentially dominating The Lunatic Fringe in singles competition. He was fierce, determined and relentless in his attack.
He was so successful that he got too confident. A brief second of smirking allowed Ambrose to catch him with a fluke rollup and score the win.
Ambrose defeated EC3
50-50 booking, thy name is this.
Why build up the importance of EC3's victory over the former WWE champion last week if the plan was to return the win the next week?
No one gets over, Ambrose looks like a fool two weeks, and EC3 is the nerd who couldn't keep his own momentum going.
It is questionable booking that does neither man any favors other than buying them some television time.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Revival
After weeks of championship opportunities ended in disappointing fashion, The Revival's Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson had one last chance to capture the Raw Tag Team Championships Monday as they battled Chad Gable and Bobby Roode.
The champions controlled the pace early and had the challengers reeling heading into the first break as Gable delivered a massive moonsault to the floor.
Dawson and Wilder were able to isolate Gable, though, and wrestle control of the match away from the opposition. They cut off every attempt at a hot tag, used strong tag psychology to the tell the story and robbed fans of Roode's entry into the match on more than one occasion.
Roode finally did hit the ring off a hot tag and took the fight to both Wilder and Dawson. He was red-hot until a double-team Gory Special halted his momentum.
Back-and-forth action dominated the closing moments of the match and near-falls reigned supreme. Ultimately, it was a Shatter Machine from the challengers to Gable from out of nowhere that earned them their long-awaited first championship run on the main roster.
The Revival defeated Gable and Roode to win the tag team titles
Please, give us a rematch on pay-per-view. Give both teams 30 minutes and let them work a masterpiece both fans and the tag division itself deserves.
This was good. Really good.
It was a showcase for The Revival as the vile old-school wrestling heels who know every trick, can exploit every opening and manipulate every situation. Best of all, they are damn good and don't need to but they do so anyway, making it even more infuriating.
It was a showcase for Gable as the crazy awesome athlete who is the underdog in most situations but has a ton of resilience and never-say-die attitude.
And finally it was a showcase for Roode, whose main roster work has been underwhelming for the most part but who has found a second wind working with a younger, more fiery competitor in Gable.
This was great wrestling with the right outcome and a match everyone involved in should be proud of.
The Revival finally won the titles, too, which has been a long time coming, so kudos to Wilder and Dawson for sticking it out and achieving their goal.
After having her WrestleMania spot threatened by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon earlier in the night, Becky Lynch hit the ring for the most significant moment in her career. Faced with the humbling scenario of a public apology, she did what was necessary and said "I'm sorry" to her employers.
She then wasted little time turning her attention to Ronda Rousey.
The Raw women's champion marched to the ring for a confrontation with Lynch but was interrupted by Vince McMahon, who emerged from the back.
The WWE chairman announced that The Man had been suspended for 60 days, which would bring her past WrestleMania, and revealed her replacement to be none other than Charlotte Flair.
The Queen made her way on stage to close out the show.
The McMahon family is toying with Lynch, screwing her over and making her eventual victory at WrestleMania that much more memorable. We have seen this work to perfection in years past, both in the case of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. It is a tried and tested formula that has a near-perfect success rate.
The question is whether fans have the patience today that they had five years ago during Bryan's journey.
Will they sit through weeks of television, repetitive instances of Lynch having the proverbial carpet pulled out from under her, in hopes of that one magical moment in East Rutherford, New Jersey?
The answer is yes, and segments like this will ultimately make up a much larger, more unforgettable story when all is said and done.
Why? Because the McMahons have an uncanny ability to make sure any storyline they are involved in at this point is as good and hot as possible.