WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 4March 5, 2019
WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 4
Fallout and buildup were the names of the game on the March 4 edition of WWE Raw, as major events were set to move forward with just days remaining before the Fastlane pay-per-view.
Last week, Ronda Rousey left the Raw Women's Championship with Stephanie McMahon alongside an ultimatum: Reinstate Becky Lynch or no WrestleMania main event. On SmackDown, Charlotte Flair added to the conversation by promising to be at Raw to accept what she felt she had now earned.
After his attack on Ric Flair during the WWE legend's birthday celebrations last week, Batista was not expected to appear Monday, but Triple H was sure to react to being called out and watching his friend get laid out.
Perhaps no one's future was more discussed over the past week than Roman Reigns, who officially returned to WWE with a promise he was ready to get back to wrestling. His arrival and alliance with Seth Rollins in protecting Dean Ambrose had already started rumors of The Shield reuniting.
All these storylines were a big focus, but none promised anything directly for Sunday's Fastlane, where the red brand only had one match booked.
This night of action looked certain to excite and surprise with the hope it could live up to the expectations set last week.
The Shield Reunion Ruined by Elias
Roman Reigns called out Seth Rollins to ask him for one thing: a final chance to fight alongside his brothers as The Shield.
The Architect was hard to convince, but he caved after The Big Dog talked about how important this was to him before Ambrose leaves.
The Lunatic Fringe arrived to potentially accept the offer, but Elias laid him out with a guitar shot to the back. A frustrated Ambrose then ignored his brothers and limped to the back.
Reigns has been allowed to talk as himself lately, and he is so much more likable in that role. He works off the crowd well and always speaks with a natural flair that was lost when he was overly scripted. It helped that WWE didn't do anything stupid here, such as having The Big Dog challenge Rollins.
Instead, Reigns is stepping aside to let The Architect get his chance and is just enjoying getting back into it.
With Ambrose set to leave WWE after WrestleMania 35, it makes sense to let The Shield ride together one last time and put on what could be a great match with Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre.
Corbin, Lashley, McIntyre vs. Angle, Balor, Strowman
Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre barely gave a thought to The Shield in an interview pre-match, saying they were the true important trio in WWE as they would prove.
Finn Balor was isolated early in this match, but this only kept Braun Strowman fresh.
The Monster Among Men got the hot tag and looked unstoppable. He set up the Irishman to hit the Coup de Grace on The Lone Wolf, but Lashley's hype man, Lio Rush, made the save.
The Almighty dodged a charging Strowman, who went through the barricade to set up a Spear by Lashley on Balor for the win.
Afterward, the heels laid waste to their competition, with Lashley and Corbin side-slamming Balor into the steel steps.
Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre def. Angle, Balor and Strowman by pinfall
While an up-and-down match, this served its purpose. The heels looked powerful and dominant ahead of their expected clash with The Shield.
It was mainly the usage of the face team that was disappointing. Angle is too slow to be a hot tag, and Strowman got too little focus.
Most of these stars feel like they should be more important to Raw right now than they are. None of them have been well-positioned for The Road to WrestleMania.
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott
While Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan were a constant threat at ringside, Ruby Riott still struggled against a motivated Natalya.
The Queen of Harts caught The Riott Squad leader in the Sharpshooter, and though Riott managed to roll out, she immediately got rolled up for three.
Afterward, Lacey Evans ruined Natalya's celebration by coming out for a quick walk.
Natalya def. Riott by pinfall
It was not that long ago that these two were having a surprisingly strong match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. Regressing back to these four-minute clashes with no stakes is a complete waste. Both are too talented to be getting lazy booking like this that helps no one.
Lump in Evans with the lazy booking until something comes of her weekly appearances. It would make sense to pair her with Natalya.
Triple H Declares He's Ready to Fight Batista Anywhere
Batista was shown on the TitanTron, announcing he hated Philadelphia and refused to appear in the city.
Triple H was irate, talking about how important it was to him that Ric Flair get his moment. He talked about his history with his mentor.
He then turned to The Animal, saying he was ready to fight him anywhere and would bring the real man, not the character, to this brawl.
It will never be a surprise that The Game cut a good promo. He added some important emotion to this rivalry. However, it was disappointing for him to take the easy route by saying this is "real" while the rest of the current build to WrestleMania is just about characters.
It works sometimes to break the walls down between what is real and what is scripted. This was not one of those times.
Heavy Machinery vs. B-Team, Ascension, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins (Gauntlet)
Backstage, Otis and Tucker were shown a video from the locker room where Raw's tag team division made fun of them. Heavy Machinery decided it would take them all out, one after another.
Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel did not last long before Heavy Machinery hit the Compactor to eliminate the former champions.
Otis wiped out Viktor, finishing with a second-rope splash. Finally, Curt Hawkins went down to the Caterpillar.
Heavy Machinery def. The B-Team, Ascension, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins by pinfall
While perfectly entertaining on its own, this was woeful booking by WWE at a time when Raw's tag team division needs as much help as it can get. The majority of the division was outright embarrassed, making Heavy Machinery look unstoppable.
Despite this, the match wasn't even for a future title opportunity. It was just to establish that making Otis mad is bad for jobbers.
Dean Ambrose vs. Elias
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins individually came to Dean Ambrose before his match to ask him to consider rejoining The Shield.
Elias taunted the crowd before the match until The Lunatic Fringe came out for this fight.
Ambrose tried his best here, but the guitar shot from earlier made him slow as he got to the top rope. He dived right into a jumping knee and the Drift Away.
Elias def. Ambrose by pinfall
Ambrose and Elias do not exactly spark excitement as an in-ring rivalry. The two are similar in their brawling styles and have always worked better with faster and more athletic opponents.
The whole contest was just an excuse to further the story of The Lunatic falling apart since his decision not to renew his contract. He keeps putting over stars who no one else will put over for some reason.
The Shield Finally Reunites to Combat Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre
As Dean Ambrose was struggling to get to his feet, his brothers walked out to ask him to reunite one last time. The Lunatic was not convinced and headed into the crowd.
However, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre had different plans.
They taunted and began to attack The Big Dog and The Architect. Faced with protecting his friends or walking away, Ambrose turned around and evened the odds.
The Shield cleared the ring and met fists.
While this Shield reunion has been painfully rushed, it has still worked. Everyone has been wholly invested in this angle, and it has quickly rejuvenated Ambrose. In fact, it would not be surprising if the return of his best friend convinced The Lunatic to stay.
He just always seems more engaged when he gets to work with Reigns and Rollins. The heels will do their job in making this one last happy moment for one of the most important trios in WWE history.
Sasha Banks vs. Tamina
Much like the match last week between Nia Jax and Bayley, outside interference played a huge role in this contest.
Tamina barely had to do anything before The Irresistible Force saved her partner from the Bank Statement and distracted Sasha Banks for a superkick to seal a heel victory.
Tamina def. Banks by pinfall
Given how limited Tamina has been in the ring for the past few years, it wasn't surprising how short this was. The action around the ring distracted from the veteran being unable to keep up with her younger rival.
Banks and Bayley as tag team champions should be a huge part of WWE for the coming months, but Tamina and Jax are a stopgap before a true tag team steps up to them.
Michael Che Cannot Help Colin Jost Fit In on Raw
Stephanie McMahon welcomed Michael Che and Colin Jost to Raw, as the Saturday Night Live stars prepared for their roles as guest correspondents at WrestleMania.
While Che fit in backstage, Jost struggled and ended up getting choked out by Braun Strowman.
While humor is always subjective, this was far from good material for the Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" hosts. Che felt natural for the most part, but Jost felt like the lame celebrity guest hosts Raw once relied on.
Hopefully, they will have better material come WrestleMania on April 7. Otherwise, they'll just be bogging down an already-bloated show.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet
In a pre-match interview, Ricochet and Aleister Black talked about how important this opportunity was to establish them as deserving of this spot.
Their opportunity was cut short, though, after Chad Gable and Bobby Roode got involved and attacked The Revival.
This caused a disqualification that did not sit well with the NXT call-ups. Roode and Gable brawled with Black and Ricochet, with the young stars sending the former champs running.
Revival def. Black and Ricochet by disqualification; Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson retain the Raw Tag Team Championships
Following up a really good match last week, this was disappointing for many reasons. It was slow and never got going before a lackluster finish that made the whole situation feel unnecessary.
While the coming Triple Threat title match should be great, there were many more interesting ways of selling this dynamic.
Ronda Rousey Turns on the Fans and Assaults Becky Lynch
Stephanie McMahon announced earlier in the night that she had decided to reinstate Becky Lynch and put her in a one-on-one title match against Charlotte Flair at Fastlane as long as she signed a hold-harmless agreement.
In the main event of Monday night, The Man signed the deal before Ronda Rousey stormed to the ring.
McMahon handed the former UFC star back her title and backpedaled, deciding Lynch would be added to WrestleMania if she won but excluded if she lost.
Rousey lost it at the booing of the crowd and assaulted The Irish Lass Kicker, injuring the arm of Lynch and standing over her.
McMahon was asked backstage about her decisions, and she spent the time deriding Rousey for her actions.
This was a great twist in the story even if it continues to suffer from the bloated storytelling that came before. Rousey losing it on The Man was a great turn for her character, but it would have had more impact if Charlotte had never been involved.
It also remains unexplained why Charlotte has earned a title shot and Lynch's Royal Rumble win has been forgotten. This is all to say that the best angle on Raw now could be even better, but it is still great.
Rousey will benefit from this chance to play the heel even if it is only for a short time. She seems more naturally suited to the role.