WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 18

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistMarch 19, 2019

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 18

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just three weeks remain before WrestleMania 35, and WWE still feels like it is scrambling to put everything together for the big show. While certain matches are clear, others have yet to even begin developing.

    Raw had two clear main event contests this week.

    Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins was expected to take center stage as The Beast Incarnate returned and The Architect promised to get the fight started early, though he had his attention divided with an expected match against Drew McIntyre.

    Ronda Rousey was also set to defend her Raw Women's Championship against Dana Brooke. While no one gave the challenger a chance, it was not inconceivable that The Baddest Woman on the Planet could be too focused on Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair and slip up.

    Kurt Angle would also announce who he would be fighting at The Showcase of the Immortals in his last match ever.

    Many more WWE stars were set to appear, hopefully developing the key matches that will allow this year's WrestleMania to live up to the moniker of The Grandest Stage of Them All. The red brand had work to do.

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Show Perhaps Misplaced Confidence

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    Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar opened the show to taunt the crowd and Seth Rollins, making clear it was foolish for The Architect to risk his career in a match with the dangerous Drew McIntyre.

    The Scottish Psychopath came out to thank The Advocate for the compliment.

    However, Rollins didn't let McIntyre enjoy the spotlight for long and laid him out with a steel chair. He then turned to Lesnar, taking the ring as the WWE universal champion retreated.






    While the segment was short, it worked well to establish this dynamic. The Beast Incarnate comes in and taunts the crowd while The Kingslayer has to split his attention because he's around every week and fighting for his friends.

    This also made the latest match between Rollins and McIntyre feel far bigger than their past clashes. There are stakes here, as both men are out to hurt each other.

Finn Balor and Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush

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    Finn Balor made clear he would regain the Intercontinental Championship soon, but that promise appeared to have little effect on Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush.

    However, The Man of the Hour's smirk disappeared once Braun Strowman was revealed as The Extraordinary Man's partner.

    While the heels tried to isolate the Irishman, The Monster Among Men got the hot tag and proved unstoppable. Lashley decided to walk out as his hype man took a clothesline and running powerslam, giving the faces the victory.



    Balor and Strowman def. Lashley and Rush by pinfall






    The work of the talent involved elevated a fairly flat segment, especially Rush, who did a great job making Strowman still look like a complete monster. The match could have just been the two and had the same effect.

    Balor not making much of an impact here was disappointing. Time is running out ahead of 'Mania, and it seems The Extraordinary Man will be left playing a fairly bland role on April 7, likely in a multi-man match for the Intercontinental Championship.

'A Moment of Bliss' Features Elias; Elias vs. No Way Jose

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    Alexa Bliss hyped the WrestleMania card before introducing Elias, who wanted to announce he was going to be the featured musical guest for the big show.

    No Way Jose's conga line, led by Heavy Machinery, interrupted before Jose attacked the musician from behind.

    This led to a match in which Jose looked decent before the more accomplished performer overwhelmed him. Elias ended up putting away his opponent with Drift Away.



    Elias def. Jose by pinfall






    "A Moment of Bliss" seems to be entirely built as a three-minute talk-show segment that ends in an interruption. You would assume The Goddess would be allowed to talk a bit more if she's not going to be wrestling.

    It was odd to see WWE put so much into No Way Jose after months away, but it likely ends here, as he was just meant to be a fresh face for Elias to dominate.

Kurt Angle Announces He Wants Baron Corbin at WrestleMania; Angle vs. Chad Gable

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    Kurt Angle said the McMahon family had allowed him to choose anyone for his final match at WrestleMania, and he wanted to fight the man who had ruined his life for the past year: Baron Corbin.

    The Olympic Gold Medalist's farewell tour then continued with another match against a young athlete, as he battled with Chad Gable.

    The former Raw tag team champion looked great throughout against the veteran and appeared close to victory, but he got caught in a grapevine ankle lock and tapped out.

    Corbin came out afterward and taunted Angle with a smile on his face.



    Angle def. Gable by submission






    While the story of Angle vs. Corbin has been well-established and makes sense, this had to be one of the worst ways WWE could have delivered on his final match. The possibilities were endless, yet The Lone Wolf is getting the spotlight in a hopelessly bland contest.

    It didn't help that what followed was a showcase of how much Angle has lost in recent years. This would have once been a dream match, but Gable had to work overtime just to make it look decent.

Beth Phoenix Coming out of Retirement to Fight for Tag Team Gold

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    Bayley and Sasha Banks were interviewed by Charly Caruso, who asked them why they were avoiding SmackDown Live. They said they weren't ducking The IIconics and planned to appear Tuesday night on the blue brand.

    Natalya and Beth Phoenix interrupted, looking for their own shot at the WWE women's tag team champions. The Glamazon challenged the champs to a match at WrestleMania. Insults were thrown back and forth, leading to a brawl between the four.

    Natalya vs. Banks was booked on the spot before Nia Jax interrupted, distracting everyone for Tamina to lay out Phoenix, causing the referee to throw out the match.



    Banks vs. Natalya goes to a no-contest






    While it was cool to have The Glamazon officially announce she was coming out of retirement, this segment did not quite work as well as it should have.

    Natalya and Phoenix do not feel as big a threat as they should, seemingly standing in for the return of Trish Stratus and Lita that never happened.

    WWE may feel the same way, as Jax and Tamina are still in this feud, too. If Phoenix is being set up for one last big match, it would be a waste to throw her into a multi-team title bout with the possibility of adding The IIconics or some other team from SmackDown as well.

Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Jinder Mahal dominated Ricochet with his strength early in this contest, but once The One and Only got separation, this match was all his.

    The NXT star took out everyone outside before planting The Modern Day Maharaja with the 630 splash.



    Ricochet def. Mahal by pinfall






    This was a boring squash that spent too much time highlighting Mahal. This should have just been a chance for Ricochet to stand out, but he only got the final minute to shine in an otherwise useless segment.

Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey vs. Dana Brooke

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    Officials told Ronda Rousey on her way to the ring that extra security would be on site to make sure the champion did not cause chaos again. Meanwhile, Dana Brooke promised to make her dreams a reality before walking to the ring.

    However, this title match was over in seconds, as The Baddest Woman on the Planet trapped her challenger in an armbar for a tapout. Rousey kept the submission hold on for almost a minute after the bell until officials forced her off.

    Rousey's husband, Travis Browne, had to pull her back from destroying WWE's security after knocking out one of the guards with a punch while Brooke writhed in pain in the ring.



    Rousey def. Brooke by submission to retain the Raw Women's Championship






    Fantastic and simple, this segment was just what was needed to establish Rousey as a heel. She looked unstoppable in this "match" and made the armbar look as deadly as it ever has in WWE.

    It was a brutal and effective segment that established her as The Baddest Woman on the Planet.

    What role Browne will take in the coming weeks with Rousey is more difficult to tell. He is still a UFC performer who won't be able to get heavily involved physically.

Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Apollo Crews goaded Baron Corbin into a match backstage.

    While The Lone Wolf dominated and nearly took the victory after connecting with the Deep Six, he was not able to keep the young athlete down and got rolled up for three.

    Angle stood with Crews on the ramp as the two laughed at Corbin.



    Crews def. Corbin by pinfall






    If this match was supposed to help establish why Corbin should be getting a singles match at WrestleMania, it didn't work. The Lone Wolf and Crews barely got going before Angle's final opponent lost to a roll-up.

    While WWE will ride the outrage from fans at the decision to have Angle fight Corbin in his last-ever match, nothing is going to change the fact this is a wasted spot on The Grandest Stage of Them All. At best, it can be a three-minute squash that gives fans a breather for the bigger bouts.

Batista Explains Why He Wants to Put an End to Triple H

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Michael Cole interviewed Batista in his home.

    The Animal was open with his words, explaining that Triple H had been holding him down for years.

    He wanted to make clear this was on his terms now, getting to break The Game for good.






    Batista delivers a solid promo thanks to his acting career, though he cannot add much to the rivalry with Triple H at this point. It's clear this match is just a present to a man who has made a career for himself outside WWE on his own terms.

    The actual story doesn't mean a whole lot, so the two men should be wholly motivated to make this count when it matters at WrestleMania.

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Drew McIntyre laughed after the recap of his attack on Roman Reigns last week before challenging The Big Dog to a fight at WrestleMania.

    However, The Scottish Psychopath warned Reigns about accepting, promising to hurt him worse than he ever had before.

    This fired up Seth Rollins, who stormed the ring and got this brawl going quickly. However, McIntyre managed to slow the action with a brutal pace. The Architect finally recovered with a superkick, a pair of suicide dives, Slingblade and a low superkick.

    As Rollins prepared for the Stomp, Brock Lesnar appeared to distract his WrestleMania challenger, allowing McIntyre just enough time to recover and connect with a Claymore for the win.



    McIntyre def. Rollins by pinfall






    McIntyre has been rising from the ranks of good to great in recent weeks, making the most of a massive spotlight. His promo on Reigns instantly sold their rivalry without the heel having to try too hard to get heat.

    This match was the best the Scot and Rollins have had, as the heat was on full display. McIntyre looked vicious and ruthless, with The Kingslayer often unable to match up but refusing to give in.

    While the distraction finish was fairly predictable, it still gives McIntyre a huge boost without hurting Rollins. Moreover, the stage has been set for this feud to continue after WrestleMania.