WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 25
The Road to WrestleMania rolled through Boston on Monday night with an episode of WWE Raw that spotlighted Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey on the same day it was announced they will be the first women to main-event The Showcase of the Immortals.
The show also highlighted Drew McIntyre ahead of the biggest match of his career, an April 7 date with Roman Reigns, who appeared and accepted his challenge to the high-profile fight.
Triple H addressed Batista, Kurt Angle battled Samoa Joe, and Seth Rollins talked his Universal Championship match with Brock Lesnar to round out the broadcast.
Beat the Clock Challenge
Ronda Rousey kicked off Raw, took credit for the women headlining WrestleMania for the first time on April 7 and ordered the Beat the Clock Challenge to get underway.
With Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair watching from ringside, the Raw women's champion battled The Riott Squad's Sarah Logan in the first of three matches.
Rousey overcame an early onslaught from Logan to apply the cross armbreaker and score the submission victory in 1:25.
Flair was up next, squaring off against Ruby Riott.
Riott was the aggressor early, frustrating The Queen. She countered the former champion's Natural Selection and answered with a neckbreaker.
Flair mounted a comeback and applied the Figure-Eight but failed to force the tapout before the buzzer.
Frustrated, Flair departed the squared circle, giving way to Lynch vs. Liv Morgan.
The Man outclassed her opponent and defeated her in just 1:18.
Lynch celebrated her victory and did the obligatory WrestleMania-sign point to cap off the segment.
Lynch won the Beat the Clock Challenge
This did nothing to capitalize on the announcement earlier in the day that Lynch vs. Rousey vs. Flair will be the first women's match to main-event WrestleMania.
All this did was get them screen time while completely stripping away Logan and Morgan's credibility. It hurt The Riott Squad, failed to boost the others and, as a result, was a massive failure.
Handicap Match: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley and Jinder Mahal
Lio Rush revealed that, because of injuries suffered last week at the hands of Braun Strowman, he was unable to compete, and thus Jinder Mahal would join intercontinental champion Bobby Lashley in his handicap match against Finn Balor.
Balor endured a beating at the hands of his opponents early but fought back, keeping his hopes of victory alive.
As he mounted a comeback, The Singh Brothers interfered, grabbing his leg. The Irishman responded by diving over the top rope and wiping out all of the heels on the floor.
Back in the ring, he delivered the Coup de Grace to score the pinfall victory on The Maharaja.
After the match, a frustrated Lashley laid out Mahal and The Singhs while Michael Cole announced his title defense against Balor at WrestleMania 35.
Balor defeated Mahal and Lashley
It feels like we have been watching Balor overcome the odds against Lashley and Co. for months, to the point you almost just want him to Demon up, kick some ass and win the title already.
Another week of build will not make this any more or less anticipated, as the foregone conclusion at this point is a Balor victory. Until that happens, everything else feels fairly pedestrian.
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. The Revival
Aleister Black and Ricochet have built momentum since their main roster arrival, piecing together a win-loss record that has them in Raw Tag Team Championship contention.
Monday, they battled titleholders The Revival in non-title action.
Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson isolated Ricochet from his partner for the heart of the match. A hot tag to Black, though, started the sprint toward the finish.
Black unloaded on the champions, withstood their attack and suckered them into making what Corey Graves referred to as a "fundamental error" by luring them into his corner.
Black Mass to both set up the 630 splash from Ricochet to Wilder for the pinfall victory.
Black and Ricochet defeated The Revival
Ricochet and Black picked up another victory over the champions in non-title competition, a win that should cash their ticket to WrestleMania.
These shorter television matches have contained enough action to hint at the sort of match the teams can deliver in a more significant pay-per-view setting with more time to work with.
The action here was solid, and the finish—in which the babyfaces outsmarted the heels—represented some fresh, clever booking.
Not the blow-away match fans expect, but that one should be coming, perhaps as soon as The Showcase of the Immortals on April 7.
Drew McIntyre Demands an Answer from Roman Reigns
A week after issuing a challenge to Roman Reigns for a match at WrestleMania, Drew McIntyre made his way to the ring and demanded respect.
The Scottish Psychopath said he hoped The Big Dog's family encouraged him to say "no" to his challenge, and then he reminded him of the beating he dished to Dean Ambrose and his victory over Seth Rollins a week ago.
After some more trash talk, Reigns interrupted the proceedings to a huge pop from the fans in Boston.
The former universal champion engaged McIntyre in a face-to-face and then accepted his challenge. He ended by warning his WrestleMania opponent never to mention his wife and kids again.
A brawl between the two broke out, ending with the Scot delivering a low blow and following with a Claymore Kick. He stood tall over Reigns to end the segment.
This was intense and brought some heat to a feud that came from out of nowhere but figures to feature prominently on the WrestleMania card.
Reigns was great here, keeping the words to a minimum and speaking with his fists. That is what got him over initially as a member of The Shield, and that is the key to his continued success as a babyface.
McIntyre was great also, continuing his streak of strong heel promo work as the Raw brand finally puts him over as the lead villain he has long had the potential to be.
Sasha Banks vs. Natalya
The feud over the Women's Tag Team Championship match continued Monday, as titleholder Sasha Banks, accompanied by Bayley, battled Natalya, who was seconded by Beth Phoenix.
The Boss delivered a wicked knee to the face on the arena floor to seize early control of the bout heading into the break.
The hometown hero countered Natalya's offense into the Bank Statement, nearly scoring the submission win. The Queen of Harts, on the same day she found out her father would be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame, countered into a Sharpshooter.
Banks broke free, but before the match could continue, Tamina and Nia Jax hit the ring.
They attacked the champions and Natalya, but Phoenix fended them off by herself, eventually grounding Tamina with the Glam Slam as chants of "you've still got it" rained down from the stands.
The Glamazon and Natalya stood tall to close out the segment.
Last week, Phoenix announced her desire to come out of retirement for a shot at the tag titles. This week, she proved she could.
This was a great reintroduction to Phoenix the in-ring competitor and a quality way of building the hype for the expected tag title match at WrestleMania.
Throw in the emotions expressed by Natalya after the Hall of Fame video package confirming her father Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart's induction, and you had a strong segment of television.
'A Moment of Bliss' with Braun Strowman, Colin Jost and Michael Che
The unexpected rivalry between Braun Strowman and Saturday Night Live's Michael Che and Colin Jost continued Monday, as they joined Alexa Bliss on her "A Moment of Bliss" talk show.
The Monster Among Men, who declared for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, made his way to the ring to a sizeable ovation. Unfazed by Bliss reminding him of the chaos he has caused over the course of his career, he answered Little Miss Bliss' question about what would happen if Jost and Che crossed him.
Che and Jost joined the show via satellite, with the former antagonizing fans in Boston by wearing a New York Yankees hat.
Che voiced his respect for Strowman while Jost continued to poke fun at The Monster, saying he went to Harvard and would love to be his mentor.
Strowman issued a challenge to the "Weekend Update" hosts, suggesting Jost should enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Che accepted on behalf of his friend, to which Jost said Che was in, too.
Bliss teased not making the announcement official but did, and Strowman promised his rivals would get his hands.
There will be those who argue the stupidity of this program and champion the idea that Strowman deserves better, but he is about to be involved in a WrestleMania angle with mainstream celebrities from one of television's greatest institutions.
He will be a bigger star for having that spot than he would have by wrestling Baron Corbin or Drew McIntyre in the midcard or getting his ass kicked by Brock Lesnar again.
This was harmless fun that gave fans a taste of exactly what we are in for come April 7.
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
As he gears up to spoil Kurt Angle's retirement match at WrestleMania, Baron Corbin squared off with Apollo Crews.
Late in the match, he found himself on the receiving end of a splash but was able to get his shoulder off the mat at the count of two.
Moments later, he ended Crews' night with End of Days, proving he can get the same result against one of the Superstars his WrestleMania opponent defeated a few weeks back.
After the match, he delivered another End of Days, just to send a message.
Corbin defeated Crews
This was just a match to put Corbin over, something that could have been accomplished with a beatdown of Angle later in the show or anything more interesting than this.
Crews is not over enough for this to have benefited The Lone Wolf in any way, making it a largely useless segment of television, though not through a lack of effort from the participants themselves.
Seth Rollins Addresses WrestleMania 35 and Brock Lesnar
Seth Rollins hit the ring to address his Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
The Architect ran down the list of Superstars who inspired him to be a wrestler, including Bret Hart, Ric Flair and even Triple H. He said unlike those men, Lesnar has done nothing to inspire anyone.
Rollins continued, saying he only just recently realized how much his match at WrestleMania means to the fans and vowed to burn Suplex City down on April 7.
Paul Heyman interrupted and said the bout at WrestleMania is now a handicap match in that Lesnar will be defending his title against Rollins and the entire WWE Universe. He said he wants The Architect to take it very personally when he lets the fans down and they lose to The Beast Incarnate.
Rollins rushed up the ramp, where Heyman had tripped and fallen. Standing over Lesnar's advocate, he vowed to answer the fans' prayers when "we" go to WrestleMania, beat The Beast and burn it down!
Positioning Rollins as a man of the people is the right decision. To this point, his journey to WrestleMania lacked purpose. Sure, the title is up for grabs, but the fans needed a reason to root for him against the unstoppable Lesnar. By fighting for them against a champion who does not respect them, does not inspire them and does not care about them, he has provided them that.
Heyman suggesting a loss for Rollins disappoints not only him but also the WWE Universe was a great touch that adds stakes to the bout. Yeah, if The Architect loses, he experiences professional disappointment, but now he has people behind him he has to take into account.
After weeks of mediocre promo work and lackluster build, the writing team, Rollins and Heyman struck a nerve they would all be wise to build on next week in what is their last opportunity to create buzz for the universal title match at WrestleMania.
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
Prior to the match between the longtime rivals, Samoa Joe spoke on the microphone, relishing the opportunity to leave Kurt Angle unconscious one last time.
The Samoan Submission Specialist controlled the match early, delivering a suicide dive to The Olympic Gold Medalist heading into the break.
An arrogant Joe maintained control until Angle executed consecutive German suplexes. The United States champion answered with a senton for two.
The former Raw general manager delivered an Angle Slam for a near-fall. Later, he escaped a Muscle Buster attempt and delivered a missile dropkick that stunned The Destroyer.
The Hall of Famer found himself in an unenviable position later, though, trapped in the grasps of Joe's Coquina Clutch. Angle countered into a quick pinfall to score the victory.
Angle defeated Joe
This was an awesome bit of storytelling.
Joe was clearly superior, dominating the match and escaping Angle's most vaunted weapons. He was the better wrestler and the more dominant competitor.
The Olympian was resourceful, though. He was more aware, and when he most needed it, he scored the type of pinfall from out of nowhere he made a career out of and earned an improbable win.
Joe was protected, Angle's ability to fight from underneath was on full display and the veteran's victory gave the crowd what it wanted. All in all, exactly what one would have wanted from this match.
Triple H Addresses the WWE Universe
Triple H was in the center of the ring after the commercial break and wasted little time congratulating Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey on becoming the first women to main-event WrestleMania.
He then produced a letter from Batista's envelope that stated The Animal will not compete at WrestleMania unless a few stipulations were met. The Game read his rival's beliefs, mocking him for only now figuring out that he used Batista to help keep the world title around his waist.
He then revealed the last stipulation: Triple H must put his career on the line at WrestleMania.
The Game said he was not obsessed with Batista and he does not even care about him. If he cannot defeat a self-absorbed guy like The Animal, he should retire. He accepted the stipulation to end the segment.
Triple H was on here, delivering a great promo that was relatively shorter than his typical fare but still managed to add heat and get the heart of the feud over.
The Game flirted with humor early, which was an odd choice given the seriousness of the feud to this point, but he settled down and ultimately delivered the impactful lines with the emotion necessary.
It should be interesting to see how WWE sends this one home next week and if there is any physicality involved.
Last Man Standing Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
Never one to stay down, Dean Ambrose battled Drew McIntyre for the second time in three weeks, this time in a Last Man Standing match.
The Lunatic Fringe knew full well he would endure pain as he battled The Scottish Psychopath, but that did not deter him. Ambrose took the fight to his opponent, introducing weapons in an attempt to punish him.
Many of those weapons backfired, as he found himself on the receiving end of a kendo stick to the throat and midsection. As he built momentum late, he brought a table into play.
It was Ambrose, again, who tasted the agony of his own weapon, as McIntyre put him through it.
The former WWE champion made it to his feet before the count of nine, staving off defeat, but he would be unable to do so after one last Claymore Kick from McIntyre. A count of 10 seconds and the vile villain was announced the winner.
He celebrated his win to close out the show.
McIntyre defeated Ambrose
This was a lackluster match that really failed to add anything to McIntyre's journey to WrestleMania.
The Scottish Psychopath would have been better served leaving Reigns reeling after the attack earlier in the show and calling it a night rather than partaking in this match, which was relatively tame for a battle between two guys with an intense dislike for each other.
McIntyre mostly dominated the action, which did nothing to build on the momentum that his initial win over Ambrose two weeks ago had not already done. That essentially rendered the match meaningless...unless the plan is to further diminish The Lunatic's star before he departs in April.