Bengaluru, January 8: WWE Raw came up with the first episode of 2019 with a packed card. Hulk Hogan returned on the flagship show of the WWE to honor the legendary Mean Gene Okerlund. Alongside him, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Braun Strowman also made their returns. Plus, Ronda Rousey received her challenger at the Royal Rumble. Two championship matches also took place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
A brawl broke out in the opening segment of this week's Raw between Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley at the backstage. This was carried out to the ramp and that made things even worse. The roster members came out to stop them. They separated the two to make way for the show to start.
John Cena kicked off Raw as well as the first episode of 2019. A huge announcement was made where he confirmed his entry into the Royal Rumble 2019 match. Drew McIntyre was out to interrupt him and create a verbal confrontation. Soon Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley joined them. Seth Rollins was back to continue the unfinished brawl with Lashley. This set up a six-man tag team match.
John Cena teamed up with Seth Rollins and Finn Balor to compete against Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose and Drew McIntyre in the opening contest. Cena performed an Attitude Adjustment on Dean Ambrose in the opening sequence. Drew McIntyre put down Cena with a Glasgow Kiss. He punished Cena until Balor got the tag. But Balor soon ran into a Claymore. Finally, Seth Rollins entered the match and countered a Dirty Deeds with his signature Stomp to pick up the win.
Seth Rollins went backstage to confront Triple H. He wanted an IC title shot after pinning Dean Ambrose just moments ago. So Triple H booked the match in the main event of WWE Raw with an added Falls Count Anywhere as stipulation.
Hulk Hogan was out on the show to celebrate the life of “Mean” Gene Okerlund. We received a 10 bell salute for the greatest in-ring announcer before Hogan made his entrance. The WWE Universe greeted him with loud Hogan chants. The Immortal One took us back down memory lane. WWE also presented video footage related to Okerlund's life to give us an emotional segment.
RAW Tag Team Championships were on the line in a Lumberjack capacity. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable defended these titles against The Revival. The champions were on the roll by hitting a German Suplex-Blockbuster combo, but Wilder broke up the pinfall. He tagged himself in and hit a frog splash on Gable. But he got his feet up and tagged Roode who pinned Dawson. The referee did not see Dawson's feet were on the ropes.
Elias cut a promo on Baron Corbin on WWE Raw before his scheduled match. Elias dominated the opening half with chops and a mule kick. He then gave a clothesline followed it with a high fly on Corbin on the floor. The Lone Wold came back with a big clothesline. He hurt Elias by sending him to the ring posts. This allowed him to connect with the End of Days for the win.
Braun Strowman was out on Raw to call out the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Instead, Paul Heyman came out to warn him. But Strowman provoked Lesnar by stating, “Hey, Beastie Boy. I’m waiting. I’m standing in the ring waiting for you". Lesnar made his entrance to stalk his challenger by roaming around the ring. He left without a physical confrontation.
Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox teamed up against Ember Moon and Apollo Crews on Raw. Apollo controlled the match for the most part before Ember Moon was tagged into the match. She hit the Eclipse on Fox to pick up the quick win.
Alexa Bliss returned to Raw to host the Moment of Bliss talk show. She called out Ronda Rousey who cut a short promo before calling out Sasha Banks. They were about to compete in a match but Nia Jax interrupted talking about some unfinished business with Rousey. This set up a match between Sasha Banks and Nia. The winner was set to get a title opportunity against Ronda Rousey.
Tamina tried to distract Sasha multiple times giving the upper hand to Nia. But Sasha hit a drop-kick off the apron to neutralize Tamina. A dangerous Hurricurana followed on Nia from the top rope. Sasha Banks locked in the Bank Statement forcing Nia to tap out. A title match between Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks is now official at Royal Rumble for the Raw women's championship.
As per earlier announcement, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the IC title in a Falls Count Anywhere match was the main event of Raw. Rollins pounced on Ambrose from the back while the champion was making his entrance. The chaotic match continued where Rollins overcame multiple chair shots and hit The Stomp. But Bobby Lashley showed up to hit an over-the-shoulder slam followed by a spear. This allowed Ambrose to pin Rollins and retain the title. Lashley put Rollins through a table to close this week's Raw.