Raw Expectations 02/18/19: Banks & Bayley On Top


Last night’s Elimination Chamber didn’t feature a lot of talent from Monday Night Raw. But we did see new champs crowned for the red brand, and a humbled Monster. PPV’s are coming at us thick and furious, with Fastlane just three weeks away, and WrestleMania on the horizon. Baring all this in mind, what can fans expect from tonight’s Raw, from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana?

Anyone watching last night witnessed history when Sasha Banks and Bayley became the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. It was a feel-good moment that sparked genuine emotion from both the ladies in the ring, and the fans. Now the duo must move on to the task of defending the belts. Expect celebrations tonight to be cut short by Nia Jax and Tamina at least, issuing a challenge for Fastlane. Also, expect whatever angle they do with the new champs to open the show.

One female group in no position to make a challenge is the Riott Squad. After Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan were both beaten in rapid succession by Ronda Rousey last week, team leader Ruby Riott was similarly embarrassed yesterday. The Raw Women’s champion won in a matter of minutes, a squish match leading to a WrestleMania hype angle. Fine for Rousey, bad for Riott. This gang didn’t have much momentum behind them following their feud with Natalya, and now it’s in the toilet. Expect something to happen with these girls soon to radically alter their career trajectories.

Ronda Sees Red

As for Rousey tonight, expect the champ to show off her stitches. SmackDown’s Becky Lynch hobbled to the ring last night to confront Rousey and her new Mania challenger Charlotte Flair, then beat the pair with her crutches. Several of the swings appeared reckless, and at least one opened a gash above Rousey’s ear. There’s no way this doesn’t get addressed tonight on Raw. Expect McMahon’s to appear, when they could go one of two ways. They might announce a reinforcement to Lynch’s suspension of some sort. Or, they might rescind her suspension immediately to book her in ‘punishment’ matches. Either way, it leads to Lynch being added to Rousey vs Flair at Mania for the triple threat main event we’ve been expecting.

All Mighty Waste of a Sunday

It was a bad night for Bobby Lashley. First, his mouthpiece and sidekick Lio Rush cost him his Intercontinental Title in their match against Finn Balor. Second, after beating up Rush and seemingly disavowing himself of his services, he was stuck back in a trio with Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre. Sure, the threesome devoured Braun Strowman, but we’ve seen that before. Then, they did nothing. So it was dull to see the exact same angle play out as they did when Strowman needed surgery. Maybe the Monster needs more time off. Perhaps this leads to Strowman grabbing a couple of buddies (like Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt?) to help. This is the lead male angle for Raw, what with Seth Rollins apparently nursing injury, and Brock Lesnar being Lesnar. Expect this to be a focus of tonight’s show, and hope they have some sort of plan this time.

Bromance Back On?

Speaking of Rollins, the Universal title challenger isn’t even mentioned in tonight’s Official Preview. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t make an appearance, though. Just don’t expect to see him in any kind of physical interaction, if recent reports are correct. His on-again, off-again buddy Dean Ambrose gave him a motivational boost last Monday, and lost his siren, apparently turning face again. Ambrose then defeated EC3, to level their score at one apiece. Curse Creative’s 50/50 booking policy, which is, if you don’t know, “do it, all the time.” We’re obviously headed to round three, and a pairing at Fastlane seems inevitable, so expect some fireworks between these two tonight.

Finn Finds Gold

Expect Balor’s Intercontinental Title win to be addressed. It’s the seventh time the belt’s changed hands in a little over a year, with six different champions. It will be interesting to see who comes after Balor tonight. It could be Lashley seeking revenge, and a rematch, since he wasn’t the one pinned. If The All Mighty does come looking for trouble, he’ll be coming with his new friends. Nobody wants to see Balor and Corbin in another match. It could be Rush alone looking for retribution. Or it could be a fresh feud for Balor to go into WrestleMania. Maybe this is a possible introduction for Lars Sullivan?

Real Revival?

Finally, expect The Revival to officially begin their quest to put some prestige back into the Raw Tag Team titles. Whether they’ll face fresh challengers tonight, or just get the ball rolling on their first defense, remains to be seen. There have been reports that tag team wrestling is going to be made more important again, so how The Revival get to put over their win tonight will go a long way to proving how true this is.

There’s such a difference between the male and female sides of the roster right now. The ladies have different story lines, a web of rivalries, and a definite focus on what is most important. The men lack stories, flip and flop their alignments and allegiances almost weekly, and seem to have no direction or focus. It’s been two months since the McMahon’s promised change, and while we’ve seen improvements for the woman and tag teams, the men’s singles division, on Raw at least, has suffered. On a scale of one to five, with five being, “And NEWWWW WWE Champion – Kofi Kingston!”, and one being, “And NEWWWW WWE Champion – David Arquette,” expect tonight’s Raw to rate two.

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