The WWE finished off a rough 2018 with a pretty good episode of Monday Night Raw.
This was actually the second good episode after what seemed like months of just treading water to the end of the year. It also makes one wonder if the WWE is serious about finally turning things around in the new year.
Here is a look at our five reactions from the final WWE Monday Night Raw of 2018.
Drew McIntyre is a star
This week’s Monday Night Raw opened with a steel cage match. That seems almost crazy but since this show was pre-taped and most people who wanted to know the results already read them, it was a good way to get viewers on New Year’s Eve.
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler know how to work together and they turne3d in a great performance. Furthermore, they allowed McIntyre to win the match — not by leaving the cage, but by pinning Ziggler in the middle of the ring.
It is what happened after the match that mattered. After McIntyre won, he came back in and destroyed Ziggler again and left him lying. Finally, Drew told everyone that 2019 was his year — and after this showing, the future looks bright.
Seth Rollins is moving on up
Seth Rollins came out and asked for his rematch against Dean Ambrose. That brought out Triple H, who denied him and said no more automatic rematches.
He also said that Rollins didn’t deserve it, to which Rollins replied that he had carried Monday Night Raw on his shoulders for the last year and he was doing it while the champion Brock Lesnar was up in Saskatchewan.
Triple H said that he wanted the old Rollins back, not the one who asked for things but the one who took things. That is when Rollins said that he will run over anyone who gets in his way, whether it is Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose or the entire McMahon family.
That brought out Shane McMahon who said that someone not named Seth Rollins was getting the IC match tonight and that Rollins would fight Bobby Lashley instead.
Later in the show, Rollins lost to Lashley by disqualification and then destroyed Bobby and Lio Rush with multiple chair shots. They are setting Rollins up for a huge push in 2019 and possibly a match with Brock Lesnar.
This is a good thing.
The WWE is pushing future stars
The WWE held a battle royal to determine the man to face Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental title later in the show. The match had some interesting names in it, including Finn Balor, Apollo Crews and Tyler Breeze — three guys who deserve pushes.
They even let Balor get some nice eliminations before Baron Corbin eliminated him (please don’t keep these two feuding). However, it was Apollo Crews who looked great, getting eight eliminations (Corbin went out last) and earning the title shot.
Then, Apollo Crews turned in a solid performance in the title shot, going nine minutes and losing to Ambrose. He looked great though, and they just need to give the crowd a reason to care about him.
They also let Elias beat the hell out of Baron Corbin, which was good since fans still hate Corbin and they are progressing Elias as a top mid-level babyface.
Add in next week’s announcement that The Revival will get a tag team title shot, and they seem to be moving in the right direction.
The same old, same old (Lesnar, Cena)
Now, the announcement for next week’s episode of Monday Night Raw also promised the return of Brock Lesnar and John Cena.
Now, Lesnar has to be on the show as he is still the Universal Champion. However, the WWE can’t promise a new era until they get their top title off a part-time star. Maybe Seth Rollins can show up and cut a promo with Lesnar next week.
What’s up w the HAIR?! @WWE I’ve tried to tell you! It’s the electricity of the ⚡️👊! 1.21 Gigawatts! 2nite #WWETampa will 100% understand as the ⚡️👊 invades the home of the @TBLightning ! @AmalieArena U 🚫👀ME! But U CAN feel the💥of the ⚡️👊 pic.twitter.com/laXsf3oT8c
— John Cena (@JohnCena) December 30, 2018
His interactions on SmackDown Live this week were great and he was putting new talent over. One wonders if he will do the same on Raw next week?
This is also a good time to mention that his return will last two weeks and then Cena will be gone from the WWE again.
A new era?
So, with the 2018 year coming to an end, is the WWE delivering the new era they promised?
They are pushing younger, more exciting stars.
Apollo Crews this week, Tyler Breeze before him, The Revival next week, Elias, Finn Balor and even Zack Ryder in his first television appearance of 2018.
Plus, they are pushing Seth Rollins as the new super babyface.
Hopefully, the Brock Lesnar title reign ends soon because that would really prove they want to change.
However, the McMahon family and Triple H always being on TV again and making matches and rules just feels like more of the same, even if they are doing the “right thing.”
There have been three straight weeks of good episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw. Let’s see if 2019 continues that trend.