Welcome to another edition of the Raw Deal. This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw will feature matches including Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy vs. Apollo Crews with the winner becoming the sixth man in the Elimination Chamber match on February 25th. Also announced as a big match is Bayley vs. Sasha Banks and John Cena will start the show.
Live from San Jose, California, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1290 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you like what you read here, please support TJRWrestling by getting one of our amazing t-shirts right here. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
There was a shot of the crowd in San Jose, we were welcomed to the show by Michael Cole and John Cena’s music hit for the show opening promo. The crowd sang “John Cena sucks” for his song.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman were shown on camera welcoming us to the show. They showed pictures from last week’s Raw instead of video. Lame. Show video. Anyway, Elias pinned Cena in a triple threat after a Braun Strowman powerslam.
Let’s Hear From John Cena
Cena hyped up the crowd welcoming us to Raw on the road to WrestleMania. He said the people know the importance of WrestleMania. Cena said they all know what WrestleMania means because it makes a superstar’s career and it can bring a legend back from the dead (hello Undertaker). Cena said that WrestleMania can be the most important moment in the life of a WWE superstar. Cena said if he doesn’t win the Elimination Chamber match, then for the first time in 15 years he may not have a path to WrestleMania. Cena said he loves making the impossible absolutely possible. Cena said he’ll win the Elimination Chamber and go on to make history against Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania.
The Miz, who is the great Intercontinental Champion on Raw, entered along with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Miz is in his wrestling gear, so you know a match is coming.
Miz said it’s not 2013, it’s 2018 the year of The Miz. When Miz got in the ring with his guys, he said that Cena can’t differentiate fantasy from reality. Miz told Cena he’s the founding father of Suplex City. Miz claimed that he is going to main event WrestleMania because that’s where this title (IC Title) belongs. Miz said he’ll be the first person to hold the IC and Universal Title at the same time. Cena said some guy in a Braves hat in the crowd was laughing at Miz saying that. Cena said that Miz has no chance against Lesnar and Cena told Miz that it would most likely be his last match.
Miz told Cena he’ll play to his strength against Lesnar and use his brain. Miz said he does whatever it takes and he uses whatever is at his disposal. Miz talked about how he crosses the line that Cena won’t cross, which is why Miz beat Reigns for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz said that’s why he will beat Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania (sign point). Cena pointed out that Miz has to win Elimination Chamber and Miz bragged about outsmarting John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania (that was 2011).
Cena suggested a match right here, right now on Monday Night Raw: John Cena vs. The Miz. Cena said the loser of the match enters the Elimination Chamber first. Fans chanting “yes” for it. Miz: “What do you think, I’m stupid?” Miz asked why he would take that chance, which led to Axel and Dallas attacking Cena with punches. Dallas hit a back suplex and Axel hit a neckbreaker at the same time. Miz took off his jacket. Miz said he would take that chance because he is smarter than Cena. Miz called for a referee to come out there.
Kurt Angle, Raw’s General Manager, made his entrance on the stage. Angle said he likes John Cena’s challenge. Angle also likes that the loser of the match will enter the Elimination Chamber first. A ref ran down to the ring. Angle said he’s eliminating Bo and Curtis from ringside.
Analysis: It was a good promo from two guys very familiar with eachother. Cena made a reference to The Undertaker about a guy coming back from the dead for WrestleMania. The plan is Cena vs. Taker at WM, but they aren’t going to address likely until two weeks from now. Miz is doing a great job of being a heel that has no problem bragging about cheating as much as he does to win matches. Setting up a match was obvious since Miz was already in his wrestling gear.
The Miz vs. John Cena
This match is not for the IC Title held by The Miz.
The ref called for the bell while Cena was on his back, Miz covered and Cena kicked out. Miz hit Cena with punches and got another two count as they went to break.
Back from break, Cena was on the apron and Miz punched him off. Miz sent Cena into the barricade and tossed him back into the ring. Miz went up top with a double axe for two. Cena got his knees up to block a Miz move and Cena hit a dropkick. Cena with a suplex for a two count. Miz came back with a running kick to the face for a two count. Cena nailed a Tornado DDT off the ropes for two. Miz slapped on a sleeper hold to wear Cena down. Cole tried to make Cena’s point about how for 15 years Cena’s wrestled at WrestleMania. Yes, but if he loses at Elimination Chamber doesn’t mean he’s going to be off WrestleMania. Viewers at home know this, yet WWE wants to drive home points that aren’t true. Miz still had the sleeper on as the show went to break.
Analysis: In Cena’s promo and Cole’s commentary they are trying to tell us if Cena loses at Elimination Chamber he might miss WrestleMania. Terrible way to tell the story and fans know better, but they have nothing else to give Cena motivation I guess.
When the show returned, Miz tried for a Skull Crushing Finale, Cena pushed out of it, Cena tried AA, Miz slipped out of it and Miz slapped on the Figure Four Leglock. Cena fought out of it and applied his version of the STF. Miz crawled to the bottom rope to break the hold. Miz knocked Cena down, Miz up top with a cross body block, Cena caught him and went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Miz slipped out with a kick to the knee and a DDT by Miz got a two count. Miz was stunned that wasn’t it even though he never wins with that move. Miz nailed a corner clothesline on Cena. Miz charged in, Cena caught him and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Miz kicked out at two by getting his left shoulder up. Cena went up top, so Miz went to the ropes to trip him up. Miz slapped on the Figure Four Leglock again. Cena broke out of it by grabbing the left arm of Miz and slapped on a Crossface submission. Cole said STF at first and Graves said it was like the Yes Lock. Miz got to the ropes. Cena charged into the corner, Miz moved and Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale for a two count as Cena got his shoulder up. Miz set up Cena on the top rope, Miz teased the Skull Crushing Finale up there, but Cena countered that and hit the Super Attitude Adjustment off the second rope for the pinfall win. The match went 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match from two guys that have wrestled a lot over the years although it’s been a while since their last match, so it felt fresh. Miz was on offense for about 70% of it with Cena doing a good job of selling everything and then making the comeback for the win. I’m not surprised by the Cena win since he got beat by Elias last week. Plus, we know champions like Miz lose non-title matches all the time. Some people will probably whine about Cena winning, but it doesn’t bother me since he just lost to Elias in the main event last week.
The loss means that The Miz will enter the Elimination Chamber match from the #1 spot. We already know Elias is the last entrant in the match.
After the match was over, Cena went up to a kid in a wheelchair in Cena gear, gave him a hug and his armband. Good guy, John Cena.
Analysis: Will either man win Elimination Chamber? No. Their names aren’t Roman Reigns.
Still to come: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy vs. Apollo Crews.
Matt Hardy did a promo backstage talking about his second chance to fulfill his destiny, but he’s got other vessels in his way as he said their names. Hardy claimed their second chance is already over because the deities have blessed him with the strength and power to render them all obsolete. Hardy said that he will turn the Elimination Chamber into the Deletion Chamber. Hardy did the “delete” gesture with the fans chanting along.
Analysis: The Deletion Chamber is a good name. Solid promo from Woken Matt, who needs some big wins soon.
The duo of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson did a promo about The Revival. There was a “Nerd-O-Meter” on the screen. They called The Revival nerds and the meter blew up at the end of it.
Cole asked where he would rank on the Nerd-O-Meter and Graves said off the charts. I agree.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson attacked them from behind. Wilder nailed Gallows with a chop block to the back of the knee of Gallows. They also knocked down Anderson. The Revival wanted the match to start and then they left the ring when Gallows and Anderson got into the ring. The ref rang the bell.
Analysis: I guess there’s a “cheap shot before the match starts” theme to the matches this week.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Revival – Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder
Gallows started with Dawson with Gallows nailing him with punches including a big uppercut. Gallows tossed Dawson across the ring followed by more punches. Gallows nailed a big boot to the face followed by back body drop on Wilder. Anderson punched Wilder out of the ring. The ref held back Anderson, Gallows tossed Wilder to the floor and Dawson hit a shoulder to clip the back of the left knee of Gallows as the show went to break.
The match returned with Dawson continuing to work on the left knee of Gallows by punching it. Wilder wrenched the left knee of Gallows. Gallows broke free of the heels and Anderson got the hot tag against Wilder with Anderson nailing clotheslines followed by a running kick. Anderson hit Wilder in the face with a jumping kick. Anderson with a blockbuster on Wilder. Gallows pulled Dawson out of the ring, but Dawson sent Gallows into the steps. Wilder got a rollup on Anderson for two. Anderson with a spinebuster on Wilder for two. Dawson tagged himself in, Wilder whipped Anderson into the ropes and Dawson into the ring for the Shatter Machine and pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Revival
Analysis: **3/4 Good tag match featuring two of the better tag teams in the company. It’s nice to see The Revival getting wins to try to establish them on the Raw brand. I’m still getting used to Gallows and Anderson as faces. The crowd is behind them a bit, but not all the way yet. I think the right team went over since The Revival lost to Balor and Anderson last week. It’s typical WWE booking where they trade wins from week to week.
There were images shown from last week’s Raw with Sheamus & Cesaro retaining the Tag Team Titles by disqualification over Rollins & Reigns due to Jason Jordan. It also led to Jason Jordan being sent home with a neck injury.
This week on Smackdown Live: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin with the winner going to the Fastlane main event to make it a Fatal 4-Way.
Let’s Hear From Kurt Angle
Angle was already in the ring. It was announced by Kurt Angle that at Elimination Chamber in two weeks, Ronda Rousey will sign her WWE Raw contract.
Analysis: That’s big. It’s smart to do that at Elimination Chamber rather than at Raw to make it more of an interesting show. I wonder how many times they will make her say “women’s revolution” during her promo? At least three.
Angle said Jason Jordan had neck surgery after last week’s Raw and he’s going to miss WrestleMania. The fans cheered that news. Angle said they should show Jordan more respect, which I agree with. Angle said he was speaking as a father that fans should wish Jordan the best in his recovery.
Analysis: Cheering injuries is pretty bad, but the fans don’t like Jordan right now.
Seth Rollins interrupted Angle’s speech. Rollins got into the ring.
Rollins said he felt bad for Jordan because a few years ago he was the WWE Champion and he won the title a few miles up the street at Levi’s Stadium when he cashed in the Money in the Bank contract to beat Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. Rollins said he was on top of the world. then it all came crumbling down because he tore up his knee, he had to forfeit the title and he missed WrestleMania.
Rollins talked about the future with Angle saying they can find him another tag team partner. Rollins said no thanks. Rollins said that Angle told him when he got there that Rollins would be a mainstay of Raw. Rollins said he didn’t want to be a part of Monday Night Raw, he wants to be Monday Night Raw and turn this place into Monday Night Rollins. Rollins said he wants Brock Lesnar, he wants the Universal Championship and he wants it at WrestleMania (sign point). Rollins talked about how the only way he can do that is if he wins the Elimination Chamber match. Angle told him he can’t just cancel the 4-Way match.
Rollins suggested that he can earn an opportunity. Rollins said let’s take that Fatal 4-Way match and make it a Fatal 5-Way by putting Rollins in the match. Angle said that it wouldn’t be fair to the other four wrestlers – and then Kurt said the other four superstars (way to say superstars like WWE tells people to say). Rollins said every week he puts his body on the line for Raw, for Angle and it sucks that Jason Jordan is missing out on a WrestleMania moment, but it doesn’t mean that Rollins must miss out on his moment. Angle said it’s not up to Rollins or himself…it’s up to them.
Angle asked the fans: “Do you all of you want to me to give Seth an opportunity to make it into the Elimination Chamber?” Fans chanted “yes” for that. Angle said he gets the opportunity. They shook hands to end it.
Analysis: That is not surprising at all. I like how Rollins said he wants to be the focus of Raw again. He needs a bigger role because he’s been wrestling in mostly tag team matches for the last six months. Rollins is a guy the fans genuinely like and people can get behind if WWE can think of something to make him a bigger star. Get him a catchphrase or something to make him more interesting. I’m all for a bigger role for Rollins.
Bray Wyatt did a promo saying Rollins didn’t deserve a second chance, neither did Balor, Crews or Hardy. Wyatt said that Matt is a sick, disturbed man in need of help. Wyatt called himself a shark that will feast on their remains and win the Elimination Chamber match for the second year in a row and then he’ll slay The Beast. Wyatt said once again he’ll have the whole world in his hands.
Sasha Banks made her entrance.
There was a video for Black History Month.
Still to come is the Fatal 5-Way: Wyatt vs. Hardy vs. Balor vs. Crews vs. Rollins.
Banks was in the ring and they showed her Twitter trash talk with Bayley. Yawn.
Bayley made her entrance in her hometown of San Jose, so she got a good pop like she used to get before they booked her terribly last year. When Coachman told a story about his 9-year-old daughter talking about the women in the match, Cole said maybe they should get her on commentary. That was funny. Cole made me laugh! That’s very rare.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Bayley with an armdrag off the ropes followed by a dropkick. Bayley with a shoulder tackle, Bayley got a rollup and Bayley avoided a Bank Statement attempt. Banks with a hip toss on Bayley followed by a running double knee attack for a two count. Banks nailed a forearm and then she dumped Bayley out of the ring. When Bayley was on the apron, Banks nailed a dropkick. Banks rolled Bayley back in the ring. Bayley with shoulder tackles, but Banks came back by draping Bayley’s right arm (that has tape on it) against the top rope, so Bayley sold it like she was hurt.
Back from break, Banks had Bayley grounded with a hold on the arm. Banks with a knee attack to the right shoulder of Bayley for a two count. Banks blocked a Bayley attack with a forearm followed by the double knee attack in the corner. Banks mocked the Bayley turn move and Bayley nailed a clothesline. Banks with a hard slap, Bayley with a Thesz Press followed by punches, another forearm by Banks and Bayley drove Banks into the corner. Bayley with a back suplex. Bayley hit her neckbreaker using the ropes for an assist for a two count. Bayley with a running knee to the face. Bayley went up top and jumped off with an elbow drop, but Banks moved out of the way. Banks capitalized with the Bank Statement submission. Bayley crawled all the way across the ring and got her hand on the bottom rope. Bayley sent Banks face first into the middle turnbuckle. Banks with a hard kick to Bayley’s face. With Banks sitting on the top rope, Bayley with a forearm. Bayley teased a superplex, but Banks shoved her down. With Banks standing on the middle rope, Bayley with a Bayley to Belly suplex for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good match like usual from them. They have awesome chemistry going back to their NXT days three years ago. It was a competitive match with Bayley doing well in terms of selling the shoulder injury, Banks worked it a lot and there was some drama with Bayley trying to break the hold. The finish was similar to Cena/Miz in that it took a finishing move off the middle rope to put Banks away the same way Cena did his finisher to Miz off the middle rope. That makes it feel a bit repetitive, but I thought the match was really well done. Bayley really needed that win too, so the right woman went over.
Post match, Bayley celebrated the win in front of her hometown fans. Banks slowly got to her feet. Bayley stared at her. Nia Jax went into the ring for a cheap attack that knocked down both women. Jax with a Samoan Drop on Bayley and a Samoan Drop for Banks as well. Jax left.
Jax was on the ramp. Charly Caruso asked Jax why she got involved when it doesn’t involve her. Jax said over the last two weeks, those women took Asuka to her limit and she just took care of them. Jax said only one woman can beat Asuka and you’re looking at her.
Analysis: Jax showed good intensity in that promo. She’s not like most girls.
The announcers shilled the Elimination Chamber lineup. It’s at the bottom of this post.
Seth Rollins was shown backstage. Roman Reigns walked up to him to say Rollins worked his magic to make it a 5-Way. Rollins asked Reigns if he is worried about Rollins in the Chamber match. Reigns said that he’ll eliminate Rollins like he did at the Royal Rumble. Rollins laughed about it. Sheamus & Cesaro showed up with their Tag Team Titles. Cesaro wondered if Ambrose and Jordan are in physical therapy together. Reigns mocked Cesaro’s injury to his teeth and threatened Sheamus. Rollins said “nice skirt, fella” as the heel champs left.
There was a replay of Nia Jax’s promo as the words from her promo appeared on the screen. That’s something new WWE is doing of late. I don’t know why. They just are.
A video package aired about Asuka’s undefeated streak that started 860 days ago with 240 wins and 0 losses. They claim it has been 34 women that have lost to Asuka and 8 of them have won gold in WWE. It mentioned Asuka’s 523 day NXT Title reign that ended when Asuka left NXT to join Raw. It also mentioned Asuka won the Royal Rumble match that featured 15 women that were former Women’s Champions. It said the streak has been 860 days and counting with no end in sight. It ended with Asuka’s catchphrase: “Nobody is ready for Asuka.”
At Elimination Chamber, it’s Asuka vs. Nia Jax and if Jax wins then she goes on to WrestleMania to make Asuka’s title match a triple threat match.
Analysis: The video was well done. It was like a Royal Rumble “by the numbers” video. I like those. I’m picking Asuka to win at Elimination Chamber.
The Titus Worldwide trio of Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil and Dana Brooke were in the interview area with Renee Young conducting the interview. O’Neil took the microphone from Young to conduct the interview. Brooke said: “Crews Can’t Lose.” Crews said that he’s going to take one small step for Apollo Crews and one giant leap for Titus Worldwide. They chanted “Crews Can’t Lose” to end it.
Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, was shown walking backstage. She walked up to Mickie James and called her partner. James wondered why Bliss was teaming with her. Bliss is tired of the newbies and she wants to clear the air between them. Bliss mentioned doing things to James earlier. James mentioned Bliss calling her old and James called her “biscuit butt.” Bliss said that she apologized for what she said in the past and she respected Mickie for being a six-time champion and a mother. James thanked her, but asked what she wants. James said she appreciated what Bliss did last week and that it was very sweet, but come Elimination Chamber, James is coming after that title. James told her that they can team up, but Bliss is buttering up the wrong biscuit…honey. James left and Bliss just stared at her.
Analysis: That was a good follow up to last week. Bliss sucked up to James because she knows that if she has allies then it will help Bliss, but Mickie did well not to believe in the bullshit that Bliss was saying, so you have a situation where they are still rivals, yet they will work together for this match. There’s a lot of history between them, so I’m glad they got to talk for two minutes to sort it all out. That’s better than just having them tag without having a conversation first.
The Absolution trio of Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose and Paige entered to Paige’s music. The tag team match is up next.
Mickie James made her entrance. Mickie waited at the top of the ramp for Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, to make her entrance and they walked down to the ring together.
Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose (w/Paige) vs. Mickie James & Alexa Bliss
Rose started with James, Deville tagged in and Mickie took care of her with a forearm to knock her down. Bliss tagged in for a double team back elbow on Deville. Bliss hit two double knee attack moves. Bliss tripped up Deville and slammed her down by the hair. James tagged in wit ha running kick to Deville for a two count. Deville drove James into the turnbuckle and James took her down with a headscissors followed by a Thesz Press into punches. Rose distracted James and Deville kicked James in the ribs to take control. Rose slapped on an abdominal stretch on James. Snapmare by James and she avoided a Rose kick followed by a neckbreaker by Mickie. Paige urged Mandy to tag. Paige yelled at Bliss and Deville pulled Bliss off the apron. Rose took advantage with a double underhook slam on James for the victory after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose
Analysis: *1/2 It was a quick match to continue to try to build up the Absolution women. I would love to see James win more than she does, but that’s the way they want to book the women for now to try to give Absolution credibility. Plus, James beat Deville last week, so it’s no surprise that James lost here. At least Paige finally did something this week by yelling at Bliss to distract her since Paige isn’t allowed to do physical stuff. Bliss was barely in the ring and was protected by not taking the pin.
Post match, Rose and Deville attacked James with punches. Bliss nailed Deville with a punch. Rose left the ring. Bliss checked on James to end the segment.
Analysis: It appears as though Bliss is genuine in wanting to work with James. I think it will lead to a spot in the Chamber where Bliss turns on her and pins James.
Elias was shown backstage because he’s up next.
Elias Has a Song For Us
Elias was in the ring with his guitar for his song/promo of the week. Elias did his “Who Wants to Walk With Elias?” and the fans cheered. Elias trashed the fans of San Jose, mentioned San Francisco and then said California sucks. Elias said that he’s the odds on favorite to win the Elimination Chamber, which he will do and then go on to WrestleMania. Elias mentioned that WWE stands for…and the fans chanted…“Walk With Elias.” He said he likes the sound of that. Elias also likes the sound of his own voice. Elias said he wrote the Elimination Chamber Blues. Elias sang about six men enter, but really only one…and the fans booed so loud to shut him up. Elias said if that’s the way they will be he’s not going to sing, so they chanted “yes” at him. Elias said his vocal cords were warmed up, so he’ll sing. Elias sang his song trashing the other guys in the Elimination Chamber. When he got to Strowman, he said he’ll drown his dreams in gasoline and watch them burn in flames.
Braun Strowman was introduced. Strowman was sitting on a stool on the ramp. Strowman grabbed a huge bass guitar or some big instrument whatever it’s called (I think it’s a cello). Strowman couldn’t play it well. Strowman “sang” about how Elias thinks he’s going to win, but that’s not true and look at him because “I’m not finished with you.” Strowman said when this song is over, Elias is going to get these hands. Fans cheered that. Strowman said he broke the damn instrument, so there’s only one more thing he can do with it. Strowman walked down with his bass guitar down to the ring.
Elias put his guitar down and Stroman put his instrument down. Strowman got into the ring. Elias attacked as Strowman went into the ring. Strowman blocked Elias from attacking with the guitar and punched him in the chest. Strowman picked up and hit Elias with a Running Powerslam. Strowman posed as his music played.
Elias went up the ramp and he was crawling. Strowman went up behind him with his giant bass instrument in his hands. Fans cheered as Strowman smashed Elias with the bass over his back while Elias was face first on the ramp. Referees checked on Elias as Strowman went to the back.
Analysis: That was fun. I like stuff like that to try to get Strowman’s personality over. I don’t want Strowman to be booked like a comedy figure, but if he does stuff to make people laugh it’s going to make him more popular. The “song” that Strowman did wasn’t that strong lyrically, but it was clever in terms of working in his catchphrases. I’m not surprised that Elias got his ass kicked since he was put over strong last week.
The Fatal 5-Way is still to come.
Finn Balor did a cell phone promo about the 5-Way. Balor mentioned all four guys he’s facing in the match saying that he doesn’t care what any of them want because all he cares about is making the most of his second chance to win the Elimination Chamber match and to get back what he never lost, the Universal Championship.
Analysis: The cell phone promos have happened for a few weeks. I don’t really like them that much, but they don’t bother me that much either.
Sheamus and Cesaro entered because Sheamus is facing Reigns.
Roman Reigns made his entrance with Cole doing his “here comes the Big Dog” phrase that makes people want to punch Cole. I don’t even mind Reigns. I just hate that during his entrances.
Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro)
Sheamus slapped on an armbar as Cole said that Sheamus will is underrated and Graves agrees. Sheamus has won a lot in his career, so I don’t know about the underrated thing. Reigns sent Sheamus into the turnbuckle and Reigns nailed a clothesline, so Sheamus bailed to the floor. Reigns hit Sheamus with an uppercut and a clothesline sent Sheamus out of the ring. Fans chanted “Let’s Go Roman/Roman Sucks” as Sheamus pulled Reigns out of the ring and sent Reigns head first into the apron. Reigns sent Sheamus into the barricade two times. Reigns rolled back in to break the count, Cesaro distracted and Sheamus hit the rolling senton on Reigns on the floor.
Back from break, Sheamus had Reigns in an armbar. Fans chanted “Rusev Day” because every day is Rusev Day. Fans chanted “you look stupid” at Sheamus as Reigns came nailed a clothesline. Sheamus sent Reigns shoulder first into the post and a backbreaker earned a two count for Sheamus. Sheamus slapped on the Texas Cloverleaf submission. Reigns broke free and nailed a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Sheamus caught him and nailed the White Noise slam for a two count. Sheamus did a “fella” yell, Reigns slowly got to his feet and Reigns nailed a Superman Punch to counter a Brogue Kick for a two count. Reigns was shocked he didn’t win with a move he almost never wins with. Reigns went for a Spear, Sheamus kneed him and Reigns hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Cesaro went on the apron to distract, so Sheamus got a rollup for two. Sheamus with a running knee for a two count. Sheamus shoved Reigns out of the ring, Cesaro charged in, Reigns with a back body drop over the barricade and a punch for Cesaro. Sheamus left the ring, so Reigns shoved Sheamus into the ring post. Sheamus countered a Drive By attempt with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Sheamus went for something off the top and Reigns nailed a Spear for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ***1/4 It was the usual good match from Reigns and Sheamus. They’ve wrestled eachother a lot in the past, so they always know how to set up their spots and get the crowd into the match. Reigns getting the win was obvious since he’s in the Elimination Chamber and Sheamus isn’t currently advertised for a match at that show yet. The final spot was obvious as soon as Sheamus jumped off the top since he’s not usually a guy that goes up there.
The WWE Hall of Fame induction video aired for Ivory. They showed clips of her starting on the show GLOW in the late 1980s and then she got to WWE in 1999. She worked for WWE for about six years and was a good in-ring wrestler at a time when the matches didn’t matter as much as they do today. Ivory was a heel for most of her career and they put over her work with the Right to Censor group. It mentioned Ivory’s three Women’s Championships and the pinnacle of her in-ring career was against Chyna at WrestleMania 17. The match sucked, but in this video they act like it’s great.
Analysis: Congrats to Ivory. She’s not one of the biggest names in WWE women’s history, but she worked there for five years and that’s enough to get in, I guess. You can’t say that Ivory was one of the biggest stars among the women when others were clearly ahead of her. The video managed to say “women’s revolution” about five times. Maybe more. It’s hard to keep track.
The Fatal 5-Way main event is up next.
Ronda Rousey’s WWE contract signing will take place at Elimination Chamber on February 25 to officially join the Raw roster.
The five men entered for the main event match: Bray Wyatt, Matt Hardy, Apollo Crews with Titus O’Neil, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor.
The show went to break as Balor finished his entrance.
Fatal 5-Way Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy vs. Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
The winner of this match gets to become the sixth man in the Elimination Chamber match on February 25. First fall wins the match.
The match started during the break and it was 10:51pmET when it returned from the break. Crews was on fire with moves on everybody, but Balor kicked Crews out of the ring. Balor with Slingblade on Rollins and a double foot stomp. Balor neckbreaker on Wyatt and Hardy made the save. Rollins with a kick on Hardy while Hardy was going after Balor. Rollins nailed Balor with a superkick and Wyatt came back with a running cross body block. Rollins got a rollup on Wyatt for two followed by a standing side kick for two with Balor breaking up the pin. Rollins dumped Balor out of the ring. Rollins went up top, Crews went after him, Hardy went over there, so did Balor and they teased the Tower of Doom spot, but Wyatt broke it up. Wyatt nailed Hardy with a clothesline. Wyatt with a shoulderbreaker on Rollins, a uranage on Crews and a senton splash for two. They went to break there.
Back from break, Hardy and Wyatt battled with Hardy hitting a clothesline and the Side Effect. Hardy with the Side Effect on Balor as well. Hardy with an elbow to the back of the neck of Wyatt. Hardy wanted the Twist of Fate on Wyatt, but Rollins jumped off the top with a clothesline on Hardy. Crews went into the ring and Rollins nailed a double Blockbuster to take down Crews and Wyatt. Rollins with a suicide dive on Rollins on the floor and a suicide dive on Hardy as well. Rollins with a suicide dive on Wyatt as well. Three straight suicide dives. Rollins with a suplex roll through into a Falcon Arrow on Crews for a two count. Rollins sent Crews out of the ring and Rollins with a step up enziguri on Wyatt. Rollins ran the ropes and Wyatt nailed a hard clothesline for a two count by Wyatt on Rollins. Balor with a Slingblade, then a dropkick on Wyatt that sent him into the corner and Balor went up top. Rollins met Balor on the top rope. Rollins went for a Phoenix Splash, but Wyatt moved out of the way and Hardy back in wit ha Twist of Fate on Wyatt. Balor with a Coup de Gras on Hardy, who rolled out of the ring. Rollins with a Curb Stomp/Blackout on Balor and Crews broke up the pin. All five guys were down around the ring with the fans chanting “this is awesome” for them. Crews with a slam on Rollins followed by a standing moonsault for a two count.
Rollins fought back against Crews with a punch, but Crews hit Rollins with a step up enziguri and a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Hardy went after Crews on the top rope going for a Side Effect off the top, but Crews hit Hardy with elbows. Wyatt grabbed Hardy and hit the Sister Abigail on the floor. Wyatt wanted a superplex, so Rollins and Balor got back in the ring and they did the Tower of Doom on Wyatt with a double Powerbomb. Rollins and Balor pinned Wyatt at the same time. The match went 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins and Finn Balor?
Analysis: ***1/2 That was very good. Most five-man matches in WWE are well put together and usually are full of some cool spots. This was no different. The ending was controversial since there was actually a successful pin out of the Tower of Doom spot with Balor and Rollins essentially doing a double team Powerbomb on Wyatt that was good enough to beat him. There were a lot of exciting moments in the match. I’m glad to see Crews got in a lot of offense and came close to winning a few times even though most people likely figured he had no chance. The Wyatt/Hardy interaction was mostly good.
There was confusion as Rollins and Balor each celebrated the win. There were no replays. The referee didn’t know what to do. The announcers were confused. And that was the end of Raw at 11:09pmET.
The following announcement was made on WWE’s Facebook page after Raw is over.
That means we are getting the first ever 7-Man Elimination Chamber match to determine the #1 Contender to the Universal Championship. The seven men are The Miz (first entrant), Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, John Cena, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and Elias (last entrant).
I assume they will do it with three men starting the starting match, four men in the pods and every five minutes, somebody is unlocked from a pod. That would make sense, at least.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- John Cena
- The Miz
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2018 Average: 5.93
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 6, 5, 5.5, 5
I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Best Raw of the year so far. There were some good matches all night long. They got time and the wrestlers are going to deliver when that happens. The promos were fun for the most part too. There wasn’t much in terms of major stories, but they built to the Elimination Chamber matches well.
Good job by the San Jose crowd as well. They made a lot of noise and were into the whole show. That always helps.
For the first time EVER, the #RAW #WomensTitle will be defended inside the Elimination Chamber! Who will head to @WrestleMania as the champ?@AlexaBliss_WWE @SashaBanksWWE @itsBayleyWWE @WWE_MandyRose @SonyaDevilleWWE @MickieJames pic.twitter.com/yiwqMxRzlW
— WWE (@WWE) February 13, 2018
The next WWE Raw PPV is Elimination Chamber on February 25. Here’s what we know so far.
Men’s Elimination Chamber Match for a Universal Championship Match at WrestleMania: Braun Strowman vs. Elias vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
Women’s Elimination Chamber Match for the Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Mickie James vs. Sasha Banks
Nia Jax vs. Asuka
That’s all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.
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