It’s the last episode of Raw before Sunday’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. There are two big matches advertised for Raw. The 7-men in the Elimination Chamber match are in a Gauntlet match: John Cena, Roman Reigns, Finn Balor, Elias, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and The Miz. Also, there’s a 6-woman tag featuring the women in the Elimination Chamber match: Mickie James, Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss, Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose.
Live from Phoenix, Arizona, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1291 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 moment of silent for the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last week. It’s good to show respect for that for a tragedy.
Roman Reigns made his entrance to start the Gauntlet match. Mix of cheers and boos for him while Michael Cole shrieked “The Big Dog” when Reigns got out there.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman were shown on camera welcoming us to the show.
Reigns was interviewed by Charly Caruso in the ring. Reigns said he’s not worried about tonight. Reigns noted that he’s never been in an Elimination Chamber before and he’s seen what it has done to their bodies. Reigns mentioned the six men he’s against in the Chamber match and Reigns said that those guys have one thing in common – they can’t beat Brock Lesnar. Reigns said it’s his time now and he can beat him. Reigns said the last time he faced Brock Lesnar he would have defeated him and here comes Seth Rollins, who won that match at WrestleMania 31 when Rollins cashed in the Money in the Bank contract to leave as the WWE Champion.
Analysis: Solid promo from Reigns. He has confidence going into the Chamber and facing Lesnar. People don’t like him for that, but it’s easy to see why Reigns would feel that way.
Rollins made his entrance to a good ovation and was wearing a “Monday Night Rollins” shirt.
Gauntlet Match rules begins with two guys, there’s an elimination, next guy goes in until there’s one man left. That means there will be 6 pinfalls or submissions featuring these 7 men.
Gauntlet Match #1: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
It was a slow start to the match with Reigns grabbing a headlock to ground Rollins early on. Reigns with a running shoulder tackle to knock down Rollins, but Rollins came back with a cradle for two followed by a backslide for two. When Rollins charged at Reigns, he stopped in his tracks because Reigns got in his face they went to break with a staredown.
Back from break, Reigns had Rollins in a headlock leading to the “Let’s Go Roman/Roman Sucks” chants. Rollins with a jawbreaker, but Reigns followed up with a wicked elbow. Reigns whipped Rollins into the corner, Rollins with a boot to the face and Reigns with a spinning slam for two. Rollins nailed Reigns with a forearm followed by a springboard clothesline off the top rope. Rollins with a clothesline that sent Reigns over the top to the floor. Rollins wanted a suicide dive, but Reigns punched him and Reigns nailed a Drive By dropkick. Reigns took over with clotheslines on Rollins against the turnbuckle. Reigns with a headbutt, Rollins blocked it with a kick to the gut and a Buckle Bomb, but Reigns nailed a Superman Punch. Both guys were down as they went to break.
Back from break, Rollins jumped off the top with a Frog Splash, but Reigns rolled out of the way and Rollins went crashing to the mat. Reigns with punches, but Rollins dumped him to the floor followed by a suicide dive from Rollins. Rollins went back in the ring with another suicide dive on Reigns. Rollins up top with a springboard attack and Reigns hit a Superman Punch for a two count as Rollins got his right shoulder up. Reigns set up for the Spear, Rollins kicked him twice and went for the Curb Stomp, but Reigns got a rollup for two and Rollins with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! was enough to beat Reigns. It went 19 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
The crowd reacted to the Reigns elimination in a big way. Reigns was shocked by it. Cole put it over as a big deal. Rollins and Reigns did a fist bump out of respect.
Analysis: ***1/2 It was the usual good match from them. They had a good amount of nearfalls to build up the drama of the match. It wasn’t a case of one guy dominating the match either because they went back and forth the entire time. Rollins winning with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! protects Reigns by not losing to a finisher. I’m not surprised that Reigns lost since he’s a lock to win the Chamber match on Sunday.
John Cena was next up in the gauntlet.
Gauntlet Match #2: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena
As soon as Cena got into the ring, Rollins knocked him down and got a nearfall as the show went to break again.
Back from break, Cena had his t-shirt still on as he grounded Rollins with a headlock. When they got back to their feet, Cena nailed a clothesline and Cena threw his shirt into the crowd to a fan that had a Cena shirt on already. Cena punched Rollins and a hard whip into the turnbuckle got a two count for Cena. Cena dumped Rollins out of the ring going for a countout victory. Rollins has been in the match for over 30 minutes so far. When Rollins went back into the ring, Cena told the ref to count him down and Cena told Rollins to stay down. Cena with a belly to belly suplex on Rollins, then he did it again and a third time for a two count. It went to break there with Cena looking frustrated.
Back from break, Rollins was exhausted, but he slipped out of a AA attempt with a DDT for two. Cena held Rollins in his arms, lifted him up and hit a Stunner type move for a two count. Cena was frustrated that he couldn’t beat Rollins. When Rollins stumbled out of the corner, Cena decked him with a punch followed by another punch that knocked Rollins down. Cena was running around the ring to show he was fresh. Cena with a punch for a two count. Rollins shoved Cena to tell him he’s got a lot left. Cena with a clothesline for two. Rollins was on the apron and Cena knocked him down to send Rollins crashing to the floor. The ref counted Rollins for a nine count and Rollins got back into the ring.
Back from another break, Cena with two shoulder tackles. Rollins fought back with a punch. Rollins jumped off the top rope. Cena slapped on the STF. Cena yelled “it’s over” at Rollins, but Rollins fought back with a Slingblade neckbreaker for a two count. Rollins with a forearm on Cena in the corner followed by a Falcon Arrow attempt, but Cena got a cradle for two. Cena with a spinning suplex. Cena took a long time to set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle, so Rollins kicked Cena in the face, kick to the gut and a kick to the face for two. They battled on the apron, Rollins charged and Cena sent Rollins into the steel ring post. Cena charged at Rollins on the floor, Rollins moved and Cena went shoulder first into the steps. The ref counted them both out of the ring. Both guys slid back in before the ten count. Cena slammed Rollins again and finally hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena went for the AA, but Rollins rolled him up for a two count. Rollins slapped on a Crossface submission on Cena. You could tell Cena talked to Seth while they set up the AA, Rollins slipped out and Rollins with an enziguri kick to the head. Rollins up top and he connected with a Frog Splash for a two count. Cena finally got Rollins on his shoulders and Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment, but Rollins got his left shoulder up for a two count. Cole thought that was it. The replay showed that Rollins did kick out in time. Cena went up top, Rollins went after him with a superplex into a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count as Cena kicked out. Rollins charged in, Cena avoided it and Cena slapped on the STF submission again. Rollins crawled to the bottom rope to force another break. When Rollins tried a kick, Cena countered into a STF again. Rollins crawled to the bottom rope again. Cena tried the AA off the ropes, but Rollins elbowed out of it. Rollins powered Cena onto his shoulders and hit an Attitude Adjustment for a two count. That drew a big reaction from the crowd with the announcers putting over Rollins. Cena hit the AA, he rolled through going for another one, but Rollins countered, knee to the face and Rollins hit a Curb Stomp on Cena to pin him. Their match went 33 minutes. Rollins has been in the ring for 57 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ****1/4 That was excellent. It was really slow early on, but they got going and it was a lot of fun by the end. Rollins beating Reigns and Cena back to back is very impressive and the crowd is reacting to him in a big way. I loved the way Cena was so frustrated about failing throughout the match and the story of Rollins continuing to come back. They just worked really well together. Rollins was put over huge by beating Reigns and Cena back to back while continuing to wrestle for nearly an hour up to this point. It doesn’t mean he is winning the Elimination Chamber match, but at least the story is about Rollins’ resiliency and ability to keep coming back.
Elias was the next man up.
Gauntlet Match #3: Elias vs. Seth Rollins
Elias with a running back elbow for a two count. They went to break early into this new match.
Rollins has been in the ring for over one hour by this point. Elias slapped on the half crab submission. John Cena was interviewed by Renee Young backstage in the interview area. Cena put over Rollins’ performance. Cena said he’s balancing a lot of things in his life and talked about the pressure of needing to win at Elimination Chamber. Elias stomped away on the left knee of Rollins. When Elias pulled Rollins off the ropes, Rollins landed and sold the knee injury. Rollins fought back with punches. Elias ran the ropes and Rollins nailed a superkick for a two count. Rollins launched himself over the top rope and landed on top of Elias outside the ring. Back in the ring, Rollins kick to the face and Elias with a knee to the jaw. Elias hit the Drift Away on Rollins to beat Rollins after 9 minutes of action.
Winner by pinfall: Elias
Analysis: ** It was a fresh Elias beating an exhausted Rollins as it should be in a situation like that. Rollins got a good amount of offense and he was selling everything well with the knee injury, but the fatigue was setting in. It was the right call to have Elias beat Rollins with his finisher like that.
Rollins slowly rolled out of the ring as most of the crowd gave Rollins a standing ovation out of respect for his performance. Fans chanted “Thank You Seth” for Rollins. As Rollins was getting helped to the back, Finn Balor made his entrance.
Analysis: Rollins spent 65 minutes in the ring. That’s the longest of any wrestler in a match in Raw history. Incredible showing from him.
Gauntlet Match #4: Elias vs. Finn Balor
Balor was aggressive early. Balor tried a top rope move, but Elias bailed to the floor and they went to break there.
Elias was in control with an armbar followed by a knee drop to Balor’s arm. Elias sent Balor into the turnbuckle as Rollins was interviewed backstage by Young. Rollins said he pinned two of the best in the world and all-time back to back. Rollins said that it doesn’t mean anything if he doesn’t win the Elimination Chamber on Sunday. Elias worked on the left arm of Balor by whipping it against the side of the ring apron. Fans were chanting “We Want Strowman” as Elias sent Balor into the turnbuckle. Elias with a forearm and Balor nailed a leaping kick to the head. Balor with two boots to the face, punches and a forearm. Balor sent Elias out of the ring followed by a running dropkick on the floor. Balor sent Elias back into the ring with a Slingblade, but Elias came back with a clothesline. Elias hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count as the show went to break again.
Back from break, Elias was still in control as he whipped Balor into the ring post. They went back in the ring with Balor getting a rollup for two, but Elias took control again with an armbar. Balor broke free with a double foot stomp on Elias. Balor with a Slingblade attack that took down Elias followed by a corner dropkick. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Gras double foot stomp for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match although there were some dead spots and a slow pace. When Elias is on offense for a long time it’s really not that interesting. Elias is also limited in terms of what he does in there. Balor showed some heart coming back although it’s not like the crowd reacted to any of this in a big way.
The Miz’s music hit. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas entered, but Miz wasn’t with them because Miz attacked Balor from behind.
Analysis: That means Braun Strowman is the last man in this match.
Gauntlet Match #5: Finn Balor vs. The Miz (w/Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas)
Miz worked over Balor with a DDT followed by a running kick to the head. Balor with forearms, but Miz stopped him with a knee to the gut. Miz dumped Balor out of the ring. Miz whipped Balor left shoulder first into the barricade. Miz continued on offense by wrenching Balor’s left arm against the ropes. Balor was selling on the floor as they went to break.
Back from break, Miz had Balor grounded with an armbar. Elias was interviewed by Renee Young backstage with Elias talking about his advantage in the Chamber when he’s going to come into the match last. Elias said he’ll come in and pick up the scraps. Elias talked about winning at WrestleMania. Miz hit his weak looking Miz kicks, Balor avoided the roundhouse and hit a chop. Balor with a running dropkick followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Balor worked over Miz with chops and Balor countered the Skull Crushing Finale attempt with a pinfall for two. Miz pulled Balor down by the left arm to regain control. Balor got to the ropes to break a full nelson and Dallas pulled on Balor’s arm leading to Miz getting a rollup for two. Balor ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive onto Dallas and Axel. That was impressive and drew a big pop. Balor kicked Miz in the face and a dropkick sent Miz into the turnbuckle. Axel distraction, so Balor punched him, Dallas knocked down by a Balor punch and Miz tripped up Balor on the top rope. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Balor and pinned him after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with Balor succumbing to the numbers game advantage that Miz had due to Axel and Dallas being at ringside. I liked how the match was built up. Balor wrestled for 31 minutes during his two matches on the show.
The match has gone on for 96 minutes so far.
The fans chanted “Strowman” as Miz had a shocked look on his face. Strowman’s music hit with Miz looking scared. Huge ovation for Strowman as he made his entrance.
Gauntlet Match #6: Braun Strowman vs. The Miz (w/Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
The Miz ran away from Strowman. Strowman chased after him in the card and brought Miz back to ringside as they went to break.
Back from break, Strowman was in control with a clothesline. Strowman threw Miz across the ring. Dallas and Axel distracted Strowman, so Strowman’s charge across the ring missed as Miz moved out of the way. Miz kicked him, but Strowman shoved him down. Finn Balor was interviewed by Renee Young backstage as Miz hit a dropkick. Balor complained about the Miztourage getting involved, but at Elimination Chamber, they won’t be a factor. Balor said he’s going to win Elimination Chamber as Strowman nailed a running dropkick on Miz. Strowman hit a punch to the chest of Miz to knock him down. Strowman charged, Miz pulled the ropes and Strowman was sent out of the ring. Miz hit a dropkick, but when he went to the floor, Strowman decked him with a clothesline. When Strowman got into the ring, Axel grabbed his foot. Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale and Strowman did the giant kickout to knock Miz out of the ring. Back in the ring, Strowman with a clothesline. Strowman hit a Running Powerslam and pinned Miz to win the match after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: ** It was an easy win for Strowman as expected. That was no surprise. The crowd was really into everything Strowman did, which is a great sign that his popularity is growing. Miz hitting the Skull Crushing Finale was a nice surprise, but it was not nearly enough to put Strowman away.
Winner of the Gauntlet Match: Braun Strowman – Match Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.
Analysis: **** That’s my rating for the whole Gauntlet Match. Four stars out of five. Really good for most of it, but it got a bit tiresome towards the end.
Strowman was interviewed by Charly Caruso on the stage. Strowman: “I don’t fear the unknown – the unknown fears me!” Strowman said he’s not finished with Brock Lesnar and he’s going to get these hands. Strowman said he had unfinished business as he stared into the ring.
Strowman went back in the ring after Miz and the Miztourage. Strowman hit Axel with a Running Powerslam. Strowman also hit Dallas with a Running Powerslam. Miz ran to the back. Strowman chased after him. Strowman sent Miz back out there as they went down the ramp. They went back into the ring Strowman hitting a Running Powerslam on Miz with the crowd cheering him. Strowman was about to leave, but the crowd cheered for him to do more. Strowman picked up Miz and hit another Running Powerslam.
Analysis: It makes Strowman look really strong going into the Chamber match. Is he going to win? Nope. His name isn’t Roman Reigns.
Still to come: Six women tag. Asuka was shown walking backstage because she’s up next.
A video package aired about the next name in the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame: Jeff Jarrett. The video aired about Jeff Jarrett’s career in WWE showing the early Jeff Jarrett days where he spelled out his name, then his second run and some of his WCW clips as well. The video package focused on his title runs in WWE since he was a 6-time IC Champion. Some clips aired of Jarrett being a good heel and various wrestlers talked about him. The end of it featured him spelling out his name and saying: “Ain’t I Great?” There was a shot of the crowd cheering for him. Jarrett joins Goldberg, Dudley Boyz and Ivory in the Hall of Fame.
Analysis: The announcement of Jarrett in the Hall of Fame was surprising to a lot of people because he ran TNA/Impact Wrestling for most of the last 15 years until leaving the company last year. Jarrett went to rehab for alcohol addiction, WWE paid for it and now he’s brought back to WWE after not being in the company since he left in 1999. It’s surprising in a lot of ways, but considering how many people appeared to have issues with WWE and were brought back over the years, nothing really surprises me anymore. Does he deserve it? Sure, because he was a IC Champ many times and a World Champion in WCW. Plus, he helped the careers of a lot of current guys in WWE by giving them jobs in TNA/Impact. He’s had a 30 year career in the business and should be honored for it.
Asuka made her entrance. She’s the Royal Rumble winner that’s headed to WrestleMania. She’s up next.
PLUG TIME: I wrote about Seth Freakin’ Rollins for The Comeback looking at his career so far, where I think he should be on the card and some ideas on ways to help him get there. I’m a huge fan of Rollins and want to see him main eventing all the time. It’s what he should be doing.
A commercial aired for Photo Shoot featuring Kurt Angle on WWE Network, which premieres after Raw. I’ll watch it on demand this week for sure.
Asuka was in the ring for an interview with Renee Young. Asuka said she controls her own destiny and she’s going to win the championship at WrestleMania. Asuka talked about how Jax didn’t look so strong during their last match when Jax was leaving the ring. Asuka said Jax would tap out. It was tough to understand everything Asuka said because English is obviously not her first language.
Jax went into the ring before Asuka could finish her interview. Jax attacked from behind with a Samoan Drop. Jax nailed three leg drops to the neck of Asuka. Jax left the ring as her “I’m not like most girls” song played to end it.
If Jax wins, then the championship match at WrestleMania becomes a triple threat match joining Asuka and one of the champions.
Analysis: It was just a quick segment to set up Asuka vs. Nia Jax at Elimination Chamber on Sunday. Asuka is likely going to win that match and this segment makes that prediction even more likely.
A video package aired about “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey joining the Raw roster at Elimination Chamber on Sunday. The video featured clips of Rousey on talk shows like Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien while current WWE women like Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Natalya and of course Stephanie McMahon commented on Rousey wanting to be part of WWE due to the level of quality women they have there now. There were clips of Rousey training in the ring and the octagon.
Analysis: The video was very good. You could see her trainer Brian Kendrick in a lot of the clips because she has been training to wrestle with him since last summer. It was weird that three Smackdown women (Charlotte, Naomi and Charlotte) were the ones talking about Rousey when Rousey will be on Raw.
Rousey will sign her Raw contract at Elimination Chamber on Sunday.
A commercial aired for WWEShop.com shilling WWE merch.
Sheamus and Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions known as The Bar, made their entrance in their matching gear. Cole talked about the trash talk between The Bar and Titus Worldwide, which led to a graphic showing the tweets between the two sides.
Titus O’Neil, Apollo (no more Crews) and Dana Brooke made their entrance.
Analysis: WWE has officially dumped the Crews last name. It’s something several WWE stars have had done to them in the last decade including (Antonio) Cesaro, who is in this match.
The Bar – Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Titus Worldwide – Titus O’Neil & Apollo (w/Dana Brooke)
This is not for the Raw Tag Team Titles.
Titus and Apollo with a double team back elbow on Cesaro. O’Neil with a body slam on Cesaro. The announcers tried to talk about the stats that Brooke keeps, which was ridiculous. Sheamus distracted Apollo, Cesaro sent Apollo out of the ring and Sheamus hit a clothesline on Cesaro. Sheamus sent Crews shoulder first into the barricade. Back in the ring, double team kick by the champs. Sheamus tagged in with a double team shoulder tackle as they worked over Apollo and Sheamus hit a knee drop for two. Cesaro tagged in with a double axe off the top rope followed by an uppercut for two. Brooke clapped to try to get the crowd into it more. Sheamus cheap shot knocked O’Neil off the apron, Apollo sent Sheamus out of the ring and Apollo with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Cesaro earned the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Titus O’Neil & Apollo
Analysis: *3/4 That’s the standard WWE booking to set up a title match. Have the champs lose non-title to build up the challengers. These teams have faced off before with Titus and Apollo winning two times as well, so the story is about whether Sheamus & Cesaro can beat them. O’Neil wasn’t in the ring very long in this match. It was mostly about Apollo taking a beating and finding a way to win. Also, the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and the “champs lose non-title” booking in the same match. It’s like WWE doesn’t care about repeating things week after week.
The Titus Worldwide team celebrated the win while the champs whined about the loss.
Six-woman tag match still to come.
The announcers went over the lineup for Elimination Chamber. Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt was added to it.
Bray Wyatt did a promo talking about ending Matt Hardy. That led to Hardy interrupting the promo with each man talking about how the other is a liar. Wyatt said that Hardy had empty promises while Hardy said he had the power of illumination and Wyatt said that Hardy must be silenced. Hardy said that Wyatt must become obsolete. The trash talk continued with Wyatt saying that Hardy will burn and Hardy said that Wyatt will be deleted. Wyatt did his laughing routine and then he stopped. No laugh counter from Hardy, which was a surprise.
Analysis: I was disappointed that there was no Hardy laugh to end it. The rest of it was the usual promo from both guys.
Sasha Banks made her entrance for what appears to be the main event.
A video package aired about WrestleMania in New Orleans. It is 48 days away as of Monday.
Mickie James was up next rocking the same outfit she wore in the Royal Rumble. She’s looking great like usual and is my favorite in this match that’s for sure. Bayley was up last for her team with a good ovation for her.
The Absolution group of Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville and Paige made their entrance. They did a pre-match promo with Mandy and Sonya talking about their friendship will make it easier for one of them to become Raw Women’s Champion.
Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance last for her team.
Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss, Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose (w/Paige)
James wanted to start and it looked like Bliss would start, but Bliss backed out and James battled Deville instead. Deville overpowered Banks by driving her into the corner and Rose tagged in with Graves calling her a walking work of art. That’s something I agree with. Bayley battled Rose leading to Rose shoving her in the face and did a hair whip to Bayley’s face. Bayley stomped away on Rose in the corner. Bayley with an overhead suplex, Rose bailed to the floor and the match went to break.
Back from break, Rose worked over Bayley by kicking her into the heel corner. Bayley sent Rose face first into the turnbuckle. Rose pulled Bayley off the ropes and slammed her face first into the mat. That looked like a rough landing. Bliss tagged into the match with Deville yelling at her for doing that. Bayley sent Bliss into the turnbuckle to try to break free, but Bliss came back with a slap. Sonya slapped on a leg scissors submission around Bayley’s ribs. Bayley with a jawbreaker, but Deville blocked a tag attempt. Banks got the tag, but Rose distracted the ref, who never saw it and made Banks leave the ring. Bayley sent Rose into the corner and Rose collided with Banks. James tagged in against Rose with forearms and a running kick. James kicked Deville out of the ring followed by a flapjack on Rose. Bliss held her hands up to shoe James she wasn’t going to interfere. James with a Thesz Press off the top on Rose and a neckbreaker on Deville. Bliss didn’t want to go in there. Deville grabbed James’ foot and Rose hit a leaping knee. Rose wanted a cover, but James’ foot was under the ropes and the ref didn’t count it. Rose hit a unique suplex with James landing on her stomach. Mickie said something and Cole said she was talking to herself. Deville got the tag and James sent her across the ring with a headscissors. Deville prevented a tag with a takedown on James. Bliss wouldn’t tag in, so Rose tagged in and James hit a double neckbreaker on the heels.
Banks got the hot tag against Bliss with clotheslines, a dropkick and a knee to the face. Banks with a running double knee attack on Deville on the floor. Banks sent Bliss into the turnbuckle followed by a double knee attack off the ropes with Rose breaking up the pin. Bayley back into the ring with a suplex on Rose. Bliss rollup on Banks got two, Banks got two of her own and Bliss whipped Banks into the turnbuckle. Banks rolled up Bliss into a Bank Statement submission and Bliss tapped out. It went 16 minutes.
Winners by submission: Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good tag match where they built up the hot tag to Banks well. There was an interesting dynamic on the heel side with Bliss not wanting to face her “friend” James at all while Deville and Rose got in a lot of offense. Bayley and James sold well like usual. There were a few sloppy moments by Rose in there. It was nothing major, but she was off a bit and still learning out there. Banks was on fire after the tag, which is a strength of hers and I’m not surprised by Banks getting the win for her team. It builds up Banks as a threat to win the Chamber match even though she is not my pick to win.
Post match, Deville and Rose tried to attack Banks after the match. Bayley made the save, but Deville nailed a kick and Rose nailed a knee to the face of Bayley. Deville with a running knee attack on Banks. Bliss was about her teammates kicking ass, but Rose and Deville went after Bliss. James came to the aid of Bliss and they hit a double team DDT on Deville.
The show ended with Bliss and James going up the ramp together while Bayley and Banks were down around ringside and the Absolution group were in the ring. That’s how the show ended at 11:06pmET.
Analysis: It felt like a midcard match and angle that just happened to be in the main event spot this week. I assume there will be a spot in the Chamber match where James goes to trust Bliss and Bliss turns on her to eliminate her. I am picking Bliss in the Chamber match especially because she tapped out here.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- John Cena
- Finn Balor
8 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2018 Average: 6.19
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6.5, 6, 5, 5.5
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 5 (January 8)
I give it a 8 out of 10.
Two good Raw episodes in a row. The main reason is because of the in-ring action and most of it was very good. Seth Rollins putting in over an hour of work was really impressive. Others like Cena, Reigns and Balor really stood out as well. Some fans may find it boring, but not me. I want to see quality in-ring work like that.
— WWE (@WWE) February 20, 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 (last man to enter the match) vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. The Miz (first man to enter the match) 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
Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy
Ronda Rousey’s WWE Monday Night Raw contract signing
Raw Tag Team Championships: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Apollo & Titus O’Neil – This was added after Raw.
Our Eliminatoin Chamber preview will be up on Friday and I’ll have a live review on Sunday night too.
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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