RAW starts off 2018 with a WWE Intercontinental Championship match where Roman Reigns defends against Samoa Joe, but if he gets disqualified then he loses the championship. Plus, Asuka squares off against WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss in a non-title match. All that and more!
World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: Miami, FL
Backstage, WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss runs into Kurt Angle and wants to know what he was thinking to put her in a match with Asuka. He wanted to start the year with a WrestleMania match. Bliss doesn’t like this and doesn’t think Asuka should get rewarded for her bad behavior. She wants the match to be reconsidered but Angle refuses and says that she can handle her issues in the ring tonight. Kurt Angle heads out to the ring for more talking.
RAW General Manager Kurt Angle is welcomed with “You Suck” chants as he enters the ring. Angle wishes everyone a Happy New Year and welcomes us to RAW. He talks about how great 2017 was for him when he became the GM for RAW. He thinks 2018 will be even better. He notes that in three weeks RAW will be celebrating 25 years on TV and then there is the Royal Rumble. Angle announces that John Cena has entered himself in the Royal Rumble match. Angle gets a cheap pop for mentioning there will be a women’s Royal Rumble match. Angle talked to Stephanie, Daniel and Shane and announces that the same rules apply to the women that it does for the men. So, there will be 30 entrants and eliminations are over the top, as well. Angle expects RAW to win both Royal Rumble matches. Angle goes to promote the show, but…
Cesaro and Sheamus make their way out to cut Angle off. Sheamus wants to talk about the travesty that occurred last week when they were robbed of their WWE Tag Team Championships. Sheamus is mad that Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins got a title match last week. Cesaro can’t stand favoritism. Cesaro thinks what Angle did after the match was too much. We see footage from last week where The Bar lost the titles. They don’t like that Angle came out and gave his son, Jordan, a hug to celebrate the victory. Sheamus says seeing that makes him sick to his stomach. Cesaro doesn’t think that Jordan deserved a title match and they want a rematch tonight on RAW. Angle tells them that they will get their rematch when he tells them. The Bar doesn’t like that…
WWE Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan makes his way out to get involved on the aisle way. Jordan says that if he didn’t deserve an opportunity at the titles then why does he have it around his waist. Jordan enters the ring and says that Angle doesn’t know the first thing about favoritism. Jordan thinks his track record led him to the titles. Jordan says that he will send Cesaro back to the dentist if he keeps running his mouth. Angle wants them to settle their differences right now. So, we’ll get Jason Jordan vs. Cesaro right now!
WWE Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins makes his way out, as well. Rollins tells Jordan that he has a lot to learn about being teammates now they are champions. Rollins insults Sheamus and tells Jordan that he is out-numbered two to one. Rollins asks what good is it when Jordan gets attacked by the Bar. Rollins says that Jordan needs to stop being self absorbed. Rollins tells Jordan he’s going to be in Jordan’s corner. The crowd is chanting “Daddy’s Boy” and Rollin says he’s only out here to watch Jordan lose.
Opening Contest: WWE Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan vs. Cesaro: Cesaro knee lifts Jordan to the floor from behind and Jordan remains on the floor where Rollins is telling him this is what he’s talking about. Time for commercials…
Cesaro works over Jordan with a few uppercuts in the corner. Jordan avoids Cesaro in the corner and manages to connect with a dropkick for a two count. Jordan delivers a few shoulder rams in the corner to keep control of the match. Cesaro knee lifts Jordan and delivers another uppercut. Cearo controls Jordan on the mat with a headlock. Jordan miss es a clothesline but catches Cesaro on a springboard cross body attempt. Jordan drives Cesaro back first into the corner a few times. Sheamus gets on the apron to distract Jordan and Jordan misses a spear in the corner. Cesaro chop blocks Jordan’s left knee. Sheamus is backing away from Rollins on the floor while Cesaro continues to work over Jordan in the corner. Cesaro dropkicks the left knee of Jordan that was wrapped around the middle rope. Cesaro slams the left knee of Jordan onto the apron to keep advantage in his favor. Cesaro keeps Jordan on the mat working over the knee trying to get a submission but isn’t able to get one. Jordan kicks Cesaro away but Cesaro uppercuts the left knee of Jordan to drop him to the mat again. Jordan fights his way to his feet right right hands but Cesaro kicks the knee. Jordan still takes Cesaro down with a clothesline. Jordan backdrops Cesaro to the apron and knocks him off. Cesaro chop blocks the knee on the apron. Cesaro drives Jordan’s knee onto the apron and Jordan is screaming in agony as we go to another commercial.
Cesaro knocks Jordan off the apron as we return from commercial. Cesaro rolls Jordan back into the ring and delivers an uppercut. Cesaro puts a half crab on Jordan in the middle of the ring, but Jordan refuses to give in. Jordan kicks Cesaro in the ribs, but Cesaro pummels Jordan with a forearm strike. Jordan kicks Cesaro away but his left knee is hurting and runs into an uppercut. Cesaro goes for a slam but Jordan wiggles free and boots Cesaro in the corner. Jordan attempts a suplex but his leg won’t let him do it. Jordan forearms Cesaro and hits a couple of overhead belly to belly suplexs for a two count. Jordan spears Cesaro in the corner but Cesaro elbows Jordan. Jordan hits a northern lights suplex and rolls through with another one and has a bridge, but only gets a two count. Jordan lifted his left leg on the bridge to sell the knee. Jordan attempts a back suplex but Cesaro gets to the ropes and chokes Jordan. Sheamus cheap shots Jordan and Cesaro nearly wins. Cesaro switches into the half crab and switches into a Boston Crab. Jordan is able to reach the bottom rope. Rollins attacks Sheamus on the floor and beats on him. Jordan nails Cesaro with a back suplex/neck breaker and pins Cesaro! (**. They got plenty of time since there were two commercial breaks, and I liked the knee work by Cesaro. The Miami crowd doesn’t seem to care about Jordan as a face. I’m appreciating Jordan’s in-ring skill and hope he turns heel sooner or later.) After the match, Jordan celebrates his victory and raises the arm of Rollins before quickly letting go and Rollins stands there with his arm in the air, not happy with that.
Backstage, Renee Young is with WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns. Reigns thinks that Samoa Joe got what he deserved last week. Reigns notes that Joe ruined many things for him and hurt Dean Ambrose. Reigns thinks that Joe is a punk and says he’s going to stay within the rules tonight… he hopes.
Bray Wyatt makes his way out to the ring. He’ll be in single action after the commercial break.
Sasha Banks has a New Years Resolution to win the Royal Rumble and compete at WrestleMania because she’s a legit boss.
Second Contest: Bray Wyatt vs. Apollo Crews: Wyatt backs Crews into a corner and misses a strike. He does his upside down taunt and scares Crews away. Crews gets a headlock on Wyatt but Wyatt breaks free and hammers away on Crews. Wyatt sends Crews to the apron but is met with a kick. Crews hits a slingshot senton and an elbow drop for a two count. Crews slows the match down with another headlock. Wyatt nails Crews with a headbutt to the chest. Wyatt delivers a forearm to the neck of Crews and chokes him over the middle rope. Crews avoids Wyatt and nails Wyatt with a dropkick for a two count. Wyatt backdrops Crews to the apron but Crews goes to the top. Wyatt stops Crews with a right hand and delivers a jaw breaker. Wyatt stares down Dana Brooke as we go to commercial.
Wyatt has kept control of Crews with a headlock. Crews ducks a clothesline but Wyatt hits a running forearm shot. Wyatt goes for a cover but Crews kicks out at two. Crews comes off the ropes with a kick to the head. Crews delivers a kick to the head and another clothesline. Crews kips up and hits a standing shooting star press for a two count. Wyatt rolls to the floor and Crews kicks Wyatt before hitting a moonsault off the apron. Titus tells Crews to get Wyatt back int he ring. Crews follows the orders but is met with a clothesline. Wyatt goes to the corner and seems ready for the Sister Abigail. Brooke has gotten on the apron to motivate Crews. She looks at Wyatt and she’s scared again. She falls off the apron and lands on Titus. Crews kicks Wyatt but Wyatt is able to finish off Crews with Sister Abigail for the win. (*1/2. Even in defeat, Crews was given a lot of offense and he looked good in there. Crews probably should be on 205 Live.)
Matt Hardy appears on the big screen and says that he transformed Wyatt’s fireflies into his woken warriors. Hardy says that Wyatt can’t escape his Woken Wisdom for too much longer. He is the ghost in Wyatt’s dreams. Hardy will delete Wyatt. The screen splits into smaller screens of Hardy’s face. Wyatt looks concerned but doesn’t seem to be scared. Well, that’s all.
Backstage, Nia Jax is walking but WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss runs into Nia. Alexa needs Nia. Nia tells Alexa that Enzo texted her and he needs her since he’s at the hospital dealing with the flu. Nia has a container of noodles for Enzo. Alexa tells Nia that it’s either Enzo or her. Nia tells Alexa that her noodles are getting cold and leaves. Alexa says “has everyone lost their mind?!”
Third Contest: WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka in a non-title match: Alexa avoids locking up and a quick kick by going to the ropes. Asuka tries for a few spinning back fists but Alexa again escapes to the ropes. Asuka works over Alexa with a wrist lock, but Bliss counters with a hammerlock, which quickly gets countered too. Asuka takes Bliss down to the mat with a front face lock. Asuka puts a knee bar on Bliss, but Bliss kicks Asuka away. Bliss knocks Asuka down and goes to the ropes when Asuka quickly got back up. Asuka shoulder blocks Bliss and dances after a somersault. Asuka delivers a running butt strike and Bliss rolls to the floor. Asuka plays to the crowd while Bliss looks confused on the floor. Bliss slowly gets in the ring but avoids Asuka again and stays on the floor. Bliss doesn’t look interested in getting back in the ring. Asuka snap mares Bliss followed by a kick to the back and a butt strike to the face. Bliss kicks Asuka and bails to the floor again. We go to commercial with Bliss on the floor.
Bliss has a body scissors on Asuka now that we’re back from commercial. During the break, Bliss avoided a butt splash against the ropes and kicked Asuka in the ribs to get the advantage. Asuka puts an ankle lock on Bliss in the middle of the ring. Bliss struggles but reaches the bottom rope. Bliss rolls through and Asuka hits the ropes rib first. Bliss presses Asuka’s ribs into the ring post. Bliss continues to work over Asuka managing to get a near fall. Asuka gets a rollup for a near fall. Bliss stops Asuka with a backbreaker. Bliss pummels Asuka with right hands managing a two count. Bliss keeps Asuka on the mat with a bod scissors. Bliss gets a choke hold on Asuka but Asuka counters with an arm lock but Bliss reaches the ropes. Bliss works over Asuka with kicks in the corner. Bliss simply slaps Asuka in the corner and Asuka returns the slap. Bliss shoves Asuka but misses a clothesline. Asuka dropkicks Bliss and comes off the middle rope with another dropkick. Asuka hits a leaping butt splash in the corner and nails Bliss with a running butt strike. Bliss elbows Asuka and tries a kick but Asuka counters with a kick to the face. Bliss goes for a rollup out of the corner but Asuka sits down for a near fall. Bliss dropkicks Asuka to the floor. Asuka delivers another kick and locks in the arm bar. Bliss is forced to tap and Asuka wins by submission. (*1/2. This started off really slow and I was expecting Bliss to walk-out on the match. Asuka is a dominating force and now that she’s cleanly defeated the champion, it kind of leaves me wondering why they did this. Asuka might win the Rumble and I can’t imagine she’d lose at Mania. I would have kept these two apart until after Rumble to build up their Mania match. The Miami crowd was dead for this and have been dead for the majority of the show.)
A video package promoting the match between WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe is aired.
Backstage, Samoa Joe is interviewed and says he owns Roman Reigns. He has broken and exposed Roman Reigns. He says that the Shield will never be champions together. Now, Dean Ambrose is a stay at home dad living off his wife’s paycheck. Mind you, Renee Young is interviewing Joe and is married to Ambrose. Joe says that the ring may be Reigns yard but he lives in his world. That was a great promo.
Bayley says she’s starting off 2018 with a bang as she’s entering the Royal Rumble match. She’ll be hugging her way all the way to WrestleMania.
Fourth Contest: Braun Strowman vs. Rhino: Glad to see Slater escaped the bathroom on that airplane. Yeah, Slater apparently locked himself in the bathroom on a recent flight. Slater is at ringside with Rhino. Strowman shoves Rhino into a corner as the crowd chants for “ECW” which still blows my mind. Rhino gets tossed into a corner and Braun yells because he’s big. Braun shoulder blocks Rhino followed by a big boot. Slater is on the apron trying to help Rhino. Slater backs off to the ring steps. Braun leaves the ring and grabs a microphone. Braun tells Slater he’s either going to stay on the floor or get his hands like Rhino. Slater distracts Braun and gets in the ring to double team Braun. I’m not sure why the DQ hasn’t been called. Braun splashes Slater and Rhino in opposite corners. Braun plants Rhino with a running power slam for the win. (DUD. They should have called for the disqualification, so that’s annoying. This was just a squash.) After the match, Slater tries to attack Braun but gets tossed down. Braun plants Slater with a running power slam, too. Braun grabs Rhino to deliver another power slam. Braun grabs Slater and drives him down with another power slam. Braun gives another power slam to Rhino after playing to the crowd. Slater is still in the ring recovering so Braun does another one to him, too.
Backstage, Seth Rollins meets up with Roman Reigns. Rollins heard what Samoa Joe said and wants Reigns to keep his cool. Reigns calls Joe a fool for still running his mouth. Reigns hopes that Ambrose is watching because you don’t mess with brothers. Jason Jordan enters the scene and tells Reigns that himself and Rollins will take care of the Bar if they try to interfere. Rollins and Reigns have a look on their face that Jordan made that awkward. He did. That’s exactly what Jordan needs to be doing for his eventual heel turn.
Backstage, Braun Strowman is walking but suddenly stops and looks to his right where he sees Kane who raises his hands to show non-aggression. Kane wants to talk about Brock Lesnar and tells Braun that they are the alpha monsters and thinks that together they can tame the beast. Kane wants to be on the same page of Braun. Braun says that he doesn’t care about Kane and his plan. He’s the only alpha monster and says he’s going to take care of Lesnar on his own. Kane slowly backs away.
Backstage, Kurt Angle is on the phone talking about the women’s Royal Rumble. Finn Balor is standing there and has something to tell Angle. Balor recalls being the WWE Universal Champion and never getting a rematch. Balor puts his name in the Royal Rumble match. Angle thought that Balor was there for something else. Balor has found himself partners to take on Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas and Elias. Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows enter the scene and Balor says that he’d rather have them on his side. Anderson and Gallows do their usual “nerds” taunt.
Fifth Contest: WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe: Joe starts the match jabbing Reigns in the corner followed by an elbow strike and knee strike against the ropes. Reigns continues to work over Joe in the corner with boots. Joe takes Reigns down with a back suplex for a near fall. Joe takes Reigns over with a snap suplex and Reigns rolls to the floor to regroup as we go to commercial.
Reigns elbows out of a top wrist lock but Joe nails Reigns with a back elbow strike. Joe goes for a cover but Reigns kicks out at two. Joe continues to work over Reigns with jabs and chops. Joe attempts a suplex but Reigns counters with one of his own. Reigns misses an attack in the corner and Joe nearly pins him. Joe keeps Reigns on the mat with an arm lock focusing on the elbow of Reigns. Reigns fights his way out with right hands. Reigns clotheslines Joe several times. Joe forearms Reigns and delivers a kick in the corner for a two count. Joe chokes Reigns over the middle rope and taunts the crowd. Joe sends Reigns hard back first into the corner. Joe again sends Reigns hard back first into the corner causing Reigns to crash to the canvas. Joe controls Reigns on the mat choking Reigns with his own right arm. Reigns fights his way out of the hold but Joe delivers a knee lift. Reigns comes out of the corner with a clothesline and both men are down. Reigns clotheslines Joe several times in the corner. Joe staggers out and is met with a big boot knocking Joe to the floor. Reigns rolls to the floor and hits the Drive By on the apron. Reigns rolls Joe back into the ring and gets a two count. Reigns hammers away on Joe and the referee backs Reigns away. Joe backdrops Reigns to the apron and splashes Reigns to the floor. Joe takes Reigns out with a suicide dive! They both manage to return to the ring before the count of ten and we go to commercial.
Joe has control working over Reigns with a few headbutts. Joe drops Reigns with another headbutt and casually walks around the ring as Reigns remains on the mat. Joe slaps Reigns and Reigns tells him “hit me” and Joe does. Reigns doesn’t care and comes back with strikes. Reigns stops Joe with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Reigns goes for the Superman Punch, but Joe decides to bail to the floor to regroup. Reigns goes to the floor and leaps off the steps but is met with a forearm in midair. Joe rams Reigns face first onto the ring steps for the Shield, Dean Ambrose and for last week. Reigns manages to send Joe shoulder first into the ring steps. Reigns has the ring steps but the referee is reminding Reigns to not use the steps. Joe cheap shots Reigns with a punch but Reigns leaps off the steps to deliver a Superman Punch. Back in the ring, Reigns delivers another Superman Punch, but Joe kicks out at two! Reigns goes for a spear but is met with a kick. Reigns accidentally knocks the referee down and the referee is going to call for the bell but Reigns denies doing it on purpose. Joe plants Reigns with a uranage but Reigns kicks out at two. Reigns had pushed the referee away to avoid Joe’s attack in the corner. Reigns nails Joe with a right hand but Joe gets the Koquina Clutch on but Reigns rolls through. Reigns nails Joe with the spear and retains the title. (**1/2. Well, the teases were saved for the final few minutes, which was good. They had a good final two or three minutes with the stuff leading into that not being all that interesting. I was hoping that Jason Jordan would cost Reigns the title by getting a DQ, but oh well.)
Backstage, Paul Heyman walks into Kurt Angle’s office and says he has something that can help Kurt Angle. Heyman says there is a conspiracy taking place with Kane and Braun wanting to team up. Heyman says that Brock Lesnar will be proactive to take care of that. Heyman says 2018 will be the year of the beast.
Absolution talk about their Royal Rumble odds and they are the only people that matter.
Drew Gulak has a letter from Enzo Amore which starts off with Enzo’s usual catchphrase. Enzo isn’t doing very well as he has been flattened by the flu. Thus, he will not be defending the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tonight. Enzo would have wiped the floor with Cedric Alexander tonight. That brings out Cedric Alexander to confront Gulak. Alexander came here for competition and doesn’t believe Enzo is sick. He wants to know which one of them will compete against him tonight. After a huddle, Gulak and Daivari say they will wrestle Alexander but in a tag team match. They know Alexander doesn’t have a lot of friends. Alexander does have a friend and it’s Goldust. Goldust says he has some friends in low places but none of them are lower than them. Goldust asks Alexander to be friends and Cedric is excited.
Sixth Contest: Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari vs. Cedric Alexander & Goldust: Daivari and Alexander start the tag match with Alexander getting out of a wrist lock and flipping Daivari over. Alexander head scissors Daivari and delivers a dropkick. Davari rams Alexander face first into the middle turnbuckle. Daivari keeps Alexander on the mat with a headlock. Alexander tries to tag out to Goldust, but Daivari prevents Cedric from doing so. Alexander nails Daivari with a back elbow strike and both men are down. Gulak and Goldust get tagged in and Goldust clotheslines Gulak a few times. Goldust grabs a headlock and a few punches. Goldust drives Gulak down with a running bulldog out of the corner. Goldust punches Gulak in the corner. Goldust connects with a snap power slam for a two count. Davari is met with an atomic drop. Goldus hits a top rope twisting cross body and tags in Alexander. Alexander hits a top rope clothesline on both men. Gulak is met with a right hand from Goldust and Alexander hits the Lumbar Check for the win. (*. It was random for Goldust to be the partner, but I’m all for getting Goldust on TV more. This was just more hype for Alexander for his eventual match with Enzo.)
Backstage, Finn Balor, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows are walking towards the ring for their six man tag match.
Elias is in the ring and plays his guitar. Elias says that WWE stands for “Walk With Elias” considering what he did to John Cena last week. WWE is his universe. He asks the fans who wants to walk with him. Elias believes he will win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania. He’s excited to work with two talented musicians in Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. They were in the dark and have instruments of their own. Dallas announces that The Miz will be returning to RAW next week. They dedicate this to the Miz. As expected, Axel and Dallas are just awful singers. Elias gets cut off by Gallows and Anderson.
Main Event: Elias, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas vs. Finn Balor, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows: Axel and Balor are in the ring as Axel works over Balor with shoulder rams and a rolling neck snap out of the corner. Elias tags in and kicks Balor in the midsection. Elias is met with a kick from Balor coming off the ropes but Elias continues to work over Balor with stomps in the corner. Balor blocks a right hand but gets kicked out of the corner by Elias. Elias keeps Balor on the mat controlling the left arm. Balor gets out of the hold and double stomps Elias. Gallows gets tagged in as does Dallas. Gallows cleans house with strikes a big boot sends Dallas to the corner. Gallows splashes Dallas followed by another big boot. Gallows comes off the ropes with a big splash for a two count as Elias made the save. Elias is sent to the floor as Gallows super kicks Dallas. Anderson tags in Balor as Magic Killer drops Dallas. Balor comes off the top and hits a double stomp for the win. (1/2*. I’m assuming these guys will be a unit moving forward, which is probably what should be going on. These guys battling the Shield seems to be the obvious direction when Ambrose returns.)
WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman make their way down to the ring to finish the program. Heyman starts off saying that WWE continues to stack the deck against Brock Lesnar. Heyman doesn’t know how else to explain it since Lesnar has to defend against Kane and Braun Strowman. Heyman recalls how it was in the old days when it was just one challenger. Heyman explains the triple threat match and how if Lesnar doesn’t get pinned then he still loses the WWE Universal Championship. Heyman would never suggest that Lesnar would lose the title. Heyman says it doesn’t matter how you stack the deck against Lesnar, he’s going to retain the title. Lesnar doesn’t fear any challenge and doesn’t fear any challenger or challengers. Lesnar doesn’t believe in monsters. He also doesn’t believe Kane is the Devils favorite. The Devils favorite is Brock Lesnar. They go to leave the ring but Kane’s music hits.
Kane makes his way out to confront Lesnar. Kane grabs Lesnar by the throat and delivers a choke slam to lay Lesnar out in the middle of the ring. Lesnar sits up and laughs before looking at Kane. Lesnar clotheslines Kane over the top with the championship and they both fall to the floor. Kurt Angle sent out the RAW locker room to keep them apart and Kane is brought backstage. Lesnar holds the title up on the floor while staring down Kane to end the show.
What a bland show to kick off 2018. The Miami crowd was dead silent for the majority of the show as they were invested in only the Reigns/Joe match but nothing else delivered. There wasn’t much going on here and not much was advanced in terms of the angles. The Club reforming with Balor, Anderson and Gallows is fine, but that interest had long subsided, I think. I’d consider this a bad RAW. Not a good way to kick off 2018.
What did you think of RAW?
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.