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WWE RAW 1/8/2018

Tonight, Cedric Alexander finally gets his shot at WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, “Woken” Matt Hardy makes his in-ring debut on RAW, The Miz returns to RAW and makes his intentions known quickly. Plus, the Balor Club battles Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan in a six man tag main event! All this and more!

World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
Date: 1/8/2018
From: Memphis, TN

WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns opens the show coming out to cut a promo. Reigns waits a few moments before speaking as he’s getting a lot of boos this week. Reigns thought that Samoa Joe would have been ready for him, but Joe got silenced last week. Roman was fighting for a purpose, for his brother Dean Ambrose last week. Reigns says if you mess with one member of the Shield, you mess with all of them. That brings out… WWE Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan to join the discussion with Roman Reigns.

Jordan says that for the first time he felt like he was part of something memorable. Jordan thinks that Reigns was talking about him. Jordan says that Reigns proved that the ring is his yard. Jordan thanks Reigns and puts his fist out like he’s a member of the Shield. Reigns doesn’t look interested in hitting his fist as WWE Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins comes out to continue the promo. Rollins appreciate what Jordan is trying to do, but says Jordan has a lot to still learn. Rollins thinks they have to work on Jason’s timing and thinks that Jordan is stepping on Roman’s moment. Jordan thought they all had issues with Samoa Joe and Reigns took care of it. Jordan notes they are all champions and they run the show. Reigns doesn’t want Jordan to consider himself part of the team. Jordan wants to know who is better than them. Jordan thinks they may be the most dominate three man group in all of WWE.

Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson make their way out to dispute that claim by Jordan. Balor doubts that Jordan is part of the most dominate group in wrestling. Balor has been running with Gallows and Anderson for ten years before Jordan knew Kurt Angle was his dad! That prompts the fans to chant “who’s your daddy” towards Jordan. Gallows talks about what they accomplished when they weren’t together, which saw them all win titles. Anderson knew they’d come back together and take over RAW. Balor says that started last week. 2018 is the year of Balor Club. Jordan is happy to be part of the champions club, which embarrasses Rollins. Gallows calls Jordan a nerd and is slapped by Jordan. Balor said the word started with an “n” which could have been a disaster.

RAW General Manager Kurt Angle comes out and says that this will be our main event. Balor Club versus the team of Seth Rollins, Jason Jordan and Roman Reigns! Well, they sure rushed this six man tag match, I’d say.

Opening Contest: Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville: Mickie James is in the corner of Bayley and Banks to be their backup. Rose and Bayley start off the tag match with Bayley controlling Rose with a headlock but Rose delivers a shoulder block. Rose tosses Bayley into a corner but Bayley forearms Rose several times. Rose gets several right hands on Bayley. Rose scoop slams Bayley for a near fall. Bayley charges out of the corner to clothesline Rose. Bayley hits a side suplex causing Rose to bail to the floor as RAW goes to commercial.

Banks is now in the match but Rose yanks her down by her hair. Banks hip tosses Rose followed by a double knee strike coming off the ropes for a two count. Rose forearms Banks several times and talks some smack. Banks comes back with a strike to drop Rose. Banks knocks Sonya off the apron and is met with a knee strike from Rose for a two count. Sonya gets tagged in works over Banks in the corner with kicks. Sonya tries for a submission with a body scissors but Banks refuses to give in. Sonya keeps Banks on the mat with several strikes to the ribs. Rose tags in and delivers strikes to the ribs of Banks as she was trapped in the ropes. Banks and Sonya collide as they both attempted clotheslines. Rose gets tagged in and prevents Banks from tagging out. Sonya drops Banks gut first over the middle rope while the referee was distracted. Banks nearly pins Rose with an inside cradle. Bayley tosses Sonya to the floor and brawls with her. Rose drives Banks into a corner but Banks hits the Bank Statement and forces Rose to tap out. (*1/2. I had a feeling that Bayley and Banks were going to win considering they were getting dominated too much. The match didn’t come across all that enjoyable, but I can see Rose and Sonya becoming enjoyable workers over time. Bayley didn’t seem to do much and the involvement of Mickie being in their corner didn’t seem to serve a point.)

Backstage, Cedric Alexander is getting ready when Goldust walks up. Goldust is acting like Cedric’s trainer. Actually, he’s quoting Rocky. Cedric doesn’t need motivation and says he’s been dreaming about being a WWE Champion for a long time. Goldust thinks that the only person in control of his destiny, is Cedric.

Earlier today, Goldust was putting his makeup on and found out who’s going to be his partner for the Mixed Match Challenge. It’s Alicia Fox and she’s super excited.

Earlier today, Matt Hardy cut a promo about the Royal Rumble. He’s going to delete 29 other wrestlers and proceed to the main event of WrestleMania. He’s going to become the champion of the universe.

Second Contest: Matt Hardy vs. Curt Hawkins: This is the in-ring television debut of “Woken” Matt Hardy. Hawkins cheap shots Hardy after going to the ropes but Hardy bites Hawkins fingers. Hardy hammers away on Hawkins in the corner followed by a swinging neck breaker. Hardy hits a German suplex sending Curt into the corner. Hawkins cuts Hardy off with an elbow but misses a middle rope cross body. Hardy rams Curt face first into the turnbuckles several times. Hardy continues with a clothesline in the corner and the Side Effect. Hardy finishes Hawkins off with the Twist of Fate. (*. Simply a squash and exactly what the character needs to get momentum.) After the match, Bray Wyatt appears behind Hardy and they have a face to face confrontation. Well, their confrontation is laughing and smiling at each other.

Elias is sitting in the middle of the ring when we return from commercial with three empty chairs behind him. Elias says that WWE stands for “Walk With Elias”, though the crowd yelled it for him. Elias has written a song from the heart. Elias sings that he shouldn’t care about Elvis and brings out the guy who’s taking over the business, the Miz. Miz comes out with his sidekicks Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. Miz had been off television for the previous six weeks. Elias has left the ring and Miz is greeted with a “Welcome Back” chant.

Miz is back and hosting Miz TV. Miz believes he is the glue that keeps RAW together. Miz credits Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel for keeping him relevant while he was gone. He puts over the duo for turning their careers around in 2017. Axel thanks Miz for making 2017 his favorite year thus far. Dallas and Axel use Miz’s name to replace the Emmy’s and Christmas. They start a chant to thank Miz. Miz is confused when Dallas gives him a framed picture and says it’s going to be tough to sleep tonight without. Axel gives Miz his sports coat. Dallas gives Miz his watch and Axel gives Miz his shoes. Miz cuts them off and tells them to sit down. Miz says he has a lot more planned in 2018. He held the WWE Intercontinental Championship for 200-days and elevated two careers. He is Rolling Stones Wrestler of the Year. However, he didn’t forget about being power bombed through a table by the Shield two months ago. Miz claims that he allowed Reigns to borrow his WWE Intercontinental Championship. He wanted the championship to a big deal while he was gone. The person holding the belt makes it and he wants it back. Miz promises to be the longest reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion of all-time. He is going to be the only person people think about in regard to the championship, He’s back and he’s coming for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, believe that.

Backstage, Balor Club are talking. Balor says that tonight is about making new memories and wants to talk about strategy. They have a real opportunity to show everyone that 2018 is their year.

WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore makes his way out and does his usual routine. He talks about last week and how he wasn’t able to compete. He started 2018 in the hospital and thanks Nia Jax for helping him out. Enzo couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Goldust teaming with Cedric Alexander. Alexander teamed with Goldust because it’s the closest Alexander will get to gold in 2018.

Third Contest: WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore vs. Cedric Alexander: Enzo goes to the corner to avoid Cedric but is dropped by a right hand. Enzo bails to the floor and taunts Cedric causing Alexander to chase after Enzo. Alexander kicks Enzo from the apron as we see Nia watching on TV backstage. Enzo tries to escape to the floor but Alexander pulls him back to the apron. Enzo shoves Alexander off the middle rope and Cedric crashes to the floor as RAW goes to commercial.

Enzo has kept control of Alexander with a headlock. Alexander sends Enzo face first into the middle turnbuckle but gets nailed by a kick from Enzo for a two count. Enzo controls Alexander with a chin lock and delivers several strikes to the face. Enzo delivers a dropkick to a kneeling Alexander for a two count. Alexander rams Enzo into a corner but runs into a knee strike. Enzo comes off the middle rope but Cedric hits a dropkick in midair. Alexander kips up and clotheslines Enzo a few times. Alexander hits a handspring kick and nearly gets a three count. Enzo fights out of the Lumbar Check but is kicked on the apron. Enzo is bleeding bad. Alexander hits a springboard clothesline and Enzo rolls to the floor. Alexander takes Enzo out with a somersault dive and Enzo appears to have seriously injured his right ankle. All of Cedric landed on the ankle. Enzo decides to take the count-out and Alexander wins. (*1/2. I’m fine with Enzo hanging onto the title as the slow build to the title change will be good. I’ve been a big fan of Alexander dating back to his ROH days. I’m looking forward to Alexander chasing after the title. I think Enzo was seriously hurt judging by his immediate reaction.)

Backstage, Enzo Amore is getting checked by doctors and he isn’t thrilled about it. Nia Jax comes in and says she just wanted to check on him. Enzo breaks down when Jax leaves.

Backstage, Kurt Angle is on the phone and says he knows she hasn’t been in the Rumble, but she’d be great. Sheamus and Cesaro enter the scene and want to know what’s up with their rematch for the tag titles. They think Angle is protecting his son, Jason Jordan, from them. Angle tells them they will get a rematch at the Royal Rumble. They are happy about that. They’d prefer to have a match tonight too and Angle says he can find them opponents. The Miz also enters the room and is offended when Angle doesn’t want him to touch him. Miz talks about a new series that will be on the USA Network and doesn’t think Angle knows how to run a show. Miz wants a rematch for the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Roman Reigns at the 25th Anniversary show for RAW. That will take place in two weeks.

Earlier today, Miz found out who his Mixed Match Challenge tag partner will be and it’s Asuka. Miz is happy about teaming with Asuka since she’s undefeated. He’s confident they will win.

Backstage, Asuka is stretching when WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss enters the room to talk to her. Bliss says Asuka got lucky beating her last week. Bliss tells Asuka that when Nia Jax finds out what Asuka called her that she wouldn’t want to be Asuka. Asuka is left confused.

Fourth Contest: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Titus O’Neill & Apollo Crews: Here I thought there was going to be a strong mystery team and instead they just get a jobber team. Sheamus and Titus kick off the match with Sheamus avoiding Titus early on. Titus runs over Sheamus with a shoulder block and tags in Crews. Crews comes off the middle rope with a double axe handle. Cesaro quickly tags in and uppercuts Crews in the corner. Cesaro drops Crews with another uppercut. Crews fights back with a dropkick and a standing moonsault for a two count. Sheamus tags in and pulls down the ropes to cause Crews to crash to the floor. Sheamus knee lifts Crews before sending him into the guard railing. Cesaro tags in and double teams Crews. Sheamus tags back in and a double clothesline drops Crews. Sheamus comes off the ropes to deliver a knee drop for a two count. Sheamus knee lifts Crews but Crews gets an inside cradle for a two count. Crews avoids Sheamus in the corner and Sheamus hits the ring post. Titus and Cesaro get tagged in with Titus cleaning house. Titus splashes Cesaro in the corner followed by a power slam for a two count. Sheamus distracts Titus to allow Cesaro to deliver a clothesline. Sheamus knee lifts Titus and tags back into the match. Crews backdrops Cesaro into the floor and hits a moonsault as Sheamus missed a Brogue Kick! Titus gets a rollup and pins Sheamus! (**. The finish was a surprise to me and I’m actually fine with it. RAW needs stronger tag teams and this will likely lead to another match between these two before the pay per view. I thought it was a decent enough match.)

WWE Universe Champion and Paul Heyman make their way down to the ring to cut a promo. The commentators continue to hype up the fact that Lesnar could lose the title without getting pinned in a triple threat match as if this isn’t common stipulation in such a match. Heyman says he’s going to be hypocrite tonight because they’ve gotten away from something old school that takes away from the business. Heyman says he old school way to promote a title match would be to find a challenger to come after the title. Heyman thinks we’ve gotten away from someone who could be the toughest man. Now, it’s being promoted on how can Lesnar survive various situations. They both don’t like this new trend. Heyman notes that Lesnar laughed in Kane’s face last week. Which, Lesnar will do again at the Royal Rumble when he fights Braun Strowman and Kane. Heyman says the only cliffhanger Lesnar has going into the Rumble is who he will pin or if he’ll pin both men. Heyman has yet to see anyone who could beat Lesnar. That’s it and there’s no confrontation with any of the challengers.

Just kidding, they kept the camera on Lesnar way too long. Kane comes out from behind and attacks Lesnar. Lesnar and Kane brawl on the side of the entrance before brawling backstage. Braun Strowman comes over and tosses Lesnar through a table. Strowman hits Kane with a road case and drops it on top of Kane to leave them both laying! Strowman has a hook and has an evil thought. Strowman tosses it over a steel structure and pulls it down having it land on both men. Braun yells and walks off.

During the commercial break, Kane was seen crawling out from underneath the steel structure while Brock Lesnar is doing a stretcher job. Paul Heyman is apologizing to Lesnar. Kane appears to be rather okay aside from limping. Braun just tried to kill two guys, folks. Attempted murder in wrestling yet again!

Fifth Contest: Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno: Heath Slater is at ringside in Rhyno’s corner. Joe and Rhyno trade strikes early on with Joe delivering a kick in the corner to get the advantage. Rhyno fights back with strikes but Joe cuts him off. Joe clobbers Rhyno with cross face strikes. Joe continues his offense with a kick to the chest. Rhyno fights back with chops but Joe connects with an STO for a near fall. Joe atomic drops Rhyno followed by a big boot and senton for a near fall. Rhyno lifts Joe up but Joe breaks free and gets the choke hold on for the submission win. (*. A far cry from what they did ten years ago in TNA. I might be in the minority, but they probably should push Rhyno instead of having him be a jobber with Slater.)

Samoa Joe is interviewed in the ring following the match. Joe dismisses the thought that he lost last week. Joe says that Reigns victory is going to have a great consequence. Joe says the cracks of the foundation are coming. Joe is going to be there when it finally comes apart to finish the job. Joe is going to pursue onto bigger things and announces he’ll be in the Royal Rumble match. Joe gets aggressive with the mention of John Cena. Joe will never forget the name John Cena and he’ll be the first man he eliminates. I wonder if that was a tease for Joe/Cena at Mania.

Backstage, Alexa Bliss meets up with Nia Jax and tells Nia she cares about her. Bliss puts over Nia as her best friend. Alexa is worried that Enzo is holding Nia back. Nia wants to be a champion like Enzo. Thus, Nia is entering the Royal Rumble match. Alexa notes that a lot of people think Asuka is the favorite to win the Rumble. Nia knows that Bliss is jealous about Asuka beating her last week. Nia wants to know what Asuka said about her. Bliss isn’t going to tell Nia what Asuka said to avoid hurting her feelings. Bliss whispers into Nia’s ear and Nia is shocked. Nia asks if Bliss speaks Japanese, which she doesn’t. Nia rolls her eyes and says that Asuka doesn’t speak English. Bliss realizes her plan was foiled.

Well, Nia Jax attacks Asuka before her squash match and hit an electric chair slam. Jax followed up with a rolling senton. So, so much for that match. It looked like Asuka was going to be having a squash match with a jobber, anyway.

Main Event: Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns, WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan: Balor and Rollins kick off the main event. They trade headlocks until Rollins delivers a boot to the midsection. Balor dropkicks a seated Rollins for a one count. Anderson gets tagged in and drives Rollins down with a backbreaker for a two count. Gallows tags in but Rollins avoids a double suplex. Reigns takes out Gallows and Balor is shoulder blocked by Rollins and Reigns. Reigns hits a Drive By on Gallows and stands tall in the ring with Jordan and Rollins as RAW goes to commercial.

Balor and Rollins are in the ring still as Rollins is able to tag in Reigns. Reigns knocks down Balor several times with clotheslines. Reigns continues to work over Balor with clotheslines in the corner and a hip toss followed by a superkick. Reigns signals for a Superman punch but has to punch Gallows and Anderson. Balor connects with Sling Blade. Anderson tags in and hammers away on Reigns with right hands. Anderson works over Reigns with strikes. Anderson nails Reigns with a standing kick to the head for a near fall. Anderson keeps control on Reigns with a headlock. Reigns punches his way out of a sleeper hold but is yanked down by his hair. Anderson gets a two count following a knee drop. Anderson controls Reigns with another sleeper hold. Reigns stops Anderson with a tilt a whirl slam. Gallows gets tagged in and prevents Reigns from tagging out. Gallows keeps control of Reigns with a snap suplex for a two count. Gallows works over Reigns with elbow strikes and keeps control on the mat with a chin lock. Reigns fights his way out of the hold and decks Gallows with a Superman punch. Anderson and Rollins get tagged in with Rollins cleaning house. Rollins hits a blockbuster on Anderson and suicide dive to the floor. Rollins hits Anderson with Sling Blade. Rollins takes Anderson over with the Falcon Arrow but can’t get a three count on the cover attempt. Rollins waits for Anderson to get up but Anderson reaches the ropes. Gallows stops Rollins and holds him but Jordan enters and clotheslines Gallows to the floor. Anderson nearly pins Rollins with a spine buster. Jordan is on the apron waiting for a tag but Anderson stops Rollins again.

Gallows tags in and knocks Jordan off the apron with a right hand. Rollins kicks Gallows but nobody is in his corner. Reigns gets on the apron and Rollins hits a back suplex on Balor. Reigns wants the tag badly on the apron. Jordan gets in teh ring and distracts the referee causing the referee to not see the tag. Magic Killer on Rollins and Reigns punches the Club. Jordan and Reigns argue. Reigns gets pulled to the floor and sends Gallows into the ring post. Reigns hits a Superman punch and spear on the Club. Balor dropkicks Rollins into the corner and punches Jordan off the apron. Balor hits a top rope double stomp and pins Rollins. (**1/2. It was a solid main event with the main purpose continuing Jordan’s likely heel turn. I enjoyed it and it’s a big victory for the Balor Club and doing so cleanly gives them a lot of momentum. I’m behind the push of the Balor Club to give more creditability to the tag division moving forward. Plus, this involves six enjoyable workers so if this leads to singles matches involving the six men then I look forward to that, as well.)

Roman Reigns is visually frustrated as Seth Rollins struggles to get up. Wait a minute, the Miz and his buddies attack Reigns, Rollins and Jordan! Miz plants Reigns with the Skull Crashing Finale! Miz hits a triple powerbomb with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas to leave Reigns laying in the middle of the ring. Miz will challenge Reigns in two weeks on RAW.

Final Thoughts:
Man, it’s been two weeks and reviewing three hour RAWs sure can be exhausting. I thought the show had a better effort this week. While nothing in-ring really stood out to me, the angle progressions for various feuds were nicely continued. I’m glad the Miz is back on TV and it looks like they are going full steam ahead with the likely heel turn by Jason Jordan. As I mentioned before, the idea of Balor Club vs. Champions Club, or whatever they want to be called, has been rushed, but if it leads to various singles matches over the next several weeks, I think there will be more quality wrestling. Anyway, it’s not a great episode of RAW, but far better than last weeks episode.

Thanks for reading.

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