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WWE RAW 1/15/2018

This week on RAW, RAW General Manager Kurt Angle has an announcement for Braun Strowman which leads to mayhem. Nia Jax squares off against Asuka in singles action. WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns takes on Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in a handicap match. WWE RAW Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins competes in the main event against Finn Balor. All this and much more!

World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
Date: 1/15/2018
From: San Antonio, TX

Braun Strowman opens up RAW to a good reception. Braun has a story for everyone and that is him winning at the Royal Rumble and walking out as the new WWE Universal Champion. RAW General Manager Kurt Angle comes out with several security guards. Braun is mad because he was telling a story. Angle isn’t happy with Braun for what he did to Kane and Lesnar. Angle notes that Braun caused thousands of dollars worth of damages. Angle believes that Braun causes unsafe working environment. Angle says that Braun didn’t do his job last week and instead he needs to do it in the ring. Braun reminds Angle that he does whatever he wants when he wants to do it. If he wants to be WWE Universal Champion then he’ll do that at Royal Rumble. Angle says that Braun is lucky that Lesnar and Kane can still compete. Angle tells Braun that he isn’t going to be competing at the Royal Rumble in the title match. Angle FIRES Braun Strowman! Angle leaves the ring and Braun marches to the backstage area as well.

Backstage, Braun Strowman is walking and he’s pissed about being fired. Braun looks at the security team tells them to make him leave. RAW goes to commercial. We return from commercial and Braun is standing at the exit door. The security guy puts his hands on Braun telling him to leave. Braun tosses him away and destroys the other security guys. Braun tosses another guy through a table and doesn’t leave. Braun isn’t leaving until everyone gets his hands. That was great, and the security guy went from scared to being confident within a commercial break.

Opening Contest: Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neill: Crews and Sheamus kick off the tag match with Sheamus backing Crews into a corner. Cesaro tags in and stomps away on Crews. Sheamus and Cesaro attempt a hip toss but Crews dropkicks Cesaro and soon dropkicks Sheamus as well. Titus tags in and works over Sheamus until Cesaro gets tagged in and uppercuts Titus several times. Titus works over Cesaro with chops in the corner. Cesaro comes back with chops as well. Titus scoop slams Cesaro and taunts Sheamus. Crews gets tagged in and scoop slams Cesaro followed by an elbow drop. Cesaro tags in Sheamus and Sheamus knee lifts Crews from the apron. Cesaro uppercuts Crews and Sheamus comes off the top with a clothesline as we go to commercial.

Crews boots Cesaro in the corner but can’t reach Titus on the tag attempt. Sheamus tags in and drives Crews down with a backbreaker. Cesaro comes off the middle rope with an elbow drop for a two count. Crews nails Sheamus with a kick to the head and Titus gets the crowd behind Apollo. Titus and Cesaro get tags and Titus cleans house on Cesaro with clotheslines and strikes in the corner. Titus tosses Cesaro out of the corner and plays to the crowd. Titus splashes Cesaro followed by a slam but Cesaro kicks out at two. Sheamus gets tagged in and Titus is met with a double kick to the legs. Crews backdrops Cesaro to the floor from the apron. Cesaro avoids a moonsault and punches Crews. Cesaro uppercuts Titus from the floor and Sheamus almost wins with a rollup. Cesaro gets tagged in but is backdropped by Titus. Crews hits a top rope cross body on Cesaro followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Sheamus tosses Titus to the floor and clotheslines Crews with Cesaro. Sheamus goes for White Noise but WWE RAW Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan comes out to distract the Bar. That leads to Crews rolling Sheamus up and gets a three count! (*1/2. That was a decent match and I was surprised that they didn’t give The Bar a win back here. Maybe that will happen next week.) After the match, Seth Rollins talks to Jordan wondering what he was doing.

Backstage, Braun Strowman is looking for Kurt Angle’s office and kicks his door down. Angle isn’t in his office and destroys the office tossing chairs around.

Backstage, we go to catering and a guy freaks out telling everyone that Braun is coming. Braun tosses tables over and grabs Curt Hawkins. Braun chokeslams Hawkins through a table and eats a piece of cake that a guy was holding and was scared still.

WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore comes out with Anthony Nese to cut a promo. Amore says he’s doing better than Curt Hawkins right now. Enzo considers himself a monster among men as well. Enzo is going to be walking out of the ring at the Royal Rumble still the champion. He calls Cedric Alexander Dracula because he sucks. Cedric Alexander comes out with Goldust in his corner. Goldust says that Enzo would go straight to DVD if he were a film. Goldust thinks that Alexander is a blockbuster smash hit. Goldust believes Cedric will win the title at the Royal Rumble. Cedric calls Enzo SAWFT before getting in the ring.

Backstage, Braun Strowman is still destroying things.

Second Contest: Anthony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander: Nese has control of Alexander’s left wrist but Alexander gets up and runs into an elbow strike. Alexander head scissors Nese followed by a dropkick and spear in the corner. Nese pulls Alexander off the top rope and Alexander lands on the top turnbuckle. Nese has Alexander over his shoulder to deliver a gut buster. Nese counts his abs before chopping Alexander in the corner. Nese knee lifts Alexander after putting him in a tree of woe. Nese does some crunches and kicks Alexander several times. Goldust stalks towards Enzo and scares the champion. Alexander trades forearms with Nese. Nese misses a splash in the corner. Alexander uppercuts Nese and dropkicks Nese face first into the corner. Alexander kicks Nese while on the apron and hits a slingshot Flatliner. Alexander hits a springboard clothesline but Nese kicks out at two. Nese avoids the Lumbar Check with a side headlock. Alexander gets out of a rollup but runs into a kick. Alexander elbows Nese but Nese attempts a pump handle only for Alexander to counter with the Lumbar Check for the win. (**1/4. A decent enough match. Alexander is so crisp and good in the ring it’s not even funny. I’ve liked his work for many years now and I hope he wins the title at the PPV.)

Backstage, Kurt Angle can’t believe the situation he is in. He compares Braun to a wild elephant. John Cone tells Angle that Braun is heading towards the TV trucks and Angle says “oh my god, they are worth 12 million dollars” before leaving the destroyed office.

Outside the arena, Braun is headed towards the TV trucks and enters the truck. Braun wants to know what happens if he smashes various things. Braun wants to end the show. Braun tells everyone to get out of the TV truck. The crew gets back to their spots when they think Braun is gone. Braun has gotten into the tractor and removes it from the TV truck. Braun tries to lift up the tractor until Kurt Angle comes over. Angle tells Braun he called the cops and Braun walks off. Angle gets a phone call and ignores it. Braun tips over the truck and screams in Angle’s face. Braun walks off and tells security to get away from him. Braun is heading back towards the ring. Braun looks over to the announcers table and Michael Cole is grabbed. Braun is picking Cole up by his belt, which is hilarious. Braun is carrying Cole and wants to toss him off the entrance way. Angle tells Braun that Stephanie McMahon has rehired Braun and he’s back in the championship match. Braun screams and walks off. Well, Braun grabs Michael Cole and tosses him onto the security guards. You can hear them tell Cole that they have him.

Tom Phillips has come out and will be replacing Michael Cole on commentary for the remainder of the show.

Third Contest: Nia Jax vs. Asuka: Asuka works over Jax with kicks but gets tossed to the mat. Asuka avoids an elbow strike and comes off the ropes looking for an abdominal stretch submission but Jax gets out of it. Jax stops Asuka with a backbreaker. Jax drops Asuka with a clothesline. Asuka gets an arm bar on Jax but Nia is able to get out of the hold. Jax lifts Asuka up with one arm and tosses her into the corner as RAW goes to commercial.

Nia has kept control of Asuka with a bear hug. Asuka tried for a sunset flip but Jax misses a splash. Asuka comes off the ropes to deliver a dropkick. Asuka counters a Samoan Drop with a rollup for a near fall. Asuka works over Jax with several kicks to the chest. Jax counters a kick and powerbombs Asuka managing to get a near fall. Asuka counters a slam and has a knee bar on Jax! Jax struggles for a moment and reaches the bottom rope. Jax sends Asuka to the floor and quickly follows. Jax rams Asuka back first into the apron. Asuka kicks Jax on the ring steps and Jax falls off the steps. Jax is able to get back into the ring before a count of ten. Jax can’t put pressure on her left leg and the match is stopped. Jax pretending to fall down due to her injury was kind of hilarious. (**1/2. I enjoyed the action here and the finish allows them to have these women matchup again and have a meaningful match. I enjoyed this far more than I was expecting.) After the match, WWE RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss comes out and checks on Jax as she is helped to the backstage area by officials.

Backstage, Kurt Angle is looking at his destroyed office when WWE RAW Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan is standing next to him. Jordan appreciates Angle standing behind him and supporting him. Jordan assures Angle that he was behind his father during the whole time and he was going to take care of Braun Strowman if he got close to Angle. Jordan wants to help out Seth Rollins this week. Jordan says that Seth Rollins to too proud to admit that his loss has bothered him. Jordan thinks that Seth Rollins should wrestle in a singles match against Finn Balor. Angle agrees to the singles match.

A video looking at the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is aired.

Backstage, Alexa Bliss is apologizing Nia Jax for getting her involved in the feud with Asuka. She thought that Nia would beat Asuka but she was wrong. Enzo Amore comes over and checks on Nia. Nia tells Bliss that Enzo is here and Bliss leaves. Enzo stays by Nia’s side to end the segment.

Fourth Contest: The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. John Joe & Jack Doe: Well, the Revival is given a squash match this week on RAW. This might be the healthiest the duo has been since they have gotten to RAW. They win the match following Shattered Machine. I like the Revival.

The Revival is interviewed following their victory. Scott Dawson says that they we jet witnessed tag team greatness. Dawson thinks that people care about playing video games and getting social media likes. All they care about is learning the craft and mastering holds. When it comes to legends next week, they are ask who they are most excited about meeting. Wilder says that beer baths and crotch chops aren’t old school. They aren’t sport entertainers but rather professional wrestlers! Dawson says they aren’t a product of WWE and they won’t change who they are.

Backstage, Elias is walking to the ring and will be on RAW after the commercials.

Elias is in the ring and asks who wants to walk with him, which is met with cheers. Elias hopes that Michael Cole is okay. He is here to teach everyone a lesson. Elias talks about the Royal Rumble and various wrestlers involved in the match. Elias sings a song and rips on the Spurs, which gets him immediate heel heat. I mean, they were just cheering him and switched quickly to booing Elias. That was great. Elias introduces the Miz, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.

The Miz is in the ring with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas saying the “Welcome Back” chants were awesome. Miz thinks the fans recognized that RAW was missing something and that was him, which is the spark. He got granted a WWE Intercontinental Championship match for the Royal Rumble and that felt awesome, too. Miz mentions that he’s a star and there will be his own show on USA. Miz proclaims that the WWE Intercontinental Championship is his. He takes credit for making the gold relevant. He is going to reclaim the gold next week. That will feel awesome.

Fifth Contest: WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns vs. Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas in a handicap match: Reigns starts the match punching both Axel and Dallas and stalks Miz on the floor. Dallas tries to save Miz and is met with a punch. Axel comes off the apron to drop Reigns on the floor. They send Reigns shoulder first into the ring steps. Axel rolls Reigns into the ring and gets a two count. Reigns is worked over in there corner by Dallas and Axel. Dallas keeps Reigns on the mat with a sleeper hold. Dallas knee lifts Reigns several times to stagger the champ. Reigns counters a suplex and tries to suplex Dallas to the floor. Axel saves his partner and Dallas plants Reigns with a DDT for a two count. Dallas tries to tag in Axel but Reigns prevents the tag. Reigns punches Dallas several times. Axel tags in and clubs Reigns from behind. Reigns plants Axel with a Samoan Drop. Axel tries to tag out to Dallas but Reigns rams Axel back first into the corner. Axel boots Reigns in the corner and tries to tag in Dallas but Reigns punches Dallas off the apron. Reigns looks furious and clotheslines Axel. Reigns delivers several short arm clotheslines in the corner and kicks Dallas. Reigns sets it up so Dallas DDTs Axel after a kick from Reigns. Reigns gets distracted by the Miz but clotheslines Dallas to the floor. Reigns nails Axel with a Superman punch. Reigns decides to roll to the floor and nails Dallas with a Superman punch. Miz tries to runaway but Reigns rolls him into the ring. Miz gets out of the ring and Axel nearly wins with a rollup. Reigns spears Axel and that’s good for three. (**. There was no surprise or any real suspense with how this was going to go. It was a fine match and a fine overall segment to promote the match between Miz and Reigns next week.)

Sixth Contest: Sasha Banks vs. Sonya Deville: Mickie James, Bayley, Mandy Rose and Paige are all around ringside. Sonya takes Banks down with a go-behind toss. Banks quickly goes for the Bank Statement but Sonya avoids it. Deville works over Banks in the corner with shoulder rams. Sonya delivers a few knees out of the corner to drop Banks to the canvas. Sonya goes for a cover but Banks kicks out at two. Banks gets out of a body scissors and drives Deville into the corner followed by a snap mare. Banks forearms Sonya a few times. Banks continues with a head scissors takedown and dropkick. Banks delivers a couple of knee strikes in the corner. Banks gets met with a kick in midair as she came off the middle rope and Sonya gets the three. (*. Well, that was a quick match. I like Sonya and her style. That was interesting to have Sasha job rather quickly this week.)

Backstage, Jason Jordan asks Seth Rollins if he is ready for tonight. Jordan says he was just trying to help Rollins redeem himself for last week. Rollins tells Jordan that they are teammates and not his spokesperson. He doesn’t have a problem with what Jordan did, but rather the way he did it.

Seventh Contest: Matt Hardy vs. Heath Slater: The match started during a commercial break. Hardy hammers away on Slater and puts a headlock on Heath. Hardy splashes Slater and delivers more right hands to the back of his head. Slater tries to escape but Hardy pulls him back in. Hardy frightens Slater over the middle rope and Slater crashes to the floor. Rhyno is motivating Slater to show his mean streak on the floor. Slater stomps away on Hardy and works over Hardy with elbow strikes. Hardy bites the hand of Slater to break free. Hardy sends Slater into a corner with a German suplex. Hardy clotheslines Slater in the corner followed by the Side Effect but Slater kicks out at two. Hardy rams Slater’s head into the turnbuckles and connects with a neck breaker. Hardy drops Slater with a Twist of Fate and wins the match. (*. I think it is safe to say that the ‘Woken’ character for Hardy has lost a lot of steam. He needs to win the feud with Bray Wyatt or he’ll be lost in the shuffle.)

Goldberg is the first member of the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame class. It was first reported by ESPN earlier in the day and they show a video promoting Goldberg.

Finn Balor cut a pre-tape promo talking about his first match with Seth Rollins was both the best and worst moment of his career. Balor is going to prove he’s still the better man.

Main Event: WWE RAW Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor: Rollins controls Balor with a side headlock early on. The Club and Jason Jordan are both at ringside. Rollins and Balor trade arm drags with Balor controlling the left arm of Rollins. Rollins drops Balor with a running forearm and a kick to the chest. Rollins works over Balor with strikes in the corner. Rollins knee lifts Balor and goes for a sunset flip but Balor delivers a dropkick. Balor knocks Rollins over the top to the floor. Balor runs the apron and kicks Rollins. RAW goes to commercial.

Rollins fights out of the corner with right hands and chops as Balor worked over Rollins knee under the middle rope. Rollins comes off the middle rope to hit Balor with a blockbuster! Rollins struggles to his feet and knee lifts Balor from behind to knock him to the floor. Rollins takes Balor out with a suicide dive sending Balor into the guard railing. Back in the ring, Rollins connects with a neckbreaker for a two count. Rollins knee lifts Balor and comes off the ropes with an elbow strike. Rollins works over Balor with strikes but Balor nails Rollins with a forearm shot. Rollins attempts a suplex but Balor avoids it. Balor boots Rollins in the corner followed by a running forearm. Balor double stomps Rollins. Balor runs into a boot in the corner but kicks Rollins off the middle rope. Balor nearly wins with a reverse DDT/elbow combo. Rollins comes off the ropes hitting Sling Blade for a two count. Rollins delivers a forearm strike in the corner a few times. Balor comes out of the corner with a Sling Blade but runs into a super kick and Rollins nearly wins the match. Balor chops Rollins several times followed by strikes. Rollins goes for a clothesline but settles for a kick to the head. Rollins heads to the top rope but misses the Phoenix Splash. Balor hits a running dropkick sending Rollins into the corner. Balor heads to the top rope but Rollins gets up and meets Balor on the top hitting a superplex. Rollins rolls through to hit the Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Rollins heads to the top rope but Balor gets his knees up and nearly pins Rollins with a rollup.

Sheamus and Cesaro make their way down to the ringside area and go after Jason Jordan. Jordan is frapped between the Bar and the Club. Jordan escapes and the two teams brawl. Balor takes everyone out with a somersault dive over the top rope to the floor. Balor kicks Rollins from the apron and misses a double stomp. Balor knocks Cesaro off the apron. Jordan trips Balor and Rollins hits Blackout (Curb Stomp) for the win! They show footage of the referee apparently counting a three count on Balor’s rollup, so that could be an angle. (***1/4. I enjoyed the match and thought it was nicely done to close the show, which was otherwise lackluster for the most part. Balor and Rollins work very well together and they produced a good main event to close the program. I’m surprised they did it with no promotion and waited until an hour into the show to even announce it. Jordan deserves praise for his heel work, as well.)

FinnB Balor appears to out of it as he stands tall with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Balor may have suffered a concussion from the Curb Stomp. Balor Club remain in the ring to close the show.

Final Thoughts:
The first hour with Braun was actually enjoyable, but they burned through a “you’re fired” angle in an hour. They could have at least played that into next weeks episode, too. Braun destroying legends would have been cool, too. I thought the show was a better effort compared to last week as the in-ring action was solid for the most part. Still, three hours of RAW is a tough thing to get through, I’ll be honest. I’ll give the show a mild thumbs up this week.

Thanks for reading.

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