This week on RAW, Roman Reigns battles Bray Wyatt in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match. Elias, John Cena and Braun Strowman battle in a triple threat match where the winner will be the final entrant for the Chamber match. Plus, Asuka takes on Bayley in singles action.
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From: Des Moines, IA
Backstage, Bray Wyatt cuts a promo about the Elimination Chamber and how he won the WWE Championship last year in the same match. Now, his nemesis Roman Reigns stands in his way. Nobody recognizes Reigns, but he does. Reigns lost the Rumble and the IC Championship. Still, Reigns portrays confidence, but Bray sees Reigns as being the opposite.
Backstage, Roman Reigns cuts a promo about what Wyatt just said. Reigns says that a failure is someone who stays down when they get knocked down. He has had his ups and downs and that is the sign of a great journey. Reigns says that Wyatt and the Chamber can’t stop him. Brock Lesnar can’t stop him from becoming the next WWE Universal Champion.
Opening Contest: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match: Wyatt backs Reigns into the corner and then backs away to taunt Roman. Reigns comes off the ropes to drop Wyatt with a shoulder block. Reigns avoids Wyatt in the corner but Wyatt does his upside down taunt. Wyatt boots Reigns but is met with a right hand on the middle rope. Reigns has Wyatt on his shoulders only for Wyatt to elbow out of it and avoids a spear sending Reigns shoulder first into the ring post. Wyatt goes for a cover managing to get a two count. We see Matt Hardy watching the match on a TV backstage. Reigns comes off the ropes with a few clotheslines to drop Wyatt. Wyatt decides to roll to the floor to regroup. Reigns follows to the floor and attempts the Drive By but Wyatt clotheslines Reigns and sends Roman into the ring steps as we go to commercial.
Wyatt has kept control of the match during the commercial. Wyatt delivered a DDT on the apron during the commercial break. Reigns plants Wyatt with a Samoan Drop. Reigns delivers several short arm clotheslines in the corner but Wyatt cuts him off with an elbow strike. Wyatt puts Reigns on the top turnbuckle to deliver an uppercut. Wyatt attempts a superplex but Reigns blocks it and knocks Wyatt to the mat. Wyatt chops Reigns and attempts the move again. Reigns stops Wyatt with several headbutts. Reigns hits a sit out powerbomb but Wyatt kicks out at two. Reigns goes for the Superman Punch but Wyatt counters with a slam and a senton for a two count. Wyatt attempts Sister Abigail but Reigns counters with a rollup for a near fall. Reigns decks Wyatt with the Superman Punch only getting a two count! Reigns looks at the WrestleMania sign and gets a second wind. Reigns runs into a boot and Wyatt hits Sister Abigail for a two count. Wyatt delivers several strikes to the back of Roman’s head. Wyatt tries for Sister Abigail a second time, but Reigns blocks the move. Reigns nails Bray with the spear for the win. (**1/2. There was literally zero doubt as to who was going to win this, and thus going nearly fifteen minutes felt like it took forever. It was a fine match and they did the usual spots. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to these two wrestling and this was no exception.) After the match, Matt Hardy gets in the ring and takes Wyatt out with a Twist of Fate.
Backstage, Jason Jordan is getting ready when Seth Rollins enters the scene. Rollins asks Jordan how he’s doing with all the injuries lately. Rollins can’t have Jordan sitting on the steps like he did at the Royal Rumble. Jordan promises Rollins that he’s good to go tonight and has been cleared by doctors. Rollins wants to take back the tag team championships.
The Revival make their way to the ring and have microphones to cut a promo. Scott Dawson reminds the fans who they are. They are tag team specialists and they are each others shadows. Dawson wants to have a tag match with the Balor Club. They suggest Finn pick a partner for a tag match and Balor does that.
Second Contest: The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. Finn Balor & Karl Anderson: Wilder and Anderson start the match with Dawson quickly tagging in. Dawson punches Anderson in the corner followed by chops. Dawson shoulder blocks Anderson but is met with an arm drag. Anderson hip tosses Wilder and Balor gets involved to hit backdrops on the Revival as RAW goes to commercial.
Dawson has control of Balor’s left arm. Balor fights out of the corner and sends Dawson to the floor. Wilder gets tagged in and prevents Balor from tagging out and drives Balor into the corner back first. Dawson takes Balor down to the mat focusing on the left arm but isn’t able to get a submission. Balor leg sweeps Dawson to hit a double stomp. Anderson gets tagged in and boots Wilder before knocking Dawson off the apron. Anderson nails Wilder with a knee in the corner and comes off the middle rope to deliver a neckbreaker. Anderson misses a dropkick as Dawson held Wilder. Anderson hits a spine buster on Dawson for a two count. Wilder is sent to the floor and Balor tags in. Anderson takes Wilder out with a somersault dive. Balor hits Sling Blade and a dropkick on Dawson. Balor finishes Dawson off with a top rope double stomp. (*1/2. A rather formula match. I should note that Anderson got a decent crowd reaction for his house of fire segment of the match, which caught me by surprise. This just feels like a complete waste of Balor to be working tag matches.)
Backstage, Sasha Banks is watching herself tap out from last week against Asuka. Bayley enters the scene and tells Sasha she’s being way too hard on herself. Banks says she came close to beating Asuka. She needs to remind people she is the Boss. Sasha knows how to beat Asuka. Bayley wants some pointers since she is wrestling Asuka tonight, but Banks declines to tell her. Bayley brings up the Chamber and Rumble matches. Banks tells Bayley she had to do what she had to do at the Rumble. They have a little back and forth about beating Asuka. Bayley tells Banks she knows she can beat Banks and if Banks is good enough to beat Asuka, then she is as well.
Third Contest: Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak & Tony Nese: Ali and Nese start the match with Nese working over Ali and tossing him into the corner. Nese continues to deliver a flurry of strikes and taunts the crowd by counting his abs. Ali avoids Tony in the corner and hits a head scissors coming off the ropes. Alexander tags in and dropkicks Nese on the knee allowing Ali to deliver a quick dropkick. Nese drops Alexander throat first over the top rope and delivers a forearm shot for a one count. Gulak enters and axe handles Alexander over the back for a two count. Nese puts Alexander on the top rope allowing Gulak to deliver a clothesline for a near fall. Nese keeps Cedric on the mat with a body scissors. Nese sends Alexander into the corner but runs into a big boot. Ali and Gulak are tagged in with Ali nailing Gulak with a dropkick. Ali elbows Gulak followed by a tornado DDT for a near fall. Alexander dumps Nese to the floor and takes Nese out with a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Ali hits a cross body but Gulak rolls through for a two count. Gulak clotheslines Ali but Alexander tags in to hit a springboard clothesline and finishes Gulak off with the Lumbar Check. (*1/2. I really hope Cedric Alexander wins the Cruiserweight Championship at Mania. The action before the finish wasn’t all that exciting and they didn’t really allow Ali to do anything of note it seemed. This one lacked any kind of excitement for me.)
RAW General Manager Kurt Angle makes his way down to the ring to announce the female competitors for the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber match. Angle talks about Asuka winning the Rumble and the women are making history yet again with the Elimination Chamber match. Angle announces that WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Sonya Deville, and Sasha Banks will be competing in the match. Angle also announces that Nia Jax will compete against Asuka at Elimination Chamber. If Jax wins the match, she will be added to the women’s championship match at WrestleMania making it a triple threat match.
RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss makes her way out to join the segment. She doesn’t look very happy with the announcement. Bliss tells Angle that this needs to stop right now and says this is completely wrong and unjust. Bliss believes this is against company policy. Bliss says that the men and women are treated equally. She wants to know why the women’s title is on the line in the Chamber while the mens title isn’t. Bliss thinks she should have the same privilege as Brock Lesnar. Bliss wonders if it’s because she’s “just a woman”. Angle tells Bliss that Lesnar successfully defended the title at Rumble while Bliss hasn’t defended since October. Alexa says that it’s not her fault. Bliss thinks Angle is being sexist. Angle says he feels that Bliss is trying to weasel her way out of the match. Angle is going to ask the fans if they want to see Bliss defend her title at Elimination Chamber. It’s an overwhelming yes and thus the match will happen. Bliss demands respect and walks off.
Backstage, John Cena did a cellphone promo and tells us his plan to win the Chamber. He’s going to win his match tonight and then enter the Chamber last. Cena thinks he can beat Elias and Braun tonight in a match that has no rules.
Fourth Contest: Bayley vs. Asuka: They start off slow with Asuka delivering a kick to Bayley’s left leg before taking her down to the mat. Bayley counters with a hammerlock but that doesn’t last long. Asuka forearms Bayley several times after Bayley delivered a shot. Bayley keeps control of Asuka with a headlock. Asuka hip tosses Bayley followed by a kick to the back. Bayley forearms Asuka off the middle rope to the floor. Bayley hits a baseball slide turned into a head scissors. Asuka knocks Bayley off the apron with a butt splash. Bayley stops Asuka sending her into the guard railing as we go to commercial.
Bayley takes Asuka over with a back suplex but Asuka kicks out at two. Asuka drops Bayley with a knee strike to the face and a few kicks. Asuka connects with a running butt attack and a sliding knee for a two count. Asuka misses a missile dropkick and Bayley comes off the ropes to kick Asuka for a near fall. Bayley drops Asuka over the middle rope to break free from a choke. Bayley leaps off the apron but Asuka delivers a knee to Bayley’s face. Bayley blocks a kick and nearly pins Asuka with a rollup. Asuka avoids a belly to belly suplex and attempts to get the chicken wing. Bayley gets a rollup for a near fall. Asuka gets the arm bar locked in and Bayley is forced to tap out. (**. Not as good as Sasha/Asuka match. They kept a good pace and it didn’t drag along like most women’s matches do for me.) After the match, they shake hands.
Earlier in the day, WWE Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro cut a promo about their title match from the empty seats in the arena. They talk about how Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins had zero teamwork. They will beat Jordan and Rollins again.
WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz comes out to cut a promo and says that 2018 is his year. He notes that in his first match back he defeated Roman Reigns to regain the title. He takes credit for the ratings RAW got that week. He then defeated Reigns the following week, too. Miz says that the Eagles watched a video of his match and it motivated them to win the Super Bowl. Miz thinks the best is yet to come and promises to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. Miz does a Paul Heyman impersonation when saying he’ll challenge WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
Fifth Contest: WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. Apollo Crews in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match: Crews drops Miz with a delayed vertical suplex as the match is joined in progress. They trade a few rollups with each man getting near falls. Crews nearly wins with a spinning elbow strike. Miz drops Crews throat first over the top rope and slowly goes to the top rope. Crews dropkicks Miz in midair managing a two count. Miz knee lifts Crews in the midsection to keep control of the match. Crews press slams Miz and attempts a standing moonsault but Miz gets his knees up to block it. Miz keeps Crews on the mat with a body scissors. Crews comes off the ropes to deliver a kick to Miz’s face. Crews clotheslines Miz and plays to the crowd. Crews connects with a kick to the head for a near fall. Miz avoids Crews in the corner and attempts a clothesline but Crews catches the champ with a suplex. Crews hits a standing moonsault and standing shooting star press for a near fall. Crews almost wins with a counter to the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz drops Crews over the top rope groin first and finishes Crews off with the Skull Crushing Finale. (**. Crews was entertaining with his short bursts of offense. This was never in doubt and that hurts these qualifying matches. One of these years they need to have someone not expected win their match to add surprise to this kind of booking.)
Backstage, Seth Rollins walks up and Jason Jordan tells Rollins that he can’t compete tonight. Jordan was warming up and hurt his neck. Jordan can’t get cleared from the medical team. Jordan apologizes to Rollins and Angle tells Rollins he might need to forfeit the match. Roman Reigns walks up and he’ll be Seth’s partner tonight instead.
Sixth Contest: WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns: Rollins and Sheamus kick off the title match with neither man able to get a clear cut advantage at the start. Sheamus shoulder blocks Rollins and plays to the crowd. Rollins hits a crossbody followed by right hands. Cesaro tags in to try his luck against Rollins. Cesaro works over Rollins with an uppercut and Sheamus enters to double team Rollins in the corner. The champs deliver a double kick to the midsection of Rollins. Rollins tags in Reigns and Cesaro is met with a shoulder block. Reigns sends Cesaro into the corner chest first and Rollins enters to kick Cesaro again for a two count. Reigns returns to the match and Rollins delivers a forearm before Reigns connects with a boot. Sheamus tries to get involved and Reigns clotheslines him over the top to the floor. Rollins attempts a suicide dive but Sheamus catches him with a backbreaker. Cesaro uppercuts Reigns and Sheamus sends Reigns into the guard railing as we go to commercial.
Cesaro has kept control of Reigns with strikes and tags in Sheamus to back Reigns into a corner with strikes. Sheamus keeps a sleeper hold on Reigns and tags in Cesaro. Reigns comes off the ropes and is met with a double clothesline. Sheamus kicks Reigns from the apron and Cesaro delivers another uppercut for a two count. Reigns connects with a several clotheslines on Cesaro but is nearly rolled up by Cesaro. Reigns clotheslines Cesaro to the floor but Sheamus drops him over the top rope. Cesaro tags back in and they hit a double team slam/elbow drop combo for a two count. Reigns tosses Cesaro down with a Samoan Drop and Rollins gets on the apron. Sheamus gets tagged in and knocks Rollins off the apron. Reigns decks Sheamus with a Superman Punch! Jason Jordan makes his way down to ringside to check on Rollins. Jordan gets Rollins on the apron and motivates his partner. Rollins hits a springboard clothesline on Cesaro. Rollins hits a blockbuster off the middle rope and takes Sheamus out with a suicide dive. Rollins leg drops Cesaro over the middle rope. Rollins takes Cesaro out with a suicide dive sending Cesaro into the crowd. Rollins gets back in the ring and plants Cesaro with Sling Blade for a near fall. Cesaro avoids the Curb Stomp and uppercuts Rollins on the top turnbuckle. Rollins hits a suplex and a Falcon Arrow but Cesaro kicks out at two. Jordan trips Cesaro and Rollins nearly pins Cesaro. Rollins superkicks Cesaro but Sheamus breaks up the cover attempt. Roman Reigns wants Jordan to leave ringside and says he doesn’t need to be out here. Rollins knee strikes Cesaro and kicks Sheamus. Reigns gets tagged in and attempts a power bomb but Cesaro pulls Sheamus to the floor. The Bar decide to leave but Jason Jordan prevents them from leaving. Jordan punches Cesaro and Sheamus after blocking a right hand and the referee calls for the bell. Rollins and Reigns are pissed and Jordan can’t believe he did that. (**1/4. Rollins was on fire tonight and was really enjoyable in his role. They are continuing to advance the angle with Jordan despite his apparent serious neck injury. It’s a cheap finish, but I’m fine with it since it continues the issue and hopefully leads to Jordan/Rollins at WrestleMania if Jordan can get healthy enough for the match.)
Backstage, Braun Strowman did a cellphone promo. He’s going to be the last man standing like he always is. He’ll be the next WWE Universal Champion. Nothing is going to stop him.
Backstage, Seth Rollins is yelling at Jason Jordan and calls him a selfish son of a bitch. Rollins is sorry he didn’t hurt Jordan himself. Kurt Angle came over to control the situation. Angle wants Jordan to go home and stay home until he’s medically cleared.
Seventh Contest: Nia Jax vs. Vanessa Floyd: This is just a squash match for Nia. Nia wins the match following a leg drop after a press slam.
Nia Jax is interviewed by Renee Young who talks about Nia’s match with Asuka at Elimination Chamer. Nia says she’s the only woman who doesn’t fear Asuka and is the only woman that Asuka can’t beat. She’s going to mess Asuka’s face up so bad that Asuka is going to be wearing that mask forever. Nia promises to make Asuka the emperor of yesterday.
Eighth Contest: Mickie James vs. Sonya Deville: Deville takes James down to the mat early on to keep control of the match. James reaches the ropes to break Deville’s grasp. James slaps Deville and delivers several strikes. James kicks Deville a few times followed by a forearm strike. James knee lifts Deville a few times followed by a kick to the chest for a two count. James elbows Deville but is sent to the canvas after trying a head scissors. James fights back with right hands but Deville delivers a kick to Mickie’s face for a two count. Deville comes off the ropes with a running knee strike for a two count. James surprises Deville with a rollup and wins the match. After the match, James is attacked by Deville and Rose. RAW’s Women Champion Alexa Bliss runs down and pulls Mickie to the floor to save her. James looks confused as to why Bliss helped her. (*. I didn’t care for this match. I’m intrigued to see what the angle could be between Bliss and James as that was random for Bliss to save anyone.)
Backstage, Elias is playing his guitar and his match is coming up next.
Next week, there will be a fatal four way between Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Matt Hardy and Apollo Crews with the winner getting the final spot in the Elimination Chamber. It’s a second chance match.
Elias is in the ring playing his guitar and has one question for the fans. Who wants walk with Elias, and the fans react positively. Elias says he normally flies over small towns like Des Moines looking for anything better. Elias is going to solidify himself as the final entrant in the Elimination Chamber match. He sings a song in an attempt to forget that he’s in Des Moines. John Cena cuts off Elias and makes his entrance for the main event.
Main Event: John Cena vs. Braun Strowman vs. Elias, winner enters the Chamber last: Cena goes after Braun with right hands but runs into a big boot while Elias is on the floor. We come back from a commercial with Elias bailing to floor and running away from Braun. Cena catches Braun in the ring but can’t hit the AA. Braun covers Cena for a one count. Braun grabs Elias by his throat and tosses Elias across the ring. Braun clotheslines Elias over the top to the floor and Cena is on the floor, too. Braun stops Elias with a headbutt and does the same to Cena. Elias rolls both men back into the ring. Elias and Cena double team Beaun and send Braun to the floor with a clothesline. Cena and Elias send Braun face first into the ring post a few times. Braun is sent shoulder first into the ring steps. Cena drives the steps into the shoulder of Braun and Elias breaks his guitar over the back of Braun. Cena hits the AA on Braun onto the ring steps! Cena plays to the crowd but Elias hits Cena from behind. Elias works over Cena in the ring with stomps and right hands. Elias drives Cena down with a backbreaker for a two count. Elias keeps Cena on the mat with a sleeper hold. Cena drops Elias with a few shoulder blocks and a back suplex. Cena tries for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Braun rolls back into the ring and power slams Cena. Elias sends Braun to the floor and pins Cena to win the match. After the match, Braun plants Elias with a power slam. He power slams Cena and Elias again to stand tall. Braun hits another power slam on Cena. Braun brings Elias back into the ring and delivers another slam.(*1/2. There wasn’t much going on here. I really don’t understand why they continually put Braun in situations where he doesn’t win matches. At some point it’s going to hurt his popularity with the fans. He probably won’t win the Chamber match and there’s only so many times a guy can lose before fans lose interest. He can slam everyone he wants, but he needs to win big matches. I don’t mean just big matches against Kane, but matches against top-level talents.)
There wasn’t much going on here this week for RAW. I’m confused as to why they’d do the final entrant of the Elimination Chamber match when not everyone had qualified for the match. That doesn’t seem entirely fair to me. This week for RAW was just there and nothing all that memorable happened.
Thanks for reading.