This week on RAW, the final participant for the men’s Elimination Chamber match is determined in a fatal five way match. John Cena squares off against WWF Intercontinental Champion The Miz where the loser enters the Chamber first. Plus, Roman Reigns takes on Sheamus. Best friends Bayley and Sasha Banks do battle in singles action.
World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: San Jose, CA
John Cena makes his way down to the ring to start the program with an interview. Cena talks about WrestleMania and how important it is. Elimination Chamber is also important because if he doesn’t win in two weeks, he may not have a match at WrestleMania. Cena is confident that he’ll beat the beast Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz comes out and refutes what Cena was just talking about. 2018 is his year and he’s going to main event WrestleMania where he will beat Lesnar. He reminds Cena that he is the founding father of Suplex City. Cena tells Miz that he would have zero chance against Lesnar and it would likely be the last match Miz ever had. Miz proceeds to remind Cena that he beat him at WrestleMania. Cena admits that Miz can backup his talk sometimes and suggests a match tonight between the two. Cena challenges Miz to a match where the loser enters the Elimination Chamber first. Miz tells Cena he’s not stupid and that’s when Axel and Dallas attack Cena. Miz accepts the match.
RAW General Manager Kurt Angle comes out and doesn’t like how RAW has started. However, the singles match works for him and the bans both Axel and Dallas from ringside.
Opening Contest: WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. John Cena: Miz covers Cena as soon as the bell sounds but Cena kicks out at two. Miz pummels Cena with punches followed by another near fall. We go to commercial.
Miz knocks Cena off the apron from behind. Miz sends Cena shoulder first into the guard railing. Miz brings Cena back into the ring and heads to the top rope. Miz connects with a double axe handle for a near fall. Miz splashes down onto the back of Cena to keep control of the match. Cena rolls over onto his back and gets his knees up. Cena dropkicks Miz for a two count. Cena takes Miz over with a fisherman suplex for another near fall. Miz knee lifts Cena several times followed by a few kicks to Cena’s forehead. Miz is getting frustrated with his inability to pin Cena. Miz pummels Cena in the corner with strikes but runs into an elbow. Cena connects with a tornado DDT for a near fall. Miz catches Cena coming off the ropes with a sleeper hold and drops Cena down to a knee. We go to another commercial
They counter their finishers with Miz managing to get the figure four locked in. Cena counters getting the STF locked in. Miz is able to crawl over to the ropes and breaks the hold. Miz drops Cena throat first over the top rope. Miz heads to the top rope and hits a crossbody but Cena rolls through and goes for the AA but Miz counters with a DDT for a two count. Miz clotheslines Cena in the corner and is clearly frustrated. Miz runs towards Cena and is met with the AA, but Miz pops his shoulder up at two. Miz crotches Cena on the top and again puts the figure four on Cena. Cena is able to counters the hold by putting the STF on. Miz reaches for the ropes and breaks the hold. Miz avoids Cena in the corner to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for a near fall.
Miz puts Cena on the top turnbuckle and this leads to a middle rope AA. Cena covers and wins the match. Miz had attempted a top rope Skull Crushing Finale. (**3/4. A solid enough match between these, though they did the same formula match as we normally see. The constant kicking out of finishers is just a lazy way of telling a story. The crowd was invested and the finish was predictable by how they set it up.)
Backstage, Matt Hardy shares some thoughts on his second chance for the Elimination Chamber. He’s going to turn the Elimination Chamber into the Deletion Chamber.
Backstage, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson cut a promo on the Revival. They still think the Revival are nerds. This whole nerd gimmick for these guys is ridiculous and a waste for them.
Second Contest: The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) vs. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson: Revival attack Gallows and Anderson from behind on the aisle way. They get in the ring and wait for their opponents to get up. Revival bails from the ring, which confuses me. Why attack a team and then allow them to get up only to bail to the floor? Gallows hammers away on Dawson in the corner with right hands before decking Wilder off the apron. Gallows tosses Dawson across the ring with a hip toss and several jabs. Gallows connects with a big boot on Dawson and backdrop on Wilder. Anderson attacks Wilder on the floor, but this distracts the referee. Gallows tosses Wilder to the floor and is met with a chop block from Dawson. We go to commercial.
Dawson has kept control on the left knee with several strikes and tags in Wilder to keep control of the match. Gallows nails Dawson with a superkick as Dawson came off the top. Anderson cleans house with clotheslines and a big boot on Wilder. Anderson connects with a knee strike on Wilder and hits a neckbreaker off the middle rope. Gallows pulls Dawson to the floor but get sent into the ring steps face first. Anderson has Dawson and is nearly pinned with a rollup. Anderson plants Wilder with a spinebuster for a near fall. Dawson sneaks a tag but gets knocked off by Anderson. Shatter Machine finishes off Anderson. (**. I’m glad the Revival are getting momentum since they are the better team at this stage. The match was solid enough and didn’t feel like it dragged along or anything.)
RAW General Manager Kurt Angle comes out and mentions that Ronda Rousey will sign her contract at the Elimination Chamber pay per view. Angle also says that Jason Jordan had neck surgery and will miss WrestleMania. He knows the fans don’t like him, but Jason is his son and they should be ashamed for getting any joy out of this news. This leads to Seth Rollins coming out.
Rollins says he’s been hard on Jordan, but Jason is a good kid. He doesn’t want to find a new partner, but rather be the top guy on RAW. Rollins wants a shot at Brock Lesnar and wants the WWE Universal Championship. Rollins wants a chance to enter the Elimination Chamber tonight. Angle lets the fans decide and obviously they want him in. So, add Rollins to the main event.
Backstage, Bray Wyatt cuts a promo about the Elimination Chamber qualifier.
Third Contest: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley: Bayley tries for a backslide early on but Banks gets out quickly. Bayley tries for another rollup and shrugs at Banks. Banks delivers a boot to the midsection and sends Bayley into the corner but Bayley comes back with an arm drag and dropkick. Banks backs Bayley into a corner and delivers a few right hands. Bayley comes off the ropes with a shoulder block and gets a two count with rollup. Bayley avoids the Bank Statement by rolling through it. Banks gets control of the left arm of Bayley followed by a hip toss and a knee strike. Banks forearms Bayley and sends her to the floor. The fans are booing Banks as she is showing some heel tendencies. Banks holds the middle rope but dropkicks Bayley off the apron after backing away. Bayley delivers a few shoulder rams but Banks drops Bayley’s right arm over the top rope as we go to commercial.
Banks has kept control of Bayley with a straightjacket choke. Bayley is met with an armbreaker by Banks for a two count. Banks hits Bayley’s injured arm and asks if that hurts. Bayley counters a double knee strike but gets kicked into the corner. Bayley stops Banks with a clothesline out of the corner. Banks comes off the ropes but is met with a Thez Press. Bayley is met with a forearm from Banks and backs Banks into a corner delivering several stomps. Bayley takes Banks over with a back suplex. Bayley hits a cutter over the middle rope but Banks kicks out at two. Banks connects with a jawbreaker but Bayley comes off the ropes with a kick to the face. Bayley goes to the top rope but misses an elbow drop and lands on her injured arm. Banks locks in the Bank Statement right in the middle of the ring. Bayley struggles but Banks pushes the ropes back with her boot. Bayley still manages to reach the ropes. Bayley sends Banks face first into the middle turnbuckle. Banks kicks a charging Bayley and goes to the middle rope. Bayley hooks Banks on the middle rope but Banks shoves her off. Bayley hits a middle rope belly to belly suplex for the win! (***1/4. A good women’s match between two women that have been having some issues in recent weeks. Banks played the heel role very well and it’s a big win for Bayley who really hasn’t had much momentum in quite awhile. I enjoyed the action.) After the match, Banks gets up and stares down Bayley. Nia Jax comes into the ring from nowhere and runs over Bayley and Banks. Jax plants Bayley with a Samoan Drop. Banks gets the same Samoan Drop. Bayley tried to move Banks out of the way on the attack, I should note.
Nia Jax is interviewed regarding her involvement. Jax says that this whole thing has everything to do with her. Jax just destroyed two people who brought Asuka to her limit. She’s going to break Asuka’s streak at Elimination Chamber.
Backstage, Roman Reigns tells Seth Rollins that he will eliminate Rollins in the Chamber just like he did at the Royal Rumble. RAW Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro enter the scene and taunt them about Jordan and Dean Ambrose rehabbing together. They think Rollins is a bad tag team partner.
Backstage, Titus O’Neill helps Apollo Crews promote the main event tonight. He’s going to take one small step for Crews, but one giant step for Titus Worldwide.
Backstage, RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss talks to Mickie James. Mickie tells Alexa they aren’t friends. Alexa wants to just make things right for what she did several months ago. James is fine with that, but she tells Bliss that they won’t be partners come Chamber time. She’s coming for the title.
Fourth Contest: RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss & Mickie James vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville: James and Rose start the tag match with Rose getting a head scissors on the mat but James pops out quickly. James dropkicks Rose for a one count. Deville tags in and keeps James on the mat with a go-behind. James fights back with a few kicks and a forearm strike. Bliss tags in and knocks Deville down with a double team strike with James. Bliss connects with a couple of double knee strikes and chokes Deville briefly. James comes off the ropes with a kick to Deville’s face. Deville works over James with shoulder rams in the corner but runs into a boot. James connects with a head scissors out of the corner and punches Sonya several times. Rose gets decked off the apron and Deville knee strikes James for a near fall. Rose gets tagged in and puts an abdominal stretch on James. James drops Rose with a neckbreaker. Deville yanks Bliss off the apron and Rose hits a double underhook piledriver for the win. (*1/2. A fine match as it was kept rather short. Absolution looks to be getting a lot of momentum heading into the Chamber pay per view. I was expecting Bliss to turn on James.)
Elias is in the ring to deliver a song titled Elimination Chamber Blues. Elias runs down the crowd and gets good heat for doing so. He reminds us that he beat Cena and Braun last week. Braun didn’t forget because he comes out and has a giant string bass with him. Braun breaks the strings as he sings a song about Elias catching his hands. This eventually leads to Braun brawling with Elias and delivering a powerslam. Braun also hits Elias with the bass.
Backstage, Finn Balor cuts a promo about his chance in the second chance match.
Fifth Contest: Roman Reigns vs. RAW Tag Team Champion Sheamus: Reigns controls Sheamus with a hammerlock, but Sheamus reaches the ropes quickly. Sheamus works over Reigns with uppercuts in the corner followed by a headbutt. Reigns comes out of the corner with a clothesline to send Sheamus to the floor. Sheamus comes back in and is met with right hands and is clotheslined over the top to the outside. Sheamus pulls Reigns to the floor and slams Reigns onto the apron face first. Reigns sends Sheamus into the guard railing back first. Reigns tosses Sheamus into the railing and stalks towards Cesaro. Sheamus has Reigns on his shoulders to hit a rolling fireman’s carry as we go to commercial.
Sheamus has kept control of Reigns with a top wristlock. Sheamus delivers several knee lifts to Reigns ribs. Reigns clotheslines Sheamus to get momentum on his side. Sheamus boots Reigns and sends Reigns shoulder first into the post. Sheamus connects with a backbreaker for a two count. Sheamus locks in a Texas Cloverleaf but Reigns isn’t going to submit. Reigns kicks Sheamus away to hit a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Reigns goes for the Superman Punch but Sheamus counters with White Noise for a two count.
Sheamus taunts the crowd and attempts the Brogue Kick but is instead met with a Superman Punch. Reigns goes for the cover but Sheamus kicks out at two. Reigns runs into a knee lift but catches Sheamus with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Reigns gets distracted by Cesaro and is nearly pinned by Sheamus. Sheamus drops Reigns with a knee strike on the chin for another two count. Sheamus rolls Reigns to the floor where Reigns backdrops Cesaro into the crowd. Reigns nails Cesaro with a Superman Punch. Reigns sends Sheamus into the post face first. Sheamus blocks Drive By with a clothesline. Sheamus heads to the top but is met with a spear in midair and Reigns wins the match. (***. A solid enough match and it managed to keep my interest. These matches are all starting to feel like the same formula match. Nothing is really standing out as they are doing the same routine. Reigns needed a win to get momentum since he’s been losing against Miz in recent weeks.)
Ivory will be the next inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Main Event: Matt Hardy vs. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Apollo Crews vs. Seth Rollins in a Second Chance Elimination Chamber Qualifier Match: The match started during the commercial. Wyatt hits a DDT on Hardy while on the apron. Crews takes Wyatt out with a moonsault off the apron. Crews knocks both Balor and Rollins down but is kicked by Balor to the floor. Balor double stomps Rollins and hits a reverse DDT on Wyatt for a two count as Hardy breaks up the cover. Hardy runs into an elbow from Balor in the corner. Hardy attempts a powerbomb but Rollins superkicks Hardy. Rollins kicks Balor but Finn hits a Slingblade only to run into a boot. Wyatt decks Rollins with a forearm strike. Wyatt attempts Sister Abigail but Rollins counters with a rollup for a two count. Rollins kicks Wyatt for another near fall as Balor broke up the cover. Wyatt tosses Balor to the floor. Rollins heads to the top but Crews cuts Rollins off. Hardy comes over and along with Balor they beat on Crews. Wyatt comes over and tosses Balor to the floor after a splash on everyone. Wyatt decks Hardy with a clothesline. Wyatt delivers a shoulder breaker on Hardy and slams Crews followed by a senton splash for a two count. We go to commercial.
Wyatt splashes Balor in the corner and plays to the crowd. Hardy stands in the middle of the ring and claps for Wyatt before delivering several forearm strikes. Hardy clotheslines Wyatt and drops Wyatt with the Side Effect. Balor gets dropped with the Side Effect, too. Hardy comes off the middle rope with an elbow strike. Hardy attempts Twist of Fate but Rollins hits a top rope clothesline on Hardy. Rollins hammers away on Wyatt with strikes. Rollins boots Wyatt in the corner and same happens to Crews. Rollins connects with a double blockbuster on Crews and Wyatt.
Rollins takes Balor out with a suicide dive and does the same to Hardy. Rollins decides to take Wyatt out with a suicide dive, too. Rollins forearms Crews and hits a rolling snap suplex followed by a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Crews elbows Rollins but is sent to the floor. Rollins kicks Wyatt but Wyatt decks Rollins with a lariat. Balor hits Slingblade on Wyatt and dropkicks Bray. Balor heads to the top but Rollins gets up to the top rope and Balor fights Seth off. Rollins misses the Phoenix Splash but avoids Sister Abigail. Hardy hits Twist of Fate on Wyatt. Balor double stomps Hardy, but Rollins hits the Curb Stomp for a two count as Crews breaks up the cover. Crews forearms Rollins but Seth fights back with strikes of his own. Crews goes for a press slam but Rollins gets free. Crews still hits a Samoan Drop and a standing moonsault for a near fall. Rollins fights out of Crews hold but Crews delivers a kick and a standing shooting star press for another two count.
Crews heads to the top rope but Hardy stops Crews with right hands. Hardy attempts a Side Effect off the middle rope but Crews holds onto the ropes. Wyatt pulls Hardy off the apron and hits Sister Abigail on the floor. Wyatt gets back into the ring and grabs Crews. Balor and Rollins get Wyatt off the middle rope and they hit a Tower of Doom. Rollins and Balor cover Wyatt and get a three count. (***1/2. It was an enjoyable match with constant action. I really think if they were to give Crews a proper push he’d get over with the crowd. His offense is refreshing and he’s really good in there. I’ve grown to appreciate his ability the more I do these reviews. The finish was a little weak as I don’t recall a time when a guy was pinned following a Tower of Doom spot. Regardless, this was an enjoyable main event.)
Seth Rollins and Finn Balor argue over who won the match. Michael Cole wonders who will be the final participant in the Chamber match. It was reported on WWE.com that it would be both men. Thus, for the first time ever, the Chamber will have seven wrestlers in it.
In terms of in-ring, this was probably the best RAW of the year. Most of the matches were entertaining and had good action. Segment wise, there wasn’t much going on here. I’m concerned about Angle as he appeared to be lost and slurring his speech during his promo segments. The Braun segment with Elias was entertaining, but Braun being presented as a monster and then doing comedy may diminish him a little bit. Overall, I’ll give this weeks episode a thumbs up.
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.