This week on RAW, a gauntlet match involving all seven men involved in the Elimination Chamber match takes place.
World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: Phoenix, AZ
The program starts off with a moment of silence to pay respect to the Parkland Florida tragedy. That was a classy thing to do.
Roman Reigns makes his way out to start RAW and is received with mostly boos. We are starting off with the gauntlet match. We are reminded about how Rollins and Balor pinned Wyatt and how there will be a seven man Elimination Chamber match now. Reigns is interviewed regarding the gauntlet match and starting off first. Reigns isn’t concerned about tonight bur rather the Elimination Chamber match. He has never been in one but he has seen what the match can do to your body. Reigns proceeds to mentions all the wrestlers in the match. Reigns doesn’t think anyone other than him can beat WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Seth Rollins makes his way out to be the second man in the gauntlet.
Opening Contest: 7-man gauntlet match: I’m going to break each match up within the gauntlet. I’d imagine this would be easier to follow and read.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins: The fans are chanting loudly for Seth Rollins. Reigns backs Rollins into a corner but slowly backs away. It’s a slow start to the match with Reigns controlling Seth with a headlock for several moments. Reigns shoulder blocks Rollins but Rollins comes back with an armdrag and a rollup for a two count. Rollins nearly wins with a backslide before delivering a kick to the midsection. Reigns stops Seth running the ropes by stepping in front of him. We go to commercial.
Rollins gets out of a headlock with a jawbreaker but Reigns drops Rollins with an elbow strike. Reigns pummels Rollins with several strikes in the corner. Rollins boots Reigns but is met with a swinging slam for a near fall. Rollins elbows Reigns in the corner followed by a boot to the face. Rollins comes off the middle rope with a Blockbuster and a Slingblade. Rollins hits a springboard clothesline from the apron. Rollins clotheslines Reigns over the top to the floor and attempts a suicide dive but Roman delivers a right hand. Reigns nails Rollins with Drive By on the apron. Roman comes off the ropes to clothesline Rollins and continues to work over Seth with short arm clotheslines. Reigns comes off the ropes with a boot to drop Rollins. Reigns signals for the Superman Punch but Rollins avoids it. Reigns delivers a headbutt, however Rollins knee strikes Reigns and hits a Buckle Bomb! Reigns comes out of the corner to Superman Punch Rollins as we go to commercial.
Seth is on the top rope and misses a frog splash as Reigns rolled towards the corner. Reigns hammers away on Rollins with right hands but Rollins dumps Reigns to the floor and connects with a suicide dive. Rollins takes Reigns out with a second suicide dive. Rollins attempts a springboard but Reigns nails Rollins with a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns waits in the corner and is met with a boot to the face. Reigns nearly wins with a rollup, but Rollins counters with a rollup to get the three count. Reigns has been eliminated from the gauntlet match!
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena: Rollins quickly takes Cena out with a clothesline but only manages a two count and we go to commercial. Cena has control of Rollins with a headlock on the mat. Rollins comes off the ropes but Cena cuts him off with a clothesline and takes his shirt off. Cena sends Rollins into the corner back first and gets a two count. Cena keeps Rollins on the mat with another sleeper hold. Cena delivers a boot to the face and tosses Rollins to the floor through the middle rope. Rollins makes it back into the ring before the count of ten and Cena continues to work over Seth. Cena plants Rollins with a couple of belly to belly suplexs for a near fall. We go to commercial.
Cena attempts the AA but Rollins breaks free and plants Cena with a DDT for a two count. Rollins has been wrestling for 35-minutes. Cena drops Rollins with a modified TKO. Cena appears to be getting frustrated that Rollins isn’t staying down. Rollins gets dropped by one punch and kicks out at one. They begin to trade right hands as the intensity picks up. However, Cena stops Rollins with an elbow strike. Cena comes off the ropes to knocks Rollins off the apron with a hip strike. They tease another count-out, but Rollins reaches the ring just in time for the second time in the match. We go to another commercial.
Cena comes off the ropes with several shoulder blocks. Rollins attempts a springboard but Cena counters with the STF. Rollins kicks Cena away and hits the Slingblade for a two count. Rollins is favoring his left leg as they struggle to get to their feet. Rollins takes Cena over with a snap suplex but Cena counters a Falcon Arrow with an inside cradle. Cena plants Rollins with a slam. Rollins kicks Cena in the face followed by a superkick for a two count. Cena brings Rollins to the apron and Rollins misses a spear hitting the ring post. Cena misses a spear and hits the ring post shoulder first.
They both manage to get into the ring to break a count-out finish, marking the third time this has been done in the match. Cena plants Rollins with a side slam and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rollins counters the AA with a rollup for a two count. Rollins gets the Crossface locked in right in the middle of the ring. Cena gets to his feet and Rollins nails Cena with a kick to the head. Rollins goes to the top and hits a frog splash for a near fall. Rollins has been wrestling for 50-minutes. Cena plants Rollins with the AA but Rollins is able to power out at two. Cena heads to the top rope but Rollins runs the ropes and catches Cena with a superplex and rolls through to hit the Falcon Arrow for a near fall.
Cena takes Rollins down to the mat with an STF and looks to get a submission but Rollins reaches the ropes to break the hold. Rollins misses a wild kick and Cena goes for another STF. Cena rolls over and keeps the STF locked in. Rollins is able to reach the ropes to break the hold. Cena has Rollins on the middle rope looking for a super AA, but Rollins elbows out of the hold. Rollins rolls through a crossbody and hits an AA on Cena for a near fall! Rollins goes to the top rope and misses the Phoenix Splash. Cena drives Rollins down with an AA, but Rollins stops Cena with a knee strike and plants Cena with the Curb Stomp for the win.
Seth Rollins vs. Elias: Elias runs down into the ring with taped ribs and covers Rollins for a quick near fall. Elias beats on Rollins with stomps and a knee drop for a two count. Elias delivers a forearm shot for another near fall. We go to another commercial.
Elias has a half Boston Crab on Rollins, but Seth isn’t going to give in. Rollins has been wrestling for over an hour. John Cena is interviewed during the match and Cena puts over Rollins for her performance. Rollins has reached the ropes to break the hold. Cena says that he has a lot of things to focus on and he needs to win the Elimination Chamber. Elias continues to work over Rollins stomping on his legs. Elias and Rollins trade several chops and strikes with Rollins getting the better of the exchange. Rollins nails Elias with a superkick and almost wins the match by landing onto Elias. Rollins takes Elias out on the floor with a slingshot crossbody. Rollins comes off the rope and Elias delivers a knee strike. Elias hits Drift Away and pins Rollins. Seth Rollins has been eliminated. That was a great performance by Rollins, though the fans hated his elimination.
Elias vs. Finn Balor: Balor quickly goes after Elias with right hands but Elias battles back with strikes of his own. Balor dropkicks a seated Elias for a two count. Balor avoids Eliasi in the corner and delivers a kick on the apron. Balor goes to the top but Elias bails to the floor as we go to another commercial.
Elias keeps Balor on the mat with a knee drop to the left arm of Balor. Seth Rollins is interviewed during the match and he talks about pinning two of the best and that’s something to be proud of. However, it doesn’t mean anything if he doesn’t win on Sunday. Elias drives Balor down with a shoulder breaker for a two count. Elias comes off the middle rope to deliver an axe handle. Elias slams Balor’s arm over the apron as the fans are chanting that they want Braun. Elias sends Balor shoulder first into the top turnbuckle for a near fall. Balor comes off the ropes to kick Elias and forearms Elias. Balor drops down to the mat as he’s delivering a kick to Elias and both men are on the mat. Balor nails Elias with several forearm strikes and kicks Elias off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Finn follows to the floor and dropkicks Elias into the guard railing. Balor hits the Slingblade but runs into a clothesline and Elias nearly wins. Elias has Balor on his shoulders and plants Balor with a sit down powerbomb for a near fall. We go to commercial.
Balor sends Elias to the floor and delivers a kick from the apron to maintain control of the match. Elias sends Balor face first into the ring post but misses an elbow drop in the ring. Elias counters a rollup with an armbar. Elias keeps the hold on but isn’t able to get a submission. Balor delivers a double stomp and both men struggle to get to their feet. Balor comes back with Slingblade and a running dropkick to send Elias into the corner. Balor heads to the top rope managing to hit a double stomp for the win. Elias has been eliminated.
Finn Balor vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz: Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas run to ringside allowing Miz to attack Balor from behind and pummels Finn with strikes on the mat. Miz plants Balor with a DDT for a two count. Miz drives Balor down with a second DDT for another two count. Miz comes off the ropes to hit Balor with a running boot to the face a couple of times. Miz tries for a cover but Balor kicks out at two. Balor fights back with strikes but is met with a knee lift to the midsection. Miz dumps Balor to the floor and distracts the referee. Axel tries to get a cheap shot in but the referee stops him. Miz sends Balor shoulder first into the guard railing. Miz drops Finn’s left arm over the bottom rope as we go to commercial.
Miz keeps control of Balor with a top wrist lock on the injured left arm. Elias is interviewed backstage during the match. Elias talks about being the last entrant in the Chamber. Elias is going to go to WrestleMania and give the greatest performance ever. Miz nails Balor with several kicks to his chest but Balor ducks a kick and hammers away on Miz with strikes. Balor dropkicks Miz followed by a reverse DDT/elbow drop combo for a two count. Balor chops Miz in the corner several times to keep control of the match. Miz attempts Skull Crushing Finale but Balor nearly wins with a rollup. Miz yanks Balor down by his left arm and Balor hits the canvas hard. Balor avoids another kick for a rollup and a near fall. Balor reaches the ropes to avoid the Skull Crushing Finale. Dallas hits Balor from the floor and Miz still can’t get a victory. Balor takes out both Axel and Dallas out with a somersault dive over the top rope!
Balor kicks Miz from the apron and dropkicks Miz into the corner. Balor knocks Axel off the apron and does the same to Dallas. Miz is able to crotch Balor on the top rope. Balor crashes to the mat and Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to get a three count. Finn Balor has been eliminated.
WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. Braun Strowman: Miz realizes that’s left with Strowman and he’s begging off before bailing to the floor but Braun follows him. Miz runs into the crowd and Braun is able to catch Miz. Braun tosses Miz over the railing to ringside as we go to commercial.
Strowman as kept control tossing Miz across the ring. Strowman delivers a kick to Miz’s ribs. Strowman tosses Miz across the ring and plays to the crowd. Braun scares Axel and Dallas off the apron. Miz avoids Braun in the corner and delivers several kicks before being tossed down. Braun is dropped throat first over the top rope. Miz dropkicks Braun into the corner a couple of times. Finn Balor is interviewed and says that the Miztourage will be locked out at the Chamber. Braun nails Miz with an impressive dropkick. Strowman clubs Miz down to the mat with an overhand strike. Miz is on the mat begging off but Braun doesn’t stop. Miz sends Braun to the floor and delivers a baseball slide dropkick. Miz runs towards Braun and is met with a clothesline on the floor. Braun brings the action back into the ring as Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale after Axel distracted him. However, Braun kicks out easily.
Braun cuts Miz off with a clothesline and plants Miz with a running powerslam for the win. (****. I’d say this was a great way to start the show since this match literally took up more than half the show. It’s a refreshing thing to see on the show. They essentially started the show with seven straight matches. I thought everyone came across very well and it was a well produced match. This whole segment has increased my interest in the Chamber match. There were a few slow parts, but it was a really enjoyable match.)
Braun Strowman doesn’t fear the unknown but rather the unknown fears him. He’s coming for WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Braun calls Lesnar a Beastie Boy and he’s not finished with him. Strowman excuses himself from an interview and goes back to the ring to take out Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel with powerslams. Miz runs away but Strowman catches him and tosses him back onto the aisle. Strowman brings Miz to the ring and connects with another powerslam to end the segment.
JEFF JARRETT will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year! This is a great addition. Jarrett was a big influence for several top names in the WWE currently and was an enjoyable midcard act in the early to mid 2000s. Plus, I have a soft spot for his WCW Chosen One era. This is a well deserved induction and I’m glad to see Jarrett bury the hatchet with the WWE.
Asuka makes her way out to the ring and is interviewed by Renee Young. She controls her own destiny and that destiny is to win the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. Asuka says she’s not very concerned with Nia Jax since she’s beaten her recently. Asuka thinks that Nia talks too much, but at the Chamber she’ll be tapping. That brings out Jax and they have a brawl. Jax plants Asuka with a Samoan Drop and three legdrops.
A video promoting Ronda Rousey joining the WWE roster is aired. She’ll be signing her contract at Elimination Chamber.
Second Contest: RAW Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Titus & Apollo: Titus and Apollo have a few victories over the tag champs. Cesaro and Titus kick off the match, which is non-title. Cesaro shoves Titus and is worked over in the corner with an overhand chop. Cesaro is sent into the ropes and met with a double elbow strike. Apollo shoulder rams Cesaro in the corner and Titus delivers a scoop slam. Apollo tags in and clotheslines Cesaro followed by a dropkick knocking Sheamus off the apron. Sheamus clotheslines Apollo on the floor to keep control of the match. Sheamus sends Apollo into the railing followed by uppercuts. Cesaro tags back in and kicks Apollo in the corner with Sheamus. Sheamus and Cesaro continue to work over Apollo as Sheamus delivers a knee drop for a two count. Cesaro comes off the middle rope with a double axe handle and uppercuts Apollo for a two count. Sheamus tags in Cesaro, but Cesaro hits the post shoulder first. Apollo dumps Sheamus to the floor and rolls Cesaro up for a three count. (*. Looks like we’re doing this feud yet again and likely sets up a pay per view match. I wouldn’t be opposed to Apollo and Titus winning the titles.)
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt do their usual weird promo. They are wrestling at Elimination Chamber as it has been officially announced. They call each other liars. Matt Hardy went overboard with a tan, it looks like.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville cut a promo about how it will be easier for one of them to become the new Women’s Champion since they work together. Paige appears and just waves to the camera.
Main Event: RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs. Mickie James, Bayley & Sasha Banks: Bliss starts the match with James but decides to tag out to Deville. Deville takes James down to the mat but Mickie quickly counters and tags in Banks. Deville drives Banks into her corner and tags in Rose to hammer away on Banks. Rose attempts a scoop slam but Banks counters driving Rose face first into the corner. Bayley tags in and gets a two count on Rose after ramming her face first into the corner. Bayley head scissors Rose, but Mandy lands on her feet and pie faces Bayley a few times. Bayley pummels Rose in the corner with stomps in the corner. Bayley tosses Rose with an overhead suplex. We go to commercial.
Bayley gets a rollup on Rose for a two count. Bayley fights out of the corner and drops Rose over the top turnbuckle face first. Rose prevents Bayley from tagging out. Bayley is caught in the corner and Rose drops her face first onto the canvas. Bliss tags herself in and works over Bayley with a strike to her back and kicks in the corner. Bayley fights back with right hands but is rammed into the corner. Bliss charges, but stops on a dime and slaps Bayley. Deville tags in and works over Bayley with a strike to the midsection for a two count. Bayley stops Deville with a jawbreaker and reaches to make the tag but fails. Banks ends up getting tagged and hammers away on Deville. The referee didn’t see the tag. Rose is sent into Banks by Bayley as she countered a submission. Mickie gets tagged in and hammers away on Rose. Mickie comes off the ropes with a forearm and kick.
Mickie heads to the top rope and leaps off hitting a Thez Press on Rose. James plants Deville with a neckbreaker. James kicks Rose and comes off the ropes but has to dropkick Deville. Rose nails James with a knee strike for a near fall. Mickie gets tossed by Rose with a gut wrench suplex for a near fall. Deville tags in and continues to work over James with strikes. James head scissors Deville out of the corner. Deville prevents James from tagging out and slams her to the mat for a two count. Rose tags in and James hits a double neckbreaker. Rose tags in Bliss and here comes Banks. Banks clotheslines Bliss several times and blocks a boot delivering a knee strike. Banks knees Bliss from the apron and takes Deville out on the floor with a double knee strike.
Banks delivers a double knee strike in the corner on Bliss followed by another double knee off the middle rope for a two count. Bayley takes Rose over with a side suplex. Bliss has a rollup on Banks but Banks counters for a two count. Bliss sends Banks face first into the corner. Banks counters a DDT attempt and locks in the Bank Statement for the submission victory. (*1/2. There were a few notable awkward spots with Rose and Deville. The match lacked any kind of heat as the fans were spoiled with the gauntlet match going nearly an hour.) After the match, Rose and Deville take out Banks and Bayley with strikes. Bliss is happy to be associated with them but they start to corner her. Mickie James gets in the ring and saves Bliss. They hit a double DDT on Deville. So, it looks like Bliss and James are buddies heading into the pay per view.
The gauntlet match makes this a worthwhile show, but you can skip everything else. The crowd wasn’t interested in the other stuff and I can’t possibly blame them. This was a productive show to add interest to the Elimination Chamber pay per view. I was pleasantly surprised.
Thanks for reading.
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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.