Welcome to Monday Night Raw for the final time in January 2018!
Last night’s Royal Rumble was billed as the most historic in the event’s history and boy it did not disappoint. The two Rumble matches were great fun in their own ways but I think the women’s match definitely stole the show and left the lasting impression on everyone’s minds. The match was chock-full of fun moments, legends, and simply great action. Twists occurred as Nikki Bella knocked Brie out of the match, as well as Sasha Banks going full-on Boss and eliminating Bayley and talking trash to Hall Of Famers. And then the crowning achievement went to the still-undefeated Asuka! We were all rooting for Asuka and she came out on top after beating Nikki Bella, which then led to Alexa Bliss and Charlotte entering the ring and Asuka stalling on which opponent to choose. Enter Ronda Rousey. The former UFC Champion walked to the ring to ‘Bad Reputation’ by Joan Jett, wearing Rowdy Roddy Piper’s jacket, and pointed at the WrestleMania sign in front of Asuka, Charlotte and Alexa. It was an iconic moment that we’re sure to remember forever but what does it mean? Who is Ronda going to face? All this and more will be addressed on tonight’s show.
The men’s Rumble was more of a by-the-numbers affair and that’s why it felt correct to have it not close the show. The match didn’t feature as many legends as years gone by but that is a good thing as it focuses more on the current crop, plus we got that nostalgia trip later in the night. The match came down to Shinsuke Nakamura from SmackDown Live and Roman Reigns of Raw, and ultimately it was Nakamura who edged out the Big Dog. The crowd were firmly behind Nakamura, even when Finn Balor, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio were still in the match. It was a good decision by WWE and it’s absoultely amazing to think we’re going to see AJ Styles Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania but that’s a SmackDown Live thing. Where does Reigns go from here? We know he’s facing Brock at Mania but that’s months away. Tonight should give us an idea of where he’s headed.
Also on last night’s show was the Raw Tag Team Championship match, which saw Jason Jordan cost himself and Seth Rollins the tag titles. Things felt like they were starting to reach boiling point with Jordan and Rollins, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them show some real cracks in the facade tonight. Also, Braun Strowman was again unable to defeat Brock Lesnar, so where does that leave the monster among men? And does Brock wrestle again before Mania?
So many questions as we head into tonight’s Raw! Remember to download the Ringside Talk app and let us know your thoughts. Enjoy the show!
WWE Monday Night Raw opens with a look back at Roylal Rumble, and specifically, the main event where Ronday Rousey made her debut.
We go live to the arena and out comes Stephanie McMahon. As Stephanie makes her entrance the announcers introduce Johnathon Coachman as the new 3rd member of the announce team, replacing Booker T. They announce that tonight, Roman Reigns will invoke his rematch clause and challenge The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship.
Stephanie welcomes us to Raw and talks about the 25th anniversary of Raw last week, before saying the next 25 years starts tonight in Philly. She goes on to re-cap the Women’s Royal Rumble Match, saying that the game changed when WWE’s newest acquisition debuted, former UFC Bantamweight Champion, Rowdy Ronda Rowsey, but that was last night. Tonight is about the winner of last night’s Royal Rumble, the undefeated Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka!
The lady herself comes to the ring and Stephanie congratulates her on her monumental win. Stephanie says normally this would be when she asks who Asuka will face at WrestleMania but she might want to wait a while to choose because in 4 weeks Alexa Bliss will defend her Women’s Championship against five other women in the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber match!
Asuka then takes the mic and starts talking in Japanese and the crowd cheer/what?. Eventually Asuka points at the WrestleMania sign and Stephanie says “now that I understand”. Asuka says at WreslteMania she will become the Champion because nobody is ready for Asuka! Well, out comes The Boss, Sasha Banks!
Banks apologises for interrupting and says that last night was incredible because women main-evented a Royal Rumble and she got to share the ring with 29 other amazing Superstars, including Asuka. However, for an entire year Asuka has been coming out here and saying nobody is ready for her, but she is ready tonight! The two of them butt heads and Stephanie separates them before saying that it is official, tonight Asuka will face Sasha Banks!
We go back to the announcers, who tell us that Kurt Angle has announced a tournament to determine who gets to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. There will be a series of qualifying matches, with the winners competing in an Elimination Chamber, with the winner of that match facing Lesnar! So tonight, we will get three qualifying matches, which include Matt Hardy Vs. Elias, John Cena Vs. Finn Balor, and Braun Strowman facing Kane in a Last Man Standing match, which happens next!
We join this match in progress to see Kane send Strowman into the ring post before hitting him with a kendo stick. They immediately begin brawling through the crowd.
Strowman takes control back with a few strikes before slamming his head off a barricade. Strowman drags him over to the tech area and bounces his head off the table before cracking him in the back with a chair. Strowman slams his head off a barricade and runs a heavy crate into his head. The commentators scatter because they’re right in front of the table now.
Strowman drives the chair into Kane’s midsection and looks at the table. A “YES” chant breaks out from the fans in Philly. Strowman then lifts the platform the table is on and dumps it on top of Kane! The referee counts Kane down and declares Strowman the winner!
Strowman leaves the ringside area, as agents and referees run out to assist Kane. They shout for paramedics to come out and help Kane. Strowman then comes back out to a big reception. Corey Graves has a microphone and says Kane is a human being before asking what he just did. Strowman says he did his job; Kurt Angle said this is Last Man Standing, so that’s what he did! Strowman looks at Kane on the ground before walking off. Wow is Braun Strowman fun and now he is qualified for the Elimination Chamber.
We’re back and the announces are looking at what used to be their announce table. They show us replays of the insane action that just happened, then we see footage of Kane being stretchered away by officials. Next we see Braun Strowman walking backstage and Kurt Angle runs up to him, shouting angrily that every week Braun puts Superstars in serious danger and it has to stop. Strowman agrees for a second before screaming at Kurt that he is lucky he didn’t do more to Kane but he will also be the last man standing at Elimination Chamber and the last man standing at WrestleMania.
We go live to the arena and Elias is in the ring. Elias says he doesn’t care if they sing with him or say his phrases. Elias sings for himself because he likes the sound of his voice. Last night, he was disappointed because he was eliminated by John Cena. Now he looks to the future because the Elimination Chamber is on the horizon. Elias has to face Matt Hardy to get there, but he’s got WrestleMania on his mind, so he wrote a song. Elias sings his song, but he’s soon cut off by “WOKEN” Matt Hardy.
We’re back and it’s time for the next qualifying match. The announcers have been moved to ringside, right by the timekeepers area.
The bell rings, and they lock up. Hardy puts him in the corner and punches before laughing wildly. Hardy starts up some “DELETE” chants, but they quickly die out. Elias hooks a side headlock and takes him down. Hardy fights up and tries to whip him off, but Elias won’t let go. Hardy punches him before hitting a back suplex. Hardy kicks him back and goes for a Side Effect, but Elias elbows out. Hardy sidesteps him and chops away at the chest.
They’ve started building a new commentary table at ringside. Hardy hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Hardy applies a side headlock, but Elias eventually fights out. Elias sends him into the ropes, but Hardy clubs him and goes for a Twist of Fate. Elias pushes him off and viciously clotheslines him down. Elias wildly punches and kicks him down. Elias drags him to the corner and slams his arm into the ring post twice. Hardy holds his arm in pain as we head to the break.
We come back from the break to see Elias working over Hardy’s injured arm. Elias sends him into the ring, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Elias quickly rips at the arm, but Hardy comes back with some head-butts and a back elbow. Hardy hits a side Russian leg sweep for a two count. Hardy puts him in the corner and starts bouncing him off the three turnbuckles multiple times. Hardy hits a pair of running clotheslines before trying for a bulldog, but Elias shoves him off.
Hardy comes back with an elbow to the neck off the second rope and a Side Effect for a near fall. Bray Wyatt’s video flashes on the screen for a moment, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Hardy looks around confused. Elias takes advantage of the distraction with a rough big boot and the Drift Away for the win!
Elias is now a part of the Elimination Chamber to determine who will face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Bray Wyatt’s video flashes again, and he’s shown laughing on the big screen. Hardy furiously looks at him before starting to laugh himself. This really needs to go somewhere.
The Miz is shown in a handheld video interview, which was started on Smackdown Live. Roman Reigns is apparently owed a rematch for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, but he’s owed complete silence when he speaks. When he defends his Intercontinental Championship, he’s owed a standing ovation, which is what Tom Brady will get when he crushes the Eagles. That gets a massive jeer from the crowd!
The Miz will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Roman Reigns, next!
We’re back and out comes The Miz with The Miztourage. Roman Reigns is out second to his usual chorus of boos. We get ring introductions for both men.
The bell rings, and Reigns uppercuts Miz and he collapses in a heap. Moving -on, Reigns head-butts him and punches him in the corner. Reigns takes him down and yells at The Miztourage to stay back. Reigns whips Miz to the corner, but he runs into a boot. Miz chops the chest, but Reigns doesn’t sell it. Miz chops him again, but Reigns just angrily stares at him.
Reigns then floors Miz with a right hand. Reigns follows-up by clotheslining the Champ over the top rope. The Miztourage checks on The Miz. Reigns slowly leaves the ring and grabs Miz before sending him into the ring steps. The Miztourage quickly backs away from Reigns. Reigns puts him in the ring and clotheslines him over the top rope again. The Miztourage again goes up to Miz and checks on him.
Reigns leaves the ring, and The Miztourage yells at him. Reigns grabs a chair and approaches The Miztourage. They quickly run off up the ramp and go backstage. Reigns approaches Miz and thinks about using the chair, but realizes he’d be disqualified and not get the title. Reigns drops the chair and gets in the ring to break the count. Reigns goes back outside, and Miz pulls him face-first into the ring post.
We come back from the break to see Miz applying a chin lock. Reigns slowly begins to fight up and lifts Miz onto his shoulders, but Miz slides off. Miz goes for a Skull Crushing Finale, but Reigns counters with a Samoan Drop. They’re both down. Both men slowly get up and trade some shots.
Reigns blocks a punch from Miz, and floors him with a stiff clothesline. Reigns hits a second clothesline before hitting a leaping clothesline. Reigns clubs away at him in the corner. Reigns then big boots him down. Reigns sets up for a Superman Punch, but Miz clips the knee. Miz starts the “IT” Kicks, but Reigns blocks the big kick. Reigns goes for a powerbomb, but Miz counters into a Figure Four Leglock! Reigns screams in pain. Eventually Reigns gets out of it by turning over. Reigns slowly gets up and approaches him, but Miz kicks him in the knee. Miz goes for another Figure Four, but Reigns takes him down and hits a one-armed sit-out powerbomb for a near fall! Both guys are down again. The crowd are starting to really get into this one.
Reigns approaches him in the corner and punches at him until the referee pulls him back. Miz gets a cheap shot in and hits a Skull Crushing Finale, but Reigns kicks out! Miz limps around Reigns and goes for another Skull Crushing Finale, but Reigns powers him to the corner and elbows him in the face. Miz sidesteps him, and Reigns hits the ring post shoulder first. Miz hits the ropes, but Reigns floors him with a Superman Punch for a near fall! The crowd fires up a “This is awesome” chant.
The Miztourage runs down the ramp. Curtis Axel argues with the referee until Reigns knocks him down. Bo Dallas pulls Miz out of the ring. Reigns goes outside and knocks Dallas out with a right hand. Reigns ducks a clothesline from Miz and punches him. Reigns puts him in the ring, and the referee checks on Miz. Reigns gets in, and Dallas grabs him. Reigns elbows him and brings him into the ring the hard way. Reigns then Superman Punches Axel off the apron and spears Dallas down. Miz then rolls Reigns up with a handful of tights for the win!
The commentators ask this means for Reigns who has lost two Intercontinental Championship matches as well as the Royal Rumble.
Replays are shown of Braun Strowman lifting the commentary table and its platform and dumping it on top of Kane.
Later tonight, we’ll see John Cena take on Finn Balor in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match. We’ll also see Asuka take on Sasha Banks. The Revival makes their entrance. They’ll be in action, after the break.
We join this match in progress. Rhyno is working the arm of Dash Wilder before tagging in Heath Slater. Slater works the arm until Wilder takes him down. Slater hits a running forearm and a corner clothesline.
Wilder then rolls out of the ring to talk strategy with Scott Dawson. Slater elbows Dawson back, and Wilder takes him down. Wilder then attacks the arm of Slater. Dawson wrenches the arm and hits a back suplex. Wilder tags in and applies an arm bar. Slater fights up and counters a suplex into a neckbreaker.
Dawson tags in and holds Slater, but Slater makes the tag to Rhyno. Rhyno takes Dawson and Wilder down before hitting a diving shoulder block. Rhyno then hits Dawson with a belly-to-belly side suplex. Slater then knocks Wilder out of the ring. Dawson hits a shot to the knee, and they hit Shatter Machine on Rhyno for the win.
Charly Caruso gets in the ring after the match to interview The Revival. Scott Dawson says they just beat the first-ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Dawson asks her how they’d compare with The Graham Brothers. Caruso says she doesn’t know much wrestling history. Dash Wilder says she’s like the fans that just like chanting “ECW” to get themselves over. They study the past while the people can’t stop living in it.
Asuka is seen warming up for her match against Sasha Banks. Later tonight, we’ll see Sheamus and Cesaro defend their newly won RAW Tag Team Championships against Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews.
We get a video package for WrestleMania in New Orleans, which is only 69 days away!
The Dudley Boyz are announced as the newest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame: Class of 2018! Here is their induction video:
Finn Balor, Gallows and Anderson, are shown on a cutting a promo from earlier today. They brag about Balor being in the Royal Rumble for over 57 minutes only to be eliminated by John Cena. Tonight, Balor will not step up he will step over John Cena.
Renee Young is backstage in the Gorilla Position with Sasha Banks. Banks says she’s moments away from defeating Asuka. It’s her turn to make history. With that, Banks walks through the curtain. Sasha Banks makes her entrance. She’ll face Asuka, next!
Asuka makes her entrance when we return and we get ring introductions for both women. This match has been highly anticipated for a long time.
The bell rings, and they circle the ring. They lock up before Banks turns her in the corner and shoves her. Banks rolls her up for a one count. Asuka hooks a side headlock and cinches it in. Banks whips her off, but Asuka shoulder blocks her down. Asuka hits the ropes, but Banks takes her down with an arm drag. Banks applies an arm bar, but Asuka fights up. Banks puts her in the corner and punches away at her. Asuka drops her on the apron and kicks her before sending her to the floor with a flying hip attack.
Banks slowly gets back in the ring at eight, definitely getting heel vibes from Banks. Asuka knees her in the back of the head twice before talking some trash in Japanese. Asuka then chokes her with her boot in the corner. Asuka kicks her in the back of the leg before wrenching the arm. Asuka applies an arm bar and starts bending the fingers. Banks fights up, but Asuka knocks her back and sends her to the corner. Banks floors her with a pair of kicks and a flying double knee for a near fall. Banks taunts her as we head to the break.
We come back from the break to see Asuka viciously kicking away at Banks. Banks goes to the corner and sidesteps Asuka before laying her out across the second turnbuckle ropes. Banks hits a double knee for a near fall. Banks kicks away at her and knees her in the spine before applying a surfboard stretch. Asuka fights up, but Banks takes her down by the hair. Banks hits a suplex for a two count. Banks hits a snapmare and slaps Asuka in the face. Banks shoves her, but Asuka angrily gets to her feet and unleashes a fury of strikes.
Banks quickly takes Asuka down with a headscissor into the Bank Statement, but Asuka gets out. Asuka gets a backslide, but Banks gets out and reapplies the Bank Statement. Asuka fights up, but Banks knees her and throws her out of the ring. Banks goes for a suicide dive, but Asuka kicks her in the face. Banks got her feet caught on the ropes and crashed hard to the floor! That looked nasty – Banks has some horrific bumps on her card.
Asuka gets her in the ring and punches away at her before viciously kneeing her in the face. Asuka then strikes away at her and hits a sliding knee. Asuka hits a running hip attack in the corner and throws her to the middle of the ring. Asuka hits a missile dropkick for a near fall. Banks counters a suplex into a roll-up for a near fall. Asuka immediately hooks an am bar, but Banks reverses the pressure and picks up a near fall. Banks goes to the apron. Banks sidesteps a hip attack, and Asuka flies out of the ring and lands on the floor hard!
Banks hits flying knees off the apron, gets her in the ring, and hits flying knees off the top rope for a near fall. Asuka tries for an Asuka Lock, but Banks drives her headfirst into the top turnbuckle before applying the Bank Statement. Asuka nearly gets to the bottom rope, but Banks kicks it away and rolls her to the middle of the ring. Asuka then counters into the Asuka Lock out of nowhere to pick up the submission!
We get a backstage promo from John Cena earlier today. Cena talks about the Rumble, his match tonight, and says that he isn’t done yet, he’s just getting started.
Titus Worldwide is heading to the ring from backstage and up next they get their first title shot against The Bar!
We’re back and out come The Bar to defend their title’s, just one night after they won them back.
Tag Team Championship Match
Apollo Crews quickly rolls Sheamus up for a two count. Sheamus gets out of the ring and talks strategy with Cesaro. Sheamus elbows and shoulder blocks Crews soon after and hits the ropes. Crews then floors him with a nice dropkick for a one count. Titus O’Neil tags in and sends him into the ropes with Crews for a double-team back elbow. O’Neil punches away at him until Cesaro tags in. Cesaro uppercuts him in the corner a number of times before kicking him. O’Neil quickly lifts him and powers him to the corner before wildly clubbing the chest and throwing him across the ring. O’Neil splashes him in the corner and lets go when Sheamus was trash talking him. Sheamus and blind tags in and ambushes O’Neil.
We come back from the break to see Sheamus clothesline O’Neil and tag Cesaro in. They hit a double-team clothesline for a one count. Cesaro then applies a modified arm bar. O’Neil fights up and tags in Sheamus. Sheamus throws O’Neil over the top rope. Sheamus distracts the referee while Cesaro sneaks up on O’Neil. O’Neil big boots Cesaro down. Sheamus grabs O’Neil, but O’Neil chops him back before pulling him neck-first into the top rope. Sheamus knees him getting in the ring and hits the ropes, but O’Neil clotheslines him down.
Cesaro and Crews are tagged in. Crews hits a pair of clotheslines before kicking and booting him in the face. Cesaro drops him on the apron, but Crews lands and punches him back before hitting a cross-body block for a near fall. Crews goes for a standing moonsault, but lands on his feet when Cesaro moves. Crews takes him down and hits a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Cesaro elbows out of a move and kicks him. Sheamus tags in, but Crews lands on his feet to counter a double-team hip toss. They then botch a hurricanrana. Sheamus basically powerbombs Crews off the ropes and onto his head. Crews no sells the devastation and throws Cesaro out of the ring. Eventually The Bar hits a double-team White Noise for the win.
Still to come is John Cena taking on Finn Balor in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match. Coming up next, we’ll look at Ronda Rousey’s debut.
We get a lenghty video package of last night’s Women’s Rumble and Ronda Rousey’s debut.
We see a replay of Braun Strowman tipping the commentary table and its platform onto Kane earlier tonight. Michael Cole says Kane sat up in the emergency room and crawled out. Kane hasn’t been seen since.
Gallows and Anderson make their way to the ring before being followed by Finn Balor. It’s Balor vs. Cena, next.
We return and John Cena makes his way to the ring. This is the last Chamber qualifying match this week, with three more to come next week.
The bell rings, and the crowd is already buzzing. They lock up, and Balor powers him to the corner before tapping the chest. Cena just stares at him. A “Let’s go Balor” chant fires up. Cena just smiles and says, “ok.” Balor goes for a waistlock, but Cena gets out and wrenches the arm. Cena takes him down and works the arm. Balor kips up and takes him down with an arm drag/arm bar combination.
A “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chant fires up now. Cena backs him to the ropes, but Balor comes back with a pair of arm drags and another arm bar. Cena fights up and out. Balor hits the ropes, but Cena shoulder blocks him down. Cena stretches his arm before applying a side headlock. Cena then takes him down. Balor gets out, but Cena hits a second headlock takeover. Cena keeps him grounded, but Balor hooks the arms and turns him over for a pin for a near fall. Cena rolls out of the ring to collect himself.
Cena gets in the ring and locks hands with Balor in a test of strength. The fans are completed distracted by something happening in a section of the arena. They just stay in the test of strength until the crowd eventually starts paying attention again. Balor gets out and rolls him up for a near fall. Cena then punches him down and stares into the crowd again as we head to the break.
We come back from the break to see Cena reverse a whip and knock Balor down. Cena hits a scoop slam for a near fall. Cena viciously whips him into the corner, and Balor collapses to the mat. Cena gets him to his feet and viciously whips him again. The crowd is booing Cena, but he points to the WrestleMania sign and shrugs his shoulders. Cena sends him to the corner, but Balor boots him back. Balor hits a pair of running forearms before taking him down and hitting a double stomp to the chest. Balor chops the chest and whips him to the corner. Cena explodes out of the corner with a pair of running shoulder blocks before hitting a back suplex powerbomb. Cena again points to the WrestleMania sign and goes for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle, but Balor moves. Balor then catches Cena with a falling elbow drop to the chest for a near fall.
Cena picks up him for an AA, but Balor slides off. They get into an exchange of punches that garners cheers and boos from the fans. Cena then just kicks him down. Cena connects with a 5 Knuckle Shuffle with no theatrics and goes for an AA, but Balor gets out and hits an overhead kick for a near fall. Balor surprises him with a Sling Blade and waits for Cena to get up. Balor goes for a running dropkick, but Cena stuns him with a clothesline. Cena takes a few moments to get up and runs into a boot. Cena catches him attempting a Sling Blade and counters into an Attitude Adjustment for a near fall!
Cena looks frustrated. Cena gets on the apron and seems to be getting frustrated with the crowd. Cena says he’s just trying to go to WrestleMania. Cena goes to the top rope, but Balor kicks him down and hits a running dropkick. Balor goes for a Coup de Gras, but Cena moves and applies an STF! Balor eventually claws his way to the bottom rope. Balor catches Cena with a kick to the face before going to the top rope. Cena cuts him off and hits a second rope AA for the win!
Winner: John Cena
John Cena joins Braun Strowman and Elias in the Elimination Chamber match. Cena celebrates on the ropes while Balor walks off holding his lower back. That was a weird match for Cena with a lot of odd moments, but I’d appreciate some story-telling and character progression with him because lately he feels like Jericho did a few years back.
Anyways, that’s it for tonight’s Raw. Let us know what you thought of the show and remember to get all your wrestling coverage here on Ringside News.