Raw is War
January 29, 2018
“Then. Now. Forever.” The WWE video leads us into the show.
Footage is shown from last night’s epic Royal Rumble. Asuka won the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and was about to choose which champion she’d face when she was interrupted by “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey! They show clips of her debut interspersed with media about Rousey’s debut.
RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon makes her way to the ring to a cool reception. Michael Cole calls her a trailblazer in the Women’s Evolution. Jonathan Coachman is at commentary. They thank Booker T for doing a great job “filling in.” McMahon welcomes everyone to Monday Night RAW, which gets a good pop. It’s been an historic week for WWE. Last Monday, they celebrated 25 years of Monday Night RAW. Tonight right here in Philly, we’ll kick off 25 more. Last night, we saw the first ever all-Women’s Royal Rumble. Sasha Banks lasted nearly an hour. Nia Jax showed that she is an irresistible force. Naomi showed off great athleticism. We saw Hall of Famers like Lita, Miss Jacqueline, Beth Phoenix, and Trish Stratus. Then the game changed when we had the surprise debut of WWE’s newest star, former UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. Tonight is about the winner of that historic Royal Rumble match. She defeated 29 of the world’s best female competitors. This woman is undefeated in WWE. Stephanie welcomes Asuka to the ring.
Asuka makes her entrance to the ring to a great reception. She points at the WrestleMania sign. McMahon congratulates her on her historic victory last night. McMahon says before she makes her decision on who she wants to face, she should wait. Alexa Bliss may not be champion at WrestleMania. Alexa Bliss will be defending her RAW Women’s Championship in the first-ever all-Women’s Elimination Chamber match! Asuka says, “Arigato WWE Universe!” Asuka speaks in her native tongue before saying, “At WrestleMania, I will become champion because no one is ready for Asuka!”
Sasha Banks’ music hits, and she gets in the ring. Banks says she has to get some things off her chest. Last night was a dream come true. She shared a ring with 29 incredible women, including Asuka. Banks congratulates her on her victory and going to WrestleMania. For the past two years, Asuka has been undefeated and saying no one is ready for her. Banks says she proved last night that she can go the distance. Banks says she’s ready for Asuka… TONIGHT! They go head-to-head. Stephanie books the match and pulls them apart.
The commentators talk about Shinsuke Nakamura winning the men’s Royal Rumble and choosing to face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. There is still a question of who will face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. That will be partly determined tonight. There will be an Elimination Chamber match to determine the #1 Contender in four weeks. Tonight, it’ll be Braun Strowman taking on Kane in a Last Man Standing Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match. We’ll also see Matt Hardy (they called him “Broken”) taking on Elias in another qualifier, as well as John Cena and Finn Balor. They’re updated all the graphics for RAW tonight.
Braun Strowman makes his entrance and immediately goes down to the ring and starts pulling out tables and chairs. The Last Man Standing Match is 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 in 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. 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 once his name is announced. Agents and referees run out to assist Kane. They scream to get the paramedics out here. 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 then looks psychotically at Kane’s limp body before pacing on stage.
The commentators are standing on the stage with handheld microphones and are surveying the damage inflicted by Braun Strowman on their commentary table. We see replays of Strowman dumping the table and the platform onto Kane. Michael Cole says Kane is having trouble breathing.
We go backstage to see EMTs rushing Kane through the backstage area to get to an ambulance. Cole says Strowman has crossed the line again.
We go elsewhere backstage to see Braun Strowman storming through the backstage area. Kurt Angle runs up to him and asks how many times they have to have this conversation. Can Strowman give him a break? Strowman says Angle is right… that he didn’t do more. Angle said Last Man Standing, which is what he did. Strowman screams at Elimination Chamber, he’ll be the last man standing. At WrestleMania, he’ll be the last man standing over Brock Lesnar! Strowman angrily charges off.
Elias is in the ring strumming his guitar. 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.
Still photos are shown from last night’s Royal Rumble.
The commentators are now seated in chairs at ringside looking at one large monitor on the floor.
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’re 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 clutches his arm in pain.
We come back from the break to see Elias working over Hardy’s 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. Hardy hits a pair of running clotheslines before trying for a bulldog, but Elias shoves him off. Hardy quickly 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 big boot and the Drift Away for the win.
Elias joins Braun Strowman in the Elimination Chamber to determine who will face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship 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.
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!
The bell rings, and Reigns uppercuts him down. 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 him with a right hand. Reigns then clotheslines him 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. They trade punches with Miz laying quite a few in. Reigns blocks one and floors him with a vicious 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.
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. 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 wonder what 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.
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, next.
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. 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.
WrestleMania 34 is 69 days away!
Video Package: The Dudley Boyz are the newest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame: Class of 2018
Finn Balor and The Balor Club are shown on a handheld video promo. They brag about Balor being in the Royal Rumble for over 57 minutes only to be eliminated by John Cena. Tonight, Balor 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.
Saha Banks makes her entrance. She’ll face Asuka, next.
More still photos are shown from last night’s Royal Rumble event.
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. 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.
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 strikes away at her. Banks quickly takes her down with a head-scissor 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 gets her feet caught on the ropes and slams into the LED apron before nearly landing on her head! That was insanely dangerous.
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!
John Cena is shown in a handheld video promo saying people have been wondering when he’s done, but he’s just getting started.
Titus Worldwide is going for the RAW Tag Team Championships, next.
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.
Video Package: Ronda Rousey’s debut last night at the Royal Rumble
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.
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. Apparently a beach ball has come out in the crowd because no one is looking at the ring. They just stay in the test of strength until the crowd eventually starts paying attention. Balor gets out and rolls him up for a near fall. Cena then punches him down.
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.
A “Let’s go Balor” chant picks up. Cena picks up him for an AA, but Balor slides off. They get into an exchange of “Yay/Boo” punches. 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!
John Cena will join Braun Strowman and Elias in the Elimination Chamber match. The winner will face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania. There are three spots remaining. Cena celebrates on the ropes while Balor walks off holding his lower back.