So it’s time for the first Monday Night Raw after the historic Royal Rumble. In case you missed the Rumble, we have a recap of the action here.
It was decided we will be having an Elimination Chamber match to decide who will face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. We saw the first 3 qualification matches for this on Monday night.
Firstly, we saw Braun Strowman vs Kane in a Last Man Standing match. This was a fairly standard brawl between them. They fought their way up to the production area and announce table. Braun got the upper hand and floored Kane in front of the table. He then proceeded to turn the whole announce area over on top of Kane, to bury him and win the match. Cue another backstage segment where Kurt Angle says Braun needs to stop putting people in danger, but Braun said he was in a Last man Standing match, and he made sure he was Last Man Standing.
Our 2nd participant was decided in a match between Woken Matt Hardy & Elias. This was a really good back and forth match between them. Hardy was closing in on a win until Bray Wyatt’s graphic flashed up on screen, and the distraction allowed Elias hit the Drift Away to book his spot in the chamber. After the match Bray & Matt laugh again…
The 3rd qualifying match of the night was Finn Balor vs John Cena. Earlier in the night Balor cut a promo on his phone talking about being eliminated from the Rumble by Cena. He said he’s not just going to step up, he’s going to step OVER Cena. The Good Brothers were out in the ring to greet Finn, but left before the match started. There were some nice exchanges throughout, playing on Cena’s strength advantage and Finn’s technical/quickness advantage.
Finn was showing a lot more edginess than usual in this one. This has been a theme lately, slowly building that cockiness. He even done the “You Can’t See Me” taunt at Cena. Cena retaliated by throwing up a Too Sweet before hitting an AA (countering a Slingblade), but Balor kicks out at 2! Balor goes for the Coup de Grâce but Cena moves and locks in an STF. Finn reaches the ropes and knocks down Cena again. He goes for the Coup de Grâce again but Cena hits a middle rope AA for the win! It’s a shame Balor lost, but this was a really good match and made him look great. Could we see the Balor Club cost Cena the chamber match?
Also, to anyone calling this a “burial” of Balor: No, just no!
Balor had a #Raw25 passing the torch moment with The Kliq, then lasted an hour in the #RoyalRumble. Then even though he lost tonight he kicked out of an AA, and only lost to an Avalanche AA… that’s not “burying” someone folks! Leave the story play out before judging it #WWE pic.twitter.com/IzrsXZ4I6I
— 2Bit Wrestling (@2bitwrestling) January 30, 2018
Stephanie McMahon kicked off the show and put over the women’s Rumble. She talked about the returns, the great moments, and the great performances. Then she brought out the winner, Asuka. She says Asuka might want to wait before deciding what champion to fight at Wrestlemania, because first the title has to be defended in the Elimination Chamber. Asuka just goes on to say she will become champ at Mania because nobody is ready for…. Sasha’s music! The Boss comes out and challenges her to a match later in the show.
The match itself was very physical throughout. It was one of Sasha’s best matches in a long time, and she seemed to be showing glimpses of her heelish side. There was a nasty moment where Sasha went for a Suicide Dive into a kick from Asuka, but her stomach seemed to catch the rope and she contorted at a horrible angle. Asuka rolls her in and connects with some stiff strikes, but can’t put her away.
Asuka goes for a hip attack in the ropes but Sasha pulls down the ropes and Asuka spills to the floor. Sasha with a double knee in the corner, and a diving double knee, but only gets a 2 count. Asuka goes for the Asuka Lock, but Sasha counters and locks in a Banks Statement. She drags Asuka to the middle of the ring, but the adjustment allows Asuka counter into the Asuka Lock for the win! Amazing match, and shows how amazing both women are in the ring. I still think Sasha may need to rethink doing that dive though…
After losing the Intercontinental Championship last week, Roman Reigns cashed in his rematch clause on Raw. There was a funny moment on commentary where Corey said Miz was WWE’s version of Tom Brady. No, Corey, that’s a bold Corey!
Roman chased the Miztourage away with a chair to try level the playing field a bit, but the distraction gave Miz time to recover. Momentum switched back and forth, and Miz locks in a quick Figure 4 on the injured knee of Reigns. Miz with an eye poke and Skull Crushing Finale, but Roman kicks out at 2! Roman fires back with a Superman Punch for a 2 count of his own.
The Miztourage run back down to interfere again. Roman fights them off, but the distraction allows Miz to roll Roman up to retain the title!
Braun Strowman def. Kane (Last Man Standing Match)
Elias def. Woken Matt Hardy
The Revival def. Slater & Rhyno
Asuka def. Sasha Banks
The Bar def. Titus Worldwide
John Cena def. Finn Balor
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