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THE RAW RECAP – 05/02/2018

Monday night again, and we’re continuing the build to the Elimination Chamber PPV. The pre-announced match is Roman Reigns versus Bray Wyatt for a spot in the Elimination Chamber. The rest of the preview is a vague set of questions. Will we see a new challenger for The Miz? Who’s next for The Revival? Who will challenge The Bar for the Tag Team Championships? And, finally, who will be in the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber match? Time to get the answers.

I’m Amanda, and I’ll be your guide through RAW.

The Opening Segment

The show opened with a Bray Wyatt promo. He said he won the WWE Championship last year and now Roman Reigns stands in his way of doing it again. He called Reigns a failure waiting patiently to be put out of his misery, and he is happy to oblige.

In Reigns’ answering promo he said a failure is someone who can’t deal with adversity, who gets knocked down and stays down. He’s had his fair share of ups and downs but that’s the mark of a great journey. No-one is going to stop him becoming the next Universal Champion.

Then we were straight into the match.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match

I would have put money on this being the main event, but it’s nice when RAW opens with a match.

Early in the match Matt Hardy was shown watching backstage, laughing as usual.

Nice methodical pace to this one. They have a long history together, so they know each other’s styles well. Wyatt went to the outside, Reigns followed to deliver a drive by, but got clotheslined and thrown into the steps. Wyatt was firmly in control by the time we came back from the break.

photo credit: wwe.com

Again, they showed Matt Hardy.

Wyatt had Reigns up in a corner but saying ‘anyone but you Roman’, a call back to their previous feud, triggered something in Reigns and he delivered a series of headbutts and a powerbomb to even things up.

Reigns countered a Sister Abigail, Wyatt kicked out of a Superman punch. Bray Wyatt kicked Reigns in the face to stop a spear and successfully delivered Sister Abigail, Reigns kicked out. He went for a second, but Reigns reversed and hit the spear for the win.

While Wyatt was lying on the canvas, Matt Hardy appeared in the ring. Bray Wyatt struggled to his feet and took a Twist of Fate.

The Other Stuff

– Seth Rollins spoke to Jason Jordan in the locker room and asked him if he was sure he was 100%, because they’ve got a rematch tonight and it’s the last time they’ll face The Bar, win, lose, or draw. Jordan assured him he’d spoken to his dad, he’d been cleared by the doctors, and he was good to go. Seth gave him a little pep-talk about showing what they could do as a team.

– Finn Balor and Karl Anderson vs The Revival – Balor vs Wilder was the announced match, but Scott Dawson came out with Dash Wilder and said they were tag team specialists, then invited Balor to choose one of Balor Club to be his partner, so they could make it a tag match.  Balor chose Anderson and off they went. Good match, lots of fun to watch. Balor and Anderson won when Balor hit the Coup de Grace on Scott Dawson. Karl Anderson held Dash Wilder up on the outside, so he could watch his partner being pinned.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Sasha Banks was watching back her match with Asuka from last week. Bayley appeared and said she’s being too hard on herself. Banks said she needs to remind everyone she’s still the boss, and she knows how to beat Asuka now. Bayley asked for tips and Sasha Banks declined. They talked about the Elimination Chamber match, and how they both want to walk out of it as champion. Banks asked if Bayley really thinks she can beat Asuka.  Bayley said she knows she can beat Banks, and if Banks is good enough to beat Asuka, so is she.

– Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander vs Drew Gulak and Tony Nese – New 205 Live general manager Drake Maverick (previously known as Rockstar Spud) joined commentary for the match. Commentary spent most of it talking about the Cruiserweight tournament, the final of which will be held at WrestleMania. It’s a shame there wasn’t more focus on the match, it was excellent. Cedric Alexander pinned Drew Gulak off the Lumbar Check.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Kurt Angle announced the Elimination Chamber competitors as Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Sonya Deville and Sasha Banks. Nia Jax will face Asuka at the PPV. If Jax wins, she will be added to Asuka’s championship match at WrestleMania. Alexa Bliss came out and complained that Angle was being unfair making her defend her title in the chamber, because the men and women are supposed to be equal and Lesnar isn’t defending. Angle pointed out Bliss hasn’t defended since TLC (Really? That’s way more than 30 days. Why hasn’t she been stripped?). Bliss outright accused him of sexism. Kurt Angle threw it open to the audience to decide if they wanted to see her defend. They did. Bliss stomped off in a huff.

– Black History Month segment – very well done as always.

– Asuka vs Bayley – This was more like NXT Bayley, more aggressive, confident and focused. They went hold for hold, and blow for blow, for a while. Asuka hip attacked Bayley off the apron, Bayley sent Asuka into the barricade. Bayley took a series of kicks and knees strikes that should have finished any opponent but kicked out. She even got the advantage back from Asuka temporarily. There were a couple of very near falls from Bayley. Like last week, it looked possible the undefeated streak might be broken. Asuka managed to lock in the armbar, and Bayley tapped. Asuka shook Bayley’s hand after the match in a show of respect.

photo credit: wwe.com

– The Bar promo. They’re happy they get to beat up the pretty boy and the daddy’s boy (their words not mine) again. And they’re glad it will be the last time.

– The Miz vs Apollo Crews – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match – Miz cut a four-minute promo about how great he is and how he’s going to become the first Universal and Intercontinental Champion. 2018 is apparently the year of The Miz. The match was fine. Mix is good, Crews is good, you’d expect nothing less. Crews got a couple of decent near falls on Miz. But Miz managed to hang him up on the ropes and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. The Miz goes through to the Elimination Chamber

– Seth Rollins came across Jason Jordan with Kurt Angle and a medic backstage. They announced Jordan couldn’t compete. While Rollins was complaining Roman Reigns walked into shot and there was nodding. The match followed immediately after (see below).

– Nia Jax vs Vanessa Floyd – Squash match, enough said. Jax was interviewed in-ring after, by Renee Young, about Kurt Angle’s announcement. She said she’s the only one who doesn’t fear Asuka, she’s going to mess her ‘pretty little face’ up so badly she has to wear the mask full time.

– Sonya Deville vs Mickie James – Deville is really finding her feet on the main roster. Good match. Deville spent a lot of it nursing her nose after a blow from James. Mickie James won by roll-up and was immediately attacked by Deville and Mandy Rose. Alexa Bliss ran down, dragged James from the ring, and helped her up the ramp. James looked wary, but I guess Bliss is trying to build bridges ahead of the chamber.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Next week Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Matt Hardy, and Apollo Crews will compete in a second chance match. The winner gets the final Elimination Chamber spot.

Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs The Bar – RAW Tag Team Championship match

Reigns pulling double duty tonight, guess that’s why the Wyatt match opened. Sheamus and Cesaro looked less than impressed with the Rollins upgraded partner. It was stated several times that this was Rollins last chance against Sheamus and Cesaro, read that as you will.

Excellent match. There’s nothing quite like a tag match where both teams know each other so well. Plenty of banter, and some superb teamwork. Another match that could easily have main evented.

photo credit: wwe.com

After Sheamus had knocked Rollins off the apron Jason Jordan ran down to ringside and helped Rollins back on. Rollins tagged in and unleashed chaos. He landed a suicide dive on Sheamus, then one on Cesaro and knocked him into the front row.

Rollins was in control when Reigns ordered Jordan to the back saying “we got this”. But, before he left, Cesaro and Sheamus had had enough. They grabbed their belts and went to walk away. Jason Jordan got in front of them to stop them, punched Cesaro, and Rollins and Reigns were immediately disqualified.

Backstage, Seth Rollins yelled at Jason Jordan. Kurt Angle stepped in and reminded him that Jordan is legitimately hurt. Rollins said he’s only sorry he didn’t hurt him himself and stomped off. When Jordan told Angle Rollins couldn’t talk to him like that, Angle yelled at him to go home and stay there until he’s cleared.

The Main Event – Braun Strowman vs John Cena vs Elias

This match was to decide who gets to enter the Elimination Chamber match last. No explanation as to why these three get that chance and not the rest of the competitors in the match, but hey ho.

Braun Strowman and John Cena both delivered promos earlier in the show. For his promo, Elias sang a song about his competitors, after insulting the crowd of course. John Cena’s entrance cut him off. As soon as Strowman arrived, we got an ad break.

By the time we came back, John Cena was flat out in the ring, and Strowman was turning his attention to Elias. He chased him round and back into the ring. Cena got Strowman up on his shoulder and just keeled over.

photo credit: wwe.com

Elias and Cena teamed up to take down Strowman. They got him out of the ring and drove him into the ringpost and steps. Cena hit him with the steps, Elias hit him with a guitar, then Cena delivered an AA onto the steps.

With Strowman finally down, Elias rolled Cena back into the ring. They fought for a while, Cena looked knackered, but he was about to go for the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Elias when Strowman reappeared.

He powerslammed Cena then Elias shoved him out of the ring and pinned John Cena for the win. Braun Strowman reacted by powerslamming Cena and Elias repeatedly, even playing off the crowd about whether he should do another one.

photo credit: wwe.com

Good episode again, with more extremely strong matches. It was interesting to see how they wrote Jason Jordan out of the tag title picture. The dominant rumour is he faces surgery, and up to a year out. Elimination Chamber is shaping up to be a decent PPV, and you’ll be able to read the full coverage right here.