The Royal Rumble was less than one day ago and with Ronda Rousey’s debut in Philly, it left the WWE Universe with a ton of questions. As the Road To WrestleMania continues we know Brock Lesnar is the Universal Champion and The Bar are once again sitting on top of the Tag Team Division. Monday Night Raw was set to be a packed show with not only the hope of seeing Rousey once more but also Jonathan Coachman is on the Raw announce team once more. So let’s get right to it as WWE prepares Raw for one war after another.
Stephanie McMahon was introduced first and The Billion Dollar Princess came down with a smile on her face. The new Raw graphics they’re using are neat and much cleaner looking. It’s also nice to not have to see an Illuminati pyramid everytime they show the logo.
Steph put over the Women’s Royal Rumble match and named a bunch of people to put them over. Then McMahon put over Rowdy Ronda Rousey “but that was last night,” she said. Tonight is about Asuka who actually won the Women’s Royal Rumble. Then Asuka came out with an even bigger stride to her usual step.
It’s odd that they’re stressing how Asuka has a choice on who she wants to face leading me to assume Asuka might just pick Charlotte Flair. McMahon said Bliss will be defending her title in the first-ever Women’s Elimination Chamber match which is news we saw coming.
Then Asuka cut a promo in Japanese because that’s what she does now. She speaks English, but this is just easier I guess.
“At WrestleMania, I will become the Champion! Because no one is ready for Asuka!” she finally said in English before Sasha Banks came out. She showed a lot of heel tactics last night in the Royal Rumble match, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see her turn heel already.
Banks got in the ring and said she had a few things she needed to get off her chest. She talked some trash about Asuka’s undefeated streak and said last night she proved she could go the distance and she’s ready for Asuka tonight. Then Stephanie booked the match.
Braun Strowman vs Kane (Last Man Standing Match Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)
Before Braun got in the ring, he filled the ring full of toys. He was grabbing tables, chairs, and everything else he could get ahold of to toss in the squared circle. It’s interesting how Strowman vs Kane is the only qualifying match which is a last man standing match.
Strowman and Kane got right to it by battling all around the ring when Kane took a kendo stick to Braun’s tree trunk like legs. The two started battling through the crowd and Strowman took control.
Braun grabbed a chair and whacked it across Kane’s back. Braun rolled a piece of production equipment to smash Kane as they made their way around to the announce team. Cole, Graves, and Coachman all scattered before Strowman walked over the tipped the entire announce booth, platform and all on top of Kane.
The referee called for the bell and that looks like one way to write Kane off television so he can focus on running for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Braun just posed and left after that.
Winner: Braun Strowman via attempted murder
The medical staff surrounded Kane, Braun came back as Corey Graves asked him what he just did, “I did my job” Braun replied. “Kurt Angle said last man standing… what’s what I did!” Then the crowd popped huge for The Monster Among Men.
Now Jonathan Coachman doesn’t have a stage to sit at on the announce team on his first night. Was this a way of WWE shaking up the announce table placement too? They said Kane was being taken to a “local medical facility” and he was having problems breathing.
Braun was walking backstage and Angle got in his face about “haven’t we talked about this?” He said with the whole world watching he has to pull a stunt like this. Braun said he should have done more and he’ll do more at the Elimination Chamber and he’ll be standing over Brock Lesnar after WrestleMania.
Ladies and gentlemen… Elias vs Matt Hardy (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)
The Drifter’s gimmick is so cool it’s hard to hate him entirely. Even if he plays an acoustic guitar like a guy at the party who only knows a handful of Alice In Chains intros.
Elias said he sings because he likes the sound of his own voice and then talked about Cena eliminating him at the Royal Rumble and said John is going to get what’s coming to him. Then Elias sang a song about how he’s going to win and be in the Elimination Chamber because it’s “Elias’ night.”
The commentary team had to sit at ringside on metal folding chairs, all huddled around a single monitor like a bunch of homeless play-by-play announcers when there are probably a dozen tables under the ring.
Matt and Elias fought in the ring and it was a slowing moving contest for a bit as Hardy maintained control with a headlock while he kept saying, “delete.”
Then Elias hulked up and took the boots to Hardy in the corner. He wrapped Hardy’s arm around the ring post and returned to the ring for a bit before he went back out to do it again.
It looked like they ring crew was setting up an announce table for the commentary team right off camera which was nice of them to do.
Elias kept up the punishment on Hardy’s arm for a bit until Matt got to his feet to fight back but he was just driven right back down again. Then Hardy hit some headbutt, an elbow, and a side Russain leg sweep. Hardy bounced Elias’ head off the turnbuckle and hit a running clothesline followed by an elbow drop off the second rope.
Matt hit a Side Effect for a two count and prepared for the end when suddenly the screen got all Wyatty but Bray didn’t show up. Matt was distracted and caught a boot to the face followed by a Drift Away. So Elias won… good for him.
Winner: Elias via pinfall
Suddenly, Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen where he cut a promo on Matt Hardy consisting of nothing but manic laughter.
The Miz cut a nice promo on Roman Reigns about how he was going to defeat The Big Dog much like Tom Brady was going to crush the Eagles… that kind of line goes over like a fart in church for Philly fans.
The Miz vs Roman Reigns (Intercontinental Title Match)
Reigns landed a right hand right from the get-go and continued to beat The Miz down with strikes and headbutts. The Miz was selling well for Reigns as the Big Dog clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor right in front of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.
Roman drove The Miz into the steel ring steps and intimidated The Miztourage into leaving him alone. Then they returned to the ring just so Roman could clothesline The Miz over the top rope on the other side of the ring.
Roman grabbed a chair and walked toward Dallas and Axel until they headed for the back. Reigns raised the chair above his head and just as he was about to hit The Miz, the referee told him not to so he didn’t so The Miz sent Roman into the ring post in a desperation move.
They fought on in the ring and Roman Reigns started to rally with clotheslines and all the rest of his signature moves. He hit a big boot, he cocked his fist and geared up for a Superman Punch, but The Miz took his knee out on his approach.
Then The Miz started hitting It Kicks but the last one didn’t land because it never does… instead Reigns caught him and tried to powerbomb him but The Miz turned it around into a figure four leglock taught to him personally by Ric Flair himself. Then Reigns turned it around and reversed the pressure but The Miz got to the ropes to cause a break of the submission hold.
Reigns hit a sitdown powerbomb for a two count and The Miz started to untie the middle turnbuckle like last time but the referee caught him. Roman walked over to him and caught a thumb to the eyes followed by a Skull Crushing Finale for a close two count.
Roman hit a Superman Punch for a two count but The Miztourage came down and distracted the referee. Bo Dallas pulled The Miz out of the ring and Roman followed him. They traded right hands on the outside and Roman rolled The Miz in the ring tripping up the referee.
Roman grabbed Dallas from the apron and flipped him into the ring, hit a Superman Punch on Axel on the other apron, then landed a Spear on Dallas. Suddenly, The Miz rolled Roman Reigns up for a pin and snagged the win.
Winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
The Revival vs Heath Slater and Rhyno
Heath Slater took some damage to his left arm as both members of The Revival seemed to zero in on it. They cut the ring in half and didn’t let Slater get to his partner for the longest time during the match.
But once Rhyno got the tag, he started running through everyone. Slater fought Wilder on the outside as Dawson hit a chop block on Rhyno followed by a Shatter Machine for the win.
Winners: The Revival via pinfall
After the match was over, The Revival cut an old-school promo in the ring where they talked about how the Philly crowd keeps chanting “ECW” to “try and get themselves over.”
Asuka vs Sasha Banks
Sasha did not seem impressed at all with Asuka during her entrance. But it was on by the look on The Empress Of Tomorrow’s face.
Banks and Asuka traded moves in the beginning and Sasha brought her opponent to the mat with an armlock but she soon backed Asuka into the turnbuckle to apply even more pressure. Banks went to the apron and Asuka landed a couple kicks through the ropes followed by a hip attack that sent The Boss to the floor.
Let me just point on here that Jonathan Coachman hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to coming back as a heel commentator. He seemed to have Banks’ side and reasoned his position well.
Asuka tried to wear Banks down with a few kicks and an armlock as she bent her fingers backward. Then Banks broke free and landed a kick followed by a double knees to a seated Asuka. The Empress Of Tomorrow continued to sell her injuries as Banks hit a nice snap suplex to continue the assault.
Sasha reversed a tilt-a-whirl move into a Bank Statement and as soon as Asuka broke free, The Boss locked on another one. Then Asuka was sent out of the ring and Banks went for a suicide dive but Asuka caught her with a kick to the face which sent her bouncing off the LED board on the side of the ring in the process.
Once they returned, Asuka laid a knee into Banks’ face and hit a sliding knee. Banks retreated to the corner but Asuka hit a hip attack and climbed to the top rope. Asuka hit a missile dropkick and soon caught the armbar where Banks tried to roll her up for a pin but Asuka kicked out.
Banks went to the apron again and Asuka tried for another hip attack but Banks moved and Asuka went plummeting to the floor. Banks hit a double knees to the floor on Asuka followed by another double knees once they returned to the ring for a close two count.
Sasha looked like she was about to break as she started to appear weak with nothing else to try. Asuka tried to lock in a triangle but Sasha reversed into a Bank Statement but Asuka rolled around and Banks locked it in even tighter with Asuka nowhere near the ropes. Suddenly, Asuka countered with an Asuka Lock and Banks had to tap out.
Winner: Asuka via submission
That was the closest contest Auska has competed in since coming to the main roster by far.
The Bar vs Titus Worldwide (Raw Tag Team Title Match)
Jonathan Coachman said he’s been represented by Titus Worldwide for a couple of months now which is how he landed the gig on Raw which was humorous.
Apollo tried to score a roll-up pin from the beginning but Sheamus kicked out quickly. The Titus Worldwide kept up the abuse to Sheamus as Titus tagged in.
The Celtic Warrior tried to gain an advantage, but Titus muscled out of it. However, once Cesaro got the tag he took control. Titus gained the upper hand but it was only for a moment until Sheamus got the tag and turned things around by stomping O’Neil until he rolled out of the ring.
Titus took a bump and sold it until Apollo got the tag. Crews and Sheamus fought on and Apollo hit a top rope crossbody for a two count followed by a standing moonsault. Then Cesaro got the tag and Crews kept up the damage. Crews hit another standing moonsault for a two count.
Sheamus got the tag and Apollo tried to avoid a tag team move but Crews took a nasty powerbomb. Titus broke up a pin and then Cesaro got the blind tag and hit a crossbody on Crews which he rolled through for a two count. Then The Bar hit the double team White Noise and retained.
Winners and STILL Raw Tag Team Champions: The Bar
Apparently, Kane sat up in the “medical facility” and crawled out by himself. Now he’s roaming the streets of Philly. That’s a wonderful thought.
Finn Balor vs John Cena (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)
Yup, Finn Balor is very over in Philly and people aren’t the biggest fans of John Cena in the City Of Brotherly Love.
“I gotta get to WrestleMania somehow,” Cena said into the camera before bolting to the ring. Yup, he’ll get there it just won’t be like this.
John and Finn were pretty evenly matched and Cena soon got out of the ring to take a breather and reset the match. The crowd started to boo and cheer while paying attention to the opposite direction of the ring during a test of strength. My guess is that there is some kind of beachball activity going on. The crowd soon started chanting “assh-le” which very well could mean that the beachball was confiscated. One fan tweeted out that there was a fight between a Patriots and an Eagles fan which would be par for the course as well.
Suddenly Cena powered out of the test of strength and kicked Balor but the crowd seemed to be more attentive toward the beachball controversy happening on the other side of the arena.
Cena started hitting shoulder tackles and then nailed his slam. He prepped himself for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and nobody seemed to care in the crowd and when Balor moved before he could hit him, it drew a slight response. Balor hit a counter and scored a two count after that. The crowd seemed to be behind Balor but they were obviously tired.
Cena tried for an AA, but Finn squirmed out of it. Then they started trading shots in the ring. John landed a kick to the face and finally hit the 5 Knuckle Shuffle without bouncing off the ropes. Finn landed an overhead kick after reversing out of another AA and hit a Slingblade.
Balor prepped himself in the corner for Cena to get up but Super Cena caught him with a clothesline when Balor was going for the shotgun dropkick. John caught Finn and muscled him into an Attitude Adjustment after throwing up a “too sweet” for a close near fall.
The crowd popped pretty loud when Balor kicked out. Cena didn’t seem to be in this match much to be honest as he got out of the ring and stood on the apron. “I’m just trying to go to WrestleMania,” he said before climbing to the top rope. Balor knocked him down and hit his shotgun dropkick although he hit it off center.
Cena rolled out of the way of a Coup De Gras and locked in the STF but Finn got to the ropes. Balor knocked Cena back down and he climbed up on top. Then Cena grabbed Finn and nailed a top rope AA for the win over Finn Balor.
Winner: John Cena via pinfall
After the match was over, Cena mouthed “I’m sorry” to the crowd and pointed to the WrestleMania sign. Then he posed on the turnbuckle and pointed to the sign again. He obviously knew that the people wanted to see Balor go over as he probably should have. But WWE has thier plans and apparently, Balor isn’t in a big match just yet for Elimination Chamber or the Show Of Shows.