The Road To WrestleMania is always a wild ride so let’s get right into it and see what Raw is going to do in order to build toward the Elimination Chamber.

Opening Segment

Bray Wyatt opened the show with a backstage segment in a dark room. He was directing his attention to Roman Reigns who he had to face to earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber match.

It was a typical Bray Wyatt promo ending with a clever line saying there’s something far worse than failure waiting for Roman Reigns… him.

Then they changed to Roman Reigns cutting a promo in the locker room where he said he was going to smash into Suplex City at WrestleMania after he’s done with Bray Wyatt. This seemed a strange way to start the show, but the match was next so they had to hype it somehow.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

While Bray walked tot he ring, Michael Cole talked about all the times these two have clashed before and then Coachman said, “there are so many things…” then the music cut off and The Coach didn’t finish his thought. It was nice to see the Raw announce team back in their usual spot after Strowman’s destruction last week.

As the match carried on I zoned out and started looking at some of the more interesting characters sitting in the crowd. Wyatt and Reigns are great but this match has happened so many times before this seemed like a lot of filler before Roman goes on to the Elimination Chamber which was the pay-per-view where Bray Wyatt won the WWE Championship last year.

Matt Hardy watched from the back with a huge smile on his Woken face while sporting his new t-shirt. Woken Matt is more likely Bray Wyatt’s direction at this point rather than a title shot.

Wyatt took a powder to avoid a Superman Punch and the Wyat hit a clothesline to stop a drive-by. Reigns took the steel steps on the outside and Wyatt posed for the crowd while the show cut to commercial. On that note, Dominos’ new “carry out insurance” has left me with so many questions about life.

Bray took control in the ring until the commercial break was over and Matt Hardy was watching intently the entire time, even the commercials. Then Roman came back with a Samoan Drop to break a submission hold.

Roman hit some clotheslines in the corner and was stopped by Bray into a uranage slam which Roman countered and then they traded some moves until the action moved up to the top turnbuckle where Roman blocked a superplex attempt and then he hit a bunch of headbutts followed by a sit-down powerbomb for a near fall.

“Anyone but you,” Wyatt said before Roman took control which has been his mantra toward The Big Dog for a while now.

Bray countered a Superman Punch into a uranage slam into a senton for a near fall and the crowd was pretty hot at this point while they chanted, “let’s go Bray.”

Then Roman hit a Superman Punch for a two count as Graves said these two are like Superman and Lex Luthor. Reigns yelled at the sky and went for a spear but Bray hit a Sister Abigail for a two count. These people were going wild wondering what WWE was doing while all the pieces to every puzzle WWE is putting together for WrestleMania revolves around Roman Reigns winning at Elimination Chamber.

Then Reigns fought out of another Sister Abigail and hit a Spear. 1-2-3 and The Big Dog’s “punching his ticket to Sin City” as Graves put it.

Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Suddenly Matt Hardy was in the ring and everyone chanted “delete” before Wyatt turned around to see the Woken One. Hardy hit a Twist Of Fate and posed for the crowd before taking off.

Jason Jordan was backstage when Seth Rollins walked up and mentioned Jordan’s injured neck. They had a match against The Bar that night and JJ said he’s 100% ready to go. He said he’s talked to his dad and the doctors and he’s ready to go and he won’t let Seth down.

Then Seth said it’s not about him. It’s about what they can do together so they’ll go out and take their tag team championships. It was a really nice feel-good moment nobody wanted.

Scott Dawson vs Finn Balor

The Club came out first and then Finn Balor got his own entrance. It would be pretty great if they could figure out a way for the entire Balor Club to enter together.

The Revival got to cut a little promo on the way to the ring where they called themselves tag team specialists. He proposed they make this a tag team match so Balor picked Karl Anderson.

The Revival vs Finn Balor and Karl Anderson

If they were going to do this, why did they bother booking a singles match in the first place?

Dawson took advantage of Anderson during the opening moments of the match using some old-school heel offense. But Anderson soon took control over The Revival and then Balor jumped in to hit both Revival members with a double team move.

The Revival tried to cut the ring in half on Balor the best they could when the show came back from commercial break but Finn got a hot tag to Anderson after hitting a double stomp on Wilder.

Dawson got the tag and took a spinebuster and Balor got the tag as Anderson hit a top rope dive on Wilder. Dawson ate a Coup De Gras to end this one.

Winners: Balor Club via pinfall

Geico is sponsoring Asuka vs Bayley tonight and since their slogan is all about 15 minutes, does that mean this match will get a quarter of an hour?

Sasha and Bayley were backstage where Banks was watching the match last week against Asuka where she almost beat her. She said she knows how to beat Asuka now and Bayley asked if she had any tips.

Banks said she’s keeping her tricks to herself and Bayley said “some offense taken” but she understands. It’s all about beating Asuka.

Bayley said she knows she’s good enough to beat Banks and if she’s good enough to beat Asuka then so is The Hugger.

Tony Nese and Drew Gulak vs Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander

Drake Maverick was on commentary to represent the Cruiserweights and he seemed to be having a great time in this new role.

They were hyping the new Cruiserweight Tournament which I am dubbing the Cruiserweight Classic 2.0.

Cedric took a clothesline from Nese during this one and he landed right on his head which was brutal. These guys really do turn it up to 11 everytime they’re in the ring because Cedric came back with a sick dive on Tony Nese for his troubles.

The finish came as Cedric hit a Lumar Check on Gulak. It really was all about Cedric Alexander in this one. If he doesn’t win the Cruiserweight Classic 2.0 then I’ll be very surprised.

Winners: Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander via pinfall

Women’s Elimination Big Chamber Announcement

Kurt Angle came out and the crowd was pumped to see the Olympic Hero. Angle stumbled on his lines a little bit seemingly forgetting the words “Elimination Chamber.”

Then he announced Bayley, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Sonya Deville, and Sasha Banks for the match. He said Jax is missing because she’ll be facing Asuka at Elimination Chamber and if Jax wins then it will be a triple threat match at Mania with her added to the match. This is an interesting story twist but it would mean that Asuka would have to suffer her first defeat on the Road To WrestleMania in order for Jax to be added to the big Raw Women’s Title match at the Show Of Shows.

Then Alexa Bliss came out and she didn’t look too happy while she tilted her head and stomped down to the ring like a pissed-off puppy dog. Bliss demanded the microphone and said, “this needs to stop right now.”

She said what he’s doing is wrong and his poor decision is against company policy. Apparently, the Women’s Revolution is in WWE’s company policy. She said the men and women should be equal and then brought up why the women’s Elimination Chamber match was for the title and the men’s match isn’t.

She asked why Brock Lesnar wasn’t in the match and the crowd was really getting behind her. Angle said Lesnar defended his title at Royal Rumble and she hasn’t defended her title since TLC. She said she thinks it’s sexist that Angle values Lesnar more than her.

Then Angle asked the audience if they want to see Bliss defend her championship in the women’s Elimination Chamber match and everyone chanted “yes.” She called them all sheep and left.

John Cena cut a cell phone promo backstage for his match later on in the night against Elias and Braun Strowman where the winner would be the last entrant in the Elimination Chamber match.

Asuka vs Bayley

Bayley and Asuka are not strangers to each other so they put together a pretty good match. It’s nice that WWE was giving Asuka good matches in the weeks since her Royal Rumble win.

Bayley dropkicked Asuka to the floor and then hit a dropkick but she was blocked. But The Hugger turned it into a head scissors takedown. Asuka got in the ring first and hit a hip attack which sent Bayley to the floor this time. Then Asuka went outside and Bayley tossed her against the barricade. It was quite intense and the crowd was pretty into it.

Once they returned to the ring, Bayley hit a suplex on Asuka for a near fall and started to rally until Asuka landed a knee. The Empress Of Tomorrow started landing kicks and hit a sliding knee for a two count before Asuka went to the top rope. Bayley avoided a missile dropkick and hit a running knee of her own for a two count.

Asuka jumped to the apron and latched on an Asuka Lock but Bayley turned it into a stunner-looking move through the ropes.

They moved outside and Asuka hit a diving knee to the floor and Asuka scored another near fall when they returned to the ring. Asuka started kicking Bayley but The Hugger blocked the third one. Bayley tried to hit the Bayley To Belly later but Asuka blocked it.

Bayley rolled Asuka up when trying for another Asuka Lock and she almost got the three count and then Asuka decided to stop playing games and locked on her armbar. Bayley soon tapped out.

Winner: Asuka via submission

After the match was over, Asuka extended her hand to Bayley and the two shook hands while Bayley still looked pretty bummed about losing.

The Miz vs Apollo Crews (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

Curtis Axel was absent from the Miztourage tonight but Bo Dallas was certainly happy to be by the A-Lister’s side. The Miz encouraged everyone to go out and look at the sky because to constellation will look a lot like him holding up his title.

He took credit for the high ratings of Raw 25 because that’s when he won the IC Title from Reigns and he also took credit for the Eagles winning the Super Bowl because their coach showed them a video of The Miz’ match.

The Miz also had time to do a pretty decent Paul Heyman impression while saying he will facing Lesnar at WrestleMania. He said his daughter will be born just in time to witness it all go down too.

Crews got a good chance to demonstrate his power, but The Miz and his veteran technique got the best of him time and time again.

The Miz won with a Skull Crushing Finale after letting Apollo Crews get really close to winning a couple of times.

Winner: The Miz via pinfall

Seth Rollins was backstage when he walked up to JJ and Kurt Angle who said, “you wanna tell him?”

Jason Jordan said he was feeling good and then he was warming up and doing some neck bridges and suddenly he didn’t feel good. Angle said he needed to forfeit the match with JJ unable to compete.

Suddenly, Roman Reigns was there and he walked up to Seth. Without saying anything Kurt Angle smiled and nodded his head before 2/3 of The Shield walked off together.

The Bar vs Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns

Yes, Roman Reigns is so good that he can wrestle in two matches on the same night.

The Iowa crowd gave it up for their hometown son, Seth Rollins but didn’t have quite as much love for Roman Reigns who they had already seen in the opening match of the night.

The Bar did a good job of maintaining an advantage even when they were taking punishment. Sheamus and Cesaro tagged in and out looking to put Reigns away but he wouldn’t stay down.

Cesaro was going for a neutralizer but Roman turned it into a Samoan Drop. Sheamus ran across the ring to knock Seth Rollins off the apron and he would turn around into a Superman Punch.

Jason Jordan ran down to help Rollins up and get him back on the apron just before he was tagged into the match and started running all over The Bar.

Rollins hit a slingblade on Cessaro and went for the Blackout but The Swiss Cyborg moved. Then Rollins hit that nice suplex into falcon arrow thing he does for another near fall.

Seth hit a Ripcord on Cesaro and landed a Superkick to Sheamus while Roman told JJ he should leave because they got this. JJ didn’t go anywhere though and remained at ringside.

Seth and Roman looked like they were going to land a powerbomb when The Bar just left. Jason Jordan stopped Cesaro by hitting him and causing a DQ. Seth Rollins wasn’t happy about this one bit.

Winners: The Bar via DQ

Nia Jax vs Enhancement Talent

Nia Jax won which isn’t a huge surprise at all. Then she cut a promo about Elimination Chamber while directing her attention to Asuka while saying she’s the only one who doesn’t fear her. She said she’ll mess Asuka’s pretty face up so she’ll have to wear her mask permanently and she’ll change her into the Empress Of Yesterday. Yup.

Elias vs John Cena vs Braun Strowman

Elias had a nice chance to sing a little song before the match started. John Cena cut his little concert off and after Strowman joined them the match got underway.

Once the match got started, Elias jumped out of the ring so Strowman could level Cena with a big boot.

Strowman chased Elias around the ring and Cena cut Braun off and tried to pick him up for an AA but couldn’t pull it off. Soon Cena and Elias were both outside of the ring so Braun went outside to punish them both.

Elias and Cena were forced to partner up to eliminate Strowman as they both hit running knees and sent him outside. They drove him into the pos and then took out the ringside steps with the Monster Among Men as well.

Cena picked up the steps and drove them into Strowman while Elias broke a guitar over him. Then Cena picked him up for an AA and hit it on the steel steps. Elias jumped Cena after that and the temporary alliance between Elias and Cena was over.

The two fought on in the ring and The Drifter hit a nice backbreaker for a two count then he latched on a reverse chinlock for a bit. But Cena broke free and hit a few shoulder tackles and a slam followed by a 5 Knuckle Shuffle attempt but Strowman jumped in the ring and hit him with a powerslam.

Elias threw Strowman out of the ring and stole the pinfall.

Winner: Elias via pinfall

Elias might be entering the Elimination Chamber in the last entry, but Strowman still laid him out with a powerslam before leaving and gave another one to John Cena just to make his point once again.

The crowd asked for one more so Braun Strowman gave Elias another running powerslam before posing in the ring with his point made even though The Drifter won the match tonight.

But Braun Strowman wasn’t done because he hit John Cena and Elias with another pair of running powerslams before leaving.

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Aaron Varble hasn’t just been writing for more than a decade in various formats including sketch comedy, stand up, television, radio, and other various projects; nor is he just another professional wrestling fan with a master's degree in journalism and Tourette’s syndrome. He's always looking to explore the why not with the why and the how come along with the how. Follow on Twitter @TheVarble