At the start of RAW, we saw a limousine. The door of the limo opened, and Vince McMahon got out. We saw him walking backstage and then went to the live crowd who got greeted by Braun Stroman. Stroman says that he knows that Lesnar is afraid of him. Lesnar can no longer be saved by Baron Corbin because he doesn’t run RAW anymore. He says that at the Royal Rumble, Lesnar will “get these hands.” Corbin then came out and says he is focusing on winning the Rumble so that he will be “somewhere you (Braun) will never be, the main event of Wrestlemania.” This seemingly hit a nerve for Stroman, as he chased Corbin backstage. Once he went backstage he couldn’t find Corbin. Stroman glanced at the same limo that Vince McMahon was near. Elias was playing his guitar backstage and said told Stroman that Corbin was in the limo. Stroman went to absolutely vandalize the limo, ripping out a door. Corbin was in fact in the limo but got away as Stroman was caught by Vince McMahon. Vince was in absolute disgust of what happened as we went to the break.
After the break, we saw Stroman try to put back together the car door that he took apart. Vince was nice enough to wait until after the commercial break to shout at Stroman. He says that the repairs will cost Stroman 100,000 dollars. Wow, pretty solid estimation on the fly from Vince. After Stroman complained, Vince also called off Stroman’s Royal Rumble match. This enraged Stroman even more, making him flip the limousine. You’d think that at this point Stroman would learn that his temper is detrimental to his career, but I guess not.
It felt like an unusual way to end it, but whatever. There was some great camerawork for this opening segment, which felt out of the ordinary for the program. Once Stroman stormed away from the limo, the camera turned to a corner where Elias was hidden away with his guitar. It seemed odd that Stroman would get this offended over Corbin thinking that he will main event Wrestlemania.
Ronda Rousey & Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax & Tamina
The first match of the evening was Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks fighting the duo of Nia Jax and Tamina. Before the match began we saw Braun Stroman being escorted out of the building by security. When Rousey first got tagged into the match the crowd cheered. Tamina fell into an Armbar but escaped it because Nia Jax dragged her out of the ring. The finish came after 10 minutes of the match, with Sasha Banks giving Tamina the Banks Statement after Tamina ran into Nia. After the match Ronda complimented Banks, saying that it would be an accomplishment to defeat Banks at the Rumble. While Ronda wasn’t being rude, Banks took offence to this, saying that she will teach Rousey how to lose with class. Both of them had a good exchange, although it made Ronda seem very passive.
Backstage we saw a line outside Vince McMahon’s office. Jerry Lawler left the room before we went to the break. After the break, we saw Bayley and Natalya breaking up another argument between Banks and Ronda. After they got split up, Bayley and Natalya themselves got in an argument. The Riott Squad then came in to make fun of the two. They offer the two to a six-man match if they can find a third member for their team. Natalya accepts the challenge before consulting Bayley, who seemed reluctant.
Kalisto & Gran Metalik w/ Lince Dorado (Lucha House Party) vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder (The Revival)
Because of The Revival’s unfortunate loss last week due to the ref not seeing a foot on the rope, they are taking out their anger on the Lucha House Party. They didn’t lose to the Lucha House Party, but they were ringside as Lumberjacks for the match, so that makes them guilty in The Revival’s eyes. During the match, we headed backstage where Dasha Fuentes was reporting from outside Vince McMahon’s office. Apollo Crews, Curt Hawkins, EC3, The B-Team, Health Slater & Rhyno were outside the office in hopes of a match. EC3 didn’t say anything and just smiled when on camera. The wrestling was okay, but the whole point of this match relied on the finish, where Gran Metalik’s foot was taken off of the rope during a pinfall. After the match, we went back to the office where Vince McMahon said he will announce Brock’s new opponent.
Vince McMahon Makes An Announcement
Vince McMahon came out to make his announcement. Before he could finish a sentence, John Cena came out. Cena gives his pitch and says he is stepping up for the match. After he gave his speech, Drew McIntyre came out. And then came out Baron Corbin, and then Finn Balor. The first person that Vince turned down was Finn Balor. Balor says that Vince never believed in him. To change Vince’s mind, he starts a brawl. McIntyre comes out above everyone in the brawl, giving Cena a Claymore Kick. After this, Vince books a fatal-four-way match.
Backstage after the break, Jinder Mahal approached Vince McMahon backstage. Jinder doesn’t understand why he didn’t get considered for the match. Because of this, Vince gives him an odd stipulation where he can choose anyone from the fatal-four-way, and if he beats them, he gets their Rumble spot. Can we just have a show where everyone only fights once? Why does somebody have to appear twice? We saw this last week and will see it this week now as well.
Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan & Ruby Riott (Riott Squad) vs. Natalya, Bayley & Nikki Cross
For the previously announced 6-woman tag match, Natalya and Bayley got Nikki Cross as their partner. Michael Cole explained before the match that Cross will, like the other debuting talent, appear on both RAW and Smackdown before landing a home. As the match started, Nikki was acting crazy, doing the Ultimate Warrior rope shake at one point. Cross did a spot that I’ve always liked, where someone puts their opponent in-between the ring and the apron and then beat her. Bayley got the finish with an Elbow off the top rope to end the match. Lacey Evans was seen chatting backstage before the break.
Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh vs. Finn Balor
Jinder Mahal got his wish, facing Finn Balor in the next match. Before the match, we saw Dean Ambrose backstage. He cut a promo on his Intercontinental Championship match which is later on. As Balor was making his entrance, he got jumped by Mahal. Balor did a dive to Mahal and Sunil Singh and then brought Mahal back into the ring for a Coup de Grace to end the match. What a busy few days it’s been for Balor, as he was just fighting on the NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool show this weekend.
Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship Match)
Before the match, we saw an interview with Seth Rollins. Rollins says that this might be his last chance at an IC title shot. He referenced Roman Reigns and his leukemia announcement, which feels very exploitive since it’s been months now. Early on in this match Lashley and Ambrose formed an alliance. After Rollins did a Suicide Dive to Ambrose and Lashley, Lio Rush got involved in the match. Rush got chased around by Rollins, making him get hit with a Spinebuster by Lashley. Ambrose got a Belly-to-Belly Suplex right after. After the break, Rollins was closing in on a victory. He pinned Ambrose but then got his pinfall broken up by Lio Rush. Since it’s a triple threat match, it was totally allowed. Rollins hit a Frogsplash on Lashley, and then Ambrose got rid of Rollins so he could pin Lashley. Rollins got hit with a Doomsday Device from both Lashley and Ambrose. Rollins, I think, was supposed to land on his feet but didn’t. He went off the ropes but fell out of the ring because of Lio Rush pulling down a rope. Lashley gave Ambrose a Spear to become the new champion.
While Ambrose and Rollins are in the middle of a rivalry, I think it’s a good time to give Lashley a push. Lio Rush is a big part of the Lashley gimmick right now, and he’s doing an amazing job. Rollins and Ambrose can survive as a rivalry without the need for a championship incentive. Backstage we see an employee giving Alexa Bliss a latte. Since she didn’t answer her door, he walked in uninvited and accidentally walks in on her changing. And that was it, that was the segment. Not sure why that was there.
“A Moment of Bliss” With Paul Heyman
Alexa Bliss hosted her second episode of “A Moment of Bliss” next. Before her interview with Paul Heyman, she unveiled the new Women’s Tag Team Championships. During the interview, Otis Dozovic from Heavy Machinery crashed the interview. He was brought backstage by his apologetic tag partner and other employees. This interview felt somewhat short, just like the first Alexa Bliss talk show episode.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. John Cena
The main event of the evening is the fatal-four-way to decide Brock Lesnar’s new Royal Rumble opponent. In the storyline, Balor came in at a disadvantage because he already fought tonight. Cena hit an AA late into this match onto McIntyre, but Corbin broke up the pinfall. Cena did another AA later into the match onto Balor, this time off the second rope. Corbin started to use a steel chair. McIntrye gave Cena a Claymore kick, and then Balor came in to take out McIntrye. Balor gave Cena a Coup de Grace to win the match. Balor will face Lesnar at the Rumble. After the match, Cena said he believes Balor. Balor felt like the favourite for this match since he was considered the underdog by Vince McMahon, and because he had already fought a match. This was a good match to end the show with.
In general, this wasn’t a bad episode of RAW. Lashley winning the championship was a nice surprise, and we got some enjoyable matches on top of that. This episode tops last week’s by a longshot.