Original Air Date: January 15, 2018
Event Date: January 15, 2018 (aired live)
Commentary: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T, Tom Phillips
Ring Announcer: Jojo
Last week, Strowman made stuff fall on Kane and Lesnar.
Braun Strowman heads to the ring. He tells a story about a beast, a monster, and a machine meeting at a rumble. The monster became champ. The end.
Kurt Angle comes out and heads to the ring. He’s followed by a bunch of security guards. Angle isn’t happy with Strowman’s actions last week. He says everyone on RAW settles things in the ring, not with a grappling hook. Strowman says he does what he wants. Angle responds by telling Strowman he’s fired. Angle walks away, and Strowman follows.
Strowman is being followed by security, until he turns around to face them. Strowman approaches the security guards as the show goes to a commercial.
Strowman walks to the exit before beating up all the security guards. He heads back into the backstage area, saying he’s not leaving until “everyone gets these hands.”
Sheamus & Cesaro vs Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil w/ Dana Brooke
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Apollo Crews pins Sheamus with a schoolboy off a distraction from Jason Jordan
Time: 7:17 (1 break)
Pretty good match. I think last week’s match might have been a little better, but I did enjoy this one as well. Apollo Crews looked good and probably sttod out the most individually. Sheamus and Cesaro definitely had the better teamwork this week, though they seemed a little off. Not bad, just not as great as they usually are.
Strowman destroys Angle’s office.
In catering, Gran Metalik and Curt Hawkins enjoy some food with Akira Tozawa. Everyone scatters when Strowman comes by, and Hawkins gets chokeslammed through a table. He also eats some cake.
Enzo Amore and Tony Nese head to the ring. Amore is still limping, but he says he’ll be walking out of the Royal Rumble still champ. He also says that Cedric Alexander is going to have to get through Tony Nese before he gets to Amore.
Cedric comes out, followed by Goldust. Goldust says that if Amore were a movie, he’d be straight to DVD. Cedric calls Amore “sawft.”
Strowman throws a chair and rolls a dumpster next to some tables…
Tony Nese w/ Enzo Amore (Crusierweight Champ) vs Cedric Alexander w/ Goldust
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Result: Cedric Alexander wins via pinfall after a Lumbar Check
Time: 5:53 (joined in progress)
Good match. Both guys had some good moves, and the pace was kept fairly high. This was a good exhibition for Alexander heading into his title rematch, though it wasn’t much more than that.
Kurt Angle tells Dan Engler that he might have to call the cops. John Cone runs in and says Strowman is headed towards the live production trucks.
Strowman terrorizes the people in the video production truck. He can’t figure out how to shut everything down, so he leaves and turns over a truck.
Strowman then heads out to the stage where he picks up Michael Cole. Angle comes out and says Stephanie re-hired Strowman and he’s still in the championship match. Strowman seems pleased, but he picks Cole back up and tosses him off the stage into a gigantic group of security guards.
** I have so many problems with all this. First, we’ve already seen Strowman turn over a truck (and it wasn’t original the first time he did it). Second, the editing during that (pre-taped) segment in the back was atrocious, with angles switching back and forth in rapid succession. Third, There have been multiple attempted murders over the past year, yet this is the first time the cops have been called on Strowman or whomever he’s feuding with? Okay. Fourth, Seeing Strowman walk around and essentially do nothing at the beginning and ending of every segment is dumb and boring. Fifth, Strowman is being rewarded for acting in the exact same way that got him fired in the first place. Sixth, he was fired and re-hired in about an hour, which makes it a completely uncompelling story. And finally, I wish Strowman had actually thrown Cole into or through something so he could go on vacation for a few months.
Long story short, this was dumb. **
Tom Phillips joins Booker T and Corey Graves at the announce table.
Nia Jax vs Asuka
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Asuka wins via stoppage when Nia Jax can’t stand after the damage done to her leg
Time: 7:39 (1 break)
Good match. Nia Jax is slowly getting better, and I think she and Asuka could main event a RAW (at least) if they build up a match properly. Jax used her strength to good effect in this one, and her strength is one of the few things that could believably give Asuka trouble on RAW. Asuka looked great picking apart Jax and doing damage exactly where it needed to be done.
Medical staff attend to Nia Jax, and Alexa Bliss runs down to the ring to check on her “friend.”
Jason Jordan thanks Angle for believing in him. Jordan also says that he and Seth Rollins are prepared to defend their titles at the Royal Rumble. Jordan then says Rollins needs a match tonight to keep him sharp, so he suggest Finn Balor as Rollins’ opponent. Angle, with other things on his mind, agrees to make the match.
A look at the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alexa apologizes to Nia Jax for getting her involved with Asuka. Enzo Amore walks up and asks Nia how she is. Alexa doesn’t seem to want Enzo around, but Nia more or less tells Alexa to leave.
The Revival vs Extra Talented (Aaron Solo & Ricky Starks)
(referee: Rod Zapata)
Result: Dash Wilder pins Ricky Starks after a Shatter Machine
This was a fine squash.
Charly Caruso enters the ring, but Dawson asks her if she really want to give The Revival a live mic on live TV. He says everyone just witnessed greatness. Unlike a lot of the tag teams in the back, they are students of the game.
Caruso asks Dawson and Wilder which legends their most excited to meet next week at RAW 25. Wilder says beer baths and crotch chops are the reasons why people mock pro wrestling. No one will change The Revival though. they won’t be swayed from the style of wrestling that they do.
In the ring, Elias is out there to to teach everyone a lesson. His lesson: “WWE” stands for “Walk With Elias.” He’s also out there to sing a song about John Cena and the Royal Rumble. He then sings an introduction for The Miz and The Miztourage.
After a commercial break, Miz says that everyone knew something was missing in the six weeks he was away from RAW. The missing spark wasn’t Cena or Lesnar, it was The Miz. At the 25th anniversary of RAW, Miz will over-deliver like he always does. The IC Title will be his.
Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel w/ The Miz vs Roman Reigns (IC Champ)
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Roman Reins pins Curtis Axel after a spear
This was alright. Both guys made dumb moves in a handicap match, but it was about as believable as I’d expect it to be.
Sasha Banks w/ Mickie James, Bayley vs Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose, Paige
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Result: Sonya Deville wins via pinfall after a kick to the midsection
This needed more time. The finish was interesting, but it felt very abrupt and a little strange. It completely feel like an earned victory, even though there was nothing really wrong with the match. It was just too short.
Mark Henry, Sasha Banks, Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil, Roman Reigns, Alexa Bliss, and Seth Rollins visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.
Seth Rollins reminds Jason Jordan that he is Rollins’ teammate, not his spokesperson.
Matt Hardy vs Heath Slater w/ Rhyno
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Matt Hardy wins via pinfall after a Twist of Fate
Time: 3:40 (joined in progress)
Pretty good match. It was fun. Slater was sufficiently freaked out by Woken Matt Hardy, and Matt was sufficiently, but not completely, dominant.
Goldberg is the first name announced to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
Finn Balor w/ Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson vs Seth Rollins (RAW Tag Champ) w/ Jason Jordan (RAW Tag Champ)
(referee: Rod Zapata)
Result: Seth Rollins wins via pinfall after a Blackout
Time: 11:34 (1 break)
Very good match. Rollins and Balor looked like the hadn’t missed a beat from their feud over a year ago. There were some great sequences in this match. It was very competitive and highly entertaining. Balor and Rollins were given a decent amount of time to go one on one before the inevitable shenanigans towards the end of the match. Cesaro and Sheamus came out, some brawling happened, some distractions occurred, and the finish of the match was mired in a little controversy. I think the controversy is a good thing though. It invites a perfect opportunity for a rematch or two. Or three. Or more.
The first hour of this show was dumb. The matches were okay, but everything else was dumb. The second and third hours were better, but a lot of the matches felt like they could have been a lot better had they been given more time. There were some decent seeds planted (like Nia versus Asuka, The Revival’s revival, Matt Hardy doing stuff), but the show didn’t get really good until the end of the night.
The end of the show was a little odd though. After the match, Rollins’ music is played for a while as the commentators talk about the match and the arguable three count that wasn’t counted. Instead of ending the show with Rollins’ music like they usually would, the cameras kept going even though the music stopped. The arena was quiet (though the commentators were still talking), and the focus was on Balor in the ring. Balor had taken a curb stomp from Rollins, and the red mark on his face was clearly visible. The cameras stayed on Balor as he struggled to regain his faculties with the help of Anderson and Gollows. It was just an unusual way to end the show. It makes me think they might do some sort of story around the curb stomp and its effects.
Match of the Night
Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor
I think this might be the best match in WWE so far in 2018. True, the previous couple of weeks haven’t been the greatest in the WWE ring, but this was really good. Plus, it gets me excited for a potential extended feud between Balor and Rollins sometime this year.