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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (1/1/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Jason Jordan w/ Seth Rollins VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus; Jordan wins.
  • Bray Wyatt VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide; Wyatt wins.
  • Alexa Bliss VS Asuka; Asuka wins.
  • Braun Strowman VS Rhyno VS Heath Slater; Strowman wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship, No Champion’s Advantage: Roman Reigns VS Samoa Joe; Reigns wins and retains the IC Championship.
  • Cedric Alexander & Goldust VS The ‘Zo Train; Alexander & Goldust.
  • Finn Balor & The Club VS Elias & The Miztourage; Finn & The Club win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Raw Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, finds Raw GM, Kurt Angle.

A match with Asuka? Seriously? Well, Angle wanted to start 2018 with a Wrestlemania worthy match. But that’s not fair! He’s rewarding Asuka for her bad behavior. Asuka is already in the Royal Rumble, she doesn’t need to beat Alexa tonight. Alexa isn’t going to change Angle’s mind. If she has a problem, settle it in the ring. And be grateful this isn’t a title match, yet.

Kurt Angle heads to the ring!

The Olympic Gold Medalist greets the WWE Universe with “Happy New Year!” Angle looks back on 2017 as one of his greatest years, and promises to make 2018 even better! Three weeks, Raw has its 25th Anniversary which will lead into the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View. John Cena has declared his entry into the Men’s Royal Rumble, because yes, there’s a Women’s Royal Rumble. Angle guarantees what the Women’s Rumble rules are, the management decided that what’s good for the men is good for the women! Thirty superstars, over-the-top-rope eliminations, and the winner challenges a Women’s Champion at Wrestlemania. Angle hopes Raw wins both Rumbles, but as far as tonight’s Raw– The Bar comes out!

Forget the Rumble and talk about “The travesty” that occurred on Raw last week! The Bar put up their tag team championships against a new team! What kind of crap is that? The Bar hates favoritism, because Angle gave his son a tag team championship match with Seth Rollins as his partner. Then, what came after was too much. For those who missed it, Kurt Angle came out to celebrate with his son and Seth Rollins. Sheamus is sick to his stomach watching such “favoritism”! Jason Jordan doesn’t deserve to be tag team champion, The Bar wants a rematch. ANgle will give them a rematch when Angle says they get it. How convenient! Jason Jordan comes out in person to respond.

If Jordan doesn’t deserve to be champion, then how come he is champion? Miami chants “Whose your daddy? You still suck!” but Jordan ignores it. Angle doesn’t understand favoritism. Jordan’s title shot was based off his track record. Says the daddy’s boy. Jordan and Rollins still earned the titles. And if Cesaro keeps running his “refurbished mouth”, Jordan will give him a new reason to go to the dentist. Angle keeps the peace, because it’s time to settle things in the ring, right now! And to support his tag team championship partner, Seth Rollins appears!

Or rather, he comes out to scold him. See that “pale Irish idiot” with “the stupid looking mohawk”? Jordan, you’re outnumbered, what good would that do their team? They don’t have to get along, but they are going to worry about each other. Rollins tells Jordan not to be self-absorbed. Jordan bragged in front of his dad, so now Rollins has to come out to be in his corner. But Rollins feels he’s only here to watch Jordan lose. At that, Cesaro blindsides Jordan from behind, and Rollins says “see what I mean?” Can the Gold-Blooded Son turn things around once the match actually starts?

 

Jason Jordan w/ Seth Rollins VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!

Raw returns with this match in action, Cesaro clobbers Jordan with European Uppercuts in a corner. Cesar whips Jordan corner to corner but JJ goes up and over then slips out of a body drop to dropkick the Swiss Cyborg. TWO, JJ keeps on Cesaro with shoulders in a corner. The referee counts, so Jordan moves Cesaro to an adjacent corner. Cesaro blocks the bump and hits back with more EuroUppers. He then gives JJ a snapmare and chinlock to grind him down. Rollins tries to coach JJ back into things. JJ gets up, fans rally while he fights out. Cesaro whips but is reversed, he ducks to springboard, JJ catches him! Jordan rams Cesaro into a corner, then carries him corner to corner for another. He goes corner to corner again, then a fourth time! Jordan fires up but Sheamus distracts him, Cesaro dodges to send Jordan into buckles and chop blocks the bad leg out!

Rollins chases Sheamus off, but the damage is done. Cesaro brings Jordan up for more EuroUppers, body shots, and then a wrench to the bad leg. He even dropkicks that knee against the ropes! Cesaro smacks the leg against the apron edge before giving Sheamus a high-five. He wrenches JJ’s bad leg at the knee, JJ endures the deep hold. Rollins tries to rally for Jordan, Jordan fights his way out and shoves Cesaro away. Cesaro is back on him, EuroUpper to the leg. Jordan crawls to a corner, Cesaro drags him out for an elbow drop and wrench tot he knee. Cesaro digs in an elbow, Jordan endures as he gives Cesaro crossface punches. Cesaro lets go, then brawls with Jordan. Jordan clobbers Cesaro with a lariat, then hobbles to ropes. He dumps Cesaro to the apron then knocks him down, but Cesaro sweeps the leg! Jordan goes down, Cesaro picks him up for a shinbreaker to the apron!

The Bar celebrates while we go to break.

Raw returns, and now Cesaro baseball dropkicks Jordan out of the ring. Rollins can only watch as Jordan writhes. The Architect tries to coach him back, but Cesaro gets Jordan back in the ring. Cesaro gives Jordan another big EuroUpper, then drags him out for a half-crab to the bad leg.

Jordan endures again, Rollins tries to rally the fans. Jordan rolls over and fights back, but Cesaro keeps him down with forearms. Even so, Jordan kicks with his good leg and gets Cesaro away. Rollins likes what he sees, but another EuroUpper rocks Jordan. Cesaro scoops but Jordan slips out then boots Cesaro down. Sheamus choaches Cesaro while Jordan tries a suplex. The leg won’t allow it, but Jordan still has his arms to knocks Cesaro down. Overhead suplex! And another! Jordan covers, TWO! Rollins likes the heart from Jordan as he runs back into Cesaro. Cesaro fights off the back suplex, but ends up in a Northern Lights!

Roll through, a second Northern Lights! TWO! Rollins rallies for Jordan as he limps over to Cesaro, but Cesaro grabs ropes to deny the suplex. He mule-kicks the bad leg, then Sheamus gets a cheap shot, roll-up, TWO! But into the Half-Crab again! Jordan endures, but it becomes a Full Crab to keep Jordan down. Jordan gets the ropebreak nonetheless! Cesaro tries to give Sheamus another opening, but Rollins intercepts and stomps him out! Back-suplex neckbreaker outta nowhere! Jordan wins! The Gold-Blooded Son celebrates because he earned this one. Even Rollins applauds. Can this makeshift team really last as Raw Tag Team Champions?

 

Backstage interview with Roman Reigns.

The Big Dog and Intercontinental Championship has no Champion’s Advantage in his match against Samoa Joe tonight. As far as Roman’s concerned, Samoa Joe got what he deserved last week for injuring Dean Ambrose. In Roman’s eyes, Joe walks and talks like a punk, which is why Roman “punked him out.” This week will get ugly and intense, but all within the rules. “I hope.” Can Roman rein in his temper and continue to reign as champion?

 

Bray Wyatt VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide!

The Eater of Worlds has had problems with the WOKEN Wisdom of Matt Hardy, will he use Titus’ #1 client to take out his frustrations?

The bell rings, the two circle while fans chant “DELETE!” They tie up, Bray puts Crews in a corner. He backs off for a clean break but then runs in to swing. Crews dodges, Bray gives his spider-lean! Crews is startled, but Bray comes out to circle with him. Bray swings, Crews dodges to put on a headlock. Bray stomps on a foot then gives Crews an uppercut before stalking him around the ring. Crews is thrown to the apron but kicks Bray down, slingshot senton and elbow drop, TWO! Crews puts on another headlock to keep the Face of Fear down. Bray powers out, swings but misses, so he uses a running headbutt to knock Crews down. Bray keeps on Crews at ropes, choking him on the middle one. The referee backs Bray off, but Bray returns to keep on Crews and mock Titus’ concern. Bray whips Crews corner to corner, Crews goes up and over. Things speed up as Crews shows off more agility, then he drops Bray with a dropkick. Cover, TWO, Crews keeps on Bray with an arm-wrench. He puts Bray in a corner, Bray puts him on the apron. Crews hits back, climbs up, but Bray rocks him with an uppercut. Bray is mad now, he drags Crews out for a draping jawbreaker! Crews gasps for air while Bray smiles and stalks him. Titus Worldwide cheers Crews on, but Bray torments Crews while grinning at Dana Brooke. We go to break.

Raw returns, Bray still controls the match as he grinds Crews with a chinlock. Titus Worldwide gets the fans rallying, Crews stands up but Bray throws him to ropes. Crews dodges, only to run into Bray’s body check! Cover, TWO, but Bray is not bothered. He kicks Crews while he’s down, stalking him to a corner. Bray grinds Crews’ face against the top rope, then whips him to other ropes. Crews catches him with a shotgun dropkick! Both men are down, Titus Worldwide and the fans rally again. Bray and Crews stand up, Crews gets a mule kick and boot, then hits a jumping lariat to Bray on the run. He kip-ups and hits a standing moonsault, TWO! Bray slips out of the ring, Crews fakes him with a slingshot to then mule kick and ASAI Moonsault!

Bray goes down, Titus fires up and coaches Crews. Crews gets Bray in the ring, stalks him but gets that turn-around lariat! Fans fire up as Bray spider-walks, but Dana gets on the apron. Bray locks his eyes on her, Titus says she needs to hop down. Bray scares her off and she falls on Titus!

But Crews hits Bray with an enziguri! Waistlock, but the SISTER ABIGAIL! Bray wins! But WOKEN Hardy speaks to him from the titantron!

“Ye-e-e-e-es~!” Bray, last week saw Hardy turn the Fireflies into WOKEN WARRIORS. He vows to devour Bray’s darkness within the WWE, to make it into light. Bray is a Consumer of Terrestrial Entities, but he won’t escape the WOKEN WISDOM. Matt is all around Bray, he haunts Bray’s dreams. Once Abigail’s powers are no more, Hardy will DELETE Bray! Many Matts appear on screen to laugh at Bray. Will WOKEN Hardy truly have the last laugh on Bray Wyatt?

 

Alexa Bliss finds Nia Jax.

Can Nia be her corner woman? She’s really worried about facing Asuka tonight. Sorry, but Nia has to take care of Enzo Amore, he’s sick with the flu and is “upset” about not being able to defend his title tonight. Seriously? Alexa needs Nia. But- Alexa can’t believe Nia is being like this. It’s either him or her. Nia apologizes, she needs to get Enzo her soup. Alexa can’t believe this insanity! What will happen to The Goddess when she faces the Empress?

 

Alexa Bliss VS Asuka!

One woman made history by being SmackDown and Raw Women’s Champions in the same year, the other by being the Undefeated NXT Women’s Champion for 523 days. Which woman will start 2018 with a win as the Women’s Division looks to make history at the Royal Rumble?

The bell rings, and Alexa is naturally wary of the still undefeated and still dangerous Asuka. They circle, Alexa dodges the grapple and runs to ropes for safety. Asuka lets her come back out and they circle again. Alexa keeps her distance, but Asuka still grabs an arm. Alexa shoves her away, Asuka spins and Alexa narrowly avoids the back hand. She runs to ropes for safety again before circling with Asuka again.

Alexa gets a waistlock but Asuka turns that around to a wristlock. Alexa reverses that to a hammerlock but theN Asuka reverses it back again. They go back and forth, Asuka gets a waistlock takedown to facelock. Fans are on Asuka’s side as she rolls Alexa to a kneebar! The champion scrambles out and the two return to their feet. Alexa tries a takedown but Asuka counters with a chinlock that shifts to a headlock. Alexa throws Asuka off but asuka stands back up and that scares Alexa back to ropes. Asuka grabs a leg, whips but is reversed, Asuka runs Alexa over. Asuka speeds things up then toys with Alexa as she does a little dance. Things speed up again, hip attack knocks Alexa down! Asuka is confident as ever while Alexa gets out of the ring. The Goddess looks afraid and unsure as she meekly returns to ringside. She wants Asuka to stay back as she enters, the referee obliges, but Alexa still scurries out of the ring again. Fans boo the cowardly Goddess, but Alexa wants nothing to do with the Empress at this point. The referee counts while Alexa sheepishly reenters. Asuka is already upon her, snapmare and a kick to the back. Asuka keeps Alexa grounded, Alexa gets back to ropes. The ref backs Asuka off so Alexa can come back, she just kicks and runs away. The fans boo again while we go to break.

Raw returns, Alexa has Asuka in a bodyscissors. Fans rally for Asuka while she endures the squeeze. Asuka pries her way out and goes for an ankle lock! Alexa screams and crawls but Asuka has it on. She crawls and gets the ropebreak, then yanks Asuka into those ropes. Alexa drags Asuka to the post and bends her back.

The ref counts, Alexa lets go at 4. She returns inside the ring, then stalks Asuka before hammering away. Cover, TWO, Alexa’s frustration is boiling over. She drags Asuka up but Asuka fights back with body shots. Roll-up, TWO, Alexa ducks teh buzzsaw to roll Asuka, TWO! Alexa yanks Asuka into a backbreaker! She clobbers Asuka with more hammer fists and even forearm shots. Another cover, TWO, so Alexa brings it back to a bodyscissors. Asuka endures the squeeze again, fans rally for her again. Alexa pulls on Asuka’s hair but Asuka doesn’t give in. Asuka gets moving again, turns around but Alexa turns things into a guillotine hold. Asuka pries her way out of that into the Kimura Lock! Alexa stands up, ropebreak! Alexa kicks at Asuka’s ribs, then puts her in a corner to stomp a mudhole into her. The ref backs Alexa down, Alexa takes aim and runs in for a screaming slap.

Asuka gets mad and slaps back! Alexa shoves Asuka, Asuka fires up, runs and dropkicks Alexa down. Asuka rallies now, whipping Alexa but reversed, Asuka hops up to hit a missile dropkick! Corner to corner hip attack leads to a snapmare and a running low hip attack! Asuka stalks Alexa, grabs her from behind, but Alexa resists and elbows out. Alexa kicks but Asuka deflects for the pop-up knee to the head! Asuka runs in on Alexa, Alexa trise the sunset flip but Asuka sits, TWO! Alexa dropkicks Asuka out of the ring, then stays in to recover. Asuka climbs back up, Alexa grabs her hair, Asuka roundhouses Alexa back. Alexa staggers, Asuka returns and hits the back heel kick. Armbar takedown!

Alexa taps, Asuka wins! The Empress has defeated the Goddess, will she still have a title shot waiting even if she doesn’t win the Rumble?

 

Backstage interview with Samoa Joe.

Now that there is no Champion’s Advantage, the Destroyer doesn’t even have to defeat Roman Reigns in their Intercontinental Championship match. But don’t worry, JOe will still defeat Roman, just like he has every time he’s faced Roman. The world needs to realize Joe owns Roman Reigns, he has “mentally broken” and exposed Roman Reigns. Roman was once a fighting champion, he and The Shield were going to be champions together again. Joe made damn sure The Shield members are never champions together again. Now Ambrose can be a Stay-at-home Husband living off his wife’s paycheck. Renee Young, being Ambrose’s wife, does her best to laugh that one off. Joe continues, saying that because of Joe, Roman is now the kind of man who uses Champion’s Advantage to his advantage. But now, Roman can’t use that, he has run out of options, friends and time. Joe will put Roman to sleep and become the new IC Champion. It may be Roman’s Yard, but it’s Joe’s World. Will he see his words become reality tonight?

 

Braun Strowman VS Heath Slater w/ Rhyno!

The ManBeast wants to show Slater how it’s done, can he survive the Monster Among Men?

The bell rings, the two tie up, Strowman shoves Rhyno to a corner. Fans still chant “E C Dub!” for Rhyno as he comes back out and ties up again. Strowman still shoves Rhyno off and then roars at him. Slater coaches Rhyno, fans cheer Rhyno on. The two tie up, Rhyno gets a headlock but Strowman powers out and knocks him over with one shoulder. Then Strowman boots Rhyno down! Slater gets on the apron, Strowman scares him back but only for a moment. Strowman goes out and grabs a mic. “Look, you’ve got two options, you cheerleader. Either stay on the floor and shut your mouth, or get in the ring and get these hands like your partner!” The fans chant “YES! YES!” for Slater, so Slater gets up on the apron. He stays back, Rhyno attacks, but it does no damage. So Slater joins in and this suddenly becomes a 2v1 Handicap! The Monster Among Men throws Slater off, then powers Rhyno to a corner. Strowman goes corner to corner to squash each man, then easily gives Rhyno the powerslam! Strowman wins!

But he’s not done. Miami wants another, but Slater runs in to save Rhyno. Slater’s heel kick is swatted away, Slater takes the powerslam! Fans are thunderous, they still want more! Rhyno stands up, and takes a second powerslam for himself! The referee begs Strowman stop here, but he won’t, Slater takes a second powerslam! Now Strowman is done. Has Strowman sent a message to The Beast and the Big Red Machine this close to the Royal Rumble’s Universal Championship Triple Threat? Oh wait, ANOTHER POWERSLAM for Slater & Rhyno each!

 

Seth Rollins talks with Roman Reigns backstage.

The Architect hopes The Big Dog is keeping his cool. Roman is, but Joe is proving himself to be a joke with how he runs his mouth. Hopefully Ambrose is watching, because Roman is going to send a message. Both men are champions, let’s keep it that way. Jordan comes in and says on behalf of Rollins, if The Bar appears, they’ll take them out. “Believe that.” Awkward. But, at least they’re all on the same page. Will The Shield still have the Intercontinental Championship when tonight is through?

 

Braun Strowman walks the halls, when he finds Kane.

The Big Red Machine simply wants to talk. He wants to talk about Brock Lesnar. Kane hasn’t faced Lesnar yet, but Strowman has. These two are the “alpha monsters” of the WWE and they can tame the Beast. Kane has a plan, will Strowman hear him out? Strowman doesn’t care about plans, he is THE Alpha Monster. And when Strowman takes out Lesnar, he’ll do it his way. In that case, Kane leaves Strowman be. Will this rejection come back to haunt the Monster Among Men?

 

Kurt Angle is visited by Finn Balor.

The Extraordinary Man wants to personally tell Angle that, as the inaugural Universal Champion, he will go through the Royal Rumble in order to get a shot at that title. Angle is glad to hear it, but he was thinking this was about something else. Oh, tonight’s Six Man Tag. He has partners, in the Good Brothers!

Because otherwise, it’d just be a couple of “NERDS”. The Club is back together to face The Drifter and the Miztourage, can it be just like old times?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship, No Champion’s Advantage: Roman Reigns VS Samoa Joe!

This rivalry is increasingly personal after what The Destroyer did to the Lunatic Fringe, will this championship match settle things once and for all?

The two men are ready to fight even before the bell, but formal introductions must be made first. Another thing of note is that the referee is the same one from last week’s disqualified match, so he’ll be ready for anything Roman might do. The bell rings and the two rush each other. Joe jabs away on Roman, backing him against the ropes. The ref backs Joe down, Joe comes back to keep on Roman in a corner. Joe brings Roman out, Roman rocks him back with right hands of his own. Roman stomps away, the ref counts and Roman backs off. Fans duel, “Let’s go, Roman!” “Roman sucks!” Roman keeps on Joe as the arena gets loud, but the referee backs him down again. Joe gets Roman with a back suplex in the distraction! Cover, TWO, but Joe keeps his cool. Joe stalks Roman then gives him forearms and a snap suplex.

Roman slips out of the ring for a breather, Joe lets him while we go to break.

Raw returns, Joe has Roman in a cobra clutch. Roman fights his way out, then runs only for Joe to run him over. Cover, TWO, now Joe is frustrated. He stalks the champion, giving him more jabs and even chops. Joe stands Roman up and prepares a suplex but Roman resists, Roman suplexes Joe over! Roman runs at Joe in a corner but Joe dodges and Roman hits buckles. Joe covers, TWO, but Joe keeps his focus. He stomps Roman while he’s down, as well as overhand chops. Joe wrenches Roman’s arm back in a high keylock, Roman endures while fans continue to duel. Roman feeds off a fan rally, getting to his feet and fighting out with big right hands. An uppercut rocks Joe, Roman rallies with clotheslines. Roman whips but Joe wrenches then rocks him with a forearm. Back elbow and Pele! TWO, and Joe is slowly growing frustrated. He looms over Roman at the ropes while fans continue to duel. Joe chokes Roman on the ropes, the referee counts and Joe lets off at 4. Joe brings Roman into a corner and gives him more sharp strikes from those elbows. The referee reprimands Joe, so Joe whips Roman corner to corner hard. Joe grins as he trash talks Roman on the mat.

Joe brings Roman up as fans cheer him on. He whips Roman corner to corner again, just as hard into those buckles. “All day long!” Joe tells Roman. “Remember what I did to Dean?” Joe brings Roman up again and puts him in a seated abdominal stretch. Fans continue to duel, “Let’s go Roman!” “Let’s go Joe!” Joe makes the stretch a half-straitjacket, and Roman fades. Fans rally, Roman revives and fights out with body shots. Joe gives a knee to Roman’s ribs, whips him to the corners again, Roman bounces off to clothesline Joe down! Both men are down, fans rally for them both. Roman crawls over and follows Joe up in a corner. Roman gives Joe those close-range clotheslines, and hits all ten. He runs and boots Joe down, Joe ends up outside the ring.

Roman sees where Joe is, so he slips out and comes around the corner, Drive-By Dropkick! They return into the ring, cover, TWO. Roman and Joe get to their feet, Joe ends up in a corner. Roman throws hands, the referee backs him off, and reminds him there’s no Champion’s Advantage. Joe puts Roman on the apron, forearm, then big body check sends Roman off. Joe runs again, to DIVE! Both men crash down on the outside, the referee starts a ring count. Both men just barely break the count at 9, the match continues but we go to break.

Raw returns again, Joe slaps and headbutts Roman to the mat. Joe circles Roman as he trash talks, then brings Roman up just to knock him down again. Joe toys with Roman, Roman dares Joe to hit him! Roman fires up with every hit, then stands up to hit him back! They brawl, Joe backs Roman down then runs, into a Samoan Drop!

TWO, and Joe gets to ropes. Roman stands up now, glares at Joe from across the ring, then locks and loads. Joe rolls out, knowing what’s coming. The referee keeps Roman in the ring, but Roman still slips out the side, for a jumping- forearm smash from Joe! Joe bounces Roman off the steel steps time and time again, dedicating each hit to The Shield, to Ambrose, and for what Roman did to Joe last week. Joe refreshes the count, then whips Roman but Roman reverses to send Joe into the steps! Roman goes to the steel steps, pulling the top half off, but the referee reminds him of the No Champion’s Advantage.

Joe dares Roman to do it, the referee tries to keep both men from doing any such thing, so Joe sucker punches Roman. Roman uses the steps to springboard for a SUPERMAN PUNCH! They return into the ring, SUPERMAN PUNCH again! TWO! Roman is shocked, fans are raucous and declare “This is Awesome!” The champ gets up, fans fire up, battle cry echoes out but Joe kicks Roman. Roman blocks the yurinagi, Joe throws Roman aside and into the referee! The referee takes offense, but that was a mistake! Roman tries to reason with him, but then Joe runs in, so Roman saves the referee by getting both of them clear. Joe hits buckles, Roman goes for a spear, Joe hits the yurinagi! Cover, TWO! Joe argues with the referee, that had to have been three. Fans are thunderous, Roman gets to a corner, and rocks Joe with an uppercut. Joe ducks on, Coquina Clutch! Roman throws him off, SPEAR outta nowhere! Roman wins and is STILL Intercontinental Champion! Will 2018 be the Year of the Big Dog?

 

Kurt Angle is visited by Paul Heyman.

The Advocate wishes to help the General Manager. There is a conspiracy afoot, in case Angle didn’t know. If Kane and Strowman gang up on Brock Lesnar, Lesnar will be “proactive” as opposed to “reactive”. Heyman vows 2018 is the Year of the Beast.

 

The ‘Zo Train’s Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari are in the ring.

They are here on behalf of Enzo Amore with a message. “My name is Enzo Amore, and I am a Certified G and a Bonafide Stud, and you can’t teach that.” How are you doing? Not so great, because Enzo has the flu. Therefore, he cannot defend his Cruiserweight Championship. Fans don’t like that. “What do we have over here? A couple of haters!” Had Enzo been healthy, he would’ve wiped the floor with Cedric Alexander. In fact, Enzo wishes he was healthy just so he could tell Alexander off. Wait, Alexander is here to hear this in person. The Carolina Kid was expecting a championship match and competition. But if Enzo is “sick”, who will step up in his place? The ‘Zo Train talks it out, and Gulak tells Alexander that his competition will be in a tag team match. The ‘Zo Train VS Alexander & “anyone who walks down that ramp”. Alexander doesn’t have many friends, so good luck finding someone to team with you. Oh is that so? Goldust is here!

The Bizarre One may not be a Cruiserweight, but they did say “anyone.”

Cedric Alexander & Goldust VS The ‘Zo Train!

Alexander starts against Daivari at the bell. They tie up, Daivari gets a wristlock but Alexander slips and spins out to throw Daivari. Alexander gives Daivari European Uppercuts then whips, but ducks to handspring headscissors and dropkick Daivari down. Gulak is scared off, Daivari pounces in the distraction and throws Alexander into buckles. Daivari drags Alexander up, snapmare to chinlock. Goldust rallies the fans, Alexander feeds off the energy and fights back against Daivari. He powers Daivari back a bit at a time, but Daivari knocks him down. Daivari trash talks Guldust but gets Alexander’s back elbow! Fans rally again, Goldust fires up, and both men crawl. Hot tags to Gulak and Goldie! Goldust rallies on the Philly Fury, bulldog turns into headlock and punches, then the bulldog. Goldust knocks Daivari down, then rocks Gulak with uppercuts. Fans know “You still got it!” even as Gulak reverses the whip, powerslam! Daivari comes in, takes the atomic drop, then Goldust climbs up for a top rope CROSSBODY onto the ‘Zo Train!

Tag to Alexander, springboard clotheslines! Daivari is thrown out, Goldust gives Gulak an uppercut, Lumbar Check! Alexander & Goldust win! Enzo may be out sick, but he’ll have to defend that title sometime. Will 2018 bring us a new Cruiserweight Champion?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter is in Miami, and reminds everyone that WWE means “Walk With Elias.” That means everything in the WWE is his, and he wants all of us to Walk With Elias! Elias vows to win the Royal Rumble, main event Wrestlemania, and give the performance of a lifetime. His first performance of the New Year is with the talented artists, Bo Dallas and Curt Axel. Bo brings the cowbell, Axel brings the jingle bells.

They dedicate this song to their hero, who returns next week, The Miz! “Should old acquaintance be forgot,” fans boo Axel’s lack of rhythm and Bo’s horrible whistling. Elias takes it from here… “Well I came to Miami, to see, who wanted to walk~. But no one, who is from here, is not worthy, not even The Rock! This city is filled–”

Finn Balor & The Club VS Elias & The Miztourage!

The Extraordinary Man reunites with old friends to ruin the New Year for a trio of NERDS! Will this New Year be Too Sweet?

Raw returns with the match already in  action. Axel backs Finn into a corner and rams in his shoulders before snapmare and neck snap. Cover, TWO, tag to Elias. The Drifter goes after Finn with a kick to the ribs and a haymaker. Elias whips Finn, Finn kicks back but Elias yanks on that bad arm. Elias gives furious body shots and stomps, the ref backs him down but he doesn’t let up. He drags Finn up, Finn blocks the punch and punches back. Finn reaches for his corner but Elias boots him down, cover, TWO. Elias wrenches Finn’s arm on the mat, The Club rallies for their former leader. The fans rally with them, Finn gets up and reaches but Elias brings him down. The fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop woop!” Finn gets up again, trips up Elias and gives him a double stomp to the chest. Both men crawl for their corners, hot tags to Gallows and Dallas! Gallows rallies on Bo, smacks Axel one, YAKUZA Kick for Bo. Gallows keeps teh rally going, another boot to Bo before a big splash! Elias drags him off the cover, but Anderson throws him out. Bo runs, into another YAKUZA Kick, then Axel runs into an uppercut. Tag to Anderson, tag to Finn, MAGIC KILLER!

Then Anderson DIVES onto Axel! Finn climbs up for COUP DE GRACE! Finn & The Club win! Now that’s too sweet.

 

Miami is now Suplex City!

The Big Red Machine wants to “tame the Beast” with the help of the Monster Among Men, but Strowman turned him down. As such, the Advocate must point out yet another stacked deck against his client, the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, BROCK! LESNAR!” Like, seriously? Why else would Lesnar have to defend his championship against challengers, plural. Remember how it used to be? “In this corner, the challenger, singular.” But at the Royal Rumble, it’s Beast VS Monster VS Machine. Lesnar must defend against both Strowman and Kane. Everyone knows this trick, don’t they? Strowman simply has to beat Kane so that Lesnar loses the title. Or, Kane simply has to beat Strowman so that Lesnar loses the title. No one has to beat Lesnar so that Lesnar loses the title, because “that just ain’t gonna happen.” Spoiler: Lesnar will still win at the Royal Rumble. It doesn’t matter how you stack the deck against Lesnar. You could line up Strowman, you could line up Kane, you could line up all 30 men in the Royal Rumble! Lesnar will still win. He is the most dominant champion in professional wrestling. Lesnar fears no challenge, challenger, challengers, nor does he fear Monsters and a “Devil’s Favorite Demon”. Mic drop from Heyman, but an appearance by said Devil’s Favorite Demon!

Kane walks down to the ring and stares Lesnar down. Fans chant “Suplex City!” but we get a CHOKE SLAM instead! Kane wants Lesnar to consider what just happened to him, Lesnar sits up and LAUGHS.

Lesnar then clobbers Kane out of the ring, the Raw roster floods the ringside area to keep them apart. Kane and Lesnar keep trying, but they’re kept apart thanks to referees and security. Fans want to “Let them fight!” but the Big Red Machine has already been ushered to the back. Lesnar holds up his championship belt, how much longer will it be his?

 

My Thoughts:

The first Raw of 2018 was a solid episode, but could’ve been a little better. Alexa Bliss’ recurring story of the night being that she was legitimately afraid of Asuka was perfect for both of them. Alexa has been a somewhat cowardly Heel and Asuka should’ve been feared by all on the main roster, so things finally feel right for The Empress. Their match was also solid quality, though it had a slow start. With Asuka getting the win over the Raw Women’s Champion already, perhaps WWE will have this in their back pocket should they decide someone from SmackDown is to win the inaugural Women’s Rumble. Jason Jordan has a great performance both as a character and a wrestler. His arrogance is growing, and it was smart to have Rollins point that out, but then it was also great for Jordan to actually come through and win. His dynamic with The Shield’s Roman and Rollins has a lot of possibilities while Ambrose is out recovering, as does the interactions of Renee Young and Samoa Joe. I’m kinda hoping Renee’s temper gets the better of her the way it did with The Miz when they were all on SmackDown. And Roman VS Joe was also great, as Roman might finally be coming into his own as far as in-ring performance.

I was a little disappointed WOKEN Hardy didn’t just sneak attack Bray again, or that roles weren’t reversed this time. However, kudos to Bray for at least making Apollo Crews look strong even though Bray still won. With the way things are going, chances are the Great War pre-filmed match between Bray and Hardy won’t happen until ‘Mania, but I’m sure they’ll milk their live in-ring encounter during the Rumble for all they can. I was also a little disappointed Enzo Amore was “sick”, but it was still fun to see Goldust have some action on-screen as a Face. Cross-divisional interaction like this is what the Cruiserweights should’ve been doing all of 2017 but maybe now WWE is seeing the error in their ways. But I really enjoyed Strowman essentially winning a handicap match and giving Miami fans what they wanted, as well as everyone getting what they wanted in Balor Club actually becoming a thing. There wasn’t a lot of pomp and circumstance, but hopefully WWE lets The Club gain some momentum while The Shield is a man down. Lastly, while Heyman gives another great promo, the ending with Lesnar & Kane left much to be desired. Lesnar no-selling the Choke Slam is whatever, but not letting things get out of control and go into overtime was a disappointing and anti-climactic ending for what was supposed to be a hyped up segment.

My Score: 7.9/10


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