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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (2/19/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Seven Man Gauntlet Match: John Cena, Elias, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Finn Balor & Braun Strowman; Strowman wins.
  • The Bar VS Titus Worldwide w/ Dana Brooke; Titus Worldwide wins.
  • Six Woman Tag: Mickie James, Bayley & Sasha Banks VS Alexa Bliss & Absolution w/ Paige; Mickie, Bayley & Sasha win.

PLAY BY PLAY

“Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the WWE…”

A moment of silence for the victims of the Parkland, FL tragedy and their families.

 

Seven Man Gauntlet Match: John Cena, Elias, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Finn Balor & Braun Strowman!

All seven men involved in this match will be part of the first-ever Seven Man Elimination Chamber match this Sunday! We start with The Big Dog, Roman Reigns!

Before entering the Universal Championship #1 Contenders Chamber match, Roman will test if he can survive the other six men. This choice was the Raw General Manager’s, and that means he could be in “for a very long night.” How does he feel about taking on such a match this close to the Pay-Per-View event? “I’m not concerned at all about tonight.” He does worry about the Chamber, however. Roman’s never been in one but he’s seen them all, “how rough it is, what it does to the men’s bodies.” On top of that, he’ll be up against some of the best competition in the entire world, from John Cena to Seth Rollins to Braun Strowman. “But all those guys have one thing in common: they cannot beat Brock Lesnar.” That is why this is Roman’s time. And if the WWE Universe don’t think it’s true, watch Wrestlemania 31 and see how close Roman got. But then his first opponent, Seth Rollins, comes out!

The Architect also wants at The Beast, but he’ll have to take on his Shield Brother here and at the Chamber to do it! Will either of these two make it to the end of the Gauntlet?

The bell rings and the fans already duel. Rollins and Roman slowly circle, and the fans chant “Burn it Down!” They tie up, Roman keeping Rollins back. Roman puts Rollins in a corner, then lets him out cleanly. They circle again, they tie up again, and Rollins gets the standing switch. Roman pries the hold open and reverses to a wristlock. Rollins rolls and spins to reverse that onto Roman. Roman reverses again, into a headlock, and doesn’t let Rollins out. He throws Rollins with the headlock takeover and continues to squeeze Rollins’ head. The fans keep up their chanting while Rollins endures. Rollins gets up and to his feet, but Roman brings him back down. Rollins uses headscissors and Roman pops out to again get Rollins in the headlock takeover. Roman says, “I told you, I know all your tricks.”

He keeps up the grind but Rollins gets back up. Rollins powers out this time, but Roman runs him over with a shoulder. The fans are a mix of cheers and jeers as things speed up. Rollins arm-drags Roman then transitions to La Mahistrol, TWO! Rollins keeps on Roman with a backslide, TWO, so he mule kicks and runs, but Roman stands right up to stare him down. The Shield Brothers are even while we go to break.

Raw returns to see Roman has Rollins back in a headlock. The fans duel with chanting, and Rollins stands up again to fight out with body shots. A jawbreaker breaks the hold and Rollins runs, but into Roman’s back elbow! Roman checks his teeth before going back to the dazed Rollins. Rollins staggers at the ropes, but Roman keeps on him with right hands in a corner. Rollins staggers again, Roman whips him corner to corner. Roman runs in but into Rollins’ boot. Rollins comes out but into the tilt-o-whirl slam! Cover, TWO! Roman keeps his cool while Rollins stirs. The fans keep dueling, but Roman keeps focused on Rollins as they both stand up. He whips but Rollins kicks back, then Rollins throws a back elbow. Another boot and Rollins hops up, for the flying blockbuster! They keep moving, Slingblade for Roman.

Roman ends up in a corner and Rollins gets that leg moving as he runs corner to corner. Roman puts Rollins on the outside but Rollins punches him away. Rollins springboards and hits the flying clothesline. The fans fire up as Rollins clotheslines Roman out of the ring. Roman lands on his feet but Rollins builds speed to DI- Roman’s right hand rocks Rollins! Rollins is limp on the second rope as Roman gets space, to hit a Drive-By Dropkick! The referee starts a ring count while Roman catches his breath. He puts Rollins in the ring and follows, but Rollins swings. Roman rallies with clotheslines, then corner clotheslines at close range. Roman gets all ten, then runs to boot Rollins down. The fans are mixed as Roman gets to a corner. Roman locks and loads, takes aim and runs in, but into the wristlock. Roman headbutts Rollins away, then runs back in, but Rollins mule kicks the punch down. Rollins grabs Roman, powerbomb lift and buckle bomb this! SUPERMAN PUNCH outta nowhere! Both men are down as we go to another break.

Raw returns while Rollins climbs to the top rope. He takes aim at Roman, jumps, Frog Splash flops as Roman rolls out of the way. Both men are down again and the referee starts a ten count. The count reaches 3 before the two stir, and 6 when the two stand back up. Rollins swings forearms into Roman, Roman fights back with haymakers. Roman’s uppercut staggers Rollins, but then Rollins throws Roman out of the ring. Rollins runs, DIVES and hits!

He gets back in the ring and goes again to DIVE! Rollins puts Roman back in the ring and climbs over to a corner. He springboards again, SUPERMAN PUNCH knocks him out of the sky!

Cover, TWO! Roman feels some frustration on top of his exhaustion. He sits up while Rollins crawls for ropes. The fans are thunderous both ways but Roman gets up and to a corner. He lets out the howl, then runs but into Rollins’ kick. Rollins mule kicks, goes for the Curb Stomp but Roman evades to roll up, TWO, Rollins rolls up, ROLLINS BEATS REIGNS!!

They’re both shocked but the fans are chanting “YES! YES!” Roman accepts this loss, he and Rollins are still Shield Brothers.

However, the Gauntlet shows no mercy as it brings out…

JOHN CENA!

The Face that Runs the Place wants to get to Wrestlemania by any means necessary. He earned his way into the Elimination Chamber and wants to challenge for his first ever Universal Championship, but can he get through The Architect and the Gauntlet? He turns around Rollins attacks Cena right away! Cover, TWO! The Architect shows no mercy either as we go to break.

Raw returns and Cena now has control as he puts Rollins in a thrashing headlock. Cena has one of Rollins’ arms trapped but Rollins tries to use that other arm to go after Cena’s face. Rollins slips his trapped arm out but Cena just brings him back to the mat and re-traps the arm. Cena makes it a cover but Rollins gets up at ONE. Rollins keeps moving and gets out again. He fights back with body shots, then haymakers. Rollins runs but into Cena’s clothesline. Cena gets serious as he finally takes off his shirt.

He covers, ONE, but Cena keeps focused. He stalks Rollins and Rollins can sense it. Cena still rocks Rollins with a right hand, then whips him corner to corner hard. Quick cover, ONE, so Cena goes back to the headlock. Cena drags Rollins into a sleeper and body scissors. Rollins endures but he’s turning red. He reaches and resists but Cena’s wrapped on tight. Rollins gets out of the body scissors but Cena maintains the headlock. They stand up again and Cena forearms Rollins in the back. Cena kicks Rollins in the head, then drags Rollins up to throw him out. Rollins bumps barriers while Cena waits in the ring. The ring count begins and perhaps Cena wants the easy win, given the circumstances. The count gets up to 9 but Rollins narrowly beats it! He even dares Cena to bring the fight.

Cena keeps on Rollins with another low kick. Cena glares down at Rollins, he wants the ref to count like a Last Man Standing match. He tells Rollins to stay down but Rollins refuses. Cena waits for Rollins, grabs him for a side belly2belly, then rolls into another! He hits a third belly2belly, covers, TWO! The Architect frustrates the leader of the Cenation while we go to break.

Raw returns again and Cena still has control. Rollins staggers to his feet but with Cena stalking him. Cena brings Rollins up but Rollins slips out, kick and DDT! Cover, TWO!

Rollins is too sore and tired to be mad. He and Cena stir, then get to their feet. Rollins throws haymakers and chops on Cena, but Cena ducks to lift Rollins again. Flapjack stunner, TWO! Cena looks frustrated, he isn’t sure what to do to Rollins now. He gets up and glares down at Rollins again. Rollins drags himself to a corner, but Cena backs off. He wants Rollins to get up, and Rollins drags himself to his feet while the fans duel. Rollins puts his dukes up but Cena drops him with a haymaker.

Cena circles Rollins as he stands up again, to knock him down again. He even brags, “I feel great right now.” Rollins won’t give up, so Cena starts boasting and flaunting. He evades Rollins and knocks him back down, ONE. Rollins gets fired up, shoving Cena. They both get fired up and a brawl starts with back and forth haymakers! Rollins runs but into Cena’s back elbow. Cena covers, TWO, and Rollins gets under the rope and out to the apron. Rollins drags himself up, Cena runs and blasts Rollins off the apron. The ring count begins, but Rollins is stirring at 3. He crawls to the ring, but is only halfway there at 6. The count reaches 9 again, and Rollins again beats the count. Cena is both shocked and frustrated while we go to break.

Raw returns once more, and Cena again looks down at the exhausted Rollins. Cena waits for Rollins as he gets back up. Cena runs and starts rallying with those signature shoulder tackles. He goes for the spin-out but Rollins counters with a headlock takeover that puts Cena in a corner. Rollins runs at Cena but Cena puts him on the apron. Rollins punches Cena away then springboards, but Cena catches the leg! STF! Cena has Rollins down, far from ropes! Even so, Rollins drags himself over. Cena lets go to drag Rollins back, but Rollins shoves Cena away. They both get up, Slingblade to Cena! Cover, TWO! Rollins’ bad leg slows him down but he still stands up. He keeps his eyes on Cena as they go corner to corner. Rollins runs in and hits a forearm smash, then snap suplex roll-through to Fa- roll up from Cena, TWO! Spin-out powerbomb! And that always means one thing: “You Can’t See Me!”

Except Rollins kicks Cena, then mule kicks, to mule kick again! Cover, TWO! Cena rolls to the apron but both men are running on fumes now. They both stand up, Rollins hobbles over to Cena. Rollins wants to suplex Cena in, but Cena counters. Cena brings ROllins to the outside but Rollins kicks him away. Rollins runs in, but Cena side-steps to send Rollins into the post! Cena runs back in, but Rollins side-steps to send Cena into steel steps! A ring count begins again but for both men. It reaches 5 before either man stirs. The count reaches 9, Cena and Rollins both beat it by the skin of their teeth.

The fans chant “Burn it Down!” for Rollins as he and Cena get to their feet. Cena throws haymakers, then spin-out powerbomb Rollins again! Five Knuckle Shuffle, then the fireman’s carry, but Rollins rolls down to cover, TWO! Takedown into a Crossface! Cena endures the submission, and uses his superhuman strength to get up to his feet! He puts Rollins in position, AA- But Rollins lands on his feet! Enziguri! Cena is down, Rollins hurries up top! FROG SPLASH!!

TWO!! This is a match moving past 50 minutes and yet Rollins is still going. He and Cena both get up, Rollins goes for the ripcord, but Cena with the fireman’s carry and AA! TWO?!!? Did Rollins kick out?! The referee tells Cena he did! The fans continue to chant “Burn it Down!” for Rollins but Cena climbs up top. Rollins revives and climbs up quick, to SUPERPLEX roll-through to Falcon Arrow!

TWO! Rollins won’t stop here, he gets up and waits for Cena. He runs in for the Stomp but Cena gets that leg again! STF reapplied!

Rollins endures, drags himself to ropes, ropebreak! Cena lets go, yanks Rollins up and ducks the enziguri to put the STF on a third time! Rollins rolls it but Cena rolls it back. Rollins endures the hold, reaches for more ropes and gets another break! Cena holds on a little longer, then finally lets go. Rollins rolls out of the ring and Cena just lets him stay there. The count gets high again but Rollins comes back. Cena intercepts him and brings him up to the top rope. After some positioning, Cena has the fireman’s carry. Rollins fights out! He slips down, Cena jumps but Rollins catches and rolls through, for an ARCHITECT AA!! TWO!! The fans are loving this! Both men are stirring slowly, but Rollins gets himself to a corner. Rollins drags himself up to the top, and the fans fire up for him. He stands up, PHOENIX- No, he has to roll through when Cena isn’t there. Cena grabs Rollins in the fireman’s carry, AA! But that’s not all, eh rolls through to lift again. But Rollins, Kingslayer Knee! Mule kick, CURB STOMP!! ROLLINS BEATS CENA!! After roughly an hour, Rollins is up 2-0 in the Gauntlet!

But here comes Elias!

The Drifter already knows he’ll be last into the Chamber, but he’s fourth in this Gauntlet. And perhaps this will be foreshadowing of things to come, as he goes right after the exhausted Rollins. He covers, TWO! Elias stomps out The Architect, drops a knee, covers, TWO! Elias whips and elbows Rollins down, TWO. Rollins is somehow still going while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Elias has Rollins in a Half-Crab. Rollins endures as he is not the Hour Man, having lasted 60+ minutes. Meanwhile, Cena is interviewed backstage over his “tough loss.” How will he pick up the pieces this Sunday? First, he must compliment Rollins on his abilities, he’s worthy of being Mr. Monday Night. However, Rollins’ focus is only on Mondays. Rollins gets a ropebreak as Cena relates that he’s got his hands full of many things. Rollins can focus on wrestling and wrestling alone, but Cena doesn’t want that to sound like an insult. Cena is trying, and is putting the pressure on himself to win the Chamber. He needs to win, or he might not have a Road to Wrestlemania. Cena will take these six days to sort himself out and try again.

Back to in the ring, Elias stomps away on Rollins again. He yanks Rollins up but Rollins lands on his feet, only for that bad leg to give out again. Elias keeps on Rollins with a mudhole stomp in a corner, then wraps the leg around the ropes. The ref counts, Elias lets go then back hands Rollins in the chest. Rollins chops back, so Elias chops more, and now it’s a slap and chop fight! Rollins backs Elias down with his furious forearms, then more chops. Elias kicks out the bad leg then runs, but into a SUPERKICK! TWO! Rollins is so exhausted, and Elias gets out of the ring. Even so, Rollins forces himself up and slingshots out for a big plancha! Elias goes down but Rollins’ bad leg slows him down again. Rollins rests against the barrier before putting Elias back in the ring. Another mule kick, Rollins runs but into Elias’s boot. Rollins shouts at Elias to bring it, so Elias hits him with a jumping knee! Then, Drift Away! Cover, Elias beats Rollins! The incredible run comes to an end at 65 minutes and two eliminations.

Everyone in the WWE Universe applauds Rollins’ heroic efforts as a referee helps Rollins to the back.

However, Elias can’t rest for long, either, because his opponent is…

FINN BALOR!

Even the Extraordinary Man gives props to the Architect on his way out.

Elias is ready for Finn as Finn heads in, but Finn is ready for Elias, too. Finn throws hands on Elias all around the ring, but Elias knees low. The fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” while Elias whips but Finn reverses. Sunset flip but roll through, Finn dropkicks Elias. Cover, TWO, but Finn is focused. He chops Elias in a corner, whips but Elias reverses. Finn side-steps and swing kicks Elias down, then heads up top! He takes aim but Elias bails out, no double stomps yet. The Drifter catches his breath while we go to break.

Raw returns and Elias has Finn in an armlock. The fans rally and Finn fights out, only for Elias to snapmare and knee drop. “Who wants to walk with Elias?!”

Phoenix, Arizona has mixed reactions. Meanwhile, Rollins has his turn with a backstage interview. Elias rams Finn into buckles while Rollins notes that he “pinned two of the best in the world”, back to back and that’s something. However, Rollins knows it doesn’t mean a thing if he doesn’t win this Sunday.

Back to the ring, Elias has Finn in a keylock. Finn fights his way up but Elias scoops him. Finn slips out and forearms Elias back. Elias keeps on the arm, then scoops Finn again for the shoulder breaker. Cover, TWO, but Elias keeps his cool. Elias climbs up and takes aim at Finn, hitting a double ax handle to the shoulder. He even toys with Finn before wrapping that arm around the bottom rope. The ref counts, so Elias lets go, to then take Finn’s arm and slam it on the apron. The fans chant “We Want Strowman!” to mostly troll Elias for what the Monster Among Men did to Elias last week. Elias drags Finn around into a hammerlock and then throws that arm into buckles. Cover, ONE, but Elias keeps focus. Elias wrenches that arm some more in another armlock. Finn endures, gets up and round but Elias brings him back down. Elias rakes and hooks Finn’s nose as well, but Finn keeps it together.

Finn stands up, but Elias throws him to ropes. Finn kicks back, but Elias yanks on the bad arm again. Elias shoves Finn, then forearms him on the rebound, but Finn hits the Pele kick! Both men go down and the fans chant for Finn. Finn gets up and to a corner. Elias runs in but into boots, Finn rallies with running forearm smashes. He whips but Elias reverses, Finn still gets another forearm. Elias end up in a corner, Finn hist him with a running chop. They go corner to corner, Elias back elbows Finn away before hopping up, but then Finn swing kicks him down to the outside. Elias staggers about, Finn goes out and takes aim, blasting dropkick sends Elias into the barriers! Finn drags Elias into the ring, Slingblade drops him down. He takes aim again, but runs into a big lariat! Cover, TWO! Elias  stalks Finn, hoists him up onto his shoulders, spinning powerbomb!

TWO! Both men tough it out while we go to break.

Raw returns to see Finn throw Elias out of the ring! He gets himself to the apron, and hits Elias with a Penalty Kick! Finn brings Elias over with a headlock but Elias powers out to shove Finn into a post! Elias drags Finn up and in, then goes to drop an elbow, but Finn evades. Finn rolls up, TWO, into a Fujiwara armbar!

Finn endures the torque on that beat-up arm, but Elias keeps him away from ropes. Elias keeps on that arm but Finn keeps his teeth grit. Finn drags himself back to those ropes, so Elias drags him away again. Finn counters with double leg takedown and double stomps! The fans fire up for Finn, but Elias kicks that bad arm. Finn hits back with a forearm, then a slingblade! He blasts Elias with another dropkick, and then climbs up again! Finn takes aim, COUP DE GRACE! Finn beats Elias!

There are only two men left to go in this match, but Finn must face…

The Miz!

The Intercontinental Champion sends his Miztourage out first to distract Finn, Miz attacks from behind! The A-Lister rains down lefts then grins before hitting the low DDT.

He covers, TWO. Miz keeps his cool, brings Finn back up, and hits another low DDT. TWO, so he tries again, TWO. Miz grows frustrated, he is going to be first in the Chamber so he wants to stay as fresh as possible. He runs and boots Finn down, Bo and Axel cheering him on. Miz boots Finn down again, but Finn doesn’t stay down. Miz hits a third low boot, covers, TWO. He waits for Finn to stand up, Finn fires off forearms! He whips but Miz reverses, MIz hits a low knee, then throws Finn out of the ring. Miz embraces the heat before trying to distract the ref. The referee doesn’t fall for it, he sees The Miztourage lurking near Finn. Miz uses that so he can slip out and throw Finn into barriers. He puts Finn back in then takes that bad arm and puts it through the ropes. Miz holds on and snaps back to tweak that arm! Miz grins and Finn writhes while the referee checks on him and we go to break.

Raw returns, and Miz pulls Finn’s bad arm back more in a seated armlock. Finn endures, refusing to give up. The fans rally for him and Finn gets up while Elias has his backstage interview. Elias knows he has his huge advantage of going in last for the Chamber. He did quite a bit to Rollins, and that’s what will happen to the other five competitors, too. He’ll pick up the scraps, go on to Wrestlemania and give the “performance of a lifetime” on the Grandest Stage of Them All. Then the entire world will learn what WWE truly means.

Back to the action, Miz prepares his “It Kicks” for Finn. Miz kicks, and kicks, and kicks, firing up more with each one.

Kick after kick after kick, then Miz prepares the buzzsaw, only for Finn to duck and chop back. Finn rocks Miz with a strike fest, then runs to dropkick him. Dragon sleeper, elbow drop DDT! TWO! Finn keeps his focus, gets to his feet, then chops Miz in the conrer. They go corner to corner for another chop. Corner to corner again for a third chop. The fourth time, Miz boots Finn away, prepares the Finale but Finn rolls it, TWO. Miz wrenches and wrings that arm to throw Finn on the mat. Miz runs, but Finn leans back and rolls up, TWO! Finn swings but ends up in the full nelson, but gets the ropebreak. Miz lets go, but Bo cheap shot hotshots the bad arm! Roll-up, TWO! The Miztourage is frustrated for Miz, but the fans rally for Finn. Finn gets running, and FLIES onto the Miztourage!

He’s fired up now, swing kicking Miz away. He gets to a corner, blasting dropkick sends Miz back! Axel gets back up but gets knocked back down by Finn. Finn climbs up, Bo comes back but is sent away. Miz trips Finn up on the top! Skull-Crushing Finale! Miz beats Finn! Fans boo and jeer but Miz grins as he points at the sign.

However, he’s forgotten about the seventh man.

BRAUN STROWMAN!

The Monster Among Men is the last man to enter this Gauntlet, and he’s more than ready to go after the Intercontinental Champion. Miz already looks to be begging Strowman for mercy. He runs out of the ring, but Strowman comes back out to follow him. Miz goes to the crowd but Strowman pursues! He runs Miz down right at the end of the production area, then drags Miz all the way back. Strowman tosses Miz over the barriers, and the fans join in on the victorious roar while we got to break.

Raw returns and Strowman is throwing Miz around. He throws Miz across the ring again, and The Miztourage is very concerned for their leader. Strowman kicks Miz while he’s down and almost punts him out of the ring. Strowman throws Miz again, making sure the first man in the Chamber is no better off than any of the others. The Miztourage try to distract but are scared away. Strowman runs corner to corner, but Miz dodges and kicks away on Strowman. That isn’t enough, Strowman shoves Miz down and away. Strowman walks over and drags Miz up, Miz hotshots him back. Miz hurries back in and dropkicks Strowman to a corner. Meanwhile, Finn has his backstage interview, and Finn voices his frustrations about The Miztourage. However, the Chamber will lock those two out, so Miz will be locked inside and alone with Finn and the other five superstars. Finn vows to win the Chamber, then face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania.

Back in the ring, Miz goes to dropkick Strowman again, but Strowman comes back with a dropkick of his own! Strowman drags Miz up, to club him back down. The fans cheer for Strowman while Strowman dares Miz to get back up. Miz begs for mercy again, but Strowman won’t have any of it. He brings Miz up and headbutts him, then runs at him. Miz dumps Strowman out but Strowman lands on his feet. Miz boots Strowman, runs and wrecking ball dropkicks Strowman! Strowman staggers, but then comes back to run Miz over! The Miztourage backs off while Strowman puts Miz back in the ring. Axel tries to hook his foot, Miz gets Skull Crushing Finale!! TWO! And Miz gets LAUNCHED out of the ring! Miz topples the Miztourage over, but he hurries back into the ring, only to get run over again. Strowman drags Miz up, scoops him, and hits the Monster Slam! Strowman eliminates Miz and wins the Gauntlet Match! With such strength, speed and dominance, can The Monster Among Men conquer the Chamber to get another shot at The Beast?

On-stage interview with Braun Strowman.

Truly a dominating performance, but what will his mindset be in his first Chamber match? “I dont’ fear the unknown, the unknown fears me.” And just like tonight, Sunday’s PPV will end the same way, and then Strowman goes after Lesnar!! “You hear me, Beasty Boy? Because I’m not finished with you.” At Wrestlemania, Lesnar will #GetTheseHands. Now if Charly will excuse him, he has some “unfinished business.” He goes after The Miz and Miztrouage! He drags them all into the ring, Monster Slam for Axel! Monster Slam for Bo! Miz cowers away, but Strowman comes for him, too! Miz makes it to the back but Strowman throws him back out! Then down the ramp! Strowman stalks Miz back to ringside, drags him up and into the ring, and then, making sure everyone’s watching… MONSTER SLAM! Yet, that’s still not enough. The fans want one more, and Strowman will give it. Miz takes a third Monster Slam!

Will the Chamber even survive having the Monster Among Men inside?

 

The next Hall of Fame Inductee: Jeff Jarrett!

Aka Double J, “J E double F, J A double R E double T”, the man from Music City had confidence and arrogance but the flash to back it up. He would strut, boast, rock ‘n’ roll, and win matches. He was an Intercontinental Champion, and European Champion simultaneously, “whether you like it or not!” Jarrett would use a Figure Four, a Full-Nelson Facebuster and a guitar smash to bring himself to the top.

 

Asuka comes to the ring!

The Empress of Tomorrow is still undefeated, but she’s scheduled to face the newest Irresistible Force this Sunday. Should Asuka lose then, she won’t only lose her streak, but she’ll have to worry about Nia joining her should she choose the Raw Women’s Championship for her Wrestlemania match. What does Asuka think of a potential Triple Threat for the title? “I control my own destiny.” And that destiny is to win a championship at Wrestlemania! Yes, but Nia has had bold things to say, such as she is the only woman who can beast Asuka. “Very strong words from a very strong woman,” but Asuka didn’t think Nia didn’t look that strong in their last match, since Nia limped away from the ring. But Nia wants to damage Asuka’s face so much, she’ll have to wear the mask all the time. Nia likes to talk, but Asuka will show her Sunday that “she will not be talking, she will tap out!”

However, Nia appears from the crowd! Asuka is ready, kicking back at the Brutal Beauty. Asuka uses back hands, but Nia then throws her to a corner. The Empress hurries up but Nia is already upon her, fireman’s carry to Samoan Drop!

Nia goes to leave, but has another idea. She runs, and drops the leg! Then another leg drop! And… a third leg drop to the back of Asuka’s head. Nia takes her leave now, but Asuka’s still stirring. Both women are dangerous, and both women are determined, which woman will come out the winner going towards a Wrestlemania Women’s Championship match?

 

Raw takes a look at the WWE’s newest recruit: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey!

The Royal Rumble made history with its inaugural Women’s Rumble match, but Rousey made the biggest splash when she appeared by surprise. She pointed to the Wrestlemania sign to make her intentions clear. She conquered judo, conquered Women’s MMA, and even made a name for herself in Hollywood. Rousey wants to join WWE to test herself, and will officially sign her contract this Sunday. What will happen to the WWE Women’s Division when it’s put up against Rowdy Rousey?

 

The Bar VS Titus Worldwide w/ Dana Brooke!

The Raw Tag Team Champions, Cesaro & Sheamus, may have underestimated Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews a few times, but that doesn’t mean Titus & Crews haven’t earned legitimate wins. Can the Real Deal and his top client #MakeItAWin and earn a title match in the near future?

The bell rings and Cesaro starts against Titus. They tie up, and The Gator puts the Swiss Cyborg in a corner. Cesaro turns it around, and the break is clean but chippy. Titus puts Cesaro back in the corner and starts chopping. He tags Apollo then they double whip and double elbow Cesaro down. Apollo covers but Titus’s inadvertent miscue makes that a TWO. Apollo keeps on Cesaro, then tags Titus back in. Titus brings Apollo around for an assisted corner tackle on Cesaro. Apollo feeds Cesaro to Titus’ scoop slam, and then Titus barks at Sheamus. Titus goes to tag Apollo but Cesaro knees low. Apollo still gets the tag while Cesaro walks away, Titus Worldwide brings him in for a big clothesline. Sheamus runs in but gets dropkick’d out, so Cesaro knees Apollo out. The referee keeps Cesaro back, so the Celtic Gladiator runs Apollo over with a clothesline. The Bar regains control while Dana checks on Apollo. Cesaro tags Sheamus, and Sheamus brings Apollo up to throw him into barriers. He keeps on Apollo with European Uppercuts before putting him back in the ring. Sheamus tags Cesaro, and The Bar whip Apollo into the corner. The Bar goes Super Saiyan Kicks on Crews, then Cesaro taunts Titus.

The Bar embraces the heat before Cesaro puts Apollo in a chinlock. Dana rallies the fans, Apollo reaches for Titus but Cesaro tags Sheamus first. Sheamus kicks Crews, then Bar Lariat brings him down. Fans boo and jeer while Sheamus drops a knee, cover, TWO. Sheamus puts Crews in a seated keylock while Dana rallies the fans again. Sheamus tags back to Cesaro, Cesaro flies in with double ax handles. Cover, TWO, tag back to Sheamus. They stomp Apollo, but Apollo fights back. Sheamus keeps him grounded but the fans rally, so Sheamus takes out Titus first. Hot tag to Cesaro, no one home for Crews. Even so, Apollo gets out of the way and lets Cesaro run into the post! He then dumps Sheamus out of the ring and roll s Cesaro, Titus Worldwide wins again!! The Bar is furious and frustrated, but will they have to face the truth that Titus Worldwide are #1 contenders to their titles?

 

Bray Wyatt speaks.

“Some say the end is near. But personally,” Wyatt hopes they’re right. Especially for Matt Hardy, for his end will be at Elimination Chamber.

But WOKEN Hardy interrupts!

“Bray Wyatt and I have been engaging in battle since the dawn of time.” But this is only the beginning. Bray says Hardy is a liar, but Hardy says Wyatt is the liar. “His words mean nothing. Just empty promises from a deeply disturbed and twisted man.” Yet darkness clouds Wyatt, while Hardy has the power of illumination. Hardy must be silenced, but Wyatt must be made OBSOLETE. The Woken World will become a nightmare, but the Woken Warriors will make Wyatt surrender to reality. Elimination Chamber, “Hardy will burn”, but “Wyatt shall be DELETED!” Which man’s ways will ring true this Sunday?

 

Six Woman Tag: Mickie James, Bayley & Sasha Banks VS Alexa Bliss & Absolution w/ Paige!

Elimination Chamber makes history Sunday with its inaugural Women’s Elimination Chamber match for the Raw Women’s Championship. However, The Goddess must work together with enemies to make sure other enemies don’t get ahead in the game. Can dysfunction be kept out of the way to achieve victory tonight?

The bell rings and we start with Kickie James and The Goddess. Of course, Alexa is surprised to see her “friend” is there, so she tags out to the Gladiator, Sonya Deville. Mickie and Sonya circle, Mickie staying away from the MMA-trained superstar’s grip. Paige gets the fans on Absolution’s side, saying, “This is OUR House!” Sonya and Mickie tie up, Mickie gets a wristlock and a headlock, but Sonya turns that into a waistlock and slam. Mickie gets up and drop toeholds, then float to facelock. Mickie brings Sonya over and Sasha tags in. Sasha kicks and wrenches but Sonya forearms and wrenches back. Sasha fights back with body shots but Sonya powers Sasha to Absolution’s corner. Tag to Mandy the Perfect Package, she rocks Sasha with a forearm. She scoops but Sasha shoves Mandy into buckles. Sasha tags in Bayley and Bayley bumps Mandy off buckles before bringing her down, cover, ONE. Bayley puts on a waistlock but Mandy picks a leg and trips her up. Bayley counters with a sideways headscissor throw but Mandy cartwheels through. Mandy boasts and pie-faces Bayley, but Bayley brushes it off. Mandy whips her hair in Bayley’s face, so Bayley tackles Mandy to a corner. Bayley stomps a mudhole into Mandy, even as Paige protests. Mandy staggers out into Bayley’s exploder suplex! Mandy slips out and regroups with Absolution while we go to break.

Raw returns once more, and Mandy has control of Bayley in a chinlock. The fans rally for Bayley and she gets up. Bayley fights out then rolls up, TWO. Mandy kicks Bayley, Bayley kicks back and even takes the fight to Sonya and Alexa nearby. Mandy runs in but gets a flapjack that bumps her off the top buckle! Bayley heads for her corner but Mandy crawls after. Bayley elbows Mandy away but Mandy comes back. Mandy holds on even as Bayley forearms, then reverses a whip. Bayley goes up but Mandy catches her and throws her down on her face. Cover, TWO, and Mandy is a bit surprised. She rains down rights on Bayley, covers again, TWO. Mandy drags Bayley over, Alexa tags in when Sonya wanted it.

The fans cheer, even as Alexa clubs and bumps Bayley off buckles. Alexa stomps a mudhole into Bayley, then brings her back around. Bayley blocks and bumps Alexa back. She heads for her corner but Alexa intercepts. Bayley fights back but Alexa bumps her again. Alexa backs up and runs in for a screaming SLAP! She kicks Bayley while she’s down, then brings her over to tag in Sonya. Sonya mugs Bayley, covers, TWO. She wraps Bayley in bodyscissors to squeeze, but the fans and her teammates rally. Bayley makes it a cover, TWO, but jawbreaker sends Sonya away. Bayley heads for her corner but Sonya intercepts, and Mandy helps! The referee shouts for her to get out, Bayley gets the tag to Sasha! But since the referee didn’t see it, it doesn’t count! Paige helps coordinate Absolution, Sonya goes out and Mandy comes in to bring Bayley around. Bayley throws Mandy off of her, but into Sasha! The Boss goes down, Mandy staggers over but Bayley slips under to tag Mickie! Mickie rallies on Rose, then keeps moving with forearms. She hits a low dropkick on Mandy, then a boot for Sonya. Flapjack for Mandy and Paige gets pissed.

The fans fire up ans Mickie stares down Alexa. Alexa stays away while Mickie climbs up, flying seated senton! Sonya returns but gets the neckbreaker! Mickie is on fire as she aims at Mandy, mule kick to knee lift, then runs but Sonya swipes at her. Sonya gets a wrecking ball dropkick, Mandy comes back with the running knee strike! Cover, but roll-over, then roll back. Mandy hammers away to keep Mickie down, then drags her back up for the abdominal stretch. Mickie endures the bend and stretch, Sonya and Paige cheering Mandy on. The fans rally for Mickie and she slips out to arm-drag Mandy away. Mandy drags Mickie back, pulls her up, and then modified gutwrench suplex! Cover, TWO, so Mandy tags to Sonya. Absolution mugs Mickie, Sonya brings Mickie down with knee strikes. Sonya brings Mickie back up and bumps her off buckles while the fans cheer Mickie on. Mickie fights back, Mick-canrana throws Sonya away. Sasha is waiting, so Sonya intercepts again to carry and dump Mickie down. Cover, TWO, but Sonya keeps her confidence.

She drags Mickie over and tags Mandy. Absolution double suplexes Mickie, but gets double neckbreaker counters! Mickie and Mandy are both down while the fans rally. They crawl for their corners, hot tags to Alexa and Sasha. Sasha rallies on Alexa, and counters the kick with the knee. She runs in but Alexa puts her on the apron, Sasha still kicks Alexa way. Flying double knees on Sonya! Sasha gets back up and sees Alexa coming to counter with a buckle bump and wrecking ball double knees. Alexa is thrown out to the center, Sasha hits flying double knees, but Mandy breaks the cover! Bayley returns, Saido Suplex to Mandy! Alexa rolls Sasha, TWO and Sasha has the cover, TWO. Alexa throws Sasha hard into buckles! She drags Sasha up and out, but Sasha rolls her into the Bank Statement crossface! Alexa taps, Sasha’s team wins!

But then Absolution attacks! They mug Sasha 2v1 but Bayley comes in for the save. However, that’s still 2v1, she gets a roundhouse to facebuster! Sasha gets taken out with the knee strike and a sliding knee. Alexa likes that, but then slowly realizes, she’s not on Absolution’s team anymore. They corner her, but Mickie comes back for the save! She and Alexa give Sonya a double Mick-DT!

Does The Goddess have an ally in the Chamber now? Can alliances even survive a match like The Chamber?

 

My Thoughts:

This Raw, especially as it was a go-home, was amazing. I didn’t expect them to open with the Gauntlet Match, but they did, and it was a PPV level string of action. Rollins starts by doing what none of the fans expected, he eliminated both Roman Reigns and John Cena. Cena does a great job in giving Rollins compliments as the face of Raw while weaving in his own story of wondering what it will take for him to maintain his top tier level of performing. Rollins not making it all the way to the end is also fine, given the amount of time and quality of action he was giving plus the dynamics of Faces and Heels; Rollins may want to be The Man again, but WWE doesn’t want him to already outshine Finn Balor and Braun Strowman, who are each being built up in their own paths. Finn gets to shine against Elias but is then used to help Miz’s Heel heat before Strowman becomes the monster everyone loves to watch squash mortal men, like the Miz. In a perfect WWE, Strowman would be the one primed to face Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the Universal Championship because of how he has everything everyone could want. But WWE isn’t perfect so it’ll probably be Roman.

Since the Gauntlet Match dominated the night, the rest of the three hours didn’t feel like a drag. Bray and Hardy again sell their characters perfectly, but I just hope some part of their match is the BROKEN Universe pre-recorded stuff to help extend the Great War to Wrestlemania and include the rest of the Wyatt and Hardy families. Titus Worldwide gets another “upset” victory over The Bar, so I hope that at some point, Titus Worldwide challenges for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Asuka clearly struggled to smooth out her English in the promo, but honestly, we can cut her some slack because she is still miles ahead of a good number of women in the WWE right now. Nia attacking and actually getting the better of Asuka was really great, too, because now there will be some “real animosity” in their Sunday match to add to the championship implication motivations. Then the Six Woman Tag, while repetitive on paper, was actually pretty fresh given Alexa and Mickie are reviving their former friendship from SmackDown. The champion loses but also stands tall tonight, so I don’t know how that works for 50-50 booking. Both scenarios, Alexa losing and Alexa winning, can work out logically in a match like Elimination Chamber. The keys to making it a great one may be how they book this as an unofficial triple threat tag; Mickie-Alexa VS Bayley-Sasha VS Absolution for a long stretch could be fun, especially if Sasha finally goes full Heel on Bayley before the end.

My score: 8.5/10

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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report & Results! (12/17/18)

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It’s the Raw after TLC, and The Chairman makes a return! What will Vince Kennedy McMahon have in store to “shake things up again?”

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle; changed to…
  • 4v1 Handicap Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; changed to…
  • 4v1 Handicap No Disqualifications Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; Angle, Crews, Roode & Gable win, and Baron Corbin is NOT Raw GM.
  • Finn Balor VS Dolph Ziggler; Finn wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: Dean Ambrose VS Tyler Breeze; Ambrose wins and retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Fatal 4 Way: The Authors of Pain VS The Revival VS The B-Team VS Lucha House Party; The Revival wins and will face Roode & Gable for the Raw Tag Team Championships.
  • Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Ronda Rousey VS ???; changed to…
  • 8 Woman Gauntlet Match: Natalya wins and is the #1 contender to Ronda Rousey’s Raw Women’s Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

Mr. McMahon is here!

The Chairman, Vincent Kenny McMahon, is on the Raw after TLC! And he knows we want to know what’s going on with Raw. Tonight, we find out. Raw has been on the air for over 25 years, an extraordinary feat. And that’s because the show changes with the time. “Despite one man’s brilliance, despite one man’s creativity, despite one man’s vision,” Vince can’t do this alone. Vince can do it without the fans, though. Fans boo, but then Stephanie McMahon appears! The Commissioner, and daughter of Vince, heads to the ring and gives her father a big hug. Fans boo but Vince asks they be nice. And then, Triple H appears! The Game, the COO, joins wife and father-in-law in the ring, and even gives Vince a hug.

Fans are excited to see these three in the ring, but there’s more! Shane McMahon is here! The SmackDown Commissioner joins father, sister and brother-in-law in the ring, and now we have all the power players of WWE at the same time! Stephanie says they’re all out here because they’ve all realized, “we haven’t been doing a good job lately.” They’ve all realized that there’s need for a change, and this will be a fresh start. These four will be “taking back Monday Night Raw”, and even SmackDown. These four know they are the ones ensuring the best possible experience for their fans and empowering their superstars. They will finally give fans what they want. “Something new, something fresh.” There will be new faces, new matches, and now the fans are the Authority! WWE will always be #ThenNowandForever.

But wait, here comes Baron Corbin! The Constable lost his job at TLC when he lost his TLC Match to Braun Strowman, but he seems to think he has another chance. “No one is more excited for a fresh start than me.” Fans rain down the boos and jeers, to which Stephanie makes sure Corbin understands. Corbin knows they’re all upset, but he’s so very excited to have the entire McMahon family in charge of Raw. However, those promises were amazing, but there’s something they didn’t mention. “Fair”. Last night’s TLC Match was not fair, so let’s talk this out. What will Corbin have to say? Find out after the break!

Raw returns and Corbin joins the McMahons and HHH. Fans still boo as he defends the Sacramento crowd does not reflect the WWE Universe as a whole. HHH tells the fans if they keep booing, Corbin can’t finish speaking. Corbin needs to explain himself. HHH asks the fans please stop for a moment. Stephanie wants fans to speak up, Vince is harder of hearing. But the fans eventually calm down, but Corbin riles them up again. Shane actually encourages the booing. Corbin ties to defend that he does his best. Vince tells Corbin he can be louder with his microphone. Fans chant “You Suck!” but Corbin does not take the blame. He says superstars aren’t living up to the challenge. Strowman was not supposed to be at TLC, Corbin was not prepared, and Corbin was not prepared for being outnumbered. If fans think that is fair– They do!

HHH tells Corbin that “as predictable as you are”, Corbin is here to say it’s a “travesty of justice” and hopes they all reconsider Corbin as GM. Is that it? Yes! And Corbin is thankful they’re all here to sort this out. Corbin would’ve won if not for Finn Balor, Kurt Angle and the rest. Are they letting that travesty stand? Or will they overturn the decision? Fans boo but Corbin says “Think of what we can accomplish with you guys backing me.” The McMahon Family huddles up, and then it comes down to a vote. Shane and HHH go with “No”, Stephanie says “No Chance in Hell.” Vince thinks of a way. They huddle up again and perhaps Corbin does deserve a chance. Fans don’t agree, but Corbin is willing to take that chance. Then Corbin will get that chance.

If Corbin wins a match tonight, right now, he’ll be permanent Raw GM! Just beat this man. KURT ANGLE! The previous Raw GM and Olympic Gold Medalist returns to action himself, and gets a chance to shut Corbin up once and for all! Will Corbin fail to make good on this second chance? Or will he find a way to revive his tyranny?

Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle!

Stephanie “remembers” the special guest referee for this match. It’s Heath Slater! The One Ref Band gets to be part of this payback! Slater rings the bell and we begin!

Corbin swings but Angle counter punches! Angle bumps Corbin off buckles to then stomp and punch away! Slater lets Angle continue and whip Corbin corner to corner. Corbin reverses but misses, Angle throws him with a German Suplex! Corbin bails out of the ring while we go to break.

Raw returns and Corbin has Angle down. Corbin eggs Angle on while fans rally up. But then HHH returns to say he “forgot” something else. This is a Handicap Match.

4v1 Handicap Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!

The rising star AND the Raw Tag Team Champions appear to reinforce Angle! Corbin finds himself flanked by the people he wronged, and now they’re getting further payback! Roode, Gable & Apollo rain down hands and stomps, then feed Corbin to Angle. Angle drags Corbin up for another German Suplex! And another! And the hat trick! Angle tags in Gable, and Gable drags Corbin up for his own German Suplex! Gable tags Roode, and the tag champs coordinate to double whip. Roode whips Gable to whip Roode in for a clothesline! Tag to Apollo for a big enziguri! Corbin bails out again but he can’t get away from Apollo and the champs! They drag him back to ringside, tossing him over barriers!

Gable puts Corbin in and Angle returns. The four of them surround Corbin, but look to Slater. Slater literally looks the other way as they stomp Corbin out! But now Shane O’Mac appears, and says he was so pumped to be in Sacramento, he “forgot” this is No Disqualifications!

4v1 Handicap No Disqualifications Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!

Now the foursome don’t have to worry about Slater’s disapproval. In fact, Slater gets in on the action! Slater stomps Corbin while the others get chairs! Angle, Gable, Roode & Apollo repeat last night’s humiliation with new chair shots! They jab, they SMACK, repeat! Fans love seeing Corbin getting what he deserves! But “We Want Tables!” Gable climbs while Roode brings Corbin up, GLORIOUS Combination! Apollo climbs for the frog splash! They bring Corbin up and feed him to Angle’s Olympic Slam! Cover, Angle’s team wins!

Winner: Team Angle, Kurt Angle pinning; Corbin is NOT Raw GM

Finally, the dictatorship of Constable Corbin ends! The Lone Wolf really was all alone against his “disgruntled employees”, and now he is out of power! Who will take his place in this new Raw?

But the punishment isn’t over! Apollo, Gable & Roode set a table up in the ring, and everyone but Corbin is grinning. They haul Corbin up again, for an Olympic Slam through the table!! Now the celebration begins!

 

John Cena wins the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

The Face that Runs the Place is honored to receive this award, but he wouldn’t win this award without being a friend and philanthropist to so many.

 

Finn Balor VS Dolph Ziggler!

The Extraordinary Man helped The Show-Off to stick it to the Scottish Psychopath. And Ziggler would return the favor, mostly to stick it to Drew McIntyre. However, neither man is thankful for the other’s help, and look to show what they can do on their own. Who will gain some major momentum as we approach the New Year?

The bell rings and the two circle. Fans are already fired up as they tie up. Finn and Ziggler go around and Ziggler puts Finn on the ropes. Ziggler backs off but gives a shove. They tie up again and Ziggler gets a headlock. Finn goes to power out but Ziggler holds on. Ziggler grinds and gets the takedown. Finn moves around to make it a cover, TWO! Ziggler keeps on Finn with the headlock, but fans rally. Finn gets up and powers out now, then things speed up. Finn arm-drags Ziggler around and into an armlock. Ziggler quickly headscissors but Finn quickly pops out, and fans cheer this close match-up. Finn kicks low, snapmares and kicks Ziggler, then brings him up again. Finn whips and dropkicks Ziggler down! Ziggler bails out while fans cheer Finn. Finn soaks it in as we go to break.

Raw returns and Ziggler whips Finn. Finn reverses but Ziggler sunset flips. Finn rolls through to dropkick! Both men are down as Finn clutches his leg. Finn gets up and to a corner, and boots Ziggler on the way in. Ziggler keeps after Finn but Finn counter punches and chops him! Finn whips but Ziggler reverses, only for Finn to run him over with forearms! Finn fires up and gets a takedown to a double stomp! Fans fire up as Finn aims at Ziggler. Finn runs out but the Slingblade is rolled up! TWO, and Ziggler uppercuts Finn. Ziggler taunts Finn, but misses the Famouser, to get the elbow drop DDT! Cover, TWO! Finn keeps moving as he aims at Ziggler again. Finn runs at Ziggler, and hits the Slingblade! He takes aim again, but the shotgun dropkick goes into the Satellite DDT! Cover, TWO!

Both men are down but fans rally up. Ziggler sits up but Finn gets to a corner. Ziggler runs but the ZigZag is denied. Finn goes to the apron and swing kicks Ziggler down! Finn climbs but Ziggler trips him up! Ziggler throws Finn into the post! ZIGZAG!! Cover, TWO!! Ziggler is shocked and sore, but he gets up in a corner. He takes aim, but here comes McIntyre! Ziggler kicks McIntyre, then leaps out! McIntyre catches Ziggler but they still brawl it out! McIntyre shoves Ziggler but Finn FLIES! Ziggler clobbers Finn! Ziggler puts Finn in, FAMOUSER! Cover, TWO!! Finn lives and the match continues! Fans rally for Finn while he and Ziggler stir. Ziggler stands first, tunes it up, but gets another Slingblade! Finn aims again, but McIntyre attacks!

Winner: Finn Balor, by disqualification

The Scottish Terminator targets both thorns in his side as he throws Finn out and gives Ziggler the Glasgow Kiss headbutt! McIntyre rains rights down on Ziggler, then yanks him right up for a Claymore! McIntyre aims at Finn, Claymore! Fans boo and jeer McIntyre as he seethes all the way to the stage. Will McIntyre eliminate Ziggler and Finn on the road to the Royal Rumble?

 

Dean Ambrose heads to the ring!

The Lunatic has his siren and his gas-mask wearing henchmen accompany him and his newly won WWE Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose picks up a mic while fans boo and jeer. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Fans should show more respect! But they boo. “You disgusting little people” should be bowing to Ambrose, because he made his prediction come true. Rollins spun out of control, dropped the ball in the fourth quarter and choked. Rollins failed himself and failed the fans. Ambrose doesn’t need respect, because he has the belt. And it wasn’t too long ago that Rollins had two belts, now he has none. But Ambrose is just getting started. When Ambrose is done, Rollins will truly have nothing!

Ambrose promises to take Rollins’ career, take Rollins reputation and drag it through the mud! But there’s another option. “The Moral Compass” has an obligation. Rollins can come out here and be a man of character and integrity to admit Ambrose was right! Rollins, tell everyone that Ambrose was right! Fans boo while Ambrose waits. They chant “Burn It Down!” but Rollins doesn’t appear. Ambrose waits but has a new idea. “How about an open challenge?” But not for the title, Rollins doesn’t deserve it. But maybe Rollins wants to take out his anger. Ambrose dares Rollins to appear, but he doesn’t. This proves Rollins is no hero, he’s “a selfish little whiner who always has to get his way.” Rollins lost and is too ashamed to show his face.

So Ambrose moves on to a third idea: Ambrose will stay a page from the playbook and actually give an Open Challenge for the title, to anyone not named Seth Rollins. And out comes… Tyler Breeze!

WWE Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: Dean Ambrose VS Tyler Breeze!

Prince Pretty wants his shot and this is his chance! Can Breeze make that Intercontinental Championship gorgeous? Or will Ambrose make an example out of him?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Ambrose goes after Breeze but Breeze is ready! Breeze throws hands, whips but Ambrose reverses. Breeze hits big forearms then stomps away in a corner! He backs off at 4 and dropkicks Ambrose! Breeze clotheslines Ambrose out! Prince Pretty is fired up while we go to break!

Raw returns and Ambrose stomps Breeze out. Ambrose laces up the legs and puts Breeze in a modified Queen Angelito stretch. Breeze endures and crawls for ropes. Ambrose grabs that arm to stomp it! Breeze crawls but Ambrose is on him with a whip. Ambrose elbows Breeze down, covers, TWO! Ambrose keeps on Breeze with a chinlock. Fans rally up as Breeze endures. Breeze fights his way up but Ambrose wrangles him down hard! Ambrose keeps Breeze grounded, but fans rally for Breeze. Breeze gets up but Ambrose knees low. Ambrose clubs and scoops Breeze, but Breeze slips out to enziguri! Ambrose is dazed, and Breeze gets up to huricanrana! To a cover, TWO! Breeze enziguris from a corner, then sends Ambrose into post! Cover, TWO!

Breeze hits the Beauty Shot heel kick! But Ambrose gets up again so Breeze climbs up. Breeze leaps, big crossbody! Cover, TWO! SUPER MODEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Ambrose survives Breeze’s best, but he is dazed. Breeze gets up and stalks Ambrose. Breeze brings him around but the Unprettier is denied. Dirty Deeds! Cover, Ambrose wins!

Winner: Dean Ambrose, by pinfall; still WWE Intercontinental Champion

The Lunatic says that is the performance of a champion with character! Rollins didn’t show because Rollins– “BURN IT DOWN!” But where is Rollins?! He’s one of the gas-mask men!! Rollins SUPERKICKS Ambrose down! And then throws fast hands from all sides! The other henchmen hurry in but Rollins fights them off. Ambrose runs away with the belt while Rollins tosses the henchmen away, and SUPERKICKS another! Rollins tells Ambrose to bring the fight, but Ambrose continues his retreat. Will Ambrose back up his words and be brave enough to face The Kingslayer?

 

Backstage interview with Shane McMahon.

The McMahons promise a fresh start, but what does that mean? Fresh faces and new opportunities! There will be tough decisions to make, but here comes Drake Maverick. These two finally meet, and Maverick introduces the “rightful” Raw Tag Team Champions, Akam & Rezar. Maverick says those titles were stolen from them. But now that the McMahon Family is here, they’ll make this right. Authors of Pain get their title rematches tonight. Now, now, hold on. The mandatory rematch clause Maverick is citing is “antiquated”, Corbin handed AoP those titles in the first place. Let’s create an opportunity. But they’re the former champions! Shane suggests AoP take on The B-Team, The Revival and… Lucha House Party! Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender’s match! Shane wishes them luck, but the AoP are just upset. Will they make the best of this huge opportunity?

 

WWE takes a look at the new faces coming to the main roster!

Monsters, Beasts, Vipers, Giants. None of them compare to the Leviathan! Lars Sullivan is a dominate Freak and promises to destroy the roster.

The Lady of NXT, the Model Soldier, Lacey Evans is armed with a Woman’s Right to hit hard and class it up.

#SteaksAndWeights fuel Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic in tag team wrestling! They have a “damn good time” in the ring, and they’re COMIIIIN’!

The Loony Lass loves to play! SAnitY’s Twisted Sister finally joins her chaotic crew, who wants to play?

The Top One Percent prepares for #VictoryAfterVictory on the main roster! Will he find brand new success as he jumps from #NX3 to TV?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: The Almighty Bobby Lashley.”

Lashley and Lio Rush are in the ring, parodying Elias’ usual greeting and performance. These two will give the fans something they’ve never seen before. It turns out Elias isn’t the only gifted guitarist. The greatest music Elias ever heard was a guitar smashing into his back at the hands of Bobby Lashley! And be honest, no one here wants to hear another of Elias’ boring songs. They’re all here to witness a “true work of art.” And that is exactly what Lashley will give you. But before that, please silence phones, hold applause, and shut your mouths!

Lashley gets up with the mangled guitar, and starts posing. The double biceps, the side chest. Comparing Lashley to Elias is like comparing the Golden State Warriors to the Sacramento Kings. But of course, there’s always the “favorite pose”, the double glutes! Lio and Lashley laugh it up, but “Ladies and gentlemen, Elias.” The Drifter SMACKS Lashley with a guitar! Lashley gets back up but Elias gets away. There won’t be an encore tonight, but when will these two create another smash hit together?

 

Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Fatal 4 Way: The Authors of Pain VS The Revival VS The B-Team VS Lucha House Party!

Drake Maverick knows Akam & Rezar feel robbed over the feud they had with Roode & Gable, but considering they got those titles through unfair means to begin with, they have no automatic right to a rematch. Can they rip their way through Dash & Dawson, Axel & Dallas, and the luchadores of 205 Live? Or will one of those other teams step up to the GLORIOUS challenge instead?

The teams sort out and we start with Curt Axel and Lince Dorado. They circle but Axel stays back when Lince handsprings. “Lucha! Lucha!” starts, as do the matracas. But “B-Team! B-Team! GO GO GO!” counters. The chants duel but Axel swings into a dropkick! Lince tags Kalisto and they combine for an alley-oop dropkick! Scott Dawson tags in and now The Revival revive their feud with LHP. Dawson slaps Kalisto, Kalisto fires off forearms! They brawl, and Dawson rocks Kalisto with a right. Dawson wrenches the arm and kicks Kalisto to the ropes. Dawson chops Kalisto on the ropes, but keeps his distance from AoP. He bumps Kalisto off buckles and gives European Uppercuts. Dawson mocks the lucha chant, then suplexes Kalisto. He drops an elbow, then tags Dash Wilder.

The Revival go after Kalisto together but they get a double DDT! Kalisto tags Lince, and hist the elevated splash! Lince hits the planking splash, covers, TWO! Dash scrambles and Akam tags in. Lince goes after Akam but Akam shoves him away. Lince dropkicks but Akam tags Rezar, for a pop-up and tackle into a corner! AoP mug Lince while we go to break.

Raw returns as Dash has Lince in a Gory Special! Lince endures as fans chant, but Dash reaches back to go after the mask. Dash mocks the lucha chant, but Lince pops out to arm-drag Dash! Axel tags in, Dash gets an enziguri! Axel goes after Lince but Lince handsprings to the Golden Rewind! Both Lince and Axel are down and fans rally up. Chants duel while Axel crawls. Hot tags to Bo Dallas and Kalisto! Kalisto springboards and crossbodies! Kalisto kicks and whips, Bo reverses but Kalisto springboards for a corkscrew crossbody! Fans fire up with the Lucha Dragon as he tackles Bo in a corner. Axel returns but gets the tornado DDT! Kalisto kicks Bo then whips, but Bo reverses. Dawson tags in and goes after Kalisto to throw him out. Dawson slaps Bo but Bo fires off hands!

Bo boots and clotheslines Dawson, then brings him up for the draping neckbreaker! Cover, but Dash breaks it up! Dash takes his time leaving, but Kalisto comes in to tilt-o-whirl DDT Dash down! Axel swings but gets a kick! Kalisto dodges Rezar, Bo and Dawson clothesline him out! But then Akam grabs them both, only to get haymakers. Akam shoves them back but is sent out. Lucha House Party are LAUNCHED onto both AoP! Bo and Dawson are alone, Dawson rolls Bo up but Bo rolls him back! Cover, TWO! Small package, TWO! Dawson scoops but gets another cradle, TWO! Bo shoves Dawson but Dash tags in. SHATTER MACHINE! Cover, The Revival win!!

Winners: The Revival, Dash Wilder pinning; new Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders

#SayYeah! Now that Dash & Dawson got a fair shake, they can get another shot at those tag titles! Will they be #ReadyWillingAndGLORIOUS against Roode & Gable?

 

Backstage interview with Seth Rollins!

The Architect got back at Ambrose just a bit earlier, but he still feels rough from last night’s “disaster.” Personally, professionally, it was all wrong. He let Ambrose get in his head and take that title, and Rollins heard the crowd. Rollins takes the blame for all of that, and vows to move forward. This isn’t about his in-ring performance or titles, this is his life! “This is everything that I’ve dedicated everything to!” It’s going off the rails, but Rollins will right the ship by ending Ambrose.

But Baron Corbin comes over, and tells Rollins that everyone thought he was doing great until Rollins had to speak up. Rollins goaded Corbin into a match, Rollins is why Strowman won, and Rollins is why the McMahons are back in charge. Ambrose was right. And Corbin would take Rollins title, if Ambrose hadn’t already done that. Rollins hits Corbin! The Lone Wolf gets further comeuppance, but when will the Lunatic get his?

 

Ronda Rousey is here!

And the Baddest Woman on the Planet is still Raw Women’s Champion after a physical match with Nia Jax! Ronda denied the #FaceBreaker her victory, but she didn’t stop there. She got her payback on The Queen, Charlotte Flair, and The Man, Becky Lynch, by throwing them off their ladder in the SmackDown Women’s Championship TLC Match! The Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka, has the throne now, but what does that mean for both shows now?

Ronda smiles as fans duel. She says “I told Nia Jax she could kiss that right hand she’s so proud of good-bye. I told Charlotte Flair I was going to write the next chapter of our story. And I told Becky Lynch I am the last woman on Earth she should provoke.” Ronda didn’t come out here to justify her actions, but to define what a real champion is. “A real champion is so much more than just a title someone puts in front of your name or an object you can hold”. It’s so much more than the winner of a match. A real champion represents the limit of human potential, physically, mentally and morally. A real champion is the best the human race has to offer, and steps up to the challenge. That is why Ronda is here tonight!

Fans still duel as Ronda suggests a new tradition. Every Raw after a PPV, the champion shows up no matter what to defend their title! Ronda wants a fight, this is her open challenge, so who wants a shot!?

Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Ronda Rousey VS ???

There’s a traffic jam at gorilla position! So many women want their shot at Ronda, the production team can’t figure out what song to play! Stephanie McMahon leads them out in front of the fans, microphone in hand. Stephanie lets Ronda know that everyone wants their shot. And they’re deserving, but there won’t be any favorites anymore. These women will all earn their shot, in a Gauntlet Match! And that’s right now! And we start with Alicia Fox, against Bayley!

8 Woman Gauntlet Match!

Who will be the last woman left to challenge Ronda for her title?!

Bayley circles with Alicia and tie up. Bayley rolls Alicia, ONE. Alicia backs off to circle with Bayley again. They tie up and Bayley gets an arm wrench. She brings Alicia down and then Mahistrols, TWO! Alicia scrambles to ropes for safety, and fans boo as she takes her time getting up. Alicia kicks low, still holding the ropes, then throws forearms. She throws Bayley down by her hair, covers, ONE. Alicia keeps on Bayley in a corner for buckle bumps, then stomps her in another corner. She backs off to snapmare Bayley to a cover. ONE, but Alicia wraps on a chinlock. Fans rally up and Bayley feeds off the energy. Alicia clubs Bayley but misses the scissor kick to get a saido suplex! Cover, TWO! Alicia runs away again and we go to break.

Raw returns as Alicia stomps Bayley. Alicia kicks Bayley down and around at the ropes. Bayley gets to a corner, Alicia throws forearms. Alicia taunts Bayley to whip her corner to corner. Bayley slips to the apron and shoulders in. She slides under to sunset flip, TWO! Alicia clobbers Bayley quick! Alicia chokes Bayley on the ropes but backs off at 4. She pulls on Bayley’s ponytail, then throws more forearms. Bayley kicks and kicks, then throws forearms. Alicia kicks low but fans rally for Bayley. Alicia whips Bayley hard into buckles! Cover, TWO! Alicia keeps her cool, but then she starts slapping Bayley around in the corner. Bayley pushes Alicia away then flapjacks her on the buckles! Bayley whips but Alicia reverses, but Bayley goes up and over. But Bayley’s ankle gives out, and Alicia boots her down! Cover, but Bayley reverses it, Bayley ELIMINATES Alicia!!

Dana Brooke comes out now, and hurries to capitalize. She goes after Bayley with an enziguri! Dana handsprings corner to corner for the elbow! Cover, TWO! Dana tries again, TWO! Dana rains rights down because she wants this chance. She puts Bayley in a body scissor squeeze and trash talks, but Bayley fights out. Bayley makes it a cover, TWO! Dana chop blocks the bad leg! The ref checks on Bayley, but she won’t quit. Dana bumps Bayley off buckles and stomps a mudhole. Dana whips but Bayley can’t even run on the leg. Cover, TWO! Dana keeps on Bayley with a chinlock but fans rally. Bayley endures the thrashing, and fights her way up. Dana throws her back down by her hair, then covers. TWO, Dana tries again, TWO!

Dana grows frustrated but she keeps on Bayley in a corner. She stomps in another mudhole, then backs off at 4. Dana taunts Bayley, but gets a Bayley2Belly! Cover, Bayley ELIMINATES Dana! The Huggable One continues in this Gauntlet while we go to break!

Raw returns and Bayley’s third opponent is Mickie James. Mickie has Bayley in a chinlock but Bayley fights her way up. Bayley fights back but Mickie knees low. Mickie whips Bayley to a corner, but runs into a boot! Bayley runs out but into a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Mickie is frustrated that a beat up Bayley is still going. Ronda watches backstage as Mickie toys with Bayley. Mickie drags Bayley up to choke her on the ropes. She stops at 4, but runs, only to miss and get ropes! Bayley covers, TWO! Mickie brings Bayley up and kicks, but then runs and misses, Bayley rolls her up! TWO, and Mickie flapjacks Bayley! Mickie kips up and heads up top. Bayley stands, Mickie hits the flying seated senton! Cover, TWO and Bayley sunset flips, TWO! Mickie high stacks, TWO, roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Bayley still lives!

Mickie grows frustrated, but aim to finish this. Bayley slowly stands, but denies the Mick-DDT to a saido suplex! Fans fire up with Bayley, but Mickie kicks her out of the ring. Mickie builds speed, to slide, but Bayley spins her around for a big knee! Bayley grits her teeth as she heads back up. Bayley has a bad footing on the ropes but she still elbows Mickie. She leaps for a crossbody, but can’t keep the cover! Mickie gets to a corner, Bayley runs in for a big knee! Bayley tosses Mickie out to climb back up. Bayley leaps, Macho Elbow! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Mickie survives and Bayley grows frustrated. Bayley gets up and goes after Mickie but gets body shots. Mickie steps in for a hotshot! Bayley fires herself up, but Mickie grabs hair! Bayley powers Mickie back, but Mickie elbows Bayley.

Mickie goes for the Mickanrana but is put on the apron. Mickie hits back and bumps Bayley off buckles! The Mick-DDT hits! Cover, Mickie ELIMINATES Bayley! But there’s no rest for the wicked, Ember Moon heads in! Mickie dropkicks Ember right as she slides into the ring! Mickie stomps away but backs off at 4. Ember gets up but Mickie kicks her to a corner. Mickie grinds her boot in but stops at 4. Ember gasps for air but Mickie is on her with a slap. Ember and Mickie kick each other, Mickie whips but Ember flips through the hip toss to arm-drag! Mickie runs into a leg sweep, Ember misses the dropkick! Mickie covers, TWO! Ember blocks a kick but gets a kick. Mickie runs, but she misses. Ember runs, springboard crossbody! Cover, TWO!

Mickie slides out, because she wants a time-out. But Ember doesn’t give her one. ember runs and slides out, but Mickie kicks her on the return. Mickie wants a draping DDT but Ember fights her off. Mickie slides out and wants a bomb! Ember holds on for dear life and fights Mickie off, but Mickie trips her up! Ember hits apron while we go to break.

Raw returns and Ember slams Mickie! Both women are down but stirring. Mickie throws a forearm but Ember throws one back. Ember throws more forearms, then ducks to swing. Mickie dodges but Ember dodges and mule kicks, Ember enziguris! High stack cover, TWO! Ronda still watches backstage as Mickie gets to a corner. Ember runs in but misses, and Mickie rolls her up. She uses ropes but gets caught! The referee reprimands Mickie, but Mickie still flapjacks Ember! Mickie kips up again, then heads up top. Mickie leaps, but into a code breaker!! Ember hurries up top now, for the ECLIPSE! Cover, Ember ELIMINATES Mickie! But here comes The Queen of Harts! Natalya hits the ring but Ember rolls her up, TWO!

Natty gets Ember down, but the Sharpshooter is denied. Ember ducks the discus to SUPERKICK Natty! Cover, TWO! Ember drags Natty up into a chinlock but Natty endures. Natty works her way up and fights out, but Ember kicks her back. Ember brings Natty up to trap an arm in the standing chinlock. Natty endures the modified stretch, even as Ember clubs her on the back. Natty fights out and fireman’s carry, but Ember fights out. Ember throws forearms, then whips, but Natty reverses. Natty runs into a boot, and Ember hops up. Ember brings Natty over, tornado snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Ember clubs Natty again, then heads up top. Natty stands and gets clear of the Eclipse, to discus clothesline Ember! Cover, TWO!! The War Goddess survives and the Queen of Harts is frustrated.

Natty goes for legs but Ember fights her off. Cradle, TWO! Natty rolls Ember up, Natty ELIMINATES Ember!! Natty shocks Sacramento, but The Riott Squad heads out together. Will it be a rematch of TLC to determine a #1 Contender? We’ll find out after the break.

Raw returns and Ruby has Natty in a chinlock. Natty endures and pries her way out of the chinlock, but Ruby puts on body scissors. Liv and Sarah smirk as Ruby squeezes Natty. Natty turns around to club Ruby, so Ruby slaps Natty! Ruby wraps Natty in a guillotine now, but Natty still endures. Natty powers up and powers Ruby off with a scoop slam! Fans fire up as Natty and Ruby double clothesline! Both Ruby and Natty are down but the Squad coach Ruby up. Ruby gets up first and kicks Natty in the ribs! Ruby drags Natty up to throw her down, then brings Natty up to bump her off buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Natty but stops at 3. Natty rolls her up! TWO, and Ruby clobbers Natty again. Cover, TWO!

Ruby grows frustrated, but puts Natty in a cravat. Natty endures and fights her way back up. Natty arm-drags Ruby off, but gets a knee to the chin! Ruby throws Natty down, covers, TWO! Ruby keeps her cool, and toys with Natty, but Natty slaps her! Natty gets up but Ruby rolls her, TWO! Natty boots Ruby down, then catches her breath. She scoops Ruby but Ruby sunset flips, TWO! Natty dropkicks Ruby down! Ruby and Natty are slow to get up but Natty rallies with ax handles and lariats. Natty kicks low, then fires the fans up with a snap suplex! And another! Natty slaps Ruby then whips her to a corner. Discus meets STO! Ruby positions Natty in the drop zone then climbs up. The Squad cheer on the back senton, but it misses! Roll up, Natty ELIMINATES Ruby!

But it’s Boss Time! Sasha Banks goes at Natty, and rallies the moment she hits the ring! She blocks a kick to give a knee, then turns Natty sideways in the corner. Stock Drop knees! Cover, TWO! Natty survives but The Boss keeps her focus. Sasha puts up the four and says she wants that belt, but Natty powers her to a corner! Natty rams her shoulder in but then misses. Sasha goes up, but Natty gets under to roll her up! TWO! Sasha runs, sunset flip DDT! Cover, TWO!! Natty still lives and this match continues, after one more break!

Raw returns and both women are down. A 10 count begins, and Sasha sits up at 6. She stands at 7 and Natty follows. Natty blocks the kick to trip Sasha up, then she walks all over her to dropkick! Cover, TWO! Natty fires up the fans as she brings Sasha around. She wants the Sharpshooter but is denied with a roll up, TWO! Sasha backslides, TWO! Sasha knees Natty but Natty discus clotheslines! Cover, TWO!! Natty grows frustrated, but she wants that Sharpshooter. And she gets it! Sasha endures as Natty drags her from ropes! Fans fire up and duel as Sasha crawls. Sasha reaches but Natty drags her away again! Natty sits down deep but Sasha gets a second gas, to roll Natty into buckles! Both women are down and the ref checks on them.

Fans rally up as both women are okay to continue. Natty goes for the legs but Sasha rolls through to a Half Crab! Natty endures, crawls and reaches! Sasha shifts to the Rings of Saturn, to a cover, TWO! Bank Statement crossface!! Natty endures as Sasha pulls back hard! Natty powers Sasha around, but Sasha holds on. Fireman’s carry, but Sasha slips off. Natty throws Sasha with a German Suplex! Fans rally and duel while both women stir. Sasha gets to a corner, but Natty stands up. Natty runs in, but into a boot! Sasha elbows Natty away, then hops up. She leaps, Meteora! Cover, TWO!! Natty lives and Sasha can’t believe it! Sasha and Natty slowly stand, and Sasha wants the backstabber. Natty bucks her off, but walks into a takedown!

Sasha wants the crossface but Natty arm-drags her off. Sasha runs and rolls again, but into an inverted bomb! Natty gets the legs, Sharpshooter is on! Sasha endures as she’s far away, and TAPS! Natty wins the Gauntlet!!

Winner: Natalya, by submission; will face Ronda Rousey for the title next week

The Queen of Harts just won herself the best Christmas present ever! Natty shows Sasha respect, but here comes Ronda to congratulate her friend. Natty and Ronda celebrate this accomplishment together, but now friends must become opponents. Ronda offers a handshake, and Natty accepts it. Will friends stay friends after their title match?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Well this wasn’t what I expected from a post-PPV Raw. And sadly it wasn’t worth the hype. Vince and the McMahon family promised change and finally giving fans what we want, but this first night doesn’t quite give that impression. The only change might’ve been that there were way more commercials than I can remember being on a Raw. Did WWE need to pay some bills or something? This would’ve been a better Raw just on the virtue of keeping the flow going with less ads and more action. It’s not like having more of those commercials changed how Raw actually ran, either. The opening was a talk segment to give us this supposed “change”, and Vince’s time on his own show to shine. The only reason it wasn’t a consecutive 20 minutes is because a commercial happened 5 minutes in.

Now, I did appreciate that the McMahons were the Faces in this scenario, and gave Corbin further comeuppance. It was proper karma with the running gag of “remembering” things. However, another “change” seems to be we won’t get Angle back as GM or even someone new, like a rumored WOKEN Hardy. But perhaps if that means HHH is technically in charge, there’s a sliver of hope he’ll get this thing running as it should. In fact, Finn VS Ziggler was a really great match, but I am a bit disappointed McIntyre interfered. We’ve already been told there will be a Triple Threat for this story on the Christmas Eve edition, so that sounds like a good time. And for those who don’t already know, the Christmas Eve Raw will be recorded TONIGHT and put on tape delay. I don’t know if the live audience is lucky or being tortured…

There are also these “new faces” to address. The NXT Call-Ups have been announced in advance, but honestly I hope most of them go to SmackDown. We’ll have to wait and see how the “fresh start” affects SmackDown, but I’d imagine SmackDown will still be just as good as it was before. Therefore, they’d be able to use Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery and EC3 much better than Raw. In fact, we were all worried about what Faces could face the Heel Daniel Bryan, maybe The Top One Percent can be that Face.

It seems Tyler Breeze is Mr. Open Challenge, with having gone back to NXT long enough to challenge Ricochet then returning to Raw to answer Ambrose’s Open Challenge. Rollins being in disguise as a gas-mask man was a standard twist, but still fitting of the story. If only Rollins interfered during the match to cost Ambrose the title. But perhaps that in itself proves Ambrose right: Rollins won’t go after Ambrose unless he can get the title back. Rollins VS Corbin will be the Christmas Eve match, and perhaps Ambrose attacks him back to keep pace. I wonder if their title rematch would be at Royal Rumble to keep them out of the Royal Rumble match… Perhaps that’s for the best if Rollins isn’t going to win to then challenge for the Universal Championship.

A Fatal 4 Way tag to determine contenders was good, and the match itself was alright. I’m sure many fans are happy that The Revival are finally back in the title scene, and I for one am glad the Raw Tag Division didn’t have to worry about pee jokes and lucha rule inaccuracies. Revival VS Gable & Roode should be a good one, if they’re allowed to go NXT level with HHH behind the wheel. Fans would be even more amazed if The Revival finally won. At the same time, we’re getting some Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn “returning soon” hype, I wonder if they finally aim for tag titles on top of singles. It’d make a lot of sense to me, at least, as Kevin would get his Grand Slam with the help of his best friend.

It seems the Raw Women’s Division has finally turned the corner to match up to SmackDown’s. Ronda wanted a match already, and the Gauntlet was a great surprise. I am genuinely surprised but pleased that Natalya is facing Ronda “next week” rather than Sasha Banks. There is story to be had with Ronda VS Raw’s NXT Horsewomen, but everyone was expecting Ronda VS Natty to have happened at some point, so this seems like a good a time as any. Ronda VS Natty, tired as they both might be, will still be a solid match, and I just hope that there’s no interference. At least not until the title match gets to a really hot point. The Riott Squad or the Samoan Dynasty might be expected given Raw stories, but I’m thinking it should be Charlotte and Becky for payback from TLC to move that story forward.

My Score: 7.7/10

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The Chairshot Match Of The Year Final Match Pool

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How did the last week of voting pan out for Second Chance and November? Only one way to find out. Take a look at our 12 MOTY matches and let’s see where Andrew’s 5 votes are going.






Last week was our final vote to round out the 12 matches in the Match of the Year pool.  Since we love Top 5s here, the idea will be for everyone to whittle the 12, down to their 5 favorite, and then we get our final 5 to vote on.

Let’s see what matches we have in our MOTY Pool:

  • January – NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas(c)
  • February – New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
  • March – NJPW Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
  • April – NXT Takeover NOLA NXT Championship: Andrade Almas(c) vs Aleister Black
  • May – WWE Backlash Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs The Miz
  • June – NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs Kenny Omega
  • July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
  • September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis(c)
  • October – Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte
  • November – NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship Match: Velveteen Dream vs Tommaso Ciampa (c)
  • December/Second Chance – Impact Wrestling Redemption World Championship Triple Threat: Fenix vs Austin Aries (c) vs Pentagon Jr

Now as you can see, the overall list has some decent balance. Five from New Japan and WWE, along with 2 outlier matches. So it’s not heavily tipped one way or the other.

For the rest of this article I’ll just list out my 5 picks from this list, and then we can get to everyone’s votes.

 

5. NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

This makes my Top 5 from our MOTY pool because this was just a good combination of all things wrestling. Solid wrestling, homages, callbacks, high suspense moments, big crowd reactions…just everything. Sure it might not have been a work rate master piece, but there’s more to wrestling than work rate.

 

4. NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega

This was almost a given since it already won Tokyo Sports Best Bout, which marks the fifth year in a row Okada was involved in the Best Bout, and the first time since Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa that the same pairing won back to back. Though it wasn’t the best of their four matches in my opinion, you can’t overlook the storyline ramifications.

We saw this match finish off the ascent of Kenny Omega, as well as, send Kazuchika Okada into some goofy balloon loving spiral. Love or hate the Elite, this story had a lot of attention and was told pretty damn well.

 

3. All In NWA Championship: Cody vs Nick Aldis (c)

In a similar vein to the Okada/Omega match, this had a lot of story significance. Cody challenging for all of the World Championships he could was one, him trying to be the first second generation wrestler to capture the NWA Championship was another and of course, the emotions tied with Dusty was the one most of us cared about.

As I said when I reviewed All In, this match was a love letter to his father. Yes it was a very old school southern style match. Obvious blade jobs, a goofy possible knock out for the DDP pop, Brandi putting herself in the way of a move to protect her husband, this was all love. It was a match I think most old school fans would enjoy, and unless you really need flips or work rate, this match evoked some emotion out of most watchers.

This is wrestling.

 

2. NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas (c)

An early contender that still holds up nicely. This was the first match since Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura to really just blow me away. They both turned it up, the double knees into the post looked brutal and the whole thing was a great culmination of Andrade’s character.

It was after this match, most of us were sold that he figured it out and would be huge. Now we just have to hope Vince sees it too.

 

1. G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

It’s not often we get a match where one of the competitors considers the other one God. Ibushi and Tanahashi have immense respect for each other, and they also have an undeniable chemistry. Ibushi gets a lot labels as a “flippy shit” wrestler, but he sells wonderfully and knows how to tell a story in the ring.

On top of Ibushi’s athletic prowess and overall wrestling ability, we couple that with Tanahashi’s masterful pacing and his own artistic way of building a match…this was just poetry in motion. It definitely helps this is my personal number 1 match all year, so of course I was ecstatic that it made The Chairshot MOTY pool. Beautiful match.

 

Thoughts:

If you didn’t partake much in the match votes leading up to this pool, now’s you’re chance to make your voice heard. Vote for your Top 5, and then we can have the final vote starting next week, for our second Chairshot MOTY. Our first ever vote went to, NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada (c).

Will New Japan end up winning this year also?






What are your Top 5 out of these 12? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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