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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (2/13/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Dolph Ziggler VS Baron Corbin; no contest.
  • Charlotte Flair VS Sarah Logan w/ The Riott Squad; Charlotte wins.
  • Baron Corbin VS Kevin Owens; Corbin wins and enters the WWE Championship match to make it a Fatal 4 Way.
  • WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: Bobby Roode VS ???; no contest.
  • The New Day VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable; The New Day wins.
  • Dolph Ziggler VS Sami Zayn; Ziggler wins and enters the WWE Championship match to make it a Fatal 5 Way.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dolph Ziggler VS Baron Corbin!

And after an initial record scratch, The Show-Off’s theme music actually does play. The Show-Off left SmackDown after vacating the United States Championship when he felt the fans weren’t worthy of his presence, but then he returned via the Royal Rumble match. Now he has an opportunity to leap over many other superstars and enter the WWE Championship match here tonight.

As for The Lone Wolf, his music plays from the start, yet he doesn’t come out. That’s because Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn are beating Corbin down to make sure he can’t compete! But Corbin doesn’t go down easy, he rocks both men back with heavy rights, only to be brought down by the 2v1 again. They even throw him into spare bins nearby!

“NOW that’s it!” One down, one to go, #Kami heads for the ring! Ziggler knows full well they’re on their way and gets ready for a fight. The fans boo as #Kami appears at the stage. Kevin sends Sami off to the side, and while Ziggler watches where the Underdog is going, the Prizefighter comes up the ramp. Ziggler intercepts Sami and they brawl in the bleachers! He bounces Saim off trunks but then Kevin comes in and it’s another 2v1 advantage! Sami throws Ziggler into the side of a trash barrel, and then Kevin slams the lid on Ziggler. The best friends clearly don’t want anyone else joining them against AJ Styles at Fastlane. Even so, Ziggler keeps fighting, until he’s pushed into a post. Kevin drags Ziggler up, for Sami’s HELLUVA KICK!

Ziggler goes down in a heap and #Kami stands tall while the fans boo and jeer. The referee backs them off, but the damage is done. However, Corbin returns! He takes them both on, but that’s still not enough with the numbers on #Kami’s side.

Kevin throws Corbin into the side rails, and security comes out to finally get them to stop. The fans boo and jeer harder, what will SmackDown management’s response be to this?

 

Charlotte Flair VS Sarah Logan w/ The Riott Squad!

The Queen of Flair and SmackDown Women’s Champion is on a mission to handle this trouble-making trio herself. She already beat Liv Morgan last week, now she wants #KentuckyStrong tonight. Can Charlotte go 2-0 in this unofficial best of three series? However, to make sure The Squad isn’t a factor, Charlotte has her own back-up in the form of The Lass Kicker and Ms. Glow Time!

The bell rings and both sides cheer on their woman. Sarah backs Charlotte down but Charlotte fires right back out. They tie up, push back and forth, then separate when neither gets anyway. They go again, Sarah with the waistlock and judo throw. Charlotte resists but Sarah maintains the hold. Sarah throws Charlotte down again and keeps back control as Charlotte tries to get free. They stand up, but Sarah brings Charlotte down again. Charlotte keeps working to get out of the hold, but Sarah shirts to a facelock. Sarah backs Charlotte down but Charlotte rolls and reverses into her own facelock. Charlotte throws Sarah now with a hip toss, then boots her down and out of the ring! We go picture in picture as The Squad regroups.

Ruby and Liv coach Sarah back up and into the ring. Charlotte gets Sarah in a waistlock and returns the slam now. Now Sarah works to get free, throwing a back elbow. She puts Charlotte into a headlock, Charlotte powers out and Sarah rolls to run her over. Cover, ONE, then Charlotte runs Sarah over. Charlotte rocks Sarah with a big knee, then styles and profiles like her father. Sarah comes back with forearms but Charlotte gives one of her own. Sarah runs but Charlotte knocks her down again with a back elbow. Charlotte drags Sarah up and to a corner for a buckle bump. She brings Sarah out and tries again but Sarah reverse, bumping Charlotte off the buckles. Sarah whips corner to corner but Charlotte tumbles to the apron. Charlotte shoulders in, slingshot roll-up, TWO. Charlotte rolls Sarah again, ONE, and Sarah hits Charlotte low. Sarah whips and reels Charlotte into another knee, then gives a dropkick that sends Charlotte out of the ring. The Squad troll the Queen but Naomi & Becky back them off. Charlotte climbs back up but Sarah gets her on reentry. Sarah gives forearms and stomps in a corner, only stopping to snapmare and wrap on a straitjacket hold. Sarah thrashes Charlotte around and the Squad likes it. Charlotte gets to her feet but Sarah gets the waistlock. Charlotte works to get out as we go single picture.

Standing switch and a German Suplex puts Charlotte back in control! The Squad panics as Charlotte lifts Sarah, but Sarah sips out to chop Charlotte.

That wasn’t good, because now Charlotte unloads her chops! Charlotte chops Sarah on the ropes, even in the shoulder, then whips to scoop. Sarah slips out and tackles from behind, cover, TWO! Sarah keeps on Charlotte with a rain of rights, then stomps and kicks her around. Charlotte gets up but Sarah throws her with a butterfly suplex. Cover, TWO, the Squad grows frustrated. Sarah puts Charlotte back in the straitjacket stretch while fans rally. The Squad trolls Charlotte again even as the rally builds. Charlotte gets up, Sarah whips her, but Charlotte evades and gives a big knee strike. Sarah staggers but comes back with a shotgun knee! Cover, TWO! Sarah keeps going, kicking and stomping Charlotte again, then rains down forearms. Cover, TWO, but Sarah keeps on Charlotte with an armlock, and even grinds a knee into Charlotte’s shoulder. The fans keep cheering for Charlotte, and Charlotte feeds off that to get up, only for Sarah to lariat her down. Cover, TWO! The Squad can’t believe this. Charlotte kicks and chops back, then goes to boot but Sarah evades! With Charlotte stuck on the rope, Sarah German Suplexes, covers, TWO! Sarah’s frustration reaches an all-time high and she just gives rough shots to Charlotte. Charlotte fires up from it and hits back hard! Charlotte runs in but Sarah sends her face first into buckles! They both stagger up, Charlotte hits a backbreaker and then shot into the buckles, Natural Selection!

Charlotte wins! The Queen goes 2-0 on the Squad, can she beat Ruby to make it a sweep?

 

SmackDown management meets backstage.

Shane McMahon addresses the issue. Kevin & Sami are the guys Daniel Bryan wants to be WWE Champion? “It’s not going down like that.” Shane talked to Corbin and Ziggler before coming in here. Corbin will take on Kevin, Ziggler will take on Sami, and if either of them wins, or even both of them, they’ll each be added. But if Kevin interferes with Sami and Sami interferes with Kevin, they’re thrown out. The Commissioner has spoken, is this going to work in his favor?

 

Baron Corbin VS Kevin Owens!

As Shane McMahon just said, the only way Kevin can keep The Lone Wolf out of Fastlane’s WWE Championship match is to win fair and square in the ring! Can The Prizefighter beat up Corbin without the Underdog helping him?

The bell rings and Kevin goes right at Corbin with body shots and mudhole stomps in a corner. Corbin fires back with heavy rights, but then Kevin slips out of the ring to catch his breath. Corbin shouts for Kevin to get back in the ring, but Kevin doesn’t. So Corbin takes the fight to him on the outside! They brawl back and forth, then Corbin puts Kevin back in the ring. Kevin pounces on reentry, stomping away on Corbin in the ribs he and Sami damaged earlier. He puts Corbin in a corner, whips but Corbin reverses. Corbin runs in but Kevin boots him away, only to get rocked on the ropes with that right hand! Kevin tumbles down and out, but Corbin is a step ahead of him. He comes around the corner to then put Kevin into barriers. Corbin keeps going, rocking Kevin with knees and another barrier bump. The referee orders them to get back in the ring, so Corbin puts Kevin back in. Kevin sips right back out then rams Corbin into the apron, and a post! Kevin brings Corbin up and into the ring now, keeping on those bad ribs. He elbows and stomps Corbin more, then brings him up to put him in a corner. He whips corner to corner, but Corbin slips out then in, into a mule kick to the gut. CANNONBALL! Cover, TWO, and Kevin is upset while we go to break.

SmackDown returns to see Corbin reverse a whip to send Kevin into barriers again!

Kevin staggers away but then evades to send Corbin into steel steps! The referee checks on Corbin while Sami watches backstage. Kevin fetches Corbin to put him back in the ring, then hits the back senton! Cover, TWO! Kevin hurries to put on a chinlock even as he complains, “That was three!” The fans rally for Corbin as he endures the hold. Corbin sits up and then works his way up to his feet. Kevin rams knees into Corbin, then runs, but into a Choke Slam Backbreaker! Both men are down and slowly stirring. Kevin gets himself to the ropes while Corbin stands up and fans rally. Corbin throws forearms, one big forearm knocking Kevin down. He runs in, slides out then in, lariat! Cover, TWO! Corbin is too sore to be frustrated as he gets up. Kevin is in a corner again and begging for mercy, but Corbin instead hoists him up to the top rope. Corbin rocks Kevin with another right before climbing up to join him. Kevin fights back, knocking Corbin off the top with headbutts. Kevin slips down, then evades again to send Corbin into a post! Roll up, TWO! Kevin stomps then climbs up top, but Corbin grabs him by the throat! Kevin fights back then hot shots Corbin, only to run into Deep Six! Corbin can’t cover yet, his ribs hurt too much.

Even so, he drags himself up to his feet and brings Kevin in, SUPERKICK instead! Then Kevin throws Kevin to ropes, Corbin holds ropes, then gets End of Days! Corbin WINS! The Lone Wolf adds himself to the championship match to make it a Fatal 4 Way! Can Sami keep it together to keep it at only four?

 

SmackDown Top Ten List!

As of last week the list was:

  1. AJ Styles
  2. Charlotte Flair
  3. Shinsuke Nakamura
  4. Naomi
  5. Bobby Roode
  6. The New Day
  7. The Usos
  8. Becky Lynch
  9. Randy Orton
  10. Tye Dillinger

Everyone from fans to superstars were both congratulatory and confused to at least one entry or another. Can The Perfect Ten remain in the Top Ten? Will he move up? Or will someone completely off the list jump on to bump him off?

 

WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: Bobby Roode VS ???

The GLORIOUS One is a fighting champion and is open to giving any superstar that wants at him their title opportunity. “From the moment I won this championship, I said I wanted to be the greatest United States Champion.” In order to do that, he had to steal a tradition for a man he wants to surpass, and that man is John Cena. Say what you will but Cena defended the US Championship week in and week out. Now Roode takes great pride in keeping the US Championship Open Challenge alive. Obviously this is for anyone in the back, but Roode hopes a certain someone meets him “face to face, rather than coming out here with an RKO outta nowhere.” We wait for someone to accept, and it IS Randy Orton!

The Viper has never held the United States Championship, and perhaps he will finally become a Grand Slam Champion. However, before the match can begni, the Modern Day Maharaja appears!

Jinder Mahal speaks, “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Viper, Randy Orton!” Mahal knows that at least the WWE Unvierse respects Orton. But it seems the SmackDown roster doesn’t, since they only saw him as 9th out of 10. The 13 time world champion, a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate, from Legacy to Evolution to the face of the WWE, but only 9th as voted by his peers. Orton and Mahal have had their ups and downs, wins and losses, but Mahal still respects Orton. The fans chant “RKO!” as if to signal they want him to give one to Mahal. Mahal continues, telling Orton that everyone else on SmackDown thinks Orton’s “already peaked.” Orton responds, “Jinder, I don’t give a damn about any top ten list!” He expects Mahal to believe that? Orton’s been here for 16 years, but he’s only 9th. Yet Roode is 5th after only sixth months. Orton’s life has been dedicated to wrestling, yet he’s outdone by a newcomer. The fans chant “RKO!” even louder now.

Mahal repeats that he respects Orton, but Roode thinks himself the future Legend Killer. Roode responds, “Those are some pretty big words from a man who couldn’t even make the top ten.”

And why is that? “Because nobody here respects you!” And in terms of respect, Roode has nothing but for Orton’s career. But if he were to say why Orton’s only 9th, it’s because everyone in the locker room is getting sick and tired of getting attacked “out of nowhere.” Like, when he does this? RKO to Singh! They brawl, Roode wants his DDT but Orton wants an RKO, both are denied and Mahal gets the KALAS!! Roode goes down, then Mahal grabs Orton, for another Kalas! The Modern Day Maharaja stands tall, proclaiming that he doesn’t need respect. The Open Challenge is cancelled for tonight, but will Mahal be first in line the next time?

 

The New Day VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable!

Awwwwwwwwww… CALIFORNIA~!” The Power of Positivity is here with Booty O’s and pancakes a plenty! They even have a table loaded with even more flapjacks!

“Today is a very special day”, it’s “Fat Tuesday”! Or in this case, Pancake Tuesday, “babyyyyy~!” In order to celebrate, Big E will “destroy the record” of eating 113 pancakes in eight minutes. How does he feel? “Good.” Okay. Who wants to see Big E break the record? The WWE Universe does. Xavier Woods counts it down, and Big E begins! He tries to shove fist fulls of pancakes into his mouth, but has he even gotten one down?

Gable & Benjamin come out to ruin the fun.

“Wow. This is great, guys, really.” When Gable was training for the Olympics, this is exactly what he imagined being part of. Good job, guys, really. Benjamin also says this is great. What The New Day has done for pancakes is “astronomical.” They should go on the road, or open up a restaurant. And when they do, they can leave the SmackDown Tag Team Division in the hands of “serious competitors.” “Honey~,” are you saying Kofi isn’t a serious competitor? That Big E isn’t a serious competitor? That Xavier Woods is not a serious competitor? The New Day remind Gable & Benjamin that they set the record for longest reigning W, W, E, tag, team, CHAMPIONS! And who even wants these two as champs? Who who who? “NOBODY!” “SHUSH!” So they have a serious side? What would happen if Gable were to… throw a pancake on the floor? They didn’t ilk that, did they? Then what if Benjamin, tossed a pancake on the floor? Benjamin flapped a jack. Oh, go for the big one. Big E defends his pancakes.. “Don’t you touch our cakes!” Settle down, Big E. They have news for The New Day: “Nobody likes pancakes.” The fans boo, who would ever not like pancakes? Benjamin & Gable say it’s time for waffles! And the pancakes go flying! The New Day have to hold Big E back, until this match officially begins.

We go picture in picture as both teams go to their corners. Big E is still furious, but passes out pancakes while the table is taken away. The official team for The New Day will be Big E and Kofi, with Woods taking over passing out pancakes like Frisbees. Gable and Big E start with the bell, Big E runs Gable over as payback for the flapjacks. Tag to Kofi, and the running low… twerk! Then the kick. Cover, TWO, and Gable powers Kofi into a slam! Cover, ONE, tag to Benjamin. Kofi fights back but gets clubbed down 2v1. Benjamin puts Kofi in a corner for right hands and stomps while we go back to single picture.

Benjamin whips Kofi corner to corner, but Kofi slips out to kick him away. Kofi climbs up, but Gable distracts. Kofi jumps over Benjamin, but runs into a pop-up knee! Cover, TWO, Benjamin drags Kofi up to whip him into the corner. Tag to Gable, they stomp Kofi again. Gable slams Kofi’s arm on the mat, then wrenches it. Cover, TWO, Gable keeps Kofi grounded with an armlock. The fans rally and Kofi gets to his feet. Kofi reaches for Big E while fighting back against Gable. He arm-drags Gable away but Gable comes back with the rolling kick! TWO, but Gable keeps his focus. He tags Benjamin back in and they focus on that arm. Kofi fights back but ends up in the enemy corner. Gable tags in and they both stomp Kofi out. Tag back to Benjamin, double whip but Kofi kicks back. He throws Gable out but Benjamin gets the waistlock. Kaofi escapes, but Gable trips up Big E! Woods calls him out, protesting to the referee. However, Benjamin turns Woods around to rock him with a right! Benjamin returns to embrace the heat while Kofi gets to a corner. Kofi responds with jumping double stomps! The fans rally, both men crawl for their corners, and hot tags to Gable and Big E! Big E throws Gable overhead! Then again! Then, the side belly2belly slam! Big E fires up and swivels those hips before running, Big Splash! He isn’t done there, he rallies the fans again. Big E scoops but Gable slips out, waistlock to Chaos Theory!

Both men are down and crawling for their corners again. Woods distracts so that the tag to Benjamin doesn’t count! Kofi comes in and dropkicks Benjamin out. Gable throws Kofi out, then argues with the ref, but turns into the scoop! Tag to Kofi, Midnight Hour! The New Day wins! Is that serious enough for Gable & Benjamin?

 

Backstage interview with Dolph Ziggler.

Ever since giving up the US Championship, he was gone. Now he’s back, and he admits to be selectively picking his spots. He finds himself primed for another opportunity. Ziggler lives for this, he loves this! Because it’s about doing what he’s been put on this planet to do, and that’s perform in that ring. Ziggler vows no one will outshine him, and that’s why “those cowards” had to attack him together. It’ll take more than just that attack to stop Ziggler. The reason Ziggler is back, the only reason he’s back in the WWE is for one thing only, the thing that eludes him to this day: the main event of Wrestlemania. “And I’ll be damned if I don’t walk in there as WWE Champion.” Can the Show-Off make the most of this opportunity?

 

The Usos speak.

They’ve been telling us for weeks how they have the SmackDown Tag Team Division #OnLock, and how there isn’t a tag team around that can match them. They try to but it’s lights out! Other teams stand up, but they get sat back down. These two are brothers, true brothers from the Samoan Bloodline, “ride or die.” From the womb to the tomb, they welcome you to the “Uso Penitentiary!” But then The Bludgeon Brothers break the screen! Harper & Rowan have made their case, can they break out of the Penitentiary?

 

Kevin finds Sami Zayn at gorilla.

He apologizes to Sami for messing up. Now it’s a Fatal 4 Way, and could become a Fatal 5! Sami can’t lose, don’t let Kevin down! Oh don’t let Kevin down? There is no “we” in the coming match, it’s every man for himself. The music hits, and Sami heads to the ring.

Dolph Ziggler VS Sami Zayn!

This may be the make-or-break match for the returning Show-Off on this Road to Wrestlemania. Can he steal the show from the Underdog to then try and steal the title from the Phenomenal One at Fastlane? They circle even before the bell, but we have to go to break.

SmackDown returns and the bell rings, Ziggler going right at Sami. Sami gets to a corner for safety, and Ziggler is forced to back off. He dares Sami to come out but Sami waits for him to stay back. Ziggler rushes Saim again but sami gets back between the ropes for safety. Fans boo and jeer while Kevin watches backstage. Sami and Ziggler circle, Ziggler gets the waistlock but Sami gets to the ropes. The ropebreak is tense, and Sami tells teh ref to do his job. Sami and Ziggler circle again, Ziggler gets the leg then the facelock, but Sami still gets to ropes. Ziggler lets go but Sami has a hold on him. Cheap shot headbutt to the ribs from Sami, then Sami backs off to a corner again. Ziggler dares Sami to come out again. They tie up, scuffle up to ropes again, and the break is no longer clean as Ziggler rocks Sami with a right. He keeps going, giving Sami a neckbreaker. Sami gets to a corner again, Ziggler hits the corner splash and another neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, Sami rolls all the way out. He walks around the ring to cool off, but fans boo and jeer. Sami takes his time returning into the ring, and circles with Ziggler again. They tie up, Sami puts Ziggler in a corner and clubs away with forearms to the back of Ziggler’s haed. The referee backs him off, but Sami comes back to boot-wash Ziggler right out to the apron. Sami drags Ziggler up and around, for a rope guillotine. Ziggler clutches his neck as he rolls away, Sami trolls him about the bad neck while he grinds a knee into it.

Sami backs off while Ziggler gets himself to a corner. Sami embraces the heat before rocking Ziggler with rights. He stalks Ziggler but Ziggler fights back with haymakers of his own. Sami powers Ziggler to another corner and keeps up the attack. He drags Ziggler up for a chop, then whips corner to corner. Ziggler reverses and runs in but gets a back elbow. Sami hops up, boots Ziggler away, then flies for a dropkick to knock him out of the air!

He clutches his jaw as he spills out of the ring, we go to break.

SmackDown returns again to find Sami holding Ziggler down in a chinlock. The fans rally and Ziggler fights his way up, but Sami whips him to the ropes to run him over with a clothesline. Cover, TWO, and Sami grows frustrated. He toys with Ziggler, kicking him while he’s down. Sami brings Ziggler up, but Ziggler escapes the suplex. Ziggler gets the waistlock but Sami elbows out, only for Ziggler to come back with the satellite DDT! Both men are down and Kevin worries backstage. The two slowly stir, and Ziggler gets running. Sami dodges, rolls, but Ziggler rolls out to hit the Famouser! TWO! Now Ziggler feels the frustration boiling up. Ziggler heads over to a corner, glances at the Wrestlemania sign then climbs up. Sami springs up to anchor him, Ziggler knocks him away, but Sami returns and trips him up! Sami rains rights on Ziggler before climbing up to join him. He prepares a superplex but Ziggler fights back. Ziggler throws haymakers but Sami hits back, getting Ziggler in position, SUPER EXPLODER!!

The impact is too much for Sami to make a cover, the referee starts a ten count. The count reaches 5 before they start standing up. Sami throws a hand but then Ziggler unloads, only for Sami to rock him back. Sami unloads more forearms then runs, but catches Ziggler’s dropkick to catapult him into buckles and post! Ziggler slumps down whiel Saim goes corner to corner, HElluva misses, ZIG ZAG HITS! TWO!! No one can believe Sami survived, but it also seems like Sami is moving on instinct. The fans declare “This is Awesome!” while both men slowly stir. Ziggler stalks the dazed Sami, swings a kick but Sami counters to throw him into the post! Sami staggers over and drags Ziggler out of the corner, to then throw him in again! Ziggler slumps to the apron but Sami keeps going, dragging Ziggler up onto his feet. Sami tries but Ziggler resists! Ziggler slips down, victory roll, TWO! Exploder into the buckles! Sami walks to the opposite corner, and takes aim at the battered Ziggler. Sami runs in, SUPERKICK outta nowhere! Ziggler wins!! The WWE Championship is now a Fatal FIVE Way! And Kevin is furious. With the odds shrinking to 1-in-5, who will walk out of Fastlane the champion to then face Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania?!

 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown feels good again, at least to me. It looked to open with what I expected to be a main event, but then it takes another swerve and it becomes Kevin & Sami attacking both Corbin & Ziggler. Another swerve was that I thought it was gonna be a Teddy Long moment of “impromptu tag team match”, but with the championship match stipulation. Instead, we get two separate singles matches to fill the card, both with championship implications and both really great matches. But before those matches, there was a lot of other great stuff tonight, and mostly all focused around matches. Charlotte-Sarah was really great, Sarah is a lot more polished than it seemed from her limited time on NXT TV. Charlotte wins because she has to stay strong and it makes for effective story that she’s already the winner of her Riott Squad series. Ruby uses social media to challenge #RoyalGlowFire to a new Six Woman Tag and that match is made for next week, so perhaps they’ll save Charlotte VS Ruby to determine the sweep. Then the Open Challenge turning into a three-way brawl was actually a good segment, too. Mahal stands tall after incorporating the SmackDown Top Ten List results into motivation, so perhaps instead of just Orton VS Roode, it’ll be a triple threat. A triple threat will make a way for Roode to still look strong even if he ends up losing, such as Orton pinning Mahal instead. Personally, from best to worst scenario, it’s: Roode retains; Orton wins to become Grand Slam Champion; Mahal wins to set up a Wrestlemania rematch.

The tag team division also had a great showing with New Day VS Gable-Benjamin, which can be framed as comedy VS seriousness. Comedic entertainment or not, the New Day is still a top tag team in the WWE and win as such to prove their point. They can continue a rivalry with Benjamin & Gable into Fastlane since it will clearly be Usos VS Bludgeon Brothers. The combination promo from those two was brilliant, as Usos show their great abilities on the mic but then Harper & Rowan counter with a proper “no words, just actions” display. Then as I said, both Kevin-Corbin and Sami-Ziggler were great matches, befitting of the motivations behind them. Fans actually cheered for Corbin for once, that alone is something to be impressed by. Then Ziggler had the fans back on his side despite the insistence of his record scratch to open his entrance. Ziggler and Corbin may just be in the match to help keep Kevin & Sami strong in the case where Styles retains, but I’m personally hoping for something else thrown in to really spice things up, given SmackDown has an extra month to build this PPV up.

My Score: 8.5/10


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (2/7/23)

Konosuke Takeshita gets Dark!

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The future of wrestling could be defined in the Dark!

Konosuke Takeshita is going strong in AEW, but he takes on MLW’s EJ Nduka! Will Konosuke still be The Future? Or will The Judge bring down the law?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Slim J VS Mascara Dorada; wins.
  • Rush w/ Jose the Assistant VS Aiden Park; wins.
  • The Outrunners VS Logan Cruz & Tyshaun Perez; wins.
  • Baliyan Akki VS Rico Gonzalez; wins.
  • Blake Christian VS Serpentico w/ Luther; wins.
  • Dalton Castle w/ The Boys VS Dante Casanova; wins.
  • Kiera Hogan VS Megan Meyers; wins.
  • Konosuke Takeshita VS EJ Nduka; wins.

QUICK NOTES

Another pretty good line-up, but the highlight is of course Konosuke VS Nduka. Both are great, having been champions outside of AEW. In fact, Nduka will be featured on tonight’s debut edition of MLW Underground on the Reelz channel. Nduka is challenging Alex Hammerstone for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing match. Between AEW Dark on YouTube and the MLW television debut, Nduka is going to get noticed by a lot of wrestling fans, and he very well could be the new MLW Champion the next time he’s in AEW.


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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (2/6/23)

Time to rage in the cage!

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Will it end where it all began?

Damage CTRL denied us and Becky Lynch the cage match with Bayley before, but now that Raw is in Orlando, The Man VS The Role Model WILL happen! Will this all come full circle for both these Horsewomen?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Elimination Chamber Match Qualifier: Damian Priest VS Angelo Dawkins; Priest wins and advances to the United States title Elimination Chamber match.
  • Baron Corbin w/ JBL VS Dexter Lumis w/ Johnny Gargano; Lumis wins.
  • Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifier Fatal 4 Way: Mia Yim VS Candice LeRae VS Piper Niven VS Carmella; Carmella wins and advances to the Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber match.
  • Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin VS The Alpha Academy; Alexander & Benjamin win.
  • Chelsea Green VS ???; Asuka wins.
  • Elimination Chamber Match Qualifier: Elias VS Montez Ford; Ford wins and advances to the United States title Elimination Chamber match.
  • Steel Cage: Bayley w/ Damage CTRL VS Becky Lynch; Becky wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Edge and Beth Phoenix are here!

Orlando goes nuts as the Rated R Superstar and the Glamazon make their way to the ring! Edge even takes some selfies with fans in the front row before he stands with Beth in the ring. The Grit Couple is of course here for revenge on the Judgment Day, a grudge that goes back to last year and Extreme Rules. They get the mic, and Edge says, “Oh, Orlando…! I gotta try and bring my heart rate down after watching that video, and just say it is so damn good to be back.” Orlando is happy to have them back, and Edge says he’s “The King of Comebacks as this point, it’s getting silly.” But we all know why they’re here this time: The Judgment Day.

Fans boo and Edge agrees. But the Judgment Day is his fault. The idea was to try and elevate talent he felt deserved it. And to be honest, it worked. All of them are at a better place now than they were a year ago. Finn Balor is on a level Edge has never seen before and that is saying something. Damian Priest has proven he’s a workhorse that come out week after week against the very best. Rhea Ripley, well… Fans do cheer Rhea, and Rhea went from number one to outlast everyone, and has punched her ticket to WrestleMania. Edge makes sure everyone sees him point at the sign. Oh, and Dom’s there, too.

“For the last year, we have battled back and forth. From Cardiff to Portland to Toronto, all leading up to Extreme Rules. And I knew that Finn Balor didn’t have what it takes to physically hurt me enough to make me say, ‘I Quit.’ But as you saw in the video, the minute I saw Rhea Ripley bash Beth in the back of the head with brass knuckles and hold that chair in her hand, I knew exactly what was going to happen and I was helpless to stop it. And I am the kind of man, and I know a lot of you can relate out there, I am the kind of man that is not used to feeling helpless.” Fans cheer, and Edge “congratulates” Judgment Day with a sarcastic clap.

Fans chant “You Still Got It!” and Edge says, “I never lost it.” Fans cheer that! Edge continues to say, “But here’s the thing, guys. You just made a bad problem even worse. Because I am a cruel, vindictive, sick bastard, who will sink to any level to get my pound of flesh!” Beth calms Edge and says she’ll cut to the chase. “If you’ve got the stones, Ripley, Balor, my husband and I are here to finish this.” But speaking of, here comes the Judgment Day! Finn, Priest and Dom have the mics but Rhea isn’t here. Finn asks if he’s the only one who notices a pattern. Edge makes his triumphant return, only for the Judgment Day to beat him down again and again and again!

Finn tells Edge, “It might be time for you to say ‘I quit.’ HAHAHA!” Dom says word on the street travels fast. Fans boo Dom but Finn tells them to let Dom talk. Dom says since Edge & Beth have been gone, he has served hard time! Fans continue to boo, Finn again says to let Dom talk! Dom tells Edge & Beth to run along, before he does something to them he learned “on the inside.” Just like he did to his deadbeat dad! Rey didn’t even make it into the Rumble match! Priest says Dom’s right. Fans chant “You Suck!” but Priest says it doesn’t matter. Edge and Rey are “something else.” Every time they come back, Judgment Day beats them down, but they come back for more.

So next time they beat Edge down, Extreme Rules will look like child’s play. And speaking of child’s play, after Dawkins gets cooked and Priest enters the Money… Wait, no, Edge has him so flustered. Finn says it’s alright, Edge has Finn all mad, too. Priest promises Edge that he hates him that he can’t even speak right. Priest is getting inside the Elimination Chamber to be the United States Champion! Dom wishes Rhea was here, she could see what they’re about to do to Edge. But Rhea is busy promoting WrestleMania. Edge tells Dom to shut up! Fans cheer that! Edge says he was right, but they all confuse him! They don’t know what they really want!

Priest, the night he clotheslined Edge’s head off, he claimed he didn’t want a leader. And yet, he’s following Finn around like a giant labradoodle. He’s better than that! As for Finn, he’s a Dollar Store Jamiroquai! It’s insanity. Google Jamiroquai, kids. But the difference between Judgment Day and The Grit Couple is that Edge and Beth have each other’s backs. But they all just drop each other quicker than “Ex Con Dom” did his drawers in the clink! “Which is fitting, considering how many times you screwed your dad over.” And by the way, Edge can’t wait until Rey snaps and 619s Dom’s teeth down his stupid throat! It’s coming!

Beth says Rhea’s not here cuz she’s doing promotional appearances? We all know it’s because Beth speared Rhea’s soul out of her body. But listen to her very closely: she didn’t come here to talk. She came to beat Rhea’s ass!! But if she’s not here tonight, how about this? The Rated R Superstar, Edge and the Glamazon, Beth Phoenix VS Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley at Elimination Chamber! Oh, oh, really? Does Dom think Rhea’s in? Dom says Mami is totally in. Finn is in, so they accept! That is, if Edge & Beth make it to Elimination Chamber. The Judgment Day surrounds the ring, Edge & Beth stand their ground, and the fight is on!

Beth runs off Dom, Priest & Finn go after Edge, but here comes ANGELO DAWKINS! Dawkins BLASTS Dom, then fires off on Priest! Dawkins clotheslines Dawkins out, Edge SPEARS Finn down! Dom is freaking out, and Ford creeps up behind him. Ford spooks Dom, puts him in the ring, and Dom wants mercy! He gets chicken wings and a GLAM SLAM instead! Orlando is all fired up, but will the Curse of Greatness be able to take down Damian? Or will Punishment be heading for Montreal?

Elimination Chamber Match Qualifier: Damian Priest VS Angelo Dawkins!

Raw returns as Priest stomps away on Dawkins, this match already underway. But it is also truly 1v1 as Adam Pearce made sure during the break to say no one else is allowed ringside! Priest stands Dawkins up to ROCK him with a right, then whips him to ropes. Dawkins handsprings over and DROPKCIKS Priest! Dawkins fireman’s carries for a FLAPJACK! Priest bails out, Dawkins builds speed, but Priest moves. Dawkins stops, slides out the side, and runs in to POUNCE Priest onto the announce desk!! Fans are thunderous as Priest flops to the floor! Dawkins puts Priest in the ring, sees him go to the corner, and runs in to CYCLONE- FOREARM!

Priest snarls as he stomps away on Dawkins again. Priest drags Dawkins up, rams him into a corner and fires off hands! Priest whips corner to corner, runs in and back elbows! Priest brings Dawkins up for a BROKEN ARROW! Cover, TWO! Priest snarls, he sits Dawkins up and pulls on the arms for a motorcycle stretch. Dawkins endures, Orlando rallies up, and Dawkins fights but Priest CLUBS him down! Cover, TWO! Priest clamps on with a chinlock now, and he bends Dawkins against his knee. Dawkins endures, fans rally up, and Dawkins fights up. Priest swings, Dawkins blocks to ROCK back! And again! And again! Anda gain!

Priest shoves, Dawkins bobs ‘n’ weaves then ROCKS Priest again! Dawkins dodges Priest’s boot to ENZIGURI! Priest runs in again but Dawkins dumps him out! Fans fire up as Dawkins goes out and runs in again, but into a LARIAT! Priest glares at Dawkins as he storms up on him. Priest drags Dawkins up, BIG suplex to the floor! Priest slides in the ring but just to refresh the count. Priest runs in around the way, leaps off the steps and FLYING KCIKS Dawkins down! Fans boo but Priest is in control as Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and both men are down after a collision. Fans rally up, Dawkins and Priest go to opposite ends, and Dawkins runs in to rally with clotheslines! Priest hits low, whips, but Dawkins hurdles and FLYING UPPERCUTS! Fans fire up with Dawkins, he runs corner to corner to CYCLONE! And ENZIGURI! And facelock, but Priest wrenches out, Dawkins ducks the lariat, to clinch and EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Dawkins grows a little frustrated but fans rally up. Dawkins brings Priest up, ROCKS him with a right, then climbs a corner. Priest choke grips first! Priest then climbs up to join Dawkins, but Dawkins HOTSHOTS him back!

Dawkins hurries in, but into a SUPERKICK! Clinch and COMPLETE SHOT! Cover, TWO! Dawkins survives and Priest is growing frustrated now. Priest holds up his hand and fans boo. Dawkins rises, Priest clamps on, SOUTH OF- NO, Dawkins pops free for the SILENCER! Cover, TWO!! Dawkins hurries to a corner and climbs back up! SWANTON BOMB!! Cover, TWO!!! Priest survives and Dawkins is beside himself! But Orlando fires up as he drags Priest back up. Priest clamps onto a leg, Dawkins throws hands! Dawkins brings Priest up again, but Priest ROCKS him with a forearm! Priest staggers, into a RIGHT from Dawkins!

Priest goes to a corner, Dawkins runs in, but into a SPINNING ROUNDHOUSE! Choke grip, SOUTH OF HEAVEN!! Cover, Priest wins!!

Winner: Damian Priest, by pinfall (advances to the United States Championship Elimination Chamber match)

The Punisher pulverizes Dawkins, and now he’s taking aim at the US Championship! Will Priest hit his mark and take that title back?

 

The United States Champion pulls into the arena.

Austin Theory drives a black Lamborghini, showing that The Now rides in style. Will he have anything to say about the Elimination Chamber field as it fills out tonight?

 

Adam Pearce meets with Maximum Males Models.

Maxxine Dupri finishes signing the contract, she, Maçé & Mansöôr are now officially part of Monday Night Raw. Pearce is happy to have them here, and is sure they have big WrestleMania plans. Maxxine confirms, she has big, BIG plans. But then Chelsea Green walks in and asks, “Are you the manager?” Chelsea, you know Pearce is the manager, they spoke last week. Pearce has MMM excuse themselves, and Chelsea says that, as they spoke last week, she is supposed to have a private room, with Swiss chocolates and fresh spring water. He took care of that. Oh, well, that was Belgian chocolate. She’s been to Belgium, she knows the difference.

Anyway, while she has him, she wants to talk about how she’s NOT in the Elimination Chamber match. But Liv is, Raquel is, Nikki is, all of who she could be. With all due respect, Chelsea, you didn’t even last five seconds in the Women’s Rumble, so- Uh, sorry, does she need to call his manager? All she wants is an opportunity. her family is in attendance, so she deserves a match. And in that match, she deserves to be presented as the big star she is. So he either makes this right, or… One call could cost him his job. Okay, thanks, bye. Chelsea heads out, but will Pearce bend to her demands?

 

Baron Corbin w/ JBL VS Dexter Lumis w/ Johnny Gargano!

The Modern Day Wrestling God didn’t last all that long in the Men’s Rumble, and he didn’t get a win over Johnny Wrestling last week. The Rumble was because of Lesnar, that match with Gargano was because of Lumis. Can Corbin even the score with the Tortured Artist? Or will JBL start to question his investment into Baron?

Raw returns and Lumis makes his entrance. Corbin attacks Lumis as soon as he’s in the ring! The ref reprimands and fans boo, but Corbin lets off. The bell rings and Corbin hits a SPLASH in the corner! Corbin throws Lumis down, elbows him down, then clamps on a chinlock. Corbin grinds Lumis down but fans chant, “Corbin Sucks!” Lumis endures, fights up and fights free of the hold. Lumis then headlocks, but Corbin powers out. Corbin CLOBBERS Lumis, then rains down more elbows! Corbin clamps the chinlock on again, and insults the fans. JBL coaches Corbin, Lumis still endures and fights his way back up.

Corbin knees low, he puts Lumis in a corner and fires off forearms. Corbin whips corner to corner hard and Lumis bounces off buckles! Cover, TWO! Corbin says Lumis is nothing and Gargano isn’t anything, either. Gargano says he still got a win off Corbin. Corbin grinds forearms into Lumis’ face, then twists Lumis’ head in a neck wrench. Fans rally and Lumis fights up again. Lumis throws hands, dodges Corbin’s, then DECKS him! And DECKS him again! Pop-up UPPERCUT! Lumis runs to clothesline in the corner, then BULLDOG! Fans fire up as Lumis catches Corbin for a BIG back suplex! Kip up to LEG DROP!

Fans fire up as Corbin flounders up. Lumis clinches, but Corbin RAMS him into a corner. Corbin fires off elbows, then runs in, but only gets buckles! Lumis clinches for the SIDE EFFECT! Cover, Lumis wins!

Winner: Dexter Lumis, by pinfall

JBL is speechless as Gargano stands with Lumis. Gargano is headed to the Elimination Chamber for the US title, but will Lumis find himself in title talks soon enough?

 

Backstage interview with Becky Lynch.

Byron Saxton says The Man finally has Bayley inside that Steel Cage. What does tonight mean to her? “Orlando, Florida! Orlando, where it all began. Ten years ago, when I got off the plane with my bags to chase this WWE dream. When I first met you, Byron Saxton. A lot has happened in Orlando in those ten years, but ten years ago, I first met Bayley. In the weight room in the NXT Performance Center. And she seemed sweet and she seemed kind, and she wanted to be great. And her way of being great was high-fiving people and hugging people, and attaching herself to whoever she thought would be her meal ticket to the top.

“But I, too, Byron, I wanted to be great. And my way of being great was smashing faces, kicking down doors and changing the game so that I could become The Man of this industry! And Bayley… Bayley didn’t like that. No, she didn’t like that. So she’s attacked me and hit me with chairs and separated my shoulder. And she brought my family into this. And Bayley, I’m gonna learn you to not talk about my family. But all that aside, I had a plan. And tonight, I got what I want, and that is a Steel Cage Match.

“And so Bayley, you can bring your little friends, and you can bring your little tricks. Well, there is one hand that I haven’t played yet, and I’m thinking… I’m thinking, Byron, tonight might be the night.” What does Big Time Becks have planned for the Role Model in tonight’s main event?

 

Brock Lesnar is here!

Orlando goes nuts again as The Beast walks out to the ring and tips his cowboy hat with a feather in it. Lesnar gets the mic to say, “I appreciate ya. Thank you very much. Good evening, Orlando. Did y’all by chance catch the Royal Rumble? I did, too. I thought it sucked. At least, I had a sucky experience. At the Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar got his ass thrown out over the top rope. That’s not the worst of it. I got my ass thrown over the top rope, by Bobby Who? Bobby Lashley! Now I apologize. I wasn’t on Raw last week, I had to get my head together a little bit. Bobby, you finally struck a chord in Brock Lesnar.”

All last week, Lesnar could not get Lashley out of his head. Lesnar tried to go hunting, and all he could think about was Bobby Who? Bobby Lashley! Next day, Lesnar wakes up, wants to go ice fishing. He likes coastal fishing, too, but he tries to go, but all he can think of is Bobby Who? Bobby Lashley! He sits down for a big ol’ steak dinner, and all he can think about is Bobby Lashley! He gets into bed at night with his wife, and… Well, four or five hours later, all Lesnar could think about is Bobby Lashley! So for a whole week, Lesnar thought about what he’s gonna do with Lashley. Lesnar has a resolution. A violent resolution, but still.

You see, within Lesnar’s “five dollar denim jacket, is a multi-million dollar contract.” Fans like the sound of that. Lesnar reads the contract: “Bobby Lashley VS Brock Lesnar at Elimination Chamber.” Now Lashley, if you’ve got balls, you’ll get down here and sign the contract! Well here comes Lashley! Lashley is in shades and a nice suit as he heads down the ramp and to the ring. Lashley gets himself a mic, and he says, “Well nice of you to grace us with your presence, Brock. I didn’t even know you were gonna be here. But since you are, let’s take a little walk down memory lane.”

Match number one, what happened? Lashley pinned Lesnar. Match number two, Lesnar won. But if memory serves, Lashley laid Lesnar out cold as he walked out of the ring. And the third meeting was at the Royal Rumble, and Lashley threw Lesnar out without a problem. Lesnar steps closer and hands Lashley the contract. Lashley takes it, and again says that if memory serves, Lashley will be done under his terms. Lashley is going to take Lesnar’s contract and let his agent look at it, and his manager, and his lawyer, then Lashley will get back to Lesnar. This will be under consideration.

Oh, is Lesnar surprised? Surprised that Bobby Who has one up on you? Lashley emphasizes that with a poke of the finger. Lesnar smirks, and he reels Lashley in! F5!! Lesnar puts the contract in Lashley’s pocket, but fans chant “ONE MORE TIME!” Lesnar figures why not! Fireman’s carry, F5!! The Beast puts his hat back on, takes his leave, and the ball is now in the All Mighty’s court. Will this all but guarantee Lashley will want that match with Lesnar in Montreal?

 

Johnny Gargano finds Candice LeRae backstage.

Mr. Wrestling says hello to Mrs. Wrestling, tonight is big, right? How is she feeling? Luck hasn’t been on her side but she feels good. Lumis has a picture for good luck. Wow, the whole family! Gargano, Candice, little Quill and their dog, Pawdme, and… Who is that in the back? Nikki Cross? Cuz she’s SPYING on them! Nikki laughs and runs off! Candice isn’t sure what to make of that, but will she worry more about it once she’s in the chamber with crazy Cross?

 

Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifier Fatal 4 Way: Mia Yim VS Candice LeRae VS Piper Niven VS Carmella!

Raquel Gonzalez, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross, Asuka and Natalya are waiting, and there’s just one spot left in the Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s match! Will it be Michin, Mrs. Wrestling, the Scottish Viper, or the FABULOUS Princess of Staten Island going all the way to Montreal for that golden opportunity?

Raw returns, Candice is already in the ring as Mia makes her entrance. Then, last but not least, Piper Niven! She’s dropped the nickname, will she make a name for herself on the Road to WrestleMania? The bell rings and Piper CLOBBERS Mia and Candice! Piper and Mella stare down, Mella talking trash even though this is her return match. Piper scares Mella with a growl and Mella bails out to hang by hubby Corey Graves. Piper whips Candice into Mia at a corner, then runs in to SANDWICH them! Candice and Mia both fall, and Piper grins. Mella hops on for a SLEEPER! Piper throws her right off!

Mella bails out again, but Mia and Candice fire off on Piper! Piper shoves them away, runs, but into a double drop toehold! She ends up on ropes, DOUBLE DROPKICKS send her out! Fans fire up with Mia and Candice, but then the two friends circle. They fist bump, and then Mia rushes in. Candice avoids the clothesline but Mia jumps over the leg sweep. Candice deflects a boot to waistlock, but Mia switches. Candice elbows free, Mia blocks a kick, and Mia slips under to pick Candice up! BUCKLE BOMB! Mia hoists Candice up top, CHOPS her, then blocks another kick! Mia has Candice in an Electric Chair, but Candice POISON-RANAS!

Mella scurries in to cover Candice, TWO! Cover on Mia, TWO! Cover back on Candice, TWO! Another cover on Mia, TWO! Piper TRIPLE SPLASHES them all!! Cover on Mia, TWO!! Piper drags Mia up to throw her out, then she kicks Candice out. Piper covers Mella, TWO!! Piper drags Mella up, throws her right out, and Piper is all fired up! Orlando is fired up with her, and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and Piper has everyone in corners. Piper SPLASHES Mia, SPLASHES Candice, but Mella dodges! FABULOUS KICK! Piper rebounds to CLOBBER Mella! Candice CROSSBODIES, but Piper catches her! Mia runs in to hit a NECKBREAKER that takes Piper down! All four women are down but Piper bails out of the ring! Orlando fires up while the others stir. Mella shouts, “This is MY match!” But Mia says no it ain’t! Mella throws a forearm, but Mia ROCKS Mella! Mella throws another, but Mia fires off a flurry! Mia BOOTS, then wrenches to hit EAT DA FEET!! Cover, Piper drags Mella away!

Fans are torn but Mia is shocked! Piper storms in, Mia throws body shots and haymakers! Piper ducks a roundhouse to HEADBUTT! Mia wobbles, Piper reels her in but Candice is up top! MISSILE DROPKICK! Piper is down, Candice LIONSAULTS! cover, Mia breaks it! Friends or not, this is every woman for herself! Mia says sorry, but then Piper shoves Mia into Candice! Candice falls, but Mia runs, but into a SCRAPBUSTER! Cover, Candice breaks it! Piper pulls at her hair and bites her fingers in frustration, but she has Candice to herself now. Candice fires off haymakers, but Piper shoves her down. SENTON FLOPS as Candice moves!

Candice STEP-UP SENTONS! But Mella rolls Candice up! TWO!! Candice escapes, DEKCS Mella, and Mella goes to a corner. Candice runs in but is sent into buckles! Mella shouts at Candice and stomps a fabulous mudhole in! Fans boo as Mella moonwalks and says, “Mella! Is! Money!” FABULOUS BRONCO BUSTER! But Piper runs in! Mella dodges, CANNONBALL for Candice! FABULOUS KICK for Piper! Mella stacks Candice, and WINS!

Winner: Carmella, by pinfall (advances to the Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s match)

The Princess of Staten Island took advantage, and she is heading to Montreal! But will she be the one heading to WrestleMania with that golden ticket?

 

Baron Corbin regroups with JBL backstage.

Corbin laughs it off. “That didn’t go as planned, did it?” But where are they going to eat? Maybe get some drinks or something? JBL asks, “We? There ain’t no ‘we’. I headlined WrestleMania, I sold out arenas all over the world, I was must-watch television. You are channel changing television. That sound you hear when you get the ring, that’s the sound of remote controls around the world changing the channel to watch anything but you. And I don’t give a damn about you. I give a damn about the fact that MY Hall of Fame legacy, my CHAMPIONSHIP career, has lost all credibility, because of YOU!”

Corbin frowns but JBL continues. “Modern Day Wrestling God? I’ll tell you what you need. Not some cute little shirt, but a red nose and floppy shoes. Because you are a clown. You do not belong near me.” Corbin asks where this is coming from. He can do better! He’ll do better! JBL says, “You can’t polish a turd. I tried.” JBL storms off, did Corbin blow another major opportunity?

Meanwhile, we can see in the background that MVP is talking with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. They shake hands, having a much better talk than JBL and Corbin just did. As the Wrestling God partnership falls apart, are we seeing the return of the Hurt Business?

 

Piper Niven finds Candice LeRae backstage!

Piper blames Candice for that loss! Piper should be going to WrestleMania! Mia storms in and makes Piper back off. Piper says they’re both very luck. If either of them get in the way of her and the title again, she will not be forgiving. Mia and Candice stick together, but will they both have to worry about the angry Scottish Viper slithering around?

 

Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin VS The Alpha Academy!

Speaking of, PRIME Alexander and the Gold Standard are going up against “Master” Chad Gable and his number one guy, Otis! It’s a battle of former Raw Tag Team Champions, will one of these teams make a big impression on the Road to WrestleMania?

Raw returns and MVP is with Cedric & Shelton in their entrance! The teams sort out and Gable circles with Cedric. They tie up, Gable waistlocks and SLAMS Cedric, but Cedric gets up, only for Gable to snapmare. Gable rolls with Cedric, has a waistlock again, but Cedric pries free, only for Gable to headlock for the takeover. Cedric headscissors, Gable kips free, but Cedric arm-drags Gable. Gable arm-drags back, then blocks Cedric’s arm-drag to say, “SHOOSH!” Gable stands Cedric up but Cedric mule kicks back. Cedric runs, handsprings, but into a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cedric flounders and Gable shouts, “A THANK YEW~!”

Gable tags Otis, the fans fire up and Otis struts. Gable cravats Cedric, Otis runs and CLOBBERS Cedric! Fans fire up but MVP protests. Cedric tags Shelton and he fires forearms on Otis! Shelton whips but Otis blocks! Otis whips, Shelton LARIATS, but Otis stays up! Shelton runs but Otis scoops! Shelton slips free to ROUNDHOUSE! Otis staggers, Shelton runs in to STEP- UP- NO!! Otis carries Shelton out for a WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM! Fans fire up with the tree trunk and he runs, to SPLASH! Fans rally while Shelton sputters, but Otis CLUBS him on the back. Otis whips Shelton corner to corner hard and Shelton falls to the mat!

Fans rally behind Otis and he brings Shelton up. Shelton kicks but Otis blocks, and Otis spins Shelton around, only for the DRAGON WHIP to hit! Otis staggers around, Shelton runs in but into another SLAM! Otis drags Shelton up, puts him in a corner, and then runs in, only to get buckles! MVP coaches Shelton and he crawls, but so does Otis! Hot tags to Gable and Cedric! Cedric rallies on Gable, runs in to forearm smash int he corner, then snapmare and BASEMENT DROPKICK! MVP is fired up with Cedric and Cedric whips. Gable reverses, Cedric goes up and over. Things keep moving, NEURALIZER!

Gable flops out of the ring, Cedric builds speed! Cedric DIVES, but into an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Gable puts Cedric in while MVP shouts to shake it off! Gable is up top, for the DIVING HEADBUTT! Cover, Shelton breaks it! Otis CLUBS Shelton, throws him to a corner, and then runs in, only to get more buckles! STEP-UP KNEE! And then another STEP-UP KNEE! And a SAMOAN DROP!?! Fans are thunderous after that, but Gable KNEES Shelton out! Cedric is up, Gable CLOBBERS him! Gable goes up top, to MOONSAULT! Cedric avoids it, back suplex, LUMBAR CHECK!! Cover, Cedric & Shelton win!

Winners: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin, by pinfall

MVP is all fired up! He celebrates with his guys, is this the revival of the Hurt Business?

 

Backstage interview with The Miz.

Cathy Kelley knows The A-Lister was caught off guard last week by Rick Boogs, but what is his reaction to that return? His reaction? Miz will gladly give it to Pearce, along with a bill for the damages to his $10,000 suit that Maryse bought Miz! Who makes someone compete in a suit?! And as far as “Boogs” goes, what? He’s supposed to be impressed that Boogs can bench press 500 pounds and play the electric guitar? But speaking of, here comes Boogs! Uh, how did he get a meeting before The Miz? Oh, of course, he’s special, right? Wow, Boogs is special? Thanks, Miz.

But Boogs is just excited to be reunited with the Boogs Crew in the WWE Universe. The Boogs Crew? Oh, cut the humble crap. Miz would’ve won easily, if he was dressed and ready. Boogs got luck and he knows it, but he’s also lucky that Pearce is a lazy and incompetent official. Because if it was different and Miz was ready, it would’ve been a different story! Pearce walks up behind Miz and says, “Tell me how you really feel.” Miz sighs and smiles at Pearce. Pearce says that if Miz wants a rematch with Boogs, all he had to do was ask. In fact, how about next week? Boogs says that is righteous! THICK RICK VS The Miz, he’s so excited! Rick “Boogs out” on his exercise bar!

Miz looks at Pearce, then frowns as he walks away. But then Chelsea walks back in. She’s about to go to the ring, so she wants him to find an opponent, or she will call his boss. Okay thanks, bye~! The Hot Mess heads out, but who will Pearce send out to face her?

 

Chelsea Green VS ???

“Shh… It’s Chelsea.” Orlando has mixed feelings as The Hot Mess struts her way to the ring in her first singles match since coming back to the WWE. She’s already got an ego over the fact that she is back, but is she going to be ready for her opponent tonight? Because her opponent is ASUKA!!

Wait, is that Raquel Rodriguez in the crowd? Big Mami Cool snuck in from SmackDown to watch Raw in person, and she’s distracting Asuka! The bell rings and Chelsea SHOTGUNS Asuka down! Chelsea CLUBS away on Asuka, but now we see Natalya sneaking in from the other side! And Liv Morgan! Chelsea dribbles Asuka off the mat, brings her up, and shushes her, before she SLAPS her! Mella struts her way back out, since all the Chamber entrants are here. Chelsea BOOTS Asuka into buckles! Chelsea drags Asuka up, clinches, picks her up, COMPLETE SHOT! Chelsea sees everyone else and asks if they all watched that.

Chelsea says SHE should be in the Chamber, not “whatever this is,” in reference to Mella. Chelsea goes back to Asuka, kicks dirt, and also talks trash on Natty. Wait, Nikki sneaks out here now? Nikki laughs at Chelsea. Chelsea says if Nikki wants crazy, she’ll give her crazy! Chelsea also talks trash on Liv and Raquel. But Asuka gest back up! Chelsea senses something is wrong, and Asuka eggs her on in Japanese! Chelsea swings, misses, and Asuka fires off a strike fest! URAKEN! URAKEN! SOBAT! FRONT KICK! URAKEN and HEEL KICK! GERMAN SUPLEX! BUZZSAW! Chelsea wants a time-out!

Chelsea gets to a corner, Asuka runs in, but Chelsea BOOTS her! Chelsea runs in, into a CODE BREAKER, which Asuka then turns into a DOUBLE ARMBAR!!! Chelsea verbally quits, Asuka wins!

Winner: Asuka, by submission

The Empress of Tomorrow stands tall tonight, and she makes sure to look her future opponents in the eye. But then BIANCA BELAIR appears! The RawEST Women’s Champion is here, and she tells them all, “I want all of y’all to take a good look at each other and tell me what you see. Cuz I’ll tell you what I see. I see six top tier women in the WWE.” Fans cheer that. “But… Who has what it takes to win the Elimination Chamber match? Who has what it takes to go one on one with the EST of WWE? Because last year, I was in your position. I know what it’s like to be in an Elimination Chamber match, and I know what it takes to win. That’s how I got this.”

Bianca holds up the title, and says, “I want to wish each and every one of you good luck. Because whoever makes it out… I’ll be ready to see you at WrestleMania.” The EST has sent her message to all her potential contenders, but just who will survive the Chamber to meet Bianca in Hollywood?

 

Cody Rhodes is here!

Orlando goes nuts again as the American Nightmare makes his way to the ring. Fans chant Cody’s name as he gets the mic. “So, what do you guys wanna talk about? Hmm… Last week, I used my interview time to come out here and talk to you with respect about my current WrestleMania opponent, The Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table, the biggest superstar in the world, the Best in the World, Roman Reigns.” Fans boo Roman, then chant for “SAMI! SAMI!” So they just read Cody’s mind. Cody did say “current.” Cody’s path to WrestleMania is straight and clear, but the destination is foggy.

The reason being, Roman is putting the titles on the line at Elimination Chamber, “against a guy who has kicked up all the dust, a guy who has all the momentum, a guy that’s walking into his hometown, and that is Sami Zayn.” Fans cheer and chant for Sami and Cody continues. “You guys seem like a perfect judge for my next question. It looks more and more like at WrestleMania, it’s going to be me standing there, challenging for the championship against Sami Zayn.” Fans like the sound of that! Cody says this with the utmost respect. “I have respect for anyone avenging an injustice done to them. I have respect for my friend, Sami Zayn. I wish you the best of luck, may the best man win.”

But wait! “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman. And I serve as Special Counsel, and The Wise Man, to YOUR Tribal Chief, the reigning! Defending! Undisputed! WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion, Roman…! Reigns!” Fans boo as Heyman continues into the ring. Fans chant “E C DUB!” and Heyman steps into the ring. Heyman tells Cody that something he may one day find out in life, “hopefully not at my expense, but one day, is that life at the very top in this industry requires an understanding that the only week busier than the week leading into a major event like the Royal Rumble, or watch the point, WrestleMania…

“Is the week coming out of a major event, like the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. And I’m sure you know that the Tribal Chief and I have had a lot on our plates in the last week. And a few things fell through the cracks, admittedly, on the Island of Relevancy. One of which is the Tribal Chief and I, in front of the entire world, want to congratulate you on winning the 2023 WWE Men’s Royal Rumble match.” Cody and Heyman shake hands and Heyman says Cody earned it and that he’s very proud of Cody. Fans cheer that, and chant, “You Deserve It!”

Cody knows that his father had a nickname for Heyman, his brother had a nickname for Heyman. But if you’ll indulge Cody, Cody will go with “Mr. Heyman.” It is because Cody has “unparalleled respect” for Heyman and Heyman knows why. But if they’re going to pull back the curtain here, might as well pull it back for everyone here in the crowd and watching at home. This is a story that should’ve been told a long time ago. The year was 2000. The till in Cody’s family dried up a bit, and Hard Times was more than a famous promo. “Simply put, my family went broke.” $100 in a checking account for all of them.

To put a visual on it, Cody’s dad was doing local car commercials and not for money. Just so he could keep a car. Fans chant for Dusty now and Heyman gets emotional. “But then he got a phone call,” Cody continues. Heyman called Dusty. Heyman told Dusty that ECW as in town, that Steve Corino was gonna talk some smack, and that if Dusty would just agree to appear on camera, that if Dusty would be on ECW TV, Heyman “would pay him and pay him well.” Fans again chant for “E C DUB!” Cody says Heyman kept his word. In addition to the money that the Rhodes family sorely needed, ECW gave Dusty his confidence back, and Cody can never repay Heyman for that.

Flash forward a bit, and they might talk about it, but before coming back here, Cody was somewhere else, “causing a little bit of trouble.” From one disruptor in sports entertainment to another, Heyman showed Cody the way, so thank you again. Fans applaud that, and Heyman again gets emotional. Fans chant, “Thank You, Paul! Thank You, Paul!” Heyman says Cody is good. Cody really got Heyman there. Heyman was here to schmooze business with him, and Cody got him personally. Heyman sighs, fans cheer, and if we’re peeling back and shooting from the hip, let’s go all the way.

Heyman says this isn’t about him, and with all due respect and love and admiration and even acknowledgement, this isn’t about Dusty. This is about Cody, about everything Cody has fought for from the bottom to the top, out the door, back in, to winning the Rumble to main-eventing WrestleMania! “And winning WrestleMania is a whole different story. Just getting there is a long, long road.” And that’s Cody’s story. That’s Cody’s story that he needs to finish to find out if this is a dream come true, or if he must “suffer the nightmare of coming just this close.”

Because Cody isn’t just main-eventing WrestleMania, he’s trying to “take away from the greatest box office attraction and greatest champion of all time, Roman… Reigns.” Fans boo but Heyman says that’s no easy task for any mere mortal, let alone someone that has no idea what it’s like under that spotlight. Will Cody crumble and wither? Will he self-destruct under that pressure because no one ever prepared him for it? Heyman says down the road is the WWE Performance Center. At that very place, Cody’s father, the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, trained and prepped the biggest stars of this generation.

Cody’s father, Dusty, trained and prepped Seth Rollins, trained and prepped Becky Lynch, trained and prepped Bayley, trained and prepped Kevin Owens, trained and prepped for the highest level of success, the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns. But do you know who Dusty didn’t train and prep? Dusty did not train nor prepare Cody. Cody tries to smile through that but Heyman says he could counsel Cody that maybe, just maybe, Dusty wanted Cody to make it on his own. That’s how much love Dusty had for him. That Dusty wanted Cody to step out of the shadow of a national monument such as the American Dream himself.

Perhaps Dusty didn’t want Cody going through life as “Dusty’s son,” but as Cody Rhodes, “WrestleMania Main Eventer Who Stopped the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns.” Maybe. But Cody, Heyman can’t convey in words how much he loved Dusty. But he can say to Cody’s face that Dusty loved Cody. To share this personally, in Heyman’s last conversation with Dusty, Dusty told Heyman… “You, Cody, were his favorite son.” Cody and the fans aren’t sure what to make of that, but then Heyman adds, “But Roman Reigns was the son he always wanted.” Heyman drops the mic and fans cannot believe he just said that!

Cody rushes up on Heyman but Heyman backs away. Fans want Cody to go after Heyman but Heyman wants him to reconsider. Cody offers a handshake, then makes Heyman take it. “I’m just trying to win a wrestling championship, and everybody, everybody, wants to make it personal. And that’s what you just did, and you’re not gonna pay for it, Mr. Heyman. Your boy, Roman Reigns, is going to pay for it. At WrestleMania, when I take those titles, personally.” Cody pushes the mic into Heyman then heads out. Will Cody ironically be hoping Roman beats Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber so he can be the one to tear the Tribal Chief down?

 

Elimination Chamber Match Qualifier: Elias VS Montez Ford!

There is just ONE spot left in the United States Championship match, and it comes down to The Drifter and the flyest high flyer WWE has seen in a long time! Will all of Montreal #WalkWithElias? Or will this Profit be up, looking for gold?

Raw returns and Elias makes his entrance while Austin Theory is on commentary. The bell rings and Elias circles with Ford. They tie up, and they are in a deadlock. They go around, Ford puts Elias in a corner but Elias turns it around. The ref counts, both men let off, and they reset. Ford and Elias tie up again, Elias headlocks and he grinds Ford down. Ford powers up but Elias holds tight. Ford tries again, but Elias still holds tight. Theory isn’t concerned about Elias’ level of aggression, because the person with aggression is him. Ford powers up and out, but Elias runs him over! Cover, TWO!

Elias stands Ford up but Ford rolls Elias up, TWO! Ford cradles, TWO! Elias headlocks again and he hits a takeover. Ford keeps his shoulder up, moves around, and fans rally. Theory likes Ford’s athleticism, and the move on his regimen, but he’s intrigued to face Elias since they’ve never met in a match. Ford fights up, powers out, and things speed up. Ford hurdles then runs Elias over! Ford DROPKICKS Elisa, and then Ford snarls as he whips. Elias reverses but Ford KICKS back! Ford runs in, but into a FLAPJACK HOTSHOT! Ford sputters to a corner and Elias storms up to CHOP, UPPERCUT and repeat!

Elias fires off, the ref counts, and Elias lets off. Elias then stomps Ford again, CHOPS him, and whips to back drop Ford! Ford bails out, Elias pursues, and Elias RAMS Ford into barriers! Elias then brings Ford up to STEEL STEPS BACK SUPLEX! Elias roars and fans are torn as Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and Elias has Ford in a motorcycle stretch. Ford endures, turns, but Elias drags him up into a waistlock. BACKBREAKER! Elias then goes to a corner and climbs up top, but Ford hops up after him! Ford fires haymakers, Elias throws body shots, and Elias CLUBS Ford down. Elias SUNSET FLIPS, but Ford holds onto the ropes! Fans fire up as Ford fights his way back up, and he ROCKS Elias with a right! Elias turns things into an Electric Chair Lift! SPINNING POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! Theory says he thought that would end it, though he sounds a bit sarcastic.

Ford crawls to the apron and Elias storms over. Ford GAMANGIRIS Elias, ducks a haymaker, then bumps Elias off buckles to GAMANGIRI again! Ford goes back up, CROSSBODIES, and says “SUCK IT!” Ford rallies with clotheslines, then runs to LEAPING LARIAT! Elias staggers, Ford pumps up and hits a BIG back suplex! Kip up but Ford’s back tightens up. Ford powers through to STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Theory likes that Elias is still in this, but Ford brings Elias up. Elias CHOPS! ford ROCKS Elias with a right! Elias ROCKS Ford, but Ford ENZIGURIS! Ford runs, into the SYMPHO-KNEE!

Elias fireman’s carries for a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, TWO! Ford survives and Elias grows frustrated. Theory doesn’t worry about the match, and goes on to talk trash on the other entrants. Theory thinks Johnny Gargano will be a stay-at-home dad, Bronson Reed probably can’t fit in a pod, but then gets mad at Kevin Patrick for bringing up the loss to Bronson back in their NXT days. Elias meanwhile RAMS Ford into a corner, RAMS him again, and again, and again! Elias backs off, runs in again, but Ford puts him on the apron! Elias shoulders in, slingshots, but into a HAYMAKER!

Elias flounders away, Ford goes corner to corner to FLY!! Direct hit and down goes Elias! Ford puts Elias in the ring and fans fire up! Ford goes up top, and leaps in FROM THE HEAVENS!! Cover, Ford wins!

Winner: Montez Ford, by pinfall (advances to the United States Championship Elimination Chamber match)

Ford takes the last spot, but Theory stands on the desk to hold up the title. Will Theory still have that title after the Elimination Chamber? Wait! SETH ROLLINS CLIPS THEROY! Theory hits the desk and Rollins laughs! Fans sing “OH~ OHH~ OHHH~!” before the CURB STOMP to the floor! The Now didn’t see The Visionary coming, will nothing and no one stop Rollins from winning in the Chamber?

 

Bayley talks with Damage CTRL backstage.

Dakota Kai is in crutches given what Becky Lynch did to her last week, but Bayley isn’t worry. She tells Kai & Sky the plan and prepares for the main event, which is up next!

 

Steel Cage: Bayley w/ Damage CTRL VS Becky Lynch!

The Role Model used Damage CTRL to take control away from The Man and deny us all this match on the Raw 30th Anniversary episode. But now, there’s no running from this, there’s no hiding from this, and there’s no getting around this! Will Bayley survive Becky’s Big Time wrath? Or will Becky leave Bayley behind just like when they were in NXT?

The bell rings, fans fire up, but Bayley smirks. Fans rally for Becky as she and Bayley circle. They feel things out, Bayley ROCKS Becky then climbs the wall! Becky yanks her down, she won’t let Bayley just run away like a coward. They talk trash, Bayley says Becky doesn’t tell her what to do or when to do it. Bayley shoves Becky, so Becky ROCKS Bayley! They go back and forth, Becky gets the edge, but Bayley kicks a leg out! Becky trips Bayley! Becky says she was going for the door, but that’s not how this is going down. Becky whips but Bayley turns it around, only for Becky to stop from hitting the steel.

Becky hits Bayley back, but Bayley also blocks hitting steel. Bayley elbows Becky away but Becky goes for an arm! Bayley and Becky go around, but Bayley throws Becky into the steel! Kai & Sky like what they see as Bayley sends Becky into more steel! Bayley stomps away on Becky, then digs her boots in! She also digs Becky into the frame of the cage! Fans boo but Bayley covers, ONE!! Becky is hanging tough, so Bayley decides to climb. Becky hurries over and dropkicks the cage to shake Bayley loose! Bayley falls to the mat, then Becky drags her up to RAM her into the steel! Becky drags Bayley up again to RAM her into more steel!

Becky runs to basement dropkick Bayley into the steel! And again! Becky stomps away on Bayley now, then pushes her face into the steel! “You think you can talk about my husband?! You think you can talk about my husband now, Bayley?!” Becky lets off, then drags Bayley up. Fans rally and Becky throws Bayley into more steel! Bayley drags herself out while Becky climbs the cage. Bayley hurries to anchor Becky, but Becky kicks her away. Bayley climbs up after Becky, but Becky kicks her again. Bayley anchors a foot, but Becky dribbles Bayley’s face off steel! Becky then adjusts, brings Bayley around, but Bayley RAMS Becky into steel!

Bayley dribbles Becky now, throws her off the ropes, then adjusts to MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Kai & Sky coach Bayley on as she has control, and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns just as Becky kicks out of a cover! And she wants the arm! Bayley hurries to push Becky away, but Becky hits a FLYING FOREARM! Both women are down and Orlando fires up! Kai & Sky coaches Bayley as she and Becky both stand. The forearms go back and forth again! Fans rally behind Becky as she gets the edge, uppercuts and SOBATS! Becky runs, ducks ‘n’ dodges, and JUMP KICKS Bayley down! Becky whips Bayley to a corner, but Bayley uses that to get up the wall! Becky grabs Bayley’s legs to SLAM them against the steel! And again! Bayley holds on with her hands but Becky RAMS her into the steel again and again! SUPER JUMP KICK!

Bayley ends up slumped on the ropes, for Becky’s SUPER GUILLOTINE LEG DROP!! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally and Becky fires up. Kai & Sky plead with Bayley as she gets up, but Becky clinches. Bayley slips out of the slam to SAIDO! Cover, TWO!! Becky is still in this and fans fire up again! Bayley drags herself to ropes, climbs the cage, but Becky rises! Becky drags Bayley back down, has her draped on the ropes and TOSSES her into the steel! Becky runs, to drop a leg, brother! But Bayley turns it into a HEEL HOOK!! Becky flails, reaches out, and crawls her way to the door! Becky grabs the frame but Bayley drags her away!

Bayley stands Becky up but Becky rolls to send Bayley into buckles! Roll-up, TWO!! Back to the HEEL HOOK! Becky still crawls, they roll to ropes, and Becky SMACKS Bayley off steel! And again! And again! Bayley is dazed but Becky hobbles back up. Becky climbs a corner but Bayley anchors her foot. Becky kicks her away, but Bayley tries again. Becky kicks Bayley again, but Bayley hurries up after her! They brawl, Becky shoves Bayley away! Becky is on the top rope but Bayley CLUBS her! Bayley clubs after and they braw on the top rope! Bayley RAMS Becky into the steel, SUPER BAYLEY2BELLY!! Cover, TWO!?!

Kai & Sky can’t believe it, and neither can Orlando! Bayley stalks Becky, but then decides to climb the wall! Bayley reaches the top! Becky hurries up after Bayley, catches up to Bayley, and they brawl up top now! Fans rally as the haymakers go back and forth! Bayley SMACKS Becky off the top! But Becky grabs an arm! Becky uses that to drag herself back up, DISARM-HER ON TOP OF THE CAGE!!! Bayley slips free, gets caught up on the ropes, and flops to the mat! But Becky just adjusts, only for Sky to climb up after her! The Evil Genius brawls with Becky, and then she kicks Becky down into the ring! Kai sneaks a crutch to Bayley!

Bayley JAMS Becky with the crutch! But wait, is that LITA?!? The living legend is here and she goes up after Sky! Lita YANKS Sky right off the cage! Lita storms up on Kai and uses her other crutch to YANK her into steel steps! Lita JAMS Sky, reels her in, TWIST OF FATE to the floor!! Bayley is flabbergasted, but she hurries for the door! Fans are losing their minds as Lita SLAMS the door shut! Bayley staggers into a MANHANDLE SLAM!!! Cover, Becky wins!!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by pinfall

Becky had Big Time back-up, was this the ace in the hole she talked about? Did Lita help Becky put behind her Damage CTRL once and for all?


My Thoughts:

A great Raw, and full to the brim at that. Great opening segment with Edge, Beth and Judgment Day. I am glad they’re giving us that Mixed Tag for Elimination Chamber, but I was hoping they would make it Edge & Beth VS Rhea & Dom. But at the same time, if Dom was involved, it’d be obvious Dom would take the loss just so The Grit Couple can win without really hurting Rhea’s momentum. With Finn in that match instead, it could go either way. Rhea could beat Beth to win it while we see Edge and Finn set up a 1v1 rematch for WrestleMania. That’s two birds, one stone, so perhaps WWE will go with that.

I also like that they used the brawl that broke out to bring in the Profits. Dom taking the Glam Slam was beloved by all, and of course we go right into Dawkins VS Priest. Priest winning makes sense, he really is the workhorse Edge said he is, Priest will have a great showing in the Elimination Chamber. Elias VS Ford was great stuff, even with Theory on commentary. Theory wasn’t bad, but what does he really add talking himself up? At the same time, it was great for Rollins to drive-by Theory to get himself some momentum while not in the ring. And as I’d hoped, Ford is in the Chamber now, so get ready for a From the Heavens off a pod.

Corbin VS Lumis being a comparative squash was a bit of a surprise, but it leading to JBL dumping Corbin was also quite surprising. At the same time, something had to give. The WWE never books Corbin strong forever, which is why Corbin has been through more changes to his character these last few years than anyone else. I’m not sure what’ll get Corbin to the next level, if WWE even cares to do that. I still think they skipped through the Bum Ass Corbin stuff too soon, but that’s on Vince. Maybe Corbin will start trying to earn JBL’s respect like he needs it as validation for who he is.

And because HHH’s team is really clever, they gave us another “Easter egg” in a promo, with MVP talking with Cedric & Shelton before their match. Their match against Alpha Academy was pretty good, though it seemed clunky at the start. Commentary touched on it, I think Shelton was just not quite ready for how big and strong Otis was gonna run in there. But Shelton & Cedric win because clearly, the Hurt Business is on its way back. Lesnar and Lashley had a good promo together, and I’m a little surprised we’re getting that match at the Chamber. Maybe there will be something crazy that happens, compelling a WrestleMania match. Plus, from Lashley’s promo, he’s counting their Rumble match confrontation as part of the record, so the Chamber match would be round 4, making Mania round 5 and a tiebreaker of sorts.

Good backstage promos with Adam Pearce. Miz putting his foot in his mouth and ending up in a rematch with Boogs was good stuff. Officially signing MMM to Raw was a nice detail to help give us a reason we’re even watching Pearce, which sets up Chelsea “Karen Joke Punchline” Green complaining to him and getting a match. And seeing as how Chelsea avoided bringing Asuka up, it was perfect that she had to fight Asuka. It was a logical surprise to have the other women in the Elimination Chamber match show up, though I feel like Chelsea could’ve been faster about talking trash. Asuka wins, of course, and Bianca had a great promo calling out all the contenders.

Speaking of, the Fatal 4 was great stuff, and I suppose Mella winning is a good choice. She’s returning, she’s got momentum just on that, but she’ll surely be used to build up Asuka in that match. Mella had that segment with Asuka last week, Asuka will definitely mist and eliminate Mella. Asuka is definitely a frontrunner to win the Chamber, and this return to Kana in presentation has to mean Asuka’s going to WrestleMania. Piper threatening Candice and Mia was good stuff. Piper might get a partner to take them on at some point, but we can get some great 1v1 matches out of Piper VS Candice and Piper VS Mia.

Cody’s promo segment with Heyman was so good. I just knew Heyman was setting up that insult on Cody about Dusty wanting someone like Roman as a son, and it was still powerful. And while Sami Zayn is great, it of course gave the idea that WrestleMania’s main event will stay Roman VS Cody. Then we got a great main event in the Steel Cage match. Granted, it was the usual Steel Cage formula: throw each other into steel; keep each other from climbing up and out multiple times; Heel still has minions interfere. But I did like that Lita showed up to help Becky in a callback to their Crown Jewel match. Lita helping Becky win was good stuff cuz it was DMG CTRL facing karma, and fans got to see the legendary Lita celebrate with the iconic Becky. Hell, maybe we get some kind of tag match now so Lita can return to WrestleMania.

My Score: 8.7/10


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