Tonight, the Mixed Match Challenge is 100% Raw! Will Ember Moon survive the Playoffs’ opening round with Curt Hawkins as her new tag team partner?
- Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox w/ The Singh Brothers VS Ember Moon & Curt Hawkins; Mahal & Fox win and advance to the Raw Block Finals.
- Finn Balor & Bayley VS Bobby Lashley & Mickie James w/ Lio Rush; Balor & Bayley win and advance to the Raw Block Finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Mixed Match Challenge Playoffs begin!
And we’re seeing red as all four teams of the Raw Block compete on one night! With the Monster Among Men out of action after needing surgery on his shattered elbow, the War Goddess needed a new partner. Stepping up to the plate is the man with the worst losing streak in WWE History, Curt Hawkins. Hawkins stands at a whopping 236 losses, but will he turn all that around with one win tonight? Or will #Mahalicia Shanti their way into the second round?
Meanwhile, The Extraordinary Man and the Rocky Mountain Machine are no strangers to each other. They’ve gone back and forth on Raw as recent as last night, where Bobby Lashley stood tall over Finn Balor alongside Drew McIntyre and “General Manager Elect” Baron Corbin. Team B’n’B are underdogs against #CountryDominance, especially since Mickie-Bobby won the first time. Can Balor & Bayley get back at them and find themselves one step closer to TLC?
Backstage interview with Ember Moon & Curt Hawkins.
The Raw Number 1 seeds are ready, but how does the strategy change now that Ember doesn’t have Braun Strowman to rely on? Losing Strowman is a huge challenge, but it’s nothing different from what Ember’s always dealt with in her career. Though, she doesn’t seem thrilled to have a new partner this late in the season. Hawkins meanwhile is already planning their sweepstakes vacation! Does Ember want to go to Hawaii or Turks & Caicos? Or how about Parts Unknown and finally make it known? Ember tells Hawkins not to get ahead of himself. They have to still win this match to keep going. It’s fine, Ember wins all the time, right? Yeah but Hawkins, you lose all the time! The fans were given a chance to vote on if Hawkins will end his losing streak. We’ll see if the fans guess right after tonight!
Backstage interview with Finn Balor & Bayley!
Team B’n’B are ready for their rematch with Mickie James & Bobby Lashley, they’re super focused. This isn’t just for bragging rights but for Royal Rumble #30! That’s big. And Mickie-Bobby better be ready, too, because- Wait, here comes Lio Rush. The Hype Man of the Hour laughs at B’n’B thinking they’ll win. It’s funny. But what won’t be funny is Mickie and “the Modern Day Michelangelo” sending them packing. Almighty Bobby and Mickie will run right through B’n’B and to the finals, and THAT will be Too Sweet. Lio mocks the hand gesture, Finn makes him stop. Finn tells the “messenger boy” to go tell Bobby that #CountryDominance ends tonight. Tensions run high, but whose spirits will be lifted higher with a victory tonight?
Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox w/ The Singh Brothers VS Ember Moon & Curt Hawkins!
#Mahalicia managed a miracle to even make it into the Playoffs, with their first win keeping them in and keeping the #PawsitivelyGLORIOUS Bobby Roode & Natalya out. And their luck continues as the War Goddess no longer has a Monster Among Men, but Raw’s resident lovable loser. Will Curt’s curse cost Ember her shot? Or can Ember help Hawkins Eclipse his losing streak?
Clearly confidence is through the roof for Ms. Crazy like a Fox, given the other team now has the cursed Curt Hawkins and his 236-match losing streak. But the confidence is weirdly high for Hawkins because he has faith in the War Goddess. The teams sort out and Ember starts with Alicia. Ember and Alicia circle and tie up, Alicia gets the waistlock. Ember bucks her off, then runs in for the roll up. TWO, but Ember goes at Alicia again. Alicia rolls Ember up, ONE! The two women stand off as fans build to a rally. Ember gets a waistlock and rolls Alicia back, TWO. Things speed up and Ember dodges to tilt-o-whirl headscissor Alicia down! Alicia scrambles away and Ember can’t do anything to stop her tag.
Mahal comes in but Hawkins doesn’t want to. He says Ember was doing great, so she should continue with Mahal. But not even the Mixed Match Challenge has co-ed wrestling, so Hawkins has to come in. He enters reluctantly and circles with Mahal. They tie up but Mahal kicks low. Mahal clubs and elbows Mahal down, then throws uppercuts. He drags Hawkins up for a headlock takeover and grinds Hawkins on the mat. Hawkins gets up and powers out, but Mahal runs him over. Mahal grins then Shanti before things speed up. Hawkins keeps pace and dropkicks Mahal down! Hawkins surprises himself with that one! But Moon tells him to keep on Mahal, so Hawkins clotheslines Mahal out of the ring! The Singh Brothers check on Mahal, but Hawkins baseball slides. Mahal dodges Hawkins while the Singh Brothers talk trash. Hawkins SUPERKICKS Sunil and rocks Samir with a right!
Hakwins hurries up but gets a boot from Mahal! Mahal fetches Hawkins to put him into the apron edge. Alicia mocks Hawkins’ pain while Mahal puts him in the ring. Cover, TWO! Hawkins still has life but Mahal stomps him down. Mahal wraps on a chinlock but fans rally up. Hawkins gets up and fights out while we check on Lashley & Mickie getting in some stretches. Clearly Country Dominance isn’t worried about B’n’B.
Back in the ring, Mahal knocks Hawkins back down. Mahal taunts Hawkins with a tag, then wraps on a cravat. Hawkins endures as fans build to a rally. Hawkins gets up and fights back with body shots. Mahal knees low then suplexes Hawkins down. Cover, TWO! Mahal is frustrated while Ember is relieved. Hawkins crawls but Mahal stomps him down. Mahal drives an elbow into Hawkins’ head, then wraps on a half nelson chinlock. Hawkins endures again and fans build to another rally. Hawkins fights but gets a big back elbow from Mahal. Mahal drops springboard knees on Hawkins again and again, but gets boots from Hawkins! Hawkins hurries to his feet, and then dumps Mahal out! Ember and the fans fire up as Hawkins crawls, hot tag brings the women in!
Ember rallies with a springboard crossbody! TWO, but Alicia runs into kicks from Ember. Ember gives Alicia a code breaker! Alicia ends up in the corner, Ember whips her corner to corner to hit a big back elbow. Ember climbs up, tornado suplex denied. Alicia goes up and over to sunset flip, TWO! SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!? Alicia barely survives to keep her team alive. Ember grits her teeth and climbs up top. She aims at Alicia, but Hawkins tags in!? ECLIPSE! But wait, Hawkins can’t cover Alicia! Did he not learn the rules of Mixed Match Challenge? Ember sees the Singh Brothers starting trouble, so she gives them BOTH an Eclipse! But Mahal slips past to go after Hawkins! KALLAS!! Cover, #Mahalicia wins!
Winners: Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox, Mahal pinning; advance to the second round
It seems Hawkins wasn’t just cursed with losing, he was cursed with stupidity! Hawkins forgetting the basic rules costs Ember everything, and now it will be the Modern Day Maharaja and his crazy “captain” facing the winner of tonight’s other Raw Block match.
Post-match interview with Mahal & Fox.
They won again, two in a row, how does it feel? For once, the “Singh sisters” listened to her! Mahal said it didn’t matter whether it was Strowman or Hawkins, they were going to get Mahal’s hands! They’re one step closer to TLC, the Royal Rumble, and a vacation~!
Mickie James, Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush walk in and are asked what their thoughts are going out there for their match. They have no idea what Foxy’s talking about, but this team is going to dominate. Just watch!
Finn Balor & Bayley VS Bobby Lashley & Mickie James w/ Lio Rush!
Raw left Balor battered and beaten by Baron Corbin’s abuse of power, which Bobby Lashey played a part in. Meanwhile, Bayley and her best friend, Sasha Banks, managed to make light of Alexa Bliss’ trap, which Mickie was part of. Who gets even with who when a shot at the Rumble’s 30th spot is on the line?
The Extraordinary & The Huggable color coordinate with all red, just like Raw itself. The Bayley Buddies more or less join in with the signature pose Finn strikes with the music. Fans are with B’n’B but Mickie and Bobby just mock the Too Sweet. The teams sort out and the men start. Lashley grins as he taunts Finn with the chance of another beating like on Raw. Then Lashley flexes on Finn as the bell rings. Finn and Lashley circle as fans rally up. But then Lashley tags out to Mickie. Bayley comes in as Lashley taunts Finn more. But fans sing for Bayley as she circles with Mickie. Mickie wants them to sing for her but they ignore her.
Bayley and Mickie tie up and go around. Mickie shoves Bayley back and Lio tries to start a “Mickie! Mickie!” chant. Fans respond with a “Bayley! Bayley!” chant instead. Bayley tells Lio to pipe down, but Mickie pounces from behind! Mickie stomps, kicks and forearms Bayley in a corner, then grinds in a boot. The ref counts and Mickie backs off at 4. Mickie snapmares Bayley then runs to boot her down! Cover, TWO! Lio’s confidence isn’t affected, as Mickie puts Bayley in a chinlock. Fans rally up for Bayley as she endures. Bayley gets up but Mickie knees low. Mickie bumps Bayley off buckles, then rams in her shoulder. She stops at 4 to argue with the ref. Mickie runs back in, but into Bayley’s boot! Bayley runs out but into a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Lio keeps the team focused, and Mickie puts Bayley in the body scissors.
Mickie throws forearms to the back of Bayley’s head, but fans rally up. Bayley pushes back to a cover, TWO! Bayley’s free of the body scissor, but Mickie stops her from tagging. Mickie throws Bayley down by her hair. Mickie goes to pick Bayley up but Bayley kicks her away! Double clotheslines take both women down! Fans rally up as Bayley and Mickie crawl. Hot tag brings the men in! Finn rallies with forearms, but Lashley doesn’t fall. Finn whips but Lashley reverses, only for Finn to hit him again. Lashley only staggers, but Lio still looks worried. Finn goes for the trip but Lashley lifts him up. Finn slips out and gets the trip, then double stomps! Lio panics as he tells Lashley to get up. Lashley gets to a corner but Finn runs in for the chop!
Finn whips but Lashley reverses again. Finn goes up and over but Lashley catches him! But Finn slips out again, and baits Lashley into a corner. Lashley bumps buckles, but still blocks Finn’s swing kick. Lashley elbows Finn down, and Lio laughs. Then Lashley runs to blast Finn to the announce desk! Lio grins as Lashley fetches Finn into the ring. Cover, TWO! Finn survives but Lashley is on him with right hands. Lashley drags Finn up to throw him back out. Fans boo and jeer while Lashley gloats. Finn drags himself up but Lashley comes out to fetch him again. Lashley rams Finn into barriers! A ring count begins but Lashley takes his time. Lashley builds up speed around the ring, copying Braun Strowman the same way Lashley did on Raw. Lashley comes back around to a SLINGBLADE! Finn has Lashley down and fans fire up.
The count is at 7, Finn gets in at 8! Finn crawls as Lashley makes it in at 9. Mickie trips up Bayley before a tag could happen! Finn turns around into Lashley’s tackle into the corner! Lio starts up the “Lashley! Lashley!” chants as Lashley flexes again. Lashley drags Finn up, Canadian rack, but Finn slips out to roll up! TWO! Lashley runs in, but Finn sends him into the post! Bayley returns and Finn crawls her way. Hot tag brings in the women! Bayley runs at Mickie, Mickie jumps over the baseball slide, but Bayley trips Mickie up on the apron! Bayley bounces Mickie off the apron then puts her in the ring. She whips Mickie to a corner, then hits a big knee strike. Bayley pushes Mickie out then climbs up top. Lio warns Mickie and Mickie gets under. Mickie flapjacks Bayley!
Mickie kips up then climbs up. Bayley stands up, Mickie hits the seated senton! Cover, TWO to Bayley’s sunset flip, TWO! Mickie kicks low, and wants her DDT, but Bayley escapes. Mickie forearms Bayley then whips her to a corner. Bayley goes up and over, saido suplex! Bayley sees Mickie go outside. She builds speed, but Lio trips her up! The ref didn’t see that, and stops Finn from doing anything about it. Lashley runs in but Finn sends him back out! Finn sees Lio coming and catches him! To throw him at Lashley! Then Finn builds speed to FLY on them both! Fans fire up but it’s still up to Bayley and Mickie. Mickie runs in, Bayley flapjacks her for snake eyes! Then the Bayley2Belly!! Cover, B’n’B win!!
Winners: Finn Balor & Bayley, Bayley pinning; advance to the second round
Retribution is #TooSweet as B’n’B take down the biggest team left in the block! And they celebrate not just with a hug, but a Dirty Dancing running lift! Will they have the time of their lives on the way to TLC?
We have our Raw Block Finals!
Finn Balor & Bayley will face Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox, with the winner moving on to TLC! The Block Finals will be held in Las Vegas in two weeks, after SmackDown settles their own bracket. Will Sin City be #TooSweet for B’n’B? Or will #Mahalicia Shanti into the Mixed Match Challenge Finals?
Okay one more of these for this, because now things are taking shape in the overall scope of WWE. Thankfully Mixed Match Challenge is doing Raw better than Raw is doing Raw. At least, overall. I knew Ember Moon wasn’t going to go to TLC now that she had Curt Hawkins, and I suppose this wasn’t really the time or place for Hawkins to break his streak, but I thought maybe it would’ve been put on Ember’s back to win this match. Instead, Hawkins is written like a complete fool and he costs them the match in a way I never expected. But thankfully Balor & Bayley won, in a really great tag match overall. I’m confident Finn & Bayley beat Mahal & Alicia as the Faces in the Raw Block.
The complicated side of this is SmackDown. SmackDown is doing so well, I can’t be sure who wins. Given what we saw tonight on SmackDown, both Charlotte Flair and Asuka will have a shot at Becky Lynch’s SmackDown Women’s Championship at TLC. For the same logic that Braun Strowman has been removed from the Mixed Match Challenge for his match with Baron Corbin and AJ Styles was removed to go after Daniel Bryan, I can’t imagine Charlotte or Asuka still competes in this tournament. It’s too late to pull them out, so perhaps one or both of their teams loses during the next round? That’s pretty big for the FABULOUS Truth and the Uce-GLOW if they get to take down the top two teams of the bracket.