Can grudges be settled before the Rumble?
All roads lead to Houston, but there’re stars shining in Dallas! With all the animosity between them, can Rey Mysterio ascend and take the United States Championship away from Andrade in a Ladder match?
- WWE United States Championship Ladder Match: Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio; Almas wins and retains the WWE United States Championship.
- Aleister Black VS ???; Aleister wins.
- Drew McIntyre VS Randy Orton; No Contest.
- Becky Lynch VS Kairi Sane w/ Asuka; Lynch wins.
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Viking Raiders w/ Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens VS Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy w/ The Authors of Pain; Rollins & Murphy win and become the new Raw Tag Team Champions.
- Matt Hardy VS ???; Erick Rowan wins.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Bollywood Box Office Flop: Mojo Rawley VS The Singh Brothers; Rawley retains the WWE 24/7 Championship.
- Mixed Tag: Rusev & Liv Morgan VS Bobby Lashley & Lana; Lashley & Lana win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Seth Rollins is here!
And he leads the Authors of Pain and Buddy Murphy to the ring! The Monday Night Messiah feels great after he and his team won the first-ever Fist Fight match, with a lot of help from his newest “disciple.” Fans boo as Rollins gets a mic to say, “Wait a minute. I want you guys to know something.” Rollins wants us all to know that we’ve played a small part in making Rollins the man he is today. Fans boo but without all of us, there is no Monday Night Messiah. “So from the bottom of my heart, I just want to say, ‘thank you.’” Thank you for believing in him and supporting him. Thank you for the faith placed in Rollins to lead us into the future and make Raw the premier program in the WWE. “For all of that, I am forever in your debt.”
But there is someone Rollins must thank specifically. Last week, Murphy “opened his eyes!” Murphy embraced fate! When the Architects of Pain were in their darkest hour, Murphy was brave enough to rise up and stand “firmly etched on the right side of history.” Rollins cues up a video recap of that very night. The AOP ambushed Big Show but got ambushed back with kendo sticks. Kevin Owens went Tony Hawk and Samoa Joe went all out, but Rollins asked for help from Murphy. And indeed, Murphy helped Rollins. Things would turn around in Rollins’ favor, and his team won the match. And they might just win the war for Raw.
Back in the present, fans boo as Rollins introduces “the newest disciple,” Buddy! Murphy! And just in time, because Kevin, Joe and Show were going to pull a fast one on progress. “But their plan failed.” And why did it fail? “Because the future is inevitable.” This is fate, destiny and determinism “at it’s finest!” And now, this is a crucial time for everyone. Everyone must decide what kind of people they want to be. Everyone in the locker room needs to decide! The battle lines have been drawn. “What kind of people do you want to be? Because either you’re with us, or you’re against us.” Those who are against- Here comes Kevin Owens! Rollins is not happy to see him but Kevin isn’t alone. Here comes Samoa Joe!
“He talks too much, huh?” Kevin gets Rollins gloating about getting rid of Big Show. That was no easy task, be proud. But the problem is now, Big Show will be back eventually. And even bigger than that is you didn’t get rid of Kevin and Joe! Kevin is pretty sure the good people of Kansas agree when Kevin says, “We have had just about enough of hearing your stupid voice.” Kevin suggests that we do less talking, more fighting! Rollins says that if they want to fight, they can fight! But not right now. No, they need to decide on a proper time and proper place. Joe asks Kevin if his eyes deceive him. Joe looks at the ring and sees a self-proclaimed messiah, but he hears a “typical, lame, lawyer’d-up, ass-hat!” Rollins asks the “gentlemen” to please remain calm.
Rollins is very forgiving, it is in his nature. But the AOP, not so much. If Joe and Kevin are so determined for a fight 4v2, then there’s not much left to say but, “Come on down and dance with destiny!” Rollins tosses his mic aside but Joe says a side-effect of being an ass is that listening skills go down. Joe said “we,” but that didn’t mean just these two. “Come on out, boys!” THE VIKING RAIDERS! The Raw Tag Team Champions are here to bring the raid! Joe, KO and the Vikings rush the ring and the brawl is on! Rollins bails out so that leaves things at 4v3! Akam gets a STUNNER! Murphy gets an URENAGE! Rollins’ forces regroup at the ramp, but this war is far from over!
Rollins and team regroup.
Rollins vows they will fix this. Charly Caruso asks them about being caught off guard. Rollins says they were not caught off guard. Joe and Kevin hid behind those “neanderthals.” So here’s a challenge! The Raw Tag Team Championships are on the line tonight! And it’ll be the new disciple, Murphy, and Rollins. AOP seem a bit stoic that it isn’t them challenging, but they accept Rollins’ decision. Will Rollins once again become a tag team champion?
WWE United States Championship Ladder Match: Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio!
A main-event worthy match is OPENING tonight’s episode! El Idolo believes he is the better role model for the Latino community, and that the King of Lucha Libre is not a good father figure to his own son, Dominic. But will Mysterio prove all of that wrong by climbing over Almas and up the ladder to take the title back?
Raw returns as el campeon makes his entrance with La Muneca. The belt is already high overhead as introductions are made. The bell rings and we begin this literal escalation of the grudge!
Mysterio and Almas both bail out to go for ladders. Mysterio fakes ALmas out and DROPKICKS the ladder into Almas’ chest! Then runs on the apron for a seated senton! But Almas blocks it to swing Mysterio into barriers! Almas gets a ladder in the ring and then puts Mysterio in. Almas drags Mysterio up to put on the top rope backwards. Almas clubs Mysterio’s back as fans rally. Mysterio fights Almas back, but Almas clubs him again. Almas climbs up now that Mysterio faces forward, but Mysterio just holds on to deny the suplex! Mysterio fights and turns Almas around, then climbs up, for a SUPER STEINER onto the ladder! That was a scary one! Vega is panicked as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Almas tries to whip but Mysterio holds ropes. Almas kicks low but Mysterio kicks back. Mysterio throws elbows and forearms then whips, but Almas reverses. Almas runs but Mysterio ducks, Almas tumbles up and out! Almas shakes out the cobwebs as Mysterio brings a ladder around. Mysterio climbs up top to LEAP onto Almas! The seated senton hits this time! Almas and Mysterio slowly get up and head for the ring. Mysterio puts Almas in then stalks behind. Vega coaches Almas up but Mysterio kicks out the legs. Mysterio runs in but is put on the apron. Mysterio punches then springboards for another seated senton! Then a springboard moonsault, but Almas catches him! Mysterio slips out, shoves Almas at the ladder, but Almas stops himself. Only for Mysterio to headscissor Almas into the ladder! The ladder almost falls on Mysterio!
Both men are safe but down as fans rally up. Vega shouts at Almas but Mysterio fetches a new ladder. This is a much taller ladder but Mysterio places a short one by Almas to baseball slide dropkick into him! Almas is out and Mysterio has a ladder up! It’s just right for the height of the belt. Mysterio climbs as Almas slowly rises. Almas gets in to grab at Mysterio and pull him down. Mysterio turns to fight and jump, but Almas catches him for a suplex! Uno amigo! Almas suplexes again, Dos Amigos! Almas gets up a gain, to suplex Mysterio on the ladder! Tres Amigos is painful this time.
Almas drags the short ladder up to make a bridge. Almas drags Mysterio up but Mysterio fights back! They brawl between the ropes, Mysterio enziguris! Almas forearms back, but Mysterio climbs up to join Almas. Almas and Mysterio fight, the steiner is blocked! Almas brings Mysterio up again, to POWERBOMB ONTO THE LADDER! Veega cheers but both men are down as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and now there are two ladder bridges. Almas shoves Mysterio to a corner but Mysterio boots back! Mysterio climbs up but Almas clubs him down. Almas uses a crucifix lift, but Mysterio fights free to headscissor Almas out of the ring! Mysterio hurries to the ladders and finds space to climb. Almas hurries back in and climbs up the opposite side. Mysterio reaches but Almas clubs him away from the belt! Mysterio hits back but Almas bumps Mysterio off the top rung. Almas gut wrenches Mysterio onto his shoulder, for a Gory Especial! Mysterio fights out, to SUNSET BOMB Almas onto the ladder!! Both men crash and burn and fans lose their minds! Vega is beside herself with panic as Mysterio somehow rises from the wreckage! And dropkicks Almas onto ropes, to dial it up! 619 hits! Almas flies out of the ring!
Kansas is thunderous as Mysterio climbs the ladder! He’s almost there, but Almas somehow returns! Almas moves the ladder, Mysterio hangs from the hinge! Almas grabs at Mysterio and brings him down, but Mysterio manages to headscissor through! Mysterio wobbles while Almas shakes out more cobwebs. Mysterio throws Almas out high and hard! Mysterio hurries to adjust the ladder and climb up again! But Vega climbs?! She won’t let Almas lose, even if she has to block Mysterio’s path. She SLAPS Mysterio! Almas attacks from below, then climbs up behind him. Almas hammerlocks, SUPER LA SOMBRA THROUGH THE LADDER!! Even Vega is shocked! But who is left to climb and take the title?!
Almas drags himself up and out of the wreckage, then to the good side of the ladder. Vega shouts for him to get going, and he takes the title down!
Winner: Andrade Almas; still WWE United States Championship
In the end, La Muneca helps El Idolo remain El Campeon! But they’re not done here! They want to destroy Mysterio once and for all, and that involves peeling the floor mats away! Almas dumps Mysterio out and brings him to the exposed concrete. Hammerlock, but wait! The fan with the Mysterio mask… IS HUMBERTO CARRILLO! Humberto is back and brawling with Almas!! Referees separate them and Almas runs away! Ultimo Ninja checks on Mysterio, but the damage was done. Almas has the title and has dispatched Mysterio, but will it be the rise of Carrillo now?
WWE and Raw honor the life and message of Martin Luther King Jr.
Long live the dream.
Aleister Black VS ???
The Embodiment of the End has moved on from the Aussie Juggernaut, but now he is looking for someone new to pick… a fight… with him. Will he continue to win right into the Royal Rumble?
The bell rings, and his opponent runs into a BLACK MASS! Cover, Aleister wins!!
Winner: Aleister Black, by pinfall
That was perhaps the fastest win on Raw in years! Maybe even ever! Will it be that easy to make 28 other men and The Beast to #FadeToBlack in Houston?
Brock Lesnar is here!
This makes three weeks in a row for The Beast and Paul Heyman on Raw! They go to the ring and Heyman gets a mic to give his usual introduction. Fans of course boo. But Heyman says he is not only a “soothsayer of the spoiler,” he is the Advocate for the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World, BRRROCK! LESNARRR! And as such, Heyman is having a “crisis of conscience” because the entire WWE Universe takes what Lesnar does “for granted.” Heyman comes out, gives his spoilers, Lesnar delivers “the impossible,” and fans go, “Of course he did that, he’s Brock Lesnar!” Heyman says something like Lesnar enters the Royal Rumble match first and then win, and fans just go, “Of course he will, he’s Brock Lesnar.” Don’t boo, that’s expected.
But Heyman wants us to understand how unprecedented this is. This match is about one man starting. In this case, it’ll be Lesnar. And then there’s entrant #2 who fights Lesnar. Whether Lesnar eliminates “that pretender the throne” or not before #3, 4 etc. etc. to #30. Whoever gets eliminated when, there will be however many people thrown over the top and both their feet hit the floor. And Lesnar has vowed that those 29 other “contracted challengers” will go over the top and hit the floor with both feet until only The Beast stands victorious! But why? Because it’ll get even better. The winner of the Rumble then gets to choose which champion he wants to face in the main event of WrestleMania. And so Lesnar has deemed that there is not one person in the locker room worthy of main-eventing Mania or any PPV against Lesnar.
Well wait. Who do the fans think they are to boo Lesnar? Fans boo anyway. Do the fans really believe there is anyone in the WWE or anywhere that is worthy of facing Lesnar? They apparently do. Name him! And we’ll wait. Ricochet appears?! The One and Only has a mic to say, “Listen, man, look. Week after week you come out, and these words spew out of your mouth.” And it is a lot. Ricochet has also heard whispers and concerns. Some guys are afraid to step into the Rumble match with Lesnar. But every time Ricochet jumps off a top rope or do a dive, that might be the last time. So “afraid” is not in Ricochet’s vocabulary. Then you got your education here in Wichita. Heyman explains it: Lesnar is hungry, Ricochet is lunch meat. “Take yo’ ass and go on back to that locker room before you get hurt.”
Ricochet thinks he’ll stay. This Sunday, the Rumble is Ricochet’s only ticket to Mania, and he isn’t afraid to fight for it. Ricochet sees what happens to those who challenge The Beast, but Ricochet isn’t afraid. In fact, Ricochet isn’t afraid to get in the ring with Lesnar now! Heyman says he warned Ricochet, but Ricochet says that he is not afraid to challenge Lesnar to a fight, right now! Lesnar laughs, then walks past Ricochet. Ricochet asks what’s wrong. Is Lesnar scared? Lesnar stops leaving, and gets back in the ring. Lesnar LOW BLOWS Ricochet! Lesnar laughs more as he picks up a mic to say, “Not scared.” Lesnar takes his belt and goes home, unafraid. But will that ego only get him in trouble when having to outlast 29 other superstars?
Backstage interview with Randy Orton!
The Viper has heard that Drew McIntyre is on par with him as a favorite to win the Rumble. McIntyre is a hell of a guy, hell of a talent with hell of a future, and one hell of a chop. But on par with Orton? No. That’s impossible. You can’t be on par with someone who can strike out of nowhere with the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment. And Orton might just spell it out for McIntyre, because their match is next!
Drew McIntyre VS Randy Orton!
The Scottish Stud and the Viper are both dangerous, and they’ll have to be in order to survive the Royal Rumble with The Beast. But which man survives the other tonight just days before going into Houston?
Raw returns as McIntyre makes his entrance. The bell rings and Orton circles with McIntyre. They tie up, go around, and Orton puts McIntyre in a corner for McIntyre to turn it around. The ref counts and the two separate at 4. McIntyre allows Orton to exit the corner, and then they tie up again. Orton headlocks, McIntyre pries out to a headlock of his own. Orton powers out but McIntyre runs him over with a shoulder. McIntyre flexes while Orton gets out. Orton takes his time catching his breath but McIntyre eggs him on. Orton returns from the steel steps and circles with McIntyre again. They tie up, McIntyre headlocks, but fans rally for Orton. Orton powers out and then follows to run McIntyre over with a shoulder!
McIntyre is up fast and in a huff while Orton rests in a corner. The two approach and then McIntyre lifts Orton to put him in a corner! McIntyre stomps and punches and stomps again, to then CHOP! Orton is a bit stunned, and McIntyre whips him corner to corner. Orton comes back with a clothesline! Then he clotheslines McIntyre out! Orton goes out to back suplex McIntyre onto the barriers! And again! McIntyre hobbles away and Orton stalks behind him. Orton gets McIntyre a third time but McIntyre fights out. McIntyre shoves Orton into a post! McIntyre refreshes the count and glares, and then runs at Orton. Orton evades and the CLAYMORE hits the timekeeper! The referee hurries out to check on the timekeeper, but McIntyre just shrugs. McIntyre stalks Orton more as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns again and McIntyre looms over Orton in the ring. Fans fire up as McIntyre climbs to the top! McIntyre wants Orton to stand, and Orton does rise. Orton turns around but dropkicks McIntyre out of the air! Both men are down now and a standing count begins. Orton and McIntyre stir at 3, then slowly sit up. Orton stands at 6, but McIntyre punches first. McIntyre eggs Orton on so Orton kicks and European Uppercuts. McIntyre kicks and clubs and now we have a brawl! Haymaker for haymaker, back and forth, fast and furious! Orton uppercuts but McIntyre CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Orton eye pokes. McIntyre is seething and BOOTS Orton! But Orton puts McIntyre on the apron! Orton has McIntyre in the ropes, DRAPING DDT!
Fans fire up as Orton hears the voices! McIntyre rises, but he denies the RKO! Glasgow Kiss headbutt! Orton is down again and McIntyre gets to a corner. “Get up, Randy, you son of a b*tch…” McIntyre puts Orton in a corner for the overhead suplex! Cover, TWO! McIntyre drags Orton up, to dead lift suplex! McIntyre shows off with a kip up! McIntyre aims from a corner and fans are divided. But they still count down with McIntyre, “Three! Two! One!” But McIntyre runs into the spinning powerslam! Cover, TWO! Orton keeps his cool as McIntyre crawls away. Orton has McIntyre in a corner and then on the top rope. Orton throws some haymakers before he climbs up top. They’re on the very top, for the SUPERPLEX! Orton doesn’t cover after that impact, he flops out of the ring!
And here come the OC! They go after McIntyre for his part in last week’s Tirple Threat! McIntyre fights back! He slugs it out with Gallows but Styles chop blocks! The OC stomp McIntyre 3v1, but here comes Orton with a chair! Chair shots for the Good Brothers, but Styles bails out! CLAYMORE for Anderson! Chair shot SMACK for Gallows! Orton and McIntyre run off the Club! Will there be a price to pay should Orton and McIntyre encounter Styles, Gallows and Anderson in the Rumble? Orton also looks at McIntyre while holding the chair, but drops the chair. There is still a lot to be settled between these two, but Orton commends McIntyre for being “a tough son of a b*tch.” McIntyre takes the compliment, and the RKO!! The Viper is still the Viper. Will Orton strike like that on 28 other men and The Beast?
McIntyre gets a mic to say, “Randall Keith Orton…” Wow full name. Wait, get McIntyre a mic that works. The crew replace that one with another. “I should’ve Claymored you. Randy, look at me. That one is on me. Wichita, that’s why they call it the RKO outta nowhere.” But McIntyre promises that won’t happen again. Because Sunday, McIntyre prays that they end up in the Rumble at the same time. This Claymore won’t come outta nowhere, McIntyre promises to kick Orton’s head off his shoulders. McIntyre will win the Rumble and finally, finally main event WrestleMania! McIntyre has the last word tonight, but will he have a say in how things go in Houston?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair!
The Queen was the one to eliminate the most competitors last year, how confident is she about this year’s Women’s Rumble? Always confident, and always prepared. But then Becky Lynch walks in. Well that was one thing she wasn’t prepared for now or last year. Charlotte was eliminated by someone who wasn’t supposed to be in the match. But Charlotte is ready this time. The question is: are the other 29 ready to face her?
Becky Lynch VS Kairi Sane w/ Asuka!
The Man already let us know she’s here by teasing Charlotte. But will she show us all she’s ready for Asuka when facing her tag partner, the Pirate Princess?
Raw returns and fans chant for Becky as she says “The Man has come around to Kansas!” Last week, Asuka came around and actually did Becky a favor. Spraying that mist actually got Becky to see things clearly. Asuka might be doubting herself this time, which is why she won’t face Becky head-on, and Becky is facing Asuka’s partner here tonight. Asuka won last year, but who won in the end? Because Becky went to make history all around the world, while Asuka went on to YouTube making soup. Asuka can blind Becky and break her bones, but Becky is going to collect on that last debt. And Becky knows now that Asuka can’t beat her anymore! With that, the Kabuki Warriors make their entrance, and this proxy match begins!
Becky and Kairi circle and Kairi says, “Kiss this!” Kairi laughs but Becky SLAPS her out of the ring! Becky builds speed to wreck Kairi with a dropkick! Asuka lurks close but Becky backs her off. Kairi chop blocks Becky’s leg! Kairi gets back in the ring and drags Becky up by her hair. The ref backs Kairi off, Asuka uses Kairi’s parasol to SMACK Becky on the leg! The Man is down with a charlie horse as we go to break!
Raw returns again and Kairi clamps onto Becky with a straitjacket stretch. Becky endures and fans rally up while Asuka sits on the post to watch. The ref sees that and tells her to get down. Asuka says she’s not in the ring so it’s okay. Becky fights her way up out of the hold, and then she jawbreakers out of the hold! But Kairi ax kicks then runs, into a calf kick! Asuka coaches Kairi up and Kairi is mad with Becky. Kairi slaps Becky, Becky forearm back. They brawl on their knees back and forth, Kairi fires off angry forearms! Becky gives them back! Becky runs, into Kairi’s forearm! Asuka likes that, but she doesn’t like Becky’s lariat! Becky rallies, Kairi dodges, but Becky leaps for forearms!
Fans fire up with Becky while Asuka coaches Kairi. Kairi dodges and runs back in, but Becky puts her on the apron. Kairi headbutts Becky away then climbs up top. Kairi leaps, flying Kabuki elbow! Cover, TWO! Becky lives and the Kabuki Warriors are annoyed. Kairi roars, ready to end this. Kairi throws a back hand but Becky back kicks! Becky kicks Kairi then wraps on for an inverted DDT! Kairi is down in the drop zone and Becky climbs up, Becky makes sure Asuka watches the Man’s Leg Drop! Cover, TWO! Kairi survives and Asuka coaches her up, but the Disarm-Her clamps on! Kairi powers up and slips into a O’Conner Clutch! TWO! Becky kicks low and suplexes, but Kairi counters with a DDT! Cover, TWO!
Becky gets out, Kairi builds speed, Kairi is put on the apron. Becky kicks as Kairi shoulder sin then bumps her on buckles. Jump Kick sends Kairi down! Then Becky hits a Straight Fire Forearm from the apron! Becky puts Kairi back in, and then she DECKS Asuka off the top! Fans fire up but Kairi runs in. Becky dodges, forearms and BECKSPLODERS! Back kick to Disarm-Her! Kairi taps, Becky wins!
Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission
Asuka hits a Shining Wizard on Becky! Asuka is furious as she puts on the ASUKA LOCK! Becky is trapped but Asuka still lets go, to BUZZSAW! Asuka is still furious but she took The Man down. Kairi bows to her empress and senpai. Will Kairi also be calling Asuka “champion” after Sunday?
WWE and Raw pay tribute to Rocky Johnson.
The Soul Man debuted in 1964, making an instant impact with physique and athleticism. He joined the WWE in 1982, and joined Tony Atlas as the “Soul Patrol” and became the first-ever African-American world tag team champions. Rocky would marry and have a son, Dwayne Johnson. Rocky trained his son and debuted Rocky Maivia as a tribute to both parts of his family’s heritage. And in the end, his sown would be the one to induct Rocky into the WWE Hall of Fame. Rocky proudly paved the way for wrestlers of all colors, and he will be celebrated for generations to come.
The Kabuki Warriors regroup.
But Sarah Schreiber comes by to interview them. Is this the kind of champion Asuka wants to be known as? What is she talking about?! Becky will lose “easy peasy” and then Asuka-nee will be Raw Women’s Champion! “At the Royal Rumble, Becky is NOT READY for Asuka!” The Kabuki Warriors laugh into the night, but will The Man have the last laugh in Houston?
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Viking Raiders w/ Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens VS Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy w/ The Authors of Pain!
Erik & Ivar turned out to be new allies for Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens, but now the Monday Night Messiah wants to punish them for choosing the wrong side of destiny. Will it be destiny for Rollins to once again become a tag team champion? Or is the only thing more inevitable than destiny be the raid?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and Rollins starts with Erik. Erik backs Rollins down and Murphy tags in. Rollins and Murphy hug, and then Murphy turns around into Erik’s shotgun knees! Erik roars in Murphy’s face then puts him in the corner. Tag to Ivar, and Ivar scoop slams Murphy. Erik scoop slams Ivar onto Murphy! Murphy bails out and regroups with Rollins, but the AOP distract the Vikings. So Kevin and Joe take them on! There’s a brawl in the ring and out of the ring! AOP and Joe-KO go into the crowd! The tag title match continues after the break!
Raw returns and Erik fights out of Rollins’ chinlock. But Rollins puts Erik in the corner and throws hands! Tag to Murphy, but Erik fights back. Murphy and Rollins mug Erik to whip him corner to corner. Rollins whips Murphy in but Murphy is TOSSED out! Erik dumps Rollins out to join him, but Erik crawls to his corner! Murphy and Rollins trip up Ivar and throw him into barriers! Rollins goes after Erik, but it’s Murphy who SUPERKICKS and knees Erik down! Big suplex then a tag to Rollins, who climbs up top. Frog Splash hits! Cover, TWO! Erik survives and Rollins is shocked! Rollins focuses and tags Murphy back in. The disciple looms over Erik but fans rally for the Vikings. Murphy drags Erik up but Erik throws hands. Murphy hits back with a strike fest, but the knee misses, Erik hits Ace Ten Mao!
Both men are down and Ivar has returned! The fans fire up as Erik crawls, hot tag to Ivar! Rollins also tags in, but Ivar runs him over! Sidewalk slam and a SPLASH for Murphy! Ivar roars and fans fire up again. Ivar goes corner to corner but Rollins dodges. Rollins runs into a seated senton! Ivar cartwheel LARIATS Murphy! Tag to Erik and Kansas is thunderous again! The Vikings drag Murphy up, and feed him to- No! Rollins denies the experience, but the Vikings knock Rollins and Murphy out of the ring. And then they build speed, to DOUBLE DIVE! The titanic topes hit! Erik puts Murphy in, tags Ivar, and then focus on Murphy. Murphy gets THOR’S HAMMER! Cover, but Rollins breaks it!
Erik grabs Rollins but Rollins PELES! Ivar leg lariats! Murphy is up, he elbows Ivar back then hops up. Ivar uppercuts Murphy first! Ivar climbs up to join Murphy, and fans fire up, but Murphy fights back! Murphy sunset flips but Ivar holds on! Rollins tags in to PELE Ivar! Murphy tucks Ivar in, SUPERKICK! Then together with Rollins, DOUBLE POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Ivar lives and Rollins is shocked again! Rollins tags Murphy in and they work together again. Double whip but Ivar breaks the line! Ivar handsprings to double back elbow! Fans fire up, hot tag to Erik! Erik wants Ivar to get up top! Erik lifts Murphy all the way up, POWERBOMB! Ivar climbs, but Rollins shoves him down! Ivar crashes and burns from apron to ground! Erik swipes at Rollins but Rollins gets away. Murphy KNEE TRIGGERS!
Murphy wants after Erik but the ref keeps him back. Rollins APRON CURB STOMPS!! Cover, Murphy & Rollins WIN!!
Winners: Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy, Murphy pinning; NEW Raw Tag Team Champions
The inevitable has come! The Architect and his Juggernaut have gold! The Authors of Pain return to celebrate with them. Is this only the beginning of destiny for the Monday Night Messiah’s faction?
Rollins and his team celebrates!
He told them they’d do it! Congratulations are in order, but what does this mean tot hem? It represents the new beginning! Rollins’ words are coming to life! Murphy was fighting Aleister but now he fights the good fight. When you join the Monday Night Messiah, you reap the rewards! But now, the Royal Rumble will cement their dominance when Rollins wins the Rumble back-to-back! For now, they party! But will the party come to an end in Houston?
It’s the Monday After the Weekend Update.
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford are back in the studio, and have tonight’s top stories. BRRROCK LESNARRR is going to enter the Royal Rumble first, while Heyman is the first entrant into this year’s all you can eat shrimp contest. Shrimp going to go extinct! That’s no prediction, that’s a spoiler.
Tonight is a new segment called Take Your Corner. Dawkins is sick of reboots! Party of Five, Lizzie McGuire, Gossip Girl? There is nothing new from network television! WWE has seven hours of network programming, and every single second is new and original content! Well, except for Miz and Morrison. Dawkins plays it off and moves to a new corner: he LOVES reboots.
With the Royal Rumble this Sunday, we have a correspondent live in Houston! R-Truth is there in the Minute Maid Park stadium. Texas is huge! There’s also the space center. And while he’s wearing a jacket now, it’s Celsius degrees and Texas is known for being humid. No… Truth stop talking about Houston, talk from Houston. Is Truth entering the Rumble at 420th? Can he at least tell us how it feels to take an F5? It “H-U-R-T’Z”, hurtz. Hmm…
The WWE Universe ship Mandy x Otis. And if she’s conflicted, here’s a preview of what’s awaiting her. Cue the montage of the truffle shuffle! And the Caterpillar!
This has been the Monday After the Weekend Update. Here’s to getting ALL the Smoke in Houston!
Matt Hardy VS ???
Hardy is back again, but will it be WONDERFUL~?
Raw returns as Hardy’s opponent turns out to be Erick Rowan! Will Hardy be prepared for a fight with the Big Redwood?
The bell rings and Hardy gets around behind Rowan to throw big hands. Rowan puts Hardy in a corner but Hardy boots back! Hardy hops up and leaps, but into Rowan’s arms! Hardy sunset flips but Rowan drops big elbows! Then a splash! Fans boo Rowan but Rowan drags Hardy up. Hardy throws hands but Rowan throws Hardy out. Hardy holds on but Rowan BOOTS Hardy off the apron! Rowan goes out to drag Hardy up. “You want to see something, Matt?!” Hardy resists but Rowan brings Hardy to the cage! Rowan clubs Hardy down and then checks on his pet. Rowan reaches in but gets bit again! Rowan slams the cage on the steel steps! “BAD!”
But Hardy hops on to throw hands! Rowan throws Hardy down, then BODY CHECKS him! The ring count climbs and Rowan puts Hardy in the ring. Rowan drags Hardy up, bloody IRON CLAW SLAM! Cover, Rowan wins!
Winner: Erick Rowan, by pinfall
Rowan conquers a former champion, then goes back to his pet. Will the pet continue to bite the hand that feeds? Will Rowan dismantle 29 other men in the Royal Rumble?
Backstage interview with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe!
What is next for them after Rollins and Murphy took the tag titles and are in the Rumble? Those two winning the tag titles is a problem they can take care of later. As for the Rumble, that’s interesting. Kevin has nothing in common with Rollins, until now. Because Kevin’s entering the Rumble, too! And Kevin will do everything he can to win, but mostly to make sure Rollins doesn’t. Joe is all for transparency, because he is also entering the Rumble match. This is the epitome of “every man for themselves,” but when it comes to Rollins, they will stay united. But if they’re the last two, Joe will go through him. A mutual respect and understanding, but will Joe and KO keep their priorities in mind?
Backstage interview with WWE 24/7 Champion, Mojo Rawley!
Mojo took advantage of Truth after Lesnar’s attack, but Mojo vows to be a “different” 24/7 Champion. This title has been carried by cowards that flee. But here comes Samir Singh? Because Sunil goes to roll him up! But Mojo is too big and strong for that. Mojo THROWS Samir aside, then drags Sunil up to fireman’s carry and TOSS into trunks! Mojo just busted the Bollywood Boys’ blockbuster! Will this be a new era in the 24/7 Championship?
Mixed Tag: Rusev & Liv Morgan VS Bobby Lashley & Lana!
There has been twists and turns and a truckload of drama in this love triangle turned square. But finally, we get some fighting inside the squared circle! Will the Bulgarian Brute and LIVing Karma finally get revenge on the Ravishing Russian and her “hawt hawt boyfriend”? Or will Lana and the Rocky Mountain Machine finally put both of her jilted lovers behind them?
Before the match, Lana grabs a mic to say “Rusev Day is cancelled.” And all her Bobby and Lana ever wanted was… Could the fans shut up!? They’re trying to share their beautiful and inspirational love, yet no one cares! It’s not their fault that they’re all “low rent, bottom feeder pathetic losers.” Lana and Lashley have finally accepted that fans are all jealous of their endless love story of the Millennium. They’ve accepted that they’ll have to suffer through all of the fans’ ugliness in huddled masses of disgrace and disrespect. Lana is not even sure what to say or do. They just want a simple THANK YOU! Now, do it. Chant, “Thank You, Bobby! Thank You, Lana!” The fans boo instead. Well whatever, Lana is so excited that Lashley will again prove his dominance over her stupid ex, Rusev! And Lana will get her hands on the self-serving, coattail riding Liv Morgan! This twisted love story finally has an ending(?) after the break.
Raw returns once more, and Rusev and Liv finally make their way out to the ring. Liv rishes at Lana but the Lana goes to the apron. Lana stays away so Liv chases her down! They go around the ring, and then in the ring, and then Lana clobbers Liv down! Lana shouts she’s the best in the world! Fans boo but Liv LARIATS Lana down! And again! Liv dropkicks Lana to a corner, and then runs in with a big back elbow! Liv pulls Lana but Lana holds the ropes. The ref backs Liv off, Lana ROUNDHOUSES! Cover, TWO! Lana tries again, ONE! Lana brings Liv up to snap suplex, then cover, TWO! Lana taunts Rusev to his face then pie faces Liv. “What, Liv? What?!” Lana slaps Liv, Liv SLAPS Lana! Double clotheslines take both women out!
Fans rally, hot tag to Rusev! Lashely runs in but Rusev rallies! Rusev ducks, lifts and Samoan Drops! Fans fireu p with Rusev as he runs corner to corner for a splash! And overhead suplex! Rusev roars and he stalks “Bob” as fans rally. But Lana swipes at Rusev. Rusev and Lana wag fingers, but then Rusev dodges! Lana almost gets hit by Lashley, but Rusev rolls Lashley up! TWO, and Lana gets a cheap shot in! DOMINATOR! Cover, but Liv breaks it! Lana goes after Liv but Liv throws her out instead! Lashley checks on his wife, but then Liv enziguris! ROUNDHOUSE from Rusev! Rusev glares as he powers up, but Lana gets back in to anchor Rusev’s feet! The ref reprimands, Lashley SPEARS!! Cover, Lashley & Lana win!
Winners: Bobby Lashley & Lana, Lashley pinning
Chaos in the ring benefits the newlywed couple! Lana boasts and brags all the way up the ramp, but will she and Lashley come close to winning their respective Rumble matches?
This was a really good go-home to Raw, until the main event. I’ll just go ahead and say that, on top of adding an Erick Rowan filler squash on poor Matt Hardy, that is not how Raw should’ve ended. But at the same time, I can see why all the better matches went first: those matches were more deserving of time so that the matches could breathe, so that means putting them on earlier. Of course, that gives us a disappointing ending where Lana and Lashley find a way to win again, which probably means this rivalry might continue past the Rumble. Ugh. The match itself was chaotic but maybe not in a good way, and Lana’s promo before just drove home that this is only meant to irritate us for Vince’s own amusement. Also, Rowan again getting “bit” for effect, wow…
I did like them giving us a quick “defense” of the 24/7 Championship. Mojo Rawley is not the first to get away from somewhere still champion, but he was certainly the most vicious defender yet. If we get some actual brawls for this title, that will help revitalize the 24/7 Championship story. Whoever needs a bit of screen time better be up for a fight with Mojo. I wonder if Aleister would give it a try. His squash filler was just so he can get screen time without making a new rivalry before the Rumble. I expect him to go after someone or something after the Rumble sorts things out. The WWE United States Championship can still have multiple contenders, especially with Elimination Chamber coming up.
The Ladder Match tonight was incredible, Almas and Mysterio really went all out. That very first ladder spot was scary, though, even Jerry Lawler was worried for Almas’ neck. Almas retaining made sense, and what a great surprise for Humberto Carrillo to return here! Carrillo is an obvious contender, so we’re halfway to a Chamber match. Maybe throw in Buddy Murphy, even after what we saw tonight. At this point, put Orton and McIntyre in assuming they don’t win the Rumble. Orton and McIntyre had a great match tonight, even with the OC attacking. Actually, sub out Murphy to put in Styles in the Chamber so he can settle things with Orton and McIntyre at the same time. They’ll all have a great showing in the Rumble, and again my personal wish is McIntyre Claymore kicking Lesnar out, but Vince probably won’t let that happen. I am oddly happy that a lot of this is hard to predict, that always makes pro-wrestling more fun.
Becky VS Kairi was a pretty good match, especially with Asuka’s involvement. Asuka sitting on the post to watch the match was new, but I like it. Asuka should do that more for Kairi’s singles matches. Becky still wins because she needs the momentum, but Asuka stands tall after beating Becky up so she can also go in strong. Asuka and Kairi had a really good promo after, even if I don’t perfectly understand Japanese. This will definitely add to the intensity of the Raw Women’s Championship match, but I wonder if this is the moment Paige chooses to get revenge. If Paige can neutralize Kairi, that can make things even for Becky and Asuka. But I still can’t tell who really wins this, which again, makes it all the more fun.
Ricochet getting in Lesnar’s face was pretty good. We got good promos out of him and Heyman, and Lesnar’s one-liners are pretty good. Probably still written by Heyman. The way Lesnar is going after these guys, and Heyman now framing the Rumble the way I expected, i.e. Lesnar just wrecking one person after another, I hope this means at some point, a lot of people actually gang up on Lesnar. It probably won’t work, but it’s what Lesnar deserves after everything he’s been doing. Of course, the other stories going into this, like Orton-McIntyre-Styles or Rollins and his enemies, those will all keep the 29 others divided so Lesnar can take advantage, too. The biggest surprise of tonight is that it wasn’t AOP VS Viking Raiders for the tag titles. I feel like that telegraphs no one on Raw is winning the Rumble to challenge Lesnar outright, and things will shift so that Rollins & Murphy VS Joe & Kevin becomes a tag title match.
My Score: 8.2/10