Fastlane puts pedal to the metal on the Road to WrestleMania!
We’re in the homestretch and picking up speed! Who does Fastlane leave in the dust just weeks away from WrestleMania?
- Kickoff Show – WWE United States Championship: Matt Riddle VS Mustafa Ali w/ Retribution; Riddle wins and retains the title.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler w/ Reginald VS Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair; Jax & Baszler win and retain the titles.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Big E wins and retains the title.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Free Sample: R-Truth VS Akira Tozawa VS Joseph Average; Average wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Free Sample Take Two: Joseph Average VS Akira Tozawa VS R-Truth; Truth wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
Shane McMahonElias w/ Jaxson Ryker VS Braun Strowman; Strowman wins.
- Shinsuke Nakamura VS Seth Rollins; Rollins wins.
- No Holds Barred: Drew McIntyre VS Sheamus; McIntyre wins.
- Randy Orton VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins.
- WWE Universal Championship, Edge as Special Guest Enforcer: Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman VS Daniel Bryan; Reigns wins and retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
It’s the Fastlane Kickoff show!
Join Kayla Braxton, Booker T, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Peter Rosenberg in discussing, analyzing and predicting all the action here tonight on the last stop before WrestleMania!
Sonya Deville joins the panel!
The SmackDown official and sharp dresser is here to talk the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Big E is a friend, an incredible competitor, has everything it takes to be the best, but this new Apollo Crews is scary! Large and in charge, showing a side no one knew was there. Sonya is torn, but will let the others predict first. Kayla asks more what triggered Apollo to show this side of himself. The defeat? The disrespect? Booker T says this is the REAL Apollo. Trying to conform and be what others what you to be, Apollo is now someone who represents something, and this transformed him. THIS Apollo is going to move up the ladder, and Big E is just in the way.
Rosenberg says we’re so focused on Apollo, there’s also a new Big E. Sonya says this side was always there for Big E, always wanting to break away and stand on his own, and hasn’t been able to do so until now. He has a different attitude, too. The championship is not playing games and is defending his livelihood. Great for Apollo to dig into his heritage, Big E is fighting for his family. Sonya was there when Big E was taken away on a stretcher. TO come back from that means his determination is stronger than ever. Then final vote? Sonya is for Big E, because of his heart and spirit. Rosenberg goes with Big E. As dangerous as Apollo is, Big E is it.
King says Apollo was using stuff on Big E, like the steps. But Apollo is a weapon himself so he votes Apollo. Booker says from here to WrestleMania, it will be a celebration. Apollo wins. Well they’re tied because Kayla won’t choose a side. But the match itself will be a tiebreaker, so this is one to watch!
Moving on from that, they discuss Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman! Booker says Shane is a man who throws caution to the wind! Do not cross the boss! Made Braun into a living green screen! Rosenberg says that was a very Nickelodeon moment. But Shane’s been insulting Braun for weeks. Booker says this is Shane motivating Braun, and Braun took it the wrong way. Braun could learn a lot if he just went along. Rosenberg says Shane must be bored. Rich people do thrill-seeking, but Shane is doing the wrong thing! Why does Shane want problems with Braun? Sonya says that as a fighter, you see Braun’s size and strength, but Shane can throw hands.
King isn’t so sure, Shane was a little hurt out there. Kayla points out there was an incident where Shane may have injured himself training. We go to Sarah Schreiber for an update.
“Thanks, Kayla. Shane McMahon is currently being evaluated by WWE medical personnel due to his knee injury.” She can neither confirm or deny what will happen with Shane’s match later tonight. Booker says he had that same pained look Shane had tearing MCL and PCL, so it can’t be good. King says Shane has said a lot about Braun, like Braun is strong as an ox and almost as smart. Braun should be smart enough that, should the match happen, he’ll go after Shane’s leg. Even if Shane was 1000%, though Rosenberg respects Shane, he’d still pick Braun. So less than 100%, that’s even worse. Maybe Shane will rethink this. Sonya is also worried, but we’ll see what happens.
And speaking of respect, Rollins thinks Cesaro disrespected him and disrespected Cesaro back. But now he has to deal with Cesaro’s friend, Shinsuke Nakamura! The King of Strong Style is an Artist who painted a painful picture on SmackDown, and could do the same tonight!
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins.
Is Rollins surprised that Cesaro’s friend and former tag team partner, Nakamura, confronted him on SmackDown? New guy, what’s your name? Kevin. Welcome, Kevin! But let’s take a second before talking about Nakamura to admire “the drip.” Seth Drippin’ Rollins! Seth’s suit game is huge on social media. But no, nothing surprises Rollins anymore. He’s just disappointed in Nakamura. Nakamura is better than this! At least, Rollins thought he was. If anyone would understand respect, it’d be Nakamura.
Turns out, nope! Turns out, he’s just as bad as Cesaro Nakamura wants to be a tough guy and pick a fight on Cesaro’s behalf. That’s fine, because Rollins will teach Nakamura a lesson, and hopes Cesaro is at home, on his couch, icing his dumb, bald head, and learns something. Because if Cesaro gets in Rollins’ face again, he’ll be next. And welcome to the team, Kev. Rollins heads out, but will he the one learning something about respect?
WWE United States Championship: Matt Riddle VS Mustafa Ali w/ Retribution!
The Bro beat the Beacon, but to be fair, Ali did lose because of Mustafa Ali’s own team! Riddle is a fair fighting champion, so he’ll give Ali another shot. But will there be no excuses when Riddle shuts Ali down this time?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this rematch from Raw kicks things off!
Ali bails out but Riddle waits in the ring. Ali takes his time returning, and he gets back in at 5 of 10. They circle again, tie up and Riddle clinches to put Ali in a corner. Ali pulls hair to turn things around, but the ref counts. Riddle shoves Ali, Ali shoves back but Riddle tackles him! Riddle rams knees in, floats and rams more knees! Then Riddle gut wrench suplexes Ali for a BROTON! Cover, TWO! Ali crawls for ropes but Riddle stalks up behind him. Riddle kicks Ali, but Ali holds ropes to deny the exploder. Ali knees low, but Riddle sweeps the legs! Riddle leaps but Ali BOOTS the Broton away!
Ali wants to make sure Retribution is watching as he bumps Riddle off buckles. Ali goes out to trip Riddle and pull him into ropes to then ROCK him! Ali spins Riddle and Riddle SMACKS the post! Ali then baseball slide dropkicks Riddle to the floor! “This is why I will be the next United States Champion!” Ali puts Riddle in the ring, covers, TWO! Riddle is still in this and he fires body shots and forearms! Ali ducks and kitchen sink knees Riddle down! Cover, TWO! Ali wraps Riddle up in a body scissor and squeezes tight. Riddle endures, pries free but Ali clubs Riddle down. Ali throws hands, Riddle gut wrenches again! Ali slips out and shoves Riddle into buckles, then SHOTGUNS him down! Cover, TWO!
Ali grows frustrated but drags Riddle up to ROCK him! And CHOP him! Riddle CHOPS back but Ali kicks low! Ali whips corner to corner, Riddle reverses but Ali handsprings then slips out! Riddle hits buckles, Ali slingshots and somersaults to a BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives and Ali grows frustrated. Ali stalks Riddle, throws more clubbing forearms and then snapmares Riddle into the body scissors. Riddle endures, Ali chinbars, and fans rally on their screens. Riddle elbows Ali’s leg and gets free! Riddle storms over to Ali, suplexes, but Ali slips out to shove Riddle and then run, into a BROMISSION!! Ali rolls back, prawn hold, TWO!!
Riddle and Ali fires off furious fists! Riddle boots, spins Ali and PELES! Ali staggers to a corner, Riddle kips up and runs in to forearm smash! Riddle goes side to side to forearm again! And BROSPLODER! Riddle aims, PENALTY KICK! Riddle dead lift POWERBOMBS, and flips Ali for a FINAL FLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Ali survives and Riddle can’t believe it! Riddle goes up top, for a FLOATING BRO onto knees!! Ali took some damage because of his bad leg, and both men are down. Ali glares as he gets to a corner. Riddle sits up, Ali goes up and leaps, into Riddle’s arms! Riddle suplexes, but Ali cradles! Riddle rolls through for a FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!
KOJI KLUTCH!! Ali has Riddle trapped, squeezes tight, but Riddle endures and fights for ground. Riddle reaches out, moves around, Ali keeps trying, but Riddle dead lifts to SLAM Ali! Both men are down, Riddle gasping for air. Ali shouts, “See what I did there?!” Ali grins as he says it’s over. But he runs into a BOOT! Riddle goes up, but Ali trips him! Riddle lands on the ropes, but Ali swings, into a DRAPING SLEEPER! Riddle drags Ali up into the gut wrench, for a SUPER BRO DEREK!! Cover, Riddle wins!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall (still WWE United States Champion)
Ali spoke too soon, because it wasn’t over for Riddle, it was over for Ali! Will Riddle continue to represent the Bronited States all the way to WrestleMania?
As for Retribution, they pick up Ali and he gets mad at them!? Ali says this is somehow his team’s fault when they didn’t even do anything! “Reckoning” shakes her head and Ali calls her out for it! She stops listening to him, and leaves! Ali says that’s fine, because he doesn’t need her! She needs him! Slapjack wants to leave? Ali says he’s nothing without Ali so get back in line! Slapjack refuses! Ali says this is T-Bar’s fault and Mace’s fault! But they’re bigger than him, so they don’t need to take orders from him! DOUBLE CHOKE SLAM!! Retribution doesn’t need Ali and they don’t want Ali! Will Ali be the one left alone in the dark from now on?
“These are the moments that are remembered forever.”
WrestleMania is the Grandest Stage of Them All, but there is still time to change the future. “What happens next can change the course of everything.” The Big Dog takes on an underdog with a Rated R Enforcer ringside. The #LegitEST want to have belts together before fighting over one. A 20 YEAR friendship is broken and it’ll be No Holds Barred! And a Viper has been haunted, but wants to exorcise those demons! Step on the gas, go for gold, and hit the final stop on the Road to WrestleMania!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler w/ Reginald VS Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair!
The Irresistible Force & Queen of Spades beat the Boss and the EST already at Elimination Chamber, but things were a bit different then. In the last month, dysfunction has crept in between Sasha and Bianca, which will of course complicate things. But the same has started to happen with the champions, where Nia might be a little preoccupied with Reggie. Which team cracks first and misses out on the gold?
The introductions are made, the tag belts are raised, and Elimination Chamber is revisited!
Shayna and Sasha start, Sasha fires off with haymakers and then bumps Shayna off buckles. Sasha tags Bianca, they both stomp away on Shayna. Bianca handsprings to run in and RAM into Shayna! Sasha tags back in, and hits a SWINGING METEORA! Tag back to Bianca, and they snapmare Shayna for Bianca to handspring SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Bianca keeps on Shayna with a scoop but Shayna fights free, shoves and runs. Bianca dodges, drops and hurdles, but the two stand off a moment. Bianca catches Shayna to a backslide, ONE! Bianca steps through to La Magistrol, TWO! Roll up, TWO, but into a Triangle! Bianca dead lifts but Shayna gets free to forearm and KNEE!
Shayna stalks Bianca, gets the arm and twists the wrist to then hammerlock the arm. Nia tags in and Shayna is upset because she was going to stomp! Bianca fires forearms on Nia, Sasha tags in but runs into a fireman’s carry! Sasha slips off, runs and tilt-o-whirls and wants the arm! Nia shoves her away and runs her over! Reggie laughs as Nia covers, TWO! Nia runs but Sasha avoids the elbow drop! Sasha runs but Nia pops her up! Sasha fights, Bianca tags in, and Bianca dropkicks Nia into Sasha’s rana! Bianca dropkicks Nia down, covers, ONE!! Bianca keeps on Nia, but Nia blocks the whip to whip Bianca.
Bianca dodges and Nia hits buckles. Nia puts Bianca on the apron, Shayna is there but Nia DECKS Bianca! Shayna tags in, drags Bianca up and throws her into the apron! Shayna pushes Bianca in, keeps her from Sasha and rains down fists! Cover, TWO! Shayna wraps on a grovit, Bianca endures, fights her way up, but Shayna clubs away on Bianca’s back! Shayna drags Bianca over, Nia tags in and headbutts Bianca in the ribs! Nia drags Bianca up to choke her on the ropes! The ref counts, Nia lets off at 4 and then TOSSES Bianca around the way! Nia runs to SPLASH the corner, then she shoves Bianca down. Nia runs to drop the elbow! Cover, TWO!
Nia drags Bianca up, puts her in a corner, tags Shayna in and Shayna runs in to KNEE Bianca down! Cover, TWO! Shayna grows annoyed but she kicks Bianca around. Shayna chokes Bianca on ropes and grinds her face in! The ref counts, Shayna lets off but Bianca hits back. Shayna knees and kicks away on Bianca, then looms over her. Shayna clamps onto an arm, grinds it down but Bianca fights up. Sasha coaches Bianca, Bianca fights up and kicks but Shayna blocks to throw her down! Tag to Nia, and Shayna feeds Bianca to Nia’s scoop and SLAM! Cover, ONE!! Nia keeps on Bianca with a cobra clutch and leans on the hold. Bianca endures, even as Nia thrashes her!
Sasha coaches Bianca, Bianca fights up, throws elbows and gets free, but Nia scoops her. Bianca slips out, shoves and fireman’s carries! Shayna gets in but Bianca hits her first. Nia shoves Bianca to a corner, Bianca goes up and Nia POSTS Herself! Hot tag to Sasha! Sasha blocks Shayna’s kick to KNEE her! METEORA for Nia! METEORA for Shayna! Sasha springboards but Nia blocks and throws her! Sasha gets Shayna, kicks Nia and TORNADO DDT’s! Cover, TWO! Sasha gets Shayna up, tags Bianca and then slams Shayna down. Bianca is up top, for an EST 450!! Cover, but Reggie distracts the ref! Sasha leaps but misses Reggie! So Bianca DECKS him!!
But Shayna gets Bianca in a KIRAFUDA! Bianca gets out, chicken wings, and Sasha tags in! GlamEST KNEE!! To a BANK STAEMTNE! Bianca intercepts Nia but Nia shoves Bianca down on Sasha and Shayna! Everyone else is down as Nia goes back to her corner. Sasha misunderstands what happened but Bianca points out it was Nia! The challengers argue, Sasha pushes the “rookie” and Bianca has had it with Sasha. But Shayna rolls Sasha up, and wins!!
Winners: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, by pinfall (still WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions)
And that’s what broke the #LegitEST duo! Sasha and Bianca couldn’t trust each other and they get caught off guard! They keep arguing after the champions leave, and Sasha boops Bianca. Then SLAPS her! “You’re the rookie!” Sasha leaves before Bianca can respond, but is the receipt coming soon enough at WrestleMania?
Shane McMahon exits the Doctor Trainer room.
A huge ice pack is on his knee and he has a crutch. Elias and Jaxson Ryker come by to talk their WrestleMania pitch. A huge musical epic for Mania that Bad Bunny will feel obligated to hand over his Grammy out of respect. Now’s not a good time, guys. But Elias has always wanted to be in front of a WrestleMania crowd! Name it, he’ll do it! Well, putting it that way… Shane has an idea. Is Shane about to find someone for Braun to face after all?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!
To say this has gotten personal is putting it lightly. To say the title was the only reason these two stopped being friends is inaccurate. And to say that there is aggression between these two is an understatement. Big E and the REAL Apollo are ready to cripple each other if that is what it takes to prove who is truly worthy of going to WrestleMania as the Intercontinental Champion! Will Apollo get what he wants? Or just get what he deserves?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and a battle of steel and gold finally looks to settle itself!
Apollo and Big E fire off fists right away! Apollo knees low, CLUBS and whips but Big E reverse! Apollo ends up on the apron and Big E runs to SPEAR him off it! “This is what you wanted!? This is what you wanted?!” Big E clubs Apollo, Apollo throws hands but Big E ROCKS him! Big E has Apollo on the apron and says he asked for this! Big E stomps Apollo, stands on Apollo’s head, then stomps him again! “You wanted this ass whooping! You asked for this ass whooping! And you’re gonna get every bit of it.” APRON SPLASH! Apollo writhes and Big E says this is the side of him Apollo wanted to see! Big E CLUBS Apollo more, gets in the ring and tells the ref Apollo wanted this!
Big E goes back to the apron and says Apollo doesn’t want this now that he knows what it’s about. ANOTHER APRON SPLASH! Apollo crawls away into the ring, Big E pursues and says, “This is what conflict is!” Apollo throws a haymaker but Big E ROCKS him with a forearm! And then another! And then an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Big E gets Apollo up again for another OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Big E shouts that Apollo wanted this shot, so he’s getting it! But then Apollo dropkicks Big E’s leg out! Apollo hits a clothesline, then drags Big E up for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Apollo holds on to GERMAN SUPLEX again! And ANOTHER GERMAN SUPLEX!
Apollo looms over Big E and stomps him. Now Apollo stands on Big E’s head, but lets off at 4. Apollo demands Big E get up, and then reels him in for a SPINEBUSTER! Apollo stomps Big E, goes to a corner and climbs up top, for a FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Big E survives but Apollo wraps on a rear bearhug! Apollo squeezes tight, Big E endures and fights up to throw elbows. Big E is free but he runs into an ENZIGURI! Apollo ENZIGURIS again! STANIND MOONSAULT ONTO KNEES! Big E runs in but Apollo dodges to POST him! Apollo reels Big E in but no bomb yet! Big E arm-drags, scoops, but Apollo slips out!
Apollo brings Big E around to cradle, TWO! Big E has it, and even bridges, Big E wins?!
Winner: Big E, by pinfall (still WWE Intercontinental Champion)
But Apollo attacks! Does he not realize he lost? Or does he not care?! Apollo demands Big E get up, for an OLYMPIC SLAM!! He says it is NOT over, and he drags Big E up again, for ANOTHER OLYMPIC SLAM! Apollo slaps Big E around, demands he get up again, and SLAPS him! A THIRD OLYMPIC SLAM!! Apollo does not accept Big E as champion, because HE is the one standing tall! Will this war between former friends never end?
“Joseph Average” is giving out Old Spice samples.
Drew Gulak likes, but Akira Tozawa demands to know where R-Truth is! Joseph doesn’t know- WHERE IS R-TRUTH!? Truth is hiding behind the free samples! He even hands Akira one! TRUUUUTH!! Tozawa drags Truth out from behind the shelves! Joseph tries to pick up his samples, but ends up pinning Truth?!
Winner: Joseph Average, by pinfall (NEW WWE 24/7 Champion)
Regular ol’ Joseph Average, is champion!? Truth says he WAS! Roll up! Truth wins!!
Winner: R-Truth, by pinfall (NEW WWE 24/7 Champion)
Truth thanks Average Joe for the free samples! Tozawa rips Joseph’s shirt, but then sees that shirt! The prophecy is true! The Night Panther lives!!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
Shane officially introduces The Drifter, and says as a “prelude” to WrestleMania, he wants the fans to hear Elias’ music. Elias takes it from here, playing his guitar, but then Shane interrupts and apologizes for that. He wants Elias to know that he’s taking Shane’s place in tonight’s match. Wait, what? The match with Braun!? YES!
Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker VS Braun Strowman!
The Drifter is about to learn that you really should be careful what you wish for. Elias wants to play on the Grandest Stage of Them All, but will he even make it down the Road to WrestleMania with the Monster Among Men in his path?
The bell rings, Elisa wants Braun to take it easy, he’s after Shane, remember? Braun still rushes at Elias, but Elias dodges and throws quick body shots. Ryker distracts, but Strowman still gets Elias in a corner for hands! And elbows! So many elbows! Then Braun TOSSES Elias across the ring! Braun is foaming at the mouth as Elias gets out, and Braun grabs Elias by his hair! He POSTS Elias, then POSTS him the other way! Elias flops down, Braun drags him in and throws him around again! Braun KICKS Elias to a corner! And bends him against the ropes! The ref counts, Braun lets off at 4, and brings Elias up to CLUB him down! And then runs in at the corner!
Ryker saves Elias and they regroup on the outside. But the Strowman Express runs! Ryker dodges and Elias gets BLASTED! Braun goes back to the ring as the ring count climbs. Ryker checks on Elias, and throws him in at 8! Elias might’ve wanted to stay out, actually… Braun glares at Ryker, Ryker gets up on the apron again, and Elias CHOP BLOCKS Braun! DDT!! Elias hurries up top, for a MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO!! Elias is sent flying and is shocked! Elias hurries to go after Braun with haymakers and knees! Elias runs, into a LARIAT! Braun is still seething as he corner SPLASHES and then throws Elias down! Braun drags Elias up for a ONE HAND SPINEBUSTER!!
Braun isn’t done there, he scoops Elias for the MONSTER SLAM!! Cover, Braun wins!
Winner: Braun Strowman, by pinfall
Shane didn’t #GetTheseHands but The Drifter sure did! Will Braun be sure that, once Shane is 100% again, they will have their battle in the ring?
Riddle checks in with Nakamura.
Sup, Bro? Nakamura congratulates Riddle on retaining his title. Thanks, bro! And good luck with Rollins! But uh, would Nakamura want to go in business with Riddle? Riddle’s latest idea is great! Tricking out scooters! Getting some Nos boosters, LED lights, and some manes like they’re horses! That’s interesting- Yeah, very interesting, right? And think about this! Riddle’s cousin Skeeter was a skater and he had a scooter, and he was grinding the rail all slow and at a weird angle, and then he smashed his little skeeters. Now he kinda walks like Nakamura’s entrance. Oh, where’d Nakamura go? Probably to get his scooter. Alright, see you later, bro!
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Seth Rollins!
The King of Strong Style wants to avenge the Swiss Cyborg for what the Architect has done to him! But Rollins says he is going to show Nakamura what respect is all about! Will Nakamura dry up that Seth Rollins drip? Or will he have no choice but to #EmbraceTheVision?
The bell rings and Rollins circles with Nakamura. They tie up, Rollins headlocks and laughs, but Nakamura fights up and powers out. Rollins runs into a kitchen sink knee, then Nakamura drops a knee! Rollins staggers, but ducks the roundhouse to get out! Nakamura shouts, “C’MON!!” Rollins gets in, Nakamura kicks and whips to GAMANGIRI! Cover, ONE! Nakamura stomps Rollins, kicks him, then waistlocks. Rollins flails and reaches but elbows free! Rollins kicks Nakamura in the leg then SMACKS him off the mat! Rollins throws Nakamura out hard, aims from the apron and LEAPS for a flying knee! Rollins sneers as he drags Nakamura up and bounces him off the desk!
Rollins puts Nakamura in as the ring count climbs past 5, then slithers behind him. “You want to disrespect me?” Rollins runs and KNEES Nakamura against ropes. Rollins whips and KNEES again, and then again! Rollins fireman’s carries Nakamura for a GUT BUSTER! Cover, ONE!! Rollins is upset that he only got a one, but he dares Nakamura to get up. Rollins throws down hands, rams Nakamura into a corner, and rams him in again. Rollins wrenches, whips corner to corner hard, then drags him out to scoop to a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Rollins wraps on a rear bearhug but Nakamura throws elbows. Rollins squeezes tighter but Nakamura endures.
Nakamura gets up, reaches for ropes but has to elbow Rollins more. Rollins lets go but he elbows Nakamura down! And drops a knee! Cover, TWO! Another cover, ONE!! Rollins is again annoyed, and talks trash, “Cesaro is watching!” Rollins chokes Nakamura on ropes and then throws him down again. Rollins shouts about being swung around 22 times and he asks where Cesaro is now. Rollins says he’s strong! He’s tough! He gets Nakamura’s legs, and he slaps Nakamura around. Nakamura drags Rollins down with an ARMBAR! Rollins gets a ropebreak but Nakamura lets go fast. Rollins is outside, Nakamura WRECKS him with a baseball slide!
Nakamura puts Rollins on the apron for a KNEE! And then a GUILLOTINE KNEE! Nakamura puts Rollins in, Rollins staggers into KICKS! Nakamura shoves Rollins to a corner for GOOD VIBRATIONS! Nakamura whips corner to corner but Rollins reverses. Rollins runs in but Nakamura KNEES back! Nakamura puts Rollins up top for the TOP SHELF KNEE! Cover, TWO! Nakamura grits his teeth as he gets Rollins back up. Nakamura scoops but Rollins elbows free! Rollins runs but into a boot! Nakamura goes up top but Rollins throws him off!! Nakamura hits the floor, Rollins builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit and they hit barriers!
Rollins drags Nakamura up, puts him in, and aims from the apron. Springboard FLYING KNEE! And then a SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO! Nakamura survives and Rollins is beside himself! Rollins drags Nakamura up, reels him in, but Nakamura blocks the suplex! Rollins ROCKS him with a right, reels him in again, but Nakamura blocks again! Rollins ROCKS Nakamura but Nakamura hits back! Rollins throws another forearm but so does Nakamura! They go back and forth, Rollins gets the edge but swings into a strike fest! Rollins PELES! Rollins drags Nakamura up to powerbomb lift but Nakamura slips out! Rollins ducks one kick but not the LEFT!
Rollins staggers to a corner, Nakamura aims from the other! Nakamura runs in but blocks boots first! He turns Rollins sideways into the ropes, SLIDING GERMAN! Rollins flounders up, Nakamura fires up and aims again! “YAO~!” But Rollins pops Nakamura up for a BUCKLE BOMB! Rollins drags Nakamura back up, and suplexes for a FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura survives and Rollins is furious! Rollins aims from a corner, runs in but Nakamura gets him to a fireman’s carry! LANDSLIDE DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura drags Rollins up, INVERTED EXPLODER! Nakamura aims from the corner again, “YAO~!” KIN-
NO! Rollins rolls Nakamura up, Nakamura slips out but Rollins reels Nakamura in for a DREAM SMASHER ELBOW! And then the CURB STOM- NO, Nakamura ducks it! But Rollins HEEL KICKS him down! Rollins is seething as he shouts, “Don’t disrespect me!” Nakamura slowly sits up, Rollins runs and CURB STOMPS!! Cover, Rollins wins!
Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall
The Architect beats the Artist, and shouts, “That’s what happens when you step into my ring!” Rollins demands respect, but will he get it from the SmackDown roster?
No Holds Barred: Drew McIntyre VS Sheamus!
“A lot can happen in 20 years.” A friendship that defined both of these men has now fallen apart. Two journeys that intertwined, parted, but reunited was ruined, all because of jealousy and pride. These two warriors made each other better, but now they’d love nothing better than to finish this. With nothing holding these two back, which warrior stands tall at the end of this war?
The bell rings and Sheamus says McIntyre asked for this. Did McIntyre ever think of what Sheamus did for him? McIntyre SLAPS Sheamus, and now it’s a brawl! Sheamus knees low, CLUBS hard, then whips McIntyre to ropes. McIntyre reverses, Sheamus kicks him and runs but into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! And then McIntyre gets Sheamus for ANOTHER! McIntyre clotheslines Sheamus out, pursues, but Sheamus trips him on the apron! Sheamus throws hands, whips McIntyre into barriers and then throws hands! Sheamus brings McIntyre up to whip, but McIntyre reverses to reel him in for another OVERHEAD SUPLEX!
McIntyre drags Sheamus back up, CHOPS him against the announce desk, and then throws haymakers! McIntyre whips and POSTS Sheamus! McIntyre clears off the desk, goes under the ring, and brings out chairs, and kendo sticks! Sheamus runs in to blindside McIntyre! Sheamus POSTS McIntyre, hurries to get himself a kendo stick, and then swings! McIntyre dodges and stick hits post! McIntyre reels Sheamus in for a fourth OVERHEAD! McIntyre drags Sheamus up to whip into steel steps! Sheamus flops against the base and McIntyre storms over. McIntyre stands on Sheamus’ head then STOMPS him! Sheamus flops back but McIntyre looms over him.
McIntyre drags Sheamus up to CHOP him again! McIntyre puts Sheamus in, gets a kendo stick, but Sheamus KNEES him down first! Cover, TWO! Sheamus gets a kendo stick again, and SMACKS him on the back! And SMACKS him again! Sheamus SMACKS McIntyre while taunting him, “This is what you wanted, right?!” Sheamus says he’ll make it legit! McIntyre’s going to WrestleMania, he should get up! Sheamus SMACKS McIntyre back down! Sheamus digs the kendo stick into McIntyre’s jaw! “How does that taste?!” McIntyre’s jaw is still a target from last year, but McIntyre headbutts and HEADBUTTS! And BOOTS!
McIntyre goes to a corner to catch his breath, and he starts to get pissed again. McIntyre picks up the kendo stick and sees Sheamus is down. Sheamus glares up at McIntyre, and McIntyre SMACKS him! And SMACKS, and SMACKS, and SMACKS! McIntyre uses the stick for a Russian Leg Sweep! McIntyre digs the kendo stick into Sheamus’ eyes!! Sheamus pushes McIntyre away but McIntyre just SMACKS him again! Sheamus falls out of the ring, McIntyre follows and runs into a drop toehold to the steps! McIntyre is dazed, Sheamus fetches the top half of the steps! McIntyre staggers up as Sheamus comes around, and Sheamus RAMS McIntyre down!
Sheamus fires up, finishes clearing the desk for McIntyre, and then stomps McIntyre while he’s down. “What’s that face paint gonna do for you now?!” Sheamus puts McIntyre on the desk, climbs up to join him, and fireman’s carries, but McIntyre fights free! To underhooks the arms! Sheamus resists, McIntyre throws knees, to then throw Sheamus at the barriers! McIntyre glares as he stalks behind Sheamus through the timekeeper’s area to the outside. McIntyre fish hooks Sheamus’ mouth! And punch him down! The go behind the ThunderDome screens, McIntyre throws Sheamus into railing! And CHOPS him off his feet!
McIntyre stomps and CLUBS Sheamus more, and follows him around the way. Sheamus throws hands, they brawl, and Sheamus blocks a suplex! Sheamus suplexes McIntyre! McIntyre thuds off the bare floor of the ThunderDome! McIntyre sputters and crawls to a ramp. Sheamus CLUBS McIntyre on the back, up some trunks, and then rains down more rights. Sheamus drags McIntyre up to throw body shots! McIntyre ends up on the upper level of the ThunderDome screens but he hits back! McIntyre fires off haymakers, then whips Sheamus along, only for Sheamus to reel him in! ROLLING SENTON! Again, McIntyre gasps and sputters!
Sheamus drags McIntyre up, brings him along the aisle, but McIntyre throws body shots! Sheamus CLUBS McIntyre down again and again, then fireman’s carries. McIntyre slips off before Sheamus can throw him! McIntyre bumps Sheamus off ThunderDome screens, then sends him crashing through others!! Sheamus tumbles from that middle row to somewhere down below!! McIntyre climbs down to loom over Sheamus, and dares him to keep talking trash. McIntyre CLUBS Sheamus, follows him back to the ramp and punches him down the way. McIntyre says up Sheamus’ as he kicks him down! McIntyre dares The Fella to talk more trash, as he puts him on a road case!
McIntyre pushes the case around to get Sheamus back to ringside! McIntyre drags Sheamus up, for a suplex to the floor! Both men writhe but McIntyre forces himself to rise! McIntyre drags Sheamus back up, fireman’s carries him, and hauls him back to the desk. Sheamus claws McIntyre’s eyes and BROGUES him over barriers!! Sheamus clutches his back as he hobbles up and looks to fetch McIntyre. Sheamus hops over the barriers, grits his teeth while clutching his side, and he stomps McIntyre! Sheamus bumps McIntyre off road cases, then drags him up and over the barriers, aiming for the desk! “I should be the main event of WrestleMania!!”
Sheamus fireman’s carries, tucks McIntyre in, WHITE NOISE THROUGH THE DESK!! The ref checks on both men in the wreckage and somehow they’re okay to continue! Sheamus hobbles up, drags McIntyre towards the ring but his own back makes that hard. “This is Awesome!” as Sheamus still gets McIntyre up and in. Sheamus looks for something more to use, and decides to use a piece of the desk! Sheamus brings that in, positions it, and looms over McIntyre. “You’re the Chosen One, right? What about me? What about Sheamus, huh?” Sheamus throws more hands, but McIntyre SLAPS Sheamus! Sheamus SLAPS back and it’s a SLAP fight!
Sheamus kicks, Alabama lifts, but McIntyre slips out! Sheamus avoids the underhooks once, but not the second! FUTURE SHOCK to the desk piece!! CLAYMORE!! Cover, McIntyre wins!!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
The Celtic Warrior almost had the Scottish Warrior, but the key word is “almost!” McIntyre defeats Sheamus, and now moves on to Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania! If he could survive this, will McIntyre be able to survive the Rocky Mountain Machine and take back the WWE World Championship?
Randy Orton VS Alexa Bliss!
The Viper thought burning The Fiend alive was enough. He thought it’d end there. He thought wrong. Twisted Lil’ Bliss has been haunting Orton in ways no one could’ve imagined. But Orton vows to exorcise Alexa and kick her out of his life for good. Will it really end here? Or is Orton going to pay for all of his transgressions?
But as Orton goes for his pose, he starts spitting up the black ink!! Alexa is already affecting him before the bell! Orton is pissed, demands a towel and the timekeeper hands him one. Orton wipes his mouth, coughs and sputters, then seethes and glares at the stage. He isn’t getting scared off, he’s getting pissed off! He demands Alexa stop playing games and get to the ring! Alexa makes her entrance, and already has those spooky eyes as she laughs and skips her way to the ring. The magenta light bathes the arena and the bell rings! Orton storms right over but then FIRE flashes all around!! The ref even bails out after that one!
Alexa laughs at Orton, Orton runs in but Alexa dodges and he POSTS himself! Alexa pretends to feel bad but then laughs at Orton’s pain. Alexa skips around the ring and wants Orton to follow after. Orton gets up, seethes as he follows in this twisted follow the leader. Alexa hops over the steel steps, waits so Orton can get closer, and then gives a curious smile. She looks up, and a LIGHTING TRUSS falls?! Alexa laughs and Orton shouts, “Are you trying to kill me?!” She just shrugs and says “The sky is falling.” Alexa goes back into the ring and coaxes Orton in like he’s a puppy dog. She even plays in the ropes like it’s a swing set.
Orton takes his time returning, checking to see if anything else will fall. Orton steps inside, Alexa blows a kiss, and then throws a FIREBALL!! Orton narrowly avoided that one, but Alexa still celebrates like she scored a homerun or something. Alexa hops up to sit on the top rope and Orton stands up, but what is reaching out from under the ring mat?!?! It’s a gnarly, burned hand! And with another burst of flame, THE FIEND returns!!! Mutilated and grotesque, The Fiend returns from the dead!! Orton isn’t even sure what to say, but Alexa shoves Orton into SISTER ABIGAIL! Alexa covers, the ref returns to count, Alexa wins!!
Winner: Alexa Bliss, by pinfall
HE’S HEEEERE~! And with his help, Alexa has beaten The Viper! But just what is going to happen now that these two are reunited?!
WWE Universal Championship, Edge as Special Guest Enforcer: Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman VS Daniel Bryan!
The plans for WrestleMania could change drastically right here! The Special Counsel wants us to believe that the Tribal Chief will not just give the Goat a hellacious beating, but that he will scare away the Rated R Superstar tonight. However, Edge is here to make sure things are finally fair and square for the challenger to the Universal Championship! Will Bryan be able to turn the tide and have one more #YEStleMania moment?
Edge makes his entrance first as enforcer. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we will see what THE main event of WrestleMania really looks like!
Bryan and Roman circle, Bryan picks up the speed a bit as he goes around Roman. Roman tries to corner Bryan but Bryan wants his leg. Roman grabs ropes and Bryan lets off. Bryan taunts Roman that he’s worried about a simple single leg. Roman and Bryan feel out a grapple, Roman gets Bryan into a corner, but the ref counts. Bryan slips out at 3 to kick Roman in the leg. Bryan taunts Roman more, and they circle again. They tie up, Roman powers Bryan to another corner, the ref counts and Roman CLUBS Bryan as they break! Roman tells Bryan he should just go home. They circle again, approach, and Bryan gets a leg pick! Roman scrambles around to get a ropebreak!
Bryan says he could get that any time. Roman gets up, cools off but Bryan pushes the offense. He dares Roman to come after him, and then he goes for a leg. Roman grabs at Bryan but Bryan gets around. Roman gets another ropebreak, and Bryan grins as he lets off. They feel out the grapple again, knuckle lock, and Roman uses his strength to bring Bryan to his knees! Roman mocks Bryan, “You wanna break?” Roman scrapes his laces on Bryan’s face but Bryan gets up and gets a takedown to an ARMBAR! Roman scrambles, gets another ropebreak, and Bryan lets off quick. Bryan does Yes Fingers, fans join in on their screens, but Roman keeps his cool.
Roman and Bryan circle again, Bryan gives testing jabs, but Roman just gets annoyed. Roman dares Bryan to hit him, Bryan jabs him in the stomach again. Bryan grins as Roman keeps egging Bryan on. Bryan throws more jabs, then a kick! Roman is getting more annoyed as Bryan throws more quick kicks. Bryan gets cornered, Roman headlocks and throws Bryan down! Heyman likes what he sees but Bryan fights up. Bryan slips out the back, has a hammerlock and he knees Roman in the arm! And again! Heyman’s confidence turns to worry as Bryan digs his elbows into Roman’s head. Bryan gets Roman’s other arm and bends the fingers! Bryan pulls to go after Roman’s shoulder!
Roman endures as Bryan stands on the arm to make it a recliner cover, ONE!! Roman headbutts Bryan, then stomps him down! Roman drags Bryan up to DECK him! Roman paces around, drags him back up and throws a haymaker! Bryan goes to a corner, Roman stalks him, and Roman RAMS into Bryan! Roman hauls Bryan up but Bryan flails, only for Roman to RAM him into another corner! Roman runs but into a dropkick! Bryan gets Roman’s arm, wrenches and hits an elbow breaker! And then wrenches to KICK the leg, and hit another elbow breaker! And then KICKS the leg, to wrench. Roman rakes eyes, gets Bryan in a corner, but the ref reprimands.
Roman throws point-blank lariats! But Bryan turns it around for YES Kicks and fast hands! Bryan whips, Roman reverses, but Bryan goes up and over and keeps moving to duck and run, into a tilt-o-whirl SLAM! Cover, TWO! Roman digs Bryan’s face into the mat and bounces him off it! Roman taunts Edge but Edge tells him to worry about Bryan. Bryan goes to ropes, Roman throws crossface forearms! Roman drags Bryan up, and snap suplexes him! Heyman’s confidence returns as Roman covers, TWO! Roman grows annoyed again but then he smiles as he looms over Bryan. Bryan goes back to a corner, Roman drags him up but Bryan goes for a leg!
Roman holds off Bryan’s takedown and CLUBS Bryan! Bryan hits from below but Roman kicks him down. Bryan hits again but Roman stomps him back down! Bryan keeps hitting back but Roman keeps stomping! Roman snarls and drags Bryan into a chinlock. Roman grinds Bryan down, and says, “When I got it, you don’t get out.” Roman says he has a vice grip, but Bryan fights up. Bryan throws body shots, Roman shoves Bryan away but Bryan returns! Roman puts Bryan on the apron and DECKS him with an uppercut! Bryan falls to the floor and Roman again taunts Edge. Edge says Roman still needs to worry about Bryan. Roman goes out to fetch Bryan, and throw him into barriers!
The ring count is past 5 but Roman goes in at 7. Bryan stands as Roman goes out to fetch Bryan, but Bryan fires body shots and uppercuts and kicks! Bryan KICKS away on Roman, but Roman POSTS him! The ring count is climbing but Roman puts Bryan in at 8! Cover, TWO! Heyman says it was that close, but Bryan is still in this. Roman drags Bryan up to snap suplex again! Cover, TWO! Roman is again annoyed and Bryan drags himself to another corner. Roman runs in to corner clothesline him! Heyman says Bryan should listen to his Tribal Chief! Roman wants Bryan to acknowledge him. Look in the camera and tell the world!
Roman whips Bryan corner to corner hard! Roman runs in but Bryan drop toeholds him into buckles! Bryan fires off Yes Kicks from all sides, then runs corner to corner to dropkick! Bryan brings Roman up to the very top, then throws haymakers! Bryan climbs up, but Roman blocks the Steiner! Roman drags Bryan into a BOSTON CRAB! Bryan endures as Roman bends him back! Bryan claws for ropes, reaches, but Roman brings him around! Bryan makes that a cradle, TWO!! Bryan dodges, and hits a LEAPING LARIAT! Both men are down and Heyman’s stress is back again! Edge paces, making sure nothing sneaky is happening as both men slowly rise.
Bryan throws hands, kicks, but Roman knees low! Roman whips Bryan to ropes but Bryan kicks him away! Roman returns but Bryan dumps him out! Bryan slingshots to PLANCHA, but Roman makes it a SLAM! Roman then drags Bryan up, but Bryan slips off to POST Roman! Bryan aims from the apron for a FLYING KNEE! Down goes Roman! But Bryan can only win the title in the ring! Bryan puts Roman in at 7 of 10, climbs up top and FLYING KNEES ROMAN’S ARM!! Roman writhes, Heyman panics and Bryan climbs up again! Bryan is up top again and leaps for a missile dropkick! Roman is down again but Bryan fires up! Bryan crawls to cover, TWO!
Bryan keeps his focus while Roman tries to get his bad arm moving. Heyman is doing his best to be stoic as Bryan gives Roman more YES Kicks! Roman flounders about as Bryan keeps giving him KICKS! Kick after kick after kick, then the BUZZ- NO! Roman blocks the buzzsaw and powers Bryan to a corner! The ref counts, Roman ROCKS Bryan with an uppercut! Roman grinds his forearm into Bryan’s face, throws knees into him, but the ref keeps counting. Roman finally lets off to cool down, but Bryan kicks back! And rushes in! Roman sprawls to block the takedown, and brings Bryan up, but Bryan RANAS the bomb away! BUZZSAW! And then ANOTHER BUZZSAW! Cover, TWO!!
Bryan nods, he knows Roman is tough. Heyman is worried, Edge is invested, and Bryan says Roman likes to talk, but now he’s going to get broken! Bryan unleashes DANIELSON STOMPS! Then drags Roman into the YES LOCK!! Roman endures, but the hands are in his face, he can’t see! Roman refuses to quit, reaches out and gets his face free, but Bryan gets the other arm! Bryan rolls Roman away from ropes and then gets the YES LOCK BACK!! Roman is stuck, hands in his face, and he can’t figure out where ropes are! Roman pries at Bryan’s fingers, gets the hold off and he rains down furious forearms, and even elbows!
But Bryan triangle holds! Roman dead lifts to POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO!! Bryan survives but both men are down! Bryan drags himself to a corner while Roman talks to himself. Roman gets to the other corner and watches Bryan get up. Roman run sin, but into a kick! Roman staggers, but dodges, the FLYING KNEE hits the ref!! Roman SPEARS Bryan! Cover, but the ref can’t count! Edge is making himself the ref! TWO!! Both men are down again as Roman looks up and sees Edge. Edge says he’s just doing his job as special enforcer. Roman says Edge better follow his lead, but Edge says Roman needs to do his job.
Roman rains down rights on Bryan again! Bryan gets Roman’s arm again! TRIANGLE HOLD! Roman powers up to dead lift again, but Bryan shifts and throws hands, to then drag Roman back down! YES LOCK!!! Roman endures, pries at the hold, but Bryan throws crossface forearms! Bryan clubs away on Roman again and again then puts the Yes Lock back on! JEY USO SUPERKICKS EDGE!! And SUPERKICKS Bryan!! Jey always has to save Roman! Jey goes out and gets a chair! Jey drags Edge up to POST him! Jey tells Bryan to stand, but Bryan ducks the chair to KNEE PLUS Jey down!! Heyman panics as Bryan gets the chair!!
Bryan glares at Roman, and SMACKS JEY! And SMACKS and SMACKS and SMACKS Jey! Jey bails out, Bryan sees no one is up to see… Bryan aims at Roman, but Roman dodges again, and EDGE takes the chair shot! SUPERMAN PUNCH!! Roman seethes, glares at Bryan and runs, INTO A YES LOCK!! Just like Elimination Chamber!! Roman is stuck!! Roman is freaking out and Heyman is, too! Roman is fading out!! Is he tapping?!?! Roman is tapping, but Edge SMACKS Bryan with the chair!!! Edge SMACKS Roman, too!! Edge SMACKS Bryan again, and shouts, “THIS IS MINE! MINE!!” The Rated R Superstar no longer cares who he faces, he storms off and lets this sort itself out!
Roman and Bryan are both writhing, stirring, and a second referee appears! Roman drags himself to cover Bryan, and Roman wins!
Winner: Roman Reigns, by pinfall (still WWE Universal Champion)
Once again, Roman is fortunate to have someone else around! But will Roman be able to survive when he finally faces Edge 1v1?
So this was a bit of a mixed back for a WWE PPV. Though not announced as such, I just had a feeling the US Championship would end up a kickoff show match. And as I figured, Riddle would win and Ali would get kicked out of Retribution. Heck, Retribution might just be through, with all but Mace and T-Bar going their separate ways. Maybe they’ll all get their real names back, too. The real critical point is what Ali does now that he’s not their leader. The main show then seemed to zip by, which is both good and maybe not so good, as it didn’t seem like a good chunk of the show was really diving that deep into the matches.
The WWE Women’s Tag title match went as expected, including Reggie interfering and being just part of the reason Sasha & Bianca lost. I expected a bit more of a scuffle from Sasha and Bianca but it works that Sasha left with just disrespecting Bianca and slapping her eyelashes out of place. The next three weeks are going to really escalate things for Sasha VS Bianca. Big E VS Apollo was a great match, but that ending was really about preserving this feud so they can go again at Mania. It may not have been done as crisp as they wanted, but it was clearly about Big E just snatching a win. I feel like a disqualification ending would’ve been better, given the anger between these two.
If I’m not mistaken, “Joseph Average” was actually Eric Bugenhagen from NXT. I almost hope this is his call-up. The Old Spice Night Panther commercial turning into a WWE 24/7 Championship segment was very clever, and makes it one of the best produced WEW 24/7 Championship segments. Shane swapping out with Elias wasn’t the swap out I expected, but we all knew Shane wasn’t actually facing Braun yet. I just didn’t think Shane would have a “training injury” as the reason why. Of course, even in kayfabe, it could be a fake-out to delay things. I wonder if Braun will force Shane to compete against him at Mania, exposing the “injury” is just a cover.
From Rollins VS Nakamura on, we started getting some really good PPV stuff. Rollins VS Nakamura itself was a great match, and I was actually surprised we didn’t get anything of Cesaro or Murphy, but that was for the better. Rollins wins fair and square so perhaps all the better for him and Cesaro at Mania. The No Holds Barred, McIntyre VS Sheamus, was great and even had a great video package to set it up. Smashing up ThunderDome screens was not a spot I would’ve expected but that really added something. McIntyre wins to go strong towards Mania, but it’s going to be hard to determine who wins between Lashley VS McIntyre because they’re both going so strong right now.
Alexa VS Orton was perhaps exactly what it should’ve been. Alexa was using all her tricks, and then we got burned zombie Fiend busting up from the floor a la Kane, that was really wild stuff. While Firefly Fun House Match 2, the Orton Saga is a great concept, I almost want at least one match with burned, disgusting Fiend to see how that affects his fighting style, and just for more opponents to react to.
The Universal Championship match was a lot longer than I expected it would be, as it dominated the last hour, and Bryan had great character work the entire time. I’m just disappointed we had to again throw Jey in there, and even have one of those “OH NO! Hit the wrong person! And now that person will hit me back!” with Bryan and Edge. Edge shouting “THIS IS MINE!” like he was selfishly keeping this for himself was a good touch, though. If we end up with a Triple Threat like fans want/hope, that moment would at least make Edge a Tweener where Roman is Heel and Bryan is Face. There was also the fact Roman tapped, just without it being put on the win-loss record, so I’m thinking there’s a way to get us to that Triple Threat to make Mania even bigger.
My Score: 8.4/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (2/7/23)
Konosuke Takeshita gets Dark!
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?
- 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.
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.
Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (2/6/23)
Time to rage in the cage!
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?
- 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?
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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