It is the final Raw before the Royal Rumble and with the Rumble match being as star studded as it is this year, expect this show to be a good one.
Raw starts off with Roman Reigns coming down to the ring and hyping his match for the Universal Championship against Kevin Owens at Royal Rumble. Kevin Owens and US Champion Chris Jericho come out calling Reigns delusional. Jericho takes Reigns words as fighting words and threatens to come down and beat up Reigns. Roman takes that as Jericho is offering to fight him in a rematch for the US Championship. Jericho starts to go back on his words while Owens takes matters into his own hands. Owens takes Reigns up on his offer on behalf of Jericho. Apparently Owens has a plan. Still I don’t think Jericho wanted to be put in this predicament.
Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows
During the commercial break Sheamus chased Anderson off which was funny. Cesaro showed off some of his awesome freakish power and his agility with a tornado DDT. Sheamus gets a shot in on Gallows when the referee had his back turned. Anderson comes out of nowhere and dropkicks Sheamus into the side of the ring. He distracts the referee enough to allow Gallows to fight his way out of a submission. Cesaro scares off Anderson but turns around to a big kick from Gallows. He picks Cesaro up and drops him face first with a Flapjack maneuver for the win. Decent match, nothing crazy.
Backstage GM Mick Foley is on a conference call with Stephanie McMahon until they are interrupted by Sami Zayn who is looking to announce his entry into the Royal Rumble. Foley was going to give the okay but Stephanie has other plans. She says Sami has to earn his way into the Rumble and to do so he must defeat Seth Rollins tonight. That should be a fun match. We know how good Sami is when he has something on the line.
Bayley had a pre-recorded interview with Corey Graves which was centered around Bayley’s love for the WWE and her match against Charlotte Flair this Sunday. Bayley says she’s leaving Royal Rumble the Raw Women’s Champion. She’s 2-0 against Charlotte but the current Champion Flair is 15-0 on PPV since debuting on the main roster. Great story with this match.
Apparently Stephanie booked the Rollins/Zayn match tonight not only as a qualifying match for Zayn, but if he wins he gets Rollins’ spot in the Rumble. Stephanie wants to play up the friend versus friend foe versus foe aspect just like in the Rumble. Things are very interesting for this match.
Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn
Both men did a great job of playing up the friendship out of the window aspect of this match before the commercial break. They went from going move for move to slugging it out. Great Blue Thunder Bomb from Zayn. Rollins was not to be outdone with a great Blockbuster. From there it was near fall after near fall really keeping the crowd hot. Zayn blocked two Pedigree attempts from Rollins. ‘The Architect’ attempted a Pedigree from the top rope but Zayn blocks it and reverses it into a Sunset Flip Powerbomb. The two slug it out with Rollins getting the upper hand. He runs in but Zayn catches Rollins and drops him with an Exploder Suplex. This usually sets up the Helluva Kick but Rollins is out the outside of the ring on the apron. Zayn attempts the Helluva Kick on the apron but Rollins halts the attempt and drops Zayn with a Pedigree on the hardest part of the apron. Rollins rolls Zayn back into the ring for a cover when suddenly the music of Triple H hits and the crowds goes nuts. Rollins stays on his toes but realizes Triple H isn’t coming out. He turns around but Zayn rolls him up into a small package for the win. Sami Zayn will be in the Royal Rumble match. Rollins won’t and he’s pissed. This was a great match with tons of suspense.
Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, Ariya Davairi vs. Mustafa Ali, TJ Perkins, and Jack Gallagher
Very fun match that gave me small vibes of a great Cruiserweight match from the WCW Nitro days. Mustafa Ali wins the match with absolutely gorgeous inverted 450.
Next up we had that portion of Raw where they mash as many people as they can in one segment which usually results in an eight man tag. This one was pretty neat.
New Day, Enzo Amore, and Big Cass vs. Rusev, Jinder Mahal, and BRAAAAAAAUUUUNNN!!
Tons of fun with bodies going every which way. We actually had some solo wrestling spots with Enzo! He stood up to Strowman and pretty much got destroyed for it. Braun wins the match for his team.
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Roman Reigns for the United States Championship
Nothing particularly different from their last encounter but it was still a pretty fun watch. Kevin Owens was on commentary duty but chose to make his presence known and blatantly gets Jericho disqualified so he retains the US Championship. Their plan was to lock and suspend Reigns inside the shark cage but Reigns fights out. Instead Owens ends up locked and way up high above the ring. Jericho hung onto Kevin’s hand in a really touching moment but ends up getting hit with a Superman Punch. When Jericho comes to Roman drops him again with a Spear.
We come back from break and Jericho is finally able to get Kevin out of the cage. Owens is informed that his match this Sunday will now will be contested as a No Disqualification match. Owens is pissed. Really pissed.
Corey Graves also interviewed the Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair who is as confident as ever heading into her match against Bayley at the Royal Rumble.
Nia Jax destroyed a jobber in a little over a minute. She started trashing Sasha Banks when ‘The Boss’ comes out on a crutch. She makes her way to ringside and begins attacking Nia with the crutch. Banks was playing possum a bit as she hits the double knees Meteora from the apron.
Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar (w/ Alicia Fox)
Quick fun match with some cool strikes from Swann. He catches Dar with that Spinning Back Kick and it was right on the button. After the match Swann calls out his opponent this Sunday, Neville. He answers the call making his way down to the ring pausing then deciding not to engage with Swann. As Neville turns his back Swann come flying out with a suicide dive then begins pounding away at Neville. I’m oddly looking forward to this match Sunday.
Okay so Goldberg comes out, fumbles his lines three times, and somehow busts his forehead open. Holy [bleep] Brock Lesnar is here! Goldberg calls him a dumbass and that’s all it takes for Brock to head to the ring. Both men go face to face when suddenly a GONG hits and by God almighty The Undertaker is in the ring. The show closes with all three men staring each other down.
Great Raw. This episode is perfect instruction manual for how to present a “Go Home” show for a PPV. Royal Rumble is looking really good.
What did you think of tonight’s Raw? Comment below or send your thoughts via Social Media: