Raw is live from Memphis! Tonight there will be a Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship as Dean Ambrose defends the title against Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley. Ronda Rousey will be teaming with Sasha Banks for the first time ever to take on Tamina and Nia Jax.
Raw kicks off with Vince McMahon arriving in a limo as Braun Strowman comes down to the ring. It was a fairly quick promo from Braun where he stated at Royal Rumble Brock Lesnar will get Braun’s hands. Baron Corbin comes out to not only say that Strowman won’t beat Lesnar at the Royal Rumble but that he is entering the Royal Rumble match and he will headline WrestleMania. This sets Strowman over the edge who begins chasing Corbin. Elias appears and sings a song featuring some clues as to where Corbin is hiding. It turns out Corbin was hiding in the limo Mr. McMahon rolled in on. Corbin is not letting Strowman get to him so Strowman grabs a steel pipe and shatters the window. Strowman rips the door off the hinges but lets Corbin get away. Unfortunately, Mr. McMahon was watching the whole thing unfold and he is not happy. McMahon says Strowman is a danger zone and for his actions, McMahon fines Strowman $100,000. This obviously doesn’t sit well with Strowman but since he decided to raise his voice McMahon strips Braun Strowman of his Universal Championship opportunity at Royal Rumble!
Ronda Rousey & Sasha Banks vs. Tamina Snuka & Nia Jax: There was a lot of starting and stopping which brought this match down a bit. We come back from break with Sasha in a bear hug from Jax. Banks getting worked over good but finds an open window thanks to a miscommunication from Jax and Snuka. Now usually one would expect Banks to go for the tag but instead uses a leg sweep then a transition into the Banks Statement on Tamina. Banks and Rousey get the win when Tamina taps out.
There was an in-ring interview segment that broke down into Ronda not watching her words against her opponent. Ronda sort of made it seem while she has respect for Sasha she is looking forward to successfully defending her title at Royal Rumble. Sasha took that as a slight, Ronda looking to use Sasha as a stepping stone, Ronda completely overlooking Sasha and claiming a victory so quickly. The more Ronda talks the deeper she digs herself into a hole.
Before the break, tag teams are lined outside the door of Mr. McMahon. Jerry Lawler comes out but he is stopped in his tracks by a No Way Jose conga line. When we come back from the break Ronda and Sasha are in a shouting match that was broken up by Natalya and Bayley. Suddenly those two begin arguing over who is the cause of Sasha and Ronda’s problems. As Natalya and Bayley argue they are interrupted by the Riott Squad who challenge them to find a partner for a six-woman tag match.
Lucha House Party (Kalisto & Gran Metalik) vs. The Revival: Thankfully this isn’t one of those three on two Handicap Matches. During the match, they had Dascha doing a report with a handful of Superstars looking to challenge Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Even EC3 is looking for a shot. Heath Slater, however, is not. The Revival pick up the win but the LHP member taking the pin had his foot on the ropes.
Mr. McMhon comes down to the ring to announce who will be challenging Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship. Before he could make the announcement John Cena comes down to the ring. Cena is looking for a chance to become a 17 time World Champion. However, Cena isn’t the only one looking for a chance. Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Finn Balor all think they deserve a chance more than Cena. A brawl breaks out with McIntyre being the only one standing tall in the end. Mr. McMahon makes the announcement that there will be a Fatal 4 Way tonight to determine who will face Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship. Jinder Mahal thinks he should be involved in this discussion so Mr. McMahon has given Jinder a chance to show his worth. Mr. McMahon allows Jinder to pick a man in the Fatal 4 Way match to face later tonight and if he wins he takes their spot. Jinder chooses Finn Balor.
The Riott Squad vs. Bayley, Natalya & ???: It turns out their mystery partner is Nikki Cross! So the way the call-ups are going to work is each they will get a shot on both brands before choosing their home brand. Cross starts the match off and she wants to take on the Riott Squad by herself. We come back from break with Bayley getting worked over good by all three members of Riott Squad. They are doing a good job keeping Bayley from her corner, keeping her grounded. Bayley gets the desperation tag to Natalya who comes in on fire. Things break down but Nikki and Natalya do a good job working together against Riott Squad. Nikki hits a nice corkscrew hangman neck breaker on Liv putting her in perfect position for Bayley to come off the top with an elbow who gets the three count.
Jinder Mahal vs. Finn Balor: Before the bell, Balor is jumped by Jinder who attacks the ribs of Balor. Despite the obvious discomfort, Balor elects to continue with the match. Jinder is on the offense, grounding Balor. There is a slight comeback from Balor but it was halted on the apron before we go to commercial break. When we come back from break Mahal is still on offense being super aggressive on his attack. Balor finds an opening and takes out Sumir Singh and Jinder on the outside. Balor hits the Shotgun Dropkick then the Coupe de Grace for the win. Balor stays in tonight’s Fatal 4 Way but he is going into the match definitely not at 100%.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush): Ambrose and Lashley work together to incapacitate Rollins. The Kingslayer has a brief comeback that is squashed by a Spinebuster from Lashley. Somehow Rollins is able to recover from the Spinebuster to take out Lashley and Ambrose. Lio Rush gets involved and creates a trap for Rollins to catch another Spinebuster on the outside. Dean tries to attack Lashley but gets suplexed on the outside before a commercial break. Back from break with Rollins and Ambrose work together to take out Lashley. The focus then shifts to Rollins and Ambrose had a back and forth. Lio Rush breaks up the pin then gets taken out by Ambrose. Everyone is hitting big moves to put this one away. Seth Rollins looks to hit the Curbstomp on Ambrose but Rush yanks down the bottom rope sending Rollins crashing to the outside. Lashley hits a massive Spear on Ambrose and gets the win. Bobby Lashley is the NEW Intercontinental Champion.
A Moment of Bliss with Alexa Bliss w/ Special Guest Paul Heyman: Alexa announces that at Elimination Chamber the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions will be crowned. The belts look pretty cool. Heyman does his usual speech on how Brock will retain the Universal Championship no matter who his opponent is when the segment is sudden;y interrupted by Otis Dozovic of Heavy Machinery. That was the end of the segment. That’s it. Yeah, I don’t know.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. John Cena – #1 Contender for the Universal Championship: Nothing too crazy about this one. Each man got time to shine. Balor and Cena had a brief alliance going but I would have much rather wanted to see them mix it up. McIntyre looked strong. He dropped Corbin with a headbutt then catches Cena with a powerbomb as he was coming off the top. Things almost look like Cena/Balor vs. McIntyre/Corbin. Cena and Balor finally mix it up ending with Cena hitting a massive AA coming off the top. Corbin dumps out Cena and goes for the pin but only gets two. A frustrated Corbin is attacking everyone with a chair. Corbin goes after Cena with the chair but Cena ducks and hits the AA on Corbin. McIntyre hits a Claymore Kick on Cena. Balor runs in to attack McIntyre hitting a massive Tornado DDT on McIntyre. Balor heads to the top and hits a huge Coupe de Grace on Cena! 1…2…3! Finn Balor wins and will face Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship! Pretty fun match.
I thought tonight’s Raw was pretty good. Bad news for Braun as I’m assuming he will not be medically cleared by the time Royal Rumble which is why the match was changed. I like the idea of Balor really earning the opportunity to step in. I can’t pinpoint if I’m excited for this one possibly due to the severe clash of styles. I wonder if we’ll see The Demon?
What did you think of tonight’s Raw? Comment below and let us know what you think?