Short-form today, as I slept through not only Raw, but my three ‘get up and recap Raw in the morning’ alarms, so we’re down to the wire to get this done. That said, apparently it wasn’t very good, so I’m not too worried I missed anything.
We start with Stephanie McMahon giving Mick Foley his performance review for the last year, and being annoyed that he spread a rumour about the Undertaker being here tonight, which she thinks isn’t true. Seth Rollins shows up and wants to tell Steph he’s entering the Royal Rumble, and then Strowman shows up to demand he gets Goldberg or Roman Reigns, and no one else. Seth says he thinks he can help Strowman get what he wants, and punches him. They have a scuffle for a moment until security appears, and then Steph threatens to fire them, before telling Mick to take care of the Undertaker.
MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens – United States Championship Match
Roman makes his entrance, but before he even makes it to the ring, Strowman appears to toss his around, throwing him into the ring where Kevin and Chris are waiting to beat the holy hell out of him. Braun joins in, and it’s three on one until Seth arrives and smacks Strowman with a chair.
Seth also attacks Owens and Jericho, and then Roman finds his own chair and joins in, the three challengers taken to task by 2/3 of the Shield. Steph shows up to tell us that she’s not having this, and everyone will be put to bed with a spanked bottom and no supper – oh, no, wait, Roman’s match with be later so that he can recover, but Seth vs. Strowman is on now.
MATCH: Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman
Interesting match, to see Seth so grounded by someone quite so much bigger than he is, and it’s a really good way to show Strowman’s size, as we often forget that Seth’s not that much heavier than the cruiserweights, because he’s so good in the ring against guys who easily have 50lbs over him.
Seth manages to capitalise with an enzuigiri, followed by a suicide dive, with Avada Kedavra getting him a pin for one. When Seth goes for the blockbuster, Braun manages to catch him, and there’s a failed frogsplash there, too, showing us that Seth’s trademark offence isn’t always the right answer. Eventually, the match is a draw, with both men counted out.
However, Braun isn’t sure it’s over, grabbing a chair and heading to the ring, but Seth knocks it away with a dropkick. he hefts the chair himself, and Strowman chooses discretion as the better part of valour, and heads to be the back.
Corey Graves has a voodoo doll of Byron Saxton that he’s stabbing, which is nice, I guess. We get a recap of Bayley and Nia last week, where Sasha interfered.
Backstage, Bayley and Sasha are talking, Bayley worried about Sasha’s knee and being reassured that her friend is okay. Both of them are excited about Bayley’s #1 contender spot, with Sasha making it clear that once Bayley wins, she wants her title shot. She also says she’ll have Bayley’s back if she needs to.
Charlotte arrives, slow-clapping this performance, and reminds them of her unbroken PPV streak, before Nia shows up to smash Sasha’s leg up a bit more. Charlotte takes down Bayley, then makes the mistake of thinking she and Nia are chummy now. Nia disabuses her of this notion by pushing her into equipment cases and heading off.
MATCH: Drew Gulak vs. Jack Gallagher
The usual fast-paced action we expect from the cruiserweights here, which means my sleep-fogged brain struggles to keep up. In the end, it’s a running corner dropkick from Gallagher than gets the pin on Gulak, taking the win.
Gallagher is then interviewed about Ariya Daivari, and he says that while he wants to give him a thrashing, he’s a gentleman, and so will offer a chance to make peace, and solve the issue with honour. The parlay will be tomorrow, on 205 Live. I love the way he talks, it makes me incredibly happy.
Backstage, TJ Perkins is teaching Shawn Michaels how to dab, which reminds me all too vividly of a nine year old in my swim class yesterday who tried to tell a 60 year old swim teacher that what she was doing made it look like she was dabbing. I explained she wouldn’t know what that was, and she stared, baffled, as I reminded my class that we have a no dab rule in my classes. It’s almost as bad as the time I had to say ‘we do not Gangnam Style on poolside’, or when I have to walk past kids in general swim trying to AA one another while humming Cena’s theme.
Mick Foley can’t find Taker, and Steph says he’s got an hour to make him show up, or he gets a bad yearly report. Sorry, is she the commissioner, or a headmistress?
Shawn Michaels tells the crowd to chant for him because he’s out of breath, and tells them he’s missed being in WWE, especially in January when things get even more exciting. He sounds like your gran turning up for knitting circle in October and wondering why Muriel-from-number-57 is in her seat. He talks about the rumble, how it’s in his home town this year, and he won it twenty years ago in the same place, and now he sounds like your grandad talking about when he was evacuated during the war and once saw a rat so big it looked like a large terrier. The crowd chant for one more match. Anything to end the talking.
However, the talking continues, because apparently he’s in a terrible movie, which Rusev arrives to tell him would be better with Lana in. True. All movies would be better with Lana in. Enzo and Cass show up, Enzo still using a mobility aid because ha ha, disability is funny, right? I’m just done with all of this. Lana deserves better. In the end, Rusev says Cass has a match against Jinder Mahal, and apparently HBK is staying out for the match.
MATCH: Big Cass vs. Jinder Mahal
Raw respects this match by having it start before we get back from commercial. Sweet Chin Music takes down Jinder in the end, and Cass hits an East River Crossing, and an Empire Elbow to get the pin.
Emmalina still isn’t here, and I cry tears every night about this. I miss Emma.
MATCH: Neville vs. Lince Dorado
Is it possible not to love Evil Neville? These two put on an incredible display, but once Neville gets wristlocks started, Dorado is on the back foot. In the end, a Frankensteiner attempt from Dorado gives Neville the chance to throw him into a fireman’s carry, and put him in the Rings of Saturn, Dorado tapping out.
Afterwards, Neville smacks Dorado around, before locking the submission back in, but Rich Swann is there to save the day! Neville heads out of the ring.
Sasha goes to Steph and demands a tag match next week, but Steph’s not happy with that. Bayley tries to calm the argument down, but Steph just tells her not to be so familiar, and that she’s lucky she gets to keep her title shot. However, she says that if they want a tag match so much, they’ve got one – tonight.
MATCH: Luke Gallows vs. Sheamus
Anderson is on commentary, although Cesaro also shows up, so it’s five man commentary, I’m rather glad I’m not going to pay it any attention. Obviously, this breaks down into a four man brawl, basically, with Cesaro trying to swing Anderson just as Sheamus lines up for the Brogue Kick and takes him down for the win.
Roman’s flexing backstage, which is frankly something I could watch for the next two hours of Raw, when he gets interviewed about tonight’s match. He says that no matter how he feels about the handicap situation, he always comes out victorious against these two, and tonight’s not going to be any different.
Mick babbles about the Undertaker, calling him up like he’s doing necromancy, and then Steph shows up after the lights go out, and she says she’ll have to give him a public performance review. She says there have been a number of success stories, such as Cesaro and Sheamus, Jericho in a shark cage, the women’s Hell in a Cell match, but that the Sami Zayn stuff was ridiculous, and SmackDown, after all, beat Raw in the ratings. And, obviously, Taker’s not here.
The Undertaker is entering the Royal Rumble, and the camera cuts backstage to show us Braun Strowman. The undertaker answers to no one, and goes where he wants, he’s dug 29 holes for 29 souls, and so on and so forth. So, that’s two old men and Steroidy Albino Gorilla-Face in the Rumble, then? Nice.
Chris and Kevin are being interviewed, and laugh at the idea of the Undertaker being exciting. Owens says Roman is going to suffer tonight, nd Chris says that they’re both going to be the US champion, and that as international treasures, maybe it’s time two Canadians were the face of America. I mean, they’re not wrong. It can’t be worth than Trump.
MATCH: Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair & Nia Jax
Charlotte and Nia take Sasha’s knee apart as much as they can throughout the match, and this actually isn’t a bad showing from all four women, with both teams getting a chance to showcase a few skills before the wall that is Nia Jax’s offence smacks into Bayley, and she gets the win.
In the weird saga that is Alicia Fox’s odd step back into valet-ship, she appears and smooches Noam Dar, who splutters like a schoolboy as she smirks and says that Cedric was right, and Noam can’t handle a real woman. Okay, almost as good as her taking them both into the ring and hitting the northern lights suplex, but still, I’d prefer that option.
The New Day and Titus O’Neil have some weird moment about carrying kegs and Titus trying to apologise, but The New Day aren’t really up for a fourth member in their group. Titus tries to attack Kofi, and instead, there’s a match made between them.
MATCH: Kofi Kingston vs. Titus O’Neil
It’s a quick match, and in the end, Trouble in Paradise seals the deal for Kofi, leaving Titus even more humiliated. Too bad, so sad.
MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens – United States Championship Handicap Match
Before the match starts, Roman attacks, headbutting Jericho up the ramp and shoving him in the shark cage. He doesn’t get it locked before Kevin rocks up, and the two of them throw him into the cage so hard that it falls off the stage. Roman rolls into the ring and the ref checks on him – he says he’s good, and the match starts.
It’s a heavy assault from both men on Roman for the whole of the match, though Roman tries to play them off each other and dodge as many attacks as he can. Huge moves from everyone, but in the end, the numbers games gets the better of Roman, and Jericho hits a Codebreaker for the win.
Chris and Kevin are US AND Universal champs! Aww! And that’s how we end out Raw!