The Royal Rumble fallout Raw show is live tonight from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Here’s a quick video preview to get you ready for the show:
The card for the show is already getting busy with an Intercontinental Championship rematch with The Miz defending against Roman Reigns after claiming the belt for the eighth time in his career last week. There will also be three Elimination Chamber qualifying matches to determine half of the six-man field at the pay-per-view show. In those matches, Elias faces “Woken” Matt Hardy, John Cena faces Finn Balor and Braun Strowman once again battles Kane. This time it will be a last man standing match. The winner of the Elimination Chamber match will face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34.
Stephanie McMahon came out to start the show. Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed back Jonathan Coachman to the commentator’s table. Graves thanked Booker T. for his work on Raw and announced that Booker would resume his duties on the PPV kickoff broadcast team.
McMahon said they’re kicking off another 25 years of Raw tonight and put over the women’s Royal Rumble with Sasha Banks going nearly an hour. She also mentioned Nia Jax, Naomi, Lita, Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix and Ronda Rousey. She introduced the winner of the Royal Rumble, Asuka.
Stephanie told Asuka that Asuka was going to WrestleMania and normally she would ask Asuka who she would face, but before she makes that decision she may want to wait. Stephanie announced that Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss would defend the Raw Women’s Championship at the Elimination Chamber in the first women’s Elimnation Chamber match. Stephanie gave Asuka the stage. Asuka spoke in Japanese and pointed to the WrestleMania sign. Stephanie said she could understand Asuka’s point. Eventually, Asuka said in English at WrestleMania she would become the champion because no one is ready for Asuka.
Banks came out and said she got to share the ring with 29 incredible women last night and one of them was Asuka. For the last year, Banks has listened to Asuka say no one is ready for Asuka. But she was ready for Asuka because she lasted nearly an hour last night. The two went nose-to-nose as Stephanie ordered Banks vs. Asuka for tonight.
Graves announced that Raw GM Kurt Angle has ordered six qualifying matches for the Elimination Chamber. Tonight, Kane faces Braun Strowman in a Last Man Standing match. Plus, Matt Hardy vs. Elias and John Cena would take on Finn Balor.
Last Man Standing Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Braun Strowman vs Kane
As soon as Strowman made it ringside, he pulled a few chairs and other weapons from under the ring.
After the break, Kane knocks Strowman into the crowd. Strowman and Kane trade punches in the crowd. Strowman slams Kane’s head into the barricade. Strowman drags Kane over to the tech area. Strowman levels Kane with a chair. Kane is draped over the barricade. Strowman drives an equipment case into Kane. Strowman hits Kane with another chair. Kane is laid out in front of the announce area. Strowman lifts up the entire section of the staging area and drops everything on top of Kane. The referee calls for the bell without going through the motions of counting.
Winner – Braun Strowman
The pop for that spot wasn’t as loud as when Strowman tilted the ambulance that Reigns was in on its side. A group of referees and Adam Pearce rushed over to check on Kane, who was covered in wires.
Graves did a postmatch interview asking Strowman what did he just do? Strowman said he did his job because Angle said it was last man standing and that’s what he just did.
Cole announced that Kane was being taken to a local medical center and has trouble breathing. Kane was shown being taken away on a stretcher. Strowman walked backstage where Angle yelled at him for putting people in danger. Angle asked if Strowman could give him one break. Strowman softly said that Angle was right, then screamed that Angle was lucky he didn’t do more and he’ll be standing over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
Elias was back for another song. Elias said he didn’t care if anyone sang with him because he likes the sound of his own voice. He said he was disappointed to have been eliminated from the Royal Rumble by Cena, but Cena was going to get what was coming to him. Elias said the Elimination Chamber was on the horizon and WWE stood for “Walk With Elias.” Before he gets to that point, he has to defeat Hardy, but he has WrestleMania on his mind so he sang a song about having Lesnar in his sights, it’s Elias’ night, after he wins the Chamber, it’s Lesnar who will be in danger, it’s Elias’ night.
Hardy limped pretty badly during his ring entrance.
Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Elias vs. “Woken” Matt Hardy
Elias beat up on Hardy’s left arm. Hardy came back with the Side Effect and called for the Twist of Fate, but Bray Wyatt’s video wipe and music flashed by. That led to this week’s distraction finish where Matt dropped his guard and Elias booted Hardy in the face and got the pin with Drift Away.
Postmatch, Wyatt appeared on the screen and laughed at Hardy for losing.
MIz did a promo saying that Reigns is owed an Intercontinental Championship rematch. Miz wondered what he was owed for restoring the dignity of the Intercontinental Championship. Miz said he’s owed rose petals thrown at his feet during his ring entrance and a standing ovation, just like the one that Tom Brady will receive when he beats the Eagles this Sunday to win the Super Bowl.
Intercontinental Champ The Miz vs. Roman Reigns
There was a sign at ringside that read “The Big Dog has Fleas.” Reigns clotheslined Miz over the top rope twice in the opening minutes, then pulled out a chair to send Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel scurrying away backstage. Reigns teased hitting Miz with the chair, but the referee told Reigns he would be disqualified if he used it. Miz grabbed Reigns’ trunks and pulled him into the post.
Reigns started his comeback with the Samoan Drop and ten clotheslines in the corner and a boot to the face. Reigns called for the Superman Punch, but Miz chop blocked Reigns left leg, followed by the Yes kicks. But Reigns caught a kick and teased a power bomb, but Miz flipped over into a Sunset Flip, then clamped on the Figure Four leglock. Reigns sold it great before reversing it. Miz got the ropes. Miz kicked Reigns’ left leg and tried another Figure Four, but Reigns countered it into a small package that turned into a one-armed power bomb for a two count.
Miz tried to take off the second turnbuckle, but the referee caught him. Reigns went after Miz in the corner. As the referee tried to pull Reigns off, Miz thumbed him in the eye and got the Skull Crushing Finale, but Reigns kicked out. Miz tried the Skull Crushing Finale again, but Reigns backed Miz into the corner, but missed a charge into the post. Miz came off the ropes but Reigns hit the Superman Punch for a two count. Crowd with “This is awesome” chants.
Dallas and Axel returned to ringside. Axel distracted the referee, but Reigns gave Axel a Superman punch. Reigns limped to the other side and punced Dallas an Miz. Axel jumped back on the apron, where Reigns gave him another Superman punch. Axel nearly landed on the makeshift announcers table. Reigns pulled Dallas into the ring. Miz came up from behind and pinned Reigns with a schoolboy cradle while holding the trunks.
Winner: The Miz retains the IC belt
They showed a tweet from Paul Heyman commending Angle on his decision to have the winner of the Elimination Chamber face Lesnar at WresteMania. He said that facing Lesnar was more punishment that reward.
The Revival vs Rhyno & Heath Slater
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Crowd chanted “ECW” for Rhyno. True to Midnight Express form, Dash Wilder gave Heath Slater the Divorce Court to build the heat. Wilder appeared to give Slater Yoshi-Hashi’s Bunker Buster, but it was Wilder who sold it like Slater gave him a neckbreaker. That led to the hot tag to Rhyno, who gave Scott Dawson a shoulder block off the second rope. Slater intercepted Wilder’s attempt to interfere, but Dawson clipped Rhyno and Wilder pinned Rhyno after the Shatter Machine.
Winner: The Revival
Dawson did a postmatch interview Charly Caruso saying they just defeated the SmackDown tag team champions. Dawson asked Caruso how would she compared the Revival to the Graham Brothers, who was Vince McMahon’s favorite tag team as a teenager. Caruso acted like she didn’t know who it was. Then again, she probably wasn’t acting. Wilder said she was just like the people chanting “ECW,” they live in the past instead of moving on from it.
Cole announced the latest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame are the Dudley Boyz. Nice promo package where Joel Gertner was featured during the team’s ECW days. The Dudleys join Sting as the only acts to make it into the WWE and TNA Halls of Fame. Edge was featured talking about their TLC matches, which put everyone on the map. JBL laughed about how many 3-Ds he took over the years. Crowd granted the announcement with more “ECW” chants.
Finn Balor did a promo with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. He talked about lasting 57:38 in the Royal Rumble and it was the promise of an opportunity that kept him fighting. Balor said it was taken away by Cena. Now, he’s not just going to step up to Cena, he’s going to step over him.
The Boss did an interview backstage with Renee Young. Banks said they were moments away from her defeating Asuka. She said how Asuka has been undefeated for 2-and-a-half years but now it was the Boss’ turn.
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
Banks withstood some strikes and put Asuka into the Bank Statement. Asuka slipped out with a cradle, but Baks escaped and returned to the Bank Statement. Asuka got to her feet, but Banks threw her out of the ring. Banks attempted a tope, but Asuka caught her with a roundhouse kick as she came threw the ropes and Banks nose dived right on her head. The referee immediately rushed over but it appeared Banks said she was OK. Asuka was relentless in the ring, throwing several backhands to the face, a hip toss into a knee to the face, a spin kick, followed by a missile dropkick.
Asuka got the flying armbar, but Banks bridged over into a cradle for a two count. Asuka tried a butt butt like Ryusuke Taguchi, but she missed a fell through the ropes to the floor. Banks dove off the top rope for double knees to the face for a two count. Asuka tried to clamp on the Asuka lock, but Banks blocked it, hit the back stabber and put on the bank statement.
Asuka struggled to the ropes, but Banks kicked off and pulled her back to the middle of the ring. Asuka slipped out the backdoor and put on the Asuka Lock and Banks tapped out. Crowd heat didn’t equal the caliber of the match. Cole put it over as a Raw classic.
Winner: Asuka by Submission
Cena did an interview saying they’re on the road to WrestleMania and only two people knew how they were going to get there. That was Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura. Cena said if he beats Balor tonight, he will make it to the Elimination Chamber, which is how he can get to WrestleMania. Cena said he’s been asked for years when is he going to be done, but those people don’t understand he’s just getting started.
Raw Tag Team Champs The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide
Apollo Crews did a good hot tag sequence that ended with a standing moonsault on Cesaro for a two count. This led to a botched spot where it appeared Cesaro was supposed to hoist Crews into Sheamus, but Sheamus dropped him and Crews landed right on his head. Somehow, Crews got right up and went on to reverse a crossbody attempt by Cesaro for a two count. Sheamus went on to pin Crews after the double team White Noise. Sheamus and Crews looked shaken up.
Winners: The Bar retains the belts
Cole announced that Kane sat up in the emergency room, crawled out of the hospital and worked his way to his feet, leaving the medical facility. He hasn’t been seen since.
Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match – Finn Balor vs John Cena
Circling, collar and elbow, Cena backs Balor into the corner and referee Dan Engler calls for the break. He gets it clean, back to the lockup, Finn with a waistlock, John breaks into a wristlock and Balor tries a fancy escape but gets blocked by Cena’s strength. Out of it, into an arm drag and the kneeling armbar, wrenching it in, John gets to one knee and forces him into the ropes to break it.
Whip reversed, drop down, arm drag, arm drag, back into the kneeling armbar, Balor keeping the 16-time world champion locked down. Cena to his feet, Finn floats over but gets leveled by a shoulder block. John grabs a side headlock, takes him over, reversed to a headscissors but Cena goes right back to the headlock! Again with the headscissors escape and again he gets taken back down by a side headlock takeover.
Finn reverses to a crucifix pin and John heads to the floor for a breather. Back inside, test of strength, grinding against each other, Cena pulls ahead and pushes Balor to his knees. Finn to his feet, he breaks the hold, goes around, schoolboy pin but John pops up and punches him in the face and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Finn is in control but has a whip reversed and runs right into an elbow strike. Scoop slam gets two, Hammer whips put Balor into the corner hard, but on a third Finn gets the boot up and clobbers John with charging forearms. Duck a lariat, double leg into a double stomp to the chest! Charging chop, whip across but Cena comes flying with the shoulder block!
Shoulder block, miss the lariat, fall-forward Blue Thunder Driver, “You can’t see me!”, off the ropes but Finn has the Five Knuckle Shuffle scouted! “You can’t see me!” returned, and he gets the inverted headlock elbow drop for a nearfall! Fireman’s carry, Balor slips out and they trade punches until John knocks him down! “You can’t see me!”, Five Knuckle Shuffle, fireman’s carry, Balor reverses to the Pele kick!
Sling Blade connects but Cena hits a lariat to keep the fight even! Charging in for Sling Blade again, Cena hosses him up and hits the Attitude Adjustment… NOT ENOUGH! John takes a minute to figure out what he needs to do and heads to the apron, telling commentary he’s just trying to get to WrestleMania. He heads up top for the Kobashi knee drop but Finn cuts him off with an enzuigiri!
Shotgun dropkick, Balor heads up top but misses the Coup de Grace! Cena picks his leg and locks the STF on! Finn gets the ropes! Enzuigiri from the apron lays John out, Balor hobbles up top but Cena rushes over for an Attitude Adjustment off the top rope for the win.
Winner: John Cena