It looks like another busy night for the Red brand, although they’re borrowing a little from SmackDown Live because Stephanie McMahon has invited Becky Lynch to visit. Kurt Angle is coming to talk about his future. The final place in the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Elimination Chamber will be decided. Elias faces Jeff Jarrett, with Road Dogg in Jarrett’s corner. And Finn Balor faces Bobby Lashley.
I’m Amanda, and this is the RAW review.
Ronda Rousey def. Liv Morgan
Ronda Rousey def. Sarah Logan
The Revival def. The B-Team, Lucha House Party, and Heavy Machinery
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection def. Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross
Finn Balor def. Lio Rush
EC3 def. Dean Ambrose
Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin def. Kurt Angle & Braun Strowman
The Key Bits
» Stephanie McMahon opened the show. Becky Lynch came out mid-introduction and there was a lot of focus on the strapping on her left knee. After a brief recap of last week, McMahon expressed her admiration for Lynch smiling as Rousey screamed in her face, then asked about her knee. While Lynch protested that she was fine, she showed footage of Nia Jax causing the injury and pointed out that Lynch has refused medical attention for 8 days.
Lynch said she won the Rumble on one leg and will fight anyone, anywhere, but no doctors are coming near her.
Stephanie McMahon told her she understands her passion, but she can’t let her compete unless she’s medically cleared.
Becky Lynch said knows what’s happening, she’s the glitch in their plan, the one they didn’t plan for. But here she is and she’s not going anywhere. She fought her entire life to get where she is today, but what would Stephanie McMahon know about struggle. She’s just another daddy’s girl who never had to fight for anything, trying to stop her fighting for everything. But she rose up and she earned every step of the way to get to WrestleMania and there’s nothing Stephanie or any stupid doctor can do about it.
McMahon said Lynch did earn her way, but it is a liability to allow her to compete if she’s not cleared by the doctors. All she has to do is see the doctor and they will clear her then she can compete. Unless the knee is worse than she’s letting on. She cares about her and this match is one of the biggest matches in the history of WWE. Everybody wants to see it, but she has to get cleared.
Lynch said Stephanie is not going to take her moment away from her. McMahon said she’s not, but if she doesn’t see a doctor then she’ll suspend her.
Lynch told her she won’t be responsible for her actions if she repeats that. McMahon said she doesn’t see why this is so hard and asked her again not to make her do it. Lynch said, ‘So don’t do it’, but refused to see the doctor. Stephanie McMahon suspended her. Becky Lynch punched her in the face and pounded on her a bit, but her knee gave out when she tried to apply the Dis-Arm-Her. She still fought off officials.
Backstage, Lynch came face to face with Ronda Rousey. Rousey called her unprofessional in a variety of ways and asked her what she thought getting suspended and attacking Stephanie McMahon was going to achieve (didn’t Rousey get suspended the exact same way a while back?).
» Bayley and Sasha Banks were interviewed backstage and asked if their failures against Ronda Rousey would impact on their qualifying match. Sasha Banks started to kick off but Bayley stopped her and said they pushed Rousey to her limits because individually they’re great, but together they’re the best. Banks said the tag titles were willed into existence by the women of the WWE and it would be an honour to wear them. Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross interrupted them to say, in their own special way, that Banks and Bayley weren’t going to the chamber because they’d beat them.
Nikki Cross & Alicia Fox vs The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection started with a Fox and Cross attack on the stage during Banks and Bayley’s entrance. Cross and Fox left Banks and Bayley laying before they were herded to the ring. Somehow, during the break, Bayley went from barely conscious on the stage to in complete control of Cross in the ring, but Sasha Banks looked to be in a bad way. Bayley fought off Cross and Fox individually and together. Cross had to break a pin on Fox to save the match.
A scissor kick by Fox after they’d taken a trip to the outside turned things in her favour. Twice, Bayley was hung in the tree of woe while Fox and Cross tagged in and out. Sasha Banks was the difference maker, her only part in the match. As Cross charged Bayley against the ringpost, Banks pulled her out of the way and Cross took herself out. Alicia Fox tried to stop Bayley tagging out, so Bayley rolled her up and pinned her instead.
» Heavy Machinery vs Lucha House Party vs The B-Team vs The Revival – Four Corners match to become #1 Contenders for the RAW Tag Team Championships – The Revival and The B-Team’s entrances happened during the women’s tag promo, which isn’t great. Great showcase for Heavy Machinery who got to show how much fun they are to watch, and how much they enjoyed pitching people out of the ring. Otis got to do the Caterpillar. The Revival looked as great as ever. It was their Shatter Machine on Bo Dallas that finished the match in their favour.
» Kurt Angle talked about living his life for the last twenty years by Intensity, Integrity and Intelligence. Through the good and the bad, he’s accomplished everything he wanted to, from the European championship to the WWE Hall of Fame. He’s torn the house down with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania, he soiled the ring with milk in one of the greatest segments in RAW history. As GM of RAW, he gave every superstar the opportunity to settle things in the ring and he finally got to meet the son he never knew he had. And he always had the WWE universe to remind him how much he sucks. Lately, the three I’s have turned into the three D’s – Doubt, Defeat, and Depression – the past few matches he’s had didn’t turn out the way he wanted. He wanted to prove he still had it and shut them up for good. In his career he beat them all and even won a gold medal with a ‘broken freaking neck’ but there’s one opponent he knows he can’t defeat, Father Time. There comes a point in every athlete’s career…
Corbin interrupted at that point and asked if Angle wants everyone to feel sorry for him? This is the speech he should have given at the Hall of Fame two years ago and we should never have seen him again. But he had to become General Manager. He was supposed to make matches, not be in them but he had to prove that he still has what it takes, but he’s nothing more than a broken-down shadow of a man.
Angle invited him to the ring for this ‘broken down a old man’ to break his ankle in two. Drew McIntyre arrived and said Angle just can’t help himself, one minute he’s accepted his fate, and the next he’s threatening to break the ankle of the man who took his job and beat him last week. People used to look into Angle’s eyes and see a warrior, but during their match, McIntyre looked into his eyes and saw fear, right before he tapped him out. Angle was humiliated and McIntyre thought he’d never see him again. But there’s no quit in Angle and he showed up at Royal Rumble, he showed up last week, and he’ll keep showing up until someone does something very drastic. He told the crowd to shut their mouths and get their cameras ready because it would be the last time they’d see Kurt Angle. He and Corbin were going to put him down for good.
Braun Strowman came out to even the odds. He took McIntyre while Angle dealt with Corbin, then Strowman threw a chair at Corbin and he and McIntyre ran away through the crowd.
A tag match between the four was immediately set as the main event of the evening.
Kurt Angle & Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre closed the show. Angle started things off against Corbin but got caught with a McIntyre headbutt going into the break for Corbin to take control. Corbin was still in control after, and was more interested in humiliating Angle than pinning him. Angle took a ton of punishment from McIntyre as well, including an Angle-slam and an ankle lock. This time, Angle didn’t tap, he managed to get to Strowman.
Strowman came in and started dominating McIntyre, but some double-teaming by Corbin and McIntyre saw Strowman in trouble on the outside. They got him back in the ring, but neither could pin him. Angle would have got the pin on Corbin from an Angle-slam had McIntyre not made the save. That was too much for Strowman and he went for Corbin, despite being told he’d be disqualified if he did. The referee kept his word, DQ’d Strowman and Angle, and it all broke down.
Strowman levelled Corbin and McIntyre, then McIntyre Claymored him into the crowd and he and Corbin turned their attention to Kurt Angle. They put the steel steps in the ring and were about to slam Angle on them when Strowman reappeared. Braun Strowman choke-slammed first McIntyre, then Corbin, into the steps and raised Kurt Angle’s arm to end the show.
The Other Bits
» Ronda Rousey vs Liv Morgan was the opening match. Morgan went with avoidance as a tactic initially. She should have kept it up because ten seconds after Rousey got her hands on her properly, it was all over.
After the match, she yelled at the crowd for booing her then challenged Sarah Logan. Ronda Rousey vs Sarah Logan lasted much longer than Liv Morgan did, it spanned an ad break apart from anything else. At least Logan took the fight to the Champion, but the armbar finished her just as it did her teammate. Ruby Riott looked like she was going to have a go as well, but changed her mind.
Backstage, Riott was asked why she essentially ran away from Rousey. Riott said she didn’t run away. She knows she can, and will, beat Rousey but when she does it will be for the title. Tonight, Liv and Sarah are hurt, and they need her so Rousey will have to wait. The Riott Squad have a bond that can’t be broken and that’s something an opportunist like Rousey knows nothing about.
» Curt Hawkins tried to tell Zack Ryder that he’s toxic. He’s lost 250 matches in a row, he hasn’t won for over two years. Ryder said they spelt his name wrong on the graphic last week, Hawkins can’t bring him down because he can’t get any lower. They’re losers, but not for long. They started together and they’ll end Hawkins’ losing streak together.
» Jeff Jarrett, with Road Dogg, vs Elias started with Road Dogg introducing Jeff Jarrett in his inimitable way. Then Jarrett had to do his schtick and they sang a bit of ‘With My Baby Tonight’ before Elias interrupted to do his schtick and told them that, just like them, the song hasn’t aged well. He refused to sing and made a jibe about SmackDown Live ratings at Road Dogg. There was banter, Elias was told to ‘Suck it’, then the match actually started. It was fine. Road Dogg got knocked down a couple of times despite not being in the ring. Jeff Jarrett fought hard, but the Drift Away finished him off. After the match, Road Dogg attacked Elias to set up Jeff Jarrett to hit him with a guitar.
» Natalya and Dana Brooke had a locker room misunderstanding. Brooke apologised for last week while Natalya ignored her. Dana Brooke got increasingly would up until she shouted that she’s was going to get a match against Natalya next week. After she stormed out, Natalya removed the earphones from her ears. She hadn’t heard a thing.
» Finn Balor was asked when he’ll stop putting his pride before his health. He said his elbow and ribs are hurting, and it had been suggested he stays home, but Bobby Lashley thinks he’s an easy target. He won’t be pushed around or held down and he won’t stop pushing forward. He’ll take the fight to Lashley like he took it to Lesnar, and the first chance he gets, he’ll take his Intercontinental Championship.
Lashley got to speak for himself for a few moments, in addition to Rush’s patter. Finn Balor versus Bobby Lashley didn’t happen. Instead, it was Finn Balor vs Lio Rush, at Lashley’s insistence, and Lashley put a beat down on Balor before the bell. Balor was completely in control until Lashley dragged him out of the ring. The ref sent Lashley to the back. Rush likes the sound of his own voice too much, but he is talented, and he had the better of Balor for a while. He got a couple of close two-counts, but was the recipient of a Coup de Grace and got pinned. Balor got out of there before Lashley got back to the ring.
» Alexa Bliss hosted ‘A Moment of Bliss’ , with EC3 as her guest. There was some heavy-duty flirting, mainly from Bliss. She asked him to make a decision between RAW and SmackDown Live, but was interrupted by Nia Jax and Tamina before he could answer. Jax said no one cares. What should be being talked about was how she broke boundaries in the Men’s Rumble and how she and Tamina qualified for the match at Elimination Chamber. Everyone wants to know what she’ll do next. Maybe she’ll fill in for Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. Dean Ambrose came out before she could say anything else, apologised to Bliss, and told Jax it’s obvious to everyone she has a huge crush on him. He knows it’s hard, but she has to just stay away from him. He asked who EC3 was, then knocked the mic out of his hand and asked EC3 questions he didn’t give him time to answer, culminating in EC3 punching him in the face and walking to the ring.
Dean Ambrose vs EC3 followed the ads. Ambrose is not renewing his contract when it ends, in April. That’s a sad state of affairs and WWE should be ashamed that they let it happen, but it will be interesting to see how he’s used until then. Tonight, it was losing to EC3. Good match, if not a long one. EC3 turned an attempted Dirty Deeds into a jackknife cover and got the pin.
Average episode, watchable but not wonderful. Seth Rollins’ match against Brock Lesnar was confirmed in his absence (he’s injured, apparently). Mojo Rawley is still talking to the Mojo in the mirror. RAW will host Ric Flair’s birthday party in 3 weeks. And Paige popped in to promote “Fighting With my Family”. We’ll see what next week brings.