Michael Che & Colin Jost from SNL are special guests on RAW this week. I’m guessing that probably means more to our American readers, I hope so anyway. Fastlane is on Sunday, so most of the focus will be on that. There are hints at a Shield reunion. We should find out what’s happening with the RAW Women’s Championship, and how Triple H is going to deal with Batista. There will also be more in the ongoing saga of Finn Balor, Bobby Lashley, and Lio Rush.
I’m Amanda, and this is the RAW review.
Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley def. Finn Balor, Braun Strowman & Kurt Angle
Natalya def. Ruby Riott
Heavy Machinery def. The B-Team
Heavy Machinery def. The Ascension
Heavy Machinery def. Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder
Elias def. Dean Ambrose
Tamina def. Sasha Banks
The Revival def. Ricochet & Aleister Black
The Key Bits
» Roman Reigns opened the show and said last week in Atlanta was the comeback. This week in Philly, we take our yard back. He’s had a think about his future and what he wants has one man standing in his way, his brother, Seth Rollins. He asked Rollins to come out, and he did.
Rollins said, before they get into it, he wanted to tell Reigns that his speech last week, knowing he’d won the fight of his life, was one of the greatest moments of his career, that’s how much it meant to him. It made Rollins feel like he could do anything. He’s going to take that inspiration and motivation to WrestleMania and slay The Beast. More importantly, he’s going to bring the Universal Championship back to Monday Night RAW every single week. He thinks he knows where Reigns’ head’s at. He knows what it’s like to have to vacate a title and, if there is anyone who deserves an opportunity at Brock Lesnar as much as he does, it’s Reigns. So, if that’s where he’s at, ‘let’s talk’.
Reigns said Rollins thinks he knows everything but he’s wrong. While he was off, one person watched over this place, Rollins. Nobody has more confidence in him than Reigns. He’s been in the ring with Lesnar and he knows Rollins has what it takes. So, the only thing he has to say about Lesnar and the main event of WrestleMania is, ‘Good luck my brother’. But he needs a favour.
Rollins said, ‘Anything’, and Reigns double-checked. Reigns said he wants to get the band back together one last time. Rollins said anything but that. After what Ambrose did and the night he did it. No way. Reigns laughed and said he thought he’d get it, right off the get-go, but it looks like he has his work cut out.
Reigns said he wants it and checked that the crowd wants it (they did). When he was out he looked through a different perspective. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed, we don’t know how much time we have, life is short. The most important things are the relationships we have. Rollins and Ambrose are his brothers. He doesn’t know what’s going on with Ambrose, whether he’s coming or going, but he knows he wants one more moment with his brothers before they may not be around anymore.
The crowd chanted, ‘Shield’ while Rollins thought about it. When he turned back, he said he’d put that part of his life behind him, but Reigns is right. Life is too short, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Roman wants The Shield one last time, then for him, he’s in.
Reigns called for Ambrose and he eventually came to the stage. Elias ran out and hit him with a guitar before he could say anything. Reigns and Rollins rushed to the stage, but Elias was long gone. They stayed with Ambrose while he got up, but he pushed them away and walked off.
Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Bobby Lashley were interviewed about the potential Shield reunion. McIntyre said he broke The Shield, tonight was just three pathetic individuals living in the past. Corbin said the real news was the three of them taking on Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, and Kurt Angle, and they will show where today’s power lies.
Ambrose and Reigns spoke in a shadowy part of backstage. Reigns said he thought they were past hanging out in places like this. They’ve got a locker room, Ambrose has a seat with him anytime, and he hopes Ambrose knows they can talk about anything. Ambrose said, ‘you wanna talk’, then decided against it and said he needed to stay sharp for his match and walked away.
Rollins found Ambrose hidden away. He told him they might not always have got along but they’re brothers and brothers fight. There’s always been mutual respect. Whether they’re fighting together or against each other, Ambrose is his wrestling soulmate and he always will be. They’ve got one more chance to do things the right way.
Ambrose said ‘Get The Shield back together, one last time? No can do.’ He’s preoccupied right now he appreciates their help last week, but he’s got business tonight and he’s got to do it on his own.
Elias’ song appeared to be called ‘You Know How I Know I’m in Philly?’ It was a relief when Ambrose came out.
Dean Ambrose vs Elias saw Ambrose in full control until we went to a break. Elias had taken over by the time we came back. Ambrose kept getting up, but his back was still bothering him and he eventually succumbed to Drift Away.
After the match, Reigns and Rollins came to the ring and tried again to convince him. Ambrose shouted about them not putting it all on him, pushed past them, and left through the crowd. He’d got to the top of the arena stairs when Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley came out. Between them, they derided everything The Shield ever stood for and called them pathetic. McIntyre said they were going to offer them an epic match on Sunday, but they don’t deserve it so instead they’ll end it right now.
Reigns and Rollins tried to fight them off, but they were outnumbered. Ambrose watched for a few moments, then barrelled back to the ring to join his brothers. As soon as they were together, they cleaned house. Once McIntyre and cronies had gone, Reigns and Rollins put their fists in. Ambrose prowled around a bit, then joined them.
Later, commentary talked about Dean Ambrose not having renewed his contract, just to emphasise the ‘One Last Time’ theme of the reunion.
» In an interview, Stephanie McMahon said when Ronda Rousey laid the title on the mat it was disrespectful, blasphemous even. In response, WWE have dropped all the charges against Becky Lynch and cancelled her suspension. However, Lynch is still not completely recovered so she has been invited to sign a hold harmless agreement tonight so WWE can’t be held liable if she incurs any injury when she fights Charlotte Flair for the vacant RAW Women’s Championship at Fastlane.
Caruso interviewed Charlotte Flair about McMahon’s announcement. Flair said Lynch’s pride will make sure she signs the agreement, but Flair is going to put her on the shelf for good. She’s sorry to ruin everyone’s high hopes for Becky, but she’s a one-legged competitor in an ass-kicking contest. The WWE universe will get to bask in Flair’s glory when she becomes RAW Women’s Champion.
The final segment of the show went to Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Stephanie McMahon brought the title to the ring and showed the footage of Rousey laying down the title last week, before bringing out first Charlotte Flair, then Becky Lynch.
Lynch was using a crutch, and Flair laughed at her having trouble getting in the ring. McMahon explained the match and the hold harmless agreement, and Lynch took the form.
Flair goaded Lynch to sign it, asking if McMahon wanted to save time and hand the title to her now. Becky Lynch said she beat Flair on one good leg at Royal Rumble and offered to go right now. Lynch signed, then Ronda Rousey was shown storming through the backstage area.
It took an ad break for Rousey to get to the ring. She asked McMahon what she was doing. McMahon said she left her no choice, she vacated the title. Rousey said she vacated nothing, she gave her a week to think about it and she doesn’t like what she came up with. She wanted her to include Becky, not exclude her. She demanded her title back and got it.
Stephanie McMahon said she still has to do business so the Fastlane match will still be Lynch versus Flair, but if Becky Lynch wins, she’ll be added to the title match at WrestleMania.
Rousey had a massive shouty rant about how much money she makes for WWE and how dangerous she is. She said she can do anything she wants, and finished with, ‘I am not your dancing monkey. Not anymore. Damn your fantasies, damn The Man, Screw the Woo, and no more Mrs Nice Bitch.’ Then she attacked Flair and Lynch.
Flair was dealt with quickly, rolled out of the ring, and retreated to a safe distance to watch Rousey beat the hell out of Becky Lynch. Rousey had a stare out with Flair while she had her foot on Lynch’s head.
Stephanie McMahon’s reaction to Rousey’s outburst was that Rousey showed her true colours. She called her an animal and said she has no regard for anyone. McMahon has no love for Becky Lynch, but she feels sorry for her right now. She was asked if she regrets reinstating Rousey and said she has a lot to think about. But whether it’s a triple-threat or a singles match, it’ll be one hell of a match.
The Other Bits
» Finn Balor, Braun Strowman & Kurt Angle vs Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley with Lio Rush was the first match of the night. Strowman and Corbin started things off and it was all Strowman until he tagged in Balor, who was quickly overpowered by McIntyre and handed off to Lashley. Balor built momentum against Lashley, which was halted by Lio Rush tripping him. As is the rule for multi-man matches featuring Balor, he took the bulk of the punishment. He eventually tagged in Angle to deliver a trio of suplexes to McIntyre. Angle got the Angle Lock in on McIntyre but had to break it to suplex Lashley. Strowman came back in and levelled everyone before powerslamming Corbin into position for Balor’s Coup de Grace. It would have ended there if Rush hadn’t put Balor’s foot on the rope. When Balor chased Rush, he was caught by Lashley and slammed into the ringpost. Strowman charged at Lashley but got Rush and they crashed through the barricade. McIntyre and Lashley got Balor back into the ring, Lashley delivered a spear and pinned him.
Post-match, with Strowman still wiped out, Balor and Angle were thoroughly beaten down and the steps used against them.
» Natalya vs Ruby Riott happened again. Apparently, it was unfinished business from the tag match, but we’ve seen this match a lot, or it feels like it. It was brief. Natalya won with an inside cradle and got out of there before Logan and Morgan could get there.
Lacey Evans did her catwalk bit as Natalya was leaving, but she completely ignored her.
» Michael Che & Colin Jost are going to be special guest correspondents for WrestleMania. They talked to Stephanie McMahon and she tried to explain how WWE works to Colin Jost. He’s going to get his head kicked in.
They were featured a couple of time through the show. They saw EC3, talked to Titus O’Neil who wanted a picture with Michael Che, and encountered No Way Jose’s conga line.
Later, Jost came face to face with Braun Strowman after saying he wasn’t scared of any of the guys. He made the mistake of asking Strowman if any of this stuff was even real and ended up with his feet a foot off the floor. He was rescued after an ad break
» Triple H addressed Batista’s attack on Ric Flair last week. Batista sent a message via Instagram that he wasn’t going to be at RAW because he doesn’t like Philly, but he might turn up in Pittsburgh next week. They’re going to play the game by his rules until it’s ‘Game’ over. Triple H gave an impassioned speech about his relationship with Richard Fliehr, the man behind Ric Flair. He talked about them being there for the best and worst moments of each other’s lives, and what an honour it would have been to help him celebrate his 70th birthday by being Ric Flair one more time. But he didn’t get that opportunity because Batista wanted his attention.
He accused ‘Dave’ of throwing a tantrum because he couldn’t get what he wanted and of trying to go ‘bad guy 101’ by saying he’s not there because he doesn’t like the city. Triple H doesn’t care where Batista wants to go. He’ll go to Batista’s house or invite him to his, he’ll visit him on a movie set if that works for him. Wherever he shows up, when he steps in front of him, it not a game. It’s not something they’re selling. There are no characters. When he looks in his eyes, he’ll be looking at the man. All ‘Dave’ has to do is stand up to him and tell him what he wants, and he’ll give him everything. He wants Triple H’s attention, he’s got it.
Triple H and Batista face to face was later announced for next week.
» Charly Caruso showed Heavy Machinery footage of The Ascension, The B-Team, and Zack Ryder& Curt Hawkins saying mean things about Otis. Otis said it hurt his feelings. Tucker said Otis’ feelings get hurt sometimes but they’re going to make sure they take down all those teams, so they find out Otis has a tendency to hurt those who hurt his feelings.
Heavy Machinery got a gauntlet match against the team. Heavy Machinery vs The B-Team was the first. Bo Dallas got Compacted very quickly. Heavy Machinery vs The Ascension came next. They lasted a little longer, but not much. Heavy Machinery vs Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder was the final match. They came closest but Tucker took Ryder out of the ring and Otis finished Hawkins with a Caterpillar. Otis made all three pins, just to make the point.
» Torrie Wilson is the latest addition to this year’s Hall of Fame.
» Sasha Banks vs Tamina would have been ultra-short if Jax hadn’t pulled Tamina out of the Bank Statement. Bayley came around to deal with Jax and got thrown away (the landing looked nasty). Banks delivered double knees to Jax on the outside but Jax grabbed her leg as she was getting back in the ring. That was all the opportunity Tamina needed to land a superkick and get the pin.
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection face Jax and Tamina for the tag title at Fastlane.
» The Revival (C) vs Ricochet & Aleister Black – RAW Tag Team Championship match – Ricochet and Black earned this by beating The Revival last week. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable appeared early in the match. They stood at the bottom of the ramp and watched until Ricochet sent Dash Wilder out of the ring in front of them, then they attacked him and caused the disqualification. They laid out Dawson as well then got in the ring. Shouting at Ricochet and Black turned to violence and Roode and Gable were cleared from the ring.
Fastlane looks pretty good for a stepping-stone PPV and WrestleMania is shaping up nicely. There’s so much going on that it really is the best time of year to be a WWE fan. Join us next week for all the Fastlane fallout, and WrestleMania build.