Last week’s Raw was the fallout from Royal Rumble, and saw the confirmation of both Royal Rumble winner’s matches at WrestleMania 35. These would be Seth Rollins challenging Brock Lesnar, and Becky Lynch challenging Ronda Rousey. Other big moments of Raw from last week were the first two teams in the Women’s Tag Titles Elimination Chamber match being the Riott Squad and Nia Jax & Tamina, as well as Baron Corbin beating WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle clean in the middle of the ring. Announced segments before Raw started were a Becky Lynch confrontation with Stephanie McMahon, a Kurt Angle announcement, the final Elimination Chamber qualifier on the Raw women’s side between Banks & Bayley and Fox & Cross, Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley for the Intercontinental Title, and Jeff Jarrett’s first match on WWE TV since 1999 against Elias. Raw took place from the Moda Centre in Portland, Oregon.
Becky Lynch & Stephanie McMahon Segment
Raw may as well kick off with the most anticipated segment of the night (for some, to just get Stephanie out of the way), with the Irish Lass Kicker herself, Becky Lynch. It began with Becky interrupting Stephanie, before the boss’s daughter was able to say anything. Stephanie then introduced Becky and brought up not only standing up and challenging Ronda for WrestleMania 35, but also winning the Women’s Royal Rumble with an injured leg. However, this led Stephanie to say that she “can’t let Becky compete unless she’s cleared”. Becky would respond to this by bringing up how she has been fighting from below her whole career, and that “no stupid doctor” is going to take her opportunity away. Stephanie after threatening suspension was told by Becky “I’m not responsible for my actions”. Becky would then be suspended, leading her to attack Stephanie before being pulled off by backstage officials.
Backstage, Ronda Rousey on her way to the ring bumped into Becky, and said “Beating up Stephanie did nothing for our match”, and told her “to put Ice on that feel bitch”.
Ronda Rousey vs. Liv Morgan
We often go from aggressive Ronda who would rip your head off to fan-loving Ronda in a matter of seconds. This match was a complete domination by Rousey, with it being done around the minute mark. The moment of the match was Liv dodging a Rousey hand with her Matrix athleticism to just be punched in the stomach by the Baddest Women On The Planet. Ronda would win with the armbar.
Post-match, Ronda would challenge Sarah Logan to a match right now, which was accepted by the muscle of the Riott Squad.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Logan
This was very much rinse and repeat from the Liv match, with the only dynamic being Logan having the strength advantage. Despite that, Ronda was able to lock in the armbar and beat both Logan and Morgan extremely quickly.
Post-match, there was a tease of Ruby challenging Ronda, but she backed off and went to the locker room.
#1 Contender’s Match For The Raw Tag Team Championships
Heavy Machinery vs. The Revival vs. The B-Team vs. Lucha House Party
To summarise the Raw Tag division and its focus on Raw, their segment was switched to something else on the show, which was The Boss N’ Hug Connection. They talked about how they both pushed Ronda to her limits, and that the Women’s Tag Titles were “a dream brought into existence by the WWE Universe”. They were interrupted by Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox, who claimed that the “Fox has seen the chaos”.
On to the actual match now, this (like the four-way on SmackDown last week) seems to have been done to show how great and powerful Heavy Machinery are, rather than anything else. This is due to the team getting in all their major moves, other than the Super Collider, on their opponents. The LHP were also able to display their skill, hitting a nice couple of dives to the outside. The finish saw The Revival earning another Tag Title opportunity by hitting the Shatter Machine on former champion Bo Dallas.
We then cut to Curt Hawkins and Zack (Zach) Ryder backstage, who when asked by Hawkins “why would you want to join up with me, I’m on a two- year losing streak”, responded by saying “I’m a loser too”. I sense a WrestleMania moment for the two boys from New York.
We saw Kurt Angle entering the arena and being welcomed by a host of wrestlers, including Mickie James and Apollo Crews, before heading to the ring for his big announcement.
Kurt Angle Announcement
The way this was promoted led some to believe that Angle may be retiring, but that proved not to be the case. Angle talked about his illustrious career and the three I’s he has always stood by (Intensity, Integrity and Intelligence), and how they have been replaced by the three D’s (Doubt, Defeat and Depression). This would lead to both Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre coming out and threatening Angle. Before they got to the ring, however, Braun Strowman came out, leaving Corbin and McIntyre to run off. This would lead to a Holla Holla tag team main event playa!
Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber Match Qualifier
Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley
This match had a huge chunk of action before the bell even rang, with Cross and Fox jumping Banks and Bayley, essentially leaving Bayley to fight the match herself against her opponents. It essentially became a handicap match, pitting Fox and Cross against Bayley. It was dominated by Cross and Fox, with highlights of the match being Fox hitting her scissor kick as Bayley was close to tagging a returning-to-action Sasha Banks, and Cross doing a crossbody off the ringside apron onto the Hugger. Despite this, the win never came for the chaotic duo, as Cross was taken out by the ring post after Sasha saved Bayley, followed by a roll-up on Fox for the three. That gives us all of Raw’s three teams in the Chamber match and two for SmackDown, with no real third option for the blue brand.
Elias vs. Jeff Jarrett
Next up was a sight I personally did never see happening again: Jeff Jarrett having a match on Raw. Out first came The Roadie/Road Dogg, Jesse James, to introduce Jeff Jarrett, who came out to his old WWF theme. They would then sing With My Baby Tonight, which without Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard would have got a far lower reaction than it did, and actually finished the song. Elias would then come out to for his match, but would berate the crowd first with the standard “You do not even have a football team” line, and then Road Dogg, claiming he should be “On SmackDown, killing that show’s ratings”.
The match itself was pretty much dominated by Elias, with him taking out both Jarrett and Jesse James throughout the match, although for his age, Jarrett was able to hit a very nice enzuiguri; that caught me off guard, which with him wrestling in Mexico should not have done. This was before Elias hit the Drift Away for the three-count. Post-match, Jarrett and The Roadie would get their revenge on Elias, with Jarrett hitting the guitar over Elias’s back. This looks to be heading to another match that will likely be a guitar on a pole (bro).
We cut to Natalya backstage, where Dana Brooke was apologising over last week; Natalya blanked her, which led to Dana challenging her for next week. The irony is Natalya had earpods in so she could not hear Dana.
Ric Flair’s Birthday Celebration was announced for three weeks in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, Charly Caruso interviewed Apollo Crews on if Kurt Angle still has enough in the tank. This led to an argument between Drake Maverick and Apollo, with the tease of a Rezar singles run.
Finn Balor vs. Lio Rush
Finn Balor came out for an Intercontinental Title match against Bobby Lashley, or so it seemed. As soon as the All-Mighty came out, his manager Lio Rush claimed this is not David vs. Goliath, and that Lashley would beat Brock Lesnar. Lashley then wanted Balor to impress him in order to earn a title shot, so we got Balor vs. Lio Rush instead.
This match very much appealed to a certain part of the fanbase, and was in general an enjoyable match. Some of the big moves were a suicide dive from Balor and a bottom rope springboard stunner from Rush. Lashley was sent backstage during this match for attempting to interfere. In the end, despite Rush’s best efforts, Balor was able to pick up the win with the Coup De Grace, giving him momentum for a likely Intercontinental Title shot at Elimination Chamber.
This was a pleasant surprise, with Paige appearing on Raw for the first time since her retirement speech the night after WrestleMania 34. Paige made this appearance to promote her film Fighting With My Family, which is the closest WWE can get to promoting The Rock on weekly TV without actually saying it.
A Moment Of Bliss w/ EC3
After a week’s break, A Moment Of Bliss returned to our screens with free agent EC3. After saying EC3 has a “large … bank account”, Bliss asked the tough questions on what brand EC3 will join. Before EC3 was able to answer, Nia Jax and Tamina came out to ask if anybody cares, and whether Nia should replace Becky at WrestleMania. This would lead to another interruption by Dean Ambrose, who claimed Nia Jax “can’t deal with my raw sexual magnetism”, and then asked EC3 “what happened to EC1 and EC2?” This led to EC3 punching Ambrose and the set-up for a match.
EC3 vs. Dean Ambrose
This match was quite short, which is not that much of a surprise, but it also made it uneventful other than the finish, which saw EC3 win with a roll-up over the former WWE Champion; on his first segment ever (backstage cutaways are not segments) on the main roster, EC3 interacted with two of the biggest names on the show, and pinned a former Grand Slam Champion.
Backstage Kurt Angle was asked if he still has it in him. Angle said he does, and Braun responded with the “It’s true, it’s damn true” catchphrase.
Mojo Rawley cut another screaming-into-the-mirror promo, which would make V1 of OSW blush. Rawley talked about “not being a team player” and screamed into the mirror once more.
Braun Strowman & Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin
Now we were at the main event of the show with a Teddy Long speciality. This was a standard TV match, with both McIntyre and Corbin working over Angle, and with Drew even using the finishing sequence to his win over Angle back in November. This was until Strowman came in and cleared house, before he too was worked over, and Angle got the hot tag, hitting multiple German suplexes on both McIntyre and Corbin. However, this would have a confusing finish, as Strowman was disqualified for attacking Corbin (who was legal whilst he was illegal in the ring). This is confusing as it’s a move that happens on TV every week and is normal. Nevertheless, post-match, Strowman would get payback on McIntyre and Corbin from last week, hitting chokeslams on both of them to rescue Angle. A rematch at Elimination Chamber is a likely outcome of this.
Overall, with this being a filler between Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, much of the show were segments that were unnecessary and boring. No Seth Rollins, even for a promo, damaged this show, but EC3 getting a big win and the opening angle were good moments on a lacklustre episode.