RAW starts with a moment of silence for the Parkland Tragedy. They cut the sound but for a brief second I thought the whole arena went silent.
Roman comes out to the ring. We’re starting off with the Gauntlet match. WWE is swinging for the fences right from the beginning which builds my anticipation for what the show will close with. There is a brief review of what happened on last weeks RAW. Mentioning that there will be 7 men to be in the Elimination Chamber. –Insert Random announcer— asks Roman about how he feels going in towards this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber match. He gives the typical Roman Reigns promo, he says hes the only one who can beat Lesnar at Mania. He said he could have beat him and Mania 31. Out comes Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
The crowd chants “Burn it down” even before the two lock horns. The two exchange holds in a good back and forth, not running off and doing crazy moves but telling a good story trying to make each look equal. Roman has a good amount of momentum coming out of the commercial but its turned around with Rollins hitting a few key spots. He goes for a suicide dive but catches a right hand from Roman and that’s the end of that. Roman misses the Superman punch twice, gets reversed to a perfect looking Turnbuck Bomb, which Roman no sells and hits a Superman punch. Commercial #2 for the match… We come back to Seth on the top rope, goes for a frog splash but Roman rolls away. Both men look destroyed already. Rollins hits two suicide dives on Roman. He goes to jump off the tope rope (Phenomenal forearm?!) but catches a Superman punch for his efforts. Roman goes for the pin but Seth kicks out at 2. Seth gets Roman with a rollup pin. Awesome first part of the Gauntlet. Roman Reigns looks around in disbelief. Roman and Seth look like they’re about to fist bump when John Cena’s music hits.
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena
Rollins attacks him right away and tries to pin John. John kicks out and we go to commercial. Back from commercial to John having momentum over Seth Rollins. The mention the Ronda Rousey signing this Sunday. We get a good showing of John Cena rest holds, wearing down Rollins. John throws Seth out and Seth barely makes it back in the ring for the 10 count. John is in total control of this match. He tells Seth to stay down. Another commercial… coming back there is a good back and forth between Seth and John. Cena then takes control and hits some sort of modified stunner. I’m not sure if it has a name but if it does I want to know it. Rollins stays alive somehow as John stalks him across the ring. Rollins looks exhausted and John toys with him. This is the John Cena I like to see. He’s talking trash and looking ready to go. Rollins mounts a comeback for a second but Cena gets the upper hand. Rollins knocked off the apron and the count starts. Seth crawls back to the ring and barely gets in. We get another commercial…That’s 3 for this match alone. We come back and John is still in control. Rollins hits a sling blade out of nowhere, goes for the pin but John kicks. Another back and forth leads to Cena and Rollins on the apron. John throws Rollins into the ring post. John goes to attack Seth on the floor but Rollins rolls out of the way but John hits the stairs. The ref counts but both make it in just in time. John takes control again, goes for the AA but Seth reverses. Seth applies a cross face on Cena but Cena overpowers and reverses into an AA that’s reversed. Seth hits a frog splash on John but Cena kicks at two. John hits a quick AA but Seth somehow kicks out. Rollins has been in the match for about an 55 minutes for those keeping score at home. The crowd is chanting “Burn it down!”. Seth hits a crazy top rope superplex into Falcon arrow on Cena but John kicks out at two. Seth goes for a knee but itsreversed into a STF. Seth gets out then John gets him right back into it. Seth escapes again. Michael Cole is losing his mind currently on commentary. John gets Seth on the top rope for aAA. Seth somehow gets out of it. Seth hits John Cena with an AA. John kicks out. The crowd is electric. Cole is still losing it. Cory Graves is also yelling for no reason. Coach is still smooth as butter. Seth climbs to the top rope for a Phoenix splash, John dodges, tries for AA, Seth reverses, hits the knee, then the curb stomp. Seth gets the pin and the win! Wow….just wow. Seth Rollins is putting on a hell of a show.
Elias vs Seth Rollins
Elias goes directly for the pin but Seth kicks. Elias tries for multiple pins but cant seem to get it. Commercial time so we can all rest for a minute from all the excitement. Back from the break we find Seth locked in a half-crab by Elias. Break to the back to the graceful, wonderful Renee Young who interviews John Cena. John says Seth is great but says he’s balancing a lot but he won’t give up. Rollins breaks the hold and both men exchange blows. Rollins hits a sweet super kick but can only get a two count on Elias. Seth flies over the ropes to Elias down on the outside. Rollins looks like his knee is hurt. Both end up back in the ring. Elias hits the drift away and gets the pin on Elias. Seth is done and looks wrecked. The crowd cheers loudly for Seth as he walks to the back.
Finn Balor vs. Elias
Balor takes it to Elias right at the start. Finn hits his usual spots on Elias but doesn’t get the Coup de Gras due to Elias rolling outside the ring. Back from commercial we have Elias in control. Break to Angel of my life, Renee Young, interviewing Seth Rollins backstage. He says he needs to win Sunday. That’s about it. Elias is still in control when we come back. The crowd breaks into a “We want Strowman” chant. Elias is working over Balor’s shoulder, slowing the pace of the match down. Finn catches a break and gets Elias to the outside. Balor kicks Elias into the barricade. Back in the ring Finn starts to get on a roll but Elias hits a nasty looking clothesline. Elias hits a powerbomband goes for the pin but Finn kicks. Commercial again. Finn is in control after the break. Elias reverses a pin attempt to a Fujiwara armbar on Finn. After another back and forth Finn hits the Coup de Gras and gets the win.
Miz vs. Finn Balor
Miz’s music hits and the Miztourage comes out, minus Miz. Mizattacks Balor from behind. Miz goes for a few quick covers but Finn kicks from each. The Miz works on Finn’s arms as we go to break….again. Back from the break and we get the Mizrunning the match. Go to backstage where Her Royal Highness, the eloquent and beautiful, Renee Young, interviews Elias. He talks about the match Sunday. Copy and paste the interviews from before. Back to the ring and Finn somehow has taken control. The winner of this will face Braun Strowman next. I do not envy the winner. Finn dives outside and takes out the Miztourage after they tried to interfere. Miz gets laid out. Finn goes to the top rope but Dallas and Axel interfere and Mizknocks Balor to the mat. Miz gets the win.
The Miz vs. Braun Strowman
Miz sits in the ring, no realizing he’s about to catch some hands from the Monster Among Men. Braun comes out looking ready to beat someone down. Miz dips out of the ring and Braun follows. Miz runs through the crowd. Braun chases him down and catches him. Braun takes Miz back to the ring. Commercial break. Back from another commercial and Braun is throwing Miz around as to be expected. Miz gets a little offense but its for not. The lovely Renee Young is backstage with Finn Balor. Hesmade about the Miztourage interfering. And then he says he’ll win the Elimination Chamber and beat Lesnar. While he was talking Braun hit a dropkick on the Miz. Braun stalks the Miz. Miz gets another small boost of offense but Braun steamrolls Miz and we go back to Braun killing the Miz. Braun is distracted by the Miztourage and Miz hits a Skull Crushing Finale on Strowman. Braun kicks out and launches Miz out of the ring. Miz ends up back in the ring and Braun hits the running powerslam to end the match at almost 2 hours. He points to the Mania sign. It’s next on the list to get those hands.
Braun walks up the ramp and is stopped by Charlie, who does the standard post match interview. Braun says he’ll win at EC and defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. He then decides he is in fact not finished with the Miztourage and walks down to the ring. He kills the whole group for about 5 minutes then heads to the back.
Next is a Jeff Jarrett HOF video package.
And we come to the darling Renee Young interviewing Asuka. Honestly, this was rough to watch. Asuka is a fantastic competitor but talking is not her strength. The interview is cut short by Nia Jax as she comes to beat Asuka down.
There is another Ronda Rousey video package before we get to the second and final match of the night.
Sasha Banks/Bayley/Mickie James vs. Absolution and Alexa Bliss
The beginnings of this match really just have each of the women coming out and having a spot or two, nothing special. Business really starts to pick up when Bayley goes for a tag to Sasha. Sasha gets in and starts to go wild but the ref didn’t see the tag so he starts to argue with her. This leads to Rose getting the upper hand. A little later on Mickie James gets tagged in and destroys everyone until interference from the outside causes her to catch a knee from Mandy Rose. Other note worthy things from the match were Alexa not tagging in when Mickie James was in the ring, playing into the friendship which all culminated with Mickie coming to Alexa’s aid after the match. Overall, the match was good for what it was and the crowd still seemed into it even after the super long gauntlet match from earlier. Sasha gets a clean win over Alexa with the Banks statement.
RAW this week was good in terms of story progression but lacked depth mainly because it was only two matches stretched over 3 hours. Seth Rollins was tonight’s MVP for sure, delivering some of the more memorable moments of the show. That’s all for this weeks RAW review. Catch my Smackdown Live Review tomorrow and the Elimination Chamber predictions later on in the week. Follow me on the Twitter machine for more wrestling shenanigans (@buuurch1) and ad always, take care!