Welcome to Fightful.com's live coverage & discussion for tonight's episode of WWE Raw.
We'll be bringing you full, match by match coverage of every bout on the card and you can watch along with us, sending in your feedback on our Disqus boards below!
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We begin this week's show with a shot of Vince McMahon's customary limousine arrival. Back inside the arena, Braun Strowman is here, grabbing a microphone in center ring. Braun claims that Brock Lesnar has always been afraid of him, listing their past exchanges before sending a message directly to The Universal Champ. As Strowman made his intentions clear though, Baron Corbin suddenly emerged with a microphone in hand. Strowman continually cut him off nonetheless, reminding Corbin of his recent firing before Baron mocked Braun's WWE Crown Jewel defeat. Corbin then made his Royal Rumble hopes apparent, with the enraged Strowman chasing him backstage.
The hunt was initially unsuccessful, with Sunil Singh taking the brunt of Strowman's force until he briefly walked off camera. In the meantime, Elias revealed Corbin's hiding spot with a song, telling Strowman that he's actually in McMahon's aforementioned limo. Braun took his word for it, yanking out the driver and shattering the window as Corbin ran to safety. Greeted by the carnage was McMahon however, reacting angrily without even saying a word. While waiting for a response, Strowman looked to replace the destroyed door until McMahon called Braun "a danger zone" and claimed that this would cost him $100,000. Braun refused this claim and in response, Vince removed him from his upcoming Universal Title match!
Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks vs. Tamina and Nia Jax
Opening match time now but first we see Braun Strowman being escorted out of the building much to Corbin's delight. In-ring, Sasha and Nia get us started as Banks ignores Jax's appeal for a clash with Ronda. Instead, Banks flurried with strikes and strung together some signature offense before applying a sleeper hold. Eventually, Jax powered free but Banks continued to control things nonetheless, soon bringing in Rousey. Tamina greeted her but was quickly caught in an armbar, scurrying to the outside with Jax's help. Stalling tactics halted things at this point, with Tamina taking a moment outside the ring.
We returned to the action with Nia in control though, dominating Banks and grounding things with a hold. Tamina continued the onslaught, landing strikes in the corner and preventing a tag too. However, Tamina then inadvertently removed Jax from the apron and Sasha seized, applying The Bank Statement for the submission win.
Winner: Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks
Post-match, Charly Caruso interviewed the winners as Ronda claimed that a win over Banks will be her greatest achievement as champion. Rousey's compliments insulted Sasha who responded with fire, reiterating that she'll teach Ronda how to lose with class. Ronda claimed that lesson didn't matter to her and this again angered Banks, who felt she was being called a loser. In the end, Sasha said that Rousey could bank on a new champion at Royal Rumble but Ronda chased her up the ramp-way, continuing to apologize as Banks refused to accept her attempts.
Backstage, we see a lineup of...middling talent outside Vince McMahon's office before to a hometown ovation, Jerry 'The King' Lawler emerged with a smile.
Staying out of the ring, Bayley and Natalya separated Banks and Rousey, eventually sending them in opposite directions. This then resulted in Bayley and Natalya arguing about who's in the wrong until The Riott Squad arrived to mock their conflicting foes. This culminated in a six-woman tag match being booked, provided Bayley and Natalya can "find a friend."
The Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Gran Metalik) vs. The Revival
Pre-match, The Revival came out with microphones and mentioned last week's result before claiming that their foes would pay for turning their backs on The Revival. In-ring, Wilder briefly took control before a Kalisto flurry shifted things, scoring with some spectacular offense and bringing in Metalik for some tandem maneuvers too. Out of nowhere, The Revival turned the tide though, cutting Kalisto off as we headed backstage for a brief Apollo Crews interview about why he should be challenging Lesnar at The Royal Rumble. Curt Hawkins disagreed before EC3 (silently), The B-Team and Heath and Rhyno all stated their own case.
Back to the action now as Metalik made a hot tag, running wild on both Wilder and Dawson until things broke down. Suddenly, only Metalik and Dawson remained as Scott landed a big fake-out DDT and after Wilder removed Metalik's foot from the bottom rope, that was enough to give them the win.
Winner: The Revival
Mr McMahon has finally emerged from his office but he ignores Dasha's hopes for an interview, instead heading to the ring. Now in center ring, McMahon seemed set to make his position clear when suddenly, John Cena arrived. Cena immediately cut McMahon off, "saving him the time and the trouble," and reminding everyone of his own ascension years ago. All Cena needed back then was "a chance" to step up and that's all he wants now, a chance at The Royal Rumble. This culminated in a 'Ruthless Aggression' reference which in turn, brought out Drew McIntyre. Enraged by these claims, Drew laughed off Cena's 'Ruthless Aggression' before making his own case to McMahon and telling John to leave.
Instead, Baron Corbin showed up, mentioning earlier's incident and positioning himself for a Universal Title match too. Finn Balor was out next, reminding all involved that he's the only one of them to have been Universal Champion. McMahon seemingly dismissed this, questioning Balor's chances. Finn responded by pointing out that though Vince never believed in him, the people do and in hope of showing McMahon himself, Balor dropped Corbin as things suddenly broke down. McIntyre immediately came out on top in emphatic fashion, as a fired up McMahon booked a fatal four-way match for tonight.
As McMahon headed backstage though, Jinder Mahal stopped him to state his own case for match with Lesnar. He was somewhat successful too, being given a chance to pick one of tonight's four participants and if he beats them, he takes their spot. Mahal opts for Balor.
The Riott Squad vs. Bayley, Natalya and Nikki Cross
Playing the role of Bayley and Natalya's partner, Nikki Cross is here but according to Michael Cole, the new talents will be initially appearing on both brands. Nonetheless, Cross indeed got things started, demanding a tag and running wild on Sarah Logan as well as Liv Morgan. Riott rallied the troops and the number game halted Cross in the end, forcing Bayley and Natalya to make the save as Cross trapped Ruby in the apron and flurried with forearms. Back from the break though, and the Riott Squad were now in control, with Logan beating Bayley to the floor and then bringing in Morgan.
Together, they continued to work Bayley over until she finally fought free, bringing in Natalya for a big hot tag. Things broke down from there, with Bayley taking out Riott as eventually, Cross tagged herself in and with Natalya's help, run wild on all parties. Morgan soon cut her off on the outside but ate a neckbreaker for her troubles as Bayley then hit the elbow drop for the win.
Winner: Bayley, Natalya and Nikki Cross
As Finn Balor heads to the ring, he passes Lacey Evans who's talking with Dana Brooke and Mickie James.
Before heading to the ring, we are also greeted to a Dean Ambrose promo in which he explains the rights and wrongs of tonight's match.
Jinder Mahal vs. Finn Balor
Before the match could begin, Mahal attacked Balor in his entrance, taking advantage of a Samir Singh interference and assaulting Finn on the outside. After Balor was returned to the ring, the match officially begun, with Mahal continuing the assault on his damaged foe before slowing things down and grabbing a hold. Balor soon came back though, flurrying with strikes before being cut off on the apron. Back in-ring and Mahal was still dominating, dictating the action until Finn finally fought to his feet, landing some strikes to turn the tide. He continued to flurry too, building momentum and making a comeback that culminated in a huge dive onto both Mahal and Singh.
From there, Balor soon closed the show, hitting Coup De Grace for the win and maintaining his spot in tonight's main event also.
Winner: Finn Balor
Off to a selfie promo from Lio Rush next, discussing the upcoming Intercontinental Title match as Rush called Lashley "a fighter" while making his intentions for tonight clear.
Dean Ambrose (C) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins
Pre-match, Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins as he conceded that tonight may be his last shot at the Intercontinental crown. Rollins then went through his history with Ambrose and promised that tonight, he'll "lay it all on the line." To the action now as Rollins immediately cleared the ring, hitting a dive on Lashley and a cross-body off the top too. However, Ambrose and Lashley soon halted his momentum, teaming up to work Rollins over as an agreement of sorts seemingly emerged. Eventually though, Rollins evaded both men, firing back until Lashley violently slammed him out of the air.
Ambrose seized, removing Bobby before walking into a quick roll-up as Rollins took control with a suicide dive to the floor. Rush stopped him in his tracks though, smartly using his speed and leading Rollins directly into a Lashley spinebuster. Ambrose was up next too, eating a suplex from Lashley on the outside. Back in-ring, Bobby has now grounded things, controlling Rollins until the old Shield brothers produced a flashback moment with some surprising tandem offense. Focusing on their shared enemy, Ambrose and Rollins floored Bobby with the steel steps before going face to face in center ring.
A wild brawl commenced from there, with Rollins getting the better of things and hitting Falcon Arrow for 2, as Lio Rush broke the fall. Rollins chased after him in response but it was Ambrose's knee that eventually sent Rush to the outside. In the meantime, Lashley returned, removing Rollins and almost stealing the win until Seth re-entered. Rollins' frog-splash came next but Dean stole the pin, with Lashley kicking out at 2. Either way, Rollins next entry was stopped by Rush, pulling him out as Lashley speared Ambrose to become Intercontinental Champion!
Winner and NEW Champion: Bobby Lashley
Backstage, Alexa Bliss' locker room is entered without her invite, still dressing as her assistant enters with latte in hand.
Off to the actual 'Moment of Bliss' now as Alexa Bliss announces that at Elimination Chamber, three teams from RAW and SmackDown each will enter the chamber in hope of becoming the first ever Women's Tag Team Champions. Bliss then revealed the titles and introduced her guest: Paul Heyman. Well in fact, he actually introduced himself, going through with his usual shtick before taking a seat. Heyman welcomed Bliss' questions and Alexa responded, mentioning tonight's fatal four-way main event. Paul promised a successful title defense for Lesnar regardless of tonight's winner before running through the possibilities. As Heyman spoke up all four men individually, Bliss' focus was taken by the arrival of Otis Dozovic.
Befuddled, Alexa and Heyman seemed stunned by Dozovic's wackiness as he was dragged away by Tucker Knight. Either way, the bell sounded and for now, that was the end of 'A Moment of Bliss.'
Number One Contender Match
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. John Cena
The participants immediately paired off, with Cena brawling opposite Drew as Balor and McIntyre went to war in-ring. A few minutes later and it's Balor and McIntyre going head to head, with Finn flurrying until Corbin removed him from the apron. He then turned into a Cena DDT though, forcing Drew to break the fall at 2. Cena made his vintage comeback on McIntyre, running wild and landing Five Knuckle Shuffle as well as an AA that forced Corbin to stop the count himself. Corbin and Cena then went back and forth until Balor re-entered, helping John to hit a double suplex before positioning Baron on the top rope.
The double superplex looked set to come next but McIntyre cut it off, removing both Balor and Cena before looking to superplex Corbin himself. Baron countered but Drew fired back, launching Corbin across the ring anyway. Back from another break now as Corbin floors Balor with End of Days, forcing Drew to halt the pin and drop Baron with a big headbutt. McIntyre then also caught Cena out of the air, landing a huge spinebuster for 2. With all four men briefly on their feet, McIntyre and Corbin both dropped their counterparts until Cena and Balor made a comeback each.
Now the only two men left standing, Balor looked set to hit Coup De Grace but Cena cut him off, suddenly heading up for a Super AA. Corbin stole the pin but Balor kicked out regardless. Desperate, Baron grabbed a steel chair and went to work, battering all of his foes without managing to close the show. Eventually, Cena evaded Corbin, hitting an AA but turning directly into Claymore. Balor then DDT'd McIntyre though, heading up top and pinning Cena via Coup De Grace.
Winner: Finn Balor
Post-match, Cena credited Balor, raising his arm and saying that he now believes in him too.
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