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