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 reminder of Roman Reigns' announcement four months ago. We then transitioned live as to an immense ovation, Reigns made his way to the ring. After soaking up the response at ringside, Reigns grabbed a microphone in center ring. He thanked the audience and said that he'd missed them as frankly, there's no other job like this. Roman went on to say that "this is our yard." Reigns then admitted that while he's a man of faith, he found himself terrified prior to his announcement in October. He simply didn't know how fans would react but the response was overwhelming. That reaction gave Reigns a new purpose, a desire to use this platform to raise awareness and support those in need.
With that in mind, Roman then transitioned to his update, announcing that he's in remission. As a result, "The Big Dog Is Back." Reigns then left with one final thank you, telling the audience that he loved them. As he headed to the back, Seth Rollins arrived, greeting Roman on the ramp for a hug.
The Revival vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet
Dash and Dawson immediately jumped their foes but Black and Ricochet fired back, clearing the ring and then hitting a pair of big dives too. Back from the break and a Black hot tag soon arrived, flurrying with strikes after Ricochet had briefly been controlled. Backstage, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable are watching on while in-ring Dawson scored a huge DDT for 2. Ricochet soon re-entered though, wiping out Wilder and leaving Scott isolated with Black once again. Aleister seized, landing Black Mass for the sudden win.
Winners: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Charly Caruso then interviewed Baron Corbin, asking if he's concerned about how Reigns will react to his recent comments. Corbin cited the pressure of being RAW General Manager and then said that for Roman's sake, he hopes their paths don't cross.
Elsewhere, Shawn Michaels is being interviewed and even has Johnny Gargano by his side.
In other news, Snoop Dogg wished Ric Flair a happy birthday via video message.
Elias was in-ring next but before he could start, Lacey Evans arrived. She walked down the ramp before turning around and returning backstage. Dean Ambrose then made his entrance, announcing that he's in a festive mood and as a result, he's here to challenge Drew McIntyre to a rematch. This time though, it'll be a No Disqualification Match. Instead, Elias went ahead with his song until Dean again cut him off. Elias then mocked Atlanta, but Ambrose conceded that he's a big fan of Elias before ducking a guitar shot and leaving him floored with Dirty Deeds.
The Riott Squad (Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott) vs. Natalya and Ronda Rousey
A spinebuster immediately put Logan in control, unleashing a salvo of strikes and quickly bringing in Riott as well. Natalya soon fired back though, pushing Ruby into the corner and tagging in Rousey for some tandem offense. An interference from Liv Morgan halted that momentum either way, with Riott cutting Ronda off and cornering her too. Natalya was back in before long regardless, briefly flurrying until another Morgan interference cut her off. She paid the price though, eating an adapted Hart Attack on the outside. Logan then regained The Riott's grip on things nonetheless, landing a big strike to leave Natalya floored.
With Natalya isolated, The Riott Squad went to work, grounding their foe and cornering her also. Logan then applied a modified Cloverleaf but Natalya soon fought free and made the tag. Rousey run wild, flurrying big on all three of her foes including a flying knee for 2. Piper's Pit came next but through the crowd, Becky Lynch was here. She dropped Natalya on the outside and used her crutch as a weapon also.
Winners: Ronda Rousey and Natalya via Disqualification
In response, Rousey went after Lynch and a brawl commenced until agents and referees separated them. In the end, the police department dragged Becky away while Rousey was restrained at ringside
As Natalya was helped to the back, Ronda Rousey returned to the ring and grabbed a microphone. She demanded that Vince McMahon come out here now but Stephanie arrived instead. Rousey asked for Lynch to be reinstated but McMahon announced that she'd actually been arrested so in truth, that was the last of her worries. Stephanie makes it clear that Ronda's opponent is Charlotte Flair because rather than the Road to WrestleMania, Becky is on the road to jail. Rousey says that everyone wants Lynch added though and even points to McMahon's three daughters but even still, Stephanie refused.
Ronda demanded once more, forcing McMahon to reiterate that she's the boss here. Rousey disagreed, saying that she's not their worker and she'll only carry the title while it represents the best. She can't endorse this violation of her title and states that Vince now must make the right decision, leaving her belt in center ring.
With another video message, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin also wished Ric Flair a happy birthday while an uncertain McMahon walked the RAW Women's Title backstage.
Back in-ring, Jinder Mahal mocked Ric Flair's birthday party and challenged anyone that's invited. In response, Kurt Angle arrived.
Jinder Mahal vs. Kurt Angle
The Singh Brothers distracted Angle right away, allowing Mahal to immediately land his big boot for 2. Jinder then followed up with strikes, next grabbing a hold and grounding Kurt as well. Angle eventually fought to his feet, soon flurrying with German Suplexes and then removing The Singh Brothers from the apron too. Mahal almost seized, thinking Khallas until Kurt countered, applying the Ankle Lock to close the show. Post-match, Angle left the Singh Brothers laying also.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Following that, Alexa Bliss was here for A Moment of Bliss. Her guest tonight is Finn Balor but first, Bliss took a shot at Ronda Rousey and made it clear that if WWE needs a reliable champion, she's available. Alexa then introduced Balor, initially reminding him of his Elimination Chamber triumph before criticizing the belt's impact on her view of Finn's abs. Lio Rush cut this flirting off, calling the talk show a sham and claiming that Lashley should be Intercontinental Champion. Rush makes it clear that with Bobby preparing for Braun Strowman, Balor has to answer to him.
Finn used this to suggest some tension between Lio and Lashley, next accepting 'the challenge' much to Rush's hesitation. Bliss then questioned if Lio was man enough for the job, with Rush quickly deciding that he'll head backstage to prepare. Instead, Bliss announced that the match will take place right now. As a result, both men made their way to the ring.
Before that though, Maria Menounos wished Ric Flair a happy birthday while backstage, Sting arrived and greeted Titus O'Neil with a hug.
WWE Intercontinental Title
Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor (C)
Rush's speed gained him an early advantage, using evasive tactics and rapid flurries until Balor cut him off with a back elbow. Stomps followed but Lio then fired back, sweeping Finn's leg on the apron and following up too, landing a springboard moonsault as well as two explosive dives as well. Balor avoided Final Hour though, getting his knees up and yet again taking control. That included Slingblade but Lio soon stopped Finn in his tracks nonetheless, targeting Balor's leg once more and immediately going to work also.
Balor came right back though, stringing together strikes until Rush again floored him with a kick of his own. Finn fired back with a lariat but Lio then cut Balor off on the top rope, next almost scoring the win with a quick roll-up. From there, a strike exchange commenced and after initially struggling, Finn came out on top, quickly closing the show via Coup De Grace.
Winner and STILL Champion: Finn Balor
Backstage, The Ascension mocked Tucker Knight, poking fun at Otis Dozovic until the man himself arrived. Knight told Otis about their comments and this enraged Dozovic, swiftly pushing them to the floor in one swift move.
Elsewhere, Bobby Lashley is incensed at Lio Rush. He explains that Rush only has one job, next asking if he can trust Lio and then together, heading to the ring.
Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman
Lashley immediately jumped Braun from behind, going to work with strikes and controlling things right away. Braun quickly powered himself back on top though, flurrying with his own strikes and sending Bobby to the floor. His running tackle came next, dropping both Lio and Lashley on the outside. With the bell never actually ringing, Strowman then headed to the back, apparently satisfied with his work.
Backstage, Seth Rollins was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Rollins once again promised that he's headed to a Universal Title win but nonetheless, tonight is about celebrating the return of Roman Reigns.
Elsewhere, Ric Flair and his wife arrived in a limousine.
No Disqualification Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
Ambrose met Drew on the ramp, flurrying right away and taking immediate control. Dean then looked to use his belt as a weapon but McIntyre halted those plans, taking the belt himself and going to work. A spinebuster followed but Ambrose kicked out at 2, eating more shots of the belt for his troubles. Ambrose then briefly rallied but Drew cut him off again, catching Dean mid-dive and landing a suplex on the outside. Back from the break and Ambrose is rallying again, hitting his elbow drop to the floor and sending McIntyre into the steel steps as well. In-ring, a neckbreaker came next and then a flurry with the belt too.
McIntyre fired back via Glasgow Kiss though, next focusing on the steps himself but landing face first on them instead. As Ambrose then looked to take advantage, Elias arrived, hitting Dean on the spine with his guitar and rolling him back in the ring. Drew seized, hitting Claymore for the win.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Post-match, Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley made their entrance too, allowing all four to put the boots to Dean before landing some signature offense as well. That brought out Seth Rollins and then, Roman Reigns also! They immediately cleared the ring, removing all involved with their trademark offense before leaving only to share a stare with Ambrose from the ramp-way.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Sasha Banks and Tamina are here at ringside respectively as it's announced that at Fastlane, these two teams will clash for the WWE Women's Tag Titles. In-ring, Bayley took control early, landing a hip toss and flurrying with strikes until Jax throttled her, sending her to the floor in an instant. Back from the break and Nia was still in control, applying a bear-hug until Bayley managed to fight free. She avoided Jax's elbow drop too, next making a comeback until she was flattened by Nia's sudden tackle. Jax then began to rag-doll Bayley but she soon fired back, creating some space and unleashing strikes that sent Nia to the outside.
Out of nowhere, Jax then regained control though, catching Bayley in mid-air and taking her out in the corner. Banks was Jax's next focus but she quickly paid the price, with Bayley landing a big knee before Tamina was taken out too. Bayley then seized in center ring, landing her elbow drop for the win.
Time for Ric Flair's Birthday Party now as the roster fills the ramp-way while Triple H and Stephanie McMahon make their way to the ring. Triple H ran through the night's major events before claiming that all of that pales in comparison to Ric Flair's birthday party. Stephanie then introduced Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, Kurt Angle and Sting. A video package celebrating Flair followed, as well as the unveiling of a "custom" world championship belt. Flair didn't arrive as his music played though, with us instead seeing DAVE BATISTA dragging a cameraman to Ric's dressing room.
He then pulled Flair out of the dressing room, asking if he has Hunter's attention now. Triple H immediately headed backstage, running to Flair's aid after Batista had seemingly fled the scene.
Well, that was this week's RAW folks, thanks for following along. Now be sure to check out our post-show podcast at the link below!