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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This week's show begins with The Shield as they make their famed entrance through the crowd. Reigns got things started, making it clear that after last night, he has no regrets. He was doing something that he loves alongside people that he loves. The focus now becomes The Road to WrestleMania though, with Roman intending to make his 1-on-1 return tonight on RAW. Dean also has business to handle but as usual, it's currently unclear what that actually is. Reigns then shifted his attention to Rollins, reiterating his faith in Seth's title hopes. The trio then hit their iconic pose and left Rollins alone with a microphone in hand.
Before he could even get started though, Paul Heyman arrived. He began with his usual introduction but Seth then cut him off too, listing off Lesnar's past achievements himself before mentioning Brock's recent struggles with Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles and Finn Balor. Considering those performances, Rollins concludes that Lesnar struggles with athletes of his speed. Seth claims that he's built to slay the beast and that's exactly what he'll do at WrestleMania. This angered Heyman, who responded by pointing out Brock's lack of preparation time for those matches. Paul then pointed to the big screen, asking that Rollins watch a video package highlighting Lesnar's dominance.
Heyman then reiterated that this time, Brock has time to prepare while in-ring, SHELTON BENJAMIN jumped Seth from behind, leaving him laying with three German suplexes.
Seth Rollins vs. Shelton Benjamin
An impromptu match is underway here while Heyman joins the commentary team in response. Inside the ropes, Benjamin is in control early, grounding Rollins until Seth flurried with some strikes and then a blockbuster as well. However, his Stomp was avoided and Benjamin then blocked the dive too, landing a sharp knee for 2. Shelton then slowed things down again, grabbing a hold before leaving Rollins floored at ringside. In the meantime, Heyman answered a phone call from Lesnar while in-ring, Rollins made a comeback.
Heyman announced that Lesnar will appear on RAW next week as Benjamin used a pair of German Suplexes to regain control. A flurry of kicks quickly turned the tide though, with Rollins then hitting The Stomp to close the show.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Following that, we are told that Reigns' opponent tonight is Baron Corbin as in the meantime, Finn Balor made his way to the ring. He exchanged a handshake with Rollins along the way too.
WWE Intercontinental Title
Finn Balor (C) vs. Bobby Lashley
The visibly focused challenger took control right away, throwing Balor into the corner and going to work with strikes. However, a flurry of dropkicks soon cut him off with Finn overcoming his foe's power before landing his trademark apron kick as well. Back from the break though and Lashley is now in control, first grabbing a hold and then dropping Finn face first for 2. The fight then spilled to the outside, with Bobby dropping Balor back first on the apron. Another hold came next, with Finn eventually fighting to his feet and flurrying with some strikes.
A stomp to the chest soon followed but Lashley then overpowered Balor again, tackling him around the ring but running into a slingblade for his troubles. Balor then began to think Coup De Grace but he found himself distracted, with Lio Rush ringing the bell before eating a kick in response. The damage was done though, with Balor then finding himself halted in mid-air by a sudden Lashley Spear. That's all she wrote.
Winner and NEW Champion: Bobby Lashley
A Baron Corbin promo was up next, first recapping his comments re: Roman's return from Leukemia. Corbin stands by his comments, claiming that Reigns is now a lesser version of himself and tonight, his friends aren't there to help him.
Ronda Rousey is here now but first, we get a recap of her actions at Fastlane. She told the "bandwagon bitches" to shut up, saying that Becky is the cowardly hero that these fans deserve. At WrestleMania, she'll embarrass and humiliate both of her opponents, exposing WWE as the carny con artists that they've always been. Both Becky and Charlotte are jokes as well as anyone that believes in this whole charade. Before she can leave though, Dana Brooke is here. Dana says that with nothing left to lose, she refuses to allow Ronda's disrespect to stand. She loves WWE and has worked hard for the locker room's respect.
Every week, she fights for a chance and though she's rarely on TV, that's all she wants. Rousey usually issues an open challenge following a PPV and Brooke is here to accept exactly that. In response, Ronda kicked Brooke to the outside and then exploded with Judo throws before refusing to apply an armbar unless the fans "pay $60." She even dropped a referee on her way backstage.
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Gable and Black got this one started, with the former taking control early before bringing in Roode to hit a AA Spinebuster as well. Gable then re-entered, slowing things down with a hold before Roode did the same. Evasive action soon allowed a tag though, with Ricochet immediately running wild on both of his foes until a blind tag allowed them to hit a German Suplex/Blockbuster combo for 2. Things broke down from there, with Roode eventually finding himself isolated as a result.
Ricochet stunned him from there and Black then closed the show, hitting Black Mass for the win.
Winners: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Post-match, the victors found themselves floored on the ramp, with The Revival jumping them from behind.
Time for a Moment of Bliss next, with 'The Goddess' planning to announce the host of WrestleMania. She says that the WWE Universe has been buzzing before listing off the prior hosts as well. She then pointed to the big screen which revealed that this year's host will in fact be...ALEXA BLISS! "Shocked" by the news, Bliss began to hyperventilate before saying that the WWE Universe is welcome. Finally, WrestleMania will be hosted by the brightest star on the grandest stage of them all!
A recap of Michael Che and Colin Jost's appearance followed, with Braun Strowman then refusing to apologize before being told that his car is here. Confused by this, Braun investigated, finding out that the car is a present from Jost. This enraged Strowman, slowly tearing the vehicle apart before announcing that he'll be seeing Colin live in New York.
Elias was here next, calling himself a hero that his hometown crowd can believe in. Statistically speaking, he's an anomaly considering his Pittsburgh roots and Antonio Brown was following his advice when leaving. That brought out No Way Jose but Elias halted the conga line, greeting him with a dropkick and battering all involved. That concluded with Drift Away on the ramp as we next moved to a video package honouring Harlem Heat's upcoming Hall of Fame induction.
Time for Lacey Evans now, approaching Renee Young with a dismissive fan until Nia Jax and Tamina arrived, shrugging their shoulders at her while heading to the ring.
Nia Jax vs. Natalya
Pre-match, Natalya conceded that she obviously didn't know Ronda Rousey so well after all. However, she can certainly trust Beth Phoenix and that's who will be joining her tonight!
A clothesline put Jax on top right away, throwing Natalya around and using a Tamina interference along the way. That brought in Beth, immediately clearing the ring and taunting Jax as well. They were greeted backstage by Sasha Banks and Bayley, with a brawl breaking out as officials were forced to break them up.
Winner: Nia Jax via Disqualification
Following that, we saw that Dave Batista was here!
Speaking of such, Triple H then headed to the ring. He's ready to fight, motioning for Batista to join him. Dave indeed arrived but he didn't appear ready to fight and instead had a microphone in hand. Personal security then joined him as well, surrounding Batista on the ramp. Triple H mocked Batista's silence, again demanding that he join him in center ring. Dave says that security is here because he's not stupid. Instead, he learned from Triple H and Ric Flair and as a result, has protection. He's here to get what he wants and Helmsley knows what that is. Triple H refused, asking how many times his foe quit this company before threatening to make his way to Batista himself.
Batista conceded that he's quit, stating that he simply wanted to get away from Triple H. The choice is simple, give Batista what he wants or he'll continue to hurt the people he loves. Triple H continued to ask Batista for an immediate fight but Dave wanted a WrestleMania match instead and eventually, Helmsley accepted. Dave thanked his rival, stating that he can now end both his and H's career on his own terms. Triple H makes it clear that at WrestleMania, there will be No Holds Barred!
Kurt Angle arrived next, making his way to the ring for some form of announcement. Angle reminded the audience of his Pittsburgh roots before transitioning to his Hall of Fame WWE career. After all of these years, Angle's farewell match will take place at WrestleMania. With that in mind, Angle thanked the audience and called this the time of his life. Before WrestleMania though, Kurt wants to have one last match at home. Apollo Crews will be his opponent.
Kurt Angle vs. Apollo Crews
Some arm drags put Kurt on top early, grounding his opponent and then landing a belly to belly suplex before a dropkick cut him off. A suplex came next, with Crews then grabbing a hold until a strike exchange commenced. Angle got the upper hand, soon flurrying with German suplexes for 2. Apollo countered Angle Slam though, landing a sharp kick and hitting his standing moonsault for another near-fall. The follow-up Frogsplash missed, with Kurt seizing to hit Angle Slam for the win.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Post-match, Kurt helped Apollo to his feet and gave him a thankful embrace before bowing farewell to his hometown crowd.
After arriving for tonight's main event, Roman Reigns was blindsided by Drew McIntyre. Launched into the ring-post, Roman was stunned and then found himself floored too, eating Claymore on the outside. A 2nd one followed, sending Reigns head first into the post as a result. While being tended to by doctors, Reigns was joined by Seth Rollins. Helping his friend to the back, Rollins checked on Roman's heath as they slowly left ringside. Ambrose greeted them backstage and as Reigns headed for more treatment, Dean got in Triple H's face.
Ambrose demanded an immediate match with Drew and a Falls Count Anywhere one at that. Triple H accepted, making the match right away.
Falls Count Anywhere
Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
Before this match could even begin, Drew asked if Dean will squeal like his "pathetic brother Roman." In response, Ambrose greeted McIntyre on the ramp, unleashing a salvo of strikes and chasing him around the arena too. That resulted to the fight heading into the crowd, with Drew now dragging Dean up the tiers before launching him into the wall. Ambrose bit himself free though, leaping onto his foe to continue the chaos. The live action next headed back to ringside, as McIntyre launched Dean with a violent suplex on the outside. He then used the steps, flooring Ambrose twice but still failing to close the show.
Drew then took things back into the crowd, with Dean firing away in a wild flurry of strikes. A chair quickly cut him off though and the fight raged on. Ambrose next used a crate to quite literally run Drew across the arena before then approaching the announce table. An inside cradle was his apparent plan though and McIntyre seized, battering his foe but then being suplexed on the table for his troubles. A low-blow turned the tide nonetheless, with Drew then shoving a pencil in Dean's eye before throwing him into the stage.
With Ambrose suddenly trapped in a stage railing, McIntyre ended proceedings with a violent Claymore.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Post-match, Ambrose inexplicably made it upright only to eat one final Claymore for his troubles.
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