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 Brock Lesnar and as usual, he has Paul Heyman by his side. After Lesnar had laughed off the crowd's boos, Heyman introduced Brock in his signature fashion before transitioning to Seth Rollins. Paul called Seth a "foolish" revisionist, pointing out that regardless of his supposed struggles, Lesnar beat AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Finn Balor as well. Heyman also questioned Rollins' decision to face Drew McIntyre, citing the Scotsman's recent destruction of Roman Reigns. That brought out the man himself, with McIntyre promising to brutalize Rollins so much that he doesn't even make it to WrestleMania.
Seth responded by arriving with a steel chair in hand, battering Drew on the ramp and refusing to stop as he sent a clear message to Lesnar. As he entered the ring though, Brock bailed, heading backstage while taunting his foe with a grin.
A recap of Bobby Lashley's Intercontinental Title win followed that and up next, he and Lio Rush will face Finn Balor and a mystery partner. Before that though, Balor wished Chicago a happy belated St Patrick's Day and then promised to reclaim his title sooner rather than later. That brought out Lio and Lashley, with the former calling Finn a "little leprechaun" while Lashley posed with the championship. Balor reiterated his intentions of regaining the gold and then introduced his partner....BRAUN STROWMAN!
Finn Balor and Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush
Bobby and Braun got this one started, locking horns until Strowman's power quickly put him on top. Back from the break though and the tide had turned, with Balor finding himself isolated as Lio and Lashley went to work. Bobby soon grabbed a hold, preventing Finn from making the tag and instead running him across the ring. Balor responded with evasive action though, next flooring Rush and tagging in Strowman. He run wild on Rush, launching him around the ring and then clubbing him to the mat before Lashley landed a sudden Spear to halt the Running Powerslam.
Things then broke down and left Lio alone with Braun, initially hitting Final Hour for 2. Before long though, Rush was running away and soon found himself cornered as a result. However, Lashley again prevented things from escalating, taking out Balor and being tackled by Strowman himself. The champion then bailed, walking away as Braun closed the show via Running Powerslam.
Winners: Finn Balor and Braun Strowman
Up next, we got a recap of last week's exchange between Ronda Rousey and Dana Brooke. This was followed by footage of Rousey arriving with Travis Browne by her side. John Cone informed her that she is late and after last week's chaos, she'll now be surrounded by extra security too.
Alexa Bliss is here after that, taking her seat for another Moment of Bliss. She welcomed the crowd and reminded them of her role as WrestleMania host. Bliss then handed things over to Michael Cole as he and the announcers previewed the show's card itself. Alexa claimed that she's the ideal host for WrestleMania as she inspires people all over the world including Youtuber Lily Singh. Bliss then introduced her guest: Elias, and promised that this is a safe place as no one will interrupt his announcement. Elias took the opportunity to announce himself as WrestleMania's headline musical act.
Bliss then reminded Elias of his struggles last year but Elias scoffed at this, claiming that he thrives under pressure before taking a shot at the Chicago Cubs. Elias promised to produce a historic performance and threatened anyone interrupting when suddenly, a Heavy Machinery conga line arrived. Alexa was angered by this, conceding their role as a talk show gag but one that had been rehearsed for the segment's close. Elias then began to trash talk Otis until a masked No Way Jose jumped him from behind before heading to the ring.
Elias vs. No Way Jose
In control early, Jose wrestled Elias to the mat before being cut off and briefly worked over with strikes. A comeback soon arrived nonetheless, with Jose flurrying big until his top rope cross-body missed. Elias then resumed his strike onslaught, battering Jose in the corner and flooring him with a clothesline too. A bodyslam came next and then an elbow drop off the top rope as well. Drift Away followed and that was all.
Kurt Angle is here next, restating his retirement plans and thanking the crowd. Angle chooses Baron Corbin as his WrestleMania opponent because a win over him will make Kurt the happiest man in the world.
Kurt Angle vs. Chad Gable
The pair begin things with a handshake, as Chad called Kurt his hero before they locked up as well. Gable quickly tackled Angle to the mat, next taking control of the early grappling exchanges until a belly to belly suplex turned the tide. That sent Chad to the floor but Angle waived him back in, reinitiating the wrestling back and forth as Kurt briefly gained the upper hand. Gable then put himself back in control, working over Angle's arm and grabbing a hold. Angle powered free though, slowing things down but soon being sent to the floor for his troubles.
Gable then focused on Angle's leg, going to work with focused attacks until he was clotheslined over the top rope. Back from the break and Kurt continued to flurry, landing a salvo of strikes and applying the Ankle Lock before being rolled up for 2. Gable then applied the hold himself, countering Angle's famed German suplexes but soon being powered free. Chad countered again though, shifting the Angle Slam into a sharp DDT for another near-fall. His follow-up moonsault missed nonetheless and Kurt then closed the show, forcing Gable to submit via Ankle Lock.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Post-match, Baron Corbin was here, celebrating his role as Angle's opponent. Baron promised to dominate and humble his foe as unfortunately, people will only remember Kurt's last match.
A recap of Drew McIntyre's attack on Roman Reigns followed that, as well as his violent win over Dean Ambrose.
Backstage, Corbin is talking to The Revival about Angle's showing before Apollo Crews arrived, forcing his way into a match with Baron. He then told Corbin that no one liked him and much to Baron's chagrin, The Revival agreed.
In-ring, Charly Caruso questioned The Boss 'n' Hug Connection about The IIconics' recent criticism of them. This angered Banks but Bayley took the microphone, announcing that they'll make an "iconic" appearance on SmackDown Live tomorrow night. They then transitioned to WrestleMania which brought out The Divas of Doom. Beth reiterated her respect for the champions, crediting their accomplishments before conceding that she'd have loved that opportunity in her full-time career. Phoenix then said that Nia Jax and Tamina's jealousy and pettiness "awoke the dragon."
Now feeling as though their dream may be alive once again, Beth challenged the champions to a tag title match at WrestleMania. Bayley questioned if that's enough time for Phoenix to prepare but Natalya scoffed at this, reminding everyone of Beth's accomplishments before Banks claimed that Natalya was simply riding Phoenix's coattails. A brawl commenced from there, initially between Natalya and Sasha but then between Beth and Bayley as the hall of famer pushed her opposition to the floor.
Sasha Banks vs. Natalya
An impromptu match is now underway, with Natalya using her signature offense to flurry early before applying a modified abdominal stretch. A clothesline soon followed and as Banks rolled to the outside, Nia Jax arrived. She claimed that in three years, she's already achieved more than Beth ever did while Tamina showed up at ringside, flooring everyone until Natalya chased her off. Jax then signed off by saying that she'll see them all at WrestleMania.
Winner via Disqualification: Sasha Banks
A Mojo Rawley mirror promo followed that, with Mojo asking himself why regardless of his "potential," he can't figure it out.
Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal
Flurrying early, Ricochet landed a flashy springboard dropkick and then some follow-up strikes until a Singh Brothers interference cut him off. Mahal went to work right away, slamming Ricochet to the mat for 2 and then grabbing a hold. After being controlled, Ricochet soon fought to his feet but found himself launched into the corner nonetheless. Another hold followed but Ricochet's comeback soon arrived, creating space with a kick and then stringing together some trademark offense.
Standing Shooting Star Press came next and Ricochet then followed Jinder to the floor, hitting a spectacular dive to floor Mahal and The Singh Brothers at once. 630 followed and with it, Ricochet had scored the win.
Following that, we recapped the announcement of Sue Aitchison's Hall of Fame induction.
Before our next match, Seth Rollins said that tonight's match with Drew is for Roman, Dean and honestly, for Brock too. He's not afraid to fight fire with fire and he'll prove that tonight and at WrestleMania as well.
A Dana Brooke interview followed that, with the challenger promising to make history by simply being better than Rousey for just 3 seconds. That's all she needs.
WWE RAW Women's Title
Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Dana Brooke
A defiant slap only fired up Rousey up early, with Ronda landing a sharp knee in response before almost immediately applying the armbar to score a rapid win.
Winner and STILL Champion: Ronda Rousey
Post-match, Rousey took out a referee and kissed Travis Browne before the pair combined to floor two security guards. Browne then restrained Rousey, smartly leading her backstage.
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
An exchange of strikes got this one started, with Crews sending Corbin to the floor until a sudden right hand stopped him in his tracks. Now in control, Baron went to work with strikes before quickly grabbing a hold. Apollo soon fought to his feet, briefly escaping Corbin's grasp until Deep Six floored him for 2. Crews did avoid End of Days though, quickly catching a sharp roll-up for the win.
Winner: Apollo Crews
Post-match, Angle joined Crews in his celebration, congratulating Apollo on the win while laughing at Corbin.
A recap of the Triple H/Batista confrontation came next and that led us to a satellite interview with Batista himself. Dave said that he simply doesn't like Helmsley and as a response, he's wanted a match with him since leaving. Unimpressed by the answer, Cole asked for details and Batista responded, pointing out that Triple H simply used him back for his own protection. Batista then blamed his 2010 departure on Helmsley, claiming that he was held down by jealousy and that his accomplishments since have proved Hunter wrong. Now he's in control and as a result, has the match he wants. Batista then scoffed at the notion that Triple H is anything but an insecure control freak. He then promised to end Helmsley's career at WrestleMania.
After that, we got a recap of Colin Jost's ill-fated gift for Braun Strowman before 'The Monster Among Men' said that Che and Jost disrespected him and the WWE. Braun is so angry that at WrestleMania, he'll be entering the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and after destroying all involved, he'll focus on those two. That brought in Alexa Bliss, with the WrestleMania host offering to broker a peace that Strowman initially refused. After asking for a week to sort the issue though, Bliss was granted exactly that.
Before his match with Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre had a microphone in hand, first sending us to another recap of his attack on Roman Reigns. McIntyre claimed that at Fastlane, Reigns exposed himself as being a weaker man than before. Drew called the fans deluded, claiming to have exposed the truth with his battering of Reigns. McIntyre then addressed "Joe, the man," challenging him to a fight at WrestleMania. He asked Reigns to say no though, encouraging him to choose his family over the fans. While Roman beat Leukemia, Drew promises that he won't beat him and instead, all bets are off as to how far he'll go. That brought in Seth Rollins, saying that this is now for him before meeting McIntyre with a brawl on the ramp.
Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins
With the match officially underway, Drew took control early, grounding his foe and grabbing a hold. Seth fought to his feet though, briefly creating space but being suplexed for his troubles. Another hold then followed but the fight soon spilled to the floor, with Rollins missing an ill-advised moonsault off the steel steps. Back from the break and McIntyre remained on top, continuing to dominate proceedings until a hurricanrana counter turned the tide. Rollins failed to follow up though, with Drew catching his big dive and slamming him into the barricade.
McIntyre then retrieved a steel chair but walked into a superkick instead. Rollins continued to rally too, this time landing his dive on two occasions before scoring slingblade and superkick as well. Drew fired back just as swiftly though, landing his inverted Alabama Slam for 2. McIntyre then opted to head up top, eventually falling victim to a sudden superplex/falcon arrow combo for another near-fall. That brought out Brock Lesnar and with Rollins distracted, McIntyre seized, hitting Claymore for the win.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
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