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 Roman Reigns as he said that while last week "was the comeback," this week "we take our yard back." Reigns then moved on to say that there's one man standing in his way: his brother Seth Rollins. Intending to address Rollins, Roman then welcomed Seth to the ring himself. Rollins says that Reigns' announcement was one of the best moments of his life and with that inspiration, Seth intends to slay the beast and bring the Universal Title back to RAW. However, Rollins relates to the struggle of vacating a title and concedes that Roman deserves a title shot just as much as him. Reigns said that Seth is wrong, explaining that Rollins was the sole person keeping things in line while he was away. Considering that, Roman trusts that Seth has what it takes to dethrone WrestleMania, next wishing him good luck.
Reigns does want a favor though, asking Rollins to "get the band back together." Seth refused, pointing out Dean's prior betrayal and forcing Roman to convince him. Reigns explained that life is short and regardless of what Ambrose is doing next, he wants one more moment with his brothers first. Rollins pondered and eventually agreed, co-signing one final Shield revival. In response, Reigns asked for Ambrose's arrival and Dean indeed emerged with a microphone in hand. Before he could talk though, Elias attacked him from behind, leaving Ambrose laying with a sudden guitar shot. Rollins and Reigns quickly ran to Dean's aid but Elias had already bailed. After returning to his feet, Ambrose refused help and simply headed to the back.
Elsewhere, Charly Caruso is interviewing the group of Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and an unusually quiet Lio Rush. Together, they scoffed at a potential Shield reunion and then previewed their upcoming match with Braun Strowman, Kurt Angle and Finn Balor.
Finn Balor, Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre
Corbin jumped Braun at the bell but quickly paid the price, going flying to the outside and being followed there by Strowman too. In response, Baron brought Drew in but Strowman continued to flurry, next tagging in Balor who was quickly cut off. He soon fired back nonetheless, landing a big dive but then being blindsided by a Lio Rush interference. Balor was now isolated, steadily being worked over and almost succumbing to Deep Six as well. Before long, Balor fought free regardless, creating space and bringing in Angle.
Kurt flurried on McIntyre right away, landing his trademark German Suplexes and then applying The Ankle Lock. A Lashley interference cut him off though, allowing Drew to land the Glasgow Kiss which swiftly reset things in the process. Either way, Kurt soon used evasive action to create some space of his own, tagging in Strowman and allowing him to run wild on all involved. The flurry culminated in a Running Powerslam as well as Coup De Grace but Rush yanked Finn's foot to prevent the pin. In response, Balor chased Lio to the outside and as a result, found himself floored by Lashley.
Strowman seeked redemption but Bobby moved, causing Strowman to flatten Rush through the barricade. Unmoved by this, Lashley and co seized, pinning Balor with a Spear.
Winners: Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre
Post-match, the trio continued their attack, first targeting Balor but then driving Angle head first into the steel steps. They still wasn't done either, next refocusing on Balor and slamming him onto the steps.
Backstage, Charly Caruso is interviewing Heavy Machinery. She pointed them to footage of The Ascension and to a lesser extent, B-Team and Hawkins and Ryder mocking them. This hurt Otis' feelings but Tucker reassured him, claiming that they'll make sure to beat all three of those teams.
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott
Ruby immediately took control here, dragging Natalya to the mat and going to work with kicks. Riott then grabbed a hold but her foe soon fired back, making her usual comeback and then applying the Sharpshooter. After a struggle, Ruby kicked free and attempted a quick roll-up but Natalya countered, pinning Riott with a small package of her own.
Post-match, Lacey Evans walked past Natalya only to simply turn around once again.
Following that, we got a recap of Batista's return before Stephanie McMahon welcomed Michael Che and Colin Jost to Monday Night RAW. McMahon announced that they'll be special guest correspondents for WrestleMania.
Triple H was here next but first, we saw Batista's Instagram message explaining his disinterest in attending tonight's show. In-ring, Triple H then spoke about his intentions to tribute "Richard Fliehr", the man that he got to know over their years of friendship. Helmsley mentioned being there for Fliehr at his worst times and then conceded that last year, he was constantly fearful that bad news was inevitable. Considering that, he simply wanted to make his friend happy but Batista prevented that. As a result, Batista now has Triple H's attention. Unlike when he didn't get his own way before, Batista couldn't quit this time, instead opting to attack a 70 year old man.
Helmsley doesn't care where they fight as this isn't about characters or entertainment but instead, a matter far more personal than that. Triple H then dared Batista to meet him face to face, reiterating that he indeed has his attention before storming off backstage.
A recap of Ronda Rousey's actions came next and that was followed by an interview with Stephanie McMahon. She said that in order to do what's best for WWE, they are removing Becky Lynch's suspension. Provided she signs a hold harmless agreement tonight, Becky will wrestle at Fastlane, facing Charlotte Flair for the vacant RAW Women's Title.
Elsewhere, Dean Ambrose is off preparing for his match with Elias. Reigns approached, asking to talk but Dean's focus remained on his upcoming match.
Heavy Machinery vs. The B-Team, The Ascension and Hawkins and Ryder
Looking to "run the gauntlet here," Heavy Machinery begun with The B-Team and quickly took control. Axel then briefly cut Knight off but he soon turned the tide, flooring both and bringing in Otis. The Compactor soon followed and closed the show in the process. The Ascension were in next, going to work right away and soon grounding Tucker as well. After being worked over for a while, Tucker created some space and tagged in Dozovic. He run wild, launching Viktor around and then landing the Vader Bomb to eliminate The Ascension.
Hawkins immediately jumped Otis in response, quickly bringing in Ryder as some tandem offense almost closed the show. However, Knight's return soon left Hawkins all alone and Dozovic quickly floored him as a result. The Caterpillar came next and Heavy Machinery had indeed run the gauntlet.
Winners: Heavy Machinery
Che and Jost are back next, with Che questioning his partner's WWE knowledge until they run into EC3, Titus O'Neil and No Way Jose. Jost prevented Che from joining Jose's conga line though, warning him of being biased.
A video package highlighting Torrie Wilson's WWE career followed that and we then transitioned to an interview with Charlotte Flair. 'The Queen' says that pride and arrogance will force Lynch to sign, promising to put Becky on the shelf for good this Sunday at Fastlane.
Seth Rollins approached Dean Ambrose next, conceding their mutual respect and calling Dean his "wrestling soulmate." Ambrose still refused a reunion offer though, reiterating his focus on tonight's match and promising to do it alone.
Elias vs. Dean Ambrose
Pre-match, Elias mocked the Philly crowd with an elaborate original song until Dean made his way to the ring. Ambrose immediately flurried, landing a salvo of strikes and sending his foe to the floor. Back from the break though and Elias is now on top, using Old School and then kicking Ambrose to the outside. His follow-up attack missed regardless, allowing Dean to hit his trademark dive before stringing together clotheslines. Either way, Elias soon cut him off again, running his foe into the corner and regaining control. Before long, Dean fired back once more, landing a neckbreaker and heading up top.
However, Elias timed a knee in response and then closed the show, hitting Drift Away for the win.
Post-match, Reigns and Rollins emerged once again, continuing to plead with Dean until he forced his way past them and headed through the crowd. In response, McIntyre, Lashley and Corbin arrived. They mocked the failed return and said that while they were going to offer a match at Fastlane, The Shield don't deserve that. Instead, they'll end this tonight, going to work with the numbers advantage while Dean watched on. Ambrose eventually made the save though and together, The Shield cleaned house before reuniting with their famed Shield pose after all. It's later announced that the aforementioned six-man tag will indeed take place on Sunday.
Backstage, we see that Becky Lynch is indeed here for tonight's hold harmless agreement signing.
Tamina vs. Sasha Banks
After being dropped right away, Banks was suddenly cornered as Tamina immediately went to work. Consistently overpowering her foe, Tamina was in full control until Banks fired back, flurrying with strikes and avoiding her foe's Superkick as well.The Bank Statement came next but Jax pulled Tamina to safety and then threw Bayley on the outside too. Banks responded with a Meteora, flooring Jax but then paying the price, as the shift in focus allowed Tamina to close the show via sudden superkick.
Following that, Michael Che headed to the bathroom while Braun comically confronted Colin Jost. Eventually, Jost asked if any of this "was even real" and Strowman responded by yanking him up into the air and asking what he thinks now. Strowman was eventually restrained but promised that he'll see Jost at WrestleMania.
Before heading to the ring, Aleister Black and Ricochet stopped for an interview with Charly Caruso. Black said that onight is about actions and Ricochet promised that they are ready for this opportunity.
WWE RAW Tag Team Titles
The Revival (C) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black
After briefly flurrying with strikes early, Black was cut off by double team tactics right away. He was then worked over a little too, rallying with a springboard moonsault but finding himself unable to tag nonetheless. In the meantime, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable arrived, watching on while The Revival's heat segment continued. Black soon fought free though, sweeping both the champions' legs and tagging in Ricochet. He immediately run wild on both, almost scoring the quick win on multiple occasions and eventually sending them to the floor as well.
Roode and Gable seized, attacking both on the outside and causing a DQ finish in the process.
Winners via Disqualification: Ricochet and Aleister Black
Post-match, Roode and Gable began to brawl with Black and Ricochet but were quickly removed for their troubles.
Stephanie McMahon is here now, pointing to a recap of Ronda Rousey's decision from last week. Following that, she introduced Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch before transitioning to the aforementioned hold harmless agreement. Flair mocked Lynch before she could sign and in response, Becky reminded Charlotte that she's beat her on one leg before. Stephanie prevented any physicality though, instead getting Lynch to sign the agreement as backstage, Ronda Rousey arrived. She made her way to the ring and asked McMahon what she's doing. Rousey makes it clear that she never vacated and instead wanted Becky included.
McMahon conceded, handing the title back and then announcing that at Fastlane, Lynch and Flair will still face each other. If Becky wins, she'll be added to the WrestleMania match. Ronda responded by saying that she can do whatever she wants because Stephanie prioritizes money over pride. Rousey then lashed out, refusing to pretend anymore and threatening to break both of her foes. After admitting her anger at the fans, Rousey assaulted both Flair and Lynch, applying the armbar on Becky while Flair bailed. She continued to assault Lynch too, unleashing punches and re-applying the armbar as well.
Flair simply watched on, with Ronda battering Becky and applying the armbar one more time. As Rousey stared Flair down, Stephanie told Caruso that Rousey showed her true colors and it's left her sick to her stomach. At WrestleMania, Ronda will get what's coming to her but first, decisions will have to be made.
Thanks for following along folks, now be sure to check out our post-show podcast.