Although Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns opened the show to squabble over which of them would win their match, Raw basically started with an actual wrestling contest for a change! It was the Reigns/Wyatt match we haven’t seen for, what? Nearly a year? Either way, Reigns throws all his signature stuff at Wyatt, kicks out of Sister Abigail, and lands the Spear for the win and a place in the Elimination Chamber match. Afterwards, Matt Hardy rubs salt in the wound by hitting the Twist of Fate on Wyatt. Okay, so, apparently the Matt/Bray deal isn’t done yet which, technically, is good as I don’t think we’ve seen the best these two can get out of each other or even scratched the surface of their craziness but…similar to Finn Balor last week, I would’ve really liked to see Bray in the Elimination Chamber main event. Why not throw Matt and Bray in there to tie their story into the title picture, then you could play up how Bray successfully won the Elimination Chamber match last year. They better throw these two into a balls-to-the-wall match instead.
The Revival claim to be tag team specialists so Finn decided to team against them with Karl Anderson and promptly defeats them. So, I’m glad that Finn and his little Club are picking up wins but the tag team of their team is Anderson and Luke Gallows so they really should have gotten the win, with Finn at ringside, especially if you’re trying to push the Revival as legitimate tag team. Instead, it seems like the WWE are finally pushing the Club as a team that wins at the cost of burying the Revival but that’s apparently how it goes for former NXT tag teams.
Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali prove that the cruiserweights aren’t all about six-man tag team matches by defeated Drew Gulak and Tony Nese in a regular tag team match. The former Rockstar Spud, now known as Drake Maverick and acting as 205 Live’s General Manager (because that show obviously needed a GM…), was at the commentary tale to sell 205 Live and the ongoing Cruiserweight Championship tournament that will culminate at WrestleMania (on the pre-show, no doubt).
Kurt Angle announces that Nia Jax will take on Asuka at Elimination Chamber and the winner will be added to the upcoming Raw Women’s Championship match to make it a triple threat. Cute little Alexa Bliss rightly complained that she shouldn’t have to defend her belt and that Angle has kept her from defending it for a few months now (though, honestly, I hardly even noticed), then Asuka and Bayley had a bit of a match. Obviously, Bayley lost but it was a competitive loss, at least, perfectly casting Bayley as a never-say-die underdog. After the match, they even shake hands, making me wonder how long it’ll be before the WWE totally screw over Bayley by turning her heel.
Next up, the final position in the men’s Elimination Chamber match was decided in a match between…the Miz and Apollo Crews. Seriously? What the hell has Crews done to deserve that kind of shot? I mean, it’s irrelevant as the Miz won, but still…the WWE could’ve at least had him win some kind of feud or earn the chance at getting a title shot rather than just throw him out there. Also, I’m never happy to see the Intercontinental Champion lumped into a multi-man match for the bigger, better belt but the Miz has done really well as the top Raw heel holding the top Raw belt in Brock Lesnar’s absence and he deserves some kind of run at the top again. However, this is exactly why the Intercontinental Championship should have been dropped to Jason Jordan or someone ages ago so that the mid-card guys like Elias had something to fight over while Miz and Reigns are in the main event scene.
Speaking of, Jason Jordan is too hurt to compete tonight (or for about a year, apparently), so Seth Rollins gets another substitute partner (Roman Reigns) to take on Sheamus and Cesaro one last time for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The match was getting to a very fun and energetic place, despite Jordan getting involved, before Sheamus and Cesaro tried to walk out. Jordan got in their way and attacked them, causing a disqualification, and costing Rollins the titles one more time. With Jordan out of the picture and Reigns tied up in the main event, it’s a bit up in the air as to what the WWE plans to do with Rollins in the lead up to WrestleMania; again, this wouldn’t have happened if he’d teamed with Balor after Dean Ambrose got hurt. They could’ve won the belts and ended up in feud against the Club that saw Finn turn on Rollins, cost them the belts, and led into a Finn/Rollins feud for WrestleMania buy hey! What do I know, right?
Nia Jax decimated a jobber, then Mickie James defeated Sonya Deville in a piss-poor match, before the oddly one-sided main event that saw John Cena, Elias, and Braun Strowman compete to see which man will enter the Elimination Chamber last. Why weren’t the Miz, Reigns, and Lesnar involved in this? Well…either way, Strowman dominated the match until Cena shocked the world by hitting him with the Attitude Adjustment on the ring steps (like he’s never hit it on the much bigger and heavier Big Show before). The real story, though, was that, after Strowman planted Cena with the Running Powerslam, Elias knocked Strowman out of the ring and stole the win! Obviously, Strowman was pissed about this so hit a bunch more Powerslams afterwards but wow, they really are strapping the rocket to Elias now! I’m still not believing that they truly intend to follow through with it to anything meaningful but, if they do, Elias really needs to up his in-ring gear, move set, and game if he’s going to justify this push.
Shane McMahon reared his damn head once more to complain some more about Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Daniel Bryan. They disagree that Zayn and Owens deserve an opportunity at the WWE Championship, with Bryan believing they’ll tear each other apart for the belt and Shane believing that Bryan is trying to live his failed dreams through them. I’m…not sure exactly how but…okay? Anyway, AJ Styles pops out and, rightly, tells them both to stay the hell out of his way so he can do his job and defend the damn belt.
Charlotte defeated Liv Morgan, even though Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan were at ringside and were distracting her at every opportunity; I cannot believe how dominating these three women are! They truly are the nWo reborn! Afterwards, the Bludgeon brothers destroyed another jobber team and share another brief stare down with the Usos after the match.
Bobby Roode put the United States Championship on the line against Rusev (with SmackDown! Live’s top heel, Aiden English, at ringside); I don’t think I realised that this title match was going to be the week after Rusev won the number one contender match but…okay. Either way, this was probably Roode’s best match since being called up from NXT, with Rusev looking as good as normal even after Roode countered the Accolade for the Glorious DDT (which really needs a better name) and the win. Afterwards, Randy Orton jumps in out of nowhere to lay everyone out with RKOs…the message being that we should screw pushing new talent and Rusev and just push that young up-and-comer Randy Orton instead.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable continued their weird attempt at regaining some credibility and momentum by taking on the Ascension. Hey, look! It’s the Ascension…in a match! Will wonders never cease! I mean, they lost but wow, they actually made it on television for a match.
The main event saw Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens fight, yet again, to determine the number one contender. Zayn slipped back into the underdog babyface role nice and easy here as Owens brought his trademark hard-hitting offense and trash talking to the match. Zayn looked to have it won after the Blue Thunder Bomb but Owens took a powder to argue with AJ Styles (who was on commentary); AJ pushed them into each other and we got a pretty poor no contest finish. As a result Daniel Bryan announces that it will be a triple threat match for the WWE Championship at Fastlane and, I guess, Zayn vs. Owens at WrestleMania once AJ retains in that match.