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– The first WWE RAW of 2018 opens with Michael Cole welcoming us. He’s joined by Corey Graves and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. They go over tonight’s show.
– We go backstage and RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss is trying to talk RAW General Manager Kurt Angle out of her match with Asuka tonight. Angle refuses and says Bliss can settle her problems with Asuka in the ring tonight. Angle’s music starts up and he walks off.
– We’re live from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida as Kurt Angle hits the ring. He welcomes us. Angle talks about how 2017 was one of the best years of his career and says 2018 will be even greater. Angle talks about the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and how John Cena has announced himself for the men’s Rumble match. Some fans boo. Angle plugs the women’s Rumble match and the crowd pops. Angle says fans are wondering about the rules for that match and after talking with Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, they decided that the women’s match will be just like the men’s match as far as rules go. There will be 30 women in the match as well. Angle says he expects RAW to win both Rumble matches and go on to main event WrestleMania 34. As far as tonight, he has planned… the music interrupts and out comes The Bar.
Sheamus doesn’t want to talk about tonight,, he wants to talk about how The Bar was robbed in last week’s travesty. Sheamus complains about how the new team of Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan received a title shot. They enter the ring and Cesaro accuses Angle of playing favorites. Cesaro says what happened was too much, too much. We see a replay of last week’s title change. Sheamus says the clip makes him sick. He accuses Angle of favoritism again. Cesaro says Angle’s son did not deserve a title shot. Cesaro announces that they want their rematch tonight. Angle says they will get their rematch when he says so. They start arguing and the music interrupts. Out comes RAW Tag Team Champion Jason Jordan.
Jordan argues back and stands on his own. More arguing leads to Angle making Jordan vs. Cesaro for right now. The music interrupts and out comes RAW Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins. Rollins talks about how Jordan needs to learn to be a better partner and not be so self-absorbed. Rollins says he will be in Jordan’s corner but… a “daddy’s boy” chant starts up. Rollins says he will be in Jordan’s corner but the only way he sees it is that he’s out here to watch Jordan lose. Cesaro takes advantage of the distraction and knocks Jordan to the floor from behind. Rollins checks on Jordan and tells him to get up and get back into the ring. We go to commercial.
Cesaro vs. Jason Jordan
Back from the break and the match is underway. Cesaro nails Jordan in the corner. They run the ropes and Jordan dropkicks Cesaro for a 2 count in the middle of the ring. Jordan with shoulder thrusts in the corner now. Cesaro fights out of the corner with uppercuts. Cesaro with more offense before taking Jordan to the mat and keeping him grounded.
Jordan gets up and out. Cesaro goes for a big uppercut off the ropes but it’s blocked. Jordan rams Cesaro from corner to corner to corner to corner. Sheamus gets on the apron and distracts Jordan, allowing Cesaro to send him into the corner and take his knee out with a chop block. We get a replay of the distraction. Cesaro goes to work on the leg now. Cesaro dropkicks the knees and slams Jordan’s knee over the apron. Cesaro comes back in and keeps Jordan down in the middle of the ring, continuing to focus on the knee.
Jordan fights back and ends up nailing a clothesline. Jordan sends Cesaro to the floor but Cesaro takes the leg out on the apron. Cesaro slams the knee into the apron again. The Bar celebrates on the floor while Jordan is down clutching his knee. We go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Cesaro continues beating Jordan around. Cesaro with a half-crab now. Jordan breaks free and kicks Cesaro away. Cesaro with an uppercut and another. Jordan slides out of a slam and manages to drop Cesaro but the knee is giving him trouble. Jordan mounts some offense now. Jordan with an overhead throw for a 2 count. Jordan with a thrust in the corner but Cesaro fights back. Jordan with bridging suplexes for a 2 count.
Rollins cheers Jordan on as he keeps control. Cesaro kicks the knee out and argues with the referee, allowing Sheamus to get a cheap shot in. Cesaro rolls Jordan up for a 2 count. Cesaro goes right into the half-crab again, turning it into a full crab. Jordan breaks the hold by grabbing the bottom rope. Cesaro shows some frustration now. Sheamus goes for another cheap shot but Rollins runs over and drops him. This leads to Jordan slamming Cesaro on his head for the pin.
Winner: Jason Jordan
– After the match, Jordan celebrates and raises his title as his music plays. Rollins applauds from ringside. Jordan goes to ringside and celebrates but leaves Rollins with his arm hanging in the air. Rollins continues clapping but looks unsure about his partner.
– Renee Young is backstage with WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns for comments on tonight’s title defense and stipulation. Reigns says Samoa Joe got what he deserved last week as he’s ruined matches and he hurt Dean Ambrose. Reigns says Joe is not a good contender because he’s a punk. Reigns says this week won’t be any different, it’s going to be ugly and intense. Reigns says he will stay within the rules, he hopes. Reigns walks off.
– Still to come, The Beast.
– We go to the ring and out comes Bray Wyatt. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a quick promo from Sasha Banks on how she will win the Royal Rumble.
Bray Wyatt vs. Apollo Crews
We go back to the ring and Bray Wyatt waits as Titus Worldwide comes out – Titus O’Neil, Dana Brooke and Apollo Crews.
They lock up and go at it after some stalling. Crews with a headlock. Wyatt breaks out and rocks Crews into the corner. Wyatt tosses Crews to the apron. Wyatt shows off some and Crews rocks him. Crews with more offense and a big right hand for a 2 count. Crews with a headlock now. Wyatt turns it around for more back and forth. Dana cheers Crews on as he runs the ropes and nails a dropkick. Crews with a 2 count.
Crews ends up going to the top but Wyatt rocks him. Wyatt brings Crews to the mat with a jawbreaker from the top. Wyatt smiles. Wyatt stomps on Crews in front of his partners, staring at Dana to scare her. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Wyatt has Crews grounded in the middle of the ring. They fight up but Wyatt counters and launches himself at Crews for a 2 count. More back and forth until Crews makes a big comeback. Crews with a kip up and a pop. They end up on the floor as Titus cheers Crews on. They come back to the ring and Wyatt turns it back around with a big shot. Wyatt turns upside down in the corner and taunts Crews as he tries to get up. Dana gets on the apron and yells, cheering on Crews. This leads to Dana falling off the apron onto Titus as she’s terrified. Crews ends up going for an enziguri but Wyatt nails Sister Abigail for the win.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
– After the match, Wyatt stands tall as Crews and Titus check on Dana at ringside. “Woken” Matt Hardy suddenly appears on the big screen. Matt says he transformed Wyatt’s fireflies into his Woken Warriors last week. Matt goes on and says he will “delete!” Wyatt once Sister Abigail is no longer around. Matt laughs some more as he turns into several hundred images on the big screen.
– Nia Jax is backstage with some chicken noodle soup, leaving the arena to go tend to WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore as he’s sick. Alexa Bliss stops her and talks about facing Asuka tonight. Nia says Enzo needs her but Bliss says it’s either her or Enzo. Nia says she has to leave because the soup is getting cold.
Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka
Back from the break and out comes RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss for this non-title match as JoJo does the introduction. We see video from last week’s in-ring segment with Bliss and Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow is out next.
They lock up to start and we get a bit of back & forth, and some stalling. Bliss avoids spinning back fists and retreats to the ropes. They go to lock up again but Bliss goes behind. They trade holds now. Asuka ends up going for a kneebar but Bliss scrambles and gets free. Asuka counters a move and applies a side headlock. Asuka taunts Bliss as she retreats to the ropes once again. They run the ropes and Asuka drops Bliss with a shoulder. Asuka mocks Bliss some more.
They run the ropes again and Asuka hits the hip attack. Asuka with some more showing off as Bliss watches from the floor and shows frustration. Bliss looks to return to the ring a few times but we just get more stalling. Fans boo Bliss after she stalls on returning to the ring. The referee counts. Bliss finally returns to the ring but Asuka takes her down and kicks her in the back, then the face. Bliss with a cheap kick to the gut before rolling back to the floor for more stalling. Fans boo as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Bliss has Asuka grounded in a body scissors. Bliss keeps control and uses the steel ring post as the referee counts and warns her. Bliss comes back in and unloads on Asuka with punches while she’s down. Bliss with a 2 count. Asuka fights up for a 2 count. Bliss ducks a kick and rolls Asuka up for a pin attempt. Bliss comes right back with a backbreaker. Bliss mounts Asuka with more strikes. Bliss with big forearms and another 2 count.
Bliss with another body scissors on Asuka. More back and forth before Bliss unloads in the corner. Bliss ends up nailing a big slap. Asuka fires right back. Bliss with smacks and shoves as Asuka tells her to bring it. Asuka just takes it. Asuka with dropkicks. Asuka goes to the middle rope for a missile dropkick. Fans cheer for Asuka as she’s fired up now. Asuka with a hip attack in the corner. Asuka with more offense and another hip attack. More back and forth. Asuka with a 2 count.
Asuka gets sent out of the ring now. Asuka kicks Bliss in the head from the floor and comes right back into the ring. Asuka keeps control and drops Bliss into the armbar for the non-title submission win.
– After the match, Asuka stands tall and celebrates as we go to replays. Bliss clutches her leg outside on the floor.
– The announcers lead us to a video package on tonight’s Intercontinental Title match. Renee Young is backstage with Samoa Joe now. Joe talks about how he owns Reigns and how The Shield will never be champions together. Joe says Dean Ambrose is now a stay-at-home husband living off his wife’s paycheck. Renee doesn’t look happy. Joe gets fired up and says when he puts Reigns to sleep tonight and takes the title, Reigns will understand that it may be his yard but he lives in Joe’s world. Joe walks off and Renee stares at him.
Braun Strowman vs. Rhyno
We go to the ring and out comes Braun Strowman to a pop. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and we get a video from Bayley, also confirming herself for the Rumble. Sasha was confirmed earlier. Bayley says she will hug her way to WrestleMania 34. Back to the ring and out comes Rhyno with Heath Slater.
They lock up and Braun sends Rhyno away with shoves. Braun keeps control but Slater keeps getting on the apron to cheer Rhyno on and offer advice. Braun leaves the ring and takes the mic. He calls Slater a cheerleader and says he has two options – stay on the floor and shut up or get in the ring and take these hands like his partner. Fans pop for Braun as he returns to the ring. Slater looks like he may want to get involved. Rhyno takes advantage of the distraction and attacks from behind but it does nothing. Slater comes in for the double team now.
Braun fights both men off. Braun nails running splashes on both in the corners. Braun scoops Rhyno and hits the running powerslam for the win.
Winner: Braun Strowman
– After the match, Braun stands tall as his music hits. Fans chant “one more time” as Braun stands over Rhyno. Slater comes in and brawls with Braun but gets dominated. Braun with a running powerslam to Slater. Fans want more and Braun delivers, planting Rhyno in the middle of the ring again before his music hits. Braun scoops Slater again and drops him before standing tall. It looks like the segment is over but Braun grabs Rhyno for one more powerslam. Fans go wild as Braun turns his attention to Slater again. Braun drives Slater into the mat once again and stands tall as his music starts back up.
– Still to come, The Beast is here.
– We see Roman Reigns backstage getting ready. Seth Rollins walks in, bringing up Joe’s comments from earlier. Reigns isn’t worried about Joe and says there’s one thing you don’t do in this world – mess with their brother. Rollins just doesn’t want to see Reigns get disqualified tonight so they can continue being champions together. Jason Jordan walks in and acknowledges their recent issues but promises to take out The Bar if they try to interfere tonight. Jordan tosses a “believe that!” at Reigns before walking off, leaving Reigns looking confused and Rollins with a smirk on his face. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get more hype for the RAW 25th Anniversary episode.
– We go backstage and Kane approaches Braun Strowman. Kane wants to talk about Brock Lesnar, who he’s never faced but Braun has. Kane says they are the Alpha Monsters of WWE and together they can tame The Beast. Kane says he has a plan and all it takes is being on the same page. Braun doesn’t care about Kane or his plan as he’s the only Alpha Monster around here. Braun says he’s going to take down Brock on his own terms. They stare each other down and Kane leaves.
– Kurt Angle is backstage on the phone talking to someone about the women’s Royal Rumble match when Finn Balor walks up. Balor talks about the WWE Universal Title and wanting to get it back. Balor announces himself for the Royal Rumble match. Angle asks Balor if he’s found partners for tonight’s six-man match against The Miztourage and Elias. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson appear. Angle asks if Balor is serious. Balor says he’s stood with these guys before and it’s much better having them on your side. It sounds like fans in the arena are doing a “too sweet” chant. The Club does a “NERDS!” shout out before walking out.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
We go to the ring and out comes Samoa Joe for his title shot. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and out comes WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns. We get formal ring introductions from JoJo. The bell rings and Joe unloads with right hands, backing Reigns into the corner. Joe keeps control until Reigns fires back with right hands. Reigns with kicks in the corner. Fans do dueling chants now. The referee ends up getting in between them. Joe takes advantage of the referee talking to Reigns and comes from the side, taking Reigns back down for a pin attempt. Joe with more offense and a snap suplex. Reigns goes to the floor for a breather as we return to commercial break.
Back from the break and Reigns is trying to mount a comeback but Joe unloads and drops him for a 2 count. Joe with more strikes now. Reigns counters a suplex and drops Joe. Reigns charges in the corner but Joe moves and Reigns hits the ring post. Joe with a 2 count. Joe keeps Reigns grounded now and focuses on the arm. More back and forth after another pin attempt by Joe.
Joe with forearms and elbows in the corner. Joe whips Reigns hard into the corner and he goes right down. Joe keeps Reigns grounded again and focuses on the arm. Reigns finally explodes out of the corner and floors Joe. The referee counts while they’re both down. We get a replay of Reigns dropping Joe. Cole reminds us that Reigns will lose the title if he’s disqualified.
Reigns unloads in the corner with big forearms as fans count. Reigns with a running boot to drive Joe out of the ring. Reigns nails a Drive By and keeps control to bring it back in for a 2 count. Joe ends up turning it around and nailing a big suicide dive to the floor. Both Superstars are down again. Cole wonders if Joe hurt himself on the dive. They end up back in the ring as we return to commercial.
Back from the break and Joe ends up striking Reigns as Reigns tells him to bring it. Reigns catches Joe in a Samoan Drop for a close 2 count. Reigns looks to build momentum but Joe retreats to the floor. Joe turns it around on the floor and slams Reigns into the steel ring steps. Joe works Reigns over on the floor. Reigns counters and sends Joe into the steps now.
The referee checks on Joe at ringside and returns to the ring to count. Reigns grabs half of the steel steps but the referee comes back out to warn him. Joe decks Reigns with a punch. Reigns runs off the steel steps and nails him. Reigns brings it back into the ring and hits a Superman Punch for a very close 2 count. Reigns can’t believe it. Reigns gets hyped up and goes for the Spear but Joe kicks him. Reigns counters the Uranage and the referee gets knocked down but it was Joe’s fault.
The referee calls for the bell but Reigns begs him. Joe tries to take advantage and they tangle. Joe with the Uranage but Reigns kicks out just in time. Joe argues with the referee about how Reigns should have been disqualified. We get a replay of the referee bump. Reigns with a big right hand. Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch but it’s broken. Reigns fires right back with a spear for the pin.
Winner: Roman Reigns
– After the match, Reigns clutches the title while still on the mat as his music starts up. We go to replays. Reigns celebrates and stands tall with the title.
– We see Kurt Angle backstage watching Reigns’ celebration. Paul Heyman appears. Heyman says there’s a conspiracy going on under Angle’s watch. Heyman says just so they’re on the same page, if Kane and Braun gang up on his client, his client will be proactive and not reactive as 2018 shall be The Year of The Beast. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a backstage video from Absolution. Paige, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose are all confirmed for the Rumble.
– Jack Gallagher vs. Hideo Itami is confirmed for this week’s WWE 205 Live.
– We go to the ring and Drew Gulak is with Ariya Daivari. Gulak is here to deliver a message from WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, who is sick tonight. They’re interrupted by Cedric Alexander. Alexander came to get his title shot tonight and to wrestle but since Enzo is sick, he wonders who will take Enzo’s place. Gulak says Cedric came looking for competition and they happily oblige but in a tag team match. Whoever walks down the ramp will be Cedric’s partner but they know Cedric doesn’t have many friends. The music hits and out comes Goldust. Goldust says he has friends in low places but none are lower than these two. Goldust asks Cedric if he wants to be friends and we’ve got a match.
Goldust and Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari
Daivari starts off with Alexander and they go at it. Cedric takes control and Gulak wants none of him. Daivari takes advantage of a distraction and drops Cedric from behind. Daivari keeps Cedric grounded now.
Cedric ends up getting free and dropping Daivari with an elbow. Gulak tags in as does Goldust. Goldust unloads. Gulak blocks the bulldog but Goldust hits him with right hands. Goldust with a bulldog. Goldust with more offense in the corner as fans chant “you still got it” at him. Daivari comes in but Goldust goes to the top for a crossbody on both of them.
Cedric tags in and nails a double springboard clothesline.Daivari gets sent out as Goldust goes at it with Gulak. Cedric hits the Lumbar Check on Gulak and covers for the pin.
Winners: Goldust and Cedric Alexander
– After the match, Cedric and Goldust celebrate as Cedric’s music hits.
– The Club is backstage walking as we return to commercial.
Elias, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel vs. Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Back from the break and Elias is in the ring with a spotlight and his guitar. He talks about how WWE is his after what he did to John Cena last week. He goes on about winning the Royal Rumble and introduces his band mates for tonight, The Miztourage. They dedicate the song to The Miz, who will be returning next week. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas start singing as Elias plays and it’s horrible. Elias takes over but he’s interrupted by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Finn Balor is out next. They pose together in the ring with a “too sweet” as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Axel works over Balor. Elias tags in and unloads on Finn. Elias dominates Balor and covers for a 2 count. Elias keeps Balor grounded and talks some trash while working on his arm. Balor finally gets in a double stomp to turn it around. Gallows tags in and unloads on Dallas as he also tags in. Gallows with a big boot and a running splash in the corner. Gallows turns Dallas inside out with a big boot. Gallows runs the ropes and nails a splash in the corner.
Axel runs in but Gallows drops him and sends him to the floor. Gallows runs the ropes and hits a splash for a 2 count. Elias breaks it up. Anderson takes care of Elias and runs him into the ring post. Gallows goes back to work on Dallas. The finish sees Anderson tag in for a Magic Killer on Dallas. Balor tags in and hits a Coup de Grace on Dallas while Anderson leaps out onto Axel on the floor. Balor pins Dallas for the win.
Winners: Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
– After the match, The Club stands tall as we return to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a promo for The Miz returning next week in Memphis.
– We go to the ring and out comes WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar for tonight’s main event segment. Paul Heyman is right behind him.
Lesnar hits the ring as Cole shows us the earlier backstage segment with Kane and Braun Strowman, Lesnar’s Royal Rumble opponents. Heyman does a quick introduction and goes in about a conspiracy against Lesnar’s reign, bringing up how he has to defend against multiple challengers. Heyman goes on and has a spoiler – Lesnar will successfully defend the title at the Royal Rumble. Heyman goes on about Lesnar’s dominance and says he fears no challenge, he fears no challenger, he fears no challengers, he does not believe in monsters and he highly doubts Kane is the devil’s favorite because Heyman has had a one-on-one with the guy down below and his favorite is the reigning, undisputed, WWE Universal Champion. Heyman gets fired up and drops the mic. They go to leave the ring but the pyro hits and out comes Kane.
Lesnar steps back from the apron and watches from the middle of the ring as Kane enters. They face off and stare each other down for a second. Lesnar goes at Kane but Kane grabs him by the throat and chokeslams him in the middle of the ring. Kane leaves the ring but Lesnar sits up just like Kane would. Lesnar laughs and clotheslines Kane to the floor. The whole locker room is out at ringside now trying to break up a brawl that never really gets going. They all came down before the brawl started as Kurt Angle watches from the ramp. More officials are down to break it up now. Lesnar smiles as Kane is led to the back by the roster. Lesnar raises the title at ringside and smiles as his music hits. The first RAW of 2018 goes off the air with Lesnar raising the title at ringside.