Monday Night Raw
Date: February 26, 2018
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
It’s the night after Elimination Chamber and the first of six Monday Night Raws before we get to New Orleans for Wrestlemania XXXIV. Last night saw the most obvious of obvious endings with Roman Reigns winning the Elimination Chamber, basically taking him from not doing much to being in the biggest match of the year overnight. You can’t fight that script you see. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Reigns winning the Chamber.
Here’s an abbreviated version of the HHH/Stephanie McMahon/Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey segment. Stephanie has DEMANDED an apology tonight. Well now it’s serious.
Here are Alexa Bliss and the now heel Mickie James for a chat. Bliss brags about the win last night and says she knew it would happen. Mickie gets some praise as well before Bliss talks about how she’s the greatest thing ever on Raw. Bayley is a lost cause and Sasha’s big ego caught up to her again.
Alexa hopes Asuka is ready for Wrestlemania so here’s Asuka in person. Asuka storms to the ring but Bliss cuts her off, saying Jax should have been in the match but she made one mistake. Cue Jax so Asuka goes after Bliss and James, only to get dropped by Jax. A triangle choke has Jax in trouble but Bliss and James come back in for the save. Cue Bayley and Sasha for the save but Jax lays them out too.
Bayley/Sasha Banks/Asuka vs. Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss/Mickie James
Joined in progress in the match you knew was coming. Bayley gets beaten down with a few shots to the back, including a hard one from Bliss. It’s quickly off to Banks though and the double knees in the corner get two on Alexa. Sasha gets sent to the floor though and Jax runs her over like she’s not even there.
Back from a break with Banks in trouble off a Mickie chinlock. Banks kicks her away and loads up a tag but Bayley drops to the floor and stands in the aisle. Instead it’s off to Asuka (so Sasha gets an upgrade) for the rapid fire kicks, followed by a rolling leg/armbar to make Mickie tap out at 10:53.
Rating: C-. I can’t count how man times I’ve seen some incarnation of this match. Bayley FINALLY wising up and doing something logical was nice to see but other than that, this was every six woman tag you’ve seen over and over again. You can pretty much book Bliss vs. Jax for the title and that’s the best option, but we need a better way of booking the women and soon.
Here’s John Cena to discuss his path to Wrestlemania. Last night he failed in the Elimination Chamber and then had a microphone shoved in his face. He wasn’t sure what to say but now he’s figured it out. After all these failures in the Royal Rumble and the Elimination Chamber, it’s time for a Wrestlemania challenge. It’s time for John Cena to challenge THE UNDERTAKER for Wrestlemania.
The place goes nuts but Cena says that’s not happening either. Cena doesn’t make the matches around here and has been told that match is impossible. Therefore, his road to Wrestlemania now goes through Smackdown, because Cena is a free agent. He’ll be there tomorrow night to earn a spot, so see you then. It’s a good thing we can’t see Cena, because he’s sounding really dumb right now. Apparently everyone without a match right now has failed, meaning everyone but Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Lesnar and Reigns have failed. Just please don’t be Undertaker. Please.
Heath Slater vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray beats up Slater and Rhyno before the bell rings. The beating ensues and there’s no match.
Post match Bray sits in the corner with his eyes looking like he’s about to cry. This is all on Matt Hardy for driving Bray to this. The Great War is still going and they will face each other again. Well it didn’t work the first two times so maybe the third is the right idea.
We see the Rousey package again.
Here’s Miz to have his Wrestlemania opponent announced. First of all, we hear about how awesome Hollywood is and how Miz is only 62 days before becoming the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. After that, he’ll be the greatest champion of all time. Not Chris Jericho, not Edge, not Bret Hart and not Shawn Michaels. He’s still no Tito Santana.
Miz is tired of being treated like a joke without even having merchandise to be sold. He wants to know his opponent for Wrestlemania so earlier today he asked Kurt Angle. All he was told was that his opponent tonight MIGHT tell him who that is going to be. This sends Miz into a rant about how he deserves better than might because he’s carried this show for the last year. Here’s tonight’s opponent.
Seth Rollins vs. The Miz
Non-title. Rollins sends him outside in short order but the Miztourage get in a few shots to take over. Miz whips Seth into the barricade and they head back inside for a chinlock. The YES Kicks have Rollins in trouble and allow the announcers to debate who invented them again. Seth gets tossed to the floor again and we take a break.
Back with Seth getting back into it but not being able to hit the frog splash. Miz scores with the corner dropkicks but the top rope ax handle is broken up with a quick crotching. The superplex into a Falcon Arrow gets two on Miz but Rollins hits a dive onto the Miztourage. Back in and the frog splash (with a BIG leap) gives Rollins the pin at 14:24.
Post match here’s Finn Balor and it’s time for round two.
Finn Balor vs. The Miz
Non-title again….and the Miztourage comes in for the DQ at 24 seconds.
Anderson and Gallows come in for the save but Angle pops up on screen to say we’re continuing until there’s a winner or Miz isn’t going until Wrestlemania.
Finn Balor vs. The Miz
Non-title. Miz hits a running corner dropkick and gets two off a DDT. More shots to the back and a faceplant gets two on Balor as this is one sided so far. A running knee gives Miz two and we take a break. Back with Balor jawbreaking his way out of a chinlock and hitting a kick to the head. The announcers argue over who should be #1 contender.
Cole says Balor should get a shot if he pins Miz, just like Rollins. Graves logically points out that Miz isn’t fresh coming into this match, which makes far too much sense for this. Balor hits something like an Eye of the Hurricane for two, followed by the Sling Blade to rock Miz again. The Coup de Grace gives Balor the pin at 10:50.
Rating: C-. This was all angle but Cole sounded really stupid saying it was a fair exchange. As Graves pointed out, Balor beat a worn down Miz and somehow that’s supposed to be the same thing. I’m sure there will be several other wrestlers added to the match because that’s how the Intercontinental Title match works and it’s not like there’s a big match to be wasted otherwise where you can put these people in to make it matter.
Post match, Cole yells at Graves for being a Miz propaganda machine as Graves wants Mantaur and Abe Knuckleball Schwartz out here. Maybe they can beat Miz too and it’ll be the same thing!
Rollins says there’s more than one way to Wrestlemania and he knows how to get there. He wants Miz and the Intercontinental Title and he wants them at Wrestlemania.
Here’s Roman Reigns for the showdown with Lesnar. Actually never mind, because Reigns says something happened and Lesnar isn’t here. It’s not like it would matter as Lesnar doesn’t show up unless he’s getting paid. Lesnar hides behind his contract and shows up when he feels like it. Last night, Lesnar was in Las Vegas but he was running around with Dana White from the UFC.
Reigns is going to get in trouble for this but he’s here every single week no matter what. He cares about this place and doesn’t just call himself a businessman like Lesnar and Heyman. He’s going to go to the back and take his yelling like a man because he actually cares about this place. This was a few years late, but it’s Roman’s best promo ever. Build this up as a fight and it’s a much more interesting main event.
Braun Strowman is going to put a symphony of destruction on Elias tonight.
Black History Month video.
Tag Team Titles: The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide
The Bar is defending and this is 2/3 falls. Brogue Kick gives Sheamus the first fall over Titus at 9 seconds. Apollo comes in to give Titus a break and scores with a dropkick. It’s back to Titus for a slam, followed by Apollo’s jumping elbow for two. Back from a break with the champs still in control but Apollo getting over for a hot tag to Titus.
Something like a Dominator/shoulder breaker (looked a bit botched) plants Sheamus and Apollo adds a frog splash for two. The standing moonsault gets the same with Cesaro making the save. Apollo dives over the top onto Sheamus but gets crotched back inside. The assisted White Noise retains the titles in two straight falls at 11:19.
Rating: C+. We’ve seen this match several times now and it’s not exactly doing anything to show the depth of the tag division. Really at this point it has to be Bar vs. Revival at Wrestlemania as there’s no one left for them to face. That being said, I’m not sure who benefited from having them split this many wins. Titus Worldwide does get a rub, but it doesn’t matter if they’re done as a title contender with no one left to fight. But at least they killed a few months, which is the lone benefit from this thing.
Post match the Bar celebrates, saying they have Titus Worldwide’s number and it’s zero. They brag about their string of success but there’s no one left to face.
Jarrius Robertson, a double liver transplant survivor, is getting the Warrior Award at the Hall of Fame.
Here’s Elias with the guitar to talk about noise pollution. Braun Strowman is noise pollution. Everything Graves says is noise pollution. It’s time for the song and of course it calls the crowd a bunch of losers, just like Strowman.
Braun Strowman vs. Elias
Elias tries to bail to the floor but Braun easily catches him and throws Elias around the ring a bit. A double ax handle to the chest sets up a running splash in the corner. Strowman hits him in the head but gets his throat snapped across the top rope. Elias scores with a top rope ax handle but is quickly cut off as Strowman just runs him over. They head to the floor with Elias hiding grabbing a fire extinguisher to spray Strowman for the DQ at 5:04.
Rating: D. This was an angle instead of a match as they seem to be setting up a rematch at Wrestlemania. I’ve heard of worse ideas and it would be nice to have them put together something with two younger guys like this for a change. Strowman deserves a fun win at the show anyway. Well he deserves the World Title but that can’t happen here.
Post match Elias gets punched to the floor but slips out of the powerslam through the announcers’ table. Elias gets into the parking lot and escapes as a limo pulls up.
Here are HHH and Stephanie for the response to last night. First though, here’s the same video package for the third time. Stephanie says that was Ronda acting out of savage instinct and the slap was to remind her of who is boss. Now though we need an apology from Kurt Angle so we can get on the Road to Wrestlemania. Instead here’s a ticked off Ronda but Kurt runs down and cuts her off.
Ronda talks about having never been slapped before and how that took her to a different place. Angle says he needs this job but last night, he lied. The things he said HHH and Stephanie said aren’t true. Stephanie gets back in and says they’re not bad people and goes to leave again. Ronda says not so fast and says it’s Stephanie who needs to apologize to her. If she doesn’t, Stephanie’s arm is coming out of its socket. Stephanie gets in her face and apologizes in a funny bit. The bosses go to leave again but HHH punches Kurt in the face on the way out.
Overall Rating: C. This was an up and down show as they kept teasing setting up stuff for Wrestlemania but nothing was actually announced. They have five shows left and it would be nice to have something actually set up instead of being hinted at. They’re running out of time and that needs to light a fire under them already. It’s not a bad show but they need to do something pretty soon.
Bayley/Sasha Banks/Asuka b. Mickie James/Alexa Bliss/Nia Jax – Armbar to James
Seth Rollins b. The Miz – Frog splash
Finn Balor b. The Miz via DQ when the Miztourage interfered
Finn Balor b. The Miz – Coup de Grace
The Bar b. Titus Worldwide – Assisted White Noise to Apollo
Braun Strowman b. Elias via DQ when Elias sprayed him with a fire extinguisher
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