Monday Night Raw – February 19, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 19, 2018
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman

It’s the go home show for the Elimination Chamber pay per view and for some reason we’re having a gauntlet match tonight. I guess the theory is that the elimination match tonight is supposed to make us want to watch another elimination match on Sunday. Maybe we can just get the whole roster in the Chamber this time. Let’s get to it.

We open with a moment of silence for the victims of the Florida massacre.

Here’s Roman Reigns as the first entrant in the gauntlet match tonight. He’s not worried about the other people in the Chamber and lists all of them off with Balor/Rollins getting the best reactions.

Gauntlet Match

Roman and Seth Rollins start things off as we have a BURN IT DOWN chant. Roman headlocks him to the mat to start and it seems that we’re in for a long one here. Back from an early break with Rollins fighting out of a chinlock but getting punched down in the corner. Reigns charges into a boot to the face and gets caught with a Blockbuster.

The Sling Blade takes Reigns down again and there’s the springboard clothesline. Reigns is right back with the apron dropkick and some corner clotheslines of his own. The Superman Punch is blocked twice and Rollins actually manages the Buckle Bomb. Reigns is right out of the corner with the Superman Punch and we take another break.

Back again with Rollins missing a frog splash but throwing Reigns outside for a pair of suicide dives. The springboard knee is Superman Punched out of the air for two though and they’re both down. Back up with Reigns avoiding the Curb Stomp but getting rolled up for the pin at 20:08. They stare at each other for a long time until John Cena is in third. Rollins decks him from behind for two and we take another break.

We come back again with Cena, still in the t-shirt, holding Rollins in a headlock. Seth fights back up but Cena takes the shirt off and grabs a chinlock with a grapevine. Cena sends him outside as Cole talks about Cena’s history in the Elimination Chamber, mention that Cena has won from first and sixth. So numbers mean nothing? Seth makes it back in at nine but gets caught in rolling belly to belly suplexes for two. We take yet another break and come back with Rollins barely standing during a slugout until Cena throws him onto his shoulder and spinning it into Stunner.

Rollins refuses to give up so Cena circles him a bit, followed by a right hand between the eyes for one. Cena elbows him in the jaw and shoulders Rollins to the floor as we take ANOTHER break with the match breaking 40 minutes in the process. We’re back again with Rollins down and Cena seeming to take some mercy on him. The STF goes on a few seconds later but Cena lets it go to pull Rollins back to the middle.

That’s enough for an escape and they’re both down again. Rollins gets small packaged for two but comes up with his Falcon Arrow, only to be slammed down. You Can’t See Me is blocked with a pair of superkicks for two, sending Cena bailing to the apron. Rollins takes him outside and avoids a charge to send Cena into the steps. The AA is escaped and Seth slaps on a Crossface in the middle of the ring.

That’s escaped into the AA but Rollins sticks the landing and hits an enziguri. The frog splash gives Rollins two but the AA connects…..for two? Seriously? Now the superplex into the Falcon Arrow gives Rollins two and they’re both down. Cena is right back with the STF but Rollins does the big crawl for the break. Rollins pulls himself up but gets caught in the hold again, this time close to the middle of the ring.

Somehow that’s escaped with ANOTHER rope break and Cena is ticked. That means a Super AA but Rollins elbows out. Cena’s high crossbody is rolled through into an AA to give Rollins ANOTHER close two. These kickouts are getting insane. The Phoenix splash misses and Cena hits an AA. The second AA is escaped and Rollins hits the Curb Stomp to get rid of Cena at 56:44.

Elias is in third (with music) and stomps away for some near falls as we take another break. We come back again with Rollins caught in a half crab as this is now the longest match in Raw history. With Rollins in the hold, we go split screen for an interview with Cena who knows what he has to do in the Chamber and praises Rollins’ abilities. He’s doing a lot of stuff right now and if he doesn’t win on Sunday, he might not have a Road to Wrestlemania.

Rollins tries his flip off the ropes but can’t stand on his knee. He’s fine enough to superkick Elias down for two and hit a slingshot dive to the floor. Back in and the knee gives out, allowing Elias to hit Drift Away for the pin at 1:04:56. Rollins gets a standing ovation as this is now the longest match in WWE TV history. Balor comes in and slugs Elias down but it’s too early for the Coup de Grace as we take a break.

Back again with Elias holding an armbar and we go to another split screen interview with Rollins. Seth thinks the two pins mean something but he’s disappointed if he doesn’t win on Sunday. A shoulder breaker gives Elias two and he slams the arm into the apron. The fans greet this with a WE WANT STROWMAN chant until Balor kicks him in the head. Elias gets taken down with some running forearms (one of which actually makes contact) and another kick to the head.

They go outside again with Balor hitting a shotgun dropkick to drive Elias into the barricade. Back in and an electric chair into a sitout powerbomb gives Elias two as we take another break. We come back again (I’m getting tired of typing that) with Elias grabbing a Fujiwara armbar and then kicking the bar arm a few times. Balor scores with a Sling Blade and a shotgun dropkick in the corner. The Coup de Grace ends Elias at 84:50 and it’s Miz in sixth.

Miz sneaks in through the crowd and decks Balor from behind for an early two count. Miz’s short DDT gets the same and he kicks Balor in the face for a third near fall. Balor is sent outside and then has his bad arm (Miz: “IS IT THIS ARM?”) wrapped around the ropes as we take another break. Back again with Miz holding an armbar as we’ve broken ninety minutes. In another interview, Elias says he’ll pick up the scraps and move on to the performance of a lifetime.

Balor throws him down and hits a pair of running chops in the corner but has to slip out of the Skull Crushing Finale. The Miztourage breaks up a near fall so Balor dives on them, followed by the shotgun dropkick in the corner. Another distraction breaks up the Coup de Grace though and now the Skull Crushing Finale gets rid of Balor at 95:55.

Reality quickly sets in on Miz as Braun Strowman is in seventh. Miz is smart enough to run through the crowd but Strowman CATCHES HIM and drags it back to the ring…as we take another break? With STROWMAN in there? Back with Miz being thrown across the ring twice in a row as the fans are pleased with Strowman. Miz’s kicks to the ribs have as much effect as you would expect as Balor says there won’t be a Miztourage on Sunday.

Strowman gets low bridged to the floor (Coach: “Miz is doing better than I thought he would!”) but clotheslines Miz down (Coach: “My bad.”). Back in and the Miztourage offers a distraction so the Skull Crushing Finale can get two, with Miz being sent outside on the kickout. The running powerslam gives Strowman the pin at 1:45:55.

Rating: B. Cena vs. Rollins (who came off like a mega star here) was outstanding but pretty much everything after Rollins was a series of armbars as we waited on Strowman. The fact that it didn’t actually matter or change anything for Sunday didn’t help either but this is one of those things where you’re going to remember it for a long time, just for how different it was. One of the biggest criticisms of WWE is that they don’t change things enough, which was certainly not the case here. But yeah, this was just a precursor to LOL REIGNS WINS.

Post match Strowman says he’s going to do the same on Sunday because he’s not finished with Lesnar. Then at Wrestlemania, Beasty Boy is going to get these hands. Strowman isn’t done yet as he beats up the Miztourage again, including one to Miz after Strowman goes up the ramp to get him.

Jeff Jarrett Hall of Fame video. This is still so bizarre to see.

Here’s Asuka for a chat. It is her destiny to win the championship at Wrestlemania so this coming Sunday won’t be her first loss. Nia has promised to make her need the mask all the time but she likes to talk. On Sunday, Nia won’t be talking because she’ll be tapping. Cue Nia to catch Asuka with a Samoan drop and a bunch of legdrops.

Video on Ronda Rousey, who signs her contract on Sunday. Various wrestlers talk about how awesome she is, including Stephanie, who I fully expect to interrupt Sunday’s segment.

The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide

Non-title and now it’s just Apollo now instead of Apollo Crews. Cesaro and Titus start things off with Cesaro getting chopped in the corner, meaning it’s off to Apollo for a double back elbow. Everything breaks down and Apollo is sent outside for a clothesline from Sheamus. Double kicks to the ribs have Apollo in more trouble as the announcers discuss Dana Brooke’s research. Apollo fights out of a chinlock but Sheamus broke up a hot tag by pulling Titus to the floor. Cesaro is distracted though and it’s a rollup to give Apollo the pin at 4:33.

Rating: D+. I think we have our Kickoff Show match and that’s not the worst idea in the world. In theory this should give us a fresh team in the division but I’m not sure if WWE would ever pull the trigger on them. That being said, I could definitely for Titus Worldwide as transitional champions to get us to the Revival.

Newly announced for Sunday: Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy.

Bray hopes the end is near for Matt Hardy. Matt pops in and promises to render Bray obsolete. They go back and forth about wanting to end each other as they’re done several times now.

Sasha Banks/Bayley/Mickie James vs. Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville/Alexa Bliss

Bliss and James start but Alexa bails in short order. With neither getting anywhere, it’s off to Mandy vs. Sasha with Graves saying that if they studied art like Rose in college, he wouldn’t have dropped out. Bayley comes in with a hair whip, followed by a suplex to send Mandy outside.

Back from a break with Bayley in trouble but getting in a shot to Mandy’s jaw. Mandy pulls her right back though and Bliss tags herself in, much to Mandy’s annoyance. The running slap drops Bayley and it’s off to Deville for a chinlock. Bayley fights up and brings in Mickie for some house cleaning, only to have Rose take her down with a cheap shot.

Deville gets in a hard shot for two of her own, only to have Mickie get in a double neckbreaker for the break. Sasha comes in off the hot tag and house is cleaned, including the double knees to the chest to drop Bliss. The middle rope double knees gets two with Mandy making the save. Not that it matters though as the Bank Statement makes Bliss tap at 15:55.

Rating: C+. This was a way to give Banks some momentum heading into Sunday and that’s all it needed to be. I would have gone with Absolution as they don’t exactly have much momentum in the first place but Banks is a much more likely winner. It was nothing great, but at least it did something good as we head into the pay per view.

Post match Absolution destroys Banks and Bayley before turning on Bliss. Mickie makes the save though and it’s a double implant DDT to Deville to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. This was of course ALL about the gauntlet match and since that was excellent, this was a more than solid show. It’s got me interested in the two big matches for Sunday, but the problem is this show is likely going to be more remembered than the big match. That’s not the best thing in the world, but at least we got an amazing performance from Rollins on the way there.


Braun Strowman won a gauntlet match last eliminating The Miz

Titus Worldwide b. The Bar – Rollup to Cesaro

Bayley/Sasha Banks/Mickie James b. Absolution/Alexa Bliss – Bank Statement to Bliss

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