With the Royal Rumble just a couple of weeks away, Monday Night Raw needs to start kicking things into full gear to get the WWE Universe excited for the first Pay-Per-View of 2018. Tonight’s episode does a pretty good job of that with a ton of exciting action. Woken Matt Hardy debuts, The Miz returns, Enzo Amore defends the Cruiserweight Championship against Cedric Alexander, Balor Club main events the show, and Braun Strowman completely annihilates Brock Lesnar and Kane.
Roman Reigns comes down to the ring to start off the show. Last week, Reigns successfully defended the Intercontinental Championship against Samoa Joe. He starts elaborating on his reasons for fighting Joe last week when he is interrupted by Jason Jordan. Jordan uses the term “we” like he is Dean Ambrose’s replacement in the Shield but Seth Rollins (Jordan’s championship partner) tells him that it’s the wrong time.
Jordan calls them the most “dominant three-man group in all of WWE” when the Balor Club shows up. Finn Balor insults the new group before Luke Gallows calls Jordan a nerd. Jordan wants to respond with violence but Kurt Angle stops the action and announces the main event. Balor Club will face Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Jason Jordan in the main event.
Sasha Banks & Bayley (w/Mickie James) vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville (w/Paige)
This would probably be another six-woman tag team match like we’ve seen over the past couple weeks. However, Paige suffered an undisclosed injury at a house show last week and isn’t cleared to compete. Sasha Banks is competing in the Mixed Match Challenge alongside Finn Balor, while Bayley’s partner will be chosen by fan voting (Samoa Joe, Elias, or Jason Jordan).
After Bayley knocks Sonya Deville to ringside, Sasha Banks makes Mandy Rose tap out to the Bank Statement. Winners (via submission): Sasha Banks & Bayley
Woken Matt Hardy vs. Curt Hawkins
This is Matt Hardy’s first match since becoming “woken.” His last match was a loss to Bray Wyatt, which caused Hardy to snap in the first place. He has a pretty good chance of winning tonight since Curt Hawkins is still winless at 0-152.
Even though this is a “new” Matt Hardy, he still uses the Twist of Fate to put Hawkins away. Winner: Matt Hardy
Enzo Amore (c) vs. Cedric Alexander – Cruiserweight Championship
A few weeks ago, Cedric Alexander defeated Zo Train member Drew Gulak to become the #1 Contender for the Cruiserweight Championship. He was supposed to challenge Enzo Amore for the title on New Year’s Day, but Smacktalker Skywalker started off his 2018 in the hospital with the flu. Now that he is healthy, he has to defend the championship. Noticeably, there are no members of the Zo Train at ringside.
Alexander dives over the top rope onto Amore at ringside and it seems like Amore (who already is bleeding profusely from the eyebrow) hurt his left ankle. Alexander gets into the ring before the referee’s count of 10, but Amore stays outside the ring and loses so he can still keep his championship. Winner (via count-out): Cedric Alexander | STILL Cruiserweight Champion: Enzo Amore
In two weeks (the 25th anniversary of Raw), The Miz will challenge Roman Reigns for the Intercontinental Championship. At the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View, The Bar will get their Raw Tag Team Championship rematch when they challenge Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins.
Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
To prepare for the championship match in two weeks, Sheamus and Cesaro take on the unsuccessful team of Titus Worldwide. Apollo Crews is competing in WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge alongside Nia Jax.
Sheamus looks to Brogue Kick Apollo Crews off the apron, but Crews flips off and hits Cesaro with a moonsault. Titus O’Neil takes advantage of the confused Sheamus to roll him up and get a shocking upset. Winners: Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar come to the ring and do their usual pre-Pay-Per-View promo and start walking to the back. Lesnar looks at the crowd and Kane attacks him from behind. The fight heads to the backstage area, then Braun Strowman decides to join the fray. Strowman quickly disposes of both Lesnar and Strowman before pulling a steel structure that collapses on them both.
Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno (w/Heath Slater)
After failed attempts against Braun Strowman and Kane, Rhyno looks to defeat Samoa Joe in his quest to “toughen up” Heath Slater.
Rhyno tries to pick Joe up for a Fireman’s Carry, but Joe’s weight advantage allows him to slip into the Coquina Clutch for the win. After winning against Rhyno, Joe announces that he will be in the Royal Rumble. Winner (via submission): Samoa Joe
Asuka vs. Unknown Wrestler
Before this match can even get started, Nia Jax interrupts Asuka’s entrance to hit her with the electric chair. After a rolling senton, Jax leaves Asuka writhing in the ring. Kurt Angle announces that they will face off next week.
Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, & Jason Jordan
This match is essentially a battle to determine the best three-man group on Monday Night Raw. Because of a tricep injury, Dean Ambrose is replaced by Jason Jordan. The unlikely duo of Jordan and Seth Rollins won the Raw Tag Team Championships from The Bar two weeks ago.
The Balor Club (Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson) have been teaming on and off for about ten years. They were mostly known for their work in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where they formed the original Bullet Club before it was taken over by WWE Champion AJ Styles.
Jason Jordan tries to help his team a little too much and ends up getting in the way of the action. After the Magic Killer and the Coup de Grace to Seth Rollins, the Balor Club picks up their second consecutive victory. Winners: Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson
After the match ends, the Miz and the Miztourage assault the losing team. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel feed Roman Reigns right up to The Miz, who closes the show with the Skull Crushing Finale.
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