The lasting image from the Royal Rumble PPV was that of Ronda Rousey pointing towards the WrestleMania sign. After the hellacious battle the women went through, it was Asuka that, as she has done over the past year, dominated her opponents. While the Empress of Tomorrow was in two minds to choose who she would face at ‘Mania, Ronda Rousey, for all intents and purposes stole her thunder.
The Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar proved yet again why he is the most dominant force in the business. After getting rag dolled by Strowman, Lesnar put the Monster Among Men and The Big Red Machine through the announce tables. While that wasn’t enough to earn him the win, Brock F – 5’d Kane to retain the Universal title. But one could argue that it was Strowman, that impressed the fans with his heart, and pure monstrocity. So what’s next for the three participants?
Finally, Nakamura won the men’s Rumble match, last eliminating Roman Reigns. John Cena was among the mix till the very end, but the Japanese sensation single handedly broke the heart of Kurt Angle, when he eliminated both the Superstars. So who will face the Universal Champion at WrestleMania? But more importantly, who will go to the Elimination Chamber?
We found some of the answers on this week’s episode of RAW.
Sasha Banks challenges Asuka
This week’s RAW kicked off with the Commissioner, Stephanie McMahon making her way out. Stephanie talked about last night’s Royal Rumble PPV, and immediately shifted her focus to the women’s Rumble match. She put over the importance and magnitude of the event, and praised all the women for putting on a memorable bout.
It didn’t take long for Stephanie to talk about Ronda, and the winner of the match, Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow then made her way out, as Stephanie asked her whom she would like to face at WrestleMania. Stephanie also announced a massive match for the Elimination Chamber PPV, which will witness, for the first time, an all women Elimination Chamber match!
Asuka then said that no one was ready for her, which brought Sasha Banks out. Banks talked about nearly lasting the entirety of the bout, and challenged Asuka to a match. Stephanie booked the bout, as both the women got into an intense stare down.
Kurt Angle announced prior to the show that there would be three qualifying matches for the Elimination Chamber match.
Braun Strowman takes out his frustrations on Kane, advances to the Elimination Chamber match
The first qualifying match of the night saw Strowman taking on Kane in a Last Man Standing match, just 24 hours after their hellacious triple threat encounter with Lesnar. Braun did not waste any time in bringing out the weapons, and rammed Kane head first into everything he could possibly find.
Eventually, both the Superstars made their way up the ramp, as Braun eyed the announce table! The announcers squirmed away from the desk, and Strowman threw Kane under the stage upon which the desk was rested. Braun then toppled the stage, burying Kane under it! The referees ended the bout, giving the win to the monster.
Kurt Angle then found Strowman, and yelled at him. Angle said he should punish Braun, but Strowman told Kurt that it was nothing compared to what he will do inside the Elimination Chamber.
Elias defeats ‘Woken’ Matt, advances to the Elimination Chamber match
The Drifter then made his way out, and in his usual style, ripped on Lesnar. Elias vowed to go to WrestleMania, before ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy made his way down to the ring.
Hardy had the upper hand in the early going, dropping Elias with a neck-breaker for a near fall. The Drifter however turned things around, by sending Matt into the steel post. Elias worked on Matt’s arm, but Matt managed to get back into the match.
Towards the end, Matt had the match won, only for Wyatt’s theme to distract the broken one. This gave Elias the opportunity to get a boot in, and Elias connected with the Drift Away to pick up the victory, and advanced to the Elimination Chamber match in the process.
The Miz retains the Intercontinental title
Couple of weeks ago, a returning Miz vowed to snatch the coveted IC title away from Reigns’s clutches. The A – Lister made good on his word a week later, as he defeated Roman to become the new Intercontinental Champion. While Roman’s hopes of winning the Rumble fell through at the final hurdle, he had the chance to capture the IC title this week.
Miz and Reigns faced each other with the title on the line. It did not take long for Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel to interfere, and Reigns chased them off. Roman and Miz traded control of the bout, and just when it looked like Reigns had the match won, Dallas and Axel appeared once again! Roman took out both men yet again, but Miz had enough time to gather his wits, and rolled Roman up to pick up the win!
The Revival faced Rhyno and Heath Slater. Dash and Dawson picked up the victory with the Shatter Machine. Post match, they cut a promo, putting the fans and the locker room down.
WWE announced The Dudley Boyz as the newest inductees into this year’s Hall Of Fame Class.
Sasha Banks and Asuka tear the house down
Banks stepped up to challenge Asuka, who earlier in the evening said no one can defeat her. Stephanie set up a match between the two, as Asuka has earned the right to face either the RAW Women’s Champion, or the SmackDown Women’s Champion at WrestleMania 34.
Asuka showed her dominance early in the match, while Sasha tried valiantly to get the upper hand. After some back and forth action, Sasha sent Asuka outside the ring, and went for a suicide dive, only to eat a kick. Banks landed horribly on her neck, and thankfully came out unhurt.
After more back and forth exchange, Sasha sent Asuka crashing and burning to the floor. Banks then locked in the Bank Statement, but Asuka was able to reverse it into the Asuka Lock, as Sasha tapped out! Both women put on an incredible match, and Sasha was left teary eyed after the bout.
The Bar retain the titles against Titus Worldwide
Cesaro and Sheamus dethroned Rollins and Jordan at the Royal Rumble. Jason, who got hurt early in the match, refused to partake in the bout, leaving Rollins all alone to fend for himself. This led to Sheamus and Cesaro picking Rollins apart, and the duo won the tag team titles.
On RAW, The Bar defended the titles they won 24 hours prior, against Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. Apollo and Titus put up a stern challenge, but Cesaro and Sheamus managed to work together, and picked up the victory in the end.
WWE then talked about Ronda Rousey’s debut, and gave an update on Kane’s condition.
John Cena defeats Finn Balor to move on to Elimination Chamber
In the main event, Finn Balor faced John Cena, with the winner going to the Elimination Chamber, and take part in the Chamber match. Just 24 hours ago, Balor put on an incredible performance, lasting nearly an hour in the Rumble match! Cena was one of the final three competitors in the Rumble match, before being eliminated by Nakamura.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were in Balor’s corner, as Finn and Cena tested each other’s strengths to kick things off. Both the Superstars went back and forth, as Balor caught Cena off – guard a couple of times. In the end however, it was the Leader of Cenation that managed to put Balor down with an F – 5, and John booked his spot in the Elimination Chamber match. The show ended with Cena celebrating, as a dejected Balor looked on.