WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 15, 2018) from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Philadelphia.
Advertised for tonight: Asuka vs. Nia Jax, Roman Reigns has issues with The Miz, and more!
Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the Raw live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)
WWE RAW RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR JAN. 15
I’m breaking the wall inside my heart, I just wanna let my emotions get out. Nobody can stop, I’m running to freedom no matter how you try to hold me in your world. Like a doll carried by the flow of time, I sacrificed the present moment for the future. I was in chains of memory half-blinded, losing my heart, walking in the sea of dreams, but now, I’m here to liveblog this pro wrestling show for you, folks.
The show opens with a recap of the Kane/Brock Lesnar/Braun Strowman stuff from last week, including Braun’s most excellent grappling hook maneuver.
Braun Strowman makes his entrance and gets in the ring to tell us all a short story with a happy ending. You see, a Beast and a Machine met at the Royal Rumble, and the last one standing was a Monster and he became the new Universal Champion.
This brings Kurt Angle out with a boatload of security guards, to which Strowman tells Angle he was telling a story. Kurt says he has a story too, but it doesn’t have a happy ending. Braun put lives in danger last week and cost them thousands of dollars in damage. Strowman says it could have been a lot worse, but Angle tells him he creates an unsafe working environment.
Kurt is in charge of every superstar and backstage employee, and what if they get caught in the crossfire? Braun says he was just doing his job and Angle says he wasn’t, this is Raw, and they settle things in the ring, not backstage with a grappling hook. Strowman says he does things when and how he wants, and if he wants to walk into Suplex City and rip the walls down, that’s what he’ll do.
If he wants to kick the door to hell in, that’s what he’ll do, and at the Rumble, if he wants to be Universal Champion... he will. Angle says he’s lucky Brock and Kane can still compete, but it’s not gonna be a triple threat anymore. In fact, Braun isn’t going to compete at all, because he’s fired!
Angle leaves and Strowman follows after him, security right behind as he goes to the back.
Commentary hypes Asuka vs. Nia Jax as well as a handicap match pitting Roman Reigns against the Miztourage.
We go backstage where Braun is walking and grumbling when he suddenly takes notice of security behind him and tells them if they want him to leave, they’ll have to make him leave, and we go to break.
Back from commercial, and Braun is still being escorted by security but he stops short when he gets to the door. One of them tells him he has to leave, so Braun puts him into a metal loading door! So goes another one as he clubs a few more and biels one across road cases before chasing another down and throwing him across one table and then through a second!
Strowman says he’s not finished yet and he’s not leaving until everyone gets these hands!
The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) vs. Titus Worldwide (Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil)
Crews and Sheamus to start, circling, collar and elbow, the Celtic Warrior gets him in his corner and tags Cesaro in. They put boots to Apollo, arm wringer, tag back to Sheamus, double whip into a hip toss but Crews lands on his feet and throws a dropkick. Up and over on Sheamus, pass behind, another dropkick, front chancery and a tag to O’Neil.
In with a punch, whip, shoulder block, Celtic Warrior gets a big overhand chop, boot, knee, tag to Cesaro and he comes in throwing chops, Titus turns him around, big hands, trading with Cesaro like they both watched WALTER vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. from Evolve 99 over the weekend and thought it’d be a good idea (it is!), O’Neil gets the better of the exchange and lands a body slam before tagging Apollo in.
Slam to an elbow drop, only good for one, making him thing about it in a scoop lift but Cesaro gets out and makes the tag. Sheamus off the top with a diving lariat, and he poses for the crowd to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Cesaro runs into a boot as Crews starts to rally, reaching for the tag but the Swiss Superman picks him up and rams him into their corner for a tag to Sheamus. Backbreaker connects, Demolition Decapitation... NOPE! Reverse chinlock applied, shift to a top wristlock, Apollo to his feet, throwing hands, he gets an enzuigiri off and begins crawling for the tag...
Tags made, Titus in hot with lariats, clubbing blows to Cesaro in the corner, big biel, corner freight train into a World’s Strongest Slam, only a nearfall! Drawing him up, Cesaro has the back body drop scouted and tags Sheamus in. Stereo kicks to the midsection, Apollo kicks Cesaro down but misses the moonsault and gets wiped out. Cesaro with a cheap uppercut, schoolboy... NOPE!
Sheamus with a lariat, tag to Cesaro, Neutralizer reversed with a back body drop and Cesaro comes up lame in a knee. Tag to Apollo, diving crossbody into a standing moonsault... NOT ENOUGH! Sheamus comes in, they clear house, tag made, up for White Noise and Cesaro climbs up to spike him... when Jason Jordan comes out. Apollo slips out...
Titus Worldwide win by pinfall with a schoolboy pin from Apollo Crews on Sheamus.
Seth Rollins comes out to ask Jordan (without microphones) what in the hell he’s doing but Jason is all smiles as he explains himself.
Braun Strowman is walking backstage and yells at RD Evans asking him where Kurt Angle’s office is, and he gets pointed down the hall, where he kicks the door in and proceeds to trash the place! Chairs thrown into a TV and everything! He leaves, having not found Angle, and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for tomorrow’s episode of Mixed Match Challenge.
We go to catering, where somebody runs in to tell everyone Braun is coming. And come he does, upending tables and chokeslamming Curt Hawkins through one for good measure! He walks into a man with a tray of cake and takes a slice, eating it to fuel his rampage.
Enzo Amore makes his entrance limping and flanked by Tony Nese, he does the deal. He says he’s doing better than Curt Hawkins and make no mistake about it, Braun is a monster among men, but so is he. He might be walking down to the ring at Royal Rumble looking like Frankenstein, but he’s gonna walk out of the ring as Cruiserweight Champion.
But if he’s Frankenstein, Cedric Alexander is Dracula, because he sucks. He got some Muscles Marinara last week, but if he wants more he has to get through his garlic, Tony Abs.
Cedric comes out with Goldust in tow and Goldy tells Enzo he shouldn’t dare compare himself to Boris Karloff because if he was a film he’d go straight to DVD. Alexander, however, is a box office smash, a blockbuster, and when he wins at Royal Rumble there’ll only be one word to describe him-- champion. But Goldust has one word for Enzo, and Cedric takes the mic to tell him from his eye to his ankle, there’s only one word to describe him, SAWFT.
We go to break before the match begins.
Back from commercial, Braun is prowling backstage, throwing chairs and nearly running a referee over with a dumpster.
Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese
The match in progress, Alexander with a side headlock, Nese reverses to a wristlock, Alexander escapes, off the ropes, and he gets bowled over by a shoulder block. Stomps, forearm gets a chop, knee, whip, Cedric up and over, roll through, handspring Frankensteiner into a dropkick and he’s got him in the corner. Shoulder block, pass to the apron, he goes to springboard but Tony crotches him and kicks him right into the fireman’s carry gutbuster for two!
Mounted punches, referee Shawn Bennett warning him off and Nese chooses to take the time out of his day to count his abs. (Eight, if you were wondering.) Chop in the corner, a knee, scoop lift sets him up in the Tree of Woe and more knees follow. Backing off, into the kicks that are also crunches, dragging him in the middle of the ring for a cover but it’s only good for two.
Neck crank applied, keeping Cedric locked down but he fights to his feet. Mat slam into a leg drop, Tony still in charge and he goes back to the neck crank. Goldust gets in Enzo’s face at ringside, Alexander breaks free and they trade hands. Whip hard into the turnbuckles, Cedric sidesteps the charge and connects with an uppercut! Drop toehold into the turnbuckle, Penalty Kick from the apron and he’s fired up!
Springboard tornado reverse STO into a kip-up, back body drop puts Alexander to the apron but he springboards right back in with a lariat for a nearfall! Cedric fired up, back suplex clutch but Nese cranks on the side headlock to try and stop Lumbar Check. Overhead elbow, uppercut, Alexander staggered but he gets the back suplex lift off only for Tony to land on his feet!
Kick to the midsection, a knee, Cedric gets an elbow off, wristlock, Nese slides under, pumphandle, Alexander reverses...
Cedric Alexander wins by pinfall with Lumbar Check.
Kurt Angle is backstage with referee Dan Engler, saying he’s never seen anything like this before and he has no choice but to call a swat team on Braun Strowman. Referee John Cone runs in, breathless, to tell Kurt that Braun is headed for the production trucks, and Angle panics, saying they’re worth twelve million dollars and leaving immediately to try and head him off as we go to break.
Back from commercial, Braun is in the loading bay headed into the TV trucks! He says he’ll shut the whole show down and asks what happens if he smashes some of the equipment before accosting another crew member and heading into the back to sling stuff around and order everyone to leave! He goes through a door as the production crew huddle and go to head back to work but in a moment they’re all knocked down.
We go outside to see what happened and what happened is that Braun drove the truck forward and decoupled it from the trailer. He goes to lift it but Kurt Angle comes over to tell him he’s called the cops. Strowman seems like he’s going to leave but he gets a running start... AND HE TIPS THE BIG RIG OVER! BRAUN ROARS IN ANGLE’S FACE AND STORMS OFF!
We follow Braun backstage as he makes his way back to the arena and surveys the scene before heading over to Michael Cole, who stumbles trying to get away! He’s got Cole by the seat of his pants and hoists him up like a sack of garbage as Angle and a flock of security guards arrive! Kurt says he’s called off the cops and Stephanie McMahon rehired him. He’s still in the title match!
He goes to head to the back before turning around and grabbing Cole... HE BIELS MICHAEL COLE INTO THE SECURITY GUARDS!
On that note, we go to break.
Back from commercial and Corey Graves tells us what happened to Michael Cole just now was criminal as Tom Phillips joins the team for the rest of the show. We then get a recap of what we just saw, because Raw is three hours long and also because what we just saw was awesome.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax
Circling, Asuka keeping her distance, she ducks, goes behind, leg kick, trying for a trip but Jax throws her away! Catching a lariat, trying to take her down but Nia is able to shrug the Empress of Tomorrow off. Waistlock, forearms, Jax throws her aside but Asuka runs the ropes and gets an octopus hold on deep! Jax hosses her out of it but a rolling solebutt connects.
Off the ropes, Nia catches her with a backbreaker, follows it up with a biel, and walks into a front kick in the corner. Forearms from Asuka, whip reversed and Jax levels her with a lariat! Going to the mat to follow it up but Asuka catches her in a triangle choke! Jax trying to post to her feet and deadlift out but Asuka has control at first. Eventually she gets her up... DEADLIFT BUCKLE BOMB SENDS US TO BREAK!
Back from commercial, Nia has Asuka locked in a bear hug! I can hardly bear it! Desperate clubs to try and force the break but Jax readjusts and keeps it on! Asuka manages to slip out, thinking sunset flip but she’s able to slip away from the Earthquake Splash! Sliding kick off the ropes but she can’t capitalize! Back to her feet, a pair of spinning backfists into a reverse roundhouse, Nia tries the Samoan drop but Asuka reverses to a pin!
Chest kicks follow, Asuka fired up but Jax catches the buzzsaw finale into a powerbomb! Cover comes up empty, Nia takes a moment to figure out what she has to do to put the Empress of Tomorrow away. Drawing her up, chokebomb reversed into a kneebar! Jax screaming agony, crawling for the ropes and she gets them! Nia throws Asuka outside and heads after her, catching a kick and ramming her back-first into the apron!
Jax climbs up the steps and Asuka kicks her leg out from under her, getting her leg caught between the steps and the apron! Nia beats the count but is having trouble with her leg, barely able to get to her feet when it goes right out from under her! She tries to get up again and fails...
Asuka wins by referee stoppage.
Referee Shawn Bennett brings a medic to the ring and Alexa Bliss rushes out not far behind to check on her alleged friend.
Kurt Angle is in what’s left of his office with Jason Jordan. Jason thanks him for all the opportunities he’s been given. Jordan says he’s been behind Angle the entire time, ready to help if Braun Strowman attacked, and on behalf of his partner, Seth Rollins, he wants to offer to defend the tag titles at the Royal Rumble. As for tonight, he wants Seth to wrestle Finn Balor to keep him sharp.
Angle grants him the match.
Commentary gives us an update on Michael Cole, telling us that he’s been very shaken up by the manhandling he was given, but if it weren’t for security it could have been a lot worse. They then toss to our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day package, complete with ten bell salute, to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Alexa Bliss puts an ice pack on Nia Jax’s knee and apologizes, saying she thought Nia would destroy Asuka. Enzo Amore rolls up to ask Jax how she’s doing and she returns the favor, neither of them wanting to admit how they’re hurting. Alexa tries to run Amore off but they’re not having it and she leaves instead.
Enzo says he’s sorry Nia got hurt and they have an awkward moment.
Extra Talent-ed (Aaron Solow & Ricky Starks) vs. the Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson)
Dawson and Solow to start, Scott in control and he tags Wilder in, who shoves Aaron back to tag Starks in, but Dash is right on him with a fireman’s carry backbreaker! Tag to Dawson, assisted gourdbuster, he slaps Solow for good measure and tags Wilder in. Using Ricky to clear Aaron off the apron, flapjack...
The Revival win by pinfall with Shatter Machine on Ricky Starks.
The Revival are interviewed and Dawson asks if they’re sure they finally want to give the Revival a live mic on national television. What we just saw was a clinic in tag team wrestling, he says, something that’s been missing here for quite some time because guys are too worried about running to the back to play video games or check how many likes they got on Instagram, but not them.
They’re just worried about mastering holds and winning matches. Asked which legends they’re most excited to meet next week, Dash questions the idea that Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, or the New Age Outlaws are old school. In fact they’re the reason the business has become a mockery, and the Revival aren’t sports entertainers, they’re professional wrestlers.
Scott says they’re not a boardroom creation, and “they” don’t want them to succeed. Next week on Raw 25 there’s gonna be a ton of superstars from around the globe, but this is their universe, and there’s only one team that’s gonna set the tone for Monday Night Raw for the next 25 years and jack, you’re looking at them.
Elias is walking backstage to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Elias is in the ring to sing us a song.
He does his usual introductory spiel and says he hopes Michael Cole is okay. He talks about the Royal Rumble and says he’s most concerned about one superstar, and that’s who his song is about. He begins and it turns out to be about John Cena and how he wants retribution for Christmas. After a bit of an argument with the crowd, he then sings a little intro for Miz and the Miztourage.
They make their entrance and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Miz gets on the microphone.
He says last week the fans greeted him on his return with “Welcome back!” chants and that was awesome. Only six weeks and he gets such a welcome, so clearly folks recognized that he’s the spark that was missing. Not John Cena, not Brock Lesnar, it’s him. Last week, Kurt Angle gave him his rematch, and that felt awesome, and then he and the Miztourage laid waste to Roman Reigns, which also felt awesome.
It was an unforgettable moment, the kind that makes Raw a TV juggernaut, but those moments are the kind of thing he does, which is why USA are giving him and Maryse their own unscripted series. Next week he’ll overdeliver like he always does, in a moment people will remember for 25 years, and he tells Roman the title is his. He made it relevant, and next week he’ll reclaim it.
And that’s gonna feel awesome.
Roman Reigns vs. the Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (Handicap Match)
Reigns starts off slapping Axel and Dallas to send a message to Miz before heading outside to send it a bit more directly. Big slicing right for Bo and Curtis blindsides him for the save! Throwing him into the steps and then back inside, a cover only gets two. Trying again, still two, tag to Dallas and they put boots to the Big Dog with quick tags to avoid drawing too much of referee John Cone’s ire.
Lariat gets another nearfall and Bo locks a reverse chinlock on. Reigns gets to his feet and Dallas cuts him off with vicious knee strikes but a suplex is denied, Roman nearly reversing him over the ropes when Curtis tips him back in, allowing Bo to snap off a DDT that nearly ends it. Wristlock applied, trying to drag Reigns over for the tag but the Big Dog blocks.
Trading forearms with the wristlock still on, Axel tags in and blindsides Roman. Whip reversed and Reigns connects with a Samoan drop! Cutting him off from the tag with a pickup, stampeding him into the turnbuckles, Roman walks into a boot but is still able to clear Bo off the apron! Big Dog fired up, Curtis has nowhere to go and the lariats connect!
Big leaping lariat to put the exclamation point on, putting him in the corner for the corner lariats, a backhand and a knee for Bo when he tries to get involved, he throws Axel into a front facelock and boots Dallas to connect the DDT! Calling for it but Miz distracts him momentarily, lariat for Bo, Superman Punch connects on Curtis! Headed outside, Superman Punch for Dallas to boot!
Miz goes to run away but Roman throws him in the ring! He makes good his escape, Axel with a schoolboy nearfall, Reigns off the ropes...
Roman Reigns wins by pinfall with a spear on Curtis Axel.
After the match, Roman holds the Intercontinental Championship high as Miz backs off up the aisle.
Commentary recaps Braun’s rampage from earlier verbally before hyping up Balor/Rollins and sending us to break.
Back from commercial, Sasha Banks comes out flanked by Mickie James and Bayley for a match.
Sasha Banks vs. Sonya Deville
Deville goes behind, waistlock takeover, a bit of shadowboxing and Banks goes right for the Bank Statement crossface! Sonya slips out, ram into the corner, shoulder thrusts, back elbow counter, whip in, up and over but Deville gets a knee off to counter. More knee strikes follow, and when they only get two, Sonya locks the Boss in a bodyscissors.
Crossface strikes, Sasha stands up, rams her into the turnbuckles and escapes with a throw. Forearms on forearms, off the ropes, headscissors takeover, dropkick, double knees in the corner, again, rolling Deville out, Banks heads up top and dives but Sonya counters...
Sonya Deville wins by pinfall with an Alarm Clock-style kick to the midsection.
Absolution celebrate up the ramp while the babyfaces check on Sasha.
We then toss to a video package on WWE’s trip to the National Civil Rights Museum last week.
In the locker room, Seth Rollins is taping his wrists when Jason Jordan rolls up. Seth tells him when he starts interfering and speaking on his behalf like he did... Jordan says he can go cancel the match but Rollins says he wants to make up for losing to Rollins, yes, but they’re teammates. Teammates, not his spokesman. He doesn’t have a problem with what he did, but he DOES have a problem with the way he did it.
Matt Hardy makes his entrance and leads the crowd in “Delete!” chants, but his match will have to wait until after the break.
Back from commercial and the match is in progress!
Heath Slater vs. Matt Hardy
Hardy in control, right hand into a side headlock, whip, falling splash into mounted punches and slaps as Slater heads for the ropes. Matt drags him back inside, windmill punches, getting him in the corner and gurning at him, looming over him and clobbering him to the floor with a right hand! Rhyno gives Heath a pep talk and he heads back in, kick to the midsection, punches and stomps, getting a bit of room to maneuver.
Arm wringer to elbows to the elbow, standing armbar, and Hardy bites his hand to force a break! A straight right, German suplex into the turnbuckles, more windmill punches and referee Dan Engler pulls him off. Delete! lariat, short-arm Side Effect gets a nearfall and Broken Matt deletes him face-first into the turnbuckles! Neckbreaker connects, Hardy leads his Woken Warriors in song...
Matt Hardy wins by pinfall with a Twist of Fate.
We then toss to a video package announcing Goldberg’s inclusion in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class.
Commentary hypes up Balor/Rollins once again and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get a recap of the Braun Strowman saga that played out tonight.
Commentary then proceeds to run through the card for the Royal Rumble.
The Club and Finn Balor make their entrances, and Finn cuts a picture-in-picture promo about how his first match against Rollins was the greatest moment of his career, and then the accident happened, but tonight will be no accident, and with his good brothers at his side, it’ll be Too Sweet.
And so we go to break.
Back from commercial, Seth has made his entrance and we’re ready to go.
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins grabs a side headlock, Balor goes to shoot him off but he slides low and keeps him grounded a moment. Off the ropes, the shoot connects, drop down, arm drag, another arm drag into an armbar, Seth gets to his feet and forces him into the ropes for a break before arm dragging him away anyway. Running him over, Penalty Kick to the back, drawing him up, big chop into body blows in the corner.
Putting the boots to him, Rollins mockingly Too Sweets Gallows and Anderson before locking a reverse chinlock on. Knee lift when he’s in danger of escaping, off the ropes, sunset flip, roll through, dropkick, Finn clotheslines the Architect to the floor and follows it with the Penalty Kick off the apron and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Rollins is throwing hands trapped in the ropes. Boot up on the charge, diving blockbuster but Seth tweaks his knee on the landing. Hobbling, off the ropes with a knee strike to the back that sends Balor to the floor, he follows it up with a suicide dive but at what cost? Back inside, he keeps it together with a cravate, knee strikes, off the ropes with an overhead elbow and trying to massage his leg back to life.
Another overhead elbow to the back of the head, Finn throws forearms in return but Seth stays on him, knee lift and another overhead elbow. Balor floats over, waistlock, backed off with an elbow, boot up on the charge, running forearms, double leg into a double stomp! Running chop, whip reversed, up and over, Balor runs into a boot but fires an enzuigiri off and hits an inverted headlock elbow drop for a nearfall.
Going for the Sling Blade, Seth reverses it, comes off the ropes and hits one of his own! Lying in wait, charging forearm, hobbling a little, another, testing his knee out and Finn hits the Sling Blade on the third! Balor runs into a superkick... NOPE! Rollins drawing him up, looking for the ripcord knee but Balor puts together a series of forearms and then counters the knee directly with one!
Another enzuigiri leaves both men laid out but Balor is down while Rollins is gasping but up and at ‘em. One-legged, climbing the turnbuckles, Phoenix Splash comes up empty and the shotgun dropkick lands true! Perched up top, Seth wakes up and climbs to meet him, superplex into the Falcon Arrow... NOPE! The Architect headed up top again, perched, slapping life into his leg, frog splash... FINN GOT THE KNEES UP! A COVER... NOT ENOUGH!
The Bar come down and go after Jordan but get into a brawl with Gallows and Anderson! Finn Balor with a tope con giro on all four men! Gamengiri from the apron, Coup de Grace but nobody’s home! Cesaro trying to run interference but Jordan succeeds, tripping Balor...
Seth Rollins wins by pinfall with Blackout!
BLACKOUT IS BACK EVERYBODY!
Rollins and Jordan celebrate up the ramp, Jason a bit more enthusiastic about it.
Blackout gets a slow motion replay, lest you think maybe it was an audible or something.
Balor Club gather themselves in the ring and help Finn to his feet but he sinks back to his knees. He gets back up under his own power.
That’s the show, folks.