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WWE Raw Results, Recap, Reactions (Feb. 5, 2018): The Chamber Awaits

This episode opened with a surprise – an actual match! We had dueling promos from Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns before jumping straight into their qualifying match for Elimination Chamber.

Over the past few weeks, Reigns has been riding this story of him failing to finish. He lost his Intercontinental Championship, was eliminated early – by his lofty standards, at least - in the Royal Rumble, and then lost his rematch to the Miz.

…You didn’t really expect his miniature losing streak to continue, did you?

Wyatt and Reigns are always awesome when they wrestle each other. This was another example of their chemistry and talent. I thought they had two ridiculously fun false finishes: Wyatt ducked a Superman Punch late in the match to hit a vicious Uranage and Senton for a two count as well as countering a Spear into a Sister Abigail.

But c’mon. It’s Reigns. We know where this is headed. Reigns would eventually hit a Spear and win the match clean as a whistle. Losing streak over.

The reports of Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania have been reported for a year, now. And if you’re a Reigns or Lesnar fan, perhaps that is a fun match up. My concern – as a fan of neither man - has always been if they’d be able to tell a captivating story with this. I have no doubts that Reigns as a champion could be fun. But this Universal Championship has been an albatross for a while now, stagnating the growth of several wrestlers. And now the guy who’s already a made man gets to finally win the stupid thing?

Yeah, okay.

I’m just looking forward to this being over with. Reigns was getting a split reaction on this show in freaking Des Moines; it’s been like this for an entire year while Lesnar’s been the champion. I feel bludgeoned by this entire ordeal to the point where Reigns winning in such predictable fashion doesn’t even annoy me anymore.

Perhaps that’s WWE’s hope? Who knows. After the match, Woken Matt Hardy attacked Wyatt and got some good Delete chants. That’s nice, I guess.

Jason Jordan’s the Worst

Jordan and Seth Rollins met up backstage early in the show to discuss their plans for their final shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships. Jordan claimed he was cleared and rearing to go. Well, 5 minutes before the match, guess what happens? Doctors and daddy in tow, Jordan told Rollins that he was no longer cleared to wrestle.

Roman Reigns would fill in and MY GOD this version of Reigns is so much more fun.

The hometown crowd was hot for Rollins and cheered him voraciously throughout the match. This was another good match that had Jordan appearing late to help his partner Rollins make it back to the corner for a tag. He also tried to trip up Cesaro for a pin fall.

In the end, Reigns shouted at him to leave. “We got this!” Reigns claimed.

Oh gee, and whaddya know? The kid cost Reigns and Rollins the match via Disqualification! The Bar tried to walk away and Jordan threw a punch. What a moron.

I wonder if it was intentional. I certainly wouldn’t put it past Jordan to be jealous enough to cost his teammate the match if he couldn’t be involved. And just like that, his team’s lost their chance at the titles. Nice going, kid.

Wooooooo and the tongue-lashing that Rollins gave him backstage. Called him a “selfish son of a bitch” and was angry that he didn’t have the chance to hurt Jordan himself.

Oh Hey! Stakes!

This episode’s main event was a Triple Threat match between Braun Strowman, John Cena, and Elias. The winner would win the right to enter the Elimination Chamber match last.

Hey! What a neat idea!

It was humorous to see Cena do the “gonna try to lift the big guy welp too big” thing he’s done throughout his career. Elias and Cena would gang up on Strowman to put him out of commission eventually. The solution was an Attitude Adjustment to the ring steps.

But Strowman wasn’t finished with them. He would eventually get back into the match and hit a Running Powerslam on Cena. He had Elias ready for another, but the Drifter slipped out, threw Strowman to the outside, and scrambled over to pin Cena for the victory.

And you know what? I’m fine with Elias entering last. It’s probably the most intriguing last man. As for Strowman, he’d probably rather begin the match. More time for folks to catch those hands.

Strowman also beat the tar out of both men after the match. As is his wont. What was interesting was that he was playing much more to the crowd than usual.

Best of the Rest

Balor Club def. The Revival – This was supposed to initially be a singles match, but the Revival proclaimed that they were tag team specialists and demanded a tag match. Finn Balor was happy to oblige. The team of Balor and Karl Anderson would put away the Revival in fairly short order.

Special shout out to Anderson for the “hi-yah!” on a kick in the corner. His Neckbreaker from the top rope was NUTS as well.

Alexa Bliss Ethers Kurt Angle – Angle came out to announce who would be in the women’s Elimination Chamber match. Guys, can you believe it? They’re making history again! I don’t mean to sound too cynical, but that’s really getting old now. The story here however, was Bliss. She came out after Angle announced the participants in the women’s Elimination Chamber and she flayed into him.

She accused Angle of being sexist. If the men and women’s matches at Elimination Chamber are supposed to be the same, why on earth is she defending her title while Lesnar gets to sit it out? Angle’s defense initially was “you haven’t defended your title on PPV since October.” Bliss immediately countered by rhetorically asking whose fault is that? Angle books the matches, after all.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Angle’s logic in the end, either. Hey crowd, would you like to see Bliss defend the championship in the first ever elimination chamber match? I could just as easily go out there and say “hey crowd, would you like to see Roman Reigns in a 10-on-1 No Holds Barred fight to the death?”

We’d both get cheers. Anyway, we all know Bliss is trying to wheedle out of this, but that encounter was fun.

Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali def. Tony Nese and Drew Gulak – Drake Maverick was on commentary for this match to hype up the division. WWE took the time to say he used to be called Rockstar Spud as well which is the weirdest branding ever. They called this match “a taste” of 205 Live. Well we’ve been getting a “taste” for a while now and no one’s buying in, WWE. If you want us to invest, you have to invest first. Toss in tag matches like this do nothing. With that said, I think they worked a bit faster and the crowd gave them some ooh’s and aah’s at times.

Asuka’s Running through the Roster - Last week, the Boss. This week, Bayley. You’d think someone would be ready by now.

Before the match, we had this fantastic segment of Sasha Banks replaying her match from last week. Bayley sidled into frame and the two had an incredible, tense back and forth. Bayley asked for some hints at taking Asuka down. Banks refused to offer any advice. It got pretty heated at the end where Banks expressed skepticism that Bayley could beat Asuka. Bayley’s response?

“Well I’m good enough to beat you. And if you’re good enough to beat Asuka, so am I.” Woof. These two have always been the best when they’re at each other’s throats.

Bayley was no match and tapped out. Asuka was kind enough to offer a handshake at the end, however. Banks wasn’t allowed that kindness last week. These three have been fantastic the past two weeks and I think we’re about to see this kettle boil over.

The Miz def. Apollo Crews – Miz had a promo early on to sell him as a contender for the Universal Championship and also claimed to be the reason the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Alrighty then. He also won this match in short order.

Nia Jax Wins a Squash – Angle said early in the night that Jax will fight Asuka at Elimination Chamber for the chance to make the match at WrestleMania a Triple Threat. She proceeded to murder a poor soul on this show in preparation.

Mickie James def. Sonya Deville – This match was insanely physical for such a short match. Mickie got beaten down after the match and Bliss showed up to help. Wheedling away for more support.

This episode of Raw had some good wrestling and some decent storytelling at times. I feel like the better parts of the show were the Jordan/Rollins implosion and the women’s storylines heading into Elimination Chamber.

But your mileage on this show will probably vary depending on your opinions of Bliss and Reigns. For me, that means…

Grade: B-

Same grade as last week. Our Road to WrestleMania has started off decent enough. It’s been good, but not something that you must watch. I’d love to see some fireworks soon. What about you, Cageside?

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