By Josh Coulson – @bristolbeadz
It’s probably fair to say that many fans were left disappointed by Sunday night’s Royal Rumble match. Mainly down to a few select names not being included, and perhaps a few names that were. All the more reason to watch RAW in my opinion! Maybe those names were being saved for a reason, and perhaps some of the stranger decisions would begin to make more sense.
A very battered and bruised Universal champion opened the show with still best friend Chris Jericho in tow. Kevin Owens of course defended his title against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble on Sunday night. KO did have a helping hand from an interfering Braun Strowman however. Well turns out Owens was opening RAW in order to thank someone for helping him defeat Reigns, but it wasn’t Braun, it was of course Jericho. Turns out Strowman was listening in and soon emerged to reveal exactly why he inserted himself into the title picture. The Man Mountain signalled to some footage of KO promising him a title shot should he defeat Reigns at the Rumble. A seemingly throw away comment that the champ would now regret as it resulted in Strowman being granted a title match on Monday’s RAW. A huge mastch set for later that night and WWE actually harking back to little details that we may have forgotten. First segment of the night and I’m already impressed.
Sami Zayn is quickly becoming one of my favourite wrestlers on RAW. A great program with Strowman. An action packed 47 minutes in Sunday’s Royal Rumble. And on Monday night a victory over the United States champion which I can only assume is going to lead to a title shot. It was easier said than done for The Underdog to overcome the ’61 minute man’. A close escape from the Walls of Jericho led to a successful Helluva Kick, on the third time of asking, and a win for Sami.
Last week I wrote about how Mustafa Ali was getting pushed directly to the top of the cruiserweight division. Well just seven days later it appears that push has come to an abrupt end. Ali defeated pretty quickly by the Premier Athlete, Tony Nese, on RAW. More interesting was the post match interview between Nese and Austin Aries. Aries poked fun at Nese and it would seem has maybe discovered who his first opponent will be in the CW division when he returns from injury.
Seth Rollins escalated his attempts to get his hands on Triple H over the weekend by invading NXT Takeover. On Monday he had to answer to Stephanie McMahon for those actions. The face-to-face didn’t quite go as Steph may had liked. Rollins took to the ring and informed Steph that he would stop at nothing to get to her husband, The Game. Even marching into board meetings or turning up at their house. The thought of that was clearly the final straw for the commissioner as an irate McMahon exclaimed that she had lied earlier. In fact Triple H would be on RAW that night, and he’d be coming for Seth.
Charlotte Flair may be the queen of pay per view, but her RAW record leaves a lot to be desired. This past week her Rumble challenger Bayley picked up yet another pinfall over the champ. This time in mixed six man tag action. Bayley partnered up with Sheamus and Cesaro to battle with Charlotte and the new RAW tag team champions Gallows & Anderson. A win for the former and some title rematches in the offing for all of the winners sometime soon I would imagine.
Neville has been leading the way when it comes to trying to hold the fans interest in the cruiserweight division. His heel work has been fantastic and on Sunday night he was crowned the new CW champion. On RAW the Geordie wanted his coronation as the official King of the Cruiserweights. Unfortunately for Neville he was interrupted by former champ and former friend Rich Swann. Swann only wanted to shake the hand of his victor but when he refused to bend the knee as Neville requested tempers flared and Swann sent the new champion reeling from the ring without his crown.
Turns out Strowman’s shot at the WWE Universal title was not the night’s main event. The one sure thing in this match, that there would be some funny business. Well Braun made sure it wouldn’t be Y2J executing said business by chokeslamming him through the announce table before the match had even begun. A clearly rattled Kevin Owens did pretty well to surmount an assault on Strowman but before we could find out if the champion could successfully defend, Reigns’ music hit. The Big Dog came looking for revenge after The Monster Among Men ruined his chances of becoming Universal champion the night before. It took a lot to take big Braun Strowman of off his feet, but Roman managed it. Plus delivered a spear to KO for good measure before departing.
It is officially Wrestlemania season, so the Brock Lesnar appearances are being cashed in thick and fast. The Beast Incarnate was embarrassed by Goldberg again at the Royal Rumble and both Brock and his advocate Paul Heyman are not happy. In fact the reason the pair were on RAW this Monday was to challenge Goldberg to one final showdown, at Wrestlemania. It was the one match that most were pretty certain would be taking place in Orlando, but it was still good to hear and see it officially confirmed. Well that is of course if Goldberg accepts, I can’t imagine that the former WCW champion will be backing down at this point.
Glutton for punishment Sasha Banks went against her friend Bayley’s advice and stepped in to the ring for a rematch with Nia Jax. The Boss was dismantled by Jax in San Antonio and suffered a similar fate on Mondaynight RAW. A slightly confusing finish as the bell was rung to stop the beating despite no one actually calling for it. Jax continued the beatdown until Bayley came to Sasha’s side and helped the now even more injured Banks out of the ring.
One feud I’m pretty tired of is Enzo and Cass vs Rusev and Jinder Mahal. Lucky for me the tornado tag match involving the four men on Monday night was billed as the blow off match to their rivalry. The majority of the match saw Jinder and Rusev mounting two on one assaults on their opponents. Enzo and Cass came good for the finish though with an Air Enzo putting an end to the match and the feud.
Stephanie McMahon was not bluffing when she said her husband Triple H would be their later that night. The Game did in fact turn up and made a bee line for the ring in order to respond to Seth Rollins’ continuous challenges. The father of NXT explained exactly why he dislikes Seth, that he gave The Architect everything and he has since thrown it all away. The final order of business? Calling the first ever NXT champion to the ring in order to settle things once and for all. Of course Rollins did not shy away, but unfortunately he still didn’t get to give HHH the beating he’s been dying to give him. Just as he was about to slide under the ropes Samoa Joe appeared to do The Game’s bidding for him. Many of us expected Joe to make his debut in Sunday’s Rumble but it would appear the two time NXT champion was being saved for good reason. A devastating beating from the Samoan Submission Machine as WWE’s COO calmly left Joe to it. It looks like Seth Rollins has yet another obstacle to get through before he can get his hands on his creator.