An historic Monday Night Raw saw history made with the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match announced (at the most awkward time ever); the challengers for both the Cruiserweight & Universal Championships were determined, and a huge NXT Star made their long awaited Raw debut to help out an old friend.
Kurt Angle Announces a Triple Threat Universal Championship Match at Royal Rumble. Grade: B. The General Manager announced that at Royal Rumble Brock Lesnar will defend against Kane & Braun Strowman after both men pitched why they should compete for the title, with both Monster & Machine making good points. While this will be fine and Kane will take the pin to protect Strowman, its hardly as exciting as a Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar match.
Seth Rollins defeated Jason Jordan. Grade: B- Jordan squeezed his way into a match will Rollins for the chance to get his hands on Samoa Joe. A good win for Rollins, but Jordan is just really stuck in no mans land at the moment; going nowhere in a hurry.
Finn Balor defeated Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel by Disqualification. Hideo Itami Debuts. Hideo Itami & Finn Balor defeated Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel. Grade: B- Balor struggled with the Miztourage disadvantaged two-on-one before Itami made the save. Very interesting to see Itami debut here on Raw and not on 205 Live as advertised; and even more interesting to see why he’s in with Balor & The Miztourage as opposed to Enzo or the other Cruiserweights. To think Balor is doing this when he could be feuding with Lesnar for the title.
Cedric Alexander defeated Drew Gulak to become the Number One Contender for the Cruiserweight Championship. Grade: B- The match itself was fine but once again Gulak is the absolute star here; the story of Enzo not caring about him but Gulak being genuinely devastating in letting Enzo down is fantastic.
Nia Jax, Enzo Amore & Drew Gulak. Grade: B. I still hate the fact Nia is even doing this and not being taken as the serious killer she can be; but this was genuinely hilarious, particularly Gulak who plays the contrasting role so perfectly its great to watch. Where this leads I have no idea, but I have a feeling it may be a very fun ride.
Asuka defeated Alicia Fox. Grade: C. Fox got a little more offence in, but this is quickly getting old being just the same thing over and over again. Once you progress with a potential Absolution story, going backwards is useless.
Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt. Grade: B. Both Wyatt & Hardy said much the same things they have already said in the past, but the addition of the Chess Board was enough to make this fresh and fun. This feud seriously needs to get physical or at least in ring and not pre-taped videos soon.
The Bar & Samoa Joe defeated Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Jason Jordan. Grade: B. The match was great, as it always will be given the talent; but just nothing happened here. Jordan was only there because Roman was unavailable; the only thing to note is Ambrose’s apparent injury, which we hope is just show and not legit.
The Revival defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno. Grade: C+ The Revival are back and all is right in the world. A throwback ad definitely one of the best teams in the world, The Revival are a welcome addition back to the Raw Tag Team Division. A feud between them and Titus Worldwide was teased, which will be fine as long as The Revival kill them. Such a shame to see how far Slater & Rhyno have fallen, around 16 months are they were the most popular team in the world.
Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James vs The Absolution & The Announcement of the First Women’s Royal Rumble Match. Grade: B. This was so good, and so bad. the babyface team interrupting Elias as well as Elias’ performance was fantastic. The match was good enough but once all hell broke loose, the fighting stopped out of nowhere and all the women seemed to get along as they celebrated Stephanie McMahon announce the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match. the announcement was great, the concept is well overdue and well deserved, but the placement was absolutely stupid and almost ruined the entire thing.