Less than two weeks before he challenges Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble in a match where Chris Jericho will be locked in a shark cage hanging high above the ring, RAW kicks off with the now former United States Champion Roman Reigns, who lost the title to Chris Jericho in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match against Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho last week. Roman says that, as a former member of The Shield, he can’t really complain about being outnumbered before saying that Kevin Owens is going to be “complaining” come the Royal Rumble when he is forced to go one-on-one with him. Reigns then says that “nobody” can beat him one-on-one right now and he is going to leave the Royal Rumble as the WWE Universal Champion and, for the third year in a row, he will be in the main event of WrestleMania.
This brings out Paul Heyman, who says that he is “the calm before the storm” and the “storm” will be here tonight in the form of Brock Lesnar. As he cautiously enters the ring, Heyman is met with chants of “Goldberg” from the Little Rock crowd before the advocate offers a “spoiler” for the Royal Rumble Match, reciting “eat, sleep, elimination, repeat” as what will happen when Brock enters the Rumble in less than two weeks. Roman interrupts, saying that Lesnar must be “eating or sleeping” right now because “The Beast” is not out there with Heyman right now. As Roman Reigns corners Paul Heyman, WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and new United States Champion Chris Jericho make their way to the ring. Jericho then offers his prediction for WrestleMania, stating that Owens is going to beat Reigns at the Royal Rumble while he is going to win the Royal Rumble Match and that will lead to WrestleMania where he will face Owens for the WWE Universal Title and, no matter who wins, they will still be the “U.S. Universal Champion”. Jericho then says that, once that happens, all the “stupid idiots” had better watch “it” before Owens praises himself as “the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion in history”. Owens then says that, after the Royal Rumble, he will still be the WWE Universal Champion and he will still be the champion after WrestleMania “no matter who I face”.
This brings out another participant in the Royal Rumble Match, Seth Rollins, who says that, if they’re talking about the main event of WrestleMania, then he certainly deserves to be in that conversation. Rollins then says that, since he was out with a knee injury last year and was unable to compete at WrestleMania, there is no better way for him to get into the main event of WrestleMania this year than by winning the Royal Rumble Match. Seth then addresses both Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman, saying that they both know that “anything can happen” in the main event of WrestleMania, referencing his Money-in-the-Bank cash-in during the one-on-one match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship a couple of years ago. Just as Rollins and Reigns are about to go face-to-face, “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman makes his way to the ring, getting right in the face of Roman Reigns. Business then picks up with the arrival of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar as Brock sets his sights on the ring where Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Braun Strowman all stand staring at “The Beast”. However, before Brock enters the ring, Sami Zayn emerges out of nowhere, jumping on the back of Braun Strowman!
This sparks a huge brawl amongst the six men in the ring with Owens and Jericho getting sent out of the ring by Reigns and Rollins. Roman then catches Strowman with the Superman Punch before Rollins catches Braun with a knee to the face and Sami finishes the job with the Helluva Kick, sending Strowman to the outside. This is when Brock Lesnar would hit the ring, taking Seth Rollins down with a clothesline before snapping off a German suplex to Roman Reigns! Sami Zayn then finds himself face-to-face with Brock Lesnar with Brock smiling before drilling Zayn with a German suplex as well! Things then get interesting once “The Beast” sets his sights on Braun Strowman, daring “The Monster Among Men” to step into the ring with him! However, Braun would back down from Brock before Roman Reigns comes back into the ring, taking Lesnar down with the Superman Punch. Roman then drops Jericho off of the ring apron with an uppercut before taking Owens down with an uppercut as well. Roman then walks right into Brock Lesnar, who hoists Reigns up, drilling Roman with the F-5! “The Beast” then stands tall in the ring with his gaze still locked on Braun Strowman.
In their ongoing rivalry, the opening match of the night would see Enzo & Big Cass face Rusev & Jinder Mahal with Rusev’s wife Lana in their corner. After knocking Rusev off of the ring apron with a big boot, Big Cass would take Jinder Mahal down with a big boot as well before launching Enzo Amore off of the top rope with the Bada Boom Shakalaka as Enzo pins Jinder for the win.
With “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher a guest on commentary, Gallagher’s rival Ariya Daivari would go one-on-one with Lince Dorado in Cruiserweight action on RAW. In the end, it was Ariya Daivari locking in a modified Cobra Clutch, making Lince Dorado tap out to pick up the win.
In footage from earlier in the day, Sasha Banks was being evaluated in the ring to see how the recovery from her knee injury was going when Nia Jax would ambush “The Boss”. Nia would take Sasha down before attacking the knee of “The Boss” before referees and medical staff rush the ring to check on Sasha.
The RAW Tag Team Titles would then be on the line on RAW as Cesaro & Sheamus would defend the tag titles against Gallows & Anderson. During the match, all hell would break loose with Sheamus taking Luke Gallows down, pounding Gallows with right hands before Karl Anderson pulls “The Celtic Warrior” off of Gallows. Sheamus then takes Anderson down with a stiff forearm before the referee steps in to try and stop Sheamus, but Sheamus turns around and inadvertently blasts the referee with a right hand, taking the official down! Gallows & Anderson are then quick to take advantage, sending Sheamus shoulder-first into the ring post and to the outside before setting their sights on Cesaro, hitting Cesaro with the Magic Killer.
Anderson then goes for the pin on Cesaro, but with the referee down, another referee would come out to make the three-count as Gallows & Anderson seemingly win the RAW Tag Team Titles. However, the original referee would wave off the decision, informing the ring announcer that Cesaro & Sheamus are disqualified due to Sheamus striking him, meaning that Gallows & Anderson win the match by disqualification and the tag team titles stay with Cesaro & Sheamus. Out of frustration, Gallows & Anderson would attack Sheamus, hitting “The Celtic Warrior” with the Magic Killer before leaving the ring in a rage, having had their title victory taken away from them.
With a defense of the Cruiserweight Championship against Neville coming up at the Royal Rumble, the Cruiserweight Champion was set for action on RAW as Rich Swann was scheduled to go one-on-one with Tony Nese. However, before the match can begin, Neville attacks the champion from behind, stomping away at Rich Swann as referees come out to try and break it up. However, Swann would fight back, putting the boots to Neville before Tony Nese gets involved, attacking the Cruiserweight Champion! Neville takes issue with this, pulling Nese off of Rich Swann before ultimately tossing Nese to the outside. Neville then levels the champion with a kick to the head before finally leaving the ring.
Before they are three of the thirty participants in the Royal Rumble Match in less than two weeks, The New Day would appear on RAW with Kofi Kingston bringing up that it’s “every man for himself” come the Royal Rumble before saying that, if one of them win the Royal Rumble Match, then they all win the Royal Rumble Match. Kofi then claims that, if one of them win, then all three of them will be in the main event of WrestleMania and they will all three become the WWE Universal Champion. This is when Titus O’Neil would again interrupt The New Day, making his way to the ring as Titus says that he no longer wants to join The New Day as he is looking to “replace” The New Day. Titus then says that, since The New Day have three spots in the Royal Rumble Match, then maybe they could “hook a brother up” and give him one of their spots! Naturally, The New Day would refuse before Titus challenges one of them to put their spot in the Royal Rumble Match on the line against him in a match.
In a challenge laid out by Titus O’Neil, The New Day’s Big E, with Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston in his corner, would go one-on-one with Titus O’Neil with Big E’s spot in the Royal Rumble Match on the line. In the end, it was Big E hitting Titus O’Neil with the Big Ending, pinning Titus to pick up the win and keep his spot in the Royal Rumble Match.
Less than two weeks before she defends the RAW Women’s Title against Bayley at the Royal Rumble, RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair would make an appearance on RAW. The champion says that, when you look up “average” in the dictionary, you see the word “average”, calling Bayley an “average fan”. Charlotte then shows old pictures of Bayley getting photos with the likes of John Cena, Ivory, Rob Van Dam, and Bret “The Hitman” Hart, making fun of Bayley’s early obsession with the wrestling business. Charlotte then shows Bayley tearing up while reading one of her poems in 2007, mocking Bayley before revealing that she has one of Bayley’s poems to read. Mercifully, Bayley comes out to the ring and the RAW Women’s Champion is quick to leave the ring to avoid a fight with the #1 Contender. Bayley then says that it’s not necessary for her to bring up her passion for the wrestling business, asking if Charlotte is trying to embarrass her.
Bayley then says that she is not embarrassed of her passion for the wrestling business. The #1 Contender then tells the champion that she wasn’t “fortunate enough” to have a father who could make one phone call to get her foot in the door at WWE like Charlotte did. Bayley continues, saying that what she did have was a father who took her to every WWE Live Event in San Jose and would buy her a ticket even if he didn’t have the money to do so. Bayley then says that she used to sit in the crowd with her dad and tell him that, one day, that is going to be her. Bayley then has a new poem for Charlotte, reciting “roses are red, violets are blue, at Royal Rumble, I will defeat you”. The #1 Contender then concludes by saying that, in two weeks, she can call her the new RAW Women’s Champion. Charlotte then tries to hold up the RAW Women’s Title, but Bayley has the inflatable tube men rise from the stage to surround Charlotte.
No longer together with Alicia Fox, Cedric Alexander was in action on RAW as Cedric would go one-on-one with The Brian Kendrick. During the match, Alicia Fox would come down to ringside as Cedric’s ex-girlfriend would actually help Alexander get to the bottom rope to escape the Captain’s Hook of The Brian Kendrick. Alicia then helps Cedric out of the ring, which confuses Alexander long enough for Kendrick to take advantage. Back in the ring, Cedric Alexander is able to pop up and deliver the Lumbar Check to The Brian Kendrick, pinning Kendrick for the win. After the match, Alicia Fox would applaud her ex before going for a hug, but Cedric would duck the hug, leaving the ring.
With the annual WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony just a couple of months away, the blockbuster announcement was made on RAW that Olympic Gold Medalist and six-time former World Champion Kurt Angle will take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame on March 31 in Orlando!
Then it was time for the main event as the team of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Sami Zayn would face WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, United States Champion Chris Jericho, and “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman in a 6-Man Tag match. During the match, it would take Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Sami Zayn to take Braun Strowman off of his feet and, as Rollins dives to the outside to take out Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn would land on Braun with a high cross body, but Strowman would kick out. Braun would then show his dominance, flattening Sami with the running powerslam, pinning Zayn to pick up the win for himself, Kevin Owens, and Chris Jericho. After the match, Braun Strowman would set his sights on decimating Sami Zayn, tossing Sami to the outside before carrying Zayn up the staging area. However, Seth Rollins would come to the aid of Zayn, attacking Strowman with a pair of steel chair shots before Roman Reigns arrives on the scene with a Spear to Braun, leveling “The Monster Among Men”!
Reigns & Rollins then set their sights on the RAW announce table, exposing the table before Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho ambush Reigns & Rollins. Owens & Jericho take Rollins out before attempting to put Roman Reigns through the table. However, Seth Rollins would make the save, taking down Kevin Owens before planting Chris Jericho with a Pedigree on the stage. Owens then uses a steel chair to take out Seth Rollins as well as Roman Reigns before the WWE Universal Champion grabs Reigns, sending Roman crashing through the announce table with a vicious powerbomb! The champion then stands tall over the fallen #1 Contender, making a major statement ahead of the Royal Rumble.
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