So, Becky Lynch has seen the doctor, she’s got the green light, and her WrestleMania match is good to go. If.
You see, attacking half of the McMahon collective across Raw and SmackDown LIVE last week did not quite endear The Man to management as much as it did to the WWE Universe, which is why Triple H and Stephanie McMahon added a crucial caveat to Becky’s on-ramp back onto The Road to WrestleMania: She had to apologize.
There was plenty of incentive for The Man to accept the offer. Becky's own doctors and WWE’s officials concurred that her tweaked knee would be good to go with a little bit of rehab, and The King of Kings magnanimously apologized for his own insults toward The Irish Lass Kicker this past Tuesday. But despite the promise of a clean slate, Lynch wasn’t thrilled on being told to apologize at all, given that she had done what was asked and gotten herself cleared. So, after a heated confrontation where Becky and Stephanie nearly came to blows, The Game switched his tactics and opted not to tell her anything. Instead, he gave her a choice: By the end of the night, Becky could either apologize and take the match she scratched and clawed to get … or not, and lose it all.
If The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection are still the sentimental favorites to become the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, the betting odds might no longer be in their favor: Thanks to a Triple Threat loss on Raw, Sasha Banks & Bayley drew the dreaded No. 1 entry into the Elimination Chamber this Sunday, meaning they’ll have to walk the longest, hardest road possible to reach the historic benchmark.
Similar to last week, Bayley had to go it alone when The Riott Squad united to cheap-shot Sasha to the sidelines, but her heroics were a lot less effective in Triple Threat rules: Tamina broke up a would-be pinfall with a superkick to the face of the former Raw Women’s Champion moments after The Huggable One had Bayley-to-Bellied Liv Morgan. The Sultress of Savagery hauled the limp Morgan to Jax for a tag, and it was all elementary from there, as The Irresistible Force planted Bayley with a Samoan Drop to send her to the starting line of the Elimination Chamber.
Of course, adversity is nothing new to Sasha & Bayley. As they mentioned in a pre-match interview, they’ve put each other through the ringer to get to this moment, but they might find the hill harder to climb with five other teams standing in their way.
Elias getting his mean streak back might have put him in the proper headspace to defeat Jeff Jarrett last week, though of course he’s likely to never get a moment’s peace again. The Living Truth was interrupted not once, not twice, but three times at the outset of his latest performance, first by a backstage confrontation between Becky Lynch and Finn Bálor (he seems to think she should apologize to the McMahons; she thinks his abs are still awesome), then by a Seth Rollins highlight reel and, finally, by the arrival of The Lucha House Party.
Just like old times, true, but there was a little twist this time around: Kalisto, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik actually wanted to walk with Elias, though they were less than impressed with The Living Truth’s latest piece. And when Kalisto actually upstaged Elias with a little riff of his own, the musician struck, reducing a guitar to smithereens over the back of the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion. For all Kalisto's skills on the six-string, the confrontation left no doubt as to which Superstar has the smash hits.
Take one Intercontinental Title rivalry that’s gaining steam, add four Superstars with months and months of unfinished business, and you get a combustible stew where anybody and everybody has an equal chance at coming out with the win. That was basically the story of Raw’s big six-man blowout, which began as Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyre and exploded into a multi-man confrontation when Bobby Lashley's interference opened the doors for Braun Strowman, Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin to join the fray.
The interference also earned Finn a disqualification victory against The Scottish Psychopath — not that the former Universal Champion had any interest in resting on his laurels. Bálor (who’ll challenge Lashley in a Handicap Match where a victory over him or Lio Rush will land the Irishman the Intercontinental Title) bailed Angle out of trouble and narrowly saved the match by getting his foot on the bottom rope during a Lashley pinfall, which forced a restart after the ref mistakenly counted him down. As if those heroics weren't enough, the Irishman also ended the match, piggybacking off a last-minute surge from Strowman with a bout-concluding Coup de Grâce to the belly of The All Mighty.
Surviving Ronda Rousey on two weeks’ notice is a near-impossibility for any Superstar, but now we know that Ruby Riott can, at the very least, handle an unfamiliar situation. The ringleader of The Riott Squad got a win over Nikki Cross, who mangled and mauled Ruby across the ring like some ill-fated plaything. That Ruby earned the win despite all this was due in large to excellent timing: After Cross trapped Riott in the ring apron and pummeled her like a heavy bag, she ascended the top rope for a high-risk maneuver, and Ruby booted her down to earth, following up with a deciding Riott Kick to claim the win. So now we know Ruby can handle herself against a Superstar who’s at least as unpredictable as she is. Whether that’s enough to prepare her for Rousey is a matter for six days’ time.
Six F-5s and two weeks later, and Seth Rollins’ road to the Universal Title is looking all but impossible. If you ask Rollins, though, as long as he can stand and Stomp, he’s got a fighting chance he won’t pass up, even if Brock Lesnar ends up beating him so bad he can’t compete anymore.
Of course, kamikaze missions are all well and good to Lesnar and his camp, represented on Raw by Paul Heyman and a supervillain-style offer to make Rollins’ death wish come true. The Advocate may be overplaying his hand, though: Rollins’ deadpan response that he would gladly sacrifice himself to dethrone The Beast left Heyman speechless, or at least unnerved at the possibility that his would-be spoiler may yet end in a surprise.
At least one person in the locker room seemed to admire Rollins’ defiance. Dean Ambrose, of all people, emerged from the locker room following the confrontation to offer his former brother-in-arms a single sentence that was half-endorsement, half-command: “Slay The Beast.”
After a rough couple of weeks, Dean Ambrose did quite a bit to save face — and maybe get his groove back — with a score-settling victory over young stallion EC3, who shocked the former WWE Champion in his debut match last week on Raw. The Top One Percent was clearly feeling himself as a result of his hot start, perhaps too much: The Lunatic Fringe caught EC3 with a small package to secure a quick-strike pinfall, leaving the new arrival stunned in the ring and Ambrose vindicated … at least until a potential Round Three.
Save for the most stringent of haters, it’s been painfully clear for a while now that The Revival’s ascension to championship status was a matter of when, not if, and the two-time NXT Tag Team Champions finally made good on their promise to dethrone Bobby Roode & Chad Gable in a 25-minute showcase that saw them employ all of their (extensive) tag team acumen and become Raw Tag Team Champions for the first time.
It was a clinic in every sense of the word, but don’t think that Roode & Gable were schooled. The champs hung tough with Dash & Dawson at every turn; three months of championship matches will, of course, give you a leg up when it comes to knowing your opponents’ tendencies, and Gable in particular seemed to be dishing out suplexes at will to anything that moved. But The Revival had been learning from their losses as well: Dawson saved Wilder from a brutal-looking neckbreaker-German suplex combo at the last possible second, and thanks to a timely tag, they were lying in wait for Gable to go high-risk. When he did, they caught him mid-flight with the Shatter Machine to win the titles. The match was a classic, and the "Top Guys" won. Just the way they like it.
After receiving advice from half the locker room — Finn Bálor, Alexa Bliss and even Ronda Rousey — Becky Lynch did what she had to do to keep her WrestleMania match and apologized to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, albeit with a warning that she still didn’t trust them and a vow that anyone who tried to steal her dream away from her would be in for the fight of their life. The McMahons accepted her apology. Or at least most of them did.
There was one member of the ruling family who wasn’t quite on board with The Man’s contrition, and it was the one with the deciding vote: Mr. McMahon emerged with just minutes to go in the broadcast, and he had harsh words in store for Becky's “bad attitude” and apparent belief that she was bigger than WWE. (Same went for Ronda, who came to the ring for a staredown with her challenger following Becky’s apology). “You’re not The Man, I’m The Man,” The Chairman declared before throwing down a 60-day suspension for Lynch that expires five days after WrestleMania. That meant Rousey needed a new challenger — a Superstar, Mr. McMahon said, who knew their lane and how to stay in it. The woman in question turned out to be Charlotte Flair, who emerged after a glowing introduction from The Chairman with a smile on her face while Becky fumed in the ring.
And The Chairman made no bones as to who he preferred to win the new-look title match, raising The Queen’s hand as Raw went to black — a preview, he said, of what awaits Rousey at WrestleMania. Any controversy aside, Mr. McMahon’s ruling now sets up Rousey to face an exceptional foe who has bad blood with the champion and a knack for making history at her opponents' expense. Becky Lynch, on the other hand, has now lost everything. Which, of course, means she now has nothing to lose.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Nia Jax & Tamina defeated Boss 'n' Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) and The Riott Squad (Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan) (w/ Ruby Riott) in a Triple Threat Tag Team match (14:40)
- Finn Bálor defeated Drew McIntyre by disqualification (2:57)
- Finn Bálor, Braun Strowman & Kurt Angle defeated Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush)
- Ruby Riott defeated Nikki Cross (5:30)
- Dean Ambrose defeated EC3 (3:55)
- The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) to win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (19:25)
Other on-screen talent