The February 26, 2018 Edition of RAW is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's RAW brand, which took place on February 26, 2018 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. This was the Raw after the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View.
Against all odds, Alexa Bliss emerged from the choppy seas of the Women's Elimination Chamber Match as Raw Women's Champion, clearing her path to a title defense at WrestleMania. But even with Mickie James back at Alexa's side, Absolution denied in the Chamber and Nia Jax seemingly off the board following a loss to Asuka, the Raw Women's division's road to The Show of Shows may have a few twists and turns in store yet.
What began as The Goddess’ latest victory lap (complete with a bold prediction that she would be the one to end Asuka's streak) morphed almost immediately into a Six-Woman showdown pitting Bliss, James and Jax against an impromptu squad of their respective enemies. Apart from Asuka herself, the Goddess’ competition featured Bayley & Sasha Banks, whose friendship was apparently restored after the every-woman-for-herself environment of the Chamber Match turned them against each other the previous night.
Or so it seemed. Banks, who clearly wanted the win for herself, rushed headlong into the match and got herself isolated with Bayley as her only lifeline. The Huggable One, shockingly, left Banks high and dry, but The Boss’ subsequent tag to Asuka changed the complexion of the match almost instantly. Thanks to a timely assist from The Huggable One, who clearly had no compunction about aiding her, The Empress of Tomorrow tapped Mickie out with an armbar before staring daggers at Bliss — a look matched only in intensity by the one Banks gave Bayley on the outside.
Unfortunately, it's not The Undertaker. Left adrift after coming up short in the Men's Elimination Chamber (an unmitigated “failure,” in his words), John Cena faces an uncertain Road to WrestleMania, though he made it clear to the Monday Night Raw audience that his initial contingency plan — an "impossible" match with The Phenom — won't be happening, much to his and the audience's very vocal disappointment.
But while Cena's path to The Show of Shows will not run through Death Valley, it will take a turn through The Land of Opportunity. Despite failing to secure a dance with The Deadman, Cena refused to stay self-pitying for long, and he rallied from the initial disappointment by announcing that he would use his free agent status to pursue a Road to WrestleMania through the only avenue he has left: SmackDown LIVE.
Last night, “Woken” Matt Hardy finally engulfed Bray Wyatt in a (metaphorical) ball of light, but the pair's Great War appears to be far from “OVAH.” After making quick work of Heath Slater before their scheduled match (his partner Rhyno was swiftly dropped as well), Wyatt grabbed the mic and chastised the absent Hardy for forcing him to decimate the first-ever SmackDown Tag Team Champions. More unhinged than usual, The Reaper of Souls demanded that The Woken One face him once more, promising that he would not rest until Hardy's “woken eyes” were shut.
If there's one silver lining to Seth Rollins losing the Men's Elimination Chamber, it's that his marathon-man performance in both the structure and its preceding Gauntlet Match have reignited his fire to become “The Man” once again. For The Miz, who believes the Intercontinental Title makes him a perennial main-eventer, that might be a bit of a problem.
True, Miz is a budding reality star who is only 62-days away from the longest cumulative run as Intercontinental Champion. But as furious as he was over his perceived disrespect, it wasn't enough to carry him past the previously-unannounced opponent of Rollins, in a match that “might” (per Kurt Angle) indicate who Miz faces at WrestleMania. If it does end up being Rollins, The A-Lister “might” have his work cut out for him: Even though Miz used The Miztourage to his advantage and revved up gradually into a full-court press against The Architect, Rollins laid out Miz and his crew with a suicide dive before dispatching The Awesome One with the Revolution Knee and a Frog Splash that carried him almost completely across the ring.
It was the latest in a series of marquee moments for Rollins; unfortunately, this one didn't last long, as The Kingslayer's celebration was interrupted within seconds by another Superstar with the spotlight on his mind: Finn Bálor.
Having just fallen short against Seth Rollins, The Miz was clearly in no mood to face Finn Bálor in an immediate follow-up, WrestleMania implications or not. But his plan of having The Miztourage simply jump The Extraordinary Man backfired in four major ways, one after the other: For one, the match was immediately restarted by Raw General Manager Kurt Angle. Two, The Miztourage was ejected from ringside — along with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, who had tried to even the odds. Three, if there was no clear winner, The Miz wouldn't be going to WrestleMania at all.
Oh, and four: He lost. Even though Bálor basically out on his feet, he had the wherewithal to counter Miz's early attempts to pick the bones and the heart to rally. Miz, of course, is too gifted a competitor to roll over, but he faded down the stretch (over a half-hour in the ring will do that to you) and he succumbed to Bálor's chest-caving Coup de Grâce.
Watching backstage, Rollins was less than impressed with Bálor piling on his win, but he had an idea of how he would rebound from his own Elimination Chamber loss and get to WrestleMania: A formal challenge to The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. In the words of Angle, he “might” have a case. But then again, so might Finn.
The first time Roman Reigns began a Road to WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar, unforeseen circumstances relocated the pair's first face-to-face to a snowbound Stamford, Conn., television studio. Now, as The Big Dog heads back to Suplex City for Round Two, the planned faceoff was derailed by another curveball: The Beast didn't even show up.
In a turn on the microphone that became more heated as it went on, Reigns pulled back the curtain and revealed that Lesnar simply never came to the arena to fulfill the scheduled confrontation with his challenger. Throwing caution to the wind, Reigns labeled The Conqueror as “an entitled piece of crap who hides behind his contract” and lambasted him for what he claimed was a disrespectful attitude toward the WWE Universe and the Superstars who competed year-round across the globe.
Having made his point, Reigns headed backstage to face the music, but not before making it clear that while he may not respect Brock Lesnar like he did in 2015, one thing remains the same: He doesn't fear him.
Titus Worldwide may have fallen short in their title bout against Cesaro & Sheamus at WWE Elimination Chamber, but they still hold a record of 3-2 against The Bar. How did the Raw Tag Team Champions go about fixing that? By beating them twice with the titles once again on the line.
In a match born out of continuing animosity between the two teams, The Swiss Cyborg and Alabaster Gladiator swept Titus O’Neil & Apollo in a rare 2-out-of-3 Falls title defense on Raw that began in as dominant a fashion as possible: With a wicked Brogue Kick to a distracted O’Neil just seconds into the match. The second fall was a bit harder-won, as Apollo took the contest into his hands down the stretch, and The Bar was forced to dispatch The Big Deal at ringside to take away Titus Worldwide's resident powerhouse. With Apollo stranded, he was ripe picking for a White Noise-DDT combo that kept the titles in Cesaro & Sheamus’ clutches.
So, The Bar are sitting pretty on The Road to WrestleMania. The only problem with this dominance, as they illustrated in a post-match interview, is that the road is looking to be a very short one for one simple reason: There's nobody left for them to beat.
Braun Strowman may have fallen short in the Men's Elimination Chamber despite a record-setting performance, but, as ever, that doesn't mean he's finished. Looking to pile on his savage showing with a “symphony of destruction,” Strowman faced off with Elias, who was still smarting over that incident with the bass a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, the most offense Elias could mount against The Monster Among Men was a mildly insulting musical performance in advance of the match. As far as the contest itself, Elias resorted to a cat-and-mouse strategy in a largely unsuccessful attempt to avoid These Hands; he ended up eating a disqualification loss when he sprayed Strowman in the face with a fire extinguisher to stop the onslaught. The Monster Among Men recovered enough to carry Elias to the commentary area, though the musician escaped a trip through the table by raking Strowman's eyes and fleeing through the backstage area, where he had enough of a head start on the still-blinded Strowman to evade punishment ... for now.
Ronda Rousey sending Triple H through a table on her first official night in WWE made for some great copy in the press, but Stephanie McMahon's reataliatory slap in the face left a lot of air to be cleared between the COO, the Raw Commissioner and The Baddest Woman on the Planet. Their planned confab on Raw did seem to smooth over all the tension at first, until a shocking turn of events ratcheted it back up.
To be fair, there were apologies thrown around. Sensing his job was in jeopardy, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle went first, claiming he had fabricated the behind-the-back insults Triple H and Stephanie had allegedly thrown around when they recruited Rousey — insults that had provoked Rousey's attack on The King of Kings the previous night. Under the threat of having her arm ripped out by the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, Stephanie went next and profusely apologized for slapping Ronda, who did not appreciate the idea that signing a contract meant she was now "owned" by WWE.
That was, however, far from the final surprise of the confrontation. On the way out of the ring, Triple H shocked everybody by hauling off and sucker-punching Angle in the face, leaving Rousey to tend to The Olympic Hero as the power couple made their exit. So, the lingering animosity from last night has been settled. But now there's another slight to be addressed.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sasha Banks, Bayley & Asuka defeated Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss & Mickie James by submission (13:05)
- Seth Rollins defeated The Miz (w/ Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (13:05)
- Finn Bálor defeated The Miz (w/ Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (10:45)
- The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) (c) defeated Titus Worldwide (Titus O'Neil & Apollo) (w/ Dana Brooke) in a 2-out-of-3-Falls Match to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (11:20)
- Braun Strowman defeated Elias by disqualification (5:00)
Other on-screen talent