WWE RAW RESULTS: Welcome to Some Pre Chamber Competition (February, 5th 2018)

Welcome all to this weeks RAW Report, and damnnnnn do we have a lot to go through. We not only saw Alexa Bliss address the reveal of her upcoming five opponents for Elimination Chamber, with some spit fire, but we saw not one, not two, but three women’s matches, and another PPV match reveal on top.

Lets get right to reviewing. The first women’s related segment sees an upset Sasha Banks watching her loss to Asuka from just a week ago. Bayley steps over and notices this, telling the best friend to not be hard on herself. Sasha insists she has to be and it appears she has a strategy thought up on how to defeat Asuka coming out of the loss. Bayley, knowing she will face Asuka this time tonight, for the first time since NXT, wants some of Sasha’s advice but she refuses to share. Sasha looks forward to Angle possibly putting her in the Women’s Elimination Chamber match, assured that will be the moment she becomes RAW Women’s Champion again, then going on to WrestleMania where she ends Asukas streak. Bayley declares she can beat Asuka, but Sasha shows signs of disbelief. Bayley recognizes this and says she beat her, and if the woman she beat thinks she can beat Asuka, so can she.

Speaking of the Women’s Chamber Match that Sasha referenced, Kurt Angles reveal may decide the fate of Sasha’s placement in the match. The Happy RAW General Manager steps out and into the ring, and didn’t take too long to reveal who will compete against Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship in the pre announced first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber Match. Revealed first is Bayley, a former RAW Women’s Champion, followed by Absolution’s Mandy Rose. Added to the mix is a former Women’s Champion and a Veteran, Mickie James before the other competing Absolution Member, Sonya Deville, is revealed. Lastly added to the match is someone who shares history with the Absolution Members as well as Bayley and the defending champion Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks. Banks is indeed competing in the Women’s Elimination Chamber Match. To add, Angle is aware that Nia’s presence isn’t being required in the Elimination Chamber match oddly, but hasn’t left her out of competition, as he announces that Nia will square off against Asuka at the Pay Per View, and a win for Jax means she will go onto Mania to challenge whoever may be Champion in a Triple Threat Match.

Having heard that announcement, out comes a frowning Alexa Bliss. She shares her disgust at the apparent injustice, bringing up to Kurt how the men and women’s chamber matches should be equal, yet the mens chamber match has no championship up for grabs while Alexa is being made to defend hers. It makes her fume how Brock sits on the sidelines and misses the PPV while she cant, pondering whether this is due to her being a woman. Kurt brings up Brock’s recent defenses while Alexa’s hasn’t been defended officially since TLC (PPV Wise) but Alexa doesn’t want to hear it. She views the treatment towards Brock over her as sexist, but Kurt turns the tables, turning the decision of her upcoming title defense on the crowd. After hearing a mass reaction, it looks like Alexa will just have to defend the title after all.

The next womens moment sees Asuka battle Bayley, a week after clearing through Bayleys bestie, Sasha Banks. Asuka and Bayley step out from backstage to the stage and on their way to the ring for the match, their first singles encounter since NXT Takeover Brooklyn II where Bayley had attempted to avenge her NXT Womens Title loss by re-challenging Asuka, but unable like most to end her streak.

Asuka and Bayley start off by evading one another while moving about the ring. Asuka eventually gets in first offense with a kick, moments later taking her out of a corner and locking a front facelock switched up into a side headlock. Bayley gets under Asuka’s arm and escapes her hold, applying her own as she ties Asukas left arm against her back, only brief as Asuka gets back to her feet and counters, also targeting Bayleys left arm upon doing so. Bayley gets loose then captures Asuka in a side headlock, released moments later as Asuka directs her to the ropes. Asuka barely sells a Shoulder block from Bayley and the two opposers come face to face. Bayley channels aggression as she throws a forearm at Asuka, only to take one back. Asuka elbows the left shoulder then dodges a swinging clothesline from Bayley, taking her down to the mat and switching back to a front facelock position. Bayley is again quick to counter, getting loose and getting Asuka caught in a side headlock. After attempting to loosen Bayley via punches to the midsection, Asuka pushes Bayley towards a corner. Bayley floats in the same corner, evading a charging Asuka then having a hip toss blocked by Asuka, who executes her own. Asuka gives Bayley kicks to the back then has an irish whip reversed. While Asuka manages to make a landing on the turnbuckles in preparation for next offense, Bayley sees it coming and forearms Asuka hard enough to send her tumbling all the way to the floor.

Bayley isnt waiting for Asuka to regroup however, running the ropes and making her way to the outside where her legs are caught by Asuka during flight. Bayley counters with a hurricanrana that sends Asuka back to the floor. Bayley takes Asuka back to the ring not too long later but this ends up being her downfall as Asuka appears to get back to her feet, sending Bayley from the apron to the ringside floor with a sudden hip attack between the ropes. Bayley isnt wanting Asuka to do anymore damage though, seeing her return to the floor and ramming her into the barricade, leaving both out on the floor as a result. Both women are in need of recovering as we come to a commercial break.

When we return, action returns to the ring as Bayley has a firm grip on the waist of Asuka. Asuka elbows Bayley in the back of the neck multiple times to eventually loosen grip, then going for a hip attack after running the ropes after Bayley. Bayley catches her, blocking her attempted attack in turn and the Hugger connects with a back suplex. Bayley scrambles over to Asuka quick for a pin attempt and gets a near fall on the fellow former NXT Womens Champion. After forearms and more, Bayley tries again to pin Asuka, but it ends similarly to before as Asuka remains resilient and in the match.

Bayley elbows a down Asuka in the back multiple times, but Asuka soon comes back, getting to her feet and elbowing Bayley. Bayley reverses a whip but runs into a knee from Asuka, and a second not too long later. Kicks and a running hip attack from Asuka keep Bayley down on the mat, and after culminating the assault with a shining wizard, Asuka may see Bayley as done, going for a pin attempt, hooking the leg, but to her surprise, Bayley kicks out of it at two. Asuka goes for a missile dropkick after finding her way to her feet but it never connects to Bayley, who stays aground. Bayley takes advantage and scores a knee to Asuka at the side of the head. Unfortunately for Bayley, its still not enough to take out the Empress, getting a near fall again in her new pin attempt.

Bayley takes Asuka and hangs her above the middle rope. Asuka sees the hangmans neckbreaker coming and blocks it, wrapping her arm around Bayleys front. To avoid being choked out, Bayley DDTs Asuka, loosening her grip officially. Asuka tries to get back to her feet and over to Bayley, but is knocked back down by Bayleys quick kick as the former RAW Women’s Champion attempts to join her on the outside. Bayley attempts an attack off the apron but ends up falling into Asuka’s high knee, tumbling to the hard ringside floor in turn. Asuka helps Bayley back into the ring, following her in and attempting a new pin on Bayley once there. Asuka once again gets a near fall on Bayley as Bayley also stays fighting and in the match.

Asuka takes advantage of the sat up position of Bayley to deliver her hard kicks to the chest, though a second one is blocked as Bayley switches up to a sudden jackknife pin attempt that still cant take Asuka out as she again gets a near fall. Asuka unleashes on the instant with backfists, missing a roundhouse though which Bayley tries to take advantage of, grabbing Asuka in no time and attempting the finishing belly to belly suplex. Asuka barely makes it down and from there, she attempts to lock in the Asuka Lock. She gets Bayley away from the ropes though her attempt to lock in the submission completely is turned into a pin attempt by Bayley, again with a near fall result. Asuka gets back to her feet and thwarts Bayleys attempt at offense with the armbar transition that eventually forces the former RAW Women’s Champion into tapping. Asuka wins the match.

Match Number Two sees Asuka’s future opponent at Elimination Chamber briefly competing, Nia Jax. Nia looks to again establish her known dominance, now without an angle due to the controversial release of Enzo Amore, and shes taking on local in ring performer Savanna Stone, labelled here instead as Vanessa Floyd. As soon as the bell rings, Jax roughs up the 17 year old performer (not even kidding) and sends her into a corner. Savanna throws a kick to block, following with forearms then a dropkick that sends Nia towards the ropes. Nia uses the ropes to her advantage to force her right back to Savanna and she knocks Savanna to the mat with force. She tosses Savanna towards the earlier corner, which she crushes her against then back to the near center. Nia gorilla presses Savanna back to the mat after elevating her over her body then a singular leg drop seals the deal. Nia wins the match.

Renee steps into the ring to speak with Nia not too long later, noting that Nia will indeed be facing the undefeated Asuka at Elimination Chamber. She adds that a win for Nia means Triple Threat Intentions at WrestleMania and Nia smiles as she glances at the WrestleMania sign. She then sends a message to Asuka, making it clear she doesn’t fear her nor can Asuka beat her. She threatens to mess her face up so bad that she will wear her mask permanently, and when all is finished, she will be known rather not as the Empress of Tomorrow but the Empress of Yesterday.

The last womens match of the night in the third hour sees Absolutions Sonya Deville (joined by Mandy Rose and the Injured Paige) take on her fellow Chamber Opponent Mickie James, as two women who are now official womens championship contenders. The match counts as the second overall singles match that has happened for Sonya Deville on RAW since her main roster debut.

Sonya showcases power early on with an easy takedown on Mickie, managing a second also. Mickie eventually scrambles her way to the ropes to force Sonya’s grip to be released, and after Sonya takes a chance to mock Mickie, she gets slapped by the former WWE Womens Champion. Sonya drives Mickie back first into a far corner but Mickie is fired up despite the collision and attacks the back of Sonya. Mickie gives Sonya repeated shots then brings her to the mat via a Lou Thesz Press, connecting after with forearms before Sonya gets free. Mickie kicks away at Sonya then clotheslines her to the mat, attempting after her first pin attempt of the match, getting a one count on the NXT Alumni.

Mickie gives Sonya knees to the jaw, following with a snapmare. Mickie runs the ropes and kicks Sonya once again, going for a new pin attempt right after and this time getting a near fall. Sonya tries to overturn momentum with a whip reversal but has her face targeted by Mickie’s block. Mickie goes for her hurricanrana off the ropes but Mandy scales the apron to yell at the veteran and distract her. This leads to Sonya tossing Mickie hard to the floor, though forced away before she can try anything more as the referee sees Mickie as possibly hurt. It seems Mickie has chosen to continue and takes offense from Sonya, to the joy of her fellow Absolution members who appear to egg it on. Sonya continuously counters Mickie’s offense with knee strikes, though the pretty high amount haven’t taken Mickie out regardless, as Sonya gets a near fall on the veteran. A Running knee again floors Mickie, but doesn’t take her out, escaping the newest follow up pin attempt of Sonya’s at two.

Sonya and Mickie trade hard blows, including forearms and knees. Mickie eventually brings Sonya to the mat for a roll up pin attempt, stunning Sonya and her Absolution Members as she pins Sonya. Mickie wins the match, but is forced to face up to the wrath of Sonya as well as Mandy post match, who don’t take kindly to the result. Alexa Bliss, of all people, runs down to help Mickie out of the ring, and even the former rival is as confused as many over her assist.

(Sasha Banks and Bayley Backstage Segment)

(Kurt Angle and Alexa Bliss Segment)

(Asuka vs Bayley)

(Nia Jax vs Savanna Stone)

(Mickie James vs Sonya Deville w/ Paige and Mandy Rose feat Alexa Bliss)

Thoughts On:
Asuka/Bayley: Overall the match set up doesn’t surprise me as it follows right up from a hard fought performance by Asuka and Sasha last week, something i can see continue for Asuka by gathering momentum for Elimination Chamber and beyond in the weeks to come by going up against some of the divisions best. If not then i expect Asuka to engage with Nia in segments in the weeks to come if WWE can put in as much effort for RAWs women as they did this week so Asuka doesn’t affect the momentum of women that will soon clash in the Chamber. Like last week, there were some close moments that had me almost questioning the outcome but the usual closes the performance.

Nia/Savanna: Squashes seem to be the regular route for Nia when story-less though in this case a new story has just blossomed for Nia, going up soon against Asuka. Asuka is going to be the biggest opponent on the main roster for Nia and her biggest on PPV, so to me i feel these squashes wont help. Yes it establishes her strength and dominance but the opponent oncoming gives way more than what the squash opponents can, so wouldn’t bigger opponents that bring out absolutely everything in Nia work? Or should we start going down the route of Nia and Asuka having promos, segments and verbal interactions that lead to physicality in the end? Either way, im worried for Nia because shes been protected for a while and if anything, Asukas streak isn’t even close to ending so the finish for EC is inevitable and in turn, may affect her course to WrestleMania or her placement on the card overall. Could WWE have changed their mind and gone ahead instead with Asuka vs Nia vs Alexa at WrestleMania, meaning one of these two ladies are going to be forced to submit to Asuka in the end because for some reason Nia cant just pin Alexa instead to FINALLY be on top? Or will Asuka clear through Nia at EC then decide shes worthy instead of the Smackdown Women’s Title, crushing any hopes of Carmella being champion in the process? Or does someone affect the outcome of Asuka vs Nia at EC, maybe even Bliss herself? Either way i would rather have Alexa vs Nia at Mania than the triple threat, because i cant see WWE letting Nia go over in a match that Asuka is in and that they will rather act like she has lost despite not being pinned because she could have been eliminated at the Rumble which wouldn’t affect her streak and they overprotected that as well. Heck Asuka could get the Triple Threat, made into a No DQ and be attacked by Absolution on the outside, allowing for either Nia or Alexa to go over back in the ring but we know that isn’t happening. I Hope WWE are all for shocking us at Elimination Chamber and beyond, because if we get the Triple Threat, WWE will protect Asuka no matter what and Nia will likely and worryingly be doomed, stalled again from holding the RAW Women’s Title while a 500+ day reign could again be on the cards for the Empress, but if Asuka gets Charlotte, Carmella will be doomed. But if Asuka gets neither match, she wont be on the WM card which we know wont happen because she is WWEs focal women’s performer. Oh Gosh this is all just really nerving.

Sonya/Mickie: I Didn’t expect this match to take place on the night though its surely a coincidental way by the bookers to give Mickie and Sonya a chance to snatch momentum heading into the Chamber. Mickie’s inclusion shocked me in regards to the Chamber Match over Nia, though she could likely be there just to take the fall and to help enhance the still rather new performers on the main roster, Mandy and Sonya with Paige unable to do that. This was a very physical match to the point where Sonya may have broken her nose, as pointed out on commentary. Im not sure if stiffness hints anything more but these two were really trying to give out a fight to engage the audience in the time they were given. I’m shocked also that Sonya has lost again, meaning Sonya and Mandy are now what people said they were going to be post Paige push, taking the L’s that a not present Alicia cant. Whats the most shocking moment coming out of this is development for Mickie and Alexa. Alexa is suddenly helping Mickie out. My thoughts are that shes trying to act like a legit babyface, apologetic and trying to win over Mickie so they can combat Absolution in the Chamber, before Alexa goes on to turn on Mickie and pin her to retain.

– Catherine

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