5 things that could happen on RAW next week
Outside of a bad ending, RAW was good this week. What's going to happen on the last episode before Elimination Chamber?
We’re three weeks into good episodes of Monday Night RAW. WWE is pushing the Elimination Chamber PPV (mainly the men’s Chamber match) very hard on the road to WrestleMania, and it’s bringing out a lot of good. There’s some bad as well, and we’ll get into that in a bit, but it was another easy episode to watch and felt like well under 3 hours instead of well over 3 hours. I’ll take that and I’m hoping the consistency sticks around. Here’s what I predicted last week:
- Six-Woman Tag Team Match
They did a regular tag with Alexa teaming with Mickie against Absolution, but the idea was the same. Alexa wants Mickie with her in order to help neutralize the team that will be in the match against them. Mickie’s no idiot and recognized that immediately, but Alexa is still trying to earn her trust. It won’t work, but she’s trying.
Meanwhile, Bayley and Sasha wrestled each other instead of being part of the six-woman match I expected, and Bayley won! That was pretty awesome, especially in her hometown. The last time she wrestled in San Jose she lost the title to Bliss, so this was good. It was a very good match, too. My only problem with the build to the women’s Elimination Chamber match is that other than Alexa trying to get Mickie to help her, there’s no build. It’s just a bunch of women who are going to be in the match hanging about and wrestling meaningless matches.
Why not do a Beat The Clock challenge next week on RAW to determine the entrance order? It’s difficult to pull off because they don’t have many women on the roster, but they could make it, or something like it, work with a little bit of effort. I’m just asking for anything. It just continues… the women aren’t as important as the men. Their match exists.
The men’s match is worth having 7 different matches to set up the participants and entry order over the course of a few weeks. None of that has been done for the women. That sucks.
- Tag Team Turmoil Announced
I almost thought they were going to actually do it this week, as Michael Cole was heavily playing up that the tag team division on RAW is crowded and hot. It’s not, but at least they’re trying to make believe it matters, so I’ll accept it as a decent effort. In any event, Gallows & Anderson lost to The Revival, giving Dash & Dawson the win in the rubber match between the teams. I still have no idea where they’re going, and there’s only one episode of RAW left before the Elimination Chamber PPV. There are no challengers for the champions. I wonder if they’re going to do one more match between these two teams, giving the winners the title shot next Sunday. We’ll see.
- Elias vs. Braun Strowman
Close, but not quite. Thankfully they didn’t have a match, but rather an extremely entertaining segment that saw Braun breaking a bass accidentally (he couldn’t play it anyway) and singing before taking down Elias and then destroying the instrument across the Drifter’s back. It was an effective segment, and it didn’t make Elias look bad, because he didn’t get owned by Strowman in a match, but rather he was surprised that Braun made an appearance the way he did, and then he couldn’t overcome it, which led to his demise. It built towards the match and was entertaining. Good stuff here.
- Nia Jax & Asuka are forced to team up
Asuka didn’t appear on this week’s episode and was instead featured in a great video package running down the numbers of her two and a half year undefeated streak, similar to the Royal Rumble “by the numbers” videos they do. That’s an effective way to use time and works much better than having Asuka either defeat a local talent or another one of the women in the Chamber match. Nia did end up taking out Sasha and Bayley from behind, trying to play up that she can do the same as Asuka.
I wouldn’t call a sneak attack the same as winning two straight matches, but she’s a heel so it’s fine. It did play up the impending renewal of the rivalry between Sasha and Bayley, though, as I expected they would do. Bayley won and after the match they had a very tense staredown. Nia Jax attacking them leaves a mystery in place, which is good.
What were they going to do? Shake hands? Was Bayley going to offer her hand, only to have Sasha turn it down? Would they fight? We don’t know thanks to Nia. And the good thing is that any of those things were completely plausible outcomes, but there’s no need to rush into them. It was a great tease.
- Finn Balor qualifies for the Elimination Chamber match
Well, I was right about this. Finn did qualify for the match, but instead of winning the four-way and taking the sixth spot in the Chamber, he co-won (I guess) the match with late entrant Seth Rollins, and the two men will be taking the sixth and seventh spots in the Elimination Chamber. The five-way match was a really fun main event and I was excited that they were actually ending on a cliffhanger. It was a very bad cliffhanger, but at least it was something. The issue here is that it makes zero sense. Matches don’t end like that. Ever. Matches have one winner. That’s how it works.
It’s why, when two guys have another man in their respective submission holds during a match and that guy taps out, the referee has to waive it off, because both men can’t win. The same exact principle applies here, except it’s even stronger because this match was to determine which ONE man would earn the ONE remaining spot in the Elimination Chamber match.
Instead, they went extremely lazy and shoehorned Seth into the match by just letting both men in and having the match be 7-men instead of 6. I could go on and on about what a terrible story it is. It makes the ref look like a moron, and it makes Angle look like an idiot as well.
Letting Rollins into the four-way match in the first place was a terrible decision, because it’s just lazy. Lazy, lazy, lazy all around. The 7-man Elimination Chamber match is probably going to be really, really good, but the story that got Seth and Finn into it is really, really bad. And that’s a shame, because all of the rest of the build for the match has been great.
Overall, I went 1 out of 5. I’m giving myself half a point for Braun vs. Elias and half a point for Finn because he did qualify for the match, but Rollins did as well. Here’s what I think about next week, the final RAW before the PPV:
#5 Tag Team Turmoil Announced
Darn it, I’m sticking with this one. Michael Cole talking about how hot the tag team division is right now, even though it really isn’t, it makes me think that they are going to do something with multiple teams instead of just involving a couple. They might do Revival vs. The Club one more time with a title shot on the line, but I think instead, all of the teams are going to get a shot. Either that, or they’ll do something on next week’s RAW that involves all of the teams, and the winner gets a title shot. I’m still holding out for tag team turmoil.