Monday Night Raw #1289
Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw, #1289, was live from the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, on February 5th 2018. We built towards the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view coming later this month with a triple-threat match between John Cena, Elias and Braun Strowman in the main event. Here’s what went down.
(I won, by the way. After months of pestering, our very own EIC, Dan Hart, finally got sick of me. It took multiple private conversations, a podcast appeal, and a public Twitter campaign, but we finally did it. Ready Steady Cut now covers professional wrestling.)
Singles Match: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
What, no long-winded opening promo? Well, if you insist.
This match was to determine the next entrant in the upcoming Elimination Chamber match, so the outcome was a bit depressingly obvious. Still, it was alright. They thankfully skipped the feeling-out process and started whacking each other with clotheslines right from the jump. The torrid pace made me think the match would be shorter than it ended up being, but they got a fair amount of time. We even got a halfway believable near-fall towards the end when Wyatt hit Sister Abigail. But let’s be realistic here, people.
Result: Roman Reigns wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 3]
Tag-Team Match: Finn Balor & Karl Anderson vs. The Revival
I know I remind people of this a lot, but at a live show once, some woman in the audience had a sign that read, “Face **** Me Finn.” Classy.
His handsomeness put him and the Club over Dawson and Wilder pretty cleanly. Which is a shame, because I always like to see two short, chubby men find success. The quasi-story here was that this was supposed to be a singles match between Balor and Dawson, but Balor’s arrogance let him be talked into a tag-team match, where The Revival supposedly had an advantage. Someone must have forgotten about that little wrinkle some time before Balor climbed the turnbuckle and hit the Coup De Grace for the victory.
Result: Finn Balor & Karl Anderson win via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 2]
Tag-Team Match: Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Neese & Drew Gulak
As always, the cruiserweights got almost no time to work. Despite every man in the ring being highly talented, they were allowed a short, generic match that existed for no better reason than to have Rockstar Spud, the general manager of 205 Live, at ringside plugging the cruiserweight tournament that’ll culminate at WrestleMania.
Result: Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali win via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 1]
Promo: Kurt Angle Sells Women
Kurt waddled to the ring, head looking like a suffering champagne cork as usual, to announce the competitors in the first-ever women’s Elimination Chamber match. He botched most of the lines, unsurprisingly. Luckily Alexa Bliss turned up to chastise him for mansplaining, while also cutting a surprisingly relevant promo about the whole “Women’s Revolution” being kind of a farce. Alexa sold her part admirably, but nothing ended up being changed regarding the match the whole segment went precisely nowhere.
Singles Match: Asuka vs. Bayley
Did anyone think Asuka was going to have her undefeated streak snapped on Monday Night Raw by Bayley? Anyone?
No, I didn’t think so.
Result: Asuka wins via submission.
Rating: [usr 2.5]
Singles Match: Apollo Crews vs. The Miz
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The Miz is the best heel in WWE’s current product. He’s one of the most innately despicable and detestable human beings to ever exist. It’s masterful.
This was another qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber. It was perfectly average. Crews showed off how to be absurdly athletic but also inexplicably boring, and Miz displayed how to be a slimy, underhanded villain. All was right.
Result: The Miz retains via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 2]
Tag-Team Championship Match: The Bar (C) vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
Seth’s partner was initially supposed to be Jason Jordan, but he did his whiny little ***** routine backstage and Roman came to the rescue. More screen time for the Big Dog. Yay.
Cesaro is so talented that watching him makes me sad. I know he’s never going to get a main event push, which is almost as big of an embarrassment to the product as Roman Reigns still doing that dorky gun-cocking action before he throws a Superman Punch.
This was your average tag-team match for the most part. The heels worked over the faces until Rollins, the hometown boy, could get the hot tag and do some damage. The latter part of the match was actually excellent, but Jason Jordan’s predictable arrival took the wind out of it a little bit. It became an angle.
Result: The Bar retains via disqualification.
Rating: [usr 3]
Singles Match: Nia Jax vs. Vanessa Floyd
It was a squash match to put Nia over because she currently has nothing else to do.
Result: Nia Jax wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 0.5]
Singles Match: Sonya Deville (w/ Paige & Mandy Rose) vs. Mickie James
Stuffed into the last half hour and rushed about as much as you might expect, Mickie James pinned Sonya Deville with a sneaky schoolboy rollup, got jumped by Sonya’s mates, and then got saved by Alexa Bliss. Storytelling, folks. The Women’s Revolution.
Result: Mickie James wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 1]
Triple-Threat Match: John Cena vs. Braun Strowman vs. Elias
So, we’re still trying to get Elias over, huh?
I’m not entirely convinced that Elias is quite ready to main event any show, even a TV one, but what do I know? It hardly matters. This match, like most involving Strowman, was more of a showcase for the “Monster Among Men” than anything else. He didn’t win, because of that whole pesky Elias push. But he didn’t need to. He never needs to. In fact it’s better if he doesn’t. That way he can have a giant tantrum and break things. And he’s been so well booked until now that the crowd knows it’s coming, and they can’t ******* wait.
Result: Elias wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 3]
Kurt Angle sends Jason Jordan home for being a baby and interfering in the tag-team title match. Listen to daddy, Jason.
Elias sings a song. Again. Seriously, I don’t know what anyone likes about this guy.
What did we learn from Monday Night Raw?
- Three hours is a lot of time to fill, and still arguably too much for a weekly wrestling show, but this more streamlined structure which keeps the aimless promos to a bare minimum is an improvement.
- The cruiserweight division is clearly getting some kind of push, but a five-minute TV match isn’t going to cut it.
- Alexa Bliss essentially shooting on Kurt Angle was actually quite refreshing.
- Jason Jordan is still (intentionally or not) ******* insufferable.
- Braun Strowman should have a minimum destruction quota every episode, and contractually, it should be met or exceeded from now until the end of time.
It was an average episode. I’d love to be a bit more positive in RSC’s debut pro-wrestling coverage, but here we are a few weeks out from a pay-per-view. It’s always the same. The pieces are being put in place for the big show to knock them over, and until then we have to endure some meandering. Whatever. We at least got some halfway decent in-ring action and a refreshing lack of tortuous promos. And we got to see another Strowman paddy. That guy is over. And so are any tables in the vicinity.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.