This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, #1290, was live from the SAP Center in San Jose, California on February 12, 2018. The featured headliner was a Fatal 5-Way match to determine the last entrant in the men’s Elimination Chamber match.
And we’re back. We’re still in the midst of the build for the Elimination Chamber PPV, coming later this month in Nevada. Let’s take a look at the shenanigans we were treated to on the latest episode of Monday Night Raw on February 12, 2018.
Also, check out our coverage of last week’s wrasslin:
Promo: The Miz talks to himself.
You might not be able to see John Cena, but you sure can hear him. Dude has been one of the best talkers in the company since forever, and he’s always a safe bet to open a live show. Much safer than Kurt Angle, anyway, who I’m increasingly sure is incapable of speaking a sentence without spluttering out a milk-scented cloud of fumbling nonsense.
Cena laid out his Road to WrestleMania, but a gatecrashing Miz laid out the first match of the show.
Singles Match: The Miz vs. John Cena
The loser of this match enters the Elimination Chamber match first. Oh, and The Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) are banned from ringside.
People always forget how good of a worker the Miz is just because he’s so good at being an utterly detestable cheating slimeball. Same with Cena, really, except he represents the baby-oiled, management-backed corporate product that one assumes Vince McMahon dreams about at night. I’m sure these two worked a fine match, but the adverts right in the middle of the action meant I never really got a sense of it.
Still, it picked up towards the end. I’m glad they got so much time, and that Miz got to do things that Cena’s TV opponents often don’t, like kick out of the Attitude Adjustment. It ultimately took Cena hitting the AA from the middle rope to put Miz away, which is fair enough. And besides, what’s more compelling? Cena starting the Chamber match first and doing his superhuman “underdog” thing, or Miz coming out first and being forced to cheat and finagle his way through? I know which I prefer.
Result: John Cena wins via pinfall
Rating: [usr 3.5]
Tag Team Match: Gallows & Anderson vs. The Revival
The story of The Revival being tag team experts continued, first with a pre-match attack, and then with lots of heel work on the “injured” knee that supposedly came in that sneaky ambush.
I like both of these teams, just not so much with each other. The stiff work is always fun, and weirdly atypical for the current product, but this feud has been going back and forth with so little structure or purpose for so long that I’m struggling to care either way. The Revival needs a feud with a team they can go over cleanly to establish more of a foothold in the division, rather than fighting for mid-card space against a pairing with whom they’re pretty evenly matched. I mean, they even look kinda similar.
The Revival did secure the win with the Shatter Machine after a slick tag, so at least they got the rub through that great teamwork we keep being told so much about. But what it’ll mean going forwards remains to seen.
Result: The Revival win via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 2.5]
Promo: Kurt Angle is at it again.
Christ, Kurt’s promos hurt more than his neck injuries.
When he talked about his “son” Jason Jordan being injured and out of WrestleMania, the crowd did cheer for that, which is actually some bullshit when you think about it. Seth Rollins interrupted to let Kurt know that he must rehearse his lines. This stuff is scripted. Get confident with the material before coming out, man. I can tell you’re stressing and panicking from your beetroot head. Get it together.
I know it’s a longstanding tradition, but people seriously need to stop pointing at the WrestleMania sign. Anyway, Rollins decided that he was sick of being “part” of Monday Night Raw, and basically inserted himself into tonight’s main event. Which means that I need to change the intro paragraph, so… just a moment.
Done. We’ll see Seth Rollins in the main event.
Singles Match: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Bayley was wearing the ubiquitous injury tape, so naturally, Sasha worked the shoulder for much of the match. I love Bayley’s vibe and her real-life story, but I still feel like there’s a ceiling to the quality of match she’s able to work, and she’s not going to break through it on TV. Tell you what, though: She was given plenty of opportunities to here.
Yeah, sure, she was the hometown girl. But Bayley shone in this match. She spent a lot of time selling the shoulder, but she was able to get in some great offence, and eventually won clean with the Bayley-to-Belly from the second rope. I don’t know how much it’ll matter long-term, but I enjoyed her tonight.
Result: Bayley wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 3.5]
Nia Jax came out and gave both girls a bit of a kicking post-match. A good way to keep her looking strong without actually giving her anything of substance to do.
Tag Team Match: Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose (w/ Paige) vs. Mickie James & Alexa Bliss
I missed this live as it was the middle of the night in the UK and I was nodding like one of those dogs from the adverts. It’s just as well, really, as it wasn’t much more than a quick match to put over the Absolution women. It was nice to see Paige be able to do something (she distracted Alexa Bliss), but it’s still a colossal shame that she can’t participate in anything physical. Well… in the ring, anyway.
Mickie James loses a lot. The idea that Alexa Bliss genuinely wants to work with her is an interesting one, but we know the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber match is due, and if Creative expects us to buy into a hasty last-minute alliance just two weeks out from that… well. They’re not giving us much credit.
Result: Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose win via pinfall
Rating: [usr 1.5]
Promo: Elias Sings, Strowman Strums
Elias turned up for his usual crowd-riling ditty, which typically went on too long. But thankfully Braun Strowman turned up with a giant bass and did some singing of his own. It was beautiful. On a serious note, I’m glad that Strowman is being allowed to show some more personality; it went over well in the Mixed Match Challenge, and also here. Even better than his singing was when he shattered the bass all over Elias’s back.
Singles Match: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
I’ve seen these two wrestle so many times that all their matches are just an oily blur in my memory. I don’t care anymore, and I say that as someone who likes both guys quite a bit. Please, give them something else to do. And while you’re at it, don’t ever have Cesaro stood at ringside being a cheerleader. It’s such a colossal waste of talent that I can scarcely tolerate it any longer.
Oh, Reigns won. Because of course he did.
Result: Roman Reigns wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 2]
Fatal 5-Way Match: Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy vs. Apollo Crews vs. Seth Rollins
This was very good. Matches like this usually are, because they make room for some cool spots, and this one was dense with talent. The on-going rivalry between Wyatt and Matt Hardy added something, and even though you knew neither was going to win, it kept their interactions interesting. Apollo Crews was given a lot of time to show off his athleticism and legitimately looked as though he might win on a couple of occasions, which was surprising. And I think the right… two guys went over.
It was admittedly a weird way of doing it: the Tower of Doom spot led to both Seth Rollins and Finn Balor securing a pinfall on Bray Wyatt, which led to the announce of the first ever 7-man Elimination Chamber match. I don’t know how they’ll organise that (I assume three will start so they’ve got enough room for the pods) but s**t, I’m down for it.
Result: Seth Rollins & Finn Balor win via pinfall
Rating: [usr 3.5]
Here’s a breakdown of Asuka’s undefeated streak, which is actually really impressive when it’s presented like this. The Empress of Tomorrow is one of the best workers on the roster, male or female, and I don’t see her losing any time soon.
By the way, do y’all remember when Rusev was undefeated? Ah, simpler times.
And here we see the setup for the beautiful Alexa Bliss and Mickie James friendship, thus facilitating the spot in the Elimination Chamber match when Bliss stabs her in the back and pins her.
It was good! Blimey, we had a good, solid episode of Monday Night Raw. What a relief.
I mean, it wasn’t spectacular or anything. But there was great ring work all throughout the night, the promos were mostly fun or at least served some kind of purpose, and the stories built to the Elimination Chamber matches well. And the San Jose crowd were really hot for all of it. I’ve said time and time again how much of a difference that makes.
I’ll be back for SmackDown Live.
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