As our old ritual, we would like to cover all the latest happenings in the world of the WWE before we get to the play by play coverage of RAW tonight.
We are saddened to announce the demise of WWE Hall of Famer, Jimmy ‘Super Fly’ Snuka. He was 73 and was recently acquitted of murder charges for the death of his girlfriend. His death was announced by his daughter, Sarona who wrestles under the ring name, Tamina. In December, TMZ reported that Snuka had been diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and had few days to live. A flurry of superstars, including Jimmy Snuka’s cousin, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, Mick Foley and the WWE had issued heartfelt statements and condolences to the Snuka family.
WWE held recently concluded their first ever U.K. championship tournament. 19 year old Tyler Bate defeated his former teacher Pete Dunne to become the first ever United Kingdom Champion. Triple H, Fit Finlay, William Regal and Finn Balor presented the belt to Tyler.
The road to the Royal Rumble pay per view continues as WWE’s red brand returns live from the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Scheduled for tonight is an appearance from the beast incarnate, Brock Lesnar. This is the first time we will be seeing Brock Lesnar on live TV after his match against Bill Goldberg at Survivor Series.
We open the show with the current number one contender to Kevin Owens’ Universal Championship, Roman Reigns. The shark cage for Chris Jericho is also set up on stage. Reigns talks about how is unbeatable in a fair fight. Just as he is about to go on, he is interrupted by Paul Heyman, who announces that Brock Lesnar is here for RAW for the first time after Survivor Series and adds that Bill Goldberg is not here tonight. He is interrupted by both Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Seth Rollins too makes an appearance in quick succession. Rollins warns everyone that ‘anything can happen at the main event of WrestleMania’ and is interrupted by Braun Strowman.
Strowman gets into Rollins’ face and immediately Brock Lesnar’s music plays! As Lesnar walks to the ring, Sami Zayn attacks Strowman from behind. An all-out brawl breaks out in the ring with Reigns and Rollins getting the upper hand on Owens and Jericho. Strowman is occupied with Zayn. Lesnar slides in and german suplexes Reigns. He hits Zayn with a german suplex as well. Lesnar dares Strowman to come at him, but Strowman backs away. Reigns connects with the super man punch on Lesnar. He clears the ring off other superstars only to walk into an F5 by Lesnar!
Enzo and Cass vs Jinder Mahal and Rusev: Looks like Enzo is out of his wheel chair following the vicious attack by Rusev. The heels gain control of the match initially, with Rusev locking Enzo in a bear hug. This slows things down a bit. Enzo is able to break free and connects with a tornado DDT and tags in Big Cass. Mahal tags himself too, and Cass cleans house. Cass connects with the fallaway slam on Mahal with a follow up splash and empire elbow. Enzo throws Rusev to the outside and tags himself in. Cass and Enzo hit the Boom Shakalaka for the win.
Ariya Daivari vs Lince Dorado: Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher are on commentary for the match. Daivari controls the opening minutes of the match till he gets distracted by talking trash to Gallagher allowing Dorado to retaliate and make a comeback. Daivari is able to avoid a cross body off the top rope and comes back on the offensive with a stiff clothesline. He locks in the Cobra Clutch on Dorado for the win.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs Sheamus and Cesaro: The tag team titles are on for the match. Cesaro starts things off against Anderson and connects with a back breaker, and tags Sheamus in who connects with a knee drop. Cesaro tags himself back into the match and connects with a double foot stomp on Anderson only to get a two count. Anderson retaliates with a kick to the face and tags Gallows back in.
Gallows goes back to work on Cesaro, who comes back retaliating with upper cuts and a flying cross body off the top rope onto Gallows to the outside. Cesaro connects with the Cesaro swing on Anderson and locks him in the Sharp Shooter. Gallows breaks the hold almost immediately with a big boot to the face of Cesaro. All the four competitors are in the ring and there is a brawl that breaks out. In that chaos, Sheamus accidentally kicks the referee, knocking him out. Gallows and Anderson are able to throw Sheamus to the outside and connect with the Magic Killer on Cesaro. A new referee comes out and counts to three, and just as Gallows and Anderson are about to celebrate, the original referee reverses the decision and calls for a disqualification since Sheamus attacked him. This means Sheamus and Cesaro have been disqualified and retain their tag titles. Anderson and Gallows cannot believe it and are furious. They connect with the Magic Killer on Sheamus before making their way to the back.
A video package showcasing Jimmy Superfly Snuka’s life is shown as a tribute.
Backstage, we see Sami Zayn trying to strike out a game plan to work with Reigns and Rollins to take out Jericho, Owens and Strowman tonight.
Rich Swann vs Tony Nese: Even before the match can begin, Neville jumps Swann. Referees try in vain to pull Neville off. Nese soon joins Neville and double teams on Swann. Neville pulls Nese off Swann and hits him with the super kick before heading to the back. Post the attack, Neville cuts a promo backstage on Nese, claiming to ‘break’ Nese’s ‘unbreakable’ spirit.
The New Day is out next to discuss the upcoming 30 man over the top rope battle royal at the Royal Rumble. They are interrupted by Titus O’Neil who claims that he is here to snatch their spots from the Royal Rumble. A match is booked between Big E and Titus following the exchange.
Titus O’Neil vs Big E: There is plenty of back and forth action in the initial moments of the match.
Titus is able to gain control after connecting with a variation of the Dominator. He gets a two count. HE drops Big E with a power bomb and follows it up with a running leg-drop for another near fall. Titus mocks Big E, allowing Big E to capitalize and come back with a belly to belly suplex. Big E follows it up with a running splash and connects with the Big Ending for the win in a short match.
Charlotte is out and cuts a promo on Bayley. She starts showing old poems written by Bayley about wanting to be a wrestler and calls her just another average fan. Bayley runs out to the ring and Charlotte retreats to the ramp. Bayley cuts a promo defending herself and tells Charlotte a new poem about how she is going to take the Women’s championship from her. On a related note, Sasha Banks was attacked as she was ‘preparing’ for the show by Nia Jax, approximately 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the show.
Cedric Alexander vs Brian Kendrick: Austin Aries is on commentary for this match. Alexander is in control of the match after throwing Kendrick to the outside and following it up with a springboard moonsault to the outside. Once back in the ring, they trade chops with each other till Kendrick drops him with an elbow. Cedric connects with an elbow of his own and a kick to the head. He follows it up with a springboard cross body off the top rope, only to get a two count. He tries to follows it up with a back suplex but Kendrick reverses the move into the Captains Hook. Alicia Fox immediately runs out to the ring and tries to help Cedric to reach the ropes. Cedric is distracted by Alicia and Kendrick drops Cedric from behind with a drop kick. Kendrick throws Cedric back in the ring and goes for the Captains Hook again, but Cedric is able to avoid it and connects with the Lumbar Check for the win. Post-match Alicia tries to hug Cedric, but he declines and walks away.
The news we have all been waiting for is finally official. The first Hall of Fame inductee for the class of 2017 is the only Olympic gold medal winner in the history of pro wrestling, former grand slam champion, Kurt Angle! A video package is played confirming the news! The crowd goes nuts and engages in the traditional ‘You Suck!’ chants for Angle.
Alicia Fox is interviewed backstage about her relationship with Cedric Alexander. She freaks out and walks away saying she does not want to talk about it.
Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn: Even before the bell sounds, all six men brawl with each other. It all boils down to Strowman and Reigns with Strowman clotheslining Reigns to the outside and standing tall in the ring. The match is officially underway now. Owens gains control against Zayn after a few moments of back and forth action between the superstars. Strowman cheap shots Zayn from behind the referee’s back. Reigns is tagged in by Zayn and he connects with a series of clotheslines on Owens. He connects with the big boot on Owens and sets up for the Superman punch. Jericho grabs Reigns’ leg from ringside till he is knocked down by Rollins.
Strowman then knocks Rollins down. Reigns calls for a superman punch, but Strowman climbs on to the apron and grabs him mid-air. Owens follows it up with a super kick on Reigns for a two count. Rollins and Jericho are tagged respectively and Rollins connects with the Sling blade on Jericho. He follows it up with a splash and a block buster. All the heels are taken out with Rollins and Zayn connecting with suicide dives to the outside. Jericho tags in Strowman and Rollins tags Zayn in. Rollins dives onto Jericho and Owens to the outside. Zayn connects with a splash off the top only to get a two count. Strowman blocks a big boot from Zayn and connects with a running power slam for the win.
Post-match, Strowman sets up Zayn on the announce table. Reigns and Rollins follow Strowman with a chair shot and a spear. They go to prepare the announce table but Jericho and Owens jump them from behind. Rollins connects with a pedigree on Jericho but Owens lays both Rollins and Reigns with a steel chair. Owens is the last man standing and he power bombs Reigns through the announce table as we go off air.