By Steven Flora
In an intense Raw main event, Roman Reigns defeated The Miz to capture the Intercontinental Title for the first time, joining the ranks of Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan and, yes, even Miz himself, as a Grand Slam Champion.
Reigns becomes the NEW Intercontinental Champion!
Roman Reigns def. The Miz to become the new Intercontinental Champion
Not wanting to be left out of The Shield’s collective pursuit of championship glory, Reigns decided he wanted a title of his own during an interview on “Miz TV.” And with Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins going after the Raw Tag Team Titles, the closest prize available was The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship. A scant two hours later, and that championship had a new home in the trophy case of The Big Dog’s yard.
Yes, Reigns is officially the new Intercontinental Champion, having picked apart The A-Lister in Raw’s main event. Minus the safety net of The Miztourage, who were taken out by The Shield earlier in the night, The A-Lister gave The Big Dog a tougher fight than perhaps he was expecting — those It Kicks found their mark even with Reigns’ extra protection, and The Awesome One chop-blocked Reigns out of the air in the middle of a Superman Punch.
Despite a truly impressive effort by the champion and a last-minute interference by Cesaro & Sheamus, Reigns had one extra burst left to carry him to glory. The Big Dog kicked out of the Skull-Crushing Finale and emphatically speared his way to the title after The Shield disposed of The Bar at ringside, setting off a celebration with his brothers to cap a performance that wasn't just a home run — it was a Grand Slam. Winner: Roman Reigns.
Side Note: This match was a tad long and did fall flat toward the very end. Luckily Sheamus & Cesaro & the rest of the Shield brought the match back to life and it made for a good reaction from the WWE universe as a new champion was crowned. With Roman being the second Shield member becoming a grand slam champion, will this motivate Reigns to achieving his goal of once again becoming Universal Champion?
Paige, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose attack Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox and Mickie James
Alexa Bliss fell to Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series, and as a result, almost the entire Raw Women’s division was out for an opportunity to challenge Little Miss Bliss — Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox and Mickie James to be exact. But in one fell swoop, the Women’s Evolution leapt forward and threw the pecking order of Raw’s Women’s division out the window.
Raw General Manager Kurt Angle placed the four would-be challengers into a Fatal 4-Way Match to determine Alexa’s next challenger, but the action was cut short when Paige emerged on the entranceway, stopping the action cold with an ominous proclamation: “I’m back … and I didn’t come alone.”
As the assembled Superstars kept their eyes on the former Divas Champion, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose from NXT rushed the ring from behind. While Alicia screamed and ran for cover, Mandy dispatched Mickie, Sonya felled The Boss, and Paige brought the curtain down on The Huggable One with the Ram-Paige.
Side Note: Wow, what a pop for Paige, despite what's happened it was great to see her get a huge response from the WWE universe and rightfully so. The introduction of the NXT women were quite a shock as they seemed quite green in the ring but I'm all for change … as long as it's for the good of WWE in the long term.
Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, Jason Jordan and Braun Strowman all confront Triple H
Triple H won the Survivor Series Match for Team Raw and saved Angle’s job in the process, but because of the way he went about doing that, everyone wants a piece of him now.
There’s Angle himself, who was Pedigreed by The King of Kings in the midst of the match and served The Cerebral Assassin with an immediate threat of retaliation. There’s also Angle’s son Jordan, who was Pedigreed by The King of Kings last week, kicked off the Survivor Series team and replaced by Triple H after suffering an untimely injury. Walking with a purpose to the squared circle on Raw, Jordan claimed to be fully healed and hungry for a fight with the WWE COO.
And then, of course, there was Strowman, the co-survivor who The Game attempted to lure into some kind of alliance after the epic match, which resulted in The Monster Among Men dropping Triple H with a pair of Running Powerslams. Twenty-four hours later, Strowman took exception to Stephanie McMahon's claim there wasn’t anybody the former WWE Champion feared to face, but luckily for The Game, Stephanie was able to de-escalate the situation as quickly as it ramped up: Amid mounting tensions, she sanctioned Jordan vs. Strowman for later in the evening, thereby pitting two of her husband’s would-be annihilators against each other.
Side Note: We almost had flashbacks to The Authority, which were not missed one bit, but Angle storming out saying he was coming for The Game, that was intense! Jordan trying to intimidate the King of Kings was laughable at best but when Strowman came out, you could just see the fear in Triple H's eyes. All in all, was a solid start to the show.
The Feud between Strowman & Kane continues ...
Braun Strowman def. Jason Jordan via DQ
Jordan didn’t defeat Strowman, but he did survive him, which is about all he could have hoped for. And, after a stunning turn of events, he owes a big thank-you to Kane for allowing that to happen.
Despite Jordan’s insistence he was back to full strength, his knee buckled repeatedly in his attempts to muscle The Monster Among Men around the ring. He did manage to get Braun off his feet at one point, but that was about the extent of his offense, and things were looking bad after Jordan spilled to the outside.
At that moment, The Big Red Machine rose from beneath the ring and chop-blocked Strowman to end the match in a disqualification. Moments later, Kane seized a steel chair to repay Strowman for his savagery the previous week, and his assault included a ruthless strike to the throat that left The Gift of Destruction doubled over and gasping for air. He didn’t go down, of course, and he would later refuse medical attention. But the sight of the staggered Strowman was an ominous sign that Kane has plenty of fire in him yet. Winner: Braun Strowman.
Side Note: Barely a match at all, I think it lasted like two minutes? Though it keeps the feud going between Strowman and Kane (YAY) and also builds up on Jordan's heel turn, which at this point is almost certain.
Nobody is ready for Asuka
Asuka def. Dana Brooke
Last week, Brooke elbowed Asuka in the jaw, and The Empress of Tomorrow responded by kicking Dana in the side of the head and costing her an opportunity to compete at Survivor Series. This week, the jilted Superstar promised to repay the favor by exposing the deficiencies in Asuka’s game and ending The Empress of Tomorrow’s undefeated streak. That … did not happen.
Brooke’s tough talk did lead to a bold opening sequence where she attempted to go hold-for-hold with the former NXT Women’s Champion, but Asuka turned the tables almost immediately with an armbar over the top rope and never looked back. The most significant offense Dana mounted from then on was a wicked slap to The Empress of Tomorrow that did nothing but infuriate her opponent to the point of no return, and another pair of barbaric kicks to the side of the head spelled the end for Dana once again. Winner: Asuka.
Side Note: Squash matches, intended to build up one superstar as a dominant force, is exactly what this was. With the influx of Paige, Rose and Deville, Asuka will certainly have her hands full as she chases the Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss.
Other notable moments
Dean Ambrose vs. Raw Tag Team Champion Sheamus: With The New Day in the rearview, the time has come for The Shield to get back down to business. For Ambrose & Rollins, that means getting their Raw Tag Team Titles back from The Bar, and they started off on a near-perfect note when The Lunatic Fringe upended Sheamus thanks to a timely assist from his brother-in-arms. Ambrose and Sheamus had battled to a dead heat after a lengthy contest, with the Raw Tag Team Champion pulling ahead on the back of a second-rope rolling senton that earned a looooong two-count for The Alabaster Gladiator. With Rollins previously taken out by Cesaro, the field was open for Sheamus to land a Brogue Kick, but The Kingslayer sprinted across the ring to repay The King of Swing with a suicide dive, distracting Sheamus and allowing Ambrose to pounce with Dirty Deeds for the win. Winner: Dean Ambrose.
Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa & Mustafa Ali vs. The Zo Train (Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese & Noam Dar): Whatever you may think about him, Enzo Amore has indeed gotten more eyes on 205 Live, but when it comes to showcasing the best the Cruiserweight division has to offer, Muscles Marinara and his goons might have a way to go. Enzo’s assembled Zo Train — Gulak, Daivari, Nese & Dar — squared off against the resident workhorses of 205 Live in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match and came up short in a major way, despite the presence of Amore himself at ringside. A brief fracas between the two teams briefly made it anybody's game, but combination of Alexander’s Lumbar Check to Nese and Ali’s 054 (that’s a reverse 450) to Dar won the day. But with Gulak vowing to dispose of Tozawa "Philly-style" in a Street Fight on 205 Live tomorrow, there may yet be time to turn The Zo Train around. Winner: Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa & Mustafa Ali.
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor: Survivor Series has come and gone, and Samoa Joe is done playing nice. The two-time NXT Champion celebrated the end of his circumstantial alliance with Bálor by whomping the first-ever Universal Champion in singles action, claiming the win over the Irishman that had eluded him two weeks prior. Joe did so by unleashing every bit of pent-up aggression he’d been holding back for the last couple of weeks, pulverizing Bálor in the early goings with a series of earthshaking strikes and remaining one step ahead of Finn's big moves. Raw’s resident extraordinary man unleashed his speed in response and rolled out of the Coquina Clutch to hit a double stomp, but Joe was ready for what was coming next. As a weakened Bálor slowly mounted the turnbuckle in advance of the Coup de Grâce, The Samoan Submission Machine tripped him up, mercilessly hauled him off the ropes, locked in the Clutch and put Finn to sleep. Winner: Samoa Joe.
Matt Hardy attacks Elias: It’s not enough for Elias to defeat someone; he’s got to go and make a song about it. In this case, he penned a special tune for Hardy, who he upended at Survivor Series Kickoff, about how “lost” Hardy is without his injured brother. Hardy himself wasn’t a fan of this musical tribute, and the former Raw Tag Team Champion made his displeasure known by interrupting the performance, landing some stinging haymakers and chasing Elias from the ring.
Overall Raw Rating: C+
Things to look forward to next week
What's next for The Miz & Miztourage after his Intercontinental title loss?
How will the Raw Women's division react to the appearance of Paige, Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose?
Kurt Angle vs Triple H in the future?
Has Jason Jordan had enough of trying to be the good guy?
What's next for the Monster among Men?
Who will be the next challenger for Brock Lesnar's Universal Champion?