Roman Reigns kicked off the show. He says last week was the comeback, but this week he takes the yard back. He wants the universal title, but his brother is in his way. He calls out Rollins, who is glad that Reigns is back. He plans to take the motivation Reigns gave him and beat Lesnar at Mania. Rollins knows Reigns deserves a shot since he had to give up the title. Reigns praised Rollins for looking over Raw while he was gone, and he has confidence that Rollins will win at Mania. Reigns then said he wanted to get the band back together one last time, but Rollins disagreed, due to Ambrose’s past actions. The crowd wants it, and Reigns wants to be with his brothers one last time. Rollins agreed to it for Reigns. They called out Ambrose, who arrived and was immediately laid out by Elias with a guitar shot to the back.
- This was a solid opening segment which will lead to a PPV match on Sunday, I like that they didn’t just give it away as it allows them to tease it all show long.
Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin defeated Finn Bálor, Braun Strowman, and Kurt Angle. Lio Rush caused a distraction, preventing Bálor from getting the pin. Strowman took out Rush by charging him through the barricade, but was down long enough for Lashley to spear Finn and win the match. After the match, the heels continued the beatdown with the ring steps, and posed.
- This was an overall good opening match, setting the heels as a dominant force ahead of presumably facing the Shield on Sunday.
Natalya defeated Ruby Riott. Riott countered the Sharpshooter with a small package, but Natalya reversed the momentum and won with a small package of her own.
- Christ, why is Natalya winning & Ruby being wasted still? Remember when they had a feud over sunglasses?
SNL Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost were gretted by Stephanie McMahon, who revealed that they’d be coming back as correspondents for WrestleMania. They wandered around backstage throughout the show, running into characters like EC3 and No Way Jose. Ultimately Che went to the bathroom, Jost asked Braun Strowman if WWE is “real,” and got choked against a wall for an entire commercial break. Strowman said he’d see them at WrestleMania.
Batista sent in a video saying he didn’t want to come to Philadelphia. Triple H cut a passionate promo about Ric Flair and challenged Batista to fight him. They’re having a “face-to-face” next week in Pittsburgh.
- I really liked this as I felt Triple H was emotionally on point in reaction following last week’s angle. I’m not exactly hyped about a match right now, but this was good stuff.
Torrie Wilson is going into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Stephanie McMahon announced that Becky Lynch’s suspension has been lifted, and that Lynch will face Charlotte Flair for the vacant Raw Women’s Championship at Fastlane.
Gauntlet Match: Heavy Machinery defeated The B-Team, The Ascension, and Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. This happened because Charly Caruso showed Heavy Machinery video of Raw’s tag teams making fun of Otis. Heavy Machinery defeated all three teams.
- This was a bland, heatless, and predictable match. It existed.
Elias defeated Dean Ambrose with Drift Away.
- This was ok, they worked hard, but it felt a bit disconnected and rushed.
After the match, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins tried to talk some sense into Ambrose, who refused to reunite The Shield. Lashley, Corbin, and McIntyre showed up and attacked Reigns and Rollins. Ambrose finally decided to help them, and The Shield reunited with a pose.
Tamina defeated Sasha Banks with a superkick after distractions at ringside from Nia Jax and Bayley.
- It wasn’t as bad as most Tamina matches, but it still wasn’t good.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (c) defeated Aleister Black and Ricochet by disqualification when Bobby Roode and Chad Gable interfered. Gable and Roode teased a confrontation with Ricochet and Black.
- This was pretty good while it lasted, and should set up a triple threat for Sunday.
The Shield “will ride for a final time” at Fastlane in a match against McIntyre, Lashley, and Corbin.
Stephanie McMahon brought Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch to the ring so Lynch could sign a hold harmless agreement, making the Fastlane match official. Ronda Rousey showed up (extremely late) in the parking lot and power-walked to the ring and reclaimed her title, saying that she never vacated it and just wanted Stephanie to think about it. Stephanie changed the Fastlane match, saying that if Lynch wins she’ll be added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. Rousey started heeling on the audience and attacked both women. Flair bailed, leaving Rousey to beat up Lynch. Rousey stood on Lynch’s face to end the show.
- The first half, the talking, was rough. It got better when Rousey arrived. I really dislike how Becky winning the Rumble now means nothing because they had to over-complicate the entire angle. I thought the Rousey heel turn came off well and loved Charlotte refusing to help and allowing Becky to take a beating. Overall, This week’s Raw wasn’t a very good show. It felt overly long, just dragging along, and the Fastlane build felt extremely rushed/last minute. I also think that WWE continues to overcomplicate angles that are generally basic and already had a good path. The Triple H promo, Rousey heel turn, and reaction to the Shield reunion were the best parts of the show.