RAW was fantastic. On WWE's latest installment of their flagship program, WWE struck the delicate balance between being a freakshow and a sporting event. And that is when WWE is at its best.
With Elimination Chamber less the two weeks out and WrestleMania being more relevant than ever, RAW had the perfect backdrop for a great show. Stakes were raised, stories were told, and tons of memes were created.
RAW was a reminder of exactly how much talent WWE possess at this moment and there wasn't even a whiff of Brock Lesnar. Unlike the past two years, 2018's build to WrestleMania feels like something exceptional may be in the works.
With that in mind, WWE revealed plenty to us on RAW (like Ronda Rousey's official return date). So let's break it down. Here are The 5 Things We Learned From RAW Last Night:
Rough Night for The Balor Club
As 2018 develops, Finn Balor’s hopes of returning to WWE’s main event continue to dissolve.
Not long ago, Balor was considered a front-runner to win the Royal Rumble. While he had a nice showing (made the final four), no one really remembers who “played well” at the Rumble, instead, because WWE tells us to, we fixate on the winner - and it wasn’t Finn Balor
Baylor saw his momentum stifled a few weeks ago after a clean loss to Cena kicked him out of the Elimination Chamber. Even more, it looked like Monday’s Fatal 4 Way was his for the taking seeing he was easily the most relevant name in the match. But when Seth Rollins turned that match into a Fatal 5 Way, we knew that meant trouble of Balor.
While Balor is still headed to Elimination Chamber, WWE eagerly gave a chunk of his thunder to Rollins. And to top it all off, Balor’s buddies, Gallows and Anderson, took a clean loss from The Revival.
Right now, the best WrestleMania scenario for Balor would be a match Rollins. But even that carries a stiff caveat - he’ll have to be the Demon. However, WWE would happily choose Rollins to beat Balor's novel character, making Balor's return to Japan a realistic scenario.
Braun Strowman: Musician
Braun Strowman and Elias' musical war was criminally fun. It’s WWE at its most surreal and that portal has been opened by the anomaly that is Braun Strowman. This segment was magic and deserves billions of YouTube views.
Great work, fellas!
John Cena Summons The Undertaker
The Undertaker and John Cena are officially flirting.
In RAW’s opening segment, John Cena made a not-so-subtle Undertaker reference while hyping up the approaching WrestleMania
There is only one “legend” who’s strictly associated with the dead and that’s The Undertaker. Twitter scooped up the reference immediately.
However, Cena’s little Easter Egg was only meant as a teaser, as his main focus turned back to Elimination Chamber. But we know how this one goes. Despite a Herculean effort, John Cena will not win at Elimination Chamber. And as he mentioned in tonight's promo, he would be lost on the road to WrestleMania if he cannot prevail on February 25th.
But he might as well have told us he’s single and taking all callers.
While it may sound like we’re getting ahead of ourselves, we’re not. Rumors of this matched have been seesawing since the summer and was practically confirmed in recent weeks.
We don’t know when or how The Undertaker shows up to this party, but there certainly is a possibility that he ruins Cena’s Elimination Chamber effort with highly a dramatized Tombstone.
Kurt Angle's promo regarding Jason Jordan was important. Maybe not as Cena summoning the Undertaker and certainly not as important as Braun Strowman flattening Elias with a cello, but Angle revealed some vital information.
When Angle announced his son was out for WrestleMania, fans couldn’t help but cheer. But playing the role of the protective father, Angle admonished the WWE universe for celebrating Jordan’s bad news. His defending of Jordan marked the continuation of a father/son storyline that hinges on delusional pathology.
Whenever Jordan returns, he and Angle will resume one of WWE’s best attempts at long-term storytelling
Bayley and Sasha Bring It
It only tok 2 episodes of RAW to exhume Bayley from her grave. By getting sassy with Sasha Banks one week and having a very physical match with her best friend on Monday, Bayley is all of the sudden relevant again.
2017 had to have been torturous for Bayely, but 2018 is off to a nice start. All signs point to her and Sahsa getting a WrestleMania match, with one of them working as a heel. Given the history of these two, we can expect greatness when they bring their chemistry to a WrestleMania stage