This week's Raw signaled another stop on the road to WrestleMania and the final stop for the Raw Superstars before Elimination Chamber this Sunday. The barbaric matchup is renowned as one that can really take it out of its participants and unfortunately for the men who will step inside it in Las Vegas this weekend, they had a grueling gauntlet match to get through first on Raw. Seven men that talented in a match that ended up lasting for well over half the show was always going to provide us with some pretty big moments, and the rest of the show chipped in with a couple too.
Nothing seems to warm the hearts of the fans quite like Monday Night Raw opening with a match as opposed to a 20 minute promo. Well the WWE Universe must have been rejoicing this week as Raw began with a gauntlet match featuring all seven men that will step inside the Elimination Chamber this Sunday, so effectively six matches back to back. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were the first two men out and they alone warranted the gauntlet match opening the show. As always with two Superstars who know each other as well as they do the action was terrific. Knowing what your opponent is thinking and going to do next turns it into a game of chess. In that analogy Reigns certainly checked Rollins in the above GIF as he read his leap off the ropes and instead connected with a Superman Punch. It wasn't enough for him to see off The Architect though.
The last two competitors in Monday night's epic gauntlet match were The Miz and Braun Strowman. No offence to the Intercontinental Champion but it was only ever going to end one way. The Monster Among Men didn't want to finish things off too quickly though and put his opponent through hell before eventually pinning him. From shoving him to the floor as he tried to run away to throwing him across the ring by his throat to drop kicking him (yes you read that right), The Miz was really put through his paces by Strowman. The exclamation point on the match actually came after it had finished when Braun brought The Miz back to the ring in order to give him one more Running Powerslam.
On the women's side of things it won't all be about their first ever Elimination Chamber match this Sunday night. There's another big thing to be decided and that's whether Nia Jax will be added to the Raw Women's Title match at WrestleMania. All she has to do is be the first person to defeat Asuka in almost two and a half years. Easy right? Well if Jax's attack on The Empress this past Monday is anything to go by then Asuka should be a little worried. Nia blindsided the former NXT Women's Champion, endured some of the Japanese star's devastating kicks and then slammed her to the mat with a big Samoan Drop.
The main event of Monday night's Raw featured all of the women who will make history on Sunday when they step inside the Elimination Chamber. Going into the match Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss was a little shaky on the teams that Kurt Angle had selected, forcing The Goddess to team with Absolution members Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. There was clearly animosity between the two parties and it ultimately lost them the match since no one came to the aid of Bliss when she found herself locked in Sasha Banks's Bank Statement. The champ would get the last laugh though. The wolves of Absolution circled after the match but thankfully Bliss's new found friend Mickie James came to the rescue. The two of them delivered a DDT to Deville together before taking their leave.
There seems to be something building between The Miz and Finn Balor. The two of them were taking jabs at one another on Twitter following the announcement of Monday night's gauntlet match and surprise surprise the two of them ended up clashing in the almost two hour long epic. When it came to The Awesome One's entry into the bout he sent his Miztourage out first so that he could get the one up on Balor by attacking him from behind. While it didn't get him the win right off the bat it certainly softened the Irishman up even more than he already had been by his previous opponent Elias. Even though The Miz ended up winning out Balor didn't miss an opportunity to do some damage to his lackeys, ducking a clothesline from his opponent so that he could flip over the top rope and knock both of them to the floor.
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