The January 1st 2018 edition of WWE RAW takes place at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL.
– Michael Cole welcomes us to the American Airlines Arena, and then we go backstage where RAW Women’s Champ Alexa Bliss is trying to talk to Kurt Angle about her match tonight with Asuka. Angle refuses and tells Bliss to settle her problems in the ring, and Angle walks off.
– RAW GM Kurt Angle comes out to the ring to kick off the first RAW of 2018. He welcomes us to the show and talks about how 2017 was one of the biggest years of his career. He starts talking about the Royal Rumble and John Cena, which prompts boos from some fans. Angle talks about the Women’s Royal Rumble briefly, then The Bar comes out to interrupt. Sheamus says he doesn’t want to talk about tonight, he wants to talk about last week when The Bar was robbed. Sheamus complains about how the new team of Rollins and Jordan received a title shot right away. Cesaro accuses Angle of playing favorites. They start arguing about a rematch, and then Jason Jordan comes out to interrupt. Jordan argues with The Bar, which leads to Angle booking Jordan vs. Cesaro tonight. Seth Rollins interrupts next, and he says Jordan needs to be a better partner and less self-absorbed. Rollins says he’ll be in Jordan’s corner, but he’s out here to watch Jordan lose. Cesaro hits a cheap shot on Jordan from behind, and we have a match.
– Cesaro vs. Jason Jordan: Rollins and Sheamus are at ringside. This one starts with some back and forth brawling, with Jordan making a comeback and mounting some offense. Jordan dumps Cesaro to the outside, then follows him out. At ringside, Cesaro grabs Jordan and slams him on the corner of the ring apron and he mounts a comeback. Cesaro brings Jordan back in the ring and works over his knee. Cesaro drops Jordan with a European uppercut, then continues the attack on Jordan’s knee. Jordan escapes a powerslam attempt and drops Cesaro with a kick. Jordan goes for a suplex but his leg gives out. Jordan hits some strikes and finally is able to hit a belly to belly suplex. Jordan follows up with another one for a two count. Cesaro starts to fight back, but Jordan catches him with a Northern Lights suplex. Jordan rolls through for a second Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Cesaro comes back with a shot to the bad knee and then a Boston Crab. Sheamus looks to get involved with a cheap shot, but Rollins intercepts and drops Sheamus. The distraction leads to Jordan suplexing Cesaro for a three count.
Winner: Jason Jordan
– Jason Jordan celebrates his win but leaves Rollins hanging on the fist bump.
– Roman Reigns is backstage for an interview about Samoa Joe. Reigns says Joe is a punk and it’s going to be ugly when he gets him in the ring. Reigns says unfortunately for Joe, he’s going to stay within the rules – he hopes.
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– Bray Wyatt is out to the ring next.
– We see a quick promo from Sasha Banks talking about entering the Royal Rumble.
– Bray Wyatt vs. Apollo Crews: Titus and Dana Brooke of Titus Worldwide are at ringside in Crews’ corner. Crews starts this one off strong, but Wyatt decks him and focuses on keeping Crews grounded. Wyatt stares down Dana and she seems disturbed by it. Wyatt continues the beat-down on Crews until Apollo catches him with a running big boot out of nowhere. Crews fires up with more kicks, then a flying clothesline. Crews hits a standing shooting star press for a two count on Wyatt. Crews looks for the powerbomb but Wyatt catches him with a lariat. Dana gets on the apron and yells to Apollo, then Wyatt chases her off and she falls onto Titus at ringside. Dana and Titus crash down at ringside as Wyatt watches. Apollo takes advantage of the distraction with a flying kick to the face, but Wyatt is able to come back with a Sister Abigail out of nowhere for the three count.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
– After the match, Matt Hardy appears on the big screen and he cuts a promo on Wyatt. Hardy does his evil laugh, then talks about converting Wyatt’s fireflies into “woken warriors.” Hardy laughs at Wyatt again as Wyatt looks around confused.
– Alexa Bliss approaches Nia Jax backstage for a favor, but Nia says she has to go deliver chicken soup to Enzo, who isn’t feeling well. Alexa says Nia has to chose between her or Enzo, but Nia says her soup is getting cold and leaves.
– Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka: This one is a non-title match. It’s all Asuka in the opening moments of this one. Alexa leaves the ring multiple times for breathers. Back in the ring, Alexa comes back with a kick to the midsection. Alexa drops Asuka and keeps her grounded with some holds. Asuka fights out, but Alexa drops her again, then bends her around the ring post by the feet and hair. They trade pin attempts, then Alexa grabs the hair and hits a backbreaker. Alexa pummels on Asuka on the mat, then pins for a two count. Asuka comes back with an arm lock, but Bliss shuts her down with more kicks to the midsection. Alexa slaps Asuka across the face, and Asuka answers with a series of dropkicks. She follows up with a running hip attack in the corner, then another one on the mat. Asuka hits a kick, but Alexa comes back with a shot in the corner. Asuka hits a kick and then puts Alexa in the Asuka Lock for the win via submission.
– Asuka celebrates in the ring while Bliss recovers with her Women’s Title belt at ringside.
– Samoa Joe does an interview in the back, and Renee Young doesn’t seem happy to talk to him. Joe says he owns Reigns, and will beat him like he beat Ambrose. Joe says Ambrose is now a stay-at-home husband living off his wife’s paycheck because of him. Joe says he’s already exposed Reigns, and now he’s going to take the Intercontinental Title from him.
– Braun Strowman is out next.
– Bayley does a pre-taped promo saying she’s entering the women’s Royal Rumble match, and then will “hug her way” to WrestleMania.
– Braun Strowman vs. Rhyno: Slater is at ringside, and Jojo accidentally announces it as “Heath Slater accompanied by Rhyno.” Strowman knocks Rhyno back into the corner and Slater gives Rhyno some words of encouragement. Strowman follows up with a shoulder tackle and a big boot. Slater gets on the apron and Strowman orders the ref to get rid of him. Strowman climbs out of the ring and gets on the mic. He says either Slater can stand on the floor and shut his mouth, or get in the ring and get these hands like his partner. Strowman gets back in the ring and Rhyno hits him, but Strowman stuns him with a headbutt. Slater now runs in and starts beating on Strowman with Rhyno. Strowman shoves them away, and hits running splashes on each of them in opposite corners. Strowman follows up with the running powerslam on Rhyno for the win.
Winner: Braun Strowman
– After the match, the crowd chants “one more time.” Strowman goes to pick up Rhyno, but Slater stops him. Slater goes for a kick, but Strowman swats him away. Strowman follows up with a running powerslam on Slater. The crowd chants for more, so Strowman grabs Rhyno and hits another running powerslam on the former ECW Champion. Strowman’s music plays, but he’s not finished. He grabs Slater and hits another running powrslam on him, then gets on the corner and poses. It looks like Strowman is finished, but he’s not. He picks up Rhyno and hits another running powerslam on him. Strowman picks up Slater with one arm, then hits another running powerslam on him.
– Roman Reigns is backstage cracking his knuckles, when Seth Rollins walks in. Rollins tells Reigns to keep his cool after what Joe said tonight. Reigns says Joe is a joke to him, and he hopes Ambrose and the whole world is watching tonight to see what he does to Joe. Rollins mentions that he doesn’t want Reigns to get DQed, because the title can change in the event of a DQ tonight. Jason Jordan walks in and says if The Bar tries to run in, they’ll stop them, believe that. Jordan walks off, and Reigns and Rollins look confused by Jordan’s appearance.
– Kane approaches Strowman backstage and says he just wants to talk. Kane says they should work together to take out Lesnar, but Strowman declines. Strowman says he’s the true alpha monster of WWE, and he’ll take out Lesnar on his own.
– Finn Balor approaches Kurt Angle in his office. Balor says he’s entering the Royal Rumble, and also announces his partners for a six-man tag against Elias and The Miztourage. Balor brings in Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and says he’s teamed with them before and is ready to again. They say if it wasn’t them, it would have had to be some “Nerds” from the locker room.
– Roman Reigns (c) vs. Samoa Joe: Reigns’ IC Title is on the line in this one, and the Title can change hands via DQ. Joe starts off strong off the opening bell with right hands to Reigns. Reigns starts fighting back on the ropes but the ref pulls them apart and admonishes Reigns. Joe comes back and sends Reigns to the outside. Reigns takes a breather and comes back in. Joe fires up and hits an elbow then goes for a suplex, but Reigns reverses it into a suplex of his own. Reigns goes for a spear in the corner, but Joe dodges and Reigns hits the ring post. Joe covers for a two count. Reigns starts fighting back with a series of clotheslines and punches. Joe fights back and hits a Pele kick. Joe chokes Reigns over the middle rope until the ref hauls him off. Joe follows up with strikes in the corner on Reigns. Joe whips Reigns into the corner then works on Reigns’ left arm. Joe whips Reigns into the corner again, but this time Reigns comes out with a flying clothesline on Joe. Reigns hits a series of ten clotheslines in the corner, then boots Joe in the face and sends him falling out to ringside. Reigns follows him outside and hits the Drive By. Back in the ring, Reigns and Joe brawl in the corner before Joe knocks Reigns outside. Joe follows up with a suicide dive onto the Champion at ringside. Back in the ring, Joe continues to work on Reigns. When Reigns starts coming back, Joe shoves Reigns into the ref. Reigns tries to explain what happened to the ref and the ref allows it to continue. After some back and forth, Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch. Reigns fights out and runs the ropes and hits the spear for the win to retain the IC Title.
Winner & still Intercontinental Champion: Roman Reigns
– Reigns celebrates with his IC Tite belt as Joe storms up the ramp looking disgruntled.
– Kurt Angle is backstage watching Reigns’ win, when Paul Heyman walks in. Heyman warns Angle that they’re aware of Kane proposing a conspiracy to Strowman to take out Lesnar before the Royal Rumble. Heyman says if Angle doesn’t put a stop to it, Lesnar will let all Hell break loose.
– We see a pre-taped promo from Absolution, where Paige says 2018 is going to be an even bigger year for them.
– Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari are in the ring. Gulak reads a message from Enzo, which starts off with Enzo’s usual promo, and then goes into saying Enzo is sick so he’s not at RAW tonight. The message gets on the subject of Cedric Alexander, which prompts Alexander to come out and interrupt. Cedric has doubts that Enzo is really sick, but since he’s not here, either Gulak or Daivari are going to have to face him instead. Gulak and Daivari say they’ll do it, but in a tag team match, so Cedric better hope for someone to come out and help him right now. Goldust’s music hits and the former Intercontinental Champion comes down to the ring. Goldust says he has some friends in low places, but none are lower than Gulak and Daivari, then says he’ll be friends with Cedric, and we have a match.
– Cedric Alexander & Goldust vs. Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari: Cedric starts off in control against Daviari. He sends Daviari flying with a hurricanrana, then levels him with a dropkick. Cedric gets distracted by Gulak, and Daivari slams Cedric into the corner. Daivari beats on Cedric until Alexander comes back with an elbow to the face of Daivari. Goldust and Gulak get the tags and Goldust cleans house. Goldust hits a bulldog and beats on Gulak in the corner. Goldust follows up with a spinning powerslam. Daivari runs in and Goldust hits him with an inverted atomic drop. Goldust goes up top and hits a moonsault on Gulak and Daivari. Cedric tags in and takes out Daivari while Goldust hits an uppercut on Gulak. Cedric gollows up with a Lumbar Check on Gulak for the three count.
Winners: Goldust & Cedric Alexander
– Alexander and Goldust celebrate in the ring after the match.
– Gallows, Anderson & Balor are backstage walking towards the gorilla position.
– Elias comes out to the ring for a song. He also announces that he’ll be in the Royal Rumble, and he intends to win and go on to WrestleMania. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel join him, and Dallas announces that The Miz will be returning next week. They briefly sing a song, and then Gallows and Anderson’s entrance interrupts.
– Finn Balor, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Elias, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel: Balor and Axel start this one off. Axel backs Balor into the corner and hits some should strikes then a neck breaker. Elias tags in and continues to beat on Balor. Elias stomps on Balor in the corner and works on keeping him grounded. Balor trips up Elias and hits a double foot stomp on him. Gallows and Dallas get the tags and Gallows cleans house. Gallows hits a big boot on Dallas then a running splash. Elias breaks up the pin, then Anderson takes out Elias. Gallows hits a superkick on Dallas, then Anderson comes in and they hit the Magic Killer on him. Anderson then hits a suicide dive on Axel at ringside. Balor tags in and hits the Coup De Grace on Dallas for the three count.
Winners: Finn Balor, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
– We see a promo for The Miz’s return next week on RAW.
– WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar is out to the ring next with Paul Heyman beside him. We see a replay of Kane propositioning Strowman earlier in the night to take out Lesnar, and Strowman seeming to decline. Heyman gets on the mic and complains about Lesnar having to face two opponents again, this time at the Royal Rumble against Kane and Strowman. Heyman takes issue with the fact that either Kane and Strowman could pin one another and Lesnar would lose the Title. Heyman says Lesnar will still win, and he fears no challengers. they go to leave, but Kane comes out to interrupt and he hits the ring. Kane grabs Lesnar by the throat and chokeslams him. Kane goes to leave, but then Lesnar sits right up and smiles at Kane. Lesnar gets up and uses the Title belt to hite Kane to the outside. Lesnar falls out to ringside too, and before they can start brawling, members of the locker room break it up. We’re told Kurt Angle is on the stage ordering the fight to be broken up. They haul off Kane, while Lesnar holds up his Universal Title belt at ringside, and RAW goes off the air.