The January 29th episode of WWE RAW aired live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. It was the first episode of RAW after WWE Royal Rumble 2018. Here are 6 takeaways from this week’s RAW:

The First-Ever Women’s Elimination Chamber Match Was Announced

RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon kicked off this week’s episode of RAW. Stephanie welcomed everyone to RAW and discussed the historic week WWE just had. Stephanie stated that tonight was about the woman that is undefeated and won the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match last night.

Asuka came down to the ring and pointed to the WrestleMania sign. Stephanie announced that Alexa Bliss will be defending her RAW Women’s Championship in the first ever women’s Elimination Champion match. Asuka vowed to become champion at WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks interrupted and came down to the ring. Banks congratulated Asuka on her victory. Sasha got in Asuka’s face and said that she is ready for Asuka tonight. Stephanie McMahon then made the match official. Sasha Banks will face Asuka later tonight.

Braun Strowman Dismantled Kane & Qualified For The Men’s Elimination Chamber Match

Photo Credit: WWE.com

There were a few Elimination Chamber qualifying matches tonight on RAW. The first one was Braun Strowman vs. Kane in a Last Man Standing match.

The match started while RAW was in a commercial break. When RAW return, Kane and Strowman were already battling in the crowd. Strowman hit Kane across the back as the two Superstars made their way to the announce table. Strowman beat Kane down near the table and then flipped the entire set on top of him. The referee then rang the bell and Strowman advanced.

A stretcher was brought out after the match for Kane. Corey Graves approached Strowman on the entrance ramp and said that Kane was a human being and asked Strowman about what he just did. Braun replied “I did my job. Kurt Angle said Last Man Standing, well that is what I did”. Strowman then raised his fists in the air.

It was announced that Kane was taken to a local medical facility and was having trouble breathing.

Strowman was shown marching around backstage when RAW GM Kurt Angle interrupted. Angle was pissed off and said that he was sick of having this conversation with Braun about putting other Superstars in danger. Strowman then went on a rant and vowed to win the Elimination Chamber and go to defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. The situation was updated later that Kane was sent to a medical facility but he sat up and left the building under his own power.

I thought that this was going to be a way to write Kane off of television. The update that Kane sat up in the hospital, left the building and has not been seen since changed my mind. I’m expecting Kane to come up from under the ring during an episode of RAW or at Elimination Chamber and cost Braun Strowman.

Elias Qualified For The Men’s Elimination Chamber Match

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Elias faced Woken Matt Hardy in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match. Elias performed a song in which is he sang that is was Elias’ night over and over again.

Matt Hardy controlled the match early as WWE employees were should putting a new announce table ringside. Elias battled back and connected with a Clothesline. Elias beatdown Hardy in the corner of the ring and then slammed his shoulder into the ring post as RAW went to a commercial.

When RAW returned, Hardy was in control and planted Elias with a Side Effect. Bray Wyatt’s face appeared on the screen and the lights went out in the arena. When the lights came back on, Wyatt wasn’t in the ring but Matt Hardy was distracted. Elias booted Matt in the face and then hit the Drift Away for the pinfall victory.

Bray Wyatt appeared on the jumbotron and psychotically laughed as Hardy stared at him.

Elias now joins Braun Strowman in the Elimination Chamber in four weeks.ย I’m still waiting for the feud between Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt to become interesting. Becoming “Woken” hasn’t made much of a difference for Hardy as he still routinely loses matches. This feud has devolved into the battle of the laughing guys that cant win.

The Miz Is Still Intercontinental Champion

The Miz defended his Intercontinental Championship against Roman Reigns tonight on RAW. Reigns dominated early and connected with a massive right hand that knocked Miz to the mat. Reigns then casually threw The Miz over the top rope and to the floor outside the ring. Reigns followed him out there and slammed The Miz into the steel steps. The Miz slowly got back into the ring and Reigns immediately Clotheslined him to the outside.

Reigns got a steel stair and chased The Miztourage away. Reigns lifted the chair above his head and was about to hit The Miz with it. Roman came to his senses and dropped the chair. Reigns rolled into the ring to break up the referee’s count. The Miz launched Roman into the ring post as RAW went to a break.

When RAW returned, The Miz was still in control and had Reigns in a Chin Lock in the ring. Reigns broke free and planted Miz with a Samoan Drop. The Miz connected with a couple of punches but Reigns caught him and knocked him to the canvas with a Clothesline. Reigns followed it up with a big boot to the face and then geared up in the corner. Reigns went for the Superman Punch but The Miz ducked and connected with a chop block to Reigns’ knee.

The Miz locked in the Figure Four in the middle of the ring. Reigns battled through the pain and used his strength to pick up The Miz and Powerbombed him to the mat. Reigns went for the cover but The Miz kicked out at two. The Miz tried to take off the padding on the middle turnbuckle like last week but the referee caught him. The Miz poked Reigns in the eye while the referee wasn’t looking and then hit the Skull Crushing Finale for a two count.

Reigns elbowed The Miz in the face and charged at him in the corner but The Miz got out of the way. Reigns crashed into the ring post but shrugged it off and connected with a Superman Punch for a two count. The Miztourage came back down to the ring. Axel hopped up on the ring apron and Reigns punched him in the face. Bo Dallas got in some cheap shots but Reigns leveled him with a Spear. The Miz rolled up Reigns from behind and used his tights for leverage for the pinfall victory.

Reigns and The Miz put on another solid match tonight. Reigns has had a rough week in WWE. He lost his IC Title last week at RAW 25. He was the last Superstar eliminated in the men’s Royal Rumble last night and then he lost his rematch for the IC Title tonight. I’m guessing Reigns will find his way into the Elimination Chamber match to determine who will face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34.

Asuka & Sasha Banks Had A Great Match

Sasha Banks was interviewed backstage before her match Asuka. Banks stated that Asuka made history last night and that tonight it was her turn.

Banks controlled the match early but Asuka battled back and knocked Banks off the ring apron with the Hip Attack. Asuka brought Banks back in the ring and applied an Arm Bar. Banks broke free and booted Asuka in the face and followed it up with Double Knees as RAW went to a break.

When RAW returned, Banks planted Asuka with a Suplex for a two count. Sasha locked in the Bank Statement but Asuka quickly countered into a roll-up for two. Sasha once again got Asuka in the Bank Statement in the middle of the ring. Asuka reached the ropes to break the hold. Sasha threw Asuka out of the ring and then went for a Suicide Dive but her feet got caught in the ropes and Sasha’s body swung into the LED screen ring apron. When it happened live I thought she landed directly on her head. It looks like she was able to get her hands down at the last second to prevent that.

Asuka took advantage and brought Banks back into the ring and connected with a big time knee to the face. Asuka locked in the Arm Bar but Banks countered into a roll-up. Asuka kicked out and Sasha rolled to the ring apron. Asuka charged at her but Banks got out of the way and Asuka tumbled to the floor.

Banks hit Double Knees off the ring apron and brought Asuka back into the ring. Banks climbed to the top rope and connected with a Double Knees off the top rope. Sasha hit a Backstabber and transitioned into the Bank Statement in the middle of the ring. Asuka was able to counter into the Asuka Lock for the submission victory.

This match was great. It started off slow but the last few minutes had everyone on the edge of their seat. Sasha Banks might want to think about calling it a day with the dives to the outside of the ring through the ropes. That could have been a lot worse than it turned out to be.

John Cena Qualified For Men’s Elimination Chamber Match

Finn Balor faced John Cena in the main event of RAW in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match. The crowd was behind Balor as Finn connected with an Arm Drag and then transitioned into an Arm Bar. Cena battled to his feet as dueling “lets go Cena!” and “Cena sucks!” broke out in the crowd.

The match slowed down as the two locked up in the ring. The crowd became distracted by some kind of disturbance in the audience and everyone started chanting “a**hole!”. Cena connected with a big right hand as RAW went to a break. When RAW returned, Balor was back in control and connected with a Double Stomp to Cena’s chest.

John hit a shoulder tackle and went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Balor got out of the way. Cena took his sweet time going for the move and got distracted by the crowd booing him. The two Superstars traded punches and Cena hit Balor with a big boot. Balor responded with an overhead kick for a two count.

Finn hit the Slingblade and went for a Dropkick but Cena leveled him with a Clothesline. Cena used his ridiculous strength to lift Balor up onto his shoulders and planted Balor with an Attitude Adjustment. Cena went for the cover but Balor kicked out at two. Cena got on the ring apron and shrugged his shoulders and said “I’m just trying to go to WrestleMania”.

Balor regrouped as Cena was taking his time and knocked John to the mat. Balor went for the Coup de Grace but Cena got out of the way and locked in the STF in the middle of the ring. Balor was able to make his way to the bottom rope to break the hold. Balor connected with a kick and started climbing the turnbuckle. Cena caught Finn and hit him with an Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall victory.

Finn Balor lasted almost an hour in the Royal Rumble match last night and made it to the final four. He was then eliminated by Cena, but had another chance tonight to make it to the main event of WrestleMania. Unfortunately for Finn, he came up short once again and lost to John Cena. It seems like Balor is just stuck in the midcard now, despite his great performance at the Royal Rumble. I’m hoping Balor gets to do something special at WrestleMania now that he is not a part of the Universal Championship picture.