Lest we forget, like my DVR did last week, WWE Raw on SyFy is still a thing for this week. Tonight is the ever popular go home show before Elimination Chamber this Saturday, which is at a special time of noon ET because it’s in Saudi Arabia. So a Raw that’s not on its normal channel, promoting a Premium Live Event that isn’t in the usual nation. Got all that? Cool, because we’ve got three hours of Raw to get through, headlined by a big time matchup between a guy who laughs a lot and a guy whose partner laughs a lot. Heh. Let’s get it.
We’re commercial free for the first hour tonight, because that’s how we’re rolling into Elimination Chamber. Speaking of rolling into the Chamber, that’s what WWE Champion will do Saturday night. Though the Chamber has destroyed careers, so has the All Mighty (source: Bobby Lashley). No one told me there would be math involved in this segment, but MVP does his best to make the calculus simple for us, providing his analysis of why his client will win. This has the feeling of an opening where all six competitors in Saturday’s main event will come out one by one and say they’re going to win. Seth “Freakin'” Rollins is first (props to MVP for imitating the Seth laugh), then Riddle (wearing a “sweet” toga), then Austin Theory, then AJ Styles, and yes, eventually Brock Lesnar. Theory, no! Why would you jump on Brock’s back from behind? Lesnar sends a message, such as it is, with an F-5 to Theory.
With no commercials to interrupt the flow, someone has to fill time between segments, and in this case, it’s the Street Profits running down tonight’s card. They’re also set to wrestle right now.
The Street Profits vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Because Dolph paid an unsuccessful visit to NXT, Tommaso Ciampa is on hand to chill with the announce team during this bout. He doesn’t have to hang out long before his distraction helps keeps Profits up, though Ziggler hits him with a superkick before running away. Love it when Raw helps set up an NXT event. You can decide whether I’m being serious or sarcastic.
Winners: The Street Profits by pinfall
It’s time for the toga party, or in this case, the RK-Broga Party. “Broga! Broga!” Randy Orton admits he’s not really a Broga Party guy while being interviewed in the locker room, saying he needs to focus on Rollins.
Earlier today, Kevin Owens faced the reality that he won’t be in the Elimination Chamber match and thus, unlikely to be on the WrestleMania card. He also fesses up to disliking Texas and Indianapolis. So K.O. is not turning heel, in case you were wondering about his character.
AJ Styles (challenger) vs. Damian Priest (champion) – WWE United States Championship Match
I like everything about the framing the announcers give this title match, positioning it as a big measuring stick for where Priest is in his career. Yet a clean loss for Styles also feels unlikely since it would make him kind of weak heading into … oh. Never mind. Styles holds onto the ropes to avoid a Phenomenal Forearm, then rolls up Styles to defend his title. They shake hands afterward, and the narrative is that Priest learned from the mistake he made in his loss to Styles last time they met, so this turns out OK, despite being short.
Winner … and still WWE United States Champion: Damian Priest by pinfall
Any progress Alexa Bliss has made during her therapy sessions is in danger of unraveling as her therapist presents her with the remnants of Lilly. It’s unclear if this is a good idea, but it doesn’t feel like it.
Omos vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin
Omos wins this very quickly, making me sad for what’s left of the Hurt Business and no more impressed with Omos than before. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Winner: Omos by pinfall
“Just friends” Dana Brooke and Reggie are out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, but other diners have their sights set on a 24/7 title ambush. And the Street Profits have arrived at the RK-Broga Party, so turn up, people!
Adam Pearce prepares to oversee the contract signing between Lita and Becky Lynch, though the champ surprisingly looks like a hot mess. As Big Time Becks actually too shook to face Lita? Or could this be a long-ish con by Lynch? It might be a bit of both, though Becks seems anxious about Lita refusing to tear up the contract and walk away without facing her. Lita has been really compelling throughout this feud, and this is a fun tweak to the usually super confident Lynch as well. Good stuff overall.
Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Liv Morgan vs. Doudrop vs. Bianca Belair – Gauntlet Match (winner enters the Elimination Chamber last)
This match starts during a side-by-side commercial break, which is different but not welcome. Early on, it appears Rhea might just rip through all the other competitors, and I’ll see myself out after that one. There are some fresh matchups in store, at least, as Ripley has never faced Morgan or Doudrop before tonight. Or Belair, for that matter, with the announce team selling their faceoff as a PLE-caliber confrontation. Ripley has also been in the ring for more than 30+ minutes at this point. Make that 40+, as the two women engage in a fierce battle that ends with Belair getting the pin at just past the 44-minute mark. An impressive showing by Ripley and a deserved final entry for Belair, though I almost forgot we don’t know who the sixth participant will be.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Alpha Academy doesn’t party. Or at least they don’t RK-Broga Party, laying out Riddle and generally chasing everyone else off. The jig is up at the Dana-Reggie non-date, with the 24/7 pursuers closing in. But when Dana puts Reggie in the friend zone, he pins her for the belt. That might be the quickest friend zone retaliation in the history of humankind. Even more so when Dana gets stuck with the dinner bill.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio vs. Alpha Academy
Heel Chad Gable is the Chad Gable I never knew I needed. Master Gable conducts the first ever public assembly on Raw (though we’re having the Slam Wrestling intern check into that) to both claim he has never cheated and berate the people for helping RK-Bro during their academic competitions. The Miz and Maryse also join in for the fun at the announce table when this thing finally gets going. Their presence proves doubly bad for the Mysterios as they aid in the Alpha Academy victory and then serve up a Skull Crushing Finale to Rey. Big win for the It Couple, and they weren’t even in the match.
Winners: Alpha Academy by pinfall
Checking back in with Bliss, who is declared “as cured as you’re going to be” by the therapist. She feels like a mix between her former character and the dark Bliss from the last year or so, but the big reveal is that Alexa is the mystery Elimination Chamber entrant. Good for her.
Seth “Freakin'” Rollins vs. Randy Orton
Even with commercials and a final rundown of the Elimination Chamber card, there are just under 20 minutes left for this main event, which is what these two certainly deserve. This is a fun bout, and as the three-hour window winds down, both men tease a victory. Orton hits an RKO, but Alpha Academy emerge from the back, and Orton leaves the ring to help Riddle fight them off. When Randy realizes the ref is counting and returns to the ring, he runs right into a Stomp and is unceremoniously pinned. The fans aren’t a fan of that ending, but it could be heel heat, not “that sucked” heat, so there’s that, anyway.
Winner: Seth “Freakin'” Rollins by pinfall
As Rollins literally gets the last laugh, don’t forget that Elimination Chamber starts at noon ET on Saturday. Enjoy it if you’re watching, and we’ll see you in seven!
WWE Raw - February 14, 2022
Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Not a bad show, per se, just a really mixed bag. Some good stuff, including Rhea Ripley’s impressive performance in the Gauntlet Match, was balanced out by a whole lot of filler. Even the commercial-free first hour, a good thing, was bloated because of how little of it mattered, and the Styles loss really made little sense for him going into the Chamber. On the plus side, next week will begin the honest to goodness run-up to WrestleMania, which can often be a blast.