Five Stars From #WWE #Raw (2/5/18): Asuka, Miz, Elias & More!
WWE Raw was live last night from Des Moines, Iowa. John Cena vs. Elias vs. Braun Strowman was the main event. Asuka took on Bayley in an NXT women’s championship rematch, plus there were two more Elimination Chamber qualifying bouts. Let’s get to the five stars!
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5. No One Is Ready For Asuka
WWE LOVES to give wrestlers catchphrases. John Cena says ‘you can’t see me’. Roman Reigns says the ring is ‘his yard’. Asuka’s most famous one is ‘no one is ready for Asuka’ and it’s probably the most accurate catchphrase in WWE history. Asuka retired as the undefeated NXT women’s champion, and she’s kept that streak going while on Raw. She literally hasn’t lost a match since debuting, which was in OCTOBER OF 2015. Last week she had a sensational match against Sasha Banks and followed it up with another strong win over Bayley.
This is the best Bayley has looked in awhile, and I’m glad Asuka took Bayley seriously in this match. Bayley has never defeated Asuka, but she’s come close twice, so Asuka was not messing around here. There were a ton of hard kicks and strikes, but Bayley hung around and put in a valiant effort. Asuka won in the end, because no one is ready for Asuka.
After the match Asuka shook Bayley’s hand, bringing their feud full circle. Fantastic character work.
April 1, 2016: Asuka barely acknowledges Bayley.
August 20, 2016: Asuka helps Bayley back up.
February 5, 2018: Asuka respectfully offers Bayley a handshake. pic.twitter.com/SwH7eAxU4N
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) February 6, 2018
4. The Miz vs. Apollo Crews
The second elimination chamber qualifying match (the first being Reigns vs. Wyatt which we will not speak of) saw Miz take on Apollo Crews. Before the match Miz cut a great promo, because at this point he’s incapable of doing anything else. Miz is the master of bringing up something factual but twisting it just enough to make him look like a jerk.
For example, he talked about how Raw 25 had the best ratings in three years (true) and the sole reason for that was him (not true). It’s part factual part braggadocios, and he tip toes that line wonderfully. He also talked about his daughter being born right around WrestleMania (true) while making sure the focus is still on him by saying his daughter will be born just in time to see him become the dual IC/Universal champ.
The match that followed was a great example of how Miz’s in ring skills have caught up with his mic skills. Miz understands that he only looks good beating Apollo Crews if Crews looks good in defeat. Apollo is stronger and faster than Miz, and he used those attributes to his advantage to score a few near falls on the IC champ. Miz’s main advantage is his experience, so when Crews went for one high risk move too many, Miz hung him up on the ropes. One Skull Crushing Finale later and Miz is in the Elimination Chamber match while Crews looked legit in defeat.
3. Jason Jordan Ruins Everything
Before Raw went on the air, Kurt Angle announced Jordan & Rollins would challenge The Bar for the tag titles. The stipulation was that if Jordan/Rollins lose, they’ll never get another shot at the titles as long as The Bar are champs. While Jordan reassured Rollins he’d be OK to wrestle, he backed out last minute (he is actually injured). Luckily for Rollins, Roman Reigns was able to step in and replace Jordan.
Reigns and Rollins had a good match going with The Bar until Jordan showed up at ringside. Reigns shooed him away to the back, but Jordan stuck around to temporarily block The Bar from bailing on the match. Unfortunately for Reigns and Rollins, Jordan took Cesaro’s bait and punched him, causing a DQ and allowing The Bar to retain.
I truly believe Jason Jordan is hitting his role out of the park. It sucks that he’s injured and we can’t watch him wrestle every week, but his character has continued to improve. He plays the entitled do gooder so well, and the writers continue to find unique ways for him to get involved while continuing to piss of Rollins and Reigns. Plus, The Bar holds on to the tag belts, and hopefully they’ll now move onto a fresh team.
2. Nia Jax
Nia Jax had herself quite a night. First, Kurt Angle announced that she would take on Asuka at Elimination Chamber. If Nia defeats Asuka, she will be added to the match of whichever title Asuka decides to go after at WM. She also got a nice squash win over poor Vanessa Floyd. I’m not sure why WWE doesn’t utilize these squash wins more often, but they always seem to work. Nia is a monster with a big match coming up at Elimination Chamber, so why not feed her a few easy wins and make her look like a star? They’re already doing that with Asuka beating Sasha and Bayley back to back weeks, so hopefully Nia continues to look good so their match at Elimination Chamber has the ‘either women can win’ type feel.
1. The Main Event
The main event was a ‘winner enters Elimination Chamber last’ match which I really enjoyed. The WWE has three weeks until the Chamber, so having these type of matches with a consequence attached to it is great for the build up. Too often they’ll just have the guys who will be in the chamber fight each other for no reason other than they’ll be in the same match at the PPV. Putting together this match gives each guy a reason to fight with a game plan and a sense of urgency. That’s why Cena and Elias teamed up to take out Strowman early on. They knew if they didn’t, chances are Strowman would take them both out and win the match.
I thought the finish was good too, because it gives Elias the technical advantage of entering last while reinforcing that Braun is still the most dangerous guy regardless of when he enters. I don’t know how many times WWE can give Strowman these title opportunities and not pull the trigger, but he’s ready to be the top guy. The crowd loves him, he’s turning into a super worker and has a different vibe than almost anyone else. While it’s great that he continues to dominate, eventually it’s not going to be enough that he dominates and loses. If Reigns is still the guy they want to dethrone Lesnar, Strowman needs to be the first guy up after that.