Finn Bálor and Elias collide as Raw's Seven-Man Gauntlet Match rolls on.02/19/2018 - 22:15
When Raw began in Pittsburgh, it looked like tradition and respect would be the theme of the night. Instead, thanks to World Tag Team Champions Rated-RKO and their path of destruction, tradition and respect went out the window along with a Legend's pride.
The night began innocently, as Ric Flair called out the Spirit Squad to end their rivalry. He wasn't alone, however, as D-Generation X would be his partners against the Squad in a 5-on-3 Handicap Match. HBK and The Game, who respect Flair and consider him a friend, mentor and idol, promised it would be the end of the Squad once and for all. They held true to their word; after DX & Flair were victorious thanks to a triple Figure-Four, DX packed the Squad into a crate and shipped them off to Louisville before heading out to prepare a party for the "Nature Boy."
Unfortunately, Flair never made it. Right after DX's exit, Edge came to the ring for a special edition of The Cutting Edge. When his guest "didn't show," Randy Orton interrupted and said he had found the guest. In a disgusting display, the World Tag Team Champions produced a bloodied and beaten Flair, dragged him to ringside and delivered a pair of brutal Con-chair-tos. The champs claimed that DX wouldn't save Flair because they didn't care about him, but everyone in the building (including Edge & Orton) knew that HBK & The Game were long gone. Flair was attended to by WWE doctors after the brutal assault, but was luckily more angry than hurt; truly, it was only his pride that Rated-RKO shattered.
To cap off their disgusting night, Edge & Orton cheated the Hardys out of the World Tag Team Championship. For the first time in over four years, Matt & Jeff Hardy teamed up on Raw to challenge for the gold. It looked like they had the match won, as Matt & Jeff nailed Orton with a Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combo; instead, Edge saved the gold by smashing Jeff in the head with it as he made the cover. The champions were disqualified, but it didn't seem to matter as they continued their assault. The champions laid out the Hardys with an Impaler DDT and an RKO after the match before standing tall with smug looks on their faces as the broadcast ended.
While the Hardys didn't win tag team gold, they did get an answer for their open challenge. Jeff's main rival, Johnny Nitro, answered the challenge by saying that the Hardys aren't the only ones who are reuniting. He then revealed former partner Joey Mercury, saying that for one night only, MNM would re-form to face Team Extreme at December to Dismember. Who will come out on top when the five-time World Tag Team Champions square off against the three-time WWE Tag Team Champions MNM this Sunday?
Also on Raw, WWE Champion John Cena also found out his next challenger: the undefeated Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga. In the ring, Armando Alejandro Estrada said that Umaga was the only dominant man at Survivor Series, and that no one to date has presented him a challenge. He then put John Cena on notice, officially challenging him on behalf of Umaga. The Champ then hit the ring, and an uncharacteristically quiet Cena stared down the Samoan Bulldozer before uttering one simple phrase:
"As for your challenge…I accept."
Cena looked ready to do it right then and there, but after another brief stare down, Estrada pulled the Samoan Bulldozer from the ring, telling Cena that it would happen "when we say so."
In other action: Victoria won a Divas Battle Royal, Eugene defeated former partner and mentor Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jerry "The King" Lawler upset Chris Masters thanks to some unexpected help from Carlito.