The Big Takeaway: It appears the direction for WrestleMania is a tag team match with HHH and Stephanie McMahon facing Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle. The four of them were together for the show closing angle, which ended with Angle claiming he made up the story from the Elimination Chamber segment where Stephanie said Rousey was washed up. It ended when HHH decked Angle with a right hand. Reigns vs. Lesnar is official. Lesnar didn't appear on the show, and Reigns did an interview where he claimed that Lesnar left the arena unexpectedly and he was sick of Lesnar's attitude of being a high-paid part-timer while everyone else worked their ass off. Reigns' didn't comment about the show closing angle, mind you. In the opening match, Sasha Banks and Bayley turned on each other. Banks slapped Bayley for a tag during a six-woman's match. Later, Banks tried to make a hot tag, but Bayley jumped off the apron just as Banks was within arm's distance. It was amazing how little attention the announcers paid to Bayley and Banks breaking up after it had been teased for well over a year. It was never mentioned again for the final two-and-a-half hours.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James came out. They're now a duo, so James has turned heel sans an angle to explain it all. Bliss bragged about how everyone will be talking about her victories ten years down the line. She put over James as someone who the rest of the locker room could learn from, despite their differences from the past. Bliss said Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille have a promising future, just not while she's champion. Bliss said Bayley was a sad situation. As for Sasha Banks, Bliss said she capatailized on Bliss' biggest weakness, her massive ego. Bliss said this was her year and she pointed to the WrestleMania sign. She said she was going to break Asuka's undefeated streak.
Asuka came out. There was a chant of "Asuka is going to kill you." Bliss couldn't believe that Asuka pranced out there like she was healthy because Nia Jax crushed Asuka last night. Bliss thought Jax was dominating Asuka so much she was going to win, but Jax made one little mistake that Asuak capatalized on. Bliss said very slowly in English that she knows that Asuka is hurt more than she's letting on. Jax came out and plowed right over Asuka. Jax tried to power bomb Asuka, but Asuka clamped on an armbar. Bliss and James jumped Asuka, but Bayley and Banks ran out for the save. Bayley and Banks gave Bliss a double drop kick, but Jax took out Bayley and Banks. Asuka gave Jax a spin kick to the head, but Bliss and James attacked Asuka from behind to lay her out and the heels left the faces on the mat. This led to a trios match immediately.
Bayley, Sasha Banks and Asuka defeated Nia Jax, Mickie James and Alexa Bliss via tapout (12:58)
Story of the match was Bayley and Banks finally turned on each other. Early on, Banks slapped Bayley hard when making a tag. Banks gave James and Bliss a double kick while they were standing on the floor, but Jax again lowered her shoulder and flattened Banks, who bounced off the floor like a rubber ball against a cinderblock. After Bliss suckerpunched Asuka, Banks reached over for the hot tag, but Bayley jumped off the apron and turned on Banks. James tried to pin Banks with a O'Connor roll, but Banks kicked out and made the hot tag to Asuka, who threw several buzzsaw kicks to James and knocked Jax off the apron with a keyster bump. Bliss ran in for the save, but Bayley gave Bliss a Bayley-to-belly to help Asuka. James went for a reverse neckbreaker, but Asuka caught her with the flying armbar for the tapout.
John Cena came out to address his plans for WrestleMania after losing in the Elimination Chamber. He got a mixed reaction, to be charitable. Cena looked despondent and admitted he failed last night, and in a moment of failure, he was immedaitely rushed into a room in front of a microphone, where he felt demoralzied. Cena said from the reaction in the arena tonight, you go through failure alone. Your character is put to the test when your back is against the wall, and for him that time was now. Cena said he spent five minutes feeling sorry for himself, then he began to move forward and he vowed that he would figure it out, which would be his road to WrestleMania. He thought that road would be the Royal Rumble, but he failed. He thought that road would be the Elimination Chamber, but he failed. There was a small "Cena sucks" chant that broke out and Cena stopped for about 30 seconds to gather himself. Cena said when you fail, the disappointment is on you. He said failure gives you two choices, you stay down or you get up. Cena said he's going to do something he should have done a long time ago, which is put out a WrestleMania challenge to the Undertaker. The place roared. Cena said there were 39 WrestleManias between the two of them but they have never stood face-to-face in any of them. Yet Cena said that match is...not happening. Cena said he doesn't make the matches and as obvious as it seems, he was told that match is not happening because that match is not possible. Crowd booed. Cena said everyone now understands the disappointment he felt like night. So tomorrow night, he will go to SmackDown as a free agent and try to find a way to earn his spot at WrestleMania.
Bray Wyatt came out. Rhyno and Heath Slater were in the ring, but Wyatt jumped both of them before the bell. Crowd chanted "delete." The bell never sounded as Wyatt gave Slater SIster Abigail and then to Rhyno. Wyatt cut a promo telling Matt Hardy that he led innocent men to slaughter. Wyatt said it wasn't over between he and Hardy. He said Hardy will face him again and he will make sure Hardy's Woken eyes stay shut forever. Wyatt said he was coming for Hardy and told him to run.
They replayed the Ronda Rousey angle from last night.
The Miz, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas came out. Miz couldn't understand why the road to WrestleMania was in Anaheim, which is 45 minutes from Los Angeles. He could be in L.A. pitching his next movie idea to Jennifer Lawrence, but instead he's in a town where you stand next to a guy in a Donald Duck outfit, if you're lucky. In 62 days, he will become the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. Not Shawn Michaels, not Bret Hart, not Reigns, not Chris Jericho, not Edge, him. MIz was upset that he wasn't in the main event at WrestleMania. He said his dream will live on because he has the Intercontinental Championship. He said Kurt Angle doesn't understand how to treat he superstars. Miz said Angle told him earlier that his opponent for tonight may determine who he faces at WrestleMania. Miz was out of his mind upset. He said regardless of who comes out, he will kick his butt. Seth Rollins walked out.
Seth Rollins defeated Intercontinental Champion The Miz (with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) in a nontitle match (13:12)
Rollins hit the sling blade on Miz, then followed with the Blockbuster. Miz pulled Rollins into the ropes and landed the Pimp Juice DDT. Miz hit a series of flying dropkicks and a clothesline in the corner. Rollins came back with the superplex/Falcoln Arrow combination for a good near fall. That's become the latest spot where the fans think it's the finish even though it never is the finish. Rollins was tripped by Axel and Miz attempted the Skull Crushing Finale, but Rollins turned it into a cradle for a near fall. Rollins gave Axel a tope, kicked Miz out of the ring and gave Miz, Dallas and Axel a tope. Rollins gave Miz the Rainmaker Knee, which is now called the Revolution Knee. Even though Miz was 3/4ers of the way across the ring, Rollins hit the Frog Splash for the pin.
Immediately after Rollins got the pin, Finn Balor came out. Rollins stayed in the ring but walked out shaking his head as Balor did his ring entrance.
After a commercial, Michael Cole announced that Miz would also be facing Balor, for some reason. So the first thing that happened was Axel jumped in the ring to attack Balor, and Dallas joined in. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came out for the save. Gallows, Anderson, Axel and Dallas brawled to the back. Then Angle popped up on the screen and said Miz would be facing Balor tonight and ordered the match to be restarted with Dallas, Axel, Gallows and Anderson barred from ringside. Miz said if Axel or Dallas interfered, then Miz wouldn't be going to WrestleMania.
Finn Balor defeated Intercontinental Champion The Miz in a nontitle match with Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows barred from ringside (11:13)
The original match lasted :24 before Angle restarted it. Miz, after having gone over 13 minutes with Rollins in a good match, was still the heel even though he was wrestling his second straight match against a babyface. This led to Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathan Coachman arguing endlessly to the point it took away from the match.. Balor hit a double stomp and the Final Cut for a two count. Miz attempted the Skull Crushing Finale but Balor turned it into a cradle. Then Miz hit his reverse DDT/neckbreaker combination. Balor fought back with the Woo Dropkick and the Coup de Grace. Graves screamed about potentially bringing out Outback Jack, Mantaur or Abe "Knuckleball' Schwartz coming out to face Miz, as well.
Rollins watched this match from backstage and did an interview with Renee Young saying he wanted Miz and the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. Rollins also ran down Balor for showing up after his victory because that wasn't the way to handle business
Reigns walked out to mainly boos. Keep in mind that Reigns and Lesnar were supposed to have a face-to-face confrontation tonight. Regins said the truth was a funny word. Looking like he had something on his mind, Reigns looked cautious, then said he was going to tell the truth, even though it may be unpopular with the folks in the back. This led to a "shoot angle." Reigns said the truth was Lesnar wasn't here. Reigns said Lesnar was an entitled piece of crap who hides behind his contract. Reigns said Lesnar wasn't at Elimination Chamber last night because he was running around the Las Vegas strip taking selfies with Dana White. Reigns said Lesnar just shows up whenever the money was right or when the city was right and he was sick of it. Reigns said he and the rest of the crew show up every night and they were all sick of it. Reigns said Paul Heyman will say that he and Lesnar are businessmen, but Reigns said he was brought up in this business and he's learned to respect the business. He said he doesn't respect Lesnar and he damn sure doesn't fear the bitch. Reigns said he's said enough and take his ass chewing like a man because, unlike some people, he actually respects this place.
Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Apollo and Titus O'Neil (with Dana Brooke) in a best-of-three falls match to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships (11:18)
Cole said that Angle ordered this rematch after Cesaro and Sheamus won last night. That led to Twitter barbs between the two sides during the day today where O'Neil reminded Sheamus that he and Apollo had beaten Sheamus and Cesaro in three nontitle matches over the past six weeks. Sheamus pinned O'Neil with a Brogue Kick in :10 to take the first fall. Cesaro acted like he was going to start, ran toward Cesaro, then rolled out of the ring, leading to Sheamus landing his finisher. Apollo hit the press slam followed by a standing moonsault on Cesaro. Apollo hit a dive on both Cesaro and Sheamus. O'Neil hit the Clash of the Titus where he nearly dropped Sheamus on his head. Sheamus kicked out. Apollo got a schoolboy cradle, an enzuigiri and a standing moonsault on Sheamus, but he kicked out. Apollo hit a pescado on Sheamus, then went to the top rope. Cesaro grabbed Apollo to crotch him, tagged in and pinned Apollo with the spiked White Noise to take the match in straight falls.
Charly Caruso did an interview with Cesaro and Sheamus. Cesaro told a joke that said two men walk in a bar. Sheamus added that two men can't walk in a bar and get up, just ask the Hardy Boyz or Dean Ambrose. Cesaro said "What about what we did to Jason Jordan?" Sheamus said "Who?" Part of the crowd began doing the New Day chant of "Who? Who? Who?" Sheamus said they were going to be punished at WrestleMania because there was no one left to face since they had defeated everyone.
They announced the winner of the Warrior Award to Jarrius "JJ" Robertson and told his touching story.
Elias was back for another performance. Elias said last night didn't go as he planned, but he's been down many roads in his life and his path to WrestleMania won't be derailed. Elias was not going to treat himself to a performance tonight, but then he heard Braun Strowman called his music noise pollution. Elias said Strowman criticized him because Strowman wants to be him, and he doesn't blame Strowman. Elias said every word uttered from Graves' face is noise pollution, every word uttered by the fans is noise pollution. But his music was a gift. Elias started to strum on the guitar and sang about how a monster will be slayed and he will make him more ugly than the people of Anaheim. He said Braun wants to be him, he knows that much is true, but he can't hold a candle to Elias, just like all of you. Strowman came out for the start of a match.
Braun Strowman defeated Elias by DQ (5:00)
Even though Strowman has received the best babyface reaction of anyone on the Raw roster so far this year, the fans seemed worn out and was quiet. Strowman threw Elias around the corners and into the barricade on the floor. Elias tried to run away under the ring. As Strowman pulled him back out, Elias pulled out a fire extinguisher and sprayed it in his face. Elias rammed the fire extinguisher into his midsection, but even that only stunned Strowman, who grabbed Elias by the throat and gave him an uppercut. Strowman chased Elias up the ramp and decked him from behind. Strowman tried to powerslam Elias through the commentator's table, but Elias escaped out the backdoor and ran backstage. Strowman tried to chase him down. Elias got away. As Strowman screamed at Elias, a limosuine pulled up.
Next week, Asuka faces Jax.
HHH and Stephanie McMahon came out. HHH didn't look happy after being thrown through a table by Rousey last night. Stephanie said last night was supposed to be one of the highlights of their executive careers, the signing of Rousey. But because of Angle, things went horribly wrong. Rousey claimed that Angle had double pnueumonia and said things that were wrong. It led Rousey to take actions that may have been in line in the world of Mixed Martial Arts but not here in the WWE. They replayed the angle from last night for the fourth time tonight. Stephanie said that Ronda acted out a savage instinct the way she was trained. She understood that, but she had to get physical with Stephanie to speak her language. Now that Ronda has signed her contract, Ronda speaks to her and the WWE now owns Ronda Rousey. So Stephanie wanted an apology from Angle.
She called for Angle to come out, but Ronda came out with fire in her eye. HHH and Stephanie got out of the ring but Angle stopped her. Angle said he just wanted to say one thing: that her coming to the WWE was the best decision she ever made. Ronda said she meant everything she said last night. She wants this more than anything, but she's never been slapped in her life. She refuses to be disrespected and she is no one's property. Angle said this is a different world that Ronda is used to and she has to learn how to work within the system.Angle said he needs this job and last night, he lied. He doesn't know why he lied but he misheard what Stephanie and HHH said about him. Those statements he said last night weren't true. Angle said he was sorry. Stephanie thanked Kurt and said they weren't horrible people. Stephanie wanted to put this all behind them and make her the superstar she deserves to be. Stephanie started to leave.
Ronda said they haven't addressed Stephanie's slap. Ronda said if they want to put everything behind us, Stephanie needs to apologize to her. And if Stephanie doesn't, she won't hesistate to rip Stephanie's arm out of his socket. Crowd chanted "rip it off." Stephanie got in Ronda's face and said she was terribly sorry, she put her husband through a table and she was sorry. Stephanie again started to leave but HHH gave Angle a cheap shot to flatten him. It may have been the worst looking punch of HHH's career. HHH and Stephanie left.