WWE Raw Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from February 19
With Elimination Chamber on February 25, the Superstars of Raw took to the squared circle Monday night for the final episode before the pay-per-view extravaganza, desperate to build momentum and establish themselves as favorites in their respective matches.
A few had spectacular nights, capturing the spotlight and ensuring the WWE Universe had their names on their lips after the USA Network presentation.
Others struggled, thanks primarily to questionable creative decisions.
On a night in which WWE presented a Gauntlet match that took up the majority of the three-hour runtime, these are the Superstars who made the greatest impression on the audience for better or worse.
Winner: Seth Rollins
For the first time since he defeated Triple H at WrestleMania 33 a year ago, Seth Rollins looked like a Superstar destined for big things Monday night, thanks to some stellar booking and one of the best performances by any worker in the 25-year history of Raw.
Competing for one hour, five minutes, Rollins defeated both Roman Reigns and John Cena in the first two parts of a Gauntlet match. He pinned WWE's resident golden boys, winning two falls that would have been right at home as pay-per-view singles bouts but instead were but parts of a whole.
Rollins showed superb conditioning and inspirational resiliency as he combatted the former world champions, knocking them off in succession before succumbing to a focused and tenacious Elias and a hampering knee injury.
The fans appreciated Rollins' performance, greeting the former WWE champion with a standing ovation as he exited. Even Finn Balor, on his way into the arena, applauded Rollins' efforts in a sign of respect.
The longest single-match performance by a WWE Superstar on the flagship since John Cena and Shawn Michaels tore the house down in London in April of 2007, Rollins repaid WWE officials' faith in him with one of the best showings of his career. In the process, he built some momentum for himself ahead of Sunday's Elimination Chamber main event.
Loser: Raw Women's Division
The third hour of Raw was dominated by women's wrestling, and while that may be a good thing in most cases, the content of that hour only served to create questions about the state of the brand's women's division.
Asuka cut a promo and Nia Jax interrupted, leaving her lying and garnering another strong reaction from the crowd. Unfortunately, the reasonably hot angle was overshadowed almost immediately by WWE throwing to a Ronda Rousey video package.
The main event of the show was yet another Six-Woman Tag Team match pitting Mickie James, Sasha Banks and Bayley against Absolution's Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose and Raw women's champion Alexa Bliss.
The only newsworthy thing to come out of the match, which was one-dimensional and felt like every other incarnation of the same match over the last two months, was the confirmation of Bliss and James' alliance ahead of Sunday's historic first women's Elimination Chamber match.
Monotonous and repetitive matches and a disturbing pattern of eclipsing Asuka's wins and angles with reminders of Ronda Rousey has bogged down a division that should be flying high after the first women's Royal Rumble and with another shot at history on the horizon.
Winner: Braun Strowman
If you did not know Braun Strowman is a babyface yet, WWE Creative sent the message loudly and clearly Monday night as he obliterated The Miz to win the Gauntlet match, then he cut the closest thing to a good-guy interview after the bout.
Vowing to unleash his fury and win Elimination Chamber, then head to WrestleMania and defeat Brock Lesnar, his cadence and delivery were completely different than what fans have come to expect from him. And on top of that, the audience ate it up.
The WWE Universe particularly loved when he returned to the ring and wreaked more havoc, demolishing Miz with two more powerslams in between laying waste to Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.
Booked like a total star and playing off the consistently increasing cheers for The Monster Among Men, Strowman felt like a Superstar on his way to a substantial main-event run that may or may not feature championship gold.
Either way, it is safe to say Strowman is on his way to becoming the most popular full-time babyface on the Raw roster.
Losers: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt
Is there a recent match more inconsequential than Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt?
The match, a mangled mess of incoherent promos and incomprehensible storytelling, is the least important bout on the Elimination Chamber card and a total detriment to Hardy's attempt to get his WOKEN character over with the masses.
Nothing about the entire ordeal matters. It is a match between two rambling characters for no rhyme or reason, at least not one that makes sense.
Especially after Wyatt pinned Hardy clean in the center of the ring, in short order, at Raw 25.
Now they lock horns Sunday at Elimination Chamber in an ice cold match that will do nothing to help benefit either of the competitors involved, making it a lose-lose situation between two of the most prominent losers from Monday's broadcast.