WWE Raw Recap: January 22, 2018
Aired on January 22, 2018

On a night when Raw celebrated its 25th anniversary in two separate locations across New York City – The Barclays Center and The Manhattan Center – Raw and SmackDown LIVE Commissioners Stephanie and Shane McMahon put aside their rivalry to commemorate the occasion and offer their congratulations to Mr. McMahon himself. And so, in his own special way, did “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

The night seemed to be going well for the McMahon family at first, as Stephanie and Shane introduced their father and presented him with a plaque to commemorate the achievement. The Chairman saw this tribute as insufficient at best, and he went from “smelling the roses” to turning on his children and the assembled WWE Universe. An infuriated McMahon proclaimed he had singlehandedly transformed Raw into an institution and had no one to share the credit with, at which point the glass shattered and his face went white.

Proving that wherever Mr. McMahon goes, “Stone Cold” is never far behind, the former WWE Champion marched down the ramp of the Barclays Center with some old-school mudhole stompin’ on his mind, and while Mr. McMahon proclaimed himself too “brittle” to square off with Austin, he happily offered up an “in his prime” Shane to a Stunner instead.

With his son decimated by The Rattlesnake, Mr. McMahon quickly moved to neutralize the situation by offering Austin a couple of Stevewisers and even managed to secure an embrace with his old enemy, but Austin Stunned him as well. Shane staggered back to his feet and seemed willing to share a toast with “Stone Cold,” but Austin dropped him with yet another Stunner. Here’s to 25 more.

For the first time since Roman Reigns sent him into the great beyond at WrestleMania, The Undertaker returned at Raw 25, resurfacing in the site of his Team Red debut in the "sacred ground" of The Manhattan Center to speak on his enduring legacy. Despite the events of The Showcase of the Immortals, The Deadman was resolute in proclaiming his dominance, declaring that all his old foes had “answered to the reaper,” from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to Mick Foley to Kane. But now, with all his enemies laid in the earth behind him, he declared that it was truly time to rest in peace.

For a long time now, The Miz has delivered on his promises where the Intercontinental Championship is concerned. Raw 25 proved to be no different, as The A-Lister defeated Roman Reigns to begin an eighth reign with what is fast becoming his signature championship just hours after declaring for the Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

At first, however, it was all Reigns, who bounced Miz around the ring with impunity in a match he was dedicating to his cousin, Yokozuna. The Miztourage once again paid dividends for The Miz, giving The Awesome One the opening to turn the tide by throwing Reigns into the steel steps, aggravating The Big Dog's shoulder in the process.

Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel proved persistent enough in their interference to get themselves thrown out by the referee, though not before they clambered onto the apron one last time, opening the door for Miz to hit a distracted Reigns with a Skull-Crushing Finale. Reigns kicked out, but when he whiffed on a Spear and went face-first into a turnbuckle that Miz had discreetly unbuckled earlier in the match, a second Skull-Crushing Finale was enough to put him down for the 1-2-3.

So Miz is champion again, and that several former Raw General Managers — John Laurinaitis, Eric Bischoff and William Regal — were in the building to witness Miz’s triumph was a treat. That Miz’s nemesis, current SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan, was among them, was the cherry on top.

Raw General Manager Kurt Angle had been fielding appearances from Superstars and Legends of all stripes throughout Raw 25, but after presiding over some benign shenanigans, The Olympic Hero had to deal with earth-shaking intensity when Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman and Kane met in the ring in the show’s final moments — and six days out from their Triple Threat Title Match at Royal Rumble.

With Superstars and Legends surrounding the ring, ostensibly to provide security, Strowman and Kane were refrained from throwing down, but as Paul Heyman announced, Lesnar had arrived on Raw 25 for the express purposes of a fight. As such, the assembled Superstars made themselves scarce as the three behemoths brawled. The Beast quickly clotheslined Strowman on the ramp and dispatched Kane with a thunderous F-5, but The Monster Among Men answered by planting Brock through the commentary table with a Running Powerslam. That was enough for Raw 25, but as everyone who knows Braun Strowman is aware, he’s not finished with either of them yet.

In other action … Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James def. Nia Jax, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville & Alicia Fox … Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan appeared on The Peep Show … Bray Wyatt def. "Woken" Matt Hardy … John Cena confronted Elias … Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Titus Worldwide ended in a No Contest … and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. The Revival.

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