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WWE Raw preview (January 19, 2015): OMG you all WTF? thought you were dead LOL

What you need to know

Thursday, doesn't matter as long as our boy D-Bry is back.  And it doesn't matter who's back - Smackdown means tag match, player.

Daniel Bryan seemed as excited as his fans that he would have his first match in nine months, even if it was against that kayfabe put him on the shelf.  While his former Team Hell No partner's been away, Kane has bought all the way in to The Authority, so he brought the whole crew out for his show opening match with the Beard.  The man who never lost the WWE title looked great, but couldn't overcome the dreaded numbers game and had to settle for a disqualification victory when J & J Security got involved.

Heel heavies Big Show and Seth Rollins looked to get in on the Bryan beatdown, but Mr. Money in the Bank's former faction mates came to Daniel's aid.  That's when the ghost of Teddy Long* possessed Triple H and forced him to book a six-man main event even though it saddled his boy Seth with two middle-aged guys against three of babyface Superstars in their prime.

The Rumble match got a little more crowded, since the aformentioned middle agers declared themselves in for the battle royal to determine who faces the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 31.  Kane and Show made claims of winning, as did previous entrants Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.  The latter three's claims aren't nearly as funny as the former's though, since we have countless examples of the Corporate Monster and the World's Largest Athlete doing anything but winning the annual January affair.

An ongoing beef exists between Miz, Mizdow & Alicia Fox and The Usos & Naomi, although I'm not entirely sure I can tell you what it's about any more.  Well, one thing it continues to be about is the Tag Team Championship, as we learned that Jimmy & Jey would defend against their rivals from Hollywood one more time at the next pay-per-view (PPV).  They had a six-person intergender tag between these teams on Thursday, and The Awesome One's team won, because champs don't win unless it's on Sunday.

For more evidence of that, I point you to Nikki Bella's loss to Natalya.  Pretty sure Nikki still has the Diva's belt, right?  I'm pretty sure that's true - much more confident of that than am I that I have any idea why Brie & Nikki are besties again.  You'd think "I wish you'd died in the womb" would require at least an apology, and probably some family counseling, to get past.

Of course, the Intercontinental champ had Bad News for my snarky comments about mid-card champs losing on television, since Barrett avenged his non-title loss to Sin Cara from a week ago.

The Future gets closer with each passing show.  Seth Rollins proved himself capable of going word-for-word with Paul Heyman for a second time last week, as the two both threatened one another and teased a future alliance.  That alliance didn't do Seth any good on Smackdown, though.  His former brothers were able to put their Rumble aspirations aside for the night to earn a victory.  But a pin for Bryan on Kane wasn't enough to end their issues, since a vindicative Haitch announced they'd have to face off again this Thursday - with the Goat-Face Killah's spot in the Rumble on the line.

* To my knowledge, Theodore Long is alive and well.

What to look out for

It's old home week in Big D!  Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Billy Gunn, Ric Flair, Ron Simmons, Jimmy Hart, X-Pac, Shawn Michaels and the re-animated corpse of Sharon Ventura** hit the American Airlines Center to help get us all ready for Royal Rumble on Sunday!

One thing that Seth Rollins wasn't in his convo with the champ's advocate was apologetic for curb stomping the Beast Incarnate at last week's contract signing for their upcoming WWE WHC Triple Threat match with John Cena.   With Lesnar scheduled to appear tonight, that might be an issue he wants to press.  Cena may want to make his presence felt as well; he can't be used to being the forgotten man in a main event program.

The focus of The Authority's ire has shifted away from Cena following Steph & The Game's firing of his three Survivor Series allies.  The target of actions has largely become, once again, Daniel Bryan.  Will the power coupld do anything else to mess with The Beard before next Thursday's clash with Kane?  They'd also set out to make sure Ambrose knew not to mess with them last Monday, and he weasled his way out of that.  Will they come after him and his buddy Reigns again, or just let their occasional weapon, U.S. champ Rusev deal with The Lunatic Fringe will Big Show takes on the Big Dog?

There are plenty of open spots left for the Rumble match, and a wide open card with only three matches booked as of this writing.  Lots to do, while still amping up the nostalgia with a boatload of stars from the past to get screen time will be interesting to see how they pull it off.

**Sharon Ventura is a fictional character, and for that reason will most likely not be appearing on Raw tonight.  She is also, to my knowledge, alive and well in current Marvel Comics' continuity, so even if she were to show up, it would probably be as a not undead super-villain, rock monster or UWF-contacted wrestler.

What they should do

Several weeks back, we made a plea here for Creative to use their guest stars to advance plot lines featuring active wrestlers.  While the execution wasn't flawless, the Previews department tips its cap to WWE for doing just that with Edge& Christian.

It's time to do it again with the Legends attending Raw Reunion.  We can't claim this idea as wholly original, but can't accurately assign credit, either, because many Cagesiders brought it up in posts announcing Hall of Famers and others who are scheduled for appearances tonight.  But with the Kliq and nWo all backstage tonight, maybe we could let them play the heels they were known as instead of the returning babyface heroes they usually play for one-shot deals?

The backstage faction of Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Triple H would make particularly good 'Reality' Era villains-of-the-week.  A few shots of that quintet either influencing the matchmaking or outright booking matches that favor Authority-aligned acts would be a nice wink to the so-called smart set.  But it could also set up a final segment that would blow the roof off the AA Center, break the internet and make the next few PPVs more must-watch than they already are.

Picture, if you will, Bryan, Ambrose and Reigns, after a night of being screwed over and dicked around by The Authority, facing one last impossible task.  It can be as cliche as a 3 against all handicap match, whatever.  The important thing is, when it looks like Nash, Hall and Hunter are going to lower the boom on them, someone we haven't seen since the November PPV shows up with his baseball bat to even the odds - and set up his 'Mania program with The Game.

I'm not even that big of a Sting mark, and I would mark the f#$% out for that.

What we're afraid they will do

Or, they could give Bryan or Ambrose a shot at becoming the 30th entrant in to the Rumble, and just when it seems like they're going to win it, have Nash*** come out and jacknife powerbomb them, only to ride off into the sunset and never actually have a match against the man he screwed over.

***Despite what Shalene Brooks might think, Big Sexy is in great health, unlike CM Punk's rise to the becoming the true biggest star in WWE, which remains dead from the point that Diesel was written into in 2011.

Forget all that - are they gonna hire back Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback?

Maybe none of that will happen, and we'll get three hours of nonsense followed by angles booked via the internet all week?  At least if you're in our live blog while it happens, you're guaranteed to have a few laughes!  And, hey, you'll already be online for when starts announcing the card!

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