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WWE Raw preview (Dec. 19, 2016): Stocking stuffers

Guess it wasn’t the End of the Line after all, as the show must go on tonight in Columbus, Ohio!

The Headliner

Okay, there’s not much chance this is the main event or anything, but it’s the one thing we know about as of this writing that’s definitely on Raw... and that in and of itself may give you an idea of what to expect on the last Monday night before Christmas.

Big Cass’ match to kick off the pay-per-view (PPV) on Dec. 18 was supposed to be his chance to get revenge against Rusev and Lana for what they did to Enzo Amore in that hotel room a few weeks back. And we got a bit of physicality between the seven-footer and the Bulgarian Brute, but the countout win for Rusev guaranteed this story wasn’t over, even before WWE officially announced a rematch midway through Roadblock.

And don’t expect it to end, or even hit some kind of major story beat on this episode, either. WWE knows major chunks of their audience’s attention are elsewhere, and the show (and tomorrow’s SmackDown) will be written accordingly. The best thing we can hope for is some inspired-holiday themed caper running throughout the show (for which 2012’s “Who ran over Santa Claus?” show is the gold standard, IMHO).

Seeing as next week is the day after Christmas and a week before New Year’s, we could be in for a few of these filler stocking stuffer episodes. But Royal Rumble, and the Road to WrestleMania, is right around the corner!

The title scene

United States champion Roman Reigns defeated Universal titleholder Kevin Owens in last night’s main event, and the fallout from that will definitely dominate tonight’s Raw (with the “don’t expect anything major to happen” caveat). That’s because after weeks of depicting a falling out between best friends Owens and Chris Jericho, Y2J was responsible for KO keeping his belt thanks to a disqualification win when Jericho hit his buddy with a Codebreaker. Kev seemed surprised, but not displeased. And then there was the whole “mini Shield reunion” thing where Reigns and Seth Rollins destroyed JeriKO while significant portions of the crowd booed. There’s a lot to figure out here as we move toward a probable Owens/Rollins match, and WWE needs to start tonight.

For the first time in a long time we need a new #1 contender for the Women’s belt. That’s because Charlotte took it back from Sasha Banks by winning their Iron Man match 3 - 2 in sudden death on Sunday... and there’s no rematch this time. Expect some tension between the Queen and Bayley - the only other wrestler who’s recently been portrayed as a threat, and who’s already had issues with Charlotte as recently as Survivor Series.

We also have new tag team champions for the first time in a LONG time, and Big E is gonna need a new entrance spiel for the New Day. That’s because Cesaro & Sheamus have figured out how to set their issues aside (while in the ring, anyway) and dethroned E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods after a record-setting run with the straps.

And speaking of issues, the Cruiserweight champ’s got several. Rich Swann kept his title by winning a Triple Threat against Brian Kendrick & TJ Perkins, but his friendship with TJ’s been strained for weeks - and now he has a pissed off Neville on the scene.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- With a “victory” under his belt thanks to lasting ten minutes against Braun Strowman, the Sami Zayn & Mick Foley angle is actually one which might get some resolution still in 2016, with reports indicating the General Manager will need significant time off for surgery soon.

- Jack Gallagher is magic, and he and Ariya Daivari don’t like one another.

- Probably an appearance by a Santa (other than Mick) and an elf (other than Neville).

It’s the Roadblock fallout show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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