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WWE Raw preview (Dec. 26, 2016): Finish strong

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Chicago (or Rosemont... close enough) - the perfect place for surprise Christmas present from CM Punk, right?

The Headliner

While the Second City Saint probably isn’t returning, WWE is promising a gift for my boss and other fans of super-sized sports entertainers.

Last week’s episode turned into the Braun Strowman show when General Manager Mick Foley refused to hand over Sami Zayn to the “Monster Among Men”. Strowman promised to make Foley regret giving Sami the night off after Zayn lasted ten minutes against him at Roadblock. As the evening was coming to a close, it looked like this was destined to remain a midcard story and only spell doom for some local talent, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil and a Christmas tree.

The he returned for the main event. Before all was said and done, Seth Rollins and United States champion Roman Reigns had felt the Abominable Strowman’s wrath, signaling the former Wyatt Family member’s push to another level.

Now he’s atop’s preview for tonight. Will Foley (or an authority figure filling in for Mick, if the reports of him taking time off finally prove true) punish Braun for his actions? Will the Shield brothers seek revenge?

Either way, out ears will be listening for RAWR, BRAUN, or whatever his theme starts with... and it may be that way for a while if this push works out the way WWE hopes it will.

The title scene

Chris Jericho is still Universal champ Kevin Owens’ best friend, but their friendship will be put to the test when Jericho is locked in a cage and dangled from the roof of the Alamodome on Jan. 29. Claiming he’s afraid of heights didn’t sway Foley, who announced the stipulation to ensure Y2J doesn’t interfere in Roman’s rematch for Owens’ belt at Royal Rumble. Will JeriKO come up with a new scheme to ensure the belt stays on the Prizefighter, or might acrophobia finally be the thing which splits their team apart?

Women’s titleholder Charlotte Flair was pretty proud of herself coming out of Roadblock. She’d extended her pay-per-view (PPV) win streak while ending her feud with Sasha Banks. What the self-professed Iron Queen didn’t want to deal with was Bayley, a woman who already had two recent wins over the champ? Well, make that three, since the Hugster pulled out another victory after interrupting Charlotte’s victory speech.

Cesaro & Sheamus are tag team champions, but they’re still not completely on the same page. One thing they don’t agree on is whether to respect the record setting reign of New Day, the group they defeated to claim the belts. How will that effect their own run with the newly designed belts?

Ever since he returned at the last PPV, Neville’s been carving a path of destruction through the division - including Cruiserweight champ Rich Swann. Will Swann, or his buddy and former titleholder TJ Perkins, be able to stop the angry “king”?

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- It’s an angle which continues to trigger all kinds of reaction, and we’ve probably got even more hot takes and think pieces about Lana and the Certified Gs coming our way. But maybe we’re moving toward a more traditional feud, since WWE is promising Enzo Amore & Big Cass will retaliate against Rusev & Jinder Mahal for beating up Zo in sensitivity training last Monday.

- Coming off another PPV defeat to Charlotte, Sasha was already questioning herself. Then Nia Jax threw around like a ragdoll and dismissed the former champ. How will the Boss (if she’s still calling herself that) respond?

- Alicia Fox likes Cedric Alexander, and we think he likes her back. But Noam Dar definitely digs Foxy, and that’s got Alicia thinking. Yep, it’s a love triangle!

- Emmalina?

Five weeks until Royal Rumble!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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