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WWE Raw preview (Jan. 1, 2018): Ring it in

New Year’s Day in Miami!

The Headliner(s)

His next defense is finally in sight, so Paul Heyman is bringing his client, Universal champion Brock Lesnar, to our screens for the second straight holiday edition of Raw. With a Triple Threat battle against Braun Strowman and Kane coming up at Royal Rumble, you’ve got to imagine we’ll at least get a hint of the violence we saw that last time The Beast Incarnate interacted with his rivals.

Which makes it seem a little strange that, for the second straight week, WWE’s official preview is focused on the top draw’s history at the venue instead of their current storyline. On Christmas it was about how John Cena debuted in Chicago against General Manager Kurt Angle. For the New Year, they’re talking about Lesnar’s 2012 return in Miami, where he F5-ed Cena.

With all the intrigue about what plans have for Big Match John at WrestleMania, maybe they’re trying to tell us something? Cena vs. Brock vs. Angle in New Orleans?

Nah. But the preview is also hinting at a trip to Suplex City for someone, so that should be fun. Curt Hawkins’ 2018 losing streak isn’t gonna start itself.

The title scene

It was added at the last minute, but it very well could be the most significant thing to watch for in American Airlines Arena tonight. We certainly can rule out the possibility of a title change after Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan won the tag team championship to close out Raw last Monday. Intercontinental champ Roman Reigns will defend his belt against Samoa Joe, but he won’t be able to defend it the way he did on Christmas. There, The Big Dog avenged his brother Dean Ambrose - injured (in story) by Joe - and was disqualified in the process. That allowed him to keep the strap, but the GM isn’t going to let it go that way again. So this time around, if Roman gets himself DQ-ed, Joe will be the new IC champ.

So, don’t look for Seth and JJ to get involved - even if former tag titleholders Sheamus and Cesaro decide to help their ally Joe. Although... Jordan and Rollins aren’t exactly on the same page, even with those new trophies around their waist.

It continues to look like Alexa Bliss will wait until after the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble to learn who her next challenger for the Women's title will be. She better hope its not Asuka. The undefeated Empress not only made it clear she’s headed to the Rumble match, she also let The Goddess know she’s not impressed with her many accomplishments. At least we’re pretty sure that’s what kicking Alexa in the face meant.

The women’s division wasn’t the only complicated championship situation Bliss found herself in the middle of last week, either. Cruiserweight champion Enzo Amore will finally face off against #1 contender Cedric Alexander this week, but is his mind focused on the task at hand - or his budding romance with Nia Jax? Alexa calling for a #TeamRude meeting was the only thing which kept Zo from finding out how Nia was doin’ on Christmas, but he’s got to put that aside if he wants to avoid a Lumbar Check and keep his strap on the first show of 2018.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- With live shows around the corner, WWE is dedicating more time to the cruisers than ever before. Amore’s co-conductor Drew Gulak seems on the verge of a full turn as he’s been feeling conflicted regarding how Zo treats him, and Hideo Itami’s devastating finishers remain a hot topic heading into the new year.

- Woken Matt Hardy almost delivered some wisdom to Bray Wyatt. Maybe he’ll connect with that Twist of Fate tonight, with a piano accompaniment.

- He’s still not beating anyone meaningful (fun, yes... meaningful, no) but at least Finn Bálor is winning again. Is he winning anyone OVER?

- After missing time last week for illness and injury scares, will Braun Strowman and Absolution’s Paige be available and in action tonight?

- There are a lot of open slots for Jan. 28’s two big matches!

Four weeks until Royal Rumble!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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