Night three in Philly!
A lot of big, important stuff happened for Raw and SmackDown at Royal Rumble last night (Jan. 28), but the story dominating headlines, and generating the most questions heading into the first of two Fallout shows happened after even the immediate aftermath of the main event.
That the main event was the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match was noteworthy in its own right. And since we didn’t get an answer from Rumble winner Asuka about which brand’s champion she wants to face at WrestleMania 34, that question is still out there, too.
But with Ronda Rousey crashing the scene and declaring her intentions to be at Mania in April, Women's titleholder Alexa Bliss had a lot to consider. And that was before conflicting reports starting coming out about what WWE might have Rousey do in New Orleans at their biggest event of the year.
Adding to the intrigue was a tense handshake with Raw commisioner Stephanie McMahon. Depending on which rumor you buy, that could have just been a real moment with the heir to the company welcoming someone WWE hopes will be a mega-star. Or it could be building off their quick fight at WM 31 a few years back to start a longer match between The Rock and Rowdy Connection and The Authority.
There’s no good kayfabe explanation for it if Ronda is headed to the blue brand to face Charlotte Flair, but it wouldn’t be the first time one scene didn’t fit in the bigger picture. And it’s likely just a sign they’re covering their bases while they try to finalize ‘Mania plans.
There are plenty of other questions for the division besides Rousey, too. Will Nia Jax feel more entitled to a shot at her friends belt after hoss-ing up the Rumble last night? Is Sasha Banks a heel after eliminating a friend and a fan favorite during her Iron Woman run? Can anyone ever beat The Empress of Tomorrow?
The Women’s Evolution has taken the ladies to the main event. “Rowdy” might keep them there... and get them more than one match per brand at The Showcase of The Immortals.
The title scene
After pinning Kane in a Triple Threat match, Universal champion Brock Lesnar is probably ready to move on ‘Mania himself. But Braun Strowman made it pretty clear he’s not finished with Brock yet. Lesnar’s actually not advertised for tonight, so look for The Monster Among Men to take out his frustrations somewhere - or on someone - else.
Reports have long indicated that The Beast Incarnate has a date with Roman Reigns at the SuperDome on April 8. That’s also a show The Miz would like to carry his recently reclaimed Intercontinental title into. But will The Big Dog want a rematch first?
The Bar are four time tag champs, and Seth Rollins has to be wondering if he’s a jinx, or if he just got stuck with the wrong partner. Rollins and Jason Jordan dropped the belts to Cesaro and Sheamus on Sunday because JJ was hurt. Was that storyline, or legit? Or both? WWE.com’s official preview for tonight is telling us to keep our eye on how The Architect reacts to his latest title reign ending.
There is no Cruiserweight champion, and there won’t be one for a while... at least until 205 Live appoints their new General Manager on Tuesday. Expect more six-man tags in the interim.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Should we plan on seeing any of the Legends who returned last week on Raw 25 or last night for the two Rumble matches back on our screens? Initial word is no, at least on the biggest name, Rey Mysterio. But since we’re still in the City of Brotherly Love, don’t be shocked to see a few folks stick around for one or two more nights.
- Say, possibly Undertaker? The Dead Man was in Philly with wife Michelle McCool, and John Cena will be here. The Free Agent probably isn’t done walking with Elias just yet, but the opportunity to tease a ‘Mania match might be too tempting to pass up.
- It wasn’t the greatest night for Bálor Club, with The Revival getting their win back from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson on the Kickoff, and Finn lasting a long time in the Rumble, but not earning a win. Are they getting a push, or just spinning their wheels?
- Not sure if Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt are destined to #FightForever, but their rumble in The Rumble definitely proved The Eater of Worlds win in Manhattan Center wasn’t the end of their issues.
It’s the Royal Rumble Fallout show!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?