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WWE Raw preview (Jan. 14, 2019): Old tricks

WWE is in Memphis, so get ready for some rasslin’ on the Jan. 14 Raw.

The Headliner(s)

The road to WrestleMania took an unexpected turn last Monday when Sasha Banks emerged from months of tag matches to re-enter the Raw Women’s title picture. Her win over Nia Jax earned her a Royal Rumble showdown with Ronda Rousey, and while it probably doesn’t change the destination (Rowdy vs. one or two SmackDown Superstars at the Showcase of the Immortals), the journey should be more interesting.

The logical next stop then? A team of rivals tag match against Jax & Tamina.

Congrats, ladies! You are being booked exactly like the guys.

That’s not even necessarily a knock. This could lead to a good story. The fire we saw from Sasha in the segments setting all of this up last week was a positive indicator. WWE’s given no signs they want to definitively turn either wrestler, so an alliance against a real heel team both Banks & Rousey have had issues with is a reliable device to continue the build toward a bout built on the competitors’ respect for one another.

But it’s not new, from an era where we were promised newness. An aside... what’s up with those women’s tag titles, anyway? I’m all for waiting for a time when the long-awaited belts and whoever is competing for them can receive some shine, but if that’s what you were going to do, why rush the underwhelming Christmas reveal?

Anyway... another way to get jaded fans to roll their eyes at what’s otherwise something they’ve been asking for? Have it to continue to involve Nia.

If you’re new to stuff I write about wrestling, I don’t really comment on who’s at fault for things that happen in the ring. Even when it seems fairly obvious - I’ve never done it, so I leave it to those who have to discuss it. So I’m not gonna debate this spot from last week. But what I will comment on?

That while the women’s roster isn’t super-deep, WWE’s continued reliance on a performer who’s only been momentarily over as the result of controversial worked shoot storylines despite being consistently booked at the top of the division whenever she feels like being on television is frustrating and lazy. And while it might not hurt the Banks/Rousey program, it won’t help it.

Welcome to the new era.

The title scene

He was on last week and is advertised for next Monday, so Universal champion Brock Lesnar won’t be in Tennessee. His challenger at the Jan. 27 pay-per-view (PPV) supposedly isn’t cleared yet, and the official preview for tonight makes it sound like we’ll probably get some training vignettes from Braun Strowman’s post-elbow surgery rehab. Whatever they do to build to the latest battle between these behemoths, it has to be better than their split screen staredown.

Seth Rollins started last episode brawling with Bobby Lashley, and ended it losing his Falls Count Anywhere Intercontinental title match against Dean Ambrose on the receiving end of a mauling by Lashley. That’s set up a Triple Threat between all three men. Don’t know what’s next the champ or the All Mighty, but the sooner Rollins gets free of this scene, the better.

The Revival are heels, but they keep getting screwed by officials in their pursuit of the tag Team championship. Which isn’t the fault of the guy’s they’re chasing (Chad Gable & Bobby Roode), but it’s a weird look. The conspiracy angle continues tonight.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- John Cena was the big name added to the men’s Rumble match last week. Will anyone else that noteworthy join him tonight... or will the remaining “oh, wow” named be kept to night of surprises? Or have they signed with AEW?

- We didn’t get any big names added to the women’s side last Monday. There are more open spots there, too. including an extra is The Boss doesn’t pull double-duty.

- Maybe Lacey Evans or Nikki Cross will join Team Red and enter the Rumble at the same time? Like the women’s tag titles, these NXT call-ups have to show up at some point, right?

Two weeks until Royal Rumble!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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