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WWE Raw preview (Dec. 30, 2019): Everybody wins

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WWE’s keeping it close to home for the last show of 2019. Raw comes our way from Hartford, Connecticut.

The Headliner(s)

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a few rumors about Executive Director’s Paul Heyman’s booking strategies for the red brand. We’ll see a piece of one of those in play tonight. Whether it achieves its alleged objectivity may depend on if/how another is utilized in the coming weeks.

The former is the notion that a feud can end with both wrestlers in a better place than when it started. The latter is that squashes can and should be a frequently used tool.

Two guys Heyman wants to get over, Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy, will face each other tonight. It’s a rematch of a TLC match won by Black. The same guy should probably win tonight. But that doesn’t mean Murphy will be “buried”, or that he should be shuffled back to 205 Live.

Black/Murphy II was set-up last Monday with exactly the same kind of booking which should be used to keep Buddy viable as a mid-card threat after he loses... squashes. Whenever this program ends and Aleister moves up to the next level, the Aussie should show right back up to impressively beat a local talent-type or two. That, combined with the kind of moxie Murphy has a surplus of, will be more than enough to remind fans he’s a special talent we want more of - regardless of whether or not he lost to Black in December 2019.

The same holds true for new United States champion Andrade and his program with Humberto Carrillo. Carrillo hasn’t been seen since El Idolo DDT-ed him into the concrete. He should come back eager for revenge (maybe by crashing a title celebration?), then lose a hard fought title match. After that, have him spend a few weeks looking great kicking lower card ass in exciting fashion.

Voila! Feuds that get the winner and the loser over.

If nothing else, it’s worth a try. The one thing the past decade or so of 50/50 booking has proven is how feuds can get neither guy or gal over. Time for a change.

The title scene

Guess who’s not advertised for tonight? (Hint: It’s WWE titleholder Brock Lesnar)

The past several weeks, an act which has been getting the old 50/50 treatment is Raw Tag champs The Viking Raiders. Their latest set of matches with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson of The O.C. have ended via old tricks like countouts and losses in six-man tags.

Last year’s Royal Rumble Asuka vs. Becky Lynch match was a case of the loser ending up better off than the winner. That’s one of many reasons the rematch we’re getting at the 2020 Rumble for The Man’s Raw Women’s championship is so interesting. Another is the wins Asuka and her Women’s Tag champ partner in The Kabuki Warriors, Kairi Sane, have racked over over Lynch & Charlotte Flair.

Guess who’s 24/7 champion? (Hint: Even if someone else won it after I write this, but the time it publishes, it’ll be R-Truth again)

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Samoa Joe is gonna kill Seth Rollins & AOP. He’ll probably get help from Kevin Owens & Rey Mysterio.

- Who doesn’t love a wrestling wedding? I know I do, but it’s possible Lana & Bobby Lashley’s will be the exception. Please get a fun officiant, and have Rusev crash as creatively as possible.

- Liv Morgan is getting a makeover, and no matter what it ends up being, it already has people talking.

- There’s something in Erick Rowan’s cage, and we’re already bracing ourselves for disappointment.

Four weeks until Royal Rumble!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?