The road to Houston heads through Lexington, Kentucky.
They’ve fought before, but not since Rusev ruined Bobby Lashley’s wedding. Because that happened, and because Lana’s ex-husband mocked her & her new hubby with a slide show of the ceremony going off the rails, Rusev & Bobby Lashley will fight again tonight.
There will be a big difference this time. While it’s not official, it definitely looks like Liv Morgan will be in the Bulgarian Brute’s corner for this one encounter. Since beating Rusev to the wedding crashing punch on Dec. 30, Liv’s been backing up her claim of a past relationship with Lana on social media. She’s also had brief appearances on Raw and The Bump teasing involvement in tonight’s match.
We’ve broken down the issues with Morgan’s re-emergence as the Ravishing Russian’s jilted lover. But as acknowledged in that piece, we know very little about Liv’s new character. The story obviously is far from over. The latest Rusev/Lashley match is a great opportunity for WWE to address or even dismiss the concerns of fans who are hoping for something more than “crazy lipstick lesbian” from their latest attempt at an LGBTQ+ angle.
One oft-discussed option would be to have Liv reveal she was lying about her history with Lana in order to aid Rusev and/or humble her former friend. Even if we’re headed there, it’s probably smart for WWE to not show all their cards just yet. This story gets people’s attention, and teasing those kind of answers will help ensure it continues to.
Regardless of whether or not she says anything, the more important development would be to show us that Morgan is a badass. Give us an extremely confident, more than capable wrestler who shows up to terrorize Lana.
Is she gay? Does she have a pathological obsession with her former friend/romantic partner? We don’t know! But whether either of those statements are true, she should be an example that neither prohibit her from being very good at being a pro wrestler. Which, whether you love or hate the over-the-top melodrama represented by this story, is what all pro wrestling stories eventually involve.
This is also how Liv can eventually transition out of this storyline and into more conventional competition-based ones. Lana hires some women to deal with Morgan. Liv beats them, further displaying her competence. She, and maybe whoever WWE settles on as Lana’s big bad final heater, end up coming out of this program remembered for something other than teasing what Eric Bischoff called “HLA”.
We’ll probably just get a cat fight and a kiss. But I can dream.
The title scene
For the second week in a row, WWE champion Brock Lesnar will be on hand. We’ll be looking for hints of who might eliminate him from the Rumble when he enters at #1, because that’s probably how his WrestleMania feud will start.
Even though he beat him last Monday, the issues between Rey Mysterio & United States champ Andrade certainly aren’t over. Not after Rey had to reclaim his mask via a backstage attack after the champ & Zelina Vega ripped it off his head in the arena.
Becky Lynch made several strong statements about her upcoming Raw Women’s championship match with Asuka last week. We’ll be looking for the Empress to respond. She should have time, since it still seems her Women’s Tag titleholding partner in Kabuki Warriors, Kairi Sane, is still being held out of action due to injuries sustained at TLC.
Nobody’s managed to do much damage to Raw Tag champs The Viking Raiders, at least not when it counts. They retained their belts against a ring full of their top rivals on the red brand last Monday. What now?
R-Truth has pretty much cleared out the 24/7 title scene at this point, but there’s always a ring announcer or local celebrity lurking just around the corner.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Of course, you’ve heard we’re getting a FIST FIGHT. Big Show returned to join Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens’ fight against Seth Rollins & AOP, and since Show’s been known to hit some folks with a closed hand... FIGHT FIGHT.
- Their feud looks pretty one-sided in the record books, but the matches have kicked ass, so we’re not complaining about Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy III. The Aussie tries to avoid being 0 - 3 against the Dutchman tonight.
- Randy Orton & AJ Styles will continue their RKO-centric feud, and we’re curious if Charlotte Flair’s tussle with Sarah Logan was a one-off or the start of something more.
- He’s been playing face lately, so we’ll be looking for signs Drew McIntyre is officially switching alignments.
- Something terrifying is in Erick Rowan’s cage.
Two weeks until Royal Rumble!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?