WWE packed up after the Rumble and hit I-10 West for Raw in San Antonio.
We’ve been hearing for weeks how the WrestleMania card was more undecided than usual heading into Royal Rumble this year. I assume, hope, and believe the booking decisions made at last night’s PPV moved us closer to revealing the big matches in Tampa. But they haven’t tipped their hand yet - at least not on the Raw side, which is what we’re focused on here as we try to put together a preview for a show with only announced segment as of our deadline.
Let’s look at where we stand.
The title scene
One place where the direction seems clear - Drew McIntyre ended WWE champion Brock Lesnar’s historic Rumble start and went on to win a ‘Mania title shot of his choosing. As a fighting babyface who spent several minutes eye-locked with The Beast after eliminating him, it would be pretty shocking if Drew doesn’t announce he’s coming for Lesnar. In fact, don’t be surprised if Brock (who is advertised for AT&T Center) & Paul Heyman force the issue.
It’s easy to roll your eyes and assume what’s next for Raw Women’s champ Becky Lynch after she collected her debt from Asuka. I made the joke myself last night in the Cageside offices...
... but I’m not so sure. SmackDown needs help in their women’s division, especially with Sasha Banks’ status up in the air. Flair’s got more recent beef with Bayley than she does with Bex. WWE might do well to keep their two biggest female stars away from each other, and make two matches seem like a bigger deal in the process. Perhaps Shayna Baszler shows back up tonight to follow-up on Survivor Series and challenge The Man? Or maybe Ronda Rousey trolling us about not being there on Sunday was a way to distract us from her showing up on Monday?
And I have no idea where any of this leaves Women’s Tag Team champions Kabuki Warriors. They’ve pretty much cleared out the division, such as it is.
But then, just last week we were talking about how Viking Raiders had cleared out the red brand’s tag scene, and this week we have new Raw Tag Team titleholders in Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy. Along with AOP, these guys continued their feud with Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe & Aleister Black in the Rumble match. Erik & Ivar were absent last night, but have been involved in that program. Any or all of them could make up a ‘Mania challenge for the Messiah & his new right-hand man.
Andrade defended the United States championship from a challenge by Humberto Carrillo with relatively little help from Zelina Vega last night, so the youngster’s probably done with El Idolo for now. There’s plenty of options here, as Andrade is pretty much incapable of having a bad match.
And look, Mojo Rawley couldn’t even get the 24/7 title used for a comedy spot or run-in during either Rumble match. He’s not getting it on The Granddaddy of Them All. Well, maybe in the Andre. He is a former winner.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Will Edge end up on Raw, at least for his ‘Mania program? He certainly could feud with his old Rated RKO partner after their opportunistic interactions in the Rumble ended with Edge dumping Randy Orton. But he could also continue his spear-off with Roman Reigns on Friday nights.
- Another prospective Edge opponent ended up injured. AJ Styles being out could be another reason to give Orton a new dance partner, too.
- Bobby Lashley & Rusev were supposed to be in the Rumble, but couldn’t wait to kick each other’s asses. That’s a sign their feud will continue, even if they’re banned from ringside for tonight’s Liv Morgan vs. Lana match (the only announced segment for Raw, as of this writing).
It’s the Royal Rumble fallout show!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?