Team Red delivers the first show of the year from Oklahoma City.
Madison Square Garden is WWE’s home court. Vince McMahon Sr.’s fed wasn’t referred to in the old days as the New York territory for nothing. There’s rumors the company will have more meaningful things happen on their house shows in 2020 as a way to drum up attendance at non-televised live events.
Both factors probably played a part in the decision to have Andrade win the United States championship at WWE’s annual after-Christmas show at The Garden. Another might be the frequent rumors that Vince Jr. and/or Paul Heyman love Andrade as much as Charlotte Flair does.
Is the long-promised Andrade push finally here?
If the company only gave the third generation wrestler his first title since leaving NXT because they were in the World’s Most Famous Arena, or because they want to sell tickets to more shows in less famous arenas elsewhere, then they can have him drop it back to Rey Mysterio tonight. Humberto Carrillo hasn’t been seen since El Ídolo DDT-ed him onto some concrete a few weeks back, and should be looking for revenge. Costing him the belt he just won would be good payback, and reignite their feud.
It would also be a sign the elusive Andrade push is not yet upon us. At least not in a way that’s satisfying for fans who want to see him in the main event scene some day.
But, if he wins - an especially if he wins clean? He’s moving up card. He’ll still need to deal with an angry Carrillo, hopefully in a way that leaves them both better positioned for the future.
And if Rey loses his rematch, maybe he can resume his story with...
The title scene
WWE titleholder Brock Lesnar, who’s back tonight to start setting up his next match. The Beast beat Mysterio at Survivor Series, and there’s nothing really lined up for him at Royal Rumble. He dealt definitively with Rey & Rey’s son Dominick at the November PPV. But it was a fun match and feud, and WWE could do worse than running it back.
The O.C.’s gotten the better of Raw Tag champs The Viking Raiders a few times of late. Street Profits seem to have Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows number. So it’s Triple Threat time tonight. Lots of potential here, for everything but hopes that WWE will ever feature the tag division in any differently than they have for the last 20 years.
Becky Lynch is selling the hell out of her upcoming Raw Women’s championship defense against Asuka at Royal Rumble. Tapping to The Empress at last year’s Rumble is the one blemish on The Man’s resume. Their war has mostly been “of words” the past few weeks. We’ll see if that changes tonight.
As for the belt Asuka currently carries, it’s probably on the shelf for the duration of her feud with Bex... which works out just fine since here fellow Women’s Tag Team champion Kairi Sane is still healing up from injuries sustained at TLC.
The 24/7 title champion will never go on the shelf. Well, at least not until R-Truth retires. And that won’t happen until he gets to wrestle his childhood hero John Cena at WrestleMania, so I think we’re safe.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Raw had the first entrant in this year’s women’s Rumble match when Charlotte declared last week. They’re gonna need a few more than that, though. Some men to join SmackDown’s Roman Reigns in the other battle royal for a WrestleMania title shot would be good, too.
- Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe have formed an alliance against Seth Rollins & AOP. It’s worked out well so far, and they’re both faces now, but... I’d counsel both guys to not turn their back on their new partner.
- Last week, Randy Orton hit AJ Styles with an elaborate RKO out of nowhere, and Aleister Black made his series with Buddy Murphy 2 - 0 in his favor. We’ll see if either of these feuds are really done tonight.
- Drew McIntyre’s beating people up, and Erick Rowan is beating people up while carrying a small friend around in a cage.
- Oh yeah. Liv Morgan maybe used to be in love with Lana, who is now kayfabe married to Bobby Lashley? It was hard to tell with all the objections and stuff like Lana’s ex Rusev jumping out of a cake to punch Bobby. Whatever they do tonight will be one of the most watched YouTube clips from the show.
Three weeks until Royal Rumble!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?