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WWE Raw preview (Dec. 21, 2020): Evil queen

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Live from ThunderDome! Now in Tampa!

The Headliner

Did the Raw women’s division need Charlotte Flair? Will her return help or hinder the brand and its female wrestlers?

We’re about to find out.

As expected, Lana’s months-long storyline was sidelined for The Queen’s comeback. Flair returned as Asuka’s tag partner at TLC last night and picked up the one prize missing from her Grand Slam collection - the WWE Women’s Tag belts. She, rather than Lana, gets a measure of revenge against Nia Jax for a kayfabe injury. And now Charlotte fans and haters alike are waiting for her to turn her attention to her partner’s Raw Women’s championship.

Our header image seemed to be a subtle seed planted during their in-ring victory celebration at the PPV, when Flair cast her gaze at Asuka’s second strap while they were posing on the turnbuckles. Their post-match interview did just enough to explain why two wrestlers who were continuing their years long rivalry would suddenly align. The Empress looks pretty naive/gullible, but that’s a proud babyface tradition.

She shouldn’t be made to look blindly trusting for too long, though. And WWE needs to learn from past Charlotte pushes, and the success of finally turning Roman Reigns heel, and leave Asuka as the face in the feud we all know is coming.

Which doesn’t mean it needs to start tonight, or that it needs to start in an expected manner. It’s fine if they lose the titles (most fans online seem to be casting the Riott Squad as the team the royal rivals will put over as part of their split, but I wouldn’t be shocked if its Sexy Muscle Friends Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose), blame each other, and start that way. I’d also accept a preemptive strike from Asuka, pointing to Charlotte’s track record and their own history.

But after trying to cast her as a heroine during the rise of The Man, then again during her three shows run earlier this year... maybe we could try to let Charlotte actually be bad? Let her crave the spotlight so much she can’t stand to share it. Attack Asuka while they’re still champs, declaring she only wanted to check that last box on her resumé anyway and doesn’t even care if they keep the belts.

Flair will almost certainly win the Raw title again soon, so everyone will need to brace themselves for the #discourse which will follow. But it could be another short reign to set Asuka up for a rematch. A long feud with someone like the Queen is what the Empress’ reign has been missing since Bayley & Sasha Banks turned their attention on each other.

Maybe it will even end with Asuka getting her WrestleMania win back from Charlotte?

Buckle up.

The title scene

It would seem WWE champion Drew McIntyre’s cleared his dance card at TLC after beating not only scheduled challenger AJ Styles but also former Mr. Money in the Bank The Miz. But as convincing a win as it was, it didn’t end in pinfall or submission, so either heel could argue they deserve another shot. Or maybe the Sheamus feud we’ve been expecting is finally about to start?

After last night, The Hurt Business look like NXT’s Undisputed ERA did around this time last year - draped in gold. They aren’t always on the same page, but that didn’t stop Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin from beating New Day to add the Raw Tag Team titles to Bobby Lashley’s United States championship. We’ll see what’s next for Ced & Shelty (and Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston), but expect the All Mighty’s program with Riddle to start soon.

A month and counting on R-Truth’s 45th run as 24/7 champion. God is good.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- So, Bray Wyatt’s definitely dead, right? J/k. We all know he’s about to reborn in an even more terrible form. Will he come after Randy Orton for the whole “setting him on fire” thing? As long as he brings Alexa Bliss back with him, we don’t even care.

- After losing a two-on-one match to Miz & Morrison, what’s next for Keith Lee’s “push”?

- RETRIBUTION won’t quit until Ricochet joins their little anarchist band. Good for them.

- Will Elias be able to climb the charts now that he has a follower in Jaxson Ryker?

It’s the TLC fallout show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?