Live from ThunderDome!
Seeing as last night’s Royal Rumble PPV starts the Road to WrestleMania 37, there’s unsurprisingly no official preview for tonight’s show posted on WWE.com. No matches or segments were announced in advance for the Feb. 1 episode.
So let’s consider what might happen between now and the weekend of April 10.
The 2021 Royal Rumble was a crowd-pleasing affair... which is weird seeing it was an event with no live crowd. The two titular matches in particular delivered outcomes very few could argue with. The men’s main event ensured we’ll forever associate Edge with the Rumble by not only having him go the distance to win it a second time, but reuniting him with his best friend along the way.
Naturally, speculation now turns to what the Rated R Superstar will do with his hard-earned ‘Mania main event spot. He’s been on Raw since his return at Royal Rumble 2020, but he wasn’t included in last fall’s Draft and isn’t listed on the red brand’s roster page. He could probably float between brands as a Hall of Famer even before he won the right to pick a title to challenge for at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium come April. He shared moments with both current champs Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre in last year’s Rumble, and either makes for an interesting generational clash. But considering the numerous options SmackDown has for the Head of Their Table, it would make sense for Edge to stick around on Monday nights.
Which would mean the WWE championship, still around McIntyre’s waist after he survived his encounter with another Hall of Famer, Goldberg, last night.
Or does it?
A face vs. face clash works here. Edge is living out experiences he wasn’t sure would ever come, and could just embrace the challenge. Drew’s a take on all comers kind of champ, and the opportunity to prove himself against another all-time great would be all the motivation he needs.
But we’ve heard that little of the card for the Showcase of the Immortals is set in stone. Could that mean a title change to give Edge a villain to fight? And if so, who would that be? His bookended his story with Randy Orton nicely by starting the Rumble with the Viper, then eliminating him last after Orton tried the old “sit out most of the match with an injury” trick. And Randy’s story with Bray Wyatt isn’t over, despite both of them having been set on fire during it.
Hopefully it wouldn’t mean Wyatt. McIntyre has wisely-yet-diplomatically said he wants to keep the belt away from The Fiend. In addition to that, Edge and Bray don’t have the kind of history Wyatt uses in his best stories.
Who else does that leave? There aren’t many names you’d figure WWE would consider. Not many people are clamoring for Edge vs. Braun Strowman. AJ Styles would represent a dream match, for sure. Jeff Hardy would be a fun choice, but he hasn’t been booked like a main eventer of late. Bobby Lashley has been booked like a main eventer, but would be a surprising choice were Raw to do a pre-’Mania WWE title change... unless they were prepping him to face someone other than Edge.
That would be Brock Lesnar, who can always be a credible and interesting opponent for just about everyone. And that gets us into wondering about possible part-timers that could unseat McIntyre over the next couple months. Triple H? John Cena?
Let’s just do Drew vs. Edge, what do you say?
The title scene
Is the latest Charlotte Flair/Asuka feud upon us? The pair dropped WWE Women’s Tag Team titles to Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler last night, but if Flair has anyone to blame for that, it’s Lacey Evans, not the Raw Women’s champ. Asuka probably has unfinished business herself. She only retained the belt last week because Orton showed up to RKO Alexa Bliss. Plus, Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair could technically challenge the Empress, but she’s already said that someone else is her WrestleMania dream match. And Jax & Baszler weren’t on the same page toward the end of their Rumble run, and may need to sort things out among themselves. Now that I think about it, there are way more moving parts here than in the WWE title scene!
By running a gauntlet of his Hurt Business teammates, Riddle earned a shot at Lashley’s United States title. It’s not clear who’s next for Raw Tag Team champions Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin, but it might be each other. Alexander’s inadvertent distraction helped the Bro beat Shelty a week ago.
Let’s not even talk about who ended R-Truth’s 47th run as 24/7 champion (it was Peter Rosenberg).
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Will Rhea Ripley be on the Raw roster?
- In all the “who could win the WWE title?” talk, I forgot Miz still has the Money in the Bank briefcase. Read into that what you will.
- Wherever Keith Lee is, hope he’s alright.
- RETRIBUTION picked up another win in their war on New Day last night when Mustafa Ali eliminated Xavier Woods. In true RETRIBUTION style, he was then quickly eliminated by Big E, but what are you gonna do? Kofi Kingston was hanging around backstage in his gear and looked pretty close to a comeback, so Ali better watch himself.
It’s the Royal Rumble fallout show!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?