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Raw books a match with actual stakes

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One of the big criticisms about Raw is that booking decisions are made by fiat as opposed to any in-story mechanism.

Goldberg returns and gets an immediate WWE title shot. Some guys (and all gals) can just declare for the Royal Rumble while others have to win qualifying matches - then enter the match anyway when they lose said qualifying match. Being a former champ earns you a spot in the Elimination Chamber match against the current champion, no matter how recently he Claymore-d your face off, or how generally bad you win-loss record is of late.

So to say we were surprised when the commercial for Monday’s episode promises “a High-stakes Gauntlet Match” would be an understatement.

There’s definitely still an element of unfairness - some will have to face and defeat more opponents than others to win. But that’s similar to way things play out in the Chamber itself, so it makes sense. Will Drew McIntyre get a champion’s advantage and be the final boss in this Gauntlet Match to determine whose pod opens last next Sunday?

We’re getting a layer that explains who enters the title match last, I’m not gonna hold my breath for another that explains the ordering of the match to determine that. We’ll see what shakes out Monday when McIntyre, The Miz, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton and Sheamus run the gauntlet - and how the Miz TV segment with Drew feeds into the match.