Raw airs tonight (Jan. 10) with a live show from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the second Raw episode during the four week build towards Royal Rumble on January 29.
Alexa Bliss is on her way back to Raw
Tonight’s episode of Raw features a triple threat match between Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, and Doudrop. The winner of the match will challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw women’s championship at Royal Rumble.
Doudrop brought up a very good point last week when she complained about Morgan and Belair already failing multiple times each to dethrone Lynch. She argued that it’s time for someone new to get a shot at the gold, and she’s right. Dou’s persuasive argument was enough to win over the authority figures and put her in tonight’s number one contender match.
The major problem with Doudrop’s argument, though, is that she has not won a match on Raw or pay-per-view (PPV) since mid-October. She’s lost six such matches in a row, and has thrice been defeated by Bianca Belair since the start of December. The message to the fans is clear: Doudrop isn’t championship material and doesn’t stand a chance against Becky Lynch.
Raw needs someone new who can challenge Lynch for the belt, but the bar needs to be higher than just existing on the roster and losing all of your matches, which is where Doudrop currently is. Rhea Ripley is stuck losing matches in the tag team division. Asuka and Bayley are inactive at the moment.
That leaves pretty much one established name: Alexa Bliss. WWE said last week that Alexa’s journey back to Raw begins tonight. Assuming Alexa’s journey doesn’t take nearly as long as Elias or Veer Mahaan, she should be back in time to make her presence known at Royal Rumble. Sasha Banks was one of the strongest contenders to win the Rumble match as of a couple weeks ago, but she will now miss the event due to injury. Bliss suddenly stands out as a very intriguing candidate to be pointing at that WrestleMania sign on Jan. 29.
Just leave that stupid doll Lilly at home for this comeback, please.
The rest of the title scene
Randy Orton and
Matt Riddle will defend the Raw tag team titles tonight against Alpha Academy. The best way for RK-Bro to retain is to never tag Riddle into the match, because he’s the only team member who ever gets pinned in their matches. The strategy for the heels should be very similar, and that’s to never tag Chad Gable into the match. The guy is a jobber and, at least as far as I can tell, hasn’t actually pinned or submitted anyone on television since well before live fans returned in July 2021. What I’m trying to say is that the probability of this match ending with Orton RKO’ing Gable is quite high.
Bobby Lashley will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE championship at Royal Rumble. He earned the title shot last week on Raw by defeating Big E, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens in a Fatal 4-Way match. The Wells Fargo Center and the events page on WWE’s web site are both advertising very busy part-timer Lesnar for an appearance tonight. WWE hasn’t announced anything specific for him, though, so maybe Creative is still figuring it out.
Last week, Damian Priest was able to demonstrate enough self-control to keep himself from getting disqualified, leading to a successful United States championship defense against that dirty dawg, Dolph Ziggler. Priest will almost certainly enter the Royal Rumble match, but he’ll need someone new to snap on over the next few weeks.
Queen Zelina Vega and Carmella retained the Women’s tag team championship last week in a rematch against Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley. Ripley made the mistake of tagging her partner into the match. The babyfaces were done for at that point, because they are yet another tag team in WWE where one member is booked much weaker than the other. Anyway, it’s time for a new development between Nikki and Rhea, perhaps even a breakup. The problem with that, of course, is that WWE has zero other tag teams in the division to challenge the champs. It sounds like Carmella is dealing with an injury right now, which would explain why Vega won the match last week without ever tagging her in.
As far as the 24/7 title goes, Dana Brooke and Reggie have been tagging up over the last couple of weeks to beat Tamina and whichever jobber partners up with her. Tamina has already tried out R-Truth and Akira Tozawa in that role. Is there a third jobber hanging around somewhere who Tamina is willing to give a chance?
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Edge & Beth Phoenix laid down the challenge for a tag team match at Royal Rumble against Miz & Maryse, and Miz quickly accepted the match. Maryse didn’t seem too happy with her husband for agreeing to the match without consulting her. Meanwhile, Miz has not yet wrestled a match on Raw since he returned last month. Given that Raw is still three hours long, I expect that pattern to end ASAP.
- Big E and Kevin Owens will probably enter the Royal Rumble match tonight now that they are on the outside looking in at the WWE championship match between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley. Seth Rollins doesn’t need to worry about the Royal Rumble match, because he will challenge Universal champion Roman Reigns on that night.
- Finn Balor has missed the last two episodes of Raw. He’ll probably continue his feud with Austin Theory whenever he returns. Until then, Theory seems just fine keeping himself occupied in very awkward meetings backstage with Vince McMahon.
- Omos damn near squashed AJ Styles last week in the worst match of AJ’s career. Omos is a very tall man, and sometimes that’s all it takes to win in Vince McMahon’s fantasy land known as WWE. I think Omos is also one of the favorites to win the Royal Rumble match?
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?