Raw airs tonight (Jan. 30) with a live show from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the first episode of Raw during the three week build towards Elimination Chamber, which takes place on Feb. 18.
WWE has one last chance to change the main event of WrestleMania 39
Cody Rhodes returned to WWE on Saturday night and won the men’s Royal Rumble match. That means he will challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal championship in the main event of WrestleMania 39, which is a match that has been rumored for months. Tonight is Cody’s first episode back on Raw since last summer, and he will almost certainly cut a promo to remind us all that now the real work begins to make his dream come true.
Cody’s story would normally be just fine for a WrestleMania main event, but the big problem working against it this year is that Sami Zayn’s story is so much better.
The most anticipated segment on tonight’s Raw isn’t Cody’s first promo setting up a title match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. No, the main thing most wrestling fans want to see tonight is what will the fallout be after Sami Zayn betrayed Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble and was booted out of The Bloodline. Sorry Cody, but you might need to take a backseat in the short-term because Sami vs. Roman is easily the most compelling match that WWE can book right now.
WWE’s Elimination Chamber premium live pay-per-view event is coming up in just three weeks. The show takes place in Montreal, which means something big will have to be planned for local heroes Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. A lot of fans want to see Zayn end the Tribal Chief’s dominant run at WrestleMania, but WWE may very well decide to book that match at Elimination Chamber instead, leaving Zayn & Owens to go after the Usos at WrestleMania.
The decision to have Cody win the Royal Rumble suggests that fans who want to see the best story in WWE represented in the main event of WrestleMania won’t get their wish. Even so, a lot of folks are holding out hope that a change will be made.
It’s probably too late to reverse course after tonight’s Raw. If WWE announces Reigns vs. Zayn for Elimination Chamber, there’s really no going back, and Rhodes vs. Reigns will be locked in place as the main event of WrestleMania 39.
The rest of the title scene
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair has beaten just about everyone there is to beat on the Raw roster, except for Rhea Ripley. Royal Rumble winner Ripley needs to make a decision about which champion to face at WrestleMania, and a showdown with Belair seems likely. Will Rhea announce her choice tonight?
The Usos retained the Raw tag team titles against The Judgment Day last week. Given the way Jey Uso walked out on The Bloodline at Royal Rumble, things could get awkward if Adam Pearce books them in any more title defenses before their family issues are resolved.
United States Champion Austin Theory should be ready for a new challenger after successfully defending the title against Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins earlier this month.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions IYO SKY and Dakota Kai have Candice LeRae and Mia Yim on their radar, but their primary objective remains helping Bayley take out Becky Lynch. Lynch is pissed off and should have a few things to say tonight after Damage CTRL ambushed her inside a steel cage last week.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Edge and Beth Phoenix are back in WWE and they want to destroy The Judgment Day. A mixed tag team match with Rhea Ripley and that little shithead Dominik Mysterio (or Finn Balor) could be on the way in Canada at Elimination Chamber.
- Bobby Lashley eliminated Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble like a badass. The next match in their feud will probably happen at WrestleMania. In the meantime, MVP is scheming to find a way to put the Hurt Business back together, perhaps with Omos as part of the group.
- Seth Rollins was eliminated from the Royal Rumble by YouTube star Logan Paul. I would bet that Seth cuts a promo on that douchebag tonight.
- Alexa Bliss thought she was in control, but Uncle Howdy says otherwise. Alexa’s loss to Bianca Belair at Royal Rumble might just cause her to look to Howdy for some answers, assuming he is recovered after blowing himself up for no reason at Royal Rumble.
- Nia Jax and Chelsea Green both returned to WWE at Royal Rumble. Will they be primarily featured on Raw or SmackDown?
- Asuka and Doudrop are back from their recent absences. Asuka is now a murder clown, Doudrop is now Piper Niven, and they both had a strong showing in the women’s Royal Rumble match. We should find out tonight if any alignment changes are on the way, or if they will be moved to SmackDown.
- Is the conflict between Mustafa Ali and Dolph Ziggler about to get lost in the shuffle on the road to WrestleMania?
- Johnny Gargano came back from a shoulder injury to survive for quite a while in the men’s Royal Rumble match. Is he still looking to be a pain in The Miz’s ass?
- When will JBL realize that Baron Corbin is a poor excuse for a wrestling god?
What will you be looking for on Raw?