5 things that could happen on RAW next week
The second RAW of the year will hopefully start some real storytelling in the build to the Royal Rumble.
This week’s episode of Monday Night RAW emanated from Miami, Florida on New Year’s Day. Outside of some pixelated streamers on the video boards, there was nothing special about the show, per the usual.
There was some decent wrestling, a scant bit of storytelling, and just a general malaise throughout the broadcast. There’s definitely something there, some spark that is just begging to be ignited, but they are holding back, and I don’t know why. So, here’s what I said last week that I expected to happen on the first RAW of 2018. Let’s see how I did.
- Drew Gulak costs Enzo Amore the Cruiserweight Championship
Sadly, this saga will play out for at least another week, as Enzo Amore was forced against his will to spend the night in a hospital, too ill to fight. This was apparently legitimate and not for storyline purposes. It led to Goldust teaming with Cedric Alexander against Daivari and Gulak, in another match with a non-cruiserweight interacting with guys from the division. I’m hoping it means they are being integrated, as this is now the second occurrence, but time will tell.
- Jordan and Rollins defend against Joe and Cesaro
No title defence for the new champions. Jordan did wrestle Cesaro while Rollins sat the night out of in-ring competition, and Samoa Joe took on Roman Reigns in a rematch for the IC Title. We did get some insight into how the tag team dynamic is going to be with Jordan and Rollins, as Roman and Seth clearly see him as a joke, even though he has shown time and time again that he’s no slouch in the ring, and he’s the one who won the match and the titles last week. Continuing to be treated like he’s not good enough is continuing to feed into his eventual heel turn, so I’m good with it.
- Matt Hardy debuts his new music and gets the best of Bray again
Sadly we were not treated to Hardy’s new theme song, nor did he make a physical appearance inside the arena. His promo on the big screen was solid and funny enough and worked fine within the confines of the ridiculous nature of his character. The splitting of the image over and over to create hundreds of little Hardy faces almost took it too far, but not quite. Hopefully, WWE doesn’t lose out on the reason it worked in TNA.
- Finn Balor defeats Heath Slater
Slater was instead the ringside second for Rhyno, who challenged Braun Strowman. He eventually became an unofficial participant in the match, with both men getting utterly destroyed by 3 or 4 running powerslams each. It was a great segment for Braun, but not so much for Slater and Rhyno. Finn, on the other hand, reunited with his former Bullet Club running mates Gallows and Anderson, so that could be interesting going into the future. They were still stuck in the limbo that is wrestling with Elias and The Miztourage, but it’s something. It’s a start. Hopefully, this victory ends the go-nowhere “rivalry” with the losers and The Club can start looking forward to something bigger and better.
- The New Year doesn’t start off with a bang
Yeah, I nailed this one, but it was obvious. They’re playing it safe. I have no idea why, but no chances are being taken and nothing is really advancing stories. To be honest, no stories are really being told at all. Guys are just showing up, feigning hatred for each other (sometimes), and doing their jobs. There are only a few more weeks until the show that is supposed to kick off the year in a big way, and there’s no urgency. I’m hoping with the holidays over, next week will begin the real push, and things will start happening.
Overall, I went 1 for 5. Oh well. There’s always next week.
#5 Asuka makes Nia Jax tap out
I almost made this “Asuka makes Alexa Bliss tap out again”, but we’ll play it this way instead. I’m shocked that they actually did a full-length 15-minute match between the RAW Women’s Champion and her most threatening challenger. Completely out of nowhere, with no build.
They interacted last week and Asuka kicked Alexa’s head off, and this week she made her tap out in an okay, but not great, non-title match. The speculation is saying that instead of being in the Rumble, Asuka will win the title from Bliss either before the PPV or at the show itself, and the winner (possibly Ronda Rousey, but hopefully not) will challenge Asuka at WrestleMania.
Instead of making Bliss tap again, I think next week Asuka will find herself in a match with Nia Jax, with WWE blowing through another first-time (on the main roster) match with zero build and no heat. And Nia will end up tapping out to Asuka. Great for Asuka, bad for Jax. It will just lead to more tension between Nia and Alexa, a pair that WWE just can’t decide whether or not their allies.