SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW PREVIEW
JANUARY 9, 2017
NEW ORLEANS, LA. AT SMOOTHIE KING CENTER
REPORT BY JOEY GALICIA (@RamJam89), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
“RETURN OF THE MACK(S)”
It seems that the formula for selling tickets goes like this: Promote a match, promote a title match, or promote the return of a fan favorite. Tonight in New Orleans we get all three including two returns. The Heartbreak Kid will be making an appearance, but for what reason we don’t know yet. Is he returning to challenge A.J. Styles after a tweet promoting the two against one another got the wrestling world talking? Is he entering the Royal Rumble? Maybe he wishes to converse with Seth Rollins about the Architects path towards Triple H. Or perhaps he is just promoting his new film The Resurrection of Gavin Stone? (WHERE’S HIS OSCAR NOMINATION HOLLYWOOD) The other option of course, is that he is confronted by a Dead Man Walking (great flick) and returning Undertaker. Does Taker still have a beef with the showstopper, or will he himself be looking to make a RR appearance? I have no idea where any of this will lead but it should be worth checking out. Also I’ve tried to draw out all the possibilities and now my wall looks like a detective trying to solve a 15-year-old murder case.
“HE’S GOING TO WIN A HANDICAP MATCH ISN’T HE?”
Speaking of murder… Roman Reigns will defend his United States Championship (you know, the one that he holds like an umbrella) against current Universal Champion Kevin Owens, and the greatest thing that has ever graced our televisions Chris Jericho in a 2-on-1 handicap match. While no outcome is guaranteed (see Survivor Series 2016) it appears that we are in store for another Roman Empire title run. The question is does he have that run as a double-champ? I would hope not, especially with what little meaning the current U.S. Title has had since Cena elevated it to new heights in 2015. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roman lost tonight. I won’t be surprised if he wins. I’m just so desperate for Raw to tell a meaningful story in their main event scene that until then I’m just sort of coasting along for the ride, and unfortunately, I don’t feel like I am alone. Anyway, should be fun to cheer for the two guys against the other 1 guy because this is wrestling in 2017.
“WON’T YOU BE MY GIRL”
Bayley is confirmed as the new #1 contender. HOORAY! This is a good start for the Hugger to begin her “hero’s journey” towards RASSLEMANIA as she will face the Queen (and already a four-time champ JESUS) Charlotte Flair at the Royal Rumble. However, Charlotte is no dumb dumb. She has not forgotten how dangerous an opponent like Bayley can be and is doing her best at avoiding her at all costs. Look for Charlotte to keep coming up with excuses, because if she thought Sasha wouldn’t quit, she has a whole mess of problems when it comes to the “loveably one.”
“FLIGHT OF THE DIVISION”
Since his return, Neville has been nearly unstoppable amongst the cruiserweights. He’s already defeated T.J. Perkins and champ Rich Swann, twice. His dominance will only continue. Meanwhile, Tajiri has returned and spit his green mist all over Brian Kenrick for REASONS so perhaps the man with a plan gets some of his respect back tonight. Cedric, Alicia, and Noam are still involved in an awkward love triangle, and eventually somethings got to give. More importantly, is Jack Gallagher okay after Daivari destroyed him on last week’s 205? I sure hope so, because the royal whompings have been one of the better segments for the purple brand. Raw still needs to find the right formula to work these stories in but with so much to tell I expect them to screw it up.
“CHAPTERS IN A BOOK”
Braun Strowman left Sami Zayn in a puddle of piss and vomit (exaggerating but you get the point) after their last man standing match last week. He then officially entered into the Royal Rumble but did unfortunately do that at the wrong time, thus eating a double-spear from Roman and Goldberg. I was not unhappy with that. If it takes two power-houses just to knock Braun down then it will take an army to eliminate him from the rumble. If there’s been one consistence in the last few Raws it’s Strowman whose match with Sami was a highlight in an inconsistent show. Where Sami goes from here is a mystery, but I’m assuming he’s still on the hospital or perhaps a morgue.
Karl Anderson may have given The Club another shot at the gold when he defeated Cesaro in a one-on-one affair. Sheamus was the reason the Swiss-Superman took the loss, proving that even after all of their triumphs, they still can’t get out of each others way. Here’s to hoping they figure it out sooner rather than later. (Finishes beer)
Sasha Banks won’t let a little embarrassing beat-down stop her from making a statement. Last week she distracted Nia Jax just long enough for Bayley to steal a victory and a shot at women’s gold. The Bo$$ AINT AFRAID OF NO ONE, but now that Nia actually has a reason to kill Sasha, she may want to take a Paige (see what I did there?) out of Bray Wyatt’s book….and…run.
Here is a recap of the Enzo/Cass/Rusev story in Rusev’s words: Rusev Crush. Enzo try steal Lana. Rusev crush Enzo. People boo Rusev. Cass kick Rusev even though his friend Enzo try to steal Lana. Rusev crush Cass and Enzo. People still boo Rusev. Rinse and repeat. LET…THIS…END.
Three weeks until Rumble. I’m still watching, and I’m still waiting.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S UPDATE: RAW PRIMER 1/2: What to expect tonight based on what happened last week including Goldberg, Owens, Charlotte, Neville, Braun, more