With the Royal Rumble right around the corner, this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw was meant to start building the height. With a few big time matches and many Rumble related announcements, the first Raw of the new year certainly delivered.
The major match of the night was a rematch between Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns for The Big Dog’s Intercontinental Championship. This came with a stipulation that if Reigns was disqualified, like last week, he would lose the title.
The potential DQ was teased several times but did not happen as both men put on a massively hard-hitting contest. Joe came within inches of locking in the Coquina Clutch to choke out Reigns, but it was countered into a Spear from The Big Dog for the win.
Kurt Angle opened Raw to announce that the women’s Royal Rumble match would have the exact same rules as the men’s. He was then interrupted by The Bar, who were furious about losing their Tag Team Titles last week and demanded a rematch, a request that Angle refused.
This led to Jason Jordan coming down and getting into it with Cesaro, leading to a match between the two. Before the bell could be rung, Jordan’s new partner Seth Rollins, came down to be in Jordan’s corner.
Cesaro once again showed that he is one of the best in the ring, taking apart Jordan’s knee throughout the whole match. It came to a close when Cesaro’s partner Sheamus tried to get involved and was stopped by Rollins, a distraction that allowed Jordan to drop Cesaro with his finisher for the win.
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss was forced to take on Asuka in a non-title match this week, a match that terrified The Goddess. The Empress of Tomorrow dominated this match until a bad bump hurt her ribs, which Bliss worked over for a while.
Bliss remained in control for a very long time until she decided to slap Asuka, which fired her up. A few nasty hard strikes later, Asuka was able to lock in an Armbar, forcing the champ to tap out and picking up her biggest main roster win to date.
In a very rare occurrence, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar made an appearance on Raw to hype up his upcoming Triple Threat match. This was interrupted by one of his challengers, Kane, who Chokeslammed The Beast Incarnate.
Finn Balor needed two partners for a 6-man Tag Team match against Elias and The Miztourage and he found them in his former Bullet Club buddies, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. They proved that their time apart meant nothing, easily beating their opponents with a Gallows and Anderson Magic Killer into a Balor Coup de Grace.
Bray Wyatt had a match against Apollo Crews with the rest of Titus Worldwide at ringside. Crews got in a decent amount of offense but Wyatt was able to counter his finisher attempt into a Sister Abigail for the win. After the match, Woken Matt Hardy cut another cryptic promo to hype up their feud.
In his quest to toughen up Heath Slater, Rhyno took on Braun Strowman. Despite some Slater interference, Strowman bowled over both men with Running Powerslams.
Due to sickness Enzo Amore could not defend his Cruiserweight Title, so challenger Cedric Alexander decided he’d take on Zo Train members Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari with his unsuspected partner, Goldust.
The creepy veteran showed his athleticism even at his age, even performing a top rope move that took out both opponents, allowing Alexander to land a Lumbar Check for the win.