One week after Survivor Series will see another big episode of Monday Night Raw. Bill Goldberg is expected to be away until the build to Royal Rumble begins. The Raw vs. Smackdown brand war is on the backburner after all of the matches. Raw is back to setting up the storylines featuring members of the brand opposing each other. Two title matches have been booked ahead of time to set up the show tonight. The New Day are still the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions and are inching closer to breaking Demolition’s record for the longest tag title reign in WWE history.
Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks is the biggest match planned for Raw. Banks is getting her first rematch since losing the WWE Raw Women’s Championship inside of Hell in a Cell back in October. The two women always have great chemistry. On the male main event side of things, Seth Rollins will be looking for revenge on Chris Jericho for costing him the WWE Universal Championship. Kevin Owens is in need for a new challenger following his victory over Rollins last week. Most expect it to be Roman Reigns and we’ll find out if that’s true. Let’s take a look at the highlights of this week’s Monday Night Raw with the five biggest takeaways.
The title loss and damage inflicted to Seth Rollins made it known at the beginning of the show that he would not be cleared to compete tonight. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens opened the show bragging about their victory. Roman Reigns interrupted them and called Owens out for needing help to win all of his battles. Owens stated he didn’t need Jericho. This hurt the feelings of the legend and caused him to leave the show early.
Unfortunately for Jericho, Rollins was waiting in the parking lot for him. Rollins got the better of Jericho throwing him into various cars. The big spot came with Rollins delivering the Pedigree to Jericho on the top of a car. It has been a while since we saw the wrestlers use a car as a weapon. The visual was cool and set the tone for a match between Rollins and Jericho hopefully with a No-DQ stipulation.
An intense moment on Raw saw Sami Zayn get heated during an in-ring segment with Mick Foley. Braun Strowman destroyed Goldust and R-Truth in the opening match before Zayn came to the ring to make the save. Zayn looked to find revenge from last week’s beat down via Strowman but it happened once again. Commissioner Foley demanded Strowman stop. Zayn was not happy with Foley trying to “protect” him and wanted to continue the fight.
Foley and Zayn exchanged words until Zayn flat out called Foley a hypocrite for being in Stephanie McMahon’s pocket rather than being the person fans remember fondly. Zayn’s intense promo was the most noteworthy moment of his in months. The potential of a Zayn/Foley feud in between the Zayn matches against Strowman adds a much needed new dynamic for Sami. Things have not gone well for Zayn in recent months, but the interactions with Foley could lead to better things coming. We can only hope.
Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar did not appear on Raw tonight but Paul Heyman did. Michael Cole conducted a sit-down interview with Heyman to discuss the shocking events at Survivor Series. Heyman claimed he and Lesnar took Goldberg too lightly. The logic behind Brock’s defeat was they expected an easy victory due to Goldberg’s long time away from the ring and they suffered for that mindset.
Heyman claimed Lesnar was motivated to prove he could beat Lesnar. The next proclamation was the big news with Heyman declaring Lesnar as the second competitor in the 2017 Royal Rumble match. Goldberg and Lesnar are the only two men currently listed for the Rumble match setting up huge star power for the spectacle. The smart bet is the two men will continue their feud and cost each other the match. Regardless, the big names already in the Rumble are great for WWE in their hopes of selling 60,000+ tickets.
The next contender for the WWE Universal Championship was named when Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens to earn another match for the title at Roadblock. Reigns baited Owens into giving him the match during a promo to open the show. The match was quite impressive with the two stars showing relevant chemistry that could provide a special main event on the upcoming Raw branded PPV. Reigns predictably won tonight’s match to get the title shot as expected through rumors in recent months.
Still the United States Champion, Reigns will look to become a double champion on the big show. Owens seems to just be hitting his stride as the Universal Champion and it would be disappointing to see him lose it in a few weeks, but you can never confidently bet against Reigns in a WWE ring. The match will deliver a main event feel and at least get every viewer emotionally invested in seeing one of the two men leave as Universal Champ.
The biggest match of the night featured Charlotte Flair defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks. We were somewhat surprised when the match started during the middle of the show rather than the main event. It was a red herring with a double count out finish disappointing everyone. Commissioner Mick Foley came out to make another match between the two in the main event under Falls Count Anywhere rules.
Flair and Banks had another hard hitting fight to close the show and likely the chapter of their feud this year. It was another outstanding battle between the two. Charlotte had the highlight of the match with a spectacular moonsault off of the top of the announcer’s table onto Banks. The momentum turned when Banks started using a kendo stick to the back of Flair. Banks put Charlotte in the Bank Statement submission move using the guardrail in the stands for extra leverage.
Charlotte tapped and Banks shockingly won the Raw Women’s Championship for the third time. These two delivered another classic here worthy of the main event spot. Ric Flair came to the ring and raised Sasha’s hand to endorse her as the new champion. It was one of the best WWE matches all year and a cool moment.
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