It already feels as if it has been 2018 for ages yet this past Monday marked only the second episode of Raw in this new year. With just three weeks to go until a history-making Royal Rumble pay per view, you could rest assured that there was going to be plenty of build to the event that will play host to not one, but two 30-person over-the-top rope epics. From Superstars declaring themselves for one match or the other, plus a few other bouts being booked for both the Rumble and Raw's 25th anniversary, which is also fast approaching, it was a pretty jam packed three hours. Here are five huge takeaways from this week's edition of WWE's flagship show.
For the most part, all we have been treated to so far when it comes to the rivalry between Bray Wyatt and Woken Matt Hardy are some mildly entertaining vignettes. Well this week The Woken One actually had a match against Raw's resident loser, Curt Hawkins. Sadly for Hawkins his losing streak continued, although there would have likely been riots in Memphis had he beaten Matt Hardy. Following the match the arena went dark and The Eater of Worlds appeared behind the victor. Rather than attack his nemesis though Wyatt simply waited for Hardy to turn around. The two men then proceeded to laugh directly into each other's faces. After a long enough period for it to be uncomfortable the arena was once again plunged into darkness and that was that.
It has been six weeks since Roman Reigns defeated The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship and sent The Awesome One packing so that he could go an star in The Marine 6. Well this past Monday night the former champ returned and we were instantly reminded of what he brings to the table. There are few Superstars in WWE right now who are as good on the mic as The Miz and he cut a promo on Raw detailing why his 2018 was going to be even better than his 2017. The first man in his cross hairs? The only blemish on his aforementioned 2017, Roman Reigns. Miz fully intends on hunting The Big Dog and getting his title back sooner rather than later.
Last week Enzo Amore was forced to miss both Raw and 205 Live due to an illness that rendered him unable to work, despite his best efforts. That meant the defense of his Cruiserweight Title against Cedric Alexander had to wait until this past Monday night. While we were expecting a chaotic and hard-hitting match, we weren't prepared for what actually happened. The first big incident of the match up came when Alexander delivered a bone rattling kick to the champ, one that resulted in blood pouring down Amore's face very soon after. As if that wasn't enough punishment for poor Amore right after that the challenger threw himself from the ring on to Muscles Marinara and buckling his ankle. That led to the champ not being able to make it back into the ring before the ten count making Alexander the winner, but ensuring Smacktalker Skywalker kept his title.
It's probably fair to say that the closing segment from last week's Raw involving Kane and Brock Lesnar was pretty poor. The timing was out and just like everything else in WWE right now, it needed more Strowman. Well this week's Lesnar segment had exactly that. Just as the Universal Champion looked as if he would be leaving unscathed, Kane blindsided him and the two of them brawled backstage. Enter The Monster Among Men running into his Royal Rumble opponents like a monster truck. Strowman laid out both men before commandeering a grappling hook and pulling the truss that makes up part of the stage down on top of both Lesnar and Kane. An incredible moment in the show. Is there nothing this man, sorry monster, can't do?
The powers that be at WWE seem to have forgotten that Jason Jordan initially made a name for himself throughout NXT and on SmackDown Live as one half of a successful tag team. All of a sudden now he's on Raw he seems incapable of knowing how to act around teammates. In Monday night's main event Jordan, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins took on the newly reunited Balor Club. The former trio really didn't get much of the offence at all, and late on in the match Jordan didn't help matters. Just as Reigns received the hot tag, Jordan had the referee inadvertently distracted so he didn't see it. That began the chaos which led to the ending of the match. While Reigns was outside the ring taking care of Gallows and Anderson, Balor was in the ring dismantling Rollins which only happened after Jordan ducked out of the way of the Irishman's attack. One Coup de Grace later and it was Balor Club getting their arms raised. The bitter cherry on the cake for the losers? They then suffered a further beat down at the hands of The Miz and his Miztourage.
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