WWE Monday Night Raw comes live from the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK, tonight as the company dives into the immediate fallout from Saturday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view in San Antonio. And let me tell you, it was a monumental show.
As we prepare for another episode of the WWE’s flagship show, I’ll give some of my quick thoughts about Raw and what’s in store on the card.
Cody Rhodes wins men’s Royal Rumble match
Rhodes winning the Royal Rumble was something that the WWE had been telegraphing since they started airing his return vignettes around Christmas and it was the correct choice. He returned to a huge ovation in front of the Alamodome crowd on Saturday and looked every bit of the big, babyface star as he did before he went down with his pec injury last summer (side note, after seeing the final sequence of the rumble, I need a Rhodes-Gunther match on my desk ASAP).
I’m especially curious as to what Rhodes has to say tonight and what’s in store for him over the next few weeks. He’s obviously now on a collision course with Roman Reigns for Wrestlemania but given the story with Bloodline/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn, I think they’ll hold off on Rhodes crossing paths with the champ until the end of February. Or maybe they jump right into it tonight! Who knows?!
Rhea Ripley wins women’s Royal Rumble match
Going over the women’s rumble field prior to Saturda, it seemed like Ripley was the only logical choice to win given how she’d been booked in recent months and that came to fruition. She entered at No. 1 and looked strong throughout the entire hour, executing a perfect finishing sequence by eliminating Asuka and Liv Morgan to win.
While she technically has options with which champion she goes after at Wrestlemania, Bianca Belair has to be the obvious choice. These are the two pillars that the WWE is going to build their women’s division around for the next decade with Belair serving as the eternal babyface and Ripley her foil on the other end of the spectrum. The company has showed a surprising amount of restraint holding off on this match since the two debuted on the main roster and it should main event the first night of Wrestlemania this April. While we await that match, we’ll most likely get Ripley vs. Beth Phoenix in the coming weeks after the latter returned on Saturday. I can’t wait.
Bloodline-Sami Zayn-Kevin Owens
I’ll talk about this later in the week when it’s time to preview Smackdown but cinema. Just pure cinema. This is the greatest storyline in the modern history of the company and that’s not hyperbole. It’s that good and I’m in for wherever they go next with it. By the way, Elimination Chamber is in Montreal, home of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. I’m locked in.
- Asuka got one of the biggest pops of the night at the Royal Rumble and she debuted the clown face paint she wore in Japan. I’m curious as to what her direction is for Wrestlemania because she’s over like rover.
- Doudrop returned at the Royal Rumble after a health scare that put her on the shelf for several months. But she didn’t return as Doudrop. She returned as Piper Niven!. She got her name back and it took them long enough to finally retire what was once of the worst name repackages they’ve done in recent memory. She looked impressive in the women’s rumble and hopefully they have some good things planned for her heading into Wrestlemania season.
- Bobby Lashley quickly eliminated Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble and Lesnar spent the next few minutes causing mayhem around ringside. This has to be heading towards a Hell in a Cell match or something.
- Speaking of feud where a big blowoff is coming, one of the highlights of the women’s rumble match was the middle portion featuring the war between Damage Control and Becky Lynch. That was good stuff and I wonder where things will ultimately end up between Lynch and Bayley.
- I’m completely out on all of the Wyattverse shenanigans and includes Alexa Bliss being sucked back in. Not for me, take all of this spooky stuff elsewhere.