What were the biggest questions Raw left behind after the January 16 edition?
The January 16 edition of Raw entertained us with a good opening segment and an even better ending. The show often tapped into the energy of the Royal Rumble. However, that would be far from saying the show was a hit. There were moments that drained the viewer off energy. There would continue to be throw-away segments as long as Raw is 3 hours long.
Sami Zayn benefited from this week’s Raw. The underdog from the underground would enjoy much more time under the spotlight. He would make an appearance during the opening, in a backstage segment alongside Reigns and Rollins and finally would get a fair share of ring time in the main event. However, the way things ended for him might raise questions. The arena exploded with “This is awesome” chants as Zayn lined up Strowman for the Helluva kick. Of course, this came after Reigns and Rollins hit a superman punch and a flying knee on the monster. However, the crowd would chant their heart out for Zayn to go over cleanly once. Despite that, he would end up getting pinned.
Article continues below ...
The brawl between Neville and Swann with Tony Nese trying to pick up the remains was great. However, the same Raw produced moments like a throwaway bout where Enzo and Cass faced Rusev and Jinder Mahal. The same could be said about the match between O’Neil and Big E. What were the biggest questions the fans would have had after the latest edition of the flagship show?
At 48 years of age, Angle is still as good as he was between the ropes. The current WWE was more than happy to hand the Survivor Series main event spot to a 50-year-old Goldberg. It goes without saying that someone like Angle would deserve much more. One would naturally expect Angle would be back for at least one PPV match despite being inducted into the Hall of Fame. If that be the case, the question must be asked that what lies ahead for him.
The former Olympic gold medalist could very well make an appearance in the rumble. Every year at least one legend would return for a final run. Angle could choose to have his final moments in a WWE ring there. Or he could follow Goldberg and enter into an extended program with the WWE. If that be the case, would he be a Raw or SmackDown superstar? SmackDown would be ideal for Angle. Angle was one of the pioneers that made the blue brand a big success during the original brand split.
Moreover, ever since fans have been clamoring for an Angle return, suggestions of pairing him American Alpha have popped up. Angle himself would later admit he would love to work with the young tag team. Working alongside a veteran like Angle would do wonders for Jason Jordan and Chad Gable. Angle could even work a few singles matches against the likes of Cena and Styles while he is on the blue brand.
Despite putting his Royal Rumble spot on the line against Titus O’Neil, Big E would still come on top and secure his spot. This would ensure that all three members of the New Day would be in the Royal Rumble. They would then tease a spot where Xavier Woods stated that at the Rumble it would be foe vs foe and friend vs friend.
However, the trio would soon go back to their usual selves and announce that if one of them won the match all them would win the match.
However, one couldn’t help but have a sensation that something is cooking right around the corner. Would Royal Rumble be the night the New Day finally implode? The trio has achieved everything they could as tag team champions. Big E could probably make it big as a singles star with his size and newly found charisma. Woods and Kofi could still stick together as a tag team.
The seeds for an implosion have been planted the moment Titus O’Neil addressed Woods as the weakling of the stable. Would one of them turn on the other two? Seth Rollins once turned on his brothers when nobody was expecting. There is no reason to believe Big E, Woods or Kingston wouldn’t do the same sooner than later.
1. When Will the United States Title be a Priority?
This would be one question that has plagued Raw for the most part of last year. Did anybody feel like Chris Jericho was the newly crowned US champion? Y2J would claim the one title that eluded him throughout this past week. However, there would be no celebration and hardly any reference to the title at all. Did anybody else see the title as Jericho made his entrance during the opening segment? Had he worn it on his shoulders it would have been better.
On the other end, the former US champion Reigns seems to handle his title loss pretty well. He hardly ever talked about it. So the person who lose the prestigious title and the person who won it after nearly 20 years in the industry both had nothing to say about it. That would tell you a lot about where the title stands at this moment. It is merely a plot accessory at the hands of a credible main eventer like Reigns or Jericho sadly.
On the flip side, if one would look at what SmackDown did with the IC title, there would be no other word than ‘extraordinary’ to describe it. The Miz would lose all his nerve when he lost the IC title. Ambrose carries himself and his title with a rejuvenated fire. The title is frequently defended and not a single episode goes by where it is not mentioned.
Had Jericho and Owens featured a celebration segment the title would have meant something. Moreover, with no credible challengers lined up, we might not see a US title match at the Rumble also. SmackDown could very well include Ambrose vs The Miz for the IC title at the Rumble. On the contrary, Roman Reigns could not even be in for a rematch.
That begs one to ask the question once more. When will the US title become a priority? If only the title was handed to someone like Sami Zayn eventually. If only creative knew to make better use of Zayn’s inclusion in the main event this week.