Thoughts on WWE Raw 25, the Royal Rumble and More – by Mike Sanchez

I was expecting so much more this week. I was expecting incredible, breath-taking, stupendous moments from WWE in what was the biggest night ever on their flagship show. Raw was 25 years old and they were broadcasting it live from two separate arenas. Surely this was going to be a spectacle? With so many alumni and legends scheduled to appear, this was going to be an epic Raw that would rival any post-Wrestlemania offering, perhaps as big as a PPV in its own right?

No, it wasn’t. It really, really wasn’t. This past week of Raw25 was such a let-down I thought. I was expecting lots of nostalgia – which to be fair, there was plenty of – but it was also the ‘go home’ Raw before the Royal Rumble and it really didn’t deliver on that front. We knew the Universal Heavyweight title was going to be defended in a triple threat and we got that. But as for the Rumble match itself, there was nothing of note that hyped it. Perhaps that was a deliberate ploy on WWE’s behalf as we know Elimination Chamber is the next PPV which is a Raw brand show, so no doubt the number on contender will come from there. Which means, my dear Watson, that a Smackdown man will be winning the Rumble. Elementary, isn’t it?

I can’t trash Raw too much however, as the Miz and Roman Reigns pulled off a great match that saw the Intercontinental Championship go back to the most must-see superstar in WWE. I’ve got to give Miz props here because he’s really brought back prestige to that belt. The outcome may mean Reigns now has a clear path to the Universal Title at Wrestlemania, but I don’t think the Miz’s contributions should be forgotten. His daughter is due to be born right around Wrestlemania and I hope he’s there to see it. If it means dropping the belt prior to the big dance, then fair enough. He deserves it, and no doubt he’ll be back in no time to chase bigger belts in 2018.

Side note here; for those who attended the Manhattan Center on Monday night, I feel for you. That was touted as something special and with such expensive tickets, it was a let-down I think. Perhaps the conspiracy theory that WWE wanted all the ‘smart’ fans isolated from the Barclays Centre was true? We’ll never know.

This week also saw some news regarding one Stephanie McMahon and the announcement that she would be part of the announce team for the Women’s’ Royal Rumble.

No. Just, no. Please, for the love of God, no.

I REALLY hope I’m wrong with this, but she’s going to be involved in the match, isn’t she? Just when you think the Women’s Revolution has kicked on and grown into something that doesn’t rely on Steph or outside influences to be something special, then it’s brought right back down to earth in a ball of flames. I’m going to fantasy book the Women’s Rumble here and I hope to God this doesn’t happen:

  • Steph is an entrant at the rumble (possibly number 30).
  • Interacts with Ronda Rousey.
  • Steph likely doesn’t win, but costs Rousey the win.
  • Steph vs Rousey at Wrestlemania.

Forget Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax and others. They don’t deserve that Wrestlemania spotlight. No, they aren’t worthy of a moment on the grandest stage of them all and with possibly the biggest female name to grace a WWE ring in history. No, that honor should go to Stephanie McMahon. A mother of three in her forties who isn’t a good wrestler, but because she’s a McMahon, fully deserves that spotlight. I hope everything I’ve said there doesn’t come true, because if it does, and Steph once again takes the shine from the women who bust their asses week in and week out for the company, then the revolution was a lie and nothing more than a vehicle to land Ronda Rousey and get her to interact with Steph at Wrestlemania. That, my friends, will stink the joint out. My choice to replace that abomination? Rousey vs Flair. Lynch vs Asuka. Bayley vs heel Sasha Banks. Anything that can distract us from such a horrible scenario.

With that unpleasantness out of my system, how about some predictions for the Rumble matches? I’ll do a sensible pick followed by a fantasy, then a nightmare. Let me know what you think in the comments or @MikeSanchez1878 on Twitter. Ready? Here we go:

Women’s Rumble

  • Sensible pick – Ronda Rouseyshins
  • Fantasy pick– Asuka
  • Nightmare pick – Stephanie McMahon

Men’s Rumble (Smackdown picks)

  • Sensible – Nakamura (to face AJ Styles at Wrestlemania)
  • Fantasy – Sami Zayn (after KO has won the belt from Styles earlier in the night, leading to Owens vs Zayn at Wrestlemania)
  • Nightmare – Baron Corbin

Men’s Rumble (Raw picks)

  • Sensible – Roman Reigns
  • Fantasy – Elias (don’t laugh, I like the guy, lol)
  • Nightmare – Apollo Crews

Other thoughts I had this week, but don’t want to subject you all to more tirades on the site:

– They need to do something to stop Matt Hardy’s character becoming a joke.

– Undertaker needs to stay retired. Leave the memories alone.

– Mickie James & Bayley doing nothing in the 4 on 4 Raw match. Use Mickie more!!

– Smackdown was really good, which leads me to think they’ll steal the show come the Rumble. Hopefully the powers that be don’t derail the blue brand.

– Vince resurrecting the XFL? I don’t know too much about American Football other than the Patriots are playing the Eagles in the Superbowl and that John Canton is a big fan of the Rams – who did pretty good until the playoffs. Sorry, John. At least you don’t support Everton FC – we’re a long-suffering bunch.

Anyway, dear readers, I hope you enjoy the Royal Rumble. I hope Steph stays on commentary and I hope you have a peaceful weekend. As always, thanks for reading.