As we march toward one of WWE's biggest pay-per-views of the year and the action heats up, CM Punk and The Rock may be the main feature on tonight's Monday Night Raw.
Below is a quick preview of tonight's final WWE Monday Night Raw before its Royal Rumble pay-per-view:
- Punk currently holds one of WWE's longest title reigns. However, time may be running out, as The Rock is set to challenge Punk for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Tonight's Raw may lead to a showdown between the two.
- With The Miz and WWE United States champion Antonio Cesaro now in the Royal Rumble match, what will happen next on Raw?
- The Miz showed signs of new life last week with his in-ring segment involving Ric Flair and Cesaro. After locking the United States champion into a figure-four leg lock, The Miz may be set for a potential feud with Cesaro.
My Outlook on Tonight's Monday Night Raw
The WWE has plenty of things to accomplish on tonight's Monday Night Raw. With the pay-per-view set to take place this Sunday, Jan. 27, the WWE is entering its final stages toward completing its Royal Rumble lineup card.
On tonight's Raw, look for the show to heavily focus on the main event match at the Royal Rumble between The Rock and Punk for the WWE Championship. WWE should continue with what it has done in the past few weeks by having both wrestling Superstars in a confrontation to conclude Monday Night Raw. For tonight's program, The Rock and Punk must be at their best because of the magnitude of their match at the Royal Rumble.
John Cena, who experienced a sluggish 2012, is off to a very impressive start in the new year. The former WWE champion should see plenty of time on tonight's Raw, as Cena could be positioned for an extremely strong push heading into WrestleMania season. Also, look for a potential follow-up after Cena's main event cage match against Dolph Ziggler last week on Raw.
After capturing the No. 1 contender's spot to challenge WWE Tag Team champions Kane and Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow could seek revenge from a rough showing last week on Raw. Both tag teams could make a pretty solid match at the Royal Rumble this Sunday.
WWE must have a very good showing tonight with Monday Night Raw. With the Royal Rumble shaping up to be a very memorable pay-per-view to watch, tonight's Raw will be critical to the event's success, as the WWE should continue to push its biggest feuds. Even with a strong card lined up for the Royal Rumble, a lackluster Monday Night Raw should not be in WWE's plans for tonight.
WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage
Tonight's WWE Raw is live from San Jose, Calif. Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero opens the show by coming out to the ring with Paul Heyman. Guerrero, who is welcomed with a very negative reaction from the audience, expresses her frustration with The Rock.
Heyman takes control of the microphone and introduces himself. Heyman continues to support Guerrero by criticizing The Rock. A video clip is shown of The Rock's concert last week on Raw. Guerrero ensures everyone that she will not be embarrassed again and banned him from entering the arena.
Live footage is shown of The Rock standing outside the arena with San Jose police. The Rock tells the police officers he will indeed enter the middle of the ring.
Match No. 1: Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton
Your winner via pin fall: Randy Orton. Orton defeated Cesaro at 11 minutes and 36 seconds in the Beat the Clock challenge. Solid opening match to get things started on the right note for WWE Raw.
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Two video packages air with the first one featuring clips of Mick Foley's career. The second video package shows footage of what the heel group fraction The Shield has accomplished over its short run thus far in the WWE.
Match No. 2: The Big Show vs. Zack Ryder
Your winner via pin fall: the Big Show. Unfortunately for Ryder, his struggles continue as the Big Show quickly knocked him out in the ring.
Match Rating: 0.5/5.
Match No. 3: Heath Slater vs. Ryback
Your winner via pin fall: Ryback. Just like the previous match, this was over very fast. Slater was hardly able to get any sort of offensive move in this match.
Match Rating: 0.5/5.
Punk, along with Heyman, arrive to the ring. Punk displays his WWE Championship belt and begins to talk about his success. Punk says he will not allow The Rock to capture his title and that "The Great One" is not a real champion.
Should The Miz become a baby face instead of a heel?
Match No. 4: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Your winner via pin fall: Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler was able to defeat The Miz in 10 minutes and 56 seconds in the Beat the Clock challenge. A good match that was competitive between the two. The Miz was also even able to get Ziggler in a figure-four leg lock, which drew a good reaction from the audience. However, Big E Langston and AJ Lee distracted The Miz on ringside to allow Ziggler to nail the victory.
Match Rating: 3.5/5.
After a commercial break, Dr. Shelby is in the ring to introduce Kane and Daniel Bryan for their Anger Management class graduation. Dr. Shelby proposes that everyone should hug in honor of their graduation. Kane, Bryan and Dr. Shelby hug together in the ring before another commercial break.
Match No. 5: Alicia Fox vs. Kaitlyn
Your winner via pin fall: Kaitlyn. This was a very predictable outcome with Kaitlyn as the winner. The WWE needs to put more emphasis on the Divas division, which has not yet been able to gain any sort of footing.
Match Rating: 2/5.
Heyman once again steps into the ring after the match to discuss about The Rock. As Heyman continues to talk, The Rock emerges on the entrance way and makes his way to the ring. The Rock demands that Heyman leave the ring. After Heyman leaves, The Rock looks at Punk above in the luxury box and tells him that tonight's Raw will be his final night as WWE champion.
However, the lights go out and The Shield attack The Rock in the ring. Punk stands from the luxury box and tells The Rock that he just is not good enough.
Match No. 6: Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
No contest match. As Sheamus was going for the victory, Ziggler, Lee and Langston distracted Sheamus in the ring, allowing time to run out. With the no contest result, Ziggler gets to pick his position in the Royal Rumble match.
Match Rating: 3.5/5.
Backstage, Guerrero confronts Ziggler. In a surprising move by Guerrero, she announces that Ziggler can select to enter in the Royal Rumble match either No. 1 or 2.
Match No. 6: Tensai vs. Alberto Del Rio
Your winner via pin fall: Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio took care of business rather quickly in this match, as Tensai couldn't gain much momentum. The main purpose of this filler match was to put quick hype on the World Heavyweight Championship battle between Del Rio and the Big Show.
Match Rating: 2/5.
A video package is shown revealing Bob Backlund as the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Cena comes out to the ring to a very mixed reaction from the audience. Cena begins to hype the Royal Rumble match and how vital it is. He says that this Sunday, he will win the Royal Rumble. However, several participants of the Royal Rumble match come out to the ring to declare that they will win the battle.
A massive brawl erupts in the ring as Raw closes.