Did the Jan. 9 WWE Raw foreshadow major victories for Roman Reigns and Undertaker?
When the red brand visited New Orleans on Monday night, Reigns lost a hard-fought battle against two rivals at once. The Deadman threw his hat into the ring for the upcoming Royal Rumble match.
In both cases, it feels like big wins are now on the way for both men.
Reigns is no longer the U.S. champion, but is another prize waiting for him at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Jan. 29? Will Undertaker celebrate at the close of that event?
The following is a look at those questions, as well as what's going on with Titus O'Neil and Braun Strowman. Read on as we explore the biggest unknowns to emerge from Monday's Raw.
Will Undertaker Win the Royal Rumble?
Undertaker is back and ready to rumble.
The Deadman stepped into the ring with Raw's bosses, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, to announce his entry in the annual 30-man Battle Royal. The star-studded Royal Rumble match now features Goldberg, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker.
But while it feels inevitable that Goldberg and Lesnar effectively cancel each other out as they focus on each other rather than their other foes, it's easy to imagine a scenario where Undertaker wins the whole thing. He is, after all, the current betting favorite, according to OddsShark.
The Phenom winning the Rumble would be an easy setup for the John Cena-Undertaker match many expect to happen at WrestleMania.
And it would continue a recent trend of repeat winners. Cena, Triple H and Batista all won their second Rumbles in the last four years.
WWE can create a memorable moment, though, if someone less predictable comes out on top. That's not the direction WWE has gone with this match of late, though.
What Is WWE Doing with The New Day?
Fresh off breaking the record for the longest tag team title reign in WWE history, The New Day finds itself spinning its wheels.
Rather than engaging in an intense rivalry to climb back into contention, the trio is goofing around with Titus O'Neil. The powerhouse tried to join the group for the second straight week. This time around, The New Day made him relive a failure from his NXT days, asking him to haul a beer keg around the ring in speedy fashion.
Things didn't go well, and O'Neil ended up fighting Kofi Kingston.
These segments have stunk. WWE is either prepping for O'Neil to join the crew or keeping the former champs in a holding pattern. Both options are unappealing.
Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net wrote, "WWE has an army of writers, yet the only thing they could come up with for New Day post-title reign was a feud with Titus O'Neil?"
Powell is right to be incredulous. The New Day is one of the most entertaining elements of the product. This current storyline has a low ceiling and minimal entertainment value.
WWE needs to find a new avenue for Kingston and Co. in a hurry.
Are We Headed for a Strowman-Rollins Feud?
Seth Rollins is apparently done seeking vengeance from Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Until his expected rivalry with Triple H starts rolling, he looks to be without a clear direction.
On Monday's Raw, he may have found a holdover opponent.
Braun Strowman barreled his way into the night's opening match, beating on Roman Reigns to pay him back for spearing him last week. Rollins came out to save the day with a steel chair in hand.
The Architect and the monster later collided in a bout that ended in a no-contest.
Is that a precursor for a full-fledged feud between them? Or was this a temporary battle between Superstars without their own stories?
Strowman needs a new foil after conquering Sami Zayn last week. Crushing Rollins a few times would do wonders for his career, but that may hurt the appeal of Rollins taking on Triple H down the road.
As good a match as Rollins and Strowman had on Monday night, WWE is likely to at least temporarily explore these two men's issues. Their WrestleMania opponents will step in soon enough.
Is Reigns Destined to Win the Universal Championship?
Jericho yanked the United States Championship from Reigns' hands on Monday night, albeit with plenty of help.
Y2J and Owens faced Reigns in a 2-on-1 Handicap match for the title belt. Reigns' loss means that the U.S. title won't have to take a back seat to The Big Dog's pursuit of KO. Jericho will make an excellent champ.
But the effect of Monday's match will go beyond that.
Marc Normandin of Cageside Seats wrote, "The bad news—well, depending again on whether you're a Reigns fan or detractor—is that he is almost unquestionably going to be the universal champion following the Rumble, so he won't be title-less for long."
Normandin is right. This smells like the makings of Reigns' rise to the universal title.
The @WWE #UniversalTitle will be on the line as @FightOwensFight meets @WWERomanReigns at #RoyalRumble...with @IAmJericho in the #SharkCage! https://t.co/OtgpvayGj91/10/2017, 1:06:56 AM
WWE never treated Reigns like a midcarder while he held the midcard title. And the company has done a poor job of showcasing Owens while he's been on top. The stubborn movement to push Reigns to the moon is sure to continue with the powerhouse dethroning KO at the Royal Rumble PPV.
Unless he turns heel in the process and embraces his smarmy, merciless self, that's not going to end well.
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