WWE Raw 25: Latest Rumors and Preview for Final Episode Before Royal Rumble 2018

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 22, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Forget balloons and streamers; WWE Raw will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an overload of icons.

Both the Barclays Center and Manhattan Center in New York City will host as WWE goes all out to pay tribute to its marquee show. Everyone from Stone Cold Steve Austin to Brother Love is set to show up.

Monday's Raw won't just be a nostalgia-heavy party, though. The red brand has work to do in terms of building toward Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The Universal Championship feud and the first women's Royal Rumble match promise to get some spotlight in between guest appearances.

And The Miz has a shot to claim the Intercontinental Championship an eighth time when he clashes with Roman Reigns in New York.

What else is on tap for the huge show? Who may miss the fun due to injury? Read on for a look at what to expect from Raw 25 with news updates and Raw preview on WWE.com providing key info.

All the fun will begin at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.

     

News, Rumors

The guest list on Raw's big night won't be limited to red-brand stars. SmackDown will be represented as well.

The Raw preview on WWE.com noted: "WWE Champion AJ Styles, SmackDown women's champion Charlotte Flair, SmackDown tag team champions The Usos and The New Day will appear for the momentous celebration."

Jeff Hardy will apparently be there, too. Matt Hardy revealed on Facebook Live that his brother Jeff, who has been recovering from shoulder surgery, will be at Raw 25.

Samoa Joe, however, will not be in attendance. A foot injury has derailed whatever plans WWE had for him at the Rumble. Dave Meltzer noted on Figure Four Online: "Both Jason Jordan and Samoa Joe are out of action with injuries. Joe is out for a while."

Samoa Joe's absence will be a big blow to Raw.
Samoa Joe's absence will be a big blow to Raw.Credit: WWE.com

PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported that while Jordan is dealing with an unconfirmed injury, he is scheduled to be at Monday's show. Whether that includes him getting physical at all remains to be seen. 

Raw 25 should be nostalgic not just with the faces that appear on the screen, but the show's appearance as well. In regard to one of the venues hosting Raw on Monday, Johnson noted that "We are told the plan for the Manhattan Center is to have it looking as much as possible like the original Raw broadcasts."

      

Raw Streaks

Unless something ridiculous happens on Monday night, Asuka will head into the Royal Rumble with an unblemished record. The Empress of Tomorrow's undefeated streak has carried over from NXT to Raw.

Last week, she knocked off Nia Jax via referee stoppage. Per CageMatch.net, she has now gone 10-0 in 2018. And Asuka is 11-0 in TV and PPV bouts since joining the main roster.

As a result, she will be one of the favorites in the 30-woman Royal Rumble match.

Tony Nese doesn't have the least bit of the momentum Asuka possesses. His loss to Cedric Alexander last Monday extended his current streak to four consecutive televised defeats and has 11 losses in a row on Raw, per CageMatch.net

Nese, like Noam Dar, has not moved from the bottom of the 205 Live heap. 

      

Royal Rumble Hype

Raw's star power will be off the charts. Undertaker, Austin, Chris Jericho, D-Generation X, Ted DiBiase and a long list of others will show up in The Big Apple.

It's not clear how WWE is going to be able to use all these names, but The Revival is bound to cross paths with a legend or two.

On the last episode of Raw, The Revival claimed they were more old-school than any of incoming guests. WWE.com's Raw preview asked: "Will Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder eat their words on Monday night?" The answer feels like a big yes at the moment.

Reigns and The Miz are set to provide the show with its in-ring foundation. The Intercontinental Championship has been at the center of a recent string of excellent matches. That is poised to continue as The A-Lister looks to reclaim the prize he lost to Reigns before going off to shoot his latest movie.

The match may turn out to have WrestleMania implications, as many expect Reigns to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at The Show of Shows. Dropping the IC title would clear the way for the powerhouse to do just that.

Monday night is sure to also further hype the women's Royal Rumble match.

The Battle Royal is going to need added bodies to fill all 30 spots. Fans should be on the lookout for returning stars like Trish Stratus and Kelly Kelly throwing their proverbial hats into that ring. 

As for the Universal Championship at the PPV, both Lesnar and Kane will be seething leading up to the bout. Two weeks ago, Braun Strowman crushed both rivals under a steel set by yanking it all down with a grappling hook.

Monday night marks The Beast Incarnate and The Big Red Machine's chance for payback ahead of the Rumble.  

So far, Strowman has been the star of this story. It's time now for the champ to snag more spotlight and try to get us excited about a Triple Threat contest that features a 50-year-old competitor and what feels like a foregone conclusion.

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