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The Miz Returns: Latest Rumors and Preview for WWE Raw Jan. 8

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 8, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

WWE Raw will get its A-lister back as the Royal Rumble build rolls on.

The Miz is set to return after spending weeks away from the red brand to shoot a movie. With filming over, it's time for him to shift his focus to Roman Reigns, the Intercontinental Championship and leading his Miztourage once more.

The Miz @mikethemiz

You’ve all suffered enough. Now it’s time for a real man, a real champ, a REAL star to return. Next week, The Miz is back on #Raw! https://t.co/zp3YeVEOT5

The latest Raw is also poised to feature a Cruiserweight Championship match, the follow-up to the apparent reformation of The Bullet Club and likely more Superstars declaring they will enter the Royal Rumble match. Memphis will host it all.

The hype process for the Jan. 28 pay-per-view has to start kicking into high gear. Not only is the Rumble event fast approaching, but WWE faces stiff competition in the ratings department from the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship.

How will Raw march toward the PPV? Who will show up in Memphis? Read on for a full preview of Monday's show, with stats, projections and info culled from the Raw preview on WWE.com and news updates.

The show will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.

      

News, Rumors

The universal champ's hibernation is officially over. With the Royal Rumble on the way and WrestleMania season nearing, Brock Lesnar is set to show up a lot more than normal.

Dave Meltzer of Figure Four Online noted: "Lesnar and Paul Heyman are scheduled for Raw on Monday."

WWE @WWE

"SPOILER: @BrockLesnar will successfully defend the #UniversalChampionship at #RoyalRumble!" - @HeymanHustle #RAW https://t.co/FY01nGrKx6

Fans may be able to watch Paige perform again soon. She suffered an apparent injury at a house show in late December, as Sean Rueter of Cageside Seats detailed. She may not be healed yet, but The Anti-Diva is at least traveling with the roster.

PWInsider's Mike Johnson wrote: "Paige is in Memphis. No word yet on whether she has been cleared to return to action."

Raw is likely to save a bit of its airtime to promote the upcoming Mixed Match Challenge event as its set to begin airing on Jan. 16.

WWE @WWE

Is the duo of @BraunStrowman and @AlexaBliss_WWE poised to deliver a victory for #RAW in the first-ever @WWE Mixed Match Challenge? #WWEMMC https://t.co/eatwvAg5v3

WWE.com announced several pairings for the tournament. The Raw duos so far are Finn Balor and Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman, Apollo Crews and Nia Jax. We should at least see a bit of backstage interaction between some of these Superstars.

         

Raw Streaks

Asuka's undefeated streak grew after Bliss in a non-title match last week.

The Empress of Tomorrow is now 10-0 on the main roster, per CageMatch.net. If you count house show, as well, that mark stretches to 30-0. Asuka remains the safest bet on Raw as WWE continues to build her up as an unstoppable force.

Crews' booking is looking quite different. His loss to Bray Wyatt last Monday extended an ongoing slump.  Crews is 7-8 in his last 15 matches overall, per CageMatch.net, but many of those victories came on Main Event.

His Raw record is less impressive. He's lost four consecutive singles matches on the show.

The Titus Worldwide faction hasn't tasted victory much at all. We'll soon see if the addition of Dana Brooke as its statistician will do anything to change that.

         

Preview

The last time we saw The Miz on Raw, he fell to Reigns and lost the Intercontinental Championship. The Big Dog has since been a key part of the show, defending the title in standout matches against challengers like Elias, Cesaro and Samoa Joe.

The Miz is sure to demand his own crack at Reigns' gold. He never got a chance for a rematch thanks to his absence.

The Miz will return to Raw on Monday.
The Miz will return to Raw on Monday.Credit: WWE.com

There also promises to be an intriguing dynamic involving The Miztourage. When The Miz was out, Elias essentially took over his spot, leading the way for Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. The A-Lister's ego won't allow him to accept that with grace.

The Miz and Elias may be in a fight to be The Miztourage's alpha.

In other faction news, Balor joined forces with his old buddies from New Japan Pro Wrestling, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The trio united to take down Elias and The Miztourage. The amount of attention this received from WWE social media suggested it was no one-off.

WWE @WWE

Will we see more of this #TooSweet trio on #RAW? @FinnBalor @LukeGallowsWWE @KarlAndersonWWE https://t.co/KnP1r7NyTp

How WWE proceeds with this reprise of The Bullet Club will be one of Raw's biggest stories early in the year.

And Memphis fans will get a title match that was supposed to happen last week. Enzo Amore will defend the Cruiserweight Championship against Cedric Alexander on Monday after missing time due to illness.

Credit: WWE.com

The bout's subplot may prove more interesting than its main narrative, though. Amore's loyal sidekick Drew Gulak has suffered verbal abuse from the champ of late. He also got mighty close to being in the spot Alexander is now. Jealousy and infighting could doom the Gulak-Amore partnership as the former moves into a babyface role to take advantage of his growing popularity. 

Raw's main event scene, meanwhile, will have all of its monsters in tow.

Kane attacked Lesnar last Monday to send the universal champ a message before their Triple Threat match at the Rumble. It's now Strowman's turn to make his mark.

WWE.com's Raw preview hinted as much: "We'd be surprised if The Monster Among Men showed any such restraint if the opportunity to pummel either Kane or Lesnar presented itself this week."

A hoss brawl is on the way it seems. We'll soon see whether that will be enough to liven up an underwhelming universal title match build. It's hard to go wrong with Strowman flinging around objects, humans and whatever's in reach, though.

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