Hello AW Universe,
Well, it’s that special time of year. For ordinary people, January can be a bit of a slog, with the post-Christmas glow fading fast but for wrestling fans, it’s a fantastic time because it means that, arguably, the most exciting PPV on the WWE schedule is jut around the corner, Royal Rumble.
Now it’s usually the match itself that garners the most excitement, but this year’s undercard is starting to fill out nicely, with a Universal title match between “The Fiend” and Daniel Bryan and a Raw Women’s title match between Becky Lynch and Asuka already both booked.
And it seems that the question as to who will be challenging Brock Lesnar for his WWE Championship at the event will be answered tonight on the first episode of Monday Night Raw of 2020, as The Beast has already been announced to appear.
It’s likely that this is to setup the feud with whoever the #1 Contender is going to be. so, who will face Brock Lesnar for his WWE Championship at Minute Maid Park in Houston on January 26th?
Here are some of the likely candidates.
Mysterio is booked to face Andrade in a rematch for the United States Championship that he dropped to only two weeks ago. Andrade seems to be getting a pretty legitimate push, so it’s unlikely that he’s going to drop the title back to Rey. Mysterio obviously played a large role in Lesnar’s last feud– first with Rey himself and then the ill-fated Cain Velasquez program– so it could be easy to just rollout a re-tread of if this match as a placeholder feud until WrestleMania 35. Lesnar clearly has a lot of respect for the veteran, and therefore would put time and effort into another match, something that can be an issue for Brock depending on his opponent.
He’s back from injury and from behind the announcer’s table to team with Kevin Owens to take a stand against Seth Rollins and The Authors of Pain, so there might be some other longterm booking going on there. But Samoa Joe is such a badass, and that was featured when Joe first stood up to the AOP two weeks ago. “Imma tell you something right now; if I get up, it’s not to move. If I get up, it’s both your asses.” He delivered that line first with nonchalant arrogance, then with measured aggression. The man is perfect on the mic and in the ring, so a Samoa Joe/Paul Heyman promo feud alone leading up to a championship match would be sublime.
This one might seem farfetched, but I see Aleister Black at the Rumble going one of two ways: he enters the Rumble match and dominates, leading the match with the most eliminations, or he knocks on Lesnar’s door and picks the biggest fight of his young career.
Now, Lesnar hasn’t seemed particularly interested in putting over, let alone wrestling, younger talent (see: WrestleMania 32 match against
Jon Moxley Dean Ambrose). But Black is a unique talent who might be able to win Lesnar over with his look and in-ring style. This would undoubtably be the freshest matchup for Lesnar in a very long time, and could be a fantastically-worked match if the effort is put in by the champion.
- Tonight’s Monday Night Raw is also going to feature a Triple Threat match for the Raw Tag Team Championship, with The Viking Raiders defending against The Street Profits and Gallows & Anderson. There seems to a title change coming here, and as much as it would be cool to see the Street Profits get that gold– Montez Ford is the next biggest upcoming star– it might make more sense to have the World’s Greatest Tag Team in Gallows & Anderson steal the titles now and build a longer-term feud with the Street Profits.
- What’s next for AJ Styles and Randy Orton after that fantastic swerve by Orton last week? Orton’s a master, and every time the chatter of him getting too old or too bored to stick around in WWE, he pulls off something like this. The fact that it’s AJ Styles who’s going to be the heel to clap back at him is just too good to be true.
- Drew McIntyre’s new gimmick is fire. Give this guy all the personality and have him melt hearts and break bones on his way to a World title.
- What’s the fallout from the nightmare wedding last week? Does Rusev finally get to move on now that Liv Morgan is involved, or is going to be riding this wave of dysfunction all the way to ‘Mania?
The first Raw of 2020 is setting up to be a very good episode! It all goes down tonight.