WWE Monday Night Raw was back on our screens last night for its first 2017 edition. The final edition of Monday Night Raw 2016 was a fairly low-key affair, but as predicted in the Inquisitr yesterday, the first Raw of 2017 gave us some clues as to how things are shaping up for the Royal Rumble and beyond. One of the most interesting aspect of the Raw roster in recent weeks has been the buildup of Braun Strowman, who has been chasing Sami Zayn for weeks. Last night’s Monday Night Raw saw the Abominable Strowman catch, and dispatch, Zayn in emphatic fashion.
As reported in Lords of Pain, Strowman simply destroyed Zayn both in the ring and outside it. Zayn battered the monstrous Strowman with sticks, pipes and chairs, all to little effect. Strowman ended the bout with two mammoth power slams and the hapless Zayn was counted out. Even seeing Zayn carried away on a stretcher wasn’t enough for Strowman, who charged the stretcher sending poor Sami flying. Strowman continued to inflame the crowd and, by the time he left the arena, fans could only be grateful that the punishment was over for the ever-popular Zayn.
Pummeling Sami Zayn wasn’t the only highlight of the night for fans of the Abominable Strowman. Recent days have seen numerous WWE rumors suggesting that Goldberg was back and headed to the Royal Rumble PPV later this month. Goldberg took the mic and got into a shouting match with Brock Lesnar’s manager Paul Heyman. Goldberg was promising to destroy Lesnar when Roman Reigns took to the ring. Goldberg and Reigns were engaged in an epic stare down when Strowman took the ring. Instead of attacking each other, Goldberg and Reigns turned their anger on Strowman. The pair launched themselves at Strowman in a double spear attack that left Strowman sprawled on the canvas.
— WWE (@WWE) January 3, 2017
Roman Reigns Supreme On ‘Monday Night Raw’
It is fair to say that the dust up between Reigns, Goldberg and Strowman was not the only business for Roman on the first Monday Night Raw of 2017. Reigns had the small matter of a U.S. Championship match against Chris Jericho to contend with. Jericho may have decided that he couldn’t defeat Reigns in a fair fight, so he tried all manner of underhand tactics in an effort to have Roman disqualified.
The match referee wasn’t buying Jericho’s cheating. The match ended when Jericho tried to smash Reigns into the corner buckles. Reigns showed a swift turn of pace, dodged Jericho’s attack and sent him face-first into the turnbuckle. Reigns took advantage of a dazed and disorientated Jericho and ended the contest with an epic spear.
The first 2017 Monday Night Raw had two other matches of major significance. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of attention given to emerging women’s star Bayley. Last week saw Bayley defeated by Charlotte Flair after Charlotte benefited from some clearly biased refereeing. To add insult to injury, Bayley’s victory over Charlotte the previous week has been struck from the records after claims that Charlotte had raised a shoulder from the canvas as she was counted to a pin down loss.
Last night saw Bayley overcome Nia Jax to become the No. 1 contender for the Raw women’s title. It is increasingly apparent that Bayley has a big part to play in the Royal Rumble PPV, and on the Raw brand throughout 2017. Bayley has been widely tipped as “one to watch” and Monday Night Raw proved that she has much to offer.
The final significant bout of last night’s Raw was the much-anticipated rumble between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. After attacking Rollins with the ringside bell, Owens was disqualified bringing a premature end to that match.
Monday Night Raw continues to give us indications as to what to look forward to at Royal Rumble 2017 and Wrestlemania 33. Look out for more clues next Monday when SmackDown star, The Undertaker, invades Raw.
[Featured Image by Manish Swarup/AP]