With The Authority still clearly determined to put as many obstacles in front of Reigns and Bryan as possible on The Road to WrestleMania, what can we expect live on Raw?
1.) How will The Authority stack the deck against Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns?
In the wake of controversy surrounding the 2015 Royal Rumble Match, winner Roman Reigns will battle Daniel Bryan at WWE Fastlane, with the winner of that bout punching their ticket to the main event of WrestleMania 31 and facing Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
As evidenced by Reigns’ cruel twist of fate and the unfair circumstances Bryan faced on SmackDown — including a 3-on-1 Handicap Match and a brutal Authority beatdown — it appears as though Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are looking to soften up both Bryan and Reigns before The Show of Shows. What awaits these Superstars on Raw, and how will Seth Rollins reap the benefits of their torment?
2.) Will Goldust & Stardust go supernova?
A cosmic storm is brewing. Frustrations continue to mount between brothers and former WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust and Stardust, especially after the younger face-painted sibling abandoned The Bizarre One in the middle of a match on SmackDown. No longer on the same page, it appears as though the days are numbered for Gold & Stardust, whose issues with one another have extended far beyond mere miscommunications in the ring. Will the brothers attempt some sort of reconciliation on Raw, or is this intergalactic tandem about to explode, Death Star-style?
3.) What lunacy awaits Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett?
Is it us, or is Dean Ambrose just a tad more unhinged than usual? Twice interrupting Curtis Axel’s tirades about deserving a WWE World Heavyweight Championship opportunity at WrestleMania — he was never eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match, after all — The Lunatic Fringe has also painted a target on the back of Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett. After defeating Barrett on the Jan. 19 edition of Raw in a non-title contest, Ambrose feels he’s in line for a title opportunity. Unfortunately, as we learned on the inaugural broadcast of the Bad News Zone (BNZ) Thursday night on SmackDown, Barrett’s not convinced Ambrose is a worthy opponent for him, branding The Lunatic Fringe as “too much of a lunatic.” Perhaps Barrett’s right, or maybe he’s just scared.
We’ve seen what havoc Ambrose is capable of unleashing on his opponents based on his savage battles with Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt, so perhaps the smarmy titleholder is making the right call. However, we’ve also seen what Ambrose can do when he doesn’t get his way. Is Barrett making a mistake in denying Ambrose what he has clearly earned?
4.) Will Paige get some payback against The Bella Twins?
The Bellas are many things — beautiful, athletic and opportunistic are just a few words that spring to mind — but one would be hard-pressed to call Nikki & Brie “welcoming” based on how they’ve been treating their new “Total Divas” castmate Paige in recent weeks. Moments after Paige’s pinfall victory over Alicia Fox last week on Raw, the devious tandem and Alicia orchestrated a 3-on-1 attack on the raven-haired Brit, covering her in spray tanner.
Paige was a woman possessed later in the week, resulting in another, firmly decisive victory over Fox on SmackDown, but The Diva of Tomorrow won’t be satisfied until she defeats Nikki at WWE Fastlane to become a three-time Divas Champion. Will Paige gain some key momentum over Nikki & Brie this week on Raw?
5.) Should John Cena fear Rusev?
Flag malfunctions aside, United States Champion Rusev seemed unstoppable last week, first utterly incapacitating Erick Rowan on Raw, and then going on to “crush” the behemoth on SmackDown. Lana has claimed that Cena represents the past but, judging from his savagery of late, The Super Athlete could very well ensure that “the face that runs the place” doesn’t have a future after WWE Fastlane.
Will the Cenation leader prove Lana wrong and give Rusev his first true loss in WWE, taking his star-spangled title in the process? Or will Cena join the growing list of Superstars who have fallen victim to the Accolade? On Raw, less than two weeks before WWE Fastlane, expect Cena to step up his game as his collision with The Hero of the Russian Federation approaches.
Don’t miss Raw at 8/7 CT on USA Network, and be sure to tune in to Raw Pre-Show at 7:30 ET, available FREE on WWE Network.