This week’s episode of WWE Raw was the final episode before this Sunday night’s Royal Rumble PPV, and it featured the return of Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar opened the show, flanked by his advocate Paul Heyman, and Heyman proceeded to cut an in-ring promo praising the abilities of Finn Balor, who will challenge Lesnar at the PPV on Sunday. Heyman was interrupted by both Braun Strowman and Finn Balor during the segment, which prompted Vince McMahon to hit the ring.
McMahon made Balor vs Strowman the opening match on Raw, so it appears as if Strowman is indeed medically cleared to compete. The bout saw back-and-forth action from both Balor and Strowman, but in the end Brock Lesnar interfered, taking out Balor and causing the referee to throw out the match.
As we noted before Raw went on the air, WWE released two videos announcing John Cena had suffered an ankle injury on Raw last week, leaving his Royal Rumble match status questionable. WWE later pulled the videos from YouTube, however, Michael Cole made the same injury announcement on Raw, reiterating that Cena’s PPV status is indeed questionable as of this writing.
It remains unknown if the Cena injury is part of a storyline heading into Sunday night, or if the injury is indeed legitimate, but WWE has since issued a new video, which you can check out below, offering more details on Cena’s injury.
WWE continues teasing new faces on Monday Night Raw, as once again EC3 made an appearance in a brief backstage segment featuring Elias. Similar to the cameo he made on Raw last week, EC3 did not speak during this week’s Raw segment, which is reportedly a creative decision made by WWE officials. Apparently, Vince McMahon wants fans to see the faces of the new stars who will be debuting on the main roster in the coming weeks, despite them not having concrete creative plans as of now.
Ahead of her Raw Women’s Title match against Sasha Banks at Royal Rumble, Ronda Rousey was once again in tag team action this week, teaming up with Natalya in a losing effort to the team of Bayley and Banks. The bout was the main event of the night and ended when Natalya tapped out to The Banks Statement.
Finally on Raw this week, Lacey Evans made her debut interrupting Alexa Bliss’ “Moment of Bliss” segment. Evans cut a promo calming she will be entering the women’s Royal Rumble match on Sunday, and introduced herself to the WWE Universe as a more “sophisticated” member of the women’s division. In related news, former NXT stars Heavy Machinery made their in-ring debuts in tag team action this week, defeating The Ascension.