The WWE is less than 48 hours away from the annual Royal Rumble and Braun Strowman has the opportunity to win the WWE Universal Championship.
However, there may be different Wrestlemania plan for the monster. According to a report from Wrestling Inc., – via the Wrestling Observer Newsletter – the backstage plan is still for Roman Reigns to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania.
As for Strowman, the big man will still have an opportunity to capture WWE gold, specifically the Intercontinental Championship.
The report states Strowman is set to challenge The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship at the Show of Shows in New Orleans. Miz recently defeated Reigns for the IC title on Raw to begin his eighth reign with the championship. It’s said the reason Miz went over clean was to make his match with Strowman one of the featured bouts at Wrestlemania.
The Intercontinental Championship is one of the cornerstones in WWE’s legacy and the title has been featured in several Wrestlemania bouts over the years, with a few of those matches etching their name in the annals of professional wrestling. The two that come to mind are the title match between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III, as well as the ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania X.
An Intercontinental title bout between Miz and Strowman has the potential to be one of the most important matches at Wrestlemania. Fans who are dreading the idea of Reigns-Lesnar II have a new match to look forward to.
Both Miz and Strowman have shined on RAW in terms of in-ring work and mic time. Miz is widely regarded as one of the best heels in the company – his promos are second to none and he can work in the ring. Many fans and critics have praised Miz for helping elevate the Intercontinental Championship to a place it hasn’t been in a long time.
Strowman has has gotten over with the audience as this monster and can put on a good performance.
There’s also speculation that Miz winning the IC title is the beginning of a major push for him, one that could lead to a program for the Universal title. If Reigns wins the title from Lesnar, he and Miz could continue where their feud left off.
But if Miz is going to challenge Reigns for the Universal title, does that mean Strowman wins the IC championship at Wrestlemania? Probably and that’s a good thing.
Fans love Strowman and they want to see him succeed and win the Universal title. Having him defend the Intercontinental Championship would be a good test to see if he can carry the weight and pressure that comes with being a WWE Champion. If Strowman can shine with the IC title, then it won’t be long before he is wearing the Universal Championship – or the WWE Championship if he gets traded to Smackdown Live.
If Strowman’s IC title reign doesn’t work out or if Miz’s push gets derailed – this is WWE after all – then the two can feud over the Intercontinental Championship.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 7, 2019
For Raw, the main event between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental championship was a great match and a good way to end this rivalry and move forward with both competitors. Ambrose ended up winning after Bobby Lashley interfered and attacked Rollins. This made sense as the show opened with Rollins and Lashley brawling and these two have been at each other for the past few weeks. What’s really good to take out of this is now Rollins can focus on the Royal Rumble and Ambrose can focus on who is next contender is for his championship.
For Smackdown, the push for Shane McMahon and The Miz to go for the tag team championship was an entertaining way to help build this match up at the Royal Rumble. After Shane expressed aggressiveness and prove worthiness to earn a championship match, the Miz tried to impress him by going out there and challenging the Bar to that match by himself. The challenge was accepted and even though that isn’t what Shane meant, they are getting the match that wanted when they first formed.
For Raw, the Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar “face to face” segment fell flat. Strowman struggled on his delivery of insults to Lesnar, and the “face to face” was more of just Lesnar walking around the ring over and over again without getting in Strowman’s face. At this point, anybody but Brock Lesnar needs to hold the Universal championship in order to give it a more important feel.
For Smackdown, there was nothing they had that was really too bad. Smackdown was able to give proper time for all the rivalries they are building up.
The Final Verdict
Smackdown has been hitting on all the right cylinders with their shows for a while now. Once they establish a championship match for the PPV, they give proper buildup and interesting scenarios for each one. Along with that, when Smackdown wants to build up a rivalry just for their show, they are able to do that effectively as well. While Raw does try to do the same, there segments and matches just don’t have the spark that Smackdown is able to deliver. So, with that said, Smackdown had the better show this week. In conclusion, the Royal Rumble is one of the big 4 PPV’s for the year of 2019 for WWE, and so far it looks like everything is going right for Smackdown while Raw is still trying to find their footing.
Nikki Cross Posts Farewell to NXT
WWE superstar Nikki Cross is on her way to the main roster, looking likely to land on the SmackDown roster.
Cross posted the following farewell to NXT, where he has spent the past few years, on her social media page:
See you down the road @WWENXT
This isn’t goodbye…we caused far too much mischief and had too much fun doing it for this to be it… pic.twitter.com/0Fk8wEEUzX— Nikki Cross (@NikkiCrossWWE) January 10, 2019
Matt Hardy Hinting at In-Ring Return
Matt Hardy may not be done wrestling after all.
The WWE superstar, and future WWE Hall of Famer, had been rumored to been winding down his career and transitioning to a backstage role in 2018 as he was dealing with a number of nagging injuries.
Hardy also posted a couple of videos, and posts on social media, that echoed those intentions, at least they appeared to.
Now, Hardy seems to be hinting at an in-ring return in WWE.
Excited to check out the 1st #RAW of 2019 tonight, especially with all the interesting things that are advertised. Most importantly, I need to see where all the pieces are positioned & moving to on the @WWE chess board.
ALMOST TIME TO GET BACK INTO THE GREAT GAME…. AGEEN! pic.twitter.com/WFXeCiHb1h— #WOKEN, yet #BROKEN, Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) January 8, 2019
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