For the third consecutive night WWE emanated from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, as Raw finally settled back into some normalcy after spending weeks worrying about brand supremacy at Survivor Series.
Although things returned to a bit of a norm, it was still a pretty eventful evening that made for a decent show that was devoid of filler matches/segments with the sole purpose of killing time.
Unlike most weeks, the majority of the matches/segments actually had some meaning to them. They actually carried weight, which will always increase the quality of a show.
Before I go in-depth into my thoughts, here are the full match results from Toronto:
- WWE Raw Tag Team championship – The New Day def. Sheamus & Cesaro
- Cedric Alexander def. Ariya Daivari
- Rusev def. Enzo Amore
- Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. The Golden Truth
- Braun Strowman def. Sami Zayn via referee stoppage
- Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Charlotte Flair & Nia Jax
- Rich Swann def. TJ Perkins & Noam Dar
- WWE Universal championship (No disqualification) – Kevin Owens def. Seth Rollins
Goldberg entered the Royal Rumble
Less than 24 hours after defeating Brock Lesnar in less than 90 seconds, Goldberg kept himself in the headlines by announcing Monday night that he was entering the Royal Rumble.
Goldberg opened the show by going to the ring and thanking his family for motivating him to defeat Lesnar in such dominant fashion at Survivor Series.
However, he said that after his shocking victory he was approached by Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon, who wanted to if he felt as though he had one more championship run in him.
Goldberg, having just laid waste to Lesnar, said that he does and was offered a spot in the Royal Rumble so that he could not only earn a title shot, but to headline WrestleMania.
Goldberg accepted the offer thus making him the first name to become official for the match.
Once Goldberg defeated Lesnar in such decisive fashion, it was a signal to the entire wrestling world that Goldberg wasn't quite done competing in the ring.
Ensuring that Goldberg will be at the Royal Rumble is a smart decision on WWE's part, which is looking to pull out all of the stops to fill up a stadium for the Royal Rumble for the first time since 1997.
I think the Royal Rumble simply being in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas alone will sell a bunch of tickets, but adding big names to the card to expedite that process is never a bad thing.
Owens fends off Rollins
While the program began with Goldberg, it ended with a very entertaining WWE Universal championship match between Owens and Rollins.
Rollins got the title match by essentially cashing in the "future opportunities" he was offered for joining Team Raw at Survivor Series. The caveat was that the match was no disqualification and Owens' best friend Chris Jericho was banned from ringside. The same went for Roman Reigns.
Despite being banned, Jericho still showed up donning a hoodie and a Sin Cara mask to hide his true identity. That didn't last very long, as Rollins quickly ripped off the mask to reveal it was Jericho.
Owens used the momentary distraction to super kick Rollins and power bomb him on the apron. Owens rolled Rollins back into the ring and pinned him.
The victory for Owens was not only another title defense, but it also seemingly put an end to his rivalry with Rollins. Since Jericho cost Rollins the match by interfering, expect those two to begin a rivalry moving forward.
As for the champion, he'll probably face Reigns in some sort of winner-take-all match. Owens and Jericho made sure to mention Reigns during another edition of the Highlight Reel earlier in the night, as they blamed him for the men's Survivor Series team losing to Smackdown Live.
I think both feuds could be very entertaining, but I think more importantly, it gives Raw new course with its main event, which was teetering on the verge of being stale after fans were witnessing the same pairings over and over again.
Two title matches set for next week
WWE is looking to make next week's Raw an eventful one as well, as it will put on two championship matches.
The first one that was made was the Raw Women's championship, which will be up for grabs when Charlotte defends against Banks in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C.
Banks earned the rematch due to her rematch clause from losing the title to Charlotte at Hell in a Cell. She then teamed with Bayley to defeat Charlotte and Jax.
As for next week, I fully expect Charlotte to retain once again and from there, move on to Bayley as her new rival.
It is weird that the babyface loses in her hometown, but I'm pretty certain the heel will, but that looks to be the direction WWE is headed in.
Banks and Charlotte have closed Raw in the past and obviously were the first two women to enter Hell in a Cell and main event a pay-per-view, but I would not be surprised if this was not the main event next week.
That isn't to say Banks and Charlotte worthy because they definitely are. I'm just not sure WWE believes this feud still has enough heat after their Hell in a Cell match together. There aren't too many places to go after that.
The other title match scheduled for next week will be The New Day looking to get one step closer to breaking Demolition's tag team record, as the trio defends their titles against familiar foe in Gallows and Anderson.
The New Day successfully defended their titles against Sheamus and Cesaro Monday, but did so in underhanded fashion.
Although The New Day have been good guys for a while, they have won by nefarious means. It didn't help that there was a contingent of fans booing The New Day, which they even acknowledged.
I'm not sure if it any of that will mean anything by next week, but it was an interesting development in my eyes.
Another title match that was scheduled for next, but on the debut episode of 205 Live was The Brian Kendrick defending his WWE Cruiserweight championship against Rich Swann, who earned the opportunity after defeating Perkins and Dar.
Zayn sentenced to a match with Strowman
To say Foley is a conflicted character would be an understatement.
On one hand he wants to do the right thing, but on the other, he has to appease a boss in Stephanie McMahon, who has the tendency to abuse her power as commissioner.
A prime example of that was Monday night when the authority figures felt the need to punish Zayn for not bringing the Intercontinental championship to Raw. They felt that way despite knowing that The Miz cheated to win.
The punishment for losing was a one-on-one match with Strowman. Zayn gave it his best shot, but the physical punishment he received was too much.
Eventually, a sympathetic Foley came out and implored the referee to stop the match, which he did.
I questioned Foley's decision to punish Zayn, but at least he was reluctant in doing so. He looked as though he was just trying to remain in good standing with his boss when he made the match.
With that said, Foley has bucked Stephanie McMahon in the past, which makes it a little more puzzling why he didn't do so here.
Whatever the reason, I don't think it helps Foley as a character. His character lacked integrity not because he booked Zayn in a match against Strowman, but because he seemingly did it to keep his job in tact.
Amore dons his birthday suit
One of the more bizarre but hilarious segments from Monday was Amore being locked outside of the locker room with no clothes on.
Since he was butt, booty naked, WWE blurred out his private area. Being naked didn't stop Amore from walking proudly around the backstage are, which is where he ran into Lana.
Before Amore could say too much to Lana, Rusev stepped in and challenged him to a match for disrespecting his wife. He then covered Lana's eyes and walked away.
Amore was all but squashed during his match against Rusev, but that is not what I will remember. I think most will remember Amore marching around in his birthday suit.