Happy New Year, my friends. I want to begin by thanking you for the continued support of TJRWrestling. I take a lot of pride in what we do here and I have a goal in mind for what I want to see TJRWrestling accomplish this year. I’m not going to share that publicly, but just know that I’m more driven and focused than ever.

It’s officially 2018, which means not a whole lot except when I date my articles I better remember to put the damn 8 there instead of the 7 or somebody will get mad at me. That’s really all it means. Same shit. Different day, am I right? Yes, I am.

It’s a Monday, which means it’s a Raw night with this week’s show taking place at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Here’s what is announced so far based off the preview on WWE.com.

The Return of Brock Lesnar

There’s nothing specific for Brock Lesnar, but they are hyping his “return” to Raw tonight. Keep in mind that he was just on the show two weeks ago knocking Braun Strowman out of the ring and dropping Kane with an F5. The three men are in a match at the Royal Rumble for Lesnar’s Universal Title. Since Lesnar got the upper hand two weeks ago, I assume Kane or Strowman will “look strong” this week. Starting off Raw tonight with that segment may be a smart move.

Roman Reigns defends Intercontinental Championship against Samoa Joe again

This match was announced in a tweet from Raw General Manager Kurt Angle on Friday with a stipulation on the match. The reason it was announced that way is because WWE typically holds creative meetings for the next week’s shows on Fridays, so that’s why the tweet is from Friday afternoon.

It’s possible they do a title change because I doubt Reigns is going to carry the IC Title all the way to WrestleMania. I wouldn’t do it here, though. Keep it on Reigns for now.

Enzo Amore defends Cruiserweight Championship against Cedric Alexander

Alexander earned the shot from beating Drew Gulak after they each won Fatal 4-Way matches and Rich Swann was suspended. I think it’s possible they do a title change just because it’s the first Raw of the year, so it sets the year off on a strong note. Same reason they did the Tag Team Title change last week on Raw.

There’s not much else advertised other than people declaring for Royal Rumble matches and what’s next for Rollins/Jordan as a tag team now that they are champions. There may be more matches advertised later in the day.

In other Raw news, Braun Strowman left the Raw live event tour on Thursday due to suffering from the flu. It was reported by PWInsider that Strowman will be at Raw in Miami tonight. No word on if he will have a match, but it’s been four days since he was sent home, so he’s likely doing better. Strowman is part of the big Universal Title match as mentioned, so

Meanwhile, Paige left the Raw tour early after taking a kick to the back by Sasha Banks during a match last Wednesday and was in a lot of pain after it. Good news is the injury was likely just a stinger and nothing serious. Being home for nearly a week likely allowed her body to recover. The concern with Paige obviously is that she missed over a year after major surgery, so they have to be smart about putting her back in the ring. PWInsider reports that Paige should be at Raw tonight. I don’t think she should be in a match so soon after what happened, but she can certainly appear on camera. Perhaps her Absolution buddies Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville can work a tag match with Paige outside the ring to prevent Paige from taking bumps.

The Raw crew has been on the road since Christmas Day in Chicago and worked live events every night in the last week except on Sunday, which was New Year’s Eve. The talent flew on Sunday morning from Toronto to Miami to get to Raw. The good thing is they got to leave the chilly northern US/Canada and got to fly to a much warmer climate in Miami.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

– John Cena announced on Twitter shortly after I posted this news update that he will be in the Royal Rumble.

Cena has already won it twice. I doubt he wins it again.

– The Miz wrote a long post on Instagram about how great his 2017 and a look ahead to 2018. I think 2017 was his best year as a superstar in WWE and he finished second in my WWE Johnny Awards column because of it. In 2018, he’s going to be a dad for a first time because his lovely wife Maryse is pregnant, so he definitely has a lot to look forward to.

2017….a year where: The IC Title became the most talked about, most relevant, most prestigious title in @wwe. No Title was featured more whether on Live Events, Raw, PPV, appearances, signings, and/or TV/Radio interviews. As much as I like to give all the credit to myself. WWE isn’t a one man show. It takes not only another dance partner in the ring but so many people behind the scenes as well. Thank you to all who helped make this happen. and if you thought I was annoying in 2017 wait till I get an even bigger head in 2018. I hosted The Challenge: Champs Vs Stars Season 2. From season 1 to season 2 the ratings went up 20%. I applaud the cast for not only bringing the funny, the drama, and the competitive spirit that makes this show so entertaining but for competing to raise money and awareness for charity. I loved being able to come back to the place that allowed me to realize I could do anything I set my mind to. I starred in my 4th Marine movie: The Marine 6: Close Quarters. My dad would always take me to movies when I was a kid. I would see movie posters and dream someday maybe that could be me. I am so proud and honored to be apart of this franchise. Our Armed Forces are the real action heroes. I saw that first hand on the holiday USO Tour. I shared the ring at Wrestlemania w/ my wife in front of 75,000 in the audience & millions watching at home I got to tag w/ my wife for the 1st time. I didn’t think anything could be bigger until @marysemizanin is pregnant. My boys can swim and we will be welcoming a baby girl in the spring. I can’t wait to meet her, hold her, guide her, most importantly love her the best I can. Maryse is the best tag team partner a man could ever ask for. Can’t wait to tag her in for diaper duty ? 2018 is a perfect year to set new goals. I’m excited to see where life takes me. I want to do the best I’ve ever done in WWE. I want to star in a movie to be released in theaters. I want to continue to host The Challenge. I want to be the best Dad I can be. I want to have the confidence to set goals that no matter how out of reach they are I know with hard work I will achieve them. #2017bestnine

A post shared by Mike "The Miz" Mizanin (@mikethemiz) on

– Congrats to Curt Hawkins on his impressive 152 match losing streak in 2017. Finn Balor is proud of his buddy.

– WWE runs polls on their website once in a while. They posted an interesting one (at exactly midnight) asking if John Cena will win his record-breaking 17th World Title (WWE or Universal) in 2017? You can only vote yes or no. The link is below.

http://www.wwe.com/polls/will-john-cena-win-record-17th-world-title-in-2018?sf177835463=1 

I voted yes.

– My favorite duo in WWE, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, let us know that Smackdown Live will remain their show in 2018.

Kevin is probably right about SD Live being their show because they are the top two heels on the brand. I hope neither guy gets moved to Raw post-WrestleMania because they need to stay together on Smackdown.

– Tye Dillinger may be turning heel soon. They have been testing it at house shows where fans are chanting “ten” at him like usual, but instead of encouraging them he tells them to stop. It doesn’t mean it is going to happen on TV right away, but it might be a necessary change for him since he has had such a minor role on Smackdown since getting called up to the main roster post-WrestleMania.

 

THE VIDEO SECTION

– The WWE Youtube channel posted something called “WWE Film Room” with Big Show being interviewed by Michael Cole about his feud with Floyd Mayweather that led to their big match at WrestleMania 24 in 2008. There is some good insight provided by Show talking about how fast and accurate Mayweather was when throwing punches. They also talked watched the match and talked about it in-depth. I really enjoyed it.

– The latest WWE Top video is a look at ten moments where Superstars looked invincible. You can probably pick hundreds of moments.

– There’s a Bayley interview with Peter Rosenberg talking about some stories as a fan. I was bored after about two minutes, but good luck to you if you watch it.

 

THE PLUG ZONE

– Take a look back at 2017 with the results of our TJRWrestling Staff Predictions for 2017. Some of us did poorly, including me. Is it our fault or WWE’s fault for being lazy with their storyline? You decide.

– On New Year’s Eve, I posted my ranking of the ten best WWE matches of 2017. I think the top two were a level above everything else and after that, it was tough to rank them. One thing that really stood out is that WWE had a lot of outstanding multi-man matches in 2017. As I wrote in the article, we are spoiled by great matches all the time. Hopefully, we can all learn to appreciate them better.

 

IN CLOSING

That’s all for now. It’s -20 (Celsius) out here in London, Ontario, so instead of a video I figure I’ll just share this pic that WWE superstar Mandy Rose posted when she flew from Toronto to Miami to head to Raw tonight. Thanks for the warm thoughts.

That’s all for now. I may be back tonight with a live Raw Deal, but I haven’t decided yet. Now that NFL season is over, I will write live Raw Deal’s a lot more often. Check back later in the night for the live review and if it’s not live then it should be posted early Tuesday morning at some point.