There was a show long storyline this week on Raw involving the Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble. For the past month, we were told it would be Braun Strowman challenging Universal Champion Brock Lesnar for the title at Royal Rumble, but after the first 15 minutes of Raw, Strowman was removed from that spot and a new challenger would be crowned later in the night.
We should have more on why Strowman was removed tomorrow, but the belief is that his elbow injury wasn’t going to allow him to wrestle in 13 days, so WWE had to change plans.
Here’s the update on Strowman being removed from the Universal Title match: The short version of the story is that it wasn’t injury related and it was just Vince McMahon changing his mind. For the more detailed version, click the link and read the post.
It led to a Fatal 4-Way main event where Finn Balor (who beat Jinder Mahal earlier in the night) won a nearly 20-minute main event match against Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and John Cena. Balor won by pinning Cena with the Coup de Grace double foot stomp. After the match was over, Cena told Balor that he believed in him, so Cena put over Balor in the match and then on the microphone as well.
The win by Balor means he will face Brock Lesnar in one-on-one action for the first time ever on January 27th at Chase Field at the Royal Rumble. Here’s the lineup.
30 Man Royal Rumble Match (John Cena, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Elias, Jinder Mahal, Jeff Hardy, Bobby Lashley, Andrade “Cien” Almas, Rey Mysterio, Mustafa Ali, R-Truth at #30)
30 Woman Royal Rumble Match (Natalya, Naomi, Bayley, Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Alicia Fox, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Zelina Vega, Mickie James, Carmella at #30)
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bar – Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami