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WWE gets creative with the Rumble on Raw

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network at the 2014 International CES at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Jan. 8, 2014.

The late, great, Rowdy Roddy Piper once said, "Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions." On Monday night, WWE changed the question when it comes to the Royal Rumble.

The biggest question going into the Royal Rumble was who could win it, and earn a shot at the title at WrestleMania. There really wasn't a perfect option there. Sure, Brock Lesnar seemed like a safe option, but it could lead to an awkward build. Triple H would make perfect sense for the build and for a WrestleMania match, but how would the moment be when he won the Rumble? Would anyone else really make sense to have a big Rumble moment? It's hard to say. There was certainly a disconnect between that Rumble moment and a WrestleMania main event.

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On Monday night, WWE figured out a creative solution to that problem.

Roman Reigns successfully defended his title against Sheamus in a match that featured many shenanigans involving the guest referee, Vince McMahon. Reigns won after several refs went down, but McMahon wasn't done with his involvement. As he stumbled up the ramp, he announced that Reigns would have to live up to his "one versus all" mantra. He would be defending his title at the Royal Rumble against 29 other superstars, as the title would be up for grabs in the Royal Rumble match itself.

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This, quite frankly, is an extremely creative solution to the Rumble problem. The title being on the line changes everything when it comes to that final moment. Fans will pop for any title change, and fans, for the most part, would be OK with Reigns retaining. It also makes sure the Rumble doesn't get devalued, as some were speculating that someone could win and then challenge for the title at Fastlane, or some other time. That, in my eyes, hurts the Rumble. Putting the title on the line make sure that problem doesn't happen. Quite frankly, it's a creative solution from a creative staff that often doesn't live up to the title.

So the stakes have been raised at the Royal Rumble. Now, we'll see if they can execute.

The rest of Raw:

* Chris Jericho made his return and announced that he would be in the Rumble. He did this by interrupting a New Day promo. This is interesting, because in most situations, I think Jericho would have just showed up at the Rumble without any notice. By announcing ahead of time, and getting involved with the New Day (who went on to beat the Dudleys and Kalisto in a six-man tag match), I think he's showing that he's going to be around more regularly, at least through WrestleMania. WWE is still dealing with a depleted roster, so having Jericho back is definitely a good thing.

* A new stable formed on Raw. Four underused wrestlers -- Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose and Curtis Axel -- came out together as Slater took on Dolph Ziggler. They even helped Slater beat Ziggler in a big upset to start off the new year. After the match, they called themselves the Social Outcasts, and each gave, well, rather bizarre promos. But the point was made that this is some sort of group. It's a group that has potential, though it probably won't see them true. If they end up being a new version of 3MB, an entertaining group that ultimately doesn't go anywhere, I think I'll be OK with that.

* The Charlotte heel turn is finally complete. Charlotte and Becky Lynch had another match against each other, and this time Becky won after pulling the tights, similar to how Charlotte cheated to win a few weeks ago. Charlotte snapped after the match and attacked Becky, beating her down and leaving her laying. It was only a matter of time before this happened. This sets up Becky as the top face, and sets up Charlotte in a much more natural heel role.

* Kevin Owens and Neville had the match that was teased last week. It was a solid match, if not necessarily the incredible match that some people expected. At the end, Dean Ambrose, who was on commentary, got a measure of revenge for last week by attacking Owens and then holding up the belt. It looks like they might have a title match at the Rumble, but who knows how many matches they'll have now that the title is on the line.

* Big Show was supposed to take on Ryback in a match. Early on, the lights went out, and the Wyatts came out. They first attacked Ryback, leaving him laying. Instead of going to the back, they then surrounded the ring, and attacked Big Show. So it seems like Big Show is once again turning, this time face. Bray Wyatt is one of those guys who always gets a build going into the Rumble, so it seems like they're setting that up here. I'm not overly excited for face Big Show, but we'll see where they go with it.

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* The League of Nations, represented by Rusev and Alberto Del Rio, beat The Usos. Del Rio did a variation of his finisher where one of the Usos was laying in between the ropes, instead of holding themselves up in the corner. This looked a lot better than his corner move.

* Titus O'Neil beat Stardust in a match. These matches are fun, but aren't given enough time. I do wonder if they're going to go anywhere with it, or if it's just a random undercard feud to fill time.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comment section, email me or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also find my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jobbing-out/id998790026?mt=2


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