WWE Raw is on the road to WWE Royal Rumble 2023. In this week’s episode of WWE Raw, there are two scheduled matches: Austin Theory (c) vs. Seth Rollins for the U.S. Championship and Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship.
In terms of the upcoming PPV, there are no Raw-affiliated matches scheduled yet, but it has been rumored that Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley as well as Edge vs. Finn Balor inside Hell in a Cell will be added to this card to put an end to their personal rivalries from 2022.
The following will provide some rapid-fire predictions for what should be an exciting show of WWE Raw tonight.
WWE Raw is scheduled to take place on January 2, 2023, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT live on the USA Network. Here are some predictions for this week’s show.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Austin Theory [U.S. Championship]
Seth Rollins will dethrone Austin Theory to become the new United States Champion because he can’t lose his momentum and has to maintain high credibility until he inevitably battles Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39. Despite the sledgehammer attack, Cody did say he was officially done with Seth Rollins, which means it is unlikely he will return to interfere in this title match. However, if Rollins has the U.S. Title, that would provide an incentive for Rhodes to target Rollins again and win a championship that has eluded his career.
It is understandable that Theory’s second U.S. Title reign would be utterly useless if he were to lose the title back to the same person he dethroned within two months of winning it. It is also understandable that he needs this title reign to redeem himself from that failed MITB cash-in. It is even understandable that he has unfinished business as the champ with the likes of Dolph Ziggler and Mustafa Ali. Theory definitely and undoubtedly needs this win, but this is the road to WrestleMania and Seth Rollins has bigger fish to fry.
If WWE does not plan to separate the world titles, Seth Rollins needs to win here and defend the U.S. belt against Cody Rhodes so that there are higher stakes for their fourth match. Alternatively, if WWE actually separates the world titles and Rollins is correctly rumored to battle Rhodes for the WWE Title, it is true that Rollins cannot win the U.S. Title here but he also cannot lose a mid-card title match before contending for a world title at Mania. Consequently, Rollins cannot lose this match to Theory and must win by pinfall, submission, count-out, or DQ to remain protected.
Prediction: Seth Rollins
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss [Raw Women’s Championship]
Bianca Belair will defeat Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Title because she is still the bigger picture on the road to Mania. Although there’s a solid argument by the potential naysayers to book Bliss to win here to solidify her heel turn and spooky gimmicks, Belair needs to have that teased WrestleMania title match against Ripley. They had too many stare-offs on Raw to not capitalize on it now. Bliss will be fine in defeat, as she aims to discover her true identity and continue developing her character. Her character is not in the right mind state to win a title just yet.
Prediction: Bianca Belair
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