The road to the Royal Rumble has officially begun. The final Pay-Per-View for 2019 is over and done. The next stop is the Royal Rumble, which begins the road to WrestleMania!!

On this week’s RAW, two future title matches were booked, Lana forced Bobby Lashley to propose to her, and AJ Styles took on Randy Orton in a fun main event. 

The other highlight of the show was a nearly 40-minute gauntlet match, but more on that later. 

The show kicked off with Seth Rollins and The Authors of Pain in the ring. Rollins said that he is a leader and that The AOP would deal with anyone who opposed him. Rollins then said he had a score to settle and apologized for what will happen. 

This was a decent start to the show. I prefer a match to one person talking in the ring for 10 minutes. But Rollins is significantly better as a heel, and The AOP should be good for him. 

Below are three things I liked from the show, and one thing I did not like from this week’s RAW. 

1. The Potential

The winner of the gauntlet match received a US Title opportunity. My thoughts on that are below, but after the match, Rollins challenged Rey Mysterio to a US Title match next week. 

That should be an excellent match as these two superstars have never faced each other. My prediction is Rollins wins and takes the belt to further his recent heel turn. Not what I would do, but it seems that way. 

Another future title match was booked on Monday. Becky Lynch challenged Asuka to a title match. Lynch said she had beaten everyone except Asuka, and she “needs to do it for herself.”

Finally!! Asuka is a singles star, getting a title opportunity. Will she win? Probably not, but this a good start. Nothing against Kairi Sane, but Asuka should be in the RAW or Smackdown title picture year-round. 

Since the Royal Rumble is right around the corner and WrestleMania is not far behind, the WWE is going to giving it there all. This is a good start. 

2. Orton Defeats Styles

I enjoy watching Randy Orton in the ring. He is fantastic and truly has the “can strike at anytime persona.” Orton and Styles have great chemistry and will put on a good match every time they’re in the ring. 

Gallows and Anderson ended up standing tall, but I was glad to see Orton get a victory. There was nothing special about this match, but it was a solid main event.

3. The Gauntlet Match- In Ring ONLY

The wrestling in this match was fantastic. Akira Tozawa eliminated R-Truth to begin and then Ricochet then eliminated Tozawa, and Matt Hardy. Humberto Carrillo then eliminated Ricochet in a tremendous match. During the match, Zelina Vega came on to the stage and watched the match. 

After Carrillo eliminated Ricochet, Andrade attacked Carrillo from behind, using the decoy Vega provided. Andrade hit Carrillo with a double knee and then Hammerlock DDT on the concrete. Then Andrade and Vega left. 

The in-ring action was excellent. Tozawa looked strong and finally got a victory, and Hardy got everyone excited, Ricochet was excellent as usual, Carrillo ended up looking like a baby-face that everyone feels sorry for and Andrade walked away as a mega-heel. 

There was some excellent character development, and each one of these guys put on a show. This was a good segment and wasn’t an hour like most gauntlet matches tend to be. Well done, until…

One Thing I Did Not Like: The Ending To the Gauntlet Match

This was pathetic. Forty-minutes of my life wasted on a gauntlet match without a winner. There was not even a DQ finish — a straight no-contest. Andrade and Vega just walked away. Why not cover and get the victory and title opportunity? There was nothing about Andrade and Vega fighting or possibly breaking up. I guess they are okay now? 

Is Seth Rollins that important that he needs the title opportunity next week, and it could not wait a week or two? I would have liked Carrillo or Andrade to get a victory and a title opportunity, even if they didn’t win it. Just a poor decision. It came across as a time-filler and a way to put six guys on television. 

Overall, this was a pretty standard episode of RAW. There wasn’t anything special, but outside of the gauntlet match, nothing horrible either. Most everything on the show was solid to good. 

I am docking my grade by a half a point because of that gauntlet match ending. 

I give this week’s show a 2.75 out of five.

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