1 – Big Cass vs Rusev (Kickoff Match)
I think they powers that be are high on Cass and maybe not so much on Enzo (from a “main eventer” point of view) so I can see Cass winning this opening match to 1) Have a happy-time Face Victory start the show and 2) Slowly begin a 2017 push for Cass that separates him from Enzo.
2 -Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman (10-minute time limit match)
Given that the win condition here is “survive for 10 minutes,” I’d be surprised if Sami just eats it and has to leave 2016 with yet another loss on his record. I’m actually excited for this, just to see if Sami can topple Braun at all or at least give him pause / even get a reasonable 2-count. That alone would be some kind of victory. But I don’t think he’ll “win” with a pinfall – so what are we voting on? I think Sami will survive… is that a good prediction??
3- Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann vs Brian Kendrick vs TJ Perkins
V excited for this, hoping they cut loose and veer more towards a CWC match than a standard, underwhelming RAW cruiserweight match. As for the victor, TJP & Kendrick have had their moments, IMO, and it’s time to give Swann some kind of push and set up some fresh matches for the new year and road to WM Sunshine. I suspect TLP / TBK can’t keep their hands off each other and that gives Swann the opening he needs.
PICK: Rich Swann
4 – Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day vs Cesaro and Sheamus
LE SIIIIIIGH New Day has had a great run… and then a pretty irritating, uneventful Purgatory of a run just so they could break an old retention record. Now that they’ve done this, it seems like time to give the rub to a new team, and boy does Cesaro deserve some gold. Er, copper. BUT – this past RAW was a great New Day showcase and if that’s how we can see them perform week in, week out, then hey, I’m not quite ready to see them lose. And I think they’re still solid moneymakers for WWE, and will end up keeping their titles for at least one more show.
PICK: The New Day
5- Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho
Seth wins because he’s gotta fight Triple H in a few months, right? Can’t have him losing clean to Jericho here. I could see some kind of interference, perhaps from H himself, but even then I gotta imagine Seth comes out looking like a formidable opponent.
PICK: Seth Rollins
6- Raw Women’s Champion Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (30-minute Iron Man match)
Part of me hopes they have a draw here, just to hammer home the “they are evenly matched” subtext of all these title changes. Then they can pick up this feud down the line, perhaps for SummerSlam next year, and give Mania season a fresh matchup. I’m gonna say draw!
PICK: Sasha Banks
7- WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
While I do think this will be a fun match, I can’t care less about the outcome. Roman’s US title isn’t on the line, so Owens has little to gain here. If he wins, great, he could use the clean victory. If he loses, Roman is now a 2x belt holder, a feat Rollins accomplished last year to reasonably good effect. I’d be surprised if they pulled that trick again though, especially so soon, so I figure Owens wins and we get a Finn match in the coming months.
PICK: Kevin Owens
There you have it! Reply with your match picks and your choice of wrestler theme for next week’s Patreon-exclusive Cheap Popcast below!