Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt will collide on Monday's WWE Raw with their sights set on becoming the No. 1 contender for the Universal Championship.
In order to decide who next faces Brock Lesnar for his title, six men will battle inside the Elimination Chamber at the pay-per-view of the same name on Feb. 25. Before that bout, Raw has hosted a number of qualifying matches to set the lineup for the trip inside Satan's Playground.
Reigns vs. Wyatt will be the latest, a hard-hitting contest with clear stakes and previous animosity to tap into.
There will still be some ripples from the Royal Rumble on Monday's show, but Raw has to now focus on building toward Elimination Chamber 2018. That includes setting the lineup for the first women's Elimination Chamber match, figuring what The Miz will be up to and clearing up the Raw Tag Team Championship picture.
Des Moines, Iowa, will host the latest stage of all that as stars like Asuka, Reigns and John Cena invade the Wells Fargo Arena.
News updates, the Raw preview on WWE.com and storyline projections help preview what to expect on Monday's episode. The action will then kick off at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.
Raw general manager Kurt Angle could be returning to the ring. The Olympian has wrestled in two tag team matches since returning to WWE last April, but he has mostly been used as an authority figure.
Angle, though, teased a return to his old self on Instagram:
Fans should be on the lookout for any potential WrestleMania bouts WWE teases for him.
Angle's storyline son Jason Jordan, meanwhile, may be out of action for some time. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc), a neck injury has Jordan struggling with his grip.
Jordan recently dropped the Raw Tag Team Championship to The Bar in a match where he was barely physically involved.
It doesn't look like @JasonJordanJJ can continue in this #RAW #TagTeamTitles match... #RoyalRumble https://t.co/Q589M9xTGr2018-1-29 02:32:37
WWE has yet to announce that it has reinstated Rich Swann, but the former cruiserweight champion may be back soon. Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported at the end of January: "Swann was cleared today of all charges stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident that took place last month."
Braun Strowman hasn't been able to land PPV victories, but The Monster Among Men has been untouchable on TV.
Strowman hasn't lost in 11 tries in televised bouts, per CageMatch.net. His list of victims in that span includes Reigns, Rhyno, Kane, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. And that doesn't include the damage he's done to inanimate objects from steel scaffolding to announce tables.
The fact that WWE hasn't pulled the trigger on him as world champ upsets some fans, but there's no doubt he is booked as one of the most dominant forces on the roster.
The same cannot be said for Heath Slater who is giving Curt Hawkins a run for his money as Raw's most reliable loser.
Slater is winless in 2018 and has gone 0-6-1 in his last seven bouts, per CageMatch.net. He and Rhyno haven't won a match as a team since the night before Halloween.
It continues to look as if Slater and Rhyno will occupy the lowest rung of the red brand's tag team ladder.
The women's Elimination Chamber match will begin to take shape on Monday.
Last week, WWE announced that Alexa Bliss will defend her Raw women's title inside the unforgiving structure. The bout will mark the first time women will compete in the Elimination Chamber bout.
How does @AlexaBliss_WWE feel about defending the #RAW #WomensChampionship inside the first-ever Women's Elimination Chamber match? #WWEChamber https://t.co/uzWf6LfCgT2018-1-31 10:00:38
Because she's the champ, Bliss is a given as an entrant. There are still five other spots to fill, something that should start to happen in Iowa.
"Look for female Superstars to be confirmed this Monday for this anticipated and history-making match," WWE.com's Raw preview stated.
The Miz's road is less obvious than Bliss' after he vanquished his rival. The A-Lister fended off Reigns last week to keep hold of the Intercontinental Championship.
#AndStill #ICTitle #RAW @mikethemiz https://t.co/1iD4o8XyAl2018-1-30 02:22:28
With Reigns now focused on the Elimination Chamber and a pursuit of the Universal Championship, The Miz is likely to start a new story with another foil. A fresh challenger is sure to emerge en route to the Feb. 25 PPV.
As for the Raw Tag Team Championship picture, Monday's episode should offer some hints of what's to come.
Injury has halted The Bar's last two rivalries. If Jordan and Rollins aren't coming for the gold, WWE is going to have to send a fresh set of challengers at them.
Titus O'Neil and Apollo Crews are getting some momentum of late but still feel like low-card talent. The Revival has looked more formidable (a beatdown from D-Generation X at Raw 25 aside), but their heel status makes a showdown with fellow villains The Bar unlikely.
Some creativity will be needed for the tag team scene in that case.
The biggest focus on Monday's Raw will undoubtedly be on the Elimination Chamber. Three men have already earned their place in the big match—Elias, Strowman and Cena. That still leaves three empty spots.
Old rivals Reigns and Wyatt will have to get by each other to claim one of them.
Reigns is the heavy favorite, as a clash with Lesnar for the Universal Championship has been the expected WrestleMania matchup for months. Wyatt, meanwhile, may stumble thanks to Matt Hardy. Those two oddballs are in the midst of a feud that hasn't yet hit a high gear.
Hardy costing Wyatt would certainly amp up the bad blood between them.
Regardless of how the Elimination Chamber qualifier shakes out, though, fans are bound to see some high-quality action. Reigns has been on an impressive roll of late, producing Raw's best match again and again.