Raw Recap: January 9, 2017
Aired on January 9, 2017

Roman Reigns’ odds of retaining his United States Title went from rough to near-insurmountable over the course of about five minutes in the beginning of Raw when Braun Strowman came to the ring to exact revenge on The Big Dog for last week’s double Spear. The Monster Among Men picked a hell of a time to make his move, as the bell hadn’t even tolled on Reigns’ U.S. Title defense against Jeri-KO when Strowman came calling. The Gift of Destruction’s assault was thankfully cut short by the arrival of Seth Rollins, whom Strowman had been fighting backstage before Raw even started in earnest.

Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon — who was in the middle of evaluating Mick Foley when Strowman broke loose — made her entrance right as the chairs came out and managed to salvage the debacle by sanctioning the immediate matchup of Rollins vs. Strowman. She also gave Reigns till later in the night to prepare for a reset of his title defense, but that might all be for naught. Thanks to Strowman, Reigns’ handicap might have gone from metaphorical to literal.

Seth Rollins went high-risk against Braun Strowman, but, alas, high reward was in short supply at the end of the impromptu matchup that saw an impending victory slip from The Architect’s fingers. Which isn’t entirely to say Rollins lost the match. He did so much damage to Strowman with a Frog Splash late in their matchup that, even though Rollins missed a top-rope leap to the outside and found himself hurled into the audience, The Gift of Destruction was too winded. He couldn’t get both himself and Rollins back into the ring to beat the 10-count. The decision freed Strowman up to wail on The Architect with a chair, but Rollins quickly countered and managed to drive Strowman off for the time being.

If it seemed like Raw General Manager Mick Foley has been on unusually thin ice with Stephanie McMahon lately, that’s probably because, low-key, he was. As a result of Braun Strowman’s earlier, unchecked rampage, Stephanie McMahon cautioned that The Hardcore Legend — who was coincidentally due to be evaluated right when Strowman broke loose— would need to make The Undertaker’s rumored return a reality to save his job.

Facing termination, Foley all but begged The Phenom to appear, but when the legendary Superstar remained in the shadows, Stephanie began to dress down the WWE Hall of Famer for his management gambles and allowing SmackDown LIVE to defeat Raw in the ratings. At that point, Foley was quite literally saved by the bell — or gong, as it were — as The Deadman finally made his grand return to the city where The Streak was snapped. He came with an announcement, too: No longer beholden to any man (or woman) in WWE, Undertaker revealed he had “dug 29 holes for 29 souls” and would be entering the Royal Rumble Match to lay them all to rest. ... It was a development that Braun Strowman, observing on a monitor backstage, seemed veerrrryyy intrigued by.

In other action ... Jack Gallagher def. Drew Gulak ... Big Cass def. Jinder Mahal ... Neville def. Lince Dorado ... and Raw Tag Team Champion Sheamus def. Luke Gallows.

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