Picture: WWE

En route to the Royal Rumble, the American Nightmare confirmed his much-anticipated comeback and Kevin Owens got the last laugh over The Bloodline on Smackdown.

Welcome to the WWE Weekly Round-up, where The Inner Sanctum will take you through this week’s most pivotal moments on WWE television and preview what shapes to be a huge period ahead.

There was also a huge focus on the blue brand’s tag team division, while Raw looks ahead to their 30th anniversary with a great card and returning legends lined up for the show.

Cody Rhodes declares for the Royal Rumble upon return

Over the past three weeks, vignettes have aired on television to showcase Cody Rhodes’ injury and recovery after he tore his pectoral muscle in June. On Monday Night Raw, the American Nightmare revealed in this week’s segment that he will return during the men’s Royal Rumble match.

Rhodes has been the overwhelming favourite to win the battle royal, as he has made it clear since coming back to WWE that his goal is to win the Undisputed Universal Championship for his father.

Some fans were disappointed with the announcement of his return and argued that it should have been left as a surprise, but it was the world’s worst-kept secret that the American Nightmare was going to appear at the Royal Rumble.

The confirmation only increases the show’s excitement, but now potentially opens the door for an even grander return from The Rock. He looms as the only candidate to win the men’s Royal Rumble apart from Rhodes, which would set up the much-anticipated match against Roman Reigns.

Time will tell on what the battle royal will entail, but the American Nightmare’s star power has been heavily missed and he will be welcomed back to Raw with open arms. Rhodes could reignite his feud with Seth Rollins, but the preferred option from the fanbase is the WrestleMania main event against the Tribal Chief.

Raw XXX to feature two title clashes, a steel cage match and a Trial of Sami Zayn

The Royal Rumble maybe next Sunday, but fans can also look forward to next week’s edition of Monday Night Raw. Not only will it serve as the Premium Live Event’s go-home show, but it will also be the 30th anniversary of the longest-running weekly episodic program in history.

Raw XXX has been bolstered by the returns of numerous legends, such as The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and Kurt Angle, although it is unknown at which capacities.

Austin Theory will defend his United States Championship against Bobby Lashley after the All Mighty was victorious in a 6-way elimination match on this week’s episode of Raw. The Judgment Day will also challenge The Usos for the Raw Tag Team Titles only, as a result of winning a turmoil last week.

Becky Lynch and Bayley are set to meet in a rematch from December 20, where the latter admitted to The Man that she doesn’t need Damage CTRL to help her win. Therefore, the two will collide in a steel cage which should conclude their rivalry.

Finally and most intriguingly, The Bloodline will hold a Trial of Sami Zayn following what occurred on Smackdown.

The segment was originally supposed to be an acknowledgment ceremony in celebration of Roman Reigns, where multiple members of the family would participate. However, WWE confirmed on their Twitter page that it has been changed for the Honorary Uce to appear before a Tribal Court.

The 30th anniversary of Raw has been injected with excitement and is shaping to be an incredible view, as the show in the past several weeks has been mostly uninteresting and disengaging. It will kickstart a very important week for WWE, before Friday Night Smackdown and the Royal Rumble on January 29.

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First round of tag team tournament commences on Smackdown

Following Raw’s tag team turmoil, Friday Night Smackdown featured the first round of a tournament to ultimately determine the number one contenders for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.

Drew McIntyre and Sheamus prevailed over The Viking Raiders in the best match of the night, while Hit Row defeated Los Lotharios. The victorious duos will meet next week to book their ticket in the final.

Imperium earned a surprising win over The Brawling Brutes and will compete against Legado Del Fantasma for a place in the final, who made quick work of the Maximum Male Models.

A fascinating prospect would have been McIntyre and Sheamus colliding against The Brawling Brutes in the final, but both teams have already challenged The Usos previously and neither match would have been fresh.

The Scotsman and Celtic Warrior should still progress to the last match of the tournament, with Imperium likely to be their opponent. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci becoming the number one contenders would be the right decision, as the pair need to start legitimising themselves to complement Gunther’s dominant reign as Intercontinental Champion.

They also have not faced The Usos and much like The Judgment Day, it would create an interesting dynamic and further strengthen the current champions if they were to defeat another different team.

Kevin Owens bests The Bloodline in contract signing

Friday Night Smackdown was supposed to conclude with a contract signing between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens for their Undisputed Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble, but the latter had other plans.

The Prizefighter jumped the Tribal Chief and Solo Sikoa, who were waiting for Owens to make his way to the ring. He then fought off The Usos who quickly entered the scene, before planting Reigns through the table with a pop-up powerbomb and eventually signing the contract.

Sami Zayn was nowhere to be seen until the end and as he tried to get his hands on his former best friend, Owens escaped through the crowd to close another edition of Smackdown.

During the show, the Honorary Uce expressed his disappointment to Reigns following last week’s events where The Bloodline unexpectedly cost him a certain victory against the Prizefighter. The Tribal Chief once again got frustrated at Zayn and argued that he doesn’t need to tell him the game plan, before later retracting.

More dissension arose between the two and although Reigns has always ended up forgiving Zayn, the latter’s departure from The Bloodline is becoming more apparent each week and it’s only a matter of when it will finally occur.

Monday Night Raw may be where it all comes crashing down.

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