Last week saw a fairly uneventful episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw, with the bulk of the three hours building up Evolution and Crown Jewel (where’s that being held again?). What, if any, reasons can we expect to have to tune in tonight?
Tonight’s presentation from Rhode Island will be the go-home show for the company’s first all-women’s presentation, so we should naturally expect that will be a focus. Rumour has it Lita has been spotted in town, and if that’s true she’ll more than likely make an appearance. Ronda Rousey lit into the Bellas last week in a promo reminiscent of A.J. Lee. There are still rumours floating around online Ms. Lee will make an appearance at the PPV. It seems unlikely, considering her husband’s stance on the company, but this program would at least seem suitable from a story line perspective. Regardless, expect to see Ronda lay the smack down on at least one of the twins tonight, probably Brie, to set up the absolute beating she’ll be putting on Nikki come Sunday.
The Official Preview for tonight says more matches will be added to the Evolution card. If you’re one of the ladies just getting a match now, you’re probably even more unhappy than those tossed randomly into another random battle royal. For a show that had so much time for so much more hype, Evolution (at least on Raw), feels lost in the shuffle.
If you’re into the current top-tier Raw story of a fractured Shield trying to put down the assault by the fractured Dogs of War (if that is their real name), you should be in luck. Expect tonight’s show to once again focus on the six men as Creative continues to blur the lines between good guy and bad guy. They seem intent on trying to show that, whether you’re on the side of good or evil, we all face the same problems with trust and insecurities. McIntyre went into last week with a point to prove to Braun Strowman, and by the end of the show, he’d proven that point. Considering Braun’s never really been portrayed as a thoughtful, introspective fella, we can assume he’ll be looking to tear Drew’s head off tonight – at least to start the show. Whether or not Dolph Ziggler can, or wants to, try to settle things down remains to be seen. In the face locker room, Roman Reigns has to decide if he wants to work on keeping his Shield brothers from going back to war with one another, or focus on his title defense at Crown Jewel in two weeks. It feels like the groups need to be, at least loosely, kept together until Survivor Series for the payoff break-up of one team, or the other, on that night. So expect another long evening of teased backstabbing and turning, which will once again leave the same questions dangling for another week. Expect at some point Acting GM Baron Corbin to book a tag match mixing up the squads – something like Ziggler and Ambrose vs Braun and Rollins, just to further muddy the waters.
Outside of this, what can we expect? Well, we know Bobby Lashley and the irritating Lio Rush will be appearing. Will Finn Balor confront Lashley after the brief tease last week? At least it would give Balor something to do besides push the Mixed Match Challenge. Maybe another Kurt Angle / Conquistador moment? Goldust under the golden suit and mask would be worth a chuckle.
With any luck, we can expect to see something different tonight with Elias – although chances aren’t great, Creative like to stick with a formula once they’ve found one. We can definitely expect to see Elias take issue with Apollo Crews’ interruption of last week. It’s just a matter of if it will take the form of a backstage attack, a mid-match interference, or the usual Elias on a bar stool. It’s more likely we get Elias and his guitar, turning the biggest cheers of the night into the biggest heat as he rips into the Patriots or Red Sox, until Crews comes out to chase him from the ring.
Fortunately, the seniors division took a back seat last week. There were rumours spotted through the week that Shawn Michaels would be dragging himself to Raw this evening, so we’ll wait and see. With just tonight and next Monday left before Crown Jewel, certainly expect the big DX vs Destruction Bros. match to get some time and love. It’s just a question of how much time, and how much love. Since it’s technically DX’s “turn” this week, and at least one of those guys will definitely be in the building, and since Trips doesn’t usually turn down a chance to be in front of the camera, it’s safe to expect at least Hunter cutting a live promo.
So with all of that in mind, Raw and the WWE seem set to stay the course, no matter how many people turn away. The biggest question of the night is undoubtedly, “Will anyone say ‘Saudi’ or ‘Arabia’?” They’ve gotta pull a pretty big rabbit out of somewhere soon. And not literally Adam Rose’s Rabbit, before God forbid someone there thinks that’s a good idea. This show needs an injection of new, and fast. On a scale of one to five, with five being ‘Six Stars’ and one being ‘I’ve Got The Greatest Matches of Paul Roma Around Here Somewhere,’ expect tonight’s show to be a two.