It’s Monday, which means only one thing to anyone who calls themselves a wrestling fan. It’s time to while away the hours between now and Raw. The red brand of WWE’s wacky circus is at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky for tonight’s show. Let’s take a look at what’s on tap, and try to figure out what our expectations might be.
Cream Rises to the Top
I use that subhead, but it’s not true. Cream, particularly when stirred into coffee, blends. Bubbles rise to the top. But I digress. I missed the mark by a long shot last week, predicting they’d keep Seth Rollins and AJ Styles apart for a while. Like Smooth Jimmy Apollo says, “when you’re right 52 per cent of the time, you’re wrong 48 per cent of the time.” The proverbial cream in this scenario, Rollins and Styles, have risen to the top of the Raw card. We can’t expect both to stay in babyface roles for much longer. It seems more likely Styles will be the man to turn to the dark side. We’ve got three episodes of Raw, including tonight’s, between now and Money in the Bank. Expect to see the pair shoved together as a team, and look for seeds of discord to be planted therein.
The Official Preview highlights tonight’s Moment of Bliss. Alexa Bliss will be revealing the Raw participants for both MITB ladder matches. No doubt this will lead to pushing, shoving and general shenanigans on her show, but I guess that’s the point. As to whom we might expect to see named, Miss Bliss herself should be a lock. Naomi and her glowsticks would be a fairly safe bet, and I’ll go with Sasha too. There’s a lot they can do from a story perspective if Bayley’s in there. As for the guys, it seems more open. Any of The Miz, Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, or Samoa Joe fit. But what about the newly-repackaged Robert Roode or Bray Wyatt? Speaking of Wyatt, anyone else catch a distinct ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ vibe off him? Expect a couple of matches tonight to determine who gets a chance to climb the ladder.
Back to Becky No Belts?
Looks like Becky Two Belts Lynch will be headed back to her Man moniker come Money in the Bank. With title matches scheduled against Lacey Evans for the Raw strap, and Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown championship, Lynch is in a tight spot. They’re booking the champ to look like she’s in dire straights at the PPV, so expect more pressure piled on tonight. Evans has been booked like a lady not to be trifled with, but needs more in-ring build to gain credibility as a challenger. If Lynch is only going to hold on to one of her titles at MITB, it’ll be this one. Tonight, expect some sort of match featuring these two, probably a tag bout with Lynch and Evans on opposite sides.
The tag team divisions should get a little love tonight, although anything more than one match would be a bigger investment than last week. The Viking Raiders (let’s see what they’re called tonight) will more than likely get another squash win to establish their monsterism. Look for the B-Team to take the hit on this one, with Lucha House Party still probably hospitalized from last week. It’d be nice to see the Raw Tag Team champs in the ring, or maybe the Usos taking on the Revival for a really good tag match. It would also be nice if the current Women’s Tag Team Champs could get a win, but they seem to be stuck in the old Creative vacuum.
Wrappin’ It Up
Last week’s Raw felt very introductory. The audience was properly introduced to the new stars shaken over the week before. We were also informed of new additions to the roster, such as US Champ Samoa Joe and Cesaro. A new number-one contender was decided. Familiar faces on Raw met newcomers in backstage segments. It felt like a giant feel-out process happening throughout the show. I am a huge proponent of going at a slow creative pace in order to gauge the audience. However, because the PPV calendar is so packed, they’ve only got weeks to thrust together some initial stories. Expect the pace to pick up somewhat, so there are matches to build anticipation for. On a scale of one to five, with five being, “I’ve got a Robert Roode mustache,” and one being, “I’ve got X-Pac’s facial hair,” expect tonight’s Raw to rate a three.
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