Knoxville may not have a new ball coach, but they’ve got WWE!
Stacking days as Intercontinental champ is in Miz’s rearview for now, as he focuses on keeping The Marine franchise alive for longer than anyone thought possible. At least he got to contribute to a hot main event with Roman Reigns before he left. Now we find out if The Big Dog will continue to give us those, or if his time with the IC title will be as lackluster as his last run with a secondary one was.
Not that that was Roman’s fault. As U.S. champ, he was booked as the foil for Jeri-KO in a program that also made the Universal title feel unimportant (but at least it was around, I suppose). The new champ and WWE are teasing an open challenge series for his title. Is there any chance that leads to Reigns breaking out the way John Cena’s United States championship open challenge helped Cena become an unlikely fan favorite?
It seems unlikely, for a number of reasons. The main one is - I’m not sure Raw has the right people positioned to be compelling challengers. Cena’s open challenge was pre-brand split, and was used to bring up some folks from NXT fans were dying to see. Roman is limited to half the roster, and there aren’t a bunch of Owens-es and Sami Zayns waiting for a call-up right now (I’d personally probably pass out if we hear “Root of All Evil” in response to The Guy asking if anyone wants to try to take his yard - but I don’t see it happening).
What seems more likely is a program alongside his Shield buds where all three men deal with tag champs Cesaro and Sheamus. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were already talking up getting the pairs title back from The Bar before The Swiss Superman and The Celtic Warrior tried to help Miz last week.
There’s a long way to go before the red brand’s next pay-per-view (PPV), so Creative should have a chance to try out a few things to make Roman’s latest reign impressive. We’ll see how they choose to start it out tonight.
The title scene
While the internet argues about his next challenger, Universal champion Brock Lesnar will be in Canada.
After some time off for a feud where her belt wasn’t on the line, Women's titleholder Alexa Bliss suddenly finds herself beset by potential challengers. If the 4Way General Manager Kurt Angle booked Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley wasn’t enough, there’s the still undefeated and very dominant-looking Asuka. And that’s before we get to the newcomers, but more on them below.
Remember when Enzo Amore was drawing interest to the Cruiserweight title scene? Yeah, me neither (just kidding, I do remember - it was when that Neville guy was still around). Anyway, the quest for his next challenger is supposed to continue tonight.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- So... what’s the story with Paige’s posse? We knew the Anti-Diva was making a comeback, but we didn’t expect for her to bring Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose with her. And then three more NXT ladies showed up on Tuesday, and rumor has it they all may be aligned with Saraya’s baby girl. One thing is for sure. Paige immediately feels like a very big deal. And that’s great news for Glampires, but maybe not for the women of Raw, who tend to get pushed one at a time.
- After Braun Strowman issued a warning to Triple H and put a beating on Angle’s son, Jason Jordan, an old friend returned to pay him a visit. Kane’s latest appearance put feuds with all those authority figures and relatives of authority figures, on hold. Now, in the city where he’s running for mayor, the Devil’s Favorite Demon will try to further derail the Monster Among Men’s WrestleMania campaign.
- Whether he’s over or not, Finn Bálor got choked out by Samoa Joe last week. Does that qualify him for an Intercontinental title shot? He thinks so.
- Whether he’s broken or not, Matt Hardy is pissed. Just ask Elias.
Nine weeks until Royal Rumble!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?