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WWE Raw preview (April 17, 2017): What it needs

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As things settle into place after the Shake-Up, here’s what to expect from Team Red in Columbus, Ohio.

The Headliner

We may have seen him on the house show circuit this weekend, but according to’s official preview for tonight’s show, Roman Reigns if still recovering “from multiple injuries” he suffered at the hands of Braun Strowman last week.

In building to another match or matches between the two, Strowman was booked to interrupt Reigns interview with Michael Cole last week and viciously assault him. With the help of some good old-fashioned Hollywood tricks, Braun was not only able to push his rival off a loading dock while strapped to a gurney, but also flip over an ambulance with the Big Dog inside.

WWE implies the recently-hospitalized-but-still-spearing (ahhyessir) Roman will be out recovering from his multiple injuries, while wondering how General Manager Kurt Angle hopes to contain Strowman.

But do we really think Romey’s not showing up? Isn’t a separated shoulder just another thing to overcome?

The title scene

Universal champion Brock Lesnar isn't advertised for Columbus - or anything much from now until mid-May. So get used to that. The battle raging between Reigns and Strowman should produce Lesnar’s next challenger, so that’s another reason to keep our eyes on how the Big Dog and the Monster Among Men follow-up on last week’s epic backstage scene.

Kevin Owens has already debuted on SmackDown, but it’s really the United States title the blue brand acquired. If Chris Jericho beats his former best fried at Payback on April 30, he’ll go work for Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon. But we all know there’s not much chance of that happening, as Fozzy calls for the Rock ‘n’ Rolla, so we can look forward to KO’s next feud after that... but more on that in tomorrow’s preview.

The red, white and blue belt is headed to Tuesdays because Dean Ambrose’s Intercontinental title is definitely on Mondays with him. Who will be the first person to challenger for it, however? The Lunatic Fringe’s old rival The Miz seemed interested in it when the both debuted during the opening segment on April 10...

One rival left town, but unfortunately for Women's champ Bayley, it was the one she’s proven she can beat. Her best friend Sasha Banks is still here, and now former champs Alexa Bliss and Mickie James are, too. But the Hugster should probably be most worried about Nia Jax, who’s beaten her pretty much every time they’ve recently faced each other one-on-one. WWE’s preview hints that Jax vs. Bayles is next on the docket, so she better come up with a plan ASAP.

With a common foe to face, the two teams who’ll face off for tag team gold in San Jose got along just fine last week. But how will Cesaro & Sheamus deal with titleholders Matt & Jeff Hardy now that their focus is squarely on regaining the belts?

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived is once again #1 contender for Neville’s Cruiserweight championship, but the King picked up a new disciple last week in TJ Perkins, so now Austin Aries has the numbers game to deal with, too.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- No news on Finn Bálor, who reportedly suffered a concussion at the elbow/forearm of Jinder Mahal last week. And since Jinder is now on Team Blue, Finn won’t even get a shot at revenge. The bigger question is... what impact will an injury so soon after he returned have on his backstage stock?

- Much to color commentator Corey Graves (who’ll work with his usual play-by-play partner Michael Cole and new/temporary co-announcer Booker T), Elias Samson drifted his way onto Raw last Monday. Did Angle sign him? Is security so bad they’d let a wandering minstrel get to the stage otherwise?

- Angle gave Seth Rollins a vote of confidence last week, and it immediately paid off when he stood up to Samoa Joe last week, running off the man who re-injured his knee. Expect that pay-per-view (PPV) match to be announced soon... probably tonight.

Two weeks until Payback!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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