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WWE Raw preview (May 1, 2017): In arrears

The gang from Payback (minus Randy Orton, Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens) head North for Sacramento.

The Headliner

With Roman Reigns beaten - and spitting up blood - after Payback, can anyone stop Braun Strowman?

That’s a question’s preview for tonight’s broadcast says General Manager Kurt Angle is asking himself.

As far as the Monster Among Men goes, that seems pretty obvious. He told Brock Lesnar he was going to deal with Reigns first and then come for him, so... Sure, Paul Heyman’s client is taking some time off, but we can probably find some plucky underdogs for Strowman to destroy in entertaining ways until he’s read to come back.

There’s also the question of what’s next for the Big Dog. While he’s clearly due some more injury time off (and might want to look into a new flak jacket, cause that one didn’t provide much defense against Braun’s rib attacks), WWE’s asking what the future holds for him as well.

Could it be the Roman/Strowman program isn’t over yet? Extreme Rules does happen between now and the return of the Beast Incarnate... after the way the last month has gone in this feud, would anyone be surprised if we got an ambulance match there?

The title scene

Universal champion Lesnar isn't advertised for Columbus - or anything much until he starts showing up to build to his first defense at Great Balls of Fire. So get used to that (both the Beast Incarnate’s absence, and a show called Great Balls of Fire). In addition to watching Roman and Braun as possible opponents, Finn Bálor announced on the Kickoff he wants that belt back. Maybe after he takes care of Miz?

He was left off the pay-per-view (PPV) entirely, but Intercontinental titleholder Dean Ambrose has some potential challengers lined up - and they’re both old friends. The Lunatic Fringe had several run-ins with Miz since they were both moved to Raw in the “Superstar Shake-Up”, and just last Monday he was left laying by Bray Wyatt to close the show. Now that the Eater of Worlds is done with Randy Orton and SmackDown, we could see the next chapter of that eternal battle.

She’s the first ever to hold both brand’s Women’s championship, so the sky is pretty much the limit for Alexa Bliss. Bayley was not happy about losing in her hometown, so expect a rematch to be the first order of business for Five Feet of Fury.

Things went well during their match at Payback, but after beating Cesaro & Sheamus, everything got weird for tag champs The Hardy Boyz. Shea-saro seemed to hit a breaking point, and could no longer be good sports about all the losses they’ve suffered at Matt & Jeff’s hands. And the brothers seemed a little... Broken... and we’re not talking about Brother Nero’s tooth.

Austin Aries came one step closer to humbling the King, but he still hasn’t beaten Neville and claimed the Cruiserweight title. In San Jose, the champ triggered the DQ rather than tap out, leaving A-Double without the prize he’s been shooting for since his return from injury.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Now that Seth Rollins has defeated his mentor, The King of Kings, Triple H and the King’s Hand, Samoa Joe - will the Kingslayer join a crowded Universal title picture?

- The move to Raw helped Apollo Crews to a win last week, but he barely had a chance to celebrate before Titus O’Neil tried to take credit and get a little rub for his “brand”.

- She’s trying to go her own way, but Dana Brooke just can’t get Emma to leave her alone. What is the recently returned Evil One up to?

- They finally pulled out a win against Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows on the pre-show last night; now will Enzo Amore & Big Cass finally move on to something else?

It’s the Payback Fallout show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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