The red brand continues to sell their next blockbuster in Hollywood tonight!
The Universal champion doesn’t always show up on Monday nights, but when he does... it’s usually to jog behind Paul Heyman. But! Last time he was on Raw a couple weeks back, Brock Lesnar did get physical during a brawl with the man he’ll face at Great Balls of Fire, Samoa Joe.
Joe’s been racking up wins on Lesnar’s off time, too. Sure, he usually owes an assist the guy who’s feuding with whichever former Shield member is putting him over that night, but a win over a member of the most dominant faction in WWE history is a win over a member of the most dominant faction in WWE history - know what I’m saying?
What do the Beast Incarnate and his advocate have planned to deflate the Samoan Submission Machine’s confidence heading into their showdown on July 9? And how does WWE book that without raising even more doubt in fans’ minds that Joe has any kind of a chance?
The title scene
Most of the other belts aren’t getting a lot of attention these days. There are stories going on, sure, but Brock is the only champion mentioned in WWE.com’s official preview for tonight. That doesn’t mean their aren’t stories with interesting wrinkles happening, however.
Take Intercontinental champ The Miz. Sure, he looks headed to another match with Dean Ambrose in a year that’s already been full of A-Lister vs. Lunatic. But this time, Dean’s in his head to the extent he’s pissing off his wife and recruiting his Marine 5 co-stars Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas to watch his back (in bear suits, but that’s another story). And that’s just on-screen! Behind the scenes, we’re left to wonder why WWE would think writing Maryse off is a good idea.
Doesn’t seem like Women’s titleholder Alexa Bliss has a #1 contender - or she’s got a bunch of them. The self-proclaimed Goddess has all the babyfaces gunning for her, with former champs Sasha Banks and Bayley leading the charge. Emma’s still holding a grudge from Bliss bailing on their tag match a couple weeks ago. The only woman who seems to be on her side at all is the one with the best case for a title shot, Nia Jax. Will we get a clear challenger, or is the next pay-per-view (PPV) destined to feature another multi-woman bout?
Both current tag champs Cesaro & Sheamus and the previous ones, the Hardyz, won last week. Which is good since we’re headed to another fight between them, seeing as Matt & Jeff’s official rematch ended in a no decision. All we need now is a stipulation...
When the ropes turn purple, it’s turning into the King vs. the Brand. Neville’s dominant reign as Cruiserweight champion faces a challenge not only from Akira Tozawa, but also the Japanese Superstar’s new management. Titus O’Neil also represents Apollo Crews, too, so Tozawa has a whole team with him as he tries to reach the Neville level. Might that include the Big Baller Brand?
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
Most of the big stuff WWE is hyping falls down here, as some of these feuds have ramifications for not just GBoF, but SummerSlam, as well:
- The Big Dog’s already called dibs on the winner of Joe/Lesnar, but when Roman Reigns made that announcement, he thought he was finished with Braun Strowman. The Monster Among Men, of course, isn’t you-know-what with Roman. And now that Braun’s back and we’ve got an ambulance match in two weeks, the question of who will compete for the Universal title in Brooklyn is up in the air as well.
- One of the long-winded speeches we’ve come to expect from Bray Wyatt turned into a theological and epistemological debate with Seth Rollins... and ended with the WWE 2K18 coverboy flattening the Eater of Worlds with a splash that left them both bloodied. Someone who calls himself “god” probably will want retribution.
Everyone A lot of people Enzo Amore (and General Manager Kurt Angle) was shocked last week to learn his buddy Big Cass was the person who’d been attacking all these weeks, not only because he believed Zo was holding him back professionally, but also because he hates the Smacktalker Skywalker’s guts. The seven footer might be destined for big things, but what’s next for Amore?
- We’re in Tinseltown, the Golden Age is back, and somebody’s been reading QT screenplays. That means Goldust is holding a premiere, and he’s invited his old tag partner R-Truth. Truth’s accepted, and promised Goldy he’s “gonna get got”. Hold onto your butts.
- Finn Bálor does not want to walk with Elias. The Irishman is trying to keep his eye on regaining a title he never lost, but The Drifter will not be overlooked - something he made clear with a backstage attack on Finn last Monday.
Two weeks until Great Balls of Fire!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?