WWE heads to the Land of Extreme, bringing us Raw from Philly on Oct. 14.
Partly cause it’s interesting to me and partly because I want to put off dealing with that other pay-per-view (PPV) for as long as possible, let’s talk the main event of Evolution where Women’s champ Ronda Rousey will defend her title against Nikki Bella.
For one thing, regardless of whether or not the Brie Bella/Liv Morgan kerfuffle (and doesn’t that feel like a million years ago now?) had anything to so with it, thank goodness they decided to turn the twins for this program. Not only does it save us from a lackluster, mutual respect-based build like the one for Ronda’s match against then-champ Nia Jax at Money in the Bank, but it also leaves gossip sites like People who are used to covering reality shows and shoot celeb beefs really confused...
Should we tell People about Kayfabe or naw? pic.twitter.com/kdQo8cx66b— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) October 11, 2018
It also gives Ronda the closest thing to a real threat she’s had in her pro wrestling career, and an excuse to catch a few beatings without damaging her mystique or her ego.
No offense to Stephanie McMahon, Jax, Alexa Bliss or Riott Squad, but they’re a part-time non-wrestler, a green worker who promoted for her look/stature, a subpar in-ring storyteller with a great character, and an enhancement talent stable. Nikki not only brings a great resume on paper, but all but those completely blinded by hate can see she’s turned herself into a heck of wrestler. Injury and time off will pull her back from her 2015 - 2016 peak, but she’s still the best dance partner Rousey’s had.
As we were all reminded recently, Brie’s... not a heck of a wrestler. But like she did last Monday, she can help Nikki use DAT NUMBERS GAME to generate heat for the twins and place whatever babyface they’re challenging in jeopardy. And a long-reigning champ with a devious sister backing her up is a more convincing way to create doubt about Ronda’s future with the belt than Alexa’s underhanded tactics and perennial jobber henchwomen. This also provides an opening should they want to introduce her connection to Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir or Jessamyn Duke to main roster audiences - since Baszler will definitely be on hand at Evolution to face Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s title, and the last two MMA Horsewomen are rumored to be there, as well.
Is there really any doubt Rousey will win on Oct. 28 in Long Island? Not really. But at least she’s got a hot story and a believable opponent. We’ll see how they continue the build toward it when Rowdy gets a mic to address those “untrustworthy b****es” tonight.
The title scene
No, real mention of Roman Reigns’ next defense of the Universal title in WWE.com’s preview for this week. But we know Braun Strowman will be around, and if Paul Heyman found the time to hit Chicago last week, surely he could make an appearance in his old stomping grounds to make some threats about what Brock Lesnar will do to the Big Dog and the Monster Among Men at Crown Jewel.
Odd are the tag team & Intercontinental belts will continue to take a backseat at the next PPV for men, where and whenever it happens. Drew McIntyre will face off against Seth Rollins while Dolph Ziggler battles Dean Ambrose with spots in the World Cup tournament scheduled for Nov. 2 on the line. Last we heard from Ambrose, he was questioning his future in the Shield. Will that storyline be put on hold like the Dolph & Drew’s pairs titles or Rollins’ IC strap have been?
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- After last Monday’s news that Shawn Michaels was coming out of retirement for a tag match is Saudi Arabia, they’re teasing a response from the Brothers of Destruction. But Undertaker isn’t advertised and Kane is off running a county, so expect that showdown to wait for SmackDown 1000, where Triple H and the Dead Man are both definitely going to be.
- Raw’s got another big match with legends in it to promote, so look for Bliss and Mickie James to talk trash about “Besties Best For Business” in Philadelphia.
- Maybe another big Evolution match will be set-up here? And by big, we mean whatever battle royale is going to get Ember Moon, Nia, Bayley and a reportedly returning soon Sasha Banks on the card.
- He finally has a personality to go along with his “Dominator” nickname, but who will the newly heel Bobby Lashley face? He and Lio Rush are definitely done with Kevin Owens, and Elias doesn’t make sense now that they’re all bad guys. Paging Finn Bálor...
- Is acting General Manager Baron Corbin’s job secure now that noted fetishist Kurt Angle is back for the World Cup?
- Chad Gable & Bobby Roode finally got a win over The Ascension... then got wrecked by AOP for their troubles.
Two weeks to Evolution / three until Crown Jewel!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?