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WWE Raw preview (May 7, 2018): Low bar

WWE will attempt to move forward when they bring Raw to Uniondale, New York tonight.

The Headliner(s)

Moving forward will probably mean starting to set-up a challenger for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship at Money in the Bank in June. We think?

Coming out of Backlash, the movement seemed to be more side-to-side than forward. And rumors back that up, pointing to either Braun Strowman (again victorious over Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn with the “help” of Bobby Lashley) or Roman Reigns (who overcame Samoa Joe’s pre-bell attacks and in-match headlocks) as likely challengers.

You know, the same Strowman and Reigns who haven’t been able to beat Brock one-on-one or in multi-man matches... pretty much ever.

But this time will be different, because The Beast Incarnate might be going back to UFC soon! Or it will be exactly the same, because Vince McMahon has decided to let him do both, or paid him enough that he no longer wants to take part in shoot fights.

It’s hard not to be cynical, partly because it’s hard to know who to root for, and partly because in any longform, serialized fiction, what the audience hopes for is something new or interesting, and the top of the Raw card feels like it’s been building to a moment that never comes for years now.

Will the moment finally arrive in Chicago next month? We might start to find out tonight. Or we might get a worked shoot promo. Or a tag team with a ten year old kid.

The title scene

Backlash’s saving grace was Seth Rollins’ victory over The Miz which allowed him to retain the Intercontinental title. Since the man who he defeated is over on SmackDown, will The Kingslayer get a new challenger - or just continue to deliver the best match every Monday night against or alongside Finn Bálor? Miz has already revealed he’ll be wrestling to qualify for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match; maybe Seth will start down that path for a shot at the top prize... and possibly run in to The A-Lister again.

Also in need of a new #1 contender is Women’s champ Nia Jax. Alexa Bliss is sidelined with a shoulder injury she suffered while coming up short in her contractual rematch. Hopefully, whoever The Irresistable Force clashes with next will help the champ’s anti-bullying messages receive a more favorable reaction from the WWE Universe than they got in Newark last night.

Woken Matt Hardy, Bray Wyatt and their tag belts didn’t even get a mention on Sunday’s pay-per-view (PPV), and one of their possible rivals (Owens and Zayn) couldn’t even refrain from slapping each other at Backlash. The Deleters of Worlds last rivals are on the blue brand, and they spent last week cutting promos about light and darkness, so... your guess is as good as ours when it comes to who their next opponents will be. We sure would like to see them recruit Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, though.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Ronda Rousey is not among the “Featured Superstars” advertised for Nassau Coliseum this evening, which means we can focus all of our non-title interest in the women’s division on Raw’s other never-ending saga: Bayley and Sasha Banks. The Hugster for some reason thought The Boss would back her when she faced Ruby Riott on the Kickoff at last weekend’s PPV. Banks understandably told her to kick rocks. Now, the official preview for May 7 is teasing whether or not they’ll team up to deal with The Riott Squad. The plea above asking that something new and/or interesting happen in the Universal Title picture applies here, too.

- If Ronda’s not here, expect Natalya to continue to fight against Mickie James to continue that story. Bliss had been helping James to make things two-on-two, but Mickie will need a new ally when Rowdy returns.

- A program that got plenty of time on Backlash’s main card was the Bobby Roode vs. Elias feud. Well, Elias and a cast of thousands got time, and The Glorious One’s revenge for getting thrown throat-first into a turnbuckle was the punchline.

- One of those thousands was No Way Jose, who was still celebrating his Titus Worldwide-assisted win over Baron Corbin. Will The Lone Wolf let the party continue without getting payback?

- Ember Moon and Authors of Pain work here, and have won... when they can get screen time, that is.

It’s the Backlash fallout show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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