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WWE Raw preview (Sept. 17, 2018): Silver Lining

WWE hits I35 and leaves hell in their rearview. Next stop for Team Red? Dallas.

The Headliner(s)

Did you come into Hell in a Cell with questions about the Universal championship picture? Hopefully, you like questions. Because after the surprising return of Brock Lesnar led to a no contest for Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, that’s pretty much all we’ve got. The Big Dog still has the belt, but whether the main event from Sept. 16 means Brock gets his rematch back or the Monster Among Men still has a Money in the Bank shot coming? Your guess is as good as ours.

Even if you can’t deal with uncertainty, and whatever you feel about Lesnar still being a part-time pro wrestler, there’s one thing his re-emergence in Raw’s main event scene can do. It would be a welcome development if Paul Heyman and his client were used to create some separation between the Reigns/Strowman program and the feud between Tag Team titleholder Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre and Roman’s Shield brothers, Intercontinental champ Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose.

Seth and Dolph have been beefing all summer long over the strap Rollins currently holds. Ambrose’s return, and the clowning out of The Revival and The B-Team, brought the pairs belts into their story. And as their knock down, drag out fight in San Antonio proved - theirs is a really good story!

But as the Hounds of Justice and Dogs of War/The Pack, their story is a side-plot to the guys fighting over the yard. And the latest round of Reigns and Strowman’s long rivalry hasn’t been the highest quality, narratively speaking. With those two focused on Lesnar, Ambrollins and Dolph & Drew can focus on the important stuff - trying to outsmart and beat the crap out of each other.

If we apply logic to the scene, Braun and Roman should want to keep their armies at their side for a war with Lesnar. But logic hasn’t been a feature for the Universal title picture lately. And even if Vince McMahon got Brock to sign up for a new handful of dates, he probably won’t be around often enough to justify falling victim to attacks by The Shield or The Pack. He almost certainly won’t work any side-matches with McIntyre or Rollins (as great as those might be).

So let’s just split them off. Sure they have that six-man scheduled for Super Show-Down, but that figures to be a house show special. It doesn’t require any special build, especially not with the history between all the parties involved.

The current tag title feud is a wealth of possible matches and angles. They can continue to battle as teams or in the established singles rivalries, or move on to Dolph vs. Dean, Drew vs. Seth and, eventually, Rollins vs. Ambrose and Ziggler vs. McIntyre.

Love or hate the return of Lesnar, and what that did to the Universal title picture. Let’s focus on the positive.

The title scene

There’s little doubt about the only championship not tied up in all that. Women’s champion Ronda Rousey was “in peril” due to her injured ribs, but the outcome of her rematch with Alexa Bliss was never in doubt. Rowdy’s focus will shift to her six-woman tag in Melbourne with the Bellas against Riott Squad... and the rumored Evolution defense that could be setting up.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Speaking of Super Show-Down, our alternating weeks of Legends cutting promos about that show’s main event continues with Undertaker making an entrance, then responding to Triple H’s claim he’ll put the Dead Man down once and for all in their “Last Time Ever” match down under.

- The tag scene is interesting outside the title picture, too. DRAKE MAVERICK has AOP firing on all cylinders, and Bobby Roode & Chad Gable’s makeshift alliance has them on TV, picking up wins and maybe setting up a future feud.

- The Raw side was so focused on the Shield/Pack rivalry at last night’s PPV, most other things are where we left them last Monday. Kevin Owens has it out for Bobby Lashley, who has a new ally in 205 Live’s Lio Rush. KO is back thanks to acting General Manager Baron Corbin, who subbed Elias in to wrestle as his proxy in his ongoing issues with Finn Bálor. Dana Brooke left Titus Worldwide, and Sasha Banks and Bayley are still running around somewhere.

It’s the Hell in a Cell fallout show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?