Night three of four in Toronto.
Much love to The IIconics, but at this stage in the young life of WWE’s Women’s Tag titles, getting the belts off a comedy heel duo is probably for the best. It remains to be seen if making Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross champions will lead to better days for the fledgling division, but we are getting our third title match in a week tonight (Aug. 12).
Thousands of words have been written on how frustrating its been to follow Asuka’s run on SmackDown & Raw, and it’s been all too easy to forget Kairi Sane is employed by WWE at all since her call-up from NXT.
On a night where you probably shouldn’t get too attached to anything you think you’ll see on Raw (there’s been rumored about most of WWE’s recent shows, including last night’s “Big 4” pay-per-view (PPV) SummerSlam, being rewritten and changed up the last minute; and as of the deadline for this post, still no official preview for tonight’s episode on WWE.com), there’s reasons to hope better days are ahead for all involved in the Bliss & Cross vs. Kabuki Warriors bout, and the entire WWE women’s scene as a result.
Her critics can decry the company’s reliance on her and point out the flaws in her in-ring game, but Bliss reads “star” like few others on the entire roster. Her partnership with Cross has been an unexpected and charming storyline development which has breathed new life into both of their acts. Possibly life-saving breath in the case of Nikki’s main roster run.
Either via a full blown face turn for the Goddess or a continuation of the intrigue about her motivations for befriending the Scot, the Cross/Bliss partnership is the most interesting thing to happen to the women’s tag picture since Sasha Banks & Bayley teased taking the belts to NXT. It also gets Nikki on-screen & in the ring more often, and allows Alexa to focus on her strengths.
If they’re to stay champs, though, what about the Kabuki Warriors? From the moment the duo was introduced with that name, all involved have been on the defensive about the partnership. Even adding Paige didn’t help, as she only felt like an awkward addition to the act.
While it’s by no means a unique story, having a frustrated Asuka turn on Sane in the wake of a loss tonight could be the best thing for both women. The Empress of Tomorrow’s face run has more than run its course, and the Pirate Princess is almost unparalleled as a fighting-from-underneath fan favorite. If given time to do what they do best, a feud could get over to the extent WWE would have no choice but to put another non-title women’s singles program on TV.
It’s understandable if fans of don’t want to get their hopes up too high when it comes to the Women’s tag scene in WWE. But if you’re willing to risk a little heartbreak, tonight might be worth getting optimistic about.
The title scene
Well, Seth Rollins told us he’d leave SummerSlam as Universal champion, and he’s a man of his word. The Beastslayer lived up to his nickname last night in a match that maybe should have happened at WrestleMania 35, but Vince McMahon apparently wanted Brock Lesnar to win Money in the Bank, so... we’ll see what Seth does with his latest chance to be Raw’ top guy.
Hopefully, he won’t be partnered back up real-life girlfriend and Raw Women’s champ Becky Lynch. Their alliance on-screen after ‘Mania really didn’t do either of them any favors, and The Man settled back into the swagger that took her to the top while winning a feud against Natalya with a Dis-Arm-Her last night.
Their match at Scotiabank Arena was designed to make Ricochet look amazing while still keeping the U.S. title around AJ Styles’ waist. That was a somewhat surprising move considering the rocket on Ric’s back, and the fact heel AJ would make a great foil for the new Universal champ. This seems like a likely candidate to be run back tonight, possibly with a different outcome.
Oh yeah. Styles’ good brothers in The O.C., Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, hold the Raw Tag Team championship.
The European Television strap (aka the 24/7 title) is back where it belongs... on R-Truth, who’s hiding out with Carmella and being chased by Drake Maverick. All is right with the world.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Lots of angles didn’t make the cut for SummerSlam, including the mystery of who’s been attacking Roman Reigns. It did get a recap video package last night, and Rowan came for the snitch Buddy Murphy, but expect bigger developments and maybe even a match for this story tonight.
- Someone who did make a big impression at the biggest party of the summer was Bray Wyatt. Now that he’s scared us all $#+less and sent Finn Balor packing, what’s next for The Fiend?
- It took three Goldberg spears to finally shut Dolph Ziggler up last night. Will his slow descent into madness continue on Raw when he faces The Miz? And will he be used to get the A-Lister back in track after he was used to build up Shane McMahon all year?
- Drew McIntyre and Cedric Alexander have some unfinished business.
It’s the SummerSlam fallout show!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?