Still at the Performance Center in Orlando, but we’re doing it live.
There was a sameness to Monday nights over the past month. Mostly because the “current circumstances” meant every Raw since Mar. 9 has been filmed in an empty Performance Center, and padded with length replays of matches from back when fans could pack arenas and stadiums to watch pro wrestling. But also because the cast has been limited to folks who live with driving distance of Central Florida, or who had to fly there for WrestleMania 36 - even if it meant self-quarantining for two weeks.
Nowhere has the issue been more apparent than in the tag division.
WWE loves rematches in the best of times, and their booking of tag team feuds always follows a certain pattern. But it feels like we’ve seen every variation of Raw Tag champs Street Profits against Zelina Vega’s business associates we possibly can. The program’s experienced a couple different infusions of NXT talent - first when Austin Theory replaced injured United States champion Andrade, then when Bianca Belair got the call to join her husband Montez Ford & his partner Angelo Dawkins. But now we’ve seen singles, tags and trios matches featuring the two sides. It’s time to move on.
But to what? The only other tag team that’s recently seen action in the mid-card is the makeshift babyface duo of Cedric Alexander & Ricochet. AOP is sidelined due to Rezar’s injury. Murphy’s status is unclear, both in kayfabe and the real world, so partnering him with Seth Rollins doesn’t make a ton of sense. Are Viking Raiders available?
Guess it’s time for Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows’ semi-annual title chase. They didn’t get buried in the Boneyard, after all. Only got thrown off of and beat up on a roof.
The who’s available problem extends throughout the line-up... and the answers we get tonight should shape the next couple months worth of Raw.
The title scene
Brock Lesnar is believed to be gone until SummerSlam, or things get back to the way they were - whichever comes first. They already brought sitcom dad Big Show back from semi-retirement to kick start Drew McIntyre’s run with the WWE championship. Now what? There are some interesting options, and back before the pandemic, Seth Rollins was rumored as one of Drew’s early feuds. But do they hold off on the Monday Night Messiah since they need three names for the Money in the Bank ladder match next month? How long will Randy Orton sell his beating at the hands of Edge? AJ Styles?
The return of Nia Jax gives the Raw Women’s title scene a bit more flexibility. Becky Lynch could go into a long-simmering feud with Jax while other potential challengers like Shayna Baszler, Asuka, and Liv Morgan compete for spots in the women’s battle for the briefcase on May 10.
Two titles with even bigger question marks are the NXT Women’s belt, and the 24/7 strap. Charlotte Flair is rumored to be working at least Mondays and Wednesdays with the former, but we haven’t seen any signs of it yet, and she now has a clear challenger from NXT thanks to Io Shirai winning her own briefcase. And Rob Gronkowski has the latter, but there’s been no word on his next WWE appearance or project. Guess they can always just send R-Truth to wherever Gronk films his contributions to Fox Sports’ NFL Draft coverage.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- He built off his ‘Mania win over Bobby Lashley by beating Apollo Crews. Where is this leading for Aleister Black?
- Speaking of Lashley, looks like he’s about to be single again.
Four weeks until It’s the Money in the Bank (we think)!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?