Another show from the Performance Center in Orlando. This one is supposedly being taped today. Happy Memorial Day!
Author’s note: Cain kind of beat me to the punch here. But I swear I’d already written this section before his post published, and we use a different example to make a slightly different point... plus I don’t have any other ideas for this section right now.
This is nothing against Andrade or Apollo Crews, as performers or as people (I wish that went without saying, but in light of recent events I feel the need to spell it out). They’re both great in the ring. As characters, I even like what WWE is doing with them. The current United States champion’s always been great at playing an arrogant jerk. The man challenging him tonight has shown real fire during the empty arena era, and probably would have gotten a heck of a pop if there’d been fans in the seats when Kevin Owens revealed him as his tag partner last Monday.
But it doesn’t matter which one of them ends the night holding the red, white, and blue belt.
El Ídolo’s reign has been hampered by suspension, injury, and pandemic. But he’s been around, he and his championship have largely been used to give others “meaningful” wins. Management knows Andrade will give them a banger of a match against whoever they put him up against, and management thinks we’ll think it’s more impressive when Crews, Humberto Carrillo, or Drew McIntyre beats him because he brought a strap to the match.
A win over Apollo won’t change that, nor would Crews’ first title win of his WWE career.
All pro wrestling belts are props, but the U.S. championship and its SmackDown counterpart the Intercontinental title are props for other props. We have no reason to believe a run with either belt means the company has big plans for the person holding one of them. It might. It might not. Stuff happens. Sometimes there are reasons.
The wrestling will be good. KO and Zelina Vega will say entertaining things. Eat Arby’s.
The title scene
He dealt with brand-to-brand invitee King Corbin last week, now WWE champ McIntyre turns his attention to his Backlash opponent, Bobby Lashley. Drew will be in Bobby’s new manager’s lounge tonight. And speaking of the All Mighty… how’s his marriage?
We’ll find out who Raw Women’s titleholder Asuka’s first challenger is when Nia Jax, Natalya, and NXT Women’s champion Charlotte Flair do battle tonight. They set it up to be Nia last Monday, but don’t count out Charlotte Three Shows.
After hoops and axes, what’s next for the Raw Tag title feud between Street Profits and Viking Raiders? More importantly, how will you feel about Erik & Ivar after all this, even if they do manage to take the belts from Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins?
The Women’s Tag champs successfully defended their straps last week… kind of. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross won by disqualification, but if The IIconics focus all their rage on legally beating their opponents instead of going HAM on everyone, including each other, Peyton Royce & Billie Kay could be two-time champs.
Has anyone heard from R-Truth since he said he was going after Rob Gronkowski and the 24/7 title? I mean, we’ve seen this Pretty Ricky cat a lot. But Truth appearances have been fleeting at best.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever is right around the corner, and grit isn’t gonna get the job done for Edge when he faces Randy Orton this time.
- Aleister Black really wants to kick Seth Rollins & Murphy’s asses for what they did to Rey Mysterio. Which might be harder now that they added Austin Theory to the squad. But it also might be easier because the former Cruiserweight champ is a little heartbroken the Monday Night Messiah has another acolyte.
- Liv Morgan loves her mom.
Three weeks until Backlash!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?