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WWE Raw preview (July 27, 2020): Ronin

Another show from the Performance Center in Orlando. This one was taped last Monday.

The Headliner(s)

WWE didn’t immediately run back Asuka vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s championship last week after the controversial finish to their match at Extreme Rules, but they did announce the rematch for tonight. The Empress of Tomorrow was screwed over in at least a couple different ways by the actions of Banks’ partner Bayley on that July 19 PPV, and is probably the favorite to retain her title on Raw tonight.

But what if she didn’t?

Listen, I’m a huge fan of both wrestlers, and will honestly be happy with either outcome as long as they both stay on my screens in meaningful roles going forward. And there’s no reason to think they won’t. So this is just an exercise in fantasy booking, but it’s one I think would take each of their stories in interesting, entertaining directions.

For The Boss… look, I want #TwoBeltzBanks and the Two Woman Power Trip to be a thing, at least for a few months. I’m sure there are some who are sick of The Role Models, but pretty much everyone in my circle of wrestling fans is enjoying the heck out of every moment of Bayley & Sasha we’ve been getting every week.

One of the fun things WWE’s been doing is subverting our expectation that a feud between the two NXT Horsewomen is imminent. Instead, we’ve seen them witness and take advantage of chaos & conflict between other members of the women’s roster. And that ties into how Asuka could be protected in a loss to Banks and launch a big SummerSlam program that doesn’t require the title.

It’s an open secret that Kairi Sane is done after tonight, and it’s expected she’ll be written off in a way that leaves her Kabuki Warriors tag partner looking to avenge her. If that attack happens before the Women’s championship match tonight, it can be a distraction which takes Asuka mentally out of the game. Anger can lead her to make reckless decisions, or miss tricks from Bayley she otherwise would have been ready for. Not to mention, Sane wouldn’t be there to counter Dos Straps. And if they really want to preserve the Empress’ aura in a loss, they can have Kairi’s attacker get in on the fun.

But especially given the complaints about the overbooking at Extreme Rules, I’d save that reveal for after the match. Sasha steals a win to become Two Beltz Banks, then while The Two Woman Power Trip is reveling in their victory, Shayna Baszler (or whoever) makes another statement by attacking Asuka.

If it’s Baszler, she’s already said she wants to prove her MMA background makes her different from the pro wrestling pretenders in WWE. What better way to do that then by targeting the woman reputed to be the stiffest, snuggest worker on the roster. Asuka’s motivated by the attack on the Pirate Princess, the way it affected her in her title match, and to prove she’s the baddest b**** in town.

That’s a feud that doesn’t need a championship. And The Role Models can defend their WWE Women’s Tag titles at SummerSlam, all while gloating about all their gold.

Sounds good to me. But then, I cared enough to write it all out, so that figures. How does it sound to you?

The title scene

That’s not the only Extreme Rules rematch we’re getting tonight. Dolph Ziggler gets another shot at WWE champ Drew McIntyre, but this time it’s McIntyre who gets to pick the stipulation (and, in an edit made to their official preview late yesterday, this time it’s non-title). Word is Randy Orton will announce his plan to come after the belt in his show-opening segment, so I’m not sure what the point of this is anyway. Fingers crossed we get another good match between The Show-Off & The Scottish Psychopath before the RKO.

The eventual rematch between Apollo Crews and Montell Vontavious Porter for the United States title will definitely be more exciting than when MVP declared himself champ by forfeit at the last PPV. We’ll have to wait for Crews to return from his “herniated disc” to get it though.

Porter’s claim to the red, white, and blue belt is dubious, but the newest member of his Hurt Business faction is definitely 24/7 champion. Shelton Benjamin will have an easier time holding onto that strap than most, too. He’s got Bobby Lashley watching his back.

After returning to action last Monday with a victory over Angel Garza & Andrade, tonight Street Profits will find out who they’ll be defending the Raw Tag Team championship against at SummerSlam next month. Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford get the winner of the #1 contender Triple Threat between Zelina Vega’s boys, Viking Raiders and Ricochet & Cedric Alexander.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Aleister Black couldn’t get the job done, and as a result he may be out with a hand injury after Seth Rollins stomped it on the stairs after pinning him. Now Dominik Mysterio is coming to Raw, looking to avenge his dad’s eye.

- We’ll never know if he was SmackDown’s mystery hacker. But we do know Mustafa Ali is back, and he’s 1 - 0 on Raw this year after pinning MVP last week.

- Not sure Ruby Riott knows what to do now that she’s on a win streak. She probably doesn’t care. She’s focused on getting Liv Morgan to be her friend again.

Four weeks until SummerSlam!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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