Another show from the Performance Center in Orlando. This one is taping today.
Word is WWE will hit us with two PPVs this month - and neither of them is Evolution 2. Payback is allegedly on internal company calendars for Aug. 30, just one week after SummerSlam. A common thought/hope about this news is that there will be a storyline reason for having a show with a revenge-theme just a week after one of the Big 4, like This Tuesday in Texas when Hulk Hogan got an immediate rematch for the then-WWF belt Ric Flair helped Undertaker win it from Hogan two days earlier at Survivor Series 1991.
Personally, I’m still waiting for the storyline reason we were promised for why Braun Strowman replaced Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 36. Or the one explaining why Charlotte Flair wasn’t pinned at TakeOver: In Your House. But maybe we’ll get one here.
On the red brand side of things, there’s another problem. Most of their big feuds already have a vengeance angle. Sure, most wrestling programs have an element of retribution. But will Asuka have a better reason to want revenge on Sasha Banks than the one she has tonight? It’s gonne be tough to provide more motivation than losing the already-stolen Raw Women’s title thanks to The Boss’ bestie Bayley attacking The Empress’ friend, the departed Kairi Sane.
We also have WWE champ Drew McIntyre wanting payback (see what I mean?) on Randy Orton for hitting him with an RKO at the end of last Monday’s show.
And Apollo Crews is back for the first time since a Bobby Lashley Full Nelson left him with a herniated disc that kept him out of Extreme Rules, and gave MVP an opportunity to declare himself United States champion. Pretty good reason to have animus toward The Hurt Business’ head man, right? They’ll deal with it when they open the show with a match tonight.
We haven’t even talked about the Mysterios & Aleister Black, and their literal eye for an eye storyline with Seth Rollins.
It’s certainly not impossible to give these protagonists more reasons to want to kick the antagonists’ asses. We’ll see if they can keep them hot for another month - or create new heat between others - and help the show reportedly happening on Aug. 30 live up to its name.
The title scene
Most of the belts are covered in the above retribution rundown, especially when you consider how MVP & Lashley helped Shelton Benjamin win the 24/7 title champion from its rightful owner, R-Truth.
Raw Tag Team champions Street Profits have mostly had Andrade & Angel Garza’s number, including beating them two weeks ago in non-title action. But Zelina Vega’s boys did launch an dishonorable attack on Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins after winning a Triple Threat to become #1 contenders last week. So there’s something.
The Two Woman Power Trip have mostly been focused on winning or keeping their singles straps lately, but Two Beltz Banks and Bayley Dos Straps have those nicknames because they’re also WWE Women’s Tag titleholders. It helps that every other team in the women’s division seems to be bickering with each other while the one everyone expected to break up keeps trucking along. Maybe if Ruby Riott could get Liv Morgan to forgive her? Or just kickass with the friend she already has, Bianca Belair.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Nia Jax re-emerged to announce she wants to shoot to the top of the card. Shayna Baszler didn’t like that. They fought, and some referees got their butts kicked trying to break it up. Jax caught a fine for it, but doesn’t care.
- The Monday Night Messiah practiced some tough love with his disciple Murphy last week, and it seemed to work as the Aussie picked up a singles win over Humberto Carrillo.
- He’s back, and he’s getting 50/50 booked. Welcome to Raw, Mustafa Ali.
Three weeks until SummerSlam!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?