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WWE Raw preview (Aug. 31, 2020): Free & clear

Live from ThunderDome!

The Headliner(s)

Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch were the brand’s champion for the better part of two years. Even with Asuka holding the Raw Women’s title since The Man’s departure, Monday night’s have still been dominated by Horsewomen, as Sasha Banks and Bayley took the “three shows” baton from Charlotte Flair and spent the summer featuring in multiple segments on every Raw and SmackDown.

But Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler took the WWE Women’s Tag championship from Banks & Bayley at Payback last night (Aug. 30), and at a time when the red brand has multiple storylines going in its women’s division. With the stage is set for these women to have a spotlight shined on them, and possibly to attain superstardom in the process:

- The reunited Riott Squad picked up a win over IIconics on Sunday’s Kickoff show. Liv Morgan’s push has certainly had its ups and downs over the past year, but she seems to have found a groove back alongside her talented friend Ruby Riott. Peyton Royce has gotten more television time to show what she can do in the ring and made the most of the opportunity. Love it or hate it, her schtick with Billie Kay has always gotten a reaction.

- Lana & Natalya’s new heel act is competing for the Aussie duo’s “enjoyably annoying” crown. Their program with Mickie James is in its early days, with the promise of more work to wrestling to come between trailblazing veterans Nattie & Mickie.

- They’ve largely been supporting players in others’ stories since WrestleMania, but Bianca Belair and Zelina Vega have both excelled when given a chance this year.

That’s without getting into the possibilities of Jax & Baszler’s tense partnership. Or Shayna’s MMA Horsewomen Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke, who used the Raw Underground concept to show what they can do a few weeks back.

Or the deep bench down in NXT, some of whom have already worked main roster shows -say, isn’t Chelsea Green supposed to be around here somewhere?

Now, WWE can always decide to break their own rules and have Banks & Bayley on Raw even though they’re technically assigned to the blue brand. At one point, word was Flair would be back by SummerSlam, so her return could be imminent.

At this moment, though, the path is clearer than it’s been for a while. It’s exciting to think new names could appear on the marquee as a result.

The title scene

His injury prognosis is better than it was before Sunday night, but WWE champion Drew McIntyre should probably still be out selling the effects of multiple Randy Orton punts for another week. Will Vince McMahon & team use that time to give the Viper his win back after Keith Lee’s stunning victory at Payback?

The Hurt Business is now in the United States championship business, thanks to Bobby Lashley’s taking care of business against Apollo Crews last night. Based on how this program’s gone, there’s no reason to think Crews won’t get a rematch against the All Mighty. We just want to know if that photo gimmick WWE used after MVP’s main man won is sticking around.

We also want to know if Shelton Benjamin can win the 24/7 title again, or if it’s R-Truth’s turn to get his baby back from Akira Tozawa.

Street Profits got a night off, and you’d have to think Raw Tag Team champs Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins have put Angel Garza & Andrade in their rearview. Who will step up to get the smoke?

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- They picked up a win over the Greater Good, and drive a wedge between Seth Rollins & Murphy in the process. Tonight. Rey Mysterio will look to finish the work he & Dominik started at Payback when he goes one-on-one with Rollins. Last time they had a singles match, Rey almost lost an eye. Hopefully this one goes better for him.

- After looking like they might be aligned with the Monday Night Messiah on Raw, RETRIBUTION was nowhere to be found last night. Does the group not work Sundays? Will we ever get answers about what they want, or who’s under those hoodies?

- Raw Underground was a bit of an afterthought last week, but MVP used it to remind us Lashley is a badass. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger for a Hurt Business/Viking Raiders battle, so maybe we get that this week. Or that Dolph Ziggler vs. Ivar fight we were promised a couple weeks ago...

It’s the Payback fallout episode!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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