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WWE Raw preview (Sept. 21, 2020): Empty threats

Live from ThunderDome!

The Headliner(s)

For their Sept. 21 show, WWE is giving us a do-over of last Monday’s main event. It’s a non-title affair with the somewhat convoluted (to me, anyway) stipulation that if Keith Lee defeats WWE champion Drew McIntyre, he’ll replace Randy Orton as McIntyre’s challenger in an Ambulance Match at Sunday’s Clash of Champions PPV if Orton isn’t cleared. Randy’s out with storyline injuries inflicted by the champ a couple weeks back, which are payback for the “broken jaw” a trio of RKOs gave Drew a couple weeks before that.

Some kind of interference from The Viper seems like a distinct possibility. It could set up a Triple Threat for the 27th. It could just be a way to give Lee a high-profile if not-exactly-clean win. It could just break down into chaos.

Chaos happened last week, and it’s why we’re doing this one over in the first place. Orton wasn’t involved though. Instead it was RETRIBUTION, the black clad rabble-rousers who recently revealed their backstory as members of the Performance Center roster who’ve become disillusioned with the WWE system.

The group (whose core members are rumored to be the five wrestlers listed here) ended up tussling with The Hurt Business - to prove that heels and faces hate anarchists, I guess - before being taken out by Lee & McIntyre.

RETRIBUTION, who also maybe made the lights flicker to help Kevin Owens beat Aleister Black last week, continues to come across as a nuisance more than a menace. The King of Claymore Country and the Limitless One won’t put their issues aside this week to deal with the group. It’s back to business as usual. And why shouldn’t it be? Team hoodie is like a thunderstorm that knocks out your cable for a minute, not a tornado that destroys your house.

But if the group is going to anything above a Corre-level problem for the established players on Raw, they need to actually do some meaningful damage. Their most successful campaigns happened on SmackDown - where they’ve stopped “wreaking havoc” because even subversives respect the brand split - and left The Bachelorette’s Demi Burnette standing - and she’s The Bachelorette’s Demi Burnette.

When they first showed up to throw fire on generators, there was some speculation they were just a way to clown the protesters who’ve been in the streets of some American cities this summer. Maybe that’s it. If it is, here’s hoping we never unmask them, though. This is no way to launch a main roster run.

Or WWE could just, you know, let them actually look scary?

The title scene

After she kinda sorta put down a threat from Mickie James, a new challenger stepped to Raw Women’s champion Asuka last Monday. I love me some Zelina Vega, but she’s another example of someone I’m not taking too seriously as a threat right now (although she did stand up to RETRIBUTION, so... point: Vega). Maybe they can give James a rematch at Clash while Zelina actually picks up some wins?

We’ll find out who will challenge Raw Tag Team champions Street Profits on this weekend’s PPV when Seth Rollins & Murphy, Dominik Mysterio & Humberto Carrillo, and Andrade & Angel Garza face off in Triple Threat action tonight. Dom and his new partner would seem to be the favorites here, seeing as Rollins just kicked his Disciple’s ass last week and Andrade & Garza haven’t been on the same page in a while. We’ll see who gets the title shot, and who ends up feuding with the guy they’re tagging with tonight.

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defend their WWE Women’s Tag titles against Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan on Sunday. Last week they bonded over beating up Lana & Natalya.

When they’re not Underground or being the only people who seem concerned with RETRIBUTION, The Hurt Business has continued to tussle with Apollo Crews and Ricochet. Figure one of those two will challenge Bobby Lashley for the United States championship this weekend.

Three weeks and counting on R-Truth’s 39th run as 24/7 champion. God is good.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Shane McMahon’s fight club gets one of its most marquee matches to date when Braun Strowman and Dabba-Kato slap meat tonight. It sounds fun but inconsequential, which is also how I’d describe Raw Underground.

- It’s where Dolph Ziggler hangs out, though. And Dolph’s ex Mandy Rose works on Raw now. So maybe the Money in the Bank briefcase story will find its way to the Underground?

It’s the Clash of Champions go home!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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