Raw airs tonight (Oct. 11) with a live show from Chase Center in San Francisco, California. This is the third Raw episode during the four week build towards Crown Jewel 2021 on October 21 in Saudi Arabia.
Is Xavier Woods willing to do whatever it takes to become the King of the Ring?
It’s no secret that Xavier Woods desperately wants to be the King of the Ring. He’s been calling himself the “Future King of the Ring” for years. Big E and Kofi Kingston winning the WWE championship was great for the New Day, but when will Woods finally get his signature moment as a singles competitor? Just give him the crown, damn it.
Tonight’s episode of Raw features the final two matches in the first round of the King of the Ring Tournament bracket. If Woods wants to make his dreams come true, he’ll have to find a way to beat Ricochet. That step shouldn’t be too hard considering how often Ricochet loses in WWE.
The more difficult step for Woods could come in the next round. Kofi Kingston is scheduled to face Jinder Mahal in first round action tonight. If both Kingston and Woods win their respective matches, it will set them up for a match against each other in the next round. Is Woods so determined to win the crown that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to put down his longtime New Day ally? On the other hand, if Kofi eliminates Xavier, will Woods be able to move on from that loss with no tension or friction between them?
That being said, nothing should be assumed about the outcome of tonight’s matches. You never know, maybe WWE will go ahead and book Ricochet and Jinder Mahal to advance past the New Day. Crazier things have happened in WWE, including three nights ago when Liv Morgan and Toni Storm somehow both lost in the first round of the Queen’s Crown Tournament.
The title scene
The main event of tonight’s episode of Raw is a tag team match pitting Raw women’s champion Charlotte Flair and SmackDown women’s champion Becky Lynch against Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair. Flair doesn’t have anything lined up for Crown Jewel so perhaps she’ll take the fall to keep both of Becky’s challengers in Saudi Arabia looking good. Then again, both teams are purposely designed to have little chance to co-exist, so maybe we’re headed to some sort of non-finish where everyone turns on their partner.
Big E will defend the WWE championship against Drew McIntyre at Crown Jewel in a battle of top babyfaces. After teaming up last week to beat the hell out of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, Big E and Drew will have a face-to-face confrontation on tonight’s episode. I’d argue they already had a face-to-face confrontation in the ring last week; that’s how the Crown Jewel match was made official. And just like last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one results in another tag match against two heels, because Raw is three hours long.
AJ Styles and Omos will get a rematch for the Raw tag team titles against RK-Bro at Crown Jewel. Randy Orton called out Omos last week, but it was all a ruse just so he could sneak in one more RKO on Styles. Omos is pretty much the best wrestler on Raw in kayfabe, so Randy made a wise choice in not fighting him. Will the Viper be able to avoid the wrath of the big man once again tonight?
Damian Priest has spent the last six weeks defending the United States championship against Sheamus and Jeff Hardy. Will a new challenger finally emerge tonight, or will we have to wait for rosters to change in a couple weeks?
Reggie slipped up a bit last week and actually let R-Truth get his hands on him. The 24/7 champion still managed to escape from the regular cast of jobbers with his belt, so it worked out just fine. But he’ll need to be more careful about avoiding these traps going forward. Was Reggie’s encounter with Apollo Crews a one-time thing, or does Apollo now have his eyes set on jobber gold?
Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. are the Women’s tag team champions, but Raw doesn’t have any teams for them to face. Given the way WWE dismantled the women’s tag division in the WWE Draft, Ripley and ASH probably should have entered the Queen’s Crown Tournament. The tournament is a huge mess and could definitely use their help.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Speaking of the Queen’s Crown Tournament bracket, tonight’s card includes the final two first round matches. Shayna Baszler will take on the buried jobber Dana Brooke in one of those matches. The other bout is Doudrop vs. Natalya. Let’s see if their combined match time will exceed SmackDown’s first round total of roughly four minutes.
- Baszler already beat Brooke last week and had issues with Doudrop afterwards, so it seems that Baszler vs. Doudrop should happen before Shayna moves to SmackDown on Oct. 22. But the tournament finals will be held in Saudi Arabia, and we don’t know which of these women are allowed or willing to make the trek over there. That means anything is possible tonight, including wins for Brooke and Natalya. Natalya has wrestled in Saudi Arabia before, so that might even give her an advantage.
- Goldberg showed up on Raw last week to double down on his homicidal plans for Bobby Lashley at Crown Jewel. Goldberg is not advertised for the show tonight because he has limited dates on his contract and next week’s go-home show is the one that matters. Or maybe he’s staying home this week because he needs extra time to carefully plot out Lashley’s murder. Either way, Lashley will need some babyfaces to beat up on tonight to pass the time.
- Poor Mansoor. Up to this point he has been an Undertaker-at-WrestleMania level of god-like on WWE’s Saudi Arabia shows. But now that he is firmly entrenched as a low card nobody on Raw, it looks like creative has nothing for him at Crown Jewel. There’s time for that to change, but the wheels will have to go in motion tonight. Maybe if he takes another dump in Shane McMahon’s bathroom he can get a match against the Best in the World at Crown Jewel. Home invasions are all the rage in WWE these days, so he might as well go for broke and see what happens.
- Austin Theory used the guise of a selfie to blindside Jeff Hardy last week. What a foolish maneuver; Theory may have just unleashed the return of Willow onto us all.
- Akira Tozawa was mauled by a Bearcat two weeks ago. Last week he took a stunner from Kevin Owens. Will Karrion Kross be the one who gets to kick Tozawa’s ass tonight?
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?