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WWE Raw preview (Oct. 18, 2021): Charlotte Flair needs to drop the women’s championship

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Raw airs tonight (Oct. 18) with a live show from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. This is the final Raw episode during the four week build towards Crown Jewel 2021 on October 21 in Saudi Arabia.

Charlotte Flair needs to lose the Raw women’s championship

Tonight’s main event is a Raw women’s championship match between Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair.

WWE created a problem for itself during the recent draft shows when Flair and the Raw title were moved over to SmackDown, while Becky Lynch and the SmackDown women’s title were moved over to Raw. These roster changes go into effect this Friday, Oct. 22, so WWE is running out of time to get the Raw and SmackDown women’s belts back onto their respective shows.

The first (and worst) way to solve that problem is to repeat last year’s backstage segment where the New Day and Street Profits, who were in a similar situation as Flair and Lynch, simply swapped their tag belts backstage. This would be a hell of a way to increase Flair’s cumulative championship count, so it can certainly happen.

The second way to solve this problem is to book two title changes this week. Flair dropping the Raw women’s title to Bianca Belair tonight is step one, because Belair will be a member of the Raw roster going forward. Step two would then have to be Lynch dropping her title to Sasha Banks at Crown Jewel later this week, because Banks is on the SmackDown roster.

Which one of these paths will WWE follow? What about option three - Lynch and Flair just keep holding the titles that don’t match their respective brands into November.

The build to Survivor Series will begin as soon as Crown Jewel is over, and Survivor Series is all about brand warfare. WWE lied to their audience when they advertised tonight as Charlotte Flair’s “final appearance” on Raw. Of course that’s not true. The notion that wrestlers will be locked into one show starting on Oct. 22 isn’t true, because there will have to be some crossover in order to book angles for a pay-per-view in November whose entire premise is based on the two rosters fighting each other. That means WWE can keep the wrong belts on Flair and Lynch for another month, if necessary.

If Belair wins the Raw title from Flair tonight, then WWE is pursuing option two, which means Lynch is in trouble at Crown Jewel. Considering Lynch just took a loss to Sasha Banks a few nights ago on SmackDown, I don’t anticipate WWE will choose this path. But I guess we’ll have to tune in tonight to see how it plays out when Flair and Belair clash over the Raw women’s championship.

The rest of the title scene

Big E and Drew McIntyre will battle for the WWE championship at Crown Jewel. They tried wrestling as a team last week and it ended with McIntyre knocking Big E out with a Claymore. Naturally that means this week they are...teaming up for the third consecutive week? Uh, sure. The Dirty Dawgs are the ones who get to do the job tonight, just like they did two weeks ago in this same exact tag match.

AJ Styles and Omos are challenging RK-Bro for the Raw tag team titles at Crown Jewel. Randy Orton has continually found ways to hit AJ Styles with an RKO while avoiding Omos. Matt Riddle isn’t nearly as clever as Randy, and he paid for it last week when Omos annihilated him. Will Omos get his hands on Randy before Crown Jewel? He very well could, because RK-Bro is advertised for a tag team match tonight against the Street Profits. Omos will know exactly when and where to find Orton.

The 24/7 championship made a cameo last week when Reggie and the typical cast of jobbers crashed Austin Theory’s match with Jeff Hardy. Reggie escaped the chaos with the championship intact. He’s been toying with these jobbers so far, and they haven’t been able to adjust to Reggie’s acrobatics.

United States champion Damian Priest is done dealing with Sheamus and Jeff Hardy, and he doesn’t have anything lined up for Crown Jewel. He also did not wrestle on Raw last week. Will Priest get another week off from competition while awaiting the roster changes to go into effect next week?

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. They are spending their time backstage on Raw watching John Morrison meditate. Okay then.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Xavier Woods will have to go through Jinder Mahal tonight if he hopes to qualify for the final match of the King of the Ring Tournament against Finn Balor in Saudi Arabia.

- Similarly, Doudrop and Shayna Baszler will wrestle tonight in a Queen’s Crown Tournament semifinals match. Is WWE actually sending an LGBTQ+ wrestler to Saudi Arabia, or is there a swerve coming here?

- Mustafa Ali made the mistake of getting himself booked into a match against Mansoor at Crown Jewel. Ali better get his last licks in tonight, because there’s no way in hell he’s winning in Saudi Arabia. It’s the one place where WWE doesn’t humiliate a babyface in their hometown.

- Will Karrion Kross or BEARCAT wrestle someone tonight, or are they just biding time until Crown Jewel is in the rearview mirror?

- Goldberg plans to murder Bobby Lashley in Saudi Arabia. Bobby Lashley plans to retire Goldberg in Saudi Arabia. Considering the setting, it would seem that Goldberg has chosen the more realistic plan.

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?