Raw airs tonight (Apr. 19) live from the ThunderDome in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. This is the second Raw episode during the five week build towards the upcoming WrestleMania Backlash event on May 16.
The Hurt Business is taking new applicants
Drew McIntyre has earned a rematch against WWE champion Bobby Lashley. But before that match can happen, McIntyre might have to fend off the remnants of RETRIBUTION.
Last week’s Raw ended with the cliffhanger (I guess?) of T-BAR and MACE ambushing McIntyre in the ring, with MVP watching on from the entrance ramp. WWE is hoping that’s the kind of compelling hook that will get you to tune in tonight to see if The Hurt Business is adding some new members.
If MVP and Lashley truly have good business instincts, they won’t taint their brand with the stench of RETRIBUTION. It’s nothing personal against T-BAR and MACE, but until they ditch those stupid masks and come up with better names, they are doomed to fail. Or maybe doomed to eat some Claymore kicks over the next few weeks, at the very least.
Lashley has stated that the Hurt Business will be making adjustments over the next few weeks. There must be a swerve coming here, because he can’t possibly be talking about adding T-BAR and MACE...right?
The title scene
One of the biggest moments of last week’s Raw was the return of Charlotte Flair, who immediately thrust herself into the business of the new Raw women’s champion, Rhea Ripley. The Queen is booked in a singles match against Asuka tonight. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a win from The Empress here. This match will end in one of two ways - either Flair wins, or there will be a screwy ending with no definitive winner. The former scenario will happen if Flair is getting a singles match with Ripley at Backlash, whereas the latter scenario is more likely if a triple threat match for Rhea’s title is on the horizon.
AJ Styles and Omos became the new Raw tag team champions at WrestleMania 37, but they didn’t appear on last week’s Raw. A celebration might be in order tonight, as well as an indication of which team will be coming for their belts first. Will the returning Viking Raiders already be placed right into a title feud, or will New Day try to regain their gold?
Similarly, Sheamus won the United States championship at WrestleMania 37, but he also didn’t make an appearance on last week’s Raw. I have a feeling that Sheamus hasn’t seen the last of
Matt Riddle and his scooter just yet.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax have a clear threat to their Women’s tag team titles on SmackDown, but the same cannot be said about the competition on the Raw roster. Last week’s angle included the champs ridiculing Mandy Rose over her fall at WrestleMania 37, only for Nia Jax to slip and fall during a tag match against Rose and Dana Brooke. Mandy and Dana then ran away from the match because they didn’t want to deal with an irate Jax. Riveting stuff here, folks. I don’t even know that this angle warrants any progression tonight; perhaps we’ll get another singles match that Shayna Baszler will lose in three minutes.
R-Truth’s current reign as 24/7 champion has lasted about four weeks. With low-carders like Tucker and Kalisto being released by WWE last week, there might be a couple spots open for some new jabronis to chase after jobber gold. What are you up to these days, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin?
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- For the first time ever, Braun Strowman will go one-on-one with Randy Orton tonight.
- It’s time to see if Damian Priest will sink or swim without a celebrity by his side on Raw. WWE didn’t waste any time in having Priest take his first main roster loss last week, which is cause for concern.
- It appears that Alexa Bliss and Bray Wyatt are going their separate ways for now. Bliss could very well be bringing her own version of The Fiend into the women’s division, whereas Wyatt is understandably looking for a fresh start with his Firefly Fun House, in an attempt to move on from the debacle at WrestleMania 37.
- Adnan Virk had a rough first night sitting in the Raw commentary chair last week. Will he fare any better tonight?
Four weeks until WrestleMania Backlash!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?