Raw airs tonight (July 19) with a live show from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. This is the first Raw episode during the five week build towards the upcoming SummerSlam 2021 event on August 21.
The Goldberg rumor casts a shadow over Raw
Kofi Kingston was once again completely dominated in a WWE championship match, this time against Bobby Lashley at Money in the Bank. It was the sort of lopsided ass-kicking that emphasized Kofi has no business challenging for the title right now, so he’ll likely be shuffled down the card right back into the tag team division (just like last time).
That leaves the door open for Lashley to face a new challenger at SummerSlam, and the rumor mill says Goldberg will return to WWE tonight and be that guy. It sounds like Lashley would far prefer to fight Brock Lesnar, but will instead have to settle for the underwhelming consolation prize of Goldberg.
Goldberg’s last match with Drew McIntyre showed that he doesn’t have much or anything left in the tank. But he is a legend from the 90’s, and that means he is essentially a walking Money in the Bank contract who can get a title match any time he wants one. Goldberg’s actual work in the ring is terrible, of course, so this just feels crummy all around. It mostly serves as a reminder of WWE’s recurring reluctance to push their full time roster members as legitimate stars who can headline major events.
We should find out tonight if Goldberg really wants a piece of Lashley at SummerSlam. But if the Goldberg rumor turns out to be wrong, well, Big E happens to have a Money in the Bank contract in his possession, so Lashley may not be done with the New Day just yet.
The title scene
John Cena is kicking off Raw tonight to explain why he stole the spotlight from Roman Reigns after the Tribal Chief retained the Universal championship against Edge at Money in the Bank. Cena vs. Reigns is rumored to be the main event for SummerSlam.
Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley at Money in the Bank to once again become Raw Women’s champion. Nikki ASH won the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match on that same card. There are rumors that Becky Lynch will return to WWE any week now. How will all of these elements mix together as SummerSlam approaches? One thing we know for sure is that Vince McMahon really loves booking Flair vs. Lynch matches, so if Ripley is getting a rematch for the title at some point, it might happen sooner (on Raw) rather than later (at SummerSlam).
AJ Styles & Omos successfully defended the Raw tag team titles against the Viking Raiders at Money in the Bank. One rumor indicates that Styles & Omos could be lined up for a SummerSlam title defense against RK-BRO. But there are five weeks of Raw before we get there, and Randy Orton is still missing, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Viking Raiders get another shot at the titles tonight or next week before WWE moves on to the next story for the champs.
Sheamus made quick work of Humberto Carrillo last week in his first official defense of the United States championship since winning it over three months ago. Damian Priest came out afterwards to stop the Celtic Warrior from doing further damage to Humberto. The foundation is set for the start of a feud between Sheamus and Priest, so they’ll likely cross paths in some form tonight on Raw.
Mandy Rose has apparently been traded to NXT, leaving Dana Brooke without a tag team partner on Raw. We should know with more certainty tonight if the Sexy Muscle Friends are truly disbanded, or if WWE will try to pay off their recent conflict with Natalya & Tamina with a Women’s tag team title match before Mandy and Dana go their separate ways.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Tonight’s episode of Raw is the first one back on the road with live fans in 16 months.
- Ricochet and John Morison had a series of killer matches to close out the ThunderDome era. Will they continue receiving time to show off their elite skills on Raw now that WWE is back on the road?
- Biker Jinder Mahal tried to break Drew McIntyre’s flame-generating sword, only for Drew to trick him and destroy Mahal’s motorcycle instead. Mahal paid Drew back by screwing him over at Money in the Bank. It would appear that Drew McIntyre is finally out of the WWE championship scene, at least for tonight.
- It’s all hands on deck as WWE tries to go all out for SummerSlam. That means Bray Wyatt should be back soon, no?
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?