Raw airs tonight (Sept. 27) with a live show from the Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the first Raw episode during the four week build towards Crown Jewel 2021 on October 21.
Big E defends the WWE championship on the eve of the draft
Bobby Lashley was pinned by Roman Reigns in the main event of Raw last week, and he was pinned by Big E last night at Extreme Rules. Naturally, that means the All Mighty has earned a rematch for the WWE championship tonight.
This is Big E’s first defense of the WWE championship since he won it from Lashley two weeks ago. Last week’s episode of Raw was all about Roman Reigns being the biggest star in WWE, so tonight really should be Big E’s night to shine in the spotlight.
Their championship match is going to open Raw. This is probably being done to get the most eyeballs on the show as early as possible and keep viewers away from Monday Night Football. It could also be a sign that Big E and Lashley will be separated in the upcoming WWE Draft, because this is the final episode of Raw before WWE’s annual roster shake up.
It might be tempting to assume Big E will retain the gold since this is the opening bout. But Raw still needs a main event match. Would it be the craziest thing in the world for the opening match to have a screwy finish, only for the title to be defended again in the main event? If not that, what about the scenario where WWE is chasing ratings so doggedly that a title change is actually on the table in the opener?
Keep in mind that Nikki A.S.H. won the women’s title via Money in the Bank cash-in, and she lost the gold in her very first title defense. Sometimes the Money in the Bank title change only exists for the sake of having a thrilling moment before quickly resetting things back to normal. It’s not a lock yet that Big E is shielded from that kind of hotshot booking.
I joked about Lashley being placed in this title match despite the multiple pins he has taken lately. But WWE can get away with doing that because they have protected him so well over the last year. Beating Bob is still a big deal; he’s been kept strong enough where there is good reason to think Big E can’t beat him in a straight up fight. The onus is still on Big E to prove his Money in the Bank cash in on injured Lashley wasn’t just a fluky thing, and that he actually has what it takes to beat the top bad guy on Raw.
In other words, this is a big night for Big E.
The rest of the title scene
Charlotte Flair defeated Alexa Bliss at last night’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view event and is still the Raw women’s champion. Flair ripped apart Alexa’s stupid doll after the match was over, leaving Bliss crying in despair (in her hometown, of course). Will WWE use Lilly’s demise to pivot Bliss away from the supernatural gimmick she’s been rolling with for almost a year now? Or is this just an angle to set up a championship rematch between Charlotte and Alexa that will be far more personal?
Damian Priest successfully defended the United States title last night in a triple threat match against Sheamus and Jeff Hardy. With tonight being the final episode of Raw before the draft, perhaps we’ll get one more match featuring some combination of these men before they potentially go their separate ways when the roster is reshuffled.
Randy Orton and
Matt Riddle don’t really have any challengers lined for the Raw tag team titles now that MVP is out with an injury. AJ Styles lost a singles match against Orton last week, so it’s not really clear that Styles and Omos will receive a championship rematch. Like with Priest, this is probably a case where the champs won’t find a new story until the draft, so maybe they’ll just keeping beating up on Styles tonight.
Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. are the new Women’s tag team champions. Now that Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax are broken up, and Natalya and Tamina can’t appear on Raw anymore, there are no teams left to keep the champs busy tonight. Perhaps Eva Marie or Doudrop will have to team up with Dana Brooke (who hasn’t wrestled on Raw in three months) just for the hell of it.
Drake Maverick’s plans to steal the 24/7 championship away from Reggie are a failure up to this point. He should probably find some new jobbers to carry out his instructions if the current crew can’t get the job done.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Shayna Baszler snapped and broke the elbow of Nia Jax last week. With Jax presumably off television for a a while, which poor sap will feel Shayna’s wrath next?
- Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo are the new team on the block, which means they probably have about three weeks until Vince McMahon forgets about them again.
- Karrion Kross has opted to talk instead of wrestle on the last couple episodes of Raw. If he needs some new low card wrestlers to feast on for tonight, Mansoor and Mustafa Ali are right there waiting for him.
- I think there’s a strong likelihood that Drew McIntyre is moved over to SmackDown during the upcoming draft. That means he better get his fill of Claymores on Jinder Mahal (and his lackeys) tonight before the former 3MB stablemates are split up in the roster shakeup.
- Repackaged Elias should be back soon, but like last year, his return will probably be saved for the draft.
- Raw is three hours long this week, just like it is every week. Can WWE please find some meaningful ring time or angles for Ricochet and John Morrison?
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?