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WWE Raw preview (Oct. 17, 2022): AJ Styles and Finn Balor have been waiting a very long time for this

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Raw airs tonight (Oct. 17) with a live show from Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This is the second episode of Raw during the four week build towards Crown Jewel, which takes place on Nov. 5 in Saudi Arabia.

AJ Styles and Finn Balor have been waiting a very long time for this

AJ Styles and Finn Balor both debuted on the WWE main roster in 2016. But outside of a singles match at TLC 2017 that wasn’t originally booked for the card, they haven’t really taken center stage with each other in WWE.

They’ve mixed it up recently in some tag team matches, but that’s when AJ was a sidekick in a feud that was more focused on Edge and Rey Mysterio as the protagonists.

The equation changed in a big way last week on Raw. After some teases that AJ might join The Judgment Day, he instead chose to reunite with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and bring the fight to Balor and his crew.

Rey Mysterio shipped himself off to SmackDown after that little shithead Dominik broke his heart, and it’s not clear how long Edge will be away from WWE after Rhea Ripley crushed his wife’s skull. That means AJ and Finn are finally the main players in a WWE feud against each other. It’s doubtful this ever would have happened if Vince McMahon was still running WWE creative.

It also happens to be pretty good timing for faction warfare, given that Survivor Series: War Games is coming up next month.

Gallows and Anderson will remind everyone that they are nasty bruisers when they get in the ring for a tune-up match against Alpha Academy tonight. But that’s likely just the first part of their night. It will be surprising if Balor, Damian Priest, Dominik, and Ripley don’t show up afterwards looking to take one of them out.

The title scene

United States Champion Seth Rollins defends his newly-won title tonight against his primary nemesis, Matt Riddle. Seth and Matt have traded wins against each other on pay-per-view over the last couple months, so it’s fitting that they fight over a championship before moving their separate ways.

Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair soundly defeated Bayley at Extreme Rules and dominated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions IYO SKY and Dakota Kai during that match. Yet Belair found herself getting beat down by Damage CTRL last week on Raw in a futile attempt to save Candice LeRae. Bayley lost against LeRae, so it’s not clear why she would deserve a rematch for the title, but that’s probably where this is headed. Perhaps Belair and LeRae will team up tonight looking for a measure of revenge.

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns worked last Monday’s Raw, so don’t expect the part-time Tribal Chief to show up tonight.

The Usos are the WWE tag team champions, but unless the New Day are planning to crash Raw, there isn’t much for Jimmy and Jey to do on Monday nights. The Usos are closing in on New Day’s record length run as tag team champions.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Elias returns to Raw tonight! Kevin Owens is the man who seems to have ended the brief pro wrestling career of Elias’ younger brother Ezekiel, and I bet Elias hasn’t forgotten about it.

- Brock Lesnar is back in WWE to get that Saudi money. He attacked Bob Lashley last week and cost him the US title. Lashley is understandably irate about it and wants to beat the shit out of Brock. Brock is in the building tonight, so we’ll see what Bob is going to do about it.

- After way too many weeks of Dexter Lumis stalking The Miz, choking him out, and stroking his face, Miz finally gets that creep in a match tonight. If Lumis wins, he earns a WWE contract. If Miz wins, Lumis is gone forever. I don’t think this is going to end well for the massively balled A-Lister. Will Tommaso Ciampa be around to help him, or did Lumis already murder that guy?

- Omos and MVP visited SmackDown last week to send a message to Braun Strowman. Will Braun return the favor tonight? It looks like we’re headed to a battle of giants at Crown Jewel.

- Johnny Gargano defeated Austin Theory last week. Theory is on a losing streak and needs to get his shit together if he plans on ever successfully cashing in that Money in the Bank contract.

- When will we see Asuka and Alexa Bliss again?

What will you be looking for on Raw?

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