Raw airs tonight (Aug. 1) with a live show from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. This is the first Raw episode during the five week build towards Clash at the Castle, which takes place on Sept. 3.
Triple H’s Kool-Aid tastes great
Triple H has been officially in charge of WWE creative for one week. It was tempting to read into some minor details of last week’s Raw and SmackDown episodes and wonder about his influence on those shows. But it’s also human nature to see patterns that don’t actually exist, so I wanted to wait for a bigger splash before drawing any strong conclusions. That big splash came at SummerSlam in the form of Bayley, Dakota Kai, and IYO SKY.
The latter two stars in particular are the ones who would not have appeared at SummerSlam if out-of-touch old man Vince McMahon was still leading the way in WWE. After all, Vince released Dakota earlier this year and never bothered calling Io Shirai up to the main roster. When I saw Dakota and Io show up at SummerSlam, it was an immediate message that this is now Triple H’s creative vision for WWE, and things are going to be different.
There’s suddenly a ton of excitement about what other moves Triple H will be making in the coming weeks and months. Will he find a way to bring free agents like Johnny Gargano back to WWE? Will he be able to resolve the fractured relationship between WWE and Sasha Banks & Naomi? Are there wrestlers favored by Vince (like Omos) who won’t be pushed anymore? Are there wrestlers ignored by Vince (like Mustafa Ali) who will now get some meaningful TV time? Are there any more immediate NXT call-ups on the way to crash the party tonight? Are we getting any more wrestler name changes? There are a lot of questions to answer, and there’s also a lot of positive anticipation for tonight’s episode of Raw.
I’ve never been a fan of Triple H, but if SummerSlam was any indication, then I’m one of many wrestling fans who are drinking his Kool-Aid right now, and it already tastes a heck of a lot better than whatever Vince McMahon was serving us.
The title scene
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair finished off Becky Lynch at SummerSlam, but she picked up a new set of adversaries in the form of Bayley, Dakota Kai, and IYO SKY. Becky Lynch turned babyface and seems willing to have Bianca’s back against Bayley’s group. That’s a lot for the champ to deal with, but the EST also needs to keep an eye out for Alexa Bliss, who said she wants the next shot at the belt.
After defeating Brock Lesnar once again, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns’ next title defense will come against Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle. Will either man be in the house tonight to get the hype train rolling?
Jimmy and Jey Uso are still the WWE tag team champions after defeating the Street Profits at SummerSlam. Angelo Dawkins was pinned shortly after Montez Ford had an irrational outburst of anger towards the referee. Is Ford the one who is turning heel if the Street Profits break up soon?
United States Champion Bobby Lashley dominated Theory at SummerSlam. Who’s next for the almighty champ to destroy? I bet Kevin Owens would love to take Bob’s gold away.
The 24/7 Championship wasn’t booked on last week’s Raw. Is Triple H going to slowly make this title go away, or was it just a one week aberration?
- Vacant is holding the Women’s tag team titles. There’s still no word on when WWE will finally do something about this situation.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Edge returned at SummerSlam, rising up from hell to screw over The Judgment Day. Now that he is a babyface again, will Edge apologize to the fans for treating them like dirt just a few months ago? Looking ahead, it makes all the sense in the world to book Finn Balor in a big match at Clash at the Castle. Will it be a singles match against Edge? Or a tag team match that incorporates the Mysterios and the rest of the Judgment Day?
- It looks like Becky Lynch is a babyface, so is it time to say goodbye to Big Time Becks and bring back The Man?
- Logan Paul shined in the bright lights at SummerSlam in a victory over The Miz. I expect that WWE will book Paul for another match at Clash at the Castle, because it’s a big stadium show. AJ Styles prevented Ciampa from assisting the Miz at SummerSlam, so maybe those two guys will have a bigger role at the PPV in the United Kingdom.
Matt Riddle has a kayfabe injury, but that didn’t stop him from showing up at SummerSlam to call out Seth Rollins. Rollins answered the call and put the babyface down with another stomp. The latest rumor suggests these two guys will face each other at Clash at the Castle.
- Dolph Ziggler has recently spent his time superkicking Theory’s dumb face and beating Alpha Academy in tag team action. Theory is an idiot, so Dolph should try luring him into putting his Money in the Bank contract on the line whenever they have a match against each other.
- Veer Mahaan was seemingly turned into a comedy guy a few weeks ago, but that’s when Vince McMahon was still calling the shots. Who knows what Veer will be doing the next time we see him.
- Asuka and Carmella also need something to do. Maybe they’ll wrestle each other?
- Ezekiel has lost some steam now that Kevin Owens is no longer obsessed with his identity. Is there any more juice left to squeeze out of this gimmick?
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?