Raw airs tonight (Aug. 15) with a live show from Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. This is the third Raw episode during the five week build towards Clash at the Castle, which takes place on Sept. 3.
Triple H might not stick with Vince McMahon’s plan for Roman Reigns
It sounds like WWE has been hoping to book Roman Reigns vs. The Rock at WrestleMania for quite a long time. One of the reasons why Roman has been a top champion since August 2020 is so he’ll walk into that match with The Rock as the undisputed top guy in WWE. I’m skeptical this match will happen due to The Rock’s busy Hollywood schedule, but it’s still on the table for now.
That plan was all well and good when Reigns was the Universal champion throughout 2021, but now he is a part-time wrestler who also holds the WWE championship and doesn’t work Monday nights. It’s been about six months since Raw said goodbye to that title. The biggest weakness Raw has is that absence of a top men’s title. Things are expected to stay that away until someone who isn’t a part-timer takes the unified WWE Universal championship away from Roman Reigns.
Now that Triple H is in charge of WWE creative, he’s made some obvious changes that never would have happened under the direction of his out-of-touch predecessor, Vince McMahon. One area where we don’t have much insight into Triple H’s vision, however, is what he wants to do about the WWE Universal championship. Roman’s win over Brock Lesnar last month doesn’t tell us much because part-timer Brock was always going to disappear after SummerSlam.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux’s return to WWE could change the equation. There’s a rumor that WWE might consider using Kross to take one of Roman’s titles away and presumably bring it back to Monday nights. That won’t happen in the immediate future, because Roman is defending the gold against Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle. However, it’s at least a sign that Triple H could be thinking of moving away from Vince’s plan for Roman.
For now, Triple H has adjusted to Raw’s lack of a top men’s title by putting extra emphasis on the women’s division and the United States title. Bobby Lashley will be defending that title tonight against AJ Styles, which is a fresh bout and not a rematch of something we’ve seen many times before. Fresh matches with title implications are surely one way to deal with Raw’s biggest weakness. Roman and Drew are not expected to be on the show tonight, so Lashley once again has a chance to show why he’s the top men’s babyface in WWE and why his title reign is worth your time and attention.
The rest of the title scene
The vacant Women’s tag team titles are up for grabs in an ongoing tournament. The new team of IYO SKY and Dakota Kai advanced out of the first round on last week’s episode of Raw. Their second round challenger will be determined tonight when Asuka & Alexa Bliss team up to take on Nikki A.S.H. and Doudrop.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair isn’t in the tournament but she is right in the middle of a conflict with Bayley, SKY, and Kai. Bianca is teaming up with Bliss and Asuka to take on the heel trio at Clash at the Castle, so that should give you a good idea about which team is advancing in tonight’s tournament match.
Jimmy and Jey Uso are the WWE tag team champions but don’t have any obvious challengers lined up on Raw. They are instead taking beatings for Roman Reigns on the weeks when he isn’t around and passing some of those beatings onto Sami Zayn, when possible.
Dana Brooke and Tamina took a break from 24/7 championship competition last week to lose in the women’s tag title tournament. With that out of the way, maybe it’s time for the jobbers to resume their chase of Dana’s belt tonight. Triple H hasn’t shown any interest in this title so far as head of creative.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
Matt Riddle returns to Raw tonight after missing some time due to kayfabe injuries sustained at the hands of that asshole Seth Rollins. Their singles match was purposefully moved off the SummerSlam card, presumably so it could take place at Clash at the Castle. Perhaps Riddle’s promo tonight will make the match official.
- Dominik Mysterio is pissed off at Edge after a spear gone awry two weeks ago. Dom didn’t get to do much about it, though, because Rhea Ripley found him backstage and once again beat the shit out of the younger Mysterio. I’m all for Ripley turning Dom into her sub, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for him tonight.
- Meanwhile, Edge is set to square off with The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest on next week’s episode of Raw. Edge is expected to appear tonight, so maybe The Judgment Day will set a trap for him.
- On last week’s episode, Kevin Owens sounded like a man with a renewed focus on hurting other people. After he took out Ezekiel, which poor sap is next?
- Dolph Ziggler had a tune up match last week with Chad Gable while we wait for Theory to return to WWE television. Theory should be back tonight to hopefully receive more Ziggler superkicks right in his stupid face.
- Omos went back to squashing jabroni wrestlers last week while Veer Mahaan is still missing from Raw.
- Ciampa wasn’t able to beat Lashley for the United States title last week, but he put up a hell of a fight. The follow-up story is critical for Ciampa. I wonder if he will stick with The Miz as his ally, or if he’s starting to realize he doesn’t need that guy dragging him down.
- Mustafa Ali didn’t wrestle on Raw last week. Let’s see if he can avoid that fate in consecutive weeks.
- It appears that Ezekiel was written out of kayfabe, at least for a little while, after last week’s apron powerbomb from Kevin Owens.
- A couple of strange things happened in the background of last week’s episode, such as a car accident and Dexter Lumis being escorted out of the building by security after the main event was over. Where is all of this going?
- Lumis was Triple H’s surprise return on last week’s Raw. That was followed up by the return of Hit Row on SmackDown. Which surprise return does Triple H have planned next?
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?