Raw airs tonight (Aug. 8) with a live show from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the second Raw episode during the five week build towards Clash at the Castle, which takes place on Sept. 3.
Triple H might be planning another surprise return
Tonight’s episode of Raw features Bobby Lashley defending the United States championship against Ciampa, and Ciampa actually has a chance to win.
That sentence would have been hard to believe just a couple weeks ago when Ciampa was an ineffective sidekick for The Miz. But it’s a new era in WWE now that Vince McMahon is gone, and Ciampa is benefiting in a big way from the change. He won two matches last week to earn this title match against Bob tonight. Those were Ciampa’s first wins on Raw since early May.
Ciampa is still associated with The Miz, and Miz has some history with Lashley; Miz was squashed by Lashley for the WWE championship in March 2021. This could be Miz’s time to pay Bob back for that embarrassment. AJ Styles could also play a role in the finish of this match, given his recent history with Miz and Ciampa.
Is a title change on the way tonight? Lashley is a dominating champion, so a win for Ciampa could do him a world of good. Triple H has not booked a title change since he took over WWE creative, and it would certainly be one way to make a big splash if Ciampa gets his hand raised.
Tonight’s show also happens to take place in Cleveland, fueling speculation that Ciampa’s old pal Johnny Gargano could return to WWE and interrupt this match. Triple H brought Karrion Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux back to WWE last week, and following that with a surprise Gargano return would be a hell of a way to make a big splash.
Of course, there’s also a chance that Gargano is nowhere to be seen and Ciampa taps out in the Hurt Lock. It’s hard to know what the finish is going to be. You’ll have to tune in tonight to see who walks out as the US champ.
The rest of the title scene
Vacant is holding the Women’s tag team titles, but that will change soon because WWE finally announced a tournament to determine new champs. In fact, the tournament is starting on tonight’s episode of Raw. Hopefully WWE will reveal a full bracket some time during the day, before Raw goes on the air. This is happening while the rumor mill is buzzing about a potential return to WWE for Sasha Banks and Naomi.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair is now dealing with Bayley, IYO SKY, and Dakota Kai. The trio of heels injured Becky Lynch, so we won’t be seeing The Man for a while. Asuka and Alexa Bliss were also attacked by Bayley’s group, leading to a big brawl with all six women later in the show. A six woman tag team match might be coming our way very soon, unless this story plays out in the tag title tournament.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns’ next title defense will come against Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle. Neither man is advertised for Raw tonight. Is there a chance that Karrion Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux will show up to explain their actions from last week’s SmackDown?
Jimmy and Jey Uso are still the WWE tag team champions and don’t have any competition after recently taking out the Street Profits and The Mysterios. If only Ezekiel could convince his older brother Elias to return to WWE for a run at the tag titles.
The 24/7 Championship wasn’t booked on the last two episodes of Raw. Is this a pattern worth keeping an eye on, or just meaningless noise?
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Finn Balor takes on Rey Mysterio in a singles match tonight. The bigger story behind all of this is Edge’s return to WWE and his goal of killing off The Judgment Day. Last week’s episode ended with Edge accidentally spearing Dominik Mysterio. If Rey doesn’t get in Edge’s face about that gaffe, will Dominik start to question which side he should be on in this war?
Matt Riddle was out selling injuries sustained by Seth Rollins, so the Street Profits inserted themselves into Seth’s business last week. It didn’t end well for them, as Rollins beat Montez Ford in a singles match. Perhaps we’ll see Rollins vs. Angelo Dawkins tonight and the return of the Original Bro.
- Mustafa Ali actually got to wrestle in a match on Raw last week. Can he make it two weeks in a row?
- Dolph Ziggler took a break from superkicking Theory’s stupid face last week to pursue the United States title. Meanwhile, after spectacularly failing at SummerSlam, Theory was nowhere to be seen on Raw. Will these guys resume whatever beef they have tonight?
- Veer Mahaan and Omos are lost in the shuffle at the moment.
- We have yet to get a sense for what Triple H’s creative vision means for the future direction of Kevin Owens. I think most fans are optimistic about Owens being pushed going forward.
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?