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WWE Raw preview (Apr. 17, 2023): Cody Rhodes has a death wish

Raw airs tonight (Apr. 17) with a live show from Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. This is the third episode of Raw during the five week build towards Backlash, which takes on May 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Brock Lesnar responds to Cody’s challenge

Last week on Raw, Cody Rhodes issued a challenge to Brock Lesnar for a match at WrestleMania Backlash. When Cody was done talking, WWE commentator Cory Graves suggested that Rhodes has a death wish.

Cody talked about Brock victimizing all of his opponents, and Rhodes admitted that he is afraid of The Beast. Even with that being the case, the American Nightmare is very enthusiastic about taking a trip to Suplex City. Yeah, that sounds like a guy who has a death wish.

Lesnar will appear on Raw tonight to respond to Cody’s challenge. The match will almost certainly happen at Backlash, so Brock is expected to say yes. But it might not be that simple tonight, because Cody has a death wish. He’s going to come out and try to enter the same ring with Brock. If that’s what Cody does, he risks being brutally victimized again by The Beast.

However, the big difference this time is that Rhodes had time to prepare and won’t be caught off guard if Brock attacks. Rhodes is also determined to prove that Lesnar is the one who is the actual victim here. Does Cody have something sinister in mind for Brock tonight in order to back up those words?

The title scene

United States Champion Austin Theory is on a roll of late, picking up wins over John Cena and Rey Mysterio this month. The competition doesn’t get any easier, because Austin has to face Bobby Lashley tonight. It’s a non-title match, which increases the chance that Theory will lose. However, Bob has unfinished business with Bronson Reed, so it’s possible that Reed will interfere and ruin the end of this match.

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is a part-timer who doesn’t work most Monday nights. That is expected to be the case again tonight, because the Tribal Chief is not advertised for this show. WWE’s top star is reportedly not booked for Backlash either.

Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair has a new number one contender in IYO SKY. Will the match be made official for Backlash? Will the champ tune up for the match by beating Dakota Kai? Bayley sensed unrest among the Damage CTRL ranks and gave up her spot in the number one contender’s match to IYO. Does she have any regrets about that decision?

Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez are the new WWE women’s tag team champions, and they already have Chelsea Green and Sonya DeVille obnoxiously knocking on their door in pursuit of a title shot. The heel challengers might have to first take out a lower card babyface duo like Mia Yim and Candice LeRae in order to prove they deserve a match for the gold.

WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have to defend their titles against the Usos in a couple of weeks. Matt Riddle has joined their side in this war against The Bloodline. There is a rumor that The Judgment Day and The Bloodline might face off with each other’s enemies tonight. Does that mean it will be Owens, Zayn, and Riddle taking on Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and that little shithead Dominik Mysterio?

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Trish Stratus will appear on Raw tonight to explain why she turned on Becky Lynch after losing the women’s tag titles last week. Is Trish the person who attacked Lita earlier in the night?

- I guess whatever issue was brewing between Matt Riddle and The Miz has been dropped by WWE creative. Maybe The Miz will go back to getting his head stomped in on a semi-regular basis by Seth Rollins.

- If that Bloodline / Judgment Day rumor is true, does it mean Rey Mysterio will be Solo Sikoa’s next victim?

- Is Omos going to squash some jabroni babyface tonight?

- Why hasn’t Alexa Bliss returned to Raw yet? Is WWE waiting until the upcoming draft before bringing her back into the fold?

- How much longer can Otis continue dipping his toes into the world of Maximum Male Models without breaking things off with Chad Gable?

- The Street Profits are on the outside looking in when it comes to the title scene. Can WWE find something interesting for them to do during this time, or are they just counting down the days until the WWE Draft?

What will you be looking for on Raw?

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