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WWE Raw preview (May 22, 2023): The MYSTERY PARTNER is going to ruin GUNTHER’s return

Raw airs tonight (May 22) with a live show from the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This is the final episode of Raw during the three week build towards Night of Champions, which takes place this Saturday (May 27) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The MYSTERY PARTNER is going to ruin GUNTHER’s return

Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER is scheduled to return to the ring tonight for his first match on TV since being drafted to the Raw brand last month. He’s teaming up with his Imperium stablemates Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci to take on WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who will be joined by a MYSTERY PARTNER. This match came about after Imperium screwed over KO and Sami in a tag team match against The Judgment Day.

GUNTHER is the top heel on Raw and usually wins, but a lot of factors are lining up against him tonight. First, Owens and Zayn have to defend their belts against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa at Night of Champions, and they really shouldn’t be heading into that title fight with consecutive losses on their record.

Second, Kaiser and Vinci are jabronis who pretty much exist to be pinned. If GUNTHER loses tonight, it will be because his teammates let him down.

Third, the MYSTERY PARTNER aspect of this match gives the babyfaces the advantage. If WWE wants to make a big splash, perhaps this will be the return of Drew McIntyre, who has been away since WrestleMania and is also now a member of the Raw roster. He may very well have some unfinished business with Imperium after being pinned by GUNTHER at WrestleMania.

If WWE is saving Drew’s return for another night, then a more straightforward choice for a partner might be Matt Riddle, who has recently been teaming up with Owens and Zayn. And what about Mustafa Ali? I don’t know that the tag champs really want to deal with him, but he happens to be challenging GUNTHER for the Intercontinental title at Night of Champions and could certainly use another win before getting demolished by The Ring General in Saudi Arabia.

No matter how the MYSTERY PARTNER decision plays out, I’m pretty sure GUNTHER’s first match back on Raw isn’t going to turn out how he expects.

The rest of the title scene

WWE has created a new World Heavyweight Championship for the Raw brand. Seth Rollins will wrestle SmackDown star AJ Styles at Night of Champions to crown the first ever titleholder. It looks like Seth won’t be live at the show tonight due to going Hollywood, and AJ isn’t expected either since he’s not on the Raw roster. The go home segment will likely just be more of Corey Graves interviewing Rollins in a pre-tape.

The Women’s tag team titles were vacated due to Liv Morgan suffering an injury. There will be a four way match next week to determine the champs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler are back on TV just in time to be the favorites to go all the way over Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville, IYO SKY & Bayley, and Raquel Rodriguez and whoever she chooses as her partner. Will we find out tonight who Raquel has in mind to replace Liv as her partner?

Natalya must have a death wish because she wants a match against SmackDown Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. I’m not even sure if that’s an exaggeration; Rhea has already threatened to end Natalya’s career if she ever interrupts her again.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- WWE is advertising that Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar will both be “under one roof” for tonight’s go home show before they have their rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Is it time for a wild pull apart brawl, or is Brock too much of a coward to get his hands dirty tonight?

- Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus will have a contract signing ahead of their match at Night of Champions. I’m sure both wrestlers will keep things calm and civil and there will be no violence whatsoever.

- Zoey Stark looks to continue her success on the main roster when she takes on Candice LeRae tonight.

- JD McDonagh has apparently determined that the best way to get some wins early in his main roster run is to feud with Dolph Ziggler. He’s probably right.

- Dominik Mysterio has beaten Xavier Woods on consecutive episodes of Raw. Are we getting round three tonight?

- Is The Miz ready to leave Shinsuke Nakamura alone after the King of Strong Style beat his ass last week?

- Bronson Reed and Ricochet made it to the final four of last week’s Battle Royal. How will they follow up on that impressive showing tonight?

- It looks like Jinder Mahal will be doing a lot of trash talking while Sanga and Veer Mahaan are trying to make moves in the tag team division.

- Hey, has anybody seen free agent Omos anywhere?

What will you be looking for on Raw?

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