In the wake of Extreme Rules, WWE Raw will host the victorious, the newly crowned and those now rich with momentum.
Samoa Joe earned the right to challenge Brock Lesnar by outlasting four other Raw Superstars on Sunday’s pay-per-view. Cesaro and Sheamus, as well as The Miz, won championship gold at the event. Alexa Bliss and Neville crushed their top contenders and will stride into Raw with their championships still in hand.
Monday’s show promises to be a celebration for those champs while also being a means for the red brand to switch gears.
The Great Balls of Fire PPV will arrive on July 9. Raw has to start constructing the event’s card and start the hyping process all over again.
Who will show up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania? What will the latest episode focus on? Backstage news, storyline analysis and the Raw preview on WWE.com help provide those answers before Raw airs on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.
The cruiserweight division will have one less option at its disposal it seems.
The #GoldenLynx @LuchadorLD is ready to POUNCE as he battles @megatjp in one-on-one action on #205Live! @WWENetwork @WWE205Live https://t.co/TQvmtcfseY
Lince Dorado appears to have suffered a knee injury. He took a spill during a Main Event taping in Greenville, South Carolina, last Monday. Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc noted: “Dorado landed bad [sic] on his knee after a tilt-a-whirl and looked to be hurt.”
Dorado has been inactive since.
Emma is dealing with her own issues after a bad landing, as she hurt her shoulder in early May. Fans may not have to wait long to see her in the ring again, though.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Nick Paglino of Wrestle Zone), Emma should return in mid-June.
WWE isn’t likely to rush her return as she’s not a key piece of the Raw puzzle. She’s more likely to come back next week or later than on Monday night.
As for whether we’ll see Lesnar on Raw, Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc) that The Beast Incarnate is expected to be around more than he was during his 2014-15 title run.
That has yet to be the case to this point, but he now has a match lined up—and that promises to change things.
A Cruiserweight Championship challenger is emerging.
Now that Austin Aries has failed on all three tries to dethrone Neville, it could soon be someone else’s turn to pursue The King of the Cruiserweights, namely Akira Tozawa.
Tozawa, per CageMatch.net, has won his last eight matches. That includes his last two Raw bouts and last five matches on 205 Live. And he outlasted former cruiserweight champ Brian Kendrick in a street fight at the end of May.
It’s easy to imagine all that serving as a precursor to Tozawa becoming the next No. 1 contender.
Mickie James, meanwhile, is miles away from that status.
As seen on CageMatch.net, James has lost six consecutive matches. She has yet to win since moving to Raw during the Superstar Shake-up.
She has clearly been a low priority for the Raw brand. And that’s not likely to change with so many other women in the division getting far more spotlight and airtime.
Cesaro and Sheamus will walk into Raw in a celebratory mood. The duo captured the Raw Tag Team Championship from The Hardy Boyz in a steel cage match on Sunday.
The former champs may not wait long to look to reclaim the titles, though. The WWE.com Raw preview stated: “Matt and Jeff no doubt have plans to invoke their guaranteed rematch clause sooner rather than later.”
It will also be interesting to see if this loss affects the Hardy brothers’ state of mind. Fans have been waiting for these two to resume their “broken” ways in WWE since they arrived.
Bliss will have reason to gloat much like Cesaro and Sheamus thanks to her dominant win over Bayley at Extreme Rules.
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
The tide has shifted as #RAW #WomensChampion @AlexaBliss_WWE gains control of the #KendoStick! #ExtremeRules @itsBayleyWWE https://t.co/IxOSZJYmG6
Bliss throttled the babyface with a kendo stick in what felt like the end of Bayley’s title pursuits for the moment. Nia Jax is likely to soon step up to challenge for the Raw Women’s Championship. She was promised a shot at Bliss’ title in exchange for watching her back.
That storyline has failed to progress, but the door is now open for that to change in a hurry.
The Miz will enter Raw fresh off beating Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. And The A-Lister will attempt to outdo all of his fellow champions. Per the WWE.com Raw preview, The Miz will host a celebration on Monday’s show.
Knowing The Miz’s bombastic persona, one can expect something big and garish.
Raw should also address its two current whodunits. Last week, Corey Graves showed Kurt Angle a mystery text message and some unknown assailant attacked Enzo Amore from behind for the second time.
Both stories are likely to advance on Monday night. The former probably leading to Stephanie McMahon’s return and the latter potentially being how Amore and Big Cass split up.
And the build to Joe vs. Lesnar will begin in earnest.
The Destroyer will surely get some time to talk up his chances against the universal champ, but will The Beast Incarnate actually show up? The Raw preview hinted as much: “Will The Samoan Submission Specialist’s bold words garner a response from Lesnar and his vocal advocate, Paul Heyman?”
Lesnar hasn’t been on Raw in weeks. Joe is poised to welcome him back in a violent manner.