Raw present their first brand exclusive PPV since the brand split this Sunday. Smackdown are leading the charge when it comes to show quality, so Raw have a lot to live up to after a great Smackdown Backlash PPV a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what to expect from the show.
Cesaro vs Sheamus
This is the seventh and deciding match in the best of seven series. This series has been solid and has told a great story of Cesaro fighting back through a back injury. There have been a lot of good matches, but nothing blow away great, so hopefully they are going to pull out something special here. Cesaro badly needs this win.
Raw Tag Team Championship
The New Day vs Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
The Gallows & Anderson skits got so bad that WWE have more or less wiped their hands of it it and tried to reset Gallows & Anderson. The Club were damaged badly from those skits and have lost most of the badass aura that they came into WWE with, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from WWE. New Day have been champions for around 400 days, so they really don’t need them anymore. Gallows & Anderson need to win the titles if they are to be rebuilt into a legitimate team.
Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho
Jericho has made a career of reinventing himself, and during a time where he has never had more criticism, he has managed to do it again. His newest shtick has been fantastic and one of the highlights of Raw TV, based around his friendship with Kevin Owens. That’s where Sami Zayn comes in. It’s a natural feud. Jericho attacked Zayn with a phone and now Zayn wants payback. Zayn is a guy that is so easy to buy and get behind when he is trying to settle a score. He looked like he was out for blood this past week on Raw, so hopefully he brings that here. If this is the start of a longer feud, Jericho should steal the win to give Zayn something to fight for.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
TJ Perkins vs Brian Kendrick
This is the first defence of the new Cruiserweight championship. New champion TJ Perkins makes his WWE debut, on PPV, so he is being thrown in at the deep end. The introduction of the Cruiserweights on Raw certainly wasn’t what we seen from them on the Cruiserweight Classic, but we’re going to have to give it more time to play out. Hopefully the idea behind this match is to use Kendrick, who has WWE experience, to guide Perkins along and establish him as champion. WWE have really done nothing to tap into the very real story of Brian Kendrick having one last run, a story that brought people to tears in the CWC. With some effort, WWE could have got their casual audience somewhat invested in this, but instead this is a cold match that will likely play out in front of a largely silent crowd, many of whom probably haven’t been following the CWC.
WWE United States Championship
Rusev vs Roman Reigns
It’s hard to imagine Reigns as US champion and Rusev shouldn’t be losing the title, so it’s hard to imagine anything other than a screwy finish to this one. If Rusev gets any sort of decisive win it will be a huge shocker. These guys haven’t had a chance to have a full on match yet, so this should be great as both can go in the ring. This should be a hell of a brawl between two hugely athletic big men.
Raw Women’s Championship
Charlotte vs Bayley vs Sasha Banks
This match has an incredible back story with so much history dating back to their time in NXT, but WWE have done absolutely nothing with it and have thrown this out there as just another title match. Smackdown have taken Becky Lynch & Alexa Bliss and have made that match mean more than this, with no back story. With some video features looking at their history and some real interviews this could have been built into something, but what we have gotten has been your typical WWE overly produced scripted false storyline. That being said, this match could be a show stealer. There will be so much emotion between Bayley & Sasha as they face off on PPV, something that I really hope WWE manages to capture. Charlotte should retain here and lead to a singles rematch with Sasha.
WWE Universal Championship
Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
There is a vast history between Rollins & Owens dating back to their time in ROH. Whether it be The Age of The Fall feuding with Steen & Generico, or their classic bloody match for the World title in 2010, Rollins & Owens are no strangers. Owens bought a ticket to be there live when Rollins made his WWE PPV debut in 2012. Owens stood out in the crowd to watch Rollins winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania 31 and who will forget that moment captured on WWE 24 where Owens said to Rollins “we’re running this place”. How right he was. Now Kevin Owens is the top dog and he defends against his friend that he came up through the ranks with.
The hope here is that Triple H doesn’t get involved until at least after the final bell has rang. I really want to see Rollins & Owens go out and have the sort of main event match that they are capable of. Rollins is in the process of a babyface turn, so this is the match where that turn is likely completed. Owens winning this with more Triple H assistance probably wouldn’t be a good thing for him. If these guys are let loose, this has match of the year written all over it.