Last night, despite being thrown into a state of flux, the WWE put on their TLC pay-per-view. It didn’t have the promised return of the Shield, or the Demon Finn Balor taking on Sister Abagail, but it did provide the in-ring return of Kurt Angle and a dream matchup between Balor and A.J. Styles. Tonight, the WWE moves forward toward Survivor Series. Here are five things to watch for on tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
Hitting the reset button
The real-life news of a viral infection plaguing members of the WWE locker room had a major impact on the WWE TLC PPV, with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt missing the show. What isn’t known is how long both of those guys will be out for, and what impact, if any, it will have on the build to Survivor Series in November.
After a PPV, the WWE has the opportunity to hit the reset button, wiping the slate clean on all of their major feuds. That includes whatever the plan was for Balor and Wyatt. Tonight, the WWE needs to quickly shift gears and get all of their major players in place for whatever is next for them. Even if that means having loose ends, the WWE would wise to put the past in the past and shift gears toward Houston.
Brock answers Jinder’s challenge
One thing that last week’s news did not alter is the rumored Survivor Series main event between Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. Last week on SmackDown Live, Mahal made the challenge clear. He wanted The Beast one-on-one at Survivor Series.
Tonight, Lesnar and Paul Heyman are expected to respond to the challenge laid down by the Modern Day Maharaja. A champion vs. champion matchup pitting SmackDown against Raw would be exactly the main event WWE wants for an entire pay-per-view that they are building around the two brands feuding.
Lesnar’s response will give us a clear guide as to what direction this match is taking, and how seriously we should take it.
The Shield’s next move
It wasn’t the return the fans were looking for, as we still have yet to see the Shield team up together in a match, but Sunday’s pay-per-view provided a glimpse of what that return could look like. While Rollins and Ambrose picked up the victory, it felt as though their battles with the Miz and Co. were just beginning.
Without Reigns, it will be interesting to see if the numbers game catches up to Rollins and Ambrose, and what role it all might play in Survivor Series.
When we last left Braun Strowman, he was getting crunched by a garbage truck. The Monster Among Men was not seeing eye-to-eye with Kane, and the remaining members of Team Miz teamed up to take out Strowman and dispose of him in said truck.
First of all, we need to learn whether or not Strowman is alive. If that is the case, it seems likely that his sights will be set on the Big Red Machine to seek revenge. So far, nobody has been able to stop Strowman. That includes Roman Reigns trying to kill him by backing up an ambulance into a truck. Since Strowman survived that, I’ll put nothing past him at this point.
Ready for Asuka
Lost in the shuffle of AJ/Finn and Kurt Angle’s in-ring return was the WWE pay-per-view debut of Asuka. She took down Emma in her first match, albeit not in the dominating fashion that we saw from her back in NXT.
Emma does not seem to be done with Asuka, so a rematch may be on the horizon. After that, the door is wide open for Asuka’s next feud. The Women’s Title picture is probably a little ways away for Asuka, as there is a ton of potential in a Nia Jax/Asuka title feud. Sasha Banks could be around since she rid herself of the crazy Alicia Fox on the pre-show.
Whatever is next for Asuka, hopefully, it can do a better job of making her feel like a special attraction.