Roman Reigns returned to action at WWE Battleground 2016 last night, and along with Seth Rollins, he failed to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Dean Ambrose and the SmackDown Live brand. Upon his return from a 30-day suspension for violating the WWE Wellness Policy, Reigns received a mostly negative reaction from the WWE Universe in Washinton, D.C., despite the fact that a Roman Reigns heel turn never explicitly took place at Battleground. Will the same be true tonight on WWE Monday Night Raw?
With WWE’s biggest prize currently in possession of the SmackDown brand, where will former Shield partners Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns focus their energies? Can fans expect a Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns rematch at SummerSlam? With Bayley being revealed as Sasha Banks’ tag team partner against WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke last night, where will the NXT call-up fit in the Women’s Division on the Raw roster? Will fellow NXT alumni Finn Balor and Nia Jax both make a Monday Night Raw debut as well?
WWE Monday Night RAW Preview
After a spectacular showing at WWE Battleground in Washington, D.C. on Sunday night, Monday Night RAW airs live from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. This is the first episode of WWE Raw since last week’s WWE Draft and the subsequent brand extension. This new era of Raw comes with new leadership from Stephanie McMahon as Commissioner and Mick Foley as General Manager. The new era also comes with a brand new logo.
Will Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins continue to feud?
While the whole point of the WWE brand extension is to give more WWE Superstars a chance to shine, it seems reasonable to think that Reigns and Rollins will continue to feud, at least through SummerSlam. Seth has been relentlessly dragging Roman’s name through the mud while he was away from WWE television, and it was Reigns who took the fall last night after falling victim to Dean Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds. Rollins will undoubtedly make the case that he deserves yet another shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship since he wasn’t pinned, but he’ll likely be forced to take out his frustrations on Reigns.
After they finish with each other, it will be interesting to see which direction WWE goes with these characters. Without the Wyatt Family, could Braun Strowman be thrust into his first major singles feud? Cesaro has been vocally upset about his current role on the Raw brand, so will he get a shot at one of the former Shield members next? Both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will need new opponents once they finish up the program they’re currently working together. Many of the WWE fans have been dying to see a feud between Rollins and Owens or Rollins and Zayn.
Will Bayley, Finn Balor, and Nia Jax make their Monday Night Raw debuts?
One of the most exciting elements of the WWE Draft was the fact that six selections were reserved for members of the NXT roster. Stephanie and Mick took advantage of this by grabbing Finn Bálor with the No. 5 overall pick and then selecting Nia Jax at No. 25. The rest of the NXT picks from the WWE Draft were taken by Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan for SmackDown Live, but Bayley made her main roster debut at Battleground last night, and she will now be a part of the Raw brand.
Could Bayley and Nia Jax make a similar transition to Raw that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens made to the main roster? Bayley just defeated Nia Jax on WWE NXT last week, and she is likely to go on to NXT TakeOver: Back to Brooklyn to face NXT Women’s Champion Asuka in one final title bout. With Sasha clearly in line for a shot at the WWE Women’s Championship, could her reunion with Bayley be interrupted by the destructive force that is Nia Jax? Or will the NXT call-ups start programs with some of the Raw women who currently have lesser roles on the brand, like Alicia Fox, Paige, Summer Rae or even Charlotte’s protege Dana Brooke?
With AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows insisting that The Club isn’t breaking up after being drafted to separate brands, but rather expanding, could that mean Finn Bálor will officially reunite with his former NJPW allies? Could a Balor Club start-up cause friction with AJ Styles while he deals with John Cena on SmackDown? With the Cruiserweight Division coming to Raw soon, could Finn help pave the way by putting on solid matches with the likes of Sin Cara, Neville and Sami Zayn?
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Where To Watch
WWE Battleground 2016 first aired live on the WWE Network on Sunday, July 24. It can currently be viewed on-demand using WWE’s streaming service.
WWE Monday Night RAW airs live on the USA Network at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central, with the Raw Pre-Show airing on the WWE Network at 7:30 p.m. Eastern/6:30 p.m. Central. Replays of WWE RAW aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a 90-minute version of Monday Night Raw is available to stream on-demand the following day with a Hulu Plus subscription.
[Image via WWE]