March 20, 2017
A collision of titans is set to headline Monday’s WWE Raw, as Roman Reigns will take on Braun Strowman.
For Reigns, this bout is a WrestleMania 33 warm-up. Win or lose, The Big Dog has a date with Undertaker lined up for the April 2 pay-per-view.
Strowman, meanwhile, has a less clear place on the supercard. Will a win against Reigns in Barclays Center allow him to force his way into the Reigns-Undertaker matchup? Will The Monster Among Men have to instead settle for being WrestleMania filler?
ALSO NEXT WEEK: @BraunStrowman will go one-on-one with @WWERomanReigns, LIVE on #RAW! https://t.co/LflneWls38
3/14/2017, 2:55:35 AM
The Showcase of the Immortals will be the focus of Monday’s Raw beyond that clash too.
The Raw Women’s Championship match for the event could be set to expand. Goldberg’s rivalry with Brock Lesnar over the Universal Championship is sure to garner more hype. And whether Finn Balor will return in time to join the party is a big story as well.
Backstage updates, the Raw preview on WWE.com and storyline analysis help break down what to expect when the red brand hits the airwaves on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.
News, Potential Spoilers
The cruiserweight division has been a man short because of a Cedric Alexander injury.
The babyface has out of action for weeks, and it looks as if he’s not coming back for a long while. James McKenna of Pro Wrestling Sheet recently reported: “Multiple sources confirm Cedric injured his right knee, and doctors are saying he won’t be able to wrestle for [three to five] months.”
WWE fans shouldn’t expect Finn Balor to show up on Raw, either, despite his clearance after recovering from a shoulder injury. PWInsider.com’s Mike Johnson wrote on Monday: “While Finn Balor worked the live events over the weekend, we are told he is not slated to appear at tonight’s Raw taping.”
That makes it highly unlikely he gets added to the WrestleMania card, with such little time until the PPV.
Dana Brooke and Nia Jax, on the other hand, may find themselves in a title bout. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), WWE is considering adding either Jax or Brooke to the Raw Women’s Championship match, which is currently a three-way contest, with Bayley defending against Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair.
Monday’s Raw should provide clues as to whether Jax or Brooke will worm her way into the title mix.
Banks is steadily gathering momentum ahead of WrestleMania.
The Boss last defeated Brooke on the previous edition of Raw. That extended a short streak for her, as she has won three one-on-one Raw matches in a row, per CageMatch.net. In addition, Banks has claimed victory in four out of her last five bouts overall.
WWE should look to continue this strategy for both her and Flair, reminding us how much of a threat these two are to Bayley.
Titus O’Neil may not even be able to remember what a winning streak feels like at this point. WWE has dropped the powerhouse to a low rung on the ladder.
Per CageMatch.net, O’Neil winless in his last 11 singles matches on Raw and has gone 1-6 all year. He dropped a match to Big Show on the most recent edition of Raw. Should he climb into the ring again in Brooklyn, New York, chances are it will be to play the victim once more.
If he even makes the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal field, it will be a big win for him.
Mick Foley’s position as Raw general manager is suddenly tenuous. Commissioner Stephanie McMahon forced him to choose someone to fire last time out, and Foley chose her.
The choice didn’t go over well, as you might expect.
“I’m looking into the eyes of a REALLY GOOD LIAR and a REALLY BAD PERSON!” – @RealMickFoley to @StephMcMahon on #RAW https://t.co/IyDiIjwCwC
3/14/2017, 3:01:27 AM
Foley drew the ire of both McMahon and her husband, Triple H. It didn’t help that Foley pulled out Mr. Socko and gave The Game a taste of the Mandible Claw. As the WWE.com Raw preview noted: “One wonders if Foley’s days as Raw GM are now numbered.”
This could be the means to write off Foley to allow him to get the hip surgery he has long needed, as detailed by Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.
Whether Foley is running the show on Monday or not, United States champ Chris Jericho is sure to make it an interesting night. In a backstage interview on the latest episode of Raw, Y2J promised to reveal the “real Kevin Owens.”
His former best friend attacked him weeks ago. Jericho will have the floor to respond on Monday, likely working a few one-liners into the mix.
This won’t be as engaging as the tremendous Festival of Friendship segment from February, but his and Owens’ feud has produced some of the best stuff the red brand has to offer.
Brooke will be awaiting the backlash for her actions on the most recent edition of Raw. She barreled over her former mentor, Flair, ending their relationship via a brawl.
The Raw preview asked two key questions: “How will Charlotte respond to the actions of her one-time protege, and how might this new mindset alter Dana’s trajectory on The Road to WrestleMania? “
The more spotlight WWE aims at this storyline, the more likely Brooke will get involved in the WrestleMania title bout. That’s worth keeping an eye on in itself.
It’s not clear how much airtime the Universal Championship match will garner, as champ Goldberg isn’t advertised for the show.
One would expect some sort of response from him, though, whether it’s as part of a surprise appearance or taped interview. Manager extraordinaire Paul Heyman proclaimed that Goldberg was due for a fall on the previous episode of Raw.
And WrestleMania is fast approaching. The time for hyping that megabout and the rest of the card is limited.