Rejoice Rejoice!!! This is the week we as wrestling fans have been waiting for, for a very long time. The “war” between WWE and AEW officially begins this week. Let’s dive into what the WWE has lined up for their first week of battle.
Monday Night RAW
Set to undergo huge changes tonight and rightfully so as the USA network is paying 265 Million for the rights to air Monday Night Raw. The time is now for the WWE to produce a better product on Monday nights. Monday Night Football has been less than appealing as of late so this is a great time for the WWE to strike.
Key Changes: Tonight on RAW we will see a new stage debut, a new 3 man announce team, that consists of Jerry “the King” Lawler, Dio Madden, and lead Vic Joseph. We will also get the return of pyro and best of all…tonight will usher in the Paul Heyman Era.
Key Segments: MizTv with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Typically WWE tries to kill the momentum of the competition with a little nostalgia. This should be an attempt to get Miz over. Love them or hate them, Flair and Hogan were intricate parts of the Monday Night Wars.
Key Matches: Alexa Bliss Vs. Sasha Banks– Sasha needs to look strong here before she faces Becky inside Hell in a Cell on Sunday. Expect Sasha to go over clean with no assistance from Bayley. This will establish Sasha as more than just a cowardly heel and as a serious threat to dethrone The Man (which I hope she does).
United States Championship-AJ Styles(c) Vs. Cedric Alexander: The OC is probably the best thing going in the WWE right now not named The Fiend but for a ratings pop I could see Alexander going over tonight. Heyman is said to be high up on Alexander but wants to push him slowly so things don’t seem forced.
Universal Championship-Seth Rollins (c) Vs. Rey Mysterio: This will be Seth’s last match before facing the Fiend inside of the Cell on Sunday. Don’t expect to see anything crazy happen here, expect a solid match but Seth is going over clean.
Wednesday Night NXT:
Key Changes: Officially 2 hours on the USA Network
Key Segments: Walter and Kushida: these two have slowly been building towards a potential title match and the back and forth has been darn good. Expect more of that on Wednesday.
Velveteen Dream Open challenge: Who will be the one to accept? Jordan Myles, Cameron Grimes, or perhaps a debuting superstar?
Key Matches: NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed ERA (C) Vs. The Street Profits: Expect UE to go over clean as this will be the last time we see the Street Profits on NXT. I expect to see them on RAW moving forward.
NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (C) Vs. Candice Lerae: Baszler is the second coming of Asuka. She’s been that good in NXT, but much like the Street Profits expect this to be her curtain call. I figure Fox would love to have a combat athlete on their network on Friday Nights. Expect Candace to get the huge upset.
NXT Heavyweight Championship: Adam Cole (C) Vs. Matt Riddle: This will be the best match of the week, barring Cole is able to wrestle. There has been rumors circulating that he is injured and its not kayfabe. If he doesn’t wrestle, I would expect we see Roderick Strong take his place.
Friday Night Smackdown
Key Changes: New to the FOX network, the former Raw announce team Corey Graves, Michael Cole, and Renee Young will be taking over for the blue brand. New logo, new theme, new stage, and also the return of pyro.
Key Segments: This is being billed as an anniversary show and big names such as Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Trish Stratus, and Goldberg have been announced. Expect this to be a really fun night.
Key Matches: Loser leaves town Ladder Match Kevin Owens Vs. Shane McMahon: I would tend to go with predictability here but this is a tough pick here as you never know with this angle. It is definitely going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Will Shane be gone forever or will KO be drafted over to Raw?
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) Vs. Brock Lesnar: I expect this to resemble that ass-kicking that John Cena took at Summerslam 2015. This match will belong to Lesnar. Brock brings the mainstream attention back to the WWE Championship and elevates it with his presence.
This is going to be a fantastic week of action for the WWE. They have a chance to put their stamp on the “war” with AEW right away. Expect to see title’s change hands, incredible matches, and fun with legends. Enjoy!