Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman: Latest Rumors and Preview for WWE Raw Oct. 16

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterOctober 16, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

The latest chapter of the ongoing war between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman will unfold inside a steel cage on the final WWE Raw before TLC.

Both Reigns and Strowman will anchor powerhouse teams in the main event of Sunday's TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view. But they'll slug it out in singles action one more time first.

The Shield, The Miz and The Bar are all sure to be lurking as that bout goes down.

With Reigns and Strowman as its centerpiece, Portland is set to host the go-home edition of Raw. The women's title picture, the impending arrival of Asuka and Bray Wyatt's alter-ego are sure to figure prominently, too.

Read on for a full preview of Monday's show. Backstage news, Raw preview on WWE.com and storyline projections provide a look ahead before the red brand takes the stage at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.

     

News, Rumors

It looks like The King of the Cruiserweights has departed.

Neville reportedly left the building before last week's show with no intentions of coming back. Figure Four Online's Joseph Currier wrote: "Sources confirmed to us that Neville walked out before Raw on Monday and appeared to have quit the promotion, though WWE has officially denied that he's quit."

Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet added that Neville was set to face Enzo Amore, but the company had to shift gears following the walkout:

Unless the WWE can patch things up with Neville quickly, we're not going to see the high-flyer in Portland. Neville may be done completely, too. And the cruiserweight division will suffer from a lack of depth as a result.

Meanwhile, the countdown to Darren Young's return continues.

After tearing up his elbow in January, the former tag team champ is healthy again. Although he hasn't returned to TV, he has competed at a number of untelevised bouts including at a live event in Regina, Saskatchewan, in Canada over the weekend, as seen on Wrestling Inc.

Young could be back on Raw at any moment. The wait for Samoa Joe, on the other hand, will be longer.

It's not clear when he will be ready to go after his recent knee injury, but the company apparently doesn't have anything in the works for him yet. Mike Johnson of PWInsider noted: "As of this writing, his return has not been written by creative."

Raw Streaks

Strowman is on a three-match winning streak, per CageMatch.net. He has knocked off Matt Hardy, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as he looks to rebuild his momentum following his loss to Brock Lesnar at No Mercy.

In Portland, The Monster Among Men will look to make it four in a row and defeat each member of The Shield in the process.

Apollo Crews has lost three straight matches, all to Elias, per CageMatch.net.

Crews has yet to experience a sustained push. He is 1-5 in his last six matches on Raw, and he has a pedestrian .400 winning percentage for the year. The WWE clearly has no interest in making him look special.

      

Last Leg of TLC Build

Wyatt may not be facing Finn Balor at TLC. His alter-ego may wrestle in his stead. 

Last Monday, The Eater of Worlds morphed into Sister Abigail.  

Unless the WWE rethinks its baffling decision to have Wyatt fight as a ghost lady, he's bound to challenge Balor as his other self. How that match and the build toward it will play out is unclear, but it's going to get plenty weird. 

Asuka is set to debut for the Raw brand at TLC after a historically dominant stretch at NXT. Emma earned the right to be her first opponent by way of winning a Fatal 5-Way Elimination match last week. 

With minimal time to hype this match, the WWE will have to be efficient in its storytelling leading up to Asuka vs. Emma.

Thanks to a surprise win in a Lumberjack Match on the most recent Raw, Kalisto will enter Sunday's event as champion.

The King of Flight dethroned Amore to close out last week's Raw. And the former champ won't have to wait long for his chance to reclaim his prize. Amore and Kalisto are set for a Cruiserweight Championship rematch at TLC.

It's a safe bet that the loudmouth Amore will have tons to say about that contest and about the new champ.

There should be plenty of verbal fireworks between Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, as well. Their feud over the Raw Women's Championship has seen the champ dismiss James as too old and past her prime to compete with her.

The shtick making fun of James' age has been heavyhanded, and that's not likely to change this late in the process. Expect some more jokes at the challenger's expense.

Monday's marquee matchup will then pit Strowman against Reigns in a steel cage. These two titans have clashed time and again. And the result is always highly physical.

Their steel surroundings this time around will only amplify that.

Plus, there's a good chance things turn chaotic at some point. This bout is a precursor to The Shield vs. The Miz, The Bar and Strowman this Sunday. The Raw preview on WWE.com hinted at those other Superstars getting involved in the cage match: "Can Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus resist somehow getting involved?"

The final image of Reigns vs. Strowman is likely to include many of those men as the WWE gives fans a peek of the wildness that is to come at TLC.

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