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Brock Lesnar Returns; Latest Rumors and Preview for WWE Raw April 23

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 23, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Brock Lesnar will storm back into WWE Raw to find the brand transformed after the Superstar Shake-up.

WWE reshaped the red brand's roster with NXT call-ups, trades and various moves. The Universal Championship scene remains the same, however. Roman Reigns is still on the hunt for The Beast Incarnate.

Reigns is poised to challenge Lesnar once more for the universal title at Friday's Greatest Royal Rumble event. That big bout will bring the reclusive champion out into the spotlight as Raw visits St. Louis.

WWE @WWE

NEXT WEEK: #UniversalChampion @BrockLesnar is BACK on Monday Night #RAW just days before his #SteelCage match against @WWERomanReigns at #WWEGRR! https://t.co/OeQB886qv0

As that special event in Saudi Arabia nears, Raw has plenty of work to do. It not only has to hype that show, it must continue the build to May 6's Backlash pay-per-view and deal with the aftermath of the Superstar Shake-up.

News updates and the Raw preview on WWE.com help project how that will all play out. Read on for a full preview of Monday's show before it airs beginning at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.

      

News, Rumors

Alexa Bliss may not be hitting Twisted Bliss on anyone for a bit. The former Raw women's champ may be limited to a verbal role as she recovers from a recent procedure.

John Pollock of Post Wrestling reported: "Bliss recently had minor cosmetic surgery following WrestleMania. We were told that she is expected back soon and is still scheduled for the Backlash event."

Mickie James and Alexa Bliss.
Mickie James and Alexa Bliss.Credit: WWE.com

Raw isn't likely to feature WWE's "free agent," either. Figure Four Online noted: "John Cena is not scheduled for any shows this week."

He was last seen falling to Undertaker in a quick match at WrestleMania.

The red brand, however, will welcome Booker T's unique broadcasting style. Reality of Wrestling announcer Brad Gilmore posted a video of Booker T where the Hall of Famer mentioned he would be commentating on Monday's Raw.

       

Raw Streaks

Braun Strowman is piling up momentum once again. The Monster of Men was on the winning team in last week's 10-man bout, adding to a recent trend.

WWE @WWE

The #MonsterAmongMen @BraunStrowman wins it for himself, @fightbobby @REALBobbyRoode @WWERollins & @FinnBalor to close out @mikethemiz's FINAL Monday Night #RAW! https://t.co/leuu2kyExd

Not counting the Mixed Match Challenge, Strowman has won seven straight matches on TV and PPV, per CageMatch.net.

While WWE hasn't fully backed Strowman as "the guy," he continues to be booked favorably. Don't expect him to fall many times in a row anytime soon.

Mickie James continues to add to her string of losses. She fell to Ember Moon last Monday to extend her streak to eight defeats in a row, per CageMatch.net.

She had been playing a stepping stone for Bliss and is now doing the same for Moon and others.

        

Preview

Raw is a far different beast following the Superstar Shake-up. Samoa Joe and The Miz are gone. Dolph Ziggler, Breezango and Natalya are now on the red brand.

WWE Creative now has a number of new paths to head down. Fresh feuds are sure to emerge as early as Monday night.

WWE @WWE

Some BIG changes came to #RAW and #SDLive this past week, and @catherinekelley is here to make sure you're totally up to speed. #SuperstarShakeup https://t.co/f9OD7vbdsm

One of the bigger moves of the shake-up was Raw hiring Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who had been fired from SmackDown. Commissioner Stephanie McMahon brought in the heels and overruled general manager Kurt Angle in the process.

The tension between the two authority figures, who just recently collided at WrestleMania, is sure to grow in the weeks ahead.

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, meanwhile, have their eyes set on the Raw Tag Team Championship. They made their way through a Tag Team Eliminator to earn a match against The Bar for the vacant titles in Saudi Arabia.

Until then, they should get some spotlight as the eccentric duo ahead of their likely coronation.

The night's big story will be the next chapter of the Lesnar vs. Reigns rivalry. The Beast Incarnate has twice beaten Reigns at WrestleMania. The former Shield member, though, is getting one more crack at the champ at The Greatest Royal Rumble.

WWE @WWE

NEXT FRIDAY, APRIL 27: @BrockLesnar defends the #UniversalChampionship inside a #SteelCage against @WWERomanReigns at @WWE Greatest Royal Rumble! #WWEGRR https://t.co/Kx3KbwTeA2

Before that Universal Championship clash, Lesnar and Reigns are sure to cross paths in violent fashion.

WWE has looked to paint Reigns as the hero of the people and a sympathetic figure in this tale. It largely hasn't worked to this point. 

Whether the company opts for another beatdown of The Big Dog or heads down another narrative road, Raw will offer plenty to talk about.

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