Just six days before Extreme Rules hits the WWE Network airwaves, the Raw brand's top Superstars will vie for momentum on what should be an explosive July 9 broadcast.
As the rivalries featuring Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley, Finn Balor and Constable Corbin, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax and Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens prepare to come to a head, the official preview of Monday's show from WWE.com helps set the stage for this week's episode.
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley To Be Main Event of Extreme Rules
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley is the likely main event of Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Even with a WWE Championship match pitting defending champion AJ Styles against Rusev, there really is no better choice to headline the event than Reigns vs. Lashley.
The top star in Vince McMahon's company squaring off with a wrestler management clearly hopes it can elevate consistently to the main event scene after a decade away is a match that has greater long-term repercussions on the flagship brand than Styles vs. Rusev has on the B-show.
It also features greater star power.
Reigns is the guy in WWE while Lashley has some mainstream recognition from his days in Strikeforce. Putting them in the main event, a fresh match fans have not seen before, helps lend a sense of intrigue to a show that has not lit the wrestling world on fire from a hype or build perspective.
If the report proves true, expect Reigns and Lashley to dominate airtime Monday night during Raw.
Addressing The Brock Lesnar Situation
On the heels of Brock Lesnar's return to UFC and a challenge laid down by heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported, "WWE is expected to address the Lesnar situation on Monday Night Raw this evening."
The likelihood that his appearance at the event and interaction with Cormier will somehow affect his status as WWE universal champion is low. Lesnar remains under contract to Vince McMahon's company and will defend that title sooner or later.
Whether it happens at SummerSlam on August 19 in Brooklyn, New York, is the question everyone awaits the answer to.
Stories To Watch
The Renaissance of The Authors of Pain
After months spent watching from the sidelines or competing on the mostly meaningless Main Event show, The Authors of Pain have exploded back on to the scene on Monday nights.
A week ago, they demolished Titus Worldwide and were put over significantly on commentary as a threat to the Raw Tag Team Championships.
Do not be surprised to see Akam and Rezar tear through more tag teams, beginning on this week's show, as WWE Creative rebuilds them into the dominant force they were during their time in NXT.
The Authors certainly lost momentum when management failed to follow up their debut after WrestleMania. Consistency through television appearances will be key to their growth and development as credible main roster Superstars.
A Feud for Ember Moon?
Like The Authors of Pain, Ember Moon has been somewhat directionless since her call-up to the main roster. The former NXT women's champion has appeared on television more than Akam and Rezar but it has been as part of multi-woman tag team matches, with little or nothing in the way of character or story development.
A win over Liv Morgan a week ago may spark a rivalry between Moon and The Riott Squad, though, that could give Moon her first taste of an actual storyline on the Raw.
Do not be surprised if Moon battles Sarah Logan Monday night, furthering their program and, maybe, setting up a showdown with Ruby Riott whenever the tattooed leader of the rebellious faction returns from her MCL sprain.
Can Kevin Owens Escape Braun Strowman?
He has been bumped around ringside like a tackling dummy. He was sent flying off a ladder and through tables below. He has seen his rental car turned upside down in the parking lot. A week ago, he was shoved off the stage in a porta-potty. Kevin Owens has repeatedly failed to escape the fury and rage of Braun Strowman on this road to Extreme Rules.
To this point, there has been no official announcement of a match between Owens and Strowman for Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, but that should change Monday night on Raw.
The Raw preview at WWE.com suggests Owens will again feel the wrath of Strowman. If that is the case, it should come with the official announcement of some kind of match between the two in Pittsburgh Sunday night.
Given the manner in which Owens has repeatedly tried to escape, running through the audience or out of the building, a steel cage match announcement by general manager Kurt Angle would certainly make sense.
Will Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley Come to Blows?
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley have steadily built their match at Extreme Rules, but after the latter abandoned The Big Dog during last week's match against The Revival, Reigns will almost certainly be seeking revenge Monday night when he shares the same arena with his opponent.
Does that mean Reigns and Lashley finally come to blows ahead of this Sunday's pay-per-view?
Given the lackluster build to the show to this point, a brawl between the two would at least drum up some anticipation for their match, for which there is little at this time.
As the expected main event, it needs a hot angle to really hammer home the gravity of the match or it risks becoming just a bout between two top Raw stars. We saw how well that gets over with audiences at Backlash when Reigns battled Samoa Joe in a heatless headliner.
Finn Balor Offers No Apologies to Constable Corbin
The announcement of Finn Balor vs. Constable Corbin for Sunday's Extreme Rules sets up a Monday Night Raw in which fans should expect the escalation of their rivalry.
A week ago, Balor refused Constable Corbin's demands for an apology after the two of them exchanged blows during a tag team match. Bucking authority, Balor instead laughed it off and offered a few quips in the direction of his superior.
Corbin responded with a physical attack that Balor answered before sending the constable scurrying to the floor.
Ahead of their match Sunday night, expect Corbin to retaliate, perhaps dishing out punishment that will leave Balor second-guessing his decision to get on the former United States champion's bad side.
Much like the other rivalries culminating in matches at Extreme Rules, this one needs a hot angle of some sort to generate excitement among fans, because as of now, it feels like an afterthought of a match added to the card at the last second to give both men something to do.