Preview for Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley and July 23 Episode of WWE Raw

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2018

Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley II headlines the July 23 episode of WWE Raw
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley II headlines the July 23 episode of WWE RawCredit: WWE.com

For the second time in eight days, Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley will square off in singles competition, this time on WWE Raw and with an opportunity to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam up for grabs.

Lashley won the first match, scoring a clean pinfall victory over Reigns at Extreme Rules on June 15. With the main event at SummerSlam hanging in the balance, will the former NCAA wrestling champion make it 2-0 against the red brand's resident franchise star, or will Reigns cash his ticket to one more war with Lesnar?

What else does Monday's show have on tap for the WWE Universe?

Find out now, with a little help from the official WWE.com preview of the July 23 broadcast.



Stephanie McMahon will return to television Monday night for an announcement, and according to WrestleVotes, it could be regarding the first women's pay-per-view event.

WrestleVotes @WrestleVotes

Stephanie McMahon to appear on RAW with a major announcement. It could be the announcement of the all Women’s PPV. Here are some exclusive details: It’s happening in September of this year. In Long Island, NY.

The speculative report suggested the show will feature both the finals of the 2018 Mae Young Classic and the implementation of women's tag team champions.

WrestleVotes @WrestleVotes

Following up: the all Women’s PPV is scheduled to feature the finals of the Mae Young Classic tournament. The rumors of the women’s tag titles are true. As for the date, one source has said Sept (9/9 or 9/30) while another trusted source says October (10/14 or 10/28). We’ll see.

If accurate, the announcement will be a historic one that continues WWE's devotion to its women's revolution. The arrival of Ronda Rousey and her success thus far in her run with the company has almost certainly given management enough faith in the division to create such an opportunity.

For the women who initiated the revolution and have been at its forefront since the beginning, it is another reward for their hard work and dedication.

Monday's announcement, if it is exactly what has been reported, will be another of those landmark moments the company plays over and over again while touting the success of its female Superstars.



A High-Stakes Rematch

Monday night, fans will finally get answers as to what the main event of SummerSlam on August 19 will be when Reigns and Lashley meet for the second time in eight days, with a coveted shot at Lesnar's Universal Championship up for grabs.

The contest, the latest chapter in Reigns' redemption story here in 2018, could see The Big Dog score the win that sets him up for his third date with The Beast Incarnate this year or suffer another high-profile defeat that further enhances the frustration he has experienced over the last seven months.

There is always the possibility that a screwy finish sets the Superstars up for a Triple Threat match, but that would be too much like a cop-out. Considering the lackluster quality of shows recently, WWE officials owe it to their fans to present a match in which one man wins, one loses and the main event of the second-most-important pay-per-view of the year is obvious by night's end.


A Championship Clash

On the same night that Reigns has the opportunity to avenge his Extreme Rules loss, former Raw tag team champions The Deleters of Worlds will have the chance to regain their titles when they battle The B Team.

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of the resurgent Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, thanks in large part to a miscommunication late in the bout. 

Will the two Superstars, once great rivals-turned-tag team partners, be able to get back on the same page and reclaim the titles they probably never should have lost, or will the team of Dallas and Axel continue their winning ways en route to another monumental upset?

The answer lies in whether WWE officials see The B Team as a team capable of being the centerpiece of the division.


One. More. Week.

The July 16 episode of Raw saw general manager Kurt Angle extend Ronda Rousey's suspension by an additional week thanks to her attacks on Alexa Bliss and Mickie James on consecutive nights.

The silver lining, though, came moments later when he vowed to grant Rousey a shot at the Raw Women's Championship if The Baddest Woman on the Planet could contain herself and resist doing anything to jeopardize her reinstatement during that seven-day stretch.

Monday night, Bliss will almost assuredly do whatever she can to egg Rousey on, to infuriate her and cause her to violate the final week of her suspension.

The story, a simple-yet-effective one that will generate the same crowd heat that has accompanied every one of Rousey's segments since WrestleMania, has done a phenomenal job of creating genuine excitement for Rousey's upcoming championship opportunity against Bliss.

Fans have been receptive of every opportunity she has had to get her hands on Bliss to this point, and their match in Brooklyn should be one of the hotter, more anticipated ones as a result.

Expect it to be made official Monday, though do not be surprised if Natalya endures punishment and embarrassment as Bliss and James attempt to goad Rousey into the ring, which would break the rules of her suspension and cancel the championship encounter.