Rumors, Preview for Brock Lesnar's Return and July 30 Episode of WWE Raw

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

The Beast is back.

Monday marks the first time since April's Greatest Royal Rumble that universal champion Brock Lesnar will appear on WWE television, live before the fans. With his August 19 title defense against Roman Reigns now official, the build to that epic encounter begins.

The return of The Beast Incarnate is headline news for the July 30 broadcast, but it is not the only thing fans have to look forward to.

Find out what else fans can expect from Monday's USA Network presentation with a little help from the official WWE.com Raw preview.



WrestleVotes reported a change to one of the higher-profile championship bouts at SummerSlam could be coming:

WrestleVotes @WrestleVotes

Texting With A Source: don’t be surprised to see one of the SummerSlam match ups already confirmed changed. Don’t get your hopes up, it’s not Reigns & Lesnar. Hearing the IC title match may not end up being Rollins v Ziggler one on one.

If the report holds true and the Intercontinental Championship match does change, it appears the seeds may have been planted a week ago when Drew McIntyre and Finn Balor ended up involved in a spat between Seth Rollins and champion Dolph Ziggler that ultimately became a tag team match.

A Fatal 4-Way match would get all four competitors on the show and freshen up the title picture a bit after several singles bouts between The Architect and The Showoff in recent weeks.

The report also makes Monday's already-announced matches between Balor and Constable Baron Corbin and Rollins and McIntyre all that more intriguing.

Of course, McIntyre and Balor's involvement is merely speculatory based on WWE booking trends and their involvement last week. Perhaps the WrestleVotes report hints more at a stipulation or gimmick match rather than the involvement of other competitors.



The Beast is Unleashed

After months on the sideline, his Universal Championship conspicuous in its absence from TV, Lesnar returns Monday night to begin the hype for his third consecutive title defense against Reigns.

The audience will likely be red-hot, eager to rain down with boos in the direction of Reigns and welcoming of Lesnar, despite growing frustrated and angry by the latter's absence over the last four months.

It should be interesting to see which tone the rivalry takes this deep into it.

Earlier in the year, WWE Creative tried to build sympathy for Reigns as the leader of the company, irritated by the fact he and his fellow Superstars travel the road 250 nights a year but Lesnar, the champion, can pick and choose when he works.

That did not work.

It tried a losing-streak angle, where Reigns could not beat Lesnar no matter how hard he tried and how controversial the conclusion.

Now the company is looking at a third straight match between them and a need to try to get The Big Dog over enough that fans want to see him beat Lesnar.

It is likely a losing battle.

It is time for the writing staff to book the all-out, hate-filled brawl that fans expect from two warriors with as much backstory as them. Leave the overly long promos at home. Forget the complicated reasonings for Reigns' anger.

Just book a wrestling angle and maybe, just maybe, fans will bite.


Ronda Rousey Returns

The No. 1 contender to the Raw Women's Championship will return from a 37-day suspension Monday night and set her sights on her SummerSlam opponent, Alexa Bliss.

The UFC Hall of Famer is in the midst of her first title program, and as one of the biggest attractions on the SummerSlam card, she will likely take a prominent role on Mondays leading into the August 19 pay-per-view extravaganza.

The question is whether officials waste a Rousey in-ring performance on free television since the logical matchup with Mickie James ahead of her title shot is right there for WWE Creative to book when it sees fit.


Two Huge Matches

At Extreme Rules, Finn Balor defeated Constable Corbin in a singles bout, overcoming an onslaught to score a fluke rollup for the win.

Monday night, a week after being thrown out of the locker room and into a child's playhouse, Balor seeks revenge as he battles the second-most powerful man on Raw in a rematch.

Booking trends suggest Corbin will get his win back, but Balor needs it much more at this point. Especially if he is to take part in the Intercontinental Championship picture, as hinted by his partnership with Rollins against Ziggler and McIntyre a week ago.

Speaking of Rollins and McIntyre, the recent rivals will bring their ongoing program back to the forefront as they go one-on-one.

The last time they competed against each other, McIntyre scored the victory. Monday, Rollins will seek to pick up momentum ahead of SummerSlam by beating a Superstar who has been seemingly unconquerable since his call-up to the main roster.