On the heels of an explosive Stomping Grounds pay-per-view that saw Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch retain their universal and women's titles, respectively, WWE Raw hits the USA Network airwaves Monday night looking to build on the creative gains they made at the extravaganza.
Throw in a match between two of the best wrestlers on the planet, and you have plenty of potential for a blockbuster episode that sets the stage for July 14's Extreme Rules event.
- United States champion Ricochet vs. AJ Styles in a non-title match.
- Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre in a 2-on-1 handicap match.
The Beastslayer Resumes His Reign
Rollins overcame crooked officiating from Lacey Evans and the relentless onslaught of Baron Corbin to retain the Universal Championship at Stomping Grounds. His triumph Sunday may prove short-lived, as Corbin will likely seek revenge with or without The Sassy Southern Belle by his side.
The conclusion of Stomping Grounds seems to suggest a Mixed Tag Team match pitting Rollins and Lynch against Corbin and Evans is on the horizon. Perhaps WWE Creative sets that match up and delivers the follow-up to Sunday's chaotic main event.
All signs point to a scenario in which Rollins vs. Corbin in some sort of gimmick match for Extreme Rules is announced. However, on the heels of a red-hot main event that had as much to do with the contributions of Lynch and Evans as it did the men, it would behoove WWE Creative to build on the dynamics between the four Superstars.
Roman Reigns Must Overcome the Odds...Again
The Big Dog overcame interference from Shane McMahon on multiple occasions to defeat Drew McIntyre in the competitors' second pay-per-view showdown this year. A frustrated and vindictive McMahon announced a 2-on-1 handicap match for Monday's show, meaning the feud no one asked for will continue for at least one more night.
The announcement of the match all but guarantees the continued overexposure of McMahon, who is clearly past his prime in the ring and has not developed his character in the last 20 years.
It also creates another situation in which Reigns must overcome odds if he is to win. It is a booking crutch that hurt him before his leukemia diagnosis and one that, if the company is not careful, will haunt him going forward.
Most damning? It does nothing for McIntyre, who really needed to come out of this program with some momentum but may actually be worse off for being involved.
Phenomenal First Challenge to Ricochet's Throne
Ricochet's United States title celebration was short-lived, as his post-match photoshoot was interrupted by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, then AJ Styles, who challenged the new champion to a match on Raw.
Monday night, the standard-bearer for excellence in pro wrestling over the last 20 years will look to spoil The One and Only's first night as champion, but will he?
Styles has been conspicuous in his absence over the last month but exploded back onto WWE programming on last week's show, expressing frustration and disappointment in Gallows and Anderson's defeat. That brief interaction hinted at the reunion of The Club. Their disrespect of Ricochet on Sunday could set in motion both a return to glory for Styles and Co. and a heel turn for The Phenomenal One.
Both would be overdue.
Ricochet vs. Styles, on paper, looks like a Match of the Year candidate. Expect Monday's match to be more of a setup for things to come rather than a jaw-dropping, pay-per-view-quality match. And expect Styles, Gallows and Anderson to announce (perhaps unofficially) the reunion of The Club.