WWE Raw Preview: SummerSlam Fallout and More for August 12 Episode

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

Credit: WWE.com

Just 24 hours after tearing the house down with a spectacular SummerSlam pay-per-view, the Superstars of Raw return to the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto for a USA Network broadcast that will seek to build on the momentum established during Sunday night's extravaganza.

There is a new universal champion in the form of "The Beastslayer" Seth Rollins, but the question now is who will step up and be his first challenger?

That answer should reveal itself during Monday's show, which should give fans a clearer look at what Paul Heyman's creative vision for the brand will be.


Announced Matches

  • The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler


Burn It Down!

Seth Rollins did Sunday what no other Superstar since John Cena in 2012 has been able to accomplish: He pinned Brock Lesnar clean in the center of the ring without any chicanery, interference or convoluted booking decisions.

The new universal champion exorcised that beastly demon and now will reign over a roster full of Superstars looking to end his boyhood dream and take the title from around his waist.

Who might be the first Superstar to step up and challenge his reign?

There is always a retread like Baron Corbin, but that would feel too much like a step back, especially considering how that program actually sapped the life out of Rollins' post-WrestleMania title run.

There is a guy like Drew McIntyre, but The Scottish Psychopath has been engaged in a rivalry with Cedric Alexander of late, something that does not necessarily lend itself to a world title contender.

That creates an opportunity for a fresh face in the title picture.

Who that is and how Paul Heyman and the creative team goes about building them into a legitimate title contender creates a buzz and excitement about the show it simply has not had over the last year or so.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Lesnar will re-emerge from his SummerSlam defeat hellbent on punishing Rollins and setting up a rematch, but it feels too soon for that particular option.


Let Him In

The Fiend debuted Sunday night, defeating Finn Balor with the mandible claw and horrifying the WWE Universe. He left a lasting impression and now faces an uncertain future full of promise and excitement.

The most important thing WWE Creative must do, beginning tonight, is resisting the urge to overexpose the character. The Fiend's entrance Sunday night was special. That specialness wears off if fans watch it every single week.

Produce another Firefly Funhouse vignette for Monday's show that continues to tell the split personality story rather than trotting The Fiend out to showoff the production accomplishments.

The more WWE makes The Fiend an attraction, the better the chances that the bitterness from the old Bray Wyatt is effectively erased from the minds of the fans and this new, dark, disturbing persona can succeed.


What's Next for The Man?

Becky Lynch successfully defended her Raw Women's Championship against Natalya in a great submission match Sunday night but now finds herself with a problem: a decided lack of legitimate challengers.

With Lacey Evans and Natalya out of the picture, Lynch is left with tag team champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, Naomi, Carmella, Sarah Logan or Dana Brooke. None of them seems likely to step up to The Man.

Which leaves two distinct possibilities for the post-SummerSlam episode of WWE's flagship show: the returns of Sasha Banks or Ronda Rousey.

Both have been absent since WrestleMania, where they lost championship gold.

Banks hasn't had any sort of issue with Lynch since their days fresh out of NXT. Rousey's first loss in WWE came at the hands of The Man.

The question becomes whether WWE Creative has enough in it to start the latest chapter in their rivalry and stretch it all the way to WrestleMania, where it most makes sense to have their blowoff.

The answer? Probably not.

Banks vs. Lynch is a fresh match, would elevate The Boss to the level she probably should have been at this entire time and provides the intensity fans demand out of championship programs in this era. If Banks is ready to come back, keeping her happy with a title program is the right move.