WWE Raw will present its season premiere Monday night on USA Network, the official kickoff for one of the biggest and most significant weeks in professional wrestling history.
Monday's show will be a star-studded affair, with championships up for grabs and returning icons bolstering the lineup.
Which Superstars from the red brand's illustrious past will make their presence felt and can fans expect to see reigning champions emerge with their gold still intact?
- WWE Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio
- Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Heavy Machinery vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
- Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks
- United States Championship Match: Cedric Alexander vs. AJ Styles
'Miz TV' with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair
One of the more intriguing segments on Monday's show is the return of "Miz TV" with legendary guests Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Icons of a bygone generation, their names are synonymous with the industry.
But why are they back and what does it have to do with The A-Lister, other than his ability to rein things in if they run long?
There are two distinct possibilities.
One, Hogan and Flair are back for a powder-puff segment to drive up ratings. If that is the case, expect Miz's recent foe, Sami Zayn, to be heavily involved and maybe even bump for the duo.
The other potential angle involves The Fiend.
Bray Wyatt's dangerous and unpredictable alter ego is no stranger to leaving legends lying. Jerry "The King" Lawler and Kane have both felt his wrath, enduring the devastating mandible claw.
Just six days before the masked menace challenges Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship inside Hell in a Cell, it would be quite a message to send to The Architect and WWE as a whole if he brutalized one (or two) of the most heralded and respected Superstars of all time.
A Universal Championship Dream Match
If The Fiend does not create a nightmarish scenario with Hogan and Flair, expect him to make his presence felt later in the night when Rollins defends his title against Rey Mysterio in a showdown of standard bearers of different eras.
For so long, Mysterio was Mr. Consistency, a performer who fans could count on delivering a phenomenal in-ring performance even if everything else on the show was subpar.
The 44-year-old built a legacy for himself that matches up with any in-ring performer and is back home, where he has the opportunity to close things out on his terms.
Seth Rollins @WWERollins
This is a match I’ve been looking forward to my entire life. The fact that I’m defending the Universal Title on the #RAW Season Premiere against @reymysterio in 2019 is mind boggling. Even 6 days out from #HIAC & @WWEBrayWyatt, I’ll empty the tank for one of the greatest ever. https://t.co/VGfuBK4vUU
Rollins has been that same sort of performer for WWE of this current era. Even when the creative has been less than stellar, the universal champion has risen to the occasion and delivered between bells.
A match between him and Mysterio—if allowed to develop into the main event they are worthy of—should be an easy TV Match of the Year candidate. If not and it's bogged down by overbooking, it will likely go down as a massive disappointment and a missed opportunity to tell a hell of a story between two of the more popular babyfaces in WWE.
The Beast Returns
Just four days before a WWE Championship showdown with Kofi Kingston on SmackDown's debut on Fox, Brock Lesnar returns to Raw, likely to put over that match as a much-see affair. That almost suggests Kingston and The New Day will be present, too.
The wild-card ruling may be one of the more maligned elements of WWE programming right now, but it allows a final bit of hype between champion and challenger, which may prove key in convincing fans to follow the blue brand to its new network and day.
Lesnar wreaks havoc wherever he goes, but this almost feels like more of an opportunity for Kingston to get some heat ahead of a match that figures not to be kind to him.
Expect a great promo from Paul Heyman, as usual, and a strong retort from the New Day man as WWE Creative puts the final touches on the build to Friday's extravaganza.