Predictions for WWE Raw, SmackDown and AEW Dynamite for Week of August 3
WWE and All Elite Wrestling may be in opposition but both are on the road to their annual summertime spectacular. Vince McMahon's company is eyeing SummerSlam on August 23 as its final destination, while Tony Khan's promotion presents All Out on September 5.
Both have already begun presenting the Superstars and programs that will culminate in high-profile matches at those shows and will continue to amplify them this week.
WWE has been quiet on what to expect in the ring from its Raw and SmackDown brands, but we do know Dakota Kai will battle Rhea Ripley and Ridge Holland will make his debut at NXT TakeOver XXX on August 22.
AEW will counter with a heavyweight title bout between Jon Moxley and Darby Allin and another loaded card at All Out.
But what can we expect from the companies' weekly television shows? Find out with a few of these predictions for Raw, SmackDown, NXT and AEW Dynamite.
Retribution for Drew McIntyre and Asuka
Drew McIntyre and Asuka will have revenge in mind when they enter Monday's Raw, with both hell-bent on avenging wrongdoings from a week ago.
The Empress of Tomorrow controversially lost her Raw Women's Championship to Sasha Banks when she opted to assist fallen friend Kairi Sane, thus getting counted out and losing the gold per unique stipulations laid down by Stephanie McMahon.
Without The Pirate Princess to watch her back any longer, Asuka will go it alone when she attempts to regain a title stolen from her. And she will succeed, at least Monday night, as she unleashes a side of herself that we have not seen since her days in NXT.
Gone will be the dancing and screaming and in its place with be a focused buzzsaw who tears through anyone unfortunate enough to be in her path, including Banks and Bayley.
Meanwhile, McIntyre will also look to earn a measure of retribution one week after SummerSlam opponent Randy Orton dropped him with an RKO to close out the broadcast.
Unlike Asuka, though, the Scot may have to wait a week at least for a physical encounter with The Viper.
Instead, McIntyre will engage in a promo with Orton. There will be a back and forth about titles, Orton's 20 years with WWE and McIntyre getting fired and coming back. Mostly because that is the only story WWE Creative can tell at this point.
McIntyre will inevitably hit a Claymore Kick to send a message loudly and clearly to The Viper, but that will come later as the writing team milks this feud for as many weeks as it can without really propelling it forward.
The First Glimpse at a New Aleister Black
A week ago, Aleister Black endured treatment previously reserved for Rey Mysterio. Beaten down and brutalized by Seth Rollins and Murphy, he had his eye mercilessly dug into the corner of the steel ring steps, leaving him screaming and writhing in pain.
While some looked at it as a way to write the Dutchman off television for the foreseeable future, what it really represented was the introduction of a new chapter of his story.
Black has been so underdeveloped in terms of his motivations and his ideology that WWE has stumbled into a way to present him almost from scratch.
Look for The Dutch Destroyer, motivated by an attack that may have left him blinded, to embrace his inner darkness and go on a tear through the roster that he probably should have from the start.
Do not be surprised if that push manifests itself in a number of puzzling vignettes, or if Black returns with a new look.
While it isn't out of the realm of possibility that WWE management chooses to hold off a few weeks before slowly introducing Black to the fans, now feels like the time to strike.
Dakota Kai Continues Her March to the NXT Women's Championship
Dakota Kai and Rhea Ripley square off in singles competition Wednesday, with both looking to strengthen their argument for a shot at Io Shirai's NXT Women's Championship.
Last week, Ripley took exception to Captain Kota's insistence that she was the No. 1 contender. Despite not winning a match since her Great American Bash victory over Robert Stone and Aaliyah, the Australian has suddenly and inexplicably asserted herself into the title conversation.
On the surface, this looks like the perfect setup for NXT to book yet another Triple Threat match in an endless string of them. What it really is, though, is Kai's last hurdle before her showdown with Shirai.
Look for Kai to defeat the former champion, even if she has to rely on assistance from the returning Raquel Gonzalez to do so.
Kai's heel turn last November at TakeOver: War Games made her one of the hottest characters on the black-and-yellow brand. Now, with her momentum rebuilt, it's time for her to get her shot at championship gold, unimpeded and uninterrupted—not even by one of the participants in NXT's best match of 2020 (so far) in Ripley.
Matt Cardona Betrays Cody, Emerges as Latest Threat to the TNT Championship
Matt Cardona surprisingly saved TNT champion Cody from an unexplained beatdown at the hands of The Dark Order last Wednesday night, as he exploded onto the scene in All Elite Wrestling and set up a huge tag team match this week in which he teams with The American Nightmare to battle the cult-like faction's Alex Reynolds and John Silver.
On the surface, the match appears fairly one-sided. Cardona and Cody are stars recognized around the world while Silver and Reynolds are still trying to find their feet as members of the AEW roster. Beyond that, though, is potential for a shocking betrayal that will pay off weeks of open challenges.
Wednesday night, Cardona will turn on Cody, attacking him and setting up a match between the two for the TNT Championship, perhaps as soon as September 5's All Out.
Cardona has not had the opportunity to play an intense and unlikable heel. He was either a goofy sidekick or a fun-loving millennial babyface in WWE. We never got to see the edginess from him that a role of this kind would demand.
Such a booking decision would allow him to change things up, thus erasing the last vestiges of Zack Ryder from the audience's mind and firmly establishing a new persona for himself going forward.
A Darker Alexa Bliss
The Fiend's shocking and unexpected attack on Alexa Bliss on Friday, when he applied the Mandible Claw as SmackDown went off the air, will begin a character transformation for The Goddess that sees her embrace a darker side of herself.
There is precedent, for sure.
Seth Rollins went full-blown Monday Night Messiah after his encounters with The Fiend. Finn Balor became a heel and reverted back to NXT after becoming the masked monster's first victim last August at SummerSlam.
And who knows what will become of universal champion Braun Strowman when all is said and done?
Bliss, though, has seen her friendship with Nikki Cross take a turn for the worse of late and the terrifying encounter from Friday's broadcast is likely to produce an evil we have not seen out of her previously.
Sure, she's been a resident mean girl before but do not be surprised if the Wyatt Swamp Fight's depiction of her as a manifestation of Sister Abigail becomes more reality than illusion in the weeks to come, especially as Wyatt's alter ego eyes the Universal Championship he probably never should have lost.