Predictions for WWE Raw, SmackDown, NXT and AEW Dynamite for Week of August 10
As WWE SummerSlam weekend draws near, several of the stars in positions to make headlines at the show figure to have momentous weeks.
Randy Orton battles Kevin Owens in singles competition Monday on Raw, but might it be an interaction he has outside the confines of the ring bell that helps shape his journey to the summertime spectacular on August 23.
NXT champion Keith Lee and the enigmatic Karrion Kross have been on a collision course for the past month. Is this the week they come to blows, escalating their rivalry and setting them up for a showdown at TakeOver XXX?
Find out the answers to those questions and more, including Scorpio Sky's latest shot at championship glory over on Dynamite, with these predictions for this week in WWE and All Elite Wrestling TV.
Randy Orton Severs Ties with Ric Flair
On more than one occasion, Ric Flair's mouth has gotten Randy Orton into an unfavorable position.
First, it was with Christian. Then Big Show. Monday night, The Viper battles Kevin Owens in a match set up by Flair and his unabashed stirring of the pot.
It will be the last match for which Flair seconds Orton.
With the WWE Championship in his sights and a date with Drew McIntyre on August 23 at SummerSlam, the last thing Orton needs is to be pushed and pulled in whatever direction Flair's arrogance sends him. Despite the mentor-protege relationship between them, Orton will pay off the return of his Legend Killer persona by putting down Flair with (at least) an RKO to end this chapter of their partnership.
This frees up Orton to focus on McIntyre and alleviates the creative team of the headache that comes from constantly having to shoehorn Flair into every feud, angle or storyline the third-generation star is involved in.
Nia Jax Heads Underground
After receiving an indefinite suspension earlier in August, Nia Jax finds herself seemingly without direction on the main roster. Surely, though, the company's crack creative team would not feature her in a high-profile angle in which she attacked producer Pat Buck, only to remove her from TV without any sort of follow-up.
At least not unless there was an underlying injury.
It is not out of the realm of possibility given the fluidity of WWE booking of late, but the company doesn't typically waste valuable television time on someone, especially in a promo segment, unless there are plans of some sort.
Which brings us to Raw Underground.
Week 1 featured an all-male cast of characters, but what better way to continue showcasing the ferocity, no-nonsense attitude and sheer dominance of The Irresistible Force than by having her enter the rope-less ring and unload on whichever unfortunate soul opposes her?
It keeps Jax front and center without overcrowding the title picture, all while giving writers another act to build the new concept around besides The Hurt Business.
While someone like Shayna Baszler would better suit the shoot-fight concept, she is firmly entrenched in the Raw Women's Championship scene, where she should have been all summer. Jax is suitable for the role and, if anything, has the opportunity to better define (or even redefine) her on-screen persona.
It is a match made in wrestling heaven. You know, if Underground sticks around for longer than a month.
Karrion Kross and Keith Lee Have 1st Physical Confrontation
It is only a matter of time before NXT champion Keith Lee and top contender Karrion Kross unleash hell on each other, all in the name of reigning over the NXT brand. After Kross vowed to do things "the hard way" in an ominous warning to The Limitless One a week ago, the time for their inevitable brawl appears to be sooner rather than later.
As soon as Wednesday's USA Network broadcast.
Kross has an advertised match with Danny Burch to contend with, but that in no way rules out an altercation with Lee. While the slow burn and verbal warnings to Lee have been interesting, to say the least, Wednesday's show marks 10 days until TakeOver XXX, and the intensity of the feud needs a boost.
There needs to be a sense of urgency, and the best way to achieve that is through physicality.
Let the competitors come to blows. Really put Kross over as a killer contender by putting Lee to sleep with the Kross Jacket.
Alternatively, let Lee get in some offense to prove he's not a walkover and will not bow to his challenger's threats.
Either way, the feud takes a much-needed step forward in time for a massively important live event special on August 22 that will help lay the groundwork for the black-and-gold brand's foreseeable future.
Scorpio Sky Steals the Show
Every opportunity Scorpio Sky has had to break out in All Elite Wrestling, he has seized and capitalized upon.
Whether it was as the unexpected star of the Tag Team Championship Tournament last fall or in an AEW World Championship match against Chris Jericho, he has risen to the occasion and proved himself more valuable than his placement on the card of late has indicated.
Wednesday, he returns to prominence when he challenges Cody for the TNT Championship in a match that only makes sense if you have been paying attention to the company's AEW Dark show on YouTube. Sky has become a fixture on that program of late and on the August 4 episode voiced his desire—demanded, even—for an opportunity.
Had his match with Cody been accompanied with that bit of footage, it would have made sense. As it is, Sky is again presented the chance to knock the proverbial ball out of the park. Just as he has every time he has been at the plate, expect him to do just that.
Sky will steal the show on a night devoted to tag team wrestling, further separating himself from his SCU brethren Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. He will cement himself as one of the young stars, on a roster full of them, jockeying to be the next big thing in AEW.
Whether the creative forces at play will reward him for it remains to be seen, but Sky will hold up his end, leaving the fans buzzing about his performance against one of the company's standard-bearers.
A 6-Person Tag Team Match
Mandy Rose exploded back on to the scene Friday on SmackDown, debuting a new haircut and, much more importantly, unloading an intense beating on main antagonist (and former friend) Sonya Deville.
That it came in the midst of a tag team match pitting Heavy Machinery against The Miz and John Morrison suggests the most logical next creative step is a Six-Person tag team match.
While it is possible WWE holds off on that until SummerSlam, that platform feels more like the appropriate place for one final Rose-Deville showdown.
Instead, SmackDown will house a major tag team match that shows off that particular feud while giving Otis, Tucker, Morrison and Miz something to keep them busy while they remain in something of a holding pattern.
Is it unlike anything we have already seen? No, but if it protects the moneymaker in a straight Rose vs. Deville PPV match, that is all that matters.