Predictions for WWE Raw, SmackDown, NXT and AEW Dynamite for Week of October 19
With WWE Hell in a Cell and All Elite Wrestling's Full Gear on the horizon, both companies continue their march toward their pay-per-views with shows designed to further storylines, position top stars and create excitement ahead of the high-profile extravaganzas.
But will they succeed, and what can fans expect out of their signature broadcasts?
Will Raw capitalize on its fresh faces after the draft and produce a show that does not underwhelm for the first time in months? Might Dynamite deliver an in-ring product more in line with what fans have come to expect than the previous week's broadcast? Can SmackDown build on its recent momentum?
Find out with these predictions.
Raw: A Last-Gasp Shot at Convincing Us to Be Excited for McIntyre vs. Orton III
For the third time in four pay-per-views, Drew McIntyre will defend the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Ahead of that bout at Hell in a Cell on Sunday night, the creative team will do its best to convince fans to care Monday on Raw.
It's hard enough to get fans to invest emotionally in any given program these days, but when we are talking about a third encounter between two stars in as many months, it's nearly impossible to muster enough excitement, no matter the gimmick.
Will Orton and McIntyre have a good match inside the cage this weekend? History tells us yes. But that will be despite the relative apathy of fans waiting on the next feud for both men—no chaotic brawl or overthought creative development Monday will change that.
Raw: Another Non-Finish for Keith Lee and Braun Strowman
The first "exhibition" between Braun Strowman and Keith Lee ended in a non-finish designed to protect both Superstars from an unnecessary loss.
They tore the house down—literally—with both men doing damage to the ThunderDome set and driving each other through a table near the entranceway.
They meet in a rematch Monday, this time in an official bout given both combatants are exclusive to the Raw brand. Not much will change, though, as another non-finish is to be expected.
Strowman was just beaten down, tapped out and brutalized by Roman Reigns on SmackDown. It is highly unlikely he will kick his Raw run off with another loss, weakening him and hurting his star appeal.
Lee, on the other hand, is too early into his main-roster run to endure a clean loss to The Monster Among Men and needs to retain his aura if he is to find the sort of success management is counting on.
Another chaotic brawl, culminating in some kind of high spot, will unfold; the result will be the continuation of their rivalry.
NXT: The Garganos Continue Their Journey to Double Gold
The Garganos are quickly developing into a heel act around which the entire NXT upper card could easily revolve.
At NXT Halloween Havoc on Oct. 28, Johnny Gargano challenges Damian Priest for the North American Championship, while Candice LeRae will face Io Shirai for the NXT women's title.
Both are rematches from TakeOver 31, but they could have a greater impact on the company than the originals.
With Finn Balor recovering from a broken jaw and management taking the slow-burn approach to the Undisputed Era breakup, the happy couple could (and probably should) become the focal point of the brand for the foreseeable future.
That steady climb back to the top of NXT will continue Wednesday, when they set up for their huge title opportunities while building to a Halloween Havoc special that officials will be counting on to pop a rating.
That they are in the crosshairs of special host Shotzi Blackheart only further suggests they will be all over Wednesday's broadcast. And rightfully so.
AEW: Lucha Bros Steal the Show as World Title Eliminator Kicks Off
The World Title Eliminator Tournament kicks off Wednesday on Dynamite, and while there are some intriguing matchups (Wardlow-Jungle Boy, Kenny Omega-Joey Janela and Hangman Page-Colt Cabana), the showdown between brothers Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero M ranks as the most must-see of the bunch.
There is no act that has been as consistently great on AEW as the Lucha Bros—not Cody, not Omega, not The Young Bucks. They have been steadily phenomenal since the advent of the company in 2019, even when the creative team has not always supported the quality of their performances.
The idea of the death-defying tandem pulling out all stops while competing against each other, with a world title opportunity at stake, is more than appealing.
In the first time they have had the opportunity to work under those circumstances, look for the luchadors to steal the show out from underneath some of the more celebrated AEW stars.
Fenix will likely win as he has been the more prominently featured of the two over the past year, but both will leave a lasting impression on any viewer who may have forgotten just how good they are.
SmackDown: The Mysterio-Rollins-Murphy Saga Continues Whether You Like It or Not
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
At least in the case of Seth Rollins, Murphy and the Mysterios, who find themselves embroiled in a rivalry that should have ended two months ago but will instead continue on Friday nights.
The program, originally a product of the Raw brand, shows no signs of stopping following the in-ring segment on Friday's SmackDown.
Sure, there was a hint of Rollins starting something with Daniel Bryan, but that back-and-forth devolved into more of the same involving Rey, Dominik and Murphy as WWE Creative appears unable to put the nail in that story's coffin.
That won't change Friday, either.
Until those writing the shows can come up with something different for the Mysterios and Murphy to do, they will continue to be attached to Rollins, who finds himself bogged down by the unwillingness to end things once and for all.
The SmackDown Savior has soundly and definitively beaten Dominik and Rey on more than one occasion and has nothing to gain from working with them at this point.
Unfortunately, with no other direction in which to take those involved, it appears the story will limp along zombie-like with nowhere to go and nothing to do.